Road 13 Vineyards Celebrate Awards, Christmas, and Ned Bell

Road 13 Vineyards has been having a great season, winning awards, preparing their Advent Wine Calendar, and pairing their wines with Ned Bell’s Lure Cookbook.  Below is the latest news about these items directly from Road 13 Vineyards.  Enjoy!

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 Road 13 Vineyards saw another busy summer season of wine-loving tourists and locals through their Golden Mile Bench tasting room. With a number of wines in the portfolio currently sold out and a bounty of awards at the British Columbia Wine Awards and Wine Align National Wine Awards – it’s safe to say the Oliver based vineyard has had a successful few months.
Road 13 Vineyards collects a bounty of wine awards at the British Columbia Wine Awards at the Okanagan Wine Festivals:
Gold – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Marsanne
Silver – Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Gamay Noir
Road 13 Vineyards 2014 Jackpot Petit Verdot
Road 13 Vineyards 2013 Fifth Element
Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Seventy-Four K
Road 13 Vineyards 2013 Sparkling Chenin Blanc
Bronze – Road 13 Vineyards 2012 Fifth Element
Road 13 Vineyards 2015 Roussanne 2016 VRM White Blend
These awards come hot on the heels of  Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada 2017 which awarded Road 13 Vineyards as the Best Winery in BC and #4 in Canada – Road 13 has been named Top 10 Winery nine years in a row. Thirteen medals were awarded in the categories of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Notes from the Harvest:

The vintage started out cool and wet, but quickly changed to hot and dry. These conditions produced tiny berries which result in concentrated fruit flavours and a low yield. The smoke from the forest fires this past summer helped to keep temperatures below 35 degrees Celsius allowing the vines to keep ripening grapes, rather than shutting down to conserve energy. The quality of the grapes coming in from the harvest has been excellent and it is looking like another great vintage.
Holiday Gifting:

Wine Advent Calendar 

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the wine lover on your list. Countdown the 12 days of Christmas with Road 13. The winery has a limited number of wine advent calendars available as of November 20th for $335 plus tax. Packaged in mid-summer to ensure a great selection of bottles, the wine calendar includes 12 bottles with many long sold out.  For an added surprised, there are three different.

*Additional shipping cost of $20 beyond BC and AB
 
The Platinum Pack
For a gift that sparkles, Road 13 is releasing its first ever Platinum six-pack. This is a wonderful gift for the wine collection and is a tribute to the winery’s platinum ranked, award-winning library wines. The Platinum Pack includes one bottle of each of the following and a collectors wooden box: 2009 Sparkling Chenin Blanc, 2011 Syrah Malbec, 2013 Syrah Malbec, 2013 GSM, 2014 Syrah Mourvedre, and 2014 Similikameen Collective GSM. These wines are only available in the Platinum Pack and Road 13 is the only winery to have won enough consecutive Platinum Medals to offer this limited edition collector’s item. The Platinum Pack is available for order starting November 20th for $599 plus tax, shipping is included in BC & Alberta; $20 flat fee to the rest of Canada.
Contact the winery directly to order the advent calendar and Platinum Pack starting November 20th at 1.250.498.8330. Images can be found here
For a gift that keeps on giving, loyal Road 13 Vineyard enthusiasts are invited to join Club 13 – a wine club that sees three shipments of six bottles per year (March, July and November). Wine loving members enjoy extra perks of a 10 percent discount on all wine purchases, events and logo’d merchandise, free shipping on full case orders, complimentary tours with a member of the Luckhurst family, free tastings for up to four people in the Castle tasting room, exclusive access to limited release wines, advanced notice and access to all wines. Click here to join today!
Upcoming Events at Road 13 Vineyards:

Winter in Wine Country – November 24 -26 | 11am – 4pm

Join Road 13 during the Oliver – Osoyoos Tourism Association’s Winter in Wine Country Festival. Events include the annual Oliver community light up and fireworks, plus festival of trees. Visitors to Road 13 will enjoy holiday specials on merchandise – perfect for stocking stuffers, complimentary wine tastings, and a selection of library wines available for sale.

