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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: September 2017

19 September 2017

Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcinotext
88PTS

Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyCrushed cassis, perfumed red currant and wild raspberries open this savoury Rosso di Montalcino, an early-drinking red compared to the firm and regal Brunello di Montalcino wines. That said, this sangiovese, from young vines, still has heaps of structure, from one year in oak barrels and barriques, followed by time in bottle to allow the young vines to settle. Now black cherry, wild blueberry and supple leather is framed with tea leaves and finishes with a grippy, raspy spice that chokes out the finish.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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Ruffino Il Ducaletext
87PTS

Ruffino Il Ducale 2014

Tuscany, ItalySmoked meats, singed cassis and a flush of mint open this blend of sangiovese, merlot and syrah from Ruffino's La Solatia estate, one known for its galestro soils, and with vineyards approximately 250-350m altitude. A ten day ferment, followed by another week on the skins preceded MLF and one year in oak (mix of new and old). This is a modern, polished and medium bodied blend, slick on the palate with cherry jam, more minty eucalyptus, roasted meats, grilled onions and black pepper. If your'e doing fire roasted beef and want something to match, here you go.Prices: BC 18.49 NS 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcinotext
90PTS

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyDid you know that in 1980 Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation? No worries, just find some and figure out for yourself why. Brunello di Montalcino is sangiovese from the town of Montalcino, in Tuscany, near Siena. This is filled with leathery, brown spices, tobacco, medicinal black cherry, dried petals and dried plum, with ample salty spices and a thread of bacon fat that beds the palate. Tannins are huge, expected at this point and after three years in wood, and present as firmly grippy. This has all of the warm 2012 generosity, plus the wisdom of the oldest vines of the estate. Decant and drink now, but better saved for five years down the road (with rabbit or long-braised lamb).Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcinotext
91PTS

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2011

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyBrunello di Montalcino is sangiovese from the town of Montalcino, in Tuscany, near Siena, and this wine is from vines 20+ years old, aged in French oak for three years and then bottle aged. This is an intense, pointed wine, with precison focus on black cherry, tobacco, cured leather and ample brown spice. Tannins are grippy, gritty, sinewy and work to frame the intensity and expansion here, still powerful six years on. Salt roasted walnuts linger on the grippy finish. The 2011 is more severe than the 2012, but with an air of refinement that's hard to mimic. Drink now with rabbit or pork tenderloin.Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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18 September 2017

Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 sauvignon is picked and fermented in nine separate lots to allow for a spectrum of flavours and acidity in the finished wine. In 2016, a near perfect white wine vintage, this features a bright citrus mix of gooseberries, green melon and white peaches. The palate is fresh and the finish is crisp calling for simply prepared steamed clams or mussels. There is no sémillon in this year’s edition leaving it laser crisp for those sunny patio parties.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2015

British Columbia, CanadaSauvignon and sémillon have been blended for ages in Bordeaux which is the recipe for this wine. In an age of skinny sauvignon blanc this barrel-fermented and aged white is a softer, smoother offering that plays on elegance and complexity, the latter to come with age in the bottle. The nose is fresh with citrus, lime rind, guava and grapefruit aromas and flavours that tumble onto its rich palate. Would we like a bit more acidity, who wouldn’t on 2015, but the it’s the layers of flavours that make this wine. The finish is all Similkameen with a salty/mineral undertone. Most sea-food works here but so too will roast chicken or pork. Drink through 2020.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of BC (Canada's) singular wines, this is a sauvignon blanc from Summerland's Waters & Banks vineyard, but it's not about the grape. Savvy is just a vessel for transmitting the site that Pedro Parra, Alberto Antonini and Matt Dumayne have analyzed as worthy. Whole bunch pressed, native ferment in concrete tanks for seven months on gross lees, without racking. White asparagus, lemon thistle, elderflower, large flake salts filter throughout the creamy base, scented with grilled fennel, medicinal white cherry and lingering with a persistent minerality. Challenging perhaps, but rewarding definitely, this is one to seek out and geek out (or cellar).Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandWe are not overly impressed with this edition, a somewhat severe example of sauvignon with a skinny, aggressive, acidic, passionfruit flavoured profile. Mouth-puckering mid-palate with more aggressive citrus notes and a short finish that calls for food to balance the palate. Try this with a creamy seafood pasta.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Jackson Estate Ltd
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Calliope Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2016

British Columbia, CanadaCrisp lemon, meadow, thistle in this lean and nimble sauvignon blanc, a highlight of the Calliope portfolio. White grapefruit pith leaps across the palate, lit with passionfruit, orange rind and subtle jasmine. Chill well and enjoy this summer.Prices: BC 17.00 AB 34.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Mélodie de Gustave Fouassiertext
92PTS

Mélodie de Gustave Fouassier 2004

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceI love aged Sancerre. With a decade on, the wine changes completely, showing honeyed, salted stones and an elasticity on the savoury palate, reminiscent of some aged chenin, or semillon. So when I found this 2004 (current release) Sancerre from iconic biodynamic family producer Fouassier on the shelves of my local private liquor store, I bought some. From 40+ year old vines, this was fermented and aged in oak barrels for ten months. Pouring a deep golden hue, the maturity is evident, drawing alluring savoury mushroom, white asparagus dried orange peel and truffled honey along the fuller bodied, generous palate that grows as the wine warms and expands in the glass. Lovely hint of smokey salts on the finish. This cuvee is drinking well now, so if you find (or have in your cellar), tap into it and taste sauvignon blanc like you've never known it.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Domaine Fouassier Pere et Fils
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15 September 2017

Road 13 Syrahtext
87PTS

Road 13 Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet, ripe violets, blueberries, blackberry pie in this ripe and full syrah, sourced from Okanagan and Similkameen. The floral violet musk pervades the entire wine, leading the blue/black fruit, furry tannins and smoked peppery finish. Syrah is joined by viognier, roussane, mourvedre, partially co-fermented, before time in wood. Not shy, this is a hedonistic syrah for drinking now.Prices: Producer: Road 13
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Wallace by Ben Glaetzer Shiraz Grenachetext
90PTS

Wallace by Ben Glaetzer Shiraz Grenache 2015

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaIntense plum and blueberry fruit scents on the nose roll across the palate, one covered in silk and spice. Rich raspberry jam, orange peel, black cherry and menthol with a smoky, licorice finish. Amazingly juicy but with balance and purity reflecting its old vine heritage. The fruit is an all-Barossa mix of 78 percent shiraz and 22 percent grenache. The ancient dry-farmed vineyards are in the Ebenezer district grown by third and fourth generation Barossa grape growers. The very best, non-grafted bush vines are now 80-110 year old.Prices: AB 28.95 BC 30.99 ON 26.00 Producer: Glaetzer Wines Pty Ltd
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Lang Vineyards Syrahtext
88PTS

Lang Vineyards Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe wine is opaque on the way from bottle to glass. The nose is lifted with sweet florals over a meaty undercurrent. The entry is super ripe with rich blueberry compote, a touch of cracked pepper and a dense, soft, sweet tannin finish. A solid effort that speaks to warm vintage and earlier drinking. Lamb chops or grilled pork would be a good match.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Woolshed Shiraztext
86PTS

Woolshed Shiraz 2015

AustraliaRubber and tar filters throughout this old school Aussie shiraz, labeled solely as "Wine of Australia". Thick blackcurrants, cassis, black plum is all lifted with a sell of acidity, but plummets to a shorter finish.Tannins are a bit gummy, and the reductive note grows the longer this is in the glass. Try with burgers for best results.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Wingara Wine Group
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Johnny Q Shiraztext
85PTS

