Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Church & State Wines 2005 Church Mouse Chardonnay  (Okanagan Valley)

Church & State Wines

2005 Church Mouse Chardonnay
(Okanagan Valley)

Church Mouse is the catchy second label developed by the Church & State Winery for the wines whose production volumes or characteristics are not suitable for the first label. However, winery owner Kim Pullen has set the bar very high – so high that he is considering withdrawing wines from the market if they don’t score at least 86 points. Whether or not that is realistic, or even necessary, it speaks volumes for his ambition. A tax lawyer by training and the owner of major Vancouver Island marina, Pullen’s previous business successes in fish farming have given him a taste for excelling in whatever he does. Church & State’s predecessor winery was close to bankruptcy in 2004 when Pullen bought it as a turnaround project that is now emerging as a leading British Columbia winery.

In the 2005 vintage, he scooped up fruit from top vineyards in the Okanagan so that his winemaker could make those 86-plus wines. The grapes in this wine come partly from the Dekleva Vineyard on the Golden Mile, a legendary source of very good Chardonnay. The rest is from the Gravelbourg Vineyard which is on Black Sage Road, across the valley. It gets its unusual name from the owner’s home town, the wheat-farming town of Gravelbourg in southern Saskatchewan.

This lightly golden wine begins with appealing aromas of creamy vanilla and ripe fruit. On the palate, the wine is rich in texture, with flavours of tangerine set on well-managed oak. The finish is long, with a touch of cloves but also with a tiny bit of alcoholic heat. A pretty good 86 points.

Reviewed January 19, 2007 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Church & State Wines
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Church Mouse Chardonnay
Appellation: Okanagan Valley
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $15.00

Review Date: 1/19/2007

The Reviewer

John Schreiner

John Schreiner has been covering the wines of British Columbia for the past 30 years and has written 10 books on the wines of Canada and BC. He has judged at major competitions and is currently a panel member for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Wine. Both as a judge and as a wine critic, he approaches each wine not to find fault, but to find excellence. That he now finds the latter more often than the former testifies to the dramatic improvement shown by BC winemaking in the past decade.