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Valentine’s Eve Rosé and Bubbles

Valentine’s Eve Rosé and Bubbles Benefiting Women in Hospitality

On the eve of Valentines Day we were gathered at Toby’s Liquor store for a very unique spirit tasting, that doubled as a fundraiser for Les Dames BC. Les Dames d’Escoffier is a a group of women leaders in the hospitality, food and beverage industry committed to inspiring, advancing and supporting the women in their communities today, and the next generation of female leaders. As a woman heavily engaged in the food and beverage sector myself, this event and the cause was a perfect fit.

I was unaware that this long standing, privately owned liquor store doubled as an event space, with a top floor mezzanine that allowed a perched look of the shop below. This would be the perfect arena for a leisurely, self guided tasting of all things pink and spirits marketed on the more romantic side. A way to taste upstairs then shop downstairs for the Champagne, Prosecco, Sangria, Cava, and the Craft Ciders they were sampling tonight. This was a good mix of local and international options, and a perfect transition to Valentines the next day and any celebrations to follow on the weekend. A list of the specific brands and what was being poured, plus some memorable notes below.

And what mixer is complete without some finger foods for grazing on, and to help balance out all the spirits? At the back bar there was a handsome display of cheeses and charcuterie with fruit, nuts, jams and spreads on a board. And a mound of spinach and cheese pastries that I got plenty familiar with.

And even more impressive was the dessert platters showcasing selections from Goldilocks Bakery and Snowcap & Dessert Holdings. A collection of Filipino style cookies and cream shortbread, frosted mini chocolate cupcakes, and molasses powered cookies.

We would spend the entire two hour affair sampling from table to table, bouncing to any vendor without a line. Each guest was equipped with two glasses: your standard interchangeable wine glass for white or red and a flute for sparkling. To save time and maximize our tasting efforts we would carry around both and take a sample in each, before retreating back to our claimed standing table to sip and savour each.

Below is a full listing of what was being poured and my notes.

Canella Bellini and Mimosa – premixed and ready to drink cocktails. At 5% these were great to have as is, but better as a base to be mixed with either vodka or sparkling wine.

Café de Paris Brut

Castell D’or Cava (Organic)

Chronos Rosé – candy-like, fruit forward Rosé from Time Winery in Penticton. I got notes of pink fruits like watermelon, strawberry, and raspberries.

Col Sandago Prosecco and Rosé prosecco

Cono Sur Rosé – and organic Rosé that doesn’t show. Mellow with tart cherries and not as funky as I expected.

Dirty Laundry Rosé – from Summerland, BC Hush Rosé is a blend of Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon, both of which are my preferred white and red wine grapes. Less fruit forward, juicy with tannis, and only a hint of sweetness.

Evolve Effervescence and Evolve Pink – part of the Time Winery family. A light-bodied Rosé on the drier side, flavoured with melon notes.


Gautier Cognac – this is one of the easiest drinking and smoothest cognacs I have never tried. Like dessert with caramel and toffee notes that come through.

Gigglewater Prosecco and Rosé – a light hearted strawberry Rosé given some life through effervescent bubbles.

Kin Ross Pink Gin – this was an instant crowd hit. The hue alone and the fact that it tasted like strawberry dessert, as is, without the need to mix.

Lido Prosecco

Lolea Sangria Red and White – they had a fun display. Their bottles were being poured out of a branded cart and enjoyed on their set up of matching beach chairs.

Louis Roederer 2015 and Louis Roederer Collection – at $144.60 and $98.20 retail price, these were two of the more luxurious bottles of Champagne being sampled tonight. Another room favourite, given the prestige and how easy drinking each was with the crisp undertones of apple and orchard fruits from the former.

Love Rosé

Maris Rosé Minervois

Martini Non-Alcoholic Cocktails – a nice option and way to include everyone, but not for me and not why I was attending tonight.

Miraval Provence Rosé

Mount Rubi Sparkling Rosé (Natural)

Nodo Espresso Tequila – you didn’t immediately get tequila from this. It was tasty as is and would be great in your morning coffee, over a creamy dessert, or used in baking and the glazing of meats. So many uses for such a versatile spirit.

Riondo Sparkling Rosé

Salt Spring Island Cider

Sea Cider and Sea Cider Temperance – Victoria Island’s cidery was pouring both their alcoholic and non-alcoholic apple ciders. Delicious as a sparkling low ABV or no ABV alternative.

Veuve Clicquot Demi & Veuve Rosé – was I impressed to see a well known luxury brand such as Veuve make a sampling appearance here, which really speaks to the brand of Les Dames and the meaningful impression that they make.

Xila – is a a spicy sipper that I enjoyed as is, but can also envision as the key mix to a number of savoury cocktails looking for a smokier profile.

In short, there was plenty to drink and I didn’t get to them all. Wine tastings like these are the best way to get better acquainted with a handful of spirits you might not get a chance to try, and all for a good cause too.

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