Posts Tagged ‘Playhouse Wine Festival’

Yabby Yabby at the Playhouse Wine Festival

April 12, 2011

Had these two Chardonnay before the Playhouse Wine Festival, like a year ago, tasting courtesy of Renassaince Wine Merchants’ Alice Walcott. Liked them both then and liked them again a few days ago at the fest. The first of the pair (to the right) is the Yabby Lake Chardonnay, a brilliantly executed wine. Flavorful, crisp and unremittingly Australian in its boldness, self-confidence and flavors. The Cooralook, its little brother (or sister, depending of what you think of Chardonnay’s sexual inclinations) is full, very crisp. I believe the latter to be in the vicinity of 20 bucks and the Yabby Lake Chardonnay around 35. Good stuff.

Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival

April 7, 2011

Oh well. After months of anticipation it came and now it is a fading memory. Like everything else, like life itself. Uh uh, I am very philosophical today. Must be the weather, a blast of sunlight bathing the whole of Metro Vancouver, beautifully bouncing back on the greenandwhite of the north shore mountains. Not to mention the mountains around Pitt Meadows, where I am staying after coming back from months in Lima. How can I afford it? Don’t ask.  The mountains, the sunshine. Simply adorable. Green, white and blue sky.

Back to the subject of interest.

Wine.

Playhouse Wine Festival 2011.

Ok, let’s say, I was busy manning the Badia Cultibuono booth, helping a most charming Italian expert, Emanuela Stucchi, who, in two strokes applied with great subtleness reminded me that I really know next to nada about Chianti. Will mention the wines in a later post. And then, had the great luck to man the booth with a couple of show stoppers, I am talking now about the Schloss Schonbrunn Rieslings. Oh my, what depth, what beautiful acidity, what amazing concentration and length… in fact I have found what I consider to be the best 20 dollar Riesling you can find this part of the world.

The show itself… well, let’s be real. It’s becoming a little bit of a joke. Big is not always good. Especially when it comes to something so sublime a drink as wine.

You still want a name or two? Ok. The South African Pinotage by the name Coffee. 15 bucks of sheer mocchajava aromas and flavors.  Threfeten Merlot 93pointer at around 40 dollars. Humberto Canale Cabernet Franc. (That would be Argentina, dude).

Let’s this show begin.

Playhouse Wine Festival 2010: Let’s the Games Begin

April 23, 2010

Wow! the new Vancouver Convention Center is really awesome. Great sweeping views of the North Shore mountains and the Burrard Inlet and spacious, huge hollow rooms that may feel cavernous if it was not by the skillful use of wood bricks covering the walls, giving it a warm maple syrup brown feel to this great indoors. Light years away from the warehouse feeling that the old Convention Center has. The first trade session was packed, with kilometric line ups to pick up tickets and to complete registration.

To the wines. I ignored the siren calls of Italian reds, elegant Champagnes, appealing Oregon whites. I went straight for the theme booths, Argentina and New Zealand. The latter country was very popular and many of its booths were beyond reach. Rant: C’mon Vancouverites. This city has been a wine city for over a decade now. When are you going to learn the most basic etiquette of wine tasting? Blocking spittoons, chatting endlessly with your pals blocking access to tables and wearing perfume are all no, no, no and no.

Ok, I got that out of my system. As a result, a limited tasting of New Zealand with two wines that stand out like two lonely stars in a dark southern sky. The Ostler 2008 Audrey’s Pinot Gris is a complete sensorial assault of pleasure. Starting with the nose. It was so intoxicatingly delicious that it made it hard to follow Jim Jerram, Ostler’s rep telling me about their terroir. Close to Otago but not as far inland, limestone soils and ocean breezes influence Ostler’s vineyards. The nose is intense, thick, a prelude to what is to come. Wow! I said after my first sip. It’s like a lady with curves. Chardonnayish. Jim agreed, with excitement. “Exactly, we make it like a Chardonnay, but on a diet.” A Chardonnay in a weight watchers program. A Chardonnay on a fast bike. There is a feeling of something that grows fatter and fatter on the palate but then whooosh! it’s gone and back to a leaner, trimmed up texture. “It’s the acidity, idiot.”  Brilliantly made, this Pinot Gris has a distinct spectrum of nose, flavors and texture and it may not be your accessible everyday wine at $38 but definitely one of those wine styles that set trends and change paradigms. Bravo for Ostler and thanks Jim and Gord for all the information.

The other white from Kiwi land that made my head turn was -not surprisingly- a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Matua Valley’s Paretai 2009 is as good as it gets for the grassy and minerally sassy style from South Island. At 29.99 this vibrant and fresh SB delivers all the goods one expects from the appellation.

Changing country, I expected a lot more whites from Argentina. The offer is still dominated by Torrontes. In my humble (not) opinion, there should have been a lot more quality Chardonnays. Anyway, less whining and more wining. I found one remarkable white by Bodega Lurton. The 2007 Gran Lurton Corte Friuliano, is a somewhat idyosincratic blend of Sauvignon Vert, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Torrontes, accomplished to notes of high delight. Aromatic on the nose, agile, playful and fruity on the palate, satisfying on the endless aftertaste. As in the case of the Ostler Pinot Gris, this Friuliano may have the limitation of price (29.99) to become popular. Nevertheless, an excellent effort by Lurton, which entry level $13.99 Pinot Gris is a promise of what this winery can do with the variety.

Red wines to follow on next post.