Vancouver Foodster presents “Food Talks Vol. 2 ” – EBO Restaurant, Burnaby

Vancouver Foodster’s Food Talks Vol. 2

I attended Food Talks Vol. 1 just a few weeks ago, and learned a lot about our local food scene, including restaurant initiatives and farmer’s markets.  Food Talks Vol. 2 is coming on July 10th.  It will be at EBO Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby Hotel (Willingdon and Canada Way is the closest intersection).  Here is the latest press release about this event.  Come out for a night of foodie (and wine) information.  Enjoy!

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Vancouver, BC – The 2nd Food Talk in this summer series which features 5 Speakers who are all movers and shakers from the food community will take place on Tuesday, July 10th from 7pm-9pm at the Delta Burnaby Hotel.

Richard says “I created the Food Talks to educate people in our community about the food that they consume, it is about awareness as much as it is about lifestyle”; Richard also said “ the Food Talk is also a social gathering which is more than hearing great people talk about their passion, it is also a chance for the community to meet and mingle over delicious appetizers, sip on wine and ask questions from our leading panel of experts”.

Come join us to meet and mingle with other foodies, and to hear some enlightening speakers from the food community.

5 Speakers:

  • Wendy Boys – Pastry Chef & owner of Cocolico
  •   John Skinner – Proprietor, Painted Rock Estate Winery Ltd.
  •   Adam Chandler – Pastry Chef & owner of Beta5
  •   Debra Amrein-Boyes –Founder – Farm House Natural Cheeses
  •   Jason Pleym, President & Co-Founder, Two Rivers Meats

Appetizers will be featured by Chef Dan Craig & EBO Restaurant.

The event will be held in one of the ballrooms in the Delta Burnaby Hotel.

Tickets are available at http://foodtalksvolume2.eventbrite.com/

Full details of the event including the Speakers bio’s is here
http://foodtalks.ca/food-talks-volume-2-july-10/

The next date in the series for upcoming Food Talks August 14th at the Westin Grand Hotel.

Have You Tried Volcanic Hills Wines?

Volcanic Hills Estate Winery in West Kelowna is one of the newer wineries in the BC scene. I visited them last summer, as they had recently opened. This past week, Volcanic Hills wines came to Vancouver, so I have had the good fortune of trying their wines again.

If you have not heard of Volcanic Hills Estate Winery it was formed by the Gidda family, who were partners with the Mt. Boucherie Winery.  Teaming up with long time Okanagan winemaker, Elias Phiniotis, in 2009  the Gidda family is aiming to craft complex wines that will excite your taste buds.

I was able to sample 4 of their wines this past week.  A Gewurztraminer, a Chardonnay icewine, a Gamay Noir, and a red blend they call “Magma“.  Here’s my tasting notes on these 4 wines:

  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2009 ($17.90).  This is a very pretty wine.  Medium golden in colour.  Lots of fruity aromas from this wine!  Lychee, honeysuckle, apple and spice on the  nose.  Medium body with good acidity and long length. On the palate there was lime peel, lemon, and almond flavours.   A really nice wine. Highly recommended.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Chardonnay Icewine 2009 ($49.90).  Deep lemon colour in the glass.  Very aromatic bouquet of honey, caramel and orange.  Medium plus in body, sweet with marmalade, orange, honey, and apricot flavours.  A bit of nuttiness on the finish.  The wine has very round mouthfeel and a good amount of acidity to balance out the sugar.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2009 ($12.90).  An unbelievable price for a single varietal wine from the Okanagan. This is a nice light bodied wine that you can serve slightly chilled.  The wine was pale cherry in colour.  Restrained aromas of red cherry and red currants, and a hint of smoke. On the palate there was violets, roses, cherries, black pepper and a bit of spice.  Refreshing acidity and quite a long finish.  Maybe try this in place of a pinot noir when you are serving duck breast or grilled lamb chops.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Magma Red Blend ($14.90). There are at least 3 red grape varieties to this blend.  On the label the grapes are listed as Foch 50%, Pressed Reds 30%, and Michurinetz 20%.  I am guessing Pressed Reds could have come from a vineyard that had a field blend, so they are not sure how many, and which varieties are there.  This is a fuller bodied wine than the Gamay.  Medium purple in colour.  Aromas of strawberry, currant and also a bit of smokiness.  Quite high acidity on the palate.  Flavours of strawberry, raspberry, red currant and cherry.  Low tannins with a spicy finish.

