New Zealand Perfect Pairings, Wine and Food at the Int’l Playhouse Wine Fest

Saturday was a wonderful sunny day for the New Zealand Perfect Pairings event for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. It was held at the Boathouse Restaurant, situated at Kits Beach in Vancouver. Eight wineries from New Zealand were represented:

  • Astrolabe Wines
  • Giesen Wine Estate
  • Kim Crawford Wines
  • Man O’War Vineyards
  • Mud House Wines
  • Oyster Bay Wines
  • Sacred Hill Wines
  • Stoneleigh

New Zealand is well-known for their bracing Sauvignon Blancs and their Pinot Noirs, which range in style from summer fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, to wild savory aromas and flavours. But there are other grape varieties to try from New Zealand, such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec!

There was a wide variety of foods to try with the wines from these wineries:

  • Kusshi, Kumomoto and Boathouse Kiss Oysters on the half shell
  • Pan seared Dungeness crab cakes with mango  salsa and lemon aioli and citrus micro greens
  • Herb crusted Chicken Kiev on wilted greens with tomato, pine nuts and white balsamic strawberry coulis
  • Wild mushroom and fiddlehead gnocchi
  • Sesame crusted tuna nigiri sushi style with soy braised shiitake mushrooms
  • Lamb shoulder confit with mushroom ragout
  • One bite Caesar with smoky rubbed USDA prime striploin and clam vinaigrette
  • Strawberry, kiwi fruit flan with a drizzle of chocolate inside  (I didn’t get a chace to sample these, but they looked fabulous)
  • Assorted cheese (Alexis de Portneuf la Cendrillon, Paillot de Chevre, Stella Asiago, La Sauvagine)

Let’s start with the wines.  I enjoyed all the wines, but my top were:

  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The Mistress” Waipara Riesling 2006.  I was really impressed by this wine and their Small Parcel Pinot Noir.  These are special single vineyard wines.  The Riesling was pale lemony green.  Petrol, and lemon on the nose.  High acidity, almost bone dry, with petrol and lemon flavours.  It paired very nice with the La Sauvagine cheese.  And also with the Herb crusted Chicken Kiev.  The saltiness of the Chicken Kiev meshed nicely with the flavours of this wine.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The-Rise-and-Shine” Creek Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007 ($34.99). Central Otago, is inland in the South Island.  The cooler climate allows these grapes have a long hang time and smaller berries, which gives a higher skin to pulp ratio, and more intense, riper, fruit flavours.  Medium purple in the glass with ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Ripe fruit, cassis, plums and vanilla on the palate.  Medium body and medium length.  Very nice.
  • Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($23.99). This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice.  Went very well with the creamy cheeses and also held up against the Alexis de Portneuf la Cendrillon ash goat cheese.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($19.99).  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Sacred Hill Brokenstone Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2006 ($39.99). Medium dark garnet in colour.  Ripe dark cherry and vanilla aromas in the glass.  Full body, round mouthfeel with medium drying tannins.  Ripe cherries and vanilla flavour, with a bit of spice on the finish.

Some other mentionable wines were:

  • Astrolabe Voyager Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 ($32.99). Light garnet in colour.  Light cherry and vanilla nose.  Light body with red cherry flavour and a bit of spice.  Medium length.
  • Astrolabe Voyager Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010 ($23.99). Perfumy, peach and citrus on the nose.  Light body with peach flavour.  Round in the mouth with medium length.  I enjoyed this with the 3 types of oysters on the half shell.
  • Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 ($25.99).  A pale lemon colour with a green tint. Vanilla, oak and apple on the nose.  A full bodied wine.  Acidity upfront, which made it refreshing.  Cinnamon spice and apple flavours.  Round, but not too round as it had that nice acidic balance.  Very nice with the creamy cheeses.  Also I really enjoyed this with the sesame crusted tuna nigiri sushi.  It had a bit of smokiness to it that I enjoyed with the wine.
  • Man O’War Waiheke Island Cabernet Franc Malbec 2009 ($28.99). Deep purple in colour.  Vanilla and light cassis aromas.  Full body with ripe cassis, black cherries, and medium but soft tannins.  This wine paired with the smoky rubbed USDA prime striploin.
  • Mud House Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 ($22.99). This wine had a light cherry / strawberry nose. Light body with cassis and ripe red cherry flavours.  Low tannins and medium length.  Nice weight and flavours.
  • Sacred Hill Sauvage Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($39.99).  This is a barrel fermented wine, which gives it a bit more body and complexity.  It also is fermented using indigenous yeasts, which is always interesting.  You are never sure how a wine is going to turn out, and in this case, it worked out nicely.  This wine was light lemon in colour, with lemon and petrol on the nose.  More petrol on the palate along with apple.  Medium plus acidity.  This wine paired nicely with the oysters on the half shell.
  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2009 ($19.99). Light strawberry nose.  Light body with lots of strawberry flavour.  Low tannins and medium acidity.  A nice little wine.

