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Column: How to Salute BC Day with a Glass of BC Wine

It’s the BC Day Long Weekend! And with hot sunny weather, wine lovers will be keen on discovering tasty thirst quenching wines to enjoy on picnics or patios.

It’s the BC Day Long Weekend! And with hot sunny weather, wine lovers will be keen on discovering tasty thirst quenching wines to enjoy on picnics or patios. To keep it informal, I’m recommending wines that are enjoyable and affordable, under $25. So here’s to BC’s 150th anniversary of joining Confederation and the 31st anniversary of BC producing high-quality BC wine.

Starting with a trio of whites is Harper’s Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block 2018 Vineyard Riesling ($20.99); “A/A+” rating). Named after the cattle drive trail of pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper, it was the first winery in Kamloops.

A beautiful aroma greets your nose with tree and citrus fruit plus a touch of flint. There’s apple as well as lemon and lime with exciting acidity and minerality to balance the ripe fruit on the mid-palate. A very long citrus finish leaves you with an excellent impression of the quality of this Thompson River white. Available at VQA wine stores and private liquor stores.

One of the best Gewurz’s I’ve tasted is Hillside 2019 Gewurztraminer ($21.00; “A” rating). It’s a dry white with plenty of character including a floral and fruity bouquet. Plus there’s the delicious and exotic rose petal, pink grapefruit, and herbal flavours and a crispness that makes this Naramata wine come alive in your mouth.

Great on its own and excellent with a crisp bbq duck breast. Available at O’Hare’s Private Liquor Store and other independent establishments.

Five Vineyards 2018 Pinot Blanc ($12.99 on sale until July 31; “B+” rating) is a tasty white from Mission Hill that’s easy on your budget and a perfect remedy for the endless hot summer. With a fruity and floral bouquet, the Pinot Blanc possesses delicious ripe pear and lemon zest flavours with tangy refreshing acidity and a grapefruit finish to make your lips smack with delight! Available at BCL Stores.

Switching to pink, there’s Baillie-Grohman 2020 Florence Rosé ($21.00; “A” rating) from Creston in the Kootenays. Made from Pinot Noir grapes, it displays a gorgeous salmon-orange colour and a beautiful bouquet of roses, red fruit, and tangerine. Expect flavours of strawberry and rhubarb with a tangy sweet and sour

taste ending with an off-dry finish. Enjoy with barbecued salmon on the grill! Available at VQA wine stores including Ironwood.

Now for the reds starting with Hillside 2018 Merlot ($23.98; “A” rating). This Merlot’s generous aroma reveals red fruit with vanilla and light toast. In the mouth there’s plenty of plum and black cherry with refreshing acidity, moderate tannins, and a dark chocolate finish.

Enjoy with a porchetta or braised short ribs in a Merlot braise along with chimichurri sauce. And for dessert, enjoy some dark chocolate with a final sip of this elegant Merlot from Hillside in Naramata. Available at Everything Wine and VQA wine stores.

Another delicious red for the BC Day Long Weekend is the 2018 Noble Ridge Vineyards Meritage from Okanagan Falls ($21.99; “A/A+” rating). It's a blend of Merlot with 33% Cabernet Sauvignon added to produce the dark garnet colour and a complex profile. Wafting out of the glass is a generous aroma of red and black fruit together with licorice, tobacco, black tea, and rich topsoil.

Swish it around in your mouth and experience the rich black cherries, plums, chocolate, and a kiss of toasted oak. It’s complex, rich, and elegant! Enjoy with a barbecued rib-eye or pork chops puttanesca. Available at Save-on Foods VQA stores and Everything Wine.

If you happen to find the 2019 vintage of the Noble Ridge Meritage, it won a Silver Medal (90 points) at the Cascadia International Wine Competition. Let’s raise a glass of BC wine to our province’s 150th birthday and 31 years of producing delicious local wine. Bravo!