Taste Of Tulalip Oktoberfest 2017: A Bavarian Journey

Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and beer.  Sounds fun doesn’t it.  That and more is what you can expect at the Oktoberfest celebration as part of the Taste of Tulalip in WA state.  Below is the announcement about the festival.  Have fun!

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Taste of Tulalip Oktoberfest

Tulalip WA — Holding true to Tulalip Resort Casino fashion, the culinary team will draw from the original Munich Oktoberfest for their first annual Taste of Tulalip Oktoberfest on Friday, September 22 from 6 pm to 9 pm at The Draft Sports Bar and Grill Patio. Sommelier Tom Thompson and Executive Chef Perry Mascitti will showcase authentic German dishes along with imported, local, and domestic Oktoberfest inspired beer at the enjoyable Taste of Tulalip celebration. Tickets are priced at $45 per person, ages 21 and over.

The Draft’s Chef Brent Clarkson carefully prepared the menu with options including hearty platters of Uli’s Famous Brats and Sauerkraut, Beer and Cheese Soup with Bavarian Pretzel Crouton, and a traditional Spätzle Bake (German Spätzle pasta lightly buttered and layered with Black Forest ham and Emmenthaler cheese topped with caramelized onions). Rounding out the selections are a Savory Bavarian Pretzel Bread Pudding with mustard caraway rye cream, Pork Schnitzel “Pops” topped with bacon and wild mushroom cream sauce, and a Cheese and Wurst Display, featuring traditional German frankfurter and classic Weiss Wurst sausages (served with an assortment of cheeses, pickled vegetables, gherkins, and breads).

Tom Thompson’s team will serve up a grand selection of beers from noteworthy breweries featuring: Backwoods Brewing, Deschutes, Dru Bru, Georgetown Brewing, Leinenkugel’s, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Hofbräu, Paulaner, and the Hacker-Pschorr.

“Oktoberfest is a time of year where millions of people gather to celebrate great Bavarian food and beer throughout the world to honor this German tradition,” shares Executive Perry Mascitti. “The good news is you don’t have to purchase a plane ticket to Germany in order to celebrate this Oktoberfest.”

During the evening’s festivities, guests can take their chance with lady luck and enter to win from one of two raffle drawings. The two prizes will each include two tickets to the Robert Cray show on November 17, 2017, one overnight stay at Tulalip (some restrictions may apply) and a $100 dining credit applied to the winner’s room.

Doors open for the Taste of Tulalip Oktoberfest 2017 at 6 pm and tickets are priced at $45 per person all-inclusive. To purchase tickets, call (360) 716-1625. All attendees must be 21 and over.

The Resort didn’t think a one day celebration was enough for this beloved, time honored Bavarian festival, so they started the celebration early at the following eateries, which will feature German fare from September 5 through October 31, 2017:

Cedars Cafe will serve Bavarian style Wiener Schnitzel with warm sweet and sour coleslaw, mashed potatoes; topped with crispy onion straws, lemon beurre blanc, and blackberry sauce. Dessert includes Cedars’ Black Forest Ice Cream Sundae with chocolate ice cream, Kirsch cherry compote, whip cream, and chocolate shavings.

Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill presents their Seared Apple Marinated Duck Breast with apple-duck demi & Thuringer sausage with apple-mustard demi, along with onion potatoes, green beans, red cabbage and bacon and a dessert featuring Apple-Raisin Strudel with vanilla bean ice cream.

Carvery/Hotel Espresso makes their mark with Bavarian Ham Sandwich Black Forest ham on a fresh Bavarian pretzel roll, Munster cheese, dill pickles, and stone ground mustard.

The Draft Sports Bar will offer Pork Schnitzel Pops bite sized pork thinly pounded, skewered, breaded, fried golden brown and topped with bacon and wild mushroom cream sauce. Served with warm bacon potato salad and braised apple and red cabbage.

Tulalip Bay’s menu is embellished for the season with Spicy Sausage and Truffle Potato Fritter with stone ground mustard sauce and a dessert of Linzer Torte with beer ice cream.

Eagles Buffet will offer Amber Ale Braised Beef Brisket with buttered Spätzle in September and Bavarian Pork Ribs with braised red cabbage in October.

For more information about Oktoberfest 2017, visit TulalipResort.com. Don’t forget to wear your lederhosen!

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Free Event – Enjoy when German Wines meet Asian Cuisine May 9

Vancouver is blessed with a wide range of Asian cuisine, but what kind of wines do you pair with these dishes?  Have you tried German wine?  The BC Liquor stores want to help you find the wines to match the food, and have a free consumer event for you on Saturday May, 9 at the Cambie Signature liquor store.  Details are below.  Enjoy!

