Walk-In Wineries: The Sequel

 Welcome back to another round of Walk-In Wineries! Today we focus on two different wineries in two separate locations; one in Lake Country and one in West Kelowna. Let's get right to it!

Winery #1: Gray Monk Estate Winery

Gray Monk was first established back in 1972 and is located up in the beautiful Lake Country. They actually have one of my favourite views from their restaurant The Lookout. My family and I ate there last summer and the entire time there was this family of deer playing in the vineyards below us! The name "Gray Monk" actually comes from the grape they first planted and the one they're most famous for: Pinot Gris! The owners come from Austria and the Pinot Gris grape is called "Grauer Monch" and thus Gray Monk came into existence! 

1. 2019 Estate Pinot Gris

Gray Monk was actually the first grower of Pinot Gris in the valley and they have most definitely perfected the art of the Pinot Gris! I have a soft spot in my heart for this grape, although I can absolutely see why it gets a lot of hate. Yes, it typically is a bit simpler, but sometimes you just want an easy wine to drink that you don't have to think too hard about! That being said, this Pinot Gris is NOT boring! It's extremely fruit-forward with tons of peach, pear and lemon. It is so well balanced and even a bit on the sweeter side. If you've never been a fan of Pinot Gris, I highly recommend you give this one a try before you write it off completely! 

2. 2020 Estate Rose

This is a nice Rose! It's a blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Rotberger, with Gray Monk being only one of two wineries in the Valley to actually grow Rotberger. This is a beautiful copper/salmon colour. It's an off-dry style with lots of strawberry and peach in there, as well as some melon and some floral notes as well. This is very well-balanced and is a great summer wine!

3. 2019 Pinot Auxerrois

I dare you to try and pronounce the name of this wine and get it right the first time. For those of you who have never heard of this grape before, it is a French white grape closely related to Chardonnay and it often gets blended with Pinot Blanc. This is the first time I've ever seen this grape in a single-varietal wine and so I was very excited to give it a try! It had lots of citrus, lemon and some pear. It was really well-balanced with a nice acidity! This was very light and would be a great summer wine!

4. 2019 Monk's Red Blend

This is a blend of 73% Syrah and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged separated for 8 months in predominantly French oak before being blended just before bottling! This was a surprisingly light red wine with some nice red fruits such as cherry and plum, along with notes of oak and spice. This is an easy red to drink with a burger and fries. 

5. 2017 Odyssey Cabernet Franc

This is definitely one of the most unique Cab Francs I've ever tasted, not to mention it had one of the lowest alcohol content I've ever seen in a Cab Franc! I didn't write down the exact amount, but it was around 11.2% that's for sure. It has a lower alcohol content because it was picked early due to an early fog during the harvest. The wine had a lot of red fruit in it, like plum and cherry, and it had some anise in there as well. It has a nice finish and I think it would pair well with food like grilled chicken or lamb!

6. 2017 Meritage

This is a nice red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is a full-bodied wine that was aged in French oak barrels and results in a robust wine. The flavour profile includes lots of vanilla, black currant, raspberry and blackberry. It has a beautiful mouthfeel and nice, well-balanced tannins!

Gray Monk has a special place in my heart and I always enjoy visiting them! As I mentioned previously, they have a lovely restaurant and throughout this summer they've been doing different themed dinners! In May they had a Mother's Day Brunch and a Seafood Dinner and this month they have an Early Summer Brunch and a Summer Solstice Dinner!

Winery #2: Black Swift Vineyards

Black Swift is a winery I've been wanting to go to for a while. Last summer I visited their sister winery, The Hatch, and I was looking forward to visiting this one because I pass it everyday on my way to work and it always looks so nice. The winery is named after the Black Swift bird, which only lays one egg at a time, going along with the winery's single-vineyard approach!  I got to try a couple of different wines here, from the Screaming Frenzy line as well as the Black Swift line. 

1. 2020 Screaming Frenzy Pinot Gris

This was your typical delicate Pinot Gris with not a ton on the nose except for a lot of apple and citrus. On the mouth you still get that citrus and apple, but there's also some nice melon and even some spiciness that really sticks out! It's super light because like, it's a Pinot Gris, but still would be very enjoyable on a hot summer day!

2. 2019 Black Swift Pinot Blanc

As someone who is not typically a fan of Pinot Blanc, I quite enjoyed this one! This wine is single-vineyard and was done in stainless steel and 25% of it went into French oak for 9 months. It was nice on the nose with some vanilla and apple. You can definitely taste the oak notes and even some pear and melon! 

3. 2020 Rose

This is a nice blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is nicknamed "Danger Juice" and I can see why! The colour of this Rose is a beautiful candy apple red and on the nose you get tons of strawberry, rhubarb, and no joke, pink jolly rancher. In the words of my good friend Carlie: "Danger juice is juicy!" This wine had a very short finish, but honestly that's what makes it so easy to drink.

4. 2017 Palo Solara Pinot Noir

Here we are again, back with my favourite grape! This Pinot Noir actually spent 19 months in neutral oak and it made the wine so smooth in my mouth. Once again I die for the smell of Pinot Noir, I dub this one candle worthy! This Pinot had more jammier fruits in it like cherry and fig. There's definitely some black pepper in there as well, but it balances so well with the fruitiness that I'm actually glad it's in there!

5. 2017 Frenzy Syrah

Let me preface this by saying that up until this day, everyone had been raving about the Syrah from Black Swift saying it was their best wine and that I would love it, so I had some pretty high expectations! My expectations were absolutely met. This was a beautiful Syrah. It was aged in French and American oak for 30 months and was gorgeous on the nose with notes of dark cherry and it almost felt like you were pressing your nose into a tree in the middle of the forest and taking a sniff. The whole time I was smelling this wine I felt like I was talking a walk in a damp forest. On the mouth it was full of dark fruit, with notes of chocolate and black pepper! This wine lived up to the hype and I'm so happy it did!

6. 2017 Cabernet Merlot

The final wine of this tasting was a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot. This wine was aged in predominantly French oak but with some American oak as well. On the nose there was a lot of cherry as well as some chocolate! You could easily pair this with chocolate-covered strawberries because the notes are essentially the same! This was a great way to end the tasting!

Black Swift is absolutely going to have a special place in my heart because we got to meet a Golden Retriever puppy named Henry and I fell in love with him.

That's all for Walk-In Wineries: The Sequel! Carlie was present for both of these wineries, though they were attended on different days! Next up I head back to the Naramata Bench with Tim and Linda where we visit a new winery, PLUS our very first distillery!! You won't want to miss this one!

Whine of the day: I wish more wineries had nicknames for their wines like "Danger Juice"


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