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.

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My Quick Winery Picks for Vancouver International Wine Fest

Vancouver International Wine Festival 2013When you step foot inside the Festival Tasting room, time is ticking. There are 1850 wines to taste. Let me give you some suggestions for the theme region, California, and for the rest of the world.  No time in this article to give you any details, but these are wineries I have tried in the past, or I am interested in tasting.  I will visit each of these tables, among other tables.  To find these wineries, when you arrive, your Festival Tasting Room program, p.23, has a map showing the layout of the tables.

California Wineries to Visit

  • Blackbird Vineyards
  • Chateau St. Jean
  • Clos du Val
  • Duckhorn Wine Company
  • Gloria Ferrer
  • Girard Winery
  • Heitz Cellar
  • Joseph Phelps Winery
  • Louis M Martini
  • MacRostie Vineyards
  • Marimar Estate
  • Ridge Vineyards
  • Schug Carneros Estate Winery
  • Silver Oak Cellars
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

The Rest of the World Wineries to Visit

  • Bodega Catena Zapata Winery, Argentina
  • Las Perdices, Argentina
  • Chapel Hill, Australia
  • Josef Chromy, Australia
  • Tyrrell’s Wines, Australia
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, BC
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery, BC
  • Meyer Family Vineyards, BC
  • Nk’Mip Cellars, BC
  • Painted Rock Estate Winery, BC
  • Poplar Grove Winery, BC
  • Sandhill, BC
  • Stoneboat Vineyards, BC
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, BC
  • Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery, BC
  • Concha y Toro, Chile
  • Vina Koyle Family Vineyards, Chile
  • Vina Undurraga, Chile
  • Baron Philippe de Rotschild, France
  • Brumont Vineyards, France
  • Dourthe & Thienot, France
  • Chateau de la Gardine, France
  • Georges Duboeuf, France
  • Famille Perrin, France
  • Champagne Pol Roger, France
  • Estates of Antinori, Italy
  • Barone Ricasoli, Italy
  • Fontodi, Italy
  • Akarua, New Zealand
  • Giesen Wines, New Zealand
  • Whitehaven Winery, New Zealand
  • Jose Maria da Fonseca, Portugal
  • Ramos Pinto, Portugal
  • Taylor Fladgate/Fonseca/Croft Port, Portugal
  • Boekenhoustskloof Winery, South Africa
  • Glen Carlou, South Africa
  • IberWine, Spain
  • Miguel Torres, Spain
  • Nathalie Bonhomme, Spain
  • King Estate, Oregon
  • Long Shadows, Washington

I know, its a long list, but worthwhile if you have the time.  Enjoy the Festival!

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.

More Winery Picks at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest 2012

las perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008

Day 2 is over for me at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. I spent a portion of my time finishing off some Chilean wineries (and interviewing a few wine makers) but the majority of the time was trying the other wineries’ wines at the Festival. If you are attending tomorrow’s tasting, here are some wines that you may want to try. Tasting notes will follow after the Festival is over.

  • Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Argentina
  • Amalaya Gran Corta 2010, Argentina
  • Finca Flichman Expresiones Malbec / Cabenet Sauvignon 2009, Argentina
  • O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec 2008, Argentina
  • Las Perdices Reserva Bonarda 2008, Argentina (I really like this wine.  Try it if you can!)
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Torrontes 2011, Argentina
  • El Porvenir de Los Andes Laborum Malbec 2011, Argentina
  • Delas Freres Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette 2009, France
  • Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf-du-pape Cuvee Barberini 2005, France
  • Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009, Italy
  • Damilano Barolo “Lecinquevigne” DOCG 2006, Italy
  • Quinta dos Roques Quinta do Correio red wine 2009, Portugal (very interesting indigenous grapes used)
  • Quinta dos Roques Red 2009, Portugal
  • Quinta dos Roques Reserva 2007, Portugal
  • Lammershoek Winery Pinotage 2007, South Africa
  • J. Lohr Vineyards Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, California
  • Trefethen Family Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California
  • Zaca Mesa Winery Syrah 2009, California
  • Iber Wine, Casa Jus Antiguos Vinedos Tempranillo 2006, Spain
  • Domecq Bodegas Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2003, Spain

Trefethen Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

There are many more wines and wineries that I did not have a chance to try.  Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were not able to get my attention, but there are many good wines from there too.  I hope you enjoy some of my latest wine picks!

