As the days get longer and warmer, the happy hours seem to go from a weekly rendezvous to a daily affair. In France and Québec, they call it l’heure de l’apéro. There is nothing better to decompress after a long day at work than impromptu gatherings with friends where snacks and drinks turn into dinner. Having a cabinet well stocked with wine is necessary to be ready for these spontaneous get togethers.
What is the appropriate wine for l’apéritif? Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:
- The price tag shouldn’t break the bank so that you can have multiple bottles on hand.
- Go for light reds and refreshing whites.
- The wine should be as good on its own as it is with food.
Here are some of my top picks from MyWineCanada.com:
1. Meyer Family Vineyards, 2012 Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley, $18.00
Nothing says springtime like the aromatic Gewürztraminer. Explosive notes of litchi and white peaches with a touch of dry sage make this wine the perfect apéro. It's also a great match with salads and grilled fish.
2. Elephant Island Orchard Wines, Cassis Fortified 2013, Okanagan Valley, $21.84
Have you heard of Kir? The French embraced this aperitif a long time ago. It’s a mix of white wine (preferably neutral and high in acid) and a dash of crème de cassis. It's a great way to use your left over whites, if you have any. Instead of using crème de cassis opt for the Cassis Fortified from Elephant Island. A Canadian take on this classic cocktail that you won’t regret!
3. 13th Street 2012 Gamay Noir, Niagara Peninsula, $19.95
Gamay is one of the first grapes I think of when searching for a light refreshing red. This one is a great example. Juicy and vibrant with bursting notes of cherries and cranberries. Chill slightly. It is a delicious match with any light meat or sturdy fish you throw on the BBQ.
4. Flat Rock Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir, Niagara Peninsula, $20.15
Light and pleasing with vibrant notes of raspberries and strawberries. Easy to drink on its own but also a good choice when you have a lot of different items on the grill. Chill slightly.
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.