Like Napa Valley, Loire Valley, and Tuscany, the Okanagan Valley is no less and one of the most beautiful places Canada has to offer. Frankly, I can't think of a better place to be around here during summer time. Dry climate, picturesque scenery, and abundant in vineyards and orchards. The fresh fruits from the Okanagan are some of the sweetest and best tasting you'll ever find. I recently made my second trip this past May Long weekend and hope to come back for some fresh peaches and cherries.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro
Located in Naramata, Hillside Estate Bistro was our first stop for lunch. After wine tasting, we weren't as impressed by the wine as much as their tasty rustic dishes made with fresh ingredients. There, we enjoyed a very complete meal along with attentive, friendly service. See the menu here.
I knew my sister's passion for wine runs deep, but I had no idea it was developing into an obsession until she took us on a getaway trip to the Okanagan last weekend. Each typical day involved grandmother and I passing out in the car by mid day, and most often me begging my sister, "No more for today...I can't go on" and "Granny...Make her stop...." Average humans simply can't keep up with her pace. Regardless of the overwhelming experience, we got to taste some of the most amazing wine this land had to offer along with the most beautiful, picturesque scenery reminiscent of eastern Europe. I'm definitely no wine expert but I could confidently say that I've tasted some of the best wine that came out of BC (some better than Napa). I mean, you don't really need to be too knowledgable to know the difference between good and bad wine. For me, they have to include these characteristics; scent (fruity or floral aroma for white wine), body, level of sweetness, and a smooth finish. We came across so many of the good ones that we ended up with 3 full cases by the end of the trip. So if you are not familiar with BC wine already, I definitely recommend exploring the Okanagan and see for yourself what they have to offer. I suppose we will make another trip down in the summer once the fruits are ready for harvest at the orchards. Last year, I tasted the sweetest nectarines, peaches and apricots from the Okanagan and I'm still yearning for more.
3 days, 26 vineyards, 35 bottles of wine later....
Vineyards we visited:
-Dirty Laundry (love)
-Sleeping Giant (love)
-Thornhaven Estates (love)
-Black Widow Winery
-Hillside Estate Winery
-Elephant Island Orchard (love)
-Church & State (love)
-Red Rooster (love)
-Hester Creek (love)
-Forbidden Fruit (love)
-Noble Ridge vineyard (good chardonnay and meritage but not my cup of tea)
-Wild Goose vineyard (love)
-Crownest Vineyards (Taj!)
-Burrowing Owl (great chardonnay)
|Church & State|
I probably won't list all the ones we purchased, but only of the ones that really stood out. First and for most, Sleeping Giant pumpkin wine really captivated me when I heard of the name. When I tasted it, it was everything I expected and more. It tasted just like pumpkin pie; sweet yet subtle, with hints of cinnamon and ginger, definitely something more unique than the average grape wine. Now that I think back, I can't believe I didn't buy more than one bottle. Yummyyyy!!
Originally made for an east indian restaurant in Vancouver, Crownest Taj spiced wine is one of a kind wine that has developed a reputation even after the restaurant was closed down. The owner decided to keep carrying the wine as patrons from the restaurant came knocking on his door asking for more. The spiced wine, serve chilled, goes extremely well with curry and spicy food. It is not overly sweet and has a hint of cinnamon and either spices. For only $13.50/bottle, it's quite an amazing deal. I'm glad they haven't discontinued the wine yet, but the only way to have access is to drive all the way down to the winery.
Although not mentioned here, we also bought a few bottles of the red wine. I'm more of a sucker for white wine, but both my sister and I agreed that this year is the year of the white, while the red is only so-so.
Check out more information on the vineyards and map here.