Le Vieux Pin The Equinoxe Series

34070 73rd and Black Sage Rd
Oliver, B.C. V0H 1T0

” Equinoxe: equal day, equal night. Equal old world, equal new world.”

The Equinoxe label  from Le Vieux Pin is a very limited production series, with total production ranging from one to three barrels in each vintage.  The winery uses two sorting tables, open top  oak fermentors and a small one ton basket press to produce these wines. The price point is indicative of the labor taken to craft them. They are, as the winery states, pricey.

We did barrel tastings for a few of the Equinoxe wines, as well, as some of the upcoming production, in the early  spring. The samples were showing quite well from the barrel. The Syrah especially was tasting fantastic.  The tasting notes were taken Sept 2012, at a tasting class the winery put on in Vancouver featuring the Equinoxe series of wines. While these are limited production wines with a similarly limited availability from either the winery or selected private wine stores and restaurants, they are well worth searching out. We will be doing a review of their other wines shortly. Look for their Ava, a Viognier/Roussanne/Marsanne blend. Also their regular production of Syrah  and Chardonnay is a great value.

Barrel room

The Wines

Equinoxe Chardonnay 2009 $60.00

Citrus and stone fruit.The warm 2009 vintage brought out the fruit in this wine. There is a well balanced acidity and a Chablis-like minerality. It was barrel fermented and the oak is well integrated.  The vines are 39 years old giving complexity to the wine. We would recommend a pairing with oysters or seafood. This is one of our top two BC Chards. Three barrels total production.

Tech Stuff RS 0.6 g/l alc 13.9% Six months 100% new French Oak

Equinoxe Syrah 2009 $70.00

Black Pepper, ripe fruit and roses.The 2009 vintage was a hot vintage in BC, so this wine is showing ripe fruit and a more rounded acidity . An extremely well balanced wine with a very long finish. This is getting really close to a Rhone style Syrah. A great example of what British Columbia can do with Syrah when the yields are correct. 1.5 tons per acre for this vintage .  It has the South Okanagan black pepper that we  now look forward to. An excellent food wine, especially with dishes with some pepper notes. We also like this as an evening sipper. 160 cases produced.
Tech Stuff Alc 14.8% 18 months French Oak 72% new

With wine maker Severine Pinte

Equinoxe Syrah 2008

White pepper and black cherry. Mere tasting notes do not do this wine any justice. Think finesse and elegance. A wow wine well worth searching out.This is a single vineyard wine grown in slate and gravel soil from the Dead Man vineyard. My all time favorite from Le Viuex Pin.  We should really be keeping this one to ourselves, at least until we buy some more. Winery orders only. 75 Cases produced

Tech Stuff RS 1/g/l, Alcl 14 % 18 months French Oak 50% new

Equinoxe Cabernet Franc 2008 $124.90

A perfect Cabernet Franc. Tobacco and leather . A very long finish. This wine was created from one row of vines in the Feuille D’Or vineyard and only one barrel was produced. It is hard not to make a great wine when the production is  limited to a few perfect vines grown  in the right terroir. Think beef with this one

Tech Stuff RS 2g/l Acl 15.1% 22 months French Oak 100% New

small tank fermentors

Equinoxe Merlot 2008

A very, very big Merlot. Very intense  with big tannins.  A balanced wine with a great nose. Plum, blackberry and coffee notes.  This one will need some aging, but I think will reward those who have the patience to lay it down for a few years. A single vineyard wine from the south end of the Golden mile. To quote the winery “regardless of the vintage, the resulting wine is always intense with firm tannins.” Put the emphasis on intense. Think of a big  grilled rib eye for a food match. 175 cases produced. The 2009 Merlot will be released spring of 2013.

Tech Stuff RS 1.9g/l Alc 14.9% 21 months French Oak 60% New

Le Vieux Pin vineyard uses low input viticulture and sustainable farming methods. The winery is starting to use underground drip irrigation to save water and help with weed control. The deficit irrigation leads to low yields and some concentrated  flavours.  They do on-site composting and are using vinyl posts which last longer and  are better for the environment than pressure-treated wood posts. Le Vieux Pin donates 2% of all online  sales to The PALS Autism School Society. There is also a 10% discount for 12 bottles ordered from their wine club.

Ownership Enotecca Winery and Resorts  

Vineyard Manager Jody Subotin

Wine Maker Severine Pinte

General Manager Rasoul Salehi

Average Case Production <5000

Year Founded 2005

Vineyard Acreage  less than 50 acres

Le Vieux Pin

34070 73rd and Black Sage Rd
Oliver, B.C. V0H 1T0


Tasting Room Hours:April 21st-Sept 30th 10am-7Pm 7 days a week Nov 1st to April 21st 11am -5pm weekdays




by Frank Haddad and Wendy Yackemic

Posted in barrels, BC Wines, Cabernet Franc, canadian wines, Chardonnay, food and wine pairing, Merlot, oak, rhone wines, Syrah, VQA, wine tasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tinhorn Creek

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
32830 Tinhorn Creek RD
Oliver BC V0H 1TQ

Tinhorn Creek

We are going to talk about of a couple of Tinhorn Creek wines and then Tinhorn’s environmental and sustainable efforts in both the vineyard and the winery. No matter how much effort you put into being green and sustainable, you still have to make good or great wines. So, first we are going to review a sampling of Tinhorn wines.

Chardonnay $17.99

We have probably drunk cases, maybe gallons of this wine sitting on decks in the Okanagan. We like this chard. A great summer sipper, it is what we look for in a Chardonnay. A lightly oaked, fruit forward wine.

Tech Stuff PH3.7, RS<2.0g/l, TA6.0, Acl 12.9% 15% new Oak 100% malolactic fermentation.

