Picking Grapes is a new series that asks wine professionals to map out their complex relationships with British Columbian wines by citing the ignition point of their interest and some of their favourite wineries.
This week we pick grapes with Stephanie Mathis, veteran Sommelier at Botanist in the Fairmont Pacific Rim…
Name the BC wine that you first fell in love with. Do you remember where you were? What was the circumstance?
Burrowing Owl Merlot. I don’t remember where I was when I first tasted this wine but I do remember that it was when I first moved to Vancouver. I remember being shocked that BC could produce such a good quality full-bodied style red. I remember feeling proud that there was a BC wine that I could recommend with confidence.
What are three local wineries that fly somewhat under the radar?
Bonamici Cellars, Corcelettes Estate Winery, Foxtrot Vineyards.
If you could work in just one local winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?
Martin’s Lane. Because of the precision and passion with which they operate. Everything is so well thought out; from the minimalist viticultural and winemaking practices to the amazing concept and design of the winery. It would be incredible to work with their small team of dedicated individuals.
Please recommend one local, emblematic-of-BC red wine for someone who didn’t even know wine was made here. What would it be and why?
Laughing Stock Portfolio. Because it demonstrates BC’s capability of producing a Bordeaux style blend that challenges others of its style from around the world. I love introducing people to the Portfolio because it constantly impresses. It is a smooth right bank style blend that is definitely age worthy. Plus I love the story behind this winery.
What about a white?
Little Farm Pied de Cuve Riesling. Riesling is one of my favourite grape varieties and having a wine that is made in the natural style, from BC, by a Master of Wine, is a wine that I want to introduce to any new-to-BC wine drinker. This is a dry Riesling that I think puts BC on the map for being a quality wine producing region.
And lastly, a rose?
Sea Star Blanc de Noir. The Okanagan Valley is generally speaking the first BC wine region that people who are unfamiliar with the area are introduced to, but I always like to bring their attention to the Gulf Islands, and Sea Star Blanc de Noir rose is made from organically grown Pinot Noir grapes from both Pender Island and Saturna Island. The result is a beautiful Provence style rose that is very demonstrative of a BC wine.