BCLDB’s South African Feature Includes Consumer Tastings and More

Have you ever tried South African wine?  It is very food friendly.  A white wine you should not miss is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Nice acidity and fuller mouthfeel.  On the red side, Syrah/Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are very good quality as well.  Below is a press release about upcoming consumer tastings in BC for South African wine at the BCLDB Park Royal store.  Enjoy.


May 28, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) – This summer is the perfect time to discover the great value of wines from South Africa. Throughout June, the BCLDB will focus on the country with in-store tastings and displays, as well as a FREE consumer tasting. The tasting will take place Friday, June 8th 2018 at the Park Royal BCLDB Signature Liquor Store, and will pair South African wine samples with cheese and charcuterie from Granville Island’s Oyama Sausage Co.
South African wines are particularly well suited to the summer activity circuit of barbecues, ball games, and weekends at the cottage. The BCLDB will highlight some great options with displays in 60 locations and free in-store tastings. On June 8th, consumers will also be treated to SouthAfrican wine samples and tasty bites from Oyama in the fresh new Park Royal store. Wines will include:
*             Anthonij Rupert Protea Chenin Blanc
*             Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc
*             Big Bill Cabernet Sauvignon
*             Boschendal Estate Winery 1685 Chardonnay
*             Fairview Cellars Goats do Roam Red
*             Grape Grinder Blue Moose Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz
*             KWV Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc
*             Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
*             Riebeek Cellars Shiraz
*             Spier Signature Chenin Blanc
*             The Vinecrafter Chardonnay
*             Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc
*             Wolftrap Red
Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, June 8 2018
3:00 – 7:00pm
BCLDB Park Royal Signature Liquor Store
Park Royal North, West Vancouver

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About Wines of South Africa: Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major SouthAfrican wine exporters. South Africa‘s winemaking history stretches back to the 1600s.  In recent years, however, the country has combined longstanding traditions with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Inception A Red Blend from South Africa: My Review

I received a bottle of Inception 2012, a red blend of 81% Shiraz, 10% Petit Verdot, and 9% Mourvedre. This wine I was told is being released first in Canada before the rest of the world. It is produced in South Africa, a country that has its feet in both the Old World and the New World of wine making style. Wines that I have tasted in the past from South Africa, tended to be enjoyed with meals more than on their own.

From the information provided with this wine, it appears that quite a bit of care was taken to hand pick the grapes, then ferment each grape variety separately in stainless steel tanks. followed by a full malolactic fermentation (to make the wine smoother and rounder), followed by aging in oak barrels for 12-14 months and blending.

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

My Tasting Notes for Inception 2012

The wine is deep ruby in colour.  It has a pronounced nose, with primary aromas of red fruit, smoke and meatiness, followed secondarily with raspberry, vanilla, leather and chocolate.  It has a bit of sweetness to it, at 17.2 g/l of residual sugar.  Quite soft, round and smooth on the palate, but overall has a very light mouth feel.  Mainly red fruit and chocolate flavours, with lesser amouhts of red cherry and black currant.  The sweetness is the first sensation you get on the palate and continues to the finish.  On the finish you get mouth watering acidity and pepperiness.  The tannins are very light on this wine, and I think would help to bring a bit more structure to the wine.  This wine will be a hit for those of you who like Apothic Red or Yellowtail wines.  I think people who do not like tannic wines and just want something to sip at a party would enjoy this wine.  The price is nice.  In BC $14.99 a bottle.

Why does my wine taste different?

During the course of an evening enjoying a bottle of wine with friends you may notice that the aromas and flavours of the wine may change. This is more readily evident in red wines than white wines. If you leave the wine longer, e.g. taste it the day after or two days after, the wine will continue to change.

