Although we can’t pack a bag right now, we can still take you on a wine tour.
Flights (of wine) take off Tuesdays, and each week we’ll feature exciting wines from the best wine regions in the World.
Tuesday, February 9
Italy – Sipping Wine in the Land of Love
There’s no better place to spend Valentine’s Day than Italy – a place for lovers. We’ll start celebrating early & open three wines from different regions of Italy and offer the flight throughout the week and into the Valentine’s Day weekend.
Falanghina, 2017, La Guardiense, Campania, Italy
Falanghina is a grape found in the south of Italy and makes a full bodied white that bears no resemblance to a Chardonnay. It is supple and weighty with just a touch of honey complemented by a long crisp finish. This grape is one of the oldest in history and is thought to be the same as the grape Falernia, much prized by the Romans. Sip away and dream of ancient ruins in the hot summer sun.
Sangiovese, Riserva, 2016, Umberto Cesari, Emilia Romagna, Italy
This wine is medium bodied and supple with distinct cherry aromas. A long and layered finish and soft tannins make it perfect for enjoying with food. Emilia-Romagna has been called the food basket of Italy as this is where some of its most famous foods like prosciutto di parma and parmigiano reggiano come from. Sip this wine and imagine yourself in an Italian café enjoying the sights of the bustling local food market.
This wine is its own love story as it is made by an American/Italian couple who decided to follow their dreams and buy a winery in Puglia. He is a California winemaker who came to Italy curious to check out the grape Primitivo and met and fell in love with an Italian woman. He had heard that the wine Americans call Zinfandel was actually made from an Italian grape called Primitivo. Primitivo wines can often be quite full bodied and somewhat rustic. However, this version has the typical fruity spiciness but it is well balanced and quite elegant. Sip it in honor of love that crosses borders.
Tuesday February 16
The Wines of France – Winemaking History in a Bottle
Although wine is made in many countries, no one does it like the French. They were the very first to set standards for quality winemaking and they were the first to export their quality wines for the rest of the world to enjoy. For this reason and many others, French wines are considered some of the best in the world. We have three examples from different regions of this country.
Chablis Reserve de Vaudon, 2015, Joseph Drouhin, Burgundy, France
Chablis is an elegant wine made from the Chardonnay grape. It is fermented largely in steel containers in order to enhance its steely minerality. This wine is vigorous and lively with citrus and even a slightly salty finish. Yet there is a roundness and softness to it as well. This is truly one of the world’s great white wines. Imagine yourself in the tasting room of this fine estate in Burgundy, sampling the latest releases with some fresh oysters and mignonette.
Chinon Rouge, 2019, Domaine de L’R, Loire, France
Domaine de L’R was founded in 2007 but this relatively young winery has already achieved acclaim for the quality of its Chinon. This wine, made from 100% Cabernet Franc, is everything a Chinon should be. Fresh aromas of raspberries and blackcurrants on the nose followed by a crisp finish with savoury green tea notes; this medium bodied wine is fantastic with food. Imagine an overnight stay in the sleepy town of Chinon, arriving just in time for a glass of this lovely wine with a late night snack.
Lussac St. Emilion, 2016, Chateau des Landes, Lussac St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
This satellite region borders the more famous St. Emilion. The wines from here are often just as good but much less pricy. This one is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The predominance of Merlot means this wine is rich and velvety with luscious plum notes. The other two grapes in the mix add backbone and elegance. Imagine driving through the French countryside, stopping for dinner and a bottle of wine at one of the picturesque bistros opposite a Romanesque church.
Tuesday February 23 – A Tour of South America in a Flight
The wines of Chile, Argentina & Uruguay
Wines from South America have not always had the prestige of wines from Europe. These countries are about as far south as you could possibly go in order to make quality wine. The very hot conditions are a challenge that these winemakers have addressed in various ways. Each of these wines proves that these three countries have mastered the art of winemaking and can easily compete on the world stage.
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017, Montes Alpha, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Montes Alpha Winery has shown the world just how great Chilean wines can be. This wine has ripe fruit, rounded tannins and a pleasant spicy finish. The Colchagua Valley is one of Chile’s best wine producing regions. This southerly area has warm weather but it is cooled by ocean breezes and protected by mountain ranges. Imagine a glass of Montes Alpha with Chilean barbeque, after a day of horseback riding in the Valley.
Bodega Garzon was voted best New World Winery by the Wine Enthusiast in 2018. The rolling hills and ocean breezes on the Atlantic coast serve to moderate the hot temperatures resulting in this elegant medium bodied red wine. The addition of Tannat adds some weight and spiciness to this incredible food wine. Imagine a trip to the modern restaurant at Bodega Garzon where the cuisine is a perfect match for the wine. From the patio you can view the rolling hills of Maldonado and even catch a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean.
Malbec, High Mountain Vines, 2017, Catena, Mendoza, Argentina
This third generation winemaking family have elevated the quality of Argentine wine with their emphasis on terroir. They plant their vines at high mountain elevations in order to take advantage of cooler temperatures and drainage. The resulting wine is elegant and medium bodied with just a touch of oak. Imagine a road trip on a motorcycle through the mountains of Argentina, stopping for a tour at the Catena Adrianna Vineyard at almost 5000 feet elevation. What a view! What a wine!
Tuesday March 2
Japan & B.C.
Traditional versus Modern Sake Brewing
Japan is a beautiful country steeped in tradition. Sake making is an ancient art governed by many regulations. We will feature two different examples from two regions or prefectures in Japan. In contrast, we will also feature a Sparkling Sake made by a Japanese Brewmaster in Vancouver who takes a more radical approach to Sake than would be allowed in Japan.
This wine has a fairly high rice polishing ratio which generally results in Sake that is lighter, and more flowery. This one has notes of crisp Asian pear with a round slightly yeasty finish. Hyogo Prefecture is known for its natural spring water. In Japan, the source of the water used is very important to Sake brewers. This region is located in the three great forests of Japan. Imagine a “forest walk” to create calmness of spirit followed by a Japanese meal starting with some Junmai Gingo.
Brewmaster’s Choice Honjozo, Yoshi no Gawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
This Sake is Honjozo which means alcohol has been added to the finished product and the rice polishing rate is less than the ginjo. The resulting sake is weighty and nutty with a very smooth finish. It is more yeasty and less floral. Yoshi no Gawa have been making Sake since 1548. They are located in a mountainous region with lots of snow. This results in a plentiful supply of clean mountain water which they feel makes their Sake distinct. Imagine a day of cross country skiing followed by a hearty meal and a glass of Honjozo.
Mirai, Sparkling Sake, Artisan Sakemaker, Vancouver, BC
This Japanese Brewmaster loves to work in Canada as the rules around making Sake are more lenient. The main difference with his Sake is the source of the rice which he grows himself in the Fraser Valley. In Japan the source of the water is considered more important than the source of the rice. This is changing, however, with an emerging farm to brewery movement even in Japan. Most Sparkling Sake is made in the tank method where the secondary fermentation (where the bubbles happen) occurs in a tank. This Sake is different and maybe even unique in the world because it is made in the Champagne style where the secondary fermentation happens in the bottle. Imagine a trip to the bustling Granville Island Market in Vancouver finished with a glass of Sparkling Sake in the Tasting Room of the Artisan Sakemaker.
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