We had the privilege of being invited to a Winemakers dinner with legendary California Organic Winemaker Bob Blue, at Chewies Oyster Bar in Coal Harbour last night. Thanks to Gael Mackie of Escalade Wines for the invite! It was a great night of tasting wines from Bob’s Bonterra and 1000 Stories brands, while chatting with fellow oenophiles, and snacking on incredible Chewies tapas.
Bob Blue is a pioneer of organic winemaking, having produced his first vintage of Bonterra wine from organic Mendocino vineyards in 1990. The winery – which produces only organically and biodynamically farmed wines – is now the leading California organic winery, recently awarded “American Winery of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast. We tasted the 2016 Chardonnay ($19.99 BC Liquor Stores) and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon ($20.49 BC Liquor Stores), and thought both would be the perfect wines to serve over the holidays because of their crowd-pleasing drinkability. Case in point: two of us Winecouverites were at this wine tasting, and while one of us loves oaky chardonnays and the other despises them (how are we even friends?), we both loved this 70% French and American oak fermented Chardonnay (the remaining 30% is fermented in stainless steel). It is definitely the perfect balance to satisfy both of our palates, and tasted great to sip alone or to pair food with. Both are excellent hosting wines because of their versatility and great value price points.
We were excited to try the 1000 Stories Zinfandel, intrigued by the concept of bourbon barrel aged wine (will it taste like bourbon?). Bob Blue used bourbon barrels in the 1980’s, early in his winemaking career, as an alternative to costly French oak barrels, and his 1000 Stories wines are a tribute to those days. He says that the bourbon barrels give the wine dried herb notes and a subtle bourbon taste. We tasted the 2015 Zinfandel ($29.99 BC Liquor Stores) and thought it would be a great wine to buy for a special occasion (but without the hefty price tag!). (And no, we could not taste the bourbon!)