Enjoy Turkey Dinner at Bistro Pastis for Thanksgiving

Unless you have a big family, cooking a whole turkey dinner will mean endless days of turkey sandwiches for work.  Why not go out for Thanksgiving dinner?  I’ve been doing it and enjoy being able to relax.  Here is the Thanksgiving meal by Bistro Pastis in Kitsilano.  I’m not sure if they have a Gamay for you to try with this meal, but I think it would be very nice.  Happy Thanksgiving.

~~~

Bistro Pastis has prepared an incredible Thanksgiving menu to be served on Sunday, October 13. Guests can give thanks over a three-course menu celebrating Fall bounty for $45.

Regular menu also available.

Reservations essential: 604-731-5020 / http://www.bistropastis.com/reservations/

Bistro Pastis Thanksgiving Menu

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Citrus Crème Fraîche

– or –

Crispy Duck Confit Salad
Golden Beets, Candied Walnuts Sherry Vinaigrette

**********

Slow Roasted Turkey Breast, Pear and Onions Stuffed Leg
Potato Roesti, Brussels Sprout, Cranberry Sauce

– or –

Salmon Wellington
Mushroom Duxelles, Celeriac Purée, Béarnaise Sauce

**********

Classic Pumpkin Pie
Maple Ice Cream

– or –

Vanilla and Raspberry Baked Alaska

$45.00

Bistro Pastis
2153 W 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7 | Tel: (604) 731.5020 | Fax: (604) 731.5039
www.bistropastis.com

My Tasting Plates Vancouver Kitsilano Edition Favorites

Tasting Plates Kitsilano

This past week was the third Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates event this year. This event was the “Kitsilano Edition“. If you have never attended one, for Tasting Plates you visit 10 different restaurants/food trucks/other food establishments, sampling some of their tasty treats.

This evening we had 10 vendors to visit:

Some of My Favourite Bites

Chocolate Arts pumpkin praline chocolate

Chocolate Arts Cafe – This one is all about chocolates and sweets. I was very impressed with the quality from C.A.C. They had a:

  • House made cookie enrobed in 70% chocolate with corn flavoured house made ice cream
  • Candied almonds
  • A Peanut mallow bite
  • A seasonal chocolate

Have you ever tried corn ice cream, or how about cheese flavoured ice cream?  If you have been to South America or to South East Asia, you probably tried one of these, but here it is much harder to come across.  I enjoyed the corn flavoured ice cream.  The corn flavour was not overpowering, but you still knew it was corn.  It was nice with the chocolate covered cookie.  The seasonal chocolate was organic pumpkin and praline.  The pumpkin flavour was again subtle and went very well with the 70% dark chocolate coating.  I would recommend going to the C.A.C. and indulging your sweet tooth. Bring out some BC ice wine or late harvest to complete the decadence.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. – They offered 1 slice of your choice from the following pizzas:

  • Bradner Farm Pizza:  Certified organic free range rosemary chicken from Bradner Farm with red onions, house made pesto & oven roasted red bell peppers.
  • Farmers Market Pizza: Topped with a combination of four to five seasonal local or preserved veggies, three herb nut free pesti & Capriny goat’s cheese.
  • Naturally Meaty: Spicy certified organic beef, sulphate free Italian sausage, ripe tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, asiago cheese & fresh herbs.

I tried the Naturally Meaty pizza.  The organic beef was spicy, just like I like it, but a little light on the beef and sausage.  No soggy crust.  The restaurant was open for regular patrons and it was packaged.  It is a very family friendly restaurant, with many tables full of young children.

The Bibo pizza and pasta

The Bibo – The Bibo offered both a pizza selection and a pasta selection.  The items were:

  • Pizzas selection: Margherita, Diavola, Prosciutto, Funghi, and Marinara.
  • Pasta selection: Rigatoni alla Norma, Lasagne al Pesto and Tagliatelle al Ragù.

