Last month I met up with Bruce Schmidt, and his winemaker Dylan Roche, at Intersection Winery on a very rainy day at the end of crush. Intersection is a new addition to the list of wineries in Oliver, the “Wine Capital of Canada” but Bruce has been working at it for some time now. With a long background in the Canadian wine industry going back into the 1980’s, he started this venture in 2005 when he bought the former packinghouse and orchard site on the corner of Road 8 and Highway 97. He tore out the vineyard and planted 20,000 vines, primarily of Merlot (55%) along with Viognier, Riesling and Marsanne. The former packinghouse has recently been transformed into a state-of-the-art winemaking facility with gleaming stainless steel. Bruce has hired Dylan Roche this year as his winemaker (Philip Soo was the winemaking consultant on the previous two vintages). Dylan has a background in viticulture and oenology in France and has worked in Bordeaux as well as more recently at Stag’s Hollow. Although the 2012 vintage will be Intersection’s third commercial vintage, it will be the first one in this new facility. Bruce’s aim with his wines is to make unique blended whites and to produce the best Merlot possible. He wants them to be of excellent quality, unique and approachable; and with his whites priced under $20 and his Reserve Merlot at $25 they are certainly approachable.
The 2010 Mile’s Edge White is a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Viognier. It has crisp acidity yet a lovely roundness to the mouthfeel, with flavours of green apple, citrus and melon with hints of apricot and a bit of minerality. The 2011 Mile’s Edge White, which has just recently been released, is 80% Viognier with only 20% Sauvignon Blanc. It has a clean nose of apricot and citrus with lots of apricot on the palate. It is nicely balanced with medium acidity and a long finish. The 2011 Milepost Red (Merlot) has floral notes and dark fruit on the nose with orange zest and cherry on the palate. It is very easy-drinking with medium tannins and medium acidity. The 2010 Unfiltered Merlot (Reserve) comes from a single block at the top of the vineyard and was aged in 20% American oak and 80% French oak. There is smoke and ripe dark fruit on the nose with highly concentrated flavours of blueberry, cassis and cherry on the palate with some spice and smoke. It is full-bodied with medium-plus tannins and medium acidity. This was a highly enjoyable wine to share with friends over dinner one evening! 2013 will be bringing a wine shop/ tasting room to Intersection as well as some new wines. The 2012 vintage includes a barrel-fermented Marsanne and Viognier, a Merlot Rosé and a Sauvignon Blanc that was certainly tasty one month into its fermentation!