Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad Recipe – Gluten Free

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad

I was emailed this recipe and thought I’d pass it along to you.  It uses Tofu Shirataki noodles, which are made with tofu, and are gluten free.  I haven’t made this dish yet, but the ingredients look good, and should pair nicely with a BC Pinot Gris or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  I’ve listed a few after the recipe.  Enjoy.

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

2 pkg House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti shape
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 scallions, sliced
chopped peanuts
pinch chili flakes (optional)
cilantro
mint

For Dressing:
1-1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
juice from 1 lime

DIRECTIONS:

For Salad:
Prepare Tofu Shirataki according to package instructions. Cut into manageable size. Add noodles, carrot, cucumber, chicken, lettuce and scallions in a large bowl and mix well.
Top with peanuts, mint, cilantro and chili flakes (if using).
Add dressing just before serving.

For Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in small ramekin and stir.

A Few Wine Selections

You can find a some of these wines at Everything Wine. The BC wines are available online from the wineries.

Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012, BC ($24.49)

Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris 2013, BC ($18.90)

Forrest Wines “The Doctors” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ, 2012 (BC$19.95 SPEC)

Marisco Vineyards, The Kings Favour Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ, 2013 (BC $19.99 )

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Raise a Glass to BC’s Blue Mountain Winery – Free Tastings