Cabernet Franc 2010 $19.99

 This is, for me, a great example of what British Columbia can do with Cabernet Franc. A varietally correct wine with dark fruit, tobacco, cedar and herb notes. A big Cab Franc with lots of tannins and a long finish. This wine has vintage variations making it interesting to try, year after year.

You know those days when you kick your shoes off, put your feet up and go ahhh. This is the bottle of wine to pair with that feeling.

Tech Stuff PH3.71, RS<2.0g/l, TA 6.0, Acl 13.9% , 2-3 year old American and French Oak barrels for 12 months.

Oldfield Series 2Bench Rose 2011 $22.99

If you are looking for a sweet Rose this is not it. This is a dry style rose with strawberry and some pepper and spice notes. We have tried to kill this wine with food pairings, to date with no success . Deep fried anchovies did not even faze it. Hot sauce and dim sum? A match. Peppered steak? Good with it. We can see why some restaurants are now serving this wine by the glass. Sorry, it is only sold at the winery, but if you join the wine club there is a discount. We bought a case late this spring and it is all gone.

Tech Stuff PH 3.42, RS <2.0g/l, TA 6.75G/l, Acl 12.9% 100% Cab Franc

The View From Tinhorn Creek

“The team at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards believe that as stewards of the land they must strive for a balance between agriculture and nature”

Tinhorn Creek was the very first Canadian winery to complete the Climate Smart Program and the first winery in Canada to be carbon neutral. The winery was also the first in the Okanagan to use bio diesel in all its tractors. Used barrels  are recycled.  The winery tanks are cleaned with a super efficient high-pressure system to reduce  water usage by 80%.

The bottles used are made from 50% reclaimed glass. All glass, cardboard and paper is recycled.

New Plantings with Drip Irrigation

To quote Andrew Moon, the goal is to manage the vineyards as naturally as possible. All grape residue from the wine making process is composted and used on the vineyards.

The winery plants vegetation in between rows to reduce erosion. No toxic baits  are used to control animal pests. All the vineyards have a buffer zone between the vines and sensitive areas .The winery is converting their overhead irrigation to drip in order to save water.

Prepping for new plantings and irrigation install

The winery also has taken a stewardship role. Tinhorn has been recognized by The Land Conservancy www.conservancy.bc.ca as a Conservation partner thanks, in part, to their Endangered Snake Protection Program. The winery has erected snake barrier fencing, which is about a foot high.  This keeps the snakes in their natural habitat which keeps them of roadways, thus drastically reducing their mortality rate.

The Snake Fence at Tinhorn Creek

Tinhorn staff, with much TLC, have replanted around 6000 native plants at the top of the vineyard to help with the Antelope Brush Habitat Restoration Program.

Tinhorn also supports the Boys and Girls Club of Canada with  2.5% of their annual income after taxes, exhibiting great corporate responsibility.

So, not only are these good wines to drink, but every time you do you are helping the environment as well. A quote from Tinhorn Creek: “We are stewards of the land and our relationships with them; people rely on us for their livelihoods and trust us to keep them safe; we must reduce our production of carbon and conserve the use of water, preserving the integrity of our watersheds”. Pretty much says it all.

Owners Sandra and Ken Oldfield with Bob and Barbera Shaunessy and Shaun Everest

Acreage 150 acres 100 Black Sage Bench, 50 Golden Mile

Year established 1993

Wine Maker Sandra Oldfield

Viticulturist Andrew Moon

Cases Produced 35,000

Tasting room  is open daily from 10am to 6pm from March 1st to December 31st and from 10am to 5pm January 2nd to February 28th.

Maps and Directions

Wine Club


by Frank Haddad and Wendy Yackemic

Posted in barrels, BC Wines, Cabernet Franc, canadian wines, corks, food and wine pairing, oak, Rose, screw caps, Stelvin, Syrah, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painted Rock Estate Winery

Painted Rock Estate Winery
400 Smythe Drive
Penticton BC, Canada, V2A 8W6

Painted Rock

The Painted Rocks

The Wines

2011 Chardonnay $26.70

This Chardonnay is a great food wine. The oak does not overwhelm on this wine because of its nice restrained use. I wish more Chard producers would be this careful with their use of oak. This is not a buttery Chardonnay by any stretch of the imagination. Nice minerality to it. I always have a bottle or two in the wine rack as it is an excellent go-to wine for dinner.

There were three micro harvests on the Chardonnay. The first harvest of golden clusters was approximately 20% of the fruit, five days later they harvested 60% and another six days later they harvested the remaining 20%. These wines were then made separately and blended after five months in new French oak. We tasted a difference in these in the spring, but the blend has worked for this vintage. The first harvest underwent malolactic fermentation and the others did not, so some nice acidity and structure.

Tech Stuff Residual Sugar .1, PH 3.33, Acid 7.5g/l, Alc 14.3% Aged 5 months Sur Lie 100% New French Oak

Syrah 2009 $36.54

Painted Rock has two different blocks of Syah and we tasted both blocks separately this spring from the barrel and thought that they had a winner here. They won a 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC wines for this wine. I think of this wine as old world styled Syrah . Great purple color in the glass , blueberries, dark cherries and purple plums on the palate. It the spiced notes, and the white pepper notes that we like from the upper part of the Okanagan valley. You will love the nose on this wine. The perfect wine for a nice peppered steak. This wine does not need food to smooth it out at all and we have been known to drink it without food, as an evening sipper.  A great wine at good price point.

Tech Stuff RS 2.0g/l, Acid6.1g/l, PH 3.75, Acl 14.3% ,70% new French oak and 25% new American oak 18 Months

Red Icon 2009 $49.02

The nose has some bell pepper, black currants, cedar and a herbal note of mint. The palate has some dark chocolate, coffee with some big fruit, blackberries, and currants from the Cabernet. A big, structured wine with lots of tannins. I have tasted some older vintages of this wine and believe there is a huge aging potential here. Think steak with this one. Winner of A 2012 Lieutenant Governors’ Award for Excellence in BC Wines. Blend 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Sirah, 1% Syrah. The Cab Franc we tasted in the barrel was just a blockbuster. Now if we can just convince John to bottle it on it own?

