deVine Thoughts

March 21, 2017

The Final Single-Blind Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 11:04 pm

final_blind_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

In this our final Single Blind FaceOff red wine event in the series, we are going to test your palates one last time in a tasting combining all three grapes previously showcased in this series: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, two of each plus a final double blind bottling (completely un-named on the menu) that hopefully you can identify from what you’ve learnt throughout this series – it is the Are You Well Red test.

A single-blind tasting is where you know the identity of all the wines in the tasting, but you don’t know which of these wines are in front of you – the point is to see if you can correctly guess which wine is in your glass. Blind tastings can be serious if you’re going to test for a Sommelier test, but here we’re very light-hearted and more fun focused rather than competitive.

At the end of the evening, we’ll vote for the ‘best of tasting’ to decide on the winner of our FaceOff. Test your blind wine tasting skills in this relaxed yet informative tasting. Only 30 spots available for this sit-down event.

More information about the wines we’ll be tasting, and to register for the event, click here….

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March 10, 2017

The Bitter Truth

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 9:37 pm

bitter_truths_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

A bitters is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanicals such that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Numerous longstanding brands of bitters were originally developed as patent medicines, but are now sold as digestifs and now as the finishing touches to a grand cocktail.

Some of the most popular bitters on the 1800s are still popular today, and were initially created with medicinal purposes in mind. Angostura bitters (now technically a supermarket product) are named after a Venezuelan town and were mixed together by as German physician to cure seasickness. Today’s nervous flyers occasionally find the same cocktails helpful to cure their anxieties, proving the adage of “a drink to calm one’s nerves” may occasionally have something to it after all. Due to the stronger, more intense flavour concentrations in addition to the high alcoholic proofs of most “original” bitters, many are used in small “dashes” or with droppers to flavour cocktails and thus are often called cocktail bitters.

In cocktails, bitters are best used for their ability to enhance a good mixed drink into a beautifully aromatic, balanced, and unforgettable one. One or two dashes of orange bitters, for instance, can blend seamlessly into a classically floral dry martini. With many varieties and hundreds of herbal, woody or floral ingredients, cocktail bitters can also provide a nearly unlimited number of flavouring possibilities above and beyond simple drink balancing to enhance the character of cocktails.

The Bitter Truth Bitters from Germany were specifically designed for recreating classic drinks made true to the original recipe or for experimentation with modern cocktail creations. Their bitters are all made in the traditional way using only the best quality natural ingredients. The Bitter Truth bitters have received multiple awards and will continue to innovate the bar world.

Here’s what we have from Bitter Truth at the moment (all in 200mL bottle format):

Bitter Truth Celery Bitters – $32.99
Bitter Truth Orange Bitters – $32.99

Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters – $32.99

Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters – $32.99

Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters – $32.99

Bitter Truth Creole Bitters – $32.99

Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters – $32.99

Do come in to deVine’s to check out our huge collection of bitters, including brands from Bittermens, Scrappy’s, Bittered Sling and Apothecary.

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March 6, 2017

Quinta do Portal Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 4:48 pm

at_portal_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

deVine welcomes Pedro Almeida Santos, Export Manager of Quinta do Portal for a special stand-up tasting and traversal of representative wines of this popular family-ran Douro producer on Thursday, April 6 @ 7pm – $35.

deVine has been a long time supporter of this winery (and they of us), who over the last decade has achieved deserved recognition for producing quality and varietally correct wines at an affordable price!

Vines have been grown in their harsh and beautiful land for hundreds of years although Portal has only been around since 1986. Before that, they were known as Quinta Casal de Celeiros. There’s some fascinating history as Celeiros was one of the very earliest Quintas to employ women to tread grapes in the lagares, it is also the only property in the entire Douro region that was not affected by Phylloxera in the turn of the century. Also, they sold off a lot of their grapes in the 1960-1980’s to Sandeman. There’s more stories to be had if you attend the tasting with Pedro.

We’ll be tasting through a vast range of Portal wines, both white and reds, and ending with one of the house’s great Vintage Ports. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Pictured – Annabelle and Dirk in the barrel room of Portal in the fall of 2015.

More information and to register for the tasting, click here….

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February 28, 2017

Have You Tried Bent Stick Yet?

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 3:34 pm

bent_stick_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

We love to support local, and the latest, newest nanobrewery in town is Bent Stick Brewing, formed by Scott Kendall, Kurtis Jensen, Patrick Gaudet and Ben Rix, all formerly of Alley Kat Brewing.

Their facility is in a small industrial space in the northeast of the city with not enough space to do a tasting room or retail space so their production is currently only 650mL bomber bottles.

