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waters on wine

The 15th anniversary of Oliver Twist Estate Winery in the South Okanagan has inspired a name change and overhaul of its portfolio. Proprietor Gina Fernandes Harfman, who bought the winery in 2012 from founders Bruce and Denice Hagerman, is using the opportunity to make the operation her own, relaunching it as Nostalgia Wines.

The 17-acre home vineyard is located on the Black Sage Bench, alongside premium wineries such as Burrowing Owl, Bartier Bros. and Phantom Creek, and the rebranding is an effort to showcase the quality of the wines. Pinot gris, chardonnay, viognier, merlot and syrah are among those being produced.

“Nostalgia Wines is more authentic and better connects to what we represent here,” says Harfman, who is the fourth generation on her father’s side to farm in the Okanagan. The inspiration for the winery’s name keys on wine’s ability to create memories and make lasting connections.

Originally, Nostalgia was one of Oliver Twist’s tiers of wine, with labels featuring pin-up girl illustrations by San Diego artist Ralph Birch. The Pin-Up series continues, with a top-of-the-line Family Collection range and the Nostalgia lineup.

New releases of its small-batch wines from 2020 include a ripe and easy-going kerner and a fuller-bodied and flavourful rosé that’s a blend of cabernet, merlot, syrah and malbec. Nostalgia’s latest pinot gris is recommended this week alongside a range of other enjoyable current listings.

Besides another pinot gris from the Okanagan, an assortment of red wines for barbecue season and a mix of fresh and fruity rosés are featured.

Aberdeen Wine Company Black Angus Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Australia), $50

Rating:91 /100

Australian winemaker Hamish MacGowan, who is responsible for the popular Angus the Bull red wine, has expanded his range with this single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon from Heathcote, Victoria. Like its predecessor, Black Angus is made to be enjoyed with meat dishes. It’s a firm and savoury expression of cabernet, with freshness and appealing depth of flavour. Drink now to 2030. Available in Alberta.

Bodegas Argento Rosé 2020 (Argentina), $10.95

Rating:86 /100

This syrah and malbec-based rosé from Mendoza is made in a dry and spicy style, with a soft and gentle character thanks to its berry and melon notes. A small amount of pinot grigio is added to the blend for freshness. It’s a simple and pleasant pink wine for summer sipping. Vegan-friendly. Available in Ontario.

Dominio del Plata BenMarco Malbec 2018 (Argentina), $19.95

Rating:90 /100

Produced with malbec grown in Los Chacayes, a zone in the centre of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, this ripe and vivid red wine really captures the fragrance of the grape variety. Its savoury and fresh style makes it easy to appreciate. Drink now to 2025. Available in Ontario at the above price, $26.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $32.26 in Newfoundland.

Emiliana Adobe Organic Rosé Reserva 2020 (Chile), $12.95

Rating:87 /100

Produced with organically grown grapes from Emiliana’s vineyards in Chile’s Rapel Valley, this is a stylish rosé with silky smooth texture and appealing red fruit flavours. A blend of syrah, cabernet and merlot, it is nicely balanced and offers good value for the price. Vegan-friendly. Drink now. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $12.99 in Manitoba, $14.49 in New Brunswick, $15.32 in Nova Scotia.

Kitsch Rosé 2020 (Canada), $27

Rating:89 /100

This exciting rosé from Kelowna’s Kitsch estate blends together pinot gris and pinot noir for a refreshingly dry style of pink wine. Nicely balanced and flavourful, it is marked by expressive berry and cherry fruit and a crisp and clean finish. Drink now to 2023. Available in British Columbia at the above price or direct through kitschwines.ca.

Nostalgia Wines Pinot Gris 2020 (Canada), $21.99

Rating:88 /100

A blend of pinot gris grown in Oliver and Osoyoos, this dry white wine is made in a riper style that showcases attractive peach and pear notes. The easy-going fruit-salad notes make for an enjoyable aperitif style. Drink now to 2023. Available direct through nostalgiawines.ca.

Painted Rock Estate Winery Syrah 2018 (Canada), $39.99

Rating:91 /100

Always one to watch from the Okanagan, Painted Rock’s stately expression of syrah offers layers of dark fruit and spice notes as part of a ripe and rewarding package. The new vintage offers more purity of fruit than usual, with freshness and ripe tannins to support. This is a red with instant appeal. Drink now to 2025. Available in British Columbia at the above price or direct through paintedrock.ca.

Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2020 (Canada), $19.99

Rating:89 /100

Poplar Grove produces 11,000 cases of pinot gris each vintage, making it one of British Columbia’s best-selling whites. Its rich and intense style comes from grapes grown at family operated vineyards in different parts of the Okanagan that are harvested as late as possible in the season to ensure ripe fruit flavours. Drink now to 2024. Available in British Columbia at the above price or direct through poplargrove.ca.

Southbrook Triomphe Organic Cabernet Franc Rosé 2020 (Canada), $20.95

Rating:90 /100

This refreshing and enjoyable cabernet franc-based rosé from Niagara is made with organically grown grapes that were hand harvested and whole-cluster pressed to preserve the purity of fruit flavours. Darker in colour and deeper in flavour than rosé's current fashion dictates, this blend includes 12-per-cent cabernet sauvignon that contributes to the core of fruit and herbal complexity. Its structure and harmony make it a terrific rosé to enjoy with a meal. Vegan-friendly. Drink now to 2023. Available direct through southbrook.com.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (United States), $89.95

Rating:92 /100

This is a richly layered and well-structured red wine from one of Napa’s most celebrated producers. Small additions of petit verdot and malbec contribute to the spicy and earthy complexity and add interest to the concentrated ripe dark fruit flavours. Its freshness and intensity make for a nicely balanced and age-worthy expression. Drink now to 2026. Available in Ontario at the above price, $91.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $89.75 in Quebec.

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