Wines of South Africa Free Wine Tasting and Chance to Win A Resort Vacation

Do you know much about South African wine? If you are a lover of their wines, or just learning, the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) are being featured at BCLDB Stores in August, and is having a Free Wine Tasting and offering a chance to win a 2 night stay in Osoyoos’ Watermark Beach Resort!

I see some quality producers’ names in the list below, like Fairview, Graceland, Graham Beck, Saxenburg, Spier and Thelema. Also you will get to try South Africa’s signature white grape “Chenin Blanc” and red grape “Pinotage”. Here are the details of the event.  Enjoy!


Throughout the month of August, BC Liquor Stores will be highlighting the consistent quality and amazing value of wines from South Africa.  One of the highlights of the month will be a FREE consumer tasting at the 39th & Cambie Signature Store on Friday, August 10 2012.

A selection of top South African wines will be on display at 75 BCLDB stores throughout August.  Wine lovers can also explore the diversity of the following wines at the free tasting at 39th & Cambie:




DGB Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 897710 $24.99
Fairview Estates La Capra Shiraz 143537 $14.99
Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 90936 $12.99
Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon 140970 $29.99
Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 40428 $19.99
Grape Grinder The Grinder Pinotage 883991 $14.99
KWV Roodeberg Red 7187 $13.99
Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 111526 $12.99
Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red Blend 316992 $18.99
Six Hats Shiraz (Fair Trade Certified) 20255 $13.99
Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 659037 $14.25
Thelema Mountain Vineyard Shiraz 607549 $28.99
Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 340380 $10.49

In conjunction with the month-long promotion, Wines of South Africa is offering a weekend for two at the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC.  The prize includes accommodation and a gift card towards meals in their highly acclaimed wine bar.  For details, and to enter the draw, visit

Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, August 10 2012   3:00 – 7:00 pm

BCLDB 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store
5555 Cambie Street
, Vancouver

About Us

About Wines of South Africa: Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. South Africa’s winemaking history stretches back to the 1600s.  In recent years, however, the country has combined longstanding traditions with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

About Watermark Beach Resort: Set in the heart of Canada’s premiere wine growing region along the quiet shores of Osoyoos Lake, the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort offers all the services and amenities needed for the perfect getaway, wedding, or meeting destination. The four-story, 153 suite Watermark Beach Resort’s complement of amenities includes a spa, fitness facility, steam room, hot tubs, seasonal pool with waterslide, wine bar and wine bar patio with an summer kitchen.

Wines of Stoneboat Vineyards Featured at Salt Tasting Room Event – Get Your Tickets

Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage

Have you heard of Okanagan’s Stoneboat Vineyards? They have been farming in the Okanagan for many years, but a few years ago they decided to open a winery.  I was lucky to taste their first wines when they opened their tasting room.  What peaked my interest the most is that they produced a wine made from the Pinotage grape.  This is quite a rare grape in the Okanagan.  It comes from South Africa, where it was created in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault grapes. Pinotage can be a full bodied red wine with spicy, black and red berry flavours followed with a hint of banana. Pinotage may also have a bouquet of soft strawberry fruits. Pinotage can be a full bodied red wine with spicy, black and red berry flavours followed with a hint of banana. Pinotage may also have a bouquet of soft strawberry fruits.  Pinotage is a versatile wine, which can be paired with bbq’d meats, East Indian curries, and spicy Asian food.  I enjoyed Stoneboat’s Pinotage then, and I still look for it.

You can hopefully try this wine, along with the other wines that Stoneboat Vineyards produces  when you attend Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, on Tuesday June 26.  Below is the information that I received about this event. Enjoy!


For Immediate Release

Stoneboat Vineyards logo

June 12, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – On Tuesday, June 26 2012, new releases from Stoneboat Vineyards will be in the spotlight at the Salt Tasting Room.  The wines will be paired with gourmet delights such as artisanal cheeses and local charcuterie.  Tim and Jay Martiniuk, two members of the family that owns and operates Stoneboat Vineyards, will attend the event and share their insights into the new vintages.

