Join Bistro Pastis with their Alsatian Menu in June

Colmar in Alsace (Image courtesy Wikicommons Tizianok)

Colmar in Alsace (Image courtesy Wikicommons Tizianok)

Alsace is a wonderful region in northeastern France.  The confluence of German and French wine and cuisine.  Beautiful gingerbread-style houses.  I’ve been there once and would love to go again.  But in case you are like me, longing to visit, or have yet to visit, you can experience the cuisine of Alsace at Bistro Pastis till the end of June.  Here is their special menu for me and you.

Alsace Feature Menu

June 8th to 30th, 2017

Appetizers:

alsatian onion tarte
shaved spring vegetables, crème fraiche
$16

beef consommé
alsatian dumplings, brunoise mire poix
$12

smoked sturgeon carpaccio
fingerling potato salad, remoulade
$16

Mains

perch a la sauvigny
pan seared perch in cream sauce, buttered egg noodles, glazed asparagus
$30

choucroute garni
braised pork belly, house made sausage,
sauerkraut, potatoes

$29

beer braised duck leg
Roasted apples, pomme sardelaise, green beans
$29

Desserts

rhum baba
caramel sauce, “the kraken” rum raisin ice cream
$10

citrus madeleine
candied citrus zest
$9.50

 

Although there are no wine pairings shown, classic Alsatian wines are made from Pinot Noir, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

You can make a reservation to Bistro Pastis on OpenTable at this link.

