Friday, August 19, 2011

Blasted Church Gewurtz

The last wine that I clocked in with was a bit of a study in marketing. Whether Vincor's Open series succeeded or not might be debatable. On the other hand, I don't think there are many that would argue with the success that Blasted Church has experienced. Known for it's cutting edge labels and sense of fun, IMHO they've worked as hard on producing better and better wines - as much as they've worked on the whole marketing end of the business.

I haven't explored the winery's entire website but what I've seen of it is both informative and entertaining. It's easy to find the humour and inventiveness that must abound at the winery.

901. 2009 Blasted Church Gewurztraminer (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Blasted Church has always been known for its colourful cartoon labels. I recall that, when they first appeared on the market around a decade ago, response went all over the map. Many even questioned if the wines were meant to be taken seriously? Still going strong after all these years, the vintages that were released in 2010 were adorned with new labels that are even more cutting edge.

Local wine scribe emeritus, John Schreiner, likens the characters on the labels to avatars. This is the first of the newly labelled bottles that I've tried and I'm prone to saying that I'm on the fence about the new art, but this Gewurztraminer was eminently drinkable - whether I gushed over the label or not.

Being one of the Germanic varietals, BC's climate is well suited to growing Gewurtz and there's a fair bit of it around. I'm not necessarily the varietal's biggest fan - particularly when the floral and perfume-y characteristics of the wine are highlighted or exaggerated. I didn't find that exaggeration at all with this wine though. Indeed, if I hadn't opened it as a Gewurztraminer, I might not have guessed what it was. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

The 2010 releases also saw the winery introduce new eco-friendly bottles that weigh a third less than the bottles used previously. This lighter glass helps with better efficiencies in transportation, handling and resource requirements. Capturing the cheekiness that abounds with Blasted Church, winery owner, Evelyn Campbell, has been quoted as referring to the new bottles and the "significant environmental benefits" as "a godsend."

It's been a few years since I've ventured by the Blasted Church tasting room. It might just be time to try and get there again. I see that they've introduced a few new wines and a premium tier since I was last there. With even more irreverent names like Nothing Sacred Meritage and OMG Sparkling, a visit sooner than later would be a blessing.

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