Au­tumn wines hit the shelves

The Georgia Straight - - Drink - By

PKur­tis Kolt

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.

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