Lulu Island Winery Spring 2011 Wine Release Party

April 9 and 10, 2011 was the Spring Wine Release Party at Lulu Island Winery, located in Richmond, BC. This was not a release of all their new vintages .There were three fruit wines released, one of which is a brand new fruit wine for me. The three fruit wines I tasted were:

  • Raspberry 2008 ($15.95)
  • Cranberry 2007 ($16.95)
  • Passion Fruit 2006 ($18.95)

The raspberries and cranberries are sourced locally. The raspberries coming from Abbotsford and the cranberries from Richmond. I haven’t seen any passion fruit trees growing locally, and found out the fruit for this wine came from Taiwan in pulp format.

All three fruit wines have sweetness between 2 and 4, so you would think you would be tasting quite sweet libations, but you would be wrong. These three wines have nice tart acidity that balances out the sugar.

The Raspberry 2008 is deep garnet in colour with aromas of juicy raspberries and floweriness. Dry mouthfeel with sour raspberry flavour. This was a nice pairing with some ripe strawberries at the tasting.

The Cranberry 2007 had red cherry and cranberry aromas. Sour red cherry and cranberry flavour. Medium length. Also good with the strawberries.

The Passion Fruit 2006 had a very intriguing aromas and flavours. This wine had a beautiful golden colour in the glass.  How do you describe passion fruit aroma and flavour to someone that has not grown up with this fruit?  My initial stab at a description was honey, peach and ripe topical fruit.  The wine also had a dried raisin flavour to it too.  Very dry with medium body.  Lots of pucker power with this wine.  Good crisp acidity.

While I was there, I thought I’d try two of the red wines which I had before.  The Lulu Island Cabernet Franc 2009 ($24.95) was deep garnet in colour.  Slight cedar on the nose along with red cherries.  On the palate it was soft in the mouth with ripe red cherries, vanilla and cedar flavours.  Low tannins and medium length.  A very enjoyable wine.

The Lulu Island Meritage 2009 ($31.95) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  It had a dark fruit nose.  Quite round mouthfeel. Cherries, raspberries and vanilla on the palate.  Soft tannins with some spice on the finish.  Another nice wine.

Lulu Island’s current vintages of Merlot 2009, Pinot Noir 2009, and Blueberry wines are SOLD OUT.  Their Late Harvest Merlot stock is low.  Take a weekend trip to Lulu Island Winery.  They are in Richmond so not too far to go for Vancouverites.  Be a tourist in your own city.  Enjoy!

What does that wine taste like???

I’m sure we all have tasted a wine and tried to place a flavour in the wine. Does it taste earthy, flinty, plummy, like cut grass, or licorice? Over time, when you taste lots of wines, and take lots of notes when you are tasting, you start to gain a library of aromas and flavours in your brain. But when you are starting tasting wine, the range of aromas and flavours can be daunting.

One useful thing that you may want to have with you when you taste a wine, is a wine flavour wheel. You can buy plasticized ones from wine stores. There are also flavour wheels that you can find online and print. I’ve found one at this web page: Wine Flavour Wheel

If you check the wheel from the above link, you will find that there are 64 flavours for you to start with. If you don’t find a flavour that matches to what you are tasting, try categorizing the flavour. Is it citrusy, floral, sweet, for example? That may be all you can do to describe it. If you can go a bit deeper, and you recognize that it is citrusy, does it taste like a single fruit like a lemon, or a lime, or maybe it is a combination? There is nothing wrong to say that you taste both lemon and lime.

You will also find that certain flavours are commonly found with particular grapes, such as citrusy or herbal for Sauvignon Blanc, and strawberries, raspberries or violets for Pinot Noir.

Have fun with wine tasting. You will see with practice that you will be able to identify many more flavours than you were able to do when you started. Enjoy!

