quicksearch
Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: August 2016

25 August 2016

Sandhill Master Winemaker Howard Soon Chardonnay Single Block Sandhill Estate Vineyardtext
88PTS

Sandhill Master Winemaker Howard Soon Chardonnay Single Block Sandhill Estate Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new chardonnay from Sandhill master winemaker is a single block selection of 18-year-old fruit that, according to Soon, offers a true expression of the site. The fruit is all hand-harvested and hand-sorted and is aged in stainless steel tanks and two French oak barrels for 10 months. The style is opulent with smoky, toasted nutty aromas with slices of pear and baked apple. The attack is rich, but there is a central core of fresher fruit to keep the wine centred and balanced. It’s the Howard Soon style to be sure, but it tells its own story. Try this with your favourite crab or creamy fish dish.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Sandhill Wines
Read Full Note
Chateau St. Jean Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesReliable, large production Sonoma chardonnay that opens as always with attractive, spicy lees notes supporting prominent tropical fruit aromas. On the palate the attack is bright with a citrus, pear, red apple character carrying enough freshness to take on the vanilla and butterscotch finish. Drink now with fresh cracked Dungeness crab. Good value.Prices: BC 19.79 AB 19.00 ON 18.95 QC 20.00 Producer: Chateau Saint Jean
Read Full Note
Cambria Benchbreak Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Cambria Benchbreak Chardonnay 2014

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesBenchbreak opens on the rich side of chardonnay with caramel, brown spices and vanilla dominating the nose. Underneath is a citrus, mango and pineapple core that scrubs some of the richness off the back end of the palate. It is 100 percent chardonnay and a broad mix of clones including 4, 76, 96 and Wente. Benchbreak is a cool coastal vineyard at 400-800 metres above sea level, made up of ancient fossilized seashells, shale, limestone and sand. Serve with crab, lobster or creamy shrimp dishes.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 27.00 Producer: Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery
Read Full Note
Poplar Grove Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Poplar Grove Chardonnay 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother super ripe chardonnay from 2015, with a whack of candied apple, pear and banana fruit aromas and flavours. The textures are soft and round with a bit of an un-synchronised vanilla and lees character that seems out of place with sweetness. Ready to drink but chill this down and serve it with some smoked chicken. I miss the leaner, drier style but I’m sure a lot of consumers will like this riper version.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
Read Full Note
Intrigue Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Intrigue Chardonnay 2015

British Columbia, CanadaThis chardonnay comes off the "Grown and Wine" vineyard in Kelowna. There is no hiding the warm summer here, with the deluge of sweet, almost candied, red apple fruit that runs from front to back leaving a somewhat cloying finish. Spicy Thai or Indian dishes would be the tonic to tame the sugar and fruit salad character of this wine.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
Read Full Note
Signorello Hope's Cuvée Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Signorello Hope's Cuvée Chardonnay 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesHope’s Cuvée is big on texture and weight with an expressive nose of honeysuckle, hazelnuts, orange blossoms, butterscotch, and apricots The palate is equally rich, mixing pears, apricots, and toasted nuts with a touch of resin and vanilla. As rich as it is, there is some elegance here: New World style with a European twist. Hope’s Cuvée is the pinnacle white at Signorello; it pays homage to Ray’s mother, Hope Signorello. The 36 year-old, old-clone fruit, comes off a 5.12-acre parcel on the west side of the Signorello hill and is among the oldest chardonnay vineyard in Napa Valley. The wine is made with natural yeast and is bottled unfiltered after spending seven months in 56 percent new French oak barrels. Approximately 50 percent of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation.Prices: BC 90.00 AB 90.00 Producer: Signorello Estate
Read Full Note
Tom Gore Chardonnaytext
82PTS

Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014

California, United StatesThick cream, vanilla and heavy baked apple and pear, this is an old school style of sweeter oaked, round Cali chard. Cloves spice up the finish, leaving with a swing of alcohol. Simple and commercial.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tom Gore Winery
Read Full Note
La Mirada Chardonnaytext
84PTS

La Mirada Chardonnay 2014

California, United StatesThis simple, straightforward chardonnay is sourced from "California", but really, could come from anywhere. Chardonnay is splashed with 11 percent sauvignon blanc, fermented in stainless and aged in French and American oak for four months. Creamy, tropical fruit and lemon, there is some juiciness on the core, though you can feel the oak through the fruit until the burn on the short finish. Thankfully, dry. A familiar style, for those looking for it.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Chateau Diana
Read Full Note
Chaberton Reserve Chardonnay (GOW)text
84PTS

Chaberton Reserve Chardonnay (GOW) 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBig rich, full and oaky with ripe pineapple, spicy baked apple and pear skin. This was whole-berry pressed before heading into 100 percent new French oak for three months (full MLF) and then a split 50/50 between that potent oak and stainless. Too bad because there is some interesting fruit here but it's been clobbered by sweet, vanilla-laden wood. The finish is more of the same with sweet vanilla overtones. Old school.Prices: Producer: Domaine de Chaberton
Read Full Note
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (GOW)text
87PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (GOW) 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, creamy, and full, this is one generous chardonnay from MHFE's Oliver, Osoyoos, and Naramata Ranch vineyards. Ten months in American oak (27 percent new) has made its mark adding a streaking vanilla glow to this sun-ripened-sweet fruit. Pineapple, white peach and cloves ride herd over the hazelnuts, and a spicy, hot, gingersnap finish. Sweet wood over sweet fruit takes us back in time but not to a place we love. We would love to see the less is more rule employed here rather than what is more of more. If you like your chardonnay on the sweet side this is it.Prices: BC 22.00 AB 25.00 SK 20.00 MB 22.00 ON 22.00 QC 20.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
Read Full Note
Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnay 2013

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaDough, hazelnut and thick, creamy lees forms the base of this full and rich Niagara chardonnay, anchored with clay soils and brightened by limestone minerality. Lemon curd, baked yellow apple, toasted popcorn dominate this intense, full and showy chard, while a bead of lemon peel acidity counters. Organically grown on silty-clay, limestone laced soils, this was whole cluster pressed before a long wild ferment in French oak (20 percent new) and 16-20 months aging stint. Domaine Queylus is a spare-no-expense project of friends, consisting of 16ha spread over three appellations, with lauded winemaker Thomas Bachelder at the helm.Prices: ON 24.75 Producer: Domaine Queylus
Read Full Note
Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay Beamsville Benchtext
92PTS

Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay Beamsville Bench 2013

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis Beamsville Bench chardonnay is generous in mouthfeel, but linear and precise in motion, with mineral, pithy drive from tip to tail. Whole bunch pressed, with wild yeast ferment into French barrels, this organically farmed, fuller white has complexity in spades. Earthy lees, wild herbs and subtle hazelnuts lead, layered with ripe pear, pear skin and salted lemon curd to a lingering, flint-flecked finish. Impressive now, and will remain so over the next few years.Prices: ON 29.00 Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
Read Full Note
Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Speck Family Reservetext
90PTS

Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Speck Family Reserve 2014

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaCream, vanilla, spice in this rich, full bodied chardonnay from Short Hills Bench, and the oldest site Henry of Pelham farms. Low yielding and whole cluster pressed before fermentation and aging in French barrel (40 percent new). Still in its youth, this shows exuberant oak which currently overrides the appealing creamy pear, apple, sweet lemon, flakey brioche and toasted spices. That said, the concentration and depth of flavours here goes deep, the acidity matches the intensity and the minerality of the site will become evident over the years in your cellar. If drinking now, open in advance or decant. Otherwise, show patience.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Henry of Pelham
Read Full Note
Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaGive this expressive wine airtime, decant, or open hours in advance. Attractively reductive in style, with eraser, fresh herbs, earth, whiffs of caramelized onion and laces of lemon pith. Wood is present on the palate (18 months in oak, 10 percent of which is new), but very complete and well integrated, with herbal, hay, lees and fine spicing. Savoury, lean and focused, with depth of flavours, this is drinking beautifully in this youthful stage, but will continue to grow and deepen with cellaring.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Closson Chase
Read Full Note

24 August 2016

Liquidity Wines Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Liquidity Wines Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom three vineyard blocks on their Okanagan Falls estate, this was partially whole cluster pressed, partially crushed before heading to stainless steel, sans lees stirring. A nice creaminess supports a cool core of stone fruit, with earthy spice adding some depth. You can feel the warmth of the 2015 vintage on the finish. Gentle.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Estate Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Liquidity Wines Estate Chardonnay 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a mix of estate fruit from two blocks, planted in 1994 and 2010. Barrel ferment before eleven months of barrel aging (14 percent new) has amped the rich, creamy mouthfeel and toast. Juicy yellow apple, pear and ample lemon and grapefruit citrus notes throughout the smooth palate. Richer styled, to match richer foods.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Liquidity Wines Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRicher, more perfumed and sweeter than the Estate Chardonnay due in part to a greater use of new oak (25 percent). Planted in 1994, this polished and creamy chard teems with fine toastiness, lemon and baked pear. Moderate acidity and a nice spice on the finish. Only sixty cases made.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Rieslingtext
87PTS

Liquidity Wines Riesling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a mix of two clones grown in Naramata, one crisp and acid-driven while the second full of tropical fruit. Ample lees work is noticed on the nose, a result of regular stirring of the 15 percent wild yeast used in the ferment (it took a while to kick off, but finally went and fermented for seven months). Bosc pear and melon rules this sweeter, creamy, leesy white. Ripe and round.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Estate Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis estate pinot cuvée includes partial wild ferment, and their 1994 planting of own rooted clone 115, along with clones 667, 777, 828 and 91, the latter planted in 1997 and 2010. All the complexities are shown in this pretty, bright and finessed medium bodied red, finely spiced and anchored with black raspberry and cherry. Firmness is lent by ten months in French oak, 25 percent of which was new. Young and promising for the future.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Reserve Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Liquidity Wines Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTheir reserve pinot picks up a notch where the estate pinot left off, with ten months in months in French barrels, 30 percent of which were new. Estate clones 115, 667, 777 and 828, planted in 1994 and 2010 bring black cherry and black raspberry to the fore, with a gentle sweeter strawberry lurking underneath. Framed gently by the toast, this gently finessed pinot finishes with fine spicing. Drinking well now, and for another couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Equity Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Liquidity Wines Equity Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMarkedly different from their two other pinots (the Estate and the Reserve), this premium tier carries much darker, duskier black fruit (cherry and raspberry) on a firmer, smoked wood frame. A layer of tobacco tars the bottom and provides structure for bigger protein pairings and a few years in the cellar. This is an estate blend of clones 667 and 115, planted in 1994 and 2010. darker, duskier fruit - black raspberry, black cherry, more cherry, more structure and firmer, with more smoked wood, blacker. layer of tobacco spicing. but still level of finesse here.Prices: BC 56.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Dividendtext
88PTS

