BC Wine Appreciation Society 10th Anniversary Gala – Get Your Tickets

Do you love BC wine, or want to try BC wine?  Here is a great chance at the 10th Anniversary Gala of the BC Wine Appreciation Society.   Their announcement is below.  Enjoy!

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BC Wine Appreciation Society logo10th Anniversary Gala-Over 45 Wineries – April 16/15

Celebrate BC Day with BC VQA Wines in Vancouver on August 2

Wines of BC logoMeeting a wine maker and talking to them about their wines is always exciting.  Here is a chance for you to talk with some prominent BC wine makers to celebrate BC Day on August 2.  Below is the press release from the BC Wine Institute.

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BRITISH COLUMBIA -This BC Day long weekend, the British Columbia Wine Institute is throwing a big party in honour of beautiful British Columbia and the wonderful wines that are grown and produced in the province.

 

 Consumers are invited join some of BC’s top winemakers at Vancouver’s 39th & Cambie BC Liquor Store anytime from 3-6 PM on Saturday, August 2, to sample some of the 12 BC VQA wines that will be available to taste. The wines will be paired with tasty tidbits of local foods as prepared by Vancouver-based Forage restaurant.

These six acclaimed BC winemakers will also be signing bottles of BC VQA wines, giving fans a chance to ‘meet the makers’ of their favourite BC VQA wines, and the opportunity to discover new BC wines.

Holly Conway with the BEAT radio will be live on-site, broadcasting festive tunes for this FREE consumer event:

 

MEET YOUR MAKER WITH BC VQA WINES

Saturday, August 2 at 3-6 PM

Cambie Kitchen

(inside the 39th & Cambie Signature BC Liquor Store)

 5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Participating Winemakers:

Howard Soon of Sandhill Wines

Rasoul Salehi of Le Vieux Pin

Michael Dinn of JoieFarm Winery

Hagen Kruger of Wild Goose Vineyards

Stefan of Poplar Grove Winery

Larry Gerelus of Stag’s Hollow Winery

 

The festivities continue well beyond the tasting event, with 30 scheduled BC VQA wine tastings taking place in BC Liquor Stores around the province throughout the month of August. Qualified tasting staff will lead consumers through tutored tasting flights of three wines at a time, showcasing 12 in total, which demonstrate the bountiful diversity of wines produced in our beautiful province. (Click here for the schedule of tastings and locations.)

August is the ideal month to shop for BC VQA wines in BC Liquor Stores as the stores celebrate all 100% grown and made-in-BC products. An exciting addition to the month long promotion is the newly-implemented ‘Insider Picks’ which will see a growing selection of BC VQA wines within BC Liquor Stores year-round.

British Columbians have so much to celebrate: From the sea to the mountains, from our wildlife to our culture, from our natural resources to our growing industries. What better way to celebrate our province’s abundance of riches than with delicious BC VQA wines!

Some Canadian Wines to Try on Canada Day

Canada flagCanada Day is around the corner.  With your day off, I hope you will have a chance to celbrate our country with family and friends.  If you are having a get together, here are a few Canadian wines that you may want to try.  I’ve tasted these wines since January this year, so you should be able to find them in your favourite BC Liquor store or wine shop.  Enjoy!

Spierhead Pinot Gris 2013 (BC $19.90)

I tried their 2012 last year and noted how much I enjoyed it, with it’s range of flavours from citrus to tropical fruit to apples.  It won a Gold Medal at Okanagan Wine Festival – 2013 B.C. Wine Awards and other awards as well.  Their 2013 was pale to medium lemon with a tint of green in the glass.  On the nose I picked up Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples, together with melons and a hint of vanilla.  With some airing, lemon and grapefuit aromas also became apparent.  It’s dry with medium plus acidity, with an acidic prickle that dances on your tongue.  Medium plus body, round mouth feel, some creamy lees, a hint of honey, and stone fruits, pears, lemons and Red Delicious apple flavours.  Again with a bit of air, I also picked up lychee.  Quite a mouthful of flavours.  Mouth watering finish.  This wine really tastes like fresh fruit to me.  A very nice example of BC Pinot Gris.  With halibut season underway, I would love to try this wine with a griled halibut steak, nugget potatoes, and salad.

