The tastings for this year's 2019 Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) took place in Ontario’s Prince Edward County from June 8 – 14. Co-founders Anthony Gismondi and David Lawrason assembled a team of judges drawn from Canada’s leading wine professionals.
Adaptable and exceptionally hardy, Cabernet Sauvignon vines flourish wherever wine grapes can grow. The deeply coloured and intensely flavoured red wines that it routinely produces are instantly recognizable
Looking for a few great red wines to sip around the barbeque? Price is usually an issue... but the QPR – Quality-to-Price-Ratio – is even more important. Wines that over-deliver for the price are gems. Great bang-for-the-buck red wines are priceless!
Even the most adventurous red wine lovers get caught in a rut. Maybe they like lighter styled reds and can't get past Pinot Noir? Was a Merlot your first red... and that's all you'll drink to this day?
The opportunities for fine wine grape growing in BC get better every year, thanks to climate change. Warmer temperatures in most regions are producing riper fruit. In well-trained hands riper grapes yield richer wines.
Neckties, pipes and slippers used to be the first choice as Father's Day gifts. Times have thankfully changed... Here's a short list of red wines, across a range of prices and varieties, to consider as gifts if your Dad or Grandpa prefers wine to beer.
Even the surliest red wine lover can enjoy a glass of white wine when Summer arrives and the temperatures start to rise. And there are oodles of flavours and styles to choose from... many of them blends!
Hardly strangers to the Vancouver International Wine Festival – most recently featured earlier this year, as well as 2013, 2004 and 1998 – California's wines are favourites here in BC at every price point.
Almost every winemaker makes a Rosé wine. The lightly coloured classic Rosés from France's Mediterranean shores of Provence are subtly fruity, peppery and dry. Spanish Rosés are usually dry and often more deeply coloured and fully flavoured....
Think about picking a BC Pinot Noir for your Easter family feast.
The cool, moist climate of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands makes growing Chardonnay difficult and Cabernet Sauvignon virtually impossible. Many of the Islands’ wineries vineyards grow hybrid grapes that ripen early and resist mildew.
It's almost impossible to investigate Argentina's red wines without discovering Malbec . But it's not all Malbec, all the time... Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz are all thriving up and down the length of the country... And wonderful red blends take full advantage of the availability of other premium red wine grapes.
As well as being a goldmine for Hallmark and other greeting card manufacturers, Valentine's Day has become a great marketing tool for florists, chocolate makers and - of course - those who make pink wines.
Although the theme region and focus for the 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival is California and its wide range of wonderful wines, there will be a significant number of Italian wineries pouring their treasures.
Planning to attend VanWineFest 2019? Less than 6 weeks until the 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival - February 23 through March 3, 2019 at numerous venues in Vancouver... Book tickets now!
The natural acidity of tart and sassy white wines kicks up the briny, sweet, meatiness of our Pacific Oysters. Also known as Japanese or Miyagi oysters, the Pacific oysters that grow up and down the west coast of North America are native to the Pacific coast of Asia. They were introduced to our waters in the 1920s
Need a resolution that you will enjoy immensely?
Resolve to attend the 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival which will run from February 23 through March 3, 2019 at numerous venues in Vancouver. Meanwhile, moving into the New Year, there's a red wine for almost any wine lover's taste or budget.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Christmas or Kwanzaa...there's less than a 50/50 chance that you popped the cork – or pried a cap – off a bottle of sparkling wine to start the sipping before your finest feast of the season. With New Year's coming there's still time...
There's no reason the wines you serve to your family and friends this year have to be expensive. There is a wide selection of discounted wines to choose from at this time of year. Winter Solstice - price reductions are all over the shelves!
There are plenty of options if you're looking for as gift for your friend who loves white wine - think about gifting something similar but maybe a couple of bucks more than what they usually pay... Be bold!
Most wine lovers have tasted sweet Ports. Sadly, sweet dessert Sherries are not as well known today as they once were. Combined with these easy to make savoury fruit, nut and cheese cookies, Ports and sweet Sherries are great gourmet gifts.
The 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will run from February 23 through March 3, 2019 across numerous venues in Vancouver. More than 50 of the 160 wineries attending will be from California – next year's regional focus. California wines have a long history of participation in the Vancouver Wine Festival
Getting past the lofty and often insanely obscure descriptive terms in winespeak, most wine grapes have traditional ‘Old World’ names with roots in the French, Italian or German languages. The pronunciation of these words is not always obvious to English speakers.
