Sommeliers Recommend New Sips for Spring

Spring is here – time to put the big reds back into the cellar and try something new. I asked five local sommeliers what’s hot. Here are your perfect pairings for the annual flower count.

Carmen Parry, Sommelier

Spring, for me, is the time for aromatic blends, and lots of them! Look for blends inspired by Alsace with lots of lifted floral notes and frisky flavours of lychee, guava, lime, and a whole host of other tropical fruit. Rieslings and Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer, all make great backbones of these standout blends.
This year I think we will also see Sherry finally make its resurgence. I’m in love with Sherry cocktails, the food pairings are endless, and Sherry is really a star on its own. Spring for me is a great time to start out with a lovely Fino sherry and think about the summer to come.

Nolan Wilson FWS, Wine Steward

What’s better to pair with spring then something new and fresh? Vancouver Island is still discovering its identity within BC’s wine industry, but I think that Averill Creek has touched on a category that our Island will do well with. “Charm de L’ile”, is a charmant method (prosecco style) sparkling white wine with equal parts pinot gris and pinot noir.
Unsworth winery purchased this new equipment with the intent of producing their own bubbles, but also in the hope of leasing their tank to local wineries. Averill Creek was the first to jump in and the result is a clear, bright sparkling wine that is expressing youthful aromas of crisp lemon zest, green apples and a soft yeasty finish. The palate is dry and very fresh with soft flavors of apples, pears, and biscuity lees that are tied together with a lively mousse. At approximately $20 this wine is perfect at any time, for any reason. I suggest pairing with a patio and friends. Cheers!

Pamela Sanderson, Regional Manager, Cascadia Liquor Stores

When I think of spring I think of fresh, lively wines that are lighter, fruitier and possibly crisper than wines I enjoy during the colder season. Some wines that fit this description are Avelada Vinho Verde from Portugal, Damasco from the Cowichan Valley or Txakoli from the Basque Region in Spain. Roses are also high on my list for the spring and summer; Quill Rose from Blue Grouse is lovely.
Both these styles of wines pair nicely with the often lighter fare enjoyed in spring in contrast to heavier, heartier dishes in winter.

Kyle Bruce, Sommelier, Wine Director and Empress Room Manager at the Fairmont Empress.

This year for spring I think we’re going to see a significant growth in Spanish varieties, both from Spain as well as those being grown in the Pacific Northwest. We will continue to see a focus on single vineyard products, and wild yeast ferments. These add to the expression of the terrior, giving the consumer a true sense of place in the glass. I believe we will also see continued growth in guests wanting to pick the brain of the Sommelier, and a willingness to try our off-the-wall favourites.

Josh Clark, Sommelier Il Terrazzo Ristorante, Victoria Wine Festival

Spring is a time for growth and renewal. Why not apply that to your wine selections? Trust in others to help you find the right bottle to suit your tastes. Whether it be in a wine shop or in a restaurant there is always someone available to show you something new. Ask them!
Everyone that drinks wine is different and I always approach every recommendation individually. I like to show people new wines without taking them too far out of their comfort zone both with style and (usually) more importantly price point. For example, if you enjoy a new world cabernet sauvignon, I’d suggest a more modern style “SuperTuscan” blend from Italy or something from the South of France.


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