Everything Wine

The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines: Riesling

The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines

To say I was excited for this evening is an understatement.  I love Riesling.  I have a deep love for Riesling.  It all started several years ago when I was a guest at a BC winery for a weekend.  I had the pleasure of sitting in on a food and wine pairing with the winery Chef.  The Chef had paired their Riesling Ice Wine with various food pairings both savoury and sweet.  When I had a sip of the Ice Wine with a grilled sirloin, I was blown away.  It messed with my mind.  How can something so seemingly sweet pair with a dish that I instantly would pair with red wine.  The chef explained how the acidity in the wine and the grilled protein worked together to bring down the sweetness of the wine.  With that, my love affair with Riesling began.


The Riesling Class that our Jordan Carrier, or as he puts it “The keeper of the good stuff”, put together was so indulgent and so diverse.  He had a line up of Rieslings that would make any King double over in glee.


Before we tasted the wines, Jordan gave us a little history on the Riesling Varietal.  Riesling has been the wine of European Royalty for hundreds of years, bested only by Tokaji and Champagne.  The birth place of Riesling is Germany, the Mosel to be exact.  The Mosel just seems to have been created so perfectly to allow this varietal to shine.  The steep slopes, the river Rhine, and the soils all create the right conditions to grow Riesling.

Drinking a glass of Riesling on its own is enjoyable enough, but when paired with food, I’ll just say it’s a match made in heaven.   Food loves Riesling and as a result Chefs love Riesling.  It is one of the best food paring wines out there.  Jordan had Chef Alistair from Tap prepare the food pairings for this evening’s class.

Chef Alistair made a traditional German dish of Sauerkraut and pork, Coconut Thai Chicken Curry and had slivers of Stilton Blue Cheese with Duck Prosciutto to pair with the wines.

Jordan’s line up of wines were the Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile 06’, Schloss Johannisbergen Kabinett Feinherb 11’, Donnhoff Kreuxnacher Krotenpful Spatlese 06’, Markus Molitor Erdener rocuslese 05’, Gunderloch Nackennhein Rothenbuerg Auslese Goldkapsel 06’, Marcel Diess Vendages Tardives 00’, Rabl Trockenbeerenauslese 07’.  Just reading the list made the class feel glutinous.


The Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile 06’ is from the finest vineyards of Trimbach.  This particular label is made only in the best years. This is a powerful Riesling full of personality. The wonderful nose was full of ripe peaches, citrus, petrol and beeswax.  It smelled surprisingly sweet but was dry on the palate. If you’re a collector, this vintage will age very well into two decades.

Schloss Johannisbergen Kabinett Feinherb 11’.  Schloss Johannisbergen has been making wine for 900 years.  All this experience shines through in the wine. On the nose notes of passion fruit, nectarines and spice came through. On the palate, delicate floral, with hints of honey, blew me away.  It was so refreshing and cleansed my palate between the bites of food.  The slight sweetness of the wine worked well with the tang of the Sauerkraut.  This was my favourite wine of the night.

Donnhoff Kreuxnacher Krotenpful Spatlese 06’ was so lovely and feminine in style. It was so intoxicating with beeswax, mineral, floral and honey on the nose and palate with delightful acidity.

Markus Molitor Erdener rocuslese 05’. Markus Molitor took over his father’s winery at the tender age of 20.  He had one goal in mind.  That was to produce world quality wines that expressed the terroir of his vineyard like it had for eight generations before him. This wine was so rich and so creamy with spectacular flavours of petrol and lime.

Gunderloch Nackennhein Rothenbuerg Auslese Goldkapsel 06’. Goldkapsel are made from grapes that were left on the vines the longest.  Just picture tiny shriveled up grapes just barely hanging onto life. Jordan described the hue as “glow in the dark” because it’s so pigmented. It smelled like liquid gold to me. The intoxicating aromas of honey, citrus, mineral, and floral notes captivated me.

Marcel Diess Vendages Tardives 00’. This particular wine threw me for a loop.  It was unlike any other Riesling I have had in the past. The sweet spice, medicinal qualities and the slight nuttiness were things I never experienced in a Riesling.  I’ll be honest I didn’t love it but I was happy to have been exposed to something different.  

Rabl Trockenbeerenauslese 07’.  This was the stand out of the evening for the reason that it was a style of Riesling that is so unique, rare and expensive.  This is also the reason why Jordan poured the Austrian version of Trockenbeerebauslese as opposed to a German Trockenbeerebauslese.  The Austrian Trokenbeerenauslese is a little more available and affordable. The nose and palate was subtly floral, with sweet honey, mineral, and dried apricot aromas and flavours. This is as decadent as it gets!

If you are someone who comes in and buys a bottle of Blue Nunn, I urge you to take home something different. Try a Kabinett, a Spatlese and if you want to splurge for a special occasion try a Trockenbeerebauslese. I guarantee it will change your life.

I want to end on a quote from Jordan, as he had so many but this was one that stuck with me as it refers to Rieslings incredible aging potential.

“Riesling is like a Zombie, once you think that it’s dead it comes back, and comes back better”.

Couldn’t say it better myself.

Valentine WINE Favourites!

Just in time for the weekend, we thought we would help you out a little and list a few of our juicy rich + sweet favourites we think you should pick up your loved one to celebrate this Valentines weekend!

With over 3,000 wines in stock, we know that it can seem a little overwhelming. Where to begin? What will the wine I select taste like? What food should I pair with this wine? We have simplified the process for you and have come up with a little guide to assist you this weekend! From dinner wines, to collector wines, here are just a few of the fantastic finds we currently have in stock!

