My “Tasting Plates the East Van Edition” Selection #TastingPlatesYVR

Tasting Plates is always an interesting event.  You get to visit around 6 restaurants, tasting a sample from their restaurant.  This Tasting Plates was held on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver and included 7 restaurants.  Below are the restaurants with what they offered, along with my comments and pictures.  Thank you to Vancouver Foodster for putting on these events and inviting me. Enjoy!

VIA TEVERE PIZZERIA

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 2 items:

One slice of each of these 2 pizzas

  1. Margherita Pizza (V)
  2. Capricciosa Pizza

This was my last stop on the Tasting Plates scrum.  While Via Tevere is a restaurant, they also have a mobile food truck.  For us, the truck was parked beside the restaurant, cooking us Neapolitan style pizzas.  The Margherita topped with San Marzano tomoato, fior di latte, and basil. The Capricciosa topped with Prosciutto cotto, salami, artichoke, mushroom, and Nicoise olive.  Nice crispy rim, the toppings not overly thick, making it easy to eat, and not dripping on your hands, or in your lap.  Nice fresh flavours, which went down too quickly.  Can I have another slice?

Via Tevere not the food truck

Via Tevere not the food truck

Via Tevere food truck

Via Tevere food truck

Margherita and Capricciosa pizza from Via Tevere

Margherita and Capricciosa pizza from Via Tevere

 FIVE ELEMENTS CAFÉ

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these items from one of these menus (your choice of Menu A, B or C):

Menu A:

  1. Crispy Spring Roll
  2. Green Papaya & Shrimp Salad
  3. Shrimp on Sugar Cane
  4. Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Menu B: Vegan option

  1. Crispy Spring Roll
  2. Green Papaya & Tofu Salad
  3. Coconut Curry
  4. Tom Yum Thai Hot & Sour Soup

Menu C

Choose 1 of the Noodle Soup

  • Phở- Rice noodles Soup -Choice of Chicken, Beef or Tofu & Vegetables
  • Phở  Saté Peanut Sauce: Rice Noodle Soup-Choice of  Chicken, Beef or Tofu & Vegetables
  • Hủ Tíu Nam Vang–Phnom Penh Mixed Seafood & Pork on Rice Noodle Soup
  • Bún Bò Huế -Spicy Lemongrass Beef & Pork Vermicelli Noodles Soup

I had the Menu B vegan option as the Green Papaya & Tofu Salad looked very interesting to try. I did enjoy the salad. Did you know that green papaya can be used as a vegetable?  If not, try a green papaya salad.  The Coconut curry was quite spicy, so if you are spice adverse, I’d suggest staying away from this dish.

Vegetarian option at Five Elements Cafe

Vegetarian option at Five Elements Cafe

PASTURE TO PLATE

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 4 items:

  1. A variety of sausages on fork sticks with garlic aioli and mustards.
  2. Herb crusted beef Carpaccio with roasted garlic aioli or a parmesan truffle aioli on crostini.
  3. Mini Pizettas made with bite size rounds of puff pastry. Caramelized onions, bacon and plum slice.
  4. Mini Porchetta bites on focaccia with an orange and pinenut gremolata & basil/arugula pesto. (V)

I do enjoy charcuterie, so I was eagerly anticipating trying these from Pasture to Plate.  I did find out that they do farm biodynamically, which in my opinion, tries to enrich the soil, plants, and animals through non-synthetic chemical means, and works.  (I’ve written a few articles in the past reviewing biodynamic wines, and these wines always seem very alive to me.)  All the charcuterie was done very well and was very tasty, and I will come here again.

Pasture to Plate

Pasture to Plate

Charcuterie from Pasture to Plate

Charcuterie from Pasture to Plate

LA MEZCALERIA

Our Tasting Plate will include all 3 of these items:

  1. Ceviche
  2. Guacamole (V)
  3. Beans (V)

This restaurant was super busy, with both regular customers and the Tasting Plates customers vying for the chef’s attention. Once in we had a sampling plate with ceviche, guacamole and refried beans, and chips to dip.  The ceviche had bright flavours and was a good mix of fish and vegetables.  I also really liked the smoky flavour in the refried beans.  I will have to try this restaurant on a non-busy day.

