First, of all, this winery was not even on my radar, and second of all, what is a Portugese winery doing in British Columbia?!? Actually, the owners like to call it a “Canadian Winery with a Portugese twist”. After raving about the Viognier from Black Hills, Luke (my server from Black Hills…remember him?!) told me that if I liked this one, I should go over to Quinta Ferreira and taste theirs! Totally unique. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
Like any estate owners in the Okanagan, it started out as an orchard with cherry, peach and apple trees, later to be ripped up in 1999 and grape vines planted. I mean, why not? The owners ARE from Portugal, so natural heritage would suggest they might know a thing or two about grapes, wine, and the making of it. This family run vineyard and winery produces about 5000 case annually, making 10 reds and 7 whites. I entered into a beautiful tasting room with the “winery dog” having his early afternoon nap on the cool tiles. When the winery dog is present, expect good things my friends! 🙂
Although I didn’t have the chance to meet the owners, I did get to meet Carmen, who was pouring in the tasting room at the time and a true delight! She wanted to pour me everything that was open on that day, but unfortunately, I had to be selective. I seemed to be on a Cabernet Franc kick that day, and if one were to ask about my favourite varietal, Cab Franc would most likely be at the top of the list. (You’ll see the trend as I carry on with this tour…) Anyway, before I get to the wines, I have a cool story (at least for me it was cool) to share with you. As we’re chatting, mostly about specifics of the wine, like I always do, ask a lot of questions and clarify answers with more information. Without missing a beat, she asks: “are you a Sommelier?” In my mind, I wanted to go through the explanation of how I started out in that vein, but switched to the marketing side of WSET, blah, blah, blah, and the reasons why I switched, blah, blah, blah. For all intents and purposes, I AM a sommelier, so rather than explain the specifics, I simply said, “yes”. I was pleasantly surprised to hear her response of “yay!” with an accompanying hand clap. To be honest, if everything else were to go wrong that day, that one word “yes” with an exuberant response made everything completely right.
The wines were brilliant. Absolutely floored by the quality of this wine and especially the uniqueness of the Viognier. Must’ve been a hot vintage because the wine was very tropical! Lots of pineapple and floral notes on the nose accompanied by some toasty coconut and hints of vanilla on the palate. No surprise with that as it was barrel aged for 5 months in both French and American oak. My husband is even a fan of this one and he’s not partial to white wine.
My wallet thanks me for not trying ALL the wines as I’m sure I would’ve brought them all home. I did bring home almost every one I tasted though! Especially curious was their port style wine, the 2009 Porta D’ouro, a fortified wine made from the Merlot grape. Almost vintage in style as my glass was full of sediment after only a small sample. Just the right amount of sweetness, richenss and hints of dried black fruits on the nose with toasted nuts on the finish! I’m going to hold on to mine for a few years and see what happens!
Of course, with me on the Cab Franc kick, I had to get one of those also. Solidly ripened fruit with no capsicum aromas, but good black fruit. One of my top Canadian Cab Francs to be sure!
Obra Prima is Quinta Ferreira’s version of a Bordeaux blend. Lots of awards attached to this wine along with a Double Gold at the All Canadian Wine Championship for 2013. Imagine my surprise as I’m purchasing the 2008, already considered a “library” version in some wineries of the Okanagan! But again, no under-ripeness here and loads of cassis and cedar on the nose and although the tannins were a tad harsh, I do believe they will mellow out in the next few years. A big, bold wine to be sure! I’ve been trying to find the percentage blends on this one, and although I have come up blank, I would well imagine it has the requisite Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and maybe even a touch of Malbec. One review I read indicated this wine may last well up to 2020! I may hold it that long just to find out…
Loved the look, feel, smells and tastes of this winery. If you’re ever in the Oliver area, make sure you KEEP GOING on the famed Black Sage road to get to this one! It is often overshadowed by the other “big guns” on the road and likely missed. It will be worth your time…Cheers!