Tasting Room Radio

September 18th, 2013

Tasting Room Radio AB_BANNER

The Wine Diva has two dozen wines for the Season. Falling in Love with Autumn Wines
We travel to Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island for their wine festival.
Sean Heather – One of the most interesting restaurateurs in Vancouver enters the Hall of Fame.

Daenna Van Mulligen

Daenna van Mulligen returns as The Wine Diva.
Falling in Love With Autumn Wines.
It’s that change of season ..heading fully into Fall. Most of us start looking for more “involved”
Wines..switching from the bright and light of summer to bigger reds and more complex whites.
The Diva brings it…
If you miss info..it’s always listed here and on her website.

  1.  Peter Lehmann ‘Portrait’ Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
  2.  Castiglion Del Bosco Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany Italy
  3. Allegrini Palazzo della Torre, Veronese, Veneto Italy
  4. Antinori ‘Peppoli’, DOCG Chianti Classico, Tuscany Italy
  5. Montebuena ‘Cuvee KPF’ D.O. Rioja, Spain
  6. Plume Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley California
  7. Brazin Old Vine Zin, Lodi California
  8. Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley BC
  9. Quails’ Gate Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley BC
  10. Howling Bluff ‘Summa Quies” Pinot Noir Reserve, Okanagan Valley BC
  11. Altos Las Hormigas, Malbec Classico, Mendoza Argentina BC:
  12. Delas Cotes-Du-Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France
  13. Bartier~Scholefield ‘BS’ Red Table Wine, Okanagan Valley BC Winery
  14. Campo di Sasso Insoglio del Cinghiale, Bibona Tuscany Italy
  15. Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley BC
  16. Evans & Tate ‘Metricup Road’ Shiraz, Margaret River Australia BC
  17. Belle Glos Pinot Noir ‘Clark & Telephone Vineyard’, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  18. Mer Soleil ‘Gold’ Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands
  19. Kettle Valley Viognier, Okanagan Valley BC Winery
  20. La Vieille Ferme Rouge Cotes~du~Ventoux, Rhone Valley France
  21. Sebastiani Chardonnay, Sonoma County
  22. Penfolds ‘Thomas Hyland’ Shiraz, Adelaide Australia
  23. Whitehaven Pinot Noir, Marlborough New Zealand
  24. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage, Okanagan Valley  

Cowichan Valley Wine Festival
We’re off to Vancouver Island and the annual Cowichan Fall Wine Festival.
Just south of Duncan lies the most beautiful farmland and forests.  The ocean view helps as well!
Cow Bay
A breathtaking drive over the Malahat Highway or a picturesque ferry ride brings you to the southern end of Cowichan Valley and the communities of Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay, Duncan and Cobble Hill. Sheltered by a ridge of high mountains to the west and warmed by the Strait of Georgia to the east, the valley has long been called by local First Nations people ‘The Warm Land’. Indeed the region boasts the highest average temperature in Canada, which creates ideal growing conditions for almost any crop. Approximately a quarter of Vancouver Island’s cultivated land is found in the valley and it’s a local tradition to sell products fresh off the farm.
Keep an eye out for vineyards with Tasting Room Open signs, where you can sample aromatic wines that are nurtured by rich soil and the climatic combination of warmth and moisture. Local winemakers work with vinifera favourites such as Pinot Gris, Ortega, and Pinot Noir, along with lesser-known varietals carefully matched to the maritime climate.
Keep an eye & ear out for Blattner Wines.
Valentin Blattner is a grape breeder living on the edge of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. As a young man he had a vision to breed new grape varieties for a changing world, vines that would not require the usual spraying for fungal diseases that most popular grapes need. Of course these new vines needed to produce wines that were both unique yet reminiscent of traditional wine flavours.
Today in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, British Columbia, Ontario and the Canadian Maritime Provinces the dream has been realized. After many years of field trials of the vines and wines, there are finally critically acclaimed wines being released from the Blattner Selections.
Cowichan valley
My hosts were Linda and Mark Holford of Rocky Creek Wines.

