Very pale silver appearance with a light grapefruit-sage nose. Just off-dry, medium body, nice acidity, and a good balance of honey, stone fruit, and strong mineral notes. I think this is a step forward from the 2008, and remains one of my favourite BC Rieslings. 13.5% alcohol. $24.50 at Steamworks Wine Thief. See 8th Generation Vineyard.
I’ve enjoyed recent Red Rooster Rieslings (2008, 2009). This Pinot Blanc is a medium lemon-gold with a very light citrus-pineapple nose. Dry with strong acidity; apple and floral notes dominate, with a hint of lemon but a bit of a dull finish. A nice enough drink, but not of the quality of their Rieslings. 12% alcohol. $15.70 at Crosstown. See Red Rooster Winery.
This blend is 66% Pinot Blanc and 34% Chardonnay—see the winemaker’s notes (PDF file). Light lemon-silver appearance; straightforward apple-citrus nose with a hint of the Okanagan sage. Dry, with a nice light and well-balanced palate dominated by citrus and pineapple, and a nice finish of ripe fruit—as the winemaker suggests, a quality of pear. This is very nice; strikes me as a great summer wine in particular—perhaps it’s just the summer weather today in Vancouver. 13.5% alcohol. See Blasted Church Vineyards.
Clear gold with a light mineral-honey nose. Medium body, medium-sweet with strong apricot and slightly muted acidity. Nice sweet lingering finish. Not complex, but very well balanced. This is the kind of Riesling I really enjoy. Recommended. 8.5% alcohol; $29.90 at Marquis Wine Cellars. See Selbach-Oster.
Clear, light lemon-gold with a very nice floral-spice nose. Light citrus-lychee with good acidity that drops off to a lingering finish. A nice drink; I’ve enjoyed the Washington State wines I’ve tried recently. 12.5% alcohol. $24.90 at Marquis Wine Cellars. See Montinore Estate—biodynamically farmed.
When I moved into the Gastown area in February, I was really happy to discover JJ Bean in the Woodwards building. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’m a vegan, and they had two kinds of vegan muffins. It’s often slim pickings in this respect in Vancouver, so I made a habit of stopping by on my way to work. Probably not the best habit, because the cost starts to add up.
Although I appeared almost every morning for a couple of months, there never seemed to be a glimmer of recognition from the staff. They were not unpleasant, but not really enthusiastic, either. One day in April I was looking through my receipts when I got home, and discovered that I’d been charged $4.10 rather than the usual $2.25, so the next morning I took my receipt in and pointed this out. I expected a quick fix, but instead the fellow, one of those whom I think had been there pretty much every morning, started arguing with me about it. I wasn’t belligerent, but just pointed out that I’d been overcharged and had only bought a muffin, even though my receipt just showed the total amount. At a certain point, he appeared to get frustrated or lose interest, and walked away. I was surprised that I’d caused such controversy over $1.85, particularly as I thought someone might have recalled that I had been coming in like clockwork on weekdays, and sometimes on weekends. Ultimately I was given another muffin, and told that in future I should keep an itemized receipt. I know that cities can be anonymous places, but I’m certainly not going to go to the effort to ask for, and keep, a book of itemized receipts from a coffee shop just in case I’m overcharged for a two dollar item.
This experience tipped the scales: getting a snack should be enjoyable, of course; but I also realized that I could just as easily make myself something for breakfast. Maybe I’ll learn to make muffins. I haven’t been back to JJ Bean.
I liked their 2008, so was eager to see how this has developed. Light clear silver-gold again sporting a grapefruit nose but with perhaps less sweetness. Medium body off-dry with nice acidity balancing honey, citrus, and a hint of sage. Medium body, well balanced—very enjoyable, and I think a step forward from the previous vintage. 14% alcohol (up from 13%); $19.20 at Crosstown. See Red Rooster Winery.
Medium-light gold, nice honey-mineral nose. Medium body with strong acidity; off-dry with grapefruit and honey notes. A straightforward Riesling, not outstanding but another in the German tradition, which I’d like to see more of from BC. I’ll be interested to see how they develop in future years. (However, I have to assign a few demerit points for the inexcusable grammatical gaffes on their label: “Enjoy with asian [sic] cuisine, seafood, or on it’s [sic] own.”) 13.5% alcohol. $20 at Taylorwood Wines. See Intrigue Wines.