December 2018 Special Events and Tastings @ 39th and Cambie BC Liquor Store

Here is your official insider invitation to some of the upcoming in-store tastings and special events happening at our store as we kick off the holiday season!

RUFFINO ITALIAN WINE TASTING  
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24 <this is close to December>
2:00-6:00 P.M.

Join us for a tasting event showcasing Ruffino Italian Wines to be paired with canapé style hor d’oeuvres.

Culmina Cabernet Sauvignon

Culmina Cabernet Sauvignon

CULMINA: PROPRIETOR IN-STORE TASTING
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 07
3:00-7:00 P.M.

Don and Elaine Triggs, former owners of Jackson-Triggs and owners of Culmina Family Estate Winery, will host an in-store tasting, personally greeting and pouring products from the estate for guests.

BELVEDERE BESPOKE 1.75 IN-STORE ENGRAVING
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 08
6:00-8:00 P.M.

Have your 1.75 litre bottle of Belvedere specially engraved just in time for the holiday season-a perfect personalized gift that will be cherished for years to come.

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Masi Agricola – Component Wine Tasting at Marquis Wine Cellars

If you are a lover of Valpolicella wines, or want to learn more about them, buy your ticket to this fabulous event.  Details below.

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Masi Agricola is one of the most iconic and important wineries in Valpolicella, indeed in all of Italy, and they are constantly pioneering ways to showcase their wines to the public. While you may be familiar with their excellent Valpolicella, Ripasso (Campofiorin) and their Amarone, have you ever tasted the component parts of these wines by themselves?
Join us at Marquis Wine Cellars on Tuesday, October 30th as we host tasting that showcases both these finished wines and their indigenous grape varieties on their own. Masi Ambassador, James Bornn, will be on hand to lead the tasting and explain to you what goes into making the final wines. In all, between the component wines and the final product, you will get to sample 12 different wines, so you should come away with a much better appreciation for the bottled product. We may even throw in a bonus wine or two to sample. The wines will also be served alongside a selection of cheeses and cured meats designed to enhance the tasting experience.
This is educational tasting a rare chance to sample wines in their unfinished and finished forms. Space is limited to just 18 seats so do not delay in purchasing your tickets because the event will surely sell out quickly.
Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, by calling 604-684-0445 or in person at the store.
Date: Tuesday, October 30th
Time: 6pm to 7:30pm
Location: Marquis Wine Cellars, 1034 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC
Cost: $49 per ticket inclusive of tax
Marquis Wine Cellars would like to thank Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants for the opportunity to host this tasting.

July Special Events at BC Liquor Stores

From BC Liquor Stores; enjoy!

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Here is your inside track to some of the upcoming events in July. We have a variety of exciting events in our stores this month. Join us and taste Australia’s finest wines, learn how to make the perfect cocktail or try this summer’s best brews.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

RUM SUMMER MUSIC EXPERIENCE!
Friday, July 6th at Langley & 39th & Cambie
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Friday, July 13th at Alberni & Bute & Kelowna Orchard Park
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Friday, July 20th
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Nordel Crossing

Friday, July 27th at Fleetwood
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

BACARDÍ amplifies the summer music experience with the best cocktails and the best way to keep the tunes playing all summer long.

COURVOISIER – DISCOVER CANADIAN HIP HOP
Friday, July 6th at Park Royal
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 7th at 39th & Cambie
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Join Courvoisier and learn how you can discover more Canadian hip hop artists. This event will also give consumers the opportunity to receive a personalized label.

WINES OF AUSTRALIA
Friday, July 6th & 20th at Alberni & Bute
3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 7th & 28th at Langley
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 14th
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at 39th & Cambie

Saturday, July 21st
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Park Royal

Join Wine Australia for a trip down under to get up close with trendy Australian Wines paired with delicious gourmet cheese.

APEROL SPRITZ – A TASTE OF SUMMER IN ITALY
Saturday, July 7th
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Park Royal

Friday, July 13th, 20th & 27th
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Park Royal

Saturday, July 28th
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at 39th & Cambie

This event will educate consumers on creating the perfect Aperol Spritz at home. A great cocktail for summer!

GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING – REFRESHING BREWS OF SUMMER
False Creek Raspberry Ale, Lions Summer Ale, and Leinenkugel’s Lemon Shandy are refreshing favourites that go with sunny days, beaches, barbecues and picnics. Fruit pastries will be served alongside these two beers. Please check our website for event dates.

BC LIQUOR STORES NEW & EXCLUSIVES
Thursday, July 19th

Looking to excite your palate with something NEW? Join our Product Consultants for an opportunity to taste new and exclusive offerings–only available at BC Liquor Stores. Come and try products hand-picked by our experts in an informative tasting session. Talk one-on-one with our Product Consultants to learn about the latest and greatest products that will be the perfect accompaniment to your everyday meals or that special occasion. Please check our website for a list of stores and times.

PARK ROYAL

ENJOY CANADA’S COCKTAIL ALL SUMMER LONG
Saturday, July 14th
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Enjoy Canada’s cocktail all summer long and try Mott’s Clamato Caesar drinks paired with fresh summer appetizers.

39TH & CAMBIE

SAILING INTO SUMMER WITH MOUNT GAY
Friday, July 13th
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Gez McAlpine, Brand Ambassador for Remy Cointreau will lead a Mount Gay educational seminar, product tasting and discussion about rum.Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

ELEVATE YOUR SUMMER!
Friday, July 27th
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Introducing ‘Le Grand Fizz’. Elevate your summer with Grey Goose paired with ST-Germain Elderflower Liqueur!

December Wine and Whiskey Special Events at BC Liquor Stores

Make it merry this holiday season by enjoying a glass of your favourite bubbly, wine, spirits, or beer! Here is your inside track to some of BC Liquor Stores’ exciting holiday events! Whether you are picking out the perfect gift, hosting your own party, or simply enjoying the company of family and friends, BC Liquor Stores have something perfect for every occasion.

Share a wonderful experience while learning from our knowledgeable wine and spirits brand ambassadors by checking out our line up of sit down events! Make it a perfect gift and bonding moment with your special someone. Events are free unless otherwise specified. For ticketed events, quantities are limited so get yours now.

DECEMBER

39th & CAMBIE

CELEBRATE AND SHARE THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH CONO SUR
Saturday, December 2
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Taste Cono Sur Bicicleta wines and enjoy a great food pairing experience. Learn how to recreate this at home with friends and family for the holiday season!

DISCOVER THE EXTRAORDINARY WITH GREY GOOSE AND BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
Friday, December 8
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Discover the complex and refined taste of Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose. Carefully crafted gin and premium vodka are perfect for blending during your holiday celebrations!

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50th anniversary

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50th anniversary

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Saturday, December 9
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Masi Campofiorin as we taste through the history of this iconic Italian wine with Brand Ambassador James Bornn. Classic vintages like 1988, 1997 and 2001 will be tasted alongside the 2014 served from Special Edition Magnums.
Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

DIAGEO SPECIAL RELEASE TASTING
Tuesday, December 12
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Tutored Scotch Whisky tasting with Stuart Brown, Diageo Whisky Consultant. Rare, old and unusual bottlings from famous and closed distilleries – this small, annual series of Special Release Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are limited editions, usually bottled at cask strength. They’re also some of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, though you definitely don’t have to be a collector to marvel at these magnificent, rare malts. Let Stuart Brown, Scotch consultant for Diageo’s preeminent release of the year guide you through some of Scotland’s most exceptional expressions of Scotch whisky.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

DOUGLAS LAING REGIONAL MALT COLLECTION
Wednesday, December 13
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Explore the very best single malts from their respective regions, Douglas Laing’s remarkable regional malts deliver the ultimate distillation of Scotland’s malt whisky regions. Taste through the Christmas Big Peat (2017 Edition), the Rock Oyster Sherry and the Scallywag Limited Edition bottlings.
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

