Naramata on the River April 24, 2012 – Get Your Tickets

Naramata on the River April 2012

The Naramata Bench is one of the cherished wine regions in BC.  Each year the Naramata wine producers bring their wines out to Vancouver so that we can try the latest releases, and hopefully buy these wines.  On April 24, 2012, from 6:30pm – 9:00pm the Naramata wineries will be pouring their wines for you, and you can also try these wines with some fantastic food by local Vancouver area restaurants.  The event is called “Naramata on the River” and is being held at the River Market at (New) Westminster Quay.  It is easy to get to by Transit.  The Skytrain stops across the street from the Quay, so no need to drink and drive.  Instead you can drink and enjoy! This event is in support of the BC Cultural Crawl (more info below).

Which Wineries Will Be There?

  • Black Widow Winery
  • D’Angelo Estate Winery
  • Elephant Island Orchard Wines (they make a nice Stellaport)
  • Hillside Winery  & Bistro
  • Kettle Valley Winery
  • La Frenz Winery (top quality Chardonnay)
  • Lake Breeze Vineyards
  • Laughing Stock Vineyards
  • Misconduct Wine Co.
  • Monster Vineyards
  • Moraine Estate Winery
  • Nichol Vineyard & Estate Winery (try their Pinot Noir)
  • Poplar Grove Winery (try their Legacy, Bordeaux Blend)
  • Red Rooster Winery
  • Serendipity Winery
  • Therapy Vineyards (we all need some Therapy don’t we?)
  • Township 7 Vineyards & Winery
  • Upper Bench Estate Winery
  • Van Westen Vineyards (one of my favorites each Spring release)

Which Restaurants Will Be There?

  • Crepe des Amis
  • Pamola Bakery & Deli
  • The Crab Shop
  • Tre Galli Gelato Caffe
  • Wild Rice Restaurant
  • Re-Up BBQ (a wonderful food cart/truck downtown by the Art Gallery)
  • Donald’s Market – Aria Foods
  • Orlando’s Catering
  • Hamilton Street Grill
  • Daniel’s Restaurant
  • Hillside Bistro
  • Seasonal 56
  • Chef Ann Kirsebom
  • Hart House Restaurant
  • Hagensborg Chocolates (try with the Stellaport)
  • Gone Crackers
  • Rocky Mountain Flatbread
  • Restaurant 62

I’ve written about many of these wineries from past wine events.  Here are a few links:

This event is to help celebrate the 11th Annual British Columbia Cultural Crawl.  The BC Cultural Crawl is a self-guided tour of community-initiated events: music, theatre and dance performances, visual arts, festivals, museum and heritage exhibitions, culinary arts, community art walks and more.  Here is their website for more info.

I hope to see you there to enjoy great wine and food!  Enjoy.

Wine for Father’s Day, June 19, 2011?

Father’s Day is coming up fast.  Do you know which wine you will be pouring for your dad?  For some of you, you already know what your dad likes, e.g. He only likes Australian Shiraz, so picking a bottle should not be too difficult.

For others, your dad does not have a favorite wine.  So how would you choose a wine?  One of the easiest ways to pick a wine is to pair the wine with the food you will be having with your father.  If you are going to have a BBQ beef or lamb, you may want to select a full bodied red or an oaked chardonnay.

Grilled salmon or chicken can pair with a light bodied red or a white wine.

A pasta with cream sauce would pair nicely with a red or white wine that has higher acidity to cut through the creaminess.

A pasta with tomato-based sauce classically pairs with a Sangiovese-based wine from Tuscany, Italy.

If you father is a vegetarian, consider the type of sauce that the food is cooked with.  Is it creamy, made from tomato?  This flavour will help you choose the appropriate wine.  You could use one of the pasta selections that I described.

Some MyWinePal Wine Suggestions:

D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005, BC. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Try with BBQ beef or lamb.

Casa Montes Bodegas & Vinedos, Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec 2006, Argentina. This wine is opaque purple in the glass. Dusty with black petter aromas. Full body with ripe black fruit and lots of spice. A BBQ wine for beef or lamb.

Township 7 Chardonnay 2008, BC is 100% barrel fermented and aged in French and American oak, giving it more body and some creaminess. Vanilla and apple aromas. With flavours of citrus oak and apples. Nice round mouthfeel with a slight bit of spiciness and a coconut finish. Try this with any BBQ meats or fish.

