Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monthly Picks: October - Thanksgiving

In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. For the US, it's November. The origins too, are different, but the modern-day traditional meal and cultural experience are quite similar: family, friends and food. Our Monthly Picks list for October is focused on perfect pairings for the ultimate Thanksgiving meal, no matter when you celebrate it.

With Turkey

Maverick Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Gris - $19

A textured and flavourful Pinot Gris which sees a quarter if the wine fermented in oak and the rest in stainless steel, delivering a rich and well balanced version of the grape. The palate, creamy upon entry, shows good continuity from the nose with added grapefruit flavours and crisp lemon/lime acidity, keeping the finish lively and refreshing.
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Chateau Des Charmes 2010 'Old Vines' Pinot Noir - $19
Sourced from the Niagara-On-The-Lake winery's oldest Pinot Noir plantings and has already developed nicely in the bottle, showing a wide spectrum of earth, mineral and red fruit aromas enveloped by toasted oak, adding depth and warmth. The dry palate follows with an Old World leaning flavour profile of mushroom and forest floor earthiness supported by cherry and tomato stock notes leading to a long, balanced finish.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Franc - $25
The dry palate has a restrained richness, with some fullness originating from the secondary "malolactic" fermentation (a process that softens the residual acidity), yet, it remains refreshing and fluid with a masculine profile of bright, berry fruit, cooking spices, light oak and mineral flavours. Tannins are of the rounded, easy-drinking variety which support early consumption.
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Upper Bench Estate Winery 2012 Pinot Noir - $28
A generous Pinot Noir whose fruity and earthy components co-exist nicely and are well supported by dusty tannins and wild berry acidity. Aromas of raspberry, cherry, forest floor, sweet cedar and clove grace the feminine nose while oak, spice and red fruit dominate the easy-drinking, fresh palate.
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With Ham

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2013 Pinot Blanc - $17
This Pinot Blanc is all about finding the balance between the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine characters. Both the nose and palate sees the richness of opulent, ripe Golden Delicious apples and white peaches balanced by cool mineral aromas and flavours and a smooth blanket of citrus acidity that keeps the finish fresh and vibrant.
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J Vineyards and Winery 2013 Vin Gris - $20
The palate is delightfully smooth and balanced with bright red fruit, steely mineral and tangy citrus flavours galore while a hint of tannins linger on the long, spice'n'lemon rind-infused finish. An excellent, food-friendly rosé to be enjoyed in its youth.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2013 Viognier - $22
Via the subtle nose you'll breath in aromas of ripe papaya, lemon/lime and cool minerals while the concentrated palate offers good continuity and similar characters. Plump and full, upon entry, thanks to the lush, tropical fruit flavours, partial oak ageing and the 5 months the wine spent "sur-lees" post-fermentation, meaning it remained in contact with its spent yeast particles, imparting warm brioche notes and enriching the mouth feel.
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Mt. Boucherie Winery 2011 Family Reserve Chardonnay - $25
Time in oak and a softening of the acids process known as 'MLF' or malolactic fermentation, has infused the nose with ripe apple, white peach and cream aromas, while offering, intense baked Granny Smith apple, brioche and spicy-vanilla flavours on the palate. Balance is kept in-check with cool, mineral-y acidity.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014 IconWines.ca

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BC Wine Deal: Oct 1st, 2014

The following VQA wines have been reduced in price at your local participating VQA and BCLDB stores.