Although the bulk of our 302 wineries are in the Okanagan Valley,Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, the entire productive vineyard area in British Columbia is just over 10,300 acres. Our best homegrown wines are being grown on a total area of 41.7 square kilometres – just over 0.0044 per cent of the province! That's one reason that our highest quality, local homegrown wines are often more expensive than comparable imported wines.
The variety of Spanish red wines is as overwhelming as the quality to price ratio – aka: Bang For The Buck. Regardless of the price, Spanish reds simply overdeliver. Combine that variety and relative affordability with the fact that Spain has more acres under vine than any other country and the opportunities for confusion and complexity multiply exponentially. Prepare to be impressed!
When we celebrate Thanksgiving, today, we usually feature turkey or ham on the dinner table. Almost any wine will enhance these foods. It really comes down to what you prefer – whites, rosés and lighter medium bodied red wines will all work well. Here in British Columbia we can be thankful for our own home-grown wines.
Cheesed off with Chardonnay? Sick of Sauvignon Blanc? In a Riesling rut? There are so many more white wines than these - the big three! When it comes to white wine, France grows more than just Chardonnay in Burgundy and Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley.
Many white wine lovers have had an on-again, off-again love affair with Chardonnay. Oak levels in some of these whites grew almost exponentially through the 1970s and 1980s as winemakers tried to balance the intense fruit - particularly Chardonnays from California and Australia.
It’s still not quite universally acceptable to get excited about our own home-grown British Columbia red wines… But when they are winning medals in international competition, it’s long past time to appreciate their excellence here at home.
Whether they are red or white ‘Old World’ wines from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain are usually much more ‘dry’ in style than ‘New World’ wines from North and South America, Australia and South Africa. These ‘Old World’ wines that can pair better with food than their ‘New World’ counterparts.
The earliest indigenous peoples who inhabited what is now South Africa - San and Khoikhoi, later Bantu – were hunters and gatherers. There were no wine grapes, there, then. The Dutch East India Company started bringing in Dutch farmers to establish farms to supply their ships as well as to supply their burgeoning settlements.
As well as making bright, refreshing white wines from ‘noble’ grapes traditionally respected throughout the wine world, local BC winemakers put their own spin and style on creative blends. Before there were wineries, the Okanagan Valley was planted with fruit trees – apples, pears, plums, apricots and peaches.
When ‘New World’ wines – from North and South America, Australia and South Africa – began to edge out the market share of traditional European wines, winemakers named the wines by their primary variety of grape. Previously ‘Old World’ wines were named for the regions in which they were produced.
Our on-again off-again fascination with Rosés goes back more than 50 years. Greek and Roman wines, in days gone by, were likely naturally pink - blends of red and white grapes that were pressed off the skins after a day or two of fermentation.
As well as featuring fabulous wines from around the world, next year’s 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will focus on the many and varied wines of California. The International Festival Tasting room in the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre will be open February 28 to March 2. Save those dates!
As always, the Campbell River Daybreak Rotary Wine & Blues Fest was a huge success. If you were lucky enough to attend, you will have your own list of fabulous wine finds. If you didn’t manage to get there you owe it to yourself to track down one or two of these wonderful wines.
Until winemakers worldwide manage to convince us that Riesling has returned or Chardonnay should be rediscovered, the trendiest white wines will continue to be made from the grape known as Pinot Gris in France – also known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, Grauburgunder in Austria and Szürkebarát in Hungary.
One of Europe’s major rivers, the Rhône runs from Lake Geneva in the Swiss Alps through Lyon in France past Tournon, Valence, Montelimar and Avignon to the Mediterranean at Arles. In the 19th century what was then referred to as Côte du Rhône became the Côtes du Rhône, when it was extended to include the vineyards on the Rhône’s left-bank.
Mother’s Day is an excellent excuse to get an early start on summer and open a lovely delicately dry pink wine to celebrate with you favourite female friends! Many mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers enjoy a glass of Rosé. Mother’s Day in Canada is celebrated earlier than in France, on the second Sunday in May. But local Rosés are appreciated just as much.
Wherever it is grown, Cabernet Sauvignon makes wines with recognizable aromas and flavours of blackcurrants, often mint or eucalyptus. Matured in new oak, it can develop notes of cedar, leather and fresh cut tobacco... almost always it has sturdy tannins that give its wines ‘weight’ and ‘structure’. Those same characteristics that set it apart from other red wine grapes make it a great addition to red blends!
