Orofino Vineyards, 2018 Hensbee Vineyards, Riesling Clone 239 from Similkameen Valley, BC
Drive 30 minutes west of Penticton and you will find yourself in Cawston, BC. What used to be the heart of the fruit belt in BC is now vineyards. I’m not complaining. You can still find orchards and great fruit and vegetable stands here. But for the most part, this valley has changed and before our eyes it is morphing into a great wine region and a top destination for us winos!
Let me introduce you to Orofino Vineyards in the Similkameen Valley, where proprietor’s John and Virginia Weber reside. It is here they are making wine and raising their family as they have for the last 19 years. In that time, John and Virginia have focused on understanding the micro-terroirs and micro-climates of this windy, narrow, winding river valley which has in turn served them with great results. The first plantings dating back to 1989 and these are some of the oldest vineyards in the valley.
While red wine dominates, there are plantings of Riesling and other white grape varieties. The Hendsbee Vineyard, for example, is not estate owned but tended by Cheryl & Lee Hendsbee. The Riesling blocks were planted in 2006 and 2008 with the 239 clone which is a German clone that tends to produce a drier style.
The aromas are of white flowers, wet rocks, salty mineral block, yellow apple skins, and fresh lemon pith. On the palate there is dry, crisp freshness, with racy acidity followed by flavours of lemon juice, tart green apple, green apricot and wet river rocks. There is a real mineral texture that carries to the end of the long finish of this balanced wine.
Go for creamy cheeses, Hungarian salami, black forest ham and turkey beer sausage.
This wine has a long life ahead and I’d lay it down and mark the bottle for 5 years and 10 years (which I can do because I have several bottles of this wine).
Other attributes you should know about the winery
Beyond the vineyards Orofino is dedicated to environmentally sustainable practices. The winery itself is of ram-earth construction and solar power is part of the mix. There are so many highlights when it comes to innovation that Orofino takes a leadership role in the valley by osmosis.