Case in point; a bottle of Therapy Vineyards Shiraz 2007 that I opened two days ago. At that time I noted it had aromas of plum, vanilla, and a hint of fried bacon. On the palate, there was ripe black fruits, soft tannins and vanilla. After about an hour the fried bacon aroma disappeared, and the fruitness and vanilla flavour became more pronounced. I put the cork back in the bottle without removing any air. Skip forward 2 days. In my tasting notes I remarked aromas of tea leaves, plum, and some smokiness. On the palate I tasted coffee, nutmeg and ripe black fruit. Sounds like two different wines, doesn’t it?

But we know it’s not. It is interesting to try a wine a few days after you originally tasted it. If the wine is red, see if the exposure to the air softened the tannins. Make notes.

I also have another reason for telling you about this experience. In my last blog article (Do You Trust Wine Reviews?), I was asking you to think about how a wine is rated, and gave a few suggestions on following wine critics. I did not mention in that blog about, WHEN the wine was tasted.

  • Did the wine critic taste the wine as soon as it was poured from the bottle?
  • Was the wine chilled?
  • Did they taste it as soon as it was poured, then after one or two hours after exposure to air?
  • Did they decant the wine before tasting?

These questions I think are interesting because the tasting review from a wine critic does influence many people’s decision when they purchase a bottle of wine. Maybe it would be good to know how the critic did their tasting? Maybe there should be two tastings of the same wine with a few hours of separation between tastings, and have BOTH tasting notes provided for the same bottle of wine? That could be so very interesting and informative to the wine public.

Tell me what you think.  Take out a bottle of red wine today.  Try it now and take notes.  Then tomorrow at the same time, pour yourself another glass of the same wine and make your tasting notes.  Please post your notes to this article because I think it would be of interest to many other people.  Thanks and cheers!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair – Day 3

Yesterday was my last day at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair. I tried many wines from the theme countries of New Zealand and Argentina, and gave you my picks. Today I’ll give you some of my picks for the rest of the world.

If you like Italian wines, Altesino is a nice coice. I particularly liked their Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2004 and their Alte d’Altesi “Super Tuscan” IGT 2003. The Brunello was pale reddish orange. Light strawberry and woody nose. Light body with strawberry and oaky flavours. Medium tannins. The Alte d’Altesi was fuller bodied. Medium garnet. Smoky, earthy, oaky nose. Cherry flavour with very firm tannins.

A South African winery I had not tried before but will now look around for is Alto. South African wines tend to have a different aromatic profile than other New World wines. There is something earthy about many of their wines. Alto’s Rouge 2007 and Shiraz 2006 were wonderful. I was told their Fine Old Vintage Port 2006 was really good, but never got around to trying it. The Rouge 2007 was light/medium garnet in the glass. Capsicum and cherry nose. Cherry, meaty and spicy flavours. Their Shiraz 2006 was deep purple coloured. Sweet black fruit aromas. Firm tannins and bursting with blueberry flavours. Very full bodied. Nice!

Back here in Canada, a must try is Cedar Creek Estate winery’s Platinum Malbec 2007 and their Platinum Syrah 2007. The Platinum Malbec 2007 is their first single varietal release. Medium purple colour. Plum and dark fruit aromas. Rip, black cherries with some green stemminess. Very smooth. Vanilla and medium spice. The Platinum Syrah 2007 had nice blueberries and plum aromas. Quite spicy on the palate with black cherry flavour. Medium tanning and long length.

Another BC wine to try is the Chardonnay 2007 from Church & States Wines. The Chardonnay 2007 is medium lemon colour. Nice apricot nose. Vanilla, sweet spice, pineapple and apricot flavours, with a bit of spice. Lots of flavours coming out the glass the more you swirled it around in your mouth.

If you like biodynamic wines, there is the Cadenizia 2008 from Gemtree Vineyards in Australia. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Shiraz). Medium garnet. Nice nose with butterscotch, cherry and vanilla. Lots of cassis flavour with black cherry and spiciness. Firm yet fine tannins.

