If you attended the 7th Annual Rotary Wine & Blues Festival last Saturday evening you’ll know what a roaring success it was.
As advertised, the wine tasting was complemented by a special selection of cheeses, cold cuts, breads, fruit dishes, spreads etc. all generously provided by Thrifty’s Food, Super Mario’s Bar & Lounge, Rocky Mountain Chocolates, Natural Pastures Cheese, and Grieg Seafood.
The inexpensive Spanish white Jana Chardonnay (858399) $9.00 was a surprise hit with oodles of ripe mango and pineapple notes over a rich base of candied lemon rind flavours. Think about keeping a few bottles of this great little white wine from Catalunya on hand for impromptu guests to enjoy on the deck this summer.
The variety of tasty wines poured by a wide selection of agents and distributors was astonishing. As well as Spanish wines, there were wines from France, Italy, California, South Africa, Chile and Argentina and – of course – amazing wines from the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys and Vancouver Island.
Made from grapes grown on 10 – 15 year old vines Les Jamelles Merlot (400762) $17.99 is quite a fruit bomb from Bezier and the Aude Valley in the south of France. Straightforward and lush, it offers aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and cherries over jammy dark fruit with spicy notes of cinnamon, sage and thyme in the lingering finish.
Savvy wine lovers took advantage of Metro Liquor’s ‘pop-up’ store – right there, on-site! – and purchased a bottle or two of the more difficult to find wines, at the event, before heading home.
Three craft breweries were pouring samples for the first time this year. Hoyne Brewing and Phillips Brewing from Victoria joined Russel Brewery from Surrey and teased a few wine lovers away from their favourites sippers to taste some of BC’s finest Craft brews.
Sounding very Spanish, Iberia (794537) $21.99 was a huge hit! An intriguing blend of the Spanish and Portugese grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Graciano, Tempranillo and Tinta Cao, this red was actually grown by Bodegas Paso Robles at Blair Vineyard in Calistoga, Napa Valley, California. Stunning!
Down home wine lovers were overwhelmed by the quality of the British Columbia whites and reds that were poured to tantalize their taste buds. Much as we are somehow reluctant to admit it, BC’s best wines can easily challenge our stale preconceptions, today.
From Black Widow Winery in Naramata Phobia (775502) $24.99 is a blend of 50 per cent Syrah and 50 per cent Merlot.
An elegant red with flavours of ripe black plums, black cherries and a sprinkling of fresh-sliced green pepper spiciness in the aftertaste.
Another crowd pleaser, Screaming Frenzy Meritage (598953) $24.30 mixed 60 per cent Cabernet Franc and 40 per cent Merlot. An excellent example of the growing strength of Cabernet Franc in the blends coming out of the Okanagan Valley’s finest vineyards, this red wine managed to stand out amongst the strong local and international competition.
On loan from the Daybreak Rotary Wine and Blues Fest’s primary sponsor – Metro Liquor – WineWise’s own Doug Sloan (me) led two guided tasting seminars for keen wine lovers.
The first seminar featured two Italian Proseccos made from the Glera grape – Blue Giovello (817791) $17.10, Ruffino Prosecco (192153) $16.99 and Unsworth Vineyards’ amazingly tasty Charmé de L’ile (671289) $22.95 – a sparkling wine from the Cowichan Valley made from 50 per cent Pinot Noir, 30 per cent Pinot Gris and 20 per cent Sauvignette.