Column: A trio of wines for Valentines

Two important events are looming around the corner for you if you are a romantic and a wine lover. Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14 and the Vancouver International Wine Festival gets underway Feb. 25 with a week of tastings, lunches, dinners and seminars.

To celebrate both events, consider today’s three selections.

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First up, a vibrant and fruity Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc ($17.99 on sale until March 2 at government stores). Made from grapes grown in New Zealand’s famous Marlborough region, this white displays the characteristic bouquet and flavours that put New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc on the world wine map.

Scents of gooseberries and tropical fruits burst out of the glass. The flavours are rich in guava, passion fruit, green beans and asparagus, nicely balanced with steely acidity. It concludes with a dry, mineral lime-zest finish. 

Delicious to sip on its own or enjoyed with mussels, scallops, oysters or prawns.  You can also enjoy the Yealands at the Vancouver Wine Festival Tasting Room.

Another white to enjoy is Tinhorn Creek 2017 Oldfield Reserve 2 Bench White ($23.99 Save On Ironwood) from the South Okanagan. This is a very special blend as it has five varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Semillon and a small amount of Muscat.

The 2 Bench White reminds me of a fine white Bordeaux which isn’t surprising because it has two of the main ingredients that are in the French classic, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The first two grapes are fermented using natural yeast and aged in French oak barrels. The Chardonnay, Semillon, and Muscat are aged in stainless steel with selected yeasts to emphasize the tropical character and freshness.

As a result, you get an amazing white wine with more bouquet, terroir and flavour than most white Bordeaux. I was taken with the complexity of the Bench 2 White. First the floral nose with tropical fruit, and then the rich flavours of peaches, lemon, and nectarines, with minerality and a lingering finish. Enjoy with shellfish, grilled octopus, halibut, or trout. Ready to drink now, but will develop over the next five years. Plan to visit the Tinhorn Creek booth at Vanwinefest and savour this 2 Bench White.

Finally there’s the Poplar Grove 2014 Syrah from Naramata ($35.99 at Richmond Brighouse BCLDB and Everything Wine in Vancouver). 2014 was a stellar year for grapes in the Okanagan with warm winters and a lengthy growing season and ripe grapes with excellent balance of sugar, acid and flavours.

The Poplar Grove Syrah has 7 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon to add more backbone and complexity to the wine. It displays an exquisite black currant and chocolate bouquet. When you sip it, blueberries and blackberries with splashes of licorice, black pepper, and sage caress your tongue.

The Syrah is four years old so its tannins are smooth and soft. I enjoyed it with a prime striploin cooked medium rare with mushrooms and a jus from the juices with the Syrah and beef broth. Yum! You can also enjoy it at the Poplar Grove booth at the wine festival’s tasting room.

For a chance to win tickets to the Wine Festival, Trialto, the agency that sells today’s wines has a contest that is running until February 18th. 

Eric Hanson is a Richmond wine educator and journalist. 


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