Ceviche beans and guacamole from La Mezcaleria

Ceviche, beans and guacamole from La Mezcaleria

SIDDARTHAS INDIAN KITCHEN

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these items:

  1. Aloo Tikki (V)
  2. Chicken Goliya

These two dishes come as a small ball (chicken) or a patty (Aloo Tikki).  While both were very tasty, accompanied by a mint chutney, I liked the Aloo Tikki a bit more.  This patty is made with ground potatoes, so is nice and soft, lightly spiced inside, with a crunchy crust.  I have been told their Butter Chicken is a very good dish to try.

Aloo Tikki and Chicken Goliya

Aloo Tikki and Chicken Goliya

GELATERIA DOLCE AMORE

Our Tasting Bowl will feature a surprise selection of gelato flavours specially offered for this event (V)

The surprise flavours from Gelateria Dolce Amore was hazelnut and strawberry. The hazelnut flavour was my favourite, with the very pronounced, fresh, nutty flavour of the hazelnuts coming through the gelato.  It tasted like you were eating a handful of toasted hazelnuts.  This Gelateria is a family run business.  I spoke with one of the family members, who spoke so passionately about the quality of their ingredients and effort they put into making each gelato.  I did ask if they have lavender flavour, which is my overall favourite (or mixed with lemon is my ultimate favourite flavour), and they did, and I tried it, and was delighted.  Lavender may sound odd to some people, but get past the thought of it being floral, and try it.  It is very refreshing.  Just think of you sitting on a cafe in Nice, France, enjoying some gelato.

Admiring the gelato

Admiring the gelato

Talking about the hazelnut and strawberry gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore

Talking about the hazelnut and strawberry gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore

PRADO CAFE 

Our Tasting Cup will include one of the following beverages paired with the cookies.

  • Iced coffee
  • Iced tea
  • Macchiato

Mini cookies “with no name”.

Our first stop was Prado Cafe.  The cookie with no name, was fresh and hot from the oven, and looked to be made with granola/oak flakes, chocolate chips, and topped with a tiny marshmallow.  It was very tasty.  To sip with it, I had the macchiato, an espresso coffee, mixed with a small amount of milk.  A good jolt to start of my Tasting Plates adventure.

Cookie with no name from Prado Cafe

Cookie with no name from Prado Cafe

Waiting for my macchiato at Prado Cafe

Waiting for my macchiato at Prado Cafe

Enjoy the Sparkling Wines of Blue Mountain Vineyards Tasting

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyards in the Okanagan is well-known for their sparkling wines.  If you have not had a chance to enjoy them, the BC Wine Appreciation Society is having a special tasting here in Vancouver on Feb. 12 at the Listel Hotel.  The announcement is below.

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What better way to celebrate a winter evening than with some festive sparkling wine?

Matt Mavety of Blue Mountain Vineyard is coming to see us on Tuesday February 12th, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and he’s bringing four of his celebrated sparkling wines, plus six of his award-winning table wines: two Pinot Gris, two Chardonnay, and two Pinot Noir. We’ll be able to taste one Cream Label and one Reserve Striped Label of each varietal – what a treat!

To make this even more special, we are going to be able to try two amazing vintage sparklers, the 2005 Reserve Brut, and the 2006 Blanc de Blancs. Both are very rare, and we’re very lucky that Blue Mountain is generous enough to let us try them!

Ian and Jane Mavety purchased the 80 acre Blue Mountain property over 40 years ago. Matt Mavety, the current winemaker and son of Ian and Jane, had his first real job in the vineyard at age 14. Loving the work, Matt studied agriculture at UBC, and also studied viticulture and oenology at Lincoln University in New Zealand. Matt started full-time back at Blue Mountain in 1997, and became the official winemaker in 2005.