Brothers Tim and Jay exemplify the hands-on approach of the Martiniuk family, which has been a pioneer in BC’s winemaking industry since the 1980s.  Jay is an experienced winemaker who served as cellarmaster at Osoyoos Larose and now designs and orchestrates the winemaking programs at Stoneboat. He recently completed a degree in Food Sciences at UBC, where he studied wine chemistry & fermentations at the Wine Research Centre. Jay’s twin brother Tim is known the resident jack-of-all-trades at the family winery, overseeing marketing and wine shop operations.

The June event is part of Salt’s “Salt Cellar Series” of tasting events, and promises to show the new Stoneboat Vineyards wines to their best advantage, paired with a variety of savoury tidbits.  To purchase tickets please visit

Stoneboat Vineyards at the Salt Tasting Room, 7:00PM
$40 exclusive of tax and gratuities

 Salt Tasting Room
45 Blood Alley, Gastown, Vancouver
P – 604-633-1912

#     #     #

About Stoneboat Vineyards:  Stoneboat Vineyards is an artisan winery in Oliver, BC, owned and operated by two generations of the Martiniuk family. For nearly 30 years we have farmed on the South Okanagan’s Lower Black Sage Bench, where our vines thrive atop hundreds of feet of calcareous stones. The bench’s uniquely rocky soils, warm days, and cool nights create perfect conditions for growing Pinot varietals of honest character and complexity. Our winemaking approach is inspired by our farming philosophy, valuing integrity, minimal intervention, and hard work to create wines that are true to their origins in our vineyards.

A Tasty Evening at Tasting Plates Vancouver

Tasting Plates Vancouver

Last night was the Tasting Plates event in downtown Vancouver.  It was a perfect night, no rain, no wind.  So walking to the restaurants/carts would be a pleasure.  If you hadn’t heard about Tasting Plates it was a walk about event where you visit up to 10 food vendors, and they give you a selection of appetizers and/or drinks to try from them.  For this evening the participating vendors were:

  • Juice Truck
  • Cosca Restaurant
  • Cupcakes Denman
  • Bonchaz Bakery Cafe
  • Footo Delights
  • Notturno Paninoteca
  • WE. Coffee Inc.
  • Soho Road
  • W2 Media Cafe
  • Leonadis Chocolate

My Highlight Tastings

I started out at 5:30pm, walking, drinking, and tasting till 8:30pm.  In that time I was able to visit Notturno Paninoteca, Bonchaz, Juice Truck, Leonadis Chocolate, Soho Road and Footo Delights.  What were my highlight tastings?

Notturno Paninoteca

Notturno tasting plate

Located at 280 Carrall Street, this place had my favourite food overall.   A narrow restaurant with a nice bar. Just opened in November last year and recently getting their liquor license.  They served 3 appetizers, and I paired them with a nice glass of Prosecco.  The appetizers, all winners were:

  • Tartufo di Capra – black truffle goat cheese, greens, tomato pearls
  • Crudo – albacore tuna crudo, cucumber, tomato, chili aoli, balsamic pearls
  • Fico – blue cheese aoli, fig, black olive, walnuts

My favorite of the 3 was the Tuna Crudo.  It had high acidity with fresh flavours and some spiciness in the background.  The Fico with blue cheese aoli was also quite nice.  You had a combination of sweetness, the blue cheese sharpness and the crustiness of the bread.

Soho Road

Soho Road Beef Seekh Naan Kebab

My next favorite place was Soho Road, a food truck located at the corner of Smithe and Howe streets.  Again 3 appetizers, some nice hot chai for a cold night.  The appetizers were:

  • Butter Chicken Naan Kebab – Tandoori chicken smothered in our famous butter chicken sauce and topped off with a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro all on a freshly baked Naan.
  • Beef Seekh Naan Kebab – Ground spicy Beef kebab with chaat masala,  and drizzled with a tamarind chutney. Topped off  with a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro all on a freshly baked Naan.
  • Mixed Vegetable Subji – Carrots, Peas, Potatoes and onions cooked with cumin, coriander and other traditional spices, topped with a light mayonnaise and a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro served on a freshly baked Naan.

Of these, there was unanimous agreement amongst the foodies there that the Beef Seekh Naan Kebab.  Again bursting with flavour from the spiced beef and the salad, especially the cilantro.  Some Riesling or maybe a Pinotage would have been a nice accompaniment. My next favorite was the Mixed Vegetable Subji.  Lots of nice textures in your mouth.