Tech Stuff  Acid 5.0, PH3.69, RS 2.0 g/L Alc 14.3% 95% New French Oak 18 Months


John Skinner and his team have spared no expense in equipping the winery with all of the best possible equipment and gear. This press is one of the best you can buy for a low production producer. As you can see, it can only handle small batches and the press rate and pressure can be controlled to very small increments.

Gabriel Reis the cellar master is taking a vat sample of the Chardonnay for us in this picture.

Most these barrels iare quality French Oak along with  some American Oak. Very expensive French oak. The oak treatment in all of the Painted Rock wines shows a lot of restraint, we find, with just the right amount of oak  and aging that we have come to expect from all the Painted Rock wines.

It may be hard to tell from the picture, but each one of these vines is pruned differently.  Painted Rock is pruning each individual vine to its optimum bud count so that each vine is producing according to what it can ripen most effectively. The individual vine pruning will also  help the vineyard be more consistent in  future years. Here is a quote from John Skinner when I asked for more info on the pruning “It was to tax the less successful plants less, to balance the vigor and carry the right proportion of fruit . Over time it will be one of the important initiatives that we have undertaken to create as a perfect balance as we can in the vineyard”

One thing that is very easily forgotten when drinking a great bottle of wine from a quality producer such as Painted Rock, is that this is a farm. Not only do you have vintage variation, but nature sometimes conspires against you. This picture is a of  electrified bear fence. One year a tribe of black bears decided that they liked Merlot, a lot. Then ate twenty tons of it. The bear fence was installed shortly there after.

Owners John and Trish Skinner

Vineyard Manager Barry Green

Cellar Master Gabriel Reis

Acreage 25 Acres

Planted 2005

Average case production 5000

Painted Rock Estate Winery

400 Smythe Drive
Penticton, BC, Canada, V2A 8W6

Wine shop open from May 1 to Oct 15 11-5 pm daily
Driving Directions

Tel: 1 604 306 1107 or 1 250 493 6809



by Frank Haddad and Wendy Yackiemec

Posted in barrels, BC Wine Institute, BC Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, canadian wines, Chardonnay, food and wine pairing, oak, Painted Rock Estate Winery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nebbiolo King of Piedmonte



Nebbiolo is considered to be one of the classic grape varieties of Italy. Nebbiolo is also the only grape grown in the great Barolo and Barbaresco DOCG’s. In my next post, I will discuss the Barolo region and the different wine styles being produced there. But for now, we’ll concentrate on the grape itself. Nebbiolo, unfortunately does not seem to travel well from its northern Italian home. There ARE small amounts planted throughout the world, but these plantings fail to live up to the standard Nebbiolo achieves in Piedmont. Another interesting fact; despite the high regard accorded Nebbiolo, it only accounts for 6% of the total vineyard area, even in its primary residency of Piedmont.

The main regions that use Nebbiolo are Barolo and Barbaresco and, even more to the north, Gattinara and Ghemme. For a softer, more approachable and less expensive interpretation, try a Langhe and Nebbiolo d’Alba Doc as an alternative to the big burly Barolos.

Nebbiolo has a very long history. It is probably the oldest vine planted in the Piedmonte. It was first mentioned in 1303 as growing in Canale d’ Alba’. It was actually known as “Nebiolo” even at that early date. In the fifteenth century, you could lose a hand if you cut down a Nebbiolo vine. If you got caught twice, you may have been hanged. They obviously thought quite highly of Nebbiolo even then. As I see it, anyone with the bad grace to cut down a Nebbiolo vine should be hung anyway.

Inferno Vineyard Valtellina

Nebbiolo, as with most old grape varieties, is prone to mutations. There are approximately forty different clones of Nebbiolo, some much more successful than others. Of these original forty, three clones are now widely grown. These three are Lampia, Michet and Rose. Rose, however, has fallen out of fashion due to the light colour of the wines it produces. Some of the minor clones are planted elsewhere in Italy. Picoutener is preferred in the far north, while in Valtellina it its Chiavennasca.

Nebbiolo is fussy about climate and where it puts its feet. It buds early and is late ripening. This grape needs south-facing slopes to ripen properly in the continental climate of northern Italy. Nebbiolo does get the best growing areas of the Laghne, because of the

Fog in Piedmonte

prestige it has in this region and elsewhere in the world. It is thought that Nebbiolo gets its name from ‘Nebbia’, the fog that happens in the Piedmonte in October, when the grapes are finally ripe. Unfortunately, Nebbiolo is also quite prone to Colotura, or poor fruit set. For that reason, it must be sheltered from the winds.

Nebbiolo produces huge wines with full extract and tannins and even more tannins. Did I mention that they have tannins? Surprisingly, these tannins are extracted from very thin skins. The tannins are complimented and balanced by the high acidity of this grape variety. The tannins and acids are essential and enable these wines to age for years. The classic tasting note is black cherries, tar, roses and leather. I prefer the French term goudron, a rather more elegant term than tar. These are not jammy, fruity wines. Think spicy, floral and savory. They become very complex with a little age and defy description at times. Also with age, they take on a brick red on the rim, along with notes of truffle and wild herbs, losing the rose and floral notes. Think big foods with these wines; roasts and game. Wines crafted from Nebbiolo can age for decades, and hold up well with plenty of body and taste. I have had some fantastic wines that were over forty years old. Oh, and that is going to be expanded upon in an upcoming post.

