If you have had the opportunity to stroll near the cliffsides up on the Naramata Bench, you will appreciate how picturesque, and sometimes how blustery, the place is. If you have not, do try to make it part of your next Okanagan excursion. A fairly new member of the winemaking club there is called Howling Bluff, and their wines were steady performers right out of the gate. Owner/proprietor Luke Smith is justifiably happy with the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon ($20). It is unctuous, a full mouth feel, balanced with great acidity. The Sémillon in particular adds a grace note of crisp apple, while the sauvignon blanc shows citrus and even pineapple. Perfect for watching Duncan Keith try to keep up with the swashbuckling Victor Hedman, or for exploring the latest Owen Pallett CD.
The winery’s first effort at Rosé ($25), from the same vineyard all their award winning pinot noir comes from, the Summa Quies vineyard, is all pinot noir fruit, done the traditional French saigneé method (in which the skins are kept in minimal contact with the juice, and the colour of the wine slowly seeps in). It requires chilling, though not to icebox levels, so you can still detect some of the delicate strawberry notes on the nose, accompanied by a lengthy full palate. It can be enjoyed with those B.C. spot prawns you were able to find, or a nice delicate goat cheese bruschetta. Then, as you open the second bottle, settle in to the latest novel from Joyce Carol Oates, if you dare.