Finally wrapping up the Okanagan trip report with a terrific seated tasting @exnihilowines!

Up the road to Ex Nihilo for our last winery visit of the trip. We have been here several times, and are always treated well and often find some real gems. Would this be another great visit? You bet!

Our seated tasting features 8 wines, which becomes 9 after we ask for a sample of the rosé as well.

And to finish off the tasting, a little Icewine. I love me some Icewine, when it’s done right, and this is done right.

That’s it for today! FINALLY that wraps up our Okanagan trip, but it does not finish off our BC winery visits for 2021. Next up: The last BC winery we visited this year, a late-summer visit to one of our favorite wineries in the Fraser Valley: Glass House Estate Winery! Stay tuned!

The penultimate entry in my Okanagan trip report takes us to a lovely tasting @PeakCellars!

We arrive at O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars and are promptly seated at our table outside, with a lovely view of the mountains and vineyards. We haven’t been here in a couple years…in fact on our last visit, this was still called “The Chase”. Apparently C.C. Jentsch didn’t love that name (given that their signature Bordeaux-style blend was named “The Chase”), so they changed it to “O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars”, and are in the process of dropping the “O’Rourke” so it will just be known as “Peak Cellars” going forward.

Speaking of C.C. Jentsch, I was very sad to hear of the untimely passing of founder Chris Jentsch. His widow has decided not to go forward with the wine business, so this brand will be extinct in the near future. Very unfortunate.

Anyway, back to our tasting at Peak. They present us with a gorgeous charcuterie board that we had pre-ordered, and our guide, Tanner, starts to bring us some wine and he notices I am taking notes. When I tell him about my blog, his eyes light up. THIS is the best part about writing a blog; you can almost instantly tell when someone is passionate about wine and their brand. They LOVE it when they find fellow wine geeks, and, usually, the tasting gets bigger. This one got a LOT bigger.

Shoutout to Tanner, who was a fantastic representative for the brand. Now let’s see how the wine stood up!

And they saved the best for last…..

As you can see from the scores, all the wine ranged from good to very good. They still have a bit of work to do to get to a place where everything is reliably excellent year after year, but I believe they will get there.

That’s it for today! Next up, one more entry in the Okanagan report, as we have another seated tasting, this time at Ex Nihilo! Stay tuned!

Day 4 of our Okanagan trip begins with a fabulous lunch and some wine in Lake Country, @graymonkwinery!

This is our fifth or sixth time eating at the Lookout Restaurant (although it has undergone some name changes), and we have never had a bad meal. Never.

Well, OK, one time I mistook “Steelhead” for “Sablefish”, and ordered the trout. I hate trout. So I had ONE bad meal here, but that was an idiot with the wrong order, not the restaurant’s fault.

This trip I had a delicious lobster roll, but the star of the show was the Onion Soup that came with it! Just spectacular.

My wife ordered a salad and sandwich combo. I honestly can’t remember what kind of sandwich it was (might have been a BLT?), but she very much enjoyed everything.

Since we didn’t have a ton of time between this lunch and our next appointment, we decided to taste some of their wines during lunch, through a couple of flights. We had an interesting experience this time around: Many of the wines we have loved in the past (the sweeter ones) were slightly underwhelming in comparison to past vintages, while the ones we have not been so impressed with in previous vintages (the drier ones) were better than we expected. Here they are!

That’s it for today! Next up: A seated tasting with a simply fantastic guide at O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars! Stay tuned!

Five unusual wines from France, reviewed on vlog and blog!

ICYMI, I posted a vlog recently where I reviewed five “off-the-beaten-path” wines from France. You can check it out here. Below are full reviews of the five wines, many of which I will endeavor to find again.

That’s it for today! Next up: The Okanagan trip report continues as we start Day 4 with a beautiful lunch and tasting at Gray Monk! Stay tuned!

We finish off day 3 of the Okanagan trip with our second visit @KitschWines!

It has been a few years since we first laid eyes on this spectacular property, and we had every intention of going back, but just never found a way to get there….until this year!

They had a ton of stuff for us to try, so let’s get right to the wine!

So there you have it, lots of great stuff from them as I expected! We will certainly be back, and hopefully it’s not several years in between visits this time!

Next up: A short interruption to the Okanagan trip report as I review the five wines from a recent video. After that, we are up to Lake Country for a spectacular lunch and tastings at several wineries. Stay tuned!

Okanagan trip report continues as we have a picnic lunch @paintedrockwine !

You know, the wife and I were talking just last night about how many really great wineries there are in the Okanagan, and how many of them consistently produce wines that I give good scores to over and over again. It occurred to us that although many wineries produce a lot of good wines and occasionally some great ones, Painted Rock might be the only one (or one of very few) that consistently produces GREAT wines. I was trying to think of the last Painted Rock wine to which I gave a score of less than 90 points and I honestly can’t think of one. I would probably have to go back years, and not sure I would even find one then.

Are they the “BEST” winery in the Okanagan? That’s a pretty subjective thing, but depending on the criteria, they’d have to be pretty close to the top of the list, in this writer’s opinion.

