TWB Bursting with Bubbles for Champagne Day

If you enjoy Champagne, you may want to know that October 19 is Global Champagne Day.  TWB at Provence Marinaside is celebrating with Champagne of course.  Here are the details.

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(Vancouver, BC) – As novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once said “too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” How lucky for us that October 19 is Global Champagne Day  – a day to raise a glass of the quintessential wine of celebration.  According to TWB-The Wine Bar’s Wine Director Joshua Carlson, “Bubbles turn any occasion, whether meeting friends after work or dropping by after the game, into a mini-celebration. They’re also very food friendly and go with everything from brunch to oysters to popcorn.”
Where better to celebrate Global Champagne Day than at TWB –The Wine Bar  and Provence Marinaside where they have 35 different bubbles on their wine list including 17 French champagnes. Prices for bottles range from $45 – $1,750.  If a bottle seems like too much of a good thing, you can always indulge your champagne passion with a glass or two. TWB has the largest selection of bubbles by the glass (35) including 17 French champagnes ranging from $28 for glass of Marie Demets Tradition Brut to $110 for the Louis Roederer Cristal if you are feeling very extravagant. Of course there are always non-champagne bubble options starting from $8 a glass./$45 bottle.
 In honour of Global Champagne Day, TWB and Provence Marinaside will be offering 25 percent off all bubbles (both glasses and bottles) on Friday, October 19. If you can’t make it in, they’ll be offering the same discount for their regular Sparkling Saturday the following day.

“Everything is better with bubbles… life itself feels a little brighter when you’re sipping something sparkling. It’s going to be a lot of fun offering so many selections to our guests. Our wonderful patio, the view over-looking the Marina, and a glass of bubbles, is just about perfect when it comes to making your day exceptional,” concludes Carlson.

And don’t forget, Provence’s special three-course Taste of Yaletown menu starts this Thursday, giving you another tasty reason to drop by.

Whether you are in a celebratory mood, need a pick-me-up, or looking to unwind after work, TWB-The Wine Bar and next door Provence Marinaside have you covered this coming weekend.

All photos by Emrys Horton

Ancora Waterfront Dining Candlelight Champagne Dinner!

Vancouver, B.C. (September 14, 2016): Join Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio for an intimate dining event this October, where guests will gather at the scenic waterfront location to experience a carefully curated selection of Moët & Chandon Champagnes paired with an exclusive five-course menu crafted by Executive Chef Ricardo Valverde.
Lauded as one of the top seafood restaurants in Vancouver, Ancora has wowed visitors and locals alike with its dynamic fusion cuisine that highlights West Coast seafood with Peruvian-Japanese accents. After a spectacular first year and range of awards – including being named among Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and a recent nomination as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants by enRoute magazine – Ancora has plenty of reasons to celebrate and, true to form, will do so with one of the world’s finest Champagne houses.
The glamorous anniversary dinner takes place on Wednesday, October 5, and begins at 6pm with a Champagne tower reception, followed by a communal-style dinner at the restaurant’s sleek long table. Led by hosts General Manager Andrea Vescovi, Restaurant Manager Kane Morgan and a Moët-Hennessy brand ambassador, guests will enjoy a selection of top Moët & Chandon bubbles (ranging from Dom Perignon to Moët Rosé Impérial), perfectly paired with Chef Valverde’s five vibrant courses.
“After such an incredible opening year, we wanted to treat our great supporters to a truly special night,” said General Manager Andrea Vescovi. “We take pride in our unique offerings – and what better way to showcase this than with a dinner featuring the Champagne house of Moët & Chandon alongside Chef Valverde’s inspired dishes.”
The 40-person dinner begins at 6pm sharp. Tickets are $200 per person (plus tax and gratuity), and include all food and wine pairings. To book, email info@ancoradining.com or call604.681.1164.
About Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio:
Situated along Vancouver’s picturesque False Creek seawall, Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio dishes up West Coast sustainable cuisine with Peruvian and Japanese flare. The former home of C Restaurant has been transformed into a sleek, modern fine dining space. Embracing the city’s stunning waterfront landscape, Ancora’s contemporary design features a subtle yet sophisticated mix of soft blues, sand-inspired neutrals and light woods. The comprehensive menu is built on the cornerstones of sustainable seafood, fresh and local ingredients, and uncommon international elements. The restaurant’s unique dishes combine flavours and techniques that embrace diverse cultures and show a deep understanding of the city’s culinary evolution. Guests can expect a mix of West Coast, punchy Peruvian-inspired meals, and artistic Japanese creations served fresh from the crudo bar. Ancoradining.com

