2018 Mission Hill Family Estate Pinot Gris “Reserve”, Okanagan Valley VQA, British Columbia (Alcohol 13.5%, Residual Sugar 6g/L) LCBO Vintages $22.95 (750ml bottle)

This reserve level Pinot Gris from BC’s Mission Hill is an absolute cracker, and counts as one of the best whites I have ever had from them; last night this bottling charmed me so damn much that before I knew it the entire bottle was gone.

From year to year this reserve wine is consistently sourced from the same two vineyard blocks, 91% from the Oliver Vineyard and 9% from the Naramata Vineyard, giving the wine a very defined character throughout the vintages. A quarter of the wine is barrel fermented, mainly in neutral cooperage, with only a little seeing any new oak. As becomes immediately (and gloriously) apparent upon the palate, the wine gets some four months upon its lees (read: the sediment of dead yeast cells left after ferment… for the uninitiated, this is actually a very good thing).

I don’t think that I have ever dared to use the word succulent when describing a wine previously, but that is certainly a term that is most fitting when it comes to this one. The bouquet is one of truly succulent stone fruit, Anjou pear, and Honeycrisp apples, with an intriguing hint of honeyed spice, and a twist of lemon.

The textural component in the mouth is really quite something, filling the entire mouth without being overwhelming. It’s broad and expansive on the palate but maintains a delicious freshness that never gets close to tiring despite the wine’s relative weight in the mouth… just the way I like my Pinot Gris actually. With all that texture and extract I’d go as far as saying that it’s reminiscent of some fine dry Alsatian examples of this varietal.

Pairs fantastically with roast chicken with simple herbs, lemon, and garlic.

One of the best aromatic whites I have tasted from BC in quite some time. Excellent.

4.5 apples out of 5

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he really enjoyed that.