Wine, wine, wine
As Sarah mentioned we recently went on a tour of the Okanagan for a little wine tasting and purchasing. We stopped at the Calona Vineyards winery shop which also has the sister vineyard Sandhill. This is located in a dreary industrialish area of Kelowna, but if you are in the area it is worth a visit. I think the best cheap score of the trip was the Calona Artist Series Syrah. It is just under $14 and is very yummy for the price. Also, the Artist Series Sovereign Opal is worth buying because it is a fairly uncommon grape. It's a white muscat, a bit sweet but fun to try. The Sandhill line has many a swell offering. They are all in the $20-$30 range, but worth it. I can't remember all that we tried, but I can recommend the Syrah for sure as I came home with a couple of bottles of it, and Anna and I purchased their One, Two and Three blends. If I recall, One is a Bordeaux blend of Cab Sauv with a bit of Malbec and Petit Verdot, Two is a Cab Sauv, Merlot, and some German Red that I can't remember blend, and Three is something of an Italian and French mixture of reds (Barbera, Sangiovese and Cab Sauv I think). Anna opened the Two a week or so ago and gushed about it. I opened a varietal Malbec and found that it was nice, had a good initial taste and an amazing finish, but seemed to be lacking a middle. Enjoyable enough, but not a repeat buy. I also have varietal Barbera, Sangiovese and Viognier from Sandhill that I am excited to try. Unfortunately they were sold out of the Petit Verdot, which is what had attracted me there in the first place. Next year perhaps. So needless to say, I am interested and thusfar impressed by Sandhill.
Also on my list of yummy wines:
Hillside Mosaic - Sarah brought me bottle last year and I had to phone her five times to tell her how good it was. I believe the Hillside Pinot Blanc(Gris?) was also very nice.
Burrowing Owl Pinot...Blanc or Gris I can't remember which, but they only make one and it tasted distinctly of pears. All the Burrowing Owl stuff was pretty good.
Domaine de Chaberton Syrah(the winery is located in Langley, but I think most of the grapes are from the Okanagan)- I just shipped a half case of that up here and the shipping was super expensive, I will only spring for full cases in the future, but the wine is worth it.
Summerhill Platinum Collection Cabernet Franc - this is exactly what I look for in a red wine. It is really delicious even though I didn't enjoy our visit to their overly touristy winery.
Fairview Cellars - all his stuff seems to be good, the Cab Franc, Merlot/Cab, and Bear's Meritage are all very nice, but I think the Meritage needs to sit down for a year or two as it is a bit feisty.
All the above wines are in the $25-$30 range, and well worth it.
I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed the fruit wines from Elephant Island. In particular the pear wine made a nice cocktail when mixed with sliced strawberries for Mother's Day brunch, and I think the Cassis dessert wine will be good on or in many things. It wasn't at all like those Okanagan fruit ciders that I downed as a teenager.
No more really jump to mind, although I'm sure I've left out many good ones. Anna was all about Gewurztraminer, and she found a few she liked a lot, I recall her being very impressed with a dry Gewurztraminer from Lang Vineyards.
So you lucky people with VQA shops in your neighbourhood, go forth, drink and be very merry, and I will sulk about the Whitehorse liquor store and snipe about the price of Long Flat Red.