Tequila-lime shrimp big on flavour

Vancouver Sun - - YOU - AN­THONY GISMONDI

Bri­tish Columbia wines took on the world late last month at the fourth an­nual Judg­ment of BC.

The dou­ble-blind tast­ing, hosted by the BC Wine In­sti­tute, and cu­rated by Van­cou­ver-based wine ed­u­ca­tor DJ Kearney, pits 12 ac­knowl­edged global bench­mark wines against a dozen B.C. la­bels. This year’s tast­ing was held in Kelowna in­volv­ing 37 in­ter­na­tional and na­tional judges asked to taste and rank all 24 wines.

The 2018 themes fea­tured tra­di­tional method sparkling wine and Bordeaux-style red blends.

Each cat­e­gory con­tained six B.C. la­bels and six in­ter­na­tional se­lec­tions. The re­sults, as al­ways, are in­ter­est­ing al­though in some ways in­creas­ingly pre­dictable. Once you strip away the his­tory and mar­ket­ing heft of the fa­mous re­gions you need only deal with what’s in the glass, and in 2018, B.C.’s best wines like other emerg­ing re­gions, are not all that far from the moun­tain­top.

In­ter­est­ingly, the cat­e­gory we ex­celled in this year was red Bordeaux blends.

Not to be too picky but hands up if you know what that means, es­pe­cially if you haven’t taken a pricey wine cer­ti­fi­ca­tion course in the last decade.

The ti­tle refers to the way Bordeaux red blends are made, namely with vary­ing amounts of caber­net sau­vi­gnon, caber­net franc, mer­lot, mal­bec, pe­tit ver­dot, car­menère and a few other ob­scure grapes with deep roots in the Bordeaux re­gion. OK so how did we do?

The good news is B.C. took the top two spots among red blends. Po­plar Grove Win­ery 2014 The Legacy ranked first while Laugh­ing Stock Vine­yards 2015 Port­fo­lio fin­ished a close sec­ond. “The fact that two B.C. wines topped the red blends chal­lenge was a true tes­ta­ment to our dis­tinct

We are guess­ing rich­ness in com­bi­na­tion with fresh­ness, and pu­rity of fruit, was a big part of their at­trac­tion to the panel.

The sparkling wine com­pe­ti­tion was even more in­ter­est­ing. First place went to a peren­nial Cal­i­for­nia favourite, Roed­erer Es­tate An­der­son Val­ley Brut NV $46.99. The of­ten-ma­ligned Cham­pagne Veuve Clic­quot Brut NV $69.99 proved its met­tle in the blind set­ting, as did the splen­did Cham­pagne Pierre Pail­lard Les Par­celles Bouzy Grand Cru Ex­tra Brut XIII France $67.99.

Four, five and sixth place went to B.C. bub­ble be­gin­ning with the bar­gain-priced, Blue Moun­tain Vine­yard & Cel­lars Blanc de Blancs R.D. 2010 $39.90 fol­lowed by Noble Ridge Vine­yard & Win­ery The One 2012 $47.90, while 6th over­all went to the Sper­ling Vine­yards Brut Re­serve 2011 $50.

Those who know B.C. wine will not be sur­prised by the sparkling wine show­ing but it’s al­ways good to go head to head to see how we mea­sure up. Our po­si­tion at 49 de­grees north can only help us ex­ploit the sparkling wine mar­ket mov­ing for­ward as the more tra­di­tional re­gions strug­gle with warmer and warmer vin­tages.

In­ter­na­tional judge Chris­tine Austin, Bri­tish wine writer for the York­shire Post said, “It has been the most fas­ci­nat­ing tast­ing, BC Wine can stand up on the world stage with their own char­ac­ter, flavours, per­son­al­ity and hold their head up high against some of the best wines in the world.”

Mas­ter Som­me­lier James Tid­well and co-founder of the TEXSOM Con­fer­ence, said “Bri­tish Columbia is unique due to its cli­mate and ge­ol­ogy in ac­tu­ally be­ing able to pro­duce many grapes and styles at high qual­ity, I look for­ward to the day when th­ese wines are more rec­og­nized in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.”

You can ac­cess the full re­sults on the BCWI web­site here and as al­ways, we en­cour­age you to taste lo­cal wines against in­ter­na­tional wines and see for your­self where we stand.

Gar­licky Shrimp and Tequila, from Now & Again by Ju­lia Tur­shen.

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