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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2017

29 March 2017

Chateau Martinolles Vielles Vignes Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Chateau Martinolles Vielles Vignes Chardonnay 2015

Limoux, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis Limoux chardonnay is barrel fermented, with some 60 percent going through malolactic fermentation in the barrels. The final mix is barrel aged for nine months in 33 percent new oak and 66 percent two-year-old wood French and American oak. Despite the wood, the wine is dry with a fresh fruity undercurrent and a creamy, nutty finish. Solid effort. Serve with crab, pork roast or whole roasted chicken.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Maison Vergnes
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astratext
89PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astra 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOwner Drew Macintyre’s father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch two high-end labels, the names Astra, and its merlot brother Ardua were an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto - Per Ardua ad Astra - meaning through adversity to the stars. The Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard is home to the fruit for Astra, and since 2014, what goes into Ardua. There is very little production of either wine (less than 300 cases) and it is virtually snapped up via the McIntyre mailing list. It’s a concept Drew MacIntyre learned from his many years as an active buyer on the famous Harlan mailing list in Napa Valley. The ‘14 Astra is a rich style of chardonnay, but it’s not over the top. The nose is a mix of bright green apple fruit and citrus with some spicy hazelnut notes. Two thirds of the wine is barrel fermented while one third is fermented in stainless steel. It’s still young and showing plenty of oak but it is part of the style, and more Napa than Burgundy. As time goes on I suspect the oak will drop back a bit and the fruit and finesse will be brought forward. Now, there is a freshness, enabling the wine to pair well with richer seafood dishes. Try again in 2018.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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Blue Mountain Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwenty-six-year old vines and five clones go into this Okanagan Falls estate chardonnay. Whole cluster pressed, this was half fermented and aged in stainless, and the remainder fermented and aged eleven months in older French oak. Creamy textured, but firmly boned, with apple, lemon curd and pear. Delicate whiffs of clove and hazelnut finish with lingering toasty spices. This strikes a nice chord between fresh and bright, and creamy and rich. Drinking well now with halibut or sablefish, but will impress with a couple of years' cellaring.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 27.00 ON 24.00 QC 24.00 NB 26.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Calmel and Joseph Villa Blanche Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Calmel and Joseph Villa Blanche Chardonnay 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceThe thing about chardonnay is it has many faces and maybe the best is yet to be discovered. Villa Blanche is a Pays d’Oc chardonnay with style - a very likeable style. It’s surprisingly fresh, thanks to a fruit picking regime that happens at night, and over two different times. There’s fresh, floral fruit on the nose with a hit of wet stones and mineral. The entry is fresh and the palate is lively with tropical fruit flavours and just a hint of nutty lees – a fine balance of flavours. Light, lively and delicious. Good value.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Calmel & Joseph
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnay 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA first release from four-year-old vines grown on rocky soils, essentially washed down off Mt. Kobau, this first ‘Golden Mile Bench’ Oldfield Series Chardonnay was made by Australian Andrew Windsor. The nose is a mix of citrus, flowers, honey and oak, with hints of caramel, vanilla and cream. The attack is rich and round with nutty, honey, pineapple and citrus that finishes with apple pie crust. This treads the new and old style, but keeps a decent linear edge along with fine complexity and length. This is grown-up Tinhorn chardonnay that can pair with grilled halibut or Dungeness crab. Barrel fermented in French oak barrels, this was aged 12 months in 50/50 oak and stainless steel barrels.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Punto Final Chardonnay Reservatext
85PTS

Punto Final Chardonnay Reserva 2015

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaCreamy, ripe and broad on the full-bodied palate, one that has been further enriched with full MLF and six months in wood. Thick on the palate with pear curd, lemon curd, banana pudding, vanilla and sweet sandalwood spicing. A thin stream of lemon acidity carries throughout, but not nearly enough to handle the heavy wood treatment here.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Bodega Renacer
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Little Farm Winery Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Little Farm Winery Chardonnay 2015

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlluringly reductive, compounded with wild herbs, cracked stone, earthy lees and a savoury vanilla bean pod. The palate is plumped, but streamlined by calcium-coated bracketing. Salted hazelnuts and bitter grapefruit pith linger on the humming finish. This vintage is their best Yet; textural, linear while having a cushion of fleshiness to complete the frame. From their 4-acre organic farm in Similkameen Valley, this was whole cluster foot tread in bins before going directly into press and a long ferment (85 percent older wood). Ten months on the gross lees in older barrel and stainless, this had minimal sulphur added just before bottling. Drinking beautifully now, but will age very well also. Beauty.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Little Farm Winery Pied de Cuve Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Little Farm Winery Pied de Cuve Chardonnay 2015

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the same site and fruit as Little Farm's straight 2015 chardonnay, but vastly different. Pied de Cuve has been fermented wild (with the foot-tred pied de cuve vineyard starter), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Other than that, this is farmed and processed the same: organically grown, foot trodden into older barrel and tank for ten months on the gross lees with minimal sulphur just at bottling. Wild anise, meadow herbs, hay and salted lemon, this is a savoury, textural wine. The minerality (calcium carbonate soils) rings loud throughout, leaving large flake salt flakes in its wake on the finish. Concentrated, textured, lifted, savoury, alluring (especially as it opens), this is one to seek out, and with only 55 cases made, and at this bargain price, seek quickly. $35Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2014

Strathbogie Ranges , Victoria, AustraliaA blend from Victoria's Strathbogie Ranges, this was fermented wild (50 percent) in French oak puncheons, with 30 percent of the wine spending 12 months in new French 500L Puncheons, and 15 percent in 6000L oak vats. This full bodied and ripe chardonnay benefits from opening in advance, allowing the ample oak, lemon curd, cloud of wispy cloves to dissipate. A stream of acidity streams through, carrying ripe pear, apple alongside lemon pith, salts and popcorn. Youthful still, this concentrated wine will integrate further with time.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Fowles Wine
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Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Chardonnay 2012

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilkameen Valley fruit makes up this full-bodied chardy. Ripe and creamy, with baked apple, hazelnuts, pear and perfumed orchard blossoms. A slick of pear oil coats the creamy palate, one buffered by ten months in French oak. An interesting asparagus note filters through the finish, wood-warming, even though a welcome 13 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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28 March 2017

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheimtext
91PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim 2014

Alsace, FranceThe vines, average age of 45-years-old, emanate from the Cru Village of Turckheim but in 2014 the fruit flies were determined to make a mess of the vineyards. In the end, field selections were drastic and Humbrecht declassified two cru gewürztraminer vineyards into his village wine to get a satisfactory result. The fermentation was quick and the wine finished easily dry. Look for bright, spicy, floral aromas with similar spice and orange flavours all with that transparent Humbrecht purity. Humbrecht has always had an impressive way of expressing delicacy with a serious tone but in this year, it comes with less oily notes, a dry, delicate character and fine acidity that mutes some of the often-rambunctious attributes if gewürztraminer. Good value.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Muscat Goldert Grand Crutext
90PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Muscat Goldert Grand Cru 2013

Alsace, FranceMade from a 90/10 mix of muscat d’Alsace and Ottonel, the Goldert Grand Cru is located north of the village of Gueberschwihr. It is a late-ripening, deep limestone, gently sloping hillside that faces east and the early morning sun. The terroir and site foster a slower ripening process, excellent acidity and healthier grapes at harvest. The Goldert is also a vineyard capable of resisting drought, useful given how warm it was in June and July. The ferment was slow but little sugar was left leaving an attractive mineral character mix with floral/fruity notes. The palate is fresh and dry with bits of palate floral, spicy, quince and light honey flavours sprinkled with citrus. Fresh and elegant – Humbrecht style.Prices: BC 65.99 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Muscat Turckheimtext
90PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Muscat Turckheim 2014

Alsace, FranceThe grapes, 85% Muscat d'Alsace and 15% Muscat Ottonel come off the floor of the alluvial valley near Turckheim. Over the years Humbrecht has decreased the amount of Ottonel in the blend allowing more Muscat d’Alsace (petits grains), a grape which needs more time to ripen, to keep the acidity up and balance off the power of the Ottonel. Humbrecht also thinks the slow ripening explains why they often have higher acids and more freshness in the current releases. Essentially bone dry, this aromatic, fruity white dances on the palate at 12 percent alcohol without any of the oiliness that plagues a lot of muscat. Asparagus anyone? Fruit flies damage the crop in 2016 leaving quantities at a bare minimum.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Roche Volcaniquetext
92PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Roche Volcanique 2014

Alsace, FranceRiesling Roche Volcanique is grown on compacted volcanic ash in the Grand Cru Rangen in Alsace. This vineyard was acquired in 1977 by Olivier Humbrecht’s father Leonard and mostly planted to a high-density, massal selection of vines. Lucky for us some of the vineyard needed replanting and the younger vines are declassified into Volcanique. The colour and nose are bright; the wine a flinty, mineral, stony, salty, white fruit affair. Fresh and beguiling this is a special wine at special price for the moment. Stock up if you can. Humbrecht says it will keep through 2029 but I’m not sure I can wait that long.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Heimbourgtext
93PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Heimbourg 2013

Alsace, FranceHumbrecht knows pinot gris. At Heimbourg he says the vineyard has the capacity to produce multiple styles of richness and sweetness. In favourable years, the grapes can be harvested later but as the vineyard ages botrytis is less and less a sure thing making a drier style pinot gris more possible. This wine jumps from the glass. So lively and fresh but fraught with complexity and length. Quite green fruits, mingle with an austere, elegant dry finish with a touch of sea salt. Very food friendly. Impressive to say the least.Prices: BC 73.99 AB 74.99 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Saint Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Crutext
95PTS

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Saint Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru 2011

Alsace, FranceSedimentary volcanic rocks facing south on a very steep slope set the stage for the Rangen where the oldest pinot gris vines, planted in 1963, were used to produce the 2011 Grand Cru. The old vines, less sensitive to noble rot, produce wines with the potential to be much drier. Humbrecht says “It is very difficult to produce a dry pinot gris and actually quite rare at the top level where it is more frequent to find sweeter wines.” In this case the Rangen brings structure to a variety that can be too soft. The nose is very mineral with smoky, earthy undertones. Extended lees contact gives it plenty of texture and mouth feel. Fresh, dry and pure this wine has along life ahead.Prices: BC 145.99 Producer: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht
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27 March 2017

Catena Alta Historic Rows Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Catena Alta Historic Rows Chardonnay 2014

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaAlta Chardonnay was sourced from two vineyards in the Valle de Uco: Adrianna in Gualtallary and Domingo in Villa Bastias. Ten-twelve months in oak, first and second use oak, is felt in the full and round palate, with up-front wood, a round, firm structure, and ample vanilla spicing on the warm finish. Heady lemon curd, white peach and is a lift of citrus trying here, but at this point, losing out to the density and concentration.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 32.00 ON 39.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Catena Alta Malbectext
90PTS

Catena Alta Malbec 2013

Mendoza, ArgentinaFour vineyards from Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley. Salted black plum, blackberry, cassis, thorns fill the nose and palate. A complete wine throughout, with firm density matched with freshness afforded by the altitude. Tannins are ripe, slightly gritty, finishing with an anise lick.Prices: BC 56.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom two vineyards in Tupungato, 10-12 months in oak. Quite dense and compact with resin, cassis, thorns. Tannins still fierce and drying on the finish, but finer now, with the benefit of time. Downy black pepper and a swirl of violets on the warm finish.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Catena Zapata Malbec Argentinotext
92PTS

