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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: January 2017

18 January 2017

Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Chardonnay 2014

Burgundy, FranceThis is sourced from Drouhin vineyards and purchased fruit across Burgundy: Bourgogne Nord Auxerrois, Côte d'Or and the Mâconnais. This is split between stainless steel and older barrels for eight months. Yellow apple, green apple, pear and butter are lined with a fine slick of lees and ringed with a salty twist. White florals close out the finish. Youthful, crisp and juicy, and appealingly under screw cap, this is an affordable and approachable white Burgundy for drinking now.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune Blanctext
89PTS

Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune Blanc 2013

Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrom estate grapes on the Côte de Beaune (slope above Beaune) as well as some declassified wine from the young vines off the famous Clos des Mouches vineyard. Biodynamically farmed, this youthful Bourgogne blanc was fermented and aged in oak, (20 percent new) for a year. It opens with potent yellow apple, lemon curd, almond and a wash of medicinal lemon warmth on a broad, creamy palate to a shorter, toasty, vanilla finish. Fine citrus lifts somewhat, but the palate heft is grounded, and at this stage in a bit of a dumb phase. Richer, butter-drawn foods are a good match.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Mark Haisma Santenay Saint Jeantext
91PTS

Mark Haisma Santenay Saint Jean 2014

Beaune, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceMark Haisma is known to be different. An Australian in Burgundy is a great start. A fan of biodynamics, he doesn’t own any land but he sources grapes from local growers he deems devoted to the land and the vineyards. I’m not sure what you know about white Santenay, but his 2014 Santenay Saint Jean Blanc is a shockingly good bottle of Burgundy. A bright, floral, apple blossom affair, it has a delicious, measured citrus-soaked nut flavour with a fresh mid-weight, sea-salt finish. Perfect with crab cakes. A wonderful discovery and good value too.Prices: BC 43.99 Producer: Mark Haisma
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Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourchaume Vielles Vignestext
90PTS

Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Fourchaume Vielles Vignes 2012

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceFrom a windy site near the top of the hill, this is a massale selection and old vines. Taut, lemon-lined, with fennel, herbal wheat, white asparagus, lemon verbena, honeysuckle perfume on a base of flint. Bitter herbal pear and aged parmesan lingers on the earthy finish. Quite generous, with concentrated phenols from thicker skins finishing with a salty, chalky tug. Many layers and concentration, which will reward fully with cellaring for 5+ years.Prices: BC 42.99 QC 38.75 Producer: Laroche
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Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchotstext
91PTS

Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots 2012

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis is a plot selection of older vines across the Grand Cru of Blanchots. Powerful, potent and savoury, with flint, cracked wheat, toasted popcorn, medicinal lemon, hawthorn, herbal spice, with a swing of honeysuckle and a desiccated pear skin finish. The palate is creamy and broad, but comfortably large boned. Far too young to drink now, this would be best enjoyed after 5+ years in the cellar.Prices: BC 79.99 AB 90.00 Producer: Laroche
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Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieutext
90PTS

Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Mont de Milieu 2012

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceA selection of three old vine, mid slope parcels from growers and estate fruit on the 1er Cru Mont de Milieu. This was whole bunch pressed and aged in foudres on fine lees. A streak of flint, subtle clove, light hazelnut, wild herbs, perfumed lemon blossom, dried pear, preserved lemon and broken stone which lingers on the lengthy finish. Savoury and mineral driven, this is a finessed and flowing 1er cru that will age well.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Laroche
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Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablistext
90PTS

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceSince 1620 this winery has been passed from father to son without stopping. Benoît is the 14th generation, working with his father Jean-Paul on their 26 HA in Chablis, all managed latte raisonée. This was fermented wild, aged on fine lees without battonage, and spent 8-10 months in tank on the lees, without battonage. Youthful and juicy, tight still, with white asparagus, lemon peel, pear skin grip, Asian pear crunch and river stone minerality imbued with an herbal-lined leesiness giving mid-palate weight. As with all their wines, beautiful fluidity, even now in the tightness of youth. A Chablis that you can enjoy now or in a couple of years' time (rare).Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin
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17 January 2017

Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2015

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom North Island's Hawkes Bay, this is a round and silky pinot, with fine black cherry, black raspberry, dark florals, twine and herbal notes throughout. Polished and approachable, a juicy core of raspberry and wash of mineral salts keeps this highly likeable and drinkable now. Fantastic value, as ever.Prices: ON 14.00 BC 18.49 Producer: Sileni Estates
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Averill Creek Vineyard Cowichan Tawnytext
85PTS

Averill Creek Vineyard Cowichan Tawny 2008

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCinnamon toast, ribena, plum, marzipan, marmalade and lightly smoked berries pack this sweet dessert wine, from local wild blackberries. A peppery, spicy note pervades the candied and fruity palate, lingering with sharp medicinal cherry and brandied apricot. This is a very potent solera style nectar, aged in barrel, and suitable for your berry or cherry pie.Prices: BC 26.00 372 Producer: Averill Creek Vineyard
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Dark Pooltext
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Dark Pool 2010

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDark Pool is a new, small cap release of 179 cases of fortified merlot that has spent four years in French oak puncheons (much to the surprise of Cynthia Enns, wife of port project mastermind David). The spirit used in fermentation was distilled from the same merlot lees used in the wine, completing the circle. The wine spent a further 18 months to marry wine and spirit before release. Persistent plastic aromas mix with plum jam and youthful cassis before all carries onto the medium bodied palate, where they are joined by kirsch cherries, bitter currants and a youthful balsamic vinegar note. The RS is relatively low (32 g/l) and not really enough to push this into the typical "port wine" tasting family. A drying sour cherry pit takes over the finish. Try pouring with cherry pie or strong cheeses and berry compote for best results. Great, iconic packaging (love the matte 500ml bottle) as ever from the winery.Prices: BC 34.99 500 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Fortified Vintage Fochtext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Fortified Vintage Foch 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMight fortification be the answer to marechal foch's vexing foxiness problem? This certainly leads one to think that way, with just an edge of smokey fochiness on the nose adding an edge to this sweet, rich wine. The potent, thick palate carries smoked branch, bitter chocolate, baked blackberries, cracked pepper and cigar notes to a brusque finish. If you're serving brandied cherry or blackberry pie, here's a solid match.Prices: BC 25.99 375 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Hardys Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Porttext
87PTS

