Wine: Pinot Gris, 2021
Winery: Township 7, Langley and Naramata
Why drink it? Not all bottles of Pinot Gris are the same, and when you find one that is true to the varietal and has some memorable notes, it’s worth stocking up – especially those from a challenging environmental year. Aromas of honeysuckle, freshly picked pears, and the minerality left in the air after a summer storm, this wine is fermented in cool stainless steel to keep the fruit flavours vibrant. Expect orchard stone fruits, green apples, some flinty-ness, nice acidity for a crisp finish, and a little more weight and body than you might anticipate from a PG.
Pair with: Oily fish steaks – tuna, salmon, trout – grilled on the BBQ with lemon and lime, roasted chicken dishes, or really good takeout fish and chips. Seafood salads, lighter risotto with fresh peas and spring asparagus will do nicely.
Music pairing: Hole Hearted, Extreme
Wine: Decota, 2021 (sparkling rosé)
Winery: Priest Creek, Kelowna
Why drink it? Recently released on the winery’s second anniversary of officially opening its doors (they were actually ready the day before everything shut down in March 2020), the blend of this bubbly is a mystery, though we know it only has two varietals. It’s a blush pink with some golden plum hues in the bottle, vibrant and lightly frothy when poured, with a refreshing effervescence in the glass. Aromas green apples, ripe stone fruits, and Manuka honey. Fresh red berries emerge on the palate, and there is a slight sweetness on the finish.
Pair with: Barbecue ribs or chicken smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce, grilled cheese with a fresh salad on the side, takeout sashimi. Good with a breakfast frittata, or enjoy with a dessert of fruit tarts drizzled with just a bit of chocolate.
Music pairing: Round, Round, Belouis Some
Wine: Bizou + Yukon Pinkie Rosé, 2018
Winery: Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland
Why drink it? The label is inspired by the two Great Pyrenees pooches who roam the vineyards and have fans checking in on them via social media. The wine is a reflection of, and perfect for, chilling with your canine besties. Aromas of red summer berries, meadow flowers, with hints of citrus. The red berries are joined by sour cherry and watermelon notes on the palate, with a bit of tart cranberry juice. Bright and refreshing acidity throughout, that peaks on the juicy finish with a lift of mouth-watering grapefruit. Pinkie is also now available in convenient picnic-friendly cans.
Pair with: Whatever snacks you have on hand that you can toss on a patio table or a picnic blanket on a hot day, with not a care to be had except who has the best ‘life hack’ for making the best onion dip out of a soup packet and the dill growing in the backyard.
Music pairing: Flowers In Your Hair, The Lumineers
Wine: Reserve Meritage (red blend), 2020
Winery: Mission Hill, West Kelowna
Why drink it? A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, these distinct Bordeaux varietals come from the warmer vineyard sites in the southern tip of the Okanagan near Oliver and Osoyoos. The heat allows for full ripening and a flavourful bottle of red. Aromas of dark red fruits, wild blackberries, and bramble as if you’re walking through rows of raspberry bushes on a warm evening. Aged in both French and American oak, the dark fruit flavours are joined by some toasted cedar and vanilla. Drink now with dinner, or age for another 3 to 5 years.
Pair with: Lamb chops, a good grilled burger topped with an aged hard cheese, a dense mushroom risotto, or experiment with a gourmet grilled cheese with layers of flavours including a savoury blackberry jam or red fruit ‘ketchup’ for dipping.
Music pairing: Flowers Need Rain, Preston Pablo and Banx & Ranx