Berry nice wines tickles the palate

Carol Smiley lives up to her name as she pours me a Sanduz Blackcurrant fruit wine and beams with pride at how delicious it is. Smiley is the friendly and knowledgeable hostess in the Sanduz Estate Wines’ tasting room at Blundell and Sidaway.

Carol Smiley lives up to her name as she pours me a Sanduz Blackcurrant fruit wine and beams with pride at how delicious it is.

Smiley is the friendly and knowledgeable hostess in the Sanduz Estate Wines’ tasting room at Blundell and Sidaway.

Founded in 2007, Sanduz Estate Wines is the largest fruit winery in B.C. Local blueberry farmers, Dave and Neeta Sanduz, harvest pesticide-free fruit from their own property as well as from other growers.

Smiley explains the reasons why fruit wineries and their wines are becoming more popular than ever.

“One of the biggest killers of new wineries is overhead. It takes months, if not years, for grape wines to mature. It only takes 10 weeks for fruit wines to be bottled and ready to drink,” she said.

Unlike grape wines, fruit wines have fewer tannins and sulfites, which appeal to consumers with food allergies.

Ron Taylor is the winemaker and a pioneer in the B.C. wine industry. Back in the 1980s, he was one of the first to produce Okanagan wines from premium grape varieties like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Now at Sanduz, Taylor produces a large variety of fruit wines in a range of styles from dry table wines to sweet dessert wines and ports Think of any fruit and chances are Sanduz

has a wine for that! Blueberry is an obvious choice, but there’s blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, gooseberry, crabapple and a sweet cherry port.

Taylor prefers to leave enough residual sweetness in the fruit wines to lift the aromas and flavours.

Smiley pours me a glass of Sanduz Blackcurrant. The bouquet reminds me of the cassis you sniff from a Cabernet Sauvignon.

There is also a whiff of cloves and cinnamon to add some delicious spice. It’s amazingly rich, smooth and dry with a kiss of tartness and a long finish to savour. For $14.70, a great match for rack of lamb with garlic and rosemary! Smiley also recommends the Sanduz Gooseberry wine which is $14.70. Much like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, it has a prominent gooseberry nose and flavour, along with a herbal quality and crisp acidity. Here’s a wine for grilled halibut or curried mussels! To take away the winter chill, Smiley suggests heating up the sweet cranberry wine and adding cinnamon and cloves to make the holiday season bright and tasty.

Sanduz Estate Wines is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 12791 Blundell Rd. in Richmond. Call 604-214-0444 for more fruitful information.

Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident and a retired teacher and wine educator.

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