Everything Wine And More

Ruth Blakely
July 30, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Two fingers of Whisky please

Whisky, Whiskey, Rye, Bourbon, whatever your preference brown liquor is experiencing a renaissance thanks partly to a renewed interest in classic cocktails and the Millennial generation’s interest in quality craft products. 

When people think of Canadian whisky, Rye is what often comes to mind – Canadian Club for example, is known around the world.  Rye is a signature flavour even though most Canadian whisky also contains large amounts of corn or other ingredients. Distillers across the country are experimenting with a variety of grains to produce their own signature style whether it is the well-known Wayne Gretzky whiskies or the new to the market delicious offerings from the likes of Two Brewers. Named Micro Distillery of the year, what started as a brewery in the Yukon became a distillery in 2009 and their quality malted whisky has now made its way to Alberta 

When you say whisky a lot of people think specifically of Scotch.  Scotch – not surprisingly- comes from Scotland.  It can be blended – like Johnnie Walker or single malt such as Bowmore and prices can vary wildly for either option.  Scotch can be very ‘peaty’ meaning it carries heady aromas of the peat smoke over which the grain is dried. Certain producers, such as Laphroaig are noted for a campfire nose.   Blended Scotch has made a huge comeback with premium brands such as Compass Box offering complex well-made whisky.

Whiskey is what the brown nectar is called in Ireland.  It is triple distilled and peat isn’t part of the recipe for most producers.  Jameson’s owns a massive share of the market thanks to decades of producing a quality product at a reasonable price but top offerings from distillers such as Redbreast with notes of nuts and ginger have added interest to the category.

The biggest growth in the category comes in Bourbon.  This corn based, barrel aged spirit originates in Kentucky and while legally it can be called Bourbon when made elsewhere, more than 90% of Bourbon comes from the Blue Grass State.  Makers Mark is ubiquitous, but the market has seen an explosion of quality offerings.  Michters, Basil Hayden and other small batch offerings may command a higher price tag to offset the cost of production, but it is a worthy investment for your bar.  Think caramel and vanilla! Whether you are drinking it straight, on the rocks or in a whisky sour, there is Bourbon on the shelf that will hit the right notes for you at the right price!

Time Posted: Jul 30, 2019 at 11:19 AM
Ruth Blakely
June 24, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Canadian Wine – Big Business and Big Wine!

The Canadian Wine industry estimates it’s worth 9 billion dollars a year.  A person could wonder why it seems slow to gain respect in some quarters.

When people from outside of Canada think of Canadian wine they will invariably think of Ice Wine.  That’s fair; we make some of the best ice wine in the world.  Canadian Ice Wine wins gold medals at international competitions on a regular basis.  It’s rich, sweet and delicious.

The Canadian wine scene though has SO much more to offer.

Gorgeous fresh sparkling wine comes from Nova Scotia – Benjamin Bridge has helped to put the area on the map.  

Ontario has three distinct wine regions – Niagara, which most Canadians are aware of, Prince Edward County which is producing some lovely wine and Lake Erie North Shore.  

Here at Everything Wine we are proud of our selection from our neighbours in British Columbia.  From fresh and fun Pinot Grigio to deep dark and delicious Rhone or Bordeaux style reds; the wines produced are as diverse as the province from which they hail.  

Even within the Okanagan Valley the wines reflect their region.  Crisp whites often hail from north of Kelowna.  Whether it’s a well-known established winery such as Gray Monk or one of the ‘newer’ producers like Ex Nihilo, the wines are a reflection of their beautiful surroundings.
Just south of Kelowna the big guns of Quail’s Gate and Mission Hill have spent years earning their reputations. Smaller wineries dot the entire wine route.

On the east side of the lake,  Naramata is a hot spot for visitors and for terrific wines thanks to good soil, great exposures and a microclimate that has allowed Nichol Vineyards, Bella Wines and many others to produce surprising wines from the region.

As Highway 97 winds further south past Okanagan Falls to Oliver and Osoyoos, hot summer days allow the grapes to ripen fully.  There you’ll find big bold wines from places such as Burrowing Owl, Nk’Mip and Osoyoos Larose

The Similkameen (just west of the Okanagan) is getting a lot well deserved attention and even Vancouver Island is getting into the act with wines from the Cowichan Valley.

Canadian wine is as diverse as the topography and climate from which it comes.  If you have not tried any in a while – give it a chance.  You’ll likely find a pleasant surprise in one of those bottles.


Time Posted: Jun 24, 2019 at 10:51 AM
Ruth Blakely
April 23, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Spring into Rose!

Spring into Rosé

Longer days, sunshine and warmer temperatures seem to just beg for fresh bright wines.  Whether it’s to sit and sip on the patio or to enjoy with seafood, turkey or ham, rosé is a perfect spring sipper.

