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Richard Da Silva was one of the first winemakers I met in person when I knew I wanted to get serious about wine. I am trying to remember the event, but it was a walk-around tasting in a hotel ballroom.

I was hesitant – it was my first actual tasting. I brought a friend more interested in drinking wine and getting a buzz than learning. I wasn’t choosy back then.

Richard was, by far, the winemaker who stood out for me that evening. He greeted us with a warm, welcoming smile and asked what we wanted to start with. My friend and I looked at each other, and I said, ‘Whatever you suggest.” We spent fifteen minutes at the table listening to Richard’s passion for winemaking, his family’s growing history going back to the 1700s, and tasting his wines. I will never forget how comfortable he made this newbie into the wine world feel.

Fast forward to August 29th, 2019, when my family and I boarded our flight home from Paris after our year in Champagne, France. I was nervous as I could hear Muriel, one of our two Labrador dogs, barking in the cargo hold. A lovely flight attendant came over to check on us and let us know that the dogs were on the plane and all was well. She and I started to chat about wine, our time in Champagne, and what she did back home. I was talking with Twylla Da Silva, Richard’s wife – a small world and a perfectly timed connection to calm my nerves.

The Da Silva’s sent me a few wines to taste and review earlier this year. Two are available for sale, and the other is a Wine Club Exclusive, so I am focusing on the two available for anyone to purchase.

Da Silva Cabernet Franc 2020 Avila Family Vineyards, Okanagan Valley, B.C. VQA – 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from Avila Family Vineyards in Oliver, B.C. Aged for 20 months in oak barrels – 50% French / 50% American. Nicely integrated with notes of crushed raspberry, plum, clove, vanilla, and a dash of graphite. This wine is a juicy Cabernet Franc with elegant tannins and fantastic acidity. I would pair it with a ribeye steak alongside roasted red peppers on the BBQ. $48 Retail. GGG Score – 90 Points.

Da Silva Fume Blanc 2021 Naramata Bench, B.C. VQA – 100% Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel, then put in new American oak barrels for eight weeks. I love the nose on this wine! Pink grapefruit, mandarin orange, lime zest, and lemon citrus notes burst out of the glass. A seductive creaminess envelops the palate, almost like lemon meringue. Wow. This beauty is, by far, one of my favourite Sauvignon Blanc wines from British Columbia. Pair with goat cheese, roasted chicken, or grilled halibut. $32 Retail. GGG Score – 92 Points.

If you are in the Okanagan Valley, I suggest you stop into Da Silva Vineyards and Winery for a tasting. They have ‘The Kitchen’ onsite, serving Portuegese tapas with Mexican flair. The Kitchen opens for the season on May 1st.

Thank you, Twylla and Richard Da Silva.