Warm Weather, Big Feasts

Maybe it’s just me, but when I think down to a big traditional turkey or roast beef or baked ham dinner with the fixins, it’s chilly out. Whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter, in BC, it’s not particularly warm. And bigger, warming wines are welcome in pairing with the feast.

I’ve been on the road since early October, first in Australia (where it’s currently deep spring) and now in Hawaii (where it’s perennially deep spring) and have come across a phenomenon new to me, which I’ve named warm weather, big feasts. In Australia, Christmas falls in the middle of summer, when it can regularly be 30+ degrees. And in Hawaii, we’ll be observing American Thanksgiving this week, with 85F + temperatures (hovering around 27C). I was surprised, shocked really, to find out that people enjoy lengthy roasted meals – like turkey and roast beef – during temperatures like this, to celebrate the holiday. No grilled shrimp? No raw fish? No, no, no I have been repeatedly told – it wouldn’t be ‘the holidays’ without a big traditional feast.

Excuse my naïveté, but if the thermometer was nearing 35C, I wouldn’t be gearing up to roast a turkey for 6 hours!

That revelation aside, my mind then darted to the all-important question: what do you drink with said tropical roast meat feast? When the temperature is 30C, I’m not reaching for big hearty roast-beef ready reds. I’ve come up with a list of qualified contenders; wines that have freshness and acidity enough to quell the heat, but body and richness enough to pair with your traditional holiday meal. If you’re travelling over the waters this Christmas, or find yourself having a big roast feast in a tropical clime, make note of these.

As for non-traditionalist me, this week on American Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 27), I’ll be feasting on ahi poke and mai tais, and absorbing the 28C sunshine by the sea. Aloha ~



Gamay 2012
Okanagan Valley, BC
*$24  +675900

It’s agreed that Beaujolais is a natural for turkey feasting. JoieFarm’s alluring 100% gamay is a beautiful BC alternative to Beaujolais’ fruity, fresh red. This gamay gains my appreciation with air in the glass, allowing all the pure cherry fruit and dusty raspberries to really shine. Good structure props up the orchard fruit without distracting from it – lovely summer strawberries, cherries and fine grained tannins finish with a silky raspberry note. Pass the bird (or albacore tuna, salmon, pork chop… Just pass me the bottle). #GoGamayGo. 89 points.


Cellar Dweller

Domaine Carneros
Brut Cuvée 2008
Carneros, California, USA
*$37  +73916

When you want the complexity and legacy of Champagne for your celebrations, without the price, pick up a bottle of Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée, a groundbreaking California sparkling house, founded by and in conjunction with Champagne’s illustrious Domaine Taittinger. Opening with toast, shell, frizzed lemon pith, and whiffs of apricot fuzz notes before a lightly nutty, full palate, textured with lemon and stone spice. Rounder in mouth, with shell, apricot scent on the finish. Generous, but still fresh, this can handle courses from canapés through poultry or seafood for the main. 89 points.



Real Companhia Velha
Porca de Murça Tinto 2013
Douro, Portugal
$12  +114322

A blend of traditional Portuguese grapes (the same ones found in fortified port) touriga franca, touriga nacional, tinta roriz and tinta barroca, this entry level Porca de Murça is the top selling wine for Real Companhia Velha, with over 1M bottles annually (!) Fantastic authenticity for the quantity. No oak here – this is fresh red cherry and sweeter black plum, with bright florals, raspberry cotton candy, a swath of earthy herbal notes, soft tannins and sweet black pepper on the finish. Uncomplicated and simple to drink, but not entirely simplistic – there is some depth of flavour here. Roasted or grilled beef, here’s your match. 87 points.



Banrock Station
Sparkling Shiraz NV
$15  +575902

This hefty beaut is a natural for celebrations, along with a big whack of funky and fun. Sparkling shiraz is inherently quirky Australian and can range from candied sweet pink suds to slightly more serious sippers. Here with Banrock Station’s, a nose of blackberries, blueberries, dark plums and a dusting of cocoa starts you off. A frothy palate of velveteen dark fruit, blueberry jam and darker chocolate lure you in. Refreshing acid cleanses you off, and readies your palate for more. Said by many Aussie mates to be the ultimate turkey dinner wine, though I also have it on good authority that lacquered pork ribs fare very well with this. This has some weight and tannins to take on the dressed-to-the-nines bird, but the acid and bubbles keep it from overwhelming. Be warned that the dark purple vibrant bubbles in the flute may very well steal the show. 86 points.


No Wineos

Long Table Distillery
Texada Vodka
Vancouver, BC
$45   +787051

It’s classy to offer guests (and the chef) a cocktail, and there is no better, base spirit to start with than vodka. Inner Vancouver’s first micro distillery quickly became a must go-to for locavores and savvy bartenders alike. Long Table’s handcrafted small batch spirits come from their gleaming 300L copper pot still, each run focusing on local and organic ingredients. This vodka is distilled with fresh lemongrass and passed through a limestone filter from nearby Texada Island, giving a smooth, polished mouthfeel with a whisper of citrus. A light floral sweetness, with cool, high toned minerality and a touch of spice on the finish keep it complex while crystal clean.


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: 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 ...

Comments are closed.