Finca Valdemoya Rosé

Reg $16.99

This is a beautiful rosé arriving just in time for Valentines Weekend! This Spanish gem is made from Tempranillo grapes, where the winemaker left the red skins to ferment just long enough to give this wine its exquisite, soft pink hue. On the nose are livley aromas of sweet strawberries, cherries and wild berries. It's dry on the palate with a crisp & refreshing, beautiful long finish of ripe cherries.

Food Pairing Notes

A perfect wine to accompany appetizers, grilled chicken salad & fresh wild salmon! Or simply pour a couple glasses to sip on with your loved on this weekend!


Cubo Tempranillo, 2011 - 90pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate!

Reg $17.99

This juicy Tempranillo is one of our best selling wines this year, and if you haven't tried Cubo Seleccion before, this is the perfect weekend to enjoy a bottle! It is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes that are aged in French and Bulgarian oak barrels for 11 months and 5 months in the bottle. Cedar, fragrant berries, and incense compose the bouquet of this tasty red. In the glass, a hint of milk chocolate and vanilla adds a note of complexity. Smooth, savoury and well-balanced, it will deliver enjoyment this weekend and could be cellared for another 4-5 years.

Food Pairing Notes

Tempranillos are generally versatile when it comes to pairing with food and Cubo is no different – Try a creamy mushroom risotto while you warm up in this chilly weather. Also delicious with hamburgers and steaks! Don’t forget the garlic mashed potato!


Les 5 Vallées Viognier

Reg $16.99

Brand new to our stores and made with 100% Viognier grapes, this is a livley Viognier we know you'll love! The nose is rich and elegant with a quintessence of dry fruits, peach and floral (violet) aromas and hints of vanilla/ honey notes. The palate is rich, fresh and mellow with a long persistent finishing on toasted notes. In terms of cellaring, in the first five years you will enjoy its fruit aromas which will then turn into more matured aromas. This is a wonderful wine that we panel tasted with our team 6 months ago, and everyone agreed that this was an outstanding French wine that we know our customers will love!

Food Pairing Notes

We recommend that you serve this at 10 to 12°C to pair with seafood and fish dishes, curry, white meats, blue cheeses, tarts and fruit desserts. This wine will also be very enjoyable alone as a relaxing drink. Try something new today!


Ballard Lane Merlot

Reg $19.99

Have you ever tried wines from the Paso Robles County in California? It's an up and coming region producing some of the most interesting wines in the state, and our Ballard Lane Merlot is no exception. This Merlot has cassis, plum, and earthy aromas, with a little spice, good structure, firm tannins, and a lingering finish. Sharp in acidity but fruity, this blend has cherry, red currant and licorice flavours. It’s an elegant wine that is ready to enjoy this Valentines Weekend!

Food Pairing Notes

Try this with a hearty slow braised beef stewed, or with Sautéed Sausages with Balsamic Glazed Onions, and Roasted eggplant with chiles and mint.


Perrin Vinsobes Red Blend, 2011

Reg $23.99

This is a stunning wine for the French Wine Collector! Coming from the infamous House of Perrin in France, this gorgeous wine is made from a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah grapes with 35% of the juice aged in French oak. It has a spicy peppery nose with lots of black fruit flavours. While it may be enjoyed now it will improved over the next two years and will keep for five. The impressive, deep, rich Vinsobres Les Cornuds comes from high elevation (400 feet) vineyards. Decant a bottles to enjoy this weekend or grab a few bottles and cellar them through to 2022!

Food Pairing Notes

Pairs well with steaks, beef stew, chicken and aged cheeses. A simply stunning French wine at a fantastic price!


Tarima Monastrell, 2012 - 90pts Stephen Tanzer!

Reg $22.99

Stephen Tanzer said it best - "Powerful aromas of blueberry, blackberry, violet and Indian spices. Displays vibrant flavours of smoky dark berries, bitter cherry and candied flowers, with a peppery overtone. The sweet, fruit-driven finish repeats the smoky note and hangs on tenaciously. I’d drink this wine young for its extroverted fruit character. To call it a value is an understatement." - Stephen Tanzer

A beautiful wine that's been a customer favourite at our Tasting Bars at all three Everything Wine stores. We're quite confident you'll love this juicy Monastrell - Try something new this Valentines!

Food Pairing Notes

Fill your shopping bag with bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic, buy saffron and paprika, and you have Spain on your culinary GPS. Some of the dominant aromas and flavours of the Monastrell wines in our tasting were smoke, earth and spice, bound by a decided meatiness suitable for all kinds of lusty food.


Doña Paula 1100 Red Blend - 94 points Decanter Magazine!

Reg $29.99

Give the gift of decadence with this limited edition, multi-award winning juicy red blend from Argentina! Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are combined to produce this complex and balanced wine that is intensely purple in color. On the nose, aromas of flowers like violets and sweet briar, which come from Malbec, can be perceived. Syrah adds spicy notes, good volume in the mouth and silky tannins. Finally, Cabernet Sauvignon provides great structure to this blend.

Food Pairing Notes

The best Reds from Argentina have a bold backbone that demand dishes and cheeses that can match them step for step. It’s no surprise that a country renowned for its steak grows wine grapes destined to fill glasses by the grill. Charred skirt steaks and sirloins pair perfectly. Another great meat option is lamb. The earthiness in Braised Lamb Shanks!

When choosing a cheese for an Argentine Red, pair strong to strong. Salty, semi-hard cheddars rise up to meet the tannins, then give room for these proud Reds to finish in their own style. Blue cheeses also do well – Cambozola Black, a gently-veined blue with a delicate but nicely persistent flavour, encourages Achaval Ferrer’s Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Blend to darkly-fruited mahogany heights.


Louis Massing Reserve Champagne

Reg $45.99

Valentines Day is the perfect occasion to treat your loved one to a glass of Champagne, and at this incredible price, the Louis Massing is our go-to value Champagne this weekend! Light in colour with a generous amount of mousse, this bubbly has a beautiful nutty flavour. Loaded with complex flavours of biscuit and toast with a hint of lemon on the palate, this medium-bodied Champs is lively with a long finish. An outstanding Champagne for the value!

