In a style akin to “The Judgement of Paris,” which was depicted in the film Bottle Shock, The BC Wine Institute endeavoured to measure the wines of British Columbia against those of the world.
Internationally renown wine writer and critic Steven Spurrier, who spearheaded the original judgement of Paris was on hand after attending the BC Pinot Noir Celebration in the Okanagan.
"For me wine is the three 'P's': the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all these boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction,” he stated.
Following true to the original Judgement, 12 wines from the region were pitted against 12 benchmark international wines in two categories: Chardonnay and Syrah.
The 2012 Blue Mountain Reserve Chardonnay was scored highest amongst the BC Wines of that varietal and placed ahead of the noteworthy Chardonnay reserve from California’s Robert Mondavi Winery.
“Accolades are nice of course, but we are most happy that our wines are being regarded as international calibre. This is what my family has strived for from day one, and to see the wines from the Okanagan Valley hold their own against some much more established wine growing regions in the world is a tremendous accomplishment for the industry,” noted Christie Mavety, partner at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars.
In the Syrah category, C.C. Jentsch from Oliver, BC bested the entire category from BC and abroad.
Great things are happening here in British Columbia!
A few of our favourite pictures of Spring 2015 at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Okanagan Falls. If you have any great pictures of Spring in the Okanagan, please submit them to email@example.com and we will post them on our facebook page.
Image on right by Andrea Johnson
May marks the start of another exciting tasting room season at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. We are now open seven days a week, daily from 11am - 5pm. If you haven't visited the winery yet, this is the year to come see us. We highly recommend packing a picnic lunch and spending a little time taking in the stunning scenery at the winery. Surrounded by vineyards and well off the beaten track, bask in the view of McIntyre Bluff and enjoy the sunshine Blue Mountain is well known for.
If you can't plan lunch, our neighbours down the road at Liquidity Bistro will be happy to feed you. Across the way there are a couple of other great spots to grab a bite. Wild Goose Vineyards last year opened the Smoke N Oak Bistro where you can enjoy southern BBQ. On the other side of the valley, enjoy the stellar views from See Ya Later Ranch looking north up Skaha Lake. Their outdoor patio is a great place to while away an afternoon.
With no shortage of great places to eat and excellent wineries to visit your trip to Okanagan Falls is a destination in itself. Make a day of it, call your friends and come see us.
See you soon!
Good fishmongers are hard to find so when Codfathers opened in Kelowna about 25 years ago, Chef's in the valley breathed a sigh of relief. Originally founded by the Bishop family, the market has been owned and operated since 2002 by Jon and Anne-Marie Crofts, who emigrated from the south of England.
The trade of "fishmongery" was fast becoming a dying art across Europe and North America, due to the rise of big box stores and bulk trade in seafood as a commodity. Both Jon and Anne- Marie believe passionately that Seafood should not be treated as just another mass produced protein, and that it should have special status as one of the few remaining foods that have to be hunted and gathered, sometimes at considerable risk to the fisherman. The place for modern fishmongers in the world is to show these wild gems the respect that they deserve, and use their mongering skills to ensure that fish is presented and prepared to the highest standard, so that they make it to the plate in prime condition.
The Codfathers site has a great collection of recipes for every imaginable seafood and fish. Be sure to check it out: http://www.codfathers.ca/recipes.php
As a family business Codfathers has always been aware of the importance of conserving our amazing ocean resources and using them thoughtfully so that future generations can enjoy them too. This concern culminated in our decision back in 2006 to become partners with Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean-wise program. After being accepted for the program, they are proud to be the first full-service fish market in Canada to embrace Ocean-Wise. For information on this program please visit the Ocean-Wise website at http://www.oceanwisecanada.org/about. All seafood items in their store are clearly labeled with the Ocean-Wise logo if they are considered sustainable by Vancouver Aquarium's team of biologists (the vast majority of their products are).
Also, for products where there are no Ocean-Wise alternatives they always source the most sustainable option available. In addition they have committed to promoting and encouraging small artisanal fisheries, and wherever possible providing the names of the boats/fishers, the area where they are caught and the method of catch used, to their customers.
Codfather's also has a great fish and chip shop onsite. Stop by for lunch and sample the catch of the day!
