Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fruit Wines Friend or Foe?

Most of the time, I hate fruit wines, especially from BC. Sickly sweet and bursting with a bubblegum flavour profile, most adults run screaming from fruit focused tasting rooms. But North Americans love their sugar, so grandma can't get enough of the shit which leaves some of the worst wineries still alive.

However, there are two excellent exceptions to this dark truth. I will now extol the virtues of both...

Kermode Wild Berry Winery near Mission, BC, consistently impresses me with it's unique and thought provoking wines. All Kermode wines are made from fruit that is painstakingly picked in the wilds of BC. You will find no peach or cherry liquid atrocities here to remind you of gobstoppers and lollipops. The nectar that they produce are typically unlike anything you've tried before.

Sitka Mountain Ash is a native BC berry that once transformed into wine makes a perfect pair for any BBQ. With its smokey, orange notes, it edges towards a bouquet you would find in a good whiskey.

Himalayan Blackberry Port
is a recognizable taste with a lovely balanced acidity to even out the sweetness of the fruit.

Salmonberry wine(orange)
is my latest favourite, nothing reminds me more of BC than these distinctive, delicately floral and refreshing berries. Amazing as an aperitif or drunk by the glass in a park under the watchful gaze of the sun.

Kana Sprieszl runs the tasting room and is a delight to chat to about the families forays into the BC wilderness. I encourage you to go for a tasting and treat your palette to a new flavour experience. Do it as part of a circle farm tour for some weekend fun... (link is below)

The second exception is Elephant Island Orchard Winery on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan. If you go to the Bench, make sure you end with this winery. Instead of the usually overcrowded wine bar for your tasting, they will serve you with a smile on their lovely orchard patio.

The two hottest numbers on my list from Elephant Island are...

Stellaport (NV 2008) is their famous Spanish, Port style wine done in the Solera barrel aging system which, basically, means that the final flavour profile has a good balance of cherry and characteristics like chocolate introduced from the French oak barrel aging. Pairs well with stinky, soft cheeses. Drink it if you can find it anywhere.

Crab Apple Dessert Wine is amazing with a stinky cheese like Poplar Groves, Tiger Blue. It's sweet, crisp apple start finishes with a lovely tartness.

Chance your palette and sample a few of these beauties. For the truly terrified, make sure and try the suggested pairing and it may change your mind.

Kermode Wild Berry Wines:
8457 River Road South
Dewdney, British Columbia

Phone- 604-814-3222
Tasting Room & Wine Sales
Open: 12-6 pm daily

Elephant Island Orchard Winery

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