Going to Canada next weekend

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Going to Canada next weekend

Postby MtBakerDave » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:32 am

I'm going up to BC next weekend (to check out the mighty fine folk festival scene) and I'm wondering what I might try up there and/or bring back. I'm thinking of a couple bottles, fairly inexpensive, and something likely to be available off the shelf at the BC liquor stores. I have a French/Italian/German palate. Any suggestions?

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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby John S » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:17 am

Hmm, just came back from the final day of the Vancouver Folk Festival. Hopefully that wasn't the one you were going to next weekend?!?!

Check out the BCDLB website: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/en. If you write a producer or wine name in the box at the top right of the site, it will tell you what they have and you can then find out what store has it. I'd recommend going to the main wine store at the corner of 39th and Cambie Street, as they have the best selection. The Park Royal store in West Van is also good.

The main thing you'll notice are the very high prices compared to the U.S., but if you're looking at fairly inexpensive bottles, than you shouldn'yt have much problerm finding something interesting. But I can't think of anything offhand that's come into the system recently. Sometimes the Italian wines can be the best bet, as we sometimes get good prices on Italisn wines, relatively speaking.

Maybe Jenise or some of the other Vancouver-based members can give you more specific information?
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby MtBakerDave » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:32 am

Hey John,

Hope you had fun at the Vancouver festival. Actually I'm going to the Mission Festival next weekend:
http://www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca
And, if you liked Vancouver, you'll LOVE what goes on at Mission!

I won't be in Vancouver during the weekend; I'll be shopping at the local store in Mission, BC. Really what I'm looking for is Okanagan wines that I can't get in the states - which is most of them! Any suggestions are welcome ...

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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:01 am

Bruce Hayes posted a similar question here on June 23 "What shall I look out for in BC". If you search "Bruce Hayes" you will see the post, I do not know how to bring it up!!
In Alberta, I am on the BC lookout for Cedar Creek, La Frenz, Hillside, and that is just for starters!! Goodluck, where is Jenise!!?
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby Jenise » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:17 pm

Dave, there's an excellent BC-only wine store that a friend of Bill's named Mark is the manager of that's on the south side of Vancouver on 41st St a mile or two west of Oak St (what Highway 99 turns into on the other side of the Fraser as you enter town). That would be a great place to shop. But you say you're not going to be in Vancouver...where's Mission?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby CraigW » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:03 pm

Dave,

Your best bet for fun, unique BC wines will be to visit a privately owned VQA store which specializes in BC VQA wines. In some cases BCLDB stores don't have what VQA stores offer, and these specialty wine shops are fun to visit too, because their proprietors are usually well informed and trustworthy.

In Mission, you're within 15-25 km (8-15 mi) of Abbotsford or Langley (not too far from Vancouver for that matter), so check out http://www.winebc.com for VQA store locations nearby.

Depending on what you're after (you'll never get much of a deal on anything in BC), great wines are available. BC aromatics like Gewurtz and pinot blancs are usually quite cheap - in the $13-$16 range, and things go up from that.

Being that you like Italian, one red you ought to stay on the lookout for is Sandhill Small Lots 'Three'. Small Lots never make it out of province and never make it into the BCLDB stores. They are 150-350 case production wines from Canadian wine hero Howard Soon, and run around $30-35 a bottle. Small lots are Howard's play-things, and are intended to be experiments with unique and unpredictable grape varieties grown and nurtured in BC. Try any of them, but 'Three' plays to your Italian notion and is a blend of Sangiovese - Barbera - Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon and has been winning the reviews of a number of critics and sell out quickly.

Another is Nota Bene, by Black Hills Vineyard, which is a classic Bordeaux blend and has become quite the cult classic. I think you can find it (it there's any left) at a VQA shop for about $32.

For whites, watch out for Joie 'Noble Blend', a crazy blend of gewürztraminer, riesling, pinot blanc, kerner, muscat, pinot auxerrois and ehrenfelser. It's an interesting aromatic experience and is about $20.

