Come Taste Oyster Bay Wines at Seasons in the Park

Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

This email reached me recently about one of the upcoming wine tastings, of Oyster Bay Wines from New Zealand, at Seasons in the Park Restaurant in Queen Elizabeth Park.  The restaurant has a spectacular view of downtown and the North Shore mountains, day or night.  Oyster Bay Wines, and New Zealand wines in general, are bright and are great for spring and summer enjoyment. So check out the announcement, buy your tickets and enjoy!

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Spring is upon us and summer is just around the corner!

Come celebrate the beginning of Vancouver’s beautiful, sunny weather by joining us for a tasting of Oyster Bay Wines and delectable canapes paired perfectly by our chef team on April 15. A wonderful way to ring in the spring!

Described by leading London wine writer, Michael Kime, as “pretty close to being the elusive stuff of dreams“, the wines of Oyster Bay are the proud progeny of a single-minded passion — to capture the pure fruit flavours of one of the world’s great wine-growing regions.

  • Sparkling Rosé
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Noir

Event is on April 15, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Tickets are $35 per person (not including tax & gratuity)

For more information or to purchase tickets, please feel free to contact us!

604.874.8008 or seasonsevents@vancouverdine.com 

Please note: There are no physical tickets for our tasting events. Once your purchase is completed, you will be added to our guestlist. Please check in at the front desk upon arrival. Tasting starts promptly at 6:15pm.

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new zealand wine logo

New Zealand Wines Winners in Recent Canadian Wine Awards

2013 WORLD WINE AWARDS OF CANADA

WineAlign’s 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada is a brand new competition yet the judging team are seasoned top wine writers and sommeliers who spent five days blind tasting 1,000 wines!  New Zealand was there to participate, and have some winning wines to share with you. Yes Sauvignon Blanc is in the list, but there are other varietal wines for you to consider, such as Pinot Grigio.

Best of Country

  • Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2011  ( A top quality winery that I never hestitate to recommend.)

Best of variety under $15

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Judges’ Choice

  • Giesen  Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Judges’ Choice by Varietal 
Sauvignon Blanc  

  • Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Pinot Gris/Grigio

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Pinot Noir  

  • Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2012

Passionate Pairings During Vancouver International Wine Festival

New Zealand flag

New Zealand flag

Kia Ora!  Do you love Pinot Noirs and bracing Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand?  Thinking of buying some event tickets for the Vancouver International Wine Festival at the end of Feb/ start of March?  Think about the Passionate Pairings at the Boathouse in Kitsilano.  I’ve attended the last two years.  Great seafood, paired with great New Zealand wine.  Here is some details from the Boathouse.  Enjoy!

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mud house sauvignon blanc and pinot noir

mud house sauvignon blanc and pinot noir

PASSIONATE PAIRINGS – Vancouver International Wine Festival Eventback by popular demand – Saturday, March 2nd

It’s the ultimate wine and food experience! NZ Wine Growers challenged seven passionate Boathouse chefs to prepare seven inspired dishes to pair with sensational wines from seven New Zealand wineries. Take in the spectacular views of English Bay at The Boathouse at Kits Beach and meet one-on-one with New Zealand winery principals and Boathouse chefs at this popular culinary grazing event. Your challenge is to choose your own favourite Passionate Pairing!
Ticket limit is 8.  $69 per person

BUY TICKETS – MORE INFO

A Few Value Wine Finds at New Westminster Liquor Store

I had a chance to drop by the New Westminster BCLDB Liquor store at the bottom of Royal Ave yesterday and saw a few wines on sale and other interesting wines. Here are a few quick snapshots from my camera on the wines. I think you should be able to pick them up at the same price at other BCLDB stores. Enjoy!

Viu Manent Malbec 2011

Viu Manent Malbec 2011 – An outrageously cheap price.

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Always good quality from New Zealand.

Picpoul de pinet

Picpoul de pinet – an interesting white grape from France. Exceptional price.

