2012 in the Fraser Valley – Part I

I know it is still early in the year, but I popped out to the Fraser Valley on Sunday to see what was new at a couple of wineries — Township 7 and Vista D’Oro –and found some very interesting discoveries.

I started at Township 7, specifically because they had just released their 2009 Syrah. This has traditionally been one of favourite BC Syrah’s, a classic Rhone style with pepper, meat and black cherries — I have been drinking it since the 2002 vintage with great joy!

But, alas, for my tastes, no longer. The 2009 has joined the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in a change of style. Like its Bordeaux cousins, there is now much more herbaceousness and less fruit – in fact, it didn’t taste much like a Syrah at all.

For the whites, the 2010 Sauvignon was solid. Grassy, crisp and lean, it would be nice on the deck this summer with seafood and at $18.99 is a fair value. The regular 2009 Chardonnay is not as buttery as past vintages and a bit leaner; not sure it is worth the $19.99 price tag. What I did like was the 2008 Reserve Chardonnay. It is made in the classic California style — golden yellow, vanilla/butter/nuts on the nose and mixed with ripe citrus fruit, lush and full bodied. Not cheap at $24.95, it is still equal to many similarly priced California wines. My only caution is don’t keep it too long — the 2007 vintage was quite volatile and mine went off after only two years.

The best news of the trip, however, was the tasting at Vista D’Oro. A small farmgate winery that also has fruit trees, makes jams and sells cheeses, it makes very good wine! I loved their Syrah last year and there were two new wines that I liked this time as well.

The 2010 Marechal Foch was quite amazing! Deep purple/black, it was superripe with meaty/black cherries and a touch of chocolate. Full bodied and lush, it will age for a couple of years, but is drinking well now. And at $22.50, it is a great deal.

As is the 2010 Pinot Noir. Made from North Okanagan fruit, it is a classic PN even from a wet year. Light red, beautiful earthy cherries, a bit light but ripe, earthy cherries and dusty tannins that suggest a couple of years in the cellar wouldn’t hurt. It is also a good deal at $23.50.

Finally, the 2009 reserve red — called Murphy’s Law and made from Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot — was still in the barrel, with release a few weeks away. I plan to go taste it as well, given how good these other reds were.

I didn’t get to Mt. Lehman, Domain de Chaberton, Neck of the Woods or Blackwood Lane, but this was good start for a Sunday in February!




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