Join Bistro Pastis with their Alsatian Menu in June

Colmar in Alsace (Image courtesy Wikicommons Tizianok)

Colmar in Alsace (Image courtesy Wikicommons Tizianok)

Alsace is a wonderful region in northeastern France.  The confluence of German and French wine and cuisine.  Beautiful gingerbread-style houses.  I’ve been there once and would love to go again.  But in case you are like me, longing to visit, or have yet to visit, you can experience the cuisine of Alsace at Bistro Pastis till the end of June.  Here is their special menu for me and you.

Alsace Feature Menu

June 8th to 30th, 2017

Appetizers:

alsatian onion tarte
shaved spring vegetables, crème fraiche
$16

beef consommé
alsatian dumplings, brunoise mire poix
$12

smoked sturgeon carpaccio
fingerling potato salad, remoulade
$16

Mains

perch a la sauvigny
pan seared perch in cream sauce, buttered egg noodles, glazed asparagus
$30

choucroute garni
braised pork belly, house made sausage,
sauerkraut, potatoes

$29

beer braised duck leg
Roasted apples, pomme sardelaise, green beans
$29

Desserts

rhum baba
caramel sauce, “the kraken” rum raisin ice cream
$10

citrus madeleine
candied citrus zest
$9.50

 

Although there are no wine pairings shown, classic Alsatian wines are made from Pinot Noir, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat d’Alsace, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

You can make a reservation to Bistro Pastis on OpenTable at this link.

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad Recipe – Gluten Free

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad

I was emailed this recipe and thought I’d pass it along to you.  It uses Tofu Shirataki noodles, which are made with tofu, and are gluten free.  I haven’t made this dish yet, but the ingredients look good, and should pair nicely with a BC Pinot Gris or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  I’ve listed a few after the recipe.  Enjoy.

Tofu Shirataki Vietnamese Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

2 pkg House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti shape
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 scallions, sliced
chopped peanuts
pinch chili flakes (optional)
cilantro
mint

For Dressing:
1-1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
juice from 1 lime

DIRECTIONS:

For Salad:
Prepare Tofu Shirataki according to package instructions. Cut into manageable size. Add noodles, carrot, cucumber, chicken, lettuce and scallions in a large bowl and mix well.
Top with peanuts, mint, cilantro and chili flakes (if using).
Add dressing just before serving.

For Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in small ramekin and stir.

A Few Wine Selections

You can find a some of these wines at Everything Wine. The BC wines are available online from the wineries.

Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012, BC ($24.49)

Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris 2013, BC ($18.90)

Forrest Wines “The Doctors” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ, 2012 (BC$19.95 SPEC)

Marisco Vineyards, The Kings Favour Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ, 2013 (BC $19.99 )

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.

BCWAS

BCWAS – Perseus Wine Tasting Tickets on Sale

Have you tried the wines from BC’s Perseus winery?  Top quality wine that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling several times.  Here is your chance to taste their wines at the BC Wine Appreciation Society tasting.  The BCWAS announcement is below.  Enjoy!

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Perseus Winery Tempus Syrah 2009Perseus Winery was named after the constellation of Perseus, which can be seen in the clear northern sky in the months after harvest.

”The goal of Perseus Winery is to produce approachable wines of character and distinction from some of British Columbia’s finest vineyards.”  Perseus believes in terroir – that sense of place which includes the soil type, the microclimate, the slope, and the actual location of the vineyard. Their winemaking philosophy is to handle the wine as little as possible, letting the grapes do the talking! Recent awards include a Gold, a Silver, and two Bronzes at the WineAlign National Awards of Canada – these wines are stars!

John Pullen, Director of Sales and Marketing for Perseus, will be coming out to talk to us, and he’s bringing a whole constellation of eleven of his wines – including two mini-verticals! John has almost a decade of BC wine experience, most recently at Church and State. He’s very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about BC wines, so he’ll fit right in with all of us!

