Ca Va Bistro Moderne

February 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

One of the best things for a marriage is regular date nights. I must admit that we haven’t had date nights as frequently as we used to but we make a point of it when it comes to significant moments.

Recently it was the 20th anniversary or our first date and we wanted to dine at a place that was intimate, romantic but new to us. We asked around and Ca Va Bistro Moderne in Fernwood seemed to fit the bill.

We arrived for our reservations and I immediately knew we made the right choice. Directly across the piazza from the Belfry Theatre a simple door in a simple brick and stone building, greets hungry wanderers.

The room is about 25ft across and 100 ft deep, just enough for about 30-40 seats. If we didn’t know we were in Fernwood, we could easily have been in a bistro in Avignon, Greenwich Village, Notting Hill or Gastown.

Our seats were at the front window and the lighting was soft, warm and somewhat low but enough to see the menu and the food in front of us.

The cuisine is french inspired and the wine list is a blend of BC and international selections with a decent helping of French options.Duck Confit Ca Va Bistro Moderne

My bride had the duck liver paté to start and the lamb sirloin for her main. I started with the Gruyere Soufflé and then the Duck Confit as the main (a total no brainer as I love love love Duck Confit).

The food was absolutely fantastic and we loved every morsel of it. Chef Fauna Martin makes her own duck confit and it was unbelievably good (I’m salivating as I write this). She also makes her own duck liver paté that was as smooth as like butter.

Romaine Duvernay Crozes HermitageFor wine, as I know you want to know, I selected the Romaine Duvernay 2010 Crozes-Hermitage and man was it fantastic. Dark in the glass, earthy and savoury spices, dark fruit and hints of cured meats. Classic Crozes Hermitage as it has such a fresh face (bright acidity) with a brooding soul.

After a well timed meal we sank into some dessert. It is impossible for me to resist Creme Brulée so I ordered the Pedro Ximenez Creme Brulée while Ange had the Twice Baked Rhubarb Soufflé. Heavenly!!

The ambience was perfect, food was outstanding, the wine brilliant, and the company, of course routinely enriches my soul, but I know what you are asking, what about the pricing? Very reasonable. Certainly a might higher than concept restaurants but truly over delivered for the price. I would definitely go back.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked.

Alta Luna Phases

August 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.59 ($16.88 incl. taxes & deposit) *this wine is on sale to $13.59 for the month of Aug.Alta Luna Phases

Score: 7.1

I get a strong sense that consumers are starting to look for more finesse in their wines. They are starting to move away from the big boozy juice bombs that laden the liquor store shelves. Inevitably this leads the consumer to European wines for the most part and if that path leads to Italy it likely means tasting wines made from grapes that are not household names. This wine is just such an offering.

It hails from the Alto Adige region of Northern which is nestled in the Dolomite mountains, and is a blend of Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot. See what I mean. I have been tasting wines for 20+ years and I can only recall tasting Lagrein once or twice and I have never had the pleasure of tasting Teroldego.

I poured a glass right after pulling the cork. I loved the perfumed, berry, floral nose but the wine seemed really shy on the palate to the point where only its structure was at play. I put the wine aside for a couple of days and that did the trick. Clearly this is a wine that needs a lot of breathing (Vinturi, decanting, or simply leaving it open for a good amount of time) because it totally opened up and showed bright fresh berry and plum fruit flavours along with floral and spicy notes. The finish didn’t show any of the harsh tannins I noted on the first pass. I loved this wine… after a few days.

I would have scored this wine higher but the reality is that most people want to dive into their bottle and don’t purchase their wine to have two nights from now. So in terms of real life value its okay. In terms of cork dork value, this is awesome!

Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores

Section: Italy

Cork Closure

Food: Steak, roasted meats, cheeses, rustic breads. Could work for Foodie foods and comfort foods.

Monte Antico 2010 Toscana Rosso

May 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Monte Antico 2010Score: 6.9 ~ Good Drop

Price: $14.79-$16

May is not only glorious for weather here on the West Coast of BC, but May also brings the first Grand Tour of the Pro Cycling Season – Giro d’Italia. The third week of the Giro is the toughest week as it winds its way through the hills and mountains of Tuscany. In light of this fact, and that I am serious fan, I thought I would test run a wine that has long been on the market here in BC – Monte Antico.

The Monte Antico has great, rustic, old school packaging and is, now, conveniently, under screwcap, which I really like for wines under $20.

Tasting Notes: The colour is dark crimson and the nose shows dark cherry, leather, earth, and savoury spices. The palate shows similar flavours but has added the added complexity of plum and raspberry fruit flavour, hints of dried cocoa and pepper. The palate is of mid-weight and can stand up to most comfort foods from grilled chicken dishes to steak. The finish is round and juicy leaving you with the delicate marriage of cherry, plum and spice flavours.

