I got my hands on a couple British Columbian wines recently, two bottles that weren’t exactly common pours.
We often get the opportunity to compare and contrast local Pinot Noirs, Merlots, Rieslings, and so on, but the two wines in front of me were single-varietal Petit Verdots—definitely outliers when it comes to what we’re used to on the home front.
First up, we have Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2016 ($30.99, online). Proprietors Chris and Beata Tolley are no strangers to homing in on obscure varieties, as glances toward their Arneis, Tempranillo, Dolcetto, and Tannat attest. The fruit for this wine comes from Osoyoos, in the deep south of the Okanagan Valley, where the sandy loam and granite soils are dotted with wild sagebrush and cacti, culminating in a rugged setting for a concentrated, rich, wintery wine.
Aging in French oak, 25 percent of it new, frames mulberries, blueberries, and deep, balsamic flavours, all rich and jammy but tethered to tannins that give great texture and an acid component, bringing a liveliness to the wine. It’s big, and you can feel the purpleness of it seeping into your teeth at the first sip, yet it still glides across the palate, not sinking in too deep.
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