THE MACALLAN RARE CASK — BOTTLE STOPPER EVENT
Thursday, December 14
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Join Macallan Brand Ambassador, Dan Volway, for a unique whisky tasting and food pairing featuring 4 outstanding Macallan whiskies. A gift with purchase of a limited edition Macallan bottle stopper (valued at $60) will be available for guests who purchase a bottle of the Macallan Rare Cask during the event.
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

GRAND MARNIER TASTING – BOTTLE ENGRAVING WITH PURCHASE
Saturday, December 16
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Experience the taste of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, an alchemy of fine aged cognacs and exotic wild oranges, while having the opportunity to engrave your purchased bottle with a personalized message

PARK ROYAL

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Friday, December 8
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Masi Campofiorin as we taste through the history of this iconic Italian wine with Brand Ambassador James Bornn. Classic vintages like 1988, 1997 and 2001 will be tasted alongside the 2014 served from Special Edition Magnums.
Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

GRAND MARNIER TASTING – BOTTLE ENGRAVING WITH PURCHASE
Saturday, December 9
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Experience the taste of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, an alchemy of fine aged cognacs and exotic wild oranges, while having the opportunity to engrave your purchased bottle with a personalized message

DIAGEO SPECIAL RELEASE TASTING
Wednesday, December 13
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Tutored Scotch Whisky tasting with Stuart Brown, Diageo Whisky Consultant. Rare, old and unusual bottlings from famous and closed distilleries – this small, annual series of Special Release Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are limited editions, usually bottled at cask strength. They’re also some of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, though you definitely don’t have to be a collector to marvel at these magnificent, rare malts. Let Stuart Brown, Scotch consultant for Diageo’s preeminent release of the year guide you through some of Scotland’s most exceptional expressions of Scotch whisky.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

SPARKLE AND ICE
Saturday, December 16
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Celebrate the season with sparkle and ice in this elegant fine wine tasting experience. Specially selected hors d’oeuvres will be available to pair and there will be a live performance by the Armadillo String Quartet.

CELEBRATE AND SHARE THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH CONO SUR
Saturday, December 23
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Taste Cono Sur Bicicleta wines and enjoy a great food pairing experience. Learn how to recreate this at home with friends and family for the holiday season!

A Few Holiday Wine and Scotch Tasting at BC Liquor Stores

Tickets are limited so don’t miss this opportunity to learn from industry experts and knowledgeable brand ambassadors!

39th & Cambie Liquor Store

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50th anniversary

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50th anniversary

GLENFIDDICH MASTERCLASS
Wednesday, November 22
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Glenfiddich’s National Brand Ambassador Beth Havers will guide guests through Glenfiddich’s maverick whisky making history and introduce them to the whiskies that are helping re-write the rule book – The Glenfiddich Experimental Series.
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Saturday, December 9

6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Masi Campofiorin as we taste through the history of this iconic Italian wine with Brand Ambassador James Bornn. Classic vintages like 1988, 1997 and 2001 will be tasted alongside the 2014 served from Special Edition Magnums.
Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

DIAGEO SPECIAL RELEASE TASTING
Tuesday, December 12
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Tutored Scotch Whisky tasting with Stuart Brown, Diageo Whisky Consultant. Rare, old and unusual bottlings from famous and closed distilleries – this small, annual series of Special Release Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are limited editions, usually bottled at cask strength. They’re also some of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, though you definitely don’t have to be a collector to marvel at these magnificent, rare malts. Let Stuart Brown, Scotch consultant for Diageo’s preeminent release of the year guide you through some of Scotland’s most exceptional expressions of Scotch whisky.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

DOUGLAS LAING REGIONAL MALT COLLECTION
Wednesday, December 13
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Explore the very best single malts from their respective regions, Douglas Laing’s remarkable regional malts deliver the ultimate distillation of Scotland’s malt whisky regions. Taste through the Christmas Big Peat (2017 Edition), the Rock Oyster Sherry and the Scallywag Limited Edition bottlings.
Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