Hardys Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny Port NV

AustraliaThis screw cap tawny is a ringer, very sweet, with roasted hazelnut, walnuts, brown sugar, maple, baked figs, orange oil and firey peppery spices filling a syrupy palate. A hint of eraser/rubber lingers underneath, but piercing orange acidity whisks that away. Sweet coffee and marmalade on the warm finish. An easy, accessible and exuberant tawny.Prices: BC 22.59 Producer: Hardys Wine Company
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16 January 2017

Bottega Prosecco Casa Bottegatext
88PTS

Bottega Prosecco Casa Bottega NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyGrown in the Province of Treviso (Veneto) using the glera grape. The fruit is generally hand picked from mid-September, grapes are pressed in the vineyard and then vinified. Once clarified the juice goes into special steel containers, where it is fermented with the addition of selected yeasts in Charmat method at 14° C for nearly 40 days. Over this period, carbon dioxide is released naturally giving the Prosecco its sparkle. The colour is pale, with flecks of dried straw. The nose is fruity with big acacia notes, white fruits and a dusting of citrus. Nice delicate balance and tension throughout. A classic aperitif, it works with many appetizers, fish and poultry.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Bottega S.p.A.
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Bottega Petalo Il Vino dell' Amore Moscatotext
87PTS

Bottega Petalo Il Vino dell' Amore Moscato NV

Veneto, ItalyIl Vino dell'Amore Petalo Moscato is a white sparkling wine with a refined aromatic sweet nose reminiscent of roses. The fruit is grown in the Euganean Hills in the Veneto province of Padua over sedimentary rocks rich in minerals. The fermentation occurs with the addition of selected yeasts using the Martinotti method. The resulting wine is quite low in alcohol (6,5%) with a high level of residual sugar. The wine remains fresh, with spicy, floral, peach, mineral aromas. The style is sweet but delicate with fine acidity. More orange, peach, green apple and mineral flavours mark the palate. This is a delicious, summer style sipper for patio parties. Serve with spicy tuna sushi rolls.Prices: BC 16.49 Producer: Spumanti Bottega
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Kim Crawford Small Parcels Fizz Méthode Traditionelletext
88PTS

Kim Crawford Small Parcels Fizz Méthode Traditionelle 2011

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis crisp, complete, medium bodied traditional method fizz is a blend of Chardonnay from Marlborough's cooler Awatere Valley, as well as Pinot Noir from Marlborough's clay-soiled Southern Valleys. Ample toasted stones, lemon and a bed of doughy, fennel lees is brightened with a pithy citrus acidity and a snap of lemon peel that hums along the finish. A lovely example of accessible Kiwi fizz.Prices: BC 29.99 QC 29.55 ON 30.00 Producer: Kim Crawford Wines
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Quinta da Murta Brut Naturetext
90PTS

Quinta da Murta Brut Nature 2013

Bucelas, Estremadura, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalSalty and marine, this crisp brut nature wine sings of place: the briny Atlantic coast and calcareous-laced soils of Bucelas. Chalky throughout, with wild scrubby myrtle, lemon thistle, lemon pith, riffing sea salts and driving, shearing acidity, this biodynamically farmed, wild yeast fermented, traditional method fizz is 100 percent arinto The grape's herbal citrus notes amplified here. Two and a half years on the lees gives structure without heft; this is light, lean and riveting, vibrating on the finish, and drinking beautifully now with fresh oysters.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Quinta da Murta
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Villa Teresa Chardonnay Vino Frizzante Organictext
86PTS

Villa Teresa Chardonnay Vino Frizzante Organic NV

ItalyCrisp and bright, this is organic chardonnay fizz from Veneto. Pear skin, apple blossom, lemon and white grapefruit peel to lift a sweet, pear drop base to a bitter twist finish. Frothy on the palate, enjoy this off-dry fizz well chilled.Prices: BC 16.49 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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13 January 2017

Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Blocktext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Block 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Anniversary Series is a small series of wines grown on select family vineyard sites. Richard’s Block Pinot Noir is dedicated to Richard Stewart, who purchased the original family vineyard in 1956. The 2014 is a spicy affair with cool, floral earthy aromas. The acidity is prominent, the fruit still waiting to be released. A little reminiscent of Oregon and France this year with a resiny, earthy, sour cherry finish. This needs at least two years to settle into itself. Big enough for duck, venison or big winter mushroom dishes. All of the fruit came off two older blocks of clones: 667, 117 and 115.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
89PTS

Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 Spierhead Cuvée, a blend of the best barrels from the harvest, is showing the generosity of warmth in the vintage. The attack is soft with a fair bit of glycerol over a mix of red plums and black cherries. The oak kicks in mid-palate adding weight and texture with a spicy, earthy back end. Still tightly wound and youthful, it looks to have the stuffing to age well. The flagship is a mix of clones aged in 100 percent French oak: 30 percent Pommard and 70 percent Dijon 115, 777, 828 and 667.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spierhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
87PTS

Spierhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe home estate Gentleman Farmer Vineyard (GFV), in East Kelowna, is shaped like a saddle, hence the Saddle Block label moniker. This is a trio of Dijon pinot clones from the original Spierhead plantings, 115, 777 and 828. In this warm year this wine seems slightly disjointed, at least lacking sweet fruit in favourite of mossy, stemmy, menthol forest floor notes with a bitter, sour cherry finish. Tannins are fine and gentle, as is the acidity. Best with fatty dishes like duck or pork belly or grilled sockeye salmon.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Black Swift The Long Road Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Black Swift The Long Road Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother East Kelowna site is fast becoming the go-to but not yet approved pinot noir sub-region of the Okanagan Valley. Diverse soils within a single vineyard help to shape the complexity here, as well as the final taste. Sand and gravel over deep clay with glacial till mixed throughout seem suited to Pommard and Dijon 115, 667 and 777 plantings. The grapes were fully de-stemmed and fermented on the skins for 28 days to maximize full extraction before being aged in a mix of 2 and 3-year-old French Oak barrels. Expect a fairly hedonistic style here rich in oak and sweet pinot fruit that are still robust and youthful. Time in the bottle over the next three years should help this wine gather itself. Solid.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Black Swift Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA curious mix of warm rich high glycerol fruit on entry a with mossy, menthol green notes. Spicy black cherry fruit mixes with bits of rhubarb and earthy forest floor notes in the back end. A conundrum with a washing of toasted oak.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Schubert Pinot Noir Block Btext
90PTS

