Red Door #dineout Wine and Food Pairing was Delicious

Thursday night’s Dine Out Vancouver meal was at Red Door Pan Asian Grill on Granville (2996 Granville Street,  The menu I selected was:

  • Indonesian Chicken Satays Served with peanut and spicy plum sauce. (appetizer)
  • Spicy Ginger Beef Tender slices of crispy beef, spicy Thai chili peppers, served with Mongolian noodles and vegetables. (Main course)
  • Curry-Butterscotch Pot de Crème Buterscotch custard spiked with a mild curry and aged Scotch. Topped with chocolate ganache and rice pearls. (Dessert)

To pair with this food, Red Door was offering a flight of 3 red wines (2oz), consisting of: Sumac Ridge Black Sage Vineyard Merlot, Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and Red Rooster Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend. The Merlot was quite round with cherry fruit.  The Cabernet Sauvignon was much more full-bodied, heavier mouthfeel, with ripe cherry flavour.  The Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend I think was the lightest bodied of the three reds that evening.  Sorry it was quite dark in the restaurant, which is good for ambiance but makes it difficult to take detailed wine notes.

The satay chicken was ok.  The dipping sauce was interesting with ginger mixed in with the ground peanuts.  The Sumac Ridge Merlot was a nice pairing with the satay chicken.  It was not too heavy in flavour compared to the satay.

The Spicy Ginger Beef was deep fried slices of beef in a dark soy sauce with spice and a bit of sweetness.  The noodles had a bit of ginger in them.  The beef needed a full-bodied wine to handle the amount of flavour from this dish.  The perfect pairing was the Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  The fruit of the wine balanced out the spice of the beef, the tannins in the wine balanced against the bit of sweetness in the beef.

I didn’t have any of my three wines with the dessert.  The Curry-Butterscotch Pot de Crème was perfect on it’s own.  The hint of curry mixed with the butterscotch was remarkable, and topping it with the chocolate ganache and crunchy rice pearls was over the top. 

I recommend trying out Red Door Pan Asian Grill. Enjoy!

EBO – A Great Dine Out Vancouver Experience

Today was my first Dine Out Vancouver event for the season. I heard many good things from foodies around Vancouver, such as @vanfoodster on Twitter. So I made sure that EBO Restaurant in Burnaby, near BCIT, would be on my list of restaurants to try. I was not disappointed.

Together with my spouse, I was able to try 2 different appetizers, main courses, and desserts. What we had:

  • Roasted Baja Scallops with Vanilla Scented Cauliflower Puree, Serrano Ham, Capers & Sultana Raisins (appetizer)
  • Beetroot and Goat Cheese with Marinated Baby Beets, Molten Marcella Goat Cheese, Organic Lettuce, Textures of Apples, Pine Nut Granola (appetizer)
  • Tuna, Rare Rice-Crusted Albacore Tuna Steak, Avocado Purée, Asparagus with Serrano Ham, Chili Gastrique (main)
  • Braised Beef Rib “galbijim” with Crushed Potatoes, Braised Carrots (main)
  • Warm Apple Crumble with Granny Smith Apples, Raisins Coconut Streusel and Vanilla Ice Cream (dessert)
  • Baked Marble Cheesecake with Berry Compote (dessert)

Our wines for the appetizers and main courses:

  • Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc
  • See Ya Later Ranch “Unleashed” Riesling
  • Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Cabernet Merlot

The best pairing in my opinion was the Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc with the Roasted Baja Scallops.  The Sauvignon Blanc had citrusy aromas and flavours, but also some wonderful stone fruit aromas/flavours.  It was a light bodied wine with good acidity bursting with flavour. The scallops were lightly grilled and came with crunchy thin asparagus spears and squid ink sauce.  The sweetness and grilled flavour of the scallops together with the crunchy asparagus and the sauvignon blanc enhanced each other.  Really impressive.

