One of the reasons that I entered the wine business was the opportunity that it would provide to “see the world”. In the past 30 years I have been blessed in that I have visited most of the important grape-growing regions on the planet: Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, California, Oregon and of course vineyards scattered throughout Europe. There are many spectacularly beautiful places on Earth that just happen to also grow grapes – anyone that has been to Stellenbosch in South Africa or the South Island of New Zealand will immediately understand this comment.
So, it was with delight that my wife and I travelled to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia this past October. I had been in Kelowna as a child on a family vacation in 1966; it seems to have changed somewhat. If you have not visited, the Okanagan is a narrow valley that runs in a north/south direction. Vineyard plantings effectively start in Kelowna and extend south as far as the border with the United States. White wines predominate in northern vineyards with reds increasingly important as you proceed south (and temperatures rise).
Howard Soon is the amiable and exceptionally talented winemaker at Sandhill. I had an opportunity to taste through the entire range of Sandhill Wines with Howard, including the coveted Small Lots offerings. All Sandhill Wines are vineyard designated as the concept of terroir is taken very seriously.
On offer this week is the 2013 Sandhill Syrah. The wine comes from grapes grown in the Vanessa Vineyard located in the beautiful Similkameen Valley about a half hour drive from Osoyoos. As the winemaker notes: “The reds at Vanessa Vineyard grow in rows blasted out of the rock. The 2013 vintage was warmer than the last few years. At Vanessa, masses of rock nestled at the foot of the vines, retains heat well into the night. This gives us richer fruit flavours with ripe tannins unique to the terroir of this vineyard”.
The 2013 Sandhill Syrah is available for immediate delivery. While British Columbia is making world-class wines we rarely get the opportunity in Ontario to taste them. This is due historically to restrictive interprovincial trade practices as well as production realities – not enough wine is made to satisfy the ever-growing demand. This then is a excellent opportunity to sample the quality level of red wines coming from British Columbia. To order, simply e-mail or call 416-463-4677.