A Fine Wine Affair
This is last year’s page just for your information. You can find the information for Crush 2011 here.
Please join us for Crush, a luscious gathering of fine people, fine food and fine wine in support of the Belfry Theatre.
Celebrate the season of wine in the elegant Terrace Ballroom atrium at the Inn at Laurel Point, where the original jazz stylings of the Noah Becker Trio will put you in the mood.
Enjoy tasting wines from some of BC’s best wineries, including Quail’s Gate, Peller Estates, Joie Farm, St. Hubertus Estate, Thornhaven Estates, Muse, Averill Creek, Gehringer Brother’s Estate, Orofino, Little Straw, Arrowleaf Cellars, Fairview Cellars, The View, Intrigue, Wild Goose, Hester Creek Estate, Crowsnest, Elephant Island Orchard, and Nichol. Toast the apple harvest captured in a glass, thanks to Sea Cider.
Savour sumptuous food pairings, created specially by award-winning Executive Chef Brad Horen.
The evening, hosted by Kathy McAree, will culminate with a Fine Wine Auction of rare and hard to find bottles of wine from around the world. During the auction bon vivant and wine aficionado Jurgen Gothe, will offer each special bottle, sharing its provenance, its promises and, perhaps, its private stories. Roshan Vickery of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers will serve as our fine wine auctioneer.
Capture a memory of the event to enjoy later when you bid on our silent auction of crushingly fine gifts including, of course, wine!
This offering of exceptional wines includes something for everyone. Please keep checking this page for an up-to-date listing of fine wines from around the world we’ll have up for auction at Crush.
WINE TO DONATE?
Have you a wine collection from which you would like to donate to the Fine Wine Auction? All donors will receive a tax receipt based upon the appraised value of the wine. Any donation, big or small, would be most appreciated! To make a donation, please call Kathy at 250-385-6835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FINE WINE FOR AUCTION
Big thanks to Robert Moyes for these outstanding Bottle Bios.
Return of the Living Red, Redheads Studio: 2004
Donated by Christian Sealey, Bistro 28
Australia has always brashly gone its own way, in wine and in everything else – but a zombie wine dedicated to horrormeister George Romero? Not for the faint of heart, this sassy bottling has no labeling, just blood-red wax dribbled over the cork and an identifying card attached by a length of twine that presumably mimics the toe tag on your standard morgue resident. It also comes complete with an old crime file detailing the occurrence of zombie activity in and around the Redheads Studio vineyard in McLaren Vale. Yikes! Now we know what they mean about a wine with body! A few wine experts who haven’t been seen lately but whose notes at least survived the gruesome encounter wrote that this tasty little zombie was “complex,” and “fabulous!,” with a “rich, fragrant nose.” It earned ratings ranging from 89 to 92 points. Oh rash bidders, it’s been nice knowing you….
Jacob’s Creek “Johann” Shiraz/Cabernet: 2001
Donated by Josh Clark, Modern Palate Wine Advice
Named after Johann Gramp, a Bavarian immigrant who planted the first commercial vineyard in the Barossa Valley over 150 year ago, this is the pre-eminent wine produced by Jacob’s Creek, rated the world’s #1 winery in 2008. Shiraz dominates the Cabernet about two to one in this sophisticated blend, with the varietals aged separately on oak for 18 months. Jammed with flavours of plum, blueberry, and blackberry that are followed by notes of vanilla, white pepper and plum pudding spices, this layered and complex wine manages to keep its essentially hedonistic nature in balance with a hint of restraint – never easy for an Australian that wants to show off at a dinner party! Blessed with a long finish and gobs of true varietal character, this food-friendly palate pleaser is the benchmark bottle from one of the most celebrated wine brands in the world.
Majella “The Malleea” Cabernet/Shiraz: 2003
Donated by Josh Clark, Modern Palate Wine Advice
Bruisingly sublime, this corker of an Aussie throat charmer comes from the renowned Coonawarra region of South Australia. Made from 30-year-old vines that have been ruthlessly cropped to concentrate all those lush fruit flavours, “Malleea” has earned innumerable trophies and accolades over the years. This particular vintage got a rating of 95 points from celebrated wine writer James Halliday, marking this as a particularly good year for a wine that ranks as one of Down Under’s top values. Robust and generous, this blend of Cabernet and Shiraz exudes a classic bouquet of cedar while offering flavours ranging from juicy blackberry to cassis, with notes of tobacco, black olive, and spicy oak. Yum! Throw another lamb chop on the barbie and get ready to learn why Australia has become such a power in the world’s wine game.
Oculus, Mission Hill Family Estate: 2004, 2005, 2006
Donated by James Pearson, The Union Club of B.C.