Another Chardonnay would be the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay, from the Paso Robles area of California, has 5% Viognier in the mix. It is medium lemon in the glass. Pineapple, vanilla, and creamy nose. Medium body, with peach, apricot and honey flavours.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay 2008 , Washington was very elegant.  This wine was medium golden in the glass. Vanilla, oak, lemon and apple aromas.  It was medium body with toasty, lemon and light spice on the palate.  Light acidity to complement the roundness of the wine.  Spice and lemon on the finish.  Would go nicely with some salmon.

Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2008, Chile. This wine spent 9 months in french oak. They like to use 2-3 year French oak barrels as much as possible for all their barrel aged wines so the oak is there, but not in your face. This one had a wide range of aromas. Strawberry, oak, red cherry, dill and mushroom at first, but then some vanilla on the nose. The wine was quite fruity. Lots of red cherry, but also some dill and vanilla. Quite smooth, medium length, and a dry finish. Try with BBQ salmon or chicken.

Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG, Italy. This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005, Italy. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand. This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

Note if you can’t find these particular wines, find a similar wine, such as a replacement for the Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec could be the Bodegas Salentein Primum Malbec. If you feel unsure, ask someone who works in your wine shop.  They should be knowledgeable about the wines they carry.

Enjoy Fathers Day with your Dad.

Simply Red – Naramata Bench wine tasting review

This past week the Naramata Bench wineries had their “Simply Red” tasting. And you guessed it, red wines only! The red wines from this stretch of land, just north of Penticton on the east side of the lake produce some very nice red and white wines. If you ever go for a wine tour in the Okanagan, the wineries along this stretch of the Naramata Bench are quite close together, so it is easy to do several wineries in one day. Plus if you would rather not drive your car, it is an easy bicycle ride.

The red wines for this tasting were primarily the 2008 vintage, although there were a few 2007 also. Some of the wines were bottled a few weeks before this event. I did not notice any bottle shock though. All the wines I tasted were all technically made well.

I usually like to try Pinot Noirs first as they are the lightest bodied wines, then taste Merlots, Syrahs, and Cabernets. There were three pinot noirs that I particularly liked: La Frenz Reserve Pinot Noir 2008, Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Pinot Noir 2008, and Nicol Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008.

The La Frenz Reserve Pinot Noir 2008 (and their other wines) was top notch. This wine won a Silver in the Northwest Wine Summit this year, and two Gold medals at the Northwest Wine Summit in 2009. It had a nice smoky, strawberry nose with a hint of oak. Light body with strawberry and cherry flavours. Silky with low tannins. Long length with a cherry finish. Buy it before it is all sold out.

Lake Breeze is also a premium producer of wines in the Okanagan. They are most well known for their Pinot Blanc, but they also make very good red wines. The Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Pinot Noir 2008, was light cherry in colour. Vanilla and strawberry aromas. A very nice nose. On the palate it was medium bodied, with strawberries, raspberries and cherry flavours. Quite spicy. Well done.

The Nicol Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 had gone through a partial malolactic fermentation (MLF) to change the harsher malic acids in the wine to softer lactic acids. Many red wines go through this secondary fermentation to soften them up. This wine was very pale cherry colour in the glass. A really nice red cherry and vanilla nose. Light body, with bright cherry flavours in your mouth. Slightly spicy with some vanilla notes too. Dry with low tannins. A classic style New World Pinot Noir.

You can’t go wrong with any of those Pinot Noir. As for the fuller bodied reds, I have four recommendations:
Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Merlot 2008
– Nicol Vineyards Syrah 2008
– La Frenz Rockyfeller Vineyard Shiraz 2008
– D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005

As I mentioned earlier, Lake Breeze makes wonderful wines. Case in point is their Merlot. The Lake Breeze Seven Poplars Merlot 2008 is medium garnet in colour. Vanilla, plum, with a slight bit of capsicum and mocha on the nose. Full bodied mouthfeel, with black and red cherries, vanilla, and a bit of minerality. Soft tannins with a medium length.

The Nicol Vineyards Syrah 2008 is opaque purple in the glass. Vanilla and sweet dark fruit nose. Raspberries, red cherries, blueberries and a bit of minerality on the palate. Soft tannins. I do enjoy a syrah when the blueberry characteristic of the grape is detectable.

The La Frenz Rockyfeller Vineyard Shiraz 2008 won a Gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships 2010. This is a very elegant wine. Deep garnet in colour. Blueberry, raspberry and vanilla aromas. Medium body and mouthfeel. Cherry and vanilla flavours.

The D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005 I think is the oldest vintage wine during this tasting. The Sette Coppa 2005 won a Silver medal at the 2008 Canadian Wine Awards. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Enjoy with some grilled meat.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy a few of these picks from the Simply Red Naramata Bench tasting. Enjoy!