Pinot Rama at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 09:29:45
Posted By Wine With Karl

In this seminar we tried a lineup of different “Pinots“, which covered Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinotage. For those that don’t know, all the Pinot varietals come from Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir grapes tend to mutate, giving rise to different “clones” of Pinot Noir, and in other cases caused the creation for Pinot Blanc for example.

Our first wine was the Champagne de Venoge Blanc de Noir 2005 (Champagne). In Champagne-speak this is champagne made from red grapes, in this case 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. A nice bubble, lemon colour, bready and dried fruit nose and flavours.

2nd was the Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio (Italy). This winery is known to produce the most pinot grigio of any winery in the world. From this grigio you get good acid, peach and lime flavours.

3rd was the Sandhill Pinot Blanc 2007 (BC). This wine was a star for me. Vanilla, pineapple, pear and ripe fruit flavours. Round mouthfeel, some spice, tropical fruit flavour. Long finish.

4th was the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2007 (BC). Light, bright, lemon colour. Stone fruit nose. Banana, lemon, and pear flavours.

5th was the Pierre Sparr Pinot Gris Grand Cru Mambour 2000 (Alsace, France). Another star! Note that is a 2000 vintage. Most people say white wines don’t age well. This wine was spectacular. Deep lemon colour. Lychee, peach and apricot nose. Lush, roundess, some spicy, fruit, honey.

6th was the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Pinot Noir 2007 (Loire, France). Nice strawberry aroma with light oak. Light bodied, cherry and spice, some apple flavour.

7th was the Hacienda Araucano Humo Blanco Colchagua Valley Pinot Noir 2007 (Chile). Made by a French wine maker. Masculine with a meaty, smoky aroma. Medium body, red fruit, spicy finish.

8th was the Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir 2006 (Dundee Hills, Oregon). From 100% certified organic grapes. A bit of bricking at the edges, but nice strawberry and vanilla aroma. Red fruit and spice with a round mouthfeel.

9th was the Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir 2006 (California). Not as big as the Sokol Blosser, but still showed cherry, vanilla and strawberries.

10th was the Quails’ Gate Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (Okanagan, BC). Very deep red coloured, with some brown. Cherry, vanilla and some spice. Very fruity.

11th was the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2006 from Martinborough, New Zealand (North Island). When I drink Pinot Noir I love violet aroma, and this was have lots of violets and strawberry. Flowery, violet, and apple flavours.

12th was the Maison Albert Bichot Pommard Clos des Ursulines Domaine du Pavillon 2006 (Burgundy, France). My OVERALL favorite of this tasting. Pommard is known for more masculine pinot. Cherry, vanilla, apple, spice. Light and elegant.

13th was the Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles 2006 also (Burgundy, France). More body than the previous wine. Cherry, vanilla, apple and spice. The grapes from this vineyard are also 100% organic and biodynamic.

14th was the Spier Private Collection Stellenbosch Pinotage 2006, (South Africa). This wine was opaque purple in the glass. Vanilla and black fruit on the nose. Full bodied, spicy, sweet tarry finish.

Last was the Sumac Ridge Pinot Blanc Icewine 2006, (Okaganan, BC). This was deep lemon coloured. Honey and apricots on the nose. Unctus with honey and apricot flavour. Not much acid which could have helped it be a bit more refreshing.

You can see that Pinot has many different styles. If you buy a pinot noir, please chill it for about 30 minutes before serving to bring out it’s flavours. Enjoy!

Bourgogne: Tour De Terroir tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 08:04:21
Posted By Wine With Karl

Friday evening was a “tour” across Burgundy. We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Luckily only 9 wines this evening compared to 15 wines the previous evening.

First wine was Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurora Rose Brut, a cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant is a sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne. 100% pinot noir. Light salmon colour, strawberry aroma and flavour. Cremant is usually less expensive than Champagne but uses the same methods so try some cremant.

Next was Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Los 2005. This is chardonnay from the northern Chablis region. Chablis is known for being steely and mineral, but with age comes complexity. This one had lemon, spice and mineral aroma. Light oak, apple, citrus flavour, and had a soft mouthfeel.

