Bloom BC is always one of our favourite BC wine events because it’s a quick opportunity to sample what’s new and fresh in the province. And this year was no exception with some old friends as well as new faces – 50 wineries in all participating.For whites we gravitated primarily to the Pinot Gris on offer from virtually every vineyard, and the varietal Frank has long suggested could become BC’s signature grape. One surprise was the Rocky Creek Winery ($17.90) from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. Good minerality and well structured, we agreed this one is a contender for picnic season staples. But it was Hester Creek’s Pinot Gris that garnered top marks among all of the Pinot Gris offering with its great aromatics and fruity taste, and ended up with Frank’s Two-Star, Go Buy It Now rating.
Then we tried their Trebbiano… and realized winemaker Robert Summers had made this the hands down winner of the day. At $18.99 it’s full-bodied and smooth. “Give up all your preconceived notions of Italy being the only solid Trebbiano producer,” Frank said just as Leo (one of the regulars) arrived on the scene. They both kept it in their glass for a long time. According to rumour, Hester Creek’s original vines were illegally imported as vine cuttings for Christmas wreaths, but however it arrived from Italy, it’s a deliciously good thing it did. Only downside is that it’s going to be tough to find – extremely limited production and even more limited distribution.
Naturally, a stop for some Riesling from Tantalus Vineyards was also in order. The 2008 was, as anticipated, wonderfully full, crisp, and practically begging for a seafood salad. For fun, Jane Hatch had also brought some of the Old Vines 2007 that I’d tried several months ago at a blind tasting. This one lingered in the glass almost as long as the Trebbiano. Made in the traditional style, it’s a dead ringer for a German Riesling, totally delicious, and at $29.90 worth stocking to see how it ages.
We zipped through a few of the reds before leaving with a final stop back at Hester Creek for their Reserve Cabernet Franc 2005 ($27.99) – another winner with none of the stemmy greenness neither of us particularly care for.
All in all, the day was another reason to celebrate BC’s finest.
WHERE TO FIND THEM:
Although we haven’t actively searched, the only place Rocky Creek Winery’s Pinot Gris seems to appear is Bellevue Wines in West Vancouver where we also found a very few of the Tantalus Old Vine Riesling – their 2008 Reisling is readily available in most VQA stores.