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September 17th, 2022-a vertical pour from Clos Du Soleil and 3 new releases from Hester Creek

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This week – a vertical pour from Clos Du Soleil and 3 new releases from Hester Creek

THE SHOW

 

The invitation was just too good to pass up.

Michael Clark,  Winemaker and GM of Clos du Soleil Winery  in the Similkameen Valley was coming to Chambar Restaurant in Vancouver to pour two verticals of his wines.

Michael Clark

Best of all, he brought his Similkameen neighbour,  Master of Wine and co-owner of Little Farm Winery, Rhys Pender.

Rhys & Michael

First tasting was with Capella, their flagship white wine. A classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed and lightly crushed, then cold-soaked for several hours prior to pressing. The wine is fermented entirely in barrel (500L French oak puncheons), with the majority of the fermentations being spontaneous with wild yeast. In some years a portion of the barrels are allowed to go through wild malolactic fermentation as well. The wine is then aged on the lees for 9 months, with occasional lees stirring. Only the best lots are then blended for inclusion in Capella. The wine is filtered prior to bottling, but otherwise entirely unmanipulated.

Capella has truly earned a place in my wine world as one of my go-to favourites. That’s what happens when  wine becomes a treat for yourself and others. We tasted 2006/2009/2012/2017/2019/2021

The other vertical tasting was with their red icon Bordeaux blend Signature.

Signature is their flagship blend of red Bordeaux varieties, with most vintages including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Each variety and vineyard block is harvested separately, by hand, at optimal maturity and then gravity-fed to concrete tanks, where it is spontaneously fermented with indigenous yeast.

After a moderate post-fermentation maceration the wine is pressed in a basket press, and then aged for approximately 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, where it undergoes spontaneous malolactic fermentation. A rigorous barrel-selection process is used to determine the final blend. The resulting wine is bottled entirely unfined and unfiltered.

We tasted 2007/2009/2010/2013/2016/2017/2019.

 The Clos Du Soleil vineyards are primarily located on the upper bench of the southern Similkameen Valley, which has an arid, hot, desert-like climate, with rocky, mineral-rich soils that produce truly distinctive wines of ripe fruit character, fresh acidity, herbal notes and striking minerality.

Rhys Pender is the perfect co-host for this tasting as he has always tried to convince BC wine fans to cellar their special whites and enjoy them years later. Rhys has also taken part in these same varietal pours back home in Cawston with Michael and  brings with him the history of the wines and the vineyards.

Rhys Pender

@Clos du Soleil Winery

@[email protected]

www.closdusoleil.ca

 Our Second guest is Winemaker Mark Hopley of Hester Creek (Golden Mile)

A wonderful winemaker,  Mark Hopley would like all of us to know about three new releases.

Mark Hopley

2021 Ti Amo

Prosecco inspired, its primarily Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Semillon. $21.99

This clean sparkling wine bursts with fragrant honeysuckle and orchard blossom notes. The inviting palate shows light Okanagan pear and candied citrus, with a light touch of sweetness. A perfect sparkling wine for entertaining,  brunch or desserts. At this price, its perfect for larger gatherings, weddings and receptions.

2019 Old Vine Brut $34.99

Made from rare Old Vine Pinot Blanc vines on the historic Golden Mile Bench Vineyard (Thank you Joe Busnardo)

This second vintage displays  light honey hued tones with fine, active beads. Bright lemon, brioche and ginger aromas. A fresh and inviting palate invites the joy of lemon zest and fresh biscuits, ending with a clean, and long finish.  Beautifully balanced blanc de blanc Brut. This is the wine to  celebrate with,  enjoy with an olive tapenade, spot prawn ceviche or fresh Pacific oysters with a Meyer lemon ginger mignonette sauce. Loved this bubble. It’s such a delight, you’ll find yourself smiling and giggling. Which, considering our times,  is never a bad thing. Highly recommended. Cellar up to 10 years.

2019 The Judge $49.99

What a beautiful  wine. I fell in love with this Bordeaux blend the first year they made it – 2008.

Made from the oldest vines on their property.

41 Merlot/31 Cab/28 Cab Franc. Barrel aged 24 months. Primarily French oak (New and Neutral)

Winemaker Mark Hopley judged from the best lots in their  cellar to make this iconic wine. Generous aromas of toasted caramel, dark chocolate, fresh blackberry, leather and sagebrush. The fabulous palate expresses ripe cherry, rich cocoa and savoury characteristics with a round, huge finish. A richly textured wine that pairs well with braised short ribs, thick rich stews or full-bodied cheeses.

Can be cellared up to 10 years.

Join Hester Creek  throughout next  weekend at the winery for daily live music, vendors, vineyard tours, and food trucks!   Special features for Friday, September 23rd  Food Truck – Pit Stop Smokery  ~ 12-4pm Vendors ~ 12-4pm Petit Pétale Flower Farm South Okanagan Snacks Live Music by the talented Ari Neufeld ~ 1-4pm ​patio & lawn

@Mark Hopley

www.hestercreek.com

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Bartier Brothers

Township 7

Orofino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 3rd,2022-The Return of Top Drop / 2022

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Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

The Return of Top Drop / 2022

“The one wine tasting  of the year you shouldn’t miss”

 

THE SHOW

 Like all other events in our day-to-day lives, there was no Top Drop during the pandemic.