Class in a Glass: paint pARTy – Saturday, November 25 | 1pm to 4pm 

Laura Luckhurst will be teaching a afternoon of painting featuring one of her original art pieces. Tickets to this popular class include all materials, a glass of wine and an apron. This event is a regular sell-out so buy tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Road 13 Vineyards Wine Paring Recipe from Ned Bell’s Lure Cookbook 

With the busy holiday season around the corner – Ned Bell’s roasted scallop recipe from his recently launched Lure Cookbook wows guests and is a party favourite every time. Pair with the award-winning Road 13 Vineyards 2016 Honest John’s White. Aromas of green apple, pears and lime whisks you away from winter outside to a tropical locale – if only for a bite or two. Try it at home.
Roasted Scallops with Grapefruit, Brown Butter and Thyme
Ingredients:
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
1 grapefruit
12 Weathervane scallops
sea salt and pepper
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
Method:
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add thyme. Allow butter to gently simmer for 5 minutes or until milk solids turn golden brown and fall to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, cut and peel the grapefruit. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to remove the segments and let them fall into the bowl. Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract all the juice before discarding.
If the abductor muscle (a little flap) is still on the side of the scallops, remove it. Heat skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of the brown butter. Pat the scallops dry and add to the pan, making sure not to crowd them. Allow to sear undisturbed for 2 minutes or until browned. Season with salt and pepper, flip the scallops and add remaining brown butter. Add 2 tbsp of grapefruit juice. Allow scallops to sear for an additional 2 minutes, basting them with liquid in the pan.
Serve:
Divide the watercress among four plates. Set the scallops on top and garnish with grapefruit segments. Drizzle with the pan sauce and sprinkle with sea salt.
                – 30 –
About Road 13 Vineyards:
Road 13 Vineyards is a family affair, owned and operated by the passionate Luckhurst family. Located in Canada’s only desert on the Okanagan Valley’s sun baked Golden Mile Bench, a unique sub-region that lies south of Oliver on an east-facing bench backed by gentle mountains.
The winery credits their successes to the unique soil and growing conditions found in the vineyards that allows grapes to thrive. Road 13’s motto – it’s all about the dirt– reflects this tribute. The winery receives ongoing critical acclaim for making white, red, rosé and sparkling varietals that are a quintessential expression of Okanagan Valley terroir. In 2017, Road 13 Vineyards took fourth place in Wine Align’s National Wine Awards having maintained a spot in Wine Align’s top 10 for the past nine years.
In addition to the award-winning wines, Road 13 Vineyards is a destination in itself, offering guests two unique experiences: feature tastings in the “Castle,” or a more leisurely tasting of the entire Road 13 wine portfolio in the Executive Lounge. Visitors are encouraged to stay a while and bring a picnic while enjoy the stunning views of the Oliver-Osoyoos Wine Country.

For more information visit road13vineyards.com or visit socially on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Enjoy Christmas Eve Dinner at Le Parisien

Le Parisien LogoIn Paris, Nuit de Noel (Christmas Eve) is a time to spend feasting with friends and family. Whether your Nuit de Noel tradition is to attend a carol service, stay at home, go to a movie or visit friends, consider joining us for dinner that night. As your neighbourhood French bistro, we offer a warm, family-friendly environment in which to enjoy good food and the joy of the season.

Give the cook in your home an early Christmas present – along with our regular menu, we are offering a four-course prix fixe menu for only $55. You’ll leave as full as a Christmas stocking.

Reservations essential: 604-687-1418 / www.opentable.com/le-parisien-vancouver

Le Parisien Holiday Hours:
December 24 Dinner early seating: 5-6:45 pm
December 24 Dinner late seating: 7-8:45 pm
December 25 & 26 Closed
December 31 Open for dinner
January 1 Open for brunch & dinner
January 2 Closed

Christmas Eve Menu

Squash Croquette
Spiced Apple Chutney

***

Salmon Tartare
Cucumber, Tomato, Watercress and Crostinis

Roasted Quail and Baby Spinach Salad
Hazelnuts, Raspberry Vinaigrette

Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart
Caramelized Onions, Olives

***

Pan Seared Artic Char
Asparagus, Green Beans, Fingerling Potato, Beurre Blanc

Beef Wellington
Mushroom Duxelle, Potato Gratin, Parisienne Sauce

Roasted Duck Breast
Brussels Sprout Leaves, Glazed Carrots, Dauphine Potatoes, Cranberry Citrus Jus

