Spring is such a wonderful time of the year, mother nature comes to life, the days get longer, and we benefit from the wineries spring releases. This time it was the Naramata Bench Association's annual event to which Barbara and I were invited, it was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver on April 13th. We braved the elements (downpour) and transit (crowded), believe me, we were not disappointed.
Our first table-stop was Van Westen Vineyards home of Vivacious™ a most delicious and favourable wine, one that will very likely be shared on our patio this summer. Next we visted with winemaker Kathy Malone from Hillside Winery who guided us through a tasting of excellent wines. The gold medal winning, 2012 Mosaic was sensational, a nice blend of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Barbara put a star next to this one.
Hillside also makes a very good 2104 Merlot Cabernet Franc (such a nice aroma) and the 2014 Syrah. For the whites, the 2016 Pinot Gris was excellent but what suited my taste best of all, was the 2016 Muscat Ottonel.
Day Dreamer Winery owner/winemaker Marcus Ansems had a table that offered up some fine wines. I especially enjoyed their Viognier, another tick beside the summer patio tasting list.
Kettle Valley's Semillion Sauvignon Blanc was very good. Their Riesling was one of the best I have tasted.
Three Sisters Vineyards had one of the better Chardonnays and a most delicious white blend of Pinot Gris, Gewurztammier, and Ehrenfleser called Bench White.
I also recommend their Tempranillo, which is a nice bold red wine that lingers on the pallet favourably.
Red Rooster gave us a warm greeting and friendly smiles, along with their fine wine selections.
They had a very nice Rose' and Pinot Gris. We are not Rose' fans but enjoyed this one.
Another warm greeting came from Black Widow Estate Winery with a number of nice wines highlighted by the 2017 Oasis featuring Schonburger, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris. I also enjoyed their 2017 Schonburger. They are one of the very few producers of Schonburger in British Columbia.
We cannot forget Terravistia Vineyards with their fine cellar of wines. Their gold medal winning Albarino is very impresssive!
One has to mention the very popular, Poplar Grove Winery, they produce a nice light-oaked Chardonnay, and a very good Pinot Gris. We are only in April, only at one of many Spring tasting events we will be taking in, and my patio selections are rapidly adding up.
The surprise of the day was Elephant Island! Known for their fruit wines they have expanded into cider and grape wines. How did I miss this transition! I only had time to taste their Pear Wine and as always, a favourite that did not disappoint.
Katie O Kell and Bob Bell
Enjoyed a nice chat with winemaker Katie O Kell and later her mother, Judy Kingston, at the Serendipity table. The winery will greet you this summer with new facilities, which we will look forward to seeing when we make our trip up their way. The Viognier is very good...lovely flavours. They also make a nice Rosé. If you like a sparkling wine, try their Sparkling Truth.
The wineries provided cheese tables throughout the room for everyone to enjoy. Barbara and I were delighted to run into, and enjoy a long conversation with Garnet and Debbie Etsell, owners of Singletree Winery in the Mt. Lehman area of Abbostford. We learned they have purchased property in Naramata Bench, and will soon be up and running. We have followed their adventure of converting their farm property to wine making and wish them much success in the Okanagan. Their wines quite often make their way to our table.
Unfortunately at these events there is never enough time to reach all the wineries present. The very popular La Frenz Winery was alway busy, I could never squeeze my way in to reach them. Which brings me to remind those who attend these venues not to linger in front of the tables unless you are in deep conversation (make it short) with the person behind it. It is frustrating when conversations take place in front of tables with no regard for anyone waiting in line to taste the nectar of the gods.
Thank you Naramata Bench Wineries for another stellar tasting event.
* Photos provided by Barbara Bell
Naramata Bench Wineries