CORKAGE: Top Table’s “Director’s Series” And The Thrill Of Returning To Wine School

September 6, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

TASTED: Not available in stores but so fun to try recently was the ‘Director’s Series’ Viognier made at Laughing Stock. This wine was/is the result of a collaboration between the Naramata Bench producer and the Wine Director’s of the Top Table  restaurant group. Owen Knolton of West was kind enough to share the fruit of his labour with me. Very rich on the palate. He nailed the pretty apricot and floral notes perfectly. In exchange, I opened up a personal favourite Viognier of my own from Le Vieux Pin. Luxurious and mouth-coating, this wine is all about texture. Ripe stonefruit flavours give way to a long finish. (private wine stores, $44)

OVERHEARD: It’s back to school, even for the wine kids of Vancouver. The charming Mark Davidson (my very first wine educator) is hosting a fantastic program sponsored by Wines of Australia that began last week. My student peers include Jake Skakun, Iain Phillips (another former instructor of mine), and DJ Kearney, just to name a few. The six week immersion program will take us through all the different grape growing regions of Australia. This week’s homework: Clare and Eden Valley Rieslings, and cool climate Pinot Noirs. The Rieslings are frisky to say the least. Absolute bracing acidity with tantalizing flavours of lime pith, minerality and – dare I say it – petrol. I will go on record to say that I love this character in Riesling. I know not everyone is a fan but I can’t help myself. The Pinot Noirs were just as good. Tasting each was like walking through a tomato patch mingled with tobacco leaves and wet earth. Throw in a well seasoned steak and I felt I had the very essence of Australian Pinot Noir. I love school!

READ: During a conference on Monday, three major Canadian wine producers admitted they needed to provide “value priced wines” in order to continue competing with the international market…A final report has been released about a study I commented on in early August, and it looks like Wine Access has decided to hit the alarm bells on the lack of cooperation in the BC Wine Industry…Anthony Gismondi provides his opinion today on the recent attack of the BC Wine Industry…And yet here we are again playing hide the local wine as Wine Access releases their 2011 Killer Value Wines list…Mark Hicken provides his take on what it means…Wines of Argentina is coming to Vancouver at the end of September and tickets went on sale this week…Harvest has begun in Champagne, the earliest on record since 1822…UK Supermarket Waitrose places a bet on Indian wine and starts stocking their shelves with a Viognier and Syrah from Western India…And last, it’s the season for wine tastings! Mark your calendars: the annual favourite Chef Meets Grape takes place on September 22nd at the Vancouver Convention Centre.


Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

  • khristian


    Pit Masters and Pour Masters took place at the Waldorf 2 days ago.

  • Scout Magazine

    Right in the middle of my vacation, too. Thanks for the catch, and my bad for not getting Amorita’s post up sooner!

  • Dave

    Can the director series be the same one they serve at west? It is amazing but I paid $25 per glass so $44 per bottle seems very odd

  • amorita

    Different bottle of wine – the LVP V-R is $44.
    Also Pit Masters was amazin!