Walk-In Wineries: New and Old Favourites

Welcome back! I hate to say it, but we are past the Extravaganzas! For now...in the meantime, I welcome you back for another edition of Walk-In Wineries! I visited both of these wineries a while back, but I needed to get through both of my extravaganzas before I could focus on these ones. This time around I visit a new winery that quickly became a favourite, and an old winery that remains a favourite! No special guests today, just me and my notebook. 

Winery #1: Ancient Hill

First up is the new winery that quickly became a new favourite of mine. This winery is located right behind the Kelowna airport and has been around since the early 1990s. The first vineyards were planted in 2005 and the first vintage was released in 2009. For being such a young winery, they certainly know what they do well. Ancient Hill grows only 6 different grape varietals and I was lucky enough to get to try all 6 of them!

1. 2018 Pinot Gris

This Pinot Gris was nice and light, very crisp and refreshing. It has a mouth-watering acidity to it and in the palate, it had nice citrus and stone fruit. For a Pinot Gris this had quite a nice weight to it, I often find I just get lost in Pinot Gris because of how light it is, but not in this case! This Pinot Gris is very unique and even had a bit of spiciness in the finish, making this a version that would actually pair quite well with some lighter food.

2. 2017 Gewurztraminer

Oh I just love a good Gewurztraminer and let me tell you, this is one of the best I've found in the Valley so far. This was absolutely stunning on the nose, with the lychee really jumping out at me! In the mouth it's just flowers and spice and everything nice. Literally in my notes I wrote "this is just lovely" and I don't think I could put it any better myself! This would be excellent with any kind of Thai or Asian food to compliment the spices.

3. 2019 Rose

This Rose is a blend of Zweigelt, Gewurztraminer and Baco Noir. Immediately I was interested because how often do you find that kind of a combination?? This Rose had such a dark pink colour to it. On the nose I got lots of cranberry and raspberry and the same actually for in the mouth! I would almost go so far as to classify this as a full-bodied Rose, it had that much weight to it! This was very fruit-forward and if you're a fan of Rose I recommend trying this one.

4. 2019 Lazerus

This wine is 100% Lemberger and if you've never heard of that grape, you're not alone! I had also never heard of the grape! Have you ever heard of Blaufrankisch? Because they're actually the same grape! It's a German red grape that produces some extremely rich and tannic wine. The Lazerus was lightly oaked with staves and I found it a lot more spicy than fruity (a common characteristic of Lemberger). There was some very nice dark cherry in there and despite what is common in this grape, I found there to be hardly any tannins at all in this wine! It was so interesting having this massive, full-bodied wine and having hardly any tannins at all!

5. 2017 Pinot Noir

This is actually the only wine at Ancient Hill to be aged in French oak. This Pinot Noir was beautiful on the nose, full of ripe red cherry and raspberry. I actually found it to be surprisingly spicy on the palate but I quite liked it! They say this is for the Pinot Noir lover and I must agree! It's unique for a Pinot but still lovely. Definitely a food pairing wine! You could put this with some nice roast duck or lamb for sure, it would definitely stand up to them.

6. 2017 Baco Noir

We finish up the tasting with the flagship wine, Baco Noir! Another very interesting grape to grow! They are only one of two wineries in the Valley that make a single varietal Baco Noir, the other being Summerhill. This was aged predominantly in American oak and was stunning on the nose, full of jammy black fruits. In the mouth I found once again a giant full-bodied wine with hardly any tanning, I'm obsessed with it! It was so lovely and full of life in my mouth and I enjoyed every sip of it!

If you couldn't tell, I loved my experience at Ancient Hill. They make some incredibly unique and flavourful wine and I didn't find one I didn't like. If you ever pay them a visit, make sure you pop out to see their patio because it feels like you're stepping out into a fairy garden! I love it so much and I may or may not have returned a couple times already to sip on a glass of the Gewurztraminer on the patio.

Winery #2: Rollingdale Winery

We just discussed a new favourite winery, and now we're going to talk about an old favourite of mine! Rollingdale made an impression on me last summer when my family and I were there for a tasting and halfway through, the guy doing our tasting poured us one of the clearest wines I've ever seen, calling it their special white wine blend. It turned out that it was straight-up water but of course we didn't want to say that, in case it really was wine! It took us a few minutes and when he came back and asked us how we liked it there was definitely a large pause before he broke and admitted that it was, in fact, water. 

