Food & Wine Photo Credit: Hester Creek

This Trebbiano Doesn’t Taste Like Trebbiano

And that’s exactly why you should buy it.

Hester Creek Trebbiano 2018 $21

In the ever-crowded world that is winemaking in the Okanagan, wineries are desperate to find a way to set themselves off from the pack. You can have old vines (pretty tricky to do if you’re not an established winery or have Phantom Creek type money); you can experiment with rare varietals (see Stag’s Hollow or Moon Curser); or you can just charge a boatload of money (see One Faith).

Well this beauty from Hester Creek wildly succeeds on the first two, but is a disaster on the charging a lot front. For starters the vines were planted in 1968. No, that’s not a typo. In a region where vines planted in 1998 are considered old, these babies have just passed the half-century mark. And they’re trebbiano, the Italian varietal that is one of the most widely planted in the world. In France the grape is called Ugni Blanc and makes entirely forgettable whites while also forming the spirit base for Cognac and Armagnac.

In Italy it fares a bit better when it’s used in Orvieto, but only just. For the most part it’s a grape that’s very vigourous, grows like a weed and makes basic table wine. But something funny happened when it was planted in the Okanagan’s Golden Mile Bench and was given the chance to put down some really serious roots—it formed the basis of what I imagine would be a contender for most interesting trebbiano around. Whereas the Italian version is light bodied with typically a pretty restrained (read boring) nose, Hester Creek’s version is quite rich and full bodied—it’s a bit like biting into a ripe cantaloupe that’s been dusted with lemon rind. But thankfully it retains that backbone of acidity that is also present in the Italian version and the combo of all this makes it unlike anything else in the Okanagan. Or Italy for that matter.

So why is such a special wine only $21? Beats me. We have plenty of wineries that are more than happy to charge $30 for their brand new wines made from vines that are just barely producing useable grapes. My thought is don’t think about it too hard and don’t ask too many questions—just snag a case before they catch on (and use it to blow the mind of your Italian relatives when they come to visit)

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