Posts Tagged ‘Sperling Vineyards’

What do Organic Wine Labels mean?

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, August 9th, 2018
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These days, products labelled as “organic, green, gluten free or vegan” are often confusing and have different meanings depending on whether the item is eggs, apples or grapes. Personally, in general terms, I tend to think organic wine is one that has not had pesticides or other chemicals used in its vineyard or winemaking process. If that is indeed the case, I can’t help but wonder if this extra attention results in a difference in taste too.

My curiosity gets the better of me and nose dive into some ‘research’.

The David Suzuki Foundation offers some great explanations of terms that I have interchanged. For example, when the wine label states “made with organically grown grapes”, this means that the wine is made with a minimum of 70% organic grapes.  Turns out this is not the same as certified organic grapes.  The term Certified Organic means that the producers use 100% organic grapes and cannot use toxic pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers that would infiltrate both the soil and the grapes.

Biodynamic wine is defined by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling (of Sperling Vineyards, Southbrook Vineyards and Versado) as, “Uber organic”.  Biodynamic is organic but natural resources are used to cultivate grapes and must meet the standards imposed for organic-certified farming. This kind of wine production also takes into consideration the lunar calendar, astrology, plants, animals, insects;  it’s not just about the grapes.

I admit that I find the idea of the slant of the moon’s light on a vineyard making a difference in grape-growing a little mind-boggling. In order for a winery to declare itself as biodynamic, it must have achieved the highest level of certification through Demeter Canada and maintained it for a minimum of three years. It’s no wonder that there are only a handful of biodynamic wineries across the country.

Wine Country Ontario lists wineries in Ontario that sell organic, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and biodynamic wines. All these labels embrace sustainable winemaking or economical farming practices. Whether the wine tastes any different with these labels depends on your opinion.

The recent release at LCBO’s Vintages is promoting several organic wines. I have a couple of recommendations from this release and also suggestions in the general list of organic wines. Many LCBO stores have an organic wine section, so have a look the next time you are in one. You might find something new from this issue to impress your vegan friends!

From the August 4 release. 

 

Murviedro Luna Organic Brut Cava

Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #547224) 11.6% alcohol

Cava in Spain is akin to Prosecco in Italy and it never hurts to have one of these chilling in the fridge. This happens to be a Gold Medal winner at the 2017 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Whenever I see those gold labels, it’s never a risk to buy the bottle.

Cava is known for its light sparkling citrusy moussey bubbles, made from the Macabeo grapes and is always a delight for brunch, Happy Hour or to kick off a party.

 

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2016

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12% alcohol

Southbrook Vineyards is known as the first winery in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification in the vineyard. It is also one impressive winery to visit in Niagara. The architecture of this biodynamic winery is different from its neighbors and their elegant wines are always memorable.

During the release tasting, I did not get to sample this 2016, but previous Chardonnays made by Ann Sperling have been knock out delicious.

Enjoy a glass in the sunshine, unwinding while the sun goes down, with fish or chicken off the BBQ or a summertime salad.

 

Montes Alpha Syrah 2015

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #612) 14.5% alcohol

The label on the bottle of this dark blackberry nectar states “dry farmed”.  What does this mean? Basically the grapes are cultivated without any irrigation in regions where there is little rain. The grapes feed off any residual moisture in the soil which deeply extends their vine roots and consequently their flavour.

I really liked the leathery finish on this wine.  It would be great with any grilled chops.

 

Organic Wines available all year round at the LCBO

 

Lurton Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio Organic

Argentina
$13.80 (Vintages #55674) 12.5% alcohol

This is a “pretty” soft white, dry, medium-bodied white wine. Luscious tropical and citrus flavours present loads of fresh fruit on the palate.

I picked this up on my lookout for general list organic wines at the LCBO (regularly available on the main store shelves) and it has easily become a favourite in my house.

It’s refreshing and delicious on its own or served with fish tacos, sushi, cold pasta salad.

 

 

El Abuelo Organic Tempranillo Monastrell

Almanzo D.O., Spain
$9.95 (Vintages #524520)  14% alcohol

Don’t let the price fool you. This great organic wine from Spain is full-bodied with loads of black fruit flavours.

