Monday, July 19, 2010

Fruit Salad in a Glass?

Some BC wines have established themselves a bit of an almost cultish following. Some of them are the big reds, like Black Hills Nota Bene or Blue Mountain Striped Pinot Noir, and are the ones that many drinkers of BC wine think of when looking to score a notable BC wine. Others like tonight's bottle are more unknown to the general wine drinking public but can be just as difficult to find - and be just as worth locating.

536. 2008 CedarCreek Ehrenfelser (VQA Okanagan Valley)

When you think about it, most people won't even know what Ehrenfelser is if you ask them. Even those that know it's a grape varietal might not know that it's a cross between the Riesling and Sylvaner grapes. The Sylvaner is a not so well-known varietal; however, it is early ripening and, as such, helps make the Ehrenfelser particularly suited for BC's shorter growing season.

For years now, CedarCreek has been promoting its Ehrenfelser as "fruit salad in a glass" and, for many of those years, I tended to associate it with an overly aromatic ripe "light weight." They've had years to work on the varietal though as the grapes are grown on some of the oldest vines in the Okanagan. The vines were planted in the Mannhardt Vineyards in 1977 - long before the introduction of Free Trade and the changeover to new varietals in the Okanagan. Furthermore, the praise continues to grow for this wine and it's not an easy wine to find. I figured I'd better grab a bottle when I actually saw one on one of the local shelves.

I'm glad I did because it was far nicer than I'd expected or remembered from earlier tastings. It reminded me a lot more of a balanced Riesling than of an aromatic, Germanic wine and the fruit was hardly over the top. I'd almost expected an off-dry palate but it had a lovely level of acidity to match the tree fruit and citrus.

I'll definitely keep an eye open for it in the future. The fact that I get to add another varietal to my Wine Century Club application is simply a bonus.

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