All this would not have been possible three years ago, but with the relaxation of AGLC rules regarding minimum capacity, Bent Stick came to fruition. The advantage of being small is it allows for a constantly changing selction of beers available to the public. It allows the brewmasters to be flexible, with no mainstays, regularly putting out new beer and only circling around once in a while, thus there is a sense of urgency to try it as soon as it is released, knowing it won’t be around for a long time. Their beers will be bottle-conditioned (a small amount of yeast that provides additional fermentation and maturation whilst in the bottle, leading to a much deeper character and flavour, and a natural, soft carbonation, rather than the forced carbonation), a rarity in the beer world. Their thoughts are to release a new beer every month or so.

Graphic courtesy Bent Stick Brewing, used with permission. Pictured left to right:

Bent Stick Four Thirty P.M. Stout (Alberta, Canada) – $7.49

Bent Stick Swap the Hops Pale Ale (Alberta, Canada) – $7.49

Bent Stick Wakatu Wheat Ale (Alberta, Canada) – $7.49

Additional offerings available at deVines:

Bent Stick Hearty Farm Stock (Alberta, Canada) – $7.49

Bent Stick The Crusher ISA (Alberta, Canada) – $7.49

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February 20, 2017

21st Anniversary Arran Single Malt

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 4:29 pm

arran21_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

Bottled to mark the 21st Anniversary of the Arran Distillery, this limited release extra special edition is made up of a selection of ex-Sherry Hogsheads from the first three years of production at the Isle of Arran Distillery. Bottled at a 52.6% ABV and limited to 5,988 bottles, this sounds like an excellent way of celebrating one’s 21st birthday.

The nose entices with apricots, dried banana and dried mango with sweet red apples, orange skins and almonds. With air, there’s ginger, citus zest and marmalade followed by herbal notes and polished wood. The palate is grassy, some honey, poached pear and apple pie. A little white pepper gives way to gentle baking spices and a roasted nutty note.The finish is of mocha, spices (cinnamon) and some earthiness sit nicely alongside its rich oak. Refined and elegant with special packaging, this is very limited.

Isle of Arran 21st Anniversary Edition (Arran, Scotland) – $249.99

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A Classical Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 11:14 am

classical_pairings_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

Do you ever wonder if classical music changes our perception of wine? Hogwash you say, but try asking Okanagan winemaker George Hanson of Seven Stones Winery, who plays classical music in surround sound speakers while his wines are fermenting. Or that of Italian winemaker Giancarlo Cignozzi of Il Paradiso di Frassina in Montalcino, who serenades his Sangiovese grapes with the music of Mozart…I find I have classics on all the time when I entertain, so perhaps it is all subliminal?

We’re going to do something we haven’t done for many years, we’re calling this event “Classic”al Pairings – we’ll be tasting seven wines which we think match up with seven classical compositions authored by seven different classical music composers. What are the connections and tie-in’s between what you’re drinking, what you’re hearing and the composer? Well, you’ll have to attend to find out, but it will be a smorgasbord for your senses – it’s an evening out for your nose, mouth, brain and ears…Only 34 spots available for this sit-down event.

While we sample the wines, we’ll listen to short five minute pieces from the following composers: Beethoven, Mozart, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Faure and Bartok.. A must for all wine enthusiasts and classical music lovers out there!

More information and to register for the tasting, click here….

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Introducing the New Mimi Rosé

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 10:51 am

mimi_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

Whenever the weather warms up, we see sales of Rosé’s go up. Our latest new discovery is the lovely Les Vins Breban Mimi en Provence Grande Reserve Rosé – $24.99. Hailing from the exceptional 2015 vintage in France (and for that matter everywhere else in Europe), this pink is a bend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah with aromatic of red berries (raspberries) and white peach. Perfectly balanced with a crisp and long lasting dry minerally finish, this is archtypical of the famous Provence Rosé. Try pairing with salads, fish or poultry.

We especially like the packaging, with its unique glass cap enclosure – you can use the empty bottle as a water carafe after consuming. Double your pleasure, I like it!

