Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2022 Pinot Blanc

Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc

Wine: Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2022 Pinot Blanc

Winery: Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Why drink it? This medium-full-bodied white wine has pretty floral and wet rock aromas combined with stone fruit flavours: think peaches and nectarines. The grapes are hand harvested and the wine spends five months in neutral oak and stainless steel before bottling. Genetically related to Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc is an often under-appreciated white wine grape in Canada but it really deserves to be in our glasses more often.

The Mavety family, who owns Blue Mountain, planted their first vineyards in 1971 and sold their wine grapes to other wineries until 1991, when they created Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. Since then, they have developed an almost cult following amongst wine lovers and for their quality and limited availability. They make some beautiful other wines, too, including one of the Okanagan’s best Gamays which, similar to this white wine, would be a brilliant addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.

Pair with: Thanksgiving turkey, roast chicken.

Price: $29

Music pairing: Aujourd’hui by Bigflo & OliC


Tightrope Winery 2020 Cabernet Franc

Tightrope's 2020 Cab Franc

Wine: Tightrope Winery 2020 Cabernet Franc

Winery: Tightrope Winery

Why drink it? Eye-catching branding aside, this Cab Franc is a medium-bodied, classy red with notes of raspberry, white pepper, leather and strawberry. A crowd-pleaser, it is very versatile and will pair well with myriad foods and occasions.

The grapes are handpicked from the winery’s Thomas Vineyard on the beautiful Naramata Bench, and the wine spends 12 months in oak before bottling.

Tightrope owners Graham and Lyndsay O’Rourke opened their winery a little over a decade ago in 2012 after honing their chops at vineyards in New Zealand and Canada. Certified sustainable, Tightrope is solar-powered and uses no herbicides or pesticides in the vineyards.

Whatever they are doing, it clearly works.Tightrope has won a ton of awards, including medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Pair with: Lamb burgers, beef tenderloin, grilled eggplant and zucchini seasoned with garlic and herbs.

Price: $35

Music pairing: Hesitating Beauty by Billy Bragg and Wilco

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2021 Reserve Chardonnay

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay

Wine: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2021 Reserve Chardonnay

Winery: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Why drink it? Sandra and Kenn Oldfield started Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in 1993 with Bob and Barb Shaunessy, making this winery one of the Okanagan’s oldest. In 2017, it was sold to Andrew Peller Ltd., which still owns it today.

As for this rich, full-bodied Chardonnay, it comes from Tinhorn’s reserve line and spends 18 months in barrels before bottling. With lush notes of vanilla, spice, pear and canned fruit cup flavours, this creamy white is made from Golden Mile Bench grapes and was a silver medal winner at this year’s WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada. A Tinhorn Crush Club exclusive.

Located just south of Oliver, B.C., Tinhorn also has a very good restaurant, Miradoro, in case you’re in the region and in need of fine food. Call ahead to book.

Pair with: Creamy white pasta dishes, poached white fish in a simple sauce, roast chicken or Brie and a baguette.

Price: $37

Music pairing: Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac


Bartier Bros. Piquette

Simple, fresh wine in can

Wine: Bartier Bros. Piquette

Winery: Bartier Bros.

Why drink it? The Bartier Bros. Piquettes (there’s a rosé and a white) are crushable, delicious, refreshing and just what we need on a hot day. And, well, we know a thing or two about hot days this year.

Piquette is a fresh, fruity, simple style of wine that has its origins in France but is now found around the world, pretty much anywhere wine is made. Made from a second pressing of the grapes, piquette is one way “to address the rising costs of winemaking and to cut down on waste, by making more wine out of the same grapes,” according to winery owners and brothers Don and Michael Bartier, who spent 63 hours perfecting their current Piquette recipe. (That said, Michael made his first piquette 28 years ago, long before it became the global trend that it is now.)

Piquette also has less alcohol that a typical table wine—in this case, only 4.2 per cent. After it is fermented, the team has added a bit of carbonation and then popped it into these cute cans. The rosé has very pretty floral and citrus notes. Just chill and drink.

Pair with: Fish tacos, grilled chicken, sushi or corn chips and guacamole.

Price: About $16/four cans

Music pairing: Le Festin by Camille

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About the Author

As a kid, Shelley Boettcher often found herself in the back seat of a pick-up, exploring the back roads of the Okanagan Valley with her parents. They’d occasionally leave her and her brother in the car while they stopped at mysterious addresses to buy wine. They would emerge, clearly happy, as they stuck a box or a few bottles in the vehicle. Then they would continue on their journey.

But it wasn’t until a trip to Spain in 2000 that Shelley herself fell in love with wine. She came home from the holiday and promptly told her editor she wanted to become a wine writer.

And she did. 

An award-winning food and wine writer and editor, Shelley holds her master’s degree in journalism and her advanced WSET certification, as well as her level 2 International Sommelier Guild certification. A wine columnist for the Calgary Herald, she spent a decade as CBC Radio’s national syndicated wine columnist and she has written three books about wine, including two that were Canadian bestsellers. Her byline has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and Postmedia newspapers across Canada. 

Shelley has travelled throughout many of the world’s wine regions and countries, including Niagara, Oregon, Washington, California, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Australia, Germany, Argentina and the Republic of Georgia. A few years ago, she even tracked down and visited a winery in Denmark. 

Shelley has also served as a professional wine judge regionally and internationally, including the Okanagan Wine Festivals, Vinitaly and the Chianti Classico Consortium. For more than a decade, she has been a restaurant wine list judge for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, too. She still teases her parents for sparking her love for wine, especially BC wine.

And her favourite? Whatever she's drinking at the moment.

You can follow Shelley on Instagram @shelleyboettcher or Twitter at @shelley_wine. 

If you have a BC wine you’d like to suggest, email Shelley at [email protected] with the name of the wine and a short note about why you enjoyed it.