A Gastronomical Journey Through the “Garden of France” with Insight Vacations

Do you love French food and have time to go on a foodie journey in the Loire Valley this fall?  If so, you may want to consider signing up for this guided trip.  I came across it and it looks fabulous.  I’ve toured the Loire Valley on my own before, and loved the food and wine.  I’d love to take this trip myself.

~~~

TORONTO – May 28, 2015 – Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com), the leader in premium and luxury escorted journeys, has introduced The Loire Valley (www.insightvacations.com/ca/special-offers/expert-hosted-collection/the-loire-valley) – a limited one-time departure that leads guests on a 13-day magical journey of food, wine and history through the villages and vineyards of the famed region. Designed to satisfy even the most discerning of food connoisseurs, The Loire Valley has been curated by Barbara Barde, an Insight Vacations Tour Director, and private certified sommelier Tom LeRoy.

Loire Valley tour

Loire Valley tour

“We are excited to launch our newest special interest trip in our Expert Hosted Collection, catered specifically to foodies and wine aficionados,” said Cris David, president, Insight Vacations Canada. “Insight Vacations is renowned for creating lasting experiences and memories with our guests, and with the help of Barbara Barde and Tom LeRoy, The Loire Valley culinary odyssey will offer our travellers an experience their palates will not soon forget.”

Departing September 26, 2015, this exclusive gastronomical adventure begins in Paris, one of the great culinary capitals of the world. Synonymous with wine production dating back to the 1st century, the region offers guests an incomparable cultural landscape of great beauty comprised of ancient towns and family owned vineyards. Guests will eat and drink their way through the “Garden of France”, all the while experiencing the Loire Valley through the eyes of a true gastronome with the help of local experts.

Each Insight Vacations escorted journey offers unique Signature Experiences where guests discover more than just the highlights other travel experiences provide. Travellers are introduced to local guides who immerse them in regional culture and unlock doors for them they simply cannot arrange on their own. Signature Experiences found on The Loire Valley include the following:

– Visit to the Maison Louis de Grenelle, the last remaining family-owned property of the major Saumur sparkling producers, where guests will learn the art of sustainable viticulture while 12 metres beneath the cobblestone streets of this historic town.

– Discover the fascinating secret world of mushrooms at the Musée du Champignon in the village of St. Hilaure, touring the underground cave exhibiting the many cultivation methods of the species indigenous to the region.

– Dine at the Cathédrales de la Saulaie, a 19th century subterranean restaurant located in a cathedral-sized Troglodyte cave specializing in local Pays de la Loire dishes.way to Chinon, learn the art of perfecting the balance of tradition and modernity in wine-making at the family-owned Frederic Mobileau Vigneron winery, known for offering multi-faceted wines from the Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou appellations, whilst visiting the 2,000 hectares of the Couly-Duthier winery.

– At Sancerre, guests will sample the stunning varietals of this region long revered for specializing in 100 per cent Sauvignon Blanc wines while sampling sumptuous goat cheese at Chèveries de Chamons.

“Food and wine have long been passions of mine and I am proud to be personally hosting The Loire Valley. I have handpicked each experience to reflect my love of French gastronomy and look forward to welcoming guests to the ‘Garden of France’,” says Barbara Barde, Insight Vacations Tour Director.

Click on the following link to watch Barbara Barde explaining the Loire Valley itinerary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0O2E54xk0g

“It is an honour to be hosting with Barbara on this trip,” adds Tom LeRoy, wine sommelier. “I can think of no better way to share my passion for wine than to be the personal sommelier to guests on this special curated experience.”

To book this escorted journey or for more information, please visit www.insightvacations.com, contact Insight’s Sale Centre at 1-800-387-8490 or speak with your local travel agent.

About Barbara Barde

Barbara is an award winning television producer, with over 600 titles to her credit. She began appreciating and collecting wine almost 20 years ago and is known for her impressive cellar. She is also a “foodie”, always on the lookout for an amazing recipe, new ingredients, or a restaurant that no one has heard of. Barbara is also a passionate traveler and has spent the last several summers leading tours with Insight Vacations and other companies. She will be the Tour Director.

About Tom LeRoy

Wine Sommelier Tom LeRoy is a criminal lawyer in Toronto who began collecting and appreciating wine fifteen years ago. A true aficionado of wine, he has recently obtained a wine specialist certificate from George Brown College and was also certified as a Wine Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Tom is also a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.

About Insight Vacations

For more than 35 years, Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com) has been designing the world’s finest escorted travel itineraries. Insight offers 113 journeys to more countries across Europe than any other operator and provides the same legendary service across North America, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Morocco, Egypt and Israel.

Insight guests enjoy The Art of Touring in Style with business-class legroom aboard customized luxury coaches, intimate groups of just 40 travellers and the services of an experienced Tour Director who acts as ‘travelling concierge.’ Each expertly planned itinerary includes a range of Signature Events for a unique and authentic look into the history and culture of each destination. Throughout their trip, guests will stay in handpicked hotels that are centrally or scenically located and have the perfect balance of guided and independent exploration.

For more information, visit us at http://www.insightvacations.com, on social media at http://www.facebook.com/InsightVacations, http://twitter.com/InsightVacation, and join the conversation using the hashtag #InsightMoments.

About TreadRight

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit working to ensure the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has supported more than 35 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. The Foundation’s guiding principle is to encourage sustainable tourism development through conservation, leadership and support for communities. Foundation priorities are set by the Steering Committee, which includes sustainability leaders like Céline Cousteau and Costas Christ.

TreadRight’s past project partners include WWF, Conservation International and The National Trust in the UK. Current initiatives include sponsoring the National Geographic Society’s inaugural “World Legacy Awards,” and inspiring wildlife advocates like Terri Irwin.

To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, please visit us at treadright.org.

 

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!

~~~

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.