Liquidity Wines Dividend 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFull and structured, this is an estate blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. Gravels, tobacco and a core of blackberry and blackcurrant are structured with a firm, wooded backbone, the latter the result of 12-15 days on the skins before pressing into 25 percent new French oak for fifteen months. Wood dominates the cocoa-clad finish, and welcomes pairing with roasted beef or lamb.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Merlottext
85PTS

Liquidity Wines Merlot 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPrimarily estate fruit, this merlot is supplemented with grapes from the Similkameen. Fifteen percent wild ferment and 14-18 days on the skins before heading to French oak (34 percent new) for fifteen months. Muddled plum and dusky blackberry on a round palate comes across as warm and clipped. A very troublesome swirl of earthy, wood throughout, though I was alerted that it's a characteristic of this particular vintage. I will wait for the next vintage.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines Bubblytext
83PTS

Liquidity Wines Bubbly NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis frothy, shearing fizz is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from two different vintages. The 2014 pinot was whole cluster pressed and fermented before resting on lees for 15 months, while chardonnay and pinot noir from the 2015 vintage were harvested, whole cluster pressed and fermented separately. The whole was then blended, underwent injection and into a pressurized tank for a week at low temperatures. The prosecco-styled result carries a bit of pear skin and crab apple, with a whiff of florals hidden within the toast. Quite flat and rough on the short finish.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note
Liquidity Wines White Blendtext
86PTS

Liquidity Wines White Blend 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChardonnay musqué, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris from their Okanagan Falls estate vineyard is blended with viognier from the Similkameen in this off dry, lower acid, round and softer white blend. Fragrant apple blossom, pear skin edge and peach ride the palate, finishing with a bitter peach pit and ginger finish. Chill well down.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
Read Full Note

23 August 2016

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrisp, tight and bright, this lean and narrow chenin reflects more than the 10 percent of sauvignon blanc that is tilted into the blend. Whole bunch press before heading to 85/15 stainless and a mix of French oak barrel and larger puncheons, this is bright lemon, grass, greengage, tangerine, melon and a very fine layer of creamy lees along the bottom. The finish is somewhat disjointed at this point, but being chenin, expect an evolution. A big style departure from their memorable chenins of previous vintages, this reminds me more of sauvignon blanc trying to imposter as chenin. I would love to see more of the characterful chenin in the future (as in the past).Prices: BC 17.49 AB 15.00 SK 19.00 MB 19.00 ON 18.00 QC 19.00 NS 23.00 PEI 23.00 NB 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
Read Full Note
A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanctext
91PTS

A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom the man credited with figure-heading the Swartland Revolution, this chenin blanc is a highlight of the South African offerings on our market. If you see it, buy. And this is his "entry-level" Secateurs line, from selected old bush vines on granite slopes. Cream, wild herbs, meadow flowers are drawn across a very waxy palate, where spiced pear and subtle fennel notes join in. Savoury, with precise lemon zest vibrancy, broken stones, roasted nut, medicinal lemon balm and gentle honeycomb, this young vintage finishes smoothly, with some gentle waxy warmth. Drinking now well, but will hold with short term aging.Prices: BC 23.00 AB 24.00 MB 23.00 Producer: A. A. Badenhorst
Read Full Note
Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanctext
90PTS

Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc 2014

Chinon, Touraine, Loire, FranceChenin Blanc from Chinon, this is from ten year old organic vines on clay and limestone soils, fermented wild and aged in neutral barrel. Earthy lees, apple skin, fennel, wild herbs and meadow flowers are scented with subtle honeysuckle and anchored by a weighted clay base. Chisled, chalky acidity focuses the streamlined palate to a lingering, stony finish. Purity plus depth, this savoury and characterful chenin is memorable and worth seeking out.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Bernard Baudry
Read Full Note
Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
91PTS

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWild herbs, hay and a lovely coat of lees on this sauvignon blanc / semillon blend, one showing a honeyed, oily semillon sheen. A slick of large flake sea salts season the medium bodied, broad-shouldered palate, and linger on the finish. From a gravelled site in Oliver, planted in 1999, this was one third whole cluster pressed, before six months in neutral French oak. Savoury.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
Read Full Note
Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
90PTS

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 17-old-year old vines and a gravelled site in Oliver comes this 77/23 sauvignon blanc/semillon blend. One third whole cluster pressed, this spends time in neutral French oak before being gently filtered. Medicinal herbs, meadow grass, lemon thistle, hay and vibrant citrus acidity stream through the lees-lined palate, tighter and more linear than the 2014. The finish carries a slight grippy, greengage and verbena riff. This will build honeyed weight with cellar time, but it's drinking beautifully now in the exuberance of youth.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
Read Full Note

22 August 2016

Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandTangerine, passionfruit and guava in this richer, full and fruity sauvignon blanc, sourced from seventeen parcels across three estate vineyards over a three week period. Polished and creamy, the bright tropical fruit rests on a floor of lees in this grown-up version of the classic, fruity, Marlborough style. Named in recognition of John 'Stich' Stichbury, the founder of Jackson Estate.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Jackson Estate Ltd
Read Full Note
Stag's Hollow Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to last year, though a bit richer and riper on the palate. Look for hints of lees under grassy, citrus, kiwi aromas and a twist of wood. The attack is super ripe, mixing lime rind, gooseberry, grassy, tropical fruit flavours. Just a bit too big in the finish but fine if you are a fan of rich, ripe, warm, mouth-filling sauvignon blanc. Like last year it has a richness and sweetness you can use up against spicy dishes, but we would prefer a bit more mystery and complexity. Still fine value.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
Read Full Note
Cirro Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Cirro Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandClassic, bright, refreshing, citrusy, passion fruit nose. The attack is similar with tropical fruit, lemongrass and a hint of sweetness to balance off the jalapeno and acidity that punches through the finish. Ready to drink and perfect with clams, mussels or prawns.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
Read Full Note
Howling Bluff Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Howling Bluff Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Barrel Select is a wine club exclusive that is aged four months in French oak puncheons. The nose is a mix of vanilla, ripe grapefruit and aromatic tropical fruits. The palate is soft and round with rich, off-dry almost pink grapefruit and ripe fig flavours. A bit too sweet for us but if served with the right dish, preferably one with some heat, it should work.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
Read Full Note
Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Region del Valle Central, ChileJuicy, ripe and refreshing, with lime, lemonade, pink grapefruit pith, lemon rind and a riff of peach fuzz bitterness on the finish. Always consistent, and the 2015 vintage nails it again. Juicy and bright, finishing dry, and great with melon salsa and fish. Terrific value.Prices: BC 9.99 AB 13.00 Producer: Vina Cono Sur
Read Full Note
Condor Peak Sauvignon Blanctext
85PTS

Condor Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaFull, ripe and fruity, with ample tropical notes - pineapple, apple, and grippy, pithy rind on the shorter finish. Simple, tight and dry; well suited to shrimp ceviche. Chill well and crack now.Prices: BC 10.49 Producer: Andean Vineyards
Read Full Note
Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwo French clones and nine-year-old estate vines were whole cluster pressed before a wild ferment and aging on the lees (3/4 stainless and the remainder in oak). Lemon thistle, meadow grasses, gooseberry and smoked salts dominate the complexed, laden body, an amazing feat at 11.5 percent alcohol. Precise lemon pith acidity buoys the whole through a finely spicy, medicinal finish. Love the quality statement here. Perfect with west coast mussels.Prices: BC 18.90 AB 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
Lindemans Bin 95 Sauvignon Blanctext
85PTS

Lindemans Bin 95 Sauvignon Blanc 2015

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaThere is nothing too complex here or exactly what you might expect for $9.99 but they don’t mess it up with sugar either- something you might not expect for $9.99. Grassy, guava, asparagus notes preview a fresh white with grassy, citrus/grapefruit flavours that finish clean and crisp. Made for clams, spaghetti vongole or any summer-styled salad. Ready-to-drink. Good value.Prices: BC 10.99 AB 11.00 SK 12.50 MB 13.00 ON 11.10 NS 13.00 NF 13.50 NB 14.00 Producer: Lindemans Wines
Read Full Note
Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandCrisp, bright and tight, with pithy tangerine, passionfruit, gooseberry and pineapple rind. Acidity keeps this lively and lifted, even through intense tropical fruit. Refreshing and pure fruited Marlborough savvy and at an excellent price.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 20.00 MB 22.00 Producer: Rossendale Winery
Read Full Note
Misha's Vineyard The Starlet Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Misha's Vineyard The Starlet Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandNot your typical Kiwi savvy, starting with the fact that this comes from a gloried vineyard in Bendigo, Central Otago. Whole bunch pressed, this is partially fermented in stainless with the remainder fermented wild in older French oak barrels. The oxidative handling lends a reductive, flinty note more common in chardonnay. Broken stones, wild herbs, flake sea salt, earthy white asparagus and grilled fennel throughout, with taut, lemon pith acidity lacing the whole and tangerine, gooseberry and perfumed passionfruit reminding us of the grape. An undercurrent of phenolic grip finishes with stoniness. Unique and characterful, and worth seeking out.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Misha's Vineyard
Read Full Note
Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandYoung peas, tinned asparagus, fragrant passionfruit and mandarin are scented with lively acidity and medicinal tinged herbs. Very complete and round on the palate, with sauvignon's vegetative side on full display. An easy, accessible, familiar style, made well.Prices: MB 16.00 BC 21.05 Producer: Rapaura Springs
Read Full Note
Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandCelebrating its 30th vintage in 2014, and this wine is going strong as ever. Big, assertive and vibrant passionfruit, papaya and tangerine, with hedgerow and spring green vegetable underneath. Crunchy acidity rides a swell of juiciness to a brisk, warm finish. Two percent of this wine underwent barrel fermentation, with the rest in stainless with yeasts selected to maximize fruitiness. The whole spent three months in contact with the lees to bumper the palate. Drink this now, while young and juicy.Prices: BC 25.00 ON 23.00 NS 25.00 MB 22.00 Producer: Nautilus Estate
Read Full Note
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Leyda Estatetext
87PTS

