Decadent discoveries at the Fraser Valley Cork and Keg Festival

BC's top wine representatives at the Fraser Valley Cork and Keg festival introduced a dangerous trio of reds and an unexpectedly delicious bit of fizz destined to become your new obsessions of the season.

The Fraser Valley Cork and Keg Festival brought out the best B.C. wine agents have to offer for the second year in a row at Langley's Coast Hotel and Convention Centre.

What should I expect from a beer and wine festival? Never having been to one, I had a multitude of images in my head as I ascended the escalator of the Coast Hotel and Convention center in Langley.

I imagined mascots, girls in tiny shorts giving out shots...What I saw as I stepped into the hall was exactly the opposite but just as enjoyable, even if there was no giant dancing wine bottle to entice me.

The second annual Fraser Valley Cork and Keg festival brought out an impressive selection of wine agencies from all across the province, showcasing their prize products and new developments. 

An approachable and enthusiastic lot, the representatives spent the afternoon filling glasses and answering increasingly drunken questions about the wines they were promoting. 

Initially the crowd was sedate, but as glasses were repeatedly filled by the vendors the language became less ‘sommelier-esque.' Approximately an hour into the event I noticed the flowery adjectives decreasing and more and more of the previously composed were making weaving, giggly trips to the restroom. I have to admit, the more I sampled the more likely I was to just lick my lips and label the wines as ‘nice.' 

Like Cosmos and Bellinis, I’ve always considered white wine to be a quintessential girl drink best left for the ‘chick lit’ crowd. When Beth Doran of Authentic Wine and Spirit Merchants offered me a Moscato, I wrinkled my arrogant little nose.  She was insistent, sympathizing with my dislike of whites but stressing that this one was different.

 It was.

Australia's Yellow Tail winery has managed to produce a moscato that is almost nothing like its syrupy counterparts. It is certainly sweet with notes of peach, crushed green grapes and as the Yellow Tail folks describe it, flower petals. Although it sounds like it should be a perfume, it tastes light enough that the flavours mingle rather than overwhelm. This may be in part due to a light carbonation known as ‘frizzante.'  It doesn’t explode on the tongue with bubbles like a proscecco might, but rather it’s a pleasant tickle that gives what might otherwise be a wine cooler sweetness a very pleasant edge.

Although the season for white wine patio afternoons is rapidly leaving us, I imagine the Yellow Tail Moscato will be a welcome addition to holiday dinners. Either that, or it would make a perfect accompaniment to welcome private moments and cold turkey sandwiches layered with warm Brie and a smear of cranberry.

The Yellow Tail Moscato arrives in BC in mid October and will only be available at select wine merchants throughout Vancouver.

The notorious Zinfandel trio - all the fun of a hot date without the awkwardness 

Alexander Vineyards – Zinfandel Trio

In a room filled with sedate displays and polite but distant experts, Roberto Roberti of Purple Valley Imports was magnetic. His enthusiasm when explaining his agency’s extensive line bordered on passion, convincing me to try his unique trio of zinfandels with hardly a struggle.

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