“In this series I will be sharing my take on which BC Wine pairs well with some inspirational recipes”
Thanks to an invitation to join a video tasting with Tony Holler and Stefan Arnason of Poplar Grove. It was an opportunity to taste the new releases and chat to both owner, Tony Holler, and winemaker, Stefan Arnason about the new releases, their expectations, the highs and lows of the growing season and hear their reflections overall.
At the completion of the video tasting I posed the question about pairing the wines I had received. Specifically I wanted some suggestions about which dishes to pair with which wines. The weekend following the video tasting I paired three of the wines and, on a recommendation, cellared the fourth wine.
Here are the three of the four wines I enjoyed and what dish I paired with each wine and the one I cellared…
Medium-light rose petal pink. Aromas of fresh strawberries and Okanagan cherries combine with an enticing hint of lemon curd. A robust palate of ripe cherries and honeydew melon is well-balanced with delicate citrus notes. Enjoy as a light, fresh opener to an evening or as a stand-alone aperitif.
2020 began with a rapid winter cold snap that saw temperatures drop from 3 °C to -18 °C in a matter of 8 hours. Cross-sections of the dormant buds confirmed no vine damage. Due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols, the beginning of the harvest was a family affair with the Holler family pruning over 60 acres as a team. Full vineyard bud break in Osoyoos happened April 15, Skaha Bench on April 20, and Penticton on April 29 – a little later than average. Early June was cool and wet in the Okanagan Valley. The weather started improving on June 18th with the real Okanagan heat arriving the second week of July and staying until mid-September. The Mount Christie wildfire was a big scare for Penticton and Okanagan Falls. The fire came 500 meters from our Skaha Bench Vineyards but luckily the smoke from the wildfire did not settle in the vineyard. Autumn was beautiful with temperatures between 20-25 °C through to early October. Green leaves on the vines until October 22 helped the red grapes to ripen beautifully. A surprise snowfall in late October saw 8 cm of snowfall and the race was on to get the grapes into the winery.
Merlot, Malbec, and Syrah bunches were handpicked and sorted in the vineyard. The extracted juice from the crushed grapes was left on skins for four hours, then cold settled and fermented at 15 °C to preserve the bright fruit flavors. The final blend added a touch of Pinot Gris and Muscat. The yeast consumed most of the grape sugars leaving 1.0 g/l and yielding a wonderfully complex dry rosé.
This wine is meant to be enjoyed upon release. Drink this year into 2022 for best enjoyment!
Light notes of strawberries, a touch of Meyer lemon. Scents of red currants, green grapes, yellow plum and strawberry. High acidity, smooth and also crisp, mellow. Flavours of fruit salad and white grapefruit with a lingering finish.
Paired with Poplar Grove Rosé
I paired this delightful Rosé with a traditional Provencial dish of zucchini parmesan with home made tomato sauce, liberal amounts of both mozzarella and parmesan cheese with roasted zucchini slices. Served with a mixed green salad and garlicky vinaigrette and warm baguette.
The pairing was top notch.
Cabernet Franc 2017
Deep ruby red. Aromas of dark berry fruits, tobacco, cedar wood and leather. Cassis and black cherry with notes of vanilla on the palate. Fine medium tannins with medium-plus acidity knit together allowing the 2017 Cabernet Franc to come alive on the palate. Perfect with rich duck and game dishes.
A cold Canadian winter, unusually wet spring, and dry summer yielded wines with excellent balance and distinct varietal flavours. Crops were lighter than normal, but the vintage will be remembered for unprecedented flood and drought conditions, and a persistent haze from nearby forest fires. While not directly affecting our grape-growing areas, the haze blanketed the sun coverage, preventing the customary heat spikes and positively impacted the growing season by slowing down the grape ripening periods and flavour development. Ripening was assisted by the rigorous leaf plucking and bunch thinning of our dogged, never-say-die vineyard crew. Ultimately, slightly lower yields and phenomenal fruit quality delivered an excellent 2017 vintage, characterized by high flavour concentration, moderate alcohol, balanced tannins, complexity, and natural acidity.
Traditional Bordeaux vinification techniques have been used to create an elegant and age-worthy Cabernet Franc. For each of the component lots, bunches were handpicked and sorted in the vineyard. The berries were crushed separately and cold soaked for two days before fermentation. Malolactic fermentation occurred in barrel over the winter and finished in the spring of the following year. The wines from each vineyard lot were kept separate in 25% new oak and a combination of two to three year old French oak barrels for twenty one months. Our Cabernet Franc was further developed in bottle for twelve months prior to release.
Ready upon release or cellar up to 10 years.
I decanted the wine for about three hours before enjoying it with homemade pizza. You know what they say “life is short, drink good wine” so there was no guilt with this decision to drink a very good wine with pizza and a movie night.
The wine was rich and elegant, like velvet. Delicious ripe, dark fruits, hard candy, marshmallows, cotton candy made this particularly heavenly. Sharp tannins with good acidity. Lingering flavours of ripe fruit.
Paired with home made pizza
We paired this wine with more than one pizza with varying toppings and the wine was definitely up to the challenge of working with roasted zucchini (leftover from the night before), sausage, hot and mild salamis, mushrooms, pineapple, artichokes and fresh arugula all on home baked crust. Extra red pepper flakes for the brave among us.
