Picking a BC blended white for Thanksgiving
As wine making in British Columbia evolved in the late '80s and early '90s and traditional classic European varieties became available, most wine makers focused on making single varietal wines. Following the lead of California wine makers, they made Chardonnays, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons. And while those wines are still very popular, discerning wine makers have begun to discover the value of blends.
Amazingly affordable blended wines like OKV Vineyard Select White (605337) $7.25 were few and far between. It's difficult to discover just which white grapes make up this cheerful everyday white. With obvious aromas and flavours of freshly sliced lemons, green apples and pears, it could easily be Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris with a splash of Gewürztraminer. Or not... And what does it really matter if simply tastes great?
Slowly but surely, some of BC's savviest winemakers are realizing the value of blending different varieties of wine grapes to add more complexity to the flavor and texture of a wine and make a rounder and often more full bodied wine.
Borrowing a trick or two from France's renowned Burgundy, The Coop Wicked White (41202) $11.70 is a mouth-filling blend of 77 per cent Chardonnay and 23 per cent Pinot Blanc. Unoaked and fermented in stainless steel, this medium bodied wine leads with subtle notes of candied lemon rind and nuances of pears, peaches and a medley of wonderful tropical fruits.
The original idea of Thanksgiving was to give thanks for the past harvest season but for many Canadian families the tradition has changed over time and the focus is now to get together with family and share a marvellous meal.
New from The Hatch winery B.Yanco (772285) $16.90 is a lip-smacking blend of approximately 67 per cent Pinot Blanc grown in West Kelowna with 33 per cent Viognier from the hotter southern hinterlands of Osoyoos. The immediate aromas and flavours of lemon and green apple are enhanced by the peach and honeysuckle influence of ripe Viognier.
In the mid 1980s almost all the officially planted Viognier in the world was planted in the Rhône Valley, in France. Rediscovered and almost single-handedly reinvented by Australia’s Yalumba, around that same time, it has since been planted throughout the New World. At its best, Viognier makes a luscious white with rose petal, apricot and spicy peach notes and a rich and unctuous, silky texture.
A lightly oaked and very creative white blend of 42 per cent Sauvignon Blanc, 39 per cent Pinot Gris and 19 per cent Viognier, Therapy Bruised Ego (461137) $17.15 offers up intense aromas of gooseberry and kiwi fruit, almonds and honeyed peaches. Through the magic of careful blending, this tasty and therapeutic wine is perfectly suited for ham and turkey dinners.
The very first Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Canada when Martin Frobisher, an explorer from England, arrived in Newfoundland in 1578. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival to the New World. Apparently the first official Thanksgiving holiday was held in Canada in 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness.
It is tough to know what today’s Prince of Wales would think of Corecelettes Trivium 2013 (609446) $18.10 - a blend of 50 per cent Chasselas , 36 per cent Gewürztraminer, 14 per cent Pinot Gris. Also known as Fendant and Gutedel, Chasselas is believed to be native to Switzerland. In this Similkameen Valley blend it provides the underlying honeyed grapefruit aromas and flavours with a medley of melon and peach notes from the Pinot Gris and spicy lychee notes from the Gewürztraminer.
Whether you choose to bypass the traditional Thanksgiving ham or turkey dinner with for pork, salmon or even beef, great white blends have the weight and
complexity to accompany almost any dish. Naturally bright and refreshing, white blends can develop weight and complexity beyond the individual characteristics of the specific grapes.
Road 13 Vineyards Stemwinder (164681) $18.15 is a complex blend of 36.9 per cent Chardonnay, 33.8 per cent Marsanne, 13.8 percent Rousanne 8.1 per cent Viognier, 5.3 per cent Chardonnay Musque and 2.1 per cent Orange Muscat. Fruit salad in a glass of honeyed peach juice, the flavours are fresh and lingering. This is a while that has weight and texture!
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