Haywire Baby Bub

The Arrival of Haywire Baby Bub!

BC Sparkling Rose wine = Summer Treat.  Enjoy it.  Please see the announcement that I received from Okanagan Crush Pad, then stock up!

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The team at Okanagan Crush Pad is thrilled to announce the arrival of Baby Bub. On June 20, 2014 at 5:30pm 3,600 – 375 ml bottles, weighing 3,240 Kg, were bottled at the winery, just in time to enjoy summer.

Baby Bub was crafted by Jordan Kubek, Okanagan Crush Pad’s cellar assistant with direction from chief winemaker Michael Bartier. “The Baby Bub is tasting fresh, fruity and fabulous”, noted Jordan, “and I am very happy with the results. We stayed consistent with the 2012 Pink Bub giving Baby Bub six grams of residual sugar. I love the texture as it has quite a bit of yeasty fullness. Although it is a new born, the bubbles are quite fine and you can see the direction the wine will take as it ages.”

The wine was made in the classic style using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes with secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle. It was hand riddled and warm disgorged with a red wine dosage being added at final bottling. Like its bigger siblings, Baby Bub is closed with a crown cap ensuring that cork taint does not interfere with the wine.

This tiny bottle is a young, bright shade of pale rose and is packed full of raspberry, strawberry patch and lime zest character. Its singularly distinctive taste is gun flint which lends a smokey, stoney edge to the wine and keeps it in balance with its more berry salad side.

The first 100 cases of Baby Bub is being released this July long weekend at the winery and through the order desk exclusively. Priced at $13.90 and delivered in 12 – 375 ml bottle cases, sporting hot pink artwork, Baby Bub is sure to be a big hit this summer.

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Come Taste Oyster Bay Wines at Seasons in the Park

Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

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

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

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

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

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

Event is on April 15, 6:30 – 8:00pm

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

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

604.874.8008 or seasonsevents@vancouverdine.com 

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

Meet Château Miraval Rosé at Everything Wine!

For those Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fans, here is an announcement about being able to buy their wines, here in Vancouver at Everything Wine.

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Chateau Miraval Rose

Chateau Miraval Rose

The world was set abuzz when the Jolie-Pitt’s announced their new purchase: A Winery! and now, their debut wine is HERE and in VERY limited supply!

Made from the couple’s 1,000-acre Estate in Southern France, Brad and Angelina were determined to make a great wine, overseeing every step of the process from vineyard management to the selection of strikingly original bottle.  And they had no trouble gaining the assistance from one of France’s most highly-renowned winemakers,

Marc Perrin (of Château Beaucastel fame).  Perrin fell in love with the vineyard:
“This is a magical place that we traverse from one end to the other to discover exceptional plots.  The valley, property of the Château, offers an unmatched eco-system and gives the wines a unique style in terms of Freshness and elegance.”

And we cannot forget to mention its 90 Pt rating from Wine Spectator:
“Refined and elegant, offering pure and concentrated flavors of dried red berry, tangerine and melon.  The focused finish features flint and spice notes with a hint of cream”

Need another reason to get your hands on this?  Vanity Fair noted that it sold out within hours of its official debut!  But not to worry –  Everything Wine has it in stock!  Don’t miss this opportunity to taste the Hollywood hit of the Summer.

Reserve your bottle online NOW for pickup or delivery.  
Click here for more information! 
 

Rose Revival 2013 at Bridges Restaurant – Get Your Tickets

Rose revivalRose wine has been making a come back worldwide.  No more do you think of an off-dry white Zinfandel.  BC has many nice rose wines, as well as from around the world (France is big rose country).   Liberty Wine Merchants is hosting their 2013 Rose Revival, with proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  Read the note below from Liberty, get your tickets and have fun with rose!

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ROSE REVIVAL 2013

Monday, May 6th 2013
Bridges Restaurant | Granville Island
7pm-9pm

Liberty Merchant Company & Bridges Restaurant proudly present the 5th Annual Rosé Revival Tasting. All proceeds benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (BC – Yukon). To date we have raised $11,971 for the Foundation.