Alive Red and White

Alive Red and White. Two quality organic wines from Summerhill Winery.

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

TASTE Resto-Lounge Opens Downtown – Food, Art, Music

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Last week was the opening of TASTE Resto Lounge at 560 Seymour Street, in downtown Vancouver. It is next door to the nightclub, FIVESIXTY, so you may want to have a nibble here before dancing the night away.

On this evening we were served mini versions of the share plate menu items. Upon entering TASTE, you are struck by the red glass chandeliers, giving a Gothic or Bordello type atmosphere, depending on who you ask. At the back of the room is a long table, where you can sit with your friends, and make new friends, while you eat and drink, and view the featured artists’ paintings on the walls.

Sharing Plates Samples

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

We were given tastings of:

  • charcuterie, with a mix of sausages, prosciutto, capicollo, artisanal cheese, and sweet pickled beets
  • house smoked chicken liver pate with capicollo, pickled beets, pesto, onion marmalade on a crostini
  • bacon chutney with pear and brie stack and a chimmichurri sauce on a crostini
  • a salad of roma tomatoes, fresh Bocconcini with diced cucumber and white balsamic pesto

I think my favourite item was the chicken liver pate.  Lots of flavour, and paired nice with a glass of prosecco.  All of the ingredients, I was told, are local and organic by Executive Chef Renaldo Decembrini.

Wine and Other Drinks

The wine list has a range of wines from around the world, but BC wines were missing.  It would be nice to add in one white and one red in the list.  The food and wine list were designed to be complementary and they have some selections with food and wine pairings on a chalk board beside the long table in the back of TASTE.

On the white wine side, you can enjoy a glass of Marisco the Ned Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, full of herbal character, and have with a salad.  The Canti Prosecco as I mentioned to go with the chicken liver pate. Try the Fritz Riesling or the Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc with the charcuterie.

There are 2 Argentinean Malbecs to choose; Pascual Toso  and Dona Paula. I did have a sip of the Marques de la Mancha Tempranillo, very full bodied, lots of dark fruit and very smooth and silky. Definitely would pair nicely with the charcuterie or their house smoked beef tenderloin.

In addition, there are some BC/Canadian beers on tap.  They also invented some cocktails that are meant to pair with their share plates.  I did not have a chance to try these, but maybe on my next visit.

I wish TASTE Resto-Lounge the best of luck in their launch.

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

salad of roma tomatoes Bocconcini and cucumber

Salad of roma tomatoes, Bocconcini, and cucumber

TASTE chalk board recommendations

TASTE chalk board recommendations

Latest IVSA Wine Picks – March 2012 Trebbiano and More

I’m a bit tardy with this blog article about the latest Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) trade tasting, with many other work and non-work events happening at this time. Going back to my notes, I found a few good new wines to the BC marketplace. One thing I noticed was there was more Torrontes and Trebbiano at this trade tasting than at other tastings. This could be in part due to the time of year with the white wines being released.  With that, let’s get into my latest wine picks.

White Wines

  • Callia Alta Torrontes 2011

    Callia Alta Torrontes 2011, Argentina (spec $13.95). Medium lemony green in colour.  Very fruity, tropical fruit and flowers on the nose. Medium body with tropical fruit, citrus and oranges in particular flavours.  Nice acidity and some spiciness.  Dry with medium plus length.  This is more complex than most Torrontes.

