SOBER January - Non-Alcoholic Wine - Vandalia 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

Well, the holiday season for 2013 has come to and end and that means SOBER January begins. This is basically my first sober January since I was 17....meaning, it IS time to have a sober month. However, my birthday is in January and I said before I started this month, I MAY still have a few 'adult' beverages to celebrate (I always can find an excuse to drink if need be). So, that will be TBD as to whether or not I do drink on my birthday or remain entirely sober for the whole month. 

With that said, the wine videos must go on! So this video I have decided to feature a non-alcoholic wine. Yes, that is correct - I know, it's shocking to find out that there is such a thing, but there is. And this video is featuring just that! 

As much as it's always fun to have wine and even get a bit (or a lot) tipsy, one must always incorporate balance into ones life. I encourage detoxes, clean eating and yes, even taking a break from the booze now and then. I hope you enjoyed this video and I wish you all the best for this new year! May you all be healthy, joyful and have a year full of abundance :-)

 

x.h

Vancouver Wine Club for Beginners - Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tasting

Earlier this month I attended the Vancouver Wine Club for Beginners Meet Up. It's held once a month at Sheraton Wall Centre and you can find out more information on the club here if you're interested in attending yourself. Each month they host a great little wine tasting that is fun, informal and not intimidating for those wanting to learn more about wine. I recommend checking it out for sure! 

This video is just some footage I took during the tasting as well as a little interview I did with Jay Whiteley, Assistant Wine Director, at Hawksworth Restaurant here in Vancouver. Take a peek for some quick and basic sparkling wine tips and fun footage! 

Thanks for watching and I hope you learnt some fun little tidbits on sparkling wine and champagne :-) 

x.h

Holiday Wine Picks for 2013 - How to look like a Wine Superstar!

Just in time for the holidays are my top wine picks! So if you’re going to or hosting a holiday party, I recommend these four bottles of wine. I chose 3 reds and 1 white. I actually hosted a little party and these were the wines that I served.

Watch my video below, or scroll down a bit and you’ll see what I have to say about them as well. (Heck, you should live a little and do both….watch the video AND read my blog…then when you’re done you mine as well share this with all your friends and family too!!!) 

The white wine that I thought would be a great ‘winter holiday white’ is actually a wine I featured in a video awhile back. It’s Astrolabe’s Sauvignon Blanc, you can click here to view that video if you would like: http://youtu.be/CJHcr-nf_lI . In my previous video, I feature the 2011 vintage. This holiday video features the 2012 vintage. I found this particular vintage to have more peachy notes and less mineralaity than the previous year. Still reminds me of summer though and its oooohhhhhh so delicious! I’ve had several other Astrolabe wines and have been impressed by all of them. So if you choose another one from this winery instead, you likely will still be quite happy with your selection and so will your guests. I also think that featuring a New Zealand white wine from the Marlborough region is something a little bit different because I do think there are a lot of people who aren’t really aware of how fabulous these wines are – so you’re likely to impress a few folks too (and lets be honest, who doesn’t like impressing others!?). You will be the Wine Superstar at the party in no time!

For the reds, I selected Belle Glos 2012 Meiome, which is a Pinot Noir from California. Now, I know that some of you are thinking…OMG I HATE Pinot’s…but I urge you to try this one and then tell me if you still hate Pinot’s. I do like Pinot’s, but like many, a good Pinot hard to find at times. This one took me about 2 years to find since the previous Pinot I thought was amazing and noteworthy, so with that alone – this is a MUST TRY wine! It’s elegant and traditionally French/Old world in style (I believe it’s also aged in French oak), so it’s got more earthy, spicy notes rather than some of the other fruiter Pinot’s you might find out there.

The second red I chose is the 2012 Felino Malbec by Vina Cabos. This is from Mendoza, Argentina and I chose this one because it seems like EVERYONE these days are into their Malbec’s. Before it was Shiraz, now it’s Malbec’s, so you definitely need at least one Malbec on hand this holiday season and I think this is a great one. Nicely balanced on the palate and not to tannic, so it’s quite friendly for a variety of wine drinkers over the holidays.

