If you haven’t already heard, LOCAL is in.
With the formation of the Island Chef Collaborative, sustainable, grown-just-down-the-road product has become the norm in Capital Region restaurants. But the philosophy doesn’t just apply to food – the locavore movement has generated a trickle down effect into local wine too (see what I did there?)
A growing number of establishments are featuring local Vancouver Island vintages on their wine lists, which is excellent news because Vancouver Island vino is DEE-lish. We asked some local sommeliers to point us in the direction of the local vineyards that are producing the most vibrant varietals. Here’s the hit list…
This beautiful 10-acre vineyard has been producing 100% estate grown wine on the slopes above Quamichan Lake in the Cowichan Valley since 1992. Their white wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, while their reds are age in American and French oak barrels, producing wines with rich varietal character and exceptional body. Give the 2006 Heritage Hearth and 2011 Clarinet or for something a little different the 2013 Merlot Rosé. Yum.
This 40-acre Cowichan Valley estate winery focuses on producing and showcasing Vancouver Island’s appellation. Averill Creek’s fantastic mainstays like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir are not to be missed. But if you’d rather go for something different and exceptional, try 2014 Foch Eh, a 100% Marechal Foch. The tasting notes are strawberry, grape jelly, licorice and a hint of…bubble gum? But don’t let that throw you! This light bodied red has a dry finish to balance the *ahem* bubble gum. If that doesn’t get your taste buds going, check out the elegant, effervescent 2015 Charm de L’ile. The Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir blend is summer in a bottle and like a great date, goes with everything.
Nestled at the very southern tip of the Saanich Peninsula, de Vine Vineyards & Spirits is as picturesque as it gets. Specializing in organically grown and processed wine, these farmers are dedicated to producing the highest quality local, sustainable wine. Try the signature Grüner Veltliner, the first grapes of this varietal to be grown on Vancouver Island. Squeeze out the last drops of summer with a chilled bottle of the 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé. This bright number balances spicy dishes perfectly with it’s strawberry and white pepper tasting notes. For something truly transcendent, try the heady Epiphany Black and Blue dessert wine made from local blackberries and blueberries.
Boasting natural, sustainable viticulture for over 2 decades, this purists-run vineyard creates excellent vintages sans pesticides or herbicides in the pursuit of wines that reflect their location and personalities. Dive nose-first into the gorgeous bouquet of the 2012 Millefiori. This light-bodied white is a perfect pairing with almost anything, but it really sparkles when paired with cheese and seafood. Or be a part of the VIP list with the 2008 Pinot Noir Reserve. Aged for two years in French oak and only two barrels of this incredible wine produced after a notoriously difficult season, the result is truly extraordinary.