Johnny Q Shiraz 2014

South Australia, AustraliaSweet and dense with brown sugar, blueberries, blackberry pie, this is an old school Aussie shiraz. Easy and simple, fruit driven and thick, with oaken vanilla, intense berry jam and a flush of cinnamon heart spiced heat on the finish.Prices: Producer: Quarisa Wines
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Goats do Roam (Red)text
86PTS

Goats do Roam (Red) 2015

South AfricaNew World wine? Fairview Cellars was established in 1693. That's right. This is a blend of shiraz, grenache, mouvedre, petit syrah, carignan, cinsault from Paarl, aged in tanks and barrels. Ripe, juicy and smooth, this medium bodied, easy-drinking red carries smoked meats, cherries and stewed cassis to a short, clipped finish. There's a driving level of VA and some reduction brewing underneath the surface of this screwcapped wine which detract. That said, partnership with smokey beef ribs will mitigate.Prices: BC 15.00 AB 14.90 SK 15.33 MB 14.00 Producer: Fairview - The Wines of Charles Back
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14 September 2017

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianzatext
88PTS

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainTempranillo with a classic top up of garnacha and graciano. Love the nose here, an earthy mix of cherries flecked with floral notes. The attack is juicy with lively red fruits and spice with a warm, spicy, but modern, clean finish. Eighteen months in older American oak frames the fruit but doesn’t cover it. Pizza, burgers, chicken kebabs will all work here.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bodega Classica
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Palacios Remondo La Vendimia Riojatext
90PTS

Palacios Remondo La Vendimia Rioja 2015

Rioja, SpainLa Vendimia is a blend of Spain's two star grapes: garnacha and tempranillo. The style is fruit forward to respecting the youthfulness of this wine that spent less than six months in oak. The attack is ripe with bright floral raspberry/cherry fruit, light spice and just a hint of tuggy tannins. La Vendimia, or 'The harvest,' is a delicious style joven or young Rioja made for simple foods. The fruit sits at some 500m and the estate-owned 10-to 40-year-old vines have been grown organically since 2003. Drink now or over the next three years with lamb, veal or even fish.Prices: BC 25.00 AB 19.00 ON 16.95 QC 17.25 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Baron de Ley Varietales Gracianotext
89PTS

Baron de Ley Varietales Graciano 2014

Rioja, SpainThis is an all graciano rioja from the Baron de Lay Varietales series. Back in the day graciano and mazuelo were routinely found in Rioja blends but graciano has fallen out of favour over the years in the same way malbec has disappeared from Bordeaux. Look for a fun combination of black fruit and bright acidity flecked with dried herbs and a touch, but not too much, vanilla. It spends 12-15 months in wood but remains juicy and bright with light tannins. A perfect wine for lamb chops.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Riojatext
91PTS

Palacios Remondo La Montesa Rioja 2013

Rioja, SpainWinemaker Alvaro Palacios is on a rampage, redefining Spanish wine by maximizing Spain's rich selection of spare terroir, and cutting back on the use of oak. The 2013 is a good example of the kind of freshness Palacios brings to the bottle. It’s a more modern version of the ancient ways. Cedary red fruit flavours morph into a ripe, smoky, plummy red. The blend is 7/25/5 garnacha, tempranillo and mazuelo. A in year in French oak, 50 percent new, contribute to its texture but by dry-farming and dropping close to 40 percent of their fruit, the Palacios Remondo team ensures only the highest quality fruit was picked. In this case, harvest was between the 10th of October to the 1st of November. Lamb anyone?Prices: BC 27.00 AB 20.00 ON 25.00 QC 19.40 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Dominio de Pingus Ψ PSItext
92PTS

Dominio de Pingus Ψ PSI 2013

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainHaving successfully created Dominio de Pingus in Valladolid, Peter Sisseck enjoyed worldwide fame along with its two main wines: Pingus and its second wine, Flor de Pingus. Psi Pingus Ψ is described as Sisseck’s give back wine. Named after the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet (Ψ) it has come from working with farmers to upgrade their vineyards so they can achieve better financial gain. The project began in 2006, and after years of work a select group of farmers have turned their old vine tempranillo plots around using biodynamic and organic farming practices. The wine is made by Sisseck and Pablo Rubio in large concrete vats before it is aged in wooden tanks and oak barrels. Quietly enticing with floral red fruit, licorice and spice, all quietly contained. Its main attraction is the silky, deftly light temperate tannins that carry the quiet savoury anise and cassis flavours. Elegance and minerality; it’s my favourite combination.Prices: BC 51.00 Producer: Dominio de Pingus
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Cliotext
89PTS

Clio 2014

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainThis is a Parker wine, big, powerful red and ripe. It’s a 70 percent old vine monastrell and 30 percent cabernet sauvignon that is barrel-aged for 24 months in French and American oak. The attack is warm spicy and fruity—blueberry and blackberries to be specific - then long, warm and smooth throughout the back end. There is plenty of sweet vanilla and mocha but the wine is surprisingly in balance with the rest of the components. There are some tannins here so you could wait another three years to open this or serve it now with a big piece of meat.Prices: BC 60.89 Producer: Gil Family Estates
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reservatext
89PTS

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2012

SpainAt a mellow five years, this rioja is beginning to show its stuff. Still a touch youthful with juicy rich red fruit with spicy, clean, plummy flavours. The tannins are dense but light and the acidity keeps it fresh and helps to reveal a touch of minerality in the back end. A snappy mix of mostly tempranillo with bits of graciano, and garnacha. Drink now with lamb or pork or cellar for five years. Good value.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 17.95 Producer: Bodega Classica
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Baron de Ley Rioja Rosadatext
82PTS

Baron de Ley Rioja Rosada 2016

Rioja, SpainDay-glo pink, this is a glycerol-lined, short, stunted blend of tempranillo and garnacha from the estate's Mendavia vineyards. Candied berries, cherry jam and sweet spice slide along a generous dose of sugar on the plump palate. Old school, down to the plastic cork.Prices: BC 26.90 ON 14.95 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Ciumes Garnacha Rosétext
85PTS

Ciumes Garnacha Rosé 2015

SpainRustic, ripe and ready, this is a deeper hued rosé of garnacha from Spain. A reductive swing and noticeable bump of sugar make this extra-punchy to the short, hot finish. Well chilled, this might have a chance with your tuna burgers this summer.Prices: BC 10.00 Producer: Bodegas Milenium
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13 September 2017

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
87PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEhrenfelser grapes from West Kelowna's Mannhardt Vineyard supplement Fitzpatrick's five year old estate vines. A three-week ferment 85 percent in stainless steel, 15 percent neutral oak barrel, this then aged four months on lees in stainless steel. Pear butter, pink florals, ripe melon on an easy, soft palate. I appreciate the lift of pink grapefruit on the finish. This is one of the better aromatic white wines of BC.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Oliver Twist Estate Kernertext
87PTS

Oliver Twist Estate Kerner 2016

CanadaBC kerner lives a double life, often seen as a later harvest offering and less occasionally as an icewine, though it can be fun to drink as a dry or slightly off-dry white wine. This well made kerner has a fresh, floral nose flecked with orange and honey tones. The palate is bold with ripe peach flavours, sweet Asian tangerine and just a touch of spice. I enjoyed it well chilled on a warm patio and later served it with a favourite Thai curry dish.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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Agrihof Ehrenfelsertext
87PTS

