Itâ€™s on: white wine night in January. Time to bring some sunshine to my glass and a smile to the faces of my friends. Or so I hope.
Hosting a wine night doesnâ€™t have to be complicated â€“ especially if you donâ€™t really play by the â€˜rulesâ€™. As you know, Iâ€™m all about having fun with wine. That means experimenting and making things easy rather than difficultâ€¦ and throwing out the rule book.
The easiest way to enjoy a wine night is to stop fretting about the food. (Iâ€™m sure foodies everywhere collectively cringed when I say this) Itâ€™s true. Nothing spices things up quite like a potluck. Yes, the food pairing element may be a bit whacked, but if you inform guests ahead of time as to what will be served (read: booze), youâ€™ll find your guests are more inventive than you may have given them credit for.
Last wine night I hosted I picked wine by varietal and went a la brown bag style â€“ a blind tasting. This round, weâ€™re throwing it all out the window; the only consistency here is that theyâ€™re white wines. The only common denominator is that theyâ€™re all BC wines â€“ which means there will be a little something for everyone.
This variety means guests can have fun with foods. Iâ€™ve left no instructions, other than to bring something to eat. Some may pair their contribution with a particular wine, others may throw caution to the wind. Whatever happens, itâ€™ll be fun â€“ and that (to me) is what wine nights are all about.
The list for our January White Wine Night includes, in no particular order:
- Sumac Ridge 2007 Pinnacle
- Jackson-Triggs â€˜Espritâ€™ 2007 Chardonnay
- Gehringer Brothers 2009 Pinot Blanc
- Peller Estates 2009 Pinot Gris
- St. Hubertus 2008 Pinot Blanc
- Peller Estates Reserve 2007 Riesling
- Hijas Bonitas 2008 Casabella
- Le Vieux Pin 2008 7 Blanc
- Red Rooster 2009 Reserve Pinot Gris
- Jackson-Triggs 2007 Sunrock Vineyards Chardonnay
- (plus a few special guestsâ€¦TBA)
I have a feeling this will be one unforgettable way to un*wine*d on a Saturday in January. Some of us will be live-tweeting from the night, so feel free to play along â€“ just follow the #bcwine hashtag on Twitter, sometime after 7pm.
Where the hell did the summer disappear to?Â Don’t get me wrong – I love fall. Warm (supposedly) days meet cooler (allegedly) nights, vineyards (reportedly) start harvestingÂ their ripening (hopefully) fruit while parents (understandably) rejoice. (it’s an adjective-y type of day)
The best part of fall is the annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival – and I’m not just saying that because I blog for them. Okay, part of my joy stems from attending events as “work”. How could I not love that?Â
My tickets arrived today, and I’m pretty stoked.Â First, there’s the WestJet Wine Tasting on Friday October 1 at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna. That’s always a great shin-dig, especially because the wineries often bring new fall releases.Â Next, I’m heading to Cabana Grille in Kelowna on Sunday October 3 for the Gourmet and Grapes event featuring a battle of the chefs. That’s win-win.Â Then it’s off to the Culinary Arts Centre at the KLO Campus of Okanagan College for Alexis de Portneuf’s Young Chefs competition on Tuesday October 5. Anything having to do with cheese ranks pretty high on my list.Â
I’ll wrap things up at the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Friday October 8. Word has it that this is going to be the event of all events, so that’s a gimme.Â There are over 150 events happening around the Okanagan valley at different restaurants, wineries and miscellaneous spots where folks can gather and indulge. Nice.
Speaking of indulging…I’ve got some great wine to share with you.
Friends stopped by this weekend (being a long weekend and us living in vacationland), and we enjoyed a bottle or two. A couple of these bottles had been cellared, and that topic comes up quite often in the Okanagan. So here’s a bit of what we tasted:
- La Frenz 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon: if you’ve got it, drink this baby now. Holy snappin’ turtles, this is good booze. Smooth as velvet, deep plum-black in colour and layer after layer of tasty goodness.
- Burrowing Owl 2005 Syrah: oxidized, sadly. Based on this, I wouldn’t take a chance on recommending you sit on your bottle for long. If you’re saving yours for a “special occasion”, make that occasion be right now.
- Jackson-Triggs SunRock Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: always enjoyable, ready to drink now.
- Gehringer Brothers 2008 Auxerois: held up fairly well over a year in; my suggestion is to drink the vintage when it’s current as is intended when they make their wine. This is buy-now-drink-now wine. I like that.
- Mission Hill Five Vineyards Rose: a pretty little number, indeed. And it’s listed as one of the Judges Choices in Wine Access‘ International Value Wine Awards (IVWA) for best wines from around the world available in Canada for $25 or less. Not bad at all.
Maybe we drank a few more bottles than that. Remember – it was a long weekend so there’s an extra day in there for consumption.Â Discover your favourite wines to un*wine*d with, whether it be over a long weekend or simply on a Tuesday night. When you’ve got great BC wine in the house, any day of the week can be a special occasion.Â