My First Visit to the Fraser Valley Wine Region

I’ve lived in Vancouver, BC since 2008 and it wasn’t until this past week, mid July of 2017 that I visited the wine region in BC’s Fraser Valley. Where is the Fraser Valley?
It’s less than an hour drive from Vancouver!

Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley

Image source: Vistascene.com

Why haven’t I gone wine tasting here? Well, you know. I just haven’t gotten around to it and plus, they haven’t really made a name for themselves yet. But when a friend from out of town was visiting and asked if I wanted to join her wine tasting I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discover new wines AND hang out with her. I couldn’t say no.

Township 7, Langley, BC

Ready to taste wines at Township 7 in Langley!

We didn’t visit as many wineries as I’d like, just two in fact. But this recent visit has got me wanting to discover more.

I got picked up around 11 am and then we drove across town to pick up another friend. Around 1230/1ish, we were tasting wines at Township 7 in Langley – eight wines to be exact. I’m not sure what their regular tasting lineup is, or how many you usually get to taste. We made a trip here because two of us in the group is friends with the manager there… so I’m assuming we got VIP service.

Township 7 Langley tasting room

Now, what did we get to sample?

We tasted three whites, one rosé, and three reds. a Sauv Blanc, Viognier, Seven Blanc which is their white blend of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, an unoaked Chardonnay, Rosé made from primarily merlot, some pinot gris, and a little Malbec, a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2014 Reserve 7 which is their red blend.

My favourites were the rose and the 2015 Cab Sauv. I ended up buying the rose. At $17.97 before tax, I thought it was fairly priced. There was lots on the nose, tons of red fruit like cranberry. There was some grapefruit and I detected saltiness, like sea water. On the palate, I tasted green apple, grapefruit and raspberry.

The Cab Sauv was $26.97 before tax. I think it was really good because 2015 was a fantastic year for wine in the Okanagan, and that’s where their grapes are from.

Township 7 has another location in the Naramata Bench, in the Okanagan where they grow most of their grapes.

Okanagan Valley Wine Region

Image from: Okanagan.com

The one in Langley only grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for their sparkling wine. They’ve sold out of their sparkling, unfortunately so we didn’t get to taste any.

Our second and last visit of the day was to Chaberton, just 3 minutes from Township 7.
Chaberton is the largest winery in this neck of the woods, producing 55 to 60 thousand cases. They have a 55 acre vineyard, so a lot of their grapes are from the Fraser Valley, however, they also source from the Similkameen and south Okanagan.

Chaberton Estate Winery

You can enjoy that bottle you just purchased out in the large picnic area at Chaberton. There was also a picnic area at Township 7.

They have a list and you choose 4 you would like to taste. The tasting costs $5 and is waived if you buy a bottle of wine. The four wines I tried were:

1. Siegerrebe
2. 2016 Valley Pink
3. 2014 Merlot
4. 2008 AC 100

My favourite was the Siegerrebe, so I got a bottle. It’s med body with notes of tropical fruit on the nose, like lychee and banana. On the palate, white pepper, lemon, ripe peach and nectarine. Some good acidity and good finish.

Chaberton wine tasting

Salud!

So, what do I think of the wines overall?

In general, I think they’re doing a good job with whites. Again, this is based on two visits, so you know what that means… I need to go back! More research needs to be done! Based on my few hours there, I’d say that if you’re a wine lover and are visiting the Vancouver area, or you live here like I do and haven’t sampled this region yet, visiting the Fraser Valley is something to consider, if only for an afternoon.

Are you considering a visit to taste the wines of the Fraser Valley or have you already been? If the latter, I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations for my next visit.

Wine Tip Wednesday Roundup

I try to post a tip on Wednesdays on my Facebook page and I thought I ‘d share them here, too. I will be sharing more next week, so make sure you come back for that post. In the meantime, enjoy these tips 🙂

TIP 1: Having people over? Open a high tannin red wine 2-3 hours before serving to let it breathe and soften the tannins. Cut the time in half by using a decanter. Note, necessary breathing times will vary by wine. Try it out and smell/taste how the wine changes with length of air contact.

red wine

TIP 2: When dining out, don’t let the server rush you into ordering your wine. After all, you went out to EAT. Decide first what you’d like to eat, then order your drink to complement your meal.

eating out

TIP 3: Food and wine pairing that works for the most part: If it grows together, it goes together.

food and wine pairing

TIP 4: Different parts of your mouth are more sensitive to certain tastes. Swish the wine in your mouth to coat every tastebud and you’ll discover flavours you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.

