Port of Wines Festival 2013 – Featuring Italy

Happy Belated World Vegetarian Day! Did you know that October is also Pitbull and GMO Awareness month? I didn’t either, well until just recently. I came to realize that coupled with Halloween, October is on the fast track to being one of my favorite months of the year. If you live in Canada you might also be excited for Thanksgiving, because that is next weekend and like any good food blogger worth their salt, I do love to eat.

IMG_5219Last night I went out with a good friend, we started by trying out a new vegan restaurant in town called enVie. The food, service and atmosphere was all incredible and if you live in Halifax please check it out! Even if you are not vegan/vegetarian you will enjoy the inventive food and classic cocktails. I had a corpse reviver cocktail which was fresh and well-balanced, we spit their charcuterie board and each ended up getting their Rueban with a side kale ceasar, all delicious and really filling.

IMG_5220The main event however was to go see Dan Savage for The Coast‘s 20th year anniversary, which was absolutely amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to see Dan Savage live, do it, and take you friends. Not only is he smart and poignant but he is down right hilarious; my face still hurts from laughing.

IMG_5230This weekend kicks off  Yoga Week (cheap yoga across the city) I’ve been planning a baby shower that is happening this weekend, and before that I’m attending a baseball tournament supper. Breathe, in and out, repeat.

Port of Wines 2013

October is officially for crazy people so I vote to recap the highlights/low-lights of the Port of Wines fest this year which just happened at the end of September. The feature country was Italy (my fav!) which has so many grape varietals made in so many different styles I was in heaven. If you are interested in what wine was available you can see the tasting booklet here (although it may become unavailable in the coming years). You may be able to still get some of this wine around Halifax, I’d ask the NSLC employees what came in from the wine-fest, particularly if they are selling wine that they won’t be getting anymore in.

IMG_5179High-Lights

The wine fest is always well put together and with this being my second year going I felt like I was more than prepared to navigate the crowds, taste what I wanted, pick up what I wanted and have a lovely night. Last year (see my post here) feature country was Chile so I couldn’t eat anything the chefs prepared, although I was happy to munch on veggies, crackers and an assortment of cheeses in between my wine tasting. This year,  due to the feature country or some feedback from the patrons I could actually eat somethings at the hot food tables (flat bread and an amazing mushroom ravioli). Kudos to you chefs for making some awesome Italian food, vegetarian!

If you have not been to the Port of Wine fest before, they organize  the Cunard Center into tables that represent individual countries. The feature country is always at the far end, and it’s usually broken down into regions of the country. The servers (regardless of where they are) are always great. They are friendly, knowledgeable and excited about wine.  In the Northern Italian section this year we were loved up and paraded through the country side trying valpolicella and then offering to compare already beautiful wines with their well-to-do big brothers, amarone. By the time we left northern Italy, I needed a food bread then back to Central and the South to complete our Italian tour.

Some of the wines I loved:

Low-Lights

Now onto things that weren’t great but didn’t ruin the overall experience. The food wasn’t labelled well and since food lines were long it was kind of frustrating. I stood in line for a few minutes because the tables advertised a flat-bread with torched mozzarella  and arancini. While I could eat the flat bread the aracini came with a side of peas cooked with bacon and had bacon in the arancini so I kind of waited for nothing.

I have to say I did a horrible job keeping track of the wines I tasted but I kind of gave up. The first table we went to was Portugal and the representative told us we would have to come back for certain Ports because they over poured the last two shows and only had three bottles left. When I got to France, which was literally the next set of tables, I couldn’t find the wines I wanted to try because the table indicators were mixed up and each server only knew their wines. It made hard to find what I was looking for and also hard to find the wine I just tasted in my book. The theme seemed to continue until we hit Italy which was better organized but really hard to navigate because it was the feature country.

By no fault of the event planners I didn’t even make it to Nova Scotia or Cananda. I had plans too and really wanted to dig into some Sandhill wines but the Italians loved me up with samples, no complaints there.

The award-winning wines were few and far between, it was hard to access them, a lot of them were not there because they seem to have over poured at the previous two tastings and they were completely out at the store even when we arrived before the show to check them out.

IMG_5190Summary and What I Bought

I really did have a great time. I took my mother and a two close friends and we made a really good evening for ourselves. I ended up picking out four bottles to bring home, plus a free presecco. I was really excited to have some special wines for a future occasion however the next morning, I realized most of them were available to buy all year in Nova Scotia. I can look at this two ways,  if I really love them I can get them again, but I really like to buy exclusive wines when I have the chance so I was minor-ly disappointed. Next year I’m going to try to go to the Friday or Saturday afternoon show to try to sample the top picks and hopefully come home with a few. I’m going to follow-up with detailed reviews of these wines later in the year. Stay-tuned.

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One thought on “Port of Wines Festival 2013 – Featuring Italy

  1. Pingback: Teanum Otre Primitivo 2011 | V-Spot

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