Column: Celebrating Canada Day in a glassy way

With Canada Day rapidly approaching, this year will be totally different. Here in Richmond, there’ll be no Canada Day parades, no Steveston Salmon Festival, nor big July 1st parties.

Another way to celebrate and have fun with a Canadian theme is to enjoy some tasty Canadian wine. Aside from B.C., most Canadian wine is produced in Ontario but very little of it is available here.

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You can however have a field day purchasing B.C. wines. In Richmond, there are three BCLDB outlets as well as private stores like O’Hares, JAKs, Save-on Foods and Superstore. Vancouver has Legacy, Liberty Wine Merchants, Broadway International Wines and Everything Wine.

Or you can visit a nearby winery such as Country Vines at Country Farms on Steveston Highway. Tastings are not offered right now but they are open for bottle sales Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You could add a theme to your Canada entertainment by trying wines from one region. For example Similkameen Valley is a wonderful region near Keremeos but is often skipped in favour of the Okanagan.

One of my favourites in the Similkameen is Clos du Soleil, a small artisan winery on the Upper Bench. The French name means an enclosed vineyard of the sun. The enclosure is the mountain behind the vineyard, which collects the heat from the sun as well as contributing minerals that add character and structure to their reds and whites.

One of my Similkameen favourites is Clos du Soleil Signature ($48.90). I recently uncorked the 2014 Signature that received a 90 points World Wine award from Decanter and a Gold Medal in the 2018 Wine Align Competition. This is the flagship blend of the winery with Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc as well as Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

Signature is an elegant complex red that is drinking well at six years of age. Uncorking it unleashes a big bouquet of black and red fruit, flowers, with a delightful toastiness. On the palate there are rich black cherries and plums, with nuances of violets, forest floor, and baking spices.

A characteristic of most Similkameen wines is the minerals that the rocky terroir gives to the flavour, and it is very much in evidence here. There’s plenty of fruit and moderate tannins to age this for another four years.

I enjoyed the Signature with a herb crusted rack of lamb with a morel wine jus and sea asparagus and boiled Lulu Island nugget potatoes.

Take advantage of free shipping and 10-per-cent discount on orders of six or more bottles at Clos du Soleil's website.

Nearby in the South Okanagan, Black Hills Estate Winery is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first release of their iconic Bordeaux style red, Nota Bene. Normally they celebrate the release with a big party but this year the winery is taking its party online on July 17th.

Customers who purchase 12 bottles of the 2018 Nota Bene ($59.90 each) will receive access to the online party featuring recording artist Steven Page joined by Jason Priestley, Erin Cebula, Prevail, and 2018 Olympic winner, Kelsey Serwa. Black Hills’ Winemaker and Master of Wine Ross Wise kicks off the celebration with a guided tasting of his 2018 Nota Bene.

Customers also receive a VIP Cabana Tasting at the winery and free shipping. Visit blackhillswinery.com

So Happy 153rd Birthday, Canada. And here’s to the delicious wines of B.C.. May both continue to grow and prosper!

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