This afternoon I was up in Kelowna attending the most recent Garagiste North Festival, which has been showcasing small BC wine producers since its inaugural event in 2014, hosted this year by Sperling Vineyards. The festival is organized by Jennifer Schell and Terry Meyer Stone, each of them garagistes, with Schell Wines and Anarchist Vineyard respectively. In speaking with several people at the event, I realised how long it’s been since I’ve done any writing on this blog, and decided to jump back into it.
Garagiste North is one of my favourite wine events each year – the producers are all so passionate about their wines, and it’s fun to taste wines that are made in such tiny quantities – some as little as 1 barrel, or 25 cases. In order to participate, the wineries must make fewer than 2000 cases per year, and many only make a fraction of that. This year 21 producers were participating including, for the first time, a new craft brewery – Vice & Virtue Brewing, and craft cidery – Truck 59 Ciderhouse! Especially with the large growth in craft beers and craft ciders over the past five years, it’s great to see them included in this passionate group. My picks from each of them are the Love Potion Raspberry ‘BerlinerVice’ from Vice & Virtue, a fruity, refreshing, slightly sour beer, and the Classic Dry Apple Cider from Truck 59, perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Some of the wines that stood out to me today include the following:
2016 Mayhem from Anarchist Vineyard, an elegant, medium-bodied blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The new Wild Ferment Brut from Anthony Buchanan, a lovely aromatic sparkling Riesling.
2015 The Syndicate from Black Market Wine Co, a delicious Bordeaux-style blend.
The 2016 Viognier from Bottega Wine Studio, this is elegant, with ripe fruit and bright acidity.
The 2015 Carmenere from Lariana Cellars, medium-bodied with ripe juicy fruit and a hint of spice.
The 2017 Siegerebbe from Nagging Doubt Wines, this aromatic white is done in a light, dry style that is quite lovely.
The 2014 Merlot from Skaha Vineyard, so very drinkable – it has soft tannins and ripe fruit with lovely minerality running through it.
The 2017 Semillon from Tall Tale Wines – I missed this wine on my round of whites, so am glad that I found it later, with crisp acidity, nice depth of fruit and lovely texture.
The 2016 Petit Claret from VinAmité Cellars, an easy-drinking blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Thanks to Jennifer and Terry for inviting me this afternoon, and to all the wineries that were participating: Anarchist Mountain Vineyard, Anthony Buchanan Wines, BC Wine Studio, Black Cloud Winery, Black Market Wine Co., Bottega Wine Studio, Coolshanagh Vineyard, Dames Wine, Giant Head Estate, Lariana Cellars, Marionette Winery, MOCOJO Winery, Nagging Doubt Wines, Origin Wines, Schell Wines, Skaha Vineyard, Tall Tale Wines, Truck 59 Ciderhouse, Vice & Virtue Brewing, vinAmité Cellars, Winemakers Cut. Also thanks to RauDZ for making pizzas, to Fairview Liquor for operating the on-site store and to Sperling Vineyards for providing a lovely venue!