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Leyda Estate 2015

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileAs usual, the pungent nose reminds of Marlborough sauvignon blanc despite its classy Leyda appellation. The nose is a lime rind and passionfruit affair. The palate is a mirror image of the nose with more grassy, musky, sweet gooseberry flavours mixed with sweet green peas, asparagus and lemon blossom, filtering to a shorter, tight and bright finish. Predictable and consistent. Chill down, drink now. Easy sipping on a warm day or serve with fresh goat cheese. The dinner match is spaghetti alle vongole. Super value.Prices: BC 12.29 AB 10.00 ON 12.00 MB 12.00 NF-LAB 11.00 Producer: Vina Santa Carolina
Read Full Note
Singletree Sauvignon Blanctext
82PTS

Singletree Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaToasty oak is immediately evident on this full-bodied sauvignon blanc, with hewn staves sticking out from and overwhelming the vanilla-scented orchard fruit. There's a pithy lemon grip on the finish, but the rest of this is barrel-dominated. Pour if you want to try something different than your typical oaky chardonnay.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Singletree Winery
Read Full Note
Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reservatext
87PTS

Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThe style is crisp and tight with plenty of grass and gooseberry. The attack is intense, mixing bell pepper, gooseberry, dried herbs and lemony grapefruit. No malolactic and two months lees contact makes for a creamy, passion fruit finish. Fresh goat cheese is a classic match.Prices: BC 13.25 AB 13.00 MB 13.00 ON 12.00 NB 17.00 NF 16.00 Producer: Viña Santa Rita
Read Full Note
Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileLove the bright, intense gooseberry/guava/grapefruit nose with a hint of jalapeno. The palate is juicy with stony, gooseberry, guava fruit and a tight lime/lemon finish. Serve well-chilled as an aperitif or with chicken, bean or seafood salads or cold cucumber soup. The fruit comes off mineral clay soils: Los Boldos (77 percent) and El Centinela (23 percent) estates. The wine is briefly aged (4 months) in stainless steel tanks.Prices: BC 11.99 Producer: Vina Cono Sur
Read Full Note
Mission Hill Terroir Collection No.16 Southern Cross Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No.16 Southern Cross Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of Mission Hill's Terroir Collection tier, reportedly a selection of the top three percent of estate fruit. In 2013, that means twenty barrels were produced from their Osoyoos East vineyard, partially (35 percent) fermented in French oak for seven months. The result is a fuller, lees-led and structured, spicy white, with biscuit, lightly smoked stone, flint, lemon peel, honeysuckle, guava and medicinal cherries. A riff of apricot skin and pink grapefruit lingers on the lengthy finish. A blend of stony Sancerre and ripe Chile, uniquely BC. Polished and serious wine, this is drinking beautifully now but will continue to hold for short term cellaring.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
Read Full Note

19 August 2016

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barberatext
88PTS

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2014

Piedmont, ItalyConsistent year over year, and the 2014 is no different. This barbera, from the hillsides of Langhe and Monferrato brings black cherry, anise, worked leather and black raspberry across a fleshy, cured meats and oak framed medium body. Scrubby herbs, pipe tobacco and brisk spicing liven the smooth palate, while six months in oak barrels and Slavonian casks defines it. An approachable and interesting red for drinking now, especially with wild mushroom risotto or boar pappardelle.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 19.00 MB 19.00 ON 16.00 Producer: Fontanafredda
Read Full Note
Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicellatext
91PTS

Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2011

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyTedeschi’s signature Amarone comes off the hills of the Valpolicella Classico zone. There is a much welcomed purity in this wine from its savoury, black fruit nose to its rich, fruity mid-palate and spicy finish. The style is fresh and juicy which effectively counter-balances the alcohol and weight. This is just a baby and would be fine to leave in the cellar through 2020. Serve now with slow braised meat dishes or mature cheese.Prices: BC 48.99 AB 50.00 ON 40.00 QC 45.50 Producer: Tedeschi
Read Full Note
Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasitext
91PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi 2011

Campania, ItalyThe volcanic soils soar through this aglianico, with potent tight minerality, precise acidity and fine, stony texture from top to tail of this generous, classic Campanian red. Dusky anise, leather, tar and scrubby herbs lend grip and interest to the ample, ripe and slightly tuggy tannins, while wild herbs, ripe black cherry, wild plum and blackberry season the generous palate. The finish is long, with five spice, nutmeg and minerality lingering. Twenty-ish year old vines are grown on deep ash and pumice soils, and after 3 weeks fermentation in stainless, this goes into French barrique for eighteen months, followed by nine months more in bottle to settle and smooth.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
Read Full Note
A Mano Imprint Susumaniellotext
88PTS

A Mano Imprint Susumaniello 2014

Salento, Puglia, ItalySusumaniello is an ancient grape, supposedly found only in the Italian region of Apulia (Puglia) and is thought to be a cross between sangiovese and some unidentified parent (bastard child). Perfumed and fragrant blackberry, delicate black liquorice, heady balsamic and plum, this is light bodied and soft, but framed with very grippy, downy and thorny tannins. The balsamic lingers on the grippy finish. Fresh and characterful, and lovely with lighter pork or rabbit.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: A Mano
Read Full Note
Unsworth Vineyards Ovation Soleratext
88PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Ovation Solera NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaYou don't get many ovations in orchestra, and you certainly will find fewer in the wine world. Unsworth Ovation is a solera blend of estate maréchal foch. This is more reminiscent of a late bottled vintage port to me, with its gutsy and spirited demeanour, dense plum, fruitcake and sweet cassis fruit. Smooth and sweet, with lightly grippy tannins dragging along throughout, this finishes quite hot on its own, but I would pour this with local blue cheese and sugar spiced roasted nuts.Prices: BC 23.00 500 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
Read Full Note
Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannattext
87PTS

Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannat 2014

San Juan, ArgentinaFirm, stony, blackberry baselines an earthen clay and perfumed peony palate, one tense with raging, stemmy tannins and lifted with brisk acidity. Pencil lead and barnyard pervade the black fruit to a bitter, espresso finish. Even opening 24 hours in advance of drinking doesn't exclude needing roast beef or lamb stew to match the ferocity here. A brute.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Finca Las Moras
Read Full Note

18 August 2016

Cellar Hand Punch Down Redtext
86PTS

Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is much more interesting this year with riper, dark and red fruit aromas leading the way. Smoky, cedar, cherries and milk chocolate mark a sweet-ish palate with some prominent acidity poking through the back end. A more commercial style, although not our favourite. Serve with hamburgers or grilled ribs. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Quevedo Tawny Porttext
88PTS

Quevedo Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalRoasted almonds, nougat, figs, orange peel and light fruitcake carry this spirited, single Quinta Tawny Port. Fairly streamline and accessible, with a soft mouthfeel balancing out rustic edges. A noticeable wee burn of alcohol on the shorter finish would be best mitigated by pouring with fruitcake or crème caramel.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
Read Full Note
Narrative Fortified Small Batch by Okanagan Crush Padtext
87PTS

Narrative Fortified Small Batch by Okanagan Crush Pad NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first fortified from OCP, distilled on site, this is a blend of merlot and syrah that was fermented in concrete before being spiked with their own grape spirits and aged two years in neutral oak. Raisins lead off the nose and palate, followed by a reductive note that blows off with ample airtime. Maple, creme caramel and christmas pudding complete the medium bodied, sweet frame. This is boozy, but not syrupy, and the sweetness is matched fairly well by acidity. I would pair this with mild blue and biscuits.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Petit Rougetext
88PTS

Le Vieux Pin Petit Rouge 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetit Rouge is the little brother to the big, long-lived reds in their portfolio, designed as the friendly drink-now wine while you cellar the elder siblings. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon is splashed with perfumed syrah to create a lush, dark fruited red, serious in its own right. Structured, if currently slightly ragged tannins support the youthful Southern Okanagan fruit (Black Sage Bench, Golden Mile Bench and Osoyoos Bench), to a peppery, slightly warm finish. Thirteen months in French oak barrels and puncheons, thirty percent new.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note

17 August 2016

Stag's Hollow Tragically Vidaltext
87PTS

Stag's Hollow Tragically Vidal 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFloral, fresh, clean and not as rich and fat as its heady spicy nose. Orange blossoms, litchi fruit and citrus come together mid-palate in an explosion of fresh orchard fruit flavours flecked with ginger. Grown at two sites: Stag’s Hollow Vineyard and Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard both in Okanagan Falls. The blend is 90/10 vidal/orange muscat finished with 13 g/l of sugar. Chill this guy down and bring on the spice.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
Read Full Note
Monte Creek Ranch Frontenac Gristext
85PTS

Monte Creek Ranch Frontenac Gris 2015

British Columbia, CanadaA nice improvement over last year. The nose is clean and fruity with a light orange citrus note. The palate is medium sweet with tangerine and honey flavours. Try this with a spicy curry dish or spicy tuna sushi.Prices: BC 14.49 375 Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
Read Full Note
Rocky Creek Siegerrebetext
80PTS

Rocky Creek Siegerrebe 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSweet orange sherbet, pear, bitter lemon pith take over this sharp, soapy siegerrebe, with nothing left underneath to support. Only 10.5 percent alcohol, though left feeling a bit of a burn. A miss.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
Read Full Note
Oscar's Douro Whitetext
87PTS

Oscar's Douro White 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalStraw, Asian pear, white peach and a zap of limoncello light up this easy Douro white blend of viosinho, gouveio and arinto. Lively and light in the mouth, with a thin pear skin cushion (two months on the lees) to support, this is lively and ready for an ice bucket and plate of ceviche.Prices: BC 13.99 MB 16.99 Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
Read Full Note
Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superioretext
88PTS

Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2014

Marche, ItalyThough the 2015 has poked its head on our market earlier this year, I found the 2014 vintage on store shelves and wanted to see how it was progressing. In one word: delizioso. The bitter almonds have continued to focus and narrow, wrapped with a veil of earthy fine lees and laced with bitter lemon. Pine nuts, scrubby thistle and bitter melon are anchored by a solid, medium body (heavy clay loam hillsides contribute), though a lift of bitter citrus acidity balances it easily. Grapes from 8-30 years on hillsides 200-350m go into this classic Castelli di Jesi.Prices: BC 17.99 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
Read Full Note
Atlantis Godellotext
88PTS

Atlantis Godello 2015

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainThis is a part of the Atlantis series managed by oenologist Raúl Acha, producing Atlantic wines from different DOs in Spain. Here, godello has its day, with gobelet-trained vineyards upwards of 25 years old coming together with younger trellised vines from sloping granite and slate, 400-600m high. The generous palate surges with creamy, oily lees-lined flow, along with pear, yellow apple, melon and a lift of greengage and bright lemon. Moderate acidity, massive mouth-filling, this is a fuller, oak-free white capable of handling fresh halibut or sablefish with ease.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Maetierra
Read Full Note
Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viogniertext
88PTS

Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viognier 2015

Western Cape, South AfricaRipe pear, peach and melon carry this friendly and fuller Western Cape white. White florals, honeysuckle and fine spice take over on the waxy palate, one that carries herbs, lanolin and a lick of lees, and ends with a fine nutmeg spicing and nutty bitterness. Amazing value.Prices: BC 12.00 Producer: Journey's End
Read Full Note
Singletree Winery Siegerrebetext
84PTS

Singletree Winery Siegerrebe 2015

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMid-sweet, soft and perfumed peaches and pears fill this lush siegerrebe from the Fraser Valley. Stainless steel works to provide an element of crisp pithy fruit against the grape's lush, fragrant nature. A gentle spritz lifts the whole to a shorter finish. Chill, crack and drink this summer.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Singletree Winery
Read Full Note
Feudo Maccari Grillotext
89PTS

Feudo Maccari Grillo 2014

Sicily, ItalyThis grillo is from low-yielding bush vines averaging 20 years old, on calcareous laced soils in Sicily - Noto, near the sea. Stainless steel aging has preserved the grape's herbal sweet grass, honeysuckle, meyer lemon and almond notes. The fuller body, lined with beeswax and lees, is kept fresh and bright with nimble, mineral laced acidity. Characterful, and well suited to pasta dressed with oil and spring vegetables.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Feudo Maccari
Read Full Note

16 August 2016

Intrigue I Do Sparklingtext
81PTS

Intrigue I Do Sparkling NV

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough merlot and riesling are strange partners, this wedding-themed fizz unites them anyway. Frothy pink, with candied cherry, strawberry, peach fuzz and a sharp bitter cut on the finish. Off dry and simple, this theme-wine is best chilled and used for what it's intended for: toasting the newlyweds.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
Read Full Note
Santero Asti Dolcetext
87PTS

Santero Asti Dolce NV

Piedmont, ItalyThis Moscato Asti is Dolce, or sweet, with ample sugared pear, white flowers and candied lemon gummies. Frothy bubbles are cut with a very pithy citrus note, and ends with white honey. With an alcohol of 7.5 percent, this is an attractive sweet fizz to open brunch or close afternoon tea.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Santero
Read Full Note
Monster Vineyards Rosietext
80PTS

Monster Vineyards Rosie 2015

British Columbia, CanadaThis is a sweet, simple and fruity blend of malbec, merlot and syrah. Syrupy cherries, grainy strawberries and powdered orange on the nose and palate of this blunt fizz, finishing with a strange faux note. Even chilling way down won't tame this monster - perhaps a sangria?Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Monster Vineyards
Read Full Note
Terra Serena Prosecco Treviso Frizzantetext
86PTS

Terra Serena Prosecco Treviso Frizzante NV

Veneto, ItalyRipe pear, pink florals and a fine pink grapefruit pith carry this simple, light (10.5 percent) prosecco. Hints of almond tuck in on the bright palate, finishing with a brisk peach fuzz bitterness. Chill, use in cocktails or enjoy solo at breakfast/brunch. Finished under screwcap.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Terra Serena
Read Full Note
Piper-Heidsieck Bruttext
88PTS

Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV

Champagne, FranceLeading and completing with dough, toast and lemon curd, this 40/30/30 pinot noir/pinot meunier/chardonnay blend is nothing but consistent. Broad and creamy on the palate, with abundant red fruits, corn, brioche and sweet almond on the finish. Tightens and freshens a bit on the end, but this is a generous, night club / night cap blend. A sweeter NV for those who prefer that style. The cuvée takes in more than 100 crus from around the Champagne region, as well as pinot meunier from the Grande et Petite Montagne de Reims region.Prices: BC 60.99 QC 58.00 AB 59.00 NS 64.99 MB 59.99 SK 52.99 ON 59.99 PEI 58.99 NF 65.85 Producer: Champagne Piper Heidsieck
Read Full Note
Steller's Jay Sparkling Gewurztraminer Méthode Classiquetext
84PTS

Steller's Jay Sparkling Gewurztraminer Méthode Classique NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGooseberry, anise and pez candy sum up this frothy bubble from Steller's Jay. A strange mix of "gewürztraminer" and "Methode Classique", this is an intense, floral and candied orange fizz, crunchy and disjointed on its own, and best utilized in cocktails or punch.Prices: BC 21.79 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Corvezzo Prosecco Extra Drytext
84PTS

Corvezzo Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Veneto, ItalyWhite flower, white peach and a sharp, pithy tangerine note throughout this simple, off-dry prosecco. A candied necklace note on the short, soft finish. Chill well and utilize in cocktails.Prices: BC 17.39 Producer: Corvezzo
Read Full Note
Bubbles by Lobetiatext
85PTS

Bubbles by Lobetia NV

Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla, SpainThis sparkling dry Spanish wine is from ten-year-old viura vines, grown organically in Las Pedroñeras-Cuenca. Sour lemon, sharp green apple and bitter herbs throughout the frothy palate give off a sharp briskness. The finish is short and leaves stone dust behind. Not as pleasant as the pretty label would indicate. Simple stuff, chill well.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Dominio de Punctum
Read Full Note
Dibon Brut Reserve Cavatext
88PTS

Dibon Brut Reserve Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya, SpainBright, fresh and zippy, with earthy fennel, almond, pear skin, peach pit, heady brioche and meyer lemon colouring a cool, yellow apple base. A touch of fruit sweetness offsets the orchard fruits, while brisk acidity keeps this moving on the palate. The baked apple and herbal brioche is a lovely turn from the norm in this well-priced Cava.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 15.00 Producer: Agricola Dibon
Read Full Note

15 August 2016

LaStella La Sophiatext
91PTS

LaStella La Sophia 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis cabernet sauvignon is not your typical BC cab. This amply plush, structured, generous full bodied red might as well be from Bolgheri, or even Walla Walla. Twenty-eight-year-old vines draw dense cigar, tobacco, black cherry, and leather slowly across the generous palate, supported by the sun-baked ripeness of the Black Sage Bench, as well as thick, chewy tannins. There is so much heft and weight here (and I'm not just talking about the heavy glass bottle) that this necessitates a decant now, and would greatly benefit by five+ years in the cellar.Prices: BC 89.90 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note
Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veedertext
97PTS

Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder 2012

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe 2012 Lokoya is a mountain of wine. Think big and long with intense aromas and flavours from front to back. Matching the intensity is piercing blue fruits and spice with enough floral mineral activity to keep it all balanced and refreshing. It’s 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, ripened to perfection and washed in blueberries, black raspberries, and cassis with a savoury, menthol, licorice undercarriage. You can only expect this wine to improve through 2025 and beyond and hold for decades. Bravo winemaker Chris Carpenter. If you dare open it now it has to be with rare beef. The Mount Veeder single vineyard sits at 1800 feet above sea level on the western ridges of the Mayacamas Mountains and at the northern end of the Mount Veeder appellation. The shallow, poor volcanic soils, low in minerals and nutrients, encourage smaller bunches and small berries that most years lead to huge concentration of flavour.Prices: BC 425.00 AB 400.00 Producer: Lokoya
Read Full Note
Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

California, United StatesThis ripe, full and gently sweet Cali cabernet sauvignon is seasoned with a hint of malbec, merlot, petit verdot and petite sirah and spends sixteen months in French and American oak. Ripe and soft black fruit, vanilla and kirsch is surrounded by wood-hewn, powdery tannins and supported by a mocha base. Short and quite warm on the finish. Lacking distinction, but suitable for a burger BBQ.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Tom Gore Winery
Read Full Note
La Mirada Cabernet Sauvignontext
82PTS

La Mirada Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

California, United StatesThis is an entry-level, soft and simple California red, though it could really be from anywhere. Short black fruits, roasted onion skin and an earthy branch finish with peppery heat and bitter dusty wood. I suppose if you're looking to drink any red wine from anywhere in the world, this could do, though there are tastier examples at a better price from specific places that I recommend moving along to.Prices: BC 20.50 Producer: Chateau Diana
Read Full Note
Martin Ray Reserve Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Martin Ray Reserve Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Santa Cruz Mountains, San Francisco Bay, California, United StatesThe reserve is a blend of two mountaintop sites: Fellom Ranch and Beauregard Vineyards. Beauregard is south facing on Ben Lomond Mountain and Fellom Ranch is located on Monte Bello Ridge. Both get morning sun and evening fog and enjoy long growing seasons. A great 2013 year has lead to an impressive red. The nose is a fantastic mix of aromatic cedar and black fruits. The palate is similar with savoury blackberry, brown spices, mint and tobacco. The tannins are firm but fine-grained. Perfect with grilled veal or lamb chops.Prices: US 60.00 Producer: Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery
Read Full Note
Martin Ray Reserve Synthesis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
93PTS

Martin Ray Reserve Synthesis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Napa Valley, California, United States"Synthesis" is a combination of Napa Valley vineyards, mixing silky, red fruit from Stags Leap District, dusty Rutherford fruit and big, powerful mountain fruit from Diamond Mountain's rocky volcanic soil. In 2013 the region was heat-spike free, leading to perfect fruit. Synthesis is the best of the best, from its dried savoury herb notes to figgy, plum, blueberry flavours. The textures are remarkably soft, the tannins chalky and generous, making it approachable now but this will age a decade. Grilled meats are the ticket here. All Napa Valley. A crowd pleaser.Prices: US 50.00 Producer: Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery
Read Full Note

12 August 2016

Fielding Estate Winery Syrahtext
88PTS

Fielding Estate Winery Syrah 2012

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPeppered charcoal-grilled meats and potent black fruits dominate this Niagara Peninsula syrah, sourced from St. David's Bench. Cracked rosemary and peppercorns scent the full bodied palate, structured with smoky, toasty tannins (via eighteen months in French and American oak, 35 percent of which were new).Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Fielding Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
93PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Equinoxe confirms the 2013 vintage in my mind as one of the best ever in the deep south Okanagan. The 2.8 tons to the acre fruit is both powerful, yet elegant, and that’s before you add the savoury, white pepper, black cherry, tobacco aromas and perfectly refined tannins. The palate is blueberries, and very floral with savoury streaks, licorice and amazing elegance and length. Only 12 percent new oak is the secret and 88 percent neutral barrels built to express the terroir of this Osoyoos based fruit. Fabulous potential here in what is a wonderful bottle of syrah. It will be even better in five to seven years.Prices: BC 79.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classiquetext
90PTS

