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The Vancouver International Wine Festival 2016 Tasting Room had, in my mind, great potential to be the best I have experienced to date. Why? One word…Italy! Yes, the romantic, bold and fabulous world of Italian wines was featured at this year’s wine fest. However, to my surprise, there were more wines I preferred from other countries. Perhaps it was the hype I had built up in my mind that made me expect a taste sensation, but instead, I got a sub-par flavour experience. Having said that, I will still one day venture to Tuscany and drink wine all day while my husband, Bryan the beer columnist, writes his novels (not unlike Joshua Jackson in Shadows in the Sun).

2016 Vancouver International Wine Fest Tasting Room

Most of the wines available for tasting were reds…very rich and very heavy. I love my bold reds but it also has to be balanced and have some complexity to it to make it interesting, and I just didn’t find that with any of the Italian wines. Perhaps some aging would have helped soften the wines and bring out the flavours. That is what some of the winery representatives mentioned as I was sacrificing myself trying as many wines as I could in such a short time…what a tough life!

Please note: Prices listed below are mostly based on the BC Liquor Stores website and may vary depending on monthly promotion, and it will be priced differently at private, independent liquor stores as well. (more…)

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When Bryan (the “beer guy”) isn’t writing about beer I put him to work as my camera man – so he and I were proud and honoured to represent VanFoodies at the 11th Annual ChefmeetsBCGrape while our fearless leader, Joyce, had other work commitments. The ChefmeetsBCGrape Signature Tasting is a fundraiser for the Arts Club Theatre to support the local theatre arts while showcasing BC food paired with BC VQA Wine.

Very “handy” third hand provided at the event

Very “handy” third hand provided at the event

The event started off with a bang with my favourite dessert of the evening (and, needless to say, favourite dish overall):

Chocolate gianduja pate with sour cherry compote

Chocolate gianduja pate with sour cherry compote, lychee foam and toffee brittle paired with Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2014 presented by P2B Bistro & Bar

I’ve never had chocolate in a pate form before but let me tell you, it was smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and went beautifully with the toffee brittle crunch. The lychee foam and sour cherry compote disappeared behind the richness of the chocolate but gave it an interesting look with the white bubbles and pop of red colour. I found the white wine pairing quite surprising and would have preferred something equally as rich to balance with the chocolate/toffee flavours such as a Cabernet Sauvignon – the Pinot Gris was washed out by this delicious and delightful treat.

Now being Aussie I am a lamb fan (it’s a national Aussie meat) but I don’t find many Canadians who enjoy it. However, on this night, I only heard positive feedback from everyone I spoke to regarding this dish:

Sous-vide lamb sirloin slider

Sous-vide lamb sirloin slider, grey baby cheese, smoked tomato relish and beet chip paired with Upper Bench Winery Estate Grown Merlot 2012 presented by Provence Marinaside

The combination of flavours was well balanced with an equally balanced wine that paired very well with the strong flavours of the meat and cheese. (more…)

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Friends and I (including Joyce and Bryan) have formed a beer club called Garibaldi Club. To date our Garibaldi Club has had 13 beer nights, so it was about time we had a wine night. Plus it was good timing for not one, but two couples in our club, who are getting married this year, to obtain some feedback/ideas on potential wines for their nuptial-day shenanigans. Please note: Prices listed below are mostly based on the BC Liquor Stores website and may vary depending on monthly promotion, and it will be priced differently at private, independent liquor stores as well.

Wine Tasting Party

Whites

Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewurztraminer (2012/2013)
Canada – Alc 12% – Sweetness 02

If you are looking for something light and crisp to go with a spicy meal (or samosas, which we just so happened to have whilst sipping on this semi-sweet Gewurz) then this is a great choice. It’s got a lovely balance of flavour and sweetness without being too much. Out of 11 people there was only one or two people who said it wouldn’t be their choice, but overall it was quite enjoyable. BC Liquor Stores: $13.29 – good price for a VQA

Saint & Sinner Pinot Grigio (Vintage Not Specified)
Canada – Alc 12% – Sweetness 00

Now for someone who isn’t usually a Pinot Grigio fan I actually really enjoyed this white. It’s sweetness rating is 00 yet in my palate’s opinion it was closer to a 01 – not super dry as a 00 rating may suggest. Overall there wasn’t a negative comment in the house – it was easy drinking and quite refreshing – this may very well be seen at one (or both) of the weddings! BC Liquor Stores: $11.29

Gazela Vinho Verde (Vintage Not Specified)
Portugal – Alc 9% – Sweetness 00

I’m not going to lie, this was just not my style. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: Please give a warm welcome to Kathryn, our new blogger. With her experience working in the wine industry and sipping her way through many bottles, Kathryn is going to bring some new insight in wine tasting. Check out her debut post below!]

Hello foodies! Thank you for inviting me into your food/beer/wine loving homes. And what is the best way to start my wine blogging debut? It’s to talk to you about the 37th Annual Vancouver International Wine Festival of course!

Joyce and I attended the Restaurant Australia and International Festival Tasting events together. What terrific events full of food and wine to tantalize and quench anyone’s craving for flavour and variety. I will leave the food portion to Joyce (needless to say I enjoyed the food) and focus on the wines of the day.

Restaurant Australia Event at Vancouver International Wine Festival

The first event, Restaurant Australia, wet the whistle and eased us into the day by pairing food with wine for 2.5 hours. It was then followed by the 2-hour afternoon International Festival Tasting – such a short time to give the tasting room, filled with 170 wineries, justice! However, I sacrificed myself and tried as many wines as possible so I could share some tasting notes plus provide you with some behind-the-scenes information that perhaps you can’t just read on a wine label or website.

Vancouver International Wine Festival International Tasting Room

Firstly, if you are not a fan of the herbaceous or mineral flavours that Sauvignon Blanc usually provides, then do I have a Sauv Blanc for you!
(more…)

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