Bone dry and smooth, it packs lots of punch at 14% alcohol but does not taste hot on the palate.

It goes well with burgers or spaghetti or just to sip in a glass.

 

Travel tip and wine stop in Hockley Valley, Mono, Ontario 

 

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Hockley Valley Resort (North of Toronto near Orangeville) and discovered the Adamo Winery Estate. The resort offers a shuttle to the winery, but if you prefer to walk, it’s a short distance but all uphill.

The resort and winery are family owned and operated, clearly taking great pride in both their wines and the upscale resort. Have a look at the pictures online, it is indeed as lovely as it looks.

The farming practices in the 25 acre winery are both organic and biodynamic. Shauna White, Vineyard and Winery Manager, uses thermal blankets in the winter to cover the vines so that they are insulated and protected from ice and snow. This method is done instead of hilling up vines (burying them in the earth), like they do in Prince Edward County.

At the winery, the Paddock Café offers small plates of local cheeses, olives and charcuteries overlooking the 23,000 vines. It is also a wonderful photo-op beside an amazing golf course. We visited the winery 3 times in 3 days to take in the ambience and sample more wines. The Rieslings and Viognier wines were favourites with many grapes being sourced from the Niagara region.

Coincidentally, 6 years ago, I had met Shauna when I interviewed her for our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club featuring Ravine Estate Winery.  Shauna was the winemaker. Needless to say, the surprise to see her again at Adamo was a delight and made for an over the top vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Got your tickets? BC, Ont, Quebec & NS wineries are coming to town!

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, June 15th, 2017
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The countdown to Canada150 & Ottawa2017 celebrations is on!  We’re celebrating in a BIG way this year – by showcasing wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia at our upcoming event: Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White in Ottawa on Thursday, June 22 – next week!

100% Canadian wines.  You read that right…wines from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec & Nova Scotia will be available for you to Taste & Buy….then have your favorites delivered to your doorstep.

 

Don’t miss it!  Celebrate Red & White 

Corks will be popping at this all-Canadian Taste & Buy as we celebrate winemakers who have worked incredibly hard to put our country on the world wine map. Meet these Canadian wine rockstars, taste their wines that are WOWing the world…then order your favs to enjoy at home.

 

It’s THE event you have been waiting for…

The #1 question we get asked: Can you buy from BC, NS & Quebec wineries as well those in Ontario?  YES you can!  Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White Taste & Buy event is all about ordering wines from BC, NS, Quebec and Ontario…then have them delivered directly to your home or office to enjoy all summer long.

 

Show your colours!  Buy a $80 ticket & bring a friend for FREE OR $150 for a foursome of Canadian wine lovin’ friends

Canadian cheese too!

What goes best with Canadian wines?  Canadian artisan cheese of course! Cheesemakers & our Cheese Sommelier will be serving samples of award-winning cheeses that you can buy onsite too.

 

Look who is coming:

From British Columbia…

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Sperling Vineyards
Abeego

From Niagara…  

Legends Estates Winery
Reif Estate Winery
The Good Earth Food & Wine Co.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Westcott Vineyards
Vieni Estates 

From Prince Edward County…

Casa-Dea Estates Winery
Huff Estates
Karlo Estates
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards
Kinsip House of Fine Distillers
Trail Estate Winery

From other corners of Ontario & Ottawa…

Copper Tree Creative Studio
Mariposa Dairy
Pure Bread Bakery
Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.
St-Albert Cheese Co-op
The Merry Dairy
Top Shelf Preserves

From Quebec…

Ferme Guy Rivest
Fromagerie Montebello
Fromagerie Nouvelle-France
Fromagerie du Presbytere
Vignoble Carone Wines

From P.E.I…

COWS Creamery

From Nova Scotia…

Gaspereau Vineyards
Jost Wines

 

Wine Shopping Heaven! 

At this Taste & Buy event, EVERYTHING is 100% Canadian.

Create your own combo of Canadian wines to have delivered to your home after the event. You won’t find any of the featured wines at the LCBO – the wines will be delivered straight from the winery anywhere in Canada directly to you.  AND…there’s FREE shipping on 6 or more bottles of your top picks.

Bring a picnic basket & fill it up with artisan cheeses & gourmet treats too.

