BC Wines & Pinots: What a combo at the 2009 Playhouse Winefest

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Have I got you thinking about joining us at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival?  The Festival website now provides comprehensive information about all of the week long events planned from March 23 to 29, 2009.  Here are my ‘insider tips’ of some of the great opportunities available to all who participate – there will be over 180 wineries from 15 different countries pouring more than 1,600 wines at 61 unique events – heaven for any wine enthusiast!

This year, the Festival is an opportunity to showcase for the British Columiba wine industry to showcase it’s “coming of age”, showcasing over 150 grape wineries, several fruit wineries and thousands of acres planted to the vine.  The wineries of BC are driven to express the unique character of their terroir (winespeak for the microclimate, the soils, the vineyard aspect and the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of BC wines).  From Vancouver Island to the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan – from north to south – you’ll find wineries and wines that suit your palate.  Unfortunately, if you live in eastern Canada, you won’t see very many BC wines on your local wine store shelf as many of the wineries are relatively small.  Over 70% of their wines are snapped up by appreciative connoisseurs in BC and Alberta.  All the more reason to join the wine lovers heading join the Savvy Sommeliers in Vancouver.

Did you see the movie, Sideways?  Did you wish you were there, sampling all those wonderful Pinot Noir wines?  Well, here’s your chance.  The featured varietal at the 2009 Playhouse Festival is Pinot.

To quote the Festival organizers, Pinot is “believed to be derived from the characteristic pinecone shape of the grape bunches, the name Pinot encompasses a cluster of different varietals. Led by Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc – the Big Three, as it were – each grape asserts completely different characteristics and can be produced in a variety of styles. Pinot Noir can range from restrained and earthy to full and fruity, with every incarnation in between. Pinot Gris’ name even changes when the style changes. Pinot Grigio is used to describe the dry, grassy, refreshing style of Pinot Gris created by the Italians. Pinot Gris is generally fuller bodied when developed in cooler climates like Alsace, Oregon and British Columbia, where it can take on completely different flavours and reach amazing depths of complexity. And don’t forget about Pinot Blanc, which also produces fresh, exciting wines in a wide variety of styles. BC Pinot Blanc is reminiscent of summer fruit, pinched from the roadside fruit stand.”

If you come to the Festival, there are many opportunities to taste many BC wines and to sample Pinot from around the world.  For instance, on Monday or Tuesday, you could attend a winery dinner.  Consider tasting Burrowing Owl wines at the Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar, or enjoying Cuisine de Terroir at DB Bistro Moderne, paired with premium wines from Mission Hill Family Estate.

Consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Thursday, when you can attend the Osoyoos Larose Component & Vertical Tasting.  I will be there!  Last fall, I had a private visit with Pascal Madevon, the French-born winemaker of Osoyoos-Larose, who asserted that he spends 80% of his time in the vineyards.  An engaging and articulate individual, Pascal talked about his passion for the vines, and his great expectations of his Okanagan wines.  I think you’ll agree this is a great opportunity to try the individual elements of this classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The Pinot-Rama wine seminar on Thursday, led by Vancouver’s own David Scholefield, features an entertaining, educational tour of the world of Pinot, with a tasting of great pinots from around the world.  Friday and Saturday, join the thousands of people attending the International Festival Tasting, where over 180 wineries from 15 countries will be serving more than 700 wines.  Don’t worry, our Savvy Tasting Trails can help you find a path through the insanity.

Saturday, a wide range of lunch tastings are available, including:Our Land, Our Best (featuring BC wines), New Zealand’s Perfect Pairings, and Argentina’s Culinary Tango! 

You can also attend a wine seminar, Icons of British Columbia, which will feature benchmark examples of red and white BC wines.  Finally, if you sign up early, you might get a ticket to Sunday’s event-defining Vintner’s Brunch, where local chefs prepare delicacies artfully paired with a featured wine.  Or, if you prefer a Sunday evening event, consider the Great Estates of the Okanagan dinner, to be held at the Blue Water Café.

Excited?  Delighted?  Thrilled with the opportunity?  Don’t hesitate to contact Savvy Company for assistance with the planning of your trip to the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.  Tickets are selling fast.  Get ready to pack your bags – I will be providing you more insider tips on my blog about the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival!

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