Matt feels that farming grapes in an environmentally sustainable way leads to the best expression of terroir for the wines. The focus of Matt’s talk will be about what makes Blue Mountain unique, including biodynamic farming, the making of the sparkling wines, cellar aging benefits, their barrel program, and how the wine clones they’ve chosen work with the land they live on. We’re sure this will be fascinating, especially as we get to taste several of the results!

The Wine Lineup

Brut Non-Vintage

2008 Rose

2006 Blanc de Blancs

2005 Reserve Brut

2011 Pinot Gris Cream Label

2010 Pinot Gris Reserve Striped Label

2011 Chardonnay Cream Label

2010 Chardonnay Reserve Striped Label

2011 Pinot Noir Cream Label

2010 Pinot Noir Reserve Striped Label

Wouldn’t this make a wonderful Valentine’s outing for you and your favourite wine-lover? And if you want to come on your own, bubbly wine is always a cause for celebration, no matter what day it is!

Our previous tasting sold out. Sign up quickly to make sure you don’t miss this one!

Where, When, and How Much?

Date: Tuesday February 12, 2013

Time: 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Place: Listel Hotel, 1300 Robson St., Vancouver

Guests: $52

Click here to sign up:  http://www.bcwas.com/BlueMountain.html

La Stella Mosto Cotto and Olive Oil – Premium Foodie Products

You may know of Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries as high quality French and Italian style wines coming from the Okanagan. But you may not know that they also provide olive oil and now Mosto Cotto from Italy!

What is Mosto Cotto?

La Stella Mosto Cotto

Well you probably have heard of Balsamic Vinegar.  Mosto Cotto isn’t the Balsamic Vinegar that you normally get in the grocery store.  According to Wikipedia Balsamic Vinegar is “…is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks…”  This reduced grape syrup, Mosto Cotto can be enjoyed on it’s own rather than further process/age it into top quality Balsamic Vinegar.

I was fortunate today to sample some La Stella Mosto Cotto on it’s own.  It was deep orangy brown in colour.  A very intense molasses nose which with air, added a dill component. Quite sweet and sour at the same time on the palate.  Medium minus body with  burnt sugar / caramel flavour. The higher acidity of the Mosto Cotto keeps it lively in your mouth.  Long lasting finish.   The grapes to produce their Mosto Cotto are biodynamically farmed and certified.

What would you serve with Mosto Cotto? I was told by Rasoul from Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries that in Italy he has seen the Mosto Cotto dissolved in soda water as a drink, and put on shaved ice.  It could be drizzled onto vegetables and polenta. If you are more ambitious you could take the jus from a roast beef, add some mosto cotto and reduce this down and serve on the roast beef.  Mosto cotto is very versatile.

La Stella Olive Oil

La Stella Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil Intensivo

I was first introduced to the La Stella Olive Oil last year, but by that time it was completely sold out.  This year the olive oil has just arrived, so there is time for me and you to purchase a bottle. It is also organically produced.

The oil was deep lemon in colour. It had an artichoke, grassy, mineral nose. Very full bodied and round on the palate with a very spicy finish.  Their olive oil is called “Intensivo” and yes I agree that it really is intensive.  Use sparingly as a condiment as it really is quite peppery.  This would be wonderful drizzled on vegetables, or in dishes where the oil would not be overcooked or competing with too many other spices.  You really want to enjoy the flavour of this olive oil.

Where can you buy these two products?  There will be a small allocation to some specialty grocery stores in the Vancouver area.  The easiest way would be to order these through Le Vieux Pin / La Stella. Email info@lastella.ca

The Chileans are Coming! Preview Notes for You

Flag of Chile

Every year we look forward to our pinnacle wine event, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.  Next year’s event will be Feb. 27 – March 4, 2012.  What does this have to do with Chile?  Chile is the theme country for the Festival!

