2018 VANWINEFEST Discounted Tickets and Gold Pass on Sale Nov 1 to Dec 15

VANCOUVER, BC (October 26, 2017) — A limited number of discounted advance tickets to the 40th Vancouver International Wine Festival go on sale November 1 at 9:30 a.m. The festival runs February 24 to March 4, 2018, welcoming 177 wineries from 15 countries. All wineries and their principals gather in the Tasting Room to showcase their wines at four International Festival Tastings (March 1-3), available in advance for $4-$9 off the regular price until December 15, or while quantities last.

This year, the festival features Wines from Spain and Portugal, with 38 wineries from Spain and 24 wineries from Portugal travelling to Vancouver to share their stories, passion and history. This marks the largest gathering of Iberian Peninsula wineries in festival history, nearly half of them festival first-timers. They’re joined by 115 wineries from 13 other countries, plus wines from South Africa available only at a Regional Tasting Station in the Tasting Room. Overall, one out of three wineries are new to the 2018 festival.

VanWineFest 2018

BUY NOW AND SAVE! ADVANCE TICKETS ON SALE NOVEMBER 1
Discounted passes and tickets to select events go on sale at VanWineFest.ca from November 1 until December 15, or while quantities last. “We’re delighted to offer festivalgoers a discount on select Tasting Room-related events that are at the heart of the festival,” said Harry Hertscheg, VIWF executive director. “Tickets make a great holiday gift for the wine lover on your list and you won’t have to battle any Black Friday crowds to get these bargains. And best of all, the ticket price you see is the price you pay. No surprises upon check out!” The advance sale offers savings on International Festival Tasting tickets and associated events. See details below.

ADVANCE SALE OFFERS

International Festival Tastings

Festivalgoers can save $4-$9 off the regular price of International Festival Tasting tickets (Thursday, March 1, Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3). Advance tickets for evening tastings, 7 to 10 p.m., are $80 for Thursday, $90 for Friday and $95 for Saturday. The Saturday matinee tasting from 2:30 to 5 p.m., set against the stunning backdrop of Coal Harbour, is available for the low advance price of $70. Only a limited number of tickets are available at the advance rate for each of the four sessions. Once the advance allotment sells out, tickets may be purchased at regular prices.

Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge

Enjoy an enhanced International Festival Tasting experience with tickets to the exclusive Friday and Saturday evening Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge and still save $10 (advance rate $180 for Friday and $185 for Saturday). Located in the Ocean Foyer in VCC West, right next to the Tasting Room, the lounge is open 5:45 to 9 p.m. and offers easy access to the corresponding International Festival Tasting. Enjoy a respite from the Tasting Room with comfortable seating and spectacular views. Select wines, light bites and cheeses are served.

Gold Pass

For those wanting the full tasting experience, Gold Passes go on sale for only $480a $15 savings. Gold Passes include access to six tastings (four public IFTs and two Trade Tastings, presented by ContainerWorld), the Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge and the exclusive Festival Toast VIP reception. Purchased individually, the Gold Pass events are valued at $721.

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL TASTINGS HIGHLIGHTS
See the full list of participating wineries

The Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre is where all 177 participating wineries gather to pour 700+ select wines. Discover exciting new wines, or return to your favourites, sipping from premium wine glasses. The room will also feature four regional tasting stations: Australia: History and Evolution; New Zealand: An Indelible Expression of Place; Wines of South Africa; and Spain is Wine. You can also find wine-friendly food and beverage exhibitors, many of whom offer tasting samples, including Nesters MarketCaffè UmbriaFIJI WaterTerra International FoodsD’Oro Gelato e Caffè and Terra Breads.

Theme Countries: Spain and Portugal
This year, the Tasting Room will feature wines from Iberian Peninsula neighbours Spain and Portugal. Two very distinct nations with their own rich histories and cultures, this festival will provide a fascinating opportunity to see how their winemaking and viniculture have developed in divergent and convergent paths over the centuries.

Vine Stars
What makes VanWineFest unique is the presence of global “vine stars” – winemakers, proprietors, senior executives – who come to Vancouver every year to pour and discuss their wines with festivalgoers. Each winery will be represented in the room by a principal, someone closely involved in the wine-production process.  Seek out the royal blue lanyards at tastings and special events to meet our vine stars face-to-face. More than two dozen owners and winemakers from Portugal and Spain will be in attendance, as well as other top executives representing their wineries and wines.

