March 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
Here are the show notes for Part 2 on our series on Craft Distilling in BC and here on the island. There is a lot to cover so let’s dive right in and listen to what our Spirits/Cocktail expert Shawn Soole has to say.
Segment 1 ~ What Makes a Craft Distillery a Craft Distillery
There continues to be a lot of debate as to what can be referred to as Craft. The same level of debate happens within the brewing business.
The key thing is to separate the marketing function of the word craft from the the legal definition.
In B.C. to be considered a craft distillery the distillery must produce less than 50,000 litres of spirit and they can not use what is called Neutral Grain Spirit (NSG). They must distill their own NSG.
Segment 2 ~ Craft Vodka
Vodka is usually the first thing that a distillery will make because it is the easiest. There are no ageing requirements.
For years what was most desirable about Vodka was neutrality, which lead to Vodka becoming more of commodity where the only differentiator was the brand and price. Craft Vodka in BC is changing that and provides a sense of terroir.
Shawn’s Recommended Craft Vodkas (coming soon)
- Sheringham Vodka ~ $45-$50
2. Unruly Vodka ~ $45-$50
3. Liberty Truth Vodka ~ $54-$60
Segment 3 ~ Craft Gin
So what makes a Gin a Gin. The only single element that is required is Juniper berry. After that the list of botanicals can include anything.
Gin is becoming the hot spirit because of the diversity. We are blessed, here on the coast, to have such a phenomenal array for Gins produced right here on the island.
Shawn’s Recommended Craft Gins (coming soon).
- Stump Gin ~ $50
2. Arbutus Empiric Gin ~ $43
3. Juniperus Lupulus ~ $45-$50
4. Ampersand Gin ~ $44-$47
Segment 4 ~ What is the Future and Where Can I Find Local Craft Cocktails
It may be a cliché but the future is indeed bright. There is a great deal of interest in locally produced spirits and that is only set to grow. Look for more and more space on the retail space and back bar given to locally made spirits.
Best Buy of The Week – Three Winds 2009 Grenache
Rare is putting it mildly. Wines at this price point are made for consumption within a few years of release so to find a 2009 that was still fresh, alive and delicious is very special.
the Dork UnCorked
February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
Craft Distilling is growing faster than blossoms are blooming on Victoria’s Cherry Trees so we thought we might bring in our Spirits Correspondent and all round Encyclopedia of all things distilled, Shawn Soole.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, you must put Ca Va Bistro Moderne on your list of places to dine in Victoria. Intimate, delicious, relaxed and all round fantastic. I raise a glass to Fauna Martin and the team at Ca Va Bistro Moderne.
I raise a second glass to Spring in Victoria. While the rest of the country continues to shovel out their driveways, we are blessed with watching the blossoms come out.
For the last shout out this week, I raise a pint to Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild. As we all know Craft Brewing has grown at an amazing pace and is now an integral part of the Liquor industry in BC. Managing to aggregate new, rapidly expanding and established breweries is no small feat, but Ken has done a masterful job and we are all better for it.
“What about the Legs of a Wine?”
For years taking careful attention to notice the ‘legs’ of a wine was a part of every sommelier’s training. The legs are the glycerine droplets that run down the side of the glass after swirling a wine. They are also known Church Windows.
The idea was that the legs would tell you about the texture, body and mouthfeel of the wine. The bigger and slower the legs the heavier the wine. I no longer include a review of the legs as it seems redundant and is dependent on the quality of the detergent used to clean the glasses. To get a sense of the body, texture and mouthfeel of a wine I rely on my palate and that seems to do the trick.
Thanks for the emails and questions, please keep them coming.
Segment 2 ~ Craft Distilled Whisky
The Craft Distilling industry is growing by leaps and bounds and that means locally made whisky’s.
The challenge is finding them as it takes time and patience to create a quality whisky, they need a minimum of 3 years ageing, and to that end there are very few that are available, and most can only be gotten through the distilleries mailing list.
Here is a list of a few of the island distilleries making whisky:
In order to get some of the Whisky’s mentioned on the show follow the links below to get on the mailing list or lottery.
Segment 3 ~ Brandy & Eau de Vie
There was a lot covered in this segment so I highly recommend downloading the podcast. Here are a couple of links to producers of brandy here in BC.
Segment 4 ~ Liqueur
Liqueur made here in BC is still hard to find, but there are some stunning examples that are harbingers of what the future will bring. Below are links to some of these products.
Best Buy of the Week – Santa Cristina Campogrande Orvieto ($17)
Classic Italian white wine that is fruit forward and delicious. Brilliant with shellfish, light pastas.
the Dork UnCorked
Stay tuned as next week we get into what it means to be a Craft Distillery, Craft Vodka and the wonderful and exploding world of Craft Gin.
December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
Reports are coming in that government stores in the Greater Victoria – Cowichan area are out of the Crown Royal Northern Harvest. Having said that Private Stores are now getting theirs. What follows is a list of stores that are known to have stock as of Dec. 22. I have added their phone number as you should call ahead just to double check.
Hillside Liquor Store – 250-370-1143
Cascadia Quadra – 250-590-1940
Cascadia Uptown – 250-778-6265
Cascadia Colwood -250-478-1303
Beacon Landing Liquor and More (Sidney) – 250-655 6531
As I receive more information from stores I will update.
I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but posting it here doesn’t guarantee stock. Don’t blame the messenger if they have sold out by the time you get there.
the Dork UnCorked
December 16, 2015 § 2 Comments
This just in….
1500 cases, about 18,000 bottles, arrived into the LDB warehouse yesterday & today, sparking a feeding frenzy worthy of Shark Week.
It took a collective 4.5 minutes for all 1500 cases to sell out.
