Top Drops of the Okanagan

Here are our top wine picks of the year.

50th Parallel Estate Winery 2020 Profile Pinot Noir $38

The Profile series focuses on a more elegant side of Pinot Noir and the result is a beautiful, multi-layered wine with bright red berry aromas, violets, chocolate, black tea and orange zest. The palate is velvety and juicy with plenty of freshness.

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2019 Cabernet Franc $36

A perennial winner, this Cab Franc is medium bodied and full of bright red fruit and earthy character. On the nose there are aromas of currants, Bing cherry, violets, licorice and vanilla, while the palate is herbaceous and spicy with hints of mushroom, smoke and leather. Consider pairing this with braised short ribs.

CedarCreek Estate Winery 2021 Platinum Border Vista Sauvignon Blanc $35

Grown in the South Okanagan, where it is hot and dry through the summer months, the fruit gets ripe quickly. Thus the Sauv Blanc grapes are harvested early. The result is a tropical fruit forward wine with papaya, passionfruit, apricot, cantaloupe with candied lemon and honey on the nose, yet it’s refreshing with mineral, lime and mouthwatering acidity, courtesy of the earlier pick.

Dirty Laundry Vineyard 2018 Bordello $45

After two years in the barrel, this blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc shows a lot of complexity with black cherry, fig, cocoa, mint, licorice, pepper, toast and some nutty, earthy character. The tannins are supple if a little dry, but nothing a good chargrilled steak couldn’t tame.

Ex Nihilo Vineyards 2019 Privata Malbec $52

Malbec is revered for its aromatics in Bordeaux-style blends, but on its own it’s something special. Notes of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, anise, chocolate and warm baking spices accented by a hint of menthol. The palate serves flavours that are a bit more savoury but equally as delicious. 

Indigenous World Winery 2019 Single Vineyard Gamay Noir $30

Gamay Noir is one of those red varieties that is often under estimated. But treated with a deft hand, it can really shine. A bit lighter in style, this wine is approachable with bright red fruit, earthy, spicy and smoky character. Chill it a little and it will make a great patio red on a hot day with burgers and ribs on the bbq. 

Lake Breeze Vineyards 2019 Aura Pinot Noir $35

The grapes in this elegant Pinot come from 30-year-old vines. This lends itself to a lot of complexity and is said to cellar an extended period of time. Black cherry, raspberry, chocolate, savoury spices and some earthy notes. The palate is silky and supple. Pair with rosemary crusted lamb.

Liquidity Wines 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve $60

Grown on the Black Sage bench, this ripe Cab Franc serves up juicy black cherry, blackberry, plum, pepper, licorice and herbal notes. Lush on the palate with supple tannins and good acidity. Rack of lamb or roast beef are suggested food pairings. 

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery 2020 Terroir Collection Naramata Ranch Pinot Noir $60

The Naramata Ranch Vineyard is considered the winery’s most climatically and geologically diverse site. The result is a complex wine that is both elegant and bursting with character. Silky mouthfeel with aromas and flavours of black cherry, raspberries, plum, chocolate and some spicy, earthy, toasty notes.

Moon Curser Vineyards 2021 Arneis $27

This offbeat variety originates from the Piedmont region of Italy, where it has become quite trendy. Grown in the South Okanagan, it produces a medium bodied wine with notes of mandarin, apple blossoms, pear and honey with herbal, mineral freshness on the palate. 

Nighthawk Vineyards 2019 Merlot $33

Merlot is still one of the most grown grapes in the Okanagan and for good reason. It produces wines like this one – medium bodied and lush with ripe, deep red berry aromas and flavours, accented by flecks of savoury spice, chocolate and mint. 

Phantom Creek Estates 2018 Syrah $100

Syrah does exceedingly well in the South Okanagan and is rapidly growing in popularity among consumers. Phantom Creek brought out the big guns on its version with a robust wine featuring blackberry, black cherry, coffee bean, chocolate, floral, toasty, savoury character. Only four barrels of this impressive wine were produced.

Poplar Grove 2017 Legacy $65

Considered one of the winery’s signature wines, this blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is bold and beautiful. Deep blackberry, black cherry, violet, baking spices, toasted nuts and cocoa make up the aromas and flavours. This one will linger on the palate for an extended finish. 

Road 13 Vineyards 2019 Syrah Malbec $35

Unique combination of spicy, savoury Syrah and luscious, aromatic and dense Malbec. There’s a lot of power in this wine with bold dark berry aromas and flavours, accented by licorice, pepper, toast, caramel and baking spice. A splash of Viognier was added to the mix to lift the aromas and flavours of the fruit for balanced acidity. 

Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2018 Spadefoot Toad Sangiovese $65

This grape is Italian in origin, but several Okanagan producers are embracing it. Here it produced a fresh, medium bodied wine with black cherry, wild strawberries, vanilla, baking spices, licorice and a touch of char.

vinAmité Cellars 2019 Petit Verdot $52

Not a lot of Petit Verdot is made as a single variety in the valley, so be prepared to fall in love with this deeply coloured aromatic wine. Rich blackberry, blueberry pie and baking spice aromas, accented by black olives, licorice, dark chocolate and herbal notes. 

Wesbert Winery 2020 Pinotage $30

This varietal originates from South Africa where it was cultivated as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It serves up bright red fruit aromas and flavour such as cherry, currents, cranberry and pomegranate with baking spice, savoury and earthy notes. 

Author: GTDO

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