Black Swift Winery of West Kelowna British Columbia

Shauna smiled at the host then hopped into a tirade of where we started our morning down in Penticton, how we got lost looking for breakfast but had a great time wandering around near the shore line then found a nice host down at Beaumont Family Estate Winery whom recommended we come up here to this gorgeous vineyard overlooking the Okanagan Lake.

Whilst the two of them got to know each other through a serious of questions, I slowly picked up my phone and depressed the left button. The screen came to life and in the foreground it displayed the date and time of 14:17 for a few seconds then turned off.

  • The Hosts Questions
    • Where are you from?
    • Business or pleasure?
    • Reds or whites?
    • Bolds or blends?
    • Varieties?
    • Hmmm
    • Whites?
    • He smiled
    • He laughed
  • Shauna’s Responses
    • Edmonton
    • A bit of both
    • Depends on the vineyard
    • Always BOLDS
    • Malbec is my favourite
    • Yes!!
    • On a hot summer day
    • She smiled
    • She laughed

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! at this rate we weren’t going to make it out of BC until well after dinner time and more than likely wouldn’t reach Edmonton until sometime after midnight. Hearing the two of them giggling over yet another topic, I heard her say, “That’s correct. I am the lucky wine taster today! and he’s the designated driver.” The host smiled acknowledged that we were being safe and that we were in good hands.

Without another word he departed the table heading for the wine tasting room to retrieve the first bottle of wine, a pitcher of water and a couple of glasses.

Upon his return, David was holding a 2019 BSV Gewürztraminer and toppled into how it was a sweet yet bitter tasting Gewürzt that hinted at tangerines, caramel and a hint of seasonal flowers. He poured her a generous ounce then placed the bottle within reach for her to gaze over the bottles label as she swirled it, sniffed it, eyed it, sipped it and swished it around to understand its complexity. He smiled. She smiled then said, “this is one tasty Gewürzt!”

He smiled, making a joke about her enthusiasm to swirl and sniff it before tasting. Then off he went with the bottle in one hand a smile in the other.

Screaming Frenzy (noun)– A flock of Black Swift birds.

Upon his return David was holding a 2020 Mama D VY Chardonnay. Slowly he poured another ounce plus into the glass and introduced the next wine. “This 2020 is a magnificent wine. It compliments the hills, nature and the lake itself. Its grown throughout the early months of the year soaking up those beautiful rays of sunshine. Its a slightly dry Chard with a hint of citrus and grapefruit on the palette.” Again she went through the process of swirling, sniffing, eyeing, sipping and swishing the wine over her tongue and around her mouth. She smiled and spit it into the container on the table. Eyed the bottle then took another sip. This time it went down smoothly. “Did you like it?” he asked. She smiled and said it wasn’t her favourite thus far but he’d surely pick something better next time.

And off David went back into the throws of the tasting room to collect the next possible bottle. Upon his return he showed her the 2021 Screaming Frenzy Rose. We laughed and asked about the term “Screaming Frenzy.” “Well, that is quit the extraordinary story,” began David, then went into tirade about how Jason Parkes wanted to name his vineyard something out of the ordinary which is when he came across a book about birds in the Okanagan region. One such bird the Black Swift caught his attention because a flock of Black Swifts is called a Screaming Frenzy.

David then informed, “the rose is a light beautiful silky peach colour with a full bounty of raspberries, white-pepper & ruby red grapefruit with a nose full of rhubarb and spices ready for enjoyment on any summer evening.” She looked at the glass made a few comments about the colour and went through the motions of getting a sip into her palette. Again the first sip ended up in the spit-toon whilst the second and third sips went down the esophagus.

As he departed the picnic table this time, she says to David, “lets get into those Reds shall we!” He spun around on his heels and gave her a wave of excitement then a fist pump in the air and back up the stairs across the deck and into the hollows of the tasting room he disappeared.

“Three down and many more possibly to go,” I said to no one in particular. She smiled looked up at me with slightly glassy eyes and says, “you know, its too bad we were staying around here another night. Then you could be sipping on these delicious wines too!” I smiled and nodded my agreement that another night in the valley would suite us well but our responsibilities were back in Edmonton. She frowned then smiled as David held two bottles in his hands this go around.

“I couldn’t decide which would be better after the Rose. So I brought two out instead. I hope you don’t mind.” She gazed in my direction then back at David and said, “this sounds like Russian Roulette and I am very excited about what comes next.”

David spun the cork out of the bottle and presented a 2019 Screaming Frenzy Pinot Noir and a 2020 Screaming Frenzy Hermit Age. “Which would you like to go for? But I will say our Hermitage is as close to a Malbec that you will find around here.” She looked over both bottles then says, “If he were tasting, he’d have cracked open the Pino by now. So let’s go with the Hermitage.”

The Screaming Frenzy went down smoothly and she tapped her tasting glass with her index finger. Picking up the vibe on what she was silently asking for David uncorked the bottle and another ounce plus landed inside the glass. She smiled and thank him for his generosity. “I’m not sure how you are going to top that sir. It was magnificent.” He smiled and said there might be one more contender.

Again off he went, and again he returned with a bottle in hand to present to her, provide the sample and crack a couple of jokes and keep her interested in the wine tasting. David was doing a superb job keeping us entertained with his wit and charm.

She smiled looking over the 2020 BSV “the hatch vineyard” Gamay. He tilted the bottle as the dark red dripped out into the glass. She looked at the glass, swirled it around and sniffed it. Her smile widened further than any other point in the tasting and instead of taking the sip she handed it off to myself. “I do believe this is the on you’ll want to take a small sip of,” handing the glass over. I looked at it, swirled it, smelled it, swirled it again, eyed it, and pulled a small sip. Swishing it around over my entire mouth then spit it out. Followed by a quick smaller sip and let it dwindle down my tongue and into the back of my throat. “Wow! That’s quit special. I love the dark notes of chocolate and hint of spice. Its a winner in my book. Two please.”

Before David wandered off for the last time back to the hall of joy and happiness Shauna informed about the three bottles she planned on taking with her; a Rose, Hermit Age and the Gamay. He nodded his head and disappeared to fetch the credit card machine, bottles of wine and a souvenir.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb