Le Grand Bistro Americain Hosts a Wine Safari to Savor on September 21

South African Winemakers’ Dinner

Chef Shawn Martin’s dishes paired with the wines of Paul Cluver, Angela Jordaan, and Kathy Jordan

Sunday, September 21, 2014

South Africa flagKirkland, Washington — On Sunday, September 21st, Le Grand Bistro Americain proprietor Ted Furst and Executive Chef Shawn Martin will be hosting a special 5-course dinner featuring 7 wines from South Africa, where wine has a history dating back more than 350 years – possibly the oldest wine tradition in the New World.  Joining them will be winemakers Paul Cluver of Cluver Wines, Angela Jordaan of Jardin Wine Estates, and Kathy Jordan of Radford Dale, to share stories about their “wine farms” and the status of winemaking in South Africa today.  The event starts at 6:00pm with a reception in the South Dining Room, followed by dinner at 6:30pm.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase wines from the dinner at special reduced prices.

The South African wine culture has grown parallel to the country’s social development.  While they are 7th in the world’s wine production, their output did not have a presence in the USA until the 1990’s after apartheid ended, due to product boycotts.
Cluver Wines

Paul Cluver is a family-owned, family-run wine business, located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley, approximately 70km south-east of Cape Town. The property has been in ownership of the Cluver family since 1896. Recognized as pioneers of wine in the area, the focus is on producing elegant wines that are expressive of the terroir.

Jardin Wine Estates

Gary and Kathy Jordan have been making world-class wines since 1993 on a farm with a 300 year-old history. He’s a geologist; she’s an economist.  Gary’s parents bought the 146 hectare Stellenbosch property in 1982, and embarked on an extensive replanting program, specializing in classic varieties suited to the different soils and slopes.  Jardin is the trade name for Jordan Wine Estate in North America.

Radford Dale

Radford Dale combines modern winemaking and traditional values to create some of the finest, rarest wines in the Cape. These wines are strongly site-driven, natural and balanced.   This world-class range is made with the utmost care and in exceedingly limited quantities.

2012 Radford Dale ‘Renaissance’ Chenin Blanc

Amuse-Bouche

caviar, blini, crème fraiche

duck tartare, quail egg, parmesan tuile

mushroom and boursin dartoise

oyster shooter, green apple mignonette

 

2013 Jardin Chardonnay

2013 Cluver Chardonnay

Razor Clam Crudo

shallot, caper, black lava salt, blood orange oil & chervil

 

2012 Cluver Pinot Noir

2009 Jardin Cabernet Sauvignon

Grilled Quail

egg fettuccine, wild mushrooms, truffle poultry jus

 

2011 Radford Dale ‘Nudity’ Syrah

Rack of Venison

moroccan spices, rich bread pudding, piperade,

kale, candied shallot

 

2013 Cluver Gewurztraminer

Huckleberry Cheesecake

pistachio ladyfinger crust

 

The dinner is priced at US$120 per person (7 glasses of wine and 5 courses!), excluding tax and gratuity.  Seating is limited.  For reservations call 425-828-7778.  Upcoming Le Grand Bistro Americain special wine dinners are presently scheduled for October 16, December 4; January 29 and February 26, 2015.

 

Advertisements

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.

My Tasting Notes on Flat Roof Manor Malbec

Flat Roof Manor Malbec label

When you hear about a Malbec wine, where do you think it is from? Probably Argentina, but maybe from it’s native home, in France. In either case, you would be wrong. A bottle of Flat Roof Manor Malbec 2010 was sent to me to taste and review. It comes from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa.

I checked into the history of Malbec in South Africa and found out that it has been around the region since the 1920s, so it does have a fair history.  From my past experience tasting many South African wines through the South World Wine Society, I was expecting an “Old World Style New World Wine“.  A wine with it’s feet in both the history of Europe and the youth of the Americas and Southern hemisphere.  And I was right.  South African wines tend to go very well with food as they have good tannic structure and are not over the top with fruit flavour and aroma.

