The journey begins down the back country roads of Langley Township
located a few kilometers south of Vancouver and eight roads north of
the US Border. Upon reaching the winery you drive up a single lane lined
with cherry trees to the tasting room, as you travel up this lane you can
view the beautiful acreage where soon the vineyards will be planted with
As you approach the winery's tasting room you can look back and see the
winemaking facilites. The winery currently sources all grapes from the
Okanagn under the watchful eye of winemaker Charles Herrold, a 1980s rock
musician, turned entrepreneur turned winemaker. Grape sources include the
well known and respected
Inkameep Vineyards in Oliver.
The winery is owned by Charles and Carlos Lee
Once inside we were warmly and enthusiastically greeted
by Kim Collins who is the winery's manager and co-owner Carlos
Lee. We could not have asked for a better reception.
We were fortunate to have Carlos conduct our tasting,
he was very personable
and informative, he made the tasting a most enjoyable experience.
Meanwhile Kim made sure the other guests were also having a good
Their goal is simple, to produce wines that live
up to their high standards and expectations. Their philosophy
is summarized in the Company’s motto: “Bonus Vita et Bonus Amici” (Good
Life and Good Friends). They exceed!
We started the tasting with their
whites Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The Chen Blanc was delcious, full of
flavour with a hint of honey. Next came the reds! A series of wines equal
or better than any world renowned wines. These wines were simply FABULOUS!
Noted wine author, John Schreiner, scored their Alliance
94 and the The
Reference 2006 a 96 John seldom gives such high scores.
Very impressive scores and truly deserved.
The tasting room is well designed, an additional room will be used
for events and wine related courses. Plans also call for a patio overlooking
the vineyard, a restaurant and a barrel cave. These additions will definately
make Blackwood Lane a destination winery if it is not already. We were
given a tour of the facilities by Carlos.
As we were preparing to leave we took a brief stroll down the lane to capture
some additional photos and were spotted by winemaker and co-owner Charles
Herrold who was conducting a tasting with Icon Wines owners Liam and Hugh.
Charles invited us down the hill
to the winemaking facilites. Little did
we know we were in for an incredible wine tasting experience, sampling
directly from the barrels while learning how the winery came
to be and the procedures used to produce the incredible wines.
Charles is one extraordinary guy! We spent almost three hours
in the winery sampling directly from the barrel of french and american
oak, yet it seemed like minutes. The time passed quickly as he told
us about his music background and his devotion to his craft of winemaking.
To quote John Schreiner, Charles stamps his wines with as identifiable
a signature as any British Columbia winemaker. The wines, especially
the reds, share bold, athletic builds - powerhouses of flavour. The reds
have the structure to age but without the harsh tannins sometimes encountered
in pricey reds. With a bit of decanting, these wines can be enjoyed now.
With a bit of patience, they can be enjoyed five or 10 years from now.
Charles and Carlos have wines you must try and a winery you must visit.
We would like to tell you about another wine (a fortified one that
will be released in about a year) but we can't as the supply will
be limited and we want to make sure there is some available for us. All
I can say is Barbara enjoyed it so much she has started saving her pennies!
Blackwood Lane 2008 Chenin Blanc Sommelier Series... 70
cases of quality wine from 34 year old Okanagan vines. The wine has a smooth
texture that tanalizes the taste buds lemon
zest, dried cardamom seeds and a bit of honey round out this dry, elegant
wine. Barreled fermented in french oak.
Vicuna Blanco 2008... Aromatic blend of
(mostly) Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Gewurztraminer grapes.
The wine has clean, refreshing flavours of pears and citrus fruits, with
a tangy finish
Blackwood Lake 2006 Cabernet Franc Sommelier Series... A
fine wine grape from Inkameep Vineyards aged 18 months in new french
Merlot 2006... I
have not tasted a Merlot like this in a long time. It's a powerful yet
smooth wine that tantalized my taste buds. So perfectly balanced full of
Alliance 2006... A big, ripe red with
vanilla and currant aromas with flavours of currants, plums, spice,
and chocolate The texture is smooth and desirable. The wine spent 25 months
in the barre,l it is
bottled unrefined and unfiltered
The Reference 2006... One of the finest
wines you will ever taste. The aromas tell you immedaitely that you're
in for something special. This blend includes five Bordeaux varieties
Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 12.5% Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit
A triple gold medal wine.. It is an expensive wine but well worth
finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec,
and Petit Verdot grapes were selected and cool fermented separately
to create this balanced and age worthy Bordeaux-style blend. New French
barriques with extra tight grain were used for the first year and
the wine spent its final year in Allier, Nevers, Jupille, and Troncais
forest puncheons that allowed reduction of the wine while maintaining
its fragrant fruit and complex spice character. Over 80% free run juice
gives the Referènce
fine-grained natural tannins that result in extraordinary
length of finish. Look for
dark cherry, boysenberry, cassis, chocolate, cigar box and
cedar aromas with high notes of eucalyptus, pencil shavings and violets.
Approachable now but has the acidity and structure to enjoy for the
next two decades."