As well as featuring fabulous wines from around the world, next year’s 41st Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will focus on the many and varied wines of California. The Festival will run in many venues across Vancouver from February 23 to March 3, 2019
Malbec World Day was invented and proclaimed by the marketing agency of Wines Of Argentina. The first occurrence was April 17, 2011 and it is now celebrated every year in various cities throughout the world.
Often subjected to derision and defamation of their vinous character, Rosé wines are made all over the world. Take a break from tradition and try a Rosé with your Easter feast! Rosés can be made by mixing white wine grapes and red wine grapes and co-fermenting them together.
Italian wine is an ever-evolving phenomenon. Look at the continuing explosion of Proseccos! Locally, in towns and villages up and down the Italian peninsula, traditional varieties and blends dominate the cafe scene – Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Valpolicella. Internationally, old classics like Amarone, Barolo and Brunello get more attention than affordable Chiantis and Valpolicellas.
Blessed by an abundance of fresh seafood in British Columbia, as we are, it is a wonderful coincidence that our home-grown white wines are exceptionally tasty. Oysters have been available all winter and local prawns are coming into season, now. Pair them with one of our best BC whites!
Typically, ‘Old Vine’ wines come from vineyards that are more than 50 years old. In a backhanded kind of way, the demand for grapes for the 1970s White Zinfandel phenomenon is arguably responsible for the fact that so many acres of ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel survived into the 1980s.
Even with this year’s focus on the wines of Iberia at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, there are still 15 wineries or distributors attending and pouring samples of their fine French wines. Steeped in centuries of tradition, regulated strictly though their Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system , French wines continue to evolve...
The wines of Iberia will be featured as a focus at the 40th Vancouver International Wine Festival just three weeks from now. A huge selection of wines from Portugal and Spain will be available for sampling. Naturally, our own BC wineries will also be well represented.
The 40th Vancouver International Wine Festival is less than a month away. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction opens the festival on Saturday, February 24 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver… and there are still a few tickets available. Running from February 24 to March 4, 2018 the festival features wines from Spain and Portugal, Iberian Peninsula neighbours that share numerous wine grapes under an astonishing variety of names and aliases.
In the 2004 romantic comedy ‘Sideways’ actors Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church played a couple of hopeless middle-aged men on a week-long road trip through California’s Santa Ynez Valley. Miles is obsessed with Pinot Noir and claims to despise Merlot.
Blended red wines combine different varieties of grapes that each contribute their own distinct flavours. Clever, creative winemakers exploit these characteristics to achieve balance and complexity in their wines. Retiring winemakers are often replaced with fresh faces schooled in winemaking in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and California.
Wine lovers who have not yet made any New Year’s Resolution should consider resolving to attend the 40th Vancouver International Wine Festival – This year’s theme is “Viva Iberia!” and the Tasting Room will feature hundreds of wines from Spain and Portugal.
Maybe because of the traditional hype around popping corks on New Year’s Eve even the most recently converted wine lovers will probably find a bottle of sparkling wine to open on December 31st...
There’s much more to bubblies, these days, than the classic Champagnes from France.
Keep festive dinner wine choices simple… Regardless of your religious or ethnic affiliation, there’s so much going on over the festive season that you don’t need something else to fret over. With some of the amazing wines that are bargain priced on the shelves this December, there’s no need to blow your budget, either.
Picking the right red wine to give as a gift can be challenging – there are so many to choose from. This short list of wines has been chosen with gift giving in mind. Regardless of price, these are red wines that overdeliver within their category. Any red wine lover would be happy with these treats.
There’s a more or less unspoken conspiracy in the wine world that only red wines are really serious. All the attention goes to red wines. Nobody pays too much attention to the variety and range of fine white wines.
Most wine lovers have tasted the sweet Ports of Portugal. Sadly, the sweet dessert Sherries from Jerez, in Spain, are not as well known today as they once were. There are sure to be a wide range of Ports and Sherries available to sample at VanWineFest. Don’t wait until February to explore these fortified wines. All are excellent additions to the festive table! And perfect with Blue Cheese cookies!
Rosés are not necessarily sweet. The trendiest rosés this summer may have been the classic dry French wines from Provence in the south of France… but our own BC winemakers have come up with their own versions to fuel the pink wine phenomenon.
