Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Winter brings snow which I do no longer care for! But what it also brings is the perfect conditions for icewine. Grape growers in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario are jumping for joy.

Icewine is a rare gift from a magical Canadian winter. Picked at the coldest moment of a winter's night, each frozen grape creates just one drop of Icewine. One smooth rich, luxurious drop. Peller Estates

One of nature's most exquisite gifts one of the world's most luscious and celebrated wines. It is one of the most difficult and challenging processes for the winemaker. (1)

Canada is the world leader in producing amazing Ice Wines.

When harvesting, the grapes must be in their natural frozen state ideal temp -10 to -13 C  in Ontario with similar standards in all provinces.

I tasted my first icewine back in 1999 when an Ontario winery sent along a bottle of icewine to try. I did not care for it. It was thick like syrup. Perhaps damaged in shipping.

It was not until 2004 when visiting Inniskillin Winery in Ontario when I was asked to give icewine another try by Debra Pratt. This time it was sensational and I fell hard for this exotic beverage. Inniskillin co-founders Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser played a major role in making Icewine synonymous with Canada. The winery began producing icewine in 1983. In 1991, they won one of the world's most distinguished wine awards: Le Grand Prix d'Honneur Vinexpo, Bordeaux for their 1987 Icewine.

For additional information on Icewine visit

For information on Debra Pratt

Friday, February 8, 2019

Hester Creek Vineyards located on the Golden Mile in Oliver, British Columbia has a unique dining room.Terrafina is a gorgeous Tuscan style restaurant nestled amongst the vines of Hester Creek.

Hester Creek is properly best known for its icon red The Judge . Although the winery is among the Okanagan's oldest it has a new wine shop and tasting room for visitors to enjoy. There is a relaxing patio and a guest villa. Also a new 23,000 square foot state-of-the-art wine producing facility. The 35,000 case capacity winery for crush 2009 is partially buried in the hill to take advantage of the natural temperature control of the earth and thereby reduce the need for energy. The cellar room is completely underground and the site’s natural vegetation has been restored on the top of the building.

Terrafina is small a larger indoor seating area would be nice. On our last visit to the Okanagan the temperatures where in the low eighties so my dear wife and I dined on the patio. A most relaxing setting.

I had the  Cavatelli Bolognese, slow cooked, beef, veal and pork parmesan Evoo. I enjoyed this dish with their Pinot Gris. Barbara chose a Naples style thin crust pizza along with a Cab Franc.

The hospitality and service was five star. The cuisine was delicious! The wines amazing!

We went home with a bottle of Trebbiano. To me its a must try wine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Your French Fries and Wine.

Truth Been Known I would never consider ordering French Fries and wine together. 

French Fries can be defined as strips of potatoes deep fried until brown. They are an extremely popular dish. One often considers what wine they will order with their meal based on the main component of that meal, pasta, steak or fish. Seldom do we consider the side food that goes with our meal when ordering the wine.

French Fies are perhaps one of the most common "sides" on almost all dishes.

If you are having a simple dish of French Fries the best wine to have with the fries would be Champagne or sparkling wine. According to Vinepair the high acid, bubbles, and yeasty flavours of Champagne complement the salt, fat, and carby goodness of North America’s favourite side dish.

Now if you like to dip your fries in Mayonnaise try a Sauvignon Blanc.

There is also the classic fries and gravy  The gravy removes much of the greasy and salty taste (best not to have salt added but most restaurants do so).  I am going to suggest a  Gamay or Pinot Noir. The gravy changes everything.

Tater Tots are one of my favourite side dishes or an evening snack. A nice light wine like Riesling or Ortega goes well with these.

When in doubt you can always serve Chardonnay.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Port  ~ No  NO not in Canada

Canada reached an agreement with Europe and Portugal.  Only wine produced in the Douro region of Portugal may be called Port or Porto. (Canadian producers, under CEWSA Article 12(1), will cease using geographic indications (GIs) Chablis, Champagne, Port, Porto and Sherry effective December 31, 2013.)

Port is a fortified wine. Fortified wines are made by adding a proportion of grape spirit, or brandy, to the wine at some point during the production process. Port is arguably the greatest of all fortified wines and its paramount expression, Vintage Port, ranks alongside the finest produce of Bordeaux or Burgundy as one of the great iconic wines of the world.

