Thursday, September 10, 2015

Township 7 joins Muscat producers

Only a handful of producers offer wines made from the Muscat family of grapes.

The current price list for one VQA wine store lists just three. Hillside Muscat Ottonel likely has been produced since that winery opened in 1990. Joiefarm Winery and Summergate Winery have had Muscats in their portfolio since they opened. LaFrenz winery has a marvelousMuscat.
fortified liqueur

Now Township 7 Vineyards & Winery has released its first Muscat, a superb dry white from the Rock Pocket Vineyard on Tuc-El-Nuit Road, northeast of Oliver.

There certainly are several other Muscats that do not show up on a VQA wine store list. LaStella’s Moscato D’Osoyoos, like the Township 7 offering, is available just to wine club members and tasting room visitors.

The 2014 vineyard census of British Columbia found only 89.5 acres of Muscat varieties. There is almost 10 times as much Gewürztraminer planted; this variety dwarfs all of the aromatic whites grown here. Its dominance and its popularity likely explain the comparatively modest acreages of Muscat, Siegerrebe, Bacchus, Schönburger, Ehrenfelser and Sovereign Opal.

Gewürztraminer is the wine of choice for most consumers looking for a spicy white.  Yet an excellent Muscat is always a good alternative when you have had you fill of Gewürztraminer.

Township 7 winemaker Mary McDermott has crafted a fine dry Muscat. The Rock Pocket Vineyard is a warm site which, according to the winery’s notes, produced “characteristics common of warmer traditional European locales such as France and Italy where the grape is widely grown.”

The grapes were fermented for three weeks in stainless steel at a cool 14C. Cool fermentation preserves the fresh fruit flavours and the aromas. The result is a light, elegant wine with just 12.5% alcohol and with an almost imperceptible around of residual sugar.

It is a welcome addition to the Okanagan’s family of Muscat wines.

Here are notes on Township 7’s current offerings.

Township 7 7 Blanc 2014 ($17.38 plus tax for 398 cases). This is a blend of 50% Pinot Gris, 45% Gewürztraminer and 5% Muscat. It begins with aromas of herbs, citrus and white peach. It tastes of white peach and pear with delicate spiciness on the finish. A slight touch of residual sweetness broadens the weight on the palate and the generous length. 90.

Township 7 Muscat 2014 ($17.38 plus tax for 108 cases). This wine is exclusive to Township 7’s wine club; what an incentive to join! The aroma soars from the glass with notes of ginger and orange, leading to dramatic flavours of spice, orange rind and ripe cantaloupe. The wine just dances on the tongue and then finishes refreshingly dry. The delicate intensity of the finish lasts for several minutes. Lucky wine club members. 93.

Township 7 Pinot Gris 2014 ($17.38 plus tax for 398 cases). This is also a wine club exclusive. This wine was fermented in stainless steel for three weeks at 14C in order to preserve the fresh fruity notes. It begins with aromas of pears and apricots. Generous on the palate, the wine has flavours of apples and lime. The wine is crisply dry with a persistent finish. 90.

Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($23.47 plus tax for 498 cases). The grapes for this wine come from the Blue Terrace Vineyard on Tuc-El-Nuit Road just northeast of Oliver. This is a long-time supplier of fruit to Township 7. The 2012 vintage was an excellent one for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon: the grapes were picked October 20 at 24.5 Brix. The wine is dark with aromas of plum, black currant and vanilla that are echoed on the palate, along with notes of mint and tobacco. The polished texture of the wine results from aging it 22 months in American oak. 91.

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