Words: Henry Yuen Pix: S. Yuen (Posting in Chinese: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/?variant=zh-hans
Those who plan their Okanagan winery tour quite often use Kelowna as the base and do so for a very good reason. Take a look at the wine map and you will discover that quite a few wineries are only a stone throw from the Kelowna municipality. While you will find lots of wineries on the Westbank, there are no less than five on the east side of Kelowna. These days, a short drive from the City of Kelowna is all it takes for wine-thirst visitors! Kelowna has noticeably and rapidly grown in recent years. With developments slowly encroaching on the traditional agricultural area, the winery landscape has become more inviting.
St. Hubertus Estate Winery, one of the wineries very close to Kelowna, has been a major part of BC’s wine-making history. Vines have been planted there since 1928 and the current owner, the Gebert family, has been operating the vineyards since 1984. After seven years of hard work, they started to craft their own wines in 1991. Under the St. Hubertus and OakBay labels, they have been cultivating in their 76 acre sites with sustainable farming practices. Even though a small volume of about 14,000 cases is produced annually, the results are there.
At a recent tasting at Tojo’s and accompanied by the very knowledgeable and welcoming Andy Gebert, we had a chance to sip some of his wines under both St. Hubertus and OakBay labels, paired brilliantly with Japanese fares articulated by none other than the master Tojo-san. The dinner showcased not only the remarkable wine-making craft the Geberts were enthusing, it also demonstrated Asian cuisine was not a challenge to wine-pair at all!
I particularly liked their 2012 Schonburger. Infused with floral fragrance and sweet bouquet, the tropical fruits and ripen peaches entry exits with balanced acidity and lingering freshness. This definitely is a summer patio wine! Not to be out done is the 2012 Chasselas. The Gebert family, being from Switzerland, crafted this wine the Swiss style. As a result, the wine is light, refreshing with a hint of pear and pineapple sweetness that goes very well with Tojo’s sushi. Staying in the “patio” category of wines, we also tasted the 2012 Fizzante Rose which is jam-packed with a summery sensation - a gentle touch of watermelon and strawberries to round off the flavour profile. Moving over to the Reds, I was impressed with the Oak Bay 2011 Marechal Foch with its plum and berries aroma and a full-bodied mouth feel laced with spices, herbs and a soothing vanilla finish. The 2010 Pinot Noir was well crafted too. Cherry and plum in the forefront with a hint of tobacco leaf for this medium-bodied wine compliments the baked sable fish well and elevated the beauty of this fish to another level.
If you are staying in the Kelowna area for a few days, don’t miss this winery and the opportunity to taste some fine Euro-style wines. It is well worth a visit for some quality wines which are not available elsewhere!