More Room, Smaller crowds
Both the Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon sessions are guaranteed to have a lower capacity than Friday and Saturday evening, offering more room and more time to interact with winery principals.

BC Liquor Stores Festival Wine Shop
Included in the price of each ticket is the opportunity to shop at the on-site BC Liquor Store where wines from all participating wineries will be available for purchase. Purchased wines can be shipped at no cost to your nearest BC Liquor Store for pick-up after the festival. BC Liquor Distribution Branch will also help everybody Get Home Safe by providing a complimentary transit ticket to patrons as they leave the tastings.

Buy the Case – Shop the World
Festival partners BC Liquor Distribution Branch and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) have teamed up to allow festivalgoers to order case lots of select wines. Wines available by the case will be identified with a neck tag. Place orders for those must-have wines directly at the participating winery tables and they’ll be delivered to your closest BC Liquor Store within two weeks of the conclusion of the festival.

HOW TO PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS (Nov. 1-Dec. 15, while quantities last)
Online
VanWineFest.ca
Phone: 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)
In person: 202-162 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.)

All ticket prices include wine, food (if a food event), gratuities, taxes and service charge. 

SAVE THE DATES
Free ticket with hotel booking offer
 – goes on sale early January. Festivalgoers get one free International Festival Tasting ticket for booking a downtown hotel via Vancouver Hotel Destination Association. Details will be announced via e-news and social media.

All public events go on sale Wednesday, January 10 at 9:30 a.m.
All Trade Days Conference events go on sale Wednesday, January 17 at 9:30 a.m.

Stay in Touch:
For more information, go to VanWineFest.ca

Facebook & Instagram: /VanWineFest
Twitter: follow @VanWineFest for news on tickets and sold-out events. Join the conversation at #VIWF.

ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL
Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 40th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 24 to March 4, 2018. The festival features Wines from Spain and Portugal and will showcase 177 wineries from 15 countries (including 38 wineries from Spain and 24 from Portugal) pouring 1,450+ wines at 51 events to a projected 25,000 admissions. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction opens the festival on Saturday, February 24 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The Trade Days Conference takes place Wednesday, February 28 to Friday, March 2. The festival has been named the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash for five years running.

The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $9 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and the Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Liquor Stores, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The festival is made possible through the gracious support of our participating countries’ consulates and embassies.

ABOUT BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its 29th season in 2018, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. Bard on the Beach offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and popular special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2017, attendance was over 100,000 and more than 1.6 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. Next year’s festival dates are June 6 to September 22, 2018, and the lineup includes As You Like ItMacbethTimon of Athens and a new Bard-commissioned adaptation of the Greek classic Lysistrata.

Bard also offers a range of education programs, including Young Shakespeareans Workshops for 8 to 18 year-olds at its Vanier Park site during the summer, and Riotous Youth for 19 to 24-year-olds. During the school term, Bard also offers workshops for educators and youth in schools and community centres throughout BC’s Lower Mainland, as well as at its administrative home, the BMO Theatre Centre (162 West 1st Avenue). Full details and education program information are at bardonthebeach.org.

Advertisements

Enjoy Port and Chocolates with Liberty Wine Merchants

Port and chocolate with Liberty

Liberty Merchant Company proudly presents its 22nd annual Port & Chocolate Tasting. All proceeds from this “Tasting-in-the-Park” event is to benefit the Vancouver Rowing Club’s Amateur Sports Program. To date Liberty has raised $104,428 for this program.
Sweet Ports, decadent chocolates, raffle prizes and excellent company await. Join us on Thursday October 3rd, from 7:30 – 9:30pm at the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park.
Tickets are $29.99 and available at all Liberty Wine Merchants locations.

