Vino Borealis

Vino Borealis Columnist Peter Turner is a wine enthusiast who once had the dream job of selling wine at a store that carried 4,500 varieties.

Pour one out during the pandemic

Almost a year into this pandemic, we’re all dreaming about travelling again. Last summer, during the B.C. bubble, my wife and I took a road trip to explore Okanagan vineyards.

Big House Red

I was in the Yukon Liquor Corporation about six weeks ago, when I was delighted to make the acquaintance of an old friend. Looking for an interesting red, I saw a familiar label on an unfamiliar carton. On the bottom shelf of the American wines aisle, there stood an octagonal, blue and brown cardboard carton, …

Big House Red Read More »

Matching Wine to Cheese Fondue

I’m always interested whether when people choose the foods for dinner first, and then select accompanying wines, or vice versa. I use both methods. Several weekends ago my partner and I hosted a cheese fondue in honour of a friend’s birthday. The recipe called for a white wine to melt the cheese. We don’t really …

Matching Wine to Cheese Fondue Read More »

Some New Wines to Look For and Try

Since September there have been some good additions to the Yukon Liquor Corp. (YLC) shelves. October and November seem to be emerging as the wine tasting season in the Yukon. In the span of five weeks, I participated in, or organized, three events: the October Rotary festival in Whitehorse, the second annual tasting held by …

Some New Wines to Look For and Try Read More »

Autumn Brings Renewed Interest in Chiantis

While we had an exceptional summer, part of me welcomes the changing leaves, grey cool days, slower pace, stars, and northern lights. This change of season has brought me back to our kitchen, making pasta, pizza and roast meats. And my partner and I have rediscovered the pleasure of Italian Chianti wines from Tuscany. We …

Autumn Brings Renewed Interest in Chiantis Read More »

Fundraising Fun avec Vin

About a year ago, I worked with Yukon Artists @ Work on a project called “Canvas Confidential,” a fundraiser to help Yukon artists if illness prevented them from working. As part of this event, we hosted a wine tasting, and had very specific criteria for the chosen wines. First, we had to order wines from …

Fundraising Fun avec Vin Read More »

Consider an Italian For Your Own ‘House’ Wine

One of the things that I have been delighted to find, moving from the United States back to Canada, is that a much greater percentage of wine drinkers prefer red wine to white. And I find myself wondering, like many other observed behaviours, “Is this a Canadian thing or a Northern thing?” Regardless of the …

Consider an Italian For Your Own ‘House’ Wine Read More »

Opening That Bottle Again

I have a confession. After encouraging friends and readers to participate in Open that Bottle Night, I remembered I had committed to attend the Rotary Club banquet where I found myself sipping the only red offered, a Jackson Triggs Merlot ($8.75). It’s a passable food wine and I will admit to it being infinitely more …

Opening That Bottle Again Read More »

Winter Reds

As Northerners, we are profoundly touched by the end of winter, the slow return of warmth and the rapid return of light to our lives. Suddenly, we become aware of just how set in our ways we have become, and we resolve to change our lives. We start to put away the hats and mittens and …

Winter Reds Read More »

Spanish wines? ¡Si!

I, and the fellow wine enthusiasts I know, seem to have wandered from country to country in the process of discovering wines. We have familiar territories and sometimes work up the courage to explore new lands. I grew up tasting French wines first and, later, Californian ones. In the 60s, when I was a child …

Spanish wines? ¡Si! Read More »

Sipping Rosé Wines for Spring

The return of the light and the steady drip drip drip of the snow melting has re-awakened my yearning for all that the Yukon has to offer us in our other, non-winter seasons. Last week, I stopped at the Liquor Corporation store to look for a couple of rosé wines (rosé meaning “pinkish”) to try …

Sipping Rosé Wines for Spring Read More »

Kitchen Sink Wines

With the exception of New Years Eve, I think I drank two glasses of wine in January — not propitious behaviour for a wine writer. I even missed having something nice for my birthday, but I guess the flu followed by pneumonia is a decent excuse. I even managed to lose 10 pounds, which under …

Kitchen Sink Wines Read More »