***

Dark Chocolate Tort
Candied Pecan and Crème Anglaise

Lemon Mousse
Raspberry Coulis

Vanilla Poached Pear
Chocolate Sorbet

$55 / Person

Le Parisien
751 Denman St. Vancouver, BC V6G 2L6 | Tel: (604) 687.1418
www.leparisien.ca

Wines of BC logo

Celebrate the Season with BC VQA Wines

Thinking of the perfect holiday gift for someone that has everything?  How about some wonderful BC VQA wine?  I see that there is a special promotion on gift wrapping now for some of these wines.  Here is the info I received.  Enjoy!

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The Wines of British Columbia have got you covered this holiday season with ready-to-gift BC VQA wines available at no extra cost in 10 participating BC Liquor Stores, from now until Christmas.

As you read this press release, sheer organza wine-bottle gift bags are being applied to 10,000 bottles of BC VQA wines in select BC Liquor Stores, making it easier for BC wine shoppers to give the gift of wonderful wines, made in beautiful British Columbia. Whether for a BYOB party, a Hanukkah gathering, an office Christmas party or a dinner with family or friends, grabbing a gift-wrapped bottle of wine makes this year’s holiday shopping that much easier. What’s more is that the British Columbia Wine Institute has taken its promotional gift wrap to the next level of thoughtfulness, including a blank gift tag on every bottle to support a personalized gesture from each gift giver.

With 20 wines taking part in this holiday promotion, you can find the perfect gift for any palate and occasion:

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc

593038 $23.99

Calona Vineyards Artist Series Sovereign Opal

364265 $12.99

CedarCreek Estate Winery Pinot Gris

561175 $17.95

Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery Ehrenfelser

171512 $14.99

Gray Monk Estate Winery Gewürztraminer

321588 $16.99
Hester Creek Estate Winery Pinot Blanc 467316 $16.95
Inniskillin Okanagan Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 597070 $16.99

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

543884 $16.99

JoieFarm Rosé

511469 $20.90

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Five Vineyards Pinot Noir

118844 $17.99
Nk’Mip Cellars Merlot 626416 $19.99
Osoyoos Larose Petales d’Osoyoos 343103 $25.00
Perseus Winery Merlot 127068 $19.99

Quails’ Gate Winery Chasselas Pinot Blanc Pinot Gris

585737 $18.99
Red Rooster Winery Pinot Gris 533174 $17.99
Sandhill Vanessa Vineyard Cabernet Merlot 168641 $19.99
See Ya Later Ranch Winery Riesling 579045 $16.99
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Private Reserve Merlot 272781 $15.99
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Merlot 530725 $19.99
Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery Autumn Gold 414755 $19.00

 10 participating BC Liquor Stores will have the gift-wrapped bottles displayed on their shelves, making it easy for anyone in the Greater Vancouver area to stock up on holiday cheer at a convenient location:

39th & Cambie 5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver
8th & Cambie 2395 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Alberni & Bute 768 Bute Street, Vancouver

Broadway & Maple

2088 West Broadway, Vancouver

Dunbar

3453 Dunbar Street, Vancouver

Lynn Valley

15 – 1199 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
Northgate 103 – 3433 North Road, Burnaby
Park Royal 570 Park Royal North, West Vancouver

Richmond Brighouse

100 – 8100 Ackroyd Road, Richmond
Westwood 100 – 2748 Lougheed Highway, Port Coquitlam

BC VQA wines make the perfect gift anytime, especially this holiday season when they are all dressed up and ready-to-go!

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Gardens Sparkle

December 7, 2012 was the opening night for the Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver.  I had never been to the Festival of Lights but heard of it many times.  I am glad I attended this year, and may go again.  At the Festival of Lights there are lights choreographed to music on the hour and half hour.  There are also themed light areas within the Gardens, such as Gingerbread Wood.  If your fingers, toes, and nose gets cold, there are concessions where you can get a hot chocolate or hot spiced apple cider.  I did have the cider and it was nice to hold that warm drink in my hands as I watched one of the light shows.