Veuve Clicquot Launches “Yelloweek” In Vancouver

Are you a lover of French Champagne and of the arts?  If so, one of these Veuve Clicquot events may be of interest to you.  Read and enjoy!

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Veuve Clicquot Celebrates Yelloweek

Veuve Clicquot Celebrates Yelloweek

Vancouver, May 21, 2014 — Veuve Clicquot is proud to announce the Vancouver launch of Yelloweek, a festival-style ‘tribute to creativity’ showcasing gastronomy, arts, fashion and lifestyle.

Taking place from May 22-24 inclusive, Vancouverites are invited to explore and enjoy a series of creatively-inspired events spanning several categories, including: Yellow TABLE, Yellow BY THE GLASS, Yellow NIGHT and Yellow CONTEST.

Veuve Clicquot’s Yelloweek was created as a tribute to artists and artisans who push the boundaries of their respective creative fields every day much like Madame Clicquot did in her time. Overcoming countless obsta- cles, la veuve (the widow) Clicquot became one of the most successful women entrepreneurs of the 19th century and built a worldwide luxury brand, founded on artisan practices and uncompromising quality.

“Yelloweek reflects the legendary qualities of the Maison and the ‘joie de vivre’ the brand is known for around the world,” said Stephane de Meurville, general manager of Moët Hennessy Canada. “Festival-goers will experience the true essence of the Veuve Clicquot world – taste, innovation, glamour, refinement, celebration, heritage and zeste de folie.”

Events taking place throughout Vancouver include:

Yellow TABLE: an exquisite series of Champagne pairing dinners at some of Vancouver’s most iconic and innovative restaurants, including: Brix, Reflections and Oru

Yellow BY THE GLASS:Special Veuve Clicquot pricing will be offered at various restaurants, including: Reflections and Pacific Rim

Yellow NIGHT: an unforgettable late-night party at Cabana featuring DJ Marco Petralia will embody the zeste de folie spirit of Veuve Clicquot

Yellow CONTEST: an opportunity to take home a little piece of sunshine. Coal Harbour Liquor Store and Legacy Liquor Store will be offering a chance to win a beautiful Veuve Clicquot bicycle

For more information and a complete listing of Yelloweek events, please visit yelloweek.com. Facebook: Veuve Clicquot semaine Yelloweek / Twitter: @Yelloweekcanada #Yelloweek

ABOUT VEUVE CLICQUOT

Since its creation in 1772, Veuve Clicquot played an instrumental role in establishing and evolving the Champagne industry, as we know it today. Located in Reims, France, Veuve Clicquot prides itself on using only the most distinct grapes reflecting Madame Clicquot’s motto “only one quality, the finest.” Now, more than 200 years later, Veuve Clicquot Champagne inspires the world to “Be Clicquot”: modern, audacious and of premium quality. These values, set forth by the extraordinary Madame Clicquot, promise a remarkable experience with each sip of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

BC’s Iconic Bubble at Vancouver International Wine Festival

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

This year, 2014, Vancouver International Wine Festival’s “global focus” is Bubbly.   While there will of course be Champagne from France, Cava from Spain, and Prosecco from Italy, don’t forget about BC!  Here is some info sent to me, that I’m passing along to you about what/where to enjoy Blue Mountain’s wines.

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Make sure you don’t miss BC’s iconic sparkling wine producer, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars.

