Often beer gets all the glory when it comes to BBQ season, but wine really has the potential to bring out the strong bold flavours enjoyed in BBQ grilled cuisine. Many people have questions about which wines pair best with their favourite BBQ’d fares, but in fact, the diversity of possibilities is surprising. With a bit of creativity and a few guidelines, you will be well on your way to creating satisfying combinations. Here we offer a by no means exhaustive analysis, to lend some insight into that all-important question, “What wine do I bring to the BBQ”?
Probably one of the most well known combinations involves pairing bolder red meat such as beef with fuller bodied red wines. For example, you may want to enjoy a cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, malbec, merlot or shiraz with a steak or beef burger. These higher tannin wines cut through the fat, and wines with a peppery and tobacco flavour work well with the boldness prominent in beef prepared on the BBQ.
Ex Nihilo Varietal to Consider:
There is a bit of a range here. In general, pork pairs well with higher fruit red wines with a little sweetness, as well as rosé and rich white wines, depending on what it is you are enjoying. In particular, pinot noir, or zinfandel can be a good choice for that cut of pork or ribs on the barbie, or you could go a different route and even try an icewine with a grilled pork roast. For a hotdog, a champagne or riesling might work well, cutting through the fat, and if adding mustard, a sauvignon blanc can highlight the ‘tang’ while combating the saltiness of the dog.
Ex Nihilo Varietal to Consider:
Chicken & Fish
Full flavoured white, rosé, and some reds can work in this area of the BBQ department, depending on the boldness of the item. Specifically, enjoy a rosé, chardonnay, or a lighter bodied red wine such as pinot noir for salmon. As for chicken, rosé can pair well with the chicken itself as well as the bbq sauce, if being used. Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are often a good choice as well for chicken, and interestingly, a malbec can work in cases where the chicken becomes bolder on the BBQ.
Ex Nihilo Varietals to Consider:
For that veggie kabob, crisp white wines like a pinot gris or sauvignon blanc are a good go-to. More earthy veggies such as eggplant & mushroom can also pair well with syrah, zinfandel, or even cabernet sauvignon, but this is really just a start as there is such variety in the veggie department.
We encourage further investigation depending on your particular vegetable choice.
Ex Nihilo Varietal to Consider:
A Note on Pairing with Sauce & Spice
Not only do we take the food we are cooking on the BBQ into account when pairing wine, but the spice and sauce is quite important as well. In terms of sauces, sweet bbq sauces are accentuated with a sweet wine. If a sauce or glaze is more tart or acidic, off-dry whites might be a good choice. BBQ sauces that are more “mustardy” go well with white or light reds.
In terms of spice rubs, we could devote a whole blog article to this but there are a few basic guidelines that may help. White wines tend to go better with “soft herbs”, which include tarragon, basil and dill. “Hard herbs” such as rosemary and thyme often pair well with red wines. Rosé and white wines work really well with fresh herbs in general, and when combining spices, go with the overall style of the dish - i.e. middle eastern, etc. If that dish is particularly spicy, a riesling or gewurztraminer might be in order.
Ex Nihilo’s Summer BBQ Wine Bundle
Back by popular demand, Ex Nihilo has a special BBQ bundle available for sale this summer. A fabulous sauce we sell in our winery has been paired with a variety of specially chosen wines. As an added perk, our chef has included some great Icewine recipes. For more information visit our online store or tasting room. Now you can’t go wrong when showing up for that next BBQ!
What exactly is a wine club and why might you want to join one? Besides the obvious of having fabulous bottles of wine regularly delivered straight to your door, there are a variety of benefits to membership, depending on which wine club you choose. So without further ado, here are a few of the top reasons you should consider joining a wine club:
1. Savings & Convenience
We have already mentioned the benefit of having wine regularly delivered to you, but did you know that many wine clubs offer wine discounts and deals on shipping, sometimes even shipping for free! Now that is something to get excited about and will ensure you will always have a little something special on-hand for that impromptu dinner party.
2. Perks, Member Opportunities & VIP Treatment
From discounts, to freebies, to member-only events at the winery, and more, the pros of being a part of a wine club often extend way beyond just the wine itself. Get the VIP treatment you crave and benefit from a sense of community and new experiences.
3. Learning From the Winemakers
Being a part of a club can give you better access to the people making your favourite wines. You may learn more about how the wines you love are made via member-exclusive events, newsletters, and more. Being part of a club can give you a bit of an education and a special glimpse behind the scenes.