There are also a few more Chilean wines for the list that I tried today:

  • Vina Caliterra Cenit 2008
  • Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  • Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2008
  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Fair Trade Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Miguel Torres Conde de Superunda 2005
  • Vina San Pedro Cabo de Hornos 2007

Enjoy!  I also love to hear what you liked at the Festival.  Leave a comment please with your favourites.

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fest – Wineries to Try

It is 1 week till the International Festival Tasting Room opens at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and we will get to try wines from all over the world. But which wineries? Here are a few wineries that I think you should try.

Chile

  • De Martino
  • Miguel Torres (also Spain)
  • Viña Montes
  • MontGras
  • Viña Santa Rita
  • Seña / Viña Arboleda
  • Concha y Toro

The Rest of the World

  • Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
  • Decero (Argentina)
  • Las Perdices (Argentina)
  • Katnook (Australia)
  • Penfolds (Australia)
  • Yalumba (Australia)
  • Le Vieux Pin / La Stella (Canada)
  • Mission Hill Family Estate (Canada)
  • Osoyoos Larose  (Canada)
  • Painted Rock Estate Winery (Canada)
  • Thornhaven Estate (Canada)
  • M. Chapoutier (France)
  • Maison Louis Latour (France)
  • Pfaffenheim (France)
  • Estates of Antinori (Italy)
  • Bisol Desiderio & Figli (Italy)
  • Astrolabe (New Zealand)
  • Wither Hills (New Zealand)
  • Quinta do Crasto (Portugal)
  • Symington Family Estates (Portugal)
  • Taylor Fladgate / Fonseca / Croft Port (Portugal)
  • Lammershoek Winery (South Africa)
  • Bodegas Muga (Spain)
  • Bodegas Olivares (Spain)
  • Caymus Winery (USA)
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars (USA)
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards (USA)
  • King Estate (USA)
  • Bergevin Lane (USA)
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle (USA)

There are of course many other wineries to try at the Wine Festival, so if you see something that interests you TRY IT.  Some of the wines at the Festival are brought in ONLY for the Festival, so if you like it, buy it in the wine shop at the back of the tasting room before it sells out.  The complete list of wineries at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival is here.

Enjoy Some Stickies and Port for Christmas

Christmas gives you an excuse to indulge in dining, sparkling wine, desserts and more.  In the more category, I’d like to let you know about a few stickies (that’s the Australian term for a fortified wine they produce) and port wines that I tried at the last IVSA Trade tasting.

While these wines may appear expensive, compared to a bottle of wine, you just sip a small amount so these fortified wines will last much longer.  I’d be happy to drink these wines on my own, or share with friends and family, and hope you will too.

Croft 1991 Vintage Port

Croft 1991 Vintage Port, Portugal ($89.49).  Deep ruby in colour with no sign of aging.  Cedar, flowers and plum on the nose.  Very nice aromas. Medium body and medium sweetness with cherries, blackberries and spice.  Long length.  A very high quality wine.  Note that most ports are non-vintage.  A declared vintage happens in years when the grapes are of very high quality and the port produced as well from it.  Not every year is a declared vintage.

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.

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater NV, Portugal ($26.99). Have you ever tried Madeira?  Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. From Wikipedia…Madeira is noted for its unique winemaking process which involves heating the wine up to temperatures as high as 60 °C (140 °F) for an extended period of time and deliberately exposing the wine to some levels of oxidation. Because of this unique process, Madeira is a very robust wine that can be quite long lived even after being opened..”  This Madeira is pale toasty orange in colour with a smoky caramel nose.  Sweet with medium body, spicy and nutty, including dark chocolate flavours.  A different wine to try.