Winemaker Matt Mavety will be behind the table at the Festival tasting room, showcasing their signature sparkling and still wines:

  • Brut “Gold Label” NV
  • Brut Rosé 2009
  • Chardonnay 2012
  • Pinot Noir 2012

Matt will also be showcasing his wines at the following events:

  • All About Bubbly!
  • 25 Under $25.

About Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars

Founded in 1971, Blue Mountain can make the rare claim of 42 years of continuous grape production by one family. Today, on their 32-hectare estate, they make limited quantities of complex wines from noble varietals including Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay — the same varietals found in the Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace regions of France. In the vineyard, methods favor low crop yields to concentrate and intensify flavours. While using modern equipment in the winery, wine making is respectful of traditional methods.

About Matt Mavety

Matt’s first serious work in the vineyard started at age 14 as a part-time job while in high school.

Hooked by the field, so to speak, Matt followed his father’s course, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of British Columbia. He majored in Agricultural Economics. Matt had the good fortune to study viticulture and oenology on a student exchange at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Upon graduation from university in 1997, he started working full-time with Blue Mountain.

A favored aspect of Matt’s work is the time spent in the vineyards, but he says it wouldn’t have as much meaning if it wasn’t part of “the complete package” – the full process of turning fruit to wine and capturing the season in its qualities. When he tastes a vintage, the memory of the particular season is recalled.

Buy Your Tickets

You need to buy tickets to the above events or Festival tasting room.  Here is the weblink for the Vancouver International Wine Festival events.  Enjoy!

My Top 5 Wine Blog Posts for 2011

Chinese New Year Golden Rabbit

Wow, a whole year has just zipped by.  I was really busy tasting lots of wines at all the fantastic venues here in Vancouver, as well as across the border at the Taste of Tulalip (which you should sign up to attend next year.  It’s excellent).  Thanks to WordPress for compiling my stats and letting me, and you, know these were my top 5 blog posts.  Which do you think?  The answers are below!

I knew my Chinese New Year post was super popular as I watched my stats leading up to Chinese New Year hit the roof. Stay tuned for my wine selection for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

My #2 post really caught me off guard.  But I’m pleasantly surprised.  Spicebox is an easy to drink whiskey, on the ice, or mixed in a drink.  Check out the post.

Lulu Island Riesling Chardonnay Ice Wine

For #3, I was happy to see Lulu Island Winery, a local winery, located in Richmond, BC.  They produce both grape-based and other fruit-based wines.  They also produce a selection of ice wine, so drop by one weekend to Lulu Island Winery if you live in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. 

#4 should be hot right now too, seeing that it is New Years Eve.  I hope I helped many people figure out which caviar and Champagne they would like to nibble and toast with the family and friends.  Wine is a social drink.

And last, but not least #5, about the Rioja region of Spain.  This article came out before the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.  Spain was the Theme Country this year, and I think the Vancouver readership had a thirst for knowledge about this region and what to expect at the Festival.  Stay tuned for my articles on Chile, as they are the next Theme Country for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival next year.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Almost Last Minute Christmas Holiday Wine Picks 2011

There are less than 2 weeks to Christmas now. Maybe you are starting to think about Christmas gifts, or inviting family and friends over to your place for a nice dinner, or you received a dinner invitation? What wines to gift or serve?

I went through the list of all the wines I tasted in 2011 and have a few suggestions for you.

Some Favourite Sparkling Wines for 2011

  • Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

    Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.

  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
  • Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour.  Nice medium toasty nose.  Medium acidity and body.  Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine.  It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose.  Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour.  Vanilla and spice on the nose.  High acid with small bubbles.  Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.

Some Favourite White Wines for 2011

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2009, California.  This is a single vineyard wine.  Medium lemon in colour with tropical fruit and some toasty aromas. Medium body and very soft mouth feel (really silky). Some vanilla and tropical fruit flavours.  Really nice.

