Patty's Pinot Closet Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 4
December, 2005
Circulation 10,484 Wineries, Retailers, and Wine Lovers

British Columbia, Canada

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Patty's Pinot Closet publishes this newsletter on the enjoyment and appreciation of Pinot Noir. We welcome you to enjoy the newsletters and to share them with others. This, my thirteenth newsletter, covers British Columbia, Canada Pinot Noirs, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir Icewine. Tasting was done at wineries, wine festivals, and during very lovely dinners and lunches.

HP iPAQ showing Wine Notes

"Wine Notes"
Wine Evaluation Software

Developed exclusively for me by the Groundspace Corporation to evaluate wines quickly, accurately and with more detail than using a mere pencil. Wine Notes allows a user to evaluate wines using the 100-point scale. Easy to use with touch & tap operation. You can always have it with you because it runs on a Pocket PC. Available now at

Congratulations to UC Davis student, Diane Y. Choo, who is the first recipient of the Douglas Wisor Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship allows a young American winemaker to train at a selected winery in New Zealand during the harvest each year. Ms. Choo will intern for three months at Craggy Range Winery, a specialist producer of single vineyard wines, starting in March 2006.

British Columbia

British Columbia contains four main wine growing areas: Okanagan Valley, Similkameen, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, and Vancouver & Fraser Valley. They classify several other wineries outside these areas as British Columbia. This newsletter covers only the first two (Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands) as they are the ones concentrating on Pinot Noir.

Food, Wine & Accommodations


I found the two most representative regional foods to be wild BC salmon and wild game sausage. I´ve found an old recipe for Venison Sausage in "The Sausage Book" by Richard Gehman, published in 1969 by Weathervane Books. It´s a very amusing recipe that includes ingredients such as an onion the size of a NO. 10 Downing Street door knob.

Salmon, especially wild salmon, heads my list of most favorite foods. Add a little Pinot Noir sauce and it´s exceptional and really good for you. They say salmon keeps you young and retards aging. Mark Bittman developed a favorite recipe of mine for Roast Salmon Steaks with Pinot Noir Syrup ~ an easy and delicious recipe.


Venison Sausage recipe

Roast Salmon Steaks with Pinot Noir Syrup recipe


Many Okanagan Valley wineries include restaurants. These restaurants usually open for lunch only. Most include very beautiful settings overlooking the lake. Vancouver & Gulf Islands also contain a number of wineries with restaurants open for lunch. In many restaurants, ordering wine by the glass means it comes in a small decanter. I imagine, so you´ll know how much wine you are getting.

Vancouver Island Restaurants


Restaurant at Sooke Harbor House, Sooke Harbor, BC. Beautifully prepared food and atmosphere with impeccable service. They also boast a superb wine list.

Vigneti Zanatta Winery and Vineyards, Vancouver Island, BC. Open for lunch.

Il Terrazzo, Victoria, BC. Old town courtyard setting for Northern Italian cuisine.

Okanagan Valley Restaurants

Terrace Restaurant at Mission Hill Winery


Mission Hill Family Estate, Westbank One of the loveliest dining experiences of my life happened at their Terrace Restaurant. The menu pairs their wines by the glass with their food. Open in the summer.

Burrowing Owl Dine near the fireplace or outside on the terrace with views of the vineyard. Open for both lunch and dinner - Wednesday through Sunday.

Nk´Mip Cellars, Southern Okanagan At the Nk´Mip Cellars they serve the NK´MIP GRAND PLATTER that consists of a medley of Scorpion Tails (Black Tiger Shrimp), Wild Game Sausage, White Sands Bison served on a bed of Chilled Citrus Scented Wild Rice Salad, Fire Grilled Vegetable Salad and BBQ Sweet Corn, garnished with Indian Crisp Bread & Snake Bite Dip. Open in the summer.

Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Eastern Bench In their Vineyard Terrace Restaurant I enjoyed Cold Herb Poached Wild Salmon with Coriander Aioli served with a trio of salads, Dilled Cucumber, Celery Root, and Fennel Relish. The view of the lake and vineyards made this delicious lunch even better. Open in the summer.

Quail´s Gate Old Vines Patio Restaurant, Westbank Even though I didn´t get to dine at this restaurant, I did visit and it was lovely. Open year round for lunch and dinner.

The El Dorado Hotel, Kelowna, BC Beautiful food and a Wine Spectator Award Winning Wine List.


If you ask the lady at the desk of your hotel for change for a $5 bill and she asks you in return if you want that all in looneys, don´t be surprised. She´s talking about their one dollar coins that have a loon on them.


