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It’s finally here, it seems. Since we tend to focus on our craft beer selection a lot in these newsletters, we are excited to show off some of the terrific wines we have. Our wine selection took a nice step forward with the addition of Ame De Paoli to our staff in the spring. Ame ran our Oak Bay BC VQA wine store for many years (until it closed at the end of February), and now she’s curating our wine program.
We thought it would be a great idea for her to offer up her picks (with pairings!) for summertime patio sipping. Her knowledge of BC wines is impeccable, so you’ll see plenty of those included, but since joining the staff, she’s also brought in some great wines from around the world—most of which are in that $15 to $35 sweet spot that we like to carry.
So, if you’re looking for something to serve at an al fresco dinner party or picnic, or you just want something to sip in the sunshine, check out Ame’s recommendations below.
Glenn Barlow & the Cook St. Liquor Staff
Ployez -Jacquemart (Champagne, France)
$63.9 750ml; $36.9 375ml
Made predominantly from red varieties – Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – this Champagne offers a wonderful richness, with loads of complexity and exceptional balance. Summery honeycomb and apple aromas and flavours are infused with bright, fresh acidity and a beautiful, fine mousse. Perfect for washing down oysters on the half shell! We even have 375ml splits, perfectly sized for the picnic basket.
Cave de Lugny Cremant de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France)
Sparkling rosé is made for summer. This Burgundian beauty is a gorgeous pale salmon color with a fine, elegant mousse. Piquant field strawberry and red currant aromas lead to tart cherry and strawberry on the palate. The nice bright acidity is a perfect palate cleaner. A warm summer eve, your favorite creamy, gooey cheese, fresh strawberries and this wine – mind-blowing!!
Masseria Li Veli 2015 Verdeca (Puglia, IT)
This extraordinary wine is made with the ancient grape, Verdeca. It’s super expressive aromatically, with lovely floral stone fruit notes. It offers a beautiful viscosity on the rich concentrated palate with nice minerality and bright acidity. This wine is a perfect sipper for patio socializing. Or try it with sushi. Perfecto!
Synchromesh 2015 Drier Riesling (BC)
This newer BC winery is located in the Kelowna area – perfect cooler-climate conditions for Riesling. The grapes for this wine were picked later in the harvest creating ripe aromas of honey, tropical and stone fruit. On the palate it has loads of ripe fruit up front, leading to a drier Granny Smith apple finish with balanced acidity. This wine is beautiful on its own, but is also a great match for an array of foods. Buy the wine first and figure out the meal later – this one is super versatile.
Summerhill Cipes Brut (Okangan, BC)
This wine has won gold medals every year since 1992 and most recently it garnered a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Made in the traditional method using Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, this wine exudes apple, lime, pear and almond flavours, with crisp acidity and a soft creamy mousse. This is a perfect celebration bubbly, and also works brilliantly for sipping in the summer sun.
Les Mastels 2015 Saint-Saturnin Rosé (Languedoc, France)
Les Mastels, a small estate in the Languedoc commune of Saint-Saturnin, produces 95% of all rosé in the region. And for good reason, this wine is exceptional. The clay-limestone soil in the area brings a lovely minerality to this wine. It features aromas of raspberry, wet stone and rosemary, with supple strawberry, red currant and herbaceous flavours. It’s crisp and focused on the finish. Try this one with tuna tataki or kale salad.
Joie 2015 Rosé (Okanagan, BC)
This winery is fond of the slogan “rethink pink,” and I would have to agree. Rosé can be made from completely dry to a dessert wine, so the range is vast. This off-dry version is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. It offers dried strawberry, currant and spice aromas, with mild peppery notes on the palate and a touch of sweetness with good acidity. Try this one with BBQ Dungeness crab or Cajun chicken. If you haven’t done so already, revisit Rosé!