Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 13, 2017
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Taste the harvest

Nothing beats touring wine country. There’s something special about sipping right at the source, visiting wineries to taste firsthand and to learn about the wine from someone who possibly even had a hand in its production. And while summer is peak touring season, for me the ideal time to visit wine country is fall.

Come harvest time, the vineyards are at their finest, hanging heavy with ripe fruit beckoning to be plucked. True, the winery workers will be operating at a harried pace, so be kind and stay out of their way (and be careful to avoid all heavy machinery!). But if you’re lucky enough to happen upon a winery in full swing, it will open your eyes to all the hard work that goes into a bottle and add to your overall wine appreciation.

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is a riot of colour and produce come harvest time. Every late September through early October, the region hosts a Fall Wine Festival celebrating the bounty. For a relatively small wine region, the Okanagan manages to pack in a multitude of diversity. Its narrow, lake-hugging 160 kilometres embraces a certifiable desert in the south and quite temperate northern stretches. The grapes grown range from heat-seeking Syrah to cool-climate Riesling — all up for tasting at the region's more than 120 licensed wineries.

No map is required, it’s hard to get lost in the Okanagan. Highway 97 is the one main thoroughfare snaking alongside the various lakes, and clear signage leads to the various wineries dotting the hillsides. On an Okanagan tour (hellobc.com/thompson-okanagan.aspx) it makes sense to start at Mission Hill Family Estate, a large and impressive winery located in the hills west of Kelowna with breathtaking panoramic vistas south across the valley.

The Mission Hill 2010 Reserve Chardonnay practically bottles up the rays of sunshine reflecting off nearby Lake Okanagan. Golden in colour, it’s plush and rich yet spicy and fresh, combining nuances of pear and pineapple fruit with nicely integrated vanilla and oak. Partial barrel fermentation and seven months sur lie aging add nice complexity and layered flavours, and it pairs wonderfully with roast chicken or cream-based sauces.

Available across Canada, from $19.95 to $20.25

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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