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

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!

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!

Celebrating Mardi Gras Food with Wine!

Mardi Gras is coming up on March 8. What food and wine will you be serving? I took a trip to New Orleans, the Big Easy, just before Hurricane Katrina. It was an amazing food experience. Lots of rich and delicious food.

For Mardi Gras, there are some well loved dishes.  I was thinking to tell you about some of them, and then offer some wine pairing suggestions.  And maybe get invited to a few Mardi Gras parties!

What are some Mardi Gras dishes?

Courtesy Epicurious.com

  • Oysters Bienville
  • Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
  • Gumbo

The Oysters Bienville dish on the half shell cooked with butter and egg and of course oysters is quite a rich dish.  A riesling or maybe an unoaked chardonnay may pair nicely with this.  For a riesling maybe try a Tantalus Vineyards Riesling from the Okanagan, BC or a Pikes Traditionale Clare Valley Riesling from Australia. For unoaked chardonnay, you could pick a La Chablisienne Chablis from France or Township 7 unoaked chardonnay from Okanagan, BC.

The Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya will be a spicy dish with a tomato based sauce.  A wine with good fruit and low tannins would pair well.  Maybe a grenache or a zinfandel.  On the grenache side, I really like the Sorrento Dry Grown Grenache 2008, McLaren Vale, Australia.  I just tried it last month and it is wonderful, lots of red fruit flavours.  Nice raspberry and toffee on the nose and on the palate. If you prefer a garnacha from Spain, try the Las Rocas Garnacha. For a zinfandel Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 or Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2006.

What is gumbo?  Gumbo is a roux-based stew made with andouille sausage, cubes of beef, crab and shrimp. Again this will be spicy.  A New World pinot noir could match well.  From last years Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair, I can recommend the Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007 and the Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir 2007. My wine reviews for these 2 wines are here.  If you want a BC Pinot Noir, try the Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir?  One of my reliable pinots in BC!

In case you don’t have a recipe for these dishes, I’ve added the links for you.
Jambalaya

Oysters Bienville

Gumbo

Enjoy these dishes from the Big Easy and these wines from around the world!

Township 7’s Taste the Stars Valentine’s Affair!

Still thinking of what you can do memorable with your significant other for Valentine’s Day?  Something wine-related is always good.  Township 7, located in Langley, has two special seminars you might want to attend.  The first event about how to make a “champagne” style sparkling wine is FREE, while the other is a seafood and wine pairing at a reasonable $30 per person cost.  Here are the details.  Have a great Valentine’s Day celebration!

Saturday, February 12th, Seminar 1 & 3 PM, Dinner 7-10 PM

Join Township 7 for their Taste the Stars Valentine’s celebration on Saturday February 12 at their picturesque winery in Langley, just a 45 minute drive from Vancouver. For the first time this year, they are holding special seminars on méthode champenoise winemaking and sabrage, chocolate making, and seafood/wine pairing. Enjoy a decadent, entertaining and informative time and participate in the traditional French style of crafting champagne with Township 7 winemaker Bradley Cooper and proprietor Mike Raffan, learn how to make delectable truffles by Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, and what pairs best with oysters on the half shell with 1 Fish 2 Fish. Partial proceeds from the Valentine’s activities will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The Delicate & Mad Art of Methode Champenoise

Discover how traditional handcrafted champagne is made in France and join Township 7’s proprietor and winemaker in the fun and sometimes messy and challenging process of dégorgement, then adding the dosage and corking of sparkling wine!
Complimentary winemaker seminars at 1 and 3 pm.

Taste the Stars Evening at Township 7

Impress your paramour and indulge your senses with an early Valentine’s celebration of fine wine, paired with raw oysters and seafood canapés. Enjoy live music by the popular local band, We Play for Wine, while you taste your way through two rooms featuring seafood delicacies by 1 Fish 2 Fish, enjoy winemaker Bradley Cooper’s discussion of wine food pairings and complete your visit in our romantic chocolate room with Jacqueline Pearson of White Rock’s Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, rolling dark chocolate truffles.

$30 per person (grazing/non-seated)
21152 16th Avenue
Langley, BC V2Z 1K3
604-532-1766

BC Syrah for Summer Sips

Well, Syrah. A big wine. So maybe Summer Sips is not the correct term. Maybe I should call this one, Summer Gulps. Because you would want a big glass of syrah, and enjoy a good amount in your mouth, probably just before or after you have something nice from the BBQ. Syrah loves heat so that it can fully ripen and you can appreciate all the flavours this grape can produce. The southern Okanagan gets a lot of heat, so there should be plenty around.

