Free Dim Sum Paired with Wines of Germany Through BCLDB

German wines and asian flavours

German wines and asian flavours

German Dim Sum Event at Cambie Kitchen May 10th and
Asian Foods Featured with German Wines in BC Liquor Stores this May!  Check out these exciting free consumer events pairing Chinese Dim Sum with German wines!  Press release below.

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Vancouver, BC – German wines will share the spotlight with Asian foods in BC Liquor Stores from May 6 to June 2, 2014. 60 stores will feature lively displays of a select 12 German wines, all pairing perfectly with the myriad flavours of Asian cuisines. A FREE consumer event will kick-off the promotion, doling out delectable dim sum with Deutsches wien.

What could be more delicious than a crisp, refreshing German Riesling to balance with traditional Chinese Dim Sum flavours? This is what Wines of Germany had in mind when they announced their sponsorship of a month-long thematic within 60 BC Liquor Stores throughout the month of May. German wine Portfolio Manager Barbara Philip selected the 12 wines that will participate in the promotion and local sommelier Mireille Sauvé developed, in conjunction with Wines of Germany, a detailed brochure which will be distributed free of charge at all participating locations. The brochure offers professional tasting notes to guide consumers to their preferred wine style, as well as detailed food pairing suggestions which showcase exclusively the cuisines of Asian regions.

At the consumer event on Saturday, May 10, 2014, consumers can try samples, at no charge, of all 12 featured German wines paired with authentic Chinese dim sum from Vancouver’s Chinatown eatery, Floata Seafood Restaurant. Steamer baskets will be stacked high, filled with Ha gow and sui mai, which visitors can try with all 12 featured wines, presented by accredited Sommeliers on rotation throughout the event. Details for the event are as follow:

FREE CONSUMER EVENT

Cambie and 39th Signature BC Liquor Store (Cambie Kitchen)
Saturday, May 10, 2014
3 – 6 pm

Wines of Germany are generally heralded as great food friendly wines. This is a very bold statement, but most sommeliers and other food and wine professionals will agree. British Columbia, being the multi-ethnic province that it is, hosts a wide array of cuisines that virtually reach out for German wines. The not-really secret here is the variety in styles (dry to sweet, sparkling or still), grape varieties (Riesling and Pinot Noir, to name the top ones of either white or red) and the distinct levels of richness (light to full, to honey-like) plus, based on the cooler climate, the wines generally have a good amount of acidity (considered vital for a great food wine) and lower levels of alcohol than warmer climate peers.

“If you don’t love German wines, you just have not yet found the right one for you.”
Visit BC Liquor Stores this April to find your Perfect Pairings.

How Was Vancouver Foodsters Culinary Scavenger Hunt?

Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt?  It has been a long time for me, but on Sunday April 6, Vancouver Foodster had his inaugural Culinary Scavenger Hunt in downtown Vancouver.  We had to visit 9 different restaurants and do or get something as outlined on our clue sheet, then bring it back to the start.  Everyone that completed the tasks would be entered for a draw to win fabulous prizes (BTW, I did not win any prizes.  Just attending is a prize for me!)  The event is very similar to Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates, in that you get to sample some small dish at each restaurant, but you also have this additional fun component.  Some of the tasks would be for example, to get the Take Out menu from a particular restaurant, or to get your picture taken with a server at a restaurant.

Where Did We Go?

The restaurants we visited:

A Few Highlights

XOXOLAT – How can you go wrong with hand-made chocolates?  We were treated to a flight of chocolates; some were straight dark chocolate, while others were mixed with other ingredients, like Nacho Chips & Lime or Sour Cherries and Chilies.  I really like this store and with their range of chocolates I am sure everyone will find something they would enjoy.

xoxolat West Coast Breakfast and Sour Cherry and Chilies chocolate bars

xoxolat West Coast Breakfast and Sour Cherry and Chilies chocolate bars

Soirette Macarons & Tea – Macarons are hard to pass up.  They are light and delicate and come in a variety of flavours, and are so very European.  Enjoy them with tea.  I had not been to Soirette before but I did enjoy the two macarons that we sampled.  I in particular liked the lemon flavoured macaron.

Soirette macarons

Soirette macarons

Milestones Yaletown – Milestones surprised me with a Mexican styled breakfast taco.  Each taco chip was topped with chorizo, scrambled egg, scallion and cheese.  I do like Latin flavours and this one had the right amount of spice.  Not sure if this, or something similar is on their regular menu.

