Theme nights return as we take a bite out of Portugal!

So, for those of you who haven’t yet seen my latest vlog in the “Cheap and Cheerful” series, you can check it out here. It features three wines from Portugal that served as our ‘welcome wines’ at the beginning of our evening. It wasn’t really a warm welcome as everyone agreed they were, at best, underwhelming.

Now, to the main event of the evening! I was unable to find any really good advice online about what to pair with these traditional Portuguese dishes, so I just tried to do the best I could. All the links are clickable if you want to see the entire recipe.

Course 1

Sopa de Grão de Bico

Basically a chickpea soup, and I don’t like chickpeas, but I enjoyed this quite a bit. Lots of cilantro flavor. Everyone really enjoyed this dish, and the wine pairing was OK. The wine was actually better without the food.

Course 2

Shrimp Mozambique with Arroz de Tomate

This was good but the shrimp could have used more seasoning. The directions on the recipe seemed to be indicating to include way more spice than logically possible, but I think it was right and I should have followed it 100%. Still, it was enjoyable and the tomato rice was excellent. The wine pairing was good, but the first wine actually paired better with this dish.

Course 3

Peri Peri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes

A couple of my guests are not OK with spice of any kind, so rather than make the sauce included in this recipe, I used store-bought Nando’s “garlic and herb” Peri Peri sauce. It was good, but it still added a bit of a kick, especially to the potatoes. Wine pairing didn’t work at all.

Course 4

Molha de Carne

This was beef stew with potatoes and it was not any good at all. It tasted of allspice and cinnamon, which are prominent in the dish. I guess it’s a very traditional Portuguese stew, but it’s not to our taste. The wine pairing was irrelevant as hardly anyone ate the stew, but it featured two long-aged wines that are still available at Liberty Wines (or were, recently) on Granville Island, for those of you in the Lower Mainland.

Course 5

Portuguese Prego Rolls

I probably wouldn’t make this again because it’s basically just a steak sandwich and I can make a better one, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Just different. And it paired well with the wine of the night!



This was my favorite thing of the night. Basically just crushed up Digestive cookies and cream, but it was really fabulous. I’d make this again any day.

We had a Port to pair with it but by this point, everyone was wined-out so it stayed in the wine fridge for another time.

A great night of wine, and the food was hit-or-miss, but it’s always nice to experience another culture. Hopefully many more of these theme nights to come!

That’s it for today! Next up, I finally finish up my Okanagan report (Little Engine coming up), and I have lots more to report on. Stay tuned!

Okanagan trip continues at a winery we’ve missed, @lafrenzwinery!

Firstly, I hope all my fellow Canadians are having a wonderful Thanksgiving! I sure have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope you do as well.

During our recent Okanagan trip we stopped in at La Frenz, a winery we have always enjoyed but haven’t been to for a few years. Were the wines of the same quality as we remembered? Let’s find out!

As expected, not a bad wine in the bunch. This winery always comes through with quality and consistency!!

Next up! We head just up the road to one of our favorites, Little Engine!

Okanagan trip continues with our first ever visit @RocheWines!

Up early for an 11 AM appointment at Roche Wines! We get to taste in the barrel room, always a special experience. Our guide, Angie, was friendly and knowledgeable, and the wines were universally good! Let’s check them out!

Next up! I still need to post final reviews and scores from my recent rose vlog, and the Okanagan trip churns along at a winery we have loved in the past but have not visited in a few years, La Frenz!!

Last, but not least, you’ll notice something different at the bottom of this blog; an opportunity for you to contribute to the blog if you are so inclined. I got an Email the other day telling me that they had added a payment processor and I could include this widget in case anyone wants to make a donation to help offset some of the costs incurred in my blog and/or vlog. Totally optional of course, no pressure. If you are interested, it’s below. If not, I’ll see you next time!


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Great food, great friends, great wine. What else IS there??

Last weekend we attended a fabulous wine event at some friends’ house. Everyone brought a bottle of wine (or several bottles in some cases) and we all got to taste some excellent wine. Included was an Amarone that was born in the last decade of great music: The 80’s!!

Also included is a BC wine from a grape that I had never heard of until this evening. I had to Google it.

That’s a pretty great lineup!!

To start, I brought a couple bottles of a wine that I have tried several times and have never been impressed with. I left the other bottle behind for anyone who liked it more than I did. It’s the first and only vintage of this wine, and for good reason, IMO.

So now we come to the bizarre portion of the evening. My old high school friend, who owns Blasted Church winery, brought a bunch of his wares including almost every one of their lesser-known wines. This one, in particular, sent me to Google to look up the grape:

<<A family of closely related varieties found Northern Italy and neighboring Slovenia with genetic links to the grapes of Valpolicella. Wines range in body and style but usually feature deep color and elevated acidity.>>

So, OK, let’s see what it’s like!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming of grapes I have heard of 🙂

Next up, my choice for wine of the night. It so happens to be one of the wines I brought. We picked this up at auction during the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2021; there was no actual festival that year, of course, but they still held the auction and I paid $800 for a lot of 6 well-aged wines from Chile. Four of them were just terrific, one was corked, and this was the last of the lot. This lot was a real treat, worth every penny.

