Township 7 Seven Stars Polaris 2017, $36

What’s the Deal? One of the great pastimes of the Okanagan wine scene is playing the “What Should Our Signature Grape Be?” Some say Syrah, some Pinot, some Riesling, some Cab Franc. And in varying degrees and in varying locations, those are all great answers.

But if I were to examine my own buying patterns, and if I looked at the bottles I gifted and gushed about to my friends and colleagues over the past few years, I think my answer is that our signature grape is in fact a signature style: sparkling. 

There are literally two dozen producers who are making absolutely top-notch sparkling wine out there, and almost all of them are doing it for insanely good prices.

We have aged bubbles (Blue Mountain, Sperling, Haywire and Summerhill are all nailing this); we have low-intervention bottles (Lightning Rock, Bella and even Covert Farms); and then a few that I think of as the Veuve-slayers€”producers who make bubbles in the methode traditionale (how they do it in Champagne) with the traditional varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sometimes even Pinot Meunier, and do it for half the price of that famous yellow-label producer. Fitzpatrick Family is a good example of this. And, now, so is Township 7.

What’s in the Bottle? Township 7 has been making some form of bubbles since 1999, but it was with the arrival of winemaker Mary McDermott a half-decade ago that the sparkling program really took off. (McDermott came from Peller Estates in Niagara, where she ran their premium sparkling program). This bottle, Polaris, is the most widely available, but wine club members can also order Vega (based on Viognier), the rosé bubbles of Equinox, and a new wine called Sirius, which hasn’t been released yet. But let’s deal with Polaris: 100-percent Chardonnay, with low alcohol (12.7%) and a wonderful elegant crispness. Their tasting note says Granny Smith, peach and lime, and that’s bang on. It’s a lively, vibrant wine that’s killer with seafood or, actually, just on its own before dinner. Above all, it has an elegance that’s incongruous with its (low) $36 price point. 

Should I Buy? Well, if you like Champagne, then yes. It’s a relatively serious bottle, so I suppose if you favour cheap and cheerful Moscato, you might find this a tad austere. But keep on it, and I trust your palate will thank you in your later years.