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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: April 2017

27 April 2017

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rossotext
90PTS

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2014

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyLe Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso turns ten years old with the 2014. Not just any rosso, the fruit that ends up in this mix is thoroughly vetted from a series of blocks or plots of younger vines, precisely identified for the rosso. They want a drinkable wine but not a simple wine. It’s not a second choice. The blend is 50/30/20 mix of merlot/cabernet franc/syrah. The style is fresh despite a tough year where the winery exchanged weight for drinkability. The nose is a savoury mix of red fruit and the palate a spicy smooth silky red boasting black olives and gamey fruit with toasted oak notes in the back end. The Bolgheri Rosso is their “calling card” and a window in the Le Macchiole ethos. The wine is aged 11 months – 80 percent in second and third fill oak barriques; 20 percent is aged in concrete.Prices: BC 55.00 AB 67.50 QC 33.25 Producer: Le Macchiole
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Le Macchiole Paleo Rossotext
95PTS

Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso 2013

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyIn 1975, the late Eugenio Campolmi founded Le Macchiole with the purchase of a vineyard in Bolgheri. Long famous for its Bordeaux-styled blends, Le Macchiole is becoming equally known for its merlot, and of late, its outstanding cabernet franc under the Paleo Rosso label. In its early days this wine was a blend but since 2001 it has been all cabernet franc and all Bolgheri. The mild climate is a boon to the cabernet franc ripening process, trading all green flavours for a red packed full of savoury, graphite fruit and dense sweet tannins. In 2013, the rich, savoury, silky, peppery red is simply a standout with terrific acidity and a mineral undercurrent to supercharge the backend. What it is not, is Bordeaux, and we are thankful for that.Prices: BC 150.00 AB 115.00 Producer: Le Macchiole
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Le Macchiole Scriotext
93PTS

Le Macchiole Scrio 2013

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyScrio came to life in 1994 as the lovechild of Eugenio Campolmi. His goal was to produce a pure, sincere ‘Scrio’ vision of syrah. The winery changed direction with syrah since 2007 when the estate went to high density plantings and production that does not exceed 5,000 bottles. The goal is to highlight the terroir of Bolgheri. Personally, in a small way it reminds me of top Okanagan syrahs. It’s certainly rich in 2013 with lots of meaty white pepper fruit. Its both sweet and wild with rich fine textured tannins. The finish is long and silky with more black fruit and bacon to chew on. Give this a decade to reach its zenith. The wine spends 20 months in French oak, 75 percent new and 25 percent in 2nd year barriques.Prices: BC 125.00 AB 165.00 QC 170.00 Producer: Le Macchiole
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Le Macchiole Messoriotext
95PTS

Le Macchiole Messorio 2013

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyMessorio (the workers who harvest the grain) is the flagship red of Le Macchiole. It’s one hundred percent merlot and it is fussed over from bud break to bottling. The yields are low at some 800 grams per plant. The fermentation is done in wooden vats while the ageing runs 18 months in 75 percent new French oak barrels and 25 percent second year wood. Production is limited to approximately 10,000 bottles per vintage. The 2013 is flat out impressive and it all starts with its amazing texture, surely one of the best merlots I have tasted when it comes to perfectly integrated tannins. The fruit is black, with classic Bolgheri spice and garrigue that supports the weight but with elegant, mineral scented fruit from front to back. Despite a warm year, the acidity manages to remain persistent, counterbalancing this plush red wine. This will easily age a decade so let it be through 2023.Prices: BC 425.00 AB 325.00 QC 232.00 Producer: Le Macchiole
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26 April 2017

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reservatext
86PTS

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileGreen, jalapeno, grassy, smoky nettle nose is the lead here. The palate is a similar mix of juicy citrus, with grapefruit rind and artichoke. A bit raw and all in a cool green style. Best with steamed shellfish.Prices: BC 13.29 AB 13.50 Producer: Vina Caliterra
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Saint Clair Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Saint Clair Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandBoxwood, lemongrass, gooseberry, lemon thistle in this Dillons Point, Marlborough savvy. Crisp, riffing acidity snaps on the finish, though a well added cushion of lees buffers. An intense, assertive, forward style, well-executed.Prices: BC 32.95 Producer: Saint Clair Estate
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Allan Scott Family Winemakers Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Allan Scott Family Winemakers Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandIt’s been a while since we last tasted this label but it would appear time has been kind to the property. The 2016 has all the hallmarks of Marlborough, with super bright citrus overtones marking the jalapeno, nettle, gooseberry aromas. The attack is equally mouthwatering with juicy, crisp, passion fruit, grapefruit, honey, and nettle flavours with just a hint of sweetness. The wine is a mix of different sites across Marlborough which helps to build a full palate of flavours. A perfect growing season added two weeks hang time, further deepening the flavour. Mussels are the classic match.Prices: BC 19.49 NB 18.75 NS 24.79 Producer: Allan Scott Wines & Estate Ltd.
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Matua Valley Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Matua Valley Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandMatua jumps at you, from its full-blown teal coloured label to this refreshing tropical version of Hawkes Bay sauvignon blanc. This is a high-tech wine, machine-picked, selected yeast, all stainless-steel fermented, super fresh style with bright tropical fruit aromas and flavours. If anything, it is a little riper and richer than the Marlborough version giving it more mouthfeel. Serve with a mixed heirloom tomato and cheese dish.Prices: BC 16.49 QC 19.00 MB 18.00 NF 19.00 ON 16.00 NS 19.00 AB 16.00 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandMatua is said to have produced New Zealand’s first sauvignon blanc in 1974 in Auckland, and by 1984 the North Island winery was making one in Marlborough too. The style here is classically fresh, with citrus, dried herbs and jalapeno notes on the nose and a brisk, citrus, peppery, tropical palate. The fruit comes off more than 100 different vineyards across Marlborough's Wairau and Awatere Valleys and delivers aromatic passion fruit flavours flecked with floral, dried thyme notes. Fresh, juicy and ready to drink. Perfect with a grilled chicken salad or West Coast steamed mussels.Prices: BC 21.49 QC 19.00 MB 18.00 NF 19.00 ON 16.00 NS 19.00 AB 16.00 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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25 April 2017

Therapy Vineyards Pink Freudtext
83PTS

Therapy Vineyards Pink Freud 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFull, flush, sweet and round, this is a boozy and bold rosé of pinot noir, merlot, pinot meunier and dunkelfelder. The alcohol is noticeable (14 percent) as is the residual sugar (12 g/l). Dark pink in hue, candied strawberries and candied apples stick to the short palate, one that finishes pasty. If you chill this way down and like your pinks boozy, juicy and sweet, look no further.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Rosetext
88PTS

Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Rose 2015

Cotes de Gascogne, Sud-Ouest, FranceDomaine de Pellehaut has been owned and managed by successive generations of the Béraut family for over 300 years. Pouring a pale blush peach, this rosé from Côtes de Gascogne is a juicy little blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, tannat and syrah, averaging 27 years old and grown on clay, limestone and sand. Aromatic, youthful orchard fruits on the nose lead to a bright palate of Rainier cherry, pear, red currants and early strawberries. Fine spice lingers on the finish. This is a charming, easy to enjoy rosé for drinking now.Prices: BC 14.50 Producer: Domaine de Pellehaut
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Hester Creek Rosé Cabernet Franctext
86PTS

Hester Creek Rosé Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn improvement over last year, the 2016 brings cool strawberries and cream, kisses of rhubarb and bright cherry to this cabernet franc rosé. Off-dry, but with a swell of acidity to lift, this was cold soaked for two days prior to a gentle pressing and cool ferment. Strawberry jam, ripe pear and fine cinnamon dust finish off the snappy finish. Best chilled to cover up the heat on the finish (nearly 14 percent), and best enjoyed this summer.Prices: BC 19.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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JoieFarm Re-Think Pink! Rosé (iii)text
86PTS

JoieFarm Re-Think Pink! Rosé (iii) 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMedium candied pink hue, this off-dry rosé is a blend of 75/25 pinot noir / gamay from Skaha, Penticton and Kelowna. Creamy and ripe, with strawberry, pear, rhubarb jam and sweet pound cake as base and a fine dusting of cinnamon to season, this is an accessible, easy, chill-worthy pink for this summer.Prices: BC 20.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Culmina Family Estate R&D Rosétext
88PTS

Culmina Family Estate R&D Rosé 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe red apple, juicy peach and strawberry jam fill this full-bodied, glossy and slicked Golden Mile Bench rosé. Silky and glycerol-lined on the palate, this peachy pink-hued, full bodied wine is a blend of merlot,malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Tangerine, candied (taffy) apple flavours with a fine dusting of sweet spices on the finish. This is a full, glossy rosé with a sweet sheen that could tackle pork chops easily.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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24 April 2017

Therapy Vineyards Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Therapy Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeep golden pink in the glass, this was estate grown on Therapy's Naramata Bench vineyards. Lovely rose petals, ginger, pear cordial on the fuller, off-dry palate, one kept brisk and bristled with a perfumed pink grapefruit pithiness. A lingering powder on the finish can be a deterrent on its own, but should be absorbed when this lush wine is partnered with spicy sauced shellfish.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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21 April 2017

Perseus Pinot Gristext
85PTS

Perseus Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSharp green apple, Asian pear, bitter citrus pith on the steely, short finish of this pinot gris. Residual sugar bumps right up against the sharp, lean orchard fruit.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Perseus
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Therapy Vineyards Pinot Gristext
86PTS

Therapy Vineyards Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFull bodied and just off-dry, the fruit comes Tada Vineyards in Summerland picked at just under 25 brix. The result is rich, round and slick with glycerol gris full of ripe pear gummies and Macintosh apples but lacking some freshness and acidity. Chill this down for best results to serve as a summer sipper on the patio or try I with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Abbazia di Novacellatext
90PTS

Abbazia di Novacella 2015

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe abbey of Novacella has been around since the 12th century at the Northern end of Alto Adige’s Isarco Valley. If walls could talk. Viticulture is some 850 years old in the region and the Abbey owns many vineyards and manages others based on ancient relationships. The pinot grigio is a classic aromatic white from a very cool high altitude site. The flavour profile is tight and lemony mouthwatering acidity, minerality and freshness from front to back. Bright and lively, it is the perfect match for simply spiced shellfish dishes.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Abbazia di Novacella
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Intrigue Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Intrigue Pinot Gris 2016