I went for a slice of the Diavola pizza and the Lasagne al Pesto.  The lasagne was vegetarian and was so tasty with the wonderful basil flavour from the pesto.  I think I liked it more than the pizza and I would definitely try it again.  The Diavola pizza is made with spicy salami.  It was spicy but if you are not spice lover, I think you would still find it at an acceptable heat level.  Not too greasy, and a nice crispy crust. Go traditional and enjoy this with a glass of Tuscan Sangiovese (Chianti) or maybe try a BC Gamay Noir?

Atithi Indian Cuisine – The owners of Atithi really were very nice to us and tried to accommodate people’s tastes.  A friend I was with was given a dal in lieu of one of the dishes she did not sample.  The items to taste were:

  • Lotus roots with shrimp
  • Bengali mustard fish
  • Taro roots with local potato (vegan and veggie)

If you like spice, then this place is for you, but one of the dishes, the Bengali mustard fish, was not spicy; just full of flavour.  I really enjoyed it.  It was made from cod fish.  The taro roots with local potato was a dry dish, no sauce, and again was tasty for me.  The lotus root dish had sauce and would have challenged a few people on the spice level. An off-dry riesling would help quell the fire.

Petes Meats 3 sausages and sauerkraut

Pete’s Meat – Offered to us three distinct sausages with a small side of sauerkraut.  May have been my favourite dish of the night.  The sausages:

  • Lamb Merguez: medium spice with a complex flavor profile north African in origin
  • Sweet Italian: low spice, sweet and savoury our version of this classic
  • Chicken, chipotle, cilantro & lime: (Mexi/Cali, medium spice)

The sausages were all distinctive in taste.  I think my favourite was the Lamb Merguez, but they were all very good.  The sausages were not dry, but had the right mix of meat and fat for me. Maybe try this with a South African Pinotage?

That’s all for now from me.  Did you attend Tasting Plates?  If so, what were your favourites?  Leave a comment.

Thanks again to Richard aka @vanfoodster for hosting this event.

My Bada Bing Food Truck Experience

Bada Bing Truck with menu

After a quick meeting downtown today, it was almost noon, so I decided to try a food truck.  Beside the Burrard Skytrain station was the Bada Bing truck. They proudly list that they make a chicken and a steak Philly Cheese sandwich.  I decided to go for the chicken this time.  The sandwich came on a foot-long bun, loaded with bite sized pieces of chicken in a light Middle Eastern flavoured sauce to me, along with lots of fried onions, and melted provolone cheese.  The sandwich was piping hot, the way I like it.  I didn’t try to add any extra condiments, but wished I did.  The sandwich was good, and filling, but there was no bright or sour flavours to complement the chicken & fried onions.  I think some dill pickle, or picked banana peppers would have been a great addition to the sandwich.  I will have to try next time.

What wine would I have with this Chicken Philly Cheese?  I think a juicy Gamay would be my first choice.  Not overly heavy bodied or too much dark fruit flavours.  A few gamays that I can recommend are:

  • Bada Bing Chicken Philly Cheese

    Henry Fessy Julienas 2009, France ($25.99). If you like lighter bodied reds, such as from Pinot Noir, you may also like this wine, which is made from the Gamay grape. Nice medium ruby colour. Light cherry nose.  Medium body with light tannins and medium acidity. Cherry flavours. Easy to enjoy.

  • Henry Fessy “St. Amour”, 2009, France ($24.99). This is a Beaujolais from the eastern part of France (south of Burgundy), made from the Gamay grape.  Pale ruby in colour.  Cherry bon bon nose. Light body and lower tannins.  Cherry flavour. Lighter in body than a Bordeaux, similar in weight to a lighter Pinot Noir.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2009, BC ($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.

If you do not like red wine, try these white wines:

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.

  • Thornhaven Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010, BC. I think there is something specific about the terroir for this wine that makes this Pinot Gris have a wonderful grapefruit nose and flavour.  I haven’t seen this in other Okanagan Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour with red grapefruit nose. Flowery with citrus, grapefruit flavours. Yum.
