Saturday, June 1, 2013
Monthly Picks: June 2013
Kelowna is a great place to find single vineyard Riesling and this new-ish winery produces a nice mineral-y version.
One of the more unique and rare varietals planted in BC and many locals' go-to summer sipper. Slightly off-dry, spicy and oh-so refreshing.
A small, family-owned, estate fruit producer focusing on aromatic white varietals. Their Muscat is delicate with beautiful layers of citrus fruit. Balance and a long, lingering finish is the trademark of the SummerGate portfolio.
An off-dry, chewy version of the Alsatian grape. Unctuous and fruity yet offers a nice degree of complexity with spice and acidity.
Long-time growers turned estate winery proprietors produce numerous 'V' named wines like Voluptuous, Vulture and Vivacious plus the more simply named Viognier, which just might be their best. A great representative of the Rhone varietal grown on Naramata terroir.
A number of red varietals grow successfully on the Naramata Bench, but Pinot Noir, it could be argued, performs the best year-to-year and makes an excellent vehicle to transmit the appellation's unique terroir. Look no further than the sublime Pinot from Howling Bluff's Summa Quies vineyard to experience the Naramata Bench.
A short drive south from Penticton on the East side of the lake Skaha will get you to Painted Rock Estate Winery and its jewel in the crown, the Red Icon. This single-vineyard Bordeaux-style blend performs impressively year-to-year and is starting to get some international attention. Taste it before it becomes the cult wine its destined to become.
I suppose it's easy to default to another single-vineyard Pinot Noir to showcase a region's unique terroir, but it truly is a prime area for Pinot Noir in BC and, thus far, under appreciated.
Pinot's Burgundian cousin-from-another-puncheon™ is Chardonnay, the second featured wine to express the best of Okanagan Falls. Meyer produces a few Chardonnay from different appellations, but this McLead Creek Chard is made from OK Falls fruit.
Black Sage Bench
BC's first cult wine is a big, ripe, red, beast of a wine made from estate grown Bordeaux varietals grown on the Black Sage Bench. Production fluctuates between 2500-4000 cases each year with a clever, exclusivity-themed (and successful) purchasing campaign each Spring. Is it worth the hype? Well, it is pretty damn good... but you be the judge.
Hard to showcase the Black Sage Bench without a mention of the family-owned Burrowing Owl whose scenic winery helped put the Southern Okanagan on the wine-tourism map. Their Cabernet Franc is one of their most successful wines (along with the estate Meritage and partially oaked Pinot Gris).
Fairview's home vineyard produces some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in BC and remains my go-to counter-argument for anyone who suggests that the king of grapes can't be effectively ripened in BC's cool-climate.
The Golden Mile produces a lot of great red wines, but a few white varietals do extremely well each year like this tasty, Alsace-y, Goo from Tinhorn Creek.
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013 IconWines.ca