2015 Les Vins Breban Mimi en Provence Grande Reserve Rose (Provence, France) – $24.99

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February 10, 2017

Pamper Your Loved One

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 2:11 pm

valentines_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

A lot of you will be celebrating Valentine’s Day that’s coming up fast. So, here are some wines that we “love” to recommend in all categories to make the day extra special for your loved one. Shop early for best selection, and if you have more specific needs, drop in the store and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Sparkling – a must to start off with some sparkling pink or Rose Champagne:

NV Domaine Rosier Cuvee Ma Maison Rose Cremant de Limoux (Languedoc-Roussillon, France) – $22.99

2011 Agusti Torello Mata Rosat Brut Reserva Trepat (Penedès, Spain) – $35.99

mimi_rose NV Chartogne-Taillet Brut Rosé (Champagne, France) – $67.99

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé (Champagne, France) – $129.99

NV Krug Rosé (Champagne, France) – $464.99

If you want a still pink…

2015 Les Vins Breban Mimi en Provence Grande Reserve Rose (Provence, France) – $24.99

2015 Pratello Chiaretto (Lombardy, Italy) – $32.99


2015 Domaine La Florane Fleur de Pampre (Rhone Valley, France) – $20.99

2013 Real Companhia Velha Quinta de Cidro Semillon (Douro, Portugal) – $29.99

2014 Emrich-Schonleber Fruhlingspatzchen Riesling Spatlese (Nahe, Germany) – $56.99

2014 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Cote Bouguerots (Chablis, France) – $139.99


2014 Hijos de Juan Gil Honoro Vera Organic Monastrell (Jumilla, Spain) – $19.99

2015 Comm. G. B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga (Piedmont, Italy) – $27.99

2005 Château Sainte-Luce Bellevue (Bordeaux – Premieres Cotes de Blaye, France) – $39.99

quintarelli 2014 Bodegas Colome Autentico Malbec (Calchaqui, Argentina) – $55.99

2012 J.L. Chave Saint-Joseph (Rhone Valley, France) – $94.99

2013 Foreman Cabernet Sauvignon (California – Napa Valley, United States) – $134.99

2000 Château Lafon-Rochet (Bordeaux – St. Estephe, France) – $169.99

2003 Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella (Veneto, Italy) – $499.99


NV Miguel Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro (Penedès, Spain) – $20.99

2014 Vietti Moscato d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy) – $31.99

2013 Mullineux Straw Wine (Swartland, South Africa) – $37.99

2005 Isole e Olena Vin Santo (Tuscany, Italy) – $69.99

2004 Château d’Yquem (Bordeaux – Sauternes, France) – $319.99

Port & Sherry (Post Dinner)

NV Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port (Douro, Portugal) – $28.99

2003 Quinta do Portal Vintage Port (Douro, Portugal) – $34.99

lovebuzz Gonzalez Byass Noé Pedro Ximénez 30 Year Old Sherry (Jerez, Spain) – $42.99

2008 Fonseca Quinta do Panascal Vintage Port (Portugal) – $71.99

1967 Dalva Colheita (Douro, Portugal) – $249.99

And finally for the beer enthusiast:

Gigantic Brewing Lustrous Saison (Oregon, United States) – $12.49

Evil Twin Liquid Double Fudge (New York, United States) – $18.49

Anchorage Lovebuzz Saison (Alaska, United States) – $18.49

Happy Valentines everyone!

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February 6, 2017

d’Arenberg 2008 Museum Release Tasting

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 5:24 pm

darenberg_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

The d’Arenberg Winery is one of the most respected wineries in McLaren Vale in South Australia – established in 1912 by the teetotaller Joseph Osborn, who sold his stable of prize winning horses to purchase the property that now houses the winery, cellar door and d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant. In succession, three more generations since Joseph – Frank, Francis (universally known as d’Arry) and now Chester, who joined in 1984, have been in charge over the years.

Known or making distinctive, finesse driven wines using traditional methods in the vineyard and the winery, Chester is also renown for his wines’ unique and often humourous names. Also famous is their unique red stripe across their labels – there’s a story behind that and you can find out if you attend our upcoming d’Arenberg 2008 Museum Release tasting – $40, scheduled for Saturday, February 18 at 7pm. Chester has made a habit of holding some wines back until they reach prime drinking age, and then releasing them as Museum Releases – we’ve had both the 2006 and the current museum release vintage is now the 2008’s. We’ll be tasting seven wines from the excellent 2008 year – pictured left to right are five of the seven wines we’ll be tasting:

2008 d’Arenberg The Wild Pixie Museum Release (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $44.99

2008 d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Museum Release (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $32.99

2008 d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Museum Release Shiraz-Viognier (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $44.99

2008 d’Arenberg The Custodian Museum Release Grenache (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $32.99

2008 d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Museum Release Shiraz (McLaren Vale, Australia) – $89.99

Advanced registration is required, you can sign up here..

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Beers “Untapped”

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 5:23 pm

untapped_blog_smallAuthor: Dirk Chan

Craft Beers continue to be a hot trend. Join us on Thursday, February 23 at 7pm as we feature Jim Phelan of Untapped Craft Imports who will talk about and pour ten beers from his vast craft beer portfolio in this informal stand-up tasting. There’ll be a surprise to end the tasting as well.

More information and to register for the tasting, click here….

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