Linda and Mark Holford

Linda and Mark Holford

They asked me to host a panel at the winery which I gladly accepted.
Rocky Creek Winery
Guests on the panel included:
Treve Ring Sommelier. Writer. Consultant. Editor. Outspoken and opinionated. Perfect!!
Troy Townsin Author (Wine Feast: Eat. Drink & Discover BC Wine) and Host of Time for Wine on CBC Victoria. Great Overview!
Chris Turyk The new voice and face of Unsworth Vineyards. Doesn’t look like a dirt farmer.
Mark Holford President. Owner of Rocky Creek Winery. And this is his second job!!
Bailey Williamson Winemaker at Blue Grouse. Learned his craft with Michael Bartier at Road 13. Wants to make great bubble.
Tereza Roux Wine Director at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Flight Delayed by Fog. Was Missed.
Other guests included:
Tim Turyk and Daniel Gosman Owner and Winemaker at Unsworth Vineyards. 

This episode of Tasting Room Radio concludes with long overdue interview with Sean Heather.
Sean Heather
Sean arrived in Vancouver from Ireland with the intention of earning enough money to finance a trip to Berkeley, where he hoped to work with Alice Waters.
He soon realized that the only way to beat the grind of the restaurant business would be to work for himself.
He partnered with his sister Roisin and  soon to be wife Erin. Then he opened the Irish Heather in 1997. He worked behind the bar five nights a week, pouring pints for his regulars, while his wife served tables and his sister worked weekends.
Next came Shebeen Whisky House, which opened in 2000, and then the Salty Tongue Café in 2003. After opening Salt to rave reviews in 2006, Sean’s business world grew in leaps and bounds.
Next came Fetch, a coffee kiosk in the old B.C. Electric building at Carrall and Hastings streets, opened in 2009; Judas Goat, a Spanish-style tapas bar next door to Salt, as well as Chinatown coffee shop Everything Café and the Pennsylvania Hotel bakery, all opened in 2010.
There’s also Penn Bakeshop, Bitter and his latest project Rainer Provisions.
He has opened and operated highly successful destinations on some of the toughest streets and alleys on the West Coast.
Plus…he quietly supports local charities including The Portland Hotel Society, The Rainer Hotel and Beauty Night Society.
And That’s why he’s being included into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame and a very welcome guest on Tasting Room Radio.
www.scoutmagazine.ca Gluttony‎



The 62nd annual Niagara Wine Festival

September 11th 2013

Tasting Room Radio AB_BANNER

This week: 14 BC wineries pour their latest releases and the Dean of Canadian Wine Writers John Schreiner ..shares his tasting notes.
Okanagan Crush Pad


It’s the annual Colour BC VQA Fall Release Tasting at the Vancouver Convention Centre
Take a BC wine journey through the growing wine regions of British Columbia!
The largest annual tasting of BC VQA wines in Vancouver, this event hosted 75 BC wineries, showcasing more than 300 BC VQA wines.
We are so pleased to present the talented people behind the wines. We hope you have fun as you discover their new fall releases.
There was ONE other question that I asked most of the people below.
Some very surprising comments came back my way.
For years many of these same wineries were in denial.
Either ducked or wouldn’t answer the question
The new BC wines pour their latest in Vancouver.
The Bartier Boys
Michael Bartier Bartier Bros/Okanagan Crush Pad. Perhaps the busiest winemaker in BC
Ian Sutherland Poplar Grove/Monster Vineyards Between Poplar Grove and Monster..enough wine for everyone
Ian Sutherland Poplar Grove
Jay Drysdale – Bella Ah bella.. Bella!!! Bella!!!!!!! Love that Bubble
Richard DeSilva – Misconduct Pair his wines with Chef Abul Adame and its Heaven
Randy Picton – Nk Mip The one and only Winemaker Nk Mip has had. Solid and very talented.
Randy Picton Nk Mip
Graydon Ratzlaff – Recline Ridge Amazed how good their pours were.
Adrian Cassini – Cassini Cellars Built a beautiful winery south of Oliver. To showcase his award wining wines.
Mike Raffan – Township 7 T7 in two locations. Naramata bench and just outside Vancouver.
Bill Eggert – Fairview Cellars Troublemaker who makes complex, thoughtfull wines.
Ezra Cipes – Summerhill One of the most popular wine destinations anywhere.
Ezra Cipes. 2nd from left
James Cambridge – Backyard Vineyards James brings his talents from Le Vieux Pin. It’s all good
Marty Farrell – Clos du Soleil Great circle of friends, working together. Ace in the Hole? Winemaker Ann Sperling
Helene Pannekoek – Fort Berens in Lillooet. One of the new wine regions in BC. Amazing Reisling.
Nirmal and Pinki Gidda – Mt Boucherie They own over 300 acres. Half the room has sought their grapes and its Pinki’s first interview
John Schreiner – Author. The Dean of Canadian Wine Writers. He reveals his tasting notes on several wines.
John Schreiner



