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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Diva(s) at the Met

"Every bottle tells a story."

A popular phrase in the wine industry and a view of wine that I share, however, it must be noted that not every story is well written or entertaining. At the 4th annual Diva(s) at the Met event, part of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival program, the audience was treated to 6 stories authored by 6 accomplished and entertaining women who shared their personal connection to the products on offer and to the industry they love, one so often dominated by men.

Hosted by Vancouver's Daenna Van Mulligan, better known as The Wine Diva (@TheWineDiva), the evening is equal parts pious and playful. At the heart of it Diva(s) at the Met shines a deserved spotlight on the talented and extremely passionate women who work in wine alloting them a showcase to do what women do best; share. Sharing their personal stories, their history, their knowledge and sharing their passion for wine that transcends gender inequality and serves to inspire more women to join the profession. 6 stories, all charming in their own way.

#1 - Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Columbia Valley Chardonnay - 86pts
This buttery, orchard-fruit-aplenty Chardonnay from Washington State's largest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle was presented by export manager Alexandra LaFontaine who discussed her long circle back to wine after following a few boys around the world and working in other industries. A fairly straight-forward Chardonnay with nice acid and MLF notes.

#2 - Peller Estates 2009 Rivate Reserve Syrah - 87pts
Stephanie Leinemann, the winemaker at Peller Estates Okanagan, was up next and presented a very drinkable, medium-bodied Syrah from the winery's Private Reserve line. Stephanie represents a generation of winemakers who are in their first career and who were charmed by the industry at a younger age. After studying at Brock University she returned to her native Okanagan to work for Peller. Simple and satisfying, this Syrah offers good typicity for the variety in BC for under $20.

#3 - Bodega Elias Mora 2007 Gran Elias Mora - 90-91pts
Wine #3 was presented by both the exporter, Natalie Bonhomme (also an accomplished winemaker with her own label) and by the winemaker herself, Victoria Benavides, a petite and charming women sporting bright lipstick red shoes. In broken English, Victoria described her passion for winemaking and for her excellent flagship wine, the Gran Elias Mora, a delicious, feminine and tannic Tempranillo produced in the Toro region of Spain. Unfortunately, this wine is not available in Canada.

#4 - Lapostelle 2010 Cuvee Alexandre Carmenere - 89+pts
A serious and oaky Carmenere presented by the winemaker, Andrea Leon Iriarte, a woman who found great success in the wine industry at a young age and could have settled in any of the world's major regions (of which she worked many). She chose, however, to return to her native Chile to start a family and produce world renown wines all the same. Sadly, another wine fest bottle that is not available in Canada

#5 - Bergevin Lane 2009 Wild Child Merlot - 88pts
Annette Bergevin, one third of the ownership group of Walla Walla winery Bergevin Lane, presented the firm's entry level Merlot, a tasty wine that opened up through the evening but one that suffered from a surprisingly short and forgettable finish. Annette focused her story on the formation of the winery with
business partner Amber Lane and her grape-growing father Gary Bergevin. The famed Canoe Ridge vineyard is their playground and offers a unique terroir to explore and cultivate into their multi-tiered line of wines.

#6 - Yalumba Wines 2007 "The Menzies" Cabernet Sauvignon - 91pts
As the last presenter, Jane Ferrari, the communications director for Australia's Yalumba, stole the show by going with a well executed comedic tale rather than deliver the 6th "how I got into wine" story of the evening. A seasoned veteran of the personal approach to selling wine, Jane spoke mostly about the family behind the Yalumba brand, the Smith family from Angaston, adding a relatable element to the fine Cabernet Sauvignon that finished off the evening. Fairly light for an Aussie Cab, the wine comes from Coonawarra fruit grown on limestone vineyards. Has the weight and refinement of a fine super Tuscan.

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