Archive for October, 2018

Ask Sid: Serve wine blind at dinner parties?

October 31st, 2018
Ask your question here

Ask Sid: Serve wine blind at dinner parties?

Question: What are your thoughts Sid on serving wines blind at dinner parties?

Answer: An interesting and controversial question! Depends a lot on the occasion including whether more formal with a printed menu or a casual informal gathering as well as who your guests are. With a printed more upscale menu of several courses guests often appreciate the anticipation of seeing which wines are going to be served with each food course ahead of time. Sometimes we first print the menu without the wines listed and after the actual wines are disclosed then give them the second menu with those wines noted before they leave or even later by email. Bagged bottles can be fun particularly at more informal educational events among knowledgeable wine friends. For many decades as host I always have served the wines blind at all our dinner parties. As I get older and am tasting wine blind so often every week I am tending less to make it a work study over a relaxed dinner setting. When I am a guest I am attending with a lot of wine baggage so I still like to get my first quick impression of the wine blind without knowing what it is. However I don’t really like spending the whole evening analyzing and trying to identify each wine when that is detracting from my focus on the food, the matching and the group conversation. My wife always has had her wine served blind by me when we are at home dining alone and as a result has become a rather brilliant blind taster herself. You might be tricky today on Halloween or any day by serving the wine blind in an unexpected shape glass for that wine. For example a Bordeaux in a Burgundy glass or vice versa. Tricky indeed!

Enjoy dinner parties to the fullest by finding your own comfort level on the wine service you like.

You might also like:

Have you ever served wine blind at a dinner party?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


October 29th, 2018

The WINES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Stand up to the World at the Fourth Annual Judgment of BC

Below is the official release summary by the BC Wine Institute on the exciting 4th Judgment of BC Wines featuring Sparkling & Bordeaux Blends held on October 23, 2018. This follows their earlier first three held on August 25, 2015 (reported by your scribe on this blog August 31) with Chardonnay & the excellent showing BC Syrah, then June 21, 2016 (reported June 27) on Riesling & Pinot Noir, and on August 18, 2017 (reported August 28) with Pinot Gris & Merlot. Another good showing from the BC wines in tough company.

Sparkling decided the first 3 spots for Champagne house connections though gold was from dependable value Roederer Estate California that was served last (though the tasters tried all 12 in different sequences) and was clearly the sweetest one at 12 grams/litre of residual sugar and only 2+ years aging. Veuve Clicquot #2 is a solid big selling Champagne with lots of reserve wines (30-45%) added for rich approachability with 30 months lees and sweeter at 9-11 g/l plus #3 Pierre Paillard has less dosage (3.5RS) with 4 years on the lees. Would have enjoyed having one of the improving English Sparkling examples (like Nyetimber) in this line-up. Another fine showing in 7th was by Graham Beck from South Africa also in a drier style (2.3RS) but showing impressively most lees for complexity with 72 months en tirage. The fresh well balanced natural acidity style of BC wines took places 4, 5, and 6 with most worthy examples of quality bubbles. All twelve were blends except for Blue Mountain 100% Chardonnay & Tantalus 100% Pinot Noir. Well done indeed!

Bordeaux Blends was a much more difficult tasting test with a diverse mix of grape varieties but especially being from different micro-climates and showing such young vintages (six from 2015, 5 from 2014 & one 2013). They ranged all the way from a lighter easier drinking 90% Merlot blend from Fronsac in Bordeaux to full powerful expensive Napanook by Dominus (with 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 Petit Verdot 3 Cabernet Franc)) & dense presently brutishly tannic Signature from Clos de Soleil in Similkameen Valley. Tough to compare the 12 wines. Unfortunately the Chateau d’Armailhac Pauillac 2015 which has shown before refined elegant and floral on this occasion was way too much wet earthy off bottles. Beware. Lovely delicious subtle charm from underrated Chateau Poujeaux. The Selection Committee did an outstanding job in picking 6 wines out of 99 potential candidates that expressed a more elegant balanced style to compete. The top two winners are both respected blends with distinct terroirs from the Okanagan with Legacy (44CS/27CF/13Malbec/13Merlot/3PV) of Poplar Grove & Portfolio (45Merlot/32CS/18CF/2PV) by Laughing Stock. They both are deserving of further recognition for sure. A super showing for the much improved Bordeaux blends from BC. Congrats.

