On May 29th, I attended this wonderful evening of wines from the Summerland region along with delicious food prepared by Truffles Fine Foods and music from Dawn Chubai and her trio.
VanDusen Botanical Gardens was the setting for the first ever Wine in the Garden fundraiser event. Summerland area wineries from the Bottleneck Drive Winery Association were in Vancouver to raise funds for one of Vancouver’s most treasured spaces.
8th Generation Vineyards
8th Generation Vineyards
More than 75 wines from Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive in the Okanagan poured alongside food pairings from Truffles Fine Foods.
Dawn Chubai and her trio
Vocalist Dawn Chubai, performed songs from her new album ‘Under The Covers’ with her trio.
If you are planning a visit to the Summerland region and want to check out some of the wineries, you may want to visit them online at http://bottleneckdrive.com/
I attended this annual celebration of BC Wines on May 22, the tasting featured wines from many of the wineries across all regions in BC.
This afternoon trade tasting was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre where guests I had a chance to sip and mingle.
Owners of Sage Hills Organic Estate Vineyard
Sage Hills Pinot Noir
Van Westen Vino Grigio
Thornhaven Estates Winery Rose
Here are some of the wines that I liked from the wide selection that were poured. The annual Wines of British Columbia Spring Release Tasting will showcase over 90 BC wineries and 300 premium BC VQA wines, while highlighting the highly anticipated 2013 vintage. Come and mingle with the winemakers as you taste the flavours or their new spring releases.
If you are planning a visit to any of the wine regions in British Columbia and want to check out some of the wineries, you may want to visit them online at http://winebc.com/
Mark Anthony Group of Companies hosted to a wine party recently at Brix restaurant where they launched Inception Wines into our area to a large group of trade and media.
Light appetizers were served made by the chefs at Brix Restaurant to pair with the wine which had notes of chocolate, vanilla, mocha and spice. The wine is from South Africa and now available locally for around $14.99 a bottle at at BC Liquor stores.
Michelle Bouffard (President) and Roger Maniwa (Secretary)
This afternoon I attended a bubble party to celebrate the launch of The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in British Columbia. This Canada-wide association will bring new opportunities, connections and forums to our province. CAPS have been active in Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada for many years now, and is affiliated with the prestigious Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) headquartered in Paris.
Held in the York Room at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Michelle Bouffard, President of the association, welcomed all the sommeliers, trade and media marking this exciting launch.
The CAPS-BC Mission Statement:
• To raise awareness of the Sommelier profession and its value in the hospitality industry and to the general public.
• To enhance the role of the Sommelier and promote the culture of wine through instruction, competition, accreditation, and events.
• To provide a professional forum to encourage community, networking, and education for our members.
Here’s CAPS-BC Board:
Michelle Bouffard – President
Barb Philip MW – Vice-President
DJ Kearney – Vice-President
Roger Maniwa – Secretary
Johnathan Lai – Treasurer
Mark Davidson – Education
Sebastien Le Goff ¬- International Relations
Keith Nicholson – Communications & PR
Mark Taylor – Events
Terry Threlfall – Competitions & Language Specialist
Lesley Brown – Membership
Since its inception in 1989, CAPS has promoted the profession, notably by its participation in the Best Sommelier of the World Competition. Quebec’s Veronique Rivest came 2nd in the world in 2013, putting Canadian sommeliers firmly on the map. Now that we have established a CAPS-BC chapter, we too can be part of the global competition process.
As a part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, on February 28, I attended this 11th annual awards lunch that was full of restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine makers, and other industry folk.
The Rhone Valley region of France was featured at the lunch with a selection of wines available for tasting as well as a wonderful array of dishes prepared by the chefs of the Vancouver Convention Centre. My favourite dishes were the Duck Confit Croque Monsieur, the Tuna Chickpea Salad and the Chicken Squash Ravioli.
A couple of prestigious awards which are handed out each year were awarded to Mark Davidson (Spirited Industry Professional Award) and to Mike Bernardo of Vij’s Restaurant (Sommelier of the Year).
