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!

My Wine Picks from the Australian Regional Round-Up Tasting #apluswines

January 28, evening at the Bushlen Mowatt Gallery. It was raining outside, but warm and bright inside the Gallery. This evening’s tasting was a regional round-up of Australian wines. The regions, and subregions, covered in this tasting were:

  • South Australia
    • Eden Valley
    • Clare Valley
    • Barossa Valley
    • Padthaway
    • Langhorne Creek
    • Coonawarra
    • McLaren Vale
    • Adelaide Hills
  • New South Wales
    • Hunter Valley
    • Mudgee
    • Orange
    • Riverina
  • Western Australia
    • Margaret River
  • Victoria
    • Mornington Peninsula
    • Goulburn Valley / Nagambie Lakes
    • Heathcote
    • Yarra Valley

There was at least one wine from each sub-region that evening.  I tried to sample every wine but there were too many, so if a wine you liked did not make my list, it could be that I did not have a chance to try it that evening.

South Australia produces most of Australia’s wines, and have many of the best known regions such as the Barossa Valley and the Coonawarra region.  My picks from SOUTH AUSTRALIA are:

Jim Barry ‘The Cover Drive’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Clare Valley) $28.99 – This wine was deep purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis fruit aroma.  Round mouthfeel with medium acidity and raspberry flavour.  A full bodied Cabernet that is more well-known in my opinion for riesling.

Yalumba “Patchwork” Barossa Shiraz 2008 (Barossa Valley) $25.99 – Another deep purple wine.  Rich cassis aroma.  Full body with coffee, black fruit and spice. Medium tannins.

Peter Lehmann “The Futures” Barossa Shiraz 2007 (Barossa Valley) $29.99 – More deep purple shiraz in the glass.  Meaty and chocolate on the nose. Spicy, chocolate and very fruity with firm tannins.

Bleasdale “Potts’ Catch” Verdelho 2009 (Langhorne Creek) $15.99 – Verdelho is a white grape that is originally from Portugal and used in making Madeira wine.  Wine produced from the Verdelho grape can be lemony, crisp and refreshing. It’s character can vary from herbaceous, when grown in cooler vineyards or picked earlier, to tropical fruit, when coming from warmer vineyards or when picked at full maturity. This wine was watery in colour. Some light lime and lees on the nose. Good acidity with apple, lime and spice.  Think about this one for summer.

Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 2007 (Coonawarra) $40.99 -Vanilla and ripe plum aromas.  Soft and round in the mouth with sweet ripe cherry flavour and nice pepperiness. A highlight wine.

Chapel Hill Parsons Nose Shiraz 2008 (McLaren Vale) $19.99 – McLaren Vale is a bit cooler climate area in South Australia, but it seems to still be putting out quite full-bodied wines that also have good acidity to them too. This wine was deep purple in colour.  Lots of cassis fruit on the nose.  Good acidity with spiciness and cassis flavour.  Medium tannins.  The cassis just jumped out of the glass at you.  Quite nice and a great price.

Wirra Wirra “Dead Ringer” Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (McLaren Vale) $58.99 – This one might have been my overall favourite for the night. Capsicum upfront then some meatiness on the nose.  Tarry, espresso and capsicum and dark fruit on the palate.  Very full bodied.

d’Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2008 (McLaren Vale) $21.99 – It was nice to have a lighter bodied grenache after so many big Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was light garnet in colour.  Smoke and raspberry on the nose. Petrol, cassis, raspberry flavours.  Low tannins. Very refreshing.

Petaluma Chardonnay 2007 (Adelaide Hills) $35.97 – Light lemon in colour with a tinge of green. Light spice, citrus and oak on the nose.  Light body but full of flavour.  Spicy on the palate with long length.

My NEW SOUTH WALES wine picks:

Brokenwood Semillon 2008 (Hunter Valley) $23.99 – Semillon is a classic grape for the cooler climate Hunter Valley.  It can age for a long time and develop an oaked profile eventhough no oak has been applied.  I’ve become quite a fan of Brokenwood’s Semillon since I first tried it a few years ago.  Young, it is bright and refreshing.  Lovely to go with some shellfish.  The 2008 vintage was watery with a slight green hint in colour. Light citrus nose. Green pepper and jalapeno on the palate. Clean with great acidity.  Highly recommended.

