Unsworth Vineyards is located on Canada’s West Coast just north of Victoria, on Vancouver Island in Mill Bay, BC. Family owned, they have a fabulous tasting room, a restaurant with a Kiwi chef who has been sous chef at a Michelin-starred Swedish restaurant, a Scottish manager, a Wine Director son who is DipWSET, CMS, and FWS certified, and an East Coast winemaker transplant who has literally made wine around the world. This region is a cool climate draw for those serious about micro-climates and wine.
Charme de L’Isle
Named for a play on words, taste a charming, Vancouver Island bubble made in the charmat (tank) style. This is similar to what happens in Champagne (2 fermentations), but they took place in a tank. This ensures great flavour and attention to detail, but a product that gets to our glasses sooner.
A non-vintage and slightly off dry wine, it’s made of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and a bit of Auxerrois with small amounts of Sauvignette Blanc and Amiel. The last two are hybrids that do well in the rainy coastal weather, and stand up to vineyard infections without needing pesticides. Get ready for a mouth-watering acidity, with yellow apple, ripe pear, almond, custard, toast and a long-lasting mousse. Only C$25, serve this to your guests as they arrive.
Charme de L’Isle Rosé
Non-vintage and 100% Pinot Noir, this bubble is full of sassy character and just a little bit off-dry. The rosé version of the Charme, it has good acidity and shows rhubarb, cranberry, rose hip, and biscuit. Distinctive, this wine is perfect with turkey and cranberry sauce leftovers, or cheeses served with cranberry, rhubarb, or rose hip-based jams. Who am I kidding – only C$25, it goes with anything on a charcuterie or post-Christmas plate.
Cuvée de L’Isle, 2015
This is Unsworth’s pièce de résistance. A traditional, hand-riddled, disgorged and aged bubble, it’s made of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and 10% Auxerrois. The nose and palate offer ripe yellow apple, with quince, yellow pear, and a softly, sweet hint of brioche. Delicate and elegant, this completely dry wine offers a seriously long-lasting mousse with an only C$35 price tag.
They’re doing outstanding work at Unsworth – and these bubbles should have your attention for the new decade’s toasts. Affordable, super food-friendly, and uniquely Canadian – they’re delicious and highly recommended.
These samples were provided gratis. Stock bottle shots taken from the winery’s website.