A group of Media, myself included, were invited to a preview of the Chilean wines we can expect to see at the Festival, plus give us some background into this long, thin country.

My Experience in Chile

Karl aka MyWinePal at Casa Lapostolle

Two years ago I travelled down to Chile and visited wineries from the Aconcagua, Maipo, Casablanca, and Colchagua Valleys.  Some of the wineries were Casa Lapostolle, Montgras, Montes, Errazuriz, and Casas del Bosque.   I was impressed with how much the wineries cared for their vineyards and the production of their wines.  One of the nice thing with Chile, is that it is dry due to it’s location on the west coast of South America, and the Andes Mountains on it’s eastern border.  The dry climate, plus topography, and soil factors have made the area a great place to grow grapes.  There is very little, or no, phylloxera louse to attack the grape vines, plus the dryness keeps fungus and mold at bay.  So less pesticides and/or herbicides are needed here.  Many of the wineries in Chile indicate that they are organic or follow organic principles.

Chile’s Natural Advantage

Chile is a wine maker’s paradise.  They get 3 weeks more ripening time than in Bordeaux and 300 + days of sunshine each year.   The cool air from the Andes cools the grapes in the evening so that the grapes mature slowly so that they reach full phenolic ripeness; lots of ripe fruit and a good backbone of acidity. The adjacency to the coast, and the cool Humbolt Current helps produce coastal fog which cools the grapes near the coast, such as from the Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley.

What Grapes Grow in Chile?

There is a wide range of red and white grapes grown in Chile.  The top 5 red grapes in order of volume are:

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Merlot
  3. Carmenere
  4. Syrah
  5. Pinot Noir

Montes M, Folly and Purple Angel wines

Cabernet is King is Chile.  With the 300+ days of sunshine, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce very full-bodied, ripe, supple wines.  Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor is one of the top quality wines for this grape.  Merlot and Carmenere come in, in 2nd and 3rd place.  Yet they were thought of both being Merlot for many years.  The grapes were planted together in the same vineyard and the grapes and leaves of both vines look very similar.  It was only fairly recently that the Carmenere grape was identified (it’s a Bordeaux grape btw), and has become a signature grape for Chile. A second signature red grape is coming through the ranks, and that is the Syrah grape.  I think people started to recognize Syrah’s potential in Chile, with Aurelio Montes‘ plantings in the Apalta Region of the Colchagua Valley.  There he produces an ultra premium Montes Folly wine from Syrah.

For white grapes, the top 5 varieties are:

  1. Sauvignon Blanc
  2. Chardonnay
  3. Moscatel of Alexandria
  4. Riesling
  5. Viognier

Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc and Reserva Chardonnay

Most people probably think of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay when they think of white wines from Chile.  Probably also the Casablanca Valley, where a lot of very good Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are produced. An upcoming region for Sauvignon Blanc is slightly south of the Casablanca Valley and much closer to the coast is the Leyda Valley.  While the Sauvignon Blanc wine from the Casablanca Valley can be more tropical fruit, from the Leyda Valley, expect more citrus and herbal aromas and flavours.  Have you ever heard of Moscatel of Alexandria?  You might not have, but you probably have tried some Chilean Pisco.  Pisco is produced from the Moscatel grape.  Riesling and Viognier and two grapes with great potential.  I don’t think a particular region is well-known enough for these grapes, but I would hazard to guess that the Riesling grape would be very good in the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys while Viognier would shine in the more inland, warmer regions, like Aconcagua, Maipo and Colchagua Valleys.

