Naramata Bench Wine Tour

Last week while visiting a friend in Kelowna we took a day to visit some wineries along the Naramata Bench region of the Okanagan Valley in Canada. This is a great area to taste wine as the many of the wineries have upscale and modern tasting rooms, but there are enough farm gate and smaller scale wineries to keep life interesting. The general quality of the wines is high and the wineries themselves are relatively close together like the Napa Valley allowing you to visit several wineries in a day.

Poplar Grove

The first stop was the brand new tasting room for Poplar Grove. Their old tasting room was in the middle of the Bench in a hut no larger than a garage (die fand ich immer sehr charmant und bescheiden zu überlegen, wie erstaunlich sind ihre Weine). The new tasting room is very upscale and modern and situated on a hillside right at the beginning of the Bench with a fantastic view over the southern end of the Okanagan Lake and Penticton. The setting and the high quality of the wines set a high standard and create an exciting air of anticipation of what is to come on the rest of the Bench.

Wir probierten die Pinot Gris 2011, der Blanc de Noir 2011 (eine noch rosé), Die Merlot 2008, and the Legacy 2006. All four wines were very good but my two favourites were the Pinot Gris and the Legacy. The Pinot Gris had a lovely lemon and guava bqt followed by lush peach and citrus flavours, einen mittleren Körper, and tropical notes on the finish. The Legacy was a beautiful deep brick red colour with an elegant cherry earthy bqt. Cherries and spice dominated the palate with hints of chocolate followed by good acidity and a strong backbone of tannins.

Poplar Grove

Poplar Grove Tasting Room

La Frenz

Our next stop was the La Frenz Winery located near the beginning of the Bench on a slight hill with a beautiful view down the gully towards the Bench and the Okanagan Lake from the tasting room. The view used to be featured on the back of the Canadian $100 bill. La Frenz makes a large range of wines from many different varietals including a Reserve line of wines and also several fortified wines.

Wir probierten den Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Die Semillon 2011, der Chardonnay 2011, Die Rosé 2011, die Montage 2010 (ein Licht easy drinking red), Die Merlot 2010, der Shiraz 2010, Der Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, sowie die Reserve Chardonnay 2010, die Reserve Pinot Noir 2010, and the Grand Total Reserve 2009. I loved the Semillon. It’s a great little summer sipper wine with crisp acidity and hints of peach and citrus. My favourites were the 2 Chardonnays, especially the Reserve Chardonnay. It has a rich and creamy texture from the sur lie aging and just enough buttery citrusy notes and good acidity to keep it from being too rich. The Grand Total Reserve was the best of the reds; a Bordeaux style red, mit einer glatten Port-like Start von reichen Kirschenfrucht mittlerem Körper und eine gute Balance von Säuren und Tannine gefolgt.

La Frenz anzeigen

Mittagessen

We stopped for a bite to eat at the Bistro at Hillside Winery. Our table was on the upper patio with a great view out over the surrounding vineyards and the lake. I had the Comfit Duck Leg ‘Grilled Cheese’ Sandwich and a glass of the Reserve Pinot Gris. The food was amazing as usual. When you are in the area don’t hesitate to stop at the Bistro for a meal, Oder einige appys.

The Hillside Pinot Gris Reserve 2009 was a medium straw colour with a bqt reminiscent of caramel apple and citrus. This is a rich wine with subtle hints of vanilla amongst the creamy apple and citrus flavours. It was a good match to my ‘Grilled Cheese’.

Nichol Vineyards

After lunch we drove to the northern end of the Bench because we decided to work our way south for the second part of the day. Our first stop was Nichol Vineyards. This was my first visit to their tasting room which is small and quaint, es hatte sogar eine Drehscheibe und tatsächlichen Datensätze spielen, but the view was amazing We tried three wines, der Gewürztraminer 2009, die 9 Meile Red 2010, and the Syrah 2009. The quality of the three wines was fine but the whole experience left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

Lake Breeze

Unsere nächste Station war am Lake Breeze, ein schönes Anwesen mit einem schönen Patio-Restaurant, and a narrow but well-designed tasting room. This is always one of my favourite stops along the Bench. They have two ranges, die Gutsweine und die Reserve Seven Poplars Linie, und jeder so oft sie produzieren auch einen Sekt.

