Wine Guy: There's still time for gin

Summery gin and tonics are still in style, not to mention transitional fall Negronis, which is the inspiration for this week’s picks.

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Labour Day has come and gone. But here’s a quick reminder that the long weekend does not signal the end of summer.

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Fall doesn’t officially arrive until Sept. 23 and if you’re doing things right that means eking out every last sunny vibe until then. This means there’s still time for summery gin and tonics — not to mention transitional fall Negronis, which is the inspiration for this week’s three picks.

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Wine Guy

Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin, Ireland

($49.99, #4677)

Botanicals are what really define a gin because, at its base, gin is neutral spirit. The choice of botanicals drive the spirit’s aromas, flavours, and overall character. Of course there will be the required juniper, or genever as it’s known in Dutch, and hence the namesake of gin. But beyond this there is a world of inspiration, and good gin often speaks to place. For example, Glendalough Wild Botanical is made using a blend of fresh botanicals hand-harvested in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland. The result is enticing and engaging, full of herbaceous and floral notes with a lingering citrus kiss to finish.

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Bottom line: A-, Great all-around gin

Wine Guy

Sheringham Distillery Seaside Gin, B.C.

($49.99, #776724)

In B.C. it’s hard not to consider the influence of the sea. And while it’s possible to sip in place, Sheringham’s Seaside Gin shows it’s also possible to sip a place. Located in the southern tip of Vancouver Island, for their flagship spirit this craft distillery employs locally foraged wing kelp from the ocean along with the usual juniper, coriander, citrus, and other botanicals. The overall blend creates a spirit redolent with lifted floral notes backed by a woodsy, peppery spice and slight saline kiss. It’s delicate enough for solo sipping, and also makes for an elegant backyard gin and tonic.

Bottom line: A-, Smells like B.C.

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Wine Guy

Roku Gin, Japan

($50.99, #211842)

Halfway around the world, another worthy gin takes its cue from the unique terroir it calls home. Along with traditional gin botanicals, including juniper, Roku — which translates to “six” in Japanese — incorporates six distinct Japanese ingredients: sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, green tea, Gyokuro tea, and Sancho pepper. These botanicals represent Japan’s four seasons and lend this gin a unique profile highlighted by citrus high notes, and further complemented by herbs and flowers alongside a classic base. A lick of spice concludes this elegant, slightly bitter bottle that calls to be sipped neat or used in a classic martini. 

Bottom line: B+, Bold and beautiful gin.

The Swirl: Taste of Abby Fall Food Festival

The Taste of Abby returns to various locations throughout Abbotsford from Sept. 15-24, promising to showcase and celebrate local fall flavours. A variety of events are scheduled over the 10 days, ranging from night markets to grape stomps, foraging workshops to art and wine walks. Venues and ticket prices vary. For details head to 

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