Earth Day Musings & Wine

Little Farm Winery

Wine is a luxury item.  It is not needed and for most an indulgence. (although you will not convince me of this)  When it is good it evokes feelings of excitement, mystery and love.  It transports us away from the mundane, beyond the realms of regular life and work. The beautiful sound “pop” of the cork and the wine dance begins. It is a whirlwind romance, magic and stardust all rolled into one.  

When we have chosen well, we are left breathless, speechless, wanting more. A good wine carries us to the country where it was made, we can feel the sun, the rain and the soil on our tongue. We become one. Done poorly, we feel cheated, disappointed and sad.

The production of wine is an art form.  The average wine consumer (about 80%) chose their wine by the way the labels and bottles look.  Wine is a pleasure and a luxury.  When you purchase a luxury you do not want to hear about the “dirty details” it taints the experience. The consumer expects it to be taken care of and to be ushered to a place of rest and relaxation.

Imagine if we could find no wine, it all disappeared? There certainly would be an uprising if we could not get our precious, precious juice! (see it really is a necessity). Wine producers are farmers.  They dance a difficult dance. They cope with climate change, loss of biodiversity, changing tastes and expectations of consumers and competition on a global scale. They are expected to take care of the consumer, the earth, their family and the community. 

A good wine producer cares deeply about where they grow their vines. They love their vines like adopted children. They nurture their children to become the best they can be.  They are family, friends and community. I have had the good fortune of meeting the owners of @littlefarmwinery. They are a shining example of family, friends and community.  They are food and wine personified. When you “drink” with them you are doing a little bit better for our planet. Walk down to one of these places to purchase one of their wines LINK


Water to Wine an Easter Wine List

Appetizers & Bubbly

Local Suggestion: @nichewineco

I love to start every occasion with a bit of bubbles. For me every time we gather with friends, family and colleagues away from work for a bit of laughter, joy and relaxation is an occasion. We do not cherish this time enough. I will be serving a little bit of @nichewineco ‘s beautiful bubbly. I love this winery and their family. They make small batch wines with love and you can taste it. So very delicious at an amazing price point I might add.

Value for Money : Cava, Spain

Cava is so very delicious and at these prices it makes you even happier. Cava is typically dry and is made using the traditional method (this is how Champagne is made). Cava is aged for 9 months on the lees. (This is what gives Champagne that bread/toast character). The best examples of Cava will have Reserva (15 months on the lees, the same as non-vintage Champagne) , Gran Reserva (30 months on the lees and age dated), or the rare Paraje Calificado (36 months minimum on the lees and from a special select location) on the bottle.

This is a great label to know what you are looking for when you go to the wine merchant. Cava is from Spain. Reserva has spent at least 15 months ageing on the lees. Traditional Method tells you it is made in the same way as Champagne (at a fraction of the cost). It must be called Sparkling Wine only Champagne from the same named place in France can call itself Champagne.

Codorniú is the oldest and second largest producer of Cava in Spain. Founded in 1551 close to Barcelona it is reputed to be the oldest company in Spain and one of the oldest wineries in the world. In the early 1900’s it was producing about 100,000 bottles of Cava per year. Interestingly, their winery was not located near transport (e.g. rail or road). The family believed that the winery should be located close to the vineyard and this was the magic to improving the quality of the wines.

The Main Event

Whether you serve Turkey, Ham or something else, the bunny holiday is usually not a heavy red meat event. Turkey pairs perfectly with a White or a Rosè. If you happen to have some creamy mashed potatoes the acid will cut nicely through the delicious cream. Just be sure it is not overly spiced with garlic, etc or the wine will get lost in the strong flavours.

Local Suggestion: D’Angelo’s Rose

I heart D’Angelo’s Estate Winery and their family. Meeting Sal in the tasting room is always so much fun. He planted his first acre of grapes in 1984 in Penticton. His first vintage was in 1989. Sal’s motto is “Quality is Grown” and one taste of his wines and you know how right he is. The stories of their family and the life of a winery are filled with love and pride. Rosalina is named after their Nona (Grandmother) and who better to invite to your meal?

