Naramata Bench Wineries; Part One

This project was a fun one and twofold.

After all I am new to working on the Naramata Bench and I needed to try some of the wineries that I was unfamiliar with and secondly, I needed to procure some wine for a friend that had helped remove some of the flooding aftermath devastation that had occurred in the summer of 2017.

Enter in a power tasting day of 14 wineries on the Naramata Bench and a wonderful and varied selection of some must-try wines to take note of.

More to be posted as I taste my way across the Bench.



84 wines later and a well used credit card, here are the wines that I had selected:

Bench 775 2016 Chill – A delightful summer sipper, this wine is a blend of Pinot Gris, Semillon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Viognier. Pair with friends and fun.

Moraine 2017 Riesling – The wines of Moraine are crafted by a New Zealand trained winemaker names Jacqueline Kemp. The entire portfolio is amazing and in particular, I highly recommend the 2017 Riesling and the 2016 Pinot Noir. This particular vintage of Riesling was whole bunch pressed, and cold fermented preserving a racy acidity that will add to cellaring potential of this wine. Pair with a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw or a, order of anything from Sushi Genki in Penticton. (A personal wine ninja fave)

Lake Breeze 2016 Semillon – From a beautiful vista the wines of Lake Breeze do not disappoint. Semillon is a rare varietal in the Okanagan and this has previously been a great example of wine. Wine not available for tasting, purchased because of previous vintages

Van Westen Vivacious 2016 – A blend of 95% Pinot Blanc and 5% Pinot Gris, this wine is delightfully refreshing with hints of freshly cut apple and hints of lemon. Pairs best with friends by the pool

Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017 – This is a cellar must have, it is 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Semillon with a steely herbaceous-ness and lively acidity. Pairs best with halibut or snapper with a lime zest and tarragon cream sauce and a side of asparagus or green beans

Lake Breeze Winemaker Series “The Spice Jar”2016 – Extremely aromatic, this wine is a blend of 30% Gewurtraminer, 30% Ehrenfelser, 20% Schoenburger, and 20% Viognier. Slightly off-dry, this wine pairs best with spicy Thai or Asian cuisine or even curries.

Deep Roots Parentage 2016– Blend of Muscat, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer, another easy sipper for the patio.

Tightrope Viognier 2016 – This complex Viognier was a culmination of careful vineyard work and attention to detail in the cellar. A longer hang time and ageing on lees in stainless steel and partial barrel (neutral oak) gives this wine an incredible complexity with a long finish. Always a fave.

Origin “Eden” 2016 Chardonnay – One of the newest wineries to open on the Naramata Bench is owned and made by Daiya Anderson and sourced from a 8.5 acre vineyard. The wines are stunning, only matched by their view. This wine is aged 70% in French Oak with lees stirring and malo-lactic fermentation. Can be cellared up to 6 years and a perfect pairing that I have yet to make would be King Crab Mac n’Cheese with Upper Bench Gold … #glutenfree of course.

Tightrope Rose 2017 – This delicious Rose is 97% Pinot Noir and 3% Barbera that had 1-2 days of skin contact before being pressed and fermented over 30 days.

Roche “Texture”Rose 2016 – This unique Rose is made from 20 year old self-rooted 97% Zweigelt that had only 45 minutes of skin contact before being pressed, the aromatics of this wine are complemented with 3% Schoenburger that is also 20 year old self-rooted vines. Penelope is a 5th generation winemaker from Bordeaux and Dylan is a Burgundian trained winemaker who was born in North Vancouver.

Moraine 2016 Pinot Noir – Sourced from the Sophia vineyard on the Naramata Bluffs, this wine is 100% clone 777 Pinot Noir and absolutely delicious.

Roche “Tradition”2015 Pinot Noir – Certified organic grapes, Burgundian in style this handcrafted wine is 50% clone 777 and 50% clone 828 that have each been fermented separately and aged or 14 months in 2nd fill, 3rd fill, and neutral oak. Drink now to 8 years. Pair with Prime Rib, rack of lamb, duck confit, or the biggest T-Bone you can fit on your BBQ!

Serendipity Next Step 2012 – This robust bend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc has chewy tannins with tones of fruit and can further benefit with additional cellaring. Pair with hearty fare.

Marichel Lone Wolf Syrah 2015 – My most favourite Syrah, this is a home vineyard sourced co-ferment of 97% syrah and 3% Viognier, deep in colour and definitely one to stock up on. You don’t even need a pairing with this one! 

Lake Breeze Meritage 2016 – Gold medal winner, this wine is a blend of 40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Malbec. Pair with roast beef, earthy Parmesan reggiano, or a BBQ steak.

Kettle Valley 2011 Malbec – Cellar gem.  Amazing structure, this wine shines though with earthy rugged tannins and a long finish. This wine craves a prime rib with a demi-glace of reduced berries and wine finished with butter.

Howling Bluff Sin Cera 2013 – Super delicious, this wine is a bold blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. To be paired with friends and family and a hearty fare.

Nichol Vineyard 2015 Old Vines Syrah – Oldest Syrah vines planted in Canada (1993), 100% Naramata bench. The terroir is definitely glacial with granite shard, bedrock and silt. The grapes were handpicked, basket pressed and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Limited production from 17 rows, drink now to 10 years.



Published by ZWineNinja

In wine there is truth. This blog is about my own musings, from the very beginnings.... Truth. In my very first wine experience, I did not even like the smell of wine. I loved the tanks, hoses, and barrels but plugged my nose while walking around the winery. In reality, this wine ninja was all of 5 years of age and had many years to go before falling under the allure of wine. Flash forward a few years, I was culinary bound, learning about flavours, origins and the land and then discovered the concept of Wine pairings. My mind was blown :O! I needed to learn all I could, so I took a chance and applied at 3 wineries. I started at my first choice one on an entry level position, but I have never looked back. I grew with the winery, experiencing different aspects and later growing with the company in management in all aspects of retail and also in sales. Though I have done schooling for other things artistic in nature, I have always circled back to wine, the siren to my career. I have my ISG diploma, are WSET Certified and strive to learn all I can, taking my WSET Diploma with a goal in sight. This is a place where I will share my true impressions, experiences, tastings, recipes (gluten free as I am a celiac), and thoughts not of anyone else. In vino veritas, the quest for knowledge never ends.

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