Desert Hills Estate Winery ( http://www.deserthills.ca/ ) was kind enough to send me some of their recent award winning wines. Wow, what a treat! True enough, Canada (and BC) are producing some excellent wines these days... truly artisan craftsmanship all across the country. But - but these really were lovely wines.
Starting with the Viognier, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I don't have alot of experience with them, and what little I do have is most recently because of John Clerides @ Marquis Wine Cellar ( http://www.marquis-wines.com/ ) and his passion for Alban estates ( http://www.albanvineyards.com/ ). John Alban makes wines in the Rhone style, and I will have to take everyones word for that because I really can't remember the last time I had a Rhone Viognier... but I know I like John Alban's Viogniers. Rich stonefruit flavors and a bouquet of flowers, that is how I know this varietal. Desert Hills version is quite different:
*winner gold @ The All Canadian Wine Championship 2010
13.3%, $20 approximately *Very Good Value
- pale gold straw color
- moderately intense nose of waxy-petroleum, orchard fruit especially rich pear, hints of chamomile, austere terroir
- moderate+ acids, palate is a match for the nose, with intense flavors of lime & grapefruit showing throughout
- very long structure, good balance and light to medium body - this wine does best when served at cellar temperature or just below
Loved the wine; a completely new style of Viognier for me! Austere acids and light-medium body made me think this could be an instant Summer hit. Absolute perfect pairing with salmon, we ended up having it with braised chicken with fresh herbs & loved every drop.
Next was the Pinot Gris that we've had before, and enjoyed every time. We had friends over for dinner last night, and one friend is a vegetarian... thus I made a roast acorn squash stuffed with wild rice pilaf mixed with BC chevre (goat's cheese). On the side was a compote of cranberry, orange and caramelized onions, and grilled asparagus with grilled field tomatoes tossed in olive oil and balsamic reduction. Ah - to savor fine food in the company of good people (or is that good food in fine company?)... we had a fire in the outside fireplace and loved the balance of wine & food.