Schubert Pinot Noir Block B 2013

Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandFrom the North Island's Wairarapa Valley, this pinot noir was destemmed and fermented into stainless for three weeks of maceration before moving to French barriques for 18 months (40 percent new). Bricking hue, this generous pinot leads with autumn forest and moss into sunripe cherry and black raspberry, mustard seed herbaciousness, fine pepper and cinnamon spicing, and a subtle tar-lined, fleshy palate. Fine, grainy tannins frame the whole to a warm (14.5 declared) smoky finish. This packed, Kiwi pinot will stand up to smoked pork ribs.Prices: QC 50.00 MB 67.00 Producer: Schubert Wines Limited
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Bench 1775 Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Bench 1775 Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWarm, ripe raspberry and cherry jam fill this lush pinot noir from their estate vineyard on Naramata Bench. Smoked branch, strident wood leading the fuller palate detracts from the purity of the autumnal berry fruit. Bitter black cherry on the finish calls out for protein (grilled pork) to soften.Prices: BC 25.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 115text
89PTS

The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 115 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage The Hatch bottled the three clones of Pinot Noir from their Black Sage Bench Stones Throw Vineyard separately, bottling 50 cases of each in a distinct, rotund bottle. 115, 667 and 777 are all Dijon clones, all grown, picked and vinified the same. Fermented in stainless steel, these three then went into a mix of new and neutral wood for MLF, before finishing off eight months in neutral oak. Spicy dark cherry, dried raspberry and whiffs of leather on the medium bodied palate, one with a sweep of toasted wood and swell of lifted acidity before a bright, salted, sour cherry finish.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 667text
88PTS

The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 667 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage The Hatch bottled the three clones of Pinot Noir from their Black Sage Bench Stones Throw Vineyard separately, bottling 50 cases of each in a distinct, rotund bottle. 115, 667 and 777 are all Dijon clones, all grown, picked and vinified the same. Fermented in stainless steel, these three then went into a mix of new and neutral wood for MLF, before finishing off eight months in neutral oak. Bricking brown in hue and medium bodied, this has darker cherry, dark soy sauce, black raspberry, herbal mustard seed, wrapped around a soft core. Tannins are fine and supple, and acidity is fine and lifted, both to a warm, salted, bitter cherry finish.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 777text
87PTS

The Hatch Birds Eye View Pinot Noir Clone 777 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage The Hatch bottled the three clones of Pinot Noir from their Black Sage Bench Stones Throw Vineyard separately, bottling 50 cases of each, in the same distinct rotund bottle. 115, 667 and 777 are all Dijon clones, all grown, picked and vinified the same. Fermented in stainless steel, these three then went into a mix of new and neutral wood for MLF, before finishing off eight months in neutral oak. Medium bodied, with spiced wood, roasted coffee, stewed sour cherries, dark florals, smoke and a forest undergrowth before a medicinal cherry finish. Tannins are strident though soft, and the finish is amply nutmeg spiced. Sour, stewed cherries and forest linger on the finish. Bold, punchy, bruiser pinot noir.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Emandare Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Emandare Pinot Noir 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaEmandare sits on a south-facing terraced hillside tucked beside Cowichan Valley's Mount Prevost. All of their wines are estate grown, dry farmed organically, with minimal intervention. This is four clones (114, 115, 667, 777) of pinot noir, destemmed and lightly crushed before a wild ferment in open top neutral French oak puncheons, and a ten month stint on lees in neutral French oak. Racked only once, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered, providing an authentic, clear lens to view coastal pinot noir. Juicy and pure, salted black plum, wild blackberry branch, thorny florals and balsamic jus swipe along the base. Savoury and bright (a welcome 12.5 percent), with taut, tight and grippy tannins through a lingering, salty finish. Young, keen, precise. The risks of growing finicky pinot noir in such a fringe region are huge, as is the risk to do it as naturally as Emandare has done.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Emandare Vineyard
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Gehringer Brothers Optimum Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Gehringer Brothers Optimum Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSandalwood, cedar shavings, ripe cherry and light hickory spice fill this round, fuller bodied and concentrated "reserve tier" pinot noir from the Golden Mile Bench. The smoked wood continues along wood-grained tannins, to an earthy, bittersweet chocolate finish. A bruiser of a red, this is more akin to a muscular merlot than a finessed pinot noir, but if that's what you're into, pair this with grilled bison burgers.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
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12 January 2017

Bench 1775 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlottext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis full-bodied cabernet sauvignon/merlot is splashed with a little syrah, creating a savoury-edged, dark fruited and complete wine that is drinking very well now but has a year or two to develop further. Sourced from Osoyoos' Oxbow Vineyard. Savoury meats and peppery spiciness throughout the black cherry, cassis, roasted onions, espresso and earthy tobacco notes, with ample wood-grippy tannins matched by the density of the fruit. A bright acidity and moderate alcohol (13.4 percent) works well in holding freshness to a moderate, clipped finish. This spent one year in two-year-old wood. I'd love to see less safe wood and more daring freshness in the future vintages. For now, roast lamb would work.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Bench 1775 Groovetext
86PTS

Bench 1775 Groove 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis sweet and ripe blend of merlot, malbec and cabernet franc is a full-bodied red appropriate for the BBQ. Dark plum, blackberry and cassis are filtered through a smoked wood and spiced lens, one with bitter cherry pressed tannins to the powdery finish.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Robert Mondavi Maestrotext
90PTS

