This wine is a blend of Viognier, Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Gris so you know the aromatics are going to be huge – a big nose of peach, tangerine, myer lemon, rose petal, lychee and a hint of honey immediately impresses. On the palate this wine is bone dry with a crisp, refreshing acidity; great balance. Flavours of stone fruit, citrus and green apple with a clean streak of minerals leave you with a long fresh aftertaste. You’ll taste this one for a long time after it’s gone.
We had this with panko crusted cod fillets – wich was delicious – but we immediately thought the big aromatics on this would play well with something with a bit of heat. Thai or earthy Mexican dishes would be an ideal match.
Nichol Vineyards has long been one of our favourite Okanagan wineries (we are generally quite partial to the old Naramata Bench wineries – Nichol, Kettle Valley, La Frenz, Lake Breeze, Elephant Island, Poplar Grove and Hillside), but we generally think of them for their pioneering Syrah and Cab Franc. However, their whites should not be over looked as they produce one of our favourite Pinot Gris (leaving them on the skins like Kettle Valley to extract some of the beautiful salmon colouring) and this very tasty (and very dry) Gewurtz.
For a varietal that is usually known for its aromatics, this wine displays a surprisingly delicate floral nose: rose petals, lychee lime with the slight hint of wet pavement. On the palate this is very far to the dry side of the spectrum of Gewurztraminer with crisp acidity. The palate has notes of lychee, pink grapefruit, white peach, lime zest, hint of spice and a minerally note. This wine has a long finish that carries on that minerally note with a grapefruit pith for what seems like forever.
This will pair well with Asian flavours- think five spice rubbed pork tenderloin or hoisin glazed chicken. The spice holds up to the strong flavours and the crisp acidity a citrus notes beautifully cuts through fats and slaty flavours alike.
Pepper and stewed plums on the nose. Flavours of black cherry, cassis, chocolate and just a hint of the bell pepper note you expect from Cab Franc. We thought it the first time we tried this and we stick by it – this is very easily among the best Cab Francs we have ever tried. There have been many that we have enjoyed, many we have thought were pleasant and tasty, but few we would describe as complex, sexy and unique wines – this one easily fits all of those descriptions. Great acidity and just the right amount of tannins. Incredibly well balanced and well structured wine.
We had this with homemade pumkin ravioli and roasted tomato and carmelized onion sauce and highly recommend this with similar rich red sauces. We also had this with chocolate, which works just as well.
There is something warm and comforting about this wine; familiar, yet new and exciting at the same time. Pair it with Richard Hawley’s Cole’s Corner to pull out just the right notes.
La Frenz has long been one of our favourite Naramata wineries (which basically puts it near the very top of our absolute favourite wineries in the Okanagan) and we make no secret of our love of Pinot Noir, so the expectations are quite high for this Reserve Pinot. Impressively, this wine delivered and was able to far exceed expectations.
This is a rich opulent wine that delivers the body and depth you expect from a reserve Pinot. On the nose you get lots of dark berries, earth forest floor notes with a hint of those pretty floral tones that we find are often what haunt you long after a great Pinot has left the glass (and the bottle for that matter). On the palate this goes through the full range from black cherry to bright strawberry flavours. The fruit flavours are complimented by earthy notes and a touch of smoke. Great balance and a finish that lingers and draws you back for more.
We had this with a spinach and cheese stuffed tortellini in a mixed mushroom, herb and goat butter sauce. This combo is so good we would almost never make this dish without this wine. We highly recommend you try the same. This wine needs something smooth, sexy and sophisticated – we recommend Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Moanin’. This is one of our all time favourite jazz albums – a classic – and will perfectly capture the sleek, powerful, yet contemplative vibe of this beauty of a Pinot from our friends at La Frenz.
Church & State Wines started in the Saanich Peninsula, just outside of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, and now run two wineries, one on the Island and one in Oliver on the Black Sage Bench, and maintain vineyards in both the South Okanagan and on the Saanich Peninsula. The majority of Church & States vines are now in the Okanagan, and this Chardonnay is a product of the Okanagan winery’s efforts.
