Top White Wines from the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Another year, another VIWF…and it was fabulous once again! Today’s entry will deal with the best white wines I found at the festival, with reds to come later in the week.

Without further ado, in alphabetical order:

Cassini Cellars (BC)

The 2008 Chardonnay Reserve was as good a white wine as I tasted all night, and a big surprise (as was this BC winery). Golden yellow, nice mix of vanilla, butter and citrus on the nose, and rich, luscious, buttery citrus fruit in the mouth with a touch of nuts; almost like a French Meursault. All this for $28.91! Alas, only available at the winery.

Noble Ridge (BC)

The 2008 Chardonnay from this BC winery wasn’t huge in size, but very nicely balanced. A mix of California and French Chablis style, with just a touch of oak around very ripe citrus fruit. A good deal at $23…again, only at the winery.

Painted Rock (BC)

“A fruit bomb” was what my notes said about the 2009 from this BC winery! Really ripe fruit, nice layer of vanilla/butter from the oak; very nice for $30 at the winery.

Tantalus (BC)

These guys are Riesling specialists, and their current offerings reaffirmed that once again! The “regular” 2009 Riesling was just a touch sweet, but had great acidity to balance it off. Medium bodied with a touch of minerals, it is nice for $22 and available in government liquor stores.

The 2008 Old Vines is a different animal altogether. More like a dry German or Alsation Riesling, this one is full bodied and almost chewy, like a red wine. Petrol and mineral aromas give way to pear-flavoured fruit and a long finish. A candidate for 5+ years in the cellar. At $29 it isn’t cheap, but the quality is very high.

Geisen (New Zealand)

The 2009 Brothers Sauvignon Blanc blew me away…it may be the best SB I have ever tried. Tropical fruits and grasses on the nose, huge body and ripe, but not sweet fruit, no sign of obvious oak, this was a joy to drink. I bought a couple of bodies ’cause it isn’t available in stores here, and at $21.99 was a knockout bargain.

Miner Family (California)

I didn’t taste a lot of California wines (ran out of time), but this was a beauty…my notes say “reminds me of the Beringer Private Reserve”, high praise indeed. Classic Cal Chardonnay, with vanilla, butter and butterscotch covered citrus fruit, huge body, and so lush and round in the mouth. It was $40, so not cheap, but what a great wine!

Meyer Family (BC)

I will end with a little controversy, for me anyway. Meyer Family Vineyards made a “spash” in the BC wine market a few years ago with some $60+ wines…I have never been there or tasted their wines, so took advantage at the festival. On the plus side, the “regular” Chardonnay was very nice, but at $35?? And the reserve (can’t remember exact name) was excellent — it also reminded me of the Beringer Private Reserve — but at $65??? I had a nice chat with the wine rep, but we had to “agree to disagree” on whether the price justified the value. In my mind, it didn’t…haven’t tasted a BC wine yet that was worth that much money (compared to what you can get elsewhere in the world for that kind of money).

That’s it for whites; watch for reds coming later in the week!



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