Crush

Crush – A Fine Wine Affair
Sunday, October 23, 2016, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A benefit for the Belfry Theatre
at the Inn at Laurel Point

Fine Wine Live Auction

The live auction features a great selection of fine wine generously donated from the private collections of individuals and local restaurants. The live auction is a remarkable one-hour theatrical experience itself! Roshan Vickery of Kilshaw’s is our auctioneer extraordinaire, and renowned Vancouver sommelier Keith Nicholson returns as live auction host. Whether you are an experienced oenophile or simply a lover of good wine, you will find a wonderful range of spectacular wines.

Silent Auction

The Crush silent auction features wine gift baskets and packages, dining, travel, and other unique experiences in every price bracket.

Wine Tasting, Hors d’oeuvres and More

  • Enjoy fine wine tastings from more than twenty of BC’s best wineries.
  • Executive Chef Takashi Ito of the Inn at Laurel Point will dazzle your palate with exquisite cuisine to complement the fine wines generously poured by our vintner friends.
  • Accompanied by live musical entertainment.
  • Special room rates for guests offered at the Inn at Laurel Point

Vineyards at Tasting Tables: TBA Soon

Plus a special blind tasting table with draw prizes!

The Belfry Theatre

  • All proceeds benefit the 41st season of Victoria’s leading professional theatre company as well as its beautiful heritage venue in the heart of Fernwood.
  • Donations of wine, as well as wine-related travel or unique local experiences for the auctions are gratefully accepted. CRA tax receipts and/or business receipts available.
  • Ask us about cash sponsorships of Crush (or Belfry Theatre productions) featuring your logo in high profile marketing materials including display ads. We are happy to custom design a proposal for you, featuring year round recognition, tickets and many other attractive benefits.

A great party to support a great theatre. Tickets $95 (no GST or service charges). A generous tax receipt for a portion of the ticket price will be issued following the event. Join us!

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Crush is generously supported by

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Fine Wine Auction Lots

The bottles for our fine wine auction are starting to roll in. Here’s a taste of what we will be auctioning at Crush this year. A big thank you to Robert Moyes for his tantalising wine descriptions.

Lapierre Morgon: 2008-2013 (France) six bottles
Donated by Ernest Sargent; Value for six bottles: $250

Technically considered part of Burgundy, Beaujolais is a distinct AOC region where the reds are produced from the Gamay grape. Although mostly seen as a source of quaffable, lighter-bodied wines, Beaujolais produces some that are serious and longer-lived. Such is definitely the case with Lapierre Morgon, a family-run domaine that is hailed as one of the most famous in all Beaujolais. The emphasis is on natural wines, and the Lapierre family is a pioneer of the style, producing elegant wines with dominant notes of cherries, licorice, and violets. This particular auction lot features a vertical array of six Morgons, from 2008 to 2013. We don’t have room for comments on all six vintages, but note that Cellar-Tracker gave the 2008 an average score of 90, with one writer calling it “a tour de force of skillful winemaking.”  And jumping ahead to 2013, both the Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate awarded 90 points, with WS offering this praise: “Wild strawberry and pomegranate flavors are highlighted by fresh acidity in this balanced red, with graphite, licorice and floral notes that ease into the tangy finish.” Here’s an affordable, yummy six-pack!

Mission Hill Compendium: 2008 (Okanagan)
Donated by Monty Bryant; Value: $82

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a Mission Hill “Compendium” to auction, and it’s a pleasure to put this Bordeaux-inspired blend forward for consideration. The 2008 vintage leads with 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Hand harvested from premium blocks in Oliver and Osoyoos, the wine luxuriated in large oak vats for 15 months, resulting in an elegant libation that offers a bouquet of aromas and flavours, from black cherry, cassis, pepper, and saddle leather on the nose to chocolate, cedar, tobacco and blackberry on the palate. And this suave charmer has certainly impressed the critics. Anthony Gismondi murmured “well done” and gave it a 90, while the scribes at CellarTracker gave ratings ranging from 90-94 and praised it as “well-balanced” and “full-bodied, smooth and flavourful.”

Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” Icewine: 2004 (Okanagan)
Donated by Tracy Mitchell; Value: $1,100

The Rolling Stones continue to tour . . . and so does their legendary icewine, which is still swaggering about with devilish panache. Mick Jagger and the boys struck a tasty deal with Okanagan Valley’s Ex Nihilo Vineyards to put their name – and that lascivious red tongue – on a very limited-release icewine made from Pinot Noir. And with only 222 cases made, this ranks as one of the rarest wines in the world. (Which is why no reviews are available.) The official tasting notes identify “fresh berry with intense raisin” (although Stones fans will doubtless also note traces of brown sugar). Given that the Okanagan produces some of the planet’s finest icewines, you can expect this tipple to be ultra-premium and as kicky as a Keith Richards guitar solo. There are three bottles, elegantly wrapped in black tissue and sealed with that Andy Warhol-designed tongue, tucked into a deluxe wooden presentation box. Which means the lucky bidder can invite the Rolling Stones – and maybe some honky tonk women – for dinner on three separate occasions. Talk about satisfaction!

Chapelle d’Ausone: 2005 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value for two bottles: $678

Chateau d’Ausone, a tiny and historic vineyard in Bordeaux, is one of only four St. Emilion estates – including fabled Cheval Blanc – to have its wines ranked as premier grand cru classé. And their so-called second wine, Chapelle d’Ausone, is almost as highly regarded as its big brother. Only about 500 cases were made of the 2005 Chapelle, and the reviewers are in agreement that the wine is full-bodied and stunningly concentrated. It’s been “drinking now” since 2015, and evidently has another 15 years to fully impress anyone lucky enough to get a glassful. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker gives this one a juicy 94 points, remarking: “It’s a pure, sweet, undeniably great effort in this vintage.” James Suckling of the Wine Spectator went 95 points, adding “This is really beautiful with blackberry and spice aromas that follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long finish.” Farr Vintners raved: “Amazingly aromatic. . . this wine is jam-packed with ripe, red fruit and has a lovely, silky texture. Lots and lots of body and a long, mineral, black cherry finish.” And wine doyenne Jancis Robinson simply noted: “A really lovely wine.” Sure sounds like it!  And the lucky bidder gets to take home two!

Château Pavie Decesse: 2001 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $290

The 23-acre vineyards of Chateau Pavie Decesse are situated on the St. Emilion limestone plateau and are planted to 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. This esteemed estate favours a style that combines opulent, rich, sensuous textures with minerality, freshness and concentration. Lushly hedonistic by Bordeaux standards, Pavie Decesse drinks well young, yet develops additional complexity when aged. The 2001 vintage has certainly won over the critics. The Wine Advocate hailed its “great intensity and . . . rich aromas of Asian spices, soy, black truffles, licorice, espresso, and intense cherry and blackberry fruit.” A few different scribes for Wine Cellar Insider gave it ratings of 93 and 94 and had enticing comments such as “Smoke, coconut, licorice, black and blue fruit, spice and minerality pair perfectly with the softly textured layers of rich, ripe, fruit.” Another writer gushed: “Thick, rich and luxurious, this opulently textured, sweet, plush ripe St. Emilion flows over your palate, ending with layers of chocolate covered cherries and blueberries. The perfect wine for hedonistic pleasure seekers.” Wow!

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Carruades de Lafite: 2001 (France) two bottles
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $670

Although formally rated as the “second” wine of Château Lafite Rothschild, Carruades de Lafite shows its breeding and easily qualifies as one of the more impressive wines to hail from the esteemed Pauillac region of Bordeaux. The blend for 2001 was 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc, yielding characteristic notes of lead pencil, ripe black currant, and cedar. Online reviews range from 88 to 94 points. One critic wrote, “The nose was pure Pauillac. On the palate it hinted lean and then the fruit burst. Wonderfully full and perfectly integrated.” The great Robert Parker praised it for being “elegant,” while Decanter enthused about its silkiness and concentration, overall calling it a “fine, plump Pauillac.” And when Stephen Tanzer writes, “perfumed and penetrating, with a restrained sweetness and a slight herbal edge” . . . well, you just know it’s time to slide that succulent lamb roast into the oven.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou: 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $333

