Wine

Best BC Wines Of 2020: 10 Outstanding Bottles That Stand Out From The Crowd

Despite all the bad things that came at the world this year, some of us have been lucky enough to experience silver linings. Never in our lives will we get to spend this much quality time with our children. We’ve had time to focus on ourselves and decide how to better our aspirations. And we’ve all gotten to know some of our favourite bottles of wine. So I figured it was a good time to do an Instagram roundup of the Best BC Wines of 2020!

These are ten wines from British Columbia that stood out in the crowd. They’re bottles that I distinctly remember tasting, even though it is now months later.

And truth be told, this is more of a list of ten wines from January to mid-October. I’ve got a few coming up that I’ve tasted and are exceptional – but are going to be in one of my upcoming Holiday Wine Guides.

Without further ado, in no order other than sequentially – here’s my list of the Best BC Wines of 2020!


TANTALUS ROSÉ

Remember January? Life was good. The frenzy of the holidays had subsided and we were still relishing in the previous summer’s winery tour haul. Remember winery tours? Yeah, I can’t wait for that aspect of normalcy to return. The 2018 Tantalus Rosé was a shining light in the middle of Calgary’s January cold snap.

This Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier blend is one of my faves out of the Okanagan. Dry, crisp and balanced. Tart raspberry, currant, cranberry. A sprinkling of lemon rind citrus brightens the elegant profile. A ripened/sweeter touch lingers on the finish.

Instagram Post: January 10
Best BC Wines of 2020: Tantalus Rosé

EX NIHILO VIOGNIER

I still dream about this Viognier sometimes. I’m picking up a case the next time I visit the Lake Country winery.

Such a luxurious mouth feel, silky. With sweet floral aromatics. Full bodied, 5 months on lees. Divinely balanced acidity with citrus, nectarine, white pear flavours. A touch of coconut and vanilla. Love love love this wine. Wish I had another to open after a couple years of bottle age. ⁣

Instagram Post: February 12
Best BC Wines of 2020: Ex Nihilo Viognier

WINEMAKER’S CUT SAUVIGNON BLANC

One of the first new Spring releases I received to sample, this Sauvignon Blanc inspired an entire article for Sauvignon Blanc Day. BC doesn’t grow much varietal Sauvignon, but this bottle makes me think more producers should!

…classically bright and crisp with loads of citrus and supportive herbs. Not too grassy which I really appreciated. A touch of green apple on the finish which was lasting. Divine. A great start to Sauv Blanc season 😉.

Instagram Post: April 30
Best BC Wines of 2020: Winemaker's Cut Sauvignon Blanc

MONTE CREEK RANCH WINERY SPARKLING ROSÉ

I know I’m not the only one that regularly drinks sparkling wine, even on a mundane weekday. This bottle from Monte Creek needs no special occasion. It’s unique, full of character and yet approachable for any day of the week.

This 2018 sparkling expression is full of character. Made from 100% Marquette, it’s pronounced yet balanced. Red currant and berries shine atop the off dry style. Ripe without being cloying. A nose tingling sparkle wafts layers of citrus and a touch of savoury leaf. Guzzle-worthy 👍🏻. 

Instagram Post: June 11
Monte Creek Sparkling Rosé

RUST WINE CO. GAMAY

I love Gamay. Like, adore it! From Bojo to BC, I’m likely going to order it if I see it on a wine list. Rust is doing a phenomenal job honing it as one of their signature grapes. So much so that I seek it out vintage after vintage.

The Similkameen Valley desert heat infiltrates the berries which grow in the Lazy River vineyard. Perfectly ripened, juicy red berry flavours. Fermented in stainless steel, 10% whole cluster – the shining acidity is heightened by a crackling of spice and a dusky note of sweet tobacco.

Instagram Post: June 25
Best BC Wines of 2020: Rust Gamay

FITZ BRUT SPARKLING WINE

This is about as close as it gets to Champagne while sticking to BC soil. Fitz’s signature cuvée even uses the same grapes as a true champers (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier) and spends no less than 24 months on lees.

This elegant expression of ripe apricot, red apple and biscuit aromas with citrus and gooseberry flavours features fine bubbles with a supportive structure.

Instagram Post: June 26 (tasting note published in TASTE Magazine Summer issue)
Best BC Wines of 2020: Fitz Brut

BORDERTOWN CABERNET FRANC

Say it with me now: “British Columbians want more Cab Franc!” Am I wrong? Didn’t think so. This bottle from Bordertown was my first taste of their portfolio…colour me impressed. Seeking this one out again for sure.

Black fruit aromas lead us off and entangle themselves on the palate with sultry tobacco and dark chocolate nuances. Freshly ground pepper spice and wafts of green pepper carry through to the tenacious finish.

Instagram Post: July 13
Best BC Wines of 2020: Bordertown Cabernet Franc

EX NIHILO NIGHT

I was hesitant to include two wines on this list from the same winery. But I just can’t skip this one. Year after year, the Night Bordeaux Blend screams elegance and regality. My husband and I opened it to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.

Black Sage Bench grapes 🍇: 50% Cab Sauv, 35% Cab Franc & 15% Merlot. This beauty is silky-smooth after spending 20 months in oak. Loads of blackberry and rich plum weave their way through the layers of white pepper spice. Luscious and elegant with a lingering cocoa finish.

Instagram Post: September 14
Best BC Wines of 2020: Ex Nihilo Night

CASTORO DE ORO MERLOT

I tend to stay away from wine in a can, but this Merlot from Castoro de Oro truly changed my perception of canned wine potential. Award winning and easy to take with you on a trail hike. Talk about why not?

This Merlot was fab. Rich and ripe – very well done. 👍🏻

Instagram Post: September 18
Best BC Wines of 2020: Castoro de Oro Merlot

C.C. JENTSCH CELLARS SYRAH

It had been a few years since I tasted anything from C.C Jentsch and this Syrah reminded me to keep a keen eye out in the future. Super crushable and perfect for our small Thanksgiving gathering.

Fruit forward with brambly blueberry, dark cherry and plum. A rich complexity sings a supportive tune with pepper spice, smooth cocoa and comforting tannins.

Instagram Post: October 12
CC Jentsch Syrah

I’d love to know if any of these bottles are on your list for top wines of the year. If not, I hope it’s inspired you to look for some as we head into the holiday season.

And what bottles are on your list that I’m missing? What should I look for in 2021?

2 Comments

  • James Reaugh

    Enjoyed your list, Nicole. I, too, have enjoyed the Tanatalus gems, but have been really surprised by what Monte Creek has been making. I mean, who expects this from Kamloops? They are definelty punching above their weight class.

    Nk’Mip has been surprising me latley. Any thoughts?

    • Nicole MacKay

      Thanks James – I’m so happy you enjoyed the list and agree with some of my choices! I’ve heard such wonderful things about Nk’Mip but haven’t had anything from them in a couple of years. I’ll have to make them a priority in 2021 🙂

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