Park Royal Liquor Store

BALVENIE MASTERCLASS
Thursday, November 23
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Take a peek behind one of the most famous warehouses in Scotland and see where we keep the infamous TUN 1509 and some of our other most beloved expressions. Join Brand Ambassador, Jamie Johnson on this tutored journey through the heart of Speyside which has been thoughtfully paired with some local charcuterie and cheese.
Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

MASI CAMPOFIORIN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Friday, December 8
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join us in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Masi Campofiorin as we taste through the history of this iconic Italian wine with Brand Ambassador James Bornn. Classic vintages like 1988, 1997 and 2001 will be tasted alongside the 2014 served from Special Edition Magnums.
Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

DIAGEO SPECIAL RELEASE TASTING
Wednesday, December 13
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Tutored Scotch Whisky tasting with Stuart Brown, Diageo Whisky Consultant. Rare, old and unusual bottlings from famous and closed distilleries – this small, annual series of Special Release Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are limited editions, usually bottled at cask strength. They’re also some of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, though you definitely don’t have to be a collector to marvel at these magnificent, rare malts. Let Stuart Brown, Scotch consultant for Diageo’s preeminent release of the year guide you through some of Scotland’s most exceptional expressions of Scotch whisky.
Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at any BC Liquor Store location.

For more information please visit www.bcliquorstores.com

Italian Excellent Quality Experience in Vancouver and More

Italian quality experience

Italian quality experience

To me, Italy is always known for quality products: food, wine, olive oil, cars, and more.  To help spread the word, a dual pronged approach is underway in Italy that crosses the oceans, and lands here in Vancouver.  The first is Expo Milano 2015, the Universal Exhibition that Milan will host from May 1 to October 31, 2015.  140 countries will participate to offer their technology related to guaranteeing healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone while not over taxing the planet.  The theme for the Expo is “Feeding the Plant, Energy for Life”.   It sounds very interesting and if I had a chance to go to Italy this year, I would make a point to visit the Expo.  You can read about the Expo at the italianqualityexperience.it website.

In addition to Expo 2015, “Ospitalita Italiana – Ristoranti Italiani nel Mondo” ( Italian Hospitality – Italian Restaurants in the World ), promoted in part by all Chambers of Commerce in Italy, is underway to promote:

  • traditions of Italian food products and improve global culture of Italian food and wine
  • to enhance the image of authentic Italian restaurants abroad and to guarantee the quality standards
  • to create an international network of Italian restaurants and to support them in promoting Italian products of excellence.

We are fortunate to have a local restaurant, Federico’s Supper Club as being certified by this program.  In total there are 1700 authentic restaurants in the world.  You can tell that the restaurant is certified by a Golden Q trademark plaque at the restaurant.  How did Federico’s and the other restaurants become certified?  They had to meet these quality guidelines:

  • The restaurant must have at least one person able to relate with customers in Italian
  • The percentage of traditional Italian dishes and recipes should be at least 50% of the total number of dishes
  • The wine list must contain not les than 30% of Italian DOP/IGT wines
  • The restaurant must offer only DOP/IGT extra virgin olive oil of Italian origin or Italian extra virgin olive oil
  • The chef must be qualified for the preparation of dishes according to Italian recipes
  • The names of all courses in the menu must be available in the Italian language

To see the complete worldwide list of “Ospitalita Italiana”, visit www.10q.it.

I, and other media types, were invited to Federico’s Supper Club to taste some Italian dishes and enjoy some Italian wine to kick off Italian Hospitality – Italian Restaurants in the World and Expo Milan 2015.  Some exceptional Prosecco was brought in from Italy, as well as still red and white wines.  Federico’s made Arancini, mini pizza bites with anchovies and caramelized onions, and a real standout for me, which was smoked salmon and caramelized onions on a crostini.  I had never experienced such wonderful melding of flavours before.  I can highly recommend trying to make this yourself, or visiting Federico’s.  I am not sure if it is on their regular menu.  Enjoy a few pictures I took of the event, enjoy Italian food & wine, visit Federico’s, and visit Expo Milan 2015!

