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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 11 | July 12, 2001

Sage source for tasting rare BC wines

Bistro's cellar sports some star-quality wines

by Don Wells staff writer

The surging popularity of both water from France and wine from Canada represents a rather peculiar shift in gastronomic convention. While the former is indeed puzzling, the latter surely is not, especially for anyone who has followed the success of some of BC's upstart wineries. Sadly, however, the problem is one of availability.

Campus oenophiles frustrated by the dearth of BC's best can take heart. Sage Bistro in the University Centre is truly an oasis, particularly for those perpetually on the lookout for all-too-rare vintages from the Okanagan's Blue Mountain and Burrowing Owl vineyards.

For the most part, these wines can only be purchased from the vintner or in select private stores and fine restaurants. Enter Gary Edmundson, University Centre manager and the visionary behind the resurgence of the former Faculty Club as a popular lunch destination.

The former chef at Star Anise insists that the task of building a cellar is never complete. But how does he manage to outperform virtually every other Vancouver eatery for both availability and price?

"I've got a lot of friends," he says wryly. "I also stay on top of allocations and date of releases, and when I find something I like, I take big hits."

How big? The 1996 Blue Mountain striped label reserve pinot noir has long been sold out, but Edmundson is still sitting on a sizable allotment. And the punchline is that he insists on a mere ten-dollar mark-up, rather than the 100-to-150 per cent that is the industry norm.

Recently, Edmundson initiated a tapas menu and patio service from 3:30 p.m., enabling those for whom lunch is a desk-bound activity to quaff a carafe in natural splendour and with culinary elegance.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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