Wine Guy: An al fresco trio

This week, a trio of bottles ready for outdoor imbibing and dining, because al fresco dining season is near with the (albeit, slow) trend to warmer weather

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It’s a hodgepodge of wines to pair with the hodgepodge weather. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Let’s look at the glass as half-full. Sure “June-uary” continues its embrace, but the overall trend is to warmer weather — with more nods towards bluer skies. In short, the al fresco dining season is near (if not here). So the theme this week, while perhaps eclectic, is a trio of bottles ready for outdoor imbibing and dining.

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Spier Signature 2021 Chenin Blanc, South Africa ($13.99, #659037)

A few weeks back this column sung the praises of Chenin Blanc. Well it turns out that June 17 is International Drink Chenin Blanc Day, which is more than enough excuse to discuss one more example — particularly considering the extreme barbecue-friendliness of Spier’s Signature CB. Consistently offering solid value, this easygoing white wafts citrus and floral aromas and presents bright with big-time tropical and orchard fruit. Evident acidity and ample fruit make this an easy-to-get-into bottle ready to tackle all sorts of grilled chicken or seafood (add a fruit salsa for some extra fun).

Bottom line: B+, Seriously patio friendly.

Road 13 2021 Honest John’s Rosé, British Columbia ($17.99 on sale until July 2, #357327)

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There’s also been quite the focus on rosé written recently, but well, rosé is primo picnic wine, so here’s another! Road 13’s Honest John’s Rosé is a perennial go-to crowd pleaser. It’s a bright, onion-skinned number that has generous red berry and melon aromas in a juicy, fruit-forward style overall. It’s crisp, medium-bodied and finishes fresh and easy — just the sort of multi-tasking pink wine perfect for pairing with any night of the week, whether grilled steak tacos or satay pork skewers are on the menu.

Bottom line: B, Seven-day rosé.

Giovanni Rosso 2019 Nebbiolo, Italy ($29.99, #779702)

Finally, let’s not forget red wine when it comes to al fresco wining. There’s something ethereally satisfying about sipping red wine while cooking outdoors. However, it needs to be an appropriate red. No need to bog down the tastebuds on a warm evening; instead, look to fresher, more vibrant red wines. Cue the Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo. Ruby-coloured, this organically grown red presents cherry cola, flower petals and herbs. It’s muscular yet sinewy at the same time, fulsome but structured with grippy tannins and spice building on a leisurely finish. Bring on the steaks, burgers, lamb chops — really, anything bold flavoured.

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Bottom line: A-, Vibrant, sunset ready red.

The Swirl: Father’s Day at Township 7

It should be said that all these outdoor dining-ready bottles are also up to the task of pairing with Father’s Day meals. However, if you’re looking for even more wine-focused fun to celebrate Dad’s Day, consider heading to a winery. Township 7, for example, has two unique Father’s Day events taking place at their two winery locations. On June 19, a 1 p.m. lobster luncheon is scheduled at their Naramata Bench Estate Winery ($97.97 per adult for wine, lobster, decadent sides and live music), while the South Langley winery is focused on their Wine & Swine event from noon to 3 p.m. ($67.97 per adult for wine, a pork feast with sides and live music). For complete details and tickets, head to

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