After a hiatus from food and wine festivals the wife and I decided that it was time to get back on the horse so to speak. So we decided to check out this years’ Winefest presented by Sobey’s Liquor & Safeway Wine & Spirits.
This years’ event featured over 70 different participating wineries and it was great to see a strong representation of Canadian wineries. In fact Canadian wineries topped the participation list with 16 different wineries in attendance this year. The US was well represented along with the usual suspects; Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, France, Spain and Chile. Some of the more interesting participants included Portugal, South Africa, Holland, Moldova, and Peru.
With such a large list of participating wineries it would near impossible to visit them all so I took the advice of local wine writer Tom Firth (@cowtownwine) and made a plan. I highlighted which wineries I absolutely wanted to visit and which ones I wanted to try and get to.
For me one of the selling features of Winefest was the fact that your ticket was all inclusive. You didn’t have to purchase any tokens once inside the venue. If was great to know that once inside I could stick to my plan and not worry about purchasing additional tokens.
This may sound weird but I have to congratulate the organizers for the way they laid out the venue. There was a very wide walk way that separated the rows of booths. What I liked about this was it allowed for us to approach a booth, chat with the presenter, get our sample and then move out of the way. We would retreat back to the middle of the walkway where there was a number of tables. It gave us a chance to stop, try out the sample and then make any notes we wanted in our tasting book. Not once did we feel cramped or packed in.
There were a number of outstanding wines that we tried that night but for me the most memorable was clearly Ex Nihilo Vineyards (@) from Kelowna BC. Got a chance to try their 2013 Riesling first. It was refreshingly crisp and clean, with great acidity and not too sweet with notes of green apple and kiwi.
Up next was their 2014 Pinot Noir, probably my favourite grape. Again very clean, medium body with great colour. On the nose hints of cherry with just a slight hint of floral notes. On the palate a very silky texture with notes of ripe black fruit and just a hint of pepper.
All in all it was great event, got to try some absolutely fantastic wines and equally good food like chocolate ganache cups and sweet pea risotto. I was very impressed with the diverse selection of wineries that were in attendance and will definitely think about attending again next year.
Cheers to a festival well done!