Robert Oatley Chardonnay 2007 (Mudgee) $19.99 – Medium lemon in colour.  Vanilla and slight vegetal aromas. Round mouth feel with medium acidity.  Off dry with apple, oak and spice.

From the VICTORIA region, my wine picks:

De Bortoli Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2006 (Yarra Valley) $33.99 – Light red colour with slight bricking.  Burgundian nose with some cherry too. Earthy, meaty, and strawberry flavours.  Low tannins and a bit of spice.  I’d like to try this with some nice French cheese.

Upon reviewing my notes, it looks like Shiraz was the big winner for me at this tasting, and I hope it will be for you too. Enjoy!

has been cultivated in Portugal since at least the 1400s. It is one of the grapes long used in the making of Madeira.

My Favorites From the South World Wine Society’s Five Nations Cup 2011

Wednesday, Jan 19 was the South World Wine Society’s 6th Annual Five Nations Cup.  This is a blind wine tasting and humbles everyone in attendance. Five white wines and five red wines were presented to us.

We first went through the white wines, and were told that there were a Chenin Blanc, a Pinot Gris, a Chardonnay, and 2 Sauvignon Blanc.  One of the sauvignon blanc would be young (a recent vintage), while the other sauvignon blanc would be aged (2003 in this case).  The wines would be from Australia, Chile, New Zealand, or South Africa.  We were missing a white wine from Argentina for this half of the tasting.  Our host for the evening, Mr. Paul Watkin, is past SWWS cellar master and is a manager at Icon Fine Wine and Spirits in Vancouver.   Paul let us all know some of the characteristic aromas and flavours of each of these white grapes, as well as some hints as to style of white wines produced by each of these countries.  After sipping and debating each other at our table, we all stood up and slowly each started to sit down as each wine was revealed but did not match our guess.

The first wine was the Mount Riley Pinot Gris (2008 I think) from New Zealand.  I marked this wine as pale lemon colour. Herbal, lemon a bit of lime and some lychee on the nose.  Medium body, medium acidity, grapefruit and spice flavours with a long finish.  I guessed correctly.

The second wine was the Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc (2008) from Chile. Pale but bright lemon colour in the glass. Vanilla, waxy, lemon, grassy, and gooseberry aromas. Medium body.  Citrus, slightly vegetal and slightly spicy with medium acidity.  Another correct guess!

The third wine was the Montes Alpha Chardonnay (2006) from Chile.  This one was the easiest to guess.  The fullest body, most deep lemony coloured, lots of vanilla and apple aromas and flavours.  Nice spice too.  It went really well with a smoked scalloped that was served with the wines.  3 for 3 so far.

The fourth wine was the Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (2003) from Australia. The aged sauvignon blanc!  This wine was medium minus golden colour. Big legs on the sides of the glass.  Honeysuckle, honey, and apricot aromas. Medium minus body, smooth, lower in acidity with a dry finish.  I guessed this one was the Chenin Blanc.

The last white wine was the Graham Beck Gameskeeper Reserve Chenin Blanc (2008) from South Africa . Light lemon colour.  Smokey, apple, spice, oak, vanilla, and some earthiness on the nose. Bright fruit flavours, but also some smokiness, apple and oak.  Medium length. I originally thought this one could be the aged sauvignon blanc with some oak aging (e.g. a Fume Blanc).

So from the white wine review, I ended up in 2nd place.  Not bad considering how difficult the whites were to identify.  Hopefully the red wines would be easier.

No such luck.  Paul was going to give us 5 different Bordeaux blends.  That is much more difficult than trying to guess if a wine is a Malbec or a Merlot.  The first red was the Man O’ War Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec blend (2008) from New Zealand. I had marked it as medium red with a purple tint (from the Malbec). Cassis, red cherry, leather, mint and tomato aromas. Juicy red fruit flavour, with vanilla, spice, high acidity and medium tannins.  I guessed correctly.  I thought the high acidity would be from a cooler climate, and New Zealand would be the coolest of the 5 countries.

The second red was the Miguel Torres Cordillera (2001) from Chile. A deep core of garnet in the glass.  Some capsicum aroma, along with vanilla, dark plum and milk chocolate.  On the palate it was full bodied.  Vanilla, purple fruit and savory flavours. Medium acidity and tannins. Another correct guess.  The capsicum was my hint that it was Chilean.