Sensational Rosé wines along with delectable hors d’oeuvres, exciting door prizes and great company await you. Join us on Monday May 6th, 2013 from 7:00 – 9:00pm at Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island to celebrate pink wine and support pink ribbons.

Tickets are $29.99 and available at all Liberty Wine Merchants locations. For more information on this and future events, please visit http://www.libertywinemerchants.com.

Sen Bistro – A New Restaurant Opening For Chef Zhang

Upscale interior at Sen Bistro

Upscale interior at Sen Bistro

Sen Bistro on Broadway @ Burrard (1788 W. Broadway), has had a soft opening, but last week, they had their official opening with a Media Dinner kickoff.  I was fortunate to be invited to attend.  Sen Bistro is the sister restaurant to Chef Zhang‘s nearby Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House.  Both feature Northern Chinese cuisine, which is different from the Southern Chinese restaurants that populate the Lower Mainland. I find that the Northern cuisine has more beef and lamb for example, as well as other spices like cumin being used.  Chef Zhang opened Sen Bistro so that he could experiment with the Northern Chinese dishes; fusing food or spices from other parts of the world.  I think all chefs like to experiment and grow.

This evening we also had wine pairings to go with the specific dishes served to us.  Another nod to fusion; east meets west.  In the reception, I enjoyed the cumin spiced lamb cubes.  At first I saw large numbers of dried red chilies and thought that this might be a very spicy dish, but I was quite surprised that it was fairly mild.  Also served was a beef curry spring roll. Our wine pairing was a St. Hubertus Rose from the Okanagan.  Made from Gamay fruit, this rose burst with red fruit and red cherries.  Off dry, it tasted a bit like candy. An OK wine, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Salad Trio

Salad trio

Salad trio

There was a Salad Trio, was really nice, with contrasts in flavors and textures.  The celery & dried scallop and the lotus root dishes were tied for my favourite of the three dishes.  The celery was crunchy and I enjoyed the sesame oil taste.  The lotus root dish was very different. Thin slices of lotus root, marinated in a Chinese red vinegar, along with some sweet component.  So you get crunchy, sweet and sour in each bite. Nice. The pairing for this was a Cono Sur Viognier 2011 (Chile).  Cono Sur has been producing some good quality wines for many years.  This Viognier was full bodied, nice and round mouthfeel, with lots of tropical and stone fruit.  Along with the Salad Trio, we were served a Broad Bean & Sherchai Mash.  It looked very similar to guacamole, but different flavour profile. The texture was similar to guacamole, but it was dried, and had a salty and spinach flavour to it.  I had never heard of Sherchai, and was told it was similar to spinach.  I did a quick search on Google but did not see it; perhaps I should head out to Chinatown to investigate!

Broad bean and sherchai mash

Broad bean and sherchai mash

Hot Appetizers

For hot appetizers we samples a Chicken, enoki & shitake mushroom soup, Lormi Xiaomai, and salt & pepper crunchy tofu.  The tofu was fabulous.  If you like dry ribs and beer, the salt & pepper crunchy tofu would be a great replacement.  Nice crunchy outside, spicy from crushed chili pepper, but not too much; just right.  If you have gone for dim sum, you probably have had xiaomai (mixed ground pork and shrimp in a flour wrapper).  The Lormi Xiaomai was stuffed instead with sticky rice. I do like sticky rice in lotus leaf.  This is a bite size version, sans lotus leaf flavour component. The Chicken with enoki & shitake mushroom soup, was calming. The mushrooms added an earthy component to the soup. There were small chopped green vegetables, still with a bit of crunch to them.

Salt and pepper crunchy tofu

Salt and pepper crunchy tofu

Lormi xiaomai

Lormi xiaomai

Chicken with enoki and shitake mushroom soup

Chicken with enoki and shitake mushroom soup

Entree

I think the entrees showed most of the fusion component of the evening.  The dishes were:

  • Flambe salmon
  • Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste
  • Double prawns delight
  • Wok-fried vegetables
  • Steamed crepes & buns

Salmon, the patron fish of BC, was served on a hot plate, then flambeed at our table.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, nicely soft in the centre.  I really enjoyed the braised pork with pumpkin.  The pork belly had nice layering of fat and meat and too that the soybean paste had 5 Spice powder seasoning.  The pumpkin slice that accompanied too went well.  Nice and soft, and of course matching with the 5 Spice powder (which has cinnamon and cloves). We paired the entrees with a Lucky Star Pinot Noir 2011 (California).  The acidity in the Pinot Noir cut through the fattiness of the pork belly.  Our table really liked this Pinot Noir.  It had flavours of sour red cherries and a hint of violets.  Light body, dry with low tannins.  The steamed crepes & buns were good to sop up the soybean paste sauce from this dish.