 

TIP: Be a V.I.T!

What’s a V.I.T? A Very Important Taster.  With 100+ wines, cheeses & goodies to try, purchase your tickets then upgrade each person for an additional $25 to get a V.I.T. Pass.   

You’ll enjoy red carpet treatment with advance access from 5 to 7pm to spend more time sipping & meeting the makers.  Stay as long as you like for the main event.

Buy your Ticket & V.I.T. Pass >>

 

Don’t miss this all-Canadian celebration! 

Buy your tickets >>   Event Deets

DATE: Thursday June 22 – next week!
VENUE: Horticulture Building @ Lansdowne Complex in Ottawa

TIMES:
V.I.T. Reception – 5 to 7pm ($25 upgrade pass per person is required)
Main Event – 7 to 9pm

ADVANCE TICKETS ONLY: $80 + bring a friend FREE  OR  Group of 4 people for $150
IDEA: Take the bus.  OC Transpo is FREE – simply show a printout of your ticket.

 

Wear Red & White…Win $50

Be a proud Canadian  – come to this Taste & Buy event dressed head to toe in red & white and we’ll automatically give you $50 off your ticket to our next Savvy Event.

 

Unable to make it, but want to order?

Don’t sweat it!  The Savvy Team will help you stock up on featured wines showcased at this event. Call 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email us & we’ll send you the complete list of wines & online order form.  You too can get FREE shipping – your order needs to be received by midnight on Sunday June 25.

 

WIN TICKETS!  Go on the Savvy Scavenger Hunt…

Find this video on our Facebook or Instagram pages, then…LIKE it & POST the name of your favorite Canadian wine.  On Monday, we’ll pick 2 lucky people to receive a pair of tickets & V.I.T. Passes to join us at Oh Canada! Celebrate Red & White.  It’s easy to win!  On your mark…Get Set…GO!!!

 

Psst…it’s Father’s Day weekend!

Yikes…totally forgot? Our #1 Father’s Day gift is a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops beer-o-month club.

Click here to subscribe your Dad for 4 or 6 months & his fridge will auto-magically be filled with the best craft beers from a different Ontario brewery each month – bottles, growlers & cans not available at LCBO or The Beer Store.  100% guaranteed to make your Dad smile from beer to beer!

 

We’re hiring…

We have cool summer job opportunities for a high school or university students to work with the Savvy Team at Savvy HQ in Ottawa. We’re looking for creative & savvy students who are keen to learn about Canadian wine, artisan cheese, craft beer & cider.

Interested?  Contact us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or send your resume to cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Happy Birthday Canada!
Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
cheers@savvycompany.ca
www.savvycompany.ca

Keep in touch with us…
@SavvyDebbie
@SavvyCompany
@SavvyWines
@SavvyHipHops
@SavvyCoolCurds
#CountyintheCapital
www.facebook.com/SavvyCompany
instagram.com/savvycompanyinc

 

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Are you going to Taste 3 Remarkable Terroirs?

Posted by Debbie

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
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Wine lovers…we are in for a treat!  We are excited to host Ann Sperling & Peter Gamble – the husband & wife team who, in my opinion, are rockstars in the wine world.

gamble_sperlingWhen Ann called me to talk about hosting this event I was thrilled.  Make that THRILLED! I first met Ann one cold January night in the vineyard when she called on me to help her with the ice wine harvest at Malivoire (she knew that I was in Niagara as we were going to meet the next day!). Since then, I have been an ‘Ann fan’ enjoying many wines that she has crafted at various wineries – CedarCreek, Malivoire, Southbrook & Sperling Vineyards to name a few where she worked as winemaker or as wine consultant.

And I have marvelled at all that Peter has been involved in too.  He’s a behind the scenes man integral in building winery projects (wine industry speak for wine businesses). Recently he has used his ‘Midas touch’ to help establish one of Nova Scotia’s finest wineries Benjamin Bridge. Knowing that every wine region around the world looks for a signature style of wine, he has been the driving force in the creation of Tidal Bay – Nova Scotia’s a premium white wine that is turning many heads in the wine world.grapes

And if they weren’t busy enough already, this dynamic duo has a project Versado in Argentina where they have been tending to some of the country’s oldest vines of Malbec & crafting incredible wines.

