Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wines for Canada Day 2011

July 1st marks Canada’s “birthday” which means many of us have the day off and an excuse to celebrate. Sadly, Canada Day doesn’t always equate to good weather, therefore, we've compiled a list of wines for you to enjoy no matter what Mother Nature sends your way. Well, nearly whatever she sends your way. If it's snowing where you are then stay inside and pour yourself a scotch.

If it’s nice and hot where you are – and ideally that will be the case for most of us – then we have some heat-quenching wine suggestions for you to enjoy of a hot patio, deck or dock.

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer - $18
Off-dry and richly aromatic with mountains of spice on the medium intense nose and full palate. Stonefruit, citrus and peach fruit characters aplenty with a well-balanced, long finish.
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Fairview Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $20
More complex than merely a clean, crisp summer sipper with some fullness on the palate from lush, oily Semillon fruit adding a hint of honeydew melon to the mix. A long finish with lingering tartness completes the satisfying experience.
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Nobilo 2008 Icon Sauvignon Blanc - $23
A tart, but not bombastic, fresh Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region that offers classic gooseberry and grass characaters as well as lush tropical fruits and a touch of lime zest.
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If it’s cloudy where you are, well, look on the bright side – at least it isn’t raining. Cloudy weather (assuming it’s also a bit cool) calls for something with a bit more body as your senses aren’t being overloaded with sun and heat. A nice oaked Chardonnay is the cure.

Cupcake Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay - $15
This Chardonnay is rich, fruity and textured with just the right amount of residual sugar. Reminiscent of a health conscious mom using only half of the prescribed sugar when baking for her kids.
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River Stone Estate Winery 2010 Malbec Rosé - $20
The intense, dry, full-ish palate has mouth watering acidity, bold flavours of pomegranate, pink grapefruit and hints of balsamic vinegar with enough tannins to add texture and depth.
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Stag's Hollow Winery 2009 Renaissance Chardonnay - $28
A full-bodied, textured Chardonnay with layers of sultry, rich characters of melon, pineapple, butter-cream, vanilla, smoke and oak.
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If it’s raining where you are then you may be spending a large portion of your Canada Day indoors. This calls for a soothing and cheerful red wine to lift your spirits.

Blackwood Lane 2008 Vicuna Roja - $24
This easy-drinking and charming wine offers decent complexity and mouth feel with intense characters of plum, cherry, cedar, spice and oak.
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Church and State Wines 2007 Pinot Noir - $26
Medium garnet in colour, this Pinot offers superb concentration of raspberry, cherry, savoury spice and earth note characters on the sublime nose and silky palate. Fully dry, yet veins of sweet fruit linger with spice on the long and refined finish.
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Mollydooker Wines 2008 The Boxer - $35
Smooth, integrated tannins and mouth watering acidity add to the packs-a-punch texture. A slight Port-like finish due to the massive concentration and touch of residual sugar.
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Have a wonderful and safe Canada Day celebration – wherever you are!
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

BC Wine Deal: June 20th, 2011

The following wines have been reduced in price at participating VQA wine shops. Some reductions are due to new vintages being released soon and others are simply to help move stock.

Andrew Peller Cab Merlot was $14.49 is now $13.49
Ballie-Grohman Gewurztraminer $20 is now $18
Okanagan Villa Vibrant Vines Riesling was $30.02 is now $20.01
Okanagan Villa Vibrant Vines Gewurztraminer was $30.00 is now $21.90
Open Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.99
Open Cab/Merlot was $14.99 is now $13.99
Open Sauvignon Blanc was $14.99 is now $13.99
Peller Estates Cabernet Merlot was $14.50 is now $13.50
Peller Estates Pinot Gris was $13 is now $12
Prospect Trutch Map Rosé was $11 is now $10
Road 13 Honst John White was $16.99 is now $15.99
Robin Ridge Chardonnay was $18.95 is now $16.90
Sumac Pinot Blanc Private Reserve was $12.99 is now $9.09
Summerhill Pinot Gris Organic was $22.95 is now $17.95

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BC Varietal Focus: Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is one of the most widely planted white grapes in British Columbia (neck and neck with Chardonnay depending on the region and the survey you reference). Easily a signature grape for the Province due to its uniqueness and ability to ripen in all three of the major regions: Island, Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. But is there a signature style of Pinot Gris that BC could broadcast to the world? No. You'll find no uniform presentation of the varietal, even regionally, that marketers could turn into the next Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Oregon Pinot Noir. Use of stainless steel, oak and the "Pinot Grigio" moniker are inconsistent at best.

Perhaps a signature style may develop in the future that would make consumers globally recognize the words "BC Pinot Gris" as a calling card for a unique expression of the varietal. Until then, we must appreciate the varietal in its many incarnations as produced by BC's wineries. Below are a few selections from three styles of Pinot Gris that are currently produced with BC.


Stoneboat Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris - $18
2010 release is a solid representation of the varietal combining expressive orchard fruit with characters of cucumber, snow peas and lees.
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Averill Creek Vineyard 2009 Pinot Grigio - $18
Crisp texture, concentrated citrus fruit and refreshing acidity- everything you want from a Pinot Grigio.
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Van Westen Vineyards 2008 Vino Grigio - $19
This is Pinot Gris made in the Italian Pinot Grigio style, which is to say un-oaked and full of fruit intensity. Aromas and flavours of melons, orchard fruits and river stones with tropical fruit characters and acidity.
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LaStella Winery 2010 Vivace - $25
Balance is spot on with good acidity and enough residual sugar to mask the alcohol and create a joyful and full-ish texture on your palate.
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Fort Berens Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Gris - $18
Produced from West Kelowna grown fruit and fermented in stainless steel tanks, this Pinot Gris is fruit forward and terroir driven with excellent austere characters to balance the orchard fruit and lemon zest notes.
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Haywire Winery 2009 Switchback Pinot Gris
Starts with alluring aromas of juicy, baked peaches and minerality, with herbal notes on the nose. The dry palate offers both fruity and savory flavours of citrus fruits, pears and dried herbs.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2010 Pinot Gris - $18
Aromas of rich, baked apples and citrus fruit gently spill out of the glass followed by a dry palate with lemon zest tartness, some minerality and a medley of orchard fruit flavours.
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Averill Creek Vineyard 2007 Pinot Gris - $20
The palate is full of butter, creamy-fruit and mineral notes and despite going through a complete maloactic fermentation there is enough residual acid to cut the full oak flavours.
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Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery 2009 Pinot Gris - $22
50% of the wine was oak aged which has added a nice texture and allowed the winemaker to dial down the sweetness while keeping some body.
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