Having just returned from the Osoyoos desert, I am having a hard time accepting that the +34°C we encountered didn’t travel with us. I had quickly grown accustomed to dips in the pool to cool off between sipping endless styles of wine. We were imagining this shell of a house on Black Sage Road was our future summer property that we could fix up like an oasis of paradise, when a pair of wild horses sidled up to the road.
Last year we traveled the Okanagan in both the summer and fall with some fellow wine enthusiasts to chalk up visits to Tinhorn Creek, Hester Creek, Jackson-Triggs, See Ya Later Ranch, Laughing Stock, Elephant Island, Dirty Laundry, Hijas Bonitas, Nk’Mip, Grey Monk and Quail’s Gate. Oh, and there may be a story in there about the Golden Beaver that I can’t bring myself to repeat, but I digress. This time around we visited two favourites and a whole slew of newbies on the endless list that makes up the OK vino trail. For those of you heading to the Okanagan Valley anytime soon might I suggest some of the most quaffable quenchers we encountered on our Osoyoos-Oliver-Summerland-Naramata journey:
Burrowing Owl – at long last we made it to the pillar of Canadian Cabernet Sauvignon. To our dismay, they are no longer serving their 2006 vintage as their precious supply has shrunken considerably thanks in part to Beppi Crosariol. In fact you can only purchase a maximum of 3 bottles so the wealth can be fairly shared amongst the fans. A shame for our taste buds, but on to the flight we went to encounter our first true love affair with creamy Chardonnay (2007), just the right ratio of oak and spice. All our Cab Sauv woes were soon forgotten.
Next stop, Road 13 (formerly Golden Mile Cellars) – Our top pick was their Chenin Blanc, full of rose, honey and tropical fruit, and their Jackpot series Syrah with its pow factor thanks to the addition of Viognier to the blend. They have just released a sparking version of their Chenin Blanc, and silly us we walked away without a bottle.
Le Vieux Pin was an unexpected highlight of our trip. Imagine an old train station meets an ancient barn. This was such a cozy place to sip their offerings, each poured in a new Riedel glass specific to the style of wine. We walked away with a Gewurztraminer full to the brim with lychee and rose petal notes.
Poplar Grove was a bit of a miss for us (minus their Legacy), but perhaps it was because we were offered more of their Monster series than anything else. I did think their Monster rosé would make a fun patio accoutrement….
Therapy was probably our most leisurely visit, chatting away the afternoon with the knowledgeable staff while tasting vintage comparisons and overall sampling just about everything in the shop. We should have brought home more Pink Freud (2008) and Freud’s Ego (2007)! What an affordable bounty of treatments they offer.
And although we didn’t taste it – our server was unauthorized to open a bottle – we heard the rundown on See Ya Later Ranch‘s soon to be released Rover, a Shiraz/Viognier blend that she described as bigger than Ping. Now that is saying something because the SYL Ping is indelible, folks.