Wines We Tasted at the Media Preview

Montgras Santa Carolina and Undurraga Sauvignon Blancs

We enjoyed 3 Sauvignon Blancs and a range of single varietals and red blends.  The three Sauvignon Blancs:

  • Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Leyda Valley). Light straw colour with a green tinge. Gooseberry and sweet honey nose. Light body with medium plus acidity.  Gooseberry and citrus flavours.  Medium length. My favorite of the these 3 wines.
  •  Vina Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Leyda Valley). Light lemon colour with herbal, asparagus and mint on the nose.  Round mouth feel with light body. Herbal, citrus and green apple fruit flavours with some minerality on the palate.  Quite sour on the finish.
  • Undurraga Terroir Hunter Leyda Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Leyda Valley). 2008 was a later harvest than the other years, resulting in riper more tropical fruit flavours.  This wine was light lemon/green in colour.  Tropical fruit, lees and oak on the nose.  Light body,  round mouth feel but also has a good backbone of acidity. Oaky, smoky, citrus flavours.  Long length.

Wide range of Chilean red wines

Our red wines included single varietal Pinot Noir, Carmenere, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and blends.  The wines are:

  • Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2009 (Casablanca Valley). Medium ruby, Vanilla and cherry aromas. Medium body, dry, but full fruit, cherry flavours.  Vanilla in the back ground and some spiciness and raspberry leaf.  Slightly sweet cherry finish.
  • Emiliana Vineyards COYAM 2007 (Colchagua Valley). This is a biodynamic wine, which goes beyond organic wine making principles. Opaque garnet in the glass with ripe black fruit, vanilla, dark chocolate and cherrie aromas.  Full body, very round, with milk chocolate and ripe cherry flavours.  Some spice, raspberry leaf and vanilla on the finish.  A very high quality, balanced wine. You can read about biodynamic wines at this link.
  • Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah 2008 (Maule Valley). This blend is 75% Carmenere and 25% Syrah.  Deep ruby colour.  Meaty sausage and ripe cherry aromas. Full body, round with minerality.  Cherries, blueberries and vanilla flavours.   Medium plus acidity gives this wine bright flavours.
  • Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere 2009 (Apalta Valley).  Some dustiness on the nose, along with ripe cherries, capsicum and vanilla.  Medium minus body with high acidity and soft tannins.  Dark chocolate and cherry flavours with a mineral streak running through the wine. Not mouth filling but very pleasant sensation in your mouth.
  • Vina Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Carmenere 2010 (Colchagua Valley). The nose on this wine was a little closed, but I did get some nutmeg and cherry aromas. But on the palate, nutmeg, cedar and dark fruit flavours jump out.  Round mouth feel, dry with some spiciness.
  • Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Maipo Valley). Deep garnet in colour with cedar and ripe fruit aromas. Full body, rich feeling ,with  ripe dark fruit flavours and vanilla.  Dry with soft tannins and cedar on the finish.  This is a real good value wine at $19.99 a bottle. Also try their Medalla Real Pinot Noir!
  • Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Maipo Valley). This wine I think is starting to show it’s age as there is a slightly brownish tinge to an otherwise garnet colour in the glass. Some dark fruit on the nose.  Medium body, light mouth feel, with juicy black fruit flavour.  An elegant wine.
  • Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet 2009 (Maipo Valley). Deep dark core with a ruby rim in the glass. Vanilla, dark fruit and oak/cedar aromas. Full body, round mouth feel with soft tannins.  Light vanilla with some mintiness.
  • Vina Chocalan Gran Reserva Blend 2009 (Maipo Valley). This is a blend of 6 grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Petit Verdot, and Syrah.  Opaque garnet in the glass. Nice cedar, allspice and vanilla on the nose. Very round in your mouth with soft tannins. Allspice, cedar and ripe black fruit flavours.  Nice texture.  A favorite wine of many of the media I spoke with.

If these wines have enticed you, you may want to buy advance tickets to the Playhouse Wine Festival.  Here is my link to the tickets.  Enjoy and Salud!

French Wine Connection 2011 Visits Vancouver – Do You Like Organic Wines?