For immediate release:
October 26, 2018KELOWNA, BC – The Wines of British Columbia were put to the ultimate test at the fourth annual Judgment of BC on Wednesday, October 24, pitting 12 BC wines against 12 acknowledged global benchmarks. We are proud to announce BC’s Poplar Grove Winery The Legacy 2014 BC VQA Okanagan Valley ranked first among the flight of Bordeaux-style red blends, with BC’s Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio BC VQA Okanagan 2015 close behind in second place. Roederer Estate Brut NV from Anderson Valley, California came out on top for the flight of traditional method sparkling wines with BC placing fourth, fifth and sixth.Hosted by the BC Wine Institute, and curated by Vancouver based wine expert DJ Kearney, the Judgment of BC took place in Kelowna in the heart of wine country, during which 37 international and national wine judges blind tasted and ranked the 24 wines. 12 were traditional method sparkling wines and 12 were Bordeaux-style red blends, six of each were from BC and six were international benchmarks.The BC wines selected for the Judgment were hand chosen through a blind tasting by a Selection Committee of Barb Philip MW, Rhys Pender MW, Dr. Janet Dorozynski, Kurtis Kolt, Michaela Morris and Jason Yamasaki, led by DJ Kearney. Ninety-nine wines were tasted prior to selecting the final 12 BC representatives.

“The fact that two BC wines topped the red blends challenge was a true testament to our distinct terroir and climate, but most of all to skilled farming and winemaking.” Says Kearney. Poplar Grove Winery, celebrating its twentieth vintage, first made The Legacy in 2004. Over the years have honed this style to a standard of high quality. Just as impressive, Laughing Stock’s stylish Portfolio beat out benchmarks from Bordeaux and Napa Valley.

Twenty-six top wine professionals from around the world and across the country had just spent four days immersed in Wine BC BootCamp. Hosted by Master of Wine Rhys Pender and the British Columbia Wine Institute, the group delved deep into BC’s wine culture learning, tasting and discussing everything BC wine during a series of Masterclasses, panel discussions and regional visits. A further 11 Canadian wine critics and sommeliers descended on the Okanagan Valley to join the group for the Judgment tasting.

“It has been the most fascinating tasting,” says International judge Christine Austin, British wine writer for the Yorkshire Post. “BC Wine can stand up on the world stage with their own character, flavours, personality and hold their head up high against some of the best wines in the world.”

Tasting both traditional method sparkling and red blends shows BC’s diversity. “Many regions say they can produce a variety of styles. British Columbia is unique due to its climate and geology in actually being able to produce many grapes and styles at high quality,” notes Master Sommelier James Tidwell. “I look forward to the day when these wines are more recognized in the international market.”

“Our traditional method sparklers showed elegance, finesse and refinement.” notes Kearney. Blue Mountain’s Blanc de Blancs 2010 R.D. proved to be the top ranked BC wine, placing fourth place.

Vancouver based wine writer, educator and international judge Michaela Morris was impressed by how well the BC sparkling wines showed. “Most of my top ranked wines in the sparkling flight turned out to be from BC which I found very impressive.”

“It was a fun, enlightening exercise that reinforced the point of the quality of wines coming out of British Columbia,” says Katelyn Peil Wine Director for the Heavy Restaurant Group in Seattle, USA. “The wines are exciting and fresh with a purity of fruit that also offers a sense of place. It is amazing to see the caliber of wines coming from this region and the rest of the world should be paying attention.”

“As an industry, we are so thrilled and humbled that there is such close attention from the world’s top wine influencers on what is happening with BC wine,” notes Laura Kittmer, Media Relations Manager of the BC Wine Institute. “We had top palates from the UK, USA, Asia and across Canada all of whom were enthusiastic about the quality of the wines.”

“The annual Judgment of BC allows us to gain insights and knowledge into how we compare internationally. Introspection is a critical part of ensuring we continue to make high quality wines, and also allows us to collectively celebrate as an industry. We have so many reasons to be proud, and the future is very bright.” says Kearney.


1. Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut NV California | 12% | $46.99

2. Champagne Veuve Clicquot Brut NV France | 12% | $69.99

3. Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut XIII France |12.5% | $67.99

4. Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars Blanc de Blancs R.D. 2010 Okanagan Valley, BC | 12.5% | $39.90

5. Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery The One 2012 Okanagan Valley | 12.0% | $47.90

6. Sperling Vineyards Brut Reserve 2011 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.5% | $50

7. Graham Beck Brut Zero 2011 South Africa | 12% | $29.99

8. Tantalus Vineyards Blanc de Noir 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 12.0% | $30

9. Segura Viudas Heredad Brut Reserva Spain | 12% | $33.99

10. The View Winery Pearls Traditional Brut 2016 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.8% | $30

11. Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 11.6% | $32.99

12. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV California | 13% | $25.99