Oculus, Mission Hill Family Estate: 1.5 L, 2005
Donated by Cascadia Liquor
Two separate bidding lots, one spectacular wine. Oculus, a truly great Canadian in the opinion of hard-to-impress British wine maven Jancis Robinson, has achieved a level of renown almost unheard of for a bottling from a relatively youthful wine region such as B.C. More than just a precocious upstart, elegant and complex Oculus is the supreme statement from a winery that seems to have been transplanted from scenic Europe. Fussed over by fly-in superstar consultant Michel Roland, Oculus is a flagship wine inspired by Bordeaux but infused with the special warmth of the Okanagan summer. The result is a layered and concentrated taste experience that has almost decadent depths of fruit and chocolate. You have two chances with this baby: either go for the “vertical” trio guaranteed to stand tall in anyone’s cellar; or have double fun with a magnum that will be the centrepiece of an unforgettable dinner party.
A “6-Pack” of Rare B.C. Icewines:
Mission Hill Reserve Vidal 2006 ($55)
Mission Hill Reserve Riesling 2008 ($60)
Mission Hill S.L.C. Riesling 2005 ($80)
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Riesling 2007 ($55)
Inniskillin Okanagan Vidal 2006 ($60)
Inniskillin Okanagan Discovery Series Tempranillo 2007 ($100)
Donated by Jurgen Gothe
The one true glory of the Okanagan wine industry is unquestionably icewine, a global superstar that has graced tables from Tokyo to Tenerife. With a racy acidity playing against lush flavour notes of everything from passion fruit to peach or papaya, icewine is a throat charmer without equal. At its best – see the list above – there is a tantalizing complexity of flavours to savour, plus the sensation of taste buds silkily caressed by a honeyed elixir. And when you’ve got six (!) bottles to play with, expand the possibilities of pleasure by exploring icewine recipes, which range from suave martinis to a succulent salad dressing. This is hedonism at its finest: bottoms up, indeed.
Black Hills Nota Bene: 2004, 2005, and 2006
Donated by Ernest Sargent, Fiasco Wines
Notwithstanding how the Okanagan almost seems too youthful to have developed any cult wines, Nota Bene, from the ominously named Black Hills winery, is like a celebrity in designer sunglasses that is being stalked by paparazzi (maybe it’s because actor Jason Priestley is a part owner, or possibly it’s just that wine journalists love reporting about how each new vintage sells out in one frenzied hour of online bidding). Nota Bene – that’s “note well” to Latin scholars – has ravishing, dark-fruit flavours and a brooding intensity reminiscent of James Dean. But if you win these three “vertical” beauties for your cellar, please don’t speed home in a Porsche!
Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin: 2004, 2005, and 2006
Donated by Ernest Sargent, Fiasco Wines
Although most North American wineries make a Bordeaux-style blend for their premium bottling, how many of them can boast that they have a winemaker from Bordeaux to truly guarantee excellence? Osoyoos Larose has always been one of the most esteemed Okanagan wineries, and it is largely due to the perfectionist attentions of Pascal Madevon, a charming vintner who has married his classic French viticultural techniques to the unsurpassed climate and terroir of Oliver. Complex, deeply flavoured, and harmonious – not unlike the plays of A.R. Gurney – the aptly named Le Grand Vin is like a superb soliloquy from the vineyard, one that’s framed in oak and redolent of cedar, cassis, and bitter chocolate. And this being a “vertical” trio, you can triple your pleasure with memorable dinners of pepper steak, duck, or lamb.
Road 13, “Fifth Element”: 3 L, 2005 (signed by winemaker Michael Bartier)
Donated by Jurgen Gothe
Britain’s no-nonsense wine critic Jancis Robinson has taken many years to warm up to B.C. wines. And one of the bottles that helped win her over is Road 13′s signature red blend, “Fifth Element.” This meritorious Meritage, which uses all five of the classic Bordeaux varietals, rests on French oak prior to being lovingly tucked away in the cellars of serious collectors. It has also been a medal winner at numerous tastings, and last year received an “Award of Excellence” from the Lieutenant Governor. And tonight’s lucky winner better have a strong back: this double magnum is a serious pour of wine. Road 13 is situated along South Okanagan’s so-called Golden Mile, and it’s tempting to see parallels to Letters From Wingfield Farm here, what with proprietors Mick and Pam Luckhurst coming late to the grape game after spending their lives in more urban professions. Maybe Walt should be submitting the occasional wine column to that paper he scribes for!