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

I like to pass along info to everyone about free wine tastings, and this one is special because Blue Mountain makes a very nice sparkling wine, that I hope you get a chance to try.  Enjoy and maybe clink a glass with me!

~~~

Raise a Glass to BC’s Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars at TWO Complimentary Tastings & Bottle Signings

May 29, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – Taste premium wines from BC’s Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars at two FREE consumer tastings.  The events will occur on Thursday, June 7 2012 at Everything Wine’s North Vancouver location and Friday June 8 at Marquis Wine Cellars in downtown Vancouver.  Blue Mountain winemaker Matt Mavety will be on hand to share his passion for the wines and their place of origin.

Wines featured at the tastings will include:

  • Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Wine
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Pinot Gris
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Chardonnay
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Pinot Noir

 

Thursday, June 7 2012
4:00 – 6:00pM
Everything Wine
998 Marine Drive, North Vancouver

Friday, June 8 2012
4:00 – 6:00pm
Marquis Wine Cellars

1034 Davie Street, Vancouver

 About Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Located in BC’s South Okanagan, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars is distinctive among Canadian wineries in that all its wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown on the estate’s vineyards.  Ian Mavety purchased the land which is now Blue Mountain Vineyard in 1971.  Current owners Ian, Jane, Matt, and Christie Mavety continue to work to realize the potential of the region, utilizing sustainable farming methods and winemaking practices.  Blue Mountain produces complex, age-worthy varietal wines that are consistent in style while allowing the expression of both the terroir and the individual growing season.

Check Out the New Food Menu at Poor Italian Trattoria Ristorante

Poor Italian sign

I love Italian food and Italian wine; and was thrilled to be invited to try the new menu items from the Poor Italian Trattoria Ristorante on 3296 E 1st Ave Vancouver. In case you didn’t know, this restaurant is owned by Tony Parsons, the TV news announcer that has been gracing the Vancouver airwaves for many years.  The restaurant has a very cosy feeling with landscape paintings hanging on the walls, Italian pottery scattered throughout the restaurant, and rustic terracotta coloured walls.

Arriving there, I was offered a nice light, dry sparkling Italian Prosecco while the appetizer-sized plates of the new courses were brought in for us to try.  The dishes we tried were:

  • Roasted butternut squash soup with acacia honey, Dungeness crab and grape seed oil.
  • 3 types of Bruschetta. House made crostini with i) traditional fresh tomato, basis and olive oil, ii) chopped mushroom medley with porcini and truffle, and iii) tuna with olive oil marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Beef Carpaccio made with AAA Alberta beef , finely sliced and served with truffle aioli and Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Crab Cake with Scallop.  A giant diver-harvested Atlantic scallop balanced over a fresh Dungeness crab cake, served with a spicy pomodoro sauce and micro greens.
  • Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce.
  • Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage, with caramelized onion and San Marzano pomodoro sauce.
  • Braised boneless beef short ribs with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula and gorgonzola risotto
  • Deep fried cannoli tubes topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate
  • Lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone

Appetizers

Trio of bruschetta

All the food we were served was delicious.  The first 4 items fall into the appetizer category. The butternut squash soup was very creamy and went very nicely with the pieces of Dungeness crab.  If you would like an appetizer, the trio of Bruschetta are all tasty.  The traditional tomato one and the mushroom medley both had a good amount of garlic, while the tuna one was light and citrusy flavoured. If you are on the more daring side, you may want to try the beef carpaccio.  This is thin raw slices of beef, topped with the garlicky truffle aioli and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. If you are a seafood lover, then try the crab cake with scallop.  The scallop slice was expertly grilled so it was still soft and juicy, and placed on a skewer atop the crab cake. The fresh hand-made crab cake was also cooked so it had a nice amount of crunchy texture, and tender inside.

Main Courses

Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage

The main courses covered 2 types of pasta and one risotto.  The ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce could have been my overall favourite dish.  It was also the most simple.  The ravioli pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (as was the other pasta).  Inside was a mixture of ricotta cheese and spinach.  A simple tomato sauce was a nice complement to the richness of the ricotta and spinach filling. The Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage were very nice.  I had not seen or heard of Paccheri pasta before.  It looks like a very wide flat noodle that is rolled.  On top of this was the Italian fennel sausage and the spicy tomato sauce.  The pasta held the sauce nicely even though it was smooth. I think the amount of surface area covered by the pasta, allowed the sauce to adhere to the pasta.  Lastly the braised boneless beef short ribs was very rich and flavourful with a gravy/reduction made with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes. To this was a creamy, rich gorgonzola risotto.  The gorgonzola was not overpowering so do not worry if you are not a blue cheese fan.