Situated on two plateaus between Pauillac and Margaux, Saint-Julien is a very well regarded sub-region of the Medoc. And one of its most esteemed “second growths” is Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, one of the oldest wine-producing estates in the Medoc. This château is known for its concentrated, flavourful and well-structured wines, and their 2005 – with its blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot – is considered the best vintage to come along since 1982 and 1961. The Wine Advocate rated it 97, with this praise: “It is an extremely powerful wine with a dense purple colour, superb intensity, and a beautiful, sweet nose of spring flowers.” The Wine Enthusiast came in at 96 points, enthusing thus: “Huge blackcurrant fruits dominate a wine that is powerful and showing very ripe . . . it finishes with a delicious lift of acidity.” And let’s finish with a tasty rave from International Wine Cellar: “Fat, lush and silky, with atypical volume to the flavours of plum, tobacco and chocolate.” Yum!

Château L’Evangile: 2001 & 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value for two bottles: $608

The very name Pomerol evokes a tingling sense of anticipation in oenophiles, and Château L’Evangile is one of that region’s most cherished producers, dating back to 1741. Indeed, it borders St. Émilion’s legendary Cheval Blanc to the south, and is considered by many to offer the third-best wine in all of Pomerol. Enthusiastic tasting notes for the 2001 vintage ranged from “intense” and “lingering” to “superb.” The Wine Spectator gushed: “Beautiful aromas of chocolate, blackberry and light cappuccino follow through to a medium- to full-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a long finish. Yummy wine….” And the online commentators at Chateau Classic added this praise: “The deep ruby/purple-colored 2001 L’Evangile is a beauty.” The 2005 comes in for even grander praise. The Wine Spectator gave it 100 (!) points, while using phrases like “blown away” and “amazing.” The similarly impressed Wine Advocate awarded 95 points, and called it “sublime” while praising its “flawless texture and stunning complexity.”

Château Léoville Las Cases: 1988 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value for two bottles: $636

Based in the Saint-Julien region, Château Léoville Las Cases produces one of the 15 Second Growths in Bordeaux’s official wine classification of 1855. The estate bottles ravishing wine – maybe not too surprising, given that Las Cases abuts the legendary Château Latour. The redoubtable Hugh Johnson had this to say in his Pocket Wine Book about the wines produced by this renowned château: “Elegant complex powerful austere wines, for immortality.” But what about the 1988 vintage? The various wine experts at CellarTrackerloved this wine, consistently giving it ratings in the 95-97 range. Their comments were appropriately effusive for such a high ranking: “. . . a magnificent experience. Cedar, pencil, tobacco, black cherry and spicy wet stones . . . bliss! What a fantastic wine! This beats the ’88 Latour hands down.” Another scribe noted: “Plush and expansive on the palate, there is a beautiful complexity to this wine.” The Wine Advocate gave it 92 points while noting, “This wine continues to show brilliantly . . . rather classic Medoc.” And note that there are two of these beauties at auction. Double your pleasure!

Courvoisier XO Cognac (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value for 700 ml: $155

This is the second year in a row that Crush has raided the Cognac region of France in search of Courvoisier XO – a velvety and ethereal libation that will inspire many a poetical conversation late into the night. Founded in 1835 and with connections to Napoleon III – who named the firm as “Official Supplier to the Imperial Court” – Courvoisier is one of the most fabled cognac houses in the world. Their XO (“extra old”) bottling is considered particularly meritorious: it was rated “the best cognac in the world” at an international spirits competition in 1994. The Courvoisier XO comprises a skillful blending of fine and well-matured cognacs, aged between 20 and 35 years; when poured into a snifter it offers richly exotic aromas and intense yet supple flavours that include hints of dried citrus, cocoa, vanilla, and crème brûlée (derived from the toasting of the oak casks the spirit is aged in). As the Cognac Forum noted: “Very round but complex, unique bouquet. Elegant and fine . . . the finish is complex and long.” Excite your senses with a master cognac that is all silk and spice and endless French charm.

