Playhouse Wine Festival: Day 2

More sparkle than a chandelier shop.

Between the rounds groaning with glassware, the diamond tennis bracelets, the crystal rooted flowering centerpieces and the glimmer of dozens of precious bottles (worth tens of thousands), the ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was literally aglow. So was the well dressed crowd, fuelled by 10 wines, 5 courses, a live auction and the vinous company.

Bacchanalia (1) is an ancient Roman festival in honour of Bacchus, God of wine. Fast forward a few millennia, and you have Bacchanalia (2) – the annual gala dinner and auction benefitting the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company. Western Canada’s leading theatre company receives all of the proceeds from the Gala. Since the inception of the event in 1979, the Festival has raised over $7.3 million for the Playhouse, helping it to mount 231 theatrical productions and create extensive educational and community outreach programs. Attendees were a mix of arts patrons, gourmet connoisseurs and wine collectors. And as the wines kept flowing (two thoughtfully paired to each of Chef de Cuisine Joseph Schefer’s rich menu), the purse strings loosened and the silent and live auction bids rose higher. I lost out on my low ball, straw-grasping bid for a special bottle of Graham’s 1963 Vintage Port, but did glom onto my good friend and his successful bid for a bottle of 2008 Dominio de Pingus (to be enjoyed over dinner chez Treve ca. 2016-2033). The auction lots were a nice mix of old world and new – dusty Bordeaux and iconic Australian, signed magnums and crated BC offerings – suitable for all audiences and tastes.

~ Bacchanalia Gala Dinner Menu ~


J Brut Russian River Rose NV California


Caramelized Pear with Walnut, Arugula & Butter lettuce,
Vancouver Island Bleu Claire Cheese, Raspberry and Citrus oil

Paired with:

Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2007 Australia

Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2009 France


Winter Squash Risotto with Butter poached Nova Scotia Lobster,
Fennel Confit and Chive Cream

Paired with:

Antinori Cervaro Della Sala, Umbria IGT 2009 Italy

Grand Cru Les Blanchots Domaine Laroche 2008 France


Nicola Valley Venison Medallions, Chilean Dried Cherry and Carmenere  Wine Sauce,
Celeriac and Yukon mash, Forest mushroom and root vegetable

Paired with:

M. Chapoutier La Bernardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 France

Undurraga Terroir Hunter Maule Valley Carignan 2009 Chile


Assorted Cheeses by Les amis du fromage, Pisco and Honey glazed Figs, Leslie Stowe Crisps

Paired with:

Louis M Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 California

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008 California


Duo of Chocolate
South American Organic Dark with Orange
White Chocolate with Passion fruit

Paired with:

De Bortoli Noble One 2008, Australia

My favourite wine, fittingly for this year, was Chilean. The Undurraga Terroir Hunter Carignan 2009 from Maule Valley enticed with its purity, alluring earthiness, focused sweet cherry and refined, fresh minerality. The 50 year old, ungrafted, dry-farmed vines, from decomposing granitic soils were minimally treated in the winery, allowing the sense of place and character of these vines to shine. Terroir Hunter isn’t found on our store shelves, but will be available for purchase in the Festival Wine Shop, open for sales during the International Festival Tasting on Thursday and Friday this week. Uncovered gems like this go fast, so be sure to get to the Shop early to unearth a few special finds.


The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival  is one of North America’s largest and greatest celebrations of wine. This year from February 27 to March 4, the theme country is Chile and the focus is Cabernet(s). EAT will be on site for the whole week, with daily posts, DRINKs, tweets and updates live from the festival.



Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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