Walk-In Wineries: Friends Edition

Hello hello! Welcome back to another round of Walk-In Wineries! In today's edition, we have special guests for each winery, even though they were done on completely separate days. The first of two is Sandhill, where I'm joined by Carlie and Sarah and the second, Crown and Thieves, I'm joined by Chris. Two very different and unique experiences so let's get into it!

Winery #1: Sandhill Estate Winery

Sandhill is this cute winery tucked in the downtown area of Kelowna inside an industrial building. On the outside it may not look like much, but the inside is this very modern, very chique tasting lounge! Sandhill has a very unique Single Vineyard Philosophy. All of the wines in their profile are made from grapes that come from one of their six vineyards. I don't think I've ever been to a winery where ALL of their wines are single vineyard, usually it's just a couple or a particular collection and I think that's what makes me love Sandhill so much. They also have some incredibly unique varietals!

1. 2018 Viognier

Sandhill is also fun because you get to pick the wines for your tasting! First up, I obviously had to choose the Viognier. This version was definitely more on the fruity than floral on the nose. Predominantly peach but with a touch of honeysuckle in there. This wine is super easy drinking, it's beautiful! It's a nice medium-bodied texture, with tons of peaches and apricot in the mouth and a nice lingering finish. I do wish it were a bit more floral, but otherwise this is an excellent Viognier!

2. 2017 Harvest Chardonnay

Only 6 barrels were made of this lovely Chardonnay, of which 75% of it aged in French oak barrels and the other 25% in stainless steel tanks. It was a nice, pale golden lemon colour and the minute it hit my nose I was getting notes of butter and citrus. In the mouth it has a medium-bodied weight to it and it almost has a bit of spiciness to it! It still had the butter, and even some more tropical fruits in there, but the assortment of spice is what really stuck out to me.

3. 2016 Sangiovese

As soon as I saw that Sandhill had Italian varietals I knew I'd have to try one. Sangiovese is a very popular red wine in Italy and is a nice medium-light bodied wine that often has more savoury characteristics to it. Sandhill's Sangiovese spent 20 months in French oak barrels and is beautiful, yet subtle on the nose with nice red fruit, sagebrush, and some nice earthy undertones. This was light on the palate with soft tannins and a lingering finish with red cherry, pomegranate and baking spice.

Carlie, me, and Sarah. My girls <3

4. 2017 Petit Verdot

It's not often you see a single varietal Petit Verdot so whenever I see it, I want to try it! I just love how this one smells, just a ton of black fruits and spices, with some earthy mushroom notes hidden in there as well. This is a tannic wine! Not that I wasn't expecting it, because that's a common trait of Petit Verdot, but it's always a little jarring. The flavours in the wine are quite lovely with some nice jammy blackcurrant, spices and a touch of vanilla.

5. 2018 Cabernet Franc Icewine

How do you not pick the Cabernet Franc Icewine?! I've never even seen an Icewine made from Cabernet Franc before! This one smells just like a blueberry maple syrup and I had to stop myself from pouring the whole thing down my throat that minute! On the palate it's just beautiful with lots of blueberry, caramel and honey notes. 

Sandhill was totally a last-minute tasting that Carlie, Sarah and I decided to do and I'm so glad we did! They have some incredibly unique wines, some beautiful blends, AND a flower backdrop wall to take cute pictures with!! 

Winery #2: Crown and Thieves

Crown and Thieves is a winery I've heard a lot about, specifically about how unique the vibe of it is. It's the newest winery in the JPC family, the other two being Black Swift and the hatch. It actually just opened it's doors back in January! I have to admit, the building for this winery is pretty cool. It looks like you're in a run-down, medieval castle that was bombarded by pirates. The winery also hosts a recently-opened restaurant on its rooftop, plus a speakeasy in the basement!

1. 2020 Mister Higgenbothom Chardonnay

This Chardonnay was completely unoaked, aged entirely in stainless steel. On the nose it was really just a ton of citrus, full of lemon, grapefruit and lime. Honestly for me, this was a little too tart and acidic for a Chardonnat, but I know a ton of people that would love this! In the palate again was a lot of citrus, but there was something a bit herbal in the finish, like a hint of chamomile.

2. 2020 Winemaker's Wench

One thing I have to say for Crown and Thieves, I love the names they give all their wine. This Winemaker's Wench is a white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Roussane. I love seeing Roussane in a blend, it's so uncommon up in West Kelowna! I really liked this one on the nose, it was like Meyer lemon and white peach, with a touch of floral. This was super interesting in the mouth, with nice citrus and stone fruit. When this wine was in my mouth it transformed from sweet into tart into something bitter on the finish. I would say this was one of my preferences that we tried here!

3. 2020 Pinky Blinders

Once again, a very fun name for a fun wine! This Rose is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It's like a Bordeaux blend, but in a Rose! Our taster referred to this wine as "The grown-up juice box" and she was right! The colour is a nice salmon/pale orange and I got a lot of strawberry on the nose. I was surprised by how much I actually liked this one! It was pretty acidic again, but had some nice rhubarb and sour cherry notes on the palate. 

4. 2014 Scoundrel's Punch

This is the oldest wine that Crown and Thieves has and it's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever seen Pinot Noir in a blend! It's a nice deep red with a bit of rust around the edges. On the nose I got some dark cherry and blueberry and in the palate it was quite nice! Firm tannisn that gave the wine a lot of structure. This is the kind of red wine I want a piece of dark chocolate with.

5. 2017 Crybaby Malbec

The last wine we tried was one that they were unfortunately sold out of, but I'm glad we got to try it nonetheless because it was probably my favourite of the tasting! This 100% Malbec was beautiful on the nose, with notes of chocolate and bright red cherry. Honestly this tasted like a full bodied Merlot, and I wasn't mad about it at all! I was pretty disappointed this wasn't for purchase, but at least they told us that in the beginning!

My kind of library

All in all, Chris and I enjoyed our experience at Crown and Thieves, although we both agree the wine still tastes pretty young. I can't wait to try it in a couple years to see what new flavours start to emerge from their wine! Crown and Thieves is a super unique winery and is definitely worth a visit!

And so another edition of Walk-In Wineries comes to an end! Next up, I head to Naramata with our favourite guest stars Tim and Linda and visit 2 new wineries for all of us! This was probably one of my favourite days so I can't wait for you to read about it!

Whine of the day: I wish every winery had a flower wall to take Instagram pictures in front of


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