• Anthony Gismondi

    Vanessa Vineyard Viognier 2017

    90 points – The 2017 growing season in the Similkameen Valley was atypical: the spring was cool and late, constraining the crop, as did a summer of drought. A perfect fall saw a small but ripe crop come to the winery. Vanessa is a spectacular, west/southwest hillside vineyard set on mostly rocky soils that take on the daytime sun and heat and release it all night long. The pick was late at October 16, but the fruit was magnificent. A long, cool ferment yielded a rich powerful, exotic style of viognier reminiscent of ripe peaches, baked apples and highly aromatic honeysuckle, but with enough acidity and minerality to remain vital. Well done and ready to drink. The winery suggests a match of baked brie and apricots and I am in.

  • Anthony Gismondi

    Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2015

    90 points – A single barrel of Cabernet Franc was one of the first single varietal wines made from Vanessa Vineyard grapes at Sandhill as a test of the vineyard’s grapes capabilities by Howard Soon. This is the first release under the Vanessa Vineyard label. The vines were planted in 2006 and they are centered in one of the warmest vineyards in British Columbia. The extremely rocky site is the perfect antidote to the highly productive cab franc vines, keeping the yields in check. After 20 months in barrel, this franc has emerged as a hedonistic rich, round, warm, savoury, soft red with sweet berry fruits and a spicy finish that should have wide appeal. More Bolgheri than Bordeaux, it would be interesting to see this with a little less oak but I quibble. Many will love this style with a T-bone steak, and the price is realistic.

  • Anthony Gismondi

    Vanessa Vineyard Merlot 2014

    91 points – “The blend is 85/15 Merlot (clone 181)/Cabernet Franc (clone 331). This is another nice improvement for this property although I’m not sure picking at 30 brix and generating 14.9 per cent alcohol is necessary. Nonetheless, this 10-year-old site is clearly coming into its own. The nose is bright and stony with black fruits predominating. It’s not as thick as you might think, with Cabernet Franc freshening the mid-palate with some spice and lift to what is a solid red wine. Just a baby but give this another three to five years in the bottle and it will blossom.”