SPIRITED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL (SIP) AWARD
The Spirited Industry Professional Award honours an individual who makes significant contributions to the sales, service or promotion of wine in British Columbia. The eighth annual SIP Award goes to industry veteran Mark Davidson. Mark is education director for Wine Australia USA, and was the BC representative for the creation of a Canadian National Standard for Wine Service. In 1993, he co-founded the Vancouver Wine Academy (VWA) and has worked with the BC Wine Institute to create a Train the Trainee module for educating restaurant and wine industry staff. Mark placed third in the finals at the 1990 Sopexa Best French Wine & Spirits Sommelier and was the winner of the 2001 BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association Sommelier of the Year. The SIP Award is sponsored by the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR AWARD
The 15th annual Sommelier of the Year Award recognizes outstanding wine knowledge and wine service. The Sommelier of the Year is awarded based on votes by key members of the. This year’s award goes to sommelier Mike Bernardo of Vij’s Group. As the wine director at Vij’s and a contributor to Vancouver magazine, Mike’s expertise lies in the often challenging pairing of spicy, layered dishes with the perfect wines. Focusing on fresh, crisp white wines and medium-bodied, low-tannin reds, Mike also enjoys the challenge of combining bigger, bolder wines with Indian cuisine. Sommelier of the Year is sponsored by the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
The delicious wine (Esprit Barville 2011) served at our table was wonderful as was the wine focused conversation with Matthew Presidente, Tim Pawsey and others. The annual wine list awards were handed out celebrating the best food and wine pairings in the business, restaurants throughout British Columbia and Alberta have been recognized for creating wine lists that complement their establishment’s unique menu and concept. Candidates submitted their wine and menu lists, and were then visited by judges who reviewed their programs. The judges are Michelle Bouffard, Tom Doughty, DJ Kearney, Iain Philip and Terry Threlfall. The top restaurants were awarded Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, or commended with an Honourable Mention. The Wine List Awards are sponsored by Vancouver Magazine.
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
La Pentola della Quercia
Tableau Bar Bistro
The Wine Room at Joey Bentall One
Zest Japanese Cuisine
Burdock & Co. – Best New Entry, Vancouver
Edible Canada at the Market
Homer St. Cafe and Bar
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Provence Marinaside & The Wine Bar
Salt Tasting Room
Lift Bar Grill View
The Fish House in Stanley Park
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro
Tap & Barrel Coal Harbour
Tramonto at River Rock Casino Resort
Via Tevere Pizzeria
Araxi Restaurant + Bar
VICTORIA AND SUNSHINE COAST
The Restaurant at Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina (Madeira Park)
Little Jumbo – Best New Entry, Victoria
The Pacific Restaurant & Terrace at the Hotel Grand Pacific
Stage Wine Bar
Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio at the Inn at Laurel Point
On January 15, I attend the Fraser Valley Junmai Sake – Series Two release tasting which also celebrated Artisan SakeMaker’s 7th Anniversary.
These sake are part of the regional Osake series made from 100% organically grown sake rice in Abbotsford, BC. Series Two consists of 730 bottles of Fraser Valley Junmai and 120 bottles of Fraser Valley Junmai Nigori. They are available for purchase by private liquor stores and restaurants.
A couple of weeks ago David Stansfield gave a talk at my Food Talks Vol 10 event about Wine, it struck me as how knowledgeable David was. Hence it was high time I interviewed him, we first sat down at Cuchillo in Railtown to enjoy some appetizers which David paired with his favourite wine, I had a glass of water. We then hopped into a cab and headed over to Tap & Barrel in Coal Harbour, to enjoy some more dishes and wines.
David Stansfield is an independent sommelier – wine nerd for hire – currently working as the in-house Sommelier for the Vancouver Urban Winery and as an ambassador of wine-on-tap for FreshTAP, the country’s leading packager of premium wines in kegs. He also works as the corporate Sommelier for the Daniel Hospitality Group and consults for local restaurants Bestie and Cuchillo.
