February 4, 2021
What grows together goes together.
And is there a more delectable pairing than Vancouver Island oysters with Island wine, be it a white or a rose?
The BC Seafood Festival returns to the Comox Valley’s Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park from June 8 to 17.
On the last two days of the festival, attendees will have the perfect opportunity to see how well Island wines pair with locally harvested oysters.
Fanny Bay grows a multitude of oyster types. Some have earned a favourite spot in my heart.
The Golden Mile Mantle oyster is sweeter than most. The combination of salt and sweet in this tender little guy will be a perfect pairing with the Averill Creek Rose.
This particular rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The 2017 vintage is showing off a ton of strawberry, melon and rose blossom aromas. Crisp and clean on the palate, with a long dry finish displaying subtle minerals, this wine mirrors the slight sweetness and ocean minerality of the Golden Mantle oyster.
Kusshi oysters are my next favorite. A unique tumbling method adds a firm texture to these deep-shelled bivalves, adding immensely to the raw oyster experience. Being lightly fruity in taste, Kusshi oysters will pair beautifully with the Averill Creek Pinot Grigio.
The Averill Creek Pinot Grigio, for my money, is one of the best pinot grigios Vancouver Island can grow. Dry and citrusy, this pinot grigio is loaded with aromas of pear and apple. The well rounded body makes it a perfect oyster wine, creating a smooth cohesiveness between wine and oyster.
The classic Fanny Bay Crassosea Gigas is another personal favourite. This oyster possesses an unusual and refreshing cucumber flavor, especially at the end of the tasting experience. An archetypical Pacific oyster, the Crassosea Gigas has an iodine-like drizzle alongside its sweet salty profile.
With the Crassosea Gigas, I would match the Averill Creek Charme de L’ile, a sparkling wine made in the Charmat method. The Charme bubbles are created naturally in a large stainless steel tank. Made from Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir grapes, Averill Creek’s Charme de L’ile is crisp and dry with a subtle taste of honey. A fruity bouquet of apple, pear and cranberries is delivered by copious tiny bubbles.
There will be many other opportunities at the festival to test the “what grows together, goes together” truism. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the festival, local mussels, clams and salmon can be paired with equally local beer, spirits, cider and wine.
The BC Seafood Festival has become the largest seafood festival in Western Canada with chef demonstrations and competitions, the best of local seafood and beverages, live entertainment and interactive sea-life touch tanks.
Given the abundance of fresh oysters and local wine, I’d do whatever it takes to get there! It’s the best Canada has to offer in this particular department, and it’s all happening in our back yard.