Few things rival the satisfaction of sipping a glass of wine as snow falls slowly on a cold winter’s night. Perhaps you have a couple winter wine favourites you repurchase frequently. L’wren Farkas, Restaurant Manager at Island Lake Lodge and local wine connoisseur, suggests a few that may have previously flown under your radar. All of her picks are available off Fernie BCL’s shelves.
L’wren grew up in a family that loves wine and food. When she was nineteen, she started working for Island Lake Lodge and her interest in wine culture grew. Ten years ago, she earned her Level Two Award in Wines and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in Vancouver. Three years later, she took over the wine program at Island Lake and has since grown its cellar to 117 labels with a focus on BC vineyards and those that operate sustainably.
Below is a list of winter wines L’wren believes are hidden gems of great value. Alongside the wines, she has suggested food pairings from other local businesses to complete your cozy winter nights. “A perfect food pairing is a marriage that elevates the taste of the food; it brings out flavours you may not have noticed if enjoyed separately,” she says.
Smoking Loon Viognier ($13.79)
Full-bodied, very aromatic, slightly less acidic than chardonnay, aromas of apricot and honey, flavours of peach, cantaloupe and smoky vanilla caramel. Food Pairing: Fernie Meat Market chicken and brie pot pies.
The Wolftrap Red – Boekenhoutskloof ($13.99)
Red blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier; characteristics of blackberry with pepper notes; medium-bodied on the palate, soft balanced tannins. You will enjoy this if you usually drink cabernet sauvignon. Food Pairing: Bolter Family Farm sirloin tip roast with root vegetables.
Beaujolais Villages – Jadot Combe Aux Jacques 2015 Gamay Noir ($21.99)
If you’re looking to step outside of your pinot noir comfort zone, this beaujolais is the perfect change. It is deep red in colour with a floral, cherry and strawberry nose, tinged with citrus zest and hints of fruit pit. This wine is very smooth with Christmas-spice notes of clove and orange zest, finishing with flavours of blackberry and plum stewed fruits. Food Pairing: Cutter Ranch pork tenderloin.
Rioja Crianza – Marques de Caceres 2013 Tempranillo ($17.99)
Ruby red in colour and berries on the nose, this rioja has a hint of spice. Made predominantly from tempranillo grapes, this wine is full-bodied and will bring warmth to any red meat dish. The tannins are developed and smooth with a long finish. Food Pairing: Backcountry Meats ribs with warm kale salad.
CedarCreek Chardonnay 2015 ($18.99)
Full-bodied with a perfect amount of oak, notes of vanilla on the nose and flavours of butter popcorn, this wine will warm you from the inside out. CedarCreek has mastered the fine balance of oak on their chardonnays. This wine will appeal to all. Food Pairing: Le Grand Fromage fondue.
Let’s raise a glass to powder-filled days and cozy, wine-savoured nights with new favourites from L’wren’s list. To the valley, to food, to winter, to wine. Cheers!
Katie Hamar is the Sales and Event Coordinator at Island Lake Lodge and self-professed food and wine aficionado.