  • Monmousseau Cuvee JM Brut 2007, France ($19.99). This sparkler is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. Light lemon in colour .  Light citrus with a hint of honey aromas.  Cinnamon greets your lips up front on the palate, followed with citrus and apple flavours.  Medium acid and length.  Very tasty.

I hope to have more time to visit other food trucks in downtown Vancouver this summer, and give you my wine pairing recommendations. Enjoy!

My Latest IVSA Wine Highlights and Recommendations

Today was the first Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) Product Salon since before summer. I was looking forward to see what range of new wines have come in over the summer, and I can tell you about, so you can enjoy some great wines with the fall and winter coming upon us. As usual there was too many wines to try in too little time, so hopefully I found a few gems to pass along to you.

Overall Gems

Dante Robino Bonarda 2009

These two wines have a great price point, and taste great too.  One is from Italy and the other from Argentina.

  • Bodega Dante Robino Bonarda, 2009, Argentina ($17.99). Bonarda is an Italian grape. It was brought to Argentina where it flourishes,but it is not so well known to the North American palate.  This wine was very deep ruby in the glass.  Wow, a very interesting nose with cloves up front and black fruit supporting from behind. Medium plus in body with a round mouthfeel.  Cloves, vanilla and black fruit with a spicy finish.  Long length. This wine has the backbone and fruit to stand up to a heavy meal.
  • Tenuta Maggiore Amphorae, 2009, Italy ($14.95). This Italian red is made from Croatina, Barbera and Shiraz grapes. Lighter ruby red in the glass. Some violets, blackberries on the nose.  Light mouthfeel, bright flavours of cherries and violets.  Quite dry.  A really different, and really nice wine!

A Tale of Two Chenins

The Winery of Good Hope and Domaine de Vaugondy Chenin Blancs

Have you heard of Vouvray, or the Loire Valley in France?  This is classic Chenin Blanc. Have you heard of Steen?  That’s the name of Chenin Blanc from South Africa.  I enjoyed a comparison of these 2 Chenins, which are both sub $20.

  • The Winery of Good Hope, Chenin Blanc, 2010, South Africa ($13.99). Fairly deep lemon coloured. Light lemony nose.  High acid right up front.  Citrus and pairs on the palate with a vanilla finish and long length.  Medium body.  Something a bit different from a chardonnay if you like a little more acidity.
  • Domaine de Vaugondy, Vouvray, 2010, France ($19.99). Pale lemon with a green tinge. A nice flowery, stone fruit nose. Really high acidity with green flavours. Really needs to be sipped along with food, or let this one age a few years and then try again.  Chenin Blancs can stand aging and get better with time.

A Few Nice French Reds

These next 3 wines range across from the West, South, and East parts of France.  All different grapes with one sure to please you.

  • Henry Fessy “St. Amour”, 2009, France ($24.99). This is a Beaujolais from the eastern part of France (south of Burgundy), made from the Gamay grape.  Pale ruby in colour.  Cherry bon bon nose. Light body and lower tannins.  Cherry flavour. Lighter in body than a Bordeaux, similar in weight to a lighter Pinot Noir. Chilled a bit and served with a cornish hen, a light curry, or some Camembert cheese.
  • Chateau Belles-Graves, 2004, Bordeaux, France ($46.58). If you want to splurge on a red wine, this one would fit the bill. Very elegant, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, coming from the right bank, in the Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC. Pale garnet in colour. Nice aromas of flowers and cherries. Light body with cherry and apple flavours up front, violets showing up mid-palate, and a bit of spice on the finish. Medium tannins with a soft finish.
  • Domaine de Fontsainte, Corbieres Rouge, 2007, France ($22.31). This is a blended wine from southern France.  Corbieres being straight east of Carcassone. The blend of grapes are Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah. Medium garnet in the glass. Stony, smoky, strawberries on the nose. Medium body, dry with cherries, raspberries and some smokiness/flintiness mid-palate. Medium acidity with softer tanning.  Long length some some black pepper on the finish.  A very well-structured wine.

Anything But Chardonnay

Neudorf Pinot Gris 2010

I know that some people really do not like Chardonnay. So if you belong in this club, OR if you want to try some exciting white wines, try these out.