The third red was the Glen Carlou Grand Classique (2005) from South Africa.  Deep garnet in colour.  Iodine and earthy aromas. Mineral, leather and firm tannins.  Quite different from all the other reds.  I guessed that one correctly too.

The fourth red wine was the Luigi Bosca Gala 2 (2005) from Argentina.  I had guessed New Zealand, then changed my mind to Australia, but in the end I found out it was Argentina.  Really hard to guess the origin of this wine.  It was medium garnet coloured.  Sweet vanilla, chocolate and dark fruit aromas.  Not overly aromatic. Medium body and medium tannins with grippy black fruit flavour.

The fifth red wine was the d’Arenberg Galvo Garage (2005) from Australia. Very dark garnet in colour.  Some capsicum, dry not overly fruity nose with some earthiness.  Vanilla, capsicum and very fruity flavours.  Firm tannins.  I guessed this one was the wine from Argentina.

I ended up in 2nd place for the red wines.  I don’t feel too bad getting 2nd place for both the red and white wines.

How did I rate these wines?

White wines in my rank of preference:

  1. Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (2003) Australia
  2. Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc (2008) Chile
  3. Mt. Riley Pinot Gris (2008) New Zealand
  4. Montes Alpha Chardonnay (2006) Chile
  5. Graham Beck Gameskeeper Reserve Chenin Blanc (2008) South Africa

Red wines in my rank of preference:

  1. Miguel Torres Cordillera (2001) Chile
  2. Man O’ War Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec blend (2008) New Zealand
  3. Luigi Bosca Gala 2 (2005) Argentina
  4. d’Arenberg Galvo Garage (2005) Australia
  5. Glen Carlou Grand Classique (2005) South Africa

One thing that you may notice is that my first choice in both the red and white wines were the OLDEST wines.  Don’t think that you have to drink a wine as soon as you buy it.  Especially true for red wines, and some white wines.  Many of these wines will be available only in private wine shops.  Hope you can get a chance to try some of them. Enjoy!

Wine Australia’s Regional Roundup Tasting – Jan 28/11 Ticket Info

January 26 is Australia Day, equivalent to our July 1, Canada Day.  On Friday January 28, Wine Australia will be having their Regional Round-Up tasting.  Additional wine tastings of great Aussie wines will also be held in April and in June.  I have the details for all 3 events below.  If you want to attend next week’s event, buy your tickets soon before they sell out! Tickets are $49 each—it’s a bargain ticket price for the sheer number of wines that will be in the room.


Wine Australia’s Regional Round-Up

Date: Friday, January 28th, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Venue: Buschlen Mowatt Art Gallery
Tickets available here: House Wine

Celebrate Australia Day (which is on January 26th) by getting to know her more intimately. Offering an unending variety of wine, this sizable country is blessed with a great diversity of regions. Revisit familiar favourites like Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Hunter Valley as well as acclaimed cooler areas such as Margaret River and Adelaide Hills. You will also have a chance to discover lesser-known regions including the Yarra Valley and Langhorne Creek. A great way to compare and contrast wines from cooler pockets with those from warmer climes—and there are over 60 wines to try!

A sneak peak at some of the wines…

  • Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 06
  • Camelback Block Two Shiraz 07
  • D’Arenberg the Money Spider Rousanne 08
  • Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 06
  • Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet 08
  • Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet 07
  • Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 08
  • Brokenwood Semillon 08

WINERIES FOR THE REGIONAL ROUND-UP

Barossa Valley Estates Henry’s Drive Shingleback
Bleasdale Jacob’s Creek St. Hallett
Brokenwood Jim Barry Tahbilk
Camelback Kangarila Road Thorn-Clarke
Chapel Hill Katnook Estate Treasury
Cumulus Langmeil Wirra Wirra
d’Arenberg Petaluma Xanadu
Evans & Tate Peter Lehmann Yabby Lake
Gemtree Ring.bolt Yalumba
Grant Burge Robert Oatley Yering Station
Heggies Shaw + Smith

Event #2: Down Under Mix Up

Date: Friday, April 29th, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Details and Tickets available here: House Wine

Event #3: Summer Sipper

Date: Saturday, June 25th, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Details & Tickets available here: House Wine