Spring Forward with These Delicious Okanagan Wines!
Spring is here and as the days are finally beginning to grow longer. It’s time to move away from those rich, heavy winter wines to something more seasonally appropriate. Fortunately for us, Okanagan Valley is home to a treasure trove of springtime wines. They’re bright, zesty, and full of lovely fruit flavours that complement the seasonal dishes we’ll be starting to see. So stash your full-bodied wines in your cellar and make way for the lighter styles that will set the tone for the months to come.
Whites Wines for Spring
During the winter months, many of us may have found ourselves enjoying generous oak touched Chardonnays or heady Viogniers to satisfy our wine cravings and pair with hardy winter dishes. Now that it’s spring, we leave behind the full-bodied whites in favour of lighter ones. Okanagan is the perfect spot to find these springtime favourites. Our region is famous for its Rieslings, and Riesling is a great place to start. Flavours range from citrus and apple to ripe peach and nectarine, hinting at the summer fruits to come. Because it’s so high in acid, Riesling makes a great partner for a variety of dishes but is perfectly easy to drink on its own while you’re sunning yourself on the patio.
Our Pinot Gris is another brilliant choice this spring. Okanagan Pinot Gris is made in the French style, so it’s a little bit richer than wines labelled Pinot Grigio. These wines are super fresh and can taste of ripe grapefruit and Meyer lemon, a touch of peach, and even take on a slight smokiness. The best examples are reminiscent of orange marmalade and are nothing like the watery mass-produced Pinot Grigios you’ll encounter out of Italy.
If you’re a die-hard Chardonnay fan who doesn’t want to leave your favourite wine behind with the fading winter season, opt for lighter unoaked versions of the same grape. These Chardonnays are driven by a crisp minerality, tart apple and lemon, and are exactly what you need to match the brighter flavours of spring. Heavily oaked Chardonnays might mask or even clash with many of these seasonal dishes.
Red Wines for Spring
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc were our go-to wines for all those hearty meals we enjoyed in the darkest days of winter. With the lighter fare that’s appearing on our tables, we need to switch things up.
Pinot Noir excels in Okanagan. The combination of a cool climate and long hours of summer sun equal bright acid, balanced with decadent ripe fruit. Pinot Noir is a tricky grape to grow, but it couldn’t be better suited to Okanagan’s terroir and climate. Lighter bodied than the Bordeaux varieties we drank over winter, it’s usually full of red fruit, a touch of earth, and pretty violet flavours. Better still, Pinot Noir is a terrific candidate for making rosé wines and we all know rosé and warm weather are absolutely made for each other.
Gamay is another delicious red to pick up this spring. Known for making vibrant, fruity, and floral red wines, it goes with everything from chicken to pork, beef, and yes, even fish (we recommend grilling or sautéeing.). Once the mercury creeps up, try chilling a bottle of Gamay before you pop open the cork – it’s a fantastic way to cool down on a hot day.
With spring’s return, there are plenty of wines to sip on as the weather warms up. These are picnic wines, perfect let’s-grab-a-drink-after-work wines, which are excellent any day of the week. Drink them with the springtime bounty of fruit and veg coming into season. It’s amazing to think you can find it all in one place, but trust us, when it comes to having a wide selection of fantastic wines for spring, Okanagan delivers.