Saturday, February 3, 2018

Blackwood Lane Vineyards'


Located in the beautiful countryside of Aldergrove. Blackwood Lane has established its self as the winery to visit.   Not only does it have a well-educated staff, with product manager Kelli  Kling and general manager Kim Collins, winemaker/owner has some delightful tales to tell. 

Last summer a new patio was completed overlooking the best view in the Fraser Valley. One can relax and enjoy Mount Baker, slip their amazing wines and dine on pizza from their pizza oven.

Barbara and I dropped by the just the other day.. We tasted a few reds. Wow!  The Vicuna Roja a nice blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from their Osoyoos Vineyard.  It starts with a nice aroma of wild berries followed by tantalizing flavours berries, cherries and plums.

The Cabernet Franc was delicious with an abundance of flavours..

The king of wines remains the Reference. Carlos has once again provided a wine that compares to any classic from the old world and new world. Both Kevin O'Leary and  author Tony Aspler were impressed by the Reference.  Carlos has just released his 2009. The price is high but considering its quality its worth it.

A blend of all five Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Deep ruby in colour with a high-toned, savoury-spicy nose of black plums with vanilla oak and note of graphite. Medium to full-bodied, rich and full on the palate, with plum, dark chocolate and oak spice flavours; Creamy mouth-feel and ripe tannins.

Thank you Carlos and staff for establishing such a impressive winery close to home!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rock Painting

A few days ago my wife informed me we had been invited to a Rock Painting party.  The idea did not sound very exciting to me. Our host a couple I did not know but was a friend of my wife. I agreed to go only to make my dear wife happy.

I was less encouraged when I was asked to go out in the rain and gather some rocks to paint. I did as instructed. Changed cloth and we were off to the rock painting party in White Rock. Before leaving I asked my wife what wine I should bring She replied that we were asked not to bring wine. To bring only ourselves. Oh No!

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our hostess she requested we leave our rocks in a bucket by the door. There was, however, a most delicious aroma coming from the kitchen.   Something smells good I said. Pecan pie she replied Ah! things were looking better.

We were invited to join other guests in the formal living room. Our hostess handed us a glass of water saying her son worked for a Water distribution company. There was also crackers and cheese appetizers.

When the next couple arrived and received their water, we were invited to join our host in the dining room. Here the table was full of some very delicious looking dishes. From Roast Beef to meatball, spareribs and other mouth watering dishes.  I was now a happy camper. A wonderful dining experience before paining rocks I could handle this.

We all dove in, the water was tasting pretty good at this point. Our host jumped up and said " Oh dear I've forgotten something" He scurried off and his wife followed. She returned carrying a tray of wine glasses. He came back carrying four bottles of wine. I could only feel a sense of relief.

Our host opened the bottle and placed a glass in front me . " Would you do the honours" he asked and poured a sample of wine into the glass. He showed me the bottle Painted Rock . Everyone clapped and laughed; my wife said "surprised we fooled you"

The first wine was a Painted Rock Estate Chardonnay followed by a Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Icon. Happiness!

The Chardonnay was delicious, nice fruit flavours, some minerality and good finish.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was amazing lingering dark fruit and spices.
The Red Icon brought on rich aromas of blackberry,cassis and hints of smooth spices. Followed by vanilla and chocolate. A wine that said More Please!

What a delightful, unexpected evening. It was a major surprise I will always remember.

Sorry, I do not know what happened to those rocks!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year 2018 is upon us! Amazing as it seems I have not as yet opened a bottle of wine this year. We had selected port-style wine to with our Harvey Wallbanger Cake given to me at Christmas by our dear friends June and Peter.

Our choice for the night was going to be Unsworth Vineyard's Solera which we purchased about 4 years ago. However, we ended up drinking White Russians. As midnight approached the cake was gone and we decided to save the wine.


As we entered 2018 we will be approaching our 26th year of celebrating Canada's  wineries and her wines. Back in 1992, I can recall only Tony Aspler and John Schreiner paying Canada's wines any attention.

In recent years we started three pages that have become very successful for

The Best Wines of 2014 was the first of these pages. We ended 2017 with The Best of 2017
Chaberton Estate Reserve Bacchus was rated the highest.

Another feature page The Wineries to Watch for in 2018.
It's the page I most enjoy writing about.

However our most popular page the last three years has been. The Best Wineries to Visit..

Back in 1992, the website was a winter project. Today so many wineries have opened  It has become an all most daily adventure into the wonderful world of Canad's wine industry!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Emerging Fraser Valley

Just the other day I was corresponding with John Schreiner (Canada's most prolific writer of books on wine) about the emerging Fraser Valley Wineries. We focused on the Abbotsford area. John wrote jokingly " I need to write a book on the Fraser Valley"

It all began with the establishment of Domaine de Chaberton in 1975 by Claude and Inge Violet. They were followed by Township 7, Backyard Vineyards and Blackwood Lane.

Vern Siemens was the first to establish a winery in the Mt Lehman region North West of the city of Abbotsford. Mt Lehman winery opened in 2000. His neighbours now include Singletree Winery and the newly opened Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery. Making a nice threesome off Mt Lehman road to go along with the Cheese farm, Christmas Tree Farms and Lavender farms.

