Burnaby’s Hart House for Christmas and New Year Dinners

I recently received this email about upcoming Christmas and New Year’s dinners at the Hart House Restaurant here in Burnaby.  I think it is a nice restaurant, and am passing along this information, just in case you are wondering where you can go for a nice holiday dinner.  Also, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room.

Enjoy!

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

·         $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

·         Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

·         $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

·         Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

·         Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

· $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

· Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

· $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

· Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

· Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

· Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

· Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Celebrate the Holidays at Hart House

For Immediate Release

November 22, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Hart House Restaurant has become a holiday tradition.  With its elegant heritage house setting, outstanding Pacific Northwest cuisine, and extensive award-winning wine list, Hart House offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

DICKENS LUNCHEON BUFFET – December 6th to 23rd, Available Monday to Friday

Always a favorite, our seasonal buffet menu is perfect for your corporate group lunch and includes hearty fare such as Roasted Turkey, Carved Country Ham, Root Vegetables, and Warm Bread Pudding.

·         $35 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Two seating times:  11:00am or 1:30pm

·         Reservations by phone only

CHRISTMAS DINNER – December 25th, 2010

Enjoy a traditional Turkey Dinner will all the trimmings without the hassle and stress of spending the day in the kitchen.

·         $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Early seating times:  4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30

·         Late seating times:  7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – December 31st, 2010

The perfect way to ring in the New Year!  The early seating offers three courses, and the late seating offers five courses.

·         Early seatings (5:30 or 6:00pm) – $58 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Late seatings (8:30 or 9:00pm) – $78 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

·         Reservations by phone required for both early and late seating

And don’t forget, Hart House offers 25% off bottles of wine every Tuesday in the dining room, to complement our a la carte lunch and dinner.  Take advantage of this opportunity to explore our award-winning cellar with friends, family, or colleagues.

We look forward to celebrating with you over the holidays!

Hart House at Deer Lake

6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

#     #     #

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278

www.harthouserestaurant.com

Being Impressed at the G7 Wines of Portugal Tasting – Part 3

There was so many wines to taste and information to ingest at the G7 Wines of Portugal tasting, that I had to leave the food and wine pairing to Part 3.  The event was held at the Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver.  A wonderful exhibit of some of Bill Reid’s Haida art, as well as art by other First Nations people.  The food for this tasting was catered by diva at the Met, and each course was spectacular.

We started our food and wine pairing with:
Rare seared albacore tuna, marinated cucumber, and a basil emulsion served with the Grande Follies Branco 2007.  The Grande Follies Branco 2007 is a blend of chardonnay and the Portugese grapes Maria Gomes, Cerceal, and Bical. It had aromas and flavours of lychee, pineapple, and stone fruit, along with some vanilla.  The pairing was quite nice.  The acidity of the wine balanced with the marinated cucumbers and complemented the tuna.

Our next course was:
Butternut squash risotto with Oyama shinkin speck, served with Quinta dos Quatro Ventos Reserva 2006 and Tinto da Anfora Grande Escolha 2006.  The Quinta dos Quatro Ventos Reserva is the name of the vineyard, and is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Touriga Franca.  It is only produced in exceptional years. This wine has good structure.  Lots of purple fruit flavours and spice on the palate.  The Tinto da Anfora Grande Escolha is a blend, but primarily Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. There is 5% Cabernet Sauvignon in this blend which adds a bit more structure to the wine. Medium garnet in colour. Some earthiness, black cherry, oak, and mint aromas. Medium body, smooth mouthfeel and medium acidity. Lots of ripe black fruit flavours with some spice.  Thse Portuguese reds although having structure, have a supple roundness to them so that they complement the cheese in the risotto, as well as balance well with the cured shinkin speck.

third course was:
Slow braised beef shortrib, carmelized parsnip puree, natural jus, served with Quinta do Cachao, Grande Escolha 2007 and Periquita Superior 2008.  The Quinta do Cachao Grande Escolha is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Barroca.  This wine had a bit of a closed nose but made it up on the palate.  Lots of purple fruit and soft mouthfeel.  The Periquita Superior is a higher level of quality of wine in Portugal, but below the Reserva level. Deep purple in the glass.  Oak, mint and black fruit on the nose.  Medium body.  Firm tannins with purple fruit flavours.  Dry finish.  These red wines worked very well with the beef, which was already very soft from the slow braising.

Our dessert was:
Orange creme tart, toasted almond, apricot garni and dark chocolate, served with Porto Messias Colheita 1985, Moscatel de Setubal 1999, and Alabre 20 Anos. The Moscatel de Setubal 1999 (aka the Muscat of Alexandria grape) is aged in oak malt whiskey barrels. The barrels are stored in a building which is not temperature controlled so the wines are exposed to hot summer heat and cold winter temperatures. The wine oxidizes and evaporates in the barrels to provide additional complexity and concentration to the wines. This wine had a wonderful orange and flowery nose. The Alabre 20 Anos, is a blend of 20 different vintages of this grape from 20 years old to 80 years old! This wine has sweet aromas with orange and some nuttiness. Sweet on the palate with spicy and orange flavours. Very round mouthfeel. The Porto Messias Colheita 1985 had honey and nuttiness on the nose.  Orangy colour.  Medium body, with spiciness and sweetness.  Good level of acidity to cleanse the palate.  The intensity of flavour plus the spice and full body of these wines balanced nicely with the orange creme tart.

I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for Portuguese wines, red, white, and dessert with these last 3 blog posts.  Please post a comment if you enjoy Portuguese wines, and which ones you like in particular.  Gracias!

Bordeaux Blends for the Long Weekend

Our last long weekend, Labour Day, is upon us. Soon the rains will start here in BC. So fire up the BBQ for maybe one last great hurrah, and open a bottle of a BC Bordeaux blend.

When I speak of Bordeaux blend, in this blog I’m talking about red wine. There is a white Bordeaux blend, but I’ll cover that in a different blog.

In a red Bordeaux blend, you can have a blend of up to the following different grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. Malbec and Carmenere are rarely used in Bordeaux now as they were hard to harvest to ripeness and most of the vines are gone. In Bordeaux due to the variations in the climate each year; sometimes a cooler year, and sometimes warmer, you needed to blend earlier ripening and later ripening grapes in order to get a good wine. In the Okanagan, we are blessed with fairly good weather every summer so we can do single varietals, but still blending adds additional complexity to the wine.

With that said, I checked into everythingwine.ca and identified the following BC Bordeaux blends in the $15-$25 range:

Black Widow Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 375 mL Red blend $24.99
Blasted Church Winery Big Bang Red Blend 750 mL Red blend $23.99
Domaine de Chaberton Canoe Red Blend 750 mL Red blend $15.99
Fork In The Road Winery Oliver Block 249 Red Blend 750 mL Red blend $19.99
Hester Creek 2004 Cabernet – Merlot – Cab Franc 750 mL Red blend $19.99
Kalala Organic Estate Winery Cuvee Noir 2008 750 mL Red blend $19.99
Kettle Valley Starboard Fortified Malbec / Petit Verdot 375ml Red blend $24.99
Kettle Valley Old Main Red 375ml Red blend $23.99
Lake Breeze Vineyards Meritage Red Blend 750 mL Red blend $24.99
Road 13 Vineyards Rockpile Red Blend 750 mL Red blend $24.99
Sonora Ranch Proprietor’s Select Red 1.5 L Red blend $15.99
Therapy Vineyards Freud’s Ego 750ml Red blend $19.99
Toscano Rosso Red 2.0L Red blend $16.99

A few of the above blends may have some non-Bordeaux variety grapes in them, such as the Kalala Cuvee Noir, but most I think are all true Bordeaux blends.  In the past I’ve tasted the following BC Bordeaux blends:

Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Merlot / Cabernet Franc    2006    Deep reddish purple. Light aromas of cherry, cedar and slight herbaceousness. Round mouthfeel.  Dark fruit liquor, cherry and plum flavours with a vanilla finish.

Poplar Grove    Legacy Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec    2004    Black fruit aromas with a slight wisp of capsicum.  Round mouthfeel with dark fruit and firm tannins.  Dry with a black cherry finish.

Howling Bluff    Sin Cera Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Malbec    2007    Deep purple with a red edge. Smoky, dark fruit aromas.  Dark fruit, cherry and spicy flavours.  Spicy / cherry finish.  Firm tannins.

Black Widow Winery    Hourglass Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon    2007    Nice nose with casis, cherry, plum and vanilla.  Fruit forward.  Black cherry, plum and some vanilla on palate.  Medium length.

Therapy Vineyards    Freud’s Ego Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc / Merlot    2007    Medium garnet with slight purple colouration.  Oak, cherry, currant and cedar aromas.  Cherry, red and dark berries, and vanilla flavour.  Round mouth feel, soft tannins.  Cherry finish.