In his 15 year career in wine, David has worked as a cellar hand, tour guide, and Director of Sales for Summerhill Pyramid Winery; launched an online wine distribution service for BC wines; ran the wine programs of two award-winning Gastown restaurants; lectured as a guest instructor with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust through the Art Institute of Vancouver; gave presentations on behalf of the BC Wine Institute; gained accreditation as a French Wine Scholar; created and hosted the Sunday School series of wine classes at Vancouver Urban Winery; and spoken to anyone who will listen about the joys of drinking good wine.
Albacore Tuna Ceviche
Albacore Tuna Ceviche
Paired with Unworth Vineyards – Allegro blend of Pinot Gris, Petit Milo and Blanc Noir 2012 (from Mill Bay, Cowichan Valley).
What drew you to wine?
I moved to the Okanagan when I was 14 years old and lived in Kelowna. I went to high school with Ezra Cipes (now CEO of Summerhill Wines). At 17, Ezra and I went to have a drink at Steven Cipes house (Ezra’s father and owner of Summerhill Wines), we grabbed a bottle of wine, pulled the cork and downed ¾ of the bottle. Steven Cipes walked in and looked at us kids drinking who were underage. I was pretty drunk and catty, Steven offered me a job and he was serious. I ended up taking the job and worked in the cellar at Summerhill, once I turned 19 I was promoted to the Tour Guide of the winery. At 24 I became Director of Sales of Summerhill Winery. I then became a Sommelier while I was working at Summerhill.
What goes into creating a wine list for a restaurant?
1) 1st is the theme of the restaurant
2) I write wine programs
For example at Cuchillo – the food is Neuvo Latino (flavours of latin America and Spain but made with local ingredients. The wines are BC, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina.
3) I do the list at Cuchillo with Chef/Owner Stu Irving and we talk about his dishes, ingredients and flavours.
Vs Tap & Barrel
1) It is all BC wine focussed with local food
2) I have to love the wine
3) Every wine has a job to do – each wine has to be distinct from the other wine ( I like small wine lists)
What inspires you when you are curating a wine list?
I try to write wine lists that I would be excited to encounter as a customer. I drink heavily at the restaurants I work for, I want their wines to be ones that I want to drink time and time again.
Then the subsidiary inspiration. I like to introduce people to new wines and regions that people haven’t heard of. Telling the story, I am a local boy and I want to promote whats good in BC.
What was your training like to become a Sommelier?
My formal training, I went through the WSET program, I also did the French Wine Scholar Program at WSET level 4. Then 17 years on the job (cellar, vineyard, retails, sales and restaurant).
Tell our readers where you have worked in the past 10 years?
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Wine Barrel VqA store in Victoria
Dictionary of Canadianisms at UBC
Self employed Wine Consultant
Who are your clients currently?
Vancouver Urban Winery
Private tastings for private clients
Who are your mentors?
Lamb Albondigas Tacos & Corn Bread Aioli
Lamb Albondigas Tacos
And Corn Bread Aioli with guahillo chili butter
Paired with Nichol 9 Mile Red 2011 – a blemd of Saint Laurent and Pinot Noir (from Naramata)
Tell us about Cuchillo, what type of wines did you showcase on their wine list?
8 BC wines on tap by the glass
Selection of 25-30 Central and South America, Spanish and Portugese by the bottle
Wine style-focus on terroir and preferably lesser known and more exciting wines of the terroir (place).
Tell us about Tap & Barrel, what type of wines did you showcase on their wine list?
BC Wine on tap
Then represent as many different sub regions of BC that I can. Ie (5 different regions of Okanagan), then all the valleys (Fraser, Cowichan etc)
I want the wine to be indicative of the area.
Steelhead Salmon Tacos and Local Wild Mushroom Pizza
Steelhead Salmon Tacos
Paired with the Poplar Grove Vionier 2012 (exclusive to Tap & Barrel Coal Harbour)
Local Wild Mushroom Pizza
Paired with Meyer Family Vineyards single barrel Pinot Noir (exclusive to Tap & Barrel Coal Harbour)
What wine are you drinking currently?
De Martino (Chile) Organic – Cinsault – made in ancient clay pots called Viejas Tinajas
Cru Beaujoulais Gamay from South Burgundy
If you weren’t a Sommelier what would you be doing?