The Festival of Lights has another purpose, other than to entertain you.  It is also to support the Make A Wish Foundation.  You can light a candle and buy a star shaped necklace that lights up, with proceeds to the Make A Wish Foundation.  I did both.  Following are pictures I took of the Festival of Lights, followed by my youtube video showing some of the choreographed lights.  If you have a chance please go to the Festival of Lights.  It is a lot of fun.

vandusen lights mushrooms 2012

VanDusen lights mushrooms 2012

vandusen lights  2012

VanDusen lights 2012

vandusen lights by the water  2012

VanDusen lights by the water 2012

vandusen lights gingerbread house  2012

VanDusen lights gingerbread house 2012

vandusen lights Christmas tree  2012

VanDusen lights Christmas tree 2012

vandusen lights with water reflections  2012

VanDusen lights with water reflections 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner 2012 at Le Parisien

Chemps Elysee, Paris, in December. *Source: self-made *Photographer: Andreas Saebjoernsen {{GFDL}}

Chemps Elysee, Paris, in December. *Source: self-made *Photographer: Andreas Saebjoernsen {{GFDL}}

Who wants to cook on Christmas Eve?  Well some people, but I’m sure more prefer to be on the receiving side of that equation.  So why torture yourself?  Enjoy a wonderful French Christmas dinner at Le Parisien.  There are selections for your courses so I’m sure there is something for you and your family to enjoy.  I think my choices would be the Baby Spinach Salad & Warm Duck Confit appetizer, Roasted Duck Breast entree, and Raspberry Souffle Crepe dessert.  I do adore duck.  Pair the duck with a violet scented Pinot Noir or juicy Merlot and I’m set for the evening.  Here is the announcement for the dinner from Le Parisien.  Joyeux Noel.

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In Paris, Nuit de Noel (Christmas Eve) is a time to spend feasting with friends and family. Whether your Nuit de Noel tradition is to attend a carol service, stay at home, go to a movie or visit friends, consider joining us for dinner that night. As your neighbourhood French bistro, we offer a warm, family-friendly environment in which to enjoy good food and the joy of the season.

Give the cook in your home an early Christmas present – our four-course prix fixe menu is only $45 and you’ll leave as full as a Christmas stocking.

Reservations essential: 604-687-1418 / www.opentable.com/le-parisien-vancouver

Christmas Eve Dinner, December 24, 2012

Squash Croquettes
Apple Chutney

***********

Crab Cake
Saffron Aioli, Melon Salad

– or –

Goat Cheese & Tomato Tart
Caramelized Onions, Black Olives

– or –

Baby Spinach Salad & Warm Duck Confit
Hazelnuts, Pear, Mustard Vinaigrette

***********

Salmon Wellington
Spinach, Mushroom Duxelle, Sauce Béarnaise

– or –

Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Potato Gratin, Mushroom Ragout, Red Wine Sauce

– or –

Roasted Duck Breast
Butternut Squash Risotto, Walnuts, Port Reduction

***********

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse
Frangelico Cream, White Chocolate Chantilly

– or –

Classic Lemon Tart
Raspberry Coulis, Burnt Meringue

– or –

Raspberry Souffle Crepe
Berries, Crème Anglaise

$45.00 / Person

Le Parisien
751 Denman St. Vancouver, BC V6G 2L6 | Tel: (604) 687.1418
www.leparisien.ca

Almost Last Minute Christmas Holiday Wine Picks 2011

There are less than 2 weeks to Christmas now. Maybe you are starting to think about Christmas gifts, or inviting family and friends over to your place for a nice dinner, or you received a dinner invitation? What wines to gift or serve?

I went through the list of all the wines I tasted in 2011 and have a few suggestions for you.

Some Favourite Sparkling Wines for 2011

  • Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

    Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.

  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
  • Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour.  Nice medium toasty nose.  Medium acidity and body.  Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine.  It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose.  Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour.  Vanilla and spice on the nose.  High acid with small bubbles.  Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.

Some Favourite White Wines for 2011

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2009, California.  This is a single vineyard wine.  Medium lemon in colour with tropical fruit and some toasty aromas. Medium body and very soft mouth feel (really silky). Some vanilla and tropical fruit flavours.  Really nice.

