The lone Rhone in the Canadian wine profile seems to be Syrah, and yet this is the first grape planted to the Desert Hills Estate Three Boys Vineyard along the Black Sage Bench. Here, due to glacial retreat, the land is made up of gravelly limestone soils — perfect for a grape that enjoys a bit of forced rigor, like Syrah. The Toor family purchased their Three Boys Vineyard back in 1988, planted their first grapes in 1994, and is today the 25-acre home vineyard site for Desert Hills.
When Anthony Buchanan decided to embark on his winemaking career, he decided to return to his native British Columbia roots. Indeed, it is in the heart of BC that Canada’s wine scene seems to truly flourish. The sprawling Okanagan Valley, with its diverse microclimates and soil types, is home to over 60 wine grape varieties. But, undoubtedly, the cool-climate-loving Pinot Noir is the red wine king. The delicate fruit presents a crispness and acidity unknown to many New World regions, and Buchanan’s expression truly exemplifies what Canadian Pinot Noir is all about.
Tasting Canadian wine is already an adventure for me. Tasting Canadian wine from a hairdresser-turned-winemaker, well that just makes the experience all that more exciting. Anthony Buchanan left the world of hair design to study for his WSET levels 1 and 2 in the hopes of becoming a professionally certified sommelier. Through the course of these studies, he found his true passion was in the art of the winemaking science. So, Buchanan moved on to complete an oenology degree from Washington State, after which he returned home to BC, Canada to start his winemaking career. Today he is the head winemaker for Desert Hills Winery — also of BC, Canada — as well as owner and head winemaker of his eponymous label.