The Naramata Bench is located on the east side of Lake Okanagan as you drive north from Penticton. It is a very scenic 14 km drive overlooking the water and vineyards, home to a group of twenty-four award-winning wineries forming the Naramata Bench Wineries Association. The Association was participating in the Wine for Waves this past week to support the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise seafood.
I had a chance to attend the Trade component of this event where the wineries showed off many of their newly released wines as well as other wines that I think would go well with seafood. Here are 10 wines from the Naramata Bench that I thought were quite good.
10 Tasty Wines
Roche Arome Schonberger 2017 – Schonberger is a white grape developed in Germany by crossing Pinot Noir with Chasselas and Muscat Hamburg. The aromas and flavours remind me of Gewurztraminer (lychee/roses/sweet spices), but with some variation. On the nose, you also get aromas of ripe apples to go along with the lychee/roses/sweet spices. The wine is dry and round with a soft mouthfeel. The flavours are again apples, lychee/roses/sweet spices. Some pepperiness on the finish.
Roche Pinot Gris Barrel 2015 – A Pinot Gris made with some oak barrel ageing to give it a bit more complexity. This wine had a nice light intensity nose with aromas of toast, ripe pears and apples. Lighter bodied it was very smooth and lower acidity levels. Flavours of baked apples, butterscotch, floral, light spice and vanilla on the finish. Elegant.
Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2017 – A very fruity nose, with a mix of green fruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Medium bodied, smooth with medium acidity. Flavours of tropical fruit mixed with green fruit, and a herbal edge. Tart finish. Tasty.
Lake Breeze Pinot Gris 2017 – Nice stone fruit plus stone fruit skin aromas. Medium body and acidity, with flavours of stone fruit and some tropical fruit. Peaches become more prominent toward the end. Dry with a round mouthfeel. –
Upper Bench Riesling 2016 – Nice petrol, honey and stone fruit aromas. Medium plus body and acidity. Off-dry but finishes dry. Petrol and stone fruit flavours in the glass.
Kettle Valley Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – A very nice nose, combining flint, stone fruit, pears and vanilla. Medium plus body, round and soft with a silky feel. Floral, stone fruit and pears on the palate. Excellent. –
Kettle Valley Riesling 2013 – Intriguing nose, with a blend of petrol, floral and honey aromas. Medium plus body and medium acidity; off-dry. Flavours of apple skin, peaches, honey followed by sweet spices. Very good. –
Serendipity Plot Twist 2016 – A sparkling wine made with Pinot Gris grapes. Apples and lees on the nose. Off-dry with medium plus acidity, some bubble but not creamy. Flavours of crab apples.
Bella Chardonnay Ancestral Method 2017 – A sparkling wine made with the Ancestral Method aka Pétillant Naturel. Light apple nose. Dry with a higher acidity level. Some creamy bubbles. Stone fruit flavours, but also you get some chalkiness and salty minerality in this wine. Wonderful. –
Bella Sparkling Rosé – I did not notice a year on the bottle, but I assume 2017. This wine they call Trad-Nat, which to me is a blend of traditional bottle ferment, such as is used for Champagne, together with Pétillant Naturel. Not quite sure how the two work together, but the result is excellent. My favourite wine of the tasting. This rosé wine is made from the Gamay Noir grape. Rich nose, with apples, apple skin and cider. Slightly off-dry with tiny creamy bubble. Flavours of red currants and cider. If you have ever tried a top quality Lambrusco, this sparkling wine reminds me of it. Recommended.