I look forward each year for the California Wine Fair to come through Vancouver. There was almost 120 wineries in attendance this year. Too many to try and taste at one time. But I hope I have a few gems for you.
California wines are big in the USA market. From a recent Decanter article, they noted “Wines from California accounted for 61% of overall US market volumes at nearly 200m cases, up 1%, with retail value estimated at US$18.5bn.” http://bit.ly/ieHzkC. That is a staggering amount to me.
In BC, California wines are well-regarded, but maybe only known for their Napa Cabs and oaked chardonnays. But there is more to California wines than just that. Try a Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are a few of my California Wine Fair highlights:
- Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2007. This wine is made from 100% chardonnay. It had a light nutty nose. High acid with small bubble. Red delicious apple and citrus flavours.
- Ferrari-Carano Winery Fume Blanc 2009. This is possibly my favorite wine of the fair. Fume blanc is an oaked sauvignon blanc. This wine is pale lemon in colour with a greenish tint. Lots of herbal, gooseberry and grassy aromas. Round mouthfeel with herbal and green pepper flavours. A long length. A white wine to savour.
- Rodney Strong Vineyards Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2009. This wine is tied with the Ferrari-Carano for my favorite wine of the fair. Pale lemon in colour with a green tinge. Vanilla and lemon aromas. Cinnamon, apple, lemon and vanilla flavours. Have a wow moment when you sip this wine.
- Alexander Valley Vineyards Redemption Zin, 2007. Medium garnet in colour with a nice raspberry nose. Very fruity and jammy. Primarily raspberry flavours, with a bit of cherry and spice. Medium tannins and is drinking nicely now.
- Bennett Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. This cab is deep garnet in colour. A nice nose with ripe cassis and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel with dark fruit and dry tannins. Long lingering flavours.
- Clos du Val Wine Company Zinfandel 2009. Light garnet in colour. Smoky raspberry nose. Medium body with raspberry and cassis flavours, with vanilla and spice on the finish. An elegant wine.
- Clos du Val Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Light garnet colour in the glass. Light nose with capsicum and cassis. Medium body with cassis and raspberry flavours. Round mouthfeel with medium tannins. Another elegant wine!
- Eberle Winery Syrah 2008. Medium garnet. Meaty, ripe red fruit, and herbal notes on the nose. Raspberry, blueberry and vanilla flavours. Medium body with dry tannins in the background.
- Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2007. Light garnet in colour with a light jammy nose. Raspberry flavour with firm tannins and a medium body. Some spice on the finish.
- Hahn Family Wines Pinot Noir 2009. Light garnet in colour. Strawberry aromas on the nose. Light body, with tea leaves and strawberry flavours. Low tannins.
- Mettler Family Vineyard Zinfandel 2008. This is a relatively new winery although this family has been growing grapes for many years. This is the 3rd vintage for this winery. This zin was opaque purple in colour. BBQ briquettes, woody and meaty nose. Very round mouthfeel. Dark ripe fruit, cigar and vanilla flavours with some spice on the finish.
- Perry Creek Vineyards Altitude:2401 Barbera 2009. Barbera is an Italian grape variety that is best known as Barbera d’Asti in the Piedmont region. This California version was light garnet in colour. Smoky, chocolate, and raspberry on the nose. Medium body with smoky raspberry flavours. Low tannins. This was one of my surprise favorites of the wine fair.
- St. Clement Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Deep garnet in colour. Light cherry / plum on the nose. Medium body and medium tannins. Flavours of apples, plums, cherries and vanilla.
- Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Nice juicy raspberry fruit nose with a hint of capsicum. Juicy flavours of cassis and raspberries. Some vanilla too. Fine tannins.
That’s all for now. Enjoy some California wine this weekend.