Friday, February 26, 2016

Wine Barbarian UPDATED Quick Picks for the Vancouver International Wine Festival - great Italian wines and more!



Barone Francesco Ricasoli and Wine Barbarian Bill Tieleman!
If you are going to the Vancouver International Wine Festival tonight - Friday - or Saturday at 7 p.m. or Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. you are a lucky person indeed - because not only is Italy rocking the place with fantastic wines but so are the other countries in the tasting room!

If you don't have tickets the bad news is both nights are sold out - the good news is that a limited number of tickets are made available in person only at 6 p.m. each night for the evening's tasting - worth a try.


And if you get in, I'm going to help out - by giving you my Quick Picks of some the many great wines being poured in the International Tasting 

I have been attending several events - including 1,000 Years of Tuscany with the charming Barone Francesco Ricasoli showing his marvellous wines going back to some 1997s - and was at Thursday's tasting working hard to do research for you!

Let's start with the regional focus - Italy.  And as with all tables - it's polite to try all 4 wines available but these are the ones I particularly liked:


Ricasoli - The Barone is pouring - himself - some of their fine Ricasoli wines - try in particular the marvellous Colledila 2011- a Gran Selezione Chianti Classico full of black cherry goodness.  I tried the 2010 and the 2011 - which is in the tasting room - both excellent.


Castello di Gabbiano winemaker Frederico Cerelli & Bill Tieleman
Castello di Gabbiano - Winemaker Frederico Cerelli is here and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner sitting next to him at Mark Taylor's Siena with some fabulous Tuscan wines.

I would recommend highly their Alleanza IGT 2010 - a SuperTuscan blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot - outstanding!

Rocca delle Macie - I also had the pleasure of attending a dinner as well as a vertical tasting of Roccato wines with owner Sergio Zingarelli - and he too is very charming!  


I have been drinking Roccato - a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon - since their 2003 vintage - and it is simply delicious year after year!  The Roccato 2010 is being poured at the Festival and the 2009 - which I love - is still available in BC Liquor Stores - both are beauties!


San Polino - These are astonishing wines - not simply because they are all Brunello di Montalcino wines, not only because they are stunning but also because they are very expensive to be pouring - from $105 to $135 a bottle!  


All great but I particularly enjoyed the Helishrysum Brunello 2009 - really amazing.



Sergio Zingarelli of Rocca delle Macie with Iain Philip
San Felice - Another Tuscan winery with top notch wines at the table!  I especially liked the Il Grigio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2011 - wow!  And for $44.

Tenute Sette Ponti/Feudo Maccari - Yes, I didn't get out of Tuscany for the most part but it is such a great wine region.  Their Crognolo has been a staple wine for me for many vintages - buy some - but their Tenute Sette Ponti Oreno IGT 2013 was a revelation!  Yes, it costs $86 - over double the Crognolo - but what a wonderful wine.  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot - all Bordeaux grapes - grown in Tuscany.  Smooth, big and velvety goodness!


I am running out of time and space - but in the Italian section don't miss Damiliano for their Barolos - Argentiera for their SuperTuscan Bolhgheri Superiore 2012 - Argiano for their Solango IGT Toscana 2012 and Brunello DOCG 2011- and Biondi Santi for their Braccale IGT Rosso Toscana 2011 - a $37 bargain!


Also Allegrini and Vieti and Cesari - but there's so much more I haven't yet tasted!


Leaving Italy, reluctantly, there are lots of other great wines from other countries represented.


Australia - Always so very impressive is Inland Trading Co., with managing director and Festival regular Greg Corra - a lot of fun to talk with every year!  Their lineup is magnificent throughout but don't miss the Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz 2012 - absolutely stunning wine!


New Zealand - Another great guy to talk about his great wines is Jim Robertson at Stoneleigh - a regular visitor to Vancouver - pouring two Sauvignon Blancs and two Pinot Noirs from one of my favourite wine regions.  I really loved the Rapaura Pinot Noir 2014 - and for $32 it's a bargain.


Canada - There are just loads of great BC wineries in attendance - how to choose?  But I will based on my limited time tasting - Painted Rock is marvellous - visited them in Penticton this summer too - try the Red Icon 2013 flagship.  


Osoyoos Larose - three vintages of Le Grand Vin to choose from - all fabulous!


Mission Hill - See my friend Ingo Grady there and taste their new Terroir Collection - an exciting new line of wonderful wines!


France - Famille Perrin - always great wines from top to bottom but I adore Beaucastel Chateauneuf-Du-Pape - a 2012 is being poured by Thomas Perrin - a charming fellow.

Laurent-Perrier - the only Champagne in the room and one of the best!  All beauties and pricey but none more than the Grand Siecle NV at $173 a bottle - mmmm!

Croatia - yes, from the Dalmatia region Stina returns to Vancouver with some amazing wines you've never heard of or tasted - till today!  I enjoyed their offerings last year and it's a great chance to try their reds and whites - all priced in the $40-$60 range.  Stina means "white stone" in Croatian and their labels are stunning.

That's all for now but watch for Tweets - @BillTieleman - and updates as best I can between glasses!

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