I’m still recovering from
Cornucopia, Whistler’s food and wine celebration that wrapped up last weekend.
The village-wide party is officially a decade old and, in this writer’s
opinion, it’s now the best wine party in the country.
This is not a weekend for
the staid, buttoned-down wine sipper, nor is it particularly suited to those
who require a normal, daily ration of sleep. Just ask the folks at Bearfoot
Bistro, who spent most of the week deconstructing the restaurant in preparation
for Masquerave and its hundreds of party-goers that ran Friday night right
through to sunrise Saturday, before putting it all back together in time to
host an extraordinary formal dinner party and tasting for 100 on Saturday
With little if any voice
left, Whistler bad-boy Bacchus Andre Saint-Jacques greeted a sold-out dinner
crowd with his sabre and magnums of Pommery Cuvée Louise. His diners would be
the first, and likely the last, to experience three vertical tastings involving
Pommery Cuvée Louise,
Chateau Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes,
Chateau Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape
and, the rarest of the rare,
Hommage de Beaucastel.
It’s not easy to outshine
such wines but chef Melissa Craig managed to do it most of the night.
Highlights included an exquisite weathervane scallop and water chestnut with
several vintages of Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise and, even more notably, an
immaculate Kobe beef dish done three ways: a scampi tartar, braised short rib,
and tenderloin paired with 2004, 1989 and 1981 Chateau Beaucastel Châteauneuf
The Cornucopia seminars
also saw some real excitement. At the Telus Conference Centre, the second
The Battle of the Sexes
was a Saturday afternoon thriller. The 90-minute,
double-blind tasting, which pitted the men against the women, was a see-saw
battle that went down to the last wine.
In all, eight wines were
served “double blind” and the effort put forth by both panels — with
plenty of help from the audience — was impressive to say the least. By
the end of the tasting the men’s panel, led by consultant/educator Mark
Davidson along with sommelier/manager Sebastien Le Goff of Lumiere, Raffaele
Boscaini of Masi (Italy) and writer Bruce Stephen of
, narrowly defeated a
strong panel of women that included Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris of
, sommelier and Master of Wine
candidate Barb Phillip, and Peller Estates winemaker Stephanie Leinemann.