Canadian Territory Stories, Part Two: The North Okanagan Valley (2023)

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23 May 2023 r

go throughSarah Marsh

Canadian Territory Stories, Part Two: The North Okanagan Valley (1)

Sarah MarshHer journey through Canada's wine regions continued to British Columbia's northern Okanagan Valley, where she discovered a fast-growing wine region and began to realize its full potential.

When the ice dam broke 12,000 years ago at what is now known as the Okanagan Falls, it carved a wide valley in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley, flooding it with muddy lake outflows behind the glacier. The 180 kilometer long valley, through which a snake of lakes and rivers flows, is not the easiest place to get around. Having traveled north to south for ten days, visiting 40 vineyards, I like to think of the valley in two or even three parts: the cooler northern part, where hot summers and cold winters are tempered by deep lakes; the broad, desert-like southern portion, with sandy soils and gently sloping banks, and the 2-mile short, narrow, narrow belt of the Okanagan Falls—which has kettles, whistling winds, and many facets—have drifted firmly between the two.

The Okanagan Valley is a dynamic, fast-growing region approaching its full potential. It only took thirty years to get to this point. pioneer plantingsake vineIn the 1980s, many were motivated by government subsidies to break into the 1990shybridThere are many mature vines, but the varieties don't always match the location. Since then, an influx of investment has brought more plantings, but style trumps substance, and it is only recently, particularly in the last five years, that the true identity of the Okanagan Valley has begun to be established. I was able to judge the change for myself when I tasted previous vintages in the many wineries I visited.

For most of their short history, Okanagan wines have demanded the style demanded by the local market, which favors full-bodied, sweet, high-alcohol wines hidden innew oaksome of which are American. All but a small selection of Okanagan wines are sold in British Columbia, many through cellar doors. Wanting to please the local taste, perhaps not sure of finding their own expression, producers imitateCaliforniaand createsnap stylewine.


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However, in recent times many manufacturers have noticed a growing demand for more elegant styles. That's not to say strong, overpowered, over-extracted wines are gone, but they're usually reserved for wine club members. More restrained wines can be found in slightly cheaper classes. There is also a sense that producers want to be international, which pushes them to take a more European approach to winemaking.

The region is full of talented winemakers. My favorites are Severine Pinte (wineries La Stella and Le Vieux Pin), which impressed me with its elegance and integration; Shane Munn (Martin's Lane Winery) for tannin management; and Darryl Brooker (a bloody experimental take on Haywire and the Okanagan Crush Pad. There are many more moving in the right direction.

Many middle-aged and young winemakers who train or work abroad quickly realize that it is impossible to apply the same principles that apply abroadBordeaux, California,Burgundy, LubNew Zealandto the Okanagan Valley. In addition, they had to adapt to wine production with a shorter growing season.

In the Okanagan Valley, the days are long, but the seasons are shorter. Germination begins in early May and the first frost usually occurs in mid-October. Research is being done on how to manage the vines, especially the canopy, to reduce sugar production while protecting the fruit from sunburn. It is clear that manufacturers are increasingly thinking about selecting data and adapting the methods of their predecessors.

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Therefore, this Okanagan Valley story must have several threads, including the man who made the change.

Some wealthy people pursue great ambitions for their family estate. Former stockbroker John Skinner, a passionate ambassador for Canadian wine, created a pristine clifftop vineyard with the help of Alan Suter's expertise and allowed him, a new Skaha sub-GI, to verify this part of the valley.

At Phantom Creek Estates, here are some of the pristine valleyssake vinevines, Chinese owner Richter Bai parachuted California winemaker Mark Beringer into a $100 million winery and art gallery that itself is a fascinating 2022 architectural masterpiece. Olivier Humbrecht MW is already impressing with his Rieslings, and some reds are still improving. I wonder how Beringer will handle this.

At the other extreme are those who have poor resources and equipment. I admire my compatriotsA megawattPushing the boundaries of terroir expression; Marcus Ansems (Daydreamer) and his cottage on the steep slopes of the Naramata Bench Vineyard and Rhys Pender at Little Farm in the neighboring Similkameen Valley make some of the most intriguing wines I've tasted on my travels, apart from a big barn and a collection of old barrels outside.

