Where in Vancouver can you taste wines from 114 different wineries across California? At the California Wine Fair. The 2014 Fair was last week and it did not disappoint, with sparkling, still and dessert wines for us to savour. And as an added benefit, proceeds to this event went to support the Arts Club Theatre, which is celebrating it’s 50th year anniversary.
There are 5 major wine growing regions in California represented at the California Wine Fair:
- North Coast (includes Sonoma & Napa Valleys, and Los Carneros)
- Central Valley
- Central Coast (Includes Paso Robles & Santa Cruz Mountains)
- Sierra Foothills
- South Coast (from Los Angeles to San Diego)
You can download the above California wine region map as a PDF here.
Most people have heard of Sonoma and Napa Valleys, but there are many other regions acros California that you should try. Paso Robles and Los Carneros produce some excellent wines that you can purchase in Vancouver. Other regions, such as Temecula in the South Coast Region have very good wines, but you need to travel to them in order to try them. I can recommend a visit to Temecula as I did visit the area a year ago and was amazed by the minerality in their wines. My Temecula winery visit article is here.
My Wine Picks
Antinori Antica Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 – Capsicum, coffee and dark fruit aromas in the glass, with more coffee and dark fruit on the palate. Full body, dry with soft tannins. A high quality wine from the Antinori Family from Italy.
- Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages, 2010 – This is a blend of 5 (Cinq) grape varieties (Cepages). The five varieties being used for Cinq Cepages are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. I’ve tasted a vertical of Cinq Cepages in the past and this wine can age well. This vintage had a very nice nose with licorice, and dark sweet fruit aromas. Full body, dry and peppery on the palate, with dark fruit flavours and soft tannins.
- Domaine Chandon Rose, NV – One of the sparkling wine producers in California, this rose had a nice red fruit nose. Light body, dry with small creamy bubbles and strawberry flavours. Very nice.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, NV – Nice yeast and citrus aromas. Small light bubbles on the palate. Dry with citrus followed by a hint of oak later on. This would be a nice house bubble.
- Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 – Grgich Hills’ vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic. Winemaker Mike Grgich gained international recognition at the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines. This wine ha a very ripe, dark fruit nose. Full body, dry with ripe raspberry flavours and some chocolate. Medium acidity and tannins.
- J Vineyards & Winery Brut Rose, NV – This sparkling wine had light strawberries and sour cherries on the nose. Very light bubbles in your mouth, with flavours of cherries followed by red apples.
- Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, NV – This sparkling wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, together with a splash of Pinot Gris. It had a nice stone fruit and lees nose. Light body with lemon and stone fruit flavours followed with oak, and some leafiness. Small creamy bubble.
- Schug Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2011 – A top quality Pinot Noir producer, this one had raspberries and sweet spice aromas. Medium body, round and dry with red cherries and nutmeg on the palate.
- Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, 2009 – A sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. Light body with honeydew melon aroma. Light body, with red apples, citrus and some minerality on the palate. Fine bubbles.
- Siduri Russian River PInot Noir 2012 – Raspberry and bramble berry nose. Medium body, dry with raspberries and spice, followed up with some oak. Very high quality.
- Wagner Belle Glos “Las Alturas” Pinot Noir 2012 – Dark berry fruit and spice on the nose. Full body, with soft tannins. Ripe raspberries and other berry fruits and a hint of sweet spices. Nice.
I also have one further wine to recommend from the California Wine Fair, but I will be posting it in MyVanCity.ca shortly.