Photo: Catherine and her father, Ray Coulombe
Now in its
second year, vinPerdu Cellars of Oliver, a charming boutique winery, has
increased production of most of its wines and has added a premium red called
whom I have spoken to about this winery has mentioned the warmth and
friendliness of the tasting room – and then they add that the wines also are
good. That is a fine reputation that has begun to put the winery on the radar
screen of those who tour wineries on, or near, the Golden Mile.
not on the Golden Mile; it is on the wrong side of the highway. But you can see
the Golden Mile from here if that is important to you.
is operated by Ray and Wendy Coulombe, together with their two daughters (whose
partners also pitch in). Catherine, who formerly had a catering business in
Montreal, now manages vinPerdu’s wine lounge and is mentoring with a winemaking
consultant. Nathalie, who has become a vineyardist, is an artist and displays
her excellent work in the tasting room.
Ray, who was
born in Edmonton and grew up in Vancouver, ran an advertising company in
Montreal for many years until closing it in 2001. Drawn back to the West, Ray
and Wendy looked for a community in
which to retire and found a house with a five-acre vineyard just south of
Oliver in 2009.
needed a lot of work before it could produce quality fruit. “We were the
perfect victims to take this on because my wife and I were looking for a
hobby,” Ray laughs. “We persevered and eventually we got grapes that were
producing nice flavours.”
step soon suggested itself. “We were in that house, looking onto that vineyard
below, and I thought there should be a winery at the highway,” Ray says. “If my
grapes taste good, that’s what we will do.”
in particular was a variety he admired. “I couldn’t wait to start this winery for
the reason of the Gamay alone,” Ray says. “I saw it very much to be in the
Beaujolais style – not a heavy red, not sitting in the barrel forever. Since we
are talking fruit forward, this would be lightly touched in oak. It is all
fruit and should be chilled a bit for summer drinking. Instead of having a white wine on the back
porch, you can have nice ‘Beaujolais’ from the valley here that isn’t
to have wine made from his grapes in 2013. The winery was built in 2014 and the
tasting room opened last year. One of
the strong appeals of this winery is the welcome extended by the Coulombe
family, one or other of which usually is on hand to greet visitors
notes on the wines.
vinPerdu Pinot Gris 2014 ($20.90). This is a crisp and
refreshing white with aromas and flavours of citrus, honeydew melon and apples.
vinPerdu Chardonnay 2014 ($27.90 for 91 cases). This wine has
citrus aromas and tropical flavours with a hint of butterscotch and very subtle
vinPerdu Gamay Noir 2014 Unfiltered ($27.90 for 121 cases). This is a
second release of the 2014 Gamay Noir. This is a juicy and happy wine with
aromas and flavours of strawberries and cherries. The silky texture adds to the
vinPerdu Cabernet Franc 2014 ($28.90 for 209 cases). Production
has been doubled from the previous vintage. This is a well-structured red with
long ripe tannins. There are brambly aromas and spicy flavours of raspberry and
blackberry with a touch of oak. 90.
vinPerdu Compass 2013 ($29.90 for 191 cases). This is a
blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc. It has
aromas of cassis with flavours of black currant and black cherry. The long ripe
tannins give the wine a fleshy texture. 91.
Hidden Corner 2014 ($37.90 for 70 cases). This wine is 67% Merlot and 33%
Cabernet Franc selected from the very best barrels in the cellar. This is a
delicious wine with a concentrated texture softened by 14 months aging in
barrel. The Merlot contributes flavours of black cherry while the Cabernet
Franc adds notes of blackberry. There is also a lovely hint of vanilla in the