As wine lovers, we have become accustomed to excellent and well-priced wines from South America. Chile and Argentina have won their places on our tables and in our wine cellars. Very few of us, however, have tried any wines from Uruguay.... Now that the wines of Bodega Garzón have arrived, Uruguay’s wines will become more widely available.
Two thirds of New Zealand’s vineyards are in the Marlborough region, so it should be no surprise that 2 out of every 3 bottles of New Zealand wine we see on our shelves in British Columbia are from Marlborough. In the north-eastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough’s broad plain rises from the coastline into narrow valleys with favourable northerly aspects.
With summer winding down and temperatures declining decidedly, it’s time to enjoy the bounty of oysters from our chilly Pacific waters. Pairing wine with oysters – like any food and wine pairing – is really a matter of personal preference. Whites work better than reds. Oysters – and most other seafoods – clash with the tannins in red wines and create an astringent, metallic flavour.
Wine lovers who are foolish enough - or simply far too curious - sooner or later end up discovering the various rating systems wine professionals have devised to play with each other’s minds and baffle the wine buying public. Pay no attention!
Today, wine lovers in British Columbia tend to take Australian wines for granted. Corporate amalgamations have blurred the lines between the original big brands. Smaller boutique wineries have their specialties on our shelves. But a few of the originals are still with us.
The tannins in most red wines can taste a little metallic when they meet the Omega acids in fish. Low in tannins, Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with salmon – much better than most white wines! Often as light as a Rosé, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home is in France’s Burgundy. Sadly, good Burgundy doesn’t often come cheap.
Often overlooked, sparkling wines at least have a history of being enjoyed at celebrations. Around New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, wine lovers usually remember there’s more than just sizzle in a blissful glass of bubbly. Make any day a celebration!
For a while, as modern winemaking developed, single variety wines reigned supreme outside of Europe – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc… Today, here in BC and elsewhere, we are seeing a rebirth of blended wines.
Like so many wine grapes, Sauvignon Blanc originated in France. In Bordeaux it is blended with Semillon routinely to make Bordeaux Blanc. Unblended, in the Loire Valley it still produces racy Pouilly-Fumés and Sancerres – starting around $30. Both of these bright and bracingly zingy French white wines have become difficult to find as more affordable Sauvignon Blancs became available from New World wineries.
Plan to attend at least one of the 55 events at the 40th Vancouver International Wine Festivalthat will take place February 24-March 4, 2018 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and 25 other venues around the city. In the meantime, start prepping yourself by exploring a few wines from Portugal & Spain!
Italy is awash with wine from vineyards planted just about everywhere. Tucked in between olive groves littered with sheep and goats, in backyards, in fields, on hillsides, between churches and ancient monuments… there’s always a vineyard or two or even three.
This is Canada’s Riviera. Sometimes it feels like California North. We are blessed in B.C. to have the widest selection of California wines of any province. California reds are built for summer sipping.
Despite their antiquity, today’s fruit wines are generally considered relatively frivolous. Sophisticated wine lovers sneer derisively if someone has the audacity to present them with a glass of fruit wine.
Fans of French wines who think it’s just too warm for rich, spicy reds instead of Rosés – now that summer has finally arrived - often forget that France has a long history of making exceptionally tasty white wines.
At the risk of being summarily ejected from the cellar, we would like to insist that there are very few colours, kinds or styles of wines that are not just fine with barbequed foods. While today’s wines are all red, under the appropriate circumstances and considering the lucky wine lovers’ personal preferences, white wines and rosés can be wonderfully suitable, too.
Now that summer has started to show its sunny face, it’s a great time to pick up a few white wines to have on hand. Although they pair well with a wide variety of lighter dishes, these whites are all excellent for sipping solo. There’s something in this selection for every white wine sipper!
Enthusiastic wine lovers might want to consider marking their calendar and saving the date to attend the 40th Vancouver International Wine Festival which takes place February 24 to March 4, 2018. Next year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) is moving across the Atlantic to the Iberian Peninsula for 2018's feature countries: Portugal and Spain.
The 8th annual Daybreak Rotary Wine and Blues Fest by the Sea is coming Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM at the Maritime Heritage Centre. As well as being an enchanting evening, the Wine & Blues Fest by the Sea is a fund raiser for Campbell River’s Daybreak Rotary.
Rotary Wine & Blues Festival coming June 10th... If you like discovering a good wine you are almost guaranteed to find just the wine that matches your palate at the 8th annual Day Break Rotary Wine and Blues Fest by the Sea!
