Add depth and novelty to the summer season by branching out from your standard wine selection.
Many people living in the Comox Valley develop a sense of adventure. We are blessed by forests, beaches, mountains, the ocean, and city life. Adventurous visitors frequently return to revel in the endless variety of things to sample. Strangely, that sense of adventure doesn’t always extend to our wine selection. Industry professionals know this to be true; consumers rely on the most recognizable brands and varietals—continually reaching for the same bottle of California cab or pinot grigio for no other reason than its familiarity—and fail to take a chance on lesser-known gems.
The same sense of wonder you get from new experiences can be tapped into with food and drink. Why not celebrate an accomplishment or adventure with a bold new wine? Paired below are some of the most awe-inspiring local experiences, and their counterpart wine selection—though each is equally enjoyable in the shade of your own backyard.
A walk through an unknown forest: an aromatic Pfaff Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France
The Alsace of France is a highly regarded region in the wine industry. Aromatic, lively, and refreshing, Alsatian wines are a go-to in my home due to their ability to complement and enhance an enormous array of cuisine, from highly spiced Asian and Latin dishes to west coast favourites like oysters and smoked salmon. Gewurztraminer is one of my favourite bottles for summer sipping.
Kayaking the shores in big swells: refreshing Casal Garcia Vihno Verde, Portugal
Curiously, the name of the Vihno Verde region in Portugal translates to “green wine”. Made of a blend of indigenous grapes, this yummy bottle will give you that refreshingly crisp patio white you need for a Comox Valley summer. While not a sparkling wine, a hint of effervescence brings this delicious white to life. Portuguese wine is synonymous with seafood, which makes this selection a perfect fit for the Valley. You’ll be thrilled with the price.
A looming rock face you’ve never climbed: George Dubeouf Beaujolais, France
A red wine in the summer? A hot day on a patio calls for something cool and refreshing. This lively little Beaujolais is fruity, light, and fun. This delicious creation made from Gamay Noir grapes is best chilled for 15-20 minutes before serving to bring out the fruit and provide the chill you seek in the hot sun. This is the perfect wine for a picnic.
When the Orca breeches 100 yards off your bow: 40 Knots L’Orange wine, BC, Canada
Our Valley’s own 40 Knots makes some phenomenal summer wines, but this one steals my heart. No, it doesn’t taste like oranges. This is a blend of Schönburger and Pinot Gris, fermented and aged on the skins, imparting a beautiful orange hue. It will pair brilliantly with your summer cheese and charcuterie, and will definitely give your guests something to talk about. No additives. Au Naturel.
Wine is so much more than a drink. It’s an expression of country, region, family, climate, and culture. Riding horseback through a vineyard in Chile, the aroma of salt air mingles with the scent of ripe grapes, colouring the taste of an award-winning Cabernet. Barefoot in the warm sand of the Amalfi coast, nibbling local fare, enriches the sparkly taste of sumptuous bubbles. All one needs to do to explore the Valley is step outside. All one needs to explore the world is to taste its wines and imagine it.