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Mother's Day sentiments during quarantine and wine recommendations

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Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you 

Hello wine lovers. I must be transparent and admit this was a hard piece for me to write. Mother’s Day comes with mixed emotions for many. I read a post on Facebook recently, shared by a winemaker I respect, imploring friends to be kind as this day approaches. He requested that we exercise empathy for those who may no longer be fortunate to have their Mother around anymore. This thought had never occurred to me, and immediately made me sad. But it also reminded me to reflect on all the wonderful reasons why we love and miss our moms.

There are so many holidays we celebrate in society centered on family – Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. I finally grasped that for the first time this past Christmas, when I made the decision to stay home in Toronto. It wasn’t until I was video chatting with my family in the Okanagan, that my Mom pointed out it was the first time in 36 years that we weren’t together for the holidays. (that was a hard day)

With this in mind, I thought it would be nice for the wineries you love, to share their personal memories with Mother’s Day approaching along with a wine gift recommendation for mom. We tend to put winemakers on pedestals, seeing them as somehow other wordly. When we scratch beneath the surface, however, we begin to see their “human-ness”, which often results in enjoyment of their wines even more. It all ties into the story.

As for me, due to COVID, I won’t have the luxury of spending the day with my Mom. However, it brings to mind the time we did get to spend together last year. My Mom is a huge fan of blush – I cringe every time she says it, but now that we’re not together this year, it brings a smile to my face. We went for a long walk along Okanagan Lake, took some photos together that we sent to my niece and nephew and came home and enjoyed a bottle of rose together. It’s funny how we take these inconsequential memories for granted, until a global pandemic wakes us up. It’s always the small events that come to mind, that at the time, seem unremarkable. I can feel the fresh breeze, the sun on my skin and the laughter of my Mom reverberating in my ears like it was yesterday.

 

 

VJ Gandhi, owner and operator of Kascadia Wine Merchants, shared similar sentiments when we were chatting recently on this notion: “Mother's Day has taken on a whole new meaning for me this year, as my own little family is growing. I've been missing my Mom immensely, as we had plans to reunite at my home in California this spring. While we are waiting out the quarantine, I have been savoring her adorable laugh and wisdom during our long chats over the phone about life, motherhood, and family. I feel very lucky to have the sweetest and most caring mother-in-law by my side as well. Words can't describe my love for the two of them, as they have both created a loving space for me to grow into the woman I am today. They mean the world to me.” 

Wine recommendation: Meyer Family NV Methode Traditionnelle

If you’re lucky enough to spend the day with your Mom this weekend – hold her close.

 

the hatch

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Grayson Riordan, General Manager

“As many a reasonable human would or does, I attribute a wild amount of the person I am to the un-stoppable force that is my mother. Fortunately enough, I grew up having my mother as an inspiring force within the wine industry. My whole sense of romanticism & the ethereal wonder of wine was born of and instilled by her. There will never be enough words for the enormous amount of gratitude I have towards this remarkable woman.”

Wine recommendation: hatch 2017 B.Yanco 

 

Meyer Family Vineyards

Okanagan Falls, British Columbia

Jak Meyer, Proprietor

“Mothers day will be a very different day then I would normally celebrate due to the Corona Virus. My Mother is 92 years old as of January and living in assisted living in Calgary. On one hand, I feel so sad we can’t visit but on the other hand she is locked down with some very good friends at the building. They get to visit, play bridge and have meals together. I am so thankful that she loves her apartment and friends as she has not been allowed out of the building or have visitors for almost 2 months now.  I am so proud of her and just wishing we could be there to give her a big hug on Mother’s Day, but we will be having a Zoom call to celebrate this wonderous occasion."

Wine recommendation: Meyer Family 2017 Saignee Rosé

 

 

Pondview Estate

Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario

Lou Puglisi - Proprietor 

“With Mother’s Day coming up, I always remember how excited my mom was about getting her vegetable garden going and how she enjoyed seeing the vineyards turning green. She always referred to our land as “beautiful land” in Italian, and I decided to name our oldest vineyard and reserve wines “Bella Terra” to honour her passion for our farm in the heart of Niagara Wine Country.”

