Photo: Township 7's Mary McDermott
Mary McDermott moved from
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
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.