Monday, March 5, 2012

Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival: Excitement in a Glass with Bubbles


Here was my last seminar I attended, bright an early Friday morning at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. Take five of the top sommeliers and wine buyers and get them to choose ten wines from around the world that really excites their over-stimulated palates, and what do you get?  A wonderful tasting seminar at the 34th Annual Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival that ended yesterday, March 4th.
Sommeliers Who Chose the Wines
To kick start this very entertaining and insightful seminar hosted by Mark Davidson, we went to northern Italy. The Cantina Breganze Rosa di Sera Vino Spumante Extra-Dry was our breakfast wine which dazzled my taste buds at 9:30 in the morning. Sebastien Le Goff, a French trained sommelier currently works with Rob Feenie at the Cactus Club, planning their innovative wine program. Sebastian described this as the quintessenial breakfast wine; "Its like a fruit  salad for breakfast and is very pretty!" With pretty pink hues and its gorgeous rose petal and strawberry personality and gentle refreshing bubbles, who would disagree. Like most tasty bubblies, its a blend of white and red grapes: 75% Prosecco and 25% red Marzimino. Although the label  states it is Extra Dry, it actually is Off Dry. Dry sparkling wines are labelled Brut. Confused yet?  Basically it is a 1 out of 10 on the sweetness code. 

As a consultant in Asia Le Goff reports that Proseccos on tap is a huge trend in Asia where property is expensive and most restaurants can only feature two or three wines. The saving in packaging using a box rather than heavy bottles and the efficiency of serving, is usually passed on to the consumers.

Here in BC, this product is available in stores in a 750 mL bottle but expect to see it on tap at the Cactus Club where it should be approximately $6 a glass...very affordable.  Delicious on its own at any time of day, breakfast, noon, or night.

For something completely different, Terry Threlfall of Hawkesworth chose the Maisons & Domaines Hentriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs 1998 Vintage Champagne. The good news is this is one heck of a complex and delicious aged Champagne, produced from only the top Grand Cru vineyards. Most champagnes are non-vintage, blends of several years, but Champagne houses choose about three years in every decade where the growing conditions are superb. And Vintage Champagnes receive longer aging on the lees in the underground limestone cellars, adding layers of character. The acidity is still fresh, even though its a dozen years old, but the maturity has made the wine's mouthfeel oilier with more body.The bouquet is full of toast and bread dough with fruit, and the flavour from the blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is elegant and complex with a long citrus finish. According to Threlfall, this is the kind of wine that wine people drink at home. If you can get it....its not availabe in BC and if it was it would sell for $200!  While you might wonder why I would bother wrting about some patrician wine, its to let you know that this is why the Playhouse Wine Festival is so exciting. You get to educate your palate on what the premium wines of the world are really like. plus sample wines you normally wouldn't be able to taste.
My 10 glasses, before I tasted and swallowed.

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