Milestones breakfast tacos

Milestones breakfast tacos

Chasers Fresh Juice – If a healthy lifestyle is something you aspire to, then visit Chasers Fresh Juice.  There you can get freshly squeezed orange juice, with the juice coming straight out of the juicer.  They try to purchase as much local and organic ingredients as possible.  They also have gluten free options.  Besides juice they also have baked goods ( I didn’t check into this too much but I did notice it at the back).  Being gluten sensitive, I was glad to hear I could have a nibble along with a sip of healthy juice.

Chasers Orange Juice Maker

Chasers Orange Juice Maker

Marquis Wine Cellars – One of my long-standing favourite wine shops around Vancouver.  Marquis has a wide selection of wines from around the world, and also supports our local BC wine industry.  Today we had a chance to sample BC’s Haywire The Bub sparkling wine and nec-otium Pinot Grigio from Italy.  I really enjoyed The Bub and had it paired with a slice of green apple.

Haywire The Bub and nec-otium Pinot Grigio at Marquis Wine Cellars

Haywire The Bub and nec-otium Pinot Grigio at Marquis Wine Cellars

DeDutch Pannekoek House – was serving a savory Pannekoek with fried bacon and cheese.  Bacon makes everything taste good.  (as a side note, you can get bacon infused chocolate at XOXOLAT.)

A savoury bacon and cheese pannekoek

A savoury bacon and cheese pannekoek

new zealand wine logo

New Zealand Wines Winners in Recent Canadian Wine Awards

2013 WORLD WINE AWARDS OF CANADA

WineAlign’s 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada is a brand new competition yet the judging team are seasoned top wine writers and sommeliers who spent five days blind tasting 1,000 wines!  New Zealand was there to participate, and have some winning wines to share with you. Yes Sauvignon Blanc is in the list, but there are other varietal wines for you to consider, such as Pinot Grigio.

Best of Country

  • Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2011  ( A top quality winery that I never hestitate to recommend.)

Best of variety under $15

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Judges’ Choice

  • Giesen  Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Judges’ Choice by Varietal 
Sauvignon Blanc  

  • Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Pinot Gris/Grigio

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Pinot Noir  

  • Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2012

Naramata Bench Spring Wine Release 2010

Just a week before the huge Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival opens, I attended a much more low-key, but very enjoyable, event: the Naramata Bench Spring Wine Release 2010.

This is the second time I’ve attended this event. Last year I came upon a new winery to me called, Van Westen Vineyards, where their wines beguiled me. So this year, the first winery I went to see was Van Westen, as I was not disappointed. Their 2008 Vino Grigio and their 2008 Vivacious whites and their 2006 Voluptuous are highly recommended. The Vino Grigio 2008, is of course Pinot Gris. It had a light peach and melon nose. Good acidity with more peach and melon on the palate. The Vivacious 2008 is Pinot Blanc with a hint of Pinot Gris, again has peachy fruit as well as some apricot aromas. Good acidity. Peach and apricot flavours with a touch of greenness. Their Voluptuous 2006 is a barrel aged blend of 67% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet in colour. Very ripe plums and black fruit aromas. Medium body, black ripe fruit, plums, black cherry flavours with drying tannins.

Other notable wines are the La Frenz Merlot 2007, La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, La Frenz Sonoran Vineyard Chardonnay 2009, Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Lake Breeze Gewurztraminer 2009, Therapy Merlot 2008, and Howling Bluff Estate Pinot Noir 2008. I’m sure there are more wines, but I only had 1.5 hours at the tasting room.

The La Frenz Merlot 2007 was deep garnet in the glass. A very nice nose, with sweet black cherry aroma. Sweet, black cherry flavour with a hint of vanilla. Very smooth on the palate. Outstanding.

The La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant.

Hmm, 3 La Frenz in a row. I must also like La Frenz’s wines alot too! The La Frenz Sonoran Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 was light lemon colour in the glass. Vanilla and nutmeg aromas. Lots of flavour on the palate of apple, oak and pineapple. Very creamy with medium acidity.

Lake Breeze is also a consistent producer in the Okanagan. The Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has citrus and slight herbal aromas. High acidity, with citrus and gooseberry flavours. Eat with fresh seafood.

The Lake Breeze Gewurztraminer 2009 is very pale coloure. But has a wonderful lychee and rose petals aromas. Off dry, with medium acidity. Lychee and red delicous apple flavours.

The Therapy Merlot 2008has a lot of leather, coffee, cherry and plum aromas. On the palate there is more of the coffee and cherry flavour, accompanied by some chocolate. Medium tannins. Quite different from the La Frenz Merlot. Maybe buy one of each and do a side-by-side comparison?

