G.S.M. – The Strapper Yalumba Barossa Valley

Wine Of The Month

g.s.m. the strapper yulumba barossa valley wineG.S.M. The Strapper Yalumba Barossa Valley, 2014, Australia

Barosa Valley

The Barossa Valley was formed by the North Para River and was named by Colonel William Light in 1837. The area of Barossa Valley, often referred to as the valley floor, is approximately 13 km long and 14 km wide and stretches from Williamstown in the south almost to Kapunda and Truro in the north. It averages less than 400 metres above sea level. Within Barossa Valley, there are numerous unofficial sub-regions: from north, south, east and west they include Gomersal, Williamstown, Lyndoch, Rowland Flat, Barossa foothills, Vine Vale, Light Pass, northern Barossa Valley, Greenock, Seppeltsfield and Marananga. The red brown soils in Barossa Valley are more fertile than Eden Valley, rainfall is up to 50% less and temperatures are up to 2 % warmer.

Yalumba Winery

Yalumba is a winery located near the town of Angaston, South Australia in the Barossa Valley wine region. It was founded by a British brewer, Samuel Smith, who emigrated to Australia with his family from Wareham, Dorset in August 1847 aboard the ship ‘China’. Upon arriving in Australia in December, Smith built a small house on the banks of the River Torrens. He lived there less than a year before moving north to Angaston where he purchased a 30-acre (120,000 m2) block of land on the settlement’s south eastern boundary. He named his property “Yalumba” after an indigenous Australian word for “all the land around”. In 1849 Samuel Smith, along with his son Sidney, planted Yalumba’s first vineyards, beginning the Yalumba dynasty. Today Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. (via wikipidia)

Tasting Notes

The GSM Strapper blend is a stalwart of the Barossa. The three red varieties have been planted in the region for nearly 170 years, and in the past were commonly blended to make fortified ‘tawny port’ style wines. After World War II the same blend started to become popular in table wines. ‘Grenache Shiraz Mataro’ is a bit of a mouthful – hence the birth of the colloquial ‘GSM’.Garnet red in colour, this wine leaps from the glass with strawberry compote, potpourri, nutmeg and fennel seed. The palate has juicy raspberry, ironstone and a long savoury line that finishes with talc like tannins.

Seek & Sip!

Shelf price $23.99 +tax SKU# 354050

Available at BC liquor Stores and private stores.

Mariana Herdade Do Rocim, Alentejano Portugal


mariana herdade-do-rocim white wineWine Of The Month – Mariana Herdade Do Rocim, Alentejano Portugal

Herdade Do Rocim

Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo region of Portugal. Rocim sits on the Vidigueira fault, a natural landmark which marks the border between the Upper and Lower Alentejo. The East-West facing escarpment of around 50 kilometers in length defines the climate of Vidigueira, and despite its deep-lying southern location, makes it one of the most temperate sub-regions in the Alentejo. This facitlitates the domaine’s goal of showcasing the region´s terroir while producing fresh, elegant, and mineral driven wines.

Click here for the story of the wine’s namesake; 17th century Franciscan nun Mariana Alcoforado.

Tasting Notes

Medium-bodied and lightly aromatic. This lovely white offers hints of flowery notes, citrus, pear, melon whith a smooth mouthfeel finish. Overall easy drinking, uncomplicated style. Perfect for drinking without thinking.

Alentejo Region

As a wine-producing country, one of Portugal’s great strengths is its diversity. The Algarve may be Portugal’s top holiday destination, but for wine lovers, the Alentejo is Portugal’s go-to southerly region. Today, Alentejo is renowned for red blends, which are as warm, generous and easy-drinking. Between 1995 and 2010 the number of producers exploded from 45 to 260. Traditional Portuguese grape varieties dominate the region, but newcomers such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are beginning to make inroads, often blended with the local varieties. Some white wines are made in the Alentejo, but it’s the reds that are forging the region’s reputation. Demand for Alentejo wines, with their ripe fruit and full-bodied character, has been such that vineyard land here is among the most expensive in the whole country. Because many of the estates are fairly large and the climate is so reliable, economies of scale mean that Alentejo wines can combine quality with affordability, which is more of a challenge in Portugal’s more northerly regions.

SKU #388165  –  Shelf Price $19.49 + tax

Available at BC Liquor Stores.

1000 Stories Zinfandel


Wine Of The Month

1000 stories zinfandel wine

1000 Stories Zinfandel Mendocino, California

1000 Stories is made – like craft spirits and beer – in small lots, each unique and expressive of Winemaker Bob Blue’s interpretation of the fruit, vineyards and barrels whose singular qualities came together to create something new. Each batch offers an opportunity for discovery. Maturing 1000 Stories in new and used bourbon barrels from some of America’s finest bourbon distilleries lends nuance and enhances Zinfandel’s signature red fruit and spice notes. Zinfandel ultimately is a hearty red grape whose structure and flavors successfully stand up to – and riff on – the intensity of bourbon barrels. For 1000 Stories, fruit from heritage Mendocino Zinfandel vines dating to the 1880s is enhanced in the blend by Zinfandel from some of California’s most exciting emerging AVAs for the variety.

