Crush – A Fine Wine Affair
Sunday, October 25, 2015
A charitable fundraiser 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:

Arrowleaf Cellars, Backyard Vineyards, Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, Black Sage Vineyard, CC Jentsch Cellars, Clos du Soleil Winery, de Vine Vineyards, Fairview Cellars, Hester Creek Estate Winery, JoieFarm Winery, Kettle Valley Winery, Lake Breeze Vineyards, Marichel Vineyard, Mission Hill Family Estate, Moon Curser Vineyard, Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, Orofino Winery, Sage Hills Vineyard, Steller’s Jay, Thornhaven Estates, Upper Bench Estate Winery.

Plus a special blind tasting table with draw prizes!

The Belfry Theatre

  • All proceeds benefit the 40th anniversary 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!



Crush is generously supported by

crush sponsor bar



CRUSH 2015

A sneak peek from the auction.


Sassicaia, 1994, Italy
Donated in memory of Robert Baxter, Value: $250

Sassicaia was one of the first of the so-called “Super Tuscans.” It created a sensation when it first came to market in Italy in the early 1970s, mostly because it defied strict winemaking rules and jettisoned traditional local varietals in favour of blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. But much more than just a trendy rebel, Sassicaia proved to be a profoundly satisfying and impressive wine; it quickly won international acclaim and has long been one of Italy’s most collectable bottles. The 1994 vintage got lots of respectable ratings in the low 90s. Comments ranged from “. . . a proper Sassicaia, full of balance and elegance” to “ripe and sweet fruit on the nose, herbs, forest notes, leather, smoke, sweet spices.” And fans at added: “Love the berry and mint aromas with hints of minerals. Full-bodied with chewy tannins but plenty of currant and leafy character.”

Château Mouton Rothschild, 1988, France
Donated by Anonymous, 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 Spectator bestowed 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!

Courvoisier XO Cognac
Donated by Anonymous: Value: $330

It was last year that the Crush live auction first entered the spirit realm with an exciting bottle of Armagnac. For 2015 we head north to the Cognac region for a magnum 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 enthusiastic, 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 Cellar joined 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!

Château L’Evangile, 1999, France (note: may be combined with Lot #6)
Donated by Scott Fowler, Value: $189

Pomerol is one of the “brand name” regions of Bordeaux, and Château L’Evangile is a front-runner for the area. A reliable ambassador, Château L’Evangile impressively dates all the way back to 1741, and is often said to produce the third-best wine in all of Pomerol. Reviews for the 1999 vintage averaged in the low 90s, attracting praiseful tasting notes such as “powerful but elegant”; “a lovely mature Pomerol, with a gentle bouquet of red/black fruit, violet, cocoa powder and old leather”; and “. . . silky tannins, mineral and with nice acidity, long finish – it seems at the perfect spot now” [dated 2014]. And Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker adds: “This is a beautiful, medium- to full-bodied L’Evangile with a sweet attack and mid-palate. The striking, evolved, hedonistic perfume of melted licorice intermixed with black raspberries, minerals, and truffles is an intellectual turn-on.”

Château L’Evangile, 2001, France (note: may be combined with Lot #5)
Donated by Scott Fowler, Value: $230

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 this 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. It is medium-bodied and lush with sweet tannins, a pliant, opulent texture, and a long, rich finish revealing hints of forest floor, truffles, and licorice.” This powerful charmer could easily cellar for a decade or more.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2005, France
Donated by Scott Fowler, Value: $325

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 Cos d’Estournel, 2001, France
Donated by Scott Fowler, Value: $205

Many wine collectors pay considerable attention to Bordeaux, which produces a treasure trove of superb wines that the world can’t get enough of. So don’t overlook this lovely 2001 bottling from Château Cos d’Estournel, one of only five Grand Cru Classé-rated wineries in the Saint-Estephe region of southwestern France. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot. It has been getting rave reviews from name-brand critics like James Suckling (who rated it a 95) and Robert Parker (who gushed: “A beautiful effort . . . stylish, restrained yet substantial”). And Steve Tanzer of International Wine Cellar added: “Fat and sweet but shapely, with impressive density and underlying structure.” There is considerable consensus online that this wine will deliver even more if it cellars for another several years (Saint-Estephe wines tend to be robust, tannic, and slow to mature).

Carruades de Lafite, 2001, France
Donated by Scott Fowler, Value: $350

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 Lynch-Bages, 1988, France (2 bottles)
Donated by an anonymous donor, Value $456 for 2 bottles

Although technically only a “fifth growth” in ranking, Lynch-Bages is an unfailingly rich and robust wine that is made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon; it’s a Bordeaux that, in the words of celebrated wine scribe Hugh Johnson, “aspires to greatness.” For the 1988 vintage the tasters at CellarTracker are handing out ratings in the mid-90s, accompanied by appropriately gushy praise such as, “Boasting a light body and silky texture, the balance is near perfect”; “after Lafite, this was the best from 1988”; and “sweet Cabernet nose . . . beautifully mature, fine, classic Pauillac . . . looking forward to the next bottle!” The Wine Spectator was equally enthused, noting: “Complex aromas of dark chocolate, currant and cigar box. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a mouth-puckering finish. Finishes with loads of ripe fruits, tobacco and cedar. Big and juicy wine.” And the Wine Advocate sums it up thus: “A beautiful, classic claret.” Hey, where’s the corkscrew. . .?

