Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fairview Cellars & A New Century Mark

With all the changes that have occurred in BC winemaking over the last decade, it's not that surprising that there isn't necessarily all that known about a good percentage of the current wineries in the province. A few of those wineries have garnered a bit of a reputation and/or persona though and, IMHO, Fairview Cellars is one of them.

Not a lot of wine is produced by Fairview and its owner and winemaker, Bill Eggert. I've seen a few notes put the number at between 2000 and 3000 cases a year. For the most part, all that wine is red - and pretty big reds at that. The vast majority of his wines involve Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc - those being the varietals that he first planted in his vineyard in 1993, after he'd bought the property just off the Fairview Mountain Golf Course on the Golden Mile in the Southern Okanagan.

I'll just always remember that on one of my first trips up to the Okanagan, a couple of the wineries I visited said that I should drop in at Fairview. One of the other wineries even went so far as to say that they felt that Mr. Eggert is "a winemaker's winemaker." I'm sure he's been called a number of other things over the years. In fact, after having been referred to as a "madcap winemaker" in a newspaper article, he renamed one of his wines "Madcap Red."

Despite having travelled the Golden Mile a number of times, I've never actually made it to Fairview Cellars. Not that I haven't tried on a couple of occasions. Not known for any big directional signs, you pretty much have to know exactly where you're going if you want to find the winery. I obviously haven't known. Mr. Eggert apparently likes it that way. I don't know if he likes that I, personally, couldn't find his place or just that he's generally just too busy in the vineyard working to have time to greet a lot of guests to a tasting room.

The wines are known to be worth the effort to find however.

400. 2003 Fairview Cellars Cabernet Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I've had this bottle in our "cellar" for at least couple of years now and I couldn't find the breakdown of the blend. The label, however, confirms that both Cabernets, Sauvignon and Franc, are blended with the Merlot.

As with most Fairview Cellars wines that I've tried over the years, I found this to be an extracted wine with lots of heft and finish. The label referred to it as "medium-bodied," but I don't know of too many BC wineries that can regularly offer up this much ripeness on their Cab-based wines.

I pulled this wine out for dinner without realizing that it would be taking a rather auspicious number on The List. Having reached number 400 (of the 2001 that I need), I'm rather pleased with the choice.

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