Last but not least, I threw in a little 2011 Freakshow – by Michael David Winery. This winery is the same winery that produces 7 Deadly Zins. I’m only pointing that out because it’s a popular wine out there and sometimes we like to know where things are coming from and support what we may already like. Freakshow is Cabernet Sauvignon with some Petite Syrah blended in. I purely chose this wine because of the label and the name. Being the holiday season…sometimes family get together’s can be a little ‘nutty’ to say the least, so I thought a wine named Freakshow might just be appropriate to throw in the mix this holiday season. Turns out that when I tried it, I loved it! So I don’t think you will go wrong with this wine either. It’s a great medium bodied wine that has nice complexity and structure. The bottle of this wine is likely also going to be a conversation piece because it has a lot going on in the label. I would probably leave this bottle out on display for others to view and let your guest’s converse away. Might be a good bottle to help get over any awkward silences around the dinner table, or help fill any brief gaps in discussions with the in-laws. And on side note, if your in-laws don’t like you, you could perhaps point out one of the ‘freaks’ on the bottle and reassure them, that’s not you so you’re not sure what their hang up is. NO, I’m just kidding DON’T say that because that will most definitely be followed by another (and much longer) awkward silence….

With that said, these are the wines I would recommend this holiday season. If you’re looking for another white wine to feature, Joie’s Noble Blend is good. So is Blasted Church’s Hatfield’s Fuse. Or perhaps a Pinot Gris would be a nice alternative option from the Astrolabe’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Whatever wines you do chose, be sure to have lots of fun and laughter this holiday season and DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!! Be save everyone and Happy Holiday’s!

 

x.h

https://www.youtube.com/winewithmeca

https://www.facebook.com/WineWithMeCa

https://twitter.com/WineWithMeCa

http://instagram.com/winewithmedotca

 

 

 

 

Diary Entry #38 - When "Leftovers" are a good thing...

It’s sure nice to be back in Vancouver! Back to sleeping in my own bed, home cooked meals and of course…partying with my friends again! In fact, I threw a birthday party for my boyfriend just this past weekend and my very awesome friends brought over more booze than they could drink, therefore, leaving some leftover wine for yours truly, me, to enjoy!

So because of my oh so generous and fabulous friends, I’ve decided to vlog some of the leftover wine from the party! We don’t want to anger the wine gods (they are real and not just a figment of my imagination), so this leftover wine must be consumed and not poured down the sink. And what do I often do when I drink wine at home….film it for all to see :-)

THANK YOU for watching and please subscribe to my YouTube channel, like me on Facebook and while you’re at it, follow me on twitter!!

Sending my love to all you beautiful people and may the beauty you love, be what you do <3

x.h

Diary Entry #37 - BEES & Blowing Bubbles - Feat. 20 Bees 2011 Cabernet Merlot

Since I’m in Ontario for a couple of weeks, I thought it would make sense to feature an Ontario wine in this video. I chose 20 Bee’s 2011 Cabernet Merlot from Niagara, Ontario. Niagara is another wine region in Canada; unfortunately in BC we don’t get enough Ontario wine. I personally think that’s lame because I would love to be drinking more Ontario wine and supporting other local Canadian wine producers. 

Since I currently know practically nothing about Ontario wines, I chose this wine purely based on the fact it had the word ‘Bees’ on the label. Lately, my boyfriend and I have been watching an Arrested Development marathon so it seemed appropriate. If you have watched Arrested Development you will know exactly why I chose this wine. If you haven’t, I inserted a couple of clips from the show into my video, hope it makes sense but if not you’ll just have to take my word for it. The ‘Bees’ clips from this show are some of my favorites so it just made sense to try this wine. (Yes, I am aware my brain works in funny ways.)

This wine was a bit lighter in color than I had expected for a cabernet merlot. Maybe because this wine was fermented in the skins for only 14 days, which doesn’t seem like a long time to me, but I’m no expert or a winemaker. I found aromas of maraschino cherries, vanilla with some nice sweet notes as well. My friend said it smelled like gasoline and paint thinner (obviously not a wine lover lol!) The palate had nice medium body with red berries. The tannins were medium and I found the wine to have decent structure. I believe this wine cost around $12, so for that price it has really great value! 

