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Column: A tantalizing taste of summer!

Three wines from Okanagan, southern France, and Spain for a sunny summer weekend.

This sunny weekend, we’re going to add some liquid sunshine from the Okanagan, southern France, and Spain! First up, a delicious white, BC’s Church & State Coyote Bowl Series 2018 Chardonnay, ($25.99; 91 points, outstanding.)

There’s a seductive aroma of tropical fruit with apple, vanilla, and toast. Enjoy buttery flavours and texture along with lemon, pineapple, and coconut, and toasted nuts, which serenade your palate along with a balanced acidity, especially for a 2018 Chardonnay.

Usually 4-year-old chards don’t appeal to me, but the CBS is a wonderful exception. From the first sniff to the spicy finish, this is an appealing white wine with a delicate oak background that lets the fruit shine. It was a great match for my sockeye salmon with a lime dill garlic butter marinade barbecued over apple wood and coals!

Moving on to a tasty French red, the 2020 Chateau Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rouge ($21.99, 91 points, Outstanding.) It's a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, farmed organically in the cool climate at the foot of Mont Ventoux south-east of the Rhone Valley at the border with Provence.  Aged in concrete and stainless steel, this medium-bodied purple red cuvée enjoys delicious freshness and complexity.

The generous aroma reveals herbal garrigue, with terroir and forest floor along with black and red fruits. The elegant palate reveals black cherry, cassis, plum, and barbeque smoke. There’s silky tannins to enjoy and with hints of black pepper, tea, and licorice.

It’s been one of my favourites for over a decade and it remains a great buy. Enjoy with grilled tuna, Peking duck, or barbecued lamb!

My third recommendation is a Spanish wine made by a female French winemaker. It’s the 2020 El Petit Bonhomme Rueda Verdejo Blanco ($16.99 (on sale); 88 points, Very Good.) 

Verdejo, Spain’s most popular white wine is from the Rueda region 150 km northwest of Madrid. If you’re wondering why a Spanish wine has a French name, it’s because Montreal native Nathalie Bonhomme moved to Spain and exported Spanish wine to Canada. She specializes in smaller family wineries from various parts of Spain whose wines over-deliver for the price.

Bonhomme’s Verdejo is produced from 50-year-old organic vines whose grapes are fermented in stainless steel. It’s fresh and crisp and fruity with peach and mango, plus a hint of oil of bergamot from the beramot orange tree. Take a sip and discover crisp acidity along with mineral notes, flavours of pear and apple, ending on a dry finish.

El Petit Bonhomme is perfect for a summer afternoon listening to flamenco music as you prepare some tapas for your guests. Enjoy with seared scallops, grilled octopus, and patatas a la brava. Olé!

Of my three wine picks, the Chardonnay is available at Brighouse BC Liquor Store, while the Terrrasses Rouge and the Bonhomme are available at all three of Richmond’s government outlets: Brighouse, Seafair, and Ironwood.

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