Desserts

Deconstructed dessert cannoli

The two desserts were both delightful. The first was a deconstructed dessert cannoli.  The cannoli tube was sliced into triangular pieces then deep fried, and topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate.  Nice texture between the crunchiness of the cannoli and the creaminess of the cheese. The lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone was a simple dessert, but very refreshing with the citrus flavour cleansing your palate after trying the other dishes.

If you are wondering about their wine list, they have a wide selection of wines by the glass, which is important I think to keep you safe when you drive after your meal.

Sparkling Wines

  • Pergola Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
  • Mionetto Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
  • Sumac Ridge Stellars Jay Brut 2006 (BC)

White Wines

  • Valle d’Oro Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • See Ya Later Ranch Gcwurztraminer (BC)
  • Anil Macabeo 2009 (Spam)
  • Mt. Fishtail Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009 (New Zealand)
  • Pentage Pinot Gris VQA (BC)
  • Dr. Loosen Riesling (Germany)
  • Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Bourgogne Montvallon Chardonnay 2009 (France)
  • Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio IGT (Italy)
  • Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino DOC 2009 (Italy)

Red Wines

  • Cecchi Chianti DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Valle d’Oro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Cal y Canto (Tempranillo – Syrah – Merlot) (Spain)
  • Rosso Bello R0ss0 Piceno DOC (Italy)
  • Di Majo Norante Sangiovese IGT (Italy)
  • J. Lohr Cypress Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California)
  • Lucky Country Shiraz 2008 (Australia)
  • Kettle Valley Merlot 2007 (BC)
  • Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 (California)
  • Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2008 (BC)
  • Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Super-Tuscan IGT 2008 (Italy)
  • Tedeschi San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2008 (Italy)
  • Cantine di San Silvestro Barolo DOCG 2006 (Italy)

I would recommend going to the Poor Italian.  As I mentioned, I really liked their pasta.  They have a wide range of appetizers to start off a nice lunch or dinner with friends or family.  Enjoy!

Enjoying Blasted Church – Sip + Savour

Image Courtesy Fairmont Herons Restaurant

Wine and cheese.  Always an enjoyable time when paired together.  Today I looked forward to going to Herons Restaurant in Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in downtown Vancouver to try a flight of wines from Blasted Church winery and a pairing of cheeses from The Farm House Natural Cheeses and cheese from the Kootenays and from Salt Spring Island. You too can enjoy Sip + Savour because it takes place daily from 2pm to 5pm (excluding Sundays) at a cost of just $35.95.

Mark Wendenburg with a bottle of Blasted Church wine

Walking into Herons, I looked for an empty wine glass and a table with some wines to taste.  With my luck, the table I picked had the new wine maker from Blasted Church, Mr. Mark Wendenburg, pouring wine. Mark Wendenburg left Sumac Ridge Winery after working with them for18 years. Mark was a born and raised Penticton, and has travelled around the world, getting trained in Germany, and then making wines in New Zealand and Australia before settling back in the Okanagan. Mark is a very friendly person and I enjoyed speaking with him for a long time about wine making style, terroir, and more.

White Wines

The white wines I tasted were all fresh and fruit forward. Perfect for the summer, which I am told should arrive soon!

Pinot Gris 2010 ($19.99). I was told by Mark that their Pinot Gris always has a bit of Viognier blended in. This vintage had 8% added to the Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour.  Light peach and apple aromas.  High acidity but still round mouth feel. Medium body.  Flavours of ripe tropical fruits.

Blasted Church Pinot Gris on ice

Chardonnay Musque 2010 ($17.99). The Chardonnay Musque grape is a unique clone of Chardonnay that was pioneered in the Niagara Peninsula by Château des Charmes’ founder Paul Bosc. It has the Muscat character, which is very aromatic and an aroma of oranges.  This wine was pale lemon in colour. Very aromatic of oranges and flowers. Medium body, dry and medium acidity.  Juicy fruits of lemon and tropical fruit on the palate, also a bit of vanilla.  A nice long, dry finish.

Mixed Blessings 2010 ($17.99). This is the third vintage of this wine, and each vintage is made of a unique blend of white grapes. This vintage was made with Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  Nice aromatic nose. Green and stone fruits.  Off dry with a slight green, herbal flavour.  Light body with medium acidity and light spice to finish. Nice.

Gewurztraminer 2010 ($16.99). Pale lemon in the glass. Flowers and lychee greet your nose. High acidity with flowers,lychee and bonbon flavours.  Light body and has a nice balance of roundness with acidity in your mouth. Another nice wine!

Hatfield’s Fuse 2010 ($17.99). This is a blend of white grapes including Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. Light lychee and herbal nose.  Round mouth feel with a nice balance of acidity.  Juicy fruit gum flavour.

Rose and Red Wines

Blasted Church has a wide range of reds from rose and lighter bodied Pinot Noir, up to a full bodied Bordeaux Blend.

