Okanagan BC, $40
I was in Oregon’s Willamette Valley two weeks ago, and two things struck me. The first is it’s amazing to see what specialization can do for a region. Both Oregon and BC started seriously growing around the same but whereas they hitched their wagon early-on to Pinot Noir, we bounced around trying all sorts of varietals. As a result they’re known for world-class Pinot while we’re still seeking our place. True, they could never successfully grow some of the varietals we can (like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc….) but I don’t think you can underestimate the power of a tighter focus.
The other thing is how good a value our Pinot is at the top end. Most estate wine in Oregon starts at $50 US and the single vineyard varietals can be easily double that. In BC, our high-end single vineyard isgenerally in the $40-45 range and while it’s a small group, they produce wines I’d be proud to serve alongside their American brethren. A case in point is this $40 Pinot for Meyer Family Vineyards. This is one of my favourite wineries in BC and this wine is elegant and fresh, but not thin. Great dark cherry and cedar notes. It’s not as big as a Russian River Pinot, but not as austere as Oregon—and sweet spot where all of our great Pinots seem to land. A seriously good gift bottle for any BC skeptic.