Column: Notable French wines to enjoy at the Vancouver Wine Festival

I was able to experience time travel last week as I was jettisoned one month into the future. The date was Feb. 24 and the place was Earl’s in Yaletown. My mission: to taste a selection of the wines that will be poured at this year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival.

To celebrate this amazing wine festival, I began with a celebratory glass of Taittinger Champagne Prélude Grand Crus Cuvée. This delicious bubbly is half Chardonnay and half Pinot Noir -- picked from the top vineyards in Champagne. Like most Champagnes it's a blend of several vintages which maintains a consistent style from year to year.

Aged for more than five years in the cellar, the Prélude Cuvée is unique for its remarkable youth and great wealth of flavours, with finesse and structure. Fine persistent bubbles, aromas of elderflowers, and flavours of citrus and ripe peaches greet the taster.

Clovis Taittinger, General Manager of this prestigious champagne house, will be at L’Instant Taittinger Dinner at Baccus Restaurant on Feb. 26 pouring the Prélude among other Taittinger bubblies.

A more humble but still appealing wine is Arthur Metz 2018 Sushi from Alsace. There’s no fish or rice in this Sushi. Instead there is a delicious blend of four white grapes: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat.

Known as Edelzwicker in Alsace, it’s an aromatic wine with great structure from the ample acids and delicious fruity flavours. Plus there’s a hint of sweetness to balance the acidity and complement the sushi rice and soy sauce.

You can taste Arthur Metz Sushi and meet their principal, Nicolas Haeffein at three events during the festival: Ca, c’ést cool on Feb. 25, the 17th Annual Award’s Lunch on Feb. 28, and Bon Appétit  on Feb. 29.

For Sauvignon Blanc fans, the Joseph Mellot 2018 Sancerre La Chatellenie is a delight. This family-owned estate in the Loire Valley dates back 500 years. That experience has made Domaine Josehp Mellot a prestigious ambassador for Sancerre.

The aromatic Sancerre is crisply textured, full of citrus fruit with a whiff of gunflint and a herbal, mineral edge. Along with its freshness and lively acidity, the wine shows a sense of structure. If you find New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc too overpowering, this French version is more suave with lots of finesse.

Oliver Rivain, Joseph Mellot’s Export Manager, will be pouring the Sancerre at Ca, c’ést cool on Feb. 25 and at Bon Appetit on Feb. 29.

Switching colours, I tasted a delicious red, Chateau D’Anielle Saint Emilion Grand Cru from the excellent 2015 vintage in Bordeaux. Produced from 81-per-cent Merlot and 19-per-cent Cabernet Franc, expect notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry combined with hints of tobacco, cinnamon, vanilla and toast. Medium-full bodied, round, and fresh.

You can learn more about this Bordeaux from Vanessa Aubert, Chateau D’Anielle’s owner at the French Terroir Talk Seminar on Feb. 28.

For more juicy details, visit https://vanwinefest.ca/

Eric Hanson is a Richmond wine journalist who has covered the Vancouver Wine Festival since the 1980’s.

© Richmond News