As I mentioned in my earlier blog article, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, has a PDF brochure now available. It has a listing of all the wineries attending this year. I started to point out some wineries to visit at the International Festival tasting, but needed this second article to finish off the list. I already covered Spain, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, and BC. Although I may not mention each winery listed, I still suggest trying them as you may find a wine you love.
Wines from Germany
- Trockenbeerenauslese and
With increasing level of sweetness. But don’t forget that Germany also produces wines from Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Scheurebe, Bacchus, and Gewürztraminer (and more). Bürgerspital Estate would be one winery to try as they do have a wide range of varietal wines to try. It is also amazing to consider how steep the slopes are where they grow their grapes; check out the picture I included from their website. Schloss Schonborn is another premium winery, has a wide range, and a sparkling wine.
Wines from Italy
In Italy, the first in the list is Antinori. This is a large, well-known, and regarded winery, that has it’s winery in Italy, but also wineries in California and Washington state. Their innovations played a large part in the “Super-Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s. They are well-known for their launch of Tignanello, a barrique-aged wine from the Tignanello vineyard that contained not only Sangiovese, but also Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which meant that it was ineligible for the Chianti Classico appellation. This wine, plus Sassicaia from another Tuscan winery, helped to bring about the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification in Italy. Needless to say, if they are pouring Tignanello, you should try it.
Accordini Igino is from the Veneto region (NorthEast) of Italy, famous for Valpolicella and Amarone. If you have never tried an Amarone, you should be in for a treat. Amarone is a rich, dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. The drying process concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors in the grapes to produce a full-bodied wine with lots of flavour. Consider an Amarone for a special dinner.
Beni di Batasiolo is from the Piedmont (NorthWest) corner of Italy. Beni di Batasiolo is quite well-known for their off-dry Moscato d’Asti, but they do have a wide range of red and white wines. On the red side, we may be treated to a Barolo, Barbaresco, or Barbera d’Alba.
Ca’ del Bosco is a winery from the Lombardi region of Italy. They are a relatively new winery, who is on the leading edge of the exciting new wave of Italian wine producers, making top-quality sparkling and still wines. I checked their website and they do have quite a range of sparkling wines, that I am looking forward to tasting.
Wines from New Zealand
New Zealand and BC are quite similar. We both have been producing wines from the noble grapes starting the 1970s. We are both also cool-climate wine producers, and I think make some very nice Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Astrolabe, Giesen Wine Estate, Man O’War Vineyards, Mud House Wines, and Sacred Hill Wines are wineries that you may not have heard of, but they all are very good producers. Try Astrolabe‘s Sauvignon Blanc . I can recommend the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. When I tried it last year it had a range of smoky, cherry, and leafy aromas. Wild flavours on your palate with cherry, oak and strawberry flavours. Also try Mud House’s Pinot Gris. I also recommend trying the Giesen “The Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2008. Again from a past tasting, it had lots of herbal and gooseberry aroma. Bracing acidity with green flavours.
In August 2010, I was able to meet with Man O’ War winemaker, Mr. Duncan McTavish. At that time I recommended his Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 and his red blend made with Merlot / Cabernet / Franc / Malbec 2008. The winery also has a premium level of wines called their Black label wines. They are named after great battleships or classes of battleships. Hopefully Duncan will be bringing his Valhalla Chardonnay, Dreadnought Syrah, and Ironclad Bordeaux blend. Read my MyWinePal Meets Man O’ War article here.
Wines from Portugal
The G7 Wines of Portugal group visited Vancouver a few months ago, introducing us to the still white and red wines of Portugal, and of course their wonderful port. Aveleda has a variety of labels: Casal Garcia, Aveleda Fonte, Quinta da Aveleda, Aveleda Alvarinho, Charamba, Follies and Adega Velha. You may be most familiar with their Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, “green wine”. Vinho Verde, comes both as a red and a white wine, but I think only white wines have reached BC. Vinho Verde is a very refreshing and versatile white wine that has a bit of effervescence to it. Try it with some seafood. They also have a Follies line of wines. I was fortunate to taste their Follies Cabernet Sauvignon / Touriga Nacional (30/70%) 2008 (~$16). It was one of my favorite wines from the G7 tasting. Violets, black fruit, spice and mint aromas. Full bodied. Good fruit / tannins balance. Purple fruit flavour with a dry tannic finish.
Quinta do Crasto is well-known for their ports here, and will hopefully show us their range of still red wines. There are a few of their red wines currently available through the BCLDB, but there are many more to show. Their single varietal Touriga Nacional and their Touriga Roriz should be interesting to taste. These are two of the indigenous grapes to Portugal that go into the blend for port. The most expensive ports are primarily made from Touriga Nacional. It has aromas and flavours of violets, blueberries, black fruits, and spice. A grape that produces a very full-bodied wine. Touriga Roriz is the most widely grown grape in Portugal. It has cherry, jam, blackberry and spice on the nose. The grape has high tannins, and can age for a long time. Quinta do Vale Dona Maria is another producer of both port and still red wines to check out at the festival. Symington, Fonseca Guimaraens and Taylor Fladgate are famous port producers. You should visit all of them, but maybe wait toward the end of your tasting session as these ports could overpower your palate for white and red still wines.
