Ex Nihilo, located in Winfield B.C., has been on my radar for a couple of years now. It’s a relatively small vineyard of 10 acres with wines that stand up against any other Okanagan winery that has been in the game for decades. My favourite wine from them is called Night. Night used to be a Bordaux blend but has now evolved into a 5 grape concoction of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Unfortunatey it couldn’t be tasted this time around as they’ve been sold out since April. However, we did have a thorough run through of 6 other wines to highlight in a winery review which proved the diversity and ambition of this beautiful area of the Okanagan.
1) Ex Nihilo SX Tous Rosé
Up until about a year ago, I hadn’t given much thought to rose wines. However, since tasting a few particularly interesting ones it’s been eye opening how much character and depth they can really embody. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the SX Tous was bright, crisp and had just the right amount of bubble. Tous, meaning all and everything in French, was an exciting way to get the tasting started!
2) Ex Nihilo 2014 Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris has some tough competition in the Okanagan Valley. It’s difficult not to have some pretty high standards when you’ve tasted up and down the valley more than a couple of times. The 2014 had less peach and apricot flavours than I was expecting, and hoping for. Upon first sip, the fruit flavours were nicely balanced with the acid however the finish dropped off a little too quickly for me.
3) Ex Nihilo 2012 Riesling
It’s always interesting tasting 2 different vintages of the same wine from the same winery. The Ex Nihilo 2012 Riesling was your more classic style Riesling, with a freshness on the nose but a slightly more gas/petrol finish on the palate. While not my favourite style, I can see how this would go fantastic with a grilled fish salad in the summer.
4) Ex Nihilo 2013 Riesling
The 2013 was distinctly different from the year previous. With much lighter and zingier fruit flavours, this is one I could sip on the patio well into the evening.
5) Ex Nihilo 2013 Privata Chardonnay
Ready for some oak specs? 60% of the The 2013 Privata spent 8 months aging in majority French oak which gave it a smooth and creamy flavour. The unoaked portion brought a brightness to the table that I was pleasantly surprised with. An excellent pairing to a summer feast of grilled chicken with corn on the cob.
6) Ex Nihilo 2013 Pinot Noir
Their Pinot was a nice treat to end the tasting. In 2015, this wine was one of 14 to win a Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Additionally, it was also the ONLY Pinot Noir to receive the distinction; a true testiment to the quality put out by Ex Nihilo. The nose had noticeable green pepper/veg notes while the palate was instantly pleasing with soft red fruit flavours and strawberry on the finish.
A special thank you to Kathleen in the tasting room for taking us through the wines. We visited on a busy day and she gave us her full attention the entire time. And a special shoutout to Steph, Shane, Cody, Kristi and Jason who waited patiently for their next glass of wine while I incessantly asked questions. Until next time, cheers!