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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: December 2017

30 December 2017

Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Champagne Brut Naturetext
93PTS

Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Champagne Brut Nature 2009

Champagne, FranceThis is the second wine designed via collaboration with artist Philippe Starck, the first being the 2006. The line allows the legendary house of Roederer to break from form somewhat, and explore new, highly artistic, styles. Hazelnut, brioche is expressed through a streamline of vibrating acidity on this creamy, yet crisp vintage Champagne. Two-thirds pinot noir and pinot meunier, with the remainder chardonnay, all farmed with biodynamic practices and all from the Côteaux de Cumières, were picked and pressed on the same day, together. This striking wine plays on contrast, with the austerity of zero dosage and no malo playing against the cushioned quarter of the wine vinified in oak and the five years on the lees. White peach, white honey, scented with chestnut, aniseed, lemon pith, toasted biscuit and bedded with thicker cream that stretches the lengthy, lemony, humming finish. Modern and sophisticated, and inherently Roederer.Prices: QC 109.00 ON 111.95 Producer: Champagne Louis Roederer
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29 December 2017

Mazzei Zisolatext
88PTS

Mazzei Zisola 2015

Sicily, ItalyThis Sicilia Noto Rosso is 100 percent nero d'Avola grown on calcareous soils from 7 to 12 -year old head-pruned bush vines. Post fermentation, the wine is aged 10 months in small French oak barrels of which one third are new. The nose is warm with pruney chocolate notes mixed with tobacco. The attack round with more figgy, chocolate flavours. Serve with savoury pasta or grilled red meats and winter vegetables.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 28.00 ON 25.00 QC 24.00 Producer: Marchesi Mazzei S.P.A. Agricola
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Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasitext
92PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi 2011

Campania, ItalyClassic Campania aglianico that soars to a level few red wines can. The nose is inviting mix of tar and leather, licorice and cherries with a dusting of dried herbs. On the palate, fresh wild plums and blackberries balance the dry, stony, mineral spicy finish. The vines are plus-20 years now planted over deep volcanic ash and pumice soils. It’s aged in French barrique for eighteen months, followed by nine extra months in bottle before it is released to the public. A terrific steak wine.Prices: BC 62.99 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
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Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico del Vulturetext
90PTS

Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico del Vulture 2012

Basilicata, ItalyBasilisco is Feudi di San Gregorio’s Basilicata property located in the commune of Barile. Here in the heart of Aglianico del Vulture DOCG they have a six-hectare, volcanic, tuff stone and clay property that is home to southern Italy’s flagship variety, Aglianico. The vineyards are managed in a minimalist manner to allow the fruit to reach a natural balance. The soils play a big part in the freshness here. The nose is a mix black fruits, mushrooms and spice. The attack is fresh with black cherry and leather notes and some grippy tannins yet to be dispensed. You could drink this now with grilled meats or wait through 2020 for it to reach a more harmonious state. Good value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Basilisco
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Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivotext
90PTS

Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2013

Salento, Puglia, ItalyTorcicoda is always a big wine but under the watchful eye of its famed Tuscan owner Antinori, it has a sense of elegance in 2013, at least now as it closes in on its fifth birthday. Made with primitivo it is anything but primitive, with a fresh, modern style, shedding some of the rustic meaty characters of the past. With medium fine-grained tannins and just a hint of Mediterranean sweetness, its cherry licorice flavours finish dry and very well balanced. Serve with your favourite bird or mushroom dish. Impressive.Prices: BC 31.00 QC 20.00 NS 25.00 NB 27.00 Producer: Tormaresca
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28 December 2017

Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso di Montalcinotext
88PTS

Tenute Silvio Nardi Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe handpicked grapes come off the Casale del Bosco estate. The wine is fermented and aged in used casks of various sizes for six months, followed by four months in bottle. The attack is Italian dry with a mix of red and blue berries on the nose and palate. The style is spare (rosso) with juicy notes of strawberry, worn leather, resin and a light peppery finish. Simple, rustic red perfect for chicken or mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Tenute Silvio Nardi
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Fattoria Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchialetext
90PTS

Fattoria Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale 2012

Tuscany, ItalyOutside of Chianti Classico, the sub-region Rufina, NE of Florence, holds premium position. Altitude (up to 900m), soils (galestro, chalk and marl) and pedigree (Florentine merchant families of the Antinori and Frescobaldi lineage own the majority of acreage) make Rufina an elegant and prominent place. This estate, originally built as a summer residence for Florentine bishops, is 240 hectares, 45 of which are planted to vine and 31 to olives. It was purchased in 1827 by Michele Giuntini Selvapiana and since 1957 it has been run by the fifth generation Giuntini family member, Francesco Giuntini Antinori. Consulting winemaker Franco Bernabei has been at Selvapiana since 1978, and Bucerchiale, their flagship wine and only made in the very best years, was born the year after he arrived. Gripped by stones and herbal thorns, but with tannins eased with time in bottle, this is an age-softened Chianti Riserva with poise. Dried roses, worn leather, dried cherry and grippy, persistent tannins run the length of this streamlined red. Graphite and dusty stone, blue plum, fine mineral and a lifeline vein of acidity propel, but those chewy tannins still dry out on the finish. I would pour this with rabbit and wild mushrooms and be quite content.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Fattoria Selvapiana
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Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
91PTS

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011

Tuscany, ItalyLifted exotic nose of violets and cinnamon with a light twist of leather and a twist of brett and balsamic. The attack is intense with powdery tannins absorbing peppery black fruits and ripe strawberries. Reaching for Brunello in an enjoyable way. You can drink this now or through 2022. Bistecca alla Fiorentina sounds perfect.Prices: BC 60.99 QC 43.50 Producer: Il Molino di Grace
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Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classicotext
86PTS

Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2015

Tuscany, ItalyFrom the heart of Tuscany, this Chianti Classico offers up soft red fruit flecked with dried cherries and a savoury forest floor mid-palate. The finish is soft and dry with bits of tobacco and leather and a touch of tannin. A pizza red, or serve with a meaty spaghetti sauce.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 18.95 NB 18.99 NF 21.99 NS 19.99 SK 40.42 Producer: Castello di Gabbiano
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Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riservatext
87PTS

Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2013

Tuscany, ItalyThe fruit comes off the oldest vineyards and there is five percent merlot added to the traditional sangiovese. The fermented wine spends twelve months in French oak casks from 15hl to 30hl, as well as in small 225 litre barrels (20 percent new). The wine also spends a year in bottle before release. There is better intensity here when compared to the Chianti Classico, but the style is light with spicy red fruits and chocolate flavours with more underbrush. Light, soft and savoury with a typically dry finish.Prices: ON 22.99 QC 22.45 SK 22.98 MB 22.95 NB 26.48 AB 22.00 Producer: Castello di Gabbiano
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27 December 2017

Tinjas del Maule Ruben Y Flora Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère Reservatext
87PTS

Tinjas del Maule Ruben Y Flora Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère Reserva 2015

Maule, Valle del Claro, Valle del Maule, Region del Valle Central, ChileFresh peppery, red fruit nose flecked with dried leaves and a swirl of espresso. The attack is dry and linear with spicy menthol, blueberry, cherries and dried herbs with the perfect level of acidity. I like the food-friendly style here in what is a well-made but uncomplicated red you can serve all week long with grilled meats, roasted chicken or a creamy cheese. Fine value and a nice improvement since last look. A 50/50 mix of cabernet sauvignon and carmenere.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Tinjas del Maule
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Stina Cuvee Redtext
88PTS

Stina Cuvee Red 2015

Croatian Coast, Coastal Croatia, CroatiaFrom the Dalmatian coast, this is a blend of local grape plavac mali, along with syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The addition of international grapes is the winery's attempt to reach a broader audience, though I, amongst many I'm sure, would be keener to try plavac mali, a cross between crljenak kaštelanski (ancestral zinfandel) and dobričić, solo. Oh well, perhaps another day. This is dusty plum, cassis and branch, dark mulberry and dried cherry. Tannins are rustic, though the palate remains supple and friendly at 13 percent. Stina Winery opened on Broc Island in 2009 when Jako Vino rented a building from the Agricultural Cooperative of Bol. Wine had been made in the building, “The first Dalmatian Wine Cooperative” since 1901.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Jaco vino Stina
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Conundrum Redtext
83PTS

Conundrum Red 2014

California, United StatesBig dark chocolate, black raspberry nose with very similar qualities on the palate. The fruit is soft and round with super ripe candied flavours and 11 grams per litres of residual sugar that lends a silky sweet quality to the mid-palate and finish. The tannins are smooth and powdery, the finish cloyingly sweet. Ready to drink and best with rich, smoky, heavily sauced barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 24.99 ON 24.95 QC 24.95 MB 24.99 NS 26.80 NB 29.99 NFL 29.26 AB 24.99 SK 25.99 PEI 26.39 Producer: Caymus Vineyards
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Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Merlottext
90PTS

Sacred Hill Helmsman Cabernet Merlot 2014

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandHighly decorated NZ red that opens a bit stiff and rustic. The blend is 54 percent cabernet sauvignon, 42 percent merlot and 4 percent cabernet franc planted back in 1986 near Puketapu (Sacred Hill), on soils mixed of white, volcanic cliffs and river land gravels from the Gimblett Gravels in Dartmoor Valley, Hawke’s Bay. The attack is fresh with plenty of cedar, cassis mixed with grippy tannins. The flavours are a cool mix of sour cherries, red plums and spice. I've seen some glowing reviews, but this wine fails to deliver the polish and styling to back those scores up. For the moment, it needs time in the bottle to settle down, shed some rusticity, and reach its full potential.Prices: BC 65.99 Producer: Sacred Hill
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The Hatch Hatchfinitytext
90PTS

The Hatch Hatchfinity 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year’s ‘Bird’s Eye View’ is Hatchfinity. It stands for everything they hold dear at The Hatch. I know, imagine that: a vision and a mantra that they live by, ‘the hatch forever.’ The blend is a mix of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah, and merlot. The style is supple and juicy with lively red fruit, a hint of chocolate and plenty of savoury Okanagan expression plus a little bit of heat in the finish. You can drink this now but it will improve through 2020 in bottle.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Sandhill Cabernet Merlottext
85PTS

Sandhill Cabernet Merlot 2015

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNo substantial changes here, starting with a tight, savoury, herbal, crushed dried leaf nose spiked with tobacco and soya. The attack is full, with a swath of grippy tannins sitting on stony, mineral, Similkameen fruit. The finish is medium-long with dry, savoury, black olive flavours with a whiff of cassis. A chunky, rustic old style red best suited to hamburgers at this point.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 21.00 MB 20.99 Producer: Sandhill Wines
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Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlottext
87PTS

Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the true value labels in BC the cabernet-merlot appears to be profiting from all the changes in the vineyards at Mission Hill. Certainly the tannins are a little less aggressive and the cabernet sauvignon / merlot fruit reasonably bright, with blackberry, black cherry, black plum that finish with light chalky, grippy tannins marked with bits of espresso and ground black pepper. A perfect hamburger wine that can do double duty with flank steak.Prices: SK 18.00 AB 15.00 BC 16.99 MB 17.00 ON 17.00 QC 17.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Vanessa Vineyard Meritagetext
89PTS

Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2013

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA year down the road, the nose is cleaning up but the oak still dominates, covering the wine in coffee, vanilla, chocolate notes. The attack is dry and fresh with rich grainy tannins and a stony mineral underbrush with sour cherries and more chocolate, coffee and oak toast. This still needs more time in the bottle to settle down and release a soul. If you open it now, serve with grilled or roasted beef.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Vanessa Vineyard
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26 December 2017

Hester Creek Limited Edition The Judgetext
86PTS

Hester Creek Limited Edition The Judge 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Judge is one supersized hefty red (bottle weight x wine weight = obnoxiously heavy). A blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot from their 105 acre estate on the Golden Mile Bench, this is thick with smoked meats, charcoal, toasted wood and BBQ spice, with a dark floral musk darting throughout the dark berry fruit. Tannins are sandpapered to a hot finish. This brute requires thick steaks to tame.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Fuego Blanco Cabernet Franc Malbec Edicion Limitadatext
90PTS

Fuego Blanco Cabernet Franc Malbec Edicion Limitada 2013

Pedernal Valley, San Juan, ArgentinaThorny, earthy black cherry leads, and is robed with a cushion of wild blueberry on this cofermented blend of cabernet franc and malbec from Pedernal Valley in San Juan. There is an edge of herbal greenness and a swing of which is alluring throughout this modern, medium bodied red. Impressive. Elegant, new school, primed for drinking now, but will reward with time in the cellar.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: Bodega Los Toneles
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Perseus Invictus 10th Anniversarytext
88PTS

Perseus Invictus 10th Anniversary 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2014 Invictus was created to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Perseus, the winery's flagship cabernet franc, merlot and malbec blend. This is a deep, ripe and dense red, round with sweet black fruit, red florals, smoked tobacco, light menthol on a cushy, plush palate. Tannins are pliable, though the wine remains structured through its wood use. There is a bloody, balsamic jus swing on the finish, making this suitable for pairing with a rare steak. The best Perseus to date.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Perseus
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The Hatch The Unicorntext
90PTS

The Hatch The Unicorn 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe unconventional folks at The Hatch had no name for this wine so it was dubbed ‘The Unicorn’ and still is. It’s the latest Hatch wine and it has assumed the flagship role for the moment. A handful of barrels of cabernet franc and merlot gleaned from Desert Valley Vineyard is the source for this dark and brooding red. What looks big and weighty is in fact super fresh and linear: where a little California and a little northern Italy meets a lot of Okanagan. The acidity tends to dry out the red cherry finish, giving it a bit of an Italian profile, but a big juicy steak will smooth it all out at this stage. Personally, I will wait five years to see where this wine goes. The label is a Paul Morstad masterpiece, and the original painting is called ‘5 Viennese Psychoanalysts.’Prices: BC 73.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Dodgy Bros. The Dilemmatext
88PTS

Dodgy Bros. The Dilemma 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaThis is a plump, yet structured, Bordeaux blend from McLaren Vale, with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot from two vineyards, aged in oak barriques (some new) before the final blend. Cushy cassis and plush black plum, black cherry, thorny blackberry, charcoal, nubuck leather, with cocoa-dusted tannins, brown spices, and a flush of the Ozzie sun on the medium finish. Best met matched by rare beef.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Dodgy Bros.
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23 December 2017

Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe LH pinot blanc is all Golden Mile Bench fruit that is full-berry and whole-cluster pressed. A long, slow fermentation helps to pull out the brightest fruit revealing pear and peach aromas and flavours charged by a citrus undercurrent. Try this medium sweet wine with lemon cheesecake or an apple or peach crumble. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 17.99 200 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvesttext
89PTS

Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest 2016

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileIt’s been a while since we have seen this wine but it remains reliable as ever. With 14 per cent gewürztraminer to juice up the mix it lifts this late harvest sauvignon out of the realm of the ordinary. Crisp and aromatic with floral/citrus aromas and apricot/honey, egg yolk flavours that finishes clean. It's light but persistent flavours suggest you can serve this solo or with fresh fruit. This wine is made with grapes that were handpicked very late. After careful selection only the most suitable bunches infected with the proper amount of noble rot were used. Some 60% of the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks and the rest fermented in second-use French oak barrels. After fermentation 60% of the wine was aged in French oak barrels of second and third use for ten months.Prices: BC 16.49 375 MB 14.95 375 QC 14.95 375 Producer: Vina Errazuriz
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22 December 2017

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Domaine Sainte Clairetext
89PTS

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Domaine Sainte Claire 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceA generally solid performer and even in warm years there is a freshness in what is not yet certified, but now farmed, organic chardonnay. The palate is richer this year, mixing red apples with creamy lemon meringue notes and a whiff of minerality. Not one to keep but to enjoy now with grilled oysters or steamed clams with butter.Prices: BC 33.77 AB 39.99 Producer: Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Montmains 1er Crutext
91PTS

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Montmains 1er Cru 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis Montmains is all elegance and terroir, beginning with the telltale seashore, chalk and wet stone nose. The wine is 50/50 fermented in steel and oak tanks, but it remains crisp and fresh with a strong leesy/mineral undercurrent supporting peach, red apple and pear. Firmly wound, it should age easily through 2020. Best with oysters or fresh cracked crab.Prices: BC 47.99 AB 50.00 ON 34.00 Producer: Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos Grand Crutext
93PTS

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2011

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceIt’s such a delight to taste a Grand Cru with a glimpse of age, allowing it to spread its wings a bit and display the power of its Cru. Brocard is all but natural across his 200 hectares, seventy percent of which is now certified organic (80 hectares are certified biodynamic) and that number is growing yearly. Intensity is what you first notice along with the classic leesy, chalky, floral notes. Time in foudres brings richness and girth, at least in a Chablis kind of way, with juicy apple, lemon, mineral, spicy green apple flavours. Long, intense, floral, smoky chalky finish. Serve with fish, chicken or cheese. Impressive.Prices: BC 83.25 AB 110.00 Producer: Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Butteauxtext
91PTS

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceButteaux sits at the top of Montmains where there is more clay, giving it a touch of the roundness weight you see in a Grand Cru. It’s all aged in 100 percent old oak so there is deeper colour here and a touch more spice on the nose. The palate is full and expansive with some tropical fruit riffs and candied lemon driving the spectrum, albeit it remains precise with the requisite amount of minerality and bright acidity to keep it balanced. A nice addition to the lineup we see here in Canada and if you can find some lobster in your neighbourhood try it with Butteaux.Prices: BC 58.99 AB 66.00 Producer: Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Vaulorent 1er Crutext
91PTS

Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Vaulorent 1er Cru 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceVaulorent sits next to the Grand Cru Les Preuses and is said by the Brocard folks to share its qualities of refinement and energy. I found it to be foursquare and rich, reflecting the 2015 vintage with bright citrus/lime tones and a creamy/silky mid-palate coming from the use of some concrete eggs during fermentation. You can drink this now with chicken or richer seafood dishes with a cream sauce, or cellar through 2019.Prices: BC 63.99 AB 66.00 Producer: Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
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19 December 2017

Kaiken Ultra Malbectext
89PTS

Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2014

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaCool black fruit from a warm place, one freshened with altitude and not hemmed in with oak. There is certainly wood here, but it is only 1/3 new, and partially offset by the altitude of three zones of Uco Valley wanting from 1100-1400 miles above sea level.: Vistaflores, Gualtallary, and Altamira. Smoked black and red fruits, anise, perfumed wild blueberries, peppercorns, all amply sunripened, and with the full impact of grainy tannins. Swings of cola are slung across the finish of this warm malbec, one destined to be best encountered with fire grilled beef.Prices: QC 20.00 ON 20.00 BC 31.50 Producer: Montes Wines
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Trivento Amado Sur Malbec Bonarda Syrahtext
87PTS

Trivento Amado Sur Malbec Bonarda Syrah 2014

Mendoza, ArgentinaDusty stone, black cherry and raspberry fill the shorter palate of this malbec/bonarda/syrah blend, one floating with perfumed blue fruits (plums, blueberries) and clipped with grippy, dusty tannins. A unique blend, shaped with a veneer of oak and ample coating of black peppercorns. Meant for your mid-week meatballs, well intended and appreciated.Prices: BC 15.99 ON 17.00 QC 17.25 SK 18.00 NS 18.99 NB 19.49 Producer: Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos S.A
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Escorihuela 1884 Estate Grown Malbectext
87PTS

Escorihuela 1884 Estate Grown Malbec 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaRoasted meats and grilled root veg opens this multi-vineyard malbec. Eight months in oak (70 French / 30 American) is evident with the smoked siding and base of this dense red. Big cracked peppercorns filter throughout the firm thorny / resinous black fruit. With all its intensity, this remains a relatively light (12.5 percent) grill-ready red, set for your beef ribs.Prices: BC 17.99 YK 18.85 Producer: Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon
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Painted Rock Malbectext
89PTS

Painted Rock Malbec 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaViolets and wild blackberry flood this fleshy palate, scented with blueberry and clad with finely grippy tannins. The wood (18 months in French, 30 percent of which was new) is handily absorbed by the fruit density, leaving structure and an alluring spiciness on the finish. Malbec can easily absorb the 15.2 percent that the Okanagan can easily produce. I'd love to see this estate wine tweaked leaner / earlier in the future, but for now would enjoy this very much with beef tenderloin with caramelized root veg.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Trivento Golden Reserve Malbectext
88PTS

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2015

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis wine has always been a good bet even in difficult years like 2015. The colour is deep and dark. The nose a mix of crushed anise, tobacco, dark blueberry, darker florals on this inky palate, one woven with kirsch and balsamic. Tannins are structured but sticky, cushioning the ripe, dense fruit to the warming, medicinal-scented finish. A seamless wine to partner with your beef kabobs.Prices: NF 21.50 MB 23.00 SK 25.00 NS 28.00 AB 24.00 BC 20.99 ON 19.95 Producer: Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos S.A
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Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reservatext
89PTS

Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserva 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaBig open meaty nose with hints of reduction, this needs aeration via a quick splash decant before serving. Floral, black raspberry and cherry mix with the scent of roasted coffee and on rich, soft tannins. The finish is long with smoky, savoury, earthy hints. For best results serve this wine with a substantial piece of protein to keep it all in line.Prices: BC 21.00 QC 18.25 AB 17.95 ON 16.95 Producer: Terrazas de los Andes
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18 December 2017

Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D'Albatext
91PTS

Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D'Alba 2012

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyI am a huge fan of this affordable Barolo that has put the past behind it. Medium light and brick red in colour, this wine is graceful and nuanced in the Barolo way. Leather, cherries, forest floor with classic bitter notes, tannins and minerality. Stylish already but you can age this a decade. Beef tartare is a classic match. When you are ready for the next step, Barolo is the way.Prices: BC 44.99 ON 45.00 QC 40.00 MB 49.99 NS 45.99 Producer: Fontanafredda
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Fontanafredda Barolotext
90PTS

Fontanafredda Barolo 2013

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThere’s lots of talk about the quality of 2013 Barolos that tread the balanced harmonious route with real fruit. The nose is fragrant, if not iconic, with floral, tarry notes. The attack is rounder and softer than you might expect which is becoming a hallmark of this brand, and frankly it is appealing. After tasting we paired it with a beef stir fry and it was just the ticket. Good value, honest Barolo.Prices: BC 33.99 ON 45.00 QC 40.00 MB 49.99 NS 45.99 Producer: Fontanafredda
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Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barberatext
88PTS

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2015

Piedmont, ItalyThis is a fun little red wine that has been a consistent performer over the years. A barbera, from the hillsides of Langhe and Monferrato, it’s a touch meaty or perhaps reductive under screwcap but it recovers quickly with a wealth of black cherry, anise and black raspberry fruit over a ridge of bright acidity and mostly silky tannins. It spends about six months in oak barrels and Slavonian casks to add a touch of weight and texture. This will age but it’s ready to drink too. Best with mushroom dishes or pork/wild boar pappardelle. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 19.00 MB 19.00 ON 16.00 Producer: Fontanafredda
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17 December 2017

Muga Rioja Rosadotext
89PTS

Muga Rioja Rosado 2016

Rioja, SpainThe Muga rosado, a 60/30/10 mix of garnacha, viura and tempranillo, is delicious. The fruit grows on chalky/clay and alluvial soils and the result is refreshing. The wine gets a 12-hour maceration where it extracts the perfect Provencal eye of the partridge colouring before spending 15-20 days fermenting in small wooden vats. It’s left on its fine lees where it is worked for some three months to add a layer of complexity. Pear, apricot, citrus, watermelon all fill a cool, mineral palate. Fish cakes, sushi, chicken, they all work here. Well done and super value too.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Muga
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Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Syrah Cabernet Rosétext
90PTS

Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Syrah Cabernet Rosé 2016

Vins de Pays des Côtes de Thongue, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis is an easy to like 60/40 blend of syrah and cabernet with bright wild strawberry and raspberry aromas that tumble on to the palate with freshness, citrus, restraint and deliciousness. Pasta, pizza charcuterie - about anything you can think of to eat will taste better with this wine.Prices: BC 25.50 Producer: Domaine de L'Arjolle
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Dames Rosétext
88PTS

Dames Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFresh and bright and electric the Dames Rosé benefits Les Dames d ’Escoffier’s BC Chapter, and young women working in the hospitality industry. The producer of this wine, Mireille Sauve, was a wine scholarship recipient many years ago. The blend is an 80/20 split of pinot blanc from Sperling Vineyards (West Kelowna) and pinot noir from Stoneboat Vineyard (Black Sage Middle Bench), and has a strong citrus undercurrent flecked with red berries to the a clipped, fresh finish that calls for food. Bone dry and sleek at 11.5 percent, but it’s a style many tired of sugar will embrace. Great for summer salads and sushi.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Principe de Viana Edicion Rosatext
88PTS

Principe de Viana Edicion Rosa 2015

Navarra and Basque Country, SpainStrawberries and cream fill this round, ripe and mouthwatering grenache rosé from Navarra. Glycerol coats the palate, bedding more strawberry, light orange blossoms, pink florals and a cotton candy finish. Dryish, and pale, approachable and easy, with a weight and alcohol to take on protein-laden salads or tuna tataki.Prices: BC 21.99 MB 18.95 Producer: Bodegas Principe de Viana
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Painted Rock Merlottext
88PTS

Painted Rock Merlot 2014

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate Skaha vineyard, this high test (15.3 percent) merlot spent 18 months in French oak (30 percent new) French oak. Ripe black cherry and raspberry jam leads this full wine, with ample, gritty tannins and a lingering bay leaf, pencil shaving, black liquorice / medicinal cherry note. Hidden and a bit blocky at this time, though would work with / for warming and classic beef bourguignon. BNot the finesse we saw last year and at 15.3 percent alcohol you could say it’s a bit of a brute. The nose is reductive with meaty notes before the black fruit and strong savoury flavours kick in. Time is what is required here to let all the various parts blend in and the wood tannins to dissipate. You can tackle it now with T-Bone or wait for some bottle ageing to kick in and check back in 2021.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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16 December 2017

Bottega Merlottext
87PTS

Bottega Merlot 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBottega is a new label from winemaker Daniel Bontorin, the man behind the Seven Direction rosés. The merlot fruit comes of the certified organic Kozier Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The wine is soft and plump reflecting its clay-based soils, and it spends a year in new French oak. The style is hedonistic and at 14.5 degrees alcohol it's rich and silky on the palate. The fruit is black and aromatic with a lifted, almost volatile, savoury liquorice, pepper undertones. A more overt style reminiscent of Washington. I suspect it will peak about 2022. Perfect for most grilled meat entrées.Prices: BC 47.74 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Skookum Redtext
88PTS

Skookum Red 2013

Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesTypically northwest, dark and brooding in colour, but with a pleasant, fresh, red fruit demeanour on the nose and palate. Cherries and cranberry with a dusting of savoury dried herbs makes this a very easy-sipping, mid-weight red that is long on balance. A solid mid-week wine you can serve with burgers and pizza or favourite cut of steak. One hundred percent merlot from Kestrel Vineyard in Yakima Valley, Washington.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Northwest Cellars
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Sea Mountain Devils Peak Merlottext
86PTS

Sea Mountain Devils Peak Merlot 2015

Robertson, Breede River Valley, South AfricaSoft and round, with French press coffee, bitter blackberry and gritty edges on this drink-now, medium bodied red. Thankfully spared heavy oak influence, but lacking charm and finesse on the bitter, hard press finish. Serve this up with sauced roast beef sandwiches. Sea Mountain is the original name of Cape Town's legendary Table Mountain.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Sea Mountain Vineyards
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Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vietext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is very good version of what is usually a heady, perfumed merlot. As big as the 2014 is, it still offers up some hints of violets and minerality before the full force of its dark, potent, black fruit. Cassis, black plums and freshness (acidity) carry the story on through to a warm spicy (balsamic) finish. Don’t be fooled by the soft edges; this is a big merlot with a fine future.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Red Rooster Merlottext
86PTS

Red Rooster Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft, round, savoury peppery red with bits of smoked meat and tobacco. A medium-weight red with cherry-berry flavours and some grippy tannins in the back end. Best with a meat pizza or grilled chicken at the moment.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Red Rooster Winery
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Upper Bench Merlot Estate Growntext
89PTS

Upper Bench Merlot Estate Grown 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s "three in row" you could classify in the super rich merlot department for Upper Bench. The style is full and dense with a rich savoury, spicy undertone. The fruit is all dark cassis and blueberry with similar chewy tannins we saw last year that tend to dry out the finish. The winery pairing is Upper Bench Okanagan Sun washed rind cheese but it wouldn’t hurt to served some grilled beef with this wine for the near future until those tannins lighten up. Just lacking a little finesse.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Freemark Abbey Merlottext
90PTS

Freemark Abbey Merlot 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesTasted several times this year, this very big merlot is singing on all levels from a near perfect vintage. From plums and boysenberry fruit with a dollop of milk chocolate to a spicy bay leaf undercurrent, the fruit is a mix of Napa sites in Yountville, Oak Knoll, Atlas Peak, Oakville, St Helena, Yountville Rutherford with a touch of Alexander Valley, Sonoma County. The blend is 89/7/2/1/1 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, cabernet franc, malbec all aged just short of 16 months in French and American oak. Delicious savoury, flirty ripe fruit that will age through 2023. Try with a veal or lamb chop.Prices: BC 40.00 AB 36.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Perseus Merlottext
86PTS

Perseus Merlot 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwo southern vineyards, one in Osoyoos and one in Oliver, reflect the heat of 2015 in this dark, almost opaque, merlot. The attack is soft, the fruit super ripe with rainy, sweet black cherry fruit dominating the mid-palate and finish. Big round and ripe and ready to drink. Try this with spicy barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Perseus
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Screaming Frenzy Merlottext
88PTS

