Top Drop comes to Whistler 

Unique event highlights unique wines

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Choosing the right wine can be a daunting experience, unless you are a bit of an aficionado about the grape.

Often one finds oneself standing in front of rows and rows of bottles, most with interesting or captivating labels, pondering the choice, or poring over a long wine list hoping help will arrive soon in the from of a sommelier.

Really, these days it's hard to buy a bad wine since so much time is spent curating the product from the marketing room to the shelf.

Many wines are almost made to order. But that can mean the loss of the unique personality of a wine — if you like the loss of its soul, or story.

That's why the hosting of a Top Drop event in Whistler is such an exciting occurrence for the resort — this is an event which is solely focused on sustainably farmed, handcrafted wines offering a distinct sense of place, without heavy-handed winemaking trickery to get in the way.

There are two parts to today's event (Sept.10) — a trade seminar at the Bearfoot Bistro with Sommelier Joanne DiGeso and a winemakers' dinner at Alta Bistro with Chef Nick Cassettari and Sommelier Eric Griffith with special guests from several wineries. There are still tickets left and at $99 for the six-course meal, which includes the sharing of wine philosophies by the producers with the guests, it's a steal! (604-932-2582 www.altabistro.com)

Said Griffith, "It is food and wine and that is what we are passionate about."

He explained that Top Drop itself is about focusing on the terroir and craft of the winemaking.

"They are smaller producers with artisanal production," said Griffith. "These wines are the type of wines I carry and that is why I am doing this. For instance Synchromesh from the Okanagan, that is really a guy who deeply cares about his soil and his wine and he makes great wine.

"It is about respect for the craft, but also respect for the vineyard, the land, which is where it all comes from."

It's a point of view shared by DiGeso. "I think (people) don't know how many wines are actually designed by a group of marketing executives in a board room.

"However, the idea behind Top Drop is introducing the wines, and the people behind the wines, the ones making the decisions, the ones getting their hands dirty, the ones that are rearing these wines from the moment they are seeds to when they end up in the bottle."

The French, says DiGeso have a term for that — éleveur. This is the process from the moment that the juice is fermenting until it goes into the bottle, like raising a child.

"It is so beautiful and romantic," she says, adding that the Bearfoot Bistro event will be held in the eatery's famous cellar. "You do everything in your power to ensure the success of this, absolutely and it is your heart that goes into this as well."

By sharing this understanding of each of the wines at the event, the main portion of which will be held in Vancouver by founder Kurtis Kolt, sommeliers and guests in Whistler are getting a unique glimpse into the operations of each of the vineyards.

Says DiGeso, "I am so ecstatic that they decided to bring this event to whistler and I think it is a really good sign that the city is seeing there is some really good talent in Whistler."

To learn more about Top Drop and the wines being explored in Whistler visit: www.topdropvancouver.com.

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