When you feel the urge to travel to a wine region, consider the closest: the Fraser Valley. And an exciting winery to visit is Township 7. It is “Metro Vancouver adjacent,” only 39 minutes away from Richmond via Highway 99. Township 7 is set in a lush agricultural landscape surrounded by farms, ranches, and several wineries!
Take a break from bustling city life to have fun and learn how local BC wine can be. Maybe a wine tasting? Perhaps a comfortable wine and food seminar. Or a stroll among the vines to commune with nature and see where the grapes begin their magical transformation into delicious wine!
Township 7 has been around for 23 years in one form or another. Corey and Gwen Coleman purchased Township 7 in 1999, a five-acre parcel in Langley. “The real key was to be closer to our customers in the Lower Mainland being the main market for BC wines,” said Corey. “We felt it was easier to move the grapes here than it was to try to get the people out to the Okanagan.”
I recently tasted three Township 7 wines with the first being Township 7 2019 Benchmark Cabernet Franc ($43.97; $89 points, Very Good).
This smooth medium-bodied ruby red Cabernet Franc is part of the winery’s premium Benchmark Series. This vintage was produced from the Raju Vineyard in Osoyoos where the southern heat fully ripens the Cabernet Franc grapes. Following a 16-day fermentation, which allowed for rich fruit extraction the wines were aged in mainly French oak with some American oak for 24 months; 20% of the oak was new.
The Cab Franc offers aromas of red berries and violets with herbal touches. On the palate, there’s plenty of ripe raspberry, black currant and strawberry with delicate sweet oak, licorice, leather and tobacco to add complexity along with light tannins.
I enjoyed it with meat lasagna. The perception of acidity from both the food and the wine increased making the wine and lasagna come alive! The winery also recommends pairing it with grilled balsamic pork tenderloin and strawberry compote.
All three of today’s wines including this Cab Franc are wine club exclusives. If you wish to purchase it, you can join club Seven and receive three annual shipments of eight bottles each. Free shipping is included or pick up your shipment and receive 15% off the cost of your wines.
Township 7 has an ambitious sparkling wine program of sparkling wines called Seven Stars. The 2020 Seven Stars Rigel ($ 36.97; 91 points, Outstanding) is named after the seventh brightest and one of the youngest stars in the night sky.
The definition of “sparkle” is to be brilliant, lively or vivacious. And this sums up Rigel’s personality. Made from 100% Riesling from the sustainably managed Fool’s Gold vineyard in North Oliver, only free-run juice was fermented at cold temperatures in stainless steel allowing delicate fruit aromatics to be preserved.
The Rigel reveals a fresh citrus and tree fruit aroma with flavours of ripe Honey Crisp apples and lime zest. There are lots of bubbles as well as brilliant lively acidity with texture from the minerals in the gravelly soil. It ends on a sweet and sour note with a bone-dry finish that seems endless!
Great as an apéritif, I enjoyed Rigel with barbecued rainbow trout and hoisin sauce with Mexican corn and chili and cheese. Township 7 recommends serving it with lime and ginger Fanny Bay oysters, Dungeness Crab stuffed Portobello mushrooms, or a dried apricot and blue cheese with walnuts canapé.
My final recommendation is the Township 7 2019 Benchmark Syrah ($45.97; 92 points Outstanding), in a 90% Syrah 10% Viognier blend. Crafted in the traditional Rhone style it’s made with fruit from Fool’s Gold vineyard in Oliver. The rocky soils contribute to the complexity and minerality of the wine. The geology also helps the fruit ripen fully by maintaining warmth throughout the cool autumn nights.
A 15-day fermentation enabled rich and balanced fruit extraction. The Syrah was split into two equal parts, one in a large French Foudre and the other part in stainless steel co-fermented with Viognier. Finally, it was aged for 24 months in French and American oak to enhance tannins and fruit.
A classic Rhone aroma of blackberry, licorice, and barbecued meat greets your senses. In the mouth, flavours of black currant, blackberry, and blueberry envelope your palate along with cracked black pepper and dried herbs. A delicious fruit and acid balance along with medium tannins makes this elegant Syrah a real delight! Pair with lamb shawarma with couscous, pita bread, and raita.
For more wine and tasting information plus special events like this Sunday’s Great Grape Stomp and the Black Dog Winemakers Dinner on Nov. 4 and 5, visit township7.com