So… I recently went to a wine Ā conference, and got really drunk,Ā um, well IĀ drank a lot of wine, er… okay, IĀ tasted a bunch of great wine. And it was easy, because there were dozens of wineries pouring their wares. I didn’t have to choose anything other than move fromĀ this bottle, to that bottle, then spit cup.
The whole experience got me thinking about travelling and buying wine. Us wine lovers have our local – and sometimes international – favourites. The tried and true. But whatĀ happens toĀ all the wine you don’t know a damn thing about? Other than finding a local wine bar / boutique / wine-o-phile to interrogate, how are we supposed to make a relatively informed wine decision when travelling?
Simple: it’s time for a game of ‘like this? try that’, courtesy yours truly. Please don’t letĀ my hours of wine drinking go to waste.Ā
The glorious Okanagan is a hop, skip and jump-through-the-border-hoops away from our US neighbours. We welcome visitors of all kinds; especially those who can haul away cases of our delicious wines in their cars / SUVs / trucks / motorhomes.Ā Got a favourite Washington wine? Something in California make you say naughty words? Chances are we’ve got a BC wine for you. After all, we’ve shared our soil for eons and eons. Literally.
Play along at home or take a really, really long road trip.
The Like This? Try That! wine game
Like: Parduci 2008 Sustainable WhiteĀ
Light and crisp, this organic and sustainable vineyard puts out a fabulous white blend. It’s a right-after-mowing-the-lawn-on-a-hot-summer-day wine. Try: Tinhorn CreekĀ Pinot Gris or RollingdaleĀ Pinot Blanc.
Like: Pithy Little Wine Co.Ā 2009 Sangiovese RosĆ©
My first experience with sangiovese, and a rosĆ© to boot. Hot damn. This little beauty has a surprise for you – just when you think it’s done, out comes a hint of roses. It’s a playing-hookey-from-work-on-a-sunny-day wine. Try: Le Vieux Pin Viala or Twisted TreeĀ Marsanne Rousanne.
Like: Ortman Family Wines 2007 Chardonnay
Taste explosion of honey-nut-butter-caramel. This is dinner-party-when-you-don’t-know-who’s-going-to-be-there-but-you-want-to-make-a-good-impression wine. Try: Cassini Cellars Reserve Chardonnay or Wild Goose God’s Mountain Riesling.
Like: Long Shadows 2009 Poet’s Leap Riesling
A tarty little thing, and pleasantly so. Poet’s Leap is learning-to-whistle-by-blowing-over-a-blade-of-grass-pinned-between-your-thumbs kind of wine. Inhale. Try: Orofino Riesling or Little Straw Tapestry.
Like: ButyĀ 2008 Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle
The only way to describe this wine is as a gift that keeps on giving. And giving. Wait…it’s not done yet. Know what I mean? Try: Painted Rock Chardonnay or Orofino Malbec for a similar gift-giving experience.
Like: DeLille CellarsĀ 2008 Chaleur Estate Blanc
Complex is an understatement. Nutmeg, almond and caramel tangled with smokey cigar – all wrapped up in fruit salad. Yeah, it’s like that. This is getting-into-your-parents-good-wine-stash wine. It’s exactly where you know you’re supposed to be. Try: La FrenzĀ Tempranillo or Fairview CellarsĀ Sauvignon Blanc.
To all the wines I loved over three days – and three very late nights – in Walla Walla, Washington, I’d like to say a hearty thank you. And to all the wines I don’t have room to drool over here, my deepest apologies – but know that you will forever remain in my heart, nestled beside some great wine memories.
Summer is about exploring new places – even if it’s only through the taste that a great glass of wine places you in. Because you know I’m not about “complex acidity” or “hints of gooseberry leaf on the nose”. I’ll leave that to the wine professionals. No; I’m about where-does-this-wine-take-you, and what-do-you-want-to-be-doing-when-you-drink-it. (descriptions totally PG13, of course)
Regardless your method of travel this summer, be sure to un*wine*d with a glass of somewhere great.