When & Where was Noir Fest?
On June 25, 2022, the first annual Noir Fest was hosted at Averill Creek Winery in the heart of Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. With the easing of Covid 19 restrictions, wine events are back. Two years is a long suffering period – from missed tastings to missed social interaction so it’s no wonder the energy and excitement behind Noir Fest 2022 hosted at Averill Creek winery in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island the last weekend in June. Not only was the event well attended by Pinot Noir producers – internationally, locally and regionally –but consumers found their way to this off the beaten path location in an up and coming wine destination.
The event featured Pinot Noir producers including Tantalus Vineyards, Martin’s Lane, Meyer Family and Anthony Buchanan to mention a few, with attendees from the Island and the Mainland. Fantastic food pairings were available from Arancini balls to skewered smoked pork belly, hot off the grill. It was delicious to taste and nosh.
Island Wine is a thing!
Who is raising the profile of this small BC wine region? It is the little big guys. It’s Unsworth Vineyards, now part of the Kendall Jackson Family of wines, Blue Grouse Winery owned by the passionate Brunner family and our host Averill Creek owned by Dr. Andy Johnson; all working in tandem to build reputation, to showcase unique terroir and climactic characteristics that emerge in the wine and to produce higher quality long lived wines that hold their own against benchmark styles from Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand and California. How do I know this? I attended the masterclasses lead by Kiwi Pinot superstar Larry McKenna that featured Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The morning masterclass featured six pinot noir with afternoon session featuring seven styles of Pinot Gris. Enjoying Pinot is a personal preference and without hidden labels the nuances amplified. Next year it would be brilliant to taste these wines blind and score them.
Tasting with Larry McKenna
Highlights from Larry McKenna’s presentation include the following:
Wines Tasted at the Noir Festival Pinot Noir Masterclass
Here is what we tasted along with my simple notes – six different styles from six different climates.