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What Our Wine Writer Bought at Wine Fest

Because it’s one thing oohing and aahing about a bottle that was sent to you and it’s quite another when you’re spending your own $$$.

I have too much wine. My racks—and I have a lot of them—are full, bottles are on the floor and if I stopped buying wine right now I could probably get a handle on things in six months or so. And this was was the exact thought going through my mind when I hit the Vancouver International Wine Festival last week. But there was so much good wine and they have an onsite liquor store that stocks wines that may likely never be in B.C. again and…I buckled.

The wine I bought was one of my pre-festival picks, but to be fair, as I tasted through them I wasn’t batting 1000%. In particular the Rosso di Montalcino from the legendary producer Biondi Santi was a very hard-edged wine that, at $70, is more expensive than a full-blown Brunello di Montalcino from a great producer like Altesino. A miss.

But mostly I was spot-on. The Vietti Perbacco? Amazing and amazingly affordable. But it was two wines from Paolo Conterno—the basic Langhe Nebbiolo at $25 and the Barolo Ginestra at $52—they made me break my pledge. Partly it was because the Barolo was the last one on the shelf and my inner spoiled brat wanted to snag it, but mostly it was because both wines were just a one-way ticket to Piedmont—dark red, balsamic spice and tar. Ironically, Paolo Conterno might even be the third best Conterno making Barolo (Aldo Conterno and Giacomo Conterno are very heavy hitters in the region) but that’s like being the third best American politician named Roosevelt—no shame there.

And last Thursday that was enough for me to break my pledge and jam more bottles in an overcrowded cellar.

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