Countdown to the

Vancouver International Wine Festival!

Although the theme of this year’s VIWF is ‘The Wine World Celebrates Canada’, there are more than 100 wineries from other wine producing regions pouring samples at the 39th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival taking place February 11th to 19th.

Although its affordable price begs the question, don't look at Prosecco as being just the poor man's Champagne. Produced by the much less labour intensive ‘Charmat’ method - Prosecco is held in large stainless-steel containers for 8-12 weeks before being bottles under pressure, helping it retain all the fresh, bright, fruity flavours.

Villa Sandi Prosecco (520494) $15.20 exudes aromas of apple, pear with a sprinkling of spring flowers. Like its fellow fizzy Italian friends it is light in body with flavours of peach, lemon, tangerine and lime with oodles of fresh apple and melon notes.

Five wineries from New Zealand will be there. The de Marisco family apparently descended from a William de Marisco. who was said to be one of the 35 illegitimate children of King Henry the First - thereby making William part of the King's Legacy.

Marisco’s ‘The King’s Legacy’ Chardonnay (652891) $17.89 combines fresh apple, nectarine and tangerine flavours with subtle creaminess, hints of toasted almonds and a gently spicy complexity.

Tickets for the Vancouver International Wine Festival running from February 11th through February 19th went on sale Tuesday January 10th.  Interested local wine lovers should visit their website at Vanwinefest.ca for details.

Argentina will be represented, this year, by 6 premium producers. Zuccardi was founded in 1963 by Alberto Zuccardi.

Zuccardi Serie A Torrontes (132035) $19.99 shows a delicate and unique nose, full of white flowers, roses and lemon blossoms. As it opens in the glass it sizzles with notes of mature white fruits and citrus zest. Like a rich Sauvignon Blanc it is well structured with a lively acidity but remains centred around the aromatic intensity and remarkably rich finish.

The 2017 Vancouver International Wine Festival Tasting Room will be open to the public 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Thursday, February 16 Friday and Saturday with a matinee tasting on

Saturday afternoon from 2:30pm - 5:00 pm.  Interested local wine lovers should visit their website at Vanwinefest.ca for details.

There will be 7 awesome Australian wineries at the 39th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival.

From McLaren Vale in South Australia Chapel Hill ‘The Parson’ Cabernet Sauvignon (839696) $19.99 exudes blackcurrant and black raspberry fruit flavours over interesting savoury notes of fresh cut beets, bay leaf and sage. Lots of dusty pepper and spice fill out the finish.

The heart of the festival is in the International Festival Tastings at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where 775+ wines are available for sampling, with an additional 170 wines available at trade tastings.

Included in the price of each ticket is the opportunity to shop at the onsite BC Liquor Store where all wines served at the International Festival Tastings are available for purchase. Of course, California will be well represented at the 39th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival with 22 wineries pouring samples of their wares.

From California’s Livermore Valley, the estate grown and certified sustainable vineyards that make up Wente Sandstone Merlot (171025) $20.99 are harvested, fermented and aged separately before they are blended together. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot are added to the blend. Expect to be captivated by the aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry, blackberry and fig with hints of toast, brown sugar, and spice.

Is there any red grape that doesn’t make delicious wines in California?  Zinfandel has become so much of a California specialty that Italian winemakers are renaming their Primitivo to take advantage of the popularity of the California versions.  At the same time well made California Cabernet Sauvignons have become the benchmark for quality wines made from this varietal.

The 2013 vintage of Earthquake Zinfandel (336925) $36.50 is 100 per cent Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi, California and aged in American oak. It is no wimpy Zinfandel at 15.5% alcohol - full-bodied, boasting briary, peppery, meaty and herbal black fruits and some ripe red fruit flavours.

With a little more than a week to go, its still not to late to get organized and over to Vancouver for the Festival.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com