Wine Reviews  

Play Estate Rosé bright and light on the taste buds

Play time with Rose de Syrah

Wine: Rosé de Syrah, 2019

Winery: Play Estate, Penticton

Why drink it? Spring is surely coming, and that means rosé season approaches. With a new winemaker, whimsically delightful new labels, and a quiet rebirth, Play has introduced some new wines, including this dry rosé. A beautiful wild-salmon pink with aromas of pink grapefruit, cranberries, boysenberry, and hints of fresh white pepper and rosemary. Bright and light on the taste buds, the grapes were elegantly treated with basket pressing before going into stainless steel, resulting in a fresh, juicy acidity on the finish. As they say in the theatre biz (the inspiration for the winery’s name), bravo.

Price: $22

Pair with: It’s time to dig down deep in the freezer to find the rhubarb, cherries, Saskatoon berries, raspberries, or strawberries you froze last year, and make yourself a delicious tart crumble. Or source some soft goat cheese, dig out the walnuts from the pantry, and roast some beets for a salad.

Music pairing: Why Play Games, Diana Ross


Aromas of dark chocolate and coffee beans, touched with sage

vinAmité offers Compass red

Wine: Compass, 2017 (red blend)

Winery: vinAmité, Oliver

Why drink it? A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, this wine is a good antidote to the lost feeling you may be experiencing. After all, it is called Compass. Inviting aromas of dark chocolate and coffee beans, touched with sage and a bit of leather. On the palate the chocolate welcomes the addition of blueberries, dark cherries, and a subtle mix of spices leading to comforting sip after sip, medium tannins and nice, round finish. A good bottle to add to your stash of Bordeaux-style BC blends or enjoy now to take away the chill from spring winds.

Price: $36

Pair with: As part of its “hibernation pack”, the winery suggests Boeuf Bourguignon. If you’re ramping up your cooking skills, YouTube can provide many videos to show you how to make it…which you can watch while enjoying a glass with a nice snack of strong cheddar cheese.

Music pairing: Dancin’, Chris Isaak

Hester Creeek's 2018 Pinot Blanc

'Late Harvest' for early spring

Wine: Late Harvest Pinot Blanc, 2018

Winery: Hester Creek, Oliver

Why drink it? It may officially be spring but there is still a chill in the air, as we bridge between winter and summer. A late harvest like this one from Pinot Blanc, an under-rated grape, is a good bridge to icewine if you want something to indulge in but is little less sweet. Fragrant scents of honey, violets, and freshly picked apricots will remind you of spring, while a smooth sip brings forth balance with some tartness and acidity and flavours of peach jam and lemon curd. Enjoy a nice, somewhat opulent, sip in front of the fireplace before it gets turned off and we leave winter behind.

Price: $17

Pair with: As with most sweet wines, a sharp contrast does well. Blue cheese dipping sauce will provide the contrast, while with some honey garlic chicken wings are complementary. A roasted beet and walnut salad with an aged balsamic dressing will do nicely too.

Music pairing: Late in the evening, Paul Simon


Winc/Atticus a California red blend

Lost Poet: bold, earthy

Wine: Lost Poet (red blend), 2017

Winery: Winc / Atticus

Why drink it? The story behind this bottle: Atticus is a masked Instagram poet (Instagram @atticuspoetry), with a love of wine and a New York Times best seller, The Truth About Magic (read about the book here: https://www.castanet.net/news/Okanagan-Taste/272862/Books-and-beverages), and now his own blend made with a winemaker; the grapes are from California. Lost Poet, complete with a random selection of poems on the back label, is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah. On the nose, it’s bold, even before pouring it on a glass – earthy, with cherry notes that soften in a few minutes. The palate is straightforward with red berries and mushrooms, with a bit of nutmeg and pomegranate.

Price: $17 USD / $20 CAD

Pair with: You might be able to source the wine in Ontario now, B.C. for the next vintage perhaps. If you have an aspiring writer in the house, a bottle and a copy of the book will pair nicely with scrolling through Instagram on an evening when the couch is calling and you need some inspiration.

Music pairing: Moral of the Story, Ashe

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