Ann & Peter never seem to stop!

They are making a quick trip to Ottawa (before they head to Argentina for this year’s harvest) to showcase their latest wines. Join us on Thursday March 20th for Taste 3 Remarkable Terroirs – a Taste & Buy event to enjoy & order wines from:

Sperling Vineyards – Ann’s family business that has transformed from being a grape growers & now is a winery making remarkable Okanagan wines.

Benjamin Bridge – one of Nova Scotia’s wineries specializing in uber-premium sparkling wines.

Versado – an amazing Malbec vineyard planted nearly 100 years ago that Ann & Peter have been restoring.

 

Try the wine…buy the bottle

At this Taste & Buy event you’ll have the unique opportunity to order the wines from these wineries to be delivered to your home or office. Special rates on shipping will be offered.

Join us or place your order online >>

BB logo

2009 Brut Méthode Classique $44.50 (new release)
2013 Nova 7 Sparkling $24.95 (new release)
2013 Tidal Bay $21.95
Wine Futures – barrel samples will be tasted at the event.  Wine to be released in June
2013 Vero $21.95
Wine Futures – barrel samples will be tasted at the event.  Wine to be released in June
2009 Borealis Icewine $39.95

 

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2008 Sparkling Brut $39.95
2012 Pinot Gris
$19.00
2011 Old Vines Riesling
$34.95
2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir $22.00 (released last week in time for this event!)
2012 Pinot Noir $26.00
2011 Old Vines Foch $26.00
2011 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer $24.95

 

Versado_logo

2012 Versado Classic Malbec  $24.95
2010 Versado Reserva Malbec
$59.95

Don’t miss this event!

We look forward to having you join us to meet Ann & Peter while you discover their remarkable wines from 3 different terroirs.
Advance tickets only $25 >>

 

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Newsletter March 2014 – Don’t miss our BC, Nova Scotia & Argentina wine event & Cheese Class

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
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We’re having 2 special Savvy Events this week . . . and we don’t want you to miss them!

Join us for Taste 3 Remarkable Terroirs – a Taste & Buy event that will showcase the dynamic husband & wife winemaking duo – Peter Gamble & Ann Sperling. They will be serving award wines they’ve created in British Columbia, Nova Scotia & Argentina (yes, you read that right!).

British Columbia: Sperling Vineyards – a boutique winery from the heart of the Okanagan Valley
Nova Scotia: Benjamin Bridge – one of the finest wineries in the Gaspereau Valley
Argentina: Versado – an amazing Malbec vineyard planted nearly 100 years ago

At this Taste & Buy event, you’ll discover world class sparkling wines & soon-to-be-released white wines. You’ll be the first to try Sperling’s Rose released just last week & you’ll be blown away by the stunning red wines including Old Vine Malbecs.

Enjoy & order a variety of wines you won’t find at the LCBO.

Advance Tickets Only: $25

DATE & TIME: Thursday March 20, drop in between 5 to 9pm

LOCATION: Britannia Yacht Club, Ottawa (ample free parking)

Don’t miss this first time event! Buy your tickets now > >

 

Want to be ‘Cheesy’?

Cheese FUN-damentals ‘Class’ with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons. Nibble & nosh as Vanessa introduces you to a wide assortment of Canadian cheeses. She’ll show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheese-y lingo, how artisan cheese is made, tips on buying & storing cheese . . . and more!

Advance Tickets only: $155– includes everything (as well as a gourmet lunch!)

 

DATE & TIME: Saturday March 22 – 10:30am to 4:30pm

LOCATION: MUST Kitchen & Wine Bar – in Ottawa’s Byward Market

A few spots left! Book your place in this fun ‘class’ > >

 

April is around the corner. . .

They’re ba-a-a-a-ack! Ottawa welcomes Prince Edward County on Thursday April 10th for the 3rd annual County in the City. Join us for this fun evening to meet the cool people involved in growing ‘The County’. Get the inside scoop on ‘must visit’ places for your next County getaway and the upcoming Terroir – A County Celebration.

At this Taste & Buy event, stock up on all of your favorite wines, beers & ciders that you won’t find at the LCBO. Order any combination of 12 or more bottles & shipping is FREE!