Value for Money : Cortese

Cortese is a white grape variety from Italy. The best examples are from Gavi in the South-Eastern Piemonte. The grapes are grown at high altitudes, this combined with the sea breezes allows the lovely grape to ripen slowly. Slow ripening is good. It keeps the acidity in the grape. From Gavi they will be light-bodied, high acidity and flavours of citrus, green apples and pears (yum !). Not cloying or sweet, serve it chilled and you will be so happy you tried this delightful little grape. The price will leave you wondering why you have never met before.

The Pio Cesare estate was founded in 1881 by Cesare himself and he was the first to export. The estate is one the oldest in the region and is still run by the family. Interestingly, their cellar is located in the middle of Alba and its main walls date back to the Roman period.

Always Start With Dessert I say

Nothing is finer than dessert. I am always a bit sad if I am not planful and forget during the main event to take into account my love for the end of a meal with a bit of dessert. Sweet with sweet is the general advice.

Local Suggestion: Kalala Dessert wine

@kalalawines is an Organic winery nestled in the Upper Bench of West Kelowna. Certified organic in September 2010, Kalala’s philosophy is to allow the varietal characteristics and terroir to be truly expressed and enhanced by minimal handling during winemaking. Many wonder how Kalala Organic Estate Winery got its name. The legend comes from the owner, Karnail’s grandparents who told him the story of how the village where he was born came to be. Long ago, in Northern India, farmers working in the beautiful and distant flatlands came upon a wolf and lamb sitting peacefully together. They believed this coexistence to be so inspiring that they moved their village to this very spot, in hopes that the same harmony would be reflected in their village, and named it Kalala, meaning Miracle Place.

Their Zweigelt Icewine from @kalalawines is fall off your chair good. So good you might want to drink it on its own, no dessert needed.

Value for Money: Medium Sherry

A medium sherry typically will have both biological (this process involves the presence of flor/yeast which feeds off the oxygen and gives sherry that unique flavour) and oxidative characteristics (which is ageing with oxygen in partially filled casks). The best examples perfectly balance toffee, leather and walnut flavours with the dried fruit flavours. This type of sherry goes well with so many things. (even just in coffee if you are too full).

Look for an Amontillado from Jerez-Xeres. This is a great value find and you will find the traditional salted caramel note.

~Trina Plamondon is the founder of Carpa Vino, a local company specializing in private wine events, wine consultation & wine education. In her blog she helps others discover the magic in wines.

Farm Fresh Wine – Niche Winery

I love @nichewineco and the phrase they use to describe their wines. “Farm Fresh”. Being part of the wine industry program brought me the great fortune of meeting Joanna & James. Joanna made me laugh when she said “I’m the fun, he’s the science”. Not that science can’t be fun. These two are everything I love about the local wine scene here on the coast and especially in @westkelowna.

Small batch wines made with love by a family that lives steps away from where it was grown. There is something magic about this and you can taste it in the glass. Each row of vines is an extension of their family and just like children they talk about what they like, don’t like and what they need to thrive. Just like parents they want each vine to be successful and reach its full potential.

James, the winemaker for @nichewineco is no amateur. With a Masters degree in Oenology and Viticulture and 15 years of winemaking experience, and the natural talent that comes from being part of a wine family, he has it going on. “It’s like bottling home” is what he says about the Pinot Noir grapes grown on the farm where he grew up.

Joanna is the sunshine. She greets you with a smile and you can her a little Champagne tinkle in her laugh. You can feel the passion she has for the wines, the farm and her family. The family was so pleased to be the first to taste in their new space. Words can not accurately describe the beauty that surrounds the space on all sides.


Their Beautiful bubbles, bright acidity, and an off-dry finish is simply superb. I will be gifting to friends & family. It is not easy to make a good bubbly that doesn’t taste like sparkling apple juice. They have done it right. Cheers!

Trina enjoying the bubbly @nichewineco

If you want to try something you might not have and be so very happy you did, it is certainly their Foch. Foch is a grape where the skin and the flesh are a deep red colour. It was named after a famous French general (Marechal Foch) in the First World War. The wine was a symphony in my mouth with no one note out of tune or out of place. Your tongue will not have to search far for the chocolate and vanilla notes, a full-bodied red that will not blow you over with the power of a big Syrah or Malbec from a hot climate.

This summer you will have the opportunity to come for a tasting, play some bocce ball and have charcuterie, the wine is great, the view and added bonus.

