Wine Reviews  

2017 Gray Monk Odyssey Cabernet Franc

Odyssey Cabernet Franc

Wine: Odyssey Cabernet Franc, 2017

Winery: Gray Monk, Lake Country

Why drink it? Okanagan Cabernet Franc, arguably, could be the region’s signature red, and the hot southern end of the valley provides the ideal terroir, as shown in this bottle; the grapes came from Oliver and Osoyoos and went through select French oak aging. The result in the glass is a ruby-garnet colour with magenta flecks, and an exploration of earthy aromas from tobacco to forest floor with emerging black fruits. Flavours begin with blackberry and cassis, leading to cardamom and allspice notes, ending with a dry finish and pleasantly puckering tannins.

Pair with: As part of its very fun “Match Game” tasting experience, the winery suggests a toasted marshmallow. Toast till golden brown, take a bite, then a sip of wine and enjoy. Otherwise, a good steak will do nicely, or a burger with aged cheddar.

Price: $35

Music pairing: Home at Last, Steely Dan

2020 Township 7 Pinot Gris

Township 7 Pinot Gris

Wine: Pinot Gris, 2020

Winery: Township 7, Naramata/Langley

Why drink it? Beautifully aromatic, which may be a surprise to many PG fans, but enjoy the fresh pear and peach notes, mixed with some light wildflower hints reminiscent of an Okanagan meadow. The grapes come from Naramata, and the heat and gravelly soil are reflected in the many layers of flavours. Fermented in stainless steel and then given some French oak treatment, you’ll find bright stone fruits followed by some hints of the barrels, having given just enough weight and body to the wine. The finish is flinty and refreshing with some minerality.

Pair with: The winery suggests dim sum, which would be an ideal treat, but Thai salad with peanut dressing worked well, as did a salmon poke bowl. Tuna sashimi, any kind of gyoza or pot stickers, or a light pasta dish with a simple olive oil-based dressing.

Price: $21

Music pairing: All She Wants Is, Duran Duran

2019 Lightning Rock Viognier

Lightning Rock Viognier

Wine: Viognier, 2019

Winery: Lightning Rock, Summerland

Why drink it? For fun, compare this Viognier with the winery’s sparkling Pét-Nat version (if you can find a bottle), and decide if you prefer the bubbly or this one. A sunshine-y golden hue in the glass with some viscosity on a swirl, indicating a bit of weight. True to the varietal, you’ll find aromas of white peaches and honeysuckle with a bit of mandarin orange rind. Pressed into concrete tanks and left to relax through malolactic fermentation, flavours of stone fruits mingle with some creaminess and a pleasant oiliness, giving this wine favourable comparisons to an Okanagan chardonnay, minus the oak notes.

Pair with: Fresh prawns dressed simply in butter or a classic shrimp salad. Paired perfectly with a takeout club sandwich and a side of duck fat fries, with a summer dessert of an apricot crumble with a dollop of good vanilla ice cream.

Price: $25

Music pairing: After the Storm, Mumford & Sons

2020 Virtual Second Act Field Blend Rosé

Second Act Rosé

Wine: The Second Act Field Blend Rosé, 2020

Winery: Virtual

Why drink it? You can find this piquette wine at your local BC Liquor store, and what does “piquette” mean? It’s a “petite” wine that is naturally lower in alcohol, made from the second stage fermentation of the grape skins. The result is a soft pink-ruby hued rosé that is ultimately refreshing, especially during a heat wave, with a very slight fizz noticeable on the finish. The nose is a combo of sour cherry jam with a bit of raspberry candy and vanilla. But this is not sweet. Subtle red fruits emerge after a good chill, and thanks to the lower alcohol, you can enjoy several glasses with no guilt.

Pair with: Going camping? Hitting a (licensed) beach or park? Forgot the wine glasses? No worries. As long as you’ve got ice or another cooling implement, break out anything you can sip from on a hot day and pour a glass. Bonus if you’ve got fresh watermelon to share.

Price: $15

Music pairing: Close to Me, The Cure

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