Blue Mountain, Gamay Noir: 2009
Blue Mountain, Pinot Gris: 2009
Blue Mountain, Pinot Blanc: 2009
Blue Mountain, Chardonnay: 2009
Donated by Patrick Stewart
One of the most senior of the Okanagan wineries, Blue Mountain Vineyard has been growing grapes for nearly four decades. Overlooking scenic Vaseaux Lake and set amidst undulating hills, Blue Mountain makes engaging, complex, and balanced varietals that fully express the vineyard’s many micro-climates. From the spiciness of their Gamay Noir to the crisp Pinot Blanc that recalls apricot kissed by a touch of honeysuckle, these wines are as seductive as the picture-postcard views from this flagship winery based near Okanagan Falls. Last year’s harvest yielded great wines, and this quartet of signature varietals will age beautifully for 4-6 years . . . assuming you have the strength of character to resist dipping your beak early!
Rochioli, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley: 2005
Donated by Lorna Harris
Pinot Noir, the so-called “heartbreak grape,” is a silky seducer that is rich with nuanced flavours and topped off with a finish more splendid than a bouquet of long-stemmed roses. Rochioli Winery, a Pinot specialist, is a venerable and talented performer from California; and despite its origins in the Russian River Valley, this isn’t a glum introvert in the manner of Chekhov but rather a sophisticated, Morris Panych-style crowd pleaser. (It’s also on the wine list at the White House!) Full-bodied and flirty as a starlet in a convertible, this well-balanced wine knows how to tease and please.
Opus One: 1987
Donated by Arthur Barber
Truly a nabob of Napa, Opus One is one of the original – and still most cherished – of the wines that seek to marry Old World finesse with the New World’s obsession with full-throttle fruit. Created over 30 years ago as a collaboration between Baron Philippe de Rothschild (of Mouton fame) and Robert Mondavi, Opus has long been the benchmark for those Bordeaux-style blends that many wineries put out as their premium pour. This particular vintage is considered both “generous” and “intense” – which, let’s face it, is just what a lot of people look for in a dinner date! The oak is French, the grapes are as sun-kissed as a Beach Boys medley, and the combination is alarmingly hedonistic. California is all about “good vibrations”: just remember not to get a speeding ticket as you whip this succulent honey back home in your vintage Corvette.
Chateau Palmer, Bordeaux: 1998
Donated by Patrick Stewart
The Belfry’s ever-generous “godfather,” Paddy Stewart, is rightly feared for his sharp-edged and reliably profane tongue . . . and admired in equal measure for the puissance of his palate. Which is to say that any bottle coming out of the posh end of the Stewart cellar will be of considerable interest to gourmets who like to savour a premium glass or three of red wine while tucking into a yummy rack of mustard and herb-encrusted lamb. Chateau Palmer is a Bordeaux superstar from the Margaux appellation. With almost equal portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, its earthiness and spicy complexity combines power with delicacy, and gets the highest possible rating from Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. This bottle will be a grand addition to anyone’s collection – as long as you don’t mind Stewart’s restless spirit and ghostly imprecations rattling around in your cellar!
Château Mouton Rothschild, Bordeaux: 1988
Donated by Helen Lansdowne
Talk about star power. French wines will never lose their mystique, especially ones of this caliber. One of the most fabled “first growths” of Bordeaux’s Medoc region, Mouton Rothschild invariably gets rave reviews from adoring critics who can’t wait to use adjectives like “opulent,” “majestic” and “ravishing” (maybe in hopes of receiving a case for Christmas – good luck!). Even hard-to-please wine maven Hugh Johnson gets sore paws applauding this beauty, which is a great vintage from a legendary producer. You can drink this one now if you’re feeling greedy, but patience will reward you with an even more exceptional wine experience. A decade from now you can invite up from the cellar a dinner guest you’ll never forget, a true French bombshell possessing the elegance of Catherine Deneuve and the throbbing masculinity of Jean-Paul Belmondo. Mon dieux!
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, “Hermitage”: 2002
Donated by Greg Hays, Café Brio
The Rhone has long been considered the last bastion of (almost) affordable quality French wine, and few producers of the fabled Hermitage region have earned the respect accorded to Jean-Louis Chave, whose family has been growing grapes here since 1481. Composed entirely of Syrah – that’s Shiraz with a French accent – this superb Hermitage typically boasts aromas of black cherry, licorice, pepper and tar sitting atop cassis fruit with notes of pepper and fresh herbs. Derived from mostly 60-year-old vines, this is a tremendous, mouth-filling wine that combines elegance with a boldly flavourful lushness that is hard not to fall in love with. Combining the mature beauty of Jeanne Moreau with the sultry va-voom of Juliette Binoche, this is a sensual wine that would tempt the most austere of hermits. It’s also the last of three “Hermitages” that Greg bought, so here’s your chance to cellar a classic!