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect an attractive, bright, salmon/coral hue to this gris. The fruit comes off three vineyards, one in East Kelowna, the second on a West facing slope in Oyama, and the third in the Davis Vineyard, located at the winery. A long season has allowed for perfect ripening and in 2016 a little extra acid which helps to keep this slightly off-dry version in balance. Almost a faux rosé, there will be plenty of interest in sipping this fresh, brightly flavoured white that mixes strawberries, ripe pear and litchi fruit with a sheen of honey in the finish. The winery suggests serving it with garlic prawns, lemon Greek potatoes, or candied bacon. Bring it on please.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Ruby Blues Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Ruby Blues Pinot Gris 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic honeyed passionfruit nose and palate with ripe apples and pears and a twist of citrus. Serve well chilled as a summer sipper for best results. Ready to drink. Interestingly a 60/40, destemmed/whole cluster lightly crushed pressing regime previews an all stainless-steel ferment. The fruit comes off three vineyard sites, hence different soils, orientations and vineyard management styles leaving the opportunity to blend to a house style.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Ruby Blues
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Blasted Church Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Blasted Church Pinot Gris 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe BC gris is 90 pinot gris with a touch of chardonnay, viognier and gewürztraminer which contributes to this wine's richer palate. A warm year set a record for the earliest harvest at Blasted Church, with most varieties fighting dropping acid while accumulating high sugars. The nose is a rich version of gris with honey predominating. The palate mixes sweet pineapple and super ripe grapefruit that fades into a soft finish. It’s more of a chicken/pork wine this year. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 20.50 AB 26.00 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
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Noble Ridge Noble Pinot Grigiotext
89PTS

Noble Ridge Noble Pinot Grigio 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll Okanagan Falls fruit pumps up the complexity and acid in the handpicked fruit at Noble Ridge. Expect an enticing nose of lightly smoked peach and a touch of citrus lees. Some two percent of the wine is aged in oak, adding a delicious complexity and harmony to the mid-palate before a subdued but complex orchard fruit coats the back end of this wine. Dry, fresh and eminently drinkable, this is one of the better 2015 pinot gris I have tasted from BC. (Can we taste the 2016 please?) Shellfish, white fish, chicken - they all work here. Well done.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigiotext
90PTS

LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigio 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is such an impressive bottle of pinot grigio. As lively and bright as its name suggests, Vivace is back to its tighter, leaner form in 2016. Early picked, the fruit is is sourced from vineyards 16 to 30 years old along the Golden Mile, Naramata Bench and as far north as Peachland. It spends five months on its lees for a welcome slip of padding under a bone-dry frame. Asian pear, green melon, yellow apple, mandarine blossom with fine, zesty spicing on a snappy, bitter lemon finish. An ideal counterpart to simply steamed clams or grilled halibut, and a style I wish more BC wineries would follow.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: LaStella
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20 April 2017

Sanford Pinot Noir Dominio del Falcontext
92PTS

Sanford Pinot Noir Dominio del Falcon 2014

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe "domain of the falcon" moniker speaks to an east facing ridge along the highest point of La Rinconada Vineyard – home to a variety of predatory birds led by the falcon. This soil is high in diatomaceous earth, an off-white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. It’s been a welcoming home to the Swiss pinot noir clone 2A. The style is mouthfilling and rich in texture, with mostly black raspberry and black cherry fruit, baking spices and a rooty, touch bitter finish to reduce the sweetness and add complexity. This has the structure to age five years and will no doubt improve in the bottle over that period. Roast chicken, duck or mushroom pasta all work here.Prices: US 88.00 Producer: Sanford Winery & Vineyards
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Fabulous Ant Pinot Noirtext
85PTS

Fabulous Ant Pinot Noir 2013

Tolna, HungaryHungarian pinot noir, you say? Why yes. Simple, cheerful and bright, with light cherries, sweet tobacco, mild earth and raspberries on the finish. Light bodied (12 percent) and easy drinking along a silky palate and lightly cinnamon finish. Chill down, drink up, and as the label suggests, with picnic fare.Prices: BC 11.99 AB 12.00 MB 11.99 Producer: Danubiana Borkereskedô és Termelô Bt
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Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesWarm and ripe perfumed raspberry, rhubarb jam, forest berries and cinnamon bark fill this fleshy palate, one that is threaded with fine lines of acidity. Though this is generous on the palate, it is kept brisk with a fine grit of tannins and raft of spicing. Drinking very well now.Prices: BC 81.00 Producer: Patz & Hall
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Beaux Freres Willamette Valley Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Beaux Freres Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe Willamette Valley cuvée is a blend of sites across the northern Willamette, coming from the sustainably farmed Gran Moraine, Zena Crown, Beaux Frères, Archery Summit, Hyland, Noren, Upper Terrace and Guadalupe vineyards. A low use of new oak, and bottling without fining or filtering, were choices to show the clearest view of the region. Dried and fresh cherries, raspberries, wild blackberries, dried florals fill the savoury, lush and elegant palate, housed by a fine grip of dark cocoa tannins. Luring spices linger on the finish. A sweet warmth on the finish reminds us that we're in the new world. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: Beaux Freres
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19 April 2017

Upper Bench Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Upper Bench Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI think Naramata is in the Okanagan chardonnay sweet zone. If only they has sub-appellation status, so we could keep track of the fruit. The 2015 Upper Bench chardonnay speaks to the style: ripe but fresh. I love the nose, a mix of citrus, nut and honey, mixed with ripe red apple fruit and a hint of cinnamon. The attack is full but restrained with florals, pear, nutty lees and citrus, all with well managed oak. The wine is fermented wild and aged three months in 30 percent new French oak. Rich but nervy, and a lot of fun to drink. Serve with creamy cheeses or similar style pasta dishes.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Perseus Select Lots Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Perseus Select Lots Chardonnay 2015

Penticton Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNice improvement here in this toned-down chardonnay, although reference to the Old World might be a bit premature. The fruit is southern Okanagan based from the Golden Mile and Black Sage benches. It’s aged in 500L puncheons of 50 percent new American oak, adding quite a rich vanilla tone to the wine. The palate is a boisterous mix of candied lemons and toasted hazelnuts. The finish is long and smooth with the oak punching through the back end. Best with rich cheeses and creamy shellfish dishes.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Perseus
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Bollini Chardonnay Barricato 40text
88PTS

Bollini Chardonnay Barricato 40 2015

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe Bollini brand remains a stylish set of Italian wines under the direction of maestro Neil Empson and his artistically talented wife Maria. The wine takes advantage of the diurnal swing in Trentino to create a fresh style. Some 40 percent of this wine is barrel fermented to add mid-palate texture and weight, while the rest remains fresh and lively - hence the name "Barricato 40". The lees adds texture and complexity to the white fruit and mineral flavours, riding alongside very stylish toasted oak. Built for food, it would be great with roasted chicken, veal Marsala, lobster or crab. Screwcap fresh as well.Prices: BC 19.00 AB 16.00 Producer: Empson and Company
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JoieFarm Chardonnay Un-Oaked (ii)text
83PTS

JoieFarm Chardonnay Un-Oaked (ii) 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCandied bananas on the nose and sour gummies on the palate mark this disjointed oak-free white, one that apparently sees too much inert stainless steel. A real fruit salad style that pokes out the side of your palate with pineapple, pear and powdery notes to a short finish. Youthful, awkward and in need of food to counter. Perhaps in time this will develop into something more approachable.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is always a bit showy and plush, trading on the tropical pineapple, mango side rather than the leaner mineral Burgundian bent. A warm year has further intensified those notes, giving this wine a decidedly California style. Rich, round and soft with ripe, buttery, orange and candied lemon fruit, and a touch of toffee. There’s a new barrel regime: 14 months in French oak only and this year only 20 percent is new. It’s a good result. Next up a little more freshness and acidity and this wine is going to soar. The winery suggests truffle popcorn or scallops in a brown butter sauce. We like this with a creamy curry dish.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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18 April 2017

Pipe'Dreams Grüner Veltlinertext
87PTS

Pipe'Dreams Grüner Veltliner 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGrüner veltliner is rarely grown in Canada, and it's a shame. This version, from Oliver, is ripe and broad on the creamy palate, but smartly hemmed in with a buzzy pink grapefruit pith acidity and kept bright from time in stainless. Yellow apple, peach and an herbal slick of lees are appealing, though the alcohol (14 percent) is noticeable on the finish. Would love to see this picked earlier to bring down the heat and up that acidity in future.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Pipe'Dreams Estate Winery
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Jason Parkes Customs Gobsmacked Grüner Veltlinertext
88PTS

Jason Parkes Customs Gobsmacked Grüner Veltliner 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGrüner veltliner rolls off the tongue of Austrians very quickly and I’m happy to report so does this wine. There’s not a lot of it made in BC. I would vote for more, because it appears to have a personality that is as strong as the winemaker if not stronger. Jason Parkes says his is grown “in the sunny heat that is Osoyoos, making our Grüner more Federspiel than Smaragd." But before you think it's fat and sweet it’s not. Its fresh, even green in a good way, skinny with bright acidity and a touch of pepper. There is no oak, which could mean its geeky, but it’s not. It’s different and perfectly suited to West Coast seafood served solo or with a creamy pasta.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltlinertext
87PTS

Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner 2015

Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaThe Fred Loimer winery is located in the village of Langenlois (the lois rhymes with choice) and his introductory grüner is made with contracted fruit currently under conversion to organic viticulture. The colour is quite pale, the nose an aromatic mix of fresh cut apples with a squeeze of lemon and an almond marzipan undercurrent. Fresh and spicy with a clean finish. Perfect with a Margherita pizza. The vineyard is mix of loess and weathered gneiss with vines exposed southeast, south and southwest that sits between 726-1,312 feet.Prices: QC 14.23 ON 23.87 Producer: Weingut Loimer
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Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Grüner Veltlinertext
91PTS

Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Grüner Veltliner 2015

Wachau, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaNikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria, and credited with being the first biodynamic estate in the world. Herbal-led, this grüner streams with creamy lees, flax, hay and mineral salts throughout this amply textured Wachau white. All that cushion is cut with stony minerality, and streams with with an oily sheen. Generous spicy white pepper and salts linger on the finish.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Nikolaihof
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17 April 2017

Altesino Rosso di Montalcinotext
89PTS

Altesino Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Tuscany, ItalyThe Rosso is an 80/20 mix of sangiovese/merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes. The harvest is all done by hand from estate vineyards. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel and aged six to eight months stainless steel and then three months in bottle. The style is light and fresh, with red fruits, cedar and spice previewing a smooth, silky texture that persists throughout the finish. A classic Euro luncheon wine you can serve with creamy pasta dishes, roasted chicken or barbecued sausages. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Altesino Biancotext
88PTS

Altesino Bianco 2014

Tuscany, ItalyThe bianco is a fresh, floral mix of chardonnay, vermentino and viognier. The acidity is bright, and sets the tone for the fresh citrus flavoured white with a crisp finish. Finishing dry, it cries out for cheese or seafood dishes but would also work with any favourite chicken salad dish.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Reserve de Vaudontext
88PTS

Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Reserve de Vaudon 2014

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceFresh green apple, lime notes preview an austere style of chardonnay with super vibrant acidity. The attack is steely and lean with green apple skin, peach pit, herbal saline note. This is an oyster wine if ever there was one or serve with a creamy pasta dish to help balance of the acidity. Reasonable elegance but still austere at this point. The Réserve de Vaudon is a mix of Drouhin property fruit mostly from the Valley of Vauvillien between the Premier Crus of Montée de Tonnerre and Mont de Milieu. The soil is marine-based containing millions of tiny fossils that once laid on the seabed. The fruit is bio-dynamically grown and the fermentation and ageing is all done in stainless steel for 7 to 8 months.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 32.00 QC 32.00 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Altesino Alte d'Altesitext
92PTS

