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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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At the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival, I once again went to the popular 25 Under $25. Hand-picked by James Nevison, The Province’s “Wine Guy”, we got to sample 25 wines from around the world that are priced reasonably at $25 or less.

25 Under $25 2016

Here is the list of wines grouped by colour (white, rosé, red or port), then sorted by countries in alphabetical order. In the event program, there is a price listed for each wine, so I’ve included it here for your reference. If they are currently available at BC Liquor Stores, I have used their listed price instead. Keep in mind that prices may be different at private liquor stores.

I’ve highlighted the ones I enjoyed the most: (more…)

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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.

California Cruisin', Vancouver International Wine Festival

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.

California Cruisin', Vancouver International Wine Festival

Chardonnay

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.

Bonterra Organic Vineyards Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon

Concannon Vineyard Founders Chardonnay 2013 – It’s from the Monterey County. Oaked in American oak, it has apple, pear and some tropical fruit note.
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The last Vancouver International Wine Festival event that we attended was the popular 25 Under $25. It’s one of the last events of the festival and in my mind, it’s a great event for first-timers or wine beginners. Tickets were priced reasonably and you get to try 25 wines that are generally priced under $25, a price point that would be affordable to most, if not all, of us wine drinkers.

25 Under $25

The following is the list of sampled wines grouped by white and red, then sorted by countries in alphabetical order. Most wines should be available at a BC Liquor Store. The listed price (in the event program) is also included for your reference, but it might be different at each wine store. I’ll keep this short and highlight ones that I liked the most. You should know that I’m usually drawn to sweet, fruity whites and full-body reds. You’ll probably notice the same pattern here: (more…)

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As Kathryn mentioned in her debut post, we checked out the Restaurant Australia event as part of the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Being the featured country this year, it’s only fitting that there was an event highlighting the Aussie culinary culture and how it pairs with wine.

Restaurant Australia

Even though it’s prepared by the executive chef and culinary team at the Vancouver Convention Centre, they utilized some interesting ingredients unique to Australia, such as kangaroo, crocodile, wattleseed and of course, lamb. Here is a quick peek at the menu and some food photos: (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!
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The second event of the Vancouver International Wine Festival that we went to was the Mediterranean Mingle. Keeping up with the French theme, the focus was on wines from South of France.

Mediterranean MinglePouring wine

Pouring WineLive Music

It’s a grazing lunch. There were a number of Mediterranean-inspired dishes being put out, with suggested wine pairings. They suggested some classic pairings, but also “out of the box” pairings. Here are some of the dishes:

  • Fresh Asparagus Salad with Tarragon Mimosa Foam
  • Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Pepper, Chevre and Pine Nuts
  • Tourte a la Brandade
  • Mediterranean Mussel Brasucade au Noilly Prat

Asparagus with Tarragon Mimosa Foam, Grilled Vegetables, Tapenade Croque-MonsieurTourte a la Brandade and Mediterranean Mussel Brasucade

  • Aigo-Boulido “Sip” Poached Quail Egg
  • Roasted Cod on Fennel
  • Beef Boules de Picolat, Picholine Olives and Cepes
  • Saucisse de Toulouse White Bean Stew

Aigo-Boulido "Sip" Poached Quail Egg & Roasted Cod on FennelBeef Boules de Picolat and Saucisse de Toulouse

  • Walnut Orange Cake, Yogurt Wildflower Honey “Pot de Creme”

Walnut Orange Cake

Because there were so many food and wine pairing combinations to try, I had to strategically pick out a few that I thought would work best. (more…)

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