2016 was an awesome year for wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley. As we prepare for the family to arrive for Christmas, it is time to select the Holiday dishes to accompany the local wines that remain in the wine cellar. So here goes!
One of the first dishes to be planned was BC Oysters on the Half Shell. The natural choice was a 2014 Lunessence Sauvignon Blanc. Only 80 cases were produced. Handpicked on 2/10/2014 at 24.5 Brix. After de-stemming and crushing the juice was kept on skins for one day to maximise extraction of unique terroir. Partly wild, stainless steel fermentation. 30% aged in Slovakian barrels for 5 months. A dry style wine with an attractive and delicate balance of lime grass, mint. Balanced acidity and minerality give the wine clean, fresh flavours and a long finish.
The Wine Dharma says it’s a Risky business pairing Gewurztraminer and food, but the Grande Dame Gewürztraminer 2014 is crying out for Thai food. Only 300 cases produced. Planted over 40 years ago, the most mature vineyard produces a drier, more traditional Alsace-style Gewürztraminer. Truly one for the cellar. Further making this a collectable wine, each bottle arrives individually packaged in a stunning olive green and 24K Gold embossed gift box. Rich, lively and with amazing textured with some intense fragrant aromas of white peaches, lychee fruit and rose petals. The driest of the Dirty Laundry Gewürztraminer line, with rich fruit flavours with hints of allspice yielding to a dry crisp finish.
The Pinot selection is easy…..Alberta lamb. Lake Breeze Pinot Noir 2013. Deep in colour with flavours and aromas of dark cherries and raspberries followed up by more earthy spicy flavours. It has great texture and mouthfeel on the palate. Matured for 18 months in a combination of new and old French oak barriques.
My wife’s family Christmas Eve favourite was Baked Scotch Eggs, not the deep-fried Scottish version! Betty Crocker has a simple recipe for this delicacy. To garnish the eggs I would recommend Major Grey Chutney. For the wine, definitely a white peppery Syrah. Tightrope Winery Syrah 2014. All the grapes for this Syrah were sourced exclusively from the Naramata Bench. It was also co-fermented with Viognier, which accounts for its deep colour and floral hints on the nose. This wine was fermented in small lots, of approximately 1 ton each and was cold soaked for 5 days, before fermentation was begun. The wine was barrel aged for 10 months, in mostly French oak, with a small percentage of American oak, for added complexity. On the nose, this wine has aromas of violets, white pepper, dark cherry and plum. The palate has flavours of blackberry, prune and mocha, balanced out with soft, silky tannins.
What to serve with Merlot? I just noticed the wine is SOLD OUT, so I plan to cellar this one! Deep Roots Winery Merlot 2014 A complex nose of mixed berry, pastry crust, black cherry, dried strawberry, baking spices and savoury dried herbs, showing classic old world Bordeaux-like character. None of the “green fruit” unfortunately present is some other BC Merlots. The palate is dry, with ripe smooth tannins and intense flavours of black plum, black cherry, plum, cocoa powder, toasty wood and hints of leather and mint.
What to serve with a classic Bordeaux style wine? Another slam drunk question…New York Strip Steaks on the BBQ. Sure hope the Kelowna weather improves next week! Hillside Mosaic 2011 – This is Hillside’s signature wine. Vineyard skill, careful barrel selection and cellar craftsmanship come together to realise a wine of great depth and finesse. A blend of 66% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot sourced from prime vineyard blocks along the Naramata Bench. Barrel matured for 16 months in small French oak (46% new). There are aromas and flavours of cassis and black cherry, with a hint of chocolate and cedar on the finish.
For after any of these dinners, our choice would be Muscat Liqueur NV (2016 release). Modelled after the “stickies” of the Rutherglen region in Australia but not as high a viscosity as the Southern gems! Aromas of dried apricots and steeped Earl Grey tea with a hint of vanilla. On the palate flavours of butterscotch, buttery dried fruit panettone, cinnamon and the nectar-like notes unique to the Muscat grape varietal. The Liqueur Muscat is produced in a Solera system, meaning the average age of the blend progressively becomes older. The wine is aged in neutral oak barrels and is a blend of three Muscat varietals, the dominant one being the Schönberger grape.
I would love to hear from the readers on their favourite wine pairings with these BC Wine classics.