Agrihof Ehrenfelser 2016

CanadaAgrihof is a personal release of winemaker Robert Thielcke’s of Lang Vineyard. His Ehrenfelser is made along classic lines with plenty orange blossom aromatics but it's dry and structured on the palate with bits of peaches, baked apple and mineral flavours. Try this with Indian cuisine.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bravo Winery Ltd.
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Cirelli La Collina Biologica Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
86PTS

Cirelli La Collina Biologica Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2016

Abruzzo, ItalyShining yellow hue, with white peach, musk melon, golden delicious apples bedding a wilting floral note on this organic trebbiano. Though textured with an herbaceousness, there is a dour, bruised fruit note here that overtakes. Cirelli's other wines are quite impressive; this is an portfolio outlier in 2016.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Cirelli
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFitzpatrick is one of the rare wineries that focuses on sparkling wine, specifically traditional-method fizz. While waiting for that lengthy project to fully come to fruition (and probably continuing then) they produce single-variety still wines, like this crisp pinot blanc. From their home vineyard, this spent one month fermenting in stainless before a four-month stint in neutral oak. Tight pear, white grapefruit, white cherry, lemon blossom hints, on a steely core, clad with a cushion of pear and melon. A lovely show of what pinot blanc looks like in central Okanagan Valley. Bonus - beauty with spot prawns.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Li Veli Fianotext
87PTS

Li Veli Fiano 2016

Puglia, ItalyGrilled seville oranges, bitter pear skin, crab apple and sharp stones in this fiano from central Apulia's Itria Valley. There's an acrid, bitter rim that sharpens the finish. This is fiano minutolo, mini, for the size of the small berries, which are said to contribute to the spicy character of the wine. This certainly has a snappy spice and the Mediterranean heat. Helps to be tamed with food: try spicy calamari.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Masseria Li Veli Srl
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Anthony Buchanan Pinot Blanc Lawsontext
88PTS

Anthony Buchanan Pinot Blanc Lawson 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpen, perfumed green apple nose with flecks of butter and lees. The fruit is Naramata-based; one third is barrel fermented in new oak—the remainder in stainless steel. Post fermentation it's aged in a mix of new and neutral oak for six months. Better balanced that last year, with a bit more richness to offset the fresh orchard/pear/grapefruit palate. A solid effort here that you could enjoy with fresh halibut.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Evolve Pinot Blanctext
86PTS

Evolve Pinot Blanc 2016

CanadaChrista-Lee McWatters Bond oversees the line of affordable and approachable wines at Evolve. Look for a soft fruity white with green apple/melon fruit flavours. Not near as sweet as the 2015 and we are good with that evolution. Serve with a classic like fish and chips.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Evolve Cellars
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Clos du Soleil Sémillontext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Sémillon 2016

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey say the 2016 Sémillon is the first, and only, white wine that will be fermented in the new French concrete tanks at Clos du Soleil. Too bad I say, because this wine is a winner. Post fermentation, the wine gets racked once as it ages on its fine lees for 8 months. It goes through a light filtering just before bottling. In a classic case of less is more this wine offers up a stony/mineral portrait of the Similkameen Valley with a subtle citrus undertone of limes and lemons with a squeeze of nectarine skin. The concrete gives it a softer, gentler look than the racy, youthful Hunter Valley style but you can bet it will mellow with age, and age it will, for a decade or more. Well done.Prices: BC 24.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Sacristía AB Manzanilla Primera Sacatext
90PTS

Sacristía AB Manzanilla Primera Saca 2013

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainSacristía AB is a project of Antonio Barbadillo Mateos, who left the family bodega in 2008 to start his own brand. Rather than the lengthy process of producing wines and soleras, his wee negoc selects specific butts (barrels) from existing soleras. This was sourced from Bodegas Sánchez Ayala Light dusty orange in hue, this bone do Manzanilla lures with its playful lick of orange and chamomile woven throughout the salty, streaming, boned palate. Beauty with anchovies on toast, roasted marcona almonds, or fried sardines.Prices: Spain 42.00 375 Producer: Antonio Barbadillo Mateos
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Val do Salnés Viña Vedra Albariñotext
88PTS

Val do Salnés Viña Vedra Albariño NV

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainA squeeze of lemon tightens the peach, melon and pear albarino from a Co-op in Rias Baixas. Spanish warmth gives this an easy and friendly generosity, one that would partner well with fish tacos or gentle green curry. A slick of spice perks up the finish.Prices: BC 17.50 Producer: Luzada
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Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contactotext
92PTS

Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThere is Vinho Verde you think you know, and there are wines like this. From one of Vinho Verde's icons, this is alvarinho from the Monção and Melgaço, subregion, regarded as a "cru" in quality. For this wine, the vineyards siddle the river, and are blanketed with stones. The Contacto refers to the fact that this wine spent extended time on the skins. Wild pear is slicked with salts, meadow herbs and scented with a perfume of wild mint. The form is greyhound sleek and the finish lingers with savoury allure. Best with some breathing space.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Heidi Schrock Furminttext
91PTS

Heidi Schrock Furmint 2015

Bergland Österreich, AustriaHerbal, esoteric and characterful from top to tail, with an alluring meadow herbs, sea salts, lemon pith kiss driving the lean form. There's a lick of medicinal white cherry and dried chamomile that pervades the green apple, pear brioche, bacon fat core. Texturally gritty, with a fine bed of white honeyed lees to balance the precise and upright acidity. This wine is alive and vibrant, through echoes with faint medicinal Rainier cherry on the finish. Like all of Heidi's wines, this is not about fruit, but place. In her case, the historic site that Heidi took over from her family in 1983, in the village of Rust, Burgenland approximate 5 miles from the Hungarian border. Here, 10 acres of predominantly south-facing vineyards flow through the softly rolling hills in an amphitheater around Lake Neusiedl, on soils of mica slate, limestone and sandy loam.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Heidi Schrock
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Vincent Caillé X Bullestext
89PTS

Vincent Caillé X Bulles NV

Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceA singular pet-nat from the iconic Vincent Caillé, fifth generation vingneron and one of the few organic producers in Pais Nantais. Vincent took over the family business in 1986, and the property became "organic" in 1996. This ancestral fizz perfectly captures melon's youthful and innocent charm. This epitomizes pretty and fragrant pear blossom and rosewater carried along a fine zip line of green apple acidity and a fine bubble to a snappy, mineral water finish. At 11 percent alcohol, this defines smashable. This grape is perfectly suited to this style.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Vincent Caillé
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Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Alvarinhotext
92PTS

Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalYou think Vinho Verde is fizzy simple juice? Think again. Anselmo Mendes is one of Vinho Verde's icons, and this from northern Vinho Verde's Monção and Melgaço, subregion, regarded as a "cru" in quality. The sloping granitic hillsides of northern Vinho Verde's prized subregion Monçao e Melgaço imbue a bright freshness into this fuller alvarinho. Confident but quiet, with creamy herbal bosc pear, pear blossoms, meadow herbs and a filigree of sea salts lining the juicy palate, one buoyed with an easy, natural acidity. Precise mineral pixels frames and carries this VV, one of the more serious and age-worthy ones you'll see.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Jacob's Creek Moscatotext
86PTS

