Three competitions award BC winery with Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze
Cawston, BC — June 27, 2018: Acclaimed British Columbia winery Vanessa Vineyard has brought home a combined nine honours from three prestigious international competitions — an exceptional feat for a winery of such relative youth.
The 2018 edition of the All Canadian Wine Championships (Canada’s oldest wine competition), held June 12 – 14 in Prince Edward County, Ontario, awarded three medals to Vanessa Vineyard. They are:
• Double Gold (Best in Category): Cabernet Franc 2015 (Category: Cabernet Franc – over $30)
• Gold: Right Bank 2014 (Category: Bordeaux Blends, Older Vintages)
• Silver: Rosé 2017 (Category: Rosé, Blush Style)
In its 79th year, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition bestowed five medals upon Vanessa Vineyard following its blind tastings from May 23 – 24. They are:
• Silver: Syrah 2014
• Silver: Merlot 2014
• Silver: Right Bank 2014
• Bronze: Meritage 2014
• Bronze: Cabernet Franc 2015
Syrah du Monde is a judging of the world’s best Syrah and Shiraz wines. Held in northern Rhône Valley, France, it took place this year from May 16 – 18, and awarded Vanessa Vineyard’s 2014 Syrah a Bronze title.
Planted in 2006 under the guidance of renowned viticulturists Robert Goltz and Richard Cleave, Vanessa Vineyard is situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, comprising 75 acres of extremely rocky terrain. The quantity of rocks on the site initially made vineyard development exceedingly challenging; however, the rocks are a key asset to the property’s unique terroir, allowing day heat to be harnessed and imparted throughout the cooler nights, thus enabling the fruit to produce flavours and minerality that are truly distinctive.
Since 2012, Vanessa Vineyard has produced small quantities of premium red wines using only estate-grown fruit — its long-term goal is to become one of the best red sites in Canada. In late 2017, the winery marked two milestones: it opened an elegant tasting room on its grounds, and legendary vintner Howard Soon was appointed Master Winemaker. “Each of Vanessa’s wines are distinctive and attractive,” says Soon. “Their common thread of minerality and structure makes me proud to know that they offer something a little extra from our single vineyard in the Lower Similkameen.”
Wine bottle images are available here.
About Vanessa Vineyard
Vanessa Vineyard is dedicated to producing wine that is true to the heritage of its terroir — one of the finest vineyard regions of Canada. Situated on a hillside overlooking the Similkameen Valley, Vanessa grows its grapes on 75 acres of sloping, well-drained rocky terrain. Its tasting room is located 1090 Highway 3, Cawston, BC. Daily summer hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
We’re honoured that our grapes are so well received by the critics. With 75 acres planted, we’re not able to use all the fruit for our own winery and sell some to a very select few local wineries. Their single vineyard Vanessa wines are achieving incredible acclaim. This past spring, renowned British wine critic Jamie Goode visited BC for the Vancouver International Wine Festival and had the chance to taste a range of local wines and wrote of the Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard Syrah 2013,
“Sweet and textured with ripe black cherry and berry fruits with some lovely olive and pepper notes. Some dried herbs and spice, with a savoury, mineral intensity to this wine. Warm but with some peppery notes of cool climate. Lovely stuff. 93/100”
Similarly, renowned Canadian wine author John Schreiner recently wrote,
“Sandhill now sources some premium reds from Vanessa Vineyards in the Similkameen. This 100-acre vineyard has relatively young vines but it holds the promise of high quality wines as well. Certainly, the flavour profile differs from Phantom Creek. That simply underlines the Sandhill philosophy of making single vineyard wines that display the terroir and individuality of each and every vineyard…
Sandhill Small Lots One 2016 Vanessa Vineyard (barrel sample). This wine is a co-fermented blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Early in its aging process, this is a promising successor to the previous succession of Phantom Creek wines. The profile seems brighter, with minty and floral aromas and with brambly flavours. 90-92.”
Kudos to Howard Soon, winemaker Sandhill Wines for his repeated honours with our fruit!
“It may be the best wine appellation you’ve driven through but have yet to visit…” Anthony Gismondi the wine writer for the Vancouver Sun, commented earlier this month on the elegant wines of the Similkameen. He along with many other prominent wine writers across the globe have recently had our pristine Valley in their sights.
A similar perspective was reflected across the pond, “The Similkameen Valley is a peaceful yet dramatic place. Running parallel to the Okanagan, it lacks the lakes, but makes up scenery wise by being hemmed in moodily by mountains. The valley has an almost alpine feel, and I reckon this is one of the most exciting viticultural areas in Canada. As yet, however, its potential is somewhat untapped…” Wow! Jamie Goode, renown British wine critic recently visited the Similkameen and wrote about it’s huge potential. Noting, the uniqueness of our region which due to the lack of a lake effect tends to have a more extreme climate than the Okanagan. The results are larger diurnal temperature swings and frequent strong winds. The benefits of this are low disease pressure and preservation of acidity. He comments, “This is a huge advantage, because we have here a combination of what looks like quite a warm climate (in terms of growing degree days it’s the same as Australia’s Yarra Valley), with the ability to make wines that are fresh with good acidity.” Jamie concludes, “There aren’t a lot of vines here in the Similkameen – just 600 acres or so – but there’s a lot of potentially fine vineyard land here that’s not planted yet. A region to watch.”
