Disclosure: I was a media attendee and all opinions are my own.
The usual sweet spot for me in wine is usually between $15-$35 depending on which wine merchant I’m at (BCL or otherwise). When I found out that the Vancouver International Wine Festival was holding an event for value seekers like me, I was ecstatic. I’ve had some horrible cheap wine in the past so I went in with an open mind and a hungry stomach. Read past the jump to see my top picks from tasting 25 wines under $25.
One of the vendors actually ran out of wine by the time I got to them and I never made it to two of the vendors in my booklet so I sadly only sampled 22 unique wines, My top 5 picks are as follows:
- Codorníu Raventós - Cuvée Barcelona 1872 Brut Rosé NV ($19.49)
- Marisco Vineyards - The Ned Pinot Gris 2015 ($17.49)
- Wente Vineyards - Morning Fog Livermore Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($19.49)
- Haywire - Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gris 2015 ($24.90)
- Lake Breeze Vineyards - Spice Jar 2015 ($16.50)
The Cuvée Barcelona 1872 was a fine piece of history. This pale pink glass had a rosey smell and was a delicious mouthful of bubbles. It was a fun, bright taste that finished smooth without a hint of puckering sourness. The 1872 comes from the year in which Josep Raventos crafted the first bottle of cava.
The Ned Pinot Gris was one of two pinot gris’ that made my list. This had an aroma of pear skins, apple, and grapefruit. The taste was of peaches with a slight ginger finish that melted into a sensation of mushrooms.
Our friends down south are no slouches in the wine scene. The Morning Fog Livermore Valley Chardonnay 2015 had highlights of cucumber and celery on the nose. Refreshing is how I like my whites to smell and this wine delivered. Taste-wise, this reminded me of grapefruit, lychee, and a smooth, medium-bodied finish.
Pinot gris makes another appearance in my top 5. Haywire’s Switchback Organic Vineyard comes in at a hair under $25 but had an elegant guava aroma with some herbal hints. The taste was a creamy, acidic taste that mellowed into a mouthful of taste spinach. Again, this price point is my sweet spot for wine purchases, and the Switchback is a stellar example of why flavour profiles take a step up in this price window.
Last but not least, I very much enjoyed the Spice Jar 2015. This had wintermelon aromas on the nose and, as its name suggested, a spicy finish that had me wondering if there were a residual layer of pepper on the inside of my mouth. This was a most curious wine and at a great price for curious alternative winer-seekers to enjoy.
That's my top 5! If it's not already clear, I'm definitely a rose/bubbly/pinot gris kind of guy. These wines can be found at local private wine merchants or at a BC Liquor Store.
Of course, no wine sampling evening is complete without the trays of charcuterie container flats of cheeses, meats, and breads. Vancouver Convention Centre catering did not disappoint here.
At $59, this event is one of the cheaper events of the VanWineFest but the space was buzzing with enthusiasm. Pourers kept pouring and glasses kept filling which all contributed to a lightning fast 90 minute tasting session. The backdrop of Coal Harbour also added a premium feel to this hallway tasting. I’d definitely recommend any casual goers to consult the included tasting booklet for types of wine they usually enjoy as some vendors do run out of wine by the end of the 90 minute session.