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2011

Mendoza, ArgentinaGenerous floral cassis, blackberry, medicinal black cherry notes in the wild ferment Argentino Malbec. Two vineyards make up this wine: Adrianna Malbec is co- fermented with Viognier and Nicasia Malbec component is co- fermented with Cabernet Franc. Overall, 20% whole cluster and 80% whole berry goes into 225-500 liter new French oak barrels for ferment before spending an additional 24 month in oak. Firm and dense on the palate, still somewhat unyielding at this time but alluringly so, with a lovely vein of freshness until a bitter edged cassis finish. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 140.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Nicolás Catena Zapatatext
91PTS

Nicolás Catena Zapata 2011

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe icon wine of Catena (you can tell by the weight of the bottle), and the only wine to bear both the first and last name of patriarch Nicolás Catena. 90/10 cabernet/malbec from old vines at altitude goes into 225-500 liter new French oak barrels for a wild yeast fermentation. Two years' rest in barrel precedes being bottled unfined and unfiltered, where it rests another two years prior to release. Medicinal black cherry, cassis, branch, thorns and resin throughout, with tannins firm, strict and drying at the very finish. At this stage, quite firm, dense, and structural; this was built for the future. Fortunately, there is an inherent freshness here, afforded through the old vines at altitude.Prices: BC 130.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Catena Zapata Chardonnay White Stonestext
92PTS

Catena Zapata Chardonnay White Stones 2013

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaLovely underpinning of stony minerality is fleshed out with cream, juicy green apple and a driving, fine citrus line. From stony soils, some calcareous. There's a leesy quince to the medium/full cushioned palate, and an appealing herbal scrubby mint note (Fernet-like) that lingers on the lengthy finish. Fermented in barrel and then into 500L puncheons for 20-24 months. This is only 100m from the White Bones block, but so different. Very age worthy.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Catena Zapata Chardonnay White Bonestext
95PTS

Catena Zapata Chardonnay White Bones 2013

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaImpressive lifted, bright minerality, lemon, lemon pith and curd in White Bones, the name tipping off the strength in the lattice-like structure and the calcareous minerality throughout the soils. Incredible precision and lightness, with tingling acidity through the very lengthy, salted finish. Tight quince, green fig, Meyer lemon is tight and taught, but with a gentle generosity of Chilean UV sun. Only 100m from White Stones plot, vinified the same (fermented and aged in in 500 litre puncheons for 20-24 months), but vastly different from front to back. Argentina's finest white wine. Very age-worthy, so cellar some (and its sibling White Stones) and experience it for yourself.Prices: QC 125.00 AB 136.50 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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24 March 2017

Valdipiatta Rosso di Montepulcianotext
89PTS

Valdipiatta Rosso di Montepulciano 2014

Tuscany, ItalyThe blend is 80/15/5 sangiovese/canaiolo nero/mammolo producing about 8 tons to the hectare. Only some 12 percent of the wine sees oak for a brief 3-month period and those 300-litre Allier oak barrels have already been used once. It gets another 3-months of bottle ageing before the young rosso is released. Look for a medium dark wine with a fresh attack. The textures are soft and round but there is fine acidity to keep it focused and fresh. The family prefers a cold, pre-fermentation maceration to extract colour and tannins without alcohol which keeps the wine bright and soft. In fact, the focus is on fruit and there is plenty in this edition. We love the bright, fragrant, cherry fruit flavours and its pure, almost quaffable, style. A great restaurant lunch wine or to begin the evening with a charcuterie plate, fresh pasta with meets or a favourite cheese. Production is 30,000 bottles.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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Valdipiatta Tosca Chianti Colli Senesitext
88PTS

Valdipiatta Tosca Chianti Colli Senesi 2014

Tuscany, ItalyThe blend is 90/10 sangiovese/canaiolo nero all grown on hillside sandy clay/loam soils, around Montepulciano at just over 1000 metres. The vines have been refurbished through 2004 (the first vintage release) but date back to 1993. The ferment is in stainless steel with six months ageing in large 50 HL Slavonian oak barrels and another six months in bottle. The family prefers a cold, pre-fermentation maceration to extract colour and tannins without alcohol which keeps the wine bright and soft. In fact, the focus is on fruit and there is plenty in this edition. I love the bright, fragrant, cherry fruit flavours and its pure, almost quaffable, style. Aa great restaurant lunch wine or to begin the evening with a charcuterie plate, fresh pasta with meats or a favourite cheese. Production is 15,000 bottles.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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Valdipiatta Vino Nobile de Montepulcianotext
92PTS

Valdipiatta Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 2013

Tuscany, ItalyVino Nobile di Montepulciano earned its nobility from its ancient origins that date back to 789 AD. The wine of popes and kings, it was given the title of “Nobile” (noble), by Giovan Filippo Neri, Governor of the Royal Abbey of San Girolamo in 1787. Under the current DOCG regulations there must be a minimum 70 percent sangiovese grosso (locally referred to as prugnolo gentile), 20 percent canaiolo nero and the remaining ten percent from grapes grown in the province of Siena, historically mammolo and colorino. That said, most Nobile is all sangiovese. This impressive Valdipiatta is a 95/5 mix of sangiovese/canaiolo that is aged six months in barrique before spending another 12 months in large oak casks and six months in bottle. As charming as Miriam Caporali is, her wine is powerful mixing bright red fruits with a savoury, dried herb undercurrent and rich dense tannins that add texture and weight to the finish. There’s plenty of acidity suggesting this will age well and improve over the next decade. If you must open it now think lamb, or a whole roasted chicken. The vineyard is 30 hectares and the vines have been planted between 1973-1992. There are 50,000 bottles produced.Prices: BC 34.99 BC 105.99 1500 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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Valdipiatta Rosso di Montepulcianotext
89PTS

Valdipiatta Rosso di Montepulciano 2015

Tuscany, ItalyThe blend is predominately sangiovese with some canaiolo nero and mammolo in the mix. Only some 12 percent of the wine sees oak for a brief three month period and those 300-litre Allier oak barrels have already been used once. It gets another three months of bottle ageing before the young rosso is released. The style is more and more a throwback to the past in the sense that it is bright and floral with round, soft, dark cherry fruit and freshness. Less complexity but more drinkability—as a rosso should be. The perfect spaghetti red, or try it with grilled chicken or pizza. Love it. Production is 30,000 bottles.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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Valdipiatta Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Vigna d'Alfierotext
94PTS

Valdipiatta Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Vigna d'Alfiero 2012

Tuscany, ItalyThe Vigna d'Alfiero vineyard is just over two hectares in size and its sandy clay-loam soils sit at some 350 meters above sea level. This single vineyard Vino Nobile is named after former vineyard worker Alfiero Carpini, who worked the property for 15 years before Giulio Caporali bought Valdipiatti in the late 1980s. It was Alfiero who shared the history of each vineyard with the family and planted a small vineyard in Bossona in 1973. Upon his death, the family produced a wine in his memory and re-named the vineyard he planted 25 years ago ‘Alfiero.’ The 2012 growing season was dry but Miriam Caporali says February snows went a long way to helping the vines make it through to harvest. The wine has an impressive nose of wild fruits with exquisite freshness and minerality throughout. The styling is gorgeous with silky tannins and concentrated, spicy fruit flavours. Think meat sauces, chicken, or chorizo stuffed pork tenderloin. Bravo.Prices: US 55.00 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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23 March 2017

Singletree Winery Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Singletree Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Fraser Valley sauvignon is 100 percent estate fruit that was barrel fermented in both new and neutral French oak. The nose is bold with a mix of tropical fruits, rich toasted lees and fruity marmalade notes throughout. The finish is lighter, almost watery in a good way, with more toasted lees and oak. I like the pursuit of complexity here and the zeal for texture and length even if its tastes more like chardonnay than sauvignon. Fresh and balanced, try this with creamy pasta or fish dishes. 107 cases produced.Prices: BC 19.05 Producer: Singletree Winery
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Hubert Brochard Cotes des Monts Damnés Sancerretext
89PTS

Hubert Brochard Cotes des Monts Damnés Sancerre 2014

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceFrom Chavignol's steep Cotes des Monts Damnés comes this lees-cushioned Sancerre. Domaine Brochard dates to the 16th century. Here, forty-year-old vines bring quiet and persistent concentration to this medium bodied white. A blanket of cream carries Meyer lemon and green apple over a bed of river stones to a crisp, stony finish. There's a lovely breath of fresh herbal grasses on the finish. This will age very well, so lay a couple down to enjoy in the future.Prices: BC 47.00 Producer: Hubert Brochard
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Greywacke 'Wild Sauvignon'text
91PTS

Greywacke 'Wild Sauvignon' 2009

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom the cellar. How does Kiwi sauvignon age? This wild sauvignon feels more like chenin or sémillon than you'd expect. Rich with white asparagus, wild honey, quince and perfumed dried apricots, streamlined with a stream of lemon peel. Wild herbs, gentle anise and a medicinal white cherry linger on the lengthy finish. Age has tempered sauvignon's raciness, and exemplified its earthy honeyed, citrus poignancy.Prices: AB 38.00 BC 40.00 Producer: Greywacke Vineyards
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Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandBright and zesty passionfruit, gooseberry, asparagus, hedgerow fill this classic Marlborough savvy. 2015 marked the winery's 30th vintage, as well as one of the driest summers on record. That's felt in the concentration of this round, tropical-minded white, one clouded with lees and trailing with zesty and sour tangerine.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 29.00 MB 35.00 ON 32.99 QC 31.25 NB 35.00 Producer: Cloudy Bay Vineyards Limited
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Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
92PTS

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTHIS. Tight and green fig, tight citrus, medicinal herbs, 75/25 sauv / sem. Unfined and unfiltered, one third savvy whole cluster pressed and time in neutral French oak. Hay, lemon thistle, lees-lined palate, white peach fuzz textures the finish. Incredible texture, snap of citrus pith and oyster shells on the finish. Vibrant piercing acidity. Stunner now, will age impressively. 9.2 TA, 3.0 pHPrices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Perseus Sauvignon Blanctext
81PTS

Perseus Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSharp acerbic orange, sweet creamsicle, pear gummies on the round, off-dry palate, which sharpens bitter on the short finish. Missing pleasure.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Perseus
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Therapy Vineyards Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Therapy Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrisp, bright and fruity, with grapefruit, tropical melon, green apple, lemon zest and hedge. A bump of sugar and a snappy, tart finish makes this widely appealing. Chill well and serve up all spring and summer.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandNow a fixture on the BC scene, this refreshing Marlborough sauvignon blanc grabs you from its bright, pure, lively citrus fruit aromas to an equally flavourful attack with more fresh passion fruit spiced with jalapeño. It’s a touch sweet this year but I’m sure it will only widen its appeal. Look for this wine to appear in a 2-litre bag-in-the-box format in BCLS stores ($34.99) after its fabulous reception on tap (in a 9-litre bag) at Earls Restaurants. It’s your choice: twist and pour, or tap and pour and save even more money.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 20.00 MB 22.00 BC 34.99 2000 BC 34.99 2000 Producer: Rossendale Winery
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Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaAsparagus, spring pea and youthful green herbs, this Adelaide Hills savvy is at once quite intense and quite sophisticated. Blanketed with a fine cushion of herbal lees, this stainless-steel white streams lemon, white grapefruit through to the snappy, white pepper dusted finish. If you're ever missing spring, drink this. Best appreciated cellar temperature.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Shaw & Smith
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Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandPunchy and bright, this sustainably produced Kiwi savvy is from the Seaview Vineyard in Marlborough's Awatere Valley. Assertive passionfruit, tangerine, pink grapefruit is juicy on the medium-full palate, and turns quite pithy and warming on the finish.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 17.00 MB 18.00 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NB 19.00 Producer: Yealands Estate
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Famille Sichel Château Argadens Sauvignon - Sémillontext
89PTS