Advance Tickets Only: $55 before April 4 (regularly $65). $200 for a group of 4

DATE & TIME: Thursday April 10 @ 7pm

LOCATION: Canada Agriculture & Food Museum on Ottawa’s Central Experimental Farm

This annual event always sells out! Buy your tickets now > >

 

Can’t make it to our Taste & Buy events. . .

but want to place an order?

Simply call us on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email cheers@savvycompany.ca anytime to arrange a special order.

See you soon at these Savvy Eventsdon’t miss out!

Cheers,
Debbie & the Savvy Team

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Wine Tripping in British Columbia through the Okanagan & Similkameen

Posted by Susan

Friday, November 26th, 2010
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Each trip to the Okanagan is an opportunity to further explore the valley, as well as the Similkameen Valley, and to taste some new wines, or revisit previously savoured ones.

This visit took me to Tantalus Winery, as well as Sandhill, in Kelowna, then on to Poplar Grove Winery on the Naramata Bench and to Kraze Legz, a new winery in the hamlet of Kaleden.  I traveled to the Similkameen to visit old friends, stopping in at Forbidden Fruit Winery as well as Clos du Soleil.

Tantalus Winery, originally known as Pioneer Vineyards and first planted to grapes in 1927, sits high on a hillside overlooking Kelowna. Fortunately for the new owners, the prior owner planted Riesling in the late 1970s as well as some French and German clones of Pinot Noir in 1985. He can still be seen riding around the vineyard helping to tend the vines. The site has been transformed, with the tasting room and winery housed in a dramatic modern LEED-certified structure overlooking the hillside vineyards. 

Tantalus is reputed for its Riesling, and has a new program devoted to Pinot Noir. The 2008 vintage offered two Pinots, one from the younger vines, which was light-medium bodied, fresh and earthy, with bright red fruit flavours and racy acidity. The second, produced from the French and German clones planted in the 1980s, was medium-bodied, maintaining the earthy character but with deep spicy red fruit flavours, fine acidity, a silky texture and great persistence on the finish. The 2009 Riesling, from a very hot vintage and produced from a blend of older and newer vines, had very fragrant aromatics of stone fruit and sweet citrus with a whiff of tropical fruit. The flavours recurred on the palate, nicely balanced with tangy acidity and an extended lemon-lime finish. The 2008 Old Vines Riesling, being held for release in 2011, displays petrol notes, orchard fruit, bright citrus and minerality, with mouthwatering nervy acidity and a lengthy crisp finish. This is definitely a wine for aging. I also had the opportunity to taste one of the few remaining bottles of their inaugural sparkling wine, the vintage Blanc de Noir 2004, crafted from an equal blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Produced by méthode traditionelle, this lovely sparkling wine had high-toned aromas of orchard fruit and lees with a fine mousse and a medley of orchard and citrus fruit on the palate. Alas, it was only produced in 2004, but their sparkling Riesling is available.

Sandhill is a virtual winery housed in the Calona Vineyards tasting and winemaking facility located in Kelowna. Howard Soon works with carefully selected fruit, often from unusual varietals, from select Okanagan vineyards that have unique characteristics to create Sandhill wines. The Small Lots program showcases wines crafted from unique varietals or distinctive barrels designated by the winemaker for special attention. The Small Lots Barbera is aged in French and American oak for 18 months and has alluring aromas of spicy cherry fruit, vanilla and toast. It’s dry, medium bodied, smooth and supple, with delicate acidity, fine-grained tannins and lovely flavours of red berry, black cherry, cinnamon toast and pepper. That smooth velvety texture lingers on the palate. Sandhill’s Small Lots One came through LCBO Vintages earlier this year. Small Lots Two is a blend of Bordeaux varietals (the Cabernets and Merlot) with seductive aromas of cassis, cedar, vanilla and roasted herbs. It’s full bodied, robust and complex, with firm tannins underpinning dark fruit, dark chocolate and toasty notes. There’s warmth on the finish, with a punch of espresso roast. Small Lots Three is an IGT-type blend of Barbera, Sangiovese and Merlot. It’s fragrant and floral, with aromas of spicy fruit, cedar and smoke. Medium-full bodied, the flavours are rich, the texture is supple and there’s fine acidity balancing the ripe spicy, peppery fruit. Watch for Two and Three in an upcoming 2011 LCBO Vintages release.

