BC Wine Appreciation Society 10th Anniversary Gala – Get Your Tickets

Do you love BC wine, or want to try BC wine?  Here is a great chance at the 10th Anniversary Gala of the BC Wine Appreciation Society.   Their announcement is below.  Enjoy!

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BC Wine Appreciation Society logo10th Anniversary Gala-Over 45 Wineries – April 16/15

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Celebrate the Grape Outdoors with Tinhorn Creek

Tinhorn Creek ampitheatre

Tinhorn Creek ampitheatre

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is celebrating the great outdoors this summer by pairing up their world-class wine with great food and music in celebration of the sunshine!

July 11 – Miradoro’s award-winning Chef Jeff Van Geest will team up with Covert Farms’ Chef Derek Uhlemann for a ‘Farm Field’ dinner celebrating delicious organic strawberries. The chefs will create a multi-course culinary tribute to the fruit and pair with pretty-in-pink rosé wines.www.covertfarms.ca

July 13 & August 9 – Relax under the stars with Classic Movie nights!

Miradoro will be serving special themed menus for dinner and during the movie they will have a concession with popcorn, gelato and other treats.

July 27 & August 24 – The much-anticipated Canadian Concert Series is back! The Matinee bring their talents to the amphitheatre on July 27 and Five Alarm Funk will get you dancing in the vineyard on August 24.

August 3 – Miradoro will be taking part in Food Day Canada, along with 250 other restaurants across the country to celebrate the fresh abundance of Canadian produce. To book call Miradoro on 250-498-3742 and for more information about Food Day Canada please visit:www.fooddaycanada.com.

September 27 – Miradoro will be hosting one of the highly-regarded Visa Infinite Wine Country Experiences with Gold Medal Plates Chefs Marc St. Jacques and Marc Lepine. The Marc & Marc Dinner will be a celebration of Canadian culinary talent, exclusively for Visa Infinite cardholders. www.visainfinite.ca

For more information, visit www.tinhorn.com.

The 2013 BC Icewine Harvest – Info from the BC Wine Institute

Yes it was cold enough to freeze grapes this past week, and ice wine flowed!  Well at least frozen grape juice, but the wonderful ice wine is soon to follow.  The BC Wine Institute issued the following press release about the latest ice wine harvest, and I am passing it along to you.  Enjoy!

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January 18, 2013 (Kelowna, BC)

Tantalus Vineyards ice wine harvest 2013

Tantalus Vineyards ice wine harvest 2013

The Icewine harvest has returned to British Columbia!

After last vintage’s second-earliest start on record on November 19 and 20, 2011 the majority of the Icewine harvest in the Okanagan was on January 11 and 12, 2013. Harvested at minus 8°Celsius or below, the wine made from these frozen grapes must reach quality standards including 35 brix of sugar to be called true Icewine.

While some Icewine was harvested in the early morning hours of  January 1, 2013, the majority of the Icewine harvest continued just a few weeks later from 10:30 PM on January 11, continuing to the early morning hours of January 12, ending at about 5:00 AM. The BC Wine Authority noted that 27 of the 31 potential wineries picked that weekend, collecting approximately 450 tons of frozen grapes. Temperatures during harvest ranged from minus 9°to minus 14° Celsius, and the harvest was spread around the Okanagan Valley, from north to south.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna picked 6.25 tons of Zweigelt for Icewine at the Summerhill Vineyard and Eidse Brothers Vineyard on Friday night, beginning at 12:00 AM in minus 11° weather. The grapes were at 42 brix at pressing – much above the requirement of minimum of 35 brix. Unfortunately, the winery was too late for their Chardonnay Icewine grapes. Summerhill’s CEO Ezra Cipes explained that “deer and birds ate our entire crop of Chardonnay Icewine this year, despite netting the grapes to protect them.” The wildlife also reduced the amount of Zweigelt Icewine available as they ate about three quarters of the potential harvest. Cipes explained that the winery has no deer fencing to protect the grapes and also has a nature preserve on the property – perfect for a family of deer.

Van Westen Vineyards in Naramata began picking their Icewine at 2:00 AM on January 12. With temperatures at -11°, the inner cluster berries were thoroughly frozen. By 4:00 PM that day, the temperature had warmed to -6°and the team was still pressing frozen grapes. The winery picked about 1.7 tons of Icewine overall.

Oliver’s Tinhorn Creek Vineyards picked their Kerner Icewine at 5:00 AM on Saturday, January 12. The winery reports that they also picked their Icewine on the same day in 2012 – January 12.

The Icewine varieties picked are diverse in the Okanagan Valley, ranging from aromatic whites to tannic reds. January 11 and 12 saw the following grapes picked for Icewine, in order for highest tonnage: Riesling (132), Merlot (77), Cabernet Franc (36), Pinot Gris (35), Chardonnay (35), Zweigelt (34), Viognier (33), Pinot Noir (25), Sauvignon Blanc (25), Ehrenfelser (8), Cabernet Sauvignon (4), Kerner (3.5), Oraniensteiner (1.5), Syrah (1), Lemburger (1), Pinot Blanc (1), Pinot Auxerrois (1), Semillon (0.5), and Muscat (0.5).

