California Crush: stylish wine tasting and a peek of the California themed Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019

California always has a special place in my heart, as I spent 3 years as a teenager in the North Bay Area, not too far from the world famous Napa Valley wine country.  So this year, I was all excited about the theme, “Dream Big: California Style”, and the focus on California at the 41st annual Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF).  There are 53 participating wineries from the state of California among the 160 wineries featured at the festival. I was fortunate to have a preview on some of the Californian wines at the stylish “California Crush” social event.

The event is hosted at the Waterview special event space, with panoramic views of False Creek, Granville Island, and surrounding cityscapes with a mountain backdrop. 18 Californian wineries showcased their signature red or white or both.

Gourmet food bites were provided, along with a live DJ and eye-catching entertainment from performing artists.

Here are the wines I tasted:

Bonterra Organic Vineyards

Bonterra Organic Chardonnay 2017
Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Bonterra Organic Chardonnay 2017
Bonterra Organic Chardonnay 2017
Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Smoking Loon

Smoking Loon Viognier 2017
Smoking Loon Syrah 2016

Smoking Loon Viognier 2017
Smoking Loon Viognier 2017
Smoking Loon Syrah 2016
Smoking Loon Syrah 2016

Benziger Family Winery

AVA Grace Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Stave & Steel Cabernet Sauvignon

AVA Grace Sauvignon Blanc 2017
AVA Grace Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Stave & Steel Cabernet Sauvignon
Stave & Steel Cabernet Sauvignon

La Crema

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017
La Crema Coast Pinot Noir 2016

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017
La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017
La Crema Coast Pinot Noir 2016
La Crema Coast Pinot Noir 2016

The Hess Collection

Hess Select Chardonnay 2017
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Hess Select Chardonnay 2017
Hess Select Chardonnay 2017
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Wente Vineyards

Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016
Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016
Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Wagner Family of Wine

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Beringer Vineyards

Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Blend 2016
Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016
Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016
Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Blend 2016
Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Blend 2016

Joel Gott Wines

Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Joel Gott Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Joel Gott Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Joel Gott Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Geyser Peak Winery

Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Geyser Peak River Ranches Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Oak Ridge Winery

Old Soul Chardonnay 2017
OZV Old Vine Zinfandel 2017

Old Soul Chardonnay 2017
Old Soul Chardonnay 2017
OZV Old Vine Zinfandel 2017
OZV Old Vine Zinfandel 2017

Outlot Wines

Outlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Outlot Chardonnay 2016

Outlot Chardonnay 2016
Outlot Chardonnay 2016
Outlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Outlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Rutherford Wine Company

Morgan Bay California Chardonnay 2017
Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Morgan Bay California Chardonnay 2017
Morgan Bay California Chardonnay 2017

Taub Family Vineyards

Au Contraire Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2016
Angry Bunch Zinfandel 2016

Au Contraire Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2016
Au Contraire Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2016

Angry Bunch Zinfandel 2016
Angry Bunch Zinfandel 2016

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Artemis Nappa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Karia Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

Artemis Nappa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Artemis Nappa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Meiomi Coastal California Wines

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017
Meiomi Rose 2017

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2017
Meiomi Rose 2017
Meiomi Rose 2017

Hope Family Wines

Troublemaker Red
Liberty School Chardonnay 2016

Troublemaker Red
Troublemaker Red

The thoughts

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Cabernet seem to be predominant among the entire collection, there are definitely some strong ones.  The occasional appearances and tasting of Sauvignon Blanc or Rose sometimes took advantage of being unique when the guests are tasting so many different wines.  I would love to see more of Zinfandel as it’s mostly grown in California, as well as more of Bordeaux style red blend.  Finally, the bourdon barrel oaked red wine seems a little too smoky and too powerful for me.

Top 5 picks

#5

Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 

Surprisingly pleasant – a flavourful wine for a long night conversation.

#4

Trouble Maker Red

Full-bodied and smooth, a terrific example of a great red blend.

#3

AVA Grace Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Crisp and refreshing, excellent summer wine.

#2

Old School Chardonnay 2017

The perfect example of old school buttery and vanilla scented taste from the oak.

#1

Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon

Perfectly balanced and it almost tasted like a blend that has gone through calibration.

 

So graceful for VIWF to assign me to this event. What a great opportunity take a peek at the principle winemakers from California before everyone else.

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