Food Pairing Notes

Pair this stunning bubbly with breakfast mimosas and strawberries! It's literally the best priced bubbly from Champagne in the Province, and we know you'll love it as much as we do - Cheers!


Sandeman Vau Vintage Port, 2003

Reg $54.99

This port is the definition of decadence and is the ultimate Valentines dessert treat! It is deep ruby in colour with a gorgeous garnet hue. On the nose it explodes vibrant aromas of raisin, prune, fig, kirsch, dark chocolate and vanilla. On the palate, it is sweet and luscious with flavours that repeat the aromas and has a long lingering finish. Bottled in 2003, this 12 year old Port is ready to enjoy today!

Food Pairing Notes

Best paired with a creamy blue cheese, dark chocolate, or simply on its own!


So there you have it - just a few of the many AMAZING wines that are currently in our stores, perfect for entertaining, taking along to dinner party, and most importantly, to celebrate with someone special this Valentine's Day. Questions or concerns? Email us at info@everythingwine.ca or stop by one of our three Everything Wine locations to chat with a member of our exceptional sale's team!

The BEST of our Holiday Gift Wines 2014

The season of GIVING is here!

And we have our best selection of holiday gift-giving wines ever! Here are just a few of the many amazing accoladed wines we searched the globe for this year - you won't be disappointed!

Cubo Seleccion Tempranillo, 2011 - 90 POINTS ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE!

Reg Price $17.99

Back by popular demand after two years, we're extactic to let you know that we have been able to bring back Cubo for all of our fans our there! It's dark red in colour with rich cedar and black berry aromas. While medium-bodied, Cubo has a slight toasted coffee flavor with a hint of milk chocolate, and a delicious smooth vanilla finish. Grab a case of this staff and customer Spanish favourite today!

Famille Perrin Cairanne Red Blend, 2011 - 90+ POINTS ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE!

Reg Price $23.99 - The perfect gift for the French Rhone wine collector!

Robert Parker said it best in his review of this gorgeous French collector wine! “This is an outstanding blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. The wine has wonderfully sweet cherry fruit with some blacker currants, dusty, loamy soil notes, garrigue and licorice. It is full-bodied, rich and certainly one of the best Cairannes I’ve tasted.” - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

The Cairanne is showing juicy acidity and excellent overall purity, it has outstanding potential and will deliver the goods over the coming 6-7 years. Drink 2014-2020. More details here!

Dona Paula 1100 Red Blend, 2012 - 94 POINTS TIM ATKIN, Master of Wine

Reg price $29.99 - Outstanding limited edition Red Blend from Argentina!

When we first tasted this wine with a panel of employees from the company last Spring, this was one of our "must have" items we couldn't wait for you to try! Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, says “Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are combined to produce this complex and balanced wine that is intensely purple in colour. In the nose, aromas of flowers like violets and sweet briar, which come from Malbec, can be perceived. Syrah adds spicy notes, good volume in the mouth and silky tannins. Finally, Cabernet Sauvignon provides great structure to this blend.” Make sure you get yourself a couple of bottles before it's too late! Details here.

Secateurs Badenhorst Family Wines Red Blend, 2012 - 93 POINTS DECANTER MAGAZINE

Reg Price $28.88 - Gold Medal Winner Decanter Wine Awards, trying something new from South Africa today!

Have you ever tried South African wines before? Because you're missing out! The aromas from this Red Blend are perfumed, peppery, spicey, smokey and exhibit ripe red fruit notes. As always the palate texture of this style of wine is supple, smooth on the entry but with enough grip to end dry and refreshing. In the mouth the texture and fineness of fruit tannin and drinkability of the wine is immediately evident. Looking for a gift for the wine-geek in the family? Take a long a bottle of this multi-award winning wine today!

Vineyard 29 Cru Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 - 91 POINTS ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE

Reg Price $57.99 - The ultimate wine for the Napa Cab Collector!

When if comes to California Napa Cabs, this one of our go-to recommendations! And it's a favourite of Robert Parker's as well! -  “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cru is soft, seductive and opulent with a dense ruby/purple colour, considerably more fruit and richness than the 2011, medium to full body and good ripeness… it offers explosive fruit, a consumer-friendly style and 10-12 years of aging potential.” Looking for the perfect gift to give your boss this Christmas? This is it!

Penny's Hill Crackline Black Shiraz, 2012 - 94 POINTS JAMES HALLIDAY!

Reg Price $33.99 - Deep, dark, rich & delicious, give this wine to you Aussie Wine Fan!

Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz continues to be what all McLaren Vale Shiraz should be. Deliciously intense, with all its components looking their best and beautifully synchronised. There is lengthy concentrated blackberry fruit, liquorice and pepper. This wine is best paired with peppered steak or lamb shanks, or simply enjoyed by the glass, wrapped up in a blanket sitting next to the fire on a cold winter's evening. More details here!
These are just a few of the amazing 90 point wines that we've brought in for the holiday season. Be sure to check out our 90+ POINT WINE SECTION on the home page, too! Let us help you find the perfect gifts to give this holiday season at Everything Wine. We're quite proud to say, this is our best selection of wines in our almost 8 years of business, and we can't wait for you to try them! If you have any questions about the wines featured here today, please feel free to contact me directly at cboyle@everythingwine.ca

Here's wishing you all a Safe & Happy Holidays as we make your gift giving that much easier this year!


