Monday, March 27, 2017

Five Wineries to Visit in the Similkameen Valley

The beautiful  Similkameen Valley is just a 3 hour scenic drive from Vancouver and only 35 minutes from Osoyoos. There are now 18 wineries in the Valley. There is also Twisted Hills Craft Cider and numerous fruit stands.

Here are five very popular wineries in the region

Clos du Soleil  which started in 2005 opened new facilities in 2015. The name means vineyard enclosed in the sun.The winery is know for its consistent quality. The winemaker is Ann Sperling, who came to the winery with proven experience and knowledge.

Robin Ridge was established in 1997 by owners Tim and Caroline Cottrill. They use the Geneva Double Curtain Trellis system to allow more light on the fruit in the vineyard producing greater flavours. They practice organic farming.

Orofino Vineyards was Canada's first strawbale winery. Orofino means Fine Gold. Owners John and Virgina Weber dream began in 2001 when they purchased 6 acres in the valley. The tasting room is powered by Solar power. They have established a reputation for Good wines.

Upon reaching the town of Cawston you must stop in at Forbidden Fruit Winery. Where they have proven over the years (35) to be one of Canada's best Fruit wineries. They are certified Organic.  You will enjoy visiting their winery. Steve Venables and Kim Brind'Amour are the owners their son Nathan produces Dead End grape wines.

Corcelettes Estate Winery will start the 2017 season with a brand new tasting room. The tasting room is build right up against the cliff and will provide an amazing view of the valley.  The winery has found success based on the quality of their wines.

These are only five of the wineries in this beautiful underrated valley. One needs to spend a couple of days here discovering the valley's exceptional wines.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Life's too Short to Drink Bad Wines

Apparently not!

It may surprise you but when it comes to my e-mail the #1 question is "why can't I find Bright's ____ wine anymore"   Apparently Brighs labelled wines are still a bigger seller in Easter Canada. And they are cheap. This 4000 ml sells for $35.00. The Brights wines are a Cellared in Canada product of Constellation Brands. The Brand is slowing been discounted with wines made under different brands.

Maria Christina  seems to be among the most popular of the Brights wines selling for $7 to  $10 depending on the province. I have never tasted the wine so it may be okay! But people do seek out cheap wines.

I will just ignore that Jesus Juice whoever produces that is after the profit and has no passion for true wine. Schloss Laderheim is a cheaper but popular wine a little bit better in my humble opinion than Baby Duck. There is also Hochtaler and a few others first made back in 60-70s that are still around today.
Really Australia why?  Labels like this are common in the USA seems people buy them for the label.

Okay its say Francais but no real French winemaker would do this.  But it sells. So much for the idea that Life is too short to buy cheap wines.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wine and Dine at the Family Chain Restaurant

They are everywhere easy to find and offer reasonable price along with menu items that suite the entire family. Therefore we often find our selfs dining at Whitespot, Matches, Swiss Chalet or Applebee's.

We may decide that a glass of wine will enhance the meal. The prices look okay. The question is when the menu says Jackson Triggs pinot grigio are we getting a Cellared in Canada wine or a VQA wine.

I will not order a know cellared in Canada wine such as the one pictured above. I do not buy a cellared in Canada wine for enjoyment at home. However, in some chain restaurants, there is often no other choice for wines listed from Canada. Restaurant Chains usually do not have high-end wine lists.  In many establishments your lucky to find any Canadian wines. However, that is changing.  You can probably for $6.00 a glass trust a name like Sumac Ridge or Jackson-Triggs to provide a good wine, even if it is their cellared in Canada selection.

Chances of finding a quality wine in these restaurants or a bar like Painted Rock almost Zero. There are some, like Catus Club that actually have a very good wine list. What you have to do is ask the server to show you the bottle or ask if the wine is  VQA or not.

There are people that like and enjoy boxed wines from those early days. They are often served in small family owned restaurants. All I can say is I hope the food is Good! :}

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chaberton's Estate Bacchus Bistro

Valentine's Dinner Table d'hôtes.

For the third consecutive year, Barbara and I celebrated Valentine's Day at the popular Bacchus Bistro at Chaberton Estate Winery in Langley. Last year the bistro had two settings; this year due to demand there were three settings. The Bistro offered a four-course dinner at which we thought a reasonable price of  $60.00 per person.