Domaine Gayda Three Winds Viognier, 2010, France ($13.99). Viognier is an aromatic grape coming out of the Rhone Valley. This wine had nice flowers and peach aromas in the glass.  Spicy cinnamon and peach flavours.  Round with medium acidity. Very enjoyable with a herbal finish.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris, 2010, New Zealand ($29.99). Pale lemon in colour.  Stone fruit along with a nutty/oaky nose. Light bodied, off dry with medium acidity.  Citrus and a bit of spiciness and honey flavours. Elegant.

Canepa Novisimo Sauvignon Blanc, 2o10, Chile ($11.99). This is an unreal price. The Canepa winery was named the Chilean Producer of the Year at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2010. New to the Vancouver market. This wine has a nice nose of kiwi fruit, citrus, and a hint of oranges. Medium acidity with herbal and asparagus flavours. Light body. Make it your fun to drink, house white wine.

Juicy Red Wines

To finish off this blog article, here are 2 full fruited red wines.

Lange Twins Winery, Zinfandel, 2009, California ($23.99). The zinfandel grapes for this wine come from certified sustainable Lodi Rules, in Lodi, California. Light ruby in colour.  Ripe raspberry aromas. Lots of vanilla, raspberries and cassis on the palate. Medium body, round mouthfeel, with medium acidity makes this jammy zin easy and ready to drink now.

Santa Julia Magna, 2009, Argentina ($15.99). This wine is made by the Zuccardi family.  I’ve spoken about their “Q” series many times.  Their Santa Julia Magna is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Malbec, and 10% Syrah. Almost opaque budy in colour. Really ripe black fruit, plums, cherries and vanilla aromas. Smooth, full body with cherries and vanilla. Drink now.

Try out one or more of these wines, and comment on this post.  Let me know what you think.  And I’ll keep you posted on the next IVSA. Enjoy!

Some Loire Valley Wines Sans Review

As I passed through different towns in the Loire there would be one or more caves (places to taste wine). I would stop at some to try the wines for the area, but would not have my notebook at the ready, so no notes. The photos below are of the wines that I did try, but did not make any notes.

The wines will be primarily from the Chenin Blanc grape for the white wines, and the Cabernet Franc grape for the red. There may be a few wines that are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cot, or Gamay, which are also grown in the Loire Valley.

See if you have maybe tried these wines in your travels, or you have seen these wines in your local wine shop. Let me know if you have. I still have some mental impressions of each wine, so email or comment about a wine, and I’ll reply. Enjoy!

I also threw in a French word in the title.  Did you figure out it’s meaning?

Cave des Producteurs De Chanceny Brut Excellence Vouvray 2008

 

Cave des Producteurs La Javeline Vouvray 2009

Cave des Producteurs Vouvray Petillant Brut

Domaine de la Gabilliere, Sancerre Rouge, Pierre Sordais Chinon Tradition 2009

Domaine de la Grande Foucaudiere Touraine Sauvignon 2010

Domaine de la Prevole Touraine Amboise Cuvee de la Prevole 2008

Domaine Frissant Touraine Amboise Chenin

A Tailgate Party, Grilled Pork, & Wine for the Canucks Game!

This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:

  • 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
  • 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
  • 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
  • 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
  • 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
  • 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards

What is a tailgate party?

From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailgate_party)

Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.

What did Andy teach us to BBQ?

  • Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
  • Beer Bathed Brats
  • Pig Candy
  • Smoked Sausage Fatties
  • Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)

A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts.  The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice.  Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.

Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.

Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad.  This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party.  For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.

Sausages on the grill are always nice.  We enjoyed beer bathed brats.  In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ.  The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste.  This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages.  Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.

Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”.  Seeds were removed to make it less spicy.  A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled.  It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy.  I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris.  If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!

Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere.  Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!

Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer.  Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes.  Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!

What wine to pair with a vegetarian meal?

