Dark Matter beer. 5/5 Hoyne Brewing Victoria BC

So I know, I know, the whino has a beer posting... leave it in the comments.  Hey, it's summertime and sometimes you have to mix things up, right? 


Of course, on a hot summers day I want a beer. The usually question of mine is 'what dark beer do you have on tap?'  The answer is always 'Guinness'. And while I actually do enjoy the occasional Guinness, I often find it heavy. Too heavy. 


My preference has long been a dark ale. Lots of flavour and yet light enough to have two.  


That's where 'Dark Matter' comes in.   Cool graphics and a lovely, lovely dark malty colour.  Very mild on hops. 


So  for those of you needing to mix things up or hangs from Guinness, check this one out  its often available on tap at the trendiest of pubs :)


It's available at most BC liquor stores and often at the private liquor stores in 650ml bottles for between $6-$8.  

Ones enough for me  :)


HOYNE brewing  

Victoria BC





You decide

Chateau la Besage Grand Cuvée Bergerac 2014 3/5

So I was in the mood for French wine and thought this would be a good place to start.  Luckily I can read French and had no problem deciphering the back label indicating it's a blend of Merlot and Cab. How can you go wrong with that? 


Well, the blend is rich and has that big cherry and vanilla flavours. Honestly it was a bit much for me and I would have much preferred to let this test for a few more years. 


This is would make a great paring with any red meat. Or even a big chocolate dessert.  


I know who who people who love these jammier wines... just not me  


It did win a silver medal in 2016 at the 'Concours des grand vins de France a Macon'  


You decide

Pixide Temperanillo 4/5

I was wandering thru the Vernon  BC Liquor store on a very busy August long weekend and stumbled in this. It actually had inventory :) 


Now before we start, temperanillo is one of my favourite varietals and it's from Ribera Del Duero. Smiley face. 


It retails for $18 plus taxes and was a lovely surprise. Just the right balance of flavour and lightness. No big cherry or jammy taste, just the nice smooth berries you want in a very drinkable wine.  



You decide

Que Guapo

Nice full fruit blend for $14.99!  The Argentinians have done it again.  

I was so pleasantly surprised by this wine. Tobacco and cherry with berries and spice. I was really enjoying it with cheese and sausage. 

60% Malbec, 20% Bonardo, 20% Syrah


You decide

Kettle Valley 2009 Merlot

Delicious. Surprising dark auburn color. Good price point about $22.  


Lovely. Would buy again.  Dry with some berry fruit. 



You decide

La Stella - Fortissimo YUM

Wow. What a lovely bottle. This was a lovely wine. I would buy again.  


Great fruit. Big fun wine.  



You decide

Recline Ridge - Just Being Frank 5/5

Wow. I love blends, I do, I do, but without a doubt this single varietal wins my heart every time.

The only thing I can compare it to is when you have a really good merlot. What I mean by that is the direct punchlines of a single varietal show up along with all those specific intricacies, delicacies and just plain flavour on the one hit wonder. 

Have you ever tasted a Pinot that was too light? A Merlot without enough body? Well here is your answer. Blaufrankish.  

I have poured this wine for friends, for myself and for people who didn't like wine and they all said... 'This is really good'. I concur. 

The wine maker is doing an outstanding job. She is fantastic. If you get a chance to ever drop by their lovely patio and tasting room, it's well worth your time.  

As a Shuswap resident, this is absolutely my favourite local wine. Plus, if you sign up for their mailing list, they occasionally have case sales. 





You decide

Recline Ridge - Just Being Frank 2013 5/5

I am usually such a fan of blends, particularly BC blends, but this single varietal wine is so so lovely... and very close to home.

The Blaufrankish is a northern varietal grape common to the Czech/Austrian/German region.  It's a lovely mix of blackberries, currant and dark cherries, without any jammy darkness.  Get a steak and a bottle of this excellent wine.  The longer you sip it and slowly drink it (if you can, the better it is).

Also, I recommend getting on the mailing list to find out when they have case sales!



You decide

Duckhorn Merlot 2011

Well, the Canadian duck does flu down to Napa and that's how the name came about. This is a good wine. But not a great wine, particularly at this price.  


I would buy it again, but it's not my first choice. I could find lots of other good wines at similar price points. 



You decide

Recline Ridge - Hawk's Haven 2013 4/5

I'm a fan of all things blended and this would be no different. In full disclosure, I performed here and told them I would review this... It's nice when it's actually a pleasure to do so.  Plus this fantastic couple (Luke & Elaina) from Alberta tipped me with this particular wine. I love making new friends and music at the same time. 

Im also reviewing their Just Being Frank... Check out my thoughts on that one too.  

But I digress, the Hawk's Haven is a lovely blend of  of the northern grape varietals. Zweigelt, Blaufrankish and Pinot Noir gives this a light fruity blend with some some dense cherry plum on the bottom. The tobacco notes really balance the plum on the bottom. The depth of the Blaufrankish and the Pinot blend bring a lot to the party. 

My friends who normally like very plummy Sonoma Cabs loved this one. That was one of the first wines that I 'test drove' at their home - they loved it. 

One of the big pluses is Graydon & Maureen. Their tasting room is ten minutes west of Salmon Arm on highway one towards Kamloops. Great patio. Lots of wines to taste. Great schwag. 

Lots of selection in the $20-$25 price range.  

You decide

Frank's Family - Zinfandel 2011 Reserve

Happy July 4th


Wow. Wow probably one of my favourite Napa Valley vineyards. Honestly. Top of the rock. Fruit, asparagus, beauty.  




buy this wine. It'll cost ya though! Get your celebration on. Oprah loved this winery for a reason. 