Aces 7 Deuce White was $13.90 is now $10.90

Aces Straight Flush Blush was $13.90 is now $10.90
Ancient Hills Gewürztraminer was $18.90 is now $15.99
Bartier Scholefield Red was $19.90 is now $16.90
Bartier Scholefield Rose was $18.90 is now $15.90
Bench 1775 Chardonnay was $18.90 is now $16.90
Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc was $17.90 is now $15.90
Blasted Church Hatfield's Fuse was $18.50 is now $17.99
Cassini Sauvignon Blanc was $17.90 is now $15.90
Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser was $18.95 is now $16.95
Daydreamer Rose was $22.00 is now $20.00
Desert Hills D Minor White was $14.90 is now $13.90
Gray Monk Odyssey Meritage White was $23.99 is now $18.99
Hester Creek Character Red was $19.95 is now $17.95
Hester Creek Character White was $17.95 is now $15.95
Inniskillin Pinot Blanc Reserve was $13.99 is now $11.99
Inniskillin Pinot Noir Reserve was $18.99 is now $16.99
Jackson Triggs Riesling Reserve was $13.99 is now $11.99
Jackson Triggs Shiraz Black Reserve was $16.99 is now $14.99
Jackson Triggs Sunrock Meritage was $34.99 is now $29.99
Jackson Triggs Gold Series Merlot was $21.99 is now $18.99
Jackson Triggs Viognier Private Reserve was $13.99 is now $11.99
Kalala Gewurztraminer was $17.90 is now $14.95
Kalala 3 Cru Traveller was $19.90 is now $14.90
Kalala 3 Cru Wanderlust was $14.90 is now $11.90
La Stella Lastellina Rose was $20.85 is now $19.00
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Chardonnay was $14.99 is now $12.99
Paradise Ranch Cabernet/Merlot Late Harvest 375ml was $18.90 is now $16.90
Red Rooster Bantam was $14.99 is now $13.49
Red Rooster Pinot Blanc was $16.99 is now $15.49
Red Rooster Pinot Gris was $17.99 is now $16.49
Sandhill Sauvignon Blanc was $17.99 is now $15.99
See Ya Later Belle was $18.99 is now $16.99
See Ya Later Gewurztraminer was $15.99 is now $13.99
See Ya Later Pinot Gris was $16.99 is now $14.99
See Ya Later Pinot Noir was $19.99 is now $17.99
See Ya Later Ping was $24.99 is now $22.99
Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewurztraminer was $14.99 is now $12.99
Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc was $13.99 is now $11.99
Summerhill Alive Red was $24.95 is now $22.95
Tinhorn Creek 2 Bench White was $22.99 is now $20.99
Volcanic Hills Gewurztraminer was $17.90 is now $14.90
Wayne Gretzky Merlot was $17.99 is now $15.99
Wayne Gretzky Pinot Grigio was $15.99 is now $13.99

Friday, September 26, 2014

Get To Know... Gavin Miller

Photo by Lionel Trudel
Gavin Miller
Vintner, Upper Bench Winery and Creamery
Naramata Bench, BC
upperbench.ca

When you meet Gavin Miller you quickly soak-in his passion and pride for the wines he produces. Before opening his own winery (with like-minded partners) Gavin contributed to the success of notable Okanagan brands such as Painted Rock and Poplar Grove. With Upper Bench Winery, the same attention to detail and focus on quality  that helped make the other wineries must-visits for any BC wine lover is on offer. Thanks to this, Upper Bench will likely become the next must-visit winery along the Naramata Bench with the added bonus of an on-premise Creamery, run by his wife Shana.

Get to know Gavin a bit better and get to know Upper Bench's wines...
Key Wines To Try:
Merlot: 2011, 2012
Pinot Noir: 2011, 2012
Pinot Gris: 2011


1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
The Vineyard, watching how it changes throughout the season. Trying to balance production to the strength of the season. Then capturing it all in a bottle.

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
I went back to school to learn about grape growing in order to go out and become a wine agent. After about two weeks of being tutored by the very passionate Bill Eggert. I no longer wanted to sell wine, I wanted to grow it. So began my new career, first in the vineyards then into the cellar learning from everyone I could find.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
Harvest doesn’t really stress me. It is attention to detail that I find matters most, so a calm approach works best.

4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché?
"No Whimpy Wine around Here” comes to mind.

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
My Wife the “Big Cheese". (Editor's note: Gavin's wife, Shana Miller, runs the CFIA registered creamery attached to the winery. More on her story here.)

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
Beer in the Hot Tub with the Big Cheese

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
Tantalus Riesling, so much acid, so concentrated. I have really enjoyed watching this wine develop over the years.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
Saag Lamb with our Riesling or 2012 Merlot with Upper Bench King Cole

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
Hopefully a return to dry wines and truth in labelling. I am really tired of tasting large amounts of residual sugar and having producers denying it, especially red wine, there is no place for sugar in red wine.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference?
Both have their place, I still think big reds are better under cork but  screw cap for all others

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014 IconWines.ca