Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spanish Sipping In 2011 At Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival

“Every vintage at the Wine Festival offers a fresh journey of discovery,” says Festival Executive Director Harry Hertscheg.

“Whether it’s wines from across Spain, Fortified examples from around the globe or selections from unfamiliar wine regions, each Festival attendee gets their own unique tasting experience while trying new wines and connecting directly with their producers.”

Spanish Winemaker, Miguel Torres

Wines from Spain and a Global Focus on Fortified Wine will bring plenty of varietals
to the 33rd annual event September 24th, 2010, Vancouver, BC - The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival will mark its 33rd year with Wines from Spain and a Global Focus on Fortified Wine. The Festival, which runs from March 28th to April 3rd, 2011, will bring 176 participating wineries to the Vancouver Convention Centre and top Vancouver restaurants and hotels for a total of seven days of tastings, seminars, and wine focused events. A full list of participating wineries is now available online

“The great quality, value and versatility of Spanish wines continues to win fans around the world and to elicit high praise from the international wine and food media,” says Pilar Randolph, Director of Wines from Spain, “we are thrilled to have the opportunity to shine the spotlight on these wines at Canada's premier wine festival this coming spring.”

Alvaro Palacios, Winemaker, Priorat Region, Spain

With a total of 33 participating Spanish wineries, visitors to the 2011 Festival will have the opportunity to sip wines from indigenous varietals such as Albariño, Cariñena, Garnacha, Godello, Macabeo, Mencía, Monastrell, Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, Tempranillo, Verdejo and Viura, as well as Spanish versions of more international grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. All of this will be complemented by events that will highlight not only the Wines from Spain but also the delicious food, diverse culture and rich history of the country.

A number of Spain’s most notable and impressive principals will be on hand at this year’s Festival, including Miguel A. Torres, President and Managing Director of Miguel Torres Winery. Named European Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2006, Miguel A. Torres is the fourth generation of Torres to preside over this acclaimed winery in the Penedès region. Decanter magazine named Miguel A. Torres Man of the Year in 2002.

Also attending will be Alvaro Palacios of Alvaro Palacios Winery. Palacios founded his namesake winery at the young age of 25 and is often credited for resurrecting the region of Priorat. His L’Ermita is widely regarded as one of the most important Spanish wines in a generation.

 Other notable names scheduled to attend this year’s Festival include:·       Alex Giesen, Director and Owner, Giesen Wine Estate – New Zealand·       Ann Sperling, Winemaker, Sperling Vineyards – Canada (BC)·       Aurelio Montes Sr., Winemaker, Montes – Chile· Christophe Hedges, Winemaker, Hedges Family Estates and Snoqualmie Vineyards. – USA (WASH)·
Craig McDonald, General Manager, Wine Gretzky Estate Winery - Canada (ON)· Fernando
Alvear, President and CEO, Bodegas Alvear – Spain· Felipe González-Gordon, President, González Byass – Spain· Javier Hidalgo, Proprietor, Bodegas Hidalgo – Spain· Joel Peterson, Founder, Ravenswood – USA (CA)  ·       Louis Moreau, Proprietor and Winemaker, Domaine Louis Moreau – France·       Marc Kent, Winemaker and Co-owner, Boekenhoutskloof – South Africa·       Nik Weis, Owner, St. Urbans-Hof – Germany·       Riccardo Tedeschi, Owner and Winemaker, Tedeschi – Italy·       Rupert Symington, Joint Executive Director, Symington Graham's Port - Portugal·       Stuart Blackwell, Senior Winemaker, St Hallett – Australia·    Susana Balbo, Winemaker, Dominio del Plata – Argentina·Telmo Rodriguez, Proprietor, Telmo Rodríguez Wines - Spain·       Udi Kadim, CEO, Galil Mountain Winery and Yarden – Israel

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival will open on Monday, March 28th, 2011 and will feature 176 wineries participating in 63 events to a projected 25,000 attendees. Early tickets to the Festival will be on sale November 30. For more information visit the newly revamped

