article by Carole Beaton
Learning by drinking BC wine.
As a wine tourist, there is something that I have grown to appreciate as I travel from winery to winery, often visiting more than one on a day trip, and purchasing wine. That one simple rarity is shade in the parking lot. It may seem minor but in an area where the average temperature is 29-30 o Celsius, it is wonderful to know that purchases are not in danger of being “cooked” by the heat before I can get back to my vehicle and get the air conditioning going again. Although wineries are happy to ship, I prefer to take my smaller purchases of one or two bottles with me. It may seem odd to share this as I write about a wine visit but it started my LaStella experience on a positive note. I pulled into the parking lot and there it was - “Shade!” – and that was only the beginning.
LaStella, meaning “the star”, is housed in a beautiful Tuscan-style villa on the shore of Osoyoos Lake, and the winery started receiving guests in 2008. It sources grapes from eight different vineyards scattered around the Okanagan to experience different terroir and weather, and is a sister winery to Le Vieux Pin, located up towards Oliver. Both are owned by Enotecca Wineries and Resorts, headed by Sean and Saeedeh Salem. If you wish to arrive by boat or float plane, they now have a dock for your convenience!
Once the handle on the big wooden door is turned, you are welcomed to a bit of Italy with terra cotta floors, high ceilings, dark wood furnishings, and Murano glass lights. You may be inside at the tasting bar if the weather is inclement, but on the lovely day we were there we were directed by Wade Martin, the tasting room supervisor, out to the large balcony for our appointment. There is a mixture of long tables for four to six guests, as well as smaller tables for two.
On a previous visit, several years ago, I had been a bit intimidated by my surroundings but this visit was welcoming and comfortable as Wade took us through the flight of wines on offer. The introductory tasting of four wines has a fee of $10.00 per person, and all of the tasting fees go to the Canucks Autism Network.
As Wade presented us with the first wine he explained that the wines of LaStella are made with an Italian style and the wines are named after musical terms.
Neither my friend nor I are musical but we accepted the challenge of pairing the musical name with the wine’s flavour profile. They clearly fit.
We started with the unoaked Vivace, a Pinot Grigio that is bright, and lively – exactly what the name states - and citrus. What a lovely wine to sip on the patio!
The Leggiero Chardonnay was next. It was done in stainless steel and spent some time in neutral oak which means that although there is a “texture” to the wine, it is all about the grape itself. “Lightly and gracefully” it is named and it offers all kinds of fruit, with lime and pear in the finish.
We then tried the 2018 Fortissimo which is comprised of 57% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 8% Sangivoese. There is oak back there and Wade confirmed that it is Hungarian oak, explaining that it is a choice that the winemaker has made since it gives different characteristics to the wine. I thought it was almost like the grains were tighter – the flavour was back there but the oak was not overwhelming. There was all kinds of deliciousness in this glass and I think it would get even better as it aged. The word “fortissimo” means very loud, or very strong, and this is a solid red wine with lots of flavour.
Our final sip was of the 2019 Moscato D’ Osoyoos. Poured from a 500 ml bottle, this is a wine that can work either as an aperitif or a dessert wine. It has light alcohol, has light bubbles, and I was introduced to the nose and flavours that this grape offers – orange blossoms, rose petals, with peach and melon in there too! Another wine to sip and enjoy!
To confirm the Italian influence, LaStella also offers Casa Gusta olive oils, sourced directly from Italy.
I had heard so much about the wines that Severine Pinte makes for LaStella that I was pleased to finally be able to taste them for myself and see that the accolades are indeed warranted. If the intent is to capture la Dolce Vita, LaStella wines are a great way to start.
8123 148 Ave, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V2
- Carole Beaton
Learning by drinking BC wine.