Taste these! Wine picks for the 2011 Playhouse Wine Festival

Source: http://playhousewinefest.com/

We did our best to make our way through the Tasting Room at the 2011 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival and came out feeling like we’d barely scratched the surface. With over 700 wines to taste, from 176 wineries, 15 countries, and only 3 hours on Thursday night, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. We arrived with a plan of attack composed of a list of wineries we had to try. Unfortunately, some tables were constantly 3 people deep so our best laid plans were only partially realized. So many wines, so little time.

Here were the tastes that most sparked our interest. Make sure to try them if you’re headed to the Tasting Room, and give us your thoughts!


Dopff & Irion Pinot Gris, $24 (EWine) – mineral & citrus, with rich, weighty apple on the palate and a very dry finish

Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Gewürztraminer 2004, $34 (BC LDB) – the botrytis of Sauternes meets the tropical lychee of Gewürztraminer, big rich palate and floral notes


Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 2005, $? – not drinking to its full potential yet, but all the pieces are in place; one of the best Shiraz out of Australia but still in its youth


Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2008, $37 (EWine) - great notes of petrol, and citrus; one of the best, if not the best, Riesling in BC

Tantalus Chardonnay 2009, $30 (winery only) – a new release from Tantalus, and one that really impressed us; very similar to a North Burgundian style with elegant oak usage, and a balance of fruit, minerality and spice; should come into it’s own in a few years


Boutinot Les Hautes Terrasses Gigondas 2007, $32 (Wine Festival only) – one of our favorites of the night and a steal at this price; black fruit, licorice, herbaceous, & meaty – everything one expects from Gigondas; pick some up at the Festival if you can find it!

Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Cornas 2006, $? – elegant peppery Syrah in a true Northern Rhone style

New Zealand

Astrolabe Voyage Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, $24 (coming soon) – great balance of fruit, asparagus, & floral notes; dry and great acidity

Astrolabe Voyage Marlborough Pinot Gris 2010, $? (coming soon) – a rich, ripe fruity style, that finished super dry; perfect for Asian food

Astrolabe Voyage Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008, $33 (coming soon) – beautiful cherry on the nose, with a rich, dark palate with silky tannins


González Byass Apóstoles Very Old Palo Cortado 30 year, $35 (BC LDB) – caramel, dried fruit, nuts, countered by a strong spine of saltiness; an amazing wine

Marques De Riscal Rioja Reserva 2005, $28 (BC LDB) –  it’s crazy what you get for this price point; a wine that’s ready to drink, with plenty of leather, earth, black fruit

Miguel Torres Esmeralda 2010, $15 (BC LDB) – the perfect foil for Pan-Asian cuisine; a blend of Moscatel & Gewürztraminer; a big palate of citrus, peach, stonefruit and floral flavours

Telmo Rodriguez Basa Vino Blanco 2009, $18 (BC LDB) – great value white wine, with rich body contrasting floral and citrus flavours

United States

Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, $40-50 – a juicy, fruity, rich Cab, with tannins that aren’t overbearing

Clos Du Val Zinfandel 2009, $? – finally, an elegant Zinfandel; after drinking so many alcoholic Zin bombs, this was a refreshing expression that didn’t blow our heads off; elegant, dried fruit, jammy, with refreshing acidity

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Wine truths

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
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Wine Ratings

★☆☆☆☆ - Poor quality. Avoid. Save your money. Between 80-84 points.

★★☆☆☆ - Average quality or poor value. Between 84-88 points. Some expensive wines are downgraded for bad value.

★★★☆☆ - Good. Between 88-92 points. Or a good value on the lower end of the point scale.

★★★☆☆ - Excellent quality. Between 92-96 points. Or a cheap yet good quality wine which is excellent value.

★★★☆☆ - Outstanding, best examples in the world. Between 96 and 100 points. A perfect wine.