However, Top Drop wine fans are a very loyal bunch and I never thought for a minute that there might never be another Top Drop.

Why the loyalty?

“The one wine tasting  of the year you shouldn’t miss”

Western Living Magazine

  

Kurtis Kolt and his partners have dedicated themselves to finding and inviting wineries that display a sense of place and craft.

Kurtis Kolt

A great many are organic and all farm sustainably. Some are large but many are small and finding them is like finding a prize.

The participants are so thoroughly vetted, that it makes the invited list feel like an all-star game.

The two-day event took place May 10 & 11 in the very comfortable surroundings at The Roundhouse in Yaletown. 40 local and  international wineries pouring!

As usual, I couldn’t get to everyone in the room. But I did stalk and talk to :

Bella WinesJay Drysdale (Naramata Bench) A stellar sparkling wine house focused on single-vineyard expressions. Especially Gamay.

Creek & Gully CiderAnnelise Simonsen and Alyssa Hubert (Naramata Bench) A family farm, 65 acres of Organic Apples. They seek and fully welcome apples deemed “undesirable”

Ciders are proudly unfined, unfiltered, and ambiently fermented in the bottle and can. We also talk about saving Okanagan orchards.

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards – Gordon Fitzpatrick. (Summerland) Focused on traditional method sparkling wine. From 40 acres of vines separated into 12 smaller blocks.

 

Hedges Family Estate –  Christophe Hedges (Red Mountain. Washington)  Farmers first, winemakers second, the Hedges Family were pioneers of the modern Washington Wine Industry. Christophe leads the next generation.

Lightning Rock Winery – Jordan Kubek Winemaker (Summerland) Creating electric, joyous and juicy wines. Jordan and Tyler desire to express each vineyard in the glass.

Martin’s Lane WineryShane Munn Winemaker (East Kelowna) Pinot and Riesling only. Vineyards are farmed and certified organic. Gravity-fed winery. Outstanding wines and winery.

Okanagan Crush PadDarryl Brooker New CEO and Matt Dumayne.  Winemaker. (Summerland) What a success story is Okanagan Crush Pad. Creating their own wines Haywire, Narrative, and Free Form. Concrete tanks, native yeasts, and no messing with the wines. New plantings deserve your attention.

Orofino – John and Virginia Weber. Winemaker & Co-owners (Similkameen Valley) Minimal intervention in the solar-powered, strawbale winery. Premium wines that John described as “gulpable”. From beautiful Rieslings to knockout Syrah plus  outstanding vineyards in a spectacular valley. It all adds up to Orofino!

Terravista Vineyards – Nadine Allander Winemaker (Naramata Bench) Producers of small-lot specialty white wines including Spanish varietals: Albarino and Verdejo plus French beauties Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.  A tribute to the vineyards and those who planted them.

Ursa Major WineryRajen Toor Owner/Principal. (South Okanagan. Black Sage Bench) Organically farmed vineyards on prime land. Working with many varietals but especially Bordeaux grapes to see if they can showcase a different side of the grape.  Much buzz about this winery.

Owen Knowlton – Stable House Award-winning  Award winning Wine Sommelier and Director.

Pouring Wines of Bordeaux

 

Kurtis Kolt – Co-Founder of Top Drop Vancouver and Wine Educator

 

www.bellawines.ca

www.creekandgully.com

www.fitzwine.com

www.hedgesfamilyestate.com

www.lightningrockwinery.com

www.martinslanewinery.com

www.okanagancrushpad.com

www.orofinovineyards.com

www.terravistavineyards.com

www.ursamajorwinery.com

www.bordeaux.com

www.tanninmanagement.ca

www.kurtiskolt.com

www.topdrop.ca

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

  • Hester Creek Bubble
  • Bartier releases
  • Victoria Wine Festival
  • Fall Reds
  • Regenerative Farming
  • Benjamin Bridge – Nova Scotia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 20th, 2022 A Haltwhistle Cheese & Wine pairing with Unsworth Wines – A  Feature Special  

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A Haltwhistle Cheese & Wine pairing with  Unsworth Wines :   a feature special

 

THE SHOW

 This weeks guests:

Kirsten Thorarinson and Cory Spencer – co-founders of Haltwhistle Cheese

Kirsten Thorarinson and Cory Spencer

Karen Newington – Tasting Room Manager Unsworth Vineyards

 As the Sales & Operations Manager, Kirsten makes sure that the farm runs efficiently. She frequently delivers cheese to mongers and chefs and is often manning their stand at Vancouver Island farmers’ markets.

 

Cory is the cheesemaker. He oversees he entire process from caring for the animals to aging the cheese. He also looks after their herd.

“Treat yourself to a taste of Europe in your own backyard. Here at their  family farm in the Cowichan Valley, they make all their  raw-milk cheeses by hand–using the same Old-World methods as European farmstead cheese makers. Their artisanal cheese pair well with wine, honey and good company.”

 I know almost nothing about cheese. Apparently I’m not the only one

Here are three questions Kirsten and Cory have been asked at Saturday markets.

“is your Gouda processed cheese?”

“what are your cheese curds made from?”

“do you milk your goats?”

The whole idea of putting Haltwhistle and Unsworth together was to answer the questions about pairing.

