Thinking of wine while at the Lavender Farm
As I have mentioned before, when you live in Kelowna surrounded by wineries, it is easy to yield to temptation and go for a wine tasting on the drive home. The afternoon started at Okanagan Lavender and Herb farm. Wandering around the gardens checking out all the different varieties of Lavender. It was a hot 33 C day for the locals but quite pleasant for us after experiencing 15 years of Phoenix summers. You could just see Mission Hill and Quail’s Gate on the other side of the lake so my thoughts wandered to wine. We were really parched from our walk and the Sperling Vineyards was directly on the way home. Done!
The Vineyard and the Wine Makers
The vineyard in East Kelowna includes some of the most mature vines in the Okanagan. It includes 1.67 acres of old vines Riesling planted in 1978, on a southwest facing ridge with a limestone seam, and a block of Maréchal Foch planted in 1964. The winery’s first vintage was in 2008 and the current annual production is around 7,500 cases making it a medium size winery by BC Wine standards.
Ann Sperling brings over 30 years of wine making experience to the vineyard where she grew up. She takes pride in crafting elegant wines of character from the Sperling family estate and continues a cherished tradition begun by her great grandparents over 150 years ago. Ann sculpts the grapes to bring you unique wines of great distinction.
Both Ann Sperling and co-owner Peter Gamble were elsewhere when we dropped into the winery, which wasn’t surprising given the extensive winemaking geography they currently cover. In Niagara Ontario, Ann is the winemaker for Southbrook Vineyards (Canada’s first biodynamic winery) and Peter is the wine consultant at Ravine vineyards. Peter also supports sparkling producer Benjamin Bridge in Nova Scotia. They also have a seven-acre Malbec vineyard near Mendoza in Argentina.
Fortunately, our hostess Vicki was very familiar with winery background and the wines.
- Sperling Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013. This is a really crisp and dry Pinot Gris and a great starter on a summer day. A terroir-driven wine has aromas of herbs, with flavours of pear and with anise on the finish.
- Sperling Vineyards The Market White 2015. A little sweet for my taste but an enjoyable wine with spice and citrus aromas and flavours of lime and ripe cantaloupe.
- Sperling Vineyards Sper … itz 2014This is a light (7% alcohol) Muscat style wine. Made from varieties Perle of Csaba and Bacchus. It delivers flavours of tropical fruit including mango, papaya and peach.
- Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2012. This is the wine we came for and Vikki was good enough to serve the last of a bottle opened three days earlier. Now with maturity, the wine begins to show classic petrol aromas with key lime, quince, spice and an exotic minty greenness. It is creamy, richly textured with a stony mouthwatering intensity. This wine has great length and complexity and although delicious now, its’ long cellaring capability will richly reward those who wait. That certainly is the plan for the bottle we purchased!
- Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2014. Dry and crisp, the wine has aromas and flavours of raspberry and strawberry. The texture is full for a rosé with structure and minerality from the limestone rich slopes of the vineyard.
- Sperling Old Vines Foch Reserve 2012. A delicious big red with flavours of plum and black cherry and an almost gamey aroma. The texture is juicy, thanks to the soft tannins.
Sperling Vineyards is definitely one of the wineries to check out in Kelowna.