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West Coast Wines

SpierHead Vanguard 2009 BC VQA Okanagan Valley $34.90

After decades spent in vineyards and wineries as a professional photographer, Brian Sprout decided to swap some of his megapixels for Merlot and cabs. He found a kindred spirit in an old high school classmate and golf buddy William Knutson. Together they've created one of the Okanagan's new crop to watch. Consulting winemaker Tom DiBello (ex CedarCreek) blends Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with cab franc to brilliant effect, producing an appealing and approachable Bordeaux-style sipper with wild blackberry flavours. There's no better pairing than a beef and vegetable wine-based stew (even better reheated the second day); steaks and lamb chops are a close second where the wine's firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite. Available at VQA stores and private wine shops.

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Kasey Wilson is food editor of Wine Access magazine and editor of Best Places Vancouver.

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