Altesino Alte d'Altesi 2013

Tuscany, ItalyMy first look at Alte d'Altesi - a blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot mixed in equal quantities. The nose is remarkable so fresh and open with inviting notes of black cherries and plums. The palate is similar with floral redcurrant, violet notes with a slightly spiced vanilla finish. An impressive elegant style that spends 12-14 months in French barriques followed by 3 months in bottles. No rush to drink this. The name of the wine translates to "highest in Altesi," a nod to grapes sourced from some of the estate's highest vineyards.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Altesino Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2011

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyA warmer version of the great 2010, the 2011 is still remarkably lively and fresh showing floral notes and the elegance we have come to expect from Altesino. The palate is equally refined and silky mixing the classic terroir touches of earth and licorice before the cherries kick in. Perhaps this will be more mid-term for drinking by 2020. Good value. The Altesino estate spreads across 89 hectares, 44 of which are planted and subdivided into the four Altesino crus of Macina, Castelnuovo dell‘Abate (in the district of Velona), Pianezzine and Montosoli.Prices: BC 54.99 AB 58.00 ON 51.00 QC 48.00 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Altesino Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis is a bigger, stronger wine than in 2011 with an expansive nose and a richness that marks a warm year, but it remains within itself in the Altesino style. It’s the 40th year for this label and the red fruit, mineral undercurrent remains a strong part of the fabric of this wine. The attack is juicy with spicy red fruit flavours and some rich, dense, fine grained tannins in the back end before the acidity fights back in the finish. No rush here, you could easily age this 10 to 15 years before it peaks in the bottle. A solid effort.Prices: BC 52.99 AB 58.00 ON 51.00 QC 48.00 BC 31.99 375 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosolitext
95PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyAt Altesino the development of the Cru concept has helped to push the quality up in the top wine: Montosoli is a 5-hectare vineyard that sits between 350 and 400 metres above sea level but only a small part of that goes into this cru offering. The fruit was first fermented and aged separately back in 1975. In the years it is made, 20 Montosoli have been released since 1975, it spends 48 months in the cellar: three years in Slavonian oak barrels, eight months in medium toasted Allier barriques and four final months in bottle. We love the 2012 Montosoli for its elegance and refinement. Look for fresh, floral aromas of black and red fruits that spill onto the palate with bits of tobacco, earth, liquorice and pepper. A pure sangiovese statement made to age a decade or two or serve with a mushroom risotto, venison or beef.Prices: BC 135.00 ON 120.00 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Domaine Louis Moreau  Petit Chablistext
87PTS

Domaine Louis Moreau Petit Chablis 2014

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDry, fruity and medium bodied, with subtle apple, wet stone aromas. Lemon, green pear, unripe gooseberry and a light wave of minerality. Simple and tart.Prices: QC 22.00 Producer: Domaine Louis Moreau
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Clostext
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Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2010

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceBy no means the richest of the powerful Grand Cru Les Clos, this is still an ample, generous, concentrated example that builds from first floral whiff through to an expansive, concentrated palate. The vines are now in their third decade, facing south on deep clay soil over Kimmeridgian soil. Stone, white peach and delicate florals quickly give way to a fatter, richer palate. Ripe pear, peach, lemon curd, quince lift broken stone, honey and spice along the smooth, full palate to a lengthy spicy and salty finish. 18 months spent on lees in foudre reveals itself through a structured generosity. Drinking well now, though will improve with 5+ years.Prices: BC 95.00 QC 82.00 Producer: Jean-Marc Brocard
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14 April 2017

Eric Texier Adèletext
90PTS

Eric Texier Adèle 2015

Rhone Valley, FranceEric Texier is a leading natural and biodynamic vigneron in the Rhone, renewing and reviving the tiny Brézème appellation in North, as well as acting as négociant for other sites in the Rhone and Maconnais. Adèle is mostly clairette, aided by marsanne, on granitic soils, whole cluster pressed, fermented wild in cement and spends eight months on the lees before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Subtle and nonchalant, with delicate apricot, apple, pear scenting a palate of stones, quiet anise, wild herbs and hay. The briskly refreshing finish reminds you of the naturalism of this smashable, light/medium bodied wine.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Eric Texier
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Mas des Tannes Classique Blanc Chardonnay Grenache Blanctext
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Mas des Tannes Classique Blanc Chardonnay Grenache Blanc 2015

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceA chardonnay/grenache blanc blend that comes off 16-year-old vines grown on limestone and clay. The final blend is a mix of barrique and stainless steel juice on its fine lees for three months with regular battonage. The style is floral and aromatic with fresh white and green fruit flavours with a wisp of smoke. Simple, clean, ready to drink. Perfect with fish cakes or fish tacos.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Matassa Blanctext
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Matassa Blanc 2011

IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, South of France, FranceDomaine Matassa blends and borders France and Spain in the Pyrénée-Orientales, in a region and a style that is distinctly Catalan. Schist and slate slopes surrounded by garrigue yield this biodynamic Grenache Gris (70%) & Macabeu (30%), whole bunch pressed in wooden basket press and wild yeast fermented in barrel before aging on lees for 18 months before bottling (lightly filtered but not fined). This richer white is best enjoyed at cellar temperature, with nutty, wild herbs, hay, hints of pear skin texturing and ample flake sea salts on this elastic, medium+ palate. Acidity is humming and vibrating, streaming to the lingering finish. Electric, alive wine, this is age-worthy, drinking beautifully now, and will do with more cellaring.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Domaine Matassa
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TerraVentoux Ventoux Blanctext
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TerraVentoux Ventoux Blanc 2015

Côtes-du-Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceSimple but good. The blend is 80/20 grenache/clairette and it seems this mix is beginning to find its feet in the south of France. The vines are 20 years old and planted over clay and limestone. It would appear they are settling in, soaking up the sun and getting it into the wine. The aromas are mostly apples and pears with flecks of citrus and tropical banana notes. It’s the freshness that gives it so much appeal. It's simple but done right, like a perfectly roasted chicken (which by the way would be great match). Good value.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Cave TerraVentoux
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Beaufort Epictext
85PTS

Beaufort Epic 2015

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of Blattner white epicure, and ortega. This is an off-dry aromatic, full white, with Asian pear, gingersnap spicing and a bittersweet crab apple note bracing the finish.Prices: BC 16.50 Producer: Beaufort
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Beaufort Beaudacious 2015

Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaMid-sweet, with pear gummies, candied apple and pear juice. The finish is bitter sharp. This is a simple blend of schönburger, ortega and epicure, estate grown in Comox.Prices: BC 16.50 Producer: Beaufort
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JoieFarm A Noble Blendtext
89PTS

JoieFarm A Noble Blend 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNoble Blend has been a success story not only for JoieFarm, but for British Columbia wine almost from its inception. In the spirit of Alsace's Edelzwicker (translated as 'a noble blend', founder / winemaker's surname), this is a blend of gewürztraminer, riesling, pinot blanc, pinot auxerrois and muscat, sourced from 11 vineyards across the Okanagan Valley. Fragrant and perfumed, this aromatic white charms with juicy rosewater, lychee, orange blossom, ripe pear, pink grapefruit with gingersnap spicing on the snappy finish. In 2016 there is a return to the lighter, leaner, nimble, fresher Noble Blend that we have grown to love over the years. Well done Noble.Prices: BC 23.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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13 April 2017

Domaine Ferrandiere Rouge Coteaux de Miramonttext
88PTS

Domaine Ferrandiere Rouge Coteaux de Miramont 2015

l'Aude, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceDomaine Ferrandiere is part of the Paul Mas stable of wineries headed by Jean Claude Mas. Ferrandiere is in the Coteaux du Miramont IGP between Carcassonne and Narbonne. The vineyard is an old maritime lagoon that is flooded every year to eliminate the excessive salt content. The good news is due to the salt, the vineyard escaped the ravages of phylloxera in the beginning of the 20th century, giving it an authenticity those vines grown on American rootstock cannot boast. The blend is a mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and marselan that comes off very fresh on the nose. The palate is equally fresh and spicy, with ripe tannins underpinning lively red and black fruits. Grilled meat or even chicken works here. Good vintage too.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Les Ferrandiere
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Oak Bay Vineyard Meritage Gebert Family Reservetext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Meritage Gebert Family Reserve 2012

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn what they term ‘special years’ the Gebert family selects its top lots for reserve ageing in French oak. The 2012 is a bit on the cool, lean side but that’s a positive in my view. More linear than fat, it still has a cedar, tobacco nose, red fruit, coffee/mocha flavours, and smooth tannins with a spicy, savoury undercurrent to keep it focused. Ready to drink now. Best with grilled meats.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Perseus Eclipsetext
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Perseus Eclipse 2014

British Columbia, CanadaRoasted, rooty, woodsy, black fruits in this brash and full blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, malbec. At once sweet, ripe and bitter, with tannins raging with heat and strident, powdery wood tannins. The finish is drying and clipped, with a lingering cassis sweetness.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Perseus
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Perseus Select Lots Invictus 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother of a growing number of cabernet franc dominant blends that brings a special savoury, leafy edge to the mix - subduing sweet fruit notes and in some cases, too much new oak for the better. The blend is a 42/38/13/7/ mix of cabernet franc/merlot/cabernet sauvignon/malbec. The textures are round, the tannins silky with ripe, juicy boysenberry/black cherry fruit over earthy notes and dense fine-grained tannins. Solid and it should improve over the next five years in bottle. A fine improvement over the 2011. Try this with roasted meats.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Perseus
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Mission Hill Compendiumtext
91PTS

Mission Hill Compendium 2012

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Mission Hill’s Legacy Series Compendium is a 42/41/17 cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc blend. It rich and stylish but more Bolgheri than Napa with its tighter leafier, floral cabernet fruit that is awash in sagebrush and menthol seemingly intensifying the blackberry/black cherry fruit. The tannins are well managed, dense and fine grained with a slight sandpaper grit yet to shed. The finish is firm and mineral suggesting another decade of cellar time. A lot to like here but another level of finesse would take this to an even better place. You could drink this with at-Bone steak but have some patience. It needs more bottle age.Prices: BC 81.99 MB 75.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Play Estate Winery Improvtext
85PTS

Play Estate Winery Improv 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA spicy, meaty nose of black fruits reflects the 70/30 blend of merlot/syrah. The palate is soft with more meaty, black fruit flecked with earthy tobacco notes and light, dry tannins. Simple, ready to drink now red with grilled meats.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Play Estate Winery Dramatic Redtext
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Play Estate Winery Dramatic Red 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBuilt for immediate consumption, the blend is 45/35/20 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, with a rustic smoky, toasted nose and a mix of blueberries and black fruit aromas. The palate is similar in style with rustic grippy tannins clinging to the jammy ripe fruit. Ready to drink. Best with hamburgers.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Château Angludet Margauxtext
91PTS

