Cupcake Vineyard produces ‘fun’ wines

Henry Yuen

Do you use the term “fun” to describe a wine? Not very often, I guess.  Wine terms such as finesse, elegant, structure and bouquet convey a level of sophistication and seriousness to the exercise of tasting wine that fun invariably ends up at the bottom of the spectrum. 

The truth of the matter is some wines do fit the fun category! These wines are crafted with the intention of being ready to be enjoyed no matter where and how, casually or not. Further bottle aging will not necessarily enhance the desirability of the wines.

Two new releases from the Cupcake Vineyards inCaliforniacertainly provide the “fun” quotient for wine drinkers. Sourcing grapes from the Central Coast of California, the winemaker, Adam Richardson, has crafted a 2009 Chardonnay and a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that are unpretentious and deliver a sense of liveliness to the wine drinking process. 

The white is a 100% Chardonnay. With its typical buttery, creamy texture, it has a welcoming palate that is easy to drink. Inviting and approachable, this is a party wine for novices and serious drinkers alike. As an easy relaxing patio sipper to a formal food pairing dinner swirl, it will charm any occasion.  

To achieve this, the winemaker employs premium fermentation techniques to capture the flavour of citrus and vanilla while embracing the crispness of the Chardonnay grapes. Rounding out the process by conceiving the grapes in American oak for 9 months,Richardson gives this Cupcake Chardonnay its subtle toasted oak characteristics. As a result, this wine garnered 88 points by the respected Wine Spectator Magazine. 

Made with grapes source also from those grown in the Central Coastal regions of California, with sun-drenched daylight and cool breezy evenings, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Syrah and 3% Merlot. This red provides lots of dark fruits of berries and plum that renders a sensational sweetness to the wine. Once again, this is a ready to drink wine since the harvest took place back in October 2008.

This Cabernet blend has gone through cool fermentation to allow for the soft tannins to extrude.  Thanks to aging in premium American oak and proper blending of the three different grapes, this red has a soft texture, yet complex aroma and good body.  Overall, it is a pleasant and inviting California Cabernet fit for everyday consumption and any occasions.

Bring on the party and I am sure these two wines will show themselves very well.    

Food and Wine Notes

April 13, 2011

A Taste of Spring- Free  German Wine Tasting

Wines of Germany and BC Liquor Stores teams up to inspire the palates of wine enthusiasts across the province with FREE A Taste of Spring in 60 liquor stores throughout the month of April. Savour eight exceptional German wines at the consumer event on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 between 3–‐6 pm at the 39th &

Cambie Signature Store in Vancouver.


The public is invited to challenge their knowledge with a blind tasting (literally 􀍴

blindfolded!) showcasing German Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) and of course Riesling from various wine regions. Sommelier bartenders will be happy to answer questions and discuss the versatility of these delicious springtime wines and all participants will leave with a prize bag reminiscent of the mouth–‐watering flavours in German wines.

Informative Wines of Germany food pairing guides will be available at sixty select BC Liquor Stores throughout the month of April, 2011.

Free Malbec Tastings on World Malbec Day

BC wine lovers, take note:  Wines of Argentina, the organization responsible for promoting the image of Argentine wines around the world, has declared April 17 as World Malbec Day in honor of the country’s iconic varietal.

British Columbians can join in on the celebratory action by coming to one of the Malbec tastings being held on April 17th at public and private liquor stores.  The tastings will feature great Malbecs, tango music, and a festive spirit suited to enjoying the flagship wine from this warm South American country.

British Columbians can get to know Malbec at one of the FREE tastings taking place on Sunday, April 17th at the following locations:


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Highgate

         Signature BC Liquor Store –  North Gate

Downtown Vancouver

         Marquis Wine Cellars – 1034 Davie –  will have food pairing

         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Alberni & Thurlow


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Orchard Park


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Langley

North Shore

         Everything Wine – 998 Marine Drive – will have food pairing

         Liberty Park & Tilford – Park & Tilford Mall –  will have food pairing

         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Park Royal


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Ironwood


         Everything Wine – South Surrey (Morgan Crossing) –  will have food pairing

         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Fleetwood


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  39th & Cambie – will have food pairing


         Signature BC Liquor Store –  Fort & Foul Bay 

Several locations will feature catered food including empanadas provided by the House of Empanadas.  For details, log on to:   

April 17th was selected as Malbec World Day because of its historical significance.  On this day in 1853, the bill to create the Quinta Agronomica, a government program to improve all aspects of Agriculture, including the national wine industry, was submitted to the Provincial Legislature of Mendoza.  The date represents both the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry and the starting point for the development of Malbec as its flagship variety.

World Malbec Day events are taking place in:  The United States (New York City, NY; Napa Valley, CA; Washington DC), Argentina (Buenos Aires; Mendoza), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro; San Pablo) Canada (Vancouver and Toronto), China (Beijing; Shanghai), Holland (Amsterdam), Japan (Tokyo), United Kingdom (London; Kent and multiple cities)

For more information about Malbec World Day and scheduled events, please visit

Celebrity Wine Film Festival Contest to Promote BC Wine

Producers of the 2011 Osoyoos Celebrity Wine Festival (OCWF) are reaching out to filmmakers everywhere to tell the story of BC Wines. OCWF is calling for submissions for “The Vinos” an amateur wine commercial film festival. “The Vinos” was inspired by events like the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes, and the wildly successful Big Rock Eddies beer commercial film festival.

Wine enthusiasts and aspiring filmmakers will compete for a Vino, cash, prizes and wine, by producing a video about their favourite BC Wine or wineries. Videos nominated for a Vino will be aired during an awards ceremony and wrap party on June 11, 2011 at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos.

