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There is the odd pinot from the Okanagan that’s more expensive, but none quite match the consistently graceful and elegant Stewart Family Reserve. The 2009 vintage won a slew of medals. The difficult 2010 vintage meant Quails’ Gate didn’t even attempt the SFR, so the 2011 is in high demand. Smooth and silky, perfumed with rose petals, it shows lots of morello cherry and bright raspberry fruit and then a long finish of spice, mushrooms, and leather. Delicious now with grilled duck breast, but it will drink even better in a year or two.
When a winery chooses not to make a reserve, the regular vintage usually gains intensity from grapes that would have gone to the premium level. Randy Picton’s pinot has long been an Okanagan favourite for its delicate but earthy profile-all violets and woodsmoke with dark cherry and strawberry-and the 2011 has exceptional value with fruit that lends a bit more length and structure. A brilliant match with grilled salmon on a bed of lentils and mushrooms, it’s also the perfect way to give thanks for turkey and all the trimmings.