Happy Hour and Two Year Anniversary Specials at Le Parisien

Le Parisien LogoQuality French food from Le Parisien in downtown Vancouver’s West End.  Their latest 2nd Anniversary menu and specials.  Enjoy!

~~~

Le Parisien’s 2nd Anniversary celebration continues with $20-or-less dinner entrees and our ongoing Live Music Thursdays. We’ve also introduced Happy Hour. Between 5PM and 7PM, beer, high balls and appies are 50% off; glasses of house wine only $4. There’s no better way to end the workday or start the evening.

Fresh local ingredients, the sounds of French and gypsy-folk music, the aromas of classic French cuisine; it’ll be easy to imagine that you’re on the Left Bank of Paris.

Reservations recommended: 604-687-1418 / www.opentable.com/le-parisien-vancouver

Regular menu mains are $20 or less
Live music Thursdays at 6:30PM and 8:30PM
30% off our wine list on Sundays and Mondays

Regular Menu Mains

HOUSE MADE GNOCCHI $15
Arugula, Parmesan, Hazelnuts Brown Butter Sauce

BOUILLABAISSE $19
Mussels, Manila Clams, Prawns, Pacific Cod, Braised Fennel, Saffron Tomato Broth

CATCH OF THE DAY $19 (try with a rose wine)
Ratatouille, Fingerling Potato, Arugula, Olive Niçoise

ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN $18 (rose works here too)
House made Spaetzle, Dates, Mint and Orange Jus

BEEF BOURGUIGNON $18 (try with a Pinot noir)
Red Wine Braised Beef, Bacon, Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Cavatappi Pasta

DUCK CONFIT CASSOULET $19   (I love cassoulet!)
Duck Confit, Smoked Bacon, Toulouse Sausage, Braised Cannellini Beans

GRILLED HANGER STEAK $20
Pomme Frites, Peppercorn and Cognac Sauce

Le Parisien
751 Denman St. Vancouver, BC V6G 2L6 | Tel: (604) 687.1418
www.leparisien.ca

Spot Prawns are spot on at Provence

Spot Prawn Season is on.  Need I say more?  Check out this menu from Provence Marinaside and Provence Mediterranean Grill in Vancouver.

~~~

 

Spot prawn

Spot prawn

(Vancouver, BC) – May is a favourite month with Vancouverites – not just because it has finally stopped raining and the city is awash in spring blossoms – no, it’s because May marks the beginning of Spot Prawn Season. Spot Prawn season officially opens this year on Saturday, May 10th. For six weeks, Lower Mainlanders revel in the juicy sweetness of these local ‘gems of the sea.’  Whether you prefer yours steamed or grilled or poached, everyone can agree there is nothing more heavenly than enjoying spot prawns accompanied by a glass of cool, crisp wine.

Spot Prawns are a succulent, sustainable and local product of our oceans. It is a sustainable fishery endorsed by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Ocean Wise Program – but more than being environmentally correct, spot prawns are delicious. “Simply prepared there is nothing sweeter and tastier than a spot prawn,” says Jean-Francis Quaglia, owner and executive chef at Provence Restaurants.

Both Provence locations – Mediterranean Grill (P1) in Point Grey and Marinaside (P2) in Yaletown, will be featuring special three-course Spot Prawn Menus for the duration of the season which usually goes to the end of June. Each restaurant’s menu, while shining the spotlight on the spot prawn, is completely different and priced differently.

Provence Mediterranean Grill’s Menu is priced at $48 and starts with a choice of Steamed Whole BC Spot Prawns or Chilled BC Spot Prawn Salad or Spot Prawn Velouté. For mains there are two choices – Flambéed Spot Prawn Duo (with your choice of halibut or beef tenderloin) or Pearl Couscous Risotto with Spot Prawns and Dungeness Crab. Dessert is a choice from the menu – perhaps a slice of their famed Clafoutis? Full menu details here.

Provence Marinaside’s Menu includes an optional wine pairing selected by sommelier Rachelle Goudreau.  The Menu price is listed as ‘at Market’ which means it should average in the $50 range with the wine pairing available for an additional $20.  At Marinaside diners start with a choice of Merguez Sausage with Mixed Greens or Bocconcini and Tomato with Mixed Greens or Yellow Tomato Gazpacho (wine: Montelvini Prosecco, Italy). For mains, Marinaside offers a choice of Spot Prawn Duo – Grilled and Provençal Style (wine: Birlocho 2011 Verdejo+Sauvignon Blanc  Rueda, Spain) or Lois Lake Steelhead and BC Spot Prawns (wine: Bartier Bros. 2012 Semillon Okanagan, BC) or Halibut and BC Spot Prawns (wine: Le Vieux Pin 2012 Rosé  Okanagan, BC).  Dessert is a choice from the restaurant’s regular menu. Its signature Lemon Tarte would make a lovely finish accompanied by a glass of the suggested wine – Unsworth Ovation Vancouver Island, BC. Full menu details here.