Wine recommendation: Pondview 2018 Cabernet Franc Rosé

 

Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker

 

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SILK + COUPE Holiday Wine Pack

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Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you 

 

There’s plenty to worry about over Christmas: the forty-odd people you feel obligated to buy for, that token friend “not big on the holidays” who retreats into their hibernation between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and the in laws are destined to arrive any minute.  Where does one find the time to ensure the wine rack is stocked?

Having plenty of experience selecting wine for awkward family gatherings, dinner parties and game nights alike, Kascadia approached me to curate a pack of wines suitable for any holiday situation. Here’s the perfect mix of wines I implore you to have on hand this season.

 

SHOP NOW: SILK + COUPE HOLIDAY 6 PACK 

 

The” Turkey Wine
Winemaker's CUT

You’ve likely seen suggestions for most, if not all of the following: “Rosé is best with turkey! Gamay: the only turkey wine you need this season! Riesling and turkey, a match made in heaven!”

Ignore all of those recommendations and instead reach for your new favorite turkey wine: Gruner Veltiner. Hailing from Austria, where it expresses itself in an austere, steely, mineral, stone fruit and white pepper kind of way.

In recent years, the Okanagan has seen an influx of plantings, resulting in a friendlier, fruitier and softer table wine kind of vibe. What does this mean, exactly? This wine is awesome to pour for Grandma, but it also holds up supremely well to turkey.

Winemaker’s Cut also makes their wine in probably the coolest way you’ve heard as of late: they play classical music in the vineyards and cellar. They swear it makes the wine taste better - I believe them, so you should too.

 

When only “Dad Wine” will do
Painted Rock Estate Winery


What is a “Dad” wine, you ask? They tend to be full bodied, big, robust, beefy, unctuous examples of red wine that generally need hours of decanting and live within the 15% ABV camp. While there’s always a situation where they’re appropriate, there’s a certain demographic that deem them as “the best”.We all know the types: 50-75 year old men who only drink “full bodied reds”, refusing to drink, let alone try, anything that doesn’t fall within the category.

The problem with these styles? They can be taxing on the palate, and exhausting to drink.

Reach for the Painted Rock Merlot with a bit of age on it. It’ll have your Uncle Gerry tickled pink, but with nearly 10 years of age, a softness that’s friendlier than a younger counterpart. Showing fragility, intriguing complexity (great for you) and enough body to keep your Dad and Grandpa happy.

 

High + low: Wine that pairs with cheesies
Black Swift 


Expand their horizons by pouring the Black Swift Syrah - quickly emerging as a marquee variety of the Okanagan - and serve it with Hawkins cheesies.It can be easy to forget the wine bubble you exist within only to be reminded when your cousins come to visit from remote Montana with boxed wine in hand.

Watch as their brains implode, while they sip the silken wine, exploding with flavor when macerated with the salty, crunchy delight of the cheesies.

 

 

 

 

A much needed respite from holiday chaos: Bubbles and bubbles
Meyer Family

We all need that one day - it’s probably December 27 or something - in between the chaos of the holidays before the next slew of parties or family get togethers recommence.

Take the day to draw yourself a long, luxurious bubble bath. Don’t be shy with the epsom salts, candles, Erykah Badu and most importantly: a bottle of sparkling wine. (extra points if served in vintage glassware.)

This traditional method number from Meyer (Chardonnay/Pinot Noir) is just what the doctor ordered: bone dry, delightful effervescence and lively fruit. Feel no guilt for lingering in those bubbles for hours.

 

Like eggnog and rum, these things belong together
Pondview Estate Winery

Skip the coffee and tea with dessert this year and instead opt for ice wine. Sweet pairs with sweet - this Pondview Cabernet Franc Ice wine will stand up to all the pumpkin pie, key lime pie and nanaimo bars you’ll throw at it.

Better yet - skip the sweets altogether and construct a cheese board. Make sure to include plenty of blue cheese - St. Agur is best. Opposing flavors, especially ice wine and pungent cheese, are soulmates.

 

 

 

For impromptu weeknight holiday bangers
The Hatch

Inevitably old friends will pop in for a visit during Christmas break - and they’ll probably be empty handed.