Port and Chocolate Event with Liberty – Get Your Tickets

I hate to say it, but the cold and rainy weather will soon be upon us.  As such our thoughts move to comfort food and more full bodied wines.  Port and chocolate is a wonderful pairing on those fall/winter season evenings.  Why not try this pairing with the Port & Chocolate event through Liberty Wine Merchants here in Vancouver?  Details are below.  Enjoy!

~~~

Liberty Port and Chocolates

Liberty Port and Chocolates

PORT & CHOCOLATE

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 | 7:30-9:30pm
At the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park

Tickets $29.99 at all Liberty Wine Merchants Locations

Sweet Ports, decadent chocolates, raffle prizes and excellent company await. Proceeds to benefit Amateur Sports at the VRC.

Liberty Merchant Company proudly presents its 21st annual Port & Chocolate Tasting. All proceeds from this “Tasting-in-the-Park” event is to benefit the Vancouver Rowing Club’s Amateur Sports Program. To date Liberty has raised over $96,000 for this program.

Latest IVSA Wine Picks – March 2012 Trebbiano and More

I’m a bit tardy with this blog article about the latest Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) trade tasting, with many other work and non-work events happening at this time. Going back to my notes, I found a few good new wines to the BC marketplace. One thing I noticed was there was more Torrontes and Trebbiano at this trade tasting than at other tastings. This could be in part due to the time of year with the white wines being released.  With that, let’s get into my latest wine picks.

White Wines

  • Callia Alta Torrontes 2011

    Callia Alta Torrontes 2011, Argentina (spec $13.95). Medium lemony green in colour.  Very fruity, tropical fruit and flowers on the nose. Medium body with tropical fruit, citrus and oranges in particular flavours.  Nice acidity and some spiciness.  Dry with medium plus length.  This is more complex than most Torrontes.

  • Zenato Lugara DOC San Benedetto Trebbiano, Italy. Pale lemon in the glass.  Nice nose with citrus, apples and a hint of oranges. Light body with citrus and slight sweet spice / nutmeg flavour. Dry. Very nice.
  • Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Africa. Thelema is a quality producer from South Africa.  This wine had a wow nose.  Lots of gooseberries.  High acidity with green bean, gooseberry and grapefruit peel flavours.  Some spiciness on the mid-palate.  Short length (wish it was a bit longer).
  • Vouvrey Grandes Caves Saint Roch – Demi Sec 2010, France.  This was my overall favourite wine of the tasting.  It is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Delicate light crab apple and citrus aromas. Medium minus body mouthfeel yet acts like it is a bigger wine.  Apples and citrus flavours.  Quite round with a good acidic backbone.
  • Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007, New Zealand. Medium lemon colour. Citrus and tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of oak.  Medium minus body, mineral, citrus, and apple flavours.  Dry with medium acidity. Medium length with a waxy finish.  An interesting wine.
  • Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand. Pale lemony green in the glass.  Lots of herbal and cut green grass on the nose.  High acidity on the palate with lots of gooseberry flavour and some jalapeno pepper flavour mid palate.
  • Domaine des Baumard Clos du Papillon 2008, France. Another Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Deeper golden colour. Nutty, peachy nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity.  Peach pit, citrus and some spice on the palate.  Very interesting.

Red Wines

  • Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley. Medium translucent ruby colour.  Nice ripe berry nose.  Elegant and not overpowering. Lighter body with cassis and dark fruit flavours.  High acidity, low tannins and long length.  A quality wine.

  • Gorcleyant Malbec 2010, France. Medium ruby colour. Nice bright red fruit nose.  Lighter bodied, soft tannins and juicy red fruit flavour.  A hint of vanilla and spice too.
  • Masi Modello Rosso 2010, Italy. Light ruby colour.  Nice nose with closes and red fruits.  Light body, dry, with soft tannins. Red fruit, oak and cloves on the palate. Good price $12.99.

Sparkling and Fortified Wines

  • Niepoort LBV 2005, Portugal. This is a Late Bottled Vintage port.  This one is medium ruby in colour.  Light aromas of cherries and apples.  Light body, medium sweetness, but quite spicy on the palate.  Flavours of plums, dark cherries and some vanilla.
