Autumn wines hit the shelves
lenty of autumn-release British Columbian wines continue to make the trip from country to city, filling up local wine-store shelves. I’ve waded through many of them and, well, slogged through others, but a particular quartet of labels has stayed top of mind.
Shall we start with some bubbles?
BENCH 1775 BRUT ROSÉ N.V. (Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $21.90,
Not knowing too much about this wine before popping the cork, my initial instinct once giving it the ol’ swirl, sniff, and sip was that it was made in the traditional method. The Champagne-style way of making sparkling wine where the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle—giving the wine close contact with the lees, or spent yeast—is what gives fine sparklings those lovely fresh-baked-bread aromatics and an elegant, creamy mouthfeel. Although those traits are hallmarks of that winemaking style, they can also be expressed, generally to a lesser degree, when the wine goes through that second fermentation using the Charmat, or tank, method. When that second ferment occurs in the bottle, the juice is in much more close contact with those lees, most often spending more time there than it would in a large Charmat tank. This wine exhibits an abundance of lees character (and that’s what duped me), so we’re pretty much getting the best attributes of a Champagne-style wine but made in a different method. The best part is that it’s only setting us back 22 bucks.
Actually, I digress.
The best part is that this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir offers rose petals, nougat, and sourdough character on the nose, then a bounty of fresh Honeycrisp apple, grilled peaches, and muddled lemon on the palate. It’s woven together quite well and will be an easy pairing for creamy pastas, grilled fish, spring rolls, and much more.