A lovely, soft golden colour, this wine delivers scents of white peach, lemon and vanilla. On the palate this gives way to richer flavours of baked apple, honey, lime and carmel. A well balanced wine that is surprisingly robust for its delicate appearance and nose – further proof that first impressions mean little in the world of wine.
Try this with crab cakes or a garden salad with fresh cracked crab and you will not be disappointed. It would also hold up very well to rich cream sauces. Lykke Li’s Youth Novels should capture this wine perfectly – its mellow, but it has a bit of edge just below the surface.
The renamed and fully rebranded Moon Curser Vineyards (formerly Twisted Tree) may throw a few looking for their old favourites with the complete rebrand, but rest assured the wines in the bottle are just as good. The name “Moon Curser” is a reference to gold miners who used to smuggle gold across the boarder under the cover of night to avoid the watchful eyes of customs agents. A bit of an ironic image given the “border crossing” debate in the Canadian wine industry of late (more on this later).
The 2010 Afraid of the Dark is a blend of Viognier (43%), Roussanne (42%) and Marsanne (15%), but the Viognier seems to steal the show a little more than in Twisted Tree’s previous Viognier/Roussanne and Viognier/Marsanne blends. This wine has all the aromatics you would expect from a blend of these Rhone varietals – peach, apricot, citrus and ripe melon jump out of the class. On the palate, the style is typical of some of the excellent leaner styled Viognier’s coming out of the South Okanagan recently (looking at you Black Hills) as opposed to the (largely) high octane versions being produced in California and Australia. The fresh acidity with a moderate alcohol content (for Viognier) of 14.1% makes this amazingly well balanced and food friendly. Flavours of stone fruits pull through from the nose, along with pink grapefruit and a hint of under-ripe pineapple. The finish is all grapefruit and goes on and on.
The quote on the back of the bottle intended to reflect the history of the “Moon Curser” – “Damn you moon for lighting my run tonight. This gold is mine and no border agent is going to tax me” – seems especially fitting for a bottle of BC these days with the ongoing discussions (and finally some political traction) on Canada’s antiquated interprovincial shipping laws that these days exist only to ensure provincial liquor authorities are able to slap their own taxes on wines shipped from another province. For more information on the inter-provincial shipping debate check out www.freethewine.ca.
Pair this liquid gold with a little a nice bowl of fresh West Coast mussels – we like ours done simply with white wine, butter, shallots and fresh herbs (sometimes a little chorizo if you are looking form some spice). Other seafood or ligher fare will work as well, but this is not a Viognier to be treated like a red wine as many often try to given the high alcohol, ripe versions being produced in California and Australia. To set the mood for this one, we recommend the West-Coast-tinged Americana vibe of The Decemberists’ The King is Dead (we swear this is an unintentionally anti-taxation sounding title, but hey, some times things just work out).
Showing its age, this wine has developed a striking golden colour. There’s still lots to like here and it has held up well and developed some nice flavours in the bottle – although we’re not sure this is going to improve with further aging. On the nose, you get carmel, fresh baked apple pie and golden pineapple. One the palate you get a great buttery mouth feel, more of the golden pineapple and carmel flavours, hints of lemon zest, a streak of flinty minerals with a crisp zip of acidity and pink grapefruit on the finish. The Adra Station Chardonnay from Kettle Valley is one of our favourite Chards and its great to see it can hold up a few years in the bottle and develop some great addition complexities. We had this with some delicious Oatmeal Stout Smokies from Beer Brats on pretzel buns from Swiss Bakery with Oyama sauerkraut and hot mustard from Vancouver Mustard Co. – delicious! For your listening pleasure, chase those tropical pineapple notes with a little Beach Boys and check out Bullion’s mash-up with the sounds of the late Jay-Dee, Pet Sounds in the Key of Dee.
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