Pinot Gris 2020
Pale gold in colour. Intense aromas of pear, peach, and melon. A lush palate of bright citrus and nectarine flavours balance with refreshing acidity and surprise notes of lychee on the finish. The 2020 vintage is an exceptional expression of this popular varietal. Perfect with sunshine and great company!
The 2020 began with a rapid winter cold snap that saw temperatures drop from 3° to -18° in a matter of 8 hours. Cross sections of the dormant buds confirmed no vine damage. Due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols, the beginning of the harvest was a family affair with the Holler family pruning over 60 acres as a team. Full vineyard budbreak in Osoyoos happened April 15, Skaha Bench on April 20, and Penticton April 29 – a little later than average. Early June was cool and wet in the Okanagan Valley. The weather started improving June 18th with the real Okanagan heat arriving the second week of July and staying until mid-September. The Mount Christie wildfire was a big scare for Penticton and Okanagan Falls. The fire came 500 meters from our Skaha Bench Vineyards but luckily the smoke from the wildfire did not settle in the vineyard. Autumn was beautiful with temperatures between 20-25 C through to early October. Green leaves on the vines until October 22 helped the red grapes to ripen beautifully. A surprise snowfall late October saw 8 cm of snow fall and the race was on to get the grapes into the winery.As is tradition, the last bunch was picked mid-day on November 9, in our Munson Mountain Cabernet Franc vineyard. 2020 provided its challenges but with the summer heat and extended autumn it was another great vintage in the Okanagan Valley.
Made from 100% Pinot Gris grapes. The fruit was pressed after three hours of skin contact to extract additional aromatics and fermented cold to preserve the signature fruit flavours. The various parcels of juice were inoculated with three different yeast cultures in order to allow complexity and mouth-feel to develop. The final Pinot Gris blend was created to bring a balanced profile of acidity, aromatics, and natural sweetness on the palate.
This wine is meant to be enjoyed upon release. Drink 2021 – 2025.
Be still my heart! As suggested we did open this in the afternoon and it was extremely difficult to save enough for dinner! This wine is typical Pinot Gris and absolutely delicious. I must confess to being so in the moment and busy with a new recipe that I falied to write down my tasting notes, my bad. But who cares when the wine is this good?
I believe the Pinot Gris is a larger production than the other wines but I still would not wait to buy this beauty.
Paired with Miso-glazed Sablefish and Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Leeks and Capers
For the pairing I decided to try a new recipe, inspired by the New York Times Cooking “Miso-glazed fish” recipe. I used Sablefish which was purchased locally in Campbell River, flash frozen at sea. Marinated overnight in a mixture of miso, sake, with honey and rice wine vinegar (in place of mirin which I didn’t have on hand). The dish was extremely tasty if not up to Japanese restaurant standards. Next time I would broil the fish which took much longer to cook in a hot pan, although it did result in crispy skin. I also served Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Leeks and Capers.
The wine was an excellent pairing for these two dishes. Quite an accomplishment given the obstacles of pairing with asparagus in particular.
Delicate tones of pale gold splash into the glass. Our 2018 vintage expresses lemon zest, creme brulee, and toasted almond on the nose. A prominent palate of white grapefruit, autumn fruits, and honeydew appear first. Light French oak barrel aging adds flavours of warm vanilla to the wine’s long, smooth finish.
The 2018 growing season was similar to 2017. Spring started off slowly and was wetter than average. 2018 found the vineyards two weeks behind our normal bud burst. Once the warmer weather arrived mid-spring, it caused the above average snow levels in the mountains to melt rapidly resulting in another year of flooding. The flooding did not wash any topsoil away and, after a challenging start, the end of spring weather conditions were perfect for an ideal fruit set. Once summer arrived, it was hot and dry which tested our vineyard crews to pay close attention to irrigation regimes and leaf-to-fruit ratios. The vineyards soaked up the summer sunshine; meticulous farming and careful yield management allowed the grapes to fully ripen on the vine. September was wet. After each rainfall, the tractors were driven down the vineyard rows to blow the water off the vines and fruit ensuring there was no opportunity for mold to develop. A beautiful autumn saw the perfect weather to allow the fruit to catch up after a wet September.
Chardonnay involves our most complex winemaking methods in the Poplar Grove white wine program. The wine is sourced from four individual estate blocks located 62% in Osoyoos and 38% on the Naramata Bench. Our vineyard team harvested the fruit on four separate dates to ensure the different blocks were at optimal maturity in brix and flavour profile. Each of these blocks are processed and fermented separately. The majority of the Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel tanks while the remaining 20% is fermented in 228L new French oak Burgundian barrels. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally in the barrel fermented portion of this wine. The blending process of all four estate blocks was completed the last week of February.
This wine is meant to be enjoyed upon release, but will drink well for three to five years.
On my question of which one should I cellar the obvious answer was of course Cabernet Franc, but instead it was the Chardonnay. So as suggested I decided to cellar this one. I think I may be able to hold off for at least three years. As our wine reviewer extraordinaire continually tries to drill into my head – cellaring is worth the wait.
Zucchini Parmesan recipe courtesy of @bellacibo on Instagram, Cooking with Mamma Marzia, available on Amazon.ca
Home Made Pizza Dough Ricardo Cuisine
Miso-Glazed Fish – New York Times Cooking
Tasting, vineyard, and winemaker notes courtesy of the winery. Notes and comments (in italics) my own. Images: MyVanCity I received complimentary bottles of wine to join the video tasting and to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.