Château Angludet Margaux 2011

Margaux, Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Bordeaux, FranceIf you want to know why ten years ageing is a solid starting point for well-made Bordeaux, grab a bottle of Château Angludet. Deeply coloured at five years, it’s a rising amount of petit verdot that is flushing out this delicious drinking Margaux. The nose is a mix of scents including smoky, red fruits, licorice, spice and just a hint of earth. The palate is plumped up by some 13 percent petit verdot giving this plummy, silky, red a rich mouthfeel. The balance is near perfect as it enters a window of seven to ten years of drinkability. A fine effort in a difficult vintage. Château Angludet covers a surface area of 32 hectares, all within the AOC Margaux winegrowing area that is planted with 46 percent cabernet sauvignon, 41 percent merlot and 13 percent petit verdot. With the 2008 vintage, Château d'Angludet changed its name to Château Angludet.Prices: BC 74.00 Producer: Chateau d'Angludet
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Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOculus is a vintage wine, built to age, and hopefully reflect its growing season. In 2012 the spring was near normal, only to be followed by a cool June and steady, intermittent rainfall. A warm, dry summer saved all, veraison took place under nearly ideal conditions and the grapes basked in warm sunshine until the end of September. To that end ripeness wasn’t a problem; the ’12 reflects that and more after some previous cooler years. In the end, the trick was to keep the acidity to lift the fruit to a higher, more complex level. The blend is 52/30/18 merlot/cabernet franc/cabernet sauvignon, a ratio I think is about right for anyone aping the classic style of Bordeaux reds. The fruit is all hand harvested, with 94 percent from Osoyoos and six percent Oliver. The ferment is in wooden vats prior to ageing 14 months in French oak barrels. The result is a spicy blackberry, boysenberry nose with bits of leather and toasted oak. The palate is tight and reasonably fresh with a fair bit of leather and spice. The palate is equally full-bodied with exuberant youthful black fruit dusted in south Okanagan sagebrush, tobacco and olive. The long and persistent finish shows that acidity still is prominent. This bottle needs time to settle in and show its stuff six to eight years down the road. There will be no rush to the finish line.Prices: BC 136.99 AB 145.00 MB 125.00 QC 129.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Château Angludet Margauxtext
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Château Angludet Margaux 2011

Margaux, Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Bordeaux, FranceOwned by the Sichel family since 1961, Angludet is situated in the highly sought after real estate of Margaux, and neighbouring many Cru Classé properties. When the Sichel family purchased the property in 1961, they worked to unite and restore the estate to the standards of its contemporaries. Worn leather, fading smoke, dusty gravels pervade this blend of 55 percent cabernet sauvignon, 35 percent merlot, 10 percent petit verdot. Quite structural, strict bones frame the medium bodied, voluminous red. Alluring anise, red current, red plum, smoked raspberry and cherry, all savoury tinged and tainted with smoke throughout. Acidity is so well integrated that it's unnoticeable, save for carrying that medicinal-ringed finish which lingers on. Cement vinification for up to one month is followed by one year in barrel, before fining and light filtration. Drinking very well now, and will only appreciate with another five years in the cellar.Prices: BC 74.00 Producer: Chateau d'Angludet
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Mission Hill Family Estate Oculustext
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Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI couldn’t wait to have a first look at the 2013 Oculus, a vintage that has proven a winner for south Okanagan reds. The year got off to an early start and it was late to finish. What looked like the shortest vintage in the year was arrested by a cool, rainy June but it was all brought back into focus with above average heat in July and August. Then just when you thought it was too hot, the warmest vintage since 2003 cooled off just in time for harvest. Heavy September rains delayed the finish, leaving the best sites the longest picking season ever. Oculus 2013 is magic. It’s the first time this wine has offered real balance from start to finish. The oak has finally disappeared into the background and the terroir is poking through. The fruit is beautiful with savoury, black fruit tones, but edgy – just ripe enough but not overripe, and the weight begets the finesse in this wine, allowing tannins to shine through the finish. This is the best Oculus yet and it may get better.Prices: BC 135.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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C.C. Jentsch The Chasetext
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C.C. Jentsch The Chase 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Chase mix is 32.5/32.5/30/3/2/ cabernet sauvignon/ cabernet franc/merlot/petit verdot/malbec all grown in a terrific season, save for a late season hail storm along the Golden Mile Bench that damaged canopies and west side fruit panels. After a meticulous sort, the fruit got a seven-day, cold maceration prior to ferment. This well-balanced beauty of a blend has it all: gushes of juicy red raspberry and cherry fruit and a hint of cocoa and vanilla, all enrobed with a wisp of smoke. Medium tannin and acidity, decent fruit and spice makes this a winner for both grilled meats and harder cheeses.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Hypothesis or proposition from the Triggs family is a fine jump up in quality, but everyone should just take a deep breath. People forget these are very early days for wineries like Culmina no matter how many times dot your I's and cross your T's, vineyards take time to find their feet and winemakers may need even more patience. The 2013 season got off to a quick start and the south Okanagan didn’t change much until late September when 13 days of cool, wet, and unpredictable weather stalled the final ripening. October was better than ever and all was forgotten when so many perfect clusters came in. The blend is 38/36/26 merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon all on the Arise Bench. Hypothesis has shed its rusticity in 2013 and is projecting some early elegance despite a wealth of dense but sweet tannins in the back end. The oak regime is 60/40 new and one year old French oak barrels. The fruit is black and savoury but with an elegant, stony mineral undercurrent. As I say, a pleasant step forward. Age another five years for optimum quality, or serve now with pheasant, venison or beef. Super value.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Blasted Church Big Bang Theorytext
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Blasted Church Big Bang Theory 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch like the last edition it opens with reduced, meaty, peppery, syrah notes with bits of sagebrush and tobacco. The attack is soft and round with light, sweet red and black cherry fruit with more smoky, savoury sagebrush and tobacco leaf flavours. Easy-sipping but not a lot of complexity. Drink now with barbecue fare.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
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12 April 2017

Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Franctext
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Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Franc 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThick and dense with oak, wood spicing, ripe cassis and sappy resin, this is from Golden Mile Bench's Desert Valley Vineyard (or, possibly Dessert Valley, per their website). Woody tannins and musky aftershave rule the palate, structured with woody, strident tannins. Warm and short on the finish, this is an entirely not-shy, punchy, full-bodied red.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Perseus
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Perseus Cabernet Merlottext
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Perseus Cabernet Merlot 2014

British Columbia, CanadaRipe, black cherry, black plum aromas and flavours with thorny, earthy, blackberry, roasted coffee notes in this simple, accessible cabernet franc / merlot blend. Up front and present, this finishes quickly, leaving flush of warmth and bitter cassis. Tannins are slightly gritty, welcoming a pairing with skirt steak.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Perseus
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11 April 2017

Finca Las Moras Reserva Malbectext
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Finca Las Moras Reserva Malbec 2014

San Juan, ArgentinaSweet, soft and floral, with a plush mouth of violets and plum resting on a dense, velvety palate. Full bodied, this ends with grilled meats / grilled onions, a rush of warmth and a grippy bite, welcoming blackberry sauced steaks.Prices: AB 16.00 BC 16.99 Producer: Finca Las Moras
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Perseus Select Lots Malbectext
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Perseus Select Lots Malbec 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Select Lots Malbec is Osoyoos-based but rather than being big and baked it comes off as a bit of a fruit bomb. Big, floral, blueberry fruit aromas and flavours wash across its middle-weight palate. Easy sipping with some peppery notes in the finish. Maybe not Select Lot status but fun, and ready to drink now. Hamburgers or beef tacos would be perfect mid-week match.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Perseus
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Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Terroirtext
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Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Terroir 2013

Mendoza, ArgentinaIf there was a perfect method to approach malbec the Los Hormigas Terroir Series would be it. It’s all Uco Valley fruit, all harvested by hand from a mix of two high-density vineyards, one at Vista Flores and two spots in Tupungato. They describe the soil as “gravelly, alluvial with abundant stones but limited active limestone presence.” In 2013 the temperatures were less than normal spawning fine levels of acidity and lower alcohol content. Half the wine is aged in cement piletas for 12 months, 25 percent in stainless steel vats, and 25 percent in untoasted large oak foudres. The result is a vivid, red-fruited wine full of Bing cherries and cranberries with a savoury, floral, tea undercurrent. The finish is prolonged but smooth and balanced shouting drink me with grilled beef. Delicious.Prices: BC 31.99 AB 21.00 QC 23.00 Producer: Alto Las Hormigas S.A.
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbectext
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbec 2014

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaKaiken comes from Caiquen, a wild goose that regularly flies over the Andes Mountains, just like winemakers (and father and son) Aurelio Montes and Aurelio Montes Jr., back and forth between projects in Chile and Argentina. From nearly 1000m in altitude in the Agrelo district of Lujan de Cuyo, this has four percent cabernet sauvignon splashed in, and spends six months in French oak. Massive wood, grilled meats rule this ripe, big red. Sweeter blackberry, medicinal cherry and black plum coat the palate, one edged with gritty tannins. A sueded, smoky and hot finish closes out.Prices: BC 19.00 ON 0.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Punto Final Reserva Malbectext
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Punto Final Reserva Malbec 2014

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFifty+ year old vines and low yields makes up this full-bodied malbec. The ten months in French barriques is felt through the smoky wood staves that structure sweet red fruit, plum, raspberry jam, leather, tobacco and tar. Wood-grained tannins stick out some now, but will integrate more into this concentrated red with time. Warm flush on the finish, welcoming grilled meats.Prices: BC 23.50 Producer: Bodega Renacer
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Bleasdale Second Innings Malbectext
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Bleasdale Second Innings Malbec 2014

Langhorne Creek, South Australia, AustraliaRarely seen as a sole grape in Australia, Bleasdale has been producing a Langhorne Creek Malbec since 1961. 15 percent whole berries, this soaked for 12 days on skins and matured for one year in French oak (ten percent new). Sweeter blackberry, cola, blue florals and plum feel pinched on the reedy palate. Tannins are mild and slightly powdery to a short, hot finish. Perhaps best left a blending grape in Oz, this vintage doesn't convince of malbec's suitability.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Bleasdale Vineyards
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Domaine Bousquet Malbec Reserve Organic Wine 2014

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaMade from organic grapes grown in the Alto Gualtallary in Tupungato. The reserve is an 85/5/5/5/ mix of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah, aged 10 months in French oak. Expect a ripe, intense, red and black fruit nose. The attack is sweetly ripe, with more black raspberry. a hint of figs and dried sage and thyme. A decent effort in a difficult year and one of the few labels we see certified organic. A fine match for beef tacos, hamburgers, skirt steak or a Bolognese-style pasta dish.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bousquet
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Paz de Finca Las Moras Malbec 2013

Pedernal Valley, San Juan, ArgentinaAlways a bit of a smart crowd pleaser, thanks to a note of freshness under a swath of black fruit aromas. Full and rich, but with some restraint, the palate mixes peppery blueberry/blackberry fruit with dense sweet tannins. There’s a bit of grip in the back end and quite a swath of heat, but nothing a steak wouldn’t meet with aplomb. Best to splash decant for 30 minutes or serve with a big piece of meat. Part of the Gruppo Peñaflor, one that includes Trapiche.Prices: AB 16.00 BC 16.99 Producer: Finca Las Moras
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Domaine Bousquet Malbec 2015