I would be working to become a professor in literature or a street mime.
What does a wine that tastes like dirt mean exactly?
Made from the terroir (place) of the vineyard. Small lot, specialty of place.
What are the top 3 types of wine (your favourites) would we find in your home Wine collection?
1) Lots of sparkling wines
2) Cold rose
Take us on a tour of Vancouver’s wine bars and restaurants with good wine lists that aren’t you’re clients. What are your favorites?
1) Lisa Cook at Joey Wine Room
2) Kurtis Kolt’s wine list at Bao Bei
3) Brooke at Wildebeest
4) Natural wines at Burdock & Co
5) A pint with Nigel at the Alibi Room
What do you look for on a Wine List when you dine out in a Restaurant?
Something I have never seen before.
Tell me about Sunday School that you recently hosted at the Vancouver Urban Winery
A series of irreverent wine seminars that I host with Lisa Cook. It’s a wine school where the emphasis is on the wine but not on the school. Starting in January we will be doing them monthly.
On October 21 I attended a wonderful event at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens presented by House Wine featuring over 50 wines from New Zealand paired with Asian dishes from 6 Asian restaurant in Vancouver.
Chef Angus An – Maenam
Malang of Prawns – Maenam
Sommelier/Executive chef Tatsuya Katagiri (R) of Zest Japanese
Salmon Kiwi & Autumn Roll -Zest Japanese
Chef Lisa Henderson (L) – Union Bar
Asian Seafood Ceviche – Union Bar
Sura Korean Royal Cuisine with their Beef Skewered Pancake and Seafood Skewered Pancake
Aloo Tiki & Samosa
Fresh and pure, the wines of New Zealand have established themselves as incredibly food friendly. Home to some of the world’s best Asian food, Vancouver is blessed with a colourful and diverse palette of flavours. Some of the city’s top Asian restaurants each created a dish to pair with the vibrant wines of New Zealand. Kingyo Izakaya, Maenam, Palki Restaurant, Sura Korean Cuisine, The Union and Zest Japanese Cuisine were the restaurants featured.
From Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling to Pinot Noir and more, it was a chance to explore a variety of combinations at this stand up, grazing event. Kia ora and Kanpai!
House Wine presents many wine events through out the year, you can find them online.
Last week I took part in an exciting tour with some other invited media guests around the city that wined and dined us at four of Vancouver’s top wine bars. Travelling by a bus limo we made our way around the different venues to taste a couple of Languedoc wines along with some food selections at each of the spots.
Visit any one of the 4 wine bars during the promo and you’ll find a ballot to win your own wine bar crawl for two. Or Tweet @LanguedocWines or Facebook about it (#LanguedocVan) for other ways to win gift certificates & more.
Thanks to its coastal location, Languedoc is one of France’s most ancient viticultural regions, producing a diverse selection of high quality wines of many styles – red and white, dry and sweet, still and sparkling.
French bread and a selection of Oysters
During the wine bar crawl our 1st stop of the night was to The Wine Bar (1177 Marinaside Crescent, 604-681-4144) @TWB_TheWineBar (twitter) in Yaletown where we treated to French bread and a selection of Oysters. The wines here are: Sieur d’Arques, Première Brulle, Limoux AOC (2011) and mussels with the Château Pech-Celeyran, Cinquième Gérération, and Languedoc AOC La Clape (White, 2011).
Goat Cheese Creme Brûlée & Grilled Cheese
Our second stop was to Brix (1138 Homer St., 604-915-9463) @brixvan (twitter) where we were served a delicious flaming Goat Cheese Creme Brûlée pairing. The white wines here are the: Domaine Delsol, Picpout de Pinet AOC (2012), and red is the Gerard Bertrand, Terroir Minervois AOC (2010)!
On to the third stop to Seasons In The Park (Queen Elizabeth Park, Cambie St & W 33rd Ave.,604-874-8008) @SeasonsInQEPark (twitter) where I had a Tuna Salad. Featured Wines at Seasons In The Park: Ormarine, Picpoul de Pinet AOC, White, 2011; Domaines Paul Mas, Estate GSM, Coteaux du Languedoc AOC, Red, 2011; and Saint-Saturnin, Le Clocher, Languedoc AOC, Red 2010.