Sean Heather. First question, which do you have more of Children or Restaurants.
The man behind Irish Heather, Salt tasting Rooms, Judas Goat. Shebeen, Salty Tongue etc.
One of which he sold this week.
The Cowichan Valley Wineries throw a party
Niagara presents its 62 annual Fall Wine Festival
Balbo Argentina

Tasting Room Radio AB Sept 4th 2013

Tasting Room Radio AB_BANNER

As September begins to take over our lives..certain things start to come into view.
One is harvest.
The second is a run of Wine Festivals, of all shapes and sizes.
Three food and wine festivals are profiled on this week’s TRR.
Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island
The 62th annual Niagara Food and Wine Festival
The 33rd Okanagan Fall Wine Festival.
Interviews with all three organizing groups and a feature interview with Winemaker JM Bouchard at Road 13 on the Golden Mile. South Okanagan.



Rocky Creek WineryWe start in the Cowichan Valley with Linda Holford from Rocky Creek Winery.
Linda has  invited me to host a discussion at Rocky Creek  on Saturday Sept 14th with three local winemakers from Rocky Creek, Blue Grouse and Unsworth plus wine experts Treve Ring, Tereza Roux from Clayoquot Wilderness Resort and Troy Townsin from CBC Victoria’s Time for Wine.
We’ll focus on two questions
What is The Grape for Vancouver and the Gulf Islands?
Cowichan Valley in the Fall
And for the island wineries..what do you want to be when you grow up??
Linda fills us in on their events Sept 7-15
I also was able to find a panellist,  Troy Townsin..just to get a reaction to the questions I’m asking and the general lay of the wine land.
He joins us from Kelowna.
Then we’re off to  Ontario  for the 62th annual Niagara Wine Festival.  Sept 14-29
They too have asked me to host a discussion.  This time about East vs West. On Sunday Sept 22nd
Kimberly Hundermark  -  Niagara
It’s not about BC vs Ontario, it’s about West Niagara vs Eastern Niagara. It’s shaping up to be quite an event.
It pits competing wineries..competing families and competing regions in a winner take all format.
Joining us on the show are Barry Katzman, co-chair of the festival and president of Mike Weir wines and Stoney Ridge winery and Kimberly Hundermark the Festivals Executive Director.
Okanagan Crush Padand the last wine festival featured is the 33rd annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival
Blair Baldwin Festival founder and Ellen Walker Mathews from Thompson Okanagan Tourist Assn take us through the ever expanding schedule of events that shape BC’s premier festival.October 4-14
Then its straight south to the Similkameen Valley to George Hansen Owner/Winemaker at Seven Stones to find out what’s being planned down there.
JM Bouchard  Road 13
We finish this episode of Tasting Room on The Golden Mile..just south of Oliver, BC.
JM Bouchard has firmly established himself as the winemaker of record at Road 13.
He’s driven, stubborn and dedicated to making the already fine wines of Road 13 even better.
We run through the growing portfolio, the events of the Fall and where he’s taking the wine program in the future.


Wine festival specials  in
Cowichan Valley
The new BC wines pour their latest in Vancouver.

