Save these bottles for company
This isn’t something you see every day. In fact, in all the years I’ve been writing and broadcasting about wine and food, I’ve never seen one. Trust the folks at Stoneboat in the South Okanagan to come up with a Pinotage icewine; they already make two “regular” Pinotages.
Icewine, as you probably know, is the sweet, rare treat “invented” centuries ago in Germany. It’s something that we—Canada—do the most of in the world. Originally, it was made from Riesling, but here we’re not bound by tradition. Hence, Pinotage icewine.
Pinotage is a grape variety almost unique to South Africa. It’s a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that first made waves in the land of its birth; they still produce most of it.
Pinotage alone is an acquired taste: it can be overly astringent and heavily smoky. But Stoneboat Pinotage Icewine 2012 is absolutely delicious, especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth. And at $75 for the tall, skinny 375-millilitre bottle, it ought to be. I think it may be the most expensive icewine in our market at the moment. (The Rolling Stones version that Ex Nihilo released a few years ago must be gone by now.)
Shockingly pink and intensely sweet, as befits a good icewine (except for the pink part; traditionally, they’re white-golden), it’s for the wine lover who has everything. You won’t find it in many—if any—stores; you’ll have to go to the winery in Oliver for it.
I’ll bet nobody on your block or in your tasters' circle has one. Use an eyedropper to dispense it. It’ll keep for decades if you pound the cork back in after tasting.
A true collector’s item from one of the most innovative B.C. wineries.
New Okanagan bubble
In Champagne, 90 miles northeast of Paris, they might call this one Blanc de Blancs: Jackson-Triggs Gold Series Entourage 2009 Sparkling Chardonnay ($29.95 at the tasting gallery at the winery in the Okanagan). Chardonnay, as you most likely know, is one of the three grape varieties that make up true Champagne, along with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The local branch of Jackson-Triggs decided to make theirs entirely from Chardonnay, and since they can’t legally use the word Champagne, they called it what it is—sparkling Chardonnay.
It certainly tastes like the real McCoy, maybe a little sweeter up front but still dry enough to please most Champagne tastes, with beautiful, ripe, and spicy fruit. It’s handcrafted in the méthode classique (we can’t use méthode champenoise, either!), meaning the wine is bottle-fermented, oaked for three months, and left on the lees for two years before being released.
Best sipped on its own, it also adds a luxurious touch to oysters, certain types of sushi, some Asian dishes, even pâté.
Upcoming Whistler Wine Event
Mark this one on your calendar and plan to attend the 14th annual Wine’d Up Gourmet Dinner and Auction in support of the Whistler Search and Rescue Society, taking place October 19 at Dusty’s Whistler Creekside starting at 6 p.m.
Four of Whistler’s best chefs will be on hand to create tempting dishes for a fabulous five-course dinner matched with great California wines from Jackson Family labels, including La Crema and Kendall-Jackson.
I emceed one of these fundraisers some years ago, and I can tell you it was a riot, with terrific food and outstanding wines.
Tickets are on sale for $170 plus GST and cover all food and drink. To reserve yours, call Whistler Blackcomb at 1-800-766-0449, extension 2.
Bring extra cash for the auction; it is a fundraiser, after all.