Le Vieux Pin Petit Sigma Blanc 2012 ($17)

Why Petit?  Petit wines from France are the second labels of famous wineries.  In some vintages a winery may determine that some grapes did not reach the quality needed for their top tier wine, so the grapes go into their second tier wine.  An example of this second tier is Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux.  This Petit wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Erhenfelser.  The wine had waxy, lemony, and grapefruit aromas with a hint of flowers.  It was dry with medium plus acidity and some viscosity in the mouth.  I picked up some light tropical fruit that was underlain with full citrus flavours, particularly lemon, but also a hint of lime.  There was also some pear and apple in the background.  Steely on the palate.  Peppery and mouth watering on the finish with some grapefruit rind flavour.  A good wine for your summer, in a screw cap, so meant to be enjoyed now.

Painted Rock Syrah 2011

Very nice nose. A mix of black cherry and very ripe raspberry, with some vanilla in the back. Medium plus body, dry with bright purple fruit, cassis and blueberry flavours, together with vanilla. Silky tannins from start to end leaving you with a soft finish and mouth watering acidity.  Across the tongue you get a salty minerality which was quite interesting to me.  I also did pick up some leafiness on the finish.  A very enjoyable wine.

Bartier Scholefield Red 2011

My last wine, the B.S Red 2011 is a blend of mostly Merlot, with lesser amounts of Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Gamay Noir. This wine was noticeably dark to opaque ruby in the glass. Lots of sweet, purple fruit aromas, along with raspberries, plums, vanilla and a hint of chocolate.  Quite enjoyable to nose.  Wow, lots of layers of juicy fruits on the palate.  Ripe raspberries, red cherries, red and black fruit, and plums.  I also picked up vanilla, sweet spices, and milk chocolate flavours.  This wine has medium body and is soft and silky, coating your mouth.  The juicy fruit flavours were dragging my tastebuds all over the place.  The tannins were not too strong, but there was enough to support the fruit.  On my second day of tasting I noted aromas of violets, and a hint of blueberries on the palate.  An outstanding wine expressing an exuberance of youth in my opinion.  I might try this with some bbq’d baby back ribs.

Best of BC Wine Tastings At BC Liquor Stores in October!

BC flag

BC flag

This announcement just came out and there are some exciting, quality BC VQA wines being poured at BC Liquor stores in the Vancouver Lower Mainland and Victoria.  Here is the announcement and some of their wines.  Enjoy!

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With the fall harvest in full swing and Thanksgiving just around the corner, October is the perfect month to explore BC VQA wines. British Columbians are celebrating our local bounty and, what better way to honour our crops, than with the annual BC Liquor Stores ‘Best of BC’ release?

Every year, BC Liquor Stores carefully selects a small collection of BC wines which are in limited supply and high demand. In the interest of fairness to all of their customers, the whole selection is released at once, and this year’s release takes place on Saturday, October 12, 2013 in Signature BC Liquor Stores across BC. It’s ‘first-come, first served’, so BC wine fans are encouraged to hurry down and snap up the very best that our province has to offer.

In support of this annual release, the British Columbia Wine Institute has organized an extensive series of in-store wine tastings which will feature a variety of VQA wines from BC. From Vancouver’s West End to West Vancouver, from Victoria to Whistler, 12 different liquor stores will be home to sommelier-led wine tastings where customers can belly-up to the bar while doing their shopping, taste an assortment of BC VQA wines, and learn all about the vinicultural bounty that exists right here in our own backyard.

October brings out the best wines our province has to offer with the ‘Best of BC’ release and province-wide BC VQA in-store wine tastings. Enjoy a glass of your backyard bounty this month!

