Thursday, February 8, 2018

One of the best BC wineries isn't in the Okanagan at all!

I live 40 minutes from this winery, so it's a mystery why this was our first visit to Blackwood Lane. We were familiar with some of the wines, having enjoyed their Alliance and Reference in the past, but this was our first opportunity to taste through their entire portfolio.

They had advertised an "open house" on Twitter, featuring a free tasting of their flagship Reference, so we gathered up our friend who lives about 3 minutes away from the winery and headed down. Let's get to the wine!

Blackwood Lane 2014 Chardonnay ($29.99)
Aged 24 months in Burgundian oak barrels. Enticing aromas of pineapple, straw, walnuts and green apple. Buttery palate, just the way it should be, with flavors of hazelnut, butterscotch and a touch of apricot. Medium bodied.

Blackwood Lane 2016 Viognier ($24.99)
Oh my. Oodles of orchard fruits and honeysuckle, with particularly strong aromas of pear. The pears dominate the palate, almost masking the other flavors, but if you 'look' hard enough you'll get some tangerine and peach as well. Unquestionably one of the top 3-4 Viogniers in BC. Grapes from the Naramata Bench. Delicious.

Blackwood Lane 2014 Sea Buckthorn Riesling ($32.00)

Here is something unexpected: they take some Sea Buckthorn, one of the new "super fruits", and infuse it into the late harvest Riesling. Golden in colour, a touch of botrytis gives it an "icewine" smell, pineapple and raisins up front. Dried fruits, particularly fig and raising on the palate. Definitely unique. 

Blackwood Lane 2015 Angeline Rosé ($24.00)

Made from Pinot Noir, Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine (??), all grown in the Fraser Valley. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cranberry. Cranberry and notes of pink grapefruit come through on the palate. Bone dry.

Blackwood Lane 2012 Special Edition Vicuna Roja ($32.00)

Their "house red"...much pricier than most wineries "house" wine, and also much, much better. Complex aromas of blackberry, blueberry, toasty oak, vanilla, nutmeg and raisin. Dried blue and blackberries on the palate, and a hint of dark chocolate. Finishes long. A treat. 

Blackwood Lane 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.00)

My wife said this wine actually made her "angry". And not in a bad way; I think she was comparing it to so many lesser of this varietal that we get in BC. Aromas of black tea, blackberry and blueberry. Complex flavors, including Red Delicious apple, blackberry, cherry and black plum. Delicious and eminently drinkable right now. 

Blackwood Lane 2012 Merlot Reserve ($68.00)
Aromas of black tea, baking spice, red cherry and black fruit. Tannins and soft and supple. Flavors include Sultana raisins, Red Delicious apple (again??), cherry, cassis and vanilla. Only 14 cases made, and not many left, if you like BC Merlot, better hurry. 

Blackwood Lane 2009 Alliance ($69.00)
That's right, 2009 is their current vintage of this (and it's bigger cousin below). Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Eucalyptus, black cherry, blackberry, strawberry and violets on the nose. The palate features more of that Red Delicious apple, also red licorice, graphite, cassis and red cherry. Bottled just months ago, this is going to get even better once it settles. A special wine and a steal at this price. 

Blackwood Lane 2009 Reference ($150.00)

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Intoxicating aromas of blackberry, black cherry, black tea, graphite and black plum. Black licorice, blackberry, blueberry, black tea, oak and dark chocolate on the palate. Full bodied and complex with a very long and luscious finish.  Give it a long decant if you can't wait, or another 4-6 years of proper cellaring. What a delight. BC wine doesn't get a lot better than this!
Blackwood Lane 2012 The Rebel Syrah ($29.00)

Tasted last which probably didn't do it any favors, but still nice. Green pepper and violets on the nose. Pretty and feminine, light and fruity. Black cherry, vanilla and raspberry on the palate. 

There is SO much to like at the winery; they have a charger for electric vehicles (which are popping up more and more at wineries these days), they have a beautiful view when the weather is nice, our tasting room host, Kimberly, was friendly and took excellent care of us, even heating up some bread to cleanse our palates between tastes. They have four different options to taste, ranging from $8 to $40, which is not cheap for a BC tasting room, and even though I spent over $400, they still didn't waive all the tasting fees (they did provide a discount). They probably might want to re-think that. Anyway, that's a minor quibble with what was otherwise a fantastic experience. We will be back when the weather improves to enjoy the wines on the patio.

Next up: Still need to report on a fantastic evening of Portugal wines and food, and also have a ton of other stuff to report on. Stay tuned this weekend for more updates!

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