  • Zenato Lugara DOC San Benedetto Trebbiano, Italy. Pale lemon in the glass.  Nice nose with citrus, apples and a hint of oranges. Light body with citrus and slight sweet spice / nutmeg flavour. Dry. Very nice.
  • Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Africa. Thelema is a quality producer from South Africa.  This wine had a wow nose.  Lots of gooseberries.  High acidity with green bean, gooseberry and grapefruit peel flavours.  Some spiciness on the mid-palate.  Short length (wish it was a bit longer).
  • Vouvrey Grandes Caves Saint Roch – Demi Sec 2010, France.  This was my overall favourite wine of the tasting.  It is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Delicate light crab apple and citrus aromas. Medium minus body mouthfeel yet acts like it is a bigger wine.  Apples and citrus flavours.  Quite round with a good acidic backbone.
  • Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007, New Zealand. Medium lemon colour. Citrus and tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of oak.  Medium minus body, mineral, citrus, and apple flavours.  Dry with medium acidity. Medium length with a waxy finish.  An interesting wine.
  • Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand. Pale lemony green in the glass.  Lots of herbal and cut green grass on the nose.  High acidity on the palate with lots of gooseberry flavour and some jalapeno pepper flavour mid palate.
  • Domaine des Baumard Clos du Papillon 2008, France. Another Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Deeper golden colour. Nutty, peachy nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity.  Peach pit, citrus and some spice on the palate.  Very interesting.

Red Wines

  • Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley. Medium translucent ruby colour.  Nice ripe berry nose.  Elegant and not overpowering. Lighter body with cassis and dark fruit flavours.  High acidity, low tannins and long length.  A quality wine.

  • Gorcleyant Malbec 2010, France. Medium ruby colour. Nice bright red fruit nose.  Lighter bodied, soft tannins and juicy red fruit flavour.  A hint of vanilla and spice too.
  • Masi Modello Rosso 2010, Italy. Light ruby colour.  Nice nose with closes and red fruits.  Light body, dry, with soft tannins. Red fruit, oak and cloves on the palate. Good price $12.99.

Sparkling and Fortified Wines

  • Niepoort LBV 2005, Portugal. This is a Late Bottled Vintage port.  This one is medium ruby in colour.  Light aromas of cherries and apples.  Light body, medium sweetness, but quite spicy on the palate.  Flavours of plums, dark cherries and some vanilla.
  • Zinck Cremant Brut D’Alsace, France. Light straw colour with small light bubbles. Nice aromas of red delicious apples and some lees.  Light body, high acidity, with more red delicious apples on the palate.  Dry.  Tasty.

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest – Wineries to Try

It is 1 week till the International Festival Tasting Room opens at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and we will get to try wines from all over the world. But which wineries? Here are a few wineries that I think you should try.

Chile

  • De Martino
  • Miguel Torres (also Spain)
  • Viña Montes
  • MontGras
  • Viña Santa Rita
  • Seña / Viña Arboleda
  • Concha y Toro

The Rest of the World

  • Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
  • Decero (Argentina)
  • Las Perdices (Argentina)
  • Katnook (Australia)
  • Penfolds (Australia)
  • Yalumba (Australia)
  • Le Vieux Pin / La Stella (Canada)
  • Mission Hill Family Estate (Canada)
  • Osoyoos Larose  (Canada)
  • Painted Rock Estate Winery (Canada)
  • Thornhaven Estate (Canada)
  • M. Chapoutier (France)
  • Maison Louis Latour (France)
  • Pfaffenheim (France)
  • Estates of Antinori (Italy)
  • Bisol Desiderio & Figli (Italy)
  • Astrolabe (New Zealand)
  • Wither Hills (New Zealand)
  • Quinta do Crasto (Portugal)
  • Symington Family Estates (Portugal)
  • Taylor Fladgate / Fonseca / Croft Port (Portugal)
  • Lammershoek Winery (South Africa)
  • Bodegas Muga (Spain)
  • Bodegas Olivares (Spain)
  • Caymus Winery (USA)
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (USA)
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards (USA)
  • King Estate (USA)
  • Bergevin Lane (USA)
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle (USA)

There are of course many other wineries to try at the Wine Festival, so if you see something that interests you TRY IT.  Some of the wines at the Festival are brought in ONLY for the Festival, so if you like it, buy it in the wine shop at the back of the tasting room before it sells out.  The complete list of wineries at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival is here.

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!

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!