Chocolate Hazelnut Torte and a selection of cheeses
The last stop of the night was to Siena (1485 W 12th Ave., 604-558-1485) @SienaVancouver (twitter) for their delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Torte and a selection of cheeses. The wines here are the: Antech Cuvée Expression Crémant de Limoux AOC sparkling and the Domaine de Babio Minervois AOC Red 2009.
Remember from now until November 14th, these four of Vancouver’s hottest wine bars will feature a wide assortment of Languedoc wines by-the-glass – a great opportunity for active Vancouverites to discover the flavour of the South of France! Languedoc is proud to shine a Vancouver-wide spotlight on their premium quality wines from now until November 14th.
This wine bar crawl was a lot of fun and I learned quite a lot about Languedoc wines which you can read about here as well.
Okanagan Crush Pad recently released Owen for West Restaurant, a BC VQA Cabernet Franc, this is the second wine release from BC’s Okanagan Crush Pad’s Okanagan Wine Campus program, created by 2011 Vancouver Sommelier of the Year and West wine director Owen Knowlton.
Christine Colleta (M), Owen Knowlton (R)
Owen Knowlton, Vancouver’s Sommelier of the Year 2011, releases his 2011 Cabernet Franc, aptly named “Owen”. The wine was made with Okanagan Crush Pad chief winemaker Michael Bartier from grapes grown on the Black Sage Road. You will be impressed with the result.
Tomato on bread crumbs
Pork Belly with cherry
Beet with fromage
West Restaurant hosted invited media recently for this launch, I tasted a variety canapés showcased to pair with this wine.
A few weeks ago I was invited for a tour of Alf and Sandee Krause brand new Estate Winery at Krause Berry Farm. I have toured Krause Berry Farm on previous trips, this time I had a chance to see some of their new exciting developments.
I enjoyed touring their new wine room where they offer tastes of all their fruit wines as well have a retail store for picking up wine accessories as well as souvenirs.
This summer SKY Helicopters is pleased to provide a spectacular flight over the Fraser Valley with lift off from the Krause Estate Winery for a panoramic view of Krause Berry Farm and the Cascade mountains. I experienced this first hand by taking one of their tours the day I visited in my first ever Helicopter ride, state of the art helicopters and it was magnificent.
I had a nosh on delectable treats from the Krause Berry kitchen, and got the scoop on the upcoming Cooking School at Krause, seasonal offerings and special events in the works.
I even took a tractor tour around their farm to see some of the crops that have been planted this year. Spend a few hours or spend the day with a visit to Krause Berry Farms and Estate Winery located at 6179 248th Street in Langley, BC.
Each year when I attend the Vancouver International Wine Festival there are a selection of events that I attend. My friend and fellow food writer Cassandra Anderton is from New Zealand and is not only a wine aficionado she is also a great promoter of New Zealand wines each time they presented in Vancouver. She invited me to attend this event which took place towards the end of this years wine festival. Held at The Boathouse overlooking Kitsilano Beach on a dreary winter day where the wind was blowing strong, guests filled the room with glasses in hand to sip and swirl.
Each of the New Zealand wines presented were paired with dishes created by each of the local Boathouse Restaurants and their chefs and each were represented at this grazing lunch event.
Heirloom Vegetables Risotto
Herb Crusted Lamb Lollipops
My favourite dishes were the Heirloom Vegetables Risotto with tarragon and basil oil, along with the Herb Crusted Lamb Lollipops with Dijon jus.
On April 26th I attended a food and wine pairing tasting that not only featured a large selection of wineries from all over the Naramata Bench area, it also featured a selection Naramata region restaurants. The Four Seasons Vancouver Hotel ballroom was the venue for this stellar tasting event and they featured their own spectacular Seafood station in the centre of the room.
Shana and Gavin Miller — co-own Upper Bench Winery
Richard of Misconduct Wine Co
Stephanie at D’Angelo Winery
All of the wineries were pouring their line-up of wines for guests to sip and swirl and to spit if they so desired.