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sushi

sushi

Vancouver, BC – German wines will share the spotlight with Asian foods in BC Liquor Stores throughout the month of May, 2015. 60 stores will feature lively displays of a select 12 German wines, including a sparkling Riesling and a Dornfelder Pinot Noir. Customers can pick up their complimentary recipe booklet at all participating stores and a FREE consumer event will kick-off the promotion featuring the Asian foods of Vancouver’s own Stephen Wong – wine writer and chef extraordinaire.

The promotion showcases a wide assortment of Germans wines, giving consumers an opportunity to learn about the diversity of the German wine offering and how well they pair with Asian cuisines. A brochure has been developed which will be on display in all 60 participating stores, offering food pairing suggestions for the participating wines, along with four excellent Asian recipes; Pakoras, California Sushi Roll, Seafood Laksa and Szechuan Pork.

At the consumer event on Saturday, May 9, 2015, consumers can try samples, at no charge, of all 12 featured German wines paired with gourmet Chinese foods, hand-crafted by Chef (and acclaimed wine writer) Stephen Wong. Accredited Sommeliers will present the wines on rotation throughout the event, paired with the following Asian Appetizers:

  • Pork Potstickers with mildly spicy soy vinegar dip
  • BBQ Duck Roll with cucumber jicama & carrots with orange hoisin

FREE CONSUMER EVENT

Cambie and 39th Signature BC Liquor Store (Cambie Kitchen) Vancouver, BC
Saturday, May 9, 2015
3 – 6 pm
German wines are generally heralded as great food friendly wines. This is a very bold statement, but most sommeliers and other food and wine professionals will agree. British Columbia, being the multi-ethnic province that it is, hosts a wide array of cuisines that virtually reach out for German wines. The not-really secret here is the variety in styles (dry to sweet, sparkling or still), grape varieties (Riesling and Pinot Noir, to name the top ones of either white or red) and the distinct levels of richness (light to full, to honey-like) plus, based on the cooler climate, the wines generally have a good amount of acidity (considered vital for a great food wine) and lower levels of alcohol than warmer climate peers.

Featured Wines

  1. LINGENFELDER RIESLING

    LINGENFELDER RIESLING

    DR. LOOSEN SPARKLING RIESLING 158501 $ 16.79

  2. HEITLINGER ‘SMOOTH LEAF’ PINOT BLANC 223487 $ 15.69
  3. BREE RIESLING 210807 $ 14.39
  4. CLEAN SLATE RIESLING 160127 $ 13.49
  5. LANDLUST RIESLING 509430 $ 12.99
  6. SELBACH RIESLING 23242 $ 15.69
  7. GUNDERLOCH FRITZ RIESLING 320135 $ 15.69
  8. LINGENFELDER RIESLING 568634 $ 18.49
  9. DR. VON BASSERMANN JORDAN RIESLING 547489 $ 25.29
  10. DR. PAULY BERGWEILER RIESLING 141218 $ 17.69
  11. ST. URBANS HOF RIESLING 597997 $ 21.79
  12. BLACK TOWER DORNFELDER PINOT NOIR 580118 $ 10.29

Free Dim Sum Paired with Wines of Germany Through BCLDB

German wines and asian flavours

German wines and asian flavours

German Dim Sum Event at Cambie Kitchen May 10th and
Asian Foods Featured with German Wines in BC Liquor Stores this May!  Check out these exciting free consumer events pairing Chinese Dim Sum with German wines!  Press release below.

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Vancouver, BC – German wines will share the spotlight with Asian foods in BC Liquor Stores from May 6 to June 2, 2014. 60 stores will feature lively displays of a select 12 German wines, all pairing perfectly with the myriad flavours of Asian cuisines. A FREE consumer event will kick-off the promotion, doling out delectable dim sum with Deutsches wien.

What could be more delicious than a crisp, refreshing German Riesling to balance with traditional Chinese Dim Sum flavours? This is what Wines of Germany had in mind when they announced their sponsorship of a month-long thematic within 60 BC Liquor Stores throughout the month of May. German wine Portfolio Manager Barbara Philip selected the 12 wines that will participate in the promotion and local sommelier Mireille Sauvé developed, in conjunction with Wines of Germany, a detailed brochure which will be distributed free of charge at all participating locations. The brochure offers professional tasting notes to guide consumers to their preferred wine style, as well as detailed food pairing suggestions which showcase exclusively the cuisines of Asian regions.

