Wednesday Wine Reviews with @Sam_WineTeacher

2022 Chardonnay (Okanagan Valley) Meyer Family Vineyards Okanagan Falls, BC $20.96 Pale straw with medium-light intensity.  Just a deft touch of oak on the nose enhances the fruit, primarily apple, lemon, mandarin peel, peach, and tropical fruit.  Good balance.  Crisp on the palate followed by a medium-plus finish.  What’s not to like about a wine … Read more

Wines for Cold Winter Evenings

The cold weather has set in around the province and staying inside is more appealing than ever whether that be curling up with a good book, putting together a puzzle or watching movies.  Revel in the luxury of indulging in some ‘me’ time.

No fireplace?  No worries, you can always tune into one of the burning log channels on TV to help set the mood.

Feeling a bit peckish?  Maybe a little snack of leftover Christmas shortbread or fruitcake.  Even a simple tea biscuit.

If it is in the early afternoon you might want to make some tea, coffee or hot chocolate.  No?  Then how about something more decadent?  Pamper yourself with a wee dram of something sweet and warming that’s sure to make you glow inside.

Here are some wonderful BC suggestions I found in my cellar.  No doubt some of these are destined to become your favourites.

Descriptions courtesy of the wineries.


TIME Family of Wines
Harry’s Apera
“Winemaking: We used 2011 Chardonnay which aged in neutral French oak barrels with minimal topping to promote oxidation. The wine was fortified using a distillation of the same wine.
On the nose: Dried orange peel, dried mango, almond.
On the palate: Dried pineapple, marmalade, allspice, caramel, toasted pecans.
Enjoy before dinner as an aperitif, or paired with Spanish tapas.”



Clos du Soleil
“Saturn is our late-harvest wine that is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes specially selected and harvested in late November. A delight now, this wine will only develop further complexity over the years.
Eyes – A brilliant gold in the glass.
Nose – The nose of this wine is pure enjoyment: a heady blend of fresh mandarin orange, candied citrus peel, and stewed yellow pears and apricots.
MouthOn the palate, the wine is lush and full with flavours of apricot, pear and orange, along with tropical fruits like mango, and a bright acidity that lends this complex wine both length and structure.
Winemaking NotesThe grapes for this wine were hand-harvested on a cold morning when sugars, flavours and acids were concentrated within each berry to produce this luscious late-harvest wine. Following harvest each berry was gently basket-pressed to release its precious nectar. After settling, the juice was fermented very slowly in stainless steel, and then further aged on the lees until bottling. A pure expression of nature’s bounty.
Food Pairing – This is a delicious partner to soft cheese, especially blue – or desserts.”


Anarchy Fortified Gewurztraminer
“Hand-harvest from Cellarsbend Vineyard in Naramata, we produced only 70 cases of 2020 Fortified Gewürztraminer.
The nose displays layers of honey, marmalade, candied pineapple, and dandelions. Beautifully balanced flavours of elderflower, brown sugar, pastry, and Baklava are captured on the palate which has a long creamy honey finish.
This wine pairs well with charcuterie, chocolate dunked blue cheese, vanilla ice cream or simply enjoy chilled as an aperitif or on its own in place of ‘afters’.  Drink now or cellar up to 2028.”


La Stella
Moscato d’ Osoyoos
“Playful, Melon, Grapey, Tropical, Peaches, Nimble, Spritzy
We celebrate the fact that we make wine in a region where vintage variations play an important role.  Typical growing seasons are a nightmare for commercial wineries interested in making consistent but boring wines. For us, however, it defines our interest in wine. We look forward to seeing what Mother Nature gives us to work with each year. It is the effects of each vintage on the finished wine that urges us to start verticals of our favourite wines then follow their evolution and discuss their merits at tastings with friends. Inspired by the renowned Moscato d’Asti of the Piedmont region in Italy the Moscato d’Osoyoos expresses an intense and complex array of aromatics displaying this grape’s true varietal expression. The light effervescence adds to the texture of this wine and showcases the classic Moscato flavours and perfumes of orange blossom, peach rind, rose petal and melon.  At less than half the residual sugar of Asti, with more bubbles and higher acidity, our Moscato is much more versatile and is a great pairing with aromatic spicy dishes like Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine. With under 10% alc./vol. our Moscato is a perfect aperitif, brunch or dessert wine. It can be enjoyed with a cheese board or a lightly spiced green fish curry well.”


Rara Avis
“An uncommon or exceptional thing is a Rara Avis or “Rare Bird”.  Rara Avis premium fortified fruit wine is a celebration of the organic Haskap berries grown on the pristine soil of our Okanagan Valley farm.  Full-bodied and luscious, Rara Avis tantalizes the palate with the rich aroma of currant and brambles, caramel notes and a darting, faintly spiced finish that calls to mind the hummingbirds of our fields.
Winemaking notes – The Rara Avis Fortified Wine was oaked for 2 years in American oak to develop its richness and intense flavours of currant, brambles, and caramel notes.”




