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Monday, 27 February 2012

Vancouver Playhouse Wine fest 2012 #VPIWF

As I pack and get ready for this weeks Vancouver Playhouse International Wine festival I am caught reflecting on last years event. Therefore I thought I would share some of the previous highlights in contrast to upcoming events this year.

With over 1700 wines being poured and 180+ wineries represented this is one of the country's most extravagant wine festivals. It takes me well over 3 days to make it to the majority of the tables and I still seem to miss marquee wines every year.

Last Year one of my bucket list wines was being poured at a breakout seminar (Vega Sicilia - Spain) but by the time i went to purchase tickets to the event it was sold out. People have talked about this event for months. :( Guess I leaned my lesson. This year i was on hold with the box office as the tickets went on sale. No Vega Sicilia this year but a Spanish legend as well. Pingus is being poured and i was not about to miss this one.

"Pingus is, arguably, one of the rarest and most sought-after wines from Spain and the 2009 vintage is rated 97-100 points by Robert Parker. Star winemaker Peter Sisseck, the creator and owner of this cult wine, is here to lead a boardroom Pingus tasting along with Flor de Pingus and PSI."

I also snatched up tickets to a Caymus Vertical Tasting with Chuck Wagner. I am so excited for the seven vintages of the "special selection" cab.

Back to the international tasting room. Each year there are 2 themes, a global one for all wineries, and a region. 2011 was Spain as a region and Fortified wines as a Global focus. I have always loved Spanish wine and this was just an extra treat to have so many Spanish producers in one room. Also a newly found love of sherry was developed as I was invited to a sherry masterclass. I was very well aware of how much i did not like Cream Sherry's but my eyes were opened to a new and wonderful product rarely found in our market. Dry Sherry's. Fino Amontillado or Manzanilla Pasada. Oloroso.... These were the sherry’s I was missing. Full of complexity and perfectly suited for food.

This Year the Region of focus is Chile and the Global Focus is Cabernet. I am especially happy to learn about Chile as a focus because I am planning a family trek through Chile and Argentina later this year. I have much to learn about where to go and what wines to drink. This will give me an extra attentive ear when learning about the region and producers. As for the global focus, I think a grape family as rich in heritage as Cabernet will bring out some celebrities in the wine world. Although the 2 grapes that I think of right off the bat are Sauvignon and Franc, there are some other hybrids out there that may make an appearance in the tasting room. Here is a list of the ones i know of. I stole this list off of wikipedia so a thanks to them :)

Cabernet Sauvignon, a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc

Cabernet Franc, a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and most often blended with it

Cabernet Dorsa, a 1971 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder, created in Germany

Cabernet Gernischt, a Chinese variety similar or perhaps identical to Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Mitos, a 1970 hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Blaufränkisch, created in Germany

I find it very hard to think of enjoying so much wine without food. Therefore reservations have already been made at a few restaurants in Vancouver. I mean how can you drink wine from 9am till 11pm without food to soak up some of the booze.

A favourite place of mine is called 'Judas Goat' and that will be a first stop on Tuesday night. Small room with great beers and a good sherry list. Yep I am now a sherry drinker so a sherry list is much appreciated. The small plates are mostly prepared Sous Vide and are excellent to share. Next will be a trip to L'Abattoir restaurant in Gastown. This is a new place for me so i will let you all know how it goes. The rest will need to fall into place as the week rolls on. In hindsight last year we made a visit to WEST, Chambar and Gotham. All were a hit and I would easily recommend them to people.

With my guide in hand and my trusty I phone I will be tweeting #VPIWF so stay tuned and as always ,

Carpe Vinum