If you are planning on doing an Okanagan wine tour this summer, think about visiting Volcanic Hills. Enjoy!

Okanagan’s Perseus Winery

I recently learned about the Perseus winery located in the South Okanagan. Perseus was founded in 2009 and originally known as Synergy Winery & Vineyards, located  in Penticton, BC. In 2011, three long-time friends—Rob Ingram, Sam Elia, Bob Hole—acquired the winery through their company, Terrabella, and joined forces with the three founding owners and other expert wine-industry consultants to bring high quality, expressive wines from the vineyard to their urban winery setting.  I have not yet had a chance to try their wines, or visit their winery, so both these things are on my to-do list this summer. <NOTE: Subsequent to this article, I did have a chance to try their wines.  Here is my review one of Perseus’ wines.>

The logo for their winery is the constellation Perseus.   According to Greek mythology “Born to Jupiter and Danae, Perseus was one of the most courageous warriors in the Greek mythology. His claim to fame was slaying gorgon Medusa, one of the three gorgon sisters who had the power to turn anyone who saw them into a stone. Perseus achieved this feat with a bit of help from Pluto; who gave him the helmet of invisibility, Mercury; who gave him his winged sandals and Minerva; who gave him her powerful shield. The helmet of invisibility and the winged sandals ensured that Perseus reached close to Medusa without getting noticed, while the shield acted as a mirror in which he saw Medusa while delivering the lethal blow. This heroic act earned Perseus a place in the stars, and thus came into existence the constellation of Perseus.” from Buzzle.com.

What wines does Perseus produce?

Being in the hotter, South Okanagan, if you guessed primarily red wines, you would be correct, but they do have some white wine too.  Their 2 white wines are: Pinot Grigio 2009 and Sauvignon Blanc 2009.  On the red side they have: Merlot 2009, Shiraz Cabernet 2009, and an Invictus 2008 blend.  Invictus is a Bordeaux blend comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, 16% Merlot, 8% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot.  I am not sure if poetry influenced their naming of this wine, but Invictus is quite a famous poem written by William Ernest Henley.  It’s brief, so I have it here for you:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

They have 3 vineyards to produce the grapes for their wines.  Their Blind Creek Vineyard bridges the two towns of Keremeous and Cawston in the Similkameen valley.  I read that they also planted whites including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, here, and are most excited by the establishment of the Rhone varieties: Viognier, Roussane and Marsanne.  I too am a Rhone lover so look forward to tasting these wines once the vines are producing grapes. Their Old Station Vineyard overlooks Skaha Lake in the Okanagan Valley our vineyard and sits between the city of Penticton and the Town of Okanagan Falls. Their last vineyard, Lower Bench Vineyard,  you will see when you visit their tasting room and wine shop in the Okanagan valley. It is a 2 minute drive from Penticton on the Bench to Naramata.

If you have visited Perseus winery, please comment in the blog and let me know what you think of their wines.  I am very interested in getting some info.  Cheers!

Wineries for Sale?

After coming across the E.B. Foote winery last month, and finding they are for sale for US$500,000, I started to wonder what other wineries are for sale, and how much would it cost.  I googled “winery for sale” and found the VineSmart website.  They had 20 featured wineries on their front page.

One of the wineries is in BC.  Clicking on the link, I find out it is the Morning Bay Estate Winery, Pender Island, BC.  Property Location:  6643 Razor Point Road,  Pender Island. It is 26+ acres in size with 7 acres (5000 vines) planted with vines.  Price is $2,900,000.  I am not sure if that is Canadian dollars, and if there is HST on top of the price.  The realtor is Sam Boyte and his tel is (250) 704 6226.
If a BC winery is not exciting enough for you, how about one in Argentina? Imagine producing your own Malbec!  The one for sale is an organic winery in San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina.  It also has a hotel and restaurant attached with the winery.

