It's Saturday morning and my first seminar is Bubble-icious, led by the Wine Diva, Daenna Van Mulligen and Mark Taylor of Vancouver's Cru, named by Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards as the 2009 winner in The Best Small Plates category.
The seminar room is set up for tasting seven sparklers
We tasted seven sparklers—white, pink, and red. My favourites were the Lucien Albrecht Crémant RoséNV from Alsace, Luna Argenta Prosecco from Italy, and Laurent-PerrierCuvée RoséBrut Champagne NV from Champagne. The letters NV, if you're wondering, stand for non-vintage, meaning wine from different vintages is blended together.
After a quick lunch, it was off to Pinot Noir from Around the World, hosted by Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris of House Wine. We got a quick lesson about many of the Pinot Noir-growing regions of the world and tasted eight samples representing the regions. Here is the list:
- Sacchetto, Pinot Rosa delle Venezie IGT Frizzante, Italy
- 2007 Faiveley, Paulée Bourgogne Rouge AOC, France
- 2007 Blue Mountain Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, B.C.
- 2007 Kim Crawford, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand,
- 2007 Familia Schroeder, ‘Saurus’ Pinot Noir, Patagonia, Argentina
- 2007 Cono Sur, ‘20 Barrels’ Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile
- 2006 Yabby Lake Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
- 2005 Cristom, ‘Jessie Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
My favourites were the Burgundy, B.C., New Zealand, and Chilean Pinot Noirs, numbers 2, 3, 4, and 6. And yes, number 8 from Oregon was good, too.
After our around-the-world Pinot tasting, we had an hour's break before it was time to learn How to Build & Manage a Wine Cellar, presented by the House Wine gals. This wasn't a how-to in the sense of hammers and nails; rather, we learned about constant temperature and humidity, the importance of avoiding excessive vibration, which wines are typically worthy of cellaring, and which ones should simply be enjoyed right away.
Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard helped us taste our way through 11 wines:
1. Pol Roger, Brut, Champagne AOC, France
2. Peter Lehmann, Semillon, Barossa, Australia
3. William Fèvre, Chablis Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre AOC, France
4. Stift Göttweig, ‘Messwein’ Grüner Veltliner, Austria
5. Markus Molitor, Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenhur Kabinett, Germany
6. Château Cambon la Pelouse, Haut-Médoc AOC, France
7. Emiliana, ‘Coyam’, Colchagua Valley, Chile
8. Altesino, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy
9. Penfolds, ‘St. Henri’ Shiraz, Australia
10. Penfolds, ‘St. Henri’ Shiraz, Australia
11. Château D’Armajan des Ormes, Sauternes
The Champagne, Chablis, and Brunello (numbers 1, 3, and 8) were my favourites.
Saturday night found us at Crush, the weekend's huge wine-tasting party and silent auction. We worked our way around the room, participated in a blind tasting (which, by the way, I aced by being able to identify which Pinot Noir was from B.C. and which was from Oregon) and talked to many of the people with whom I'd hoped to connect.
We passed on the after-parties and made our way back to our suite to rest up for our final day at Cornucopia that would start with Killer Value Wines, presented by Wine Access Magazineand panelled by D.J. Kearny, David Scholefield, Anthony Gismondi, and Mark Taylor. My favourite wines of the group that truly "over delivered" in flavour and value were the 2008 Boutari Moschofilero from Greece, the Pinot Noir from B.C. winery Thornhaven, and the Tempranillo Vina Albali Gran Reserva from Valdepeñas, Spain, all $20 or less. Interesting and worth trying again was The Wolftrap from South Africa.
Rick was taking in the Rodney Strong seminar and tasting, A Look at Luxury Cabernet from Sonoma, while I was sipping the value wines. When we were finished our respective seminars, he and I made our way to the Viking Stage where we learned how sushi is made and then tasted it paired with wine.
What a day.
What a weekend.
We said good-bye to our wine-soaked winter wonderland the world calls Whistler and hit the road.
Copyright © 2009 Kathleen Rake. All rights reserved.