The Summer Olympics are in full swing — and while most of us are watching from home and not participating in these great displays of athleticism, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little bit of fun! Here are our suggestions for perfect wine and Olympic event pairings (note: we do not suggest imbibing in wine before physically attempting any of these activities).
The various events under the gymnastics banner take incredible skill and life-long training. It’s very technical and precise, but also beautiful to watch. So we chose a wine pairing that is exceptionally well crafted but beautiful on the palate.
Pairing: Clos Cibonne Cuvée Tradition Rosé - $42.99
This well-crafted, unique rosé wine is from a legendary producer in Provence known for crafting age-worthy rosés. Made from organic, estate grown 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache grapes, it was aged 12 months in oak foudres before bottling. With notes of jasmine, dried peach, apricot, herbs, spice and berries, the nose is compelling and the palate is round, vibrant, mouthwatering and deep. Not your typical rosé!
Women’s Football (Soccer)
Team Canada’s women’s soccer team brought it home on August 6, and after Christine Sinclair’s long and storied history in the sport, it’s only fitting we pair this Olympic triumph with a true celebration. Pop open the bubbly and make a toast to this thrilling victory after a nail biting game!
Pairing: Bourdy Cremant du Jura - $33.99
From France’s Jura region nestled between Switzerland and Burgundy, this is an area relatively unknown by the masses because only 10% of wine from this region is exported - so we're really lucky to have this Bourdy Cremant in Alberta! Made from 100% Chardonnay, this bright and engaging sparkling wine made in the traditional method will pair great with the entire meal, or drink as an aperitif. Bourdy is one of France's eldest winemaking families. With a light body and fine bubbles, this wine is best served chilled around 3-5 Celsius and enjoyed young. It has notes of apple, pear and fig with ginger and toast on the finish.
Olympic beach volleyball is far more intense and competitive than what any of us would do while casually hanging out on the beach. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to pair this Olympic event with a beach-worthy wine! Portugal is home to some of the best beaches in the world, so a Portuguese white wine is a well-suited pairing.
Pairing: Adega de Monção Vinho Verde - $18.99
The Adega de Monção Vinho Verde comes from the Minho region in Northern Portugal and is made from Alvarinho and Trajadura grapes. The winery, Adega de Monção, was founded in 1958. The wine has a bright appearance and young fruity character, with hints of peach and apricot, lemon zest and bitter oranges. Fruity, steady and dry, pair this wine with oysters, grilled fish, salad or fresh seafood — anything that reminds you of the ocean.
Most of us are probably more comfortable with casual dips and swims in one of Alberta’s many beautiful lakes rather than lane swimming across Olympic sized pools. Let’s pair the Olympic swimming events with a wine that reminds us of enjoying days at the lake and the “lake breezes” that accompany those sunny moments.
Pairing: Lake Breeze Pinot Gris - $25.99
"Homegrown" on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan from the beautiful Lake Breeze Vineyards, which is named for the winds that blow across the bluffs year round. The Lake Breeze Pinot Gris is a fresh, lively and fragrant white wine, with aromas of peach and other orchard fruit with floral hints and a touch of spice. On the palate, it is crisp and medium-bodied, with fresh pear and stone fruit flavours that are balanced with lemon zesty acidity and finishing with white pepper spice and lingering clean mineral flavours.
Running is the oldest Olympic sport in the world. At the very first Olympics in 776 BCE, it was actually the only event, and remained the only event for another 40 years. So we decided to pair the running Olympic events with a wine from some of the oldest continuous producing vines in the world.
Pairing: Cirillo “The Vincent” Grenache - $44.99
This 100% Grenache wine is produced from vines planted in 1920 or earlier. It was aged in 90 year old foudre barrels for 12 months. Aromas of rich fruit, herbal, white pepper, bright cherry and licorice. Silky texture on the palate and very generous with intense characteristics of the Grenache grape. Well-rounded with a lingering finish, this is a charismatic wine that you can drink now, or age it well into the future.
What are your favourite summer Olympic events? And what wines would you pair with them? Let us know!