What do you pair with Feta?

It helps that Karen Newington is not only the Tasting Room Manager at Unsworth, she also worked at Haltwhistle for 4 years.

Karen Newington. Unsworth

Here  are the cheeses:

 Fromage Frais – Fromage Frais is a rich and spreadable cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It has a somewhat tangy flavour and distinct buttery notes, thanks to its high butterfat content. This decadent cheese pairs well with bread or crackers.

fromage frais

Tadwick – This traditional English-style cheddar is one of our best-selling cow’s milk cheeses. Made from unpasteurized milk, Tadwick is mild yet flavourful when young (3-7 months). The longer it matures (8-12 months), the more it develops its signature sharp flavour and pleasant tang.

 

Thombury – This rustic farmer’s cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. It has an earthy and milky flavour and is based on the Tomme-style cheeses made in the French Alps. To develop its natural rind, Thombury is carefully tended to for 3 to 6 months.

 

Tomme de Vallée – Our signature cheese and one of our best-sellers. This natural-rind cheese is inspired by the traditional Tomme-style cheeses from the French Alps. It is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and gently aged for 3 to 6 months, giving this rustic farmer’s cheese an earthy and rich flavour.

 

Feta – This traditional Greek cheese has a firm and crumbly texture. It is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and aged in brine (a salty solution) for 2 to 3 months, which lends the cheese a slightly salty and tangy flavour.

Feta cheese

The Unsworth wines being paired and poured are:

2021 Rosé with Fromage Frais $26.90

2021 Rosé

2020 Gamay Pinot Noir with Tadwick $26.90

2020 Chardonnay with Thombury $30.90

2020 Pinot Noir with Tomme de Vallée $38.90

2020 Saison Vineyard Pinot Gris with Feta $25.99

 

Do your own taste test. It’s a ton of fun!

www.haltwhistlecheese.com

www.unsworthvineyards.com

 

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Bartier Brothers

Township 7

Hester Creek

Victoria Wine Festival

 

July 16th, 2022- Cowichan Valley Wineries Party and Pour Aug 4

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Cowichan Valley Wineries Party and Pour Aug 4

A blend of stories from Cowichan Valley  and  Naramata Bench.

Starting with master storyteller Lorin Inglis, the GM of Enrico Winery in the Cowichan.

Then off to Upper Bench Road in Naramata and a visit with Wilbert and Joka Borren, the owners and winemakers at Four Shadows Winery.

And finally to the epi-centre of the Naramata Bench. We meet Nathan Todd,  President and GM of legendary Foxtrot Winery.

It’s the wine version of “something for everyone”

Lorin Inglis – Enrico Winery  GM (Cowichan)

TDM and Lorin Inglis

13 Cowichan wineries will kick off their August wine month on August 4th,  on a glorious Summer evening outside, on the lawn of the classic Brentwood College School in Mill Bay.

Lorin takes us through how the evening will unfold.

Wines poured by owners and winemakers, food from the Brentwood College kitchens, and music from Roland Barrett.

It’s such a great location and the people who made the wines are pouring, so you know  It will sell out.

If you can’t make the Aug 4th – then pick any other day in August. They’re ready to welcome you.

Details at www.cowichanwineries.com

 

 

  • Alderlea Vineyards
  • Averill Creek
  • Blue Grouse Estate Winery
  • Cherry Point Estate Wines
  • Damali Lavender and Winery
  • Divino Estate Winery
  • Emandare Vineyard
  • Zanatta Winery and Vineyards
  • Deol Estate Winery
  • Enrico Winery
  • Unsworth Winery and Restaurant
  • www.cowichanwineries.com 

 

 

 

Wilbert and Joka Borren – Co-owners of Four Shadows  (Upper Bench Naramata)

What a great story.

Wilbert and Joka

Joka and Wilbert were pig farmers in Lacombe Alberta with four growing sons. They had dreams of moving to the Okanagan and farming. That’s exactly what they did.

They bought a forgotten property on Upper Bench Road and decided to bring back the vineyards and plant their own vines to then sell the fruit to wineries.

Along the way, it made much more sense to become a winery and Four Shadows was born. The name is from a photo of their four sons.

Did I mention they had no wine knowledge but they knew how to farm pigs. I mean, how tough can it be to grow grapes?

They had amazing mentoring from Lindsay and Graham O’Rourke at Tightrope and consultant Pascal Madevon.  It paid off. They learned well.

You say “Pigs to Pinot”  They say “Swine to Wine.”

They poured

2020 Rose,  2020  Riesling Classic, 2020 Riesling Dry, 2020 Riesling sparkling, 2018 Pinot Noir and 2018 Merlot.  From Swine to Wine.

www.fourshadowsvineyard.com

 

Nathan Todd  President and GM  Foxtrot Winery (Naramata Bench) 

Even though he made his name working in very serious wine sales out of  New York City he did have an early connection to the Okanagan Valley.  Harvesting fruit to make ends meet.

Years later he blind-tasted a Foxtrot Pinot. It may have changed his life.

Nathan-Todd-Foxtrot-

He never forgot that wine and years later convinced his wine friend Douglas Barzelay to eventually buy the winery from the Allander family.

Barzelay is one of the  World’s leading authorities on Burgundian wines. Their wine consultant is Veronique Drouhin from Domaine Joseph Drouhin. Torsten Allander’s son Gustav was retained as winemaker. Quite a team.