At the consumer event on Saturday, May 10, 2014, consumers can try samples, at no charge, of all 12 featured German wines paired with authentic Chinese dim sum from Vancouver’s Chinatown eatery, Floata Seafood Restaurant. Steamer baskets will be stacked high, filled with Ha gow and sui mai, which visitors can try with all 12 featured wines, presented by accredited Sommeliers on rotation throughout the event. Details for the event are as follow:

FREE CONSUMER EVENT

Cambie and 39th Signature BC Liquor Store (Cambie Kitchen)
Saturday, May 10, 2014
3 – 6 pm

Wines of Germany are generally heralded as great food friendly wines. This is a very bold statement, but most sommeliers and other food and wine professionals will agree. British Columbia, being the multi-ethnic province that it is, hosts a wide array of cuisines that virtually reach out for German wines. The not-really secret here is the variety in styles (dry to sweet, sparkling or still), grape varieties (Riesling and Pinot Noir, to name the top ones of either white or red) and the distinct levels of richness (light to full, to honey-like) plus, based on the cooler climate, the wines generally have a good amount of acidity (considered vital for a great food wine) and lower levels of alcohol than warmer climate peers.

“If you don’t love German wines, you just have not yet found the right one for you.”
Visit BC Liquor Stores this April to find your Perfect Pairings.

Remembering Rememberance Day on November 11

Rows of headstones in a soldiers cemetery in France

This past summer, I visited WWI and WWII memorial sites in France and Belgium.  It was a very moving experience to read about the trials that each soldier went through on a daily basis.  Living in the trenches, above and below ground, was not very pleasant.  Seeing the display of gas masks that soldiers used to protect themselves from mustard and other gasses was very haunting.  And seeing the rows and rows of headstones in all the graves, and thinking about everything they gave up for us.  Visiting them was the least I could do. I will be at a cenotaph this Friday as well, remembering those brave souls.

I wrote a few articles about the memorials as I travelled in France and Belgium and I thought I’d repost the links to them here for you to read.

Chateau de Chenonceau

On part of my trip I visited the Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley in France.  This famous castle spans the Cher River. During WWII, one side was on the allied side and the other on the German occupied territory.  The owners of the castle would help the French underground send people across from one side to the other, risking the castle.  I had read that the German soldiers had guns aimed at the castle and if the word was given, the castle would have been destroyed.  I’m glad the order was never given.  If you have a chance to visit the Loire Valley, visit Chenonceau castle.  It is very beautiful.  Maybe you would like to raise a glass of Loire Valley wine, a Vouvray or other Chenin Blanc on November 11 and toast our fallen soldiers, and those people who helped them, and those that survived.  Lest we forget.

In Flanders Fields

A field of poppies in Belgium

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Upcoming Food and Wine Event – Thai Food & German Wines

Maenam Restaurant Thai curry

Do you ever wonder about how to pair spicy Asian dishes with wine?  Here is your chance to try a pairing of Thai food from Maenam with the German wines of Schloss Reinhartshausen. Here is the announcement and menu.  Get tickets soon before they quickly sell out.

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The best Thai food is a perfect balance of 4 taste sensations: hot, sour, sweet, and salty: perfect for Schloss Reinhartshausen’s balanced and finessed wines. Taste how these mouth-watering, luxurious wines compliment Maenam’s aromatic and spicy cuisine.

The pairings.

  • Scallop Ceviche
    Live jumbo scallops from Sawmill bay, nahm jim sauce, ikura, lemongrass and coriander
    2009 Schloss Reinhartshausen Dry Riesling
  • Pork Satay with Pineapple Peanut Sauce
    Slopping Hills pork, satay marinade, cucumber relish
    2007 Schloss Reinhartshausen Spatlese
  • Hot and Sour Soup of Holy basil
    Clean flavours of holy basil and fresh seafood, typical soup of Thailand seaside
    2009 Schloss Reinhartshausen The Prinz von Preussen
  • Panaeng Curry of Grilled beef Chuck
    Rich and smoky flavours of the beef braised into the panaeng curry, one of our favourite variation of this popular classic
    2003 Schloss Reinhartshausen AUSLESE HATTENHEIMER WISSELBRUNNEN
  • Chanterelle and Baby Corn Stir Fry with Wood Ear mushrooms and young ginger
    Fresh BC Chanterelles with fresh Baby corn and wood ear mushroom. Earthy and aromatic
    2006 Schloss Reinhartshausen Pinot Noir

Where, When, and How to Get Tickets

Maenam, 1938 West 4th Avenue.
September 27, 2011 6:30 P.M.
One seating only, space is very limited.
$75 per person.
For the complete menu and to buy tickets, click here.

