A hearty and joyous welcome to British Columbia’s Terravista Vineyards, the latest in a fresh wave of new wineries that have been added to My Wine Canada for your ordering and sipping pleasure.
Haven’t heard of them? Well, it’s about time you’re in the loop, although it’s possible you know Terravista’s owners, Senka and Bob Tennant, from a different context. The duo were the founders of Black Hills Estate Winery, the South Okanagan venture known principally for its ‘Nota Bene,’ a Bordeaux-inspired red blend that has been a Canadian favourite for many years now. Their critically acclaimed work at Black Hills, Senka the winemaker and Bob the vineyard and business guy (along with a couple partners), proved popular for many years. As the business grew steadily over the years and an eventual collective decision amongst all of the partners to sell in 2007 came to fruition, the Tennants decided they weren’t quite ready to hang up their winery boots.
2008 found them planting vines a little north of their previous venture, about a 45-minute drive or so, on the Naramata Bench, just above Penticton on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake. Straying from any sense of regional, or national, tradition – they opted to plant their home vineyard with two varieties more familiar to Spain and Portugal, Albariño and Verdejo. The former, with its floral characteristics and naturally high acidity, and the latter being refreshingly fruity, come together as a lively duo ready for summertime quaffing. The Okanagan’s expressive minerality and natural acidity lend themselves well to the blend, making many wonder why we haven’t given them a whirl before. They call the wine “Fandango,” and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fill up your dance card.
Their other white here on My Wine Canada is “Figaro,” an ode to the white blends of the Rhône, composed of Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne grapes that are sourced from the southernmost reaches of wine country. All of the stone fruit, nutty and floral opulence expected from these varieties are in place, held aloft by cheery acidity and charm. We’re seeing more and more of this style of blend here in British Columbia, and Terravista’s version shows that we’re on a good track with them.
The Tennants lead a little bit more of a quieter life now in Naramata, but their wines appear to shine brighter than ever. As summer nears, there’s no better time to get to know them.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.