I have many more in the list, but to keep it brief, I’ve listed just a few.  I hope you enjoy your Labour Day long weekend with a red  BC Bordeaux blend.

Cheers.

Win with your wine at the Vancouver Magazine International Wine Competition

I received this note recently, and thought that maybe there are a few wineries around that may not know about this competition.  It is always good to get your wines reviewed, and win some awards.  You spend lots of time and hard labour bringing your wines to the table.  Why not submit them?  Here is the note:

There are TWO WEEKS remaining to enter your wines in the 2010 Vancouver magazine International Wine Competition.  Please submit your entries online by Wednesday, September 15th, 2010.  Online application is available at www.vanmag.com – click on the competition logo on the homepage.

Why should you enter:

·         This is a wine competition with a difference!

·         Wines judged by style category – just the way consumers choose wine

·         Over 100 winners in 10 different style categories

·         Western Canada’s largest judging of international and domestic wines

·         Distinguished judging panel of Canada’s acknowledged experts including Masters of Wine, BC’s top sommeliers, educators, critics, journalists and buyers

·          55,000 issues of the January/February 2011 issue featuring the top 100 winners

·         The #1 selling edition that is retained by readers for year-long reference

·         Winning wines are showcased weekly as the most viewed item on Vancouver magazine’s WEEKEND FIX newsletter straight to 5,500 inboxes every Thursday

·         Top wines also featured in 19,000 copies of GuestLife Vancouver; 18,000 copies of Vancouver magazine’s CityGuide

·         All award-winning wines receive on-line exposure (vanmag.com) for one year featuring a wine description, bottle shot and link to the BC Liquor Store stock search page for easy access for consumers to find and purchase the wine

·         Exposure at the prestigious BIG NIGHT event that celebrates the 10 category winners paired with Vancouver magazine  Restaurant Award winners in a lavish, much-anticipated food and wine event in the spring of 2011

·         BC Liquor Stores promotion

·         BC Liquor store promotion gives unprecedented exposure to award-winning wines

·         18,000 overruns of Vancouver magazine’s January/February supplement are distributed to more than 30 participating liquor stores

Thank you for supporting this influential competition.

Yours in wine,

DJ Kearney, Chief Judge

2011 Vancouver magazine International Wine Competition

Important Dates:

ENTRY DEADLINE                                                                                             SEPTEMBER 15TH

Consolidation Point Open                                                                            September 20th

Consolidation Point Closed                                                                          October 1st

Wine Judging                                                                                                     October 27-29th

Winners Published Online                                                                            December 6th

Wine Awards Issue Available                                                                      December 20th

BCLDB Promotion Begins                                                                              February 1st

Big Night Vancouver                                                                                       February 4th

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.

Oak barrels

Did you know that oak barrels tend to be the second biggest expense for a winery, after the cost of the grapes? Oak barrels from France are the most expensive, with the price being US$1000 and up. Less expensive barrels from the USA go for between US$300 – $500 a barrel. Eastern Europe also makes oak barrels, at a price between the USA and France barrel prices.

In France, there are several different forests where the oak trees are harvested: Allier, Limousin, Nevers, Trancais and Vosges. It has been said that barrels produced in France have less influence on the flavours of a wine, compared to American barrels. This is due in part to the tighter grain of French oak compared to American oak. There is also the differences in barrel production.

In France, the coopers let the wood air dry for 24 months, while in the United States the wood is kiln dried in a shorter time period. The French coopers split the wood along the grain of the wood to make the staves, while in the United States the staves are produced by sawing the wood. It has been determined that splitting the staves causes the wood to impart less flavour in the wine. Some American coopers are now using the traditional French approach to cooperage and producing more subtle barrels.

Some of the flavour from the barrels comes from “toasting” the barrels. A winemaker can order a Light, Medium, or Heavy toast for a barrel. The decision regarding amount of charring is made based on the grape variety used and the style of wine desired.

For less expensive wines, buying new French or American oak barrels is out of the question. So what can a winemaker do? During the fermention, the winemaker can add oak chips, or have oak staves in the tank. This gives a big whack of oak flavour, but doesn’t integrate as nicely as barrel aging.

Also barrel aging allows a slow interaction between the wine and air from the outside, softening the wine. So through a one year period, a barrel will lose a few bottles of wine to evaporation. This lost amount is called the “Angels share”. Every few months the winemaker will top up his/her barrel with wine to prevent too much air in the barrel. That’s all for now on oak barrels. Something to think about when you open a bottle of oaked California chardonnay. Enjoy!