Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quick picks for the Playhouse - Vancouver International Wine Festival - Saturday March 4, 2012 - Tables to Taste All

Don't get Bottle Shock - hit these Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival winery tables where you can't go wrong with everything they pour!

You too can be as discerning as Alan Rickman in Bottle Shock!
Greetings wine drinkers - and welcome back to the Wine Barbarian!   Tonight's mission at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is simple - find and taste as much fine wine as you can in 3 hours!

I'm here to help.  Careful research - alright, haphazard combined with pure luck - at Thursday night's tasting has led me to do these quick recommendations.

There are many fine wines here - 791 wines in all from 181 wineries - but you can't taste them all in a week, let alone one night.

So here are some surefire picks where everything poured at the table is a clear winner wine. 

That means rather than drinking three so-so wines to get to one good one, you can park yourself at the table and try them all.

There are no doubt other fab four tables - hope to find more tonight when I return to the tasting room - but these are ones I can vouch for already.

Sacred Hill Wines - New Zealand

One of the best chardonnays in the room - Riflemans Chardonnay 2010 at just $39 - and the fabulous Deerstalkers Syrah 2008 - are joined by Prospectors Pinot Noir 2009 and Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011. 

Paul Hobbs - United States

Another great new world chardonnay - Russian River Chardonnay 2009 - POW! - explodes in your mouth.  Then the great Russian River 2010 Pinot Noir, excellent Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and fabulous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 at a cool $100 a bottle.

Domaine Laroche -France

I love Chablis and this is great stuff - the entry level $24 Chablis St. Martin 2010 is great value, the $44 Chablis 1er Cru Le Vaillons VV 2007 is killer and the $84 Chablis Gran Cru Les Blanchots will make you weep tears of joy - if you can buy a bottle that is!  Also an entry level $20 Pinot Noir de La Chevaliere 2010.

Domaine de la Solitude - France

The most expensive bottle in the room - the $250 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reserve Secrete 2001 is stunning - and was almost sold out in the on-site Liquor Store on Thursday night.  Just wow!  A slightly more economical $129 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Barbarini 2001 is also fantastic and was sold out.  But you can't go wrong with the baby brother $100 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition Rouge either.  Lastly, a modest $50 for the Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition Blanc.  This is one table not to miss!

Perrin et Fils - France

Starting to notice that France is not skimping at this event?  The flagship $92 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009 is a killer wine - and always one of my favourites.  2009 was a great year in the region.  For a more affordable drink try the baby sister $35 Coudoulet de Beaucastel - lots of the same great fruit but drinking now rather than a cellar selection.  Another personal favourite - the $27 "Les Christins" Vacqueyras 2009 is great value and the $22 Cairanne Peyre Blanche 2009 is also there.

Le Vieux Pin/La Stella - Canada

BC's' Okanagan Valley can make wine every bit as excellent as France - these wines show it!

The flagship $90 La Stella Maestoso Merlot 2008 is amazing!  I hadn't tried it before and I was blown away by it's intensity and power.  The $30 2008 La Stella Fortissimo - a blend of Cabernet/Merlot/Sangiovese blend - is also great at that price.  Also try the Le Vieux Pin Syrah 2009 and $35 Le Vieux Pin Ava white Rhone blend. 

There's way, way more and lots of great wines hiding with more modest fare - especially some fantastic Chilean cabernet sauvignons and carmeneres but if you start with these, you will go home happy!

Cheers and hope to see you there!

Bill Tieleman - the Wine Barbarian


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Playhouse International Wine Festival is on! Attending Thursday night's tasting and will report back!

The Wine Barbarian at work - end of bottle blues!
I will be hard at work tonight on your behalf, tasting great wines at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and reporting back here afterwards.

Look for me in "the Big Room" tonight and Saturday, where I will have to choose between 181 wineries pouring 791 different wines!

And good news - there are still some tickets available for some remaining events!  Click the link above to find our more.

This year's focus area is Chile - and I look forward to some excellent Carmenere, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and more - plus all the other international and domestic wines.