Anytime you have a scarce resource that is in big demand there are winners and losers and the word on the street is that some stores will have tons of stock and others will have zero as limiting the size of orders only came into play with the last 300+ cases.
The chances are that you will start to see stock show up in some BC Liquor Stores in the coming days and private stores starting next week (Government stores get multiple deliveries from the LDB warehouse each week, whereas most private stores only receive 1 order/week from the LDB warehouse).
If it were me and absolutely needed to get a bottle or two to finish off my Christmas list, I would wait until Monday or Tuesday when the traffic is better and the stores won’t be as crowded… but that is just me.
The Dork UnCorked
December 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are lots of new spirits that have made their way onto the shelves of your local bottle shop in recent weeks. I was chatting with Stacey Brennan of the Hillside Liquor Store (North Dairy and Shelbourne in Victoria) about which items really tickled her fancy and this what she said.
Legend Distilling Blasted Brew Coffee Liqueur ~ $26 + Tax
Legend Handmade Vodka and locally roasted organic coffee from Backyard Beans in Summerland come together to create a spiked coffee exploding with flavour. Hints of dark chocolate and vanilla mingle with the smooth flavour of cold brewed coffee to create this unique craft liqueur. Perfect sipped on it’s own or in your favourite coffee cocktail.
Legend has it, blasting through rock to build the Kettle Valley Railway was dangerous work, especially during winter, when the explosives would get a little frosty. When workers slept in late, they’d have to make up for lost time by defrosting the dynamite in a roasting pan over an open campfire. You can probably guess how the story ends… let’s just say their railroad careers were a ‘flash in the pan’. Don’t fall asleep on the job, keep your eyes wide open with a sip or two of our spiked cold coffee brew.
Ingredients: Legend Handmade Vodka, Organic Coffee, Demerara Sugar, Raw Cocoa Nibs, Pure Vanilla Extract.
375ml – 24% ALC
as you no doubt surmised, Legend Distilling is a craft distiller based on the Naramata Bench just outside of Penticton. Link to Website
Sheringham Distilleries Seaside Gin ~ $25 + tax 375ml, $42 + tax 750ml
Citrus, floral and notes of the sea make our Gin as refreshing as a seaside stroll.
Elegant for sipping and noble in your favourite cocktail…clean as the South Island surf.
Made from B.C. organic white wheat, B.C. malted barley, natural botanicals and sustainable hand-harvested local winged kelp (Alaria marginata).
VOLUME 750mL + 375mL
Sheringham Distillery is located in the metropolis of Shirley on Vancouver Island (about 1 hour up the coast from Victoria). Link to Website
Merridale Cowichan Vodka ~ $46.99 + tax 750ml
Made entirely from B.C. fruit and distilled in our hand-crafted copper still to create a silky, soft finish. To further enhace the smoothness, our true craft vodka is mellowed for over three years in stainless steel and then cold-filtered through charcoal. The result is a round, full-bodied spirits that pours cool and clean across your tongue. Enjoy it neat, over ice, or in your favourite cocktail.
Merridale Cidery and Distillery is an apples throw away from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island. Link to Website
Stacey Brennan is the GM of the Hillside Liquor Store and knows her stuff. You can contact her or any of the staff at the store click the link to their website for contact info and hours.
The Dork UnCorked
December 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Dropped by to see Bruce Williams on Cafe Victoria today and we talked about gift ideas and some wine recommendations for Christmas Dinner. I have also thrown in a few bonuses that I should have mentioned on the show.
Wine Gifts By Personality
You know the feeling. Your standing in front of the wine shelf in your local liquor store, and there is too much choice. How do you decide which wine is right. Well it may sound cheesy but the label often gives you an insight as to the personality of the wine. Here are some wines that work capture certain personalities.
Lake Breeze Ehrenfelser – $18-$20 Private Stores only.
Ideal for the whimsical, optimistic ray of sunshine on the list.
Honourable Mentions: Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser – $16.99, Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser – $12
Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz – $30
Ideal for tall dark and somewhat pensive and thoughtful.
Borsao Garnacha – $11.99
You the outgoing always engaging person, this is their wine.
Catena Malbec – $22
Perfect for the pensive yet authoritative person on your list.
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay – $18-$20
This is for the classic beauty with gentle side.
I will be doing a complete post on this in the coming days.
If you are looking for a huge bang for the buck then look to single batch rum or brandy. Both are often overlooked but deliver huge value.
Flor de Cana 18 Year Old – $60
Comparably aged Whisky runs about $120. Obviously Rum and Whisky don’t share the same flavours, but the reason aged spirits are more valuable is that more of the spirit is given to the Angel Share the older it is. The Angel Share is the amount of the spirit that is evaporated each year. The evaporation leads to a slow maturing of the spirit, meaning and intensification of the flavour as well as the subtleties. In Scotland the Angel Share is 2-3%/year where as in rum producing nations the Angels Share is 6-8%. Imagine the refinement of an 18 year old rum.
Torres Reserva Familia Jaime – $120
Torres brandies are aged using a Solera system. A solera aging system is an ancient aging system used primarily in Spain and Portugal for Port & Sherry. Typically 5 rows of barrels are used to aged the brandy with oldest being on the bottom. When this year’s batch is to be bottled, the barrels from the bottom row are emptied and put into bottles. Then the brandies in row two barrels are used to refill row one barrels and so on until the row 5 barrels are filled with this year’s product. As you can well imagine this system of ageing produces remarkable brandies.
The Jaime is named after the founder of the Torres winery and is composed of the oldest Soleras meaning the brandy is at least 30 years old. A similarly aged Cognac, although uniquely flavoured, runs about $180/bottle.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – $30
Should be hitting the shelves of your local liquor store this week. But get it quickly as there is only 1500 cases for BC and demand for 5000.
The Dork UnCorked airs each Saturday between 2 and 3pm.