This video was filmed at a friends house and the topic of aerating wine came up…so of course it seemed like a great idea to blow bubbles in my wine glass with a straw. I consider this brilliant improvising when a proper wine aerator is not available. I realize this is a professional technique that you guys MUST be thinking ‘why have I never tried this before???’ or perhaps you are cringing at the thought of it. But yes, I did try it and surprising enough, the wine glass that I blew bubbles in, had softer tannins! I totally recommend you give it a try and let me know what your thoughts are!

x.h

Diary Entry #36 - DELICIOUS!! 2012 Pinot Gris from 50th Parallel Estate

 

Well, it has been awhile since my last post! If you have been wondering what I’ve been doing, I have basically been busy enjoying the fabulous summer we just had and having fun! I hope that you have been doing the same thing! I personally have spent a lot of time on the beach, biking around the seawall, hiking the local mountains around Vancouver, spending time with friends and being in love (that’s the best part!). Now that we’re moving into fall, it’s time to get back on the wine vlogging band wagon once again :-)

The formats of my videos are ever evolving and I’m likely going to be experimenting with adding new content in the future (and perhaps even next week!). I would give you an idea of what that will look like, but to be honest, I don’t really know. So we, including myself, will just have to see where things go with this little video passion project of mine.

The wine I thought I would feature in this video is 50th Parallel Estate’s 2012 Pinot Gris. This winery is newer to the wine scene in Kelowna and around town but I believe them to be becoming big players in the wine scene – especially locally here in BC.

There are a couple reasons I feel that this wine is worth checking out. Firstly, the owners, Sheri-Lee and Curtis are awesome! They are vibrant, energetic, hard-working, dedicated and extremely passionate about their wines and the product they are producing. I might also add that Curtis looks like a rock star and his wife, Sheri-Lee is fabulously gorgeous. I personally met this power couple here in Vancouver and was blown away by how down to earth and friendly they are. Secondly, they have an amazing new Wine Director and Viticulturist on board as of May 2013. This wine maker & viticulturist has received many awards over the years. In the past decade, he has won 45 Gold medals, 84 silver medals, 89 bronze medals as well as numerous Best in Class and show trophies for his wines in both local and international competitions. His wines have also been selected as the Best in Canada to serve to Barack Obama, The Queen of England and the Duke and Duchess of York on their official visit to Canada. Many of you have heard of Quails Gate winery right?! They are another very well know winery in Kelowna that produces excellent wine. Well, their wine maker, Grant Stanley, (the award winning wine maker and viticulturist I’m speaking about) has now moved over to 50th Parallel. In fact, Grant has help Sheri-lee and Curtis develop their winery since 2006. The move from Quails Gate was on good terms and it will be exciting to see where 50th Parallel will go with Grant on board.

This Pinot Gris in particular won its first award at the Spring Wine Festival in Kelowna where it won best of varietal. I find this wine to have nice melon and citrus qualities on the nose. The palate is well balanced (yes, I’m aware I say this a lot – but it’s true), has a nice effervescence (light tingling) and the perfect amount of acids. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Pinot Gris (yes, I am ALSO aware that I say Grigio in the video a lot….oops, I mean ‘Gris’). It is absolutely DELICIOUS and I recommend you to try if you ever see it on a wine list or in the liquor store.  

Something to note is that 50th Parallel’s main focus is pinot noir. Grant has a special passion for this particular grape and so about 50-60% of the winery will be producing pinot noir. In addition, they will be producing Chardonnay and other white varietals, like this pinot gris here. If this pinot gris isn’t their main focus, but it’s as DELICIOUS as it is, then I cannot wait to try their Pinot Noir!

Thanks for watching (and reading) my blog. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to sharing more exciting wines and their stories with you very soon!

xx.h

p.s - Please don't forget to LIKE me on Facebook, FOLLOW me on Twitter and SUBSCRIBE to me on YouTube! Links to all are on the bottom left corner of my homepage! THANK YOU!