Purple Potato Chips & Clam dip by The Peking Room & pairing with Red Rooster Winery
Spicy Seafood Perogy from Vanilla Pod Restaurant pairing with Poplar Grove Winery
Halibut Sausage Roll & Pairing from Lake Breeze Wines
Rainbow Trout Terrine & Pairing from Hillside Wines
Guests I had a chance to taste the best of the Naramata Bench wineries while sampling tantalizing culinary offerings from Naramata Bench’s own Hillside Winery Bistro, Lake Breeze Vineyards The Patio restaurant, Red Rooster’s P. INC. restaurant, Poplar Grove Winery’s The Vanilla Pod, Misconduct Wine Co’s The Kitchen, and Upper Bench Winery and Creamery.
Canadian Maple Wine from Lang Vineyards
The Four Seasons Hotel, presented this wonderful event in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium in support of its national sustainable seafood program Ocean Wise™.
I had heard about TASTE Washington though never had a chance to visit until Visit Seattle invited me to Seattle to experience there #2DaysInSeattle They suggested a visit would be in order for me to attend this esteemed food & wine festival. Since I love food and wine I took them up on the offer and obtained a Media Pass to visit the festival on Saturday March 23.
As I mentioned I do love wine and food, this festival featured 225 Washington wineries pouring their favorite wines and more than 65 Northwest restaurants serving specially-prepared bites.
I decided that I would focus my tasting on the food alone and not partake in any sipping, swirling or drinking at this festival. There was plenty of restaurants serving up a large selection of bites, along with many other non-alcoholic beverages sampling to be had.
Chef David Buchanan of Tulalip Resort Casino
I tasted canapés, salads, seafood, meats, pastas, risotto, burgers and all sorts of desserts during the afternoon of walking the aisles of the event. Some of the highlights were meeting Chef David Buchanan of Tulalip Resort Casino and tasting his Dungeness Crab Salad in a cucumber wrap – tasty and stunning.
Pastry Chef Kim Mahar of RN74 (on the left)
Chevre Cheesecake with toasted almonds, and compressed apple from RN74
I met Pastry Chef Kim Mahar of RN74 with her delish Chevre Cheesecake with toasted almonds, and compressed apple.
The owners of Tude Juices
One of the refreshing beverages that I sampled was the lineup of Washington produced apple juices at the Tude Juices booth. The owners explained that their juices are made with Washington grown apples, my favourites were the Fuji’tude and Gala’tude.
Smoked Octopus by Trace Restaurant
Chocolate Zepole at Cantinetta
Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding by Yardhouse
Prawns and more by the Washington State Convention Centre
I love Beechers Cheese which I often try when I am at Pike Place Market on visits to Seattle so I was happy to try more cheese at this festival. The Smoked Octopus by Trace Restaurant was a treat as was the Chocolate filled Zepole from Cantinetta along with the delicious Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding by Yardhouse Restaurants.
Chefs team of Barking Frog at Willows Lodge
Prawn & Berkshire Pork Dumpling by Barking Frog at Willows Lodge
Tasting and tasting ….
Pastry Chef behind Pie
Salted Caramel Peanut Waffles from Sweet Iron Waffles
It seemed like there was a never ending supply of sweets every turn I made around the gigantic convention centre space, I also loved the Key Lime Pie at the Pie booth along with the Salted Caramel Peanut Waffles from Sweet Iron Waffles.
Celebrity Chef Stage
Washington State Ciders
Loved my first #TasteWA experience, a huge festival with many restaurants, tasters, chefs, vintners, wineries and more. If you love food, wine and cider then make sure you visit them next year at Taste Washington.
Celebrating its 35th year of bringing the world of wine to Vancouver, the 2013 festival welcomes California as its Theme Region and puts the Global Focus on Chardonnay. The festival runs from February 25 to March 3. One of North America’s most exciting gatherings of leading winemakers and their wares, this year’s festival will feature 176 wineries from 15 countries, attracting 25,000 participants to the Festival’s seven days of tastings, dinners, seminars and wine minglers at the Vancouver Convention Centre and top restaurants, hotels and venues.
