For oeneophiles, living in the heart of B.C. wine country is a true blessing. Being so close to so many orchards, vineyards and wineries is a virtual candyland for me. With many options for tourists and locals alike, some don’t know where to start. Naramata now has some twenty plus wineries, and Oliver has even more. For those who have visited the Penticton benchlands and perhaps many south Okanagan wineries, try driving north fifteen minutes from Penticton and you will find the small town of Summerland. This little city now boasts ten wineries, known as ‘Bottleneck Drive’. Most of these small estates are tucked up in behind the face of Giant’s Head Mountain, an extinct volcano.
The latest of these wineries I came to visit is known as Hollywood and Wine. Once a driver for Vancouver’s movie industry, Neil Massey and his wife Betty now own four and a half hectares in the Dale Meadow valley. Plantings on this piece of land (where there were once apples trees) include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Zweigelt, Merlot and Leon Millot. What intruiged me was the latter.
Leon Millot, a vigorous hybrid produces wines of medium weight, with bright berry flavours with soft supple tannins. This particular wine exudes red cherry and blackberry aromas that follow through on the palate. Sweet butterscotch joins the fruit for a soft, velvety finish. Great job for a fairly unknown varietal, and an easy red for those who those who prefer white. Try this with pizza, pasta or duck confit.