Mem­o­ries of an en­joy­able wine year

FOOD

The Georgia Straight - - Food - By Photo by Getty Im­ages

RKur­tis Kolt

eflect­ing on the year that was, I can cer­tainly say it was a busy one.

We hit the ground run­ning in January, with the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Pro­fes­sional Som­me­liers B.C. Chap­ter crown­ing Sean Nel­son as the best som­me­lier in the prov­ince af­ter a nail-biter of a ser­vice com­pe­ti­tion. Af­ter years spent pulling corks at Vij’s Res­tau­rant, he re­cently joined wine di­rec­tor Bryant Mao at Hawksworth.

In Fe­bru­ary, Jo­hannes Sel­bach of the renowned Sel­bach-os­ter win­ery in Mosel, Ger­many, was in town to visit with lo­cal wine-in­dus­try folks. At Kit­si­lano’s Mae­nam res­tau­rant, he co­p­re­sented a Ries­ling sem­i­nar with David Pater­son of the Okana­gan Val­ley’s Tan­talus Vine­yards. It was a deep dive, where the grape shone brightly, whether via the grape­fruit-and­honey laden Sel­bach Ries­ling “Fish La­bel” 2016

It’s time to toast 2018.

(Mosel, Ger­many; $16.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) or Pater­son’s ap­ple-and-lime filled Tan­talus “Old Vines” Ries­ling 2015 (Okana­gan Val­ley, B.C.; $30.43, www.tan­talus.ca/).

Wine­maker Grant Stan­ley from Kelowna’s Spear­head Win­ery hit Van­cou­ver to re­lease his new­est slate of wines in March. I’m re­ally dig­ging the win­ery’s fo­cus on Pinot Noir, bot­tling var­i­ous cu­vées from a mix of clones and vine­yard sites. I re­cently tasted the Spear­head Pinot Noir Cu­vée 2017 (Okana­gan Val­ley, B.C.; $38, www.spear­head­win­ery.com/) and loved the toasty in­te­gra­tion of French oak, mul­ber­ries, and dried herbs, all per­fectly placed.

I zipped over to Croa­tia in April and was daz­zled by the coun­try’s aro­matic white wines. If seafood is hit­ting the ta­ble this hol­i­day sea­son, grab a bot­tle of Stina Cu­vée White 2016 (Dal­ma­tia, Croa­tia; $19.99, B.C. Liquor Stores). In­dige­nous va­ri­eties Posip and Vuguva are rounded out with a splash of Chardon­nay, cul­mi­nat­ing in an aro­matic, cit­rusy pro­file with lively acid­ity.

Top Drop Van­cou­ver, the small, ter­roir-driven wine fes­ti­val I co­founded five years ago, kept the month of May very busy. It was a priv­i­lege to wel­come ev­ery­one from Elis­a­betta Fo­radori (try her pep­pery Fo­radori Dolomiti Terold­ego 2016 [Italy; $35.99, B.C. Liquor Stores]) to Jay Drys­dale from the Okana­gan Val­ley’s Bella Wines sparkling house.

In June I took my first visit to Al­sace in France. The pic­turesque re­gion’s lofty white wines like Hugel Mus­cat 2013 (Al­sace, France; $28.99, B.C. Liquor Stores), with its white flow­ers, litchi, and ap­ples, were a per­fect pair­ing for the lo­cal cheeses, onion tarts, and other re­gional fare.

July was spent in Barolo, Italy, as one of the Van­cou­ver wine-in­dus­try guests at the wed­ding of Joey Restaurants’ Ja­son Ya­masaki and Me­d­ina Café’s Jenna Briscoe. The cer­e­mony and re­cep

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from pre­vi­ous page tion were on the ter­race of March­esi di Barolo, where plenty of the Ab­bona fam­ily’s clas­sic clove- and rose-pe­tal Barolo 2013 ($75.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) flowed.

Ar­gentina was the big des­ti­na­tion in Au­gust. What res­onated most from the trip was a visit with Se­bastián Zuc­cardi, whose ded­i­ca­tion to ter­roir ex­pres­sion is quite laud­able. A great ex­am­ple is Zuc­cardi Q Chardon­nay 2017 (Uco Val­ley, Men­doza, Ar­gentina; $26.74, Legacy Liquor Store); en­joy its flinty, fresh cit­rus fruit, hint of sea salt, and crisp acid­ity.

Septem­ber saw the big 2015 Bordeaux re­lease around town. Although I’m not plunk­ing down thou­sands for a bot­tle, I was im­pressed by the value of­fered by gems like Château la Chan­del­lière Mé­doc 2015 (Bordeaux, France; $30, B.C. Liquor Stores). Think fresh-carved roast beef, black cur­rants, and a good smat­ter­ing of dried herbs.

I had the priv­i­lege of at­tend­ing a ver­ti­cal tast­ing of Fon­todi Flac­cianello della Pieve San­giovese wines out of Chi­anti, Italy, at Cham­bar in Oc­to­ber. For those want­ing to reach deep into their pock­ets, there are com­mend­able back vin­tages avail­able at B.C. Liquor Stores up around the $130 mark, although the Fon­todi Chi­anti Clas­sico 2015 (Tus­cany, Italy; $37.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) punches above its weight, of­fer­ing vel­vety red and black fruit dusted with pitch-per­fect oregano.

The Van­cou­ver premiere of the film Somm 3 went down at the Rio Theatre last month, with a pre­screen­ing tast­ing fea­tur­ing a host of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional wines. For those who missed the third in­stall­ment of the wine­fu­elled film se­ries, it’s now avail­able on itunes and other on­line plat­forms.

And here we are in De­cem­ber, with no short­age of op­por­tu­ni­ties to raise a glass or two. Here’s wish­ing our read­ers the best of the sea­son, per­haps with a hearty pour of Medici Ermete Con­certo Lam­br­usco Reg­giano Friz­zante 2016 (Emilia-ro­magna, Italy; $19.99, B.C. Liquor Stores). Do revel in its cherry red fruit, white pep­per, and zippy fin­ish while en­joy­ing the hol­i­days. Cheers!

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