Considering that I tell all my British friends that I have moved to 'the Napa Valley of Canada' as a quick, shorthand way of describing my new home, I can't believe I have been blogging about Kelowna for over four months and have yet to write anything about a winery. Well, I am about to rectify that.
One of the first things my husband and I did when we got back to town was to spend a day exploring and re-connecting with the area. This included a pilgrimage to the place that produces one of my very favourite wines - Church & State's utterly yummy Chardonnay.
Located just south of Oliver, Church & State is a wonderfully modern winery, nestled in the Coyote Bowl vineyards, which is in turn nestled in the Black Sage Bench of the southern Okanagan. Not only is the wine wonderful, the winery's contemporary architecture is to utterly fab. Can anything be more modernly fan-tabulous than wood and polished concrete? It's like a match made in thegood(new)life heaven.
Now let's talk awards. The aforementioned Chardonnay - described thus: 'great intensity on the nose, with lanolin, honey, spice, dried lemon zest and vanilla notes. Big and bright, the palate carries a lot of oak flavour, with spice and a touch of smokiness' - won a Silver Medal at the Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards, and Church & State is no slouch in the reds department either. It's 2010 Coyote Bowl Syrah was awarded Bronze for the best red wine in Canada at the Canadian Wine Awards, 2012, and the same awards saw the Syrah, the 2008 Quintessential (red blend) and 2011 Voignier all achieving gold in their categories. All of which added together to place Church & State as the fourth ranking winery in Canada. Can't argue with that.
Prices range from $20 to $35 (the Chardonnay weighs in at $27), with the uber-special 2008 Quintessential (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec & Petit Verdot, which won gold at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition) costing $55.
For slimmer wallets, Church & State also produce the Church Mouse series, a Chardonnay and a Gewerztraminer both priced at $17.
Through the summer, the tasting bars (indoor and outdoor!) are open daily from 11 to 6.