Famille Sichel Château Argadens Sauvignon - Sémillon 2014

Bordeaux, FranceParts of the Château Argadens estate date back to the 12th century. When Maison Sichel purchased the historic site in 2002 they invented heavily, to produce wines that represented these clay-limestone rolling hills, and the highest point in the Entre-Deux-Mers. A classic blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon, with the former seeing some skin contact, before both are fermented in new oak barrels with bâtonnage. The fermented wines spend a few months on the lees before they are vatted and blended. Wines like this benefit from some bottle age. At this stage, this is showing medicinal charged lemon, fresh cut hedgerow, and ample sharp white grapefruit. Potently concentrated, with a quickly moving stream of acidity to power this full bodied white forward, this benefits from being open, or pairing with a flavourful pork cutlet or herb-dressed turkey.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Famille Sichel
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22 March 2017

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonomatext
88PTS

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesClassic savoury Sonoma nose with dusky red berries, plum, cocoa, fine toasty spice and mocha-supple tannins. Fire up the barbecue and grill one of your favourite meat cuts. Solid value.Prices: BC 17.99 SK 20.00 ON 17.00 NF 21.00 MB 19.00 NB 23.00 Producer: Louis M. Martini
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Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Puente Alto, Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileCharcoal, cured meats, violets, thorns and inky cassis are kept light and fresh with a swell of acidity on this fuller bodied cabernet sauvignon (splashed with cabernet franc, merlot and syrah) from cooler Maipo at Puente Alto (650m) and Pirque (570m). Roasted coffee and smoked pimento linger on the finish. Tannins are gritty, but well integrated into the fruit at this stage. Mixed grill, meet this.Prices: BC 18.99 ON 21.95 QC 22.00 AB 20.00 NS 19.99 SK 24.95 YK 24.95 NF 23.95 Producer: Vina Concha y Toro S.A.
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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Apalta Valley, Santa Cruz, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileDense and full, with charred meats, charcoal and campfire leading this full-bodied dry-farmed cabernet from Colchagua. Potent black fruit, pipe tobacco and wood blanket the palate. Thick and camphor-heavy tannins add extra intensity to the potent fruit, before a powdery finish. The opposite of shy, even four years along, this would suit (needs) big grilled meats.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 21.00 MB 20.00 ON 19.95 QC 17.54 NS 22.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

South Australia, AustraliaSourced from vineyards in Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale, expect cedar, black fruit and menthol aromas with a similarly flavoured fruity palate. Tannins are soft and finely granular with smoky cassis, red currant fruit flecked with toasted notes and some acidity poking through the back end. Fire up the barbie and throw some burgers on.Prices: BC 15.69 AB 17.00 SK 16.19 MB 15.30 ON 13.95 QC 18.00 NS 19.00 NF 17.00 NB 17.00 YK 19.60 Producer: Wolf Blass Pty Ltd
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Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon Menzies The Cigartext
90PTS

Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon Menzies The Cigar 2011

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaFrom the cellar. Ink, leather and cured meats open this structural, dense Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon, now softened with some bottle age. Worked leather in texture and weight, with medicinal red cherries, dried plum and a tug of dark cocoa dusted tannins to frame the ripe, dried fruit to a dusky floral finish. The Menzies Vineyard is in the heart of the cigar-shaped Coonawarra terra rossa red soils. This was matured for 16 months in predominantly French oak, hogsheads and barriques, 25 percent of them new. If you have this vintage in your cellar, this is the time to drink.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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21 March 2017

Les Epinats Saumur Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Les Epinats Saumur Cabernet Franc 2015

FranceLoire Valley cabernet franc is an adventure in acidity and aromatics, but when it is ripe it can be sublime. This wine, made by a respected co-op, excels in 2105 with a fresh, peppery, black fruit nose. The palate is more of the same with that aforementioned acidity prominent beneath the earthy, spicy, savoury black fruit with a touch of tannin yet to disperse. Grill with your favourite meat for the perfect match or lay it down for three to five years for even better results. Good value. The wine-growing region of Saumur, located on the south bank of the Loire, comprises 2700 hectares of vineyards spread over 37 communes.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Alliance Loire
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Upper Bench Cabernet Franc Estate Growntext
88PTS

Upper Bench Cabernet Franc Estate Grown 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNaramata may not be cabernet sauvignon country but cabernet franc is another story. The new normal is warmer weather in the Okanagan valley and that helps most reds. The attack is fresh with bright acidity and some of those characteristic leafy, resiny, red fruit aromas and flavours. Look for bits of cedar, red licorice, plums and just a whiff of milk chocolate and spice. The finish is medium long with more of the same and a fresh tart finish. This should further improve over the next three years in bottle. The winery suggests you can serve it now with a creamy, Upper Bench cheese such as King Cole.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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La Pépiè Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

La Pépiè Cabernet Franc 2014

Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceCrunchy, juicy and joyful, this is a quaffable cabernet franc from one of Pays Nantais' top Muscadet producers. With granitic slope sourced grapes, this spends five months in stainless steel. Youthful raspberry, cool cherry is seasoned with white pepper, young cedar whiffs and herbal scrub which textures the palate. Tannins have a supple, sappy tug, but otherwise remain in the background. This is all about juicy, quaffable, delish, light-bodied, morish franc to drink now.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Earl la Pépière
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Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc Unfilteredtext
90PTS

Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc Unfiltered 2013

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaAlluringly reductive, as is the house style, with scads of sea salt seasoning tarry cassis, black cherry and resinous herbs. Vibrant acidity propels through the brooding mire to the salty finish. Wild yeast fermented and basket pressed, this spent ten months in French oak and was bottled with minimal sulphur. Best decanted or opened a day in advance.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Norman Hardie
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20 March 2017

Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Broken Barrel Syrahtext
90PTS

Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Broken Barrel Syrah 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit comes off an East Osoyoos vineyard and its classic meaty, peppery syrah with a bit of Barossa on the nose and palate. Expect a warm, rich, red wine with an intense peppery, blue fruit palate with another dose of spice in the finish. It started out in American oak barrels but was moved to tank and finally American puncheons for 2 years after a forklift accident. The syrah was passed over both roussanne and marsanne skins. Only 50 cases made and not yet released.Prices: BC 69.68 Producer: The Hatch
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Wakefield Shiraztext
87PTS

Wakefield Shiraz 2015

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaRipe and round, with those warm cocoa tannins and lifted palate so characteristic of Clare. The destemmed fruit was fermented in stainless, with some pressings added back in for heft, before transfer to oak (90 percent American) for ferment and aging. Wild blackberry, forest berries, cherries, black plum and violets on the fleshy palate before trailing off with a warming vanilla / roasted coffee finish. Easy, balanced, affordable and ready to drink.Prices: BC 17.99 ON 18.00 NS 16.00 Producer: Wakefield Wines Pty
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Black Swift The Long Road Syrahtext
89PTS

Black Swift The Long Road Syrah 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLong Road is a 100-acre vineyard at the northern extent of the Osoyoos Bench. It was planted in 1999 to clones 99 and 100 and is sustainably farmed at 3 tons to the acre. Expect an impressive flavoured bottle of syrah with perhaps a touch too much chocolate in its sweet fruit but the soft, at times soupy, structure makes it easy to sip. Look for black licorice, pepper, raisins and blueberry fruit too. Needs some time to pull it all together. Less new oak or better oak would make a difference here but don’t let that scare you off. Grilled lamb is the ticket here. Post fermentation the wine spent 16 months in a 50/50 mix of new and older French oak.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Fowles Wine Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Shiraztext
91PTS

Fowles Wine Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz 2010

Strathbogie Ranges , Victoria, AustraliaFrom the cellar. This Strathbogie Ranges shiraz was grown on granite, at altitude, and aged three ways in stainless steel, 140-year old oak and large oak puncheons. Pierced by pepper throughout its lifted track, this is wild blackberry, black cherry, fresh plum and streaks of violets, graphite and cured meats, now with fine bones and a very long, salty finish, flushed with warmth. Northern Rhone meets cool climate Aussie.Prices: AUS 30.00 Producer: Fowles Wine
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17 March 2017

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Muscat de Beaumes Venise Les Chants des Girollestext
90PTS

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Muscat de Beaumes Venise Les Chants des Girolles 2013

Beaumes de Venise, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe muscat grape has been the force behind this wine since it became part of Vin Doux Naturel AOC in 1945. Griolles is made from 35-year-old small berry muscat harvested by successive passes. The ferment is cold and stopped using neutral alcohol at 11 percent residual sugar. Expect a reliably fresh and floral nose flecked with spicy nectarine, ginger and lemon oil aromas. The plate is sweet and round with honey, pear, quince and ginger. Sweet but elegant, this would be excellent with fresh berries and lighter desserts.Prices: BC 22.99 375 Producer: Paul Jaboulet Ainé
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Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleriatext
90PTS

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2014

Sicily, ItalyAncient describes Ben Rye made with zibibbo grapes, grown on vines trellised using the traditional ‘alberello pantesco,’ a bush-training system on the tiny volcanic island of Pantelleria. The traditional training system was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The colour is amber orange, suggesting a luscious style, yet it comes with freshness and fine complexity. Twelve separate sites with differing soils and altitudes create this wine. Golden raisins, heady quince, ripe nectarine and dried apricots flood the palate that finishes with a touch of plasticine. Great with Italian olive oil cake or a favourite soft cheese.Prices: BC 42.00 375 AB 38.00 375 ON 49.00 375 QC 32.00 375 Producer: Donnafugata
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Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser Ice Wine Minus 9text
90PTS

Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser Ice Wine Minus 9 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe haven’t seen this bottle in a while, but now that it is under screw cap, its collectability should increase. Gehringer is the master of the sweet riesling, but in this case the ehrenfelser comes off a little more expansive and sweeter, with creamy orange, apricot, and honey with just enough acidity to keep it all in check. Elegant, full style best drunk young.Prices: BC 50.00 375 Producer: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
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Blandy's Alvada 5 Year Old Rich Madeiratext
88PTS

Blandy's Alvada 5 Year Old Rich Madeira NV

Madeira, PortugalThis is a new product from the historic Madeira house of Blandy's, and a daring one at that. Breaking from an exclusive mono-varietal tradition, this modern Madeira is a 50/50 blend of malvasia and bual, aged in the traditional cask and loft canteiro system for five years. Potent fruitcake, rancio notes, aged wood, sugared plums, maple syrup coat the round and juicy palate, thankfully lifted with a lime marmalade cut and carried by a smoothed, sweet mid to a fiery, orange-oil finish. Ideal for cocktails. This is ready to drink now, particularly if you're looking for an alternative to youthful tawny Port or sweeter oloroso (and in a pocketable 200ml size).Prices: BC 15.00 200 Producer: Blandy's
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Blandy's Madeira Duke of Clarence Richtext
87PTS

Blandy's Madeira Duke of Clarence Rich NV

Madeira, PortugalPouring a golden brown hue, with notes of salt-roasted nuts, sanded wood and lighter molasses on the nose. The soft palate is overwhelmed by abundant carmelized brown sugar, before coffee, marmalade, sweet tobacco and orange pith brighten. I reckon Duke of Clarence must be the most recognized Madeira the world over? Rich is the fullest category of Madeira, and this softer, simple Rich is accessible to all. A very sweet, historic wine, finishing with a spirited warmth that welcomes fruitcake or gingerbread pudding.Prices: BC 28.99 ON 25.00 AB 27.00 YK 28.00 SK 33.75 MB 20.00 Producer: Blandy's
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Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Rutherglen Muscattext
92PTS

Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Rutherglen Muscat NV

Rutherglen, Victoria, AustraliaHeady and potent maple syrup, toffee, blackstrap honey, fruitcake and quince paste is driven with a potent stream of orange oil. Thick and unctuous on the palate, this highly concentrated muscat is textured with fine ashen notes through to the heady brown sugar finish. The spirited warmth of this fortified wine is felt after the last drop. Youthful and luscious, serve alongside warm roasted salted nuts, or Christmas pudding.Prices: Producer: Chambers Rosewood Vineyards
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16 March 2017