Screaming Frenzy Merlot 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNice improvement in tannin management here but this is one potent, rich merlot that comes at you on the nose with sweet cherry fruit and spice. The palate is dense, the fruit fat and lifted with more black fruit and spicy balsamic notes throughout. The finish is long, warm and spicy. Think venison or an older hard cheese.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Sterling  Vintner's Collection Merlottext
87PTS

Sterling Vintner's Collection Merlot 2014

California, United StatesRound soft, simple stuff here that mixes smoky red and black fruits with a lift of vanilla and spice in the back end. Pleasant, sipping California style with enough structure to handle grilled meat dishes. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Sterling Vineyards
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Crowsnest Family Reserve Merlottext
87PTS

Crowsnest Family Reserve Merlot 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Similkameen, the Crowsnest style is always on the cooler, more elegant end with bits of red fruits and clove upfront. The attack is fresh, the weight medium with cool, cran-cherry, black cherry fruit. This would be perfect with a roasted chicken or a meaty pasta dish. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 17.50 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Painted Rock Merlottext
89PTS

Painted Rock Merlot 2014

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Skaha merlot is settling into its vineyard, and in 2014 was aged 18 months in 30 percent new French oak. Not the finesse we saw last year and at 15.3 percent alcohol you could say it’s a bit of a brute. The nose is reductive with meaty notes before the black fruit and strong savoury flavours kick in. Time is what is required here to let all the various parts blend in and the wood tannins to dissipate. You can tackle it now with T-Bone or wait for some bottle ageing to kick in and check back in 2021.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlottext
88PTS

Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlot 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother rich merlot from a very warm year. The nose is a smoky, meaty affair with a spicy, savoury toasted oak undercurrent. Ripe black cherry and vanilla mix with coffee and chocolate before it finishes dry with a tug of tannins. Rich and dense, you could cellar this for another two to three years or serve now with a rare/medium rare cut of steak.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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15 December 2017

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintagetext
91PTS

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage 2012

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLate Bottled Vintage, or LBV, is the most popular premium Port style in both England and Canada, representing one in five purchases of Port in the UK and over a quarter of all Port enjoyed by Canadians. This one is smooth, with a finely rustic grippy edge, this savoury/spirited LBV is from 70+ year old vines in three vineyards in the Cima Corgo. Foot trodden in concrete lagares and after a cool winter in the Douro this was transferred to Vila Nova de Gaia where it spent the next 3-4 years in large wooden vats. Spirited plum, blackberry, boysenberry, youthful violets is firmly ringed with fine, gritty tannins, lingering with a crushed, stony dust. This has presence and intent to stand up to the deepest chocolate torte or most potent blue, while remaining nonchalant and effortless. Well done.Prices: BC 24.00 375 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Sandeman Tawny Porto 20 Years Oldtext
93PTS

Sandeman Tawny Porto 20 Years Old NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTwenty years in barrel has effected a dramatic drop in colour in this wine. Plums and apricots precede a nutty, rancio, toffee nose with bits of orange peel, prune and creamy aromas. The style is on the drier side with light sweetness and excellent finesse. Look for warm plum, apricot, honey, butter, rancio, walnut tones that mellow in the finish. Some bottle variation here but we loved sipping this seductive style.Prices: BC 63.99 Producer: Sandeman
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La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2015

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesWell-made, commercial quantities, widely available at a fair price. Okay when is the last time you heard that? The fruit is a mix of estate and grower vineyards but all of it is grown in cool, marine swept vineyards of Sonoma County. The parcels are kept separate until the final blend to allow for a mix that can capitalize on all the best lots. The nose is fresh, the fruit red, with wild strawberry aromas and a pinch of baking spices. The palate is similar with soft, silky textures. It’s 100 percent pinot noir aged in French oak, but only 20 percent is new. Delicious, drinkable and authentic.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 29.00 ON 29.95 QC 28.60 NS 41.75 NB 44.95 Producer: La Crema
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Murphy-Goode Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir 2014

California, United StatesMurphy-Goode pinot is a round, juicy, easy-drinking pinot with a cherry, compost, spicy nose. The attack is pinot sweet and round with earthy, cherry, beet root flavours and a twist of oak. Simple, soft and fun to drink with no complication. Perfect for pizza and chicken dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 NB 26.99 MB 21.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir 2015

Mendocino County, California, United StatesBarbara Banke made a stylistic left turn, and an astute buy, when she purchased the Copain property and brought it under the Jackson Family banner. Although lauded for their ‘Rhone wines” the strength of winemaker Wells Guthrie is his ability to source fruit, in this case, savoury, cool Mendocino fruit. Tous Ensemble or ‘all together’ is a mix of fruit from three vineyards across the county, blended into a ready-to-drink pinot. The darling of the somm set, Copain makes an understated, spare pinot noir in the Tous Ensemble range at a mere 13.5 percent alcohol offering red fruits, soft tannins and a dry, food-friendly finish. Tous Ensemble spends only nine months in neutral French oak.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Copain Wines
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Ex Nihilo Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft and supple crimson cherry, raspberry and forest floor scents fill this full and plush pinot noir, kept fresh with fruit sourced from northern Okanagan's cooler Lake Country. This was whole berry fermented in stainless before nine months in French wood (20 percent new). Baking spices, leather, cola on the plush and round palate, one kept tidy at 13.4 percent, and warmly fleshed out with cinnamon. This reminds me of cooler climate California in a generous year. Well done.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Louis Latour Pinot Noir Bourgognetext
87PTS

Louis Latour Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2015

Burgundy, FranceNice improvement this year although miles from the New World style as in with fruit and some new oak. Lean and spare with fresh acidity there is a mix of red fruits with an earthy, beetroot finish. Ready to drink and best with a creamy, mushroom risotto dish or salmon with a cream sauce. Basic red Burgundy that must be served with food.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 22.00 MB 23.00 ON 19.00 QC 20.00 NB 24.00 Producer: Maison Louis Latour
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Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawnytext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalA classic, for a reason. Still showing youthful energy, with grippy roasted and salted almonds, golden raisins, marmalade, kept juicy with mouthwatering acidity and helmed with moderately silky tannins. Creme brûlée lingers on the warming end. While smooth, in the Taylor way, this relatively youthful Tawny is still firmly and spirited, and welcomes pairing with walnut or hazelnut torte or mature cheeses.Prices: BC 34.99 PEI 37.00 ON 35.00 MB 34.99 QC 33.75 NF 40.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Portotext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2012

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalDried tobacco, dried orange, fig, quince paste through this round, but structured LBV. More so than last year, the 2012 has a definite grippy, gritty frame with firm sides containing the caramelized, ripe, burnished orange-cherry fruit. The finish lingers with a savoury nut shell note. This is drawn from Taylor estates in Cima Corgo and Douro Superior, and is ready for drinking now while you wait a decade or few for your vintages ports.Prices: BC 24.99 BC 14.99 375 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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14 December 2017

Upper Bench Cabernet Franc Estate Growntext
88PTS

Upper Bench Cabernet Franc Estate Grown 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNaramata and cabernet franc appear to be a fine mix, and as the years go by and temperatures creep up a degree or two, the future of this grape in BC is bright. The heat in 2015 was oppressive and there is fine ripeness here. The tannins are a bit chunky at this stage and the style slightly rustic but some of that will be overcome by the chocolate, cherry and minty savoury notes that marked the ’15. Give this three or four years to settle down and reach its zenith. In the meantime, you could serve it with a creamy, Upper Bench cheese such as King Cole to ameliorate some of those tannins.Prices: BC 30.50 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Franc 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 vintage kicked off early and the rest of the growing season followed suit with record breaking temperatures. Some creative canopy management helped to extend the season a bit to encourage full phenolic ripeness, and ripe tannins to better balance off the sugars and eventually the alcohol. The ‘15 Franc is aged 18 months in 30 percent new French oak and is only the third single bottling at Painted Rock. I said it last year and I will say it again. When you taste this cabernet franc, you must ask yourself why does anyone bother to try and ripen cabernet sauvignon in BC? It's big, with less finesse this year, but the overall wine is still impressive and will have legions of fans who prefer the warmer, riper style of 2015. Smoky, savoury, leafy aromas mark the nose and palate with coffee, chocolate, tobacco/resin, toasted oak and black fruit flavours. This needs time, as in five-to-seven years, to settle in and show its merit. Lamb, lamb and lamb is the match.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Franctext
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Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Franc 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year the oak is dense with prominent sweet spicing, ripe cassis, tomato jam, red florals and sappy, cedary, resiny notes. The fruit is from the warm, south Okanagan Valley but there are threads of red fruit here and sufficient acidity to keep it all fresh. Big and bold, this will appeal to those who like their reds young and robust. Best with fire-grilled lamb or beef now. The next level requires more finesse and length.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Perseus
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Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
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Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDusty, warm, spiced raspberry on this paler-yet-potent cabernet franc, from the charming Cachola Family Vineyard, just north of Oliver. Riper than the 11.9 percent frame would let you believe, this is a raspberry leafed franc, softly wrapped around a warm strawberry jam core that fills the mouth to a finely smoked salts and smoked cinnamon finish. Tannins are nubile and the mouthfeel is silken. This spent 10 months in 38 percent new French oak, and welcomes pork ribs or lardon-laden salads.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Black Swift Vineyards Cabernet Franc Desert Valley Vineyardstext
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Black Swift Vineyards Cabernet Franc Desert Valley Vineyards 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Black Swift franc grows on the Golden Mile Bench sub-appellation in Desert Valley Vineyard. In 2014 this is a dense, muscular, round and ripe-fruited red that is a pleasure to drink. The west bench that gathers the less intense morning sun tempers the wine's overall demeanour, aided by an early evening shadow that protects the fruit from excess sugar production and eventually alcohol. The soil is mostly rocky, an old alluvial river bed, and the result is a mineral, stony red and black raspberry fruited wine with a sagebrush undercurrent. Grilled meats or poultry are fine matches at this point. Impressive now and this will improve in bottle through 2020.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: The Hatch
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13 December 2017

Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Porttext
90PTS

Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOtima is a blend of 'The Big Five' traditional Douro grapes: touriga nacional, touriga francesa, tinto barroca, tinta roriz and tinto cão. The wine spends an average of ten years in old oak casks, though some of the blend will be upwards of forty. An elixir of golden auburn, Otima is all caramelized sugar, golden raisins, tobacco leaves and fig newtons on the nose with a mellow, nutty butterscotch palate. Seamless and silken, with enough balancing acidity to remain fresh and prevent cloying. A contemporary look at Portuguese tawny, and one to pair with walnuts, dried fruit, cheeses.Prices: BC 26.49 500 AB 29.99 500 SK 29.07 MB 25.10 NB 29.79 NL 29.79 Producer: Warre & Ca
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Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanctext
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Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPunchy pink grapefruit, guava, fuzzy peach gummies in this potent, pine/sage flecked sauvignon blanc, one lined with a fine lining of creamy lees. Approximately 20 percent of the wine spends time in oak and concrete (split about 50/50) while the remainder spends time on its lees in stainless steel. Tropical, ripe and assertive, this requires something equally potent to match: think fragrant seafood or veg curries.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Sumac Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Private Reservetext
85PTS

Sumac Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Private Reserve 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch like previous editions, this is a punchy, tropical and snappy savvy, with a blast of grapefruit, guava and medicinal lemongrass driving, and fragrant pink florals following closely behind. There's a coconut spicing that coats the finish. This is clinically crisp, entirely stainless and a local version of southern hemisphere savvy if that's what you're after.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
95PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2000

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaylor does what it does best, age, and after seventeen years it’s settling in to be a very fine vintage port that is more along the cool, calm and sophisticated style. Less aromatics and drier than many, it still has that pretty mix of spice, liquorice, black fruit, and molasses. The palate is long and unrelenting, delivering plum and other red fruits with a touch of chocolate. Linear, well-balanced and harmonious, only beginning to show its stuff. Enjoy through 2030.Prices: BC 299.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Warre's Warrior Finest Reservetext
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Warre's Warrior Finest Reserve NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFounded in 1670, Warre's lays claim to being the first British Port company established in Portugal. Their wines have been shipped continuously since the 1750s. The name Warrior was branded on the casks of Warre's Finest Reserve Ports since the beginning. The wines come from Warre's qantas in the Pinhao and Rio Torto valleys, selected by winemaker Peter Symingon for their fruit richness. This certainly has that, with potent cherry, blackberry, fig paste, caramelized brown sugar and waves of raspberry to a lightly peppery finish. This has more charming red fruit than many of its contemporaries in the class; a welcome change. This youthful red would make a great match for rum raisin pie or mince tarts.Prices: BC 14.00 375 MB 22.00 BC 25.00 Producer: Warre & Ca
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Kopke Ten Years Old Tawnytext
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Kopke Ten Years Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalA dry firm style with a strong resiny/nutty nose from the oldest Port producer in the world. They say the average age of this wine is 15-years-old but it only qualifies for the ten-year-old moniker. Mature long nutty, bitter chocolate, flavours that won’t quick. Light the fireplace.Prices: BC 36.99 ON 31.95 Producer: Sogevinus/Barros
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Matua Valley Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanctext
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Matua Valley Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandRetasted seven months down the road, and still electric from its full-blown teal coloured label to its zesty, tropical sauvignon blanc flavours. This is a high-tech wine: machine-picked, selected yeast, all stainless-steel fermented in a super fresh style with bright tropical, citrus fruit aromas and flavours. If anything, it is a little riper and richer than the Marlborough version, giving it more mouthfeel. Serve with goat cheese to best effect.Prices: BC 16.49 QC 19.00 MB 18.00 NF 19.00 ON 16.00 NS 19.00 AB 16.00 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanctext
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Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandCan a wine be too intense? Maybe, but Cloudy Bay seem to toe the line, albeit to the edge, when it comes to flavour intensity. Lime and grapefruit is the CC mantra, with grassy peach, guava gooseberry notes throughout, and texture seldom seen in sauvignon. Iconic and a benchmark for the region that delivers even in a challenging year like 2017. Mussels in a curry sauce is a fine match.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 33.00 MB 35.51 ON 35.99 QC 34.75 NS 35.00 38 SK 38.99 Producer: Cloudy Bay Vineyards Limited
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Fonseca Bin No 27 Finest Reserve Porttext
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Fonseca Bin No 27 Finest Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalCreated over a century ago, No. 27 was initially intended for family consumption, and not released commercially until 1972. Primarily from Fonseca’s quintas in the Cima Corgo, this premium ruby is a blend of reserve wines selected for intensity, and spends four years in large wood vats prior to bottling. Sweet and fiery, with sugared blackberry, cassis, dark cocoa, sugarplums all housed with black tea powder tannins and finishing with black pepper. This has the concentration to stand up to the densest chocolate torte or richest Christmas pudding.Prices: BC 23.99 MB 17.00 NS 23.00 SK 23.00 NB 24.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porttext
87PTS

Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalYou can think of First Estate is your first introduction to Taylor, and their intense but smooth ports. A blend of youthful red wines from the Cima Corgo, this spent a few years in oak vats to mellow. Full bodied and assertive, with a fiery grip around the sides to house the potent, sweet density. Sweet tobacco, cassis pie, candied plum, caramelized brown sugar to a very hot, peppery finish. This is not shy, and best enjoyed with a pairing equally intense, like rum raisin pie or chocolate torte. Taylor’s First Estate is a classic reserve blend that was made to commemorate the firm’s acquisition in 1744 of its first property in the upper Douro Valley, the Casa dos Alambiques at Lugar das Lages.Prices: SK 26.00 BC 24.00 NF 22.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Porttext
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Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis wine made history as the first entirely organic Port wine, right down to the spirit used for fortification. It was a project instigated and overseen by David Guimaraens, chief winemaker. Firmer and less fiery than Fonseca's No. 27 or First Reserve, brown spices lead this distinctive reserve port, with caramelized sugar, molasses, sugarplums, cassis jam, sweet tobacco and fine black pepper. This youthful wine has evolved over time, more elegant and seamless now than ever before.Prices: SK 25.00 MB 27.00 AB 33.00 BC 28.99 QC 28.50 ON 25.00 YK 33.00 NS 31.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Dow's Old Tawny Port Aged 10 Yearstext
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Dow's Old Tawny Port Aged 10 Years NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalRoasted walnuts, sarsaparilla, dried orange, dried fig, sweet tobacco, raisins, earl grey tea, and caramel tart is housed with finely grippy white pepper crusted tannins. The wood is well mellowed, with wines averaging ten years in cask, though the finish still glows with a warmth and lingers with mushroom. This is an elegant and finessed Ten Year Old Tawny, and one well suited to aged gouda and roasted nuts.Prices: MB 35.00 NS 38.00 NB 40.00 Producer: Dow's Port
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Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Porttext
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Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis is distinctly reddish cherry in hue, looking like a red wine and not a typical Tawny 10. Youthful sweet cherries, sugarplum, toasted nutmeg, marmalade is lined with a turbindo sugar on the medium palate. Brisk, gruff acidity and a very grippy, bitter walnut finish counters the sweetness and welcomes food pairing.Prices: BC 37.99 QC 35.50 NB 39.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
89PTS

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalRum raisin, cherry cola, sugarplums, candied violets, orange peel, pipe tobacco on this potent, silken palate, one gripped by a scruff of cherry pit that grows loud on the finish, but lined with cushy seville marmalade to counter. In Dow's tight, restrained / severe way, this is looking through a keyhole, with a promise of what's more to come, but leaves you wanting more. Drinking well now, with cherry tart or Black Forest Cake.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Dow's Port
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12 December 2017

Narrative Cabernet Franc by Okanagan Crush Padtext
88PTS

Narrative Cabernet Franc by Okanagan Crush Pad 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCabernet franc is one of Canada's signature grapes, and humble, easy, accessible wines like this show its kinship with the Okanagan. This was sourced from the Black Sage and Golden Mile Benches, and was fermented and aged in concrete for nine months prior to bottling. Wild blackberry is bedded with dark plum and sided with fine and grippy concrete texture to a lingering, dusky and herbal finish. Great introduction, or everyday drinking franc.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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11 December 2017

Narrative  Non-Fiction Red Blend by Okanagan Crush Padtext
86PTS

Narrative Non-Fiction Red Blend by Okanagan Crush Pad 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRoasted coffee, thorny cassis, blackcurrant jam in this full bodied red from Narrative, a blend of cabernet franc, merlot and syrah. Super ripe, with a soupy blackcurrant palate and black plum jam, with the fruit intensity held in with a frame of bitter espresso gripped tannins. There's a bump of ripe sugar here that makes this easy and approachable for drinking now.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Fort Berens Red Goldtext
89PTS

Fort Berens Red Gold 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is Fort Berens' premium red, gilt with the "Gold" title, and blended from their top lots of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and across vineyards in Similkameen, Osoyoos, Black Sage Bench and their own estate vineyards in Lillooet. Almost one third of this was apassimento cabernet franc, with grapes air-dried for one month for extra concentration and density. The blend certainly has density, with a flush of sun-ripened red and black fruit, pipe tobacco, cherries and thorns on a plush, cushioned palate. Tannins are soft, red and purple florals float throughout, and a fine dusting of pepper and anise on the finish. This is a big wine, nearly 16 percent, but it feels much lighter (at least for the first glass).Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Perseus Cabernet Merlottext
84PTS

Perseus Cabernet Merlot 2016

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 Cabernet (Franc) / Merlot was the winery's first eight-month red (from harvest to bottle), made using flexcube fermentation. Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend. Sweet violet candies, aftershave, blackberry gummies, cherry jam on a gritty textured palate to a short, bitter finish.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Perseus
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09 December 2017

Champagne Lanson Brut Rosétext
92PTS

Champagne Lanson Brut Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceRosé bubbles are in, but Lanson has been making this stylish, delicate wine since the 1950s, one of the first ever Rosés in Champagne. Its enticing pale salmon colour is a result of the assemblage or blending of 55/30/15 pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier with a small amount of still pinot noir from Bouzy. Expect a whiff of toasted lees and biscuit with baked pear, mineral, citrus notes and what I can say now is the freshness you get from Lanson’s no malo wines. The flavours are a riot of nutty, toasty, mineral, cherry, citrus and green apple flavours. Dry, crisp, but with fine elegance. Impressive.Prices: BC 63.79 AB 67.00 ON 65.00 QC 65.00 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Taittinger Prélude Grands Crustext
92PTS

Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV

Champagne, FranceThis richer, riper, doughier Taittinger is equal parts Grand Cru pinot noir (Montagne de Reims) and Grand Cru chardonnay (Côte des Blancs), aged for five+ years on the lees, and with a 9 g/l dosage. Dense and rich, with toasted brioche, almond biscotti, lemon zest, big spice, and an echo of elderflower on the finish. Ample autolysis here, but held with a girdle of lemon acidity that draws this out to a lingering finish. Impressive. Quail, cream-dressed mushrooms would be an ideal match to this powerful wine.Prices: BC 95.00 QC 79.50 Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Pol Roger Brut Reservetext
91PTS

Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FrancePol is classic Brit-styled Champagne from equal parts chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and from 150 parcels across some 30 crus. Brioche, dough, hazelnuts, red apple is generous on the palate, aided by 20 percent reserve wines, and reined in with a fine grip of acidity. Dosage is 9-10 g/L. Reserved at present, this is one of those NVs that will benefit from some time in your cellar.Prices: BC 65.99 ON 66.00 QC 61.50 NF 72.00 NB 65.00 BC 37.95 375 Producer: Champagne Pol Roger
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Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperialtext
89PTS

Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial NV

Champagne, FrancePouring a deeper peach hue, this is an assertive and punchy rose, with 40-50 percent pinot noir (10 percent still), 30-40 percent pinot meunier (10 percent still) and 10-20 percent chardonnay, with 20-30 percent reserve wines and a dosage of 9 g/l. Up to 48 months on the lees has provided a toasty structure, filled with cherry yogurt, cranberry tartness and raspberry jam. A brisk stream of grapefruit acidity and some cinnamon and nutmeg spicing lingers on the finish. A food wine, this can match up to tender lamb chops or grilled salmon.Prices: BC 76.99 QC 80.25 MB 81.59 NF 92.44 ON 82.95 NB 94.99 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Moët & Chandon Impérial Bruttext
89PTS

Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThis Champagne is reportedly the most consumed in the world (they say a bottle of Moet is popped every 1.3 seconds around the globe). With 20-30 percent reserves, this is 30-40 percent pinot noir, followed by pinot meunier and a smaller portion of chardonnay. Impérial, their flagship, is a blend of more than 100 wines, matured 24 months and with a nine g/l dosage. Compared to others in its NV class, this comes across with assertion, a bit coarse, ragged and rustic, with a noticeable bump of sugar on the finish. Red apple lemon, dough and stone are brightened with white florals. This ticks all the boxes save for finesse and elegance, but when you consider the scale, and scope, you can't help but be impressed.Prices: BC 64.99 SK 63.00 MB 66.50 ON 65.55 QC 64.00 NB 65.00 NS 66.50 YK 69.00 NL 74.00 BC 142.00 1500 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Yellow Labeltext
89PTS

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Yellow Label NV

Champagne, FranceConsistency is key at Veuve, and Yellow Label is their epitome of sameness. 50 different vineyards and 25 to 40 percent reserve wine (from five to six vintages) is blended back into the blend of 50-55 percent pinot noir, 15-20 percent pinot meunier and 28-33 percent chardonnay. This is always a richer, doughier style, with brioche, dough, red apple and a fine shaking of nutmeg spicing. The cushy palate is plumped with a generous dosage, and stunted by a shorter finish. Easy, approachable and still complexed and rich. Consistency is key, and perfectly achieved.Prices: BC 65.99 MB 71.49 NS 73.58 QC 70.25 ON 70.60 SK 68.97 YK 72.00 PEI 74.19 NL 76.49 NB 74.79 BC 142.99 1500 BC 39.99 375 Producer: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
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Taittinger Brut Reservetext
91PTS

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceTaittinger has just under 300 hectares of vineyards across Champagne, giving it a plethora of vines to work with in all vintage conditions. This is drawn 40 crus in the Marne, Sézanne and Aube and with three years on the lees. The dosage is 9 g/l. In the NV blend the mix is approximately 40 percent chardonnay with some 60 percent split between pinot meunier and pinot noir. It's the high percentage of chardonnay, unique among the fervent competition in the NV range, that gives this label a leg up in finesse. Green apple, lemon, white florals, lemon verbena slide the palate, with a potent lip smacking lemon acidity on the sides and end (almost distractingly so). A precise, familiar and welcomed house style.Prices: BC 63.99 QC 59.75 MB 69.41 ON 63.00 NF 58.00 SK 69.57 NS 80.00 YK 90.00 AB 65.99 Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Lanson Black Label Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Lanson Black Label Brut NV

Champagne, FranceAt Lanson they like to say the colour black, the symbol of elegance, was a natural choice for a champagne dominated by pinot noir. In fact, the Black Label is a stunning introduction to Champagne from its 50/35 15 combination of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, selected from numerous crus and blended with 30 percent reserve wines spanning up to ten different vintages. Even better, it spends a full 36-month on its lees with an additional six months following disgorging before it is shipped. Expect the unexpected: power and elegance with a stream of freshness from front to back. Toasty, citrus, honeydew notes with a creamy, mineral, chalky, long finish awash in salinity. There is no malolactic fermentation employed at Lanson, giving it a brightness of acidity that allows it to cellar forever. Perfect for tuna sashimi or at dinner with scallops in lemon cream sauce or roasted pheasant. A non-vintage champagne for aficionados.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 57.00 AB 59.00 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Gardet Brut Traditiontext
89PTS

Champagne Gardet Brut Tradition NV

Champagne, FranceThis negoc has been active since the beginning of the 20th century. This cuvee is a 45/45/10 pinot noir/pinot meunier/chardonnay, and the red fruits make themselves known with baked strawberry, raspberry jam and toast. A bit rough around the edges (in an authentic way), but quite creamy on the palate, with acidity pointed and angular though well integrated and edgy enough to make this work (and stand out). A natural with pastry-rich meat pies.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: Champagne Gardet
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Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FranceLa Cuvée Rosé, one of the bestselling rosé champagnes in the world, and one of the few still made using the saignée method, was first released in 1968. It is 100 percent pinot noir and is a combination of 10 different crus in Montagne de Reims. After a 48 to 72-hour maceration, and fermentation, it spends a minimum 60 months en tirage. Nuances of cherry, raspberry, pink florals, and smokey Earl Grey tea, this is bright and pure and framed with a grippy riff of fine tannins that frame the streaming flow along the palate. Elegant and timeless, this shines as an aperitif as well as with food (think salmon, poultry), and will also benefit from time in the cellar.Prices: BC 92.99 ON 99.95 QC 99.75 PEI 107.00 Producer: Champagne Laurent-Perrier
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Champagne Vollereaux Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne Vollereaux Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Champagne, FranceNow six generations into a family that has been growing grapes in Pierry and Moussy since 1805, with Franck Vollereaux now in charge. Uncharacteristic for a Bdb, this is quite assertive and bold, with a distinct resinous lime-mint note that runs the supple, full palate. There's a firm rasp of acidity that grips the sides and draws everything to the finish, and a generous amount of reserve wines which add to the density. This spent three years on the lees and has a dosage of 9 g/l.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Champagne Vollereaux
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Champagne Vollereaux Brut Reservetext
90PTS

Champagne Vollereaux Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceA family owned negoc that owns 42haaa of their own vineyards in between Pierry and Sézanne, and 200 years of history in wine in the region. The Brut Reserve is equal parts chardonnay / pinot noir / pinot meunier and with three years on the lees. Perfumed cherry blossoms, light raspberry on the creamy palate, with some some strawberry seed grip and light honey on the finish. 9 g/l dosage. Great value.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Champagne Vollereaux
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Champagne Vollereaux Brut Rose de Saigneetext
88PTS

Champagne Vollereaux Brut Rose de Saignee NV

Champagne, FranceA bigger, showier rosé Champagne, full of light smoked strawberries, raspberry, popcorn, cherry atop a base of broken stones. This pinot noir spent four years on lees and with a dosage of 9 g/l, that comes across at finish. Simpler, present and pleasant pink fizz, ready to drink now with salmon canapés.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Champagne Vollereaux
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Champagne Vollereaux Cuvée Margueritetext
89PTS

Champagne Vollereaux Cuvée Marguerite 2008

Champagne, FranceVollereaux is a family owned negoc that owns 42ha of their own vineyards in between Pierry and Sézanne, and also can claim 200 years of history in wine in the region. This is their top wine. Ripe and full, in an oxidative swing, this blend of 75/25 chardonnay/pinot noir has spent five years on the lees and is given a 10 g/l dosage. Gingersnap spicing is woven throughout, with yellow apple pie, peach, orange marmalade, honeysuckle, apricot and anise kisses on the finish.Prices: BC 75.99 Producer: Champagne Vollereaux
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Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Vintage Champagnetext
93PTS

Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Vintage Champagne 2010

Champagne, FranceThe Blanc de Blancs vintage is only produced in small quantities from top crus in the Côte des Blancs. In 2010, 20 percent of the wine was vinified in oak casks with no MLF. This wine was taken off at lower pressure, in the aims of a fuller, richer flow of bubbles. The wine rests five years in the cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging to attain the perfect maturity. The dosage is 9 g/l. Taut and purposefully chiseled, with firm lemon tart bones and a flakey brioche base. Salt roasted hazelnuts, lemon curd, is scented with acacia and driven with a tight stream of acidity through the lingering finish. While drinking well now, this is just a baby, and will hold and deeper with cellaring.Prices: BC 98.99 QC 109.00 Producer: Champagne Louis Roederer
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Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagnetext
92PTS

