Through the lens with the Sutton Place Wine Merchant

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ~ W. C. Fields

“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” ~ Joan Collins

wine corks

What is a Bad Wine?

Everyone has a different palate preference so objectivity is required to fairly determine if a wine is good, bad, or great.

When tasting wine, we enjoy a combination of its fruits, alcohol, tannin, acidity, sweetness, and body. Imbalance means one element awkwardly stands out. For example, a wine that leaves a burning sensation on the throat is out of balance, as there is insufficient fruit intensity and body to integrate (and contain) the alcohol. Another example is a commercial wine that is overly oaked without sufficient fruit leaving a hollow mid palate.

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What is a Good Wine?

A good wine is not faulty and has a great balance. As mentioned, it means all the elements complement one another and no one element awkwardly stands out.

What defines a Great Wine?

A great wine is a good wine that has the below five factors:

1. Outstanding Varietal Character: It is important to remember the grape variety when assessing a wine. For example, having an intensely oaky nose does not imply quality on a Pinot Noir. However, being intensely aromatic, with a sexy delicacy and a silky texture would qualify.

2. Good Intensity: An intense aroma on the nose and palate implies a good concentration of fruits in the bottle. This can only result from using high quality grapes and undergoing a rigorous production method to preserve the varietal character. How do you tell if a wine has good intensity – You can smell its aroma while holding the glass at chest level. On the palate, it is dynamic and flavourful.

3. Complexity differs from intensity. For example, an intense wine can be simple (with only one dominant flavour). A complex wine makes you think. It has layers of aromas and a diverse range of flavours. The aroma changes with time. It is not one-dimensional, flat, or boring.

4. A long finish is a good indication of quality. How many seconds does the wine remain on your palate after swallowing or spitting. A great Bordeaux Grand Cru has finishes that last 30 seconds, but 15 seconds is a good benchmark for a great wine.

5. Emotional reaction: It is captivating, makes you happy, and more importantly, eager to have another sip.

Final words:

When judging wine, it is only fair to compare the wine against its variety, gauge the balance of its elements, and not be biased by our palate or brand preference.


wine tastingWith over 700 wines, touching all price points and labels from all over the world, the Sutton Place Wine Merchant is a wine lover’s dream.

The boutique itself has a very cozy and rustic ambiance, and carries a wide selection of attractively displayed wines from British Columbia to the USA, Australia to Chile, the Wine Merchant consistently features wine from every popular wine region in the world. Regular wine tastings take place in the Private Tasting room, along with seminars and information sessions on wine making and the wine industry.

Join us on Saturday, February 28th from 4:30pm-6:30pm for a Therapy Vineyards (Naramata, BC) wine tasting.


We want you to see the beauty of the Sutton Place Wine Merchant in the same way we see it, so we placed beautiful photographic filters over our photos to showcase the store’s brightness.

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Win a VIP Tour and Tasting of Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars!

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We’re giving away a vineyard tour and a limited time bottle of the 2011 Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir!

Until February 19th, 2015, every purchase of a bottle of Blue Mountain NV Brut at the Sutton Place Wine Merchant will be entered to win a VIP Tour and Tasting for two at the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars in Okanagan Falls, BC. The winner will tour the vineyard during the 2015 Summer Season (May 1st until October 10th) and receive a bottle of the famed and very limited 2011 Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir.

Draw date is February 20th.

Simply head to the Sutton Place Wine Merchant for your chance to win. Good Luck!

**Must be 19 years of age to enter and win. The Contest Winner will be provided with the direct contact to make their arrangements for their visit.**

Craft Beers Galore at The Sutton Place Wine Merchant

beer glasses

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa just delivered the best present ever to the Sutton Place Wine Merchant
A new fridge full of seasonal Craft Beers for you to experience from local brewers and around the world.

New arrivals:
– Granville Island Brewing Coco Loco (BC)
– Granville Island Brewing Winter Ale (BC)
– Driftwood Fat Tug (BC)
– Driftwood Farm Hand (BC)
– Driftwood Hopfenweissen (BC)
– Karmeleit Triple
– Val-Dieu Grand Cru
– Caulier Blonde de Noel

Arriving in the next few weeks:
– Parallel 49 – Gypsy tears (BC)
– Parallel 49 – Old Boy (BC)
– Caracole Troublette
– Deus Brut des Flandres
– Duchesse de Bourgogne
– Gulden Draak
– Birrifico Karma – Amber Doll
– Birrifico Karma – Lemonale
– Heineken
– Strongbow Cider

Have a beer question? Stop by this holiday season, and let us help you with all your lager and ale needs.

855 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC  V6Z 2K6
Tel 604.642.2947 •  Fax 604.642.2741
info@suttonplacewinemerchant.com

Leftover Smoked Brisket? We’ve got a Wine for that!

bbq wineWritten by Peter Harlos, Sutton Place Wine Merchant

Barbera d’Alba might just be the world’s most perfect barbeque wine.

The other night, I made a pizza I thought I’d share with you. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some leftover brisket, from a previous days 13-hour smoke, that a friend did for a neighbourhood block party. Some fresh pizza dough, a home-made Kansas City style BBQ sauce, caramelized onions and diced roasted yellow peppers came together on the grill with the chopped up brisket to make one of the best pizzas I’ve made all summer.

What the heck do you pair with that?

Well you’ve really got a lot of options, but to me, one of the best is a well-made Italian Barbera, and Pio Cesare does a fantastic job. A classic Barbera is medium bodied, has a little bit higher acidity and a little bit lighter tannin. A well-crafted Barbera d’Alba, such as Pio Cesare’s, has all of this plus an intense soft rich black fruit flavour that playfully mingles on the palate with the sweet peppers, spicy sauce and smoky meat.

It’s a delicious and refreshing quaff between bites of what would otherwise quickly tire the taste buds. And when you’re done chowing down on your favourite sauced-up, pizza, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, or ribs, there is more than enough luscious complexity to keep you coming back for more.

Truly an Italian classic for our modern times.


Join the Sutton Place Wine Merchant on Saturday, September 20 from 4:30pm-6:30pm for an Italian themed wine tasting.

Can’t make it on the 20th? Celebrate September at the Sutton Place Wine Merchant with fantastic wine tastings.

Click here for full schedule.