Saturday, February 28, 2015

Must-visit tables at the Vancouver International Wine Festival this afternoon and tonight - Saturday

This represents less than a half-hour's worth of wine to taste at the VIWF!
Okay - it's the last day of one of North America's biggest and best consumer's wine event - the Vancouver International Wine Festival - and you're going!  

So what are you going to consume?

The theme is Australia - so lots of wineries are here that don't ordinarily make it to our shores.

But there are some countries who have really brought their best game - and best wines - so you don't want to go Aussie-only.

And there's only 2 hours in the afternoon tasting or 3 hours in the evening to taste wines: that means you have to be super strategic - and that's where the Wine Barbarian comes in!

I have been attending events all week - not that I've visited anywhere near all the 170 wineries or tasted the 750+ wines at the International tastings - but I've made a good try!

So here are some of my must-visit tables and wines - with no offence to any winery that I did or did not visit previously - and I'll be there tonight to find new gems, so follow me on Twitter at @BillTieleman and check the hashtag #VIWF to see what my colleagues and other consumers are drinking and raving about.

Meanwhile, don't miss these - and make sure you realize that the Australia section is organized by region, NOT alphabetical:

Inland Trading Co:  Greg Corra, Managing Director, is a regular at VIWF and always brings the best from Barrossa Valley - but he has outdone himself this year!  The most expensive wine in the room is also perhaps the most delicious - Greenock Creek Roennfeldt Road Shiraz 2005 - at at stunning $429 a bottle.  You read that right and it's being poured for the people - most impressive.  
Greenock Creek 2005 Shiraz

Ranked at 98 points by Robert Parker, saying: "It presents and incredible array of pronounced spice, earth, floral and savory aromas: blackberry preserves, dried mulberries, coffee, grilled duck, vanilla, cloves, fenugreek, violets and dried rose petals plus some shavings of dark chocolate."  

I didn't get all that but I did get bloody marvellous!  And that's after you taste the remarkably good Charles Cimicky Trumps Shiraz 2012 for just $24 - a bargain - and the 3 Rings Shiraz 2012 which is even more affordable at $20.

But Greg also brought another showstopper to the table - his Jasper Hill Shiraz 2012 at $100 a bottle - stunningly good.  That makes this the place to visit.  And Inland Trading also has another awesome Greenock Creek Shiraz - the Apricot Block - at the Epicurious Table along with a Charles Cimicky Autograph Shiraz that's delicious and a Phillip Shaw No. 11 Chardonnay and The Conductor Merlot nearby that you will enjoy.

Damilano - from Piedmont, Italy has brought not one but four great Barolos to taste - and three of them are $95 each!  All beautiful and different - plus a Moscato d'Asti 2013.  Whether you prefer the Brunate - my fave - or the Cannubi or the Cerequio or the Lecinquevigne, you will have to admit they are each fantastic!

Three of Damilano's great Barolos.
Silver Oak Cellars/Twomey Cellars - from Napa Valley has also a real treat - not one but two of California's most highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignons - the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2010 and the Napa Valley 2009 - both delicious.  In addition, try the Twomey Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and Merlot 2010 - you won't be disappointed at this table!

Savour Australia - BC Liquor Stores special table - what a one-stop shop this is - all rare Aussie wines that are only here for the show - and not to be missed!  When my friend David Hopgood - the former buyer for the Liquor Stores and now a consultant - says go there, I do - and thank goodness!  There are 11 fabulous whites and reds that you must taste - from a great Bellwether Chardonnay 2011 at $43 from Tasmania to a Bindi Kostas Rind Chardonnay 2013 from the Macedon Ranges area that reminds of Chablis to a beautiful Moorooduc Robinson Pinot Noir 2012 from Mornington that simply stuns at $50 to a huge, jammy, giant Jamsheed Garden Gully Shiraz 2013 from the Great Western region of Central Victoria - you will be mightily impressed!  And head to the onsite store quickly to get any. 

Penfolds - the big boy of Aussie wines does not disappoint - particularly try their Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2010 at $70 and their Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2010 - one of my favourites at $40. 

Stina - it means stone and they come from the island of Brac in Croatia!  Four fascinating wines all well worth tasting - from the Posip 2013 white at $50 to the Plavac Mail Majstor 2010 red at $60 and the Plavac Mail Barrique 2010 at $45 to a unique Prosek 2011 dessert wine blend at $100 they are all delicious.  And what a great opportunity to taste a wine you've likely never encountered before.

Canada is well represented and brought some fine wines too.  Make sure to visit the Okanagan's Painted Rock Estate Winery - the Red Icon 2012 especially at $55; Cassini Cellars with The Godfather at $70 commanding your attention; Laughing Stock with its always great Portfolio 2012 at $45 and Poplar Grove with its Legacy at $50, plus many others from BC.

Duckhorn - some more great wines from Napa Valley - especially their Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2011 - but a great table all round.

Signorello - almost a BC wine because Ray Signorello Jr. is partly from West Vancouver.  Their Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is smooth and great at $98; the Vieille Vignes Chardonnay 2013 is balanced and beautiful and the Seta 2013 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc is always great.

Well - time is up for me but as I said, check my Tweets out on Twitter @BillTieleman and the #VIWF Twitter hashtag for even more tips today and tonight!  

Hope to see you there tonight - say hi if you spot me!

Cheers - Bill Tieleman, the Wine Barbarian

Bill Tieleman - the Wine Barbarian - at Romanee-Conti in Burgundy

Still a few Saturday Vancouver International Wine Festival events with tickets left for Saturday afternoon - don't miss out!

The Table of Temptation - for me - Damilano brought three $95  delicious Barolos for you to taste!    
It's Saturday - and if you don't act fast, the Vancouver International Wine Festival will be history for 2015!

But amazingly, there are still 3 excellent opportunities this afternoon to have a few glasses of the best wines in the world - especially from Australia.

Saturday afternoon's International Wine Tasting from 3 to 5 p.m. is still available - two hours of tasting the best wines from around the world for just $68 - so get online or on the phone to 604-873-3311 to buy your tickets.

Friday's Montes: 25 Years and Beyond wines seminar with winemaker Aurelio Montes, right, and host David Scholefield, left.
And there's a McLaren Vale Scarce Earth seminar for $55 at 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. or at the same time a Mod Oz seminar for $45.  Both sound great - the first on the famed McLaren Vale area of Australia and its wines; the second on modern Australian winemaking techniques - and the tasty results.

The Festival has been great - loads of fantastic wines from Australia and many other countries, informative seminars where you drink and learn - and you would be remiss to not take this last chance to find out for yourself!