Nathan poured:

2 versions of Foxly Rose 2019/2020 (both instantly likable. $24)

An Estate Vineyard 2019 Pinot Noir.  (everything a great Pinot should be. texture. balance. Defines a long finish.)

www.foxtrotwine.com

 

Thank you, Tina BairdNaramata Bench. Thank you, Barry and Carol Beecroft for “the swim”.

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON  

  • Fort Berens – New Releases
  • August Wine Month – Cowichan
  • Howard Soon
  • Victoria Wine Festival

 

July 2nd, 2022- Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!

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Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!

 

THE SHOW

 Tasting Room Radio has been celebrating Canadian wine and food for 15 years.

We could not have stayed the course and grown without  the support of our segment sponsors

Thus, each year we make a point of making a feature fuss about our neighbors.

Thing is, we’d be doing feature stories on them anyway because they’re all winners.

When we decided to have a sponsor for each segment we had one bottom line

“if we have to talk about someone for a year,  let’s make sure we like them!  As great people and as singular artisans”!

 We are honored to welcome our in show  neighbors into the feature spotlight (in the order in which they became available)

Jason Parkes CustomsJason Parkes  (Founder) and Develyn Barker (Dreamer and Doer)  West Kelowna, BC

Jason Parkes and crew

Their story just keeps on growing.

Came on board as The Hatch Winery. Well named, as they released well-crafted and accessible wines but they also “hatched” a series of new labels,  all heading in different wonderful directions.

The Hatch, Gobsmacked Series, Hobo Series.

Then came Black Swift, Crown and Thieves, The Hatching Post, Truck 59 Cider House, and SmokeShow BBQ plus  wines such as  Screaming Frenzy, 14 house beers, The Angel Share rooftop restaurant, The Broken Hearts Club speakeasy (house band is Proper Man, also home to Hangover Church, etc)

They have created their own JPC Wine Trail – a 5-hour adventure you will talk about and might even remember.

…And the wines? Bigger and better every season!  Beautifully crafted and pushing the boundaries – much like the people who make them!

JPC is one of the great success stories in BC wine. Best of all, they did it their way!  Rock on!

(there is no known photo of Jason Parkes but he did send this message “wine is just yeast poop”

www.jpcfanclub.com

www.crownthieves.com

www.thehatchwines.com

Unsworth Vineyards – Dan Wright (Winemaker) Christle Pope (Manager) Karen Newington (Tasting Room Manager)  Cowichan Valley, Van Island

Mere minutes from our home in Mill Bay, it’s also top of mind when we think, “it’s time for wine and dine”

The Turyk Family has created a beautiful destination is perhaps the most gorgeous small farming valley in the area.

Dan Wright

The bonus is , the wines are outstanding and the restaurant is hugely popular.

They have just received a Silver Medal and  91 points for their 2019 Pinot Noir from Decanter Magazine. A first for Vancouver Island winemaking.

The new owners have their own family roots deep into the history of Napa and Sonoma. One of the first decisions was to let the Unsworth team carry on making better and better wines and the second was to start production on a new vineyard outside Duncan.

The future looks very bright for Unsworth Vineyards – so we have much to talk about!

www.unsworthvineyards.com

Moon Curser Vineyards – Beata and Chris Tolley (Owners/Founders) Osoyoos, BC

At the very bottom of the Okanagan Valley is Osoyoos. It’s right up against the US border and surrounded by some of the very best vineyards in Canada.

One of them is Moon Curser. It’s the winemaking passion of Beata and Chris Tolley. It’s also their home.

Well, it was,  until they just had to move off-site to get a break from the daily weight of farming. It’s a hard road,  no whining is allowed.

Chris Tolley

In wine circles, they’re famous for the amazing varietals they make – several are the only ones being made in Canada.

However, what they do make are wines judged to be as good as anything in Canada.  That’s how they were named The WineAlign  Best Small Winery in Canada in 2019.

We’ll be talking Arneis, Viognier, Roussanne Marsanne, Carmenere, Dolcetto, Malbec, Syrah, Contraband Syrah, Border Vines, Tannat, Tempranillo and Touriga National.

Beata Tolley

There’s more. Next time we’ll talk about their bubble program featuring Eclipse, Moonlit and their Heist Rose.

Four of those wines can only be found through their wine club. Giddy Up!

www.mooncurser.com

Hillside Estate Winery  – Kathy Malone  (Senior Winemaker)  – Executive Chef Evan Robertson (The Bistro at Hillside)  Naramata Bench, BC

Kathy Malone

Classy!  

That describes Kathy and Evan, and the rest of the team at Hillside and especially Hillside Estate itself.

A much-honored winery with an atmosphere that comes from being one of the first three wineries in the area and always being a benchmark for Naramata Wines.

Hillside made a commitment years ago to only use grapes farmed on the Naramata Bench.

This conversation was important. To get caught up with Kathy’s latest releases, growing conditions in 2021, and then what dishes Chef Evan recommends from his menu to pair with each wine.

