I’ll be transparent: I am not a wine expert.

Am I being honest because it’s the right thing to do, or because former food editor Neal McLennan has already blown my cover publicly? We’ll never know.

But the point is, despite my lack of knowledge, I maintain an unbridled enthusiasm. Because wine isn’t just what’s in the bottle, it’s what’s happening in the moment, no?

So, please, count me in for your winery crawls around Oliver, your vineyard marathons, your blind taste tests that I will inevitably fail. I inhale deeply and comment on tasting notes even though I know deep down I’m going to be buying the bottle with the prettiest label. But really, it’s not that I’m totally clueless: it’s just that I care less about pairing with food, and more about pairing with circumstance. Sharing a bottle of something funky and fizzy with girlfriends, catching up on all the gossip after various summer vacation jaunts. Sipping a chilled rosé from a sneaky water bottle on the beach. Knocking knees under a table at a pizzeria with my husband, dying my teeth red with whatever cheap-and-cheerful house blend is in those tiny tumblers, talking about our baby even after promising each other that we would not under any circumstances talk about our baby. This is how I do wine.

All of which is to say, I may not have top-somm skills, but I heartily recommend the offerings from newcomer winery Aasha Wines—fresh from the Naramata Bench. I play fast and loose with the flavours, and my experience with each bottle in the Summer '22 mixed case ($137) is all happily coloured deeply and positively by context. I hope yours will be too.

You can take my reccos with a grain of salt; I’ll be taking them with another glass of that Viognier, thankyouverymuch.

aasha wines2020 Little Monster Syrah Rosé

Sure, it’s fresh and peppery and grapefruit, but more importantly, it’s an invigorating match with your 9 p.m. pasta pomodoro dinner shared with your partner after you miraculously got your baby to sleep without a fuss. No wine ever tasted so sweet, IMO.

from here on in2017 From Here On In Syrah

When you get invited to a dinner party from your fun foodie friends where the theme is “raw,” pack this one. Your friends put a lot of hilarious and thoughtful energy into making a menu that’s all oysters and tartare; they deserve a treat… ideally one that’s spicy and leathery.

tim ecab sav2017 Time Cab Sauv

The tasting notes say “sweet tobacco and sandalwood.” I say “drink it to celebrate that your husband sold out his weird pro-wrestling show.” It’s a special occasion wine, but also a bottle that’s special enough to be an occasion in-and-of itself.

viognier2017 The Savant Viognier

Carmelized pineapple notes, fresh and fruity and just sliiiightly oaky with a satin-y finish: I think it might be illegal not to drink this one on a patio? Please consider this your perfect pairing for the next heatwave.