Thursday, March 23, 2017

Celebrate Malbec World Day with Free Wine Tastings

This year's Malbec World Day falls on Monday, April 17th, and British Columbia will get a jump on the celebrations with free Argentinean wine tastings at 5 private stores.  In addition, select BCLDB stores throughout the province will offer free tastings of Argentinean wines in April.

In BC, the following private stores will host complimentary consumer tastings.  Each store will pour at least 6 different Malbecs and Malbec blends, paired with samples of authentic Argentinean cuisine.

Saturday April 8 2017:

North Vancouver, South Surrey & Langford locations
2:00 to 6:00pm

1034 Davie Street, Vancouver
With traditional empanadas from Panaderia Latina Bakery
PLUS a DJ will provide music at this lively event - 
2:00 to 5:00pm 
(Donations accepted to the BC Hospitality Foundation)

Saturday April 15 2017:

1633 Manitoba Street, Vancouver 
2:00 to 6:00pm

  • Keep an eye on Icon Scores for new reviews of Malbecs in March and April.
  • BC Liquor Stores across the province will host over 50 Malbec World Day tastings.
  • Follow twitter @ArgentinaWineCA or #MalbecWorldDay for ALL locations.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Featured Wines: Wine Salad

If the wine showcased in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email ( or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's Morgan Crossing location in South Surrey.

Wine Salad

By Jordan Carrier

Depending on what time of day you’re reading this, it could be sunny, snowing, raining unicorn tears or hailing armed locusts, goodness knows I’m ready for anything by now. If somebody asks you what the weather is going to be, the only safe answer is “yes”. We in Metro Vancouver enjoy a Maritime Climate, but this year the designation should be changed to Salad.
And it’s in that spirit that I offer you a disparate, eclectic mix of stellar wines – a Wine Salad, if you will – to pair with this silly season. No real continuity ahead, we’re just gonna place the hamster ball on the map and see where that critter takes us. First up, New Zealand!
Felton Road. Central Otago, deep inland on the south end of the South Island, is simultaneously the hottest and coldest terroir in New Zealand, boasting extreme diurnal shifts of up to 15C. It’s dry and dramatic here, but the slopes of Bannockburn provide the ideal aspect for consistently ripening Pinot Noir, even in Tolkien-ish conditions, and that’s where we find Felton Road. Organic, biodynamically Demeter certified, eschewing filtration and fining and using only naturally occurring yeast, Felton Road doesn’t make wine so much as watch while it makes itself. What you taste is all Bannockburn: piercing red fruit over spices and silk. The single cru Cornish Point shows a trail mix of cranberries, grains and nutmeg, while the broader, village-level Bannockburn bottling is a tad darker, adding fat plums and licorice to the mix. They are both grand, rare wines of Gondor, and I grabbed all that I could (I think I took the only 5 6-packs of Cornish to enter the province – oops).
Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2015, 94 points Wine Spectator, 3 cases available, $67.99 +tax
Felton Road Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2015, 96 points Wine Spectator, 5 6-packs available, $94.99 +tax
Betz Family Winery “La Cote Rousse” Syrah 2014, Red Mountain AVA, Washington State. Not for the faint of heart, or the impatient. There are only 338 Masters of Wine in the world, and Bob Betz is one of them. His vineyard-focused approach to Washington viticulture led him to Red Mountain, where he still gets fruit from the fabled Ciel du Cheval and End of the Road vineyards and makes Syrah that rivals Hermitage for longevity (really). Classic Washingtonian white pepper over Mediterranean olives and dried fruits, before a tense, currently immovable frame. This is, it must be said, no BBQ wine - it needs a nap - but your future self will be proud of you for grabbing such a classic cellar-star before it got famous and cost a gajillion dollars. Stunning – I took everything in BC. 96 points Robert Parker, 8 6-packs available, $91.49 +tax

Tenuta di Trinoro “Le Cupole” Toscana IGT 2014, Tuscany. To call this beast a “Supertuscan” is both correct and missing the point. Le Cupole “supersedes” nothing, because nothing else is around there, this rustic estate in the Orcia Valley, where Tuscany meets Umbria and Lazio, was the domain of nothing but sheep for 100 years. Enter Andrea Franchetti, a former restauranteur with the air of a hipster who’s about to tell you why your favourite movie stinks and a massive American inheritance (his uncle was the artist Cy Twombley). Not sure why Andrea planted so much Cabernet Franc there, but I’m grateful that he did; the elevated limestone slopes contribute serious depth, and the strangely warm microclimate - provided by the shelter of an extinct volcano – allows for longer hang time and greater phenolic ripeness (the trees still have leaves in December despite the high elevation). Le Cupole is Cab-Franc dominant, with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon playing bass and drums. Big big red fruit and spice, with no funky Greek Salad, this bruiser was off market for 5 years, I’m so happy its back! #29 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2016, 93 points Wine Spectator, $60.99 +tax

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Get To Know... Valeria Tait

Photo Courtesy Bench 1775
Valeria Tait
Vintner, General Manager, Bench 1775 Winery
Oliver, BC 

With a background in Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and a degree from UC Davis in Oenology and Viticulture it's of no surprise that Valeria Tait is a strong believer that good wine starts in the vineyard.

But farming is more than an applied science. One must combine facts, experience and feelings to get the most out of the land. A self-described romantic with a scientific education and many years working at successful wineries like Painted Rock and Poplar Grove has equipped Tait with the ideal skill-set to produce great wines, from the ground up. 

Get to know Valeria and get to know the wines of Bench 1775 a bit better...

Key wines to try:
Chill: 2012201320142015

Glow: 201320142015
Sauvignon Blanc: 201320142015

1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
The variability that comes up every year because of climate differences and the effect that climate has on fruit expression.

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker? 
When I tasted a fine Alsace Riesling for the first time as a young drinker (of sweet German whites) and finding out the differences between those two wine styles is the fruit and the way the wine is made. Eye opener to say the least – more like an epiphany.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest? 
The long exhaustive physical demands of harvest and trying to get everyone to treat the last bins of fruit as carefully as the first bins of fruit – and in a cold year, that the tannins will get physiologically ripe.

4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché? 
Every cliché is my least favourite – in particular, when winemakers say the following: ‘ it’s about the terroir’ – of course it’s about terroir, there is nothing else. or ‘this wine is premium quality’ – most winemakers are putting their best efforts out there, let others decide what they think of the wine.

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment? 
Not surprisingly … wine.

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why? 
Wow – that’s not a fair question because all efforts are team efforts unless you are making 1000 cases literally with no physical help.  I think it is fair to say that I have had a significant influence on Mission Hill, Painted Rock and Poplar Grove because of my approach that wine is made in the vineyard, meaning the fruit expression and ripeness in the vineyard drives the wine program.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines? 
Too many – it depends on the time of year and my mood. Right now Bench 1775 Glow Rose and salmon, Bench 1775 Cab Franc with roast pork …

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years? 
The phenomenal growth in BC wine consumption and the dwindling supply of fruit.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference? 
Depends on the wine. Screwcap for wines that I want to retain brightness and balance (the more delicate reds) and cork for wines that will evolve as they age and they need air ingress. I am a romantic – so natural cork will always have a place in my heart. The romance of opening the bottle, the people and communities that are kept alive by purchasing cork, the traditions!

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2017