Wine Indoors or Out

Two weekends ago, a friend and I drove up the road from Rabbits Foot Canyon, to Fish Lake, to take her dog for a walk. While the roads were mostly dry, there was still a good foot or two of snow scattered intermittently along the path that we walked. The sky was blue and the …

Wine Indoors or Out Read More »

A Great Wine Match for Salmon

I suspect salmon and hospitality have been partners a long time in this part of the world. The salmon makes regular appearances in the artwork of the First Nations peoples all along the Yukon River and across the mountains to the BC Coast. I look at the old black and white photographs of the native …

A Great Wine Match for Salmon Read More »

The Italian Connection

I guess when most of us think of Italian food, we think spaghetti and those old-school straw-covered flasks of Chianti. I am channelling that scene from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp where they slurp on opposite ends of the same pieces of spaghetti and then share the meatball. So when I spent 10 days in …

The Italian Connection Read More »

A Recipe for a Lasting Memory

What makes a vacation, at least for me, is going to a place different than what you are accustomed to. This could be a change in your physical surroundings, your schedule and even what you explore and taste. The last several weeks have been all of that for me and for my children. Even with …

A Recipe for a Lasting Memory Read More »

What do you pair with muskrat?

I, like many wine enthusiasts, love the challenge of finding the right wine to pair with a meal. Many people start with this simple axiom: white wine with white meat; red wine with red meat – not a bad starting place as few things taste better than a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc with mussels, or a …

What do you pair with muskrat? Read More »

Reds for a Gathering

It’s always fun to be on the lookout for new wines to try, and this past weekend gave me the opportunity to explore two tasty and moderately priced red wines from Italy. They come from less familiar areas of Italy, that nonetheless are making excellent wines. There’s a wonderful trend in wines from countries around …

Reds for a Gathering Read More »

An Evening of Wine Tasting

Over the past several weeks, a number of my friends have been asking me when this year’s Rendezvous Rotary Club’s Wine and Fine Food event will take place. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a member of the Rendezvous Rotary Club and love working on the event each year.) This year, the event …

An Evening of Wine Tasting Read More »

Films That Make You Thirsty

Julia Child, the late, great American cookbook writer and chef, was profoundly moved by her first French meal when she and her husband arrived by ship, in Rouen, France, in November of 1948. She wrote: “We began our lunch with a half-dozen oysters on the half shell. Rouen is famous for its duck dishes, but, …

Films That Make You Thirsty Read More »

Decoding Wine Names

Several weeks ago, the Rotary Club that I belong to held its 18th annual Fine Wine and Food Festival. We had a record turnout and everyone who attended seemed to have a lot of fun. I was working one of the tables, talking about the wines while I poured them. While there were some number …

Decoding Wine Names Read More »

Gifts for Wine Lovers

As the Christmas and holiday season roll around, several friends have asked me for gift suggestions for the wine enthusiasts on their gift list. Without knowing the wine tastes of their enthusiast friends, I am hesitant to suggest a particular wine, but often suggest wine-related items that have caught my attention and are available locally. …

Gifts for Wine Lovers Read More »

Wine Throughout the Year

As we race toward Christmas and the new year of promise that follows, I can’t help but reflect on the wonderful and poignant experiences that have transpired over these last 12 months. Post-Christmas, last year, began with a wonderful evening among friends at a cabin in Tagish, meeting and making new and special friends and …

Wine Throughout the Year Read More »

Wine for a Winter’s Eve

So now the rich, velvety darkness of the Yukon winter has descended and the temperatures at my cabin have dropped below minus 20, several evenings. And yet, it is probably my favourite time of year here. The blue lights are strung in the trees along Main Street and are alight by 4 p.m., as the …

Wine for a Winter’s Eve Read More »

Thai Food: A Delightful Challenge

Last Saturday evening, a friend of mine invited me and several of my co-workers to dinner at her cozy little apartment. My friend is an artist, and her work and her exploratory nature have taken her all over the Pacific Rim. Along the way she washed dishes in tiny island restaurants, trading her scrubbing skills …

Thai Food: A Delightful Challenge Read More »

Wine Ephemera

Our copyeditor for What’s Up Yukon recently sent an e-mail to me, where she related that she had stumbled across an alternate definition for the word “Methuselah”. She cited the online dictionary where it said: Methuselah PRONUNCIATION: (meh-THOO-zuh-luh) MEANING: noun: 1. An extremely old man. 2. An over-sized wine bottle holding approximately six litres. ETYMOLOGY: …

Wine Ephemera Read More »

The Ideal Wine Collection?

