Perseus, like its namesake constellation that showers the northern sky with brilliant meteors every year, is quickly becoming a winery of legend in the Okanagan Valley. Penticton-based Perseus is the first of what promises to be a spectacular shower of top-flight wineries from Terrabella Wineries Ltd. of Summerland. At Perseus, the idea is to deliver high quality wines at very competitive prices. As the winery’s current portfolio shows, that goal is well within reach.
With the guidance of Consulting Winemaker Tom Di Bello, who cut his teeth at Napa’s renowned Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars before spending 10 years as Chief Wine Officer at CedarCreek Estate Winery near Kelowna, Perseus is already producing complex, well-balanced wines. They are the equal of anything, anywhere.
Shown in photo: (L-R): President and CEO Rob Ingram; Consulting Winemaker Tom Di Bello; Winery Manager Andrea Messing; Marketing Coordinator Katrin Pottel
“We are fortunate,” explains Di Bello, “to have assured supplies from exceptional vineyards.” Courtesy of well-tended relationships, Perseus can draw grapes for its 6,000 cases from some of the finest vineyards in the southern reaches of the Interior.
The high standard of Perseus wines is set by the winery’s talented team. In addition to Di Bello and Assistant Winemaker Jason Parkes, the winery receives advice from award-winning Viticulturalist Richard Cleave. His Phantom Creek Vineyard was recently named one of the top ten in the world. Day-to-day vineyard management falls to Adam Spychalski who, according to Di Bello, “has exceptional instincts for what the vines need to produce great grapes.”
Some of those great grapes can be found in the newly-released 2011 Pinot Gris. This juicy mouthful offers marvelous acidity that pairs well with everything from lemon risotto to aged Asiago. It is also expected to be the first Perseus wine you can buy at British Columbia Liquor Stores. Or try their excellent Viognier, whose wonderful nose will transport you directly to an apricot orchard. Viogniers are notoriously hard to do right, and this one is definitely done right. At only $21.90 a bottle, you’ll want to treat yourself to a case.
Perseus offers red varietals ranging from a delightfully fruit-forward old vine Merlot to a meaty Cabernet Franc that just begs for a grilled steak or rack of ribs. And don’t miss their new Petit Verdot and Malbec single varietals. For sheer elegance, however, nothing tops their $50 Small Lot 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, which has just hit the store shelves. Di Bello considers this an exceptional value.
Many wine lovers flock to Perseus for their red blends. Tempus, predominantly Syrah with a tiny bit of Viognier, has fruit and backbone and finish to spare. The denser Invictus, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, is well structured and will keep for years if you can keep your hands off it (but you won’t be able to).
Like everything the versatile Di Bello turns his hand to, these are all wines of extraordinary depth and finesse.
Perhaps that’s why tasting them in a relaxing ranch house in suburban Penticton seems so surprising. Like a good neighbour, however, this urban winery gives back much to its community. It sponsors everything from the BC Hockey Hall of Fame hockey association to the Ironman Triathlon. Soon Perseus will contribute even more to local amenities by adding a rooftop patio, tasting bar and food service to its existing facility.
According to Terrabella President and CEO Rob Ingram, this is just the beginning of big changes coming from his 14-member investment group. Stayed tuned as Terrabella rolls out more tasting rooms in the Valley and Greater Vancouver and perhaps even a new winery.
Who says business and pleasure don’t mix?
~ Barry Potyondi