Road 13 Vineyards is one of the wineries threatened this
week by the Testalinden Creek forest
For the accounts I have read and heard, the fire – fanned by
high winds – went very rapidly from a glow on the mountain side to a terrifying
and fast-moving blaze last Friday night.
Road 13 posted a tweet to friends and firefighters who
helped protect the winery. “We are very grateful to everyone who helped keep
the fire away from us and our neighbours last night,” the winery wrote on
Church & State Winery, which has a processing facility
nearby on Highway 97, recounted the hair-raising night in a series of
7.38 pm Friday: “[The
fire is] Right behind the cellar. Pulling out computers and equipment that fits
in cars now.”
7.49 pm Friday: “Wind is picking up. Flames building about
300m behind the cellar.”
10.37 pm Friday: “We may have lost the winery.”
11.39 pm Friday: “Positive news - looks like we may have
barely avoided burning. Looked like houses nearby went up. Will know more in
One certainly hopes for the best. By coincidence, I was
monitoring fire news while tasting Road 13’s current releases. These are
outstanding wines and most are available only at the winery. It would be tragic
if such quality went up in smoke.
It is worth noting that the three whites reviewed here are
made entirely with Similkameen grapes. There also is Similkameen fruit in
several of the reds. J-M Bouchard, Road 13’s winemaker, has become quite
enamoured with the quality of the grapes he gets from the Similkameen.
Road 13 Roussanne
($24 for 55 cases). This has six per cent Viognier in the blend. It is
a big ripe Rhone
varietal with 14.6% alcohol.
The wine has a lovely golden hue perfectly in harmony with the almost sweet
honeyed aromas of ripe apricots. There is intense fruit on the palate – rich
flavours of ripe apricot and pear with a squeeze of lime. 91.
Road 13 Marsanne 2013
($24 for 114 cases). The wine begins with a delicate aroma of fresh melons,
flowers and clover honey. On the palate, there are flavours of cantaloupe and
pear, with a hint of that honey on the dry finish. A very interesting white.
Road 13 Viognier 2013
($24 for 142 cases). This wine has classic aromas of white peach and
vanilla, with flavours of peach and apricot. The texture is fleshy. There is a
bit of warmth (but not unacceptable) from the 13.9% alcohol. That goes with the
territory; Viognier needs to be ripe to have optimal flavours. 91.
Road 13 GSM 2013 ($35 for 140 cases). This is
81.4% Grenache, 15.4% Syrah, 2.7% Mourvedre and 0.5% Viognier. The wine was
aged 15 months in older French oak. It begins with aromas of pepper and spice
with plum and black cherry. Generous on the palate, it delivers flavours of
black cherry, plum, vanilla and pepper. The finish is very long. 91.
Road 13 Syrah Malbec
2013 ($26.99 for 393 cases). This is 83% Syrah, 12% Malbec, 4% Viognier and
1% Mourvedre. The wine is quite dark in colour. On the nose, there are aromas
of blackberry, vanilla and pepper which are echoed in the flavours, along with
notes of mulberry. The texture is concentrated, making for a long finish and
for good ageability. 92.
Road 13 Jackpot Petit
Verdot 2012 ($75; production 208 six-packs). Typical of this variety, the
colour is almost black. An acquaintance of mine recently said, you can safely
look at the sun through a glass of Petit Verdot (there is 4% Merlot in this).
The dramatic aromas include black currant, mulberry, olive tapenade and
graphite. This is an intense wine, rich on the palate with 15% of alcohol (but
it is not hot). There are flavours of black currants, black olives, tobacco and