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV

Champagne, FranceThe largest independent, family-owned and managed house manages more than 235ha of prime vineyards, supplying an amazing 70 percent of its needs. Of that, more than two-thirds are Grand Cru. Their vintage wines are from their estate properties, and this flagship Brut Premier NV (also their entry level) has more than 55 percent estate fruit. Orange peel, tangerine, yellow cherry with salted marzipan underpining, this is quite complex, with brioche, light nutmeg, fine salts gripping the sides. This is a 40/40/20 mix of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, incorporating 10 percent reserve wines (which rest in oak casks for 2-8 years). This is drawn from three harvests and spends three years on the lees with 20-25 percent MLF. Classic, and for all the right reasons, in the category of larger house NV, this shines bright and true. Drink now, and cellar-worthy.Prices: BC 68.99 MB 70.00 ON 66.95 QC 70.00 NF 79.20 Producer: Champagne Louis Roederer
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Henriot Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
91PTS

Henriot Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Champagne, FranceHerriot has been independently family run for more than 200 years, allowing them the privileged stocks for long aging, and the ability to dig deep into reserve wines (there is 25 percent reserve wines here). Distinctive from first sniff, with struck flint, toasted popcorn, lemon curd and heady bruleed meringue forming the cushy, ample base. There's a chalky grip that holds this in, a lemon curd core that anchors, and vibrant acidity to focus to a humming finish. That said, the 8-10 g/l dosage and quarter amount reserve wines plumps this beyond an easy drinking wine. This rich wine requires something equally rich, like pate or goose.Prices: BC 76.99 NS 84.00 QC 78.79 NB 90.00 AB 99.99 Producer: Champagne Henriot
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Champagne Gosset Grand Reserve Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Gosset Grand Reserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThe Grande Reserve is a mix of three vintages and a 45/45/10 blend of three grape varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The winery adds somewhere between 10 to 12 percent reserve wine from two vintages that gets a full 48 months on the lees. The winemaking style is reductive and the wine does not go through a malolactic fermentation which reinforces a house style based on freshness. The nose is a mix of prominent citrus with bits of red fruits and leesy bread dough. The attack is similar with fresh, juicy, citrus, crunchy apple flecked with floral, mineral, cherry, gingerbread flavours that end in a long, persistent, refined, elegant finish. Impressive, stylish, non-vintage bubble that jumps the category in my estimation. This has the weight to stand up to numerous food types; we enjoyed it post tasting with fresh oysters on the half shell and avocado toast.Prices: BC 92.99 QC 73.00 Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Reservetext
91PTS

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceOne of the oldest still-family owned houses, this was founded 1818 by the Billiard family, who have lived in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ since the 16th century. Hence, their seating on the throne of Champagne royalty. One of their signatures, and a process they pioneered in Champagne, is the use of double débourbage. After the standard clarification to settle the solids, they chill the juice down to 4C for 48 hours in the aim of achieving more pristine fruit. They own 15 ha of vineyards, rent a further 50+ha and purchase from 100ha in addition to those holdings. The Brut Reserve is 40/30/30 pinot meunier/pinot noir/chardonnay with a 9 g/l dosage. Elegant, with a lightness that counters the full, doughy, creaminess on the palate with lemon meringue, strawberry essence, and fine crystalline lemon florals. Very lengthy finish, lingering with fine lemon zest and citrus blossoms.Prices: BC 77.99 AB 78.95 ON 71.95 QC 67.00 Producer: Champagne Billecart-Salmon
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Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosetext
92PTS

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV

Champagne, FranceBillecart-Salmon is one of the few remaining Champagne houses to be owned by the original family, established in 1818 by Nicolas-François Billecart. Most of Billecart-Salmon's fruit comes from estate fruit, though this is supplemented with grapes bought in from the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims. The house is known for their rosé. Roughly 40/30/30 chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier, with 7 percent-ish pinot noir red wine (from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ) and 9 g/l dosage, with 36 months on the lees. This pours a paler pink hue, with pink grapefruit, mandarin, light cherry, lean strawberry on the tight and nimble palate. Lightly toasted brioche and firm, filigreed acidity carry this to a lingering, chalky, grippy finish.Prices: BC 119.99 MB 129.99 NS 115.00 QC 110.00 Producer: Champagne Billecart-Salmon
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Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancstext
96PTS

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006

Champagne, FranceOne of the top wines of the year, again, and still, and same (current) vintage we've been tasting since 2013. What a treat to track the evolution of the '06 Comtes, one of our favourite in memory. Pristine and stunning, this graceful wine sets the bar for premium blanc de blancs, with, elegant and finessed fruit all in complete integration with each other. Potent, shimmering vibrancy with chalky, lemon, green apple, pear, brioche, cashew, delete white florals that linger on the very lengthy, streamline palate seasoned only with a dash of sea salt. The intensity has lessened, but the grace has remained, all in that elegant Taittinger style. As said, my favourite Comtes in a while, and one I'll be cellaring.Prices: AB 245.00 QC 459.25 1500 NS 200.00 BC 244.99 Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Cuvée Charlemagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Champagne Cuvée Charlemagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2010

Champagne, FranceChampagne Guy Charlemagne has been homed in the small village of Mesnil sur Oger since 1892. They only harvest and vinify grapes from their own Grand Cru vineyards and produce approximately 130,000 bottles per year, from their 15 ha, and from vines approximately 42 years old. This cuvée from the Côte des Blancs, more precisely from Mesnil sur Oger and Oger on limestone soil is only made in the best vintages. Doughy and oxidative, with lemon meringue pie ruling, and pear butter, oak spicing, dough and creme brûlée playing staring roles. This is entirely Grand Cru fruit and feels / shows it, with an opulence and regality worthy of the name Cuvee Charlemagne.Prices: BC 75.99 Producer: Champagne Guy Charlemagne S.A.S.
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Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosétext
94PTS

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2006

Champagne, FranceThe Comtes Rosé is made from entirely Grand Cru grapes and produced only in exceptional years. Chardonnay (30 percent) is sourced from Côte des Blancs, and the Pinot Noir (70 percent) from the Montagne de Reims. Quite vinous, this has 12 percent of the Pinot Noir blended in as still red wine, and spends 7-8 years on the lees. This striking rose is marked with smoked stones and sweet salami before a bedding of cherry, herbal raspberry, wild strawberries and rich brioche. There's a hint of oxidation throughout the finessed, pixellated palate, one with a fine slick of fine cream. Delicately fruity, and elegant as expected by this prestigious Champagne. Tight with energy in spades, this is drinking beautifully now, but with age will impress further.Prices: AB 332.95 QC 276.25 ON 278.00 BC 419.99 Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Victoire Brut Prestigetext
89PTS

Champagne Victoire Brut Prestige NV

Champagne, FranceFrom the negoc house GH Martel & Co, this is a blend of 55/30/15 pinot noir / chardonnay / meunier. GH Martel dates back to 1869, and own numerous other Champagne brands. This cuvee is creamy and expansive with red apple, red pear fruit and lemon custard, but holds its form well with a girdle of acidity on the snappy, briefer finish. Dosage is 10 g/l. On the rustic side, but fantastic price on this market.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: Champagne G. H. Martel & Co.
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Champagne JM Labruyere Prologue Brut NVtext
91PTS

Champagne JM Labruyere Prologue Brut NV NV

Champagne, FranceThis grower from Verzenay uses all Grand Cru fruit, 7 ha in total. This cuvee is 70/30 pinot/chardonnay. disgorged june 2016 after 35 months on lees. Oxidative up front, with creme brûlée, brioche, honeycomb, lemon curd, cherry eau de vie, vanilla and almonds. Prologue is quite intense and long, lightly gritty, with a honeyed vanilla and highly spicy finish. Only 4.8 g/l RS keeps this tight, despite the rich characters on the palate. Ready for steak tartare or sashimi. The Labruyère family’s roots in Beaujolais go back to 1850. Burgundy, and Champagne, came with growth over the generations.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Champagne J. M. Labruyere
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Veuve Clicquot Rich Reservetext
88PTS

Veuve Clicquot Rich Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceWow - they're not kidding with the name of this wine. Veuve Rich is certainly that, thick with sugar, sweet dough and orange cream on the luxuriously plump palate. Invented expressly for "mixology" and for all its modernity, this silver clad bottle reaches back to the house's past, 1840s bottles of Veuve Clicquot found recently in the Aland Islands have over 150 grams per liter of sugar. Caramelized sugar, apple butter, creme caramel is thick on the palate, struggling to be met by the rapids of acidity. This is useful with desserts; think about pairings with blurred or caramelized fruit tarts or peach /pear pie.Prices: BC 78.99 MB 86.79 SK 81.00 ON 84.55 QC 84.50 Producer: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
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Veuve Clicquot Vintage Bruttext
92PTS

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut 2008

Champagne, FranceTasted one year along, and this is as ripe, concentrated and doughy as remembered, with brioche dough, hazelnut paste, red apple butter, candied orange, dried apricot, and gingersnap. For all its weight, there is a raft of freshness that hums on the finish. 61 percent pinot noir, 34 percent chardonnay, 5 percent pinot meunier from Grand and Premier Cru sites, this spent six years on the lees and was disgorged March 2015. New to this 2008 Vintage: 5 percent of the wines were produced and aged in wooden casks. The 2008, the first vintage since 2004, featured new winemaker Dominique Demarville (ex-Mumm) and was the first vintage Veuve fermented and aged in wood since the 60s. It's also the first time VC has placed a disgorgement date on the label.Prices: BC 93.99 MB 97.49 QC 99.50 AB 104.99 Producer: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
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Deutz Brut Classictext
88PTS

Deutz Brut Classic NV

Champagne, FranceSince 1838 Deutz has been based in the Grand Cru village of Ay, just west of Epernay. In 1983 the Rouzaud family, owners of Louis Roederer, purchased Deutz. The Brut Classic contains 25 percent reserves and one third each of chardonnay/pinot meunier/pinot noir, 9 g/l dosage. Riffing white cherry, biscuit, red liquorice, red apple, herbal honey, on a rustic, grippy palate. Lees is evident, but rather than smoothing out the palate, roughs it up. This bottle is certainly one that welcomes pairing: poultry pot pie, white fish / shellfish stew, vegetable risotto.Prices: BC 60.00 QC 58.65 NS 64.99 AB 69.99 Producer: Champagne Deutz
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Champagne Deutz Rosétext
92PTS

Champagne Deutz Rosé 2012

Champagne, FranceSince 1838 Deutz has been based in the Grand Cru village of Ay, just west of Epernay. In 1983 the Rouzaud family, owners of Louis Roederer, purchased Deutz. Elegant crimson berry, pecans, sweet spices, citrus pith dances along the lengthy palate of this pinot noir rose. Giant flake salts, this pale rose comes across pure and fresh and elegant, with a vibrato of acidity on the finish. Delicate, yet with intensity; this is one of the few rosé Champagnes that achieves that.Prices: ON 80.00 NS 80.00 AB 85.00 BC 85.00 Producer: Champagne Deutz
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Champagne Gremillet Selectiontext
89PTS

Champagne Gremillet Selection NV

Champagne, FranceThis smaller grower champagne is a 35ha property just on the southern outskirts of the Aube. The southern situated ripeness shows in this 70/30 pinot noir/chardonnay blend of 4-5 vintages, with 20 percent reserve wine and at least 22 months on lees. An almond brioche base anchors ample toast, red apple and a creamy mouthfeel. Macaron lingers on the spicy finish.Prices: AB 48.00 QC 44.00 Producer: Champagne Gremillet
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Champagne Ayala Majeur Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Ayala Majeur Brut NV

Champagne, FranceMajeur averages at least three years of ageing on the lees with a dosage of only 7g/litre of sugar. The blend is 40/40/20 of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier but it tastes more like a blancs de blanc showing a light nutty, toasted, baked apple nose with scents of white flowers. The attack is fresh but not aggressive with a drier, brut style finish. There is fine concentration and persistence on the finish with excellent acidity to keep it taut and precise. A flexible sparkler that is perfect in an apéritif role or you can take it to dinner white fish, shellfish, poultry or a cheese platter.Prices: BC 71.99 AB 64.95 QC 58.75 NS 61.00 Producer: Ayala
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Champagne Varnier-Fanniere Cuvée St. Denis Brut Grand Crutext
92PTS

Champagne Varnier-Fanniere Cuvée St. Denis Brut Grand Cru NV

Champagne, FranceThis grower makes only 3000 cases each year, all from their 4 ha of Grand Cru vineyards in the heart of Côtes des Blancs. Cuvée St. Denis is entirely chardonnay from Avize, and 70 percent of which is Clos du Grand Père, a 75-year old vineyard, topped with 30 percent Pierre Vaudon, a 50-year-old parcel. Fermented in stainless steel, it goes through full malolactic fermentation and it rests on its lees for 48 months. Oxidative up front, with a palate blanketed with full cream and topped with pastry, marshmallow, baked apple, roasted nuts and light sweet smoke on the lengthy, minerally finish. Striking and unique.Prices: BC 86.99 Producer: Champagne Varnier-Fanniere
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H. Billiot Fils Brut Grand Cru Brut Réserve Champagnetext
91PTS

H. Billiot Fils Brut Grand Cru Brut Réserve Champagne NV

Champagne, FranceThis small family house owns five, well-located, mid-slope Grand Cru hectares in Ambonnay, and is now run by Serge Billiot's daughter Laetitia, who has been a leading force in Champagne for younger, woman winemakers. The Reserve is a blend of 75 percent pinot noir and 25 percent chardonnay with 24 months on the lees, and crafted of 50 percent 2014, 25 percent 2013, 25 percent 2012. All of the wines are fermented in enameled stainless steel, and none undergo MLF, fining or filtration, the latter three choices all bold moves in Champagne, and ones that pay off in complexity. The wine is honeyed, nutty and full of crackable creme brûlée, with an undercurrent of fresh red apple, Rainier cherry and lemon tones. There's a seasoning of nutmeg and cinnamon that lingers on the shimmery finish. Polished, and authentic.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Champagne H. Billiot Fils
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Moët and Chandon Ice Impérialtext
88PTS

Moët and Chandon Ice Impérial NV

Champagne, FranceIce cubes in your Champagne? Mais non! Unless, of course, it's Moet Ice, which was engeneered to be served with ice (or upgrade to this recommended mixed drink of 3 Ice Cubes in a large red wine glass with your choice of mint leaves, lime or white grapefruit zest, cucumber peel, a very thin slice of ginger, cardamom seeds and fresh red fruits like strawberries or raspberries). Aimed at the nightclub young, monied, and pretty crowd, Ice is primarily pinot noir at 40-50 percent, with 30-40 percent pinot meunier and 10-20 percent chardonnay. 20-30 percent reserve wines give it some depth, and 45 g/l after dosage gives it a heap of sweet, gooey fruit. Ripe yellow apple, sweet dough, gingerale spicing on a juicy palate. I tried the ice cubes (sans other ingredients) and I reckon it helps cut the sweetness around the edges. Serve well chilled. Nightclub a recommended pairing.Prices: QC 81.00 NB 84.99 BC 74.00 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Ruinart Blanc de Blancstext
93PTS

