Saturday, February 20, 2016

Township 7's Seven Stars is back

Photo: Township 7 winemaker Mary McDermott

The most recent trio of releases from Township 7 Vineyards & Winery included a surprise: Seven Stars 2012.

This is the winery’s first traditional method sparkling wine since the 2008 vintage. While there is no explanation for the four-year gap, the winery says that Mary McDermott, who took over as winemaker in 2014, plans to “expand our bubbly program with the addition of a Blanc de Noirs.”

Earlier in her winemaking career in Ontario, she had accumulated a fair amount of experience with sparkling wine.

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 cellar hand at Stratus Vineyards and moved on to become assistant cellar master 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.

There is a history behind the Seven Stars name that goes back to Gwen and Corey Coleman, the winery’s original owners. Seven was something of a lucky number for them, beginning with the choice of Township 7 as the winery name. That was the early name or Langley Township.

The Colemans opened the Langley winery – the first of the winery’s two properties – on the seventh day of the seventh month in 2001. Naturally, the sparkling wine, which began with the opportunistic purchase of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 1999, was called Seven Stars.

The 2012 Seven Stars is a Blanc de Blancs, made with Chardonnay from both the winery’s Langley vineyard and its Naramata vineyard. Only 88 cases have been made and, to buy it, you need to join the winery’s wine club. By the way, the club is called clubSEVEN.

Here are notes on the three wines.

Township 7 Seven Stars 2012 ($26.97 for 88 cases). This wine was 18 months on the lees to develop a slight biscuity hint on the nose. On the palate, the wine is refreshing with apple flavours. The active bubbles give the wine a creamy texture while the dry finish gives it a crisp ending. 90.

Township 7 Reserve Chardonnay 2014 ($24.97 for 278 cases). This is also a wine club exclusive.  Grapes from two Black Sage Road vineyards went into this delicious barrel-fermented wine. The wine begins with aromas of citrus fruits, apple and vanilla. On the palate, there are flavours of citrus, apricot and vanilla. The wine has good weight and a lingering finish. 90.

Township 7 NBO 2013 ($27.97 for 278 cases; available just at the wineries). NBO is short for North Bench Oliver, the location of Blue Terrace Vineyard, one of Township 7’s long term suppliers. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. It was aged 24 months in American oak. The bouquet of cherry, black currant and mocha is echoed in the flavours of this richly textured wine. The oak gives a hint of vanilla to the lingering finish. The wine benefits from decanting. 92.


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