My third recommended BC wine is the Mission Hill Family Estate Quatrain 2006. This is a Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, and Cab Franc blend from the Black Sage area of the Okanagan. Deep purple coloured. Blueberry and plum nose. Cherry and plum flavour, peppery with firm tannins.

If you are a Pinot Noir lover, try the Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 from Panther Creek in Oregon. The Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 is light cherry coloured. Smoky, strawberry aromas. Earthy, cherry flavours, with a bit of spiciness and low tannins.

There are many more wines for me to write about for you. That will be happening over the next week. Hopefully you would have tried some of these wines and/or purchased some. Enjoy!

Sydney International Wine Competition 2010

I have been following this wine competition for a few years now. I like the Sydney International Wine Competition for 2 reasons.

1) It shows many wines from the southern hemisphere (along with wines from around the world), and since i’ve been the president / chair of Vancouver’s South World Wine Society for many years, I like to see which wines are rating highly so that I can buy some for our Society here to try.

2) They taste the wine with food. Most people enjoy wine and food together, so why not judge them together?

Here are some winners from the 2010 competition:

“Best Aromatic Wine of Competition”
DELATITE RIESLING 2008 (Australia)

“Best Sauvignon Blanc Wine of Competition”

“Best Fuller Bodied Dry White Table Wine of Competition”

“Best Pinot Noir Wine of Competition”

“Best Fuller Bodied Dry Red Table Wine of Competition”
STICKS NO 29 SHIRAZ 2008 (Australia)

“Best Dessert Wine of Competition”

You can read more about all the winning wines on their website: Sydney International Wine Competition website. Enjoy!

South World Wine Society’s 5th Annual 5 Nations Cup

One of my favorite wine events is coming up on January 14, 2010. It is the South World Wine Society’s “5 Nations Cup“. It is a blind wine tasting. We select a red and a white wine from each of the 5 southern hemisphere countries: Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. In the previous years, Australia and Chile have split the glamour of winning the 5 Nations Cup.

This year we are having a signature red and white varietal from each country. It is fun to see if people can, for example, blindly tell the difference between a Malbec and a Shiraz, or between a Chenin Blanc and a Chardonnay. There are usually lots of theories amongst the tasters as to which glass has which wine in it. I’m disqualified from guessing as I help to select the wine, but it is still educational for me to taste the wines and make my own notes.

If you are in the Vancouver area, i’d like to suggest for u to sign up to this tasting. It is really fun. It is also an idea for a Christmas gift if you have a friend or family member that likes wine. There will also be appetizers so that you can enjoy the wine with food too. Sometimes you will find that you like a certain wine more with food.

I hope to see you there. You can register online at http://www.southworldwine.com

Visiting Everything Wine

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} catch(err) {}I’ve Twittered about Everything Wine, located in North Vancouver a few times, plus I go there to pick up wines that are not in the regular BC Liquor Stores. Today I thought I’d tell you a bit more about Everything Wine in my blog.

I like this store as I can find Specialty “spec” wines, as well as more premium wines. Everything Wine has a special section at the back of the store with their premium wines. If you want to buy a bottle of Sassicaia, you can find it here (for $168.99). You can also find “cheap and cheerful” wine, such as Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay, which retails for $11.99. They have quite a wide selection of southern hemisphere wines, which is a good place to find good values and high quality.

Also during the weekdays, and maybe weekends, they have free tastings from 2pm to 4pm. These are free tastings. They also have special occasion tastings that you need to pay, but these tend to be more premium wines, and could have a wine maker in attendance talking about his / her wine.

The other nice thing I like about Everything Wine is that if you go to their website, you can query their wine database and see if your favorite drop is in stock. You can order it online, or go to the store to buy it. Their website is www.everythingwine.ca.

