By Gail Johnson
It’s easy to find a reason to sip any kind of wine at any time of year, but fall and winter call for varieties that invite you in, to gather with kin and get cozy.
Metro Vancouver wineries have several selections that would do quite nicely when the weather outside is frightful. Here are a few to consider the next time you’re pouring a glass in the great indoors.
150 – 19288 22nd Avenue, Surrey
Cavallo’s wines are produced from select vineyards in California, including some Napa Valley standouts. When the weather starts to cool down but isn’t quite yet bracingly cold, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are ideal, says tasting room manager Luke Barker.
Cavallo Chardonnay: Made from premium Chardonnay grapes sourced from Napa’s Beckstoffer Carneros Lake Vineyard, the wine is full-bodied, rich, and complex with hints of pineapple, citrus, and mango alongside vanilla, baking spices, and almond.
Cavallo Pinot Noir: The grapes come from Beckstoffer’s Las Amigas Vineyard, which Barker says is renowned for some of the deepest and most pronounced style of Pinot noir in North America. Unlike most light Pinot Noirs, this one is dark and powerful, with fruit-forward complexity. Ripe cherry and raspberry flavours intertwine with earth and baking spices.
21113 16th Avenue, Langley BC
Situated on a five-acre hobby farm, Festina Lenta (which means “make haste slowly”) is B.C.’s largest meadery and produces more than 30 wines year-round. (Mead, simply put, is honey wine.) “We pride ourselves on offering seasonal wines that pair with food you can find locally at your farmer’s market,” says Teresa Townsley. “We take care of our wines from bee-to-bottle and our wines are always environmentally friendly.”
Saturnalia (Cranberry Melomel): Named after the ancient Roman festival that became Christmas, this wine is made with Festina Lente’s wildflower honey and Fort Langley cranberries. Dry, crisp, light, and refreshing, it has natural cranberry tartness that pairs well with poultry, popcorn, and potato chips.
Rustica (Pumpkin Melomel): This wine takes its name from the ancient Roman harvest festival that occurred in late autumn. Made with the farm’s own wildflower honey and heirloom pumpkins, it’s dry, complex and tannic with subtle chai spices. Pair it with cured ham, creamy Potatoes, risotto, roast meats, and root vegetables.
21152 16 Avenue, Langley
The winery got its start in 2000 in the 7th Township of Langley. With a cellar-style tasting room, it’s place that welcomes newbies and oenophiles alike.
2016 Seven Stars Polaris: The award-winning Seven Stars series of sparkling wines are crafted in the traditional méthode Champenoise, meaning the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Made of Chardonnay grapes, this vintage bursts with Granny Smith apple, peach, and lime aromas. An opulent, full-bodied sparkler, Polaris is perfect for celebrations, paired with oysters or blue cheese, or just for sipping.
2017 Pinot Noir: With aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, and mushroom this wine has a delicate earthiness that makes it a great partner for rosemary-scented roast pork. Made of grapes from Remuda and Stoneridge vineyards in OK Falls, the wine is also enjoyable on its own.
3033 232 Street, Langley
Using 100 percent B.C. grapes grown right on-site complemented with fruit from the Fraser Valley and South Okanagan, Backyard Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines since 2009.
2018 Reserve Viognier: “This is a vibrant wine bursting with aromas of fresh cut citrus, honeysuckle, and a hint of orange blossom,” says Norma Walters, manager of retail operations and winery marketing. “These notes are echoed on the palate and accompanied by flavours of peach, apricot and tangerine.” Pair it with curry, ginger, saffron, and coconut flavours; root vegetables; and creamy chicken or pork dishes.
2017 Syrah: The versatile, medium-bodied wine has aromas and flavours of raspberry, vanilla, dark cherry, plum, black licorice, blackberry, lavender, coconut and pepper. “The well-rounded fruitiness of our Syrah is best with all types of roasted, grilled, or smoked meat dishes,” Walters says. “Enjoy a bottle with a night in with the family, a dinner party, or with a melt in your mouth beef stew.”
23449 0 Avenue, Langley City
The family-run boutique winery is situated along the Campbell Valley Wine Route. Its name pays homage to the founding de Jong family’s 60-year history in the greenhouse industry, first in the Netherlands, then Canada. Formerly an overgrown Christmas tree farm, Glass House Estate Winery takes a minimalistic approach to winemaking, with the Joseph Richard Group having acquired management and operations of the winery and tasting room.
Cameo Rose 2017: The drier of the winery’s two roses, this is a perfect year-round sipper. Its tart, red fruit profile works beautifully with turkey and cranberry sauce as well as roasted pork or chicken.
Pinot Noir 2015: Full of rich red berry fruit and toasty oak, the Pinot Noir is especially well-suited to hearty winter meals.