With special menus, such as Spot Prawn Season, or the Tomato Festival later in the summer, the two locations engage in a little friendly rivalry over who creates the best menu. Check out Provence’s Spot Prawn Video from 2012, try both menus and “you be the judge.” After all, with such a short season, you can never have too many spot prawns.

Bistro Pastis Celebrates 15 Years of French Fare With French Flare

In case you are up for some French food and support a great cause, why not try Bistro Pastis‘ 15th Anniversary Dinner menu?  Press Release below.

~~~

Bistro Pastis

Bistro Pastis

(Vancouver, BC) – Fifteen years goes by in the blink of an eye, yet it is a long time in the restaurant world.  On May 7, 1999 John Blakeley opened Pastis on a quiet strip of West 4th in Kitsilano. The only other restaurant in the area was the iconic Bishop’s.  During the intervening years, Bistro Pastis has seen a lot of change – both within the restaurant itself and in the neighbourhood.  Pastis morphed from fine-dining to Bistro Pastis – a cosy and casual neighbourhood bistro, John Blakeley was knighted by the government of France and is now a Chevalier, and a vibrant restaurant scene sprung up along W.4th Avenue – attracting diners from across the city. During the 15 years, some of Vancouver’s finest chefs have headed the kitchens at Bistro Pastis – Dino Renaerts, Brad Miller and Tobias Grignon are all Pastis alumni.

To celebrate, John Blakeley has invited the aforementioned chefs along with current Executive Chef  Spencer Watts and Pastry Chef Heather Rumsby to join him in creating a very special anniversary dinner on May 7th.  Starting with Cocktails and Canapes at 5:30 p.m., guests will then sit down to a six-course dinner complete with wine pairings – each course designed by one of the five Bistro Pastis chefs plus a course designed by Mr. Blakeley. Mr. Blakeley also created the wine pairings to complement each course. Bistro Pastis wishes to thank the following wine agents, food distributors and suppliers for their generous support of this event: A & B Rentals, Charton Hobbs, Continental Importers, Fresh Point, Grady Wines, Liberty Wines, Mark Anthony Wines, Ponderosa Mushrooms, Select Wines, Seven Seas, and Trimpac.

This very special dinner is priced at $160 pp including wine pairing, taxes and gratuity with proceeds going to benefit the BC Hospitality Foundation. Tickets are essential and can be made by calling the restaurant at 604-731-5020.

For those of you who cannot join the restaurant on May 7th for its birthday dinner, Bistro Pastis is offering diners a special gift. From May 8th through June 8th, Bistro Pastis is giving a 25 per cent discount off the price of dinner (food and wine). “It’s my way of thanking our guests for their patronage over the years. Bistro Pastis really has become a family where staff and customers have come to know one another. To have thrived 15 years in Vancouver’s restaurant scene is a testament to the loyalty of our guests. It is a privilege to be able to thank them,” says John Blakeley.

15th ANNIVERSARY DINNER MENU – May 7, 2014