Robert Mondavi Maestro 2013

Napa Valley, California, United States2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Robert Mondavi Winery, and amongst the many celebrations, the winery released Maestro, a merlot-led meritage sourced from To Kalon (where Mondavi initially started) and Wappo Hills. After 59 percent merlot, the wine is blended with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and malbec to create a full-bodied red to celebrate with now. That said, with an extended maceration and two years in 75 percent new French oak, this was obviously constructed to age. Savoury edged, bitter black cherry, bitter chocolate, blackberry and thorns are framed up with ample lengthy, hard tannins and seasoned with toasted nutmeg. Would be suitable now with a decant and grilled red meats, but will reward with your cellaring.Prices: BC 60.00 ON 60.00 US 49.00 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Rodney Strong Symmetry Table Red Winetext
93PTS

Rodney Strong Symmetry Table Red Wine 2013

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesSymmetry is a red Meritage from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, in this case from the very fine 2013 vintage. The blend is 76/8/8/4/4/ cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, cabernet franc, malbec and merlot that spends 19 months in French oak barrels (45 percent new). Most of the fruit comes off the hillsides of the Alexander Valley and is fermented separately. Some six months down the road the top lots find their way to Symmetry, where they are blended and re-barreled for additional 12 to 20 months before bottling. Winemakers Greg Morthole and consulting winemaker David Ramey make this wine. Only indigenous yeast and naturally occurring malolactic fermentation are allowed. Symmetry has an enticing, almost hedonistic nose but with that Sonoma restraint. Look for a rich palate of black fruits with bits of chocolate and coffee and super, silky, dense, fine-grained tannins that almost melt in your mouth. Harmony in a glass already and it will live a decade easy. Beef, lamb, hard cheeses all work here. Well done.Prices: BC 80.00 ON 70.00 AB 77.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Vineyards
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11 January 2017

La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolotext
91PTS

La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo 2011

Piedmont, ItalyI’m always impressed by this nebbiolo and its rich open nose laced with licorice, red cherry and strawberry flavours. The attack is round and suave, the palate rich with tannins and fine acidity. Coffee, orange peels and black cherry mark the dry Piemontesi flavours that coat the palate. Long but with balance and still a few grippy tannins to shed. Well made and ready for food. Mushrooms, meat, beef and pasta all work here.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 37.00 ON 38.00 Producer: La Spinetta
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Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolotext
91PTS

Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolo 2012

Piedmont, ItalyThis one hundred percent nebbiolo first released in 1965 is very simply made, as in the fruit is destemmed and crushed and aged for two years in oak barrels of 25 and 50 hectolitres. Fresh, lively red fruits and licorice deliver a subtle message of terroir with harmony and elegance. There is a tug of tannin to remind us this will age into 2025. Fire grilled meats or game are a great match here.Prices: BC 63.99 QC 55.90 Producer: Renato Ratti
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Burlotto Acclivi Barolotext
91PTS

Burlotto Acclivi Barolo 2009

Barolo, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyGiovani Battista Burlotto was an early Barolo pioneer, establishing his estate in the late 1800s and becoming the first to both put wines in bottle (rather than cask) and label with the name of his estate, as was the French fashion. Acclivi is made from a blend of several crus in the village of Verduno. Red flowers, crushed stones, autumnal truffles, crimson berries and rock roses on this classically savoury, lifted barolo. Worked leather and tobacco are rimmed with medicinal cherry, painted with iodine and salts, and structured with firm, lengthy tannins to a drying finish. A heft on the palate that welcomes decanting and pairing with boar now or a few more years in the cellar.Prices: BC 59.19 Producer: G.B. Burlotto
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10 January 2017

Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenachetext
94PTS

Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache 2011

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaCan’t say enough about this special bottle of wine, especially to the cadre of folks who think grenache is for kids. Hand-picked from a scruffy bunch of old bush vines planted in 1889 (127 years ago). This wine is about texture, savoury dried cherry texture, with an amazing undercurrent of spice and earthy, dried red fruits. Finesse over and under elegance that frankly could change the way many think about Australian wine. Persistent, long and luxurious without being fat and sweet; this is a treasure. You can drink it now or hold it forever. Undervalued in every market.Prices: US 60.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Borsao Tres Picos Garnachatext
88PTS

Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2014

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainSweet ripe blackberry and dense cassis in this full bodied, ripe and heady red from Campo de Borja. Tres Picos is the top cuvée of Borsão, drawn from 30 to 65-year-old, head-pruned garnacha from the slopes of the extinct Moncayo volcanic hills. Thick on the palate, with potent wood courtesy of older French oak barrels (for 10 months) and stainless steel. Vanilla-drawn black fruit is well integrated with potent wood, fleshy black fruits, strong pipe tobacco and a supported by plush tannins to a warm (15 percent) espresso finish. The sweet wood overwhelms all at present; this needs rich beef or lamb dishes to absorb.Prices: BC 24.49 Producer: Bodegas Borsao
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Père Anselme La Fiole Côtes du Rhônetext
86PTS

Père Anselme La Fiole Côtes du Rhône 2014

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Côtes du Rhône with the distinctive bottle is usually enough to identify Anselme's La Fiole, a regular on BC shelves. Stewed cherry, dried raspberry and brisk herbs dominate this spiced blend of grenache and syrah, one dusted with fine pepper and juicy with a swell of acidity. Tannins are somewhat powdery and bitter, detracting from this simple wine's charm, but easily mitigated by pairing with turkey sausages or chicken burgers.Prices: BC 17.49 ON 16.00 Producer: Père Anselme
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La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayotext
88PTS

La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo 2014

Aragon, SpainThis is old bush vine garnacha at altitude, from the mountains of Moncayo, in Aragon and northern Navarre. Winemaker Raúl Acha seeks out vineyards around Spain that best reflect the true essence of Garnacha. Medium bodied and succulent, with raspberry, forest berries, earthy tobacco on a generous strawberry jam core. Fine spicing and very grippy black pepper on the warm finish. This spent five months in oak.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Garnachas de Espagñe
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Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenachetext
87PTS

Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenache 2015

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaThe late-ripening grenache soaks up the McLaren Vale sun, expressing it in Tarot through concentrated cinnamon-cherry compote, ripe tayberries and raspberry jam, with an earthy, savoury currant underneath. The generous palate is cushioned with soft, plush tannins and is seasoned with ample pink peppercorns. Partial whole bunch, this undergoes a short maceration and ferment before time in stainless, keeping the tannins low and fruit youthful and bright. A rush of medicinal raspberry and heat on the finish requires food to tame. I recommend rabbit or pigeon.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Viottolo Pty
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Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenachetext
88PTS

Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache 2013

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaPaxton is Australia's leading producer of biodynamically farmed grapes, managing 300 acres of vines across McLaren Vale. Dark plum, cassis, potent anise, leather, black raspberry, twine, and mustard seed herbaceousness fill this juicy, generous blend of shiraz and grenache. Lifted acidity brightens, while McLaren Vale's classic dark cocoa powdered tannins support. Dark florals linger on the warming finish.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Paxton
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09 January 2017

Murphy-Goode The Fumé Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Murphy-Goode The Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2014

North Coast Region, California, United StatesThis wine surprised us a bit. The nose is a mix of tropical scents and citrus that carry onto the palate. It could be the four percent sémillon that has given this wine a slightly different look. Mostly dry, look for tangerine, lime rind, melon flavours with just enough acidity to keep it all clean. Seafood works here as would almost any vegetarian dish. Just over a quarter of this wine was fermented in wood to add a bit of texture and body to the mix. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 24.00 AB 15.00 ON 17.60 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Plan B Sauvignon Blanctext
85PTS

Plan B Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Franklin River, Great Southern, Western Australia, AustraliaWestern Australia's Frankland River is the site of this punchy sauvignon blanc, one dominated by assertive passionfruit and asparagus, and plumped with time and stirring of the lees in French oak barriques. The two forces (green and fruity, rich and leesy) are at odds throughout, leaving a disjointed whole. A smoked sour lemon note lingers on the snappy finish. Simple, straightforward and certainly not shy.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: PPlan B Wines
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Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandA ringer for Marlborough sauvignon blanc, this brisk, bright, medium bodied white carries intense tangerine, gooseberry and fresh grass across the zippy palate, one swelling with a wave of juicy acidity before a crash of tangerine bitterness and warmth. The palate is coated with a slick of lees, enough to support the potent fruitiness, without detracting from it. Balanced throughout, this is good value for those wanting a classic Marlborough sauvy.Prices: BC 18.49 Producer: Sileni Estates
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Emandare Vineyard Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Emandare Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaEmandare sits on a south-facing terraced hillside tucked beside Cowichan Valley's Mount Prevost. All of their wines are estate grown, and dry farmed organically, with minimal intervention. A typical sauvvy this is not. This sauvignon blanc surprises with its sweetness and full body: 12 g/l RS is set against 3.2pH and 9 g/l TA. Wild ferment, this spent five months on the skins. Orange blossom, ripe pear, honey, meadow herbs, gentle anise on a round, creamy core. Bitter orange closes out the lingering finish. Hoping for a drier version in future. A lovely, entirely different expression of grape, rather an expression of place. Intriguing result, and an interesting project to followPrices: BC 30.00 Producer: Emandare Vineyard
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Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Hometext
88PTS

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Home 2015

Northern Sonoma, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong established the winery’s heritage sauvignon blanc vineyard in 1971, naming it Charlotte’s Home in honor of his wife. The same site remains the core of today’s Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, along with select estate vineyards in the Alexander, Russian River and Dry Creek valleys. It was warm in 2015 and not easy to produce a fresh sauvignon. The warm Alexander Valley fruit is the base of the blend, the Dry Creek brings honeydew and tropical fruit notes while the super-cooled Russian River Valley is the citrus injection required to freshen the finish. Perfect for soft cheese salads, or pasta dishes or any number of vegetarian dishes. The ferment is 90/10 cold fermented in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic versus 10% barrel fermented in French oak barrels with full malolactic. A ripe but perfectly acceptable style, especially for those who think the New Zealand style is too aggressive.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 18.00 ON 18.95 Producer: Rodney Strong Vineyards
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Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandTasting Kim Crawford in a warm, tropical climate makes a difference; it seems more mellow. I feel the style has been adjusted as well, with softer acidity and less bitter lime rind notes that mark a lot of commercial Kiwi sauvignon blanc. The fruit is a mix from the Wairau Valley and neighbouring Awatere Valley, in essence, fast draining, alluvial loams over gravelly subsoils. Expect a bright citrus entry with mango, pineapple and passionfruit flavours and a dusting of tomato leaf. Juicy sweet fruit, easy-sipping style. We suggest asparagus, young goat cheese or mussels.Prices: PEI 19.99 NS 23.00 QC 20.00 ON 19.00 MB 22.00 SK 19.00 AB 23.00 BC 22.00 NB 23.00 YK 24.00 Producer: Kim Crawford Wines
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Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandMatua claims to have produced New Zealand’s first sauvignon blanc in 1974 and by 1984 they were making one in Marlborough. The style here is classically refreshing with citrus, dried herbs and jalapeno notes on the nose and a brisk citrus, peppery tropical palate. The fruit comes off more than 100 different vineyards across Marlborough's Wairau and Awatere Valleys. As before, delivers classic passion fruit, floral and dried herbs. Fresh and juicy and ready to drink. Perfect with a grilled chicken salad.Prices: BC 15.99 QC 19.00 MB 18.00 NF 19.00 ON 16.00 NS 19.00 AB 16.00 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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Lake Sonoma Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Lake Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis has that classic ripe fruit California style that is seldom seen with most cool-climate sauvignon but there is an attractive crystalline lemon character here that offsets the herbaceous, citrus rind and mineral notes. Pair this with a classic goat cheese salad, or perhaps a Margherita pizza. Light and ready to drink.Prices: BC 20.99 ON 24.00 QC 23.95 NB 25.49 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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06 January 2017