Enjoy the Ultra-Premium Wines from Long Shadows Vintners

Have you heard of Long Shadows Vintners? It might not be a well-known name here in Vancouver, but this Washington State winery has made it’s name in it’s home state and I hope expand it across the States and Canada. For most wineries, you have a single wine maker to guide the wine making process. Long Shadows is different. For each wine, it has it’s own wine maker. And beyond that, a super-star wine maker from somewhere around the world.

Washington State has some wonderful grape producing regions.  The grapes for the Long Shadows wines comes from the Columbia Valley.  Within the Columbia Valley you have individual vineyards, with their unique terroir. The winery is located in Walla Walla, which is located in the southeast corner of Washington state.

How did Long Shadows decide to work with international wine makers for their wines? That vision comes from the founder, Allen Shoup.  Allen was the CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.  With his time there, he brought over Piero Antinori to produce the Tuscan-inspired wine, Col Solare.  He then brought over Dr. Ernst Loosen to produce their Eroica riesling. So when he started Long Shadows, Allen again contacted well-regarded wine makers from around the world to produce his wines.

The Wines I Tasted

Long Shadows Poet's Leap Riesling

Poet’s Leap Riesling 2010. This wine was crafted by Armin Diel, one of Germany highly acclaimed riesling producer.  The Diel family owns and operates Schlossgut Diel estate in Germany. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and sorted, whole cluster pressed and fermented at cool temperature in stainless steel tanks. The wine was pale lemon coloured in the glass.  Nice nose.  Very fragrant with flowers, citrus, orange and honeysuckle. Medium body, round, off-dry.  Flowers and citrus flavours with sweet spices showing up mid-palate. Long length.  I loved this wine.

Pirouette 2005. This is a Bordeaux style red blend, primarily made with Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot. This wine is made by wine makers Philippe Melka and Augustin Huneeus, Sr. Philippe Melka originall from Bordeaux has worked around the world at J. P. Moueix in France, Chittering Estate in Western Australia, Badia a Coltibuono in Italy, and Dominus in California. Augustin Huneeus, Sr. is a native Chilean who has worked at Veramonte (Primus) and Concha y Toro of Chile, and Franciscan Oakville Estate, Mount Veeder, Estancia and Quintessa in California. This wine was light garnet in colour. Vanilla, cedar and ripe cherry aromas.  Medium plus body. Very smooth with medium tannins and acidity.  Cedar, cherries and other black fruit flavours. Long length.

Chester-Kidder 2oo4. This wine is listed as a New World blend, as it has grapes from different Old World wine regions.  In this case you have Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot (which are Bordeaux grapes), Syrah (which is a Rhone Valley grape), and Cabernet Franc (which is in both Bordeaux and in the Loire Valley). This wine was produced by Gilles Nicault and Allen Shoup.  Gilles Nicault graduated from the University of Avignon in southern France and worked at wineries across Cote Du Rhone, Provence and Champagne. He then moved to the United States to Woodward Canyon and the Hogue Winery (If you haven’t tried Woodward Canyon, you should.  Wonderful wines.).This wine is aged for 30 months in French oak, and a small amount of Hungarian oak. The Cabernet grapes coming from the Red Mountain and Candy Mountain regions of Columbia Valley, and Syrah from their estate Benches Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills. Translucent garnet in the glass.  Restrained nose with light vanilla and sausage aromas.  Very flavorful with ripe berries and vanilla.  Smooth with medium tannins and acidity.  A bit of pepper mid to late palate.  Long length.

Saggi 2007. A Super-Tuscan inspired blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah produced by father and son wine makers, Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari. Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari operate Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, producing primarily Tuscan “grand crus,” in Tuscany. Prior to launching A. & G. Folonari Tenute, Ambrogio was the president of Ruffino, which was originally purchased in 1912 by Ambrogio’s grandfather. Saggi was aged in new and used small French oak barrels for an average of 18 months. The Sangiovese grapes comes from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, the Benches and Alder Ridge.  The Syrah from the Boushey Vineyard. This wine was medium ruby coloured with a light cherry nose. Full body with round mouthfeel.  Heavy weight in your mouth. Medium minus tannins with vanilla, red cherries, oak and peppery flavours.

