BC Liquor Store e-News for January 2019

DEALS OF THE MONTH AT BC LIQUOR STORES

Start off 2019 with these amazing deals, limited time offers and new products! Our Savvy Savings has everything you need for entertaining, meal pairings, or even just sipping by a warm fire.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save big. Drop by your nearest BC Liquor Store today and stock up! Some of our highlights include:

TARIMA ALICANTE MONASTRELL
Spain 895680 750 ml
Reg. $15.99
Now $13.99*
91 Points, Jeb Dunnuck – “The 2016 Tarima Monastrell offers more dark fruits, pepper, and earth in a rich, full-bodied, expansive, charming character. It’s another terrific value.” Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
ANGELO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO
Spain 226098 750 ml
Reg. $11.99
Now $9.99*
This down-to-earth expression of Montepulciano is a great value. Aromas of black cherry, strawberry and plum accented by floral, herbal and spicy nuances flow to a smooth and well-balanced palate. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
SMOKY BAY CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Canada? 799221 3 L
Reg. $31.99
Now $28.99*
This Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from South Eastern Australia is medium-bodied with soft tannins and notes of raspberry, blackberry, plum, pepper, vanilla and oak. Sip with steak or burgers. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
ARTIUS CHARDONNAY
USA 188496 750 ml
Reg. $12.99
Now $9.99*
Chardonnay in California reflects the sunshine state that ripens this grape like nowhere else. So hints of tree fruits of apple, tropical notes like pineapple and light butter and spice round out the package. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
TORRECORTA TERRE SICILIANE CATARRATTO PINOT GRIGIO
Italy 182202 750 ml
Reg. $12.99
Now $9.99*
This blend of Pinot Grigio and Catarratto, indigenous Sicilian grapes, has fresh and fruity aromas of pear, green apple and white peach. The palate is crisp with a clean finish. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
BOLLA PROSECCO
Italy 226157 750 ml
Reg. $16.99
Now $14.99*
Appealing ripe fruit aromas on the nose with hints of apple, pear and peach follow through to a fresh and fruity palate. The fine streak of acidity injects freshness and length to the lively finish. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
REFRESHMENT
SOCIAL LITE PINEAPPLE MANGO 
Canada 232884 4 x 355 ml
Reg. $10.79
Now $9.79*
Fresh cut pineapple on the nose leads to pineapple with a hint of coconut and smooth mango aftertaste. This is made from natural ingredients, unsweetened and only 80 calories. It’s a crowd favourite.
BEER
STEAMWORKS PREMIUM CRAFT LAGER
Canada 175370 12 x 355 ml
Reg. $19.99
Now $17.99*
Appealing to both new and experienced craft beer drinkers alike, this craft lager was steam-brewed and deliberately aged to create an easy-drinking and flavourful beer that is crisp, clean and refreshing. Only available at BC Liquor Stores!
SPIRIT
FIREBALL
Canada 642264 1.14 L
Reg. $32.49
Now $29.49*
Rumour has it Fireball was developed in the 1980’s after one the coldest winter in Canada. The smooth taste of whisky with the added kick of spicy cinnamon warms the senses. Try it in a hot beverage this season.

 

Italian Excellent Quality Experience in Vancouver and More

Italian quality experience

Italian quality experience

To me, Italy is always known for quality products: food, wine, olive oil, cars, and more.  To help spread the word, a dual pronged approach is underway in Italy that crosses the oceans, and lands here in Vancouver.  The first is Expo Milano 2015, the Universal Exhibition that Milan will host from May 1 to October 31, 2015.  140 countries will participate to offer their technology related to guaranteeing healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone while not over taxing the planet.  The theme for the Expo is “Feeding the Plant, Energy for Life”.   It sounds very interesting and if I had a chance to go to Italy this year, I would make a point to visit the Expo.  You can read about the Expo at the italianqualityexperience.it website.

