by Tania Tomaszewska –
“I don’t know the hosts (nor what they’re serving); what should I take?” or “We have all sorts of eaters coming over; what should we pour?”
Ah, the perennial questions of the festive season. With the myriad of gatherings, flavours and traditions around us at this time of year, it might feel hard to to decide what to bring as your holiday cheer.
There are no rules, but traditional wine and food pairing ideas can guide us. I like to follow some of the classics, but also like to mix things up and introduce local finds and get outside the box in the spirit of wine exploring.
Bottom line: acidity is your friend and be mindful of bold tannins. Wines high in acidity are generally food friendly and versatile as they balance out varying flavours. Unless you’re heading into prime rib territory or a bold cheese selection, big tannic red wines may bowl over your party fare.
Here are a few ideas for some local drops from our Wine Islands (Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands) and also B.C. wines from further beyond.
BUBBLES. Sparkling wine is always a winner. Special and celebratory, bubbles are fantastic on their own or with any meal (morning, noon or night). I lean towards dry styles (brut) showing crisp acidity.
Wine Islands: Charme de L’ile, Averill Creek Vineyard. Light and lovely blend of pinot gris and pinot noir with apple, citrus and toasty notes. Add some NV Cowichan Black (their Van Isle blackberry dessert wine) to make a dazzling kir.
Summerland: 2017 Free Form Ancient Method by Okanagan Crush Pad. “Pét-Nat” bubbles from organic pinot noir. No additives; zero intervention. Red apple and citrus tones, minerality and purity.
WHITE. Chardonnay is a classic pairing with turkey dinner, and riesling works well with sweet and salty glazed hams. But other varieties can join your wine roster to suit holiday grazing.
Wine Islands: 2018 Ortega, Sea Star Vineyards & Winery. Organic ortega grapes from North Pender Island. Light, aromatic floral nose and maritime clean finish. Lovely on its own, with seafood or spice.
Black Sage Bench: 2018 Ava, Le Vieux Pin. White Rhône blend of roussanne, viognier and marsanne. Elegant, textured and floral with nectarine notes. Your roast chicken and stuffing will love it. Give this one time to open up in your glass and feel it unfold.
ROSÉ / ORANGE WINE. A dry rosé makes a lovely canapé partner and goes with pretty much anything. Orange (“skin contact”) wine can bring texture and depth and is a fun swap for rosé or light red wines.
Wine Islands: 2018 Rosé, Unsworth Vineyards. 100% pinot noir (from Estate, Cowichan Valley, Fraser Valley and Gulf Islands). Provençal in style and truly coastal. Dry with wild strawberries and herbal minerality.
Keremeos: 2018 Jupiter, Clos du Soleil Winery. 100% pinot gris. Medium-bodied, complex with tannic texture. Orange, cloves and Christmas spice. Perfect with cheese and charcuterie.
RED. Pinot noir stands nicely on its own and is a star with cheese, charcuterie, veggies, beans, fish, turkey and ham. A rich, concentrated pinot noir will hold up to strong flavoured meats (as will syrah/shiraz).
Wine Islands: 2016 Pinot Noir (Clone 114), Kutatás. Beautiful layers with dark red cherry tones and elegance. Small lot production made from grapes sustainably farmed in Patricia Bay, North Saanich.
Okanagan Valley: Anything by winemaker Chris Carson: 2016 Carson Pinot Noir, 2016 Meyer Family McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir, 2018 Meyer Family Pinot Noir. Fantastic expressions of pinot noir from grapes grown in Naramata Bench, Okanagan Falls and other select Okanagan vineyards.
The possibilities are endless, but ultimately you can’t go wrong. It’s wine! Happy exploring to you and yours.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ttwineexplorer; Instagram: @ttwineexplorer.