Pinot Perfection

Quails’ Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 – $45

The Stewart family pioneered Pinot Noir in B.C., planting the first vines near Kelowna in 1975, slowly turning the grape into a wine that made the winery’s reputation. The Family Reserve is selected from the choicest lots and aged in Burgundian barrels-it’s a perennial medal winner. The 2006 vintage is
seductively long, rich and round, full of savoury, spicy plum flavours, spiked with mushroom and tobacco. Winemaker Grant Stanley enjoys it with an updated classic-roast duck breast with a reduction of Okanagan cherries. Specialty listing

Mt. Boucherie Summit Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 – $20

Mt. Boucherie is one of those unsung Okanagan wineries delivering way more value than the price of its wines suggests. Well known for its Gewürztraminer, Mt. Boucherie also does a Pinot, from the Gidda family’s Similkameen vineyard, that’s attracting all the attention, snagging a gold at the 2008 Canadian Wine Awards. It is earthy, even lusty, all cherries, coffee, and anise with mushroom notes that make it appealing with lamb chops or rabbit in mustard sauce. At the winery and private wine stores only

RED & WHITE: Harry Hertscheg, Executive Director, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

The wine world comes to Vancouver for a week of tastings, dinners, and seminars, showcasing more than 1,700 wines from 15 countries. Executive director Harry Hertscheg won’t manage to hit all 61 events (“It’s like organizing 61 weddings. There are such high expectations—producers and consumers, they all want a transformative experience”), but he’ll be there making sure that everyone is happy and leaves with a taste for more, and better, wine. This is the eighth Playhouse festival he’s presided over, though he’s been attending for more than 20 years. Wine is now part of his everyday life, changing with the seasons—Riesling in summer, Pinot Noir in fall, Syrah in winter, and, for these days, Sauvignon Blanc. “It’s fresh, it’s crisp, and those brisk green flavours signal spring.”