Wines from South Africa
South African wines are a bit of Old World and New World style put together. People tend to have strong feelings about South African wines, either for or against. Many of their wines are in my opinion built for drinking together with food. We are lucky to have some premium South African producers at the Festival. Boekenhoutskloof produces some great red wines from entry level to premium. On the entry level they have The Wolf Trap, which is a blend containing syrah, mourvedre, and viognier. You get spice, structure, and perfume from these three grapes respectively. On the premium, hopefully we will have a chance to try their Boekenhoutskloof Collection Syrah. On the label you will notice 7 deck chairs, which I was told represents each one of the winery principals. It is quite a process to produce this wine which is fermented with native yeasts. Here is the description from BHK’s website:
“In 2008 the fruit was harvested over an one week period starting on February 25st. The complexity of this wine also benefits from the diversity in grape maturity from the different picks. The fruit is kept in the cold room overnight before it gets sorted and crushed into concrete fermenter. A small percentage of whole bunches were put into the bottom of the tank of some batches to get a slight effect of carbonic maceration. After 4 days of cold soaking, the fermentation starts by only using native yeasts. The primary fermentation is done within two and a half weeks with the temperature that peaks at around 29°C. During the fermentation the wine gets a delestage 2 – 3 times per day. Pigeage was never done on this Syrah. It also received a postfermentation maceration for another week before being pressed to 2nd filled barrels to undergo MLF. After 18 months in barrel the wine gets a light egg-white fining and racking before its final 9 months in oak.”
Graham Beck Wines produce a wide range of wines, from sparkling to dessert to white, rose, and red wine. Graham Beck also has a social conscience and opened the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre near Madeba in Robertson. Part of an extensive and innovative social development program, the centre aims to facilitate skills development for the long term upliftment of the farming community in the Breede River Valley. They also are supporters of the environment. You can read about Graham Beck’s Biodiversity drive here. I have enjoyed their Game Reserve Shiraz, Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, and their Méthode Cap Classique Brut NV sparkling wine in the past. Glen Carlou‘s Syrah and Chardonnay has won many awards from around the world. Their Syrah 2004 was awarded John Platter’s Wine of the Year in 2006. Their wine is reasonably priced, is a general listing in the BCLDB, and in my opinion a great deal.
Wines from the USA
There are plenty of wonderful wines from the USA. From Oregon there is the solid King Estate. They are well known for their excellent Pinot Noir, but I also really like them for their Pinot Gris. For Washington State, you will want to try Columbia Crest. The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World for 2009. Also I’ve tried their H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and really enjoyed it (Horse Heaven Hills = H3). There are several California wineries to choose from. If you like big, jammy Zinfandels, I would expect to see the wide range that are produced by Ravenswood. Caymus Winery and Clos Du Val are two cult level wineries for Sauvignon Blanc. Another good producer of Cabernet Sauvignon at a lower price point is Louis M Martini. Rodney Strong (both their white and red wines are excellent), Robert Mondavi, and Stag’s Leap are also excellent producers of wine. Give them each a try.
I could keep going on about all these wineries, but I think I’ll stop with this. If you have any favorite wineries, please let me know, and go out and enjoy the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival!!!
|Bürgerspital Estate||Azienda Vitivinicola|
|Henkell||Badia a Coltibuono|
|Schloss Reinhartshausen||Bastianich / La Mozza|
|Schloss Schonborn||Beni di Batasiolo|
|GREECE||Rocca Delle Macìe|
|Santa Margherita /|
|Ca’ del Bosco|
|Galil Mountain Winery /|
|Aveleda||Giesen Wine Estate|
|Blandy’s Madeira||Kim Crawford Wines|
|Fonseca Guimaraens||Man O’War Vineyards|
|Quinta do Crasto||Mud House Wines|
|Quinta do Vale Dona Maria||Oyster Bay Wines|
|Sogrape Vinhos||Sacred Hill Wines|
|Symington – Dow’s Port||Stoneleigh|
|Symington – Graham’s Port|
|Taylor Fladgate / Croft|
|SOUTH AFRICA||Bonterra Vineyards|
|Durbanville Hills||Clos Du Val|
|Graham Beck Wines||Delicato Family Vineyards|
|KWV Wines||Francis Ford Coppola
|J. Lohr Vineyards
|Louis M Martini|
|Miner Family Vineyards|
|King Estate||Ravenswood Winery|
|Robert Mondavi Winery|
|WASHINGTON||Rodney Strong Vineyards|
|Columbia Crest||Signorello Estate /|
|Hedges Family Estates /||Edge Winery / Fuse Wines|
|Snoqualmie Vineyards||Stags’ Leap|
Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure. Enjoy!