There’s nothing like a tasting room electric with the excitement of new releases – and that’s how I’m greeted on my visit to Hillside Winery and Bistro. 

I’m taken with the deep rich colour as the new Syrah is poured into my glass. It’s a fruit forward wine with black raspberry and a little spice on the finish. Charlotte Sherriff, wine shop co-ordinator believes the Syrah “shows off the bench terroir – that little bit of minerality, dust after a rainstorm, a forest floor.” Duncan McCowan, president, explains how the heat sink of the Hidden Valley Vineyard creates the depth of flavor. “It has wonderful tannin structure; it’ll just keep getting better.” 

In the Bistro, executive chef, Robert Cordonier recommends pairing the Syrah with his Braised Fraser Valley Pork Cheeks, with maple butter roasted pears, Belgian endive, blue cheese, potato and pecans.

The new release Gewürztraminer makes me think of summer picnics. Grab a blanket, a bottle of this light aromatic wine, some artisan bread, cheese, fruit and head to your favourite look-out over the lake. Just off-dry with a gingery finish, the new Gewürztraminer also complements spicy foods like Thai or Indian. 

Sherriff describes this year’s Rosé as “cotton candy and caramel.” The blending of 70% Merlot with equal amounts of Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon produces the layers in this wine. “There was so much fruit last year we didn’t have enough room in our tanks for pump over,” McCowan says. It spent 72 hours “on skin” before going into stainless vats, resulting in a beautiful finish unaffected by tannins. For McCowan, he loves this wine with mussels and frites, but it pairs wonderfully with Caesar Salad and even cheese. 

An unoaked Pinot Gris and the Muscat Ottonel round out the new releases.

~ Sue Harper