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Think pink: a toast to the best sparkling rosé B.C. has to offer
A few months ago, we looked at some of the best B.C. sparkling wines. Now, it’s time for rosé bubbles to get their time to shine—and there are so many terrific ones to try from right here in B.C!
To get you started, here are 10 that I tasted with a group of hardened drinkers wine professionals who offer up their tasting notes for your delight and edification.
Keep reading to find out our favourites…
They say: This beautiful ‘classic method’ sparkling rosé was crafted with 100% Pinot Noir; bottle fermented; spent 22 months sur lies, riddled and disgorged mid-July 2014. Perfect for any occasion. This classic method sparkling is born of our heritage family vineyard on the mountain air cooled South Kelowna Benches, where we have tended vines since the 1930s.
We say: Yup, it’s a little pricey but this was easily the fan favourite from everything we tasted. A gorgeous golden apricot pink with a wonderful ‘champagne’ yeasty nose, the tasting notes range from ‘more raspberry than strawberry’ to ‘strawberries and cream’ and ‘sour cherry, cranberry, food-friendly for seared tuna on the patio’. Everyone got a little over-excited by this delicious sparkler from Kelowna with notes such as ‘perfect for a sweet picnic date in the park’ to ‘fresh, and bright, it reminds me of springtime and gossip.’ In short: we love it, and we want to drink more, please, so if anyone wants to make me happy, bring me a bottle of this!
They say: Thornhaven’s new effervescent production is a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Infused with CO2, this frizzante-style wine exhibits vibrant notes of ripe crabapple and melon. Deliciously pink, it will perform well on any occasion that calls for champagne. Frizzante wines are known as ‘Perlant’ in French and as ‘Perlwein’ in German. Prosecco is probably the most well-known frizzante wine style, though Prosecco wines can also be fully sparkling (spumante). Asti Spumante is the most well-known Italian Spumante style of wine.
We say: A gloriously garnet-red rosé, this has wonderful strawberry, raspberry and blackberry aromas. We felt this was a little too sweet until we paired it with a butter tart and then it all made sense. Here is your dream dessert rosé which opens up beautifully when enjoyed with sugary cakes and tarts.
They say: The 2012 Brut Rosé R.D. has a fine mousse, with fresh strawberry notes on the nose and across the palate, with a crisp fruit finish. The wine is made in the Method Traditionnelle style. Finished dry, this wine is aged sur lie for 36 months prior to being disgorged. They then receive an additional six to nine months of aging preceding release.
We say: A pretty apricot pink, we felt this would be ideal to pair with cheese and prosciutto. Our notes have a good biscuit-y nose with fruity-strawberry, cooked apricot and and earthy yeast. Many of us thought that there was an acidic note which clouded out some of the more delicate notes, but there was a crisp dry pleasant finish.
They say: 100% Pinot Noir cuvee grown at multiple vineyard locations around the Okanagan Valley that were planted and are maintained specifically for sparkling wine production to express a crisp, bright style. Notes of raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, blood orange, vanilla, almond, and white toast. The first 75% of juice was pressed after a 48 hour cold-soak on the skins. Made in the traditional method.
We say: What is not to love about everything that comes from this winery? Definitely a wine-geek fan favourite, this coho salmon-pink bubble was dry as a bone. Our notes say ‘fresh tart citrus, grapefruit and kiwi on the nose, with plenty of fruit and a good balance.
They say: Bright and fresh, this charmat-method sparkling wine is best enjoyed with friends and sunshine. Note: The charmat-method is essentially how prosecco is made. Instead of a second fermentation in the bottle, this wine has its second fermentation in a closed pressure tank.
We say: Could not agree more—also this ballet slipper pink beauty gave the most satisfying *pop* when we took the crown cap off! The notes say stone fruit, apricots, deliciously dry and an acid bright finish. Perhaps the best comment is this: ‘F-yes! Female-pleasing beautiful round vanilla lees on the finish, with soft, sweet innocent flavours. Perfect for an afternoon PDA session.’ I’m gonna give that one a try and I will get back to you. But I’m thinking it’ll work…
They say: 90% Pinot Noir 10% Pinot Gris. Wild strawberries, Rainer Cherries abound in this creamy frizzante wine. Crisp, fresh field berries mingle with a hint of pink grapefruit to make this a refreshing summer sparkler. The Pinot Gris portion magically transfers the finish to cream-soda. Yummy! Very easy to pair with summer cuisine, as an aperitif or drink on its own with a bunch of great friends. This is the wine for lunch, brunch, dinner
and a late breakfast too. Drink now—this wine will not improve with age.PS: The idea of making a frizzante wine was to have a fresh, crisp rosé wine with soft bubbles. While avoiding the traditional champagne process/second fermentation (less yeast contact), the wine is younger and boosts with powerful and more fruit flavours. Think more of it as an Okanagan Prosecco version.