Château Palmer: 2005 (France)
Donated by Scott Fowler; Value: $475

Heading south into the Medoc district of Bordeaux takes us to Château Palmer, a celebrated “third growth” from fabled Margaux. Made from a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot, the dark-purple tinged 2005 has been universally hailed for its opulence, weight, and power. Although eager hedonists can pull the cork as early as 2017, it is expected to last beyond 2045. The Wine Advocate loved this vintage, lauding its delicious aromas of black currants, plums, and licorice while giving it a heady 97 points. The Wine Enthusiast, equally impressed, commented: “A wine so effortlessly delicious that it’s easy to forget the power the Merlot gives it.” The Wine Spectator bestowed 95 points and raved about its “big, juicy, velvety texture and long aftertaste,” while International Wine Cellarjoined the party with this hymn of praise: “Compellingly sweet and explosive on the palate . . . downright massive, not to say decadent. A pure liquid confection.” Sounds like splendour in the glass!

Comte du Lauvia Armagnac: 1934 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value: $1,267

Two years ago Crush debuted a vintage Armagnac from one of the great houses of France – and here’s a second chance to acquire this otherwise unobtainable rarity. Armagnac hails from the region of the same name in Gascony in southwest France; it’s a single-distilled spirit that often spends more time in oak barrels than its more famous double-distilled cousin, cognac. As a result, Armagnac can often have greater finesse and roundness than its more famous rival. Comte de Lauvia produces some of the world’s greatest Armagnacs, and has won innumerable awards at international tasting competitions. Their 1934 bottling is extremely rare and valuable, and is blended from only the best vintages. Comte de Lauvia distills its brandy at a uniquely low strength to preserve more of its rustic character, resulting in a spirit of exceptional smoothness with intense flavours of prune, fig, wood, and forest fruits. Although tasting notes on some of their less expensive products are available online – and were impressive indeed – the 1934 is such a high-end libation that it seems reviewers are expected to buy their own darn bottle. Luckily, our own Anonymous says that aromas of clove and prune are followed on the palate by “amazing” notes of honey, coffee, and prune. This is truly a rare beauty!

Château Mouton Rothschild: 1988 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor; Value: $450

Even with prices in the stratosphere, the great wines of Bordeaux are still being ardently pursued by serious collectors with deep pockets. One of the most iconic of the region’s literally hundreds of excellent wineries is Château Mouton Rothschild, which makes what most agree is the Medoc’s most luxurious wine. And 1988 was an impressive year, even by Mouton’s standards. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker was delighted with the vintage, noting: “The 1988 has an attractive aroma of exotic spices, minerals, coffee, black currants, and sweet oak. The bouquet is staggering. . . . will last 20-25 years.” Wine Spectatorbestowed a rating of 94. And one of the writers at WineAccess got downright gushy about this profound Pauillac: “Great from beginning to end, this is what a Bordeaux should taste like. Awesome!” This will be the third year in a row that a bottle of this sublime wine goes up for auction – and based on previous bidding, go big or stay seated!

Château de la Gardine: 2000 (France)
Two bottles donated by Ame De Paoli and one bottle donated by Randy Milito, Smokin’ Tuna Café; Value for three bottles: $195

The Southern Rhone vineyard of Château de la Gardine dates from 1947 (although the property itself has been producing tasty Châteauneuf du Pape since the early 1700s). Rhone fans are invariably drawn to the Châteauneuf du Pape region, the area’s largest and most important appellation. Their gloriously rich wines – redolent of the heat and herbs of southeastern France – offer hedonistic pleasures to serious wine lovers. Such is certainly the case with the 2000 vintage from Gardine, which received a rating of 92 from Wine Spectator, which praised its “delicious ripe fruit and silky, sweet tannins . . . delivering harmony and pleasure from start to finish.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate approved its “superb chocolate, espresso, black cherry, and currant aromas,” while one of the writers atCellarTracker gave it 90 points as he noted: “Velvety smooth and still youthfully fruity, this was a lovely example of a simple but classic Châteauneuf . . . a very enjoyable wine with roast leg of lamb.”