As I mentioned in my last article, I have been invited to develop a wine list for a restaurant that a neighbour of mine plans to open in the next four to six weeks. I was interested, and flattered, that she wanted my input. It also occurred to me that if a reader wanted to …

The Ideal Wine Collection? Read More »

How to Attend a Wine Tasting … and Look Like a Connoisseur

Over the last several weeks, I have been giving a significant amount of thought to wine tastings, and wanted to speak about them in more detail. Before I proceed further, I should provide the disclaimer that I am the president of the Rotary Club here in town that puts on the annual Rotary Wine and …

How to Attend a Wine Tasting … and Look Like a Connoisseur Read More »

Open that Bottle of Wine Night!

Last week, I visited the Wall Street Journal website to read the most recent article by my favourite wine writers, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher … it wasn’t there! They retired at the end of 2009. They had my dream job: they are a married couple who, for a dozen years, had written the best …

Open that Bottle of Wine Night! Read More »

Wine on the Go

Last week I was cornered by someone who asked what her options were for taking wine along on a paddling trip. For me, part of the experience of enjoying the outdoors is to end a day with friends by setting up camp with a great view, a good dinner and a glass or two of …

Wine on the Go Read More »

Message in a Bottle

I try to write a wine column every couple of weeks, unless life gets crazy, as it has over the past month or so. In that period of time, I will usually get the chance to have perhaps two or three dinners where I will want to serve a bottle of wine. Because I’m such …

Message in a Bottle Read More »

Exploring Gray Monk Estate Wines

Several weeks ago, I had the happy opportunity to explore a significant portion of the range of Gary Monk Estate wines. A friend of mine who helps organize the annual Rotary Club Wine Festival represents the Gray Monk Estate Winery, and invited me and several other Rotary Club members to taste their wines. Gray Monk …

Exploring Gray Monk Estate Wines Read More »

A Walk Through the YLC Wine Store: Part 2

The third Thursday of November, chalkboards across France announced, Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! (literally, “The new Beaujolais has arrived!”). This annual event is the first opportunity for wine lovers to taste the first wines made from the 2011 vintage harvest, grapes picked just six to eight weeks earlier. I always look forward to this …

A Walk Through the YLC Wine Store: Part 2 Read More »

EA Wine Triple Treat

I was asked by some friends to participate in “An evening of Art, Wine and too much fun” presented by The Artist Relief Fund Society, and I was delighted to get involved. The Canvas Confidential event will be held on Saturday May 14 at the Old Fire Hall, and proceeds from the event will go …

EA Wine Triple Treat Read More »

Washington Comes to Yukon

Most Canadian wine drinkers are pretty familiar with California wines. Their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays have been celebrated in such movies as Sideways and Bottleshock, and their top-of-the-line Cabernet Sauvignons, like the 2007 Screaming Eagle Cab, can command prices of $2,400-3,400 a bottle (US pricing)! A visit to the Yukon Liquor Corporation (YLC) will yield …

Washington Comes to Yukon Read More »

Turning to Argentinian Whites

In the week that followed the holidays, when I returned to earth with a thump to reflect on the fun and parties and food and drink I had consumed over the holiday season, there was a moment when I thought I’d spend all of January eating those boxes of mandarin oranges, and drinking nothing by …

Turning to Argentinian Whites Read More »

An Evening of Fine Pairings

For at least 4,000 years, wine drinkers have chosen food to accompany certain wines and vise versa. When I imagine trying a good wine, it is always in a setting around a table or gathered with friends, and food is always a part of the picture. I worry that the North American wine industry has …

An Evening of Fine Pairings Read More »

