While a deluge of rain poured across the Lower Mainland last night, a steady stream of wine was flowing into eagerly-held glasses at the Pelican Bay Fall Wine Tasting at the Dockside Restaurant in the Granville Island Hotel. This popular wine-tasting event is hosted by the Coal Harbour Liquor Store, which boasts one of the largest selections of both local BC wine and international vintages. Nearly 20 B.C. wineries and distributors convened in the cozy and classy Dockside Restaurant to deliver an intimate and fun-filled evening.
Talk flowed as freely as wine as oenophiles tested their palettes on vintages from British Columbia, South America, Europe and elsewhere. The Dockside gala room is snug but not cramped, which gave the event a pleasant intimacy and allowed wine newbies to rub elbows with seasoned wine-lovers. The staff were pleasant, professional and efficient; the inevitable first glass that dropped and smashed was cleaned up immediately, with an appropriate amount of teasing.
Of particular note amongst the hefty selection of wines were:
Vina Zaco Rioja from Spain (I was never a fan of the hints of liquorice present in some wines, but this wine completely changed my mind)
Fort Berens Estate Chardonnay (dry, tart, but somehow full of flavour and a wonderful compliment to the puff pastries I snagged from a passing tray)
My top pick of the evening was the Paddy Borthwick Sauvignon Blanc, a full-bodied impressive white with notes of guava that would pair well with simple cheese or even an entire meal. Like many of the wines presented, this Sauv Blanc rings in at a reasonable $28.50.
The evening was catered by the Dockside Restaurant kitchen, a culinary powerhouse that served both the tasting event and a full house in the restaurant proper. Tasting guests nibbled on a constant stream of pastries, meats and spreads. The morsels were nearly all finished by the time they circulated the room, which is worthy of note for next year’s tardy tasting-goers (get there early!)
The Coal Harbour Liquor Store offers Pelican Bay tasting events in the both the fall and spring, and they host regular in-store tastings (the schedule of which can be found here) for those who missed out on this event.