My other favorite of the night was the Braised Beef Rib “galbijim” with the Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend.  The wine was medium bodied, and quite flowery.  The Braised Beef rib was falling off the bone tender and full of flavour on its own. The wine was lower in tannins and the flowery aromas/flavours made the beef rib even more flavourful.  It’s flavour did not compete for attention with the beef.  Nice.

Dessert was a toss up.  I have a soft spot for warm apple crumble (and pie), and for cheesecake.  I’m sure you would like either one.  Neither was too large or heavy.

Give EBO Restaurant a try during Dine Out Vancouver, or after!  Enjoy.

Want a Champagne Icewine Cocktail?

I was just browsing around on the web and I found this recipe for a champagne with icewine cocktail recipe and thought I’d pass it along to you. Although the recipe is listed as “champagne”, it really should be identified as “sparkling wine” as champagne is only from the Champagne region in France.

Since this is a long weekend, you may want to make some tonight or on Sunday night with friends. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Fusion Royale Champagne Cocktail

By Scott McTaggart, Fusion Grill, Winnipeg
750 ml bottle sparkling wine (suggests Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay)
375 ml bottle icewine (suggests Inniskillin Vidal)
Preserved Bing cherries

Fill champagne flutes 3/4 full of sparkling wine. Add a dash of icewine to each. Drop in a cherry.

Makes 6 servings.

Okanagan Road Trip

This past week was a road trip with my family in the Okanagan. I did get a chance to visit a few wineries I already knew, and to visit some new wineries. With Kelowna as our home base, we drove as far north as Vernon, and as far south as Osoyoos. In Kelowna, I had to show my family the beautiful views from Mission Hill Family Estate winery’s grounds. It is always so nice to look over the lake and Kelowna from the patio restaurant. On the wine tasting side, I was privileged to taste a 2003-2006 vertical of Mission Hill’s top wine, Oculus. Although I didn’t have any notes written, I can tell you that the 2006 was “feminine” in style with a beautiful flowery bouquet. The 2004 and 2003 Oculus was my favorite by a slim margin over the 2006 Oculus. 2003 was a very hot year in the Okanagan, and had the horrible forest fires we all remember. The heat made the fruit very ripe that year, so you get lots of fruit to balance the tannins. The 2003 still has good tannic structure with fruit and I’d give it a few more years to soften. It is a wonderful wine. You might want to see if they are selling any through the Library releases. I think you have to go to the winery though to buy their Library releases.

On another day trip, we went to Nk’Mip desert cultural centre and the Nk’Mip winery right beside it. The cultural centre was very interesting, and has a nest with an Osprey parents and chicks. The nest is on the top of a tall pole, so bring your binoculars. My favorite wine on this tasting of the Nk’Mip winery was their NK’Mip Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir 2007. Again no hand written notes, but I remember strawberries with smoke aromas and flavours. Buy some if you can.

On another trip, we spent some time tasting wines at Sumac Ridge Estate winery in Summerland. While there I tried my first ever sparkling Gewurztraminer. It was quite refreshing. I bought a bottle so that I can try it back home with some seafood this summer. I also enjoyed their Chardonnay and their Cabernet Franc from the Black Sage vineyards. Quite elegant.

Another day was spent at Volcanic Hills winery, Beaumont Estate Family winery, and Kalala Organic Estate winery. I found out that the owners of Volcanic Hills winery were co-owners of the Mount Boucherie winery. They just opened their tasting room 3 weeks ago. Most of the grapes were purchased from what I could tell. The Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris was quite nice. Round mouthfeel with juicy ripe fruit flavours. This is their first vintage of their reds and whites. I am looking forward to trying their next vintages and see how they define their style.

