Lately I’ve been able to sample some really tasty wines that are coming out of some of the new wineries in the Okanagan & Similkameen Valleys that many people have not yet been introduced to. In the past two weeks I’ve tasted the Viognier from Stable Door Cellars on the Naramata bench, two whites and a rosé from Corcelettes Winery in Cawston in the Similkameen Valley, a white and a rosé from Daydreamer Wines on the Naramata Bench, a new Zweigelt Rosé from Seven Directions Wines in West Kelowna, and one of the new sparkling Chardonnays (with grapes sourced from Kamloops) from Bella Wines in Naramata, BC’s only “bubbles-only” sparkling wine house.
Stable Door Cellars is owned by two couples – Susie & Dave Tebbutt and Danielle & Scott Robinson. Scott is their winemaker, following four years spent as winemaker at LaFrenz, as well as vintages at Kim Crawford in New Zealand and d’Arenberg in Australia. Stable Door is located at the corner of Upper Bench Road and McMillan Avenue, behind the Terry Isaac Gallery, and tastings are by appointment only. The 2013 Viognier is partially barrel-fermented and has a lovely mouthfeel, crisp acidity and is well-balanced. It has aromas and flavours of citrus and apricot and some nice complexity to it. Corcelettes Winery is owned by Barbara and Urs Baessler, and their son Charlie is their winemaker. The winery is named for the town in Switzerland where the family originated, and the image on their label is a large stone known as a Menhir, that sits in a wheat field on the family’s farm back in Switzerland, its placement dating back over 3000 years. At a tasting hosted by the Penticton Wine Info Centre, I tasted the 2013 Trivium, a blend of Chasselas, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. The wine is crisp, clean and fruity – definitely a great patio sipper for the summer! The 2013 Gewurztraminer is deliciously dry, with classic flavours of lychee, rose petal and a hint of grapefruit. I was really impressed by the 2013 Oracle rosé, made from Zweigelt grapes. It is light, dry, and reminiscent of a rosé from Provence. it has lovely flavours of red fruit, citrus and spice. I very much enjoyed sipping it while sitting in the sun on my deck after an afternoon of doing some yard work.
Daydreamer Wines is the dream-become-reality for Marcus and Rachel Ansems. Marcus has a long history of winemaking both internationally (Australia, South Africa, Italy & France) and in Canada, at Creekside in Niagara as well as Therapy and Blasted Church in the Okanagan. I happened to be in the right place at the right time earlier today (BC Wine Information Centre) to meet Marcus and sample a couple of his wines – the Pinot Gris and Rosé. The Pinot Gris is a beautiful example of a well-made, small-lot, single-vineyard, organic, barrel-fermented white wine from the Naramata Bench. It has a lovely round mouthfeel, is well-balanced with some complexity and flavours of orchard fruit and citrus with a hint of minerality. I could happily sip many a glass of this! The Rosé is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Viognier. It also is organic, from a single vineyard and has been barrel-fermented bone dry. It is light and crisp, with aromas and flavours of red berries with a touch of floral and citrus – a very food-friendly rosé.Seven Directions Wines, owned and operated by Kristine Witkowski and Daniel Bontorin, came on the scene last year with their first-release wine of a delicious barrel-fermented Pinot Noir Rosé, aged in barrel sur lies. This year they have released two rosé wines- a new vintage of Pinot Noir Rosé, and a Zweigelt Rosé, which I picked up to try as part of this week’s #BCWineChat on Twitter, which was focussing on Rosé. The 2013 Zweigelt Rosé has been made with grapes from the S. Gidda Vineyard in West Kelowna, using only free-run juice and fermented in stainless steel tanks. It has a lovely medium pink colour, with a hint of fuchsia, aromas and flavours of strawberry, raspberry and pepper. It is very well-balanced with a long finish.While I was out visiting in Naramata today, my friend Jay Drysdale disgorged a small bottle of his Bella Wines 2013 Sparkling Chardonnay, made with grapes sourced from the Thadd Springs Vineyard that belongs to Harper’s Trail Winery in Kamloops. It is lovely a crisp, with persistent bubbles and a fine mousse. There is a lovely creaminess to it, with flavours of citrus and some nice minerality. I look forward to comparing it with the other terroir-driven Chardonnay bubbles that Bella Wines has produced in 2013, not to mention the Sparkling Gamays as well.