CORKAGE: On Ideal Saturday Nights & The Crazy Idea Of Carrying Wine Across Borders

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

Tasted: The fall season means winemakers in town and portfolio tastings, which require an iron liver. A recent standout includes a Pineau des Charentes from Chateau d’Orignac (private wine stores, around $45.00). This unique dessert wine is created from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon must and 5 YO Cognac. The texture on the tongue is reminiscent of cream and the finish lingers for minutes. There are cascading flavours of raisins, butterscotch, honey, dried fruits (like apricot) and lots of nuts, predominately almonds. The ideal rainy Saturday night in Vancouver: a bottle of this and a block of Blue.

Overheard: Michel Dinn from JoieFarm popped by the store recently with 2009 vintages of the Chardonnay and PTG to taste. Conversation included the relatively hot 09 vintage, which challenged winemakers in the Okanagan. The issue was not necessarily the hot days, but the lack of cool nights. Without this swing in temperature, developing grapes can run the risk of not retaining their acidity. While acidity levels are technically lower in JoieFarm’s 2009 wines compared to previous vintages, they still maintain their trademark elegance and balance. The PTG (short for Passe-Tout-Grains, an appellation in Burgundy where the blending of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir is common) had a little more Pinot Noir than usual this year. Michael feels his confidence increasing every year when working with Pinot Noir. As he explained, “the training wheels are slowly coming off”. I look forward to more great new cuvees in the years ahead.

Read: BC Business provides a roadmap on being an importer and doing business with the Liquor Board in their September issue…The LCBO softens rules on residents of Ontario who are interested in carrying wine across provincial borders…In a related conversation Solicitor General Shirley Bond recently stated that she was aware of Ontario’s changes and would subsequently be taking a look at what British Columbia could do to ease the strain on wineries shipping across borders…BBC news is reporting that while Australian imports are declining in the USA and UK, export to the Asian market is increasing quite steadily…Wine writer Natalie McLean shares some of her favourite wine moments in movies in a fun blog post…It’s not wine, but I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two: NPR provides an insightful interview with Christine Sismondo about her new book America Walks Into a Bar.


Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

There are 2 comments

  1. Agreed, the Chateau d’Orignac Pineau is amazing… incredibly nutty. It’s the best Pineau des Charentes that I’ve tried. I’ll be pouring it at L’Abattoir within the next couple weeks as well.

  2. Yup, make room on the bandwagon! Killer, approachable Pineau in a nuanced, well-integrated, myth-busting style. (And awesome value to boot!)