BC Fresh – In Season Wine Pairings

It’s June! I’ve been feasting on local asparagus, fiddleheads, rhubarb, peas, wild spot prawns and local wines. It’s instinctual, with spring’s sunshine and the anticipated return to abundant local farmers’ markets, I’m craving local wine in my glass. Of course, the flood of BC’s 2013 vintages landing on shelves is added incentive.

Here are a few complementary matches for your local feasting. Remember – keep it simple. Like pairs with like; local pairs with local.



8th Generation Vineyards
Riesling 2012
Okanagan Valley, BC
*$21  +644252

Bernd Schales is an 8th generation winemaker and his wife, Stefanie is a 10th generation winegrower. Lifetimes of history and years of winemaking/winegrowing study throughout Germany (where their family still owns vineyards), New Zealand and South Africa lead the Schales to set up shop with their young family in the Okanagan in 2003. They have carved their niche with Germanic-meets-Okanagan wines, crafted in a small-scale, contemporary style. This is from 27 year old estate vines, with the fruit purity preserved by stainless steel tanks and the hint of sweetness from the ripe, concentrated fruit. Bright intensity and tension throughout, with Anjou pear, white peach, lime pulp, stone, nectarine and a touch of candied lime zest on the lengthy finish. Partner with papaya salad or Indian spiced chutney. 88 points.


Cellar DwellerCulmina_dilemma_2011

Culmina Family Estate Winery
Dilemma 2011
Okanagan Valley, BC
$26  +884734

What’s the dilemna? This elegant and poised full-bodied chardonnay is from 20 year old vines on the Triggs’ family ( -exo f Jackson-Triggs) estate Arise Bench vineyard, and inherited when the family purchased the Golden Mile property in 2007. At that time, there were approximately 12 acres of land already under vine. Two growing seasons of research analysis and tasting led them to eventually remove the old vines and replant with grapes better suited for the site. The 2011 and 2012 Dilemma were from the old vines (which have now been removed) and the name comes from the family’s hesitation in ripping them out. However, the fact that they did shows the unwavering dedication to quality. This is a big and mighty, French oak-dominant wine. 85% was matured in the new French barrels, while 15% remained in stainless. Firm and structured (like a barrel!), with nutty cream, sweet butter, green apple and finely rasped spice, the richness of this wine calls for food to match – think butter poached lobster, scallop risotto and cream-centric poultry or pasta. At this point, the wood overtakes the fruit, though it should mellow and calm in 2-4 years time. A very promising peak at this exciting, new project. 88 points.



Quails’ Gate Winery
Rosé 2013
Okanagan Valley, BC
$15.99  +170316

This wine is nearly as well known as the Stewart family themselves, celebrating 25 years with Quails’ Gate in 2014. Always a great value go-to rose every year, this vintage surpasses all in memory as the best yet. A blend of gamay, pinot noir and pinot gris transform into fresh wild strawberries, mouth watering upon first whiff and followed up by raspberry blossoms. The beauty pale pink hue reflects what’s in the glass: juicy watermelon, strawberries, baked rhubarb and elderflower on a silky palate, finishing dry and fruity with a pretty thorny rose fragrance. Partner with a patio and plate of charcuterie. 88 points.


LVP Petit-Blanc-2012Adventurer

Le Vieux Pin
Petit Sigma Blanc 2012
Okanagan Valley, BC
*$20 (on sale for $17 at winery right now)

Le Vieux Pin was named for the majestic aged pine tree that stands in the winery’s Black Sage Bench vineyard. The gesture reflects the winery’s commitment to create wines that pay homage to the dedication and traditions of France, while honouring the beautiful south Okanagan. Their Petit wines (there is a Rouge as well) are well crafted without needing to be contemplative. This year the Petit Blanc is a blend of sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, viognier, muscat, gewürztraminer, rousanne, marsanne and ehrenfelser, aged in stainless steel to preserve the aromatic fruit. Beauty texture in this singular blend – the palate is dense and oily with leesy notes, ripe peach, pear blossom, mandarin, anise, apricot, musk melon and honeysuckle. The finish is lengthy herbed brown butter – the perfect savoury send off and mate to lunch of local cheese, fruit and crisps. 89 points.


No Wineosfrizz

Merridale Cider
Frizz Vodka
Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island
$42  + 16477

Over the years Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes have slowly, organically added to the Merridale portfolio, first through a cache of popular ciders, and then into an impressive lineup of spirits. One of their most creative products is Frizz, a carbonated fruit-based vodka, memorably sealed with a red Zork. Don’t misunderstand – this is not fruit infused vodka, but vodka made from fruit. Instead of having a base of grain or potatoes, it is a blend of spirits made from cherries, plums, apples, and some pear. It’s not an easy pursuit; it costs about ten times as much to make vodka from fruit, but they believe the end result is softer and more flavourful. To be clear – Frizz is vodka made from fruit, not infused with fruit. No charcoal or other heavy filtration is used, leaving behind much of the pure essence of the orchards.


After 3 or 4 failures, they discovered a method of carbonating the vodka in 150 gallon batches over many weeks at temperatures close to freezing. The resulting bubble is small and refined, akin to Frizzante. Like all bubbly beverages, it will go flat after being open for a few hours, but your bubble isn’t burst – you’re left with tasty still vodka.

“Spot Prawn Pot-au-feu with fresh peas” – Photo by Rebecca Wellman from the book Island Wineries of British Columbia (Touchwood Editions)



Each week Treve highlights 5 timely and tasty picks. Her weekly choices include Locavore (BC wines), Cellar Dweller (wines to lay down for a while for maximum enjoyment), Budgeteer (wallet-friendly bottles under $15), Adventurer (wines for geeks, enlightening or pushing the envelope) and No Wineos (a non-wine pro-alcoholic beverage). So what are you waiting for? DRINK This!


DRINKing Guide
DRINKing Guide: How to use our purchasing information. *Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores. All other wines are available through BC Liquor Stores. The price is suggested retail price, and may fluctuate depending on source. Wines are scored out of 100 points.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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