Usually when I fawn over things at the Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF), it's the wine, sometimes the entire winery. And with this year's theme country being France (yay!) there's no shortage of bottles I'm psyched for (like the Cornas from Rhone legend Jean-Luc Columbo or the perfect elegance of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne or the...well, let's just says there's a lot of good stuff).
But one thing that gets less focus is the personalities that the VIWF brings in, which is a shame because this year they have (with apologies to the great Jancis Robinson) perhaps the two greatest living wine writers in the world. And while I appreciate seeking out those who write about wine seems a bit inside baseball (and perhaps a tad self-serving), the truth is that those who spend their lives traversing the vineyards of the world have a keen insight into where the wine world is heading, which trends are here to stay and which are the oenological equivalent of Cabbage Patch Kids (cough, whisky barrel aging).
First up is Andrew Jefford, and anyone who's ever made the transition from curious sipper to full-fledged wine geek knows that Mondays mean one thing: it's the day Jefford's always insightful takes on the wine world drop on Decanter.com. It oscillates between the practical—how are Right Bank Bordeaux from 1998 drinking?—to the esoteric—a meditation on the art of barrel crafting—but there's always a great sense of wonder paired with a beautiful flowing lyric quality to his writing that harkens back to less crassly commercial time in wine, without ever seeming dated or stuffy. Here's a list of events that Jefford will be at.
Second up is Jefford's American counterpoint, Jon Bonné, who admittedly spends a large portion of the year in France working on his upcoming book The New French Wine. The title harkens back to his 2013 tome, The New California Wine, a book that upended the accepted gospel of wine in the Golden State (spoiler alert - it's much more than Napa Cabs). I think it's the best written wine book of the last decade and I was reminded of its influence when I recently noticed a bottle of Matthiasson Cortese on the wine list at the newly opened Published on Main, an obscure Napa bottle that appears here as a direct result of Bonné championing of the winery.
Nest week, we'll look at some wineries to search out, many chosen thanks to the insight provided from the above intellects.