BC Wines have only recently received the kinds of accolades they deserve. That being said - perhaps they deserve more. Rarely will you find them reviewed by the likes of Wine Spectator or any of the big publications. I am sure they have their rules etc, but really, BC produces pound for pound some amazing wines!
In Osoyoos, there are so many other fantastic areas - to be looked at another time, two fantastic wineries are Twisted Tree Vineyards and Young and Wyse Winery. Both are relatively new in the big scheme of things. That being said, Twisted Tree has been around for longer than Young and Wyse. Both wineries have thieir own stories - interesting at that.
Let's start at Twisted Tree. Chris and Beata Tolley are Calgarians. Beata is a CA working away in the corporate world and Chris a Computer Engineer. A few years ago they decided they had had enough of the rat race and the cutthroat Calgary world. They were DINKS and enjoying their lives. They found a small fruit farm in Osoyoos and took the plunge to buy it. Chris of course along the way had earned his designation as a sommelier and had indicated his interest in wine long before. At this point the two of them decided to jump the corporate ship and see where they could get in the wine industry. They decided to attend wine university if New Zealand to see what they could learn. They spent time not only learinng about how to make great wine, what to do to make it happen and make the grapes grow perfectly/ They toured fantastic Australian and New Zealand wineries to learn about the growing techniques and winemaking techniques and sent back a number of bottles to start their wine craft business!
They returned to Osyoss to begin a life there, carving out vines as they removed fruit trees. They aimed to grow grapes that otherwise could not be found in many BC vineyards. They planted some Marsanne, Rousanne, Tannat, Tempranillo, Carmenere and more. They wanted to show that the Osoyoos heat could withstand the different grapes, many common to the South American weather.
They began with many grapes bought from local farmers and created some good wines to start, but as their vines matured and they began to harvest more of their own they began to create wines incrementally better. In fact definitely yummy!
If you have tasted their 2007 Tannat, self proclaimed by Chris as the winemaker as perhaps one of his best wines ever produced you will understand the complexity of the wines they make. They recently began their second label called appropriately 2nd Crossing. You are probably thinking where can I get some, I have not seen it in the stores? You have not seen it, because it has already sold out. More to come in the new year, not to worry. The 2nd label was in no way 2nd rate, in fact it was on the whole a great wine in both the red and white form!
So what should you try - well in all honesty, I cannot think of a bad wine I have had from Twisted Tree. My favourites are the 2007 and 2008 Tannat, the Six Vines, a bordeaux type blend, the Viognier Rousanne, the 2nd Crossing red, and their Merlot. That being said, I have not yet been steered in the wrong direction when it comes to Twisted Tree. Get one, get a few and your palate will thank you.
So the really new winery is Young and Wyse. I spent an hour or so with Michelle Young last summer, and thoroughly enjoyed running through the gammut of wines that they produce. Stephen Wyse is the original winemaker at Burrowing Owl, remember those amazing wines they produced a few years ago? His mom is Midge Wyse, who owns Burrowing Owl and he has created his own operation, producing some amazing wines. I am constantly amazed by the Merlot, the Shiraz and by their newly released blend.
Really for the pricepoint it is hard to come up yith a pound for pound better wine in BC. Most of these wines are under $20 and they are excellent. Stephen is the self proclaimed black sheep of the Wyse family and so natuarlly appears on the label of the wine with a black sheep logo over the wording in the logo area.
This couple as well is producing some great red wine in the hot hot Osoyoos gardening area. Both wines bear tasting - run out and grab a bottle and let us know how they go down!