Vinho do Porto, Porto

Fortified wine is most commonly associated with Portugal. The name comes from the harbour Porto this harbour is located in the City of Oporto . Some say Port was named after the city. The original wine region from which Port first came is called Douro. Today port wine is made in numerous countries; Canada is building a reputation for fine Ports.

Port is a sweet red wine with about 20% alcohol (as opposed to table wine which is usually about 13%) and rather low acidity and tannin. Ideally, a good port should have a rich spicy flavour and in spite of its 20% alcohol, taste very smooth. Port is created in a unique way that captures the fruit and flavour of the ripe grapes in wines that possess extraordinary longevity. During fermentation, prior to reaching the point where all of the natural grape sugars have been converted into alcohol, high-proof brandy is added to the vats to stop the fermentation. This leaves a wine with great depth of colour and a high natural sweetness.

Port is usually divided into two categories casked aged and bottled aged. Port can also be classified by other factors such as whether red or white grapes are used.

Tawny Ports are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to wood imparts "nutty" flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style. Tawny Ports are sweet or medium dry and typically drunk as a dessert wine. A Tawny Port from a single vintage is called Colheitas. Instead of an indication of age (10, 20...) the actual vintage year is mentioned.

Bottle-aged ports receive limited maturation in cask, cement, or stainless steel before bottling. They are intended to mature in the bottle, usually, after you buy them. The less expensive bottle-aged ports—Ruby, Reserve, and Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) are intended for consumption soon after purchase. True quality vintage port, on the other hand, is bottled without fining or filtration and will need decades to properly mature. These are among the world's longest-lived wines and will always require decanting.

Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. After fermentation, it is stored in tanks made of concrete or stainless steel to prevent oxidative ageing, and preserve its rich claret colour. The wine is usually blended to match the style of the brand to which it is to be sold. The wine is fined and cold filtered before bottling and does not generally improve with age.

Vintage Ports are wines which age briefly in wood and then spend years maturing patiently in the bottle. Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a declared vintage year. The grapes may come from different vineyards. Single Quinta Vintage Ports are wines that originate from a single estate

There are more than 80 different grapes allowed to be used in the production of port.

Officially, real port wine comes only from Portugal, very much the same way that true Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France. In time wine growing regions outside of Douro cannot name their fortified wines port. That is why Sumac Ridge is called Pipe and Stoney Ridge is called Forte .

To me Port or Porty Style wines go best with darl chocolate of Pecan pie
Tawny ports go well with traditional desserts such as almond, apple or cream tarts, or creme brulée.

Cheese works too..

Friday, December 28, 2018

One day with my wife's encouragement I decided to start a website the subject being the wines and wineries of Canada.. A rather easy task (the pamphlet at the local government liquor store listed 25 wineries) not too difficult. First step, learn to build a website, second step purchase a domain name and website hosting.

It was a learn as I go process that did not take too much of my time, about three days consisting of twenty to twenty five hours, after all there were only 25 wines, according to the pamphlet. With wineries in British Columbia and Ontario there would be three pages, the Home Page, British Columbia page and an Ontario page.

It would be just a matter of time before I would be done and the site up and running.. but then I decided I would have time for some research into Canada's wineries. Information on the internet was very limited, the year was 1992.

I came across a Book called "Vintage Canada" by Tony Aspler in 1993 oh my gosh! there were wineries in Quebec and Nova Scotia also there were wineries in different regions of Ontario. There was so much more to the wines of Canada I was now in a race against time to catch up and make my website current.

Robert Orben said "Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator". and so the years passed and the website grew.
New pages were added regularly. I had the time to deal with it all; The nineties came and went, a new millennium had begun Canada's wine industry grew, her wines became more popular. Her ice wines became world renowned and time became my enemy.

The number of wineries grew and soon I was boasting about the five hundred wineries in Canada. The website had over a million visitors in 2009 the website had grown to over 150 pages. In 2010 the list of new winery licenses was amazing; In 2018 we will have over 800 wineries in Canada.

Rapid changes were taking place. Wineries were adding new brands, changing their names, wineries were opening regions were no one thought grapes could grow before, virtual wineries opened. Wine companies were forming, buying out smaller wineries. Restaurants and guest rooms were being added it was all happening so fast!

I thought about this yesterday as I realized I had spent over six hours communicating with just one winery; one owner. I do not regret this time. The website is my passion. I just don't know how I am going to find the time
to remain Canada's number one wine website supporting not only the wines of Canada but our country.

