Noble Ridge 2019 Reserve Pinot Noir

French-oaked Pinot Noir

Wine: Noble Ridge 2019 Reserve Pinot Noir

Winery: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery

Why drink it: Jim and Leslie D'Andrea started Noble Ridge in Okanagan Falls in 2001 and, 23 years later, they have a large portfolio of wines that covers the gamut in styles—a few blends, plus Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

As for this medium-full-bodied Pinot Noir, it spends 14 months in French oak and has flavourful notes of blueberry, cherry, cranberry, pomegranate and nutmeg. Delicious? Indeed.

This particular vintage was a gold winner at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Pair with: Smoky-sweet barbecued ribs, roast duck, pork tenderloin, lamb, grilled salmon, mushroom risotto

Price: $35

Music pairing: Eveningstar by Noble Oak

Rigour and Whimsy 2022 Bifrost

Trendsetting wine

Wine: Rigour and Whimsy 2022 Bifrost

Winery: Rigour and Whimsy

Why drink it: This may be one of the most unique B.C. wines I’ve ever had. Made from Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer, it is citrusy, tart, sour, lightly, fizzy and very unconventional. This wine is one for the trendsetters in the crowd, eager to find out more about what’s happening in B.C.’s orange wine scene.

Located at Okanagan Falls, the winery was started by Costa and Jody Gavaris, who tried B.C. wine on their first date, fell in love and, well, now they own a winery. Their first commercial vintage was in 2016 and by 2018, they were selling their wines.

The name is an homage to “their shared commitment to seeking balance in themselves, in their relationships and in the natural world.” They focus on orange and amber wines, plus Gamay and Syrah. The name Bifrost, refers to a rainbow bridge that connects heaven to earth in Norse mythology.

Pair with: Strong cheeses and a hearty loaf of sourdough

Price: $28 at the winery. Call ahead or order online as the tasting room is only open from May to August.

Music pairing: Wild Child by Enya

Steller’s Jay 2018 Method Classique Mountain Jay Brut

'Reliable' sparkling wine

Wine: Steller’s Jay 2018 Method Classique Mountain Jay Brut

Winery: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery

Why drink it: Made in the same method as Champagne in France, Steller’s Jay Mountain Jay Brut is a very reliable sparkling wine that overdelivers for the price, year after year. Bright, fresh acidity and green apple, floral and citrus notes will make your mouth water. Buy a bottle for mimosas over vacation this winter, and keep a bottle handy for last-minute guests and celebrations.

Pair with: Brunch foods, charcuterie, scallops in butter, popcorn with salt and butter

Price: $25

Music pairing: Good Thing by the Fine Young Cannibals (which came out in 1989, the year the first vintage of Steller’s Jay Brut was made.)

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Family of Chardonnay

Wine: Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay

Winery: Meyer Family Vineyards

Why drink it: Choosing a favourite Meyer Chardonnay is a bit like choosing a favourite kid. I love them equally because, well, they are similar — yet different. That’s what makes them wonderful. I suggest picking up all four for a fun, special tasting.

The 2022 Anarchist Mountain Vineyard (Dekleva Clone) is from the highest elevation point in Osoyoos, a vineyard that was planted in 1985. The 2022 Old Main Road Vineyard was formerly known as Meyer’s Tribute Series and is from the same vineyard, but has been rebranded. The 2022 McLean Creek is from the winery’s home vineyard, a favourite stop for a mother bear and three cubs, who love to nick grapes from here during harvest. Last but not least, the crisp, classy 2022 Stevens Block — Old Main Road Vineyard spends 10 months in old oak and is named for the winery’s co-owner, Janice Stevens-Meyer.

And if you can only choose one, aim for the Anarchist Mountain bottle as only 322 cases were made. Serve lightly chilled.

Pair with: They’re all versatile and food-friendly. Try with roast turkey or chicken, pork tenderloin, scallops or mussels.

Price: $27 to $33 per bottle, depending on the selection.

Music pairing: The Lover by Medeski, Martin and Wood

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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.