Saturday, February 25, 2023

It's OPEN THAT BOTTLE night - Saturday February 25, 2023 Dig a wine you have saved too long out of your cellar and pop the cork!! And Vancouver International Wine Festival info!

Go straight to your wine cellar, wine cupboard or cardboard box and did out a wine bottle you've been saving too long - because tonight - Saturday February 25, 2023 - it's Open That Bottle Night!

This superb idea was started in 2000 by Wall Street Journal wine writers Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, when they realized that way too many great bottles of wine were languishing in wine cellars - being kept for that "perfect" occasion - that never came!  

So they declared that the last Saturday in February was henceforth "Open That Bottle Night" to clear out the cellar of at least one neglected bottle. 

It's a very understandable problem.  I have far too often looked in my cellar and thought about opening a great French Bordeaux or Chateauneuf-du-Pape or California Cabernet Sauvignon or BC Pinot Noir and then felt that the meal or the event was not grand enough or that the guests attending might not appreciate the exceptional wine or some other reason that caused me to leave it in the cellar.

And - very sadly - I have had many bottles go over the hill or actually become write-offs in my cellar, because I'd left them too long.  There is nothing worse than opening an old and expensive bottle only to find that it has long ago passed its prime drinking age - or more awful still - is completely undrinkable! 

So tonight I encourage you to do what I'll be doing - open a really great bottle of wine from the cellar and not worrying about the meal or anything else - because it's Open That Bottle Night - and you don't need any other reason! 

I've already opened one wine that's been in the cellar awhile - a beautiful Garzon Petit Verdot Single Vineyard 2016 from Uruguay - tastes fabulous! 

And - segue - I bought it at the wonderful Vancouver International Wine Festival - running this year from April 22 to 28 - where you can taste excellent wines to replenish your cellar.  The link above is to my Wine Barbarian post about it with lots of links and information - but hurry - advance discount tickets are selling fast and won't last long! 



Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Vancouver International Wine Festival is back in 2023 from April 22 to 30, with focus on South American wines!

Wine Barbarian Bill Tieleman contemplates another wonderful wine at the 2022 VIWF!  Marjo Wright photo

Great news - the Vancouver International Wine Festival is back in person again this year - running from April 22 to 30, 2023 - with a theme focus on South American wines but celebrating with wine from 151 wineries from 17 countries around the world! 

Discounted advance tickets are now on sale for the International Wine Tastings - the big tasting room events - in limited quantities.  Winery dinners tickets go on sale starting March 1 at 9:30 a.m., other public events on March 8 and trade show tickets on March 15.

Be aware that Saturday night's tasting room tickets always sell out quickly - if that's where you want to be, do it soon! The price is $129 advance and $135 regular.

The Thursday night tasting is always my advice for the most enjoyable - it is more low key and usually fewer attendees than Saturday night - plus the winery staff at the event are on their first evening - not their last - and are usually less exhausted! 

Thursday night, Friday night and the newer Saturday afternoon show tickets are all $109 in advance and $115 regular.  All evening tastings run from 7 to 10 p.m. and the Saturday matinee tasting is from 2:30 to 5 p.m. - yes, 1/2 hour shorter. 

The big advantage of buying advance tickets is not the small $6 per ticket discount but the certainty that you actually have the tickets and won't find it sold out if you try buying them later! 

If you haven't attended a VIWF winery dinner you've missed a phenomenal experience - some of the best wineries in the world work with Vancouver's top restaurants and chefs to provide a fantastic wine and food pairing with bottles you won't likely see at the rest of the Festival - or sometimes anywhere else.

I was fortunate to attend the 2022 Penfolds Unbound wine dinner at the Five Sails Restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel and it was stupendous!  The food was phenomenal and the matching wines were exquisite - and very expensive!  

Penfolds Napa Valley representative David Nicholls expertly led us through the multi-course meal, explaining each wine and how it paired with the course.

Wine highlights include Penfolds RWT 2010 - simply one of the best Shiraz wines in the world - and Bin 149 - a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that retails here for $300! 

The food - from rabbit rillette to rolled lamb breast to turbot - was outstanding and well matched to the Penfolds portfolio.

So - don't delay - buy advance Tasting tickets today and get ready for the dinners and wine seminars and special events tickets coming soon! 

And follow me on Twitter during the Festival for more updates and hot tips on some of the best wines in show! 

Bill Tieleman and Luke Wines owner and winemaker Thomas Vogele of Washington State's Wahluke Slope.