Thursday, January 31, 2019

Township 7's cellar-worthy wines

Photo: Township 7 winemaker Mary McDermott

A good case can be made for cellaring all of the latest wines released from Township 7 Vineyards & Winery by winemaker Mary McDermott.

There is a complexity to them all that is still developing in the bottle. The wines are good now but I think they will be better in a year or two.

That is true even of the Gewürztraminer because the wine was made deliberately in the Alsatian style – full-bodied and fairly dry. Even if you don’t normally consider tucking Gewürztraminer away in the cellar to a time, make an exception with this one.

Ditto for the Chardonnay. It has the structure to age a bit like a good Burgundy.

I became a fan of Mary’s style of winemaking soon after she arrived in the Okanagan from Ontario in 2014. Township 7 already had a good reputation for its wines but she has raised the bar considerably.

She gave much more emphasis to grower relations while Township 7’s owner expanded the winery and installed some leading-edge winemaking tools for her.

“We have signed long term contracts with growers and we really to work with them,” Mary says. “It is becoming more of a family business for us. I go visit my growers all the time. I am available for them all the time if they have any questions. That’s what this business is all about.”

A word about the availability of these wines. The two whites and the Cabernet Franc were released exclusively for Township 7’s wine club. The winery has a very active wine club and has releases specially for the members throughout the year.

The other two red wines are available from Township 7’s internet site and from its to wines – in Langley and just outside Penticton.

Here are notes on the five releases.

Township 7 Gewürztraminer 2017 ($24.97 for 338 cases). The wine begins with aromas of rose petal spice and lychee, leading to a medley of tropical fruit flavours (lychee, peach) with a hint of ginger on the dry finish. There is good weight on the texture. 91.

Township 7 Reserve Chardonnay 2017 Becker Vineyard ($26.97 for 438 cases). This vineyard on Black Sage Road formerly was called Sundial Vineyard. The wine was fermented in French oak barrels (20% new). The oak is very well integrated in the wine. This is a rich wine with aromas and flavours of citrus, apple, pineapple and vanilla. I recommend cellaring this another six to 12 months so that it can fully express the complexity. 91.

Township 7 Pinot Noir 2017 ($33.97 for 650 cases). This wine, which was aged 12 months in French oak, begins with aromas of cherry and raspberry. On the palate, the flavours display dark, savoury fruit on a bed of silky tannins. 91.

Township 7 NBO 2016 ($33.97 for 258 cases). NBO stands for North Bench Oliver, the locale of the vineyards from which the grapes come. The blend is 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Decanting is recommended to let this wine open, as it is still youthful. It begins with aromas of black currant and black cherry. The palate echoes those fruits mingled with cedar and chocolate. 91.

Township 7 Cabernet Franc 2016 ($33.97 for 668 cases). This vibrant wine, which has 7% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, begins with the classic brambly, raspberry and cherry aromas of the varietal. On the palate, there are flavours of spice and dark fruits. The finish is persistent. Decanting is also recommended. 92.


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