Planning Your Summer Wine Trip?

It’s almost mid-August… What do you mean planning your summer wine trip?  Well I didn’t mean a trip here.  How about the southern hemisphere?  January is prime summer time down under.

Vina Errazuriz, Chile winery

If you are in North America, a trip south to Argentina or Chile is not a far stretch.  Vancouver, BC to Santiago, Chile via Air Canada is $1555 round trip in January.  Toronto, Ontario to Buenos Aires, Argentina via Air Canada is $1503 round trip in January, per person.  Both countries speak Spanish, but you can also get along with English as there are English speaking people in hotels as well as at wineries (from personal experience).

Before you get to any of the countries I mention, I recommend researching out some wineries on the Internet, then contacting the wineries in advance to set up a private tasting. I’ve done this in the past and I had great private tastings, which usually includes a few wines that are not normally poured at public tastings.

Southern hemisphere wine selection

If you feel more comfortable being in an English-speaking environment, try Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  If you like wines and the environment of British Columbia, then New Zealand may be the destination for you.  A round trip in January from Vancouver to Auckland, New Zealand $2460 via Air Canada per person. If you would like to see the terra rossa soil of the Coonawarra in Australia, and enjoy a big Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, a Vancouver to Sydney, Australia round trip ticket costs around $2123 per person.

The longest flight for Canadians would be to South Africa, but you can experience the Old World wines of the New World.  If you like the structure or finesse of French wines, for example, but also the fruit forwardness of North American wines, South Africa is a good choice. South African wines are designed for food, so make sure you enjoy a braii (a South African bbq) with your South African wines.  A Toronto, Ontario to Capetown, South Africa in January is about $2061 via Air Canada per person.

Some questions you may have for your trip:

  • What wines to enjoy in these southern hemisphere countries?
  • What are the signature grapes of these countries?
  • What are some interesting regions to visit in these countries?

These are all questions that you probably have as you consider your southern hemisphere Summer wine trip.  In upcoming blog articles I will tackle these questions and hopefully help you have a great wine trip!

The flight prices I found on Travelocity.ca.  They can change quickly, so I recommend doing a check on your own. Enjoy your trip planning!

Winemaker’s Dinner with Le Vieux Pin

I don’t normally post on my blog about an upcoming Winemaker’s Dinner, but today I make an exception. I’ve sampled some of Le Vieux Pin’s wines from previous tastings, and I think that they are exceptional. I heard about their upcoming dinner, which will be held on Thursday, May 20, so I wanted to share the info with you, to give you a chance to sample their wines, paired expertly with food from Executive Chef Wayne Harris at the Shangri-La Hotel here in Vancouver.

Here is a copy of the invitation to attend this event:

Thursday, May 20th at 7pm in MARKET by Jean-Georges at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver
Amuse Bouche followed by a four course dinner, prepared by Executive Chef Wayne Harris and paired with Le Vieux Pin’s current releases.

Le Vieux Pin will be bringing a barrel from their winery in Oliver to showcase a future release.

A majestic old pine tree stands in our vineyard: Le Vieux Pin. It speaks to the earth and rain and the clean clear air of the South Okanagan. There we have created a winery inspired by the architecture and style of France.

Our goal is to make wines that capture the essence of the French tradition; but with the fruit and character of the New World: elegant and focused, with great intensity of fruit. Low-input viticulture is the method we use to get there. Sustainable and organic practices, deficit irrigation, high-density planting and extremely low yields will allow the vines to show us who they really are deep down to the roots. The pine tree stands alone.

Sante!
Seating is limited $95.00/seat
Please make your reservation with our Hostess Team
604.695.1115 marketbyjg.slv@shangri-la.com

Enjoy!

Chile Day 4 – Casas del Bosque

Chile day 4. Today was my first day of official wine tasting at a winery here in Chile. My visit was to the Casas del Bosque winery. It is about a 1.5 hr ride from Santiago to Casas del Bosque. We left with semi-sunny skies around Santiago until we passed through a tunnel that on the other side was the start of the Casablanca Valley. We immediately hit the coastal fog which is famous for the valley. I met with a very informative lady named Judith Ramirez Aquirre. Judith took me through some of the vines surrounding the winery. As it is spring here in Chile, there are no berries yet. The vines have started to sprout leaves and some have the buds for the grapes which have yet to bloom. Grape vines i am told bloom in November in Chile. That there are buds now is surprising to the people at the winery. They mentioned that it was the Pinot Noir vines that were 3 weeks advanced. There was also chardonnay and sauvignon blanc vines around which were still with very small leaves forming. After walking through the vines, we viewed the crushing area, the stainless steel fermentation vats, the oak barrel aging room, and the bottling line, before we moved to the Tasting Room. Judith led me through a tasting of 8 wines. We started with Sauvignon Blanc, then to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a red blend. All the grapes are from the Casablanca Valley, except for the Cab, which was from the Rapel Valley. Although I do not have time to go through all the wines today, I’ll point out a few, and then when i’m back in Canada, i’ll provide all my tasting notes on www.mywinepal.com. One wine of note was the 2009 Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc Reserva (unbelievable being a 2009 vintage, while the Okanagan is still harvesting grapes). This is made very much in a New World (New Zealand) style. This one was pale lemon with a green tint. Lots of gooseberry and herbal on the nose, and a bit of celery. Good acidity, with gooseberry, herbal, celery and green apple flavours. Pair with some oysters on the half shell or lightly cooked fish for a nice complement. On the red wine side, I will make note of the 2008 Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Gran Reserva. This wine spent 9 months in french oak. They like to use 2-3 year French oak barrels as much as possible for all their barrel aged wines so the oak is there, but not in your face. This one had a wide range of aromas. Strawberry, oak, red cherry, dill and mushroom at first, but then some vanilla on the nose. The wine was quite fruity. Lots of red cherry, but also some dill and vanilla. Quite smooth, medium length, and a dry finish. I’d try this with grilled salmon, or pan fried chicken breast with vegetables and herbs. That is all for now. I’m in Valparaiso enjoying the views of this UNESCO World heritage site. Saludos.