TASTE Winter 2022-23


freezing night to pick grapes one final time. “As the two great pioneers (Karl Kaiser and Donald Ziraldo) of Canadian Icewine once told me, ‘Luxury begins at -10 C,’” says Inniskillin winemaker Derek Kontkanen. “We are very lucky that Canada, and especially BC, provides a warm climate that allows us to make world class reds and winters that allow us to make world class Icewines.” Picked and pressed at or below -8 C to legally be called Icewine, the frozen berries reluctantly release just a small amount of intensely concentrated juice that can then be fermented into that precious nectar that has put Canada on the global wine map. Bubble-Lees At the opposite end of the spectrum of harvest dates is the option to make sparkling wine. Typically, the first grapes picked of the season will make a wine low in alcohol and high in acid, which is the perfect base for sparkling wines. “The climate here in BC is great for sparkling wine,” says Sarah Bain, winemaker at Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards and a sparkling wine specialist. “The hot summers help with the maturity of the grapes and the long, cool autumns help maintain high acidity, which gives the base wine the structure and backbone it needs for secondary fermentation and lees aging over the winter months.” The longer the wine stays on these lees—sometimes it’s years—the more of the savoury, bready, yeasty notes in the final wine. A winemaker’s season doesn’t end after the grapes are picked; the winter months are a busy period that helps shape the style of wine. There are many decisions to make, irreversible choices and techniques that determine the grape growing and winemaking work for the entire year. That is definitely something to toast each time we open a bottle of BC wine.

MISSION HILL RESERVE CHARDONNAY BC VQA $25.99 18812 This is a crisp, racy Chardonnay with subtle oak, popcorn, hazelnut and butter notes alongside fresh green apple, pear, lemon and nectarine with a long mineral finish.

QUAILS’ GATE ROSÉ BC VQA $21.99 170316 This is a crisp, pale pink and dry rosé with flavours of crunchy strawberry and raspberry with some watermelon, orange zest, maraschino cherry, pepper and dried herbs.

PHANTOM CREEK ESTATES ESTATE PETITE CUVÉE BC VQA $37.99 457116 This is a firmly structured red blend showing toasty oak, vanilla and cocoa along with black plum, blackberry, red and black currant, paprika spice and sage.

NK’MIP DREAMCATCHER BC VQA $26.99 615732 Dreamcatcher is a just off-dry, aromatic and intense blend nicely showing Okanagan stone fruits, citrus, rose petals, Asian pear, passion fruit and lemon zest with crisp acidity and a long finish.

INNISKILLIN OKANAGAN VIDAL ICEWINE BC VQA $50.99 558452 375 ml This vidal Icewine is intense and powerful, concentrated by the cold of nature. It is sweet, luscious and rich with honey, apricot, shortbread, baked apple,


Fitz Brut is a vibrant and crisp traditional method bubble, showing toasty bready and almond notes alongside peach, nectarine, apple and pear with chalky, minerality on the long finish.

raisin, caramel and tea leaves.



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