In addition to Expo 2015, “Ospitalita Italiana – Ristoranti Italiani nel Mondo” ( Italian Hospitality – Italian Restaurants in the World ), promoted in part by all Chambers of Commerce in Italy, is underway to promote:

  • traditions of Italian food products and improve global culture of Italian food and wine
  • to enhance the image of authentic Italian restaurants abroad and to guarantee the quality standards
  • to create an international network of Italian restaurants and to support them in promoting Italian products of excellence.

We are fortunate to have a local restaurant, Federico’s Supper Club as being certified by this program.  In total there are 1700 authentic restaurants in the world.  You can tell that the restaurant is certified by a Golden Q trademark plaque at the restaurant.  How did Federico’s and the other restaurants become certified?  They had to meet these quality guidelines:

  • The restaurant must have at least one person able to relate with customers in Italian
  • The percentage of traditional Italian dishes and recipes should be at least 50% of the total number of dishes
  • The wine list must contain not les than 30% of Italian DOP/IGT wines
  • The restaurant must offer only DOP/IGT extra virgin olive oil of Italian origin or Italian extra virgin olive oil
  • The chef must be qualified for the preparation of dishes according to Italian recipes
  • The names of all courses in the menu must be available in the Italian language

To see the complete worldwide list of “Ospitalita Italiana”, visit www.10q.it.

I, and other media types, were invited to Federico’s Supper Club to taste some Italian dishes and enjoy some Italian wine to kick off Italian Hospitality – Italian Restaurants in the World and Expo Milan 2015.  Some exceptional Prosecco was brought in from Italy, as well as still red and white wines.  Federico’s made Arancini, mini pizza bites with anchovies and caramelized onions, and a real standout for me, which was smoked salmon and caramelized onions on a crostini.  I had never experienced such wonderful melding of flavours before.  I can highly recommend trying to make this yourself, or visiting Federico’s.  I am not sure if it is on their regular menu.  Enjoy a few pictures I took of the event, enjoy Italian food & wine, visit Federico’s, and visit Expo Milan 2015!

Astoria Corderie Valdobbiadene DOCG

Astoria Corderie Valdobbiadene DOCG

Beni di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso

Beni di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso

Arancini

Arancini

Smoked salmon with caramelized onions on crostini

Smoked salmon with caramelized onions on crostini

 

Bottega Gold Prosecco for Valentines Day

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Have you been thinking about what sparkling wine you can buy for your Valentine without breaking the bank? Champagne may have first popped into your mind, but maybe you could also consider Italian Prosecco? Prosecco is generally made, lighter bodied and maybe a bit off dry, making it a fun indulgence to share with friends and family.

I recently received a bottle of Bottega Gold Brut (BC $24.99) to sample.  It comes in a very striking gold coloured bottle, making it look very special for a special day like Valentine’s Day.

In the glass this wine is pale lemon in colour.  A light intensity nose of flowers and citrus, with a hint of lime in the background.  This one is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity and light body.  Agressive, medium sized, creamy bubbles.  Citrus, apple, a hint of lime, and some lemon rind on the palate.  Medium length.  Overall a straight forward wine to enjoy with friends.  It should pair well with crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese, and a fresh fruit salad.

If you are interested, here is the website for the Bottega winery to get more info on this wine and their other wines.

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

BC’s Iconic Bubble at Vancouver International Wine Festival

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

This year, 2014, Vancouver International Wine Festival’s “global focus” is Bubbly.   While there will of course be Champagne from France, Cava from Spain, and Prosecco from Italy, don’t forget about BC!  Here is some info sent to me, that I’m passing along to you about what/where to enjoy Blue Mountain’s wines.

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Make sure you don’t miss BC’s iconic sparkling wine producer, Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars.

Winemaker Matt Mavety will be behind the table at the Festival tasting room, showcasing their signature sparkling and still wines:

  • Brut “Gold Label” NV
  • Brut Rosé 2009
  • Chardonnay 2012
  • Pinot Noir 2012

Matt will also be showcasing his wines at the following events:

  • All About Bubbly!
  • 25 Under $25.

About Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars

Founded in 1971, Blue Mountain can make the rare claim of 42 years of continuous grape production by one family. Today, on their 32-hectare estate, they make limited quantities of complex wines from noble varietals including Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay — the same varietals found in the Champagne, Burgundy and Alsace regions of France. In the vineyard, methods favor low crop yields to concentrate and intensify flavours. While using modern equipment in the winery, wine making is respectful of traditional methods.

About Matt Mavety

Matt’s first serious work in the vineyard started at age 14 as a part-time job while in high school.

Hooked by the field, so to speak, Matt followed his father’s course, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of British Columbia. He majored in Agricultural Economics. Matt had the good fortune to study viticulture and oenology on a student exchange at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. Upon graduation from university in 1997, he started working full-time with Blue Mountain.

A favored aspect of Matt’s work is the time spent in the vineyards, but he says it wouldn’t have as much meaning if it wasn’t part of “the complete package” – the full process of turning fruit to wine and capturing the season in its qualities. When he tastes a vintage, the memory of the particular season is recalled.

Buy Your Tickets

You need to buy tickets to the above events or Festival tasting room.  Here is the weblink for the Vancouver International Wine Festival events.  Enjoy!

Tuscan Estate Montestigliano Hosts Art Exhibit and Dining Under the Stars

As I wine, music and arts lover, who wouldn’t be excited about hearing of such an event in Tuscany, Italy?  It certainly peaked my interest, but is not in my plans.  Just in case you are taking a trip to Tuscany shortly, you may want to consider attending this event at the Tuscan Estate Montestigliano.  Enjoy!

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Montestigliano in Tuscany

Montestigliano in Tuscany (Image courtesy montestigliano.it) 

Throughout July, Tuscan estate Montestigliano marries terroir and culture in a yearly art exhibit held in the granary above its ancient barn.  This year, five international artists (painters, photographers, writers, musicians), all members of the Stanza 251 group, descend on the historic locale to exhibit their cool, contemporary work in this timeless, rustic setting.  The show can be seen every Monday from   July 1 to July 22 in the afternoon between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., or by appointment.   For more information, contact info@montestigliano.it or call +39 0577 342189.

Special Event July 17

On July 17 Montestigliano opens its doors to an evening of Prosecco, opera, fine dining and art.  Guests will enjoy an apertivo, view the artwork and settle into an evening of music and song with Baritone Pierluca Porri, accompanied by Francesca Giovannelli on the piano.  Pierluca has sung with Europe’s most famous opera houses such as L’Opéra de MonteCarlo, Le Theatre Royale de la Monnaie a Bruxelles, il Liceu di Barcelona, and the Opéra Nationale de Paris.  Dinner will be served in the estate’s courtyard, under the Tuscan stars. Price:  40 €.

About Stanza 251

Stanza 251 http://www.stanza251.com/is an on-line e-zine of fiction, poetry and imagery, founded by Carlo Zei and Stefano Loria. A new poem or story appears on the site every Tuesday, anew image every Friday. Stanza 251 also publishes a series of e-books and paperbacks, and organizes literary and visual arts events.  All of the artists at the show participate in Stanza 251. 

Participating Stanza 251 artists include: 

  • Stefano Loria: Co-founder of Stanza 251, Loria is a painter and writer.  In the Visual Arts field, he is considered one of the leading representatives of new-generation abstractionists.
  • Francesco Niccolai: A professional photographer, Niccolai has dedicated himself for years to making portraits of jazz musicians and much more.  He has recently developed a personal series of unpredictably nuanced and intimate landscape photographs.
  • Andrew Smaldone: an American artist who has lived in Italy for years, Smaldone has developed a specific poetry of images, painting environments emptied of their original function, almost reducing them to pure geometry and light.
  • Tomoko Sugahara: A Japanese artist of rare sensitivity, Sugahara works on an idea of subtle, fragile painterly atmospheres, producing juxtapositions that are sometimes material, sometimes chromatic.
  • Carlo Zei:The other co-founder of Stanza 251 who, aside from writing, is engaged in photography. He explores landscapes with a poetic, ironic eye, for which he prefers black & white prints, as exemplified in his series, “Christo on the Beach”.
  • Matthew Licht: A writer on the edge between realism and paradox, his adventure stories are animated by a parodic intent, but are richly nuanced with existential and social themes.  All of the ingredients of his stories are flavored with an irresistible sense humor, which makes for a particularly pleasant reading experience. He is also a skilled performer.
  • Marco “Shark Guitar” Naffis: One of Tuscany’s most brilliant Blues and Country guitar players.

