Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Fat Lady Sings! End of Hockey Lock Out Finally Arrives!

After an annoying 113-day lockout, we finally have news that an agreement between the players and the NHL is at hand. We were waiting for the fat lady to sing and it would seem she's come to the stage to belt out her tune. Good thing it was her and NOT Gary Bettman because he'd have been "boo'ed" off whatever stage he wanted to stand on.

In honour of the (shortened) hockey season to come, I looked for something of an "operatic" bottle. The choice was a new wine and a new winery on the scene but I figured Figaro fits that bill.

1342.  2010 Terravista Vineyards - Figaro (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Terravista may be new to BC wine drinkers but the folks behind it should be immediately recognizable to anyone truly familiar with BC wine. Black Hills and its Nota Bene and Alibi wines have been front and centre when it comes to buzz on the BC wine scene ever since Senka and Bob Tennant opened the winery back in 2001. The Tennants sold Black Hills in 2007 and it was with great interest that I saw they had a new presence in the Okanagan.

The Tennants decided to dive back into grape growing and winemaking and relocated from the Black Sage Road to the Naramata Bench. In 2009, they began planting their new four-acre vineyard on the Bench, but they went about it with a whole new view to the region. They started by planting two white Spanish grapes - Albariño and Verdejo - varieties never seen before in the Valley (and quite possibly in the entire country).

Neither of those grapes are found in Figaro though. Terravista's - and Senka's - first release is a blend of classic Rhône grapes: Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne. As their own vines weren't producing yet, the grapes for Figaro were purchased. BC consumers are becoming familiar with homegrown Viognier but there still isn't much in the way of Roussanne or Marsanne being grown in the Valley. Accordingly, there were only 220 cases of Figaro produced.

Senka turned heads when she produced her white blend, Alibi, at Black Hills. A Semillon/Sauv Blanc may be standard in other countries but it was bit of a rarity for BC. I remember an early review of Alibi, however, and the author (John Schreiner, maybe) said he thought it was one of the best white wines ever produced in Canada. Senka appears to be turning some heads again.

Rhône-style white wines aren't necessarily my favourite tasting profile but you can't fault Senka on her actual winemaking. The wine has bright acidity and a stoney-ness to it, all the while keeping a good body and allowing the aromatics to come through.

The Tennants have finished their new winery and it was constructed to blend with the site topography. Word is that, even when their vineyard is in full production, the Tennants only plan to make a maximum of 2000 cases and the winery won't feature a tasting room or wine shop. I've read that they intend to commit their wine to restaurant sales, featured bottle shops and some direct sales.

As such, finding Terravista isn't likely going to always be that easy of a find. Indeed, I'm a little late in finding this bottle. The 2011 vintage has apparently been released - as has a first vintage of the Albariño/Verdejo blend called Fandango.

I can't wait to find a bottle of Fandango to give it a try. That thought is almost as exciting as the start of the hockey season will be.

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