Why Wines Differ

Last night a friend stopped by for dinner. He brought moose sausages to grill; I boiled up some Yukon grown red potatoes and added butter and rosemary. We washed it down with the better part of a bottle of one of my “go to” bottles of Italian red wine, a 2009 Citra Montepulciano D’Abrruzzo (about …

Why Wines Differ Read More »

Trying Some Malbecs

After more than a month of grey skies and rain, the sun finally made a re-appearance over my lake. Still, it feels like it is too late for summer, with the first trees turning yellow, the underbrush taking on reddish hues, and falling leaves starting to mass on my road. I am trying to find …

Trying Some Malbecs Read More »

Wine Money Diet: Part 2

One of the delights of wine is that there are always surprises to be found and bargains to be enjoyed, if you are open to trying new things or going off the beaten path. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the Yukon Liquor Corp selection until I went on my “money diet”, …

Wine Money Diet: Part 2 Read More »

Planning a Wine Tasting

Several months ago I was asked by my friend Wendy in Dawson City to plan a wine tasting at her B&B, Bombay Peggy’s. We’ll be doing it over the May long weekend, so by the time you read this it will have been completed. I was explaining to a friend the thinking that I was …

Planning a Wine Tasting Read More »

New Finds from Italy (in time for Thanksgiving)

A recent article on the consumption of Italian wine pointed out that, for the first time, the value of Italian wines exported was greater than the value of that consumed by Italians at home. In 2010, Italy exported 3.93 billion euros ($5.3 billion in Canadian dollars) worth of wine, while spending 3.89 billion euros ($5.25 …

New Finds from Italy (in time for Thanksgiving) Read More »

Two Fine, Big Reds

This is a funny time of year in the Yukon. The return of the light and the moving forward of the clocks speaks to the impending arrival of spring. The other day I stood outside my cabin and heard birds calling their songs out, and thought… am I just noticing these calls, though they have …

Two Fine, Big Reds Read More »

And the Winner Is …

I was reminded again recently of the role that sharing wine can have in igniting enthusiasm and making new friends. As I mentioned in my last column, I had been invited by the staff of the Yukon Arts Centre to help them offer up a wine tasting as part of the launch of their new …

And the Winner Is … Read More »

A Taste for the Arts

Love of (and interest in) wine has opened wonderful doors for me in my life. Tasting wine has been the lens through which I have experienced lessons in history and geography. Friends have mailed me bottles from places such as Malta, and I have had the chance to sit with vineyard owners and chat over …

A Taste for the Arts Read More »

Treats for Summer Evenings

It took until the middle of July, but it seems (I don’t want to jinx us) that summer has arrived in the Yukon! The past two weekends have actually been HOT, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend two Saturdays nights kayaking, swimming and sitting outside with friends, enjoying picnic dinners and treats off an …

Treats for Summer Evenings Read More »

The Other Side of the Andes

In my last several articles, I have been reviewing a number of inexpensive, yet tasty Malbec and Malbec blend red wines from Argentina. The high altitudes, dry climates and pure waters of the Andes contribute to the growing of terrific grape stock, which makes a large contribution to the success of the Argentinian wine industry. …

The Other Side of the Andes Read More »

Tasting the Money Diet

It wasn’t until I moved to the Yukon six years ago that I heard the term “money diet”, but I immediately liked the concept. Sometimes we diet because our life circumstances require it in order to restore or maintain our health. Other times we do it just because we are feeling a little beyond what …

Tasting the Money Diet Read More »

Looking off the beaten path

Searching for wines is a little bit like a scavenger hunt at times, and sometimes it calls for looking at the outliers of the wine world for new and exciting finds. Here in the Yukon, we’re well familiar with French, Italian, American and Australian wines. More recently Canadian, Argentinian and Chilean wines have become more …

Looking off the beaten path Read More »

Refreshing Riff Rock

The members of Whitehorse’s newest band, Abscess of the Dog (AOTD), sit in a comfortable Riverdale living room and drink scotch. Matt Larsen, the band’s drummer, is a new father, and that is cause for celebration. Larsen, Lars Jessup and Kinden Kosick were friends long before they were ever bandmates. Jessup and Larsen are both …

Refreshing Riff Rock Read More »

Scroll to Top