- Craig

Two Kings of Spain Master Class at Morgan Crossing

As a new member of the team at Everything Wine Morgan Crossing, I was fortunate to attend the ‘Two Kings of Spain’ master class on March 28 with Jordan Carrier.  The focus of the class was on the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions, which are both known for their Tempranillo-based wines.  To start the class, we learned about the history of winemaking in Spain and sipped on Jaume Serra Cava.  Mmm bubbles!  To accompany the wines we had a wonderful selection of Spanish Tapas nibbles, prepared by Alistair from Tap Restaurant.

The first flight of wines was a selection of three wines from Rioja, which is located in north central Spain, and divided into three regions.  The most important for high quality wines are Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.

Our first wine was Vina Bosconia Rioja Reserva 2002 ($56.99).  It is from the Rioja Alta region, which produces classic Rioja wines made in the old world style.  It is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and the remainder consists of local grape varieties.  This wine was an excellent example of a traditional Rioja.  It had a high acidity and is already showcasing aged characteristics.  The shorter growing season in Rioja Alta helps retain the high acidity in the grape and this will contribute to the long aging potential that this wine possesses.  The term Reserva implies that this wine has been aged for at least three years, with a minimum of one year in oak before it is released for sale.

Next up was El Pundito Rioja 2003 ($85.99), which is from the Rioja Alavesa region.  This was the class favourite from the Rioja flight because of its rich and intense palate.  The Alavesa region produces wines that are much fuller in body, have higher tannins, and appeal to the new world market.  This 100% Tempranillo had warm wood and leather notes on the nose, a rich mouth feel, and lovely balance of acidity and tannins.

The last of the Rioja’s was Artadi Vinas de Gain Rioja 2006 ($50.99).  This wine was a compromise between the two previous wines.  It was nowhere near as intense as the El Pundito, nor did it have the classic high acidity like the Vina Bosconia.  It was medium in body with dark cherry fruit flavours and paired perfectly with a nibble of fennel.  It wasn’t the most exciting in the line-up, but a great representation of the wines from Rioja, especially for the price.

The Ribera del Duero region was next, which is located south west of Rioja, and despite its long winemaking history, was an overlooked region.  The area is planted with predominantly Tempranillo, but also has a variety of French vinifera varieties.

We had Aalto Ribera del Duero 2006 ($82.99) to start off this flight and it was incredible!  Made by the previous winemaker of Vega Sicilia of 30 years, this wine was complex and despite its drinkability now, it has excellent aging potential.  On the palate it was rich with concentrated flavours of plum, cassis, oak and coffee.  Delicious!

Next was Cameron Hughes Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva 2002.  Don’t be fooled by this negociant’s modern label, this is an excellent wine!  Gran Reserva classification means the wine has been cellared for at least 5 years, including a minimum of 18 months in oak and 36 months in bottle before release.  This wine was the driest of the six, but the tannins softened and it had a long length.  With flavours of licorice, oak, and spice, this wine needs time but you can see where it is heading.  It paired beautifully with a lamb ragù stuffed pepper!

The final and most exciting wine was Vega-Sicilia “Unico” Ribera del Duero 2000 ($413.99).  This iconic wine is something many wine geeks dream of tasting.  It was the most unexpected and unique wine in the line-up.  We all expected something big, rich, and powerful, but instead it was elegant and feminine.  It was soft with flavours of cherry, date, and dried fruits.  It had smooth tannins and a fresh acidity.

What a great way to taste through these two Spanish regions, I learned a lot and can’t wait to attend another master class!

French Wines Don't Bite!

It is so clichéd to say that I almost hasten to write it, but it’s the truth so it must be said.  The more wine I drink from around the world, the more French wine stands out as an amazing source of quality wine.

The more that one studies wine, inevitably, France becomes more in the spotlight.  Part of the reluctance for the North American market is the labeling.  No grape names, no indication as to what the wine will taste like.  You have to keep in mind that France has been making wine since near the beginning of wine making itself and at that point, the different grapes had not been classified.  When a wine was made from Burgundy for example, the grapes that went into it were the grapes from Burgundy.  Plain and simple.  Now that we have defined Burgundian grapes to fall into the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fields, it is now up to us to know that this grape comes from this region.   So while confusing at first, instead of skipping French wine, ask your local wine shop for tips on buying.

Back to France being a constant source of enjoyment.  I first became aware of my growing love of the wines from this beautiful country when I was at a wine tasting comparing Pinot Noir wines from around the world.  There were excellent new world examples from California, BC, and New Zealand, but the three wines that stunned me by having an extra layer of depth of flavour all turned out to be French!

I’ll be the first to admit that I cannot afford the big names in the French world.  Can barely even look at the bottle without my knees started to quiver thinking about what my VISA bill would look like after a purchase, but contrary to common thinking, there is amazing value in France.  Look at Cotes du Rhone, Loire Valley, Beaujolais, and the south of France for your next dinner party.

Cotes du Rhone – Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre are the three big red grapes here and most wines will be a blend of all three.  Search out the Patrick Lesac Bouquet.  This winemaker consults for different properties all over the country, but his own label from the Cotes du Rhone stand out for me.  These are not your light, simple wines.  Both examples at EW are full of dark fruit and a spice filled backbone.  Structure and depth that will pair nicely with a beef roast or a rack of lamb.

Loire Valley – Don’t overlook the strong showings of Cabernet Franc from the Loire, but here I want to talk about the whites from the Muscadet region.  The grape is Muscadelle Blanc, not well known outside of this area, but producing wines full of citrus and minerality.  These are like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs with less grass and more textures.  Eating shellfish tonight?  Try the Andre Vinet Muscadet or the Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet

Beaujolais – Can’t afford Premier Cru Burgundy like me?  Look to it’s oft overlooked south end, Beaujolais.  The region is coming off two of the best vintages (2009 and 2010) that they have ever seen and the wines are tasting mind boggling well.  Gamay Noir is the grape here and I recommend spending a couple of extra dollars and buying the Joseph Burrier Morgon Grand Cru.  This is the wine that surprised me in the blind wine tasting.  Cherries, earth, and spices and a perfect wine for Christmas turkey dinners.


