Picking Grapes is a Scout 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 isn’t the first time we’ve hit up Jayton Paul for recommendations – we got him to do ‘The Dishes’ back in 2020. But it is his first time ‘Picking Grapes’ as the Wine Director for Boxset Collective (Published on Main, Bar Susu, Novella, Twin Sails), and he’s got some good intel to share…
First of all, please name the most impactful BC wine you’ve enjoyed in the past couple years.
I think one of the most impactful wines I’ve had from BC recently was the first release of Jordan Kubek and Tyler Knight’s St. Katharina Vineyard traditional method Pinot Noir. The grapes from this wild 2.5 acre vineyard site were planted in the 1970s, making them one of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the Okanagan Valley. The wines were then aged for four years before release, quickly making it one of the best sparkling wines from British Columbia to date.
Seasons are changing! Which local vintage most embodies the spirit of the season to you, and why?
I think that the 2020 vintage in BC embodies ideal growing conditions, showcasing a long and moderate growing season with low disease pressure, few heat spikes, and next to no smoke. Although budbreak was a bit delayed, the lower yields made for more concentrated fruit and exceptional quality. The 2020 vintage found itself sandwiched in-between a handful of challenging years in BC, and it felt like a bit of reprieve from the intense heat, cold and smoke that was seen in other years.
What wine myth (from production and practice to service, like ‘how to drink it properly,’ ‘what to pair it with’ or a fake faux pas) do you want to set the record straight on?
“What to Pair” – I don’t believe that fancy food has to go with fancy wine. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a reason Champagne and Caviar is great, but to be honest I’d be more than happy with that same bottle of Champagne alongside a bag of salted chips. Riesling with a PB&J? White Burgundy and instant ramen?
If you could work in just one winery for just one harvest, which would it be and why?
Etienne Bodet & Maison Bodet-Hérold. Etienne Bodet is a native of the Saumur Region in the Loire Valley, and has trained under some of the best – the likes of Sylvain Pataille, Bernard Baudry, Roman Guiberteau – and is currently one of the winemakers at Clos Rougeard. Although Etienne produces amazing sparkling wines through his Bodet-Hérold label, his new release “Clos Durandière” Cabernet Franc is one of the best wines I’ve had all year. I was very fortunate to visit him at the winery last year and would love to return to learn more!
Can you recommend one local emblematic of BC red wine for someone who didn’t even know that wine was made here? Why did you choose it?
Averill Creek Somenos Pinot Noir. I think what Brent Rowland is doing with this grape in the Cowichan Valley is truly exceptional. One of the best examples I’ve had of BC Pinot Noir to date.
What about a white?
We were very lucky to team up with Rajen and Bree Toor at Ursa Major to produce Published On Main’s first collaboration wine, “Heavy is the Head”. It is a blend of Pinot Gris and Riesling from the organically grown Stoneface Vineyard in Naramata, with a bit of Gewürztraminer from Terrace Vineyard in Kaleden. Over the past few years, Rajen and Bree have become rising stars in the Canadian wine scene and, most importantly, stewards of the land they farm. Their philosophy of sustainable, regenerative viticulture and hands-off winemaking aligns itself seamlessly with the ethos of our restaurant. It’s for that reason, among many others, that we are so proud to collaborate on this project with them.
And finally, a rosé?
Lock & Worth Cabernet Franc rosé. This was one of the first rosés that made me realize the potential of the style. It’s bright, tart, fresh, and loaded with savoury and fruity aromatics.
We love supporting the local wine industry as much as possible, but if you were to recommend one wine from one international winery you are currently pouring, what would you choose? What menu item should we pair with it?
At Published we are very fortunate to be the Champagne Krug Ambassade. During this years “Krug Week”, we did a specialty pairing that consisted of a glass of the Grande Cuvée 170eme alongside an olive oil cake, Kaluga Caviar, sour ice cream and olive oil – one of my favourite pairings with this champagne to date.