I visited over 60 wineries last night – all within walking distance of one another.
Seriously, it happened. For real. And there were hundreds of people there with me, which made it pretty damn fun. Someone (Johnston Meier Insurance) even offered to give everyone a ride home who had drank a wee bit too much (the new 0.05% alcohol law thing). That’s sweet.
My fella and I – along with multiple hundreds of other people last night – attended the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. It’s the fall wine festival closer, and it’s an absolute blast.
With well over 60 wineries in attendance (I heard rumours that there were up to 80), the Consumer Tastings puts the grand in finale. Festival winners are pouring their wines – often poured by the winemaker her/himself – and food stations offer something to nibble while you swirl, sniff and sip your way around the room.
If you like what you taste, chances are it’s there for purchase in the retail store the festival folks have set up at one end of the room. Where else can you browse award-winning BC wines with a glass of the stuff in your hand? Yeah, thought so.
The best part of the Grand Finale Consumer Tastings? It’s not over. Tonight’s the last night – get a ticket while you still can.
Here’s just a few of my faves from the night:
- Seven Stones 2008 Pinot Noir: Newly released, this is beauty in a glass. Soft strawberries with a strong, mineral backbone. You’re going to want to spend some time with this one.
- Spierhead 2008 Vanguard: Say hello to our new Okanagan wine friends with a glass of something wonderful. They just opened their doors in July, and are located in Kelowna. Fruit for this big red blend comes from the Black Sage Road in the south. Only 119 cases made.
- Cassini Cellars Chardonnay: The unoaked version is a lovely example of what this grape can express without the time spent in barrel and is a fave with many. I enjoy it, and I’m an oaked chard lover. My fave is the Reserve which sees oak and has that delectable quality which only comes from a gentle wine making hand.
- Orofino 2008 Beleza: These people make good booze. I tasted the Beleza a few months ago, and something wasn’t speaking to me then. Fast-forward to last night and damn, that’s good wine. Proof that wine in the bottle is literally a living, breathing thing. A substantial red blend which requires food and very, very good friends. Let it sleep a while, too.
- Painted Rock 2007 Red Icon: Lieutenant Governor award-winner, taste bud pleaser and over-delivering big wine. I’ve been watching (well, tasting) how this sultry number has been doing over the last few months, and it’s only getting better.
- Kraze Legs ‘The Bee’s Knees’ 2009 Pinot Blanc: Hello, surprise. Clean and crisp, the freshness of this little one is all about the acid – and I promised to not speak wine-speak here, but when you feel that clean taste cut across your taste buds I want you to know that it’s due to picture-perfect acids (if there is such a thing). Lovely. Yum.
- Stag’s Hollow 2009 Con-Fusion: I bought a bottle. Enough said.
Get out there and taste some wine. You’ll thank me for it. While you’re there, be sure to grab a Safe Ride Home if needed – we want you safely tucked away in bed to dream sweet dreams.
What a great way to un*wine*d for a long weekend.Â Happy Thanksgiving!