About Flat Roof Manor

The Flat Roof Manor wines are made by Estelle Lourens on the Uitkyk Wine Estate (pronounced “eat cake” wine estate) in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. The Georgian Manor House, part of the inspiration for these wines, is set with a view of Table Mountain.l  It is also one of just 3 two-storied Neoclassical houses in this style left in the Cape.  The cat on the label is linked to a legend where a cat remained on the flat topped roof long after the original owners left, to enjoy it’s life for many years. The cat represents a “laid back, unpretentious, confident, and playful” spirit.

Tasting Flat Roof Manor Malbec

Flat Roof Manor Malbec 2010

The first thing I noticed on the label is that this wine has 14% alcohol, so I expected it to be quite hot, but was not.  It was perfectly balanced with the fruit and tannins.  It was a medium ruby colour in the glass.  You could see legs on the glass after a swirl, so you know the alcohol level is there.  It has a medium intensity, youthful aroma (and should keep it thanks to being under screwcap). I picked up on black fruit, red cherries, plums, red currant fruits as well as black currant leaf, cloves and some smokiness.  Quite a range of aromas. It is dry on the palate with medium plus tannins and medium body.  As mentioned the alcohol level meshed very well with the wine, so you did not feel any hotness in your mouth from it. It also had a range of flavours, including red and black fruit, plum, cassis, black currant leaf and a light amount of oak.  Medium plus length, with white pepper, vanilla and sour cherry on the finish.  A pretty decent wine, with some tannic structure to give it body, and a variety of fruit aromas and flavours to make it enjoyable on the palate.

This wine is available in BC, Alberta, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia for between $12.99-$13.99.  A great price for an over achieving wine.  Enjoy!

Wines of South Africa Free Wine Tasting and Chance to Win A Resort Vacation

Do you know much about South African wine? If you are a lover of their wines, or just learning, the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) are being featured at BCLDB Stores in August, and is having a Free Wine Tasting and offering a chance to win a 2 night stay in Osoyoos’ Watermark Beach Resort!

I see some quality producers’ names in the list below, like Fairview, Graceland, Graham Beck, Saxenburg, Spier and Thelema. Also you will get to try South Africa’s signature white grape “Chenin Blanc” and red grape “Pinotage”. Here are the details of the event.  Enjoy!

~~~

Throughout the month of August, BC Liquor Stores will be highlighting the consistent quality and amazing value of wines from South Africa.  One of the highlights of the month will be a FREE consumer tasting at the 39th & Cambie Signature Store on Friday, August 10 2012.

A selection of top South African wines will be on display at 75 BCLDB stores throughout August.  Wine lovers can also explore the diversity of the following wines at the free tasting at 39th & Cambie:

Wine

CSPC

Retail

DGB Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 897710 $24.99
Fairview Estates La Capra Shiraz 143537 $14.99
Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 90936 $12.99
Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon 140970 $29.99
Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 40428 $19.99
Grape Grinder The Grinder Pinotage 883991 $14.99
KWV Roodeberg Red 7187 $13.99
Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 111526 $12.99
Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red Blend 316992 $18.99
Six Hats Shiraz (Fair Trade Certified) 20255 $13.99
Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 659037 $14.25
Thelema Mountain Vineyard Shiraz 607549 $28.99
Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 340380 $10.49

In conjunction with the month-long promotion, Wines of South Africa is offering a weekend for two at the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC.  The prize includes accommodation and a gift card towards meals in their highly acclaimed wine bar.  For details, and to enter the draw, visit http://wosa.co.za/canada

Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, August 10 2012   3:00 – 7:00 pm

BCLDB 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store
5555 Cambie Street
, Vancouver

About Us

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 South African 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.

About Watermark Beach Resort: Set in the heart of Canada’s premiere wine growing region along the quiet shores of Osoyoos Lake, the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort offers all the services and amenities needed for the perfect getaway, wedding, or meeting destination. The four-story, 153 suite Watermark Beach Resort’s complement of amenities includes a spa, fitness facility, steam room, hot tubs, seasonal pool with waterslide, wine bar and wine bar patio with an summer kitchen.

Sale on South African Wine at Liberty Wine Merchants

Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon and Glen Carlou Syrah

Did you know that South African wines are sometimes known as the Old World of the New World.  They have been making wine since 1685, yet are still viewed as New World!  Their wines do share characteristics of both worlds.  The wines are not as austere as Old World wines can be, nor are they as fruit forward as some New World wines.  But this balance, makes them very good food wines.  I have enjoyed many meals as part of the South World Wine Society sipping South African wines in the past.

Liberty Wine Merchants in Vancouver has a sale on some premium South African wines on till June 30/12.  All the wines listed below are from excellent producers, which I have sampled in the past.  Give these wines a try.  Enjoy!

~~~

10% DISCOUNT ON WINES OF SOUTH AFRICA
A SELECTION OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS PRODUCERS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Rust En Vrede

  • 2008 Shiraz – $37.99
    A big powerful, fruit-driven wine with smooth chocolate ¬flavours
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon– $37.99
    A very elegant wine with lovely fruit and great mid-palate weight. 91 pts – WS.
  • 2008 Estate Blend – $54.99
    Cherry and raspberry supported by beautiful tannins. 93 pts – WS.

De Toren

  • 2007/8 Z – $37.99
    Cocoa and black cherry. Made in the Bordeaux ‘right-bank’ style. 92 Pts – WE.

Springfield Estate

  • 2005 Wild Yeast Chardonnay – $34.99
    This unwooded Chardonnay abounds with flavours of pineapple and pear.

Rustenberg

  • 2009 Five Soldiers Chardonnay – $59.99
    Apple, melon and peach with a touch of minerality. 91 pts – RP.

Scali

  • 2007 Blanc – $37.99
    Ripe summer fruits with spices. 94 pts – wineanorak.com
  • 2005 Syrah – $47.99
    Red fruits and pepper with sweet tannins. 89 pts – ST.

Mulderbosch

  • 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – $27.99
    One of the Cape’s most heralded and sought-after wines. 88 pts – ST.
  • 2008 Faithful Hound – $29.99
    Blueberry jam and plum fruit alongside tobacco and cedar. 90 pts – WS.
  • 2009 Chenin Blanc – $24.99
    Offers lush fruit but nishes with a surprisingly rm edge. 89 pts – ST.

* Offer valid until June 30th, 2012.
* Cannot be combined with any other offer.
* Contact Liberty Wine Merchants stores for availability.

www.LIBERTYWINEMERCHANTS.COM

More Winery Picks at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest 2012

las perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008

Day 2 is over for me at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. I spent a portion of my time finishing off some Chilean wineries (and interviewing a few wine makers) but the majority of the time was trying the other wineries’ wines at the Festival. If you are attending tomorrow’s tasting, here are some wines that you may want to try. Tasting notes will follow after the Festival is over.

  • Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Argentina
  • Amalaya Gran Corta 2010, Argentina
  • Finca Flichman Expresiones Malbec / Cabenet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina
  • O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec 2008, Argentina
  • Las Perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008, Argentina (I really like this wine.  Try it if you can!)
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Torrontes 2011, Argentina
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Malbec 2011, Argentina
  • Delas Freres Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette 2009, France
  • Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-pape Cuvee Barberini 2005, France
  • Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009, Italy
  • Damilano Barolo “Lecinquevigne” DOCG 2006, Italy
  • Quinta dos Roques Quinta do Correio red wine 2009, Portugal (very interesting indigenous grapes used)
  • Quinta dos Roques Red 2009, Portugal
  • Quinta dos Roques Reserva 2007, Portugal
  • Lammershoek Winery Pinotage 2007, South Africa
  • J. Lohr Vineyards Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, California
  • Trefethen Family Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California
  • Zaca Mesa Winery Syrah 2009, California
  • Iber Wine, Casa Jus Antiguos Vinedos Tempranillo 2006, Spain
  • Domecq Bodegas Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2003, Spain

Trefethen Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

There are many more wines and wineries that I did not have a chance to try.  Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were not able to get my attention, but there are many good wines from there too.  I hope you enjoy some of my latest wine picks!

