On one of my sojourns up to the Okanagan this summer, I was able to visit Hester Creek for the first time. Truth be told, I am a bit embarrased that it look me this long. Although, I feel it was the perfect visit and my timing could not have been any better.
What British Columbian wine drinker hasn’t heard of Hester Creek Estate Winery?
The sun was shining as I set off on my drive down to Oliver, B.C. to Hester Creek Winery located on the Golden Mile Bench – British Columbia’s first sub-geographical indication “sub-GI” (or sub-region). I was met at the door by the charming Roger Gillespie who is the Director of Hospitality. He took me into an inviting open kitchen space used for cooking classes. Gillespie was prepping for their first socially distanced class that was to run that evening – the first since February.
Winemaker Mark Hopley introduced himself and together, we went out to see the vineyards. Established in 1968, Hester Creek’s vineyard is one of the oldest in the Okanagan Valley, with some original vines that date back that far:
After the estate vineyard tour, it was on to the winery where Hopley introduced me to Assistant Winemaker, Rebecca Ruggeri, who has been instrumental with their updated Chardonnay program.
Hester Creek Estate crafts an impressive array of wine to suit every taste and palate. Hopley and I sat in a beautiful VIP tasting lounge and we sampled many from the portfolio. Hopley is an avid fly fisherman and host of The Fly Fishing 97 Podcast. On his winemaking style, Hopley states, “I always try to find the sweet spot for a wine. I aim for elegance and for the fruit to express itself the best way it can.”
I had an excellent experience with the entire team at Hester Creek.
Highlight wines from the tasting:
- Pinot Blanc 2019 – This is one of the best value for money B.C. white wines in the market today. Stone fruit flavours with a hint of citrus, this dry Pinot Blanc consistently delivers. $15.99
- Old Vines Trebbiano Block 16 2019 – From the oldest vineyard section on the Hester Creek estate, this approachable wine is loaded with notes of key lime pie and a hint of sweetness. $20.99
- Chardonnay 2019 – Whatever Mark Hopley and his team are doing with the Chardonnay, I am going to ask them to keep it up. Bright and light with a gentle winemaking touch. I was sent a bottle to score separately from my visit and I am impressed. 91 points. $21.99
- Reserve Merlot Block 2 2018 – For any and all of you Merlot lovers out there, here is a beautiful treat. Silky and tasty with whipped mocha cream notes and ripe plum. $25.99
- Reserve Cabernet Franc Block 3 – Big and bold, this layered Cabernet Franc hits all the notes. Crafted with 50 year old vines, there are flavours of vanilla wafer, crushed raspberry, pencil shavings and a whisp of pepper on the finish. $25.99
- The Judge 2017 – Another wine I was sent to sample and score, The Judge, Hester Creek’s Bordeaux blend is lush and subtle. This wine represents the best of the vineyard and it shines. 92 Points. $43.99