Sooke Harbor House, Sooke Harbor, BC A beautiful hotel and spa. Breakfast delivered to your room. Complimentary chocolate chip cookies and Port at bedtime.

Salt Spring Vineyards, Salt Spring Island, BC Beautiful little B & B with two rooms beautifully appointed.

Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC This beautiful turn of the century hotel has been completely updated. It sits on the inland harbor in Victoria and is a wonderful place to stay while visiting the wineries of Vancouver Island. Don´t miss the afternoon tea.

Fairmont Vancouver, Vancouver, BC This beautiful vintage hotel makes a great stop-off between Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley.

The El Dorado Hotel, Kelowna, BC (Okanagan Valley) Located right at the water´s edge in Kelowna.

Sooke Harbor House

Things To Do In British Columbia

We visited the Vancouver & Gulf Islands and the Okanagan Valley for wine tasting. Both of these areas offer, besides winery touring and tasting, vacation paradises. They don´t call it beautiful BC for nothing!

Rose Fountain at the Butchart Gardens

Vancouver & Gulf Islands


Butchart Gardens contains a beautiful sunken garden developed in an abandoned quarry by Jennie Butchart in 1904.

Vancouver & Gulf Island websites to explore:

Okanagan Valley

A vacation paradise, in the summer this area offers sports centered around water such as fishing, boating, etc. You´ll also find great hiking close to the towns. At least 18 golf courses exist in the Okanagan Valley for those who golf. In the winter, combine a wine festival with skiing at the Icewine Festival. See the Events section for information on the Icewine Festival.


Okanagan Valley websites to explore:

Carmelis Alpine Goat Cheese Artisan, Kelowna, BC in the Okanagan Valley. Offers tours of their cheese making factory. Groups of four or more with one week advanced booking. See the goats being milked in the afternoon, view the herd, visit the beautiful aging cellar and see how the cheeses are made in the production hall. $4.00 + tax per person.

BC Wine Information Center in Penticton. Eckhardt Avenue and Railway Street in Penticton. Daily tasting, tips and tour information are available through the center´s staff.

Wine Museum & VQA Wine Shop in Kelowna. 1304 Ellis Street, Kelowna, British Columbia V1Y 1Z8

5th Annual Elvis Festival, June 23 - 25th 2006, Penticton, BC Professional and amateur tribute artists compete in judged shows and participate in onstate performances over the three-day event. I´ve included this because I´m a big Elvis fan.

Nk´Mip Desert and Heritage Centre Canada´s first First Nations winery and Desert and Heritage Center.

Pinot Noir Wine Events

British Columbia Wine Festivals & Events

  • 19 – 22 January 2006 –– Icewine Festival, Sun Peaks Resort, Okanagan Valley, BC.
  • 27 February – 5 March 2006 –– 28th annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 4 – 7 May 2006 –– Okanagan Spring Festival, Okanagan Valley, BC. 100+ events.
  • 10 – 12 August 2006 –– Okanagan Summer Festival, Silver Star Mountain Resort, Vernon, BC.
  • 29 September – October 29 2006 –– Okanagan Fall Festival, Okanagan Valley, BC. 165+ events.

International Wine Festivals

  • 16–20 January 2006 –– Tasmanian Wine Show, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia,
  • 6–10 February 2006 –– 6th International Cool Climate Symposium for Viticulture and Oenology, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 11 February 2006 –– Wine Marlborough Festival 2006, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • 26 – 28 January 2006 –– Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • 31 January – 5 February 2007 –– Pinot Noir 2007, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 9-10 February 2007 ~ MPVA Pinot Noir Celebration 2007, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia.

US Wine Festivals

  • 3–4 March 2006 –– World of Pinot Noir. The Cliffs Resort, Shell Beach, CA
  • 11 March 2006 –– Passionate About Pinot Noir Summit, California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, CA
  • 26 March 2006 –– 2nd Annual Pinot Paradise, Santa Cruz Mountains,
  • 29 April 2006 –– 3rd Annual Pinnacles Wine Festival, Inn at the Pinnacles, Soledad, CA
  • 23–24 June 2006 –– 2nd Annual Pinot Days Festival, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA
  • 28–30 July 2006 –– 20th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), McMinnville, OR
  • 28–29 October 2006 ~ Pinot Festival "Pinot on the River", Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA

Click Here for a complete list of Pinot Wine Festivals. If you have a Pinot festival you would like to add send a note to

British Columbia Pinot Noirs

British Columbia boasts 229 grape growers, 88 wineries, 10 fruit cideries and one meadery. These range from small family businesses to large-volume producers such as Vincore, North America's fourth-largest wine producer. This newsletter covers the Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands. Now, another reason exists for visiting these areas besides their natural beauty ~ they are producing very good Pinot Noirs.