Jacob's Creek Moscato NV

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaThe latest Jacob's Creek Moscato arrived to the Trevehouse in a 250ml can. It's clutch-sized, and clearly meant to appeal to those ready to party. Sweet pear candies, peach, honey, flower pastilles, candy necklace are livened with the injection of gas and kept off-dry. Fizzy and sweet, like Sprite, but with the added benefit of alcohol (a pleasant 7.6 percent), this is picnic / party / brunch / shower perfect. The can launched in Ontario, though watch for it to shower the rest of the country.Prices: BC 5.99 250 ON 4.95 250 Producer: Orlando Wines
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Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillontext
91PTS

Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2005

Pokolbin, Hunter, New South Wales, AustraliaIt's been lovely to track this vintage over time. This shows semillon's striking ability to age gracefully. Streamlined and white honeyed, this flows with intent. Showing twelve years of age with smile lines, this is pixellated lemon pith on the precise, medium-bodied palate. Everything about this wine is in a delicate and tender moment: fresh almonds, wild flowers, dried chamomile, salts, finishing on a bitter pear skin riff. Acidity hums, almost with a prickle, to the gentle finish (easy at 11.2 percent). Not done yet, but feels slowing down. 91Prices: BC 60.00 AB 65.00 Producer: Tyrrell's Wines Pty., Ltd.
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Chateau Megyer Tokaji Furminttext
91PTS

Chateau Megyer Tokaji Furmint 2015

HungaryFrom northeastern Hungary's Tokaji-Hegyalja, the Megyer estate was classified as First Growth in 1772 by Royal decree. In 1991, Frenchman Jean-Lousi Laborde, purchased the estate (along with the historic Pajzos estate) and replanted the 64 hectares vineyard. He went on to purchase Pomerol's Chateau Clinet in 1999. Furmint is one of those secret grapes that few people in this market know about, but those that do, covet. This shows furmint's steely, salty, streamlined strengths as a bone dry wine. Stony, green apple, white pepper, lemon pith, meadow hay, bosc pear skin, mineral salts stream along the medium bodied palate to a bright, snappy finish. There's a veil of texture here, making this very food friendly. Plus, eight months in stainless has kept this tight and bright. Stock up.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Chateau Megyer
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Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lietext
91PTS

Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2015

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceMuscadet is one of my favourite wines, and Domaine de la Pépière is one of the region's iconic producers. Organic, native-fermented muscadet is aged on the lees in earthen vessels, buried in the ground for coolness and rest (no racking possible) until the following spring. Crushed stones, marcona almonds, lemon peel are grounded with savoury lees, scented with delicate white blossoms and crusted with a salty minerality. Light and lean, this streamlined white was born for fresh oysters (and vice versa). Less is more.Prices: BC 20.50 Producer: Domaine de la Pépière
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12 September 2017

Pedestal Merlottext
91PTS

Pedestal Merlot 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe twelfth vintage is a giant of a merlot. The mix is 81% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 2% malbec and 2% petit verdot. In the case of the merlot equal parts are pulled from Conner Lee Vineyard near Othello WA (Columbia Valley), Dionysus Vineyard near Pasco, and The Benches Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills). The Red Mountain cabernet sauvignon comes from Taptiel Vineyard, while the Weinbau Vineyard (Wahluke Slope) is home to the cabernet franc. The mix of sites no doubt adds additional layers of complexity and character to the blend. The 2014 powers its way across the palate spreading a savoury, spicy dark fruit character laced with chocolate, vanilla, pepper, licorice and black olives. There is a modicum of style in the finish with more black cherry and espresso pushing through. Solid if not trying a bit too much. Best now with roasted meats.Prices: BC 83.99 US 55.00 ON 60.00 AB 65.00 QC 75.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlottext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRoasted sausage, grilled red peppers, smoked beef, ragged wood rule this youthful and intense merlot, a grape Tinhorn is well known for. The 2015 has shed the sweet ripe fruit of the past and dove deep into the savoury, earthy (still ripe) spectrum. Dark earth, smoke, branch and bitter espresso are carried with gritty tannins to a warm, harsh finish. Needs richer beef to counter the rusticity.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlottext
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LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlot 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot is the number one planted red grape in BC. The majority are disappointing. Maestoso, "Solo", aims to displace that thinking with this 100 percent merlot from the southern Okanagan. This is the top tier wine in the La Stella portfolio, and one of the priciest reds in BC at $90. Osoyoos and Golden Mile fruit, 17-22 years old, spend 8 months in French oak, 1/3 new, before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Savoury and dense, this barely yielding even after one day open, showing just inky cassis, thick tobacco, espresso on the structured, firm palate. Tannins are rigid, though finely wrought, and well positioned to house the brooding fruit. This is a wine for cellaring, and shows the real potential for classic merlot in the southern Okanagan. Can't wait to try again in five years.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: LaStella
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Tinhorn Creek Merlottext
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Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is big merlot, full ripeness from front to back. The nose is a smoky toasted coffee affair with flecks of black cherries. The entry is fresh and lively with warm, spicy, black fruit flavours that finishes a bit dry and firm. Still needs a bit of time in the bottle to resolve some sticky tannins or you could consider serving this now with barbecue ribs and or flank steak.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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11 September 2017

Osoyoos Larosetext
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Osoyoos Larose 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOsoyoos Larose is the original single vineyard in BC, as in it was planted and raised, or elevated as the French might say, from the beginning to be a vineyard that was built for the blend. The rootstock and clone combinations were selected in Bordeaux, shipped to Canada, and planted by hand in high density. The 2014 might be the friendliest OL since its launch, with elegance and silky tannins leading the way. The palate is a youthful mix of black currants, black cherries and plums with savoury supple tannins. This wine has shown a propensity to age effortlessly and 2014 will be no exception. Barrel aging at Osoyoos Larose is all about French oak and a 18 to 20 month rest in new and one-year-old barrels. They rack the wine every three months and fine it with egg whites prior to bottling. Le Grand Vin is fully owned by Groupe Taillan (having bought out Constellation Brands) and this co-owner of Château Gruaud Larose in Saint-Julien is starting to making some impressive tweaks to its Canadian treasure. The 2014 blend is 68/11/5/8 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot.Prices: BC 45.99 MB 44.99 ON 48.95 QC 43.60 SK 58.30 NL 47.07 AB 49.99 Producer: Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery
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Desert Hills Dust Stormtext
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Desert Hills Dust Storm 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSomewhat reductive nose upon opening with meaty, wet tobacco undertones. The attack is sweet and sour with even more meaty mercaptan notes. The texture is soft but there is too much going on here including some lifted volatile notes. A bit too stormy. Back to the drawing board.Prices: BC 23.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Ex Nihilo Privata Proprietary Red Winetext
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Ex Nihilo Privata Proprietary Red Wine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey don’t hold anything back at Ex Nihilo, except which grapes are in this blend made from fruit grown in the warm southern end of the Okanagan Valley at Osoyoos. The nose is bursting with licorice and savoury black fruit scents. The palate is similarly structure with rich round, warm, spicy black fruit and soya notes with rich lashings of oak. More Napa style than BC but there will be a market for this powerful red. Personally I would lay it down for a decade and let it settle in. One thing we do know, they do not make the blend ‘ex nihilo’.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Parés Baltà Mas Elena Organic Winetext
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Parés Baltà Mas Elena Organic Wine 2012