4. Access to Limited Wine Varieties or New Releases
Often wineries will release specific limited or new wines to members only, giving ‘first dibs’ to those loyal customers that are a part of the club. You can be the first to taste a new variety. For example, Ex Nihilo released its first ever Gewurztraminer to members first!
5. A Great Gift Idea
A wine club membership can be a wonderful idea for a gift for that wine lover in your life. If you know your friend or family member’s taste in wine, you can give them a gift that truly keeps giving throughout the year, as they get to indulge in their favourites, discover new varieties, and enjoy the experiences that go along with membership.
The Value of Membership
When choosing to be a part of a wine club, think of the total value you will receive from the experience, not just the cost of the wine. As we can see, there is often much more to joining a club than just receiving wine. In addition, be sure to understand the fine print, the cancellation process, and what you are agreeing to, to avoid any disappointment. Overall you want to get the most out of your experience and capitalise on the fun factor.
Ex Nihilo’s Wine Club Experience
We should probably mention at this point that Ex Nihilo may just have the wine club you are looking for. Both Gold and Silver access members enjoy a host of attractive benefits. Below are the top perks as outlined by our dedicated wine club coordinator, Breanna Stienstra:
Customizable wine shipments
- 17% – 20% discounts on wine (some of the highest discounts in the Okanagan Valley)
- Exclusivity to cellared (Library) wines
- Priority access to events/concerts
- Two complimentary standard tastings on every visit
Being a wine club member at Ex Nihilo means so much more than just discounts and benefits. It's a community, a family, and a local social club. Members come to Ex Nihilo for their birthdays, weddings, and a variety of special events because they feel at home here and they know we will do everything we can to personalise each visit. We truly believe that we offer something extra special at Ex Nihilo. There is something magically intoxicating about this place and it draws people in.
Check out our wine club page for more information and start enjoying the joys of membership today!
Every day is wine day, right? Well maybe not, but May 25th is. It’s National Wine Day! Take this opportunity to learn about all things wine, and grab an idea or two on how to responsibly commemorate this special day.
Just how was wine invented?
Statista defines wine as, “an alcoholic beverage produced by fermenting grapes and sometimes other fruits or plants”. It is really hard to pin down exactly how and when wine came to be, but it is believed by some that wine may have been invented by accident between 6000 and 3000 B.C. or earlier, in the area that is now modern day Iran and Georgia, when stored grapes were fermented by wild yeast.
Christian monks had a role in making France one of the best wine making countries in the world. They took detailed notes on different varieties of grapes, growing methods & practices. In the new world region, i.e the Americas, it is believed that the Indigenous people may have played a part in wine’s emergence. However it came to be, it appears to have been a bit of a group effort and a happy invention, as people all over the world continue to enjoy this staple beverage.
History of the Okanagan Valley Wine Region
Ex Nihilo is located in the Okanagan Valley wine region of B.C., which has an interesting history, starting with Father Pandosy, a Frenchman who recognised the fertility of the land. He grew and produced wine for sacramental uses at the Oblate Mission in Kelowna in 1859. Following this, more wineries emerged until prohibition slowed down the growth somewhat. As time went on however, wine makers in the valley began experimenting with hybrid grape varieties. This resulted in a marked increase in the quality of wine in the area and a vibrant industry and scene began to take hold.
The rest is history as, according to Forbes, 85% of B.C.’s wine is produced in this magical area, which resides between the 49th and 50th parallel, the same latitude as Champagne, France and Rheingau, Germany. Consisting of about 9,000 acres of vineyards, it is Canada’s second largest wine region with over 185 wineries.
The Wine Industry in Canada and British Columbia
The wine industry is certainly substantial in Canada. According to Statista, red varieties are most consumed, but of course Canadians’ enjoyment of this diverse drink does not stop there. Retail sales of wine in Canada are forecast to exceed 13.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, showing that Canadians like their wine. According to per capita sales, consumers in Quebec purchase the most wine and those in Saskatchewan purchase the least. What's more, due to its colder climate, Canada is the top producer of Ice Wine in the world.
Below are the Top 10 white and red wines produced in B.C. according to the Wine Growers of BC:
How to Commemorate National Wine Day
It may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but here are some creative ideas to capitalise on the day!:
- First and foremost, come enjoy Happy Hour with us at Ex Nihilo if you are in the area.
- Do a wine tasting or two and discover something new. Use this occasion to try a new wine that you may not normally have considered.
- Visit a winery restaurant and pair tasty culinary bites with premium wine choices.
- Pick up your favourite wine to enjoy it with a friend.
- Plan to host your own wine tasting party.