In La Belle Province, Montreal Gazette’s wine critic Bill Zacharkiw had a similar take on the Valley’s terroir, “Another really interesting region is the Similkameen. Just to the west of the Okanagan, it has a completely different feel to the Okanagan. The wines tend to be crisper, more European, and there is very much a “vigneron culture.” You can find nearly every grape there and it seems every winery does something really well. Orofino’s gamay, Little Farm’s riesling, Vanessa Vineyard’s syrah, Courcelette’s Chasselas-based blend, Clos du Soleil’s white Bordeaux-styled — the list is long. The Similkameen is beautiful and the wines are truly worth investigating.”
We’re excited for what the future holds for our Valley. Stay tuned for more exciting developments for Vanessa (and no doubt in the Valley as a whole) in the coming year!
We were surprised and delighted to see our 2012 Syrah included in a blind tasting this spring by a small, exclusive group of wine critics in California. The judges meet annually in the quaint Sonoma wine community of Geyserville for the “Judgment of Geyserville”. Each year they select a theme, then select three examples each from various regions across North America.
This year, the theme they chose for their tasting was cool-climate Syrah, and the judges found superb examples from up and down the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington State and BC).
They noted one of the most difficult tasks of this particular judging was defining what “cool climate” means. The participants decided that in this case, cool-climate Syrahs come from regions that have somewhat cooler and longer growing seasons but are still capable of reliably ripening Syrah grapes each vintage. The goal was to find examples of Syrah that were not big, rich and overripe. Rather, they hoped to taste Syrahs that showed complexity that goes well beyond the jammy, ripe flavours often found from inexpensive Aussie Shirazes or California Syrahs — i.e. one reason Syrahs grown in France’s northern Rhône Valley are so great is the cooler climate — and the complexity of aromas and flavours that follows.
The participants consisted of :
- Mike Dunne – longtime wine columnist for The Sacramento Bee and one of the top wine judges in California.
- Ellen Landis, master of wine, former Sommelier for the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay California, and one of the top professional wine judges in the United States, wine blogger at Ellen On Wine
- Eric Degerman, president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine, is co-founder of Wine Press Northwest magazine and a regular judge across western North America
- Andy Perdue, editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine, is the wine columnist for The Seattle Times
- Ron Washam – former Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers’ Association, a regular wine judge for Bay area competitions, and writes the HoseMaster of Wine blog
We have summarized their interesting results (see the blog links above for the full articles), and we are thrilled that our inaugural 2012 Syrah was honoured with a silver (one of the 12 medalists). They describe the Vanessa Vineyard Syrah as:
“It is rare to find wines from the remote Similkameen Valley, which is west of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia’s Interior region. This is a classic cool-climate Syrah with aromas of wild mushroom risotto, dried herbs, jasmine and vanilla bean. On the palate, flavors of Marionberry and dusty black cherry are backed by juicy, fine-grained tannins. This will be fascinating to taste again in another half-decade.”
We look forward to many more “judgments” in the coming months and years!
Our co-owner John Welson has shared his recipe for how to grill a moose, which he pairs with the Vanessa Syrah. This full-bodied and earthy red is a delightful match to the strong flavoured game and mushroom elements of the meal.
Originally published in Western Living Magazine, this meat lover’s dish is fantastic with a porcini sauce drizzled over the grilled steak. His chef’s tip – keep in mind that wild game is low in fat and easy to overcook; thus he recommends not to cook beyond medium-rare.
NOTE: if you don’t have a hunter in the family, the moose can be substituted with venison (perhaps a bit easier to find) or traditional beef steaks. If desired, you can also replace the porcini with portobello mushrooms.
2 cups Vanessa Vineyard Syrah
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots chopped
1 onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary, crushed and chopped
2 large or 4 small moose or venison steaks (a tbone or porterhouse cut is best)
Simmer wine for 10 minutes over low heat to cook off alcohol; allow to cool.
Mix all ingredients in stainless steel, add steaks and cover bowl; marinate overnight in fridge.
Remove steaks, preserving marinade. Pat steaks dry and brush with olive oil. Grill over hot coals, turning only once. Allow meat to rest on a warm plate for 10 minutues before serving.
1 cup boiling water
2 cups dried porcini
reserved wine marinade
1/4 cup demi-glace
2 tbsp flour
1-2 tbsp soft butter
Soak dried porcini in boiling water for 15-20 minutes; drain and reserve liquid. Coarsely chop porcini and set aside. Reduce reserved marinade by half in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add porcini soaking liquid and reduce again by half. Add porcini, stir in demi-glace and simmer for 5 minutes. (Note: you can make your own demi-glace by cooking 1 cup of good quality beef stock in a saucepan over medium heat until it reduces to 1/4 cup.) In a separate pan, toast flour over medium high heat until golden, tossing so it won’t burn, about 2 minutes. Put toasted flour into a small bowl and work in butter to make a paste or roux. Slowly add paste to sauce until it thickens, stirring constantly. Serve over grilled steaks.
Gotham Steakhouse, located at 615 Seymour Street in Vancouver, is one of the city’s premier steakhouses. The beautiful art deco-inspire space boasts an extensive wine list that includes our very own Vanessa Vineyard 2012 Syrah. We recently had the chance to sit down with Gotham manager, Brian Parker, to talk all things wine and steak.
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