Howling Bluff
Forbidden Fort Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc-based)
“An oft rumoured, seldom heard but widely speculated story starts this way: it was not a dark and stormy night, the day was brilliant as September days in the Okanagan can be. It was September 2009 our third vintage. A then 20-year-old first son said to his dad “We should make port”. Let’s just assume I said a polite “no” to Daniel. After a very, very robust discussion, I put my foot down and we made a few hundred bottles of port. In the fall of 2010, a second and even more intense father-son “talk” took place where I once again decided to make a bit more port.  If you enjoy “Port” or in Canada what we call Fortified Wine” these will not disappoint!”


Blasted Church
Amen NV
The Merlot fruit was brought to the winery where it was destemmed into tank. The first winemaking phase is the same as our Renaissance Merlot – a few days of cold soaking on the skins, then fermentation begins. In the second phase, after half of the sugar has been consumed by the yeast, the still-fermenting wine is transferred into old French oak barrels where it is fortified using a pure grape spirit. The addition of the grape spirit effectively halts the fermentation, leaving the wine with a balance of unfermented sugars and alcohol, giving the Port-style wine its characteristic profile. The oldest portion of this wine, which makes up the majority of the blend, was aged in a barrel for close to five years before being racked in preparation for bottling.
Winemaker’s Notes
Colour: Brick red.
Nose: Plum, Black Forest case, caramelized brown sugar, and maple syrup. 
Palate: Brown sugar, maple syrup candy, and dark fruit carry the palate. The alcohol is beautifully balanced by the residual sugar through the long finish. 
Food pairing: Chocolate desserts, salty or blue cheeses would pair perfectly, but Amen can also be enjoyed on its own as an after-dinner digestif.”


TIME Family of Wines
Harry’s Ruby
“Winemaking: Made with 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc from 2018 and spent 24 months in neutral French oak barrels to concentrate the flavours. Fortified with a brandy spirit.
On the nose: Christmas cake, fig, sweet tobacco, dried cherry.
On the palate: Raisin, black cherry, prune, chocolate.
Enjoy after dinner as a digestif, or paired with chocolate cake.”


vin Amite
“The third release of our Port-style: Ouest. Enjoy after dinner with an array of aged cheeses. Who needs dessert?”
This intense giant has been aging for seven years, hiding in the back of the barrel room. Stewed plum, dark berries, cedar and a hint of cassis on the nose; balanced notes of herbs with a hint of caramel on the palette for the longest finish. Fortified with our distilled 2012 Cab Sauvignon.  Yours to savour or share with that special someone.  Equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.”


The Skimmerhorn Port-style Foch is made from 100% Marechal Foch grapes in the traditional method. It is a rich, dark wine with a hint of sweetness. It shows a spicy aroma with a black cherry and bold plum finish. Enjoy this wine with nuts and cheeses or as your evening nightcap.”

Don’t these sound mouth-wateringly delicious?  So let the cold winds blow and the snow swirl.  You are warm and toasty inside with something delicious.  Indulge!

(All photos – Sam Hauck)


#TasteofThursday Pappardelle paired with Howling Bluff

Today the #TasteofThursday recipe comes from Dana Reinhardt of Cook Italy. An accomplished chef and instructor this recipe is perfect for the season. I can see why Dana says it is one of her favourites. I can’t wait to try this one, paired with a favourite BC wine.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2020

If you have a wine and food lover on your shopping list, we have a holiday gift suggestion that’s bound to be well received. Dine Out Vancouver’s The Great Big Taste on Thursday, January 16 2020 will pair bites from some of Vancouver’s top chefs with BC wine, craft beer, and spirit samples.

#TBT BC Pinot Noir Group May 2019

At the last meeting, we compared one wine served in a regular wine glass to the same wine served in a variety specific expensive Zalto wine glass.  Because the wine in the second glass was noticeably improved, we did this comparison with each wine this time.

Bloom 2019 – presenting BC Wine Spring Releases

Even if you limit it to a quick friendly, ‘Hello,’ and listen to the odd recommendation from a colleague, it is virtually impossible to hit all the tables you intend to, no matter how short your short list is.  So, my sincere apologies to all the wonderful producers I didn’t get to.

Something’s Fishy at Provence Marinaside this April

From April 1st through 30th, join Provence Marinaside in Yaletown for some finny fun and fine food at its 11th annual Poisson d’Avril.  In France, ‘Poisson d’Avril’ (April’s Fish) is a one-day affair corresponding to our April Fool’s Day.

Wine Tasting with the BC Wine Appreciation Society

What you may ask is the BCWAS? Established in 2005, British Columbia Wine Appreciation Society is a not-for-profit organization showcasing the wines of British Columbia through monthly tasting events.  Our events range from informal walk-around tastings to formal tastings with the winemakers and/or winery principals. Attendees enjoy tasting, learning and discussing wine in a relaxed atmosphere.  ​

Tasting Ten – Pinot Noir a review by Sam the Wine Teacher

I belong to a wine tasting group called the Tasting Ten.  Ten people meet ten times a year and taste through a blind flight (all bottles wrapped in paper to conceal their identities) of wines based on a theme.

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