About Montestigliano:

Montestigliano is a privately owned farm estate (agritourismo)with self-contained 18th century holiday villasavailable for rental.   All have been professionally restored and furnished.  Each is fully equipped with kitchens and private baths. Every villa has easy access to some of the most beautiful countryside in Tuscany.  With 2475 acres of cypress avenues, olive groves, fig trees and ancient terraces, it’s an ideal location to walk, enjoy the countryside and truly experience Tuscany.

Follow Montestigliano:

On Twitter:   https://twitter.com/Montestigliano

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fattoria.montestigliano

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

Check Out the New Food Menu at Poor Italian Trattoria Ristorante

Poor Italian sign

I love Italian food and Italian wine; and was thrilled to be invited to try the new menu items from the Poor Italian Trattoria Ristorante on 3296 E 1st Ave Vancouver. In case you didn’t know, this restaurant is owned by Tony Parsons, the TV news announcer that has been gracing the Vancouver airwaves for many years.  The restaurant has a very cosy feeling with landscape paintings hanging on the walls, Italian pottery scattered throughout the restaurant, and rustic terracotta coloured walls.

Arriving there, I was offered a nice light, dry sparkling Italian Prosecco while the appetizer-sized plates of the new courses were brought in for us to try.  The dishes we tried were:

  • Roasted butternut squash soup with acacia honey, Dungeness crab and grape seed oil.
  • 3 types of Bruschetta. House made crostini with i) traditional fresh tomato, basis and olive oil, ii) chopped mushroom medley with porcini and truffle, and iii) tuna with olive oil marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Beef Carpaccio made with AAA Alberta beef , finely sliced and served with truffle aioli and Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Crab Cake with Scallop.  A giant diver-harvested Atlantic scallop balanced over a fresh Dungeness crab cake, served with a spicy pomodoro sauce and micro greens.
  • Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce.
  • Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage, with caramelized onion and San Marzano pomodoro sauce.
  • Braised boneless beef short ribs with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula and gorgonzola risotto
  • Deep fried cannoli tubes topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate
  • Lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone

Appetizers

Trio of bruschetta

All the food we were served was delicious.  The first 4 items fall into the appetizer category. The butternut squash soup was very creamy and went very nicely with the pieces of Dungeness crab.  If you would like an appetizer, the trio of Bruschetta are all tasty.  The traditional tomato one and the mushroom medley both had a good amount of garlic, while the tuna one was light and citrusy flavoured. If you are on the more daring side, you may want to try the beef carpaccio.  This is thin raw slices of beef, topped with the garlicky truffle aioli and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. If you are a seafood lover, then try the crab cake with scallop.  The scallop slice was expertly grilled so it was still soft and juicy, and placed on a skewer atop the crab cake. The fresh hand-made crab cake was also cooked so it had a nice amount of crunchy texture, and tender inside.

Main Courses

Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage

The main courses covered 2 types of pasta and one risotto.  The ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce could have been my overall favourite dish.  It was also the most simple.  The ravioli pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (as was the other pasta).  Inside was a mixture of ricotta cheese and spinach.  A simple tomato sauce was a nice complement to the richness of the ricotta and spinach filling. The Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage were very nice.  I had not seen or heard of Paccheri pasta before.  It looks like a very wide flat noodle that is rolled.  On top of this was the Italian fennel sausage and the spicy tomato sauce.  The pasta held the sauce nicely even though it was smooth. I think the amount of surface area covered by the pasta, allowed the sauce to adhere to the pasta.  Lastly the braised boneless beef short ribs was very rich and flavourful with a gravy/reduction made with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes. To this was a creamy, rich gorgonzola risotto.  The gorgonzola was not overpowering so do not worry if you are not a blue cheese fan.