Rose 2010 ($17.99). This rose is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  Usually I expect a single varietal, like Pinot Noir or Merlot, so I was very interested to taste this rose. Very pale cherry colour. Nice strawberry aromas.  Raspberry leaf, strawberry, and capsicum flavours.  High acidity and spicy on your palate. Light body and long length.  This wine packs a punch with 14.9% alcohol, so beware as you sip this one on the patio.

Pinot Noir 2009 ($24.99). I am a Pinot Noir fan and I think that the Okanagan produces some nice Pinot Noir wines. This wine was a bit Burgundian in style. Pale cherry colour, with a smoky, earthy nose.  Between a light and medium body with more smokiness and earthiness on the palate, along with cherries.  Low tannins with medium acidity. Dry with medium length.

Blasted Church Cabernet Merlot and blue cheese

Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot ($25.99). Deep garnet in colour. Ripe, dark fruit, vanilla, capsicum and pencil lead aromas. Medium body round and soft in your mouth with juicy ripe fruits, cherries and vanilla. Also a bit on spiciness on the finish.  Long length.  This wine tastes sweet, but it is just the juiciness of the fruit. Nice.

Nothing Sacred 2008 ($39.99). I’m not sure why the name, but the label shows a dead goat with it’s legs up in the air! This is a premium Bordeaux blend comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Each parcel of fruit was processed and vinified separately.  After vinification, the wines went into their finest oak barrels and aged separately until a final blend was determined. Deep garnet in the glass. Ripe dark fruit, vanilla and dark chocolate nose. Full body with cassis, plums, and opulent vanilla flavours.  Dry with medium tannins and soft acid.  Try this wine with a steak on your barbeque this long weekend.

Artisan Cheese

To pair with several of Blasted Church’s wines were artisan cheese by The Farm House Natural Cheeses, plus an Alpindon cheese from the Kootenay’s and a  “Beddis Blue” from Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Salt Spring Island.

Alpindon cheese with Blasted Church Pinot Gris

The Alpindon cheese was paired with the Pinot Gris. This is a hard cheese, slightly creamy and salty, with a bit of crunchiness to it. A bit of pungency but still quite mild for most people. It went nicely with the pinot gris.

I checked up on this cheese via the Internet and found that it is made by the Kootenay Alpine Cheese Company in Creston, BC. They describe the Alpindon cheese as “a firm cheese carefully modeled after French Beaufort d’Alpage. Following centuries old tradition this cheese is hand-rubbed and made only with milk from summer pastures. It exhibits a smooth nut flavour, a complex finish, a rich golden interior and a dark textured rind. Additional aging concentrates its flavours, deepens its complexity, and increases the sweet crystals that develop throughout the body of the cheese.”

Variety of Cheeses from Farm House Natural Cheeses

The Farm House Natural Cheeses‘ Farm House cheddar was paired with the Chardonnnay Musque. This cheddar felt medium aged to me with some nice nuttiness, a bit of cheddar sharpness, and low in salt. It is hard for a cheddar not to pair nicely with any wine, and this one matched well. A drop of sweet chutney was added to the cheese so you had some sweet, sharp, nutty, and salty flavours to go with the Chardonnay Musque. I spoke with I believe Debra Amrein-Boyes, who is one of only twelve people in western Canada and the US who has been inducted into the prestigious French Cheese Guild, the “Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon“.  I was very interested to hear how they made one of their blue cheeses, and her description of their camembert cheese.  They are located in Agassiz, BC, so I hope to make a pilgrimage to their Fromagerie before the summer is out, see her contented cows and try more of her fabulous cheeses.

The last cheese paired was the  “Beddis Blue” from Moonstruck Organic Cheese onSalt Spring Island. Very creamy with a mild bite. A drop of honey made by bees kept on the roof of the Fairmont Waterfront hotel, was added to this blue cheese.  It was a very interesting flavour combination.  I’ve never mixed honey and blue cheese, but it works and paired nicely with the fruitiness and acidity in the Cabernet Merlot blend.

If you are a fan of bees and honey, the Fairmont Waterfront hotel does offer their guests a guided Herb Garden & Honeybee Tour. Also if you are a chocolate fan, try the hotel’s honey truffles, the “Bee’s Knees”. The truffles, created in partnership with British Columbia’s legendary chocolatier, Rogers’ Chocolates, are offered in milk and dark chocolate and feature flavour notes of butterscotch, vanilla and cinnamon.

Have a great summer, enjoying some wine and cheese on your patio!

A Tailgate Party, Grilled Pork, & Wine for the Canucks Game!

This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:

  • 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
  • 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
  • 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
  • 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
  • 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
  • 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards

What is a tailgate party?

From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailgate_party)

Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.

What did Andy teach us to BBQ?

  • Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
  • Beer Bathed Brats
  • Pig Candy
  • Smoked Sausage Fatties
  • Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)

A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts.  The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice.  Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.

Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.

Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad.  This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party.  For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.

Sausages on the grill are always nice.  We enjoyed beer bathed brats.  In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ.  The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste.  This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages.  Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.

Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”.  Seeds were removed to make it less spicy.  A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled.  It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy.  I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris.  If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!

Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere.  Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!

Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer.  Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes.  Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!

BC Pinot Blanc Summer Sips

Some wine industry experts have said that Pinot Blanc could be the signature grape variety here in British Columbia, and I think particularly in the Okanagan. I have tasted many nice BC Pinot Blanc, but I think we also do very nice Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, and should be in the running for signature grape variety.

This grape variety is known for its apple, melon and almond flavours.  It can produce light to medium bodied wines. Usually low acidity, it can be oak aged for additional complexity. In Alsace it is commonly made into a sparkling wine called Cremant d’Alsace. I personally would like to see a BC winery try to make a Cremant with Pinot Blanc. (I think there may be a winery, but I’m not sure at the time of writing this blog article.)

Checking the www.everythingwine.com website, I identified the following BC Pinot Blanc wines in the $15-$25 range:

Blue Mountain Vineyard Pinot Blanc 750 mL Pinot Blanc $21.99
Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanc 200 mL Pinot Blanc $15.99
Hester Creek Pinot Blanc 750ml Pinot Blanc $16.99
Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc 750 mL Pinot Blanc $19.99
Monster Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 750 ml Pinot Blanc $21.99
Nk’Mip Cellars Pinot Blanc 750ml Pinot Blanc $16.99
Paradise Ranch Late Harvest Pinot Blanc 375 mL Pinot Blanc $24.99
Red Rooster Pinot Blanc 750 mL Pinot Blanc $16.99
Starling Lane Pinot Blanc 750ml Pinot Blanc $18.99
Van Westen Vivacious Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Blanc $23.99

Checking my past tasting notes, I’ve had the opportunity to try the following BC Pinot Blanc:

Van Westen Vineyards Vivacious Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris, 2007 :   Some sur lie on the nose, along with spice, citrus and apple aromas.  Good acidity, with apple and vanilla flavours. (Try Van Westen’s other wines too.  All are wonderful.)

Sandhill Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanc, 2007: Lemon colour in the glass.  Pineapple, melon, and oak aromas and flavours.  This is a very elegant Pinot Gris and one that I regularly show at private tastings.

Stonehill Estate Winery Pinot Blanc, 2007:  Medium lemon in colour.  Apple and oak nose and flavours.  Good acidity.  Light oak.

Greata Ranch Vineyards Pinot Blanc, 2007: This wine is aged 8 months in oak barrels, 20% are French oak.  Lots of aroma for this wine.  Peaches and pears on the nose.  Nice acidity with a balance of smoothness in the mouth.  Some oak and butterscotch flavours.

Try a bottle of BC Pinot Blanc and see if you think this could be BC’s signature grape variety.  Cheers.

BC Cabernet Sauvignon for Summer Sips

Well I’ve talked about Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. This blog is on BC Cabernet Sauvignon wine for the summer. Sometime you want a big red wine, with good tannic structure to complement some serious barbecuing in your backyard or patio. Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the king of the red grapes, although some may say Syrah should share that crown. Cabernet Sauvignon typically has black currant and dark fruit aromas. It can also have other interesting aromas of cedar, violets, leather, or cigar box. The tannic backbone of this varietal helps it age gracefully in the bottle and bring out the nuances in aroma and flavour profiles.

Checking the www.EverythingWine.ca website for BC Cabs in the $15-$25 range I came up with:

Church & State Wines Cabernet Blanc 750mL Cabernet Sauvignon $23.99 More information about Church & State Wines Cabernet Blanc 750mL
Inniskillin Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon Osoyoos 750 mL Cabernet Sauvignon $16.99 More information about Inniskillin Okanagan  Cabernet Sauvignon Osoyoos 750 mL
Jackson-Triggs Proprietors’ Edition VQA Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon $16.99 More information about Jackson-Triggs Proprietors' Edition VQA Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml
J-Triggs Proprietors Select Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon $17.99 More information about J-Triggs Proprietors Select Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml
Mission Hill 2003 Reserve Bin 88 Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon $21.99 More information about Mission Hill 2003 Reserve  Bin 88 Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 750 mL Cabernet Sauvignon $21.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve  Cabernet Sauvignon 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 88 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon $21.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 88 750ml