Posted in Italian Wine, Nebbiolo, Wine appellations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stag’s Hollow Winery Tasting


Stag’s Hollow Winery

2237 Sun Valley Way
Okanagan Falls, B.C.
V0H 1R2

Stags Hollow Tasting at The LIft Bar and Grill

We have been doing barrel samples for the last few years at Stags Hollow,
and have always thought that this is a quality winery. The impression we have
always come away with has recently been confirmed, as Stags Hollow has been
declared BC Winery of the year. Today, we had the opportunity to taste these
wines in their proper context, with food. Here are our favorites of the day with the
food matches.

Viognier 2010 $21.99
This wine while still in the vat blew us away with its aromatics.
In the bottle it tastes of peaches, stone fruit and some floral notes with well
balanced, medium-plus acidity. Nice finish. All in all a great example of what
British Columbia can do with Viognier.
Tech Stuff: 100% Viognier, TA7.0 g/l, ph 3.45, RS 2.0L, Alc 13.9%
Spec listing

Renaissance Pinot Noir 2010 $35.00
The winery only does Renaissance wines in great vintages. This Pinot definitely
fits into the great year category. Nice ruby color, red cherry, extremely well
balanced. Rich but not drying tannins. Bordering on an intense style for a BC
Pinot. The alcohol is well balanced with the other components of the wine. All
Estate grown fruit.
Tech Stuff: 100% Pinot Noir, Clones 115 667, TA 6.0 g/,l ph 3.65, RS
2.0g,/l Alc 14.2 Spec Listing,,

Both of the above wines were matched with Roasted Scallops and a Chanterelle
and Leek Risotto. The Pinot Noir with the Risotto was a perfect match as a
complement, while the Viognier was a contrast I thought.

Renaissance Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $24.99
Lemon and lime notes leaning to what I would call citrus with a sweet note. I
thought this wine had a little more residual sugar than the tech notes state. A
little bit of pear to smooth out the citrus. A very skillful light touch of oak. Long
finish. The Winemaker’s notes describe a nervy palate with minerality, a better
description than I could come up with.
Tech Stuff: 91% Sauvignon Blanc 9% Semillon, TA 8.0g/l, ph 3.15,
RS 2.og/l Alc 13.3% Spec Lisitng

Con-Fusion 2011 $17.95
This is a very aptly-named wine. I always get confused trying to pick out the different
grapes involved in it’s production. But who cares. This wine is just for fun and is
very easy to drink. A great patio sipper on a sunny day. They must have had a lot of fun blending this one. Check out the tech notes.
Bad day picking out the RS. I thought it had less than the tech sheet shows. The
sugar and acidity are very well balanced.
Tech Stuff: 46% Gewurtz, 35% Semillon, 8%Muscat, 7%Sav Blanc,
3% Chard, 1% Viognier TA 7.4g/l, ph3.4, RS 7.0g/l, Alc 12.5% Spec

The food pairing was a Mesclun green salad with a pear Vinaigrette and Chevre
Crumble. Both wines complimented the food quite well. The Sauvignon Blanc
had a slight edge, matching the cheese.

Cabernet Franc 2010  $27.99
We were very taken with this Cab Franc from the barrel samples and have been
waiting for the release.
This is great British Columbia Cab Franc, one of the best in the market. Let’s just
say WOW for the tasting notes, and we will be buying a case.
Tech Stuff: 100% Cab Franc TA 6.5g/l, ph 3.75,RS2.0g/l, Alc 13.2%

Syrah 2010 27.99
This winery does Syrah extremely well. It reminds me of Rhone wines with
lots of white pepper and smokey, spicy notes. Lots of dark fruit and blackberry.
Lovely tannin structure. I would not say rough tannins but you know the tannins
are there. Very dark purple colour, probably helped by the Viognier fixing the
colour, Rhone style. A perfect wine with meat dishes. We are getting used to
and expecting this style of Syrah from the OK Falls region, which is quite different
to the Syrahs from Oliver. Not better, just different. This wine will age for quite a
few years, if you can resist the temptation.

Tech Stuff: 91.5% Syrah 8.5% Viognier, TA 6.6g/l, h 3.76, RS 2.0g/l Alc 13.2

The folks at the Lift Grill  and Bar matched both of these wines well. A Cannon of Beef and
Bacon Wrapped Venison Loin with glazed carrots and a Marchand de Vin. Too busy eating and tasting to take a picture of this course.

The wines from Stags Hollow just get better every year. We are looking forward
to tasting in the barrel with Dwight Sick, the Winemaker, next year.

Winery Information

Ownership: Linda Pruegger & Larry Gerelus

Vineyard manager: Larry Gerelus

Winemaker: Dwight Sick

Average case production: 7,200

Designated Viticultural Area: Okanagan Valley

Year founded: 1995

Vineyard Acreage: 9 acres in production, 18 acres newly planted

Phone (250) 497-6162
Fax (250) 497-6152

Toll Free 1-877-746-5569

Wineshop hours

May to October
11:00am to 4:30pm daily.


Posted in BC Wines, canadian wines, food and wine pairing, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, VQA, west coast wines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shipping Canadian Wine Across Borders, Bill C-311 and Free My Grapes – Natalie MacLean

See on Scoop.itIn The Glass Wine and Spirits News

See on www.nataliemaclean.com

Posted in BC Wines, Bill C 311, Canadian Wine law, canadian wines | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bill C311 Wine shipping in Canada or Cowboys and Indians

On Tuesday May 29th bill C 311 was posed to pass it’s third reading in Canada’s Parliament. Introduced as a private members bill by Dan Albas, this bill  supposedly had support from all the parties and was sure to pass. The wine industry and Canadian consumers were holding their breath and getting ready to pull some corks and celebrate. Finally after eighty years, shipping wines between provinces was going to be legal. Free My Grapes was going to happen. Our Nell was going to become an honest woman !

