The Okanagan Crushpad who make Haywire wines almost evangelical about expressing and revealing the distinctive, herbal fruit of the valley. And few grapes are better for this than Sauvignon Blanc. Zippy, fresh, citrus fruit, fermented and aged in concrete to leave exposed the essence of the land. This needs something like citrus salmon, fattoush or fish with cool, green herbs.
This is the sort of wine that makes people realise Canada is playing with the big boys now. Rich, complex, multi-dimensional wine that lingers on the palate. It’s a new world-style Chardonnay with baked pastry and spice over fleshy fruit. But seamless in the glass. Turbot, Halibut or Monkfish are the perfect matches while in time it will become more complex and is clearly meant to become a benchmark for the region’s top wines.
Canada’s most famous wine style is also one of its rarest wines. Mostly because of the punishingly difficult challenge of harvesting wines in the dead of night in the bitter cold. The berries are pressed while frozen leaving the skins and (water) ice behind, just eking out dribbles of sweet nectar. So we enjoy a sweet wine layered with marmalade and quince, with a tang of zest. Extraordinary with citrus puddings.
Named after the owls that burrow in Prairie Dog holes, this is the kind of Chardonnay that gets you excited about Canada. And we’re excited. The 2014 was a ripe, nectarine-scented vintage, while others have had more cool-climate restraint. It’s made using all the classic techniques of barrel-fermentation and gentle handling and it shows. Put Canada – East and West Coast – on your drinking “to do list” this year.