Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Star for the Gulf Islands

Here we are down to the final ten wines before we reach the titular 2001st bottle. To kick off these "last" wines, I'm going to the Gulf Islands and to Sea Star - a new(ish) venture of owner, David Goudge, and winemaker, Ian Baker. I was excited to see that Sea Star's initial vintage from 2013 was as well received as it was. The winery entered the 2014 Northwest Wine Summit competition and came away with two gold medals, a silver medal and a "Winery of Distinction" accolade as one of only 16 wineries to win two gold medals.

Some of my initial attraction to Sea Star stems from the fact that, off and on, I've known David for many a year, crossing paths at various community and fundraising events and even the odd party or so. To see an acquaintance "burst" onto the local wine is great thrill.

The fact that the winery is located on Pender Island was equally exciting because it means we might be able to fit in a visit every so often seeing as how Axel and The English Doc have set up house not far from the Sea Star's home vineyard. Indeed, spending Thanksgiving with the boys last year was how we managed to pick up some Sea Star wines. The winery was virtually sold out of its initial vintage but David managed to find a couple of wines for us to buy.

1991.  2013 Sea Star Stella Maris (Gulf Islands)

It's not much of a surprise that the bulk of Sea Star's limited production is white wine. Pender Island is a cool, coastal climate and - until the warming effects of global climate change have run their full course - there won't be much in the way of big, international reds. Indeed, "coastal" is as apt a descriptor as you'll find. As far as David knew at the time of our visit, Sea Star is the only winery in Canada where the vineyard actually runs down to and touches the ocean. The winery has sections of Pinot Noir planted in the warmest parts of the vineyard but the first vintage of a varietal Pinot Noir is still some time away as the vines were still maturing to a point where the fruit is deemed good enough to result in a fully representative Pinot.

Stella Maris, which is Latin for "Star of the Sea," is a blend of Gewürztraminer and (that young) Pinot Noir "with a splash of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Ortega and Schönberger" (as the winery describes the wine). Nicely dry but with plenty of tree fruit and a bit of spice, it's a wine that easily disappears from your glass and matches nicely to full array of foods.

With the "final" bottle of this Odyssey so quickly approaching, I have no idea about where the blog might head or what might be in store. I am, however, sure that I'll be making effort to pay another - and longer - visit to Sea Star.

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