What’s in a name? Well, if you’re Okanagan Falls winery Blasted Church Vineyards, it’s 80+ years of area history.
In 1929, a crew was sent to dismantle an old church at a nearby abandoned mine; a small amount of dynamite was used to loosen nails on the building, which (amazingly) survived mostly intact. The 120-year-old church now looks out over the vineyards of Blasted Church, which was established in 2002 by ex-Vancouverites Evelyn and Chris Campbell.
Winemakers Elaine Vickers and Mark Wendenberg have created wines with great depth that are still a lot of fun – a fact reflected in both the names and labels of the wines. The Storytelling series have been given an award-winning look whose pedigree and acclaim are reflected in the single varieties and blends inside the bottle.
Take the 2013 Hatfield’s Fuse, for example. It’s a blend of (deep breath) Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Riseling, Optima, and Ehrenfelser (and... exhale). All the aromatic grapes in this kitchen-sink white bring plenty of intense floral and spice notes to the tropical-fruit core of the Hatfield’s Fuse. It is almost quite literally an explosive wine – the flavours certainly pop on the palate.
Another gem from the Storytelling series is the 2013 Big Bang Theory (catching the explosive theme here?), a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Lemberger, and Pinot Noir. It’s a juicy, fruit-forward, medium-plus bodied red that offers up plenty of black fruit notes with some modest tannin and a splash of acidity that adds structure.
Blasted Church’s upper-tier wines, the Revered series, tip the hat to higher powers with their fun labels and names, yet bring some pretty serious winemaking to the table.
If you like bubbly, Blasted Church’s 2011 OMG sparkling wine may just make you take you-know-who’s name in vain. This Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Blanc blend is racy and focused, with just a hint of colour from the Pinot Noir grapes and plenty of crunchy apple, bread dough, and pear notes on the crisp, chalky, light-bodied palate.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.