Tuesday, February 5, 2013

CedarCreek scores with Earls



CedarCreek's Gordon Fitzpatrick (l) with George Piper, wine buyer for Earls


In something of a breakthrough for Okanagan wine, CedarCreek Estate Winery has been selected to produce two of the “Rascal” wines for Earls Restaurants Ltd.

Based in Vancouver, Earls is a 30-year-old restaurateur, operating more than 50 restaurants across Canada and in several U.S. states.

The Earls wine list, put together by George Piper, the restaurant’s wine buyer, has always focussed on offering a reasonable number of well-chosen selections (but not too many) at reasonable prices.

The best value wines on the list have been its house wines under the Rascal designation. Typically, the restaurant has sourced those wines from producers outside Canada. The current wine list still includes two Rascal wines from France.

CedarCreek, however, has displaced an Australian winery to produce The Rascal Next Door white and red blends. These are now on the Earls menu by the glass or at a very reasonable $28 a bottle.

CedarCreek has a long history with Earls. The Kelowna winery already had more wines on the Earls list (four) than any other Okanagan winery. It was the logical winery for Earls when the restaurant chain needed to change its house wine.

This should prove to be a good piece of business for CedarCreek president Gordon Fitzpatrick. The winery produces between 35,000 and 40,000 cases of wine annually. Earls could easily sell 7,000 cases each year of the two Rascal wines.

The Rascal Next Door White 2011 is a blend of 31% Gewürztraminer, 28% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Gris, 8% Riesling, 7% Ehrenfelser and 3% Viognier. As one would expect from that blend, this moderately aromatic white is a delicious fruit basket on the palate.

The Rascal Next Door Red 2011 is a blend of 35% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Pinot Noir, 16% Cabernet Franc and 5 Syrah. This is a wine with vibrant berry aromas and flavours. The soft tannins make it an easy and accessible red to drink.

These are solid blends, packaged under screw cap to maintain freshness and to avoid cork taint. The servers at Earls will love to pour them and the clientele will enjoy them.

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