|Barone Francesco Ricasoli and Wine Barbarian Bill Tieleman!|
If you don't have tickets the bad news is both nights are sold out - the good news is that a limited number of tickets are made available in person only at 6 p.m. each night for the evening's tasting - worth a try.
And if you get in, I'm going to help out - by giving you my Quick Picks of some the many great wines being poured in the International Tasting
I have been attending several events - including 1,000 Years of Tuscany with the charming Barone Francesco Ricasoli showing his marvellous wines going back to some 1997s - and was at Thursday's tasting working hard to do research for you!
Let's start with the regional focus - Italy. And as with all tables - it's polite to try all 4 wines available but these are the ones I particularly liked:
Ricasoli - The Barone is pouring - himself - some of their fine Ricasoli wines - try in particular the marvellous Colledila 2011- a Gran Selezione Chianti Classico full of black cherry goodness. I tried the 2010 and the 2011 - which is in the tasting room - both excellent.
|Castello di Gabbiano winemaker Frederico Cerelli & Bill Tieleman|
I would recommend highly their Alleanza IGT 2010 - a SuperTuscan blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot - outstanding!
Rocca delle Macie - I also had the pleasure of attending a dinner as well as a vertical tasting of Roccato wines with owner Sergio Zingarelli - and he too is very charming!
I have been drinking Roccato - a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon - since their 2003 vintage - and it is simply delicious year after year! The Roccato 2010 is being poured at the Festival and the 2009 - which I love - is still available in BC Liquor Stores - both are beauties!
San Polino - These are astonishing wines - not simply because they are all Brunello di Montalcino wines, not only because they are stunning but also because they are very expensive to be pouring - from $105 to $135 a bottle!
All great but I particularly enjoyed the Helishrysum Brunello 2009 - really amazing.
|Sergio Zingarelli of Rocca delle Macie with Iain Philip|
Tenute Sette Ponti/Feudo Maccari - Yes, I didn't get out of Tuscany for the most part but it is such a great wine region. Their Crognolo has been a staple wine for me for many vintages - buy some - but their Tenute Sette Ponti Oreno IGT 2013 was a revelation! Yes, it costs $86 - over double the Crognolo - but what a wonderful wine. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot - all Bordeaux grapes - grown in Tuscany. Smooth, big and velvety goodness!
I am running out of time and space - but in the Italian section don't miss Damiliano for their Barolos - Argentiera for their SuperTuscan Bolhgheri Superiore 2012 - Argiano for their Solango IGT Toscana 2012 and Brunello DOCG 2011- and Biondi Santi for their Braccale IGT Rosso Toscana 2011 - a $37 bargain!
Also Allegrini and Vieti and Cesari - but there's so much more I haven't yet tasted!
Leaving Italy, reluctantly, there are lots of other great wines from other countries represented.
Australia - Always so very impressive is Inland Trading Co., with managing director and Festival regular Greg Corra - a lot of fun to talk with every year! Their lineup is magnificent throughout but don't miss the Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz 2012 - absolutely stunning wine!
New Zealand - Another great guy to talk about his great wines is Jim Robertson at Stoneleigh - a regular visitor to Vancouver - pouring two Sauvignon Blancs and two Pinot Noirs from one of my favourite wine regions. I really loved the Rapaura Pinot Noir 2014 - and for $32 it's a bargain.
Canada - There are just loads of great BC wineries in attendance - how to choose? But I will based on my limited time tasting - Painted Rock is marvellous - visited them in Penticton this summer too - try the Red Icon 2013 flagship.
Osoyoos Larose - three vintages of Le Grand Vin to choose from - all fabulous!
Mission Hill - See my friend Ingo Grady there and taste their new Terroir Collection - an exciting new line of wonderful wines!
France - Famille Perrin - always great wines from top to bottom but I adore Beaucastel Chateauneuf-Du-Pape - a 2012 is being poured by Thomas Perrin - a charming fellow.
Laurent-Perrier - the only Champagne in the room and one of the best! All beauties and pricey but none more than the Grand Siecle NV at $173 a bottle - mmmm!
Croatia - yes, from the Dalmatia region Stina returns to Vancouver with some amazing wines you've never heard of or tasted - till today! I enjoyed their offerings last year and it's a great chance to try their reds and whites - all priced in the $40-$60 range. Stina means "white stone" in Croatian and their labels are stunning.
That's all for now but watch for Tweets - @BillTieleman - and updates as best I can between glasses!