White Spot Goes With 100% BC VQA Wines

I was pleasantly surprised when I read about White Spot‘s commitment toward promoting BC VQA wines in their restaurants.  I also had seen a tweet about it.  Beside supporting BC wine, White Spot also sources local ingredients, so White Spot is a real home grown success. Their BC VQA wine list is at this link. The wines cover the major varietals of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, and a few others.  All wines are from the Okanagan.  Here is their announcement.

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In celebration of summertime in beautiful B.C., White Spot today unveiled its 2012 seasonal Celebrate BC menu across the province, featuring summer dishes inspired by fresh, local ingredients. The return of Celebrate BC also marks the launch of White Spot’s new VQA wine list, making it the only casual dining chain in the province to offer a 100 per cent B.C. wine selection. “Since the first White Spot restaurant opened in 1928 we’ve been dedicated to using local ingredients in our menu as often as we can,” said White Spot President Warren Erhart. “Almost 50 per cent of White Spot’s ingredients, from tomatoes to potatoes, are locally sourced and we are proud to support the producers that grow delicious food right in our own backyard.” To create White Spot’s Legendary Burgers, fresh-cut fries and famous blueberry pies, more than 675,000 pounds of tomatoes, almost 5,000,000 pounds of Kennebec potatoes and 73,000 pounds of blueberries are used each year – all supplied by B.C. producers. This year the restaurant is deepening its commitment to local food and drink with its 100 per cent B.C. wine list. “By exclusively offering B.C. wines, White Spot boasts a menu that is truly made at home, showcasing the very best our province has to offer,” said Miles Prodan, Executive Director, British Columbia Wine Institute. “The BC VQA designation guarantees 100 per cent B.C. wine. Paired with the Celebrate BC menu, White Spot’s new wine list is the perfect way to toast summer in B.C.” From now until early September, White Spot guests are invited to enjoy delicious new Celebrate BC menu items, including signature creations, like Truffled Mushroom Flatbread, Candied Salmon Cavatappi and Candied Salmon Spinach Salad. Please visit www.WhiteSpot.ca/CelebrateBC to view the complete menu.

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!

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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!

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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

Star Studded BBQ With Winemaker Eric Dunham & Celeb Kyle MacLachlan at Tulalip Casino

Eric Dunham and Kyle MacLachlan courtesy of Vogue

The Tulalip Resort Casino in WA State has put on some very classy wine and food events in the past, with the most recent that I attended was the “Taste of Tulalip” in November.  I just received this press release of their upcoming summer wine makers’ dinner series, and they make me want to drive down to each one!  I no doubt these will be spectacular events based on the past events.  Enjoy!

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Tulalip, Washington — Eric Dunham, enological legend and Walla Walla wine world luminary will share his award-winning, single vineyard “Artist Series Wines” at Tulalip Resort Casino on Saturday, June 23rd.  In partnership with screen star and Washington native Kyle MacLachlan (check Kyle’s bio here), the duo has created Pursued by Bear, Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Baby Bear Syrah. Both join culinarian extraordinaire Chef Perry Mascitti and his team for an evening of great sips, quips and exceptional food pairings under the direction of Tulalip Sommelier Tom Thompson. Guests will be served under the stars or by the fire on the Mpulse patio.

This rare and not to be missed summer star-studded evening, will feature five dynamic food stations. Each showcases the diversity of Tulalip’s culinary depth.  The meat and fish grilling station offers guests a selection of six basting sauces, seasoning salt and assorted relishes.  Among the plethora of vegetable station choices is a cedar grilled garden bundle and attendees are invited to slide into the slider station to try the mini-halibut burger, Italian sausage focaccia and venison sliders.  As diners toss their way over to the salad section, they can nibble on everything seasonal.  Chef Nikol will work her usual kitchen magic (done with sweetness) on a trio of sinful desserts including fried fruit pies and fudgesicles.

The winemaker dinner series continues on July 7 when 2012 Taste of Tulalip Honorary Winemaker Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars shares his powerhouse pours and shows how well suited they are to enjoy with great food.  This is a winemaker who knows his stuff having spent a couple of decades as a sommelier and wine buyer for some of the U.S.’s best restaurants.

On August 4th, guests will dine al fresco with the wine pioneering Mondavi’s as Marc and his family bring their legendary Napa bottling selection to Tulalip.  Chef Perry will prepare a mid-summer evening “Krug family picnic on the lawn” at the resort’s Amphitheatre, while the Mondavi generations speak about their family’s amazing history.

