February 4, 2021
Enjoyable events relating to food and drink pack our beautiful island’s summer social calendar. My advice, to take full advantage of what’s out there, is to PLAN AHEAD!
Now is the perfect time to plan for August.
Keep the weekend of August 25th and 26th free so you can fully participate in the Cowichan Valley Wine Festival.
The kick-off to this weekend-long festival starts with the Party at The Pavilion event on Friday August 24th. The wine-tasting evening includes all 11 festival participants pouring samples, plus entertainment by a great local band called The Smiley Band.
The location, 1975 Renfrew Road in Shawinigan Lake, is in the heart of our wine region.
At the soirée, a branded tasting glass is your “ticket” to all the individual winery events for Saturday and Sunday, because the best part of the Cowichan Wine Festival is the Winery Tour Weekend.
At their vineyards, every participating winery has events planned over the weekend.
Pick up your map at the soirée, or at the first winery you visit. Coming from the north the initial winery you will reach is Averill Creek. From the south, it’s Unsworth.
My main not-to-miss event is at the Blue Grouse Winery on both afternoons. I know their wines and can hardly wait for the featured pairings of fresh-shucked oysters and a charcuterie/cheese tasting from Cobble Hill’s Cure Artisan Meat and Cheese.
Vancouver Island Pinot Gris differs somewhat from most of Pinot Gris on the market, ours being a cooler climate than most. Vancouver Island’s Pinot Gris tends to be more structured, more acidic and displays more delicate minerals than the myriad of other Pinot Gris on the market.
At Blue Grouse uses what is known as malolactic fermentation in the wine-making process for its estate Pinot Gris. The result is a delicately acidic wine with loads of citrus and stone fruit aromas and flavours. The surprising nuances from this style of fermentation are the coconut toffee bouquet and rich body.
Coupled with the bright tang of a local raw oyster, this is a match Heaven-made!
Meanwhile, Blue Grouse’s Quill Pinot Noir has just arrived at Lucky’s Liquor Store. That is the one to pair with the charcuterie when you visit the winery.
This Pinot Noir has been aged for 12 months in a combination of 66% French and 34% American oak barrels, it has lovely aromas of cedar and caramel added to this grape’s classic plum and raspberry fruitiness.