Syrah typically has high tannins and high acidity, with flavours of blackberry, blueberry, dark chocolate, mint, eucalyptus, smoked meat, black pepper, white pepper, liquorice, and cloves. The high tannin content of the grapes often makes these wines good candidates for aging.  This grape ranks up there in ageability together with Cabernet Sauvignon.

You may also see the term “Shiraz” instead of “Syrah“.  These are the same grape, just a different style wine making.  In France, you tend to get a more restrained version of the wine produced, with less fruit forwardness and more tannins and acidity.  In newer wine making regions of the world, you tend to get a “New World” style called Shiraz.  Australia has been the poster child for the Shiraz style, which is a big block buster wine full of ripe fruit.  Both styles have their followers and their detractors.

Checking the www.everythingwine.com website, I find the following BC Syrah in the $15-$25 range:

Jackson-Triggs Private Reserve Shiraz 750ml Syrah $19.99
Kettle Valley Syrah 375ml Syrah $23.99
Marichel Vineyard Syrah/Viognier 750 mL Syrah $24.99
Peller Proprietor’s Reserve Shiraz 1.5L Syrah $16.99
Stag’s Hollow Rose Syrah 750 ml Syrah $21.99

More syrah  are usually at a slightly higher price point, so checking everythingwine.com again, in the $25-$50, I have the following additional BC syrah:

Blasted Church Winery Syrah 750 mL Syrah $31.99
Church & State Coyote Bowl Syrah 750mL Syrah $33.99
Desert Hills Syrah 750 mL Syrah $39.99
Hillside Syrah 750 mL Syrah $31.99
Laughing Stock Small Caps Program Syrah/Viognier 750ml Syrah $39.99
Marichel Vineyard Syrah 750 mL Syrah $49.99
Mission Hill Family Estate Select Lot Collection Syrah 750 mL Syrah $37.99
Morning Bay Syrah 750ml Syrah $46.99
Mt Boucherie Summit Rsv Syrah 750ml Syrah $30.99
Nichol Syrah 750ml Syrah $35.99
Peller Prop Res Shiraz 4 L Syrah $38.99
Poplar Grove Syrah 750 mL Syrah $48.99
Quinta Ferreira Syrah 750ml Syrah $29.99
Township 7 Syrah 750ml Syrah $33.99
Twisted Tree Syrah 750ml Syrah $28.99
Winchester Cellars Syrah 750ml Syrah $33.99

You may have noticed that some of the syrah are blended with a white aromatic grape called “viognier“. Syrah’s traditional home is the Rhone Valley in France.  Viognier is also from the same area.  French wine makers in this region have found through many years of wine making that by co-fermenting a bit of viognier with the syrah grape, that the colour from the syrah grape becomes more intense in the resulting wine, plus you get some of the aromatic perfume from the viognier.

I have had the Mission Hill Select Lot Collection Syrah from past years, and this is a very refined wine. The price point for this is on the higher end, so if you are going to sip this wine, make it a special occasion.  On the summer sipping theme, Jackson-Triggs produces enjoyable wines at reasonable prices.  Their 2007 Proprietor’s Reserve Shiraz 2007 won a Gold Medal at the Okanagan Valley Fall Wine Festival (I think this is the same as the Private Reserve Shiraz listed above) and is only $19.99. Last month I was at the Township 7 winery in the Fraser Valley.  I tried their 2006 Syrah and noted that this wine had blueberries and plum on the nose.  South mouth feel, with pulm and vanilla flavours, and a sour cherry finish ($24.99). I had also visited a while back the Therapy Vineyard and tried their Shiraz 2007.  From my notes, I noted a medium purple colour in the glass.  Dark fruit, black berries and slight oak aroma.  Ripe black fruit, plummy with a bit of chocolate on the palate.  Smooth mouthfeel with a long finish.  I marked this wine as a star in my tasting notes.

If you like this post on Summer Sippers, or other of my posts, please tag or tweet them. Merci. Now go and enjoy some Syrah.

