Most people know I’m from Vancouver. And when I moved to the United States 26 years ago – I have to be frank – BC wine was not awesome. Sure, some brands, varieties and vintages had their moments. But would I go out of my way to buy a bottle? No. Fast-forward to today, and that’s exactly what I’m doing: crossing the border to buy some awesome BC wine. Read on for details.
About five years ago, Wines of British Columbia introduced us to some of the latest and greatest BC wines on the market. Subsequently, we discovered some fantastic reds from BC, in addition to refreshing whites that the province is known for.
As a result, we started a new journey to learn more about BC wine. Consequently, we purchased the following: Black Hills Nota Bene 2017 (pictured), Blue Grouse Quill Q Red 2018 and Quill Q White 2019, Quail’s Gate Old Vines Foch 2019, Sea Star Vineyards Stella Maris 2020, and Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2018.
We will continue to seek out these and other wonderful BC wines when we cross the border in the weeks ahead. Have I mentioned how happy I am that the border is open again? Here are our thoughts on the four bottles we have opened so far.
Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2018
Esteemed Canadian winemaker Howard Soon blended 45% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot into this elegant Meritage from B.C.’s Similkameen Valley. Aromas of plums, raspberries, licorice, spices, smoked bacon and herbs echo on the palate. Although it has high alcohol (15.6%), it’s well integrated and balanced with good acidity. This wine is approachable now but you could also cellar it for five more years. Pair it with prime rib or any grilled meats.
Blue Grouse Quill Q Red 2018 British Columbia
Quill Q Red 2018 is a rich and rare blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Marechal Foch, a hybrid French grape variety. Think caramel, black cherries, blackberries, dark chocolate and licorice. And bring on the BBQ! This bold, structured wine complements steak, ribs or burgers. Blue Grouse is a family-owned winery in Duncan, and one of Vancouver Island’s oldest estate vineyards.
Blue Grouse Quill Q White 2019 Vancouver Island
Quill Q White 2019 combines Pinot Gris, Schönburger, Gewürztraminer and Siegerrebe. This crisp wine sings of summer, and we will be drinking it lakeside on sunny afternoons and warm evenings. Winemaker Bailey Williamson describes it as unpretentious, noting it is balanced with bracing acidity. We love the flavors of lemon zest, orange peel, peaches and melons. This delicious white blend stands alone as a crowd-pleasing deck drink, or pair it with fresh seafood.
Sea Star Stella Maris 2020
Stella Maris means “Star of the Sea,” so of course this is the flagship wine from Sea Star Vineyards on Pender Island. The 2020 signature blend comprises of organically grown Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir with a splash of Pinot Gris, Ortega and Schoenberger. Consequently, this is one refreshing summer sipper. Aromas of honey, apricot and pear lead into flavors of limes, melons and green apples. Serve it with grilled chicken, like we did. Pour it with seafood, sushi and salads. Or enjoy it on its own, while relaxing in the sunshine with friends.
Summary: BC Wine
In conclusion, the BC wine industry entices with more offerings than ever of standout reds and whites. And now that the border is open again, I look forward to finding more wine treasures in the months ahead from my home province, beautiful British Columbia.
Meanwhile, find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And of course, here, at Write for Wine – It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere.
Margot and Dave