RKS Wine: Can We Be Friends with the Okanagan’s Frind?

As far as Okanagan, British Columbia wineries go they seem to be able to do no wrong. But the day will come one day! Until then all of us should enjoy the wines produced from these stellar wineries. Yes we have covered Crescent Hill, Oak Bay, St. Hubertis, Stag’s Hollow, Meyer Family Vineyards and Mayhem Wines all with resounding success.

There now is a new Okanagan Winery on my radar called Frind. Why not dig in and hope for the Okanagan’s hot streak to continue?

We start with a Frind “Big Red” which I presume is a blend but of what the label fails to reveal. It is blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon as I dig into their internet site which really I or you should not have to do.

On the nose black cherry, chocolate, tobacco leaf, blueberry and cherry pie. On the palate the tannins are moderate. But as for flavours on the palate nothing jumps out and captures my imagination to get metaphors and similes flowing in my description of this wine. Some rather weak-kneed cherry and blueberry but the Okanagan wow factor simply isn’t there. Has my Okanagan red hot streak been cooled down? NO sir. That streak has been too hot and consistent to be brought tumbling down by a single wine. And one wine should not frame an entire winery and its products. Tasting wine is a bit like golf. I have been hitting the 70’s a few times this year but today was a golfing disaster which I blame on heavy traffic, soggy fairways and rough and rushing down to take my first swing on the first tee and dribbling it a few yards. From then on it was struggle with what could go wrong went wrong. I asked my starter friend to simply rip up my scorecard after the game and he obliged. Ignorance is bliss. But enough about me what about this wine? It really threw me with some overripe grape sweetness on the palate. Somewhat like a nasty slice heading into the woods. The wine is a combination of an overly sweet California Cabernet Sauvignon with an anemic Niagara Merlot. The nose passes muster but on the palate a ho hum wine and being a great fan of the Okanagan that hurts.

(Frind Estate Winery 2018 Big Red, BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Frind Estate Winery, West Kelowna, British Columbia, $24.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 19931, 750 mL, 13.25%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 87/100).

Let’s move on to a Frind 2018 Chardonnay. The Okanagan can certainly produce some “ooh” and “ahh” Chards that rival Burgundian ones.

This Frind has a light gold colour. On the nose apple, pear, tangerine, mango and a tad of pineapple. On the palate this would seem to be fermented and aged in stainless steel. It is very clean with guava, peach with a bit of almond paste. The acidity is muted but it is there and I would say this is a foodie wine. As my better half says I can’t remember what I ate yesterday but I do remember a winter squash and spinach pasta bake which despite my laborious efforts was not a keeper recipe but I wonder if I had used organic butternut squash it would have been a hit. Over the years I have noticed organic pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash are actually sweet and brightly coloured and more flavour packed. Here is the recipe and if you can find organic butternut squash or pumpkin give it a try https://smittenkitchen.com/2021/10/winter-squash-and-spinach-pasta-bake/

So I would say to you dear reader this is a foodie wine. There is no sense in ageing it. A rather bland wine not up to premium Okanagan standards.

(Frind 2018 Chardonnay, VQA British Columbia, Frind Estate Winery, West Kelowna, British Columbia, $29.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 19930, 750 mL, 13.90%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 87/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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