When I was there, they were going to have a special tasting of Sonoma wines for free, but I couldn’t stay due to other obligations during the day, but I would have liked to try some. The other thing I noticed today is that they have the “Shuttle” bottles from Hardy‘s winery in Australia. They have Hardy’s Chardonnay / Semillon and their Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon Stamp series. For those that don’t know, the Shuttle is a bottle with glass built into the screw top. It is meant for picnics or just when you want a small bottle of wine to enjoy on your own. The picture of the Shuttle is in my blog.

I hope you have a chance to visit Everything Wine. Tell them Karl from MyWinePal sent you! Enjoy.

Wines of South Africa Release

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} catch(err) {}Yesterday I had the good fortune to be invited to the fall release of South African wines at the Sutton Place Hotel. Andre Morgenthal from WOSA in South Africa was present to tell us about wine making in South Africa as well as lead us through a tasting of 9 wines. I was fortunate to meet Andre as well about 5 years ago when he brought over a selection of bottles for us to try as well.

A bit of background for those of you that are not too familiar with South African wines. This year South Africa is celebrating 350 years of wine making, which started in 1659. South Africa is known as the Old World of the New World as their wines share characteristics of both worlds. You get the more fruit which is typically representative of wines of the New World, but you also get the structure and terroir of the Old World. These wines usually do very well with food. During apartheid, South African wineries produced wines that the locals enjoyed, but did not translate well to the palates of the rest of the world. When apartheid lifted in the early 1990’s, South African wineries had to quickly adapt their wine making style to what consumers world-wide enjoy. It took a few years to get there, and their wines are now very well received on the world stage.

There are approximately 700 wineries in South Africa with about 6800 labels. It is a very ancient land with ancient soils as there was no glaciation as their was in North America for example. So the soils are from very old weathered rocks and have very small areas of unique soils/climate (terroir) across South Africa. So you could try a Sauvignon Blanc for example from 7 different regions within South Africa and they could taste very different.

The wines we tried were:
– Moreson Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic Sparkling wine NV
– Vinum Chenin Blanc 2008
– Graham Beck Gameskeeper’s Reserve Chenin Blanc 2008

– Thelema Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2008

– Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2008

– Winery of Good Hope Pinot Noir 2008
– Golden Kaan Winemaker’s Edition Shiraz 2004

– La Motte Shiraz 2007
– Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2005

Moreson is a small producer in South Africa. Cap Classic is South Africa’s term for Method Champenoise (changing the still wine into sparkling wine in the bottle). It had a very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.

The Vinum Chenin Blanc was a light, bright lemon colour. It had smoky, woody, waxy, lemon aromas. Light/medium body, round mouthfeel, with oak and citrus flavours, and a spicy long finish. FYI, “Steen” is the South African word for Chenin Blanc.

Graham Beck is one of my favourite producers in South Africa. I have read that President Obama drank a bottle of Graham Beck NV Brut sparkling on election night. This chenin blanc was bright, light lemony coloured. Green pine, citrus, oak aromas. Round mouthfeel with oak, spice, tropical fruit and citrus flavours. I tried this wine again at the end of the tasting and the aroma completely changed which is cool. The greeness disappeared and was replaced by a lime peel aroma.

We had one Sauvignon Blanc in the tasting, which was the Thelema Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc. Sutherland being the name of the vineyard in Elgin. This wine had lots of green vegetal aromas, especially asparagus. On the palate I noted “saltiness” which was not unpleasant, but very unique as i’ve only tasted this before in sherry. It could be that the green vegetal and asparagus flavours were so pronounced it “tasted” salty. This wine had good acid and length.

The Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay was our last white wine in the tasting flight. This is a BIG chardonnay with lots of oak, buttery, vanilla, citrus aromas. Full bodied with nutmeg, vanilla, citrus and apple flavours. Round mouthfeel.

Our first red wine was the Winery of Good Hope Pinot Noir. This wine started off with aroma of violets, but later in the tasting the nose changed to cherries and spice. On the palate there were flavours of violets, roses, red cherries and a dry finish. A nice light bodied pinot noir.