Of course there are also companies. I was impressed by the approach of billionaire Anthony von Mandl, who made money from White Claw, a canned, hard, flavored soft drink best known in the wine world as the Mission Hill brand, which covers 20 percent of U.S. vineyards in the Okanagan. Valley Owns Portfolio of High-End Wines Mission Hill still deviates from the California model, but von Mandl has also invested in some excellent independent wineries that produce some of the most impressive wines in the Okanagan Valley.

Canadian Territory Stories, Part Two: The North Okanagan Valley (8)

I particularly enjoy the wines from Martin's Lane Winery, Cedar Creek Estate and the recent (2020) acquisition of Liquidity. Von Mandel seems to have enough money and motivation to invest in producing premium wines and leading the organic movement. All of its vineyards are organically managed which is great news for British Columbia and more should follow.

The jury does not judge other major players. I had high hopes for Laughing Stock, a boutique winery founded in 2003 by David and Cynthia Enns. The winery was purchased by Arterra Wines of Canada (formerly Constellation Brands) in 2017, but I am disappointed with the wines currently produced there. Arterra has also purchased Culmina, but for now French winemaker Jean-Marc Enixon is exploring the potential of this interesting vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench himself. Another major player, Peller Estates, acquires Black Hills Estate Winery, a trailblazermaroon varietyfor. The wines here only get better with the help of Ross Wise MW.

ASome facts and figures about the Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley accounts for 86% of British Columbia's vineyards and is by far the most important region. There are 186 vineyards along 180 kilometers (112 mi) and approximately 9,617 acres (3,892 ha) of vineyards. The climate is one of the extremes, with hot summers, cold winters and spring frosts. Temperatures can reach 40°C (104°F) in summer and -25°C (-13°F) in winter. A series of lakes moderated temperatures, but at Okanagan Falls, the lakes shrank and disappeared. South of this point, the Oliver and Golden Mile Banks have no effect on the lake until we reach Lake Osoyoos. The east side of the valley is warmer than the west side because it is bathed in the afternoon and evening sun.

Merlotis the most widely planted red variety with 1,616 acres (654 ha BC, butPinot NoirClose behind, catch up quickly. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah make up about half of Merlot's acreage, with Syrah being the smallest of British Columbia's 551 acres (223 hectares). Data is not available specifically for the Okanagan Valley.

The most commonly grown white varieties in British Columbia arePinot Grigiowith 1164 acres 9471 ha), in various styles. Most of them are cute in some way, but there are only a few that pique people's interest, so I'll only mention them then. It functions as an entry-level variety and is not a variety that Okanagan Valley vintners hang their hats on.

ChardonnayAlmost as widespread and much more interesting. Gewürztraminer and Riesling have only about half the area of ​​the leaders, almost at the same level. I don't think I've tried Gewürztraminer, which I'm thankful for. Riesling is another matter, but I've only tried a completely dry Riesling from Phantom Creek, courtesy of Olivier Humbrecht MW. I wish more manufacturers would dare to do this.

The Okanagan Valley has the common name of GI (Geographical Indication) and several sub-GIs. The most recent designations in 2022 are also the northernmost: East Kelowna Slopes and South Kelowna Slopes. Summerland Valleys, Summerland Lakefront, Summerland Bench and Lake Country will also become small GIs in 2022. They join the sub-GIs of Naramata Bench, Skaha Bench, Okanagan Falls, Golden Mile Bench and Golden Mile Slopes. The other regions I will mention are recognized sub-regions, but not yet official Geographical Indications.

from north to south

Freshness should be the hallmark of the Okanagan Valley. Even in the south, strange as it may seem, being Canada's pocket desert, the nights are cool and the acidity is palpable.

northern Okanagan Valley

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Lake Country, the northernmost frontier in the Okanagan Valley, is one of the northernmost wineries in Canada and the world. No wonder the fruit ripens with difficulty every year. Lake Country wines should be light, crisp and elegant at best. This is a good spot for Riesling and good for Chardonnay but bordering on Pinot Noir.

This is one of the few places you can enter the area. In the Okanagan Valley, land prices have skyrocketed, especially as the very wealthy compete for land to develop their projects. In Skaha Bench, former stockbroker John Skinner made a modest offer for 4 acres of land near his Painted Rock Vineyard, which was sold to Phantom Creek for $400,000 an acre Estates. The current price is $200,000, and major wine companies buy a lot of packages.

A lot of money is flowing into the Okanagan Valley and high investments are accompanied by high housing prices. Inevitably, many wines are reasonable value for money.

