Tag Archives: blends

Twist & Shout…

16 Sep

Day two in the Southern Okanagan was full of winery visits – with each putting their own unique twist upon B.C. winemaking.

After a quick and yummy breakfast at Watermark, our first stop of the day was Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery in the heart of Oliver. John and Maria (and their son, and winemaker, Michael) Ferreira are pulling inspiration from their traditional Portuguese roots.

Their Portuguese heritage is found in not only the style of building, but also in their wines. There’s  the ’08 Mistura Tinto, a red blend of all six wines they make. It’s full of raspberry jam, cherries and spice with a velvety texture and a long finish. A stand-out of my visit was the ’08 Mistura Branca, that has a gorgeous floral nose from the 65% Muscat and 35% Gewurztraminer in its blend. Yummy, silky and citrusy – this has got it going on. And stay tuned for some more Portuguese influence – a fortified wine is hinted to be in the works.

The next stop of the day was at Stoneboat Vineyards where the Martiniuk family has been growing vines in the South Okanagan for over 25 years.

Entirely family-run, Stoneboat is shaking things up by not only creating wines like an energetic, berry-rich, pleasing Pinotage, but also using non-grafted vines in a winemaking area that generally only thrives because of them. I loved the tasting room piano and the musically-inspired wines. From the ’09 Chorus made to showcase the white Germanic varietals owner Lanny is so proud of, to the ’08 Duet, an affable wine of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinotage, these wines are in perfect harmony.

Our third visit of the day was at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery and their patch of heavenly landscape. We sampled a few wines in the tasting room before having a lunch in the Sonora Room where Vines-surveyed sommelier Jay Whiteley is manager.

My favourite in the tasting room was also my favourite accompaniment to a delightful lunch – their ’08 Chardonnay. A approachable Chard that’s great with food, this is luscious and has a great balance of spice, fruit and crisp acidity. It’s just plain and simply good – very, very good. Burrowing Owl is like a really comfortable sweatshirt – you may not want to wear it every day, but it’s good to know it fits perfectly when you need it.

After lunch, we moved along to Hester Creek Estate Winery. On top of having a kick-ass, dream kitchen to host all sorts of functions, they are making some interesting wines.

A personal favourite was the ’09 Trebbiano – one of the first wines produced from start to finish by winemaker Robert Summers (a Niagara boy with stints at Peller, Henry of Pelham and Cave Spring Cellars who joined the team in 2006). I imagine sitting down to a plate of spicy pad thai or spring rolls dipped in sweet and sour sauce and this refreshing, appley, grapefruity, minerally, yummy wine. Also cool about Hester – they’re producing 3 L casks (aka, wine in a box) of their Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Merlot. Identical to the wine in regular bottles, this form allows for a great party wine that’s easy to pour and even easier on the pocketbook.

Finally, we made our way to Nk’Mip Cellars, back in Osooyos.

The last visit of a day always seems to get lost in the sludge of spit buckets past, but Nk’Mip did it’s best to deliver solidly crafted wines. The first Aboriginally-owned and -operated winery in North America, my favourite bottle of theirs was their ’08 Riesling that we drank at dinner back at Watermark. A perfect apéritif with great minerality – this certainly goes down easy after a long day of tasting.