We talk  Cab Franc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Viognier, Syrah,   Merlot – Hidden Valley Vineyard

From the kitchen,  Evan teases us with Tomato Capresse, Panzanella Salad, House-made fresh pasta, Gnocchi, 50oz Northern Gold Beef Tomahawk.

www.hillsidewinery.ca

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Clos du Soleil

Fort Berens

Bill Jones  Shroom Master

Orofino

Sperling Vineyards

 

 

 

June 18th, 2022 – Wine Growers of BC: 2021 Vintage Preview

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THE SHOW   

Title Sponsored by Harbour Air

Every year is a growing year for the wine farmers and winemakers.

And because farmers are dealing with the whims of the planet..all bets are off until the harvest is in.

Heat, frost, hail, insects,  wind, smoke, leaf infestation, drought, floods etc  all either assist the vineyards or shut the whole growing process down.

Most farmers and winemakers  I interview are a happy bunch, after you get past the premature grey hair and dark humour.

It’s a hard road they’re walking but some of our favourite wines become  the end result.

That’s why the annual Wine Growers of BC Vintage Preview is so important.

The 2021 growing season featured Heat Domes and Smoke Taint. Laura Kittmer and her Wine BC team gathered winemakers from all regions of BC to exchange growing problems and solutions.

 

Laura Kittmer WineBC

 

There were some surprises along the way. One of them  is how similar the hurdles are, whether its Cowichan or Golden Mile.

So, the next time you’re shopping for BC wine and the year on the label  is 2021 – think about the winemakers below and their journey through that year.

Interview guests are bolded:

Chris Tolley, Winemaker, Moon Curser Vineyards  (Osoyoos)   www.mooncurser.com

Chris Tolley – Moon Curser

Dwight Sick, Winemaker, Seven Stones Winery (Similkameen) www.sevenstones.ca

Galen Barnhardt, Winemaker,   (Kamloops) Monte Creek Winery www.montecreekranch.com

Galen-Barnhardt-Monte-Creek

Lyndsay O’Rourke, Winemaker, Tightrope Winery (Naramata) www.tightropewinery.ca 

Mark Holford, Winemaker,  Rocky Creek Winery  (Cowichan) www.rockycreekwinery.ca

Mary McDermott, Winemaker, Township 7 Winery & Vineyards (Naramata/Frazer Valley) www.township7.com

Laura Kittmer Wine Growers of BC – Kelowna  www.winebc.com

We promise to get caught up with Lyndsay O’Rourke and Mark Holford.

Enjoy your 2021 BC wines. Each bottle has a story to tell.

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

“The Neighbours”

.Moon Curser

.The Hatch

.Hillside

.Unsworth

Pinot Noir Blind Tasting

Clos du Soleil

Sperling Vineyards

Where’s the cider at?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 7th, 2021-“ TOP DROP: THE ONE WINE TASTING OF THE YEAR YOU SHOULDN’T MISS.”

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“ TOP DROP: THE ONE WINE TASTING OF THE YEAR YOU SHOULDN’T MISS.”

– WESTERN LIVING MAGAZINE

THE SHOW

 

 

This weeks guest is Kurtis Kolt co-founder of  Top Drop.

The co-founder of Top Drop,  dubbed “the nerdiest, most awesome wine festival in Canada.”

Received the ‘Sommelier of the Year’ award at the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Kurtis has run the wine program for a couple evenings at James Beard House, had bylines in local and international publications, such as Decanter and Maclean’s, plus I occasionally sit in on tasting panels at Wine & Spirits Magazine on semi-regular visits New York.

KK has various certifications and credits through London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the Court of Master Sommeliers & the Winemaking Program at UC Davis.

On May 10th and 11th, Top Drop Vancouver returns, with a continued focus on sustainably-farmed, handcrafted wines offering a distinct sense of place, without heavy-handed winemaking trickery to get in the way.

Top Drop is now  in its seventh year.


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Over  two days, Top Drop offers Vancouver’s wine professionals and enthusiasts unique events and opportunities. As Top Drop’s flagship experience, The Main Event is a walk-around, grazing-style tasting where attendees can enjoy sips and stories from the principals of 40 participating international wineries.

The Main Event will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 10 and 11, at Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews). A full list of event participants follows, and can be found at TopDrop.ca.   Tickets are  $125 until they’re sold out, and available online at TopDrop.ca.

Event proceeds go to the BC Hospitality foundation, an organization providing financial support to individuals from the hospitality industry facing a major medical crisis.

Top Drop’s  annual grand tasting features dozens of international, terroir-focused wineries and the people behind the wines.

Kurtis  will  be talking about the wines that are starred ***

 

Aldegheri, Valpolicella, Italy     
w/ Jane Glees, Export Director

Anselmi, Soave, Veneto, Italy   
w/ Lisa Anselmi, Family Proprietor

***Ashes & Diamonds, Napa Valley, California, USA  
w/ Kashy Khaledi, Proprietor + Owner

Averill Creek Vineyard, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada  
w/ Brent Rowland, Winemaker

***Azienda Agricola Bruna Grimaldi , Piedmont, Italy    
w/ Martina Fiorino, Family Proprietor + Sales Manager

***Bella Wines, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada      
w/ Jay Drysdale, Owner + Winemaker

***Benjamin Bridge, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada   
w/ Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, Winemaker

Bisol Desiderio & Figli Societa’ Agricola, Valdobbiadene, Italy         
w/ Stefano Marangon, Export Manager