Flambe salmon

Flambe salmon

Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste

Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste

The double prawns delight featured prawns cooked two ways; one deep fried and coated with a honey mustard sauce, and the other wok fried with a smokey / sweet / chili sauce.  I preferred the latter, but several people at my table also liked the honey mustard version.

Double prawns delight

Double prawns delight

The last dish was the wok-fried vegetables, mainly consisting of thin slices of eggplant, mushrooms, and scallions. It was spiced with ginger and sauteed. Quite tasty.

Wok fried vegetables

Wok fried vegetables

Dessert Duo

There were two desserts.  The first was “pumpkin sticks“, but it was more than just a “poki” style stick that you see at T&T.  To this there was a yellow yam? pudding topped by a purple yam ball coated with dried coconut.  The purple yam ball was a hit. The pudding was also good, not too sweet, but may be bland to some people not familiar with Asian style desserts. The other dish was the blackbean paste Lormi-zhi.  We were presented with what appeared like Japanese mochi balls, that were each in a different colour.  Each one had a different filling.  One was the traditional blackbean paste, while another that I tried had 3 types of chopped nuts (peanut, cashew and almond I think).

Pumpkin sticks dessert

Pumpkin sticks dessert

Blackbean paste Lormi-zhi

Blackbean paste Lormi-zhi

I wish Chef Zhang best of luck in his new endeavor at Sen Bistro.

Vancouver Foodster and the Best Burger Challenge

Best Burger ChallengeFrom November 5 – 30, 2012 you can taste the burger creations from 29 restaurants in Vancouver and Burnaby, then vote from November 28 – December 3 for your favourite. Visit www.vancouverfoodster.com/burger-challenge/ to find out all the restaurants and how to vote.

I had an opportunity to visit 3 of the participating restaurants with Media last week.  The burgers were all very different in their style, which I think makes the challenge interesting.  Find what you like.  The three restaurants we visited:

  • Max’s Burgers (521 West 8th Ave, Vancouver)
  • Luke’s Kitchen (2996 Granville St, Vancouver)
  • Whet (1517 Anderson St, Vancouver)

Max’s Burgers

Max’s Burgers produced a “local” burger, where all the ingredients are local.  Plus the hamburger bun is produced on premises. The beef comes from the Honest Butcher on Broadway and the bacon comes from Woodland Smokehouse.  Amber Ale white cheddar for the burger comes from the Okanagan. We were told that since they created this burger it is their top selling burger in Max’s. People like local!  I enjoyed this burger. It was well put together.  I liked the bacon in that it was not too smoky or salty, and the burger was not dripping in sauce.  The patty looked to be 1/2″ thick. Some other Media people mentioned how much they liked the home made hamburger buns.

Max’s also made their version of a Whisky Sour to go with our burger, called “Pomme de terroir“. It is a blend of local Spicebox Whisky mixed with roasted & pureed local Gala apples, and some sugar. A shrub vinegar was also added, and to top it off with R&B Cream ale foam. The baked apple mixed with the sweet spice from Spicebox Whisky was really very tasty.  I’d order it again.

If I were to pair a wine with this burger it may be a California Chardonnay, or maybe Summerhill’s ALIVE Organic Red.

Max's Burgers

Max’s Burgers

Max's local burger

Max’s local burger

Luke’s Kitchen

Luke’s Kitchen also went local but with a twist. They produced a home made veggie burger patty. They spent 2 months with 3 different consulting chefs to create the burger we tried that evening. Some of the ingredients that went into this patty included quinoa, toasted almonds, black beans and more.  To complement the burger they topped it with southern fried beer battered dill pickles and jalapeno peppers and dressed it with home made Granny Smith Chipotle ketchup. Wow. The pickled peppers and ketchup added zing to this burger. The patty had nice texture to it, and you don’t miss that it is not beef.

