At the California Cruisin’ event of the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival, vineyards of the Golden State were showcased at the beautiful Waterview by the False Creek.
In California, Zinfandel is considered the state’s signature red, and Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape, so naturally, my tasting focused on these two varietals.
Around the room, the chardonnays weren’t the typical chardonnay I would have expected. Most of them were light, crisp, some of them refreshing, which frankly I didn’t mind. I’m not a huge chardonnay drinker because of its rich, buttery mouthfeel, so I actually quite enjoyed this selection of chardonnays. Here are my favourites:
Bonterra Organic Vineyards Chardonnay 2013 ($16.99 at BC Liquor Stores) – This was aged in 50/50 stainless steel and American oak, this has more of a citrusy flavour. It kind of reminded me of Pinot Gris.
Concannon Vineyard Founders Chardonnay 2013 – It’s from the Monterey County. Oaked in American oak, it has apple, pear and some tropical fruit note.
In addition to the chardonnays above, I also fell in love with the Seghesio Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio 2014. It’s clean, crisp and easy drinking. I’m a Pinot Grigio drinker and I would recommend this wine.
I think Californian Zinfandel has become my next favourite red! There were so many to try this evening and here is a list of the ones I enjoyed:
Delicato Family Vineyards Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 ($21.49 at BC Liquor Stores) – The grapes are grown in Lodi, in the Inland Valley. It’s juicy, with intense berry note and mild tannins. Probably my favourite of the bunch.
Geyser Peak Winery XYZinfandel 2013 – This was quite nice as well. In addition to juicy fruit note, it’s also peppery.
Seghesio Family Vineyards Sonoma Zinfandel 2013 ($33.99 at BC Liquor Stores) – Fruity, spicy with heavier tannins than the previous two.
There were some other reds for tasting at the event. Among those, I would suggest trying the following:
Bonterra Organic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($18.29 at BC Liquor Stores) – Heavy tannins, with cherry, currant note
Michael David Winery Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($24.99 at BC Liquor Stores) – Check out the cool label! Being grown in Lodi, the warm inland climate produces a sweeter Cab Sauv with milder tannins.
Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($33.99 at BC Liquor Stores) – This was light and fresh! Not something I would associate with Pinot Noir.
Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($26.79 at BC Liquor Stores) – This was harvested ripe so it is smooth with rather mild tannins.
Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2012 ($26.79 at BC Liquor Stores) – Heavy for a merlot but with a smooth finish.
Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($39.99 at BC Liquor Stores) – This is the second tier of the three wines at the station, with Trim at roughly $25 and Fuse at $80. This is a blend of mostly Cab Sauv, then Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Structured tannins but finishes nicely.
Judging by the length of the lists, looks like I’m a bigger fan of Californian reds than whites. I usually buy BC wines, but I can now switch to one of these to changes things up. Glad that most of them are available at BC Liquor Stores, and I may check private liquor stores for the other ones.