We arrive at Painted Rock and are promptly greeted and seated at a table outside overlooking their spectacular view.

The author’s beautiful wife, and a beautiful view from our table!

Owner and Proprietor John Skinner happens to be there today and he shows us just how close the wildfires of 2020 came to their property, taking us out to about where my wife is standing in this picture and pointing up to the hills just behind the winery. It’s a breathtaking sight, as the fires came so close to engulfing this entire area. Let’s hope they never get that close again.

Our picnic food is delivered, and let me tell you the same thing I told you when we did this last year, these are some of the best sandwiches I have EVER had. Painted Rock doesn’t make them themselves, of course, but it’s just another hallmark of quality: if you are going to bring in food to give to your guests while they enjoy your wines and the view, make it the best you can find. Their picnic food comes from The Bench Market, and it’s so good I am going to make it a point to visit them the next time I am in Penticton.

To the wine!

So there we have it, another spectacular visit to Painted Rock. If you aren’t familiar with this winery, make it a point to check them out on your next Okanagan wine trip. You won’t be disappointed!

Next up: A short interruption in the Okanagan trip report to give you reviews of some wine I’ve talked about in a recent video, and the next stop on the Okanagan trip report takes us to our first spot in Kelowna, Kitsch wines! Stay tuned!

Day 3 of the Okanagan trip begins at a little winery who should be much, much bigger, Vin Amité!

We discovered this winery about 4 years ago and they immediately made us feel like family. The owners, the Coulombe family, could not be friendlier. Ray and Wendy Coulombe are the founders, and they brought their daughters Catherine and Nathalie into the fold. Nathalie is an artist who’s paintings you will see hanging in the tasting shop. Catherine is, well, basically everything……owner, Manager and Winemaker. I would imagine she finds time to sleep 15 minutes a day or so.

Catherine has been our contact there since we first encountered this little gem of a winery (we had never heard of them until one of our servers at Black Hills insisted we check them out, and we are sure glad we did), and it would be difficult to explain how fantastic she is. Yeah, she knows I write a wine blog and there are times that I feel like I might be getting special treatment because of that, but not in this case. She was just as wonderful on our very first visit as on our visit this year (and all visits in between), and she did not know about the blog at that point. She is just a fantastic ambassador for her product.

All of this wouldn’t mean a whole lot if the wines were lousy, let’s face it…..but they certainly are not. Let’s get to it!

We also got to taste a barrel sample of the 7-year Ouest that will be released tomorrow. It was delicious! Looking forward to trying it when it’s officially released next year.

That’s it for today! Another wonderful experience at this winery as always!

Next up: As we transition from Osoyoos to West Kelowna, it’s time for a picnic on the patio at Painted Rock! Stay tuned!

Quick interruption of the Okanagan trip to pass along the full reviews of the wine I reviewed in my latest vlog, from @blastedchurch!

If you missed my latest vlog where I taste through all six of these big reds, you can see it here. There is context into my relationship with this winery, and how I got these wines, that you can only get from the video.

To the wine!

That’s it for today! Next up, the Okanagan trip report continues at Vin Amité!

Okanagan trip report continues as we travel about 100 yards next door, for our first visit to @french_door !

Right next door to Le Vieux Pin lives French Door Estate Winery. This used to be Montkairn Winery, one which we never visited (and never heard good things about). French Door’s winemaker is Pascal Madevon, one of the most famous Okanagan winemakers. In addition to making these wines, he consults for (seemingly) just about every other winery out there!

Winemaker Pascal Madevon

They had only four wines for us to taste, so let’s get to it!

Judging by the fact that the Heritage was by far the best wine we got to taste, I feel like we didn’t get to taste their best stuff. Not to mention, I’ve heard great things about their Rosé, which was already sold out by the time we got there.

One more point, we were told they were dog-friendly, and they were, but only on a small part of their patio. They wouldn’t allow us to sit on the more comfortable furniture on the grass, we were restricted to a covered-yet-concrete area which wouldn’t have been spectacular for the dog if the weather was really hot. Other than that, the service was very good.

This concludes Day 2 of the trip. Up next! An early morning visit to Vin Amité! Stay tuned!

Okanagan trip report continues to move along and this time we are at another “must-do” winery in the region, @LeVieuxPin!!

Ho-hum, another Okanagan trip, another fantastic visit to Le Vieux Pin. Alex Russo, their wine club concierge, is the best of the best, and he takes incredible care of us each time we visit….even though we are not actually club members anymore! He just celebrated his 10th Anniversary at the winery, and that is really saying something as turnover is generally very high at Okanagan wineries.

To the wine!

And, as a little bonus review, here is one of their wines that we enjoyed recently and have not yet reviewed:

That’s it for today! Next up: The Okanagan trip continues right next door with our first visit to French Door!

Also, a special tasting of six big reds from Blasted Church will be posted soon. The video should be up tomorrow and the blog post with full reviews will follow. Stay tuned!