Tuesday, June 11, 2019

All Canadian Wine Championships 2019: BC dominates

Photo: Marcus Ansems Shiraz

Okanagan wineries won best of show for red and white wine at this year’s All Canadian Wine Championships.

The trophy for the best red of the year went to Marcus Ansems Shiraz 2017 ($49.90) from the Daydreamer Winery on the Naramata Bench.

The trophy for the best white of the year went to Riesling 2018 ($21.00) from
SpearHead Winery in East Kelowna.

A total of 1,376 wines were entered this year, to be judged over three days by panels of judges from across Canada. The majority of the wines – 845 – were entered by British Columbia wineries. Ontario wineries only submitted 394 wines.

It is not known why many Ontario wineries choose to sit out a competition that was founded in 1981 in Windsor and still is based on Ontario. Judging now takes place in Prince Edward County.

It has been speculated that British Columbia’s domination of results in recent years has discouraged Ontario producers. Whether the BC wineries have a quality edge can be debated. However, it is a fact that BC has enjoyed a string of excellent vintages since 2012 while the vintages in Ontario have been less consistent.

And the 2019 vintage in Ontario is also getting off to a slow start with cool and rainy weather in April and May. One can only wish the Ontario producers good luck on the rest of the season.

Shiraz is the signature varietal at Daydreamer Wines. The variety practically runs in the veins of winemaker Marcus Ansems (right), the owner of this winery with his wife, Rachel. His family in Australia once owned a share of Mount Langi Ghiran, the legendary Shiraz producer in the state of Victoria, and his uncle, Trevor Mast, was a winemaker there.

“One of my favourite wines in the world was made at my family winery,” Marcus once told me. “That wine was what inspired me to get involved with the industry.”

Born in 1974, he graduated in enology in 1996 from Adelaide University. He went abroad to gain experience, first with Simonsig in South Africa and then in Tuscany and the Rhône. He picked up his career in Australia briefly before a Canadian wine entrepreneur, Peter Jensen, recruited him in 1999 to run wineries in Ontario and Nova Scotia. In Niagara, before he returned to Australia in 2002 as a consulting winemaker, he met Rachel, an accountant with a talent in design and photography. They moved to British Columbia in 2004 where Marcus practised his craft at several wineries before starting Daydreamer.

Daydreamer Winery opened in 2014.  The winery draws fruit from five hectares (12 acres) of owned or contracted vineyard. Most of the acreage is on the Naramata Bench but the Shiraz is grown in a sun-bathed Osoyoos vineyard.

When Marcus wrote his Master of Wine thesis in 2015, the topic predictably involved his favourite varietal: he studied the effect of fall frosts on Syrah when the grapes still were the vine. (He found that good wine can be made from the frozen grapes.)

Photo: SpearHead Riesling

Best of show with the SpearHead Riesling 2018 is the second time that SpearHead winemaker Grant Stanley has won the award with a Riesling. The first time was when he worked at Quails’ Gate. The irony is that both Grant and SpearHead are considered Pinot Noir specialists.

SpearHead is based on a 15-acre vineyard in East Kelowna. The vineyard has been developed gradually over the past decade. It is planted primarily with Pinot Noir, with small blocks of Chardonnay and Riesling.

Grant (left) joined the winery in 2017 as general manager and winemaker. “You know I am a Pinot guy,” Grant once told me. “I don’t advertise it but with all the different varieties I make, I still spend about 80 percent of my time thinking about Pinot Noir. I think it has a positive spin-off on the other wines. There is a lot you can learn about Pinot that you can apply to other winemaking. It really is the tricky grape to make.”

Stanley was born in 1967 in Vancouver, the son of a printer and a dental technician, both of them New Zealand immigrants and neither particularly interest in wine. Stanley developed his wine passion while working at restaurant and hotel jobs in London, England, New Zealand and the Whistler resort.

He and his British-born horticulturist wife, Annabelle, moved to New Zealand in 1991, with exquisite timing: the boom in New Zealand wines was just beginning. She got a job with the Cloudy Bay winery while Montana Wines, then New Zealand’s biggest producer, gave him a job and then sponsored him to train as a winemaker. In 1998, after a few vintages with small wineries, Grant joined a legendary New Zealand Pinot Noir producer called Ata Rangi, where he did six vintages, plus guest winemaking in Oregon and France. “Ata Rangi opened doors for me,” he said.

During an Oregon stint in 2001, he visited British Columbia to taste some wines. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “When I left Canada, the Okanagan was a land of cheap white wine.” He did not hesitate when Quails’ Gate recruited him two years later. He went on to spend 10 years at Quails’ Gate and four more at 50th Parallel Winery before moving to SpearHead.

Here are other gold medal BC winners.