The Dunham / MacLachlan Winemaker Dinner Details

The Dunham/MacLachlan Winemaker Dinner begins at 5:00 pm and is priced at $115 pp all-inclusive as is the evening with Sparkman Cellars.  The Mondavi Generations Picnic is priced at $145 pp all-inclusive.  Guests can save by purchasing the entire series of three events for $340 pp all-inclusive.   For ticket purchase go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/250074

About Tulalip Resort Casino
Tulalip Resort Casino is the largest and most distinctive gaming, meeting, dining, entertainment and shopping destination in Washington State. The AAA Four Diamond resort’s world-class amenities have earned the property Condé Nast Traveler Gold List status as well as the “Best Resort” award from NW Meetings & Events magazine.  With six dining venues, headlined by the exceptional Tulalip Bay (TB) restaurant and Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill and Bar (BF), the restaurants have been individually honored with accolades from Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” (TB), the Washington Wine Commission “Award of Distinction” (BF) and “Grand Award” (TB), the Seattle Magazine award for restaurant leadership in the business community (TB), to Wine Press Northwest’s “Herbies” for an “Outstanding Washington Wine List” (TB).  The Taste of Tulalip, the resort’s annual signature food, wine and tradition event has also been recognized as the “Best Wine Event Featuring Washington Wine”.  Tulalip is conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., just  off Interstate-5 at exit 200 and is an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes.  For reservations please call (866) 716-7162 or visit www.tulalipresort.com .

Latest IVSA Wine Picks – March 2012 Trebbiano and More

I’m a bit tardy with this blog article about the latest Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) trade tasting, with many other work and non-work events happening at this time. Going back to my notes, I found a few good new wines to the BC marketplace. One thing I noticed was there was more Torrontes and Trebbiano at this trade tasting than at other tastings. This could be in part due to the time of year with the white wines being released.  With that, let’s get into my latest wine picks.

White Wines

  • Callia Alta Torrontes 2011

    Callia Alta Torrontes 2011, Argentina (spec $13.95). Medium lemony green in colour.  Very fruity, tropical fruit and flowers on the nose. Medium body with tropical fruit, citrus and oranges in particular flavours.  Nice acidity and some spiciness.  Dry with medium plus length.  This is more complex than most Torrontes.

  • Zenato Lugara DOC San Benedetto Trebbiano, Italy. Pale lemon in the glass.  Nice nose with citrus, apples and a hint of oranges. Light body with citrus and slight sweet spice / nutmeg flavour. Dry. Very nice.
  • Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Africa. Thelema is a quality producer from South Africa.  This wine had a wow nose.  Lots of gooseberries.  High acidity with green bean, gooseberry and grapefruit peel flavours.  Some spiciness on the mid-palate.  Short length (wish it was a bit longer).
  • Vouvrey Grandes Caves Saint Roch – Demi Sec 2010, France.  This was my overall favourite wine of the tasting.  It is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Delicate light crab apple and citrus aromas. Medium minus body mouthfeel yet acts like it is a bigger wine.  Apples and citrus flavours.  Quite round with a good acidic backbone.
  • Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007, New Zealand. Medium lemon colour. Citrus and tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of oak.  Medium minus body, mineral, citrus, and apple flavours.  Dry with medium acidity. Medium length with a waxy finish.  An interesting wine.
  • Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand. Pale lemony green in the glass.  Lots of herbal and cut green grass on the nose.  High acidity on the palate with lots of gooseberry flavour and some jalapeno pepper flavour mid palate.
  • Domaine des Baumard Clos du Papillon 2008, France. Another Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Deeper golden colour. Nutty, peachy nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity.  Peach pit, citrus and some spice on the palate.  Very interesting.

Red Wines

  • Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley. Medium translucent ruby colour.  Nice ripe berry nose.  Elegant and not overpowering. Lighter body with cassis and dark fruit flavours.  High acidity, low tannins and long length.  A quality wine.

  • Gorcleyant Malbec 2010, France. Medium ruby colour. Nice bright red fruit nose.  Lighter bodied, soft tannins and juicy red fruit flavour.  A hint of vanilla and spice too.
  • Masi Modello Rosso 2010, Italy. Light ruby colour.  Nice nose with closes and red fruits.  Light body, dry, with soft tannins. Red fruit, oak and cloves on the palate. Good price $12.99.

