Thursday, December 4, 2014


One thing I've learned as one of the newer members of the BC Wine Appreciation Society's Executive is that the executive meetings are veritable tastings in themselves. Each of the exec members brings along a bottle for sampling during the session. Needless to say, some of the meetings take a little longer than they might have were there no wine being poured.

I'm only four meetings into the Executive but I've been surprised by a number of the bottles that have been shared - one of the bottles opened tonight was particularly interesting to me.

1808.  2010 Saxon Estate VIP Fortified (Okanagan Valley)

I'm a big fan of Ports, stickies and fortified. So, I was more than happy to see the cork pulled on this one.

I can't say that I can recall ever trying a Saxon Estate wine before. I've seen a few of their labels on bottle shop shelves but I don't think I've ever had any in my glass - fortified or not.

Saxon is apparently a new incarnation of one of the wineries, Hollywood and Vines, that popped up in the Summerland area in 2007. The current owners, Paul and Jayne Graydon, purchased the winery in 2012 and rebranded it as Saxon.

One of the more interesting facts about them is that they inherited some Léon Millot vines, the grapes from which are used to make a Rosé, a varietal wine and used in some of the winery's blends. Boo and I first encountered the Léon Millot grape while visiting some Nova Scotia wineries a few years back. At the time, we wondered why the variety hadn't made any headway in Vancouver Island or the Gulf Island wineries. We thought the Maritimes climate would be quite similar to our growing season on the West Coast. While we seen a small number of wineries on the coast give the grape a try, it's funny that an Okanagan winery is one of the pioneers.

It doesn't appear that the Léon Millot was used in this Fortified however. I couldn't find out a lot of information about the wine but I did see that it's made from Pinot Noir - which I wouldn't think is the most common of grapes to be used for a fortified wine.

While the wine was pleasant enough with some cheese and a de nada tart, I found it to be a little uncomplicated and thin. I note that the vintage was from a year under the previous owners' tutorship. As such, the base wine was likely inherited by the Graydons and I shouldn't think that they would have played a  role in laying the groundwork for the wine. It might be interesting to see how a newer vintage would compare. I haven't seen any reference to a more recent vintage though. I don't know if they plan to make the wine on a regular basis.

If the Saxon Fortified is a one-off kind of bottle, I'll have to be all the more thankful for having had the chance to try it at the exec meeting. I'm thinking I could definitely get used to these gatherings.

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