Desserts

Deconstructed dessert cannoli

The two desserts were both delightful. The first was a deconstructed dessert cannoli.  The cannoli tube was sliced into triangular pieces then deep fried, and topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate.  Nice texture between the crunchiness of the cannoli and the creaminess of the cheese. The lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone was a simple dessert, but very refreshing with the citrus flavour cleansing your palate after trying the other dishes.

If you are wondering about their wine list, they have a wide selection of wines by the glass, which is important I think to keep you safe when you drive after your meal.

Sparkling Wines

  • Pergola Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
  • Mionetto Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
  • Sumac Ridge Stellars Jay Brut 2006 (BC)

White Wines

  • Valle d’Oro Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • See Ya Later Ranch Gcwurztraminer (BC)
  • Anil Macabeo 2009 (Spam)
  • Mt. Fishtail Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009 (New Zealand)
  • Pentage Pinot Gris VQA (BC)
  • Dr. Loosen Riesling (Germany)
  • Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Bourgogne Montvallon Chardonnay 2009 (France)
  • Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio IGT (Italy)
  • Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino DOC 2009 (Italy)

Red Wines

  • Cecchi Chianti DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Valle d’Oro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
  • Cal y Canto (Tempranillo – Syrah – Merlot) (Spain)
  • Rosso Bello R0ss0 Piceno DOC (Italy)
  • Di Majo Norante Sangiovese IGT (Italy)
  • J. Lohr Cypress Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California)
  • Lucky Country Shiraz 2008 (Australia)
  • Kettle Valley Merlot 2007 (BC)
  • Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 (California)
  • Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2008 (BC)
  • Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Super-Tuscan IGT 2008 (Italy)
  • Tedeschi San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2008 (Italy)
  • Cantine di San Silvestro Barolo DOCG 2006 (Italy)

I would recommend going to the Poor Italian.  As I mentioned, I really liked their pasta.  They have a wide range of appetizers to start off a nice lunch or dinner with friends or family.  Enjoy!

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!

Almost Last Minute Christmas Holiday Wine Picks 2011

There are less than 2 weeks to Christmas now. Maybe you are starting to think about Christmas gifts, or inviting family and friends over to your place for a nice dinner, or you received a dinner invitation? What wines to gift or serve?

I went through the list of all the wines I tasted in 2011 and have a few suggestions for you.

Some Favourite Sparkling Wines for 2011

  • Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

    Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.

  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
  • Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour.  Nice medium toasty nose.  Medium acidity and body.  Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine.  It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose.  Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour.  Vanilla and spice on the nose.  High acid with small bubbles.  Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.

Some Favourite White Wines for 2011

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2009, California.  This is a single vineyard wine.  Medium lemon in colour with tropical fruit and some toasty aromas. Medium body and very soft mouth feel (really silky). Some vanilla and tropical fruit flavours.  Really nice.

  • Waterstone Chardonnay, 2009, California. This is my favourite white wine of the night.  Not a typical Napa Chardonnay.  This wine had a medium pear colour.  Vanilla and bartlett pear aromas. Medium body, soft and round mouthfeel.  Cinnamon and tropical fruit flavours with light acidity.  Nice and fruity, some vanilla with a long dry finish.
  • Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. One of my favourite wines of the tasting. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Tantalus Vineyards Riesling 2010, BC. Their Riesling is always on my favourite list. This one is no exception.  It has light lemon, lychee and flowers on the nose.  Off dry, with high acidity to make your mouth water for more.  Red apples and lemon flavours.  Excitement in a glass.
  • 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.
  • Graffigna Grand Reserve Torrontes 2010 (Argentina). Torrontes is the signature white grape of Argentina.  Very aromatic and a good change from Gewurztraimer or Viognier. Light lemon coloured. Lychee and perfumy nose.  Light body, round, with medium acidity.  Lychee, apricot and cinnamon flavours. Very tasty with a long spicy finish.
  • Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Gewurztraminer 2007 (France). I love Alsatian wines, and was really looking forward to Pfaffenheim’s wines. Medium lemon colour.  Wonderful lychee nose with a slight touch of sweet spice. Full body. Off dry with lower acidity.  Round mouthfeel with lychee, apricot and flowery flavours.  Very nice.

