Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Herder Winery Chardonnay

Herder Winery & Vineyards

2005 Chardonnay Twin Benches
(British Columbia)

A few years ago, Lawrence Herder told of a frustrating experience with a grower that also revealed Herder’s disciplined approach to Chardonnay. The grower had a fine mature Chardonnay block with, as often happens in the Okanagan Valley, east/west rows. All summer, Herder drilled into the grower how important it would be to pick the somewhat shaded north side a week or so after the exposed southern side of the vines. At vintage, the grower ignored that, picking all the Chardonnay when the south side was ripe, and blowing Herder’s chance to make a reserve grade wine.

Since then, Herder, a California-trained winemaker, has opened his own winery; and he has switched to growers prepared to sing the same tune as the winemaker. This Chardonnay is called Twin Benches because the grapes came from bench vineyards in two different appellations in southern British Columbia. One vineyard is in the often torrid Similkameen Valley appellation where grower Tim Cottrill uses Geneva double curtain trellising that provides some canopy shade to the bunches of grapes. The other vineyard is on the Osoyoos Lake Bench in the Okanagan Valley appellation, where 18-year-old vines are trained in vertical shoot positioning. In both vineyards, tonnage is kept around three tons an acres.

The 255 cases of this wine are a selection of the best barrels. This is an elegant Chardonnay, sveltely polished, with nothing overdone. The aromas are delicate but certainly not elusive. There are flavours of citrus and peach, framed subtly with just a touch of oak that leaves the fruit out front. This is the tasty sort of Chardonnay that Herder would have made a few years ago if his former grower had paid attention. 89 points.

Reviewed August 28, 2006 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Herder Winery & Vineyards
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Chardonnay Twin Benches
Appellation: British Columbia
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $24.90

Review Date: 8/28/2006

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.