Lets tell this story through media articles and what happened on social media. To start let us look at an article from lawyer Mark Hicken   http://www.winelaw.ca/cms/index.php/news/1/206-canadian-wine-shipping-law-reform-coming-closer.  There was also an article in the Penticton  Western News  titled  “Politicians rally around wine bill”, with pictures and everything of everyone standing around drinking wine and smiling, it is all going to be good, right. It is always going to be good when the pols are drinking wine. At least they where drinking B.C. wine .http://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/news/154260875.html. Expectations were high. Even I felt the glow. It was all going to have a happy ending.

No corks pulled, no celebrations. It had all gone sideways. No B.C. wine for you Ontario. I will still have to smuggle wine back and forth across the country.  The bill had stalled.  The earliest possible time to pass would be in the fall, or perhaps never . Our poor Nell was tied to  the railroad tracks with the train speeding ever closer. The Villains dressed in black sitting on the side lines, laughing maniacally. Our hero was similarly  trussed up and could not save our poor Nell.

Our Poor Nell

So what happened ?  How did our poor Nell get tied to the tracks ?  At best, was she going to have to  go back working in the Saloon  serving Cellared  in Canada wines? Here is a great article from BC Wine Lover on how it all went wrong. http://bcwinelover.com/2012/05/bill-c-311-stalled-by-political-filibuster/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bcwinelover+%28BC+Wine+Lover%29. Stalled by a political filibuster.

Instant anger and a sense of how could they do that to our Nell. Then all hell broke loose on social media. Facebook and Twitter went nuts. There is a weekly forum on twitter with the hashtag #bcwinechat. BC Wine chat is hosted by Sandra Oldfield from Tinhorn Creek every Wednesday night on Twitter at 8:00PM PST. Here is link to the conversation http://www.coveritlive.com/index.php?option=com_altcaster&task=siteviewaltcast&altcast_code=9b0d3d04a5&height=550&width=470 . Here are some of the stats, all in a forty eight hour period. There were 1500+ tweets with 2.5 million impressions, 358 contributors in that hour alone during #BCwinechat. Meanwhile the #freemygrapes hashtag on twitter had 1031 tweets with 345 contributors with 1.5 million impressions. There were also over 250 (I stopped counting) tweets directed at Thomas Mulcair to get his party on board to let the bill pass. I do not need to comment on the numbers, but the audience was booing the villains from their seats.

Meanwhile the press, in another scene, were commenting on the Villains’ behavior. An article from the National Post http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/05/30/john-ivison-popular-wine-bill-stalled-by-ndps-cynical-games/  The national media was commenting on the cynical games, and why our poor Nell was tied to the tracks and about to be run over.

Wait, fade to black, another scene at the zoo, I am sorry it was on Parliament Hill, wrong movie. The villains say they did not mean it and offered to untie our poor Nell. It was all a mistake, a misunderstanding.http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/story/2012/05/30/pol-wine-between-provinces.html.

I will let the hero of our story tell us what happened next. He was all tied up, but wait, an unlikely group, the Indians, come and help out and offer to untie our hero and rescue our poor Nell. http://daninottawa.com/2012/05/31/bill-c-311-the-ottawa-update-part-four/

Stay tuned for next week as our hero and the Indians are rushing to the train tracks to save our poor Nelll. The villains have said they are putting on their white hats and will not stop our hero from untying our poor Nell.  Will our hero make it in time ? Are the Villains really going to help before the train runs her over. Wait ! There is another group that can force our poor bill back to the saloon.  Like I said stay tuned ! http://www.winelaw.ca/cms/index.php/news/1/210-canadian-wine-law-reform-back-on-track

Here are some some more comments on the story of our poor bill.
















Posted in Bill C 311, Canadian Wine law, Tin Horn Creek Wines, VQA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media Comments and Stories on Bil C311


A few articles this week on wine shipping in Canada and Bill C311. The saga continues.

Kelowna News Mainstream Media


BC wine Lover Blog Post


Global TV Mainstream Media


CBC News Sudbury Mainstream Media


National Post Mainstream Media


Globe and Mail Mainstream Media


CTV CA Mainstream TV


Kelowna News Mainstream Media


Globe and Mail Mainstream Media


Windsor Star Mainstream Media


AM 1150 Mainstream Radio



Vancouver Province Mainstream Media


The Merritt Hearld


Old Fields Wanderings Web Blog


SteepCreek Web Blog


The Toronto Sun Mainstream Media


Posted in BC Wines, Bill C 311, Canadian Wine law, tinhorn creek, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guess the BC Winery

We have spent the last few days in the Okanagan, doing barrel tasting and meeting wine makers. From the pictures below can you guess which vineyards or wineries we have visited ? We will be doing a series of blogs on each of these wineries and their wines over the next few weeks.  In a few days we will post the correct answers. Leave your answers in the comment section.

Picture No 1

Picture No 2

Picture No 3

Picture No 4

Picture No 5

Picture No 6

Picture No 7

Posted in BC Wine Institute, BC Wines, Hester Creek, Oldfield Merlot, Painted Rock Estate Winery, Stags Hollow Winery, Tin Horn Creek Wines, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vancouver International Tequila Expo

The Vancouver International Tequila Expo will be taking place Saturday May 12th, truly a do-not-miss event.  By attending, you will also be helping the BC Hospitality Foundation. There will be an impressive lineup of quality Tequilas  available for tasting, with a varied selection of Tequila brands, styles, and expressions. This will be an excellent opportunity to taste the different styles of modern quality Tequilas in one place. Some of the producers  represented will be Cabo Wabo, Herenca de Plate and one that has impressed me, Tavi , among many others. The emphasis here is on quality and artisanal producers, many new to British Columbia. This Expo will change your idea of what Tequila is and will definitely raise the profile of Mexico’s premier spirit in our native province.

Whatever you have been led to believe, the agave spirit of Mexico is becoming   quality-driven and sophisticated, produced by second and third generation  Tequileros across Jalisco, Nayarít and Michoacan. We are now talking about tequilas being barrel aged and low production artisanal products. We are not dealing with shooters here. These are sipping Tequilas on par with Scotch and Bourbon.

