Five BC Wines for the Holidays

Holiday Wines

Let me take this opportunity to express our best wishes to all the wine enthusiast for the Holiday Season.

2017 was a year of high drama in the Okanagan Valley.  First, there were floods, then wildfires delivering smoke and ash and then an early November snowfall.  The good news was the wineries were not as busy during the summer because of the impact these events had on tourism.  This meant more time to talk to the local winemakers about the wines they were pouring.

As we plan for the Christmas meals here are five excellent BC wines and suitable food pairings.

1. Rollingdale 8 Barrel Merlot 2014

Technical Information:  Acid 6.6, pH 4.09, Residual Sugar 0.70, Alcohol % 14.9.  Rollingdale have not released another 8 Barrels since the original from the 2006 vintage. This one deserves the label just as much. One extremely smooth big BC Merlot from 26 months on French oak. Grapes from Black Sage Bench bursting with blackberries, leather, cassis, blueberry, and sage. On the palate, black cherry, chocolate, smooth tannins. Great drinking now or cellaring.
For the food pairing, I would suggest prime rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish.

2. Sperling Vineyards Natural Amber Pinot Gris 2015

Technical Information:   12.5% Alcohol, Total Acidity ~6 g/L, Residual Sugar < 1g/L. This wine was awarded a gold medal at the Wine Align awards in the Pinot Gris category (i.e. along with all the juice-only made Pinot Gris, the largest volume white wine made in BC). These grapes were hand harvested, fermented in small lots – 40% whole clusters and the remainder of the vat filled with stemmed & crushed grapes. Wild yeast and malolactic fermented this wine to complete dryness in 4 weeks. The wine was pressed and settled and after ageing was bottled with its lees. Nothing was added or taken away.
What strikes you first is the dark orange colour.  On the nose hints of bergamot (earl grey tea), peach pit, apricot, and apple skin. Medium bodied with citrus and orchard fruit on the dry but concentrated palate. Fresh acidity carries the grapefruit tinged finish.
We are going to save the Amber Pinot Gris for Roast Turkey.

3. Lunessence Winemaker’s Cut Sauvignon Blanc 2016

270 cases produced. The grapes were hand-picked at Collin and Mike Stevens’ Vineyard in Osoyoos on 15.09. 2016 at 22.5 Brix. After destemming and crushing the juice was kept with skin contact for 24 hours to achieve deep extraction of all unique flavours grown in the vineyard in the Osoyoos.  The fermentation was partly wild and took place and stainless steel tanks. 20% was aged in Slovakian barrels for 5 months.
The wine is dry, the vine growing and winemaking is focused on highlighting the full body and potential of this unique wine.  A soft bouquet of stone fruit, lemongrass and mint with mineral characteristics from the soil where grapes were grown that give the wine clean, fresh flavours and a long finish.
This food pairing is easy –  BC Oysters on the Half Shell.

4. Terravista Vineyards Figaro 2014

This wine is a blend of the three white Rhone grape varieties: Roussanne 40%, Marsanne 30%, Viognier 30%. This is the 5th vintage of this wine. The Roussanne portion of Figaro is fermented in French oak 500-litre puncheons and the Marsanne (with a small portion of Viognier) in older French 225-litre barrels (5+ yr old). The remainder of Viognier in Figaro is fermented in stainless steel fermenters.

The wine begins with a moderately aromatic nose of peach and apricot and herbs, leading to flavours of apple and pineapple. The finish is dry and balanced with excellent minerality.

This wine will be paired with our country style (coarse) Pâté we serve with cheeses as the pre-dinner appetizers.

5. 50th Parallel Estate Unparalleled Pinot Noir 2014 

150 barrels of estate Pinot Noir aged in premium French Oak was tasted. 14 barriques representing 3 vineyard blocks and 4 Dijon clones. Block 3 Clone 115 – Block 3 Clone 667 – Block 5 Clone 144 – Block 6 Clone 828 came together to create this exceptional Pinot Noir. Distinctive character, with rich palate coating textures and lots of layers and depth.

Brooding dark purple edges with an intense dark red rose coloured centre. Savoury herbs and warm earth, hint of rose petal, toasted walnut and anise. On the palate ripe black staccato cherry, black currant, baked blueberries, and a breath of roasted red pepper. The initial power gives way to layers of structured tannin that promise years of drinkability but still with the silky presence to drink now. The finish presents the impression of freshly toasted cashews, black pepper, and slatey minerality. The truly quintessential Okanagan Pinot Noir. A DOUBLE GOLD for 2016 Best of the Best Platinum Awards Wine Press Northwest.  Decanter World Wine Awards 2016 SILVER. 

The Pinot Noir food selection is easy as we will be in Calgary, Alberta Lamb.

I would love to hear from the readers on their favourite wine pairings with these BC Wine classics.