Meyer Family Vineyards: A COVID Themed Dr. Bonnie Henry Chardonnay from British Columbia?

I will admit being taken aback by a Meyer Family Vineyards (MFV) Chardonnay named after British Columbia’s Provincial Officer of Health, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Is this Canada’s first COVID themed wine? Given the damage done to British Columbia wineries by public health orders I say MFV is gutsy in naming a “Tribute” wine after Dr. Bonnie Henry. Now that is respect.

I can see why. Henry is cool, calm and collected. Even more than that she creates a very trustworthy and earnest impression unlike other provincial health officers I have seen in Canada. Quite frankly given the political-medico elites seemingly controlling the democratic process I’ll give Dr. Henry a pass and would be delighted to share a glass of this Dr. Bonnie Henry Chardonnay with Henry herself. I get the sense she enjoys a good glass of British Columbian wine unlike Premier Doug Ford of Ontario who strikes me as a wobbly pop type of guy. Speaking of Ontario I also like Dr. Eileen de Villa Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health whose style reminds one of Dr. Henry.

Dr. Bonnie Henry: Photo Darryl Dyck Canadian Press

Enough political meandering.

The wine has a golden colour. On the nose this is definitely a Chardonnay in the oaked camp. And it’s not subtle oak at least on the nose not surprising as it was aged in French oak 22% of which was new. Notes of pear, apple, guava, pineapple and butterscotch. On the palate the oak is very well integrated into the wine so it compliments rather than overpowering it. There are notes of Baked Alaska, lemon meringue pie, Portuguese custard tarts and pear-almond galette. The finish is moderate in length and the acids are completely under control, like Dr. Henry.

Now given the oak streak in the wine shellfish come to mind. A simple clam sauce made with white wine with loads of garlic butter over egg pappardelle with this wine will lift you far away from COVID. Revel in the present moment and mindfully enjoy this excellent MFV effort. You British Columbians may want to toast her with a glass of this wine. You may want to buy a few bottles and when you have had your second jab toast Dr. Henry. If only we had an Ontario winery create an Eileen de Villa wine! I can easily picture these two ladies running for high political office. I suggest MFV create a virtual Zoom toast to Dr. Henry when she declares COVID is over!

640 cases were produced. Although a long cool fermentation began in stainless steel tanks for most of the ferment the must was transferred to 100% French oak (22% new) and as left sur lees for 11 months. The juice was from the “Old Main Road Vineyard” in the famed Naramata Bench and vines were planted in 1996 with 100% Chardonnay grapes. The tech sheet says cellaring potential is 7-10 years and given the underlying firmness of the wine I can agree with that.

(2019 Tribute Series Chardonnay-Dr. Bonnie Henry, Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC VQA, Meyer Family Vineyards, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, $ 30.52, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 92/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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