Writer and wine columnist John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific author of books on wine.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Da Silva offers a large portfolio
Photo: Twylla and Richard da Silva
The extensive wine portfolio at Da Silva Vineyards and Winery reflects Richard da Silva’s deep roots in the Okanagan. He has extensive connections to top growers, as well as ownership of his own vineyards. That gives him a wide choice of varietals with which to make wine.
There were 14 wines in the portfolio this summer. All are well-made and interesting wines.
For background on this Penticton winery, here is an excerpt written by Luke Whittall from our Okanagan Wine Tour Guide, which was published in 2019.
If the name of this winery is not familiar to you, perhaps the original name is. Until 2018 the winery on Upper Bench Road just outside of Penticton was called Misconduct Wine Co. The change came about as an evolution of the vision by owners Richard and Twylla Da Silva.
When Misconduct was originally launched in 2008, it was one of BC’s first virtual wineries. With no wine shop to promote the brand, it relied on online marketing and the help of a friend’s wine agency for wholesaling. It was designed to be very low-key and off the radar. The branding, with 1920’s Prohibition gangster-era themes, and the lack of a wine shop were both “a bit risqué” for the time admitted Richard. “I thought it was cool that in an industry that was all about personality and ego, that we could actually go counter that and do something in the shadows.”
Even though the wines were all very good, it was still a tough sell. Richard quickly learned that his customers wanted to know that the wines came from somewhere specific and that someone was confident enough to stand behind it without being secretive about it. With a wine industry as small as BC’s, staying in the shadows was not something the Da Silva’s could do for long.
Richard and Twylla soon purchased an old house on Upper Bench Road which was became the wine shop in 2011. Since customers wanted to know where the wines were coming from, Richard started promoting the vineyards that supplied the grapes for his wines. The concept of ‘wine from a place’ has always been important to the Da Silva’s even before starting Misconduct.
Richard, who was born and raised in Oliver, comes from a family that can trace their farming history back to the 18th century in Portugal. Extended family members worked in the Okanagan in orchards from the mid-1950s and then in vineyards once the grape growing industry got started in the late 1960s. The family experience with soft-fruits and grapes has given Richard access to a deep understanding of the many regions of the Okanagan. “That’s where the family farming experience comes in,” explained Richard, “because you have to know those nuances when you’re growing soft fruits.” The grapes for all of their wines come from specific vineyard sites throughout the Okanagan that tap into Richard’s family knowledge of top-quality growing areas and sites.
As Misconduct evolved, a new line of wines called the Suspect Series was created and based on single varieties from single vineyards. With a slight tweak of the branding in 2018, the Suspect Series became Da Silva Vineyards and Misconduct became a sub-brand of Da Silva.
Here are notes on the wines. The reserve wines are called Legado, Portuguese for legacy.
Da Silva Chardonnay 2020 ($27 for 244 cases). This wine was fermented in stainless steel and then spent just eight weeks in new American oak barrels. The result is a fruit-forward wine with aromas and flavours of apple and citrus, with just a subtle hint of oak. There is good weight on the palate and the finish is crisp. 91.
Da Silva Chenin Blanc 2020 ($25 for 175 cases). This wine is made with fruit from Da Silva’s Hidden Hollow Vineyard in Penticton, fermented in stainless steel. It begins with aromas of quince and citrus. On the palate, the wine is bright and tangy, with flavours of green apple and a spine of minerality. 90.
Da Silva Cor de Rosa 2020 ($26 for 344 cases). This is a bold, full-flavoured rosé made with 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Merlot from Da Silva’s Blenheim Hill Vineyard in Penticton. The grapes were cold-soaked for 24 hours, extracting flavour and a slightly bronze hue. There are aromas and flavours of ripe strawberries and plums. 90.
Da Silva Fumé Blanc 2020 ($27 for 271 cases). The wine, which was barrel-aged for eight months, begins with aromas of lime mingled with herbs. On the palate, flavours of lime and grass are supported by herbal notes. Think Sancerre. 91.
Da Silva Isabella Frizzante 2020 ($27 for 272 cases). This is 75% Riesling, 25% Muscat. Lightly carbonated, the wine has fine bubbles. It has aromas and flavours of spice and stone fruit. The finish is crisp and fresh. 90.
Da Silva Pinot Noir 2018 ($39 for 342 cases). Fruit from two Penticton vineyards was fermented in open-top fermenters and aged two years in medium toast barrels (50% French oak, 50% Hungarian oak) The wine has aromas and flavours of cherry mingled with notes of vanilla and classic forest floor. 90.
Da Silva Merlot 2017 ($35 for 172 cases). The fruit for this wine is from two Penticton area vineyards. The wine was aged 36 months in barrel (50% French, 50% American). It has aromas and flavours of cherry, cassis, vanilla and spice. The extended barrel time has given the wine soft, polished tannins. 90.
Da Silva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($38 for 250 cases). This wine, with fruit from the Black Sage Bench, was aged 26 months in barrel (50% French, 50% American). It has aromas and flavours of plum, cherry, cassis and spice, with supple, ripe tannins. 91.
Da Silva Cabernet Franc 2017 ($40 for 197 cases). This wine was aged 36 months in barrel (50% French, 50% American). The wine begins with a toasty aroma of red peppers and cherries. On the palate, there is delicious ripe red fruit. 91.
Da Silva Vinho Branco 2020 ($24 for 272 cases). In the Portuguese tradition, this wine is a field blend of four varietals: Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pearl of Csaba and Chardonnay. The juice was cold settled and cold fermented in stainless steel and left on the fine lees for four months. The wine has aromas and flavours of honeydew melon, citrus and stone fruit. Bright acidity gives the wine a crisp finish. My experience with this wine suggests it benefits from being decanted. 90.
Da Silva Vinho Tinto 2017 ($28 for 272 cases). In the Portuguese tradition, this wine is a field blend of five varietals: Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The wine is intriguingly rustic; deeply flavoured with notes of plum, cherry and spice. The finish lingers. 90.
Da Silva Legado Series Merlot 2012 ($110 for 98 cases). This wine was aged 26 months in French and American oak. It is a densely textured, concentrated red that benefits from decanting. It has aromas of cassis and licorice, leading to flavours of dark fruit mingled with vanilla. 92.
Da Silva Legado Series Chardonnay 2016 ($50 for 98 cases). This was fermented in stainless steel and aged 24 months in French oak barrels. The wine has a golden hue. The aroma is still fresh and vibrant, with notes of butter and Mandarin orange. The palate is rich, with flavours of orange, butter, almond and vanilla, with the oak flavours very much in check. This is an elegant wine with a lingering finish. 92.
Da Silva Legado Series Pinot Noir 2018 ($60 for 100 cases). Fruit from two Penticton area vineyards was fermented in open top fermenters and aged 24 months in medium-toast barrels (50% French, 50% Hungarian). The most exceptional barrels from that vintage were selected for this premium Pinot Noir. It begins with intense floral aromas. On the palate, there are savoury flavours of cherry and spice. 92.