Like the river valleys of Germany, that produce some of the world’s finest Riesling wines – clustered around the 49th and 50th parallels - most of British Columbia’s wine grape growing areas can be classified as cool climate zones. It is no surprise that here in BC we can produce our own exceptional Rieslings.
With Spring coming on, it is long past time to discover – or rediscover – some of our own local BC white wine blends. Sometimes the winemakers tell us what they’ve been up to… other times we get to guess what goes into their blends. Either way, the wines are almost always bright, crisp and very fruity!
The Muscat grape is the world's oldest known grape variety. It likely originated in Greece but maybe - just maybe? – it came from Muscat, the capital and largest city in the Governorate of Oman in the south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula. After being discovered’ and popularized by a generation of rap and hip-hop artists, today’s most commonly available Muscat (…or Moscato) wines are made in an off dry style, sometimes even sweet.
One of the most enduring wine myths is that pairing wine with food is difficult. Some astringent red wines that have high levels of spicy tannins can create a metallic taste paired with fish that has a high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. And then, of course, there’s Pinot Noir.
Adventurous wine explorers realized long ago that most Rosés are just red wine lovers’ white wines...great Rosés fill out the white wine flavour spectrum – lemons, grapefruit, green apple, melon gooseberry, kiwi fruit and honeysuckle – with subtle red berry and spice flavours.
The 39th Vancouver International Wine Festival wrapped up on Sunday, February 19. More than 60 of the wineries attending were from British Columbia. These were stand-outs some for their bang-for-the-buck quality to price ratio, some simply because they were outstanding world-class wines at any price...
After featuring the wines of Canada this year, next year’s VIWF will showcase the unique wines of Portugal and Spain. It is sure to be an excellent opportunity to discover the wide range of whites, rosé and red table wines – and there will undoubtedly be a righteous range of sparkling wines!
In the ‘New World’ category we’ve been distracted by funky new Malbecs from Argentina, complex Carménères – alone and in blends - from Chile, intriguing Petit Verdots from California and cheeky kitchen sink blends from South Africa.
Is your wine buying budget still suffering from the seasonal excesses of December and the bills that kept coming in through January? Give yourself a break with these deliciously drinkable wines – all priced under $10 before tax and deposit!
Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14th. Make it special by sipping a top quality BC Rosé before, during or after dinner.... Valentine’s Day first became associated with romantic love by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Although the theme of this year’s VIWF is ‘The Wine World Celebrates Canada’, there are more than 100 wineries from other wine producing regions pouring samples at the 39th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival taking place February 11th to 19th.
Italy offers us an astonishing variety of wines in all categories – red, white and rosé, still, sparkling, dessert and fortified – but the red wines are what we usually think about when we think about Italian wine.
Widely acknowledged as one of the top wine festivals in the world, the 39th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place February 11 to 19. The theme of this year’s VIWF is ‘The Wine World Celebrates Canada’. More than 60 wineries from British Columbia will be pouring , along with 10 wineries from Ontario and 6 wineries from Nova Scotia – approximately 1,600 wines from 16 countries
While we’re shivering through what feels like the coldest winter ever here in British Columbia, we need to try some heartwarming reds that can help take the chill out of our evenings. Higher levels of alcohol, ripe rich red and black berry fruit flavours, brisk and peppery spiced tannins are the characteristics that give red wines the kind of weight and body that warms the soul.
Even the most passionate wine lovers tend to get into a bit of a rut. They develop favourites that they have a tough time letting go... The world of wine is vast and varied and continually evolving. New regions in ‘New World’ countries - the Americas, South Africa or Australia – quietly improve or specialize in long forgotten wine grapes.
Maybe because of the traditional hype around popping corks on New Year’s Eve – which just by the way is really a waste of the wonderful effervescence! – even the most recently converted wine lovers will probably find a bottle of sparkling wine to open on December 31st.
Think globally if you must but consider shopping locally for your dinner wines this Festive Season! Just in time for the festivities, some local producers and retailers have marked down their wines to make them extremely affordable choices.
Red wine grapes each have their own flavour profiles – Pinot Noir can taste like strawberries, Merlot often tastes like plums, Syrah and Petit Verdot are reminiscent of raspberries or blackberries, Cabernet Sauvignon has blackcurrant flavours. Need a gift?
