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Celebrating Chilean wine and Cabernet grapes

Wrap up of 2012 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival including highlights from the International Tasting Room, Piedmont wine dinner at CRU Restaurant and the Cinq-à-Sept mingler at Vancouver Art Gallery.

All photos by Andrew Chin Photography

Vancouver played host to the 2012 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Feburary on February 27 to March 4 and presented its regional theme of Chile and a global focus on Cabernet grapes. Every year, this leading North American food and wine week-long event attracts oenophiles, tourists and supporters of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company. Wine tastings, parties, seminars, all manner of wine and food pairing meals, a three day conference for trade professionals and a grand Bacchanalia Gala were all part of the Festival’s offerings.

The official media launch at Joey Bentall One Wine Room provided a sneak peek into some of the wines offered during the Festival. A particular standout was the Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2008. From the Aconcagua Valley in Chile, this wine showed complexity and bright acidity with an aroma of grapefruit, asparagus, green pepper and had citrus, mineral and herbaceous notes on the palate.

I attended the Bacchanalia Gala reception at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on the next night and many of Vancouver’s elite and VIP sponsors were dressed in their finest. This spectacular night was a must for any serious wine collector as the auction provided an opportunity to acquire rare, valuable and unusual wines, donated by some of the world’s top winemakers and private collectors, along with excursions and private winemaker dinners. I sampled the effervescent J Vineyards J Brut Russian River Rose NV, a pale pink sparkling wine made from Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It reminded me of strawberries and lemon peel, showed gentle acidity and a long finish.

The Discover Piedmont dinner at CRU Restaurant was a 5 course gastronomic delight, paired with the portfolio of wines from the family owned Damilano winery in Piedmont, Italy. Known for their Barolo wines, the Damilano representatives presented a compelling story filled with food, wine and laughter to the diners in the beautiful, intimate setting of CRU. The conversation with the delightful Luigi Biondi from the Italian Consulate had me dreaming of visiting Piedmont and the surrounding wine regions.

We started with the Damilano Langhe Arneis, displaying crisp fruit and white pepper, with enough acidity to balance out the vinaigrette in the grilled calamari salad with crispy polenta.

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