Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Class of 2013: Kismet Estate Winery

 Photo: Suhki (l) and Balwinder Dhaliwal

On the winery’s website, the Dhaliwal brothers, who own this winery, explain that “the name Kismet is derived from the Punjabi word 'destiny'. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to consider Canada our home that provided us with endless possibilities. This has been a long time dream of our family to share our labour of love and hard work directly with customers.”

The Dhaliwal brothers had farming in the blood before coming to the Okanagan. “When I was 14 years old, I was driving a tractor on a farm,” says Sukhwinder (Sukhi for short). “We came from the farming area in India, the Punjab.” He came to the Okanagan, where he had relatives, in 1989 at the age of 20. His brother, Balwinder, born in 1974, joined him in 1993. Both have worked in, and managed, vineyards ever since for major producers including Mission Hill and Vincor.

They bought their first property in 1996 and planted grapes the following year. “After that, we never stopped,” says Balwinder (who sometimes goes by the name of Bill). Now, they operate about 130 acres of vineyards in the South Okanagan and sell grapes or manage vineyards for well-known wineries such as Laughing Stock Vineyards and Black Hills.

It speaks well of the brothers that Laughing Stock once lauded them on that winery’s website with these comments:
“Sukhi and his brother, Balwinder (Bill) moved to BC over 20 years ago and have grown their own vineyard management business to look after over 100 acres in the South Okanagan. We are thrilled to have them as the custodians of our 15 acre Osoyoos property, the Perfect Hedge Vineyard, for the past 5 years. The Dhaliwals attention to detail in the vineyard, and their ability to 'read the leaves' to make irrigation decisions is second to none.”
Growing grapes obviously introduced the brothers to wine. “We didn’t drink wine when we were in India,” Suhki says. “As soon as we started dealing with those wineries, we starting getting some free wine.”

In time, that led them to open their own winery as well. Suhki explains why: “The first thing is that we grow good quality fruit; and we think if we make our own wine, we can make very good quality wine. We have all the varieties. Secondly, I think we can make a little bit more money. And the third thing is that we really would like to have our own winery. That’s our hobby.”

It is a pretty serious hobby that is designed to grow to making 5,000 cases a year, with a processing facility amid the vines and a wine shop beside the highway. The consulting winemakers have the benefit, as Suhki says, of many varieties, including rare blocks of Grenache and Mourvedre.

The winery began selling its first wines in late summer. A tasting room, located just off Highway 97, is expected to open in 2014.

Here are notes on the wines.

Kismet Viognier Viognier 2012 ($18). This wine begins with aromas of citrus, pineapple and apricot. The palate is a rich bowl of fruit flavours, including apricot, apple and mango. The texture is full with a define spine of minerality. 91.

Kismet Saféd 2012 ($17). To forestall the question, Saféd means clear. This white blend is 63% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Sémillon and 12% Orange Muscat. This makes for a somewhat exotic wine, with aromas of spice and orange peel and with spice and citrus flavours on the palate. The finish is crisp and dry. 88.

Kismet Mantra 2011 ($20.99). This is 49% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 17% Petit Verdot. The wine begins with aromas of vanilla and black cherry. On the palate, there are flavours of cassis, black cherry, vanilla and mocha with an elegant hint of cedar on the finish. The wine is structured to age for several more years before it reaches its peak. 88-90.

Kismet Malbec Syrah 2011 ($19.99). This is a 50/50 blend of two red varietals that do well in the South Okanagan. The Syrah brings a touch of pepper to the aroma and to the finish which complements the black cherry and vanilla aromas and flavours. This again is structured to develop to its peak over the next several years. 88-90.

Kismet Estate Winery
9580 Road 20
Oliver BC V0H 1T0
T 250.408.9800


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