The boutique-winery brand of Andrew Peller has really started to stand out on its own lately with some super tasty wines that really show what a great bottle of wine can be. Winemaker Karen Gillis is probably the one to take most of the blame for this and is a great example of how great a winery can be in they can hang on to the same wine maker for more than 3 years. She’s been there since 2007 making this past vintage her sixth at Red Rooster.
What happens when a winemaker is allowed to get to know the fruit over time? Fabulous wines. Awards and accolades. Stuff like that.
Exhibit A is the Red Rooster Chardonnay 2010 which took home a Gold at the Canadian Wine Awards in 2011 and retails for about $18. When I tasted it, the nose was full of cantaloupes, vanilla, peach fuzz, and sweet herbs. The palate was extremely well balanced with melon, butterscotch, and lemon flavours and a finish that lasted until the credits rolled. It was a $30 chard in disguise.
Red Rooster’s Reserve Meritage 2009 is at a different point in its life and I almost felt bad for opening it so soon. The glass in front of my only confirmed that it was still a little wound up and not ready to show all of its flavours just yet. The nose offered up dark cherries, baking spices, oak, and cherry pie filling. The palate had great acid and tannins with flavours of dark fruits and leather. The big alcohol on this wine did not throw the balance of this wine at all but likely contributed to its velvety texture. As I wrote in my notes, it’s still early on in its potential life but all the elements of a great wine are there.
Check them out if you can find them! Cheers from wine country!
Itâ€™s on: white wine night in January. Time to bring some sunshine to my glass and a smile to the faces of my friends. Or so I hope.
Hosting a wine night doesnâ€™t have to be complicated â€“ especially if you donâ€™t really play by the â€˜rulesâ€™. As you know, Iâ€™m all about having fun with wine. That means experimenting and making things easy rather than difficultâ€¦ and throwing out the rule book.
The easiest way to enjoy a wine night is to stop fretting about the food. (Iâ€™m sure foodies everywhere collectively cringed when I say this) Itâ€™s true. Nothing spices things up quite like a potluck. Yes, the food pairing element may be a bit whacked, but if you inform guests ahead of time as to what will be served (read: booze), youâ€™ll find your guests are more inventive than you may have given them credit for.
Last wine night I hosted I picked wine by varietal and went a la brown bag style â€“ a blind tasting. This round, weâ€™re throwing it all out the window; the only consistency here is that theyâ€™re white wines. The only common denominator is that theyâ€™re all BC wines â€“ which means there will be a little something for everyone.
This variety means guests can have fun with foods. Iâ€™ve left no instructions, other than to bring something to eat. Some may pair their contribution with a particular wine, others may throw caution to the wind. Whatever happens, itâ€™ll be fun â€“ and that (to me) is what wine nights are all about.
The list for our January White Wine Night includes, in no particular order:
- Sumac Ridge 2007 Pinnacle
- Jackson-Triggs â€˜Espritâ€™ 2007 Chardonnay
- Gehringer Brothers 2009 Pinot Blanc
- Peller Estates 2009 Pinot Gris
- St. Hubertus 2008 Pinot Blanc
- Peller Estates Reserve 2007 Riesling
- Hijas Bonitas 2008 Casabella
- Le Vieux Pin 2008 7 Blanc
- Red Rooster 2009 Reserve Pinot Gris
- Jackson-Triggs 2007 Sunrock Vineyards Chardonnay
- (plus a few special guestsâ€¦TBA)
I have a feeling this will be one unforgettable way to un*wine*d on a Saturday in January. Some of us will be live-tweeting from the night, so feel free to play along â€“ just follow the #bcwine hashtag on Twitter, sometime after 7pm.
When it comes to holiday gift giving, my fella and I have constructed a low-maintenance program. Our relatives live far and away, so hand writtenÂ letters and long phone calls are most welcome. Many of our friends are at life-development stages involving young ones, mortgages and other costly endeavors – so we’ve agreed to visits over coffee and potluck dinners to keep costs down but still celebrate in style.
One holiday tradition that’s new in the Montgomery house involves twenty or so of our dear friends. They’re part of the graduating group from my days at Simon Fraser University. Doing the school thing as a cohort was a great way to survive part-time university studies while maintaining a full-time career – and some sanity. It also told us who the drinkers were, so we stuck together. Still do.
This weekend I connected with that group – those I’ve grown close to through the trials and tribulations of adult learning. The kind of friends that will join you in drinking cheap wine out of Dixie cups on a Saturday morning at the bottom of an escalator, after a particularly horrible statistics exam. They’re keepers.
It’s the 6th year my delightfully crazy group of SFU friends have converged on an unsuspecting restaurant in the Lower Mainland, and this time I sensed we passed a milestone. Something whispered around the edges of the night, an undercurrent to the hugging and chatting. I think it means we’re solid – and although we’re bound to encounter our share of ups and downs, this group will go the distance. The ghost of holiday-gathering future showed us that, with a little effort, we’ve got years of gatherings ahead.
What’s this got to do with BC wine? I’ll tell you. The wine of the night was Red Rooster Pinot Gris. So whenever I drink that wine I’ll think back to memories of plastic christmas cracker toys, Donna’s laugh and the feeling of being home, right in the middle of a crowded restaurant. That’s a good way to un*wine*d.
Enjoy your traditions – new and old.