Crush 2012

We have had to cancel Crush in October. You can get full details here.

We’re going to keep this page going and use it to update you on our Crush story and what people are saying about the cancellation. You can read the news stories and blog posts here:

Times Colonist Editorial (1)

Times Colonist Editorial (2)

Victoria News – Mark Hicken Blog Post

Susan Low Blog Post – Tim Pawsey Blog Post


Crush ~ A Fine Wine Affair ~ returns for a third year as the Belfry Theatre’s fundraising event of the season.  The beautiful Inn at Laurel Point provides the perfect setting for an evening of fine wine, sumptuous catering, and exceptional company.

Enjoy fine wine tastings from some of BC’s best wineries.  Executive Chef Takashi Ito will dazzle your palate with exquisite cuisine paired perfectly with the fine wines poured by our vintner friends.

The evening’s main attraction is a live Wine Auction of rare, unusual, or simply hard-to-find wines. Roshan Vickery of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers joins us again as auctioneer extraordinaire.  The live auction is a remarkable theatrical experience unto itself!  Whether you are an experienced oenophile or simply a lover of good wine, you will find a wonderful range of spectacular wines in every price bracket.

Also featured is a Silent Auction where you can bid on rare wines, luxury dining experiences, custom travel packages, and one-of-a-kind treasures and adventures.

Join us!

Tickets on sale now
$75 (with a $25 tax receipt)
Please call 250-385-6815 or order your tickets online by clicking here

For a glimpse at the wine lots from last year’s auction, please click here

With many thanks to wine expert Robert Moyes for writing the most glorious tasting notes for each of the fine wines at this year’s live auction!

Live Wine Auction

Château Mouton Rothschild, 1973, France
Though the glorious wines of Bordeaux aren’t beloved of every wine collector, there are very few serious cellars that don’t have at least something from that iconic part of France boasting the highest concentration of great wine making in the world. And one of the most richly fabled of those wines is the Château Mouton Rothschild, the Medoc’s most opulent tipple. Since 1945, Mouton Rothschild has commissioned great artists to design a unique label for each vintage; 1973 was Picasso’s year, and he came up with a powerful design from his Bacchanales series. (And historians take note: 1973 was the year that Mouton Rothschild was officially made a First Growth.) But for serious wine lovers the art is inside the bottle. This princely Pauillac “has survived very well, with a nose of cedar, cigar and smoke . . . a true claret.” Adds another recent reviewer: “Is it an awesome wine? Yes.” Although some commentators feel that the 1973 may be past its prime, they agree that this eminent collectable is truly historic. This is the second year in a row that Helen Lansdowne has very generously raided her case of Mouton to make a donation.

Mission Hill Oculus, 2006, Okanagan
With its superb setting and cathedral-like cellars, Mission Hill makes a great case for being the Okanagan’s flagship winery. And its signature Bordeaux-style blend, Oculus, certainly contributes to the argument that Mission Hill has done more than almost anyone to put B.C. on the world wine map. (The tweaks to winemaking that jet-setting wine consultant Michel Rolland suggested several years back didn’t hurt either.) The 2006 is a blend of 51% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot. The wines were fermented, and got extended maceration, in French oak fermenters before being aged separately for 14 months in French oak barrels prior to bottling (and then a year’s rest). The result is a classic, cellar-worthy meritage brimming with flavours of red currants, plums, cassis, and dark chocolate. With a decade of production that has seen steady improvement, Oculus is now considered by critics to be a First Growth of the Okanagan. The redoubtable wine scribe John Schreiner gave this a robust 94 rating, while Wine Icon’s Liam Carrier praised the “great concentration . . . and long and elegant finish” before giving it a 93+. This beauty will easily last 10-12 years, so maybe leave it in the cellar for a while.