The first vineyard I visited was the O'Rourke Family Estate, where construction magnate Dennis O'Rouke blew up a multimillion-dollar crater for his Amorphous Vineyard on the slopes of the Lake District, which includes many restaurants, entertainment venues and 314-foot vineyards. 300 meters) authentic aged wine with an annual production of only 72,000 bottles.

The surrounding 105 acres (42.5 hectares) of vines are still young, some on their fifth leaf, and the wines produced by veteran vintner Nikki Callaway reflect this with moderate intensity, while his $40-50 price point does not. Money doesn't buy happiness or good wine, and fortunately, lack of money doesn't rule this out.

The northernmost winery I've ever visited is 50th Parallel. It produces Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. I really like the citrus Chardonnay 2020 Estate, but Unparalleled Pinot Noir doesn't live up to its name. Owners Curtis Krouzel and Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel are a dynamic couple who wear leopard fur coats, skinny leather pants, and sunglasses and are as interested in fashion as they are in wine. Wine is experienced differently in the Okanagan Valley. For some, it's part of a brilliant lifestyle. At the distillery, at an exclusive VAT party, several women in high heels tried on and bought Louis Vuitton shoes of the same size, half hidden behind silky red curtains.

Honestly, I like the change of scenery in Burgundy. This might be borderline for a good Pinot Noir, but for the traditional method of sparkling Pinot/Chardonnay it's pretty good. I love the way 50th Parallel 2018 Blanc de Noir and Pinot Noir bring notes of red berries to the light, fruity NV Brut O'Rouke's Peak Cellar.

Kelowna GI

Canadian Territory Stories, Part Two: The North Okanagan Valley (9)

Moving south through the valley to the Kelowna Slopes, an area that recently received two sub-GIs, South Kelowna and East Kelowna, I was looking for a Pinot Noir, but the Riesling impressed me even more.

Riesling is very resistant to the cold winters and hot summers of the Okanagan Valley, influenced by the deep lakes north of the Lake District up to the Okanagan Falls. Riesling is grown in vineyards. The upper part of the lake develops at 350–600 m (1,150–1,970 ft). The best examples have an icy freshness and sparkling quality. High acidity - typically a total acidity of 9 g/l and a pH of 2.9 or lower. However, too many manufacturers proceed with caution and balance high acidity with excess residual sugar. There are a few exceptions, including Tantalus Vineyard, which is home to some of the oldest Riesling vines in the region, planted in 1978.

Tantalus Vineyards is located in East Kelowna. East Kelowna Riesling is fully mature because the best slopes are warm. Tantalus Old Vines Riesling, refrigerated Riesling 2019, is a concentrated and full-bodied wine with 8g/l residual sugar and 13.5% alcohol. It's a classic Riesling, but at the Cedar Creek Estate, winemaker Taylor Whelan has taken a more innovative approach with his Zone B Riesling from high-altitude vineyards on the East Kelowna side. The grape bunches are churned to soften the pungent acidity and add some phenolic compounds, bringing a lively bitterness to balance the almost fair citrus.

Among the vineyards around the city of West Kelowna, across the lake, the vineyards are sheltered from the hotter midday sun. Martin's Lane is an elegant six-story glass and steel gravity brewery, carefully carved into the hillside, reminiscent of haute couture. Millions have been invested to produce 6,000 cases a year, mostly Pinot Noir and Riesling. Winemaker Shane Munn has made an excellent Riesling from the Fritz Vineyard, which is somewhat unusual as it has some clay in it. There are several clay deposits in the northern Okanagan Valley, where the soil is mainly gravel and loamy clay. There is no limestone in the Okanagan Valley. A cooler spot, Fritz produces a floral, vibrant and linear Riesling in a warm 2018 vintage.

Unlike the Lake District, Kelowna has mature vineyards, not just Riesling but also Pinot Noir. Quails' Gate Winery was one of the first vineyards to plant Pinot Noir in 1975. Pinot Noir is the second most widely grown variety in the Okanagan Valley and British Columbia, with a total area of ​​538 hectares (1,329 acres), compared to Merlot's 654 hectares (1,616 acres), and growing rapidly. seems like the perfect red partnerrieslinga, in the northern part of the valley, but few have mastered this whimsical race. For decades, California style heavy oak wines loved by the local market have been sought after.

I'm looking for a pinot noirLogo delicate texture and finessebut it is common to find rather overpowering tannins and fruit preserves that can mask the terroir and subtly destroy the subtleties of Pinot Noir. this is a challengePhenol maturityWhile the craze of controlling sugar growth and adding small woody stems doesn't help. Clearly, Okanagan Pinot Noir is currently trailing Ontario in finesse.