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCuvee Classic is the North Oliver LVP syrah picked at 3.15 tons to acre that spends 13 months in 32 percent new French oak barrels. A little more New World and a little less Old World in a warm 2014. It’s still savoury and brooding, with plenty of floral black fruits, a whack of meaty bacon fat and cracked black pepper. The acidity is prominent but it falls in line at the back end. Grilled lamb seems such a natural fit here but anything big and meaty will work. Or, be rewarded with three to five years in the cellar.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Hillside Estate Syrahtext
87PTS

Hillside Estate Syrah 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHillside syrah is blend of two sites on the Naramata Bench, providing a cooler perspective right from the get go. The style is fresh, the alcohol barely 13.5 percent, and there is plenty of acidity. The nose and palate have a meaty, savoury plum character with a hint of roasted tomato in the finish. Elegant, round and forward this could be drunk over the next three to four years. Try it with grilled lamb chops.Prices: BC 26.08 Producer: Hillside Estate Winery Ltd.
Read Full Note
Black Hills Syrahtext
90PTS

Black Hills Syrah 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose has a savoury, floral, gamey, licorice root and pepper bent with streaks of black fruit. The palate is lively with juicy meaty, black fruit, raspberries, some brown spice, bright acidity and glossy tannins. This will grow in the bottle through 2019 but you can drink it now with grilled meats. Solid.Prices: BC 32.09 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Bench 1775 Syrahtext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Syrah 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFull and densely perfumed cassis and thick leather is lifted with a swell of juicy acidity, carried along slightly dusky, sticky tannins and finishes with a cedar-spiced resinous snap. Ripe and gummy fruit from sun drenched Osoyoos spends eight months in a mix of 80/20 French/American oak. Suited to big beef ribs.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
Read Full Note
Glen Carlou Haven Shiraztext
87PTS

Glen Carlou Haven Shiraz 2014

Coastal Region, South AfricaFleshy, earthy black cherry and blackberry fill the mouth of this generous Coastal Region shiraz. Worked leather, anise, peppercorns and thorns season the generous and soft palate, one supported by ripe tannins and balanced with a gentle swell of acidity. Pink pepper lingers on the finish. Suitable for your skirt steak or grilled skewers.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Glen Carlou
Read Full Note
Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +07/10text
91PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +07/10 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis musky, perfumed and dense meaty syrah is grown at Perfect Hedge Vineyard at their Osoyoos estate vineyard. You can taste the sunshine and weight and in 2014 as well as the fully ripe berries, baked under the warm southern Okanagan sunshine. After several tears of trials, winemaker David Enns has settled on three percent viognier to scent the amply fragrant, blueberry/blackberry and luscious dark plum flavours in this pure-fruited red. A lift of acidity keeps it form weighing down the palate, while thick, sage-dusted tannins support the heft through the lengthy finish. Partial whole cluster, partial 500L open top French oak puncheons, partial stainless steel, partial puncheon ferment - all prior to spending sixteen months in 45 percent new French oak. Complex and long it has a lot going on, and a bright future ahead.Prices: BC 33.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
Read Full Note
Ochota Barrels I am the Owl Syrahtext
93PTS

Ochota Barrels I am the Owl Syrah 2014

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide (including Mt Lofty Ranges, Fleurieu and Barossa, South Australia, AustraliaSourced from "the gorgeous section" of seventeen-year-old vines, this was bottle 1482 of 2262 from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills and produced in a natural way by Taras Ochota and his wife Amber. Textured, perfumed dark plum, fine smoke and herbal brambled blackcurrant pulse with a taut acidity along fine, slightly grippy and cloudy tannins. Persistent violets dart in and out of the fresh palate, one that draws deliberately lazy along the medium body. Mineral salts vibrate along the lengthy finish. Whole bunch, without additions and rested ten months in French barrique. This is as pure and patient view of cooler climate Oz syrah that you will find. Enjoy this beguiling wine over an evening.Prices: BC 43.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
91PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmple and heady perfumed violets lead off this peppery and complexed syrah, the premium syrah bottling from LVP. Savoury roasted meats, cured meats, cassis, bright wild blueberry, sultry baking spices and thorns fill the structured, lush palate, one built on 18 months in French oak (mix of second fill and neutral) and framed with taut tannins. Potent and alluring tobacco and mixed peppercorns throughout, from start to lengthy finish. Unfined and unfiltered. Pretty and pretty drinkable now with a decant and rack of lamb, but its best years are ahead yet.Prices: BC 79.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2012

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmple cracked black pepper opens this potent, complex syrah. A tiny tip of co-fermented viognier adds perfumed cold cream fragrance to the mix, but this vintage is dominated by big peppery, roasted meats, flirting tar and structured, bristling tannins. Bacon fat coats the palate before a rage of earthy, dusty tannins take over. The finish lingers with fresh roasted coffee. With grapes from Osoyoos Lake District and North Oliver. Decant now, or cellar for short term.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violettetext
90PTS

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaScented violets meets roasted meats meets cracked pepper in this alluring, charismatic syrah. One percent co-fermented roussanne seasons and softens the cuvée, though this is all about bright, fresh, earthy wild blackberry, cassis and black pepper. A veneer of tar lines the bottom before wild herbs and charcuterie come into the savoury, pink peppercorn-laced palate. Grapes were drawn from Black Sage Bench and Dead Man's Lake for this well-priced, likeable and serious wine.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violettetext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA co-ferment with a splash of roussanne may soften this perfumed violet, peppery and red fruited syrah from Black Sage Bench, North Oliver and Osoyoos Lake District. A reductive tar and sweet pipe tobacco dominates the fruity plum and cassis jam note, while 14 months in French oak barrels provides brute force and grainy structure. Hints of perfumed florals and bitter espresso linger on the finish. A lot going on here, perhaps not fully resolved, but great value nonetheless for a very serious wine.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note

11 August 2016

Poplar Grove Merlottext
88PTS

Poplar Grove Merlot 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPoplar Grove merlot is easy to like, with its inviting nose of vanilla and black cherry fruit. The attack is soft and round, very merlot, and the palate similar with plummy, black cherry fruit and licorice flavours and soft, well managed tannins. A solid effort that could use a bit more concentration and acidity to really sing out. Pleasant and ready to drink now with most grilled meats. The wine spends a lengthy 21 months in 100% French oak. In 2013 the blend includes 7% malbec and 4% cabernet franc.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
Read Full Note
Lunessence Merlottext
87PTS

Lunessence Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA nice improvement over last year in some ways, but this baby is warm and spicy from front to back. The wine spends six months in a mix of French, Slavonian and Hungarian oak, and six months in stainless steel. The nose shows a touch of baked red cherries with ripe blueberries and blackberries. The oak is prominent but less than 2013 which is a good thing. The attack is soft and warm with intense spicy black fruit flavours, but with enough acidity to remain balanced. Try it with grilled lamb chops for a perfect match.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Moonlight Valley Winery
Read Full Note
Tinhorn Creek Merlottext
87PTS

Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou feel the heat in 2014 right from the start to the finish. Coffee and smoky toasted oak mark the nose, with plenty of ripe black cherry fruit. The entry is soft and round but with a fair amount of sweetness in its warm, spicy, milk chocolate and black fruit flavours. More California than BC this year which may have wide appeal. Ready to drink. Consider this around the barbecue red with ribs and or burgers.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Read Full Note
LaStella Allegretto Merlot Pie Francotext
89PTS

LaStella Allegretto Merlot Pie Franco 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAllegretto is a single vineyard Osoyoos merlot, planted on its own rootstock (pie franco) in white silica sand. This is full, youthful and dense, with the tight fist of sun-ripened density meeting the gentle expansion of sixteen-year-old vines on silica sand. Eighteen months in French oak provides the background to this brooding, full red, flushed out with black cherry, cassis, tobacco, dark plum and structured with ample sinewy tannins. The finish is hot and dusky spiced. Very much in youth; decant now, or cellar for five+ years to reveal what this wine can be.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note
LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlottext
91PTS

LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlot 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFew wineries hang their hat on 100 percent merlot, especially in the Okanagan, but this premium red from Osoyoos' La Stella is entirely "solo", and is the winery's flagship wine. The style is a tip of the hat to Ornellaia’s Masseto. A stretch perhaps, but the blend of two vineyards, one in Osoyoos and one on the Golden Mile Bench is at the root of this full, dense and structured red, from 16-21-year-old vines. It spends 18 months in French oak barriques and puncheons (38 percent new). Brooding and perfumed black plum, wild blackberry, ripe cherry, dark chocolate is scented with heady kirsch. The firm and full palate is drawn along by thick, grainy tannins, finishing with length, fine baking spice and some heat (the 14.7 percent felt here). Decant, and pour with a rich steak now, or cellar for five or more years. Impressive and encouraging for merlot.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note

10 August 2016

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWild fresh raspberries, perfumed cherries, rhubarb and raspberry leaf lead this Loire-inspired, herbal cabernet franc. Bright and precise acids lift and buoy the juicy fruited, medium-bodied palate along fine, lightly cloudy tannins (unfiltered) until a vibrating riff of sage and mustard seed herbs lingers on the finish. A welcome lighter version of Okanagan cab franc, even at a surprising 14.2 percent alcohol, and best appreciated with a slight chill. Cachola Family Vineyard is located just north of Oliver, and is composed of gravelly clay soils cutting into the base of the hills.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Cabernet Franc 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA meaty, squid ink nose leads to a medium bodied, moderate palate. Raspberry and cherry lead grippy tannins, cloaked by medicinal-scented tobacco and finishing with lingering cloves. A strong vein of acidity counters the fruit through a lingering, grippy and warm finish (14.8 percent alcohol). Seventeen months in French and American oak barrels, plus the sun density of the Golden Mile Bench provides structure that will reward with a few years in the cellar. At nearly $50 per bottle, this is not an everyday wine for most folks.Prices: BC 49.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
Read Full Note
TintoNegro Uco Valley Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

TintoNegro Uco Valley Cabernet Franc 2014

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaWild blackberry, smoked meats and streaky bacon fat lead this higher altitude Uco Valley cabernet franc, before a persistant perfumed violet floral takes over. Sueded, dusky tannins support the medium bodied, lifted and cherry-laden fruit to a mineral, limestone-spiked finish. TintoNegro is a collaboration project between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach, colleagues at Bodega Catena Zapata for almost 15 years. Finesse finishes warm, and best suited to pork dishes. A new lens for Argentinian reds.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: 55 Malbec
Read Full Note