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaBousquet is made with organic grapes, mostly Tupungato (1200m) that sees both American and French oak during fermentation prior to a short 4 months in bottle. Look for juicy black cherry, raspberry cedar, tobacco, savoury notes with a dusting of pepper. The tannins are soft and chalky with more cherry jam, dried herbs, poultry spice and earthy, coffee grinds. Simple but effective style here that is made to be served with chicken or beef pasta dishes.Prices: MB 17.00 BC 15.99 ON 18.00 AB 17.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bousquet
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbectext
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbec 2015

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaDense, thick and syrupy on the palate, with heady wood, cedar staves and sweet, smoked cassis coating the full palate. Overtly wooded, this youthful wine needs time to settle so the potent cassis and blackberry can stand up. Tannins are blunt and sticky and the finish short and stunted. At this stage, too out of sync to enjoy. This spends six month in French oak.Prices: ON 15.00 BC 19.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Luigi Bosca Malbectext
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Luigi Bosca Malbec 2014

Mendoza, ArgentinaFifty year old vines from Finca La Linda vineyard (950m) in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo make up this full-bodied malbec, one perfumed with violets and bedded with dense, sweetly ripe cassis and thorny blackberry. Tannins are firm, but mature, with coffee, black cherry jam, tobacco and ample nutmeg spicing on the wooded finish. This spent one year in mostly new French oak, which somewhat overrides the dense fruit at this young stage, but will integrate more with time. Try this with flank steak.Prices: BC 23.49 AB 22.00 ON 15.25 Producer: Bodegas Luigi Bosca Familia Arizu
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Luigi Bosca Malbec Single Vineyard DOC 2013

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe single vineyard D.O.C. Luigi Bosca Malbec could easily just stand for Double Oak Centric. So much wood here, it overrides all the dense fruit afforded by 70-year-old vines at nearly 1000m altitude in the Finca La Linda vineyard, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. That said, potent and fragrant plum, violets, blackberries, mulberries, medicinal cherries still poke through the rustic headiness afforded by ample extraction and fourteen months in new French oak. This will tame with time in the bottle, but for now there is too much oak awkwardly sticking out the back end; it's too much of too much. Hold for three years and try again.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 34.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Bodegas Luigi Bosca Familia Arizu
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Zuccardi Q Malbec Paraje Altamira and Vista Florestext
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Zuccardi Q Malbec Paraje Altamira and Vista Flores 2014

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFresh, plush, black plum, salted black liquorice nose flecked with violets and ‘jarilla,’ (the garrigue of Mendoza) gives off the signature Uco Valley terroir. The fruit is sourced from select lots in high altitude Paraje Altamira and Vista Flores hence the balanced, silky textures covered with tobacco and a slick of tar through the full-bodied mid-palate that linger through a warm (14.5 percent) finish. The one year in French oak is handled well, and pretty much engulfed by the dense fruit. A mountain freshness helps throughout to keep this bright. Drinking well now, but will improve with short term cellaring. Impressive for the price.Prices: NS 21.00 QC 20.00 NF 22.00 BC 27.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Santa Julia Reserva Malbectext
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Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2015

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe reserva malbec continues to reflect the Zuccardi family foray into concrete, and a growing respect for terroir-based wines. A better vintage than last year, this wine has all the hallmarks and grace of sensitive malbec. The weight is medium, the fruit focused and subtly bright with peppery, floral highlights. The mid-palate is lively and the tannins finely framing. This is a considerate, moderate, confident and quiet malbec that charms. Impressive, especially considering the price. Back up the truck and fire up the barbecue.Prices: AB 17.50 BC 16.49 ON 14.00 QC 15.00 SK 16.99 MB 14.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Cuma Organic Biologique Malbectext
87PTS

Cuma Organic Biologique Malbec 2016

Cafayate, Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaIf you're looking for a fresher, brighter, juicier Argentinian malbec, look for this organic Cuma. From Salta's Cafayate Valley, in the high altitude north, this benefits from deep, poor rocky soils and a super high, daily diurnal shift (an acidity saviour). Bright cassis, light violets mix with savoury, potent anise, dried sage and thyme on the bitter cherry, warming finish. Acidity is frisky, and tannins are tuggy, and while the oak use is moderate, it is certainly noticeable, especially on the end. A cool style that will work seamlessly with roasted vegetables. Great value.Prices: BC 12.49 MB 12.00 NF 13.00 AB 13.00 Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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Finca Decero Malbec Remolinos Vineyardtext
86PTS

Finca Decero Malbec Remolinos Vineyard 2014

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaBlack pepper laced cassis, tar and cooked blackberry jam fill this full-bodied malbec from Agrelo's Remolinos Vineyard. This was basket pressed before spending 14 months in 30 percent new French oak barrels. Wintermint and violets season the thick palate, hemmed with sticky tannins and finishing with a warmed blueberry syrup finish. Not shy, this in-your-face malbec will have many BBQ fans swooning.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 22.00 ON 22.00 Producer: Finca Decero
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Trivento Golden Reserve Malbectext
87PTS

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2014

Mendoza, ArgentinaOpaque in hue, this thick and dense Lujan de Cuyo malbec is filled with potent blackberry jam, balsamic vinegar and roasted coffee, and stunted with strident, assertive tannins. There's a floral line and thick tar cushion throughout but it appears to be a victim of this difficult cool vintage year in that it has lost its hedonistic jacket and appears slightly hollow or light through the mid-palate. Ready to drink with a piece of barbecued meat.Prices: NF 21.50 MB 23.00 SK 25.00 NS 28.00 AB 24.00 BC 21.99 Producer: Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos S.A
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Trumpeter Rutini Wines Malbectext
86PTS

Trumpeter Rutini Wines Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaDense and sweet vanillin fruit fills this full, fleshy, commercial malbec from Tupungato, in Mendoza. This spent obvious time in oak (30 percent new American, 30 percent new French and the remainder second and third fill American). Overt and powerful, with roasted coffee, pepper and toast, and lingering vanilla sweetness matched only by the potent oak on the warm finish. A bit too much of everything including some fuzzy tannins on the finish. Best with hamburgers.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Rutini Wines
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Santa Julia Organica Malbectext
88PTS

Santa Julia Organica Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Zuccardi family has taken a leading role in New Argentina and this simple but sophisticated little malbec made with organic fruit is the perfect example. This was named in honour of the only daughter of José Zuccardi. At 13.5 alcohol it remains within itself, yet offers up fresh, ripe almost sweet plum fruit and with a wisp of smoke and savoury herbs. A lovely, almost creamy texture lots on the palate. Tannins are just gritty enough to hold all in place. A fantastic midweek red that over delivers for the price.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Kaiken Ultra Malbectext
89PTS

Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2014

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA more streamlined profile in a cooler 2014 with peppery, rosemary/thyme/dried wild herbs fronting notes of licorice and black cherry. The palate is pure savoury black fruit flavours with minimal oak (only 1/3 new) showing through. There is fine freshness and complexity in the finish that calls for grilled meats or a piece of creamy cheese to best enhance the wine and the food. Solid for the price. Malbec Ultra fruit is all Uco Valley from multiple altitudes and soil types in Vistaflores (1,400 m.a.s.l.) Gualtallary (1,300 m.a.s.l) and Altamira (1,100 m.a.s.l.)Prices: US 20.00 ON 18.95 Producer: Montes Wines
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Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbectext
84PTS

Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec 2014

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA slightly dirty, reduced nose previews cooked, earthy, ripe fruit characters. The attack is flat with, earthy, branchy, spicy flavours sitting over flat textures, and yet with sweetness throughout. Short and lacking this time out. Wait for the next vintage.Prices: BC 17.99 ON 16.25 QC 17.55 SK 19.00 YK 20.40 NS 22.00 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Graffigna Malbectext
89PTS

Graffigna Malbec 2015

San Juan, ArgentinaGraffigna has produced wines from higher altitude Andean vineyards since 1870, and this malbec carries on that tradition with malbec sourced from Tulum (700m) and Pedernal Valley (1400m) in San Juan. Savoury and earthy, with pencil lead, graphite, branch texturing warm plum, black cherry and black raspberry. Lovely grippy tannins and a streak of acidity keep this fresh up to the black cherry and espresso finish. Well done.Prices: ON 14.00 Producer: Bodegas y Viñedos Santiago Graffigna
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Escorihuela Gascon Malbec Estatetext
87PTS

Escorihuela Gascon Malbec Estate 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaA second bottle confirms bottle one was a faulty fitting cork. Look for a perfumed, savoury black fruit affair that spends eight months in a 70/30 mix of French and American oak. The palate has a rich dollop of oak that frames the soft dense black fruit flavours fleck with cassis and chocolate espresso notes. Fire up the barbecue and grill some beef.Prices: BC 17.99 YK 18.85 Producer: Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon
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Escorihuela Gascon Malbec Estatetext
90PTS

Escorihuela Gascon Malbec Estate 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaBodegas Escorihuela was founded in 1884 making it the oldest continuously operating winery in Mendoza. It’s been run by the Catena family and investors since 1993 and its performance has vastly improve since then. The 2016 is a mix of Agrelo fruit (950 metres altitude) and Vistalba and Altamira fruit from the Uco Valley (1000m & 1250 metres). In 2016 there is a change in style and texture with more floral, red fruit characters that seem better built to take on the oak. It has amazing finesse and texture for a $20 red. Try this with a favourite grilled beef dish or a soft cheese.Prices: BC 17.99 YK 18.85 Producer: Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon
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10 April 2017

Chateau Peyros Madiran Vielles Vignestext
88PTS

Chateau Peyros Madiran Vielles Vignes 2011

Madiran, Sud-Ouest, FranceChateau Peyros Vieilles Vines is an 80/20 blend of tannat/cabernet franc from Sud-Ouest France's Madiran. Peyros, the southernmost property of Madiran, takes its name from the Gascony word for 'rocky location'. Dusky cassis, earthy violets, dark blue plums, anise, scrubby herbs and medicinal black cherry are lackadaisically drawn across ample, grippy tannins. Floral black raspberry lingers on the finish. This has some ways to go to resolve. Decant now and serve with lamb shank, or wait 3+ years.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Chateau Peyros
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Baron de Ley Rioja Reservatext
93PTS

Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva 2010

Rioja, SpainThis is a mostly tempranillo blend that is aged 20 months new American oak casks and then two years in bottle. This is classic Rioja, plus mercifully clean. In a vintage like 2010, when the fruit was so perfect, you don’t feel the oak. Instead you are drawn into this red by its amazing silky texture and impressive mix of red and black fruits that project a pure flavour flecked with dried, scrubby, wild herbs. Perfect balance which means there will be effortless ageing to come. Restaurants rejoice, collectors stock up.Prices: BC 31.95 AB 27.00 NS 33.00 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Baron de Ley Varietales Maturanatext
88PTS

Baron de Ley Varietales Maturana 2014

Rioja, SpainThe indigenous maturana grape grown at Finca Alegría, the first major planting in the Rioja appellation, is the story here. It spends 12 months in French oak which makes it more French oak then maturana, and frankly a little New World in style. Expect rich black fruits flecked with spice and somehow all through all that, a touch of minerality. The textures are round and lush with plenty of fine-grained tannins and more oak to shed. Best with lamb today or another two to three years in bottle.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Dow Vale do Bomfintext
88PTS