Astoria Corderie Valdobbiadene DOCG

Astoria Corderie Valdobbiadene DOCG

Beni di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso

Beni di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso

Arancini

Arancini

Smoked salmon with caramelized onions on crostini

Smoked salmon with caramelized onions on crostini

 

Nicli's Next Door

Visit Nicli’s Next Door to Enjoy Italian Tapas

Bill McCaig from Niclis Next Door introducing us to the restaurant

Bill McCaig from Nicli’s Next Door introducing us to the restaurant

In Spain, small plates of food are known as Tapas.  In Italy they also have small plates, but the name is different: Cicchetti.  Whether you prefer to say Cicchetti or Tapas, the food at Nicli’s Next Door is very good and they have an excellent wine list!  I was invited with a group of other food writers to try out Nicli’s Next Door, which is next door to Nicli Antica Pizzeria (at 62 E Cordova Street, Vancouver).

Nicli’s Next Door was conceived as a place for a small snack or drink, while you waited for a table to open at Nicli Antica Pizzeria, but the chefs, David Tozer and Keev Mah, really produced some fantastic Italian and Italian-inspired dishes, going beyond the small snack, so now you can enjoy a great meal with shared plates with your family or friends.

Our Dishes

We were treated to:

Cicchetti E Stuzzichini (smaller plates)

  • Cold pea and coppa soup, with creme fraiche mousse, and citrus preserve
  • Bruschetta, capecollo, bacon and leek jam, and arugula
  • Arancini with pork ragu and San Marzano tomato sauce
  • “Not Scotch Egg”, made of Italian sausage, fior di latte, runny egg yolk, and smoked egg white aioli

Piccoli Piatti (larger plates for sharing)

  • Eggplant involtini, with house made ricotta, San Marzano tomato, lemon and thyme
  • Braised meatballs, with Marina sauce and house bread
  • Roasted Romaneso and sunchoke puree
  • Reginette with pork ragu napoletana and house bread

I enjoyed all the dishes.  The cold pea and coppa soup, came with the cold pea puree and the creme fraiche mousse separately which you mixed together.  Lovely citrus zing and lightness to this cold soup.

Cold pea and coppa soup with creme fraiche mousse and citrus preserve

Cold pea and coppa soup with creme fraiche mousse and citrus preserve

The bread that came with some of the dishes, btw, is all baked in-house.  It was all nice and crunchy.

The bruschetta had a leek jam that was so full of flavour together with nice smokiness from the bacon.

Bruschetta, capecollo bacon and leek jam and arugula

Bruschetta, capecollo bacon and leek jam and arugula

The arancini was quite large, and could almost be a meal in itself for small eaters. The pork ragu inside the arancini was full of savoury flavour.  One of my favourite dishes.

Arancini with pork ragu and San Marzano tomato sauce

Arancini with pork ragu and San Marzano tomato sauce

The “Not Scotch Egg” was a play on scotch egg, with Italian ingredients.  The egg part, really had an egg yolk in the middle, but around it was wrapped the fior di latte. So you had cheesey, creamy goodness, together with the egg yolk and the seasonings from the Italian sausage.

Not Scotch Egg

Not Scotch Egg

A bit larger plate was the eggplant involtini, which had a thin slice of eggplant wrapped around the ricotta cheese, and served with the San Marzano tomato sauce and the lemon and thyme spices. This dish was light, fluffy and creamy.  An elegant dish.

Eggplant involtini

Eggplant involtini

More savoury goodness from the braised meatballs (made with beef and pork), with the Marinara sauce and house bread.  I liked the fennel in the meatballs and the bright flavour from the Marinara sauce.

Braised meatballs with Marina sauce

Braised meatballs with Marina sauce

For a bit more vegetables we tried the roasted Romanesco and Sunchoke puree, and sunchoke chips.  A Romanesco is a vegetable that is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli.

Roasted Romaneso and sunchoke puree

Roasted Romaneso and sunchoke puree

Our last dish was the reginette with pork ragu napoletana. Reginette are strips of pasta with wavy edges.  To this you add a nice pork ragu sauce, and enjoy.