Mission Hill Quatrain, 2006, Okanagan
It’s hard to avoid Mission Hill at a wine auction – and who’d want to? Their Quatrain is like a younger brother of Oculus, but with a slightly more impudent personality. Literally poetry in the glass – its literary name refers to the quartet of grapes that comprise this bold charmer – Quatrain has fully arrived with only its second vintage. With a blend of 41% Syrah, 32% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, and all wines fermented and aged in small French oak barrels for 15 months, the ’06 Quatrain is darkly coloured and satisfyingly full-bodied, with spicy flavours of black cherry, blackberry, prunes, and chocolate. Supple and polished and boasting round tannins and a chewy texture, this vintage boasts a long, satisfying finish. It has done well with the critics, too. Natalie MacLean gave it a 92 (“a towering, massively structured red with gorgeous depth”), John Schreiner rated it 90, Wine Icon went 89-90 points, and Remy Charest of Palate Press raved about its “exuberant fruit, concentration, and smooth, silky tannins.” Very good value.

Andrew Peller Signature Series Icewine, an exclusive three-pack, Ontario
Although B.C. is justifiably proud of its medal-garnering icewines, there’s no denying that Ontario wineries are equally accomplished when it comes to producing this succulent libation. Thanks to a combination of lushly exotic flavours balanced by lively acidity, icewine is literally nectar: a palate-pleasuring delight where the flavours of honey, mango and citrus become even more intoxicating than the alcohol itself. Andrew Peller has won a roomful of awards for its icewines, and this exclusive “trio” should be of particular interest because it is never sold in western Canada. Comprising the 2008 Riesling, the 2010 Cabernet Franc, and the oak-aged 2011 Vidal (a gold-medal winner in Europe), this collection offersthree fantastic examples of why icewines are prized all over the world. Whether your sweet tooth favours honey, peach, and caramel (the Vidal), orange, nectarine, guava, and lemon drop (the Riesling), or bumbleberry jam, marzipan, and currant (the Cab Franc), this three-pack of superlative dessert wines deserves to have an entire dinner party built around it.

Wayne Gretzky Estates, Cabernet Franc and Vidal Icewine pair, Ontario
It doesn’t get any more exclusive than this glorious pair of icewines from Wayne Gretzky Estates on the Niagara Peninsula. For sale only at the winery and the Toronto airport, these new entries into the world of icewine are already racking up gold and silver medals from San Francisco to Europe. The 2010 Cabernet Franc boasts a silky mouthfeel with flavours of strawberry, plum, and blood orange. Its companion bottle, the 2011 Vidal, will charm your palate with bold strokes of apricot, peach, honey, mango, and dried pineapple. Both wines are elegant and well structured, with several years of cellaring potential (like you’re going to wait that long!). They can be used to make truly remarkable martinis before dinner, and are luscious with soft, blue-veined cheeses or as racy complements to everything from pâté to prosciutto. They are also unforgettable companions to Asian entrées or Indian curries. In short, two bottles may not be enough!  Versatile, vivacious, and never less than vivid, icewines are possibly the world’s most sinfully delightful libation.

Silverado Vineyards 1999, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
And who doesn’t love a juicy, broad-shouldered California cabernet? Silverado, a well-regarded premium producer from the Napa Valley, is beautifully sited in the Stags Leap District, one of America’s most famous and prized wine-growing areas. Started over 30 years ago, Silverado has been a consistent award-winner over the decades. This 1999 bottling contains 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc and was aged for 15 months on French oak. Consistently rated in the 90-point range, the 1999 vintage has notably forward aromas of mocha, cassis, and bay leaf, while your palate will get to enjoy a lush serving of rich black cherry, juicy currant, blackberry, and cassis fruit lifted by hints of cinnamon, spice, pepper, and sweet oak. This charmer also boasts great balance and a long finish, with final notes of so-called Rutherford dirt (a good thing!) and fine, well-integrated tannins. As WineLog notes: “Big fruit nose of berries and green pepper, with silky tannins and a long finish – this is a classic California cab.”

