Colour VQA Wines from B.C.

Wines of British Columbia recently showcased the fall releases of more than 350 B.C. wines, poured by 90 wineries at the Vancouver Convention Center at an event called “Colour.” Only VQA wines were sampled  — the Vintners Quality Alliance standard was created in 1990 to guarantee consumers they were drinking wine made from 100% B.C.-grown grapes. In 1990, B.C. was home to 17 wineries; today there are 275.
Continue reading

B.C.’s Wild Side

Prior to Wines of British Columbia‘s fall release “Colour” event in Vancouver (described in a separate post), we were invited to attend a wine seminar called “B.C.’s Wild Side” led by moderator and B.C. wine expert Michaela Morris.

The exclusive tasting focused on organic, biodynamic and natural B.C. wines, looking at how some wineries use wild fermentation, skin contact and ancestral winemaking techniques.

Ten wines from Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley and Golden Mile Bench were tasted; three were pre-release samples, and unfortunately, a couple of wines are already sold out.
Continue reading

Mercer Estates

Mercer Estates has been growing grapes in Prosser since 1972, the first to plant in Horse Heaven Hills. Of note, Block 1 later became the highly acclaimed Champoux Vineyard.

But the family’s history in Prosser began in 1886, three years before Washington became a state. In 1915, the family began herding sheep; In 1958, Mercer Ranches incorporated.

The Mercer family made their first vintage of wine, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in 2005. Four years later, their Prosser tasting room opened. (Earlier this year, a second tasting room opened in Seattle.) In 2011, Don and Linda Mercer received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers. Last year, Wine Press Northwest named Mercer Estates the “2016 Washington Winery of the Year.”

Wow! So it’s not surprising that we have been fans for quite a few years now, and Mercer’s recent releases continue to impress. The winery produces three tiers of brands: Mercer Canyons is the most affordable; Mercer Estates is mid-range; and Mercer Reserve has the highest price point.

We were fortunate to receive samples of three new releases — Malbec, Sharp Sisters Red Blend and Sauvignon Blanc, in addition to three Cab Sauvs from all three tiers. First, the new releases.
Continue reading

Columbia Crest Crowdsourced™ Cabernet Sauvignon

Three years ago Columbia Crest became the first winery in the world to crowdsource a wine through an interactive experience with wine enthusiasts.

Led by Juan Muñoz-Oca, Columbia Crest’s head winemaker, voters made decisions on every step of creating the wine — bud break, harvest, fermentation, the blend and the label.

For the grapes, Muñoz-Oca chose a five-acre estate block in one of his best vineyards, which is used for his highly acclaimed reserve program. 2014 Crowdsourced™ Cabernet Sauvignon was released in June 2016, and was followed by 2015 Crowdsourced™ Cabernet Sauvignon one year later. One thousand cases of each wine were produced; both retail at $30.

While the two vintages have similarities, there are also some distinct differences, as we noticed when we recently held a side-by-side tasting. You can do the same by buying both vintages on their website. And you’ll also receive a discount.
Continue reading