Culmina continues to extend its portfolio
Family Estate Winery, the winery run by Donald Triggs and his family, has added
a second single varietal red wine as it gradually expands a portfolio anchored
by Hypothesis, an elegant and premium-priced Bordeaux blend.
New is a
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, joining the 2013 Merlot that was released during the
Vancouver International Wine Festival.
released is the 2014 vintage of the winery’s R&D Blend, Culmina’s most
accessible red for early consumption, both in texture and in price, at $22 a
bottle. The R&D Blend is widely available in BC Liquor Distribution Branch
stores. The LDB site shows that the remaining inventory of the 2013 R&D
Blend is still available in 52 stores while the 2014 is already in 20 stores.
stands out in the Culmina portfolio for its folksy label: two farm boys seated
side by side. The Triggs family made this label by using an old photograph of
Don Triggs and his twin brother, Ron.
never been in the wine business and has never had the same high profile of Don,
who once ran Vincor International, Canada’s largest wine company and one of the
world’s largest. After Vincor was taken over in 2006 by Constellation Brands,
Don – together with wife Elaine and daughter Sara – poured their energy and
resources into Culmina
Don, who was born in Manitoba in 1944, once told me: “Retirement to me
is a nasty word because it implies stopping. I don’t think life is about
stopping. It is about continuing and doing what you love.”
He certainly is not stopping. Culmina has 22.6 hectares (56 acres) of
densely planted vines on three mountainside benches on the Golden Mile, all of
it planted or replanted since 2008. As the vines have begun to mature, Culmina
has the fruit that enables winemaker Pascal Madevon to enlarge the portfolio.
In addition to Hypothesis, Culmina also produces a Grüner Veltliner
called Unicus, a Riesling called Decora, a Chardonnay called Dilemma and a rosé
The R&D joined the family last year, with the Cabernet Sauvignon and
the Merlot being new releases this year. The latter two are limited production
wines available primarily at the winery and to members of the Culmina wine
Here are notes on these three. I reviewed the Merlot a month ago but I
am repeating that review as a convenience to readers.
Culmina Merlot 2013 ($31). This wine was aged 16 months in
French oak (50% new), polishing the long ripe tannins. The wine begins with
aromas of red fruit, vanilla and spice. On the palate, the voluptuous texture
emerges with breathing. The flavours include plum, cassis and blackberry. The
finish lingers. 92
Culmina Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($34). The wine was aged 16 months in
Frenc oak barrels (64% new). This begins with classic varietal aromas of cassis,
blackberry and spice. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant with
hints of espresso and black olive. The texture is firm, thanks to both the ripe
tannins and the minerality. The wine benefits from decanting but patient
consumers would be advised to cellar this at least to 2020. 90.
Culmina R & D Red Blend 2014 ($22). This wine, a Merlot-dominant
blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, is exceptional value. It
begins with aromas of black cherry, black currant, chocolate and toasted oak.
It is generous on the palate with flavours of black currant, blackberry,
espresso and spice. 91