One of the most rewarding things about taking guests on a wine tour is being able to help them experience everything we, as residents of the Okanagan Valley, live with all around us on a daily basis.
We’re truly blessed to live in this little pocket of paradise; and while some in our region take it for granted, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful that I call this place home. I like to refer to the Okanagan (and Kelowna in particular) as “West Calgary” during the summer months – just a short, scenic drive over the mountains and you’re basically in a vacation mecca for Albertans of all stripes. And we are so pleased to welcome our Alberta guests each year at Experience Wine Tours!
While the Okanagan wine industry is, relatively speaking, in its “teen years”, we’re blowing the doors off and breaking convention on the world stage. I’ve comprised a list of some of my favourite BC wines available for purchase on our tours – some of which are available in Calgary at select merchant locations. These wines are ideal for gifting, for pairing with any number of holiday nosh items, or for hoarding away like a greedy little wine miser.
Tantalus Riesling 2015 (Kelowna, BC)
I call this my “Riesling for Living” (you’re welcome). Perfect balance of fruit and acidity, this is the quintessential BC Riesling. Pairings: Bacon, breakfast, pork.
Tightrope Pinot Gris 2015 (Naramata Bench, BC)
Referred to as a “game changer” for Pinot Gris, it will evaporate from the bottle. As in, “why is all the Pinot Gris gone” in your worst Captain Jack Sparrow voice. Pairings: Your patio and a straw.
Cedar Creek “Block 5” Platinum Series Chardonnay 2014 (Kelowna, BC)
I swear, if you just said “I hate Chardonnay”, for the love of all that is holy, give it a rest. Pairings: Crab, Lobster, Roast Chicken.
JoieFarm Muscat 2015 (Naramata Bench, BC)
Imagine Charlie Daniels “Orange Blossom Special” being fiddled with delicious and demonic intensity over your taste buds. Perfect for those who love sweeter wines. Pairings: Stilettos and a fierce attitude.
Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Pinot Noir 2014 (Okanagan Falls, BC)
Recognized by Decanter Magazine (which is, BTW, like a BIG. DEAL.) as one of the top 30 Pinot Noirs IN THE WORLD. Mic drop. Pairings: Pork, salmon, turkey, hard or soft cheese.
Laughing Stock Portfolio 2014 (Naramata Bench, BC)
Everything you want in a Bordeaux-style blend is right here. Laugh about why you’re not drinking this every day. Pairings: Charcuterie, grilled meats, soft cheeses, life in general.
Orofino ‘Scout Vineyard’ Syrah 2014 (Similkameen Valley, BC)
Silky, rich, and elegant Syrah that I wish came out of a tap in my kitchen. Devine. Pairings: Gamey grilled meats, duck, cheeses.
Tantalus Rose 2015 (Kelowna, BC)
40/60 blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Strawberry, cranberry. Best pairing for turkey dinner.
Quails’ Gate Rose 2015 (West Kelowna, BC)
80% Gamay, 10% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Gris. Wonderful pink grapefruit notes. Pairings: Turkey, cheese.
*NOTE: Rose can be hard to find at this time of year as most sell out by early to mid-summer, but poke around and see what you can find!
Blue Mountain Gold Label NV Brut (Okanagan Falls, BC)
Tiny bubbles for days, zesty and toasty, perfect for all occasions. Pairings: A hard Tuesday at work, getting the party started.
8 th Generation ‘Integrity’ 2015 (Summerland, BC)
Prosecco-style bubbly, this wine is YES in a bottle. Pairings: French toast, oysters, vacuuming.
You may be able to find some of these wines in Calgary at Metrovino, J Webb Wine Merchant, Kensington Wine Market, or Willow Park Wines & Spirits. Alternatively, contact the winery directly for availability or shipping options.
Better yet – buy ALL OF THE WINE on a wine tour with Experience Wine Tours! Our tours depart daily from Kelowna (pick-up locations can be customized), lead by experienced tour guides with a unique spin on traditional wine tours that enables us to showcase the wine and food in this world-class growing region. All of our tours take place exclusively in our Mercedes Sprinter Vans, ensuring maximum comfort. Tours include a picnic lunch, featuring locally-sourced meats, cheeses, and seasonal veggies and fruit (dietary restrictions can be accommodated upon request). Contact us for gift certificates for our Kelowna and Naramata Bench tours for 2017.
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Happy Holidays from everyone at Experience Wine Tours
We look forward to welcoming you to our piece of paradise in the coming season. Cheers!
Check out Experience Wine Tours …
Thank you so much to Kris for offering his expertise in all things wine. If you have a wine lover in your life I highly recommend a gift card at Experience Wine Tours or if you’re the wine lover book a tour this spring or summer. They’re the best in the biz!
See you tomorrow for Day 4 of my 12 Days of Christmas!