Dedicating 4 posts to one event says something about the event. Soon I'll return to my task of reviewing wine but first I need to finish my reviews. Last but certainly not least is the spirits we tried as well as an really cool cause we learned about that deserves some recognition.
I was there for the wine and not so much for the spirits but hey, I'm not going to turn down a taste or two. Our first stop of the night actually was Giffard out of France. They have a range of products and some really interesting liquers. I'm kicking myself for not trying their Cassis as it's apparently a popular aroma for wine (missed opportunity!) but we did try two of their premium liqueurs-- their Abricot de Rouisson (Apricot) and Ginger of the Indies. My mo and sister each got one. I tried the Apricot liquer first and while super sweet on the palate, was quite good and drinkable. As I watched my sister make a wretched face with hers, I took a sip of the Ginger liqueur and proceed to mimic her face. To be fair, the lady behind the desk made no bones about really needing to like ginger a lot to drink the drink. Of course my mom loved it. I on the other had such a disgusted face going on the lady behind the table gave me the apricot shooter to wash the taste out of my mouth. So I guess it depends if you like liqueurs or not. One I liked; one I'll only take again if I'm running a very serious cold and need to knock the crap out of it.
We had a few other liqueurs, most of my memory being that my throat was on fire (and mom was fine of course- she's a total trooper) but one spirit that does stand out for me in a very good way is the Smoked Salmon vodka from Alaska Distillery. At first we were really reluctant to try the product- by itself it doesn't sound very appealing. We stood there and hummed and hawed and watched the other reactions from those braver than us willing to try it. We spoke with a couple of guys (very good looking gentlemen I might add) who were sipping the drink and loving it. The table was also running low on the vodka so it was do or die. What convinced me though was not the vodka itself but what they were mixing it with-- Caesar mix! Yes, the Americans were making their product work with a very Canadian drink. So we all braved the mix and sipped....and loved! It added such a beautifuly smoky twist to my favourite cocktail. A marriage made in heaven. You get your nutrients and now your Omega 3 in your drink! This vodka is a definite recommend.
As we made our way back to the end of the room (our starting point), Kristin and I stopped by Corby Distilleries and checked out their wine selection. We tasted the Jacob's Creek Reserve Barossa Shiraz and it was just excellent. But to be honest, it wasn't the wine that impressed me but what we learned from the gentleman behind the table. We learned that they not only support a book club, but that they provide the wine for the book club as well. I know- a book club- big deal. But it's what this book club does that is so inspiring. The group is called "Read for the Cure", a book club started by a group of Toronto women who had just finished cancer treatment. The book club raises funds for cancer research. I love the idea and was pleased to hear that an Ottawa and Calgary chapter now exist. Who's in for starting an Edmonton chapter? (hint: me me me!). I do love that Corby Distilleries (through the Stoneleigh brand) supports such as great cause. And they certainly deserve recognition for that.
So there you have it! My review of the Festival. I love this Festival and look forward to it each and every year and if you haven't been, I certainly suggest that you do. Until next year....it's back to reaching my 100 wine milestone.