If you’re raising a glass in honour of Canada’s 153rd year of Confederation on July 1, here are few suggestions for what to fill it with.
Nk’Mip Cellars’ new releases
We couldn’t narrow it down to just one, so here are four from the Osoyoos Indian Band's Nk'Mip Cellars, the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America. All can be enjoyed on their own or with food, and all were selected by winemaker Justin Hall for celebration kits that the winery released for National Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.
“The Nk’Mip Winemaker’s Pinot Blanc 2019 [$17.99] is vibrant and crisp and really speaks to the terroir of the Okanagan,” Hall, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, tells the Straight. “The Nk’Mip Winemaker’s Rosé 2019 [$17.99] is a blend of 45 percent lightly pressed Cabernet Franc and a 55 percent saignée of Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s light-bodied and crisp, with clean acidity.”
Then there are Nk’mip’s Qwam Qwmt wines. In the Okanagan language spoken by the Osoyoos Indian Band, qwam qwmt means “achieving excellence”. The estate wine that’s considered worthy of this distinction is produced in extremely limited quantities.
The Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir 2018 ($29.99) has notes of dark cherry, spice, and lightly toasted oak, while the Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine 2018 ($69.99) has aromas and flavours of peach, lime zest, ripe pineapple, and baked apple pie. Order them online via Great Estates Okanagan.
Enrico Winery’s Célébration - Charme De L’Ile
Situated in the verdant Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, this 50-acre estate winery grows eight varietals, including Ortega, Petite Milo, and Pinot Noir, which all thrive in cooler climes. Estate Pinot Gris takes the spotlight in Enrico’s Célébration—Charme De L’Ile. Meaning “charm of the island”, the name Charme De L’Ile refers to sparkling wines that are made by Vancouver Island and Gulf Island wineries using the Charmat method and that represent local terroir. With citrus and floral aromas, the golden-hued Célébration is refreshing and elegant. It’s $25.50 via the winery.
Closson Chasse the Brock Chardonnay 2017
We love our B.C. wine, but let’s say you want to be truly Canadian and try something from another part of this vast and magnificent land in support our wine-loving neighbours out east. It’s a nice idea, but your options are extremely limited, especially if you want something other than ice wine. (We have interprovincial border issues and red tape to blame.) Closson Chase Vineyards is located in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, and its dry Brock Chardonnay (VQA Niagara) strikes a fine balance between citrus fruits and nuttiness. It’s at BC Liquor Stores for $23.49.
Château Canada Bordeaux Superieur 2016
The name might be confusing, coming from France and all, but it’s not a gimmick; Chateau Canada Bordeaux Superieur is the real deal. Medium- to full-bodied, it’s made in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, 15 kilometres northeast of Bordeaux. Apparently, the winery’s owner had spent some time in our home and native land and liked it so much he named a wine after it. A blend of 70 percent Merlot and 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of dark berries and savoury herbs, it’s meant to be enjoyed with casual company and casual food: think Canada Day backyard barbecue with grilled mushrooms and sausages (or make it even more relaxed and order pizza). Find it at BC Liquor Stores for $20.99.
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial
In a position to splurge? Right this way, to the heart of Champagne, and the home of Moët & Chandon. A blend of Pinot Noir (40 to 50 percent), Pinot Meunier (30 to 40 percent), and Chardonnay (10 to 20 percent), this amber-pink stunner is bright and oh so ooh-la-la. Dating back to 1743, the House named Impérial, its flagship Champagne, after Napoleon Bonaparte. Some say the emperor and his soldiers invented the practice of sabering at the winery’s Epernay estates, about 143 kilometres northeast of Paris, using their swords to open bottles of Moët to celebrate victorious battles. Whether that legend is true is beside the point; the wisdom of 277 years of winemaking tradition can’t be argued with. Say Joyeux Anniversaire, Canada, with this juicy, supple, elegant Champagne, which goes for $149.99 at BC Liquor Stores.