Dish and Dazzle – Fine Wine and Fabulous Food

BC Hospitality Foundation logo

Dish n’ Dazzle 2012 will be presented by Wines of Argentina on May 16th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. This year’s $75 price represents outstanding value. Guests will be a be able to taste selections from over 80 wines. Enjoy food from 12 Vancouver restaurants. Food parings this year include Argentinian chorizo with Chapa bread, Charred Chimi Chrurri Hanger Steak, Empandas, Prawn tacos and more. The cocktail “shakedown” competition will offer attendees an opportunity to watch 6 top bartenders in action creating Argentinian inspired cocktails and the chance to taste each one!

A raffle featuring a grand prize from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts will be accompanied by a fabulous silent auction.  You can buy your tickets here.

Participating Restaurants

  • Heron’s West Coast Restaurant and Bar
  • Hy’s Encore
  • House of Empanadas
  • Kits daily Kitchen
  • Market by Jean-Georges
  • Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim
  • Pan Pacific Hotel
  • Pier 7
  • Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Rockford Wok|Bar|Grill
  • Sutton Place: Fleuri 
  • Sanafir of the THE GLOWBAL COLLECTION
  • The Granville Room
  • H.A.V.E. Culinary school
  • Chef Anne Kirsebom

Participating Argentinean Wineries

I have written about many of these wineries in the past.  Lots of top quality wine to enjoy.  Please review my past posts by entering Argentina, Malbec, or Mendoza in the Search box.

  • Amalaya
  • Bodega Catena
  • Bodega Norton
  • Bodegas Escorihuela 1884
  • Casa Montes
  • Clos de los Siete
  • Dereco
  • Familia Schroeder
  • Familia Zuccardi
  • Finca Flichman
  • Flechas de los Andes- Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmund de Rothschild
  • Las Perdices (My favorite wine from the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival this year was their Bonarda)
  • Michel Torino
  • Pascual Toso
  • Santa Ana
  • Santa Julia
  • Tapiz
  • Trivento
  • Valentin Bianchi
  • Vistalba

More Food You Will Sample

  • Coffee crusted NY striploin with chimichurri infused vegetable Carbonada and crispy chichiron
  • Red churros croustillant Lollipops filled with Dulce de leche cream
  • Assorted traditional Empanadas with chimi churri sauce
  • Beef ensaladas with chili-passionfruit dressing
  • Cranberry & onion confit with chevre, blue cheese cracker
  • Seared Albacore tuna, spicy ramp kimchi, pickled vegetables
  • Charred Chimi Churri Hanger Steak , Jalapeno Piperade, Grilled Mini Faj
  • Hy’s classic steak tartare ita
  • House-made Argentinean Chorizo with Chapa Bread
  • Prawn Tacos with chocolate bacon
  • Albacore tuna soft shell
  • BC clam chowder with chorizo and carbonarra sabayon
  • Dungeness Crab & Albacore Tuna in a Sesame Cone with Sorrel Pesto

Dish ‘n Dazzle supports the BC Hospitality Foundation, bchospitalityfoundation.com

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More Winery Picks at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest 2012

las perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008

Day 2 is over for me at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. I spent a portion of my time finishing off some Chilean wineries (and interviewing a few wine makers) but the majority of the time was trying the other wineries’ wines at the Festival. If you are attending tomorrow’s tasting, here are some wines that you may want to try. Tasting notes will follow after the Festival is over.

  • Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Argentina
  • Amalaya Gran Corta 2010, Argentina
  • Finca Flichman Expresiones Malbec / Cabenet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina
  • O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec 2008, Argentina
  • Las Perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008, Argentina (I really like this wine.  Try it if you can!)
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Torrontes 2011, Argentina
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Malbec 2011, Argentina
  • Delas Freres Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette 2009, France
  • Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-pape Cuvee Barberini 2005, France
  • Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009, Italy
  • Damilano Barolo “Lecinquevigne” DOCG 2006, Italy
  • Quinta dos Roques Quinta do Correio red wine 2009, Portugal (very interesting indigenous grapes used)
  • Quinta dos Roques Red 2009, Portugal
  • Quinta dos Roques Reserva 2007, Portugal
  • Lammershoek Winery Pinotage 2007, South Africa
  • J. Lohr Vineyards Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, California
  • Trefethen Family Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California
  • Zaca Mesa Winery Syrah 2009, California
  • Iber Wine, Casa Jus Antiguos Vinedos Tempranillo 2006, Spain
  • Domecq Bodegas Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2003, Spain

Trefethen Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

There are many more wines and wineries that I did not have a chance to try.  Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were not able to get my attention, but there are many good wines from there too.  I hope you enjoy some of my latest wine picks!

