In Part 1 of my attendance at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair, I reviewed wines of New Zealand and Argentina. Here in Part 2, I’ll cover the rest of the world (or at least parts that I had a chance to taste)!
If you like Italian wines, Altesino is a nice coice. I particularly liked their Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2004 and their Alte d’Altesi “Super Tuscan” IGT 2003. The Brunello was pale reddish orange. Light strawberry and woody nose. Light body with strawberry and oaky flavours. Medium tannins. The Alte d’Altesi was fuller bodied. Medium garnet. Smoky, earthy, oaky nose. Cherry flavour with very firm tannins.
From France, one of my favorite wineries is M. Chapoutier from the Rhone Valley. Besides adopting a biodynamic cultivation method, all of the labels from M. Chapoutier have braile writing, and they support the blind. One of the wines I enjoyed was their Crozes Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2007. This wine is made from the Syrah grape. It was medium garnet in the glass. Vanilla and black currrant nose. Very nice aromas. Medium body. Smooth on the palate with strawberry and cherry flavours.
A South African winery I had not tried before but will now look around for is Alto. South African wines tend to have a different aromatic profile than other New World wines. There is something earthy about many of their wines. Alto’s Rouge 2007 and Shiraz 2006 were wonderful. I was told their Fine Old Vintage Port 2006 was really good, but never got around to trying it. The Rouge 2007 was light/medium garnet in the glass. Capsicum and cherry nose. Cherry, meaty and spicy flavours. Their Shiraz 2006 was deep purple coloured. Sweet black fruit aromas. Firm tannins and bursting with blueberry flavours. Very full bodied. Nice!
From Germany, I really enjoyed the wines of Pfaffenheim / Dopff & Irion, from Alsace, France. I really love Alsatian wines. The Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2005 may have been my overall favorite white wine of the festival. This wine was very elegant and intense. Medium lemon in colour, with peach and honey on the nose. Medium body, with peach and flowery flavours. Round with refreshing acidity to balance the fruit. Another fantastic wine was the Dopff & Irion Traditional Gewurztraminer 2008. Lychee and honey on the nose. Good acidity with peach and lychee flavour. Very refreshing.
Travelling to South America, the wines from Vina Chocalan are recommended. For the white wines, I enjoyed their Malvilla Sauvignon Blanc 2009, from the San Antonio Valley. Pale lemon in colour, with nice gooseberry aroma. Refreshing acidity and more gooseberry flavour. Look out for this to enjoy on the summer patio. On the red side, I enjoyed the Gran Reserva Blend 2006. Sorry I don’t have any notes on the varietal blend, but there was cedar and vanilla aromas. The cedar makes me think that Cabernet Franc may be in the blend. It was smooth on the palate, medium body, with cherry and green pepper flavours.
Back here in Canada, a must try is Cedar Creek Estate winery’s Platinum Malbec 2007 and their Platinum Syrah 2007. The Platinum Malbec 2007 is their first single varietal release. Medium purple colour. Plum and dark fruit aromas. Ripe, black cherries with some green stemminess. Very smooth. Vanilla and medium spice. The Platinum Syrah 2007 had nice blueberries and plum aromas. Quite spicy on the palate with black cherry flavour. Medium tannins and long length.
Another BC wine to try is the Church & States Wines Chardonnay 2007. The Chardonnay 2007 is medium lemon colour. Nice apricot nose. Vanilla, sweet spice, pineapple and apricot flavours, with a bit of spice. Lots of flavours coming out the glass the more you swirled it around in your mouth.
If you like biodynamic wines, there is the Gemtree Vineyards Cadenizia 2008 from Australia. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Shiraz. Medium garnet. Nice nose with butterscotch, cherry and vanilla. Lots of cassis flavour with black cherry and spiciness. Firm yet fine tannins.
My third recommended BC wine is the Mission Hill Family Estate Quatrain 2006. This is a Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc blend from the Black Sage area of the Okanagan. Deep purple coloured. Blueberry and plum nose. Cherry and plum flavour, peppery with firm tannins.
If you are a Pinot Noir lover, try the Panther Creek Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 from Oregon. The Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 is light cherry coloured. Smoky, strawberry aromas. Earthy, cherry flavours, with a bit of spiciness and low tannins.
For sparkling wines, you may want to try the wines from Villa Rinaldi, Italy. One of their sparkling wines that I recommend is their Rose di Barriciaia 1998. This is a Pinot Noir based sparkling wine that has some oak aging. Peachy, orange colour in the glass. Nutty, lemony and creamy / lees on the palate. Very small, fine bubbles.
To close out this list of wines, I’d like to recommend the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay, from the Paso Robles area of California, has 5% Viognier in the mix. It is medium lemon in the glass. Pineapple, vanilla, and creamy nose. Medium body, with peach, apricot and honey flavours.
I hope you too had a chance to attend the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, and try these, and other fantastic wines.
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