The 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is on this week, and it’s always a fun time to sample a huge variety of wine from around the world and a great chance for some brief interactions with some cool people in the industry.

There is a LOT of information out there about “how to” with the fest – usually with valuable information like don’t wear perfume or cologne, dark clothing is advisable, eat before, spitting is completely acceptable and advisable, leave the giant bag at the coat check, etc…

That said, let’s look at what’s in the room. Once you enter and grab your glass – something sparkling is always a great way to toast the evening and get a nice fresh “zing” on the palate. Don’t miss:

  • Champagne: de Venoge, Lanson, Nicholas Feuilliatte
  • Prosecco: Catina Breganze
  • Franciacorta: Ca’ del Bosco

From there, the host countries have some fun stuff in both white and red. For New Zealand, most have some exposure to the Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough. That said, give some of the Pinot Gris a go. Of course the Otago Pinots are don’t misses, and keep your eye out for the odd Riesling or a Bubble of some sort as this can be where the real gems hide.

We’ll be checking out (at a bare minimum):

  • Ata Rangi
  • Spy Valley
  • Two Paddocks

With Argentina, the dominant grape will of course be the Malbec, but keep your eye out for the whites – there are some interesting Sauv Blancs, Pinot Gris, and the signature Torrentes which can really be unique while being in a great price bracket. The Syrahs and Bordeaux blends will certainly show well.

Not to be missed are:

  • Bodega Catena Zapata
  • Bodegas y Vinedos Renacer (killer value Malbecs)
  • Tomas Achaval
  • Valentin Bianchi

Rosé is the feature “variety” if you will, and a couple of likeable choices include:

  • Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato
  • Lanson Rose Brut

If you are getting late into the evening and are at the point that it’s time to hit the “can’t miss” booths, here are a few:

  • Altesino – Brilliant Super Tuscan sips.
  • Damilano – Good things from the glory that is Piedmont. Try the Cannubi Barolo and taste what it’s all about.
  • Louis Latour – Corton Charlemagne – need we say more?
  • Michael David Vineyards – Intense California wines from the Lodi region.
  • Panther Creek – Great Pinots from Oregon.
  • Penfolds – Classics from Australia.
  • Poplar Grove – Quality BC vino.
  • Ravenswood – Look for the single vineyard Zins.
  • Seghesio – More great Zinfandels. Try the Home Ranch.
  • Torres – Excellent Spanish staples – mmm Priorat!
  • Vina Errazuriz – One of the first and finest Chilean Wineries to arrive in BC.

To cap off the evening, it’s gotta be all about the port. Most of the room will head for Taylor Fladgate (great stuff), but look for Quinta De Passadouro and see if Penfolds has their “Grandfather Tawny.”

It should be a great week, and it will be interesting to experience the new Convention Centre as a venue. If you are on Twitter, watch the hashtag #vpiwf and offer up the gems you find- we will! Remember – Sip, spit and move the heck out of the way so others can get in for a taste. 🙂


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