Dow Vale do Bomfin 2014

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalWe love the value, the bright fruit and the impressive dense sweet tannins. Look for a floral, black cherry, liquorice attack with similar juicy, fresh, plummy mineral fruit flavours. Rich but balanced, with both power and finesse. Lamb chops would be a fine match for dinner. We expect this wine will further improve in the bottle through 2020. The blend is 40/30/20/10 Tinta Barroca/Touriga Franca/Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.Prices: BC 17.49 QC 16.15 Producer: Dow's Port
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianzatext
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainTempranillo is splashed with garnacha and graciano in this youthful Rioja. Juicy red currant, cherry and plum has an abundance of joyful florals and a modicum of tannic grip, perfectly placed to frame the sun-warmed fruit. A dusting of peppery spicing closes out the finish. This spends 18 months in older American oak, all ably gobbled up by the fruit. This is for drinking now, ideally with sausage/arugula pizza mid-week.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Hacienda Lopez de Haro
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09 April 2017

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnaytext
94PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnay 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFool’s Mate is the only ‘blend of sites’ that was included in the initial Checkmate release that featured four other chardonnays from single south Okanagan sites. The trio of sites here, mixed in an 11/64/25 proportion are: the home site on the Golden Mile Bench; the Barn Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench; and the Border Vineyard in south Osoyoos. We think it’s the most complex but its not just the different lots taken from the single vineyard releases. It also mixes three very different meso-climates that reflect the expositions of each site, be it a north facing environment (one that gets morning sun), or late day sun. McGahan says you lose some of the specificity of site but you can get a truer expression of the south Okanagan. The nose is a pleasant mix of brioche and spice with a hint of sagebrush. The palate is creamy with good acidity and peach/pear, hazelnut notes and a long creamy, leesy, textured finish. Power and elegance. The fruit was night picked by hand on the 11, 17, 18 and 19 of September. Some fifteen percent is wild fermented before all the wine was aged 17 to 18 months in French oak half of which was new. Three and a half years out, this wine in no one’s fool.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnay Border Vista Vineyardtext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnay Border Vista Vineyard 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit for Capture is grown at the Border Vista Vineyard in Osoyoos, a single block planted in 1997 to Dijon clone 76, over fine-textured sand (and not all that far from the Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay block). The final blend is a 50/50 mix of two barrel lots, one fermented naturally and the other via inoculation with selected yeast. One hundred percent goes through malolactic fermentation with battonage. McGahan describe the style as “Running on the edge. It is not a safe wine but it encapsulates what we are trying to do.” The nose is considerable richer a year down the road and while there is a leanness and freshness, the fruit is ripe and tropically aromatic, the palate is spare and lean but with a fine citrus theme and minerality and just enough orange rind to suggest it might be richer than you think. It is showing the most oak of all the releases. The finish is long and persistent. It reminds me a bit of the Perpetua style but richer. Captured has a double meaning here; it’s not just the chess. It speaks to the vineyard tucked up against the border – it can’t go anywhere. The wine is aged 18 months in oak (53 percent new) but is bottled unfiltered and unfined to keep it fresh. 190 cases.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Little Pawn Chardonnay Barn Vineyardtext
91PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Little Pawn Chardonnay Barn Vineyard 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLittle Pawn Chardonnay, comes from the Barn Vineyard, planted in 1999 and situated on the west facing, warm, Black Sage Bench southeast of Oliver. It’s a solitary micro‐terroir of fine‐grained sands with a very low capacity to hold moisture. The yields are low, the clusters small but the fruit is beautiful—almost tropical. Little Pawn is a very feminine version of chardonnay with perfumed floral notes, bright minerality and ripe pear fruit that has fattened up in the bottle. The wine spends 18 months in French barrels, of which 57 percent are new. The evolution over the last year has gobbled up some of the freshness suggesting it will peak by the end of 2017. A perfect foil to halibut season which is just around the corner. Delicious stuff.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Attack Chardonnay Barn Vineyardtext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Attack Chardonnay Barn Vineyard 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Attack Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Black Sage Bench; it's a single vineyard wine with a twist. It was fermented and aged sur lie in a 100 percent new French oak foudre. It’s a classic year one challenge new wood that can’t be avoided. It’s been spicy from the start and the spice remains a big part of the wine a year down the road. There is still a flinty, mineral note that keeps the wine on a mostly linear path, but like the other releases this wine is putting on weight in the mouth. Three different clones shape the flavours but it’s the salinity and bright acidity that leads the finish melting into some peachy, tropical fruit notes. The 2014, a mix of new and one year old foudres, is even better.Prices: BC 115.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
92PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit for the 2013 Queen Taken Chardonnay comes off the Heritage Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau. The vines are 35 years old and the earth a complex mix of Stemwinder, Ponderosa and Ratnip soils. Queen Taken is a very different chardonnay. The aromatics are floral, but there is a richer, peachy underpinning, perhaps a result of the 35-year old vines. The 2013 was picked October 3 and 15, almost a full month after Capture and no doubt benefiting from the cooler, late afternoon shadows of Mt. Kobau. The picks were kept separate as they went through fermentation in French oak barres with a 100 percent malolactic regime. The wine is more floral, less wild then the Capture, with wet stone and exotic flecks of ginger. Citrus marks the flavours with apricot, melon and a touch of brioche in the creamy spicy finish. Bigger and rounder than the Capture, it’s also longer and more complex. This has an edgier feel with more spice and alcohol poking through now.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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07 April 2017

Upper Bench Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Upper Bench Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs mentioned last year, Naramata is likely as far north as you would want to be to grow cabernet sauvignon in the Okanagan Valley and even then, only in picture-perfect years. The 2013 vintage, while hardly picture perfect qualifies as a good one. The 2013 is the third year in a row that Upper Bench has been successful with cabernet although I would be tempted to use it in my merlot or cabernet franc. Bright and aromatic, the nose is attractive but there is a whack of oak to deal with (could we tone it down just a touch?). The fruit is remains dark and brooding, if a touch raw, with big cedary, black olive and tobacco notes. Give this some time for the parts to better meld together.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Perseus Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes come off the south Okanagan Inkameep Vineyard and its famous ‘U2 block’, a plateau setting, facing south, at 340 meters of elevation. The soil is deep sandy, glacio-fluvial materials. The bedrock is dominated by gneiss and granite. The site was first planted by Sam Baptist in the late 70s, more vines went in the mid 80s before the latest plantings in the early 1990s. The style is blessedly ripe with some balance amid black fruits and dark chocolate flavours suggesting a warm site. Much improved over previous versions. I would wait three to five years to open this bottle again but if you have some grilled meat on the barbecue, pop now.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Perseus
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Vinas Riojanas La Chayatext
80PTS

Vinas Riojanas La Chaya 2015

La Rioja, ArgentinaI’m a fan of Neil Empson selections but this one is just a little too commercial for us. An BCLDB ‘exclusive,’ that sells for $9.99. It’s shipped all the way from Argentina so you can image it would have to be dirt cheap at the origin. The recipe is soft, confected and painfully persistent. It’s named after a carnival in La Rioja, Argentina, where the locals dress up like Devils and celebrate La Pachamama (mother earth) with dancing, eating and drinking. The problem is the devil is in the details.Prices: BC 9.99 Producer: La Riojana
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Santa Ana La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Santa Ana La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA fine jump up in quality since 2010. The fruit is still sweet but with some other more interesting inputs. The tannins are soft and well-managed with a riff of grip; the palate ripe and savoury, with a well-handled dollop of oak. Toasted cedar works alongside the branchy, resinous and cherry notes in this red fruited cabernet. Friendly and affordable this should have wide appeal for cab fans. The perfect barbecue red.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 21.95 MB 17.00 ON 15.00 QC 16.50 NS 17.25 PEI 17.25 NF 17.25 NB 17.25 Producer: Bodegas Santa Ana
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Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignontext
90PTS

Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaIf you are a fan of biodynamic wines, Kaiken Ultra certainly over-delivers for the price, from its savoury peppery nose to its chalky, dense, sweet, dusty tannins. The cabernet vines are 80 plus years and aged with a splash of malbec that all comes together in a savoury, umami delicious red that still has a bit of tannin to shed. Fun, juicy and elegant, it has a finesse you wouldn’t expect. Very good at five years but should be fine thorough 2020.Prices: BC 24.99 ON 20.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Reservatext
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Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThere is bright aromatic lift to the nose of this wine at five years old. The palate is rich but an undercurrent of savoury dried herbs balance off the black and red fruit. Impressive for the price. The grapes are from Agrelo vineyards averaging more than fifty years old. The blend is 95/5 cabernet sauvignon/malbec. Only 40 percent of the juice is aged in oak and that is for a quick six months. Just about right at the five-year mark. Steak anyone? Delicious drinking. Good value.Prices: BC 18.00 AB 18.00 SK 19.00 NS 18.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Culmina Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Culmina Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear two has seen a big improvement in their cabernet, namely in the finesse area. The nose remains savoury with cedar, sagebrush and spice over black fruit. The entry has more black fruits and balanced acidity with fine grained dense tannins throughout. The finish has presence with the black fruit and tannins perfectly balanced by the acidity and savoury accents. This needs time but it is starting from a much more balanced position, which means if you had to you could drink this now with a steak or wait until 2020. Well done.Prices: BC 31.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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06 April 2017

Domaine Ferrandiere Blanc Coteaux de Miramonttext
87PTS

Domaine Ferrandiere Blanc Coteaux de Miramont 2015

l'Aude, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceDomaine Ferrandiere is another piece of the Paul Mas empire. The property is located in the Coteaux du Miramont, a IGP that sits between Carcassonne and Narbonne. The vineyard itself sits on an old maritime lagoon that lies only 40 kilometers from the cooling Mediterranean. Mas says the salty soils set this piece of dirt apart from nearby terroirs that includes a yearly flooding to flush the salt out of the soil. The white blend is a mix of chardonnay, viognier and pinot gris that is quite aromatic and floral with a strong quince undercurrent and light yellow colour. The palate is an odd mix of salty, mineral, stone fruit and tropical flavour with pineapple and vanilla predominating. The ripe peachy fruit flavours are not my favourite but with pork or perhaps a savoury roast chicken it could all come together.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Les Ferrandiere
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Jost Tidal Baytext
87PTS

Jost Tidal Bay 2015

Nova Scotia, CanadaTidal Bay is an appellation of style, and wines are meant to reflect the fresh, bright, light atmosphere of coastal Nova Scotia. The grapes are L'Acadie Blanc and other white varieties, and cannot exceed 11% alcohol. Jost's Tidal Bay is splashed with geisenheim, resulting in perfumed lime blossoms, a light lavender note and off-dry sweetness on a soft, light, lifted palate.Prices: NS 20.00 Producer: Jost
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Therapy Vineyards Freudian Siptext
85PTS

Therapy Vineyards Freudian Sip 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, round and mid-sweet, this is an aromatic and floral blend of gewürztraminer, pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc and viognier. Time in stainless and a cocktail of yeasts selected to highlight fruitiness was used in this consumer-friendly white. Pear, peach gummies and candied apples in this confected, lower acid, full-bodied, chill-down-and-crack summer sipper.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanctext
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Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanc 2015