Tolaini Al Passotext
89PTS

Tolaini Al Passo 2012

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyA small, circular forest tops the tallest hill on the Tolaini Estate and is known as Al Passo, a favoured hunting ground for locals centuries ago. An 85/15 IGT blend of sangiovese and merlot grown in the Chianti Classico region over limestone and clay, it trends toward the modern style, with a fair amount of overt cherry fruit and spice to take on its savoury leathery earthy back end. The fermentation is done in stainless steel with a portion going into French oak fermenters (20 percent new and 80 percent one year). It is aged one year in 500-litre French tonneaux. Drink now through 2020.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 25.00 MB 34.99 MB 79.99 1500 QC 0.00 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Tolaini Gran Selezione is a wine of finesse and class. The fruit is grown in the warmer Castelnuovo Berardenga area of Chianti Classico, giving the wine a touch more substance on the mid-palate without affecting its balance. The ‘08 harvest was the first vintage of the Tolaini Chianti Classico Riserva while the 2011 saw the end of the Riserva term now replaced by the Tolaini Chianti Classico Gran Selezione label. Produced only in the best years, Gran Selezione is one hundred percent sangiovese, from the organically-farmed Montebello Vineyard "numero sette”. Look for a mélange of red berries with a twist of forest floor and perfect acidity. As mentioned, the finesse and overall elegance of this wine define it, suggesting it should age well over the next decade. This spends 12 months in wood, of which seven are on the fine lees plus six months in stainless, followed by six more months in the bottle.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 25.00 MB 34.99 MB 79.99 1500 QC 0.00 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Valdisanti Tenuta S. Giovannitext
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Tolaini Valdisanti Tenuta S. Giovanni 2010

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Valdisanti Toscana IGT is a super Tuscan red that mixes 75 percent cabernet sauvignon with 20 percent sangiovese and 5 percent cabernet franc. Owner Pier Luigi Tolaini says it is the finest cabernet franc in all of Italy. This is an impressive wine that starts with perfect structure and tension and walks the taster through a series of highlights. Superb dark fruit aromas preview similar flavours of black raspberries and cherries with a dusting of leather and cocoa. The tannins are dense, fine grained and silky à la Michel Rolland. It’s a mouthful at the moment but this will live through 2025 and as it mellows will become an elegant, Euro red. Osso buco is the choice today or an aged pecorino. Bravo.Prices: BC 40.00 AB 33.90 MB 54.99 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Picconero Tenuta Montebellotext
94PTS

Tolaini Picconero Tenuta Montebello 2010

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyIt’s hard not to like this wine at six years old. It’s still a few years away from its peak, but it is impressive in the glass. The blend is 65/30/5 merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Dense and muscular, it has a rich entry spilling across the palate with fine-grained tannin and deep dark cassis, mulberries and black cherries. A savoury, mineral undercurrent keeps it focused and linear. All new French oak gives it a framework to age, while the long, silky finish persists for minutes in your mouth. Well done.Prices: BC 120.00 AB 110.00 MB 110.00 QC 100.00 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Valdisanti Tenuta S. Giovannitext
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Tolaini Valdisanti Tenuta S. Giovanni 2012

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyAnother fine effort in 2012, in what is a rich version of this wine. The Valdisanti Toscana IGT is an organic, super Tuscan red that mixes 75 percent cabernet sauvignon with 20 percent sangiovese and 5 percent cabernet franc. In this case, the cabernet is perfectly ripe and dominating form front to back. The nose is a black fruit and spice affair with a dusting of cocoa. The tannins are dense, fine grained and still very youthful. Impressive value here, and a wine that needs another five to ten years in bottle. Steak comes to mind as the match, or try an aged pecorino. Good value too.Prices: BC 40.00 AB 33.90 MB 54.99 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Chianti Classico Riserva 2008

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis 100 percent sangiovese comes off a high-density, single vineyard site that is the classic Galestro and limestone soils. The bunches are sorted and the berries are resorted before fermentation in stainless steel and a small amount in French oak fermenters. The wine spends 12 months in wood (six on its fine lees), six months in stainless and six more in bottle. At eight years old this wine is showing a fullness of flavour and depth with black cherry/tobacco flavours spiked with licorice and a stony mineral undercurrent. Surprisingly rich in tannin at this point but balanced with acidity and a long, dry fruity finish. Try this with turkey, guinea fowl or pork dishes.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 25.00 MB 53.99 MB 125.99 1500 QC 25.99 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Picconero Tenuta Montebellotext
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Tolaini Picconero Tenuta Montebello 2011

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyIt's never easy to follow up a great vintage, just ask the Bordelais, but Tolaini family seems to have got the 2011 as right as possible. The blend is a 65/35 mix of merlot/cabernet franc (the latter is said to be among the very best franc grown in Italy) that is at once rich, fat and elegant thanks to a wealth of dense, fine-grained tannins and dark fruits with earthy tobacco highlights and a twist of mocha. Almost hedonistic, this is a very lavish version of this wine and will undoubtedly have wide appeal for those who like a bit of Napa Valley in their Italian reds.Prices: BC 120.00 AB 110.00 MB 134.99 QC 100.00 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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Tolaini Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Tolaini Cabernet Franc 2009

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyCabernet franc is many things but it’s not cabernet sauvignon. We know it ripens earlier, which is useful in northern climes. The aroma is a mix of leafy scents and black fruits. Yet no matter how big it gets, like this unreleased single bottling Tolaini, it has a lighter, gentler side than its sauvignon cousin. In Tuscany, especially Bolgheri, franc thrives in the Mediterranean heat. Deep, dense but with silky tannins, this wine will ride out a decade. It's rough around the edges but I’ll chalk that up to an unlabelled sample. Very promising and a lot of fun to drink.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Tolaini Societa' Agricola Srl
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05 January 2017

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Hoffman & Rathbone Bacchus 2015

EnglandLean and linear, this is a very limited (1000 bottles) release of bacchus from East Sussex. Greengage, delicate lemon blossom and a lime peel scent this very light white, surprisingly already amped up with 50 percent barrel fermentation and four months on the lees.Prices: Great Britan 19.00 Producer: Hoffmann & Rathbone
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Cloof BV Bush Vines Chenin Blanctext
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Cloof BV Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2016

