My local VQA wine store had a tasting tonight, the theme being wines that pair well with BC Salmon. I do really enjoy salmon, but since my wife doesn't eat seafood, I don't get to eat it very often. When I do eat it, I generally pair it with a Pinot Noir; but there was no Pinot to be found at this particular tasting.
They were featuring two Gamay Noirs and two Pinot Blancs. I don't generally like either of those grapes that much, so I wasn't particularly anticipatory, but was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
2012 Joie Pinot Blanc
Colour me pleasantly surprised! Less overwhelming in terms of acidity and citrus (I don't care for grapefruit, so any wine that is grapefruit-heavy is starting off on the wrong foot with me) than many other Pinot Blancs, it's beautifully balanced. I loved the hint of white chocolate on the finish. My all time favorite Pinot Blanc.
2011 Covert Farms Pinot Blanc
My nose immediately sent up the warning signs; there were notes of something I couldn't quite identify; it smelled like fire.....and upon glancing at the tasting notes, I was almost right. Matchstick! It smelled like burned matchsticks!
Hmm. Not sure why anyone would intentionally make their Pinot Blanc smell like matchsticks. As if that didn't turn me off enough, the overwhelming earthiness on the palate did the trick. I did not like this wine AT ALL.
Covert Farms used to be called Dunham and Froese, and I've enjoyed some of their red blends in the past, but they missed the mark on this one. Badly.
2010 Sandhill Gamay Noir
I find it difficult to fairly review varietals that I just don't like; but I always try to be fair and give them a chance. Gamay is probably my least favorite varietal of all.
As far as I'm concerned, Sandhill knocked this one out of the park. I found this to be more peppery than your average Gamay; it actually reminded me of a good Syrah. A medium body and touch of acidity brought the flavors all together nicely. Definitely my favorite Gamay, and at $19.99, an excellent value. If Gamay is one of your grapes, check this one out.
2010 Recline Ridge Gamay Noir.
Sorry to say, this is what I have come to expect from Gamay. The tasting notes indicate that the wine is "light and fruity". I'd call it "mild and meek". Bland and unspectacular on the nose and the palate. Nothing impressive or memorable here at all.
So to finish off the topic of what to pair with BC salmon...... stick with a great Pinot Noir, in my opinion. However if these two grapes are your thing, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Joie Pinot Blanc or the Sandhill Gamay Noir.