Penedès, Catalunya, SpainThis is a textural, savoury, ripe and rustic blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, wild fermented and with eight months in French oak. Dusky plum, blackberry, cloves, graphite, licorice and tobacco are marked with clouds of smoke and whisps of black pepper. Tannins are gritty/grippy enough to frame the density, as potent and warming as it is. The finish swells with peppery acidity. Would I place this as Penedès? Never. Does it taste like Penedès? Si. Best enjoyed with young lamb or spicy morcilla.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 18.00 QC 19.85 Producer: Parés Baltà
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River Stone Corner Stonetext
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River Stone Corner Stone 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone is a small estate winery operating south of McIntyre Bluff in the south Okanagan Valley. In 2013 Corner Stone stands out as one of the richest red blends in the province. Look for plenty of perfumed black fruit scents and pepper on the nose of this 47/21/21/7/4/ mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. This leads to a similar boisterous palate of chewy black fruits with mostly small-grained tannins and a touch of toasted oak. No rush here but if you must open it this fall think roasted meats.Prices: BC 31.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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River Stone Stones Throwtext
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River Stone Stones Throw 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone is a small estate winery operating south of McIntyre Bluff in the south Okanagan Valley. The Stones Throw red blend is all estate fruit grown at the River Rock Vineyards, surrounding the Oliver winery. In 2014 the acidity remains prominent, giving the entry a definite linear bent. The attack is savoury and warm with black fruits, some obvious vanilla and slightly tuggy tannins. This need a bit of time in bottle but seems a little off-balance when compare to the 2013. Merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon are all in the mix. Best now with grilled meats.Prices: BC 25.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Lang Vineyards Meritagetext
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Lang Vineyards Meritage 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lang Meritage is a 12/16/72 blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, and like a lot of 2013 red blends it is a good one. Both aromatically and structurally you feel the richness of the fruit despite quite a bit of oak, especially American. The palate is soft with some squeaky acidy and spice a touch of chocolate and a warm savoury spicy finish. This needs about two more years in the bottle but you can drink it now or with prime rib or even barbecue chicken.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
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Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2014

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll five classic Bordeaux varieties are in the 2014 blend of Célestiale, Clos du Soleil’s earlier drinking red blend. All the Similkameen nuances are here: elegance, perfect acidity, and a stony mineral under-thread with soft tannins. The nose is fresh and bright with a mix of red and black aromas. The attack is similar with savoury, juicy red fruits dominating and a licorice spicy finish. This is designed for early drinking and while it is less complex than Estate Reserve it still needs two to four years to reach maturity. Good value.Prices: BC 26.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Tinhorn Creek The Creektext
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Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt took 23 years to release a flagship red at Tinhorn Creek—The Creek—but CEO and former winemaker Sandra Oldfield decided 2014 would be the year. The blend is a mix of vines from six to 20 years grown on the home Golden Mile Vineyard site and across the valley at Black Sage. The mix is 53/19/17/9/2 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. The cabernet sauvignon dominate red is partially wild fermented and aged for two years in French and Hungarian barrels. Glowbal warming has inspired winemaker Andrew Windsor to take a chance on the later ripening cabernet sauvignon to give The Creek a strong more linear edge which has been achieved with 2014.The soft entry devolves into a mineral, salty, nutty, blueberry fruit laden palate. A touch softer and more approachable than the more complex 2015 sample I tasted, but it is still a solid start. For now, roasted meats or a grilled steak is you best bet. Or simply wait five years for the final outcome.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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LaStella Fortissimotext
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LaStella Fortissimo 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReductive waves opens this youthful Fortissimo at first, a blend of 63 merlot, 17 cabernet sauvignon, 11 sangiovese, 9 cabernet franc from the south Okanagan. Fifteen months in French and Slavonion oak barrels and puncheons (16 percent new) was employed. After decanting (or do as I do and open it a day in advance) any reductive notes have resolved and you're left with layers of sunripened cassis, wild blackberry, thorns, dried tobacco and dark earth, wrapped with firm, fine, gritty tannins. Serious and stately, this drinks well now with rabbit or lamb, but will reward more with time in the cellar.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: LaStella
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted six months down the road, just before its official release on September 16 at the winery, and I remain impressed. The latest Hypothesis, or proposition, from the Triggs family is a fine jump up in quality. The 2013 season got off to a quick start and the south Okanagan didn’t change much until late September when 13 days of cool, wet, and unpredictable weather stalled the final ripening. October was better than ever and all was forgotten when so many perfect clusters arrived at the winery. The blend is 38/36/26 merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon all on the Arise Bench. The big news is Hypothesis has shed its rusticity in 2013 and is projecting some early elegance and balance despite a wealth of dense but sweet tannins in the back end. The oak regime is 60/40 new and one year old French oak barrels. The fruit is black and savoury but with an elegant, stony mineral undercurrent. Age another five years for optimum quality, or serve now with pheasant, venison or beef. Super value.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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09 September 2017

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Pink Mile Rosétext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Pink Mile Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy strawberries fill the glass of this pinot noir rose, a lovely creamy pink hue. Even though 2016 was the hottest on record, Fitz has keep a bright and tight lift in this medium bodied wine, from two blocks of their home estate. You can feel the sunny generosity with a fine cushion of rhubarb, strawberries and cream on the palate, while four months in stainless hemmed in the edges. Drink this summer with a salmon-dressed salad.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Time Syrah Rosetext
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Time Syrah Rose 2016

British Columbia, CanadaDeep, day-glo pink, this is a full, glycerol-fuelled, slicked up, round and off-dry fruity rose. Bananas, candy apples, lime gummies and heat in this simple version of rose, one where time looks to have stood still.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Estate Winery
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08 September 2017

Time Viogniertext
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Time Viognier 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIntense leesy buttery, citrus, peach, vanilla and baked apple/tropical aromas. The attack is similarly rich and blousy with baked peaches, pineapple, spicy lees, honey and vanilla butter flavours. If you are a fan of the big, rich. hedonistic style give this a year or two to blossom in the bottle.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Estate Winery
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Bench 1775 Viogniertext
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Bench 1775 Viognier 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet candied tangerine nose with bits of perfumed apricots. The attack is similar with an off-dry entry and floral soapy gewürztraminer notes on the palate. The finish remains sweet with spicy ginger notes. This needs a spicy hot curry dish to temper the sugar and balance the dish; or severely chill down and serve on the patio with appetizers.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Moillard Viognier Hugues le Justetext
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Moillard Viognier Hugues le Juste 2016

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceHeady pear, melon and green notes float above a base of toast in this simple viognier from Languedoc. Stainless steel has kept the fruit clipped and clean until a warm (nearly 14 percent) and gingery finish.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Moillard
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Calliope Viogniertext
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Calliope Viognier 2016

British Columbia, CanadaEnticing baked pear, peach pie and gingersnap nose cookies fill this simple and direct viognier. There's a thread of limey acidity that draws this along its off-dry palate toward a warm, gingery finish. Ready to drink and would be fine with a spicy tuna roll.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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07 September 2017

