Wine and Food Event: Taste of BC 2010

Attending the “Taste of BC 2010” event, put on by Liberty Wine Merchants and benefiting B.C. Children’s Hospital – Oak Tree Clinic, this year for the first time was a really great decision. We’ve had lots of conversations about “palate shift” of late, and I can honestly say I have been seeking the rustic and mineral driven wines versus the over concentrated wines I have been finding locally. The event was a pleasant reminder, if not a reawakening for me about some of the excellent wine being produced in BC. Pair that with some tasty snacks and you have decent evening all around.

In terms of wine, the highlights were:

  • 8th Generation Vineyard – We first tasted their wines at last year’s Playhouse International Festival, and knew we had to seek them out. They had a full spectrum of wines including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, two Rieslings, Pinot Noir and a Syrah. The whites stole the show, with delicious Rieslings being highlights. The Pinot Gris was also interesting, having spent some time on oak – unusual in my experience for a BC Pinot Gris, but really elegant and tasty. At an average price of about $22, these are real benchmarks for local wine quality/price ratio.
  • La Stella Winery – These were some of the real standouts in my mind. Their Vivace Pinot Gris had amazing grapefruit zest on the nose and some pear and peach. The two reds they were sampling were also superb. The Allegretto Merlot was full and tasty, and the Fortissimo Cab Merlot had excellent pepper and dark fruit. Definitely need to find the Vivace to include in the under $30 challenge.
  • La Vieux Pin Winery – Another highlight. I was cautious upon approaching these wines, as I wondered if they could live up to some of the preaching I had faced on a trip into a local cold beer and wine store. The salesperson there proclaimed them “the best out there, from some of the best Merlot vines in the world” and on and on… Hyperbole aside, these are some excellent wines. The Petit Sigma Blanc was perhaps the highlight of the whites at the event for me. Beautiful floral and citrus, this is an amazing deal at $22. The Belle Pinot Noir was dark and full or earthy plum – an excellent BC Pinot.
  • Meyer Family Vineyards – Brand new for me, I wondered if the hype would live up to the reality. We tasted an excellent Chardonnay (the best BC Chardonnay of the event) and a couple of quality BC Pinot Noirs. The Chardonnay was well balanced and full value for it’s $35 price tag. The pinots were quite different from each other, both with nice structure and red fruit. They’re definitely worth a try if you find them.
  • Tantalus Vineyards – Their 2008 Riesling and 2009 Rosé were both very good. Keep an eye out for them in your local stores.

Other good sips included the Seven Stones Winery Meritage that had a really nice Cabernet Franc backbone and Vista D’Oro’s Walnut Port was a delicious way to end the evening – so tasty!

On the food/pairing front, the smoked sablefish with horseradish cream from Bridges was superb with the Wild Goose Stony Slope Riesling. The oysters from Rodney’s were fantastic and would have been great with the Focus2 Sauvignon Blanc from Twisted Tree (couldn’t carry them over there). Central City Brewing had a maple cheesecake with beer-brined bacon on top. It paired fantastically with a nice breath of air.

A good night full of new tastes and a much more optimistic view on the future of BC wines.

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