The vineyards have about 50 acres of certified organic vines, including merlot, malbec, semillion, syrah, chenin and ugni blanc.

There is an additional 16 acres of vineyard in common table wine — muscatel and pedro jimenez, and another 2.5 acres of syrah.

All this plus the hotel and restaurant for US$1,500,000, but it says the price is negotiable.

The VineSmart website also has wineries for sale from California, Australia, New Zealand, and more.  Check it out, and dream like me.  Enjoy!

A Visit to Two Small WA Wineries

In an earlier post, I wrote about my experience at Chateau Ste Michelle and Airfield Estates wineries. On that same trip, but different day, I visited 2 small wineries south of Seattle: E.B. Foote and Castle Bridge wineries. Both are owned by a couple.

E.B. Foote contracts with vineyard operators in Eastern Washington for their grapes. They produce mostly red wines and primarily single varietals. I was amazed to hear that 90-95% of their sales are right from their cellar door. The winery started in 1978 by a previous owner and was bought by the current couple in 1991. This couple is now ready for retirement, so the winery is up FOR SALE! If you have US$500,000 you can buy the winery. You get their equipment, their current inventory of wine, and the use of their brand. I figure from the $500,000, that selling the inventory should bring down that cost for you, but will take a bit of time.

What about their wines? The wines are all reasonably priced at $14 a bottle. My favorite was their Cabernet Franc 2008. Medium garnet in colour. Vanilla, cedar and dark cherry aromas. It was medium plus in body. Sweet black cherries, very juicy, with cinnamon / cloves and vanilla flavours. I also enjoyed their Zinfandel 2009. This wine had the characteristic jammy fruit nose, along with some vanilla. More vanilla on the palate, along with cinnamon and raspberry flavours. It had a dry cherry finish. Medium tannins so you can drink it now. They also have two nice blends. Their Mirage 2009 from Syrah and Merlot, and their Rainy Day VI blend from Syrah and Cabernet.

The other winery that day was Castle Bridge. They have only been open for 4 years. They contract with vineyards in WA and CA. The vineyards provide them with the juice for their wines. They produce an off-dry Chenin Blanc. Their Chenin Blanc 2009 is medium lemon in colour. Wax, lemon and vanilla on the nose. Medium body with pears and citrust and oak. A hint of some spice. Medium bodied. Something easy to drink. The other wine that was quite interesting was their Barbera 2007 from the Columbia Valley. Barbera is an Italian grape, and is the third most popular red grape planted in Italy. I don’t think I’ve come across any other Barbera in WA. Deep purple in colour. Lots of aromas. Vanilla and various purple fruits. Full body with soft tannins. Juicy purple fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness on the palate. If you’ve come across any other wineries in WA that produce a Barbera, please let me know, as I would like to try them too.

Enjoy!

South Okanagan wineries to aid in Oliver area slide relief

With the slide in the Oliver area last month, the South Okanagan Winery Association is pulling together to help those affected. Below is a press release that they sent to me. If you are going to be in the area, please drop in and participate in the event.

Karl
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July 7, 2010

In Short:

This June a mudslide tore through the Southern Okanagan Valley, destroying the homes and livelihoods of many of our neighbours. In answer to the disaster, The South Okanagan Winery Association is proud to announce its participation in the Mudslide Crisis Relief Committee’s fundraiser during Oliver Township’s “Sunshine Days” on July 17. We invite everyone to come down to the Oliver Community Centre around noon to enjoy the festivities, including: A beer (and cider!) tent, water slides, live music, and a once-in-a-lifetime raffle for some of the best wines the Southern Okanagan has to offer. Come for the fun and stay to watch the wineries beat the pants off of anyone who dares to accept their Tug-O-War challenge! Think you got what it takes? Sign up at Oliver Parks and Rec.