If you like wines made from organically grown grapes, there is Beaumont Estate Family winery, which is right next door to Volcanic Hills winery, and there is Kalala Organic Estate winery (who BTW let Volcanic Hills use their equipment for vinifying their first vintage). Beaumont is a family run business with the daughter of the family making the wines. They have a wide range of wines from Pinot Gris, to Pinot Noir, to Gamay Noir, and more. They noted that Pinot Noir seems to like their soil the most, so expect to see them concentrate on this wine. I was really looking forward to Kalala Organic Estate winery, since I saw them last June. They have won several medals this year for their red and white wines. I really liked their Riesling 2008 vintage. It had crisp acidity, pineapple and apple aromas with a hint of petrol. It won a Gold at the 2010 New World Int’l Wine Competition in California, a Silver in the 2010 Concours mondial de Bruxelles, and a Bronze at the 2010 Northwest Wine Summit. Buy this wine before it sells out. On the red side, if you have not tried, give their Zweigelt 2008 a try. This red grape provided sour red cherry aroma and flavour, and a bit of maraschino cherry too. Soft tannins also with Zweigelt. This wine won 4 different Bronze medals this year. Check out Kalala’s website for all their medals.

That is all for now. I wish I had more time to try more wines while I was in the Okanagan, but being with family is also nice!

The Globe in Your Glass Media Tasting

This evening in support of Canuck Place, was the Globe in Your Glass tasting, with wineries from around the world. There was also a Media component, which usually has a person telling you something about the wines for the evening, BUT this evening was different. We were presented with 15 wines (8 white and 7 red) that were poured into carafes. Our task as Media was to taste each wine and guess the winery that produced it and the varietal or blend. We did get a hint for each wine, but it was still really hard. Also, all the wines were under $20, so good value.

The wines were of course unveiled at the end and the person(s) with the most right guesses, wins. Believe it or not, yours truly guessed the most correct wines. The wines we had to guess were:
– Hardys Stamp of Australia Riesling Gewurztraminer 2008 ($10.49)
– Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewurztraminer 2007 ($12.99) *
– Nk-Mip Cellars Pinot Blanc 2007 ($17.01)

– Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi S
auvignon Blanc 2008 ($9.99)
– Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($15.99) *
– Banrock Station Unwooded Chardonnay 2007 ($11.99)
– Jackson-Triggs Esprit VQA Chardonnay 2007 ($12.99)

– Inniskillin Okanagan Dark Horse Chardonnay 2005 ($19.99) *

– See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Pinot Noir 2007 ($17.99) *

– Hogue Cellars Genesis Merlot 2004 ($19.99)

– Clos du Bois Merlot 2005 ($19.99)
Barossa Valley Estates E-Minor Shiraz 2008 ($19.99)
– Hardys Chronicles “Butcher’s Gold” Shiraz Sangiovese 2007 ($16.95) *

– Robert Mondavi Private Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($19.99)

– Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2006 ($19.99) *

The easiest for me to guess was the Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, the See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Noir, and the Ravenswood Zinfandel. The toughest was the Nk’Mip Cellars Pinot Blanc and the Hardys Chronicles “Butcher’s Gold” Shiraz Sangiovese.

The ones I enjoyed the most I put a “*” beside in case you are looking for a tasty wine under $20. Enjoy.

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Tribute Sparkling Wine

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-3295479-2”);
} catch(err) {}Yesterday at O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar, Christa-Lee McWatters Bond from Sumac Ridge Estate Winery gave those in attendance, a sneak peek at their newest sparkling wine, called “Tribute”. This is a non-vintage 100% chardonnay based sparkling wine. What is the twist as there are other chardonnay-based sparkling wines from around the world.

The twist is that Sumac Ridge will donate $1.25 from each bottle sold to support our Canadian Olympic athletes. From what I hear on the news, our athletes are not supported as much as athletes in other countries, so if we have a way to support our athletes, and enjoy some bubbly, it is a win-wine situation 🙂

FYI, 100% Chardonnay-based sparkling wines tend to be lighter bodied and have finer bubbles than sparkling wines that have pinot noir or pinot meunier mixed in.

Tribute is not yet released, but will be available in BC Liquor Stores in the start of August. Each bottle will cost $30, with $1.25 going to our Canadian Olympic athletes. Enjoy!