Thursday, February 28, 2019

Tasting at the Vancouver International Wine Festival? “Kiss Don’t Spit!” - is my strong advice

NOT cool! Kiss - Don't Spit! 
“Kiss Don’t Spit!”  

 It’s actually not hip to spit in my book! 

So that's my contrarian advice to those attending the Vancouver International Wine Festival Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening - and Saturday afternoon - for the International Festival Tastings.

Most wine experts will tell novices to "spit" the wine after nosing the bouquet in the glass and sipping it into your mouth and swirling it around - but I strongly disagree.

After all, there's a reason I'm called The Wine Barbarian! 

The experts' reasoning makes some sense - you can taste far more wines without getting intoxicated by the alcohol content if it doesn't go down your throat and into your stomach.  

And those in the wine trade often have to taste dozen and dozens if not hundreds of wines in a day - it's not possible to do that and not have your liver end up like foie gras within weeks!

But you - the wine consumer - are not an expert nor are you tasting hundreds of glasses.

First - you simply cannot fully experience a wine without swallowing it, feeling the wonderful elixirfloat down your throat, discovering the length of the finish - you can literally count the seconds when you can still taste it, and know the satisfaction of having tasted one of the best wines in the world!

Spitting?  Sorry but you just don't get that sensation.

And you are at North America's largest consumer wine festival, with literally dozens of wines priced at $100 or more per bottle - why the hell would you spit that out?!!!

Plus,  you can simply "kiss" a lot of wines without swallowing or spitting!

By kissing I mean you nose the wine in the glass, bring it to your lips and then - unless it's awesomely tasty and probably quite expensive, you simply pour the wine into the conveniently located spit bucket on the table. 

Polite, discreet, saving your sobriety for none but the best and when you do sip and swallow it will be worth it!  

Lastly, proper spitting is hard - don't try to learn it in front of 1,600 people including sommeliers, winemakers, family and friends!  

So enjoy the Vancouver international wine festival and taste lots of the fantastic California and other wines from around the world and kisses lots of them!


Saturday, February 23, 2019

It's the annual Open That Bottle Night - Saturday February 23, 2019 - reach into your cellar and pop an old cork!

Which wine should the Wine Barbarian - Bill Tieleman - open tonight!  The Caymus Special Selection 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon or the Woodward Canyon 2006 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon?  Tough, tough choice! 
Wine drinking friends - it's the annual Open That Bottle Night - Saturday February 23, 2019 

That means it's time to reach deep into your cellar and pop an old cork from a bottle that has been waiting far too patiently for the right occasion!

This is a brilliant concept - invented by Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher back in 2000 - to each year open one bottle of wine that has been suffering in silence in your cellar that has been neglected while you wait for the perfect occasion to uncork it. The link above has some good tips for choosing and how to open that bottle. 

Tonight I have two choices: A fantastic Caymus Vineyards 2007 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley California - rated 96 points by the Wine Spectator but also advised to open from 2011 to 2019.

Or an awesome Woodward Canyon 2006 Artist Series #15 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State - rated 91 points by the Wine Spectator but best from 2009 to 2016.  My bad!  

True confession: I have far too many bottles in my cellar that I have likely kept for too long, so Open That Bottle Night is so welcome - and I may extend it over many weeks or even months!

And whether you have just one or a handful of bottles in your own cellar or thousands, the unfortunate reality is that we often think that opening that special old bottle needs an incredible meal or the right combinations of friends or a particular anniversary, birthday, celebration etc. before we can open it.

And then it goes bad.

Been there, done that, poured it down the drain while I cried bitter tears - but not as bitter as the spoiled, corked or overdue wine!

So I hope you will join me tonight in liberating a libation from purgatory in your wine cellar!  

No matter whether you are ordering in pizza or preparing a simple repast or actually making a gourmet meal - whatever it is, your excellent old bottle of wine will match it perfectly!  

In fact, that's how I got my Wine Barbarian nickname.  A friend was stunned that I was drinking a lovely bottle of Chateau Montrose 3rd growth Bordeaux with pizza - "you, you are a barbarian!" he exclaimed.  

"Yes," I replied, "but I am a wine barbarian!"  

So open that bottle now and enjoy!

And if you are in Vancouver, I hope to see you and hear about what you opened up at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, coming up from February 23 to March 3.  See my recent post on the very few tickets remaining and act fast to get one! 


Friday, February 22, 2019

Vancouver International Wine Festival tickets almost sold out for all events - move fast!

Join me, Bill Tieleman - the Wine Barbarian - at the Vancouver International Wine Festival! 
Vancouver International Wine Festival tickets are now almost sold out for all events - so if you want to go, move fast! 

It happens every year - lots of wine drinkers are thinking about attending the fabulous Vancouver International Wine Festival don't buy tickets until it is literally too late - because none are left! 

And that's why I'm posting an early warning - if you want to go to the main International Festival Tastings or any of the other events you have to go online and get tickets now.

Saturday's night's flagship International Festival Tasting from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday March 2nd is already sold out.

The Thursday February 28 and Friday March 1 International Festival Tastings are getting very close to sold out, as is the afternoon event from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday March 2nd.

All wine dinners are sold out or closed off for ticket sales.

There remain a few tickets for only a handful of other wine events, so again - get going!

Here is the full VIWF schedule at a glance, with SOLD OUT events and GOING FAST events highlighted. 

And you don't want to miss the Wine Fest, with a special regional focus on California wines featuring 53 wineries in attendance, as well as a total of 160 wineries from 16 different countries pouring an astonishing 1,450 different wines! 

That means, the Wine Fest folks say, there will be about 42,000 bottles of wine poured during the event, which runs from February 23 to March 3.

See you there!  And watch for my top picks and must-visit wineries in a Wine Barbarian post soon!