September Wine Collection


Well the time has finally come in which Val & Anthony have departed for Europe to lead their Culinary Adventures.  For the next two months I will hold the reigns on the wine club.  Last month I did a quick tour through the Okanagan and have picked a few noteworthy wines to be featured this month, along with a few old favourites.  At the end of this month I begin my WSET level 3 course, which delves deep into viticulture, winemaking, and regions.  I was determined to visit BC before the course began in order to get an in person look at vineyards.  What I came upon was more informative than I could have expected, but not for fortunate reasons.  Beyond grapes on vines I also got to see firsthand the challenges vineyards face from sudden winter frosts, smoke, and mildew.  Still there’s dedication, passion, and success stories through the Okanagan that serve to inspire.  I hope you enjoy the wines as much as I did and lets hope that conditions improve so we can keep enjoying these wines for years to come!


Meyer Family Vineyards

2022 Okanagan Valley Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most exciting things to taste when visiting wineries because it is so versatile!  Many different winemaking techniques can be clearly exhibited in Chardonnay, allowing a look into the winery’s style, and perhaps how geeky they are.  Well Meyer has got geekiness on full display, providing a great deal of information on the back label of their wines.  This Chardonnay is a great showcase of how winemaking can influence style.  Where many Chardonnay  producers go heavy on oak aging, this wine features no new oak.  Aging 6 months in 80% stainless steel and 20% neutral oak (old barrels that no longer impart noticeable oak flavour) has preserved the fruity, floral notes of the grapes - peach, pear, and blossom.  The wine underwent a 75% malolactic conversion, wherein the harsher malic acid has been converted into softer lactic acid, this gives this wine a lovely lemon curd note.  We’ve carried the Meyer Pinot Noir for years but I think this might deserve a spot on the shelf as an alternative to the big oaky Chardonnay’s that are so common.


Buy Meyer


2022 Sauvignon Blanc

Right next door to Meyer is Mayhem, but they share more than just an outdoor yard area, Terry Stone, president of Mayhem is the sister of JAK Meyer!  There is a distinct difference in style and offerings however, and this seemed most obvious in their Sauvignon Blanc, a grape which doesn’t see much planting in the Okanagan.  This wine has an excellent balance between acidity and residual sugar, which sustains a long, complex palate of grapefruit, apricot, and an herbal presence like chamomile tea and lemongrass.  This is a clear difference to the grassy, lime, dominated Sauvignon Blanc’s from New Zealand, and  I quite like it for its difference!  This wine strikes me as one that would be a lot of fun to play with in pairings.  My picks would be grilled prawns with chimichuri, scallop avocado ceviche, or even banh-mi subs!


Buy Mayhem

Little Engine

2020 “Silver” Pinot Noir

Inspired by “The Little Engine That Could”, Steven and Nicole French moved from Calgary to the Okanagan to begin growing grapes on a former Plum Orchard.  The result of their determination is clear; outstanding wines made with focus and care.  They have put a great deal of attention cataloguing the different Pinot Noir clones in the Okanagan Valley, an undertaking they have dubbed “The Pinot Project”.  This Pinot Noir from select clones is given 14 months of aging in second and third fill barrels, along with neutral oak.  The result is a fruit-forward wine, but by no means is it simple.  Cherry, cranberry, and raspberry notes are bright with good acidity up front, and there’s some subtle richer flavours as well, blackberry, clove, and earthy sassafras (think root beer).  This Pinot is delicious, and not demanding in any way, pair it with food, or have it on it’s own.  While this wine can be cellared through to 2025, I think it’s the kind of treat to open whenever you happen to want it, rather than waiting for a special occasion.


Buy Little Engine


2019 Merlot

Skyfall Vineyard takes its names for the enormous boulders deposited throughout the vineyards, looking as if they had fallen from the sky.  The reality is that were carried by the missoula glacial floods that occurred some 15,000 years ago, and it was these same floods that developed the soil conditions for growing great vines!

I picked this wine up on a whim, wanting to try something from Washington and am I ever glad I did!  This wine has become a frequent rotator in my collection, it never stays for long before I end up drinking it!  Merlot in the new world is sometimes seen as lacking in sophistication in comparison to its big, astringent, brother, Cabernet Sauvignon, but that’s a something to enjoy, not deride!  The plump body and velvety tannins feel like a big hug while the palate is full of blackberry, plum, and blueberry.  The finish features notes of cedar, and star anise which round this off as a great comfort wine for whenever you may need it.


Buy Skyfall

The caveat of including three BC wines in this club is that they come in at BC prices.  I had to source a couple budget friendly wines to round out the six, and I’ve done so with a fun grenache side by side.  When it comes to sourcing cheap and cheerful wines, we rarely look outside of France, Italy, and Spain, as they are the top three producers of wine in Europe.  These countries produce enormous quantities of wine, in fact the French government is having to spend 200 Million Euro destroying surplus wine to keep the market from collapsing!  These high production levels combined with thousands of years of history make finding wines that are affordable, and pleasant to drink, easy.  

Both of these are Grenache based, The Long Little Dog being rounded out with Syrah and Carignan, while the Borsao is blended with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both have a structure that is grenache forward, Moderately light colour, moderately high alcohol, medium tannins and body.  Long Little Dog takes a more fruit forward approach, showing cherry, raspberry, and blueberry, along with a hint of clove.  Borsao’s fruit profile is all red fruit, cherry, raspberry, and red plum, with a surprisingly strong presence of tobacco and leather.   Both of these are well made wines and have excellent value.  Open them on any night of the week, maybe after you’ve had the Little Engine ;)

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