South of France – This is a broad term for everything in the Languedoc and Provence region.  If there is a “new” wine region from France, this is it.  Winemakers here have fewer restrictions on what they have to grow and must conform to.  In an effort to attract the lucrative North American market, many of these wines will show the varietal on the label.  And lo and behold these are some of the cheapest wines on the market!  One wine in particular that stunned me for how good it was at under $15 was the Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet.  High acid and simple lemon citrus flavours, but a minerality and smooth mouth feel that served chilled makes me think eating a plate of mussels while overlooking the Mediterranean … sigh …

Open your mind and explore French wine today without breaking the bank!

Broadening Your Wine Horizons Tasting

I was lucky to attend the “Broadening Your Wine Horizons” with Kady Smith on September 26 at Everything Wine in North Vancouver.  The tasting featured 8 wines and was designed as an opportunity to try varietals and wines that may often be overlooked in the shop.

As we sat down to our first wine, n/v Maupertuis Pink Bulles, a small production sparkling wine from Auvergne, I knew this tasting was going to be fun!  This was a cool wine to begin with.  It had a pinky orange hue and was not filtered so it was cloudy and very chalky on the pallet.  The sweet cherry fruit was overshadowed by a slight sweetness and a gamey, chalky mouth feel.  Very unique bubbles that went down way too easily!

Next up was a Gruner Veltliner from Austria.  This one was the 2010 Fred Loimer “Lois”.  While it was not as full of the characteristic white pepper flavours as the wines I tried in my Gruner post (read here), this was a smooth, easy wine combining flavours of peach and lime with a healthy dose of acidity.  Good wine to branch out of the Sauvignon Blanc craze.

Next up was my favourite white: The 2009 Terras Gauda Albarino from the Rias Baixas region in Spain.  This region is on the northwestern coast of Spain, a cool region full of unpredictable precipitation.  We can relate to that quite easily here in Vancouver!  As such, the Albarinos from this region vary from year to year, but this ’09 Terras Gauda is fantastic.  A beautiful gold colour, the flavours danced through the spectrum of lychee, fresh apples, honeysuckle, pineapples, and ginger.  On the pallet the fruit salad mix continued with a viscous mouth feel and steely minerality.  This is what Albarino should taste like.  Wow.

Onto the reds we went with a wine from a region I never thought about seeking out.  The 2009 Musar Jeune Red Blend from Lebanon is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon from the cooler hills surrounding the capital of Beirut.  There is serious history in this region, with the Middle East often being touted as the birthplace of wine.  This wine smelled like a cherry reduction poured over Christmas cake.  The delicate body had a textured mouth feel that finished with a sour dried prune taste.  The style reminded me of a wine I would find from Italy.  Not sure if that is characteristic of the region, but I would be willing to explore Lebanon wines a little more.

Onto Portugal we went, but not for a fortified port.  The 2009 Quinta do Crasto Duoro Tinto is a dry red wine made from Portuguese varietals like Tinto Roriz and Touriga Nacional.  The nose was Grenache-like showing mulberry and vanilla, the pallet focused on sweet raspberry and schist notes.  This wine was simpler than many of the others in the tasting but worth it if you are looking for a light bodied party red.

The entry from Greece was very unique to say the least.  The 2008 Alpha Estate “Axia” Syrah Xinomavrosurprised me with its gamey flavours, dried fruits, and wet pine wood notes.  The pallet had a lot of grip to it and again had a strong peppered meat flavour finishing with raisin and tar.  This was very different than wines that I have had in the past and was a key driver for me coming to this event.  I am still unsure if I would buy this in the future, but put a traditional Greek spit roast in front of me and I am sure this wine would pair well.

The 2009 Bernard Baudry La Croix Boissee from the Loire Valley in France blew me away.  Cabernet Franc is the red grape grown in the region of Chinon and if they all taste like this I need to make a trip out there!  This wine had a little bit of everything going on.  The rich cherry gave way to a full bouquet of violet flowers that then dissipated to a steely minerality.  This Chinon has depth of flavour and even though the tannins were high, the chalkiness of them created a smooth, full mouth feel.  Need to buy me a Christmas present this year?  Look no further than this wine!

Speaking of Christmas, the last wine was a n/v Chateau d’Orignac Pineau des Charentes which would pair perfectly with a pre or post Christmas dinner treat!  Often drank as an aperitif, this Charentes has an intense nose of burnt sugar, amaretto, oranges, cloves, and wood.  The medium sweet body was balanced by high acid and allowed the citrus, caramel, and butter toffee notes to show.  Talk about intensity and depth of flavour.  At 18% this wine packs a punch, but after the first sip you don’t notice the alcohol and a glass of this would disappear before dessert was even brought out.

With another great, exciting Everything Wine tasting in the books, I can look forward the next big event, theFall Festival.  Tickets on sale now, but selling fast.

My "Discover New Zealand" Tasting Experience

I had the absolute pleasure of walking into the classroom this past Wednesday at the North Vancouver Everything Wine to partake in the evening’s wine tasting, “Discover New Zealand: It’s not just Sauvignon Blanc”, hosted by John McLaughlin, an employee of Everything Wine who recently returned from his travels around Australia and New Zealand. While I have attended several tastings at Everything Wine over the past couple of years, this one was completely original. John took us on a journey around the New Zealand wine country and while reminiscing on his travel highlights, took the fifteen participants on a wine journey as well. For each stop along the highlights on his trip, John introduced a wine from that region, and while the first two were Sauvignon Blancs, of which New Zealand is famous for, he showed us that NZ has way more to offer than the traditional standard grassy green acidic Sauv Blancs, which are loved by so many. Before the tasting, had you asked me if I enjoyed New Zealand wines, I probably would have danced around the question and talked about another country, and I’m not knocking anyone who loves NZ wines… I just wasn’t a New Zealand fan... that is, until last Wednesday when John showed us some alternatives and my eyes were opened.

