Wine Spotlight: Three Sweet Okanagan Whites Perfect for a Summer's Eve

The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada's most celebrated wine regions, and is the second largest wine region in the nation, accounting for approximately 90% of all wine produced in British Columbia. Almost every kind of wine is grown in the area, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, as well as wines with a wide variety of sweetness levels, ranging from still, fortified and sparkling to ice wine. If you're looking for the perfect bottle of white wine to toast family and friends this summer in Kelowna, look no further than your own backyard and pick up a bottle of Okanagan Valley wine.

Calona Vineyards' Sovereign Opal 2010

Calona Vineyards is known in the Okanagan Valley for being the first established winery in the region. Opened in 1931, it continues to produce some of the region's most exciting wines to this day. In 2011, Calona Vineyards released their Artist Series of wines that sought to tell a story "that begins on the label and finishes on your palate," as they paired some of their best wines with labels designed by acclaimed local artists. The Sovereign Opal label designed by Robb Dunfield is called "Summer Meadow," and pairs well with this bright white wine. The tasting notes for this wine include juicy mandarin, pink grapefruit and honeydew with pear, yellow plum and apricot on the nose.

Hester Creek Estate Winery's Pinot Blanc 2012

Hester Creek's Pinot Blanc 2012 won the British Columbia Wine Awards Gold Medal in 2013 for the best Pinot Blanc in the province, making this wine one of the most sought after whites of the season. In order to accentuate the flavour of their Pinot Blanc vines, Hester Creek leaves the fruit hanging until after harvest, causing the fruit to develop into a fuller and more complex wine. In terms of tasting notes, you can expect a mouth full of honey, apple and peach, as well as a hint of citrus, as the wine boasts a fine balance of acidity and sweetness and therefore pairs well with baked fruit or cheesecake.

Larch Hills Winery's Siegerrebe Dry 2013

The Larch Hills Winery is a family run vineyard, where Jack and Hazel Manser use only 100% British Columbia grapes to produce award winning wines. One of the winery's latest awards was a Bronze medal at the prestigious All-Canadian Wine Championships held last year in Windsor, Ontario, for their Gewurztraminer 2010. One of this year's most anticipated releases from Larch Hills is their Siegerrebe Dry 2013, which is a German varietal featuring a floral bouquet comprised of passion fruit and tropical scents, though the tasting notes seem to deceive the senses, as the wine has a fullness and lasting finish that makes it pair well with pork and red meat. This would be a great wine to serve for an outdoor dinner with family and friends.

The Okanagan Valley has been home to some of the most exciting wines in the country over the last few years, stealing the hearts of former Niagara Region enthusiasts and winning countless national awards. If you're looking for more information about Okanagan wine, there is an Okanagan Spring Wine Festival in May, where you might find your new favourite white wine to serve this summer. However, because of the great work being done by local wineries, you don't need to go far to find a sweet white wine this summer; just look for Okanagan Valley on the label to be sure you've found a crowd-pleasing bottle.

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