BC Chardonnay for Summer Sips

Chardonnay. Some people love it; others are not too crazy about it. From my speaking with people, I think it is mainly the heavily oaked chardonnays that are not as enjoyable for many people. But the good news is that there are many unoaked chardonnays which are lighter in body and show more fruit character. Mission Hill brought worldwide attention to Okanagan wines when their 1992 Mission Hill Grand Reserve Chardonnay was awarded the Avery Trophy for the Best Chardonnay at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Chardonnay can show a wide range of character including peach, pear, apple or tropical fruits, mineral notes and rich full-bodied buttery, toasty flavours if aged in oak. It can be a heavy white wine with oaking, and can be a replacement for some red wines. Try with a bbq’d steak.

Checking the www.EverythingWine.ca website, for $15-$25 BC Chardonnay, I came up with 33 wines:

Arrowleaf Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Arrowleaf  Chardonnay 750 mL
Blasted Church Chardonnay Musque 750 mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Blasted Church  Chardonnay Musque 750 mL
Cassini Cellars Chardonnay 750mL Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Cassini Cellars  Chardonnay 750mL
Cedar Creek Estate Chardonnay Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Cedar Creek Estate Chardonnay Chardonnay 750ml
Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Cedar Creek Platinum Chardonnay 750ml
Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 750ml
Desert Hills Unoaked Chard 750 mL Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Desert Hills  Unoaked Chard 750 mL
Dirty Laundry Chardonnay unoaked 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Dirty Laundry Chardonnay unoaked 750ml
Dragonfly Hill Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Dragonfly Hill Chardonnay 750ml
Gray Monk Unwooded Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $16.99 More information about Gray Monk Unwooded  Chardonnay 750 mL
Herder Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Herder Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Jackson-Triggs  Grand Reserve  Chardonnay 750 mL
Kettle Valley Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Kettle Valley Chardonnay 750 mL
Mike Weir Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $16.99 More information about Mike Weir Chardonnay 750 mL
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve  Chardonnay 750ml
Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 750ml
Mt Boucherie Summit Reserve Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $23.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Summit Reserve Chardonnay 750ml
Mt Boucherie Unoaked Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Mt Boucherie Unoaked Chardonnay 750ml
Nk’Mip Cellars Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Nk'Mip Cellars Chardonnay 750ml
Pacific Breeze Winery Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $22.99 More information about Pacific Breeze Winery Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Peller Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay 1.5 L Chardonnay $15.99 More information about Peller Proprietor's Reserve Chardonnay 1.5 L
Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Quails' Gate Chardonnay 750ml
Quinta Ferreira Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $24.99 More information about Quinta Ferreira  Chardonnay 750ml
Robin Ridge Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $22.99 More information about Robin Ridge Chardonnay 750 mL
Sandhill Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Sandhill Chardonnay 750ml
See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about See Ya Later Ranch Unleashed Chardonnay 750ml
See Ya Later Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about See Ya Later Chardonnay 750ml
Sonora Ranch Chardonnay 1.5 L Chardonnay $17.99 More information about Sonora Ranch Chardonnay 1.5 L
Summerhill Estate Winery Chardonnay, Organic 750 mL Chardonnay $24.99 More information about Summerhill Estate Winery  Chardonnay, Organic 750 mL
Thornhaven Chardonnay 750 mL Chardonnay $18.99 More information about Thornhaven  Chardonnay 750 mL
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml Chardonnay $19.99 More information about Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Chardonnay 750ml
Township 7 Semillon 750mL Chardonnay $19.97 | $22.99 More information about Township 7 Semillon 750mL
Township 7 un-oaked Chardonnay 750mL Chardonnay $21.99 More information about Township 7 un-oaked Chardonnay 750mL

Chardonnay is quite a popular grape amongst BC wineries. Some chardonnay’s in my tasting notes are:

  • Therapy Vineyards Chardonnay, 2007 – Pale lemon. Vanilla, apple, and butterscotch aromas. Butterscoth, leees, citrus, and orange peel flavours. Round mouthfeel.
  • Dirty Laundry Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay, 2007 – Light lemon colour. Tropical fruit, lemon, and honey on the nose. Some roundness in the mouth. Vanilla, apple and pear flavours.
  • Greata Ranch Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 – Single vineyard. Slight oaky aroma and lime. Topical fruit flavour with a vanilla finish. Medium body, some roundness on the palate.
  • Greata Ranch Chardonnay, 2006 – Pale straw coloured. Oak, vanilla, and pineapple aromas. Oak, apple and citrus flavours. Light acidity, but very fruity.

Cheers!