Welcome to Tantalus Vineyards!

The moment you've all been waiting for, we've made it to the official beginning of my winery adventures! I wasn't sure if I wanted to dedicate one blog post to each winery or one blog post to each day of wineries so we're going to give it a try doing one winery per post! This may not always be the case but honestly if the wineries continue to impress like both did today, you're going to get a lot of blog posts from me in the next coming months! If you think one way would be better than the other, drop a comment and let me know your thoughts! WE BEGIN!

Winery #1: Tantalus Vineyards

First time winery for me! Grapes have been growing in the Tantalus vineyards since 1927, when it was known as Pioneer Vineyards. Today, it is one of the oldest continuously producing vineyards in British Columbia. Tantalus came highly recommended to me by some coworkers as well as friends, so I thought it would be a great way to start out my great winery adventure! There were two options for tastings, the Flagship Tasting Experience and the Small Lot Tasting Experience; and I went with the latter. The wines being tasted were as follows:

1. 2018 Blanc de Noir

This sparkling wine is made traditional method and is 100% Pinot Noir. It's very light and crisp and is actually a very pale salmon colour.  There's a lot of citrus notes, some pear and some nice honeysuckle, definitely got some of the more bready notes on the nose. I would absolutely pair this wine with some oysters or a nice summer salad with goat cheese and strawberries. 

2. 2018 Old Vines Riesling

This is a nice wine made from vines that were planted in 1978. It ages 4 months on lees and then 2 years in the bottle. This Riesling has your classic notes of petrol and has a nice acidity to it with some white blossoms and lime. There are even some notes of tropical pineapple in here, which I always love in a Riesling! This was very different than their flagship Riesling, which I will talk about in a bit! 

3. 2020 Riesling Lab

Ok this is probably the coolest wine I've ever tried, simply because of the concept! The Reisling Lab is a wine that Tantalus has been doing for 10 years, but it is different every single year! This is because every year Tantalus puts aside a certain amount of Riesling grapes for the Winemaker Interns to do with as they will! This wine has a lot of peach, apricot and honey, although it's not too sweet like those flavours might suggest. It still has the minerality you expect from a Riesling and when it gets in your mouth it tastes sweet but then it transforms in your mouth and becomes that light, easy, beautiful Riesling you're familiar with. For someone who lives in the Okanagan, this would be such an interesting wine to follow from year to year! 

4. 2018 Reserve Chardonnay

I am not typically someone who enjoys Chardonnay, but this was a very surprising wine for me! This one is 100% oaked in French oak (25% new) but it doesn't have that overpowering, buttery flavour to it that a Californian Chardonnay would have. This wine is very aromatic with lots of stone fruit and that bready, sourdough smell with even some floral notes. This wine is absolutely meant to age and can be cellared up to 10 years. 

5. 2018 Reserve Pinot Noir

The final wine on the was also my favourite! I am a Pinot Noir fiend so I was really looking forward to this wine! There was a lot of that rich, dark fruit in this like black cherry and blueberry and some more floral notes of violet. Even though this wine was oaked it was very subtle and smooth, the tannins weren't overpowering at all and it had a very well-rounded mouthfeel! While the most expensive of the wines I tried, it was absolutely worth the price. 

So something else that really made this winery a special experience for me was that I got to try some extra wines from the Flagship Tasting! The following wines were the extra ones I got to try:

1. 2020 Rose

This was such a nice Rose! A true summer wine full of strawberries, watermelon, raspberries and tons of floral notes. The Rose is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with the salmon colour coming from the contact with the Pinot Meunier skins, there is actually no contact with the Pinot Noir skins! It has a gorgeous, creamy mouthfeel and I would pair this with a summer salad or even just a nice day on the patio! 

2. 2020 Riesling

This is Tantalus's Flagship Riesling and was one of my favourite wines I tasted! It was incredibly aromatic, with lots of peach, nectarine, white blossom and even some citrus notes on more of the orange/mandarin side! It had a nice, high acidity but was very well balanced so that it didn't overwhelm any of the other qualities of the wine. 

3. 2018 Chardonnay

This was again a very nice Chardonnay for a non-Chardonnay drinker! It was aged for 14 months in French oak (30% new) and had a very nice aroma to it. The spice jumped out at me first with a lot of clove, but then the fruit really stuck out with a lot of grapefruit and lemon curd. This was a very creamy Chardonnay and I would probably pair this wine with a heavier white fish, like tilapia, in a lemon garlic sauce.

4. 2018 Pinot Noir

The final wine from Tantalus that I tried was the Flagship Pinot Noir! This wine was aged in French oak (25%) new and was almost as good as the Reserve Pinot Noir! It was actually super cool to try both of these next to each other (otherwise known as a horizontal tasting). There was a ton of black fruit with a hint of anise on the nose. This is one of those wines that I could just smell forever.

Then, because Tantalus is so great, the tasting ended with a chocolate bonbon! A local shop called Karat Chocolate, collaborated with Tantalus and created a bonbon with dark chocolate and honey that came from the beehives directly on Tantalus! This was such cute, fun way to end a wonderful wine tasting. 

And there you have it! As you can see, my first tasting was a huge success! The man in charge of my tasting, Michael, was absolutely fantastic. He was super personable and knew a lot about the wines and never ran out of anything to talk about. If you decide to make a trip to Tantalus, make sure you ask for Michael! I also visited another winery on this day, but both tastings were so phenomenal that I couldn't make myself shorten the information on either! So expect another post either later today or sometime tomorrow! Next stop after Kelowna...the Similkameen Valley!! As always, if you have any comments or recommendations, you know what to do!

Whine of the day: Why can't more wine tastings end with a chocolate bonbon?


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