  • Waterstone Chardonnay, 2009, California. This is my favourite white wine of the night.  Not a typical Napa Chardonnay.  This wine had a medium pear colour.  Vanilla and bartlett pear aromas. Medium body, soft and round mouthfeel.  Cinnamon and tropical fruit flavours with light acidity.  Nice and fruity, some vanilla with a long dry finish.
  • Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. One of my favourite wines of the tasting. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Tantalus Vineyards Riesling 2010, BC. Their Riesling is always on my favourite list. This one is no exception.  It has light lemon, lychee and flowers on the nose.  Off dry, with high acidity to make your mouth water for more.  Red apples and lemon flavours.  Excitement in a glass.
  • Thornhaven Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010, BC. I think there is something specific about the terroir for this wine that makes this Pinot Gris have a wonderful grapefruit nose and flavour.  I haven’t seen this in other Okanagan Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour with red grapefruit nose. Flowery with citrus, grapefruit flavours. Yum.
  • Graffigna Grand Reserve Torrontes 2010 (Argentina). Torrontes is the signature white grape of Argentina.  Very aromatic and a good change from Gewurztraimer or Viognier. Light lemon coloured. Lychee and perfumy nose.  Light body, round, with medium acidity.  Lychee, apricot and cinnamon flavours. Very tasty with a long spicy finish.
  • Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Gewurztraminer 2007 (France). I love Alsatian wines, and was really looking forward to Pfaffenheim’s wines. Medium lemon colour.  Wonderful lychee nose with a slight touch of sweet spice. Full body. Off dry with lower acidity.  Round mouthfeel with lychee, apricot and flowery flavours.  Very nice.

Some Favourite Red Wines for 2011

  • Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005

    Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand. Central Otago, is inland in the South Island.  The cooler climate allows these grapes have a long hang time and smaller berries, which gives a higher skin to pulp ratio, and more intense, riper, fruit flavours.  Medium purple in the glass with ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Ripe fruit, cassis, plums and vanilla on the palate.  Medium body and medium length.  Very nice.

  • Vina Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005, Chile. Pehuen Carmenere is a premium wine from Vina Santa Rita.  Opaque purple in the glass. Dark fruit nose with a whiff of capsicum. Full bodied but with soft tannins.  Ripe black cherries, vanilla and spice on the palate.  A very long length.  Here is a Carmenere you should try.
  • Dusted Valley Grenache, Columbia Valley 2009, Washington. This was such a wonderful wine.  Just the right balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity.  The wine was medium garnet in colour.  Cherry, vanilla and smoky aromas.  Raspberry, cherry, and vanilla on the palate.  Medium bodied with a raspberry finish.
  • 1884 Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina ($16.99).  This was my red wine deal of the wine tasting. Drink now. Raspberry and cocoa on the nose.  Full body with full ripe cherries and raspberries.  Juicy!  Long finish.
  • Desert Hills Syrah 2007, BC.  Another one of my favourites of the tasting. Almost opaque ruby in colour. Smoky, meaty, and dark fruit nose. Full body, dry tannins, with dark fruit spice and vanilla flavours.  Enjoy this big wine with a nice roast over the winter.
  • Ogier Crozes Hermitage, Les Brunnelles 2008, France ($25.99). This is a Rhone Valley wine. The Rhone Valley produces some fabulous Syrah, and this is one of them. I really liked the aromas of this wine of cassis and plums. Full body with cassis, raspberry, cherry and oak flavours.  Low tannins helped make this wine very approachable.
  • Finca Las Moras Intis Malbec 2010, Argentina. This wine was the surprise wine of the evening.  It is priced at $8.99, and over delivers. Pale ruby colour.  Light aromas of grilled sausage and dark fruit. Medium plus body with medium acidity.  Vanilla, cherry, raspberry and sausage flavours all together. Lots of nice flavours.  Dry with soft tannins.

