Coming soon: NIC Third Course Bistro Casino Royale Wine Festival

  • Nov. 10, 2016 5:00 p.m.

North Island College ‘Third Course Bistro’ Wine Festival is coming to Campbell River Nov. 18.

Start with something light and bright like Lamberti Santepietre Pinot Grigio delle Vanezie (560524) $11.49 from Italy.  Aromas and flavours of pear and green apple slide into a chalky, minerality typical of Italian Pinot Grigio.

Keep a record of your favorite wines rather than trying to quaff down more of them. If you find a wine you really like, write it down and stick the information in your pocket. A quick pic on your cell phone is an excellent way to truly capture your favourites if you plan to buy them later to enjoy in the comfort and safety of your home.

A tasty and politically correct little Chilean red, like the organic Emiliana Adobe Syrah (5801) $13.99, would be a great start to tasting tantalizing red wines. A medley of cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant flavours ride on a base of smoky, spicy, peppery earthiness.

After a bevy of reds, nothing quite cleanses the palate like a sip or two of bubbly. Valdo Marca Oro Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore (550111) $20.49 is the purest expression of the Glera grape used in Trevino, Italy to make sparkling Prosecco.  Classically dry, it offers up subtle flavours of fresh sliced pear, green apple and apricot with an edge of chalky minerality in the finish.

As difficult as it may seem, don’t spritz up with perfume, cologne or aftershave before heading out for an evening of nibbling and sipping.  Even the subtlest of scents can confuse your sensitive nose and baffle your taste buds.  Not to mention the evil glares you’ll get from fellow wine enthusiasts standing next to you.

Get seriously local with a sip of Blue Grouse Quill Red (9712752) $18.40 a blend of Vancouver Island and Okanagan grapes – 54.5 per cent Merlot, 39.5 per cent Cabernet Franc and 6 per cent Marechal Foch add up to flavours of bright berry sliding into vanilla, coffee and cocoa.  No real surprise that the 2014 vintage was a Gold medal winner at the All Canadian Wine Awards!

Break up the streams of red wine you’ll be sampling with a refreshing sip of cider. Grown and crafted in Saanichton on Vancouver Island. Sea Cider’s Rumrunner (641993) $15.40 goes beyond apples with aromas of brown sugar and rum adding complexity to this semi-dry sparkling cider.

Spit two or three of every five ciders, brews or wines you sample if you can’t spit them all. At least some of the tastings should be just that – a taste. Think about carrying your own paper spitty coffee cup. This gets around the problem of cups not being available – or people ‘hogging’ the available spittoons. You can rinse your spit cup regularly with the water that is available at every table. Be sure to sample the breathtaking Stall Speed ‘Stick Shaker’ Syrah (606004) $49.85 from Comox’s 40 Knots. Made from Okanagan grown grapes and fermented in French puncheons this red wine shows a seductively soft melange of spicy blackberry and black cherry fruit flavours that slide into a lingering toasty finish.

Regardless of your intentions, when you’re sampling even a small fraction of the more than 750 wines, drink lots of water before you go and keep sipping as you work your way through the evening.  You’ll feel better for it in the morning.

Tickets to this gala event are $55 per person and are now available at the Merecroft Village Liquor store, Royal Coachman Liquor store, Gourmet Essentials, Metro Liquor stores at Timberline Village & Discovery Harbour (also online at – as well as at NIC`s Campbell River and Comox Valley campus bookstores. After experiencing the excitement of the North Island College ‘Third Course Bistro’ Wine Festival, you may be interested in arranging to attend the Vancouver International Wine Festival next February. A limited number of discounted advance tickets to the 39th Vancouver International Wine Festival went on sale November 1st. The festival runs February 11 to 19, 2017, welcoming 181 wineries from 16 countries. All wineries and their principals gather in the Tasting Room to showcase their wines at the four International Festival Tastings (February 16 to 18), available in advance for $5-$9 off the regular price until December 15, or while quantities last.

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