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2013

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpiced strawberry jam, raspberry, ample tobacco and brisk mineral salts, in this lighter, fresher cabernet franc. Sweet smoke filters through branchy, ample herbal notes, all centered on a warmer-fruited strawberry jam core. Tasted just upon release, this deserves to be tasted again when settled (and I look forward to doing so).Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLibrary tasting. This first vintage of Thorny Vines is showing beautifully now, in the chapter of revealing some age, but holding its fruit. Pear core, eraser, sweet pear and lime, with a grippy lime pithy finish, and exceptional length. Earthy, savoury line coming through now four years along. Exceptional value. If you have in your cellar, wait. But if you can't, you're lucky. Thorny Vines Vineyard lies at the southern end of Naramata Bench, the cooler, north facing vineyard reflected in the racy acidity. 9.8 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLibrary tasting. Limey! This juicy wine is lime-driven, with a pithy, vibrant, vibrating edge. pear centre, with an alluring watery pause to the mid. Grounded with lemon curd and citrus pith on the finish. Still very much in youth, with a great distance ahead. Beauty. This is one of a trio of single vineyard rieslings Synchromesh released from the 2014 vintage, each providing a singular snapshot of its origin. Thorny Vines Vineyard lies at the southern end of Naramata Bench. 9.8 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken Storm Haven Vineyardtext
91PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken Storm Haven Vineyard 2010

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLibrary tasting. This was Alan Dickinson's first release of their flagship Riesling. Storm Haven Vineyard is in Okanagan Falls, a rocky sloped site. Potent eraser, pear, light honey and quince carries to the finish. Shier and more delicate on the palate than in later vintages, this is a reveal of what is to come. Showing its age beautifully, with fine, direct acidity and a fine riffy grip on the lingering finish.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2011

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLibrary tasting. In its second vintage, Storm Haven Riesling was much more concentrated front to back than the inaugural 2010. Ample concentration, verve and energy, with potent lime, ripe pear, honeysuckle. The sugar is offset by a racy acidity and lime peel lift. Still youthful and vibrant now in an exuberant pup way. So many years to go still. 12.1 TA, RS 55 g/l.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2012

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLibrary tasting. This is one wine that reflects vintage variation more than most. In the 2012, the warm, long summer generosity is felt in the tropical citrus fruits of this concentrated wine, with sugar offset by a driving, lime and tangerine, pithy acidity. Broad on the palate. Very youthful still; has easily a decade of this. pH 2.88, TA 12.7, RS 29.1 g/l.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
94PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is not about the fruit. This has the cut of riesling, medicinal-hued and stone edged, driving and focused with crunchy acidity. A subtle buckwheat, pear skin seasons honeysuckle, leading to perfumed lime on the finish. Savoury, earthy profound, this is still in the flush of youth and with a long way to go. Best Storm Haven to date. 9.4 percent alcohol. TA 12.6. pH 2.63. RS 35 g/l.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farmstext
90PTS

Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farms 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a single vineyard wine from Turtle Rock Farms, just above Naramata Bench. It spent fifteen months in neutral French oak before being bottled without fining or filtration. Black plum liquorice imbues this dense core, perfumed with ribbons of ink, wild blackberry, blueberry and brambles. A bright line of acidity draws the potent, herbal and tobacco along to a medicinal black cherry finish. Structured and coming into its skin just now.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farmstext
90PTS

Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farms 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a single vineyard high up on Naramata Bench, this cabernet franc was 100 percent whole cluster fermented before spending twenty months in new French oak. The wine was then bottled without fining or filtration. Pretty, perfumed raspberry, black raspberry and medicinal hued cherry core is streaked with a sasparilla cola note. Very raspy tannins point to the youth of this wine (I tasted an unreleased sample for this note) but the structure is indicative of its capacity for aging. Looking forward to tasting again.Prices: Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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15 March 2017

Jansz Premium Cuvéetext
88PTS

Jansz Premium Cuvée NV

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaToasty and brisk, with red apple, cherry, broken stones and a swell of bright acidity. Round and ripe on the palate, but that taut acidity - beauty. It finishes with a very pithy, grippy pink grapefruit. This is a youthful "méthode Tasmenois" blend of of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier from across the Island.Prices: BC 27.99 QC 28.00 ON 28.00 AB 30.00 Producer: Jansz Wine Company
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Champagne Bérèche et Fils Valléetext
92PTS

Champagne Bérèche et Fils Vallée NV

Champagne, FranceCreated in 1847, Champagne Bérèche et Fils is a grower with 9.5 hectares of land based in Vallée de la Marne. Brothers Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche are the current generation. Terroir-focused, they farm without herbicides, and all wines undergo tirer à liege - where the second fermentation takes place under cork rather than capsule. They believe this allows more oxygen into the bottle resulting in finer bubbles and a seamless texture. This is an equal split chardonnay and pinot noir, aged on the lees for 66 Months, 5 g/l disgorged January 2016. Biscuit, smoked stone, white peach, warm yellow fruits gives gentle heft to this 1er cru Champagne, while driving crystalline lemon lifts it. Chalky minerality textures to an anise-scented finish.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Champagne Bérèche et Fils
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La Vida al Camptext
88PTS

La Vida al Camp NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya, SpainLa Vida al Camp is an independent project of the Raventos family. The harvesters for this project farm organically. This blend of macabeo, xarello and parellada was aged a minimum of 15 months. Toasted cracked wheat, biscuit, white grapefruit pith, lemon and stones carry this crisp, dry and lively sparkling, finishing with a bitter citrus pith.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Para Vinedos Familiares
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Special Clubtext
93PTS

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Special Club 2008

Champagne, FranceSpecial Club (Club Trésors) is an invite-only group of 28 grower champagne vignerons, recognized for the quality of their wines. A Special Club champagne is different from their other cuvées, can only be made in outstanding vintage years, and is packaged in the special distinctive bottle. Based in the Côtes des Blancs, this producer is known for their pristine and focused Chardonnay, sourced from grand and 1er cru vineyards (some 80+ years old) in Cramant, Chouilly Mont Aigu, and their home village of Cuis. With seven years on the lees (this was disgorged July 23, 2015), the breadth on the palate is foremost, though easily and seamlessly woven with the crystalline chardonnay. Broken stones, subtle herbs, and spiced pastry is brightened with lemon blossoms and driving pith. Very finessed, more ample than their other wines, and showing great depth and length at this stage, but will continue to be cellar-worthy.Prices: BC 121.25 Producer: Champagne Pierre Gimonnet
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Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Brut Traditiontext
92PTS

Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Brut Tradition NV

Champagne, FranceOne of the forerunners of the grower champagne movement, Egly-Ourier is a forth generation producer, centered in Ambonnay, farming his old vines organically and biodynamically. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, predominantly from Ambonnay with the rest coming from Grand Cru Verzenay and Bouzy. Approximately 50 percent barrel fermented, this is expansive and powerful on the full palate, with finely filigreed lemon acidity throughout to brighten the heft. A creamy bed of earthy lees, smoked stones, gentle cherry and lemon curd grounds this wine, while a potent line of citrus acidity carries it.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: Champagne Egly-Ouriet
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Champagne Bérèche et Filstext
92PTS

Champagne Bérèche et Fils NV

Champagne, FranceFocussed and sleek, with nimble green apple acids brightening a hazelnut brioche base of creamy lees. The 60 percent wood is evident here (40 percent of which was small vats) on the dough bedding the palate. Firm citrus and spiced stone structures the whole. This is 30 percent Chardonnay (from Ludes), 35 percent Pinot Noir (from Ormes) and 35 percent Pinot Meunier (from Vallée de la Marne), including 30 percent of wines from perpetual blending system, aged on lees for two years before bottling.Prices: BC 70.00 Producer: Champagne Bérèche et Fils
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AA Alta Alella Privat Brut Nature Reserva Cavatext
89PTS

AA Alta Alella Privat Brut Nature Reserva Cava 2013

SpainAlta Alella began 20 years ago when Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillen acquired nineteenth-century estate Can Genis, near Barcelona and converted it to organics. Bright and tight, with ripping pithy lemon acidity leading ample broken stones, green apple and a scent of herbal anise in this organic Cava. The zero dosage is evident in the strictness seen here, one that will win over purists' hearts. Vibrating mineral hums on the finish. From sauló (sandy granitic) soils, this chardonnay spends 15-27 months on the lees in stainless steel before release.Prices: MB 26.00 Producer: Alta Alella
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Rosé de Blancstext
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Rosé de Blancs NV

Champagne, FranceIf you shy away from rosé Champagne because you feel it lacks precision or tastes too fruity, this pristine, finessed example will change your mind. Delicate and intense, with rose petals colouring the chalky textural palate. A linear precision reflects the 96 percent chardonnay, while four percent still pinot noir from Bouzy brings the gentle pink hue, gentle cushion of cherries and red liquorice that floats on top. A grippy riff on the finish is lengthy and strawberry tinged. A lovely, finessed and linear example. This was disgorged April 20, 2015.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Champagne Pierre Gimonnet
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Perseus Traditional Method Sparkling Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Perseus Traditional Method Sparkling Chardonnay NV

Penticton Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMade from 100 percent chardonnay, this traditional, method bubble is lifted with bright red apple, pear and toast. Round and off-dry on the softer palate, with pear, stones and a pear skin lift to the brisk finish. Chill well and drink this summer.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Perseus
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSharp and toasted orange, bitter marmelade and searing cut in this fruity, simple, sparkling chenin, one that has ample verve and acidity, but lost its balance this vintage - especially compared to the pristine finesse of vintages past. Ample toast, red apple, soft and frothy on the palate, with a bitter-edged apple peel on the finish.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Golden Mile Cellars (aka Road 13)
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14 March 2017

Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscanotext
88PTS

Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscano 2014

Tuscany, ItalyThe weather was the issue in 2104. A rainy, mild winter ushered in a cool spring and a warm, early bud break but it was all downhill after that, including hailstorms and downy mildew until a dry fall that literally saved the vintage. After all that, the result was a good, light, year leaving Non Confunditur a ready-to-drink Tuscan blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese. Look for fresh, round soft red fruit with classic earthy menthol undertones and a bit of spice. Serve now with stews or a whole roasted chicken.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 29.27 ON 23.99 QC 24.35 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscanotext
90PTS

Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscano 2013

Tuscany, ItalyNon Confunditur or “do not be mistaken or confused” is one of those rare welcoming, accessible and interesting youthful Super Tuscans. A shorter aging period (and no petit verdot) is what gives NC its baby-brother status next to the famed, Super Tuscan Solengo. In 2013 the mix is 40/20/20/20 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese grown on a 300m plateau and fermented separately before spending time in a mix of French oak barriques, large Slavonian oak and stainless steel. A powerful vintage with big concentration. Soft and worn leather, dusky dark florals, blackcurrant and earthy thorns fill the voluminous palate, one kept buoyant with an easy swell of acidity and hemmed by ample tuggy tannins. A cut of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish tightens the whole up again and helps counter the 14.5 alcohol. Drinking well now with rabbit and polenta. Surprisingly finished under screwcap. Production is 90 -100,000 bottles.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 29.27 ON 23.99 QC 24.35 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcinotext
93PTS

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe 2012 growing season, centred upon a warm, dry, summer, was a year to remember in Brunello. Argiano’s southern exposure has always given it a bigger, richer frame but with new research and work by Chilean terroir specialist Pedro Parra and Italian wine consultant Alberto Antonini it is gaining in elegance and style. Plenty of black cherry fruit winds its way through a mix of cedar/tobacco/dried herbs aromas. The flavours are red fruited with a sensation of stony minerals and beautifully textured silky tannins. Young, fresh and capable of resting through 2022 in your cellar while it all comes together. At Argiano the first year is spent in French oak barriques and tonneaux of varying capacities while the second is spent in larger Slavonian oak barrels before it’s all blended together in concrete tanks and bottled.Prices: BC 59.99 AB 60.00 QC 51.00 QC 112.00 1500 NS 66.00 ON 60.00 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Rosso di Montalcinotext
88PTS

