I’ve long been a fan of Road 13 Vineyards, the South Okanagan winery originally known as Golden Mile Cellars, the moniker of the place when Pam and Mick Luckhurst purchased it in 2003. Along with their son Joe, the Luckhursts have navigated the winery to much commercial and critical success over the last 12 years, Pam and Joe on the operations side, and Mick farming the fruit (that’s him on the tractor on their iconic labels). With current winemaker J-M Bouchard at the helm, Road 13 continues to show that value can come at any price. Sourcing grapes from their home vineyard along with many vineyards from various parts of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, the winery offers a breadth of styles at a good range of price-points. I’m quite excited about the recent news out of the winery that they are about to put a stronger focus on Rhône varieties, particularly Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and of course, Syrah. All of them have the ability to thrive in the South Okanagan’s hot climate and mineral-rich soils, and wines made from those varieties have always been amongst my favourites of theirs.
Like cheap and cheerful? Look to the Honest John’s line of blends, coming in white, pink and red. The White is a charmer, full of aromatic varieties like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Kerner and Bacchus and bursting with citrus and tropical fruit. The Rosé, composed of Syrah, Merlot and Gamay, is stylistically akin to the boisterous pinks coming out of Tavel region, while the Red (Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) is a highly-quaffable ode to red and black berry fruit with a hint of dark chocolate.
If you’re willing to shell out a few more bucks, follow up on those wines made from those Rhône varieties, and see why they’re rightly putting more energy into these categories. The 2012 Syrah is a peppery delight, chock-full of purple fruit and a good, earthy undercurrent, while their 2012 Jackpot VRM (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne) weaves together apricot, nectarine, white flowers and honey with grace.
As an added bonus – if you order a minimum of 6 bottles from Road 13 before July 5th, the shipping’s free! Feel free to mix ‘em up, too – variety’s indeed the spice of life!
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.