Coastal Region, South AfricaThis Western Cape chenin blanc is tipped with 14 percent sauvignon blanc, diluting chenin's characteristic beauty and replacing it with a placeless white blend. Pear, yellow apple and white peach have a fine cushion of stony lees and a zippy acidity. Sour lemon throughout, to the short finish. A simple, stark white that is best well chilled and served with fresh, sweet spot prawns or scallops.Prices: BC 8.99 Producer: Cloof
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Jason Parkes Customs Gobsmacked Cyclops Lovetext
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Jason Parkes Customs Gobsmacked Cyclops Love 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere’s little doubt we can mirror Alsace in BC. Sometimes we do it so well we are gobsmacked by the results. Enter winemaker Jason Parkes. Gobsmacked 'Cyclops Love' is an Alsace-ish blend of 34 percent pinot auxerrois, 28 percent muscat, 21 percent schönburger and 17 percent riesling. I’m thinking it’s a bit Edelzwicker in style, as in a dry light wine that is a blend of several white grape varieties from the Alsace region. Bright and fresh, it’s a little less floral and little more piney than its German kin, with dried herbs and orange peel notes on the finish. The colourful ‘kid’ label was drawn by Jason's 7-year-old daughter.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Emandare Vineyard Siegerrebe Gewurztraminertext
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Emandare Vineyard Siegerrebe Gewurztraminer 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaEmandare sits on a south-facing terraced hillside tucked beside Cowichan Valley's Mount Prevost. All of their wines are estate grown, and dry farmed organically, with minimal intervention. This is a light, tight and pithy off-dry coastal white that captures the floral aromatic fruitiness of siegerrebe and gewürztraminer without the weight associated with those grapes. Wild yeast ferment and five months on the lees in stainless has created some textural interest, while preserving the bright fruit. Cleansing lime, rosewater, green apple, orange blossom, gooseberry and crunchy Asian pear acidity finish clean and lively with a bitter lime twist. This is a natural for citrus or peach dressed spot prawns or scallops.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Emandare Vineyard
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The Hatch Rhymes with Door Hinge 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhat rhymes with door hinge? Not quite orange, though that is the hue, and style, of this new release from The Hatch. Kerner, schoenburger and chardonnay were cofermented and kept on skins for six weeks in old puncheons. High toned, lower acid, with orange blossom, peach, perfumed fennel on a light-bodied, finely textured palate, one that kisses with herbal nectarine sweetness on the finish. Well done. Only 100 cases made.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: The Hatch
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04 January 2017

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gristext
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMission Hill's "Reserve" tier is a selection of parcels and barrels, and in 2015 was sourced from Black Sage Bench (95 percent) with a splash from their Naramata Ranch vineyards. This was partially fermented in French oak, where it aged for five months. Richer and full-bodied, with desert pear, crab apple, bitter lemon and crunchy Asian pear acidity, accented with apricot pit bitterness before a sour, warm finish. At this early stage, the oak and lees overrides the whole, though with time it should come together.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Gray Monk Pinot Gristext
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Gray Monk Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGray Monk is a BC pinot gris pioneer, taking its name from the Austrian for the grape, Grauer Mönch. The 2015, like many of its cousins, is super ripe and will have wide appeal because of it. The cherry peach fruit is round and easy-sipping and the grapefruit notes more pink then acidic. The finish is ripe with honey, intermingled with sweet canned grapefruit and melon rind flavours. Bright, off-dry, ready-to-drink, try with spicy foods to combat the sweetness.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 22.00 MB 21.28 SK 22.69 ON 19.95 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwo French clones of 29-year-old vines were whole cluster pressed, with 40 percent fermented and aged on the lees for seven months in three year old French oak and the remainder in stainless, racked from lees. The sum equals the parts: some crisp, tight, green apple and sour lemon fruit swirling with fuller, riper pear and green melon, all on a leesy base, to a sour finish. At this youthful stage, the elements are not in unison, though it should knit with another year or two.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 26.95 ON 24.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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L'Ora Pinot Grigiotext
86PTS

L'Ora Pinot Grigio 2015

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyConsistently fresh now under screw cap, this Northern Italian white opens with flecks of citrus mixed with pears and a light mineral undercurrent. Simple, light, fresh and dry, it is ready to drink. A good match with shellfish and/or calamari.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Kellerie Kaltern
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigiotext
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigio 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaLight lees, dried pear and earthy notes with bits of green apple and lemon oil on the nose. Cleaner than last year but with fresh lemon, grapefruit, green apple and spicy flavours that finish a bit grippy and dry. Best with pasta olio or a Margherita pizza.Prices: ON 11.00 BC 12.99 AB 13.99 SK 13.99 MB 10.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Kumeu River Pinot Gristext
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Kumeu River Pinot Gris 2011

Auckland, North Island, New ZealandNew Zealand isn't known for its pinot gris, and the style ranges from grigio lean to Alsatian-rich, so it pays to know your producer. Fortunately, top tier Kumeu River makes delicious everything, so you're in safe hands with their pinot gris. Wild yeast fermented, this is round and generous, but held with a finely structured grip and bright acidity to counter the 10 g/l RS. Juicy yellow apple, herbal pear, smoked stone and lightly perfumed apricot with a delicate oil slick on the palate. A pleasant honeyed sheen of age showing here.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Kumeu River
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn another league from most BC pinot gris, and from around the world for that matter. A ripe year has brought more orange and aromatics to the 2015. Texture and weight manages the bright orchard fruit notes flecked with tropical melons and pineapple. There’s just enough acidity and minerality to keep it all together. Normally this wine needs time but you can start drinking it now. Today the vines are 29 years old. Some 60 percent is wild fermented in stainless steel, and the remainder is fermented in new to 4th fill oak. Fine value.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 26.95 ON 24.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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03 January 2017

Culmina Family Estate Haut-Plateau Rieslingtext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate Haut-Plateau Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina has launched the first in a series of one-off wines they are calling the Number Series to showcase “the best of our research and development from any given vintage.” Up first at Nº 001 is the Haut-Plateau Riesling, a super late-picked riesling with 31 grams per litre of residual sugar that floods across the palate. Foie Gras is the power rich match. I tried it with a curried chicken dish and the sweet pear juice with a mineral/lemon undercurrent did its best to hold its own against the long syrupy finish. It’s a perfectly safe style that is long sold out but may we suggest Nº 002 be a little more daring, a little more electric.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Gustave Lorentz Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim Vieilles Vignes Grand Crutext
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Gustave Lorentz Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru 2008

