Black Sage Vineyard launch-3

The big surprise we’d all RSVP’d to weeks ago was finally revealed last night at Vancouver’s Shangri-La Hotel: Black Sage Vineyard! A sibling vineyard to Sumac Ridge Estate, these new wines are all about being bold.

Black Sage Vineyard launch-1

Three grapes are grown on the 115 acre site: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Whites are represented by Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Semillon, however the winery focuses only on those grapes that are perfectly suited for the hot, arid soil of the Sonoran Desert’s northern tip. The winery name is derived by the road it fronts.

Black Sage Vineyard launch/Lesimore perform for guests -
[Local favourites Lesimore entertained guests]

Black Sage Vineyard launch/Emcee Dawn Chubai
[Event Emcee Dawn Chubai]

When partners Harry McWatters and Bob Wareham (then-owners of Sumac Ridge in Summerland) purchased a vineyard on the bench in 1992, many in the area thought they’d be in for a costly mistake. The reds were the first classic Bordeaux varieties to be planted in the region, and when the vines began to produce juicy, intensely flavoured fruit, other growers soon followed suit. After years of blending the grapes into Sumac Ridge wines, McWatters released a series of single vineyard wines that carried the Black Sage Vineyard name, recognizing their extraordinary quality.

Black Sage Vineyard launch/winemaker Jason James
[Black Sage Winemaker Jason James]

Winemaker Jason James was on hand to help unveil the official brand, designed by a local student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The logo incorporates an embossed look that represents Black Sage Vineyards’ sandy soil. Elements of rich red are included in honour of the only varietals produced by the vineyard.

Unveiling Black Sage Vineyard

Unveiling Black Sage Vineyard

From Stellar’s Jay sparkling white to the range of reds, we sampled the entire portfolio last night, paired with hearty meats such as lamb and venison, prepared by Executive Chef Wayne Harris.

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver Executive Chef Wayne Harris
[Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver Executive Chef Wayne Harris]

As I’m not a fan of either meat, I was able to taste each wine’s true quality without any opposing flavours to break my palate.

Black Sage Vineyard 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

My favourite two wines are the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot. The Cabernet’s deep colour and scent is enhanced by eucalyptus and cedar, while the black cherry is hearty throughout the mouth. The Merlot is aged in French and American oak for over 12 months, imparting intense black fruit, sage, and tobacco flavours, with a good structure.

Black Sage Vineyard launch/lamb wine pairing Black Sage Vineyard launch/Venison wine pairing

These two will certainly become my favourite wines leading into the winter months, where a roast chicken, seasonal vegetables, and hearty soups will keep them company at our dinner table.

I'm Bold Because

All the wines have already taken home several awards this year, from the International Wine & Spirit competition to the Decanter Awards.

Jason James is excited about Black Sage’s next chapter, producing only bold reds that are perfectly suited to the terroir. “The vineyard has some of the oldest plantings of late ripening reds in the valley, and the character is clear. I’ve just been so impressed with the quality of fruit that the Black Sage Vineyard delivers each year”, according to James.

Black Sage Vineyard launch/delectable desserts Black Sage Vineyard launch/delectable desserts Black Sage Vineyard launch/delectable desserts

Dessert wasn’t left out of the picture either. Along with a sweet 2007 Pipe (Port style) sip, we were treated to an array of perfectly prepared (and soon to be devoured) sweets with fresh raspberries, lemon, nuts and rich dark chocolate. A perfect way to cap off a fine series of reds.

For more information on the bold wines of Black Sage, visit the website.


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