Hester Creek, Chardonnay, Golden Mile sub-VQA, BC, $24.95
Hester Creek has one of the most consistent wines in BC. Whether it’s white or red, winemaker Rob Summers nails it every time. The limited release Chardonnay is best described as rich and citrusy. Whiffs of apple, clover honey, caramel, and lemon are evident. Eight months of gentle oak ageing gives this wine body to offset the brightness. Try this with lemon Dover sole or halibut. 89 points.
Haywire, Wild Ferment Pinot Gris, Switchback Vineyard, 2012, Summerland, BC, $29.90
Haywire continues to experiment with unique winemaking techniques and this Pinot Gris is no exception. This wine was raised in large concrete egg shaped vats and made with native yeast strains. Orchard fruits dominate with pear, peach and apricot leading the way. Fresh yeasty taste with touches of sweet thyme, citrus and floral. Medium bodied with a complex, oily, off dry mid palate switching to a dry finish. Interesting and complex wine. 91 points.
Backyard Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, BC, VQA, $17.99
Mountains of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry fruit with hints of eucalyptus. The palate is soft, juicy with well balanced tannins. A touch of subtle spice and forest floor complement this wine. A long finish, this wine reminds me of a good Napa Valley Cab at the fraction of the price. Priced at only $17.99 this newly released wine displays all the hallmark of a more expensive Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon. 90 points.
Thornhaven Estates, Syrah, 2012, Okanagan, BC, $24.90
I’m beginning to think Syrah is the signature red from the south Okanagan. Thornhaven has released a Rhone style Syrah with black fruit, cloves, black pepper and cigar box on the nose. Perfectly balanced and approachable with layers of subtle medium bodied complexity. Long finish and value in this winner, should sell out quickly. 92 points.
Backyards Vineyards, Cabernet Franc, 2012, BC, VQA, $21.99
Dark raspberry, blueberry and allspice on the nose. On the palate black fruits and bright cedar firm up in the mid palate. A serious and slightly tannic structure this wine would be excellent with Manchego and sharp aged cheddar cheeses or grilled rib eye steak. 88 points.
Haywire, Canyonview Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2012, Okanagan, VQA, BC, $39.90
A lighter style Pinot Noir with attractive cherry fruit and silky, lush tannins. It displays slight vanilla and toasty spice from aging in French oak barrels. Refreshing style suitable for salmon and legume based vegetarian dishes. 87 points.
* All wines reviewed are available directly from the winery and at select private liquor stores.