Tickets go on sale on Tuesday January 8th and you will want to get them early for all the events and especially for the dinners that often sell out quickly.
THEME REGION: CALIFORNIA WINES
California will once again star as VanWineFest’s Theme Region, as it did most recently in 2004, and at the festival’s inception in 1979. While that first event featured only a single exhibitor, Robert Mondavi Winery, 63 of this year’s 176 wineries hail from the Golden State. With appellations ranging from coastal, to mountainous, to desert, California boasts an extensive range of terroirs that produce wines of unsurpassed excellence. Whether personal taste leans towards a complex Pinot Noir, a creamy Chardonnay, a rich Cabernet Sauvignon, or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to sample these favourites and many more, showcased by wineries from California’s 12 AVA regions.
A SNEAK PEEK AT SOME OF THIS YEAR’S CALIFORNIA WINE EVENTS
A Tour of California – Monday, February 25
California is home to some of the leading vintners in the world, capable of translating nuances of diverse terroirs into wine that is vibrant and complex. This winery dinner, held at the renowned MARKET by Jean-Georges, will take you on a taste-tour of California’s most iconic wine regions and up and coming areas. Sip on famed California varietals and hidden gems only sold directly from the wineries (Edna Valley Vineyard, Bridlewood Estate Winery, Louis M Martini and Apothic), while enjoying a beautifully paired menu prepared by Executive Chef Wayne Harris.
California Cruisin’ – Tuesday, February 26
Kick start your Festival experience the Cali way with an evening of sipping, snacking and socializing with some of California’s biggest wine stars at Vancouver’s chicest dual establishment, Brix Restaurant and George Ultra Lounge. With over 20 of California’s top vintners pouring a selection of their finest wines, specially created California themed tapas by Executive Chef Chris Bisaro, and beats you can’t help but dance to, this event promises to be the ultimate wine mingler experience.
Regional Superstars of California – Friday, March 1
Wine educator DJ Kearney surveys the diversity of California’s wine growing regions and leads you on a tasting to explore some of California’s highest quality wines. Join a panel of esteemed vintners whose goal is to craft wines that fully reflect the different terroirs California offers through wines that express both their origin and identity.
Savour California Flavour – Saturday, March 2
This wine-tasting, food-grazing spectacular in the Theme Region section of the Tasting Room is an excellent way to experience the best VanWineFest has to offer, West Coast style. Nosh, sip and mingle your way around this gastronomic showcase while admiring the magnificent backdrop of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. Meant to be a full sensory experience, exceptional wines from over 60 California wineries, exquisitely prepared canapés and lively music and entertainment will create an event to be reminisced about for years to come.
GLOBAL FOCUS: CHARDONNAY
Chardonnay is arguably one of the most popular varietals in the world. An incredibly versatile grape, it can be rich, fruity, buttery and bright and pairs wonderfully with a wide range of foods. Malleable and responsive, Chardonnay lends itself well to a range of styles, such as crisp, dry examples from France’s famous Burgundy region, bold, fruit-forward New World representations from California, and elegant, savoury Blanc de Blancs bubbles from Champagne. Thanks to its adaptability, Chardonnay remains a varietal that is grown and enjoyed the world over.
A TASTE OF THIS YEAR’S CHARDONNAY EVENTS
All About Chardonnay – Thursday, February 28
Winemaking is an art, and this comparative tasting is designed to show off the versatility of Chardonnay and the impact a winemaker’s personal approach has on the finished product. Countless variables contribute to the representation of the varietal, from growing conditions and techniques to production methods and aging procedures. During this seminar, differing styles are tasted side by side in order to appreciate the adaptability of this grape.
A Chardonnay Kitchen Party – Saturday, March 2
Don’t the best parties always end up in the kitchen? That’s the idea behind this celebration of all things Chardonnay, held at the stylish Miele Showroom. Join Hired Belly Tim Pawsey and Chef Dana Reinhardt as they introduce guests to beautifully prepared foods to pair with Chardonnay. Designed as a marketplace mingler, attendees are encouraged to browse the stations and get a comprehensive sense of the impressive versatility of this grape.