Wir probierten die Pinot Gris 2011, die sieben Pappeln Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Die Bank Weiß 2011, Die Rosé 2011, die sieben Pappeln Pinot Noir 2009, and the Meritage 2009. The quality of all the wines was very high. My favourites were; Der Pinot Gris, üppigen Steinobst Aromen und Geschmacksrichtungen mit genau der richtigen Balance von Zitrusfrüchten und Säure; Die sieben Pappeln Sauvignon Blanc, ein großer Stachelbeere Zitrus knackige Wein erinnert an New Zealand; Und die sieben Pappeln Pinot Noir, ein Medium körperreicher Wein mit viel erdige Noten zusammen mit einer würzigen dunklen Kirschen Obst und nur ein Hauch von Rauchigkeit.

Schwarze Witwe

I love visiting Black Widow. There is a certain tongue in cheek attitude towards the use of the spider logo at the winery from the metal sculpture of a spider riding a bike to the little insects of spider images on the sidewalk and stairs leading to the tasting room. The tasting room itself is right inside the 5 Level Schwerkraft Weingut und es gibt Barrel, und Bottiche überall auf den Multi-Ebenen hinter der kleinen Leiste, die die Verkostung Bar.

Wir probierten das Gewurztraminer 2011, Der Pinot Gris 2011, Die Oasis 2011, Die Phobie 2010, and the Merlot 2010. The Oasis and the Phobia are lighter easy drinking blends, one white and one red. The Oasis is a great summer patio wine with lots of bright tropical fruit flavours and a crisp acidity. My favourite wine was the Pinot Gris with its flavours of pear and apple.

Howling Bluff

Als nächstes machte einen schnellen Sprung über die Howling Bluff, a small family run winery. On our first visit here the tasting room was actually in the dining room of their home, but has since moved to a small building just below the house. They only produce 4 wines but the quality is very high. The wines are named for the two vineyards they use to grow grapes. They have just changed their labels, aber sie sind noch im Übergang begriffen sie die neuen Etiketten machen es schwer, den Namen des Weinguts zu sehen, so können sie neue Etiketten wieder im nächsten Jahr.

Wir probierten die Summa Quies Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011, die Three Sisters Pinot Noir 2010, Die Summa Quies Pinot Noir 2010, and the Sin Cera 2009. The Sauvignon Blanc Semillon had a luscious mouth feel with a unique lime crispness to keep the palate feeling fresh. The two Pinot Noirs were very different with the Three Sisters being lighter in body with spicy, erdig, Kirscharomen, während die Summa Quies war eine größere, dunkleren, reicher Pinot mit dunklem Kirschholz, earthy flavours and a hint of licorice. The Sin Cera is a Bordeaux blend with dark fruit and licorice followed by earthy oak and fine tannins.

Red Rooster

Weiter treffen wir Red Rooster, eine schrullige, artsy winery now owned by Peller Estates. There are lots of statues and other art pieces throughout the winery including the 10 foot tall naked man with a suitcase. The large tasting room boasts a windy tasting bar, und im Obergeschoss eine Kunstgalerie und viel Platz für Wein Utensilien und anderen chotchkes.

Wir probierten die Pinot Gris Reserve 2010, Die Viognier Reserve 2011, Die Merlot 2010, Der Syrah Reserve 2010, und der Malbec Reserve 2010. Die Qualität der Weine ist im Allgemeinen gut, aber, my favourite was the Pinot Gris Reserve. The grapey citrus bouquet leads into a lush tropical wine with hints of guava and citrus.

Rubin Blues

Our last stop was Ruby Blues. This small boutique winery is a very whimsical, schrulligen, artsy sort of place with very serious wines. The owners of Ruby Blues were the previous owners of Red Rooster. The two wineries are across the lane from each other so many people walk from one winery to the other. The small tasting room is filled with a whimsical chandelier, viel Kunst, und natürlich rote Stilettos (einige von ihnen mit Flügeln).

Wir probierten die Pinot Gris 2011, der Gewürztraminer 2011, Die Syrah 2009, Der Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, and the Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. The quality of all the wines is excellent. Unfortunately they are all sold out of the double gold winning Viognier 2011, but maybe you can find it in a restaurant or a private wine shop. My favourite was the Syrah, ein dunkler würziger Pfeffer Wein mit viel dunkler Frucht auf der Palette und einem Hauch von Vanille auf der Nachgeschmack.

Alles in allem war es ein sehr schöner Tag mit schönen Ausblicken gefüllt, viel Charme, gutes Wetter, gutes Essen, wunderbares Unternehmen, and of course amazing wines. If you are ever in the Okanagan you should definitely set aside some time to take a drive along the Naramata Bench and maybe stop for a little taste of wine while you are there.


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