There are some  excellent seminars to learn more about Tequila. Eric Lorenz, Canada‘s National Tequila Examiner is doing Tequila 101 from 11AM to 12:30PM. Having been to Eric’s seminars, I can attest that this will be an excellent opportunity to really learn how Tequilas are produced and where. We always learn something new from Eric about Tequila. There is also a Seminar on The Ancient Origins Of Agave Spirits from 1PM to 2:30PM.

                                                            Platinum Sponsor

The Flavors and Aromas of Barrel-Aged Tequilas

This is a seminar I am not going to miss, a joint effort by Sommelier Tim Ellison of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and Eric Lorenz of Lorenz Agave Spirits.  Tim is a wine and spirits educator who always entertains while educating. Eric Lorenz is one of the most knowledgeable Mexican spirits instructors in Canada. In this seminar, we will taste 6 premium and ultra-premium 100% agave tequilas, while analyzing differences in barrel toast, maturation time, French vs. American oak, the use of bourbon, scotch, sherry, and wine barrels for tequila aging, and to use their words, ‘so much more!’ The world’s only tequila-specific aroma kit, designed by Maestra Catadora Ana Maria Romero from Guadalajara will be used to help teach about the aromas of tequilas. This seminar will be held at Legacy Liquor Store Tues May 8th from 7PM to 8:30PM 1633 Manitoba Street Tickets are $45 with only 36 Seats available.

Tasting Menus at participating restaurants around Vancouver

Las Margaritas

The Edge Social Grille Lounge

Pacific Institute Of Culinary Arts

Doolins Irish Pub
The Expo’s Main Event will also be accompanied by a Trade Tasting on Saturday May 12th from 3PM till 5PM..

Press Release for Ticket Prices

Vancouver Convention Centre
999 Canada Place
Saturday May 12th
6pm to 9pm

Come to The Main Event and taste the excellent selection of tequila brands, styles, and expressions offered by our exhibitors in a fun yet elegant setting. Regular ticket price is $65 and includes ten (10) tasting tokens. Partial proceeds to benefit the BC Hospitality Foundation.

Early Bird tickets:
Get your tickets before April 15th at the super early bird price of $45 per ticket.
Get your tickets before April 30th at the early bird price of $55 per ticket.
After May 1st all tickets sold at regular price – $65 per ticket.


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Food and Wine Perfect Harmony At Tinhorn Creek

– Tinhorn Creek Vineyards  has announced their exciting line-up for its 2012 Canadian Concert Series. The coveted annual event is a rare opportunity to see some of Canada’s top talent while sipping award-winning wines and enjoying a breathtaking view of the South Okanagan Valley. Tinhorn Creek’s outdoor amphitheatre sits atop the winery’s hillside overlooking the famed Golden Mile, and is a one-of-a-kind venue for dancing the night away under the stars. Premiering May 26th, the 2012 Canadian Concert Series features up-and-coming Canadian talent every month and ends with a highly recognized Canadian performer to close the season. Hailing from East Vancouver, The Boom Booms open the festival on May 26th with their “Latin-soul-funk-rock-reggae” music. On June 23rd, Victoria-based pop-rock quartet Acres of Lions will showcase their lyrically-driven sound, while July 28th will see west coast band Redeye Empire entertain with their “unique blend of reggae, ska, rock and hip-hop.” Vancouver quintet Said the Whale caps off the four-part series on August 25th with its brand of west coast indie pop, bubblegum folk, hard rock and ukelele ballads. Perched on the picturesque Tinhorn Creek Vineyards estate on the famed Golden Mile, Miradoro Restaurant will offer several different BBQ food options prepared by Executive Chef Jeff Van Geest; Tinhorn Creek wines will be available by the glass or bottle. Miradoro also offers dinner and concert packages for those wishing to sit on the patio during the concert. Named one of the “World’s Best Winery Restaurants” by Wine Access Magazine, the destination restaurant offers stunning views of the South Okanagan Valley wine country. Tickets to the Canadian Concert Series are now on sale and are some of the most sought-after in the South Okanagan and beyond, as only 500 tickets are available for each show. Ticket prices are as follows: The Boom Booms, $25; Acres of Lions, $25; Redeye Empire, $35 and Said the Whale, $40. Season Passes provide one ticket to each concert. Priced at $100, it’s like receiving four concert tickets for the price of three. Only 150 Season Passes are available. All concerts start at 7pm (gates open at 6:30pm). Tickets are available through Tinhorn Creek’s online store or by telephone: Online store: http://www.store.tinhorn.com/wineshop/concerts Phone: 250.498.3743 or 888.484.6467

Tinhorn Creek Press Release

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New Website a and Twitter Group For BC Wine

There is a new website and twitter discussion group on BC Wine. The first posting is about inter provincial  wine shipping. Check it out at http://bcwinechat.com/  This discussions have been great so far. Join in a learn more about the BC Wine Industry from the wine makers themselves.

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A Terrible Crime is Going to be Committed in Canada

There is going to be a terrible a crime committed in Canada May 13th. This criminal act  about to be committed was brought to my attention by  Jonathan Wilson. Jonathan has given me permission to repost his report on the  horrible crime about to be committed. As a public service here is his report.

Ever see the movie Minority Report?  You know, before Tom Cruise completely lost it?  Well, maybe he had already lost it and Spielberg was able to control him for that particular film…

Regardless, the movie featured psychic people who were able to predict when someone was going to commit a crime, and they were able to arrest the person before they even executed the unlawful act.  Very effective, right?  Right.  Well, I am telling you this because apparently while watching it the other day, I obtained the ability to do the same. I had a similar vision of someone breaking the law, and I wanted to let you know so that you could stop it.