Leonadis Chocolate

Leonadis Liege Waffles and macaron

Leonadis won my third place vote, in particular for their Liege waffle.  Their tasting plate consisted of:

  • Piece of Leonidas chocolate
  • Liege Waffle
  • Espresso Con Panna
  • Shot of our regular Hot Chocolate (52.3%)
  • Shot of our Frozen Noisette

This is a Belgian inspired coffee/waffle/chocolate shop.  I had never had a Liege Waffle before, but loved it.  The waffle had a cake-like texture, not doughy like waffles are here.  It also tasted like there could have been some apple mixed in with the waffle as I picked up an apple flavour. To this I think the Hot Chocolate paired nicely.  On the way out we had our choice of one of several hand made Belgian chocolates.  If you want to find out more about Liege Waffles, here is a recipe I found online.

If you want to find out more about all the vendors you can follow them on Twitter.  Their Twitter handles are @CoscaRestaurant @WECoffeeInc  @CupcakesDenman @FootoDelights @NotturnoGastown @juicetruck @W2MediaCafe @LeonidasChocola  @bonchaz @sohoroad

Thank you very much for Richard Wolak aka @vanfoodster for arranging this fun event. Enjoy!

Wine’d Up Dinner for Whistler Search and Resue

Whistler Search and Rescue Society (WSAR) is holding its twelfth annual winemaker’s gourmet dinner and auction, “Wine’d Up”, on October 15th, 2011.

Guests at this popular event will enjoy an evening of outstanding food and wine while supporting the critically important work of Whistler’s search and rescue volunteers.

Organizers are delighted to welcome the return of five of Whistler’s renowned Executive Chefs:

·         Chef Vincent Stufano, Fairmont Chateau Whistler

·         Chef Scott Dolbee, Four Seasons Resort Whistler

·         Chef James Walt, Araxi Restaurant and Bar

·         Chef Grant Cousar, Whistler Cooks Catering

·         Chef Steve Bjormark, Whistler Blackcomb

Each chef will create a dish with flavours to complement and enhance the selection of fine wines poured with each course.

Wines for this year’s dinner are generously being donated by four leading South African wineries:  Flat Roof Manor, Moreson (great sparkling wine), Boekenhoutskloof (a premium producer. Makes a wonderful Syrah), and Lammershoek (new to BC.  Nice pinotage and more)South Africa’s centuries-old winemaking tradition blends the restrained elegance of the Old World with the accessible fruit-driven styles of the New, creating wines which eloquently express the Cape’s unique terroir.  As a special treat, dessert will be paired with Amarula Cream Liqueur.

In addition to sensory delights of food and wine, the event will offer guests a chance to participate in both live and silent auctions throughout the evening with items generously donated by businesses in Whistler and throughout B.C.

The evening is truly a community effort.  Whistler-Blackcomb supports this event each year by donating their facilities and staff at Dusty’s Bar & Grill in Whistler Creekside.  Whistler Search and Rescue members volunteer their time at the dinner and auction to ensure everyone has an enjoyable evening.

WSAR is a community driven volunteer organization”, says Brad Sills, SAR Manager, Whistler Search and Rescue Team.  “The annual Wine’d Up fundraiser is the single biggest revenue source that WSAR receives. The Team depends on the generous support the Whistler Community has traditionally given at this annual event in order to meet its operational requirements.”  Since its inception in 2000 organizers have raised more than $340,000.  Brad adds, “WSAR is forever grateful to all the people who organize and support this event”.

Tickets are $160 plus hst and are sold through Whistler Blackcomb – 1-800 766 0449.  Suggested attire for this event is smart western gear / smart casual.

Where, When, How to Get Tickets

Whistler Search and Rescue Society
Twelfth Annual “Wine’d Up” Gourmet Dinner & Auction

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dusty’s Bar & Grill, Whistler Creekside
Reception & Hors D’Oeuvres 6:00 pm

Tickets are $160 + hst – on sale September 1st
For tickets call Whistler Blackcomb at 1-800 766 0449


Please also visit the website and read the latest article on signature grapes and wines of South America, and enter to win 1 of 4, $20 Marquis Wine Cellars gift cards!

