854 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
from two small blocks, this wine displays a beautiful bouquet of red fruit.
The flavours of cherry burst onto the palate and hang around for a lingering
finish. We have tried several vintages of the Pinot Noir, and the 2017 is
among the best.
Before we reach the southern tip of Lake Okanagan and retreat to the
South Okanagan, we make a stop at the relatively new Roche Wines, owned
by Dylan and Pénélope Roche. The story behind this winery is as intriguing
as the wines themselves. Dylan, a native of North Vancouver, began to
develop his passion for wine while working as a cycling guide and bike
mechanic for a luxury travel company, where he encountered no shortage
of great food and wine. His increasing interest in the subject ultimately led
to enology studies in Beaune and various apprenticeships in winemaking
and viticulture in Côte d’Or, Chablis and New Zealand. It was in New
Zealand that he met Pénélope Furt. For six generations, Pénélope’s family
owned the Bordeaux estate Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion in Pessac-
Léognan. In 2011, Dylan and Pénélope decided to make a move to Penticton,
and after Dylan’s brief stint as winemaker at Intersection Winery, they
eventually purchased a plot of land on Upper Bench Road and built their
small production facility.
Applying the collective knowledge and skills they acquired in Burgundy
and Bordeaux, Dylan and Pénélope have developed a fine portfolio of wines
that appeal to various palates across the affordability spectrum. Their philosophy
is to let the vineyard do the talking for them, or as Dylan puts it,
“take from the vineyard and let it be what it wants to be,” and to pick fruit
at appropriate levels of ripeness so as to avoid over-ripe wines that fade in
the bottle, rather than improve.
The Roche Pinot Noir labels include their “Texture” series and their “Tradition”
series. The Texture wines receive little to no oak and are meant to
show off their varietal character, whereas the Tradition wines are aged in
oak before bottling and are intended for some amount of cellaring. The philosophy
here is simple. Not everyone wants to drink a complex, age-worthy
wine on a Wednesday evening. There are times we want wine that is juicy
and refreshing that will complement simple cuisine.
The Roche Wines “Texture” Pinot Noir 2018 ($27) is a wine that provides
abundant varietal fruit and loads of refreshment and satisfaction. On
the palate, you’ll find juicy red cherry fruit that is balanced with a bright
acidity. One way to measure the quality of wine is by how easy it is to drink,
and this wine is very easy and enjoyable to drink. Enjoy this Pinot Noir with
a grilled hamburger or a wood-fired pizza Margherita.
The Roche Wines “Tradition” Pinot Noir 2016 ($45) is made from fruit
from the west-facing slopes of the Kozier Vineyard in Naramata. The grapes