Fortified wines (such as Port, Sherry, or Vermouth) were created more than 500 years ago. Seafarers hoped to preserve their wines over long ocean voyages so they added distilled spirits (usually grape brandy) to table wines, which offered protection and added delicious and unique flavours to the final product.
Now we are in 2018 and Canada also offers its own take on this legendary sweet wine style. Matt Dumayne, chief winemaker at Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad, introduced the winery’s small batch fortified wine under the Narrative label. A combination of Merlot and Syrah, the grapes were fermented in concrete eggs, then blended with a grape spirit that was distilled by Dumayne onsite. Two years of gentle ageing in neutral oak added layers of complex flavours and an elegant texture.
How does it taste?
Dumayne says the wine offers notes of “bright red and black fruits, pepper and spice and all things nice.” Sophisticated and finessed, the wine also offers flavours of caramel, blackberry, raisins and sweet spice. Delicious on its own, the wine also pairs extremely well with dark chocolate, almond biscuits, or a selection of dried fruit.
Don’t let the $45 price point scare you. Narrative Fortified is worth it. Best enjoyed one luxurious sip at a time, an open bottle can be stored in the fridge for weeks without worry.
Out on the town? If you ask her nicely, The Keefer Bar’s celebrated bar manager, Amber Bruce, will make you the bar’s signature Wildfire Manhattan, using Narrative Fortified as one of its key ingredients.
Amber suggests pairing the cocktail with a jar of their house pickles; the sweet, tangy and savoury notes of the veggies pair perfectly.
1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Rye
1.0 oz Narrative Fortified
1 bar spoon red peony gomme
4 dashes Goji & Teasel Root tincture
Stir on ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Drop a brandied cherry into the cocktail. Flame an orange zest over the top and discard. Enjoy!