[These wines were provided as samples for review purposes.]
No time to spare for a huge intro tonight, as we have a whole whack of impressive Canadian wines to assess in what is sure to be a super-sized review. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to taste through a series of recent releases from Okanagan stalwart Burrowing Owl, which is based in the scorching deep south of the Valley, near the US border in Oliver, British Columbia. The tasting pack included a quartet of bottles from the parent winery and a quartet from its new offspring, Burrowing Owl’s second label Calliope Wines. In keeping with the main estate’s unusual-bird-based theme, Calliope is named after a tiny hummingbird (Canada’s smallest bird) found in southern BC (not to be confused with the Greek muse or the steam organ of the same name). According to its website, Calliope “is a full line of easy sipping, fruit-forward wines, designed to pair with casual lunches on the patio, or with contemporary cuisine”. According to the pictures on the website, the wines also appear to pair with unnaturally beautiful Photoshopped women and neck beards. Polite suggestion to Calliope: Your wines are solid. Your website is trying too hard. It needs to relax.
I had often heard strong praise about the Burrowing Owl lineup from Wine People Who Know Things but hadn’t previously gotten around to experiencing it for myself, so getting to dive into a sizeable chunk of the portfolio all at once was an amazing way to get caught up on one of the brightest lights in Canadian wine. Without further ado, here are eight mini wine reviews, starting with the second label and finishing with the main house (all prices based on Alberta retail).