This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Canadian White over £15 went to Nk'Mip Cellars, Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley 2012 (14%)
- Flat Rock Cellars, The Rusty Shed Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula 2012
- Wayne Gretzky Estates, No99 Estate Series Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula 2012
Nk’Mip Cellars is owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band, a group founded in 1877 which has a membership of 450. These Okanagan Indians have lived in the region for centuries and their winery sits within 485 hectares of diverse, delicate desert land which is increasingly under threat from urbanisation.
The Osoyoos Indians have a long tradition of growing grapes in Okanagan and the winery was set up in 2002 – North America’s first aboriginal-owned producer – as a reflection of this. They only use grapes grown on native land (so all the wines come from First Nation soils), and the range includes Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay.
Winemaker Randy Picton says the fruit for this Trophy-winner comes from a plot rich in minerals and the vines are some of the most naturally balanced on the estate, requiring little treatment or intervention. The grapes were picked in two separate tries, eight days apart, and fermentation of the two parcels took place at different times, although both were in French barrels, 40% of which were new. Nk’Mip Cellars produces 18,000 cases of wine annually, but the Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay represents less than 10% of this.
Written by Decanter