Bruno Paillard, Champagne, France  
w/ Pierre-Jules Peyrat, Export Manager

Champagne Gardet, Champagne, France
w/ Maude Autran, Export Manager

Chappellet Vineyard, Napa Valley, California, USA   
w/ Mitch Boyd, National Sales Manager

Chateau De Pommard, Pommard, Burgundy, France     
w/ Victor Goichon, Export Manager

Chateau Dereszla, Tokaji, Hungary    
w/ Gábor Weiner, Sales & Export Manager

***Chiorri Perugia, Umbria, Italy
w/ Francesco Strangis, Proprietor + Winemaker

***Creek & Gully Cider, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada  
w/ Annelise Simonsen, Proprietor + Director

Elk Cove, Gaston, Oregon, USA   
w/ Cam Christie, Director Of Distribution & Sales

***Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
w/ Gordon Fitzpatrick, President
 
***Free Form by Okanagan Crush Pad, Okanagan Valley, Canada

w/ Matt Dumayne, Chief Winemaker

***Gekkeikan, Folsom, California, USA   
w/ Koichi Murakami, VP of Sales & Marketing

***Hedges Family Estate, Red Mountain, Washington, USA     
w/ Christophe Hedges, General Manager

***Lightning Rock Winery, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada   
w/ Jordan Kubek, Winegrower

***Long Shadows, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA  
w/ Dane Narbaitz, Director of Sales & Marketing

***Marchesi Di Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
w/ Valentina Abbona, Family Member + Ambassador

***Martin’s Lane Winery, Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
w/ Shane Munn, Winemaker

Medici Ermete, Reggio Emilia, Italy    
w/ Ermes Scardova, Export Director

Mirafiore, Piedmont, Italy 
w/ Chiara Destefanis, Export Area Manager

Montes, Colchagua, Chile
w/ Bryan Steinsapir, Export Manager

***Orofino, Similkameen Valley, BC Canada      
w/ John Weber, Proprietor + Winemaker

Pere Ventura, Penedès, Spain 
w/ Hortense Capelle, Export Sales Manager

Salcheto, Tuscany, Italy     
w/ Michele Manelli, Winemaker

Susana Balbo Wines, Mendoza, Argentina
w/ German Pungitore, General Manager
 
***Synchromesh Wines, Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada    

w/ Alan Dickinson, Proprietor + Winemaker + Farmer

Tenuta Di Trinoro + Passopisciaro, Tuscany + Sicily, Italy    
w/ Letizia Patane, Export Manager
 
Tenuta Valdipiatta, Montepulciano, Italy

***Terravista Vineyards, Naramata Bench, BC, Canada  
w/ Nadine Allander, Winemaker

Troupis Winery, Mantinia, Greece

***Ursa Major Winery  Okanagan, Canada      
w/ Rajen Toor, Winemaker + Grower + Proprietor

***Weingut Thörle, Rheinhessen, Germany   
w/ Christoph Thörle, Proprietor

***Xanadu Winery, Margaret River, Australia   
w/ Douglas Elliott, North American Manager
 

For Main Event tickets, along with more information and news, visit TopDrop.ca

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Meet the Makers – Victoria

Michael Bartier – Project B

VanWineFest

Sponsor Fest

Cowichan June Winefest

April 30th, 2022-Chain Reaction Wines (Naramata) & Stillhead Distillery (Duncan)

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Chain Reaction Wines (Naramata)   & Stillhead Distillery (Duncan)

THE SHOW

I “discovered” Chain Reaction Winery through a conversation with DJ Kearney.

When DJ asks the question “have you heard of..?” I am totally locked in.

DJ is a senior wine educator and an opinion you want to pay attention to.

Her recommendation sent me looking for the owners Joel and Linda Chamaschuk.

Joel and Linda Chamaschuk

Originally from BC’s lower mainland, they were both cyclists,  tech workers and big wine fans.

One thing led to another.

Okanagan bike competitions, seeking new wines and a dream to one day own a winery.

Finally they  bought a great small orchard on the Naramata Bench and in 2019 they planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cab Franc.

Riesling followed in 2020.

They now have three vintages to their name. Both 2019 and 2020 were done as “custom crushes” with winemaker Dwight Sick at Moraine Winery.

Their 2021 wines were the first to be made at their new winery facility. Again with the invaluable  leadership of Dwight Sick.

Their 2021 Pinot Gris won a Lt Governor Platinum Award. For a new comer,  a rare victory.

They’ve added a Blanc de Noir and a traditional method sparkling rose – both made from Pinot Noir.

Best of all, they’re finally making wines from their estate vineyard.

Chain Reaction Wines coming this year include 2021 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sparkling Rose and next Spring their first Cab Franc

Chain Reaction 2019 Pinot Gris[2651] Chain Reaction 2020 Pinot Noir

They’ve opened a tasting room  to the public.

Just know, they’re making everything in small batch productions. As soon as you taste these delicious wines,  this piece of information  becomes important. They will go quickly. Think about joining their wine club.

We welcome Joel and Linda because dreams DO come true.

www.chainreactionwine.com

Stillhead Distillery (Duncan) – Brennan Colebank  Owner Operator & Distiller

New whiskies and spirits from Vancouver Island.

