Wine: Gamay Noir, 2021
Winery: Deep Roots, Naramata Bench
Why drink it? If you missed this vintage, follow the winery for info on when the next bottles will be released. The winery has done well with awards and accolades with this varietal, and the 2021 joins other premium Naramata wines in its ‘best of the bench’ collection. Opening with fresh and lively aromas of ripe cherries and raspberries with hints of wildflowers, the red fruits lean toward wild strawberries on the palate. A bit of baking spice and citrus zest comes through this juicy red that finishes with light tannins and just enough acidity.
Pair with: You can get away with grilled salmon with a miso-flavoured sauce or side dish, a salmon dip such as the Greek taramasalata, or a variety of full-fat smoked cheeses. Give a good meatloaf, including a vegetarian version with nuts and mushrooms, a try.
Music pairing: Roots, Zac Brown Band
Wine: Q&A, 2020 (red blend)
Winery: Winemaker’s CUT, Oliver
Why drink it? This wine is a blend in two ways. First, a blend of the three collaborators behind it: actor-director Jason Priestly, broadcaster Terry David Mulligan, and winemaker Michal Mosny. Second, a blend of four varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The result is an expressive and elegant wine that begins with aromas of blackberry, cloves, and pencil shavings, opening up to red fruits and light toasted oak. Smooth and sumptuous on the palate with restrained tannins and a lingering dark cherry finish, buy two – one to sip now, one to open in five to ten years.
Pair with: A group of good friends for a ‘bring something to grill’ night when you’re ready to test your BBQ before patio season begins. Roast lamb, steak and mushroom pie, truffle mac and cheese topped with a layer of premium parmesan.
Music pairing: Why, Cathy Dennis
Wine: Cabernet Franc, 2020
Winery: Uppercase, Oliver
Why drink it? Of the Cabernets, Franc deserves more attention than it generally receives, and it’s an excellent varietal for the Okanagan. Find this one at the District Wine Village, and you’ll find a brambly and ripe red wine that beautifully reflects the terroir of the southern valley. Aromas of dark cherries, freshly harvested black currants, dried herbs, and a hint of wild violets. On the palate, ripe raspberries and plums blend into the cherry notes, along with some minerality. The French oak treatment gives just enough toast and spice to make this wine elegant and complex.
Pair with: Break out the air fryer for a roasted pork or lamb creation, or roast some mild or sweet sausages that aren’t too spicy. A good winter stew with or without meat. A nicely spiced lentil and mushroom version should do nicely.
Music pairing: Paperback Writer, The Beatles
Brew: Lavender Sage Cream Ale
Brewery: Libra -- drinklibra.ca
Why drink it? If you’re into Dry January or have set an intention for 2023 that involves health or wellness, Libra (a division of Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing) non-alcoholic craft beer has a selection of brews to consider – you can order online or see where it’s sold near you. Artist Serena Ryder collaborated on this one, a balanced cream ale with floral notes blended with savoury sage elements. A honey fondant flavour emerges, and overall, it’s both subtle and complex. Partial proceeds support ArtHaus, an organization that supports emerging artists.
Pair with: Lavender shortbread cookies leftover from the holiday season. A brunch of pancakes with a strawberry-sage jam on the side, or a fruit-filled crepe topped with a dollop of crème fraiche. Make it a Pie January with a sausage and sage pot pie.
Price: $34.95 / 12 pack
Music pairing: Better Now, Serena Ryder
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