Dates of In-Store Tastings with Locations and Times:

Thursday, October 3                      

Whistler Marketplace – 101 – 4360 Lorimer Rd, Whistler

3 to 7 PM

Saturday, October 5                       

Dunbar- 3453 Dunbar St, Vancouver

10 AM to 2 PM

Sunday, October 6                          

Highgate – 235 – 7155 Kingsway, Burnaby

1 to 5 PM

Friday, October 11                          

Northgate – 103 – 3433 North Rd, Burnaby

3 to 7 PM

Richmond Brighouse – 100- 8100 Ackroyd Rd, Richmond

3 to 7 PM

Alberni & Bute – 768 Bute Street, Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Langley – 6435 – 201 Street, Langley

3 to 7 PM

39th & Cambie – 5555 Cambie St, Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Westwood – 100 – 2748 Lougheed Hwy, Port Coquitlam

3 to 7 PM

Fort Street – 1960 Foul Bay Rd, Victoria

3 to 7 PM

Park Royal – 570 Park Royal North, West Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Saturday, October 12                    

Northgate – 103 – 3433 North Rd, Burnaby

3 to 7 PM

Richmond Brighouse – 100- 8100 Ackroyd Rd, Richmond

3 to 7 PM

Dunbar – 3453 Dunbar St, Vancouver

10 AM to 2 PM

Alberni & Bute – 768 Bute Street, Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Langley – 6435 – 201 Street, Langley

3 to 7 PM

39th & Cambie – 5555 Cambie St, Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Westwood – 100 – 2748 Lougheed Hwy, Port Coquitlam

3 to 7 PM

Fort Street – 1960 Foul Bay Rd, Victoria

3 to 7 PM

Park Royal – 570 Park Royal North, West Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Thursday, October 17                    

8th & Cambie – 2395 Cambie St, Vancouver

3 to 7 PM

Whistler Marketplace – 101 – 4360 Lorimer Rd, Whistler

3 to 7 PM

Highgate – 235 – 7155 Kingsway, Burnaby    –

3 to 7 PM

Featured Wines in the’Best of BC’ Release:  

Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2010 $32.89 Product # 178756
Painted Rock Syrah 2010 $39.94 Product # 130989
Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2010 $44.88 Product # 875831
Laughing Stock Blind Trust Red 2011 $30.00 Product # 492421

Nk’Mip QwAM QmWT Syrah 2009

$34.99 Product # 561415
CedarCreek Platinum “Block 4” Pinot Noir 2011 $39.95 Product # 464628
Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc 2010 $34.90 Product # 894410
Jackson-Triggs SunRock Shiraz 2010 $34.99 Product # 365635
Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2011 $24.89 Product # 498170
LaStella Fortissimo Selezione Di Famiglia 2010 $34.88

Product # 840504

Get into the Festive Spirit with a Wine Dinner at Wild Rice New Westminster

Wild Rice logoWild Rice opened their New Westminster location this past year.  The main location being located at the edge of Chinatown.  I like Wild Rice with their fusion of Asian and European cuisine.  I received this Press Release about their upcoming 5 course wine pairing dinner at their New West location and was very happy to see the high quality of wines they selected from BC and around the world.

Take the skytrain to the New Westminster station and walk across the street to the New West Quay, where you will find Wild Rice, and a great dinner.  Enjoy!

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Executive Chef Todd Bright and Sommelier Andrew Switzer have collaborated to create a stunning five-course wine pairing dinner to kick-off the festive season.

The dinner will be held at the New Westminster location on December 5th starting at 6:30 p.m. and is priced at $75 per person.  Reservations are essential. Please contact caroline@wildricebc.ca to book your seat.