Flavours Profile

A harmonious balance of aromatic red fruit scents, and complex dark fruit flavours. A touch of Petite Syrah adds bold black and white pepper spice. Rounded out with a pleasing layer of smokiness derived from the bourbon barrel aging. Pair with pork sausage or grilled meat. It is a ‘Love At First Sip‘ kind of wine.

SKU#149636 – Shelf price $29.99 + tax ( $2 off until March 3 )

Available at BC Liquor stores, EverythingWine stores, and selected private stores.


Painted Wolf ‘Guillermo’ Pinotage

Wine Of The Month


Painted Wolf ‘Guillermo’ Pinotage, Swartland, South Africa

Painted Wolf ‘Guillermo’ Pinotage - The Wine DetectivePainted Wolf Guillermo is very much a handmade wine. Guillermo is the most exciting Pinotage that I have tasted in a few years! It has a deep garnet colour, and it is full-bodied. The wine is rich, and intense with good ripe blueberry, dried fruit, exotic spice, and soft vanilla notes. It has ripe but manageable tannins and a long lingering finish. Enjoy with or without food, you decide. Suitable for cellaring for 2 to 3 years. Pair with roasted venison.


The first grape developed in South Africa, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It was created by professor Abraham Perold in 1925, and the first commercial plantings were made in 1943, but became widely accepted only in the 60s. The name Pinotage is a combination of its two parents, as Cinsaut was then known in South Africa as Hermitage.

Listing Price: $28.99 + tax

SKU# 813881

Availabe at EverythingWine stores in BC and Britannia Wine Merchants store in Calgary .

Literary Wine Lovers

Binge Reading blog



I would like to share my reading list on the subject of wine.

1. The Accidental Connoisseur by Laurence Osborne

What is taste? Is it individual or imposed on us from the outside? Why are so many of us so intimidated when presented with the wine list at a restaurant? In The Accidental Connoisseur, journalist Lawrence Osborne takes off on a personal voyage through a little-known world in pursuit of some answers. Weaving together a fantastic cast of eccentrics and obsessives, industry magnates and small farmers, the author explores the way technological change, opinionated critics, consumer trends, wheelers and dealers, trade wars, and mass market tastes have made the elixir we drink today entirely different from the wine drunk by our grandparents.

2. The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

If you’re getting your morning jollies reading about the amazing collapsing Ponzi schemes of investment wizard Bernie Madoff, you’ll love The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Story of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine. It’s all there: fraud on a grand scale; apparently smart people who should have known better committing serial stupidities; rich people doing pratfalls in public. It’s like a bottle full of schadenfreude; what more could you ask from a wine book? It makes you wonder about those wine experts!

3. Judgement of Paris by George M. Taber

The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976—a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over France’s best—for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine. The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest—a blind tasting—a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France’s best. You might also want to read ‘To Cork Or Not To Cork’ by the same author.

4. The Wine Savant by Michael Steinberger

A savvy and opinionated tour of the contemporary world of wine. Today’s dynamic wine culture calls for a different kind of wine book. The Wine Savant is just that: punchy, polemical, and brimming with insights to educate and entertain beginning wine drinkers and seasoned oenophiles alike.

5. Bacchus & Me by jay McInerney

Jay McInerney on wine? The best-selling novelist has turned his command of language and flair for metaphor on the world of wine, providing this sublime collection of nontraditional musings on wine and wine culture that is as fit for someone looking for “a nice Chardonnay” as it is for the oenophile.




Wine – But Not As We Know It

orkney wineWine But Not As We Know It

Wine is defined by the European Commission as the ‘fermented juice of grapes’. This definition excludes many types of wine such as ancient Chinese rice wine. A recent addition to the multitude of world wine is Chinese fish wine. The wine, for which the official Chinese news agency Xinhua claims orders have already been received from a number of neighbouring countries, is said to be nutritious and contain low alcohol.
In 2001, the Orkney Wine Company was established in Scotland after getting grants from the local council and the Highland Fund. The plan was to make wine with fruit and vegetables; a whisky and carrot blend was the first planned for commercial consumption. All their wines and liqueurs are made in the traditional way using fruit, flowers and vegetables, which are fermented whole resulting in high levels of anti-oxidants and maximum flavours. Only the finest natural ingredients are used, with as much as possible grown in Orkney. Turnip wine anyone?

White Porto Mojito


 Wine Cocktail – White Porto Mojito

White Porto Mojito - The Wine Detective

Tis’ the season…to add some pizzazz to your holiday party! If you’re already feeling eggnog’d out just thinking about the holidays, and want to celebrate with something other than regular wine, try this delicious White Porto Mojito. This wine cocktail is easy to make and budget friendly. Use soda water or Perrier for a less sweet cocktail.

