Winery owners Drew and Barbara MacIntyre are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Lake Breeze Vineyards and their 22nd vintage of BC wine. The winery was recently awarded the prestigious distinction of Best Small Winery in Canada, along with Best Winery in British Columbia from the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Winemaker Garron Elmes has been with the winery for every vintage, arriving in Canada after receiving his oenology and viticulture education in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Garron was born in Capetown, South Africa. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished here at Lake Breeze, not just with the wine, but with the culture we have created. Most of our staff have been with us for many years, and they have really built this place to be the success that it is today.” The winery annual production is just over 10,000 cases.
What strikes you first as you enter the winery grounds is the breath taking lake view, the manicured grounds and patios and the MacIntyre’s sprawling Tuscan-style villa.
It was mid-morning on a beautiful fall day when we visited the wine tasting room. Ginette did an excellent job of pouring the BC wines and explaining their background and nuances. Her 30 years in the business, including an extensive stay with a German winery, came through in the discussion.
Lake Breeze Semillon 2014 Flavours and aromas of grapefruit and melon with subtle hints of bell pepper and fresh cut grass. Typical nutty, bottle-age characteristics lend complexity and length. Though Semillon is not one of my favourite varietals, probably quaffed too many wines from over irrigated grapes when in Australia, this wine is a real standout and award winner.
Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc 2015 The Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc is intensely fruity and aromatic. The flavours and aromas of green apple and tropical fruits are complimented by more flinty notes from the fruit grown in the Similkameen valley. The result is a wine with great complexity and balance. Consistently clean, crisp and fresh.
Lake Breeze The Spice Jar 2015 Gewürztraminer (45%), Ehrenfelser (30%), Schönberger (15%), Viognier (10%) and all fruit from Naramata Bench. A wonderfully aromatic and balanced off-dry wine. Floral and fruity aromas dominate including peach from the Ehrenfelser, followed by a hint of sweetness and spice on the palette that lends itself perfectly to spicier foods.
Lake Breeze Pinot Noir 2013 Deep in colour with flavours and aromas of dark cherries and raspberries, followed up by more earthy spicy flavours. It has great texture and mouthfeel on the palate. Matured for 18 months in a combination of new and old French oak barriques. The Pinot Noir was our favorite wine from this wine tasting.
Lake Breeze Meritage 2014 Cabernet Franc (38%), Merlot (32%), Malbec (19%), Cabernet Sauvignon (11%) A rich, full-bodied red showing a complex combination of red and black fruits with hints of vanilla and spice. Well-structured with ripe tannin, this wine will continue to improve for 5 to 10 years.
Lake Breeze is definitely worth stopping by for the view and the wines the next time you are in Naramata.