When Anthony von Mandl bought the Mission Hill Winery in the Okanagan Valley in 1980’s, no one knew how he would expand and make it as famous as it is now.
Certainly, he grew the company, innovated wine making and bought three more wineries within the valley (Cedarcreek Estate Winery, Checkmate Artisanal Winery, and Martin’s Lane Winery).
The Okanagan Valley is a place of great natural beauty. Nestled between the Coastal mountains to the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east, it is 249 kilometres east of the Pacific Ocean and adjacent to Washington state.
The Okanagan Valley boasts Canada’s only desert.
Averaging 2000 hours of annual sunshine and less than 330 mm of rain, it is the warmest region in the country, with lakes running the length of the valley, and desert-like conditions allow for the planting of a unique field mix of classic vitis vinifera varieties i.e cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, Riesling, and many more.
Due to the political structure of Canada’s inter-provincial alcohol trade is very restrictive, as a result (the exception is Alberta were alcohol sales are unrestricted|), in Ontario wine drinkers have limited access to British Columbia wines and vice versa. A limited number of British Columbia wines are available regularly and Vintages releases frequently some high-end wines, but all are taxed as if they were imported from another jurisdiction, and relatively expensive.
Recently, Darryl Brooker (winemaker and general manager of Mission Hill Winery); Philip McGahan (Checkmate Artisanal Winery); and Shane Munn (Martin;s Lane Winery) visited Toronto to present some of their wines to the trade and wine writers.
In all, the audience was presented eight wines.
Naramata Bench Riesling, 2014, Martin’s Lane Winery
A fine aromatic, perfume wine with refreshing acidity and good balance. Intense with great depth and opulent sweetness.
Little Pawn Chardonnay, 2014 Checkmate Artisanal Winery
Pale yellow. Captivating floral nose with hints of rose petals, cinnamon and lemon zest. On the palate, the wine displays its richness, elegance and refinement, Long aftertaste.
Perpetua, 2015, Mission Hill Winery
Brilliant dark yellow. Alluring aromas of pears, lemon curd, and subtle oak waft out of the glass. In the mouth the bright acidity comes to the fore. Intense with a long aftertaste,
Platinum Haynes Creek Viognier, 2016, Cedarcreek Winery
Highly aromatic with honeysuckle, orange blossom, and jasmine and exotic fruit (apricot and peach) emanate from the glass.
Naramata Ranch Pinot Noir, 2014, Martin’s Lane Winery
Expect ripe berry aromas, wit a medium-to-full bodied mouth feel. Beautifully extracted with a potential to age gracefully fro four to five years.
Black Rook Merlot, 2013, Checkmate Artisanal Winery
Lifted nose of rose petals, aniseed and bramble berries jump out of the glass, In
the mouth, the wine tastes rich with cassis, and ark fruit flavours, Cellar for three to four years. Excellent depth and long aftertaste.
The Last Word, 2014, Cedarcreek Estate Winery.
A blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and malbec, fermented together in concrete vessels. Spicy dark fruit flavours in the mouth. Will evolve and intensify with four to five years of cellaring.
Oculus, 2013 Mission Hill Family Estate
A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot, this exquisite, intense, deeply flavoured, dark brilliant red wine will greatly reward you with five to eight years cellaring.