Also, pretty much anything by Lang Vineyards is good value if not just good wine. Their Gewurtz and Rieslings are wonderful and can be had for under $16.
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby MtBakerDave » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:21 pm

Jenise wrote:But you say you're not going to be in Vancouver...where's Mission?


Mission is (I think) about 60KM east of Vancouver, on the north bank of the Fraser River. Just north of Abbotsford in Canada, and Sumas in the US.
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:59 pm

John S wrote:Check out the BCDLB website: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/en.


I clicked on the link. Chateau Des Charmes Gamay Droit is a nice Ontario wine available in BC:
http://www.bcliquorstores.com/en/products/582353
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby MtBakerDave » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:43 pm

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I think I have some good ideas now of what to look for. Should be fun!

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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:49 pm

Dave,

There are a few things I'd recommend in particular, both considering your European palate and your in-the-biz curiosity and need to know. As producers go, Sandhill and La Frenz. I'd mention Blue Mountain too except that their wines sell 100% to mailing list customers and you won't be able to buy them retail. They are the minimalist of Okanagan winemakers, a love or hate style. Sandhill for reasons already mentioned. La Frenz for their stellar lineup of absolutely brilliant, multi-faceted white wines that will make you go "Why can't we do this in Washington?" and a delectable pinot noir based red blend called 'Montage'. They'll be pretty hard to find too, but you never know. And here's another name: Burrowing Owl. The wines are now being made by the owner's son, but he was trained by Bill Dyer whose last big gig was Napa's Sterling Vineyards. To me, that's not exactly a reccomendation as I've not been impressed by Sterling Vineyards since the late 70's, but by jove Bill knew what to do with that Okanagan fruit. If you want to look at Okanagan wines from the perspective of "Which Okanagan reds are the best competition for Washington's most elegant and stylish reds?", academically speaking it's got to be BO. Some others would mention Cedar Creek but I'm not the fan of the wines or the snooty winery that others are. Too, for the area they're overpriced. Burrowing Owl, though, yes. Excellent wines. I don't recommend the pinot, but everything else yes, and my personal favorites are the pinot gris and cab franc.

Speaking of pinot gris, the Okanagan Valley seems to have been designed to make white wines, especially pinot gris. What comes out of there can't be likened to any other style--it isn't Alsatian or Italian or Oregonian--it's different than all three and just wonderful, like a whole new grape. It gets very ripe in a good way, meaning it doesn't take on an overripe, cheesy character, which most of the chardonnays and pinot blancs produced there (in the warm vintages, anyway, which lately most have been) do. Gewurz fans have their favorites, but I'm not a GF so I don't have names for you. And that takes me back to La Frenz--I don't think they even make a PG. But they do make two grapes almost no one else does, Sauv Blanc and Semillon, and both are brilliant. The latter manages to skip that heavy perfume that makes the grape so good at blending but often too-too on it's own. Both are unusual grapes for the area, in fact the only other SB I can think of is Alibi, another great producer who runs out of wine and boards up the place about two weeks after he announces that his wines are for sale.

Gehringer Brothers make some interesting whites, but the reds are candied. And they have like two lines, I can't remember the names but they equate to Traditional and Modern, meaning you can count on more oak and RS in the latter. Stay away from those, but the others are good. Tinhorn Creek is another interesting winery, very very lean wines. They're about the only other winery than Blue Mountain I can think of that's minimalistic, but they lack Blue Mountain's sense of style. Still, I like 'em.

Gamays up there are interesting, too. The most interesting and European in style I've had was by St. Hubertis.

Oh, and someone mentioned Lang--good call. The winery is owned by a charming German and he's not into spoofy flavors. Want to know what Marechal Foch really tastes like? He makes an unoaked version that will tell you.
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Re: Going to Canada next weekend

Postby CraigW » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:34 pm

Actually, Lang was bought out a few months ago... By the folks at Harmon Farms (owners of Benchland Vineyards, Mistral Estate and Spiller Estate - all C+ wineries in my opinion).

Guenther Lang still controls operations, but is no longer the owner... Too bad... :(
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