And the last table wine of the night, an Australian beauty that our host picked up at a recent auction. It’s usually Grenache-heavy but this particular vintage had more Shiraz.

To finish up a beautiful evening, a little dessert wine that I brought along!

What a fabulous night of great food, friends, and wine. Nights like this are tough to beat!

Next up! Still have to finish off last month’s Okanagan trip, and also have to give the scores for the rosés from my latest vlog. Stay tuned!!

Next stop on our Okanagan trip features one of the best Pinot Noirs you will EVER have, @FoxtrotVineyard !

As we wind down our first day, we pay our first visit to a new tasting area at Foxtrot Vineyards. It’s a hot one today, and we are greeted by a lovely patio area and an impressive wind, which helps to cool us down without causing any real issues (but there had been issues earlier in the day with the wind blowing down their umbrellas!)

Let’s get right to the delicious wine!

As I said in my video (click here to watch if you have missed it), that’s what Pinot Noir is supposed to taste like, folks!

To the hotel for the evening, and we are starting tomorrow with a morning tasting, our first, at Roche Wines! Stay tuned!

The second stop on our Okanagan tour is our inaugural visit to @VanWestenWine!

Our first appointment of the day takes us to an area we’ve never visited before, and after some confusion driving (seriously, a sign or two wouldn’t hurt??) we arrive at our destination: Van Westen Vineyards! We are the only ones in the tasting room (although another group would join us halfway through our tasting) and our guide is friendly and knowledgeable. OK, also so talkative that it was impossible to include this tasting in my vlog, but this will just have to do!

Next up! Another ‘first’ for us, as we head up the hill to a newly-opened tasting room at Foxtrot Vineyards! Stay tuned!

Okanagan Trip report begins at a winery we haven’t visited in a few years, @8th_Generation !

Last weekend we had a little whirlwind trip to the Okanagan. Just two nights, but we fit some nice tastings into those two days! We started with an impromptu stop at 8th Generation. For a full look at the tasting, check out my YouTube channel, as the video is uploading as we speak. I’ll have full reviews of the wines here as well.

That’s it for today! Check out the video on my YouTube channel, and stay tuned for the rest of the reviews. Next up: our first visit to Van Westen!

2021 Roses, Part III! Full reviews and scores from all the wines enjoyed in my last vlog!

If you missed my last YouTube video (check it out here), I tasted through a bunch more 2021 roses; several from France, and a bunch from BC. Some were really good, some were not. Below are the full reviews and scores.

And I’ll finish this off with two that should NEVER have been released to the public, IMO.

That’s it for today! Hope you go out and try one of these that you might not be familiar with (uh, the good ones, obviously!).

Next up! Lots more good stuff we’ve been drinking recently to report on, and the fourth and final installment of my 2021 roses vlog and blog will come in the not-too-distant-future. Stay tuned!

My series “Various Varietals” Volume 4 is up, and here are the reviews! You may have heard of the grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Of course you’ve heard of it, it’s the most widely planted grape in the world. Last week, I tasted through NINE different examples from all over the world, and you can check out the video here, if you have not already. Here are the scores, including a real doozy at the end!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is famille-torres-2015-mas-la-plana.png

That was quite a tasting! Not a bad wine in the bunch, and that Quilceda Creek is one I am going to remember for a lonnnnnnnnng time!

Up next: Episode three of my annual 2021 Rose reviews! Stay tuned!

Random update of some great stuff AND I AM FINALLY COMPLETELY CAUGHT UP!!!

Well, who knew there would be such an advantage to being up at 5 AM on a Sunday? Time to hop into a nice, long soak in the tub and bring along my notes and my computer and finally get caught up on everything I had not yet got around to reviewing. Here they are!

Let’s start here, in BC, with some real treasures and a couple that perhaps didn’t live up to expectations.

And here’s a very tasty, very reasonably priced gem from Bordeaux!

Now let’s hop down the coast to California, for some really great stuff, as usual!

And, to finish up today’s big update, a somewhat rare varietal from Washington State!

That’s it for today! Finally all my notes have been exhausted, and I can keep up with reviews of wines as we drink ’em!

Up next: I have two vlogs underway; the third installment of my 2021 rosé reviews, and Episode 4 of my “Various Varietals” series where I talk about, and taste a bunch of, a varietal you might have heard of: Cabernet Sauvignon.

As for the blog, those reviews will show up here as well after the vlogs are posted, and of course, everything else we drink this summer that doesn’t necessarily make the YouTube channel will appear here as well. We are hoping it’s going to be a great summer of wine! Stay tuned!