I enjoyed the Boathouse food a lot, the view at Kits Beach, and the great New Zealand wine.  Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas of Kiwi wines that you would like to try. Enjoy!

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair 2010 – Day 2

Today is dedicated to the wines of New Zealand at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. New Zealand is well known for their Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and there were plenty of fine examples to be tasted. But what was suprising was the number of Pinot Gris that were available. I knew that Pinot Gris is available in New Zealand, but was suprised how many made it across the Pacific Ocean to reach our shores. As such, I purchased 3 in particular that I liked:
– St. Helena Pinot Gris 2008 ($21.99)
– Mount Riley Pinot Gris 2009 (19.99)

– Gibbston Dream Maker Pinot Gris 2008 ($29.99)

The St. Helena Pinot Gris 2008 was roses and peach on the nose. Round mouth feel, with medium acidity. Peachy flavour with slight spice and oak.

Mount Riley Pinot Gris 2009 had a light peach and apricot nose. Off dry, and quite flavourful. Lots of peach and a bit of spice on the finish.

The Gibbston Highgate Estate Dream Maker Pinot Gris 2008 has a light sweet citrus / honey / peach nose. Medium acid with some roundness on the palate. Vanilla and peach flavours.

All wonderful choices for summer.

As you know, I love Pinot Noir, and I was waiting to try some new ones from New Zealand.
Two in particular I really liked was the:
– Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2007
– Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir 2007

The Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir was medium garnet in the glass. A very pretty raspberry and plum nose. Raspberry, leafy, cherry flavours. Slightly spicy. Silky on the palate. Very nice!

The Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir was very aromatic with strawberries and raspberries aromas. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Medium body, medium acidity. Vanilla on the finish.

There was of course many sauvignon blancs to choose from:
– Elephant Hill Estate and Winery Sauvignon Blanc Rserve 2008
– Mount Riley Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009

– Sacred Hill Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

I’m running out of time, so no review on these last 3, but don’t worry after the Festival is over, i’ll be posting full tasting notes.

See you all tomorrow at the Saturday tasting! Enjoy!

Sydney International Wine Competition 2010

I have been following this wine competition for a few years now. I like the Sydney International Wine Competition for 2 reasons.

1) It shows many wines from the southern hemisphere (along with wines from around the world), and since i’ve been the president / chair of Vancouver’s South World Wine Society for many years, I like to see which wines are rating highly so that I can buy some for our Society here to try.

2) They taste the wine with food. Most people enjoy wine and food together, so why not judge them together?

Here are some winners from the 2010 competition:

“Best Aromatic Wine of Competition”
DELATITE RIESLING 2008 (Australia)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
JOHN RYAN MEMORIAL PERPETUAL TROPHY

“Best Sauvignon Blanc Wine of Competition”
VAVASOUR AWATERE VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 (New Zealand)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
SIWC PERPETUAL TROPHY

“Best Fuller Bodied Dry White Table Wine of Competition”
SACRED HILL RIFLEMAN’S CHARDONNAY 2007 (New Zealand)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
SIWC PERPETUAL TROPHY

“Best Pinot Noir Wine of Competition”
GIBBSTON VALLEY RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2008 (New Zealand)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
J F HILLEBRAND/AIR SEA GLOBAL PERPETUAL TROPHY

“Best Fuller Bodied Dry Red Table Wine of Competition”
STICKS NO 29 SHIRAZ 2008 (Australia)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
KEMENYS PERPETUAL TROPHY

“Best Dessert Wine of Competition”
KONRAD “SIGRUN” NOBLE TWO RIESLING 2007 (New Zealand)
BLUE-GOLD AWARD
TOP 1OO WINE AWARD
MYRA LEHMANN PERPETUAL TROPHY

You can read more about all the winning wines on their website: Sydney International Wine Competition website. Enjoy!