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Wine column: Award winners from Gray Monk are not only delish, but affordable

It just goes to prove you can sip quality on the cheap.

Gray Monk's two most award-winning wines of the past year also happen to be amongst its most affordable.

The 2019 Odyssey Rose Brut is a pretty, pink sparkler that yields luscious results for $28 a bottle.

$28 is a phenomenal price for an elegant sparkling wine made in the Champagne method that won a silver medal at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada in 2022.

The Rose Brut over-delivers with aromas and flavours of pink grapefruit, blood orange and fresh-baked croissants in a flood of fine, long-lasting bubbles.

The 2020 Estate Pinot Noir also bats above its weight for $25 and picked up a gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships a few months ago.

Pinot Noir is a fickle grape that needs special handling not just in the vineyard, but throughout the winemaking process.

Gray Monk gives the grape and resulting drink the attention it deserves for a fresh and light red wine with a delightful cherry-blackcurrant-and-vanilla profile.

</who>Winemaker Jen Oishi, above, from Gray Monk Winery in Lake Country had a hand in crafting both the award-winning and affordable 2019 Odyssey Rose Brut ($28) and 2020 Estate Pinot Noir ($25), pictured below.

These wines are a testament to winemaker Jen Oishi's skills of being able to consistently produce distinctive, delectable wines that reflect the Central Okanagan terroir and its reputation for wines with fruit-forward pleasing acidity and finesse.

It helps that Gray Monk is part of the Andrew Peller Ltd. conglomerate that also has Okanagan wineries Peller Estates, Sandhill, Wayne Gretzky, Red Rooster, Tinhorn Creek, Black Hills and Good Natured.

Such economies of scale means the company can get better deals on buying big quantities of winemaking equipment, materials and bottles and can share marketing and distribution channels.

Thus, savings can be passed along to the consumer.

Yet, Peller allows all its wineries to remain autonomous to produce original and mouthwatering wines.

</who>The Golden Rabbit Lunar New Year Oculus Trio box set from Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna commemorates this 'year of the rabbit' in the Chinese zodiac.

Year of the Rabbit wines

To celebrate this 'year of the rabbit' in the Chinese zodiac, Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna has curated three special gift box sets of red wines.

All the wines in the sets share the characteristics of the revered rabbit in Chinese culture -- confidence, strength, tenderness and swiftness.

You'll have to act equally fast to get your hands on one of the sets as they are only available through Sunday by ordering from the winery's website --

The Golden Rabbit Lunar New Year Oculus Trio includes three bottles of Mission Hill's signature Bordeaux-style red blend 2018 Oculus for $566.

The Spring Blossom Lunar New Year Compendium Trio has three bottles of the 2013 vintage of another top-tier red blend for $316.

And the Golden Ginkgo Magnum Oculus Gift Box contains a 1.5-litre bottle of the aged-to-perfection 2013 Oculus for $489.

Steve MacNaull is a NowMedia Group reporter, Okanagan wine lover and Canadian Wine Scholar. Reach him at [email protected]. His wine column appears every Friday afternoon in this space.

Send your comments, news tips, typos, letter to the editor, photos and videos to [email protected].

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