MENU
Tea smoked qualicum scallop, fresh peas and bacon foam
Stift Gottweig Gruner Veltliner (Austria, 2010)
Urban Torrontes (Argentina, 2010)
***
BC spot prawn dumplings in charred onion consommé
Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand, 2010
LaStella Leggerio un-oaked Chardonnay – BC, 2010
***
Sesame crusted steelhead, squid, roasted cauliflower puree and yuzu buerre blanc
Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanc  – BC, 2009
(blend of oaked and unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussane)
Botani dry muscato – Spain, 2010
***
Crispy roast pork belly, green onion soubise and pickled apple
Rustico Pinot Noir – BC, 2007
(new world but old world Burgundian style pinot)
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza – Spain, 2007
(one of the top Rioja estates in Spain)
***

Petit fours plate
                Red Bean and White Chocolate Macaroon, Salted Caramel Chocolate
and Raspberry Mousse
              Paradise Ranch Late Harvest Chardonnay – BC,  2008

Wild Rice Modern Chinese New Westminster Location

810 Quayside Drive
in The River Market
778-397-0028
newwest@wildricebc.ca

The Grand Opening at Tap & Barrel

Tap and Barrel main floor

Tap and Barrel main floor

This past week was the grand opening of Tap & Barrel in the Athletes Village area in Vancouver (that is just west and south of the Main Street Skytrain station).  The event was hosted by City TV’s Dawn Chubai with guest speaker and ribbon cutter Vancouver City Councillor Raymond Louie.

The venue has two levels and is waterfront situated, with a superb view of downtown and BC Place Stadium.  The Tap & Barrel has a patio on the main level and a balcony overlooking the downtown on the upper level. The main level is maybe more high energy with many large screen TVs showing sporting events, 23 beers on tap, and more by the bottle. If you prefer a bit more quiet time, go to the 2nd floor and enjoy the Barrel level, which has 6 white wines and 7 red wines on tap.  I did sample from both the beer and the wine levels.  On the beer side, I tried the Whiskey Jack Ale and for wine, the Blasted Church Hatfield’s Fuse (Chardonnay, Viognier blend).  While beer by the glass is common, having more than 1 house red and white wine is usually not available.  I like having the choice of wines to sip by the glass. Tap & Barrel also provides you with the option of 6oz or 9oz pours, or a full bottle (750ml). The wines are quality BC wines. Besides Blasted Church, you can also sample:

  • Le Vieux Pin,
  • Laughing Stock,
  • Nichol Vineyards,
  • Summerhill,
  • Okanagan Crush Pad (Haywire), and more.

On the beer side, all are BC brewed, and include 5 Lagers, 5 Ales, 4 Pale Ales, 3 Bitters, 4 Wheat Ales, and 2 Stouts/Porters on tap.  Besides all the tipple, there is also a selection of food items for you.  We had nibbles of their fish & chips (the tartar sauce is really good. It has a fair amount of horseradish in it), pretzels, burgers and pizzas. Things you would expect from a pub.

I think it would be a fun place to get together with friends after work, or when we have some nice sunny days (I know that might not be for a while now with our rainy season).  Probably fun too for upcoming Christmas parties!  Enjoy the pictures from the event.

Tap and Barrel upper floor balcony view

Tap and Barrel upper floor balcony view

Whiskey Jack Ale

Whiskey Jack Ale

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

Barrels of wine

Barrels of wine

2 kinds of pretzels with moustard

2 kinds of pretzels with mustard

Roses and Rose Wine for Mother’s Day

Rose Hybrid Tea ‘Mrs. Herbert Stevens’

Mothers have a hard job.  And having 1 day a year to celebrate her daily toil hardly covers how much she should be appreciated.  So I’d like to suggest both roses and rose wine for this special day, and any other day you want to show your appreciation.

The Meanings of Roses

For most of us, guys especially, do not know what the colours of roses mean.  Peruse the colours and pick what is most appropriate.  I would think that some colours of roses, e.g. red, may be more appropriate for your spouse, while other colours more appropriate for your mother.  As I am not an expert on rose colours, I present this list from http://www.rkdn.org/roses/colors.asp