It was such a pleasure to spend some time with these two lovely humans. I felt grateful for the opportunity. Being the architect of your own happiness sometimes has its perks.

Trina Plamondon is the Founder of Carpa Vino, a local company, in Vancouver, British Columbia, that offers private wine events with rare tastings, acclaimed chefs, local food & entertainment.

Bordeaux ?

If you are like me, you get confused by the multitude of appellations, regions, villages, Chateaux’s… etc., etc., that exist in France. So many in fact, during my last trip to France I bought an atlas of French vineyards to explain it all to me. Truth, 33 maps, tables and graphics, soils, PDO’s, and grape varieties I couldn’t consume all the info it had in it. I was still confused.

People often are confused by Bordeaux. Left bank, right bank, Cab Sav, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot… One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated (a little throw back to Laverne and Shirley days)

It doesn’t need to be complicated, let’s break down the important bits and talk a little about red wines of Bordeaux. You can make a “C” shape with your left hand and it is not backwards when you look at it. ( I will pause here while you try it). “C” stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, it is your left hand ~ which stands for the left bank. The left bank grows Cab Sav and the flavours are black currant and plum. The little vine “feet” like to be dry and warm which is why it does well on the left with the stone/gravel soils. Bordeaux, is famous for it’s blends. A Bordeaux blend is typically Cab Sav, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. If you see “Meritage” on the menu or bottle it is referring to a Bordeaux blend. The French are rule followers and the rules are not to use “Bordeaux Blend” outside of Bordeaux. “Meritage” is the combination of “Merit” and “Heritage” a homage to the high quality and traditional ways of making the blend.

To the right the most widely known appellations are Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. Here Merlot is the Queen of grapes. Merlots tiny little vine feet don’t mind the warm, dry soils in this area that have clay and limestone, they are also a less fussy and do not mind the cooler climate in the North, Cab Sav does not like to be cold and it won’t ripen well if it is. Merlot flavours are red berry fruit, plum, developing tobacco and cedar notes. Pomerol tends to have spicer flavours with blackberry fruit.

If you see the term ” Vins de garage” don’t think it is wine made in someone’s garage. This is a special term used for small plots of land where no expense was spared. The person making the wine is called a “Garagiste”.

~Trina Plamondon is the founder of Carpa Vino, a local company specializing in wine events & consulting. In her blog she helps her readers discover the magic in wine in a way that is easy to understand and appreciate.

All About Cabernet Sauvignon

Ka – brr – nay / so – vin -yown

34,851 Black Cherry Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Cabernet Sauvignon or Cab Sauv as it is affectionately referred to is the chance crossing of two parents (Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc) to create a new grape (baby) variety. The little baby is not sweet, in fact it is dry, which is the opposite of sweet. FOr comparison, Port is sweet.

It is the most widely planted grape in the world. Just like humans, each one of these beautiful babies will be a bit different depending on where it is grown. To grow up properly, Cab Sauv needs a moderate to warm climate. Just like me it does not like to be cold. It also ages well and fingers crossed, so will I. Its deep, dark color means your mouth will be entertained with black cherry, black currant, a hint of green bell pepper, mint. Some of the better ones get a little love in the oak barrel for a bit and this adds a bit of smoke, vanilla, coffee or cedar. Yum! A little oak lovin’ also softens those tannins (that’s the stuff that sticks to your teeth and makes them your tongue stick when you rub it over them)

In France, you will have heard about the Left and Right Bank. Our little baby Cab Sauv lives on the left and this is where it grows the most. It really loves the gravelly/rocky soil, because it does not like wet feet and loves how the gravel and rocks keeps the heat in. Makes them a little sauna for their feet. If you are looking for a good baby, it is all about the house they are born into (Chateau) a “Cru Classe” is good, but even better is the “Grand Cru Classe” where only the very best Chateaux are allowed to use that name for their little babies. “Cru Bourgeois” does not refer to a good house to be born but rather a year where the baby was exceptional (vintage). This is decided each year and has to be applied for.

~Trina Plamondon is the founder of Carpa Vino, a local company specializing in wine tastings, wine consulting & wine events. In her blog she reveals magic in wine in a way that is easy to understand and appreciate.

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