Are you on a Quest or a Chase for something? For wineries, it may be for the best expression of the grapes in the glass, showing off their terroir. A light hand by the wine maker. To me the light hand of the wine maker really comes out in the red wines from C. C. Jentsch Cellars.
C. C. Jentsch Cellars is located on the Golden Mile Bench in Oliver, BC, with the family farming in the Okanagan since 1929. The winery is family run by Chris and Betty Jentsch, with the wine made by Amber Pratt. You may have noticed that the wine labels have a rabbit and tiger shown on them, with the tiger looking up at the rabbit and the rabbit appears to be running, in an eternal chase. These two animal characters represent the Chinese zodiac signs for Chris (who is the tiger) and his wife Betty (who is the rabbit). From their website, Chris notes “‘The Chase’, and ‘The Dance’ (a Rosé) and The Quest are all themes coming from the pursuit of, and desire for the one woman I have loved for so many years. And one day I am going to catch her…” I’m sure that they are truly caught up in one another. Let’s see how their love of each other and of the vines translates to their wines.
My Wine Review
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Viognier 2015 – Medium lemon colour in the glass with medium plus intensity fresh, aromatic nose; Flowers, sweet orange, apricot, baby powder, and a whiff of lychee. There is also a stony edge on the nose to this wine. With decanting you get some apple and also honey aromatics. The wine is dry with medium acidity and above average body and flavour intensity. Round, thicker, mouth filling mouth feel. Apricots, tropical fruit, light orange and orange skin, and also a hint of lychee. With decanting you can add apple. The wine has medium length, with mouth-watering acidity, acidic bite, together with pepper and citrus pith. This is one wine that I think can get more complex and interesting with age, as it has the acidity and body to carry it forward.
Rating: A well-made, very fruity, aromatic, mouth-filling wine.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars The Quest 2015 – The Quest is a blend of 84% Chardonnay, 14% Gewürztraminer, and 2% Viognier. Medium lemon trending toward gold in colour. This wine has a light nose with aromas of baby powder, apricot, ripe stone fruit, and a hint of orange. Decanting also brings out some honey on the nose. It is dry, but does have a slight hint of sweetness. Round, heavier mouth feel, medium intensity flavour. You get sweet stone fruit, with peach and pear most prominent, and then hints of white flowers, lychee and citrus pith. With decanting the pear and peach flavour does increase in intensity. Also the wine becomes smoother and the acidity moves from medium plus to medium. The wine has medium length, and finishes with tart green apples, citrus pith and pepper. The pepper component does decrease with decanting.
Rating: A good quality wine, where each of the grape varieties does make itself known when you take a sip. I suggest pairing this wine with chicken or seafood in cream sauce.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Small Lot Series Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2015 – Medium lemon in colour. The wine has medium intensity nose, with tropical fruit, in particular pineapple, vanilla, and well-integrated French oak. It is round, and soft, but has a thick mouth feel. Ripe tropical fruit, oak; nutmeg, vanilla, and sweet spices from the mid-palate to the finish. In addition there is some apple and lemon, which sits behind the tropical fruit at the start but gets stronger toward the finish. The medium level of acidity in this wine support the fruit and complements the viscous mouth feel. On the finish you get tropical fruit, mouth watering acidity and a hint of oak, but the wine also takes on a stony component.
Rating: A quality wine. A Chardonnay not over done with oak. Fruity and buttery.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2014 – A deeper coloured ruby in the glass. Medium plus aromatic intensity with aromas of ripe raspberries and other red fruits, smokiness, sweet spices, light vanilla and some meatiness. The wine is dry, medium plus body, but also quite high level of acidity. Not round, but more angular. Flavours of tart red fruit, raspberries, red cherries, and pepper. With decanting you also get plums, a hint of blueberries, and an increase in the raspberry flavour. Medium plus length ending with firmer tannins, but not puckering.
Rating: A light bodied Syrah with tart red fruit. With the higher acidity, I’d recommend opening this bottle with food. I did enjoy this wine with a rack of lamb.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars Cabernet Merlot 2014 – This wine is a blend of 53% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. A medium intensity nose, with a mix of black and red fruit, light toast, and hints of nutmeg and baby powder. With decanting you also get some bramble on the nose. The wine is dry, quite round and soft, with medium body. It has a hint of sweetness on the entry that does persist through the sip. Flavours of black fruits, raspberries, plums, red currant, black berry, and a hint of smoky strawberry. There is also a mineral component to the wine which I like. With decanting I picked up some perfume and cedar. The wine has medium length, finishing with medium minus tannins and light pepper. The flavour does fall off quite quickly and wish it would linger a bit more.
Rating: An easy sipping red wine that is soft and has an enjoyable mix of red and black fruit flavours. It can be enjoyed with most medium to full-flavoured dishes.
C.C. Jentsch Cellars The Chase 2013 – A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc 32.5%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32.5%, Merlot 30%, Petite Verdot 3%, and Malbec 2%. Medium minus garnet colour in the glass that is translucent to the core. Very light red fruit nose, that includes raspberries, red and black currants, and a hint of toast. With decanting you can add some black currant leaves and tea leaves. The wine is floral, soft and round, with medium body and lower tannins. Red fruit, including raspberries and red currants, along with red cherries, and light plum, toast and sweet spice. Medium length, with mouth-watering acidity, and medium tannins that dry out your tongue. Red fruits on the finish.
Rating: A light, elegant wine. It does not challenge you, but invites you to enjoy it. Pair it with pate before dinner, or a Shepherd’s Pie for dinner.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
If you are anywhere in BC, I do not think you will have a problem finding these wines. They are at both BC government liquor stores, private wine stores, and many restaurants. This web link has a list of places to find their wines. You can also purchase the wines online from the winery through their Big Easy Club.
Bonus: Wine and Chocolate
I did try the red wines together with a range of chocolates from Brockmann’s Chocolates from Delta, BC. Here is my link to the Brockmann’s Chocolates – 30 Years of Making Canada Delicious article.