  • Waterstone Chardonnay, 2009, California. This is my favourite white wine of the night.  Not a typical Napa Chardonnay.  This wine had a medium pear colour.  Vanilla and bartlett pear aromas. Medium body, soft and round mouthfeel.  Cinnamon and tropical fruit flavours with light acidity.  Nice and fruity, some vanilla with a long dry finish.
  • Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. One of my favourite wines of the tasting. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Tantalus Vineyards Riesling 2010, BC. Their Riesling is always on my favourite list. This one is no exception.  It has light lemon, lychee and flowers on the nose.  Off dry, with high acidity to make your mouth water for more.  Red apples and lemon flavours.  Excitement in a glass.
  • Thornhaven Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010, BC. I think there is something specific about the terroir for this wine that makes this Pinot Gris have a wonderful grapefruit nose and flavour.  I haven’t seen this in other Okanagan Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour with red grapefruit nose. Flowery with citrus, grapefruit flavours. Yum.
  • Graffigna Grand Reserve Torrontes 2010 (Argentina). Torrontes is the signature white grape of Argentina.  Very aromatic and a good change from Gewurztraimer or Viognier. Light lemon coloured. Lychee and perfumy nose.  Light body, round, with medium acidity.  Lychee, apricot and cinnamon flavours. Very tasty with a long spicy finish.
  • Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Gewurztraminer 2007 (France). I love Alsatian wines, and was really looking forward to Pfaffenheim’s wines. Medium lemon colour.  Wonderful lychee nose with a slight touch of sweet spice. Full body. Off dry with lower acidity.  Round mouthfeel with lychee, apricot and flowery flavours.  Very nice.

Some Favourite Red Wines for 2011

  • Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005

    Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand. Central Otago, is inland in the South Island.  The cooler climate allows these grapes have a long hang time and smaller berries, which gives a higher skin to pulp ratio, and more intense, riper, fruit flavours.  Medium purple in the glass with ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Ripe fruit, cassis, plums and vanilla on the palate.  Medium body and medium length.  Very nice.

  • Vina Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005, Chile. Pehuen Carmenere is a premium wine from Vina Santa Rita.  Opaque purple in the glass. Dark fruit nose with a whiff of capsicum. Full bodied but with soft tannins.  Ripe black cherries, vanilla and spice on the palate.  A very long length.  Here is a Carmenere you should try.
  • Dusted Valley Grenache, Columbia Valley 2009, Washington. This was such a wonderful wine.  Just the right balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity.  The wine was medium garnet in colour.  Cherry, vanilla and smoky aromas.  Raspberry, cherry, and vanilla on the palate.  Medium bodied with a raspberry finish.
  • 1884 Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina ($16.99).  This was my red wine deal of the wine tasting. Drink now. Raspberry and cocoa on the nose.  Full body with full ripe cherries and raspberries.  Juicy!  Long finish.
  • Desert Hills Syrah 2007, BC.  Another one of my favourites of the tasting. Almost opaque ruby in colour. Smoky, meaty, and dark fruit nose. Full body, dry tannins, with dark fruit spice and vanilla flavours.  Enjoy this big wine with a nice roast over the winter.
  • Ogier Crozes Hermitage, Les Brunnelles 2008, France ($25.99). This is a Rhone Valley wine. The Rhone Valley produces some fabulous Syrah, and this is one of them. I really liked the aromas of this wine of cassis and plums. Full body with cassis, raspberry, cherry and oak flavours.  Low tannins helped make this wine very approachable.
  • Finca Las Moras Intis Malbec 2010, Argentina. This wine was the surprise wine of the evening.  It is priced at $8.99, and over delivers. Pale ruby colour.  Light aromas of grilled sausage and dark fruit. Medium plus body with medium acidity.  Vanilla, cherry, raspberry and sausage flavours all together. Lots of nice flavours.  Dry with soft tannins.

