The California Wine Fair 2012 Canadian Tour came to Vancouver this past week. It is highly anticipated and always delivers. There were so many wines to try, from what you expect, like Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but also the unexpected, like a Chenin or a Cabernet Franc. California has wines of all different styles and at all different price points. I estimate there were around 120 wineries pouring their wines this evening with each one having at least 3 wines, so there were at least 360 wines to try in 3 hrs. That works out to 1 wine per 30 seconds. So I’m sure I missed a bunch of nice wines. I did find a few that I would like to share with you so that you can enjoy them for your next party or get together with family or friends. And always, if you attended and had a wine you liked, please post your comment below. I love to get feedback.
My Wine Picks
Birichino Malvasia Bianca 2010, Monterey. Have you ever tried wine from the Malvasia grape? It is well known in Italy, but also is found in other Mediterranean countries, and of course in Italy. Malvasia bianca grapes tend to be round and have a soft mouthfeel. Common aromas are peaches, apricots and white currants. This wine was watery lemon in colour and had a nice lychee nose. More lychee on the palate along with citrus and a herbal note mid palate. Nice round mouthfeel with slight acidity. I really enjoyed this wine a lot. In my Twitter post I mistakenly wrote Bonny Doon before the Birichino. That is incorrect. Birichino is a separate winery.
- Domaine Chandon Brut Rose, NV. A sparkling rose that will treat your tastebuds. Light orangy cherry in colour. Lees and strawberries on the nose. Lots of light small bubbles in the glass. Quite creamy mouthfeel with strawberry and cherry flavours.
- Cline Cellars Viognier 2010, North Coast. Quite aromatic with lychee and peach aromas. Medium minus body, dry with medium acidity. Lychee flavour and some spiciness. Easy to sip.
- Deep Sea Wines Chardonnay, 2008, Santa Barbara County. This isn’t your typical oaky chardonnay. Much more nuanced. Light lemon colour. Interesting marmalade nose. Marmalade on the palate as well as flowers, vanilla and some spice. There were many layers of flavour as you enjoy this wine. Really enjoyable.
- Deerfield Ranch Winery Pinot Gris, 2010, Mendocino County. This wine is 100% stainless steel fermented and is very small production. Only 220 cases. Medium pear skin colour. Light stone fruit nose. Off dry, medium body with juicy peachy flavours and a mineral edge.
Deerfield Ranch Winery Red Rex 2007, Sonoma County. This wine is a blend of 7 varieties but mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet in the glass with a sweet cassis nose. Full body with soft tannins. Juicy black fruit and also a mineral streak through it. Medium length.
- Elyse Morisoli Zinfandel, 2008, Rutherford, Napa Valley. Medium garnet colour with a dark core. Ripe raspberry nose. Fully body, dry with ripe raspberry, cherry, and vanilla flavours. Medium acidity. Tannins kick in at the end providing a very dry finish.
- Elyse 7 & 8 Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004. There was also the 2007 to compare this wine against. The 07 was opaque, full of dark fruit and very tannic. Needs aging, which leads to the 2004. The colour had lighted to a medium garnet. Leathery nose. Capsicum, sweet black fruit and vanilla flavours. Quite nice for a bit more bottle aging.
- Esser Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Monterey. Light lemon in colour. Jalapeno peppers on the nose and on the palate. Dry with a medium body. Nice.
- Foppiano Vineyards Petite Sirah, 2009, Russian River Valley. Opaque ruby. Dark fruit and cherry nose. Smooth mouthfeel with dark fruit, vanilla and medium tannins.
Foppiano Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2009, Russian River Valley. Light cherry colour. Smoky strawberry aromas, which some people call cherry cola. Light body, dry with cherries and vanilla flavours. Soft tannins.
- Honig Vineyard & Winery Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, Napa Valley. Watery colour. A very nice herbal, jalapeno pepper, and gooseberry nose. Medium acidity. Herbal, jalapeno and flowery flavours. I really enjoyed this wine.
- Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Franc, 2007, Napa Valley. Deeper garnet colour in the glass. Cherries, flowers, and raspberry aromas. Dry with medium plus body. Nice raspberry and cherry flavours. Soft tannins with vanilla and cherry on the finish.
- Thomas Henry Wines Chardonnay, 2009, Sonoma Valley. Quite an elegant wine. Medium lemon in colour. Light oak and tropical fruit aromas. Medium body with nice mouth feel and flavours of tropical fruit, lime, vanilla and some spice on the finish. Long length. This wine is part of the Meadowcroft Wine Family if you are searching for it.
- Patz & Hall Wine Co. Chardonnay, 2010, Dutton Ranch – Russian River Valley. A single vineyard Chardonnay. Tropical fruit and vanilla on the nose. Dry with medium body. Round with an acid backbone. Tropical fruit flavour with some vanilla and toast. Spice on the finish. Another elegant Chardonnay.
Peju Provence, 2010, California. Here is a rose to impress your friends on the patio this summer. Watery cherry colour. Nice nose of soft sweet strawberry and rhubarb pie. Medium plus acidity. Dry, light body with cherry and apple flavours.
- Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, 2008, North Coast. Here is a top quality bubble made from the Chardonnay grape. Whenever I taste this wine I am never disappointed. Enjoy it when you can. Medium lemon in colour. Nice bready, red delicious apple aromas. High acidity on the palate. Dry with red delicious apple, and apple core, with citrus flavours backing it up.
- Schug Carneros Estate Winery Pinot Noir, 2009, Carneros. My favorite Pinot Noir of the tasting. Light cherry colour. Vanilla and cherry aromas. Nutmeg and cherry flavours. Dry with light body.
- Schug Carneros Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, Sonoma Valley. Deep garnet colour. Slight capsicum on the nose, along with vanilla and cherry. Medium body, round and dry with acidity to support in the background. Cassis and spice flavours.
- Siduri Pinot Noir, 2010, Russian River Valley. Light garnet colour. Nice nose with nutmeg, cherries and strawberries. Dry, light body, with raspberry, raspberry leaf and nutmeg flavours. Tasty.
- Thomas George Estates Estate Wine, Pinot Noir, 2009, Russian River Valley. Nice violet and cherry aromas. Light body with cherry flavours. Medium acidity.
- Whitehall Lane Winery Merlot, 2008, Napa Valley. Deep garnet in the glass. Vanilla, spice, and milk chocolate aromas. Round and smooth in your mouth, with dark chocolate, black cherries and some oak/vanilla. Very nice.
As I write up these notes, I note that many of the wines I like are from the Russian River Valley. There are a fair number of Pinot Noirs, and not as many Cabernet Sauvignons as I would have expected.
This event was in support of the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver. Learn more about the Arts Club Theatre Company on their website. Enjoy the Arts and the wine!