Every year the Vancouver International Wine Festival chooses a global focus and a theme country.
Cette année, le pays de thème est France!
With a global focus on bubbly, and France as the theme country, the International Festival Tasting offers a plethora of options to keep the palate stimulated over the course of three hours. I experienced the tasting on Thursday night where the crowd seemed unperturbed by the prospect of not tasting everything, contrasting the generally rushed behaviour of the Friday and Saturday night crowd. As with almost all of the events running throughout the festival, all four of the tastings sold out, with Thursday being the last to fill up.
Over 780 wines are poured each evening, featuring 177 wineries and 14 countries. I noticed that a lot of attention on Thursday was focused on French bubbles, leaving the other areas with breathing room to chat with the proprietors and wine representatives.
One of my favourite things about attending on the first night is interacting with the reps when they have the utmost energy; by the last festival tasting you can imagine how drained they are. Howard Duncan, Global Sales and Marketing Manager for Tuesner Wines, and David Lunn, North American Sales Director of McGuigan Wines, were exceptional examples of those who were willing to behave a little “crazy” for my photo and let their personality shine. In Aussie accents they led me through a tasting of all their wines, while briefing me on each winery’s history. I favoured Teusner’s Righteous FG Shiraz (Trade Only) and McGuigan’s limited bottling 2010 Handmade Shiraz.
I also spent a fair amount of time with the gregarious Jean Remy Rapeneau, proprietor of Charles de Cazanove, tasting my way through the complete line: Brut NV, Brut Rose NV, Chateau de Bligny Blanc de Blancs NV and Millesime 2006.
In a typical French (or male?) manner, when I asked for a photo, he insisted on posing with the beautiful ladies who accompanied him. In response, I insisted that he show off the bubbles and give me an, “à votre santé.”
The Canadian section was a little bit slower than the other regions, with tasters probably under the assumption that they can get their hands on the wine in these sections easily, which may not be the case for the others. I took full advantage of this, tasting wines from Hester Creek, Burrowing Owl, Gray Monk, Stellar’s Jay and Lake Breeze. I had tasted many of the wines before, while others were completely new to me, and also to most of the guests, as they are currently only available at the vineyard.
Since I’m an island girl, I was excited to taste wines from Unsworth Vineyards based out of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
Upcoming: March 1 | 3:00 – 5:00pm and 7:00 – 10:00pm | Vancouver Convention Centre West, Ballroom D