GEHRINGER BROTHERS AUXERROIS (2011)—Good grapes, good vino

My Fellow Inebriates,

The only item you’re less likely to find in our fridge than white wine is Canadian white wine. Regardless of nationality, any white wine wanting entrée into LBHQ has to get past my parents’ childhood-instilled preconceptions. My mum’s first glass of white wine, homemade and therefore Canadian by definition, came courtesy of a neighbor who brought a jug of weirdly viscous who-knows-what varietal over to condole with her on her dad’s burial that day. The neighbor proceeded to fill and refill my then-16-year-old mum’s glass with it until she threw up.

Oddly though, my dad is more resistant to white wine than my mum. Perhaps this is because my mum is more firmly on the path to full-on alcoholism; perhaps it’s because the Fubar-type pub crawlers of my dad’s youth would have kicked his ass for ordering white wine—who knows? Personally, I don’t care for white wine’s typically lower alcohol content, but I’ll still get on board for it if I hear the corkscrew operating.

Canadian wine’s second hurdle as far as my parents are concerned is the notion they harbor, misinformed in the face of simple chronology, that Canadian vines are too young to produce good grapes. Now, this may have been true in my parents’ mosh-pit days, but OMG, 20 years have passed since either of them saw Skinny Puppy perform, and Canadian vineyards have spent those 20 years maturing very nicely, nudging Canadian wine from risible to…admirable.

This is even more true of Canadian whites than reds, although global warming may assist the latter over the next few decades. For now a $15 wine-shop gamble is best placed on a white, and with this in mind we chose GEHRINGER BROTHERS AUXERROIS (2011). The oldest winery in the South Okanagan Valley, Gehringer Brothers put itself on the map with Rieslings and ice wines but has escaped being pigeon-holed as a producer of strictly sweet German-style wines, earning rafts of awards for its 22-wine line-up. The PINOT AUXERROIS certainly proves the Brothers can do off-dry very well indeed.

Pale and straw-colored with shy citrus and granny smith hints, GEHRINGER BROTHERS PINOT AUXERROIS is appealing from the get-go. It glances the palate with bracing crispness and astringency—delicious while being a massive departure from the mouth-filling, long-finishing ZINCK PINOT BLANC we enjoyed on Mother’s Day (and suffering just the tiniest bit by comparison). The body is light, the fruit chiming with delicate high notes, the finish lightly sweet. And at 12.5% alcohol the entire bottle can be pounded with minimal consequence (so I argued to my mum without success).

GEHRINGER BROTHERS AUXERROIS has obviously been crafted with great skill and attention. More than a simple summer sipper, it offers intriguing flavor and structure with good acid balance. It was a delightful experiment for LBHQ, but I don’t anticipate a repeat purchase after my dad gets back from his naked golf week, especially if he has any cheap Scotch left over, in which case this entire review will escape my two brain cells, never to be remembered except perhaps if someone searches for “Skinny Puppy.”