2355 Gordon Dr
Monday - Saturday: 9am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm
Pinot Noir is one of the wines we are most well-known for at Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars. We produce two tiers of Pinot Noir: the Estate Pinot Noir, which we normally release at the end of February and the Reserve Pinot Noir (formerly Stripe Label), which we normally release at the end of April. We also produce the Reserve Pinot Noir in Magnum format (1.5L). Be sure to join our mailing list to be notified of these wine releases.
Viticulture and Vinification:
The grapes for our Pinot Noir are grown on 8 to 30 year old vines with a wide selection of clones including 113, 114, 115, 375, 667 & 777 (see the map below for the location of the clones on the farm).
The winemaking process
We de-stem and lightly crush the grapes into open-topped fermentation tanks, with a small portion of whole clusters adding to the intensity of the flavour and enhance the mouth feel. During the 16-20 days' maceration period, we practice manual cap management, with punch downs twice and up to three times daily. We then drain and press the Pinot Noir into French oak barrels, where it remains for 10 months.
In 2013 100% of the vintage got fermented with wild yeast. Wild yeast fermentations starts by itself when wild yeast strains – originating in the vineyard / site (harvest equipment, transport bins, the surface winemaking equipment) - start fermenting. Wild yeast can take up to a week to begin the fermentation because their initial populations are small compared to an inoculated fermentation. Using Wild Yeast is a very risky process, but our winemaker, Matt has done a lot of experimenting and have found great success using wild yeast. This helps to express the unique terrior of our estate.
Winemakers Notes: Estate Pinot Noir
Light garnet colour with red and black fruit. Vanilla and toast complement cassis and black cherry flavours, and spicy, velvety tannins fill out the Pinot Noir. Its balanced structure will allow the wine to age for 6 to 7 years.
Winemakers Notes: Reserve Pinot Noir
The Reserve Pinot Noir is a rich, ruby-coloured wine complex layers of red fruit, spice and integrated oak. The wine could age 7 to 8 years.
In the Shuswap area of the North Okanagan is a productive organic goats cheese company called Happy Days.
Happy Days Dairies mission is to produce premium quality, 100% Canadian, Goat and Organic cow dairy products with the utmost care and attention given to farmers, animals, customers and business partners. Each one of their dairy farmers is committed to treating their animals humanely with access to clean bedding, dry and warm shelter, open air barns, access to the outdoors, pastures, fresh clean air, high quality nutritious and natural food, clean and fresh water. They encourage their goats and cows to engage in their natural behavior by placing them in social groups where they can live in a herd to run and play.
Happy Days Dairies vision is to be the leader in producing 100% Canadian Goat Dairy and Organic Cow Dairy products without compromise on quality, service and the humane treatment of their animals.
Here are some interesting wine and goat cheese pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc - The crispness of this wine is a perfect accompaniment to the soft creamy Okanagan Goat Cheese - This soft unripened cheese is available in several flavours, including: Plain, Garlic and Parsley, Lemon Pepper, and Olive Oil and Rosemary. Try it in summer salads or on crackers with this elegant wine.
NV Brut - The saltiness of this cheese lends itself to the effervescence of the Brut Sparkling. On a crostini or with salad, bubbles and feta are an interesting match. Goat Cheese Feta - available in crumbles or brine. Fresh and tangy.
Pinot Gris - The rich butteriness of Pinot Gris will capture the nuttiness and depth of character in this Organic Gouda - mild flavoured with a semi firm texture & creamy taste with a hint of nut on the finish. Grate on salads, add to pastas or enjoy on its own with some crackers and jelly.
Looking to purchase Blue Mountain wines in the States? We recommend paying a visit to Pike and Western wine shop in Seattle.
Pike and Western is an old fashioned wine shop. Since opening in 1975 they have seen a lot of changes in the wine world, the biggest being the number of wineries that have opened worldwide! Back in the day they had to be many things to many people but as wine has become more accessible they have taken another road, featuring the small, the artisanal, and the producers who produce wines of character.
They are motivated by delicious wines, made in a manner that highlights their terroir, the people that grew the grapes and made the wine and the culture that surrounds them. They taste everything, are opinionated and can help you drink well within any budget.
When they opened their doors, the Pike Place Market had just been saved by a vote of the Seattle people. It was then a local market. There were no tourists. Today that is not the case and summers can be crazy in the Market. But in its soul it is still a market for food loving locals. And that is why they are there. Their passion is to talk to you about the fascinating subject that is wine. It’s a subject that is complex, confusing and they don’t want to strip wine of that. They just want to help you understand a bit more, one bottle at a time.
