We were not greeted by a glass of wine at the door, a la Hester Creek, but we were greeted by Lola, the vineyard dog (the adorable Bernese mountain dog is the loyal companion to Black Hills Winegrower, Steve Carberry), which was fine by us considering the abundance of delicious wine which we were about to consume. The Black Hills tasting experience is a must if you are touring the Oliver area. Unlike most Okanagan wineries who offer walk-ins and (mostly)-complimentary tastings at their stand-up bars, Black Hills requires an appointment, and charges a nominal fee for tastings ($10-$30, depending on your tasting).
We were seated at a table on their patio, enviously overlooking their members-only area of poolside cabanas – this alone is reason enough to sign up for their wine club – and surrounded by the terroir of their beautiful 27-acre Golden Mile property. The pours at Black Hills are extremely generous, so be sure to arrive with a designated driver (preferably someone you despise because they will hate you forever after missing out on this tasting experience) or hired driver (you are going to need a stretch limo for all of your wine purchases anyway!).
Our flight of five tastings included the Alibi, Chardonnay, Carmenere, Syrah and their popular bordeaux-style blend, Nota Bene (meaning “take note” in Latin. Noted!).
A couple of our favourites were:
Nota Bene 2011 (currently sold out, but you can purchase a double magnum for $319.00. Yes, please.) Black Hills Winemaker’s notes: This complex and delicious blend comes charging out of the glass with a bouquet of blackberry, cherry, plum, and chocolate. The palate delivers rich dark fruits with a hint of sage brush and notes of fine cocoa tannins. Notable for its beautiful balance, it should hold well through 2020 or decant and drink now. A great paining with rich braised or grilled meat.
Alibi 2012 $25.00 Black Hills Winemaker’s notes: The 2012 Alibi is a ripe, fruit driven blend with fragrant aromas of lemon, lime blossom and melon. Citrus notes follow through on the palate accented by tropical flavours of pink grapefruit, kiwi, and passion fruit along with melon and white peach. It’s complex with a fresh, crisp mouth feel and a lingering finish. A perfect accompaniment to seared scallops or sushi.
Because we are so studious, we would love to come back and try the Library Tasting Experience, which offers a tasting of the previous four years of Nota Bene vintages. We would also like to pair our flights with some Flatbread Farms Pizzas, cooked on-site in an outdoor wood-burning stove. Next time, we hope to be accomplishing all of this from the pool-side cabanas. Or better yet, from our inflatable loungers inside the pool.
Fun fact for 90210 (the original) fans: Black Hills is owned by Vinequest Wine Partners Limited, which is comprised of five men – one of whom is the one and only Brandon Walsh! (i.e. Jason Priestley).