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Laughing Stock Vineyards, on the Naramata Bench, has made a name for themselves both through their consistently well-made wines as well as their innovative branding and marketing. Owners David & Cynthia Enns both have a background in finance which they have played off of with the labelling of their bottles (screen-printed ticker tapes wrapping all over the bottles), their signage (LFNG, written as a digital stock symbol) and continues with the naming of some of their wines such as Blind Trust and Portfolio. This year Laughing Stock has changed the format for visiting the tasting room, asking that people make appointments for their visits. This is down to logistics: their site is steeply sloped, with limited parking and on busy summer days it just got too congested. Do not despair though; they are quite easy-going and are happy to take same-day appointments! I’ve visited Laughing Stock Vineyards a few times over the past couple of years and have always had a great tasting room experience, with friendly knowledgeable staff and delicious wines. This time I started with the 2011 Pinot Gris, which is a blend of wine that spent time in French oak, some that spent time in stainless steel tanks and a third portion that was aged in concrete “eggs”. This Pinot Gris has pear, peach and citrus on the nose, tangerine and stone fruit on the palate, with a round mouthfeel and nice acidity. The 2011 Viognier spent time in a split between stainless steel and the “eggs”. It has citrus and a hint of apricot on the nose, with orange pith, peach and citrus on the palate. It has nice acidity and would be very food-friendly. The 2011 Blind Trust White is a white blend that is different every vintage and that hides its blend under the capsule at the top of the neck of the bottle. This vintage is a blend of 43% Pinot Gris, 29% Pinot Blanc and 28% Viognier. It has a clean nose of lemon and some floral notes and flavours of lemon rind, grapefruit and apricot. The 2011 Chardonnay spent 6 months in 30% new French oak. It has toffee and pineapple on the nose with butterscotch and lemon on the palate. It has a very nice balance between the oak and the fruit and has a rich creamy mouthfeel. The 2010 Syrah won the 2012 Lieutenant Governor Award for Excellence in BC Wine as well as a Gold medal at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards. It has blackberry and blueberry on the nose and palate, with a white pepper finish. It has medium-plus acidity and medium tannins. The 2010 Blind Trust Red also hides the ever-changing blend under the capsule. This vintage’s blend is 62% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec and 6% Syrah and spent 15 months in French oak. It has cassis, cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate on the nose with a rich palate of mocha and black currant. It has medium-plus acidity and tannins. The 2010 Portfolio, Laughing Stock’s flagship red, was just released the day before my visit and had recently won a Gold medal at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards. It is the first vintage of Portfolio that is Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, with 42%, followed by 32% Merlot, 18% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It has eucalyptus, cherry and cassis on the nose, with blackberry, cassis and cherry on the palate. It has medium-plus acidity and medium-to-heavy tannins. This is definitely one for the cellar!