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

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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

Ruffino Winery Dinner

Join Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar for their first winemaker’s dinner!


Ruffino Winery Dinner with Special Guest Beppe d’Andrea, Ruffino Senior Global Brand Ambassador

Date & Time: October 20th, 7PM
Cost: $129 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
Tickets: 604-642-2900 or info@boulevardvancouver.ca
Seating is limited

Please join us for an exclusive winery dinner featuring Italian winemaker Ruffino. Our Wine Director, Lisa Haley, will treat guests to nine wines from Ruffino’s estates in Tuscany, paired with five courses from Executive Chef Alex Chen’s upcoming fall menu. Boulevard will also welcome special guest Beppe d’Andrea, Ruffino’s Senior Global Brand Ambassador for the event, which will take place in our elegant private dining room.

RECEPTION

Ruffino Prosecco NV

WEATHERVANE SCALLOP CRUDO

radish, autumn heirloom apples, wasabi, sea salt
Libaio Chardonnay IGT 2012

PACIFIC OCTOPUS TWO WAYS

cold-pressed, marinated, celery paquillo peppers, green olives
Luminia Pinot Grigio 2013
Orvietto Classico 2013

SLOW-ROASTED SQUAB

chestnuts, celeriac confit, muscat grape
Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2010
Brunello di Montalcino Greppone Mazzi 2006

BRAISED LAMB OSSO BUCO

fennel, butternut squash, brussels sprouts
Modus Toscana IGT 2010
Romitorio di Santidame Toscana IGT 2006

ANJOY PEAR ‘MILLE-FEUILLE’

poached, maple diplomat crème, smoked cinnamon ice cream
Ruffino Vin Santo Serelle 2009

To purchase your tickets, please contact us at 604-642-2900 or email info@boulevardvancouver.ca.

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.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar’s Locally Sourced Menu

Chef Chen’s culinary philosophy: use the best locally sourced, farm fresh ingredients.

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LOCAL SUPPLIERS
Boulevard’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, Okanagan wine country and nearby farms, fisheries and ranches aligns with one of Executive Chef Alex Chen’s key culinary principles: to use the best locally sourced, farm fresh ingredients. To that end, Boulevard is proud to source a number of its products from the following local suppliers, among others.

Barnston Island Herbs:
A 100% local family business with farms located in Surrey, Barnston Island Herbs has sustainably grown and supplied the best herbs, greens and specialty product to B.C.’s top restaurants and hotels since 1979.

North Arm Farm:
A 60-acre, family run and working organic farm in Pemberton, North Arm Farm produces a full selection of seasonal vegetable as well as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and sources a wide range of fruit from the Okanagan. North Arm practices organic methodology and grows its crops following standards adopted by the Pacific Agriculture Certification Society, which is a member of the Certified Organic Association of B.C.

Cherry Lane Farm:
A family owned and operated farm that has been located in Richmond since the early 1950s, Cherry Lane grows some of the largest varieties of tree fruit such as Italian plums, heritage apples and cherries, white and red wine grapes, black mulberries and Bosc and Anjou pears, as well as an array of vegetable crops all produced without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified seeds.

Pacific Provider Salmon:
Owned and operated by a North Vancouver fishing family, the Pacific Provider is a 43-foot fishing boat that travels through the waters around the Queen Charlotte Islands in search of the best catch and using only the most sustainable fishing methods. Pacific Provider is Ocean Wise certified and trolls with barbless hooks and line designed specifically for Coho salmon, eliminating the risk of endangering other fish, birds and marine mammals and of damaging the ocean floor. 

Sawmill Bay Shellfish Company:
An Ocean Wise certified, family-run farm located in the pristine, glacier-fed waters off Read Island, B.C., Sawmill Bay produces oysters, clams, mussels and scallops that are delivered within 24 hours of harvesting. Sawmill Bay is also in a remote location away from human habitation, which helps provide a clean and pollution-free environment for its harvests.

Mikuni Wild Harvest:
Mikuni Wild Harvest, the exclusive supplier of Boulevard’s wasabi, provides an abundance of richly flavoured foods found exclusively in the wild. Since 2001, Mikuni has focused on developing a boutique line of sustainable wild foods for restaurants and gourmet retail outlets.