OCWF announced today that Jesse Kovacs of hit ABC TV show The Bachelor Pad and The Bachelorette, will be one of celebrity judges for the commercial film festival along with his brother Jacob. Jesse Kovacs is a former Major League Baseball player with the Philadelphia Phillies and co-owns a California winery with his brother. The “Kovacs Brothers” label is produced in Carmel Valley.

Festival founder, and president of Black Hills Winery, Glenn Fawcett, “We discovered when hosting The Vinos last year that the exceptional quality of South Okanagan wine has created a large and passionate fan base. Our fans are very talented, last year they produced many funny, creative and touching commercials which made The Vinos a very entertaining evening.”

Filmmakers are encouraged to grab their friends and a camcorder and make a 60 – 180 second video commercial about their favorite B.C. wine or winery. The Vinos is open to amateur and professional videographers. The awards ceremony is reminiscent of an Oscar’s after party and participants will walk the red carpet. Guests and filmmakers will mingle with Hollywood celebrities in town for the Osoyoos Celebrity Wine Festival. “Judges will be looking for creativity.” says Fawcett, “A sense of humour helps and good taste will go along way.”

Grand Prize is $2500 in cash and wine. Second place is $1500 and third place is $750. All 24 finalist will receive 2 tickets to the event. Tickets for The Vinos are now available from the festival website:

Deadline for all submissions is June 1, 2011.

To view the entertaining and hilarious wine commercials from last year, visit the “The Vinos” youtube channel.

For further details:

West Restaurant presents G’Vine Gin Cocktail Dinner

on Monday, April 25th @ 6:30pm
While West’s wine dinners are well known across the city—and beyond—it’s time to let our talented bar manager have his time in the sun, in this case the sunny vineyards of Cognac, France.

On April 25th, West Restaurant is pleased to welcome the extraordinarily diverse wine grape based gins of G’Vine —Floraison and Nouaison—in a unique five-course dinner crafted by Executive Chef David Gunawan, paired with cocktails created by Bar Manager David Wolowidnyk.

While most gins are made from grain, G’Vine gins are small batched from Ugni Blanc grapes, distilled with nine classic fresh-fruit botanicals; and, in the case of Floraison, the unique vine flower, picked on the very day it surrenders its peak aromatics. Nouaison, on the other hand, is tinctured with the nascent grape berries. Distillation for both gins takes place in an antique Florentine still known as ‘Lily Fleur’.

YEW restaurant + bar offers guests a chance to support Japan
Yew is keenly aware of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan that has caused catastrophic damage and loss of life. The utter scale of total devastation is difficult to comprehend. Four Seasons employees around the globe are participating in fundraising activities to support the international relief effort and invite you to join.

Cherry Blossom season – common to both Vancouver and Japan, is symbolic of the power of the return of Spring. To share in this sentiment of renewal, we welcome your donation to our fundraising efforts and offer a special Cherry Blossom treat in return. With all money raised in support of the Red Cross Japan Relief efforts, you can take part in this initiative in two ways –

YEW’s bartender Justin Taylor has mixed up a Cherry Blossom Cocktail featuring Red Stag Bourbon by Jim Beam. This cocktail is priced at $20, with all monies donated directly to the relief effort.

Pastry Chef Bruno Feldeisen offers a special treat to start the day with the “Taki” Cherry Blossom Yuzu Muffin. The price for this muffin is up to you as it’s based on donation, with all monies donated to the relief effort.

In addition to these treats, YEW also provides an opportunity to donate directly to Red Cross within the restaurant.

Lucky Penny

Henry Yuen

From Casella Winery, the producer of the ‘Yellow Tail’ family of wines in Australia come another brand called Lucky Penny. From ‘Yellow’ to ‘Lucky’ and ‘Tail’ to ‘Penny’, that is quite a pleasant trail I say!

How do you describe the wine? Easy to drink and quite versatile is the impression gathered. 

Sourcing from the grapes in South Eastern Australia, the 2010 white is a blend of Chardonnay 65%, Viognier 20% and Pinot Grigio 15%. It is a lively white with lots of fruits and freshness. The Chardonnay gives it an adequate structure; the Viognier provides the tropical fruits of pears and peaches while the Pinot Grigio enhances the wine with the acidity as a refreshing summer   sipper that also pairs well with lighter fare and appetizers. It’s another product that is simple, ready to drink with welcoming aroma and freshness that doesn’t require a discerning taste bud to enjoy. Sipped with a wok-fried chicken dish with garlic herb sauce and a simple shrimp fried rice, this Lucky Penny white proved to be a winner.

The 2009 red is a blend of Shiraz 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30% and Merlot 20%. It’s a medium to full bodied wine with lots of possibilities. Having Shiraz as the foundation, the wine has a lot of cherries and sweetness on the palate. The Cabernet Sauvignon lends its blackberry and plum aroma while the Merlot balances it out with a hint of chocolate and vanilla. Lightly oaked, this red is delightful on its own since it has been aged in the winery for over a year. The winemaker deliberately blends the wines with the focus on creating a wine that is developed, pleasant on the palate and with down-to-earth attractiveness to cater to a wide range of taste buds. Suitable for casual occasions, food pairing should be easy for this red because of its elegant sweetness. Other than red meat or BBQ meats, do consider poultry or pork with citrus based sauce as well. Alternatively, serving this red with softer cheeses would liven up the party.

The Yellow Tail brand strives on its consistency and the winemaker has embarked on this exciting project with the Lucky Penny brand that exemplifies their mission. Not necessarily a serious wine, but very approachable and easy-to-drink, the Lucky Penny brand would be considered an everyday wine that would not break the bank. 

Two easy-to-drink new additions to your social wine list