  • Zinck Cremant Brut D’Alsace, France. Light straw colour with small light bubbles. Nice aromas of red delicious apples and some lees.  Light body, high acidity, with more red delicious apples on the palate.  Dry.  Tasty.

Almost Last Minute Christmas Holiday Wine Picks 2011

There are less than 2 weeks to Christmas now. Maybe you are starting to think about Christmas gifts, or inviting family and friends over to your place for a nice dinner, or you received a dinner invitation? What wines to gift or serve?

I went through the list of all the wines I tasted in 2011 and have a few suggestions for you.

Some Favourite Sparkling Wines for 2011

  • Oyster Bay Brut and Rose sparkling wines

    Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.

  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
  • Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour.  Nice medium toasty nose.  Medium acidity and body.  Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine.  It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose.  Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour.  Vanilla and spice on the nose.  High acid with small bubbles.  Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.

Some Favourite White Wines for 2011

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2009, California.  This is a single vineyard wine.  Medium lemon in colour with tropical fruit and some toasty aromas. Medium body and very soft mouth feel (really silky). Some vanilla and tropical fruit flavours.  Really nice.

  • Waterstone Chardonnay, 2009, California. This is my favourite white wine of the night.  Not a typical Napa Chardonnay.  This wine had a medium pear colour.  Vanilla and bartlett pear aromas. Medium body, soft and round mouthfeel.  Cinnamon and tropical fruit flavours with light acidity.  Nice and fruity, some vanilla with a long dry finish.
  • Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. One of my favourite wines of the tasting. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Tantalus Vineyards Riesling 2010, BC. Their Riesling is always on my favourite list. This one is no exception.  It has light lemon, lychee and flowers on the nose.  Off dry, with high acidity to make your mouth water for more.  Red apples and lemon flavours.  Excitement in a glass.
  • Thornhaven Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010, BC. I think there is something specific about the terroir for this wine that makes this Pinot Gris have a wonderful grapefruit nose and flavour.  I haven’t seen this in other Okanagan Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour with red grapefruit nose. Flowery with citrus, grapefruit flavours. Yum.
  • Graffigna Grand Reserve Torrontes 2010 (Argentina). Torrontes is the signature white grape of Argentina.  Very aromatic and a good change from Gewurztraimer or Viognier. Light lemon coloured. Lychee and perfumy nose.  Light body, round, with medium acidity.  Lychee, apricot and cinnamon flavours. Very tasty with a long spicy finish.
  • Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Gewurztraminer 2007 (France). I love Alsatian wines, and was really looking forward to Pfaffenheim’s wines. Medium lemon colour.  Wonderful lychee nose with a slight touch of sweet spice. Full body. Off dry with lower acidity.  Round mouthfeel with lychee, apricot and flowery flavours.  Very nice.

Some Favourite Red Wines for 2011

  • Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005

    Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand. 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.

  • Vina Santa Rita Pehuen Carmenere 2005, Chile. Pehuen Carmenere is a premium wine from Vina Santa Rita.  Opaque purple in the glass. Dark fruit nose with a whiff of capsicum. Full bodied but with soft tannins.  Ripe black cherries, vanilla and spice on the palate.  A very long length.  Here is a Carmenere you should try.
  • Dusted Valley Grenache, Columbia Valley 2009, Washington. This was such a wonderful wine.  Just the right balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity.  The wine was medium garnet in colour.  Cherry, vanilla and smoky aromas.  Raspberry, cherry, and vanilla on the palate.  Medium bodied with a raspberry finish.
  • 1884 Reservado Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina ($16.99).  This was my red wine deal of the wine tasting. Drink now. Raspberry and cocoa on the nose.  Full body with full ripe cherries and raspberries.  Juicy!  Long finish.