Another recently opened winery just east of the city centre is Ripple's fruit Winery, already a national award winner. In between the establishment of Blackwood Lane and Ripples the already popular Krause Berry Farm added a fruit winery and now produces award-winning wines.

To the south near Abbotsford is Mann Farms a vegetable and fruit farm that has successfully added a fruit winery.

On the north side of the Fraser River, in Pitt Meadows, one can find the Blue Heron Fruit winery which opened in 2003. Just recently Chateau Blue Winery opened in Pitt Meadows.

Township 7 has a new neighbour just across the street is Festina Lente Estate Winery Ltd. a new meadery doing quite well. This brings to mind Cambell's Honey Farm located in Abottsford. They started producing mead in 1997.

Also opening in 2017 on Zero Ave in Langley Township was The Glass House Winery.

Yes there are more, some you have never heard of but have been operating for years. St. Urban Winery in Chilliwack and 1st R.O.W. in Surrey. The newly opened are Whispering Horse Winery, Springland Winery, Vinoscenti Vineyard, Montagu Cellars, Country Vines Winery Great Fraser Valley Wine LTD and Caven Cellars.

As the sunsets over the Fraser Valley, there are more wineries planning to open A new day seems to bring news of another project in the Valley.  The latest up to the minute news (okay recent news) another winery is planned for the Mt Lehman region.

Perhaps you should stay at the Brookside Inn in Abbotsford and book a wine tour with them. We enjoyed our stay!

Just for fun google Constantin-Vasilca Winery.  Is this Walnut winery still open? Let me know.

Yes, John please write that book!!

Suggest Links

The Fraser Valley

Mt Lehman Sojourn

Festina Lenete 

Robert's Report

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Turkey Wine

Today on Facebook I saw a post from the Executive Editor at The Cork Report. He wrote "Do people really panic about Thanksgiving wine pairings? Do they really need "expert" advice?"

I had no hesitation in giving my simple reply NO!  People are busy with arranging the event the meal. Very little time is spent in worrying about the wine. So many people are either red or white. It's that simple.

I myself go for a light refreshing white. No special trips to the store are made. Red is always available for those who prefer it.

The only time you worry is when you invite someone who is connected with the industry who is so in a special way. Otherwise, your inviting family and friends whose tastes you already know.

There is a wide array of wines suggested by the wine writers such as Gamay, Pinot Noir and Zinfindel. Dry Rose and Sangiovese. I suggest Milo, Riesling or Bacchus.

This year at Thanksgiving we did not have turkey. For Christmas, we will be the guest, whatever they serve I am sure I will be extremely happy . I will be among friends and that is more than enough to make any wine better.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Writer's Block

Enjoying an afternoon and evening party of six good friends our host Peter and June introduced us to a wine from California.  It was the interesting labels ( front and back) that caught our interest. The wine was called Writer's Block. On the front label, it read  "bottled and produced by OMS Group Kelseyville California". Kelseyville is in the Lake Country north of Napa Valley where this year's forest fires endangered and destroyed some wineries.

The back label was most interesting with a verse in American English and old world English written byAnn Holmes.

I decided to Google OMS Group to see what I could find about this wine. There was only a reference to a Company in Ontario, Canada. So this was a dead end. I then Google Writer's Block Wine. This provided only a brief note on the wine itself nothing about its producer.

This time I Googled wineries in Kelseyville California. It was winery number six that provided the answer. Stelle winery was the producer. Although if you go through their current list of wines for sale Writer's Block 2012 Petite Sirah is not listed. Sirah is the spelling on the label. Their website spells it Syrah. Further research was required.

Writer's Block is a collaboration between winery owner Jed Steel and his son Quincy. Quincy worked a few years in Australia and Argentina learning the trade of a winemaker before return home. They combined New world and Old world techniques to produce the wine.

They also produced Roussanne, Marsanne, Counoise, under the Writer's Block label.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Classic Hamburger Soup

As the rains of Autumn begins, it is a good time to enjoy a hearty Hamburger Soup. The soup is easily made by just mixing the ingredients in a crockpot. You have the hamburger, beef broth and whatever your heart desires may be added.

I know two people that make amazing hamburger soup. Our dear friend June and my wife Barbara.
Recently we had the pleasure of having six of our closest friends over for lunch where we served Hamburger soup.

It has been suggested that a light crisp white wine should be served with hamburger soup. However, I am not one that worries too much on matching foods and wine. On this occasion, we served very nice Blueberry wine from Kings Court in Ontario prior to the meal. With the soup the Blackwood Lane Viognier was perfect. Those who chose a red started with the Cab Franc from Blackwood Land followed by their Alliance. All three wines seemed to compliment the soup.

Thankfully my wife made enough for us to have leftovers the next evening. This time we had a Pinot Grigio From Coastal Ridge in California.

Our next selection for a hearty meal will be French Onion Soup. I think the dry Baccus from Chaberton will do nicely. You could also go with a French Aligoté or perhaps St Hubertus Chasselas.

For Reds Try a classic Beaujolais or a Gamay.