On our last day in the Okanagan, we were greeted by gloomy skies and chilly temperature. That didn’t deter from the sweeping views from the top of the valley floor, where we arrived at Tantalus Winery
for a tasting and lunch. At the winery, we were joined by Rhys Pender, Master of Wine, from the B.C. Wine Institute, who led us through a head to head blind tasting, pairing B.C. wines with those from Napa, Sonoma, Australia, and France.
During this taste-off, I really had a chance to taste the red wines of the region and get a better sense of place. More often than not, the BC wines showed the depth of character and old world charm of those from France and Italy, landing somewhere between the New World and Old Worlds. The value is on par with the comparable wines, and there are some excellent examples being produced.
Among the wines we tasted, here are my notes, and my first guess below the actual wine.
Flight 1 – Chardonnay
- Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve – Santa Barbara, California
oaky and bold, California
- Chartron et Trebuchet Pouilly Fuisee – Burgundy, France
bright citrus, minerals, France
acidic with lots of citrus, B.C.Tantaslus Chardonnay – Okanagan Valley, B.C.
- Cave de Tain Esprit de Granit Saint-Joseph – Rhone Valley, France
Oaky, with smoke and bold berry plum flavors. thinner, tannic. B.C.
- Nk’Mid Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah – Okanagan Valley, B.C. (It’s interesting to note that Nk’Mid is the first winery in North America to be owned & operated by First Nation native peoples)
Juicier, ripe plum, bold berry bright fruit. France.
- Layer Cake Shiraz – McLaren Vale, Australia
Huge, brambly and chewy. Tell take Aussie shiraz with dense spice and chocolate.
- Chateau Branaire-Ducru Saint Julien – Bordeaux, France
Funky earth, dry and bitter. France
- Mission Hill Family Estate winery Oculus – Okanagan Valley, B.C.
Bold and jammy with deep coffee notes, B.C.
- Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley, California