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Like many a Vancouver wine pro I keep hoping for a sherry renaissance. But despite the best efforts of restaurants like Salt Tasting Room, España, and the Sardine Can, it’s elusive. Could this be the bottle to change all that? The Gonzalez Byass Nutty Solera, which took Best of Category in our 2013 wine awards for fortified wines, is a classic oloroso, so it’s both sweet (rated 3 on the LDB scale) and savoury-all hazelnut, caramel, and pungent orange. Slow roast some almonds with a smidgen of olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika to enjoy before dinner, or drink afterward with more nuts and cheese. Chill it, use a decent glass, and I promise you’ll be converted.
If sherry is still obscure, Madeira is even more so, despite being a desert-island choice for many wine writers. From the subtropical Portuguese island of the same name, it’s a wine with a long history-yes, it’s the one Richard III reputedly used to drown his brother, George, Duke of Clarence. It comes in several different styles, from dry to very sweet, and has great aging potential. This one is “rich,” which means very sweet (7 on the LDB scale-up there with icewines and many sauternes) and made to go with cake. The orange and almond Madeira cupcake recipe on the LDB website is delicious.
Q&A: Steve Da Crus Proprietor, The Parker
This onetime theatre student makes no bones that his vegetarian restaurant should tell a story about the farmers, winemakers, and artisans who produce the ingredients.
What’s the story behind the wine list? All come from the Columbia watershed, so there are craft producers in B.C., a few big brutes from Washington state, and gorgeous, elegant pinot noirs from Oregon. All are biodynamic, organic, or sustainably farmed.
What wines go with vegetables? Ones that dance rather than step on your feet. Wines that have finesse, because vegetables just don’t have the same fat content as meat or fish.
How did you learn about wine? Asking questions, lots of them.
What will you pour this month? A subtle syrah rosé with lovely orange spice from Naramata’s Black Widow. I’m also gaga over the 2011 pinot release from Oregon-the “miracle vintage.” Warm weather into September and October made for incredible product.