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howling bluff pinotPinot Noir is one among many varietals that grow well in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. Styles range from the spare, elegant, high acid style in the Central Okanagan Valley near Kelowna to the richer, spicier versions on the Naramata Bench on the warmer, southern shores of the lake. Howling Bluff’s Century Block Pinot, winner of several awards including a Silver Medal from Decanter’s World Wine Awards, is certainly the best Pinot Noir we tasted in our two week visit to the Okanagan Valley and one of the best wines overall.

Intensely aromatic with smoke and truffle layered on the strawberry jam, aeration shakes loose herbal notes, a very distinctive aroma profile.

The palate turns darker with black cherry and smoke and reticent, well-integrated cedar. Mouth-coating with a glycerin texture, very fine tannins provide a peppery bass note for layers of soft fruit that maintain extraordinary purity and freshness on the finish. There is plenty of acidity but it’s not a nervous nelly, and no hint of sourness.

This is a complex, multidimensional wine, sensual but with a sophisticated reserve, fresh and generous yet cerebral, its pace deliberate, delightfully dignified.

And the resonance with K.D. Lang’s Upstream had my sensors gently pulsating.

Tech notes: from clones 667 and 777

Score: 92

Price: $35

Alc: 13.5%

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