There are also a few more Chilean wines for the list that I tried today:

  • Vina Caliterra Cenit 2008
  • Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  • Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2008
  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Fair Trade Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Miguel Torres Conde de Superunda 2005
  • Vina San Pedro Cabo de Hornos 2007

Enjoy!  I also love to hear what you liked at the Festival.  Leave a comment please with your favourites.

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest – Wineries to Try

It is 1 week till the International Festival Tasting Room opens at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and we will get to try wines from all over the world. But which wineries? Here are a few wineries that I think you should try.

Chile

  • De Martino
  • Miguel Torres (also Spain)
  • Viña Montes
  • MontGras
  • Viña Santa Rita
  • Seña / Viña Arboleda
  • Concha y Toro

The Rest of the World

  • Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
  • Decero (Argentina)
  • Las Perdices (Argentina)
  • Katnook (Australia)
  • Penfolds (Australia)
  • Yalumba (Australia)
  • Le Vieux Pin / La Stella (Canada)
  • Mission Hill Family Estate (Canada)
  • Osoyoos Larose  (Canada)
  • Painted Rock Estate Winery (Canada)
  • Thornhaven Estate (Canada)
  • M. Chapoutier (France)
  • Maison Louis Latour (France)
  • Pfaffenheim (France)
  • Estates of Antinori (Italy)
  • Bisol Desiderio & Figli (Italy)
  • Astrolabe (New Zealand)
  • Wither Hills (New Zealand)
  • Quinta do Crasto (Portugal)
  • Symington Family Estates (Portugal)
  • Taylor Fladgate / Fonseca / Croft Port (Portugal)
  • Lammershoek Winery (South Africa)
  • Bodegas Muga (Spain)
  • Bodegas Olivares (Spain)
  • Caymus Winery (USA)
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (USA)
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards (USA)
  • King Estate (USA)
  • Bergevin Lane (USA)
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle (USA)

There are of course many other wineries to try at the Wine Festival, so if you see something that interests you TRY IT.  Some of the wines at the Festival are brought in ONLY for the Festival, so if you like it, buy it in the wine shop at the back of the tasting room before it sells out.  The complete list of wineries at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival is here.

Free South African Wine Tasting at Marquis Wine Cellars on Sunday

Sorry for the short notice, but there is a FREE tasting of South African wines at Marquis Wine Cellars downtown, tomorrow 2-5pm (Sunday, Oct 2).  Here is the announcement.  Enjoy!

===

On Sunday, October 2 2011, Marquis Wine Cellars will offer Vancouverites a chance to taste wines from South Africa’s Post House and Mooiplaas wineries.  Consumers are welcome to stop by to sample the wines and meet winery representative Sarah Colman.

Post House and Mooiplaas are both located Stellenbosch, the country’s Stellenbosch premier viticultural region.  The two wineries share in the region’s rich history and have become international ambassadors for South Africa’s winemaking community. Winery representative Sarah Colman will be on hand at Marquis to introduce the wines and to answer questions about them.

 
Taste wines from South Africa’s Post House and Mooiplaas wineries
 
Sunday, October 2, 2011
2:00 – 5:00pm
Marquis Wine Cellars
1034 Davie Street, Vancouver
For more information please call 604-684-0445.

Wine’d Up Dinner for Whistler Search and Resue

Whistler Search and Rescue Society (WSAR) is holding its twelfth annual winemaker’s gourmet dinner and auction, “Wine’d Up”, on October 15th, 2011.

Guests at this popular event will enjoy an evening of outstanding food and wine while supporting the critically important work of Whistler’s search and rescue volunteers.

Organizers are delighted to welcome the return of five of Whistler’s renowned Executive Chefs:

·         Chef Vincent Stufano, Fairmont Chateau Whistler

·         Chef Scott Dolbee, Four Seasons Resort Whistler

·         Chef James Walt, Araxi Restaurant and Bar

·         Chef Grant Cousar, Whistler Cooks Catering

·         Chef Steve Bjormark, Whistler Blackcomb

Each chef will create a dish with flavours to complement and enhance the selection of fine wines poured with each course.