When it comes to receiving gifts, white wine lovers are often overlooked. Somehow, folks who like white wines don’t get the same respect as red wine lovers. There’s a more or less unspoken conspiracy in the wine world that only red wines are really serious. All the attention goes to red wines. Pity, really…
Even the most dedicated wine lovers manage to forget to pick up a sparkling wine to add a little bubble and spritz to their festive feasting. Pity, really, as most sparkling wines are multi-talented and pair well with most foods and make fine sipping all by themselves.
Do you just want a treat to take along to that house party full of wine loving friends? Combined with these easy to make savoury fruit, nut and cheese cookies, Ports and other dessert wines are great gourmet gifts. And, of course, it is getting very close to that gifting time…
North Island College ‘Third Course Bistro’ Wine Festival is coming to Campbell River November 18th. Keep a record of your favorite wines rather than trying to quaff down more of them. A quick pic on your cell phone is an excellent way to truly capture your favourites if you plan to buy them later to enjoy in the comfort and safety of your home.
Often as light as a Rosé, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home is in France’s Burgundy. Sadly, good Burgundy doesn’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean that exploring the many alternative subtleties of Pinot Noir has to be overlooked, under-appreciated or just plain misunderstood.
When we think of Iberia, wine lovers generally think of Spain and Portugal. In fact, a small portion of southwestern France and the tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar are also technically part of the Iberian Peninsula.
The theme for the 15th Anniversary North Island College ‘Third Course Bistro’ Wine Festival has been announced. This year it will be ‘Casino Royale’ celebrating James Bond. Expect to see some suave and elegant guys and gals sniffing and sipping very wine wines – swirled not stirred.
Living so close to the motherlode of North American wine, we sometimes take California wines for granted. Some old standbys from California continue to evolve and improve… and at the same time new labels from wineries we`ve never seen before routinely appear on our shelves
Turkey and ham are going to be on almost every dinner table this Thanksgiving. Both pair perfectly with almost any kind of wine… so indulge yourself in your favourites and don’t fuss about what pairs well with your chosen main course!
Pairing wine with oysters – like any food and wine pairing – is really a matter of personal preference. Whites work better than reds. Oysters – and most other seafoods – clash with the tannins in red wines and create an astringent, metallic flavour.
As charming as it is, Malbec is not the only wine grape grown in Argentina. Much as Malbec is Argentina’s lead red wine, Torrontes is by far Argentina’s best known white. But in both the red and white wine categories Argentina produces much more than these two primary varieties.
The 38th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will take place from February 20th-28th 2016. Tough choices will overwhelm you - so many Italian (...and other!) wines to choose from - but stay calm, be brave and follow the signs!
Not this Sunday but next Sunday is February 14th – that’s right! – Valentine’s Day. Wine lovers ought to be thinking ahead and picking up a bottle of bubbly, now....
Just in case there's a hot tub thing goin' on...
While this year’s 38th Vancouver International Wine Festival showcases the wines of Italy.... not too terribly surprisingly the region with the next largest representation is British Columbia with 26 wineries and principals in attendance, pouring the fruits of their vinous labours.
Tickets are now on sale for all public events at the Vancouver International Wine Festival which takes place from February 20-28.Theme country is Italy and visiting winemakers, owners and other winery principals will feature 60 wineries from 9 regions pouring 240 wines.
With current temperatures fluctuating from lows of 20’C and highs of 37’C, the wine region of Mendoza, Argentina - at this time of year, moving out of midsummer - seems a great escape from the rain and sleeting snow.
Most of us forget to include sparkling wines in our otherwise well thought out dinner plans. Only exceptionally sophisticated wine lovers will be sipping a glass of bubbly with their festive feast. Pity, really, as most sparkling wines pair very well with almost any course from soup to nuts…
Unless you’ve managed to get past the compulsion to exchange gifts with everyone you know at this time of year… well, it’s entirely possible that you’re close to being out of cash and likely even closer to maxing your credit cards...With that possibility in mind, here’s a short list of tasty imported and domestic wines under $10 that you can confidently pour for your friends and family around your favourite festive feast. Without breaking what’s left of your bank account!
Start with these!
All chosen to intrigue and delight the jaded palate of experts... and dazzle the taste buds of everyday wine lovers...
