coming home from work and finding a wine club delivery awaiting you at the door!
This shipment contained 2 bottles of Portfolio 2014, 2 bottles of Chardonnay 2015, 1 bottle of Amphora VR 2015, and 1 bottle of Dark Pool 2010 (LSV new port-style wine). I'm looking forward to uncorking these!
It is always a happy day when I get to unpack another wine club shipment!
This shipment was all reds - 3 Blind Trust, 2 Syrah, and a Pinot Noir.
From the winery . . .
We are proud to release our first reds from the 2014 vintage. The last few growing years have been getting progressively warmer, so lots of ripe flavours and full bodied reds is the result.
Blind Trust Red 2014 - $26.99* The Blind Trust is the second label of our big Bordeaux style blends, and its robust taste profile and affordable pricing make it a solid investment. It's the first year Malbec dominates the blend, followed by Merlot and the Cabs.
Syrah 2014 - $33.99* Syrah has become a powerful varietal for BC winegrowers. The 2014 Syrah is 100% estate grown on our Perfect Hedge vineyard in Osoyoos and blends 97% Syrah with 3% Viognier. A third of this wine is not just aged, but also fermented in French oak puncheons and tanks, which imparts silky tannins and a lush roundness to the wine.
Pinot Noir 2014 - $28.99* Small Cap Release - Only 149 cases With fruit sourced from a stellar high bluff site on the Naramata Bench, Pinot Noir has a reputation that it can be tricky to grow. But BC's cooler climates are showcasing Pinot Noir that is world class.
In the midst of the craziness that is work these days I find that I need to find small things to focus on to stay balanced and happy. Imagine my joy when I came home one night last week to find my latest wine club shipment!
Two bottles of the 2014 Chardonnay,2bottles of the reserve 2013 Portfolio, and 2 bottles of the 2013 Syrah.
I took this pic when I was in the Okanagan valley this spring. I love how someone made this stop sign political (Stephen Harper is the current Canadian Prime Minister and we hope he will be stopped in October when we have our next Federal election).
I was really excited to come home on Friday and discover that our first wine club shipment had arrived from Laughing Stock Vineyards in BC. This was the first winery we visited while we were in the Kelowna area last month and one of our favourites.
There was much about the winery that appealed to us:
The story behind the creation of the winery . . . previous to starting Laughing Stock, the owners led conservative, methodical, and calculated lives in the Financial Industry. In 2003, they did the unfathomable; they followed their hearts, and bullishly invested everything into the wine industry. An emotional decision that their pinstriped peers thought was … fiscally foolish, and financially unwise. The Laughing Stock name may have unwittingly been conceived at this time. Heaven knows they heard the term over-and-over again from their colleagues on Bay Street, and Wall Street.
Then there was the winemaking philosophy . . . the goal has been to continuously be the best in the business. To achieve that, Laughing Stock is a 100% hands-on operation. The owners and staff diligently tend to every stage of the winegrowing and winemaking processes. Cynthia focuses on estate vineyard operations and David is responsible for the making of wine.
The winemaking philosophy is focused on super premium, small production wines using techniques that showcase the very best from the fruit that they grow. In 2005, they built a leading-edge winemaking facility: a 4,600 sq. ft. steel building on a sloping site complete with an underground barrel cellar. The design leverages the hillside on which the winery is located and reaps the major benefits from a gravity flow system including limited intervention and handling of the wine in its development.
Of course, we also loved our wine tasting experience - small and personal . . .just like the winery.
And then there were the amazing wines!
There were a variety of wine club options - we selected the one that ensured 3 shipments a year - two bottles of their 9 wines. This first shipment was of their newly released white wines . . . which promptly went in the wine fridge!
Finally our trek had us at the other side of Cola Harbour and the entrance to Stanley Park - one of Canada's largest urban parks. Right by the entrance was a huge pond surrounded by willows, flowers, and some old dude sunbathing in the raw. I took pics of the the pond but managed to keep old-dude out of the frame.
We walked along the seawall, taking great care to stay off of the bike path (well, we did after seeing some tourists almost run down by bicycles), enjoying the views of the city, the harbour, and the odd wildlife.
Finally, with my feet rebelling, we reached our destination - Brockton Point home to a wonderful collection of totem poles. The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are BC's most visited tourist attraction.
The collection started at Lumberman's Arch in the 1920s, when the Park Board bought four totems from Vancouver Island's Alert Bay. More purchased totems came from Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and the BC central coast Rivers Inlet, to celebrate the 1936 Golden Jubilee. In the mid 1960s, the totem poles were moved to the attractive and accessible Brockton Point.
The Skedans Mortuary Pole is a replica as the original was returned home to Haida Gwaii. In the late 1980s, the remaining totem poles were sent to various museums for preservation and the Park Board commissioned and loaned replacement totems.
The ninth and most recent totem pole, carved by Robert Yelton of the Squamish Nation, was added to Brockton Point in 2009.
Having walked for hours it was time for a rest. We sat on a park bench for a bit and then headed back to the hotel. OK, we headed to the nearest hotel ordered a can which took us to OUR hotel. :-) 4 or 5 hours of walking will do that to you.
Our last day in Vancouver featured the nicest weather - some blue skies, sun, and fluffy clouds - the kind of day that calls out for exploring the environment. We set out as the downtown office workers were racing for work but instead of heading to a cubicle we were heading for fresh air and adventure.