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WINE PROGRAM
Boulevard’s noteworthy and wide ‐ranging list of wines available by the glass and bottle reflects Wine Director Lisa Haley’s passion for showcasing the best natural, biodynamic, organic and sustainable labels produced in both British Columbia and abroad.

The Boulevard wine list also features a focus on Champagne and sparkling wine that perfectly complement the seafood-focused menu designed by Executive Chef Alex Chen. Much like Chen’s dishes, all of Haley’s hand-picked selections are unadulterated, true reflections of their provenance.

Boulevard boasts an extensive list of wines sourced both locally and internationally, and with three accredited sommeliers on the front-of-house management team (Haley, Restaurant Director Steve Edwards and Maître d’ Brian Hopkins),the knowledge and experience to help each guest get the very best out of every glass.

If you haven’t yet visited the 290-seat, European-styled bistro and contemporary bespoke style restaurant, make sure to put Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar on your Must-Eat-At list.

Holiday Heaven for all Wine lovers

Wine GrapesCanada’s wine-making history is relatively short. Beginning in the early 1800s, some of the early European settlers experimented with planting vinifera species from their home country, but these often succumbed to vine diseases in the heat and humidity of summers, and froze to death in the frigid winters. However, indigenous grapes could withstand these conditions. European varietals were still being tested, but labrusca and riparia grapes and their hybrids such as Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Baco Noir, Concord, Niagara, Duchess and Maréchal Foch made up the majority of the wines. Suffice to say, these were not the stuff of global acclaim.

In the early 1900s, Canada saw a sweeping temperance movement that enacted a Prohibition in most of the provinces from 1901 in Prince Edward Island, ending for most of the country in 1930 (Prince Edward Island finally relented in 1948). This had similar consequences and black-market equivocations as the American one.

It wasn’t until after the World Wars and the consumer shift from preferring sweet wines to drier styles that the Canadian wine industry stepped things up. In the 1960s, better technology in wine-growing and production allowed local wine-makers to work with better quality, cool-climate vinifera grapes. Riesling, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier could be planted and maintained for whites. Reds consist of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Merlot and Syrah.

VineyardThrough the latter part of the 20th century into the 21st, Canadian wines saw vast improvements in production and quality. Wine societies were formed in the provinces to support and promote the local wine industries.

Ontario Rieslings were the first to garner attention for their excellence. These are produced in every style from dry to sweet, including Botrytis (“noble rot”) dessert wines and Icewines from frozen late harvest grapes. The Vidal grape is also suited to late harvest wines and Icewine styles and has become a notable regional specialty.

Cabernet Franc has become the starring red grape throughout most of Canada, finding its own expressions in different regions. While it is only used as a blending grape in Bordeaux, as in the Loire, Cabernet Franc is capable of high quality solo work as a single varietal release. These range from medium-bodied fruity and herbal versions to styles with denser cassis and chocolate characteristics through extended oak ageing.

Gamay Noir is the specialty of Ontario. These range from young, fruity wines in the carbonic maceration style of Beaujolais Nouveaux to those with more extensive ageing and richer flavors. Bordeaux varietals and blends are also popular in Ontario and British Columbia.

From The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, there are a handful of wineries, such as LuLu Island, located within a half hour’s drive south near Richmond and New Westminster.pinot noir grapesThese boutique operations often source grapes from the Okanagan Valley and other growing regions, crushing and making whites, reds, and Icewines on site at the winery. Vancouver Island is home to more than two dozen vineyards, too. Popular grapes include pinot noir, Ortega, gewürztraminer, and several colder-climate grapes. Most Vancouver Island wineries are located on the Saanich Peninsula or in the Cowichan Valley. A unique way to embark on a wine-tasting experience across the Strait of Georgia is by taking a floatplane to Victoria.

Boasting nearly 82 per cent of the total vineyard acreage in British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is BC’s premier grape growing region.  An ever-changing panorama, the valley stretches over 250 kilometres, across distinct sub-regions, each with different soil and climate conditions suited to a growing range of varietals. With more than 150 B.C wineries located in the Okanagan Valley, The Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke Mountain Resort is an easy hour and a half drive to the vineyard. The valley itself is known for its picturesque wineries overlooking Okanagan Lake and for producing some of the best Icewines in the world plus a variety of other wines covering everything from sparkling to red, white, and dessert. From world-class operations to family-run boutique vineyards, Okanagan wineries are rich with character and consistently ranked among the world’s best at International competitions.