Blind Tasting of Quails' Gate & Top Global Chardonnays
In June, Quails' Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna, British Columbia, hosted a blind tasting of three of its top chardonnay labels amongst well-known international chardonnays and to be assessed and benchmarked by a wide-ranging panel of Canadian wine experts. We divided the blind tasting into three sessions and offer you the chance to sit at the table as the wines are tasted and, at the end of each round, when the wines are revealed, you have a front-row seat to the panel discussion.The results may surprise you. Along the way, you experience what it is like to taste blind and how talented the panel is as it works its way through the wines. What may seem like vast differences of opinion are more like taking a different path to get to mostly the same conclusions. Chardonnay is the favourite whipping boy of industry analysts, but in the end, it is one of the most widely drunk wines in the business. We take our hats off to the Stewart family and the team at Quails’ Gate for having the guts to pull off an event like this and letting you behind the scenes of the modern-day wine business.
Queen takes King? An Insider Report on Barbaresco
Barolo has long held the title of the "King" of Piedmont wines while the softer Barbaresco is crowned the "Queen,” but with several stellar vintages of late, there could soon be another coronation, of a sort, in the wine region. Winemaker Matteo Pola visited Vancouver for the first time recently, and we took the opportunity to sit down to talk about the family winery, Fontanabianca, and the rise of Barbaresco. We'll release the full interview in September. Still, in this short clip, you will be interested to hear what Matteo says about recent and upcoming Barbaresco vintages, including his birth year wine.
From Krug to Phantom Creek Estates
One of the things we love about the Okanagan wine industry is the diversity of people coming from around the world with a large amount of work experience. The latest is Francois Mateo, whose background includes working with the famed Champagne House Krug and with Eduardo Chadwick at Seña in Chile's Aconcongua Valley. After less than a month on the job at Phantom Creek Estate Winery, we spoke with Francois to get his first impressions of the region, the wines, and his new home on the Black Sage Bench.
Aurelio Montes on Carménère
We asked Aurelio to take us back to carménère beginnings in Colchagua and his winery's approach to making wine from this old Bordeaux grape variety. Interestingly, the decision not to rush to market led to the creation of Purple Angel almost a decade later, a wine that became an instant gold standard for Chilean carménèreupon its release. Montes Wing's latest release is the next iteration of carménère. It is the result of planting higher up on the vineyard slope, and in Aurelio's opinion, creates another vision for Carmenere with some surprising characteristics.
Malbec with Altitude with Laura Catena
We caught up with Laura Catena, fourth generation and Managing Director of Bodega Catena Zapata, at the recent Vancouver International Wine Festival, where she was inundated by malbec and Catena Zapata fans as she stood by her booth. It's no wonder they were all clamouring for her time. Laura shares her genuine charm and intense intelligence with anyone who wants to talk about wine. In our latest video, you get the chance to hear and see Laura in action as she share's the ancient journey of malbec from Europe to Argentina and then tracks its modern transformation in the hands of the Catena family, which has led to its worldwide recognition and countless accolades for the family. As the founder of the Catena Institute of Wine, a research facility created to fully understand everything about their vines, soil and climate, Laura explains why she imagines malbec has succeeded over the centuries, specifically in Argentina.
Sella e Mosca, Sardegna
Sardinia is different. That's a line in the D.H. Lawrence travelogue, Sea and Sardinia, describing his trip to the Mediterranean island in 1921. A century later, we look at the Island's largest producer, Sella & Mosca, owners of 560 contiguous hectares or the largest single vineyard in Europe. We spoke with chief winemaker and Sardegnian native Giovanni Pinna, who shared some thoughts about three indigenous grape varieties that shout Sardegna: vermentino, torbato and cannonau. Today, we think of Sardegna/Sardinia as an Italian island. Still, the influences of its Bronze Age inhabitants, followed by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Spaniards, particularly a 300-year stay by the Catalans, have blended and shaped its particular expression of food, wine and culture. Join us on a trip to the crystal waters, craggy-rocked coast and wild mountainous hinterlands of Sardegna and see for yourself what D.H. Lawrence observed so long ago.
Quails' Gate: Growing for the Next Generation
Jesce and Charlie Baessler
This interview was taken from an hour-long BC Food & Wine Radio show hosted by Anthony Gismondi and recorded while on location at Corcelettes Estate Winery in the Similkameen Valley. It features Charlie Baessler, Corcelettes' General Manager, winemaker and viticulurist and Jesce Baessler, its Sales & Marketing and Hospitality Manager. Usually during our interviews with winegrowers, we have just enough time to focus on a few of the wines they make and what consumers can expect were they to visit. In this spotlight we get the opportunity to learn about the Charlie and Jesce, how they came to start the winery and how they balance an all-encompassing worklife while raising a young family in the valley. We've included recent tasting notes of their wines below.