Wine and Food Pairings From Vancouver

British Columbia produces many superb wines—learn why and get some advice on pairing British Columbia wines with dishes available at Yew restaurant + bar at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver.

Feb 20, 2010
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A vineyard in British Columbia
A vineyard in British Columbia
Courtesy British Columbia Wine Institute
Laughing Stock specialises in small, boutique-style wines.
Laughing Stock specialises in small, boutique-style wines.
Courtesy Laughing Stock
Sumac Ridge produces sparkling wines using the traditional Champagne method.
Sumac Ridge produces sparkling wines using the traditional Champagne method.
Courtesy British Columbia Wine Institute

British Columbia boasts more than 190 wineries and is steadily earning its reputation as “Napa of the North.” Though the province has five distinct wine regions, the best known is the Okanagan Valley, which is a four-hour drive or a 40-minute flight (northeast) from Vancouver. The valley is surrounded by giant lakes and arid mountains, and it is dotted with sandy beaches and acres and acres of vineyards.

The northernmost tip of the Sonoran Desert runs through the valley, and the hot summer temperatures have made it a favourite summer destination for generations. The long growing season and ample sunshine are ideal for growing grapes.

Geographic factors (such as soil, temperature and climate) affect the way grapes grow, which results in different types of wines. There are unique sub-regions here, which ensure plenty of diversity among the region’s wines.

For example, average summer temperatures between the northern and southern ends of the Okanagan Valley can vary by 4°C (7°F), which translates into crisp, fresh whites in the north to robust reds in the hotter, drier south.

A few of the many varietals found here include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot. In winter, temperatures can dip below minus 8°C (18°F), which is the perfect temperature to harvest grapes (frozen as hard as marbles) to create the sweet ice wine that this region is famous for.

Yew restaurant + bar at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is a strong supporter of wines from British Columbia and has an extensive selection on the menu. Below are some of our favourite bottles, each paired with a dish from the kitchen:

Sumac Ridge* Steller’s Jay, Brut Sparkling Wine

  • One of the finest sparkling wines from the Okanagan Valley, produced in the traditional Champagne method
  • Pairs with the crispness of the green salad

Wild Goose Stoney Slope Riesling

  • A crisp wine with a slight bit of sweetness from a winery that is best known for its whites
  • Pairs beautifully with the pork belly dish as the acidity helps to cut through the richness of the pork

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris

  • From one of the most beautiful wineries in Canada’s only desert region, this Pinot Gris is crisp and clean.
  • Pairs with the assorted seafood on the Cold—Try Them All menu, sample-size servings of the chilled appetisers from the raw bar

Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir

  • One of British Columbia’s oldest vineyards produces this Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.
  • Balance of earthiness and fruitiness pairs well with the duck

Nichol Vineyard Syrah Reservare

  • This limited production Syrah from the Naramata Bench region is produced in the classic Rhone style.
  • Pairs with the rustic flavours of the lamb shank

Laughing Stock Portfolio

  • Small, boutique-style production of this delicious, full-bodied Bordeaux blend
  • Pairs with the signature dish on the menu, the 16 oz bone-in New York strip loin

* Sumac Ridge Estate Winery is an official supplier of wine to the 2010 Winter Games.


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