OFF THE VINE – Your Flight With Dad: Lining Up Some Picnic & BBQ Drops

by Tania Tomaszewska –

Looking forward to family picnics and barbies (when it’s safe to do so, of course)? Pondering some gift ideas for dad which fall into the libations category? How about a “virtual flight” somewhere off the Island? Here’s a few picks which could pair nicely with your plans and get you started.


Bubbles: Freixenet – Cava Cordon Negro Brut (Spain)
An iconic dry sparkling wine made in the rolling hills of Penedes (southwest of Barcelona) using the traditional method, like its cousin Champagne. A blend of parellada, macabeo and xarel-lo grapes, it’s light, dry and crisp with citrus, apple and nutty tones. Streaked with minerality, fresh acidity and persistent lively bubbles. 10 to 14 months sur lie brings toasty and creamy tones to the party. Cava is great on its own or with any kind of food. Bonus: It also comes in piccolo 200ml bottles which are pretty light in the backpack. Just saying.

White: SpearHead Winery 2019 Pinot Gris (mid-Okanagan Valley, B.C.)
A light aromatic white from “pinot” specialist SpearHead made from beautiful Summerland fruit. Juicy and vibrant with lemon and green apple tones unfolding into peach and stonefruit after time in your glass. Touched with honey, some minerality and fresh acidity to finish. A lovely aperitif and fantastically food-friendly, pinot gris matches a broad range of palates and pretty much goes with anything (greens, salads, fish, creamy pasta salads, sushi, pan-Asian fare).

Rosé: Gérard Bertrand 2019 Côte des Rose (Languedoc-Rousillon, France)
A dry and soft rosé from southwest France where these grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes thrive in the Mediterranean climate. Beautiful pale rose colour from some time on the skins. Strawberries, rhubarb and vibrant red fruit with citrus and garrigue. Elegance matched with its glass closure and carved glass rose base. (Who says you can’t give flowers to dad?). Bonus: It also comes in small 325ml bottles. Interlude vino anyone? (On its own or with any picnic. Salads, veggies, prawns, tacos, charcuterie, feta, goat cheese.)


Marqués de Riscal 2016 Rioja Reserva (Rioja Alavesa, Spain)
A juicy and delicious medium-bodied red made from tempranillo (96%) and graciano (4%) coming from pre-1970s vines grown in quality clay-limestone soils. Dark red cherry, black fruit and earthy tones, with touches of liquorice, pepper, leather and vanilla. Rich and elegant with fresh acidity, very soft tannins, complexity and a long finish. Matured 24 months in American oak and aged another year in bottle before release with its famous metallic mesh. (Grilled zucchini, bean stew, paella, jamòn, grilled chicken, lamb, chorizo or hanger steak, manchego.)

Clos Du Soleil Winery 2018 Célestiale (Similkameen Valley, B.C.)
A smoothly integrated “Bordeaux blend” made from cabernet sauvignon (44%), merlot (31%), cabernet franc (13%), malbec (8%) and petit verdot (4%) each harvested separately from four different Similkameen vineyards. Full bodied, rich and layered. Earthy with dark red and black fruit, cedar, leather, smoke, mocha and a touch of vanilla spice. Firm tannins (but oh so drinkable now) with fresh acidity and minerality shining through. Fermented in concrete and matured 15 months in French oak. (Grilled portobello mushrooms, lentils, burgers, beef short-rib, strong cheeses.)

LaStella Winery 2018 Fortissimo (South Okanagan Valley, B.C.)
This unique South Okanagan “Super Tuscan” blends merlot (57%), cabernet sauvignon (18%), cabernet franc (17%) and sangiovese (8%) from Osoyoos, Golden Mile Bench and Black Sage Bench vineyards. Concentrated with firm tannins and fresh acidity. Dark red and black fruit, earth, leather, violet, pepper and a touch of vanilla. Aged 16 months in Hungarian and Slavonian oak. “Fortissimo” indeed, so give it a good decant and serve with serious food or stash this bottle away for a year or two. (Tomato pasta, rosemary lamb, rib-eye, aged cheddar, parmesan.)
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Bottle shots courtesy of the respective wineries.

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