The Wine Flight

The wines you will enjoy are:

  • 2011 Sauvignon Blanc – crisp and refreshing
  • 2011 Pinot Gris – lots of peachy characters
  • 2012 Viognier – look for hints of tropical fruits
  • 2011 Chardonnay – even you “ABC” types will like this one
  • 2011 Cabernet Franc – spicy and full-bodied
  • 2011 Malbec – rich and dark
  • 2010 and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon – big and bold
  • 2009, 2010 and 2011 Invictus – complex spicy/fruity Bordeaux blend

This will be our first tasting at our new venue, the Vancouver Masonic Centre. We look forward to seeing your familiar faces in our new location!

Where is the Tasting?

  • Where is the Masonic Centre?  1495 W 8th Ave, at Granville
  • How can I get there? Transit is very convenient! Bus routes 4, 7, 10, 16, and 50 stop along Granville, and routes 9 and 99 stop on Broadway. All stops are within one or two blocks.
  • What about parking?  Underground parking is available, and there is lots of street parking, too. Sorry, no free parking, but we will give you a free transit ticket to get you home!

Several of our tastings this year have sold out. Sign up quickly to make sure you don’t miss this one!

 When and How Much?

Date: Wednesday October 9, 2013

Time: 7:30 to 9:30

Place: the Vancouver Masonic Centre, 1495 West 8th Ave (just off Granville)

Members: only $45

Guests: $60

To sign up click on the link below.

http://www.bcwas.com/Perseus.html

Enjoy the Sparkling Wines of Blue Mountain Vineyards Tasting

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyards in the Okanagan is well-known for their sparkling wines.  If you have not had a chance to enjoy them, the BC Wine Appreciation Society is having a special tasting here in Vancouver on Feb. 12 at the Listel Hotel.  The announcement is below.

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What better way to celebrate a winter evening than with some festive sparkling wine?

Matt Mavety of Blue Mountain Vineyard is coming to see us on Tuesday February 12th, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and he’s bringing four of his celebrated sparkling wines, plus six of his award-winning table wines: two Pinot Gris, two Chardonnay, and two Pinot Noir. We’ll be able to taste one Cream Label and one Reserve Striped Label of each varietal – what a treat!

To make this even more special, we are going to be able to try two amazing vintage sparklers, the 2005 Reserve Brut, and the 2006 Blanc de Blancs. Both are very rare, and we’re very lucky that Blue Mountain is generous enough to let us try them!

Ian and Jane Mavety purchased the 80 acre Blue Mountain property over 40 years ago. Matt Mavety, the current winemaker and son of Ian and Jane, had his first real job in the vineyard at age 14. Loving the work, Matt studied agriculture at UBC, and also studied viticulture and oenology at Lincoln University in New Zealand. Matt started full-time back at Blue Mountain in 1997, and became the official winemaker in 2005.

Matt feels that farming grapes in an environmentally sustainable way leads to the best expression of terroir for the wines. The focus of Matt’s talk will be about what makes Blue Mountain unique, including biodynamic farming, the making of the sparkling wines, cellar aging benefits, their barrel program, and how the wine clones they’ve chosen work with the land they live on. We’re sure this will be fascinating, especially as we get to taste several of the results!

The Wine Lineup

Brut Non-Vintage

2008 Rose

2006 Blanc de Blancs

2005 Reserve Brut

2011 Pinot Gris Cream Label

2010 Pinot Gris Reserve Striped Label

2011 Chardonnay Cream Label

2010 Chardonnay Reserve Striped Label

2011 Pinot Noir Cream Label

2010 Pinot Noir Reserve Striped Label

Wouldn’t this make a wonderful Valentine’s outing for you and your favourite wine-lover? And if you want to come on your own, bubbly wine is always a cause for celebration, no matter what day it is!

Our previous tasting sold out. Sign up quickly to make sure you don’t miss this one!

Where, When, and How Much?

Date: Tuesday February 12, 2013

Time: 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Place: Listel Hotel, 1300 Robson St., Vancouver

Guests: $52

Click here to sign up:  http://www.bcwas.com/BlueMountain.html

Raise a Glass to BC’s Blue Mountain Winery – Free Tastings

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

I like to pass along info to everyone about free wine tastings, and this one is special because Blue Mountain makes a very nice sparkling wine, that I hope you get a chance to try.  Enjoy and maybe clink a glass with me!

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Raise a Glass to BC’s Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars at TWO Complimentary Tastings & Bottle Signings

May 29, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – Taste premium wines from BC’s Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars at two FREE consumer tastings.  The events will occur on Thursday, June 7 2012 at Everything Wine’s North Vancouver location and Friday June 8 at Marquis Wine Cellars in downtown Vancouver.  Blue Mountain winemaker Matt Mavety will be on hand to share his passion for the wines and their place of origin.

Wines featured at the tastings will include:

  • Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Wine
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Pinot Gris
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Chardonnay
  • 2010 Blue Mountain Pinot Noir

 

Thursday, June 7 2012
4:00 – 6:00pM
Everything Wine
998 Marine Drive, North Vancouver

Friday, June 8 2012
4:00 – 6:00pm
Marquis Wine Cellars

1034 Davie Street, Vancouver

 About Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Located in BC’s South Okanagan, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars is distinctive among Canadian wineries in that all its wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown on the estate’s vineyards.  Ian Mavety purchased the land which is now Blue Mountain Vineyard in 1971.  Current owners Ian, Jane, Matt, and Christie Mavety continue to work to realize the potential of the region, utilizing sustainable farming methods and winemaking practices.  Blue Mountain produces complex, age-worthy varietal wines that are consistent in style while allowing the expression of both the terroir and the individual growing season.

My Bada Bing Food Truck Experience

Bada Bing Truck with menu

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

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

  • Bada Bing Chicken Philly Cheese

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

  • Henry Fessy “St. Amour”, 2009, France ($24.99). This is a Beaujolais from the eastern part of France (south of Burgundy), made from the Gamay grape.  Pale ruby in colour.  Cherry bon bon nose. Light body and lower tannins.  Cherry flavour. Lighter in body than a Bordeaux, similar in weight to a lighter Pinot Noir.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2009, BC ($12.90).  An unbelievable price for a single varietal wine from the Okanagan. This is a nice light bodied wine that you can serve slightly chilled.  The wine was pale cherry in colour.  Restrained aromas of red cherry and red currants, and a hint of smoke. On the palate there was violets, roses, cherries, black pepper and a bit of spice.  Refreshing acidity and quite a long finish.

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

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

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

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

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

My Latest IVSA Wine Highlights and Recommendations

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

Overall Gems

Dante Robino Bonarda 2009

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

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

A Tale of Two Chenins

The Winery of Good Hope and Domaine de Vaugondy Chenin Blancs

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

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

A Few Nice French Reds

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

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

Anything But Chardonnay

Neudorf Pinot Gris 2010

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

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

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

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

Juicy Red Wines

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

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

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

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

How Many Vineyards are in BC?

Have you ever wondered how much area of BC is covered with wine grapes?  Well it has been steadily growing.  The 2011 BC Grape Acreage Report was recently released and has some very interesting statistics that I would like to share with you.

Some Findings from the Report:

With 9,866.52 acres (3,946 hectares) of wine grapes planted in British Columbia, up 8.7% from 2008, the report’s author Lynn Bremmer of Mount Kobau Wine Services notes, “the overall grape acreage was limited in growth somewhat over the past three years due to a number of factors, including re-plants of existing vineyards to new varieties.” All of British Columbia’s designated viticultural areas have increased their number of vineyards by at least 5% since 2008, with the most significant regions of growth being Vancouver Island (up 24.3%) and the Similkameen Valley (up 19.2%). There are also new areas of growth throughout the province, including Shuswap/Spallumcheen, Kootenays, Lillooet/Lytton and Kamloops.

Varietal plantings showing some of the greatest increases include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.

