Column: The fresh story of Narrative wines

During phase two of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m continuing to highlight some of the 350 plus wineries in our province. This week it’s the unique story of Narrative wines in Summerland.Narrative is one of four brands that are produced at the Okanagan Crush Pad.

The Pad opened in 2011 to provide a home-base for owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie’s original wine label Haywire, and to serve as a custom crush facility. Today this innovative winery makes its own wines under four labels: Haywire, Narrative, Free Form, and Bizou + Yukon.

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Narrative was introduced by Okanagan Crush Pad winery in 2014 to showcase what the Okanagan is best at: cool climate, aromatic, crisp, and lively wines and spirits. Narrative articulates this through winemaker Matt Dumayne’s creation of unique blends, single varietal wines and premium small offerings crafted from grapes sourced from various vineyards in the Okanagan.

Dumayne, a native of New Zealand, has gained a reputation for making some of the most innovative and polished wines in the Okanagan. With thirty years of experience and a philosophy of “less is more”, Dumayne uses organic and biodynamic grapes, wild yeasts, and concrete tanks to produce refreshing and elegant. Concrete is a neutral material that allows the grapes and yeast to work together making clean and fresh-tasting wine with a silky texture.

The Narrative 2018 Pinot Blanc ($26.90) is a polished example of this grape that is often used in a blend. But it’s superb as a solo act. Narrative’s version has a fresh floral bouquet with a lemon meringue flavour and a creamy texture. There’s also juicy melon overtures and a lemon rind and orange finish.

It’s one of the best Pinot Blancs I’ve tasted and it's a great patio wine. But it can also be paired with sushi, Caesar Salad, or Vietnamese shrimp risotto with lemon grass and fish sauce.

The 2018 Narrative Viognier ($24.90) discreetly displays a gentle tropical fruit aroma but its flavour is more pronounced. I really was taken with the orange, lemon, and vanilla flavour with notes of pineapple, papaya, and mango, and smooth texture. Underlying this is a dry mineral background much like Chablis. Enjoy with a korma curry, Pad Thai, Moroccan tagine with fruit, or Coronation Chicken, a luncheon dish Queen Elizabeth enjoyed after her coronation chicken in 1953.

Rosé’s are so popular these days that almost every B.C. winery makes one, including Narrative. Their 2019 Rosé ($19.90) is gentle and dry with a pale pink salmon colour. The nose reveals strawberries and red currants that are amplified in the flavour with an appealing tartness to balance the fruit. It’s as fresh as the strawberries you can pick in Richmond strawberry patches right now.

Like all of today’s wines, the Narrative Rosé is delicious to sip as you wait for summer to arrive and for the pandemic to disappear. Rosé’s are very versatile with food; think Salad Nicoise, barbecued salmon, or a brie or similar mild soft cheese.

Next week, we’ll pursue this narrative with other tasty wines from the Narrative portfolio.  

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