Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Olympics – Day 17

Well, we have finally made it to the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and the final day of our series of British Columbia wineries to visit. For our final day, we thought it fitting to choose the oldest – and largest – winery in the Fraser Valley: Domaine de Chaberton. Domaine de Chaberton is home to award-winning wines of Chaberton, Canoe Cove, and the Zagat-rated Bacchus Bistro. Originally from France, Claude and Inge Violet sold their winery and decided to start anew in the New World. In 1975, Claude and Inge came to North America and visited California, Ontario and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia but finally decided to settle in the Fraser Valley (which is closer to Vancouver than the Okanagan Valley is) and started the process of planting and opening Domaine de Chaberton. Well, just like Ontario’s early winemakers were scoffed at when they decided to plant vinifera grapes in North America, Claude was laughed at when he decided to plant wine grapes in the rain drenched Fraser Valley. However, like Ontario’s pioneers in winemaking, Claude had done his homework and had discovered that his land had a similar microclimate to the vineyards of Northern France. Now, it took quite a few years to develop a strategy for which grapes to grow and how to treat them while they were on the vine but, by 1991, their first vintage was released. Twenty five years after they planted their first vines, the Violets decided to retire and sold their winery to a couple of Chinese businessmen who had interests in the Vancouver area, an interest in fine wine and were looking for a challenge.

Now, they do have some grapes that are common throughout North America but there are a couple of really interesting white wine grapes planted that most of us have never heard of – Madeleine Sylvaner and Siegerrebe. Both of these grapes are particularly suited to this wine region and even as far south as the Puget Sound AVA in Washington State. Just a warning, the first vintage of Siegerrebe sold out so quickly the owners had to pull it from competition due to its sheer scarcity. If you want to try this delicious white wine that pairs well with Asian food, cheeses and curry dishes, get their quickly to try some and buy.

Tours available year round – check website for details on times.
Wine Shop open year round – check website for hours.
Bacchus Bistro open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch; Friday & Saturday only for dinner.
Domaine de Chaberton Estates Limited Partnership
1064 - 216 Street
Langley BC
V2Z 1R3
Boutique 604 530 1736
Bistro 604 530 9694
Long-Distance 1 888 332 9463
FAX 604 533 9687
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