Best Value Chenin Blanc


Inniskillin Okanagan Discovery Series Chenin Blanc, 2008

The indefatigable Sandor Mayer, winemaker at Inniskillin Okanagan, gets to play with the winery’s  Discovery Series, a small-lot production from unusual grapes that allows him to experiment with which varietals do best in the South Okanagan. The 2008 Chenin Blanc was a big hit with the judges in our 2011 International Wine Awards competition. Its hallmark is honey—not just the sweet stuff, but also honeysuckle floral aromas and tropical flavours of honeydew melon and pineapple, all balanced by a sharp streak of lemon and grapefruit acidity. Brilliant with halibut.


Château Gaudrelle Vouvray Sec-Tendre,  2009

Chenin Blanc’s original home is France’s Loire Valley. And one of its most compelling expressions is Vouvray, a wine that can be dry, sweet, or somewhere in between. Long-time favourite Château Gaudrelle is a fine example of the off-dry, or “sec-tendre,” as the French charmingly call it. A lovely wine, all fresh summer garden, sweet spice and smoke, honey and quince, with a slight oiliness on the palate that gives it lots of zippy “have another mouthful, now” character. Delicious with fish and shellfish but also lightly spicy food and just about any kind of noodles.

Spotlight: Sandra Oldfield, Winemaker

Spring is hectic for Sandra Oldfield, winemaker and head of operations at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards on the South Okanagan’s Golden Mile. There are library tastings in Vancouver, Victoria, and the Fraser Valley. The winery’s new restaurant, Miradoro, led by ex- Aurora Bistro chef Jeff Van Geest, opened April 1.  The winery’s popular outdoor concert series started at the end of May with Vince Vaccaro. In the cellar the last of the 2010 vintage needs bottling, in the vineyard there’s winter damage to assess and Chardonnay to replant, and in the office there’s a new health and safety initiative underway: a carbon audit and a pilot composting program. Then there’s the inaugural Osoyoos Spot Prawn Festival at the Watermark Beach Resort on June 5. “Drink our just-released 2010 Pinot Gris,” she insists. “It’s awesome with prawns.”