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Festival of Wines 2016 Roundup

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By Rosalynd Maguire

The Festival of Wines 2016 was another great success. I don’t think I tasted a bad wine all night! And although some wines were better than others, it was a great selection of some accessible well priced wines, and some wines which were delicious but probably out of reach for consumption on a Friday night due to their price. (But most definitely good gift items)

So here is my round up of what stood out for me:

Best white: Mount Riley, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. $21.99. So I have bias here, Sauvignon Blanc’s are my favorite whites, but this one I think would appeal to any white wine lover and maybe convert those who aren’t. A delicious wine.

Runner up best white: Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa. $24.99. A nice fruity, dry and refreshing at the same time.

Best sparkling: Cavicchioli Spumante, Italy. This was a very tasty sparking wine, which would satisfy both those who like dry and sweet wines. And let’s face it at $17.49 the price is right. It also has a really nicely decorated bottle, which makes it a nice and easy gift. I bought 2 at the end of the night.

Runner up best sparkling: Fat Bastard Sparking. $19.99. This one I was pleased to see at the festival. I love Fat Bastard wines. They are always great, no matter the variety. (My favorite Rose is a Fat Bastard wine, although it was not at the show.) Let’s face ,it saying Fat Bastard is fun too!

For my favorite reds, I’ll break my favorites down into 2 categories: Blended wine, and non-blends. There were actually some great blends at the festival so I think it’s important to highlight them on their own.

My favorite red blend: Young Brute, Australia. $18.99. This was a festival favorite too, which is why I gave it a shot and I wasn’t disappointed.

Runner up best red blend: bonfire hill, South Africa. $19.49. This is a wine even people who don’t like red wine would enjoy.

Favorite Red non-blend: Felicette, Grenache Rouge, France. $16.99. A really nice easy drinking wine for any day of the week and a decent price point.

Runner up best non blend: Les Meysonniers, Crozes-hermitage, Syrah, France. At $34.99 a bottle, you won’t buy one every week, or well I won’t (ahem) But this was a nice wine, a great gift or for a special occasion.

Favorite local wine: First I just want to say, we have great local wines in Nova Scotia. And yes, Luckett wines are good, and Nova 7 is good, but there are great wines outside these selections which I know lots of people forget. And in keeping with some of my previous comments about price point, St. Famille wine makers do some really nice wines for well under $20. My favorite, which happened to be at the show was their Baco Noir. $17.80. They have other nice wines which are available at most NSLC’s, so give them a try you won’t be disappointed.

And just for fun: Wine name of the night.

Two Hands, Sexy Beast, Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon. $33.99. I mean come on, a great bachelorette gift or funny present to someone who loves wine and has a slightly perverted sense of humor. By the way, it was a good tasting wine too.

Event highlight:

Cramming into an old school bus with 100 drunk middle aged adults. Who were giggling and babbling like teenagers. A really fun ending to a great night.

Best food of the night: The smoked mackerel dip served up by Willy Krauch’s. As an girl raised on the Eastern Shore, I was proud to see this represented at the festival. It could easily replace a crab or lobster dip without being to low brow or high brow. Accessible ingredients, a Maritime tradition, and now something new on my holiday menu.

Runner up: the mushroom tarts from kitchen door. First off they were huge for a sample. But they were also delicious! Really nice appetizer with great flavor. The pastry was buttery and the mushrooms were not, well.. mushy. Way to go kitchen door!

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