Pertaringa Full Fronti

Pertaringa “Full Fronti” Fortified Muscat NV, Australia ($31.99). This wine is what Australians call a “stickie”.  These wines are produced from grapes that have begun to raisin on the vine. Alcohol is added before fermentation completes so that the wine still has some sugar.  This sweet wine is then aged in a solera type system.  Oxidation occurs during the aging process and evaporation in the hot Australian climate. The final result is a concentrated full bodied sticky sweet wine.  This particular wine was light amber in colour.  Big aromas in the glass of orange, caramel and spices.  Medium body, sweet with caramel, spices, nuttiness and orange.  Lots of flavour and lots of fun. I was told that this wine is available at Firefly on Cambie at 12th Ave. in Vancouver.

Enjoy Christmas, and enjoy these dessert style wines.

Are you interested in having a wine tasting of fortified wines?  Contact me at mywinepal.

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

Enjoy some Port and Cheese for Christmas?

With this cold snap here in Vancouver, it got me to thinking about opening a bottle of port and enjoying some cheeses over a couple of evenings. I thought that you may also enjoy such things, so I am giving you a short list of some ports and some cheeses that you may want to try.

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 fortified wine and sometimes call it port, just like some countries make sparkling wine and call it champagne.  So when I am talking about port, I am meaning port from Portugal.

I checked out the Everything Wine store website, www.everythingwine.ca to see what port they have in stock in the $25-$50 range (sometimes it is nice to spoil yourself).  Most of the port listed is from Portugal, but there is at least one in the list from Australia (can you spot it?):

Croft Pink Port 750ml Port $29.99
De Bortoli Black Noble 750 mL Port $46.99
Fonseca LBV 2001 Port 750ml Port $38.99
Graham’s The Vancouver Club Reserve Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Graham’s 10 Year old Tawny Port 750 mL Port $39.99
Graham’s 98 Quinta dos Malvedos Port 375 mL Port $36.99
Graham’s 99 Quinta dos Malvedos Port 375 mL Port $36.99
Graham’s Six Grapes Vintage Character Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 750 mL Port $28.99
Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Port 750 mL Port $29.99
Kopke Colheita LBV 1997 Port 750 mL Port $49.99
Nieport Colheita 1995 Port 375 mL Port $44.99
Quinta de Ventozelo Ten yr old Tawny 375 mL Port $32.99
Quinta Do Crasto 2005 LBV 750ml Port $34.99
Smith Woodhouse LBV Port 750 mL Port $37.99
Taylor Fladgate 10 Yr Tawny Port Port $39.99
Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage 750 mL Port $25.99
Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas 1995 Vintage Port 375ml Port $49.99
Ventozelo 1998 Port, LBV 750ml Port $39.99

You may have noticed 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 want to try some BC “port”, there is some that you can try from Grey Monk and from Sumac Ridge.

Some ports that I’ve reviewed in the past:

Portugal, Taylor Fladgate, White Port, NV
–  Medium gold colour. Oxidized aroma.  Green, orange marmalade, lemon meringue pie, lime, almond aromas.  Medium low acidity, fuller body and intensity.  Sweet, caramel, citrus, dried fruit, and apricot flavours.

Portugal, Taylor Fladgate, 20 year old Tawny Port, NV – Medium tawny colour.  Pronounced intensity.  Figs, red fruit, dried fruit, red cherry, earthy aromas.  Medium sweet.  Medium plus acidity / body / intensity.  Spices, raisin, red fruit, dried fruit and red cherry flavours.  Elegant.

Portugal, Quinta do Panascal, Fonseca Single Quinta Vintage Port 1991 – Opaque purple colour.  Some deposit in the glass.  Black fruit, dried fruit, orange and oak aromas.  Full bodied, medium sweetness.  Spice, raisin, red fruit, black cherry flavours.  Medium to long length.

Some suggestions for cheese to go with port:
Blue cheeses. Stilton is a traditional pairing with port.  The saltiness and the bitterness of the blue cheese balancing with the sweetness and fruit of the port.
aged cheddar
aged gorgonzola
– experiment with other salty cheeses

I hope this gives you a starting point for your Christmas holiday tipple. 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.