Spring is just around the corner which means it’s time to taste fresh, new wines! I recently had the opportunity to travel to Okanagan, BC, and visit some of our amazing wineries. To know that we have over 350 wineries in BC is simply astonishing and shows the rapid growth and promise that the Okanagan and other wine-growing regions offer to winemakers and consumers alike. The following were some of the Okanagan wineries I had the chance to visit in the Okanagan Falls and Naramata Bench wine regions: Meyer Family Vineyards & Mayhem Wines, Roche Vineyards, and Daydreamer wines.
Around this time many wineries are busy bottling and releasing new vintages of their wines. As usual, I tasted some excellent wines, and have showcased some of my favourites from this trip that are great to try as we move into Spring!
1. Meyer Family Vineyards – “B” Field Blend Pinot Noir 2020
Made in an old-world style from French Burgundy clones, this wine exhibits great minerality, soft cherry notes, and a warm acid balance. Aged in French oak for 11 months. Excellent value. Great with tenderloin, roast turkey, or grilled salmon.
Meyer Family Vineyards is a boutique family-run winery located in the Okanagan Falls. JAK Meyer and Janice Stevens-Meyer focus on growing small premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with each wine reflecting the vineyard of its origin, soil, meso-climate, the aspect, and the people who hand tend the vines.
2. Mayhem Wines – Merlot /Cabernet Franc 2020
Picked from Anarchist Mountain, in Osoyoos, with mostly Merlot grapes (often around 75/25%) to Cabernet Franc. I really enjoyed the blackberry, spices, and chocolate on the nose, with a simple but elegant finish. A good value wine.
Mayhem Wines, located in the Okanagan Falls, is run by Terry Meyer Stone along with her brother JAK Meyer and their spouses, Andrew Stone and Janice Stevens-Meyer. Over the last decade, both Terry and JAK crisscrossed their wine businesses. After realizing they were becoming each other’s competition with their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir the seed was planted to launch a new brand, Mayhem Wines.
3. Roche – “Tradition” Chardonnay 2019
The grapes are usually sourced from just one location, which is Falcons View Vineyard, just North of Oliver, BC. With malolactic fermentation, plus lees (fermentation) aging, there is a creaminess on the palate and great length from French oak barrel aging. Very pleasant acid balance makes this a great food wine, and I would suggest BBQ chicken, grilled salmon, or roasted vegetables to pair.
Winemakers and vignerons Pénélope and Dylan Roche brought their hands-on sustainable farming practices to Naramata Bench in 2011. With roots from Bordeaux and Burgundy, they have always worked with small lots and direct contact with the vineyard to grow exceptional wines.
4. Roche – Nuances 2019
Nuance is a red Bordeaux blend, with Merlot as the prominent grape. Grapes come from Naramata and Oliver, BC. With both dark and red berry notes, this is a great choice to cellar for a few years but is certainly drinkable now. I really enjoyed how this opened up in the glass and would suggest pairings such as duck, steak, or a Sunday roast beef. Would also pair well with roasted vegetables or sauteed portobello mushrooms. Try this wine in our Adventurer all red and mixed, 2 and 4 packs!
5. Daydreamer Wines – “Amelia” 2020
This red wine contains the white grape Viognier, in addition to Syrah. Usually, the blend is around 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier. The addition of the Viognier gives floral notes to the wine and is a practice often used in France when making the famous Cote-Rotie. Aromas of violet, peppercorns, and blackberries are prevalent but exits with some lovely savoury notes pushing through.
Rachel and Marcus Ansems make limited production wines in the Naramata Bench. Focusing on making fine wine, their grapes are vegan friendly and grown without systemic fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides with small-batch processing and a sustainable approach.
With a handful of amazing new wines to try this Spring, all the more reason to indulge in your favorite wine occasions! Plus as the weather begins to warm up, picnics, BBQs and beach days with great company is a great excuse to open a new bottle of wine – or two!
Allen Ingram is the founder of myWinegenie Applications Ltd. and pairedclub.com and is a professional chef, as well as a Sommelier. His passion for the world’s best wine and food pairings has taken him all over the world for business and pleasure.