Red (Dark)  Unconscious beauty
Red (Single) I Love You
Deep Burgundy  Unconscious Beauty
White Purity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility, Youthfulness
Pink  Appreciation, “Thank you”, Grace, Perfect Happiness, Admiration, Gentleness, “Please Believe Me”
Dark Pink Appreciation, Gratitude, “Thank You”
Light Pink  Admiration, Sympathy, Gentleness, Grace, Gladness, Joy, Sweetness
Yellow Joy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning, Welcome Back, Remember Me,  Jealousy
Yellow with Red Tip Friendship, Falling in Love
Orange Desire, Enthusiasm
Red and White  Given together, these signify unity
Red and Yellow Jovial and Happy Feelings
Peach  Appreciation, Closing the deal, Let’s get together, Sincerity, Gratitude
Pale Peach Modesty
Coral  Desire
Lavender Love at first sight, Enchantment
Orange  Enthusiasm, Desire, Fascination

How many roses should you give?  That’s a bit subjective, but 1 rose shows your devotion and 6 roses signify a need to be loved or cherished.  If you give 2 roses, that means you want to marry that person.  Maybe you would like to buy 1 rose for each year you have been together?

Some Rose Wine Picks

I have covered many rose wines over the past years.  Rose wines are wonderful I think for spring time and to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Here are a few that I think are quite tasty:

  • Chateau Lallier Champagnes

    Champagne Lallier Rose, NV, France. If your mother, wife or significant other enjoys bubbles, here is one to please. Very pale pinkish orange colour. Light strawberry nose. Bigger bubble, with strawberry and red cherry flavour. You can never go wrong with Champagne.

  • Domaine Chandon Brut Rose, NV, France.  A sparkling rose that will treat your tastebuds.  Light orangey cherry in colour.  Lees and strawberries on the nose.  Lots of light small bubbles in the glass.  Quite creamy mouthfeel with strawberry and cherry flavours.
  • Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2010, BC ($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.
  • Blasted Church Rose 2010, BC ($17.99). This rose is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  Usually I expect a single varietal, like Pinot Noir or Merlot, so I was very interested to taste this rose. Very pale cherry colour. Nice strawberry aromas.  Raspberry leaf, strawberry, and capsicum flavours.  High acidity and spicy on your palate. Light body and long length.  This wine packs a punch with 14.9% alcohol, so beware as you sip this one.
  • Olivares Jumilla Rose 2010, Spain. Bright cherry colour. Light cherry nose.  Light body with ripe red cherries and strawberry flavours. Medium acid and low tannins. Very refreshing. Highly recommended.
  • Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Pinot Noir Rosé 2010, BC. Light pinkish salmon colour. Raspberries and strawberry fruit on the nose with a bit of raspberry leaf as well.  Off dry with light body and medium acidity.  Quite nice strawberry flavour with some almonds on the finish.  The grapes for this wine come from one of the organic Kalala vineyards in West Kelowna.

I wish all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day!

La Stella Mosto Cotto and Olive Oil – Premium Foodie Products

You may know of Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries as high quality French and Italian style wines coming from the Okanagan. But you may not know that they also provide olive oil and now Mosto Cotto from Italy!

What is Mosto Cotto?

La Stella Mosto Cotto

Well you probably have heard of Balsamic Vinegar.  Mosto Cotto isn’t the Balsamic Vinegar that you normally get in the grocery store.  According to Wikipedia Balsamic Vinegar is “…is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks…”  This reduced grape syrup, Mosto Cotto can be enjoyed on it’s own rather than further process/age it into top quality Balsamic Vinegar.

I was fortunate today to sample some La Stella Mosto Cotto on it’s own.  It was deep orangy brown in colour.  A very intense molasses nose which with air, added a dill component. Quite sweet and sour at the same time on the palate.  Medium minus body with  burnt sugar / caramel flavour. The higher acidity of the Mosto Cotto keeps it lively in your mouth.  Long lasting finish.   The grapes to produce their Mosto Cotto are biodynamically farmed and certified.

What would you serve with Mosto Cotto? I was told by Rasoul from Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries that in Italy he has seen the Mosto Cotto dissolved in soda water as a drink, and put on shaved ice.  It could be drizzled onto vegetables and polenta. If you are more ambitious you could take the jus from a roast beef, add some mosto cotto and reduce this down and serve on the roast beef.  Mosto cotto is very versatile.