Tasting Room Radio AB August 14th 2013

Tasting Room Radio AB_BANNER

It’s the annual “Let’s go fishing and drink wine” summer vacation special.

This year it’s at the beautiful Skitchine Lodge located on the Bonaparte Plateau north of Kamloops. Guests include Chef Mark Filatow, Master of Wine Rhys Pender, Orofino winemaker and co-owner John Weber, my friend Mary Corbett.
Plus from the Skitchine Chef Jens Larson, Mark and Tania Lee.
Also a visit to the first winery in Kamloops – Harpers Trail.
The Wine Diva returns with her memories of a summer visit to the wines regions of France and 2 days in Paris.
Skitchine Lodge
For the third year in a row I felt the overwhelming need to go fishing and talk food and wine with the right mix of friends.

This year, North of Kamloops to Skitchine Lodge.
Bottom Line – 15 lakes – only ever 14 guests.
Lots of room and lots of lakes – to yourself.

From the Skitchine – Mark and Tania Lee, Managers and hand holders.
They help guests adjust to no cell or data service. Withdrawal is painful.
They answer all the questions we have plus they work with Chef Jens Larson on breakfast and dinner service.
Mark and Tania fill us in on how Skitchine came to be.
How could 15 lakes and miles of forest be protected in pristine condition?
Does each lake have its own character?
What’s the shortest/longest walk between lakes?
Catch and Release?
What flies to fish with?
Who picks the wines for the Lodge cellar?
We sit down on the dock with Chef Jens Larson about where he’s cooked previously (surprising kitchens) and how he gathers all his ingredients because there are no stores for miles. Jens also talks about the five courses he cooked for us.
Mary Corbett and Graeme Dales are good friends and it was they who invited us to Skitchine. Mary guests. (Graeme was fighting a bug in bed.)

Then we head down to the fireplace room on the docks to talk food, wine and fishing with
Chef Mark Filatow – current  winner of the Gold Medal Plates competition  in BC. He’s the force behind Waterfront Bistro in Kelowna. His menu highlights include Tomahawk Chops done on a open fire.

Rhys Pender
is one of a select few Master of Wine in Canada. He and his lovely wife are also owners/winemakers at Little Farm Winery in Cawston in the Similkameen Valley in the South Okanagan. His next door neighbour is our third guest John Weber from Orofino. John’s been on all three trips.
The general rule of thumb for wines consumed was..whattdayagot?
Here’s a photo with all the bottles displayed. It was such fun.

Our thanks go out to Mary, Graeme, Jens, Mark and, of course, Tania.
Those lakes and the resort are not just for fishing..they’re also for Peace of Mind.

Harper’s Trail
We are pleased to introduce you to Harper’s Trail wines, the first wines made from vineyards in Kamloops, BC. They are crushed in Summerland, at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Named for the cattle drive trail of pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper, and tucked into the city outskirts on the bank of the South Thompson River, Ed and Vicki Collett‘s vineyard sits among rolling hills of sage and grass, home to bighorn sheep, bears, and myriad birds. The backdrop of limestone, hoodoos, and a natural spring in the vineyard contribute to the biodiversity of this rare place.

IF….IF Harper’s Trail can make this location work then the entire bench they’re surrounded by could/should one day become a brand new wine region in BC.
With the help of consultant Michael Bartier and the growing team..the sky’s the limit.
There’s now a new reason to drive through Kamloops.

The Wine Diva

Daenna van Mulligen – The Wine Diva – returns from a long planned return to the wine regions of France and 2 days in Paris, where she once lived.
If you have ever dreamt of travelling through France and its wine regions, this segment would be a great primer. Daenna touches on wineries and regions  that impressed. You can tell she liked Paris and the rose’ they poured at every table.
Roger Mooking – Singer and Chef
JC Bekker – South Arican Winemaker
Tyler Harlton – Hockey player, lawyer, Winemaker, Summerland BC
Chris Burns takes us salmon fishing and salmon cooking.
Lou Passaglia, Wally Buono, Marco Iannuzzi. The BC Lions celebrate 60 years of football with a white/red from Ganton and Larson.