That goes without saying. The good news about the recently announced 2011 Lieutenant Governor's awards is that several are not only available but highly affordable. And most are available. Here's a short list of a few of those worthy sips that truly do deliver "B.C. in your glass" - the perfect way to celebrate summer's (albeit overdue) arrival.
- Stellers Jay Brut 2006. Toast B.C. with a flute of this vintage sparker that delivers with loads of persistent bubbles and classic Pinot Noir character with textured leesy notes. Widely available. BCLS $25.49
- St. Hubertus Dry Riesling 2009 (East Kelowna).
Another LG Award winner, from one of the Okanagan's most consistently affordable producers: Look for floral notes followed by vibrant apple and citrus underpinned by keen acidity through a zesty, crisp finish. Think toasted yam and harissa spiced couscous salad. VQA Stores
$15.50 ? Wild Goose Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2010 (Oliver).
Before growers hitched their wagon to Chardonnay, there was a time when Pinot Blanc was B.C.'s most widely planted varietal. Here's a textbook example to pair with your B.C. Day barbecued salmon: Subtle aromas melon and orchard fruits precede a textured palate of apple and pear notes with moderate acidity and a clean finish. VQA stores $18.99
- Howling Bluff Summa Quies Pinot Noir 2009 (Naramata Bench)
Lifted wild strawberry entry, followed by plush cherry chocolate notes wrapped in silky tannins before a lengthy end. Great value. Limited, VQA stores. $24.99
- Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 (Lower Black Sage).
This producer never fails to delight, particularly with this still youthful but already complex Pinot that yields classic aromas of earthy and smoky notes, on the palate: strawberry with a touch of savoury and mineral wrapped in silky tannins. A benchmark Okanagan Pinot Noir. Screwcap. VQA stores $25
- Red Rooster Meritage 2008 (South Okanagan)
This wine emerged as a winner in a field of pretty impressive names. Spicy notes up front before an elegant, balanced palate with good depth and complex red and black fruit, emphasized by spice and cassis notes, with sweet oak on the close. Very polished for the price, and widely available. BCLS $22.99
- Sandhill Small Lots Phantom Creek Syrah 2009 (Black Sage)
You'll have to look hard to find this wine, made by Howard Soon, which has become a perennial winner, with an impressive haul of awards for the '09 from a number of important competitions. Very definite meaty-pepperysmoky aromas, followed by a complex plush and plummy palate of sweet black fruit with chocolate hints before a generous, lengthy close. Wicked. Benchmark South Okanagan Syrah. Around $35.
(Also awarded: . Laughing Stock Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris . Mt. Lehman Winery 2009 Viognier Reserve . Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery 2008 Syrah . Volcanic Hills Estate Winery 2010 RosÃ©)