Sunday, July 21, 2019

Township 7 welcomes Naramata sub-GI

Photo: Naramata Bench vineyards

In May, when the Naramata Bench sub-appellation was approved by the BC government, Township 7 Vineyards posted an ecstatic comment on its web site.

It is, of course, too soon for this summer’s releases from Township 7 to bear the Naramata Bench designation. But since the winery is committed to releasing single vineyard wines where appropriate, look for that on next summer’s wines.

It is also mildly ironic that Township 7’s premium Blue Terrace Vineyard – which Township 7 bought last year – is located just northeast of Oliver in a region that does not have a sub-appellation. However, the winery achieves the objective of releasing wines with a sense of place by designating  vineyards on the labels.

Giving consumers wines with a sense of place is one of the reasons for sub-appellations.

Here is what Township 7 said this spring:

We are thrilled for the new Sub-Geographical designation for the Naramata Bench announced this week by the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
What does this mean? The Sub-GI designation represents increasing alignment of the BC wine industry with world wine standards, and creates a clear sense-of-place for the consumer. This is similar for example to the Sub-AVA designations in Napa Valley, which has 16 (i.e. Los Carneros, Rutherford, Stags Leap District, etc...). The Naramata Bench is the third region in BC to receive Sub-GI designation, following Golden Mile Bench, in 2015, Okanagan Falls last year, and joining Skaha Bluffs today.
To use the Sub-GI on the label, each wine must be submitted to a VQA taste panel along with a declaration of origin of the fruit and lab analysis, and may be subject to an audit by the BCWA at any time. Wines that achieve VQA status and are made from 100% Naramata-grown grapes now may proudly display the phrase: “BC VQA - Okanagan Valley - Naramata Bench”.
Aptly described by the New York Times as “a gloriously scenic highland that is crowded with smaller wineries,” the Naramata Bench is located just north of Penticton. Our property is situated at the start of the Bench, above sweeping sand cliffs that rise from the eastern side of Okanagan Lake, with vineyards that gently slope up to the mountains behind. Our region boasts ideal conditions for grape ripening, the sloping vineyards are located in close proximity to the lake and have excellent exposure to the afternoon sun, with long warm sunny days in summer and a moderating “lake effect” in winter, which results in a nice long growing season. The rolling hills, unique soil types and microclimates enable numerous different varietals to really thrive here.
With its moderate temperatures, abundant sunshine and cooling breezes, the Naramata Bench is ideal for growing premium vinifera grapes. We have proudly been growing grapes on our seven acre Naramata Bench estate since 2004 of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, along with small plantings of Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The terroir is ideal for imparting complex fruit and floral characteristics along with a unique spiciness and well-balanced acidity to our wines. This contributes to that special “sense of place” to our wines, and truly reflects Naramata Bench qualities in a bottle.
Here are notes of Township 7’s four recent releases.

Township 7 Riesling 2017 Fool’s Gold Vineyard ($24.97 for 498 cases). The wine begins with classic aromas of petrol and citrus. The underlying minerality gives the wine a rich mouthfeel, with flavours of lime and lemon zest mingled with petrol. The finish is dry. This wine is showing well now but has more to give with another year or two in the bottle. 91.

Township 7 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Blue Terrace Vineyard 2018 ($26.97 doe 324 cases). The wine begins with spectacular aromas - herbal notes mixed with lime. That leads to savoury flavours of lime and green melon mingled with spicy oak. This barrel-fermented wine was aged seven months in French oak (85%) and stainless steel. This stylish wine has a lingering zesty finish. 92.

Township 7 Rosé 2018 ($21.97 for 598 cases). This wine is 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. The Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot were picked together, sent directly to press and then co-fermented. The wine has the classic pale hue of a Provence rosé. It begins with aromas of strawberry and cherry. Those fruits are echoed on the palate. The wine is dry with the structure reflecting the Cabernet Sauvignon backbone. 90.

Township 7 Reserve 7 2016 ($35.97 for 658 cases). This is the winery’s flagship Bordeaux blend, made with 56% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and one percent combined of Malbec and Petit Verdot.  The wine had been aged 24 months in French and American oak barrels. The wine begins with aromas of plum, black cherry and vanilla. On the palate, there are flavours of black currant mingled with vanilla, cocoa and cigar box. The tannins are firm but polished. This wine has great potential to cellar. 93.


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