A $23 stunner from Culmina

The restaurant didn’t have a wine bucket so I got a steel tray from the prep line filled with ice and some stemless Reidel knock-offs for glasses, but after 1 sip I realized you could serve this wine in ceramic coffee mugs and nothing could hold back it’s greatness. Where to begin? The nose has none of that cloying floral notes so common in Gewurztraminer- instead there’s a melange between cut grass and cut hay…the smell of sitting on a porch in the summer while gardens and lawns are being tended to. And in the mouth there’s an exceptional balance of acidity and fruit. People often use the word tension the describe a wine that’s the opposite of flabby and it’s the perfect descriptor here: on the one hand you have a plate of ripe cantaloupe and honeydew, with the faintest drizzle of wild honey—on the other a flinty minerality that seems more Chablis than Alsace. And the integration between the two is simply seamless. Every sip was a flipping revelation. Weirdly the wine didn’t have the telltale sign of skin contact – the orange hue- but who cares? If this is what some prolonged exposure to the skins can do for this grape then I urge every Gewurz winemaker in the Okanagan to adopt this practice.

Now the downside. You can’t really buy this wine. The No.008 designation means it’s part of Culmina’s experimental series, made in miniscule quantities and only for member’s of their wine club. So maybe join their wine club. At $23 this is the most exciting Okanagan wine I’ve tasted in a long while.—Neal McLennan, Food Editor