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Column: Long Weekend Lovelies! Some wine to kick off summer

Three wines to try during the Victoria Day long weekend.

Today marks the unofficial beginning of summer as the Victoria Day Long Weekend begins. And I have three wine recommendations that should put you in a layback holiday mood.

The first is Quails’ Gate 2021 Gewurztraminer ($19.99; 90 points Outstanding). I am usually not a big fan of Gewurz. I can enjoy a glass of this fruit forward wine but then I’ve had enough. So I was amazed at how delicious the Quails Gate Gewurztraminer was!

This Gewurz has a pale straw colour with a tinge of onion skin, Expect a bountiful floral and citrus aroma with lots of mouth watering flavours including grapefruit, lychee, rose water, peach, orange, and ginger in a medium body with a wonderful balance of acid and fruit. There’s a long off-dry finish with very soft tannins, something you seldom find in a white wine.

Enjoy with scallop and watermelon ceviche, sushi, curry, Moroccan cuisine, or Munster Cheese from Alsace. A good rule of thumb when pairing wine with food is to select food that is produced in the country where the wine originates. Although this Gewurztraminer is from the Okanagan, the grape did originate from Alsace. So it’s not a huge leap to realize a Gewurztraminer from BC would also pair very nicely with an aromatic Alsatian cheese! Available at Richmond Ironwood and Tsawwassen BC Liquor Stores.

Now that many of us are in the mood to celebrate a long weekend that signals the beginning of warm weather, barbecues, getting our hands in the garden dirt it’s time to pop the cork on a bubby. The Evolve Pink Effervescence ($21.99; 88 points Very Good) by Time Winery in Penticton is a charming sparkling wine with a beautiful salmon pink colour and made with 70% chardonnay, 28% pinot blanc, and 2% syrah. It’s produced by the method cuvée close, the same method used with prosecco. 

The pink effervescence displays its namesake when you pour a glass. Thousands of bubbles or effervescence appear as the wine foams up. With a cherry aroma and ripe flavours of cherry, strawberries, and rhubarb, there’s a  refreshing creamy mouth feel, a slight bitterness to balance the fruit, and a tasty off-dry cherry finish.

Evolve Pink Effervescence is wonderful to toast the season of outdoor enjoyment and to plan activities like visiting wineries, hiking, biking, camping, going to the beach, etc. I’ll drink to that!

Serve with Argentinian prawns or our local fresh spot prawns topped with Valentina Mexican hot sauce, a not-so-spicy but very tasty blend of chilies and vinegar with Naan bread or some chorizo and mussels. Available at Save-on Foods wine stores, including Richmond’s Ironwood.

If you’re in the mood for a barbecue on this Victoria Day holiday, look no further than Tinhorn Creek 2018 Oldfield Merlot Reserve ($29.99; 91 points, Outstanding.) That’s what the judges felt when they awarded it a Gold Medal in the 2021 Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada. It’s called Reserve for a reason.

The Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot is a Bordeaux style red from the southern Okanagan with 88% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc for added structure and flavour. Dark ruby in the glass, its nose is full of black and red fruit, vanilla, earthy notes, and licorice. On the palate there’s plum, blackberries, cherries, toasted nuts and tobacco. The tannins are smooth with its medium/full body and good acidity and a satisfying finish of fruit and cigar box.

This delicious Merlot begs for barbecued red meat whether its steak, lamb burger, or Greek lamb kebabs!  Available at all three Richmond BC Liquor Stores.

Cheers and Happy Victoria Day!