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.
What was the BC wine that you first fell in love with? Do you remember where you were? What was the circumstance?
“Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir … I think back then they just made one, as this would have been the early 90’s. I was staying at the Naramata Inn with my girlfriend, trying to create a romantic trip. The server suggested it and it was lovely – rich, fresh with so many nuanced flavours – it blew my mind and more importantly hers. The next day we went up to the winery and did a tasting. To this day Quail’s Gate has a special place in my heart.”
What are three local wineries that fly somewhat under the radar?
“That’s a tough one with new ones popping up all the time. A year ago I would have said Anarchist Mountain but it no longer exists, sadly, as they have melded with Meyer. TH Wines, Kutatás, and Roche. Though I would add that most people don’t realize the amazing wines Culmina is making as well.”
If you could work in just one local winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?
“La Stella! I have so much respect for Severine Pinte and the wines she produces at La Stella & Le Vieux Pin. I would love the chance to see how she goes about expressing the Italian styles while at the same time allowing them to express the terrior of the Okanagan. I might have said Haywire, but I spent some time last year at harvest with Matt Dumayne at the team at Haywire – life changing!”
Can you 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?
“Painted Rock Cabernet Franc … I think it expresses BC amazing well while at the same time showing the finesse and perfume one would find in some of the Loire’s best.”
What about a white?
“Syncromesh Thorny Vines Riesling … to me shows all the best characteristics of Riesling, great acidity balanced with an off-dry sweetness, full of ripe apple, lemon, and honey.”
And finally, a rose?
“Lock & Worth Cabernet Franc Rose … this low-intervention winery makes some killer wines and this one is a stand out. Tart cranberry, lime zest, grapefruit & rhubarb accompanied by an refreshing crunchiness … perfect for a patio!”