It is getting very close to that gifting time… Or do you just want a treat to take along to that house party full of wine loving friends. Combined with these easy to make savoury fruit, nut and cheese cookies, Ports and other dessert wines are great gourmet gifts. - Walnut, Blue Cheese& Cranberry Cookies
Outside of truly obscure regional white wine varieties like Switzerland’s Chasselas or Austria’s Grüner Veltliner, Viognier is arguably the world’s most overlooked white wine grape variety. Wines made from Viognier are all honeysuckle and herb scents aromatically with distinct undernotes of raisin and well-suited for winter sipping.
The theme country at the 38th annual VanWineFest is Italy ... and will feature 60 wineries from 9 regions pouring 240 wines. In the Acura Tasting Room an additional 96 participating wineries from 13 other countries will be pouring – that’s more that 700 wines for your tasting pleasure!
When Yellow Tail Shiraz made its amazing debut in North America in 2001, it shook the wine world. Wine without measureable residual sugar tastes sweeter thanks to exceptionally ripe grapes and higher alcohol - because alcohol itself tastes sweet! Modern stainless steel winemaking also contributes.
You don’t have to be an expert ... to enjoy the fabulous selection of wines The Third Course ‘Mad Men’ Wine Festival offers. Excellent hors d’oeuvres, informative wine seminars and live entertainment add to the excitement....
Musing about changing weather trends in France in Bloomberg Business, Rudy Ruitenberg reported that “This summer was a scorcher in France, the second-hottest on record. For Bordeaux wine growers, those searing temperatures were the latest reminder that global warming is threatening to upend their world.”
NIC’s Mad Men Wide Festival...
Local North Island wine lovers should mark off November 20th on their calendars. That’s the upcoming date of the 14th Annual North Island College (NIC) Tourism and Hospitality students’ ‘Third Course Bistro’ Mad Men Wine Festival 7:00-9:30pm.
“There’s a new category of wine that is growing fast and strong: sweet “dry” red wines… It’s kind of a dirty secret that many wine drinkers ‘talk dry but drink sweet,’ presumably to avoid the scorn of wine snobs who think that a serious red wine should be dry,” as Michael Hastings put it in the Winston Salem Journal...
The Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine area... covers 23 municipalities to the southeast of Nantes, in the north-western corner of France... far better known in Europe than in North America, the wine grape Muscadet - also known as Melon de Bourgogne – makes a lean white wine that pairs perfectly with oysters. But even in the UK, the fame of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine has faded.
Slowly but surely, some of BC's savviest winemakers ... are realizing the value of blending different varieties of wine grapes to add more complexity to the flavor and texture of a wine and make a rounder and often more full bodied wine.
The Iberian peninsula ...has been making wine for at least the past 3000 years, and has a rich history on the development of wine and what is has become today. Spain is one the oldest wine producing countries in the world, with evidence of the first grape vines being planted around 1100 B.C. in the region of Andalucía...
Chenin Blanc is a difficult wine grape – slow to ripen and often both highly acidic and very high in sugars – but it can also make some of the world’s most age-worthy white wines. Today’s most widely available Chenin Blancs are drink-now kind of wines, dry but very fruity....
In our rush to embrace the sophisticated world of wines available to us... we often overlook what’s right on our doorstep. What is it going to take for us to learn to stop and smell the Rosés… or even notice what amazing red wines are being made here in British Columbia?
Here on the west coast... we tend to be complacent about the wide selection of wines available to us from California. And while there’s no shortage of white wines, the variety of rich red wines – from what would be the world’s fourth largest producer, if it were a separate country – is astonishing.
In his wine cult classic book ‘The Heartbreak Grape’ Marq de Villiers tries to explain Pinot Noir’s allure: “Something struck me about its clarity, a brilliant red, like rubies under fire …it was rich and complex, with a maddening hint of chocolate and violets.”
Winemaking began in Chile when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived, fresh from taming Bolivia. Catholic missionaries followed the conquering soldiers, bringing vines from Peru. Those rough and ready wines would have had little appeal to today’s wine lovers. Fast forward almost 500 years to Vina Montes...
Rosés can be made by mixing white wine grapes and red wine grapes and co-fermenting them together. In some regions Rosés are traditionally made by blending semi-finished red wines and white wines. Other winemakers leave fermenting red wine grapes in contact with the grape skins for a very short time, until the developing alcohol strips some pink colour from the dark purple skins, then press off the pink juice.
Don’t overlook New Zealand’s signature Sauvignon Blancs… But remember our Kiwi cousins make so many more wines in a multitude of varieties and styles... Marlborough is New Zealand’s flagship wine region. It put the country on the international wine stage with their Sauvignon Blancs. Much more than just Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough offers increasing range and depth in price, variety and terroir.
