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This column doesn’t often spotlight a specific winery. But occasionally an opportunity presents an interesting perspective worthy of a deep dive. Which is where we find ourselves this week.
Road 13 Vineyards has certainly been around the B.C. wine block. The iconic Okanagan producer was originally founded as Golden Mile Cellars by southern Okanagan grape pioneers Helga and Peter Serwo — complete with a faux, golden castle winery.
In 2008, the winery, under then-owners the Luckhurst family, changed the name to Road 13 Vineyards. A major motivator for the evolution was to facilitate the Golden Mile region establishing its own identity, a feat realized in 2015 when Golden Mile Bench became the province’s first sub-GI (or geographic indication).
Road 13 Honest John’s 2022 Rosé ($18.99 on sale until Oct. 28, No. 357327)
Fast-forward to today, and ongoing ownership changes and initiatives continue to mark the winery’s path.
But one constant has been the winery’s commitment to producing a broad range of bottles. This starts with Road 13’s Honest John line of wines.
Named after John Oliver, B.C.’s 19th premier — and the man largely responsible for establishing the agriculture industry in the southern Okanagan — Honest John’s Rosé is bright and fruity, throwing aromas of red berry and citrus pith, with a fresh and approachable style overall that screams to be paired with the season’s final meals off the grill.
Bottom line: B, fresh, fun and easygoing.
Road 13 Select Harvest 2022 Chenin Blanc ($28, available through the winery)
Earlier this year, Road 13 debuted their Select Harvest line of wines. Comprised of five different bottles, Select Harvest is intended to present the winery’s “authentic expression of our land, our hands and most importantly, our passion.”
Chenin Blanc had to be a shoo-in, as the winery has some of the Okanagan’s oldest plantings of this expressive vine. Indeed, this hand-harvested, whole cluster pressed white is deliciously gregarious, with lemon and pear vibes backed by some mineral tones and evident acidity. A clean and crisp finish concludes affairs; all-in-all this is an engaging white ready to pair with fish or seafood.
Bottom line: B+, lip-smacking Chenin.
Road 13 John Oliver Selection 2020 Syrah ($80, available through the winery)
John Oliver’s name also appears on Road 13’s new flagship reds — and yes, it should also be noted the town is named after him too.
Dubbed John Oliver Selection, the winery released a collection of wines earlier this year, including a John Oliver Selection Syrah. This bottle nicely encapsulates the past, present and future of B.C. wine. Sourced from the winery’s reserve vineyard blocks in both the Golden Mile and Black Sage benches, it’s fruit-forward and powerful while maintaining a taut muscular and supple structure. Dark fruit, pepper and toasty cedar all mingle in a fulsome, yet elegant, serious red.
Bottom line: A, muscular yet vibrant.
The Swirl: Okanagan Fall Wine Festival
Get ready, the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival returns the weekends of Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 3-5. This year’s festival features myriad events, including Après Crush tastings, wine pairing dinners and various wine country-touring TASTE passports.
For complete details and to reserve tickets head to thewinefestivals.com.
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