The 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival – Our picks

Another year of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, this time in the new Vancouver Convention Centre, has come to pass. The new location – much like the old –  served up some tasty sips from some fantastic producers. There were so many fantastic wines over the three days we attended. It’s impossible to mention them all, so here are the standouts what we saw as the standouts.

If money were no object:
These have me singing “If I were a rich man” a la Fiddler on the Roof.

  • Lanson Noble Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 1998– Floral, honey and lemon sorbet… decadent!
  • Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2006 – Intense, complex and everlasting.
  • Cheval des Andes 2003 –Wow, a seriously tasty treat that is full value for the price
  • Pascal Toso Magdalena 2005 – Serious Malbec with amazing dark chocolate, and plum with some nice floral softness.
  • 2005 Damilano Barolo Brunate Cannubi – So big, so elegant, long and lithe.
  • 2006 Penfolds RWT Shiraz – Rich, powerful and incredibly good.
  • 2006 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon – This almost never misses.

Make you wanna Haka:
We were really impressed with the New Zealand Rieslings and Pinot Gris in particular. These were some of our faves:

  • Elephant Hill Estate and Winery – A really unique and peppery Sauvignon Blanc, an incredibly tasty tropical Viognier, and a tasty Pinot Noir. The SB is a little on the pricey side ($35 so we likely won’t see it around here).
  • Sacred Hill Rifleman’s Hawkes Bay Chardonnay – seriously full fruit, nice caramel balance with the oak.
  • 2007 Two Paddocks Central Otago Pinot Noir – The 2008 was tasty, but this one has all the nice red fruit and earthy goodness you want.
  • 2008 Matua Valley Central Otago Estate Pinot Noir – This had really nice fruit and stuck with me.

Not a miss on the table:
These were tables at which every bottle was a delight.

  • Paddy Borthwick – Fantastic Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot – Can’t wait to see these around here!
  • Altesino – A beautiful range of Tuscans from value to high
  • Panther Creek – Beautiful Oregon pinots. The Temperance Hill really stood out with nice red fruit and great silky finish.
  • Damilano – From their crisp Langhe Arneis to the Nebbiolo d’Alba to the luminous Barolo Brunate Cannubi – everything they poured was so good.

Argentine treats:
The Malbecs were superb, but the finesse and elegance coming with some of the Cabs and Bordeaux blends were certainly highlights as well.

  • Bodega Renacer – Great value malbecs and a killer 2007 Amarone-style blend called Enamore.
  • Terrazas de los Andes Afincado Malbec Las Compuertas Vineyard 2006, – the cab was tasty too.

All Day, Everyday…:
These are the ones that will be making frequent (and brief) visits to our cellars this spring and summer (if we can find them):

  • Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba – beautiful Nebbiolo for $27.99? Oh yes.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel Spitfire Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – A superb Marlborough sip for $26.99.
  • Vina Cobos Felino Malbec 2008 – Drinks way better than $19.99.
  • D’Arenberg ‘The Dry Dam’ Riesling 2009– Petrol and zingy lime goodness for $21.99.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon – Really tasty for the money ($27.99).

I’m sure we’ve missed a few, so feel free to chime in with some of your favourites.

One of the non-wine highlights of the festival was the number of local bloggers and wine tweeps that were in attendance. Congrats to the @playhousewine folks and @hethpr as they created a great opportunity to share finds and suggestions with a large group of people.