Friday, November 25, 2011

Intersection Winery releases its first wines

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Photo: Bruce Schmidt

Vancouver businessman and angel investor Bruce Schmidt has just opened the Okanagan’s newest winery, Intersection Wines, by hand-selling its two first releases to restaurants and wine enthusiasts.

Bruce is hardly a stranger to the British Columbia wine industry. He was the national marketing manager at Calona Wines in the early 1980s when Schloss Laderheim became the best-selling domestic white wine in Canada.

In the early 1990s, he ran a company that helped raise financing for the start of Blue Mountain Vineyards & Cellars. He remained a Blue Mountain shareholder for 18 years and regards that winery as an example of how to do things correctly in the wine business.

In his non-wine life, he has run start-up life sciences companies. He is currently chief executive of Carrus Capital and plans to continue in that business as well as run the winery. “I have way too much fun in science to give it up at this point,” he says. “Also, the winery can tolerate that now. We don’t have such a large production now.” Intersection opened with about 1,000 cases of wine and is targeting 2,500 cases when its vineyard is in full production.

Bruce, who has a silent partner in the winery, began looking for Okanagan vineyard property in 2002, buying a former orchard, with a packing house, at the intersection of Highway 97 and Road 8 in 2007. The location inspired the winery’s name, along with the bright X on the labels and the website, which is (still under development).

The property now has 20,000 closely-packed vines on four hectares (10 acres). Half of the vines are red varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Franc) and the other half are whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Riesling).

The wines are made by Summerland wine consultant Philip Soo. The wines released so far are good and quite fairly priced for their quality.

“At this point the wines are only available directly from the winery,” Bruce says. “As I am back and forth from Vancouver on a regular basis, I can easily arrange to get people some wine. Once we have a bit more inventory, we will certainly seek some private store listings.” The current telephone number for ordering wine is 604.760.0160.

Here are notes on the wines.

Intersection 2010 Mile’s Edge White ($20). This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier (the blends may change from vintage to vintage). Fermented in stainless steel, the wine begins with appealing floral and fruity aromas (apricots, pineapples). On the palate, there are flavours of green apple, melon and citrus, with the defining mineral spine that Viognier brings to the party. The finish is crisp and refreshing. 90.

Intersection 2009 Unfiltered Merlot ($25). Bruce believes that his vineyard delivers quite unique terroir notes in the Merlot. This elegant wine’s appeal begins with its lovely dark hue and its smoky aroma, mingled with aromas of blueberry, black currant and black cherry. These are echoed on the palate, which is bold and concentrated. This wine deserves to be cellared for a few more years to reach its full potential. 90-92.

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