Wednesday, April 11, 2018

News: Dish 'n Dazzle Gala 2018

From the event's press release:

April 10, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) - The BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) is pleased to announce the names of the wineries and restaurants that will participate in its 7th annual Dish 'n Dazzle gala on Thursday, May 10 2018.

Guests will enjoy tasty bites from a who's who of local culinary talent, including:

The theme for this year's fundraiser is Argentina: Breaking New Ground, and an all-star lineup of over 30 Argentinean wineries will pour samples of their premium wines. Participating wineries will include Bodega Catena Zapata, Finca Decero, Familia Zuccardi, Susana Balbo Wines, and more. See the full list of participating wineries here.

Musical group Les is More will provide the soundtrack for this fun evening, which will include a silent auction and a cocktail competition featuring local bartenders crafting drinks with an Argentinean twist. Proceeds will go to the BCHF.

Tickets for the event are available online.

Dish 'n Dazzle
Argentina: Breaking New Ground
Thursday, May 10 2018
6:30 - 9:30pm

Vancouver Convention Centre East
999 Canada Place, Vancouver

Tickets are $89 and can be purchased here:

Friday, April 6, 2018

Featured Wines: America + Syrah = Egon

If the wine 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 newest location River District in South Vancouver (8570 River District Crossing).

America + Syrah = Egon

Of all the Ghostbusters, I think that Egon was both the most essential and the least appreciated, an assertion confirmed by the fact that you probably now have a separate browser window open to look up who Egon is. Don’t bother, I’ll tell you: Egon is American Syrah.

Actually Egon was played by the late great Harold Ramis, but their standings are analog: Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) is Cabernet Sauvignon, who gets the girl, the laughs, and the most screen time. Ray (Dan Aykroyd) is Pinot Noir, the cute-but-nerdy lightweight with flashes of brilliance. Winston (Ernie Hudson) is Zinfandel, the deep-thinking workhorse that does most of the driving in blends (but somehow never gets on the posters). Egon, like Syrah, is universally recognized as brilliant – he built all the gizmos they use, for crying out loud – but is never anyone’s first choice.

Why doesn’t Yankee Syrah get the same love as Cab or Pinot? It gets the same scores (or better in many cases), and it achieves the same huge weight and deep colour as Cab, especially in California. Everyone knows it’s amazing, everyone loves it when they drink it, but even in Washington State, where Syrah should rightly be the State Bird, winemakers have a hard time moving it, especially compared to Cab, which effortlessly flops out the winery door like runaway salmon.

No more. I plant a flag here and now for US Syrah, as a dynamic, electric, and regionally expressive grape that will henceforth get more attention on these pages, and more real estate in my cellar. Wines like these:

Shafer Relentless 2014, Napa Valley
The former Wine of the Year (Wine Spectator Top 100 2012) returns with muscle and grace, a beautiful, classic year for Syrah in Napa. Containing a small measure of Petit Sirah, everything here is deep and dark. Blackberries, black pepper, and black currant rolled up with violets and lavender and smoked with a pork belly (or something like that, I’m hungry). The wine enters your mouth in the same way that the Kool-Aid Man enters a house. This is objectively delicious and will only get better, the future of this wine is assured. My allocation is only 3 cases now, apologies if I don’t have quite enough for everyone again. 95 points Vinous, 95+ points Robert Parker, 3 cases available, $160.99 +tax

K Vinters “The Deal” 2014, Wahluke Slope
Another stellar Washington Syrah from the already-legendary 2014 vintage, but unlike its contemporaries like Force Majeure and Betz, The Deal is a) immediately drinkable and b) half the price. Made from the Sundance vineyard with indigenous yeasts by the Human-Falling-Space-Station known as Charles Smith, The Deal shows a good deal of herbs and blueberries with a great deal of spices and an even greater deal of pure power and body. What is doesn’t show is a ton of tannin (it’s there, but the huge body covers over it like a muffin-top), making it safe to dive into now, although by sheer concentration it will age just fine. We’ll be pouring this on Saturday at 3pm if you’d like to try. 95 points Robert Parker, 5 6-packs available, $66.49 +tax