Château Kirwan, Bordeaux: 2006
Donated by Brian Dunn, Smugglers Cove
Bordeaux boasts the single greatest concentration of premium wineries on the planet, and Margaux is one of its most poetical districts. Chateau Kirwan, a so-called “ third growth,” dates back the 1700s when its Irish owner played host to many oenophiles, including Thomas Jefferson, then ambassador to France. Château Kirwan has had its ups and downs over the last century; and although it fell into a bit of a trough a few decades back, hard work and substantial improvements have had a salutary impact, particularly the attentions of fabled wine consultant Michel Roland, brought on in 1991. Serious Bordeaux wines take a long time to mature, and one this young will need to be cellar dweller for a decade or more. What you can look forward to is a “classy” wine, according to Hugh Johnson, a powerful and concentrated performer that boasts aromas of cedar, spice box, and cassis jumping from the glass. Or, to use a technical wine term: Yummy!
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port: 1985
Donated by Jurgen Gothe
With 1985 rated as a “classic” year for Vintage Port, and Taylor Fladgate one of the most esteemed shippers in the business, any gentleman would be excused for putting a bit of unseemly muscle into winning this beauty for his cellar – or even the bar in his study. For this charmer is “drinking now” as they say in tony wine circles, but will also be a peak performer for another decade: here’s your chance to become an instant potentate of Port. Fortified with brandy and packing a punch of nearly 20% alcohol, premium Port has been compared to a fist in a velvet glove . . . but all you’ll notice is that glorious velvet, which is syrupy rich with layers of flavour reminiscent of anything from spicy fruits to white chocolate or black forest cake. Concentrated, gloriously sweet, but never cloying, Port is about as classic as it gets – much like watching Christopher Plummer emoting Shakespeare at the Stratford Festival.
Colutta Gianpaolo, Pignolo: 2004
Donated by Paul Psyllakis, The Black Olive Restaurant
Hailing from the hills of the esteemed Friuli region in northeastern Italy, the wines of Colutta Gianpaolo taste as mellifluous as their name sounds (at least when spoken by a real Italian!). Limited production and an adherence to “old school” vineyard and winemaking techniques ensure a sophisticated, decidedly European wine where terroir is as important as the fruit. This elegant charmer is tailor-made to go with roast meats and wild game: ruby red in colour, it has a distinctive bouquet of blackberry and blueberry, with hints of vanilla thanks to 24 months resting in small oak barriques. Dry and lightly tannic, this is inescapably reminiscent of a dapper Marcello Mastroianni capering about in La Dolce Vita.
Donated by Mike and Shelley Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo
This is the glorious bad boy that put Italy’s so-called “Super Tuscans” on the map – and put that country’s overly-conservative wine regulators on notice that some innovative vintners were getting ready to shake things up with new blends and bold flavours. Conceived 40 years ago in the heart of Chianti by the centuries-old Antinori wine empire, Tignanello dared to use Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc instead of the prescribed Sangiovese, and aged this rascal in small oak barrels. By law only able to be described as lowly “table wine,” Tignanello commanded top dollar at elite wine shops and rattled the wine industry and the government. The blend has changed over time, but Tignanello continues to reign as an Italian superstar, a benchmark beauty as famous and charming as Sophia Loren. This gorgeous sipper should appeal to any rebel with a palate.
Brancaia in Maremma Ilatraia: 2004
Donated by Linda and George Szasz, Stage Wine Bar
Located in the Chianti Classico region, the Brancaia estate shot to prominence in 1983 when, under new owners, it won first place at a major Chianti tasting. Soon after considered one of the top wine producers in Italy, it has consistently won national and international awards. More than a few writers have said that Brancaia puts “the ‘super’ in ‘Super Tuscan,’” so we shall shun that purple prose in favour of pointing out that their blend of Cabernet, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot results in a complex wine of spicy warmth that is notable for earthy charm and a core of sweet dark fruit. If any Italian wine could be said to talk with its hands, this expressive and well-balanced charmer is certainly it. Cin cin!
Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Reserva: 1998
Donated by Stephen White and Bill Hamar
Spain is one of the world’s great wine producers, and its finest region is Rioja. When people talk of Riojas they are inevitably referring to the iconic red wines of the region, which are made from Tempranillo, a grape virtually unheard of outside of Spain. Rioja wines are as supple as bull fighters: they have a velvety mouth feel and, although medium bodied, punch way above their weight in terms of flavour. A classic Rioja has a core of black cherry, chocolate, and plum that is accented with dusty spices, hints of saddle leather, and enough oak to build a small stool. Sierra Cantabria is one of the most esteemed of the “new school” Rioja producers – its Reservas usually get rated in the 90s by Robert Parker – and this 1998 promises to be a rich and seductive lesson in Spanish charm.
Check back regularly for updates to the fine wines on the auction block.
Tickets $65 at 250-385-6815 (a tax receipt for $25 will be issued following the event).