For those of you that haven’t had a vegetarian meal, think again.  You typically have cereal or a muffin and coffee for breakfast.  For lunch it could be a salad or a vegetable sandwich or soup.  That leaves you with one meal with meat.  You are almost a vegan without knowing it, or doing much.

For most people, dinner is the main meal, and this is where the what wine to pair with a vegetarian meal will be addressed.  There is a wide variety of vegan dishes.  There are vegan dishes from all countries.  For example, Indian food has many curries made with vegetables.  Curries are usually spicy, so my recommendation is a fruity red or white wine.  The fruitiness can hold up to the spice in the wine.  You do not want to pick a dry, tannic cabernet.  A Merlot would be a better choice.  On the white wine side, a Kabinett style Riesling from Germany would work.  I have also been told that Pinotage (a red grape from South Africa) works quite well with curries.

The key point for meals, whether vegan or not, is to consider how the food is cooked (e.g. grilled or sauteed), and what sauce or spices are being used in the dish.  If you have a spicy sauce, then a wine that has lots of fruitiness works, not a dry, tannic wine.  A meal that is sauteed and has maybe a mild, citrus sauce, could pair well with a lighter bodied white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc or a chenin blanc, or a lighter bodied red, such as pinot noir or gamay.  A dish with a creamy or buttery sauce would pair well with a Burgundian wine (chardonnay or pinot noir).  The silkiness of these wines complementing the silkiness of the sauce.

Salads can be a challenge because of the sourness of the vinegar.  You may want to try a high acidity wine such as a New Zealand or BC sauvignon blanc, or a dry riesling from Australia.

Some vegetarians do eat fish.  Most fish are delicately flavoured so again pick a delicately flavoured wine, such as unoaked chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir or riesling.  If you get some smoked salmon, try pinot gris, Alsatian riesling, or a pinot noir.

There is much more than I can write about in this short blog.  Hopefully this will give you some pointers.  Enjoy!

Wine for Easter

Spring flowers for EasterEaster is a big holiday for many of us, where we get together with family and enjoy a big Easter dinner. Easter is also leading us into spring. Flowers are already blooming here in Vancouver, and I’m sure it will come soon in the rest of Canada.

Ham, roast chicken or turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables are traditional dishes for many people’s Easter dinner. But maybe you are wondering what wine(s) to serve? Before starting dinner you may want to consider something sparkling? An easy to sip wine would be an Italian prosecco or a Moscato. These wines tend to be quite reasonably priced. Mionetto Prosecco FrizzanteEmotivo Prosecco, or Batasiolo Moscato D’Asti are three Italian wines you may want to consider.

For the main course, a roasted ham, if you are a red wine person, you could try a Pinot Noir or a Gamay (the most famous being Beaujolais). Serve slightly chilled. Here in North America, you could go with a Pinot Noir from British Columbia, such as the Quails Gate Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir. A Gamay such as Georges Duboeuf Brouilly, France would also be nice. The Gamay would also work with turkey.

Spierhead Chardonnay

What if you prefer white wine? Then I would suggest a riesling. The Kettle Valley Winery Riesling 2008 (BC) has a bit of residual sugar with some apple, flower and citrus aromas, and apple with a bit of petrol flavours, or on the organic side, Kalala Organic Estate Winery Riesling 2008 also from BC. If you prefer a drier riesling, how about the Plantagenet Great Southern Riesling 2008 from Australia? Quite minerally. Light green and petrol aromas. Apple and citrus flavours.

For roast chicken or turkey, there is Pinot Noir, as mentioned earlier. A lightly oaked Chardonnay would also work well. The oakiness and butteriness from some secondary malolactic ferementation would make the Chardonnay nice and round in your mouth to complement the richness of your roast chicken or turkey. If you would like to support Chilean wineries, after the earthquake, you may want to try the Carmen Nativa Vineyards Chardonnay (organic) or the Vina Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay from Chile. The Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay is always a winner for me. From my last tasting notes, I noted 100% barrel fermented in French oak for 9-10 months. 1/3 of wine goes through malolactic fermentation to add some extra body and butteriness. Full lemony colour. Lots of vanilla, caramel and tropical fruit on the nose. Very aromatic. Medium-full body, with tropical fruit and vanilla flavour. Has some acidity and slight spiciness to balance the creaminess. An excellent wine.  A BC selection would be Spierhead Winery Chardonnay 2010. Their chardonnay is creamy with lots of vanilla and tropical fruit aromas and flavours.  Enjoy juicy fruit flavours in your mouth with medium acidity to keep it refreshing.

