Lake Country Favourites

Welcome back! I'm trying to get better at posting these a bit more frequently, but since I'm the queen of procrastination I can't make any promises. Today we head back up to Lake Country and visit two of my all-time favourite wineries, that just happen to be located across the street from each other! These were some of the first wineries I ever visited in Kelowna and I always enjoy going back.

Winery #1: Intrigue Winery

If you ever want good wine for an affordable price, Intrigue is the place for you! These wines are of incredible quality and won't break the bank. Intrigue has only been around since 2008 but they've certainly been making waves. The winery is owned and operated by two different families who came together because of a shared love of wine. The tasting was awesome, I got to try a lot of wines I hadn't gotten to before, even some wines reserved for their wine club members!

1. 2019 Chardonnay

This Chardonnay is aged 30% in new oak and 70% in stainless steel tanks. I got a lot of citrus on the nose with this one and that was reflected in the palate as well. There were notes of citrus and tropical fruits in its one and it's definitely a lighter style of Chardonnay! This is one of those Chardonnays where if you hate the big oaky versions, give this one a try! It might change your mind about Chardonnay!

2. 2020 Pinot Gris

My taster described this wine as "a hug in a bottle" and she was right! It's not boring at all, like a lot of Pinot Gris tends to be. Sure, it still has the classic green apple, but there's also a touch of peach in there as well as some grapefruit and mango. The finish on this guy is gorgeous, all of the flavours are just lingering there after you're finished. I haven't bought many Pinot Gris this summer but this is definitely one of the few that was purchased!

3. 2020 Social White

This fun white blend contains Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Kerner, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, and Ehrenfelser. This is definitely one of the wines people could classify as a patio pounder! It's so easy to drink and perfect for a hot day. There's a touch of sweetness to it and it reflects more tropical notes of peach, mango and guava. If you were having a gathering in your backyard or on your deck, this is a great wine to pass around at the start!

4. 2020 Riesling

This easy to drink Riesling is done in an off-dry style, so there's a bit of sweetness in there. This one I got that classic petrol and minerality on the nose, which is always a good sign! In the mouth it was bursting with citrus, grapefruit and green apple. Riesling is Intrigue's flagship grape and they make a couple different versions of it!

5. 2020 Focus Riesling

As previously mentioned, there are a couple of different Rieslings at Intrigue. The second one I got to try was their Focus Riesling, and this is the Winemaker's baby! This wine is a part of their Wine Club only selections so I went into this one knowing I couldn't purchase it. That being said, the first note I wrote was "I'm angry at how good it is because I can't buy it" so clearly any mental preparation I did was useless. The acidity on this Riesling is so perfectly balanced and it's just full of stone fruits and juicy green apple goodness. If you're a part of Intrigue's wine club, I'm very jealous that you get to have this wine.

6. 2018 Merlot 

I got really excited for this wine purely because you get a little piece of chocolate before you get to try it. This Merlot has a lot of red cherry and chocolate on the nose. In the mouth it's very light but it packs a punch! Definitely has some nice red fruits on the palate with some white pepper notes on the finish. This wine pairs perfectly with the chocolate they gave, it made me very happy!

7. 2020 Reserve Red Blend

Another wine that is wine club exclusive! This is a Meritage-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah. That is a LOT of grapes for one wine and this one certainly packs a punch! Beautiful, ripe black fruit fill your mouth and then some spiciness comes in around the finish. The tannins are just lovely with some firm structure but nothing too overwhelming. I'm sad that my top two wines of the tasting were Wine Club exclusive, but that's the way it goes sometimes!

8. Social Sparkling

I got to finish off with a nice, simple sparkling wine! One of my obsessions of Intrigue is their sparkling "I Do' Rose, but I'd never actually tried the Social Sparkling until now! It's a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Kerner and Ehrenfelser. This sparkling is done Frizzante style, so the bubbles just fizz up in your mouth. This wine is very refreshing and full of nice citrus, apricot, and floral notes! The perfect wine for any kind of celebration!

I have to give a special shoutout to Maureen, my taster! She was the most fun! I guess normally she's only there once a week to do a special food and wine pairing, but since everyone is so short staffed, she is actually in on Fridays too! She was so knowledgeable and just so fun to chat with during the tasting. If you're fortunate enough to have Maureen at your next Intrigue tasting, just know you're going to have a blast!