 

Diary Entry #35 - Wine Bloggers Conference 2013 - Part 1

I just got back from the Wine Blogger Conference that was held here in BC. It was held Pentiction BC from June 6-8th, 2013. I was fortunate enough to attend the pre-excursion which was held in Kelowna from June 5-6th, 2013.

Kelowna Tourism organized the pre-excursion and it included accommodations at Hotel Eldorado and three wine tours. We visited Summer Hill Pyramid Winery, Tantalus Vineyeards and CedarCreek Estate Winery.

On Wednesday night we went to Summer Hill Pyramid Winery for dinner and a tour. They are Kelowna’s only certified organic and biodynamic winery. They actually have a pyramid on their property that they age some of their wines in. We were able to go inside the pyramid and check out their vineyard. They have some really awesome philosophies and ways of doing business, growing/farming their grapes and producing their wines.

We met with their wine maker, Eric Von Krosigk, as well as, Gabe Cipes, who is in charge of heading up the biodynamic and permaculture aspects of the winery.

We had a great five-course dinner at Summer Hill. The food was amazing! And it was all sourced locally or from their own property. I really loved their sparkling rose wine as well as their sparkling brut. Summer Hill is very well known for their sparkling wine and has won several awards for it. I recommend checking them out if you do see them on a wine list or available at a restaurant.

One of the courses that really stood out at Summer Hill was the dessert (to be honest it was hard to choose a favorite course though). They served us a ‘Chocolate Duo’, which consisted of a chocolate gelato ice wine float and a raspberry dark sacher cake. YUM! I definitely am going to be having ice cream with my ice wine in the future. It likely will not nearly be as good as what was served to us at the winery, but I’m still going to try it anyways!

The next morning we went to Tantalus Vineyards for breakfast. Chef, Mark Filatow who is the owner of Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar in Kelowna, prepared the breakfast. Chef Filatow has numerous accolades in the food industry and is very well known and respected among his peers. We enjoyed fresh waffles, house-made granola and yogurt, poached egg on top of a potato rosti with white pepper gravy along with house made bacon. The dessert was a chocolate croissant. They served this with their 2010 Old Vine Riesling Natural Brut sparkling wine. Great way to start the day!

Tantalus Vineyards is Kelowna’s first LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certified winery. They are also a single vineyard winery. Meaning that all of their wines are produced from grapes grown on their property. Not many wineries in the Okanagan are single vineyards wineries, so this is something that makes them unique. They are really into their sustainability programs and are in the process of transitioning into an organic and biodynamic winery as well.

The grape varietals that Tantalus Vineyards specialize in are Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They use to grow other varietals there but they found that these three grape varietals are the ones that did the best on their land. So that is all they grow currently.

Another thing that is interesting about these wines is their labeling. Each wine has a unique mask on them. These mask are made by a famous Master Carver named, Dempsey Bob. The owner of Tantalus, Eric Savics actually has the largest private collection of Dempsey Bob’s native mask carvings and so they have wonderful partnership. If you are in Kelowna, I recommend checking out this vineyard as several of the masks are on display in the tasting room. Dempsey Bob also has his artwork/carvings in the Vancouver Airport, the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology, as well as, The Smithsonian. So he is a very well respected artist and these masks are quite special and unique to Tantalus Vineyards and their wine.  

I also wanted to say that we tasted their 2012 Riesling and it was delicious! I really loved their 2010 vintage, but I think their 2012 vintage is even better! I think it’s available in BC liquor stores now so if you do see it, I would grab a bottle and try it.

After Tantalus Vineyards, we went to CedarCreek Estate Winery for lunch (yes, more eating and drinking). There they had set up different food stations throughout the vineyard that we had to hike though to get to, so that was pretty cool (and good to work off some of the calories from all the food and drinking we were doing). Their vineyard over looks Lake Okanagan, so it was beautiful to take in the scenery as well as the fabulous food and wine.

