Did you know that during the ice age, glaciers up to 3 km thick covered the Okanagan and carved out the valley we love? The retreat of the glaciers left benches covered with fertile soil where many wineries grow their vines. Okanagan Falls, between Penticton and Oliver, I think holds a sweet spot for growing grapes and making wine. It has long warm days and cool nights, which allow the grapes to reach full
ripeness as well as keep their acidity.
The Okanagan Falls Winery Association, consisting of 15 wineries, with 185 hectares of vines, producing 110,000 cases of wines each year, held a tasting recently, which I attended. In the Okanagan Falls area, you can taste quality sparkling, white, and red wines. Here are 15 wines from the tasting that I really enjoyed. Most of the wines are sparkling or white, as I tasted those first, and had a short time to taste any of the red wines.
15 Quality Wines from Okanagan Falls
Blasted Church Pinot Gris 2016 – Nice stone fruit nose and more stone fruit, particularly peaches, on the palate. Off-dry, soft with medium acidity. Fresh BC fruit in the glass.
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Gold Label Brut, NV – Blue Mountain are well-known for their sparkling wines and this one is top quality. Nice aromatic stone fruit aromas. Dryish, with small creamy bubble. Crisp apple to start followed by citrus flavours. Medium plus acidity. Quality! –
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Chardonnay 2016 – Quite a toasty nose on this wine. Medium plus body, but quite smooth; medium minus acidity. Rich butterscotch and tropical fruit flavours. The toastiness on the palate is not overdone. –
Kraze Legz Vineyard and Winery Skaha Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014 – Medium intensity nose with a mix of capsicum and red fruits. Medium plus body, round and silky, with softer tannins. Light flavours of capsicum and plum. Balanced.
Liquidity Wines Pinot Gris 2017 – Nice aromatic nose; lime with stone fruit in support. More lime on the palate. Dry with salty minerality. Round with medium plus body and medium acidity. The lime flavour is followed by peaches and some bitterness on the finish. Excellent.
Liquidity Wines Chardonnay Estate 2016 – Light butterscotch and tropical fruit nose. Round and thicker mouthfeel, with rich tropical fruit flavours, and light touches of vanilla and butterscotch. Very good.
Liquidity Wines Merlot 2015 – Milk chocolate, vanilla and light black fruit nose. Medium plus body with medium acidity and tannins. Cassis and plum flavours, with some pepperiness and oak on the finish. A solid wine.
Meyer Family Vineyards Methode Traditionnelle Sparkling, Extra Brut, NV – A sparkling wine made with 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir grapes in the Champagne style. Nice red apple nose. Dry, high acidity, with flavours of bruised apple most, followed by citrus. Small, biting, creamy bubble. Fuller bodied.
Meyer Family Vineyards Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 – Ripe raspberries and cassis aromas. Medium plus body, round and silky, with soft tannins and medium acidity. Red fruits with touches of vanilla and floral on the palate. Good quality.
Nighthawk Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2015 – Rich, ripe plums, vanilla and cedar on the nose. Fuller body, round and silky mouthfeel. Cassis, ripe dark fruit and milk chocolate flavours, with red fruit flavours coming in mid palate. Medium tannins on the finish.
Nighthawk Vineyards Chardonnay 2016 – Light toast and tropical fruit nose. Medium plus body with a good acidic backbone. Light oak, toast, and butterscotch, together with tropical fruit flavours. Round with a heavier mouthfeel. Very good.
Nighthawk Vineyards Gewürztraminer 2015 – This wine really shocked me as it did not remind me of the standard Gewürztraminer that you may have tried many times before. This one does have a lychee nose, but it is on the palate that you get wowed. The wine is off-dry and round with medium acidity. Honey is the first word I wrote when I tasted this wine, followed by lychee and light peach. I asked if there was any botrytis on the grapes in 2015, but there was not. I think that this patch of soil produces a unique Gewürztraminer.
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery “The One” Sparkling 2014 – Nice bright stone fruit nose. Dry with high acidity and small, biting bubble on the palate. Apples along with a lesser amount of stone fruit flavours.
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2014 – Very light butterscotch nose. Nice flavours of rich tropical fruit, butterscotch and oak. Full-bodied, ripe and round with medium minus acidity. Super. –
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven 2017 – Light peach nose. Semi-sweet, thicker mouthfeel, with medium plus body and higher acidity. Lychee and peach flavours.
Enjoy these wines over Spring and Summer!