I hope some of these wines give you ideas for what to serve with your Easter family meal. Enjoy!

Zweigelt – A Red to Try

From my last 2 trips to the BC Okanagan, I sampled several red wines made from the Zweigelt grape. Zweigelt isn’t a household name, but I think it should be more well-known. It is a grape conceived in Austria in the 1920’s by crossing Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. You may say it is now the signature red grape of Austria. It has winter hardiness which is one reason why I think it is becoming more popular in the Okanagan. The name of the grape btw, comes from the Austrian plant-breeder Prof. Fritz Zweigelt.

The wines I tried were all quite full bodied, but did not have the big firm tannins of other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Some have said that Zweigelt is more similar to Gamay in France.

Some BC producers of Zweigelt are:
– Stonehill Estate Winery
– Kalala Organic Estate Winery
– Hainle Vineyards

– Mistral
– Arrowleaf Cellars

and many more.

My recent review of the Stonehill Estate Winery Zweigelt Reserve 2006 ($19.90). “…had a dark cherry cordial type aroma. Very smooth in the mouth, with more dark cherry cordial and plum flavour. This wine, and grape, has a nice richness to it that makes it go well with a stew over the winter”.

Give a bottle of Zweigelt wine a try and see what you think. Enjoy!

Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza

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} catch(err) {}Today was a beautiful day for the Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza in south Langley. A large tent was set up, wines were chilled, and hot & cold appetizers were plenty. Some of the wineries offered grape based wines, which most of us think of, but there were also several fruit berry wineries. On the grape-side we had:
– Domaine de Chaberton Estate Wine
ry
– Lotusland Vineyards
– Pacific Breeze Winery

– River’s Bend Winery


On the fruit berry side there was:
– Westham Island Estate Winery
– Wellbrook Winery
– Sanduz Estate Wines

– The Fort Wine Company

Some people say they get headaches after drinking red wine from grapes. This could be due to the tannins in some of the heavier reds, such as from syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. There are lighter bodied reds, with less tannins, such as gamay and pinot noir. But there is also another route that these red wine suffers may want to take, and that is to drink red berry wine. At today’s event, I was able to try wine made from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, red currant, and black currant. I enjoyed the currant wines the most, as they were the closest to grape wine for me, but I can appreciate the other wines as well. There was also dessert (sweet) fruit wines to sample. One I enjoyed was the Sanduz blueberry dessert wine. It was almost porty.

On the grape side, I was very happy to find out that Lotusland Vineyards is an organic winery and also uses wild fermentation (that is using the native yeast in the vineyard to ferment the wines. The other method is to purchase specialized yeasts for fermentation.) Their gewurztraminer had a lychee / pear nose was light bodied and had a delicate flavour. Their pinot noir and merlot was also very nice. I unfortunately did not have a tasting sheet to make notes, for these wines or the other wines, but I do remember which wines I enjoyed the most. If you like big Rhone style or Bordeaux style wines, Pacific Breeze Winery, was pouring a Vin de Gariste and a GSM (Grenache / Syrah / Mouvedre) blend. They also had a very full bodied, creamy chardonnay. Another winery I enjoyed was River’s Bend. They had a very nice white blend called Flaxen, a Viognier, and a Pinot Gris. On the red side, their 2006 Black Horse, a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, was nice paired up with the pulled pork sandwich from Memphis Blues Barbeque.

There were several other local restaurants, such as Coza Tuscan Grill and Sonoma Grill serving up appetizers to go with the wines. The event was overall run very well. I’d recommend people to attend next year’s event so you can also try out these wines, or take a 1-day weekend trip to visit each winery.