Happy Canada Day, Canada! You are 146 years old, all grown up. And nowhere is this maturity more evident than in your burgeoning wine industry.
BC and Ontario now have world class wine regions offering unique styles of wine – both Vinis vinifera and hybrids – that are lip-smacking good. With the number of BC wineries topping 220, we have an abundance of local juice to enjoy.
Here are some fabulous BC wines I have discovered and rediscovered recently, all of which would fit with any Canada Day celebration.
Canada Day Wines
See Ya Later Ranch 2011 Belle Viognier. Lots of beautiful tropical flavors here: pineapple, mango, mandarin orange, as well as peaches. With just a kiss of sweetness, it was a perfect wine with our dinner of curry pumpkin, green beans, and chicken and scallop saté at Balilicious on Cambie and 19th. Their corkage is only $3 per person, what a bargain. The winery sent me the bottle, post-WBC, as if that bottle of Pipe wasn’t enough. $19 at BCLS. .
Hester Creek 2010 Trebbiano Old Vines Block 16. According to their web site, this is the only trebbiano produced in BC and comes from some very old vines. The nose is stony apple and lemon, has lots of fruit in the slightly sweet mouth, and it finishes super clean and fresh. Alas, only available at the winery. $23
Gray Monk Pinot Gris 2012 What can you say about a winery that has been producing since 1972 except that they know what they’re doing. And the Hess’s keep the prices of their estate wines reasonable, under $20. Their Pinot Gris is aromatic, clean and fresh, with great acidity and balance. $18.99 at BCLS
Monster Wines 2011 Riesling. This is a second label of Poplar Grove, named for the Okanagan sea monster Ogopogo and has a crazy label that glows in the dark. The wine sports ripe pear, green apples and the slightest hint of petrol on the nose, and crisp minerality and acidity in the mouth. $20 at the winery.
Bench 1775 2012 Chill is a total summer wine for Canada Day. A blend of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Blanc, it has only 11% alcohol. It’s round and full with lemon and apricots, and has more complexity than the name implies. $16 at the winery.
Nk’Mip 2012 Rosé, a wine so new it has yet to be added to the winery’s web site. Gorgeous vermilion color and lots of bright cherries and strawberries and a dusting of white pepper. A sipper with backbone. Thanks, Constellation, for sending it to me!
Quails Gate 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir. An amazing wine with a beautiful perfume and floral nose, it’s racy and complex with a velvety mouthfeel, earthy plum and notes of orange. $45 at the winery and worth it.
Perseus 2010 Tempus Syrah. Includes 3% viognier, which is the way to do syrah. With forward fruit, floral nose, a nice earthiness on the palate, it’s very elegant and approachable. $29 at VQA stores.
Other BC producers who over deliver on value include Gehringer Brothers, Tinhorn Creek, Fairview Cellars, and Stoneboat, but really, all Okanagan Valley wines are good. You just have to find the ones you like.
As one fellow wine blogger recently opined, BC wine has “Big time diversity.” I would agree and say that is just like our population. Diverse.
So, when you’re getting ready to toast this great county on Canada Day, twist the screw top of a BC wine and give it a pour. It’s the patriotic thing to do.
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