John began the course with some facts about the vast country of New Zealand. He informed us that there are about 4 million people in New Zealand, of which about 1.3million of them live in Auckland. Many people assume that Auckland is the capital city, however John corrected that misguided assumption and informed us that Wellington is, in fact, the capital city, which has about 350,000 residents. For the most part, New Zealand itself is a land covered in wine fields, and considering it was the last country in the world to be populated, is considered to be the fastest growing wine region on the planet.


John began the journey around New Zealand with the 2011 Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc ($24.99). Very typical to the region, this wine has a very light lemon colour, with a green nose (think grass and asparagus). The acidity of this wine is quite high, and ends in a sharp crisp finish while a subtle refreshing finish lingers on the back of the tongue. John explained that this is a classic Marlborough Region Sauvignon Blanc providing a delicious, herbaceous and vegetal wine that would be perfect with a salad, light fish, or to simply sip on the patio on a summer’s day.

From there John introduced us to another Sauvignon Blanc, this time from the Martinborough region, Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc. This wine possessed a noticeably rounder flavour, had an even higher acidic structure on the pallet, and yet was much softer and less green than the Jules Taylor. While it may seem odd to describe, the nose had a definite petrol aroma to it. "Petrol?" I know, you wouldn't think that it would be a characteristic to describe a wine, however John made it clear that we weren't making things up.... it's an aroma that is typical of the Ata Rangi region and is a good thing. As one who has an odd love of the smell of gasoline, I was immediately intrigued by this wine, and instantly determined that what I considered to be a typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was only a small portion of the wines the country has to offer.

Then it was time to move on from the Sauvignon Blanc comparison and take a step in the direction of theme of the evening, "... Not Just Sauvignon Blanc". John's NZ journey took us back to the Marlborough region as we tasted the 2008 Babich Pinot Gris ($22.99). What was interesting about this Pinot Gris was that it has had some time in oak barrels during fermentation, and as a result, a much rounder, more complex wine is created that is unlike any Pinot Gris I have ever tasted. Coming forward are strong notes of pears, peaches, and a plethora of stone fruits, and while the body of the wine is round and complex to the point where you ponder on if you’re tasting a Chardonnay, the finish leaves an oily texture on your tongue longing for another sip, which is a varietally correct result of a Pinot Gris. Of all the whites, this was by far my favourite, and would be a perfect wine to pair with duck, veal, or chicken.

To finish off the first half of the evening, we tasted the 2010 Greywacke Riesling ($35.99). John gave us a little hint about the background of the winery itself and told us how Greywacke is, in fact, a type of rock in New Zealand, and is the namesake for this wine. This Riesling is made by the world famous Winemaker, Kevin Judd, who, after years of mastering the art of winemaking for other labels, decided he wanted to make his own wine. Compared to many I’ve tasted over the years, this Riesling is sweeter than I had expected or experienced, yet was taken aback by the hefty petrol smell on the nose. I thought the Ata Rangi had a strong petrol smell at first, but then I went back to it and determined that while the Ata Rangi had, what I now described as a "slight" petrol smell, there was no mistaking that this Riesling had much more of a predominant petrol aroma to it. It borught up a good tip from John that when tasting and comparing wines, to always leave a little in your glass as you work your way through the flight so that should you wish to compare a previously tasted wine, you can. Getting back to the Greywacke; the first taste was brilliant! My mouth was immediately filled with ripe peach and tropical flavours combined with a little zest, and finished with a high acidic finish which John explained helped balance the high residual sugar. John suggesting pairing this wine with a heftier fish, or a goat cheese salad. While the Babich Sauv Blanc was my favourite of the whites, thus proving that there is a NZ wine I like, the Greywacke was the most interesting of the lineup and is one that I would definitely serve at a dinner party!

We took a quick break to stretch our legs and nibble on some of the incredible cheeses and crackers that were served to go along with the wines, and started part two of John’s journey around New Zealand wines.

John took us back up to Marlborough and introduced us to the 2008 Wither Hills Pinot Noir ($34.99). After one sniff of the nose of the wine, I knew I was going to enjoy this, as I’ve recently been on an Pinot fix. On the palate, this wine was bright, and fruitful, with a delicious combination of light red fruits and spice. Unlike the Pinot’s big brothers, this wine had a soft delicate body and was followed by a smooth lingering finish. Ideally you would pair this wine alongside duck, ham, and of course, a Turkey, but I’d argue that this wine stands alone and is the perfect one to sip on throughout an evening. John did mention that though there are a few wines you could choose to lay down and cellar for a couple years, the Wither Hills Pinot Noir is best served during the year in which it was released. And really, while I have a couple wines in my collection that I’m saving, this is one I’d be taking along to the next dinner party to have that night in the company of good friends and laughter.

Next on our journey, John took us to a new location on the map: Central Otago, which is located on the Southern Island of New Zealand, and is a region with possessed the hottest, coolest, driest region which just happens to be the most southern wine region in the world. This made for a great Pinot Noir comparison as the environmental conditions in which these vines grow are so vastly different.

The 2009 Akarua Pinot Noir ($39.99) had an even more delicate nose, and was so soft that I had to take a real deep inhale to pick up on the delicious aromas within. While the nose was soft and secretive with a hint of spice, the first sip on the palate was quite an experience. Rated 91 points by Robert Parker, this Pinot Noir had an incredible taste of smooth earthy red fruits with hints of vanilla, light in body, and to some degree, not quite at its peak. In conversation we were surprised how much we favoured the Wither Hills, to which John explained that this Pinot Noir is quite young and is one to buy now and keep for 5-6 years. If the wine was that complex and interested today, who knows how delicious this will be in 2017? That’s the fun of the wine collecting game!

