A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 777: BC Bubblies

Screen grab of winemaker Darryl Brooker

Tuesday, November 24th: A Zoom tasting with winemaker Darryl Brooker, head winemaker for the Mission Hill Family Estates group. Daryl had sent me four sparkling wines by four wineries owned by Anthony von Mandl.

Darryl has made sparkling wine in Australia (Eden Valley), Ontario (Trius) and British Columbia for the Mission Hill Family Estates wineries. I asked him what he thought were the differences between Ontario and BC sparklers. He said the BC has a broader taste profile, especially when younger, because of the warm growing season, whereas Ontario sparklers are more precise and laser-like in focus. Ontario wines generally spend longer on the lees and pick up toasty notes more quickly. The majority of BC sparklers are produced on the Naramata Bench and south of the Okanagan.

BC bubblies

CedarCreek Home Block Sparkling Brut (Okanagan Valley)
Muscat Ottonel in Prosecco style, Charmat process under crown cap. White gold in colour with an active mousse; fragrant bouquet of orange blossom and honey; light-bodied off-dry, tangerine flavour with good length. Easy drinking. 10% alcohol. (89)

Mission Hill Family Estates Reserve Brut (Estate grown, Okanagan Valley)
90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, Charmat process. Pale straw colour, active mousse of tiny bubbles; bready, apple nose with a light toasty note; light-bodied, dry, lemon, green apple flavour; a touch hard on the salty finish. (88)

Liquidity Reserve Brut (Okanagan Falls)
Traditional method, 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay (30% barrel-fermented), aged on the lees for 20 months. Light straw colour with tiny bubbles; yeasty, toasty nose of winter apples; light to medium-bodied, dry, toasty, apple flavour with a long citric finish. Beautifully balanced. (90)

Road 13 Jackpot Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2010 (Golden Mile Bench, Okanagan Valley)
From 50-year-old Chenin vines, traditional method., 30% barrel-fermented Pale gold in colour; toasty, waxy nose of lime and green pear; medium-bodied, crisply dry, elegant and beautifully balanced with a long, long Granny Smith apple finish. (92)

Now to Niagara:

Stratus sparklers

Stratus Blanc de Blancs Méthode Traditionelle  2013
Stratus’s first commercialized sparkling wine. Six years on the lees, disgorged January 2020. Bright, palest straw colour with a light mousse; minerally, crusty bread nose of apples; light on the palate, crisply dry, elegant, lemony, apple flavour; beautifully balanced, great length; dances on the palate. (92)

Stratus Brut Nature 2013 (zero dosage, bottled with the lees)
Pale straw, slightly cloudy; yeasty, fruit nose of green nuts and white pepper; light-bodied, dry, fruity, apple flavour, richly extracted. Will age well. (91–93)

Stratus White 2017

Stratus White 2017 (39% Sauvignon, 26% Chardonnay, 23% Sémillon, 10% Viognier, 2% Gewurztraminer)
Bright straw in colour; floral, spicy, exotic, starfruit bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly textured flavours of lychee, peach and grapefruit flavours. Great length. (93)

Stratus Chardonnay Unfiltered 2019 (bottled with lees; 195 days in neutral French oak, some raised in amphora)
Hazy straw colour; lightly floral, apple and pear bouquet; rich mouthfeel; well-structured with a hint of spicy oak. (91–93)

Stratus Trials Vol. 2 Skin Contact Viognier 2019
Straw colour; spicy, floral, peppery, peach nose; medium-bodied, dry, leafy, slightly herbal, licorice flavours; an off-the-chart wine with an engaging bitterness and alcoholic warmth on the finish.  (89)

Stratus Red 2017 (32% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 6% Tannat – 567 days in new French oak)
Deep ruby in colour; spicy, toasty, cedary, plum bouquet with a light floral note; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted plum and black fruit flavours; well-structured and firm but mellow tannins and well-integrated oak. (91–93)

Stratus Cabernet Franc 2017 (534 days in French oak, 23% new)
Deep ruby in colour; cedary, vanilla, spice blackberry and blackcurrant nose; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted plum and blackcurrant flavours; firmly structured, ripe tannins. Needs 2–3 years cellaring. (89–90)

Other wines tasted:

Sperling Market White 2018

Sperling Vineyards Market White 2018 (Okanagan Valley, $17.95, Vintages # 551374)
A blend of 45% Bacchus, 45% Pinot Blanc and 10% Riesling. Pale straw colour; aromatic, spicy, melon bouquet; medium-bodied, just off-dry, melon and apple flavours with lively tangerine acidity; well-balanced and easy-drinking. (89)

Kacaba Cabernet Franc 2017

Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Franc 2017 (Niagara Peninsula, $32.95)
Deep ruby colour; high-toned, vegetal-herbal nose of licorice and black fruits; full-bodied, dry and savoury. (88)

Kacaba Oak-Aged Chardonnay 2018

Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Oak-Aged Chardonnay 2018 ($29.95)
Bright straw in colour; floral, lightly toasty nose of apple with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, apple flavour with well-integrated oak. (88.5)

Lenz Moser Beerenauslese 2017 (Burgenland, Austria; $22.95, 375mL, Vintages #930255) (a blend of Welschriesling 71%, Chardonnay 17 %, Pinot Blanc 12%)
Shining golden colour; honeyed botrytis nose of peach; medium-bodied, luscious and unctuous flavours of butterscotch and toffee finishing on a note of tangerine and a tang of salt. Beautifully balanced with acidity; lovely mouth-feel and great length. (95)

Tenuta del Buonamico Particolare Brut Rose Gran Cuvee (Tuscany, $20.95 LCBO #16712)
Light salmon in colour with an active mousse; cherry bouquet; light-bodied, crisply dry, cranberry, sour cherry and lemon flavours; elegant, frothy on the palate with great length. (90)

Parras Wines Ruelas Reserva 2019 (Lisboa, $11.95, LCBO #17519, to be released November 28)
A blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Nacional and Syrah. Dense, dark ruby in colour; high toned nose of plum, licorice and oak spice; full-bodied and rich, a Christmas cake of a wine; fleshy, spicy, plum flavour and well balanced. Good value. (89)

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