Some Favourite Fortified Wines

  • Sogrape Vinhos Ferreira 20-Year-Old Duque de Braganca (Portugal). Light tawny colour in the glass. Ripe sweet fruit and Malmsey Madeira nose.  Round mouthfeel, medium sweetness. Apples, plums, chocolate and spice. Nice.
  • Fonseca N/V Terra Prima Organic Port ($31.99).  Rich black fruit nose.  Medium body in your mouth.  Spicy with plums, cherries, and chocolate flavours.  Medium sweetness. Very nice.
  • Mount Baker Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier 2007, Washington (US$20 for a half bottle). Deep lemon in colour.  Pretty nose with peaches, oranges and honey. Unctus in your mouth. Sweet with honey, honeydew melon, and peach flavours. Good acidity to balance this wine. A wonderful wine. Highly recommended to top off a nice meal with family or friends.
  • Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

There are many more in my archives, so please check there as well for a specific varietal or style. www.mywinepal.com and of course the blog right here!  Cheers and Happy Holidays to all my friends, near and far.

Mulled Wine to Keep You Warm for Christmas

Having a warm cup of mulled wine after being outside in the snow, whether you were skiing, snowshoeing, skating, or just walking outside, is very comforting. For this blog post, I thought I’d share a mulled wine recipe with you, and try to find out a bit of the history of mulled wine and pass it along to you.

A Recipe for Mulled Wine

– 1 750ml bottle of a full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz (don’t use an expensive bottle of wine)
– 1 cup apple cider or juice
– 1 sliced orange
– 3 or 4 tablespoons honey (depends on how sweet you like it)
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 3 whole star anise
– 3 whole cloves
– 3 whole peppercorns

Add all ingredients into a pot and slowly raise the temperature.  Keep the liquid to just below simmer so you do not boil away all the alcohol. Simmer for 15 minutes, then serve.  You may want to put a cinnamon stick or a slice of lemon / orange to the glass to make it look more festive.

Where did this tradition of making mulled wine come from? Mulled wine has different names in different countries.  Checking Wikipedia, I read “…Glühwein is popular in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in France. It is the traditional beverage offered and drunk on Weihnachtsmärkten. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar…
Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries….”

There are also references to the Czech Republic and to Great Britain. So who really knows, but luckily someone did invent mulled wine, so we have something to enjoy in the winter, especially after spending the day downhill skiing.

Enjoy!

Decadent Ice Cream and Wine!

I had a hankering for some ice cream today and I thought what flavour and/or toppings do I enjoy? I do love chocolate and anything with chocolate is wonderful, but there is something that is very simple, and simply wonderful to enjoy yourself, or with your friends to finish off a nice dinner.

What is it? French vanilla ice cream with Oculus Cherries. What are Oculus Cherries? We all know what cherries are, but maybe you do not know about Oculus.

Oculus is Mission Hill Family Estate’s signature Bordeaux-inspired red wine. John Simes the wine maker from Mission Hill in the Okanagan, BC has their premium grapes across their Okanagan vineyards handpicked, hand sorted and minimally handled in the best European fermenters and barrels. The 2006 vintage was the 10th year for their top level wine. The blend for the 2006 Oculus is 51% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot. A bottle of Oculus is around $90 a bottle.

A great wine with great aging potential. But you may not have $90 to buy a bottle of Oculus. But for a small amount of money, you can buy a jar of BC cherries preserved in Oculus wine. The sweetness of the cherries complement the fruit and tannins from the Oculus. It is decadent on it’s own, but even better on French Vanilla ice cream. You can buy Oculus cherries at the Mission Hill winery in West Kelowna, and at Artisan wine stores in the Vancouver lower mainland. There is one store that I go to in Burnaby at Metrotown shopping centre.

Give it a try for one of your Christmas party desserts. Cheers!

Burnaby’s Hart House for Christmas and New Year Dinners

I recently received this email about upcoming Christmas and New Year’s dinners at the Hart House Restaurant here in Burnaby.  I think it is a nice restaurant, and am passing along this information, just in case you are wondering where you can go for a nice holiday dinner.  Also, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room.

Enjoy!

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

·         $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

·         Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

·         $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

·         Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

·         Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

· $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

· Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

· $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

· Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

· Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

· Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

·         $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

·         Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

·         $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

·         Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

·         Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Would You Like Nice Bubble and More for Christmas?

Today is one of my favourite times of the year. The last Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) trade wine tasting typically has a lot of sparkling wine and other wines to taste in preparation for the Christmas season. I spent half of my time exclusively trying sparkling wines, and the other half of my time on white and red still wines. There was so much sparkling wine, that I could have easily spent my entire time tasting these wines.

