Back to Back Sonoma County Wine Events Next Week

Ferrari Carano Sonoma County Fume Blanc 2010

Ferrari Carano Sonoma County Fume Blanc 2010

Napa Valley in California is very famous.  Most people know about their big Cabernet Sauvignons. But it’s next door neighbour, Sonoma Valley may not be as familiar to you.  In my opinion it is not as flashy as Napa, but produces excellent quality wines.  Next week you can have a few opportunities to try some of the wines from Sonoma, and at the same time helping the Arts Umbrella.  Below is the announcement about the events next week and where you can buy tickets to their events.  Give Sonoma a try!

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November 7, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – Next week, Vancouverites will have two days to sip and savour the extraordinary wines of Sonoma County in either a ballroom setting or at an intimate winemakers dinner, all to benefit Arts Umbrella.   Back by popular demand, both events will welcome the County’s premier wineries as they come north to promote signature Sonoma wines at these back to back events.

Sonoma Winemakers Dinners

Rodney Strong winery

Rodney Strong winery

On Tuesday, November 13, foodies or oenophiles can first enjoy an intimate dinner in a truly unique setting – participating in simultaneous dinners at Brix Restaurant at Lounge, hosted by Mike & Tara of the Mike and Tara in the Morning show on QM/FM.  Upon arrival, all guests will be welcomed at a reception in funky George Ultra Lounge, then move upstairs to the dinner of their choice in either the garden courtyard setting or the elegant dinner room.  Four esteemed Sonoma County wineries will participate in each dinner, paired with a decadent four-course menu.  Guests will be treated to a compelling musical performance by the inspiring students of Arts Umbrella’s Pre-Professional Theatre Program.  Tickets are $150 each.  Very limited tickets still available. Participating wineries include:

  • Davis Bynum
  • Dry Creek Vineyard
  • Dutcher Crossing Winery
  • Foppiano Vineyards
  • J Vineyards & Winery
  • Kunde Family Estate
  • Laurel Glen Vineyard
  • Rodney Strong
    (My personal motto for this winery is “You can’t go wrong with Rodney Strong”. You can depend on all their wines IMHO.)
  • Siduri Wines

A Taste of Sonoma

If you recover from the night before, you can also enjoy the full bounty of Sonoma wines along with 300 other guests at the elegant Sutton Place Hotel on Wednesday, November 14.  Hosted by CTV News Anchor, Coleen Christie, over 20 wineries will participate, offering guests a chance to meet the vintners, find their new favourite wine and bid on auction packages, all to support Arts Umbrella.   Tickets are $65 each.  Participating wineries include:

  • Benovia Winery
  • Davis Bynum
  • Dry Creek Vineyard
  • Dutcher Crossing Winery
  • Ehret Family Winery
  • Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (if you ever travel to Sonoma, you must visit this winery.  Beautiful!)
  • Folie a Deux Winery
  • Foppiano Vineyards
  • J Vineyards & Winery
  • Kendall-Jackson
  • Kosta Browne Winery
  • Kunde Family Estate
  • Laurel Glen Vineyard
  • MacRostie Winery and Vineyards (Try their Chardonnay.)
  • Pedroncelli Winery
  • Pezzi King Vineyards
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards
  • Schug Carneros Estate Winery (Try their Pinot Noir.)
  • Seghesio Family Vineyards
  • Siduri Wines / Novy Family Winery

To reserve your tickets to either event, visit www.artsumbrella.com/wine

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TWO Sonoma Winemakers’ Dinners

Tuesday, November 12, 2012
Brix Restaurant & Lounge (courtyard & restaurant)

$150 a ticket

A Taste of Sonoma

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Sutton Place Hotel

$65 a ticket

About Sonoma County Vintners:

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 175 wineries of all sizes throughout the county.

Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.

About Arts Umbrella:

Arts Umbrella is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to bringing the best in arts education to as many children as possible. Programs in visual and performing arts for children and youth ages 2-19 are delivered free-of-charge to thousands of kids every year. Arts Umbrella is committed to delivering the highest quality arts education experience to young people, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. Two new locations in Surrey dramatically increase Arts Umbrella’s ability to deliver arts education to children and youth in need.

For more information about Arts Umbrella visit www.artsumbrella.com

TASTE Resto-Lounge Opens Downtown – Food, Art, Music

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Last week was the opening of TASTE Resto Lounge at 560 Seymour Street, in downtown Vancouver. It is next door to the nightclub, FIVESIXTY, so you may want to have a nibble here before dancing the night away.

On this evening we were served mini versions of the share plate menu items. Upon entering TASTE, you are struck by the red glass chandeliers, giving a Gothic or Bordello type atmosphere, depending on who you ask. At the back of the room is a long table, where you can sit with your friends, and make new friends, while you eat and drink, and view the featured artists’ paintings on the walls.

Sharing Plates Samples

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

We were given tastings of:

  • charcuterie, with a mix of sausages, prosciutto, capicollo, artisanal cheese, and sweet pickled beets
  • house smoked chicken liver pate with capicollo, pickled beets, pesto, onion marmalade on a crostini
  • bacon chutney with pear and brie stack and a chimmichurri sauce on a crostini
  • a salad of roma tomatoes, fresh Bocconcini with diced cucumber and white balsamic pesto

I think my favourite item was the chicken liver pate.  Lots of flavour, and paired nice with a glass of prosecco.  All of the ingredients, I was told, are local and organic by Executive Chef Renaldo Decembrini.