Rosé – Rosado in Spain and Rosato in Italy - is defined by its colour, but that colour can vary widely from pale peach or coral to a rich deep pink.  
Virtually every wine region in the world has rosé and the aromas and flavours are as diverse as the grapes used to make to make them.

Red wine gets the vast majority of colour from contact with the skin (most red wine grapes have white flesh). Rosé doesn’t spend long in contact with the skin which limits the amount of tannin present in the wine and results in the paler colour. Longer time on the grape skins results in darker wine.  

Some wines are actually a blend of red and white grapes as is the case in rosé Champagne which can be composed of Chardonnay which is a white grape and Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier which are red.   

The saignée, or “bleeding,” method produces not just a rosé but a red wine as well. In this process, a winemaker will make a red wine according to standard methods but will, early in the process, remove or “bleed” some of the juice from the tank leaving a more concentrated red wine behind. The product that has been removed is sold as rosé.  This practice is less common than the other production methods.

In decades past, rosé in North America was thought of as a gateway to wine.  There are still plenty of sweeter, easy drinking pink wines on the market such as ‘White Zinfandel’ or Rosato Moscato, but they’ve given up a lot of the pink market share to wines made in a more traditional crisp fresh style.

Southern France is the heartland of rosé with full bodied wines from Tavel to the classic pink wines from Provence. The primary grape in these classics is Grenache – the strawberry and citrus aromas wake up your palate and are a lovely accompaniment for food. Tavel is rosé for red wine lovers, carrying a bit spice along with the berry fruit.

Rosé is often a great value with stellar bottles under $30 and many quality offerings near or below the $20 mark


Time Posted: Apr 23, 2019 at 9:55 AM
Ruth Blakely
March 13, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Tuscany: Beyond Sangiovese

Many of us grew up buying a cheap bottle of Chianti that came in a basket and college kids turned into a candle holder.  As the decades passed fantastic wines from the Chianti region made their way into the Alberta market.  The wines made primarily from the Sangiovese grapes remain some of the best food wines in the world.  

In the mid to late 20th century, some maverick wine makers scoffed at the strict Italian wine rules and began making premier wine with grapes that most people associated with France.  Fantastic wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot started to garner rave reviews and loyal fans.  Wine critic Robert Parker is often credited with coining the term ‘Super Tuscan’ to describe these special wines.

The Italian DOC and DOCG rules meant some of Italian wines commanding the highest prices had to be called Vino da Tavola – or ‘table wine’.  The rules changed in 1992 when the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) classification was created to accommodate them.  Now some of the premier DOCs include Super Tuscans.

Wines such as Sassicaia, Masseto, Ornellaia and Solaia come with big price, but deliver consistently spectacular wine.  They age incredibly well and are often a trophy holding pride of place in a fine wine cellar.

There’s good news for the rest of us though.  You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to enjoy these wonderful wines.  Antinori’s Tignanello is an opulent Tuscan superstar at less than half the price of the others - blending the traditional Sangiovese cherry aromas with deeper darker fruit from the Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Castel’In Villa’s Santacroce is another massive Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Sangiovese that delivers fruit, structure complexity and depth. It’s not priced like most people’s everyday drinker but is less than the cost of a gas fill-up for a big SUV.

Even more budget friendly is the Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo which is both Sangiovese and Merlot resulting in a wine that’s bursting with flavour without completely blowing the budget.  

Sangiovese still accounts for more than half of the vines planted in Tuscany, but they are not the only game in town.

Viva Italia!

Time Posted: Mar 13, 2019 at 2:07 PM
Ruth Blakely
January 19, 2019 | Ruth Blakely

Wines of the Rhone Valley

Winter – the Perfect Time for Wines from the Rhone

The Rhone valley in Southern France is one of our favourite regions here at Everything Wine and More. The full bodied multi-layered wines pair perfectly with a winter stew or a nice roast.

The Rhone is divided into North and South.

The north is dominated by Syrah, the rich blackberry, clove and pepper finish shows exceptionally well in the premier wines of Cote-Rotie. Producers such as Guigal and Cuilleron (among many others) make wine that show both power and elegance. While some can be consumed young, many really shine after years in the bottle. If you are drinking your Cote-Rotie young it will improve with decanting and something meaty to pair. 

Also from the north comes the rich black pepper and smoked meat aromas from the stunning Cornas. The region itself is very small but it produces some of the ‘biggest’ wines in the Rhone. Cornas is known for grippy tannin and is another wine that is at its best after some time in the bottle.

Affordable ($40 and under)  tasty options from nearby Crozes-Hermitage are a great introduction to the region.

White wine lovers have much to celebrate in the northern Rhone as well as it’s the home to Condrieu, arguably the best expression of Viogner anywhere in the world. The tropical fruit aromas play well with a hint of citrus and some will find gingerbread and allspice. Keep these in mind for upcoming Easter dinner. 

