If you’re unfamiliar with the glorious wines of Seven Stones, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted. This is one relationship you’ll never regret.

Winemaker George Hanson has a knack for producing wines that are true expressions of their varietals and the hot, dry summers of the Similkameen Valley. Almost everything he bottles has won accolades and medals from wine critics everywhere.

On a hot day, you can’t beat a glass of the crisp 2011 Pinot Rosé beneath the shade of his new gazebo high above the Similkameen River. Made in the restrained style of a traditional Provençal rosé, this patio sipper oozes strawberries with a hint of citrus and ends satisfyingly with a long, dry finish.

The gazebo sits atop a new 3,000-square-foot underground cave of structural steel and 1.5 million pounds of concrete. With a constant temperature of 14.5°C, it is perfect for wine storage and aging. There is even a dining facility where you’ll soon be able to enjoy special winemaker dinners.

Like a secure vault for precious objects, the cave holds the real glories of Hanson’s winemaking — his big reds. These range from an elegant Pinot Noir to The Legend, a rich and rewarding Bordeaux blend. Smack-dab in the middle sits the 2008 Meritage, a bold, juicy mix of raspberries and chocolate.

Hanson’s reds typically have the backbone to age for years, but there’s no way you’ll be able to wait that long.

~ Barry Potyondi