Argiano Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis rosso is made from 100 percent estate sangiovese grosso grapes. Argiano makes one of the richer Rosso di Montalcino, but it remains to be seen how the style will change with consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini’s influence. We suspect the fruit will be purer and the acid brighter in the coming years and there will be less oak influence. In 2014, a difficult year in Montalcino, the wine is a mix of fresh, spicy menthol, earthy notes and soft black cherry. Best with duck or meat pasta dishes to take on the earthy, leather notes.Prices: NS 35.00 BC 33.73 AB 33.00 QC 26.70 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Solengotext
92PTS

Argiano Solengo 2013

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyVilla Argiano was built in 1858 on a hilltop just southwest of Montalcino, but it is a modern producer by any standards today, as translated by this super Tuscan blend of 50/5/25/20 cabernet sauvignon, syrah, petit verdot and merlot. It is deep, dark and brooding like the old lonely wild boar it is named after. The 2013 offers power and elegance with ripe black and red fruits, minerals, savoury black pepper and toasted oak in a California-meets-Tuscany style. The tannins are firm and the finish long. Cellar through 2018 or serve now with steak.Prices: BC 87.50 AB 93.00 QC 80.00 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Suolotext
92PTS

Argiano Suolo 2013

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Suolo ‘cru’ comes off one of the oldest estates in Montalcino. Originally the creation of Bordeaux-trained winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers, ‘Suolo’ translates as soil. Moving forward in 2014 and especially 2015, Suolo is to become the purest expression of Argiano’s soil under its new ‘less is more,’ consultant, Alberto Antonini. The 100 percent sangiovese grosso is a mix of fruit from the Vignoni vineyard (1966) the oldest vines at Argiano, and from Oliviera (1989), one of Argiano’s younger sites. The pair face south/southwest at 300 metres altitude, and are on a mix of clay, schist, calcareous and limestone soils. At veraison the yield is reduced to four to five bunches per plant. The grapes are hand harvested and a large proportion of whole berries forces a slow and gradual start to fermentation. Post ferment, Suolo is aged in 600 litre tonneaux for 16 months, followed by one year in the bottle before release. In 2013 the style is rich and powerful with smoky, plum and black cherry, vanilla, coffee aromas that open to floral, earthy, black cherry, peppery orange, licorice/coffee balsamic flavours. Napa goes to Italy. Certainly this needs time and will not be ready to drink before 2020. If you must, make sure meat is on the menu, or a well-aged hard cheese.Prices: BC 143.82 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Rosso di Montalcinotext
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Argiano Rosso di Montalcino 2013

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyA year down the road since I tasted it last, the 2103 is now fully ready to drink. The all 100%, estate sangiovese grosso grapes thrived in 2013, giving us richer Rosso di Montalcinos, starting with its deep colour and spicy menthol, earthy, cherry flavours. It was aged in used French oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation before spending about ten months in larger Slavonian oak barrels prior to bottling. The style is soft and supple but meaty, with cherry, gamey fruit. It will work well with a variety of grilled meats, heavier pasta dishes and aged cheeses. Drink now.Prices: MB 27.00 BC 33.73 AB 33.00 QC 26.70 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Rosso di Montalcinotext
89PTS

Argiano Rosso di Montalcino 2015

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe 2015 is back to a more elegant red fruit style with floral menthol flecks – a baby Brunello. The palate is smooth and youthful with round-ish, cherry fruit flavours together with a light undercurrent leather and earth. A bright, attractive smooth-styled rosso drinkable at this early stage. It’s definitely a food-friendly red you can serve with a charcuterie plate or a pasta meat ragú.Prices: NS 35.00 BC 33.73 AB 33.00 QC 26.70 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcinotext
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2008

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyIt was a difficult year in Brunello, so the concentration comes from small barrels rather than the vineyard. The nose is earthy, the palate firm and dry - almost old style. The flavours are a surprise, better than the nose for sure, offering leather, forest floor, cedar and branchy red fruits. The finish is medium-long with fading tannins. It’s ready to drink and we suggest you do that before the fruit is gone.Prices: BC 60.00 AB 60.00 QC 44.00 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcinotext
90PTS

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2009

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyFrom the cellar. Another difficult year that required some manipulation, in this case the ’09 was put in barrique to further concentrate the fruit. A mix of floral tones and black fruit with a structure more akin to Napa Valley versus Tuscany. Still complex but with firm tannins that will need a bit more time to pull itself together a good but not great Brunello. Drink or hold through 2019.Prices: BC 60.00 AB 60.00 QC 44.00 Producer: Argiano
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13 March 2017

Occhipinti SP68text
90PTS

Occhipinti SP68 2015

Sicily, ItalyFloral, scented, pure, with raspberry blossoms, violets, dark cherry, herbs and anise across whisper fine, spiderwerb-strong tannins and brightened with crunchy acidity. This biodynamic, naturalist lighter-bodied red is 70 percent frapatto and 30 percent nero d’avola, with 10–15 days on skins and then 6 months in stainless steel. Juicy and bright, with energy from start to finish, and a textural tugging cherry skin as lingering memory. A natural beauty, quaffable and finessed.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: Arianna Occhipinti
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Masi Campofiorintext
87PTS

Masi Campofiorin 2012

Verona, Veneto, ItalySince 1964, when they developed the apassimento technique, Masi has been producing this wine. Lighter, recently fermented Valpolicella wine is "repassed" over the skins and lees of the richer, partially-dried Amarone grapes, kicking off a secondary fermentation of the Valpo and adding additional color, texture and flavour to the wine. This effectively creates a wine that merges both the simplicity and ease of Valpo and complexities of Amarone. Black cherry, black plum, branch and bitter coffee lead this gamey, rustic, medium bodied red. Earthy, gritty tannins line a smoothed palate to a drying finish. Needs red meat in jus to match.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 20.00 QC 21.75 SK 23.00 MB 20.00 NS 19.50 NB 23.00 NF 22.50 YK 23.50 Producer: Masi Agricola
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Pasqua 'Romeo & Juliet' Passione e Sentimentotext
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Pasqua 'Romeo & Juliet' Passione e Sentimento 2014

Veneto, ItalyThis is an apassimento of Merlot and Corvina grapes, left to dry for 1 month into wooden trays before wine from the just-fermented grapes is added, kicking off a secondary ferment that lasts one month in stainless steel. The wine is then matured in oak tonneaux (second use) for three months before the wines are blended and MLF occurs. Soft, pretty raspberry and cherry, blackberry gummies, pink peppercorn spice on a velvet palate. Low tannins, moderate acidity, gentle spicing, like a hug. Fitting for a wine called Romeo and Juliet, and reflected in the label: a photo taken by Giò Martorana, Unesco Prize for Photography, which portrays the daily messages left by lovers on the walls of the famous courtyard of Romeo and Juliet in Verona.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Antinori Tignanellotext
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Antinori Tignanello 2006

Tuscany, ItalyFrom the cellar. This wine wears its age like a cloak, flashing its core richness briefly before swooping away into a flourish of lingering memories. In this case, there is a dried leather, dried violets, dried cherry on the palate, before sticky, still-ample tannins overtake the lingering, vanilla-licked finish. A prized vintage for the Antinori house, this Super Tuscan blend is 80/15/5/ sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon/ cabernet franc. Showing much more mature than I would expect for a decade; drink now if you have.Prices: BC 96.00 AB 99.00 ON 98.00 QC 98.00 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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12 March 2017

De Vine Vineyards Moderna Vermouthtext
90PTS

De Vine Vineyards Moderna Vermouth NV

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaLike most of the spirits distiller Ken Winchester alchemises from his still at De Vine, this vermouth was made for his tastes. The fact that it, and all of his spirits, have seen great success surely says something for Winchester's tastes! They've sold out five runs already, and he is currently making the biggest bottling to date to meet demand. Winchester spent many months researching the history of Vermouth, back to 1786 when the first "recipe" was documented. Winchester did many triails and tests, adapting it to our local environment to see what works. There are 31 botanicals in the blend, striking an herbal-driven balance between bitter & sweet, and allowing it equal ability as an aperitif and a mixer. My bottle of Moderna was from the first run, so I'm keen to taste again one of his latest runs. Golden brown hue, this is warming sweet orange and exotic herbs, lead by wormwood (a German version of the word for 'vermouth'), sarsaparilla, hyssop, cinnamon and nutmeg duskiness and brightened with orange, verbena and a mint hint. A bitter tonic note (cinchona bark) rings on the lingering finish. This goes brilliantly with proper tonic, or suits solo contemplation. Impressive.Prices: BC 22.00 375 Producer: De Vine Vineyards
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Isastegi Sagardo Naturalatext
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Isastegi Sagardo Naturala NV

Navarra and Basque Country, SpainIsastegi is a sagardo naturala, a natural cider (sidra) from Spain's Basque culture / region. Traditionally produced, they use as many local apples as they can source near their location at the foot of the mountain Intxurre. Pouring a hazy yellow this unfiltered sidra is reminiscent of a gueuze, bone dry and high acid, with sour apples, yellow apples, herbal grasses and prickle darts of acidity. This is meant to be poured from high above into a tumbler, further incorporating air and freshness into the yeasty drink. At only 6 percent alcohol. this is a delight to kick off a mid-day round of pintos. Best well chilled.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Isastegi Sagardotegia S.L.
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Osake Fraser Valley Junmai - Renaissancetext
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Osake Fraser Valley Junmai - Renaissance NV

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaArtisan Sake Maker's founder Masa Shiroki never fails to impress. After single handedly changing the sake conversation in Vancouver with the establishment of his small-batch production shop on Granville Island in 2007, he has pushed on, planting sushi rice and making the first sake rice production in Canadian history. Planted in Abbotsford, in the Fraser Valley, the 2016 harvest yielded enough to produce 22,000 bottles of this craft sake (or as Masa calls it, rice wine), as well as 10,000 kg of spray free table rice. Only 100 cases of this was made in 2016. Fresh, sweet hay, sweet meadow herbs, light honeysuckle and hazelnut stream through this Junmai (sake made without spirit). Dominantly herbal, moderately honeyed, with crisp acids rising the sweet cereal base, lingering with fine sea salts and gentle orange/vanilla sweetness. Lovely balance throughout. Sustainable, natural, local, this is a natural with our Oceanwise sushi.Prices: BC 15.49 375 Producer: Artisan SakeMaker Granville Island
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Beaufort Fortétext
86PTS

Beaufort Forté 2008

Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaKirsch, boozy blackberries, dark raspberries and stewed plums mark this fiery fortified blackberry and blackcurrant wine. This is a full-bodied blend of 2007 and 2008, aged in oak casks. Very spirited (hot!) lingering finish at 19.1 percent alcohol. Best matched up with powerful blue cheese and sugar-spiced nuts.Prices: BC 17.50 500 Producer: Beaufort
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10 March 2017

Spierhead Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Spierhead Pinot Noir 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three pinot noirs released in 2015, the White Label is in the greatest quantity, at just under 1000 cases. A blend of estate East Kelowna fruit and a vineyard in Summerland, this is four Dijon clones, barrel aged for ten months in French oak. Cedar shavings, tobacco and smoked cherry notes are framed by finely grippy, gritty and youthful tannins. A juicy swell of fruit on the supple core helps the friendliness, though the cherry pit bitterness of tannins on the short finish welcomes food.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Lake Sonoma Pinot Noirtext
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Lake Sonoma Pinot Noir 2014