Poplar Grove Winery, on the Naramata Bench just north of Penticton, was established by Ian Sutherland with the goal of producing premium wines from estate-grown fruit. In 2007, Sutherland entered a partnership with Tony Holler and Barrie Sali which provided access the 100-acre Holler estate vineyards in the south Okanagan. The 2008 Gewurztraminer is highly aromatic, fragrant with rose petal, lychee, tropical and stone fruit. Dry and spicy, medium bodied and lively, the wine is very flavourful and displays a long fresh spicy finish. The 2009 Pinot Gris, just released in October, has a subtle nose of orchard and tropical fruit and a fresh fruity mouthful of citrus and orchard fruit. It’s light-medium bodied with bright notes of lemon, lime and grapefruit that linger on the zesty finish. The winery is known in the valley for holding its red wines in bottle for as much as 2 years prior to release. The 2006 Poplar Grove Merlot was aged in French oak for 18 months, then rested in bottle for 14 months. It’s perfumed with floral, plum and black fruit aromas, as well as a slightly sweet herbal note. Medium-full bodied, its complex and elegant, with a silky texture, well-integrated tannins and lovely black fruit, espresso and herbal flavours. The lengthy aftertaste is of dark chocolate winter fruit bark. The 2005 Legacy is a blend of Merlot, the Cabernets and Malbec, and spent 24 months in French oak followed by 18 months in bottle. Mahogany in color, it has subtle aromas of dried fruit, earth, mushrooms and leather. This is a structured wine with velvety tannins, fresh acidity and depth of flavour – spiced black and red berries, toast and pepper. The finish is long and lingering.

Kraze Legz is Kalenden’s first winery, although grapes are grown for other Okanagan wineries in this small hamlet just south of Penticton. We first discovered Kaleden when we headed down its steep main road in search of access to a hiking trail. While we never found the trail, we discovered Linden Gardens and the Frog City Café. This fantastic garden is the property of long-time fruit growers who grew tired of the straight rows of trees and decided to convert their property to a public garden. We visited in the spring, and the meandering paths, gently whispering lindens, water features and fragrant blooms and plants were a delight. Then there are the homemade treats to be enjoyed in the airy café. . . Don’t miss it! Then, wander across the way to Kraze Legz, owned by Gerry and Sue Thygesen. Of their 14 acres, 9 were planted to vines 4 years ago. While living in the U.S., they had tried to sell this steep property, fortunately without success! They’re now delighted to have the opportunity to establish their own winery, although Sue confesses that it has been and continues to challenging, as the two of them are doing most of the work themselves. They have a delightful newly constructed tasting room, decked out in a Prohibition-era theme. Available for tasting were 2 whites and a rosé, with plans for a couple of reds once the vines are of age. Their 2009 ‘Bees Knees’ Pinot Blanc won a silver at the Wine Access awards. It’s silky yet racy, with birght citrus, pear and apple aromas and flavours with a pithy bite on the finish. The 2009 ‘Charleston’ Chardonnay, while unoaked, comes in with a hefty 14.6% alcohol and is all about rich creamy texture, stone and tropical fruits with lively acidity that keeps it nicely balanced. The ‘Speakeasy’ Rosé was a favorite. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer is a delightful salmon color and offers sweet silky red fruity on entry, followed by bright acidity and a spicy note that carries through on the fresh fruity finish.

On a day trip to the Similkameen, I stopped in to visit Steve and Kim at their organic property, Forbidden Fruit Winery. Memories of his exotic award-winning ‘Caught’ Apricot Mistelle drew me back. This wine has incredible true-to-the-fruit flavours and a fabulous texture and balance. Due to popular demand, Steve has also begun making wines from vinifera grapes. His ‘Earth Series’ includes a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc.

My last stop was at Clos du Soleil, where I had the opportunity to discuss the plans for a new winery building and to purchase the 2008 Clos Signature Merlot-dominant red blend, a rich powerful nicely balanced wine. This is the first vintage of the wine produced by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling, who is also producing wines from her historic family property, Sperling Vineyards. Wines from both the Clos du Soleil and Sperling Vineyards were featured in Savvy Company’s BC wine tasting, held in August, and are available to be ordered in Ontario through Savvy Company.

