16 January 2008

The Elusive Nota Bene.......

Today I am going to do some blatant plugging for the Okanagan Valley wineries. Thanks to our emerging reputation as a destination for serious wine connoisseurs (plus the fact that we have easy access to hiking, beaches and powder skiing) Frommer's has named the Okanagan Valley a Top Travel Destination for 2008.

You'll find the majority of British Columbia's wineries and vineyards nestled in the Okanagan Valley....we have at least 80 at last count. Hot, dry weather, sheltering mountains and rich soil blend to create one of North America's most productive wine regions next to the Niagara region in Ontario. The picturesque backdrop to many of these wineries is worth the visit alone with lush vineyards and soaring views. Some wineries are open year-round for tours and tastings, however, most wine-related activities occur spring through fall.

Jason Priestley, who is best known for his portrayal of Brandon Walsh on the TV show Beverly Hills 90210, is the latest to join the ranks of wine making celebrities.You remember Jason...he can still be seen on reruns of the show on TV with his '90's hair. I'm sure I had a huge crush on him back in the day....but we won't mention that. He has become a major partner in the group purchasing Black Hills Estate Winery, a winery on the Okanagan Valley's Black Sage Bench between Oliver and Osoyoos. The long sunlight hours and cool nights yield intensely flavourful grapes that the winery blends to produce their world class wines.
Priestley is originally from Vancouver , British Columbia and has long been known as a wine connoisseur and is currently co-host of a wine-related travel show on Canadian TV called "Hollywood and Vines." I remember when he did the show about the Okanagan and jetted up to the Hotel Eldorado on Lake Okanagan.

The actor and director has invested in Vinequest Wine Partners, a partnership that was put together to purchase Black Hills. It is regionally famous for a red blend called Nota Bene and a dessert wine called Sequentia. Nota Bene is $38 a bottle if you can find it at all. It seems to sell out as quickly as it is put on the shelves. When my friend was up here visiting from Arizona she was appalled that a bottle of wine could not be purchased for less than $12 here in Canada.
Note bene is a Latin phrase meaning "note well". In present day English it is used to draw attention to a certain single note or to "take note". It is the perfect name for this blend of wines. The name implies that it draws attention to a single note or flavour in the perfect blend.

I don't claim to be a wine connoisseur so here it is someone else's words:

This one is for you Deb of Debs Key West Wine & Garden..I always enjoy your posts on wine worldwide!

"While some of the Okanagan’s Meritage-style blends are dominated by Merlot, Nota Bene is always anchored with Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2004 Nota Bene is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc.The result is a wine in the style of Bordeaux red from a good chateau. The colour is a vibrant garnet. The aromas include mint, pepper, red berries and a bit of that cigar box so typical of good Bordeaux aged in good French oak. The complex flavours include red currants, olives and dill. The texture is firm but polished. Because of its youth, I decanted the wine an hour before serving. If ordered in a restaurant, you should insist on decanting."
To use Jason's own words,
"I have traveled to many great wine regions around the world, and I am extremely impressed with the quality of wines emerging from the Okanagan Valley. Without a doubt, my favourite wine from Canada is the Nota Bene from Black Hills Estate Winery. Now, with my involvement in the Black Hills ownership group, I am able to deepen my connections to this exceptional winery as well as keep my roots involved in my native province of B.C.”
Getting back to your roots Eh???

The Okanagan Valley has several wine celebrations throughout the year.

Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, May 1-4, 2008

The Okanagan Spring Wine Festival is a perfect marriage of wine and culinary tourism. For the first four days in May each year, it offers a tantalizing experience for anyone who loves fabulous wine accompanied by fine cuisine. And what better way to announce grape growing season than to hold a Festival during bud break!
Visit the Okanagan Wine Festivals web site for a complete listing of events.

Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, October 2 – 12, 2008

During this festival, experience vineyard tours, lunches, dinners, events and the fall wine harvest -- there is no better way to visit Okanagan wine country. For ten days in early October enjoy over 165 events throughout the valley which are focused on wine, food, education and the arts in one of North America's most spectacular settings -- the Okanagan Valley.
Visit the Okanagan Wine Festivals web site for a complete listing of events.

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  1. Val, I've drank Okanagan reds and not one was spit out!

    I've also met Jason Priestly, still pretty down to earth dude, bravo to him.

  2. Great post Val, What a beautiful area you live in! I hope you give us more of a peek into the Okanagan
    Valley it's truely breathtaking. And by the way, Jason Priestly turned out to be a real hottie!!!

  3. Good morning Starshine!
    What a great post! I love to know all these things about your Viñedos Vineyards... I could not imagine that you had such beautiful and good wines in Canada!
    Maybe one day we could make an exchange: I send you a Rioja or Penedés and you send me a Black Hills Nota Bene... what do you think?

    Mr.Jason is really handsome!!!

  4. Jason hangs out with and promotes one of my favourite bands The Barenaked Ladies from TO.
    Yes I'd have to say that Jason is a reall hottie!!!
    I will exchange wines with you any time. Nota Bene is hard to get hold of but there are other delcious award winning red and whites Nuria....any time!!

  5. You are lucky to be near such a great wine producing area. As you know from my posts about Vermont wine, I was not so fortunate. :)

    Jason priestly looks much better now, I must say.

  6. Is that him? He's hot! I'm coming up there to visit. Immediately.
    Maybe I'll run into him, and we can drink some wine on a bearskin rug.

    I just read everyone else's comments, and I guess they like Jason Priestly, too. HE'S MINE!!

  7. Nice wine, but I didn't recognise Jason, just thought mmmmm!

  8. Nice post Valli and I think you know a lot of wines!!! Gloria

  9. Yeah Valli!! What a wonderful post on wines from your area! Your part of the country sounds pretty nice to me. You are very lucky to be located so close to a wine region and you are a 2008 DESTINATION!!!
    I bet those red wines are pretty tasty on your cold Canadian winter nights! (Might even find one that would pair with your mac and cheese):)

  10. I definitely enjoy these types of posts. Not only do you live in a beautiful part of Canada, you have some noteable wines to sing about and you did.


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