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November 5th, 2022- Let’s head for the Gaspareau Valley and Benjamin Bridge!

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Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

Jason Priestley and I were shooting year two of Hollywood and Vines with Producer Chad Oakes.

It was Jason who suggested Guadalupe Valley in Mexico, and Walla Walla in Washington.

So, I paid attention when he said.

Let’s head for the Gaspareau Valley…

Sure!  Where exactly is the Gaspareau?

Just outside Halifax.

And they’re growing what wines exactly?

They are making sparkling wine and it’s getting local raves.

That was many years ago.

I was so impressed with the vineyards and the bubble they poured for us, I’ve stayed in touch with the story and the people.

Specifically the winemaker Jean-Benoit Deslauriers and the owner Gerry McConnell.

JB Deslauriers

So. Its been 3-4 years since we checked in with Benjamin Bridge and in that time they have become one of the best wine stories in all of Canada.

BB at dusk

In doing so, they have ignited not only the Gaspereau but the rest of the Maritimes and Canada. From coast to coast.

We welcome back Jean-Benoît Deslauriers and Benjamin Bridge

 

Jean-Benoit will be talking about

2018 Brut Rose.. 3 years on the lees  beautiful colour, rose on the nose.

On the palate creme de cassis and brioche, creamy mousse…heaven sent!!

2017 Brut  A beauiful straw coloured. Green apple, warm bread on the nose. In the mouth stone fruit, citrus, brioche and a lingering minerality. WoW!

2020 hand crafted small lot Pinot Noir – JB says there’s “a profound sadness to it’s delishiosness ” in this wonderful wine. Mainly because its thriving in the Maritimes because of climate change. Thriving it is…a  clear nose of cedar box & ripe  black fruit. The palete is fresh red fruit and classic tannins.12 months in barrel/12% alcohol.

We also talk about Nova 7, Tidal Bay and non-alcohol  wines in the future.

www.benjaminbridge.com

 

 

October 22nd, 2022- Harvest Season Sparkling Wines-

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2022 Harvest Season Sparkling Wines

This weeks TRR didn’t start out as a bubble special., It’s just the way the boxes opened.

Mary McDermott – Winemaker Township 7 (Langley and Naramata Bench)

Before she arrived in the Okanagan Mary made sparkling wines at Peller, also spending time at Stratus and Cave Springs. Under her leadership Township 7’s Polaris was named Best Canadian Sparkling Wine at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine world Championships in London in 2016.

We welcome the much respected Mary McDermott. T7

(Mary McDermott)

 In the Township 7 box were

seven stars Rigel  – created from Riesling grown in the Fools Gold Vineyards in North Oliver. That’s the one originally planted by the legendary Richard Cleave. Now farmed by his son in law Mark Antonello. With all those names attached you know that the fruit and the wine will be award winning.

This is a bright and yummy sparkling wine. Perfect for oysters, blue cheese, mushrooms.

Only 399  6 bottle cases made. $36.97

2018 seven stars Equinox sparkling Brut Rose

100% Pinot Noir grapes went into this outstanding sparkling wine. They came from the highly regarded  Stoneridge Vineyard in Okanagan Falls.

It overlooks the Okanagan River and Vaseaux Lake and because its sharing the valley with the river and lake, the heat of an Okanagan Summer isn’t as all consuming here.

Its tempered by the coolness of the elevation and proximity to the river. It shows. Equinox is rich and round.  It’s glorious.   350  6 bottle cases. $57.97

And finally the 2019 Benchmark Series Cabernet Franc.

Produced from the Raju Vineyard in Osoyoos. I love  Cab Franc and this one is Top 10. Fantastic wine.

Cassis, spice, silky and welcoming texture.

Medium to full bodied,  this beautifully balanced blend of Cab Franc and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed now or celebrated years from now. It’s a wine club exclusive. They are very lucky people.

670 cases  –  $43.97

 

The second box that arrived was from Noble Ridge, Okanagan Falls.

 Our guest is  Noble Ridge winemaker Benoit Gauthier

It was Merlot harvest day at Noble Ridge. Ben came off the crush pad to walk us through these wines and when done, walked straight out into crush heaven. We thank him for the time. Positive he may not  remember doing this interview.

(Benoit Gauthier Noble Ridge)

 Leslie D’Andrea co-owner of Noble Ridge sent along a note that said  “although we don’t make “champagne” per se, here’s some  examples of  BC Sparkling Wine to celebrate International Champagne Day Oct 28

There’s also another reason for  celebration,  as we participate in the annual ritual of Harvest and begin the cycle anew.”

 The Fizzy One -NV  $24.99

Frizzante style Pinot Gris and Kerner. Full of pink grapefruit and late fall peaches on the nose.  On the palate, ripe berries, pear and light citrus.