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV

Champagne, FranceAs elegant and distinctive as the bottle, this is primarily from 1er Cru fruit on the Côtes de Blancs and Montagne de Reims, with 10 percent each from Sézanne and St. Thierry. After 28 months on the lees and an 8.5 g/l dosage this is bottled in its clear glass bottle (be sure to keep this covered until right before opening to prevent light strike). Very fine and purity with almond, light toast, meringue and marzipan on the base, framed with fine bones, shimmering with acidity to a lengthy, meringue finish. Finessed and elegant.Prices: BC 107.00 Producer: Ruinart Champagne
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Champagne Ayala Majeur Bruttext
0PTS

Champagne Ayala Majeur Brut NV

Champagne, FrancecorkedPrices: BC 71.99 AB 64.95 QC 58.75 NS 61.00 Producer: Ayala
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Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut 12text
93PTS

Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut 12 NV

Champagne, FranceBased on the 2012 vintage. This extra brut is an impressive 2.6 /gl dosage and was disgorged 2016 December, after four years on the lees, and comprised of 60/40 chardonnay/pinot noir. It's rare to see this amount of chardonnay in a blend from this red-centric region, and gives a distinct character to this impressive and terroir-focused family founded and run house. Highly impressive, with a gossamer meringue, fine cream, fine nut base, succulent, but with a tight grip of chalky acidity. The family-owned, sustainably farmed grower champagne house continues to impress each year. The vines average 25-years of age and span 22 Grand Cru rated parcels. Drinking beautifully now (that structure!) but will age gracefully in your cellar.Prices: BC 57.00 Producer: Champagne Pierre Paillard
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Champagne Bauchet Saint-Nicaise Blanc de Blancs Millesime Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Bauchet Saint-Nicaise Blanc de Blancs Millesime Brut 2009

Champagne, FranceThis grower is one of the larger in Champagne, with 34 ha in Bisseiul, Grauves and the Aube, but only makes 25,000 cases annually. Creamy and ripe, but stencilled with firm acidity reflective of its 100 percent chardonnay, this feels its 2009 vintage: soft, round and dough, coated with hazelnuts, yellow apple, Asian pear. Powerful and bold, yet with that upright chardy structure, this is certainly a step up from a typical NV Champagne. The finish lingers with aged parmesan, welcoming pairing with poultry.Prices: BC 119.99 Producer: Champagne Bauchet
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Champagne Lanson Extra Age Brut Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Champagne Lanson Extra Age Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

Champagne, FranceLanson marked its 250 years making champagne by releasing a new cuvée - 'Extra Aged'. If you like mature champagne this is it. It’s 100 percent chardonnay and 100 percent Grand Cru fruit from a trio of vintages: 2003, 2004 and 2005. The bottle can rest for six, seven or eight years on lees prior to release. No malolactic fermentations turns what could be a rich, almost fat style into a fresh one, with citrus, mineral, chalk and honey aromatics followed by a creamy pear, brioche, crushed hazelnut palate, bright with impressive mineral salinity. Rich enough and close enough to a still chardonnay to take on bigger dishes at dinner including roasted birds. Drink through 2020.Prices: BC 100.00 QC 99.75 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Lanson Clos Lansontext
95PTS

Champagne Lanson Clos Lanson 2006

Champagne, FranceClos Lanson is the kind of wine you dream about tasting once you have immersed yourself into the notion that wine is something that comes from a place. Opposite Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral lies a one hectare plot of chardonnay vines protected by a high stone ‘clos’, or wall, that dates to the 18th century. Clos Lanson sits at the top the hill where the house of Lanson and its wine cellars are located. The vineyard (vines are 35 to 50-years-old) is considered the family garden and it’s cared for as if their life depended upon its production. Each year everyone who works at Lanson helps harvest the precious plot, selecting the absolute best bunches to make up Clos Lanson Champagne. This label is one hundred percent chardonnay, one hundred percent organic, and one hundred percent delicious. The no malo 2006 is brilliant…in the glass and on the palate. You might expect a richer style from within the warm environment of a steep walled clos but like all the Lanson fizz, it relies on bright acidity combined with salinity and minerality from the chalky soils to support its generous chardonnay fruit. Lanson has been experimenting with oak casks for a while and it began with 225 litre oak casks for the fermentation of this single vineyard Clos de Lanson. It was the forerunner of a new parcel by parcel experimental approach for both fermenting wines, and ageing reserve wines. The hope is that these methods used in lesser amounts will increase complexity at Lanson, as opposed to weight or heft. The wine is the initiative of Philippe Baijot, CEO and director of Lanson-BCC (Boizel Chanoine Champagne Group) and honours long-time winemaker Jean-Paul Gandon. Now retired, Gandon made a Clos Chandon every year since 2006, finally released in 2016. The juice, which comes exclusively from the first pressing, is vinified for several months in oak barrels. After a decade of ageing, new chief winemaker Hervé Dantan released the 7,870 bottles of Clos Lanson 2006. You will have to look for this at very select retailers in the US or the finest restaurants.Prices: US 200.00 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Lanson Millésime Gold Labeltext
93PTS

Champagne Lanson Millésime Gold Label 2005

Champagne, FranceThe 2005 Millésime Gold Label is a blend of roughly half pinot noir and half chardonnay, all Grand Cru, left on its lees for at least 60 months. Lanson notes the 2005 harvest as one that produced ‘tender’ wines. We found rich, fleshy textures on the palate with classic honey-dew flavours but just the right amount of no malo electricity pulsing through the wine to keep it fresh and lively. As well as this champagne is showing at 12 years of age, export director Enguerrand Baijot has even higher hopes for a phenomenal 2008 issue. We can’t wait either. Lanson maintains a Vintage Collection that spans more than a century. Today, a few magnum bottles from the 1976 and subsequent vintages are offered to a limited number of Champagne enthusiasts around the world.Prices: ON 90.00 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FranceGosset, located in the miniscule Grand Cru village of Aÿ, is the oldest known Champagne producer with origins back to 1584. Since 1994 the Frapin Cognac house has owned Gosset with Jean Pierre Cointreau running both companies. Current production is small at an estimated 1.3 million bottles. All Gosset champagnes are RD or ‘recently disgorged,’ normally with a high proportion of Chardonnay and without malolactic fermentation. The Grand Rosé is a 56/35/9 mix of chardonnay, pinot noir and Bouzy and Ambonnay still red wines (9 percent) plus an average 25 percent of reserve wines to add depth and complexity. The balance sets the stage to highlight the fresh creamy fruits reminiscent of persimmons strawberries and raspberries with just a dusting of spice. The classic match is foie gras.Prices: BC 109.99 Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Gosset Celebris Rosé Extra Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Gosset Celebris Rosé Extra Brut 2007

Champagne, FranceThe ’07 Celebris Rosé comes with a modest four grams of sugar, pointing to a serious bottle of pink. Expect an enticing, super pale pink colour with floral/red fruit overtones. The attack is fresh and dry with impressive raspberry, strawberry demonstrating both power and elegance with an undercurrent of citrus and grapefruit and minerality from the Côte des Blancs chardonnay in the mix. The blend is 59/41 chardonnay/pinot noir, with seven percent still pinot noir and is made without malolactic fermentation. It’s aged six years before disgorging. Rich enough for tuna and salmon, and delicate enough for prawns or fruity desserts. Drink or hold, it's your choice. Gosset, located in the miniscule Grand Cru village of Aÿ is the oldest known Champagne producer with origins back to 1584. Since 1994 the Frapin Cognac house has owned Gosset with Jean Pierre Cointreau running both companies.Prices: BC 124.99 AB 149.95 Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Gosset Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Gosset Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThe Blanc des Blancs Brut is the newest label from the oldest champagne producer. This wine is simply delicious, hitting the mid-section between elegance, finesse and persistence. It’s amazingly complex for a single variety (chardonnay wine) which points to blending multiple lots and sites form the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. The acidity is electric, yet tamed by smoky, toasty, creamy textures. Lemons, apricots, sea salt, hazelnuts and nectarines create complex flavours that won’t quit. Gosset, located in the miniscule Grand Cru village of Aÿ, is the oldest known Champagne producer with origins back to 1584. Since 1994 the Frapin Cognac house has owned Gosset with Jean Pierre Cointreau running both companies. Current production is small at an estimated 1.3 million bottles. All Gosset champagnes are RD or ‘recently disgorged,’ without malolactic fermentation.Prices: BC 114.99 ON 98.00 Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Alfred Gratien Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Alfred Gratien Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThis small house never makes more than 300,000 bottles annually, does not employ MLF, and the ferment and first six months takes place in small, neutral barriques, with four years on the lees. Their reserve wines are stored in large oak barrels, adding more wood-whisper complexities. This is a blend of 46/29/25 chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier. Very detailed and polished, with creamy core tightly detailed with lemon-laced zesty acidity and hoisin savoury interest. The interplay here between barrel aging depth and no MLF-cut is extremely well done. The golden straw hue reflects the barrel maturation and additional time in bottle.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 57.00 AB 59.00 Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Dom Pérignon Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Dom Pérignon Brut 2009

Champagne, FranceWhere is the 2008 you say. After many comparative tastings, the team at DP did not think it was ready to release while they did come to learn the 2009 was. The 2009 was born from a warm growing season meaning slightly less acid and a more generous mid-palate thanks to fruit that was riper than the norm. It’s the reason we love vintage champagne because its the differences that attract. This is rare style of Dom and you can access earlier what’s not to celebrate. Don’t get us a wrong this wine still comes with finesse and incredible precision and finesse. This year it trades some seawater and stoniness for brioche and stone fruit tones all the while long and penetrating through the finish. Can you drink it now, yes? Can you wait a decade, yes? I have cellared these bottle on and off for up to 30 years and enjoyed every one of them.Prices: BC 220.00 QC 250.00 ON 231.95 NS 224.00 SK 215.25 NB 210.00 YK 213.00 Producer: Dom Perignon
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Champagne Le Mesniltext
91PTS

Champagne Le Mesnil NV

Champagne, FranceWe don’t use the bargain word much when we review wine sold in BC but as we approach New Year’s if you are looking for Champagne and you are looking for a bargain, Champagne Le Mesnil is it. Tight classy and focused this is a lovely introduction to the pureness and minerality of the blanc de blancs. The delicate white flowers and fruits linger in the background playing a supporting role to the minerality and brioche notes, A rare grand cru at this price that easily over delivers in the Champagne category. Best served amid lit candles.Prices: BC 50.99 Producer: Champagne Le Mesnil
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08 December 2017

Ex Nihilo Nighttext
89PTS

Ex Nihilo Night 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNight is Ex Nihilo's Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc grown on their Oliver and Black Sage vineyards. This spent 18 months in French oak, well struck to stand up to the potency of the fruit, and is a highlight of their portfolio. This is a big, muscular wine that carries its confidence well: brooding black fruit, dark chocolate, olive, anise, licks of raspberry and ample cinnamon / peppery spicing. The palate is lush and tannins are well integrated. There's a flush of heat on the finish (you feel the near 15 percent) that is best met with roasted beef or lamb. Cellar for a few years for best showing.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlottext
86PTS

Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways one of the best lines of highly affordable, varietally-appropriate and accessible BC wines, this edition of cabernet sauvignon / merlot draws blackberry, black cherry, black plum along a rope-hewn, medium/full palate to a shorter finish, one lined with powdery tannins. Roasted coffee, fine black pepper seasons the whole, and welcomes grilled beef or lamb.Prices: SK 18.00 AB 15.00 BC 16.99 MB 17.00 ON 17.00 QC 17.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Redtext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2013

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe estate wines, noted by their white label, are seen as the pinnacle of their portfolio, and reflective of their Keremeos estate vineyards. The 2013 (current release) Reserve Red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec. Seventeen months in French oak was capped with being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Heady cherry, ripe black raspberry, dark earth, cassis on the plush, seamlessly elegant palate, seasoned with raspy black pepper and lined with a forest berry undergrowth. Licks of dark violet dart around, bounded by finely dusky tannins and lingering with a fine mineral salts. A great match struck between structural and approachable, this is savoury / brooding yet highly drinkable now, but will continue to cellar short term.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Evolve Elevate Cabernet Shiraztext
82PTS

Evolve Elevate Cabernet Shiraz 2016

CanadaDusty black fruit and plums on the nose turns into green, thorny and weedy/branch on the short palate. Tannins are powdery and finish gritty and hard pressed. Try with hearty beef stew.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Evolve Cellars
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Pentâge Winery Pentâgetext
89PTS

Pentâge Winery Pentâge 2013

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI admire any winery, no matter how large or how small, that decides to hold wine back until it's ready (or close to) prior to release. This blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, tempranillo 2013 is current release, as is many of Pentâge's wines. Here dark sweet plum, blackberry jam and black cherry set the stage for this bigger red, well-worn with time and showing that aging very well. Pipe tobacco and worn leather shade the supple wine, while well managed downy tannins house it. A saline rinse on the very finish keeps this lifted at 14 percent. Fantastic value, considering they've done the aging for you and you don't even need to decant before pouring with your steak frites.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Pentâge Winery Pentâgetext
87PTS

Pentâge Winery Pentâge 2012

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 Pentâge is a blend of 43 percent cabernet sauvignon, 32 percent cabernet franc, 18 percent merlot, 5 percent petit verdot, 2 percent syrah. Roasted coffee pervades black cherry, green tobacco, branch to a drying, warm finish. Tannins are assertive and pitch-lined, with toasted cedar spicing. Cinnamon bark sticks on the finish. This is a hard-pressed big red that requires roast beef to match.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Moon Curser Border Vinestext
86PTS

Moon Curser Border Vines 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a gritty, grippy big red blend from the bottom of the Okanagan Valley. In 2014 the blend is cabernet sauvignon, malbec, carmenere, merlot and petit verdot. Compact and intense, with tobacco, cassis jam, kiss of mint and ample dense thorny fruit. Peppercorns linger. The complexity is impressive, but the extraction is overwhelming at this point, requiring a decant and roast beef or steak to match.Prices: BC 23.39 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Border Vinestext
87PTS

Moon Curser Border Vines 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis big red, from Osoyoos' eastern bench vineyards and in the warm 2015 vintage it is even more expansive. The mix is one half cabernet sauvignon with an addition of 39 percent malbec and 11 percent carménère. The tannins are gritty but bolstered by black cherry, blueberry, espresso, and blackberry jam and mint. You can drink it now with grilled or roasted beef or wait 24 months for it to fully develop.Prices: BC 23.39 Producer: Moon Curser
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Lariana Cellars Thirteentext
91PTS

Lariana Cellars Thirteen 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThirteen signifies 2013, the year this southern Osoyoos fruit was harvested. This year is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and carmenère, full and dense and flowing on the palate. The syrah is very welcome addition to the blend, making all the difference. The black fruit is scented with camp smoke and toast, but the tannins are softened and pliable, supporting rather than fighting the intense fruit. Anise, black pepper, kirsch, violets, and a hint of savoury medicinal cherry on the finish. Much more elegant than last year, and is drinking very well now, in spite of all its intensity. Pair with roasted meats now if you like, or cellar for a few years for even more smoothing. A well-balanced, elegant, full bodied southern Okanagan red blend : harder to achieve than it sounds.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Lariana Cellars
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Lariana Cellars Fourteentext
89PTS