1. Poplar Grove Winery The Legacy 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.0% | $52

2. Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.9% | $50

3. Blackbird Arise 2015 Napa Valley, California | 14.5% | $86

4. Dominus Estate Napanook Napa Valley Red 2014 California | 14.5% | $125.99

5. Intersection Estate Winery Axiom 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 13.9% | $39

6. Chateau Poujeaux 2015 Moulis-en-Médoc, France | 14% | $65

7. CedarCreek Estate Winery The Last Word 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.6% | $84.99

8. Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery Le Grand Vin 2015 Okanagan Valley, BC | 14.0% | $45

9. DeLille Cellars D2 2013 Columbia Valley, Washington State | 14.3% | $85

10. Clos du Soleil Winery Signature 2014 Similkameen Valley, BC | 14.8% | $45

11. Chateau de La Dauphine 2015 Fronsac, France | 14.5% | $50

12. Chateau d’Armailhac Grand Cru Classé 5th Growth Pauillac, France 2015 | 13.5% | $90



Christine Austin

Isa Bal, MS

Jennifer Book

Adriano Cartulaires

Sid Cross

Terry David Mulligan

Dr. Janet Dorozynski

Mark Filatow

Tom Firth

VJ Gandhi

Meg Houston Maker

David Irving

Kelcie Jones

Lindsay Kaisaris

Juwan Kim

Kurtis Kolt

Geoffrey Last

Laurie MacKay

Chase MacLeod

Bryant Mao

Sharon McLean

Michaela Morris

Tim Pawsey

Katelyn Peil

Rhys Pender, MW

Drea Philip

Dave Pieroway

Craig Pinhey

Jeremy Pott

John Schreiner

David Stansfield

Laura Starr

Terry Threlfall

James Tidwell, MS

Sebastian Tobler

Alistair Veen

Julie Young

– 30 –

Quick facts about the BC Wine Industry:

  • BC is home to 929 vineyards
  • There are more than 10,499 acres (4,249 hectares) of wine grapes planted in British Columbia
  • BC’s grape wine industry has grown from just 17 grape wineries in 1990 to more than 275 today
  • BC’s wine industry employs about 12,000 people and has an economic impact of $2.8 billion annually
  • Each year, BC’s wineries welcome more than 1,000,000 visitors
  • Wines of British Columbia Trip Planner offers visitors an interactive touring app with personalized itineraries to explore the character of each wine region


About The British Columbia Wine Institute:

Since 1990, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC’s wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences. The BCWI markets the wine and regions of BC; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC’s wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of industry that contributes $2.8 billion in provincial economic growth annually.

The BCWI represents all wineries in British Columbia to grow the premium market share for the Wines of British Columbia, while driving awareness of our world-class wines and tourism product – currently drawing 1,000,000 visitors with $600 million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact every year. For more information about BC Wine Institute’s programs and services, please visit

For details on the Wines of British Columbia, go to, like the Wines of British Columbia Facebook page and follow @WineBCdotcom on Twitter and Instagram.



Laura Kittmer
Media Relations Manager
British Columbia Wine Institute
T: 250.762.9744 ext. 108






You might also like:

Ask Sid: (UPDATE) Chianti vs. Chianti Classico?

October 24th, 2018
Ask your question here

what's the difference between chianti and chianti classico

Question: What is the main difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico?

Answer: Main difference is that although they share the same name they are entirely separate regions and different wines. Chianti is the name of a territory delimited in 1716 and the name of a wine made in Tuscany but not in the geographical zone called Chianti. Chianti Classico is the name of a wine made in the geographical zone called Chianti and the only one entitled to bear the historic Black Rooster symbol. Chianti Classico is now that original zone from 1761 then called Chianti. As of 2010 Chianti is banned in the Chianti Classico zone .

Different regulations apply including:

Chianti Classico: 80-100% Sangiovese; Up to 20% authorized red grape varieties; No white varieties; 7.5 tons /hectare & 2 kilos /vine with 4400 plants /hectare

Chianti: 70-100% Sangiovese; Up to 30% authorized red grape varieties; Up to 10% white varieties; 9 tons/hectare & 3 kilos /vine with 4000 plants/hectare

You might also like:


