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Wines for summer: What to sip when it sizzles

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

The first day of Summer might be more than a week away, but you can’t tell it by the weather. The arrival of tourists and hot days say it’s summer in the Okanagan Valley. And for those of us who live here it signals a season of entertaining visiting family and friends.

The foods we serve — whether simple or fancy, everyday or gourmet — tend to be lighter fare more suitable to our normal 25-to 30-degree Celsius temps. The heat can make choosing wines a bit tricky, but there are literally hundreds of locally made wines that are perfect matches for Summer salads and BBQ staples like Salmon, shellfish and chicken.

Here are a handful of wines — white and red — on local wine store shelves that you’ll find pleasing with food or simply as an aperitif this summer.

Road 13 2017 Viognier
Road 13 2017 Viognier
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Road 13 2017 Viognier: At just under $21 it won’t offend your wallet and will bring a smile. This grape variety is a refreshing change of pace from say a big Chardonnay, which can be a bit heavy and ponderous on a hot afternoon. This wine has plenty of fruit with a nose of nectarines, Mandarin oranges and peaches and with near perfect crispness and acidity.

Lang Vineyards 2017 Farm Reserve Riesling: At $20, it's another delightful warm weather wine. More like an Alsatian than typical Mosel/Rhine and B.C. Rieslings, it has a nose of tropical fruit and green apples and a delightful crisp acidity that can stand up to a spicy Asian prawn salad or, once again, drink by itself.

Le Vieux Pin 2015 Ava: At about $30 this is a Rhone-style blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne that might require a search, but it’s worth the bother. Perfectly balanced and with 14.4% alcohol, it packs a punch but serve this with a roasted chicken — hot or cold — and you’ll fall in love. Don’t serve too cold and decant it or let it catch some air in a large, thin-lip wine glass.

Don’t think you can’t go red during hot weather. There’s a grape variety that’s particularly suited to patio sipping called Gamay. Two favourites in the mid-$20 range will please you, the first from the Similkameen Valley and the other the Okanagan.

Orofino Celetano Vineyard 2018 Gamay is just yummy. Cool it in the fridge for an hour and you’ll impress your friends with a tasty red that goes down easy on a hot afternoon. Great with simple foods or just by itself. If you don’t like this fruit-forward lovely wine — you don’t like wine!

Orofino Celetano Vineyard 2018 Gamay
Orofino Celetano Vineyard 2018 Gamay
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2016 and 2017 Gamay Noir are a little more complex than many Gamays you’ll find. The winery has sold out but you can find it at some restaurants in Penticton and Kelowna. It has depth and its juicy with blackberry and cassis aromas and flavours. Teams hand-in-glove with grilled meats and chicken.

B.C.’s wines and winemakers continue to show that they can hang with the efforts coming from the U.S., France and Australia and each vintage brings new favourites. Enjoy the Summer with these and scores of other delightful wines made locally.

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