Cocktail and Canapes
***
Brad Miller, 2002 – 2008
Terrine de Campagne Wagon Rouge,
Pickled Vegetables, Celeri Remoulade
Rosé Domaine l’Orangeraie Pays d’Oc
***
John Blakeley, May 7th 1999 – present
Ma Surprise
Côtes du Rhône White Ogier
***
Tobias Grignon 2011 – 2013
Seared Scallops, Boudin Noir, Cabbage Roll,
Apple Chutney, Pickled Fennel
Petit Chablis ‘Champs Royaux’  William Fevre
***
Dino Renaerts 2001
Pan Roasted Haida Gwaii Halibut, Spring Pea Risotto,
Morel Mushrooms, Bacon Crisp, Lemon Beurre Blanc
Pinot Noir Valmoissine Louis Latour
***
Spencer Watts 2014
Butter Poached Suckling Pig Rack,
Black Truffle Potato Cake, Cherry Brown Butter
Vacqueyras Domaine Perrin  
***
Heather  Rumsby 2011 – 2014
Chocolate Soufflé, Tangerine Crème Anglaise
Pineau des Charentes

My Favourite Wine Writing Words

Do you ever wonder what words you like to use the most when you are talking about wine, or some other topic that is important to you? I do. So I decided to try 3 different “Word Cloud Generator” tools on the web to scour through my mywinepal.com website blog entries and find out which words are my most popular. I decided to try more than one tool to see if the tools come up with the same words or are completely different.

The results of the 3 Word Cloud Generators and their graphics are below.  I left the word clouds in the format produced by the tools rather than try to make the clouds all look the same in shape and text orientation so that you get a better idea of what is produced.  Just in case you have never seen a word cloud before, the more frequently a word is used in a blog, document, etc, the larger it appears in the word cloud.

My Word Clouds

Wordle was the first tool that I ever heard about for creating word clouds.  From my experience, I think it does a very good job of finding favourite words.

MyWinePal Wordle

MyWinePal – Wordle

Tagxedo also seems to do a good job.  Do you notice any similar words to my Wordle word cloud?  One thing I notice showing up is Pinterest and Facebook, which are “Like” buttons on my blog, so maybe this algorithm is reading more than just the blog articles.

MyWinePal Tagxedo

MyWinePal – Tagxedo

Word it Out was the last of the three tools.  I think this word cloud is much more similar to Wordle, but the presentation, as-is, is not too stunning.

MyWinePal Word it Out

MyWinePal – Word it Out

Between the 3 word clouds, I think my favourite words are:

  • wine
  • Vancouver
  • Pinot
  • fruit
  • Syrah
  • Chardonnay
  • France

An interesting experiment that may also give you some insight into what I like to talk about, or wines that I enjoy.  You may want to try this with other blogs, or with MyWinePal.com in the future, as theoretically each new article I post can potentially change the word cloud!

Le Parisien Celebrates Second Anniversary with Food, Wine and Song

Have you had the chance to enjoy the French food at Le Parisien in the West End downtown?  If not, their 2nd anniversary is upcoming, and they will be offering a special dinner menu.  Details are below.  Enjoy!

