With the Vancouver International Wine Festival just around the corner, the city's wine professionals are gearing up for a showcase of the country's best wines for this year's Canada theme.

That includes Shane Taylor, who recently beat out 15 other competitors to win B.C.'s sommelier of the year award.

The victory was extra sweet after knowing he had come so close to the title on two other occasions. 

"It was a lot of a sense of relief, to be honest," said the Prince Edward Island native.

CinCin Albacore Tuna

Shane Taylor, CinCin's wine director, says the lightly seared albacore tuna dish is unique because of its wood-fire flavour. (CinCin Restaurant)

Now he's turning his attention back his daily duties as "Mr. Hospitality" at Vancouver's CinCin Restaurant.

Despite the restaurant's Italian focus, Taylor has helped curate its more than 1,000-label wine list to include its fair share of B.C. wines.

Accordingly, his perfect food and wine pairing is ripe with Pacific influences.

"I love the albacore tune β€” basil, olive oil, beans, spinach, Sicilian olives β€” it's fantastic," he said about the main course. 

He says the restaurant's executive chef, Andrew Richardson, grills the fish lightly in their rare, wood-fired oven giving the tuna added flavour.

To make the taste buds sing, Taylor recommends a glass of the Cedar Creek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay from the Okanagan.

"Awesome winery ... it's not only from a single vineyard, it's a single block," he explained.

"It has enough body to pair with the tuna, great acidity."

If you were to indulge in a bottle, he says he'd tap back into the restaurant's Italian expertise for some vino from Campania, the Quintodecimo Exultet Fiano Di Avellino.

"There's this honey, savoury thing happening and just works incredibly well with the tuna because [the fish] does have this intensity."

As much as he loves the tuna and white wine pairing, he confesses it's not quite his absolute favourite.

He knows "​it's not fair to tease people" because it's no longer on the menu at CinCin, but he says chef Richardson's Osso Buco with a glass of Barolo was incomparable.

​"That was my death row last meal, if you will."