This is “POP or FLOP”, where we taste test sparkling wines so you don’t have to! (Tough job, we know! 😉) We're big fans of, and advocates for, Canadian wine... and this week we've got a real special treat! 😍 This 2014 Blanc de Noir from Tantalus (out in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia) travelled across the country and has landed in our flutes! It's a classic Traditional Method Pinot Noir based sparkling wine, made with grapes hand-picked from a single block in their vineyard! So, is this Canadian sparkler a bottle of bubbles you should POP? 💁 Or is it a FLOP? 🙅 Let’s see shall we…
This past year, we've had the opportunity to visit and experience many amazing wineries here in Ontario and out east in Nova Scotia. And it's pretty clear that the "Explosion of Canadian Fizz" is a big deal, as Canadian winemakers are certainly onto something special with their world class sparkling wines! We’ve yet to make it out to British Columbia to experience the Pacific side of Canada’s budding sparkling wine scene, but luckily for us we’re about to take a journey to beautiful Kelowna... with our olfactory system and taste buds, that is! Taking us there is Tantalus Vineyards. Focused on producing wines from single vineyards, Tantalus has captured our hearts and minds with a very pacific, err... specific sense of terroir. 😜 Fun fact: the vineyards were planted way back in 1927 and Tantalus is known as the oldest continuously producing vineyard in British Columbia! Pretty cool, eh?
Their Traditional Method 2014 Blanc de Noir was produced using hand-picked fruit from a single block of Pinot Noir (Clone 93, from their 1985 plantings to be exact) and spent 6 months in neutral oak barrels before secondary fermentation and two years on the lees. Disgorged this past spring, we couldn’t help but notice it’s liveliness: in aromatics, colour and effervescence. Like a refreshing west coast breeze, this sparkling just lifts us up. Ok, ok. Back to the review! 😆
- Beautiful rose golden colour, with the most mesmerizing and delicate effervescence. It almost appeared as though it was moving in slow motion! So elegant, with a magnificently frothy mousse... now this is a wine we would have fun sabering! 😜⚔️
- On the nose we were drawn in by vibrant and complex aromas of strawberry tartlet, sour cherry, cranberry, pink grapefruit, mandarin orange, almond, lemon brioche and a subtle minerality.
- The palate was bursting with red berry fruit (strawberry, cherry, red currant), crisp red delicious apple and mandarin orange, complimented by a the perfect amount of toastiness (think a savoury berry tart or fresh baked berry pie). A wonderful marriage between fresh and vibrant, and rich and complex. Sublimely elegant! 😍
Food Pairing 🍽
- We'd love this wine at lunch with a spinach salad full of fresh strawberry, candied walnuts, roast chicken and goats cheese. Or at dinner with grilled pork chops and a peach or caramelized onion chutney. Or own it's own after dinner, but the fireside... with a second glass! 😉
The Verdict? 💁
- It’s … a POP! We've been itching to get our hands on some BC Bubbly for a while now, and to be completely honest... we were totally blown away by the Tantalus Blanc de Noir. It can be difficult to find a sparkling wine that can be both fresh and vibrant, yet still super rich and complex with a lovely autolytic character... and Tantalus knocked it out of the park for us. This wine is ultimate crowd pleaser, would pair wonderfully with almost any dish, and will definitely have your guests asking for a refill. Just don't give it all away! Make sure to hide a couple bottles in your cellar for yourself! 😜
The Blanc de Noir isn't the only sparkling in Tantalus' portfolio! Its sibling, the 2014 Old Vines Riesling Brut, is a super unique BC treat, and a wonderful example of the diversity and excited things happening in the Canadian sparkling wine scene. Now for some good news and some bad news... let's start with the bad news: Unfortunately both are sold out at the moment. But good news... new vintages will be released this spring! 😍🙏 So keep your eyes peeled on Tantalus' social media, because you seriously don't wanna miss out on these amazing wines! 🇨🇦❤️