Serendipity continues to play a large role in Judy Kingston’s Naramata winery. Just before the 2011 harvest an accident put Winemaker Jason Parkes’s leg in a cast. Even though Jason should have been recovering, he came in every painful day of crush. Jason’s injury forced them to be more organized than normal, which turned into a serendipitous blessing.
“It was one of the smoothest crushes I’ve ever had,” he says. “Basically it was just me and Judy, who had to take a much bigger role in the cellar. But everything was very well planned and it went off perfectly. So my 12th crush turned out to one of my favourites.”
The crush capped a banner year for Judy, who opened her winery to the public in June.
“This is a very small winery, so visitors really get a sense of who we are,” she says. “It was a really fun year, getting to know clients and letting them taste our wines. People really like our casual shop and the family feeling.” The family includes Judy’s daughter, Katie, who is working for the winter after three summers in the vineyard and lab while she was earning her Bachelor of Science degree.
Jason and Judy decided to make the best wine they could, without any limitations. This approach for Serendipity is already paying
dividends. Serendipity wines have earned 10 medals in 4 competitions, including a Double Gold for Serenata, a red Bordeaux blend, at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
John Schreiner certainly agrees that Serendipity is off to a great start. In his popular blog at johnschreiner.blogsopt.com, BC’s most prolific wine writer rated all of five new Serendipity wines at 90 points or more:
Serendipity White Lie 2010 $18.00
The varieties in this white blend are not disclosed on the label but my guess is that the wine is anchored with Viognier. Crisp and tangy, the wine begins with aromas of pear and pineapple. On the palate, there are flavours of green apples, green melon and apricot. The spine of minerality in the backbone is what makes me think there is Viognier here. 90.
Serendipity Private Reserve Estate Cabernet Franc 2009 $50.00
Dark in colour, this wine begins with aromas of figs, plums and vanilla. It delivers layers of flavour – black currants, black cherry, coffee, chocolate and licorice. The structure is still firm, suggesting the wine has even more to give with several years of cellaring. 90-92.
Serendipity Private Reserve Estate Merlot 2009 $50.00
This wine begins with aromas of blueberry and boysenberry and goes on to deliver bold, ripe flavours of black currants, blackberries and figs. The wine combines both power and elegance. 90-92.
Serendipity Private Reserve Estate Syrah 2009 $50.00
Only 40 cases of this Syrah were produced. Once again, this confirms the house style of Serendipity reds – big and bold. This wine has aromas and flavours of plum, black cherry, cola and vanilla, with a hint of chocolate and spice on the finish. The tannins are long and ripe, giving the wine a muscular texture. 90.
Serendipity Private Reserve Serenata 2009 $50.00
This is the winery’s flagship Bordeaux blend, a complex wine with aromas of vanilla, plum and fig and with flavours of plum, figs and chocolate. The structure of this wine suggests it is a keeper with plenty of upside. 91-93.
Three of those wines—the Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc—were initially available only to Serendipity Wine Club members, but don’t let that scare you off. Becoming a Wine Club member is as easy as signing up on-line for the winery’s newsletter.
- Tier 1 members get the monthly newsletter and access to the advance purchase of limited edition wines.
- Tier 2 includes two shipments of six bottles of the Winemaker’s choice. Spring and late summer deliveries are sure to be a welcome experience. An invitation to a barrel tasting and summer barbecue event is included.
- Tier 3 get three shipments of wine, the barrel tasting and barbecue invitation and a couple of other perks designed to create a close connection between winery and member, who gets the option to come and spend a day learning about the intimate art of grape growing, and have a row named after you for a year.
As well, you can visit the vineyard and learn how to prune, pick your grapes or participate in whatever the vines in your row are needing at the time of your visit.
Jason ended the conversation with a provocative invitation to watch for the release of a RoseÌÂ. “It’s not made from your conventional grape variety,” he teased. It will be interesting to see if anyone can guess the grape varieties.
~ Lorne Eckersley