So it’s no secret I love wine. And it should be no secret that some of my favourites are made right here in BC. Yes BC. We have come a long way in the wine industry. Not only are winemakers making better wine than 20 years ago, they are producing wine that really reflects the area it is grown in. That’s the point! And it helps that consumers have become more educated about wine and have better palates. In one of my wine books, it states Canada to be one of the top 5 countries in the world for consumption of wine. And with winemakers from all over the world coming to BC to open wineries and make wine, it’s no wonder we are also getting noticed and enjoyed all over the world.
So… don’t poo poo the BC wine industry. We have some real gems here.
And two of those gems are Le Vieux Pin and LaStella wineries in the South Okanagan.
Le Vieux Pin Winery – http://www.levieuxpin.ca
is located just outside of Oliver. It’s a French styled winery and tasting room and focused on varietals that do the best in the south Okanagan climate with a French style. The winemaker Severine Pinte, is a wonder. I spent a day with her in 2013 during harvest and I was so in awe of her knowledge of viticulture, managing the vineyard (with side kick Jody) while still being a Mom and wife. And she makes some great wines. Try the Syrah’s like Equinoxe – balanced beauty, Violette – fresh and vibrant fruits and acidity (which does amazingly well in the south Okanagan); the Viognier blend called Ava; they also make an amazing rosé called Vaila; plus Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Recently, I was able to try Ava in a vertical tasting (2010,2011,2012 and 2013 side by side) and all the wines at their open house, the 2012 really stood out. And, a new favourite of mine is now their Retouché – a Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah blended in, juicy yet rich. But, only available to wine club members (lucky them). They also offer olive oil from a small farm in France – very special and delicious.
LaStella Winery – http://www.lastella.ca
is located on Osoyoos Lake just outside of the town. It’s Italian style tasting room and wines are big, bold and delicious. Severine also makes this wine here. From their Cabernet Sauvignon called La Sophia – with high dirty tannins and black fruit to their Merlots, super Tuscan blends, un-oaked Chardonnay, Moscato and Pinot Grigio called Vivace – your palate will be on a virtual trip to Italy. My favourite is their un-oaked Chardonnay and their super-tuscan blend Fortissimo – rich black fruits with balance, which I recently enjoyed in a vertical tasting. Many of their reds are made to cellar, and they do so very well. They also sell pasta, olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italy – they partnered with a fine food company representing boutique, organic farms.
You can find these wines at VQA wine stores, some private stores and at the winery and on their websites. Otherwise, add these two wineries to your next wine trip through the Okanagan Valley!