July 5th, 2013

Wine Festivals are everywhere these days. The main ones on my calendar include:

(a) Prowein in Dusseldorf Germany March 24-26

(b) Vinitaly in Verona Italy April 7-10

(c) London International Wine Fair in England May 20-22

(d) Vinexpo in Bordeaux France June 16-20

There are many others including this month:

Oregon Pinot Noir in Chicago March 7

Burgundy La Paulee de New York March 6-9 with a dinner featuring Roumier and R & V Dauvissat for $4750 or a lunch at Eleven Madison Park featuring 20 vintages of Jadot Chevalier Montrachet Les Demoiselles for $995.

Fifth Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival March 15-17

We just concluded our annual 35th Vancouver International Wine Festival February 25 to March 3. I am delighted to say I have prominently attended all 35! Features around 175 wineries from 15 countries with an obligatory principal present and pouring. There is an annual Theme Region this year California (62 wineries) and Global Focus this year Chardonnay.

I was involved with so many lunches, dinners and seminars over 7 days but one of  my top highlights this year was a seminar on Ridge Vineyards presented by Paul Draper. Blind Zin pairs of 1987, 1997, and 2010  comparing elegant Geyserville and earthy Lytton Springs from Dry Creek Valley. Sensational Montebello Cabs 1985 (93CS, 7M, 13.1), 1995 (69CS, 18M, 10PV, 3CF, 12.5), 2001 (56CS, 36M, 8PV 14.2) and 2009 (72CS, 22M, 6PV 13.5).  The limestone ridge there is unique and gives minerality but perhaps more important is the cool climate at 1300-2600 feet elevation. Wild yeast and air dried American oak barrels are other key factors. Paul is proud that since the sixties the average alcohol is only 13.1 for Montebello. In 2001 Paul concerned they didn’t pick all the blocks as soon as they could have and resulted in the first one over 14 raising the historical average but still the wine is not over the top. Interesting to note how each year is hand crafted not using a formula with cabernet sauvignon ranges from 56% to 93% and similarly merlot from 7% to 36%. Dark colours and low yields but careful not to over extract the tannins from the cap. A few summary observations from Paul on other older vintages of Ridge Montebello you might be storing: 68 & 70 both outstanding; 71 great now with age 12.2; 73 not appreciated by the critics but showing better now; 74 great; 75 lighter year drink; 76 not great because some over ripe and some under ripe grapes; 77 great and still tight 11.7; 78 great showing class; 79 declining; 80 not typical suffered from 76/77 drought; 81 good fully developed; 82 big crop not ripe; 83 too hard declassified; 84 fine…

Next year the 36th Vancouver International Wine Festival is February 24 to March 2, 2014 with the Theme Region France and the Global Focus Bubbles. A good time to visit Vancouver on business or vacation! Make plans.

Please post for everyone some information on Wine Festivals being held in your region. I would be pleased to participate some time. Sure other members would be interested as well. Also any comments on Ridge Vineyards and their wines are most welcome!

July 5th, 2013

One Response

  1. Ian Westcott says:

    Hi Syd
    Certainly is plenty to do if one has the inclination.

    Going to Vinitaly for the first time this year. Looks a goldmine of tasting opportunities . I just hope the crowds are not too crazy.

    The other excitng development for lovers of “farmer fizz” is the development over the last 5 years of 3 days of Salons (Terres et Vin, Artisan du Champagne et Terroirs et Talents) in Champagne at the end of April (21-23 this year) highlighting the new young guns of Champagne.
    , about 50 presenting over the3 Salons.

    Other great events include the Grands Jours de Bourgogne in March each second year – even years from memory. Vosne-Romanee , Morey-St-Denis and Chambolle hold the tasting each year.

    Closer to home the Mornington Peninsula hosts a Pinot Noir love-in at the beginning of February featuring local and overseas makers and critics.

    Good tasting!

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