Saturday 16 April 2011

Playhouse Wine Festival–Part III

My third and final piece about the Playhouse Wine Festival comes two weeks after the once-again-great event concluded. I’ve had time to reflect on the many great wines I tasted, and the fantastic events attended. In particular, the BC Food & Wine luncheon that took place at O’Doul’s on Saturday was really well done. I must offer my congratulations to the BC Wine Institute for securing a great venue as well as the participation of many excellent wineries in pouring samples of wines beyond those served at the International Festival Tasting nights. O’Doul’s served up some really delicious food including platters of grilled vegetables, artisan cheeses (and charcuterie), bread dips including baba ghanoush and hummus, grilled vegetable skewers (plus lamb and salmon for carnivores) and a fantastic mushroom risotto served in a parmesan wheel. Almost anything served in a parmesan wheel gets a thumbs up in my book! The event ended with exquisite bite-size pastries, cookies, and chocolates, and refreshing fruit skewers.

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In between enjoying the charming food and bidding adieu to my hangover from the night before we sampled a number of exclusive wines from nearly all the BC wineries present at the Festival; several in particular stand out, although there was no dearth of quality and passion to be found in the room! Sandhill was pouring the new 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, which met with approval from my wife – not usually a lover of this grape variety; it was very approachable with enjoyable notes of grapefruit and kiwi. Tantalus was showing off their 2010 Rosé, a bright pink Pinot Meunier/Noir blend with lovely aromas and flavours of strawberries – a very nice summer treat! Justin Hall, the very personable Assistant Winemaker from Nk’Mip, remembered me from the night before, and was happy to share with us the Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir (2008) and the very lovely Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay (2009), making me extremely glad to have acquired both! Mission Hill’s 2009 Reserve Chardonnay showed the evolution of the varietal over time as the winemaking has changed to provide for a fruitier expression of the grape, and their newly released 2006 Select Lot Collection Merlot was very good – another rare 2006 wine coming out only now after extensive bottle-aging. Lastly, our friend John Skinner from Painted Rock was excited to share the second vintage of his excellent Syrah (2008) – which we quickly concluded was our favourite wine of the festival! It is a an elegant take on Syrah, with a meaty nose and some pepper on the palate, but a smooth finish, and just enough acidity to provide a bit of bite. I’m really looking forward to purchasing a few bottles, both for immediate consumption and for the cellar; it hasn’t taken long for Painted Rock to have acquired a permanent spot in my collection!

During the Friday night International Festival Tasting I purchased a mixed case of hard-to-find BC wines at the on-site BC Liquor store (many of which are not normally sold in stores). I’ve finally picked up the wine, having waited (im)patiently for it to be delivered to my local BC Liquor Store. In short order I shall detail those exciting purchases, which I am proud to include in my growing collection of great BC wines!

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