Wine Reviews  

vinAmite Quest (Port-style)

vinAmite Quest

Wine: Ouest (Port-style)

Winery: vinAmite, Oliver

Why drink it? There are 3-year, 5-year, and this 7-year port-style wines in this collection, the numbers indicating the length of aging. Should you be lucky enough to have all three, they’d make fine evening of comparing and contrasting. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, the fortification comes from distilled 2012 Cab Sauv. Tucked out of sight until release, the intensity of aromas and flavours has increased, but there is also a subline softness to the deep plum, chocolate covered cherry, and Chambord-esque notes, with just a hint of cinnamon-caramel sauce on the finish.

Pair with: A brunch with friends and family; ask everyone to bring their favourite aged cheese to share for grazing, pair with fig jam or raspberry jam. Serve a pulled pork frittata for the main, then a finale of rich cinnamon buns drizzled with caramel sauce instead of icing.

Price: $65

Music pairing: La Chanson de Catherine, Edith Piaf


2019 Phantom Creek Cuvee

Phantom Creek Cuvee

Wine: Cuvee (red blend), 2019

Winery: Phantom Creek, Oliver

Why drink it? Predominantly Cabernet Franc, Merlot provides some of its own nuances and there is just a touch of Syrah in this blend, all from the Kobau Vineyard on Golden Mile Bench. All three conspire together in their own ways, with coffee bean and dark chocolate from the Merlot on the nose alongside earthy herbs and ripe Damson plums from the Cab Franc. A chocolate-espresso combination emerges on the palate, with blackberries, blueberries, and balanced cedar and oak notes. This a rich and robust red that finishes with a nice backbone of tannins lifted by some acidity.

Pair with: Indulge in a gourmet Wagyu beef burger or meatballs, or a roasted eggplant ‘burger’ topped with grilled mushrooms and sweet peppers. Start with a selection of savoury bruschettas, finish with a dark chocolate ganache-filled cupcake.

Price: $80

Music pairing: Oh Caroline, The 1975

2020 Roche Pinot Gris

Wine: Pinot Gris, 2020

Winery: Roche, Naramata

Why drink it? This is a creamier, somewhat weightier version of Pinot Gris than you might expect from an Okanagan PG, likely owing to the winery leading towards a more European style of winemaking and the neutral oak treatment of this wine. The grapes are from an organic vineyard just north of the winery, and the slightly golden hue in the glass as you give it a swirl leads to light aromas of sliced apples and almonds, conjuring up the idea of morning granola as the sun rises over the lake. The flavour mix has some salinity and minerality, fresh pear, and toasted nuts.

Pair with: The winery suggests chicken stuffed with 30 cloves of garlic. If that’s too much, give a good chicken salad with a hint of fennel and grapes and walnuts a shot. A smooth and velvety polenta, or a creamy smoked salmon dip will both pair well.

Price: $35

Music pairing: Giddy Up!, Shania Twain

2020 Laughing Stock Chardonnay

Laughing Stock Chardonnay

Wine: Chardonnay, 2020

Winery: Laughing Stock, Naramata

Why drink it? Fun fact: eight percent of this wine was fermented in a concrete egg; the rest in your more traditional oak, of course, resulting in a balanced chard with a distinct mouthfeel. The nose has beautiful tropicality with grilled pineapple and macadamia nuts, along with vanilla and the aroma of fresh buttered toast. The oak treatment on the palate is balanced and somewhat creamy, pairing nicely with notes of lemon, pear, and brioche. There both richness and bright fruitiness on the finish, with a nice body and acidity.

Pair with: Watching the movie The Menu with a few friends and a selection of flavoured popcorns while discussing ‘mouthfeel’ – brown-butter lemon, truffle-salt, sesame seed, herb and garlic, maple pecan – the Food Network has this list of recipes.

Price: $32

Music pairing: Laughter in the Rain, Neil Sedaka

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