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Down Under pours and sculptural art


wine pour at the Australia Regional Round-up

At the Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, Jan 28 2011

Australia Day, apparently, was two days previous.

I can’t recall ever having heard of Australia Day before this year. But suddenly Vancouverites were treating it as though it’s an actual thing. So I did my part by attending a tasting of Australian wines, the first of three events Australia Wine is hosting in the coming months.

When we arrived early Friday evening, the Buschlen Mowatt Gallery on Georgia was knee-deep in eager imbibers. Les Amis du fromage had laid out a spread of cheeses, crackers, grapes and olives, sculptural art (by Romanian-born Canadian artist Sorel Etrog) bloomed on the walls and Aussie acts INXS and Men At Work whispered from the ceiling speakers.

Wine Australia Regiona Round-up Jan 28 at the Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver. Robyn Hanson photo

But the main attraction was 60 different pours from more than 30 vineyards. Most of the offerings were Cabernet Sauvignons, Shiraz, and Chardonnay, though I wasn’t paying enough to the whites.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the selection, this wine amateur stuck mostly to the reds, specifically the cabs. I was in search of something that would make me forget my current favourite while staying in the same price bracket (under $25).

Wine Australia Regiona Round-up Jan 28 at the Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver. Robyn Hanson photo

While I didn’t find something to steal me away from my beloved California cab J. Lohr, looking was certainly fun. I did come across an alternate to Wolf Trap, my go-to $16  choice; Next of Kin has a light, smooth feel and an aroma of blackberry and spice. On the high end of the price spectrum, the Dead Ringer Cabernet Sauvignon (retail approx. $60) from the Wirra Wirra region was delicious, with a lingering spicy flavour.

Two other wines, neither a cab, impressed. The Money Spider, a roussanne 2008 from D’Arenberg (available at Liberty Wine in Vancouver), was described by wine expert Robert Parker in these terms: “unoaked. Light gold-colored, it has an enticing bouquet of honey, candle wax, and melon aromas followed by a vibrant, ripe, smooth-textured wine with layers of flavor.” Couldn’t agree more, Bob.

A petite syrah (or “Durif”) from the Nugan Estate, described by the vineyard’s website as “deep crimson with a youthful hue,” was also a stand-out, though once again I’ll have to leave it to others – in this case, Nugan’s own website – for a proper description: “aromas of ripe raspberry, plum and cherry… with a generous palate of raspberry and plum pudding.” Easy to like, in other words.

The Money Spider wine bottle image

Wine Australia is hosting two more events in the coming months:

Event #2: Down Under Mix Up

Date: Friday, April 29th, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Details and Tickets available here: House Wine

Event #3: Summer Sipper

Date: Saturday, June 25th, 2011
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Details & Tickets available here: House Wine

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