What defines an icon wine? What are the hottest trends in BC wines right now? Which British Columbia wines are worth adding to your cellar? What will surprise you about BC wines?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with John Schreiner, author of Icon: Flagship Wines from British Columbia’s Best Wineries, whom I consider to be the godfather of Canadian wine writing.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- What defines an icon wine?
- Why should you pay attention to the BC wine industry, despite how young it is?
- How does BC have an advantage over other wine-growing regions?
- What flavour profiles can you look out for in some of John’s favourite icon wines?
- How does the changing approach to British Columbia (BC) viticulture translate to your palate?
- Where can you find the Similkameen Valley?
- Why did John include Vanessa Vineyard’s Meritage to his Icon list?
- How can you taste wine like an experienced wine writer?
- What history do you bring to your cellar when you buy an icon wine?
- Why should you invest in a bottle of Merlot or Chardonnay from CheckMate Artisanal Winery?
- What makes Hester Creek Estate Winery’s The Judge a must-have addition for your cellar?
- How can you see the winemaker’s personality come out in Cassini Cellars’ The Godfather?
- Why is Riesling the best white wine to age?
- How did a minor cork adventure start John’s wine-loving journey?
- What inspired John’s transition from business reporter to wine writer?
- How does John see the BC wine region and industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?
- Why did John dedicate Icon to the winemaker at Mission Hills?
- Why would John want to share a bottle of wine with Winston Churchill?
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
By icon I mean not just an expensive wine, but a wine that’s good enough to be collected and cellared. - John Schreiner Click to tweet
The other thing that sets British Columbia apart is the diversity of grape varieties. - John Schreiner Click to tweet
If the bottom of the cork smells like an old root cellar, then be cautious about tasting the wine. - John Schreiner Click to tweet
Merlot is the most widely planted red in the Okanagan and Merlot has sometimes disappointed me because I thought some wineries were overproducing them. - John Schreiner Click to tweet
About John Schreiner
John Schreiner is a prolific and seasoned wine writer. Beginning with regular wine columns in the Financial Post and the Vancouver Sun in 1974, he published his first book, The World of Canadian Wines, in 1984 and has since written fourteen books on Canada’s and British Columbia’s wines and wine culture. He is a celebrated member of both national and regional wine communities across Canada and has judged in wine competitions in North America and abroad. He lives in Vancouver, where he maintains his own expansive wine collection.
- Connect with John
- Join me LIVE on Facebook every second Wednesday at 7pm Eastern
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 71!
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with the man I consider the godfather of Canadian wine writing, such is both the quality and the quantity of his work. Beginning with regular wine columns in the Financial Post and the Vancouver Sun in 1974, he published his first book, The World of Canadian Wines, in 1984 and has since written fourteen books on Canada’s and British Columbia’s wines and wine culture.
This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook live video a couple of years ago, so keep that in mind as the context for John’s comments. Also, you’ll occasionally hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published.
I’ll put a link where you can find us in the show notes, as well as links to John’s books, website, social media handles, the wines we tasted and the video version of this conversation at nataliemaclean.com/71.
If you want to take a break from binging on Netflix, sign up for my free, online video wine class the 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
Go to nataliemaclean.com/class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class!
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with John that includes the full list of icon wines, bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this chat with John Schreiner.
Here are my takeaways:
- John says he was a friend of BC wine when BC wines had no friends. He truly knows the region, having followed and tasted it since the 1970s. This makes his insights into the changes and future of BC wine all the more compelling.
- I like John’s definition of an icon wine: one that is both collectible and cellar-worthy. Price doesn’t always dictate icon status.
- I was surprised to learn that BC has more than 100 varieties planted, though 8-10 account for more wine. The diversity of climate from the top of the valley and higher altitude plantings at 150 metres above sea level, to the southern tip allows for such range from Pinot Noir to Syrah, as does the dramatic changes from daytime to nighttime temperatures.
- I also didn’t realize that about half of BC wines farm organically, and that the air drainage from the top of the mountain down into the valley helps reduce frost damage and disease.
- I’m looking forward to working my way through more than one hundred wines John’s names as icon wines in his book — they’re all on my bucket list now, or should I say spittoon list, except that I won’t be spitting them out, thank-you very much.
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips that John shared. You’ll find links to his books, website, social media handles, the video version of this conversation and where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, including this evening, in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/71.
Finally, if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.
You won’t want to miss next week when we’ll be chatting with Dr. Gary Pickering a Professor of Wine Science and researcher at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, in Niagara. He is the inventor of the white wine mouthfeel wheel and the supertasting kit, and is passionate about wine education, and of course, wine. He joins me from his home in Niagara.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a gorgeous wine from BC!