The Bot­tle

The Georgia Straight - - Contents -

This may sur­prise some read­ers, but I al­most never have a glass of wine in hand while writ­ing this col­umn. To­day I do.

I’ve just poured my­self a spot of Finca Las Mo­ras Tan­nat Reserva 2015 (San Juan, Cuyo, Ar­gentina; $13.99, B.C. Liquor Stores). A sim­mer­ing blue­berry com­pote with a few flecks of fresh anise is waft­ing out of the glass, and the juicy palate is brim­ming with ripe black­ber­ries, dark choco­late, espresso, and basil, all dusted with some fine tan­nins.

I’m rais­ing this glass to Sean Nel­son of Vij’s Restau­rant, who was named 2018’s best som­me­lier of Bri­tish Columbia by the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Som­me­liers, B.C. chap­ter. Thir­teen lo­cal can­di­dates par­tic­i­pated in the com­pe­ti­tion at Rogers Arena early last week, with a writ­ten exam and blind tast­ing in the morn­ing fol­lowed by the three top-scor­ing som­me­liers (Nel­son, along with Todd Prucyk of Hawksworth Restau­rant and Matthew Landry of Sta­ble House Bistro) com­pet­ing in var­i­ous chal­lenges in front of an au­di­ence of col­leagues and sup­port­ers.

Nel­son’s wine list at Vij’s is stel­lar, of­fer­ing plenty of by-the-glass op­tions to com­ple­ment the restau­rant’s much-lauded In­dian cui­sine. Per­sonal favourites in­clude Orofino’s Hends­bee Vine­yard Ries­ling 2014 from B.C.’S Sim­ilka­meen Val­ley, shim­mer­ing with fresh lime, pomelo, and a good crack of min­er­al­ity, and Medici Ermete Con­certo Lam­br­usco Reg­giano 2015 from Emilia Ro­magna, Italy: fizzy and bright, with red berry fruit and Ital­ian herbs. Do drop into Vij’s to con­grat­u­late him and have him pour some­thing de­light­ful into your glass to go with those leg­endary wine-mar­i­nated lamb pop­si­cles in fenu­greek-cream curry. You’ll likely also spot the guy at­tend­ing nu­mer­ous events at the next edi­tion of the Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Wine Fes­ti­val, run­ning Fe­bru­ary 24 through March 4 at var­i­ous venues across the city. This year’s edi­tion fea­tures Spain and Por­tu­gal as theme coun­tries, but over­all we’re look­ing at 173 winer­ies from 16 coun­tries pour­ing more than 1,400 wines. As al­ways, events are sell­ing out quickly. Although at­tend­ing a night or two of the grand In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val Tast­ing is an ab­so­lute must (I’ll have a pre­view com­ing next week), there are still tick­ets left for a cou­ple of events that lo­cal wine en­thu­si­asts shouldn’t miss.

Tor­res: His­tory Builds Fu­ture ($65; March 1, 5:15 p.m., Van­cou­ver Con­ven­tion Cen­tre West) sees the Van­cou­ver Sun’s An­thony Gis­mondi in con­ver­sa­tion with Miguel Tor­res Maczassek, a fifth-gen­er­a­tion mem­ber of the fa­mous Tor­res wine fam­ily. Nu­mer­ous wines will be dis­cussed and poured, from iconic Span­ish re­gions like Pri­o­rat and lesser known ap­pel­la­tions like Conca de Bar­berà. There will be lots to talk about, from wine­mak­ing philoso­phies that have guided the fam­ily dur­ing the years to sus­tain­able meth­ods be­ing prac­tised in their vine­yards.

Then on March 3 at 5:15 p.m. at Van­cou­ver Con­ven­tion Cen­tre West, $65 gets you the op­por­tu­nity to sit in on the De­can­ter World Wine Awards ses­sion. De­can­ter is known as the world’s best wine mag­a­zine, and its an­nual awards are the pin­na­cle of achieve­ment for winer­ies span­ning the globe. At­ten­dees will not only have the chance to taste through an as­sort­ment of sil­ver, gold, and plat­inum win­ners, they will also be en­ter­tained by the pro­duc­ers of these wines telling their sto­ries. Mod­er­a­tor Bar­bara Philip is a Mas­ter of Wine and the Euro­pean cat­e­gory man­ager for B.C. Liquor Stores, and she also heads to Lon­don each year to help judge these cov­eted awards. Join­ing her are in­ter­na­tional lu­mi­nar­ies like Spain’s Ál­varo Pala­cios—who will be shar­ing his epony­mous 2015 “Les Ter­rasses”, an old-vines Gar­nacha and Car­iñena from Pri­o­rat— and Ser­gio Zin­garelli, fam­ily pro­pri­etor of Chi­anti’s Rocca delle Macìe in Italy.

For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets to all events, visit www.van­wine­fest.ca/.

Your palate is in­deed in for a bit of a work­out, and it’s al­ways good to stretch be­fore any work­out—even a wine-soaked one, right?

Well, keep­ing that in mind, I’m go­ing to go aw­fully lit­eral here and men­tion the up­com­ing Woga (wine and yoga) event on Sun­day (Fe­bru­ary 11) at Mar­quis Wine Cel­lars (1034 Davie Street) from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Yup, it’s just as it sounds. In the store, the folks from RYU Ap­parel are lead­ing a 45-minute power flow, which will be fol­lowed by the Mar­quis team shar­ing sam­ples of some of their favourite in-store wines. It’s all free, but you do have to head to ryu.com/ to reg­is­ter. A lit­tle Down­ward Dog, then swirl and sip. Sounds like the mak­ings of a fun Sun­day night. -

Sean Nel­son of Vij’s Restau­rant was named B.C.’S top som­me­lier thanks to a list that in­cludes wines by Finca Las Mo­ras, Medici Ermete, and Orofino.

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