Feather 2006. Feather is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with grapes from several vineyards across the Columbia Valley AVA.  The wine is crafted by Napa Valley vintner Randy Dunn, who is well known for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The grapes are hand harvested, fermented in small lots for an average of 22 months in new French oak barrels. The wine was light garnet in colour.  A whiff of capsicum on the nose, along with vanilla and light cherry aromas.  Dry with firm tannins. Flavours of ripe red fruit, cherry, vanilla with some pepperiness and tarriness. A very nice wine.

Sequel Syrah 2006. This wine is created by John Duval, former wine maker of Australia’s Penfold’s Grange wine, which is a Syrah-based wine.  So Sequel is aptly named as the follow up for John in Washington State.  The grapes for this wine come from The Benches, Alder Ridge (for dark fruit falvour), Red Mountain (for structure) and Boushey Vineyard (for elegance) according to John. Deep garnet in the glass. Gamey, smokey sausage with vanilla and cherry aromas. Medium body, round mouthfeel with medium acidity.  Ripe cherries, oak, almonds, and vanilla flavours with a long dry finish.

Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot

Pedestal Merlot 2006. This wine is crafted by one of the world’s most famous wine makers, Mr. Michel Rolland, an enologist from Pomerol in Bordeaux, France. Hand harvested grapes were then whole-berry fermented to provide softer tannins and to preserve the grapes’ aromatics.  The wines then spent an average of 22 months of aging in French oak barrels. This wine was medium garnet in colour.  Light nose with red fruit, plums and vanilla.  Very flavourful.  Medium body with cherries and vanilla, and soft tannins with kick in the mid to end palate. Long finish.  Another of my favorite wines of this tasting.

There were also three collaborative wines, named Nine Hats. These wines come from individual wines produced by the wine makers, that are then blended to form the Nine Hats series of wines.

Nine Hats Sangiovese 2008. Light garnet in colour.  Light red fruit and oak aromas.  Light body. Dry with low tannins.  Clove, red cherry and vanilla flavours.  An elegant wine.

Nine Hats Bordeaux Blend 2008.  Deep ruby in colour with a light red fruit nose.  Dry, with firm tannins.  Vanilla, red apples, plums, bon bon and vanilla (mid palate). Long length. Another one of my favourite wines.

Nine Hats Syrah 2008. Medium purple in the glass. Red fruit and sausage aromas.  Medium body, smooth with good acidity. Vanilla, red cherries, spice and a bit of sausage flavours. Long length.

The Sequel, Chester Kidder, Pedestal, Pirouette and Feather wines will have new, lower pricing here in Vancouver starting approximately August 1.  Check out for Long Shadows wines at private wine shops, or email adoyle@markanthony.com to find out which shops near you have their wines.

If you would like to learn more about Long Shadows Vintners, I provided this link.

More Wineries to Check at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

As I mentioned in my earlier blog article, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, has a PDF brochure now available. It  has a listing of all the wineries attending this year. I started to point out some wineries to visit at the International Festival tasting, but needed this second article to finish off the list.  I already covered Spain, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and BC.  Although I may not mention each winery listed, I still suggest trying them as you may find a wine you love.

Wines from Germany

Germany is well-known for their rieslings.  In their Qualitätswein mit Prädikat rating system. You have:

  • Kabinett
  • Spätlese
  • Auslese
  • Beerenauslese
  • Trockenbeerenauslese and
  • Eiswein

With increasing level of sweetness.  But don’t forget that Germany also produces wines from Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir,  Scheurebe, Bacchus, and Gewürztraminer (and more). Bürgerspital Estate would be one winery to try as they do have a wide range of varietal wines to try.  It is also amazing to consider how steep the slopes are where they grow their grapes; check out the picture I included from their website. Schloss Schonborn is another premium winery, has a wide range, and a sparkling wine.

Wines from Italy

In Italy, the first in the list is Antinori.  This is a large, well-known, and regarded winery, that has it’s winery in Italy, but also wineries in California and Washington state.  Their innovations played a large part in the “Super-Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s. They are well-known for their launch of Tignanello, a barrique-aged wine from the Tignanello vineyard that contained not only Sangiovese, but also Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which meant that it was ineligible for the Chianti Classico appellation.  This wine, plus Sassicaia from another Tuscan winery, helped to bring about the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification in Italy. Needless to say, if they are pouring Tignanello, you should try it.

Accordini Igino is from the Veneto region (NorthEast) of Italy, famous for Valpolicella and Amarone. If you have never tried an Amarone, you should be in for a treat.  Amarone is a rich, dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. The drying process concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors in the grapes to produce a full-bodied wine with lots of flavour. Consider an Amarone for a special dinner.

