Photo: Rocky Creek sparkling wine with Zork closure
The new releases from Rocky Creek Winery in
the Cowichan Valley
this year come with exceeding
sophisticated new packaging.
Each bottle is embossed with a stylized R
and C, so beautifully done that it might be turquoise raven by Bill Reid, set
off dramatically against the colour of the wines and the bottles.
This is a package that catches the eye on
the shelf of the wine store and also looks smart on the table.
The other feature that sets the Rocky Creek
package apart is the winery’s use of the Zork closure. This is an
Australian-developed alternative to screw caps with, arguably, more eye appeal
on the bottle. The Zork and the screw cap producers can fight it out amongst
themselves which is technically better. Suffice it to say, there is no risk of
Rocky Creek began using the closure with
its table wines several years ago. “We have done a pilot test of the Zork
closure over the last three years and learned many challenges associated with
this product,” says Linda Holford, one of the winery’s owners. The challenges, mostly with getting bottles
made to the right specifications, have been met and the winery believes this is
a superior closure.
This fall, Rocky Creek became the first
winery in North America to start using the
Zork closure designed for sparkling wines. The closure comes off (a bit
stubbornly) with a satisfying pop. One advantage is that it can be re-applied
to preserve the bubbles. By resealing a bottle and keeping it in the fridge,
you can actually enjoy a glass or two before dinner each day for at least three
Here are notes on the wines. They can be
purchased in wine stores on Vancouver Island
or directly from the winery.
Creek Katherine’s Sparkle Brut 2011 ($23.90 for 85
cases). Here is a delicious bubbly with a fruity aroma, flavours of apples,
fine bubbles and a crisp, refreshing finish. It was amazing how quickly we
finished the bottle. 90.
Creek Jubilee Brut 2011 ($23.90 for 85 cases). The
dark rose blossom hue – the wine is Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris - adds to the
festive personality of this wine in the glass. The wine is creamy on the
palate, with aromas and flavours of strawberries, but also with a crisp and dry
Creek Pinot Gris 2011 ($17.90 for 265 cases). The
wine has a slight bronze blush, indicating that the winemaker gave it skin
contact both for colour and flavour. There are aromas of spice, pear and
citrus, followed by flavours of citrus and apple. The wine is well balanced and
finishes crisply. 88.
Creek Pinot Noir 2010 ($21.90 for a production of
155 cases). The wine begins with aromas of spice and candied cherry. The
winery’s notes speak also of a hint of butterscotch. It is all part of the
candy in the aroma. On the palate, there are flavours of wild strawberry, cherry
and cloves. The wine is delicately light but the typical silky texture of the
Creek On The Mark 2011 ($16.90 for 140 cases). This
is a blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Foch and Maréchal Foch. The Cab Foch is a
red hybrid developed by Valentin Blattner in Switzerland. This wine reflects the
difficult vintage on Vancouver Island for reds
in 2011 in that the wine is lean and light. It begins with an interesting aroma
that reminded me of one of my favourite lunches – a BLT with HP Sauce. I almost
made a sandwich to pair with this quaffer. 86.
I look forward to tasting this blend from
the 2012 vintage, a far riper year on Vancouver Island.
Winemaker Mark Holford’s intent with
this blend is to create the biggest red he can with what the year gives him. It
would be easier to bring in Okanagan grapes but Rocky Creek is one of those
island wineries that won’t do that. They are counting on their Cabernet Foch –
the vines still are young – to be their primary big red.
Creek Wild Blackberry 2011 ($19.90 for 250 cases of
500 ml bottles). Dark in colour, the wine opens (as it should) with spicy
aromas of wild blackberries, leading to aromas of blackberry jam. The texture
is fleshy without being heavy. The flavour is naturally sweet, like the
berries, and not sticky sweet like Icewine. The back label recommends this with
chocolate. It is tasty on its own and would also be an excellent base for