Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Big Wow

There I was, sitting in a seminar at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, the seminar was called Grapes Unknown excited to learn about twelve featured wines from France, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Romania and Canada's province of British Columbia.

In these types of seminars, one can expect to enjoy some excellent wines, those offered here did not disappoint. By the time we had tasted our way through the first seven wines, I had written the word WOW twice; and then came Chateau Chalon Savagnin 2009.

The aroma was fantastic but so different, at first, I did not realize what I was experiencing  It was indeed a wow moment, a huge "WOW" moment. I swirled the wine glass and once again sniffed the tantalizing aroma.

I was listening closely to the speaker, Nicolas Haeffelin, oenologist and specialist on the Jura Region of France where Savagnin is grown. As he spoke I tasted the wine; still amazed yet not quite sure what I was experiencing, it was not until Mr Haeffelin said the wine was developed on purpose not to produce a fruit-forward wine. "Nuts, I thought to myself, yes, nuts" that was the flavour of the wine, walnuts and almonds.

If any wine deserved a score of 100 this wine did!

The Ch√Ęteau-Chalon AOC is dedicated exclusively to the production vin jaune wine. Savagnin or Savagnin Blanc is a variety of white grape with green-skinned berries. It is mostly grown in the Jura region of France, where it is made into Savagnin wine or the famous vin jaune vin de paille.

The grape has been grown in France for over 900 years.

In Canada Chateau des Charme has grown and produced wine from this grape.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I hate it!

Yes, I do hate it when I read an article ( mostly from California writers) that calls the Okanagan the New Napa. Referring of course to the Napa Valley wine region of California.  A region famous worldwide for its wine production.

I heard this reference over 15 years ago and it may have held some credibility then. I read it again today and I read it in articles in 2019  2018 and 2017 and so on. Come on California we long ago surpassed you in quality wine production. In my humble and very unimportant view, Okanagan wines on the average are far superior to California.

A 2018 article from Culinary Vacations wrote:

"For those of you who love all that Napa Valley has to offer and are willing to take an adventurous chance on a lesser-known alternative, I’ve got just the place for you. This hidden gem, located in a breathtaking region of northwestern Canada, is where you can visit lush green wineries .. I visited  Osoyoos."

Just to get it right Osoyoos is not in the north it is in the south tucked right up beside Washington (us) boarder.

In 2006 the New York Times wrote an article calling the Okanagan the new Napa Valley.

In 2017 Explore wine & food wrote an article calling the  Niagara Peninsula the most interesting wine region in Canada the New Napa Valley.

I do not have space or time to list all the awards won by Canadian wines at worlds top wine competitions. We could start in the 1970s and fill two or more books.

In 1994 Mission Hill Family Estate put the Okanagan Valley on the map by winning the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London for 'Best Chardonnay in the World' and at the time the Master of Wine Judges were in such disbelief they re-tasted all of the wines and Mission Hill won a second time.

It is nice to get the respect of these writers referring to Canada's wine regions as the new Napa Valley but we are beyond that far beyond...

If you want to see how good Canada is against the wines of the world simply Google or do any web search using the term Canada wins World best ( better add the word Wine) In Google search I get 235,000,000 results.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

At Last a Really Good Cider 

To set the stage let me take you back to my college years. The years when you would visit the bars with your buddies and drink a beer or two. The trouble for me was I did not care for beer. I desperately searched for an alternative, There was rum and coke a good alternative since you could get a weak one for just 98 cents. There was "Coolers" remember those; flavoured alcoholic beverages with relatively low alcohol content. There was also cider. Wine was in my future.

Although cider offered a reasonable choice I did not find one that had remarkable flavour,

As the years went by I, of course, discovered wines. Wines became my main beverage. Occasionally I would try a cider. It seemed though that every bar, every restaurant offered the same brand X, It was okay but nothing that excited my taste buds.

It was not until the 2000s that there was a rise in the popularity of Cider. As the years went by more and more Cideries were opening. However in BC where I live it was still brand X dominating the pubs and restaurants.

In the last ten years, a number of Cideries have opened in BC producing quality ciders. Among them Twisted Hills Cider, Tod Creek Cider, Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse and Fraser Vally Cider Company.

However, nothing impressed to the point of jubilation until Jennifer Turton-Molgat owner of The View Estate Winery in Kelowna introduced us to Wards Cider. The one we have tried so far Picker's Hut Premium Cider. Where flavours abound.

Ward's Picker's Hut Premium Cider is the best cider. I have had in years. Full of flavour Apple ginger cinnamon with hints of melon 97.

Overall the future looks very bright for Wards Ciders and the View Winery. We have enjoyed many wines from the View over the years and look forward to tasting all Ward ciders.