C.C. Jentsch is on a roll.

Earlier this month, the Oliver winery's 2016 Syrah ($32) won best Syrah at the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival's B.C. Best of Varietal Wine Awards.

And then, this week, it received word of major wins at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England.

The C.C. Jentsch 2015 Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) was awarded a gold medal and the 2016 Syrah, 2015 Small Lot Merlot ($36) and 2016 Malbec ($50) all won bronze.

"We get bigger and better every year," said owner Christopher Jentsch.

"With these awards, we've reached a real tipping point."

The gold-winning Cab Sauv is dark and delicious with aromas and flavours of black currant, black pepper and coffee.

The Syrah is earthy and unfiltered with layers of plum, black pepper and leather.

The Merlot offers up cherry, pomegranate and mocha.

And the Malbec is a cherry-vanilla-and-violet delight.

C.C. Jentsch also recently released two other wines, the 2015 Small Lot Cabernet Franc ($50) and the 2018 Blanc de Noir Rose ($23).

The Cab Franc is complex with a flavour profile from plum and cherry to dried herbs, coffee and even black licorice.

The raspberry-strawberry-cranberry Rose is the perfect summer sipper.

But its 100% Merlot composition means it has enough weight to enjoy in the fall with roast vegetables or the winter with Christmas turkey.


Winemaker Tyler Harlton, the TH in Summerland's TH Wines, is showing his deft skill with Rhone whites.

In southern France's Rhone Valley, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne are the signature white wine grapes.

Harlton's 2018 Viognier ($25) is classic of the varietal with an intense honeyed profile of pear, citrus and rose blossom.

The 2018 Viognier Roussanne ($29) blend delivers honey and apricot associated with the Viognier and herbs and spice from the Roussanne.

Made well, Rhone whites are full-bodied, aromatic and interesting and Harlton's are no exception.

To create added complexity in the wines, each was fermented and aged in a combination of big 500-litre oak puncheons, standard-sized 225-litre oak barrique barrels and stainless-steel tanks.

The puncheons and barrels were neutral, meaning they have been used at least a couple of times before, so they didn't impart oak taste, just an almost creamy texture.

TH Wines has a small production of less than 2,000 cases annually.

Only 369 cases of the Viognier was made and just 68 cases of Viognier Roussanne.

So, you better act quick if you want a piece of this action.

The wines are for sale at the winery at 9576 Cedar Ave. in Summerland and at THWines.com.


What does a contemporary farmhouse look like?

Well, it has stone walls, high, beamed ceiling, polished concrete floors, a metal roof and a wall of retractable glass stretching to the view of vineyards and Okanagan Lake.

Such a new building sits atop the hill at Kelowna's CedarCreek Winery and houses the winery's just-opened Home Block Restaurant.

The year-round dining room has both indoor and outdoor seating and features a wine country cooking by chef Neil Taylor.

When my wife, Kerry, and I dropped by for a sneak taste we savoured the hake fish with hand-cut fries paired with glasses of CedarCreek 2018 Platinum Block 1 Rose, the wine that recently won best Rose at the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival's B.C. Best of Varietal Wine Awards.

Also on the offer is squid-ink spaghetti, risotto, wood-grilled burger, chicken cooked under a brick and hanger steak.

We finished off the meal with sticky toffee pudding, but the dark-chocolate budino (custard) and rhubarb and almond tart also looked good.

The wine list, of course, includes all of CedarCreek's wines by the glass and bottle.

The restaurant is part of an extensive rebuild and remodel at the winery.

The new tasting room and wine-and-gift shop will open late next month.


Speaking of spectacular places to eat and drink, the al fresco Terrace at West Kelowna's Mission Hill Family Estate is now open for the season.

To spotlight some of the ingredients being used by the restaurant, Mission Hill had a Spring Farm-to-Table lunch last weekend in the separate loggia space.

Chef Adam Vaughan created three courses of burrata cheese salad, chicken with black kale and chocolate with rhubarb featuring produce from farmer Jordan Marr of Unearthed Fine Veggies & Herbs in Kelowna.

Marr's organic produce will be used in dishes all season long on the Terrace.

By the way, the welcome wine at the lunch was the sparkling Exhilaration and 2018 Reserve Rose and the courses were paired, respectively, with 2018 Terroir Collection Sauvignon Blanc-Semillion, 2017 Reserve Meritage and 2013 Quatrain red blend.

The Terrace is open for lunch, dinner and tapas.


Steve MacNaull is The Okanagan Weekend's business and wine reporter and columnist. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.

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