Golden Plates 2020: Spring brings some fine wine bargains

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      After the one-two punch of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival and Vancouver International Wine Festival, both of which start off local wine enthusiasts’ year with a bang, the dust is indeed settling, but only so much.

      This shoulder season between winter and spring used to be a sleepy one, but it looks like there are plenty of vinous offerings around town, and many of them are quite the bargain.

      How much of a bargain? How does free grab ya?

      On Friday (March 13), between 3 and 7 p.m., step into the B.C. Liquor Store signature tasting room at their 39th Avenue and Cambie Street location for a complimentary tasting through a trio of wines from northern Italy. Representatives from the Venetian winery Masi will be pouring their Masi Campofiorin Ripasso 2015, a “super Venetian” chewy red made from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes; their fresh, lively, and berry-laden Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico 2018; plus their crisp and citrusy Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio Verduzzo delle Venezie 2018. The latter is also $3 off the regular price of $19.99 through March 28, so now is the time to stop in.

      Over at Everything Wine’s Vancouver location (8570 River District Crossing), representatives from British Columbia’s Lake Breeze winery will be pouring three wines from their portfolio on March 19 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Naramata-based winery has had winemaker Garron Elmes overseeing things during its two-and-a-half-decade existence, and putting Okanagan terroir in our glasses. Look forward to supping Lake Breeze’s juicy and toasty red Meritage 2017 blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec), plus its aromatic white “Spice Jar” 2018 blend of Gewürztraminer, Schönberger, and Viognier. Rounding out the flight is Elmes’s iconic Pinot Blanc 2018; he’s always had a way with the crisp, apple-and-pear driven variety.

      Got 10 bucks?

      Over in Davie Village, John Clerides’s Marquis Wine Cellars is hosting a small series of tasting events, each with a measly $10 price tag.

      Saturday (March 14) at 2 p.m., “Pacific Port” sees Fladgate Partnership brand manager Cynthia Opsal take attendees through the wonderful world of Portugal’s legendary port wine production, with a tour of white port, late-bottled vintage port, tawny port, and vintage port. Gems in the glass will include Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port and Fonseca 2012 Guimaraens Vintage Port. This one, as you may imagine, is going fast.

      Then on March 20 at 5:30 p.m., Aaron Krombholz from Summit Fine Wines will guide guests through a half-dozen Pinot Noirs from his portfolio. Highlights will include Oregon’s Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 and Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir 2016 from California.

      Capping things off on March 23 at 5:30 p.m. is a Negociants Australia tasting that looks like a dynamite way to start your week. Pewsey Vale 1961 Block Riesling 2018 is a tart and mineral-driven take on the grape from old vines steeped in quartz soils, while the 50-year-old vines responsible for Henschke Louis Semillon 2015 make for a dazzling white that’s built to age. Fans of big reds won’t be left out in the cold either: selections like Henschke “Henry’s Seven” Red 2016 and Yalumba “The Signature” Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2013 will be poured, among other selections.

      More information on all three of these tastings is at

      Finally, how about rolling up our sleeves and getting some skin in the game?

      On Thursday (March 12) at 6:30 p.m., Vancouver wine lovers will have the opportunity to do just that at Swirl Wine Store (1185 Mainland Street) in Yaletown. For $39.99, you get a seat at an interactive blending seminar with winemaker Mark Simpson of B.C. Wine Studio. First up, he’ll present a three-vintage vertical of his Bordeaux-inspired Siren’s Call Harmonious red wine, followed by a tutored tasting through each of its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Syrah components. After that, the fun really starts. After a discussion of vintage variation and various blending strategies, attendees will be able to create their own red blend, offering thoughts and inspiration for the upcoming 2018 edition of the wine.

      These exercises are always illuminating, quite educational, and a lot of fun, too! Visit to secure your spot.

      It’s always a great idea to keep an eye on the websites of local wine shops and to follow their social-media feeds. There are always fun events going on, with this week’s selections being just the tip of the iceberg. Cheers!