Photo: Lariana's Dan and Carol Scott
Lariana Cellars, the Osoyoos winery that is a literal
stone’s throw from the U.S.
border, now has released its entire portfolio.
That is just two wines, but what marvellous wines they are.
The winery is owned by Dan and Carol Scott. The winery is
just three years old but Carol has a much longer connection to BC wines.
As a teenager when she spent several summers working in the
Shannon Pacific Vineyard on Black
Sage Road. Her father, Larry Franklin, was one of
the vineyard’s owners. Until the hybrid grapes were pulled out in 1988, Larry
and Carol picked some for home winemaking in the family’s Burnaby home. That vineyard, replanted with
premium vinifera, now belongs to several top Black Sage Road wineries.
In the late 1960s, not long after Shannon Pacific was
planted the first time, Larry Franklin also bought a four-hectare (10-acre)
Osoyoos orchard property with what was then called the Shady Lagoon Campsite on
the lake. Dan, a machinist, and Carol, a travel agent, took over the property
in 1989. They still operate the lakeside recreational vehicle camp. Growing
cherries and apples became uneconomic and the trees were pulled out in 2006.
“It was kind of my dream to plant grapes,” Carol says.
Since 2007, they have planted 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of
vines. The largest block is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Carmenère and
Viognier. Accordingly, the winery’s red blend is anchored by Cabernet
Sauvignon. The Merlot and the Syrah fleshing out the debut blend are purchased
from nearby growers because Dan and Carol’s vineyard is fully planted. They
have no current plans to double production by turning the campground into
The modest winery is very well equipped. Lariana was one of
the earliest wineries in the Okanagan to install an 1,800-litre concrete egg
for fermenting and aging wine. This vessel, made in California, is used to ferment Lariana’s
Viognier. The reds are fermented in small stainless steel tanks and aged in oak
Lariana’s winemaking consultant is Senka Tennant. She was
the founding winemaker with Black Hills Estate Winery
Currently, she is the co-proprietor and winemaker at Terravista Vineyards.
Lariana’s decision to limit its red portfolio just to a
premium red called Twelve echoes Senka’s strategy at Black
. That winery opened in 2001 with a Bordeaux
blend called Nota Bene, which
quickly became, and remains, an Okanagan icon.
Twelve is named for the vintage. At this time, the plan is
that subsequent releases will also be named for the vintage in which the wine
Intrigue Winery in Lake Country
used a similar strategy for a number of vintages of a white wine. Eventually,
the owners found that unwieldy and rebranded the wine. It will be interesting
to see if Lariana makes it work.
Here are notes on the wines.
Viognier 2014 ($23). This is the third vintage of Viognier from Lariana and
it confirms the winery’s excellence with this varietal. This is an exquisitely
balanced wine where the 13.9% alcohol is kept in check by the flavours, the
texture and the refreshing acidity. The wine has aromas of lime and white peach
with a floral note reminiscent of violets. On the palate, there are flavours of
lime and melon with a hint of spice on the long, refreshing finish. 93.
Twelve 2012 ($44.90 for 480 cases). This is a blend of 53% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, 21% Merlot and 1% Carmenère. The wine was aged 18 months
in oak (90% French, of which 45% was new). Dark in colour, the wine begins with
dramatic aromas that jump from the glass – plum, black cherry, chocolate and
spice. This is echoed on the palate, which delivers a delicious array of sweet
red and dark berry flavours. The ripe tannins give the wine a generous and
satisfying finish. 91.