How long has it really been?
To taste your grapes and drink your wine
Is getting to be quite divine.
Bad poetry, great wine. I’m not a poet and I’m quite sure that everyone knows it. At least now they do.
What I’d like to know is how many people have tried wine from the Similkameen Valley lately? If you haven’t yet, you are truly missing out. There are some solidly built wines coming from the Similkameen these days. Considering that even 5 years ago there were almost no wines from this valley making it to store shelves, this is probably one of the fastest growing wine regions in BC.
There are lots of vineyards and orchards in “the Sim”. It is a very rural valley with lots of farms of all kinds. There is a noticeable lack of civilization there – no big urban areas, no strip malls, no large parking lots and no traffic lights until Princeton, possibly, although I’m not even sure Princeton has one either.
It from here that Robin Ridge’s Chardonnay comes. For as relaxed a pace as the Similkameen offers, this wine delivers and intensity that almost belies it’s provenance.
I will go on record here to say that I like Chardonnay and always have. It never went out of fashion for me. I like them both oaked and unoaked and love that it can be a lot of different things. Yes, for a while there was a fashion that made some chards into a big bottle of buttered popcorn and that got out of hand but thankfully, we’ve come away from that here in BC at least.
The Robin Ridge Chardonnay still points in that direction with a subtle oak treatment which only intensifies its complexity. It is everything that I look for in a chardonnay.
But wait, there’s more.
It has something different that many BC chardonnay’s don’t have. If you taste it at just the right temperature, it has a mineral note that hides until the finish and writes a little name in scribbled handwriting, as if the Similkameen were adding its signature to the wine’s flavour profile. It’s a signature that’s written on a lot of wines coming out of the Similkameen and it makes wines there distinct, even in these early days of BC wine.
It isn’t only Chardonnay that Robin Ridge makes well. The Robin Ridge Gamay accompanied the turkey-based entrÃ©e created by Chris VanHooydonk, executive chef at the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl, as he won top spot at the Similkameen Barbecue Championship in July 2011. Pinot Noir and Merlot are other wines to try from this winery as well, if you can find them!
Cheers from wine country!