Best fruit wine of the year

Forbidden Fruit Winery Pomme Desiree Iced Apple 2018 ($26.00)  

Sparkling wine Charmat Method
Evolve Cellars  N/V   White Effervescence    ($19.99).
Double Gold
Intrigue Wines N/V    I DO ($19.90)
Intrigue Wines   SOCIAL Bubbly 2018 ($19.90)
Unoaked Chardonnay
Double Gold
Gray Monk Estate Winery Chardonnay Unwooded 2018 ($18.40)
Kraze Legz Vineyard & Winery  SKAHA Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay 2018 ($19.50)
Oliver Twist Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay  2018  ($19.04)
Chardonnay under $20
Double Gold
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Winery  Grand Reserve Chardonnay   2016 ($19.99)
Chardonnay $20-$30
Double Gold
Monte Creek Ranch Chardonnay Reserve 2017   ($24.99)
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2016 ($26.00)
SpearHead Winery Chardonnay Clone 95   2017  ($30.00)
Time Winery McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2017 ($24.99)

Chardonnay over $30.00

Double Gold
La FRENZ Winery Chardonnay Single Barrel Lot  2017  ($34.70)
The Hatch Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Chardonnay  2016 ($39.99)

Riesling Dry

Double Gold
SpearHead Winery Riesling 2018 ($21.00)
Daydreamer Wines Daydreamer Riesling  2018 ($24.90)
Monte Creek Ranch Riesling 2018 ($17.49)
Tightrope Winery Riesling 2017  ($22.00)

Riesling Off Dry

Double Gold
Harper’s Trail Estate Winery Pioneer Block Riesling  2018  ($21.14)
50th Parallel Estate Winery Riesling 2018 ($19.90)
Ruby Blues Winery Forever Young Riesling 2018 ($20.00)
Therapy Vineyards Riesling 2018 ($21.99)

Sauvignon Blanc

Double Gold
Forbidden Fruit Winery Earth Series Sauvignon Blanc  2018 ($22.00)
Howling Bluff Estate Wines Sauvignon Blanc Three Mile Creek Reserve 2018 ($21.00)
Maverick Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc   2018 ($21.00)


Double Gold
Wild Goose Vineyards Mystic River Gewürztraminer  2018  ($20.00)
Hillside Winery Gewürztraminer 2018 ($20.00)
Rust Wine Co. Gewürztraminer   2018 ($21.00)
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Gewürztraminer 2018 ($13.99)

Pinot Gris

Double Gold
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Gris  2018 ($22.00)
Alderlea Vineyards Pinot Gris   2018 ($19.50)
Intrigue Wines Pinot Gris    2018 ($16.90)
Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 2017 ($21.00)
Red Rooster Winery Pinot Gris 2018 ($20.70)

Pinot Grigio

Double Gold
OVINO Winery Pinot Grigio 2018 ($16.50)
Kismet Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2018 ($16.99)


Double Gold
Heaven’s Gate Estate Winery Viognier 2018 ($18.71)
Black Hills Estate Winery Viognier 2017 ($28.64)
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Winery Grand Reserve Viognier  2017 ($21.99)
Volcanic Hills Vineyard & Cellars Reserve Viognier  2016 ($26.00)

Other Single Vitis Vinifera Whites

Double Gold
Kraze Legz Vineyard & Winery  SKAHA Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2018 ($19.50)
Gehringer Bros. Estate Winery Old Vines Auxerrois 2018 ($14.29)
Nk’Mip Cellars Winemakers Pinot Blanc  2018 ($17.99)
Pipe’ Dreams Grüner Veltliner 2017 ($15.85)
Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery Ortega 2017 ($18.90)

White Vitis Vinifera Blends

Double Gold
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Oldfield Reserve 2Bench White 2017 ($25.29)
Alderlea Vineyards Valerie 2018 ($19.50)
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate  Discovery Series Viognier Gewürztraminer  2017 ($17.49)
Tightrope Winery  Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   2018 ($22.00)
Wild Goose Vineyards  Autumn Gold  2018 ($17.39)

White Hybrid Blends

Double Gold
Monte Creek Ranch Hands Up White 2018 ($15.99)

Rosé Blush and Blanc de Noir

Double Gold Blanc de Noir
Kraze Legz Vineyard & Winery Speakeasy 2018 ($17.30)
Double Gold Blush
The View Winery & Vineyard Silver Lining Rosé  2018 ($19.95)
Savard Vines Purple Petals Rosé 2018 ($22.05)
Silkscarf Winery White Pinot 2018 ($26.00)
Time Winery Rosé  2018 ($22.99)
CedarCreek Estate Winery Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ($19.00)
Crescent Hill Winery Hissy Fit 2018 ($20.00)
Hillside Winery Rosé 2018 ($22.00)

Cabernet Sauvignon Under $30

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($26.49)

Cabernet Sauvignon Over $30

Double Gold
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon  2016 ($34.99)

Cabernet Sauvignon Older Vintages

Double Gold

Blue Sky Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($32.28)


Desert Hills Estate Winery  Ursa Major Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($45.00)

Merlot Under $30

Double Gold
Nk’Mip Cellars  Qwam Qwmt Merlot 2016 ($29.99)
Singletree Winery  Merlot 2016 ($30.00)
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Merlot 2016 ($27.59)