- Learn more about wine making processes, tasting, pairing, and more. You can start by reading through previous articles in this blog.
- Book yourself a future tour or wine tasting to look forward to.
- Sign up to be part of a wine club, like ours at Ex Nihilo. And while you are at it, sign up for our newsletter below!
- Try a wine and yoga class in your area.
Additional Wine Days
Believe it or not, there are quite a few days throughout the year to celebrate wine, included on the National Day Calendar:
1. National Drink Wine Day – Feb. 18
2. National Mulled Wine Day – March 3
3. National Bubbly Day – First Saturday in June
4. National Moscato Day – May 9
5. National Rosé Day – Second Saturday in June
6. National Strawberry Rhubarb Day – Third Saturday in July
7. National Wine and Cheese Day – July 25
8. National Prosecco Day – August 13
9. National Orange Wine Day – October 6
The Legacy of Wine
Wine is considered by some to be a symbol of transformation, a concept which we can observe throughout all stages of the growing and winemaking process. What’s more, it has influenced cultures throughout time, and connected people from all different walks of life. A much beloved and diverse beverage of choice, the world of wine is one that could take a lifetime to fully explore as there is always something new to learn. So take a moment today to join those around the world and raise your glass!
A wine that is hard to pronounce (ga-VERTZ-trah-mee-ner), with an intense taste, Gewürztraminer is a bit of a curious enigma. Yet those who enjoy a good Gewürz stand by this wine! Popular for centuries around Germany, Gewürztraminer has grown in popularity around the world. It hails originally from Alsace, located on the border between France and Germany, from the Gewürztraminer grape.
Introducing the 2021 XXX Gewürztraminer
Considered one of the 18 Classic Noble Grapes, this deep pink coloured grape requires just the right combination of factors to thrive, from temperature, optimum soil, and protection from pests. The cultivation process is all worth it however, as once the grapes are harvested, the pink skins are removed, and the juice fermented into an exciting wine that is white in colour and an adventure for the taste buds.
Okanaganers agree, as Gewürztraminer is much enjoyed in the Okanagan valley. According to BC Wine Trends, the Gewürztraminer grape is the third most-produced white grape in British Columbia. Pinot Gris and Chardonnay take first and second place in that tally.
Properties of Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminer is not to everyone’s taste but it certainly has a lot to offer. Those who like Moscato, dessert wines, or tropical fruits will be into what this wine brings. The wine can have a distinct spiciness, ("Gewürz" translates to herb, or spice), and is a little on the sweeter side. Side note- the wine often tastes sweeter than it actually is due to aromas, higher alcohol, and lower acidity.
Gewürz often is said to have a Lychee flavour. It is higher in alcohol, full-bodied, and aromatic, offering possible notes of pineapple, ginger, apricot, citrus, rose and more!
Food Pairing & How to Enjoy Gewürztraminer?
True to its eccentric nature, Gewürztraminer can be a challenge to pair with. It generally balances spice and is paired with exotic flavours such as Indian or Thai cuisine. Meats that are often enjoyed alongside a glass of this wine are duck, shrimp, crab, chicken, bacon, and pork.
Serve it chilled, but not overchilled, to keep the wine’s subtle properties. Gewurztraminer is best enjoyed young with preserved acidity.
Grilled Chicken Gewürztraminer Sausage
Be a part of history as we unveil our first-ever Gewürztraminer! Vibrant and juicy with a nice sweetness and spice. Enjoy the bursting summer flavours of lychee, passion fruit, with a hint of rose, pineapple, & guava with this white wine, available for purchase at the winery and in our online store. And if all that was not enough, you can also take advantage of a complimentary recipe for Grilled Chicken Gewürztraminer Sausage, provided by our Executive Chef, Danny Tipper. So go ahead and get your Gewürz on with Ex Nihilo!
The Versatile Charm of Rosé: The Saignée Process, & the Release of the Fabulous Vampata Rosé at Ex Nihilo!
There is no wine more charming than a crisp rosé. Not only striking and intriguing in colour, the flavours and aromas offered by a lovely rosé are something to behold. One of the oldest wines, rosé’s popularity has experienced a resurgence. There are entire festivals dedicated to this wine classification, and with such versatility, we can understand why!
Rosé is probably best known for its’ fresh, fruity quality. Best served chilled, it is most popular in the spring to early fall, due to its refreshing essence. The area of the world most known for this wine is the Provence region of France, but there are plenty of great rosé wines throughout the world, especially right here in the Okanagan.
What are the Distinguishing Characteristics of a Rosé?
