Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Wine Fest, part deux

  • Print

When we last spoke, I was getting ready for Tuesday night's Winnipeg Wine Festival ancillary events. The first was a VQA wines of Canada tasting in the lounge of the cityplace Boston Pizza. I'm a big booster of Canadian wines, and for $20 this tasting might have been the deal of the week.

This was the first year the tasting has been at this venue - in previous years it has been hosted at Tavern United downtown, typically on the rooftop patio. I'd be surprised if the VQA tasting was back at the Boston Pizza - it was cramped, and the shape of the room (sort of oblong-ish) meant the tables at each end had a fair bit of space while those along the middle were quite squished. Anyway, there were some really elegant whites and a couple dynamite reds, especially from CedarCreek, Inniskillin Okanagan, and Sandhill (whose winemaker, Howard Soon, was on hand).

From Boston Pizza it was straight over to the Espana - Wines from Spain event at the Blaze Bistro in the Delta. As I mentioned somewhere, the "grape stomp" component of the event was gone, but I didn't really hear many complaints about its absence. Some Spanish Cava (bubbly) cleansed the palate nicely before starting in again on the few whites and piles of reds (and one sherry - drink more sherry, people). Flamenco guitar serenaded tasters as they wrestled with a room full of big, earthy reds. Good stuff.

Last night was the California wine event at The Current at Inn at the Forks, and it certainly didn't disappoint. There were a bunch of California-inspired food stations, an instrumental surf-rock band, and plenty of wine to go around. The white wines were mainly Chardonnay, with a few other grape varieties thrown in for good measure. Among the reds wines there were surprisingly few Pinot Noirs, but a whole pile of Cabernet Sauvignons and a healthy helping of Zinfandel.

According to Rick Slomka, Canadian Director of the California Wine Institute, sales of California wine in Canada continue to climb, with healthy growth in most areas of the country. As for what's hot in California, the Paso Robles winemaking region is catching fire these days (not literally, although it's bloody hot there), as are red blends from the Golden State. We're not necessarily talking cheap blends either a-la a lot of Australian entry-level Shiraz-Cabernets - California is making more and more red blends in the mid-tier price category (let's say $20-25 and up).

Some of my faves from these events include:

Sparkling

Freixenet NV Elyssia Gran Cuvee (Cava, Spain) $24.99

Freixenet NV Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut (Cava, Spain) $24.99

Segura Viudas 2007 Vintage Brut (Cava, Spain) $16.98

Whites

Sandhill 2009 Chardonnay (Okanagan Valley, BC) $16.99

Lake Breeze 2007 Gewurztraminer (Okanagan Valley, BC) $23.68

CedarCreek 2009 Pinot Gris (Okanagan Valley, BC) $18.99

Pelee Island 2008 Late Harvest Riesling (Pelee Island, Ontario) $14.95

Beringer 2008 Private Reserve Chardonnay (Napa Valley, California) $49.52 

Kendall Jackson 2009 Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay (California) $17.07

Ironstone 2008 Obsession (California) $12.95 

Stork's Tower 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Verdejo (Castilla, Spain) $13.50

Miguel Torres 2009 (I think - I forgot to write down the vintage) Vina Esmerelda (Catalunya, Spain) $12.95

Reds

CedarCreek 2007 Cabernet-Merlot (Okanagan Valley, BC) $23.99

Henry of Pelham 2008 Pinot Noir (Niagara Peninsula, Ontario) $16.95

Greg Norman 2006 Zinfandel (Red Hills Lake County, California) $22.99

Beringer 2004 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, California) $149.99

Wente 2007 Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley, California) $25.33

Paso Creek 2008 Zinfandel (Paso Robles, California) n/a - coming to Manitoba soon

Clos du Val 2009 Zinfandel (Napa Valley, California) $23.99

Liberty School 2009 Zinfandel (California) $19.99

Bodegas Campo Viejo 2002 Gran Reserva (Rioja, Spain) $29.95

Bodegas Juan Gil 2008 Silver Label (Jumilla, Spain) $24.95

Descendientes de J. Palacios 2008 Petalos (Bierzo, Spain) $23.95

Marques de Caceres 2004 Reserva (Rioja, Spain) $32.74

Other

Tio Pepe NV Extra Dry Fino Sherry (Jerez, Spain) $13.55 

 

More to come! For my thoughts (and others' thoughts) on the events as they go down, follow the #wpgwine11 hashtag on Twitter <http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23wpgwine11> .

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

Twitter

Blogs that Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson follows:

Ads by Google