Merlot Older Vintages

Double Gold
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Grasslands Organic Merlot 2014 ($75.00)
Kraze Legz Vineyard & Winery SKAHA Vineyard Merlot 2015 ($23.00)

Pinot Noir Under $30

Double Gold
Privato Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir  2017 ($27.99)
Corcelettes Estate Winery Pinot Noir  2018 ($24.90)
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 ($28.00)
Moraine Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2017 ($30.00)
Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 ($27.00)

Pinot Noir Over $30

Double Gold
Privato Vineyard & Winery North of 50 Pinot Noir 2016 ($37.99)
50th Parallel Estate Winery Unparalleled Pinot Noir 2016 ($50.00)
SpearHead Winery Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2017 ($33.00)

Pinot Noir Older Vintages

Double Gold

Privato Vineyard & Winery Grande Reserve Pinot Noir  2015 ($54.99)


Volcanic Hills Vineyard & Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir  2012 ($26.00)

Cabernet Franc Under $30

Black Sage Vineyard  Cabernet Franc 2016 ($26.49)

Cabernet Franc Older Vintages

Double Gold
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2015 ($49.90)
Cassini Cellars Cabernet Franc 2015 ($40.00)

Bordeaux Blends Under $30

Double Gold
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Winery  Grand Reserve Red Meritage 2016 ($24.99)
Time Winery McWatters Collection Meritage 2016 ($29.99)

Bordeaux Blends Over $30

Double Gold

Nk’Mip Cellars Red Merriym 2016 ($54.99)


Sun Rock Vineyards  Red Meritage 2016 ($30.49)

Bordeaux Blends Older Vintages

Double Gold
Indigenous World Winery Simo 2014 ($44.99)
Summerhill Pyramid Winery  OM Organic Meritage 2014 ($55.00)
Syrah/Shiraz Under $30
Double Gold
Moon Curser Winery Syrah 2017 ($29.99)
Daydreamer Wines Amelia 2017 ($29.90)
Kismet Estate Winery  Syrah 2017 ($25.99)
Syrah/Shiraz Over $30
Double Gold— *Trophy, Best Red Wine
Daydreamer Wines Marcus Ansems Shiraz  2017 ($49.90)
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Terroir Collection Syrah No. 23 Crosswinds  2016 ($50.00)
Nk’Mip Cellars  Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2016 ($34.99)
Syrah/Shiraz Older Vintages
Double Gold
Chaberton Estate Winery  Syrah 2015 ($28.95)
Vanessa Vineyard Estate Winery Syrah  2015 ($34.99)
Red Hybrid Blends
Double Gold
Volcanic Hills Vineyard & Cellars Magma Red 2016 ($17.39)
Other Single Red Vitis Vinifera
Double Gold
Cassini Cellars Malbec 2015 ($36.00)
Moon Curser Winery Malbec 2017 ($35.74)
Moon Curser Winery Tannat 2015 ($46.09)
Moon Curser Winery Carménère 2017 ($46.09)
Moon Curser Winery Touriga Nacional 2017 ($46.09)
Other Red Vitis Vinifera Blends
Double Gold
Deep Roots Winery Parentage Red 2016 ($37.90)
Kalala Organic Estate Winery  Aspire 2014 ($29.00)
Orofino Winery Red Bridge Red 2017 ($24.90)
Road 13 Vineyards Seventy-Four K  2017 ($25.00)
Maréchal Foch
Double Gold
Alderlea Vineyards Clarinet 2016 ($20.50)
Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery Redneck Red 2017 ($17.90)
Soft Fruit Off Dry
Krause Berry Farms & Winery Eureka ($19.00)
Northern Lights Estate Winery  Seduction – Strawberry Rhubarb 2018 ($16.43)
Soft Fruit Dessert
Double Gold 
Maan Farms Winery Blackberry Dessert 2016 ($26.45)
Tree Fruit Dry
Double Gold
Forbidden Fruit Winery Speachless 2018 ($20.00)
Farmgate Winery Clarice 2018 ($16.99)
Tree Fruit Off Dry
Forbidden Fruit Winery  Cherysh Cherry Rosé 2018 ($20.00)
Tree Fruit Dessert
Double Gold— *Trophy, Best Fruit Wine
Forbidden Fruit Winery  Pomme Desiree 2018 ($26.00)
Fruit Sparkling
Ripples Winery  Radiance  2017 ($24.95)
Late Harvests
Volcanic Hills Vineyard & Cellars  Late Harvest Gewürztraminer 2016 ($19.99)
Riesling Icewine
Double Gold
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Riesling Icewine 2017 ($52.19)
Other Icewine
Stoneboat Vineyards Verglas Ice Wine 2016 ($37.00)
Grape Fortifieds
La FRENZ Winery  N/V   Liqueur Muscat ($21.65)
Maverick Estate Winery Fia   2015 ($30.00)

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