If I were to pair a wine with this, I may go with a rose wine, maybe from Joie or Haywire.

Luke’s Kitchen is taking local to another level as they will soon be growing their greens onsite, and talked about also raising their own fish at the restaurant too. Very cool and very local.

A side of deep fried pickles and jalapenos

A side of deep fried pickles and jalapenos

A cross section of Luke's veggie burger

A cross section of Luke’s veggie burger

Whet

Our last stop for the evening was Whet on Granville Island. They created a beef burger for this challenge and their twist was a Latin spice influence. They use local ingredients as well, such as the buns from Le Baguette on Granville Island. The beef was mixed with oregano, cumin and other spices.  AAA beef was used for the patty and it came 1/2″ thick on the bun. A Dominican style chimichuri slaw was served on the side.  The beef was very juicy and lots of flavour.  I in particular liked the cumin flavour, plus the actual taste from the grill marks on the patty.  I did not taste the grill from the other 2 burgers. The other thing I really liked was the cheddar cheese that was layered on the burger really stood out.  I like the sharpness of the cheddar.

I’m partial to Latin flavours, and this was my favourite burger of the evening.

They served an R&B Bitter with the burger.  It had nice orange, cherries and spice flavour. It was light body with medium bitterness.  A nice beer to enjoy with this burger.

If I were to have a glass of wine with this, I think I would go with a Ravenswood Zinfandel.

Whet's beef burger

Whet’s beef burger

Give these burgers a try, or try some of the other restaurants, then vote for your favourite burger. Enjoy!

Roses and Rose Wine for Mother’s Day

Rose Hybrid Tea ‘Mrs. Herbert Stevens’

Mothers have a hard job.  And having 1 day a year to celebrate her daily toil hardly covers how much she should be appreciated.  So I’d like to suggest both roses and rose wine for this special day, and any other day you want to show your appreciation.

The Meanings of Roses

For most of us, guys especially, do not know what the colours of roses mean.  Peruse the colours and pick what is most appropriate.  I would think that some colours of roses, e.g. red, may be more appropriate for your spouse, while other colours more appropriate for your mother.  As I am not an expert on rose colours, I present this list from http://www.rkdn.org/roses/colors.asp

Red (Dark)  Unconscious beauty
Red (Single) I Love You
Deep Burgundy  Unconscious Beauty
White Purity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility, Youthfulness
Pink  Appreciation, “Thank you”, Grace, Perfect Happiness, Admiration, Gentleness, “Please Believe Me”
Dark Pink Appreciation, Gratitude, “Thank You”
Light Pink  Admiration, Sympathy, Gentleness, Grace, Gladness, Joy, Sweetness
Yellow Joy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning, Welcome Back, Remember Me,  Jealousy
Yellow with Red Tip Friendship, Falling in Love
Orange Desire, Enthusiasm
Red and White  Given together, these signify unity
Red and Yellow Jovial and Happy Feelings
Peach  Appreciation, Closing the deal, Let’s get together, Sincerity, Gratitude
Pale Peach Modesty
Coral  Desire
Lavender Love at first sight, Enchantment
Orange  Enthusiasm, Desire, Fascination

How many roses should you give?  That’s a bit subjective, but 1 rose shows your devotion and 6 roses signify a need to be loved or cherished.  If you give 2 roses, that means you want to marry that person.  Maybe you would like to buy 1 rose for each year you have been together?

Some Rose Wine Picks

I have covered many rose wines over the past years.  Rose wines are wonderful I think for spring time and to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Here are a few that I think are quite tasty:

  • Chateau Lallier Champagnes

    Champagne Lallier Rose, NV, France. If your mother, wife or significant other enjoys bubbles, here is one to please. Very pale pinkish orange colour. Light strawberry nose. Bigger bubble, with strawberry and red cherry flavour. You can never go wrong with Champagne.