Alsace, FranceAt eight years old this wine is close to full maturity in the rich, dry, intense Alsace style. The nose is showing some age with potent honey, cooked pear mixing with citrus pith, green notes and stony minerality. Bergheim, the vineyard, is steep sloping and sits between 220 and 320 metres above sea level. No need to hold this now; it is ready to drink.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Gustave Lorentz
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Black Swift Riesling Kirkjian Farmtext
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Black Swift Riesling Kirkjian Farm 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKurkjian Farm is an organic four-acre vineyard located in East Kelowna, directly below Summerhill Winery. This is bone dry riesling that takes its cue from the powerful, dry rieslings coming out of the Clare and Eden Valley. East Kelowna is making a strong case for riesling, think Tantalus for one, and winemaker Jason Parkes has done a fine job here, pushing that electric, salty, mineral style. The clay-based soil accounts for the depth and power. Look for stone fruit and plenty of citrus with some serious bitter rind notes in the finish. Best with food now but this will age. Good effort.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Marionette Rieslingtext
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Marionette Riesling 2014

British Columbia, CanadaSimilkameen Valley's Ladyhawke Vineyard is the source for these riesling grapes, sourced and produced by Salmon Arm's Marionette Winery. Tart and lean green apple, pear and lemon is held taut with riesling's characteristic zippiness. A cut of key lime rings on the slightly sour finish. Youthful and a touch too severe, this is one to watch in future.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Marionette Vineyards and Winery
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02 January 2017

Robin Ridge Gamaytext
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Robin Ridge Gamay 2014

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA solid performer most years now, this Similkameen take on the great Beaujolais grape is slightly richer and denser but still has a firm, stony undercurrent. The attack is lively with black cherry fruit leading the way with a warm savoury, cinnamon undercurrent. Cru level weight and heft here. You can serve this with pork, roast chicken or soft cheeses to best effect. Tasty and ready to drink but it should improve in the bottle over the next three years.Prices: BC 23.90 Producer: Robin Ridge Winery
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Louis Latour Gamay Bourgognetext
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Louis Latour Gamay Bourgogne 2013

Burgundy, FranceGamay from a declassified Beaujolais Cru can use the term Bourgogne Gamay as of the 2011 vintage, as is the case with this Louis Latour. This is 85 percent Fleurie and Côte de Brouilly, along with 15 percent pinot noir from Burgundy. Strawberry jam, black cherries and dried herbs are carried along a smooth, light palate, rimmed with finely peppery tannins, to a brusque bitter black cherry finish. More grippier than entry-level gamay, and far simpler than Cru Bojo, exactly where it's supposed to be. Great mid-week red with ham or sausages.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 19.00 QC 20.00 Producer: Maison Louis Latour
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Julien Sunier Fleurietext
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Julien Sunier Fleurie 2015

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceGoGamayGo. A dense and alluring nose of crushed stone, fragrant raspberry and wild strawberry on this artisan vigneron wine from Beaujolais. This is from the lieux dits La Tonne and Charbonnieres, wild yeast fermented with partial carbonic before elevage in wood. Textural and grippy, finishing with branchy sap, cured meats and a lightly smoked stone. Young and authentic lens of gamay.Prices: France 30.00 Producer: Julien Sunier
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Blue Mountain Gamay Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe warm 2015 vintage has spawned a juicy, dark, fresh, floral-scented gamay noir that was aged in old French oak for about four years. A flatter, ripe, candied-cherry flavour dominates the palate with some savoury, lemon/pine undercurrents. Soft and mild with supple dusty tannins it is ready to drink now. Try this with veal or salmon.Prices: BC 22.90 AB 25.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Quails' Gate Cailleteau Gamay Nouveauxtext
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Quails' Gate Cailleteau Gamay Nouveaux 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBritish Columbia wine producers are really beginning to stretch their legs exploring new and old wine methods from around the world and making them their own. Case in point is the the inaugural release of the Quails’ Gate Cailleteau (pronounced kye-toe). It’s named after the French for baby quail and its nouveau style pays homage to the French tradition of celebrating the end of harvest with a “new wine”. In this case winemaker Nikki Callaway has nailed the traditional Beaujolais Nouveau style. The wine was picked, fermented whole cluster in a carbon dioxide rich environment prior to crushing, and bottled, all within about a month of harvest. The colour is youthful purple, the nose a mix of inviting primary cherry/kirsch sprinkled with cinnamon. It’s pure fun and too clever. Winery only sales…and you better hurry if you want some. It’s a perfect wine for lighter charcuterie when chilled down and drunk now.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Pipe'Dreams Gamaytext
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Pipe'Dreams Gamay 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe valley floor gamay, located below Macintyre Bluff, is all estate grown and was harvested October 6 and 7, de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in small batches before aging in oak barrels and stainless steel drums. The nose is ripe figs and black cherry, almost more pinot noir than gamay. The palate is soft and round with medium acidity and more ripe bush vine fruits before the oak kicks in. The finish is sweet and redolent of baking spices and warmer California pinot characters. Not really gamay-like but tasty nonetheless. More acid please.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Pipe'Dreams Estate Winery
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Joseph Drouhin Morgontext
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Joseph Drouhin Morgon 2013

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceBlack raspberry, black cherry and subtle forest / ferrous spicing in this reserved Morgon. Medium bodied and silken on the palate, with lightly powdery tannins to a bitter, cherry skin finish. Finely structured and quiet, almost forgetful, pour this simple Morgon with grilled portobellos.Prices: US 18.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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The Hatch Gamay Sunrise Vineyardtext
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The Hatch Gamay Sunrise Vineyard 2014

Westbank South, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThirty-year-old gamay from their home Sunrise Vineyard makes up this fuller bodied red, one plumped with the Okanagan sunshine. Bright raspberry, strawberry compote, morello cherry and an earthy forest note fills the juicy palate, threaded with fine cinnamon spicing and finishing with some heat. Tannins are fine and welcoming, especially with a pairing of grilled chicken thighs.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Blue Mountain Gamay Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEight to twenty-six year old vines make up this estate gamay. Warm and generous black raspberry, strawberry and morello cherry fill the juicy palate, one with fine spices to season and finer tannins to frame. Wild yeast fermented, after destemming and a 20 day maceration on the skins this rested in four year old oak barrels for ten months. Has the simplicity for a midweek meal, but the heft and seriousness to make it with roasted chicken.Prices: BC 22.90 AB 25.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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