The Naramata Bench, located to the north of Penticton on the east bank of Lake Okanagan, is home to many BC wineries. It is a lovely drive along Naramata Road, where you can visit 24 wineries, and admire the views overlooking Lake Okanagan.
If you are visiting the Okanagan you can easily spend one or more days visiting the wineries in this area. In addition to wine, many wineries have restaurants and some offer other options such as home-made cheese.
I recently attended a tasting downtown of the Naramata Bench Wineries Association’s latest vintages of wine. Following are a few of the wines that I really enjoyed. I tasted mostly the white wines before the reds, as Spring is here, and Summer will be coming soon, and white wine will be very popular on the patio.
My Recommended Wine Wines from the Naramata Bench
Van Westen Viognier 2014 ($24.90) – An aromatic white grape from the Rhone Valley originally, this wine has ripe apples, with some jasmine, orange and spice on the nose. Full bodied, round, and quite fruity with flavours of stone fruit, apricots in particular, and honey. Round and soft with medium acidity. Rating:
Upper Bench Chardonnay 2013 ($21.69) – A Gold medal wine from the BC Wine Awards, it has a delightful tropical fruit nose. It is round and supple in the mouth with medium plus body. Nice tropical fruit and spice flavours. Rating:
Kettle Valley Winery Chardonnay 2014 ($16.59) – Very light intensity nose with apples and honeyed stone fruits. Medium body, quite supple and round. Light intensity flavour of apple, with hints of honey and spice. Very elegant. Rating:
Daydreamer Riesling 2015 ($ TBA) – This is the first release of this Riesling, made from organically grown grapes. It has aromas of green fruits and pine needles. Medium bodied, dry with a round mouth feel. Medium acidity. Flavours of peach, pine needles, guavas and oranges, and finishes with honey. An excellent wine that you should buy several bottles and enjoy as this wine ages. Rating:
I had many other wines that I quite enjoyed that rated 4 stars, including:
- Kettle Valley Winery Pinot Gris 2014
- Upper Bench Riesling 2013
- Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2015
- Hillside Estate Pinot Gris Un-Oaked 2015
- Black Widow Winery Pinot Gris 2015
- Perseus Traditional Method Sparkling Chardonnay
- La Frenz Winery Riesling 2014
My Recommended Red Wines from the Naramata Bench
I spent most of my time tasting white wine today, so there are not as many red wines listed with detailed notes.
Kettle Valley Winery Merlot 2009 – Quite amazing to find an aged wine as a new release anywhere. This wine has a funky & tarry nose. Medium body, dry, with fine tannins and medium acidity. Peppery with flavours of ripe, rich, dark cherries. Rating:
Deep Roots Winery Gamay 2015 ($24) – A very nice nose, with aromas of violets, cherries and cinnamon. Between dry and off dry, this wine has a lighter body and mouth feel. It red cherries, red berries, and flowery flavours. Very nice. Rating:
Black Widow Winery Red Back 2013 ($21.50) – a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% of Syrah/Merlot. Nice nose with a mix of cinnamon and ripe, sweet dark fruit. Fuller body, dry, with raspberries, dark fruit and cinnamon flavours. Medium acidity and fine tannins. Rating:
Deep Roots Winery Merlot 2014 ($26) – Cinnamon and red berries on the nose. Medium plus body with a bigger mouth feel. Ripe purple fruit, plums and cinnamon flavours. Medium tannins. A nice, fruity red wine. Rating:
Other reds in the 4-4.5 star range you may want to consider:
- Hillside Merlot Malbec 2013
- Nichol Syrah 2013
- Upper Bench Pinot Noir
The member wineries of the Naramata Bench Wineries Association are at this link. Enjoy!