Chateau de Cordon Andre Pouilly Fuisse Les Vielle Pierres 2004. Pouilly Fuisse is the region just on the northern border of Beaujolais. The grapes for this wine are also chardonnay. Being further south, the grapes get more sun and heat and have more flavour and creaminess. Unfortunately the wine I had came from a tainted bottle so I can’t tell you about it. Approximately 1 in 12 bottles suffer cork taint world-wide.

Our fourth wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Mersault 2006. More chardonnay, this time from the Cote d’Or, the main part of Burgundy. I marked this wine as a star. Fermented in barrel, this wine was full bodied, rich, with apple, spice, citrus and hazelnut flavours with a toasty finish. Pair with lobster.

The fifth wine was the George Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages 2007. A “village” wine is a step up from a simple Beaujolais. It typically has riper fruit and at least 0.5% more alcohol. Gamay is the red grape in Beaujolais. This wine had cherry and banana aromas. Cherry and juicy fruit gum, flavours. The banana aroma and juicy fruit gum flavours come from the carbonic maceration fermentation (i’ll blog on that separately).

Next, the sixth wine was the Domaine Piron Chenas Quartz 2007. Chenas is the smallest Cru within Beaujolais, and has produced an excellent quality wine. This was medium reddish purple. Cherry aroma. Big cherry fruit flavour, a good level of acidity and medium tannins. A star for this one.

Our seventh wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 2006. Pinot noir here. The vineyard was once owned by nuns, thus the origin of the “Baby Jesus” name. The vineyard is in Beaune, which is the main city in Burgundy. This wine had beautiful cherry blossom aroma. Soft mouthfeel, cherries and strawberry flavours. Very well balanced. My OVERALL favorite of the tasting.

The eighth wine was the Olivier Leflaive Wines Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2005. Remember, Pommard produces masculine wines. This vineyard grows on iron rich soil, giving the wine more body and firm tannins. Garnet colour and big legs (high alcohol). Cherry and strawberry flavour. Full bodied, firm tannins, cherry flavour.

Our final wine was the Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 2006. I do love the wines from the Gevrey-Chambertin appelation. This wine had beautiful cherry and vanilla/oak aroma. Good acid, cherry flavour, medium body.Tour de terroir

Enjoy!

Day 1 at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest

March 26, 2009 09:22:25
Posted By Wine With Karl

Today I was at the wine festival waiting for the doors to open. My strategy as I am there today and tomorrow, is to taste mainly white wines today, and red wines tomorrow. Also since BC is the theme region, I’d taste the BC wines before exploring the international offerings. The BC wines I tried:

– Black Hills Estate winery who are noted for their Nota Bene Bordeaux style red blend
– Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
– Burrowing Owl Estate winery
– Cedar Creek Estate Winery
– Church & State Wines
– Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
– Garry Oaks (I also recorded an interview with Marcel Mercier from Garry Oaks)
– Road 13 Vineyards
– Sandhill (check out the picture of me with Howard Soon their wine maker, and Louise Wilson their sales rep and Sommelier)
– Stoneboat Vineyards
– Tantalus Vineyards (I recorded another interview here)
– Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
– Twisted Tree Vineyards & winery
– Wild Goose Vineyards

Keeping things short and sweet on the blog, the Tantalus Riesling and Old Vines Riesling were exceptional. Sandhill has a wonderful Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Road 13 has a nice pinot noir. Garry Oaks pinot noir was quite beguiling. Cedar Creek‘s Ehrenfelser is a neat change to a gewurztraminer. You can’t go wrong with Burrowing Owl‘s Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