  • Desert Hills Syrah 2007, BC.  Another one of my favourites of the tasting. Almost opaque ruby in colour. Smoky, meaty, and dark fruit nose. Full body, dry tannins, with dark fruit spice and vanilla flavours.  Enjoy this big wine with a nice roast over the winter.
  • Ogier Crozes Hermitage, Les Brunnelles 2008, France ($25.99). This is a Rhone Valley wine. The Rhone Valley produces some fabulous Syrah, and this is one of them. I really liked the aromas of this wine of cassis and plums. Full body with cassis, raspberry, cherry and oak flavours.  Low tannins helped make this wine very approachable.
  • Finca Las Moras Intis Malbec 2010, Argentina. This wine was the surprise wine of the evening.  It is priced at $8.99, and over delivers. Pale ruby colour.  Light aromas of grilled sausage and dark fruit. Medium plus body with medium acidity.  Vanilla, cherry, raspberry and sausage flavours all together. Lots of nice flavours.  Dry with soft tannins.

Some Favourite Fortified Wines

  • Sogrape Vinhos Ferreira 20-Year-Old Duque de Braganca (Portugal). Light tawny colour in the glass. Ripe sweet fruit and Malmsey Madeira nose.  Round mouthfeel, medium sweetness. Apples, plums, chocolate and spice. Nice.
  • Fonseca N/V Terra Prima Organic Port ($31.99).  Rich black fruit nose.  Medium body in your mouth.  Spicy with plums, cherries, and chocolate flavours.  Medium sweetness. Very nice.
  • Mount Baker Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier 2007, Washington (US$20 for a half bottle). Deep lemon in colour.  Pretty nose with peaches, oranges and honey. Unctus in your mouth. Sweet with honey, honeydew melon, and peach flavours. Good acidity to balance this wine. A wonderful wine. Highly recommended to top off a nice meal with family or friends.
  • Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

There are many more in my archives, so please check there as well for a specific varietal or style. www.mywinepal.com and of course the blog right here!  Cheers and Happy Holidays to all my friends, near and far.

What a Celebration Dinner at Taste of Tulalip!

I really had a great time over the 2 days at the 3rd Annual Taste of Tulalip on Nov 11 and 12 at the Tulalip Resort Casino in WA State with “Top Chef” alum, Carla Hall, wine celeb,”Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco and more. The Friday evening Celebration Dinner featured award winning Sommelier Tommy Thompson’s selection of wines and a spectacular seven course meal from Tulalip’s culinary team, lead by Chef Perry Mascitti. The Celebration Dinner was the kick-off for the Taste of Tulalip on Nov. 11.  It was an evening of superb food, wine, and some surprises, like singing waiters, and a donation to a worthy cause.  More about these surprises later.

Our Food and Wine Pairings

Pork Belly, Thai Curry Bisque, and Southwest Duck Breast

Smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly, Maple Vanilla Gastrique
Parsnip Puree, Fois Gras, Bacon Jam
Halloumi Cheese Wrapped In Jamon Iberico Prosciutto
Paired with Long Shadow’s “Poets Leap” Riesling, Columbia Valley, WA 2010

Thai Curry Kabocha Squash Bisque
Tempura Vegetables With Five Spiced Cherry Reduction
Paired with Va Piano Vineyards “Bruno’s White II” Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, WA

Southwest Duck Breast With Hydro Bibb
Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Gruyere, Pine Nuts, Pecorino Crisp
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Paired with Reynvaan Vineyards “The Contender” Syrah, Walla Walla, WA, 2008

Grilled Wild King Salmon Over Savory Apple, Pear And Chevre Tart
Cinnamon And Autumn-Spiced Lamb Chop With Huckleberry Demi
Paired with Sparkman Cellars “L’Autre” Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, OR, 2009
and Corliss Estates “Cabernet Sauvignon”, Columbia Valley, WA, 2006

Refresh
Ruby Pink Grapefruit Segments, Sprig Of Thyme
And Blood Orange Reduction Pipette

A Study In Beef
Kobe New York Strip Loin In Chanterelle Cream Sauce
Kobe Prime Rib In Baby Boy Blue Sauce
Kobe Tenderloin In Huckleberry Demi Glace
Smoked Yukon Mash With Sage, Seasonal Ratatouille
Paired with 21 Gram’s “Red Blend”, Columbia Valley, WA, 2007

Sweet Ending
Warm Chocolate And Peanut Butter Pudding Cake
Peanut Tuile, Frozen Banana Nougat, Butterscotch Sauce
Paired with Charles Krug Lot XIV Zinfandel Port, Napa, CA

King Salmon and Autumn Spiced Lamb Chops, Refreshing Grapefruit, A Study in Beef, and Sweet Ending

Pork belly, parsnip puree, fois gras, Halloumi cheese in prosciutto

