BC WINES FOR THANKSGIVING

I’ve assembled a rafter* of four BC wines, all under $25, one each of sparkling, white, rosé, and red.

Perfect for pleasing a variety of palates on Thanksgiving!

The key to entertaining is to choose broadly appealing wines that will pair with a range of foods. Or, to break all the rules and just buy the wine you love to drink!

Bubbly

Okanagan Crush Pad Narrative XC Method NV $24

Flavours: XC are the Roman numerals for 90, which is how long this non-vintage wine rests on the lees (spent yeasts) to get a subtle creamy flavour. It's a blend of classic Champagne grapes: 60% Pinot & 40% Chard, done in a cost effective but delicious manner. Perfect for pairing with cheese and crackers, baked brie, even potato chips while you hang out in the kitchen.

Having something celebratory to welcome guests with is a classy touch. This bubbly will pair with salty snacks while the meal finishes cooking, and also makes the perfect host/hostess gift. 

White

Wild Goose 2015 Riesling $17

Flavours: mango, honey and pears, zingy refreshing acidity, it’s a Level 2 sweetness, so perfect for guests who love a more generously flavoured white. Punches above its price in flavour.

Not every white wine has to be dry, a Riesling with a touch of sweetness will stand up to richer Thanksgiving fare. A generous white, like the Wild Goose, will pair wild bolder styles of turkey (spicy rub, deep fried), sweet side dishes like roast yams, and even the pecan pie.

Rosé

JoieFarm 2015 Rethink Pink Rosé $19

Flavours: bright with red cherry and berry notes, it’s just slightly off dry, a great match for stuffing with roast herbs, cranberry sauce, roast root veg/parsnips, and has a nice silky texture. 70/30 Pinot/Gamay. It’s versatile, and is juicy enough to keep everyone smiling. 

Rosé is a winning match with turkey, especially those made in a savoury French style (this one's inspired by the Anjou rosés of the Loire Valley). The JoieFarm would pair wonderfully with cranberry sauce.

Red

Robin Ridge 2013 Gamay $23

Flavours: A winning red should have smooth light tannins to please fans of soft reds, but enough flavour to keep bolder red-lovers happy. A ripe style of Gamay from a sunny heat trap like Keremeos in the Similkameen Valley will be a winner with all, and won’t overwhelm the food like some heavier grapes may, such as Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a nice spice on the palate, brambly fruit, raspberry, and peppery dried wild herbs. It’s lively but concentrated.

*I learned today that a group of turkeys is called a 'rafter' and not a flock!

NK'MIP WINES PAIRED WITH ROAST SALMON & HAZLENUT HONEY BUTTER

 Dig in! Delicious roast salmon, berry salad, and honey hazelnut butter.

Dig in! Delicious roast salmon, berry salad, and honey hazelnut butter.

Winery Visits: April-June - Daily from 10am-6pm; July-Sept - Daily from 9am-8pm; Oct - Daily from 10am-6pm; Nov-April - Daily 10am-5pm 

Location: 1400 Ranchers Creek Road, Osoyoos, BC, V0H1V6

Website: www.nkmipcellars.com 

Phone: 250-495-2985

June 21st marks the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, which celebrates the unique heritage and cultures of Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Nk'Mip Cellars (pronounced "in-ka-meep") was opened in 2002 by the Osoyoos Indian Band. It was the first Aboriginal owned and operated winery in all of North America. The winery tasting room features unique First Nations art, along with a stellar selection of wines to try (on my last trip I picked up a bottle of their very tasty Pinot Noir). The winery's restaurant, The Patio, is one of my favourite stops in Osoyoos, and has one of the best lake-watching perches in the whole Okanagan to enjoy a glass of wine and the sunset.

I was excited to receive a shipment from Nk'Mip Cellars  along with some delish indigenous inspired meal ideas designed to pair perfectly with their wines: roast salmon, served with savoury berry salad, and freshly made bannock topped with hazelnut honey butter. The recipes (especially the honey butter, so easy and so, so good) and wines were a big success with my dinner guests.

 

The Wines:

2015 Nk'Mip Cellars Dreamcatcher $17.49

A crowdpleasing fragrant blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Ehrenfelser, Semillon and Chardonnay comes together with just a hint of sweetness on the palate for the ultimate summer sipper. The Riesling's all about apple and pear, while the Sauv Blanc brings guava and lime.  There's a touch of honeysuckle blossom in there too. Would pair beautifully with roast salmon, salads, as well as sushi (think spicy tuna roll). 

2015 Nk'Mip Cellars Rosé $16.99

You'll taste juicy strawberry and cherry flavours in your glass of this dry saignée method rosé (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Pinot Noir), backed by an undercurrent of warm weather minerality. A lovely match for fresh berry salad, roast chicken, or crab cakes.

2014 Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine $66.99

Lush peach, apricot, wildflower honey, and mango mingle on the palate in this vibrant Icewine. Bright, playful acidity keeps the sweetness in check. A remarkably balanced yet intensely flavoured dessert wine. In the Okanagan language of the Osoyoos Band, Qwam Qwmt (pronounced "kw-em kw-empt") means 'achieving excellence', and in this wine, mission accomplished. Rich enough to enjoy on its own, or pair with stone fruit creme caramel.

 

Recipes:

Summer Berry Salad

Wash berries and set aside, in a bowl mix all other ingredients, then fold in berries. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and chopped toasted hazelnuts, served over a bed of greens.

