This weekend I went up to Cornucopia. Cornucopia returns to Whistler to stylishly celebrate food and drink, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest. Cornucopia is owned by a not-for-profit and run as a charity benefit for the community, and this is their 25th year. I rode up to Whistler via Epic Rides, and it was packed for the long weekend!

Table of wines at Top Value Wines seminar at Whistler Cornucopia

My first wine seminar at Whistler Cornucopia was Top Value Wines. It was hosted by Tyler Dawson and Mya Brown, who is a Vancouver-based sommelier, consultant and hospitality mentor. The standout top value wines for me were CIU CIU Faerio Oris, Domaine Charvin Côtes du Rhône, and Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado. (I also quite liked the Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc). I have the top value wines all listed below and what were memorable about the wines Tyler and Mya introduced us all to.

Domaine Gayrard Les Bulles Mouzac Brut

This wine hails from Southwest France. When you think of good value, you think prosecco or cavo, but sparkling wine is one to add to that list. One historical legend is Don Perone learnt from this southwest region, and then came back to make his champagne. This wine is beautifully bright, with fruit notes like apple and melon, with yeastiness. The apple is what you smell in the glass, and it is a bit floral. A very fresh and lovely wine.

Recommend: CIU CIU Falerio Oris (2021)

This wine comes from the Adriatic side of Italy, so back of the knee. I absolutely savoured this almondy and floral wine. This is definitely on my list to get when serving fruit del mar (seafood) or anything crispy.

Recommend: Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc

This is a crowd pleaser wine. It is not a shy wine! It is aromatic and has a beautiful acidity. It cuts through richness, so if you’re having something heavy or buttery, this wine would be delicious. Mya also mentioned it pairs well with asparagus, which is not a common pairing but it works!

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado

You often think of rosé being a summer wine, but this is a winter rosé. It would pair well with rich stews and warm, meaty flavours. It has red fruit undertones, and it is not sweet, more crisp and buttery.

Hester Creek Old Vine Pinot Blanc

This wine tasted like ripe melon with apple blossom notes. You’re left with a lemon zest and crisp apple palate. This is a wine that would pair well with scallops or spot prawn citrus ceviche. Tyler mentioned that wine pioneer Joe Busnardo is long established in the wine culture in BC, so this wine and its vineyard has a rich history in our province.

O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Pinot Noir

Mya explained that pinot noir is made with the “heartbreak grape” – it is hard to grow well, and pinot noir doesn’t always work well over time. However, when you get it right, it is a fantastic bottle of wine. This Pinor Noir has moodiness but is ethereal and quite delicate. It would be good with mushrooms or beef bourguignon.

RECOMMEND: Domaine Charvin Côtes-du-Rhône 2019

I want to get this wine for secret santas for this Christmas, because the price point would fit! It is sweet, caramelly and upfront richness. It would go well with a simple butter sauce. It is a red wine that radiates fruit and youth from one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, one that has limitless amounts of sunshine.

UKO Select Cabarnet Sauvignon

I love why they picked this wine: it’s a good wine you can have with a cheeseburger and crush it with; or for the friend who wants to drink a whole bottle in one sitting. It is astringent, with tannin on the tongue and it flavours are cassis, tomato leaf, white pepper, and red fruit.

Mazzei Chianti Classico Riserva

This one had a pluminess, almost licorice taste to me. Other flavour notes I tasted were rich cherry tomatoes and fruit notes, with moderate to low astringency.

Epoque Terroir Monbazillac

To end, we had another wine from Southwest France. It is a sweet wine, which was light and aromatic. It delicate and floral notes almost remind me of a candy. It would go well with meringues, fresh fruit, things with honey, etc. This would be a good one for a winter cheeseboard. Personally, based on the wines I tend to like, this would be too sweet for me to drink on its own.