Archive for April, 2019

Ask Sid: Variety with most planted acreage for BC wines?

April 10th, 2019
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Question: Which variety has the most planted acreage for producing British Columbia wines?

Answer: It is the red variety of merlot with over 1500 acres. It produces a wine often quite structured with more tannins than some other regions. The top white variety is the many styles of pinot gris at just over 1000 acres followed by chardonnay at just under that number though Riesling is becoming more popular. The fastest growing variety is pinot noir presently second in reds at just over 1000 that really suits the conditions found especially in north and central Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island. Exciting developments and growth to follow.

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Diversity of Napa Valley’s 16 AVAs

April 8th, 2019

One of the many highlights of the 41st International Wine Festival in Vancouver earlier this year @VanWineFest #VIWF was learning a lot about the diversity of the different wine regions (AVA – American Viticultural Area) of the Napa Valley. AVA is a legally designated grape growing area possessing distinguishable characteristics for climate, soils, terrain, and other historic significance. In the Napa Valley there are 16 of these. Wineries and tastings focused on these AVA as being very important whether the wine was from a single vineyard AVA or a blend of several to take advantage of different styles from the grapes.

Napa has put out a most useful map showing where these 16 AVA are with a helpful breakdown of the climate, elevation and principal varieties grown in each. You will see they range from cool to warm to hot reaching 792 metres elevation in the mountainous districts. These are important background facts to get to know so you have a better understanding of why Napa Valley wines can smell and taste different depending on their AVA. Some are more well known than others but all are finding their distinctive mark and hopefully showing a unique terroir. Investigate.


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Ask Sid: When I order a glass of house wine what size serving should I expect to receive?

April 3rd, 2019
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wine restaurant size glass

Question: When I order a glass of House Wine at a restaurant what size serving should I expect to receive?

Answer: Excellent question because there is no clearly recognized standard size. Perhaps there should be. Some places note their service size right on the Wine List. If not shown ask them. Most serve either a 5 ounce or 6 ounce size. A full standard bottle is 750 ml. so often they try to get 5 pours per bottle of around 150 ml each (or 5 ounces). Others provide a more generous pour using a 4 per bottle serving  guide for about 180 ml. (or 6+ ounces).  Check the price differences too. I ordered a glass of quality wine at a one star Michelin restaurant in Paris that stated on the menu that it would be 150 ml but must have been close to only 100. I complained. The best idea I have seen is the one used at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles by Nancy Silverton & Joe Bastianich. They take a wine bottle and pour it into 3 small carafes of 250 ml. each which you can then pour all for yourself to have with your delicious pizza or share with others. The good deal is that that you pay only 1/3 of the Wine List bottle price for your 1/3 carafe serving. Encourage more places to follow this type of fair wine service.

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5 Best Discoveries at Grocery & Specialty Food West

April 2nd, 2019

Your scribe often attends food shows of the latest hot products on the consumer market. Usually disappointed by too many fast food items ranging from potato chips to popcorn with a new sometimes bizarre flavour. Therefore approached the latest one GSF19 Grocery & Specialty Food West Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre with lower expectations on April 1. However I found 5 food discoveries that captured my interest and recommend them as follows:

1. Nature Valley Granola Bars. Bit sweet but can be a good emergency fallback at breakfast while travelling. Like their crunchy Oats ‘n’ Dark Chocolate one and there is a new one chewy trail mix coconut dark chocolate.

2. QueenBee Natural Honey 100% Canadian but newly mixed with a Ginger Boost.

3. Siggi’s Icelandic Skyr Thick 0% Fat Plain Yogurt with only 3 grams of sugar – that is low. Like they use 100% natural ingredients and have large print notice of LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES. Also like what it lists that it doesn’t have: NO aspartame, sucralose, stervia, gelatin, artificial, preservatives – none of those.

4. Fruta Mil ( 100% natural frozen pulp from Brazil – especially passion fruit + açai – imported by Investigate.

5. Casa Luker Cacoa from Columbia at Good quality at better prices. My fav single origin Tumaco 85%.

Good luck exploring new food products.


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