Wine Reviews  

Meet Castanet's wine writer

Castanet is bringing readers a wine review every week, including suggested food pairings and a song to listen to while enjoying a glass. While we celebrate the diversity of wines from the Okanagan, British Columbia, and Canada, from time to time we’ll throw in a bottle from another country to tempt your palate.

In 2017, our then-anonymous wine reviewer completed 49 reviews of B.C. wines.

Due to popular demand, we are bringing back the feature for 2018 and pulling back the curtain on our wine writer.

Allison Markin has completed her advanced certificate from WSET, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and has traveled to several international wine regions in her quest to learn more. You can find many of her bottle shots on Instagram @bcwinetourism, and sometimes she slips behind the tasting bar at local wineries when they need a bit of extra help.

Have a wine to suggest? Email Allison at [email protected] with the name of the wine and winery, and why you like this particular bottle.





Blue Mountain, OK Falls

For Canada’s 150th birthday this year, Castanet is featuring an Okanagan wine each week, celebrating the bottles of our Valley and the diversity of the Canadian wine industry, including suggested food pairings and Canadian music artist to listen to while enjoying a glass. For current availability, consult the winery.

Wine: Gold Label Brut (sparkling), Non-Vintage

Winery: Blue Mountain, Okanagan Falls

Why drink it? BC bubbles are fast gaining accolades. Get ahead of the rush with this exquisite Brut made in the Méthode Traditionnelle style (how they do it in Champagne, France), with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and just a drop of Pinot Gris. Produced with care in the vines and in the cellar, the wine is made to have a toasty, creamy, fine “mousse” of playfully elegant bubbles. If you’ve ever thought that sparkling wine is too bubbly, this will change your mind without breaking the bank for a much pricier bottle. And you’ll find the finish dry, yet refreshing, and with delightful hints of lemon.

Price: $28

Pair with: At this price, why not keep a bottle in the fridge for just about, well, anything? Seared scallops and mushroom risotto, suggests the winery. Oysters, grilled prawns, smoked salmon. The lemon finish pairs with tart lemon desserts. Or put together an eggs benny with your best hollandaise.

Classic CanCon music pairing: ‘Round Midnight, Oscar Peterson

Have a wine you'd like to suggest? Contact us at [email protected], and we will put you in touch with our wine writer.



McWatters Collection

For Canada’s 150th birthday this year, Castanet is featuring an Okanagan wine each week, celebrating the bottles of our Valley and the diversity of the Canadian wine industry, including suggested food pairings and Canadian music artist to listen to while enjoying a glass. For current availability, consult the winery.

Wine: Chardonnay, 2016

Winery: McWatters Collection

Why drink it? The McWatters family seems to have every member involved in food and wine, with patriarch Harry having just wrapped up his 50th Okanagan vintage. This collection, so far, includes a red blend and this balanced chardonnay. Balanced between reflecting the fruit characteristics from a vineyard near Oliver, and embracing the tradition of using oak. As to the latter, the wine was fermented and aged in French barrels, giving it a toasted brioche nose, and a satisfying creamy “mouthfeel” paired with hints of tropical fruit and a buttery finish.

Price: $25

Pair with: A balanced chard can be very versatile, but stay away from anything super spicy. The creamy-buttery element works well with creamy pasta with some seafood in the sauce, chicken pot pie, juicy roast turkey, a big bowl of popcorn with butter (of course), or a fresh croissant.

Classic CanCon music pairing: I Am by Your Side, Corey Hart

Have a wine you'd like to suggest? Contact us at [email protected], and we will put you in touch with our wine writer.





Evolve Cellars, Summerland

For Canada’s 150th birthday this year, Castanet is featuring an Okanagan wine each week, celebrating the bottles of our Valley and the diversity of the Canadian wine industry, including suggested food pairings and Canadian music artist to listen to while enjoying a glass. For current availability, consult the winery.

Wine: Elevate, 2016 (red blend)

Winery: Evolve Cellars, Summerland

Why drink it? A new release from Evolve, this Cabernet-Shiraz blend delivers some excellent fruit upon a swirl and sniff: fresh blackberries, plums, and if you close your eyes for a moment, hints of white pepper and sage leaves. The winery describes this bottle as “juicy”, which it certainly is, with lush layers of dark berries – those blackberries from the aromas, plus huckleberries and dark currants. Mild toasty oak flavours with some vanilla bean round it out, but this is a young vintage. Pleasant to drink now, but if you give this a couple of years on the wine rack it should soften and be even more gratifying.

Price: $30

Pair with: A red that can be enjoyed when a surprise guest pops in and you can grab a couple of glasses and catch up. Even better when that friend brings leftover chili that’s not too spicy, or you have enough time to run out for the makings of a plate of antipasto.

Classic CanCon music pairing: Rise Up, The Parachute Club

Have a wine you'd like to suggest? Contact us at [email protected], and we will put you in touch with our wine writer.



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