This week’s Spirited Endeavours guest writer is Shanyn Ward, a tenacious student of all things wine, including global wine culture, production and viticulture. Her passion for wine knowledge is, luckily for us, driven by a desire to share her experiences with everyone.
Juicy and plump, rich and voluptuous wines
By Shanyn Ward
If you’re looking for Okanagan wines, just walking into a store and seeing all the choices can be enough to make your head spin.
Whether you are looking for a celebratory bottle of bubbles, wines to pair with local or international cuisine, or an easy drinking wine to enjoy over good conversation with friends, the Okanagan has you covered.
Yes! I get to taste all those wines
As a wine purchaser at the Cask & Barrel, I get to taste wines from first vintage wineries to the longest established ones. After returning from living in New Zealand, I was amazed to see such versatility and range in styles of wine coming from the Okanagan.
As well, I look at a variety of wines, from fuller bodied, food-friendly styles to lighter, fresher and more fruit-forward ones that can be enjoyed on their own.
We in the Okanagan are fortunate to have winemakers and viticulturists who are practicing minimal intervention in the vineyard and wineries, looking to make more natural expressions of BC wine with a larger focus on organics.
Juicy and plump, rich and voluptuous
What varieties reign supreme in our Okanagan Valley?
Aromatics, such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Ehrenfelser and Bacchus flourish in the northern part of the valley, where cooler evenings ensure retention of fresh, crisp acidity.
Juicy and plump Pinot Noir and elegant savoury Syrah grace the sunny slopes of the Naramata Bench.
Okanagan Falls is home to premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers Blue Mountain and Liquidity. Liquidity is the newest silver medalist in the prestigious Chardonnay du Monde competition in France for their 2013 Chardonnay.
From the Southern desert-like area around Oliver and Osoyoos, rich and voluptuous Bordeaux style blends and spicy Syrah can be found, as the hours of sunshine increase and temperatures move into the high 30s during growing seasons.
What’s in my own wine fridge?
From Lake Country’s 50th Parallel, wine maker Grant Stanley, formerly of Quails Gate, has found the sweet spot when it comes to making Riesling. The 2015 has cooked lemon, granny smith apple, stoney minerality, and crisp acidity making for a long finish.
Along with wineries such as Ex Nihilo, Arrow Leaf, Gray Monk, and Intrigue, 50th Parallel is helping to establish the northern end of the valley as a premium Aromatic and Pinot Noir production area.
Bradley Cooper’s Black Cloud in Naramata is a winery producing only Pinot Noir. Two styles of Pinot are produced: Fleuvage, the younger sibling of Altostratus, is the drink now in style, while the Altostratus can benefit from cellaring 5-10 years. Altostratus is a rich and concentrated unfiltered version with ripe plum, cooked black cherry, sweet baking spice, and dried herbs.
Bordertown's Living Desert Red from wine maker Jason Parkes is a bold, well-structured Cabernet Franc / Merlot blend that exhibits cassis, black currant and dark chocolate.
Grape growing is not foreign to owner Mohan Gill, who has been growing and supplying quality grapes to Okanagan producers for years. Now in their fourth generation of farming, they have only just recently opened their own winery and tasting room in 2015.
We’ve only just begun
From small boutique wineries to large world class establishments, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the most exciting up and coming wine regions in the world.
As the Okanagan valley becomes even more popular as a destination for sun, sand, and fun, word will travel of the fine wines we have available.
As for myself, once I have consumed all the wines my ’fridge will hold, I will get back on the road again to discover new ones. My personal collection will always have wines from the place I am proud to call my home, the Okanagan valley.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.