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Wine Reviews  

vinAmite, Oliver

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: Chanson d’amour, 2016 (white blend)

Winery: vinAmité, Oliver

Why drink it? A blend of Gewürztraminer, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Orange Muscat, the complex and inviting aromas lift out of the glass with notes of peach blossoms, cloves, almond marzipan, and dark honey. A unique white blend, this “song of love” is a lovely sip that fits perfectly under the shade of your patio umbrella in summer, or transports you back to wandering through an orchard when you’re stuck inside due to a snowfall warning. Nicely balanced with minerality and acidity indicative of grapes from the Oliver area, and soft stone fruit flavours and a bit of baked apple dusted with cinnamon.

Price: $22

Pair with: Break out the fondue pot someone re-gifted to you, and get the cheese going (the winery has a kit to make it easy), with chunks of good, local carb-loaded bread. No fondue pot? A grilled cheese with milder choices like Gouda, smoked Havarti, Emmental, or all three.

Classic CanCon music pairing: Hélène, Roch Voisine

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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Baccata Ridge, Grindrod

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: Blueberry Reserve, 2016

Winery: Baccata Ridge, Grindrod

Why drink it? Yes, blueberry wine. The reserve version of this vintage is slightly sweeter than the table version, and it is worth trying them side by side to pick a favourite. The reserve has a bright floral lift on the nose, and, of course, the wafting scent of blueberries that have just been picked. And it tastes as you would expect, like blueberries. But the sweetness does not overpower the fruit flavours, and there is a nice vanilla essence coupled with a mildly lingering finish. The winery suggests serving it cold, but as it warms up in the glass, the blueberry shines through with hints of roasted nuts and fruitcake.

Price: $19.50

Pair with: The sweeter reserve pairs extremely well with toffee-covered hazelnuts and almond cookies, and, in fact, makes a great “blueberry tea”; not the usual recipe, but 2/3rds good Earl Grey, 1/3rd wine, a lemon slice and honey. The drier version, roast turkey or duck, especially with a blueberry reduction.

Classic CanCon music pairing: Bluebird Island, Hank Snow

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: Viognier, 2016

Winery: Evolve Cellars, Summerland

Why drink it? A pleasing and bright white wine, this is a lovely bottle to have on hand for a sip after a long day, both on the patio in warm weather, and on the couch in your favourite slippers in the cold months. Surprisingly aromatic and a bit floral as soon as the screwcap comes off, with memories of summer peaches and apricots. The stone fruits come through on the taste buds with some tropical elements, maybe some banana bread and vanilla if you take the time to savour this wine. Just enough weight to be almost comforting. Well balanced and fruity without over-doing it.

Price: $17

Pair with: Lighter dishes with some short of fruit, such as mango chicken salad, or creamy curries, as suggested by the winery. Also pairs delightfully well with Annie’s Homegrown organic mac’n’cheese, yes, from a box, or a selection or roasted cashews and banana chips while Netflix’ing.

Classic CanCon music pairing: Kiss Me You Fool, The Northern Pikes

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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Burrowing Owl, Oliver

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: Athene, 2013 (red blend)

Winery: Burrowing Owl, Oliver

Why drink it? It’s not very likely that you’ll find a bottle of this on a random wine store shelf, but if you see it on a friend’s wine rack, ask to share. A blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is bright, bold, and intense. On the nose, close your eyes and search for a blackberry-raspberry pie fresh out of the oven. On a second sniff, peppery spices. A first sip will bring out ripe, almost juicy flavours of dark plums, cassis, and a bit of coffee. This is a complex red blend that has been carefully created, aged in a mix of oak barrels (French and Hungarian), and if you can wait a few years, will become more intriguing with age.

Price: $35

Pair with: The aspiring chef will want to source some game, such as venison, and a recipe for a berry-infused demi-glace, suggests the winery. For the rest of us, a beef stir-fry with a nice spice mix and plenty of peppers will be a delight.

Classic CanCon music pairing: The Field Behind the Plow, Stan Rogers

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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