Rollingdale is one of the first certified organic wineries in West Kelowna and they're actually known for having a slightly later harvest than anyone else because their vineyards are located in a frost pocket. 

1. 2020 Pinot Blanc

This is a bit of a sweeter Pinot Blanc than I'm used to, but the high acidity of the wine actually balances it very well. My taster described it as a "water bottle wine" because the colour of it is light enough that it can pass as water! The flavours in this Pinot Blanc were actually more on the tropical side, making for a more interesting version of this wine.

2. 2020 Riesling

This Riesling had just been released about a week before I did my tasting so it was their latest release! This is a nice off-dry Riesling with again a high acidity that balances out the sweetness very nicely. In the palate I got some lemon and lime, with a bit of apricot in there as well. All in all, a nice easy drinking Riesling!

3. 2020 Pinot Gris

This wine smells and tastes exactly like apple juice. That's all I have to say about it, it's just apple juice with alcohol in it, I'm convinced! There's no way this is a Pinot Gris! Then again, having it just be pure apple notes is a classic characteristic of Pinot Gris...ok fine, this is definitely wine but it sure doesn't taste like it! For my people out there who struggle to drink wine because it tastes like alcohol, this is the wine for you!

4. 2019 Gewurztraminer

On the nose this one was way more floral than spicy, but it was the opposite in the mouth! I got a lot of that classic spiciness from the Gewurztraminer, but it still had the nice floral characteristics as well. This one was a bit on the sweet side for me, I prefer my Gewurzt to be a bit more dry, but again if you're just starting out to have wine I highly recommend this one for you!

5. 2020 Chardonnay

This wine is actually nicknamed "Chardon-not" because it's unoaked and actually on the sweet side! There was so much tropical fruit in there that it made me feel like I should be on the beach. It had fruits like guava and papaya and even pineapple and my brain was struggling to remember that it really was a Chardonnay! Chardonnay haters out there, give this one a try!

6. 2019 Rose

This was their first Rose that they made and it was a blend of Gewurztraminer and Marechal Foch. Once again, a blend you don't often see! This one almost had a red-wine feel to it, it was nice and full-bodied and was just full of cranberry and raspberry. I won't go on too much about how much I loved this Rose because unfortunately it is sold out now, but I'm glad I got to try it!

7. 2020 Rose

This years Rose was also a blend of Gewurztraminer and Marechal Foch, but wow was it ever different! Whereas the 2019 had a nice almost Ruby colour to it, this one was actually closer to purple! This Rose is floral and spicy and contains just a faceful of strawberries waiting for you. An easy-drinking Rose and hopefully this one lasts long because I quite enjoyed it!

8. 2017 Pinot Noir

Ah and we've arrived to what I like to call the candle-worthy wine! This lovely Pinot Noir was oaked for a year and is beautiful on the nose. It's a very silky, medium-bodied wine with juicy red fruit and even some more complex, forest floor notes which I always love in a Pinot. This is a wine you can have either on it's own or paired with a nice meal!

9. 2016 Fort

Don't we just love the creativity that comes with not being allowed to use the name Port? This Port-style wine got it's name from the fact that it's made predominantly from Marachel Foch with some distilled Sauvignon Blanc. Foch + Port = Fort! This wine smells and tastes like chocolate-covered espresso beans, so naturally I loved it!

10. 2018 Late Harvest Viognier

Finishing off with my favourite of the whole tasting, the Late Harvest Viognier! Late Harvest wine is different from Icewine because it comes off the vines earlier and instead of a syrupy quality, it's more of just a thicker wine. If you avoid Icewine because it tastes like syrup, try a Late Harvest! My first note for this wine was "Ugh this is so good" and I mean it!! It takes everything about Viognier that I love and just enhances it! The florality, the stone fruit, the full-bodied mouthfeel. It's everything I ever want and I absolutely bought a bottle of it and it is no longer with me.

Rollingdale is a great winery kind of tucked away in its little pocket in West Kelowna and is a must visit for anyone planning a wine day on the Westside Wine Trail! And don't be tricked by the water wine, they still do that!! 

Well there you have it folks, a new favourite and an old favourite, both of them impressing me one wine at a time! Make sure both of these wineries are on your list of places to stop at on your next trip to Kelowna!

Next time on Wining My Way, I head down to Oliver to visit a very unique winery that is somehow also a farm? You'll have to tune in to see what I mean!

Whine of the day: Why can't all wineries have a patio where you can purchase a glass of wine and relax?


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