Beaujolais Nouveau Dinner at Left Bank Restaurant!

Joseph DrouhinHave you heard of Beaujolais Nouveau? It is the young, fermented Gamay Noir grape from the Beaujolais region of France.  The French use a method called “Carbonic Maceration“, or whole grape fermentation, in a carbon dioxide rich environment, that causes the wine to be very fruity and low in tannins.  The wine is ready to drink young, and not meant to be kept in the cellar for long-term aging.  Left Bank Restaurant in the West End downtown is celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau with a special dinner, serving Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau.  Details below.


Left Bank RestaurantLeft Bank Restaurant invites you to their annual Beaujolais Nouveau event on Thursday, November 20.  Expect a deliciously paired three-course menu for only $65 per person including the Beaujolais. Make reservations today as this event will sell out 604-687-1418.


Chicken liver and foie gras parfait

Petit greens, roasted chipolini onions, caramelized strawberries, brioche


Free range chicken duo

Braised coq au vin

Stuffed chicken breast, potato confit, mushrooms duxelle, red wine jus


Beaujolais poached pear

Espresso ice cream

Beaujolais Served

Maison Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau

A Few BC Day Wine Picks

BC flag

Our long weekend has started here in BC. And it is also sunny. I’m sure you will want to go outside for a picnic, maybe a BBQ in your backyard patio with family and friends. But maybe you need a few BC wines to get the party going. How about some of these?

Some BC Wines

Haywire Gamay Noir Rose

Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2010 ($23). Light salmon colour. Strawberry and cherry aromas. High acidity with strawberries, raspberries and cherry flavours.  Very refreshing. We don’t come across a Gamay Noir rose, so this was nice.  Gamay, like Pinot Noir is naturally a low tannin wine, with red fruit / summer fruit flavours.  This is a very nice wine for the summer.  Try with some crab or lobster.

Township 7 Viognier 2008. This wine 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.

Church & State Wines Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay is medium lemon colour. Nice apricot nose. Vanilla, sweet spice, pineapple and apricot flavours, with a bit of spice. Lots of flavours coming out the glass the more you swirled it around in your mouth.

Blasted Church Mixed Blessings 2010 ($17.99). This is the third vintage of this wine, and each vintage is made of a unique blend of white grapes. This vintage was made with Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  Nice aromatic nose. Green and stone fruits.  Off dry with a slight green, herbal flavour.  Light body with medium acidity and light spice to finish. Nice.

Poplar Grove Legacy

Poplar Grove Winery Legacy 2006. Legacy is a Bordeaux blend consisting of 70% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 24% Cabernet Franc. Opaque garnet in colour.  Leather and cherry aromas. Full body with ripe black cherries and vanilla.  Medium tannins with a long length.

Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2007. Opaque purple 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. Pale garnet in colour. Beautiful violets and strawberry aromas. Soft, light bodied, with vanilla, strawberries and ripe cherries on the palate.  Highly recommended.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Have You Tried Volcanic Hills Wines?

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery in West Kelowna is one of the newer wineries in the BC scene. I visited them last summer, as they had recently opened. This past week, Volcanic Hills wines came to Vancouver, so I have had the good fortune of trying their wines again.

If you have not heard of Volcanic Hills Estate Winery it was formed by the Gidda family, who were partners with the Mt. Boucherie Winery.  Teaming up with long time Okanagan winemaker, Elias Phiniotis, in 2009  the Gidda family is aiming to craft complex wines that will excite your taste buds.

I was able to sample 4 of their wines this past week.  A Gewurztraminer, a Chardonnay icewine, a Gamay Noir, and a red blend they call “Magma“.  Here’s my tasting notes on these 4 wines:

