BC White wines

pair well with

Oysters and Prawns

Blessed by an abundance of fresh seafood in British Columbia, as we are, it is a wonderful coincidence that our home-grown white wines are exceptionally tasty. Oysters have been available all winter and local prawns are coming into season, now. Pair them with one of our best BC whites!

Ontario-based Andrew Peller Ltd recently widened its interests in BC when it acquired Black Hills, Gray Monk and Tinhorn Creek – three respected Okanagan estate wineries.  Before that, when it moved into the Okanagan Valley, in 2005, Peller bought Red Rooster Winery, Sandhill Wines and Calona Vineyards.

Available for a limited time at a ridiculously affordable price in some retail stores, Calona Vineyards Artist Series 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay (559773) $9.49 opens with aromas of Macintosh apples, ripe pears, mangos and pineapple. Flavours are leaner and lighter and its ‘dry’ enough to be a perfect match, enhancing the sweetness of local prawns. 

Operating at arms length from the mother-ship, Rigmarole Wines is one of many brands available from Artisan Wine Co, which is itself a division of Okanagan-based Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits.  Rigmarole’s whimsically amusing labels appear on their three blends – white, rosé and red wines.

Despite the menagerie of goats, hedgehogs and geese on its labels Rigmarole White (845552) $14.49 works. An aromatic white blend that includes Riesling, Viognier and Gewürztraminer, it has a ‘twangy’ high-toned honeyed floral aroma reminiscent of Bacchus– a Riesling-Sylvaner cross with Müller-Thurgau. Rich lemon rind, apricot,

peach and honeydew melon flavours bloom on the tongue. ‘Dry’ on first sip, Rigmarole finishes with sufficient fruit to pair equally well with oysters and prawns.

From humble beginnings growing Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir at their Vancouver Island vineyard – and a few changes in ownership - Church & State has picked up some acres of Okanagan Black Sage vineyards.  Their premium wines are winning Golds on the world wine podium. ‘Lost Inhibitions’ are their cheekily-labeled entry level wines

Aromas of apricot, peach and roses lift off the surface of a glass of Church & State ‘Lost Inhibitions’ White Lude (772392) $17.99.  The immediate and obvious quality of the wine belies the cleverly goofy texted labels. Viognier, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc all play a part in this richly fruity full bodied ‘dry’ white.

What is a garagiste? It started out in France as a derogatory phrase for those avante garde and crazy mavericks making wine in their garage and outside the highly regulated system. Garagiste, hair-dresser turned winemaker, Anthony Buchanan thanks Matt Mavety (Blue Mountain), Jim Faulkner (Mt.Boucherie), and Michael Bartier (Bartier Bros) for helping him find his way into the business. After tasting his wines, you’ll be thanking them too.


There’s an unusual weight and texture in Anthony Buchanan ‘Lawson’ Pinot Blanc (860957) $20.49. From grapes sourced from

Naramata's reputed Zeller Vineyards, this is what Pinot Blanc really should taste like.  It’s not Chardonnay.  Apple and peach notes, chewy lemon meringue in a ‘dry’ frame. Tough to find – only 840 bottles made – but track one down…

Mission Hill’s Reserve wines are produced from select vineyard properties and showcase the distinctiveness of the world-renowned Okanagan Valley. The wines marry New World style with Old World finesse and are aged selectively in French and American oak.

Perfectly balanced, Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Viognier (388629) $22.99 leads with aromas of apricots and honeysuckle.  Bright, sweet peach and honeydew melon flavours slide into mango and honeysuckle and just keep on coming.  Candied pineapple notes linger in the long finish.

Joie Farm began in 2004, opening with two high-toned whites – an unoaked Chardonnay, their ‘A Noble Blend’ of Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Kerner, Muscat, Auxerrois and Ehrenfelser - and a sassy rosé from Pinot Noir. Winemaker Heidi Noble’s house style is bright, and ‘racy’, whether the wines are white, rosé or red.

Deliciously crafted in the style of France’s Alsace Grand Cru whites, Joie Farm ‘En Famille’ Reserve Gewürztraminer (865766) $28.99 is a luscious mouthful of late-picked lychee and half-dried grape flavours.  Sweet canned pear, peach and

subtle honeyed ginger notes ripple through the aromas and flavours of this luscious white wine.

Don’t limit your seafood pairings with these whites to oysters and prawns.  Sole, halibut, haddock and cod will all appreciate the bright fruity acidity of our cool-climate white wines.

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com