by Treve Ring | Trailblazers rarely slow down. They just turn their light elsewhere.
After the creation of southern Okanagan’s quick-to-cult Black Hills Estate Winery (you may have heard of Nota Bene?) in 2007, Bob and Senka Tennant barely allowed enough time for a quick breather before starting another venture, purchasing a sloping, rocky property on Naramata Bench in 2008. This beautiful piece of land has become Terravista Vineyards, and another blazing beacon in BC’s wine history. Here, instead of the big reds and icon wines that Black Hills was synonymous with, the Tennants planted albariño and verjedjo, humble but mighty grapes more familiar in northwest Spain and Portugal, where they’ve thrived for centuries. They were the first in Canada to plant and commercially harvest these charismatic, small-lot whites, further proving that BC’s wine story is still being written.
Now into their third vintage of this blend, still singular in Canada, the 2013 is better than ever. Orange blossom, lime, greengage entice into a full and rich and oily palate of herbal-kissed fruit: ripe white peach, peach fuzz, clementine, pear, honeydew and spice. This is a big, expansive wine (14% alcohol) with fervent intensity, but the juicy white grapefruit pith acidity keeps it lively and balanced. Full and complex enough to take on proteins and spices – think succulent sablefish, plump scallops or herb trussed poultry.
I asked winemaker Senka about its Message In A Bottle…
Terravista Vineyards Fandango 2013 | Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, BC | $25 | +252544
Straight up – why did you make this wine? [We were] always seeking that quintessential white that would marry well with many foods that we gravitate to in the warm months of the year. Loved the albariños I tasted and thought that therein lay my answer! After travelling to Spain and also tasting verdejos I thought that the variety would further complement and balance out the high notes as well as the acidity of albariño.
Where are the grapes from? Albariño and verdejo are originally from Spain and northern Portugal – Vinho Verde. Our vines came from a nursery in California.
Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Hmm, many come to mind, as this was the principal initiative behind the crafting of Fandango – its versatility in pairing well with many foods. The most recent is ling cod simply grilled with tomatillo salsa. But then as a contrast we enjoy it with chili roasted almonds as well as a heavier version of fish and chips.
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Somewhat difficult to answer, as many come to mind – really depends on the mood and the food..and not always in that order. I recently really enjoyed Grenache from Stag’s Hollow, Clos du Soleil Signature, Riesling and Gamay from Orofino…
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Lately, Cotes du Rhone (South) – hope to go there next year. Otherwise Chablis, Uco Valley wines, sherries from Montilla and Jerez de la Frontera, reds from Alentejo…could probably keep going on forever!