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Column: Celebrating July 1st with an Okanagan Trio

Celebrate with festive sparkling wines and a red wine as a nod to the Maple Leaf.
Haywire Bubblies and a Narrative Red for Canada Day.

Today is Canada Day! To celebrate the 155th birthday of Confederation, I’ve chosen three Canadian wines that fit the bill for toasting our nation

Nothing says ‘Celebration’ more than pouring a sparkling wine. And Haywire at the Okanagan Crush Pad makes two impressive sparklers. The 2017 Bub ($32.99; 91 points, Outstanding) is made from 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay grapes which are grown in Oliver and Summerland, then fermented in concrete and stainless steel tanks before bottling in November 2017 for secondary fermentation on the lees. Disgorged in January 2019, no sugar was added to the dosage.

This reminds me of sparkling Chablis, if there actually is one. The Bub is bone dry with an aroma of bread dough, a light effervescence, an electrical acidity, and a citrus flavour ending on a lemon finish that doesn’t seem to stop. I enjoyed it with kettle chips/crisps, then bacon wrapped scallops, and finally Miyagi oysters on the half shell. The citrusy flavours and the crisp acidity cleansed the palate of salt and shellfish flavours. But with the raw oysters, the wine tasted creamier with a round chalky flavour. Yum!

I kept the wine refrigerated for 24 hours before opening but that numbed the delicate aroma and flavour. Leaving it at room temperature for 15 minutes, however, enhanced the nose, the taste, and the enjoyment of this austere but delicious Bub! Available at Save-On Ironwood as well as Everything Wine South Surrey and North Vancouver.

For an excellent demonstration of how aging can transform the character of a sparkling wine, pop the crown cap off the Haywire 2014 Vintage Bub ($49.99; 92 points, Outstanding.)

Equal parts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in Oliver and Summerland were bottled in November 2014 for secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles. After five years aging, the special cuvee was disgorged and received extra bottle aging.

While the 2017 Bub reminded me of sparkling Chablis, the 2014 Vintage Bub was like sparkling white Burgundy. It has a deeper straw colour and it revealed a richer nose and flavour, baked apple pie, lime and quince and a toasty dry but softer finish. Enjoying it with oysters on the half shell amplified the oyster flavour in a delightful way!

Switching to a maple leaf colour, there’s a lovely red from Okanagan Crush Pad’s Narrative brand, the 2018 Narrative 2018 Non-Fiction ($ 29.99, 90 points, Outstanding.)

It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot from an Osoyoos organic vineyard, which sees ten months of aging in concrete. Why is it called Non-Fiction? Perhaps it’s because there’s no oak aging, which masks some of the fruit that the terroir and the grapes naturally provide.

A dark garnet colour greets you in the glass with black cherry, boysenberry, plum, and vanilla aromas enveloping your sense of smell. On the palate there’s ripe raspberry, tobacco, with gentle tannins, a smooth texture from the concrete, freshness, and a rich long finish.

It was a perfect match for a roast shoulder of pork marinated in garlic, onions, and citrus for 24 hours. Barbecued burgers, lamb souvlaki, or sockeye salmon would be great partners with the Narrative Non-Fiction. Both the Non-Fiction and the 2014 Vintage Bub are available at the winery and online.

Here’s to you, Canada and to you, Okanagan Crush Pad!