Cotes de Gascogne, Sud-Ouest, FranceDomaine de Pellehaut has been owned and managed by successive generations of the Béraut family for over 300 years. This is a refreshing mix of sauvignon blanc, colombard, ugni blanc, chardonnay, gros manseng and petit manseng from the Côtes de Gascogne. The nose is a mix of floral green fruits with a squeeze of citrus. The palate is similar in style with more citrus zest and tropical fruits. Stainless fermented, this spent three to five months on the lees before a tank selection for the final blend. A fresh, clean, easy-to-sip seafood wine at a very fair price. Now if only this came under screwcap.Prices: BC 14.50 Producer: Domaine de Pellehaut
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05 April 2017

Villa Locatelli Friulanotext
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Villa Locatelli Friulano 2015

Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalySoft, ripe and expressive on the broad, waxy palate, with honey, ripe melon, yellow apple, heady florals and ripe nectarine, cut with an herbal and nutty bitterness on the finish. Round and warm, with moderate acidity that lags a little behind the potency of the fruit. Quite expressive, in a lackadaisical style.Prices: BC 17.79 Producer: Tenuta di Angoris
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Donnafugata Anthìliatext
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Donnafugata Anthìlia 2015

Sicily, ItalyMarine salts from first whiff carry throughout this lees-cushioned, medium-bodied Sicilian white. The local Catarratto grape dominates the blend, complemented with other local and international grapes. Herbal blossoms, hay, yellow apples are perfumed with subtle acacia spices and spiced with a rasp of Mediterranean scrub. A friendly white, ideal for white fleshed fish.Prices: BC 28.00 QC 18.00 MB 22.00 NS 20.00 Producer: Donnafugata
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Wind Gap Trousseau Gristext
93PTS

Wind Gap Trousseau Gris 2014

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesTrousseau Noir is a grape indigenous to Savoie, one that thrives at altitude. The gris is a rare colour mutation and in Russian River, thrives from the vineyard's proximity to the cool Pacific Ocean. Orange oil, herbal lees, salted almond, pear skin and an intrinsic sea salt that rings of the sea thought this skin contact white. An herbal, lees-lined base supports the whole, while a stream of potent citrus drives it. A profound wine.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Pax Mahle Wines
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Poggio Morino Vermentinotext
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Poggio Morino Vermentino 2015

Morellino di Scansano, Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyPoggio Morino Tenuta is in Scansano, Maremma - Super Tuscan territory. The diurnal shift between Maremma’s long, hot days and marine influenced nights allow for great ripening while preserving acidity, certainly seen in this vermentino. Ripe and expansive, with green fig, honeysuckle, lemon thistle, flake salts, a bed of lees, and a thorny Mediterranean scrub note on the warming finish. Ferment and aging in stainless preserves the piercing lemon pith acidity. This is well suited for flavourful and meaty seafood like scallops or sea bass.Prices: AB 17.00 Producer: Cantina Lavis
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Abellio Albarinotext
89PTS

Abellio Albarino 2015

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainAbellio Albariño is in the Salnes Valley and the vineyards sit on some of the best sites of Rias Baixas in the sub-regions of Salnes, Condado and Ulla. The vines are seven to twenty years old. The soils are 50 percent granitic with equal proportions of clay and sand mixed in. The grapes are barely crushed before a stainless-steel ferment. The wine is fresh and bright with a mix of pear, green apple and stone fruit aromas and flavours and a fine line of citrus supporting its length and clean, crisp finish. Lovely energy and balance. Think fish cakes, fish tacos, squid shellfish and jamon. Good value.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rectoral do Umia
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Vincent Caillé Clos de la Févrie Muscadet Sèvre et Mainetext
89PTS

Vincent Caillé Clos de la Févrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2014

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceThe Caillé family have been winegrowers for 5 generations. When Vincent Caillé took over the family vineyard in 1986, he converted the property to organics, and is firmly entrenched as a leading member of a new generation of winegrowers. Ample lees-lined lemon thistle, wild herbs make up the plush cushion of this muscadet, one softer and slower-paced than some of its sharper Sèvre et Maine contemporaries. Green apple and bitter lemon on the vibrating finish. What this may lack for in precision, it certainly makes up for in texture.Prices: Producer: Vincent Caillé
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Casale del Giglio Petit Mansengtext
88PTS

Casale del Giglio Petit Manseng 2014

Lazio, ItalyA native of the Jurançon region in the foothills of the French Atlantic Pyrenees, the small-berried, thick-skinned Petit Manseng grape yields very little juice. It’s a late pick, when the grapes are shriveled and the sugar content high. The French call the process passerillage and it's catching on in the Agro Pontino Valley, where petit manseng was planted for the first time by Casale del Giglio. The original ferment is spontaneous after a 10 to 12-hour maceration with additional yeast added the next day. Post fermentation the malolactic fermentation is blocked to preserve acidity and the wine is left to rest on its for several months before going to bottled in March or April of the following year. Look for a bright straw-yellow tint of colour. The nose is aromatic with nutty, fruity and spicy notes, and the palate a tangy, oily mix of yellow fruits and nuts that finishes surprisingly crisp. Perfect with grilled chicken.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 17.00 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio Taburnotext
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Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio Taburno 2015

Campania, ItalyI love the fragrance here, and the obvious refinement not always encountered with falanghina. White flowers, mangos and quince dominate the nose and palate. Delicate, fresh and different, I would take this style over an orange wine any day. Love the citrus, mineral, lees notes in the finish. A solid white that could work with a variety of west coast seafood.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 21.00 Producer: Fontanavecchia
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St. Hubertus Pinot Blanctext
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St. Hubertus Pinot Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPinot blanc doesn’t get a lot of love in BC, but it's because it often lacks definition (electricity), ending up flat and buttery. In this case the Swiss precision of the Gebert family brings this pinot blanc to life with freshness, offering a mix of green apples and lemons with a squeeze of peach juice. Toss in some local terroir sagebrush and you have a winner for the price. Try this with fresh halibut.Prices: BC 18.30 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Blancotext
87PTS

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Blanco 2015

Rioja, SpainThis fleshy Rioja is based on older vine viura and splashed with other local white grapes. Three months in French oak has further upped the creamy palate weight, and added additional heft and sandalwood spicing to the pear curd, peach fruit. You can taste the heat of the Spanish sun here. A sharp bitter note cuts the finish, finishing this wine a bit short.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Hacienda Lopez de Haro
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Gehringer Brothers Old Vines Auxerroistext
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Gehringer Brothers Old Vines Auxerrois 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDelicate pear, apple blossom on this soft, gentle auxerrois, now with vines over thirty years old. Easy and round on the palate, with a core of pear, gooseberry and finely buzzy pink grapefruit, and orchard blossoms and vanilla trailing. This is a delicate, yet concentrated, aromatic white, and well suited to patios and brunches.Prices: BC 14.50 Producer: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
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Beaufort Ortegatext
85PTS

Beaufort Ortega 2015

Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaEarthy herbs, wet wool opens this Comox Valley ortega. Full bodied and off-dry, with medicinal-hued cherry, apricot and a broken stone savouriness to the shorter, stunted finish.Prices: BC 17.50 Producer: Beaufort
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Road 13 Old Vines Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaShowing chenin's youthful and fruity side at present, but these old vines (planted 1968) are somewhat stunted by a heavy hand of wood. Right now this is round, juicy orchard fruit, expansive and waxy on the palate, reflective of the warm 2015 vintage. Bitter citrus hues tropical fruits (guava, ripe gooseberries) before lingering ash and light toast to a warmer finish. The 2015 is lacking this wine's characteristic acidic vervePrices: BC 27.00 Producer: Golden Mile Cellars (aka Road 13)
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Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillontext
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Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2009

Pokolbin, Hunter, New South Wales, AustraliaAlways fun to taste Hunter semillon with a little age. This is now showing the honeyed, nutty, aged notes of sem that has rounded the cusp. Lovely elasticity along the palate to a lingering finish. In the teenage dumb phase still, but reaching the end. If you have this vintage in your cellar, hold tight right now for greater reward.Prices: AB 58.00 Producer: Tyrrell's Wines Pty., Ltd.
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Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Côtes du Rhône Blanctext
90PTS

Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2016

Gigondas, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThis Côtes du Rhône Blanc is produced from 100 percent clairette, the oldest vines on the property, planted in 1955 at some 300+ meters. The wine is fermented in new and one-year-old French oak barrels and spends 10 months on its fine lees but you hardly notice it. The nose is a quince, pear and honey affair with bright floral notes. The palate is similar with spicy apricot/grapefruit fruit, light citrus and ginger flavours. Lovely finesse. The wine is barrel fermented in new French oak barrels. More Gigondas Blanc than Cotes du Rhone. Serve as an aperitif or pair up with shellfish, chèvre or chicken salad. Only 7,000 bottles made each year.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Pierre Amadieu
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04 April 2017

Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Piesporter Goldtropfchen Auslese Rieslingtext
92PTS

Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Piesporter Goldtropfchen Auslese Riesling 2015

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, GermanyThe Goldtropfchen is a richer style with some botrytis that helps to complex the flavours, yet all with bright acidity. The palate is honeyed with a strong riff of peaches, mango, ripe apples and apricots over an underlying minerality, spice and freshness. Again, the finish is bright and clean beckoning you back to the glass. A little more hedonistic than the Bockstein but not quite as electric. Horses for courses as they say.Prices: BC 71.00 Producer: Weingut Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof
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Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Auslesetext
94PTS

Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Auslese 2015

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, GermanyBockstein is just a delight to drink from its fresh, floral mineral, scent and flavour of white fruits and tangerines. The palate is electric and fresh with big sugar but all well-balanced by very tangy acidity with bright orange and pear flavours with a touch of spice. So alive and bright you can sense its Saar origins. The finish is long and complex but refreshingly clean. Try this with duck confit. Super value and more versatile than icewine.Prices: BC 52.00 375 Producer: Weingut Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof
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St. Hubertus Rieslingtext
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St. Hubertus Riesling 2014

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJuicy, round and ripe with peach, pear, red apple and an ample dusting of spicy Szechuan peppercorn. A thicker film of honey coats the palate of this fuller bodied, off-dry white. A juicy swell on the finish encourages glass after glass - and at an alluring 11.5 percent, it's easy to do. Great value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Rieslingtext
90PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Riesling 2013

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe St Hubertus and Oak Bay Vineyards were originally planted in 1928 in Kelowna, and the old vines that make up this concentrated riesling were planted in 1978. Potent and pulpy lime, tangerine pith, white honey, green apple and stony, parmesan-scented lees drives along the palate to a snappy finish. Off-dry, but you don't even notice with this concentration, riveting acidity, and terrific length.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Schloss Reinhartshausen Rheingau Riesling Drytext
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Schloss Reinhartshausen Rheingau Riesling Dry 2015