October 22nd, 2018


Followers of this Blog will appreciate what remarkable quality progress British Columbia wines have made over the years. Among the grape varieties showing most impressively is pinot noir. Leading that progression are several wineries focusing on that varietal including Averill Creek, Foxtrot, Howling Bluff, Meyer, Privato and many more – even 2016 Lake Breeze Pinot Noir Wine of the Year at the 2018 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. The pioneer winery (together with Quails’ Gate) for pinot noir has been Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars in Okanagan Falls with great foresight by Founder Ian Mavety & his wife Jane starting with their first commercial release back in 1971. The winery is now in the conscientious capable hands of the second generation with winemaker Matt (back from New Zealand in 1997) and Christie for open friendly marketing. The wines have been highly thought of and collected locally for some time with the winery one of the first outsiders invited to the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon. The 1994 regular and 2000 reserve are still lovely drinking but as the five clones of pinot noir vines mature the wines are showing more depth of flavour. Now have 89 acres planted (up from 50 in 2006) at around 400 metres with moderate weather in August usually around 20C in the day with cooler 5C at night. The BC Wine Appreciation Society (who are doing an excellent job in showcasing BC wines to their members) cleverly collected 10 vintages of the Reserve and served them as a vertical led by Christie Mavety on October 21, 2018. The Reserve is best lots and barrels showing structure and complexity of their total pinot noir production. Your scribe was impressed with the consistency of the wines and the delicacy they all showed. They vary in colour showing vintage differences but have a sense of place. They are not big fruit bombs but they show lovely subtlety and charm with good herbal notes. Approachable and definitely work as attractive pleasing food wines. The wines were well served cool in smaller white wine Riedel glasses which dampened somewhat the complex aromas that can be obtained better from a bigger glass.

Here are some brief comments:

2006: Lightest colour with a pale rim at their typical 13.5 alcohol is open strawberries in a softer seductive way for present drinking. More full cluster fermentation in this vintage than others.

2007: More fruit at same 13.5 gives a fuller richer impact with lovely herbal raspberry notes on an interesting plateau of enjoyment now. Underrated.

2008: Less alcohol at 13 but darkest of first four vintages and popular with the group. Like the depth of deep classy fruit and especially the balance. Looks young still and can develop further. Impresses.

2009: Magnum at 13.5 had paler rim but explosive true pinot noir maturing bouquet perfumes with complex charm and a long finish. Very pinot noir finesse styling is so attractive. Probably more forward in 750 ml format.

2010: Another magnum at 14 (the highest of these) from warm year for them with a dark look like 2008. Good pinot aromas & popular for the solid open bigger bodied impact but finishes with some spirit. Needs more finesse. Powerful one.

2011: Lowest alcohol with 2015 at 12.5 is bright red from the cooler year and admire the clean freshness with lovely elegance. The silky texture here captures the essence of pinot noir. Good one and no rush.

2012: Deeper look slightly beetroot rhubarb menthol elements. Young still but more herbal presently at 13.5.

2013: Difficult year of wasps & sour rot at 13.5 but result is admirable distinctive pinot noir with an Okanagan sage seasoning. Well done.

2014: Like a lot this structure and lively vibrancy from an excellent vintage. Again 13.5. Only gentle light pump over instead of punch down for less extraction at fermentation with cooler cellar delaying malolactic fermentation till the Spring. Believe their change to a longer 16 months in cask (only 10 for 2006-2013) starting with 2014 is a smart move. This fresh baby is textbook pinot noir with a lot of complex fruit and the best one to collect for cellaring. Outstanding potential.

2015: Bit hazy not as bright looking with lower alcohol 12.5 from a hot year. After dropping crop their earliest harvest ever starting August 13 (for sparkling) to retain best acidity. Lighter more delicate. Forwardly.

An impressive range of elegant and stylish Okanagan pinot noirs. Congrats to the whole Mavety family for their initiative and perseverance with this heartbreak grape in producing something really unique and admirable. Keep it going!

Have you tried a Blue Mountain pinot noir? Recommend you do so.

You might also like:

Have you tried a Blue Mountain pinot noir?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ask Sid: Wine shops in Paris?

October 17th, 2018
Ask your question here

where to buy wine in Paris

Question: Heading to Paris and would like a recommendation for a big wine shop with many selections. Your help please?

Answer: One of the delights of visiting Paris is popping into a diverse number of quite small wine shops in the 20 different arrondissements or districts all providing some unique wine selections. However one of the better ones to check out is Nicolas with many outlets usually with some wines on sale – especially Champagne. Department stores such as Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette have extensive wine departments. Another must is the large Lavinia in the 1st A at 3 Boulevard de la Madeleine downstairs cellar with their excellent selections of older vintages of classic wines. They also have locations in Madrid & Geneve. They have a value priced exclusive at 19.90 euros like the elegant 2015 Pernand-Vergelesses from quality Burgundy producer Pavelot or even a vertical of Chateau Pichon-Lalande starting with the current vintage of 2015 (242 euros a bottle) back to more expensive older ones of 1988 (365), 1986 (575), 1985 (655) and 1981 (386).

Check out these suggested ideas and enjoy your wine shopping fun experiences in Paris.

You might also like:

Skip to toolbar