About the Playhouse Wine Festival

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Canada’s premier wine show, runs from March 28th to April 3rd, 2011. The Playhouse Wine Festival is one of the biggest and oldest wine festival events in the  world. In 2011, the theme region will be Spain and the global focus Fortified Wine. The Festival features a week of special events including the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, wine seminars, wine minglers, winery dinners, and lunches and brunches at fine restaurants and hotels. The Playhouse Wine Festival is produced by the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and Festival partners; and raise funds for the Playhouse Theatre Company. Since its inception in 1979, the Festival has raised over $7.2 million to enable Western Canada’s leading theatre company to mount 223 productions and develop extensive community outreach and educational programs.The Shore Club generously presents the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.

Posted via email from Vancouver Food And Wine

Chateau Haut-Brion – A Bordeaux First Growth Loved by Poets, Philosophers and Presidents for 350 Years

Excerpted From

In 1935 the estate was rescued by an American.  Financier Clarence Dillon purchased the property for 2.3 million francs.  Dillon named his nephew Seymour Weller as president of Société Vinicole de la Gironde, a position he held until his retirement in 1975 at age 83. 

Chateau Haut-Brion, Bordeaux

Under Weller, the chai was cleaned and improved and “modern” technology was implemented.  Perhaps the key stroke to restoring the estate was the hiring of George Delmas as winemaker and manager.  George retired in 1961 and was succeeded by his son Jean-Bernard who invested time and effort in clonal research.  It was his belief that great wine required different clones (strains) of each grape varietal.  Each hectare is reputed to have 10 to 15 different clonal selections.  The property is now under the direction of the third generation of Delmas, Jean-Phillipe Delmas, who has been in charge since 2003.   The Dillon family still controls the estate today headed up by Prince Robert of Luxembourg, the Président Directeur Général of what is now called Domaine Clarence Dillon SA.

Prince Robert, Scion of Chateau Haut-Brion

Besides the grand vin which is labeled as Chateau Haut-Brion, they make a second wine.  The second wine is called Clarence de Haut-Brion, but before 2007 it was known as Bahans Haut Brion.  They also make Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc, a white wine which is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and is one of the best and most expensive dry white wines in the world.  Occasionally release a second white called Les Plantiers du Haut-Brion.  

Grapes have undoubtedly been cultivated on this land since the 1400s.  By 1700 the entire estate consisted of 650 acres and there were 94 acres under vine.  Today 120 acres are planted to red grapes:  45.4% to Merlot, 43.9% to Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% to Cabernet Franc, and 1% to Petit Verdot.  In addition, just over 7seven acres are planted with white grapes:  52.6% Semillon and 47.4% Sauvignon Blanc.  The average age of the vines is 35 to 40 years with the oldest vines dating back to the 1930s.  The soil is Günzian gravel with some portions of the vineyard having large amounts of clay.  

After hand harvesting, the fruit is sorted in the field.  The grapes are then fermented on natural yeasts in stainless steel vats.  It is a special tank that allows the fermentation to take place on the top and the malolactic fermentation to happen on the bottom.  These were first used in 1961, and although are very common now in Bordeaux, were quite an innovation.  Chateau Haut-Brion has its own cooperage for making their barrels.  The wine is then stored in barrels for two years or longer.  In the past, the wine was aged in 100% new oak, but now they use 35% new oak (25% for the le Clarence).  The white wine sees 45% new oak and is aged for 12 months.  

Annual production is around 12,000 cases for the grand vin and 800 cases for the Blanc.  Annual production for the Le Clarence is around 5,000 cases.  

Haut Brion is recognizable for the shape of its bottle, in use since the 1958 vintage, which are based on an old decanter shape.  The wines are made to age.  While some vintages may be delicious on release the wines really need at least a decade to show their quality.  The 1970 vintage of Haut-Brion ranked fourth among the ten French and California red wines in the historic 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition.  I suspect that the 1970 Haut Brion, which was never a great vintage, is still drinkable and enjoyable.  

