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2008 Desert Hills Gamay

February 24, 2010 1 comment

2008 Desert Hills GamayOne of my favourite wineries on the Black Sage Bench is Desert Hills.  I’m not sure why exactly I like it, but I do.  I try to stop in every time I am in the area.  One of my favourite wines is their Gamay.

I think I partly like that the winery is a small, family run operation.  I also like that they make consistently excellent wines.  And the family is incredibly friendly.  It’s easy to visit for a tasting and end up in a conversation.  The first time I was there, around four or five years ago, a gentleman came in to taste some wine (which he had never tasted before).  He was on a trip through the valley to pick out wine for his son’s wedding.  He ended up buying a number of cases of their Gamay on the spot.  I guess from that point on, I always paid close attention to the wines I was tasting, even if they were lesser known wines.

Now Desert Hills has developed quite a reputation for themselves and recently won the SILVER Indy Int’l , Bronze Ok Wine Festival & Int’l for their 2008 Gamay (click HERE for their notes).

In any case, I shared this bottle with my wife tonight.  My wife does not drink many reds at all, but this one she likes.  Overall, this is an excellent wine.  I love this wine because it doesn’t need to be paired with anything.  Even as Desert Hills states on their website, this is a great sipping wine.  I agree.

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2006 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Meritage

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

2006 Jackson Triggs MeritageI was in Osoyoos a few weeks ago visiting some family, and wanted to visit at least one of the wineries while I was there.  Given that it is February, most were closed.  So, I picked one of the very few wineries in the Oliver-Osoyoos area that I had not already been to: Jackson Triggs.  When you first drive up, the winery looks like a warehouse (the facility houses the Vincor offices and distribution center for western Canada).  However, once you get up the driveway, it is actually quite a nice facility.  The lady who served us was incredibly friendly and quite knowledgeable.

In the past, I have avoided the big wineries for the reason that I can always find their wines back in the lower mainland.  In other words, I usually focus on the small wineries and the wines that I won’t be able to find anywhere else.  But this trip was worth the effort.  I enjoyed every wine I tasted and bought two bottles, including the 2006 Jackson Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Meritage.

I opened the bottle this past Saturday and shared it with some friends.  As expected, I greatly enjoyed the wine.  It was not as strong as I expected, but a very smooth wine.  Overall, excellent.

2006 Nk’Mip Merlot

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

2006 Nk'Mip MerlotI was in Osoyoos for the weekend visiting some family and during our Saturday night dinner we all shared a bottle of 2006 Nk’Mip Merlot.  Until last year, I wasn’t very familiar with Nk’Mip wines, but I’ve gotten to taste quite a few of them this year, and have been pleasantly surprised.  Their winery is actually just down the street from my mother-in-law’s place, so it’s an easy stop-off when we’re pressed for time.  Their facility is actually quite incredible.  They have an executive 9-hole golf course, campground, Patio restaurant, resort & spa, and a cultural centre.  You can read all about it HERE.  If you’re in the area, it is definitely worth stopping by.  I fully intend to play a round of golf there this summer, if I can find the time.

The wine was quite good.  Generally, I prefer their reserve wines (Qwam Qwmt), but this one was good.  Quite a wet wine and not too sweet.  We had it with a pot roast, which it complemented quite well.  Enjoyable for sure.


Kobo Books and eReaders

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Kobo BooksOver the last year or so, I have been experimenting with eReaders and eBooks on my BlackBerry.  While at first it definitely took some getting used to, I feel quite comfortable reading on my device now.  I will admit that on a cloudy day at home, nothing is better than real book in your hands.  However, the convenience of having my book in my pocket all day is something else.  I can even read on my lunch break at work without having to carry a book around with me all day (I’m already carrying my phone so it’s no extra baggage).

Initially, I downloaded the BlackBerry app from eReader.com, primarily because it was the first eReader app I found for BlackBerry.  I definitely liked their app and their online selection was great.  No complaints whatsoever.  My only drawback is that eReader.com is owned and operated by Barnes & Noble.  Barnes & Noble is a great company, but they’re not Canadian.  Another eReader option that everyone is familiar with is Kindle (Amazon’s handheld device).  Now, Amazon has definitely brought eBooks into the mainstream, so we can thank them for that.  And they have released an app for the iPhone so Apple lovers can partake in the fun.  However, Amazon has not released an app for BlackBerry, or any other device for that matter, yet.  And also, not Canadian.

But just this past November (2009), without much fanfare, Kobo Books was launched, backed by Indigo Books & Music.  Now, I have always been a fan of Chapters and Indigo.  Especially because they are a Canadian company in a time when US companies seem to be swallowing up every successful Canadian company.  That, and who can complain about having a fresh Starbucks with you while you peruse the store.  And when purchasing online, I’m always slightly more comfortable when I know it’s with a reputable Canadian company.

Kobo has a good, and always expanding, collection of eBooks available online.  And according to their website, part of their mission is “assembling the world’s best catalogue of eBooks, no matter which device [their] customers use.”  Fantastic!  Additionally, their eBooks are also available without any digital rights management.  Meaning that you can download these books to any device you choose.  They provide apps for PC and Mac, BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile devices, Symbian (Nokia), and other devices.  And you can even download your purchased eBooks to a Kindle Reader or a Sony Reader if you happen to have spent your money on one already.

One of the other reasons I like Kobo, as opposed to eReader.com, is that they have a lot more Canadian-published eBooks available.  And for most books, you can preview the first chapter or two before you buy – just like being in the store.  They also have a decent selection of free classics that you can download to test things out before shelling out any cash.

I only found out about Kobo earlier this week, so I installed it on my PC and BlackBerry and have been trying it out for the lost couple of days.  So far, I love it.  Both the BlackBerry app and the PC application (Adobe Digital Editions) are free and work exactly as expected.  I will post an update once I’ve had a little bit longer to get accustomed and put some more mileage on it.

To download the BlackBerry app in App World, click HERE or you can find it on the Kobo website HERE.

Update Feb 18: Today Amazon released Kindle for BlackBerry; however, only to people who live in the US (i.e. still not available to Canadians).  So, I guess Amazon is almost there as well.  But, I am more than pleased with how Kobo is working, so Amazon is a bit too late on that one.

Update Jun 1: Still use it.  Still love it.  A lot of mobile apps have a tendency to fade out of usefulness.  Thought I’d keep the records straight here.

2007 Twisted Tree Pinot Noir

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

2007 Twisted Tree Pinot NoirI bought this bottle on my trip to Osoyoos last year.  I was sorting some of the bottles in my cellar yesterday (which is really a stack of boxes in my crawl space) and found this one.  I actually forgot I had it.  So, I set it out and opened it last night.  I remember that when I bought this wine, I was actually really looking forward to it.  Meaning: I had high expectations for this wine.  According to the Twisted Tree website, this is an “aromatically intense wine” with strawberry, cherry, and floral aromas, followed by sweet spices and coffee flavours.  They suggest that it pairs well with salmon and leaner meats like pork or chick.

The wine was slightly more tame than I expected; however, it was definitely smooth.  I blame myself for this one though; I should have paired it with a meal.  Right away, I had a craving for some salmon with this one.  Or perhaps even some pork medallions.  However, I do have another bottle sitting around that I will be sure to pair properly.