09 August 2016

50th Parallel Estate Chardonnaytext
88PTS

50th Parallel Estate Chardonnay 2014

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSlightly softer edition from winemaker Grant Stanley, but the wine is cleaner this year. Look for an inviting nutty, leesy, baked apple, spicy nose. The palate is round and a touch buttery with more ripe apple/pear fruit and flecks of peaches. The finish is full with a touch of sweetness (honey) that moderates the acid, spice and oak. Ready to drink and would be perfect with Dungeness crab or lobster.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
Read Full Note
LaStella Leggiero Un-Oaked Chardonnaytext
87PTS

LaStella Leggiero Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLeggiero is made without any oak, to emphasize the search for minerality and freshness. The challenge is to have some weight and complexity. The palate is quite pure and juicy, with skinny citrus, green apple scents and flavours accompanied by some sour notes in the crisp mineral finish. Food please; butter chicken could be fun or oysters on the half shell.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note
Black Hills Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Black Hills Chardonnay 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNo big changes here. The oak still dominates this wine, and in a warm year like 2014, only accentuates the sweetness and roundness. Butter, honey, melon and vanilla make for a slightly sweet entry that finishes with some oak spice and a much needed trace of freshness. Ready to drink. Serve creamy pasta dishes or scallops for best effect.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwoodedtext
83PTS

Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwooded 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis big, concentrated and slightly sweet chardonnay is from vineyards from the north and south Okanagan. Tropical fruit, passionfruit, green melon and hedge fill the round, soft palate, one that is clipped short on the finish. Simple juice, chill well, drink now.Prices: BC 14.80 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Meyer Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Meyer Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meyer Okanagan chardonnay is a mix of estate fruit from McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls and Old Main Road in Naramata. The wine goes through a natural, partial malolactic fermentation and spends about five months on its fine lees. The style is minimalist, helped by the use of older wood, yielding classic Okanagan tree fruit aromas with fairly ripe peach fruit flavours. As rich as we have seen this wine, although the finish is fresh and stony with a light mineral undercurrent. There is some complexity too. Ready to drink. Try this with fresh halibut and a fruit salsa.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Art and Viv Meyer Old Main Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Art and Viv Meyer Old Main Road Vineyard 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit was hand harvested October 30th at 24 brix from the sixteen-year-old, silty/clay loamy Naramata-based Old Main Road Vineyard that faces north. Only the finest, purest free run juice is used here. The attack is light and juicy with rich, nutty, leesy, honeyed-peach fruit flavours. The palate is similar with soft, round, almost sweet fruit flavours, no doubt attributed to the vintage. Still after all that there is freshness and length that keeps you coming back to the glass and finishing the bottle. Stylish and fun to drink now. The wine spends 11 months in 22 percent new French oak sans battonage. The Tribute Series is dedicated to Canadians that have been outstanding in their field. In 2014 Art and Viv Meyer were honoured as parents, grandparents and community workers.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Barrel Fermented Chardonnaytext
88PTS

C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVery perfumed white flowers open this full bodied, whole cluster pressed and barrel-fermented chardonnay. After fermenting in two-year-old French oak, this spends six months with occasional lees-stirring in the same vessels. Sweeter orchard fruit base, textured with light peppery spice and tightened with green apple acidity. Perfumed pear and apple blossoms linger on the finish. Reflective of the warm 2015 vintage, and the sun-ripe Golden Mile Bench.Prices: BC 49.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
Read Full Note
Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Chardonnay 2013

Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California, United StatesLuminus continues to impress me and frankly isn't at all what you may expect from a Napa Valley Chardonnay. This single vineyard chardonnay from Oak Knoll has style and freshness. There is perfection tension here between the ripe tropical fruit tones and a mineral/citrus undertone. We love the nutty lees, ripe pear fruit and spare use of oak. High quality and good value in a New World style of chardonnay. Crab, halibut, lobster, whole roasted chicken all fits here.Prices: BC 40.00 ON 40.00 AB 43.50 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
Read Full Note
Beringer Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Beringer Chardonnay 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesBeringer chardonnay has escaped the rich, oaky, cloying style and now appears all grown up in the glass. Like the ’12, the ’13 is a slightly leaner, fresher style of chardonnay. It’s still Napa rich but there is balance here as exemplified by a mix of citrus and melon that enervate the mid-palate before the creamy orange flecked finish kicks in. Love the lees notes throughout. Try this with lobster or crab. Fine value in New World chardonnay.Prices: AB 25.00 BC 30.00 QC 27.00 ON 25.00 NF 30.00 MB 35.00 NB 31.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
Read Full Note
CedarCreek Chardonnaytext
88PTS

CedarCreek Chardonnay 2014

British Columbia, CanadaThis oaked chardonnay, their estate, is an "entry level" tier, though it certainly doesn't present that way. The oak here, though evident, is well handled, and provides a good support for the fresh, potent orchard fruit. This was fermented in stainless steel, foudre (2250L) and traditional French oak barrels. Cream, ripe pear, nectarine, white peach and lemon peel are set against the round mouthfeel of that wood and finish slightly warm. While not fully seamless, it will become more so with time, and with assistance from tender scallops or crab cakes.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Signorello Chardonnay Vieilles Vignestext
89PTS

Signorello Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesEarly, even and excellent is how winemaker/owner Ray Signorello describes the 2013 that jumps form the glass with notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom and vanilla. The style is rich and opulent California with more tropical fruit flavours and a thin bead of resin through the finish. A little more old-style perhaps than it needs be, but would be perfect with rich seafood dishes like lobster and crab. All native yeast ferment with fruit off 36-year-old vines. Only 1.8 tons per acre all picked September 22. The wine is whole cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels. Just under 60 percent goes through malolactic fermentation. The wine spends 16 months on the lees in 19 percent new French oak barrels.Prices: BC 66.99 ON 52.00 AB 57.00 Producer: Signorello Estate
Read Full Note
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnay 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, full and bold, this young chardonnay (four-year-old vines) carries overt wood and cream throughout its rich frame. Sweeter smoke, cloves, baked caramel apple pie and marzipan ride through to the finish. Rich and potent, this Golden Mile fruit was fermented wild in 100 percent new French oak, before 50 percent aged in the oak and the other in stainless for sixteen months. So much influence from the wood here, it's hard to clear through to the beautiful fruit, but time in bottle should assist.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Read Full Note

08 August 2016

Stag's Hollow Viognier Hearle Vineyardtext
90PTS

Stag's Hollow Viognier Hearle Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs much as I enjoyed the 2013 the ’14 may be better. The heat is viogner’s friend and there was plenty in 2014. The fruit is whole cluster pressed, cold settled and then moved to 100 percent tight grained French oak barrels (20 percent second fill, and 40 percent third fill, in 40 percent neutral oak) for fermentation and finally aged sur lees for six months prior to bottling. Classic white peaches, ginger, marmalade and floral notes. The palate is similar with a whiff of lees for complexity and along creamy, but not fat, palate. Impressive and more evidence this variety should have a home in BC. Anything in a creamy sauce works here: chicken, pork, rabbit pasta or Thai Pad.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
Read Full Note
Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +07/10text
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +07/10 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTake a lush grape like viognier and match with the hot 2015 vintage and you land on this uber-rich white wine, thick with both floral fragrance and creamy body. Fleshy apricot and baked peach is lined with a thick layer of creamy lees and spliced with lime pith bitterness. You can feel the heat on the finish. One glass of this 15 percent alcohol wine is enough on its own, but paired with a protein-laden food, this could suit. Grapes from their Osoyoos' Perfect Hedge vineyard was split between stainless, French oak and concrete eggs, adding more expansion to the palate. A lot of a lot here.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
Read Full Note
Tahbilk Marsanne Museum Releasetext
91PTS

Tahbilk Marsanne Museum Release 2008

Goulburn Valley, Victoria, AustraliaHoneysuckle is scented with light macadamia, smoked stone, eraser and bitter lemon pith in this eight-year-old Marsanne, bottled under the "Museum Reserve" label. The palate flows with an oily slickness, though there is a subtle fine grip through to the very lengthy, ashen and salty finish. Pale gold in hue, this is lagging in its evolution than some vintages, showing hints of the fruity characteristics of young marsanne, but with some of the secondary characteristics of the age worthy grape. Has a way to go still: 5 years easy. A cellar-worthy steal to buy now.Prices: Producer: Tahbilk Pty Ltd
Read Full Note
Tahbilk Marsannetext
90PTS

Tahbilk Marsanne 2013

Goulburn Valley, Victoria, AustraliaPale green yellow in hue, streaked with herbed salts, citrus, meadow grasses, subtle hedge and light white honey. Juicy and brisk in the palate, with frisky acidity and a clean, tight citrus and green apple note on a light/medium bodied frame. An apple skin grip adds a light savoury and textural element to an oil-slicked palate, finishing with fine spice. A shadow of age here, but with five-ten years in the cellar (and beyond) this will be an entirely different wine.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Tahbilk Pty Ltd
Read Full Note
Tahbilk Marsannetext
92PTS

Tahbilk Marsanne 2010

Goulburn Valley, Victoria, AustraliaPetrol, eraser and faint honeysuckle line the nose and the glass of this six-year-old Marsanne, showing some of the grape's ageworthy characteristics. A light golden yellow hue, with bitter marmalade, scrubby herbs and lemon thistle carried along a light slick of oil and finishing with pear skin spicing. Fine thread of persistent acidity runs the length of this lean bodied wine to the extended finish. This is all about tension and savoury stoniness. Another 6+ years easy.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Tahbilk Pty Ltd
Read Full Note
Yalumba Y Series Viogniertext
89PTS

Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2015

South Australia, AustraliaCredited with reinstating and introducing a dying-off grape, Yalumba now has the greatest plantings of viognier in the world. This vintage of Y Series brings the classic lush apricot, jasmine, ginger and honeysuckle to a rich, spicy and full palate. At 14.5 percent alcohol, this can and absolutely should be paired with protein - think Ahi tuna tataki with papaya salad.Prices: BC 18.00 AB 20.00 ON 17.00 YK 20.70 MB 18.00 NB 19.50 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
Read Full Note