Organic and biodynamic wineries from France were here in Vancouver on November 9 to show what they have to offer to our market. I think organic and biodynamic wines are becoming more well-known and more people are specifically searching for these types of wines.

What are Organic and Biodynamic Wines?

Just in case you are not familiar with these terms, “Organic” wines are wines that are produced from grapes that have been grown without the use of any artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Also in the wine making process, no sulfites may be applied as a disinfectant to the wine bottle.  Biodynamic wines use organic principles, but go even further, into using special preparations (fertilizers) to apply to the vines, no copper sprays are applied to the leaves of the grapes to prevent powdery mildew, and various vineyard tasks are undertaken according to the phase of the moon.  There is much more to biodynamic wine making and viticulture than this, so I refer you to this Wikipedia article on biodynamic wine making.

White Wine Picks

  • Domaine Renaud Boyer Bourgogne 2009 and Saint-Romain 2009

    Domaine Renaud Boyer Bourgogne 2010, Burgundy, France. (organic) Light stone fruit and honey nose. Cinnamon upfront on your palate with red apples mid-palate.  Light body, dry with medium acidity and medium length.  Very nice.

  • Chateau Pouchaud-Larquey 2010, Entre-deux-Mers, France.  (organic) This organic wine won a Silver Medal at the Concours d’Aquitaine des vins issus de l’agriculture biologique 2010. Although the grape varieties are not listed, I would guess that this is a Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend, as these are the customary white grapes of the Bordeaux region. This wine had a light stone fruit nose.  High acidity with peach and other stone fruits, and citrus flavours.  It was very fruity with a medium body.
  • Chateau de Lagarde “Cuvee Prestiage” 2009, AOC Bordeaux Superieur, France. (organic) Another Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc blend. Medium lemon in colour.  Honey, stone fruit and oak aromas. Round mouthfeel with medium minus acidity.  Lemon, oak and sweet spice on the palate.  Medium plus length. Very nice.
  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura varied vintages

    Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura 1959, Jura, France.  (biodynamic since 2006)) The Jura region is along the eastern border of France. How often do you get a chance to try a 42 year old wine?  I never have.  This is a very cool climate wine made from the Chardonnay grape.  The wines are aged in 4-5 year old barrels and undergoes malolactic fermentation.  This wine was pear skin with a brownish tint. Oxidized nose with honey and caramel aromas.  Medium minus body, with high acid, green apples and caramel flavours.  Wow, a very interesting wine.

  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura 2003 “Vin Jaune”, Jura, France.  (biodynamic since 2006) Vin Jaune is also new to me, yet very familiar. If you have tried a fino sherry, Vin Jaune undergoes the same process.  This wine is produced from the Savagnin grape. After fermentation the wine barrels are filled up to the top and allowed to evaporate, reducing the volume in the barrel and a creating an air pocket at the top of the barrel. As the wine oxidizes, it grows a film of yeast that is similar, but not the same as the flor growing on fino sherry. Limpid lemon colour.  Very much a dry sherry / cognac nose.  Also some caramel aromas.  Medium body with oak, citrus, tar, apples and spice.  Very interesting.
  • Chemin de Bassac ISA White, 2010, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. (organic) This is a Roussane / Viognier blend.  Light lemon colour.  Light lemon and stone fruit nose.  Very fruity. Dry but tastes sweet from the fruit.  Citrus, apples and stone fruit flavours.
  • Domaine du Closel Savennieres Le Clos du Papillon 2007, Loire Valley, France. The LoireValley produces Chenin Blanc wines in many styles from still, to sparkling, to dessert.  This wine is a still wine.  Pale lemon, with caramel and oxidized fruit nose. Cinnamon, citrus and oak flavours.  Round mouth feel. Quite elegant.
  • Agence CLVD O by Gilles Louvet Chardonnay 2010, Southern France. Nice colour.  Lemony gold. Light tropical fruit nose. Medium body, round with undertone of acid.  Red apples with some sweet spice and vanilla. Elegant.
  • Lescarret Zacmau 2010, AOC Gaillac (South west), France.  This is made with a little known white aromatic grape called mauzac.  This wine has a nice pear and honey nose. Round with medium minus body, honey, peach and apples.  Medium acidity to keep the wine refreshing.  A real surprising wine and one I would look for.

