Blockbuster BC Red Blends

By / Wine + Drinks / May 17th, 2021 / 1

With British Columbia’s cool climate, those who may not be familiar with the province’s wine industry may believe that wine production in the province is limited to white, light red and sparkling wines. But, BC’s diversity of soils and microclimates allows for the growing of a variety of red grape varieties and the production of structured and full bodied red wines when grown in appropriate vineyard sites.  The following full-bodied and full-flavoured blockbuster red blends are all highly recommended:

Burrowing Owl Meritage, 2016, Okanagan Valley VQA, Canada

From one of the longest established South Okanagan stalwarts, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Merlot (30%),  Cabernet Franc (25%) and Malbec (1%) invites with forward notes of black berry fruit, mocha and floral notes, before a plush, black cherry, cassis and mocha palate, juicy acidity, intense spicy and herbal notes wrapped in supple tannins through a lengthy end. $50

Corcelettes Talus, 2018, Similkameen Valley VQA, Canada

Corcelettes has emerged as a destination winery in the rapidly blossoming Similkameen, which is now home to the highest incidence of organic farming anywhere in Canada. A classic Bordeaux styled blend of mainly Merlot (31%) and Cabernet Franc (31%) with Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Petit Verdot (12%) and a splash of Malbec (4%). Red current, mineral, camphor, oak, vanilla and spice notes add up to a complex, inviting nose; plush, generously textured palate, balanced and elegant; bright notes of mulberry, raspberry and blackcurrant mingled with char and chocolate notes, underpinned by that hallmark Similkameen minerality, all wrapped up in approachable, well integrated tannins. The freshness and vibrancy of the Cabernet Franc counters the darker, more herbal notes of the Merlot. A powerful drop with expansive mouthfeel, spice and textural balance; very drinkable now but will further reward in time, up to 10 years at least. $49.90

Mooncurser Dead of Night, 2018, Okanagan Valley VQA, Canada

This south Okanagan winery which doesn’t take itself too seriously does, in fact, make some pretty serious wines—and perhaps the widest selection of red varieties anywhere in the valley. This marriage of 52% Syrah with 48% Tannat delivers forward, vibrant red berries, chocolate and warm spice before well structured, mouth filling palate of mulberry, black pepper, leather and damson on the mouth-filling palate, buoyed by juicy acidity and a plush mouthfeel with well integrated, tannins through through the lengthy end. $39.99.

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin, 2016, Okanagan Valley VQA, Canada

A co-pro between Groupe Taillan and Vincor, commenced in 1998 with the planting of the 80 acre Osoyoos Larosé Estate on a high bench south of Oliver. The superb 2016 vintage really shows in this Merlot dominant blend, with up-front red and black fruit preceding a beautifully integrated, supple palate of cassis and mocha notes, perfectly balanced fruit, acidity and tannins over an underlying savoury stony core.  The vision that propelled Vincor and French partners Groupe Taillon to plant on the west side has truly come to fruition, as this wine balances both power and subtlety. Some magnums for putting away can still be found. $50

Clos du Soleil Signature, 2017, Similkameen Valley VQA, Canada

From one of the valley’s more classically old world inclined producers comes this flagship blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (38%), Merlot (29%), Cabernet Franc (21%) with Malbec (9%) and a splash of Petit Verdot (3%). Hand harvested and aged 15 months in used French oak. Forward notes of vibrant red and black fruit with floral and stony hints precede complex layers of herbs, pepper spice, cassis, black cherry, plum and mulberry, underpinned by silky tannins and definitive Similkameen minerality through the finish. Drinking well now but eminently age-worthy. $47.90

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Pawsey (aka The Hired Belly) continues to document the dynamic evolution of the Vancouver and BC food scene both on line and in print, as he has for over 30 years, for respected outlets such as the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News and Where Vancouver magazine. His words and images are often picked up by others across Canada, such as the Calgary Herald and National Post. Follow him at hiredbelly.com and facebook.com/TheHiredBelly.

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