The Insider: Wine Tasting with Vancouver Magazine

The Insider is back and we’re pairing up with Vancouver Magazine to get an exclusive scoop on the annual Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards. As the editor shared with us, “Much as I like wine, I’m no expert. So I take grateful guidance from those who know more than I do. And as editor of a city magazine, I’m fortunate to know a lot of sommeliers, winemakers, agents, and palate authorities who steer me toward the gems.” But not all of us have sommelier friends. Luckily, Vancouver Magazine provides the same service to readers every year with the Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 4.16.05 PMVancouver Magazine: The brief of the competition, as we say in the magazine, is to uncover exceptional value. From the 800 or so wines submitted, the judges highlight about 100 great finds, 10 category champions, and one Best of Show. What we don’t explain in the issue is the process. Over three days, judges sit in tables of four, blind-tasting hundreds of bottles flighted in various categories; the lead judge for each pod has access to basic information (price range, continent of origin, scale of production) to focus conversation. There are no points: the judges jointly push the best ones forward to the next stage. Even the Best of Show—chief of the top 10—is a guided conversation, and that hour of fiery debate is my favourite capstone to the whole process.

As an exclusive for PressReader, we asked each of the lead judges to recommend a wine that did not win its category, but still displayed excellence for its style, value for price, and origin story. As fans of wine and experts to boot, they highlight these sleepers:

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Medium White: Pieropan Soave Classico 2012 (Italy)

This wine defeats all of the preconceived ideas you might have about Soave. Everything but bland and boring, the Pieropan Soave exudes a beautiful combination of texture, minerality, and delicacy. A classy Italian wine that goes beautifully with simply prepared white fish in beurre blanc. Santé! Michelle Bouffard 


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Medium White: La Spinetta Vermentino 2012 (Italy)

La Spinetta is one of Italy’s finest producers, known best for world-class Tuscan and Piedmont reds. La Spinetta’s surprisingly affordable and deliciously vibrant Tuscan Vermentino offers aromas of white stone fruit, fresh flowers, herbs, and minerals. Medium-bodied and exquisitely crisp, with lively notes of fresh apricot and peach and a long, tangy finish, it pairs with all manner of seafood, light appetizers, and even roast chicken. Terry Threlfall

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Medium Red: Quinta do Vale Meão Meandro 2011 (Portugal)

I’m excited for people who might think Portugal only makes Port (or Mateus) to try this wine. A blend of red varieties, it’s a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Iain Philip

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Rich Red: Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Australia)

In Canada, this is an absolute bargain. Back in Australia it often sells for much more due to the reputation as a great wine for the cellar. Buy a case, wait six to 10 years, and you can see what the Coonawarra wine region is all about for not a lot of $. Rhys Pender


PressReader: We asked Vancouver Magazine editor John Burns, to give us his opinion or advice when it comes to wine. His response? Don’t always jump to the costliest. Excellence comes at all pricesSupport this opinion now or add your unique voice to the discussion!

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Would you like to learn the winning wines from this year’s Vancouver Magazine Win Awards? Explore the complete guide now in the full issue, available on PressReader. Plus amazing brunch recipes, the vaults of the Museum of Vancouver and more!

(All wine bottle photo credits: John Sinal)



If you’ve missed any edition of The Insider, check out past features here, including New Year’s Resolutions with Yoga JournalTravel Tips from Business Traveller, Our Special Holiday Gift Guide Part I and Part IIWinter Escapes with Skiing MagazineGear Testing with Backpacking MagazineThe Editor of The Hockey NewsBaking with Martha StewartEditor of House and LeisureEditor of O MagazineEditor of T3, author Lisa Jey Davis and more! Sign up for our blog below to make sure you never miss an update.