Thanksgiving-friendly wines from your BC backyard
Leave a Comment Karen HamiltonSeptember 28, 2011
September is a particularly busy time of year for tasting wine. The vineyards are eager to share their fall releases in time for the holidays, and we are no less eager to sample their wares. To slake the thirst of our family of drinking enthusiasts, we’re stocking up on one or more of these local gems, some of which were unknown to us and many of which have inspired less than conventional tasting notes from yours truly.
Top five picks for a turkey-laden table
Young & Wyse 2009 Syrah
The star of our wine tasting season to date. It easily held its own against hundreds of sips at the VQA fall release tasting, with its chocolate and leather scrumptiousness. I’m not talking old-shoe leather, folks. It was the syrah equivalent of drinking bubble from a stiletto. There are bound to be decadent chocolate-based dainties present at our holiday meals, so this is what I’ll wash them down with. $22.99 -where to buy-
90 points, John Schreiner: “Aromas of white pepper, cherries, blackberries, and coffee. The flavours are plumy, with complex notes of leather and delicatessen meats.”
PS: the Young & Wyse offerings impressed us across the board, so we have added this winery to our mental list of “anything from there is good” for times indecision strikes at a liquor store.
Vista D’oro 2009 Pinot Noir
My experience of the past 4 years with pinot noir has been laden with the heavy hitters: pools of ruby-tinged earth, wood, and mushroom. While I am a fan of this style of pinot noir, I could just as easily find this in a BC merlot or syrah, and had subconsciously been seeking something else with my pinot of late. I’m therefore thrilled to find this delicate entrant from one of my favourite Langley producers. It’s a pale, innocent hue, gossamer to the tongue and yet fully capable of withstanding bullying attempts from Thanksgiving meats. My choice red to go with roast turkey and all its glorious stuffing. $21.40 -where to buy-
Haywire 2010 Gamay Noir Rosé
I’m extremely picky about rosé. For me, it’s gotta be delicate, display minerality, and be bone dry. I think that’s why me and the Haywire Rosé get along so well. For a BC offering, it approaches the Provencal qualities that I seek in a pink. It also packs a long, spicy punch that would compliment roast fowl or would simply be enjoyed as an apératif. $21.00 -where to buy-
Says the winery: “This wine is 100% Gamay Noir grown by the Wise Brothers at Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver. The block gave us a fresh, bright Rosé, bursting with cherry and cranberry, and somehow with a finish that hints of coffee. We did a fourteen hour cold soak to extract its lovely pale colour and to achieve a hint of tannin. Then we stirred it to the right until the next full moon, and then to the left until our arms were really, really tired.”
Note: Haywire is another label that we have come to trust for consistent wine pleasure. In truth, I’m a fan of practically anything Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Michael Bartier concocts.
Honorable mentions for overall deliciousness
Irrespective of their compatibility with a Thanksgiving feast, we’d prefer to swallow than spit when we next have these wines in glass.
Black Hills 2010 Alibi
Fantastically aromatic white blend of 75% sauvignon blanc and 25% semillion. It’s a richer, denser white than the Y&W Amber and the Dirty Laundry Riesling, with plenty of citrus to balance the floral character and sweetness. Honestly, if it weren’t so awfully good to drink, I’d spritz this on my wrists for perfume or ask my masseuse to slather it on me at our next aromatherapy session. $24.90 -where to buy-
From the winery: “The nose on the 2010 Alibi has a very interesting complexity of lemon citrus, with floral notes and hints of honey and grapefruit zest. The palate is smooth and tangy with flavours of pineapple, mandarin orange, and Granny Smith apple. This nicely balanced white has a medium body with a pure intensity that enables it to be very approachable. The finish is fresh and clean with beautiful finesse. The 2010 Alibi is a very versatile food wine, and is exceptional with seafood.”
Dirty Laundry 2010 Riesling
We’ve been patrons of Dirty Laundry since our first sojourn to their lovely estate on Bottleneck Drive. This season’s riesling release from the bordello-turned-vineyard is all poached pear soda: a duet of subtle poppiness and honeyed fruit. $17.99 -where to buy-
From the winery: “This style of Riesling boasts typical flavours of green and red delicious apples, pears and a hint of citrus. Known for it’s nice clean and crisp acids and refreshing finish. This wine pairs wonderfully with seafood or fruit based entrees such as pork and applesauce or mango salsa with halibut.”
Young & Wyse 2010 Amber
A white blend of 47% viognier, 38% pinot gris, and 15% gewurtztraminer. Named after the daughter of owners Steve and Michelle, this wine struck us with its youthful effervescence. If it were turned into candy, it’d be called Pineapple Pop Rocks…of this I am sure. $19.90 -where to buy-
90 points, John Schreiner: “The wine begins with aromas of pineapples, bananas, peaches and apricots. On the palate, the wine is a tropical fruit bowl, with ripe flavours of apricots, pineapples and papayas. The fresh acidity gives the wine a crisp finish.”
Church & State 2009 Coyote Bowl Cabernet Franc
Our long-ago trip to California wine country turned me on to 100% cab franc, but there’s slim pickings of this style in BC, and even rarer is one that is well made. But we found such a one at Church and State, redolent of cellar tunnels and misty days. Sipping upon it is music to my tongue: a bluesy strain of Miles Davis with the warm bass line of the Diana Krall trio. It’s my top pick out of this winery’s tasty collection of reds. $35.00
From the winery: “A long-awaited follow up to our 2004 Cabernet Franc. Way back when it was released it was awarded a coveted Gold at the All-Canadian Wine Championships, and upon recent tasting, it’s showed its age beautifully. Our new 2009 Coyote Bowl Cabernet Franc lives up to this heritage, showing rich earthy fruit flavours and soft lingering mouth feel.”
I wish you luck in finding this gem outside of the Church & State estates–with a production of only 300 cases, the cab franc is not likely to last to retail. Consumers like us can skip queue by opting in to Club Q or their September Big Fat Reds maillist campaign. Haven’t yet heard whisperings of private wine merchants and restaurants who have bought in. Once I hear more, I will surely share the news…after I secure my own stash.
Black Hills 2008 Nota Bene
It seems that all the 2009 Syrahs we got to taste this month were steeped with leather. The 2008 Nota Bene also showed this character: it was so spicy and leathery that it made visions of hot red thigh-high boots dance in my head. It’s certainly a wine I’d earmark for my favourite oenophiles as gift-giving season approaches. $52.90 -where to buy-
From the winery: “The 2009 growing season gave us amazing ripe fruit with the great flavour and smooth developed tannins. The nose exhibits bright red fruit with plum and cassis. The rich palate displays complex black cherry, strawberry and dark cocoa. This wine has great balance, soft silky tannin and a smooth long finish. Can be decanted and enjoyed now and has great cellaring potential.”
What will you drink this Thanksgiving?
We’d love to hear what will grace your table this Thanksgiving. Drop us a comment or compare notes with us on Twitter or Facebook .