2011 BC Wine Grape Crop Report Summary:

There are 9,866.52 acres (3,946 hectares) of wine grapes in BC

  • 48 % White grapes, 52 % Red grapes
  • 95.7 % Vinifera grapes, 4.3 % hybrids

The most planted varieties in order of acres:

  1. Merlot  (Take that “Sideways”.  My comment.)
  2. Pinot Gris
  3. Chardonnay
  4. Pinot Noir (Wow, Pinot Noir 2nd most planted red grape!)
  5. Cabernet Sauvignon
  6. Gewurztraminer
  7. Syrah
  8. Cabernet Franc
  9. Riesling (Another interesting fact.  I thought it would be higher than Gewurztraminer.)
  10. Sauvignon Blanc

There are *210 licensed grape wineries in BC and 24 additional growers indicated they will start a winery in the future
There are 864 vineyards in BC (both winery and independently owned), with acreage distributed as follows:

  • 81.7 % in the Okanagan Valley
  • 7.0 % in the Similkameen Valley
  • 8.3 % in the Coastal Areas
  • 3.0 % in Other areas of BC

61.7 % of wine grape acreage is winery owned or controlled and 38.3 % is owned by independent grape growers

Average winery vineyard holdings is 28.97 acres

Average independent grower vineyard size is 6.6 acres

All these wine grape stats and more are available at the BC Wine Publications and Reports web page.  Enjoy!

Enjoying Blasted Church – Sip + Savour

Image Courtesy Fairmont Herons Restaurant

Wine and cheese.  Always an enjoyable time when paired together.  Today I looked forward to going to Herons Restaurant in Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in downtown Vancouver to try a flight of wines from Blasted Church winery and a pairing of cheeses from The Farm House Natural Cheeses and cheese from the Kootenays and from Salt Spring Island. You too can enjoy Sip + Savour because it takes place daily from 2pm to 5pm (excluding Sundays) at a cost of just $35.95.

Mark Wendenburg with a bottle of Blasted Church wine

Walking into Herons, I looked for an empty wine glass and a table with some wines to taste.  With my luck, the table I picked had the new wine maker from Blasted Church, Mr. Mark Wendenburg, pouring wine. Mark Wendenburg left Sumac Ridge Winery after working with them for18 years. Mark was a born and raised Penticton, and has travelled around the world, getting trained in Germany, and then making wines in New Zealand and Australia before settling back in the Okanagan. Mark is a very friendly person and I enjoyed speaking with him for a long time about wine making style, terroir, and more.

White Wines

The white wines I tasted were all fresh and fruit forward. Perfect for the summer, which I am told should arrive soon!

Pinot Gris 2010 ($19.99). I was told by Mark that their Pinot Gris always has a bit of Viognier blended in. This vintage had 8% added to the Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour.  Light peach and apple aromas.  High acidity but still round mouth feel. Medium body.  Flavours of ripe tropical fruits.

Blasted Church Pinot Gris on ice

Chardonnay Musque 2010 ($17.99). The Chardonnay Musque grape is a unique clone of Chardonnay that was pioneered in the Niagara Peninsula by Château des Charmes’ founder Paul Bosc. It has the Muscat character, which is very aromatic and an aroma of oranges.  This wine was pale lemon in colour. Very aromatic of oranges and flowers. Medium body, dry and medium acidity.  Juicy fruits of lemon and tropical fruit on the palate, also a bit of vanilla.  A nice long, dry finish.

Mixed Blessings 2010 ($17.99). This is the third vintage of this wine, and each vintage is made of a unique blend of white grapes. This vintage was made with Riesling and Gewurztraminer.  Nice aromatic nose. Green and stone fruits.  Off dry with a slight green, herbal flavour.  Light body with medium acidity and light spice to finish. Nice.

Gewurztraminer 2010 ($16.99). Pale lemon in the glass. Flowers and lychee greet your nose. High acidity with flowers,lychee and bonbon flavours.  Light body and has a nice balance of roundness with acidity in your mouth. Another nice wine!

Hatfield’s Fuse 2010 ($17.99). This is a blend of white grapes including Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. Light lychee and herbal nose.  Round mouth feel with a nice balance of acidity.  Juicy fruit gum flavour.

Rose and Red Wines

Blasted Church has a wide range of reds from rose and lighter bodied Pinot Noir, up to a full bodied Bordeaux Blend.

Rose 2010 ($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 on the patio.

