As an advocate for BC wine, I’m often asked to play matchmaker in selecting beautiful bottles for special tables or guiding exploratory tastebuds toward wineries of choice. It’s a wonderful trust to hold, and I always welcome an opportunity to shine a light on the nice people in my Okanagan neighbourhood who make great wine.
In the past I have helped out at a local wine store this time of year to share my knowledge and bring the right bottles to folks in need. So it’s in the spirit of matchmaking and because I’m not at a retail outlet this season that I share my BC Wine Gift Guide, with bottles and clubs worth seeking out.
Have fun, and happy wine-giving.
- Tinhorn Creek 2015 Cabernet Franc: bright and opulent with steely minerality, for a true wine geek
- Hester Creek 2014 Reserve Cabernet Franc: juicy and herbaceous with a peppery flair
- Indigenous World 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon: single vineyard (Osoyoos) for the cellar or decanter
- Black Sage Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon: time in bottle or decant to open up this classic namesake wine
Merry Meritages & Beauty Blends
- Pentage Winery 2013 Hiatus: cab/cab/merlot/malbec/petit verdot/tempranillo makes it really all that and more, for now or later
- Vin Amité 2015 Hidden Corner: layered and complex cab/merlot blend with a twist of malbec, small production, hard to find, worth a search
- Wild Goose Vineyards 2015 Red Horizon: uniquely Okanagan Falls with merlot/petit verdot (30%)/cab/cab, needing a bit of time or early decanting (that petit verdot is massive)
- Orofino Vineyards 2014 Beleza: hello, delicious Similkameen with cab/merlot/petit verdot/cab is an easy now (decant) or later (if you can wait) choice
- McWatters Collection 2013 Meritage: quintessential cool climate blend of cab/merlot/cab reaching full fruit ripeness with acid to go the cellar distance
Pretty Pinot (Noir)
- Roche Wines 2014 Pinot Noir: elegant, with youth and freshness, bringing the best of the old world into this new world wine region
- Quails’ Gate 2015 Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir: ripe bright fruit tamed and nuanced by time in barrel, age-worthy (like many, many years)
- Sperling Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir (heritage series): soft and rich, bright and deep, enjoyable now or after a few winters’ sleeps
- Anarchist Vineyards 2015 Elevation Chardonnay: off-the-beaten-chardonnay path, or any path for that matter; a super small producer that’s big on awesome
- Little Engine Wines 2016 Silver Chardonnay: crisp and fresh with a delicate, creamy touch
- Tantalus 2015 Chardonnay: a nod to the classics – think Burgundy or Montrachet – with a freshness only BC can offer
- Checkmate Winery 2014 Little Pawn Chardonnay: seashore and sunshine fruits in a cradle of elegance, with just an idea of softness
- Martin’s Lane Winery 2014 Fritzi’s Vineyard Riesling: time on lees gives this cool climate riesling a unique depth and complexity that shines
- Synchromesh Wines Wine Club: all of their wines are sold out – this is the only way you can get any of their remarkable rieslings; there’s a waitlist, and everyone with taste knows why
Dynamite Bubbles (traditional method, champagne-style)
- Summerhill Pyramid Winery 2011 Blanc de Franc: weird and wonderful, dry with marzipan and hazelnut and fresh acidity
- Bella Wines Reserve Series – Chardonnay Westside Vineyard: serious bubbles from nice people, a lovely way into the technical-geeky world of natural winemaking that is Bella
- Blue Mountain Winery 2009 Blanc de Blancs: citrus, nutty, brioche, yeasty, all the goodies from a traditional method wine with a bit of time on it
- Noble Ridge 2013 “The Wild One”: natural (wild) ferment, soft and delicate mousse, with some bottle variation in the best way – a trusted adventure
- Terravista Vineyards 2016 Figaro: rousanne/viognier for body, intensity, and lifted brightness
- Le Vieux Pin 2015 Syrah Cuvée Classique: dark and weighty, with elegant intensity, best after time in the cellar (lots of time – one to enjoy now will be the 2015 Syrah Cuvée Violette)
- Moon Curser 2015 Dead of Night: syrah/tempranillo for depth and complexity with robust flavour that can go the distance
- Little Farm Winery 2016 Pied de Cuve Orange: for the most wine-centric of wine lovers, a technically interesting and beautiful drinking orange riesling
- Painted Rock 2015 Red Icon: merlot/cab franc/malbec/petit verdot/cab sauv, intended to age but approachable now with time in a decanter (let this sleep, because it’s SO worth the wait)
- Culmina Estate 2016 Unicus: grüner veltliner as only BC can do (“fellowship” club members can up the ante with No 002 Wild Ferment Grüner Veltliner)
Wine Clubs for a hard-to-buy-for wine friend, or for yourself
- Upper Bench Winery & Creamery Curds & Corks Club: a wonderful cheesemaker married a talented winemaker, and we all get the best benefits of that relationship because they’ll ship wine and cheese directly to your door
- Bella Wines: two of three clubs still have some room available, and, like Synchromesh, membership in the wine club is soon the only way to ensure you get these beauty bubbles
- Liquidity Wines Equity Tasting Club: a premium tasting club with regular access to library wines (think 2013 riesling) and limited membership available
When choosing to give the gift of wine, remember: the best wine is the one in your glass when shared with family and friends. May your glasses – and hearts – be full.
Happy holidays, however you celebrate.