TIP 5: Swirl the wine to bring out the aromas and bouquet. This will also help you identify any faults (ie, the wine is off/spoiled). Then sniff, sniff.

TIP 6:

chilling wine

Chill wine fast!

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Fantastic gifts I received as a wino

It’s still early in November, but before you know it, Christmas will be just around the corner. Shopping for a wine lover is easy. Get them a bottle of wine you think they have never tried before. Ask the wine shop staff to help you pick one out. Even if they’ve had it, it’s always nice to revisit.

What if you want to be a bit more creative though? What if you have already given that wino in your life countless bottles as gifts? Well, I’m lucky to have such thoughtful people in my life. They have gone beyond the bottle of wine; here are some gifts I thought were thoughtful.

A wine related book

My in-laws gave me and the hubby this book (along with a couple of bottles of wine) for our one year anniversary. They know we love to travel and over the last few years, we have planned a lot of our exploration around wine. Thus, this Lonely Planet book.

wine travel book

Wine experience

One Christmas, the hubby and I received tickets to the Vancouver International Wine Festival from my brother-in-law. (If you haven’t figured it out, my husband loves wine, too.) I was just getting serious about wine at this point, so to receive this to experience was totally awesome.

VIWF 2014

For more ideas on wine related experiences, read this post!

A bottle from your travels

If you’re going to give a bottle of wine, a personal connection to the bottle makes it even better. For example, when you’re travelling and you happen to be in an area where wine is made, bonus points if it’s a wine from a region that’s not easily accessible where the wino is from, then grab a bottle as a gift. I love tasting wines from unfamiliar regions!

A former manager of mine knew that I love wine and I got excited that he was visiting Arizona because, did you know Arizona makes wine?! He brought back a bottle for me and I was absolutely delighted! You don’t see Arizona wine outside the state much as locals consume most of it.

wine from Arizona

Don’t be fooled by the label. This wine was tasty with notes of ripe peach and vanilla aroma. Lots of citrus, especially on the palate. High acidity.

Bottles from all over the world

Two of our friends gave us  12 wines from all over the world for our wedding gift. Not only did we get some bottles we may not have considered buying, but this saved us time in going to the liquor store.

I also love the fact that each bottle was from a different wine region, which speaks to our passion for travel as well.

wine-and-map

Wine Club Membership

Does the wino have a favourite winery? Get them a club membership there. Or maybe you think they’d prefer to be a part of a club where one can try wines from different parts of the world. Hubby and I got the latter as a wedding gift and we love it. Needless to say, we have taken full advantage and placed a few orders.

wp-1477532926746.png

A wedding gift we love!

Do you have ideas or received any cool wine related gifts? Please share by commenting below.

Tips for an enjoyable wine tasting experience for everyone

Whether you’re going to a wine festival, wine touring visiting one tasting room to the next or meeting up with fellow wine lovers, it’s important to keep your senses sharp in order to take in as much of each wine as possible. I’ve been tasting a lot of wine at a set amount of time lately, and I’ve discovered that your senses can get overwhelmed faster than you think. Here are some tips to help you combat sensory fatigue.

Ditch the perfume.

no-perfume

Image source: Blue Grouse Wines Instagram. Click here to visit their IG page.

My number one piece of advice. This includes anything scented: cologne, body sprays, scented lotion and even hair products. These scents interfere with not only your wine tasting experience, but others around you too, overpowering the subtleties of the tasty liquid in the glass. Do yourself and others a favour and do not wear or apply anything on that gives off a scent.

Spit.

wine spit bucket

Not your typical looking spit bucket.

It’s okay to spit the wine. Staying sober will allow you to appreciate even more wines appropriately. That is, while your senses are still sharp. After all, that’s why you’re attending the wine tasting right? To discover more tasty wines. It would be a shame to only properly discover 3 or 4 when it could’ve easily been 10 or 15!

Drink water.

drink-water

Whether or not you spit, stay hydrated. Water acts as a palate cleanser, too. We all know it’s particularly important to drink water when consuming alcohol, so please always have water when wine tasting.

Taste with a full stomach.

wine and food

Meatballs, olives, grapes, cheese and crackers. Just some food to try with a ‘big red’ tasting I did with friends.

Just like not drinking water, we all know what happens when you have alcohol without food in your system. You get drunk, fast. Being hungry is never pleasant, so even if you decide to taste and spit, you want the experience to be a good one. Don’t taste wine on an empty stomach.

If you’re at a wine festival or visiting tasting rooms and they offer food, eat. If you’re getting together with other winos, make sure there’s food.

Ask questions. 

