As part of our recent Top Cat Tours of the Naramata Bench wine region, we tasted several Therapy Vineyards wines. We’d actually sampled the whites separately the afternoon before, and joined the group for the reds on the morning of our tour.
We spent several nights at the Therapy Vineyards Guesthouse, just a stone’s throw from the vineyards, winery, and tasting room. Therapy is situated towards the northern end of the Naramata Bench, commanding a beautiful view of both Okanagan Lake and the mountains.
Therapy Vineyards is located on the former site of Red Rooster Winery. Many of the vines are over 20 years old and are firmly established.
In 2005, Therapy released its first vintage, and the winery hasn’t looked back since. Some of the region’s most clever names in wine find their home here: Pink Freud, Super Ego, Bi-Polar, Freudian Sip — there’s a definite theme carried on throughout the brand.
Of the whites, we sampled the Freudian Sip 2010 ($17), aged in stainless steel and containing a blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vigonier, Kerner, Chardonnay, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürtztraminer. Considered a slightly off-dry wine, the crispiness and light tropical fruit aroma is present, with strong grapefruit notes. It’s an easy-to-drink white blend.
Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($20) has a citrusy flavour together with passion fruit and herbs, containing a medium body that works well with seafood and lighter fare.
The Chardonnay 2008 ($22) has more straw at the nose than the toasty vanilla aroma that I’ve come to know in a typical Chardonnay. It has the toasted oak and citrus combination going, while the acidity is bright. The grapes are grown right on the vineyard’s estate, its fruit processed within six hours of hand picking. I liked it but preferred the Sauvignon Blanc.
Therapy’s Alterego 2011 ($24) is fermented in stainless steel, later sent to both American and French oak barrels. I sensed peaches at the nose, while the buttery feel came to the palate upon tasting. It’s made with 45% Pinot Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Vigonier and 5% Chardonnay. Light and nutty, this wine could work great with aged cheese or poultry dishes.
Within the reds, Pink Freud 2011 ($17) is a rosé incorporating raspberry, red licorice, and cranberry aromas. It’s well-rounded with bursts of plum and cherry. We learned that the off-dry finish is due to the residual sugar. Pink Freud is a blend of 78% Merlot and 22% Pinot Noir. I think it would go great with green apple and aged white cheddar.
The Pinot Noir 2010 ($22) contains Pinot grapes from four different vineyards (three in Naramata, one in Summerland). Aged in both American and French oak for eight months, it has aromas of plum and spice with a hint of smokiness. It’s a medium-bodied, 100% Pinot.
Freud’s Ego 2008 ($17) blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes to create an easy sipper containing black cherry, blackberry, and smoky notes.
The Merlot 2009 ($22) is a blend of Therapy’s own estate grapes plus those from Oliver. Each vineyard’s grapes were kept separate in a combination of French and American oak, later blended before the bottling process. It has a nice structure, and juicy fruity aromas, plus chocolate and tobacco to complete the experience.
Super Ego 2008 ($32) was our last red sampling of the morning. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Petit Verdot, each year’s issue varies, according to growing conditions that year. Another nice red blend with a great structure, perfect for grilled meats or stew. Rich tobacco and smoke intertwine with the grapes to create a nice finish to the ‘pick of the Therapy reds’.
My favourite Therapy wine is the Sauvignon Blanc 2011, one that recently caught the eye of the Vancouver Sun.
Therapy also offers an icewine: Bi-Polar 2010 ($50). It was awarded a silver medal in the All Canadian Championship’s icewine category earlier this season, and took bronze in 2011’s InterVin International Wine Awards (Dessert Wine category). This icewine is made from 100% Pinot Gris grapes that were harvested on November 24, 2010 under ideal conditions (-14C).
Therapy Vineyards is located at 940 Debeck Road in Naramata, BC. I’ll be posting a separate review of our experience staying at their guesthouse.