Friday, August 17, 2018

Yes I love Canadian Wines! My wife and I have been shouting about them since 1992. It will be 26 years ago this Sept, that we became interested in Wines. It all began when by chance we found ourselves spending part of our honeymoon in Napa Valley.

We returned home to start a website and enjoy wines from around the world. The website was called Wines of the World. It was quite the task to list all the countries that actually produced wine. However, one thing was clear in all the wine books we could find not one mentioned Canada.

Ater deciding the task of looking at the entire world was maybe too huge of an undertaking and realizing no one was buying Canadian wines we changed our website to Wines of Canada. We purchased the Domain  Wines of . (no ca. back then)

It was not too much longer after that I discovered a book on Canadian wineries written by Ontario author Tony Aspler.  Tony today is considered to be one of Canada's top wine authors with a well-respected reputation.

Shortly after that, I discovered a second book on Canada's wine industry this one written by author John Schreiner.  My original website was build upon the work of these two fine gentlemen.

In 1992 there was only one other website that focused on Canada's wines. It was more of a chat room. It was gone a few years later, leaving as the only site focusing on Canada.

In 1992 and the years that followed no one else paid attention to the industry, that I was aware of. A few regional websites popped up but quickly went by the wayside. In later years bloggers came along hundreds of them. Wine columns began appearing in Newspapers.  They either focus on regional wines or imported wines. These bloggers and newspaper writers cover old world wines more than Canadian wines.

Today besides Mr Aspler and Mt Schreiner, I am perhaps the leading promoter of the Canadian wine industry. A very daunting task considering it is only a hobby to me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The correct etiquette for serving wines 

After ordering, the waiter/sommelier will retrieve your selection and then present it, label forward, to the person who selected the wine.. This is merely to verify it is the correct wine. The cork is removed and placed on the table. Unless it is clearly tainted, (the waiter/sommelier should notice if it is) do not touch or smell it, as it means nothing.

A small amount will then be poured for the host. Swirl the wine in the glass, smell, then taste. This is to make sure the wine is not spoiled and is not an opportunity to send back a sound wine that you are not crazy about. After approval, the wine will be poured clockwise to the right, ladies first. The selector's glass will be topped last.

If the waiter/sommelier is extremely good he/she will compliment you on your selection. They will also continuously check your table adding to your glass at the appropriate moment. In higher class restaurants it's the server's responsibility to refill your glass.

Wine tasting Manners

Wine tastings are events designed to give enthusiasts the opportunity to sample a range of wines. The events can be very much like classes (seated, seminar-like events), or they can be more like parties (tasters milling around informally). Compared to a wine class, the participants at a wine tasting are more likely to have various levels of knowledge. Tastings don't come in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels — one size fits all.

Wine tastings are popular because they override the limitations of sampling wine alone, at home. How many wines can you taste on your own (unless you don't mind throwing away nine-tenths of every bottle)? How many wines are you willing to buy on your own? And how much can you learn by tasting wine in isolation — or with a friend whose expertise is no greater than yours?

At wine tastings, you can learn from your fellow tasters, as well as make new friends who share your interest in wine. Most importantly, you can taste wine in the company of some individuals who are more experienced than you, which is a real boon in training your palate.

When attending a wine tasting always be polite. Tastings can be packed with people, and if the lay out of the room is not the best, you will, without doubt, be feeling a bit like a sardine. Sharpen your elbows, taste the wine and move on. Don't linger around in front of the table unless you are deep in conversation with someone behind the table, make the conversation brief as others are waiting.

Once receiving your wine step back. I hate it when people start conversations with each other in front of the table with no regard for anyone who is behind them waiting to taste.

It is a good idea to turn your cell phone off. If you are expecting an important call them move away from the tasting area to chat. Do not monopolize the time of the people pouring if you wish to discuss business with them make an appointment.

The people doing the pouring have a difficult task of handling a number of people crowded around a small pouring table or bar. They should always greet the taster and make a suggestion on how the tasting should begin. They too must be careful not to let one person take their entire attention.

Spitting is allowed but do some in the container provided. It is also a good idea to practice at home. Swallowing isn't really necessary in order to taste the wine fully. If you leave the wine in your mouth for eight to ten seconds, you'll be able to taste it thoroughly — without having to worry about the effects of the alcohol.

Allow other tasters the chance to form their own opinions. Wait until everyone has had a chance to taste a wine before making any comments. Don't interfere with other taster's sense of smell. This means no smoking or use of highly scented products such as after-shave, perfume or scented lotions.

When attending wine tastings at a winery be prepared to purchase at least one bottle of wine.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Bacchus Bistro

Without a doubt, the most popular winery in the Fraser Valley is Chaberton Estate winery home of the Bacchus Bistro. The Bistro serves authentic French Bistro cuisines prepared with local ingredients and a West Coast flair. Executive Chef Ashley's culinary prowess showcases what the local seasonal marketplaces have to offer.

Last Thursday Barbara and I made our way through the Langly township countryside for lunch at the Bistro. Knowing how popular the bistro is we made reservations. It was a good thing we had reservations the restaurant was a hopping.

We were greeted upon entering the bistro with a cheerful greeting and a warm smile.  We had the chose of sitting inside or on the patio. Due to the extreme heat, we chose to sit inside.

It did not take long for our waiter to come with a few kind words. He remembered us from previous visits.

We began our lunch by ordering their famous Bacchus wine.

I selected the Bristo's best dish (in my humble opinion) the Beef Bourguignon boneless beef short ribs braised in red with pearl onions, bacon and mushrooms. Oh so good.

