I am up in the Okanagan again this week. Monday and Tuesday evening I had the outstanding opportunity to teach at the Okanagan College in Penticton. The subject, of course, was wine but what I explored with my super-attentive students was the top 5 B.C. grown white and red varieties and how they measure up against international expressions of the same grape. I appreciated how a few members of the class worked in the B.C. wine industry and how they wanted a broader knowledge of our B.C. wines but also to learn the history and background of the individual grapes. Very cool.
I went for a drive down to Oliver to visit Stoneboat Vineyards. I was lucky enough to be the only one at the tasting room and was able to have a great tasting session with the delightful, Mark. As of last week, Stoneboat Vineyards have renamed themselves Stoneboat – Pinot House. The Martiniuk family has close to 50 acres of land along the Black Sage Bench with three separate vineyards. Stoneboat is entirely family owned and operated…Mark said that all the people who work in the tasting room are family or very close family friends. Truthfully, I felt very welcomed when I walked in.
Stoneboat does not have a restaurant on-site or a massive, corporate tasting room. I liked that they are different – there is a beautiful grand piano in the corner of the bright room that emanated a classic, homey feeling. Well done.
Tasting highlights for Stoneboat – Pinot House:
- Grand Piano Brut $26.90 – refreshing, bubbly and nicely balanced fruit make this bottle of ‘Charmat Method’ sparkling wine one to reach for this summer!
- Pinot Gris 2015 $18.90 – apricots, some tropical notes, a whiff of vanilla and banana add to this delightful Pinot Gris. 20% of the wine was fermented in old oak barrels adding some great complexity to this stand-out Pinot Gris.
- Rock Opera 2013 $24.90 – think coffee, mocha, vanilla with a whiff of minerality and excellent acidity. Rock Opera has a stunning aroma and tastes every bit as good. Made entirely of Pinotage, ( a South African cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault ) if you have an opportunity to try this wine – do not hesitate. Can be aged for 5 years but tastes amazing now. OMG.
- Verglas 2013 $54.90 – whenever I am offered a taste of botrytis effected ( noble rot ) wine – I say ‘Yes Please’. A blend of Oraniensteiner and Pinot Blanc, this luscious dessert wine is complex, balanced and beautiful. Wow.
I so enjoyed my time up in the Okanagan and loved going to one of the 273 B.C. wineries that continue to raise the bar of B.C. wine. Stoneboat – Pinot House needs to be on your wine touring agenda for this spring and summer winery tours – you will be immensely impressed.