  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2009 ($17.90).  This is a very pretty wine.  Medium golden in colour.  Lots of fruity aromas from this wine!  Lychee, honeysuckle, apple and spice on the  nose.  Medium body with good acidity and long length. On the palate there was lime peel, lemon, and almond flavours.   A really nice wine. Highly recommended.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Chardonnay Icewine 2009 ($49.90).  Deep lemon colour in the glass.  Very aromatic bouquet of honey, caramel and orange.  Medium plus in body, sweet with marmalade, orange, honey, and apricot flavours.  A bit of nuttiness on the finish.  The wine has very round mouthfeel and a good amount of acidity to balance out the sugar.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2009 ($12.90).  An unbelievable price for a single varietal wine from the Okanagan. This is a nice light bodied wine that you can serve slightly chilled.  The wine was pale cherry in colour.  Restrained aromas of red cherry and red currants, and a hint of smoke. On the palate there was violets, roses, cherries, black pepper and a bit of spice.  Refreshing acidity and quite a long finish.  Maybe try this in place of a pinot noir when you are serving duck breast or grilled lamb chops.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Magma Red Blend ($14.90). There are at least 3 red grape varieties to this blend.  On the label the grapes are listed as Foch 50%, Pressed Reds 30%, and Michurinetz 20%.  I am guessing Pressed Reds could have come from a vineyard that had a field blend, so they are not sure how many, and which varieties are there.  This is a fuller bodied wine than the Gamay.  Medium purple in colour.  Aromas of strawberry, currant and also a bit of smokiness.  Quite high acidity on the palate.  Flavours of strawberry, raspberry, red currant and cherry.  Low tannins with a spicy finish.

If you are planning on doing an Okanagan wine tour this summer, think about visiting Volcanic Hills. Enjoy!

Blue Mountain Winery at Salt Tasting Room

On Monday evening I had the good fortune of being invited to a Blue Mountain Winery tasting at one of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants, Salt Tasting Room, in Gastown. Blue Mountain winery is located in Okanagan Falls and was established in 1991. It’s a family run business and it shows with the care they show with their wines. They are an Estate Winery which means all the grapes they use for their wines come from their vineyard (which they have 80 acres under vines, but only 60 acres producing grapes at the moment).

For those of you who have not been to Salt Tasting Room, they offer a range of cheeses and charcuterie and condiments to their guests. They have a wide range of wines to pair with these food, along with some beers.

This evening we were treated to three white and three red wines, paired with cheeses and charcuterie. The three white wines were the:
– Blue Mountain Brut (a sparkling wine made in the traditional champenoise style)
– Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2008
– Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2007

The Brut is a blend of 47% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay, and 6% Pinot Gris. Pale yellow in colour with a slight bubble around the edge of the glass. Light citrus, slightly sweet and a bit of lees on the nose. The bubble was quite fine, and had lemony, lees, and almond flavour. Quite nice. To this I enjoyed the Schinkenspeck sausage slices from Oyama the Savoury Moon cheese from BC and the Isle of Mull Cheddar from the UK.

The Pinot Blanc is whole cluster pressed and fermented in barrel (47%) and the remainder in tank. This wine had peach and lemon aroma (i was expecting apple, but i love suprises). There was a slight bit of effervesence, lemon and mineral flavours. Another enjoyable wine.

The final white, the Pinot Gris, is similarly fermented as the Pinot Blanc. The result is a wine with light aromas of stone fruit. A round mouthfeel with cherry and stone fruit flavours. Again something I was not expecting was the cherry flavour. Interesting.

For the red wines we were treated to the:
– Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2008
– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 2006

– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 1997

The Gamay Noir was deep violet/purple in the glass. Very aromatic with dark cherry and cassis? aromas. On the palate it was peppery, black cherry and licorice with low tannins. It was nice with the Mike Vitow’s Corned Beef.

The Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, is a soft pinot noir. Light cherry and violet aromas and flavours. A bit astringent. It went nicely with the Avonlea Cheddar from PEI and the Piccantino and the Lamb Salamis from Oyama.

Our last wine of the night (and my favourite) was the Reserve Pinot Noir 1997. This wine had depth of character and was very defined in it’s flavours, like a laser beam. Deep red colour in the glass. A very interesting nose with cherries and mint. On the palate there was dark cherry, some spice and medium tannins. Long length. Excellent! I quite enjoyed this wine with the Saint Agur blue cheese from France. This is a creamy blue cheese, half way between a Stilton and a Cambazola.

If you have not been to Salt Tasting Room, it is located at 45 Blood Alley in Gastown. Enjoy.