The first course consisted of Amuse Buche, a smoked salmon tartlet, Gougere which went very well with my glass of Reserve Bacchus wine.

The second provided a choice of four options, Barbara selected the  Lobster and Butternut Squash Bisque (with sauteed prawns) I went for a Jem Tomato and Mt. Lehman Chevre Salad. Barbara enjoyed her reserve Merlot, (one of her favourites from the winery) with its notes of dark cherry and plum.

The main course offered four selections. Barbara chose the Pan Roasted Halibut with Black Olive Tapenade. I selected one of my favourites, Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs which did not disappoint.  Oh so tender, slow cooked in red wine with green peppercorn sauce. Barbara said she made the right choice, the halibut was cooked to perfection! One must toast the culinary skills of Chef Ashley and his staff.

Dessert completed the four courses superbly.  Barbara selected the Tahitian Vanilla Buffalo Milk Creme Brulee. I chose the Raspberry Frozen Nougat, both were amazing, we shared tastings. A shared glass of  Siegerrebe Dessert wine along with a fresh roasted cup of coffee finished off the evening beautifully.  Our server was adept at making our evening a memorable one.

Chaberton Estate Winery is located in the Fraser Valley, on 216th Street off 16th Ave 

Friday, February 3, 2017

One of the most renowned regions in British Columbia's  Okanagan is the Naramata Bench . The region extents north from the city of Penticton and runs along the east side of Okanagan Lake. The vineyards of the bench provide outstanding conditions for Merlot and Bordeaux varieties and full favourite Pinot Gris and Viognier.

Hillside state Winery was the first to establish themselves on the Bench. In 1984 Vera and Bohumir Klockockas began establishing the vineyard. Today Hillside is a major player in the Okanagan.

Kathy Malone has been the winemaker at Hillside since 2008. The only one we know producing Muscat Ottnel. The Hillside Bistro provides fine dinning.

 In 1969 Bob Ferguson and Tim Watts opened Kettle Valley winery, named after the old railway that use run along the east shore. They produce some lively and bold reds.

One winery that produces amazing wines we do not hear enough about is D'Angelo. Sal De Angelo had an establish winery in Ontario. He visited the Naramata falling in love with the region he immediately established a second winery here.

If you like Fruits wines Elephant Island is for your. Their is actually no Island an no elephant. Try the Pear wine.

One cannot forget Nichol Vineyards producing wines since 1993. Winemaker and owner Ross Hackworth produces a very good Syrah.

Among the well established wineries are Poplar Grove, the first winery you will see as you enter the Bench . Their vineyards were established in 1993. What a reputation they have made over the years

We also must mention, Black Widow, Black Cloud, Foxtrot, Meyer Family , Howling Bluff, La Frenz, Red Rooster, Serendipity, Van Westen, Township 7 and Lang among those helping making Naramata wines famous. In recent years new wineries have popped up on the Bench.

See them all at ~ The Naramata Bench

Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23/2017

Wine, Music and Pizza

Saturday evening is the time for music, pizza, and wine at Fraser Valley's Blackwood Lane. We have been in the summer for pizza on the patio, but last Saturday was our first winter visit to the enclosed veranda, which has been converted to a cozy dining room. 

The limited food service is run under the direction of tasting room manager Kimberly Gislason who does double duty as the chef. It is aptly named Kimberly's Mini Bistro, and the food is five-star! We were not disappointed after venturing out to take in the January special of purchasing a bottle of wine which came with a free pizza.

Wines at Blackwood Lane are high on the list of being excellent.  We ordered a bottle of the 2012 Rebel, a Syrah, a complex wine with an array of flavours.

The background music was provided by Fanny and Gary. Fanny sang as well as played the harp and a flute, Gary accompanied her on guitar.  

The hospitality at the winery is always welcoming. Winemaker and owner Carlos Lee was kept busy going from table to table making sure everyone was happy. Carlos also provided a tasting of his latest project; a sparkling Sea Buckthorn wine. It certainly has potential just needs a little time.
The efficient staff saw to our comfort with outstanding service.

The Bristo is open from 6-9 pm on Saturday's, go a little early and visit the tasting bar. I recommend you try the Alliance and Reference. If you are lucky, Kimberley will have some of her homemade chocolate for sale.