There is nothing quite like a spur of the moment Winery lunch when you live in wine country. It was a cloudy day but this didn’t stop our enthusiasm for a wine tasting at Arrowleaf Cellars. The Lake Country winery is situated in a picturesque spot with stunning grounds designed for summer picnics and a most amazing view of the vineyards leading down to Lake Okanagan. Arrowleaf gets its name from the yellow-blossomed Okanagan sunflower. Ninety percent of the winery’s grapes are sourced from Lake Country.
For the complimentary wine-tasting, we concentrated on their whites. The Pinot Gris grapes are grown in Lake Country, nestled between Wood Lake, Kalamalka Lake and the northern part of Okanagan Lake. The lakes moderate the often extreme summer temperatures, making this area especially suitable for the pinot varieties. The growing season stays frost-free until late fall, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and produce subtle flavours while retaining plenty of natural acidity. The wine is aged in stainless steel to produce a crisp, fruit-forward Pinot Gris.
The Bacchus grape was officially classified in 1972 at the German research station of Geilweilerhof, where the variety was created by mating a Riesling/Sylvaner cross with Müller-Thurgau. Only 50 acres of Bacchus are grown in BC. The result is a cool-climate grape that ripens early with good sugar, an exotic fragrance, good acidity and a dominant peach flavor.
Gewürztraminer has always been one of Arrowleaf’s specialties. It is well suited to Lake Country vineyards, where a cool climate and a long growing season brings out the best in this complex variety. The wine is richly aromatic and full-bodied with a bouquet of grapefruit, passion fruit and rose petal. The off-dry wine went exceptionally well with the Farm House Charcuterie plate we shared. The food was excellent and I must visit Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen in Kelowna, the meat source for the Charcuterie. The Boerenkaas cheese from Natural Pastures Cheese Co, in Courtenay, was also first class.
The 2015 harvest was exceptional. The fruit was harvested several weeks earlier than usual and they expect to increase production from 14,000 cases for the ’14 vintage to 17,000 this year for which they needed to add three stainless steel fermentation tanks. The winery started production in early 2003 with a production of only 3000 cases.
Make sure you check out Arrowleaf Cellars the next time you are in Lake Country.