Last, one of my favourite Pinot Noirs in the Okanagan is the Howling Bluff Estate Pinot Noir 2008. New world style, with ripe strawberry and cherry aromas with a bit of sweet spice and vanilla. Silky on the palate with vanilla, cherry, and raspberry flavours.

I hope you have a chance to try some of these wines, either here, or even better over in the Naramata Bench at the wineries’ cellar doors. Enjoy!

IVSA New Products Salon – Wines of Note

Today was the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) New Product Salon tasting to the wine Trade in Vancouver, BC. It was a very full event with at least 50 tables from what I could see through the crowds. And consider that at each table, they would be pouring at least 6 different NEW wines, there was at least 300 wines to sample today! Some of the wines are wines that are already in the store, but what is new is the vintage, e.g. a 2008 sauvignon blanc coming out.

I always enjoy attending the IVSA, in part to meet other Trade people, I tweet with, but also to find new and interesting wines. So for the rest of this week’s blog, I’d like to list a few white and red wines that I enjoyed. The wines come from all different price ranges.

Some nice whites:
Rudolf Muller Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett 2008 (Germany). This riesling had a light lime nose. Medium sweet but good acidity to balance it and a red apple flavour. $16.99
Sacred Hill Pinot Gris 2008 (Marlborough – New Zealand). Light lemon in colour, with lychee and pear aromas. Round mouthfeel. Off dry with lychee and apple flavours $19.99 (spec)
Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Marlborough – New Zealand). I was told that this winery is a joint venture with Antinori from Italy. The wine had a light herbal nose. Halepeno pepper and herbal flavours. Medium acidity. Restrained. Quite nice. $28.99 (spec)
Torresella Pinot Grigio Veneto IGT (Italy). This pinot grigio had light peach, apricot and mineral aromas. Light effervescense. Apricot and apple flavours. $14.99 (spec)
Miner Family Vineyards “Napa Valley” Chardonnay 2007 (California). Vanilla and pineapple on the nose. Toasty oak, pineapple and spice on the palate. Round mouthfeel. $39.95 (spec)

Some nice reds:
Ata Rangi ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir 2008 (Waiparapa – New Zealand). Light cherry colour. Raspberry aroma. Red cherry and raspberry flavours. Soft tannins. Very elegant. $27.99 (spec)
Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir (Burgundy – France). Light cherry and vanilla on the nose. Cherry flavour builds in your mouth with a bit of aeration. Also some flowers and apple flavours. $21.99 (spec)
Belle Gios Meiomi 2007 (California). This one is a pinot noir. Light garnet in colour. Light red currant and chocolate aromas. Nice cherry, raspberry and vanilla flavours, and balanced tannins. $33.99 (spec)
Row Eleven Santa Maria Pinot Noir 2005 (California). Medium garnet colour. Cherry and smoke on the nose. Cherry, vanilla and raspberry flavours. Dry tannins with a long finish. A premium wine! $46.99
Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 (California). Medium garnet in colour. Nice raspberry jammy nose. Lots of raspberry fruit flavour. Medium tannins. A deal. $19.49
Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (California). Deep purple in the glass. Capsicum and cherry aromas. Tar and cherry on the palate, with firm tannins. $34.99
Farnese Vini Primitivo Puglia 2007 (Italy). Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape variety, if you didn’t know. This one had nice reddish purple colour in the glass. Light violet and red fruit on the nose. Full ripe red fruit flavours, with soft-medium tannins. Easy to drink and an exceptional price. $9.99 (spec)

An unexpected red wine was the L.A. Cetto Private Reserve Nebbiolo 2003 from the Baja part of California in Mexico! I never knew the Nebbiolo was grown in Mexico. This one had delicious ripe berry flavours, ripe but restrained, and firm tannins, but not to the extent that you would get from an Italian Nebbiolo. Drinkable right now. Sorry I didn’t get the price but I believe it is in the $20 range.

Enjoy!

A Taste of LaStella Wines

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} catch(err) {}LaStella Winery is one of the new wineries in the Okanagan, opening it’s doors in May 2007. It has a sister winery, which you may have heard of called Le Vieux Pin. I was recently invited to a tasting of LaStella’s wines in Yaletown and was very impressed with their wines. LaStella operates their vineyards with a cross between organic and biodynamic practices. They also contract grapes from like minded, quality growers (which I will talk about shortly). They also take great care in the production of the wine, from hand-destemming grapes, to using whole berries for fermentation and using small open-top oak fermentors.

