BC Trip Report – Part 2: Tasting Notes

October 25, 2005

I did enjoy some fabulous wine in British Columbia, although most of it isn’t available here in Manitoba. But I’ll tempt your tastebuds with my descriptions, and urge you to check out these wines if you find yourself in B.C.

First of all, I had one of the best (and most unusual) Canadian Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever tried. The Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc (2003 vintage) doesn’t seem to be available from retail outlets, but Zin on Robson Street sells it by the glass for $9 (CDN). I did notice other Township 7 wines at Marquis on Davie, and some in Victoria as well.

The wine reminded me of a big glass of bananas. I’ve never experienced such a rich tropical fruit flavour from a Canadian wine before, although the 2003 vintage in the Okanagan was a little hot (to put it mildly). There was a hint of sweetness from the bananas when it first hits your mouth, but it’s quickly washed away by a flood of citrus and some steely mineral flavours. Wow. Pick this up if you come across it. The 2004 vintage is described on their website (link above).

Moving right along, my best meal (in wine terms) was at Bin 941. The last time I was there, the staff recommended the Pirramimma Petit Verdot (they sell it by the glass), which quickly became a favourite. So my dinner companion and I asked the bartender for another recommendation, hoping that our luck would hold out.

She suggested that we try the “Seven Deadly Zins” Zinfandel (Michael David Vineyards), and we did. To her credit, my dinner companion had picked this off the list earlier, while I was leaning towards the d’Arenberg “Custodian” Grenache.

The wine? Imagine a big, chocolaty fruit-bomb of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Then take away the Cabernet fruit and replace it with blackberries. It was like drinking a big glass of smoky blackberry chocolate. Doesn’t that sound tasty?

Seriously though, this was an amazing wine. I’ve never had a Zinfandel with that much “oomph” before. We brought a bottle home with us to celebrate a friend’s graduation, and the wine travelled very well. It set me back $28 at a BC Liquor store, and it’s worth hunting down.

The D’Arenberg “Custodian” Grenache (Australia – but available at the MLCC) was good too, but not as good as the Zinfandel. But I am always amazed at how good the D’Arenberg wines are. From their basic “Stump Jump” red and white blends all the way to their expensive “Icon” lines, this company is doing a great job. They’ve got a Tempranillo/Grenache/Souzao (?) blend that I’d love to try.

Finally, I rediscovered the Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Cabernet-Merlot. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy Okanagan Valley red wines, and this is not only reasonably priced ($16ish at the MLCC) but it’s worth every penny. Nothing fancy here, just a glass overflowing with plummy goodness. I’d hazard a guess that there’s more Merlot in the blend, because the plums outweigh the hints of black currant that I found. But it’s a bigger wine than you’d expect, with lots of soft tannins. Very tasty and easily available at your local MLCC or private store.


  1. Nice reviews; I agree with the 5 vineyards Cabernet-Merlot assessment. Year after year it has been consistent in flavour and value. The current vintage is quite enjoyable, big & delicious. I find it stands up to many other new world reds.
    PS – I think Souzao is a grape normally found in the Douro, used in Port.

  2. Thanks for the info on Souzao – I’d never heard it before, so I was curious.

    As for the 5 Vineyards line, I think the whole lineup is consistently good across the board. The Pinot Noir is a good value, and both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio are excellent.

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