Pentage Icewine and Pinot Gris Scream Sunshine

After nine months of recalling its endless finish of mixed tropical fruit, I finally got my hands on a bottle of the Pentage 2007 Icewine. Ivana and I had tasted it last June when we visited Paul and Julie at their Penticton estate, overlooking Skaha Lake. Paul gave us barrel samples to sip as we toured the vineyards and long after lunch – with his rich Cabernet Franc – we could still taste the luscious flavors of the icewine. You can say it really stuck with us.

So, when we opened a bottled version the other night, Ivana’s first descriptor was: summer. Was she recalling the tasting from last June? No, the wine smelled like all the fruits of summer, including kumquat, the orange-like tree fruit, originating in China. Kumquat is something I never would have considered, but I did agree to its honeyed ripe apricot, orange marmalade aromas.

The palate is lush and nectarish, with a vivacious salad of mango, apricot, grapefruit, pear and orange rind, hints of butterscotch and fig, and a lovely acidic lilt in the mid-palate. Great balance with Lifesaver-level sweetness. The finish was somewhat shorter than what we remembered as infinate last year, but it’s still long and custardy, with honey-spicy orange, mango and apricot. Alas, does not pair with chocolate; try shortbread, cheese cake or marzipan.

The 2007 icewine is a unique blend of Semillon, Muscat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, mixed in equal parts, and comes in at 10.5% alcohol. It seems to be only available at the winery where it runs a medium $55.

Back down to earth with the Pentage 2007 Pinot Gris, Ivana’s nose sniffed out another unusual descriptor: Nasturtium. This native South American flower is known to have a slightly peppery taste when eaten. “I just can’t get over the floralness,” Ivana said, noting also dandelion and, we agreed, citrus.

The palate is round, with lively acidity, and sings a medley of lemon, white grapefruit, pears, honeydew melon and peaches. It finishes at good length with green apple, pear and a touch of white pepper. If the icewine tastes of summer, this one evokes spring. Try it with a trout almandine burrito after you buy it at Everything Wine for $25.

All the Pentage wines are produced with estate-grown grapes. In the future they will be made by the new winemaker, Adam Pearce, who signed on for last year’s production.

This year’s harvest won’t be as cramped since the new natural rock cellar is expected to be in operation and the guys will have plenty of space. The picture may look like Fred Flintsone’s living room, but like a fine wine, it will develop with time.

This weekend, April 4-5, Pacific Breeze is having a release party at their garagiste winery in New Westminster. The event is not well publicized on the Internets, so call them for more information.

See you there!

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Studio.com. Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.