Pick pink British Columbia wines for Valentine’s Day

Wine Wise with Doug Sloan

So it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday! Could there be a better excuse for picking a pink wine?

It’s a day that’s ripe for rosés!

Most wine lovers have all kinds of strange hang-ups when it comes to even trying – never mind actually appreciating and enjoying – rosés. Neither white nor red, rosés straddle the wine and food pairing lines quite magnificently. And winemakers here in British Columbia get it.

A favourite in the ‘Cellared in Canada’ but made from domestic and imported wines category Copper Moon Rosé (163634) $8.85 is on the sweeter side of off-dry with notes of cherry, bubble gum and a sweet kiss of pink grapefruit.

Picking a pink wine from the many that British Columbia’s wineries offer is a demanding task. As is so often the case with best that BC has to offer, the wines are leaner and brighter than many imports from warmer growing regions and fabulously food friendly.

Quite a different take on rosé in style and substance from our own Okanagan Valley, Perseus Pinot Noir Rosé (840751) $17.80 could be mistaken for a white wine, tasted blindfolded and overly chilled. Sipped at room temperature, however, it shows all of the gorgeous cherry, strawberry and cranberry aromas and flavours that make good Rosés great!

Still known for some of the imaginative psychological puns in the names of their wines – Fizziotherapy, Bruised Ego and Freudian Sip – Therapy Vineyards is increasingly focusing on the quality of the wines that Steven Latchford is making.

Therapy Pink Freud (442657) $18.40 is a blend of 68 per cent Pinot Noir and 32 per cent Merlot with intense aromas of wild strawberries, red licorice and blackberry jam leading into concentrated red plum, tart cherry and fresh strawberry flavours.  The mid-palate is round and juicy because the natural residual sugars create a slightly off-dry finish.

Chris Jentsch had been growing grapes for decades when he and a group of friends pondered what they would do differently if they could go back 40 years…and the answers were all the same – take more risks. And what’s riskier in the trendoid world of wine than betting on pinks?

C.C.Jentsch ‘The Dance’ (618603) $18.45 is an intriguingly complex blend of 50 per cent Merlot, 26 per cent Cabernet Franc, 20 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 per cent Malbec and 2 per cent Petit Verdot. Intense aromas of passion fruit, guava and wild cherry burst from the glass and are echoed on the palate with a savoury element from the extended lees contact, making this a dry rosé from some seriously bold red grapes.

Making waves in the BC wine scene for its crumbling rocky mountainside and gravelly ‘terroir’ – the Similkameen Valley is home to Eau Vivre, Orofino, Corcelletes and Clos du Soleil wineries amongst others.

Clos du Soleil Rosé (88468) $20.55 is a full throttle wine from 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon. Expect aromas and flavours of ripe, juicy strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb pie reinforced by crisp acidity and flaunting a rain-washed rocky minerality.

Taking enlightened insanity to a new level of marketing mayhem ‘the hatch’ winery “…is a tasting emporium, an emporium the likes not seen before in The Okanagan. But on a meta-level, ‘the hatch’ is the culmination of dreams had by a group of eccentric grapeophiles who have lived and learned the way of the vine for countless years.”

The Hatch Brut Rosé (830182) $29.30 colloquially known as ‘OctoBubble’ is made from 100 per cent Gamay, from grapes grown in an organic vineyard on McIntyre’s Bluff. According to Andrew Melville, chief steward of ‘the hatch’, this sparkling pink wine, unlikely as it might seem, is “…hand riddled by Paul Anka himself.”

Committed to organic practices, Sage Hills Vineyard is situated on a dramatic slope overlooking Okanagan Lake in Summerland, BC. The terrain is harsh and dry, with thorny cacti and thatches of fragrant sagebrush on the surrounding hills watching over the vineyards.

Sage Hills Syrah Rosé (749325) $29.35 is made from 100 per cent organic Syrah grapes and harvested at 3.1 tonnes per acre for cleanly concentrated aromas and flavours.

Very much an homage to the pink wines of Provence, France this off-dry Syrah Rosé has a rich and dusty flavours and the irresistible scent of homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Think pink for Valentine’s Day!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com