1 Cup strawberries (hulled and sliced)

1 Cup blueberries

1 Cup raspberries

2 T finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 T seeded, finely chopped green onion or jalapeno pepper (I used pepper)

Juice of 1 lime

Dash of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 T chopped toasted hazelnuts

3 Cups mixed greens (arugula, dandelion, mache)

Roast BC Salmon

Take the filet out of fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Place on a lightly oiled parchment lined baking sheet. Top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and honey. Pre-heat oven to 400C, then right before cooking the salmon, turn on only the broiler at 450C. Roast the salmon mid-rack for 6-8 minutes, or until the salmon gently flakes when pressed.

1 whole filet of wild BC salmon

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T honey

Hazelnut Honey Butter

Don't be afraid to double or triple this super easy recipe, it's so tasty that guests wanted to take some home to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think topping toast, or even served warm over ice cream. Yum! Simply mix your butter and honey until combined, then fold in your chopped hazelnuts.

1/4 Cup peeled roasted hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 Cup salted butter, room temperature

1/4 Cup local honey

Cast Iron Bannock

The ideal partner for melting honey butter, these bannock are crunchy on the outside and tender in the centre. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a measuring cup, add your milk and water, then microwave for 30 seconds. Add the warmed milk mixture all at once to your dry ingredients, then mix gently until just combined. Don't mix too much or you'll get tough bannock. On the stove, warm your cast iron pan on medium-low heat, adding the oil. Scoop spoonfuls of batter into the pan, letting them get light golden brown for 3-5 minutes per side. This recipe made 12 pieces. Serve warm.

2 Cups all purpose flour (or pastry flour)

2 T baking powder

1 T granulated sugar

1/2 t salt

1/2 C milk

1/2 Cup water

1/3 Cup vegetable oil (or other oil for frying)

 

Wines samples were provided by Nk'Mip Cellars. Please see my Sample Policy for more information. Cheers!

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE BUBBLY & CANAPES

NYE is the perfect time to pop some bubbly. Whether it’s a Prosecco, BC sparkling, or a splashy Champagne, you’ll be sitting pretty with these easy to prepare canapés.

Below are recipes for some of the most popular bites from recent wine tastings I’ve hosted. The best part – no matter what kind of sparkling you serve, they’ll pair perfectly! These are the recipes I recently made on Global TV and CTV News.

Puff Pastry Roulade

Ingredients:

1 package of puff pastry

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

To garnish:

Small wedge of brie or camembert cheese

Jam (such as cranberry or pear)

Chives

Instructions:

Cut puff pastry in half, and on a floured board, roll into a rectangle approximately 6” wide by 14” long

Brush the top of the pastry with water, then sprinkle with Parmesan, paprika and herbes de Provence

With the long side facing you, roll the pastry into a long thin cylinder

Slice into 1/4” rounds

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 450F for 8-10 minutes, or until golden

Once cooled, top with a dollop of jam, plus a small piece of cheese, and garnish with chives

Caviar Potato Chips

Ingredients:

Kettle-cooked plain potato chips

1 ounce caviar (such as Northern Divine)

1 small jar crème fraîche

Finely shredded lemon zest of half a lemon to garnish

Instructions:

Select round flat potato chips

Top with a small spoonful of crème fraîche

Add caviar using a non-metal spoon

Garnish with shredded lemon zest

Cheese & Grape Parcels

Ingredients:

1 package phyllo pastry

1 small bunch seedless green grapes

4 ounces Goat cheese

6 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, cut into thin slices

Vegetable oil to brush with

Instructions:

Lay two sheets of phyllo together, brush lightly with oil, then cut into 6 pieces (once lengthwise, then into thirds)

Cover unused pastry with a damp cloth

Lay each 2-ply piece into a muffin tin or onto a baking sheet, then top each with one grape, a tablespoon of goat cheese, and slice of tomato

Gather and twist the phyllo to create a parcel

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F for 7-10 minutes, or until golden

HOW TO PAIR WINE & FOOD

Which wine will pair best with a meal? Or, which meal will pair best with a wine? It’s the number one type of question I get. But it’s really not that complicated, I promise.

Think about how you would go about decorating a room. If you’ve watched Sarah’s House, featuring the lovely Sarah Richardson, you’ll know she always chooses her key fabric first, the one that has all the colors she’ll be working with. Then she chooses the paint and accessories to pop from that key fabric. I think you know where I’m going with this…

The ‘fabric’ in our case is the meal. When pairing wine, we always want to start with the food that will be served. That dish will give us all the key flavors and textures to pair with. Then we start thinking about, is the dish light, or rich? Is one flavor dominant, like lemon, or is there a blend of flavors like roast onion, herbs, and pepper? Is it rustic or elegant?

Next, choose your color. What color wine do you think will go best?

Body – do you need a heavier bodied wine or lighter one? This will lead you to cool or hot wine regions.

Flavor intensity is important. The wine should bring out the best in the food and vice versa, never dominate and overpower. This is where the grape you choose will play a big role.

Most important though, is to have the courage of your convictions…

If you’re ordering for the table, or have chosen the wine for a dinner party, don’t let them see your fear! I’m convinced 99% of their reaction will be based on how confident you appear. So remember: be confident, be creative, and as Julia Child said, “Never apologize”!

Here’s a fun Pinterest graphic that my talented friend Susannah of Feast + West created based on my top pairing tips {I recently wrote a series of Wine 101 articles featured on her site, be sure to check them out}!