Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Although we try to promote wines, especially from our own country of Canada, today I am going to post a negative comment. It is all about wine tasting in grocery stores. Are they really beneficial to the wine industry?

Apparently, they must be as they continually do it. Or is it just part of the contact for the winery to provide occasional tasting? I am not one to shop for wines in a grocery store, it has happened but I am mostly there for the food items.

The wine section never seems to be busy, the tasting stage is often occupied either by store staff or marketing personal not by the winery. When I do stop by for tasting one usually find an inexperienced staff member who knows little if anything about the winery they represent. Sad!

Just the other day I found myself at the Save-On-Food Store in White Rock. My wife wished to purchase some flowers and wine. It was an extremely busy store. Parking was difficult and the store crowded. It just so happened there was a sign at the door advertising Free Wine tasting 1- 4pm. Our path took us by the wine section where a tasting stand was set up along with a display of Sandhill wines. I approached the table and waited patiently and waited.

I could see two employees both stocking shelves. I am sure they could see me. I decided to move along. However, I did return as once again my path took me by the wine section of the store. Once again I was ignored. Once again I left.

My wife was now studying the flower display. As she browsed through the flowers, made her purchase and had the flowers wrapped, I watched the tasting table. Not a single person stopped. Why!

With flowers in hand, we left the store and made our way to the government liquor store for the wine.
Save-on-foods lost a sale. Sandhill lost a sale and gained some negative publicity.

Why negative, well I sent them an e-mail about my experience that day and they did not respond. It seems many big companies have forgotten they are a customer based business and should respond quickly and efficiently to customer concerns.

You know how it is a happy customer may tell one person an unhappy customer tells ten.

Sandhill  is owned by Andrew Peller Estates Ltd

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Dinner

When I was a child we would visit my grandparents every Sunday and be treated to a wonderful roast beef dinner.  In those days, my beverage of choice was milk today, of course, it is often a Canadian red wine.

Sitting down to a Sunday dinner as elaborate as my Grandmothers is rare, even rarer is Yorkshire Pudding, but I can always hope that may change once my wife reads this blog.

A simple recipe for Yorkshire Pudding;

In a blender or bowl combine 4 large eggs, 1 ½ cups whole milk, 1 ¼ cups flour, and  ½ tsp coarse salt. Blend well and place in the refrigerator until ready to use (allow to rest for at least 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 425°F

Place 1 teaspoon of oil (or preferably beef drippings) into each section of a 12-hole muffin tray and put in the oven on the top shelf until very hot, almost smoking.

As soon as you take the tray from the oven, pour in the batter to three-quarters fill the tins (it should sizzle) and immediately put back into the oven.

Bake until the puddings are well risen, golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Note: DO NOT open the oven door until the end, you will end up with shrivelled puddings.

Now for the wines:

A full-bodied wine such as a Merlot goes well with roast beef, but any medium to full body red can be easily matched with the dinner. Roast beef is one of the easiest foods to match.

A Shiraz or a Cabernet Sauvignon would also work, the choice really, is what *you* like!

Our wine choice will be Blackwood Lane's Reference, 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. With any luck, I will also get Yorkshire Pudding!

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Os portos de Portugal

While attending the Vancouver International Wine Festival I took in a seminar on Portuguese wines, called Voyage of Discovery. It was an amazing journey featuring nine wines from nine different wineries.

Six of the featured wines high-end red wines the reminding were three unbelievably good Port Wines. Canada and Portugal reached an agreement, only wines produced in the Douro region of Portugal may be called Port. In Canada, we call similar produced wines, port style, fortified. Sumac Ridge calls their wine Pipe. Please see Fortified wines.

The name Port comes from the harbour town of Porto. The Douro valley is often called the Enchanted Valley, due to the beauty of its landscape. The valley is so magnificent it is a World Heritage Site.

The ports offered for tasting were very special indeed. The first was Real Companhia Velha's Carvalhas Vinhas Velhas Tino 2015. You have to taste it to believe it.

Next was a thirty-year-old Tawy form Sogrape Vinhos. Sandeman Porto Tawny. Simply unbelievable. If you're lucky enough to find this rare and special Port ist wholesale price $110.00.

And finally the Symington Family Estate Graham's, Graham's Tawny Port 40 plus years at $195.00. There are simply no words to describe this wine.

Thank you, Portugal for bringing all your amazing wines to Vancouver. I am honoured to have the pleasure of enjoying them

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Season of Wine Tasting

On my calendar, the year (wine year that is ) begins in March with the Vancouver Internation Wine Festival. They say it is Canada's biggest wine FestivalThere are 173 wineries from 15 countries participating in the 2018 festival.It will take place at the Vancouver Convention centre in the heart of Vancouver.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival, Canada’s premier food & wine event, has three mandates: to provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; to be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and to raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society.
This year as usual Canada and USA will have a large representation. Spain this years featured country will have will have 38 wineries at the event. Some notables are Vivanco, Tores and Marques de Murrieta.

Portugal, Argentina, Austrailia, Chile and France will be there. Italy has 23 wineries attending. Japan has one.

British Columbia makes up the majority of Canada's Wineries. L’Acadie Vineyards represents Nova Scotia. It would be nice to see some Ontario wineries.

Later in the month, there will be an Event at Eatible Canada on Gravel Island called "Locals Only" this features some smaller BC wineries. In April it will the Okanagan Falls Wineries Tasting Event

In May we hope to be on the Okanagan! Check the website for updates.

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!