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I see on my scroll of links to Wine Spectator that they have given a favourable review to the 2006 Allen Scott Sauv Blanc from New Zealand. I can attest that this is good wine as I just had a bottle. In the US, this stuff retails for $14.00 USD. In BC, at the government run liquor store it sells for approx. $20.00-$22.00 CDN. Based on markup, taxes, exchange rate and so forth, probably not too out of line.

Last week after writing a work related exam for a diploma program I am taking, I stumbled out of SFU’s downtown campus to the wine shop across the street (you know who you are). Wine shops in BC are notorious for taking the government prices, which are already high, and adding 10% additional profit to them. This even though the government pricing has a profit margin built into the cost of the wine. So I expected to pay a little more at this shop. I bought a bottle of the Allen Scott and paid $29.00 CDN for it! I bought this before seeing the same wine at the government run liquor store a few days later. Additional markup was additional was 30-40% higher!

Moral of story, buyer beware in BC private wine and do not ever go to this certain wine shop. You will be gauged and ripped off.

As a side note, if you are looking for unique and interesting wines check out Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street. The staff are helpful and prices are at the set government listings…….

My good friend Raj Sodhi sent me a link today to CNN about making your own wine. Now, we are not talking about going to the local U Brew and getting a carton of juice. In the wine mecca of San Francisco a savvy entrepreneur has come up with a great idea.

He has developed a custom crush business, where the curious, serious, wine geek or adventurous can make as little as 1 barrel of wine. They provide everything, crush facilities, wine maker, access to quality grapes, bottling and storage facilities. The great thing about this is if you live in the USA, you do not even need to reside in San Fransisco. You can pay your fee, have the wine made with your assistance and have your finished product shipped to you if your state allows it.

Of course, in Canada we are not as forward and liberal thinking as our friends to south. After experiencing the gong show of what has become the Vancouver Wine Festival, it is clear there are many avid wine drinkers or over indulger’s if you will. Assuming that our archaic liquor laws will allow it, an entrepeneur in these parts could probably stand to start a similar business up in the Okanagan and be very successful with it. With wine prices continuing to go up in BC, this could be an opportunity to make quality wine and avoid the plonk of U Brew Its and escalating prices of BC wine.

Hmmmm, maybe the wine snob is onto something? So nobody steal my idea, ok? You can read more about the virtual vino service here.

Before I get into the wines I liked from the festival, a couple of overall comments on this year’s event:

It was too crowded, especially on Saturday night. At points, my wife, who is not very tall, was elbowed, pushed out of the way and cut in front of by unruly wine drinkers. The festival committee would do well to sell a few less tickets.

Australia proved to be a popular host, but many of the wines all tasted the same. While I liked many Aussie wines, far too many, at different price points, have that same jammy, fruit forward taste that is not “wine” in my opinion. It is tough to market and sell a $20.00 bottle of Shiraz when it tastes the same as the $13.00 Yellow Tail.

Nevertheless, here are my favourites, Aussie and otherwise. Prices noted all in Canadian Dollars. Some are available at the BCLS, some at private wine shops and well, some in just Australia. And… there were close to 200 wineries, so I did not hit every one.

Non-Aussie wines:

  • 2002 Bonterra McNab Biodynamic – $46.95 – I love organic wines
  • 2005 Concha Y Toro Trio Sauv Blanc – $14.00 – Summer Sipper
  • 2004 Michael David Earthquake Cab – $45.00 – BBQ Wine
  • 2004 Perrin et Fills “Les Christins – $24.95 – This is great stuff!

Aussie wines:

  • 2003 BVE E&E Black Pepper – $95.00 – It is worth $95 a bottle
  • 2002 BVE Ebenezer – $40.00 – the little brother of E&E
  • 2004 Bleasdale Frank Potts – $34.99 – A lovely Aussie Red Blend
  • 2003 Bleasdale Generations Shiraz – $41.99 – As Shiraz should taste
  • 2005 Vasse Felix Adams Road Chard – $24.99 – Lovely fruit

There were lots of others, but maybe keeping a few secrets is a good thing!

Beef Ternderloin

After a few days off, I am back for what will hopefully be some interesting reading.

Dragon Life thanks for the comments, I will track down some of your suggestions on wine.

In my next post I will give you my favourite wines from the recent Vancouver Wine Festival.

After the festival on Saturday, my wife and I went to Yaletown to have a nice meal and carry on with our wine drinking ways. We went to a lovely restaurant that we have been to many time before. I had Ahi Tuna, my wife had pasta. We drank a nice Pinot Noir and everything was going well.

A crowd of ladies came into the restaurant and sat beside us. They ordered the usual assortment of martini’s and other concoctions, as they were dressed to hit the clubs after dinner and wanted to get a little liquored up. I personally do not like to drink hard liquor with food, but I know a lot of people do not like wine, so whatever floats your boat….

What shocked me was the crowd of ladies proceeded to order rib eye steaks and beef tenderloin and insisted on the meat to be cooked WELL DONE! Ie: dry, rock hard, no taste, why bother ordering it and paying $35.00 CDN for the food!

Why should I be excited, why should I care? Well…. for those of you who used to go to granny’s, or still do, for Sunday roast beef dinner, you will understand my comments. Why would one want to eat a piece of beef that was so overcooked, that you would need a lumpy gravy to add any semblance of moisture, yuck!

As we were leaving, I asked the waiter what he thought about this. He rolled his eyes and said “we get all types in here on the weekends, so what can you do”?

I suppose the restaurant could refuse service, but then you wouldn’t make all that money off of the martinis….

Up next wine festival faves.