Canada’s Okanagan Valley hits London

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Canada’s Okanagan Valley hits London

High-end London department store Selfridges has just listed a bunch of wines from Canada’s Okanagan Valley. Chief buyer, Terry Threlfall, hails from British Columbia, so it’s nice to see him supporting his own crew. As someone who has spent a lot of time getting to know Canada’s wine regions, I think this is an exciting initiative, and these are my notes on four of the wines in the offer.

Cedar Creek Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
13% alcohol. This is from a northwest-facing block in East Kelowna (a cooler part of the Okanagan) that’s at 390 m elevation with clay, sandy loam and stone soils. 3 tons/acre yields, clone 115. It’s a sleek, luxurious example of Okanagan Pinot with floral black cherry fruit, some plums and spice, and hints of tar. There’s some nice savoury complexity here complementing the ripe fruit, with nice precision. There’s a hint of cedary oak, too, in the background. Drinking perfectly now, I wouldn’t age it any further, but there’s no hurry to drink it up. 93/100 (£36.99 Selfridges)

CheckMate Little Pawn Chardonnay 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
14.3% alcohol. One of a series of high-end Chardonnay bottlings from this Mission Hill-owned winery in the south of the Okanagan, this comes from The Barn vineyard in Black Sage Bench. It’s clones Dijon 76 and Dekleva, and it was hand harvested at night. Half wild ferment, 16 months in French oak, half new. This is a bold but focused captivating wine with a nose of hazelnut, spice, cedar and a touch of cinnamon and clove. The palate shows complex, fine grained structure with some stylish new oak meshing well with the rich pear and white peach fruit. It is a ripe, rich wine, but there’s real interest and focus with layers of flavour. 94/100 (£59.99 Selfridges)

Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2017 Okanagan Valley, Canada
13% alcohol. This is from Haywire’s vineyard in Oliver, in the south of the Okanagan, but at a higher altitude. It’s whole bunch pressed and fermented in concrete eggs. This is textural and broad, with nice structure under the sweet pear, apple and peach fruit. There’s a subtle nuttiness and a broad, smooth mid palate, but there’s also nice tension, too. Very expressive and detailed, and quite harmonious. 93/100 (£19.99 Selfridges)

Mission Hill Oculus 2014 Okanagan Valley, Canada
14.5% alcohol. 50% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, from Osooyos and Oliver in the south of the Okanagan. This is a rich wine with lots of flavour: dense, sweet blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, underpinned by spicy oak. Mellow and broad with lots of polish, made in a new world style, but with some old world sensibilities, tasting of luxury. Hints of mint and tar with some grip on the finish. It’s not my favourite style, but it is really well done. 92/100 (£90 Selfridges)

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