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Consulting winemaker Alvaro Espinoza, a world-renowned bio-dynamic expert, will be fronting his Colchagua project, Emiliana. Espinoza is a Chilean pioneer in organic and bio-dynamic wine growing and whether he is bottling his own estate wine, Antiyal, or the various wines of Emiliana Vineyards, his passion and knowledge flows into each bottle. You can check out several Emiliana labels in B.C. including the latest Emiliana Adobe Syrah Reserva Orgánico 2008 ($13) with its smoky blue and black fruit, slippery palate and lush, dense weight. Great value here in a wine made from organically grown grapes.
Kendall Jackson winemaster Randy Ullom returns to Vancouver this year. Ullom has to be considered one of the foremost authorities on California chardonnay and is a great ambassador for California wine in general. Be sure to stop by the KJ booth and speak to Randy about the latest in cool, coastal hillside sites from Santa Barbara in the south to Mendocino in the north. Don't miss the Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay Vintner's Reserve ($24); it's a delicious, cool yet ripe style with enticing honey, baked apple, mango orange floral flavours. Halibut is a good choice here.
One of the biggest names in Chilean wine, owner Eduardo Chadwick will be in Vancouver to headline the Chilean contingent, the 2012 festival theme country, and to pour his signature Errazuriz wines. Chadwick pioneered many stages of Chile's rise to international respectability. In his spare time he has earned his Master of Wine accreditation and climbed Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the southern Hemisphere. One his best labels is the Errazuriz Single Vineyard Max Reserva Estates Carmenère 2009 ($23). Look for sweet spice and milk chocolate along with plenty of peppery black fruit and a wonderful, long smooth palate.
Jean-Claude Mas, owner and general manager of Domaine Paul Mas and the creator of the amusing Arrogant Frog series of wines, is one interesting Frenchman. Mas is focused on the south of France, particularly the Languedoc, and he is intensely proud of his wines and suitably irreverent when need be. I love the consistent quality of Paul Mas Estate Single Vineyard Collection Malbec Gardemiel Vineyard 2010 ($16). Expect a fragrant peppery, floral nose that previews a warm savoury rich entry of black fruits, liquorice and pepper. A delicious, big time value of modern Euro malbec. Perfect for grilled T-bone steaks.