Wine Guy: Fresh sips for B.C. Day

The Wine Guy offers up three tasty offerings for the B.C. daylong weekend

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B.C. Parks provincial campsite booking? Check. B.C. Ferries reservation? Check. Bottle of B.C. wine? Check.

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With all three you are truly ready to celebrate British Columbia Day. Of course, even if the website crashed or the sailing was cancelled, bottles of local wine remain readily available to help toast this beautiful province. For example, consider any of these three fresh takes on the B.C. wine scene.

Le Vieux Pin 2021 Petit Blanc, British Columbia (from $21.99, through the winery and select private wine stores)

Named after a singular, majestic old growth pine tree that stands tall on this Oliver estate, it’s hard to believe that Le Vieux Pin has already been in operation for near 20 years. Yet, since the beginning the wines of this Black Sage Bench producer have shown maturity, be it their muscular Syrah or the no-nonsense elegance of this Petit Blanc. The latest vintage is based on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, with some Roussanne and Marsanne in the blend. The final result is fruit-forward and fun without being flippant, a great partner for both food and the patio — actually both at the same time ideally!

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Bottom line: A-, Bring on meal-sized summer salads

Liquidity 2021 Reserve Viognier, British Columbia ($45, Artisan Wine Club Member Exclusive)

Moving north up the Okanagan Valley leads to Okanagan Falls and Liquidity, a winery blessed with some of the most stunning vistas — and art collection — of any local wine country. The winery pursues bottled art as well, evidenced in their new, limited edition Reserve Viognier. The wine is the work of new winemaker Amy Paynter, who sourced Viognier from two separate vineyard sites and carried out fermentation in both the winery’s new concrete egg and beeswax-lined clay amphora. The result in the glass is unctuous, visceral Viognier that highlights all the beautiful, floral and exotic fruit notes and honeyed tones of Viognier — with great tension and balance overall.

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Bottom line: A-, Great texture and complexity

Ursa Major Wines 2021 Mirror Mirror in my Head Gamay Noir, British Columbia (from $24, through the winery and select private wine stores)

Though B.C. Day may fall in August, the red wine can still get poured; particularly when the red is fresh and flirty like Ursa Major’s latest Gamay Noir. Part of a new crop of Okanagan winemakers and wineries focused on creating low intervention, organically-grown wines, this Gamay is sourced from a sandy vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and underwent fermentation by ambient yeasts followed by time in more neutral oak, then bottled unfined and unfiltered with only 15ppm added sulphites. It’s a lively and tart sipper oozing flint and red fruits that is perfect paired with grilled salmon to celebrate B.C. Day — though take note Ursa Major’s wines are popular and in short supply.

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Bottom line: B+, Lively, engaging red


The Swirl: Brewhalla Beer & Music Festival

Speaking of keeping it local, the travelling Brewhalla Beer & Wine Festival was “ … born out of a passion to bring people together to celebrate local beer, music and food.” Brewhalla Fort Langley has come and gone, but the festival is set to take place in Port Moody on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Inlet Park, followed by North Vancouver’s edition set for The Shipyards on Friday, Oct. 7. Various ticket levels are available, with general admission (which includes a tasting glass and three 4oz tasting tokens) priced at $54.61, inclusive of taxes and fees. Head to brewhalla.ca for all details.

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