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Review: International Rosé Day.. Monte Creek 2017 Rosé

It’s International Rosé Day! So, we best get celebrating, non?

For the day of the blush we chose to try the 2017 Monte Creek Ranch Winery Rosé. Lucky for us, and you, we did.

I really, really like this wine.

Made of 100% Marquette grapes, it’s a beautiful, dry, complex sipping wine that you can be confident purchasing and serving. I am always looking for wines that I can serve to out-of-town guests that are reflective and unique to Kamloops. This completely fits the bill.

Rosé wines are made from red grapes that are quickly pressed with skins and then the skins are whisked away. You get the light pink colour and flavour, without the heaviness of the typical wine produced by dark-skinned grapes. Marquette grapes are a new varietal. Produced by the University of Minnesota, they are a great-grandchild of Pinot Noir. I found this handy genealogy chart to confuse you;


Don’t worry, this makes no difference to how you enjoy the wine. I only share it since some people get really hung up on what grape they are drinking and then track that grape like a stalker from now to the bitter end.  And, if you didn’t think wine was science, now you know. The science involved in wine always blows me away.

We have all heard the people who say, “I only like Chardonnay.”

Or, “I don’t drink Chardonnay.”

Well, those people are small minded but that’s another post. The point is, you aren’t going to find a lot of wines made out of Marquette grapes. You need a licence to propagate them and they are developed pretty specifically to do well in our climate. Monte Creek is one of the only wineries I know who are using them. Aren’t we lucky?

On to the Rosé… It’s dry and full of flavour. I was so pleased that is was subtly strawberry on the palate. Many dry rosé wines are very strawberry flavoured. This is more complex than that. It has berry flavours and a nice acidic feel. It’s smoothing out already and has great weight in the mouth. Some of this is no doubt influenced by the fact that this is a wild ferment wine. My favourite. That means it was fermented naturally by yeasts floating around in the environment at the vineyard. This style of wine is always more earthy and less stylized. Often, it is quite a bit more expensive, too. So being able to purchase one for under $18 a bottle is a treat.


The new style for rosé is a dry wine. Unless you are purchasing a bubbly, assume you are getting a nice dry wine suitable for appies, cheese trays or light dinner fair. Where this wine stands out is in it’s subtle and clean taste. It’s got great body and is not so fruity as to be overpowering with dinner. You can serve this with your barbecue fare, salads, chicken or pasta very nicely. Or, just sip it in the sun. It’s really nice.

Without a doubt, this is a wine you must have in your rotation for the Summer. It’s worth every penny. Enjoy!

Wine: Monte Creek 2017 Rose

Price: $17.49

Where to purchase: Save On Foods, Winery, most Liquor Stores in Kamloops

Score: 5/6

Takeaways: Best Rose in Kamloops, Wild Ferment, Subtle, complex flavours


Nacho Average Pub Fare.. Review: Monte Creek Ranch Hands Up Red

I set out on upon a quest this week. A quest to find a nacho wine.


There have been nobler quests, I know. Whatever. This was my quest. And really, it’s a pretty good quest when you think about it.

I have tried hard to like beer but I am just not that girl. Never will a country song be written about lil’ ol’ me. I am just not that into beer. But, if you go to almost every nacho and chicken wing pub in Kamloops and you don’t want beer with your dinner, you are going to enter a very unfamiliar place. I call it… Alberta.

You see, we are so spoiled. We live in the heart of Canadian wine country and we don’t even know how good we have it. We have so much good wine at our fingertips. Our liquor stores and cold beer and wine stores are packed with hundreds of choices. We take wine camping and to **cough ** Music in the Park **cough** and have a wine list a mile long at most restaurants. Most people I know can order a decent wine with dinner and every restaurant trains their staff on their wine selections.

Then you go to a pub.

It can be enough to give you PTSD. You get red or white if it’s really bad. You get red, white and a list of bottles they are out of if they have thrown in some effort. See, it’s like we enter Alberta. I went to a cold beer and wine store outside of Edmonton a few years ago and they had, I kid you not, twelve wines to choose from. I asked where they keep the Chilean wine and the clerk spit her straw out at me. Shocker!

That’s a long way to tell you I really wanted a go-to, easily ordered wine to have with pub food. And I found it.

Monte Creek 2016 Hands Up Red is a great wine for nachos, wings or other salty fair you find at a pub or restaurant. And, because our local eateries are great about supporting our local wineries, it’s pretty accessible, too!