Okanagan Valley

BC´s largest and oldest wine-growing region. Situated just north of the US-Canada border and 100 miles East of Vancouver. This area experiences a hot, dry climate with low humidity and little rainfall. It contains Canada´s only desert as well as snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches and mountain-fed lakes. Sounds like California, doesn´t it?

The Okanagan Lake fills the valley and covers 87,000 acres with a shoreline length of 168 miles. Many believe the Sea Serpent Ogopogo (called N´Haatik by the First Nations) resides in Okanagan Lake. On the slopes above the lake you´ll find grape vines, wineries, golf courses, and ski resorts. The Okanagan Valley contains six wine growing areas:

Westbank The largest floating bridge in North America connects Kelowna to the Westbank region. Home originally to the First Nation people in the Stekatkolxne´ut Village overlooking the Okanagan Lake. Fur traders used the area as a stopping place in the early 1800´s. A few of the Westbank wineries overlooking Okanagan Lake are:


Mission Hill Family Estate Possibly the most beautiful winery I´ve ever seen. If you get to the valley, you must visit Mission Hill. They possess great scenery and produce terrific wines.

Mission Hill Winery,  Photo by Pamela Gilane

Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery

Quails& Gate Estate Winery

Eastside Bench This region includes Kelowna and the area south of Kelowna. A few of the wineries in this area are:


Calona Vineyards established their winery in 1932 distinguishing them as BC´s first winery. Located in downtown Kelowna, be sure and taste their Pinot Noir Ice Wine – it´s incredible.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery built their winery in the shape of a pyramid. The pyramid stands four-stories high (3249 sq. ft.) and is a 8% replica of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Cedar Creek Estate Winery Recognized as Canada's Winery of the Year in 2002 & 2005 at the Canadian Wine Awards

Northern Bench This region runs north of Kelowna up to Veron and ­p>

Gray Monk Cellars


Summerland Bench Between the Westbank and Penticton you´ll find the Summerland Bench. Home to many wineries, this region lies across Okanagan Lake from the Naramata Bench. Here you´ll find


Sumac Ridge


Dirty Laundry

Naramata Bench On the east side of Okanagan Lake, the Naramata Bench stretches 20 km from Penticton to Naramata. Home to 13 wineries, the scenery is magnificent in this area. Two of the wineries here are


Red Rooster Beautiful new tasting room with views of the lake and featuring works by many artists.

Lake Breeze They boast award winning wines, a popular lunch patio, a self-catering cottage, and one of the prettiest settings anywhere.

For more information on this area go to and

South Okanagan The South Okanagan runs from the US border up to Okanagan Falls. Here you´ll find:


Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars Award winning winery named for the hazy blue mountains that frame the vineyards. The Mavety family established Blue Mountain in 1971.

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery This beautiful new gravity-flow winery boasts a beautiful restaurant overlooking the vineyards.

Nk´Mip Cellars (pronounced in-ka-meep) Located at the very south of this region and east of Osoyoos. This is North America´s first aboriginal owned and operated winery. Situated on a bench overlooking the shores of Osoyoos Lake, the newly planted vineyards provide a stunning contrast. Their 18,000 square foot winery has the capacity to produce 18,000 cases a year. Their Inkameep Vineyard comprises 243 acres. They also feature a restaurant open for lunch from May 20th to October 15th for lunch. They finance a major golf course as well as a Desert and Heritage Center. Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Clarence Louie, adopted the corporate motto "In Business to Preserve Our Past by Strengthening Our Future."

Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands

BC´s newest wine-growing region lies just West of Vancouver. You access the islands by ferry, float plane or commercial airlines. Canada´s warmest year-round wine-growing region boasts 19 wineries, a cidery and a meadery. Most of the Vancouver Island wineries are located near Victoria. Temperatures reach average highs of 70 to 80°F, but evenings can be cool.  In winter the Vancouver Island region is the most temperate of all British Columbia, with temperatures just below freezing. For a list of wineries and more information see:

For Ferry Information: or 1-888-BC FERRY.

A few of the wineries we visited were:


Salt Spring Vineyards, Salt Spring Island, BC.

Blue Grouse Vineyards, Vancouver Island, BC.

Chalet Estate Winery, Vancouver Island, BC.

