- Chef: Alex Chen
- Restaurant: Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver BC
- Pairing: Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
- Chef: Chris Whittaker
- Restaurant: Forage, Vancouver BC
- Pairing: Covert Farms 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oliver, BC
- Chef: Ned Bell
- Restaurant: YEW Seafood + Bar, Vancouver BC
- Pairing: Sea Star Vineyards 2014 Stella Maris Pender Island, BC
Culinary Report by James Chatto
Our fearless leader, Stephen Leckie, is wont to describe Gold Medal Plates’s Victoria event as one of the country’s great parties, the western equivalent to GMP St. John’s, and I’m not about to disagree. A storm had blown in off the Pacific the night before, taking down power lines, but all was restored by Thursday and a warm sun shone down from a placid blue sky as our super-efficient local and national teams set up the show in the Victoria Conference Centre. It turned out to be a superb evening, with Curt Harnett in top form as MC and the great Adam Kreek interviewing the dozens of athletes in attendance. And the music! We had our largest band ever on stage – and surely the entire room was on its feet dancing and pogoing when John Mann sang “Home for a Rest.” Up there with him was Jim Cuddy, Matthew Harder, Barney Bentall, Anne Lindsay, Sam Polley, Dustin Bentall, as well as Spirit of the West’s Tobin Frank on accordion and Daniel Lapp on trumpet and fiddle.
- Chef: Kristian Eligh
- Restaurant: Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver
- Paired Wine: Meyer Family Vineyards 2012 Tribute Series Chardonnay ‘Kelly Hrudey’ Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, BC
- Chef: Wesley Young
- Restaurant: Wildebeest, Vancouver
- Paired Wine: Cedar Creek 2011 Platinum ‘Block 2’ Pinot Noir
- Chef: Terry Pichor
- Restaurant: Sonora Resort, Sonora Island
- Paired Wine: Kanazawa Winery 2012 Nomu Naramata, BC
- Chef: Brian Skinner
- Restaurant: The Acorn (Vancouver)
- Paired Wine: Clos du Soleil Winery
- Chef: Darren Brown
- Restaurant: Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver)
- Paired Wine: JoieFarm
- Chef: Terry Pichor
Restaurant: Sonora Resort (Sonora Island)
- Paired Wine: Foxtrot Vineyard
Best Of Show
- Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
- CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 “The Chase” Bordeaux Style Blend Golden Mile Bench Oliver, BC
- Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewurztraminer, BC
David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor
Foxtrot Pinot Noir Takes it All in B.C.
A textbook Naramata pinot noir waltzed off with two top honours at the Victoria edition of Gold Medal Plates, winning Best Wine of Show as well as accompany gold medal winning chef Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar to the podium. The gorgeously appointed Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir placed in the top two of all five judges, sporting wonderful cherry fragrance beautifully integrated with oak accents. On top of which it showed great depth of flavour.
It stole the thunder in a very strong line-up of wines. In second spot, and again garnering votes from all five judges, came the impeccably balanced if not hugely powerful CC. Jentch 2013 The Chase, a blend of merlot and cabernet from the Okanagan Valley’s newly-minted Golden Mile Bench appellation. In third spot came Tinhorn Creek’s 2014 Gewurztraminer, a particularly fragrant and focused dry edition that has placed in other cities as well. Both runners-up were served during the Celebration portion of the evening.
The Best of Show Award is designed to showcase all the wines donated to the event (a complete list is below). In Victoria five judges gathered before the event to taste, rate and discuss the wines, beers and cocktails poured by the chefs, and donated to the VIP Reception and Celebration.
Three of the five judges were from Victoria. Sharon McLean is a leading wine educator teaching WSET and a partner in the Cru Consultancy with Treve Ring. Brent Muller is deep into his WSET studies and helping prepare for the imminent opening of Vessel Liquor Store. Daniel Stiefvater is a sommelier with Trialto Wines, one of Canada’s leading wine agencies. And from Vancouver we were joined by Sid Cross, a legendary wine taster and long-time judge of Canadian wine with the former Canadian Wine Awards. Sid doubled us as a culinary judge at the event as well.
There was great diversity across the line-up this night, with an even split of white and red wines. I was particularly intrigued by the range and quality of the “alternative” whites. There were no chardonnays, pinot gris or rieslings this night, showing a willingness by the BC chef community to venture into other less well known varieties that have a strong future in the province. I was very taken by the Joie Farm 2014 Muscat and a semillon by a new Okanagan winery called The Hatch.
But I was also intrigued by two Vancouver Island whites. Sea Star 2014 Stella Maris – which took a bronze medal after being thoughtfully paired with shellfish by veteran chef Ned Bell of YEW seafood + bar at the Vancouver Four Seasons – is a very finely tuned Alsatian-style blend of five local varieties including pinot gris, gewürztraminer, ortega and schoenberger – all grown on Pender Island. And from the Cowichan Valley came an exotic petit milo, a newly developed hybrid from the Blattner family of Swiss hybrids.
The Vancouver Island theme continued very strongly through the selection of fine beers from Vancouver Island Brewing, and in three different gin-based cocktails from local distillers. We were of course on home court of Victoria Gin, a national sponsor of Gold Medal Plates. But a new bourbon-barrel-aged gin from DeVine served by chef Castro Boetang turned the judges heads. Another cocktail by Okanagan Spirits Gin also wowed – an exotic beauty based on West Coast Spice Vermouth, blackcurrant, orange and juniper bitters.
Silver medal chef Chris Whittaker took the biggest red to the podium, a whopping, texturally very rich, organically grown 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon by Covert Hills of Oliver. And Gold medal chef Alex Chen, brilliantly matched the Foxtrot Pinot to a head-to-tail pork terrine, earning Foxtrot a berth at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna in February.
Here is a complete list of the Victoria wines, beers and spirits presented in judges tasting order.
Stoneboat Piano Brut Okanagan, BC
Sea Star Vineyards 2014 Stella Maris Pender Island, BC
Unsworth Vineyards 2014 Vintners Selection Petit Milo, Mill Bay, BC
Fairview Cellars 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Golden Mile Bench, Oliver BC
The Hatch 2014 ‘hobo series’ Semillon Kelowna, BC
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2014 Gewürztraminer
Joie Farm 2014 Muscat, Naramata Bench, BC
Fairview 2013 Crooked Post Pinot Noir, Golden Mile Bench, Oliver BC
Summerhill 2013 Organic Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
Calliope Figure 8 2014 Red, Okanagan Valley, BC
Hester Creek Block 3 Cabernet Franc Reserve, Okanagan Valley, BC
CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 “The Chase” Golden Mile Bench, BC
Covert Farms 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oliver, BC
Victoria Gin Classic Gin Martini
DeVine New Tom Barrel-Aged Gin Old Fashion Saanich, BC
Vancouver Island Brewery Islander Lager
Vancouver Island Brewery Mile High
Vancouver Island Brewery Hermann’s Dark Lager
- Lake Breeze 2010 Tempest Bordeaux Blend
- Tinhorn Creek 2010 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir
- Meyer Family Vineyards 2012 Tribute Series Chardonnay ‘Kelly Hrudey’ Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, BC
- Nichol Vineyard , 2010 Syrah, Naramata BC
- Le Vieux Pin Winery, 2011 Ava, Oliver BC
- CedarCreek 2011 Riesling, Kelowna BC