Some Favourite Fortified Wines

  • Sogrape Vinhos Ferreira 20-Year-Old Duque de Braganca (Portugal). Light tawny colour in the glass. Ripe sweet fruit and Malmsey Madeira nose.  Round mouthfeel, medium sweetness. Apples, plums, chocolate and spice. Nice.
  • Fonseca N/V Terra Prima Organic Port ($31.99).  Rich black fruit nose.  Medium body in your mouth.  Spicy with plums, cherries, and chocolate flavours.  Medium sweetness. Very nice.
  • Mount Baker Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier 2007, Washington (US$20 for a half bottle). Deep lemon in colour.  Pretty nose with peaches, oranges and honey. Unctus in your mouth. Sweet with honey, honeydew melon, and peach flavours. Good acidity to balance this wine. A wonderful wine. Highly recommended to top off a nice meal with family or friends.
  • Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

There are many more in my archives, so please check there as well for a specific varietal or style. www.mywinepal.com and of course the blog right here!  Cheers and Happy Holidays to all my friends, near and far.

Thank Your Mom with these Mothers Day Wine Selections

Mother’s Day is coming up soon. We all like to treat our mothers. A nice meal and nice wine is one option. Some wines you may want to consider.

Sparkling Wine

  • Fresita sparkling (Chile). This is a blend of white sparkling wine with blended strawberries. Very nice and fruity. Would be a nice way to start a breakfast if you don’t want to make a mimosa.
  • Champagne Lallier Rose (France). Very pale pinkish orange colour. Light strawberry nose. Bigger bubble, with strawberry and red cherry flavour. You can never go wrong with Champagne. If you cannot afford Champagne, maybe try an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava.
  • Moreson  Blanc de Blancs Brut Method  Cap Classic (South Africa)   Chardonnay  NV.    A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.
  • Codorniu Sparkling Brut (Spain) Pinot Noir NV.   This Spanish Cava is light orangy pink in colour. Light strawberry aroma. Very bracing in your mouth, with strawberry and raspberry flavours.

White Wines

If you mother likes white wines here are a few suggestions.

  • Mission Hill Family Estate Perpetua 2008 (Canada). This is 100% Chardonnay from a blend of 3 Chardonnay clones: 2 Dijon and 1 Loire. A portion of the wine is fermented in French oak and left sur lies for 10 months. Pale lemon with a green tint in the glass.  Flower and lemon on the nose. Medium body with vanilla, pineapple flavours.  Medium acidity. A very well balanced wine.  This is a chardonnay that everyone should try.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand).  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Township 7 Viognier 2008 was medium lemon in colour. Honey, lime and tropical fruit on the nose. Medium acidity with citrus, mango and papaya flavours. If you have not tried a Viognier before, this one will get you hooked.
  • Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Chile). It had varied aromas of citrus, pineapple and apple. On the palate there was good acidity with pineapple flavour and medium length.
  • La Frenz Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2009 (Canada). Pale lemon in the glass. Lots of vanilla with a hint of eucalyptus / menthol. Nice acidity.  Round mouthfeel with pineapple and spice.

Red Wines

Maybe your mother prefers red wine or you are planning to BBQ something for her.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile). Santa Rita is a premium producer from Chile.  I really enjoy their wines, and spent time visiting them in Chile. Their Medalla Real Pinot Noir is coloured light purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis aromas. Round mouth feel, light boded with an abundance of cassis flavour.  Low tannins.
  • Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 (New Zealand). Pale purple colour.  Lots of raspberry aroma and flavour.  Also a bit of tea leaves on the palate. Light body with medium acidity.
  • Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2007 (Canada). Opaque puple in the glass. Ripe cherries and vanilla with a hint of cedar on the nose. Full bodied with firm yet smooth tannins.  Ripe black cherry flavour.
  • Howling Bluff Estate Winery Summa Quies Estate Pinot Noir 2009 (Canada). Pale garnet in colour. Beautiful violets and strawberry aromas. Soft, light bodied, with vanilla, strawberries and ripe cherries on the palate.  Highly recommended.
  • d’Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2008, (Australia)  This wine is light garnet in colour.  Smoke and raspberry on the nose.  Petrol, cassis, raspberry flavours.  Low tannins. Very refreshing.
  • Bennett Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) This cab is deep garnet in colour. A nice nose with ripe cassis and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel with dark fruit and dry tannins. Long lingering flavours.
  • Clos du Val Wine Company Zinfandel 2009 (California). Light garnet in colour. Smoky raspberry nose. Medium body with raspberry and cassis flavours, with vanilla and spice on the finish. An elegant wine.
  • La Stella Allegretto 2008 (Canada). This is 100% Merlot grown from their Stag vineyard in Osoyoos on it’s own rootstock!  Deep purple in the glass.  Lots of raspberry, cherry and vanilla on the nose.  Full body with mocha, cherry and vanilla flavour, and a hint of raspberry.  Medium tannins with a long finish.