Château Clos les Lunelles, 2006, France (2 bottles)
Donated by Ian & Gloria Back, Value for two bottles: $100

As many oenophiles would agree, the only thing better than a yummy bottle of Bordeaux is, well, two bottles. That is what’s on offer with this delicious duplicate pair from Château Clos les Lunelles. Hailing from the Côtes de Castillon region, Lunelles is located at the very eastern edge of Bordeaux. Their award-winning wines have been increasing in popularity, and represent very good value for Bordeaux, where prices can sometimes get insane. The 2006 vintage features 80% Merlot, supported by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Robert Parker bestowed 92-94 points, observing, “This brilliant 2006 offers sweet aromas of crushed rocks, spring flowers, blackberries, cassis and hints of smoke – ripe, full-bodied, fresh and lively, it is a superb example of what can be achieved by a refusal to compromise.” The folk at CellarTracker rated it in the 89-90 range, with comments like, “very enjoyable & balanced Bordeaux” and “fragrant bouquet of blackberry, deep cassis fruit, mochachino, and tinge of woodspice & chocolate.”

Brunello di Montalcino Pieve Santa Restituta, 2008, Italy
Donated by Everything Wine, Value for 1.5 litres: $197

With the predominance of Bordeaux at this auction, it’s easy to forget that a few other countries in Europe also produce superlative wines. Such is the case with Brunello di Montalcino, the superstar of Tuscany and arguably Italy’s most collectable and cellar-worthy red. One of Italy’s greatest winemakers is Angelo Gaja, known for producing opulent, single-vineyard wines. Although he uses this approach with his Brunellos – and gets nothing but rave reviews for his troubles – for the last decade he has also produced a blended Brunello derived from his top estates. The resulting Pieve Santa Restituta 2008 also gets top marks. Here is a love letter from the reviewer at “I’m in heaven . . . Gaja makes some of the best, and this deep ruby gem has it all. Beautiful structure with complex layers of wild cherry, spice and amazing tannins. This wine keeps you coming back again and again!” And given that this bottle is a magnum, that’s double your pleasure with one of this auction’s most hedonistic wines.

Cuvee William Deutz, 1998, France
Donated by Everything Wine, Value: $165

Notwithstanding that very German-sounding name, the Deutz and Geldermann families have been producing superb champagne in the heart of France since 1838. This particular bottling of premium French fizz had the folk at CellarTracker doing some fizzing of their own, with ratings in the low- to mid-90s. Here is a sampling of their deeply contented raves: “Lovely bottle of champagne. A nice hint of apple and honeyed sweetness on the midpalate, and an admirably long finish.” “Wow. Spectacular start to the evening . . . gorgeous melon, peach fuzz, lots of brioche and toasted almonds and some really nice mineral notes.” “On the palate the medium- to full-bodied, balanced champagne showed apple, peach and quince as well as smoky and mineral notes, paired with creamy mousse . . . a good mouthfeel and very good length.” This one sounds a beauty!

Mission Hill Oculus, 2007, Okanagan, 1.5 litres
Donated by Ame De Paoli , Value for 1.5 litres: $375

There is little argument that Mission Hill is the Okanagan’s flagship winery. And no surprise at all that Oculus, its ultra-premium Bordeaux-style blend, is acclaimed as “a First Growth of the Okanagan.” The 2007 vintage comprised 50% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot, with the wine spending over 16 months resting on (mostly new) French oak before being bottled. Wine maven Natalie Maclean gave this one a rating of 94 and said it was “one of the most spectacular vintages of one of Canada’s greatest wines . . . towering above the rest in its superb breadth, depth and length.” After complimenting its “seductive and brooding” aromas of dark fruit, violets, spices and smoke, she then praised how it delivered “hedonistic ripples of pleasure on the palate.” Whew! And internationally celebrated wine scribe James Suckling gave it a 95 before gushing: “This is incredible. Powerful and rich, with loads of fruit, yet fresh and racy, polished and beautiful.”

Note Bene, 2007/2008/2009/2010, Okanagan
Donated by Elaine Curling, Value for the four bottles: $230

Nota Bene (“Take Note”) is widely seen as the Okanagan’s most coveted cult wine, and hails from the Oliver-based Black Hills Estate Winery. This is a Bordeaux-style blend that is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon; the result is a bold and stylish wine whose opulence reminds many of a Pomerol. On offer is an exciting auction lot whose four consecutive vintages allow the lucky bidder to have her or his own “vertical tasting” – unless they can only bear to drink these beauties one at a time! Some lucky lady from attended a vertical tasting a year ago and scored all four vintages with a very generous 92 points. Her comments ranged from “Black cherry flavours, roasted coffee, cocoa and spice flavours impress and the finish is wonderfully persistent” to “excellent length and balance – drinking exceptionally well now.” And as IconWine noted: “No other wine has had more effect on the collectability of BC wines over the past decade than Nota Bene.”