More Information:

The Mudslide that wreaked havoc on Southern Okanagan homes earlier this year left many lives in disarray. In response, the communities of Oliver and Osoyoos have come together to create the Mudslide Crisis Relief Committee to raise money for mudslide victims. The first major event is during the Sunshine Days festival in Oliver.

Saturday, July 17, join The Wineries of the Southern Okanagan at the Oliver Community Centre at 12:00pm where we will be part of a beer garden on the tennis courts. Cider, beer and food will be available with all proceeds going to the Mudslide Crisis Relief Fund. Other organised activities include: kids water slides, live music and a raffle for wine donated by wineries around the Southern Okanagan.

But what kind of mudslide charity would it be without a mud Tug-O-War? Road 13 has partnered with Stoneboat Vineyards and has challenged any local winery to dare face them and their mighty team of vineyard grunts; a call that has been answered by the powerhouses at Tinhorn Creek and others. The rules are simple: 10 person teams amalgamated from smaller wineries, or in-house from larger companies, going head-to-head over a pit of mud. $10 per person or $100 per team with all funds going to charity. Teams can register by picking up a form at Oliver Parks and Rec before July 15.

About South Okanagan Winery Association (SOWA)

The wineries of SOWA formed their association based on a unified vision of promoting the unique emerging identity of the region south of McIntyre Bluff. For all of them, this terroir is the source of the premium wine growing region in Canada.

The area is geographically bounded and sculpted by two north-south mountain ranges and hallmarked in the northern extremity by the dramatic cliffs of McIntyre Bluff. These wineries and vineyards express the namesakes of the land: the sage, the creeks, lakes, the historic and aboriginal influences, all decidedly regional.

You are invited to enjoy the unique experience that each winery of the South Okanagan Association offers, from the welcoming wine shops to patios restaurants and unique accommodations. Stretching from the landmark McIntyre Bluff to the Osoyoos border, the land is unparalleled in scenic adventure and award winning wines.

The South Okanagan Winery Association is rooted in a passionate and unified vision of nurturing our unique and emerging identity; our pride in our craft; our characters; and our terroir.

SOWA Members

-Burrowing Owl -Jackson-Triggs

-Cassini Cellars -Nk’Mip Cellars

-Desert Hills -Oliver Twist

-Dunham & Froese -Quinta Ferreira

-Fairview Cellars -Road 13

-Gehringer Brothers -Rustico

-Golden Beaver -Silver Sage

-Hester Creek -Stoneboat

-Inniskillin -Tinhorn Creek

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.

Day 1 at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest

March 26, 2009 09:22:25
Posted By Wine With Karl

Today I was at the wine festival waiting for the doors to open. My strategy as I am there today and tomorrow, is to taste mainly white wines today, and red wines tomorrow. Also since BC is the theme region, I’d taste the BC wines before exploring the international offerings. The BC wines I tried:

– Black Hills Estate winery who are noted for their Nota Bene Bordeaux style red blend
– Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
– Burrowing Owl Estate winery
– Cedar Creek Estate Winery
– Church & State Wines
– Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
– Garry Oaks (I also recorded an interview with Marcel Mercier from Garry Oaks)
– Road 13 Vineyards
– Sandhill (check out the picture of me with Howard Soon their wine maker, and Louise Wilson their sales rep and Sommelier)
– Stoneboat Vineyards
– Tantalus Vineyards (I recorded another interview here)
– Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
– Twisted Tree Vineyards & winery
– Wild Goose Vineyards

Keeping things short and sweet on the blog, the Tantalus Riesling and Old Vines Riesling were exceptional. Sandhill has a wonderful Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Road 13 has a nice pinot noir. Garry Oaks pinot noir was quite beguiling. Cedar Creek‘s Ehrenfelser is a neat change to a gewurztraminer. You can’t go wrong with Burrowing Owl‘s Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