I’ve tried to give you a range of wines from light to full bodied.  I hope there is one for you and for your mother.  Enjoy!

Marquis Wine Cellars Social Media Tasting Highlights!

Thank you very much to Mr. John Clerides, the owner of Marquis Wine Cellars, for opening up a variety of sparkling, white, and red wines for us, wine bloggers to try.  What wines did we get to try? There were 14 different wines, and I will outline here in this blog the ones that I liked the most.  These wines are all available at Marquis Wine Cellars, so feel free to go by their shop to pick up a bottle or two.

Onto the wines!  There was one sparkling wine in our tasting line-up which I quite enjoyed.  The Champagne Agrapart NV Terroirs Blanc de Blanc, France, ($54.90) is made solely from the Chardonnay grape.  This wine was medium lemon in colour.  Nice bready, lemon, and apple aromas.  Fine bubble with a dry mouthfeel.  Lemon and some sweet spice on the palate with a long lingering finish.

One white of note was the Lusco do Mino Albarino 2009, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain ($24.90).  Rias Baixas is a cooler region in the northwest area of Spain.  The Albarino grape produces a higher acid wine that is very aromatic.  This wine had a light flowery nose.  Light in body with lychee, almond, apple and spice on the palate.  Very tasty.

My second white wine pick was the Domaine Barmes-Buecher Pinot Gris 2006, Herrenweg, Alsace, France ($32.90). This Pinot Gris was quite a deep lemon colour.  Sweet apricot nose.  It smelled very much like an ice wine, with that same level of aromatic intensity. It was though medium body and dry on the palate, with marmalade and apricot flavour.  Quite impressive.

My last white wine choice was the Le Mont Bonnezeaux 2004, Loire Valley, France ($38.90).  Although the variety of grape is not obvious, coming from the Loire Valley, this was a Chenin Blanc.  Another deeply lemon coloured wine. This one had honey and some stone fruit on the nose.  Medium + body, a bit of sweetness.  Round mouthfeel with apple, mushroom, and oak flavours.  An unctus wine.

What about the red wines? My overall favorite was the Domino de Tares Cepas Viejas 2007, Bierzo, Spain ($29.90). This wine is made from the indigenous grape called Mencia. This grape grows in the cooler northwest corner of Spain.  It is a lower acid grape with red fruit aromas and flavours and earthy richness.  The Bierzo region is also being touted as the next Priorat of Spain!  This wine was A deep blackish purple in colour.  Vanilla and sweet black fruit on the nose.  Full body with medium tannins, sweet ripe black fruit, vanilla, with cinnamon spice on the mid palate.  Good acidity to balance the fruit and full body of this wine.  I hope we get to see more Spanish wines from Bierzo at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival this April as Spain is the theme country!

My other red wine selection was the Domaine Roc des Anges Cepas Viejas 2006, Roussillon, France ($39.90). This is a blend with primarily carignan and I am guessing grenache noir, and syrah from my quick research on the web. This wine is dark garnet in the glass. Dried cherries, licorice, and dried herbs on the nose.  Full of flavour, with ripe cherries and a spicy mid palate.  Dry with medium tannins and medium length.

To go with all the wines at this evening’s tasting was a selection of cheeses from Benton Brothers Fine Cheese and assorted appetizers from Louis Gervais Fine Foods and Catering.