Wine and Other Drinks

The wine list has a range of wines from around the world, but BC wines were missing.  It would be nice to add in one white and one red in the list.  The food and wine list were designed to be complementary and they have some selections with food and wine pairings on a chalk board beside the long table in the back of TASTE.

On the white wine side, you can enjoy a glass of Marisco the Ned Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, full of herbal character, and have with a salad.  The Canti Prosecco as I mentioned to go with the chicken liver pate. Try the Fritz Riesling or the Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc with the charcuterie.

There are 2 Argentinean Malbecs to choose; Pascual Toso  and Dona Paula. I did have a sip of the Marques de la Mancha Tempranillo, very full bodied, lots of dark fruit and very smooth and silky. Definitely would pair nicely with the charcuterie or their house smoked beef tenderloin.

In addition, there are some BC/Canadian beers on tap.  They also invented some cocktails that are meant to pair with their share plates.  I did not have a chance to try these, but maybe on my next visit.

I wish TASTE Resto-Lounge the best of luck in their launch.

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

salad of roma tomatoes Bocconcini and cucumber

Salad of roma tomatoes, Bocconcini, and cucumber

TASTE chalk board recommendations

TASTE chalk board recommendations

MyWinePal Picks from the California Wine Fair 2011 Canadian Tour

I look forward each year for the California Wine Fair to come through Vancouver. There was almost 120 wineries in attendance this year. Too many to try and taste at one time. But I hope I have a few gems for you.

California wines are big in the USA market. From a recent Decanter article, they noted “Wines from California accounted for 61% of overall US market volumes at nearly 200m cases, up 1%, with retail value estimated at US$18.5bn.http://bit.ly/ieHzkC.  That is a staggering amount to me.

In BC, California wines are well-regarded, but maybe only known for their Napa Cabs and oaked chardonnays. But there is more to California wines than just that. Try a Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Here are a few of my California Wine Fair highlights:

Sparkling Wine

  • Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2007. This wine is made from 100% chardonnay.  It had a light nutty nose.  High acid with small bubble.  Red delicious apple and citrus flavours.

White Wine

  • Ferrari-Carano Winery Fume Blanc 2009. This is possibly my favorite wine of the fair. Fume blanc is an oaked sauvignon blanc. This wine is pale lemon in colour with a greenish tint. Lots of herbal, gooseberry and grassy aromas. Round mouthfeel with herbal and green pepper flavours. A long length. A white wine to savour.
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2009. This wine is tied with the Ferrari-Carano for my favorite wine of the fair.  Pale lemon in colour with a green tinge. Vanilla and lemon aromas. Cinnamon, apple, lemon and vanilla flavours.  Have a wow moment when you sip this wine.

Red Wine

  • Alexander Valley Vineyards Redemption Zin, 2007. Medium garnet in colour with a nice raspberry nose. Very fruity and jammy. Primarily raspberry flavours, with a bit of cherry and spice. Medium tannins and is drinking nicely now.
  • Bennett Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. 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. Light garnet in colour. Smoky raspberry nose. Medium body with raspberry and cassis flavours, with vanilla and spice on the finish. An elegant wine.
  • Clos du Val Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Light garnet colour in the glass. Light nose with capsicum and cassis. Medium body with cassis and raspberry flavours. Round mouthfeel with medium tannins. Another elegant wine!
  • Eberle Winery Syrah 2008. Medium garnet. Meaty, ripe red fruit, and herbal notes on the nose. Raspberry, blueberry and vanilla flavours. Medium body with dry tannins in the background.
  • Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2007.  Light garnet in colour with a light jammy nose.  Raspberry flavour with firm tannins and a medium body.  Some spice on the finish.
  • Hahn Family Wines Pinot Noir 2009.  Light garnet in colour.  Strawberry aromas on the nose.  Light body, with tea leaves and strawberry flavours.   Low tannins.
  • Mettler Family Vineyard Zinfandel 2008.  This is a relatively new winery although this family has been growing grapes for many years.  This is the 3rd vintage for this winery.  This zin was opaque purple in colour.  BBQ briquettes, woody and meaty nose.  Very round mouthfeel. Dark ripe fruit, cigar and vanilla flavours with some spice on the finish.
  • Perry Creek Vineyards Altitude:2401 Barbera 2009. Barbera is an Italian grape variety that is best known as Barbera d’Asti in the Piedmont region.  This California version was light garnet in colour.  Smoky, chocolate, and raspberry on the nose. Medium body with smoky raspberry flavours.  Low tannins.  This was one of my surprise favorites of the wine fair.
  • St. Clement Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.  Deep garnet in colour.  Light cherry / plum on the nose.  Medium body and medium tannins.  Flavours of apples, plums, cherries and vanilla.
  • Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.  Nice juicy raspberry fruit nose with a hint of capsicum.  Juicy flavours of cassis and raspberries.  Some vanilla too.  Fine tannins.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy some California wine this weekend.