La Stella Olive Oil

La Stella Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil Intensivo

I was first introduced to the La Stella Olive Oil last year, but by that time it was completely sold out.  This year the olive oil has just arrived, so there is time for me and you to purchase a bottle. It is also organically produced.

The oil was deep lemon in colour. It had an artichoke, grassy, mineral nose. Very full bodied and round on the palate with a very spicy finish.  Their olive oil is called “Intensivo” and yes I agree that it really is intensive.  Use sparingly as a condiment as it really is quite peppery.  This would be wonderful drizzled on vegetables, or in dishes where the oil would not be overcooked or competing with too many other spices.  You really want to enjoy the flavour of this olive oil.

Where can you buy these two products?  There will be a small allocation to some specialty grocery stores in the Vancouver area.  The easiest way would be to order these through Le Vieux Pin / La Stella. Email info@lastella.ca

Rob Feenie and Le Vieux Pin Wines: A Perfect Pairing

What does master chef Rob Feenie have to do with the Le Vieux Pin wines of the South Okanagan?  No, he is not another celebrity opening a winery.  But what he has done, now for the second year, is pair up with the wineries to produce a Feenie’s Blend wine, which is sold at Cactus Club Cafe restaurants!  I had a chance to try the second release of the Feenie’s Blend, red and white, at a recent Le Vieux Pin and La Stella winery new vintage release event.  In addition, I was able to taste a vertical of La Stella’s Allegretto Pie Franco Merlot wines. Let me tell you about the wines I tasted.

Feenie’s Blend Wines

Petit Le Vieux Pin Feenies Blend Rouge and Blanc

Petit Le Vieux Pin Feenie’s Blend Blanc 2010 – Slightly warmer year so slightly higher alcohol content compared to the first vintage. This is a blend of several white aromatic varieties. Pale lemon colour. The Muscat really shows through with orange and spices on the nose as well as other citrus fruits. Quite round mouthfeel, with acidity kicking in the mid-palate. Spicy finish with ripe fruits; peaches and oranges. A nice wine.

Petit Le Vieux Pin Feenie’s Blend Rouge 2009 – A Bordeaux blend made with primarily Merlot. Pretty medium garnet colour. Has a bit of chocolate, leather, cherries, and vanilla on the nose. Medium body, fairly dry, with big legs in the glass. Red cherry and a bit of bon bon flavours. Dry finish.

What is Le Vieux Pin Équinoxe Series?

Newly released, the Équinoxe series could be viewed as a Reserve level series for Le Vieux Pin, but it is much more than that. It also represents equal day, equal night; Equal Old World, equal New World styles.  Everything in perfect harmony.

Le Vieux Pin’s Latest Releases

Équinoxe Syrah 2008 – This Syrah has a traditional Rhone blending of 5% Viognier to add some flowery notes and colour extraction to the Syrah grapes. This is a single vineyard wine from new, 3 year old, vines. Fairly deep purple garnet in the glass. Lots of leather on the nose and a bit of smokiness and dark fruit. Bursting with blueberry and black currant flavour. Spiciness in the mid-palate, and a long length. Subtle vanilla in the background. A big wine. Nice. Still full of youth, it should be interesting to watch future vintages of this wine.

Le Vieux Pin Equinox Cabernet Franc 2008

Équinoxe Merlot 2008 – Medium garnet in colour. A fair amount of legs to this wine, representing high alcohol content. Restrained nose, even with decanting. I detected light vanilla and cherries, and in general ripe, red fruit.  Medium body, very smooth. Some red fruit and cherries. Towards the mid-palate, a raspberry leafiness, some tannins and spices. Long length to this wine. This wine leaves the back and sides of your tongue watering, which indicates a higher amount of acidity.

Équinoxe Cabernet Franc 2008 – This wine comes from a single row from a single vineyard of 16 year old vines, to produce a single barrel of wine! Medium garnet colour in the glass. Light vanilla, cherries, and a slight hint of cedary notes. Medium body with cherry and cassis flavours.  Tannins kick in quite quickly. A very dry wine.  This wine also has the raspberry leafiness that was also there on the Merlot.

