The Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) in Vancouver had their latest New Products Salon tasting of wine, beer and spirits this week. This is a Trade only event, where wine industry people get a chance to sample, and order, new wine, beer, and spirits for their hotel, restaurant, wine shop, etc. There are always more tables with wines for me to try than are possible within the short period of time, so hopefully with my peeking at tables as I pass by, I will stop at some that interest me, and hopefully you too. What wines excited me from this event?
My Wine Picks
Bodegas Santa Cruz del Alpera Blanco Verdejo 2010 (Spain). This wine is a good buy at $12.99 and tastes great. Something nice for this summer. This wine is made from 100% Verdejo grapes, fermented in stainless steel tanks on it’s lees for 2 months. Light lemon in colour. Very ripe peach nose. Medium body with good acidity, with some prickliness up front. Very juicy apricots and peach flavours. Round in the mouth with spice on the finish.
Giesen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand). A nice herbal and lime nose. Medium acidity with herbal and grassy flavours. Long length. Another nice wine for the summer.
Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009 (Argentina). I’ve been enjoying the Zuccardi Q series of wines for several years, and looked forward to trying the latest vintage of their Malbec and was not disappointed. Deep purple in colour. Jammy cassis and vanilla aromas. Full body with jammy dark fruit, vanilla, and fruit compote. Very rich flavour. Smooth. Give this one a try with some firm cheeses, a hearty stew, or some BBQ.
Lammershoek Roulette 2006 (South Africa). This is a premium syrah-based blend, with Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier. Each of the different grapes are fermented separately and matured in French oak barrels for 12 months. The wine is blended a few weeks prior to bottling and is not fined or filtered. This wine has lots of ripe red fruit aromas. Medium body with cassis, ripe cherries and other red fruits, and vanilla. Dry finish with a long length.
Lammershoek Pinotage 2006 (South Africa). Pinotage is still not a widely recognized grape around the world, but can produce some very characterful wine. This pinotage has character. Bright purple in colour. Matchstick and cherry aromas. Ripe red fruits with firm tannins in the background. Some tea leaves and cassis flavours too. Very nice.
Monowai Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir 2007 (New Zealand). Light garnet in colour. Smoky, cherry, raspberry, and vanilla aromas. Light body with raspberry, cherries, cassis, smoky and spicy flavours. Cherry, vanilla and spice on the finish. Long length.
Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG (Italy). This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours. Also vanilla and cherry on the palate. Medium tannins with a dry finish.
Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba 2007 (Italy). This is a solid wine. Medium garnet in colour. Sandalwood and blueberry aromas. Nice flavours of blueberries, cherries and vanilla. Medium level of acidity to this wine. If you have never tried Barbera before, consider this wine.
Croft Pink Port NV (Portugal). This is a FUN wine. Chill it a bit and sip it on the deck in the summer. It’s called pink port because the wine is pink; it’s a rose port. Very pale cherry colour. Fresh raspberry nose. Really nice aroma. Medium sweetness with nutty, cherry, raspberry, and spice on the palate. Round and rich!
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:
Giesen Wine Estate
Kim Crawford Wines
Man O’War Vineyards
Mud House Wines
Oyster Bay Wines
Sacred Hill Wines
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
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!