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate vineyard, this riesling comes off a long fifty-day ferment followed by four months in neutral oak. Juicy lime pulp and pith rides an off-dry, gushing palate to a snappy finish. Ripe pear, white peach and a kiss of jasmine keep this intense riesling interesting, while 11 percent alcohol keeps it smashable, especially this summer. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in drinkability. Perfect with your favourite curry.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Dry Rieslingtext
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Quails' Gate Dry Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canadapear oil, pear blossom, tight and lean, but with a core of sweet orchard fruit, this is much better named "off-dry riesling".Prices: BC 15.99 AB 18.00 MB 16.99 YK 18.90 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the last vineyards at the northern edge of the Naramata Bench the site tilts south and sits over gravelly clay above the cooling effects of Okanagan Lake. The vineyard is run by 3rd generation Naramata farmer Bob Hancock, and the clone is 21B grown on own roots. Plenty of calcium carbonate add to the chalky textures in the win, mixing effortlessly with enticing orange, apricot, apple blossom notes. The flavours are off-dry, pushing the limits of Kabinett in a good way. Look for juicy, delicious notes of tangerine, peach, lime and honeysuckle. Super value and ready to drink.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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See Ya Later Ranch Rieslingtext
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See Ya Later Ranch Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLong, cool ferments are used at SYL to emphasis the floral aspects of their cool-high altitude. The attack is juicy with fresh cut green apple aromas, and the palate is a mix of green apple, guava flecked with bitter lime rind. Simple, clean ready to drink.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Rieslingtext
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Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLang’s signature white is made in the classic Alsace style and is always one of their best labels. Look for warm, tropical, yellow fruit aromas with a hint of green apple. The palate is a mix of orange blossoms, tangerine, honey and citrus with a hint of oxidation. Ready to drink on the patio or serve with pulled pork sandwiches.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Lang Vineyards Select Harvest Rieslingtext
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Lang Vineyards Select Harvest Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA much riper, late harvest style made from select bunches on the estate. Bright mineral, yellow fruit nose with floral, beeswax, ginger aromas. The attack is rich and round with sweet fruit flavours reminiscent of honeysuckle, mango and lime, with a touch of spice and just enough acidity to keep it fresh in the finish. Try this with a favourite creamy soft cheese.Prices: BC 19.50 375 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Time Rieslingtext
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Time Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Time style steps back here to reveal a fresh, tart food-friendly style of riesling with very little obvious sugar. Look for a rush of fresh cut green apples, lemon rind and nectarine skin that spill onto the palate. Bitter lime rind notes more lemon zest with a touch of minerality. Fresh, crisp and not for everyone, but would be fun with grilled pork.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Rieslingtext
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CedarCreek Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate riesling is at the core of CedarCreek's strength, and while the 2016 is tastes sweeter than previous editions, the acidity is tight as ever. A 45-day ferment in stainless (with 3 percent in neutral French) has held tight to shiny citrus, candied lime pith and orchard pear but with aforementioned sugar poking out at this stage, leaving a disjointed, blocky finish (possibly to meld with time?). For now, best enjoyed with a flavourful Thai seafood or vegetarian dishes preferably with a bit of spice.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Calliope Rieslingtext
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Calliope Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBright, tight and shiny, with lemon juice and grapefruit pith riding a juicy river of acidity. Pleasantly off-dry and easy-sipping, though the lime puckering acidity around the sides harnesses this in to a short, snappy, citric finish. Simple, but fun to drink on the patio on a warm afternoon.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of several single vineyard rieslings, Thorny Vines has been in the Synchromesh portfolio since 2010, with 2012 marking the first single vineyard release. The site is at the very southern end of Naramata Bench, and is planted to German clones on fertile, heavy clay. The key to its freshness is it faces north. Dickinson’s methods are holistic, no pesticides no chemicals (but not certified). He claims he sold his lab equipment and only makes wine by taste. Whatever his methods, this wine is a beautiful drop with bright lemons and green apples cutting a linear swath into the sweet fruit finish of lime and fleshy pear. At 53 g/l RS you come to understand the importance of the acidity to temper the sweet factor leaving the wine moderately off-dry. Super value.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFour Shadows Vineyard stretches up the hillsides above the northern edge of Penticton on a steep east-facing, gravelly site. The fruit is a selection of old blocks from the site recovered in 2014 after it lay fallow for five years. The vines are routinely stressed in the late day sun providing a textured, Auslese style wine with later picked flavours including pineapple, apricots and honeysuckle all kept in line by a beautiful citrus lime acidity in the finish. A remarkable 52 g/l RS over 8.85 total acid and 11 percent alcohol. Stock up and cellar for half a decade and beyond. Perfect with a strong Indian curry.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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JoieFarm En Famille Rieslingtext
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JoieFarm En Famille Riesling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJoieFarm's "En Famille" tier are a reserve line for site-specific wines, aged in bottle for a year prior to the release. In the case of this riesling, it was from Old Block St. Hubertus Vineyard in Kelowna (planted 1987) and from Summerland's Whitfield Road Vineyard. Juicy and mouthfillingly so, with lime gummies, perfumed pear, ripe white peach and an alluring lick of anise. Off-dry (Spätlese-style) and medium bodied, this finishes with crystalline lime peel, a gingerale spicy warmth and friendly 12 percent alcohol. In youth still.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Selbach Riesling (Fish Label)text
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Selbach Riesling (Fish Label) 2015

Mosel, GermanyIt seems every year I write: what I like most about this wine is how consistently delicious it is, especially for the price. There I did it again. This is Selbach Mosel from its peachy, fresh apple scents to its crunchy, bright, juicy nectarine and citrus flavours and ever present acidity. It is easy to drink and seemingly better with most everything you pair it with. Stock up for the fall and consider this a Thanksgiving staple. Still fair value.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: J & H Selbach
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06 September 2017

Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwoodedtext
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Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwooded 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis slightly sweet chardonnay is a mix of fruit from vineyards located in the north and south Okanagan. The nose is lightly aromatic with tropical fruit, green melon and grassy sagebrush notes. The palate is soft and round but without much intensity to extend the finish. Simple and ready to drink, try this with steamed clams or spaghetti vongole.Prices: BC 14.79 AB 21.59 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Privata by Ex Nihilo Vineyardstext
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Privata by Ex Nihilo Vineyards 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine continues down the rich, warm, fat style that heats your palate from front to back. The nose is a potent mix of perfume and vanilla flecked with butterscotch and spicy lees. The attack is similar with a bitter, nutty, caramel, burnt butter undercarriage. From another era for another palate.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTime in the bottle has given this wine a bit more life. The fruit is brighter on the nose, albeit rich and tropical and reflective of a super warm 2015 fall ripening period. This Golden Mile Bench chardonnay is whole bunch pressed and fermented and partially aged in French oak (50 percent new). A malolactic fermentation has beefed up the texture and creamy textures and reveals a nutty, rich mid-palate packed with pear/peach fruit and even some caramel notes. There is too much everything here but it is not unbalanced. A good start but we expect much more and look forward to the 2016.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnaytext
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Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2015

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesUnabashedly Californian chardonnay from a hillside that sits above the Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara. This is from premium chardonnay blocks known as the Camelot Highlands, and what winemaker Randy Ullom calls the filet mignon section. The vines, planted to their own roots and over 40 years old, are deeply set in an ancient seabed. Tropical fruits mark the nose with scents of pineapple, mango and papaya, previewing a creamy rich mid-palate laced with butter, mineral, cinnamon, vanilla, orange and crème brûlée. As always, the richness comes with restraint and finesse. Another crowd pleaser.Prices: ON 37.75 BC 49.95 US 38.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnaytext
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Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 2015

