"Demanding diversity in our wines and obtaining it are often two very different stories, especially in the New World.
As the years unfold, British Columbia wineries are finally moving in that direction although it’s not necessarily just about different grapes going into the ground. We see some unique offerings — especially among the white wines with Grüner Veltliner, Roussanne and Marsanne and a few reds like Dolcetto, Grenache, Touriga Nacional and Sangiovese — but the most significant change in diversity is coming from a different direction.
Achieving diversity is more about the blends, new grape clones, and mixing different sites to improve the ultimate complexity of the wine. It’s especially true as we reassess some early vineyard plantings, some of which never should have gone into the ground where they did.
Even when the site was ideal, there were problems with getting virus-free plant material, or the correct rootstock or clone. Post planting the viticulture and trellising are equally as crucial, because each can affect the quality and diversity of the wines.
Research and education have changed so much about what we know nowadays. Planting any grape in B.C. is about being on a suitable site for each variety. That could mean tracking the temperature, and studying a vineyard’s proximity to a lake or mountainside. It could be about altitude, daylight hours, irrigation and more. Alas, knowing more hasn’t necessarily given us all the answers and, in many cases, it has only generated more questions.
Growing wine on great sites is what many would say is the long game. The ultimate result will be a diversity of grapes and wines, but for now we are barely into the first period.
In this fall edition of Salut, we provide an update on where our red wines are heading in the diversity game. Sorting out the significant grapes is underway, and it is already much improved, but there are so many more to be assessed in the coming decades.
Diverse British Columbia reds for fall
Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2017, Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, $39.99
One of the celebrated platinum medal winners at the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, and as diverse as it gets in B.C.
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