Sonora Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5 L Cabernet Sauvignon $17.99 More information about Sonora Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5 L
Sumac Ridge Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon $22.99 More information about Sumac Ridge Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 750ml

In general, Cabernet Sauvignon wines command a greater price than other varietals, due to their full body, their ageability, and cachet. I was happy to get 9 BC Cabs showing up in the $15-$25 price range. I’ve had the Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon many times over the years. It is a solid wine and sure to please. I recently visited the Sumac Ridge winery and sampled their Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. A nice full bodied Cab.

With the hot weather we are now having in BC, now might be the time to try some of these wines. Enjoy!

Enjoy some BC Pinot Gris this summer

I thought to help summer along, I’d point out some white wines that you may be interested in trying on your patio. Today I’d like to focus on BC Pinot Gris. I think BC Pinot Gris are very nicely made. They typically have a lot of nice ripe stone fruit, e.g. peach, flavours, apples, and good acidity to make them refreshing in your mouth. Try with some seafood this summer too.

A quick search on the EverythingWine.ca website, came up with 28 BC Pinot Gris in the $15-$25 range.

Arrowleaf Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Black Widow Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Black Widow  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Cassini Cellars Pinot Gris 750mL Pinot Gris $15.99 More information about Cassini Cellars  Pinot Gris 750mL
Chase & Warren Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Chase & Warren Pinot Gris 750 mL
Church & State Wines Pinot Gris 750mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Church & State Wines Pinot Gris 750mL
Desert Hills Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Desert Hills  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Gray Monk Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Gray Monk  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Herder Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Herder Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Hester Creek Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Hester Creek  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Hillside Estate Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $22.99 More information about Hillside Estate Pinot Gris 750 mL
Hillside Estate Unoaked Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Hillside Estate Unoaked Pinot Gris 750 mL
Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2008 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2008 750 mL
Kettle Valley Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Kettle Valley  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 mL
Lang Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $19.99 More information about Lang Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Gris 750 mL
Nichol Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Nichol Pinot Gris 750ml
Pentage Pinot Gris Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Pentage Pinot Gris Pinot Gris 750 mL
Poplar Grove 2008 Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $24.99 More information about Poplar Grove 2008 Pinot Gris 750 mL
Red Rooster Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $17.99 More information about Red Rooster Pinot Gris 750 mL
Saltspring Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 ml Pinot Gris $19.99 More information about Saltspring Vineyards Pinot Gris 750 ml
Sperling Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Sperling Pinot Gris 750 mL
Thornhaven Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Thornhaven  Pinot Gris 750 mL
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $16.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $18.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Gris 750ml
Township 7 Pinot Gris 750ml Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Township 7  Pinot Gris 750ml
Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $23.99 More information about Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 750 mL
Wild Goose Vineards Pinot Gris 750 mL Pinot Gris $21.99 More information about Wild Goose Vineards  Pinot Gris 750 mL

I’ve talked about some of these wines and/or wineries in the past on www.mywinepal.com or on my blog. The Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris, Thornhaven Pinot Gris, and Black Widow Pinot Gris are a few I’d like to select out as ones that I have enjoyed in the past.
Thornhaven Pinot Gris 2008: Very aromatic. Apple, peach and spice on the nose. Apple and other fruits. Spicy. Quite full bodied.

Van Westen Vino Grigio Pinot Gris 2007: Medium straw colour. Aromas of apple and spice. Citrus and spice on the palate. Full mouthfeel and good acidity.

Black Widow Pinot Gris 2008: Light lemon colour. Nice tropical fruit aroma with light oak. Good acidity. Apple, plum and spice on the palate.

So raise a toast to the start of summer and enjoy some BC Pinot Gris! Cheers.

Okanagan Road Trip

This past week was a road trip with my family in the Okanagan. I did get a chance to visit a few wineries I already knew, and to visit some new wineries. With Kelowna as our home base, we drove as far north as Vernon, and as far south as Osoyoos. In Kelowna, I had to show my family the beautiful views from Mission Hill Family Estate winery’s grounds. It is always so nice to look over the lake and Kelowna from the patio restaurant. On the wine tasting side, I was privileged to taste a 2003-2006 vertical of Mission Hill’s top wine, Oculus. Although I didn’t have any notes written, I can tell you that the 2006 was “feminine” in style with a beautiful flowery bouquet. The 2004 and 2003 Oculus was my favorite by a slim margin over the 2006 Oculus. 2003 was a very hot year in the Okanagan, and had the horrible forest fires we all remember. The heat made the fruit very ripe that year, so you get lots of fruit to balance the tannins. The 2003 still has good tannic structure with fruit and I’d give it a few more years to soften. It is a wonderful wine. You might want to see if they are selling any through the Library releases. I think you have to go to the winery though to buy their Library releases.