LaStella has both white, rose, and red wines. The two white wines I tried was the Leggiero Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 and the Vivace Pinot Grigio 2008. The Leggiero and Vivace grapes come from the Kalala vineyard. For those that have read my past posts, the Kalala Organic Winery in West Kelowna has produced some wonderful organic wines at a great price point. They also told me that they sell some of their grapes to other wineries. So I was VERY happy to see that LaStella is one of those wineries.

The Leggario had nice mango and pineapple aromas. It was medium body, with light acidity, lime and mineral flavours. The Vivace is a gorgeous, refreshing pinot grigio. It has a crisp citrus and pineapple nose. Good acidity, with pineapple, lime, and mineral flavours. Next I moved on to the Lastellina Rose 2008. This is a merlot based rose. It has a nice salmon colour and a ripe strawberry nose. It is medium bodied, with some spice (cinnamon), and strawberry flavour.

There were 3 reds to enjoy. I found out that the reds are all un-fined and un-filtered, which gives you the closest to a barrel sample experience as possible. The red first was the Allegretto Merlot 2006. It was medium garnet in colour. Ripe plums and light oak on the nose. Medium body and tannins, with black cherry flavours. Their premier wine that evening was the Maestoso Merlot 2006. This wine was deep garnet in colour. Ripe black fruit, cigar box and mocha nose. Ripe black fruit, cherries and mocha flavour, with a cherry finish. The tannins were very fine. This is an exceptional wine. Last but not least was the Fortisimo 2007. This wine will soon be bottled, so we were treated with a sneak taste of this wine. The Fortisimo is a Bordeaux blend, with approximately 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine had a very complex nose and aroma. I unfortunately did not take detailed notes on this wine, but it had many flavour dimensions and a long finish.

What’s upcoming for LaStella? I heard that they have Sangiovese grapes planted and will be harvesting them to blend with other red varietals to offer their first “Super Tuscan“. I joked that maybe it should be a “Super Okanagan“. Either way, I look forward to trying this wine. Enjoy!

Pinot Rama at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 09:29:45
Posted By Wine With Karl

In this seminar we tried a lineup of different “Pinots“, which covered Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinotage. For those that don’t know, all the Pinot varietals come from Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir grapes tend to mutate, giving rise to different “clones” of Pinot Noir, and in other cases caused the creation for Pinot Blanc for example.

Our first wine was the Champagne de Venoge Blanc de Noir 2005 (Champagne). In Champagne-speak this is champagne made from red grapes, in this case 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. A nice bubble, lemon colour, bready and dried fruit nose and flavours.

2nd was the Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio (Italy). This winery is known to produce the most pinot grigio of any winery in the world. From this grigio you get good acid, peach and lime flavours.

3rd was the Sandhill Pinot Blanc 2007 (BC). This wine was a star for me. Vanilla, pineapple, pear and ripe fruit flavours. Round mouthfeel, some spice, tropical fruit flavour. Long finish.

4th was the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2007 (BC). Light, bright, lemon colour. Stone fruit nose. Banana, lemon, and pear flavours.

5th was the Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Grand Cru Mambour 2000 (Alsace, France). Another star! Note that is a 2000 vintage. Most people say white wines don’t age well. This wine was spectacular. Deep lemon colour. Lychee, peach and apricot nose. Lush, roundess, some spicy, fruit, honey.

6th was the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Pinot Noir 2007 (Loire, France). Nice strawberry aroma with light oak. Light bodied, cherry and spice, some apple flavour.

7th was the Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Colchagua Valley Pinot Noir 2007 (Chile). Made by a French wine maker. Masculine with a meaty, smoky aroma. Medium body, red fruit, spicy finish.

8th was the Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir 2006 (Dundee Hills, Oregon). From 100% certified organic grapes. A bit of bricking at the edges, but nice strawberry and vanilla aroma. Red fruit and spice with a round mouthfeel.

9th was the Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir 2006 (California). Not as big as the Sokol Blosser, but still showed cherry, vanilla and strawberries.

10th was the Quails’ Gate Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (Okanagan, BC). Very deep red coloured, with some brown. Cherry, vanilla and some spice. Very fruity.

11th was the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2006 from Martinborough, New Zealand (North Island). When I drink Pinot Noir I love violet aroma, and this was have lots of violets and strawberry. Flowery, violet, and apple flavours.

12th was the Maison Albert Bichot Pommard Clos des Ursulines Domaine du Pavillon 2006 (Burgundy, France). My OVERALL favorite of this tasting. Pommard is known for more masculine pinot. Cherry, vanilla, apple, spice. Light and elegant.

13th was the Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles 2006 also (Burgundy, France). More body than the previous wine. Cherry, vanilla, apple and spice. The grapes from this vineyard are also 100% organic and biodynamic.