Vigneti Zanatta Winery and Vineyards, Vancouver Island, BC

Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA)

The British Columbia Vintners Association adopted the VQA program as a cornerstone of its wine certification and marketing strategy. Highlights of the VQA Standards are:

  • Wines bearing the label designation "Product of British Columbia" must be produced from 100% British Columbia grown grapes.
  • Optimum growing standards are encouraged.
  • Wines bearing the name of a viticultural area are derived from a minimum of 95% of the grapes grown in the named area
  • Where a vintage date is stated on the label, at least 95% of the wine is obtained from the designated year of harvest
  • Wines labeled as "estate bottled" are produced from grapes grown in a vineyard owned or controlled by the winery, and all processing steps from crushing to bottling are performed at the winery.
  • As a final check on quality, the wine-tasting panel tests and approves each wine.

Most premium wine producers in BC belong to the VQA, but not all.


The VQA, defines Icewine as a wine made from vitis vinifera grapes or Vidal grapes that have been naturally frozen on the vine. They then harvest and press the grapes while the air temperature remains at or below -8º Celsius. In most cases, wineries wait for two consecutive nights of weather where the temperature remains at or below -10º to -12º Celsius. This ensures that the Icewine reaches the desired sugar levels to produce the best results. Their desert climate provides a long, hot growing season to ripen the grapes, and very cold winters to freeze them on the vines.

At any given time the entire crop could be lost due to natural elements such as rain, snow, mold, and mildew before the December, January or February harvest. Also, producers get as little as five to ten per cent of a normal yield to work with in any given year. These factors result in an expensive and rare delicacy.

At Calona Vineyards in Kalowna I tasted their Pinot Noir Icewine. It contained incredibility intense aromas and flavors. Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery produced Canada´s first Icewine in 1978. See our events section for information on the 8th Annual Icewine Festival in January 2006.

Calona Vineyards Pinot Noir Icewine

Calona Vineyards Pinot Noir Icewine


Most of the Pinot Noirs I tasted in these areas were full-bodied with aromas of cherries, plums, and raspberries. I've included some Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris as they are related to Pinot Noir. I've also included two Pinot Noir Icewines as they are a very special wine from this area.

Patty's Pinot Closet lists all the wines reviewed in current and past newsletters. We've included a price taken from the winery website or other retail sources if possible. They are included for relative comparison only, your price may be different. All prices in this newsletter are in Canadiam dollars.

Pinot NoirYearPriceRankDescription
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2002 66.00 96 Medium intensity, black-cherry color. Earthy aromas of black cherry, Asian spice, anise, and forest floor. Tastes of dark fruit and violets with a very long lingering aftertaste.
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
2001 71.00
94 Medium intensity with a black-cherry color. Earthy black-cherry aromas. Tastes of silky dark fruit.
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 1999 33.00 93 Medium intensity with a black-cherry color. Complex aromas of chocolate, black-cherry and forest floor.
Kettle Valley Winery
Platinum Reserve
2002   92 Dense, black-cherry color with aromas of earthy black cherry and forest floor. Tastes of velvety blackberry and licorice.
Mission Hill Winery 2003 19.99 92 Medium intensity with bright black cherry color. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, cloves and vanilla. Velvety dark fruit tastes. Lovely long aftertaste.
Burrowing Owl Vineyards 2003 25.00 91 Dense, ruby-garnet color. Earthy cherry, plum, and forest floor aromas. Tastes of earthy cherries and hints of oak.
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate
Proprietor's Reserve
2003 13.49 91 Earthy black-cherry aromas.
Salt Springs Vineyard 2004 31.90 91 Light intensity with a black cherry color. Very Burgundian nose with aromas of black currants, Asian spice and black pepper. Long lingering aftertaste.
Salt Springs Vineyard 2000   91 Light intensity with a black cherry color. Very Burgundian nose with aromas of black currant.
Winchester Cellars
Sharp Rock Vineyard
2000   91 Medium intensity with a black cherry color. Horsey black-cherry aromas.
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2003 53.00 90 Medium intensity, black-cherry color. Smokey aromas of black currant and Asian spice. Tastes of silky red fruit.
Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Winery 2002   90 Medium intensity with a black-cherry color. Aromas of cherries and spice with hints of oak. Raspberry tastes with a long aftertaste.
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate
Proprietor's Reserve
2004 13.49 90 Heavy intensity with a black-cherry color. Aromas of chocolate and dried oregano. Tastes of dark fruit and spice.
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery 2002 17.00 90 Light intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Aromas of earthy cherries and hints of white pepper. Red fruit flavors.
NK MIP (INKAMEEP) Cellars 2003 22.00 90 Medium intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Earthy aromas of cherries, forest floor and Asian spice. Velvety dark fruit flavors.
Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2003 35.00 90 Medium intensity with a black cherry color. Gamey aromas of plums, chocolate, and forest floor. Velvety dark fruit spicy flavors.
Benchland Vineyards
2000 12.00 89 Light intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Aromas of black cherry and forest floor. Tastes of blackberry, cinnamon and black pepper.
Colona Vineyards
2004 13.00 89 Medium intensity with a black-cherry color. Cherry aromas and tastes of smokey dark fruit and spice.
Gray Monk Cellars 2003   89 Aromas of earthy black cherry. Tastes of red fruit.
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Seven Poplars
2003 24.00 89 Medium intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Plum aromas with a hint of oak.
Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards
2000 14.59 88 Medium intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Black cherry aromas and dark fruit on the palate.
Tinhorn Creek Vineland
2002 16.00 88 Light intensity with a ruby-garnet color. Earthy cherry aromas with a long aftertaste.
Wild Horse Canyon