Reach for the B.Yanco in lieu of hunting in your cellar for that good good.

B.Yanco is comprised mostly of Pinot Blanc from the Hatch’s estate in West Kelowna - and at $20, punches well above its weight. It’s bright, fleshy and super quaffable.

Perfect for catching up with old uni friends, preferably consumed in the comfort of your parent’s hot tub.

 

Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker

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Key Wine Regions To Pay Attention to in Canada

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Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you 

 

It’s a special time to be Canadian: wine quality has never been better. Historically stigmatized, or generally known only for ice wine production (or for not making any at all) - is quickly becoming an assumption of the past.

Cheerleaders are needed more than ever, most notably because there’s so much to be excited about.

Read on to discover 5 of the main regions producing world caliber juice. Take note, and plan for a trip. Expect to be blown away and question why you didn’t visit sooner.

 



Painted Rock Estate Winery, Okanagan Valley

  

Okanagan Valley - British Columbia

BC’s top producing region, best known for its incredible diversity with over 80 varieties planted and home to 185 licensed wineries. The Okanagan is a 200 km long, semi arid desert, with glittering lakes enveloped by rolling hills,that might make you question if you're in the Mediterranean. Expect to find excellent examples of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even obscure varieties like Albarino, Tempranillo or Dolcetto.

 

Prince Edward County - Ontario

Located roughly 2 hours east of Toronto, “The County” is a hotbed of limestone - expect razor sharp, electric examples of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc. Producing lean, angular and lower alcohol wines due to its cooler climate, the County is home to 35 wineries that are predominantly boutique and family owned. Anticipate a pastoral, old timey vibe, reminiscent of English countryside.

 

Pondview Estate Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake

 

Niagara-on-the-Lake - Ontario

Likely one of the most difficult regions in which to grow grapes due to heavy disease pressure and ample humidity - but thanks to the Niagara Escarpment, it’s not only possible, but thriving with grape growing activity. Lake Ontario provides a moderating effect on the land, keeping heat in. Find stunning examples of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, sparkling and ice wine around these parts. Located 1.5 hours south of Toronto, it’s great for making quick weekend trips should you find yourself visiting the city.

 

Annapolis Valley - Nova Scotia

One of the oldest grape growing regions in North America - although that’s not a widely known fact. The Annapolis Valley is most famous for its examples of sparkling wine - of which many wine experts and enthusiasts argue rival the quality and caliber that comes from Champagne. The valley is located on the western part of the Nova Scotian peninsula, and in addition to outstanding bubbly, is home to a wide array of hybrid varieties including Seyval Blanc, L’Acadie Blanc and New York Muscat.

 

 

Eastern Townships - Quebec

In between tasting, stop to visit the Eastern Township’s numerous quaint and scenic villages along this 140km route. Housing 22 of the region’s wineries, it’s responsible for roughly 50% of Quebec’s total production. Discover delicious examples of cider, sparkling wine and plenty of hybrids: marechal foch, marquette and seyval blanc. This sub region is home to some of Quebec’s oldest vineyards, many of which are still family owned and operated. Located a few hours south east of Montreal, it’s an excellent way to get a glimpse of a much heralded wine region that is still relatively undiscovered.

 

Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker

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The Wine Varieties You Should Be Drinking from the Okanagan

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Author: Laura Milnes


Silk + Coupe
Let me share my passion of food + wine with you
 
I've worked in the wine industry for most of my adult life - I've graduated a few times over, in terms of knowledge, general awareness and wherewithal of quality, style and regional focus.

Having worked in tasting rooms, wine festivals, vineyards and cellars, you get a lot of people demanding extremely specific styles of wine that may not necessarily be available in the region they are visiting- and this is definitely the case in the Okanagan.

There's an assumption since we're the not so far neighbor of the North, (Napa, specifically), we produce very similar styles. As such, I often get a lot of requests for suggestions of big meaty, fat Cabs and other similar stylistic expressions. Simply put, the Okanagan does not produce wines of this style. If you've had a big, juicy, velvety Cab - most likely it's been manipulated (additives to give the perception of a full bodied wine) to appease the general public's palate.