Enjoy visiting some of these wineries on your next trip to the Okanagan. 

Cheers!
Susan

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Wine Tripping in British Columbia through the Okanagan & Similkameen

Posted by Susan

Friday, November 26th, 2010
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Each trip to the Okanagan is an opportunity to further explore the valley, as well as the Similkameen Valley, and to taste some new wines, or revisit previously savoured ones.

This visit took me to Tantalus Winery, as well as Sandhill, in Kelowna, then on to Poplar Grove Winery on the Naramata Bench and to Kraze Legz, a new winery in the hamlet of Kaleden.  I traveled to the Similkameen to visit old friends, stopping in at Forbidden Fruit Winery as well as Clos du Soleil.

Tantalus Winery, originally known as Pioneer Vineyards and first planted to grapes in 1927, sits high on a hillside overlooking Kelowna. Fortunately for the new owners, the prior owner planted Riesling in the late 1970s as well as some French and German clones of Pinot Noir in 1985. He can still be seen riding around the vineyard helping to tend the vines. The site has been transformed, with the tasting room and winery housed in a dramatic modern LEED-certified structure overlooking the hillside vineyards. 

Tantalus is reputed for its Riesling, and has a new program devoted to Pinot Noir. The 2008 vintage offered two Pinots, one from the younger vines, which was light-medium bodied, fresh and earthy, with bright red fruit flavours and racy acidity. The second, produced from the French and German clones planted in the 1980s, was medium-bodied, maintaining the earthy character but with deep spicy red fruit flavours, fine acidity, a silky texture and great persistence on the finish. The 2009 Riesling, from a very hot vintage and produced from a blend of older and newer vines, had very fragrant aromatics of stone fruit and sweet citrus with a whiff of tropical fruit. The flavours recurred on the palate, nicely balanced with tangy acidity and an extended lemon-lime finish. The 2008 Old Vines Riesling, being held for release in 2011, displays petrol notes, orchard fruit, bright citrus and minerality, with mouthwatering nervy acidity and a lengthy crisp finish. This is definitely a wine for aging. I also had the opportunity to taste one of the few remaining bottles of their inaugural sparkling wine, the vintage Blanc de Noir 2004, crafted from an equal blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Produced by méthode traditionelle, this lovely sparkling wine had high-toned aromas of orchard fruit and lees with a fine mousse and a medley of orchard and citrus fruit on the palate. Alas, it was only produced in 2004, but their sparkling Riesling is available.

Sandhill is a virtual winery housed in the Calona Vineyards tasting and winemaking facility located in Kelowna. Howard Soon works with carefully selected fruit, often from unusual varietals, from select Okanagan vineyards that have unique characteristics to create Sandhill wines. The Small Lots program showcases wines crafted from unique varietals or distinctive barrels designated by the winemaker for special attention. The Small Lots Barbera is aged in French and American oak for 18 months and has alluring aromas of spicy cherry fruit, vanilla and toast. It’s dry, medium bodied, smooth and supple, with delicate acidity, fine-grained tannins and lovely flavours of red berry, black cherry, cinnamon toast and pepper. That smooth velvety texture lingers on the palate. Sandhill’s Small Lots One came through LCBO Vintages earlier this year. Small Lots Two is a blend of Bordeaux varietals (the Cabernets and Merlot) with seductive aromas of cassis, cedar, vanilla and roasted herbs. It’s full bodied, robust and complex, with firm tannins underpinning dark fruit, dark chocolate and toasty notes. There’s warmth on the finish, with a punch of espresso roast. Small Lots Three is an IGT-type blend of Barbera, Sangiovese and Merlot. It’s fragrant and floral, with aromas of spicy fruit, cedar and smoke. Medium-full bodied, the flavours are rich, the texture is supple and there’s fine acidity balancing the ripe spicy, peppery fruit. Watch for Two and Three in an upcoming 2011 LCBO Vintages release.

