One of my favourite wine events is always the California Wine Fair at the Fairmont Royal York. The line-up of great wines never fails to impress and it’s a wonderful opportunity to taste through a large variety of wines in a casual, but informative atmosphere. Shawn and I were thrilled to check out new vintages from some of the wineries we visited in California last year and to discover some new favourites.
While there was no way to taste through all the wines presented, the photos below represent some of the ones we most enjoyed. Many are available through the LCBO and all are available via agent.
It was a little too far for Shawn and I to get to the Francis Ford Coppola winery when we visited California, so it was nice to taste the 2013 Sophia rosé at the event. This wine has a surprisingly good price-point at $19.95 and is a nice fruit-forward option for summer patio dining. Plus, the bottle is really pretty (yes, I'm a sucker for a nice presentation).
Prior to our trip, I hadn't really considered California Sauvignon Blanc all that much - I was more likely to grab a bottle from New Zealand. But having tried several over the past year, I'm definitely a convert. The St. Supéry 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was a great example of how good California Sauvignon Blanc can be - crisp, refreshing and very well-balanced. This wine was a highlight of the event for me. It's currently only available via agent in Toronto, but I hope that will change soon.
By now, you are likely well-aware of my appreciation of the wines of Daou Vineyards in Paso Robles, so I enjoyed the opportunity to taste their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a lovely full-bodied red that speaks to the lovely region from which it hails. I was disappointed to learn that Daou's delicious white Grenache is still not available in Ontario, but perhaps one day. This winery is well worth a visit if you are in Paso.
Another Paso Robles favourite is Hope Family Vineyards. They were not sampling Troublemaker, one of my personal picks from the winery, but the Liberty School wines are a great option for a value-priced California wine and I was pleased to hear they now have some availability via the LCBO in Canada.
Another winery on our California wish-list was Bonny Doon, which makes wines that are always interesting. However, it is the Bircihino line that always seems to steal my heart at the California Wine Fair. Winemaker Alex Krause was in attendance to represent both wineries and, as always, it was a pleasure to learn more about the latest vintages from the always irreverent Bonny Doon and the lovely Birichino. I particularly liked this floral and nuanced Malvasia Bianca. Having recently tasted a Croatian Malvasia that didn't impress, I was interested to see how another winemaker in a different region could make the grape truly sing. Birichino wines are difficult to find in Canada, so I hope we can plan a visit on our next California adventure.
Jordan Winery was a huge presence at the last Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara and it was so nice to see them make an entry into the Ontario wine scene. You may recognize this Alexander Valley winery from their very fun "Blurred Vines" parody on YouTube or from their appearances on Cougar Town (yep, I check out the labels that pop up on the Courtney Cox comedy) and they are wines worth seeking out.
Right now the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are available via agent and I've got my fingers crossed they will pop up on store shelves soon. These are well-made wines from a winery that embraces the experience of wine - no doubt why they're one of TripAdvisor's Top 10 Winery Tours and Wine Enthusiast's American Winery of the Year.
So those were a few wines Shawn and I enjoyed at the show - do you have a favourite California wine? Share it below or in the comments on social!