Oh ! Canada. Hoist the Flag, Fire up the Grill…

… and pop the cork on a bottle of homegrown Cowichan Valley vino. A mere twenty five years ago, you’d have come up dry, with nary a winery in sight, but times they are a-changing and we now have a cornucopia of wineries to delight our taste buds and complement those intoxicating aromas wafting up from the barbeque.

Dianne Coutts

Columnist

… and pop the cork on a bottle of homegrown Cowichan Valley vino. A mere twenty five years ago, you’d have come up dry, with nary a winery in sight, but times they are a-changing and we now have a cornucopia of wineries to delight our taste buds and complement those intoxicating aromas wafting up from the barbeque.

While warm backyard weather beckons for the rose’s and casual lighter reds, that sizzling steak on the grill calls out for a bigger red, such as a smooth Argentinian Mendoza Malbec, or a dense, spicey Australian Shiraz..These big bold guys do play well with steak, but they’re not the only kids on the block…after all, what is a white wine lover to do in anticipation of such carnivorous delight?

Fear not!  Our island growers are up for the challenge.  Get out the t-bone and add some of Hazelwood Herb Farm’s wonderful lavender-citrus rub, which can be used either dry or with a bit of oil.  And it doesn’t stop there…

Who would have thought that Damali Lavender Farm would come out with lavender wines to serve up with our lavender and citrus spiced steak? The folks at Damali now have four wines on offer: a Pinot Grigio featuring white lavender which is aptly named “Alba”, a blackberry and lavender wine called “Mure Lavande”, a Gewurtztraminer and lavender blend named “Lavande”, and a sparkling rose made with Castel grapes and pink lavender which was released for Father’s Day. On the strength of the description, and not having yet tasted these wines, I would tend to pair the steak with the blackberry lavender wine, or perhaps the Gewurztraminer lavender.  If lavender is just not on your radar, a lightly oaked California Chardonnay would work with a gently herbed or nude grilled steak .

By the way, Damali Farm starts their” U Pick” lavender on Canada Day weekend, which would make for a nice outing, not to mention the chance to drop in for a lavender wine tasting and a browse through the gift shop. Or you  may opt to wait and take in the  Fourth Annual Lavenderfest happening there on July 30th.

If you’re entertaining on Canada Day, spoil your guests with a decadent grilled dessert. Tropical fruits stand up well on the barbeque—think thickly sliced pineapple, bananas (cut lengthwise), and papaya, and serve  topped with coconut sherbet. Pair it with a flute of local sparkling white wine from Zanatta’s Vineyard, and for an added touch pour a splash of Malibu coconut rum liqueur into the bubbly.  Pretty good, eh!

(Dianne Coutts lives in Lake Cowichan. She writes about wine, and works in the tasting rooms of two local vineyards)