 The Pink One – 2018 $39.99

Smashing sparkling Rose. 100% Pinot Noir grapes. Method Traditionnelle . Only four hour skin contact.

The Pink One

The One – 2017 $39.99

A true Champagne style, comes entirely from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir estate grapes. Reflects the terroir around it.

Completely and totally Yummy. Notes of brioche and apple. Engaging texture. Generous and balanced. En Tirage 47 months.

www.nobleridge.com

www.township7.com

Have a great International Champagne Day Friday Oct 28

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

 

New releases from

Hester Creek

Moon Curser

Benjamin Bridge (Nova Scotia)

Sea Cider wins awards

 

 

October 15th, 2022- It’s The Bartier Bros Show, starring Michael Bartier!!

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It’s The Bartier Bros Show, starring Michael Bartier!!

 

Just one story today – Michael Bartier – GM and Director of Bartier Bros. Vineyards and Winery (South Okanagan)

What started out as a two segment interview with wine legend Michael Bartier almost immediately became this entire edition of Tasting Room Radio.

Why, you ask? Because he earned it.

From his beginnings in the wine business  Michael Bartier has constantly moved forward. Learning his wine making trade at Washington State and UC Davis.

When he did start making wines – for others – he twice won white wine of the year in Canada. He specialized in Chardonnay. Then shifted to making red wines and won two Lieutenant Governor’s awards for his reds.

On to the famous Hawthorne Mountain, back home to Township 7 and Road 13.

And so, after years of making brilliant wines for others, It was only a matter of time before Michael would be making his own wine and best of all he did it with his brother Don.  Both Bartier Bros were raised in the Okanagan. In 2009 they launched Bartier Bros.

Don and Michael – The Bartier Bros

I wanted to talk to Michael about the state of BC winemaking, the effect of climate change, how close winemakers came to not growing wine this year because of the wet and cold Spring. The Sun showed up just in time. It was close. How close?  Have a listen.

Michael brings us new releases ready for tasting and a Brut  tease that’s coming soon. Plus the new Bocce Court & food plans for next year.

They are open 12-4 every Saturday until Nov 12.

1) 2021 Rosé $18.99

2) 2021 Grüner Veltliner $24.99

3) 2021 Chardonnay  $22.99

4) 2020 Cabernet Franc – $29.99

5) 2020 Orchard Row – – $29.99

New Brut – Peach, flint, fresh bread.  $34.99

www.bartierbros.com

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 New Releases from 

Hester Creek

Township 7

Noble Ridge

Moon Curser

Benjamin Bridge (Nova Scotia)

 

 

October 8th 2022- Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!

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Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!

 

THE SHOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Parkes and crew

Their story just keeps on growing.

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

The Hatch, Gobsmacked Series, Hobo Series.

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

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

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

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

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

www.jpcfanclub.com

www.crownthieves.com

www.thehatchwines.com

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

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

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

Dan Wright  Winemaker

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

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

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

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

www.unsworthvineyards.com

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

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

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

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

Chris Tolley

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

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

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

Beata Tolley

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

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

www.mooncurser.com

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

Kathy Malone

Classy!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.hillsidewinery.ca

 

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Noble Ridge

Bartier Bros.

Township 7

Napa/SF/Sonoma

Hillside Virtual Tasting

Bill Jones Fall Forage

 

 

 

October 1st, 2022- Van Wine Fest Part Two  (plus 2 special guests)

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Van Wine Fest Part Two  (plus 2 very special guests)

THE SHOW

Walking into the Vancouver Wine Festival at the Convention Centre, as an interviewer,  is like working the field at an All-Star Game.

Familiar wine star faces and voices are everywhere.

I think I did a dozen interviews and these are the last three.  However,  I needed one more, So I decided to re-run one of my all time favourite interviews.

Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

From our coverage of the 2019  VanWineFest on Tasting Room Radio we present California wine royalty.

Gena Gallo and her winemaking husband Jean Charles Boisset.

Not just talking about their wines but about surviving cancer, raising their twin daughters and their love of Vancouver and the wine fest.

Wine Fest Part Two includes interviews with

Tony Holler – Owner of Poplar Grove (Naramata Bench) www.poplargrove.ca

Tony Holler & crew

Ray Signorello – Owner of Signorello Estate  (Napa) www.signorelloestate.com

Ray Signorello

Mark De Vere – Master of Wine.  Robert Mondavi Vineyards (Napa) www.robertmondaviwinery.com

Mark de Vere. Mondavi

Gina Gallo, Vice President, Winemaking – Estate Wines. E. & J. Gallo  www.gallo.com

Gina Gallo, JC Boisset, TDM

Gina Gallo, JC Boisset, TDM

Gina Gallo developed a deep respect for the land early on. After studying winemaking at the University of California at Davis, Gallo became an apprentice winemaker at E. & J. Gallo Winery, under the careful guidance of her grandfather Julio. Today, as the winemaker behind the Gallo Signature Series, she carves out specific blocks on Gallo’s most sought-after vineyards to hand-craft limited batches of wine.