Other Food and Wine

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-3295479-2”);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}We all enjoy food with wine. Grilled steaks with a big Aussie Shiraz, or lamb chops with a BC Pinot Noir for example. But have you considered fruit or chocolate? Maybe as a dessert or for before dinner? Grapes are very refreshing to enjoy with wines. I usually have white grapes with white wine. The sugar and acidity in the grapes seem to bring out more flavour in the wine for me. Also chocolate can be fun. We all know that dark chocolate is good for you. While letting some of that 75% cocoa chocolate dissolve in your mouth, why not try a merlot? Merlot is fruiter and has softer tannins than a Cabernet Sauvignon. I have found that Merlot seems to go really well with dark chocolate. I think the chocolate gives the backbone or structure and the Merlot fills the structure with body. It’s a nice pairing. Another pairing I like is a sweet wine, such as a Sauternes or a late harvest wine, paired with a sour fruit, such as raspberry. Experiment with other fruits. See what interesting wine/fruit combinations work together. Enjoy!

Vinho Verde tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

March 31, 2009 05:05:33
Posted By Wine With Karl

This was my last official tasting of the wine festival, and I would say it was a very interesting and tasty tasting! Our speaker was DJ Kerney a wine educator, caterer, chef, sommelier and more. DJ talked to us about Vinho Verde, “Green Wine” from the northwest corner of Portugal. These wines were all very refreshing, good acidity and fruit. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, but want something slightly different with a bit of bubble then try Vinho Verde.

The wines were tried on their own first, and then with some excellent appetizers, skillfully produced by Blair Rasmussen, the executive chef for the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Our wines were:
1. Vinho Verde Gatao N/V ($10.99 in BC)
2. Arca Nova Rose 2007
3. Arca Nova Loureiro 2007
4. Quinta de Simaens 2007
5. Quinta de Linhares Avesso 2007
6. Alvarinho Quinta do Regueiro 2007

Our appetizers were:
1. Sake Braised Japanese Eggplant Salad, with Crispy Garlic and Handmade Fresh Wasabi
2. Steamed Island Scallop with Portuguese Chorizo Piperade and Scallop Roe
3. Lemon Grass Chicken with Wild Prawn Sate and Thai Red Curry Sauce
4. Salt Cod “Bolinhos”, Roma Tomato and White Truffle Oil

The first wine was a non-vintage wine, but was quite refreshing and a great deal at $10.99. A great patio wine and one that went well with the eggplant, scallop and lemon grass chicken. The Vinho Verde Gatao had lemon, orange, yeast and some sweetness on the nose. Good acidity with more bright orange and lemon flavour.

The Arca Nova Rose is a “rose”. Most people think of white wine from this region but it also produces red and rose wines. This rose had citrus, strawberry and raspberry aromas. Good acid as well, with apple and citrus flavours.

Also from Arca was the Lureiro (Lureiro is a native grape variety. Portugal has LOTS of native grape varieties with hard to pronounce names). I enjoyed this one as it had a tangerine and lime aromas, which continued on the palate, and good acidity. No flabby wines anywhere in this lineup. This paired nicely with the lemon grass chicken and the eggplant.

The Quinta de Simaens was a blend of a few white grapes; arinto, avesso, and trajadura. Pale lemon green colour. Flowery, apple, and citrus aromas. Less acid than the others, but nicely smooth, with apple and citrus flavours. This wine paired best with the eggplant as the eggplant was very smooth and this wine was smooth. Similar with the Salt Cod Bolinhos.

The Quinta de Linhares Avesso had a light aroma, bright acidity with apple and flower flavours.

Our final wine was the Alvarinho Quinta do Regueiro. If you like sauvignon blanc, this one smells and tastes very similar. On the nose you get lots of gooseberry and lemon aroma. On the palate, good acid, some smoothness and oiliness. I thougt it went well with the scallop and the salt cod.

The nice thing about Vinho Verde not being too well known as you can buy them for all probably under $20 according to the people speaking at the event. Enjoy!

Bourgogne: Tour De Terroir tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 08:04:21
Posted By Wine With Karl

Friday evening was a “tour” across Burgundy. We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Luckily only 9 wines this evening compared to 15 wines the previous evening.