  • Domaine Chandon Brut Rose, NV, France.  A sparkling rose that will treat your tastebuds.  Light orangey cherry in colour.  Lees and strawberries on the nose.  Lots of light small bubbles in the glass.  Quite creamy mouthfeel with strawberry and cherry flavours.
  • Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2010, BC ($23). Light salmon colour. Strawberry and cherry aromas. High acidity with strawberries, raspberries and cherry flavours.  Very refreshing. We don’t come across a Gamay Noir rose, so this was nice.  Gamay, like Pinot Noir is naturally a low tannin wine, with red fruit / summer fruit flavours.  This is a very nice wine for the summer.  Try with some crab or lobster.
  • Blasted Church Rose 2010, BC ($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.
  • Olivares Jumilla Rose 2010, Spain. Bright cherry colour. Light cherry nose.  Light body with ripe red cherries and strawberry flavours. Medium acid and low tannins. Very refreshing. Highly recommended.
  • Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Pinot Noir Rosé 2010, BC. Light pinkish salmon colour. Raspberries and strawberry fruit on the nose with a bit of raspberry leaf as well.  Off dry with light body and medium acidity.  Quite nice strawberry flavour with some almonds on the finish.  The grapes for this wine come from one of the organic Kalala vineyards in West Kelowna.

I wish all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day!

A Niche Wine – A Rose from the Okanagan and More

Niche Wine Co Rose 2010

Have you heard of Niche Wine Co?  Me neither, until very recently.  There are many new wineries sprouting up here in British Columbia.  Niche’s Head Office is in Vancouver, and their winery in Kelowna.  James and Joanna Schlosser are the owners. They are farm folk and love to make wine. You can find their winery high on a ridge in West Kelowna.  All the grapes for the wine come from their vineyard, so very much a boutique winery. They currently are producing a rose and a Pinot Blanc.  And I am told a Pinot Noir is on the way.

Today I am trying their Niche Wine Co. Rose 2010. It is a blend of 59% Pinot Noir, 28% Riesling, and 13% Chardonnay. Very pale salmon in colour.  Ripe tropical fruit, strawberries and red cherry aromas. Round, and soft mouth feel.  Medium body with more red cherries and strawberry flavour.  Medium plus acidity makes this a refreshing rose. Medium length with apples on the finish.  I think the Chardonnay and Riesling add a bit of complexity to this rose.  I don’t normally for example, think of tropical fruit when I taste a rose.

A decent first attempt. I am curious to taste their Pinot Noir when it is released.  I am one of the many Pinot lovers here in Vancouver.

James and Joanna also recommend this Citrus Strawberry Salad Recipe to go with their Rose.

Enjoy!

A Few BC Day Wine Picks

BC flag

Our long weekend has started here in BC. And it is also sunny. I’m sure you will want to go outside for a picnic, maybe a BBQ in your backyard patio with family and friends. But maybe you need a few BC wines to get the party going. How about some of these?

Some BC Wines

Haywire Gamay Noir Rose

Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2010 ($23). Light salmon colour. Strawberry and cherry aromas. High acidity with strawberries, raspberries and cherry flavours.  Very refreshing. We don’t come across a Gamay Noir rose, so this was nice.  Gamay, like Pinot Noir is naturally a low tannin wine, with red fruit / summer fruit flavours.  This is a very nice wine for the summer.  Try with some crab or lobster.

Township 7 Viognier 2008. This wine 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.

Church & State Wines Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay is medium lemon colour. Nice apricot nose. Vanilla, sweet spice, pineapple and apricot flavours, with a bit of spice. Lots of flavours coming out the glass the more you swirled it around in your mouth.

Blasted Church 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.

Poplar Grove Legacy

Poplar Grove Winery Legacy 2006. Legacy is a Bordeaux blend consisting of 70% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 24% Cabernet Franc. Opaque garnet in colour.  Leather and cherry aromas. Full body with ripe black cherries and vanilla.  Medium tannins with a long length.

Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous Merlot / Cabernet Franc 2007. Opaque purple 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. Pale garnet in colour. Beautiful violets and strawberry aromas. Soft, light bodied, with vanilla, strawberries and ripe cherries on the palate.  Highly recommended.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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!