Stillhead Distillery Inc. opened its doors in October of 2017, founded by the Colebank family, husband and wife team Erica and Brennan, along with parents Christal and Ron.

Brennan Colebank graduated from UNBC with a Bachelor of Computer Science degree..

After working almost 15 years in the tech industry, Brennan left his job to pursue his dream career blending the two things he loved most; chemistry and whisky!

Four years later, the Stillhead team has grown from a family of 4 to a team of 9, with each year showing more potential and room to grow.

stillhead distilling

Stillhead’s vision is to reflect  the essence of island living in their  brand and all of their spirits. By adding distinct Vancouver Island ingredients to their products, they’ve provided a way to showcase and express the spirit of this wonderful area they call home, in every bottle.

I tasted my way through 6 small sample bottles of Stillhead

Several “old” releases…

Rye Whisky – Small Cask Finish.  Nose. rye bread and malt Palate. Allspice, toast, coconut and leather.

B-Word – Bourbon Style – Nose. sweet clover, brown sugar  Palate. toasted marshmallow, lemon grass. spice. Cinnamon

And several New Releases…

Rye-tila the Hun Nose. Dried figs, new cowhide, Irish butter Palate. roasted wheat, closer, toasted pine nuts

Smokin Wheat – Nose. Cigar box, fruit preserves, damp embers  Palate. Peat reek, malted milk  incense

Rye Whisky – Maple Syrup Cask  Nose. Fresh cinnamon toast, maple fudge  Palate. candied ginger, toast with butter, apple pie spice

Cask Strength single  malt – Cask 6A  Nose. Freshly torched crème brulee,  beeswax   Palate. toffee, aniseed, black tea poached pears

My thanks for Davin De Kergomeaux, Meagan Haugen-Koechi (Marketing at Stillhead) and Brennan Colebank.

www.stillhead.ca

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

Top Drop 2022

Van Wine Fest 2022

Pinot Noir Blind Taste

Cowichan Wine Events

Sponsor Special – The Gathering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 23rd, 2022 -THE HEART OF WINE COUNTRY – PART TWO

hello

 

THE HEART OF WINE COUNTRY – PART TWO

The Show

It was the first wine gathering of 2022 and the first in two years for many in the room.

(The room was the gorgeous Terminal City Club on West Hastings in Vancouver)

This week, its part two of our interviews with winemakers, agents  and principals.

All representing the Okanagan Falls and Skaha Lake Wineries Assn.

Here’s the Line -up:

 Play Estate Winery  (Skaha Hills) – Gianluca Miceli and the one & only Paul Watkin.(Seacove Group)

They brought over the Play Estate 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon.  French Oak Barrel aged for 16 months.

14%. Lean and totally engaging. Well done Stephanie Breyers,  Winemaker.

Noble Ridge (Okanagan Falls)Benoit Gauthier Winemaker

N/V  The Fizzy One (a pre-release). A beautiful blend of 62% Kerner and 38% Pinot Gris. “it’s for Wine Club Members but for you a tease and a treat”  Hey! Join the club.

Stag’s Hollow (Okanagan Falls)  – Erin Korpisto GM. 

2021 Dolcetto – Wild mix of ripe cherry, plums, rose on the nose plus  spice and dark chocolate. Winemaker Keira Le Franc speaks Italian through wine and  I understand what she’s saying.

Pentage (Skaha Lake) – Ian Jamieson (artwine)

2015 Pentage – The Flagship Red.

35% Cab/29 Merlot & 12 Merlot Ripasso/ 10 Cab Franc/10 Petit Verdot/  4 Malbec

Considering the entire process this wine goes through, partially dried skins then more merlot added – for 8 months, it is totally worth your time and dough to find it and enjoy Winemaker/Owner Paul Gardner’s craft.

Bravo!

 Wild Goose (Okanagan Falls)  Leslie Matheson (Marketing Manager)

2021 Autumn Gold – A well crafted blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc and little bit of Chardonnay.

Wild Goose

www.wildgoosewinery.ca

www.stagshollowwinery.com

www.pentage.com

www.nobleridge.com

www.playwinery.com

www.theheartofwinecountry.ca

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Our 2022 Sponsor special

Top Drop 2022

VanWine Fest 2022

Coastal Craft – Meet the Makers (Victoria)

Stillhead Distilling – Duncan

Chain Reaction Wines – Naramata Bench.

Davin de Kergomeaux – Spirits in the Dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2nd, 2022 -Okanagan Crush Pad. Christine Coletta & Darryl Brooker/ Modest Wines releases  with Jeff Hundertmark  

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Okanagan Crush Pad. Christine Coletta & Darryl Brooker/ Modest Wines releases  with Jeff Hundertmark

  

THE SHOW

A press release arrived this week:

Seasoned veteran Darryl Brooker returns to the industry he is passionate about to lead dynamic growth plans set in motion by Okanagan Crush Pad founders Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie who view the appointment of Darryl Brooker as an important piece of their succession planning.

In addition to overseeing the senior management team, Brooker’s key focus will be facility expansions and to build out the founders’ vision for Garnet Valley Ranch, a 320-acre organic vineyard and farm.

The players

Christine ColettaCo-founder of Okanagan Crush Pad.

A visionary  leader not only in the Okanagan but the entire BC wine industry,

Christine Coletta

Christine and her husband Steve  started a custom crush pad which included their own labels

Haywire, Narrative, The Bub, etc.