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay is made from a collection of vineyard blocks that sit some 32 kilometres inland from the cool Pacific Ocean along the Santa Maria Bench. The area is covered in dense fog most mornings that protect the vines from intense heat during the growing season and there are days when the fog never burns off. I hesitate to say old school here likely because the tropical fruit can be overwhelming but somehow the combination of pineapples and papaya doubled down with a creamy, vanilla crème brûlée finish hold it together. The vines grow over sedimentary soils with pierces of limestone and calcium carbonate that together with the marine environment keep it fresh. The perfect foil to lobster or any butter-based fish dish.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Alamos Chardonnaytext
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Alamos Chardonnay 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis Mendoza chardonnay undergoes partial malolactic fermentation before spending four/six months on its lees in French and American oak. The technique appears to soften the sour acidity that can plague inexpensive chardonnay. There are some citrus notes here that help to tighten up the butter and spice but it lacks depth off lavour and complexity to entice the serious drinker. Simple ready-to-drink mid-week chardonnay.Prices: BC 13.49 AB 15.00 ON 14.00 QC 15.00 NS 15.00 MB 15.00 ON 14.95 NS 16.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Desert Hills Unoaked Chardonnaytext
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Desert Hills Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn unoaked chardonnay from two vineyard sites: the warm Sagebrush (Black Sage Bench) and the cooler Night Hawk (Okanagan Falls). The wine is fresh, if a bit thin, with somewhat woolly phenolics pulling on the round soft apple/pear fruit flavours. Clean yet sour. Drink now with chicken-based salads.Prices: BC 17.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Black Swift Vineyards Melville Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Vineyards Melville Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three single vineyard 2015 chardonnays The Hatch released under the Black Swift line, this is from a half acre vineyard outside of Peachland on deep clay loams. One puncheon was made, so there are only fifty cases out there for you to seek out. Said puncheon is overwhelming at this young stage, with strident wood, vanilla pod, ripe and creamy pear, on a structured, muscular, green apple-lined core, finishing with heady wood spicing. This is a wine to lay down for 2+ years, to allow the integration of wood into the potent orchard fruit. At 12.9 percent, this is certainly not flabby or overripe. Hopefully future vintages will benefit from older puncheon use.Prices: BC 43.00 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three single vineyard 2015 chardonnays The Hatch released under the Black Swift line, this is from a cooler site on Oliver's Golden Mile Bench. Entirely into new French oak puncheons, this streams green apple and cinnamon spicing, but screams new wood. Fortunately there's taut acidity, ample flow and energy to carry this, even though the weight of the new wood drags it down at this stage. This has all the potential and structure to age, though at this youthful point, it requires decanting and something potent like pheasant or grilled turkey to counter. 200 cases were made.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 Pinecrest was a very sentimental wine for The Hatch as this was the last year they had access to this Westbank vineyard, rumoured to be the oldest block of Chardonnay in the Okanagan. When the owner of the organic 2 acre Glenrosa area vineyard passed, the land was sold and the new owners ripped out the old vines. So the 200 cases of 2015 Pinecrest is this vineyard's finale. Black Swift is the premium, single vineyard project from the folks at The Hatch, and I tasted bottle #1760. Full-bodied and confident, with a creamy, lees-lined base for the ripe and dense yellow apple, pear and lemon curd. Perfumed and expressive white florals and almond blossoms scent this ripe wine, one gently but firmly buoyed with a swell of stony acidity. The lingering finish is dusted with stony salts. Drinking well now, this really is meant for a couple of years in the cellar. I'd say this 45 year old vineyard went out on a high note.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnaytext
87PTS

See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year but with much better acidity to balance off the richness. The nose is fresh with baked apple/pear notes and a touch of brown spice. The attack is medium rich with creamy, melon vanilla flavours and just a hint of sweetness/crème brûlée to carry the long, warmish finish. Try this one with a piece of halibut and a fruit salsa.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 21.00 ON 18.00 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Bachelder Willamette Valley Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Bachelder Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesA blend of various sites in the Willamette and from both sedimentary sandstone and volcanic soils, the 2014 has an expansive bed of lees, saline, generous pear, a medicinal swing and flinty kiss over a river stones base. The wood is very well integrated, with MLF and extended aging in oak (the 2014 is a new release). This was made at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, a collective of like-minded garagistes sourcing Willamette fruit. Native-ferment and gently handled, this is a firm, generous wine, deftly shaped with a light touch. Drinking well know, but will age beautifully.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Bachelder
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Time Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Time Chardonnay 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the last Sundial Vineyard chardonnays made by Harry McWatters, the 2014 stays the course with its rich honeyed nose and baked apple/pineapple aromas. One third of the fruit fermented in oak and was aged in barrel for four months in a combination of new and one-year-old barrels. The style is always rich and luscious where pineapple, butter and honeysuckle reign. Old style for sure but there is a market for this fatter style.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Time Estate Winery
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Planeta Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Planeta Chardonnay 2015

Sicily, ItalyRipe, full and rich, with dense white florals, sweet almond paste, fleshy yellow peaches, ripe apricots and musk melon weighting the creamy palate, lingering on the finish with a pool of lemon caramel. Yes, this is not a shy chardonnay. Fermented and aged in 50 percent new 225 litres Allier oak barriques for 10 months. For all its creaminess, this holds a fine capillary of acidity that streams it along, and a saltiness that buoys it through the finish, elevating it from the old schoolIf this was half the price, it would make sense and impress.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Planeta
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnaytext
89PTS

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe En Famille set of JoieFarm's wines are barrel selections, and don't happen every year. For this 2015, barrels from the Skaha Bluff and Joie's home vineyard on Naramata Bench were drawn. 2015 is a really tricky year for whites in the Okanagan; the hottest on record led to an early harvest. Many folks lost their acids before they knew it. This wine is showing very well considering the year. French oak ferment (20 percent new), 70 percent native ferment, full MLF, limited sulphur and eight months in oak with regular battonage. The additional time in bottle (this is a new release) has aided this wine. You still feel the toasty warmth of the wood and the heat of the vintage, but it's seamlessly enveloped by the rich, ripe density of the fruit at this stage. Dense pear, baked apple, quince, white peaches on a bed of almond butter, carried along a river of lemon curd acidity. Toasted hazelnuts linger on the finish. This is a big, ripe wine, yes, but intentionally, and with elegance. If you're looking for Cali with BC verve, here you go.Prices: BC 29.90 AB 38.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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05 September 2017

Pirouette Red Blendtext
93PTS

Pirouette Red Blend 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesPhilippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus Sr. are the architects of this ultra-elegant Washington red blend that exceeds all expectations in 2014. Finesse is the word that best describes the 2014, a vintage that delivers all Washington has to offer, without blowing your palate out with spice and alcohol. The wine spends 22-months in superior French oak barrels, of which three quarters are new oak. The Red Mountain sourced cabernet sauvignon ferments in 400L French oak barrels that were gently rolled throughout fermentation. The petit verdot (18%), merlot (17%), cabernet franc (7%) and malbec (1%) ferments in traditional stainless steel tanks. The nose has that savoury northwest appeal with bits of lead pencil, olives and cassis. The palate is perfectly balanced with stony, plummy, mineral, red and black fruit flavours. Dense yet balanced, this will age effortlessly for a decade or more.Prices: BC 85.00 ON 85.00 AB 77.00 US 55.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Le Vieux Pin Retouchetext
88PTS

