D33ED3F3 7637 4018 A389 60E62FEFC2AD

Vancouver International Wine Festival Launch 2023

Today we were at Joey One at Bentall Centre to celebrate the launch of the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival 2023. This is a week of seminars, dinner, and socializing engagements all centred around wine from in and around BC and beyond. The occasion called for additional fanfare as this year was its triumph return to full capacity and the first time a whole country (South America) was being featured.

As guests trickled in, they were checked in and given their passes for the upcoming festivities, alongside a glass of welcome sparking. Unsworth Vineyards “Charme de L’lle'” from Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC. This was an effervescent glass with sharp tannis and the flavours of orchard fruits like apple and pear. It perked up the palate and got the appetite going.

And for those who arrived earlier (which is usually me, as I dislike being tardy), were treated to a few small bites from the Joey’s kitchen. Beginning with a full spread of Joey’s popular fusion sushi rolls. A modern take on familiar Japanese flavours, made more approachable. There was the Crispy Tuna Roll with marinated ahi tuna, avocado, pickled ginger, tempura flakes, and a spicy emulsion. The JOEY California Roll which is a crab mix with avocado, pickled ginger, and soy yuzu-drawn butter for dipping. Plus the Seared Salmon Sushi which is osaka pressed with fire torched salmon, umami sauce, and shaved serrano peppers.

There was also a handsome charcuterie board that included cured and salted meats, creamy and sharp cheeses, nuts, grapes, grainy mustard and roasted sun-dried tomatoes for self-service and grazing.

For something a little more fresh there were servings of Hummus that came topped with tzatziki, dill, and olives; presented with either raw vegetables or crispy pita for dipping into.

And servers also worked the room offering bites of their Japanese Gyoza, Fries, Korean Fried Cauliflower, and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. They were limited plates and it was first come first served, so those slow and unaware missed out.

But the feature was definitely the collection of South American and BC wines available for tasting at the bar. An all you can drink affair across 6 bottles (including the sparkling start). The selection was curated by the beverage director for all Joey’s locations, who did a great job selecting wines that surprised and delighted. My tasting notes are to follow as I sipped my way from white, rose, and then to red; then returned for more of my favourites in round 2.

Starting with the whites we had the Catena Zapata “High Mountain Vines” Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina to start. This was such an easy drinking vintage that I had to do the double take and confirm that this was indeed a a Chardonnay, as it was not nearly as acidic as the ones I have had in the past. I got apricot on the nose with a tangy sour plum finish.

Next was Bodega Garzon “Reserva” Albarino from Maldonado, Uruguay. This was another low acidic classic. A more neutral vintage, ideal in accompanying food as it does not add or take anything away from a plate.

Moving on the one of the clearest Roses I have ever seen, is the Corcelettes “Oracle” Rose from Similkameen Valley, BC. It was a blend of pinot gris with a hint of Syrah for a crips and refreshing glass with a berry-cherry finish.

Next, we moved on to the reds with the Vina Undurraga “Sibaris” Pinot Noir from Leyda Valley, Chile. This was juicy at the forefront and dried up with acidity at the end. It then finished with notes of jammy strawberry.

The Luigi Bosca “de Sangre” Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina in contrast was sharp and acidic. This had a fuller body when compared to the red above, with an oaky essence and dark berry notes.

And as the room mixed and mingled with colours in hand, we eventually got to the tradition of the Vancouver International Wine Festival Launch countdown. This year it was in Spanish from 10 to 1, with an exclamation of “Blast Off” in Portuguese; to honour and celebrate of our featured country. A ceremonious practice done after statics of everyone’s beloved festival was rattled off by show organizer. It is as follows, as taken from the press release, for your reading pleasure.

“Canada’s premier wine show marks its 44th edition of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from April 22-30, 2023. The festival is showcasing 147 wineries from 17 countries, featured in 36 events over eight days. The Bacchanalia Gala Dinner + Auction, presented by National Bank Private Banking 1859, is the main fundraising event of the festival and kicked off the festival on Saturday, April 22 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Trade Days takes place Wednesday, April 26-Friday, April 28. The festival is consistently ranked the #1 Food, Wine & Hospitality Event in Canada by New York’s BizBash .

The festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised nearly $9.9 million for the performing arts. Major sponsors are Delta Air Lines and The Vancouver Sun; major industry partners are the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, BC Liquor Stores, and the Import Vintners & Spirits Association. The Vancouver International Wine Festival gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. The 45th annual Vancouver International Wine Festival will take place February 24-March 3, 2024, featuring Italy.”

For more on the wine festival, any other available tickets, and what to expect visit their official site, visit the link below.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top