05 August 2016

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
90PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is a mix of rhubarb and strawberry with a touch of forest floor. The attack is firmer and drier than the ‘Okanagan blend’ with more spice and mid-palate weight and surprisingly some grippy tannins in the back end. I would leave this alone for three years to give it some time to settle in. Definitely a candidate for duck or grilled salmon. Mclean Creek Road Vineyard is on the home site. Its relatively steep slope, faces south, west and north west and sits over a mix of stony/sandy alluvial and glacial deposits. The vines mix five different Burgundian clones, both Pommard and Dijon, on three distinct blocks. Each block is managed separately using organic principles. The wine spends 11 months in French oak, 24% is new.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Tightrope Winery Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe colour is a pleasing light hue; the nose is savoury, and full of spice and forest floor. The palate is rich with red fruits, rhubarb, plums cedar and spice. The finish is long and persistent. One cluster per shoot and the shoulders are removed suggesting the are not fooling around here. The wine is aged 30 percent new French oak for about 10 months. Solid. Try this with wild salmon.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
Read Full Note
Hillside Estate Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Hillside Estate Pinot Noir 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear three of Hillside's pinot program using Naramata fruit is looking good. The nose is a mix of mineral, rhubarb, strawberry flavours with flecks of savoury/smoky dried herbs. The attack is dry and fresh with more rhubarb, pepper, cherry tobacco flavours. The finish has a few grippy tannins tugging at your gums but they would disappear into a duck confit or salmon dish.Prices: BC 21.73 Producer: Hillside Estate Winery Ltd.
Read Full Note
Sumac Ridge Pinot Noir Private Reservetext
84PTS

Sumac Ridge Pinot Noir Private Reserve 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimple, soft, sweet edition of pinot noir with some tannin that tugs at the back end. Round, spicy, sweet, candied flavours dominate the mid-palate with some bitterness in the finish. A style that won’t offend or impress. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 13.74 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Meyer Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe gentle, minimal intervention style at Meyer filters all the way down to the introductory pinot simply labelled ‘Meyer’. It bears an Okanagan Valley designation and blends fruit from the home property Mclean Creek Road Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, Reimer Vineyard in South East Kelowna and two East Kelowna sites. Destemmed and cold soaked it undergoes a long fairly warm fermentation. It is all hand plunged and post maceration it spends ten months in 100% older seasoned French oak barrels. Certainly the ripest OK pinot we have tasted from Meyer, but what makes this better than past years is the juicy character of the wine. Cran-cherries, rhubarb, raspberry fruit covers the palate with that silky mouth-filling pinot texture. Fine quality and style and perfect with chicken or duck and or mushroom dishes. Good value. A mix of California and New Zealand meets BC.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOnly 110 cases of Micro Cuvée were made, all grown at McLean Creek Road. The fruit was picked from the 6th thorough the 21st of October and it is clear it was picked at selection. The Micro Cuvée is all about winemaker Chris Carson and his personal selection barrels that make what he terms the “most harmonious blend” of McLean Creek Road Vineyard. The grapes are mostly from the Pommard Clone 91 block with a small additions form the 114 block and the 667-777 block. Carson picked one new French oak 500-litre puncheon, a one-year-old French oak puncheon and a 228 litre barrel to make the blend. This is full blown new world pinot, a bit reminiscent of Central Otago. Round, silky and ripe on the palate, the fruit is a mix of dark plums and cherries with a spicy, dried thyme undercurrent. Full and long and persistent it is clearly harmonious. Bravo.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelownatext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelowna 2014

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEast Kelowna is home to this juicy, spicy, alive pinot noir. The nose is mix of jasmine and super ripe black cherries. The attack is sweet pinot with silky, round, juicy, soft fruit awash in ripe, red berries, dried herbs and a touch of brown spice. Love the balance here between acid and alcohol and the back end persistence. This is a new level of quality for pinot for BC. The grapes were harvested October 30. The vineyard, moderately steep, has a northwesterly aspect with slightly heavier alluvial and windblown deposits making up a silt loam overlaying a gravel loam. Grilled salmon, whole roasted chicken or mushroom risotto would be a dream.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard - OK Fallstext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard - OK Falls 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ‘Old Block’ is one of the original 1994 plantings (clone unknown) and is part of the largest block of pinot noir (one acre) at McLean Creek Road. It has a steep southerly aspect to capture the full range of the sun and in 2014 it got all the sun and more. The site was replanted in 2009 and it only came into full production in 2014. Finesse, length, sweet pinot notes and silky tannins are the story here and it looks as if these vines will have a bright future. Love the brightness and the absence of oak influence. Take note competitors.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
Read Full Note

04 August 2016

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
91PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the premium riesling from the Okanagan's riesling specialist, soured from a single course sand over gravel vineyard on their estate in Okanagan Falls. This is the first year to include their new 2010 plantings, up to 1/3 of the blend. Beauty concentration, with lemon balm, ripe apricot and chalky texture cut with grippy green apple and lingering with white, gingered honey and lime pith. Mouthwatering shimmering acidity throughout this youthful wine, with the vast majority of its life still ahead. Indeed, this feels like a gangly teenager, on the verge of the swan stage. I will hold this vintage for 5+ years. Even in the super warm 2015 vintage, this holds at 8.9 percent alcohol, with a striking balance between 46 g/l RS and 11 g/l TA.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
50th Parallel Estate Rieslingtext
87PTS

50th Parallel Estate Riesling 2015

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSlightly reductive now with notes of struck match mixed with green apples, guava, and pear fruit flavours. Juicy, crisp crunchy fruit flavours of red apples and nectarine with dried herbs and a squeeze of grapefruit. We like most of this wine but the reductive notes mar the nose and finish. Make sure you give it some air to clean up in the glass. Try with spicy tuna sushi rolls.Prices: BC 21.85 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
Read Full Note
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinetttext
90PTS

Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2014

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, GermanyWith a sheen of petrol and a surge of honey, this Mosel riesling opens with a potency that carries through to the finish. Light flinty smoke, rich pear, light white florals and spiced quince paste are tempered with a thin frame of bitter herbs. From a steep southwest facing slope of medium deep, stony, loamy weathered schist, this absorbs the sunshine and reflects it back in powerful wines like this one. This Kabinett balances out 91 g/l RS with 8 g/l acidity in a tidy 8 percent alcohol bottle. Delish now, and over the next decade.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Muller-Burggraef
Read Full Note
Martin's Lane Naramata Ranch Vineyard Rieslingtext
88PTS

Martin's Lane Naramata Ranch Vineyard Riesling 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 10 to 30-year-old vines at the Naramata vineyard and from ancient granite soils, this ripe peach, pear butter, full bodied riesling carries mango, mandarine and pulpy lime along a softer, cold cream palate to a grippy finish. Wild yeast ferment adds some herbal interest.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
Read Full Note
Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt RK Riesling Trockentext
89PTS

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt RK Riesling Trocken 2015

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, GermanyHeady white florals, petrol and pear skin lead off this cool, young, dry riesling, from a 600+ year old wine estate in Trier. Quince, mandarine and spiced yellow apple pick up on the medium bodied, bright and crunchy palate, one corseted with fine bones and lingering with a hum of minerality. Vineyards from the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer are utilized in the RK blend, their "entry-level" cuvee.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt
Read Full Note

03 August 2016

Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandRefreshing Marlborough sauvignon blanc from its bright, pure, gooseberry citrus fruits aromas to its trace bits of minerality in the finish. The attack equally bright with more fresh passion fruit and jalapeño notes on the palate. No need to wait on this bottle; just twist off the top and pour it out. A perfect match with shellfish, Margherita pizza or chicken salads.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 20.00 MB 22.00 Producer: Rossendale Winery
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAny way you look at it you have to be diligent to make sauvignon blanc in the south Okanagan. At LVP they picked early in 2015 to get taut acidity and moderate alcohol. The result is a bright, fresh style with rich, gooseberry/Meyer lemon aromas and an even sharper orchard fruit flavour on the palate before a stony, mineral back end. The magic comes from partial skin contact before pressing, stainless steel, neutral oak and a different scheme for each vessel holding juice. Look for bright, passion fruit/grapefruit flavours with a touch of stony/minerality. Oysters anyone?Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Sumac Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Private Reservetext
84PTS

Sumac Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Private Reserve 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNo changes here. The nose is a mix of grassy, pink grapefruit and lime rind aromas. The attack is soft and slightly sweet on entry with more grapefruit, butter, and green apple flavours. Simple and ready to drink if chilled well, or use in wine cocktails with ample citrus / orchard fruits.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandNo big changes here in what is classic, commercial, Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Gooseberry and dill mark the nose and palate, with a strong citrus undercurrent. The tart, aggressive style finishes short and bitter, and is best tamed by a goat cheese salad or some west coast steamed mussels. Good value.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 20.00 ON 20.00 NS 20.00 NB 20.00 Producer: Whitehaven
Read Full Note
Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrisp and lean, with grass, sour lemon, grapefruit, gooseberry and green melon, this is a brisk and youthful sauvignon blanc to chill and refresh with this summer. Nine percent semillion is added for a touch of padding, thankfully; it's still super skinny.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
Read Full Note
Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s hard to believe the vines are now 15 years old at Howling Bluff but they are, and the wine and the winemaker Luke Smith are settling in. Grown on deep clay, it easily withstood the warm summer. There is a hint of sweetness on the mid-palate but that offsets the lime rind, grapefruit and grassy gooseberry flavours. Back on track. Order some steamed mussels for a great match.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
Read Full Note
River Stone Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

River Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPunchy tangerine, passion fruit and peach throughout this bold sauvignon blanc. The sun-warmed ripeness of the southern Okanagan is apparent here. Bitter peach fuzz and crunchy acidity ups the assertive component, as does a swarm of heat on the finish. Not shy, chill and pair with avocado and cilantro fish tacos.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
Read Full Note

02 August 2016

Young & Wyse Collection Black Sheep Blendtext
86PTS

Young & Wyse Collection Black Sheep Blend 2011

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis southern Okanagan blend is a 40/30/15/15 blend of cabernet franc/merlot/cabernet sauvignon/malbec. Now soothed with time in bottle, the dense and sweetly ripe red and black fruit is supported with gummy, sticky and powdery tannins. Dark chocolate and coffee is spiked with kirsch and perfumed with red gummies and florals. Best paired with saucy ribs.Prices: BC 31.90 Producer: Young and Wyse Collection
Read Full Note
CedarCreek Merlottext
88PTS

CedarCreek Merlot 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy black plum, blackcurrant, peppery steak seasoning and fruitcake fill this fuller, plush merlot, one seasoned with a sprinkle of malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Twenty-one months in French oak is apparent in the structure, a firm and warm hug. Tannins and wood are well integrated and a welcome benefit of having the 2013 as current release. Vanilla and heat (nearing 15 percent alcohol) linger on the finish, but nothing that grilled steak won't happily meet. Dialled and impressive, especially at this price.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Roodeberg Redtext
86PTS

