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CITY CELLAR: Globe-trotting grapes

Most of us in Vancouver are from somewhere else, which has given our city a real global vibe. This element exists in the wine world as well: finding grapes and vines that have travelled far from home.
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Most of us in Vancouver are from somewhere else, which has given our city a real global vibe.

This element exists in the wine world as well: finding grapes and vines that have travelled far from home. As with any of us, sometimes the new home is a good fit and other times the move doesnt pan out as planned.

Most French grape varieties have had success in their new homes, with everything from Chardonnay to Merlot and Syrah having made themselves quite comfortable around the globe and here in B.C. But other grapes simply dont jive in their new hood.

In saying this, can we stop planting Barbera and Sangiovese in the Okanagan and leave them to the Italians please? I mean, weve been pretty lucky with plenty of other imports here. While I cant explain how the hell Uruguays dark, chocolaty Tannat grape seems to flourish on the desert vines of Osoyoos when tended by the folks at Moon Curser Vineyards, maybe we should all stop pressing our luck, focussing instead on the grapes we already know do well here.

A couple other examples of those whove found success a long way from home:

OK, I hardly even like Pinotage from its native land of South Africa (it can be kinda green and stemmy), but for some reason this South Okanagan version, a rich, deep red chock full of dried plums, dates, cocoa and cloves just knocks it outta the park for me.

The wine is as awesome as its label. Far from the comfort of the Chianti region of Italy, the Sangiovese grape nestles into South Australia quite well, retaining its typical character of violets, currants and leather on the nose with dark fruit and dried herbs on the palate. Nice touch adding 30 per cent Shiraz to provide some lushness, rounding out those dusty edges.

TASTING NOTES: It took a while, but our government liquor stores finally have an iPhone app. The mobile application allows bottle searches right down to specific store location, a scanner for QR and barcodes, general info and more. App details at BCLiquorStores.com

Kurtis Kolt does many wine-related things in Vancouver. Catch him at KurtisKolt.com

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