Haut-Brion has been very consistent in quality over the last fifty plus years.  Like the other first growths the price has gotten silly expensive.  Yet, it often remains one of the less expensive of the first growths perhaps stemming from its location in Graves and not the Medoc.  In any event, the price is now over $500 per bottle in the recent stellar vintages of 2005 and 2009.  Perhaps better value can be found in the 2003 or 2008 vintages where a bottle can be obtained for under $300.  I have been lucky enough to try about twenty vintages of this great wine.  Personally, the best two vintages of Haut-Brion I have had are the amazing 1989 and the will-probably-be-even-better-with-more-age 2000.  Those wines are two of the most profound wines I have ever, and most likely will ever taste.  Unfortunately, the 1989 now sells for over $1,000 a bottle while the 2000 can still be “had” for around $500.  

Haut-Brion’s neighbor is Chateau La Mission Haut Brion.  These two chateaus have had a historic rivalry for over 50 years.  Some say the rivalry ended when Domaine Clarence Dillon purchased La Mission in 1983.  I am not so sure.  In fact, while there is always bottle variation on a wine that old, the 1989 La Mission Haut Brion remains the best red wine I have ever tasted.  Both wines are excellent, but Haut-Brion still retains one advantage, the honor of being classified as a Premier Cru back in 1855.  READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ON

Posted via email from Local Food And Wine

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Joel Salatin, Clean Food Farmer, Speaks At Brambles Market, Comox Valley

DATE: Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010
Joel Salatin, founder of Clean Food Farm Polyface Inc. speaks at Brambles Market In Comox Valley.
One of America’s most dynamic and innovative small farmers will address the Comox Valley on Sunday, Sept.26. Promoting food production that is environmentally, emotionally and economically enhancing for both producer and consumer, Joel Salatin is a third generation clean food farmer. His presentations about the family’s 550-acre Virginia farm often receive standing ovations.

Author of six books, magazine columnist, and wordsmith, Salatin describes his diverse farm enterprises with ear-catching phrases: salad bar beef, pastured poultry, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, and feathernet eggs. What he calls relationship marketing to 3,000 families and 50 restaurant cheerleader patrons gives his farm, Polyface Inc., retail dollars for everything produced.

Although his message is a decidedly positive one, it draws clear distinctions between food produced in inhumane, factory farms and food produced in pasture-based, animal-friendly farms. His presentations carry several themes: let animals do the work, value adding through marketing, diversity and multiple-use, reverencing the pigness of a pig, and animals eating their salad bar. Woven throughout his talk is a strong consumer thrust for responsible food buying: one bite at a time, each of us creates the landscapes our grandchildren will inherit.

A truly innovative farmer, he has received numerous conservation awards. Featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, and Gourmet, the farm attracts visitors from around the world to view its animal-friendly, pasture-based, environmentally-sound, nutrient-dense, entrepreneurial production and marketing models. His mother, Lucille, wife Teresa, daughter Rachel, son Daniel, daughter-in-law Sheri, and grandchildren Travis, Andrew, and Lauryn, work fulltime together on the family farm.
Brambles Market in Courtenay is pleased to offer two events featuring Joel Salatin. Both will be on Sunday, Sept.26 at the Florence Filberg center in Downtown Courtenay. Join them for a small group Q&A with Joel from 2-4. $40 ticket includes snacks and beverages and an opportunity to discuss issues in a round-table format. Tickets for this event are limited. The evening will feature a talk by Joel on some of his favourite issues, followed by a Q&A session. Tickets for this event are $25.

For more information about this event, please contact Angeline or This is a non-profit, community education event.


Okanagan Food And Wine *  Vancouver Food And  Wine

Twitter @LocalFoodWine * FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

*Local Food And Wine *


Posted via email from Vancouver Food And Wine