Le Vieux Pin Retouche 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2014 mixes 43 percent cabernet franc with 21 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent syrah and one percent merlot from fruit grown on the Golden Mile Bench, North Oliver and Osoyoos Lake District Vineyard. All aged 17 months in 100 percent French oak barrels, of which none were new. They made 5 barrels of Rétouche in 2014, a wine whose raison d'être is to pay homage to the historical practice of “Hermitage-ing” Bordeaux wines by adding syrah from the Rhone and super, rich, black wines from North Africa to bolster the blend. The flavours tend to be a mix black cherries, blackberries and plummy fruit and super bright acidity almost mimicking the Oz expression. Richer braised meat dishes are the best match.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Beringer Quantum Red Blendtext
89PTS

Beringer Quantum Red Blend 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesA label led by cabernet sauvignon, with merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and a twist of petite sirah. The fruit and oak melange attracts at a certain level before the spicy ripe black fruit flavours kick in, lashed with chocolate, brown spices and a sweet, soft, glycerol fuelled back end that finishes warm. A big red for big dishes.Prices: BC 61.99 AB 70.00 ON 69.95 NF 70.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Murphy-Goode Red Blendtext
86PTS

Murphy-Goode Red Blend 2012

California, United StatesA steady-Eddy brand, the Murphy-Goode opens with a friendly, inviting nose that draws you into the glass. Spicy cherry, sweet black fruit aromas and flavours mark this modern commercial red blend that has a zinfandel lead. The fruit is a 34/27/16/13/6/4/ blend of zinfandel, merlot, petit verdot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. Ready to drink with smokies or burgers. Pricey.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Ryan Patrick Redhead Redtext
86PTS

Ryan Patrick Redhead Red 2015

Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFrom eastern Washington's Columbia Valley AVA, this is a full bodied and easy-sipping red blend that mixes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and syrah. The attack is warm and generous with plenty of black fruit and pepper sitting over a base of rich American oak for seven months. Simple, rich, soft red wine best for beef ribs or richer fall stews.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Ryan Patrick
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Ex Nihilo Nighttext
87PTS

Ex Nihilo Night 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis Black Sage Bench blend is a 47/41/12 mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, all handpicked in October. After a standard stainless steel ferment, the wine is aged in an 80/20 mix of French and American oak barrels for 19 months. The style is bold, with spicy dark fruit, coffee, chocolate and a fair amount of brown spices that persist along the finish. Overall, a bit sweet and spicy on the palate before it dries out in the finish. I suggest barbecue ribs to tame this or, another five years in the wine cellar. 882 cases produced.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Glen Carlou Grand Classiquetext
87PTS

Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2013

Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaI last tasted this vintage in 2015, when it first came onto our market. I was surprised to see the 2013 now, two years further along, and suspect it has something to do with sales flow rather than cellaring strategy. The smoke and leather in this blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, merlot, cabernet franc are still evident, but more pronounced with age, and the wine is now showing oxidative, OXO notes. Tannins are sticky and the spicing is five star. Drink now, either off the shelf, or in your cellar, with Asian-spiced ribs.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Glen Carlou
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Desert Hills Miragetext
86PTS

Desert Hills Mirage 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother red with some bottle age, which is always good thing when you are working with Bordeaux varieties. In this case, the big five are present, but the overall impression is something simple. There is plenty of spicy and herbal savoury notes but the cedar, coffee, tobacco leaf aromas and flavours lack substance and length. Dry, round, supple and ready to drink. Try this with hamburgers or stews to best effect.Prices: BC 36.95 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Synchromesh Tertre Rougetext
90PTS

Synchromesh Tertre Rouge 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA 66/34 mix of cabernet franc/merlot from Turtle Rock Farms, tucked above Naramata Road halfway between Penticton and Naramata Village. Fragrant perfumed, black plum nose with light meaty cassis and tobacco. The attack is elegant with more peppery, dense black fruit keeping the 21 months in 33 percent new oak at bay. The wine then spends another 24 months in bottle to settle into itself. When it makes sense, winemaker Dickinson will turn out a single varietal wine form this site, otherwise the blend is a better early drinking option. Solid.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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LaStella Expressivotext
90PTS

LaStella Expressivo 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLovely savoury old-world stylings in this new "super tuscan meets BC" release from La Stella, A blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and a splash (5 percent) santiovese. Restrained yet powerful, with stones, dusky cassis, textured with worn wood and firmly structured. Tannins are potent, but fine, and gritty with the intent to house the fruit. Impressive now, and will be more so with age.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: LaStella
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Tinhorn Creek The Creektext
89PTS

Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwenty-three years along, this is the first release of "the flagship" of one of BC's wine legends, Tinhorn Creek. Named for THE Creek (yes, there is one), this is a blend of 6-20 year old vines, 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot from both the Black Sage and Golden Mile Benches, partially wild fermented and aged for two years in French and Hungarian barrels. True to house, this is a welcoming, friendly and cushioned black fruited red. What makes The Creek stand out, however, is the salt-licked firm, gritty tannins, the walnut nuttiness, the elegance of the shape and balance overriding, even at this young stage. This is ripe, reflective of its southern Okanagan terroir. There is a swarm of heat on the finish of this young 14 percent wine, but at this stage, easily mitigated by roasted pork or veal. Tuck this away for a couple of years in the cellar, or do what I did and open it a day ahead (or decant) for maximum enjoyment now.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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01 September 2017

Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Winetext
87PTS

Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Wine 2015

Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, GeorgiaThe Tetri Kindzmarauli is made from the saperavi grape grown in the controlled appellation of Kindzmarauli. The regional winemaking is almost universal and is based on the ancient method. It’s a slow fermentation at a low temperature that ends without all of the sugar being fermented. In this case 35 to 45 grams per liter. The good news is the wine is in perfect balance with the sweet, almost grapey notes feeding off some brown spices, bitter chocolate and dried herbs. This would be fun to taste with hot, spicy savoury dishes as they do in the Republic of Georgia. A good chance to try something different.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Marniskari
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Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Winetext
89PTS

Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Wine 2014

Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, GeorgiaTetri Kindzmarauli is made from the saperavi grape grown in the controlled appellation of Kindzmarauli. The regional winemaking is almost universal and is based on the ancient method. It’s a slow fermentation at a low temperature that ends without all of the sugar being fermented. In this case 35 to 45 grams per liter. In 2014 there is an amazing black cherry / black raspberry aroma and flavour profile that jumps from the glass. This is more of a dessert wine when compared to the 2015 and would really work well with chocolate desserts and nut-based cakes and cookies. It’s an excellent opportunity to try something different and maybe fool your friends.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Marniskari
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Godori Pirosmani Red Semi Drytext
85PTS

Godori Pirosmani Red Semi Dry NV

Kakheti, GeorgiaSweet and ripe blueberry, blackberry gummies, candied plums and violet pastilles fill this "semi dry" (read sweeter) red from Georgia. Smooth and silky, low in tannins and acidity, his is entirely saperavi, a teinturier (red fleshed grape) grown in Kakheti, Georgia. Fermentation in stainless is stopped by cooling to keep the sugary sweetness to this dry-ish red wine. An acquired taste; try this rustic-hewn wine with rustic farm cheeses with a fig or blackberry paste.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Marniskari
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Godori Saperavi Red Drytext
87PTS

Godori Saperavi Red Dry NV

Kakheti, GeorgiaFrom the teinturier (red-fleshed) saperavi grape, this is from Georgia's Kakheti district in Georgia. Youthful, soft and duskly flavoured, with perfumed soft plum, forest berries, twiny red currant, sour cherry with a grippy tug around the edges that catches the side of the cheeks. Six months in oak gives a bit of structure to this soft, easy, red. Best with grilled sausages.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Marniskari
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