Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Ganton & Larson Surprise

For the most part, I usually open and finish off a bottle before I do any research on it and proceed to write up the blog entry. I'm finding that, sometimes, I wish I'd done my homework and discovered these informational tidbits before the bottle's been consigned to the recycle bin.

Case in point. Boo and I finished off this bottle with dinner and it's only now that I find out that it was actually named Unoaked Chardonnay of the Year at the 2007 Canadian Wine Awards. I don't know that having known this fact in advance would have changed the taste profile or our enjoyment of the wine, but I think I'd look a little more thoroughly into the characteristics of the wine to try and identify what the judges might have revelled in so much.

Too late now. We simply sat back and enjoyed it with our sablefish and polished off the bottle in front of the TV. I don't think it jumped out of the glass enough for me to say, "hey there's something special about this wine." Then again, I'm not a huge Chardonnay fan either.

394. 2006 Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery - Townsend Jack Unoaked Chardonnay (VQA Okanagan Valley)

The fact that this wine was the Unoaked Chardonnay of the Year maybe shouldn't come as such a surprise on further discovery.

Perhaps the most storied Okanagan Chardonnay in BC's relatively young history in the wine business was likely the Mission Hill 1992 Chardonnay that won the Avery Trophy as Best Chardonnay in the world at the London International Wine & Spirits Competition. Many point to that trophy as being the first serious wine award won by a Canadian wine at an international competition.

To make a long story short, Ganton & Larson Prospect Winery is really a re-branding of Mission Hill's Five Vineyards series of wines. You won't find any mention of Mission Hill on the label at all, but Mission Hill owns Artisan Wines and they, in turn, produce Ganton & Larson. G&L is being marketed as a value priced line and, at under $20, it leaves the actual Mission Hill brand to concentrate on the higher-end select lot and premium blended wines.

The additional tie to that 1992 Chardonnay is that G&L's winemaker, Wade Stark, studied and honed his winemaking skills under the tutelage of John Simes, Mission Hill's head winemaker and the man behind the 1992 winner.

With the same corporate structure, same access to grapes and a common sharing of winemaking skills, why shouldn't such a pedigree lead to the ability to produce wines of note?

I suppose I just need to know a bit of this information before all the wine is gone from the glass.

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