Made up of mostly merlot grapes, it’s got good structure, body and weight. It feels heavy and solid in your mouth. It’s no light sipper. It’s flavourful and bursting with bold fruit. Cherry, smoke, plum… it’s all here. It’s also nice and dry. It’s dark and sexy in colour. It’s smells heady and oaky. You could easily sip this wine on it’s own around a campfire, of course, but it can stand up to salty and spicy food as well.

All in all, this is a fantastic value at $16.99 a bottle. I suspect, if you buy six of these, and open one a year for the next few years, you’d be pleased with how it ages and deepens, too. We don’t have a lot of wine worth cellaring here but this one would be worth trying.

And, if you are looking for a good red table wine for your wedding this Summer, this would fit the bill. It will go well with your buffet, be nice just before dinner and isn’t drier or heavier than most inexperienced wine drinkers would enjoy.

So, I have fulfilled my quest. From this day forward, let it be known that the 2016 Monte Creek Hands Up Red is your go-to pub wine, Kamloops. You are welcome.



Wine: Monte Creek 2016 Ranch Hand Red

Price: $17

Where to purchase: Save On Foods, Winery, most Liquor Stores in Kamloops

Score: 5/6

Takeaways: Good weight, dry, bold flavour, very light oak


Review: Evolve 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

There is nothing better than BC wine that has been crafted with care.


You know I love BC Wineries that are working WITH our climate and our soil to make beautiful wines that, with as little manipulation as possible, are a delight to the senses. Some wineries within the Okanagan stand out in this regard. These wineries and winemakers allow the natural flavours of the fruit to shine through, not trying to make the grapes something they aren’t.

Evolve Cellars is an example of this style of winemaking. Without a doubt, this winery needs to be on your must-visit list this year.

With the most stunning view you’ll see all season, a beautiful tasting room and restaurant and a great selection of well priced wines, you won’t want to miss this gem.

Evolve makes clean, crisp, fresh and clear wines. There is no pretention here. No smoke and mirrors. This is just lovely wine. It takes some bravery to use a light touch and allow nature to guide you in your craft.

Their 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC is a perfect example of this type of craftsmanship. It’s bright and lively, fruity and clean. It’s warm hue hints at the depth of the fruit. With tropical notes on the nose and a nectarine or peachy flavour, it’s a fantastic patio wine.


But, it gets better than that. It’s medium body means you can have it with your dinner as well. It has some weight to it and a good finish, so it won’t be lost on barbecued meals and creamy salads. This is a perfect wine to purchase if you are a red drinker but need a white for your guests. Whatever foods you would throw your red wine at, a white drinker could use this wine with.

You’ll appreciate the very ‘Best of BC’ style of this beautiful vineyard. You can purchase this wine locally, but if you can manage to visit their wine shop in Summerland to stock up you won’t regret it.

Find out more at: Evolve Cellars

Wine: Evolve 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $17

Where to purchase: Save On Foods, Winery

Score: 4.5/6

Takeaways: Good weight, clean fruity finish, great value

It’s a boy!



Last you heard from me, I was about to post the 12 wines of Christmas. That didn’t work out.

You see, we had a new addition arrive in our family. We have adopted a beautiful baby boy. It came up quickly and has consumed us for a spell. But we have found a rhythm in our household now and I am eager to get back to learning about wine again. I’m especially eager to get back to sampling wine again!

Watch for several posts a month moving forward. Some will be reviews, some will be experiments and recipes and some will be advance notice of great wine things to do!

Thanks for sticking with me. I see lots of activity on the blog since December. Watch out, Kamloops! The Wine Mama is back in the saddle!

The best wines for when Christmas goes wrong

Tomorrow, you will see the 12 Wines of Christmas here! Until then, rejoice in these bad boys… the countdown is on!

sips in the city

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week December 2016


Along with all the parties and Christmas concerts and cheer, this month can come with a few tense moments as well. Actually, the whole thing can be a bit exhausting and more than a little overwhelming. The good news is, there’s a wine for that! Here are some common catastrophes and the wines that they pair well with;

  1. Navigating the crowds, the traffic and the chaos. All. Day. Long

This calls for a little wind-down time when you get home. Especially after the blast of winter weather we have had. Church and State makes a great white blend called Lost Inhibitions. It’s a nice dry wine and their labels are perfect for this occasion. I chose the wine called ‘I just can’t even.’ Which is exactly how you should reply to any requests your family may make of you after you…

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