6 picks from the top of the local rosé crop

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      This last week, I wore shorts in Vancouver for the first time this year. To me, that’s a good enough reason to break out the rosé. All right, I actually don’t need any excuse, as I enjoy pink wines all year for their cheery disposition and friendliness with pretty much any cuisine you throw at them.

      There have been plenty of fresh British Columbian rosés hitting store shelves and restaurant wine lists during the past few weeks; here are my choices for the cream of the crop.


      Bella Sparkling Rosé 2016

      ($27, Bella Wines online)

      Jay Drysdale has been absolutely killing it lately with the sparkling-wine program he’s built from his Naramata Bench winery. He sources fruit from small vineyard parcels dotted up and down the Okanagan, making stellar traditional-method bubble in ridiculously small batches.

      Only 280 cases of this pink gem made from West Kelowna Gamay grapes have been made, and I highly doubt there’ll be any left by Labour Day, so it’s best to get on it.

      Aromatics of raspberries and smashed cherries give way to a rich mouthful of those cherries again, grapefruit pith, rosemary, and a floral, hoppy character reminiscent of when a floral and citrusy IPA hits the spot on a hot, sunny day.


      Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Rosé 2016

      ($19.99, Tinhorn online)

      I’ve been increasingly impressed with Cabernet Francs coming out of the Okanagan Valley during the past few years, and that also includes pink versions of the variety. Here, Tinhorn Creek winemaker Andrew Windsor leaves the pressed grapes macerating with their skins for 24 hours, leaving the wine with a light salmon hue.

      On the nose, there are elements of grilled peach and thyme, then loads of broiled pink grapefruit on the palate, with more fresh thyme stirred in well. The herbal component makes things nice and savoury; a simple grilled steak with just a pinch of sea salt would be served well as a worthy match.



      Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé 2015

      ($19, Sperling online)

      Oh, this is just so darn pretty. Ann Sperling’s rosé is a testament to the joy and elegance of Pinot Noir, carrying red plum, roasted apricots, key lime, and black currants, all woven together perfectly. Further sips bring wisps of sorrel and a pinch or two of nutmeg, adding extra dimension and nuance.

      There are many pink wines out there that are totally crushable and don’t require any note or attention. This ain’t one of ’em. Look at this wine closely; it’s worthy of a little extra consideration.


      Stag’s Hollow Syrah Grenache Rosé 2016

      ($21.99, Stag's online)

      Winemaker Dwight Sick has harnessed a couple of Rhône Valley varieties, building a sturdy pink wine to complement grilled meats, charcuterie, and other carnivore fare.

      Stewed strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, and pepper drench the palate with deliciousness, leaving the tiniest hint of residual sugar—in case your dinner carries a touch of spice. I’m a fan of the richness here; it’s a rosé so loaded with flavour that you may even want to decant before serving.


      Monte Creek Ranch Rosé 2016

      ($16.99, Monte Creek online)

      This is the third vintage I’ve tried of Monte Creek Ranch’s rosé, and it’s been awfully consistent from year to year. The grape it’s made from is Marquette, a hybrid variety created about a decade ago in Minnesota, where it could ideally ripen, considering the state’s cool-climate grape-growing conditions.

      It seems well suited to Monte Creek’s Kamloops home, too, giving us a juicy, lush wine that offers a fair share of sweetness on the finish. This is pretty much cherries jubilee in a glass, but instead of that lashing of brandy, we’re subbing bourbon instead. Big, bold, and concentrated—think of this one as decadent later-evening fare for those chillier summer days.


      Sperling Vineyards Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2015

      ($30, Sperling online)

      I’ve kinda snuck this one in here, as it’s not technically a pink wine. We’re back in Kelowna at Sperling Vineyards, where they have taken Pinot Noir, a red grape, and pressed off the juice without any further skin contact or maceration. After fermenting in stainless steel, the wine is then aged in oak for 12 months.

      With a unique winemaking style comes a unique flavour profile. Swirling the wine in the glass, it is baked pear that emanates initially, then hints of stewed yellow tomatoes with a drop of soy sauce. Oddly enough, it works. We come back to fruitier qualities once we take our first few sips.

      Those pear notes are in tow, except they’re fresh this time, and followed by Honeycrisp apple and a smidge of gooseberry, too. All that is cradled by a duo of marzipan and nougat, resulting in quite the delectable treat.

      Prices listed are winery-direct. Find these wines at private liquor stores around town for just a few more bucks.