Lariana Cellars Fourteen 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFourteen refers to the vintage that these southern Okanagan grapes were harvested. This year is a blend of 63 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 percent Merlot (the latter from Naramata Bench), and 11 percent Carmenere. Youthful, strident and structured still, with a firm bracketing of smoked wood and ample extraction. Dense blackberry, cassis, black plums, walnuts, savoury dark chocolate is all ringed with gritty, hard press and bitter edged tannins. Unlike the syrah-blended 2013, which is drinking beautifully now, this will need more time in bottle to shed its standoffish potency.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Lariana Cellars
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07 December 2017

Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2014

British Columbia, CanadaAs the name implies, Signature is the calling card of this Similkameen winery, and the flagship blend of the house. The big five Bordeaux red grapes: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec, made it into the 2014, sourced from the estate vineyard as well as in nearby Cawston. Each variety and each vineyard block is harvested separately at optimal maturity. It’s gently destemmed, crushed, and fermented after a moderate cold-soak. More than half of the lots used only native fermentations to reinforce terroir expression. After a gentle pressing, the wines were barrel aged for 17 months in 100 percent French oak barrels. Ripe, savoury cassis, black cherry, black plum, anise, scrubby thorns is perfumed with blueberry and violets, and sided with grippy tannins that coax and guide the wine to the lingering finish (bottled unfined and unfiltered). Elegance and authenticity throughout, with surprising depth at this youthful age. This is drinking well now, benefitting from pairing with pork or lamb, but will reward more with short term cellaring.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Quails' Gate The Connemaratext
89PTS

Quails' Gate The Connemara 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Bordeaux blend, sourced from across the Okanagan Valley, was named for the Stewart family's immigrant grandfather Richard Stewart Sr., who said that Connemara was the most beautiful part of his home country, Ireland. The sun-baked, smoked fruit is reflective of the 2015 vintage. This blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, native fermented over one month, before 18 months in French wood. The density is felt on the thick weighty palate, redolent with cedar-lined blackcurrant, bitter black cherry, blacker espresso, and softened with a plush suede touch. Tannins are gritty and ample, even overriding the potent fruit at this youthful stage. The end flushes with heat and echoes with menthol, requiring a decant and a pairing of roast beef or lamb. This intense wine is very much in youth, and is best enjoyed after a few years in bottle.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Vanessa Vineyard Right Banktext
87PTS

Vanessa Vineyard Right Bank 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet, ripe, dense and intense, with roasted coffee, espresso, smoked wood, blackberry jam. The extraction and intensity here is richter scale, presenting even warmer and more boozy than the 14.9 degrees on the label. Tannins are gritty and hard pressed, while the palate is cushy and plumped. The finish, warm as it is, lingers with a steely tin note. Finessed and elegant this wine is not, which is a shame since Vanessa Vineyard is a beautiful stony site in the Similkameen, with vines now 10 years old. Here you taste winemaking over site: two years in French and american oak (2nd use) hits like a sledgehammer. More is not more.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Vanessa Vineyard
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +10/09text
92PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +10/09 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, full, polished, perfumed, and impressively so, the 2015 Portfolio has buy written all over it. Well, not literally. The ticker tape label shares the Bordeaux blend, and reflects the uniqueness of each vintage. Here merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, sourced from the Naramata Bench and Osoyoos, were fermented in a blend of stainless and oak before spending twenty months in French oak (40 percent new). Everything about this is powerful without being overt: the perfumed and wild black fruit, the gentle smoke, the subtle grilled meats, the minty cassis, the rafting cracked black pepper, to the alluring vanilla pod on the lengthy finish. Tannins are appropriately grippy, harnessing but not overwhelming the fruit, and the acidity carries the sun-ripened weight of this age-worthy red. The top Portfolio to date.Prices: BC 44.99 ON 53.00 AB 53.00 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Fort Berens Meritage Reservetext
88PTS

Fort Berens Meritage Reserve 2015

British Columbia, CanadaA step up from their standard-bearer Meritage (and differentiated by a small band on the label stating "Reserve"), this is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet from Okanagan and Similkameen, fermented and aged in French and American oak, with the best barrels gaining entry to this wine. After blending, the wine was bottle aged for one additional year. Full and sun-ripened, this shows the same herbal, damp forest, dark fruited DNA of their other Meritage, but with more concentration and elegance. Dark cherry, blackberry jam, tobacco is housed with slightly sticky / gummy tannins and finish with black pepper and dark chocolate. Those tannins stick out a bit on the finish of this youthful wine, and would be best met with sauced lamb shank.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Meritagetext
86PTS

Fort Berens Meritage 2015

British Columbia, CanadaRoasted meats and earth, undercut with a swing of swamp wood, opens this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from Similkameen, Black Sage Bench, Osoyoos, and their home site in Lillooet. Tme in French and American oak has provided a wood-hewn frame for the sunned fruit, expressed with choke cherry, raspberry, tiny cassis and black coffee to a bitter, powdered finish. Requires protein (think beef) to smooth out.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Merlot Cabernettext
87PTS

Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Merlot Cabernet 2015

Vins de Pays des Côtes de Thongue, Languedoc, South of France, FranceA fresh 60/40 blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon that opens with a bright acidity. The attack is similar with earthy forest floor and red fruit characters. Still a bit youthful and tight, the finish is medium-long. Domaine de l’Arjolle is situated in the north of the Côtes du Thongue appellation in southern central Hérault, about mid-Languedoc-Roussillon. It’s run by Teisserenc family and the vineyards are anywhere from 20 to 30-years-old. The estate practises sustainable viticulture including zero herbicides, minimum intervention, and using harvesting machines adapted to minimise damage to the environment.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Domaine de L'Arjolle
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Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot Private Reservetext
82PTS

Sumac Ridge Cabernet Merlot Private Reserve 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's been a while since GOW has tasted this wine. Now, four vintages along, it's clear to see the style has not changed much at all. Sweeter, candied black fruit (blackberry-dominant) is sided by tuggy tannins which finish short and powdery, and on a sweeter maple, and blueberry gummy note. Dumbed down and overtly simple.Prices: BC 13.99 AB 15.50 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Chappellet Mountain Cuveetext
90PTS

Chappellet Mountain Cuvee 2013

Napa County, California, United StatesA Napa County wine that mixes 43/34/11/7/5 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc. The nose is ripe with black cherries, cedar, vanilla and a generous pinch of baking spice. The attack is a touch hard at this point with ripe cassis, black pepper and smoky French oak. At 14.5 percent alcohol, it strives to keep it all together as it works through some smoke and dense tannins in the finish. Drink now with grilled meats or hold five years and let it all come together. Excellent value. Fine vintage.Prices: BC 47.97 Producer: Chappellet Vineyard
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Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
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Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2014

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCelestiale is one of the Similkameen estate's Bordeaux blends, combining fruit from Keremeos and Cawston in the Similkameen, with fruit from Osoyoos in the southern Okanagan. A barrel selection of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, all aged in French oak for 15 months, make up this youthful and full-bodied wine. Mint-lined cassis, blackberries, ripe black cherries, thorns, and perfumed violets is creased with cedar and spiced with fine black pepper. Acidity is lively and fresh enough to swell the sun-ripened weight. There is a big flush of heat on the finish, best met with lamb shank or osso bucco. Only 57 barrels were made.Prices: BC 26.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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06 December 2017

Quails' Gate Merlottext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPotent and dense, reflective of the 2015 vintage, with intense sweet blackberry, black cherry, espresso, tobacco and branch, highly extracted and compact. Tannins are gritty and ample, and overwhelming, to the bitter finish. This was fermented in stainless before 18 months in French oak. Requires serious red meat to tame the long warm peppery finish.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 20.00 SK 26.00 MB 24.00 ON 27.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Emmolo Merlottext
87PTS

Emmolo Merlot 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis is big, ripe, round and rich with super ripe plum aromas and flavours flecked with raisins and pruny notes. Add some milk chocolate and a big warm smooth finish and you have the Caymus recipe for red wine: a ready-to-drink, super ripe red. The price is crazy.Prices: BC 63.99 AB 69.00 MB 69.99 ON 69.95 QC 69.75 NS 69.00 NFL 70.98 Producer: Emmolo Wines
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Ex Nihilo Merlottext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot suits the hedonistic Ex Nihilo style, where subtlety is not yet the rule. This is a full bodied, dense merlot from their sun-drenched Oliver vineyard, aged 18 months in young French oak barrels. Potent medicinal cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry jam is warmed with heat (15 percent alcohol) and housed with rich wood spices through a bitter espresso finish. All the intense parts (alcohol, tannins, fruit) are equally matched, making this drinkable now with heavily shellacked ribs or lamb shank, or cellar for three years.Prices: BC 36.00 AB 43.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Sumac Ridge Merlot Private Reservetext
83PTS

Sumac Ridge Merlot Private Reserve 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmple smoke, steak spice, hickory dominate this full wine, one strangely watery on the mid-palate through to a very short finish. Ripe plum, blackberry, vanilla and milk chocolate, with giant peppery spicing on the bitter finish. The oak is evident, and overt; this was aged in French and American oak for one year. Simple.Prices: BC 11.79 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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05 December 2017

Van Westen Vineyards Viogniertext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 10-14 year old vines in Orlando Vineyard and Granite Ridge Vineyard on Naramata Bench, this was barrel fermented in 6-10 year old neutral French oak for five months. Full, lush peach and apricot with textured with peach fizz grip. There’a powdered lime note on the finish that makes it stick a bit, but this has slimmed down, pleasantly from the richer, fatter 2015.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Bottega Viogniertext
87PTS

Bottega Viognier 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCandied necklace, orange blossom, pear gummies in this juicy, off-dry viognier from Osoyoos. Bottega Wine Studios™ is the home base for Seven Directions (of the rosés) as well as this new line, where winemaker Daniel Bontorin can produce small lot, single varietal wines. Soft and easy, with a dollop of apricot sweetness overriding the thread of acidity, this is an easy and accessable BC viognier.Prices: BC 20.78 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Black Hills Viogniertext
88PTS

Black Hills Viognier 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe nectarine and a flush of gingerale floats on a creamy base, perfumed with honeysuckle and pear. The sides are a little powdery with spices to a snappy, bitter lime finish. This is much leaner than the 2014, with viognier's trademark expansiveness tucked into a 12 percent frame. While I appreciate the fitter form, I'm missing a touch of viognier's lushness here, especially from the warm Okanagan.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Viognier Sauvignontext
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Domaine de L’Arjolle Èquilibre Viognier Sauvignon 2016

Vins de Pays des Côtes de Thongue, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThe nose is fragrant with a collection of ripe orchard fruit flecked with fresh melon. The palate is medium rich, with the sauvignon keeping it fresh and showing pear, apple, honeysuckle and a light hint of dried herbs. Clean, simple, fresh seafood wine or perfect with most any vegetarian entrée.Prices: BC 25.50 Producer: Domaine de L'Arjolle
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Pentâge Winery Viogniertext
88PTS

Pentâge Winery Viognier 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPerfumed pear, ripe peach, nectarine and ginger fill the voluminous, but watery palate. There's an apple butter richness on the palate that weighs this down, though it's livened by the gingersnappy finish. This is a blend of fruit that saw time in both stainless and 1-3 year old barrels.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Moon Curser Afraid of the Darktext
88PTS

Moon Curser Afraid of the Dark 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPerfumed honeysuckle, orange, apricot and lime blossoms fill this pretty little number from the Southern Okanagan. The lime pith works like a noose to tighten up the finish a bit, but the middle is loose and flouncy. A nice swell of acidity keeps this bigger wine afloat. A solid BC white blend.Prices: BC 19.04 Producer: Moon Curser
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Lariana Cellars Viogniertext
90PTS

Lariana Cellars Viognier 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe sloping site facing Osoyoos Lake helps the grapes hold their freshness in the hot Okanagan sun. The grapes were whole cluster pressed before fermentation in a 1800L concrete egg and one neutral French oak barrel. It was kept on fine lees, with regular battonage. The attention to detail paid off in this impressive wine. Creamy and lush, yet finessed and restrained, with a fine filigree of grip framing wild honeysuckle, dried sage, Anjou pear, mandarin, apricot and honeydew over a fine butter base. The wine feels light on its feet, in spite of its 14 percent alcohol. Drinking beautifully now. One of Canada's top viogniers by leaps.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Lariana Cellars
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TerraVentoux Ventoux Blanctext
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TerraVentoux Ventoux Blanc 2015

Côtes-du-Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThis is a blend of 90/10 white grenache / clairette from the clay and limestone soils of AOP Ventoux, in the Southern Rhone (and yes, the foothills of the master climb in Tour de France). Crisp and clean, with greengage, lemon blossom and a fine pear film brightened with crunchy, white grapefruit acidity to the snappy, salted finish. This is a bright and sunny medium bodied white to match with white fish and shellfish stews.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Cave TerraVentoux
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Calera Viogniertext
86PTS

Calera Viognier 2013

Central Coast, California, United StatesRipe, round and warm, feeling every bit (and more) of its 14.5 degrees alcohol. Whole cluster, native fermented, this spent seven months in French oak barrels before bottling. Apricot jam, peach butter on the voluptuous palate, one somehow still watery in the middle. The finish is brief, with butterscotch notes. Not shy, and I wish it were more so.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Calera Wine Company
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04 December 2017

Moon Curser Carmeneretext
88PTS

Moon Curser Carmenere 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA warm year has not affected the freshness of this wine, now firmly ensconced in the Moon Cursor lineup. The fruit comes off the Home and Stubbs Vineyard, both located on the Osoyoos East Bench, which was baked in 2015. It was picked ripe at 24.1 Brix. It’s barrel-aged in 225L French oak barriques with about one quarter new. The nose is the most expressive yet with peppery, sweet cherry notes mixed with tobacco and flecks of chocolate. The palate is similar with rich black fruits, light-ish tannin and a wash of Okanagan garrigue. Best with grilled meat and or even duck confit.Prices: BC 37.30 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Tannattext
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Moon Curser Tannat 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the best tannat we have seen from Moon Curser, and it has improved in my estimation since the National Wine Awards, where it showed very well. This guy is aged in 225L French oak barrels, of which 30 percent are new and 70 percent are neutral one to three-year-old vessels. It’s big and chewy but with some softness and plenty of black plum fruit, cloves and a dusting of baker’s spices. You can drink this now, preferably with a rare steak, but I would wait a decade to see the real story and it will be just fine under screwcap. The fruit is grown on the very warm Osoyoos East Bench where Moon Cursor says the sandy soils help mitigate the excessive tannins.Prices: BC 37.30 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Dolcettotext
87PTS

Moon Curser Dolcetto 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoon Curser gets it mostly right with this dolcetto that doesn’t see any oak. The entry is fresh and very juicy with earthy red and black cherries fruit. Yet the mid-palate is surprisingly rich in tannins that tend to dry out the finish. Think meat pizzas or sausage and pasta to take on the tannins and acidity. Or let it age for another two years in bottle. The super young vines grow in the Fernandes Vineyard located on the East Bench of Osoyoos.Prices: BC 23.39 Producer: Moon Curser
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Falernia Carmenère Reservatext
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Falernia Carmenère Reserva 2015