As usual, I would like to pass along those wines that were very good in my opinion, so that you can purchase them either at a government or a private liquor store. Some are at a very good price (sub $20).

Recommended sparkling wines:
Pierre Paillard Grand Cru NV Brut (France). A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This wine is light peachy pink in colour. Bread and cherry aromas. Light small bubbles with lemon, cherry and apple flavours. Bready, citrus finish. Very nice.

Codorniu Classico Brut NV (Spain) $13.99. Pale lemon in colour. Lemon, yeast and slight petrol aroma. Fine bubble. Off dry with crisp acidity. Lemon and apple flavours. Medium length.

Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut (Hungary) on sale $12.95 during Dec 2010. This is a very easy drinking sparkling wine from Hungary. Pale lemon in colour. Lychee, crisp apple nose. Light bubble with medium length. Apple and lemon flavours with a herbal finish.

J.G. Carrion Cristalino Cava Rosado Brut (Spain) on sale till Jan 2, 2011, $13.99. A mix of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Trepeat. Pale cherry colour with a light cherry nose. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Small bubble. Dry with a cherry finish.

Perle d’Aurore Cremant de Bourgogne Rose NV (France) $on sale till Feb 27, 2011, $23.95. Light salmon colour in the glass. Strawberry aroma. Strawberry and cherry flavour. Small, aggressive bubble in our mouth. Off dry. Very good.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV (France) $59.99. Bread and citrus on the nose. Very fine, small bubble. Dry on the palate. Lemon, oak, and almond flavour. Long finish. A very elegant Champagne.

Recommended white wines:
Teira Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley 2009 (California). This is a small production organic wine producer. If you tasted this wine, you would not guess that it is a Sauvignon Blanc. You might guess Pinot Gris. This wine is medium lemon in colour. Peachy, lychee, and flowery aromas. Light to medium body, medium acidity with apple and some herbal flavour. Round mouth feel.

Kooyong Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Australia) $49.99. Light lemon colour. Oak, vanilla, butter and citrus on the nose. Round mouth feel. Apple, citrus and oak flavours. Medium body.

Trefethen Estate Chardonnay 2007 (California) $34.95. Light lemon with a green tinge colour. Light lemon, apple, and flowers on the nose. Round mouth feel with cinnamon flavour up front. Medium body. Apple and lemon flavours. Long length.

Recommended red wines:
Velletri Riserva 2004 (Italy), on sale till Nov 27, 2010, $17.99. This is a red wine from the Sangiovese grape. This may have been my favourite wine of the tasting, and it is at a great price. Medium cherry colour. An interesting nose with pencil leads and red cherries. Medium body, round mouth feel with smooth tannins.

Chanson Pere Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $26.52. Light cherry in colour.  Light strawberry and red cherry aromas.  Strawberry, raspberry, cherry and vanilla flavours.  Light body with low tannins. Very nice.

Chateau de Ferrand St. Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2003 (France) $39.99. This is a red wine from the right bank in Bordeaux.  It is a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Medium light garnet in colour. Nice vanilla, and red cherry nose.  Medium body with vanilla, ripe red fruit flavours.  The flavour builds in your mouth.  A wonderful wine.

Montresor Capitel della Crosara Appassimento IGT 2006 (Italy) $24.99.  This is a “ripasso” style wine, which is made by reserving wine made during the recent vintage then placing this wine on the pressed grape skins and lees in the vats used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, to acquire additional body and flavour. This wine was medium to dark garnet coloured in the glass.  Red cherry and vanilla on the nose.  Lots of fruit flavours on the palate, particularly raspberries and black cherry.  Medium body.

Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red 2006 (California) $19.99.  This is a fun red wine, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Medium purple colour.  Nice cherry and raspberry nose.  Full body with raspberry and black cherry flavours.  Firm tannins but not overpowering.  Purple fruit and cherry on the finish.

There were many more wines to taste, and I’m sure I could have recommended more.  You may notice that there are no BC wines listed.  The IVSA tasting is for new vintages, and new wines being brought into the BC market.  There are plenty of very good BC wines, but none were being poured at this event.  So please enjoy the wines I’ve listed, but don’t forget BC wines.