At CedarCreek they age some of their wine in giant concrete eggs. These eggs hold 10 times the amount of a single barrel. This allows the wine to have the texture of oak with out the flavors of oak. I’ve never seen a concrete egg before, I know they are pretty common but since it was my first time, I thought it was pretty cool so I had to mention it.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Kelowna. I thought each winery we visited was unique and special in their own unique way. As well, I was impressed by their desires to be organic, biodynamic and sustainable. More wineries (or people for that matter) should be conscious of their environmental footprint, so it was nice to see that they were trying to minimize theirs as much as possible.

Stay tuned for my next video that I’ll be posting as it will be covering off the rest of the conference in Pentiction. I also did film some footage while I was there, so I may do a blooper reel of that footage so keep an eye out for that!

Thanks for watching and as usual, may the beauty you love be what you do.

x.h

Diary Entry #34 - Blankiet Estate 2002 Merlot with a side of SNOB

Dear Diary,

Today is Wednesday May 29th and I’m happy to be back sharing some actual WINE with you in this video since my last wine video did not have any wine in it.

I have recently have been lucky enough to acquired quite a nice selection of 17 fabulous bottles from a wine local collector and I’m going to start sharing them with you in my vlogs.

 

So today’s wine is going to be the first of the 17 that I will share with you. The wine today is the 2002 Blankiet Merlot. Now as you know if you have watch some of my previous videos, I really enjoy sharing the stories behind the label. I do some research prior to filming as well as I have recently started to reach out to the wineries to see if there is anything specific about their history or story that they would like me to share.

I emailed Blankiet Estates last week and to be honest, I am super disappointed in their responses back to me. They merely responded with attached tasting notes from Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer. I asked again if there were anything special or unique about their story they would like to share, in which they responded with the name of the wine maker and the name of guy who planted the vineyards and that I should visit their website for more info about the property. They didn’t really seem interested in helping to share their story or what made their wine unique and special. I did go to their website prior to emailing them, and there really isn’t much there which is one of the reasons I contacted them directly in the first place…so all in all, the information I received from both the winery and the website was uninformative for the type of information I was looking for. I also googled the winemaker and I’m pretty sure they don’t want me talking about negative press she has received despite Wine Spectator calling her ‘America’s Greatest winemaker’ so I best not talk about how she and her husband were sued back in 2006….I’m not here to slag on her or the winery, but I really was hoping to share some inspiring stories about this wine and I’m sorry but that’s just not going to happen the way I would like.

With that said, I guess I better taste the wine and see if it’s as fabulously snobby as the winery comes across…lol…

The color of the wine is a deep brownish garnet. Often as wine age, they do get a bit of a brownish hue to them.

On the nose, I get spices, dark plum there are also some earthy/leatherny notes that I’m getting.

On the palate, it’s full bodied and quite concentrated in it’s flavours. I feel like this could have aged even another 10 years and it would still be good. I’m not entirely convinced it’s worth the cost of the bottle though. I think this is at least over the $100 mark. This wine definitely needs some food. I find the acids a bit off balance on it’s own.

So I wanted to mention that I will be attending the Wine Bloggers Conference that is being held at the beginning of June. So this will actually be my last video until after that event. I will be filming at the event so likely I’ll be posting some video footage of that to share with everyone.

I’m really excited about it as I’ve signed up for the Kelowna pre-excursion and then the actual conference is in Pentiction and we’ll be visiting a number of wineries in the Okanagan. So stay tuned for that! 

As per usual, may the beauty you love be what you do.

 

Thanks for watching! 

xo.h

Diary Entry #33 - Wine Tasting is Bullshit...my two cents

Dear Diary,

Today is May 15th, 2013. It’s Wine Wednesday but this weeks Wine Wednesday is a bit different for me in the fact that I’m going to be missing the main ingredient…wine. Yes, that’s right, I’m doing a wine video 'sans' the wine. The reason being is I’m on a detox right now and unfortunately, wine is not on the list of things I’m able to consume right now. I was originally going to not do a video this week and post one next week, but it’s been 2 weeks since my last and I feel it’s important to stay consistent in my bi-weekly postings.