However, there are exceptions where an elegant, terroir-driven Pinot Noir is completely attainable. My favorite is Martin Lane Sims Vineyard, which has an intense, smooth, dark chocolate. This vineyard is located on the east side of Lake Okanagan, right where it curves, meaning the vineyard turns slightly to the north, allowing for a long, slow maturation. Cedar Creek Winery also harvests from this vineyard and this is my favorite Pinot Noir in their portfolio. Shane Munn is one of the few winemakers who successfully uses straw and this is already 70%. However, it barely touches the grapes, so extraction is minimal. Pour the fermented wine onto the shelf and lightly drizzle over the caps. Pinot Noir is carefully matched here, with a clear transition to a more refined style after the 2016 vintage.

There is a lot of talk about changing winemaking methods in the Okanagan Valley, so whenever I can I take the opportunity to taste older vintages from the past decade. This reveals the evolution of the style after the powerful 2015 and 2016 vintages, both of which were hits. Since the cooler 2019, recent Pinot Noir vintages are naturally more elegant and understated, focusing more on terroir than style. They have a stronger sense of place, but many still struggle with the finesse and texture of the tannins.

This seems harder to achieve in cooler west Kelowna where the style can be clunkier, though Tantalus Vineyard makes for an easy, fruity, down-to-earth Pinot Noir. The Quails' Gate winery has some attractive pinot noirs that need a bit of polishing on the tannins. The softest I've found is Richard's Block, bred in the 90's.

Surprisingly, there is not much choice of older vineyards that are mutating. Canada is still growing the Dijon clone I studiedBurgundy20 years ago. The limited taste of the seven clones limits the complexity.

Besides, there's still too much new oak used in the Okanagan Valley for my taste. Too many wines I've tried, from Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon, have had the misconception that warmer vintages are better for more young oak, but the opposite is true. High in the mountains of West Kelowna, Joanna and James Schlosser own a small vineyard where James lived, who grew up on this farm. They were painting their new and attractive raw winery when I visited. I love their beautiful, clean-edged, lightly mineral Cottage Pinot Noir (2018 and 2020), but the oak on the 2020 single-barreled Pinot overwhelms any expression of terroir.

Naramata-bank GI

A little further south, Naramata Bench is the best place for Pinot Noir, where I found a broader sense of quality and consistency. The contours are fuller. The vineyards face west at 400–700 meters (1,310–2,300 ft). While Poplar Grove Winery has a particularly warm and secluded west side vineyard, this warm side is still too cool for most reds. Tony Holler produces a delicious, rich, vibrant Cabernet Franc, one of the best Cabernet Francs I've tasted in the Okanagan. Holler admits to unsuccessfully trying to age Cabernet Franc elsewhere on Naramata Bench. This is another great place for Riesling, there's Merlot here too, but Pinot Noir has found its niche.

Near the town of Penticton, where the cliffs drop sharply into Lake Okanagan, there is a cluster of vineyards and vineyards. I prefer hillside vineyards to roads where the bedrock is granite and the topsoil is glacial. Down below, on loose, muddy bottoms, the wine is not clear. I like Foxtrot Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir from the top and their single vineyard from the bottom is not as good. Soils are typically glacial soils and silts with clay pockets.

On Naramat Bench, land prices, driven by mint retirees (some of whom have tried making wine), are now four times higher than on Niagara Bench. Von Mandel can have his way. Pinot Noir Reserve 2020 from the northern vineyards of Liquidity Winery's Naramata Bench (part of the von Mandl stables) has a smooth, chalky texture that balances vibrancy and richness, while Martin's Lane Zenith comes from high altitude vineyards with a warm aspect, juicy, slim with lively aftertaste.

So many huge investment projects. It is possible to make an enjoyable Pinot Noir on smaller budgets, especially for producers who bought or leased vineyards early on. These include Toronto native Dylan Roche and his wife Pénélope, the sixth generation of the familyA family of winegrowers from BordeauxThey met in New Zealand, where they made beautiful Pinot Noir on a rented lot in Naramata Bench, while continuing to consult and teach viticulture at Okanagan College.