Wines for this year’s dinner are generously being donated by four leading South African wineries:  Flat Roof Manor, Moreson (great sparkling wine), Boekenhoutskloof (a premium producer. Makes a wonderful Syrah), and Lammershoek (new to BC.  Nice pinotage and more)South Africa’s centuries-old winemaking tradition blends the restrained elegance of the Old World with the accessible fruit-driven styles of the New, creating wines which eloquently express the Cape’s unique terroir.  As a special treat, dessert will be paired with Amarula Cream Liqueur.

In addition to sensory delights of food and wine, the event will offer guests a chance to participate in both live and silent auctions throughout the evening with items generously donated by businesses in Whistler and throughout B.C.

The evening is truly a community effort.  Whistler-Blackcomb supports this event each year by donating their facilities and staff at Dusty’s Bar & Grill in Whistler Creekside.  Whistler Search and Rescue members volunteer their time at the dinner and auction to ensure everyone has an enjoyable evening.

WSAR is a community driven volunteer organization”, says Brad Sills, SAR Manager, Whistler Search and Rescue Team.  “The annual Wine’d Up fundraiser is the single biggest revenue source that WSAR receives. The Team depends on the generous support the Whistler Community has traditionally given at this annual event in order to meet its operational requirements.”  Since its inception in 2000 organizers have raised more than $340,000.  Brad adds, “WSAR is forever grateful to all the people who organize and support this event”.

Tickets are $160 plus hst and are sold through Whistler Blackcomb – 1-800 766 0449.  Suggested attire for this event is smart western gear / smart casual.

Where, When, How to Get Tickets

Whistler Search and Rescue Society
Twelfth Annual “Wine’d Up” Gourmet Dinner & Auction

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dusty’s Bar & Grill, Whistler Creekside
Reception & Hors D’Oeuvres 6:00 pm

Tickets are $160 + hst – on sale September 1st
For tickets call Whistler Blackcomb at 1-800 766 0449

=====

Please also visit the www.mywinepal.com website and read the latest article on signature grapes and wines of South America, and enter to win 1 of 4, $20 Marquis Wine Cellars gift cards!

Planning Your Summer Wine Trip?

It’s almost mid-August… What do you mean planning your summer wine trip?  Well I didn’t mean a trip here.  How about the southern hemisphere?  January is prime summer time down under.

Vina Errazuriz, Chile winery

If you are in North America, a trip south to Argentina or Chile is not a far stretch.  Vancouver, BC to Santiago, Chile via Air Canada is $1555 round trip in January.  Toronto, Ontario to Buenos Aires, Argentina via Air Canada is $1503 round trip in January, per person.  Both countries speak Spanish, but you can also get along with English as there are English speaking people in hotels as well as at wineries (from personal experience).

Before you get to any of the countries I mention, I recommend researching out some wineries on the Internet, then contacting the wineries in advance to set up a private tasting. I’ve done this in the past and I had great private tastings, which usually includes a few wines that are not normally poured at public tastings.

Southern hemisphere wine selection

If you feel more comfortable being in an English-speaking environment, try Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  If you like wines and the environment of British Columbia, then New Zealand may be the destination for you.  A round trip in January from Vancouver to Auckland, New Zealand $2460 via Air Canada per person. If you would like to see the terra rossa soil of the Coonawarra in Australia, and enjoy a big Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, a Vancouver to Sydney, Australia round trip ticket costs around $2123 per person.

The longest flight for Canadians would be to South Africa, but you can experience the Old World wines of the New World.  If you like the structure or finesse of French wines, for example, but also the fruit forwardness of North American wines, South Africa is a good choice. South African wines are designed for food, so make sure you enjoy a braii (a South African bbq) with your South African wines.  A Toronto, Ontario to Capetown, South Africa in January is about $2061 via Air Canada per person.

Some questions you may have for your trip:

  • What wines to enjoy in these southern hemisphere countries?
  • What are the signature grapes of these countries?
  • What are some interesting regions to visit in these countries?

These are all questions that you probably have as you consider your southern hemisphere Summer wine trip.  In upcoming blog articles I will tackle these questions and hopefully help you have a great wine trip!

The flight prices I found on Travelocity.ca.  They can change quickly, so I recommend doing a check on your own. Enjoy your trip planning!