On the international side I tried:
– La Joya Viognier Reserva 2007 (Chile)
– Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune du Chateau Blanc Premier Cru 2006 (Burgundy, France)
– Catena Chardonnay 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina)
Champagne Deutz Cuvee William 1998 (Champagne, France) LOVED It But >$150 a bottle.
– Erath Pinot Gris 2007 and Pinot Blanc 2006 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
– Vina Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard 2008 (Aconcagua, Chile) A wild ferment!
– Miguel Torres Milmanda Single Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Penedes, Spain)
– Bodegas Muga Blanco 2007, Rosado 2005 (Rioja, Spain) I enjoyed the Rosado so much I bought a few bottles.
– Murphy-Goode Sonoma County Chardonnay 2006 and “The Fume” 2007 (Sonoma, CA)
– Olivier Lefaive Wines Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Gain 2006 (Burgundy, France) an excellent wine but over $100
– Santa Margherita / Ca’ Del Bosco / Kettmier Pinot Grigio 2007, Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2007, Cuvee Prestige Franciacorta N/V. (Italy)
– Vina Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Leyda Valley, Chile) good gooseberry flavour
– Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution N/V and Dundee Hills Pinot Gris 2007 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
– Thompson Estate Chardonnay 2005 and Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2005 (Margaret River, Australia) The sparkling just evaporated when it hit your tongue and was quite creamy. A buy!
– Miguel Torres Cordillera de las Andes Chardonnay/Viognier blend (Curico, Chile) Also a nice blend to try.

Did I try enough? I was at it for 2.5 hrs, then did a 2 hour sit down Pinot tasting. I’ll blog about that another day. I will do indepth reviews of wines after the festival is over. Enjoy!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival in March 23-29/09

Yes I know it is still a few months away, but I thought I’d let you know as there are early bird tickets available now. For those that are new to the wine scene in Vancouver, BC, every year around Feb-March there is this wine fest, held at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre downtown, plus numerous smaller tastings/dinners at restaurants around the lower mainland. This is THE wine event of the year for the wine trade, and for anyone that enjoys wine. Each year there is a theme country/region, and a theme varietal. This year the theme is “British Columbia” and the theme varietal is “Pinots“, which means any pinot based grape (e.g. pinot noir, pinot gris). This will be a great time to try out smaller BC-based wineries which don’t typically go to the wine festival. It is usual that the country/region that is the theme for that year sends a large delegation for the main tasting room. Here is a partial list of the BC wineries that will be participating (including one of my favorites. If you don’t remember which one, check a few blogs back 🙂

Deep Creek Wine Estate & Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery
Averill Creek Vineyard / Salt Spring Winery
Arrowleaf Cellars
Artisan Sake Maker
Black Hills Estate Winery
Blasted Church
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
CedarCreek Estate Winery
Cherry Point Vineyards
Church & State Wines
Desert Hills Estate Winery /Dunham & Froese Estate Winery
Domaine de Chaberton
Elephant Island Orchard Winery
Fairview Cellars / Garry Oaks
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Herder Winery & Vineyards
Hester Creek Estate Winery
Hillside Estate Winery
Thornhaven Estates Winery
Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan
Joie Farm
Kettle Valley Winery
La Frenz Winery
Lake Breeze Vineyards
Laughing Stock Vineyards
Mission Hill Family Estate
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
Nk’Mip Cellars
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Osoyoos Larose
Peller Estates
Pentâge Winery
Poplar Grove Winery
Quails’ Gate
Red Rooster Winery
Road 13 Vineyards
Sandhill
See Ya Later Ranch
St Hubertus
Estate Winery
Stoneboat Vineyards
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Tantalus Vineyards
Therapy Vineyards
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery
Twisted Tree Vineyards & Winery
Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery

The other benefit of attending the main tasting room, is that there is a special wine store at the back of the tasting room, where you can buy many of the wines you were tasting. MANY of the wines are specialty wines brought in ONLY for this event so these are the wines to buy!

Besides BC, there will be wines from USA, Australia, France, Italy, Chile and many other countries. If you are curious about French wine, but don’t want to spend lots of money buying bottles in the liquor store without knowing anything about it, you can sample it at the wine festival. Another bonus is that a winery principal MUST attend the tasting room so you may have a chance to chat with the wine maker from another part of the world. That is really exciting.

The event this year is March 23-29/09.

ENJOY!