If I am not mistaken, the first time I heard there was an Estate winery in Chilliwack (technically in Yarrow, which is a little town just a few minutes West of Chilliwack), my reaction was something along the lines of “good luck with that”. That was probably 5-6 years ago. But, a couple of years ago, a fellow wine enthusiast whose palate I respect mentioned on a Facebook wine group that she had been to this winery, and the wines were good. At that point, I moved it from “good luck with that” to “I’ll have to check those out”. Well, that day was last weekend.
On the 10th Anniversary of the planting of the first grapes that would eventually feed Whispering Horse Winery, the wife and I made the 10-minute drive to check out a special “new release” event. They were releasing three new wines, all made from hybrid grapes which thrive in a cooler climate and are planted at the Estate. They have only two vinis vinifera varietals planted: Dornfelder (which originates in Germany) and Pinot Gris. Neither of those were available to taste on this trip, so I guess we’ll just have to go back and try those next time they are available!
We are introduced to Melissa, who, along with her husband, are the whole damn show, running the winery from top to bottom. That’s not to say they don’t have friendly and knowledgeable staff helping them out, and we met some of them at the tasting event, but make no mistake, it’s a small, family-run operation. Melissa was delightful, and clearly very passionate about her product. So, let’s get to the wines and see just how good they are!
First up, a sparkling made from the only one of these hybrid varietals that I had ever tasted before, L’Acadie. I tasted some of these wines from Nova Scotia at the Vancouver International Wine Festival a few years back. I don’t remember them at all, which generally means they weren’t great and weren’t terrible. I tend to remember wines that fall into either of those categories!
Next up, a grape called “Epicure” that is normally found in Europe. Created by a Swiss geneticist.
Now here is the still version of the L’Acadie.
Last, but certainly not least, the “off-dry” member of the family, from a grape called La Crescent that was developed in Minnesota and is often found in the Eastern United States, particularly the Finger Lakes region of New York.
We bought a bottle of this and, along with the charcuterie box that we had pre-purchased (which was just fantastic, BTW), headed outside for a little picnic along with our pooch. They are dog-friendly, as all wineries SHOULD be by now. We were certainly very impressed with the quality of the wine, and the people. If you are in the Fraser Valley, you have to go check these guys out, and if you live elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, I recommend you make a day of it and pay them a visit. You won’t be sorry!
Next up: I’m starting to compile more 2021 rosés for the third installment of my annual rosé reviews, including a couple new ones from France! Also, we have been enjoying some good stuff lately that I will report on shortly. Stay tuned!