Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2011 BC VQA Okanagan Valley $18.99
Chenin Blanc, the noble grape of France's Loire Valley, is used there for still whites and complex Vouvray sparklers. Although there's only a little over seven hectares of it planted in British Columbia, to me, it has the potential to become a star grape in the cool-climate Okanagan Valley. This fresh, tropical, fruity white has become one of the most popular in the Quails' Gate portfolio. Winemaker Grant Stanley crafts it with 92-per-cent Chenin Blanc and 8-per-cent Sauvignon Blanc (to add weight); a touch of oak adds complexity. Delicious on its own, the food-matching possibilities are great. Evan Goldstein, author of Daring Pairings, says "a good rule of thumb is to treat Chenin Blanc as you would Riesling." That means it pairs superbly with oysters, spot prawns, white meats and Asian curries, and makes it a perfect accompaniment to a cheese plate. Can be cellared for five to eight years. Available at BC Liquor Stores, VQA and private wine shops.
Kasey Wilson is food editor of Wine Access magazine and editor of Best Places Vancouver.