Posted on August 10, 2010
Photo Post: 2010 Alpine Wine Festival
For more than a decade, wine makers and wine lovers have been converging at Mount Washington Alpine Resort for the annual Alpine Wine Festival. The event has become increasingly popular, packing full the elegantly rustic Raven Lodge, and it’s quickly become one of my must-dos over the summer months.
Last weekend I grabbed one of my way-back girlfriends and headed up the mountain in the courtesy shuttle. We were soon greeted by cheery faces, an outdoor BBQ and beautifully etched wine glasses ready for filling.
The tempting cheese and fruit platters didn’t hurt either. Pairing cheese with wine is a fundamental of “Wine Drinking 101”, and it didn’t take either of us very long to dig into the brie and smoked gouda.
99 times out of 100, I’ll pick red wine over white, so I tend to split my preferred wines into two categories: (1) wine I buy when I’m cooking and want to make an impression; and (2) easy-drinking wine that I can uncork to facilitate a relaxing evening on the couch. I found no shortage of either here.
Events like the Alpine Wine Festival provide for an array of tastings and, hopefully, will open up one’s palate to new varietals. While I’ll almost always pick a pinot noir over any other offering, prior to last year’s event, I drew the line at shiraz. I’ve since learned that shiraz and syrah are, in fact, the same kind of wine (dependent on which region around the globe each hails from) and have even found one or two that I really enjoy.
With countless bottles to sip and sample from, I was bound to find some hits and misses. Some wines of note that I particularly fancied included: The Show – an Argentinian malbec; the 2006 pinot noir from Nichol Vineyard – straight from BC’s Naramata Bench; a gamay noir from Hillside Estate – also from Naramata; Ex-Nihilo‘s merlot from the Okanagan Valley; and Strut – a refreshing and summery rosé (with legs!) from the Niagara Peninsula.
The showstopper of the evening for yours truly was undoubtedly Averill Creek‘s Prevost, named for one of the Cowichan Valley’s mountains and ripe with carefully crafted flavour that just about knocked my strappy sandals off.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Alpine Wine Festival – apart from the obvious – is the opportunity to interact with the proprietors and learn about where what you’re sipping comes from. Wine making is a thorough and often fascinating practice that dates back thousands of years, and no two vintners’ secrets are alike.
The Alpine Wine Festival is held each summer at Mount Washington Alpine Resort and will be entering its 13th year in 2011. While there’s a 51-week wait until next year’s fest, the mountain’s got a lot of great activities and events to tide you over until then. You can check them out online or follow along on Twitter to stay up-to-date and be the first to know when the snow starts falling.
Disclosure: Though I was not paid or asked to write about the Alpine Wine Festival, I received admission for myself and my friend at no charge.