I also thought that perhaps this would be a good time to chime in with my 2 cents on a wine article that’s been floating around lately. That article is titled “Wine Tasting is bullshit. Here’s why." (link below). Now, this isn’t the first article touching on this same topic, but since it popped up a few times last week, I figured it might be a good time to talk about it in a vlog. I am going to do a little 'tasting' at the end this video...just to be silly and prove my point, so please watch the video and keep reading below! 

Hopefully don’t offend anyone (mainly the wine ‘experts’ and critics as well as wine makers, etc) as it’s really not my intent. But to a large extent, I do agree with much of what this article says – which is actually why I’ve always called myself an expert in LOVING wine…but not an expert in wine itself. Basically, the article highlights all the reasons (and there are a lot) as to why wine tasting is bullshit. Now I don’t think it’s necessarily bullshit but I really believe that tasting wine is such an individual experience. I do believe that one persons tasting notes for a bottle of wine can greatly differ from the next person. And I think that it can change from day to day. So maybe you’ve found you like a bottle of wine and then you decide to buy that same bottle again, and it tastes different than you remembered it. Well, that’s likely due to whatever food you may have eaten that day, time of day and perhaps what smells and sights are in the air and around you. Really there are several reasons as to how you experience the wine in your glass.

Now, this article goes to prove the fact that wine tasting experts often contradict themselves (ie. Scoring the same wine significantly different at different times). As well as pointing out that so called ‘experts’ were not even able to distinguish the difference between red and white wines. In 2001 there was a researcher that invited 54 wine experts to give their opinions on 2 glasses of different wine. What they actually gave the wine experts were 2 glasses of the same wine, just the ‘red’ was dyed with food coloring. The experts had no idea and described the wines completely differently. Not one out of the 54, so called 'wine experts', even knew that they were both white wines and the same white wine as a matter of fact!

There are really a whole variety of reasons this article gives as to why wine reviews are bullshit, so if you’re interested, I suggest you click on the link and read it for yourself.

Yes, I do believe that you can taste certain flavor profiles from specific grape varietals, (ie. jammy, red cherries, smoky tobacco, ripe plums, minerality, etc) as well as the many different flavours that you may hear the ‘experts’ describe. BUT, just because that’s the flavour profile someone else get, be they an expert or not, it doesn’t mean you’re going to taste the same thing or enjoy the same wine for that fact. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't.

I myself have experienced, on numerous times, a so called ‘expensive’ highly rated wine was just ‘ok’ in my opinion and I have often navigated to a more inexpensive bottle of wine to enjoy instead. On other occasions, yes, I have loved the taste of a expensive bottle of wine. But to be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference in a blind tasting if I was to chose the most expensive one out of the bunch. So really, I suggest we go for what is affordable and enjoyable to your individual palate.

So with that said, just to prove a point (and because I'm on a detox), today pouring a glass of the finest of Italian Sparkling water that is bottled at source right in Italy. San Pellegrino have been bottling their fine mineral water since 1899 and are really quite legendary and iconic. The water that is bottled by San Pellegrino actually has the same mineral composition that it did when it was first tested back in 1748. So it's really like you're drinking ancient water. Even their bottle, is a special 'Vichy' shaped bottle - is really truly one of a kind.

On the nose, there is not a lot, but since I'm on a detox, I have decided to add a fresh slice of lemon. This creates a beautiful citrus lemon zest smell which is quite divine. On the palate, it's refreshing and the soft effervescence of the bubbles is quite nice. This truly is the perfect drink while on a detox. I suggest pouring it in your favorite wine glass or even perhaps a champagne flute for an even more elegant experience. San Pellegrino pairs nicely with every kind off food under the sun, so it's really quite a versatile drink. It's also great when enjoyed on it's own.

See, now you are craving a glass of San Pellegrino aren't you? lol :-) Well, maybe you're not, but I'm trying to make a point here. Wine tasting is often about 'romancing' the wine, making it sound amazing so you will buy it and enjoy it, tell your friends and sales will increase. So again, I say, enjoy what appeases to your palate and your pocket book. Take what the wine experts (and myself for that fact) with a grain of salt. Only you know what you enjoy - so stick to that!

If you want to read the article I'm referring to, click this link:  

http://bit.ly/14ojAa3

May the beauty you love, be what you do. 

x.h