I must admit that before writing this blog I had drunk B.C. Wines only on occasion. Maggie was born in Argentine and lived a long time in Chile and so generally we opted for wines from one of those countries. We also drink a lot of Portuguese and Spanish wines as we spend time there every winter. In fact we are in Portugal as I write this.
Wines from all four countries are widely available in B.C. and are generally good and reasonably priced. But since I have started sampling B.C. wines I must admit to having become an enthusiastic convert. I wrote last week that a Pinot Blanc 2006 by Red Rooster was one of the best whites I’ve ever enjoyed, and I meant it.
My enthusiasm for B.C. wines only increased when, while waiting for a flight transfer at London’s Gatwick Airport, I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail. There was an article titled Why top-selling wines don’t deserve any bouquets by Sean Poulter, the newspaper’s consumer affairs editor.
The article made some astonishing claims about trendy European wines. Citing Malcolm Gluck, author of The Great Wine Swindle, the article stated: Many, many wines are no better than a sort of alcoholic sodapops. You get artificial yeasts, enzymes, sugar, extracts, tannins, all sorts of things added.
I was surprised to learn that the European wine industry has an exemption from food and drink labeling rules, which means wineries do not have to list the additives used.
Fans of Italian wine will be shocked to learn that earlier this year 70 million litres of so-called “Frankenstein wine” was seized in Italy. Analysis showed that only 20 per cent of the product was wine, while the rest was water sugar and harmful ingredients such as hydrochloric acid and fertilizers, which are added to boost the alcohol content and get a higher price.
Compare that information with the standards set by the BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance).
The VQA seal ensures that the bottle of BC wine you are enjoying is 100 % B.C. grown and produced to optimum standards.
- Perform audits at wineries and on individual bottles.
- Collects laboratory samples from the wineries
- Confirms that claims on labels are accurate
- Tastes and evaluates wines to identify defects and to ensure quality of character.
- Sets standards for packaging and bottle closures.
So next time you want to impress friends over dinner forget those old, tired French and Italians with fancy names and reach for a bright, young British Columbian.