Pinot Noir 2009 ($24.99). I am a Pinot Noir fan and I think that the Okanagan produces some nice Pinot Noir wines. This wine was a bit Burgundian in style. Pale cherry colour, with a smoky, earthy nose.  Between a light and medium body with more smokiness and earthiness on the palate, along with cherries.  Low tannins with medium acidity. Dry with medium length.

Blasted Church Cabernet Merlot and blue cheese

Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot ($25.99). Deep garnet in colour. Ripe, dark fruit, vanilla, capsicum and pencil lead aromas. Medium body round and soft in your mouth with juicy ripe fruits, cherries and vanilla. Also a bit on spiciness on the finish.  Long length.  This wine tastes sweet, but it is just the juiciness of the fruit. Nice.

Nothing Sacred 2008 ($39.99). I’m not sure why the name, but the label shows a dead goat with it’s legs up in the air! This is a premium Bordeaux blend comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Each parcel of fruit was processed and vinified separately.  After vinification, the wines went into their finest oak barrels and aged separately until a final blend was determined. Deep garnet in the glass. Ripe dark fruit, vanilla and dark chocolate nose. Full body with cassis, plums, and opulent vanilla flavours.  Dry with medium tannins and soft acid.  Try this wine with a steak on your barbeque this long weekend.

Artisan Cheese

To pair with several of Blasted Church’s wines were artisan cheese by The Farm House Natural Cheeses, plus an Alpindon cheese from the Kootenay’s and a  “Beddis Blue” from Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Salt Spring Island.

Alpindon cheese with Blasted Church Pinot Gris

The Alpindon cheese was paired with the Pinot Gris. This is a hard cheese, slightly creamy and salty, with a bit of crunchiness to it. A bit of pungency but still quite mild for most people. It went nicely with the pinot gris.

I checked up on this cheese via the Internet and found that it is made by the Kootenay Alpine Cheese Company in Creston, BC. They describe the Alpindon cheese as “a firm cheese carefully modeled after French Beaufort d’Alpage. Following centuries old tradition this cheese is hand-rubbed and made only with milk from summer pastures. It exhibits a smooth nut flavour, a complex finish, a rich golden interior and a dark textured rind. Additional aging concentrates its flavours, deepens its complexity, and increases the sweet crystals that develop throughout the body of the cheese.”

Variety of Cheeses from Farm House Natural Cheeses

The Farm House Natural Cheeses‘ Farm House cheddar was paired with the Chardonnnay Musque. This cheddar felt medium aged to me with some nice nuttiness, a bit of cheddar sharpness, and low in salt. It is hard for a cheddar not to pair nicely with any wine, and this one matched well. A drop of sweet chutney was added to the cheese so you had some sweet, sharp, nutty, and salty flavours to go with the Chardonnay Musque. I spoke with I believe Debra Amrein-Boyes, who is one of only twelve people in western Canada and the US who has been inducted into the prestigious French Cheese Guild, the “Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon“.  I was very interested to hear how they made one of their blue cheeses, and her description of their camembert cheese.  They are located in Agassiz, BC, so I hope to make a pilgrimage to their Fromagerie before the summer is out, see her contented cows and try more of her fabulous cheeses.

The last cheese paired was the  “Beddis Blue” from Moonstruck Organic Cheese onSalt Spring Island. Very creamy with a mild bite. A drop of honey made by bees kept on the roof of the Fairmont Waterfront hotel, was added to this blue cheese.  It was a very interesting flavour combination.  I’ve never mixed honey and blue cheese, but it works and paired nicely with the fruitiness and acidity in the Cabernet Merlot blend.

If you are a fan of bees and honey, the Fairmont Waterfront hotel does offer their guests a guided Herb Garden & Honeybee Tour. Also if you are a chocolate fan, try the hotel’s honey truffles, the “Bee’s Knees”. The truffles, created in partnership with British Columbia’s legendary chocolatier, Rogers’ Chocolates, are offered in milk and dark chocolate and feature flavour notes of butterscotch, vanilla and cinnamon.

Have a great summer, enjoying some wine and cheese on your patio!