Reginette with pork ragu napoletana

Reginette with pork ragu napoletana

Wine List

I mentioned that Nicli’s Next Door has a very nice selection of wines, all by the glass, and all Italian.  For some at our table, the short wine list was a bit intimidating, but the list is broken down into a few categories to help you choose: Rustic, Lively, Elegant, Complex, Rose, Sparkling, and House.  If you can’t make a choice, they also have 3 different flights of wine you can try, with each flight having 3 different wines.  I had a glass of the “Elegant” Brancaia Tre Sangiovese blend di Toscana.  I chose it as it would be lighter bodied with a good balance of acidity and fruit flavours, and soft tannins, which should pair nicely with most Italian dishes at the restaurant, and I was right.  Enjoy!

Tricolore flight of wines

Tricolore flight of wines

Bottega Gold Prosecco for Valentines Day

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Have you been thinking about what sparkling wine you can buy for your Valentine without breaking the bank? Champagne may have first popped into your mind, but maybe you could also consider Italian Prosecco? Prosecco is generally made, lighter bodied and maybe a bit off dry, making it a fun indulgence to share with friends and family.

I recently received a bottle of Bottega Gold Brut (BC $24.99) to sample.  It comes in a very striking gold coloured bottle, making it look very special for a special day like Valentine’s Day.

In the glass this wine is pale lemon in colour.  A light intensity nose of flowers and citrus, with a hint of lime in the background.  This one is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity and light body.  Agressive, medium sized, creamy bubbles.  Citrus, apple, a hint of lime, and some lemon rind on the palate.  Medium length.  Overall a straight forward wine to enjoy with friends.  It should pair well with crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese, and a fresh fruit salad.

If you are interested, here is the website for the Bottega winery to get more info on this wine and their other wines.

Tuscan Estate Montestigliano Hosts Art Exhibit and Dining Under the Stars

As I wine, music and arts lover, who wouldn’t be excited about hearing of such an event in Tuscany, Italy?  It certainly peaked my interest, but is not in my plans.  Just in case you are taking a trip to Tuscany shortly, you may want to consider attending this event at the Tuscan Estate Montestigliano.  Enjoy!

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Montestigliano in Tuscany

Montestigliano in Tuscany (Image courtesy montestigliano.it) 

Throughout July, Tuscan estate Montestigliano marries terroir and culture in a yearly art exhibit held in the granary above its ancient barn.  This year, five international artists (painters, photographers, writers, musicians), all members of the Stanza 251 group, descend on the historic locale to exhibit their cool, contemporary work in this timeless, rustic setting.  The show can be seen every Monday from   July 1 to July 22 in the afternoon between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., or by appointment.   For more information, contact info@montestigliano.it or call +39 0577 342189.

Special Event July 17

On July 17 Montestigliano opens its doors to an evening of Prosecco, opera, fine dining and art.  Guests will enjoy an apertivo, view the artwork and settle into an evening of music and song with Baritone Pierluca Porri, accompanied by Francesca Giovannelli on the piano.  Pierluca has sung with Europe’s most famous opera houses such as L’Opéra de MonteCarlo, Le Theatre Royale de la Monnaie a Bruxelles, il Liceu di Barcelona, and the Opéra Nationale de Paris.  Dinner will be served in the estate’s courtyard, under the Tuscan stars. Price:  40 €.

About Stanza 251

Stanza 251 http://www.stanza251.com/is an on-line e-zine of fiction, poetry and imagery, founded by Carlo Zei and Stefano Loria. A new poem or story appears on the site every Tuesday, anew image every Friday. Stanza 251 also publishes a series of e-books and paperbacks, and organizes literary and visual arts events.  All of the artists at the show participate in Stanza 251. 

