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Brun-hello? It’s me. San Francisco and a throwback to 12 bottles

You guys! It's been around three weeks since I've arrived in San Francisco for what I've been telling everyone are secret wine projects. Which they are. It hasn't really kicked in that I'm here yet, to be honest, and the whole city just seems like a stretched-out Vancouver with Inception-like shifting of buildings. And much less green. It's like Vancouver and San Francisco were made from the same grape - but clearly have different expressions - like Chianti and Brunello, or something. [caption id="attachment_6111" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] vermouth![/caption] And it's fucking tech central, you guys. I mean - yes, obviously - but have you seen HBO's Silicon Valley? I'm convinced that it's not satire. Attempting to suavely grab a baby carrot while maintaining eye contact during someone's pitch during a Stanford mixer, and...

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Gamay Noir: the Sansa Stark of Wine Grapes

(The night is dark and full of small spoilers. Tread carefully past the picture for the wines!) I mention Beaujolais to people - in the same way that I might bring up Sansa Stark in a Game of Thrones discussion - and I watch as faces crinkle before I make my case for the dark horses. Gamay is a red grape that hails from the Beaujolais region in France (and Sansa hails from Winterfell, but you knew that), and it's fashionable to dislike Beaujolais. The ditzy Beaujolais Nouveau variations of the 1970s and 1980s - all laden with pear drops, banana, and bubble gum flavours from carbonic maceration - once represented half of all Beaujolais sold. It's since dropped to around a third, but I...

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Rosé? For spring? Groundbreaking.

Seminar led by the Wine Diva, but I'm quoting diva Meryl Streep, obviously. If you didn't get that reference then why are we even friends? But really: I would wholeheartedly pair The Devil Wears Prada with a Loire wine. You'd need something light - maybe aloof - yet cutting, and dry. Also, that movie turns 10 this year? What? I've once again come a little too underdressed for such an event, but I can't help it because it's muggy, sunny, and I like mesh a little too much. Cool off with Loire wines? Probably one of the favourite French areas of from last year's Europe trip. My wallet cried. Anyways, I think my main point here is that people need to get excited about weird Chenin...

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24 wines for turning 24

This post serves two purposes: a sincere smile-and-nod to the 23rd year of my life, and a spring cleaning wine dump of, coincidentally, a number of bottles that equals the number of anniversaries since I was pushed out of my mother. Alas. The past prime number of a year has been good to me, and I'm stoked for the next. Beyond this whole becoming-an-adult thing, I've done many things including completing the WSET Diploma (i hate to keep mentioning about it - but perhaps the youngest in BC to do so!), changing jobs, travelling to New York, travelling to France, travelling to Spain, and other things that would probably be best not to put on the internet. Heh. And home. Oh God - connecting to your...

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The good, the bad, and the bubbly: 9 bottles to bathe in

Okay - not literally, obviously, but I'm waiting for Gwyneth Paltrow's new beauty regime that involves using a specific wines as exfoliants and face mask ingredients. Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet? Fuck that, she would say, with the flick of a finger. Chassagne-Montrachet is where it's at. Or blanc de blancs Champagne, only from the 1996 vintage. And, of course, cucumber slices. Maybe an avocado. Anyways, here's a random collection of bub. I've finally tried a legit sparkling Nebbiolo after having joked about it for so long, and then there's also a birth year bottle of Dom Pérignon, a stunningly electric sparkling British Columbian Riesling, and a collection of other cool and uncool bottles. It's become suddenly warm in Vancouver, and I broke the summer hiking...

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8 Variations on Braida’s Barbera, the Arya Stark of Wine Grapes

(Spoiler alert, sort of! Seek refuge underneath the picture below to avoid such things.) I always saw Barbera as the Arya Stark to Sansa Stark's Gamay Noir. It's neither the king nor the queen of Italy's Piedmont, which, in effect, belongs to Nebbiolo's Barolo and Barbaresco, but it's also not the bourgeois Dolcetto. No: I see Barbera as a trick, a ninja often producing wines unfortunately crafted into expressions that are sour and thin and second or third-rate, when in fact, it can produce wines with such concentration and shrill acidity, you'd swear that your mouth was being deliciously pierced by castle-forged steel. It's a grape that brings in cash for producers while Nebbiolo unfurls itself in the cellar. And, when it's oaked - a...

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You can’t spell “Amarone” without “moan”: on 18 bottles at the 2016 VIWF

I don't know what my point is. Amarone is great before sex? In lieu of it? During, as a suggested pairing that I'd secretly sneak into some conservative wine magazine one day? Maybe, if your sex consists of dark chocolate, Careless Whisper, and a comfy mattress. Which, let's be real: Amarone is basically a liquid version of such. The northeastern Italian wine, a style of Valpolicella, is famed for producing sumptuous Corvina-based wines from dried grapes. My tasting notes usually consist of some kind of full texture, a handful of dried fruit, some level of chocolate, a variety of spices, and present structure that never tears the mouth apart. I'm tasting (almost) all of them at the Vancouver International Wine Festival (like I did...

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20 Prosecchi because Champagne is hella expensive and it’s only Tuesday

The thing is that Prosecco can be like a Top 40 pop star whose songs all start sounding the same, which isn't a bad thing - because I will literally dance to 80s Madonna even if it starts to play during a formal speech by the Prime Minister - in the same way that I'd down Prosecco regardless of the occasion. But yes: like Champagne, Prosecco seems to be all in the branding, but unlike the French bubbly, I feel that the Italian counterpart lacks a depth of individualism within its style. Of course, there exists the distinction between the higher-quality Conegliano and Valdobbiadene regions, the former that yields fruitier wines with some bitterness, and the latter being a bit more floral and...

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“1000 Years in Tuscany”: Getting Sangio-crazy with Barone Francesco Ricasoli

I was never really a history buff in high school. What I did, though, was take all of the sciences and maths unnecessarily earlier than I needed to, during, which I hate to admit, the coinciding apogee of the Big Bang Theory. I once took pride in every comparison to Leonard Hofstadter I received in university - which was purely from a fashion standpoint, of course - because I realized how dull I found quantum mechanics. Cringeworthy half-stories aside, I really mean to say that I've totally reversed: I've started to appreciate history in general as I got deeper into wine, and sometimes it's such a shame that having serious game plans to taste wines means I have to skip principals and their stories. So I'm glad for...

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12 other white Italian grapes for when you’re over Pinot Grigio

It's clear that we've taken a departure from the experimental seminars of 2015's Australia to the tacit themes of longevity and traditionalism of 2016's theme of Italy for the Vancouver International Wine Festival. It's expected that the colossal tasting room is skewed towards the stars of Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto, so this leaves the underdogs few and far between. There is not one Dolcetto (yeah I know: who cares) nor one pearl-clutching Franciacorta being poured during the whole festival, nor are there enough Montepulciano for me to make a terrible d'Ab(ruzzo) joke, so last year's boner for Australian Touriga Nacional would have to be partially satiated by a seminar on all things white and distinctively not Pinot Grigio. I often find the whites of...

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