Moraine Winery on the Naramata Bench may be a newcomer to the Bench, but their Vineyard Manager, Pierre Levesque is far from new to the unique growing conditions in the area. The winery has 11 acres under vine and crafts its wines from 100% Estate-grown Naramata fruit.  The name Moraine refers to the glacially-formed rocky landscape that is unique to the Bench and gives wines produced there an expression of the terroir.  The vineyard sites are fondly named after their daughters, Anastasia and Sophia.  Anastasia’s Vineyard has Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Viognier and Pinot Gris and Sophia’s Vineyard is planted with 3.5 acres Pinot Noir.  Owners Oleg and Svetlana Aristarkhov appreciate the fact that truly great wine can only begin with truly great grapes. The western exposure of the vineyards permits the vines to capture every ray of sunlight from mid-morning to nightfall, and this, combined with a cooling breeze, delivers beautifully ripe and flavorful grapes. Levesque tends his vineyards with sustainability at the forefront and pays particular attention to keeping yields low and managing the canopy to ensure that all grapes have great sun exposure.  Moraine Winery contracts well-known Winemaker Jacqueline Kemp to craft their wines and is growing naturally and slowly as vines come to maturity.  Currently production is 800 carefully hand-crafted cases. Cliffhanger Red – $23.00
This blend of Gamay and Shiraz is a bright, fruit forward wine with lots of cherry, raspberry and some spicy notes.  The wine finishes smoothly with soft tannins. Try with roast duck or sausages on the BBQ.

A blend of all allowable Bordeaux varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot); this wine has aromas of black cherry, boysenberry, chocolate, cedar and leather.  On the palate there’s more dark red fruit, leather and some coffee.  Great for fall roasts and steak.

Aromas of candied lemon, orchard fruit and some pineapple.  Lots of citrus in the glass with minerality and peach notes.

Photo: Vineyard Manager (L), Pierre Levesque with Proprietor Oleg Aristarkhov.

~ Cassandra Anderton