Photo: Township 7's Mary McDermott
Mary McDermott moved from Ontario
in the summer of 2014 to take over making wine at Township 7 Vineyards &
Winery in Penticton.
The winery has now released three of the whites and a rosé
that she made in that vintage. It did not take her long to put her imprint on
the wines – and it is quite a positive impact.
That is not to take anything away from her predecessor, Brad
Cooper, who moved on to Serendipity Winery. Earlier this year, the winery
released reds he had made. My reviews were delayed, but finally here they are.
They are also pretty solid wines.
Mary’s winemaking résumé is impressive. Her interest in wine
began when she worked as a sommelier at Monk McQueen’s Fresh Seafood &
Oyster Bar in Vancouver
That led her back to Ontario
, her native
province, to earn a winemaking and viticulture degree at Brock University
After graduation, she started as a cellarhand at Stratus
Vineyards and moved on to become assistant cellarmaster at Cave Spring Cellars.
Then, in 2010, she became winemaker at Trius Winery at Hillebrand as well as Thirty
Bench Winery. Both are premium wine producers operated by Andrew Peller Ltd.
She was recruited by Township 7 after new owners acquired
the winery in 2014. Mike Raffan, a former owner and now general manager, says
that the new owners also have invested in improvements in the winery’s
facilities. Possibly, new equipment also accounts for the pristine polish that
the 2014 wines show.
Here are notes.
Township 7 Sauvignon
Blanc 2014 ($17.38 for 1,058 cases).
Details matter. Ten per cent of this was fermented in
neutral barrels, a technique to add some fullness to a wine that can be linear.
The wine begins with aromas of lime and herbs. The flavours are intense, with
notes of lime, lemon and peach wrapped around a spine of minerals. The wine has
a crisp, dry finish. 89.
Township 7 Unoaked
Chardonnay 2014 ($16.51 for 398 cases). This wine begins with appealing
aromas of apple and pineapple. These are echoed in the flavours. The palate is
crisp, with flavours that have a laser beam focus and freshness. The finish is
very long. 91.
Township 7 Chardonnay
2014 ($18.25 for 498 cases). This wine is well differentiated from the
extremely fruit-forward style of the unoaked version. Half was fermented in
stainless steel while the other half was fermented in French and American oak
barrels (18% new). The subtle oak shows in a delicate note of vanilla and in
the full texture. But the aromas and flavours of citrus, apple and stone fruit
remain brightly in the foreground. The racy acidity adds to a crisp finish.
This Chardonnay has the structure to age for another four or five years. 91.
Township 7 7 Blanc
2013 ($19.99 for 328 cases). This is 60% Gewürztraminer, 40% Pinot Gris, a
blend that marries flavour with good acidity. The wine has a spicy aroma
leading to flavours of pear, grapefruit and ginger. There is a touch of
residual sugar here. 89.
Township 7 Rosé 2014 ($17.38
for 198 cases). This is 95% Merlot, with five per cent of Muscat to lift the aroma and the fruit
flavours. The wine, which has a pale salmon hue, has aromas of strawberries and
cherries. The superb weight of this wine takes one by surprise. This is a dry
rosé but the fruit flavours are full and intense. The finish is refreshing. 91.
Township 7 Merlot
2012 ($25.99 for 1,398 cases). This wine is a generous mouthful of vibrant
flavours of black cherry, black currant and vanilla, with attractive red berry
aromas. The long ripe tannins give the wine good weight and length. 90.
Township 7 Cabernet
Sauvignon 2012 Blue Terrace Vineyard ($26.99 for 498 cases). Township 7 has
been buying grapes for a decade from this vineyard at the north end of Black Sage Road.
The wine begins with aromas of red fruit (cherry, raspberry, black currant) and
vanilla. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant and plum. The
texture is firm; the wine benefits from decanting, as one would expect.