Roodeberg Red 2014

Western Cape, South AfricaSweet raspberry jam, cherry and cinnamon bark pervade this simple, medium bodied red. A smooth blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz and ruby cabernet, this carries enough freshness to keep the super ripe fruit from cloying. Finishes with a black pepper kick.Prices: BC 12.49 ON 12.00 SK 14.00 MB 14.00 NS 12.00 NB 15.00 YK 16.00 Producer: KWV International
Read Full Note
Inception Deep Layered Redtext
80PTS

Inception Deep Layered Red 2013

Western Cape, South AfricaSmoked branch, tar and blackberry pie on this concentrated sweet red. Simple and short, with mocha lining the palate before a hotter finish.Prices: BC 12.00 NF 16.60 NS 15.00 MB 15.00 ON 14.00 SK 16.00 NB 16.00 Producer: Distell Group Limited
Read Full Note
Blasted Church Nothing Sacredtext
87PTS

Blasted Church Nothing Sacred 2011

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA good example why waiting for BC red wines while they age in bottle is usually a good thing. The 2011 Nothing Sacred Meritage is ready to go at five years of age. The nose is a mix of floral, cedar and savoury red fruits with flecks of oak and tobacco. The textures are mostly silky, with rich dark fruit and spicy flavours. Perfect with grilled or roasted meats and or lamb or perhaps a favourite soft cheese. The blend is merlot, petit verdot and malbec.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
Read Full Note
Noble Ridge Reserve Meritagetext
87PTS

Noble Ridge Reserve Meritage 2013

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot quite as enticing as the previous year. There is plenty of savoury, red fruit here but the oak is dominating. The mid-palate is spicy and refreshing but the cocoa and vanilla sits on the red fruit at this point. The finish is medium long with some grippy tannins. I would wait a year or two for this to round out. Best with prime cuts of meat. This is the second year the Reserve Meritage has cabernet franc and malbec in the blend. Both were added equally at 2.8 percent joining 55.5 percent merlot and 38.9 percent cabernet sauvignon. It spends 15 months in a 75/25 mix of French/American barrels of which 40 percent are new and then bottle aged for 14 months.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
Read Full Note
Wild Goose Red Horizon Meritagetext
88PTS

Wild Goose Red Horizon Meritage 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWild Goose always brings out the pure fruit in their wines and this 2013 screams black plums and blackberries on the nose and palate with some prominent spice and acidity. The palate is juicy and somewhat tangy, the finish medium long. A solid barbecue red that should improve further in the bottle. The blend is a mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot.Prices: BC 19.13 Producer: Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery
Read Full Note
LaStella Fortissimotext
91PTS

LaStella Fortissimo 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from the south Okanagan come together in this alluring Tuscan-inspired red. Black cherry, leather, graphite, dark florals, wild blackberry, and branch are seamlessly intertwined with this full, flowing red. Acidity pulses along structured, supple tannins, finishing with a long tug gf grippy spice, a welcome lingering effect of light filtration. Much more approachable in youth than previous vintages. Even so, decanting is welcome, and helps this density relax further. Drinking beautifully now, but will continue to deepen with 5+ years in the cellar.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Retouchetext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Retouche 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch better balance here than we saw in the 2011. The nose has an inviting, aromatic, savoury, black fruit note. The flavours are mix of black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit with moderate, silky tannins and very bright acidity. The concept of Hermitage-ing the Bordeaux blend with some Syrah is successful but this wine is only beginning its journey. Try with lamb or beef or wait another three to five years. The gratuitously heavy bottle does not fit the style of Le Vieux Pin.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Monte Creek Ranch Ranch Hand Red Reservetext
87PTS

Monte Creek Ranch Ranch Hand Red Reserve 2014

British Columbia, CanadaRanch Hand Red comes off the Monte Creek Ranch in the south Thompson Valley. The mix of grapes is decidedly different than the BC norm at 59/23/10/8 of marquette/frontenac/cabernet sauvignon/merlot. The attack is fresh and lively with prominent but not overbearing acidity keeping it all fresh. It's an interesting mix of red and black fruit matching its floral, cherry/berry, brown spice flavours. Definitely original. Serve with a favourite venison dish.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mission View Estate
Read Full Note
Fielding Estate Chosen FEWtext
86PTS

Fielding Estate Chosen FEW 2012

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis big Niagara Peninsula red is a blend of cabernet franc, syrah and cabernet sauvignon, and is only the second vintage of Chosen FEW, a follow up to the warm and ripe 2007. Chosen from their best barrels, this is made in small quantities from select (I assume quite warm) vintages. The wines were vinified and aged for eighteen months in new and older oak barriques, and then blended and bottled without fining or filtration. This leads with big smoked wood and toasted branch. Smoked earth, ink, dark chocolate cedar and tart black cherry ride ragged cedar wood tannins to a bitter espresso finish. Overt oak overwhelms the fruit at this youthful stage, though should integrate more with a couple of years further rest. Decant now and pair with lamb or big beef dishes.Prices: ON 60.00 Producer: Fielding Estate Winery
Read Full Note
River Stone Stones Throwtext
89PTS

River Stone Stones Throw 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone is a tiny estate winery operating just south of McIntyre Bluff in the south Okanagan Valley. The Stones Throw red blend is made with estate fruit off River Rock Vineyards, surrounding the Oliver winery. We like the bright fruit attack with ringing acidity that adds a tautness through the finish. Savoury black cherries, sagebrush and moderate vanilla/oak undertones. Tannins are slightly sticky, reflective of the hot site. This will improve in bottle over the next five years. Well done. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, one third new, for some 14 months. Merlot malbec and cabernet sauvignon are at the heart of the blend and they all lie within a ‘stone's throw’ of each other.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym Meritagetext
88PTS

Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym Meritage 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMer'r'iym (pronounced mur'-eem') translates to marriage, reflective of the union of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and cabernet franc in this big, ripe and powerful southern Okanagan red. One of the premium wines of the Nk'Mip portfolio, this is a giant of dark chocolate coated cherries, dark florals, tobacco, dried herbs, baked blackcurrant and toasted wood. Tannins are massive, ragged and chewy, and at this stage still overriding the density of fruit (not an easy task) but eighteen months in French oak can have that effect. The finish is bitter espresso and every ounce its nearly 15 percent alcohol. Best enjoyed now with a decant and herbed roast beef or game meat dinnerPrices: BC 50.99 Producer: Nk’Mip Cellars
Read Full Note
Ryan Patrick Redhead Redtext
85PTS

Ryan Patrick Redhead Red 2014

Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFrom eastern Washington's Wahluke Slope AVA, the driest and warmest wine region in the USA, comes this full bodied and easy cabernet sauvignon/merlot/malbec/syrah blend. Black cherry, blackberry and pepper are stretched along a soft, wood-framed palate, the result of extraction plus seven months in American oak (fifteen percent of which was new). Short and splintered wood on the warm finish, best sopped up with sauced beef ribs or stew.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Ryan Patrick
Read Full Note
LaStella Fortissimotext
89PTS

LaStella Fortissimo 2012

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. A blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese, this is aged in Eastern European puncheons (35 percent new). Worn leather, dried cassis, black cherry and branch is scented with dark florals. At this point, unforgiving; tannins are still massive, raging and sticky, outpacing the ripe fruit and finishing long with a thick bitter espresso note. Decant and pour now with prime rib or roasted lamb.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note
LaStella Fortissimotext
88PTS

LaStella Fortissimo 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe blend of 57/21/11/11 merlot, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc is big, dry and almost brawny with some grippy tannins. The attack is warm and acidic with savoury, twiggy, spicy black fruit with a long warm finish. If you like big, spicy hot reds this one is for you. We prefer a bit more finesse. Best now with grilled beef ribs.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: LaStella
Read Full Note

01 August 2016

Sperling Vin Gris of Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Sperling Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring the palest peach, nearly clear hue. Whole cluster press, wild ferment, full MLF and into puncheons for twelve months, this is Anne Sperling's adventurous, natural wine bent showing through, and it works beautifully. The savoury, salty nose lures and leads to an earthy, savoury, lees-lined palate, with cracked stone and fine grip on the finish. This is not about fruit, is very distinct, and quite delicious.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
90PTS

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2015

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPale orange pink, this earthy, salty gamay rosé is from the spectacular Secrest Mountain site outside of Oliver. Twelve hours skin contact after destemming, this is pressed straight to concrete for wild yeast fermentation and six months aging. An earthy, wild herb nose carries Bing cherry, salts and wild strawberries along a slight slick of lees. Vibrant acidity finishes crunchy and quenching. A beauty, and one I expect to do well with some age. #GoGamayGoPrices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Read Full Note
Bench 1775 Glow Rosétext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Glow Rosé 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a blush peach hue, this opens with light perfumed cherry, confected strawberry notes, which carries through onto the palate. More vegetal strawberry leaf, rhubarb and pear flavours lead the creamy medium body here, with the blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and cabernet franc met by a flush of juicy acidity. Simple and interesting, and well matched to salmon burgers.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
Read Full Note
Little Farm Winery Rosétext
90PTS

Little Farm Winery Rosé 2015

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways impressive, this cabernet franc rosé doesn't disappoint in 2015. Young, juicy and fresh now, past vintages indicate this single vineyard cabernet franc will age well with short term cellaring. If you can wait, that is - this is drinking beautifully now, with salted wild strawberries, subtle cured meats, fresh sage and flake salt. Dried orange peel lingers on the finish. Half the grapes were whole cluster pressed and the rest foot-trodden and left on the skins 4-7 hours before a gentle pressing into neutral barrels and stainless steel where it rested on the lees for six months.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
Read Full Note
Salt Spring Vineyards Rosétext
89PTS

Salt Spring Vineyards Rosé 2014

Salt Spring Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaVery pale - almost clear in hue, with just the slightest hint of pink. A concentrated nose, with fine savoury herbs, maple bacon and light hints of earthy lees. Beauty spice seasons a gentle core of strawberry sweetness, carried with a wave of juiciness, and hemmed with fine grained tannins and grip on the finish. Impressive.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Salt Spring Vineyards
Read Full Note
La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux Rosétext
86PTS

La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux Rosé 2015

Côtes-du-Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThis medium-pale pink offers up off dry candied and jammy strawberry and orange fruit. From cinsault, grenache and rougeon in the Ventoux, this is a ripe, sun-soaked and fleshy rosé, scented with floral roses, tangerine and red liquorice. Simple, and highly affordable, chill this down and crack this summer.Prices: BC 12.49 QC 13.90 ON 10.95 Producer: Famille Perrin
Read Full Note