Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sleeping Giant (fruit wines), Summerland, BC

Time for me to get back to work! My apologies for those two or three of you who have been checking the blog periodically for updates; a nasty chest infection followed by the purchase of our first house (and subsequent move) has incapacitated my writing for several weeks.

     I am now on the mend, and moved in, and feel up to the challenge of gearing up for ISG Sommelier Level 2 which begins in just a few weeks. Of course, to prepare for the enological challenges, I will need to taste much wine and write about the inherent research.

     For today, let's talk about fruit wines. Fruit wines are made in much the same manner as grape wines ( ), and there are just as many varietals. Virtually anything that grows from the ground can be made into wine; tomato wine, pumpkin wine, dandelion wine... you get the idea. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be good. Take for instance, the incident in which a wise and benevolent man I know (remaining nameless due to humiliation) decided to make banana wine. Sounds vulgar doesn't it? Well, it must have been pretty bad because he came home to discover his brother and his brothers girlfriend throwing up said banana wine... I mean it was uncontrollable to the point of almost needing hospitalization.

     Not all fruit wines are created equal.

     Enter Sleeping Giant Fruit Winery ( )to the equation! Purveyors of true quality, these fine folks have over a dozen fruit wines to their names, and I had the distinct pleasure of sampling more then a few. Some of the more observant readers may be raising an eyebrow about now, as I am not always the biggest fan of fruit wines. In general I find that there is poor production quality and value, with lacklustre performance from the product. Not so the case with Sleeping Giant. True, not everything they carry is to my taste, but it is all made with craftsmanship, caring and genuine attention to detail. Pay heed.

2010 Bartlet Pear
  • nose: rich pear notes (obviously) with gala and spartan apple, moderate+ in intensity with floral honey notes & a backbone of acidity
  • palate: moderate- acids tasting of pears and crabapples, long finish with the same pear/honey/floral notes found in the nose
  • moderate+ body, almost Chardonnay like... good structure
  • PAIRS WITH: try it with a simple smoked chicken sandwich, or a roast turkey dinner... the orchard fruit qualities will play off poultry quite well
Apricot (all wines are 2010)
  • nose: moderate++ intense with overripe apricots, almonds and a muscat-like quality florality which is sublime
  • palate: full- acids balance the sweetness, moderate structure, moderate-body. Palate was less intense then the nose, and lacked the structure I was hoping for, but the thin, acidic finish makes this a natural for pairing with cheeses
  • PAIRS WITH: raclette! fondue! baked brie with cranberry and caramelized Walla-Walla onions! Anything that focuses on cheese with balance the acids and play on the fruit.

  • nose: moderate- intense notes of blackberries and black currants
  • palate: moderate- acids, moderate body, moderate+ structure; was pleasantly surprised by the long finish and the palate mimicking the nose perfectly. Underspoken, this serves well on its own.
  • PAIRS WITH: I think this would make a brilliant martini with some Shramm Vodka ( ) or alternatively, I would use it in my sauces for red meat, game, and free-range poultry
Strawberry Rhubarb
  • nose: fully intense perfume of sweet strawberry, a bouquet of roses, and even the rhubarb comes through which I find amazing
  • palate: incredibly well balanced moderate acids, palate mimicks nose with a touch of lemon zest at the end
  • PAIRS WITH: of course this will pair admirably with summer salads utilizing seafood; prawns and crab especially, but I'm looking forward to making white Sangria with this next year and dazzling my neighbours!
  • nose: fully intense nose of black and red raspberries in all their glory, and a ton of sugar/honey
  • palate: moderate to moderate- acids, moderate- to light bodied, moderate- structure... I thought from the nose that I wouldn't be able to drink this due to all the sugars, but it was incredibly light and refreshing
  • PAIRS WITH: I would once again use this for summer martinis, summer salads (with poultry or ham), and yes - white or red Sangria
  • nose: full- intense Christmas bouquet of baking: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice
  • palate: moderate+ acids, moderate+ body, moderate+ structure... this wine had baked apple pie flavors that went on forever! Roast pears came through as well.
  • PAIRS WITH: I was truly impressed with the delicate balancing of the sugars- truly this could be served almost anytime... from turkey dinner at Thanksgiving to baked cheese canapes at Christmas to coq-au-vin (a bit of a stretch, but serve it with roast squash & it will work) to a smoked chicken and brie panini
  • this is the only wine that the winemakers have doubled their production every year for three years (*and sold out by August 01st)
     I hope you've learnt a little today! It really is a wonderful place to visit, and if their wines weren't enough - they make luscious ice-cream (not gelato) and a whole host of fruit preserves which are more then a little sinful. Give Sleeping Giant Fruit Winery an hour of your time the next time you're driving through Summerland, BC.


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