Jonata “La Sangre de Jonata” 2013, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley
Jonata is the answer, so long as the question is “what if Screaming Eagle made Syrah”? On the other side of the mountains from Santa Barbara, the white-hot and bone-dry Santa Ynez valley has been producing everything from ripe Cabs to plump Pinots (Sea Smoke being the best specimen), but the microclimate of Ballard Canyon has shown a remarkable ability with Rhône varietals, rooted in sand and boasting characteristically floral notes. Jonata, the sister winery to Screagle, cranks up the aromatics in their top Syrah (with 2% Viognier ‘cause we don’t want Viognier to feel bad) with peppery plum and soy notes amongst the flowers and the berries. Indeed, drinking Sangre de Jonata is like watching a badminton match between Savoury and Fruit, a really entertaining nose preceding a fierce frame with prominent tannins that may need to be talked down, over time, like The Hulk (“Sun’s gettin’ low, big guy”…). 97 points Vinous, 96 points Robert Parker, 6 bottles available, $236.99 +tax


Argentinian Adventures – Wednesday April 11, River District Classroom, 6:30 – 8pm, Seats $35

A deep dive into Mendoza and Salta (but mostly Mendoza), with a nod to the country’s history and a slurp to some of its biggest red wines.

2011 Zuccardi Zeta $55.49

2012 Chayee Bourass Bonarda Reserva $45.99

2015 Colome Autentico Malbec $55.49

2011 Bramare Malbec $52.49

2011 Zorzal Piantao $101.49

2012 Vina Cobos Volturno $217.49

2012 Cuvelier Los Andes $43.49

Until next time,

Happy Drinking!!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

News: New Food Options at JoieFarm

From the winery's press release:

It is with great pleasure that we announce a new concept and menu change at Joie Picnique for the coming 2018 season: Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique.

This summer our owner and winemaker Heidi Noble will be returning to her culinary roots with the support of our core staff and her partner, JJ Skidmore, using our wood burning oven to serve rotating small-plate offerings of European-inspired snacks to accompany our European-inspired wines.

Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique is not a restaurant, rather a beautiful outdoor salon to sit casually or throw down a blanket amongst the heritage fruit trees and orchard to enjoy wine country snacks and a bottle of wine. We will serve classic European dishes highlighted with fresh seasonal produce from our garden, local growers and the Penticton Farmer's Market. Guests can expect an ever-changing menu of small dishes such as: wood-fired marinated sardines, Vancouver Island escargot with garlic pistou, wood-fired lamb ribs with apricot harissa, local sausages with homemade choucrôute, wood-oven bean pots with heritage grains, homemade ricotta with local honey and rosemary, pissaladière, tarte flambée, and charcuterie of cheese, olives, smoked nuts and lightly-cured fish.

We know our Neopolitan-style pizza will surely be missed, but it is our intention as an integrated team of food lovers (all of whom love to cook and eat!) to provide a menu that can better speak to our local terroir and evolving food culture on the West Coast of Canada. It is our intention to cultivate this culture on our lawn this summer.

Our tasting room itself will also have a more focused flight this season to better inform our guests about the history of aromatic Germanic varietals in British Columbia, the potential for Burgundian varietals in the cool-climate, lake-moderated desert of the Okanagan Valley, and the culinary roots of JoieFarm. Our core tasting flight of five wines is $15 with an option for a supplemental tasting of three additional reserve wines for $5. Tasting fees are waived with a minimum purchase of one bottle on a per-person basis. Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique and our oyster shell bocce court are reserved for our tasting room guests only.

Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique Hours
Open 12pm to 4pm (weather dependent)
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
May to June:
Full menu available Saturdays & Sundays starting May 19th
Smaller snacks will be served Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays
July to August:
Full rotating menu available