I particularly enjoyed the first course of the Pork Belly, parsnip puree and Halloumi cheese wrapped in Jamon Iberico Prosciutto. I previously tasted the Long Shadow’s “Poets Leap” Riesling back in Vancouver.  My tasting notes from that time were ” …pale lemon coloured in the glass.  Nice nose.  Very fragrant with flowers, citrus, orange and honeysuckle. Medium body, round, off-dry.  Flowers and citrus flavours with sweet spices showing up mid-palate. Long length…”  The smoked Kurobuta Pork Belly melted in your mouth and paired very well with the acidity in this wine.  The parsnip puree was a flavour treat. It was delicately spiced with coriander and again worked very nicely with this Riesling.

Grilled wild King Salmon, pear and chevre tart, and autumn spiced lamb chop

Another pairing I really liked was the Grilled Wild King Salmon Over Savory Apple, Pear And Chevre Tart Cinnamon and the Autumn-Spiced Lamb Chop With Huckleberry Demi. These two were paired with Sparkman Cellars “L’Autre” Pinot Noir and with the Corliss Estates “Cabernet Sauvignon”.  To me the Pinot Noir was the star of this course.  The wine had a wonderful violet aroma and flavour, with low tannins and high acidity.  The violets with the acidity in the wine to me worked well with both dishes.  Salmon and pinot noir is a classic pairing. Red wines with low tannins work well with seafood.  The sweet autumn spices, e.g. cinnamon and nutmeg, formed a crust on the lamb chops. These sweet spices meshed nicely with the violets in the pinot noir, and the acidity in the wine helped cut through the fat in lamb chops.

I also have a soft spot for duck breast, and enjoyed the Southwest Duck Breast With Hydro Bibb, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Gruyere, Pine Nuts, Pecorino Crisp with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. I was worried that a Syrah could overpower this dish, but the duck breast with southwest spices plus the pine nuts and pecorino crisp, held their own.  Very satisfying.

A Sweet Ending.

If you have a sweet tooth, you would have probably really liked the Sweet Ending consisting of Warm Chocolate And Peanut Butter Pudding Cake, Peanut Tuile, Frozen Banana Nougat, and Butterscotch Sauce paired with the Charles Krug Lot XIV Zinfandel Port. The pudding cake was very delicate, the tuile crunchy and the banana nougat refreshing and fruity.  The Zinfandel port was full-bodied with ripe berries, toffee, and spicy oak flavours.  It’s hard not to like this pairing.

Surprises!

Donation to Make A Wish Foundation

Donation to Make A Wish Foundation. Image courtesy of Alan Alabastro/Alabastro Photography

I always like when events like these donate part of their proceeds to supporting a local cause.  In this case it was the local chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation. Al Tschider from the Foundation graciously accepted a cheque for $5000.  He told us that the $5000 is enough to grant a wish for one child.  He is not a professional speaker but endeared himself to the audience telling us about how one young girl was able to get a chance to go to New York City and get a chance to help backstage at not just one (her original request), but two Broadway plays.  It so happened that when they were travelling to NYC to help with one play, I believe it was the Lion King, a Broadway producer was sitting next to them, and invited the girl to also attend his play as well.  It is nice to hear stories like this of people helping people.

Singing Waiters

The Singing Waiters performance. Image courtesy of Alan Alabastro/Alabastro Photography

Part way through our meal, what appeared to be a head waiter came on stage to make a small announcement.  He had an Italian accent and as after he made the announcement, he offered to sing a bit of an aria from an Italian opera.  It was nice.  Later in the evening he sang a bit more, and then a French sounding waiter came to the stage to show him how to sing opera with passion, which lead to dueling opera singers wandering through the audience.  To add to the mix another waiter, a good ol’ boy from the USA, told them that Europeans cannot sing well, so he launched into operatic singing.  So we had a triumvirate singing together.  Of course,they knew each other,and they went on stage together to sing for us.  We were told at the end that they are part of the world-wide company called the “Singing Waiters“.  If you ever get to hear them, take the chance. You will have lots of fun.

This is only the 3rd time for the Taste of Tulalip, and it was done so professionally and with so much great food and wine, I’m not sure how they will top it for the 4th celebration next year. Enjoy!