Some of my favorite wines are made in simple, functional spaces. My eye fell on a delicate, silky Pinot Noir that was vinified in the warehouse. Located at 1 Mill Road, this small winery takes its name from a small vineyard that sits on clay terraces. This beautiful place used to be a pear orchard bought and planted by Okanagan wine trade pioneers David and Cynthia Enns who founded Laughingstock Vineyards. They only produced two vintages of 1 Mill Road before handing over the reins to talented Australian winemaker Ben Bryant and his wife Katie. This is a couple to watch. Byrant is looking for other small plots to produce terroir wines and manages to find them. He is the vice president of Grupa Piwowarska von Mandl.

Pinot Noir in Canada: a mosaic of style and success

Another talented Australian is Marcus Ansems MW, a flying winemaker and consultant who founded Daydreamer Winery in 2013. Marcus prepared a dangerously steep slope, on which he planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Setting up the vineyard was not an easy task and Ansems had to drill holes in solid rock to make lattice posts. Vines survived in the topsoil of the glaciers. This place is exposed to the sun. In a hot vine like 2021, Pinot Noir is quite warm, but in a milder 2020 vintage, Daydreamer Tay Pinot Noir has an enticing stiffness and mouthfeel.

Many vineyards in the Okanagan Valley sell straight from the cellar. Don't expect bargains, some prices will leave you speechless, but others, including Daydreamer wine sold in a rather posh cottage next to Ansems Winery, are reasonable.

At the risk of exaggerating with Von Mandl, I can't leave Naramata Bench without mentioning one of the more fascinating Rieslings I've tasted in the Okanagan Valley. Martin's Lane Naramata Ranch was planted in 1976 with Riesling. Winemaker Shaun Munn focuses on ripe grapes with golden skins, but not the hot 2021 vintage. Slightly bruised grapes had 24-hour contact with the skins in 2018. It ferments on native yeast in neutral castings at room temperature and with prolonged contact with the lees. It was not punished. The moon wants Bakelite. 2018 showcases the warmer, fuller character of Naramata Bench, with a rich saltiness and smoky graphite from the winemaking. Contains 10 grams of residual sugar.

Summer IG

With climate change, the cooler Summerland region across Lake Naramata Bench is likely to play a role. Shows great potential for white wines and Pinot Noir. Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, owners of Okanagan Crush Pad (custom winery) and the Haywire brand, trusted Summerland's long-term potential when they established a sprawling and ambitious winery in Garnet Valley in 2013.

At 550-700 meters above sea level, Garnet Valley is the highest vineyard in the Okanagan Valley, with 75% of the vineyards planted for Pinot Noir. It was a risky venture given the cold winter, but the results were promising and the wines really felt at home. Haywire Vintage Bub 2014 is a strong, mineral and steely traditional sparkling wine made from young vines in the Garnet Valley that has been aged on lees for five years, while Pinot Noir 2021 from Garnet Valley is light, crisp and delicate. The proximity to the lake in combination with the cool environment gives the Summerland wines a clean and fruity character and a lively freshness. Summerland could become a rival region to Nararmata in warmer years, with lighter and more restrained wines, and Garnet Valley's vineyards will undoubtedly define the region's image and future.

He lives in a cabin in the Garnet Valley wilderness, next to coyotes and bears. Vintner Matt Dumayne exemplifies the energy and ingenuity of Canadian vintners. Dunmayne uses an extended maceration of 14-21 days post-fermentation on Haywire Pinot Noir (a blend of Summerland, Naramata, Kelowna and Oliver grapes) to polymerize the tannins and the result is gorgeous and silky.

In the process of creating the Okanagan Crush Pad and Haywire labels, Dumayne fermented the wine in every vessel imaginable and cultivated the yeast that would soon hit the market. Okanagan Crush Pad Free Form Riesling 2019, of rocky granite and clay mass at 670 meters (2,200 feet) above sea level, is crystal clear with a finish that sings like silver, while Free Form Sauvignon Blanc is a quirky wine that is mild on the skin 9 months aged in amphorae and stainless steel, surprisingly more aromatic.

Canadian Territory Stories, Part Two: The North Okanagan Valley (10)

Scatha Bench GI

Driving along the east side of Lake Skaha, just south of Penticton, you arrive at the tiny GI Skaha Bench. It really doesn't fit the profile of the Northern Okanagan Valley, both in terms of the varietals it can mature and the rich style of wine produced. Not that there is much alcohol. There are a few small farms here, but John Skinner owns 56 hectares (138 acres) of Skaha's total of 75 hectares (185 acres). Here Skinner realized his dream of winemaking after three years of searching for the right place. Since 2005, he has planted 27 hectares of Bordeaux varieties,Syrah,I Chardonnay.

