Archive for February, 2011

Valentine’s Day Wine Treats From BC!

February 12, 2011

I know we are only a couple of days away, but for those guys (and girls!) still looking for the perfect wine for their Valentine’s Day celebration, here are some BC recommendations.

Sparkling Wine

Champagne is the classic wine for lovers, but it is so expensive (and variable in quality) that you can be disappointed. Well, there is no need to take the risk when you have a couple of great BC options available to you.

Vigneti Zanatta from the Cowichan Valley actually makes three of them, all of which I have blogged on before.  The Fatima Brut and Allegria Rose are both vintage wines (latest are the 2005’s) and made in the classic champagne style. Toasty, yeasty and bone dry, they are full-bodied wines that will stand up to food really well.  And at under $28, are a half to a third of the price of even introductory Champagne. Look for them in some of the private BC wine stories or, if you are on Vancouver Island, you can get them directly from the winery or on-line.

The other recommended wines come from Blue Mountain Winery in Summerland, up in the Okanagan.  Known more for its Pinot Noirs (the Reserve is one of the two or three best Pinots made in BC every year), they also do a couple of great Cava-style sparkling wines. Both the Brut and the Brut Rose are crisp and clean, with lovely green apples and tiny bubbles. Both are good value at about $25 and available either at private wine stores or from the winery (directly by appointment or on-line).

If you prefer white wine for your celebration, I would recommend something lush, smooth and velvety.  For me, that means the Township 7 Chardonnay.  A gorgeous California-style Chardonnay, it has vanilla and butterscotch flavours wrapped around a solid core of citrus fruit. It is rich enough to go with sauces or even lobster! And at only $20, it is also available in government liquor stores.

Finally, red wine. And, for celebration, that means Pinot Noir! Luckily in BC, we have some outstanding wines to choose from, although they can be hard to find. If you bought last year’s vintages of Kettle Valley’s Hayman and Reserve Pinot Noirs or Blue Mountain’s Reserve Pinot Noir, feel free to crack one of those babies open!

If not, though, don’t despair. The regular Pinot Noirs from Kettle Valley and Blue Mountain are also good and should still be available in private wine stores. And currently at the government liquor stores, try a bottle of the Nk Mip Pinot Noir. Always a good wine, something special happened with the 2008 vintage…it tastes like a reserve wine, with gorgeous black cherries, earth and just the right amount of oaks. Incredible mouth feel…and all for $20!

So there you go! Only two days to go, but some good options for your Valentine’s Day celebration regardless of whether you like sparkling, white or red wine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


My Ideal BC Wine List Part II – Reds and Sweet wines

February 2, 2011


Okay, here’s the second part of my wine list for restaurants, this time featuring red wines and a couple of “stickies” at the end.

Red Wines Description $/bottle $/glass

– La Frenz

Mostly Gamay, soft, fruity and really ripe! 44 7.50

–          Township 7

Classic Rhone style, with black pepper, earth and cherries 50 8.50

–          Nichol

Best Syrah in BC, maybe Canada; like a Crozes-Hermitage from France 60 10.00
Cabernet Sauvignon

– La Frenz              

A dead ringer for a California Cab, with toasty oak and vanilla coating the black currants; best in BC 56 9.50

– La Frenz

Also best in BC and made in a ripe, fruity style; no “coffee/chocolate”dried out wine here 54 9.00
Pinot Noir

 – Eau Vivre

A revelation from the Similkameen Valley! Burgundy style, with earthy but ripe cherries and touch of oak 40 6.50
Pinot Noir

– Nk Mip

Fruitier with a touch more oak, a California style Pinot Noir at a great price from this First Nations winery 40 6.50
Pinot Noir

– Blue Mountain

Baby brother of the Reserve wine, but while lighter and fruitier it has nice complexity 50 8.50
Pinot Noir Reserve

— Kettle Valley

Maybe the best “regular” Pinot in BC; amazingly concentrated, ripe, but not sweet or jammy 50 8.50
Pinot Noir Reserve

— Kettle Valley

Glorious Pinot, cross between California and Burgundy style; almost as good as the Hayman Vineyard 70 11.50
 Sweet Wines Description $/bottle $/glass
Vintage Port

– La Frenz

A new addition to La Frenz, made from Shiraz grapes 50

(500 ml)

Fortified Foch

– Quail’s Gate

Meaty, rich berries, quite unique 40 6



 So there you go! The reds and sweet wines to compliment last week’s white wines.

And in case you think this can’t happen…check out Kingfishers Bar and Grill in Maple Ridge, B.C. They not only have about half of these wines on their wine list, they do it at the markups I recommend!

Come on, other restaurants; why not you too?