Trying Wellbrook Winery’s Fruit Wines with Dione’s Chocolates

Dione with her chocolates

It was just last week that I went with a friend to attend the Wellbrook Winery Wine and Chocolate tasting.  The chocolates were hand-made by artisan chocolate maker Dione Costanzo of Dione’s Chocolates from Crescent Beach, BC.  I had not yet been to Wellbrook Winery, but had heard about their wines.  They produce a range of fruit wines, with the fruit coming of course from Beautiful BC.  It was a rather informal affair, where you walked about and chatted with the other attendees, sipping wine, nibbling chocolates, and finding out each other’s favourite pairings.

Our Wine and Chocolate Pairings

  • Kangaroo with fruit compote paired with Wellbrook’s Reserve Blueberry wine.  There is dark chocolate mixed in with the fruit, so this is still a wine and chocolate pairing.  The kangaroo was quite tender, and went very well with the fruit & chocolate compote.  The Reserve Blueberry wine had a bit of smokiness to it, and toned down blueberry flavour.  Quite dry, but without the tannins that you would get in a red grape based wine.  The fruit in the wine with the compote meshed together well.
  • Chicken Mole tart paired with Wellbrook’s Reserve Blueberry wine.  The chocolate in this pairing is in the Mexican mole sauce.  This tart had a wonderful smoky chipotle flavour and medium spice.  I think the consensus amongst the group was that this was the better of the two pairings.  The smokiness of the wine and the chipotle made the magic happen.
  • Wellbrook’s Rhubarb wine paired with Strawberry Delights, and Gourmet bark white chocolate with BC cranberries.  The rhubarb wine was light in body and flavour.  I was expecting this wine to have lots of sourness, but was pleasantly surprised that it was not there.  On the pairings, half of the people liked the strawberry delights and half liked the white chocolate with BC cranberries.  I think the tartness of the cranberries, the creaminess of the white chocolate and the lightness of the rhubarb wine worked well together.
  • Wellbrook winery peach apricot wine

    Wellbrook’s Peach Apricot wine paired with Autumn Spice Ganache, and Gourmet bark milk chocolate with crystalized ginger.  I really enjoyed this wine. It tasted like dried apricots and had a high level of acidity without making you pucker.  It was very fruity and I’d place it as medium bodied. I preferred this wine with the Autumn Spice Ganache.  I liked the sweet spices from the chocolate mingling with the stone fruit flavours, plus the acidity from the wine made the chocolate and spice more flavourful.  The ginger was ok for me, but it did not have enough ginger flavour for me.  I know others mentioned that there was too much ginger for them.

  • Wellbrook’s Ice Apple wine paired with Crescent Beach truffle caramel with sea salt, and green apple truffles.  The ice apple was not as thick and syrupy as a grape-based ice wine, but it still had more body, apple flavour, and sweetness than I would expect from a dry, apple wine. Everyone really liked this wine with Dione’s Crescent Beach truffle.  I think this may be her signature chocolate.  It was also a hit at the previous wine and chocolate tasting I did with her. The green apple truffle was a bit too sour for my taste and did not mesh well enough with the ice apple wine.

At this event, we also had their new wine maker, Mr. Laurent Lafuente, to talk about the fruit wines, and his experiences around the world.  He even gave us a sip of their newly fermenting cranberry wine.  It was quite interesting to taste a wine in mid-ferment.

If you have never been to Wellbrook Winery, they are located at 4626 88th Street, Delta, BC.  I have been told that they have lots of fun tastings and food events during the winter and summer.  Try to get on their email list. And don’t forget Dione’s Chocolates. Probably both are good presents to grown-up friends and family.  Enjoy!

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!

Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza

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} catch(err) {}Today was a beautiful day for the Fraser Valley Wineries Association 2nd Annual Wine & Culinary Extravaganza in south Langley. A large tent was set up, wines were chilled, and hot & cold appetizers were plenty. Some of the wineries offered grape based wines, which most of us think of, but there were also several fruit berry wineries. On the grape-side we had:
– Domaine de Chaberton Estate Wine
ry
– Lotusland Vineyards
– Pacific Breeze Winery

– River’s Bend Winery


On the fruit berry side there was:
– Westham Island Estate Winery
– Wellbrook Winery
– Sanduz Estate Wines

– The Fort Wine Company

Some people say they get headaches after drinking red wine from grapes. This could be due to the tannins in some of the heavier reds, such as from syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. There are lighter bodied reds, with less tannins, such as gamay and pinot noir. But there is also another route that these red wine suffers may want to take, and that is to drink red berry wine. At today’s event, I was able to try wine made from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, red currant, and black currant. I enjoyed the currant wines the most, as they were the closest to grape wine for me, but I can appreciate the other wines as well. There was also dessert (sweet) fruit wines to sample. One I enjoyed was the Sanduz blueberry dessert wine. It was almost porty.

On the grape side, I was very happy to find out that Lotusland Vineyards is an organic winery and also uses wild fermentation (that is using the native yeast in the vineyard to ferment the wines. The other method is to purchase specialized yeasts for fermentation.) Their gewurztraminer had a lychee / pear nose was light bodied and had a delicate flavour. Their pinot noir and merlot was also very nice. I unfortunately did not have a tasting sheet to make notes, for these wines or the other wines, but I do remember which wines I enjoyed the most. If you like big Rhone style or Bordeaux style wines, Pacific Breeze Winery, was pouring a Vin de Gariste and a GSM (Grenache / Syrah / Mouvedre) blend. They also had a very full bodied, creamy chardonnay. Another winery I enjoyed was River’s Bend. They had a very nice white blend called Flaxen, a Viognier, and a Pinot Gris. On the red side, their 2006 Black Horse, a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, was nice paired up with the pulled pork sandwich from Memphis Blues Barbeque.