Beni di Batasiolo is from the Piedmont (NorthWest) corner of Italy.  Beni di Batasiolo is quite well-known for their off-dry Moscato d’Asti, but they do have a wide range of red and white wines.  On the red side, we may be treated to a Barolo, Barbaresco, or Barbera d’Alba.

Ca’ del Bosco is a winery from the Lombardi region of Italy. They are a relatively new winery, who is on the leading edge of the exciting new wave of Italian wine producers, making top-quality sparkling and still wines.  I checked their website and they do have quite a range of sparkling wines, that I am looking forward to tasting.

Wines from New Zealand

New Zealand and BC are quite similar.  We both have been producing wines from the noble grapes starting the 1970s.  We are both also cool-climate wine producers, and I think make some very nice Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Astrolabe, Giesen Wine Estate, Man O’War Vineyards, Mud House Wines, and Sacred Hill Wines are wineries that you may not have heard of, but they all are very good producers.  Try Astrolabe‘s Sauvignon Blanc . I can recommend the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. When I tried it last year it had a range of smoky, cherry, and leafy aromas. Wild flavours on your palate with cherry, oak and strawberry flavours.  Also try Mud House’s Pinot Gris.  I also recommend trying the Giesen “The Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2008. Again from a past tasting, it had lots of herbal and gooseberry aroma. Bracing acidity with green flavours.

In August 2010, I was able to meet with Man O’ War winemaker, Mr. Duncan McTavish. At that time I recommended his Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 and his red blend made with Merlot / Cabernet / Franc / Malbec 2008.  The winery also has a premium level of wines called their Black label wines.  They are named after great battleships or classes of battleships.  Hopefully Duncan will be bringing his  Valhalla Chardonnay, Dreadnought Syrah, and Ironclad Bordeaux blend. Read my MyWinePal Meets Man O’ War article here.

Wines from Portugal

The G7 Wines of Portugal group visited Vancouver a few months ago, introducing us to the still white and red wines of Portugal, and of course their wonderful port.  Aveleda has a variety of labels: Casal Garcia, Aveleda Fonte, Quinta da Aveleda, Aveleda Alvarinho, Charamba, Follies and Adega Velha. You may be most familiar with their Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, “green wine”.  Vinho Verde, comes both as a red and a white wine, but I think only white wines have reached BC.  Vinho Verde is a very refreshing and versatile white wine that has a bit of effervescence to it. Try it with some seafood. They also have a Follies line of wines. I was fortunate to taste their Follies Cabernet Sauvignon / Touriga Nacional (30/70%) 2008 (~$16). It was one of my favorite wines from the G7 tasting. Violets, black fruit, spice and mint aromas. Full bodied. Good fruit / tannins balance. Purple fruit flavour with a dry tannic finish.

Quinta do Crasto is well-known for their ports here, and will hopefully show us their range of still red wines. There are a few of their red wines currently available through the BCLDB, but there are many more to show. Their single varietal Touriga Nacional and their Touriga Roriz should be interesting to taste.  These are two of the indigenous grapes to Portugal that go into the blend for port. The most expensive ports are primarily made from Touriga Nacional. It has aromas and flavours of violets, blueberries, black fruits, and spice. A grape that produces a very full-bodied wine. Touriga Roriz is the most widely grown grape in Portugal.  It has cherry, jam, blackberry and spice on the nose. The grape has high tannins, and can age for a long time. Quinta do Vale Dona Maria is another producer of both port and still red wines to check out at the festival. Symington, Fonseca Guimaraens and Taylor Fladgate are famous port producers.  You should visit all of them, but maybe wait toward the end of your tasting session as these ports could overpower your palate for white and red still wines.

Wines from South Africa

South African wines are a bit of Old World and New World style put together.  People tend to have strong feelings about South African wines, either for or against.  Many of their wines are in my opinion built for drinking together with food.  We are lucky to have some premium South African producers at the Festival.  Boekenhoutskloof produces some great red wines from entry level to premium.  On the entry level they have The Wolf Trap, which is a blend containing syrah, mourvedre, and viognier. You get spice, structure, and perfume from these three grapes respectively.  On the premium, hopefully we will have a chance to try their Boekenhoutskloof Collection Syrah.  On the label you will notice 7 deck chairs, which I was told represents each one of the winery principals. It is quite a process to produce this wine which is fermented with native yeasts.  Here is the description from BHK’s website:

