I was asked recently, “What is an example of a classic British Columbia wine?” This is indeed a fully-loaded question with numerous answers. But when I think classic wine from our province, there is no denying that one wine always crosses my mind… the Osoyoos Larose.
This is an exceptional, award-winning Canadian wine made, with quality in mind, from classic Bordeaux varietals. The grapes are grown in the unique terroir of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The winery itself is an inspired partnership between Groupe Taillan of France and Vincor Canada (which now is under Constellation Brands), a partnership born in 1998. They believed that the exceptional growing conditions and the use of Bordeaux winemaking expertise would enable them to produce an award-winning fine wine. And they were right!
Every bottle of this wine is the expression of the winemaker, the talented Pascal Madevon. Having worked before in France, he was recruited to become Osoyoos Larose’s resident winemaker and vineyard manager. The opportunity to create a new benchmark red wine for Canada was a strong draw for Pascal. We are so lucky he chose this path, as he did what he set out to and created a benchmark BC red wine, Le Grand Vin. More recently he has also added to the collection the wonderful Petales d’Osoyoos.
One classic note you can usually find in BC red wines is sage. The mountains and lower valley slopes are covered in sage and it is there that vineyards and fruit orchards are planted. The winery is located on the west-facing bench on the hillside above Lake Osoyoos. It is an 80-acre site, where you will find the classic Bordeaux varietals of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The soil is composed of a mix of clay, sand, gravel and rock. There is lots of sunlight during the day and the lake combined with the mountains casts a cooling afternoon shadow over the land. A perfect terroir!
Everything is done by hand in the vineyard, from pruning to picking. Pascal uses top-notch equipment in the winery and gentle methods within his winemaking processes. All of the wine is barrel aged in beautiful French oak barrels for approximately 16 months.
Each vintage is different, due to the blend of that year. It is a complex wine, a constant evolving process and that is a beautiful thing. Personally, I love these wines because each time you open the bottle it is a new experience. Grand Vin is an award-winning wine year after year. It is a wine made to age and can be put down to rest for a long period of time. For a long time this was the only wine Pascal made at the winery. However, in 2005, he also began to make Petales d’Osoyoos as the second wine of Osoyoos Larose. This wine is a bit less expensive then the Grand Vin, softer in tannins and had some new oak on it. It is built for age as well, but can be enjoyed perhaps a bit earlier.
To find out more, visit: www.osoyooslarose.com