The sun is rising on a new chapter of British Columbian wine. Around the world the connoisseurs are taking note of the distinct ‘Okanagan style of wine’ that has emerged in our valley lately. At the iconic Red Rooster Winery, just outside of Penticton, one can experience the full range and diversity of this style with either a public tasting or a pre-arranged private tasting upstairs in “The Coop”. And from May long weekend until Thanksgiving patrons will also be able to unwind afterwards at the Pecking Room Patio Grill, open noon to five daily.
Winemaker Karen Gillis has capitalized on the winery’s success which has allowed her to source her grapes from the finest growing regions of the Okanagan; be it the estate’s own vineyards in Naramata, as with the Malbec, or from the southern benches of Osoyoos, as with the Syrah. Once in the cellar the winemakers utilize a blend of both the more time-tested and orthodox methods of the old world with some less orthodox methods, such as concrete eggs, wooden vats, and a computerized system that grants the cellar hands the freedom to focus on the finer points of the cellaring process. This attention to quality allows the cellar to produce some of the best examples of the region’s unique take on its many varietals.
Consider the Riesling, a classic in its own regard with a price point that’ll allow you to buy two. As is characteristic of Okanagan Riesling, this displays a distinct aroma that’s coupled by a wine which is playful with the natural acidity and sugars of the famous German grape. Contrast this to the Merlot with its hint of light oak and just a touch of savoury, a wine which proves that this French varietal has received a bad reputation lately. Both are examples of how the world of viticulture is ‘heeding the rooster’s call’ and increasingly recognizing the “Okanagan” label as a product of distinction and quality.
pictured:(l-r) Chef Darin Paterson, estate manager Katherine Mackenzie &
winemaker Karen Gillis having fun at the winery.
2013 Red Rooster Syrah
Amongst the many wines which stand out at Red Rooster, one can’t help but take special note of the Syrah. Its royal purple hue alludes to its smooth and silky body, distinguished by notes dark chocolate before, as if it’s almost forgotten that it was a
Syrah, finishing with a light touch of pepper. Lightly cellared for 14 months, it pairs with everything from a formal meal of steak to a barbecue with friends.
~ Blake Allen