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesYear two for this label comes from a warmer vintage, but for some reason the wine is a bit on the thin side. The nose is a dark cherry affair with spicy toasted oak notes from fifteen months in oak (about 15 percent new). Faint earthy, rooty, strawberry notes mark a soft palate that finishes a bit short. Ready to drink now with a grilled salmon sandwich.Prices: BC 0.00 QC 29.95 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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Rodney Strong Pinot Noirtext
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Rodney Strong Pinot Noir 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong was among the early modern wine pioneers to plant pinot noir in the Russian River Valley. In 1968, he planted the heritage River East Vineyard, in what today is considered one of California's premium, if luscious, pinot noir regions, the Russian River Valley. The 2014 vintage was warm, and needed management to make pinot noir. In the end the heat was managed well, and the resulting wine soft and silky. The 2014 Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has lovely aromas of red fruit, floral and earth, with bits of red fruit – cranberry and pomegranate – and dark cherry on the finish with a dusting of baking spices. Perfect for mushroom pizza or simple pork chops. The pinot spends 13 months in French oak barrels (35 percent were new). Definitely new world style.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 28.99 ON 25.99 MB 25.99 QC 25.30 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noirtext
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Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's been a good while since we tasted the Qwam Qwmt series pinot noir. This is forty-year-old estate grown vines, from their estate Inkameep Vineyard in Osoyoos. Plush plum, black cherry, blackberry is filtered through roasted coffee and thorns. Tannins are soft until they dry on the finish, along with a flush of heat. A pinot for merlot fans, this will take on roast beef dip handily.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Nk’Mip Cellars
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Rodney Strong Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirtext
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Rodney Strong Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesA new release from the Rodney Strong winemaking team, this focuses on Green Valley, one of the coolest parts of Sonoma Coast. On top of that, this has the unique Goldridge soil, giving this Green Valley pinot a different look. Aging for 10 months in French oak barrels, one third new, has left this expressive red with a medium red colour and a cool forest floor, rooty, earthy note that mixes well with its pomegranate and raspberry notes. The palate is warm and silky with a hint of cola and baking spices. New world but with adequate restraint to respect the variety.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Rodney Strong Pinot Noir Reserve 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesIt’s been eight years since we last saw this wine. The RS Reserve is still a blend of individually selected lots from sites across the Russian River Valley. Everything is kept separate and barreled individually and only selected on the tasting bench prior to bottling. This is all Russian River with its rich, spicy, sumptuous style and smoky black raspberry and strawberry fruit. The tannins are light, the finish long and silky, with a hint of baking spice and more ripe strawberry. A delicious drop of California pinot.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noirtext
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Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noir 2013

Oregon, United StatesJackson Family Wines purchased the Zena Crown Vineyard just west of Salem in 2013 in their first foray into Oregon. Working with Willamette Valley winemaker Tony Rynders and Shane Moore, Zena Crown Vineyard is set on a southwest-facing slope of weathered volcanic soils in the Eola-Amity Hills. Prior to the sale the fruit was sold to several producers seeking single-vineyard designates including Beaux Frères, Soter, and Penner-Ash. In 2013, the Zena Crown domain emerged. Aged 17 months in 85 percent new French oak, this 12.7 percent pinot tells the savoury, fragrant story of Oregon pinot. Dark and silky with gamey, earthy, mushroom and umami tones in the glass. The finish is spicy, with smoky hints of dried red berries. Complex and dry, this needs a piece of grilled pork to sing.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Zena Crown Vineyard
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Spierhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
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Spierhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three pinot noirs released by Spearhead in 2015, this is three Dijon clones all from the Saddle Block of their estate Gentleman Farmer Vineyard, planted 2008. Ten months in French oak. A distinct amaro note on the nose (sarsaparilla? angelica?), before a wall of herbal raspberry, sour cherry and rhubarb notes. The oak is well integrated into the ripe, bitter-edged fruit, with barely a tug of tannins, though the smoked note of the wood filters throughout. Bitter cherry rings on the tobacco and tomato finish. Gentle, bright acidity carries this and enables drinking now, though in the clumsiness of youth, it's best with pork tenderloin or grilled sausages.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
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Spierhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three pinot noirs from 2015, the black label Cuvée is a barrel selection of estate fruit. This year five clones (four Dijon and one Pommard) spent ten months in French oak. Deeper, fuller than the others in the portfolio, this is lined with black cherry, black raspberry and smoked branch. Tannins are finely gritty and cedar-lined, finishing with a bitter black cherry skin. Bitter amaro-esque herbs filter throughout this fuller-bodied red, upping the interest. Youthful still, this will evolve into an elegant wine with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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09 March 2017

Black Swift Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlack Swift is the single vineyard, premium project from the team at The Hatch winery. This chardonnay is from West Kelowna's organically farmed Pinecrest Vineyard, and I tasted the 249th bottle out of the 600 produced. Full-bodied, potent and creamy, this is 44-year-old vines and 14 months in new French oak puncheons. Medicinal lemon, ripe yellow apple, lemon curd and ample, creamy lees are perfumed with sweet white flowers and apple blossom. Lovely concentration in a riper, sun-sweetened and expansive style. Would love to see this just a squeeze tighter.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay Alexander Mountain Estatetext
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Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay Alexander Mountain Estate 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesAnother compelling effort from Stonestreet winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs. There is impressive restraint here, allowing the mineral, wet stone notes to carry the creamy, lees-laden mid-palate before the citrus fruit, orange and barrel toast. The Hyde Wente clone planted over multiple years since 1982 at 1600 feet is behind this pinnacle chardonnay at Stonestreet. Fresh halibut would be a great match here. Again, impressive New World chardonnay.Prices: BC 110.00 AB 110.00 ON 115.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Rodney Strong Chardonnay Reservetext
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Rodney Strong Chardonnay Reserve 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe RS reserve comes off meticulously farmed sections of some of the very best vineyards in Russian River Valley. The lots are vinified separately in the Artisan Cellar, in the best barrels, and blended just after malolactic and returned to barrels to complete the aging process. It was a warm year, reflected by the baked apple, pineapple notes. The mid-palate is juicy with fine acidity and creamy, nutty, salty, citrus flavours. Try this with herb crusted halibut, grilled veal chops and mushrooms, or a mushroom spaghetti dish. It’s 100 percent barrel fermented for 9 months in 100 percent French oak that is 29 percent new.Prices: US 40.00 ON 45.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Capensis Chardonnaytext
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Capensis Chardonnay 2014

Western Cape, South AfricaCapensis began its short life in 2012 and the 2013 vintage, released from a variety of extreme sites from across the Western Cape, was the inaugural release. In 2014 Barbara Banke (Jackson Family Wines) and Antony Beck (Graham Beck Wines), jointly purchased the Fijnbosch, Stellenbosch property which now makes up just over half of the production of Capensis. At 1720 feet elevation and steep slopes it fits the Jackson vineyard mould. The rest of the grapes come from Overberg and the Robertson region. Winemaker Graham Weerts, who comes from Cape Town, shuffles between Stonestreet and several JFW properties. At US $80 the price suggests great things and I’m happy to report this wine is headed in that direction. The nose is a seductive mix of lees and honey with ripe tropical fruit but all within itself. The oak treatment is less or better or both in 2014 allowing the minerality and stony undercurrent to show through. The juicy fruit is framed with fine acidity and the creamy chalky textures mute the apple peach notes in a Burgundian sort of way. Just over half the wine is fermented in new French the rest in stainless steel. A nice improvement over the previous year. Crab, halibut or chicken would all work here.Prices: BC 90.00 AB 95.00 Producer: Capensis
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Stonestreet Chardonnaytext
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Stonestreet Chardonnay 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesWinemaker Lisa Valtenbergs makes this single-vineyard estate chardonnay from a blend of sites (there are 235 individual blocks) across her mountain vineyards. The result is a sophisticated, nothing-to-do-with-what-you-think-about-California-chardonnay. Pears, stones, apples and peaches have a cool demeanour. The grapes are grown on clay loam between 400-1,800 feet. Of the 5,100 acres that make up the Estate, only 900 are planted to grapes. 100% barrel fermented with native yeast, malolactic fermentation in barrel, and with lees stirred monthly. This spent 11 months in French Oak, 39 percent newPrices: BC 42.95 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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08 March 2017

Torres Mas La Planatext
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Torres Mas La Plana 2006

Penedès, Catalunya, SpainFrom the cellar. Mas La Plana was a ground breaking wine, one of the first cabernet sauvignons in Spain, and planted by Torres in Penedes in 1966. This 1970 bested blind cab sauvs from first growth Bordeaux in the 1979 Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris, and it's been a jewel of the Torres portfolio since. Potent, concentrated black fruit is beneficially worn with a decade of bottle age into a potent, leathery, red. Ripe black cherry, medicinal cherry, anise, cured meats, dried salted tobacco on a concentrated and full palate, met with a firm, bright acidity. Tannins are still grippy and strident, with fresh cedar boughs and a lick of eucalypt on the finish. Even with a day's decant this requires roasted beef or lamb to match.Prices: BC 64.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyardtext
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard 2013

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRockaway was first planted in 1994 to mostly to cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but includes all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties that rise in elevation up to 750 feet. The blend is 81/12/4/3/ cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and petit verdot all aged in 26 months in French oak barrels of which just under half is new. The is a powerful, mountain wine that delivers flavour and finesse. In the middle of Alexander Valley, Rockaway Vineyard with average temperatures of 62 degrees provides the perfect balance of warm afternoons and cool Pacific mornings and evenings. Its well-drained hillsides and low pH soil gives up mostly small-berried clusters. In 2013 the harvest was near perfect; a dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer with minimal heat spikes, and a warm, rain-free autumn championed perfectly mature fruit. Black cherry, red currants and plum dominate with a savoury ‘Sonoma’ undercurrent and warm baking spices at the end. Long, rich and complex, this has along life ahead.Prices: BC 99.00 AB 80.00 US 75.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Trueman Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaAustralian Charlie Seppelt and American Chris Carpenter have combined their winemaking talents at Hickinbotham to produce what they term is the pinnacle of Clarendon cabernet. The wine is shaped by its tannins which are rich and dense, framing the wine’s structure from front to back. Expect rich and pure black fruit with a whiff of green pepper, menthol and dark chocolate. The fruit is hand-picked from Clarendon high country at 220 metres where it enjoys warm mornings and cool nights, lending ripeness yet holding bright acidity. At 14.5 percent the alcohol is up a full point over last year but to little overall effect. First planted in 1971 by Alan Hickinbotham it remains in good hands today under the Jackson Family Farms banner.Prices: BC 79.99 AB 80.00 MB 80.00 Producer: Hickinbotham Clarendon Vintners
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Kendall-Jackson Stature Redtext
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Kendall-Jackson Stature Red 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesStature is the pinnacle of Kendall-Jackson winemaking and the vision of winemaker Randy Ullom. Cold-soaked for 4 days and fermented for 16 more days the cabernet is crafted to tell the story of origin among the volcanic and rocky hills and ridges high above the floors of the Alexander and Knights valleys. In 2013 Stature is 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grown 60/40 in Alexander Valley / Knights Valley. Ullom works the wine 21 months in all French barriques, of which 59 percent are new. The reduction in oak and ageing looks good on the 2013. It’s still blockbuster California cabernet sauvignon and after all is said and done, KJ only made 215 cases from its extensive cabernet holdings. It’s a giant with warm, powerful fruit and a world of dense tannins. There is no need to drink this for a decade but it will keep through 2030.Prices: BC 169.00 AB 170.00 ON 107.00 QC 109.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Mount Brave Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Mount Brave Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at 1,400 to 1,800 feet. The estate, on the western flank of Napa Valley, is named for the native Wappos who first called it home. Mt. Veeder has been planted to wine grapes since the early 1860s while Mt. Brave Vineyard dates back to 1841—before the Gold Rush and the Civil War. The site is all about high elevation and thin, rocky soils that present many winegrowing challenges. Four cabernet clones (191, 4, 8, and 337) and three rootstocks (3309C, 101-14, and 1103P) neutralise some of the issues in what is a slow moving, long, cool growing season above the fog line. The wine fermented in stainless steel and goes through malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels (80 percent new). After some 19 months of barrel ageing it is bottled without fining or filtration. The season was perfect, yielding flavourful floral, blueberry notes with stony mineral whiffs. The palate is firm with rich, dense tannins, black raspberry/blackberry fruit and dried herbs. A real mountain wine that will need time. The blend is 82/7/6.5/4.5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc. Cellar for a decade or two.Prices: BC 100.99 AB 80.00 Producer: Mount Brave
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Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veedertext
96PTS

Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2013

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesFor almost two decades, Lokoya Mt Veeder has been made from a selection of blocks within Veeder Peak Estate vineyard that sits on the sunny western ridges of the Mayacamas Mountains at the northern end of the Mount Veeder AVA. Poor, low nutrient volcanic soil yields small berries and big, concentrated flavours. Blueberries and violets with dense, rich mountain tannins spill from the glass. It’s always 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, fermented with native yeast, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Wisps of smoke and meat complex what is an outstanding bottle of cabernet and a direction many could learn from. I love the dry, firm mineral undercurrent and the subtle red fruit punctuation marks. You could drink this if you had to, but a decade or two in the cellar would leave this close to perfection and a fun bottle to slip into blind tastings.Prices: BC 425.00 AB 400.00 Producer: Lokoya
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Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis wine will surprise many with its pureness of fruit and mineral character, reflecting its marginal, high altitude soil. Brambles, black fruit and blackcurrant mix with savoury, dried herbs on the nose, surprisingly bright acidity and rich black cherry and black plums. There is no shortage of cabernet mountain tannins here that will persist for a decade. Lean, lithe and proudly New World this should keep a few folks in Napa Valley up late. The 5,100-acre site has 900 acres planted to grapes in 235 individual vineyard blocks. The wine is barrel aged 18 months in 37 percent new French Oak.Prices: AB 55.00 ON 53.99 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon Rockfall Vineyardtext
93PTS

Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon Rockfall Vineyard 2012

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesSourced from one of Stonestreet’s highest vineyards, this cabernet sauvignon has a mountain wildness about it, expressing its extreme, warm (at least by day) situation above the fog line. The wine spends 20 full months in French oak but only 57 percent is new, leaving the plummy, firm black cherry and scrubby savory dried herbs a chance to express themselves on the palate. The finish is long and streaked with baking spices and more black fruit. It’s a pleasure to taste a California cabernet that is showing signs of terroir and site specificity.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Mathieu & Camille Lapierre Morgontext
92PTS

Mathieu & Camille Lapierre Morgon 2015

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFrom the riper 2015 vintage, this still carries the characteristic crunchy acidity and black fruit of the biodynamic house. Wild cherry, a whiff of thorns and reduction before heading into black raspberries and granite to a bitter cherry edged finish. Scrubby herbs throughout, this is structured finely, but certainly firmly, a la Morgon. Lovely lingering salted stones and white pepper on the finish. Very low sulphur use, as ever, in 2015, they added minimal sulphur to all the barrels (no N, or Sans Souffe).Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Marcel Lapierre
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07 March 2017

Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Steen Op Houttext
88PTS

Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Steen Op Hout 2015

Western Cape, South AfricaA cushion of sweet lees beds this youthful chenin from Western Cape. Meadow flowers, grasses, yellow apple and tight pear are perfumed with peach blossoms and honeysuckle, finishing bright, clean, but slightly warm. This is a mix of dry farmed bush vines (60 percent) and trellised vines, as well as a mix of picking times. Fermentation was in a mix of French oak (10 percent) and stainless steel, resting on lees for six months before blending. At this point the wine is a bit knees-and-elbows awkward, but should settle with a little more time in bottle.Prices: BC 22.00 QC 18.00 Producer: Mulderbosch
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The Winery of Good Hope Chenin Blanctext
86PTS

The Winery of Good Hope Chenin Blanc 2014

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaRipe pear, elastic, yellow apple, overripe melon, crushed stone scent the creamy, ripe palate, rich with ample lees stirring, but no oak. Moderate lime-laced acidity lags behind the ripe, sweet orchard fruit here, which drags the whole down. Chill well, drink now.Prices: BC 14.00 AB 17.00 Producer: The Winery of Good Hope
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Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. Chenin does special things with age, transforming pear and grapefruit and light honey blossoms into concentrated quince, green fig and heady honeysuckle notes. This 2013 is just hinting at maturity, with dried herbs, honey and dried quince framing the bright orchard fruit. Medicinal-edged tropical fruit, perhaps a result of the sauvignon blanc splashed in, stunts the finish. Chenin's piercing acidity drives throughout, lingering on the palate. Now in this awkward tween phase, but will impress much more with a year or two more transformative rest.Prices: BC 19.00 AB 15.00 SK 19.00 MB 19.00 ON 18.00 QC 19.00 NS 23.00 PEI 23.00 NB 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. Five years along, and this chenin is a shining example of 1 - why people should age smart chenin, and 2 - why we should plant more chenin in BC. Now cusping into mature notes, with honeycomb, honeysuckle, quince and green fig dominating the primary orchard fruits of young chenin. Earthy herbs, hay filtered throughout to a snappy stony finish. Acidity still bright, though lagging, more a consequence of the warm 2012 vintage than chenin's ageability. If you have this in the cellar, drink now.Prices: BC 19.00 AB 15.00 SK 19.00 MB 19.00 ON 18.00 QC 19.00 NS 23.00 PEI 23.00 NB 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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05 March 2017

Bodega Garzón Estate Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Bodega Garzón Estate Pinot Grigio 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayWhite flowers and pear aromas lead to a bright and tight palate of green apples and gooseberry gummies. The tight mid-line of zesty acidity carries to the finish keeping this white crisp and clean. The grigio spends three to six months in stainless steel on the lees to add a little extra mouthfeel to counter balance the acidity. A lovely introductory-style pinot grigio made for spaghetti vongole.Prices: CDN 17.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Bodega Garzón Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThis sauvignon blanc is very pure and Thiol-rich, with striking lemon pith, gooseberry, searing pithy acidity on a cushioned bed of orchard fruit lees. Some tropical fruits mingle on the mid-palate until a snappy, salty mineral finish. Perfect for shellfish, goat cheese.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Estate Viogniertext
89PTS

Bodega Garzón Estate Viognier 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayCan’t say enough about how pure and delicious this simple little wine is. When Alberto Antonini says less is more he means it. A flush of honeysuckle aromatics entice; steady minerality penetrates and energizes the white peach/apricot palate, while a lovely, creamy pear flows throughout. This well-handled viognier is the best of both worlds, displaying viognier's showy characteristics in a very elegant, refined way. Impressive.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Albariñotext
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Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Albariño 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThe vineyard's southern orientation means less intense afternoon sun, and more direct exposure to Atlantic Ocean breezes. Perfumed peach blossoms, light honeysuckle, and fragrant lime throughout. Delicate tropical fruits glide on a creamy palate, buoyed by a fine, steady stream of salty minerality and an alluring textured, fuzzy grip of concrete. A very expressive wine right through its lengthy, anise-scented finish. Fermented in cement, 20 percent of this single vineyard albariño spends three to six months on the lees in French oak barrels, with the remainder aged in cement tanks. Impressive.Prices: CDN 53.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Estate Pinot Noir Rosétext
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Bodega Garzón Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThis is better than last year's edition but at 14 percent alcohol it lacks the lift and freshness we are looking for. It's a potent light pink that charms with notes of light strawberries, wild raspberries and a fresh herbal thrush. The sun-warmed ripeness and weighty palate is offset by a stream of minerality that fights the flat finish. This spent three-six months on the lees in stainless steel.Prices: CDN 24.39 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Estate Cabernet Franc-Tannattext
89PTS

Bodega Garzón Estate Cabernet Franc-Tannat 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayPoured blind you could mistake this for a BC cabernet franc, though the 20 percent tannat in the blend might puzzle at first. Here, however, it's a lovely dark fruited chord in the effusive melody of herbal cassis, fresh plums, pepper and scented cedar. Tannins are well managed and finely grippy; the acidity is bright enough to lift and brighten the 14 percent alcohol here. Impressive, and drinkable now with most grilled meats.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Estate Tannat-Merlottext
89PTS

Bodega Garzón Estate Tannat-Merlot 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayTannat is splashed with twenty percent merlot in this estate wine, one that has spent three-six months on lees in stainless steel. Antonini plays the plummy, plush chocolate merlot up against tannat's dusty, fine, graphite tannin that structure. As to be expected at this young age, the wine veers to drying on the finish, though nothing that a wedge of grilled meats wouldn't counter easily. Lovely freshness throughout, with violets trailing.Prices: CDN 24.39 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Reserve Marselantext
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Bodega Garzón Reserve Marselan 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThis is 100 percent marselan, a red grape that is a cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache first bred in 1961 near the French town of Marseillan in the Languedoc region of Hérault. Low yielding, this has good disease resistance to botrytis, powdery mildew, coulure and mites. At Garzón it reveals a wild blackberry, black cherry and black plum nose lifted with a flush of bright acidity and framed by a house of thorny, youthful tannins. There is a lick of eucalyptus that flirts throughout to a drying finish. Rustically framed, but elegantly presented, this is an ideal wine to serve up with fire grilled beef.Prices: CDN 24.25 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Reserve Cabernet Franctext
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Bodega Garzón Reserve Cabernet Franc 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayConsulting winemaker Alberto Antonini has high hopes for cabernet franc at Garzón and we can see why. Fermentation in large concrete tanks, this spent 6-12 months on the lees in French barrels and casks. Intense medicinal-scented blackberry and cherry aromas lead into a softer palate of the same, with light smoke, branch and dark-cocoa dusted tannins swelled by a gentle lift of acidity. Very structured, this full-bodied cabernet franc is brightened with fresh minerality throughout. Highly drinkable now - especially with grilled meats or mushroom ragout - but you could age this through 2020 with no issues. Impressive.Prices: CDN 29.99 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayYou feel the direction of Antonini here. By that, we mean that you don’t feel it, because this pinot noir is a great example of what he means when he says less is more. Fermented in concrete, this spends 12-18 months in French oak barrels and casks. Smoked branch, prune, dark cherry and blackberry mark the nose of this ripe, Next World pinot noir. Potent and full but with an elegance that tempers the tobacco, ash, blackcurrant, black cherry, mineral flavours. Crunchy acidity, grippy tannins and scented florals tightening up the finish. A full-bodied pinot noir but with bright minerality that speaks to the granite soils.Prices: CDN 53.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Petit Verdottext
91PTS

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Petit Verdot 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThis late ripening, single vineyard petit verdot is planted to the north, increasing its exposure to the sun and light and allowing full physiological maturity. This was fermented in concrete tanks before 12-18 months on the lees in French barrels and casks. The colour is an impressive reddish black. A tighter graveled framework rules the dense palate, one fleshed out with scented violets, black plums, wild blackberry. Beautiful precision, lift and minerality throughout, with petit verdot's characteristic raging tannins reduced to a potent fine-grained hum that vibrates on the finish. Impressive, textural and age worthy.Prices: CDN 53.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Tannattext
91PTS