We say: Splendidly salmon pink, we all got a fruity blast of Jolly Rancher cherry from this cheap and cheerful but still beautifully balanced sparkler made with fruit from Summerland and Naramata. This is a great price point and a juicy, fruity and light bubble to enjoy year-round. We loved the description of ‘Okanagan Prosecco’—100% recommended!
They say: Granny Smith apple cuvée with cassis dosage—Kir Royale reborn Elephant Island-style. Lovely bright pink hues carry millions of tiny bubbles that dance across the tongue. Finished brut, currant and green apple notes levitate across the palate leaving a playful and lingering cassis kiss on the finish. If you don’t see the Pink Elephant, pour another!
We say: We were rather perplexed by what to make of this sweet-smelling pink fizz. Almost steak-red with a fantastic blast of fruit juice, when I opened it the cap went flying. Strawberry jam on the nose, it was a little too sweet until we tried it with cheese at which point everything made sense. Here is your cheese course rosé wine to have with sharp blues and creamy Bries.
They say: Pamela Anderson has recently collaborated with winemaker Jason Parkes and the Hatch winery, to create their first release, Contempt Brut Rosé. Inspired by French cinemas, the dangerous fall, the unlucky turn—drama, glamour, art, love, fashion… contempt—I wanted these wines to convey a feeling, a message, a warning, something romantic, real, with a pink edge.
We say: A collaboration with Pamela Anderson? That seems hella Canadian. We all rather liked this: plenty of strawberry and classic ‘champagne’ biscuit-y nose with a pleasingly boozy finish. Fruity nose and dry finish.
They say: The Bub is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes which were harvested mid-August 2015. Crafted in our state-of-the-art Charmat tanks, each year we create pink Bub by adding a tiny drop of red wine to the dosage. Notes of strawberry tart, tangy lemon, and bright fresh pure red apple. Fine bubbles, light, long body. Perfect for celebrations.
We say: Honestly, everything that I taste which comes out of the Okanagan Crush Pad these days is rapidly becoming my new favourite thing. And there’s no change there with this delicious pink sparkling Bub. Dangerously drinkable with a bright whoosh of strawberries on the nose, this is something to bring out for summer patio sipping, but it also slips down shockingly easily on a snowy winter night, bringing a bright happy taste of summer with it.
We say: I organized a special sommelier tasting of Bella’s wines because winemaker Jay Drydale is something of a legend and when I opened a clinking box of six different sparkling Gamays, I knew they were too good not to share.
Jay’s wines close the loop on wine as agriculture: all the sparkling Gamay wines are made from a single vineyard, bringing the whole experience back to the land. As one of the tasting group said, this is an agricultural product, it’s perhaps not always going to be consistent, but this level of experimentation is so exciting to see (and taste!).
One of only three producers in Canada to specialize in sparkling wines, high-level wine nerds should seriously consider getting the whole set just to truly understand the delicious complexity of terroir in this small corner of the Okanagan on the Naramata bench. From the almost apple-cider like creamy yeasty notes of the Orchard House and the glorious bright colour and whoosh of rhubarb and cherries of the Westbank Reserve, to the ‘beautifully balanced and ‘weird without being off-putting’ Hillside and the crowd-pleasing cherry-bright Cavada (easily the favourite of the group), we felt that the winemakers of the Okanagan owe Jay a debt of thanks for his willingness to experiment with so many different methods of making bubble. Our recommendation: think of Bella wines like Pokémon. You gotta drink ’em all.
Here’s what Jay sent…
Orchard House Gamay 2015: This is a dry-farmed vineyard that is transitioning into organic farming. I pressed the fruit last year and let it sit with the lees for a year in tank. This wine has never had sulphur added. $30 at winery. 40 cases made.
Westbank Reserve 2013: This is the only one with a cork closure (all of the rest of Bella’s wines have a crown cap). $40 at winery. Organic fruit that spent three years on lees in bottle. 30 cases made.
Westbank 2016: Almost four months on lees and still finishing up ferment. Will be released in April/May $27 at winery. Same vineyard as above, organic fruit but picked a little riper this year so you will see fuller fruit flavours instead of the zippy rhubarb and cranberry.
Westbank 2016 Ancestrale: Same vineyard but this was made with nothing added. Wild ferment in neutral barrels and then bottled straight from barrel to finish its first ferment in the bottle. True natural wine. Will be released April/May $40 at winery.
2016 Hillside Founders Block Gamay: Oldest Gamay vines in B.C. I was fortunate to get these grapes from Hillside winery. Whole cluster press (lighter colour), wild primary ferment, champagne yeast on the secondary ferment, no sulphur. will be released in April/May $26 at winery.
2016 Cavada Vineyard Gamay: Almost dry farmed, only four hours of watering last year. Whole cluster pressed, wild primary ferment, no sulphur, champagne yeast on secondary ferment. Will be released in April/May $26 at winery.