2003 13.49 88 Black cherry color with aromas of black cherry and violets. Flavors of red fruit.
Mission Hill Winery
Five Vineyards
2003 14.99 87 Medium intensity with bright black cherry color. Aromas of raspberry and cinnamon spice. Tastes red fruit.
Thornhaven Estates Winery 2002 17.00 87 Medium intensity with a black cherry color. Aromas of raspberry and cherry. Red fruit flavors.
Vigneti Zanatta 2002 18.95 87 Light intensity with a black-cherry color. Red fruit flavors.
Blue Grouse Vineyards
2002 20.00 86 Light intensity with a black-cherry color. Raspberry aromas.
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
2003 24.99 86 Light intensity black-cherry color Pinot Noir. Black Cherry aromas.
Quails' Gate Estate Winery 2003 19.99 86 Light intensity with a black-cherry color. Aromas of black cherry, plums, cigar box and chocolate. Dark fruit flavors with hints of spice and vanilla.
Chalet Estate Vineyard
Okanagan Valley
2003 16.90 85 Medium intensity with a black-cherry color. Aromas of raspberry and white pepper. Tastes of silky red fruit.
Salt Springs Vineyard 2003 31.90 85 Medium intensity with a black cherry color. Aromas of raspberry and cranberry. Silky strawberry flavors.
Pinot BlancYearPriceRankDescription
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2004 18.00 91 Bright yellow-green Pinot Blanc with pineapple aromas.
NK MIP (INKAMEEP) Cellars 2004 14.49 91 Bright yellow-green medium intensity Pinot Blanc with aromas of tropical fruit and pineapple. Tastes of a crisp minerality.
Sandhill Wines
Burrowing Owl Vineyard
2003 15.99 91 Bright yellow-green Pinot Blanc with aromas of pineapple with hints of oak. Lovely long aftertaste.
Colona Vineyards
Artist Series
2004 12.99 89 Bright yellow-green Pinot Blanc with aromas of oak, peaches, and apple. Tastes of pineapple with a long aftertaste.
Mission Hill Winery
Five Vineyards
2004 13.99 88 Bright, yellow-green Pinot Blanc with aromas of pineapple and citrus. Tastes of pineapple.
Red Rooster Winery
2004 18.00 85 Bright yellow-green Pinot Blanc with aromas of apple, citrus and peaches.
Pinot GrisYearPriceRankDescription
Blue Mountain 2004 20.00 92 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with apple aromas. Tastes of orange citrus with a long aftertaste.
Colona Vineyards
Artist Series
2004 12.99 91 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with citrus aromas. Tastes of pineapple and cloves with a lovely long aftertaste.
Red Rooster
2004 14.90 90 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with aromas of apple, pear, and peaches. Tastes of pineapple with a long aftertaste.
Burrowing Owl Vineyards
2004 20.00 89 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with aromas of Mango and Pineapple. Tastes of pineapple.
Mission Hill Winery
2003 18.99 89 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with aromas of citrus and peaches.
Sandhill Wines
King Family Vineyard
2004 15.99 89 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with aromas of apple and citrus. Tastes of pineapple with a long aftertaste.
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
2004 15.99 85 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with citrus aromas.
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2004 16.00 85 Bright yellow-green Pinot Gris with citrus aromas.
Pinot Noir IcewineYearPriceRankDescription
Colona Vineyards
Beckstoffer, Los Amigos Vineyard
2004 120.00 95 Bright salmon colored Icewine with complex aromas of apples and cherries. Creamy and velvety on the palate and an aftertaste that seemed to last forever.
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
2002 44.90 90 Bright salmon color icewine with fresh berry aromas & flavors.

Subsequent Newsletters: The next newsletter covers areas not usually known for their Pinot Noirs such as Italy, Chile (any South American), South African, New York, Michigan, Sierra Foothills, etc. to name a few. To view the publication schedule for 2006 and 2007 Click Here.

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