In the hotter south Grenache is dominant. From the well-priced Cotes-du-Rhone to the powerful Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache is king of this sometimes underappreciated region. In Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Grenache is blended with Mouvedre to give it structure, Cinsault for bouquet and more than a dozen other grapes producing a bold, well-balanced wine. Look for Beaucastel at the top of the market, but there are dozens of other excellent producers in the region. Cotes-du-Rhone is a bargain hunter’s dream.

The whites in the south are most often Rousanne and Marsanne. Often blended together the fatty rich mouth-feel of the Marsanne is well balanced by the more acidic and elegant Rousanne. The wines are medium bodied and often exhibit apricot and mandarin notes.

The next time you think of French wine – think Rhone!

Time Posted: Jan 19, 2019 at 8:09 AM
Katrina Schlegl
March 31, 2018 | Katrina Schlegl

Ciders for the Summer!

My go to cider is usually Strongbow Original Dry.  It is always crisp, dry, and refreshing! I decided to try some new ciders and hopefully find a new summer drink.

Broken Ladder
Okanagan, British Columbia
4-pack for $15.49 (cans)

This premium craft cider is made from six different kinds of BC apple varieties. It has no added flavors, colours, water, or sugar. It is also not made from concentrate. This means it classifies as a “real” apple cider. You can immediately tell it is made 100% from apples because of how flavorful and bright it tastes. While considered a dry cider it does have a bit of natural sweetness making it the perfect summer drink. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a sweeter cider and wants to try something new.


Savanna Dry Cider
South Africa
4-pack for $12.99 (bottles)

This premium cider is able to perfectly balance the crisp apple flavors with a dry mouth feel. It doesn’t have that overwhelming sweetness or syrupy texture that ciders with added sugar have. Try with a lemon wedge to top it all off!

“The cider equation: Apples + fermentation + micro-filtering + chill-filtering = Savanna Dry” - Savanna Cider


Pommies Original Cider
4-pack for $17.49 (bottles)

Pommies Cider is made from 100% Ontario apples from the Pommie cidery in Caledon, Ontario. I found this was the lightest of all the ciders I have tried. This makes it very easy drinking and refreshing. It is also nice and bubbly without tasting overly carbonated.

While browsing the Pommies website I also discovered a great recipe to try this summer!

This Pommies Popsicle is sure to do the trick this summer.

355ml bottle of Pommies Cider

Mint Leaves

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Greek Yogurt

Strawberry Purée


Layer one

- Pour 20% Pommies Cider, 80% strawberry purée with freshly squeezed lemon (mixed) into mold

- Let sit for 30 minutes before starting next layer

* A tip, add a splash of honey to your layers for flavour

Layer Two

- Pour 20% Pommies Cider, 80% Greek yogurt and mint leaves (mixed) into a mold

- Let sit for 30 minutes before starting next layer

Layer Three

- 20% Pommies Cider, 80% freshly squeezed lemon

Once everything is poured into the mold, put mold in freezer and let sit for 3-5 hours. Once complete, enjoy an adult-friendly booze Popsicle!

Time Posted: Mar 31, 2018 at 12:47 PM
Katrina Schlegl
March 5, 2018 | Katrina Schlegl

Who Doesn't Love Sauvignon Blanc

Most people start drinking popular New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs such as Kim Crawford or Oyster Bay. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary,  try one of these recommendations instead!

Sea Breeze Sauvignon Blanc $17.99
Marlborough, New Zealand

This is a great inexpensive pick if you are wanting to try something new! This light Sauvignon Blanc has a balanced acidity and excellent flavour characteristics. It has herbaceous notes as well as fruity flavours such as passionfruit and gooseberry. Pairs perfectly with pasta and seafood.

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc $20.99Marlborough, New Zealand

If you are looking to try a great quality Sauvignon Blanc this is for you. Astrolabe makes incredible wines that express New Zealand's long, cool growing season. This particular wine is medium-bodied with a variety of citrus and fruit flavours, which creates a complex mouth feel. It has a gentle acidity and a minerally finish. Pair with chicken and a light salad.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc $27.99
Marlborough, New Zealand

Last but not least, we have my favorite Sauvignon Blanc. The 2016 vintage of Greywacke was awarded 91 points by Decanter and 93 points by Wine and Spirits. I was not disappointed when I tried this for the first time and would definitely spend the $27.99 all over again. It has surprising fruit flavours such as peaches and cantaloupe. You may also notice light floral notes or elderflower.



Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc $19.99
Casablanca Valley, Chile

New Zealand is known for its Sauvignon Blancs, but other countries have created notable Sauv Blancs as well. If you are feeling adventurous and want to try something quite different this is the wine for you. The first thing you might notice is the stronger jalapeno pepper notes on the nose. In the mouth, some of the jalapeno pepper notes will transfer over along with flavors of ginger and citrus zet.

