Thursday, August 31, 2017

Okanagan Wine Trip, Part 1, our first ever visit to Ciao Bella!!

So, SO much to report on from last weekend's Okanagan trip. The main event of the trip was the 2nd Annual Quails' Gate Barrel Party.....but lots more great stuff to tell you about, including our first visit to 8-9 wineries.

Just to shake it up a bit, I'm going to present the reviews to you in no particular order. In fact, this review is actually from the LAST winery we visited this trip.

On your way out of Kelowna, if you follow the signs, you can find yourself in a quaint little tasting room (in the kitchen of a remodeled basement suite, in fact) called Ciao Bella Winery. They used to sell their grapes to Arrowleaf, but at some point decided to make it a go on their own. This is the definition of a family-run winery.

The Fiume family - Roberto and Sharon, with children Antonio and Olivia. And dog.

Prices do not include tax.

Ciao Bella 2016 Pinot Grigio ($18.95)

Arresting notes of red apple, citrus and green apple on the nose and palate, followed by a touch of apricot on the finish. Crisp and refreshing. 88.

Ciao Bella 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé ($19.95)

A nose of watermelon, strawberry and rhubarb. The palate mirrors the nose, with a hint of raspberry thrown in for good measure. Perfectly pleasant and if you are a bigger fan of watermelon than I am, you will enjoy. 87.

Ciao Bella 2015 Pinot Nero (Noir) ($24.95)

Pleasant aromas of black cherry, blackberry and mocha. The palate is complex, with blackberry flavors dominating notes of vanilla, smoke and dark chocolate. Very terroir-driven, as this is only one of two Pinots we sampled this trip that features dark chocolate flavors. The other one was their next-door neighbor. 88.

Their only other offering was a 2014 Pinot Nero, which was named Best Pinot Noir at the Spring Wine Festival. We didn't get to taste it, but picked up a bottle anyway and I'll let you know how we liked it once we have opened it.

Sharon couldn't have been friendlier, and the wines show tremendous promise. Drop by if you are in the neighborhood!

Up next: we'll go down the road to their closest neighbor, Kalala!


Ciao Bella 2014 Pinot Nero ($29.95)

Drinking this as we speak, paired with a beautiful piece of Halibut with a lemon agrodolce sauce. You think a red wine can't pair with white fish or lemon? Think again.

Wild strawberry aromas jump from the glass (and the bottle as it's being poured). Give it a second and it gets more earthy and herbaceous. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry, cranberry and a hint of smoke. The dark chocolate that was so incredibly prevalent in the above was almost non-existent here. 89.

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