To conclude the evening, John took us all full circle up to the region of Hawkes Bay on the North Island. This region is New Zealand’s oldest and is the location in which all of the best NZ reds are produced thanks to the Maritime Climate influence. John informed us that Craggy Range is the largest producer in Hawkes Bay, and what better way to conclude the evening’s tasting than sampling the 2009Craggy Range Te Kahu Red Blend ($34.99). This big boy was quite different from the other two reds as this was Craggy Range’s Bordeaux blend which John informed us was a blend of Merlot (80%), Cab and Malbec. It came as no surprise that this wine was much bigger in body, had great tannins and left a spicy sensation on the underside of my tongue, longing for another sip. With its lovely long finish, the Te Kahu is an incredible wine for its value. John mentioned that while visiting this winery, he saw sheep actually roaming around the vines in the winery fields, and when he question the reason for this, was informed that many wineries allow their sheep to roam the fields as their hooves turn over the soil, they inadvertently fertilize the soil as they feed on the low hanging grapes and essentially help produce some fantastic wines. That alone was one of the the coolest facts alone I took away from John’s New Zealand tasting.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been to several wine tastings over the past couple of years at Everything Wine and I must say that this was by far one of my most favourite. John was well educated on the wines he taught about and had so many visuals to go along. He literally took us on a journey around New Zealand, showing us personal pics from his travels, and he included some amazing tourist tips. What was so refreshing was how he had selected wines from a variety of regions. We were able to see and learn where the wines were grown and how you may have two Pinot Noirs or Sauv Blancs from the same country, yet have completely different experiences. If you ever have a chance to attend one of John’s future tastings, I sincerely urge you to do so. And as for me, well, it appears that I need to start a new savings account, as I’m clearly heading to New Zealand to relive John’s travels as soon as I can.


Que Syrah Shiraz

I am often asked the about the difference between Syrah and Shiraz.  The truth is that they are the same grape!  So why the different name?

To answer that question you have to dive a little deeper into the grape’s history.  While there are many rumours that this grape has origins in Shiraz, Ancient Persia, it found a perfect home in the Cote Du Rhone in France.  Here, the French called it Syrah, and it thrived, becoming a main component in some of the countries best wines including the famed Hermitage.  In 1831, James Busby is known for bringing the Syrah grape from France to its other favourite location, Australia.  Originally these wines were labeled Hermitage in honour of the great French Syrah’s, however due to changes in wine laws in France that protected the names of regions, Hermitage in Australia had to change.  The name Shiraz was chosen to distinguish itself from French wines.

Stylistic comparisons of this grape plainly show two different styles according to the region and winemaking.  The French Syrah is traditionally made in an elegant, earthier style full of black pepper whereas Australian Shiraz is juicy and rich focusing on intense ripe fruit flavours.

Nowadays, no matter the name, this grape has become one of the 10 most grown grapes in the world.  In emerging wine regions like Canada, the choice to use either Syrah or Shiraz comes down to whether their wine emulates the classic Rhone or the modern Australian style.

My suggestion is to try an example of each and find the style you prefer the most.  I recommend tryingCave de Tain Saint Joseph from the Northern Rhone or Penfold’s Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz from the Barossa Valley as a comparison starting point.

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven ... Countdown to New Year’s Eve and Sparkling Wine decisions !

It seems like we just finished our Christmas turkey leftovers and ‘Deck the Halls’ is still ringing in our ears, but I’m already eagerly anticipating New Year’s Eve when we welcome in 2011 and say goodbye to another year and another decade(!). While I brush up on the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne, I’m also trying to decide which sparkling wine to have when we ring in the New Year. Along with the party hats, noisemakers and balloons, nothing says ‘Celebrate!’ better than the unmistakable pop of a cork and a glass or two of bubbly. It’s perfect for festive get-togethers, as an aperitif, or paired with just about anything. I happen to be a big fan of the stuff.

Hmmm, so many favourites to choose from: from white to pink to red, sweet or dry, light or rich, there is a wide range of styles from many regions around the globe. Maybe this is the year to try something new and consider the many choices at Everything Wine – after all, we have one of the largest selections of French champagne and sparkling wine in BC! Just select ‘sparkling wine’ on www.everythingwine.ca and you’ll find almost 200 wines in your search results.

Here are some ideas and a few of my favourites to get you started:

Champagne: Well, I might as well start at the top. We have over 60 French champagnes in our Vintages Room. Champagne is the most famous bottle-fermented sparkling wine in the world and is named after the Champagne region (appellation) in northern France. Because of high demand and limited supply (not to mention its labour-intensive production methods, quality and pedigree), champagne is not inexpensive. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes produce champagnes that are typically dry, with high acidity and complex flavours of green and citrus fruit and other notes described as bready, biscuity or toasty. This year’s favourite is Roederer Brut Champagne ($59.99) from the same producer of legendary Cristal (they’ve been synonymous with the world’s great champagnes since 1776). This is their flagship, award-winning non-vintage champagne. It has a golden colour with fine bubbles and smooth palate of apples and pears with red berries (blackberries, raspberries and cherries) and classic rich notes of toast and almonds – yum!

Cava is the Spanish term for sparkling wine that is also bottle-fermented. The main grape varieties are local Spanish ones that offer neutral fruit flavours and medium acidity. Cava is easy-drinking, less pricey and very popular. One of the best recognized labels is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva and at only $13.99, it’s also an incredible value. Another favourite is Codorniu Pinot Noir Brut Rose Cava ($16.49) which is very pretty in the glass (soft salmon/pink colour), with a light strawberry nose and a dry, refreshing finish.