Leonetti Cellar 2007 Merlot, Washington
Long one of the cult wineries of Washington State, Leonetti Cellar has been producing stellar bottles since 1978. Wine über-maven Hugh Johnson rates their Merlot as “one of the stars” of the Washington wine scene, and the 2007 vintage is no exception. It was made from almost pure Merlot, with the addition of 7% Petit Verdot for colour and spice. The Wine Advocate bestowed 93 points and said: “Opulent, with layered, savoury fruit, succulent flavours, plenty of fine-grained tannins and a lengthy, pure finish.” Similarly impressed were the hearty drinkers at International Wine Cellar, whose rating of 92 included these comments: “…pure nose offers cassis, violet, licorice and a whiff of menthol. Juicy, suave and smooth … in a distinctly claret-like style.” It has long been said that Washington State’s climate will eventually mean that they make better wines than California – and Leonetti will be one of the wines used to win that exciting argument. For the patient among us, this wine could be cellared for five more years.

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia ‘Ornellaia’ Bolgheri DOC Superiore, 2007, Tuscany, Italy
Ornellaia, which is the flagship wine of fabled Tuscan producer Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, is a handcrafted beauty that consistently gets raves from serious wine critics around the world. Known for elegance, harmony, an intense core of ravishingly dark wildberry fruit, and a long, evolving finish, this is a wine that everyone would want over for dinner. Various wine blogs rated the ’07 vintage in the 94-point range. In terms of magazines, The Wine Enthusiast was particularly enthusiastic, bestowing a remarkable 99 points. Their comments are worth noting: “The intensity and purity are outstanding and the wine delivers beautiful notes of chocolate, black cherry, leather, cedar, and spice. It’s a big, modern expression that closes long with luscious softness and opulent fruit.” The Wine Spectator was scarcely more reserved, saying: “A wine that does everything right and puts it in beautiful balance. Full-bodied, yet reserved, silky and elegant, with wonderful fruit and friendly tannins.” Or, as we say in Tuscany, “Bella, bella, bella!”  This beauty can be cellared for another decade.

Vinn Mijiu Fire, rice wine, Oregon
Here’s something new for the Crush wine auction! Although Oregon is internationally celebrated for its fantastic Pinot Noirs, there are lots of other interesting things getting put into bottles in the hills outside Portland. Take the Vinn Distillery in Wilsonville, which is one of the stars of the state’s blossoming artisanal distilling scene. Aside from an unusual rice vodka they also make Mijiu Fire, a variety of Chinese rice wine that is fermented and very similar to sake. Made from 100% black rice and enhanced with earthy spices such as cinnamon, Mijiu Fire has complex flavours with more than a hint of heat. Formal tasting notes are hard to find online, but people who have tasted this libation have been intrigued and tantalized. The business is run by five Chinese-American siblings (who share the middle name of Vinn, hence the wine’s name) who are using family recipes that go back over 400 years. Unavailable here, this exotic charmer would be a star at any dinner party!

Le Vieux Pin ‘Apogée’ 2006, Merlot, Okanagan
With its fierce commitment to biodynamic viticulture and a fastidious growing and harvesting regimen – including an insistence on extremely low yields – it’s no wonder that Le Vieux Pin is one of the Okanagan’s most celebrated cult wineries. Their award-winning operation is located in Oliver, and the Pin team is very much influenced by French winemaking traditions. The Apogée is their flagship wine, and they only produced 400 cases of the 2006. (After a legal scuffle with a Washington State winery, this was the last vintage of this name – the same wine is now called Le Vieux Pin Reserve Merlot). Aged for 18 months on French oak and boasting a core of black fruit with hints of cigar box and cocoa, this dense and complex powerhouse is very reminiscent of a classic Bordeaux. It is also the very wine that famously “blew away” 3 Michelin star celebrity chef Jean-Georges of the Shangri-La Hotel’s Market Restaurant. Or, as a smitten WineDiva wrote: “Plush aromas of blackberry and raspberry, crushed dark flowers and spiced chocolate with earthy undertones and a pinch of white pepper. The palate is potent, laden with flavours of spiced cherries and chocolate.”  Take that, Dairy Queen!