Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pachyderms and Cherries

In this instance, life truly can be a bowl of cherries. We were given a batch of Okanagan cherries and, my goodness, are they easy to keep munching on.

120. 2004 Elephant Island Orchard Wines - Cherry (Naramata Bench - Okanagan)

Going down just as easily is this next wine to be added to The List. Long before the Naramata Bench became noted as one of the premier winemaking locations in the Okanagan, most of the vineyards used to be home to fruit trees - particularly cherries.

Elephant Island found a way to get into the wine business but stay based on the fruit orchard. Many have been told the story about the origin of the winery's name - part of which stems from the fact that the family patriarch looked at the original investment in the orchard as a "white elephant."

Their website beckons you to "expect the unexpected" and we were thoroughly surprised and pleased with how the 2004 had stood up to some aging. We thought we might have waited a bit long to open our bottle - since we don't tend to reach for a fruit wine right away when creating dinner - but the wine still had nice full structure and lots of cherry flavour and nose.

Owners, Del & Miranda Halladay, combine classic winemaking technique with more unconventional fruit as their base and they're having great success at overcoming most people's initial questioning nature of fruit wines in general. The winery was asked to participate in the BC Regional Theme concept of this spring's Vancouver Playhouse Festival - right along side with the big boys and girls. They've even been mentioned in a feature on the Okanagan Valley in a past Wine Spectator magazine article - no small praise in itself.

Loving cherries as much as we do, I suppose it only makes sense that a cherry wine could be so enjoyable. I suspect we'll see more fruit wines being served at our table down the line.

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