Value: As much as I enjoyed this wine, I found that I wanted more out of it for the price. It certainly has more complexity than the big brand names out of California, and the flavours are well honed, but I would have rated it much higher if the price was a buck or so lower.

Added Value: This wine has added value as a pairing for Comfort Foods, as a BBQ wine and for those looking to venture into the wines of Italy/Tuscany for the first time.

Food Pairings: Comforts such as pizza, pasta, grilled chicken or steak, casseroles, firm cheeses, lasagne, Mac ‘N Cheese and cold cuts.

Service: Twist the cap and let breathe for 15 minutes or let it run through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Tuscany

Grapes: Sangiovese, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchased From: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village.

Also Available At: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine

ABV%: 13%

Cheers

The Dork UnCorked

PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.

Top 5 Red Wines for Easter 2015

April 3, 2015 § 1 Comment

I can still recall a time not that long ago when red wine sales were a fraction of those of white wine. It was cool to order a glass of “dry white wine”. Then reports hit the media that red wine had restorative properties and a glass or two a day was recommended for healthy living, so the pendulum rapidly swung in the opposite direction. At one point in the early 2000’s red wine represented 90% of all wine sales. The pendulum has again started to swing back and now 6 of every 10 bottles of wine purchased are red. The selection of red wine doubles that of white, with the vast majority being priced between $7 & $20. Finding wines that represent true bang for your buck is a a great challenge and one that I happily have embarked upon.

Here are my Top 5 Red Wines for Easter 2015 that are currently on the shelves.

1) Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcinoimage

Truly one of the Best Buys on the market no matter what the price. Although it is showing a little weariness from its peak, it still represents incredible value. Lush, complex, expressive, deep, succulent, silky are all words that could be applied to this wine. Looks for aromas and flavours of ripe and sour cherries, savoury herbs, plum, subtle white and black pepper spice. The palate is silky and complete from start to finish.

Rosso di Montalcino is the little brother of Brunello di Montalcino. Brunello is one of the world’s most sought after, iconic wines in the world and the price reflect that (average $60-90/bottle). Rosso is a younger expression of Brunello and thus is usually about half the price ($30-$45/bottle). When this wine hit the shelf at $16.99 I was more than a little suspect, but was I pleasantly surprised. I think my own enjoyment of this wine could be approaching 36-40 bottles since its release.

The only challenge here is finding it. As far as I can tell there are only a couple of stores that currently have stock and that is dwindling. When you do find it, open it and give it a couple of hours to blossom.

Score – 9.4/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$16.99

Available Cascadia Colwood & Uptown.

Link to the original review: Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcino

2) Masia F Vino Tintoimage

I first bought this wine because it looked like the kid on the playground that always gets picked last. Here is a wine whose packaging is not going to sell it, in fact, in a retail setting, the packaging makes it disappear on the shelf. Am I ever glad that I took the chance. If I didn’t know the price I had paid for it, I would have pegged it at around $16-$18/bottle. For $12.99 this is a steal.

Aromas are both fruit, floral and savoury herbs. While the palate is round, soft and very flavourful. Look for plum and red berry flavours, black pepper, hints of violet and velvety smooth.

Like the Rosso di Montalcino above, this is a hard one to find, but when you do buy it by the case.

Score – 9.3/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$12.99

Available at Metro Liquor Tuscany Village, Spinnaker’s James Bay. 

Link to original review: Masia F Vino Tinto

3) Terra Andina Carmenere-SyrahIMG_0660

I have been enjoying this wine for over 15 years. My first taste of it was in Chile while on a buying trip. It was one of the few wines on the trip that showed ripe fruit, complex flavours, and a round, rich texture. It was indeed available in BC, however the price was around $14.99-$15.99. Now that it is hovering around the $10 mark, and has only improved over the years (more mature vines), it is a steal. In fact if you are planning a wedding or having a whole bunch of people over for Easter dinner, and need multiple bottles of something, go out and get a case.

Aromas of ripe plum and dark berries and black cherry. Under the fruit you will sense savoury spices, hints of clove and perhaps even a touch of bacon. The palate shows similar flavours and is juicy, ripe and round.

Score: 9.1/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$10.99

Available in almost all private stores including Cascadia, Metro, Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store

Link to original review: Terra Andina Carmenere-Syrah

4) Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noirimage

Good Pinot Noir can be seductive, sultry and very sexy. I have heard some people suggest that great Pinot Noir doesn’t have aromas but pheromones. By no stretch of the imagination does this wine compete with the greats of Burgundy, New Zealand, BC and California, but it does have many of the characteristics of the greats, but at 20% of the price.

