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Savoury Summer Pairing – Pesto Chicken Paninis & Sparkling Gamay

By , On , In Wine Pairing & Recipes
Two people clinking wine glasses of Heaven's Gate Winery's 2020 Sparkling Gamay as they enjoy a beautifully paired dinner menu.

As summer lingers in Okanagan, we are lucky to be able to enjoy warm weather activities well into September. The enduring warmth calls for lighter fruit-forward wines that echo this region’s lush vineyards and orchards.

Presenting with a hue reminiscent of an August sunset, our latest wine feature highlights Gamay Noir’s summer-loving side. Expect soft, light bubbles and notes of strawberry and peach in our Heaven’s Gate Winery 2020 Sparkling Gamay. It is enjoyable before your meal as an apértif. It also pairs beautifully with a picnic lunch or dinner. We’ve included the perfect winery picnic menu below to help get you started. Grab your basket and come enjoy the vineyard views from our open-air patio.


Our Feature Wine

Gamay Noir Flavour Notes

A bottle of Heaven's Gate Winery's 2020 Gamay Sparkling on a white background.

The rich purple Gamay grape primarily grows in France in the Beaujolais and Loire Valley regions. Typically more floral on the nose than its cousin Pinot Noir, Gamay is loved equally among connoisseurs for its versatility, earthy notes and floral bouquet. When grown in the Okanagan, this varietal tends to present berry-forward flavours that lend to unique, informal, light-bodied reds. Unlike other red wines, Gamay is best enjoyed lightly chilled. 

Pairing Gamay With Food

When pairing Gamay with food, its light-body, low tannins and naturally high acidity, offer several options to choose from. A Gamay such as our Heaven’s Gate Winery 2020 Sparkling Gamay delights as an apértif, and it can also pair particularly well with a variety of foods:

  • Roasted meat and barbecue dishes especially poultry or pork
  • Seafood and fish like salmon, prawns or shrimp, calamari or sushi
  • Cheeses, especially creamy varieties like goats cheese, brie, Alpen like Beaufort and Gruyere and even a hearty cheddar
  • Herby or spicy dishes
  • Portobello mushrooms, roasted potatoes, spinach salad, onion rings, walnuts and pecans 
  • Desserts with summer fruits, dark chocolate 


The Perfect Okanagan Winery Picnic Menu

Grilled Chicken Pesto PaninisBowl of fresh pesto with a spoon relating to an outdoor picnic and wine pairing menu.

When dining al fresco, you want your meal to be simple, fresh and easy to eat. We looked for a roasted or grilled dish that could be easily transported that combined vibrant herbs and rich cheeses. 

These Grilled Chicken Pesto Paninis stood out from the rest. The grilled chicken, herby pesto and rich provolone cheese make it the perfect companion for our estate grown 2020 Sparkling Gamay. The recipe comes together easily. In addition to the chicken, pesto, and provolone, you’ll only need olive oil, fresh garlic, Italian seasoning, roasted red peppers, and Italian bread. You can always take it a step further and make your own pesto. If you choose to make your own, we recommend this wonderfully fresh Basil Pesto Recipe that has only 8 ingredients and comes together in just 5 minutes.


A Summer Inspired Dessert

A wonderful accompaniment to your main course is this Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream dessert recipe. The ricotta cheese, strawberries and balsamic vinegar go perfectly alongside your 2020 Sparkling Gamay. We recommend preparing this ahead of time and adding the strawberries once you are ready to savour this delightful dish. 

For the best Okanagan-grown berries, basil and other local ingredients, try Blossom’s Fruit Stand.

You can try our exquisite 2020 Sparkling Gamay at a vineyard-side picnic or at home. Buy yourself a bottle from our wine shop or order online for only $20.78 per bottle or get a case of 12 for just $249.36. 


What Our Guests are Saying

“Beautiful winery overlooking Okanagan lake, located in the heart of Summerland, on bottle neck drive. Always enjoy the experience of boutique wines in a cozy little log cabin. Located on happy valley road, it lives up to its name with the most happy and welcoming staff.

The wines are elegantly packaged to match a sophisticated taste profile. Bright clean whites and age worthy reds.

In the summer months you will often come across complementary live music on Saturday, where they invite you to bring a picnic and purchase a bottle of wine to live an afternoon of your best Okanagan life.

The owner and wine maker, Tyson Felt, can often be found running around the property or on the tasting bar as your host. And…. they have the most adorable winery dog named Rogue.”

I don’t know about you, but this place definitely checks all the boxes of a true authentic and family run Okanagan winery. A must try!


Come in and say hi when you purchase your bottle of Heaven’s Gate Winery’s 2020 Sparkling Gamay today and experience the perfect Okanagan vineyard picnic. We are confident you will love our BC VQA certified wine for sipping, serving and savouring.