Dunham Cellars

This lovely young lady at Dunham Cellars could spit out facts about the winery and Walla Walla like she owns it.

Wherever you’re tasting wines, ask questions. Whether it’s pertaining to the wine region, terroir, wine maker, characteristics of the wine, good food pairings, or thoughts on the wine, ask questions. When wine lovers unite, you learn so much simply by asking.

Got any tips or suggestions for a great wine tasting experience? I’d love to hear some – leave a comment below.

Petit Chablis

Since spring of this year, every two to three months, a few friends and I gather and enjoy wine. It’s sort of formal in that we taste wines, sometimes blind taste, discuss, and then each person gives three to four facts about the wine they brought. So far, I’ve been finding it fun and educational – a great way to learn.

wine-tasting-club

Winos.

As I write this, it’s a couple days before our next gathering. The theme is French wines, and my bottle is a Petit Chablis. I wanted a white since I’v been drinking more whites lately. Aside from it being a French Chardonnay, I didn’t know much else about Petit Chablis. After some quick research, here are three facts I’ll be sharing with the crew.

Fact 1 – Petit Chablis is from the surrounding area around the town of Chablis, in the northern Burgundy region in France, closer to Champagne and the Loire’s Sancerre. Burgundy is located in east central France, as shown in the map below. When you see a Chablis appellation, this indicates that the wine is made with 100% Chardonnay.

French wine map

Map from Wine Folly

Fact 2 – There are four Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in Chablis.

  1. Petit Chablis
  2. Chablis (village level Chablis)
  3. Chablis Premier Cru
  4. Chablis Grand Cru.

In 1944, the Petit Chablis appellation was created for wines that don’t fall in the other AOCs.

Fact 3 – The main difference between Petit Chablis and the more prestigious appellations is the soil. Petit Chablis wines come from vineyards on Portlandian soil and the others are planted in Kimmeridgian soil. Both are a mixture of limestone and clay; the main difference is the amount of oyster fossils. Kimmeridgian is packed with it. This influences the minerality of the wine. Indeed, a common pairing for shellfish is Chablis.

Having to present some facts about your wine is not a bad way for everyone to learn, eh?

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Vermentino, a Tasty Italian White

Until last month, I didn’t know anything about Vermentino. Now because at work, we have these limited releases wine kits that include a Vermentino in the lineup, I had to try one. So I tried a commercial equivalent.

vermetino-notes

This goes for $25 before tax at the BC Liquor Store.

It was really tasty and a good balance between a Sauv Blanc and Pinot Grigio. I sometimes find the former too tart and with citrus and green apple dominating, while the latter I sometimes find it too… easy to drink. Anyway, I’m so glad I’ve been exposed to this because it offers something in between. With flavours of white peach, lime, almond, and green apple, it’s delicate and refreshing enough to enjoy on its own, however, offers enough robustness to complement dishes.

Have you tried Vermentino? What are your thoughts?

 

Hey I’m back + Chenin Blanc

Over 1 year ago.

That was the last time I made an update here on my journey. My last job (yeah, I got a new job a couple of months ago, more on that below) was so demanding. You can read m last couple posts if you want to learn more. Although I loved it and the challenge (and the wins!), I couldn’t find the balance between being able to perform the way I wanted to in a job, which is to kick ass obviously, and to pursue this passion of mine. I needed to combine the two. It had to be wine-centric and I had to have enough spare time to update my blog. I wasn’t using what I learned. As the saying goes, when you don’t use it, you lose it.

more wine

I’m selling wine kits now. I’m talking about wine again, now not only personally but professionally, too! Last week, someone asked me to recommend a kit of ours that would be similar to this Chenin Blanc kit we used to sell. OMG, I was using my wine knowledge!

Ok, so I think I’ve shared a decent update on myself. Since you’re here, you may as well learn something, too. Maybe that’s the reason you’re here in the first place… Chenin Blanc is:

A French Varietal – It’s originally from France, made famous in the Loire Valley.

wine regions in France

Vouvray – Further to the above, it’s famous because it’s the varietal that makes Vouvray, a wine that ranges in style from still to semi-sparkling to sparkling, and from dry to succulent sweet. You won’t find Vouvray on the map above, it’s a sub region in Touraine.

Steen – That’s what Chenin Blanc is called in South Africa. It’s the most widely planted there.

p.s. I created a Facebook page. Like it and get a daily dose of me! I post every day there. Although not as in depth as here, I share what I learn there, too. I sometimes even post live videos! — that’s a big deal for me!

Thank you for following. Feel free to leave me a comment below. I love getting comments!