A Tailgate Party, Grilled Pork, & Wine for the Canucks Game!

This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:

  • 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
  • 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
  • 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
  • 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
  • 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
  • 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards

What is a tailgate party?

From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad” (

Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.

What did Andy teach us to BBQ?

  • Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
  • Beer Bathed Brats
  • Pig Candy
  • Smoked Sausage Fatties
  • Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)

A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts.  The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice.  Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.

Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.

Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad.  This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party.  For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.

Sausages on the grill are always nice.  We enjoyed beer bathed brats.  In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ.  The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste.  This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages.  Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.

Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”.  Seeds were removed to make it less spicy.  A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled.  It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy.  I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris.  If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!

Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere.  Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!

Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer.  Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes.  Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!

MyWinePal’s Latest Wine Picks from the IVSA – April 2011

The Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) in Vancouver had their latest New Products Salon tasting of wine, beer and spirits this week.  This is a Trade only event, where wine industry people get a chance to sample, and order, new wine, beer, and spirits for their hotel, restaurant, wine shop, etc.  There are always more tables with wines for me to try than are possible within the short period of time, so hopefully with my peeking at tables as I pass by, I will stop at some that interest me, and hopefully you too.  What wines excited me from this event?

My Wine Picks

  • Bodegas Santa Cruz del Alpera Blanco Verdejo 2010 (Spain). This wine is a good buy at $12.99 and tastes great.  Something nice for this summer. This wine is made from 100% Verdejo grapes, fermented in stainless steel tanks on it’s lees for 2 months. Light lemon in colour. Very ripe peach nose. Medium body with good acidity, with some prickliness up front.  Very juicy apricots and peach flavours.  Round in the mouth with spice on the finish.
  • Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand).  A nice herbal and lime nose. Medium acidity with herbal and grassy flavours.  Long length.  Another nice wine for the summer.
  • Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009 (Argentina).  I’ve been enjoying the Zuccardi Q series of wines for several years, and looked forward to trying the latest vintage of their Malbec and was not disappointed. Deep purple in colour.  Jammy cassis and vanilla aromas. Full body with jammy dark fruit, vanilla, and fruit compote. Very rich flavour.  Smooth.  Give this one a try with some firm cheeses, a hearty stew, or some BBQ.
  • Lammershoek Roulette 2006 (South Africa). This is a premium  syrah-based blend, with Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier. Each of the different grapes are fermented separately and matured in French oak barrels for 12 months. The wine is blended a few weeks prior to bottling and is not fined or filtered. This wine has lots of ripe red fruit aromas.  Medium body with cassis, ripe cherries and other red fruits, and vanilla.  Dry finish with a long length.
  • Lammershoek Pinotage 2006 (South Africa). Pinotage is still not a widely recognized grape around the world, but can produce some very characterful wine.  This pinotage has character.  Bright purple in colour. Matchstick and cherry aromas. Ripe red fruits with firm tannins in the background.  Some tea leaves and cassis flavours too. Very nice.
  • Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2007 (New Zealand). Light garnet in colour.  Smoky, cherry, raspberry, and vanilla aromas. Light body with raspberry, cherries, cassis, smoky and spicy flavours.  Cherry, vanilla and spice on the finish.  Long length.
  • Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG (Italy). This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish.
  • Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba 2007 (Italy). This is a solid wine.  Medium garnet in colour.  Sandalwood and blueberry aromas. Nice flavours of blueberries, cherries and vanilla. Medium level of acidity to this wine.  If you have never tried Barbera before, consider this wine.
  • Croft Pink Port NV (Portugal). This is a FUN wine. Chill it a bit and sip it on the deck in the summer.  It’s called pink port because the wine is pink; it’s a rose port. Very pale cherry colour.  Fresh raspberry nose.  Really nice aroma. Medium sweetness with nutty, cherry, raspberry, and spice on the palate.  Round and rich!


Pinot Rama at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 09:29:45
Posted By Wine With Karl

In this seminar we tried a lineup of different “Pinots“, which covered Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinotage. For those that don’t know, all the Pinot varietals come from Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir grapes tend to mutate, giving rise to different “clones” of Pinot Noir, and in other cases caused the creation for Pinot Blanc for example.