MyWinePal’s Latest Wine Picks from the IVSA – April 2011

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!

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

Wineries Attending the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival #VPIWF

If you have not visited the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, they do have a PDF brochure now available. It describes the different wine tasting events, and has a listing of all the wineries attending this year.

I thought you may want to see the list of wineries attending, so I posted them below, plus some comments on my part for wineries that you may want to visit if you attend the International Festival tasting (aka the Big Room).

As Spain is the featured country, you will see many Spanish wineries in the list.  In the Spanish list, there is every style of wine to interest you: sherry, sparkling (Cava), red and white still wines. Bodegas Alvear, González Byass, Miguel Torres, and Bodegas Faustino are a few to try.  You might want to try them all.  I will.  For Argentina, try Graffigna and Bodega Alta Vista (nice Malbec) and Familia Zuccardi (Their Q series is quite good). For Australia try Buller (maybe they will be pouring a sticky?), Chapel Hill, Langmeil, and Heggies.  From BC, try them all.  For Chile there is Vina Errazuriz, Lapostolle, Miguel Torres, Montes, and Vina Santa Rita. France, try them all if you have a chance.  Chapoutier is one of my favorites.  There are many more.  I think I’ll make a full listing of my picks on an upcoming blog article.

SPAIN ARGENTINA
Bodegas Abanico Bodega Alta Vista
Alvaro Palacios Belasco de Baquedano
Bodegas Alvear Viña Cobos
Bodegas Arúspide Bodega Colomé /
Axial Vinos Decero
Bodegas Chivite Viña Doña Paula
Codorníu Graffigna
Domecq Bodegas Humberto Canale
Bodegas Ercavìo Domaine Jean Bousquet
Bodegas Faustino Luigi Bosca
Grupo Faustino O. Fournier
Freixenet Bodegas Pascual Toso
González Byass Bodega Vistalba
Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Familia Zuccardi
Bodegas Hidalgo –
La Gitana S.A.
Iberwine
Bodegas Juan Gil AUSTRALIA
Marqués de Riscal Buller Wines
Bodegas Martín Códax Casella Wines
Viña Mayor / Chapel Hill
Bodegas Palacio Greg Norman Estates
Miguel Torres Henry’s Drive Vignerons
Bodegas Olivares Inland Trading Co.
Orowines Jim Barry / Heggies
Osborne Josef Chromy Wines
Cavas Parés Baltà Langmeil
Bodegas Piqueras Majella Wines
Ramón Bilbao Peter Lehmann Wines
Vinos y Viñedos Robert Oatley Vineyards
Bodegas San Valero Shingleback Wines
Segura Viudas St Hallett
Sierra Cantabria Wyndham Estate
Solar Viejo Xanadu
Telmo Rodríguez Yabby Lake Vineyard
Bodegas Valdemar
CANADA CHILE
BRITISH COLUMBIA Viña Caliterra
Artisan Sakemaker Concha y Toro
at Granville Island Cono Sur
Averill Creek Vineyard Viña Errázuriz
Cassini Cellars Lapostolle
Herder Winery & Vineyards Viña Leyda / Viña Tabalí
Hester Creek Estate Winery Viña Maipo
Jackson-Triggs Miguel Torres
Okanagan Estate Montes
Meyer Family Vineyards Viña Santa Rita
Mission Hill Family Estate Viu Manent
Nk’Mip Cellars
Noble Ridge FRANCE
Vineyard and Winery Boutinot
Osoyoos Larose Cave de Tain
Painted Rock Estate Winery M. Chapoutier
Poplar Grove Winery Delas Frères /
Quails’ Gate Winery Champagne Deutz
Red Rooster Winery Vins & Vignobles Dourthe
Sandhill Domaines de Les
Sperling Vineyards Grands Chais de France
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Joseph Drouhin
Tantalus Vineyards Champagne Lallier
Domaine Louis Moreau
ONTARIO Ogier Caves des Papes
Henry of Pelham Paul Mas
Pillitteri Estates Winery Perrin & Fils
Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery Pfaffenheim
Pierre Sparr
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
Nederburg
Glen Carlou
Presents LLC
J. Lohr Vineyards
& Wines
OREGON Louis M Martini
King Estate Miner Family Vineyards
Quady Winery
Ravenswood Winery
WASHINGTON Ridge Vineyards
Columbia Crest Robert Mondavi Winery
Hedges Family Estates / Rodney Strong Vineyards
Snoqualmie Vineyards Signorello Estate /
Edge Winery / Fuse Wines
Stags’ Leap
Trefethen Family
Vineyards
Truchard Vineyards
Wente Vineyards

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

Fortified Wines. What to Expect at the Vancouver Playhouse Intl Wine Fair #VPIWF

Every year at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair, there is a different regional focus on some type of wine or wine style.  This year the regional theme is “Fortified Wines“.