There are also a few more Chilean wines for the list that I tried today:

  • Vina Caliterra Cenit 2008
  • Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  • Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2008
  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Fair Trade Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Miguel Torres Conde de Superunda 2005
  • Vina San Pedro Cabo de Hornos 2007

Enjoy!  I also love to hear what you liked at the Festival.  Leave a comment please with your favourites.

My Recommendations to Attend the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Have you had a chance to check out the wine events coming up at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival?  Did you know that tickets for the events go on sale this Tuesday, January 10?  I’ve checked through the events, and I’d like to give you a few recommendations.  Maybe you will see me at one of these events too.

Theme Country – Chile

Two years ago I travelled down to Chile and visited wineries from the Aconcagua, Maipo, Casablanca, and Colchagua Valleys.  Some of the wineries were Casa Lapostolle, Montgras, Montes, Errazuriz, and Casas del Bosque.   I was impressed with how much the wineries cared for their vineyards and the production of their wines.  One of the nice thing with Chile, is that it is dry due to it’s location on the west coast of South America, and the Andes Mountains on it’s eastern border.  The dry climate, plus topography, and soil factors have made the area a great place to grow grapes.  There is very little, or no, phylloxera louse to attack the grape vines, plus the dryness keeps fungus and mold at bay.  So less pesticides and/or herbicides are needed here.  Many of the wineries in Chile indicate that they are organic or follow organic principles.

Chile’s Natural Advantage

Chile is a wine maker’s paradise.  They get 3 weeks more ripening time than in Bordeaux and 300 + days of sunshine each year.   The cool air from the Andes cools the grapes in the evening so that the grapes mature slowly so that they reach full phenolic ripeness; lots of ripe fruit and a good backbone of acidity. The adjacency to the coast, and the cool Humbolt Current helps produce coastal fog which cools the grapes near the coast, such as from the Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley.

Chilean Grapes

Wide range of Chilean red wines

Cabernet is King is Chile.  With the 300+ days of sunshine, the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce very full-bodied, ripe, supple wines.  Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor is one of the top quality wines for this grape.  Merlot and Carmenere come in, in 2nd and 3rd place.  Yet they were thought of both being Merlot for many years.  The grapes were planted together in the same vineyard and the grapes and leaves of both vines look very similar.  It was only fairly recently that the Carmenere grape was identified (it’s a Bordeaux grape btw), and has become a signature grape for Chile. A second signature red grape is coming through the ranks, and that is the Syrah grape.  I think people started to recognize Syrah’s potential in Chile, with Aurelio Montes‘ plantings in the Apalta Region of the Colchagua Valley.  There he produces an ultra premium Montes Folly wine from Syrah.

Most people probably think of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay when they think of white wines from Chile.  Probably also the Casablanca Valley, where a lot of very good Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are produced. An upcoming region for Sauvignon Blanc is slightly south of the Casablanca Valley and much closer to the coast is the Leyda Valley.  While the Sauvignon Blanc wine from the Casablanca Valley can be more tropical fruit, from the Leyda Valley, expect more citrus and herbal aromas and flavours.  Have you ever heard of Moscatel of Alexandria?  You might not have, but you probably have tried some Chilean Pisco.  Pisco is produced from the Moscatel grape.  Riesling and Viognier and two grapes with great potential.  I don’t think a particular region is well-known enough for these grapes, but I would hazard to guess that the Riesling grape would be very good in the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys while Viognier would shine in the more inland, warmer regions, like Aconcagua, Maipo and Colchagua Valleys.

Theme Grape – Cabernet

Montes Apalta vineyard

Cabernet is more than just one grape.  Most people know of Cabernet Sauvignon, the highly revered grape from Bordeaux, but there is also another Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, which can also be found in Bordeaux, but is better known in the Loire Valley in France. Cabernet Sauvignon can be found around the world.  California’s Napa Valley produces some famous Cabernet Sauvignon, such as Stag’s Leap, and don’t forget Chile!  Cabernet Sauvignon tends to have quite high tannins giving it great longevity potential in the bottle. The flavour profile is Cabernet Sauvignon according to Wikipedia, “When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavors of black cherries and plum. The aroma of black currants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes“.

Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux is used as a blending grape, offering cedar, tobacco, raspberry, cassis and violets aromas and flavours. It is lower in tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, and also can have a green pepper or leafy character. You can also find Cabernet Franc grown around the world.  Here in BC we have single varietal bottles of Cabernet Franc, such as from Tinhorn Creek.

As an aside, in my Wikipedia check, I see that there are 3 other Cabernets, formed through a hybrid of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape with another grape variety.  They are:

  • Cabernet Dorsa, a 1971 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder, created in Germany
  • Cabernet Gernischt, a Chinese variety similar or perhaps identical to Cabernet Savignon
  • Cabernet Mitos, a 1970 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Blaufränkisch, created in Germany

I have not had time to check on these other Cabs but will do some further research in the future.

My Recommended Events

  • New World Expressions. This is all about New World Cabernets.  Try Penfolds Bin 707 and other Bins against sought after New World regions of Sonoma and Napa Valley.
  • Celebrate Casa Real. Casa Real is one of Chilean winery, Casa Santa Rita‘s ulta-premium Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Andres Ilabaca will guide you through a vertical of 8 vintages of this wine.  It is always very interesting to try successive vintages of a wine and see how it is aging over time.
  • Kings of Cabernet Sauvignon. Join Barbara Philip Master of Wine and a panel of leading experts for a comparative tasting of top notch
    Cabernets from around the world.  One of the best ways to tell what style of wine you prefer for a particular grape.
  • Don Melchor: Behind the Blend.  If you know anything about Chilean wine, you would know about Concha y Toro‘s premium Don Melchor. Don Melchor has been regarded as Chile’s first growth of Cabernet Sauvignon and is accredited with bringing the premium wines of Chile to the attention of the world.
  • Any of the 8 sit down or grazing lunches on the weekend of March 3 and 4. I’d personally select the Chilean, New Zealand, or Spanish events.
  • Flavours of the Festival.  If you have the money but not the time to try many of the wines from around the world during the Festival. This sit down brunch at the The Fairmont Waterfront ballroom showcases foods from top BC restaurants paired with Festival wines from around the world.
  • Catena High Altitude at Hy’s. This is a Argentinean delight.  Wonderful wines from premium producer Bodega Catena Zapata from Mendoza, with expertly cooked steak from Hy’s.  Malbec and more!
  • A Star Rises in South Africa! Lammershoek is one of the rising stars of the dynamic South African wine scene. I’ve tried their wines for the first time last year and they are excellent.  Try their Pinotage, the signature red grape from South Africa.
  • West Coast Montes.  Enjoy a dinner with Chilean wine pioneer Aurelio Montes.  I’ve had dinner with him in the past.  He is very interesting and will tell you many stories about his wines.
  • Discover Piedmont at CRUCRU is one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver.  The food creations will be expertly matched with the wines of one of the most dynamic Barolo producers in Piedmont Italy, Damilano.
  • Classe Italiana. Another choice if you like Italian wine. Wines from Antinori, one of Italy’s most historic and prestigious Tuscan wineries, will be paired with Vancouver’s highly acclaimed and awarded Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill.
  • Excellence of Nature. CinCin Restaurant and Emiliana winery from Chile will showcase a pairing of organic and biodynamic
    wines with local producers of biodynamic products. This five-course meal integrates the best fresh, sustainable ingredients with the magic
    of Alvaro Espinoza’s wines in a harmonious and innovative union.
  • Sandhill Small Lots Dinner. Come celebrate a BC winery.  You will get to try the very limited wines from Sandhill’s Small Lots program. Indulge in the partnership of BC’s iconic winemaker Howard Soon and Gotham Steakhouse Executive Chef Jean-Claude Douguet

All events are available through the Playhouse Box Office
By phone: 604.873.3311
Toll free 1.877.321.3121
Monday to Friday 9:30 am-8:00 pm
Saturday 12:00-4:00 pm

In person at:
Vancouver Playhouse Box Office
601 Hamilton Street (at Dunsmuir)
Vancouver, BC
Monday to Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Online at PlayhouseWinefest.com (excluding brunches, ticket packages and group rates)
Public Events:  Tickets to all public events go on sale Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:30 am.

Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest 2010 – Day 1

Well I’m back from the Trade tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. I’m off to the Public tasting that starts in about 1 hr. So some quick notes here for u, in case you are going and want to buy some wines.
There are a ton of Argentinean Malbecs there. If you like full bodied wines, please try them out. I did find a few Malbecs I really enjoyed. They are:

– Casa Montes Bodegas & Vinedos “Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec 2006”
– Cavas del 23, “Beviam Reserve Malbec 2007”

– Vina Cobos “Bramare Malbec Lujan de Cuyo 2007” – Bodega Catena Zapata “Alta Malbec 2006”
– Bodegas Escorihuela 1884 “1884 Limited Production Malbec 2006”
– Bodegas Salentein “Malbec Reserva 2007”

– Bodegas Salentein “Numina 2006”

– Bodega Vistalba “Tomero Gran Reserve Malbec 2006”

I didn’t get through all the Malbecs there are. I’m sure there are more… More news to come after I finish tonight’s tasting, and tastings for the rest of the week.

Enjoy!

Preview of Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. I’ve been busy the last 2 weeks volunteering at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but now that this is over, I can dedicate myself to tasting wine, and giving you some insights on great wines and great wine events.

This evening I was privileged to try a range of wines from New Zealand and Argentina. These are the theme countries for the upcoming Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, which will be held in late April this year. BTW, if you don’t have tickets yet for any tastings, you better hurry up as many events sell out fast. The web link to the Playhouse International Wine Festival is:
http://playhousewinefest.com/

I tried over 40 wines and found some really nice ones for you. I will have tasting notes for all the wines on www.MyWinePal.com over the next few days, but in the meantime, enjoy these few wines. I do not know if these wines are currently available in BC, but they will for sure be available in the BC Liquor store at the Playhouse International Wine Festival.

New Zealand is well known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but pay attention to their Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Merlot. The Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Marlborough, NZ) is a very elegant wine. Oak, lemon and herbal on the nose. Big legs from a higher alcohol content, but the wine is balanced by the fruit so not hot on the palate. It does have nice herbal and lemon flavours with good acidity, not too strong. If you prefer a higher acid Sauvignon Blanc, you may want to try the Giesen “The Brothers” Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008. This wine has a tomato leaf aroma, higher acid, with herbal flavour. A traditional NZ Sauv Blanc.

There was 16 different NZ Pinot Noirs to taste at this event from all regions. There were several “wild” Central Otago pinots. One I enjoyed was the Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008. Light to medium cherry colour in the glass. A range of smoky, cherry, and leafy aromas. Wild flavours on your palate with cherry, oak and strawberry flavours. Another pinot I liked was the Two Paddocks Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007. This one was medium garnet in colour. Smoky, raspberry and cherry on those nose. Ripe fruit and raspberry flavours. Medium acidity and body, with a smoky finish. Enjoy with grilled lamb chops!

Crossing the Pacific Ocean we reach South America, and Argentina. Argentina is well-known for their Torrontes and Malbec wines, and today did not disappoint. The Bodega Tapiz Torrontes 2009 is a nice understated wine. Some Torrontes can be too fruit forward. This one has the fruit aromatics but doesn’t overpower you, and would be a nice accompaniment with food. This wine had a light lychee and rose nose. On the palate there was nutmeg, rose and lychee flavours. A premium wine producer in Argentina is Bodega Catena Zapata. I was able to enjoy their Alta Malbec 2006. This wine is opaque purple in the glass. Vanilla, black currant and red cherry aromas make an interesting nose. On the palate there is vanilla, cherry, black currant and ripe fruit flavours. The tannins were medium yet smooth. You can’t go wrong with this wine. A blend that caught my eye and tastebuds was the MASI Tupungato Corbec 2007. This is a mix of 70% Corvina and 30% Malbec. It is made with partially dried grapes, with the drying process concentrating the flavours of the grapes. This wine has a light cherry nose, but very full body and lots of ripe dark fruit and cherries and high tannins. You would need a nice grilled roast or hearty stew to tame the tannins right now, but it is overall a very enjoyable wine.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoy these wines and the upcoming Playhouse International Wine Festival.