Our first wine was the Champagne de Venoge Blanc de Noir 2005 (Champagne). In Champagne-speak this is champagne made from red grapes, in this case 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. A nice bubble, lemon colour, bready and dried fruit nose and flavours.

2nd was the Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio (Italy). This winery is known to produce the most pinot grigio of any winery in the world. From this grigio you get good acid, peach and lime flavours.

3rd was the Sandhill Pinot Blanc 2007 (BC). This wine was a star for me. Vanilla, pineapple, pear and ripe fruit flavours. Round mouthfeel, some spice, tropical fruit flavour. Long finish.

4th was the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2007 (BC). Light, bright, lemon colour. Stone fruit nose. Banana, lemon, and pear flavours.

5th was the Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Grand Cru Mambour 2000 (Alsace, France). Another star! Note that is a 2000 vintage. Most people say white wines don’t age well. This wine was spectacular. Deep lemon colour. Lychee, peach and apricot nose. Lush, roundess, some spicy, fruit, honey.

6th was the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Pinot Noir 2007 (Loire, France). Nice strawberry aroma with light oak. Light bodied, cherry and spice, some apple flavour.

7th was the Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Colchagua Valley Pinot Noir 2007 (Chile). Made by a French wine maker. Masculine with a meaty, smoky aroma. Medium body, red fruit, spicy finish.

8th was the Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir 2006 (Dundee Hills, Oregon). From 100% certified organic grapes. A bit of bricking at the edges, but nice strawberry and vanilla aroma. Red fruit and spice with a round mouthfeel.

9th was the Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir 2006 (California). Not as big as the Sokol Blosser, but still showed cherry, vanilla and strawberries.

10th was the Quails’ Gate Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (Okanagan, BC). Very deep red coloured, with some brown. Cherry, vanilla and some spice. Very fruity.

11th was the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2006 from Martinborough, New Zealand (North Island). When I drink Pinot Noir I love violet aroma, and this was have lots of violets and strawberry. Flowery, violet, and apple flavours.

12th was the Maison Albert Bichot Pommard Clos des Ursulines Domaine du Pavillon 2006 (Burgundy, France). My OVERALL favorite of this tasting. Pommard is known for more masculine pinot. Cherry, vanilla, apple, spice. Light and elegant.

13th was the Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles 2006 also (Burgundy, France). More body than the previous wine. Cherry, vanilla, apple and spice. The grapes from this vineyard are also 100% organic and biodynamic.

14th was the Spier Private Collection Stellenbosch Pinotage 2006, (South Africa). This wine was opaque purple in the glass. Vanilla and black fruit on the nose. Full bodied, spicy, sweet tarry finish.

Last was the Sumac Ridge Pinot Blanc Icewine 2006, (Okaganan, BC). This was deep lemon coloured. Honey and apricots on the nose. Unctus with honey and apricot flavour. Not much acid which could have helped it be a bit more refreshing.

You can see that Pinot has many different styles. If you buy a pinot noir, please chill it for about 30 minutes before serving to bring out it’s flavours. Enjoy!

Pinotage anyone?

You have probably heard of chardonnay and merlot, but have you ever heard of Pinotage? It is not a well known grape, but sometimes lesser known varietals can be fun to try. Pinotage is a red grape that is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, both French grapes. Pinot Noir being the signature red grape from Burgundy and Cinsault from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. A South African Professor of Viticulture crossed the 2 grapes in 1925.

The grape does well in warmer areas, such as South Africa, but you can also find some growing in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia (and a few other regions around the world). A wine made from Pinotage has been said to have aromas of banana and tropical fruit. Sometimes it has a bit of a nailpolish remover aroma that turns off some people. Two South African winemakers that make a very good pinotage are Fairview (Primo Pinotage) and Saxenburg (Pinotage Private Collection). In the Okanagan, two wineries that produce pinotage are Stoneboat and Lake Breeze. Try it and see what you think. Nico van der Merwe of Saxenburg said at a tasting that I attended that Pinotage is very flexible and recommended trying it with Chinese food. So go ahead and experiment. Sometimes you will get amazing pairings.

Once you enjoy the thrill of trying new grape varietals, you may want to try:
negroamaro (one of my favorites. red and full of flavour from Italy)

Enjoy! Feel free to contact me at with wines you enjoy or would like me to talk about.