On Friday May 13th, someone departing Robert L. Stanfield International Airport in Halifax on an Air Canada flight will be taking a number of award-winning bottles of wine made here in Nova Scotia onto an airplane and illegally transporting them to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  I know.  Scary stuff, isn’t it? Apparently this person plans on sharing these NS wines with wine writers, wine bloggers, and anyone else who cares to try them and marvel at their deliciousness while at the Taste Camp North conference.  I am telling you this so you can alert the authorities and they can stop this act before the people in Ontario are subjected to these wines.  The law this reckless person plans to break has been in affect since prohibition times, so you know that it means business.  I don’t want to hear about the fact that this law is outdated.  He need to be stopped.  People across this country do not need access to the wines made in Nova Scotia. It will only complicate things.  What’s next, you think that the wines of Nk’Mip Cellars or Black Hills Winery should be able to be shipped to Nova Scotia or Ontario as well????  You want people to be able to bring back the wines of Tawse and Vineland estates???  What is wrong with you people?  This needs to stop.  If this happens, people may be more inclined to drink Canadian wine instead of Chilean, Californian or Australian!  NOOOOO!!

Listen, if you really feel the need to transport wines across borders, go to the United States.  That way you can buy the wine, and carry it across the border legally.  If you are bringing it from another country, that’s fine!  But taking it across borders in Canada in which there are no border guards is just plain ridiculous.  You need to do your part.  Protect your land!

Now,  I know this person’s flight number and the type of car they will be renting when they land at Lester B. Pearson International Airport.  If we can’t stop him before he leaves Halifax, we can at least get him before he gets the wines in the hands (and palates) of all the educated people at the conference.  If he is allowed to do that, the demand for the products will go up and it will create a huge buzz in the Canadian wine world.  We cannot have that.  If we can’t get him going to Ontario, he will certainly try to take back some Niagara wines to Nova Scotia upon his return.

I have posted a picture and profile of the person below so you can track him down.  Note how sinister he looks.  Every person who brings wine across a provincial border is breaking the law and will look as sketchy as he.  Do what you can, and turn him in:

Name: Jonathan Wilson

Profession: Sommelier/Wine Blogger

Height: 5’7

Weight: 180

Hair: N/A

Eyes: Stunningly blue

Beard: Well manicured and brown.  Note: this will make his eyes seem even more blue.

Status: Armed with a Laguiole corkscrew, passion and knowledge of many wines

He usually wears more casual clothes, so don’t look for the normal sommelier snobby wear.  Be on the lookout for loud sarcasm as it is a tell-tale sign that you have found him.  He is not to be underestimated. Do your part on May 13th and stop the transport of wines across Canadian provincial borders.  It is the most sinister crime there is…

That was Jonathans report from his blog http://labeled.ca/ I have been guilty of the same crime, I must admit. I have taken http://www.tinhorn.com/   Cab Franc to friends in Ontario. If you think that the law should be changed please go to http://freemygrapes.ca/links.shtml and sign the petition,please.

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Vintage Barolos or pour and they will come

There are wines that burn their way into your taste memory and turn rational analysis on its head. Somewhat like the magic of a great work of art, or the heartbreak of an exquisitely performed opera.  Try to bear this in mind because we are about to encounter one of those wines.

The Line Up

The original line up for the tasting was two bottles each of the following wines: (My thinking, of course was that if one of these beauties was hopelessly lost, the other would, hopefully, still be palatable).

1962 Bersano Barolo, 1964 Giovanni Scanavino Barolo, 1978 Mauro Barolo, 1979 Bolla Amarone, 1981 Fontafredda Barolo and 1980 Brunello de Montalcino.

There were two more wines from the collection added to the list by popular vote: a 1981 Casa Vincola Nino Inferno and a 1984 Sassicaia.

The guests for the evening were as follows:  two WSET Instructors with decidedly different teaching techniques, a Chef who also imports Italian wines among his other myriad endeavors, the wife of one of the WSET instructors, a very charming lady in her own right,  and a knowledgeable wine geek with no verbal inhibitions. We also had a friend with us whose wine knowledge basically consists of knowing what she likes, possibly not why, but who is never impressed by labels.  Add to the mix myself and, of course, Wendy, who shares most of the wine I drink and definitely all the good ones.

1962 Bersano Barolo

I had only  two bottles of this wine left in the cellar. The labels were scuffed and torn. Ullage was good, very high shoulder. I had high hopes for these; Barolos, produced before Barolo became a Doc. One bottle was the first to be opened  and was decanted for most of the evening. The second bottle was opened later and also decanted and aerated.  The nose never came around. To put it in wine geek terms, they ended up being DNPIM and PDTS. Do Not Put In Mouth and Pour Down The Sink. So sad.

1978 Mauro Osvaldo Barolo

Typical old Barolo. Orange rim, light red colour . A little past its prime sadly, but still drinkable. Lots of sediment, still some tannins left, but soft. Still an enjoyable wine.

1981 Fontanafredda Barolo

There was a lot of bottle variation between these two bottles. Both bottles were quite acceptable and drinkable. Bottle number one still had quite a bit of floral, rose notes while bottle number two had not as many aromatics. Both bottles had high amounts of volatile acidity, but in a juicy, lip smacking way. Clear, garnet coloured with an orange rim. Clean on the nose, but not a lot of intensity. Tarry with a tiny hint of sherry notes. Tannins were smooth, medium minus. This wine was full-bodied with more on the palate than the nose. At its outside edge of being drinkable.

1981 Casa Vincola Nino Negri Inferno

I foolishly made a comment that I would open two more wines from my collection to be determined by a popular vote. Democracy is a terrible thing. We do not have any Infernos available here and, of course, we needed to try another nebbiolo. The nebbiolo character was there, but the Inferno lacked the power of the Barolos. Not a lot of aromatics remained, but this wine was still interesting on the palate. The nose was clean, but a little tired. The tannins in this wine were still much in evidence, as with the Barolos, but the refinement was lacking.

