Saturday, August 15, 2015

Road 13 and other Golden Mile wineries endure terrifying night

Photo: Road 13 winery

Road 13 Vineyards is one of the wineries threatened this week by the  Testalinden Creek forest fire.

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 Saturday morning.

Church & State Winery, which has a processing facility nearby on Highway 97, recounted the hair-raising night in a series of terrifying tweets.

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 the morning.”

11.40 pm Friday: “The property may be scorched but looks like the cellar didn't catch. Fingers crossed, anxious for morning. Can't get close yet.”

The news in the morning was that Church & State had survived. While some structures were lost, it sounds like most, if not all, Golden Mile wineries, including Road 13, escaped with a near miss.

The fire is still burning as this is posted and the wind has come back up. The wineries are not out of danger yet.

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 2013 ($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. 92.

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 chocolate. 94. 


At August 16, 2015 at 2:28 AM , Blogger Shawn Deny said...

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.
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