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Column: French, Italian and Chilean recommendations

Vancouver International Wine Festival returns in May
French, Italian and Chilean recommendations
The Paul Mas Vermentino and the Ruffino Orvieto will delight for pairing with seafood. For red meats, there’s the elegant Escudo Rojo.

Today we feature delicious wines from the south of France, Umbria in Italy, and Chile as well as some welcome news for local wine lovers!

Our first selection is the Paul Mas 2020 Vermentino, a vibrant and fruity white ($19.99; 89 points) from the Langeudoc region in the South of France. The Mas family began growing grapes in 1892 and in 2000, Jean-Claude Mas created Les Domaines Paul Mas from a small plot he inherited from his father, Paul. Today Paul Mas is a powerhouse producer boasting 15 chateaux and more than 20 brands.

With a light yellow colour, the Vermentino exhibits a fresh aroma of white flowers, lemons, and pears with a splash of vanilla. The medium-bodied dry white has a lemon verbena flavour with refreshing acid and minerals concluding with a fruity finish. Delicious with the PEI Mussels in garlic sauce, chorizo, and prawns I enjoyed last weekend.

Shifting south to Italy, we unscrew a bottle of Ruffino 2020 Orvieto Classico ($13.99; 88 points.) Made from indigenous Grechetto grapes in Umbria, it’s a charming wine with a citrus aroma. Possessing a light body with ripe lemon flavour there’s balanced acidity ending with a slightly bitter finish. Excellent served with the torpedo prawns and Pineapple Thai Sauce that I had recently.

Our final choice is a red that was once thought to be Merlot, but it wasn't! It was a Carmenere, a grape originally from the Medoc in Bordeaux. In the 19th century, it was transplanted to Chile where it was mistakenly labeled as Merlot. Eventually, DNA analysis confirmed its true identity.

The 2020 Escudo Rojo Carmenere by Baron Philippe de Rothschild ($19.99; 90 points) is a medium-bodied red with a dark crimson colour and an aroma full of red and black fruit along with a whiff of graphite. On the palate, there are ripe flavours of raspberries, black cherries, and black currants with tight tannins and a paprika spicy finish. Bring out the herb-crusted rack of lamb!

And now the great news for local wine lovers. After a two-year absence, the 2022 Vancouver International Wine Festival returns May 16- 22 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues around the city. It's the premium wine event in Canada and one of the top wine festivals in North America!

Tickets for the popular International Tastings (May 19-21) go on sale this Wednesday, March 2 at 9:30 a.m. Tickets for all the dozens of other public events will go on sale Wednesday, April 6 at 9:30 a.m. Watch for further updates, including any special ticketing processes for the popular Vintners Brunch.

All ticket prices include wine, food (if it’s a food event), gratuities, service charges, and taxes.

Proof of Vaccination is required to attend all festival events. Vaccination status will be checked via the BC Vaccine Passport and government-issued photo ID.

Please bring two pieces of ID (one with picture ID) to all events; all attendees must be 19 years or older and have proof. All ID must be government-issued and in original form (no copies or pictures).

Please check large bags and backpacks at the onsite coat check ($2) located beside the box office.

Be sure to reserve tickets on the first day as many events get sold out quickly. And enjoy the festival. It’s time to celebrate!