There were several other local restaurants, such as Coza Tuscan Grill and Sonoma Grill serving up appetizers to go with the wines. The event was overall run very well. I’d recommend people to attend next year’s event so you can also try out these wines, or take a 1-day weekend trip to visit each winery.

Back from Oregon

My blog has been quiet over the last week. That’s because I was out in Oregon trying pinot noir and pinot gris primarily. The coast where i was staying was really wet and cold. Not good grape growing area, but as soon as you move inland a bit, say around McMinnville, the weather warms up nicely. I was able to try wines from the $11 – $85 range, and both ends of the range were excellent. On the main page of www.mywinepal.com i will be providing reviews for the wines that I really enjoyed, but for the moment, to whet your appetite, here are a few recommendations:

Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir, 2006. This wine is produced by the winemaker barrel sampling and picking the best barrels to blend. This wine was medium garnet. Violet and plum aromas. Violets, ginger, cloves, and vanilla flavour. US$42

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2006. 2006 was a hot year in Oregon so all wineries have very ripe fruit and a larger volume of wine produced. This wine was light garnet in colour. Spicy, strawberry, smoky, vanilla and cherry aromas. Spicy, light oak, with a cherry finish. US$38

Redhawk Vineyard and Winery Redhawk Red. This is a popular table wine for this winery. It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This wine was dark garnet in colour. Plum, currant and dark fruit aromas. Sweet black fruits, soft tannins and long length on the palate. US$11 (an unbelievable price)

Enjoy!

Bourgogne: Tour De Terroir tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 08:04:21
Posted By Wine With Karl

Friday evening was a “tour” across Burgundy. We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Luckily only 9 wines this evening compared to 15 wines the previous evening.

First wine was Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurora Rose Brut, a cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant is a sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne. 100% pinot noir. Light salmon colour, strawberry aroma and flavour. Cremant is usually less expensive than Champagne but uses the same methods so try some cremant.

Next was Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Los 2005. This is chardonnay from the northern Chablis region. Chablis is known for being steely and mineral, but with age comes complexity. This one had lemon, spice and mineral aroma. Light oak, apple, citrus flavour, and had a soft mouthfeel.

Chateau de Cordon Andre Pouilly Fuisse Les Vielle Pierres 2004. Pouilly Fuisse is the region just on the northern border of Beaujolais. The grapes for this wine are also chardonnay. Being further south, the grapes get more sun and heat and have more flavour and creaminess. Unfortunately the wine I had came from a tainted bottle so I can’t tell you about it. Approximately 1 in 12 bottles suffer cork taint world-wide.

Our fourth wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Mersault 2006. More chardonnay, this time from the Cote d’Or, the main part of Burgundy. I marked this wine as a star. Fermented in barrel, this wine was full bodied, rich, with apple, spice, citrus and hazelnut flavours with a toasty finish. Pair with lobster.

The fifth wine was the George Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages 2007. A “village” wine is a step up from a simple Beaujolais. It typically has riper fruit and at least 0.5% more alcohol. Gamay is the red grape in Beaujolais. This wine had cherry and banana aromas. Cherry and juicy fruit gum, flavours. The banana aroma and juicy fruit gum flavours come from the carbonic maceration fermentation (i’ll blog on that separately).

Next, the sixth wine was the Domaine Piron Chenas Quartz 2007. Chenas is the smallest Cru within Beaujolais, and has produced an excellent quality wine. This was medium reddish purple. Cherry aroma. Big cherry fruit flavour, a good level of acidity and medium tannins. A star for this one.

Our seventh wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 2006. Pinot noir here. The vineyard was once owned by nuns, thus the origin of the “Baby Jesus” name. The vineyard is in Beaune, which is the main city in Burgundy. This wine had beautiful cherry blossom aroma. Soft mouthfeel, cherries and strawberry flavours. Very well balanced. My OVERALL favorite of the tasting.

The eighth wine was the Olivier Leflaive Wines Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2005. Remember, Pommard produces masculine wines. This vineyard grows on iron rich soil, giving the wine more body and firm tannins. Garnet colour and big legs (high alcohol). Cherry and strawberry flavour. Full bodied, firm tannins, cherry flavour.

Our final wine was the Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 2006. I do love the wines from the Gevrey-Chambertin appelation. This wine had beautiful cherry and vanilla/oak aroma. Good acid, cherry flavour, medium body.Tour de terroir

Enjoy!

What a difference a day, or two or more makes.

Keeping on the pinot noir topic from the last few blogs, last week I opened a bottle of Peller Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, 2006 vintage. The wine had an overpowering candied strawberry and violet aroma. It was way out of balance with the flavour of the wine. I put the cork back in the bottle and let it air out for a while. I tried it again two days later. The aroma was much less pronounced. There was still the violets, but now a bit of rustic/earthiness was present plus some dustiness. I then tried it again today (1 week after opening the bottle). The wine softened up nicely. The violet aroma was still there but again, much less than the last time I tried it. Even nicer flavour and finish than the previous day.

So the moral of my little story is if you have problems with the flavour or aroma of a wine, give it some time to breathe. Even a day or more. Oxygen can be a wine’s best friend. Enjoy!