Some Favourite Red Wines for 2011

  • Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005

    Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand. Central Otago, is inland in the South Island.  The cooler climate allows these grapes have a long hang time and smaller berries, which gives a higher skin to pulp ratio, and more intense, riper, fruit flavours.  Medium purple in the glass with ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Ripe fruit, cassis, plums and vanilla on the palate.  Medium body and medium length.  Very nice.

  • Vina Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005, Chile. Pehuen Carmenere is a premium wine from Vina Santa Rita.  Opaque purple in the glass. Dark fruit nose with a whiff of capsicum. Full bodied but with soft tannins.  Ripe black cherries, vanilla and spice on the palate.  A very long length.  Here is a Carmenere you should try.
  • Dusted Valley Grenache, Columbia Valley 2009, Washington. This was such a wonderful wine.  Just the right balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity.  The wine was medium garnet in colour.  Cherry, vanilla and smoky aromas.  Raspberry, cherry, and vanilla on the palate.  Medium bodied with a raspberry finish.
  • 1884 Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina ($16.99).  This was my red wine deal of the wine tasting. Drink now. Raspberry and cocoa on the nose.  Full body with full ripe cherries and raspberries.  Juicy!  Long finish.
  • Desert Hills Syrah 2007, BC.  Another one of my favourites of the tasting. Almost opaque ruby in colour. Smoky, meaty, and dark fruit nose. Full body, dry tannins, with dark fruit spice and vanilla flavours.  Enjoy this big wine with a nice roast over the winter.
  • Ogier Crozes Hermitage, Les Brunnelles 2008, France ($25.99). This is a Rhone Valley wine. The Rhone Valley produces some fabulous Syrah, and this is one of them. I really liked the aromas of this wine of cassis and plums. Full body with cassis, raspberry, cherry and oak flavours.  Low tannins helped make this wine very approachable.
  • Finca Las Moras Intis Malbec 2010, Argentina. This wine was the surprise wine of the evening.  It is priced at $8.99, and over delivers. Pale ruby colour.  Light aromas of grilled sausage and dark fruit. Medium plus body with medium acidity.  Vanilla, cherry, raspberry and sausage flavours all together. Lots of nice flavours.  Dry with soft tannins.

Some Favourite Fortified Wines

  • Sogrape Vinhos Ferreira 20-Year-Old Duque de Braganca (Portugal). Light tawny colour in the glass. Ripe sweet fruit and Malmsey Madeira nose.  Round mouthfeel, medium sweetness. Apples, plums, chocolate and spice. Nice.
  • Fonseca N/V Terra Prima Organic Port ($31.99).  Rich black fruit nose.  Medium body in your mouth.  Spicy with plums, cherries, and chocolate flavours.  Medium sweetness. Very nice.
  • Mount Baker Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier 2007, Washington (US$20 for a half bottle). Deep lemon in colour.  Pretty nose with peaches, oranges and honey. Unctus in your mouth. Sweet with honey, honeydew melon, and peach flavours. Good acidity to balance this wine. A wonderful wine. Highly recommended to top off a nice meal with family or friends.
  • Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

There are many more in my archives, so please check there as well for a specific varietal or style. www.mywinepal.com and of course the blog right here!  Cheers and Happy Holidays to all my friends, near and far.