La Stella’s Latest Releases

Before talking about these wines, you may want to know what is “Pie Franco“? “Pie Franco” is a term meaning ungrafted (In French I believe it would be “franc de pied”). Why is this important?  As you may know the phylloxera louse nearly wiped out all vitis vinifera in Europe and needed to be grafted to North American root stock in order for it to survive.  Some people have said that you now never really get the true flavour of these European grapes.  In some parts of the world that have sandy soils, phylloxera cannot survive, so you can plant the vitis vinifera in the ground with it’s own rootstock.  This is what has been done in the South Okanagan with the Merlot I had tasted from La Stella.  Chile is another area famous for planting vitis vinifera vines on their own rootstock.

La Stella Allegretto Merlot 2006

Allegretto: Pie Franco Merlot 2006 – Medium to light garnet in colour. Some earthiness on the nose. Earthiness on the palate as well. Red fruit flavours. Low tannins and medium body.  Just a hint of spices. Dry with a long finish.

Allegretto: Pie Franco Merlot 2007 – A bit deeper in colour, purple red in the glass.  Fresh cherry and vanilla nose, with some white pepper. Medium plus in body. Quite smooth and round on the palate. Restrained cherries on the palate. Mid-palate there is some refreshing acidity and spiciness. Dry finish, and long length. I like this wine.

Allegretto: Pie Franco Merlot 2008 – Light garnet coloured. Raspberry and vanilla aromas and a hint of cassis. Light body with firm tannins. Cherries and raspberry flavours with vanilla in the background. Very dry. Another nice wine.

Maestoso: Merlot 2008 – This is La Stella’s flagship wine – the Jewel in the crown. Light ruby in the glass. Quite aromatic compared to the Allegrettos. Nice vanilla and cherry with a leafy edge to the nose. Interesting. Starts off feeling light, but as you aerate it, it gets heavier in your mouth! Vanilla and red cherry flavours with milk chocolate on the finish. Quite round. The tannins are soft.  I highly recommend this wine.

Enjoy these wines at home with friends or family, or go to the Cactus Club Cafe and try a Feenie’s Blend.

Tuna Brochettes BBQ and Wine Pairing

Tuna brochettes image courtesy of Discover Beaujolais

I saw this recipe on the News by Beaujolais newsletter and thought it sounded like it is worth trying instead of sticking with chicken, pork, or beef on the BBQ. This recipe comes compliments of The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Discover Beaujolais recommends to pair it with a 2009 Beaujolais Blanc below. I’ll give a few of my picks too.

Tuna Brochettes

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the tuna, fennel, and red onion, and turn in the marinade. Cover loosely, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Prepare hot coals for grilling.
On four large metal skewers, thread the tuna chunks alternately with pieces of fennel and onion.
Oil the grill, and cook over medium heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Tuna must be grilled quickly, since it will dry out badly if overcooked – so watch it carefully. Serve immediately.

Discover Beaujolais suggests trying the 2009 Château de Pizay Beaujolais Blanc, a crisp white Beaujolais using 100% Chardonnay grapes. With summer, I’d like to also suggest a rose or a riesling.  A few of my recommendations are:

  • Olivares Jumilla Rose 2010, Spain. Bright cherry colour. Light cherry nose.  Light body with ripe red cherries and strawberry flavours. Medium acid and low tannins. Very refreshing. Highly recommended.
  • Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Pinot Noir Rosé 2010, BC. Light pinkish salmon colour. Raspberries and strawberry fruit on the nose with a bit of raspberry leaf as well.  Off dry with light body and medium acidity.  Quite nice strawberry flavour with some almonds on the finish.  The grapes for this wine come from one of the organic Kalala vineyards in West Kelowna.
  • La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The Mistress” Waipara Riesling 2006, New Zealand.  I was really impressed by this wine and their Small Parcel Pinot Noir.  These are special single vineyard wines.  The Riesling was pale lemony green.  Petrol, and lemon on the nose.  High acidity, almost bone dry, with petrol and lemon flavours.

Enjoy!