Château de Beaucastel: 1998 (France)
Donated by Shellie and Mike Gudgeon, Il Terrazzo, Value: $136

Located in the southern part of the Rhone Valley, Château de Beaucastel is a revered producer of Châteauneuf du Pape, one of France’s most richly flavoured wines. The estate dates from the 1500s and the current winemakers use a very “hand-made” approach with their wines – and seem to have done awfully well with their 1998 vintage. The Wine Enthusiast gave it 96 points and raved: “A big, rich wine with huge amounts of fruit oozing out of the glass.” A 95 rating came courtesy of the Wine Spectator, which noted: “Very youthful, with a juicy blast of red plum and fig fruit flavours on a racy frame, this also has plenty of spice, tar, plum cake and mineral in reserve.” British wine maven Jancis Robinson called it “elegant and silky.” And Robert Parker was downright effusive, saying, “It boasts explosive richness, thick, juicy blackberry and kirsch liqueur, smoke, licorice, roasted meats, and truffles.” This wine would be gorgeous now, but is predicted to last at least another decade.

Château d’Yquem: 1961 (France)
Donated by an anonymous donor, Value: $1277

Without question the most fabled sweet wine in the world is the Sauternes that comes from Château d’Yquem in Bordeaux. They produce only 500 bottles per acre, and that intense and luscious wine can often last for 100 years or more. Not everyone loves this 1961 vintage, but the vast majority of reviews from CellarTracker ranged from 90 to 95. Comments were typically effusive: “Rich, complex nose of toffee, burnt sugar, melon, vanilla and spice”; “Floral, caramelly notes of dried apricots and oranges, candied pecans, crème brulée, citrus, honey, orange rind, and toasted coconut”; “delivered enough of the legendary Yquem sweetness and an impressively long finish.” The wines from d’Yquem are characterized by their complexity, concentration and sweetness: qualities that have helped make them the benchmark by which all other dessert wines are judged. Without question this rare beauty is the belle of the Crush auction ball.

Bordeaux “Party Pack”: 2006 (France)
Donated by Ian and Gloria Back, Value for six bottles: $350

The focus of the live auction is on “name brand” individual wines. But rather than drop a bundle on just one bottle, why not consider this six-pack from the 2006 vintage in Bordeaux, courtesy of a range of reputable producers? This will give you multiple chances to appreciate why this region has such an exalted reputation as a source of premium wine. The star of the group is certainly Château d’Armailhac, an impressive “fifth growth” from Pauillac that consistently received ratings at 90 or above. Château Haut-Carles, from the Fronsac region, scored in the high 80s. Another fine performer is the Château Gloria, on which CellarTracker bestowed marks in the very high 80s. The next wine comes from Clos de L’Oratoire, and consistently got ratings of 90 and 91. Château Grand Corbin-Despagne earned an 89 from CellarTracker and even better reviews from the Wine Enthusiast and the Wine Advocate (“the wine possesses outstanding concentration . . . and a long finish”). And we close with Château Haut-Bergey, which received 89 points from CellarTracker and high praise from the Wine Advocate: “. . . the beautiful 2006 boasts a deep ruby/purple hue as well as a classic bouquet.”

Angels & Cowboys Proprietary Red: 2012 (California)
See Ya Later Ranch Meritage: 2012 (Okanagan)
Purple Cowboy Cabernet Sauvignon: 2013 (California)
The Show Cabernet Sauvignon: 2013 (California)
James Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon: 2012 (California)
Haywire “The Bub” Pinot Noir & Chardonnay: 2013 (Okanagan)
Donated by Paddy Stewart

Although donor (and cowboy emeritus) Paddy Stewart refers to this as a “wannabe cowboy wine cellar” – due to the wine names and the label art – this is in truth a fine herd of hearty reds rounded up from California and the Okanagan Valley. And tasty as those reds are, what’s special is that they’ll be sipped by four lucky range riders who will be hosted by Paddy (at either his home in Victoria or Princeton) at a robust dinner featuring cannellini bean soup, beef stew, soda biscuits, pie & ice cream, and whiskey shooters. The lucky bidder gets to take this cowboy six-pack of wines home with him, plus will have identical wines served at the dinner.

And as anyone who already knows him is well aware, the value of a dinner hosted by Paddy can only be determined by the top bidder!

Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” Icewine: 2004 (Okanagan)
Donated by an anonymous donor, Value: $500

We’ll never know if the devil made them do it, but 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. With only 222 cases made, this ranks as one of the rarest wines in the world. And due to this rarity, no reviews of the wine are available. The official tasting notes identify “fresh berry with intense raisin” (although Stones fans will doubtless also note traces of brown sugar). Needless to say, though, as the Okanagan produces some of the planet’s finest icewines, you can expect this tipple to be ultra-premium – in other words, a thrillingly luscious and deeply fulfilling midnight rambler of a climax to any fine dinner. 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 for dinner on three separate occasions – so time will be on your side. Talk about satisfaction!

Vignettes by Robert Moyes