Photo: Terrabella's Rob Ingram
Perseus Winery & Vineyards is Penticton’s in-town
winery, with its location in a heritage house near the start of Lower Bench Road.
To handle the growing number of patrons,
the winery is expanding with an 800 square foot addition that will include a
bistro. It is expected to be open by June.
Perseus was launched in 2009 by three Penticton businessmen, including Larry Lund, the long-time
operator of Penticton’s
famous hockey academy.
In 2011 the founders sold majority
ownership to Terrabella Wineries Ltd. Run by Summerland accountant Rob Ingram,
with two partners, Terrabella is an umbrella company developing wineries in
four locations. Property acquisition is currently underway in West
Kelowna for a second winery. The other two occasions have not been
Each winery will operate under its own
name, which means that the Perseus shingle will continue to hang at the Penticton winery.
The wines currently in the market have been
made by two of British Columbia’s
best winemakers. The winemaker for the 2009 and 2010 vintages was Lawrence
Herder, a proprietor of Herder Winery
nears Keremeos. He moonlighted as a sought-after consultant with a number of
B.C. wineries while getting his own winery established. The Perseus contract
helped finance his new vineyard tractor.
When he decided to wind down his consulting
work, winemaking at Perseus was turned over to Tom DiBello, the former
CedarCreek winemaker who now consults from his base at Okanagan
Crush Pad Winery.
Tom’s fingerprints are all over these
wines, since he would have finished the 2010 reds, still in barrel when Lawrence passed him the
I can’t say that a style has yet emerged
with the whites. Two of the whites were almost austerely dry while a third
white, a Pinot Gris, was packed with fruit. I will be curious to see which Tom
DiBello will stand up when the 2012
whites are released.
The personality of the reds is more of a
piece: the wines are generous in texture and flavour.
Here are my notes.
Pinot Gris 2011 ($16.90). This is the crisp and
fresh style of Pinot Gris, with aromas of citrus and apple and with flavours of
pineapple and peaches. The finish lingers for a long time. 90.
Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($17.90). Rather austere in
style, the wine begins with aromas of herbs and citrus. On the palate, there
are flavours of grapefruit and grapefruit rind with herbs on the bone-dry
Viognier 2011 ($21.90). This is a dry,
mineral-driven interpretation of the varietal, with aromas of citrus and
pineapple and flavours of apricot, cardamom and pineapple. 87.
Merlot 2011 ($21.90). Here is a Merlot with an
engagingly youthful character, brimming with fruit. It starts with cherry and
vanilla aromas and delivers flavours of blueberry and blackberry. The tannins
are ripe and fairly soft. While the price telegraphs a wine that can be
cellared for the long term, I would prefer to drink it now, when it shows
enthusiasm, not maturity. 88.
Cabernet Franc 2011 ($26.90). It is wines of this
quality that explain why the star of Cabernet Franc is on a rise in the
Okanagan. It is a vibrant red, with raspberry and cherry aromas and flavours
and a lingering hint of red liquorice on the finish. 90.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Select Lots ($50). The 2010
vintage was supposedly cool but this wine came from a remarkable microclimate
that produced fully ripe grapes and a wine with 15.1% alcohol. You are not
aware of the alcohol because the wine has such luscious texture and flavour. It
begins with aromas of mint, vanilla, red berries and oak. It has a core of
vibrant, sweet fruit, with flavours of raspberry, black currant, chocolate and vanilla.
The structure will support cellaring this delicious wine for another five to
seven years. 91.
Cabernet Shiraz 2011 ($21.90). This is 44% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 43% Shiraz
and 13% Cabernet Franc. It is a wine with an earthy, rustic appeal, beginning
with blueberry, vanilla and black currant jam. On the palate, there are
flavours of blackberry, black cherry and prune, with a note of pepper on the
Invictus 2010 Select Lots ($32.90). This is another
ripe and generous red. It is 56% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit
Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. It begins with aromas of vanilla, oak
and plums and has flavours of plums, prunes and the dark fruit flavours that
reminded me of a plum pudding, perhaps because the wine is so rich in texture.