14th was the Spier Private Collection Stellenbosch Pinotage 2006, (South Africa). This wine was opaque purple in the glass. Vanilla and black fruit on the nose. Full bodied, spicy, sweet tarry finish.

Last was the Sumac Ridge Pinot Blanc Icewine 2006, (Okaganan, BC). This was deep lemon coloured. Honey and apricots on the nose. Unctus with honey and apricot flavour. Not much acid which could have helped it be a bit more refreshing.

You can see that Pinot has many different styles. If you buy a pinot noir, please chill it for about 30 minutes before serving to bring out it’s flavours. Enjoy!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in March 23-29/09

Yes I know it is still a few months away, but I thought I’d let you know as there are early bird tickets available now. For those that are new to the wine scene in Vancouver, BC, every year around Feb-March there is this wine fest, held at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre downtown, plus numerous smaller tastings/dinners at restaurants around the lower mainland. This is THE wine event of the year for the wine trade, and for anyone that enjoys wine. Each year there is a theme country/region, and a theme varietal. This year the theme is “British Columbia” and the theme varietal is “Pinots“, which means any pinot based grape (e.g. pinot noir, pinot gris). This will be a great time to try out smaller BC-based wineries which don’t typically go to the wine festival. It is usual that the country/region that is the theme for that year sends a large delegation for the main tasting room. Here is a partial list of the BC wineries that will be participating (including one of my favorites. If you don’t remember which one, check a few blogs back 🙂

Deep Creek Wine Estate & Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery
Averill Creek Vineyard / Salt Spring Winery
Arrowleaf Cellars
Artisan Sake Maker
Black Hills Estate Winery
Blasted Church
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
CedarCreek Estate Winery
Cherry Point Vineyards
Church & State Wines
Desert Hills Estate Winery /Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
Domaine de Chaberton
Elephant Island Orchard Winery
Fairview Cellars / Garry Oaks
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Herder Winery & Vineyards
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Hillside Estate Winery
Thornhaven Estates Winery
Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan
Joie Farm
Kettle Valley Winery
La Frenz Winery
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Laughing Stock Vineyards
Mission Hill Family Estate
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
Nk’Mip Cellars
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Osoyoos Larose
Peller Estates
Pentâge Winery
Poplar Grove Winery
Quails’ Gate
Red Rooster Winery
Road 13 Vineyards
Sandhill
See Ya Later Ranch
St Hubertus
Estate Winery
Stoneboat Vineyards
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Tantalus Vineyards
Therapy Vineyards
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery
Twisted Tree Vineyards & Winery
Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery

The other benefit of attending the main tasting room, is that there is a special wine store at the back of the tasting room, where you can buy many of the wines you were tasting. MANY of the wines are specialty wines brought in ONLY for this event so these are the wines to buy!

Besides BC, there will be wines from USA, Australia, France, Italy, Chile and many other countries. If you are curious about French wine, but don’t want to spend lots of money buying bottles in the liquor store without knowing anything about it, you can sample it at the wine festival. Another bonus is that a winery principal MUST attend the tasting room so you may have a chance to chat with the wine maker from another part of the world. That is really exciting.

The event this year is March 23-29/09.

ENJOY!

Thornhaven Winery – A small gem

I enjoy discoverng small wineries that are producing quality wines, then letting other people know about them. Thornhaven winery in Summerland, BC is one of those wineries. I came across this winery two years ago doing an Okanagan tasting weekend. Each wine in their portfolio was very well made, full of fruit, but with structure. Two wines stood out for me at the time. The first was their pinot grigio. Most grigios have a variety of citrus, peach, mango flavour with soft acidity, not as much as you would get on a Sauvignon Blanc. Thornhaven’s pinot grigio tasted like a juicy red grapefruit. It was so refreshing and would have been a great pairing with grilled seafood. The other wine I really enjoyed was their Pinot Meunier. This is a red grape, that is used in the Champagne region, in the blend with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to produce Champange. It is fruiter than pinot noir. Thornhaven’s pinot meunier had a nice cherry and red fruit aromas and flavours. There was also some coffee flavour. This wine is hard to find, outside of going to the Thornhaven winery.

The last wine of note, which I have not yet tasted, is their 2006, Gewurztraimer, as it won double gold at the Canadian Wine Awards. I was able to buy a bottle, but am waiting for the right occasion, to open it with friends. For those that haven’t tried Gewurztraimer, think of lychee fruit with some sweet spices. This is known as the spicy grape in Germany. Try pairing it with a light blue cheese, chicken satay, pate, or chinese food. Enjoy!