I am lucky enough to live in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, with its breathtaking scenery of wild old growth forests, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean. It is also a city of lovely manicured gardens and tea rooms. And over the past twenty years or so, it has become home to an increasing number of amazing wineries!
The name Church & State symbolizes a balance between the many elements involved in creating the highest quality wine we can produce.
One of the oldest established wineries in this region is Church and State Wines. It started out as Victoria State Wines in the late 90s and became Church and State Wines in 2004 when it was bought by the Pullen family. They owned it up until December of 2017 when it was sold once more. They have two locations: one in the Okanagan region in the interior of BC, where all of their red wines are produced, and the Victoria location, which produces Pinot Gris and Muscat.
My mother and I dropped in for a tasting recently and we were really impressed by the consistent quality of their wines. I first tried one white, a Viognier, which was crisp and fruity, with flavours of peach and apricot. It is aged for 8 months in French Oak. A perfect summer patio wine!
I then moved to the reds (always my favourite!) The Syrah was delicious, light and peppery. It was so good I had to buy a bottle, and it paired perfectly with the fresh grey cod we had for dinner. I learned that while Shiraz wines, which are very common in Australia, are made from the same grape as the Syrah, the Syrah is made in the French style, so it is not as heavy and full-bodied as a Shiraz. It reminded me a bit of a Pinot Noir, with a little more zing. Delicious!
The Cabernet Franc was also very pleasant, going down smooth up front and spicy at the end. This would pair well with a grilled steak on the BBQ.
At the end of our sampling, we were treated to a real standout: the Coup D’état, an incredible blend of five grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This wine was formerly known as “Quintessential” for the five different grapes and was re-named to celebrate its tenth anniversary. This wine was juicy and fruity, with an explosion of delicious berry flavours. Not surprisingly, this is one of their pricier wines at $50 a bottle, but well worth it for a special occasion!
Church and State also has a very high-quality bistro, with a patio overlooking the vineyard and fountains below. While finishing my lunch, I kicked over my newly purchased bottle of Syrah and watched it trickle over the concrete – oh no! Our very friendly and understanding server kindly replaced it at no charge! With the combination of amazing wines and wonderful service, I will be back there very soon!