“In 2008 the fruit was harvested over an one week period starting on February 25st. The complexity of this wine also benefits from the diversity in grape maturity from the different picks. The fruit is kept in the cold room overnight before it gets sorted and crushed into concrete fermenter. A small percentage of whole bunches were put into the bottom of the tank of some batches to get a slight effect of carbonic maceration. After 4 days of cold soaking, the fermentation starts by only using native yeasts. The primary fermentation is done within two and a half weeks with the temperature that peaks at around 29°C. During the fermentation the wine gets a delestage 2 – 3 times per day. Pigeage was never done on this Syrah. It also received a postfermentation maceration for another week before being pressed to 2nd filled barrels to undergo MLF. After 18 months in barrel the wine gets a light egg-white fining and racking before its final 9 months in oak.”

Graham Beck Wines produce a wide range of wines, from sparkling to dessert to white, rose, and red wine.  Graham Beck also has a social conscience and opened the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre near Madeba in Robertson. Part of an extensive and innovative social development program, the centre aims to facilitate skills development for the long term upliftment of the farming community in the Breede River Valley.  They also are supporters of the environment. You can read about Graham Beck’s Biodiversity drive here. I have enjoyed their Game Reserve Shiraz, Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, and their Méthode Cap Classique Brut NV sparkling wine in the past.  Glen Carlou‘s Syrah and Chardonnay has won many awards from around the world.  Their Syrah 2004 was awarded John Platter’s Wine of the Year in 2006.  Their wine is reasonably priced, is a general listing in the BCLDB, and in my opinion a great deal.

Wines from the USA

There are plenty of wonderful wines from the USA. From Oregon there is the solid King Estate.  They are well known for their excellent Pinot Noir, but I also really like them for their Pinot Gris.  For Washington State, you will want to try Columbia Crest.  The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World for 2009. Also I’ve tried their H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and really enjoyed it (Horse Heaven Hills = H3).   There are several California wineries to choose from.  If you like big, jammy Zinfandels, I would expect to see the wide range that are produced by RavenswoodCaymus Winery and Clos Du Val are two cult level wineries for Sauvignon Blanc. Another good producer of Cabernet Sauvignon at a lower price point is Louis M MartiniRodney Strong (both their white and red wines are excellent), Robert Mondavi, and Stag’s Leap are also excellent producers of wine.  Give them each a try.

I could keep going on about all these wineries, but I think I’ll stop with this.  If you have any favorite wineries, please let me know, and go out and enjoy the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival!!!

GERMANY ITALY
Balthasar Ress Antinori
Bürgerspital Estate Azienda Vitivinicola
Deinhard Accordini Igino
Henkell Badia a Coltibuono
Schloss Reinhartshausen Bastianich / La Mozza
Schloss Schonborn Beni di Batasiolo
St. Urbans-Hof Fontanafredda
Mionetto
Pasqua
GREECE Rocca Delle Macìe
Boutari Tenuta Sant’Antonio
Santa Margherita /
Ca’ del Bosco
ISRAEL Tedeschi
Galil Mountain Winery /
Yarden
NEW ZEALAND
PORTUGAL Astrolabe
Aveleda Giesen Wine Estate
Blandy’s Madeira Kim Crawford Wines
Fonseca Guimaraens Man O’War Vineyards
Quinta do Crasto Mud House Wines
Quinta do Vale Dona Maria Oyster Bay Wines
Sogrape Vinhos Sacred Hill Wines
Symington – Dow’s Port Stoneleigh
Symington – Graham’s Port
Taylor Fladgate / Croft
USA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTH AFRICA Bonterra Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Caymus Winery
Durbanville Hills Clos Du Val
Graham Beck Wines Delicato Family Vineyards
KWV Wines Francis Ford Coppola
Presents LLC
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
Louis M Martini
Miner Family Vineyards
OREGON Quady Winery
King Estate Ravenswood Winery
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
WASHINGTON Rodney Strong Vineyards
Columbia Crest Signorello Estate /
Hedges Family Estates / Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Snoqualmie Vineyards Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure.  Enjoy!

Boekenhoutskloof

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!

Mulled Wine to Keep You Warm for Christmas

Having a warm cup of mulled wine after being outside in the snow, whether you were skiing, snowshoeing, skating, or just walking outside, is very comforting. For this blog post, I thought I’d share a mulled wine recipe with you, and try to find out a bit of the history of mulled wine and pass it along to you.