Bodega Garzón Single Vineyard Tannat 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThis single vineyard is cooler than other blocks on the Garzón estate, boasting steep slopes and thin soils with excellent drainage. The wine is one hundred percent tannat, clocking in at 14.5 percent alcohol. It is aged 12 to 18 months on its lees in French oak barrels and casks. A powerful tannat it comes with something most don’t – elegance. Though the nose is slightly closed at this young stage, the potency of this wine is felt on its powerful palate, with driving blackcurrant, blackberry, thorns, violets that lift with fine acidity. Tannins are rich and dense, as expected but with balance and sophistication. The wine is not for drinking now but the bones and structure and intensity promise much down the road by 2020.Prices: CDN 53.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Albariño Reservatext
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Bodega Garzón Albariño Reserva 2016

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThe winegrowing and winemaking is a three-way project at Garzón among Alberto Antonini, German Bruzzone and Eduardo Felix. After a few days of a non-alcoholic extraction post-pressing, the settled and racked juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks and kept on its lees for six months. Look for a highly attractive perfumed pear, tangerine, honeysuckle and peach nose that fills out this full-bodied albariño. A line of greengage and lime pith keeps freshness front and present, helping with the lusciousness on the palate. Fresh and lively with a whiff of the sea, a steady, streaming minerality throughout tightens and lifts the whole. Three to six months on the lees in French oak barrels and casks brings texture without any significant oak influence, which is classic Alberto Antonini. Fantastic wine with seafood, and fantastic value.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannattext
91PTS

Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannat 2015

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayThe Tannat Reserva is 100 percent tannat that is fermented in 150-hectolitre cement tanks before spending six to twelve 12 months on its lees in French oak barrels and larger casks. It’s secret to success is its juicy, fresh demeanour on the nose and palate and what silky tannins to die for. Red fruits, black fruits and mineral stony undercurrents keep it all inline before the finish. This is a sensational bottle of wine for the price. Lamb or barbecue ribs friendly.Prices: CDN 53.00 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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03 March 2017

Villa Teresa Pinot Grigiotext
84PTS

Villa Teresa Pinot Grigio 2015

Veneto, ItalyWith a sheen of green, this dry, lean pinot grigio is more than the average Italian grigio: it's certified organic. Herbal, cheesy lees beds the palate, which is covered with asparagus, oily nuts, lemon and light citrus notes. Chill this right down, drink right now.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Haywire Pinot Gris Switchback Vineyard Raised in Concretetext
90PTS

Haywire Pinot Gris Switchback Vineyard Raised in Concrete 2012

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. 2012 was the year of Pedro Parra's intensive GIS soil mapping and the first vintage for carving up Switchback vineyard into five distinct plots. Each was vinified separately (some in concrete, some wild ferment), before they were pieced back together for the desired final result. Pedro refers to this technique as "Frankenstein wine", as it is constructed from parts, with the goal being that the sum is a greater force than the components on their own. Now, four years along, this organically farmed wine shows nutty, earthy notes, walnut shell and heady honey, with white cherry blossoms, broken stones, green fig, quince paste and a plump layer of herbal lees lining the whole. Textural pear skin and a pierce of medicinal pear oil is brightened with bell-ringing acidity. Drinking well now, so if you have in your cellar, reward yourself.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. Half bottle. Showing quite maturely already, with heady honeycomb, dried quince, nut, wild herbs and ample lees cushioning the medium bodied palate. Acidity is a tight, narrow quiver through the lengthy finish. The forty percent barrel fermentation has paid off, with the structure and depth here able to hang for years ahead still. Great to see you can cellar this highly affordable pinot gris, allowing the grape to be seen and enjoyed through an entirely different lens.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 25.00 ON 25.00 QC 23.50 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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02 March 2017

Renato Ratti Battaglioni d'Astitext
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Renato Ratti Battaglioni d'Asti 2015

Piedmont, ItalyCured meats, smoked branch, dark cherry and peppery notes throughout this youthful and approachable barbera from Asti. Renato Ratti also bottles a Battaglioni DOC from Alba, which would be fun to taste alongside (for geeks like me). This is a plush and round black fruited wine, destemmed and crushed, with soft tannins, cranberry brightness and primary black fruit, coming from time in stainless before one year in older oak barrel. A medicinal-cherry line carries throughout. Ready to drink now with grilled ribs or wild mushroom laden braised chicken thighs.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Renato Ratti
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Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolotext
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Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo 2014

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyIn 1958, the priest of the village of Barbaresco foresaw that the only way small properties could survive was by banding together, so gathered together nineteen small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. From its humble beginnings making the first three vintages in the church basement, Produttori del Barbaresco has grown into a 50+ member co-operative with more than 250 acres of Nebbiolo vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation. The Langhe Nebbiolo is from young vines across the DOC, fermented in stainless and with six months in large oak. Dried violets, cassis, tobacco, black cherry and black liquorice are drawn fine,raspy tannins. Rose, thorns linger on the drying finish, best mitigated with roasted veal and hazelnuts.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Produttori del Barbaresco
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Donnafugata Tancreditext
90PTS

Donnafugata Tancredi 2011

Sicily, ItalyLayered and leathery, Tancredi is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, nero d'avola, tannat and other grapes from Sicily. Fourteen months in oak barrique was followed by 24 months in bottle, fortifying the tannins as well as the structure. Worn leather coats the base, while thorny cassis, black cherry, tobacco, scrubby Mediterranean herbs and anise carry through the warm, salty and drying finish. Tannins are firm and slightly balsamic-sticky, though pouring alongside roasted lamb and polenta would easily (and deliciously) solve.Prices: BC 40.99 AB 40.00 MB 46.99 ON 39.00 YK 49.40 Producer: Donnafugata
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Donnafugata Sedàratext
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Donnafugata Sedàra 2014

Sicily, ItalyThe local nero d'avola grape is partnered with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah in this ripe and round Sicilian red. Black cherry and black raspberry dominate, lined with medicinal anise, and freshened with a brisk, pink peppercorn lift on a spicy finish. The oily Mediterranean herbal scrub is ever present, just as it should be. Eight months in stainless steel works to preserve the fruit and omit any wood tannins, making this red ready to drink now with grilled kabobs or swordfish.Prices: BC 28.50 AB 24.00 ON 18.99 QC 18.99 NS 19.99 Producer: Donnafugata
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Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino di Ciallatext
91PTS

Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino di Cialla 2010

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyMassive pink peppercorn, raspberry bush, light thorn, subtle leather filters throughout this graceful and characterful schioppettino. A soft core of wild herbs is worn even smoother with bottle age. subtle, quiet and charming. Paolo Rapuzzi, of Ronchi di Cialla, began producing Schioppettino, Refosco, Picolit, and Verduzzo, four of the native grapes of Friuli, in the village of Cialla in the early 1970s and the estate is now one of the premier estates of Friuli. Schioppettino is also known as Ribolla Nera.Prices: BC 50.99 Producer: Ronchi di Cialla
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Occhipinti Il Frappatotext
92PTS

Occhipinti Il Frappato 2014

Sicily, ItalyHerbal, perfumed woodsy flowers, this biodynamic frappato is from 50-60 year old vines grown on Sicilian sands and chalk, at 280m altitude. 70 percent of the wine is macerated for two months on its skins, while the other 30 percent stayed on its skins for eight months. It was aged 14 months in large 25HL Slavonian oak barrels before a one month stint in bottle before being bottled unfiltered. An herbal earthy and salty cut lures you into this light bodied, expressive and beguilingly floral red, one held riveted with fine but ample grippy tannins. Frappato's florals abound; Iris, lilac, blue plum, sap and sweet salami lead the textural, rock dust palate to the salty mushroom bullion on the finish. Even better the second day, this intriguing wine is one for adventurous drinkers to return to again and again.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Arianna Occhipinti
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Domaine de l'Idylle Mondeuse Clos Idylletext
89PTS

Domaine de l'Idylle Mondeuse Clos Idylle 2014

Savoie, FranceThe Tiollier family has been working the alpine terroir of Savoie since 1840. Scads of cracked pink peppercorn leads this fresh and floral mondeuse. Mondeuse is an ancient variety of the area, and one of the parents to syrah, so the pepperiness is certainly inherent and in the genes. Half whole cluster, this spent six months in vat, preserving the fresh, earnest, Alpine mondeuse flavours. Blueberries, plums and forest berries are perfumed with purple florals, seasoned with dried herbs and carried with fine, downy tannins. A gentle, lighter-bodied Alpine red to chill and chug now with charcuterie.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Domaine de l'Idylle
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Casale del Giglio Cesanesetext
88PTS

Casale del Giglio Cesanese 2013

Lazio, ItalyWhen was the last time you had a wine from cesanese? Yup - me neither. Cesanese commune is one of the countless indigenous grapes of Italy, with low-yielding and spindly bunches, grown primarily in the Lazio region, and rarely seen outside of it. Cinnamon on the nose reappears to texture the palate, with fuzzy, dusty and drying bitter tannins on the finish. Soft red plums and cherries core the middle, and finish with some warming red pepper. This is a lighter, rustic red, ideally poured with braised meats.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 17.00 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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01 March 2017

Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Roussanne Viogniertext
88PTS

Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Roussanne Viognier 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is grown at the Stone's Throw Vineyard along the Lower Black Sage Bench. The ferment and the malolactic fermentation takes place in neutral puncheons where the wine stays on its lees for six months. Lemon, orange zest coats the palate, with a slightly bitter leesy undercurrent. The texture is rich but not overbearing, with a long, warm finish. This blend in the Okanagan continues to show a lot of promise as does winemaker Parkes. Try this with lobster or duck a l'orange.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Terravista Figarotext
88PTS

Terravista Figaro 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. The 2013 Figaro was a fleshy affair of roussanne, viognier and marsanne, plumped with funky lees, tangerine and ripe peach, and cut with a swath of bitter lime which mitigates the richness and inherent generosity of these grapes. Soft mid-palate, a steely note cuts the finish, while a ginger ale warmth lingers. The 14 percent alcohol is felt with a flush. Drink now - an ideal winter white.Prices: BC 24.00 AB 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Figaro Roussanne Viognier Marsannetext
89PTS

Terravista Figaro Roussanne Viognier Marsanne 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. The 2012 vintage of Figaro is tight and nimble, surprisingly so for a blend of roussanne, viognier and marsanne from Naramata Bench. Nutty, pear, dried herbs, wild flowers, is cut with a line of aniseed and whiffs of salted black liquorice and aged parmesan. Lively and fresh, intriguingly herbal, this is drinking very well now in its evolution, so if you have a bottle, drink up, or hold for a couple more years.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Figaro Roussanne Viognier Marsannetext
90PTS

Terravista Figaro Roussanne Viognier Marsanne 2011

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. The 2011 vintage of Figaro was a blend of roussanne and viognier, while later vintages added in the marsanne. Typical of the cool 2011 vintage, this is lean and light, but now complexed with some bottle age. Salted almond, anise blossom, pear skin with a potent slick of herbal lees and a lashing of grey sea salt on the finish. Acidity is taut and shining, and a subtle perfumed pear blossom weaves throughout. If you still have a bottle in your cellar, reward yourself and drink now.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillontext
89PTS

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2007

Hunter, New South Wales, AustraliaCurrent vintage available in BCLS stores. Sémillon is a very interesting grape. When young, it is fresh and citrus and lively. When it's aged, it's honeyed, oily, nutty and waxen. In between, it can be a bit funky and closed-off (think about your teenage years). This Hunter Valley semillon is in the midst of adolescence right now. There's green apple and lemon meringue pie zippiness, set against a base of concentrated herbal, funky, parmesan lees. Whiffs of honeysuckle mingle with whiffs of lemon thistle and linger with an alpine medicinal herbaceousness. If you have this vintage in your cellar, I recommend waiting a few more years for the awkward teenage phase to pass. You also remember, it does.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Mount Pleasant Wines
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