 

Jean-Charles Boisset, Proprietor, Boisset Collection      www.boissetcollection.com

Jean-Charles Boisset was born into the world of wine in Vougeot, Burgundy, France. Under his leadership, the Boisset Collection operates 24 wineries in California, France, and Canada. Decanter magazine has included him on its “Power List” of the 50 most important people in the wine world each year of its publication since 2007.

His many honours include Meininger’s International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year, “Innovator of the Year” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the first-ever French-American Partnership Award from the French America Foundation.

 

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STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

  • Scorched Earth

  • Bartier Bros.

  • Township 7

  • Hillside  Estate

  • Napa/SF

  • Thanksgiving Wines

  • Noble Ridge 

 

 

 

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

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

THE SHOW

 

The invitation was just too good to pass up.

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

Michael Clark

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

Rhys & Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhys Pender

@Clos du Soleil Winery

@rhys@wineplus.ca

www.closdusoleil.ca

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

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

Mark Hopley

2021 Ti Amo

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

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

2019 Old Vine Brut $34.99

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

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

2019 The Judge $49.99

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

Made from the oldest vines on their property.

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

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

Can be cellared up to 10 years.

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

@Mark Hopley

www.hestercreek.com

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Bartier Brothers

Township 7

Orofino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Proudly Sponsored by Harbour Air

The Return of Top Drop / 2022

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

 

THE SHOW

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

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

Why the loyalty?

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

Western Living Magazine

  

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

Kurtis Kolt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pouring Wines of Bordeaux

 

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

 

www.bellawines.ca

www.creekandgully.com

www.fitzwine.com

www.hedgesfamilyestate.com

www.lightningrockwinery.com

www.martinslanewinery.com

www.okanagancrushpad.com

www.orofinovineyards.com

www.terravistavineyards.com

www.ursamajorwinery.com

www.bordeaux.com

www.tanninmanagement.ca

www.kurtiskolt.com

www.topdrop.ca

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

THE SHOW

 This weeks guests:

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

Kirsten Thorarinson and Cory Spencer

Karen Newington – Tasting Room Manager Unsworth Vineyards

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

 

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

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

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

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

“is your Gouda processed cheese?”

“what are your cheese curds made from?”

“do you milk your goats?”

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

What do you pair with Feta?

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

Karen Newington. Unsworth

Here  are the cheeses:

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

fromage frais

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Feta cheese

The Unsworth wines being paired and poured are:

2021 Rosé with Fromage Frais $26.90

2021 Rosé

2020 Gamay Pinot Noir with Tadwick $26.90

2020 Chardonnay with Thombury $30.90

2020 Pinot Noir with Tomme de Vallée $38.90

2020 Saison Vineyard Pinot Gris with Feta $25.99

 

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

www.haltwhistlecheese.com

www.unsworthvineyards.com

 

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON

 

Bartier Brothers

Township 7

Hester Creek

Victoria Wine Festival

 

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

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Cowichan Valley Wineries Party and Pour Aug 4

A blend of stories from Cowichan Valley  and  Naramata Bench.

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

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

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

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

Lorin Inglis – Enrico Winery  GM (Cowichan)

TDM and Lorin Inglis

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

Lorin takes us through how the evening will unfold.

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

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

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

Details at www.cowichanwineries.com

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

What a great story.

Wilbert and Joka

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

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

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

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

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

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

They poured

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

www.fourshadowsvineyard.com

 

Nathan Todd  President and GM  Foxtrot Winery (Naramata Bench) 

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

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

Nathan-Todd-Foxtrot-

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

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

Nathan poured:

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

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

www.foxtrotwine.com

 

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

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON  

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

 

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

hello

Checking in with The Neighbourhood!!

 

THE SHOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Parkes and crew

Their story just keeps on growing.

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

The Hatch, Gobsmacked Series, Hobo Series.

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

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

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

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

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

www.jpcfanclub.com

www.crownthieves.com

www.thehatchwines.com

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

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

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

Dan Wright

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

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

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

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

www.unsworthvineyards.com

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

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

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

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

Chris Tolley

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

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

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

Beata Tolley

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

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

www.mooncurser.com

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

Kathy Malone

Classy!  

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.hillsidewinery.ca

 

 

STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:

Clos du Soleil

Fort Berens

Bill Jones  Shroom Master

Orofino

Sperling Vineyards