Vancouver Tasting Playoffs Round 2 – France and Portugal

Earlier this month, while LA and Anaheim were duking it out for the Western Conference Hockey Finals, I was in a playoff of my own by trying to keep up with all the Vancouver tasting. Although I was hip-deep in web projects, I felt that some tasting opportunities simply cannot be missed.

So I peeled myself off my computer and headed downtown for Round 2 of my Vancouver Tasting Playoffs. This week, France and Portugal.

French Wine Connection

On May 5th, forty producers from 10 regions of France spun in the rotating restaurant on top of the Renaissance Hotel in Coal Harbor for a full four hours. By the time I arrived, 3 hours late, the crowd was feeling no vertigo, but it took me a few minutes to get my sea legs after stepping onto the giant record player.

This year, the French Wine Connection 2014 tour d’ americ du nord chose Vancouver and Los Angeles for it’s annual trade-only event. The tour is organized by UbiFrance North America to promote French wine to agents and distributors. Good timing since the US just outpaced all other countries for wine consumption.

This was the most authentic tasting I’ve attended in a while. All of the the people either work at the winery or they own the winery. Accents were thick and pours were generous, but I detected an undertone of anxiety. Possibly desperation. Or maybe it was just their European reserve.

One vintner told me he’d folks spent a lot of money to get here and wondered what he’d get out of it.

French wines I hope to see in stores

Aubai Mema – Lauguedoc-Roussillon
L’insoumise 2011 Carignan Vieilles Vignes
LaDouzieme 2011 Syrah/Viognier
Aubai Mema 2012 Albion White

Charles Collin Selection Brut and Rosé Champagnes.

Domaine Déramé  – Loire Valley.
La Morandiére 2013 Muscadet-Sevre-et-Maine
Les Roches Gaudiniére 2010 Muscadet-Sevre-et-Maine
Famille Déramé 2006 Muscadet-Sevre-et-Maine

Meche Mouier – Rhone Valley
Saint-Joseph Domaine de Pierre Blanche
Ch.du Pap Font Jillarde 2010
Cozes Hermitage La Muselle 2012

Leclerc Briant – Champagne
Rosé Non Vintage
2006 Brut

Champagne Marc Cuvee Noir & Blanc

Vignobles Albert Schweitzer – Bordeaux
Ch. de Thau 2010
Les Violettes 2010
Ch Puy de Lignac 2009

banana wineThe strangest wine I’ve ever tasted is the Domaine des Antilles 2012 La Banane. You read that right: the banana. This wine is made with ripe, Guadeloupe-grown bananas.

Here is a flavour normally despised by vintners and this wine is all about it. Tasting sweeter than semi-sweet, fruit juicy to the point of cloying, I couldn’t get to another bubbly table fast enough to wash the taste from my mouth. It’s just weird and I didn’t want it to taint everything I tasted that day.

As a blender though, La Banane might have a chance. It would be perfect in cocktails, coolers, punches and sangrias because it has it all. Bodacious fruit, lavish sugar and decent alcohol. What’s not to mix?

Wines of Portugal

Montreal had not yet sent Boston to the golf course by May 8th, but with just as much guts, I struck out to the Vancouver Art Gallery on this rainy Thursday for the Wines of Portugal tasting.

Portugal produces an extreme variety of varietals, but their wines are as accessible as they are unpronouncable. I came looking for Vinho Verde, which I love, but I came away appreciating the many style of Branco, which can be a blend of any array of white varietals. I told myself to stay away from the red wines in order to stay sober to coach a WordPress Workshop that evening.

Wines of Portugal was also a trade-only event and it featured almost as many principles as the French Wine Connection

Portugese wines I’d love to buy

Aveleda – Vinho Verde
Quinta de Aveleda 2013 Alvarino/Loureiro
Aveleda Alvarinho 2013 Alvarino

Casa de Cello – Quinta de Sanjoanne Superior 2012, Vinho Verde

Casa Branco Terre de Lobos 2013 Rosé Aragonez/Syrah – Tejo

Esporao Monte Velho Branco 2013 Roupeiro/Antao Vaz/Perrum  – Alentejo

Herdade Da Comporta – Penninsula Setubal
Chao das Rolas 2012  Atinto/Antao Vaz/Fernao Pires
Herdade  Da Comporta 2013Arinto/Antao Vaz

Herdade Da Malhadinha Nova – Alentejo
Monte da Peceguina 2012 Antao Vaz/Verdelho/Arinto
Touriga Nacional de Peceguina 2013 Verdelho

Quinta Dos Roques – Dao
Quinta das Maias 2012 Malvasia Fina
Quinta dos Roques 2012 Encruzado

Herdade dos Coelheiros, Soc. Agricola – Alentejo
Tapada de Coelheiros Colheita Tardia 2012 Chardonnay
Vinha da Tapada de Coelheiros 2012 Roupeiro/Antao Vaz/Atinto

Pocos Junior – Duoro
Coroa d’Ouro White 2013 Malvasia Fina/Codega/Rabigato/Viosinho/Moscatel Galego Branco
Pocos Pink Touriga Nacional/Rouiga Franca/Tino Roriz/Tina Barroca/Tinto Cao

Quinta Das Apegadas – Douro
Apedagas Branco Premium 2011 and 2013 Viozinho/Rabigato/Malvasia Fina/Gouveio

Terras De Alter – Alentejo
Telhas Branco 2012 Viognier
Terra d’Alter Reservas Branco 2012 Siria/Arinto/Verdelho/Gouvejo/Vionier/Antao Vax/Encruzado/Rabo de Ovelha

Believe me, typing all that was as hard as it is to read it.

dalva white portBut the highlight of the tasting was definitely the white ports from D. Da Silva. I tried the 1963 Dalva Porto Golden White made with Malvasia/Gouvejo/Viosinho/Codega that was wildly nutty and full of vanilla syrup.

I tasted it before leaving and licked my lips all the way home.

Must. Visit. Portugal.

Next week I’ll tell you about Round 3 of the Vancouver Tasting Playoffs: Italy and BC.

That is, if I’m not too puckered to type.

Did you attend either of these tasting? What were your favorite wines?

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Studio.com. Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.