Time to Celebrate – Enrico Winery
To start the blog, I figured there is no better way than the same way we start every tour in the Cowichan Valley… With a glass of Charme De L’ile!!!!
Charme De L’ile is what is starting to become the regional designation for sparkling wine on Vancouver Island. The translation for those of us that are not French is “charm of the island”. You can think of it like this:
Charme De L’ile is to Vancouver Island what
Prosecco is to Italy! Or what Champagne is the France!
Starting the day with Sparkling wine reminds me of Christmas day. Before Presents, before extended family came over, we always started with a flute of sparkling wine and orange juice with breakfast. In my opinion there is no better way to start a day.
With that in mind, the first wine I wanted to talk about was Celebration produced by Enrico Winery.
About the Winery
Enrico winery is located in the Cowichan Valley approx. 45 minutes from downtown Victoria, BC. On the way to Enrico there are some amazing viewpoints along one of the most beautiful drives in Canada. The viewpoints look over the Saanich peninsula into the San Juan and Gulf Islands with the backdrop of the Cascade Mountain range highlighted by the beautiful Mt. Baker on a clear day.
Arriving at the vineyard you will feel like you are driving into your driveway at home. The tasting room is a beautiful open concept room that looks like the kitchen I wish was in my house (one full of wine!!!). That leads out onto a deck that has tables which overlook the vineyard. We generally have lunch at Enrico and I always look forward to sitting on the patio with the group and enjoying the view.
Caution: It is very easy to lose track of time on their patio. It is a place where one glass of wine could turn into 3 glasses over 5 hours because the atmosphere is so relaxing and enjoyable. I have learnt to set an alarm on my phone to keep the tours on time.
If you think the architecture and the view are the only reason to fall in love with Enrico you are wrong. When you go to Enrico, you will have a chance to taste some of the highest quality wine on Vancouver Island. Enrico Winery put Vancouver Island Wineries on the world stage by winning the Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines for their 2015 Ortega “tempest” (Ortega is a German grape that grows really well on the island since we have a similar growing climate…. but more on that in later posts). This was a huge step for not just Enrico but the entire Island.
They continue to produce amazing award winning wine every year. Including gold medal winners at the Okanagan wine-fest, All Canada’s and Wine Align awards!!!!!!
Note: Wine award are odd… depending on the type of festival and judging, certain award ceremonies will include a large number of Gold, silver, and bronze awards for all of the wines that have been entered. I have been told that as long as your wine is “drinkable” it can get a medal. So don’t believe all the “award winning” wine you see. Where they got the medal is more important!!!
If you’re really stubborn, and not in your car driving to Enrico already, I saved the best for last. The best part about Enrico is the People!!!!! Everyone at the vineyard will put a smile on your face; whether it is Barb Milligan (the “Supervisor of Fun”), Lorin Inglis (the “Director of Pleasure”) or any of the others hosting your visit I guarantee you will walk away with a smile on your face.
How does one get the title “Director of Pleasure” anyways……….. Actually I probably don’t want to know!!
The Wine – 2016 Charme Du L’ile - Celebration
Celebration is a delicate sparkling wine with small bubbles. It is made from 100% pinot gris grapes which allows them to create a crisp, non-sweet wine with hints of green apple.
There are two methods that are generally used to create sparkling wine. The traditional method and the charmat method.
In the traditional method the secondary fermentation, which produces lots of the carbonation (bubbles), is done in each individual bottle. It is very labour intensive as you need to tend to each bottle almost daily to ensure the process goes smoothly. The traditional method is the process used in Champagne.
In the Charmat method, the secondary fermentation is done in a charmat tank which is a large sealed tank that can take high pressures. Therefore, you can increase the carbonation in the wine to create a sparkling. This is generally the method used in creating Prosecco.
Celebration is created using the Charmat method therefore it is a Prosecco style sparkling wine.
It is now time to go enjoy a glass for yourself!!!!
It doesn’t matter when you are reading this because it is a great drink to start your day as we like to do on our tours, but it’s also a nice refreshing wine to enjoy as the sunsets on a long hot day. So go out a buy a bottle and enjoy!!!!
If you really want to impress your friends buy 2 bottles and practice Sabering the bottle to open it before going to a party. It’s very easy but it’s a quick way to impress all your friends.
Is a cheers signoff to obvious for a wine blog??? I feel like it is…. But at the same time it fits so well.
I am a craft wine, beer and distillery guide in the Victoria, BC area for Canadian Craft Tours. I have also served and bartended for 2 years at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar.
When I got asked to write a blog by Brandon (One of my managers at Canadian Craft Tours), my first thought was “I’m the worst person to do this” (All of my English teachers in high school would agree). For example, I don’t know if it should be ). At the end of the sentence or .) Sorry Mrs.Tiska!!! I am educated as a Mechanical Engineer and everyone knows that engineers only went into engineering to not do any English classes. We only had one English class in my degree and it was known as “English for Engineers” which based on my knowledge, loosely translates as “English for Dummies” - it was the easiest English class offered at the university.
However, I am very excited about the opportunity to make a blog about wine in the Vancouver Island region. I think that wine in general is misunderstood. Wine has created an environment around it in which people are intimidated to start learning and think that wine is only for snobs, and that is not a good perspective to have. People think the only way you can drink wine is with your pinky out from the glass while eating top quality cheese and commenting on the complexities of the terroir in the Côte Du Rhône (a wine making region in France).
Wine can be enjoyed weather you love drinking it for the divine experience of sensing the subtle notes of vanilla and toast that come out in barrel ageing or if you love it because it’s a tasty 14% ABV liquid. My appreciation lies somewhere in between those two perspectives, I understand going to your neighbourhood liquor store and buying the cheapest bottle of white wine you can find and making a spritzer out of it while you sit on the patio with your friends (I’ve done it many times) and I also enjoy pairing a nice full-bodied Cabernet with a juicy steak at dinner (#keggerforlife). I believe everyone experiences every glass of wine differently and the main factor in that experience is the environment. Being surrounded by friends and family making great memories can make a $6 bottle of wine a great experience.
My goal is to make this blog a fun and approachable read for people looking for some information on the wineries around Victoria, BC. I want you to be able to come on one of my tours through the Cowichan Valley and tell me about the great times you had with a glass of wine or beer in your hand. Because to me, that’s what it is all about. It is a reason to hang out with the people you love, catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while and create crazy stories that you’ll be telling for years. I always say no good story starts with, “I was drinking water and…” it usually starts with “My friends and I were out having a few and…”
Also, if along the way you can impress your friends with some information you may not have known before, or you purchase a local craft wine or beer when you go shopping instead of the bottle from the large commercial vender to support some of the amazing people and places that pour their heart into the product. I will consider that a success!!!!!