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Checkmate & Road 13 Wine Club Members Night

Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits Members Night

Tonight we were invited to two back to back member’s wine night, for respective local BC wineries Checkmate and Road 13.


The evening started at Terminal City Club where the Checkmate Artisanal Winery team was on location sampling five of their trademark wines.

Guests were greeted at the door with the 2019 Fool’s Mate Chardonnay. Then invited to navigate the room trying 2014 Capture, 2020 Little Pawn, 2020 Silent Bishop, and the 2019 Opening Gambit. Each bottle set up at its own station, with a line to sample from the representative that would speak to the brand, make, and vintage.

There was also the opportunity to speak directly with Checkmate’s principal wine maker, and ask him about the inspiration and work that went into your favourite bottles of Checkmate wine.

2019 Fool’s Mate Chardonnay. “An extremely complex wine with aromas of yellow peach, melon, perfume, and caramelized oak with hints of graphite. The palate is rich with flavours of peach, apricot and almond croissant.” (As taken from their website)

2014 Capture Chardonnay is produced with grapes farmed closer to the US-Canada border. Here, bringing out a 2014 out shows how well the wine ages. “The palate opens with spice and creamy stone fruits, which are overtaken by minerals and a keen acidity, smoothly interwoven with an oak influence.”

This day also marked the pre-release of the 2020 Little Pawn Chardonnay. “The wine begins with appealing aromas of peach mingled with fennel and sage. On the palate, there are flavours of stone fruits, apples and vanilla”. The team declared that this 2020 Vintage may very well be their best yet.

2020 Silent Bishop Merlot. “A nose of intense red and black fruits, floral notes, coffee, tobacco and spice. The palate has well-balanced acidity, fruit and oak”.

2019 Opening Gambit Merlot. “An elegant nose of plum and black fruits with creamy undertones and mocha notes. The palate is charming with a rich entry of blackberry and black cherry fruits giving way to chocolate notes and polished tannins”.

The goal was allow members to be able to get their hands on these limited releases aged bottles before the general public, plus the chance to taste before they commit.

The bottles above were not only available in the standard 750ml size but in the Magnum 1.5 litre, Jerobaum 3 litre, and Imperial 6 litre. The latter three ideal for hostess gifts and presents this winter. Or to crack open and impress those at any dinner party or family gathering. Fine wine for a special season.

In between sips and generous tastes, canapés were rotated around the room. Like this aged cheese tart that paired will with the citrusy notes of our Chardonnay options.

There was also a help yourself platter of deep fried artichoke bites and hummus that was complimentary to the white wine as well.

And for the merlot, the classic charcuterie board was make available for grazing. A handsome assembly that included both soft and hard cheeses, a solid collection of cured meat, plus spread and compotes to enjoy with crackers and slices of baguette.

Road 13 Vineyard

When our two hours time limit was exhausted we walked over to our next members only wine tasting. Celebrating Road 13 at Riley’s Seafood & Steakhouse, specifically within their private event area and oyster bar.

Here, the Road 13 Vineyard team had two tables sent up to pour and sample their John Oliver Selections, which included their 2020 Syrah, 2020 Malbec, 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2020 5th Element. All of which were available for members to preorder at member discount prices. Along with a 6 bottle and 12 bottle advent calendar for the holidays.

Once again we got the opportunity to connect with the principal wine maker and pick his brain, forcing him to pick a favourite of all the wines available for sampling today. And that would be the Cabernet Sauvignon to my delight, as that is my preferred wine of choice in colour and type.

The following are some notes on the John Oliver Selection that was made available for tasting on this night. And if you are unfamiliar of the significance of this name and his selection (as I was), here is an excerpt explanation, as taken from the Road 13 Vineyards website.

“John Oliver’s is a story of success won by sheer grit and unshakable determination. Never shy to don his overalls to get things done, Oliver was the engineer of the Okanagan Canals, an advocate for women’s rights, and a champion of the working man.
He reflects our respect for nature and commitment to sustainability, as we draw inspiration from his hard-working spirit to craft our wines using hand-picked, estate-farmed grapes sourced from our sunny, southern vineyards in Golden Mile Bench and Black Sage Bench. This collection is made for those who appreciate some dirt on the hands and fortitude in the spirit.”

2020 Road 13 John Oliver Syrah, earning 95 PTS at Decanter World Wine Awards. “Sourced from their reserve vineyard blocks, this Syrah expresses the spice from Golden Mile Bench combined with fruit-forwardness of Black Sage Bench.”

2020 Road 13 John Oliver Malbec, earned 91 PTS at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
“Fruit for this exceptional wine comes from their East Osoyoos vineyard block that captures the sun perfectly for ripening conditions, while retaining its acidity.”

2020 Road 13 John Oliver Cabernet Sauvignon, bronze winner 88 PTS at the Decanter World Wine Awards. “An exceptional concentrated expression of South Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of black currant and blackberry.“

2020 Road 13 John Oliver 5th Element. “An elegant and powerful red, created with their Wine Club members in mind! The grapes sourced for this rich red blend are harvested at peak”.

And as the wine poured freely, members and guests were invited to partake in the seafood buffet prepared by the Riley’s culinary team.

This collection included jump shrimp cocktail, raw oysters in shell, vegan vegetable rolls, compressed watermelon squares, an antipasto meat and cheese platter, a mushroom risotto, butter buns; and a beautifully seared steak, sliced to serve.

Overall, this was an amazing evening celebrating two highly accomplished vineyards right in our own Okanagan backyard.

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