vancouver

TOP 3 TO TRY AT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FEST #VIFW 2015

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Hey wine fox! The public tasting nights are on now at Vancouver Wine Fest 2015.

The theme is Australia Shiraz/Syrah, and there are an incredible 170 wineries represented at the event. A little overwhelming right?

Well, you can always do what I do, and have a few “must try” wines to seek out before trying all those other incredible looking wines you’ve never heard of!

Here are my three picks for you to check out:

1) Start out your night with a sparkling from the land of the Tasmanian Devil! Tasmanian sparkling wine is so hot right now, which is a little ironic, as it hails from one of the coolest regions in Australia. The Jansz Premium Cuvee is made in the Methode Tasmanoise (a cute riff on Champenoise) on the North-Eastern corner of the island in red basalt soil. Expect creamy bubbles with a fruity hit of strawberry, honeysuckle and citrus… Yum!

2) Then, if you’re feeling up for a powerhouse red, get to the Wolf Blass table early to beat the crowds. Start with some of their delish Chard, before moving to the reds. Their Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz has ranked high in a blind test with some of the most expensive Bordeaux Cabs in the world. This is a great chance to taste a $100+ cult Cab and decide whether you think it’s worth all the fuss (I do!).

3) Since we’re ostensibly at VanWineFest to celebrate all things Shiraz (Australia is the focus, but wineries from all over the world are here), make sure to stop by the Yalumba table to try their Octavius Shiraz. Named for the 100L oak barrels (called ‘octaves’) made onsite by their own coopers, the grapes come from some very old vines in the hot Barossa Valley. Yalumba is the oldest family owned Aussie winery, and they make some truly delicious bottles. Also be sure to try their wild fermented Y Series Viognier, a silky little number with full body and lots of stone fruit.

PS: there are some legit old world fortified wine houses at the tasting. Before you leave, make sure to visit the Taylor-Fladgate, Fonseca, Croft & Gonzalez Byass tables for a little night cap!

Have fun! If you have a hot tip about a wine I’ve got to try at VIWF 2015, let me know below in the comments.

DRINKING COCKTAILS IN VANCOUVER'S GASTOWN

In the oldest quarter of the City of Glass, a cocktail revival is underway. Follow the rush along rainy brick streets to Gastown, where young men with serious moustache street cred and women channeling Dorothy Parker, are concocting some of the most exciting drinks in the Pacific Northwest, all within stumbling distance of each other.

Pourhouse

162 Water Street, Open Daily

Seat yourself at the long bar to get the full gold rush revival experience, and to see close up all the work that goes into handcrafting each unique drink, such as slapping mint leaves and selecting bitters. Bartenders are happy to custom mix based on your preferences. Order the Don’t Give Up The Ship, with trendy acquired taste Fernet Branca tempered with gin and curaçao, or go for a classic Sidecar. Mixologist Rhett Williams has recently been experimenting with shrubs, a vinegar-based fruit syrup that can be spiced up with liquor. Make sure to watch out for his weekly roster of shrubs featuring finds like watermelon, bourbon, and wine vinegar, or the appealing dark cherry, balsamic, and peaty scotch.

The Diamond

2nd Floor, 6 Powell Street, Open Tues-Sun

Head upstairs to the second floor, where you’re greeted by fantastic stag’s head crystal chandeliers and a view of Gastown’s main square from the many tall antique windows. There’s a small bar stacked to the gills with all kinds of potions and bottles that fills up fast. Try the New Orleans Sour, a concoction of bourbon, cognac, egg white, bitters, and absinthe, or a Penicillin, a blend of scotch, ginger, lemon, and honey. The cocktail menu is generously populated with vermouths, hard to find Creme de Violette and maraschino, and members of the bitter liqueur society such as Amaro and Cynar.

Clough Club

212 Abbott Street, Open Daily

With its red-lit chesterfield banquettes, worn pressed-tin walls, and glowing wall sconces, you’ll have no trouble imagining yourself in prohibition era New York. Order the popular Apiary, a bourbon and honey cocktail spiced with walnut bitters and topped with egg white foam. Cocktails here are dark-spirit heavy, so rye, bourbon and whisky enthusiasts take note. They’re experimenting with in-house barrel aging, if this appeals try their house Negroni (Beefeater gin, Campari, sweet vermouth). Live music wednesday to sunday.