Column: Trio of B.C. wines to enjoy this autumn

Last Saturday saw the release of 2017 Bordeaux in B.C. government stores.  Although most of the wines are reds, there are some Bordeaux that are white and a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Here in our province, we also produce dry white blends of Sauvignon and Semillon. They’re often called white Meritage instead of white Bordeaux because the latter must be made in Bordeaux France.

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The first BC pioneer to make a Meritage was Harry McWatters. His 2018 TIME White Meritage ($25 from the winery and at Save-On Ironwood) is produced from 50-per-cent Sauvignon Blanc and 50-per-cent Semillon. It displays a floral bouquet with melon, citrus, and a kiss of toasted oak.

On the palate the Meritage reveals lemon verbena, ripe peach, and a hint of orange peel. It has a pleasant vitreous smooth mouth-feel thanks to the Semillon. And it ends with a vibrant dry fruity finish. Enjoy with oysters on the half shell, sushi, or chicken salad with olives and artichokes.

October is a perfect time to visit the Okanagan. The weather is often sunny and the leaves are turning colour. Plus, the harvest is underway throughout the month.  You can visit TIME Winery and Kitchen on 361 Martin St. in downtown Penticton, taste their wines, and enjoy the cuisine from the Kitchen Bistro.

A delicious red to enjoy this month is the 2017 Tinhorn Creek Winery Cabernet Franc ($24.99) from the Golden Mile Sub-appellation of the Okanagan Valley near Oliver. Cabernet Franc’s ancestral home is Bordeaux and it’s blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to add more bouquet and a lighter and smoother body to the final cuvée.

The Tinhorn Creek Cab Franc has a generous bouquet of red fruit, vanilla, and tealeaves. Tasting it is a pleasure with flavours of cherry, red currant, and cranberry. The tannins are smooth with a medium body, much like Chianti. Serve with roast pork and rosemary, goat cheese mushroom ravioli, or turkey with cranberry sauce.

I have enjoyed Tinhorn’s Cabernet Franc for over a decade and it continues to be a very reliable red. This week I reviewed the 2017, which hopefully can still be purchased in private stores. The 2018 is presently on BCLS shelves.

If you’re near the Golden Mile, reserve a tasting at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards; they’re open seven days a week. Take the wine experience to the next level by making reservations at Miradoro, their sustainable restaurant with veteran executive chef, Jeff Van Geest who formerly worked at Bishops, Diva at the Met, and Aurora. Miradoro has won Vancouver Magazine’s Gold Medal for Best Restaurant/Vineyard Dining five years in a row!

My final recommendation is the organic Robin Ridge 2018 Pinot Noir from the Similkameen Valley. If you’re in the Okanagan, make sure you visit the Similkameen. Their wines have more minerals and terroir, which adds complexity that I find very appealing.

Robin Ridge is an organic family owned winery near Keremeos. Owners Tim and Caroline Cottrill first opened in 1997 and have been well known for specializing in Gamay, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir

Their Pinot displays a dark burgundy colour and releases an opulent bouquet. Expect cola, earthiness, beets, strawberries, black cherries. and minerals. The flavours reflect the bouquet with a mix of savoury and ripe fruit, silky tannins, and chalkiness. Well balanced with a medium light body.

Serve the Robin Ridge with a rack of lamb, barbecued salmon, or coq au vin, cooked in the Pinot Noir. Or if it's Monday, a Margerhita pizza with lots of tomatoes and basil! Available at Ironwood Save-On in Richmond or online from Robin Ridge's website.

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