Thursday, May 21, 2015

Terravista Fandango

Senka Tennant is one of a number of pioneers in bringing about a reputation for sophisticated wines in the Okanagan. When she (along with her husband, Bob, and a couple of business partners) worked on the launching of Black Hills Winery in 1999, she was responsible for the introduction of one of the region's most iconic wines: Nota Bene, the Bordeaux blend that quickly attained cult status and ingrained Senka's name into the minds of BC wine drinkers.

As anyone familiar with BC wines knows, Senka and Bob sold Black Hills to a investment consortium in 2007 and the Tennants took a bit of a breather.

That breather didn't last long, however, the couple purchased new property on the Naramata Bench in 2008. They also decided to blaze a trail with their new project, Terravista, when they were the first in Canada to commercially plant and harvest Albariño and Verdejo - two grapes that are associated more with the northwest of Spain and Portugal than the northern climes of the Naramata Bench.

1922.  2012 Terravista Fandango (Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley)

Senka's penchant for blends was also seen in another of Black Hills' better known wines, Alibi - a white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Tennants may not have continued making Bordeaux-styled wines but they have carried on in the direction of blends. They are currently only producing white wines - a Rhône-style blend called Figaro and tonight's bottle, Fandango, a blend of the Albariño and Verdejo grown on their new property. They don't make a lot of either wine either. Local wine writer, John Schreiner, has reported that Senka found the whole expansion and growth of Black Hills to be a bit overwhelming and that she and Bob intend to keep production at Terravista around a 2000 case maximum.

The 2012 is the second bottling of Fandango and it would appear that it can stand up to a bit of ageing because, after a couple of years in the bottle, this is still a fresh and vibrant - not to mention tasty - glass of wine. I'm no expert on either of the two grapes making up this wine, but I'd love to do a comparison tasting of the Terravista and a Spanish and/or Portuguese version.

As of the 2012 vintage, Fandango still couldn't qualify for VQA status - despite its pedigree and the quality of the product. To my knowledge, that still hasn't changed. Neither Albariño, nor Verdejo have been recognized by the provincial wine powers as approved varieties. Until that happens, Fandango will simply have to rely on the fact that its fans know its value - even if it doesn't have an executive stamp of approval.

I'm just glad to see Senka and Bob back in the wine business.

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