With the Icewine harvest begun, palates across BC can look forward to new Icewine releases in 2013.

For updates on the harvest, follow @winebcdotcom, #Icewine and #BCwine on Twitter.

About British Columbia Wine Institute

Since 1990, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC’s wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing quality wine tourism experiences.

Representing 133 member wineries throughout the province, the BCWI supports and markets the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA), which gives consumers assurance they are buying a wine that is 100% from BC. The BCWI also markets the Wine Regions of British Columbia; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC’s wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of its members. Find more at www.winebc.com.

What’s my favourite wine?

People ask me quite often, what’s my favourite wine, or what is my favourite wine from a specific region or country.  Do you get that too?  What do you say?

My response is that I have too many favourite wines, which is true.  The thing about wine, is that every vintage is different.  Some years are hot and dry, others are cool and wet, and everything in between.  This makes every vintage unique.  So one year I may like a cabernet sauvignon from one producer, but next year, I may prefer a cab from a different producer.  That’s the beauty of wine.  In this case, I do have a few wineries that I enjoy their wines each vintage.

Some countries have less variability in climate, so the wines are closer in style, body, flavour each year.  Examples would be the Barossa Valley in Australia, or the Colchagua Valley in Chile.  Some producers are Haan, Penfolds, and Thorn-Clarke in Australia, and Montgras, Casa Lapostolle, and Montes in Chile.

Most places do not have the luxury of a predictable climate with a long growing season.  Most areas in France, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest have significant climate variability each year.  So I could list just about every winery I know in this category.  Some wineries do seem to produce better quality wines, due to their vineyard management and their fermentation process and aging.  Those would be a good bet to try for each new vintage.  Other wineries can have an exceptional year and those are the unique finds that are fun to hear about and try, because it would only be around for that vintage.  Some wineries in BC that I really like are La Frenz, Quails’ Gate, Le Vieux Pin, La Stella, Osoyoos LaRose, Tantalus, Mission Hill, Tinhorn Creek, and many more.

So for the cooler climate wines, I’d say the best is to check with the www.MyWinePal.com website for my wine reviews, and check other well-known wine bloggers for their reviews, then go try out some wines.  You may also want to  consider attending wine tastings put on by wine societies in your city.  Here in Vancouver we have the South World Wine Society, the BC Wine Appreciation Society, and many others. Enjoy!

BC Pinot Noir for summer sips

My earlier post was on BC pinot gris/grigio in the $15-$25 range for enjoying this summer. This post will be on BC pinot noir in the same price range. Pinot noir is nice slightly chilled, with not too much tannins to make it enjoyable on the patio. Plus with it’s summer fruit flavours and aromas of strawberries and raspberries in many cases, also makes it a good fit. I think BC makes very nice Pinot Noir. As an aside, there are several either New Zealand trained, or New Zealand wine makers here in BC. New Zealand is very well known for their New World style Pinot Noirs, and are making Burgundy take notice.

A quick check on the EverythingWine website, came up with 17 BC Pinot Noirs:

Arrowleaf Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $22.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Pinot Noir 750 ml Pinot Noir $15.99 More information about Ganton & Larsen Prospect  Pinot Noir 750 ml
Gray Monk Pinot Noir 750mL Pinot Noir $16.99 More information about Gray Monk Pinot Noir 750mL
Inniskillin Okanagan Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Inniskillin Okanagan  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Noir Rose 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Kalala Organic Estate Winery Pinot Noir Rose 750 mL
Kettle Valley Pinot Noir Reserve 375ml Pinot Noir $23.99 More information about Kettle Valley Pinot Noir Reserve 375ml
Lang Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $22.99 More information about Lang Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml
Mike Weir Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Mike Weir Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir Bin 88 750ml Pinot Noir $16.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards  Pinot Noir Bin 88 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $17.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 750 mL Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve  Pinot Noir 750 mL
Mt Boucherie Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Pinot Noir 750ml
Neck of the Woods Winery Blanc de Noir Sparkling 750 mL Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Neck of the Woods Winery Blanc de Noir Sparkling 750 mL
Paradise Ranch Whistler 2005 Pinot Noir Icewine 200 ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Paradise Ranch Whistler 2005 Pinot Noir Icewine 200 ml
Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $24.99 More information about Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 750ml
See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $21.99 More information about See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Pinot Noir 750ml
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml Pinot Noir $18.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir 750ml

You may have noticed a sparkling wine and an ice wine in the mix. The Pinot Noir grape is one of the classic varietals in Champagne. It also is being used to make more ice wines here in BC. One of my favourite BC Pinot Noir, is the Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir. From previous tasting notes that I have for Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir 2007: Silky with flavours of strawberries and cherries, and a bit of spice.

Enjoy summer!