Thirsty Thirty-Something Thursday #17 – Okanagan Valley, BC Canada

This week’s installment of Thirsty is a wine from a winery that really holds a special place in my heart. During our field trip for the Level IV Diploma, we were able to visit the Culmina Winery on the Golden Mile Bench outside Oliver, BC in the Canadian Okanagan. Regaled with stories by owner Don Triggs about how the winery and property was founded, along with the myriad of tests he performed to find just the exact location, perfect soils and appropriate amounts of sunshine, was nothing short of fascinating. Not something he typically likes to be associated with, Don Triggs is likely more well known from Jackson-Triggs fame. Wineries that are still in existence today in both Ontario and British Columbia, now owned by Constellation Brands.

After the sale of Jackson-Triggs, Don left the wine business entirely, but got the wine bug again only a few years ago (2007), but wanted to do things differently and with his family. So along with his wife and youngest daughter, Culmina was born. I have also had opportunity to chat with Don on numerous occasions, and share a meal. It is my hope to do some seasonal work at Culmina Winery in the next few years.

GrunerFocusing on Bordeaux grapes, Don also decided to try his hand at the Austrian grape variety Grüner-Veltliner. Not a grape many taste from Austria, let alone Canada! The wine is called Unicus, which in Latin, means ‘only’. It represents the first Grüner-Veltliner ever to be released from the Okanagan.

Gruner aromas are distinct: white pepper is the quintessential aroma and flavour. But there was a good amount of grapefruit and lime citrus, this one also has a lovely texture and mouthfeel with some toasted almond notes and high minerality. The alcohol is high (14%) but well balanced with a high, crisp acidity. Not unlike the other wines from Culmina, it’s very well made with great care and attention given to the raw materials: the grape. And yes, for a Canadian wine, it’s expensive. But it’s well worth the price, and I believe in this wine so much, that it will be one of the wine’s featured at our annual Spring Open House this Saturday. And of course, it fits right within our parameters for Thirsty, squeaking in at $39.95! Chimo!

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5 Responses to Thirsty Thirty-Something Thursday #17 – Okanagan Valley, BC Canada

  1. I was just there the other day! Did you go up to the Margaret’s Bench Vineyard waaaaaay up the hill? Amazing view and I agree, this is an amazing wine.

    • joyofwine says:

      Margaret’s Bench was just planted when we were there. Didn’t get a chance to go up there! Well made, unique wine from the Okanagan! Next time I’ll ask Don if I can go up there!

      • And it’s quite “varietally correct” apparently. I have limited experience with Grüner but from what I’ve heard, it is in keeping with what people expect from that variety. That’s not something that many other BC wines can claim.

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