First wine was Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurora Rose Brut, a cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant is a sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne. 100% pinot noir. Light salmon colour, strawberry aroma and flavour. Cremant is usually less expensive than Champagne but uses the same methods so try some cremant.

Next was Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Los 2005. This is chardonnay from the northern Chablis region. Chablis is known for being steely and mineral, but with age comes complexity. This one had lemon, spice and mineral aroma. Light oak, apple, citrus flavour, and had a soft mouthfeel.

Chateau de Cordon Andre Pouilly Fuisse Les Vielle Pierres 2004. Pouilly Fuisse is the region just on the northern border of Beaujolais. The grapes for this wine are also chardonnay. Being further south, the grapes get more sun and heat and have more flavour and creaminess. Unfortunately the wine I had came from a tainted bottle so I can’t tell you about it. Approximately 1 in 12 bottles suffer cork taint world-wide.

Our fourth wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Mersault 2006. More chardonnay, this time from the Cote d’Or, the main part of Burgundy. I marked this wine as a star. Fermented in barrel, this wine was full bodied, rich, with apple, spice, citrus and hazelnut flavours with a toasty finish. Pair with lobster.

The fifth wine was the George Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages 2007. A “village” wine is a step up from a simple Beaujolais. It typically has riper fruit and at least 0.5% more alcohol. Gamay is the red grape in Beaujolais. This wine had cherry and banana aromas. Cherry and juicy fruit gum, flavours. The banana aroma and juicy fruit gum flavours come from the carbonic maceration fermentation (i’ll blog on that separately).

Next, the sixth wine was the Domaine Piron Chenas Quartz 2007. Chenas is the smallest Cru within Beaujolais, and has produced an excellent quality wine. This was medium reddish purple. Cherry aroma. Big cherry fruit flavour, a good level of acidity and medium tannins. A star for this one.

Our seventh wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 2006. Pinot noir here. The vineyard was once owned by nuns, thus the origin of the “Baby Jesus” name. The vineyard is in Beaune, which is the main city in Burgundy. This wine had beautiful cherry blossom aroma. Soft mouthfeel, cherries and strawberry flavours. Very well balanced. My OVERALL favorite of the tasting.

The eighth wine was the Olivier Leflaive Wines Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2005. Remember, Pommard produces masculine wines. This vineyard grows on iron rich soil, giving the wine more body and firm tannins. Garnet colour and big legs (high alcohol). Cherry and strawberry flavour. Full bodied, firm tannins, cherry flavour.

Our final wine was the Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 2006. I do love the wines from the Gevrey-Chambertin appelation. This wine had beautiful cherry and vanilla/oak aroma. Good acid, cherry flavour, medium body.Tour de terroir

Enjoy!

Thinking about Pinot Noir

The movie Sideways popularized the Pinot Noir varietal. It is the classic red grape of Burgundy, but is getting competition from around the world, particularly from Oregon and New Zealand. Other countries, such as Canada and Chile are producing some nice Pinots as well. This is a cross over grape, I’d say, for people that primarily drink white wine because they don’t like the tannins from red wines. Pinot Noir grapes have low tannins, and depending on how the wines are produced can be very light, with wonderful red fruit (e.g. strawberries and raspberries) and violet aromas and flavours. There can also be the more “Burgundian” versions of pinot noir that have more of the earthy, barnyard aromas and flavours that some people enjoy.

So if you have someone you want to introduce to red wines, may I suggest a New World pinot noir. It is hard to go wrong with one from New Zealand. Matua, Tohu (aboriginal run), Cloudy Bay, and Villa Maria are some producers you may want to check out. Chile also makes some nice Pinot Noir. Two that I can recommend are: Cremaschi Furlotti and Casa del Bosque. If you prefer to try Canadian Pinot Noir, Mission Hill, Cedar Creek (try the Platinum Series if you can) and Quails Gate produce good examples.

With a lighter style Pinot Noir, you can pair these wines with fish or chicken. Try a roast salmon with pinot noir.

Enjoy.