Import into Canada as you can. :) 



You decide

Van Westen - Vivre la Vie - 2012 100% Merlot

Happy Canada Day! Going local for this one :)


I'm a lover of all things Van Westen. Rob makes great wine.  

I've recently discovered that I love Merlot's. The simple, full flavoured, dryness and tannins.   There are berries, plums and greens with some depth that keeps it right on the mouth. 

I'm a big fan of their Voluptuous as well. 67% Merlot and  33% Cab Franc. So I thought I would have them both side by side. The Voluptuous is one of my first pours. I share this with friends and continuously get a wow... 

But when I want a glass of wine, and I don't want to share, I pull this one out.  

It's an amazing amount of delicious flavours wrapped up in a perfect delicate mix.  

Buy this one and don't share. :)

You decide

Van Westen - Voluptuous 2010

I have a particular fondness for all Van Westen wines. This 2010 along with the 2011 are both impeccable wines.  

 The volup brings a lot to the table. Fruit, body and fun. Lay this one down and everyone will be happy. It's a blend, and one of the best. 

You can find this in many fine private liquor stores. Buy a case if it's still in stock. He runs out every year.  

Rob and his team make great wines.   





Van Westen is Vantastic

Van Westen is Vantastic

You decide

Rhone by Roger Sabon - Côte du Rhone 2011 4.5/5

Distributed by Christopher Stewart out of Calgary


I have to say... This is yet another special occasion wine.  Our table enjoyed it at a lovely Kelowna restaurant. 

 It was recommended by the chef and while we enjoy BC wines, we were eating... French. 

Heres the down low: 

black cherry and raspberry with the pepper down the road or rather, the tip of the tongue.


The lovely & sweet words are overused, but oh so accurate. The light black pepper and raspberry is the group concensus. Delightful. 


The other table drinking the same wine (mostly because I poured and they had fancy shirts) thought it was extremely well balanced.  

Lighter than the Shiraz they were drinking and the comments were... House wine. Delicious, get nothing done, house wine. 


Duck medallions. Medium rare at the fixx

Duck medallions. Medium rare at the fixx

You decide

Jackson Triggs 2011 Reserve Shiraz. 1/5

I'm giving it a 1 here because it's red wine and was made into a pretty decent sangria. 


Bland, flavourless and cardboard are what comes to mind. It was tasted after a particularly good red, so we took a breather in case we had taste memory. Indeed no. Time passes and... It was so, nondescript.  


For $23, you can do so so much better. Avoid, unless of course you're into bland! 


Sorry about out the hand in the pic, we had discarded the bottle and had to pull it out of recycling to warn others...  

What not to buy

What not to buy

You decide

Desert Hills Mirage 2011 - Okanagan. BC 4.5/5 $36.90

Wow. Did this wine ever open up... 


The first sip is a deep dark earthy woody flavour. Yes, there are cherry, plum notes on top, but it's still got that spicy, light chocolate dry finish 

This would be great with red meat or game of any kind.  Let's just say I picked salmon for the bbq before I picked the wine... But we made it work :)

Make sure to decant or use and aerator with this. We sure did, then took our time to drink talk and play music at the same time... Let's just say some lovely duets ensued. 

Of course you would need to take your time with this wine at the near $40 price point as well... 


I'm part of the Desert Hills wine club and this was part of my quarterly wine club shipment: it is best drunk with someone very good looking.  :)


It's one of the traditional blends of five Bordeaux varietals. This is somewhat similar to Rob Van Westen's 'V'. 


The five Bordeaux varietals are: Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cab Sauvignon.  I'm a long time fan of the blends. I think it's the best of everything. 



You decide

La Linda - Temperanillo 3.5/5

Finca La Linda, an Argentinian Temperanillo from the Bodega Luigi Bosca. Familia Arizu. 


Oh how I love countries where the Español rules and not to mention that Linda was the name of my first step mom. Or rather the lovely, kind woman my dad spent a decade with, but never married, post my mom. 




I was walking around my local small town grocery store/liquor outlet and came upon this little gem.  

Normally I hang out in the two foot Spanish section as their offerings are more flavourful and budget friendly, but something made me turn the corner to Argentina.  

So I 'accidentally' drank with the bottle with a 'friend'... Before writing a review... And like an amazing first date that I swore I had imagined, I went back in for seconds. 


Dark cherry top. t t t t tobacco and spank me leather with some greenery, but yet a nice light finish. I also detect some berries on top during the initial sniff/drink.  A bit more cherry than my taste wants but.... I keep drinking it. 


Hurts so good? 


I'm not sharing this one so you'll have to let me know what you think. 



La Linda with the background treatment.  

La Linda with the background treatment.  

In case you need the barcode or import... Out of Edmonton. Pacific wine and spirits. 

In case you need the barcode or import... Out of Edmonton. Pacific wine and spirits. 

You decide

Trivento Amado Sur Malbec 2013

value - 5/5

yummy 5/5

best pairing - steak and pizza 

Wow. First off, it's on sale until March 31st at BC Liquor stores for $13.99, normally $14.99 and I have to admit, it's lovely. Big and bold, lots of fruit and none of the pepper, ash Malbec jam that normally turns me off.  

Not only is it full, fun and fruity - it's also very reasonably priced. 

It's actually 70% Malbec, 20% Bonarda and 10% Syrah. 

I had to look up Bonarda as I'm not familiar with it. 

Bonarda is unique to Argentina and a fruity light varietal, no doubt adding lots of what I love to this wine along with the 10% Syrah kicker. 

I'm a firm believer that blends are the best or each varietal and make for great wines. 

If you can manage it, this would be a great wine to cellar for a few years. 

Check out this link for more info on Bonarda  

I suspect this this wine will disappear fast leave some for Wm! 




You decide

Mo Li'

You decide