Thursday, May 3, 2012

Township 7 goes to the Stampede

Photo: Township 7's Mike and Lori Raffan

Township 7 Vineyards & Winery has pulled off a coup by being selected to produce the official wines for Calgary Stampede’s centenary this summer.

The Stampede got samples from a number of wineries and, after tasting them, settled on a Chardonnay and a Merlot from Township 7.

The Centennial Chardonnay is $21.99 and the Centennial Merlot is $26.99 in British Columbia, where the wines are available at Township 7’s wineries in Penticton and in Langley. The wines, selling for a couple of dollars less in Alberta, are available in several leading Alberta private wine stores. They will also be sold on the grounds at Stampede Park in Calgary during the Stampede, which takes place during the first two weeks of July.

Calgary is familiar stomping ground for Township 7 proprietor Mike Raffan. A Vancouver native, he lived in Calgary from 1998 until he bought Township 7 in 2006. In Calgary, he was a partner in the launch of several restaurants, including three Milestones restaurants.

Mike says that he has “great memories of all the fun Stampede activities and of the exceptional Calgarian spirit.”

Township 7 is getting into that spirit in a big way. During the Stampede, it will host a number of food and wine seminars in Calgary.

As well, it plans Stampede parties at its two wineries. There will be a “Western Roundup Anniversary” at the Penticton winery on July 7 and 8, complete with barrel tastings with winemaker Brad Cooper. There will be country music and barbecue food paired with the Centennial wines.

On the following weekend, there will be a comparable party at Township 7’s Langley winery, this time including a $20-a-ticket country and western concert on the evening of July 14. The winery is encouraging guests to break out their western attire and get into the spirit with Township 7.

Meanwhile, Township 7 has just released two excellent reserve wines. Both are in limited quantities and should sell out quickly.

Township 7 Reserve Chardonnay 2008 ($24.99 for 228 cases). The grapes in this wine are a blend of Similkameen and Black Sage Road fruit from two excellent vineyards. Winemaker Brad Cooper, something of a Chardonnay specialist, aged the wine 18 months in French oak.It is a big, rich Chardonnay, with aromas of tangerine and buttery oak. On the palate there is great spoonful of tropical flavours - tangerine, guava -supported by, but not overwhelmed by the oak. 90

 Township 7 Reserve 7, 2008 ($34.99 for 217 cases.) This is a blend of 75% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cabernet Franc, aged 25 months on French and American oak. It is a big, ripe wine, beginning with a dramatic aroma of black currant and vanilla. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant, plum, chocolate and vanilla. The texture is rich and concentrated and the finish is very long and satisfying. 91.


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