Friday, June 30, 2006

A fave California Viognier

Smoking Loon Viognier
Sonoma, California, 2005
Don Sebastiani & Sons
$16.80 CND for a 750 ml bottle

Next time you’re in the liquor store, look for a whimsical red and yellow label with an artistically doodled loon—smoking, of course. If you turn the bottle over to read about the merits of the wine, you’ll discover only a weird, albeit entertaining, bit of prose about some equally weird ’n’ loony guy nicknamed Smoking Loon, thanks to his loon-like cackle. Okay… I think they were smoking something alright when they wrote this. If you find this Viognier in stock, buy it and enjoy it. No need to wait because this grape varietal is great young.

Smoking Loon Viognier (pronounced Vee-ohn-yay) is a light golden colour. It has a clean, fruity aroma. I smell pear, pineapple and grapefruit. It’s light, smooth and lush tasting with the creaminess that often comes with a good Viognier. Crisp apple, pineapple, apricot and peach flavours dance in my mouth. It has a faint vanilla, anise and clove finish, which accounts for the warm spicy taste on the tongue. This refreshing white wine is perfect for a summer day on the patio. Enjoy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Unwinding at UnWine'd

I recently tried a new wine and tapas restaurant in Vancouver called UnWine’d. The food and service were great and the atmosphere was warm, relaxed and comfortable. With the leather club chairs, fireplace, dim lighting, dark wood and the long, gleaming, well-stocked bar it had a cozy lounge vibe. There are also two patios for those hot summer nights. Far from pretentious, it's a great place to go and relax, as their name implies, and try new wines and share some flavourful tapas or a mouthwatering dessert.

Their wine list has an interesting selection and the wines are reasonably priced. They have 35 reds available for tasting, 12 by the glass, and 17 whites, with 6 available by the glass.

We tried two California wines: Mark West Pinot Noir (Central Coast, 2004) and Smoking Loon Viognier. Both were excellent and paired well with the tapas we ordered. The Viognier went especially well with the charred ginger beef with sweet peppers and chili gelee, as it’s a great pairing with most spicy foods. Both wines were equally tasty with the tiger prawn and scallop skewers with honey and chive immersion. Yum, Yum! I'll definitely be back!

Thankfully, both wines are available at BC Liquor Stores, so I’ll be off to get some and try them again at home. Their reviews will be coming up.