Set The Bar
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Road 13: Do you Want to Take This Road to British Columbia?

I am no stranger to British Columbia Winery Road 13. But it has been a few years since these lips have touched any of their wines.

I have been aware of them for years but not many of their wares are available in the “Open for Business” province of Ontario. In addition to their wines they have food trucks, a Lounge for eating and a Club 13 Wine Club. If you are in Oliver contact Krista Lochhead for a tour and tasting at You can check out their website for background information and to see about shipping. See

They were kind enough to send me a few bottles that thank goodness were rescued by a neighbour sitting on my front door in a rainstorm when I was recently in Italy.

The Road 13 GSM 2017 brings memories of a tried and true blend often used for Australian reds. G is for Grenache, S is for Syrah and M for Mourvedre. It almost always provides for a rich full-bodied wine.

This GSM has a black cherry colour. It has aromas of black and red plum, blackberry, black cherry, dates, figs and smoked meat. On the palate some high-toned tannins. Essentially a smooth and full-bodied red wine one would not expect to encounter from Ontario. There is rich black fruit on the palate particularly blackberry and black cherry with some heat and smoke on the finish. There is a spicy element to the long finish with just a bit of white pepper. The tasting sheet says pair with prosciutto and other cured meats, mild cheeses, lamb veal and venison. I will not argue with those suggestions.

This wine is beautifully crafted and is almost elegant. I am glad that if global warming wipes out Australian wine production we here in Canada will have GSM from Road 13. 51.4% Grenache, 34% Mourvedre and 14.6% Syrah.

A really great wine. Only 430 cases were produced.

About half the grapes came from the Blind Creek Vineyards in the Similkameen Valley and the other half from Road 13 vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. Mostly old French oak but some small amount of new French oak was used in ageing.

I’d happily give this until 2023.

A “Jewel in the Crown” for Road 13.

Given the wines from Meyer Family Vineyards in the Okanagan and these Road 13 wines I feel like packing my bags and heading out to British Columbia!

(Road 13 GSM 2017, British Columbia VQA, Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver, British Columbia, 14.4%, $ 36.52, Set The Bar Rating 94/100).

After that mighty fine wine off to a 2017 Syrah/Malbec blend 78.5% of which is Syrah and 21.5% is Malbec. The wine is purplish in colour. The nose is juicy with violets, blackberries, blueberries and boysenberries. The tannins are well hidden but present. On the palate cherries, blueberry pie all with a decadent and lush mouthfeel however the wine is not a lush fruit bomb. In fact a tad of almond extract on the finish. Yet another well built red from Road 13. Again the tasting sheet is not to be quibbled with when it says pair with grilled red meats, duck, pork and game. Personally I would strongly suggest a grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce.

332 cases made. Drink until 2022.

(Road 13, Syrah Malbec 2016, Similkameen Valley BC VQA, Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver, British Columbia, $32.17, 14.7%, Set The Bar Rating 91/100).

Chenin Blanc is a grape you would encounter in both France and South Africa but I can’t see much of it in Canada. So kudos to Road 13 for giving it a try. It is golden coloured. A good solid nose of apple, pear and pineapple. On the palate apple jelly, guava and buttered and broiled asparagus. It is dry for sure but not acidic. Ideal for sipping or for simply prepared white meats. A simple well-made wine. Very well balanced and with a short finish. Might as well drink in the next couple of years. 615 cases made.

94% Chenin Blanc, 5% Orange Muscat and 1% Viognier.

The grapes used were primarily from vineyards owned by Road 13 in the Naramata Bench. Fermentation was in stainless steel tanks.

I agree with the tasting sheet when it states the wine will pair nicely with Pacific Rim cuisine especially sushi, oysters and seafood.

(Road 13 Chip Off the Old Block Chenin Blanc 2017, Okanagan Valley BC VQA, Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver British Columbia, $17.39, 12.9%, Set The Bar Rating 89/100).

I am looking forward to this Road 13 Roussanne. A French Roussanne has an intense flavour reminiscent of pears or aromatic herbal tea. It must be picked at full ripeness or will fall prey to acidity and a short life. This one has a deep golden colour. On the nose such a great blast of pineapple, guava, honey, apricot and honey. Can I say sexy?

On the palate entirely sublime notes of mango smoothies, honey, ripe Turkish peaches and Greek Zucchini fritters. Perfumed decadence without being over the top. Magnificence in a bottle if you are looking for a distinctive wine. Restrained and almost elegant in its own way. If this wine can’t galvanize you out of a Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Gris rut I’ll be damned.

This is 96% Roussanne and 4% Viognier. In my opinion this wine is screaming for lobster in garlic butter sauce but I’ll say I agree with the tasting sheet that says match with a wide selection of seafood (fish and shellfish) in addition to chicken and pork dishes with creamy and spicy sauces. An impressive sipping wine for those willing to go beyond the mundane.

(Road 13 Roussanne 2017, Similkameen Valley BC VQA, Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver, British Columbia, $(sorry no price indicated on website indicating may be sold out), 14%, Set The Bar Rating 94/100).

I have really enjoyed cruising along with Road 13 so I am a bit sad to end the trip with a VRM 2017 which is a blend of some of my favourite white grapes. Viognier (13%), Roussanne (78%) and Marsanne (9%).

This wine has a solid gold colour. On the palate definitely some French oak (25% new) but not detracting but enhancing. On the nose Baked Alaska, grapefruit, Greek Marmalade, apricot, honey with a bit of a funky overlay. On the palate soft and sensual with hyper notes of peach, apricot, mango and lychee. A rather moderately long finish with a bit of heat. The tasting sheet again causes me no grief when it says it would pair perfectly with seafood, shellfish and spicy Asian food.

Only 390 cases were made. And again so well made and balanced. Although the funk on the nose is quite charming now with age I am not sure how it will age so I suggest drinking this in the next couple of years.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Blind Creek Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley.

(Road 13 VRM 2017, Similkameen Valley BC VQA, Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver, British Columbia, $25.49, 14.3%, Set The Bar Rating 89/100).

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