Their wine releases are now so successful,  the labels are key to the future of OCP.

 

Darryl Brooker:  New CEO of OCP

Darryl Brooker

Darryl Brooker is a graduate of  UC Davis. Plus management&  science education in Australia

Brooker also served in various capacities from vice president of winemaking to general manager and then president of Mission Hill from  2015 to March 2021. Darryl was also vice president of winemaking and operations at CedarCreek Estate Winery and senior winemaker at Andrew Peller Limited.

It’s great to have him back. With a little staining and wine spitting, he’ll be as good as new.

Enjoy the conversation. Lots of give and take. Opinions abound.

Audio here. Zoom video on our You Tube Channel. (terrydavidmulligan) Its funny at times.

 

Christine brought with her three really fine Spring releases:

2019 Haywire  Gamay Rose.  High elevation Gamay acidity. Seacrest Vineyards in  Oliver.

80% concrete 20% stainless steel. Fermented dry..pressed to concrete.

On lees for 6 months – 13.5 % – $24.90.

Cellared an extra year this Rose  has found its form.   Not to be gulped…take your time.  It’s well worth waiting for.

If you see it – buy it. Taste the future of BC wine.

2019  Free Form – VinGris. (unfiltered Pinot Noir) 12.6 %.  Garnett Valley Ranch. Grown in Limestone and granite Texture, herbal notes.  Whole bunch pressed. Compelling in the mouth.  Causes you to really think about this wine. I think the word for this wine  is “engaged”

Sipping is to believe. The label is made from stone paper. $29.00

If you can’t find it, there may be some at Cactus Club.

 

2020  Narrative 2 Pinots.  13%

From the North Okanagan,  Pinot Gris. From the South,  Pinot Blanc.

Bone dry. Rich Texture. From concrete eggs. Delightfully  delicious

Seafood, pasta, chicken, soft cheese. Or by itself. $22.90

 

 

www.okanagancrushpad.com

www.haywirewinery.com

 

Jeff Hundertmark – Sommelier and Chief Winemaker Mt Boucherie, Rust Wine Co, Modest Wines.

Jeff Hundertmark

Jeff came to the Okanagan from Niagara several years ago. (That’s where we first met)

Back East Jeff was a well-known sommelier and restaurateur who was convinced to add winemaking to his knowledge.

He worked his way through various wine jobs from cellar rat to winemaker.

The more he tasted the wines of BC the more he knew he had to give the West a shot.

And here he is, once again working his way through cellars in the Okanagan.

However, he has found a home at Mt Boucherie. And Rust Wine Co and Modest Wines.

The family owners hold some  300 acres of prime land all over the valley.  During  bountiful years, the cellars are overrun with juice. Frankly, it’s a great problem to have.

However, Jeff is bringing with him today Spring releases from Modest Wines.

The idea of experimentation, risk-taking and paying homage to classic wine regions of the World came from the Modest Butcher Restaurant at the winery.

They wanted a fresh take on wines to pour with their distinctive menu.

Have a look:

2021 The Elder Vicar.   Lazy River Vineyard. South Cawston. Similkameen Valley

A Noble blend of Riesling. Gew. Muscat. Pinot Gris (apples. peaches. apricots)  $24.99

A number of you will go crazy for this blend. I think it’s you people over there..in the corner.

2021 La Graves Robber.  57% Sauvignon Blanc and 43% Semillon. Grown in OK Falls. This has a future.

Ah, my kind of blend.  It has weight and texture. Grapefruit on the nose and palate. Spice. Ripe Melon. Herbs.

All are contained in stainless steel.  $27.99

 

2021 Eye of the Partridge. Pinot Noir Rose. I’ll leave the color story to Jeff.

Grown in South Cawston. On skins for somewhere between 2 hours and 5 minutes or 8 hours. 5 minutes and 24 seconds.

Clean. Dry. Minerality. Raspberry. Strawberry. Did i mention Minerality.  Herbs!  It’s freaking  Delicious!!  $24.99

 

2021 Steen Down So Long  – Chenin Blanc.  Acidity. Fresh. Inspired by the wines of Cape Good Hope. South Africa.

Aged on lees in Acacia Puncheons for 90 days before blending. Just finished the bottle. Go find this wine. $27.99

 

2020 By Jove.  Sangiovese. (with a touch of Merlot & Cab Franc)

Barreled aged 14 months. French, American, and Hungarian Oak.

Well done Ferreira Vineyards. Ripe black fruit. spice. cassis.

Love this wine.  Love it. Paired with ribs and BBQ chicken.  $29.99

Impressive finish. Seeking more immediately. You should too!

2020 Crimson Crusader – Carmenere from the Black Sage Bench.

Whole clustered. French Neutral Oak. 15% New.  14 months.

There may only be 2-3 Carms in the whole of Canada. This is one of them,.

Love your pepper?  Spice ?  Full expressive finish? This wine has it all.

$29.99  Buy early.  Small batch,.

 

www.mtboucherie.com

www.modestbutcher.com

@modestbutcher

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

Moon Curser

Hillside Winery

Unsworth Vineyards

JP Customs/The Hatch

BC Wine Month

Spring Releases

OK Falls Pour Spring Wines In Vancouver.