Red Wine Picks

  • Domaine de Petit Roubie Syrah

    Chateau Pouchaud-Larquey 2009, Bordeaux, France. This is a Bordeaux blend.  Deeper garnet in colour.  Cherries and some meatiness on the nose. Fruity dark fruit with cassis, some tar and vanilla. Dry with medium tannins.

  • Petit Roubie Syrah 2010, Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Opaque ruby.  Nice nose with fried bacon and dark fruit aromas. Lots of fruit.  Blueberries, ripe black fruits and cherries, along with nutmeg spice and vanilla.  Dry tannins.  A real tasty wine.
  • Montirius Le Clos 2007, AOC Vacqueyras, France. (biodynamic) This is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. Medium garnet in colour.  Dark fruit, sausage and meaty nose.  Medium body.  Round mouth feel with cherries, dark fruit and some spice.
  • Montirius Terre des Aines 2009, AOC Vacqueyras, France. (biodynamic) This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.  Medium garnet in the glass.  Violets, cherries and kirsch.  Tons of flavour.

All these wines need a local rep to bring them into the BC market.  So keep your eyes open and check the French wine section.  Maybe one of these organic or biodynamic wines will show up soon.

Review of the Trialto Wine Group Fall Tour 2010 Tasting

This week I was invited to the Trialto Wine Group’s fall tour tasting of wines. There were winery representatives from 18 different wines around the world. I tried to taste wines from as many as possible, but ended up a few wineries short. The wineries that I did get to try wines were:
– Argiano Cantina Dal 1580 (Tuscany, Italy)
– Bodega Noemia (Patagonia, Argentina)
– Brokenwood (Hunter Valley, Australia)
– Chono (Chile)
– Delta Vineyards (Marlborough, New Zealand)
– Dog Point Vineyard (Marlborough, New Zealand)
– L’Ecole No 41 (Washington State)
– Pares Balta 1790 (Spain)
– Quinta Do Vale Meao (Portugal)
– Sperling Vineyards (Okanagan, BC)
– Zardetto (Prosecco, Italy)

A few of the highlights from these wineries for me were:

1. Argiano Brunello Di Montalcino D.O.C.G. 2005 ($58.99). This wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. A very nice Old World style wine. Light cherry in colour. Cherry, sausage and vanilla on the nose. Medium body, red cherry flavour and drying tannins.

2. Bodega Noemia J Alberto 2008 ($58). This is a single vineyard Malbec. The vineyard and winery is certified biodynamic. This wine is deep purple in the glass. A very interesting nose with aromas of cassis, tar and cherries. Full bodied with a smooth round mouthfeel. Cassis, black plum, black cherry and quite spicy on the palate.

3. Brokenwood Shiraz 2009 (no pricing available). I spoke with the winemaker, Iain Riggs about this wine. He did mention that it was a cool year. Typically a cool year would make a more Old World style of Syrah, rather than a typical full-fruit Aussie Shiraz. When I tasted it, it had a bit of Old and New World blended together. It was quite full bodied, but did have some structure to it. Smoke, cherry and oak on the nose. Blueberries and vanilla on the palate with a red cherry finish. Medium acidity with medium tannins.

4. Delta Vineyards Hatter’s Hill Pinot Noir 2007 ($34.99). This wine was bursting with raspberry aroma and flavour. There was also some smokiness on the nose. Medium body, round mouthfeel and low tannins. There was also some cherry flavours to complement the raspberry flavour. I’d love to enjoy this wine with duck breast.

5. Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 ($55). I really like Pinot Noir wines. This one was in a classic New World style. One thing in particular about this wine that is interesting is that it is 100% fermented with indigenous yeasts from the vineyard (no cultured yeast was added). This is always a risk for the winemaker, but maybe it really helps to bring out the terroir of the vineyard. This wine was light cherry coloured. Earthy and violet aromas on the nose. Light body, a bit of spice, strawberries, cherries and violet flavours. Delicious.

6. L’Ecole No 41 Pepper Bridge Apogee 2007 ($69.99). This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, and lesser amounts of Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, from the Walla Walla Valley in Washington state. Deep purple colour in the glass. Plum, vanilla and some cedar on the nose. Quite drying tannins up front. Cedar and cherry flavour that lasted for a long time in your mouth. Very structured with a good fruit / tannin balance.

7. Sperling Vineyards Pinot Gris 2008 ($19.99). This is a new winery in Kelowna, BC. No tasting room yet, but they are located near the Tantalus winery. Pale lemon in colour. A very nice nose with grapefruit and flowers. Medium body, high acidity, with flavours of lemon rind, flowers and some spice. I look forward to visiting them when the tasting room opens.

That’s all for now. There were many more wines, but I’m trying to keep this brief, and not a novel. I will be entering in tasting notes for all the wines I tried on www.MyWinePal.com. I hope you have a chance to try some of these wines.

A Taste of LaStella Wines

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} catch(err) {}LaStella Winery is one of the new wineries in the Okanagan, opening it’s doors in May 2007. It has a sister winery, which you may have heard of called Le Vieux Pin. I was recently invited to a tasting of LaStella’s wines in Yaletown and was very impressed with their wines. LaStella operates their vineyards with a cross between organic and biodynamic practices. They also contract grapes from like minded, quality growers (which I will talk about shortly). They also take great care in the production of the wine, from hand-destemming grapes, to using whole berries for fermentation and using small open-top oak fermentors.

LaStella has both white, rose, and red wines. The two white wines I tried was the Leggiero Unoaked Chardonnay 2008 and the Vivace Pinot Grigio 2008. The Leggiero and Vivace grapes come from the Kalala vineyard. For those that have read my past posts, the Kalala Organic Winery in West Kelowna has produced some wonderful organic wines at a great price point. They also told me that they sell some of their grapes to other wineries. So I was VERY happy to see that LaStella is one of those wineries.

The Leggario had nice mango and pineapple aromas. It was medium body, with light acidity, lime and mineral flavours. The Vivace is a gorgeous, refreshing pinot grigio. It has a crisp citrus and pineapple nose. Good acidity, with pineapple, lime, and mineral flavours. Next I moved on to the Lastellina Rose 2008. This is a merlot based rose. It has a nice salmon colour and a ripe strawberry nose. It is medium bodied, with some spice (cinnamon), and strawberry flavour.

There were 3 reds to enjoy. I found out that the reds are all un-fined and un-filtered, which gives you the closest to a barrel sample experience as possible. The red first was the Allegretto Merlot 2006. It was medium garnet in colour. Ripe plums and light oak on the nose. Medium body and tannins, with black cherry flavours. Their premier wine that evening was the Maestoso Merlot 2006. This wine was deep garnet in colour. Ripe black fruit, cigar box and mocha nose. Ripe black fruit, cherries and mocha flavour, with a cherry finish. The tannins were very fine. This is an exceptional wine. Last but not least was the Fortisimo 2007. This wine will soon be bottled, so we were treated with a sneak taste of this wine. The Fortisimo is a Bordeaux blend, with approximately 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. This wine had a very complex nose and aroma. I unfortunately did not take detailed notes on this wine, but it had many flavour dimensions and a long finish.

What’s upcoming for LaStella? I heard that they have Sangiovese grapes planted and will be harvesting them to blend with other red varietals to offer their first “Super Tuscan“. I joked that maybe it should be a “Super Okanagan“. Either way, I look forward to trying this wine. Enjoy!