Recipe for about 13 people.

  1. Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice.
  2. Pour in a bottle of Taylor Fladgate White Porto.
  3. Slice a lemon and put the pieces in the pitcher.
  4. Tear up 1 or 2 sprig of mint and put in the pitcher.
  5. Add a 1 L bottle of tonic water.
  6. Stir for about 10 seconds.
  7. Garnish with a slice of lemon and mint. (pomegranate seeds would look very festive)


How To Keep An Open Bottle Of Wine


FaLaLa… Tis’ the season of festive parties. Wine will be served, and what to do with the left over?

left over wine


I am asked the question, frequently. Left over wine has never been an issue in my house. A Bacchus commandment “Thou shall finish an open bottle of wine”.  In the event that you have some wine left at the end of your party, here are some tips on how to seal your open bottle and where to store it to get an extra day out of your left over.
  • „White wines will last 1 or 2 days depending of the style.
  • „Red wines will last about 3 days depending of the style.
  • „Full-bodied wines will retain flavour and freshness better than lighter wines.
  • „Younger wines will retain flavour better than older wines.
  • „Refrigerate, left over wine, will help to preserve its lifespan. You should refrigerate white and red. Don’t forget to pull out red wine about 30-40 minutes before serving.
  • Reduce the amount of oxygen in the bottle by putting left over into a smaller bottle. Use an air tight closure, it helps slow down oxidation.



Try a wine saver gadget. The 2 most popular ones are:
1 – VACUVIN ( a vacuum sealer ) from $18.00 to $22.00
2 – PRIVATE PRESERVATIVE ( gas) from $16.00 to $20.00





How about freezing left over wine?  The experiment had good results according to the ‘Shopping Bag’ and a few other web sites. The wine tasted as good as the one day left over wine. They said that the wine tasted fine. Unfortunately, they don’t talk about the type of container used for the experiment. Have fun doing your own experiment, and let me know the result.


Using a bit of wine in sauces and stews enhance flavours. In restaurants, we use cheap wine for simmering dishes such as lamb shanks, and we use quality wine for sauces. I always have a bit of left over white and red in my fridge. The left over will last about 2 months. You can freeze wine in an ice tray. It is really practical, you take only as many cubes as you need. You can keep chicken and beef broth the same way.

Naoussa Boutari Wine

Wine Of the Month

naoussa boutari red wineNaoussa Boutari Wine – Macedonia, Greece


History Of Region

Naousa (or Náoussa) is a town in the hills of Macedonia, northern Greece. In 1971 it became Greece’s very first wine region to be given its own official appellation title, and served as a model for the Greek appellation system.During the 19th Century, Naousa wine was found in well-to-do households across Europe as local producers were able to get around the high taxes and bans on winemaking imposed in much of mainland Greece by the ruling Ottomans. However, an outbreak of phylloxera in the early 20th Century led to many of Naousa’s vineyards being ripped out. In the 1960s, vines were replanted with phylloxera-resistant rootstocks, and more-modern viticulture and winemaking techniques saw a resurgence of Naousa wines. The arrival of the Naoussa appellation (a PDO) in 1971 precipitated significant improvements in both viticulture and winemaking.

The grape

Xynomavro is a dark-skinned grape variety widely planted in northern Greece and, to a lesser extent, the Macedonian Republic.The variety is highly regarded in its native Greece as the finest red wine the country has to offer. With its characteristically high tannin and acidity, Xynomavro is structurally one of the biggest red wines in the Mediterranean, and indeed Europe.

(Info via wine-searcher.com)

Tasting Notes

The Boutari wine is a good entry level to Naoussa wine style. It offers rich aromas. Medium to full-bodied with ripe red fruit, spices and soft tannins in the finish. Pair with barbecue, ripe yellow cheeses, sausages, smoked cold cuts, pasta with spicy red sauce.

Shelf price $17.49 ($2off at BCLDB until Nov 26). Available at selected private stores.



Hayes Ranch Red Blend

Wine Of The Month – Hayes Ranch Red Blend

hayes ranch red wine blend

Founded in 1883, Wente Family Estates is the oldest continuously-operated family-owned winery in the country, owned and managed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family.

The Hayes Family was a true California ranching family whose livelihood depended on the land. The Wente Family Estates winemaking team carries on the Hayes family tradition by crafting bright, delicious wines from premier California vineyards.Harvested from select vineyards in California, whose topography, soils and climate provide optimal growing conditions.

Hayes red blend tasting notes: Medium-bodied and fruity on the palate with blackberries, tart cherries, strawberries, raspberries, dark chocolates and pepper.

Aailable at EverythingWine stores, The Strath in Victoria, and other selected private stores.

Artisan Bistro in Broadmeed, Victoria also offers this red.
Shelf Price:$15.49 (price may vary)