Prosecco is a sparkling wine from northeast Italy (Veneto) that is usually fermented in the tank method. The prosecco grape produces a light to medium-bodied, dry or off-dry sparkling wine with delicate stone fruit flavours (think peaches and pears). Some are fully sparkling (spumante); others are slightly sparkling (frizzante). Our most popular prosecco at Everything Wine is also organic: Villa Teresa. It is light straw-coloured with small bubbles, has a clean, crisp taste and a very cool re-sealable rubber closure/top. Wine Access awarded it 87 points in 2010 and at only $15.99, it’s one of the best value Prosecco’s on the shelf. When I want to splurge a little more, my current favourite is Adami Bosco di Gica Spumante Brut ($29.99).This delicious 91-point wine (Wine Advocate-Robert Parker) is soft and elegant. It was also selected as the prosecco to be served last year to world leaders at the G-8 summit in Italy to world leaders, so you know it’s got to be great to meet those standards.

Sparkling wine from Canada: British Columbia’s sparkling wines are award-winning, impressive and delicious. Blue Mountain Vineyard’s Gold Label Brut Sparkling ($29.99) is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes. It has a fine mousse (tiny bubbles) with lemon and toasty characters on the nose and palate with a dry finish. It’s a staff favourite and sells quickly whenever it arrives in the store. Summerhill Estate, See Ya Later Ranch, Tantalus Vineyards and Sumac Ridge are some other wonderful quality sparkling wine producers in our province.

Other favourite wines from other sparkling wine-producing countries include:

Australia: Bird in Hand Sparkling Wine ($30.99). Pinot Noir grapes are the sole star in this sparkling rose with a soft pink hue, delicious strawberry aromas and flavours balanced by refreshing acidity and a long, dry finish. A different Australian specialty is Sparkling Shiraz like the Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz ($13.99). These are full-bodied wines with intense black and red berry fruit notes and yes, they are fizzy too – it’s a delicious combination!

New Zealand: Mount Riley Savee Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($29.99). If you love Sauvignon Blanc and also love bubbly, you’ve GOT to try this unique sparkling wine with traditional Marlborough sauv blanc notes, crisp acidity and lingering finish.

South Africa: Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine ($24.99). This is delicious blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes fermented in-bottle with light yeasty aromas, rich and creamy mouthfeel and fine mousse. It was awarded one of the ‘Top 10 Fizzies’ by Decanter magazine in 2009.

California: Although Domaine Chandon and Mumm’s are ubiquitous, I like Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc Sparkling ($42.99) from cool climate Carneros. It’s produced exclusively with Chardonnay grapes, has enticing aromas of apples, full creamy feel with flavours of pear and lemon meringue with a long finish.

Germany, Hungary and Argentina and many other countries also produce sparkling wines.

There are so many sparkling wines to choose from. Regardless of the type or style or country of origin, I never tire of popping the cork and watching millions of tiny bubbles swirling to the surface in my glass. It’s a beautiful thing ... We hope you discover a new favourite this New Year’s Eve.

Happy New Year from all of us at Everything Wine!

- Sharon McGavin

Champagne Dreams!

I personally have been anticipating this classroom for more than a month. When the day finally arrived I was as giddy as a little school girl.

To say I love Champagne is an understatement. If someone asked me if I were stranded on an island what three things would I bring?

My answer would be Champagne, Champagne, and more Champagne!

I know one could not live on Champagne alone but it would make my days on that island so much more enjoyable.

As a child, I have many fond memories watching my parents and their friends sipping on champagne on New Year’s Eve, Sunday Brunches, Weddings and Birthdays. Us kids were never left without. They always made sure we had a bottle of the de-alcoholized fizzy variety for us to participate in their celebrations.  I never knew the difference until I had a taste of the real stuff on my 19th birthday. I hated it. At first it was too dry and the bubbles made me sneeze. What a difference a few years makes. Now I love Champagne. I can’t imagine a celebration without it.


When I had the opportunity to plan a tasting around Champagne, I could hardly wait to share my love and passion for the product. Tonight’s class was sold out and there had been many inquiries on it so I will have to do this again!


The class started out with a history lesson. Many of our guests had no idea that Champagne had been around since the late 1660’s, or that there is a debate on where Champagne was created. Some say it was the French and some say it was from the Brits’. Who’s to say really, all I know is that I’m thankful that it exists.


We discussed the different grapes and styles used to produce the Champagne. There was also a lesson on how to decipher a Champagne label. Finally after we went through the technical jargon, we dove into trying the Champagnes. I chose wines that I hadn’t heard much about unlike Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot and Cristal. Instead I wanted to give the lesser known Champagnes a little bit of our Vintage Room Spotlight:


Pol Roger 1999 Brut Blanc de Blancs $85.99 Awarded 93 pts from Wine Spectator

Henriot NV Brut Souvrain Champagne $67.99 Awarded 94 pts from Wine Enthusiast

Gosset Celebris 1998 Extra Brut $139.99 Awarded 90 pts from Wine Spectator

Billecart – Salmon NV Brut Champagne Reserve $84.99 Awarded 91 pts from Wine Spectator

Cedric Bouchard Inflorescence NV Blanc de Noirs $89.99 Awarded 92 pts from Robert Parker

  1. Billiot Et Fils NV Brut Rose $79.99 Awarded 91 pts from Wine Spectator


When the bubbles had finished and the class had emptied, all I could think of was how different one Champagne was from another. It was a wonderful line-up that showcased how every Champagne House has achieved to be different from their neighbor. I have to say it was an amazing class of good Champagne, great people and affirmed my love for the bubbles!


-Almira Spiller

PS: Did you know that Everything Wine has over 130 varieties of sparkling wine in stock?