Barbara enjoyed the Organic Mushroom and  Buffala Fresca Tart. It was served with Hazelnut Praline and Arugula Salad. A very good dish well enjoyed.

The service was outstanding, the cuisine fantastic, the wine superior.

Next stop the tasting room!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Apple Pie

How well does the classic Apple pie go with wine?  Hey, there is a wine for everything!   But before we take a look at dessert, check out  this wine.

Produced by the Oliver Wine company in Bloomington In.
"Combine comforting taste of crisp baked apples, with warmth and gentle, sweet brown sugar and nutmeg spice."

Despite this fine wine I am going to recommend port - style wines to go with your apple pie.
La Frenz Vintage Port Style is a perfect chose  I also like their NV Liquer Muscat.
If you are in Quebec may I suggest the Bilodeau NV Nectar Glace

Icewines are also very good with apple pie. There are numerous award-winning icewines produced in Ontario.

Moscato d'Asti. To end your meal on a lighter note,  a low-alcohol, sweet, fizzy wine from Italy

Oh and try a Tawny port with apple pie and ice cream  ( use only the pure product) and caramel sauce yum.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Once again we are back at BBQ. In this 90 degrees F  (30 C) we are enjoying ice water and a little white wine as we prepare to BBQ some baby back ribs.

Over the years we have often done wine and rib dinners on the patio.  So we have a little experience with what wines go best with ribs.

I find the main factor is the BBQ sauce on the ribs. Most known brand sauces and dry reds do not mix well. I would avoid that. In our group of friends, we have diehard red drinkers so the main trick is to find a wine for them.

Before we look into the red I am going to suggest ribs go best with white wines and so does any salad served with the ribs. Corn on the Cob also like the whites A Pinot Gris, Ortega or Bacchus is perfect with ribs.

You may be able to satisfy the red drinker with A Rose or a red  Zinfandel . If not try an earthy red like Pinot Noir

Prosecco, Cava and Sparking are better with saucy ribs. Once again the key to your wine selections depends upon that sauce.

Now dry spicy rubs are a different ball game. I am still going for my Ortega or Bacchus ( Chaberton Estate) or perhaps a Petite Milo Seaside Pearl). However, the red comes in to play. Try a Pinot Noir or Vicuña Roja from Blackwood Lane.

Ribs are finger foods so put the fancy glasses away

Saturday, June 30, 2018

BBQ Season

Yes! Summer has arrived and it is BBQ time. When men discovers the great outdoors , they grab a beer and begins to cook. But wait why not have wine instead of beer. Wine is the in" beverage today.

What wines go best with Hamburgers. Since hamburgers are beef. Red meat usually goes best with red wines.  If you like your burger straight up with minimal toping Cabernet Sauvignon is a good idea. I also like Petit Verdot.

If you are going spicy perhaps a Rose or maybe a Zinfandel.

The type of cheese can also make a difference.  For cheddar I like Cabernet Sauvignon add BBQ sauce and I am back to whites.

If you are adding blue cheese, grilled onions, the works you will want a spicer wine with robust flavours to match the toppings. Try Malbec, Zinfandel or a Cotes du Rhone

Some people like chardonnay or even sparkling wines with their hamburger.

In all cases chose wines with lower alcohol levels.

So what about wines with hot dogs. The answer is Sparkling wines.  Try a L'Acadie wine from Nova Scotia. Sauvignon Blanc also works well. Although as with the hamburger topping can affect which wines goes best.

As for steak on the BBQ  I think everyone has their favourite wine and that is what I go with. 

I like an Ortega  (try Larch Hill Winery) or a Bacchus from Chaberton to drink on hot summer days to me they go well with anything of the grill.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Oh Dear

Seldom do we write up a negative article. However today I will. Why? Because Whitespot did not respond to my letter of complaint. A company of this size with a significant "face" in British Columbia's hospitality industry has to do better.

Our problem began on a BC ferry from Swartz Bay (near Victoria) to the Tsawwassen Terminal. Been foot passengers, the four of us made our way quickly to the Coastal Cafe. There were two people in front of us and they were quickly dispatched.  Our friend went first then my wife and I was last of our group.

If you do not know Whitespot is your major restaurant provider in the Coastal Cafe. The limited menu is almost all hamburgers. The products are of course over priced. Service is cafeteria style and is designed to be quick due to the rush of customers upon loading of the ferry.

My wife order did not come up as quickly as the people before us. We waited about 5 minutes for her order. I had had to wait almost an additional ten minutes. An extremely long time. The ladies taking orders seemed quite content to stand back and chat among themselves.

When the cooks tossed three hamburgers under the heat lamps the ladies could not remember who ordered what. I was given my double cheese and bacon burger. Meanwhile, my wife was waiting at the cashier where we would pay for both orders. The cashier explained the slow service by saying the whole crew is new.

Been in the restaurant business for 25 years that is an unacceptable excuse.

Turns out the slow service was nothing compared to the horrible looking hamburger that awaited me. Cold uncooked french fries. Dried out overcooked meat with dried cheese and a green stain from the pickle.

I complained to the cashier who sat patiently at the till due to the continued slow service. The fries were replaced not the burger by ferry personnel. Once again the excuse of a new crew was given.

The coffee was good. A refill was free due to the poor food LOL

Later I almost threw up the hamburger when I visited the ships washroom it was disgusting. I and others retreated.

Once home I sent an e-mail both to BC Ferries and Whitespot. BC Ferries responded with an apology White Spot has not responded.