Painted Rock Estate Winery features dramatic cliffside vineyards in a natural amphitheater. Bordeaux and Syrah thrive on the sun-drenched western slopes. The east-west orientation is unusual, an ingenious way of bringing cool air from the mountains through the vineyards. The elegant Syrah 2020 Painted Rock impresses with notes of violets, flowers and pepper, delicate tannins and lively acidity. I also like Cabernet Franc, which is full, smooth and lively. In the northern Okanagan Valley, Cabernet Franc maturation varies from place to place. Two excellent examples come from Painted Rock and Poplar Grove. Skinner says his Cabernet Francs are only interesting if the roots work their way through the glaciers and clay to the gravel below.

The Skinner family put Skaha Bench firmly on the map after John's daughter Lauren Skinner filed and won a lawsuit against sub-GI in 2019.

Okanagan Falls

What about Chardonnay? Sure, she was planted head to toe in the Okanagan Valley, but only a few caught my eye. Many are overly oaky and lack distinction. Chardonnay is a soldier. Plant it anywhere and it should yield something tasty. Plant it on limestone and clay and it can be attractive in the right conditions, but can feel uncomfortable in warmer places in muddy, sandy soils. In addition, there is a general flavor profile that seems to come from the most commonly used cultured yeast.

However, around the short, narrow Okanagan falls, Chardonnay speeds up. This is the second region to become a sub-GI in 2015. The unique McIntyre Bluff pops up on the west side while Peach Bluff guards the east side. It contains holes where buried blocks of ice fell from the glacier and later melted, leaving deep indentations in the spaces between the cliffs. The result is an attractive rolling landscape with 360 degrees of rising slopes and a wide variety of soil types. There are more glaciers here than in the bottom sediments of Lake Kelowna. This small 150 hectares (370 acres) appellation is located on the eastern side of the valley, with most of the vineyards 400–500 meters (1,310–1,640 ft) above sea level. There are no lakes to relieve the summer heat, but cool air comes in from above at night, bringing a cool breeze through the valley at about 2pm, which is much narrower at this time. When I visited, it clearly whistled through the vines in time.

Okanagan Falls Chardonnay expresses a sense of place. It has tension, super freshness and highlights vibrant examples from Noble Ridge, Stags Hollow (reserve Chardonnay) and Meyer Family Vineyards. It undergoes malolactic fermentation, cuts off the bâtonnage and can be something special. With new winemaker Amy Paynter at the helm, I have high hopes for 2021. When I tried it, she was picking fruit for sparkling wine on a broken trail, but samples from the tank were promising.

The Okanagan Valley Chardonnay profile is the right ticket to serve as a base for sparkling wines. I've tried many great wines from traditional winemaking in the Northern Okanagan Valley, but Okanagan Falls was the best choice. Liquidity and Noble Ridge Vineyards have good examples.

However, I was a little disappointed with the Okanagan Falls Pinot Noirs, which were often too oaky and a little too strong, although Old Block Pinot Noir from Meyer Family Vineyards exemplifies the quality that can be achieved. Old Block is planted on the gravelly soil of dried up riverbeds with a specific microclimate formed in the basin below Peach Cliff. The result is a full, velvety Pinot Noir with prominent oak yet deep enough to carry. The Meyer family has a little twist on Pinots as seen in their Pinot Naramata Bench. With many facets and the most varied soils, the Okanagan Valley offers the potential for a fascinating Pinot Noir.

In general, Lake Country and the suburbs of Summerland are exciting areas where the potential is being explored by some of the world's most adventurous producers, but not yet fully exploited. Kelowna's terroir, along with some of the valley's oldest plantations, is subtly showcased by crisp, crisp Pinot Noirs and vibrant Rieslings. To the south, the warmer Naramata Bench to the west has the most consistent Pinot Noir, fuller, more tannic and mature than Kelowna. The windswept Okanagan Falls are dominated by Chardonnay, which serves as a conduit to a terroir with vibrant, full-bodied and fresh profiles, and the region produces high-quality sparkling wines.

Subject of this article: Brits-Columbia, You have, Canadian wine

Sarah Marsh

Sarah Marsh MW is a wine critic and writer who has written for numerous wine, travel, food and design newspapers and magazines. In 2017 she started producing several casks of her own wine in Burgundy, which she successfully distributed in restaurants and clubs in London.

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