Rosé wines have a low to medium alcohol level with bright acidity. Various varieties of red wine grapes are used, sometimes in a blend. Some grape varieties used include Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah and more! Rosé can be sparkling, sweet, or dry, and is broken down into many different types such as:
- Provence Rosé
- Pinot Noir Rosé
- Zinfandel Rosé
- Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
- Syrah Rosé
- Grenache Rosé
- Tavel Rosé
Common Methods of Making Rosé
Some people think that rosé is just a mixture of red and white wine, and sometimes it is, (this is called the blending method). This is most often not the case, however, and except for Rosé Champagne, actually, a practice sometimes frowned upon in the industry.
In the maceration method the grapes are destemmed, sorted, and left to rest/macerate with the juices for up to a few days until the optimum level of pink colour is achieved. The skins are then removed and the wine is made from the remaining juices. Maceration is the most popular method used to produce rosé, but a newer method, the Saignée process has gained popularity and it brings rosé to a different level.
What is the Saignée process?
The saignée (“sohn-yay”) process produces a slightly richer rosé, and involves the removal of a portion of the juice, increasing the proportion of skins in contact. The resulting concentration results in a more vibrant colour and a bit more tannin.
A Rosé Inspired Picnic With Ex Nihilo's Furry Pal Pyper
Rosé Food Pairings
While sipping this versatile wine, there are many great pairings. Look to dishes such as duck, salmon, and lamb. Soft cheeses, such as goat, incorporated into a charcuterie board are also a great option.
Release of the 2021 Vampata Rosé at Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo is excited to release its 2021 Vampata Rosé, a crisp pink delight, produced with the saignée process from pinot noir grapes. Enjoy summer in a glass, with aromas and flavours of strawberry, cranberry, grapefruit, rose hips and gooseberry. Order it from our online store, or venture down to the winery to grab a bottle, or two?
When it comes to wine pairing, the average person may feel a little bit lost and intimidated, deferring to the sophisticated wine connoisseur or sommelier. But that does not have to be the case as wine pairing really boils down to simple chemistry and the manipulation of flavours. There are a few basic rules that can help you get started within the fascinating and fun art of understanding how wine and food flavours interact on your palette.
Of primary consideration are the taste components or profiles in the food. Many guides narrow them down to 6-7 and these profiles influence what type of wine you might choose to accompany your meal.
Everything Wine lists 7 Taste Components in food that can be used to determine what type of wine to choose:
A general rule is that you do not want to pair a less sweet wine with a sweet food item. You may also want to avoid wines that have a high tannin content with sweet foods.
Exercise caution with wines that are high in tannins or contain oak with more savoury food.
Tannins become more enjoyable with salty cuisine.
Avoid pairing a wine with less acidity than the food.
Choose a wine that has a similar intensity of flavours to the meal.
A higher acid content wine is actually good in this case.
Hot and spicy foods do well with light, fruity wines with some sweetness.
Wine Folly’s Food Pairing Basics lists 9 Additional Tips to Reference when pairing. Some of these tips reinforce and expand somewhat on what we have learned above:
- Choose a wine that is more acidic than the food.
- Pairing wines sweeter than the food is ideal
- The wine and food should have the same or similar flavour intensity.
- Bold flavoured meals and red wines pair best.
- Light intensity meats (fish and chicken) and white wines pair well.
- Bitter wines (red) balance with fat.
- Match your wine with the sauce over the meat.
- Often white, sparkling & rose create contrasting pairings.
- Often red wines create congruent pairings.
Congruent & Contrasting (Complimentary) Pairings & Common Combinations:
Just like relationships, there are different types of pairings that are worthwhile. A congruent pairing amplifies shared compounds or similar flavours, while a complementary pairing deals with contrasting flavours and creating balance between them.
Tips for Wine Pairing with Vegetarian Meals:
When pairing a wine with a vegetarian meal, it is important to look at a few factors. If vegetables are a main focus, whites or lighter reds are the best. If the dish is particularly dairy centred, a richer wine may be in order.
In addition, are the vegetables involved root vegetables or mushrooms, or of the fresh or light variety? In the case of the former, a wine that pairs well with earthy flavours as in a Pinot Noir might be just right.
Learn More With a Culinary Experience at Ex Nihilo:
Want to delve further? Indulge and learn at the same time with a Culinary Dinner Series at Ex Nihilo’s CHAOS Bistro. Executive Chef, Danny Tipper will talk about the origin of the dishes and perfect wine pairings for each course. Visit our website for information on future dates and to book.