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



When you are broke but still want to drink wine…

So, your tastes and your bank account don’t seem to really jive? You have more wants than George Washingtons (sorry, but I couldn’t come up with a loonie link). You still like finer wine but your debit card says you need to stick to ramen and ice cubes.

Sigh, me too.

I really do wish I could be sipping $25 bottles of wine on Wednesdays. Or, pop out for drinks on Friday and pay more for a glass than I do for a bottle. Alas, that is not how I roll.

So, you have little extra cha-ching but you don;t want to drink junk. Good on you! Me either. So, I do have four labels that I think you can rely on, that are good, good value!

These four wineries deliver consistently across their varietals and are drinkable for even the most discerning wine lovers that watch the bottom line as much as the grape vine. Ready? Write these down…

Cono Sur… This is just good wine. I’ve never had a bad one yet. It is ridiculously affordable and very drinkable.

Cono-Sur-Bicicleta-Viognier-640x640.pngWayne Gretzky.. This is a little pricier but it always delivers. And I have never found another ‘celebrity endorsed’ wine that I liked. Period. This one wins all the games!

wgFinca Los Primos.. Again, great wine that is well priced and consistently delivers. Made for the new-world wine drinker, you can’t go wron


Jacob’s Creek… These wines run sweet but are well priced and if you are new to wine, or like barefoot or naked grape wines, you will like these too!


So, there you have it. Bookmark this post and open it the next time you are at the liquor store! If you lack the funds to go on a high-falutin’ hoe down but still want to be swanky this weekend, give one of these a spin!

Happy sipping!



wine of the week – Narrative Red 2015

Oh, age… you are such a funny lady.

Sometimes, as things get older, and they begin to show their age, you start to see the cracks in their foundation. They get a little weaker, a little more tired and a little less than they were.

And sometimes, as time marches on, things only grow into themselves and get stronger and better and more. This wine is a perfect example of what age does right.

Now, this bottle isn’t that old. It’s the latest vintage of this blend. But I tasted it this Summer and was not as happy with it as I was the 2014 version. The 2014 was bright and bold and zingy and very, very BC. This one was darker and almost ashy back when I first tried it. I bought a bottle anyways as I am sure (and you can wander back to the Summer postings to check on me) that I thought it would get better the longer it sat.


Winner!!  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

When I’m right, I’m right (about 25% of the time at least).

This wine is already nice, just a half a year later. Let me try to lay it out for you.

Do you like jam?


Doesn’t that look good? It is pretty indicative of the flavour you can expect from jam. Many red BC wines are fruity. We grow fruity grapes here. This wine is a blend of Cab Franc, Gamay and Syrah, so it’s going to be fruity. That Syrah? Do you know what it does? It turns jam into this…



Those a oven roasted cherries. Have you ever tried them? They are sweet, smokey, deep and rich. And this wine is all about those deeper, darker, richer notes. But because it’s got the lighter grapes as a base, it’s still drinkable and easy going. It’s like your well heeled cousin.. actually, I can do better than that. It’s like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama! Early on in the movie when she is still all fancy but really, she’s still a sweet, down home gal. This is her.. but in a red wine!

Regardless of whether that makes any sense to you or not, the verdict is that you need to buy and try this wine! The 2014 sold out. So, crack-a-lack. Or she’s going to go back to New York with the Mayor’s son and you will be out of luck! Find it here Narrative Red

Friday funny on Monday…

Happy New Year to you!! I am resolving to do a better job posting regularly! This will include friday funnies, wine of the week on Wednesday, I am going to renew the virtual wine club and include links to the Kamloops This Week articles.

I promise! In the meantime, here is Friday’s post on Monday. Way to start off the resolutions, right?


See you on Wednesday with a wine review!!


a little price throw down.. save on vs bcl

I was curious to see how the prices at Save On compared to the BC Liquor store.Will having another wine retailer change the price of the BC VQA wine we can purchase here in Kamloops?

So, being curious, capable and a bit sneaky, I set out today to do a little spy work. And what I found was surprising!

I checked five BC VQA wines at random at the Signature Liquor Store in Sahali. Then, I walked across the parking lot and checked the same five wines at Save-On.

Here are my results. I have laid them out very professionally and using high tech methods, as you can see…

See? Super flashy, right? The pictures are from the Government store and the fancy, orange writing are the prices at Save On Foods today. The skinny of it is that in all but one instance, Save On was cheaper than the liquor store. Both of those prices exclude the tax and bottle deposit.

Will Save On stay cheaper? That remains to be seen. And they always have their case deal on top of these prices.

The verdict? Having another wine retailer is good for Kamloops grape lovers!

The Sips Wine List is updated!

I have finally got around to adding 30 bottles that are hit or miss to the wine page! Here is the link…

wine shopping list

This is just a quick list that is literally a buy it, skip it, try it snapshot of wines we have tried.

It’s meant to help you when you are out trying to find a wine. Bookmark it and take it to the store with you. Every wine on the list can be searched and a full review can be found on here as well if you would like more info. The first 30 are up and the next 30 are on deck…

I promise to keep it more updated for you!


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