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Seeing summer off through rosé-tinted glasses

B.C. wine laws refuse to think inside the box

Is it just our imagination or are the sands of summer already slipping away? Here in the green roof garden atop the skyscraper that's home to hiredbelly.com HQ, we just harvested our garlic.

It is one of life's sweetest moments: a taste of finely chopped, fresh garlic right from the garden, served on toast, with diced ripe tomato and a little cracked pepper.

Interestingly enough, those two main ingredients form the foundation for many a Mediterranean dish, so this year's inaugural taste will be accompanied by a Provence rosé-of which there's an abundant supply at B.C. Liquor Stores.

Worth a nod: . Gassier Sables d'Azur '10 Good value in a traditional, skittle-shaped bottle, with upfront strawberry notes and balanced fruit and acidity with a juicy middle and clean, zesty end. Think pan-seared albacore with couscous and fresh bean salad. BCLS $15.99.

- Chateau Miraval Pink Floyd Rosé 2010

The name relates to the storied chateau's built-in recording studio, where many a legend (including Pink Floyd in 1979) has laid down tracks, presumably between sips. Subtle mineral notes, pear and citrus hints, firm acidity, with a zesty close. Whether it's worth $29.99, that depends on how much it means to you to taste a wine from the Brangelina-leased estate. Maybe just hum "We don't need no education" and you'll feel better.

- Les Quatre Tours Signature (Coteaux d'Aix en Provence) 2010

Layers of vibrant floral and ripe strawberry notes with a luscious middle and touch of zest. More juicy with a touch of mineral to close. Pour a glass and pretend you're under the trees in Aix. $19.99 BCLS.

- Domaine Houchart Rosé Cotes de Provence 2010

Another "skittle" bottle, this long-running workhorse of the rosé section still delivers good value. Medium salmon coloured, with wild berry and citrus hints, well-balanced palate with enough acidity to carry the fruit to a gently spicy end. $16.95 BCLS.

- - -

B.C. wine laws move in mysterious ways. Not long ago it was forbidden to put VQA wines in screwcap bottles-a rule changed only when it became obvious how many folks would rather twist than pull. Now there's a kerfuffle over Summerhill Winery's new Alive organic wines, which in true eco-spirit come in threelitre "bag in boxes" that don't comply with VQA rules.

We agree with Summerhill's Ezra Cipes, who notes the wines come from the same tanks that fill their VQA bottles. He thought it was a "no-brainer" because of the benefits of the package. "Savings we can pass along from not having to buy bottles and corks, the shelf life after opening, and the much reduced environmental impact."

Those savings are considerable (up to $40 on the equivalent four bottles), but the 100 per cent B.C. organic wines can't be sold in VQA stores and would wind up beside plonkish "Cellared in Canada" boxes at B.C. Liquor Stores.

Anyone who's travelled Down Under (where the wine box technology was invented) knows bag in box rightly lost its stigma years ago. And at Hornby Island's Middle Mountain Mead, they can barely keep up with demand for its three-litre boxes of lavender-toned Magik Mead.

Here's the irony: If Summerhill had put the wines into heavier and far less "green" three-litre bottles (allowed under VQA) there wouldn't be a problem. Only in B.C. Go figure.

Please, someone, fix the stupid rule.

info@hiredbelly.com