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Vine: Smoke Dirt and 2021 Vintage

The positive, negative and ugly effects of this year's fierce wildfire in Okanagan

In 2021, the smoke from several nearby fires lingered for weeks over Okanagan Falls, driving Blue Mountain to cancel its entire vintage.
In 2021, smoke from several nearby fires continued for several weeks in Okanagan Falls, and Blue Mountain canceled its entire vintage. Photo courtesy of: Picasa courtesy of /jpg

This spring, when Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars announced that they did not bottle 2021 wine due to smoke stains, wine consumers Was astonished. It was a brave move to protect the Blue Mountains' reputation, perhaps unnecessarily, even if all the Okanagan wines from 2021 were suspected.

Increased wildfires inside increase the risk of wine smoke contamination. The 2003 fire on Mount Okanagan left heavy ash on the vineyards of East Kelowna, Cedar Creek, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, St. Vintages such as Hubertus and Pinot Reach have been ruined. That year, another fire almost reached the Blue Mountain vineyards. The winery bottled 2003 wine. The 2003 Pinot Noir was a bit toasted, but it was still quite drinkable.

In 2021, a large Tomas Creek fire raged near Okanagan Falls for over a month, saturating the Blue Mountain vineyards with smoke. Several adjacent vineyards were also affected. In other areas, winds blew smoke before serious damage occurred.

However, consumers should not avoid the 2021 vintage. Winemakers have learned how to avoid producing smoke-contaminated wine. Since smoke is on the skin, the first defense is to limit or avoid skin contact during fermentation. Therefore, white wines are usually free of smoke stains. Smoke stains can also be removed from the wine. Okanagan Falls' company, Cellar Dueler Mobile Filter Service, operates a reverse osmosis unit that removes smoke stains from wineries.

Some consumers like a little smoke. A few years ago, one of the owners of a tightrope walker, winemaker Lindsay Luke, was trying to claim insurance for smoke-contaminated wine when he won a silver medal at a competition. She released wine.

A bigger concern is the availability of wine in 2021. Most wineries have reduced production by 30-50% due to climate issues that have reduced berry size and yield. The quality is high, except for the occasional smoky wine.

Three to try

Hester Creek Pinot Grivionie 2021 ($ 19.99)

This wine is available for purchase at some Save-On-Foods stores. The blend is 67% Pinot Gris and 33% Viognier. The grapes were chilled and fermented in stainless steel for 29 days. A wine full of apple and citrus fruit aromas. The flavors include apple, pear and lime flavors. The finish is crispy. 91/100

Quail Gate Chasselas Pinot Gris Pinot Blanc 2021 ($ 19.99)

This is a major blend of white grapes in BC and for good reason. It begins with aromas of melon, pear and citrus, with elusive hints of flowers. The taste is a refreshing and fruity wine with citrus and melon flavors. The finish is dry. 90/100

Bordertown Rose 2021 ($ 23)

This is the Cabernet Franc Rose, which the winery calls "classic French Provence style". It has a delicate meaning. pale. Wine begins with the aroma of wild strawberries. The flavors are amazing considering the pale shades. It has a sweet texture and the taste of strawberries and watermelon. 90/100

New grapes in town

Spanish red Mencia is the latest grape variety planted in Okanagan. It was planted on the Naramata bench by Terra Vista Vineyards last year. A perfect companion to the two Spanish whites of the winery, Albariño and Verdejo. The taste is reminiscent of Pinot Noir.

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