Visit their website for more info.
Pike and Western Wine Shop
1934 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 441-1307
Fax: (206) 441-1308
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
No matter what your views are on Valentine's Day from worth celebrating to way too commercial, one simple thing that you can do is enjoy some sparkling wine and celebrate with your special someone.
We have four Sparkling wines to choose from 2006 Reserve Brut, 2007 Blanc de Blancs, 2010 Brut Rosé and the NV Brut. See below a recent review by Beppi Crosariol from the Globe and Mail of our Brut Rose sparkling wine:
Brut Rosé R.D. 2010: "The colour is an enticing delicate rose-petal pink, like a faint blush on a pretty face. It’s serious bubbly from one of Canada’s best sparkling wine producers, aged for 36 months in contact with the bottled yeast prior to having the sediment disgorged. Bone dry in that electric Blue Mountain style, it shows bright lemon, green apple, berry and toasty baguette flavours over a satisfyingly chalky texture."
We suggest starting the evening off with some bubbly. Looking for a super easy appetizer to enjoy? Try this recipe for Smoked Salmon and Caper Cream Cheese Toasts and pair it with our 2010 Brut Rosé Sparkling wine.
Reviews for our other Sparkling wines can be found on our website.
Happy Valentine's Day!
This story is about green meadows, happy cows, fresh thinking and age-old cheese making traditions taking place in the lush landscape of Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley.
Natural Pastures specialty artisan cheeses are known for having a unique, delicious taste or “terroir”, developed from the fresh, pure milk which the pristine soils, waters and pastures produce here in the Comox Valley. The animals are stress free and live in healthy environments. Because the cows eat the local grass and herbs, generously watered by Pacific Ocean-soaked rain, the milk used to make the cheese has its own “terroir” or distinct flavour. The term is familiar to wine-makers, where different regions have their distinct terroirs.
Selected local dairy farms are committed to environmental sustainability, and the natural wildlife habitat has been enhanced. Their enhanced stream habitats raise thousands of wild Coho Salmon each year. Their pure, fresh milk complements Natural Pastures artisanal cheese-making traditions which are managed by Doug Smith and Paul Sutter, head cheesemaker, leading their dedicated team to capture the essence of the unique flavours of the privileged environment of Comox Valley with their fine artisan handmade cheeses. Edgar notes that “Natural Pastures Cheese Company’s world-class cheeses are due in part to the traditional Swiss training and professional accreditation of their cheesemaker, originally from Switzerland, and to the consistent and hard work of all the employees of Natural Pastures at their federally inspected production facility in the city of Courtenay.”
Here are some wine and cheese pairings worth trying:
Pinot Gris - Buffalo Brie - An exotic twist on their world champion Comox Brie, their new Buffalo Brie is the very essence of traditional and inspired cheesemaking. Rich water buffalo milk from the Island transforms this cheese’s texture and allows your taste buds to explore new pathways. The creaminess of this brie will compliment the rich creamy notes of the Pinot Gris with enough acidity to bring out the earthy character of the cheese.
NV Brut - Parmadammer - A parmesan style cheese with a deep, rich nutty flavour. Available at the cheese shop and farmers markets. Sparkling is a natural partner for stronger, harder cheeses. Try it with some spicy pecans.
Pinot Blanc - Boerenkaas - Dutch for ‘Farmer’s Cheese,’ award-winning Boerenkaas has a sweet nutty flavour and bold, tangy finish. Superb in soups, salads, omelettes and pizzas. The sweet nutty flavour and tangy finish will match the Pinot Blanc simplicity and bring out the best in both.
Cheese Factory & Shop
635 McPhee Avenue
Canada V9N 2Z7
Tel: 250 334 4422
Toll Free: 1 866 244 4422
There is a hidden gem in Okanagan Falls…try heading down to Dogtown Coffee Co. for breakfast and a coffee to jump start your day before an exciting day of touring the Okanagan Falls wineries. They have a great breakfast menu to choose from, such as: fresh baked pastries, omelettes or even a morning wrap.
Dogtown is all about local fare; they carry a local coffee roaster, Lone Tree Coffee from Summerland, and showcase local artists throughout the year.
As well they have a second location in Penticton, Dogtown Café & Urban Market that opened early December 2014. Check out their facebook page to learn more about what they are doing at this location.
Dogtown in Okanagan Falls
5121 HWY 97, Okanagan Falls
Open Monday - Friday 7am – 3pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm