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BC Wine Month - Tasting the Best from the Locals

April has come to full Spring! If you aren’t aware, this month is BC Wine Month. British Columbia has great quality wines made locally, the well-known wineries being in the Okanagan Valley and Osoyoos. There are 370 licensed wineries and 929 vineyards producing over 80 grape varieties just in BC! Most of our wines are consumed in Canada, but with this many wineries, BC should be a globally-known hotspot in the wine industry.

With the Easter long weekend just around the corner, many of you will be having home-cooked gourmet dinners. To pair with your fantastic home cooking, I’ll tell you my thoughts on some great BC VQA wines that you can enjoy this weekend!

*If you’re new to wine and unfamiliar with wine vocabulary, take a look at my wine language blog post before reading ahead. It’ll give you a better understanding of what I’m saying below.

Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer (white wine)

Although this wine smells fruity, it carries rosy floral notes and is super light-bodied, making this Gew perfect for spring. The hints of lychee and honey give a balanced mouthfeel and leave your palate with a slightly sweet finish. This came as a surprise to me since this wine has a sweetness code of 1, so I expected it to be sweeter. The water-like transparency and tint of yellow emulate the light body of this wine.

Pair this with an “opposites attract” food. I’d suggest strong-flavoured cuisines like Indian or Southeast Asian. If you're having dessert, pair this with rich desserts or cheeses like Brie because this wine will calm down the intensity of the flavours and bring balance to your palate.

Sumac Ridge Merlot (red wine)

This merlot is full-bodied, you can smell it when you open the bottle. It has a sour taste, carrying strong red berry and plum notes with hints of oak. This wine has high acidity and light tannins. There’s a surprise in the finish with some mint, leaving an airy, fresh mouthfeel. The Sumac Ridge Merlot is great for people who have been drinking wine for a while. I would suggest someone who doesn’t drink wine a lot to opt for a sweet wine.

Since this wine is dark opaque red and has strong flavours, it's a great addition in your cooking. When I was experimenting, I added this wine on my olive oil pasta with vegetables and it boosted the flavours while adding some colour. If you're making a meal, have it with a sirloin steak, stir-fried veggies, and mashed potatoes.

The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright Chardonnay (white wine)

If you’ve had chardonnay, this is very different from all other chardonnays. As well, if you don’t tend to like chardonnays, I think you’ll like this one. This wine is extremely sweet, like juice. That’s because there’s Süssreserve in it - which is unfermented grape juice that’s added to sweeten the wine. This wine has a sweetness code of 1, but it tastes as sweet as a sweetness code 8 wine. The benefit here is that you get a very sweet glass of wine for low sugar content. Overall, this wine is full-bodied and smooth, carrying notes of pear, apple, vanilla, butter, and a touch of oak.

This wine goes well with seafood dishes like lobster bisque and steamed crab with butter. It also goes nicely with roasted chicken or pork. I’d suggest not to pair this wine with citrus flavours.

Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer (white wine)

This gewürztraminer is medium-bodied with lots of fruitiness, light florals, and smooth sweetness. It carries notes of strawberry, lychee, honey, and white flowers with hints of lime and candied ginger. As well, it has a light acidity and finish. The colour is a pale yellow tint and transparency akin to water. In comparison to the Sumac Ridge Gew, the Tinhorn Creek Gew has more body and is sweeter.

I would suggest pairing this wine with soft-textured and round-flavoured dishes. For example, a creamy seafood dish such as lobster with butter or roasted poultry like chicken or turkey. If you plan on having this with dessert, pair it with fresh mango or a banana cream pie.

Quail’s Gate Optima Late Harvest (dessert wine)

I recommended this wine in a previous blog post, but I’ll reiterate my tasting notes here. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll fall in love with this wine. This wine is complex in flavour, carrying notes of peach, honeysuckle, apricots, and oranges. It’s unlike any other variety of wine because it has a rich and decadent feel on the palate, akin to a chocolate ganache cake. It finishes with slight citrus notes and leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth, so you crave more. The Late Harvest is great on its own without a food pairing. If you want to read the extended profile on this wine, check out my Ice Wine post.

These wines are widely available in Canada (I’m not sure about other countries). You can purchase them at your local liquor store or online at the winery’s website. Many BC wineries are providing free shipping during this time, so definitely take advantage of their offers.

If you want to learn more about each wine variety, check out my Varieties of Red Wine post and Varieties of White Wine post.

Have a lovely long weekend! I hope you enjoy your dinners and wine. If you try any of these wines, let me know what your thoughts were of it in the comments.



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