Our next red was the Golden Kaan WInemaker’s Edition Shiraz. This wine was deep reddish purple in the glass. Tar, burnt rubber and dark fruit on the nose. Cherries and good fruit. Smoky finish and a bit of spice.

Another shiraz we enjoyed was the La Motte Shiraz. This one was deep extracted purple in colour. It had a nice nose, with some spice, red juicy fruit. A round mouthfeel with LOTS of red fruit and some spice. Dry finish. Very nice.

Our last wine is Glen Carlou Grand Classique. Glen Carlou is one of the wineries from South Africa that I like alot. Their shiraz is very good and their chardonnay. The Grand Classique is a Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. This one was deep purple in the glass. Lots of vanilla, dark sweet fruit and chocolate nose. Medium-full body with black fruit and chocolate flavours. Very smooth.

Some of these wines are not yet available in BC, but I do know that you can buy the Glen Carlou at Everything Wine in North Vancouver. Enjoy!

2009 French Wines Expo Tour

2009 French Wines Expo Tour
April 16, 2009 07:52:29

The French have been coming to Vancouver quite regularly recently. Last week I had the pleasure of trying wines from across France at a Trade Only event. There was red and white from Bordeaux, Sauternes, Languedoc, Rhone, organic wines, and more. I also was able to taste a new red grape called Negrette, which I am told is originally from Cyprus, but happy to grow in France. The Negrette grape has lots of sweet bon bon aroma, and bon bon / red crisp apple flavour. I tried the Vin de Pays Comte Tolosan Terreo Negrette 2008. It’s always nice to try something different. Many French wine makers are paying attention to the New World wineries that produce wines that are approachable and drinkable now. Several wines were available to try in this category such as the Esprit du Sud AOC Languedoc 2007, made from Syrah and Grenache.

SWWS Big Reds tasting – Signup asap

April 12, 2009 07:41:43
Posted By Wine With Karl

For those of you who haven’t been to a wine tasting before, or had much exposure to southern hemisphere red wine, the upcoming “Cellar Select Premium Reds” tasting by the South World Wine Society is going to be a blockbuster. Monday, Noon, April 13 is the deadline to sign up.

Many of these are iconic red wines in the southern hemisphere. Some are from vintages no longer available, so if you want to try them, this may be the only place you can try them. Here are the wines:

1. Pisano Uruguay Coastal Region 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon RPF
2. Saxenburg South Africa Stellenbosch 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Collection
3. Glen Carlou South Africa Paarl 2003 Syrah
4. Peter Lehmann Australia Barossa 2004 Shiraz The Futures
5. Tikal Argentina Mendoza 2006 Malbec Amorio
6. Benmarco Argentina Mendoza 2006 Red Blend Expresivo
7. Valdivieso Chile Central Valley Red Blend Caballo Loco No 7

From the website:

The Glen Carlou Syrah has won the John Platter Wine of the Year in South Africa. The Caballo Loco No 7 from Chile is blended and aged by the Solera method used for Spanish sherry, combining fractions of wine from Caballo Loco No 1 – 6 with 7. The Peter Lehmann Futures Shiraz 2004 is not only a benchmark Australian red, but comes from an outstanding Barossa Valley vintage. The Tikal Malbec was rated 91 points by Wine Spectator. The Benmarco Argentina Mendoza 2006 Expresivo is a beguiling blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tannat, and is one of Argentina’s top new wines. The Saxenberg Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the Cape’s most elegant and highly regarded examples of this varietal.

You have till noon on Monday, April 13 to sign up. It’s a great deal for these premium wines, plus check out the appetizers:

Plate 1
Stilton cheese with toasted walnut and dried apricot
A Van Lawn beef slider
Seared diver scallop, red wine butter sauce
Reddened salmon, red wine butter sauce

Plate 2
Grilled lamb chop with olive crust, natural pan jus
Sautéed chicken liver “Diablo”
Prime rib “melt”
Torpedo Prawn with sweet chili sauce