We rarely see wines from Canada here in the UK so, when a good friend shared a bottle with us that had been brought back from a trip specially for him, it was a real treat.
I’m not familiar with Therapy Vineyards but their wonderfully named ‘Freud’s Ego’ is a delicious blend of Merlot backed up with Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. The mix of grapes may be typical of a Right Bank Bordeaux, but this is a very different take on the blend; rich and chocolatey with lovely black fruits and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. At 14%, it’s quite intense and full-bodied but in no way heavy and with a lightness of touch in the winemaking. A lovely bottle.
The richness rather surprised me because I note that Therapy Vineyards are based in the Okanagan Valley, about 200 miles east of Vancouver in the west of the country. Here, vineyards are at a latitude of around 50°N – roughly the same as the southern UK so, to ripen these varieties, particularly the fussy Cabernet Sauvignon, is quite a remarkable achievement. The key is the closeness of the deep, glacial Okanagan Lake which minimises the effects of spring frosts and moderates the climate, especially in winter. And, with both summer heat and sunshine being rather more dependable here than in Bordeaux and longer days due to the higher latitude, the result is the grapes ripening perfectly and reliably.
Canadian production is relatively small and costs are high so I don’t expect to see bottles from there flooding UK shelves anytime soon but, if you do see one, or you’re visiting, I suggest you try it; on the basis of my (admittedly limited) experience, I suspect you will not be disappointed.