Two of the less conventional winery names in the Okanagan
are Intrigue Wines Ltd. and Therapy Vineyards and Guesthouse.
That seemed as good a reason as any to group reviews of the
wines in a single blog.
Intrigue is a Lake
by winemaker Roger Wong (below), with his wife Jillian Garland and partners Ross and
Geri Davis. The tasting room opened last year. It is now part of an informal
wine touring route that includes the new 50th
Parallel Estate Winery
as well as Gray Monk, Arrowleaf and Ex Nihilo.
This is a quiet and scenic back country with rolling hills,
orchards and periodic views of Okanagan
. It is a good choice
if you find other tour destinations a bit crowded.
The centrepiece at Intrigue is the two Riesling wines. Roger
believes that this is one of the best varieties for the Okanagan. He backs up
that belief with two excellent examples.
Therapy is near Naramata. The winery is part of the most
concentrated collection of wineries in the Okanagan. There are close to 30
wineries packed into about 20 km from Penticton
and heading north.
Therapy is one of the last wineries on the route. A
complaint of the northernmost producers is that wine tourists exhaust their
budgets and palates by the time they get half way out to Naramata. I wonder how
many wine tourists have considered starting one of the days at the north end,
on the theory that the tasting rooms will be less crowded.
The “intrigue” of Therapy’s wines, if I may use that phrase,
is the inventive use on the labels of terms from psychotherapy. The newest wine
is a sparkler called Fizzio Therapy Blanc.
If you don’t get to either of these producers this season,
the wines are widely available in VQA and private wine stores.
Here are my notes.
2012 ($16.90). The wine begins with aromas of lime and pink grapefruit that
are mirrored in the flavours. The bright acidity gives the wine a crisp but
also refreshing finish. 90.
Intrigue Pinot Gris
2012 ($16.90). Here is a wine the delivers gobs of fruit: peach, pink
grapefruit and apple with a tangy, crisp finish. 90.
Intrigue Twelve 2012
This blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer is great value. It has
spice and fruit on the nose and layers of fruit on the palate. 91.
Riesling 2012 ($19.90). This is the winery’s flagship Riesling, bigger,
riper and more intense than the other Riesling. It has aromas and flavours of
lime and lemon with a good mineral backbone. This is a dry and disciplined
Riesling, good now but best aged for a year or two, so that it can peak. 92.
Intrigue Merlot 2011 ($19.90).
The grapes for this wine come from Trout Creek Vineyards near Summerland. The
wine has bright cherry and vanilla aromas with flavours of blackberry and
Intrigue Damitz Good
N.V. ($22.90). This is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon made as a
tribute to Rob Damitz (1958-2011), a friend of the winery owners. A portion of
the proceeds go to the Canadian Lymphoma Society. This is a tasty red with
flavours of black currants, cherries and vanilla, with a touch of spice and
chocolate on the finish. 89.
Sauvignon Blanc 2012
($19.99). The wine begins with aromas of herbs and
grapefruit. On the palate, there are herbal and citrus flavours, with a finish
that is crisp and dry. There is also a lingering note of lime on the finish.
Photo: Therapy winemaker Steve Latchford
($23.99). The winery’s notes recall that most of the
Gewürztraminer grapes in 2011 were eaten by birds, deer and bears. In 2012
Therapy’s crew succeeded in deterring wildlife from their free lunch (probably
to the detriment of less vigilant neighbours). Therapy’s winemaker let his
grapes, after crushing, soak on the skins for 24 hours before pressing off the juice.
The object was to extract the varietal’s spicy aromas and flavours. This wine
has a big punch of spicy fruit aromas and flavours, including a touch of
grapefruit and lime. The residual sugar, 14.4 grams per litre, gives the wine
weight, with an off-dry finish. However, enough natural acidity remains that
the palate is refreshed. 88.
Alter Ego 2011 ($19.99). This is a
blend of 45% Pinot Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Viognier and 5% Chardonnay.
The wine begins with aromas of butter and coconut. On the palate, there are
honeyed flavours of peaches and apricots with a soft underpinning of oak. The
texture is rich and the finish lingers. 89.
Pink Freud 2012 ($17.50). This rosé has always been a crowd pleaser,
probably because the winemaker consciously leaves enough residual sugar (11
grams a litre in this vintage) to pop the aromas and flavours. The wine is 66%
Merlot, 34% Pinot Noir. Both varieties were crushed and the skins were left in
contact with the juice for four days before being crushed. This technique aims
to get good colour and character. There is a lot of fruit here – raspberry,
cherry and plum on the nose and the palate. The wine almost has the weight of a
light red. 89.
Fizzio Therapy Blanc 2012 ($22.99). The blend is 90% Chardonnay, 10% Orange
Muscat. The grapes were harvested deliberately with slightly higher acidity
than would have been the case for a table wine, because the winemaker wanted to
make a crisp sparkling wine. The wine was carbonated in a pressure tank before
bottling. The wine presents a creamy palate, with aromas and flavours of apple,
peach and spice. It manages to be off-dry on the mid-palate, yet crisp on the
finish. This would be great for brunch. 88.
Pinot Noir 2011 ($22.99). The 11.7% alcohol suggests this might be a light
wine until one sniffs the almost porty aromas. Winemaker Steve Latchford worked
hard to extract aromas and flavours, starting with five days of cold soak,
followed by a long ferment (two to three weeks) with pump overs and punchdowns
adding up to two or three macerations a day. The result is a slightly rustic
wine, but still a satisfying red with cherry and prune flavours. 87.