Our first stop was Canada Pace - home to the Vancouver Convention Centre and the cruise ship dock. This is also the start of the huge promenade the follows the shoreline. The city has installed art, gardens, and historical plaques making this an amazing place to walk . . . and then there are those stunning views of the harbour, North Vancouver, and the mountains in the distance.
Across from the convention we came upon Jack Poole Plaza - home of the 2012 Olympic Cauldron. At 32.8 ft (10 m) tall and set against a beautiful mountain and harbour backdrop the cauldron was built of steel and glass to resemble ice. Today it is lit for special events or when people cough up the $5,000 it takes to fire it up for four hours.
We continued our walk along the seawall promenade which completely encircles Coal Harbour. None of this existed when I was last in the city and Paul didn't remember it from his last visit. It was a lovely walk with the views and the gardens, art installations, and historical markers along the way.
Finally, after what seemed like hours (OK, it WAS hours) we reached Stanley Park - more on that tomorrow.
Yesterday was the first of our two full days in Vancouver. When we decided to tack a few days in the city after the conference it seemed like a great idea. Then work became crazy beyond crazy. As it was I had two conference calls and about 3 hours of work to do before we could head out at 10:30. Because it was late I suggested to Paul that we take a cab to Granville Island rather than make our way there slowly - I didn't want to waste any more time.
In the 1880s, the island was a major hotbed for industrial activity, and sawmilling, iron works and slaughterhouses were commonplace sights. After World War II, however, a series of fires and a changing economy put the island into disrepair.
Luckily, the island was rejuvenated in the 1970s, and since then has been touted as a model for urban planners trying to figure out the secret behind Granville Island's popularity.
The first place we stopped in was the Public Market, arguably the epicentre for Vancouver's culinary enthusiasm. The goods tell their own stories: strawberries straight from Fraser Valley, Okanagan cherries, fresh Coho salmon and live Dungeness crabs. It's small wonder that Vancouver top chefs are often spotted shopping here for high-quality and rare ingredients for their menus.
You'd think the food was a big enough draw but then there is the music; street music is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Granville Island. Singer/songwriters strum away in open courtyards, drum circles form out of nowhere, and a clear strain of a melody from violin or saxophone melody often seems to make its way to the ears of an unsuspecting visitor.
Despite being home to 300 businesses, studios and facilities, the destination still retains an old-fashioned, timeless feeling. Craftsmen and artists take up residence here, and it's clear that the tradition of apprenticeship and mastery is alive and well. You can see it in the detail of a ceramic bowl or the gentle curve of a freshly blown glass vase, the intricacy of a piece of jewellery or the flick of a painter's brush.
After wandering for a bit we decided to go to the Granville Island Brewery for a tasting and something to eat. Since 1984, BC beer drinkers have experienced the finest handcrafted beers from Canada's first microbrewery. Granville Island Brewing is dedicated to handcrafting its premium beers according to strict quality standards, using only pure ingredients in the brewing process. This guarantees that the brewery's award-winning beers are 100% all natural. The taproom features a variety of tastings and a small menu of food options.
Paul declared that he wanted to taste All 9 of the beers - oh oh - so we definitely needed to order food. Both the beers and our burgers were great choices.
After lunch we took a cab back to our hotel where we proceed to nap - after those 9 beer samples we needed it. We had planned on heading across the street to the Vancouver Art gallery after our nap but the gallery closed at 5:00 and we only woke up at 3:30. We decided to save the gallery for Friday and head to Chinatown instead.
I have memories of strolling through Chinatown way back in the 70s when I was last in the city (OK, they are dim recollections to be sure).
Located on the eastern side of downtown Vancouver, the bustling district is North America’s third largest Chinatown by population, after those in San Francisco and New York. Its roots trace to the late 1800s, when early Chinese immigrants, who arrived to work on B.C.’s railroads and in the mines, were settled in a ghetto on the edge of the city. With time, the neighbourhood grew into a proud centre of Chinese culture, home to traditional restaurants, markets, temples and gardens, as well as a booming business district.
One of the spots we visited was Dr Sun Yet-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The first garden of its kind ever built outside of China, this ornate landscape of jade-colored ponds, stone pathways and traditional tings and halls was built in 1986 by 52 Chinese craftsmen. Nearly all of the materials -- from rare hardwoods to the special weathered limestone used in the ponds -- were brought over from China. We discovered that there was a part to the garden that you needed to pay an entrance fee for and a part you did not. Of course we discovered that after we had paid the fee and couldn't figure out how to get to the other side. LOL
It was raining pretty badly by the time we left the garden so we made our way back to the Skytrain station and headed back to the hotel.
Paul felt the need for a drink so we popped into one of the bars by the hotel for a glass of wine and some frites with truffle and parmigiano cheese. Because it was happy hour we saved a bundle . . . a happy event.
Paul had selected the nearby Italian Kitchen as the restaurant for the evening. It was a busy spot and we quickly discovered why - the food was great. As always, it wasn't like Italian food you'd get in Italy but it was fresh, inventive, and delicious so who were we to complain - particularly for a restaurant with no less than 6 burratta choices on the menu!
I never got any pics of dinner (forgot my camera at the hotel) so perhaps we need to go back tonight for more. :-)
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.