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Column: Outstanding Wines for the First Weekend of Summer

Locally-available wines to enhance your summer feasts.
A trio of delicious BC wines for summer: Clos du Soleil Pinot Gris, Corcellettes Oracle Rosé, and Meyer Pinot Noir.

Looking for wines that are perfect for summer enjoyment? Today’s choices are light to medium bodied, refreshing when chilled, versatile with food, and excellent buys. And they are available locally at Save-on Foods VQA in Ironwood or online through the winery.

Please welcome The Meyer 2020 Pinot Noir ($28.79; 90 points; Outstanding!.

Since 2006, Meyer Family Vineyards in Okanagan Falls has been producing wines in a traditional Burgundian style with an emphasis on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The 2020 Vintage was the best vintage in recent years with the weather perfect for ripening from their Pinot Noir blocks to develop flavours and ripeness.

The fruit was sourced from six different vineyards, on their estate vineyard in OK Falls, and vineyards in South-east Kelowna, Naramata, Kaleden, and Osoyoos. These different vineyards with their own aspect, elevation, and soils produced a well rounded Pinot Noir that showcases the Okanagan valley.

Under Winemaker Chris Carson’s expertise, the grapes were handpicked and allowed to cold soak. They were then fermented with indigenous and inoculated yeasts, lasting 18 to 38 days, followed by hand plunging of the must, then gently pressed, spending eight months in old French oak barrels.

With its dark Burgundian colour, this entry level Pinot Noir lives up to the Meyer style of being a Burgundy winery. It also reveals a generous aroma of dark and red berries and an earthiness from its terroir. On the palate savour the black cherries, kirsch, a pleasant hint of barnyard, smooth tannins, and ending on a delicate bitterness along with a dry fruity finish. I enjoyed it with Boerewors, a South African pork sausage.

Next we travel west from the Okanagan to the small but impressive Similkameen Valley. It’s the Clos du Soleil Winemaker’s series Whispered Secret Vineyard 2021 Pinot Gris ($ 24.19; 90 points, Outstanding.)

Clos du Soleil is a small artisan winery and estate vineyards on the Upper Bench of the Similkameen. The name means an enclosed vineyard of the sun and refers to the rocks, soil, and sun, which define the terroir of the vineyard. The enclosure is the mountain that forms a tall natural stone wall at the back of the vineyard which reflects the afternoon rays onto the grapes. It also creates a mineral rich soil that adds terroir and texture to the wine.

Under the expertise of Michael Clark, Winemaker, General Manager, and co-owner of Clos du Soleil, the grapes were grown on their certified organic cool Whispered Secret Vineyard, which develops the flavour while maintaining the vital acidity.

Aromas of fresh orchard fruit and citrus with hints of vanilla in a medium-bodied dry white with flavours of ripe pear, and apple, lots of minerals from the mountainous stone wall and a long nectarine and lemony dry finish. I enjoyed it with barbecued chicken but sushi, grilled scallops, goat’s cheese or sipping and toasting the arrival of summer would be wonderful. No wonder the Clos du Soleil 2021 Pinot Gris recently earned a Gold Medal at the 2022 All Canadian wine Championships!

My final recommendation is an amazing rosé, the Corcellettes 2021 Oracle ($23.29; 91 points, Outstanding.) Corcelettes describes a royal garden referring to the team's devotion to the land and precision practices in both the vineyard and cellar. Their philosophy is passion, precision, and purpose to craft small lot premium wines. And oracle is a reference to the stunning quality of the 2020 wine and the potential for the future.

Led by Charlie and Jesce Baessler, they have planted 27 acres that showcase the windswept terroir of the valley. It was named Top 10 Small wineries in the 2018, 2019, and 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada as well as Top overall in Canada and Top BC Wineries in 2019.

Produced from hand-picked Pinot Noir and Syrah from two different vineyards, the Oracle displays a beautiful coral colour, with strawberries and cream aromas and flavours along with grapefruit citrus and raspberries on the mid-palate. And it has textured minerality along with freshness, and balance that concludes on a lengthy dry finish.

The winery recommends serving it with sautéed prawns, fish tacos, Dungeness crab, or lobster. Sounds like a plan for this summery weekend!