1984 Sassicaia

The Sassicaia was another one of the wines that everyone wanted to taste. I thought that it would be a good benchmark wine for the Barolos. Different region, different style. Wonderful wine, but the Barolos muscled it into the background and kicked sand in its face. It should not have been tasted with the Barolos. I have had this wine before and it was remarkable when experienced on its own. I thought the Cabernet would stand out more when compared with the Nebbiolos.  That supposition turned out to be utterly and completely wrong.

1980 Brunello di Montalcino

Quite frankly, I did not intend to open this wine for this tasting. But, we had run out of wine. And…when you have a room full of wine geeks clamoring for more,  it is definitely in your best interest to keep them entertained. This is one of Wendy’s favorites. “The Girl on the Label Wine”. This Brunello also outdid the Sassicaia.  It has aged well, always lots of aromatics and fruit. As this was one of the wines tasted later in the evening, there were not a lot of detailed notes from anyone, just a lot of head nodding and lip smacking. It was picked as the second best wine of the evening. Every bottle of this wine that I have been privileged to experience has amazed me with its freshness and ability to persevere. Tannins like silk.

1964 Giovanni Scanavino Barolo

At last we come to the star of the evening. Both bottles were virtually identical. The labels were almost perfect, ullage was as when just bottled. These were ready to drink upon opening. Everyone started out doing the tech notes on this go round. Tasted blind, this wine would have sung out Nebbiolo; tar and roses and violets in the background. The fruit was hanging on like a suit that has seen better days, but is so well-made you always choose it. When the first bottle was poured, the descriptors were flying about the room. Then, one by one, everyone seemed to have their moment of silence and meditation. It takes a remarkable wine to shut up a room full of  wine geeks with a glass of wine in their hands. Yet,we sometimes recognize when a wine deserves and demands our attention.  This is one of those wines. What  the  hell was this winemaker thinking when he was working with this wine? This is definitely a wine of its place and of its terroir. It must have been really incredible in its prime. Like Pavarotti’s final performances, the power and the life is still there. Still breaking our hearts.

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Barolo Wine of Kings

Barolo is one of the great wines of the world.  It was one of the first DOCGs granted, in 1980, which attests to the quality of wine produced in the region. This is a small DOCG, all of seven miles long and at its widest five miles, in the Piedmont region in northern Italy.  Barolo wines have an ability to age for decades. The only grape permitted is the tannin monster, Nebbiolo.
Fontanafredda in the 1900’s

It has been called the “King of wines and the wine of Kings”. Barolo was one of the favorite wines with the nobility and the ruling Kings of Savoy. The King of Savoy, Carlo Alberto owned various wine making estates in the region.  His son Victtorio Emanuele founded the estate Fontanafredda and the colors of the House of Savoy are still visible on the Frontafredda buildings to this day. Wine made by Kings and for Kings.

Barolo and Nebbiolo both have a long history in the region but we will only highlight some of the important dates. Nebbiolo was mentioned as early as the 1200s. Some early legislation was enacted in 1909 to try and define the area and protect the name of Barolo. The boundaries changed a few times in the 1920’s and in 1930 and again in 1934. However, there was little change in the region during the war years. In 1966, Barolo was awarded its DOC and its DOCG in 1980, again with some small boundary changes.

The Barolo zone has many different mesoclimates, soil types and altitudes that have broad effects on the wine produced. To simplify the complicated geology, there are two basic soil types producing two broad styles of wine. The wines of the Serralunga Valley tend to be a little bigger, with more tannins and higher alcohol. This area has a sand and limestone soil structure. The Central Valley to the west, La Morra, and the Barolo commune itself, to me, have more perfumed and truffle aromas, with less tannins.  This valley has more clay and manganese in the soil. The wine producer can at times override the terrior though; it is best to compare one producer’s different versions.


There are eleven communes in the DOCG.  Five which produce the majority of wine: Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and Monforte d’Alba . The other six are Verdune, Novello, Diano d’Alba Grinzane, Cavour, Roddi and Cherasco. These communes have been further divided into Cru style vineyards, somewhat similar to Burgundy. These vineyards though, have not been assigned a status as have Burgundy’s premier crus or grand crus.  The Slow Food Group spent quite a few years researching and mapping these vineyards. This mapping was built upon Renato Ratti’s “Carta del Barolo”. Many producers since the eighties have been doing single vineyard bottling; you will see the name of the vineyard on the label. Some producers still only bottle a regional wine made from blends from vineyards all over the region, which is more traditional. Their thinking is that a blend of various vineyards makes for a better fuller wine. With all the possibilities of commune vineyards, producers and soil types you could have a nice lifetime hobby tasting all the variations and styles.

Barrique at Marquis de Barolo

There has been some controversy in the past about how Barolo should be made. There are the tradionalists and the so-called modernists. The tradionalists use long maceration periods of 20 days or more and use older, large barrels called botti, usually made from Slovenian oak. This style produces the more tannic, lighter colored versions of Barolo. The modernists use much shorter maceration times, seven to ten days and use smaller barrique size barrels, made from French Oak. This is the more international style with more approachable tannins, more color and fruit. A huge controversy developed in the 1980s, when families warred and even went their separate ways over how to make Barolo.  It now seems that more producers are falling into a middle ground. The end result is that these wines are more approachable and can be enjoyed without years of aging, as in the past.

I thought this was interesting. It is taken from article eight of the DOCG regulations on what Barolo should be.
Color: garnet red, shot through with orange.
Odor: characteristic perfume, ethereal pleasurable and intense.
Flavor: dry, full, robust, austere yet velvety and harmonious
Annual production: 8 million bottles depending on vintage.
Aging: must be aged for three years, one must be in wood. Some producers will age longer. Yields: 56 hl/ha or 3.2 tons per acre.
Acreage planted: 4285
Posted in Barolo, Italian Wine, Nebbiolo | Tagged , | 4 Comments