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!

A Wonderful Portfolio Tasting With Mark Anthony Wine Merchants

Today I was fortunate to taste a range of wines around the world that are represented in BC by Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. There was red, wine, sparkling, rose, and fortified wines.

The wineries and countries that were available for tasting were:
– Canada: Artisan Wine Company, Mission Hill Family Estate
– Australia: Yalumba, Tyrrell’s, Vasse Felix
– South Africa: Obikwa
– New Zealand: Man O’War, Twin Islands, Pewsey Vale
– France: Maison Louis Latour, Henry Fessy, Simonnet Febvre, Lanson, Lucien Albrecht
– Italy: Antinori, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio, Col De Salici
– Germany: Gunderloch, Deinhard, Henkell
– Austria: Huber
– California: Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Terlato
– Washington: Long Shadows
– Chile: Santa Rita, Terra Andina
– Argentina: Dona Paula
– Spain & Portugal: Vega Sicilia, Manyana, Graham’s

With the sheer amount of wineries, and wines, it would be a short novel if I were to cover all the wines that I tasted. So I’ll give you my picks from this evening:

Brotte Vacqueyras “Bouvencourt” 2006 (France) $28.99. This is a Grenache / Syrah blend. Medium garnet with a bit of bricking. Caramel, and cherry on the nose.  Medium body and tannins. Caramel, apple, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Domaine Barville” 2004 (France) $31.48. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend.  Medium garnet with some bricking in the glass. Light cherry aromas.  Very nice flavours of red ripe cherries and vanilla. Medium body with smooth tannins.

Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $29.99. Light garnet in colour.  Lively raspberry fruit nose.  Oak, cherry, raspberry and currant flavours. Medium length.

Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri 2007 (Italy) $34.99.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah.  Opaque garnet with a black core in the glass. Pencil lead and black cherry nose.  Pencil lead, black ripe fruit, capsicum, and cherry flavours.  Smooth mouthfeel with medium tannins and medium length on the palate.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (Italy) $46.99. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour.

Monti Garbi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008 (Italy) $30.00.  Many Valpolicella are made from the grape varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is made with Corvina, Corvinone,  Rondinella, Croatina, and Oseleta.  This is one of my favourite wines of this tasting. Medium garnet in colour.  Nice aromas of cherries, caramel and a hint of spice.  Licorice and red cherries with spice on the palate.  Medium body / tannins,  smooth on the palate with medium length.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $19.99.  Santa Rita is one of my favorite wineries from Chile.  They have a range of very nice wines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine has awarded Santa Rita the Winery of the Year Award for 2010.  This is the first year I believe for this particular wine.  Medium garnet in colour. Juicy strawberry nose.  Lots of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavours with a bit of flowers and oranges too.  Lots of flavours happening in the glass.  Medium body.

Twin Islands Nautilus Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand) $39.99. New Zealand is well-known for their pinot noir wines.  This wine comes from the Marlborough region, which is also well known for Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is light cherry in colour.  Nice raspberry nose. Medium body with low tannins.  Some minerality, red cherry and smokiness on the palate.

Vasse Felix Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $39.99.  Opaque garnet in colour.  Ripe, juicy black cherry nose.  Minerality, ripe black cherries, and a bit of spice.  The flavour of this wine keeps building it the more you keep aerating the wine in your mouth.  Very smooth.  A “wow” wine.

There were many more wines that could be listed.  I will be posting my tasting notes for all the wines I tried later on www.MyWinePal.com.  I hope you have a chance to purchase and try some of these wines that I recommended. Cheers.