Henry Yuen (Original Chinese text: http://taiyangbao.ca/author/henryyuen/?variant-zh-hans/
Ever wonder which wine to bring to a dinner party since you have no idea what food the host may be serving?
Being in Vancouver where ethnic-influenced dishes may pop up on the table, having a flavourful wine with good versatility is never a bad choice for the dinner table. Of course you could bring a few different ones to cover all bases but I suppose it would be more appealing and satisfying to bring one or two bottles that are all-around to complement whatever are being served. Hey, for wine lovers, it does feel awesome to find good food-pairing wines!
A medium to full bodied wine would certainly suit most occasions. If the wine happens not to be commonly available at the liquor stores, it will likely induce a surprising element and becomes a conversation piece at the dinner table – a place where good conversations, good food and great wines are called for!
With that in mind, I started looking for wines that fit the occasion. Being a fan of BC wines, it’s natural for me to begin the search here. The Averill Creek 2009 wines from the Cowichan Valley in Vancouver Island were the ones I recently sampled. The wines are 100% estate grown thus make them true products of the Vancouver Island. The fact that 2009 was a great year for vineyards increased the excitement preceding the tasting. And I’m glad to say that their wines took me by surprise.
The Averill Creek Prevost 2009 (Marachal Foch/Foch-Cab/merlot) was the first bottle I opened the other evening when my wife and I were grilling a couple steaks for dinner. Prevost is the name of the Vineyard’s home, aptly used for this medium to full-bodied wine inlaid with silky-smoothness. Interestingly, Marechal Foch is not a common varietal found in BC but the blending result is brilliant. Fruit-forward of berries, a slight touch of clove and mint in mid-palate with beautiful tannin and a naughty hint of peppery spice, the bottle was done not even half-way, we therefore had to open another bottle.
Their Foch Cab Reserve 2010 is a Marechal Foch/Foch/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, a very approachable red wine was the 2nd bottle to join in for dinner. We both agreed that it went well with our steaks, but were convinced it would also complement various dishes including pasta, poultry dishes and barbequed provisions such as salmon.
Equally impressive was their Pinot Noir 2009 we tried days later when friends were over for an Asian dinner. Everyone was impressed with how lovely it went with a pot of braised ribs as the main, and BBQ Pork Chow Mein as the carb dish. The Pinot Noir has been crafted to truly express the terroir of the Island’s small but unique wine region. These wines certainly piqued our interest around the dinner table and provided lively conversations regarding the potential of Vancouver Island being another BC wine region that is so worthy to explore. It’s nice to note that their 2009 Pinot Noir Reserve won a gold medal at the Wine Access Wine Award and the 2009 Pinot Gris got a bronze medal.
CowichanValley may still be a relatively young wine region in BC but is making great strides due to its temperate weather and long dry summer months. It took Averill Creek almost 10 years to produce the desirable results in the 30 acres planted around the south slope of MountPrevost in the rain shadow of the Malahat region. Good viticulture practice compensates for the supposedly wet condition surrounding the island and proper winery management allow the grapes characteristics to manifest themselves. I look forward to seeing their wines reaching far and wide in the near future.