Time is money... www.winesofcanada is taking my time but not providing the money. It's an old cliche that we all know and understands, but to what extent do you really apply it in your life. Time is our most precious resource because it is the only one that is truly scarce.

As Canada's wine industry grows and grows .. I need time, time from the wineries of Canada. I need them to take the time and provide information about their winery, give me information and I will tell the world. We thank the many who do..

I have had marketing and hospitality managers from the big wineries telling me they don't have time to answer my questions. My response is get off facebook, get off twitter and take time to answer the questionnaire I send. I'm promoting your winery for free and it would give me time to make sure your information is current. There is always someone with the time to point out to me that certain things they deem important are missing.

We first discover the wonderful world of wines on our honeymoon when by chance we ended up in Napa Valley
Why did we start a second website simple we live within a few blocks of the US border and have a cabin So we have the opportunity to taste many Washington wines. We discontinued this site due to the tremendous growth of the Canadian wine industry.

Time now for me to make lunch. You have to spend some time sleeping, eating, playing, relaxing and growing within yourself, time with your friends and family.

For those of you who never found the time to return my e-mails, my calls, or greet me when I visited not to worry I found the time to list you as well.

Happy New Year

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Have a safe and happy holiday season

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 12, 2018

We do live in amazing times. It was only 40 years ago that nobody cared much about Canadian wines except for a few strong-willed pioneers. Today we think nothing of it when we hear of a new winery opening. They seem to pop up everywhere.

When I heard this summer a small winery had opened in Saanich of Vancouver Island near Victoria I thought little of. I marked them down on my list of wineries. Something I would look at in the winter months.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention to Parsell Vineyards. The new winery is owned by Tilar J. Mazzeo. She is a well known author turned winemaker.

Ms Mazzero is a New York Times bestselling author (with a post-graduate certificate in winemaking from the University of California at Davis) whose early career was as a nationally recognized wine writer in the US. Her husband is a fourth-generation Vancouver Island native and farmer. The Parsell family came to Saanich in the 1880s and grew fruit for the first winemaking industry to develop on the island in the 1920s, and Parsell Vineyard is our take on a new generation of that old family business.

Mazzeo's work as a wine writer has appeared in numerous national outlets in the United States, including Food and Wine magazine, Mental Floss, and in the wine guides of which she is the author The Back Lane Wineries of Napa and The Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma (Ten Speed Press). She is the proprietor and winemaker at Parsell Vineyard in British Columbia.

Mazzeo has held previous teaching appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Oregon State University, and the University of Washington. She was the Jenny McKeon Moore Writer in Residence in the Creative Writing and English program at the George Washington University from 2010-2011. She was the Washington Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, UK in the late 1990s. She is the editor of digital scholarly editions at Romantic Circles and has been featured as a preeminent teacher of creative nonfiction with the Teaching Company / Great Courses.
Her book The Widow Clicquot, a biography of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, the eponymous founder of the champagne house Veuve Clicquot was published in 2008 by Harper Collins. It became a New York Times bestseller. A film adaption of the book was announced by Variety to be directed by Taylor Hackford. [3][4]
In 2010 Mazzeo's book The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Biography of a Scent. was published. [5][6]
In 2007 she released her book Plagiarism and Literary Property in the Romantic Period which was reviewed in the New York Times.[7]
In 2014 Mazzeo's book, The Hotel on Place Vendôme, the story of the Ritz Hotel in Paris during Nazi occupation, was released. It became a New York Times bestseller in travel writing and was a Los Angeles Times bestseller for more than 20 weeks.
In 2016 Mazzeo published Irena's Children, the story of Polish social worker Irena Sendler, whose efforts prevented the death of thousands of Jewish children during WWII
In 2016, Publisher's Weekly announced that Mazzeo is completing a forthcoming biography of Eliza Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton.
The farm 4 acres of vineyard at their home and tasting room with another 3 acres of small vineyards in the local area. Their main varietals are Gamay Noir a Jus Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Ortega. They have a small production of Marechal Foch. They also have small plantings in Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Auxerrois that are part of their blending program for their sparkling wine production (about 50% of our production). The sparkling wines are made in the ancestral method. They have small productions of orange wine, Sangria, and vermouth.

signature wines: ancestral method sparkling wines and Gamay Noir.

They are the first winery in BC to be approved to sell our wine in reusable bottles.

If Ms Mazzeo is as good a winemaker as she is an author the BC wine industry will be very lucky.