Winery #2: O'Rourke Peak Cellars

Just across the street from Intrigue is O'Rourke Peak Cellars, my other Lake Country favourite! This stunning property has not only 7 acres of vineyards, but houses an organic vegetable garden and two greenhouses which supply their restaurant. Their portfolio of wine isn't the largest, but the quality these wines is what makes them so memorable. For my tasting at O'Rourke's I chose to do the Peak Portfolio tasting, which includes a tasting a 5 wines paired with a charcuterie and cheese board. 

1. 2020 Pinot Noir Rose

This beautiful Rose has a nice peachy colour to it and smelled like strawberries and rhubarb. This was a bit drier than I was expecting, but I really liked it! It felt like my mouth was full of juicy strawberry and watermelon. Perfect for a hot day! Of the pairings from the charcuteries board, I felt this one paired best with the creamy Brie and the spicy salami! Rose is honestly one of the best wines to pair with a charcuterie board, I highly recommend you try it in the future!

2. 2019 Pinot Gris

This Pinot Gris smells lovely! It's fresh and full of green apple and apple blossom. Very pleasant in the mouth, nice and light with a brightness to it. There was even a slight herbaceousness to the palate that I quite enjoyed! This wine paired really well with the regular salami and the Pinot Noir mustard (which I WISH they sold) and also the spiced Gorgonzola! This pairing really surprised me, but that's the best part of doing these pairings!

3. 2019 Gruner Veltliner

Who here has heard of Gruner Veltliner? The only reason I know what it is is because I went to O'Rourke's last summer and tried it then! Gruner is an Austrian grape and common characteristics of it are high acidity, nice herbaceousness and a touch of spice. It also happens to be a great wine to pair with food! This Gruner almost reminds me of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with how citrusy and green the wine is. It has such a nice, bright acidity to it. This paired really well with the spicy salami, but the ultimate pairings for this wine (and my favourite pairing of the whole tasting) was this wine with the spiced Gorgonzola!

4. 2017 Chardonnay

I just loved the smell of this wine so much, it was full of cream, butter, lemon and peach. This was a very interesting Chardonnay, it was almost a little smokey! 100% was aged in French oak barrels and 20% of that was new oak, so that explains why this wine was so beautiful! It felt beautiful in the mouth, not to weighty and so soft. I have to say, the Chardonnay paired with the creamy Brie was exquisite. 

5. 2019 Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir smelled just phenomenally, full of juicy cherry and spices. I'm not sure I was ok this day because in my notes I actually wrote down "I want to cry over this Pinot Noir" but honestly that's pretty on brand for me. It was so soft in the mouth with the tannins barely being there, full of juicy berries and a touch of clove to round it out. The Pinot Noir paired with the Pinot Noir mustard was obviously my top pairing for this wine. Again, I really wish you could buy that mustard...

6. 2020 Broken Granite Gewurztraminer

Oooooh this is my top Gewurztraminer of the summer for sure. It's just so aromatic with smells of lychee and spice and everything you want to get from a Gewurztraminer. In the mouth the flavours were just dancing around with notes of ginger, lychee, pineapple, cinnamon and some beautiful floral notes as well. The finish on this wine was nice as well with everything sticking around for a couple minutes. This wine paired really well with the spicy salami!

7. 2020 Terraces Dry Riesling

This was one of the newer released for O'Rourke and one of the first wines from their new winemaker! This Riesling smells lovely, with some nice citrus notes mixed in with a slight floral smell of honeysuckle. This has a very high acidity to it, but it makes your mouth water in the best possible way. In the mouth this wine is just full of ripe green apple and grapefruit. I enjoyed this wine paired with the regular salami.

I love the view at O'Rourke Peak Cellars

Special shoutout to my taster, Josh! He was so knowledgeable about the wines and the pairings, and was sweet enough to let me try those last two wines after I'd finished the actual tasting! If you ever go to O'Rourke's make sure you request him!

Well that's it for Lake Country! Intrigue and O'Rourke were the last two wineries I needed to visit in order to complete the Lake Country wineries! I definitely ended with the best two, with two of the best tasting room hosts of the summer. Next up is another edition of Walk-In Wineries with more special guests! 

Whine of the day: I wish all wineries were right across the street from each other


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