Tag Archives: Vancouver

A wine club event with Yelp Team Canada

23 Oct

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write up a new post. The business of wine gets particularly busy at this time of year for a lot of us. On top of my fantastic regular job I also had to prep for a couple of wine clubs this month. Pair that with it prepping for my favourite celebration of the year, Halloween, and I’ve had my hands full!

I was so excited when Crystal Henrickson, the Marketing Director for Yelp Canada, asked me if I’d put together a wine pairing event for all the Yelp Canada Community Managers. The event was held at Rachel Sawatzky’s Cocoa Nymph. La Taqueria was coming to0 so I was pairing with tacos and chocolate.

My budget was tight but I wanted to make it impressive so I picked wines that I knew would deliver super quality for the price point.

I’ve always been a fan of the Pares Balta Cava Brut and had served it at my own wedding years ago. For $20 at the BCLDB this organic bubble from Spain is always a crowd favourite and it feels good to support such a lovely family whose history at the winery dates back to 1790. I decided to use this as a reception wine to help stimulate appetites. It was a hit and the CM from Toronto told me she’d also used it at her wedding and had a case of it at home.

Deciding what to pair with tacos was a challenge, especially as I didn’t have the luxury of trying the foods prior to choosing. I admit to usually going with beer when it comes to Mexican food and off-dry Rieslings with spicy Asian food. I really wanted to pour a red wine though so knew it had to be something juicy, light on tannins with enough flavour to stand up to some bold taco ingredients. As the chef from La Taqueria demonstrated how to make a good Mole sauce I got a bit nervous. I kept the group topped up with Cava and watched as the chef added various chili peppers. Holy Mole!!

Luckily there were four different flavours of tacos and although the group said the Matchbook 2009 Syrah went well with all of them. I especially liked it with the vegetarian taco but it did actually work well with all of them, even the Mole one. I know that this wine is one that would normally retail for more than its $18 price tag at the BCLDB as the winery is passing on a good deal to secure this listing. The packaging has an interesting story behind it which is always something I enjoy sharing with people.

After the delicious meal of tacos the group moved to the back of Cocoa Nymph for their chance to make scrumptious truffle chocolates. Rachel led them through the process and it was fun to watch their creativity flow. If you have a chance to get a group together making chocolates at Cocoa Nymph is a great way to have fun, learn something and take home a sweet box of your hand-created treats.

Once the chocolates were in the fridge to cool the group went back to the shop front where Rachel had picked out a lovely chocolate, her unique version of a Turtle, to pair with the Gonzalez Byass Nutty Solera Oloroso that I’d picked to finish off the evening. I wanted to do something fortified and decided that this would be a great opportunity to talk about Sherry as that’s often a topic a lot of people aren’t familiar with. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that this is only $18 at the BCLDB. It was a match made in heaven.

Lindsay Elliot from lindsaysdiet.com was on hand to take photos. Follow this link to her facebook page and check out the fun that we all had. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.378030615605660.87109.208089459266444&type=1

Cheers, Luisa


Wine Club – June 27, 2012 – Pinot Grigio and Malbec

28 Jun

We had a couple of last minute cancellations this month. Normally I would make people pay regardless as I’ve already bought all the wines by this point. I decided this time to pull two wines from the line-up. This group is my Wine Chix friends and we’ve been running this night monthly for 7 years. They’re the reason I decided to venture out and launch By the Glass Wine Club.

Out of 5 Pinot Grigio and 4 Malbec there was one PG that was a dud. It wasn’t corked (Stelvin) but it had a cheesy, wet dog aroma that stank and not in the good way. I don’t mind a hint of wet dog that I sometimes notice in Chablis but this was too much. It was as though my friend’s smelly dog Winston had just gone for a swim in Trout Lake. Needless to say, I’m taking it back and will share a fresh bottle with the group the next time we meet. I was happy that the four wines under cork were all good.

One of the challenges I enjoy while leading a wine club is encouraging people to step out of their box of what they like and don’t like. Pinot Grigio is a pretty safe bet but even with the BC 2011 choice some of the group didn’t go for its tartness. I was getting a bit of cranberry but it certainly wasn’t off-putting. One of the Malbecs had a savoury aroma that made me pull out a jar of Marmite for them all to smell. I love Marmite but it ain’t for everyone. Simply opening up the discussion on the merits of certain aromas and flavours helps people understand more about complexity in wine.

I had three wines in the line-up that I work with at my day job. One was the faulty bottle, which is good as I can keep an ear open to make sure I don’t hear more of this situation. I was pretty happy to hear the comments around the table as the club discussed the others. Granted the Malbec was the most expensive so it had quite an advantage there. The Pinot Grigio was mid-priced though and showed very well. Actually the two Italian PGs were the crowd favourites and one was only $15 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

We always taste through and discuss the wines first. Then we pull out the various food dishes that we’ve brought and enjoy revisiting the wines with food pairings. As we were chatting I brought up my new venture and most of them had seen my posts on social media. They were all so supportive and excited for me. It definitely gave me a boost of confidence. Three of them are going to propose it to their employers to consider for team activities. I’d never really considered corporate groups for my wine club but I think it would actually be a really great avenue to pursue. Gotta admit – I’m getting pretty excited for the possibility of this project being successful. In the meantime I’ll work harder to learn as much as I can about wine and regions and the fascinating people that get the juice out of a grape and into a bottle!

If you’re interested in learning more about By the Glass Wine Club send me an email at bytheglasswineclub@gmail.com or tweet to me @bytheglassclub


Theme July/August/September

22 Jun

I’ve picked Pinot Grigio (Gris) and Malbec for this quarter.

For summer patio sipping Pinot Grigio is a solid choice and you can find some good deals for under $20. Malbec is one of those varietals that goes well with BBQ season. There’s a wide range of prices to choose from. We’ll be sure to have a more expensive gem to see how it compares to the everyday priced Malbecs.

If you have a favourite that you’d like included just let me know, or maybe there’s one you’ve always wanted to try. This is a great chance to be adventurous without breaking the bank!

Contact me at bytheglasswineclub@gmail.com for more information.