Barbara and I love to visit the wineries of the Fraser Valley. We thought visiting Chaberton Estate would be a perfect way to close out the month of May and took part in a pre-arranged wine tasting with the winery's general manager Brian Ensor.
Domaine Chaberton was the first winery to open in the Fraser Valley in 1981 and has been outstanding with the calibre of wines they have produced over the years. Chaberton was voted "Best Winery-2016 in the Fraser Valley" by the people of Langley.
Bacchus has been one of my favourites for a long time, we started the tasting with the Bacchus 2016 Reserve, it did not disappoint, in fact it was phenomenal, a cool climate varietal with grapes grown on-site. Read more.
A wine that is making a comeback at Chaberton is the 2016 Reserve Madelene Sylvaner, Fraser Valley BC VQA. The Madeleine Sylvaner vines have been growing in Chaberton's Fraser Valley vineyard since 1982. This wine has a nice floral nose, followed by cantaloupe, sweet melon ending with a honeycomb finish. Wow.
Still sampling whites Brian poured a Pinot Gris with a slightly pink colour. The whole berries were soaked for 16 hours to extract the gorgeous coral colour from their skins, and begins with aromas of candied fruit followed by citrus flavours. Another fine wine!
Our tasting experience was enhanced by the arrival of the talented, industrious and very charming winemaker Andrea Lee. Andrea has a master's degree in oenology from the University of Adelaide in Australia. She has worked with wineries in both Australia and New Zealand. Her enthusiasm for winemaking shows in the finished product.
Next up was a red wine which impressed both Barbara and me, the Reserve Gamay Noir VQA. The grapes were estate-grown and the last ones to be hand picked in the harvest of 2016. Left on the skins for 26 days after harvest, this light bodied red wine developed its rich spicy aromas of black peppercorns, classic Beaujolais flavours of bright red berries and lively acidity. I really appreciated its light body. Andrea is very proud of the particular wine and so she should be! Read More
We tasted the fabulous 2014 Reserve Meritage blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc (from Happy and Saddle Ridge Vineyards, Black Sage Bench, Oliver) and 35% Merlot (Tightrope Vineyard, Naramata Bench). The wine was highlighted by rich flavours of dark plum. Barbara is a fan of Meritage and found this one to be top of the line in red wines.
It was interesting to learn how much time Andrea puts into finding the right grapes to bring in from the Okanagan, such dedication and passion!
Now for the 2012 AC 50 ( named for Anthony Cheng, co-owner). In AC 50, the Merlot is joined by 50% Cabernet Franc to produce a lively and vibrant discussion between the two grape varietals. The wine display hints of spice followed by vanilla and cinnamon. The finish brought out some dark fruit flavours.
The wine experience did not end in the private event room; we walked over to the main tasting room and enjoyed a sample of the Tribute 2013 red fortified wine. Oh what a delight for the taste-buds! Highlighted by caramel flavours the 2013 Syrah was aged for 3 years in new French oak barrels. I have put that one on my Christmas wish list.
Chaberton Estate Winery has an amazing cellar of wines and should be on your list of places to visit. Thank you Brain and Andrea for making the last afternoon of May 2017 a very pleasant one.
Here are some of our previous reports
2017 Valentine's Dinner
Best Wineries to Visit 2017
Where to stay ~ Where to Dine ~ Weddings in the Vineyard