Did you know that there is a winery in Surrey that it exclusively produces California wines? Well neither did we, but thanks to Tourism of Surrey we were getting a crash course on how to expect the unexpected from “the city of parks”.
Located in an industrial area they are a hidden gem worth travelling for. You would not expect to find a tasting room with 3 fully certified sommeliers on staff tending to this self-proclaimed “Red Wine House”.
Cavallo was born 27 years ago, started by a group of friends in Napa who loves the French barreling of wine and wanted to do something different than that all of the BC wines. They are proud of their import connections and the fact that all their fruit comes from the Napa Valley. Although, for us the consumer, this importing fee is reflective in the price we pay.
During our visit we would get a quick look at their bottling operation and the wine that is left to age in their barrel room. All before being taken through their entire wine catalogue that is currently available.
The price is $15 for a 5 wine tasting . The price is waved should you decide to take home a bottle. Although if you are a Cavallo wine club member, the fee is bypassed altogether.
We started off our tasting with their only white. The Palomino is an off-dry white that is generous with orchard fruits like apricot and peach and finishes sweeter with pear and pineapple. It includes Chardonnay grapes for richness and can be described as having a white wine feel for red wine drinkers.
Their Pinot Noir comes from the South end of Napa. As a younger wine it is a lighter red with plenty of tannis. It drinks juicy with orangey citrus notes.
Ton of Brix is Cavallo’s house blend that includes Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel. The name “brix” is a play on a vinicultural term for the mix of sugars that is present in a grapes when you harvest them. It was crafted to be an everyday wine, easy and approachable with a warm mouthfeel. Smooth with berry and spice. Given that this is their most popular seller, you can conclude that they accomplished what they set out to do.
The Merlot has a fuller body thanks to its grapes being harvested from higher altitudes. They are smaller with a thicker skin, which adds colour and tannis to the wine; as well as a smokey nuance to it. You get black fruits, pie spices, and chocolate on the nose. Followed by flavours of ripe plum, currant, blackberry, anise, and dark cherry.
Next we tried their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a new release at the time, only coming to counter 12 days before. It was barrelled in 2018 and bottled until November of 2022. Smooth and easy drinking with very little acidic bite back. I naturally gravitates to This Cabernet Sauvignon with its layers of sweet oak, spiced plum, blackberry jam, and raspberry.
The Zinfandel was intense and bold. Rich in mouthfeel with flavours of ripe black cherry, pomegranate, licorice, and raspberry. It was jammy on the palate with a peppery kick.
We were also lucky enough to be treated to an older vintage of their Zinfandel at 2 years more. With this age the Zinfandel has become more mellow. You still get tang and juiciness to it, but it is now better suited as an accompaniment to food.
It is so great to learn of a new winery that is in our backyard, and one that gives us local accessibility to California wines. However, for those who think that Surrey is still too far of a drive out to, Cavallo has plans of opening a wine bar that serves small plates in Coal Harbour. For those who have driven past Pender and Thurlow as of late, you have probably already seen the posters up on the exterior of their future home. The vision is to have this be a micro-winery in order to be able to build a tasting room adjacent (as they legally have to make wine within for them to be able to have a tasting room). This will be a nod to California for Vancouverites. But for now, until then, visit their full operations in Surrey.
Cavallo Winery Ltd.
19288 22 Ave #150, Surrey, BC V3Z 3S6