On another day trip, we went to Nk’Mip desert cultural centre and the Nk’Mip winery right beside it. The cultural centre was very interesting, and has a nest with an Osprey parents and chicks. The nest is on the top of a tall pole, so bring your binoculars. My favorite wine on this tasting of the Nk’Mip winery was their NK’Mip Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir 2007. Again no hand written notes, but I remember strawberries with smoke aromas and flavours. Buy some if you can.

On another trip, we spent some time tasting wines at Sumac Ridge Estate winery in Summerland. While there I tried my first ever sparkling Gewurztraminer. It was quite refreshing. I bought a bottle so that I can try it back home with some seafood this summer. I also enjoyed their Chardonnay and their Cabernet Franc from the Black Sage vineyards. Quite elegant.

Another day was spent at Volcanic Hills winery, Beaumont Estate Family winery, and Kalala Organic Estate winery. I found out that the owners of Volcanic Hills winery were co-owners of the Mount Boucherie winery. They just opened their tasting room 3 weeks ago. Most of the grapes were purchased from what I could tell. The Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris was quite nice. Round mouthfeel with juicy ripe fruit flavours. This is their first vintage of their reds and whites. I am looking forward to trying their next vintages and see how they define their style.

If you like wines made from organically grown grapes, there is Beaumont Estate Family winery, which is right next door to Volcanic Hills winery, and there is Kalala Organic Estate winery (who BTW let Volcanic Hills use their equipment for vinifying their first vintage). Beaumont is a family run business with the daughter of the family making the wines. They have a wide range of wines from Pinot Gris, to Pinot Noir, to Gamay Noir, and more. They noted that Pinot Noir seems to like their soil the most, so expect to see them concentrate on this wine. I was really looking forward to Kalala Organic Estate winery, since I saw them last June. They have won several medals this year for their red and white wines. I really liked their Riesling 2008 vintage. It had crisp acidity, pineapple and apple aromas with a hint of petrol. It won a Gold at the 2010 New World Int’l Wine Competition in California, a Silver in the 2010 Concours mondial de Bruxelles, and a Bronze at the 2010 Northwest Wine Summit. Buy this wine before it sells out. On the red side, if you have not tried, give their Zweigelt 2008 a try. This red grape provided sour red cherry aroma and flavour, and a bit of maraschino cherry too. Soft tannins also with Zweigelt. This wine won 4 different Bronze medals this year. Check out Kalala’s website http://www.kalalawines.ca/wine/index.php for all their medals.

That is all for now. I wish I had more time to try more wines while I was in the Okanagan, but being with family is also nice!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair 2010 – Day 2

Today is dedicated to the wines of New Zealand at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. New Zealand is well known for their Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and there were plenty of fine examples to be tasted. But what was suprising was the number of Pinot Gris that were available. I knew that Pinot Gris is available in New Zealand, but was suprised how many made it across the Pacific Ocean to reach our shores. As such, I purchased 3 in particular that I liked:
– St. Helena Pinot Gris 2008 ($21.99)
– Mount Riley Pinot Gris 2009 (19.99)

– Gibbston Dream Maker Pinot Gris 2008 ($29.99)

The St. Helena Pinot Gris 2008 was roses and peach on the nose. Round mouth feel, with medium acidity. Peachy flavour with slight spice and oak.

Mount Riley Pinot Gris 2009 had a light peach and apricot nose. Off dry, and quite flavourful. Lots of peach and a bit of spice on the finish.

The Gibbston Highgate Estate Dream Maker Pinot Gris 2008 has a light sweet citrus / honey / peach nose. Medium acid with some roundness on the palate. Vanilla and peach flavours.

All wonderful choices for summer.

As you know, I love Pinot Noir, and I was waiting to try some new ones from New Zealand.
Two in particular I really liked was the:
– Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007
– Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir 2007

The Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir was medium garnet in the glass. A very pretty raspberry and plum nose. Raspberry, leafy, cherry flavours. Slightly spicy. Silky on the palate. Very nice!

The Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir was very aromatic with strawberries and raspberries aromas. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Medium body, medium acidity. Vanilla on the finish.

There was of course many sauvignon blancs to choose from:
– Elephant Hill Estate and Winery Sauvignon Blanc Rserve 2008
– Mount Riley Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009

– Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

I’m running out of time, so no review on these last 3, but don’t worry after the Festival is over, i’ll be posting full tasting notes.

See you all tomorrow at the Saturday tasting! Enjoy!