May 17, 2012

SOWF #7: Orofino

A very short drive to our next destination, Orofino. Another husband-and-wife team, the Webers are non-farmers from Saskatchewan who decided to relocate to the Similkameen over ten years ago and start making wine. A courageous move, but it seems to be working out quite well judging from the quality of their wines. They have a dog Cooper (so do we), the name probably inspired from their barrels.

Orofino uses their own grapes and those from four other Cawston vineyards plus one in Kaleden just south of Penticton. In addition to the wines tasted below, Orofino also makes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and a Bordeaux blend called Beleza which appears to be their flagship red. We ended up purchasing two bottles of Syrah.

  • Moscato Frizzante 2011 ($25)
Our first sparkling wine release! This refreshing bubbly is a blend of Muscats, with just a little bit of Riesling and Pinot Gris all grown in Cawston. Some of these vines are over 20 years old. The wine exhibits exotic orange blossom notes and tropical flavours with a clean, dry finish. Our intention was to create a versatile wine that is enjoyable on its own and with a variety of foods. It is a beautiful bottle that we are proud to offer.

88 points. Surprisingly dry considering the Muscat.

  • Riesling 2010 ($20)
The Orofino style of Riesling focuses on opulent flavours and expression of the Similkameen dirt. The wine has a rich mouth feel with a fine balance of acidity with a small amount of residual sugar. Lime, mango, pineapple, green apple.... this wine has a multitude of potential food pairings from baked ham to seafood, to summer salads. The grapes are sourced from our vineyard's old vines, our neighbour's vineyard and a one acre Riesling planting just south of Cawston. This is Riesling terroir! 

88 points. Also quite dry, very drinkable.

  • Pinot Gris 2011 ($20)
The grapes for this wine were grown in 3 separate vineyards. The Hendsbee Vineyard and Blind Creek Vineyard are beside Orofino on the hot Cawston Bench. The Scout Vineyard grapes come from a block grown right beside the Similkameen River about 10kms south of our winery. The wine was pressed after several hours of skin contact and was then fermented in stainless steel. It shows orchard fruit with melons and a pronounced minerality. Very dry with good acidity makes this an excellent food wine. 275 cases produced. 

88 points. Dry, mineral, heavy mouthfeel. My favorite of the whites.

  • Red Bridge Merlot 2010 ($25)
The premium Merlot grapes for this wine were grown by Chris Scott in his fabulous 5 acre Oak Knoll vineyard. It was aged in the finest American and French barrels for 16 months and then bottled unfiltered. This is the sixth vintage we have put Oak Knoll Merlot exclusively into Red Bridge! This vintage shows big aromatics and complex flavours. This label has become a "go to" wine over the years and this vintage will not disappoint! 

89 points. Medium oak, cherry, actually a little sweet but fresh. Little finish. Very nice.

  • Syrah 2010 ($29)
This single vineyard syrah is grown just south of the Cawston Bench at the picturesque Scout Vineyard. The grapes are grown in rocky soils and cropped to under 2 tons per acre. The resulting wine is awash with brambly fruit, gamey notes and black pepper playing a supporting role. Aged 15 months in French and American oak barrels and is silky and very drinkable. A terrific follow-up to our gold medal winning 2009 syrah!

90 points. There's a lot going on in here, red berries and peppery. Unique.

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