~~~

Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter

Celebrate our second anniversary with us from Friday, April 11through May 15. For the past two years, we are proud to have been welcomed so warmly into the West End community and we are always excited to get to know new people. So whether you’re a regular customer, or you’ve just been meaning to check us out, join us this Friday and be the first to try our new dinner menu featuring all main courses for $20 or less.

We’re also excited to present our new Spring Wine and Dine Menu value-priced at only $69 for two. Enjoy three courses of French bistro favourites: Charcuterie, Roasted Free-run Cornish Hen with Frites and a Dessert of your choice. All complete with a bottle of house red or white from Calona Vineyards , $69. For the Wine and Dine Menu Executive Chef Alexander Carriere has carefully selected local seasonal ingredients to feature in classic dishes from his favourite bistros in Paris.

Cornish Hen & frites

Cornish Hen & frites

What else is new at Le Parisien?  We pleased to present Live Music every Thursday night. We’ll be showcasing new local artists with music styles ranging from jazz through folk and more Next week, on April 17, we’ll be featuring  Pepper Really, a French vocalist who will be performing some original songs plus covers of popular French tunes. There are two sets a night at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

So come join us through mid-May as we celebrate our second anniversary with great food, wonderful wine and entertaining music. It can’t get more French than that!

Vancouver International Wine Fest Announces Theme Country for 2015

Vancvouer International Wine Festival 2015

Vancvouer International Wine Festival 2015

With the wrap up of the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2014, with the Theme Country of France and the Global Focus of “bubbles“, we now cast our eyes forward to 2015.  Which will be the Theme Country and what will be the Global Focus?  Read on and find out!

~~~

Vancouver, BC, March 7, 2014 — The Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, wrapped up its 36th extravaganza of wine and food on Sunday and bid a fond au revoir to France and Bubbly, its 2014 theme country and global focus respectively. Although statistics are yet to be compiled, it appears that 2014 was a banner year. The festival is a fundraiser for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

Wine AustraliaIt was announced at the Saturday evening International Festival Tasting on March 1 that Australia will be the theme country in 2015 and the global focus will be Syrah. To underscore the announcement, an “Australia Theme County 2015” banner with flag was hoisted to the ceiling, and a didgeridoo player led Australian winemakers on a parade of the tasting room, ending with an impromptu chorus of the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair.”

“Like crafting an iconic fine wine, we continue to tweak all aspects of Canada’s premier wine show, as we have since 1979.” says Harry Hertscheg, VIWF Executive Director. “We’re particularly glad to finally host the wine world at the same time each year, now the last week of February. This year’s festival, featuring France and Bubbly, was magnifique; VIWF 2015 will be Oz-some!”

Ranging from maritime to Mediterranean to continental climates, Australia boasts over 64 designated wine regions including Coonawarra, Yarra Valley, Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale and many others.

“There’s been an exciting evolution over the past decade in Australian wine; diverse wine styles, emerging regions and sub-regions, next generation winemakers and a re-energized approach to market. We look forward to showing this to festivalgoers at VIWF in 2015,” says Angela Slade, Wine Australia Regional Director – North America.

In 2015, the global focus is on Syrah. One of the top 10 most grown grapes, Syrah can be found throughout the wine world, from the Rhône Valley to the Barossa Valley to the Okanagan Valley. Syrah rose to prominence through the classic northern Rhône Valley wines, Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. In Australia, where the grape was introduced in 1832 and is commonly called Shiraz, Syrah is popular as a varietal, a sparkling wine, in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, or even co-fermented with some Viognier. The southern Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (GSM) is widely produced in South Australia and California’s Central Coast, as well as in Rosé production.

The 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place February 23 to March 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues throughout the city. Advance tickets and passes go on sale on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. All public events go on sale Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Tickets to Trade Days events go on sale Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL, PRESENTED BY THE VANCOUVER SUN
Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 37th anniversary of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 23 to March 1, 2015. Next year the festival will feature Australia as the theme country and Syrah as the global focus. In 2014, it featured 177 wineries from 14 countries pouring 1,750 wines at 54 events to a projected 23,000 admissions. The Vancouver International Wine Festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $8.1 million for the performing arts. The presenting sponsor is The Vancouver Sun.

For more information visit VanWineFest.ca, like us on Facebook, follow us at @VanWineFest, or join the conversation at #VIWF.

