A taste of France – Jan 18, 2014

http://deviseafoods.co.in/?p=1475 By Anthony Gismondi

The Vancouver International Wine Festival is just over a month away. Today we begin a series of columns on one of the best consumer wine events on the continent and one that has long put Canada on the world wine map, at least from the standpoint of import producers.

The Vancouver Sun is now a presenting sponsor of the event but that wona��t affect our normal preparation for the show in this column.
In 2014, France returns as the theme country and as the wine nation that invented the concept of terroir and all its classifications. They will arrive with a handful of regional marketing arms to help spread the word.

Ia��m a huge fan of regions and sub-regions, in fact I believe the future of the festival, a super expensive proposition for any winery to consider attending, hinges on its ability to adapt its format to accept the participation of the worlda��s many wine regions a�� great and emerging a�� and move off the larger country themes.

The solo country theme wona��t diminish the aura of the French delegation. But what really excites most wine people asked to fork out close to $100 per person to get inside the tasting room, is the variety and quality of the participating wineries. Smaller regions can pool their resources once a decade to be at the show and create tasting rooms that could celebrate the wines of Stellenbosch, South Africa, with Central Otago, New Zealand, Prince Edward County, Ontario and say Colchagua, Chile. But thata��s for another year.

In late February there will be 178 wineries in the room and 52 producers will be representing the French flag. The French contingent will break into sub-regions or appellations, each operating under a separate set of rules and guidelines to promote diversity and the authenticity of their wines. All nine distinct areas will be in the room: Alsace, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Champagne, Loire, RhA?ne, South of France and Southwest France. There will also be three regional tasting stations a�� Alsace, RhA?ne and the Languedoc-Roussillon a�� where you can taste a series of wines by appellation or grape or blend.
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The French invented food and wine, and that will be a big part of the entertainment outside of the tasting room. The France Bubbly Party goes at Ginger 62 on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The mingler-style bubbly bash will present a wide array of French bubblies including Champagne and CrA�mant at the late night party. Bits and bites including a raw bar and DJ should make it great fun. Think of it as a night at a Champagne bar, something you currently cannot do in Vancouver.

The big Saturday lunch, Mediterranean Mingle, takes place overlooking Burrard Inlet inside the tasting room at VCC West. The theme is a wine journey through the premium wines of Languedoc-Roussillon and food from the South of France, with live entertainment adding to the fun. Ita��s a great way to focus on the south of France and learn about Grenache, carignan, cinsault, Syrah, mourvA?dre and what is a spectacular setting seldom seen by Vancouverites.

Better wines and no work the next morning should make Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, rescheduled to the Saturday night before festival week (Feb. 22) a much more attractive ticket. It may, for the first time in years, justify its ticket price of $395. There will be a sparkling reception hosted by Taittinger, Charles de Cazanove and Laurent-Perrier champagne houses followed by a five-course dinner paired with wines from Louis Jadot, Domaine Zinck, Miguel Torres, Peter Lehmann, GA�rard Bertrand, Monte del FrA? and JosA� Maria da Fonseca.

Finally on Sunday night, superstar Rhone producer Michel Chapoutier and chef David Hawksworth will host a glittering evening of food and wine at Hawksworth. Insatiable RhA?ne will feature four 100-point Chapoutier wines.

Tickets and details to all events can be found at vanwinefest.ca.

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