Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2005 Family Reserve Chardonnay  (Okanagan Valley)

Quails' Gate Estate Winery

2005 Family Reserve Chardonnay
(Okanagan Valley)

Even before its release this premium Chardonnay from Quails’ Gate had already picked up a bronze medal at the 2007 Chardonnay du Monde competition. The winery would be wise to re-enter the wine each year for the next several years. This is a Chardonnay built to flower with several years of cellaring, much as a white Burgundy might. The wine is made consciously to be quite different, and more complex, than the winery’s Limited Release tier. While the latter shows well now, understanding the Family Reserve is all about grasping its potential.

The wine – 1,865 six-bottle cases were made – is entirely barrel-fermented in French Oak (40% new barrels). It was subjected to malolactic fermentation and regular lees stirring. Very ripe fruit was employed, resulting in 14% alcohol.

At this stage in the wine’s life it is a tightly wound package with notes of citrus and a hint of butteriness on the nose. The flavours include toast from the oak, notes of tangerine and subtle spices. The rich, seamless texture reflects the lees work while the alcohol and the acidity provide backbone. The finish is dry, even a touch austere. At this stage in its development, I score the wine 86 but there is a 90 point wine set to emerge in a couple of years. One need not be in a rush to yank the cork.

Reviewed June 28, 2007 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Quails' Gate Estate Winery
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Family Reserve Chardonnay
Appellation: Okanagan Valley
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $24.99

Review Date: 6/28/2007

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.