Sparkling and Fortified Wines

  • Niepoort LBV 2005, Portugal. This is a Late Bottled Vintage port.  This one is medium ruby in colour.  Light aromas of cherries and apples.  Light body, medium sweetness, but quite spicy on the palate.  Flavours of plums, dark cherries and some vanilla.
  • Zinck Cremant Brut D’Alsace, France. Light straw colour with small light bubbles. Nice aromas of red delicious apples and some lees.  Light body, high acidity, with more red delicious apples on the palate.  Dry.  Tasty.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Important Health Information….sort of

A friend sent this to me, so I thought I’d pass it along to you, seeing that Cabernet is the theme grape at next week’s Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. ENJOY!

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IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. It can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you’re ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Cabernet Sauvignon almost immediately and, with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living.

Cabernet Sauvignon may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use it. However, women who wouldn’t mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.

WARNINGS:

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to think you can sing.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

Please feel free to share this important information with as many as you feel may benefit!

Now just imagine what you could achieve with a good Shiraz.

My Recommendations to Attend the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Have you had a chance to check out the wine events coming up at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival?  Did you know that tickets for the events go on sale this Tuesday, January 10?  I’ve checked through the events, and I’d like to give you a few recommendations.  Maybe you will see me at one of these events too.

Theme Country – Chile

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.

Chilean Grapes

Wide range of Chilean red 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.

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.

Theme Grape – Cabernet

Montes Apalta vineyard

Cabernet is more than just one grape.  Most people know of Cabernet Sauvignon, the highly revered grape from Bordeaux, but there is also another Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, which can also be found in Bordeaux, but is better known in the Loire Valley in France. Cabernet Sauvignon can be found around the world.  California’s Napa Valley produces some famous Cabernet Sauvignon, such as Stag’s Leap, and don’t forget Chile!  Cabernet Sauvignon tends to have quite high tannins giving it great longevity potential in the bottle. The flavour profile is Cabernet Sauvignon according to Wikipedia, “When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavors of black cherries and plum. The aroma of black currants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes“.

Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux is used as a blending grape, offering cedar, tobacco, raspberry, cassis and violets aromas and flavours. It is lower in tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, and also can have a green pepper or leafy character. You can also find Cabernet Franc grown around the world.  Here in BC we have single varietal bottles of Cabernet Franc, such as from Tinhorn Creek.

As an aside, in my Wikipedia check, I see that there are 3 other Cabernets, formed through a hybrid of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape with another grape variety.  They are:

  • Cabernet Dorsa, a 1971 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder, created in Germany
  • Cabernet Gernischt, a Chinese variety similar or perhaps identical to Cabernet Savignon
  • Cabernet Mitos, a 1970 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Blaufränkisch, created in Germany

I have not had time to check on these other Cabs but will do some further research in the future.

My Recommended Events

  • New World Expressions. This is all about New World Cabernets.  Try Penfolds Bin 707 and other Bins against sought after New World regions of Sonoma and Napa Valley.
  • Celebrate Casa Real. Casa Real is one of Chilean winery, Casa Santa Rita‘s ulta-premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Andres Ilabaca will guide you through a vertical of 8 vintages of this wine.  It is always very interesting to try successive vintages of a wine and see how it is aging over time.
  • Kings of Cabernet Sauvignon. Join Barbara Philip Master of Wine and a panel of leading experts for a comparative tasting of top notch
    Cabernets from around the world.  One of the best ways to tell what style of wine you prefer for a particular grape.
  • Don Melchor: Behind the Blend.  If you know anything about Chilean wine, you would know about Concha y Toro‘s premium Don Melchor. Don Melchor has been regarded as Chile’s first growth of Cabernet Sauvignon and is accredited with bringing the premium wines of Chile to the attention of the world.
  • Any of the 8 sit down or grazing lunches on the weekend of March 3 and 4. I’d personally select the Chilean, New Zealand, or Spanish events.
  • Flavours of the Festival.  If you have the money but not the time to try many of the wines from around the world during the Festival. This sit down brunch at the The Fairmont Waterfront ballroom showcases foods from top BC restaurants paired with Festival wines from around the world.
  • Catena High Altitude at Hy’s. This is a Argentinean delight.  Wonderful wines from premium producer Bodega Catena Zapata from Mendoza, with expertly cooked steak from Hy’s.  Malbec and more!
  • A Star Rises in South Africa! Lammershoek is one of the rising stars of the dynamic South African wine scene. I’ve tried their wines for the first time last year and they are excellent.  Try their Pinotage, the signature red grape from South Africa.
  • West Coast Montes.  Enjoy a dinner with Chilean wine pioneer Aurelio Montes.  I’ve had dinner with him in the past.  He is very interesting and will tell you many stories about his wines.
  • Discover Piedmont at CRUCRU is one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver.  The food creations will be expertly matched with the wines of one of the most dynamic Barolo producers in Piedmont Italy, Damilano.
  • Classe Italiana. Another choice if you like Italian wine. Wines from Antinori, one of Italy’s most historic and prestigious Tuscan wineries, will be paired with Vancouver’s highly acclaimed and awarded Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill.
  • Excellence of Nature. CinCin Restaurant and Emiliana winery from Chile will showcase a pairing of organic and biodynamic
    wines with local producers of biodynamic products. This five-course meal integrates the best fresh, sustainable ingredients with the magic
    of Alvaro Espinoza’s wines in a harmonious and innovative union.
  • Sandhill Small Lots Dinner. Come celebrate a BC winery.  You will get to try the very limited wines from Sandhill’s Small Lots program. Indulge in the partnership of BC’s iconic winemaker Howard Soon and Gotham Steakhouse Executive Chef Jean-Claude Douguet