A Recipe for Mulled Wine

– 1 750ml bottle of a full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz (don’t use an expensive bottle of wine)
– 1 cup apple cider or juice
– 1 sliced orange
– 3 or 4 tablespoons honey (depends on how sweet you like it)
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 3 whole star anise
– 3 whole cloves
– 3 whole peppercorns

Add all ingredients into a pot and slowly raise the temperature.  Keep the liquid to just below simmer so you do not boil away all the alcohol. Simmer for 15 minutes, then serve.  You may want to put a cinnamon stick or a slice of lemon / orange to the glass to make it look more festive.

Where did this tradition of making mulled wine come from? Mulled wine has different names in different countries.  Checking Wikipedia, I read “…Glühwein is popular in German-speaking countries and the region of Alsace in France. It is the traditional beverage offered and drunk on Weihnachtsmärkten. It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus and sugar…
Glögg is the term for mulled wine in the Nordic countries….”

There are also references to the Czech Republic and to Great Britain. So who really knows, but luckily someone did invent mulled wine, so we have something to enjoy in the winter, especially after spending the day downhill skiing.

Enjoy!

A Wonderful Portfolio Tasting With Mark Anthony Wine Merchants

Today I was fortunate to taste a range of wines around the world that are represented in BC by Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. There was red, wine, sparkling, rose, and fortified wines.

The wineries and countries that were available for tasting were:
– Canada: Artisan Wine Company, Mission Hill Family Estate
– Australia: Yalumba, Tyrrell’s, Vasse Felix
– South Africa: Obikwa
– New Zealand: Man O’War, Twin Islands, Pewsey Vale
– France: Maison Louis Latour, Henry Fessy, Simonnet Febvre, Lanson, Lucien Albrecht
– Italy: Antinori, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio, Col De Salici
– Germany: Gunderloch, Deinhard, Henkell
– Austria: Huber
– California: Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Terlato
– Washington: Long Shadows
– Chile: Santa Rita, Terra Andina
– Argentina: Dona Paula
– Spain & Portugal: Vega Sicilia, Manyana, Graham’s

With the sheer amount of wineries, and wines, it would be a short novel if I were to cover all the wines that I tasted. So I’ll give you my picks from this evening:

Brotte Vacqueyras “Bouvencourt” 2006 (France) $28.99. This is a Grenache / Syrah blend. Medium garnet with a bit of bricking. Caramel, and cherry on the nose.  Medium body and tannins. Caramel, apple, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Domaine Barville” 2004 (France) $31.48. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend.  Medium garnet with some bricking in the glass. Light cherry aromas.  Very nice flavours of red ripe cherries and vanilla. Medium body with smooth tannins.

Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $29.99. Light garnet in colour.  Lively raspberry fruit nose.  Oak, cherry, raspberry and currant flavours. Medium length.

Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri 2007 (Italy) $34.99.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah.  Opaque garnet with a black core in the glass. Pencil lead and black cherry nose.  Pencil lead, black ripe fruit, capsicum, and cherry flavours.  Smooth mouthfeel with medium tannins and medium length on the palate.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (Italy) $46.99. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour.

Monti Garbi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008 (Italy) $30.00.  Many Valpolicella are made from the grape varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is made with Corvina, Corvinone,  Rondinella, Croatina, and Oseleta.  This is one of my favourite wines of this tasting. Medium garnet in colour.  Nice aromas of cherries, caramel and a hint of spice.  Licorice and red cherries with spice on the palate.  Medium body / tannins,  smooth on the palate with medium length.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $19.99.  Santa Rita is one of my favorite wineries from Chile.  They have a range of very nice wines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine has awarded Santa Rita the Winery of the Year Award for 2010.  This is the first year I believe for this particular wine.  Medium garnet in colour. Juicy strawberry nose.  Lots of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavours with a bit of flowers and oranges too.  Lots of flavours happening in the glass.  Medium body.

Twin Islands Nautilus Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand) $39.99. New Zealand is well-known for their pinot noir wines.  This wine comes from the Marlborough region, which is also well known for Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is light cherry in colour.  Nice raspberry nose. Medium body with low tannins.  Some minerality, red cherry and smokiness on the palate.

Vasse Felix Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $39.99.  Opaque garnet in colour.  Ripe, juicy black cherry nose.  Minerality, ripe black cherries, and a bit of spice.  The flavour of this wine keeps building it the more you keep aerating the wine in your mouth.  Very smooth.  A “wow” wine.

There were many more wines that could be listed.  I will be posting my tasting notes for all the wines I tried later on www.MyWinePal.com.  I hope you have a chance to purchase and try some of these wines that I recommended. Cheers.