Vancouver Sun

Kudos for Singletree

- ANTHONY GISMONDI

Congratula­tions to Abbotsford’s Singletree Winery for grabbing the Best Tourism Experience Award from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the Abbotsford News.

The 23rd annual awards singled out Singletree as a leader in its industry, for its commitment to customer service, concern for the community, and a passion for innovation.

The winery is owned and run by the Etsell family, who have been farming the Fraser Valley for more than two decades. The Abbotsford vineyard and tasting room is located on a 67-acre operating farm in Mount Lehman, only 45 minutes from Vancouver. The tasting room is open year-round.

Last summer, the Etsell family purchased a second winery location in the Okanagan on the Naramata Bench. Singletree Naramata will officially open in spring.

It’s been four decades since the Robert Mondavi Winery kicked off the inaugural Vancouver Internatio­nal Wine Festival as the solo invitee.

From Feb. 23 to March 3, 53 California wineries including Robert Mondavi will be in town to headline the 41st wine fest.

Throughout the week there will be 20 California events, including vine star seminars, vertical tastings, winery dinners, a kickoff wine bash early in the week and an extravagan­t Saturday lunch featuring all Golden State participan­ts.

California wine industry power couple Gina Gallo (vice-president, E&J Gallo Winery) and Jean-Charles Boisset (proprietor, Boisset Collection), will headline the week as Golden State wine ambassador­s.

Tickets for public events go on sale Jan. 9 at 9:30 a.m. at vanwinefes­t.ca; at 604-873-3311, toll free 1-877-321-3121 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.); or in person: 202-162 West 1st Ave., Vancouver (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). All ticket prices include wine, food (if a food event), gratuities, taxes and service charge.

B.C. WINE OF THE WEEK

Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir Stewart Family Reserve 2016, Okanagan Valley

$51.99 | 91/100

UPC: 7788562132­01 Quails’ Gate has long made its name with Pinot Noir led by the flagship Stewart Family Reserve, one of three Pinots made from the excellent 2016 vintage. A mix of clones infiltrate­s 20-plusyear-old vines rooted on the ancient, volcanic soils of Mount Boucherie Bench. Its light cherry colour previews a gentle cherry, fragrant dark raspberry, forest floor nose, flecked with tobacco and sweet smoke. Tannins are polished, and the palate silky, exhibiting finesse and elegance in spades, a trademark of departed winemaker Nikki Callaway. Impressive and one of the best we have tasted by QG.

WINE FOR THE CELLAR

Graham’s Vintage Port 2016, Douro Valley, Portugal $125.99 | 96/100

UPC: 0501086740­3000

If you want to know why field blends are so revered in Portugal, taste this sensationa­l bottle of port, half of which is made with an old field blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. The Graham charm factor is off the charts in 2016. The attack is warm, broad, juicy and massive, but with details that keep it all in line. Gobs of dark fruit sit over a beam of acidity that maintains an inner brightness. It may not age forever, but it will drink forever, starting right now. With 113 grams of residual sugar it doesn’t disappoint the sweet tooth, but it’s equally balanced by a floral, savoury, licorice, black fruit that swells across the palate long into the finish. Superb.

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