On the international side I tried:
– La Joya Viognier Reserva 2007 (Chile)
– Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune du Chateau Blanc Premier Cru 2006 (Burgundy, France)
– Catena Chardonnay 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina)
Champagne Deutz Cuvee William 1998 (Champagne, France) LOVED It But >$150 a bottle.
– Erath Pinot Gris 2007 and Pinot Blanc 2006 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
– Vina Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard 2008 (Aconcagua, Chile) A wild ferment!
– Miguel Torres Milmanda Single Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Penedes, Spain)
– Bodegas Muga Blanco 2007, Rosado 2005 (Rioja, Spain) I enjoyed the Rosado so much I bought a few bottles.
– Murphy-Goode Sonoma County Chardonnay 2006 and “The Fume” 2007 (Sonoma, CA)
– Olivier Lefaive Wines Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain 2006 (Burgundy, France) an excellent wine but over $100
– Santa Margherita / Ca’ Del Bosco / Kettmier Pinot Grigio 2007, Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2007, Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta N/V. (Italy)
– Vina Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Leyda Valley, Chile) good gooseberry flavour
– Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution N/V and Dundee Hills Pinot Gris 2007 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
– Thompson Estate Chardonnay 2005 and Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2005 (Margaret River, Australia) The sparkling just evaporated when it hit your tongue and was quite creamy. A buy!
– Miguel Torres Cordillera de las Andes Chardonnay/Viognier blend (Curico, Chile) Also a nice blend to try.

Did I try enough? I was at it for 2.5 hrs, then did a 2 hour sit down Pinot tasting. I’ll blog about that another day. I will do indepth reviews of wines after the festival is over. Enjoy!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in March 23-29/09

Yes I know it is still a few months away, but I thought I’d let you know as there are early bird tickets available now. For those that are new to the wine scene in Vancouver, BC, every year around Feb-March there is this wine fest, held at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre downtown, plus numerous smaller tastings/dinners at restaurants around the lower mainland. This is THE wine event of the year for the wine trade, and for anyone that enjoys wine. Each year there is a theme country/region, and a theme varietal. This year the theme is “British Columbia” and the theme varietal is “Pinots“, which means any pinot based grape (e.g. pinot noir, pinot gris). This will be a great time to try out smaller BC-based wineries which don’t typically go to the wine festival. It is usual that the country/region that is the theme for that year sends a large delegation for the main tasting room. Here is a partial list of the BC wineries that will be participating (including one of my favorites. If you don’t remember which one, check a few blogs back 🙂

Deep Creek Wine Estate & Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery
Averill Creek Vineyard / Salt Spring Winery
Arrowleaf Cellars
Artisan Sake Maker
Black Hills Estate Winery
Blasted Church
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
CedarCreek Estate Winery
Cherry Point Vineyards
Church & State Wines
Desert Hills Estate Winery /Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
Domaine de Chaberton
Elephant Island Orchard Winery
Fairview Cellars / Garry Oaks
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Herder Winery & Vineyards
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Hillside Estate Winery
Thornhaven Estates Winery
Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan
Joie Farm
Kettle Valley Winery
La Frenz Winery
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Laughing Stock Vineyards
Mission Hill Family Estate
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
Nk’Mip Cellars
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Osoyoos Larose
Peller Estates
Pentâge Winery
Poplar Grove Winery
Quails’ Gate
Red Rooster Winery
Road 13 Vineyards
Sandhill
See Ya Later Ranch
St Hubertus
Estate Winery
Stoneboat Vineyards
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Tantalus Vineyards
Therapy Vineyards
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery
Twisted Tree Vineyards & Winery
Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery

The other benefit of attending the main tasting room, is that there is a special wine store at the back of the tasting room, where you can buy many of the wines you were tasting. MANY of the wines are specialty wines brought in ONLY for this event so these are the wines to buy!

Besides BC, there will be wines from USA, Australia, France, Italy, Chile and many other countries. If you are curious about French wine, but don’t want to spend lots of money buying bottles in the liquor store without knowing anything about it, you can sample it at the wine festival. Another bonus is that a winery principal MUST attend the tasting room so you may have a chance to chat with the wine maker from another part of the world. That is really exciting.

The event this year is March 23-29/09.

ENJOY!