Formerly known as Soaring Eagle Estate Winery, Bench 1775 is now quite simply named after their gorgeous address on Naramata Road. When your spot and your view are as killer as Bench 1775’s, there’s not much need to gussy things up with a fancy or serious or profound name.
GM/winemaker Val Tait cut her teeth at Poplar Grove, Painted Rock, and Mission Hill before landing at Bench 1775, and she brings her wealth of experience making wine in the Okanagan to new heights at the winery.
Sourced from 30 acres of vines planted in their Naramata Bench vineyards as well as select vineyards throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, the fruit for Bench 1775 wines is hand-picked and grown in optimum locations.
Now, if you like the sweeter wines, their affiliation with Paradise Ranch and Whistler lines means there are plenty of late harvest wines and icewines to be had — this is especially appealing during My Wine Canada’s free shipping offer (more on that in a second).
While I haven’t tasted the dessert wines in depth, I did manage to taste most of their white and red table wines recently and was really impressed with the consistency and quality throughout the range.
On the white wine side of things, the 2014 Pinot Gris left a delicious impression. The pear, red apple, and lemon aromas were complemented by flint and spice notes. A light-plus bodied, viscous white, the peach, red apple, spice, lemon, and marmalade notes exploded on the palate. The 2013 Gewürztraminer was another of my faves.
As for the reds, one of the best I tried was the 2013 Cabernet Franc Malbec. A 50-50 blend of the two grapes, the up-front fruit on the nose is all sorts of pretty — plenty of raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and plum, as well as secondary mocha and leafy notes. There are big, brambly black and red berry notes on the full-bodied palate, with black tea and peppery notes on the light tannins. Really stylish stuff. The 2013 straight Merlot was also a highlight.
And don’t forget – buy six or more wines from Bench 1775 via My Wine Canada and receive free shipping when you enter the FREE15 coupon code at checkout. With nearly two-dozen of Bench 1775's wines to choose from on the MWC site, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Free shipping runs until July 19 at midnight.
Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.