It’s been a minute since we’ve visited beautiful British Columbia, and we’re still reflecting on the sparkling insights we brought back with us on our last trip in 2018.
Reflecting on Blue Mountain Winery’s Bubbles
When we think of pioneers in British Columbia (BC) sparkling wine, top of mind is Blue Mountain Winery, which was one of the first wineries to craft traditional method bubbles on Canada’s west coast in the late 1980’s.
On our 2018 trip, we had the pleasure of visiting Blue Mountain and tasting with Christie Mavety, who grew up on the estate, and who joined the winery formally as part of the sales and marketing team. Christie shared her journey with us, and we sampled a selection of the Blue Mountain portfolio while taking in the incredible views of their South Okanagan site.
Irrigated vineyards set among steeply and gently sloping hills, benefitting from the moderating effects of Lake Okanagan and an iconic view of a (if not ‘the‘) Blue Mountain added a sense of place to the tasting.
And speaking of tasting, Christie was kind enough to pull out a selection of their sparkling wines – the Brut, Brut Rosé and Brut Reserve – which were mostly sold out at the time. This solid portfolio set a standard in our mind, and a good portion of the haul that we brought back home was from this beautiful winery.
Fast forward to 2021, and the fresh Okanagan breeze and Blue Mountain bubbles are all but a memory (as we may have enjoyed our haul sooner than anticipated). We hope to visit again when it’s safe to do so, but for now… we’ll stick to some great memories, photos and thankfully, the wine! Luckily for us, Blue Mountain shared their new release of sparkling wines with us and we could not be more pleased that their Brut Rosé (2016 Vintage), the Blanc de Blancs and Brut Reserve (both from the 2012 vintage) are back! So let’s get tasting, shall we?
2016 Brut Rosé
Hailing from the Okanagan Valley appellation, this Brut Rosé is made in the traditional method primarily from Pinot Noir (65%) and Chardonnay (33%). It is aged sur lie for 30 months and was disgorged in August 2019 (and left to rest for another year). The dosage is slightly higher than the Gold Label Brut, but still within the Brut category at 10 g/L of residual sugar. In the glass, the 2016 Brut Rosé sparkles with a beautifully pale pink hue. On the nose, we perceived wild field berry notes, together with hints of brioche (or strawberry tartlet, when thought of together). We found the wine to be medium bodied, creamy, finessed, and well balanced – with vibrant acidity! The fruit-forward of previous vintages remains, and enjoying a glass of the 2016 Brut Rosé took us back to tasting while overlooking the beautiful southern Okanagan. This one will surely be perfect for the spring ahead, Easter, Mother’s Day or… every day in between. The wine is available online from Blue Mountain Winery directly at $39.90 / bottle.
2012 Blanc de Blancs
The 2012 Blanc de Blancs is made from 100% Chardonnay, and aged sur lie for an impressive 6.5 years. Vintage years can often seem nebulous for us unless we reflect on our life experiences: we bought a house, we had iPhone 4’s, we got engaged and Instagram was only an infant. In all seriousness, that is a lengthy period of time and speaks to the power and character of BC Chardonnay to deliver cuvees of exceptional quality. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as you haven’t read the notes yet. Like the Brut Rosé, this wine was disgorged in August 2019 and left to rest for an additional 12 months prior to release. In the glass, the 2012 Blanc de Blancs shines: pale gold, like rays of sunshine skirting the Blue Mountain that gives this winery its name (maybe we’re being a bit romantic here). On the nose and palate, we found the wine to express classic hallmarks of Blanc de Blancs: lemon, rich toasty notes and fresh, sliced apple. The acidity is electric, and the profile is mouth watering. We couldn’t wait to taste it again; once to verify the conclusions of our sensory evaluation, and twice for sheer pleasure.
The wine is available online from Blue Mountain Winery directly at $49.90 / bottle.
2012 Brut Reserve
The previous release of Blue Mountain’s Brut Reserve was hands down our favourite sparkling wine that we had the pleasure of tasting on our 2018 visit (though we must admit, it had plenty of competition). Complex, rich with tertiary character, elegant and with a still vibrant, zippy acidity, it was a powerful wine best enjoyed with food (or also in a hot tub at Revelsoke in the off season). But in all seriousness, this wine expressed why sparkling wine should and could be the country’s defining style: we make it so elegantly across Canada! And so, how did we find the 2012 Brut Reserve? Well, it is a lovely successor and lived up to our memories of the wine!
Made from a blend of Chardonnay (65%) and Pinot Noir (35%), the wine spent 6.5 years sur lie before being disgorged in August 2019 and readied for market with another year of rest in bottle. At 4 g/L in residual sugar, it’s brut in style (and nearly brut nature!). In the glass, this wine showed its elegance: a deeper gold hue (when compared to its cousin, the Blanc de Blancs). And on the nose and palate: as powerful as we remembered with plenty of toast, lemon curd, golden apple, but also with an underpinning of dried, red fruit. We couldn’t agree on what we were getting: tart craisins? candied fruit destined for cannoli? We didn’t remember the fruit profile from previous vintages, but we enjoyed it very much in the context of this release, and started to think high end panettone would sum things up nicely. Rich, decadent, yeasty, touch of candied fruit and definitely savoury. The tertiary, nutty and honeyed notes were there as well, with a long finish of pithy grapefruit. A powerful wine destined for food (and, if you’re up for it, a dip in the hot tub with a Rocky Mountain view; or in our case, the fire pit in the backyard with Toronto skyscrapers as the backdrop). The wine is available online from Blue Mountain Winery directly at $49.90 / bottle.
Where to Purchase
As we mentioned above, you can purchase Blue Mountain’s sparkling wines directly from the winery here and shipping is complementary (with coupon code 2021THANKYOU) on an order of 12 bottles or more.
We also note that the Blue Mountain Brut is available in limited quantities via Vintages at the LCBO at a very reasonable $34.95.