More than just a wine festival!

  • Jun. 1, 2017 2:30 a.m.

Just about a week left until the eighth annual Daybreak Rotary Wine and Blues Fest by the Sea!

It will be sizzling at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre, the evening of Saturday, June 10 from 7-9:30 p.m.

As well as being an enchanting evening, the Wine & Blues Fest by the Sea is a fund raiser for Campbell River’s Daybreak Rotary. This year’s Wine & Blues Fest will showcase sippers from around the wine world, with a definite focus on our own wines, grown and cellared in British Columbia.

Proving that quality BC wines don’t need to be expensive, Ganton & Larsen Prospect ‘Council’s’ Punch’ Sauvignon Blanc (402305) $9.49 boasts a medley of fresh fruit flavours with melon and kiwi fruit leading the punch bowl. There’s none of that overly ‘grassy’ character that marks many New Zealand versions.

Intensely aromatic, Desert Hills Gewurztraminer (680827) 24.20 opens with the sweet scent of rose petals and slides into fresh-peeled lychee fruit, guava and mango. Those same luscious flavours jostle for dominance as this off-dry white wine slides across your tongue.

Keeping it seriously local, some fine wines are grown and finished on Vancouver Island. Choosing the right varieties for this ‘cool climate’ region ensures that the wines are crisp and refreshing, regardless of the seductive berry fruit aromas and flavours.

Made in a light and dry style from 100 per cent Cowichan Valley grown Gamay Noir, Blue Grouse’s Quill Rosé (170316) $17.49 has a bright redcurrant colour with ripe fruit aromas of raspberry and cranberry and a touch of summer rose petal. Surprisingly lush fresh strawberry flavours lead into candied fruit and rhubarb.

Between sips, enjoy the live music of David Gogo – recently awarded Guitarist of the Year at the 2017 Maple Blues Awards in Toronto! From his home base in Nanaimo, Gogo has been busy touring through Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and across British Columbia since the beginning of the year.

Many BC Pinot Gris wines are white – but the richest of them have a wisp of the pink colour of the fully ripe grape. The French term for this faint orange-tinged pink is ‘oeil de perdrix’. Nichol Vineyards Pinot Gris (895938) $20.40 offers up apple pie, melon, peach and subtle ginger and cardamom notes.

Some of these difficult to find wines will be available to buy on-site at Metro Liquor’s ‘pop-up’ store!

On loan from the Daybreak Rotary Wine and Blues Fest’s primary sponsor – Metro Liquor – WineWise’s own Doug Sloan will be offering a pair of structured lightning tasting seminars during the evening. Seating is limited. Sign up for one or both of the seminars when you arrive – before you become distracted by the sipping selections!

As well as craft beers for sampling from Vancouver’s Russell Brewing, Victoria’s Hoyne Brewing and Campbell River’s Beach Fire Brewing and Nosh House, there will be a wide variety of red wines to tantalize the taste buds.

A very British Columbian, Okanagan Valley kind of red blend of 65 per cent Cabernet Franc and 35 per cent Merlot, Perseus Cabernet Merlot (849273) $17.79 is a fully fruited mouthful of red, blue and blackberry fruit notes. Don’t even think about cellaring this easy drinking red – open one next time you fire up the barbeque!

Nagging Doubt is a true, artisanal wine – a rigorous, passionate endeavour from winemaker Rob Westbury. Rob and his team make their wines by hand, using a combination of modern and centuries-old winemaking techniques, including natural fermentations and foot stomping.

A more classically Bordeaux kind of blended red, Nagging Doubt’s ‘The Pull’ (414938) $30.95 takes 40 per cent Merlot and adds 28 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 per cent Petit Verdot, 8 per cent Cabernet Franc and 7 per cent Malbec. Full bodied and complex, the 2014 vintage was aged 19 months in new and neutral French oak. Aromas of black cherry, damson plum, blackberry and cloves carry through into that first sip.

Tickets to the 8th annual Daybreak Rotary Wine and Blues Fest by the Sea are $55 and available at the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River. Enjoy attending wine pairing seminars, samplings of specialty wines, door prizes and a silent auction and – of course! – free taxi service home within the Campbell River area after the event.

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