Poplar Grove Winery, on the Naramata Bench just north of Penticton, was established by Ian Sutherland with the goal of producing premium wines from estate-grown fruit. In 2007, Sutherland entered a partnership with Tony Holler and Barrie Sali which provided access the 100-acre Holler estate vineyards in the south Okanagan. The 2008 Gewurztraminer is highly aromatic, fragrant with rose petal, lychee, tropical and stone fruit. Dry and spicy, medium bodied and lively, the wine is very flavourful and displays a long fresh spicy finish. The 2009 Pinot Gris, just released in October, has a subtle nose of orchard and tropical fruit and a fresh fruity mouthful of citrus and orchard fruit. It’s light-medium bodied with bright notes of lemon, lime and grapefruit that linger on the zesty finish. The winery is known in the valley for holding its red wines in bottle for as much as 2 years prior to release. The 2006 Poplar Grove Merlot was aged in French oak for 18 months, then rested in bottle for 14 months. It’s perfumed with floral, plum and black fruit aromas, as well as a slightly sweet herbal note. Medium-full bodied, its complex and elegant, with a silky texture, well-integrated tannins and lovely black fruit, espresso and herbal flavours. The lengthy aftertaste is of dark chocolate winter fruit bark. The 2005 Legacy is a blend of Merlot, the Cabernets and Malbec, and spent 24 months in French oak followed by 18 months in bottle. Mahogany in color, it has subtle aromas of dried fruit, earth, mushrooms and leather. This is a structured wine with velvety tannins, fresh acidity and depth of flavour – spiced black and red berries, toast and pepper. The finish is long and lingering.

Kraze Legz is Kalenden’s first winery, although grapes are grown for other Okanagan wineries in this small hamlet just south of Penticton. We first discovered Kaleden when we headed down its steep main road in search of access to a hiking trail. While we never found the trail, we discovered Linden Gardens and the Frog City Café. This fantastic garden is the property of long-time fruit growers who grew tired of the straight rows of trees and decided to convert their property to a public garden. We visited in the spring, and the meandering paths, gently whispering lindens, water features and fragrant blooms and plants were a delight. Then there are the homemade treats to be enjoyed in the airy café. . . Don’t miss it! Then, wander across the way to Kraze Legz, owned by Gerry and Sue Thygesen. Of their 14 acres, 9 were planted to vines 4 years ago. While living in the U.S., they had tried to sell this steep property, fortunately without success! They’re now delighted to have the opportunity to establish their own winery, although Sue confesses that it has been and continues to challenging, as the two of them are doing most of the work themselves. They have a delightful newly constructed tasting room, decked out in a Prohibition-era theme. Available for tasting were 2 whites and a rosé, with plans for a couple of reds once the vines are of age. Their 2009 ‘Bees Knees’ Pinot Blanc won a silver at the Wine Access awards. It’s silky yet racy, with birght citrus, pear and apple aromas and flavours with a pithy bite on the finish. The 2009 ‘Charleston’ Chardonnay, while unoaked, comes in with a hefty 14.6% alcohol and is all about rich creamy texture, stone and tropical fruits with lively acidity that keeps it nicely balanced. The ‘Speakeasy’ Rosé was a favorite. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer is a delightful salmon color and offers sweet silky red fruity on entry, followed by bright acidity and a spicy note that carries through on the fresh fruity finish.

On a day trip to the Similkameen, I stopped in to visit Steve and Kim at their organic property, Forbidden Fruit Winery. Memories of his exotic award-winning ‘Caught’ Apricot Mistelle drew me back. This wine has incredible true-to-the-fruit flavours and a fabulous texture and balance. Due to popular demand, Steve has also begun making wines from vinifera grapes. His ‘Earth Series’ includes a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc.

My last stop was at Clos du Soleil, where I had the opportunity to discuss the plans for a new winery building and to purchase the 2008 Clos Signature Merlot-dominant red blend, a rich powerful nicely balanced wine. This is the first vintage of the wine produced by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling, who is also producing wines from her historic family property, Sperling Vineyards. Wines from both the Clos du Soleil and Sperling Vineyards were featured in Savvy Company’s BC wine tasting, held in August, and are available to be ordered in Ontario through Savvy Company.

Enjoy visiting some of these wineries on your next trip to the Okanagan. 

Cheers!
Susan

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