B.C. wines are some of the best in the world, and our best wines are found in the Okanagan.
The economic boon of B.C.’s growing wine industry is only matched by our delight in the wines we drink from our province. Folks always like to support locally grown products, and local wine buying is a natural.
Amazingly, with more than 131 licensed wineries, the Okanagan Valley produces 90 per cent of the wine in B.C. Large Okanagan producers like Prospect Point, Sumac Ridge, Peller Estates and Mission Hill create enough wine to satiate B.C.’s everyday, weeknight and casual kinds of wines.
But then we have the small estate and boutique wineries making what might be called “weekend wines”, i.e. wines you’d serve when your entertaining company. And most Okanagan wineries have a top level as well, of limited-production, luxury wines for special occasions.
The Okanagan Valley is divided into five distinct viticulture regions. The most northerly region is in and around Kelowna, which provides cooler temperatures and a shorter growing season. The cool climate grapes best suited to Kelowna’s growing conditions include Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Riesling.
Cedar Creek Winery is located near Kelowna and its Pinot Noir is a perfect example of a cool climate wine. The bouquet is a fruit salad of blueberries, cherry and plum. The silky medium body delivers tastes of strawberry and blueberry. The complexity of this little winner is enhanced by some aging in French oak and a touch of wild yeast, all contributing to a lingering finish. The Cedar Creek Pinot Noir would be the perfect weekend wine to go with a salmon BBQ.
At the other end of the Okanangan Valley we see big Bordeaux-like red wines and lush fruity whites. The Osoyoos region in the southern tip of the valley has an almost desert-like climate. Its grapes and wines reflect the soil and sun of the area.
The Osoyoos region is home to the Hester Creek Winery located in Oliver. Their Character Red Blend is an excellent example of a warm-climate wine. Petit Verdot, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec grapes are all used in this Meritage blend. The aromas of plum, cherry and coffee will get your saliva flowing. Generous fruit, hints of mocha and smoky spice are present and offer lingering flavours. This wine has a rich weight and good structure. Decant it, for about an hour before serving, for optimal enjoyment with BBQ beef.
This is just a snapshot of what B.C. has to offer. You can take a one-stop tour and enjoy wines from over 40 top-rated B.C. wineries at the upcoming BC Uncorked Wine Festival being held in Port Moody on May 30th. Visit the event website for more information.
Article credit: Lynette Burns, Daily News