Don't misconstrue what I'm saying here - the Okanagan produces gorgeous styles of wine - but when you drink varieties that thrive here - they're not in the same vein or style of wine of our southern counterpart.
Here is a snapshot of wines I guarantee you'll love with input from gang bangers in the industry. They may not be the varieties you were expecting, or drink on the regular - but I can guarantee you'll be a convert once you give them a try.
 
 
The Hatch - Jason Parkes, Winemaker + Andrew Melville, Marketing Director
Jason's take: 
"Go on an adventure with what you feel is the variety you think you like and learn about it. If a cat digs a Pinot Gris, try it from Lake Country, Westbank, Summerland, Silkmakameen and Osoyoos. This way, you can learn what style of Pinot Gris you dig. Once you learn what climate you like, you may learn that other varieties from that climate also tickle your fancy - this will teach you about your palate. You'll learn what acidity, and phenolic ripeness you like. Sounds crazy, but the point is, there are few places in the world you can taste differences in only a few hours of travel. A bit geeky - so maybe tell them to drink grappa."

Andrew's take:
"Anything but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and other Rhone Reds. Drink Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Gamay. Spend your money, and go get your hands on Syrah. And then drink more Riesling. If you can't get Riesling, just get some Ehrenfelser."
 
Kitsch - Grant Biggs, Winemaker 
"Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah are my favorite from the Okanagan. Other than those four, I'm pretty fond of whatever wine happens to be in my glass at any given moment. Don't over think it, wine is meant to enhance an experience, not be the experience."
 
Rhys Evans - Township 7, Assistant Winemaker
"The breadth of options are endless. Riesling and Gruner Veltliner show well from producers in Lake Country. I think there will always be a place for Cabernet Franc. They are delicious and pretty unique here in that they stand alone. The warmer "cool climate" regions are doing well with Cab Franc, so I think it will only get better here. I would love to see a more aggressive move into Rhone varieties and styles - Syrah, Marsanne, Rousanne. The variation in climate, soils, aspects and pockets from north to south, is like nothing else anywhere around the world."
 
 
Jasmine Lee Black - Van Westen Vineyards, Assistant Winemaker
"Over most of the Okanagan, I would say the varietal I am most excited about is Cabernet Franc. I adore Loire Valley Cab Franc, and many of the Ontario versions. The Okanagan versions, are much different than these two examples, but I have come across some from down South all the way up to Northern Naramata that I'm into. There are some awesome pockets for other varietals but I have seen great of examples of Cabernet Franc from a more broad space in the valley."
 
Micheal Alexander - Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Assistant Winemaker
"I would say Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot do well here. There is no shortage of killer, long lived Merlot in the valley."
 
Bill Eggert -  Fairview Cellars, Proprietor and Winemaker 
"The biggest strength of the Okanagan is its diversity of varietals and styles. Riesling tonight, could be Chardonnay tomorrow. Pinot is good for sipping, Cabernet Franc and lamb, Merlot and pulled pork, Syrah and moose, bubbly Chenin Blanc and that special gal (or guy), Sauvignon Blanc and oysters - need I go on. Diversity. Most awesome. We've got it all."
 
Jak Meyer - Meyer Vineyards, Proprietor
"What is becoming our signature? Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, obviously Merlot and Pinot Gris are two of the most planted, but I don't think they get the same international recognition."
 
Bradley Cooper - Black Cloud Winery, Proprietor and Winemaker 
"A great route of exploration would be to try all the things "Pinot" based, both red and white. There's going to be some distinct, and unique plays, on each variety. Pinot's, in general, are well suited to BC growing regions with few exceptions. We should be drinking other BC examples of other varieties. Anywhere north of OK Falls there will be good Pinot sites for noir, gris, blanc etc."
 
 
The beauty of BC, and the Okanagan specifically, is our diversity. What thrives in the north will be a completely different story in the south, and differ yet again everywhere in between. We're an incredibly special region despite our size. Consider these varied suggestions next time you're visiting the Okanagan, or picking up a bottle of wine to enjoy - the choice is truly endless. 
 

Read more about Laura Milnes at  Silk + Coupe 
Instagram: @silkandcoupe
Twitter: @suzywinemaker
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