Time Posted: Mar 5, 2018 at 11:58 AM
Locklin McDonald
February 13, 2018 | Locklin McDonald

Natural Wine: Nature as the Wine Maker.

The most excellent wine is one which has given pleasure by its own
natural qualities, nothing must be mixed with it which might obscure its
natural taste.”
(Lucius Junivs Columella, Roman agriculture writer. Born 4. A.D
                           Died 70 A.D.)

A growing interest in natural products is sweeping the world, from grains to leaf vegetables to fish and meats, less is better. The new kid on the block is “Natural Wine”. This blog will help you understand the process of making a true natural wine and offer specific ones to try and some food paring ideas.

The microbiological life of the vineyard is what enables both successful fermentation and the creation of the wine that is able to survive without technological crutch. Sustaining a healthy habitat in the vineyard for these microbes is fundamental for the “Natural Wine’ grower. The microbiological life follows the grapes into the winery, transforms the juice and even makes its way into the bottle. Natural wine is literally, living wine from living soil.

The concept of “Natural Wine is so new, that there is not as of yet a legal definition of what is or is not natural wine. Old world growers from France, Spain and Italy self-regulate charters of quality far stricter than regulations imposed by official organic or biodynamic certification bodies.France has the strictest self- imposed rules of all participating countries allowing no additives, even the yeast must be either air born or living on the grape skins. Some filtration is allowed, but not encourage. Simply put, Natural Wines use Mother Nature’s recipe with the guiding hand of a dedicated wine maker.

Try our newest Rose wine from Pierre- Olivier Bonhomme for only $22.99! His ‘KO’ 2015 Cab Franc / Gamay Rose from the Loire Valley is a Natural wine with light to medium bodied with notes of tobacco leaf, dark spice, white strawberries, dill and a hint of maritime saltiness. Pair with chilled salmon and goat cheese salad.


Time Posted: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:42 PM
Katrina Schlegl
May 26, 2017 | Katrina Schlegl

How white wine drinkers can transition into red wines!

Lots of people first get into drinking wine by starting with sweeter whites and then working their way into drier styles of whites. To transition into red wine a great place to start is with sweet reds, then move towards lighter bodied Pinot Noirs, and then finally to bigger richer red varietals. If you start with a full-bodied, dry Cabernet Sauvignon right away it may taste bitter, so start by developing your palate slowly. Here is a few great lighter red wines to try!

Casa Bella Vino Frizzante $14.99
Veneto, Italy
This is a sweet sparkling wine that is a great pick for any wine-drinker who enjoys Moscato. It has red rose aromas and tasting notes of wild berries. This wine is very easy to drink with an alcohol level of only 7%. 

Conviction Pinot Noir $14.99
BC VQA British Columbia
This is a perfect red to start off with because it is light bodied, fruit forward, with very soft tannins. It has a medium acidity that pairs great with food. Try with roast chicken or pepperoni pizza!

Fantini Farnese Sangiovese $13.49
Puglia, Italy
The Fantini Sangiovese is a medium bodied, dry red. I found this to be a fruity forward with tasting notes of black cherry and cranberries. Great on its own or try with pasta!

Time Posted: May 26, 2017 at 10:17 AM
Katrina Schlegl
May 24, 2017 | Katrina Schlegl

Inexpensive Rieslings to try this Summer!

Landlust Organic Riesling  $14.99
Mosel, Germany 
“It needs not much: a few friends, a lovely wine and a tree on which we can lean on..." 
This beautiful organic Riesling is perfect on a hot day! It is a wonderfully balanced wine that is not too dry or too sweet. It has delicious citrus flavours of citrus, peach and pear. These delicate flavour notes leave a nice aftertaste and will make you wanting another glass! Serve nice and chilled. Great on its own or try pairing with a fruity salad to compliment the fruity tasting notes. 

Primo Amore Riesling $13.99
Puglia, Italy 
"Soft & Sweet"
This Italian Riesling is perfect for someone who usually drinks Moscato and wants to try getting into other white wines! It still has a little bit of sweetness and is very fruit forward. It also has a lower alcohol content of 10.5% which makes this an easy wine to drink. If you are trying to find a sweeter Riesling or Moscato you can also look at the alcohol content to help you out! The lower the alcohol, the sweeter the wine. Loads of tropical fruit notes and lemon custard on the nose with ripe pears on the palate. Try pairing with poached pears and vanilla ice cream.

Devil’s Rock Riesling $13.99
Pfalz, Germany 
“Crisp and Refreshing”  
I have chosen this off-dry Riesling for my third pick because I was very surprised at the quality of this wine for the price. It has notes of citrus and lemon making it crisp and refreshing. Pair this with a light tomato salad to compliment the acidity of this wine! 




Time Posted: May 24, 2017 at 2:01 PM
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