VPIWF-International Festival Tasting-7

The 2013 Vancouver International Wine Festival hasn’t even begun, yet I’ve already discovered a couple of wonderful wines that will be featured at two of the upcoming festival’s events.

Last night during a media preview at recently-opened forage, Wine Festival Director Harry Hertscheg gave opening remarks, greeting the crowd to the 35th annual event, the largest of its kind in North America.

Harry talked about a year filled with change, change, and more change. With the unfortunate loss of the Playhouse Theatre Company, Bard on the Beach has now filled the shoes of charity partner, proving that nothing lasts forever.

Forage/Cracklings and popcorn Vancouver Int'l Wine Festival Preview/forage charcuterie selection

Chef Chris Whittaker and his culinary team put together a selection of bites, including the signature (and much talked about) cracklings and popcorn, spicy apple and kale chips, charcuterie, and mini versions of the apple pie.

Out of a dozen wines placed along the bar for sampling, I found both a favourite red and white.

Riva Ranch 2011
[Wente Vineyards Estate Grown Riva Ranch Chardonnay 2011; photo provided by Wente Vineyards]

Wente Vineyards’ Riva Ranch Chardonnay 2010 is a medium-bodied golden chard with light floral notes balanced by the butter and vanilla derived from barrel aging. I particularly enjoyed its long, fruity finish.

This fruity sipper will be included in the Regional Superstars of California event on Friday, March 1. Wine educator DJ Kearney will discuss California’s diverse wine growing regions, together with a panel of vintners whose goal is to create expressive wines to reflect the state’s different terroirs.

Wente wines have come a long way in the past couple of decades. I used to enjoy their wines in my post-university years while still living in southern California.

Vancouver Int'l Wine Festival Preview/Cinq Cépages 2008

Chateau St. Jean’s Cinq Cépages 2008 ($80) is a Bordeaux Blend that I kept coming back to over the course of the evening. St. Jean is known for its whites, and the Cinq Cépages is the winery’s flagship wine. It also has the honour of being chosen Wine of the Year from Wine Spectator, the first and only Sonoma wine to have received the coveted award.

If you’d like to taste this beautifully rounded wine with its dense colour and rich layering of boysenberry and cassis, check out Cinq Cépages Vertical Tasting on Wednesday, February 27.

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