VINITALY International and Northern Lands Week

I scarcely know where to begin. I knew it was going to be a busy week but…

Monday I had a perfectly stunning meal at &27 with Paulette from Pacific Wine & Spirits with Glenn Cunningham from Spirit Hill Winery in New Zealand (a long time favorite winegrower of mine).

Tuesday I attended four of the VINITALY technical tastings:

Italy North to South: The Regionality, Diversity & Native Grapes

Nebbiolo: Translator of Terroir

Shades of Sangiovese: Its diverse expressions & partnerships

The Evolution & Age-ability of Italy’s Native Grapes: multi-vintage vertical tasting

Each tasting built on one another (and another) to paint a picture of Italian wines both rugged and noble, intricate and straight forward.

Rarely is a person afforded the opportunity to taste many of these wines, let alone in older vintages or in the company of most of the wines we were treated to this past week and in the company of many of the alchemists who produce these wines.

Hosted at The Shaw Conference Centre, the event went off in the most professional and enjoyable manner. I attended both the Trade tastings and the Public evening event and was mad impressed at the great Italian wine and foods well presented in the room. Of course you’d expect that with the food in the hands of Daniel Costa in partnership with Theresa Spinella of Italian Centre Shop fame. On top of all that, it was easy to move around the room and to find a quiet place to eat and chat before moving on to the next great wine.

Wednesday night I had tickets to the Secret Italian Wine After-Party at Lux. Now that was fun! There were lots of great people from the Trade as well as guests who had just been at this or that fabulous dinner. Again the wine, food and music flowed effortlessly resulting in just a really great party.

Thursday, unrelated to the Northern Lands and Vinitaly functions, I was invited by Enotri Wine Marketing Inc. to the Andreas Bender Wine Dinner at the Cafe at Holts in Manulife Place.

Andreas Bender makes some of the best Rieslings in the world and they were featured at a spectacular meal created by Chef Julia Kundera and her team. Each intricate course was expertly matched to its’ corresponding wine in perfect portion sizes. It was a five course meal that left a person truly satisfied but not bursting at the seams.

Friday I went to a Hootenanny at the old Confectionery on 127th street to blow off some steam and absorb the amazing music of Christine Hanson, Jamie Philp, Andrea Beaton & Keri-Lynn Zwicker. I hadn’t realized how badly I was in need of some soul stirring live music!

Saturday morning brought two more tastings at The Shaw for Northern Lands:

Aged Riesling: Why it’s so F’in Good!

Cool Climate Reds: Syrah, Gamay & Cabernet Franc: Canada vs The World

In which the tasters were again treated to an array of wines that impressed and educated all in attendance.

And finally Saturday night I attended a farewell party for one of my all time favorite guests at Bibo Wine Bar. Mr. Craig Culley. I knew from the moment I met him that his soul was so big, you had to call him Mister… and I think most people did. We raised some glasses and sang his praises and cried a little bit inside because he wouldn’t want you to cry for real.

And that brought it all into perspective. We are privileged to live in a great city filled with great people and we need to be able to appreciate it all when it’s right in front of us. I for one, am overflowing with thankfulness for all the great people that facilitated this amazing, educational, emotional, artistic whirlwind of a week.

And I thank YEG for it.

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