Thank Your Mom with these Mothers Day Wine Selections

Mother’s Day is coming up soon. We all like to treat our mothers. A nice meal and nice wine is one option. Some wines you may want to consider.

Sparkling Wine

  • Fresita sparkling (Chile). This is a blend of white sparkling wine with blended strawberries. Very nice and fruity. Would be a nice way to start a breakfast if you don’t want to make a mimosa.
  • Champagne Lallier Rose (France). Very pale pinkish orange colour. Light strawberry nose. Bigger bubble, with strawberry and red cherry flavour. You can never go wrong with Champagne. If you cannot afford Champagne, maybe try an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava.
  • Moreson  Blanc de Blancs Brut Method  Cap Classic (South Africa)   Chardonnay  NV.    A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.
  • Codorniu Sparkling Brut (Spain) Pinot Noir NV.   This Spanish Cava is light orangy pink in colour. Light strawberry aroma. Very bracing in your mouth, with strawberry and raspberry flavours.

White Wines

If you mother likes white wines here are a few suggestions.

  • Mission Hill Family Estate Perpetua 2008 (Canada). This is 100% Chardonnay from a blend of 3 Chardonnay clones: 2 Dijon and 1 Loire. A portion of the wine is fermented in French oak and left sur lies for 10 months. Pale lemon with a green tint in the glass.  Flower and lemon on the nose. Medium body with vanilla, pineapple flavours.  Medium acidity. A very well balanced wine.  This is a chardonnay that everyone should try.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand).  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Township 7 Viognier 2008 was medium lemon in colour. Honey, lime and tropical fruit on the nose. Medium acidity with citrus, mango and papaya flavours. If you have not tried a Viognier before, this one will get you hooked.
  • Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Chile). It had varied aromas of citrus, pineapple and apple. On the palate there was good acidity with pineapple flavour and medium length.
  • La Frenz Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2009 (Canada). Pale lemon in the glass. Lots of vanilla with a hint of eucalyptus / menthol. Nice acidity.  Round mouthfeel with pineapple and spice.

Red Wines

Maybe your mother prefers red wine or you are planning to BBQ something for her.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile). Santa Rita is a premium producer from Chile.  I really enjoy their wines, and spent time visiting them in Chile. Their Medalla Real Pinot Noir is coloured light purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis aromas. Round mouth feel, light boded with an abundance of cassis flavour.  Low tannins.
  • Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 (New Zealand). Pale purple colour.  Lots of raspberry aroma and flavour.  Also a bit of tea leaves on the palate. Light body with medium acidity.
  • Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2007 (Canada). Opaque puple in the glass. Ripe cherries and vanilla with a hint of cedar on the nose. Full bodied with firm yet smooth tannins.  Ripe black cherry flavour.
  • Howling Bluff Estate Winery Summa Quies Estate Pinot Noir 2009 (Canada). Pale garnet in colour. Beautiful violets and strawberry aromas. Soft, light bodied, with vanilla, strawberries and ripe cherries on the palate.  Highly recommended.
  • d’Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2008, (Australia)  This wine is light garnet in colour.  Smoke and raspberry on the nose.  Petrol, cassis, raspberry flavours.  Low tannins. Very refreshing.
  • Bennett Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) This cab is deep garnet in colour. A nice nose with ripe cassis and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel with dark fruit and dry tannins. Long lingering flavours.
  • Clos du Val Wine Company Zinfandel 2009 (California). Light garnet in colour. Smoky raspberry nose. Medium body with raspberry and cassis flavours, with vanilla and spice on the finish. An elegant wine.
  • La Stella Allegretto 2008 (Canada). This is 100% Merlot grown from their Stag vineyard in Osoyoos on it’s own rootstock!  Deep purple in the glass.  Lots of raspberry, cherry and vanilla on the nose.  Full body with mocha, cherry and vanilla flavour, and a hint of raspberry.  Medium tannins with a long finish.

I’ve tried to give you a range of wines from light to full bodied.  I hope there is one for you and for your mother.  Enjoy!