Natural wines from Haywire, Okanagan Valley, Canada

I’ve been impressed by the wines from Haywire in the Okanagan Valley, in Canada’s BC. Based at the Okanagan Crushpad, where their team also makes wine for other people, they have been pioneers of interesting, geeky natural wines in a region that has often played it a little safe, as many emerging wine regions do. [...]

In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Coming out to Cornucopia in Whistler gave me a chance to visit Vancouver Island. I’ve not been here before, but I’d heard lots of good things about it.

So for the last few days I have been in Victoria, doing lots of drinks-related things.

On Monday I visited three breweries in Victoria with Brent Muller, of Vessel, [...]

Gold Medal Plate wines: 17 wines from BC, Canada

This afternoon I was a judge in the Victoria version of Gold Medal Plates here on Vancouver Island. We tasted the following wines, and these are my personal notes.

Pipe Dreams Gruner Veltliner 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
From Oliver. Dense and quite oily with powerful pear and quince fruit. Intensely flavoured with some pithy bitterness on the [...]

Impressive sparkling wines from Blue Mountain, Okanagan, Canada

Just tried these impressive sparkling wines from Blue Mountain (who I visited a couple of years ago) in Canada’s Okanagan Valley. They are really good, and compared with their peers they represent amazing value for money.

Blue Mountain Brut NV Okanagan Valley, Canada
Pinot Noir (56%) and Chardonnay (39%) with a bit of Pinot Gris (5%) from [...]

Debate: what should British Columbia's identity be as a wine region?

One of the sessions at the Cornucopia Wine Summit was a good old fashioned debate about the future of BC (British Columbia, Canada) wine.

What should BC’s identity be as a wine region?
What does BC want to be when it grows up? A region known for high quality, focused on a few flagship varietals and blends [...]

Gamay focus 24, Samantha Gamay 2014 Okanagan, Canada

Continuing with the series on Gamay, I’m sticking with the Okanagan Valley in Canada. I’m in Whistler, now, and this wine is from Samantha Rahn, who’s the wine director at Araxi restaurant here. She made this wine at Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP), in collaboration with winemaker Matt Dumayne. A substantial portion of the wine was [...]

In Whistler, Canada

There’s something special about mountains. I’m in Whistler, Canada, for the Cornucopia food and wine festival, and it’s great to be here.

Whistler is North America’s largest ski resort. It’s odd being in a ski resort just before the first real snows of the season. It’s as if it’s still snoozing, waiting to wake when its [...]

Gamay focus 23, Joie Farm Gamay 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada

Canada has a bit of a talent for Gamay. Ontario’s Niagara region is making some smart ones, and under completely different conditions, BC’s Okanagan is also doing some good work with the variety. This one is from Heidi Noble’s Joie Farm on the Naramata Bench. It’s a wine that sort of creeps up on you. [...]

Canada versus New Zealand: two top Pinot Noirs from 2011 compared, and a lesson learned

Three nights ago I opened this pair of Pinots, both from the 2011 vintage. They’re wines that I’d cellared. The first is the Te Muna Road Pinot from Craggy Range, which I liked enough on first tasting to buy a six pack. I think it’s good to put your money where your mouth is: if [...]

Vintage at Norman Hardie (4)

Norman Hardie

I’m back from Canada, and already in South Africa. But I’m thinking back to those few days I spent at Norman Hardie, and all that I saw, absorbed and learned. It was a lovely time. A privilege to witness.

I followed Norm around like a puppy, watching what he was doing (and what he [...]