Thornhaven Estates Winery2006 Pinot Gris
Established in 1999, Thornhaven seems hidden away behind Giant’s Head, the extinct volcano that dominates the Okanagan community of Summerland. Those who navigate the backroads will discover an attractive Santa Fe-styled winery nestled against Ponderosa pine and cactus. The winery’s quiet, shady patio and cool tasting room look out on 18 acres of vineyard. The setting alone makes this a hidden gem among the several small Summerland wineries.
The winery is owned by the Fraser family, relative new comers to viticulture. Jack Fraser has had along career on oil rigs in such spots as Libya and the North Sea. Now he and son Jason run vineyards and the winery’s cellar. The wines are made under the tutelage of consultant Christine Leroux, who was trained as a winemaker in Bordeaux.
She has an especially fine touch with Thornhaven’s white varieties. This Pinot Gris is delightfully atypical. The tropical aromas – pineapples, pears, rhubarb – leap from the glass. The lively flavours suggest sweet but zesty pink grapefruit and the wine has a fresh and vibrant finish, more like Sauvignon Blanc than the more restrained Pinot Gris from other Okanagan wineries. A delicious wine with attitude! 88 points.
Reviewed May 29, 2007 by 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.