The Wine Guy offers up three wines from wineries profiled in The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook
This is the first time I’ve based a column around a book, but well the timing, and the book, fit perfectly.
Just out this week, Jennifer Schell’s The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook is a true valentine to local food and wine. And considering that we are heading into Canada Day celebrations, not to mention how everyone is pondering their staycation options — which may include a visit to wine country, or may simply mean hunkering down with cookouts at home — this is a book for the times.
The concept is straightforward but endearing, with the book featuring both recipes and stories from 53 wineries stretched across the wine regions of British Columbia — including these three!
Chaberton Estate Grown 2019 Bacchus, Langley ($17.99, #953224)
Chaberton is a representative from the book’s Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands section, and it’s great that this OG winery is getting respect. The oldest estate winery in the Fraser Valley, some of Chaberton’s Bacchus vines are going on 35 years now and are definitely worthy of real local pride. Chaberton’s recipe contribution to the book is a local pan-seared duck breast, which admittedly is not the best match with their Bacchus highlighted here (the book suggests Chaberton Reserve Merlot). But I just can’t not bring up this sprightly, gregarious off-dry white. Chock full of peach gummy and pear nuances, this is a perennial fan and patio favourite.
Bottom line: B+, Local Bacchus pride!
Upper Bench Winery & Creamery 2018 Chardonnay, Penticton ($20 on sale, available at select private stores and through the winery)
There’s no denying the Okanagan Valley’s prominence within the B.C. wine industry, and unsurprisingly the bulk of wineries and recipes in the book hail from the OK. One worthy pick from the Okanagan South section is Upper Bench Winery & Creamery. While the winery’s contribution is wood-fired ‘Upper Bench Cheesy Pizza’ paired with Upper Bench Merlot — not surprising given the highly-regarded cheesemaking side of the operation — I’d be remiss to not mention the winery’s 2018 Chardonnay. It’s currently on offer for $20 a bottle and represents a killer value. Partially oaked, it’s lively and full of citrus and tropical fruit, with a well-balanced disposition that screams serve me with everything.
Bottom line: A-, Lip-smacking elegance
Intrigue Wines I Do Sparkling Rosé, Lake Country ($18.99, #883892)
Finally, here’s one for the hopeless romantics, or those with pending nuptials (obviously). Intrigue Wines is found in the Okanagan Central section of the book, specifically it’s the lone entry for the Lake Country subsection. Intrigue’s “I Do” series of sparklers radiates fun — from the whimsical bottle design to the exuberant red berry and orchard fruit inflected, fresh and fruity sparkler. The recipe Intrigue Wines chose to highlight is ‘Federico’s Shrimp Ceviche,’ and while the book recommends Intrigue’s Riesling to pair, the I Do sparkler — thanks to its Riesling and Merlot composition — presents another compelling option, especially given the local spot prawns and shrimp that are now available.
Bottom line: B, Perfect patio partner
The Swirl: The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook
As discussed above, The B.C. Wine Lover’s Cookbook features stories and recipes from 53 wineries spread throughout British Columbia. With beautiful photography and an eclectic mix of meal ideas, the book provides both inspiration for both staycations — heck out the ‘Wine Adventures’ section in the back — and stay-at-home cook outs.