Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Van Westen Vineyards 2005 Viognier, Orlando Vineyard (Okanagan Valley)

Van Westen Vineyards

2005 Viognier, Orlando Vineyard
(Okanagan Valley)

Just opened last year, Van Westen Vineyards is a tiny wine producer on British Columbia’s Naramata Bench that is quickly winning its own cult following. The secret is good viticulture, not surprising given the experience of the Van Westen family. Jake Van Westen Sr. came to Canada in 1959 armed with an agriculture degree from a Dutch school. He and his family have grown tree fruits near Naramata since then. Seven years, they began converting some orchards to vineyards.

The winery is run by Rob Van Westen, one of Jake’s sons. His dedication is near fanatical. This summer a tractor roll-over put him in hospital for more than a week of surgeries on a damaged hip. As soon as he was back home, he modified a wheel chair so that he continue looking after the winery and doing what’s important for good wines. This Viognier – there only are 52 cases – was one of the wines finished from his wheel chair.

Light gold in colour, it has the fragrant aroma of orange peel, honeysuckle and apricots. The wine surprises the palate, starting with a crisp freshness but finishing with a satisfying fullness (there is over 14% alcohol). There are flavours of stone fruits and citrus, with mineral notes, finishing dry. 88 points.

Reviewed January 19, 2007 by John Schreiner.

The Wine

Winery: Van Westen Vineyards
Vineyard: Orlando Vineyard
Vintage: 2005
Wine: Viognier
Appellation: Okanagan Valley
Grape: Viognier
Price: 750ml $24.90

Review Date: 1/19/2007

The Reviewer

John Schreiner

John Schreiner has been covering the wines of British Columbia for the past 30 years and has written 10 books on the wines of Canada and BC. He has judged at major competitions and is currently a panel member for the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Wine. Both as a judge and as a wine critic, he approaches each wine not to find fault, but to find excellence. That he now finds the latter more often than the former testifies to the dramatic improvement shown by BC winemaking in the past decade.