ABOUT BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its 25th season in 2014, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. The Festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and several special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2013, festival attendance was 89,000 and over 1.3 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. The Festival’s 2014 dates are June 11 to September 20. The 2014 line-up features A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Cymbeline and Bill Cain’s Equivocation.

Fabulous Food Sunny Wines and Jazzy Music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Mediterranean Mingle food and wine

Mediterranean Mingle food and wine

The Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France is known for it’s sunny climate, seafood and relaxed lifestyle.  The Mediterranean Mingle let us all relax a bit after many days of wine tasting during the Vancouver International Wine Festival.  For lunch we had a wide array of hot and cold appetizers, along with desserts:

  • Fresh Asparagus Salad, Tarragon Mimosa Foam
  • Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Pepper, Chevre, and Pine Nuts
  • Tapenade Croque-Monsieur
  • Tourte a la Brandade
  • Mediterranean Mussel Brasucade au Noilly Prat
  • Saucisse de Toulouse, White Bean Stew
  • Aigo-Boulido “Sip” Poached Quail Egg
  • Ratatouille Languedocienne, Rosemary Bread
  • Beef Boules de Picolat, Picholine Olives and Cepes
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli, Duck Confit, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame
  • Roasted Cod on Fennel, Yellow Potatoes, Black Olives
  • Lemon Almond Creme Catalane
  • Walnut Orange Cake, Yoghurt Wildflower Honey “Pot de Creme”
  • Wedge of Canadian Oka Cheese, Fig and Olive Crisps

To pair up with these dishes we had wines from 11 different wineries:

  • Domaine Paul Mas
  • Gerard Bertrand
  • M. Chapoutier – Domaine Bila Haut
  • Sieur d’Arques
  • Chateau d’Angles
  • Chateau de Jau
  • Francois Lurton – Mas Janeil
  • Francois Lurton
  • Abbaye Sylva Plana
  • Les Vignobles de Constance & du Terrassous
  • Domaine de Babio

One thing I enjoyed about this event was the booklet provided to us contained a page for each wine and the suggested food pairing.  So for example, you may sample a Cremant from Domaine Paul Mas, and try to pairings of Fresh Asparagus Salad or the Tourte a la Brandade.

For sparkling wines, I thought the Gerard Bretrand Cremant de Limoux 2011 was a fun wine to drink.   Dry, high acidity, citrus flavour with small, creamy bubble.  This bubble paired nicely with the Fresh Asparagus Salad.

Domaine Bila Haut Les Vignes de Bila Haut White 2012

Domaine Bila Haut Les Vignes de Bila Haut White 2012

A couple of white wines that I enjoyed:

  • M. Chapoutier – Domaine Bila Haut, Les Vignes de Bila Haut, White, 2012. This is a blend of of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeu.  Medium stone fruit nose.  Round with bright acidity.  Ripe melon and citrus, with a hint of sweet spice and some minerality.  Overall I would say that this wine would be very versatile when pairing with different dishes. (Pair with the Tourte a la Brandade.)
  • Chateau d’Angles, Languedoc La Clape, Grand Vin, White, 2009. Another blend; this time of Bourboulenc (40%), Grenache (20%), Roussanne (20%), and Marsanne (20%).  Sea salt, and ripe tropical fruit nose.  Medium plus body, medium mouth feel.  Soft and round, and very flavourful.  Ripe tropical fruit with a bit of spice on the finish. (Pair with the Roasted Cod on Fennel, Yellow Potatoes, Black Olives.)

A few red wines that caught my attention:

  • Francois Lurton, Fitou, Chateau des Erles, Red, 2004. This blend consists of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.  Ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Violet flowers followed by ripe dark fruit and candied cherries.  Full body and dry on the palate. (Pair with the Beef Boules de Picolat, Picholine Olives and Cepes.)
  • Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l’Abbe, Red, 2011. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut or Carignan (I’m not sure for this vintage) make this red blend.  Nice aromas of ripe raspberries, cassis, and dark fruit.  Full body, round with medium tannins and acidity.  Nutmeg, minerality and dark cherry flavours.  Very much a New World, fruit forward style wine. (Pair with the Butternut Squash Ravioli, Duck Confit, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame.)
Les Vignobles de Constance du Terrassous Rivesaltes Ambre Terrassous heritage 1974

Les Vignobles de Constance du Terrassous Rivesaltes Ambre Terrassous heritage 1974

And of course for dessert, I enjoyed:

  • Chateau de Jau, Muscat de Rivesaltes, 2011. Orangy nose, big legs.  Medium minus body, and medium acidity.  Orange, leads to apples and sweet spice on the palate, together with a hint of pine needles, and ends with stone fruit. (Pair with the Lemon Almond Creme Catalane.)
  • Les Vignobles de Constance & du Terrassous, Rivesaltes Ambre, Terrassous heritage 1974.  As the name connotes, it is amber colour in the glass. Nice butterscotch and orange aromas in the glass.  Full body, round with higher acidity that clears up the palate.  Marmalade, nuttiness, honey and butterscotch flavours.  Long length. (Pair with the Walnut Orange Cake, Yoghurt Wildflower Honey “Pot de Creme”.)

Enjoy the pictures below of the event and think about trying the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon.  There was also a live jazz band playing fantastic music, but I did not get their name.  You can hear and see a snippet of this band if you check my VINE video.

Live music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Live music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l'Abbe, Red, 2011

Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l’Abbe, Red, 2011

Saucisse de Toulouse with White Bean Stew

Saucisse de Toulouse with White Bean Stew

Chateau des Erles Fitou 2004

Chateau des Erles Fitou 2004

Lemon Almond Creme Catalane

Lemon Almond Creme Catalane