There now exist many quality Pinot Noirs on the market under $20, but few have the combination of complexity, flavour and texture that this one has. Look for aromas and flavours of dark cherry, earth, black raspberry, black pepper and a delicate hint of cloves. The texture is silky and seductive, so much so that one should be in a resting position to enjoy this as it is kind of like a nice neck rub or massage.

Score: 9.1/10 Best Buy

Price: ~$14.99

Available in Cascadia, Metro Liquor, Hillside Liquor Store, Everything Wine.

Link to the original review: Casa Viva 2012 Pinot Noir

5) Artesa 2010 Rioja
IMG_0724

I love the wines of the Rioja (a close second to this one is the Lopez de Haro 2010 Rioja Crianza). The red wines of this region are a wonderful blend of elegance, perfume, ripe fruit, texture and power. For a cork dork like me, I can get lost in a wine like as it takes me on a trip through the hills, valleys and simple cafes of the region.

The Artesa shows lush ripe berry and plum fruit, is wonderfully perfumed, and has the power to stand up to a thick steak, while having the elegance to enhance the nuances of more delicate meats. I would highly recommend this wine if you are having a classic Easter Ham this weekend.

Score: 9.1/10 Over Delivers

Price: ~$14.99

Available in Metro Liquor, Cascadia Liquor Stores.

Link to the original review: Artesa 2010 Rioja

I hope that you have enjoyed this list and from me and my family have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Buon Tempo 2010 Rosso di Montalcino

February 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

imagePrice: $16.99

From the ranks of the hard to find beauties comes the Buon Tempo Rosso di Montalcino. I dare say that this blog won’t be reviewing too many Rosso di Montalcino’s as most of them start around the $30. In fact this is the first in my 25 years in the game here in BC that is priced under $20 and it is a true treat.

About a year ago you would have been able to find this in many of Vancouver’s and Victoria’s finer wine shops, and it was gobbled up very quickly. Fortunately I stumbled upon a few bottles that were gracing the shelves of the Cascadia Colwood store (I think there was a total of 13 bottles left after my purchase). As I bid farewell to the very pleasant cashier my mouth began to water with anticipation. Would it be as awesome as I remembered it? Afterall it was a child of the incredible 2010 vintage. How could I go wrong?

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a deep rusty crimson and the nose is wonderfully expressive. Aromas of ripe cherries and raspberries, savoury spices like sage and a beautiful perfume of purple flowers such as violets. The palate is rich, vivacious and luxurious showing why the wines of Montalcino are in such hot demand. Flavours of cherry, plum and spice unfold as if blossoming on the palate. The finish is long, velvety and rich in flavour and spice.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this with grilled chicken thighs that were spiced with Greek Spice and the pairing was a delight mostly because the wine was so good. Wines like this have such finesse and grace that they rarely over power a meal and are almost never overshadowed by the dish. The fruit and spice flavours came alive and my palate was kept fresh and wanting of the next bite.

Value: Given the rare nature of this wine I would highly recommend making this your choice this week (last week of Feb. 2015). I would forestall all others and enjoy this wine.

Added Value: This wine shows added value as a Foodie Wine, a great choice for a Date Night and is awesome for Comfort Foods. For those not familiar with the wines of Montalcino but have always wanted to try here is your chance to Explore this great region.

Score: 9.4 – Best Buy

Service: Pull the cork and let breathe for at least 45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a few times.

Grapes: Sangiovese

Store Section: Italy

Appellation: Montalcino

Available: Cascadia Liquor Stores (Colwood for sure, call the others to see if they have stock).

Alcohol: 14.5%

Plantation 1905

February 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99Plantation 1905

I had never heard of this wine before, but when I heard its story the cork dork in me got so excited that I had to buy it. Turns out this wine is a blend of 23 different grapes all found in the same vineyard, most of which were planted in 1905. Of the 23 different grapes, as many as 8 can only be found in this vineyard. It is also reported that most of the vines found in the Languedoc region originate from the this vineyard. This is the kind of stuff that makes the hair on my arms stand up. As much as I didn’t have the budget for it, I absolutely had to buy this wine, and I was hoping that my experience was going to more than just a taste experience. I was hoping for a wonderful hedonistic and cerebral experience… I’m very happy to say that the wine not only delivered on its cerebral promise, but also on a hedonistic level. Best Buy at $14.99.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is a bright and deep purple. The nose is incredibly expressive. First and foremost are the red berries, dark plum and black pepper spices, but lurking in the background are wonderfully earthy tones along with fresh purple flowers. Given the number and nature of the grapes involved I was expecting a gamey awkward wine that only serious vinophiles would enjoy. The palate was both complex and full of fresh fruit and richly textured. Flavours of dark fruits, anise, pepper and spices, purple flowers; for $15 this wine way over delivered.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this with a Carbonera style pasta (no cream, just olive oil some butter, peas, chicken and bacon), and it was wonderful. The fresh fruit flavours were incredibly expressive. The marriage of spices from the wine and the sauce worked beautifully. The wine and the food worked together in a way that made them better than the sum of their respective parts.

