As October draws to a close, pumpkin spice lovers nay need to worry — that is, if they have wine.
I love this time of year with its warm colours, and warm spices. Nothing is more savoury and iconic of fall than pumpkin pie, with its aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger.
Baking spice notes can also accent the nose and taste of Pinot Noir wine, coming from the grapes or often the char of the barrel. Deep, earthy clove notes can often be detached and sometimes a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg.
East Kelowna Slopes offers such a unique growing condition for Pinot Noir (and other cool climate varieties), so much that the B.C. Government recognized it with its own sub-geographical indication this June.
For Pinot Noir lovers, a visit to the family-owned (by Bill and Marina Knutson) Spearhead Winery tasting room is a must. Here winemaker Grant Stanley showcases the many subtleties of Pinot Noir in a dedicated portfolio of single-vineyard, single-clone and delicate blends.
The passion for Pinot is such that members of the wine club barrel taste his offerings each year, coming to a consensus on the best flavours. From those barrels, Stanley will make a unique (and a past award-winner) club-only offering, Club Consensus Pinot Noir.
I’d recommend the 2020 Saddle Block Pinot Noir, $38. See if you can smell and taste some of those baking spices. And for the dedicated fans of this noble dark grape, Stanley offers up an amazing reserve, the 2020 Cuvée Pinot Noir, $45. So find a dark shelf in your cellar for this one until that special occasion arises.
Spearhead Winery is open this weekend and Thursday to Sunday in November. Check for updates to their tasting room hours at spearheadwinery.com
We’re heading south for our next spicy sip to a vineyard planted 25 years ago with an Italian varietal. If thoughts of Italian vines aren’t cheery enough for a cold fall day, remember that the Sandhill Estate Vineyard offers dry desert conditions, sandy soil and intense heat. The 2017 Sandhill Small Lots Sangiovese, $35, will be warming you even before you take a sip.
Enjoy the deep garnet colour as you pour and swirl for a bouquet of cherry, earth and spice.
Years ago, I was privy to a northern Italian family recipe for spaghetti meat sauce — the secret ingredients: cinnamon and cloves. I can’t think of a better pairing with this Sangiovese.
Released in 2020, this wine has seen some bottle-aging. To grab a 2017 vintage, head to the tasting room in downtown Kelowna, 1125 Richter Street, opened daily at 11 am or purchase online at sandhillwines.ca.
While we’ve explored the warm dark spices, we can’t forget the zing of ginger spice.
There’s a wine for that too: Gewürztraminer.
My go-to for this zippy wine has long been Thornhaven Estates in Summerland (thornhaven.com). My October visit did not disappoint, with the fall sun low in the sky and flooding the vineyard with a golden glow. Nor did the wine.
At $22, the award-winning 2020 Gewürztraminer offers all the aromatic floral and fruit bouquet — as well as the tingle on your tongue — that I love about this white wine. The grapes are grown on the slopes steps outside the winery doors.
This spice journey would not have been complete without tasting a glass of this nectar paired with a slice of pumpkin pie. As I thought, divine.
For a subtle ginger spice note, head down the lane to Dirty Laundry, where winemaker Mason Spink has carefully crafted the 2020 Woo Woo Gewürztraminer ($20), an easy sipper.
And if you want a double ode to pumpkin spice, also pick up Dirty Laundry’s 2020 Pinot Noir. Beautifully balanced, this wine was made from grapes grown in Summerland and aged 13 months in 25% new French oak and 75% neutral French oak before being finished in tank.
Like all Pinot Noirs, sip slowly and savour those subtle hints of savoury barrel spice.
Want to read more about trending BC wines?
Sign-up to receive the Sippin’ Pretty wine column in your inbox.