Posts Tagged ‘sparkling wine’

Whither Vancouver Island Wine?

August 26, 2015

Time to report back on our brief trip to Vancouver Island last week, which featured a half day touring some wineries.

The good news? The best wineries are making amazing wine. But some of the rest is only “middling’ at best”.

Let’s start with the best, and that is Averill Creek! Andy Johnson has been making tremendous Pinot Noir for years now at his Mt. Prevost winery, and the 2011 is no exception. In a word – stunning! Purple, spicy/earthy black cherries, silky tannins…at least 3 – 5 years of life in it.

The rest of his wines are nothing to sneeze at either! Their Cab/Foche – “Foch Eh?” – is super ripe, and meant to be served chilled. A good bargain. For whites, the Pinot Gris is a very nice oak-aged wine, the Gewurztraminer one of the few dry versions I have tasted, and the sparkling fresh and pure. And the ’14 Somenos Rose is summer in a bottle!

Next up in quality is Rocky Creek. Such a small place off the highway – literally, you will miss it if you don’t look for it – but it is worth finding! For reds, it is Pinot Noir again…not as big or age worthy as Averill Creek, but the 2013 is very pure…I bought a couple to see how it develops. Next best is their sparkle – Catherine’s Sparkle, after the daughter. Clean, crisp, Cava style – nice wine! They also make a true “Gris” wine – a white that stays on its skins to add colour. Almost orange, the ’13 is bone dry but very flavourful. And the Roberts Rose (after their son)? Nothing to sneeze at!

Third on the list is Zanatta Winery. A bit hard to find (literally in the forest), it specializes in sparkling wine. While you can’t taste them in the tasting room, they do flights at the Bistro – and it is well worth it! No longer vintage wines, the three versions are still aged on their lees and very complex…and at about $25, represent ridiculous values in this kind of wine. And don’t miss the bistro for some nice food!

Finally, Blue Grouse…stunning new winery, but this Pinot Noir producer only makes 120 cases of their flagship wine, so not available to taste. I bought some anyway based on past experience, but it would have been nice to try there! The rest of the wines were middling’ at best.

That was all the time we had on the Sunday (aside form an attempt at Venturi-Schulze, which was cut short by a loud mouth braggart behind the tasting bar who I couldn’t but put up with; had to leave – what a jerk).

So quantity of wineries – not so sure, as I didn’t get to all of them.

But quality of a few? Very high…nice to see, and bodes well for the future!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

LESSONS FROM A SUMMER WINE PARTY

August 6, 2014

Okay, after pontificating last week about “how to have a summer wine party”, I now need to report back on some serious lessons learned.

Trust me…if you heed these, you will avoid a whole bunch of pain (physical and emotional).

First off, try not to hold your party when it is stinking hot out! I had (while it was still light out…more on that later) only white, rose and sparkling wines to serve (as per my blog recommendations), but it was almost impossible to keep them all cold enough. Regardless, people still drank them, mostly because everyone was parched from the heat! I’m not sure they showed their best as a result, although everyone sure loved them.

Lesson number two is don’t serve too much food (again, when it is hot out). Our party was a pot luck, with us providing the protein and everyone else salads. Given the heat, the salads went like crazy…and we were left with lots of tandoori chicken and sausage. Fortunately, we like both, because we ate them as leftovers for two days. And since it was still hot, that meant no cooking…hey, maybe this is a positive thing!

The third lesson is be careful if kids are attending! Much wine was consumed by the adults, and while nobody was falling down drunk, everyone was pretty happy, to say the least. For the younger teenagers (13/14), they just ignored us and played in the yard or watched movies. But the 16 year olds were quite fascinated – and embarrassed – so much so that they used their smart phones to film their parents singing and dancing! I am sure some of us will be embarrassed by those videos some day on important occasions!

The fourth lesson is don’t hold the party too close to your wine cellar (if you have one). We were outside, and the cellar is just inside the basement door…as the evening progressed, it became way too easy to pop into the cellar for Port, Sauternes, etc…They were great, but it added to the overall state of many of the parents…
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Fifth, if you are going to hold the wine party outside – and your neighbours are around – give them a heads up (or invite them). We ended up singing rock and roll songs till about midnight, which didn’t go over too well with neighbours on one side.

Finally, my one wine lesson of the night. After having enough (more than enough?) to drink, resist the temptation to go to the cellar for “that last bottle”! In my case it was the 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Sixtine Cuvee de Vatican. A great wine I am sure…but I can’t even remember what it tasted like!

So there you go…it was a great evening, and we will definitely do it again. But a few lessons to help manage “the day after the night before”!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com