The concept of counterparts is a straightforward one. Such as: action and reaction, night and day, male and female, and so on. Not necessarily exact opposites, but corresponding differences. This adds definition by contrast, keeps things in balance, helps us to appreciate variety. There are many examples of counterparts in the world of wine, as in nature and everywhere else; but truly one of the most classic and precise examples to be found, is that of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Both are grapes, both hail distantly from the same genetic family, both are enjoyed all over the globe: arguably the two single best known grape varieties worldwide. Chardonnay is a white wine grape; Pinot Noir is a red wine grape. Chardonnay is prolific bordering on ubiquitous while Pinot Noir is the elusive heart breaker of countless winemakers the world over. More often than not they are found in the same growing areas, and in Burgundy they are basically the be all and end all of all wine making bar none.

I happen to enjoy both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and recently tasted two excellent examples from Hartford Court in California’s Sonoma Valley. Hartford Court is a very limited production winery that focuses heavily on single estate bottlings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Production of these special wines can range from 800 cases to less than 100 cases.

The Hartford Court Stone Cote Vineyard Chardonnay 2005: produced in 100% French oak, 60% of which is new oak. The wine is clear with a deep golden straw colour that fades slightly around the rim. The nose is moderate and layered with youthful and slightly developed characteristics. It offers creamed corn, vanilla, lime, sweet hazelnut and citrus notes. The palate is dry and medium-full bodied and well-balanced with flavours of spice, toast, white citrus fruits, and a rich buttered biscuit character that lingers well.

The Hartford Court Fog Dance Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005: produced in 100% French oak, 55% of which is new oak. The wine is clear, and shows a pale ruby colour that fades to a slightly ruddy rim. Youthful as well a slightly developed aromatics rise from the glass showing sweet leather, stewed strawberry, woodspice and wet cherry blossom. The palate is dry, medium weight with juicy acidity and gently balanced tannins. Loads of flavours are present giving juicy red berry fruit, hints of sweet beets, tangy cherry, earthy spiciness, and a long warm finish.

Both excellent wines in their own right, as well as fine examples of the “yin and yang” of red and white wines. So even as we head ever closer to colder weather remember to balance your wine enjoyment with both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, (or whatever counterparts you love best!).


Blackcomb Liquor Store

Special Christmas Edition – Blackcomb Liquor Store Quarterly News

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE BLS STAFF Well, what a fairy-tale start to the Winter, with mother nature really delivering the goods. While all that snow was falling we were busy probing our suppliers for their best new wines, and we have found many winners. Yep, we tasted over 500 wines in November alone, so that we could continue to offer you the best wine in Whistler. Read on for some of the best. We had a blast at Cornucopia and it has been interesting to see some sudden interest from new suppliers keen to enter the Whistler market (ed – I wonder why?). The BC wine industry continues to grow (now a winery in Lillooet!) with some excellent new entries into the market that are a must to try. If you need any recommendations for matching wine with your dinner ideas, we’d love to help out; give us a call or stop by the store. Lastly we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with family, friends and of course, good wine!

Champagne – Something to Celebrate – Michael Kompass
Champagne – No other sparkling wine has the history, tradition, and prestige, and no other sparkling wine has the weight, complexity, and diversity of champagne. The elaborate
production is what gives champagne its character…
Read more…

Beard on Beers – Belhaven Wee Heavy
My Grandmother’s maiden name is McGregor; which somehow makes her “the son of Gregory.” You’d think with that heritage I’d know all there is to know about Scotch ale. Quite the opposite actually, but a little research over a pint of ‘wee heavy’ revealed quite an interesting story. Read more…

The Rarest of Rare – Single Cask, Single Malt Whisky
The Single Malt Whisky is among the most revered beverages on the planet. No other spirit offers the diversity and ‘sense of place’ and no other spirit has the cult following of great single malt Whisky. The McGibbins’ “Provenance” series of single cask, single malts are
worthy of a place in any scotch Whisky lovers’ bar… Read more…

First Newsletter from Blackcomb Liquor Store – Fall 2009


So I guess you’re wondering what this is all about then?
Well, since not everyone can make it to our wine club events, we thought we’d bring the wine club to you! Yeah, yeah, no tasting by email but we’re working on bringing back the scratch & sniff patches 🙂 Anyhow, it’s been a big few months and just as we write this we’ve had a vertical tasting of Oculus and the new Compendium – fabulous work from Mission Hill! John Duval (former Penfold’s Grange winemaker) visited with his new wines and the new vintage BC wines keep arriving each week. Let me see, what else? We found a secret stash of 1997 Grand Cru Chablis and 1999 1er Cru Chablis for your drinking pleasure, and we keep coming across great value reds from Portugal, so look out for those at under $25. Enjoy the newsletter – we certainly enjoyed putting it together and remember it’s coming up quickly to Thanksgiving and Halloween, so please let us know if you need anything to make your dinner or party a memorable one. Cheers – more…

John Glaetzer Visits
We recently had the pleasure of a private tasting with legendary Australian winemaker John Glaetzer, who was showcasing his signature ‘John’s Blend’ and also the new Gypsie Jack
read more…

Beefeater 24 Review- Michael Kompass
The world is constantly changing, and the drinks industry is no exception. Products and fads come and go, tastes and fashions change, and the ‘hot & not’ lists go on and on. Every once in a while something really good comes along, and Beefeater 24 is something really good!.
read more…

Sixer’s Suggestions – Orofino Wines
After purchasing the vineyard in 2001, John and Virginia Weber have gone on to do great things with it. Located in Cawston, in the heart of the Similkameen Valley, Orofino
are now producing some of B.C.’s top wines. read more…

Beard on Beers – Phillips IPA
India Pale Ale was a cunning recipe devised by the British back in the days of the Colonial occupation of India. Now India’s a pretty hot place, so the lads needed to quench their thirst with tasty beer. How would they ship it to the sub-continent without it spoiling?
What a dilemma! Lots of hops were added, a higher alcohol content and the resin from that hops kept the bugs at bay. IPA was born. This truly was one of the last great triumphs of the British Empire! read more…

Pascal’s Picks – Hoegaarden
No, I’m not talking about those garden tools, but the original Belgian white beer, HOEGAARDEN!! This ain’t no twist off jobby, it’s European! read more…

March Events


We have another exciting event lined up for March. Another special guest will be with us, to present wines from the Rhone Valley in southeast France. Abigail Pyett from FreeHouse Wines and Spirits will be presenting and discussing 6 delicious new wines from a variety of stunning Rhone producers.

WHEN: Thursday March 6, 2008.
WHERE: The Fitz Pub (formerly BBKS)
TIME: 7:00pm
COST: $5.00 / person

Please RSVP to 604-932-9795 to reserve a seat, or if you have any questions or comments.
I hope to hear from you soon!

December Events

December Wine Club

WHAT: A cross-section of France from the Loire to Chablis to Bordeaux and more!
6 different wines from different regions including a rare dessert wine,
presented by our special guest Paul Watkin of the Seacove Group

WHERE: The Fitzsimmons Pub (formerly BBKS)

WHEN: 7:00pm on DECEMBER 12th Wednesday

COST: $5 / person

Please remember that space is limited and RSVP via email or to 604-932-9795