What kind of wines are in the fortified category can you expect at the Festival?  Sherry, Madeira, Marsala, and Port are all fortified wines. Fortified wines were born of the need to preserve European wines on long sailing voyages during the 16th and 17th centuries. Brandy was added before or during the fermentation process to stabilize the wine. The resulting wines typically contain between 17 and 21 per cent alcohol, and are more stable than ordinary table wines and less likely to spoil once opened.

I am not sure if we will see any Madeira and Marsala at the wine festival this year, but I do know that there will be plenty of sherry and port for us to try.  If you are not familiar with sherry, there are several styles from dry and light bodied, to full bodied and oxidized, and full bodied and sweet. I have a two part article here on sherry:

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 2

Port is a fortified wine made in Portugal by definition.  It is usually quite sweet and typically made from one or more of the grape types: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cao, and Tinta Barroca. Other countries make a wine similar to port, but those would really be a port-style.  Only Portugal can claim the term Port. There are some different terms for the ports: Vintage, Tawny, LBV.  Here is a bit of info about these different styles of port (Note that there are more styles than just these):

Vintage:  This is port that is produced from grapes from one year (vintage) and deemed to be of exceptional quality by the port house.  Not every year is declared a vintage in the Douro. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. About 2% of the total port production is Vintage.

Tawny: is a basic blended port,  which is aged in the barrel before being bottled. This type of port can be aged from 3 to 40 years.  The aging in oak causes the wine to take on a reddish-brown colour and develops a dry nutty flavour with raisin notes.

LBV:  This stands for Late Bottled Vintage. iThis is port that was originally destined for bottling as Vintage Port, but was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. This type of port is bottled between 4 and 6 years after the vintage. The filtered version of this wine has the advantage of being ready to drink without being decanted, is bottled with a stopper that can be easily re-corked and enjoyed over many tastings.

If you check with wine festival website, you will find tasting tickets for fortified wine events:

Elegance, Power and Complexity: Graham’s Port

Thursday, March 31
VCC East, meeting room 12
999 Canada Place Way
5:15-6:45 pm
$150
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Founded in 1820, Graham’s has unmatched experience as a producer of outstanding Vintage Ports and a reputation which is second to none. Join Graham’s Executive Director Rupert Symington for this rare opportunity and embark on a remarkable journey through his thoughts and passions on eight legendary vintages of Graham’s Port: 1970, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2007.Sponsored by Graham’s Port


The Fladgate Partnership

Friday, April 01
VCC East, meeting room 8
999 Canada Place Way
5:00-6:45 pm
$150
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
The Fladgate Partnership invites you to taste an unparalleled vertical selection of Taylor, Fonseca and Croft vintage ports spanning four decades of the partnership’s history, including the benchmark 1994 vintage. Join chief winemaker David Guimaraens, CEO Adrian Bridge and Anthony Gismondi as they extol the virtuous history of the Douro Valley and the partnership’s wines during this rare and extraordinary seminar.Sponsored by Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft

Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1Get Ready to Enjoy Spanish Sherry – Part 1

Sabor de España!

Monday, March 28
Salt Tasting Room
45 Blood Alley
7:00 – 10:00 pm
$125
Buy tickets 604-873-3311
Buy Tickets Online 

Prepare yourself for an authentic and intimate Spanish wine and tapas experience! Let Salt and Bodegas Alvear transport you to the heart of Montilla, featuring a rarely explored range of Alvear sherry-style wines paired with exceptional charcuterie, cheese and authentic Spanish cuisine. The evening will be led in flamboyant and celebratory fashion by family members Fernando and Maria Alvear.

I hope you will get a chance to attend one of these events. If not, you will be able to sample different sherries and port during the International Festival Tasting room opening on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Enjoy!