Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A good introduction to Canadian wines while hiking in the Canadian Rockies

I am just back from 8 days of hiking in Banff National Park and I am still in awe of the spectacular landscape of the place—ice-carved mountains, hanging glaciers, turquoise blue lakes, and roaring cascades. I was also impressed by the dining scene —we were literally famished after hiking up and down hills on rugged mountain trails—and the good Canadian wines we found on the local wine lists.

Lake Louise from the top of the Little Beehive

On the first night, after a day of hiking in the wind and rain on the Iceline Trail, a raclette with a bottle of 2011 Quails' Gate Dry Riesling helped restore our energy. You need a wine with a firm backbone and a good level of acidity to cut through the creamy richness of the cheese, and the Quails' Gate Dry Riesling was more than up to the task: crisp, mineral, with citrus and floral aromas.

A couple of days later, we hiked to Shadow Lake Lodge, a back country lodge in Banff National Park. Although he day started with some snow, the skies turned deep blue by the time we reached the lodge.

On our way to the Shadow Lake Lodge

The Shadow Lake Lodge

After our nine mile hike, we happily rested around a fire burning in the old iron stove in the main cabin with a glass of 2011 Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris. The wine was dry, crisp, fruity, and totally comforting, a mouth-watering treat before the hearty dinner that would later be served.

One of our last dinners was in a steak house in Banff where we ordered a bottle of 2009 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors' Reserve Merlot. The wine had black berry aromas, a smooth palate and a refreshing acidity uncommon in California. I enjoyed it but I guess it was slightly too acidic to my friend's taste.

Hiking Johnston Canyon

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