Participating Stanza 251 artists include: 

  • Stefano Loria: Co-founder of Stanza 251, Loria is a painter and writer.  In the Visual Arts field, he is considered one of the leading representatives of new-generation abstractionists.
  • Francesco Niccolai: A professional photographer, Niccolai has dedicated himself for years to making portraits of jazz musicians and much more.  He has recently developed a personal series of unpredictably nuanced and intimate landscape photographs.
  • Andrew Smaldone: an American artist who has lived in Italy for years, Smaldone has developed a specific poetry of images, painting environments emptied of their original function, almost reducing them to pure geometry and light.
  • Tomoko Sugahara: A Japanese artist of rare sensitivity, Sugahara works on an idea of subtle, fragile painterly atmospheres, producing juxtapositions that are sometimes material, sometimes chromatic.
  • Carlo Zei:The other co-founder of Stanza 251 who, aside from writing, is engaged in photography. He explores landscapes with a poetic, ironic eye, for which he prefers black & white prints, as exemplified in his series, “Christo on the Beach”.
  • Matthew Licht: A writer on the edge between realism and paradox, his adventure stories are animated by a parodic intent, but are richly nuanced with existential and social themes.  All of the ingredients of his stories are flavored with an irresistible sense humor, which makes for a particularly pleasant reading experience. He is also a skilled performer.
  • Marco “Shark Guitar” Naffis: One of Tuscany’s most brilliant Blues and Country guitar players.

About Montestigliano:

Montestigliano is a privately owned farm estate (agritourismo)with self-contained 18th century holiday villasavailable for rental.   All have been professionally restored and furnished.  Each is fully equipped with kitchens and private baths. Every villa has easy access to some of the most beautiful countryside in Tuscany.  With 2475 acres of cypress avenues, olive groves, fig trees and ancient terraces, it’s an ideal location to walk, enjoy the countryside and truly experience Tuscany.

Follow Montestigliano:

On Twitter:   https://twitter.com/Montestigliano

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fattoria.montestigliano

La Stella Mosto Cotto and Olive Oil – Premium Foodie Products

You may know of Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries as high quality French and Italian style wines coming from the Okanagan. But you may not know that they also provide olive oil and now Mosto Cotto from Italy!

What is Mosto Cotto?

La Stella Mosto Cotto

Well you probably have heard of Balsamic Vinegar.  Mosto Cotto isn’t the Balsamic Vinegar that you normally get in the grocery store.  According to Wikipedia Balsamic Vinegar is “…is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks…”  This reduced grape syrup, Mosto Cotto can be enjoyed on it’s own rather than further process/age it into top quality Balsamic Vinegar.

I was fortunate today to sample some La Stella Mosto Cotto on it’s own.  It was deep orangy brown in colour.  A very intense molasses nose which with air, added a dill component. Quite sweet and sour at the same time on the palate.  Medium minus body with  burnt sugar / caramel flavour. The higher acidity of the Mosto Cotto keeps it lively in your mouth.  Long lasting finish.   The grapes to produce their Mosto Cotto are biodynamically farmed and certified.

What would you serve with Mosto Cotto? I was told by Rasoul from Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries that in Italy he has seen the Mosto Cotto dissolved in soda water as a drink, and put on shaved ice.  It could be drizzled onto vegetables and polenta. If you are more ambitious you could take the jus from a roast beef, add some mosto cotto and reduce this down and serve on the roast beef.  Mosto cotto is very versatile.

La Stella Olive Oil

La Stella Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil Intensivo

I was first introduced to the La Stella Olive Oil last year, but by that time it was completely sold out.  This year the olive oil has just arrived, so there is time for me and you to purchase a bottle. It is also organically produced.

The oil was deep lemon in colour. It had an artichoke, grassy, mineral nose. Very full bodied and round on the palate with a very spicy finish.  Their olive oil is called “Intensivo” and yes I agree that it really is intensive.  Use sparingly as a condiment as it really is quite peppery.  This would be wonderful drizzled on vegetables, or in dishes where the oil would not be overcooked or competing with too many other spices.  You really want to enjoy the flavour of this olive oil.

Where can you buy these two products?  There will be a small allocation to some specialty grocery stores in the Vancouver area.  The easiest way would be to order these through Le Vieux Pin / La Stella. Email info@lastella.ca