Valle de Elqui, ChileWinemaker Giorgio Flessati, is a Trentino native but an unabashed Elqui Valley crusader these days. This Reserva is handpicked very late in the season with some 60 percent of the grapes going through an appassimento or drying on the vines. After fermentation 60% of the juice is aged in premium American oak for 8 months. It’s not overly herbaceous as carmenere in Chile can be, and it’s sporting a touch of Brettanomyces, but the round, fat, sweet, fruit flavours and low acidity are not as fashionable in 2017. Best served with grilled meat, slow braised pork dishes and meaty pasta dishes.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Vina Falernia
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01 December 2017

Noble Ridge The One Sparklingtext
90PTS

Noble Ridge The One Sparkling 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA distinctive style in a veritable sea of BC bubbly, The One from Noble Ridge rings with smoked stones and toasted biscuit, topped with lemon curd, crunchy red apple and riffing sea salts. This medium-bodied fizz dances on the palate, reflective of this single vineyard estate blend's large proportion of chardonnay (82/18 chardonnay/pinot noir). Whole cluster pressed, cool fermented prior to 27 months on the lees, the 7.6 g/l RS just edges out the racy acidity for a harmonious finish, lingering with aged parmesan. Striking, well made, well done.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge The Wild One Sparklingtext
89PTS

Noble Ridge The Wild One Sparkling 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNoble Ridge is a small estate producer in Okanagan Falls where everything is done by hand. In 2013, as they like to say, “things got a little wild” when the winery went artisanal with wild ferments. Naturally there is a little less consistency, bottle to bottle, but then that’s what living on the wild side is all about. What you will find is a fresh nose, reminiscent of fresh cut green apples and assorted orchard fruits drizzled in citrus with a saline, mineral, seawater finish. It’s been 39 months en tirage. Oysters on the half shell would be a fine match, as well as creamy seafood dishes. The blend is 77/23 chardonnay/pinot noir. Only 95 cases produced. Impressive start.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Varias La Bona Vidatext
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Varias La Bona Vida NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainCava Varias continues to impress for the price, no doubt helped by a sparkling wine pedigree since 1918 in the Alt Penedès region. The nose is Cava bright with fresh, persistent citrus, melon notes with a dusting of dried herbs. The blend is a mix of traditional grapes 30/40/20 macabeo, xarel.lo and parellada. The palate is equally fresh and bright but with creamy, delicious lees, and fresh baked brioche notes in the finish. Estate grown and bottled, I love the value here. A perfect party sparkler for sushi, tacos, or a charcuterie plate.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Cava Varias
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Villa Conchi Cava Brut Selecciontext
87PTS

Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMuch like the previous version, the Villa Conchi has a very fresh, fruity nose with floral, nutty, apple aromas. The attack is a mix of citrus, nutty, resiny mineral flavours with a modicum of creaminess. Dry, clean, tart and ready to drink. Best with tapas-like appetizers. Aged six months in vats and three years in bottle.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Bodegas Villa Conchi
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Feudi di San Gregorio Dubl Rosato Aglianico NVtext
91PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Dubl Rosato Aglianico NV NV

Campania, ItalyA lot of sparkling wine leaves me wanting, especially rosés. Most are light years ahead of where they were in the 1980's or 1990’s but as clean, fresh, and as expensive as they are, few are as complex as the real competition, Champagne. That said, this week I stumbled on this fabulous bottle of sparkling rosé from Italy. Riccardo Cotarella and Anselme Selosse are the winemaker behind Fuedi’s impressive sparkling wines. The vineyards spread out over the lush and gentle hills in Sorbo Serpico, about an hour from Naples and Mount Vesuvius. It's the unique volcanic, sandstone, marly soil that free up the wealth of cherries, cinnamon and licorice that mark the nose and palate. The Rosato is 100 percent aglianico di taurasi, harvested in part from century-old pre-phylloxera vines. The colour is barley pink. The attack fresh with bright, floral, citrus fruits. The Rosato is all about refinement and elegance in the glass. Creamy but bright and fragrant with notes of ginger and nectarine skin it finishes in a storm of stony minerality. Smoked salmon, shellfish, prawns you name it, it all works here. The story began in 2003 when Feudi di San Gregorio made the decision to produce sparkling wine using the method champenoise and the region’s historic varietals of falanghina, greco di tufo and aglianico grapes. The name Dubl signifies the project partners Feudi and its French partner, the renown Champagne house of Anselme Selosse. Greco Brut dates to the occupation of Naples by Louis XII in the 15th century, who demanded that the Neapolitans make a sparkling wine in his honour. The combination of greco and the local chalky composition of the Tufo soil was a perfect fit.Prices: BC 58.99 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
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Flat Rock Cellars Crowned Sparkling Bruttext
90PTS

Flat Rock Cellars Crowned Sparkling Brut 2009

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaGreen apple crisp and shining even with six years on the lees, this Twenty Mile Bench charonnday was barrel fermented and aged for six months prior to bottle for secondary fermentation. Eight g/l RS is left to balance out the crazy acidity, and just achieves it. The wine is finished with a crown cap to best preserve freshness and longevity, hence the name 'Crowned'. Shimmering acidity, lemon peel on a bed of oxidized lees, with a scent of ginger spicing to finish.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
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Sperling Vineyards Brut Reservetext
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Sperling Vineyards Brut Reserve 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis pinot noir and chardonnay comes from the site of BC's oldest vineyard, first planted to vinifera in the 1930's. This is the home site of the Sperling family, and vintner Ann Sperling's organic and biodynamic vines. This traditional method fizz has spent 36 months on the lees, followed by time in the bottle, making the 2011 the current release, lucky for us. This impressive sparkling is sheared stone, red apple and red pear, with riffing acidity that drives this toasty, creamy wine forward and lifts it skyward. Fruity and elegant, with that potent hum of acidity, this will continue to evolve over the next few years.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Codorníu Clásico Bruttext
86PTS

Codorníu Clásico Brut NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainYou don’t get a lot of sparkling wine for $15 but when it's fresh and clean and has the scent of fruit you must consider it a bargain, especially if you are putting it in orange juice or other drinks. Citrus, nutty, green apple, ginger flavours with honey and toasted almonds adding some weight to the finish. Fair value in a simpler style.Prices: BC 14.49 NF 15.99 PEI 15.19 ON 11.95 NB 15.99 MB 13.99 Producer: Codorníu
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2009

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA year ago we reviewed the Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R. D. Méthode Traditionelle disgorged in late 2016. The winery held half of the wine back to space out the supply and give it another year in bottle before releasing it in December 2017. If anything, it’s better with its smoked stone, toasted nut and bright citrus notes even further integrated into a mix of green apple and a mix of toasted hazelnuts and almonds. Focus, purity and finesse makes this a market leader in British Columbia. Oysters and/or assorted west coast shellfish are the match. First class.Prices: BC 39.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOnce again a prestigious sparkling rosé, with presence. This is 65/35 pinot noir/chardonnay, whole cluster pressed and stainless fermented before blending and three years on the lees before another year in bottle prior to release. This was disgorged in August 2016. On the off-dry side, with roses, raspberry, rhubarb, and cherry complemented by a noticeable bump in dosage and viewed through a haze of light smoke. Acidity remains vibrant and driving through the lengthy finish. This is a serious rosé for food, and can easily stand up to duck, pork, or roasted yam dishes.Prices: BC 32.90 AB 39.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2009

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe '09 RD is a 45/55 mix of pinot noir and chardonnay. It’s all estate, all hand-harvested and all free run juice. The wine was disgorged August 2016, and finished brut before spending a year in bottle prior to this release. This is as complex as it gets at Blue Mountain, offering bright citrus nutty notes that persist through the finish. You could drink it now but holding it another few years won’t hurt. Impressive style. Bring this one to the table.Prices: BC 39.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Unsworth TimBuckTwo Rieslingtext
88PTS

Unsworth TimBuckTwo Riesling NV

British Columbia, CanadaMade in the same method as their famous Wine Islands of style Charme de L'ile, this is a charmat method fizz, with riesling coming from the Okanagan. You can consider this a BC-grown version of Prosecco: off dry, perfumed soft pear, pink florals, peach, tangerine, on a frisky brisk palate, which holds the dosage sweetness aloft. An ice bucket and a patio calls.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Veuve du Vernay Bruttext
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Veuve du Vernay Brut NV

FranceVeuve de Vernay is an inexpensive bubble that usually over delivers for the price. Colourless, it has a crisp attack with yeasty notes that mix well with hints of apple and pear before dissolving into creamy textures. Light and just off-dry it is a unique blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc, folle blanche and ugni blanc. You can serve it solo or use it in your favourite mimosa mix. Good value.Prices: BC 14.49 ON 9.95 Producer: Sorevi
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Veuve du Vernay Brut Rosétext
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Veuve du Vernay Brut Rosé NV

FranceSimilar to the blanc, the Vernay Brut Rose opens with bright, clean, fresh red berry aromas reminiscent of ripe raspberries. It has bit more texture and weight, with bright acidity, and earthy, citrus rind notes in the backend. Try this with vegetable, chicken or beef pakoras.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Sorevi
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Wolfberger Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosetext
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Wolfberger Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV

Alsace, FranceA foamy palate carries cherries, cranberries and red apple, along with a swish of sweet cream and a rasp of toast, to a snappy, parmesan finish. Acidity is tight and nimble throughout, making this traditional method fizz a smart (affordable) selection for tuna or salmon canapés and salads.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Wolfberger
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Benjamin Bridge NV Rosé Méthode Classiquetext
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Benjamin Bridge NV Rosé Méthode Classique NV

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaThe BB non-vintage rosé is a mix of several harvests that shape the high acid, tight house style. There’s but a hint of colour here resulting from some skin contact with pinot noir. This wine is about freshness, and precision, with hints of roses and bread dough. The palate is tight and citrus lined with plenty of acidity that carries the day to the end of the palate. Mineral, saline, creamy and a little bit foamy, this needs food to tame its energy. A proprietary blend of l’Acadie, seyval, chardonnay, and pinot noir. Drink now or hold through 2022.Prices: NS 45.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
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Alma Gran Cuvée Bellavista Brut Franciacortatext
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Alma Gran Cuvée Bellavista Brut Franciacorta NV

Lombardy, ItalyBellavista is considered among the finest of Italian sparkling wine producers and boasts 200-hectares of vineyard planted to chardonnay and pinot noir. The winery lies within western part of the Franciacorta and pulls fruit from across 10 communes and 103 parcels. Alma Gran Cuvee is made in the traditional method with some 15 percent of the wine being fermented and matured for seven months in small oak barrels. The final assemblage includes reserve wine from six to nine years old before it all spends 30 months on the lees. The result is a stylish bubble with floral undertones, green fruits and dried herbs enveloped in a stream of acidity that runs from the front to the back. The blend is 80/20 chardonnay/pinot noir with a mere one percent of pinot bianco to respect its Italian heritage.Prices: BC 57.00 QC 37.75 ON 48.95 BC 32.00 375 Producer: Bellavista
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Blue Grouse Paulatext
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Blue Grouse Paula 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaPaula is the traditional method fizz from Blue Grouse, and in 2014 was a blend of Vancouver Island and Okanagan grown müller-thurgau, ortega, pinot auxerrois and riesling. Perfumed white flowers, elderflower, pear drops is pierced with green apples, white peach, biscuit, lime pith on a tight, bone dry finish. Appropriate aperitif, particularly with scallop or white fish carpaccio.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Bruttext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Fitz Brut 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAh - the joy of a purpose-made fizz. It makes such a difference. In the case of Fitzpatrick, this is a nimble, tight and fresh blend of estate Greata Ranch grown chardonnay and pinot noir, partial barrel fermented (older wood), and with two years on the lees in bottle. Alluring anise, green apples and flaky croissant streams along the palate, one buffered with a fine cushion of strawberry and white cherry to a finish ringing with salty minerality. Pitch perfect balance of Okanagan fruit and acidity, yet again. This serious fizz will age gracefully.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Benjamin Bridge Brut Méthode Classiquetext
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Benjamin Bridge Brut Méthode Classique 2012

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaThe 2012 Brut, newly released, is a blend of 63 percent chardonnay, 25 percent pinot noir, 12 percent pinot meunier that spent four years on the lees. The base wine for this cuvée was split ten percent in neutral oak and the remainder in stainless steel, with no malolactic fermentation to preserve Gaspereau's inherent marine freshness. This, in conjunction with the extended growing season, shapes this characteristic Brut (the driest of their fizz) into its sleek, streamline and extremely lengthy form, tingling with a grippy minerality and zingy lemon pith. Tight green apple, crystalline lemon, light toast and zesty peach are held at riveting attention, shimmering with lemon thistle and stones to the lengthy finish. Neither sharp nor severe, this is a serious, ageworthy, intense and impressively light wine, especially considering all is packed into a slight frame of 11 percent alcohol (TA 9.1 g/l, pH 3.03). Canada's best sparkling winery proves itself again.Prices: ON 50.00 BC 44.50 AB 50.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
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Henkell Trocken Dry Sekttext
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Henkell Trocken Dry Sekt NV

GermanyHenkell rarely surprises, nor does it disappoint, especially for the money. Expect fragrant peachy orange, green apple aromas that carries on to the palate. An off-dry frothy bubble you can feature in Mimosas or with Crème de Cassis, or a punch; serve with bite-size appetizer for best results.Prices: BC 14.49 NB 14.00 AB 13.00 ON 14.00 QC 14.00 NF 15.00 SK 15.00 NS 16.00 YK 17.00 MB 14.00 Producer: Henkell & Co Sektkellerei
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Benjamin Bridge NV Méthode Classiquetext
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Benjamin Bridge NV Méthode Classique NV

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaAs unique as the story behind this iconic Canadian winery, this NV is from BB's Gaspereau Valley estate vineyard, and a blend of L’Acadie, vidal, seyval, pinot noir, and chardonnay. Highly pointedly and pinkly perfumed: think pink florals, pithy pink grapefruit, tight pink lady apples. The attack is brisk and lively with high-toned florals from the l'acadie, vidal and seyval. Lime pith lingers on the finish, textured with pear skin. The raging acidity easily carries the 13 g/l dosage, leaving it barely and pleasingly off-dry. The Benjamin Bridge reserve library spans over 13 years and includes blending components from its inaugural 2002 vintage all of which contributes to the house style. Big enough for duck, fresh enough for oysters.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
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Henkell Trocken Blanc de Blancs Dry Sekttext
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Henkell Trocken Blanc de Blancs Dry Sekt NV

GermanyClassic dry fruity sparkler in this case a blanc de blancs made from a blend of white grapes and white juice, namely chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc and blanc de noir from pinot noir. Bright fresh fragrant aromas of tropical fruit flecked with honey, ginger, baked apple and guava notes. The attack is similar with just off-dry, peachy, baked apple, floral flavours. Simple, fruity style akin to the Prosecco.Prices: BC 13.99 ON 14.00 QC 14.00 Producer: Henkell & Co Sektkellerei
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