Aphrodisiacs and Wine for Valentines

With Valentine’s Day coming up in February, I thought I’d get a head start on this blog about Aphrodisiacs and Wine to help you decide your Valentine’s meal.  There are many different foods that have been touted to have some aphrodisiac component to them.  A few foods:

  • cheese (In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman.)
  • arugula (Is also known as “rocket seed”, with mustard warming a person, making better blood flow.)
  • truffles (It is said that sows instinctively seek out truffles, it’s because they give off scents identical to certain substances found in the male boars sexual organs – namely a pheromone “androstenol” with a strong musky smell. Androstenol is also secreted by men’s armpit glands.)
  • chocolate (Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact.)
  • oysters (Oysters being the aphrodisiac, due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also as they contain zinc which which promotes well being.)
  • asparagus (The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol. also because according to traditional Indian medicine, it increases circulation in the genito-urinary system. Chinese traditionalists believe the roots increase compassion and love, so they save the best ones for their friends and family.)
  • chilies (Chilies get a person’s blood rushing, heart pumping, face flushing and pores sweating, providing great physical stimulation.)
  • strawberries (Strawberries gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac due to their large number of tiny seeds symbolizing fertility. In art and literature, the strawberry was usually portrayed as a symbol of sensuality and earthly desire and has been described as fruit nipples.)

Is wine an aphrodisiac?

Of course. Wine relaxes people’s thoughts. A moderate quantity of wine reduces a person’s anxiety and releases their inhibitions. In studies published from the 1994 British scientific journal, Nature, claimed that the intake of alcohol can increase the levels of libido in women. According to this research, alcohol raises the testosterone level of women, which can entice those who lack sexual interest and desire. Port wine is said to be one of the most aphrodisiac alcoholic beverages around. This drink, which originated in Portugal, is said to promote lovemaking especially when served with strawberries (from http://nepspeed82.blogspot.com/2007/05/wine-as-aphrodisiac.html).

Some suggested wine and aphrodisiac food pairings:

  • Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto paired with a Viognier or a New Zealand Pinot Noir.
  • Fresh Oysters with Red Wine Shallot Mignonette paired with a California or Chilean sparkling wine.
  • Arugula, Pine Nut & Chevre Pizza matched with a BC, New Zealand or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Asparagus wrapped with smoked salmon & fresh basil paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon based Rose or a Pinot Noir.

Here are some specific wines that you may want to find either in a government liquor store or a private wine shop:

  • Stags Hollow Viognier, BC, 2010. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V Champagne, France. This is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.
  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful sparkling wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand.  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008, Chile. Santa Rita is a premium producer from Chile.  I really enjoy their wines, and spent time visiting them in Chile. Their Medalla Real Pinot Noir is coloured light purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis aromas. Round mouth feel, light boded with an abundance of cassis flavour.  Low tannins.
  • Bartier – Scholefield Rose, BC ($20) is 100% Gamay Noir from the Wise Brothers’ vineyard in Oliver. This wine was medium salmon colour in the glass.  Light, youthful aromas of strawberries, red cherries and other red fruits.  It is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity.  Medium body.  I get fresh summer fruits like raspberries, red currants, strawberries and red cherries, and a lingering watering mouthfeel on the finish.

If you want an extensive list of aphrodisiac foods, I’d suggest following the “Life of Reiley“.  Enjoy the pairings and I hope they bring great enjoyment for you and your significant other!

Want a Champagne Icewine Cocktail?

I was just browsing around on the web and I found this recipe for a champagne with icewine cocktail recipe and thought I’d pass it along to you. Although the recipe is listed as “champagne”, it really should be identified as “sparkling wine” as champagne is only from the Champagne region in France.

Since this is a long weekend, you may want to make some tonight or on Sunday night with friends. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Fusion Royale Champagne Cocktail

By Scott McTaggart, Fusion Grill, Winnipeg
750 ml bottle sparkling wine (suggests Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay)
375 ml bottle icewine (suggests Inniskillin Vidal)
Preserved Bing cherries

Fill champagne flutes 3/4 full of sparkling wine. Add a dash of icewine to each. Drop in a cherry.

Makes 6 servings.