Exceptional quality wines at affordable prices from Chile... Combined with advantageous international exchange rates and lower land and labour cost, most vintages in Chile have an abundance of ripe fruit that allows winemakers to consistently create exceptionally affordable wines of remarkably good quality!
It is an exciting time to be a wine lover living on Vancouver Island.... Nearly 25 years after Vigneti Zanata opened their winery doors in 1992, accredited wineries now exceed 30 and the numbers just keep growing.... As well as the classic ‘farm being planted with vines and then becoming a new winery’ and ‘garden vineyard evolving into a commercially viable new winery’...
The Greeks brought the art of grape growing, to southern Italy. In central Italy, the Etruscans produced wine. As civilization evolved, the Romans improved upon Etruscan techniques. Today’s Italian winemakers are refining their equipment and techniques and producing marvellously modern wines.
Italian wines to sip in the summer heat… Like Spain and France, Italy offers a full range of wines. Still or sparkling, “dry” or sweet, white or rose or red, food-friendly or fortified – if there’s a style of wine that can be made from grapes, there’s an Italian equivalent. And, invariably, Italian wines are at their best with food!
Three styles of Sauvignon Blanc are common. Tart - driven by citrus fruit flavours - grapefruit, lemon, melon and gooseberry - and refreshingly high acidity. Herbal/vegetal ‘grassiness’ – think of the aromas of a fresh mowed lawn? And California’s Fumé Blanc – aged in oak for a richer style with hints of smoke, vanilla and coconut.
Most red wines are judged by their sheer power and intensity. Often as light as a rosé, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home is in France’s Burgundy. Sadly, good Burgundy doesn’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean that exploring the many alternative subtleties of Pinot Noir has to be overlooked, under appreciated or just plain misunderstood.
Saturday June 13th, 2015 from 7:00pm – 9:30pm Campbell River Day Break Rotary presents... their 6th annual ‘Wine & Blues Fest by the Sea’ at the Maritime Heritage Centre. “We have over 11 winery representatives with wine from regions all over the world,” said Theresa Marson...
Picking red wines to pair with barbeque fare is as simple as choosing what you like. Light, medium or fuller bodied reds all have their own place in the sun if you’re serving chicken, pork, lamb, veal, beef or even bison...
British Columbia’s wines have never been finer… New BC wineries are opening up in the Okanagan Valley and the Similkameen Valley, as well as the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. New wine grapes that ripen early are being pioneered by creative grape growers and being fashioned into unique wines by inspired winemakers.
Film director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis purchased Beaufort Vineyards & Estate Winery in early 2014 from founding owners, grape growers and winemakers Jeff and Susan Vandermolen....Cameron and his wife hired Mark Timmermans as the Vineyard and Winery manager… and retained the services of Jeff and Susan Vandermolen as consulting winemakers.
More than week until Mother’s Day… Chocolates will be bought and flowers better be acquired. But you should get ahead of the pack and buy that perfect sparkling wine for your sister, spouse, mother or grandma now! Il Vino dei Poeti Rosé (90886) $8.00 in a tiny, shiny pink 200ml bottle has arrived just in time to help celebrate the day. An inventive blend of Pinot Noir and Raboso it sizzles....
Celebrations of International Sauvignon Blanc Day on April 24 2015 kick off in New Zealand and make their way around the globe following the sun. Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events are taking place in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Germany, London, Toronto, New York and Vancouver …finishing 43 hours later at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
April 17th was chosen as World Malbec Day to commemorate the day in 1853 when Argentinian president, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento directed Michel Aimé Pouget, a French soil expert, to bring over new vines to Argentina - one of which was Malbec! -and become Argentina's “signature” varietal red wine.
Meanwhile and maybe because so many great ‘classic’ varietal wines – made more or less from just one kind of wine grape - come from Chile, lovers of South American wine often overlook the newer red blends.
The various degrees of wine sophistication, like any other degree-dation, often seem to be a tool for variously sophisticated winegeeks to set themselves apart from the vast number of wine lovers who just want a nice glass of wine on an everyday basis....
Australia… As the global focus of this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival, Australia and its wines and winemakers made it clear that they were not just another set of pretty faces. And if you simply couldn’t make it to town, take comfort in the fact that many of these Australian wines are available throughout British Columbia.