All events are available through the Playhouse Box Office
By phone: 604.873.3311
Toll free 1.877.321.3121
Monday to Friday 9:30 am-8:00 pm
Saturday 12:00-4:00 pm

In person at:
Vancouver Playhouse Box Office
601 Hamilton Street (at Dunsmuir)
Vancouver, BC
Monday to Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Online at PlayhouseWinefest.com (excluding brunches, ticket packages and group rates)
Public Events:  Tickets to all public events go on sale Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:30 am.

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!

Salud Chile – Advance Tickets to Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Have you been thinking about what to buy for someone who has everything for Christmas? or something for yourself?  How about some advance tickets to the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival?

Tickets just went on sale this week.  The advance tickets are LIMITED, so buy them quickly before they are sold out.   Chile is the theme country for the wine festival.  I’ve been to Chile and visited many wineries and I can tell you that they produce fantastic wines and that I’m really looking forward to seeing the wineries here in Vancouver.  Come try some rising stars: Syrah and Carmenere, along with their well-known Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here is the announcement from the Festival.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Salud Chile Pack –  3 Events for $219

 

Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Toll Free: 1-877-321-3121
In Person at: 601 Hamilton Street: Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Box Office
 
Advance pack price $219 (includes HST and ticket service charges)
The Salud Chile Pack is available by phone or in person only.The Salud Chile Pack includes:

Taste Chile
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
8:00PM to 10:00PM
The Waldorf Hotel

Single Ticket: $55 (Buy Online)

Group Rate (8 or more): $45 (Available only in person and by phone – no web sales)
Kick off the festival with an evening of wine, food and music at the Waldorf Hotel. Let the venue take you back to 1947 while the wines bring you up to speed on what this exciting region has to offer. Despite nearly 500 years of winemaking, Chile’s wine industry is fresh, young, and boldly evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumers. Chilean styled canapés will pair wonderfully with the exceptional wines from more than 20 wineries while the beats of resident DJ El Garzita will set the mood. Celebrate Chile
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
12:30PM to 2:30PM
Vancouver Convention Centre West
Single Ticket: $99 (Buy Online)  
Group Rate (8 or more): $90  (Available only in person and by phone – no web sales) 
Wines of Chile has tasked VCC Executive Chef Blair Rasmussen with the seemingly impossible task of creating a Chilean themed menu to pair with more than 70 Chilean wines. Chef Rasmussen will no doubt rise to the challenge and create some amazing synergies between our own Pacific Northwest cuisine and the wonderful flavours of Chilean dishes. Your challenge will be to try and figure out which wine and food pairing you love most!

Also included in the price of the Salud Chile Theme Region Pack is an evening session in either the Thursday, Friday or Saturday International Festival Tasting.

