Next up in My Wine Canada’s Wine of the Month Club is British Columbia’s Clos du Soleil winery, nestled in the Similkameen Valley. If you choose the ‘Wine Expert’ package, you’ll get three of their wines delivered to your door and, among other perks, custom wine notes on the wines you’re receiving from one of the website’s writers – in this case, from me!
I bring this up, because in writing these notes a couple weeks back, it allowed me to catch up with Clos du Soleil’s latest offerings – definitely a perk of the job! For those unfamiliar, Clos du Soleil began when Spencer Massie and a handful of colleagues purchased 10-acres of prime Similkameen land in 2005, and planted it with all seven major Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) the following year. Working with renowned B.C. and Ontario consulting winemaker Ann Sperling, Massie and his team have been shaping the winery with increased focus on quality terroir expression over the last ten years, and I’d argue the wines have never been better than what’s currently on offer. The fairly recent addition of winemaker and managing director Michael Clark, who gained experience through UC Davis along with winemaking stints in Bordeaux and Switzerland, has catapulted them to recognition as one of British Columbia’s top-tier wineries, and their growing commitment to biodynamic practices over the last few years ensures they’re well-suited to crafting wines that offer the epitome of the Similkameen in each glass. Purity of fruit from the long, hot and sunny days, natural buoyant acidity resulting from those cool, cool nights, and sparkling minerality from limestone-rich soils are evident with each of their offerings.
Let’s face it; it’s not often that Pinot Blanc, an often – er – humble variety, can stop you in your tracks and totally wow you. When I was going through some of their wines for the Wine Club notes, I’d had a couple sips of the 2014 Grower’s Series Pinot Blanc from their Middle Bench Vineyard and was absolutely floored by the quality and outright deliciousness. In fact, within minutes I’d texted Rhys Pender, a friend of mine and co-proprietor of Clos du Soleil’s neighbouring Little Farm Winery (also a My Wine Canada partner). Transcribed directly from my iPhone, here’s what I had tapped out:
Doing some notes on Clos du Soleil’s latest releases. The 2014 Middle Bench Vineyard Pinot Blanc is the best B.C. Pinot Blanc I’ve ever had. Blown away. Gonna shout from the hills about this one.
So, I guess you can consider this post as some of that shouting. As I went through the wines, I was consistently charmed. The 2014 Rosé made from Cabernet Sauvignon, is serious and sturdy with currants, cherries, sage and orange zest. Their 2013 Cabernet Merlot is chock-full of dark chocolate, espresso, brambly berry fruit, cherries and a drop of bourbon. I could go on, and on, and on – but the gist of it all is the same:
The wines are well-made, they’re super tasty, and if you haven’t - you really should try them.
(And if you’re interested in joining the Wine Club, you can sign up right here.)
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.