Tickets to the ever-popular Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, go on sale January 8, 2013. Beginning at 9:30 am, tickets may be purchased online at vanwinefest.ca, in person at 305-456 West Broadway, or by phoning the box office at 604-873-3311 or toll-free at 1-877-321-3121. Many of the festival’s coveted 55 events are expected to sell out in the first few days of onsale, so wine lovers are encouraged to buy early.
Winemaker Dwight Sick (L) & Owner Larry Gerelus (R)
A few weeks ago I was invited to the Stag’s Hollow Fall wine release at Lift Bar and Grill in Coal Harbour. With a stunning view on a gorgeous end of summer day, the chef’s team paired a 4 course luncheon with the wines from Stag’s Hollow.
Roasted Weathervane Scallops with Chanterelle & Leek Risotto
paired with Viognier 2010, GVM 2011, Renaissance Pinot Noir 2010
paired with Renaissance Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Con-Fusion 2011
Cannon of Beef and Bacon-Wrapped Venison Loin, Celery Root Puree, Fondant Potato, Glazed Carrots, Braised Cippolini Onions, Marchand de Vin
paired with Cabernet Franc 2010, Heritage Block 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Syrah 2010
Truffles & Biscotti
Lunch was delicious and I was very impressed by the menu pairings, it was the best meal I had at Lift Bar & Grill in years, kudos goes out to the chefs in that kitchen. My favourite wine was the Cabernet Franc 2010 ($27.99 bottle) and the pairing was full of blackberries and morello cherries mingled with smokey oak notes.
Down at District 319, the new Apothic White wine was launched recently at an affair that was filled with canapés, chocolate, wine and Ballet BC performance art.
Delicious fare was served by the Moveable Feast Company and well paired to the Apothic White and Red Wine. I loved the and most of all loved all the chocolate treats including the chocolate cones. The MC for the evening was Fred Lee.
Chocolate Mousse filled Cones
DJ Amy Spins
Apothic White is an approachable blend that combines Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato to create a luscious, vibrant wine in the bold style of Apothic. Intense flavors of peach, pineapple, honey and vanilla spice make this smooth white blend unforgettable.
Their latest release brings tropical aromas and flavors together with hints of spice, creating an enchanting white blend.
Every once in awhile a gem of an invite will arrive in my inbox and this was one of them. A journey to West Vancouver to celebrate the launch of a new wine in the Vancouver area, this wasn’t just any ordinary wine, this was Red Rocks. We were whisked out of downtown out to a private waterfront residence in West Vancouver where a rocks artist had assembled Red Rocks.
Stone Grilled Pizza
We feasted on mini bacon grilled cheese sandwiches, stone cooked meats, and other savouries that accompanied our glasses of red wine.
Rounding up the evening we were served chocolate treats paired with more of the Red Rock Winery 2010 Reserve Malbec.
The wine auction is a must for any serious wine collector and the evening provided the unparalleled opportunity for patrons to enhance their wine cellar with wines from some of the world’s top winemakers and private wine collectors.
A gala dinner featuring 5 courses paired with some of the top wines followed the reception.
house wine is thrilled to be hosting the Wine Garden at The Harmony Arts Festivalpresented by Odlum Brown Limited. Located on the water’s edge at the foot of 15th Street in Millennium Park, the Wine Garden looks onto the Pacific Arbour Garden Stage which is programmed with daily and nightly entertainment. Sip on wines selected by house wine and nibble on superb Italian fare from Mangia e Bevi Ristorante as you take in the sounds and sights of this unparalleled waterfront experience. Everyone is welcome!
2009 Prospect Winery, ‘Birch Canoe’ Pinot Blanc, BC
2010 Cono Sur, Viognier, Chile
2010 Vieille Ferme, Rosé, Côte du Ventoux, France
2010 Finca Los Primos, Syrah, Argentina
2009 Rilento, Nerello Mascalese, IGT Sicilia, Italy
R&B Brewing, Bohemian Lager
wine – $7/glass, $35/bottle
beer – $7/glass
non-alcoholic beverages – $3 each
*Assortment of salad, pasta, sandwiches, skewers & daily grilled items available for purchase.