Monday, May 30, 2016

There is a Hidden Corner at vinPerdu

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 Hidden Corner.

Everyone to 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.

vinPerdu is 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.

The winery 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.

The vineyard 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.”

The next 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.”

Gamay Noir 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 heavy.” 

He arranged 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.

Here are 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. 90.

vinPerdu Chardonnay 2014 ($27.90 for 91 cases). This wine has citrus aromas and tropical flavours with a hint of butterscotch and very subtle oak. 90.

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 charm. 90.

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.

 vinPerdu 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 aroma. 92.

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