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New Zealand Wines Winners in Recent Canadian Wine Awards

2013 WORLD WINE AWARDS OF CANADA

WineAlign’s 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada is a brand new competition yet the judging team are seasoned top wine writers and sommeliers who spent five days blind tasting 1,000 wines!  New Zealand was there to participate, and have some winning wines to share with you. Yes Sauvignon Blanc is in the list, but there are other varietal wines for you to consider, such as Pinot Grigio.

Best of Country

  • Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2011  ( A top quality winery that I never hestitate to recommend.)

Best of variety under $15

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Judges’ Choice

  • Giesen  Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Judges’ Choice by Varietal 
Sauvignon Blanc  

  • Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Pinot Gris/Grigio

  • Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2012

Pinot Noir  

  • Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2012

New Zealand Perfect Pairings, Wine and Food at the Int’l Playhouse Wine Fest

Saturday was a wonderful sunny day for the New Zealand Perfect Pairings event for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. It was held at the Boathouse Restaurant, situated at Kits Beach in Vancouver. Eight wineries from New Zealand were represented:

  • Astrolabe Wines
  • Giesen Wine Estate
  • Kim Crawford Wines
  • Man O’War Vineyards
  • Mud House Wines
  • Oyster Bay Wines
  • Sacred Hill Wines
  • Stoneleigh

New Zealand is well-known for their bracing Sauvignon Blancs and their Pinot Noirs, which range in style from summer fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, to wild savory aromas and flavours. But there are other grape varieties to try from New Zealand, such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec!

There was a wide variety of foods to try with the wines from these wineries:

  • Kusshi, Kumomoto and Boathouse Kiss Oysters on the half shell
  • Pan seared Dungeness crab cakes with mango  salsa and lemon aioli and citrus micro greens
  • Herb crusted Chicken Kiev on wilted greens with tomato, pine nuts and white balsamic strawberry coulis
  • Wild mushroom and fiddlehead gnocchi
  • Sesame crusted tuna nigiri sushi style with soy braised shiitake mushrooms
  • Lamb shoulder confit with mushroom ragout
  • One bite Caesar with smoky rubbed USDA prime striploin and clam vinaigrette
  • Strawberry, kiwi fruit flan with a drizzle of chocolate inside  (I didn’t get a chace to sample these, but they looked fabulous)
  • Assorted cheese (Alexis de Portneuf la Cendrillon, Paillot de Chevre, Stella Asiago, La Sauvagine)

Let’s start with the wines.  I enjoyed all the wines, but my top were:

  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The Mistress” Waipara Riesling 2006.  I was really impressed by this wine and their Small Parcel Pinot Noir.  These are special single vineyard wines.  The Riesling was pale lemony green.  Petrol, and lemon on the nose.  High acidity, almost bone dry, with petrol and lemon flavours.  It paired very nice with the La Sauvagine cheese.  And also with the Herb crusted Chicken Kiev.  The saltiness of the Chicken Kiev meshed nicely with the flavours of this wine.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 ($34.99). Central Otago, is inland in the South Island.  The cooler climate allows these grapes have a long hang time and smaller berries, which gives a higher skin to pulp ratio, and more intense, riper, fruit flavours.  Medium purple in the glass with ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Ripe fruit, cassis, plums and vanilla on the palate.  Medium body and medium length.  Very nice.
  • Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($23.99). This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice.  Went very well with the creamy cheeses and also held up against the Alexis de Portneuf la Cendrillon ash goat cheese.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($19.99).  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Sacred Hill Brokenstone Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2006 ($39.99). Medium dark garnet in colour.  Ripe dark cherry and vanilla aromas in the glass.  Full body, round mouthfeel with medium drying tannins.  Ripe cherries and vanilla flavour, with a bit of spice on the finish.

Some other mentionable wines were:

  • Astrolabe Voyager Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 ($32.99). Light garnet in colour.  Light cherry and vanilla nose.  Light body with red cherry flavour and a bit of spice.  Medium length.
  • Astrolabe Voyager Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010 ($23.99). Perfumy, peach and citrus on the nose.  Light body with peach flavour.  Round in the mouth with medium length.  I enjoyed this with the 3 types of oysters on the half shell.
  • Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 ($25.99).  A pale lemon colour with a green tint. Vanilla, oak and apple on the nose.  A full bodied wine.  Acidity upfront, which made it refreshing.  Cinnamon spice and apple flavours.  Round, but not too round as it had that nice acidic balance.  Very nice with the creamy cheeses.  Also I really enjoyed this with the sesame crusted tuna nigiri sushi.  It had a bit of smokiness to it that I enjoyed with the wine.
  • Man O’War Waiheke Island Cabernet Franc Malbec 2009 ($28.99). Deep purple in colour.  Vanilla and light cassis aromas.  Full body with ripe cassis, black cherries, and medium but soft tannins.  This wine paired with the smoky rubbed USDA prime striploin.
  • Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 ($22.99). This wine had a light cherry / strawberry nose. Light body with cassis and ripe red cherry flavours.  Low tannins and medium length.  Nice weight and flavours.
  • Sacred Hill Sauvage Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($39.99).  This is a barrel fermented wine, which gives it a bit more body and complexity.  It also is fermented using indigenous yeasts, which is always interesting.  You are never sure how a wine is going to turn out, and in this case, it worked out nicely.  This wine was light lemon in colour, with lemon and petrol on the nose.  More petrol on the palate along with apple.  Medium plus acidity.  This wine paired nicely with the oysters on the half shell.
  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 ($19.99). Light strawberry nose.  Light body with lots of strawberry flavour.  Low tannins and medium acidity.  A nice little wine.

I enjoyed the Boathouse food a lot, the view at Kits Beach, and the great New Zealand wine.  Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas of Kiwi wines that you would like to try. Enjoy!

More Wineries to Check at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

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

Germany is well-known for their rieslings.  In their Qualitätswein mit Prädikat rating system. You have:

  • Kabinett
  • Spätlese
  • Auslese
  • Beerenauslese
  • Trockenbeerenauslese and
  • Eiswein

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 RavenswoodCaymus 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 MartiniRodney 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!!!

GERMANY ITALY
Balthasar Ress Antinori
Bürgerspital Estate Azienda Vitivinicola
Deinhard Accordini Igino
Henkell Badia a Coltibuono
Schloss Reinhartshausen Bastianich / La Mozza
Schloss Schonborn Beni di Batasiolo
St. Urbans-Hof Fontanafredda
Mionetto
Pasqua
GREECE Rocca Delle Macìe
Boutari Tenuta Sant’Antonio
Santa Margherita /
Ca’ del Bosco
ISRAEL Tedeschi
Galil Mountain Winery /
Yarden
NEW ZEALAND
PORTUGAL Astrolabe
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
USA
CALIFORNIA
SOUTH AFRICA Bonterra Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Caymus Winery
Durbanville Hills Clos Du Val
Graham Beck Wines Delicato Family Vineyards
KWV Wines Francis Ford Coppola
Presents LLC
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
Louis M Martini
Miner Family Vineyards
OREGON Quady Winery
King Estate Ravenswood Winery
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
WASHINGTON Rodney Strong Vineyards
Columbia Crest Signorello Estate /
Hedges Family Estates / Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Snoqualmie Vineyards Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

Here is the download link for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival brochure.  Enjoy!

Boekenhoutskloof