International Festival Tasting
Thursday, Friday or Saturday (March 1 to March 3, 2012)
7:00PM to 10:00PM
Vancouver Convention Centre West


Gold Pass – $425 
Thurs – Sat, March 1 – March 3, 2012
VCC West
1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC
Various Times
Advance: $425 (Regular: $460)
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Toll Free: 1-877-321-3121
In Person at: 601 Hamilton Street: Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Box Office

The Gold Pass is available by phone or in person only (no web sales).Enjoy the red carpet treatment with our Gold Pass. A terrific value, this pass offers incomparable access to the Festival.
* Three evenings (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) in the International Festival Tasting Room (a $285 value) 7:00pm to 10:00pm
* Two afternoons (Thursday and Friday) at the exclusive Trade Tasting sessions in the International Festival Tasting Room (a $80 value) 2:30pm to 5:00pm
* Admission to the Curtain Raiser VIP reception on Thursday from 6:00-7:00 pm (not available for public sale).
*Admission to the Gold Pass Tasting Lounge on Friday and Saturday from 5:30-9:00 pm, featuring:
– A selection of premium wines from the Tasting Room and special events
– Enjoy a selection of canapés and cheeses
($190 value)
* Priority access to the Tasting Room – no line-ups!

International Festival Tasting

Thursday March 1, 2012 / Friday March 2, 2012 / Saturday March 3, 2012
VCC West
1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC
7:00pm – 10:00pm
 
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Toll Free: 1-877-321-3121
In Person at: 601 Hamilton Street: Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Box Office
International Festival Tasting Tickets are available Online

The Tasting Room offers a unique opportunity to taste rare bottles and discover new treasures as you visit with renowned winery principals from around the globe. At each booth you will find a winery principal, identified by his or her royal blue lanyard. This person is a senior member of the winery, intimately involved in the wine-producing process as a winemaker, proprietor or senior executive. Nowhere else in the world will you find a gathering of these talented men and women pouring wine and answering questions under one roof. Take the opportunity to ask questions and learn from the experts about your favourite wine.


Thursday night’s capacity is guaranteed to be 25 percent lower than the other two evenings, attracting wine collectors and trade professionals who appreciate more room to interact with the winery principals.
 
Friday is great for groups and the after-work crowd looking to kick off the weekend in style.

Saturday night is perfect for couples and friends wanting to spend a night on the town.

The Magnum Party at Taste of Tulalip – Totally Awesome

I waited on pins and needles for the Magnum Party at the Taste of Tulalip. The line up of wines was outstanding. In case you didn’t see my earlier blog article, here is the lineup.

Wines at the Magnum Party

  • Opus One 1998 – Magnum
  • Penfolds Grange 2003 – Magnum
  • Shafer ‘Hillside Select’ Cabernet 3 liter
  • Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2003 & 2008
  • ZD Abacus XII
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 2005
  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Magnum
  • Betz Family La Serenne Syrah,
  • Pere de Famille Cabernet – Magnum
  • Molly Dooker ‘Velvet Glove’ Shiraz
  • Gaja Barbaresco ‘Sori Tilden’
  • Louis Roederer Cristal- Magnum
  • Levy & Mcclellan Cabernet

The event was held in the mPulse Lounge.  Sheik furniture, amazing wines, and food to enjoy the wines with.  What else could you ask for?  I didn’t take any detailed notes; it was just not possible.  It was a time to just live in the moment and experience these wines.  So enjoy the following few pictures and the tidbits of notes by me.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005

Chateau Mouton Rothschild is an iconic wine maker from Bordeaux.  And 2005 was a great year for wine in Bordeaux (and Burgundy BTW).

Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 2008

If you are a Burgundy lover, here is one for you, Batard Montrachet Grand Cru.

Penfolds Grange 2003 Magnum

Penfolds Grange 2003; One of my favourite wines at the Magnum Party.  An iconic Shiraz from Australia.  Velvety smooth and full bodied. Did you notice it is in a numbered bottle?

Shafer Hillside Select 2007 Magnum

Shafer Hillside Select is a big Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the 25th vintage from the Stags Leap District. “… one of the New World’s most profound Cabernet Sauvignons …” – Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

Molly Dooker Velvet Glove Shiraz

The Molly Dooker “Velvet Glove” Shiraz was also exceptional.  Great ripe fruit flavours.  This is the wine you may have heard about having a palette accident in Australia, destroying many of the bottles that were on route around the world.

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Magnum

The Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is from Washington State.  This was another big Cab.  Napa doesn’t have big Cabs cornered in the USA.  Give this wine a try.  It’s very high quality.

Rochioli Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009

If you like Pinot Noir, the Rochioli Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009, is full bodied, silky with black cherry and spice.

I hope you enjoyed these wines vicariously and hope you have a chance to try them in person some day as I did. Enjoy!