Value: The the value of this wine is in its uniqueness. At this price I think it provides great value but likely more so to those that are familiar with French wines and the wines of the Minervois-Languedoc region in particular. I would definitely trade up from entry level French, Italian and Spanish wines for this wine. Having said that if you are in the mood to explore a bit, by all means grab this wine.

Added Value: Clearly this has a lot of added value to Foodies, but this is all a great wine for the BBQ and Comfort Foods.

More To The Story: The vineyard and the winery associated was taken over by Marie-Claude and Jean Louis Poudou and we are the better for it. The vineyard had fallen into disrepair but this enterprising couple decided to bring it back to standard and make a wine that celebrates the whole vineyard and its history. There is only a few cases of this remaining in the province, so if you find it buy it.

Score: 9.0  – Best Buy

Service: Pull the cork and let it breathe for 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times.

Grapes: Aspiran, Auburn (virtually extinct in France), Alicante Bouschet (Grenache & Aramon hybrid), Aramon (virtually extinct in France), Varousset, Clairette (white), Morrastel Bouschet (Graciano & Cab Franc hybrid), Petit Bouschet, Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Terret Black (relic of the ancient world), Lladoner Pellut, Bourblanc (white), Cardinal, Alphonse Lavallee, Italia, Muscat de Hambourg, Terret Grey, Unknown No. 1, Unknown No. 2, Unknown No. 3, Unknown No. 4

Store Section: France

Appellation: Minervois – Languedoc

Available: Spinnaker’s Vic West

Alcohol: 13.0%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

Artesa 2010 Rioja Crianza

January 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $14.99IMG_0724

Here is another example of the best are often always in short supply. I first tried this wine last year at a trade tasting and it was very impressive. A year later and it is still a Best Buy. For $14.99 this is truly a no brainer for anyone looking for a wine that shows balance, finesse, depth, complexity, softness, bright fruit and spices. On the other hand this is not the wine for those looking for a simple fruit bomb with high alcohol. As it turns out it is a one time offer and a pricing mistake that was honoured by the winery… see below under More To The Story.

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is deep dark crimson, while the nose shows dark and red berries, plums, herbs and savoury spices. The palate is bright, complete and shows layers of flavours and textures much like a $20+ should do. The flavours are wonderfully married so as not to overshadow one particular component, rather to allow the enjoyment of sensing the blossoming of a beautiful flower. Black plum, red berries, balsamic, savoury spices and just a hint of oak. The finish is of medium length and supple. Beautiful.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine over two nights. The first night was with roasted chicken legs, some rice and raw veggies and the second night was a classic (not creamy) Ceasar Salad with grilled chicken breast. In both cases the wine showed beautifully. With the roasted chicken legs the spices and dark fruits showed beautifully, whereas with Ceasar Salad and grilled chicken breast, the red fruits, balsamic and a hint of black licorice became the players. It was great in both cases.

Value: I’m not sure if there is a better value in the Spanish section. Sadly this wine only seems to be available in a very few stores. I would easily put down the Marques de Caceres Rioja Crianza at $19.99 for the Artesa. As for trade ups I would happily move up from entry level $12-$14 California Cabernets and Merlots for this wine. Caveat: If you are looking for a big powerful fruit explosion, this is not your wine.

Added Value: This wine has huge added value when the Foodies come over and I would suggest it has the same for a Date Night or Movie Night with a Spanish or Southern European theme (Charcuterie, cheeses, olives, nuts, bageutte, etc.)

More To The Story: As I mentioned above this wine is a one time shot, or should I say an once in a lifetime shot. 2010 was one of the best years for Rioja in the last 50 and as such the wines are in high demand. The importer had struck a deal that involved a specific price for a specific volume, however the winery, at the last minute, noticed a pricing error. They had quoted the price of the wine a level below the Crianza (Joven or Young). In other words this wine should be priced at $20+, however understanding that the real value in this deal is in the relationship between the winery, the importer and the consumer, they agreed to honour the original deal. It is suppliers like this that make this industry more than just liquid in a bottle.

Score: 9.1  – Best Buy

Service: Pull the cork and let this wine breathe for 45 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
. You’re going to love it.

Grapes: Tempranillo

Store Section: Spain

Appellation: Rioja

Available: Metro Liquor Tuscany Village

Buy Online: Metro Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 13.0%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

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