Rheingau, GermanyNothing much changes here. The attack remains fresh and dry with bright, floral notes over mineral, tangy, citrus pith and a dry lip-smacking finish. This is a screamingly fresh riesling for the adventurous drinker and food lover. Try this with steamed mussels. Good value.Prices: BC 22.99 MB 17.86 Producer: Weingut Schloss Reinhartshausen
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Upper Bench Limited Release Rieslingtext
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Upper Bench Limited Release Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA sharp new label fits this "limited release" (at 672 cases) riesling. Tight and snappy and very gew-like, with rosewater and light ginger seasoning ripe pear, green apple and white peach, with a riffing pink grapefruit and herbal twist on the finish. Off-dry and juicy, this is a concentrated, easy to enjoy, youthful white to enjoy now.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Little Farm Winery Pied de Cuve Rieslingtext
92PTS

Little Farm Winery Pied de Cuve Riesling 2015

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the same site and fruit as Little Farm's straight 2015 Riesling, but vastly different. Pied de Cuve has been fermented wild (with the foot-tred pied de cuve vineyard starter), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Other than that, this is farmed and processed the same: organically tended, foot trodden into older barrel and tank for ten months on the gross lees and very minimal sulphur just at bottling. Complex, savoury and highly textural, with ample flake salt, lime pith, herbal lime leaf, anise and a pulsing vibrancy to a very lengthy finish. Sea salt lingers. Similkameen first, riesling second. Striking, and entirely unique to Similkameen / BC / Canada.Prices: BC 30.50 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Little Farm Winery Rieslingtext
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Little Farm Winery Riesling 2015

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their family's four-acre organic farm in Cawston, this was planted mostly in 2009, and with 6 different clones. Whole cluster pressed (by foot-treading whole bunches in bins) directly to a mix of old, neutral barrels and a stainless-steel tank before allowing for a long, slow ferment and ten months on the gross lees. Minimal sulphur was added just before bottling. Bone dry, with lime pith, potent key lime leaf, white grapefruit essence, green apple, river stones humming throughout to a fine, chalky finish. Streamlined linearity and drive, drinking beautifully now but will honey and deepen with cellaring. 2.93 pH, 8.7 TA, 12.2 percent alcohol. Only 170 cases made.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Therapy Rieslingtext
87PTS

Therapy Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOff-dry and medium sweet, with pear gummies, ripe apricot, candied apples and ginger ale. Bright, snappy acidity matches, making this is a well-made and easy-sipping summer white but under screwcap it will hold for a year or two. The fruit comes of Schweinie Vineyard on the Naramata Bench.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Wittmann Riesling Trockentext
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Wittmann Riesling Trocken 2015

Rheinhessen, GermanyThere is a purity of fruit here that you just want to drink but I hope consumers embrace this wine and see where a grape can go when you don’t mess too much with it. The slate, the pear, the white flowers and nectarine skin all conspire to make this a delicious drop of riesling. Especially when you add in an electric current of minerality and acidity. Fresh, juicy, and ready to drink, it was a perfect match with my chicken/vegetable stir fry.Prices: BC 27.00 MB 28.00 AB 33.00 Producer: Weingut Wittmann
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03 April 2017

Château Lauriga Cuvée Bastientext
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Château Lauriga Cuvée Bastien 2014

Côtes du Roussillon, Roussillon, South of France, FranceCorked. Try another one.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Lauriga Exploitante
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Château Lauriga Cuvée Jeantext
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Château Lauriga Cuvée Jean 2013

Côtes du Roussillon, Roussillon, South of France, FrancePaul Mas has his stylings written all over this syrah from the south of France. The region is windswept by the Tramontane, the vineyard planted on sandy, free-draining soils typical of the Aspres region. Part of the Lauriga vineyard is planted on very old terraces where the soils are full of pudding stones which heat up quickly in the sun and have always been valued by winemakers throughout the generations. The diversity of soils sings through the wine. The nose is an enticing mix of blueberry and juicy black fruits mixed with toast and spice. The textures are soft and fat, cut with pepper and silky soft tannins. Warm yet balanced, with a long spicy finish. Try this with lamb chops or a beef stir fry. Impressive for the price.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Lauriga Exploitante
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Mas des Tannes Classique Rouge Grenache Carignan Mourvedretext
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Mas des Tannes Classique Rouge Grenache Carignan Mourvedre 2015

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceMontagnac is a 30-hectare estate surrounded by classic southern France scrubland and pines, burnished by the mild, sweet Mediterranean Sea climate and from time to time with a powerful cleansing northern wind. The land is alive because the clay/limestone mix of organic soil has never been farmed with any chemicals. The Tannes Réserve rouge is a refreshing blend of grenache, carignan and mourvèdre, with a mix of earthy garrigue and red fruit with a dusting of coffee and milk chocolate. The finish is dry and firm. Try this with mushrooms or grilled beef. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Château des Crès Ricards Stéciatext
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Château des Crès Ricards Stécia 2015

Terrasses de Larzac, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceStécia comes from the prestigious Côteaux du Languedoc Cru Grand Vin de Terrasses du Larzac. Limestone and clay, red iron oxide, mixed with stony soils on steep, terraced slopes are the backdrop for this savoury treasure. The blend is 65/25/15 syrah, grenache and carignan. The syrah parcels are made up of 21 and 11-year-old vines, the grenache is 42-yeara-old while the prized old carignan is 50-years old. The ferment is a mix of traditional and modern techniques leaving the grapes 20 to 22 days of skin contact with daily delestage, or rack and return. Expect an expressive red with strong savoury menthol garrigue aromas and bright, fresh, black fruits with a persistent spice and smooth, silky tannins in the back end. An impressive bottle of wine that would be the perfect foil to grilled lamb.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Chateau des Cres Ricards
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Château des Crès Ricards Oenotheratext
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Château des Crès Ricards Oenothera 2015

Terrasses de Larzac, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceOenothera is grown in the Côteaux du Languedoc on the Cru Grand Vin Terrasses du Larzac, a special piece of distinctive red dirt made of limestone, clay and pebbly stones on steep, terraced vineyards. Oenothera is mix of parcels with 30-year-old syrah vines and 43-year-old grenache vines. The ferment is a mix of traditional maceration, daily delestage and whole-grape carbonic maceration, all matured for a year in oak casks. The final blend id 84/15 syrah/grenache. The nose is a delightful mix of spicy, mocha blackcurrants with bits of tobacco. The palate is soft and round with some mid-palate freshness to support a whack of black cherry and licorice. Impressive, high quality here. The-28 hectare Domaine des Crès Ricards was established in the early 1960s, and the vineyard is situated at an altitude of 60 metres.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Chateau des Cres Ricards
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Chateau Paul Mas Clos du Moulinas Pézenastext
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Chateau Paul Mas Clos du Moulinas Pézenas 2015

Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceClos du Moulinas sits 80-100 meters above sea level on clay and limestone with fossilized seashell rocks. The blend is roughly 55/45 syrah/grenache, and the syrah plants are 29 to 49-years-old while the grenache is now over 50-years-old. The ferment is done in stainless steel and concrete vats. All the wine is aged in French oak with 40 percent undergoing its malolactic fermentation in oak barrels. There is a fine intensity here, with bright, floral, black fruits, savoury tapenade, licorice, tobacco with a fine film of oak and spice. The balance is perfect, the tannins rich and dense, but silky, suggesting this will age well for a decade. A fine vintage.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Château Paul Mas Clos de Savignac Gres de Montpelliertext
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Château Paul Mas Clos de Savignac Gres de Montpellier 2015

Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceLes Vignes de Savignac consists of 7.4 acres of vines overlooking the Mediterranean near Montagnac. The vineyard is planted with old vine, low yielding grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. Expect a deep colour with a floral, aromatic nose of violets, black fruits and shaved chocolate. The plate is soft and medium weight, with some freshness and peppery black fruit and just a bit of grip in the finish. You could wait another two to three years to drink this or serve it now with grilled beef, pasta, game and soft cheeses.Prices: BC 22.49 BC 32.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Château Jérémie Corbièrestext
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Château Jérémie Corbières 2015

l'Aude, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThe 58 hectares of vineyard are Corbières-based between the city of Carcassonne and Narbonne. This is a blend of grenache, carignan, mourvèdre and syrah and its all you can expect for $20. Warm, round and rich, you get a dusting of black fruit mixed with dried herbs and olive tapenade notes. The finish is warm and dry with peppery spicing, and almost bitter but food friendly black fruit finish. Barbecued ribs would be a fine match. Solid value.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Les Ferrandiere
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Domaine du Silène des Peyralstext
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Domaine du Silène des Peyrals 2015

Grès de Montpellier, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceSilène belonged to the Pourcel family, whose twin sons went on to open the now 3-star Michelin restaurant Jardin des Sens. In 2000, the winery was purchased by Robert Skalli. All five southern grape varieties are in the mix – syrah, cinsault, grenache, carignan, mourvèdre - combined with heavy clay site and a warm dry climate to produce a powerful red. The attack is rich and spicy with an intense menthol, dried herb, black fruit mid-palate and finish. The tannins are well managed and there’s more finesse here than you might imagine. Best with grilled lamb at this point but you could cellar this a decade. Good value from a very fine vintage.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Silene des Peyrals
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Calmel and Joseph Languedoc Rouge (Trumpet Label)text
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Calmel and Joseph Languedoc Rouge (Trumpet Label) 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceClassic introductory Languedoc rouge with a medium dark red colour and a spicy, soupy nose of dried herbs (garrigue) and a mix of red and black fruits. The attack is fresh and clean with more pure blackcurrant and a savoury garrigue undercurrent. The blend is 50/30/20 syrah, grenache and carignan, each grown on different soils in different locations. The fruit is hand-picked and only partly crushed, and fermented before aging in concrete tanks for six months. It is a delicious drinking red wine that is ready to drink. Good value in BC; fabulous value in Ontario.Prices: BC 19.50 ON 14.75 Producer: Calmel & Joseph
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Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe La Crautext
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Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau 2007

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceFrom the cellar. It's hard to think of Châteauneuf-du-Pape without conjuring up Vieux Télégraphe. And the Brunier family's La Crau vineyard is considered by many to be Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s grandest cru. This is grenache, syrah and mouvèdre from vines 20-60 years of age on galets. Sultry, supple leather, concentrated dried cherry, dried strawberry, dried tobacco is streaked with dried rosemary and a dusting of sage. The mouthfeel is palatable, with a weight of dried-sunripend fruit underpinned by a steady, fine stream of acidity. Tannins are sticky and granular, and the finish on this wine lingers for ages. If you have in your cellar, I recommend drinking now.Prices: US 125.00 Producer: Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
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Les Halos de Jupiter Côtes Du Rhônetext
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Les Halos de Jupiter Côtes Du Rhône 2015

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceMade in conjunction with consultants Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie and named for the king of all gods, this line of wines is always great value for price on our market. The Côtes Du Rhône is a blend of old vine grenache with 10 percent syrah and 5 percent mourvèdre from a high-altitude vineyard near Roaix (northern point of the Southern Rhone). Grapes are destemmed but not crushed, and spend one year in concrete before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dusky blue florals, plum, dried rosemary is softly drawn across grippy, gritty tannins to a drying finish that lingers with violets. Textural and lightly touched (the concrete is impressive here). Authentic, honest and ready to drink with bistro fare.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Les Halos de Jupiter (Cambie Gassier)
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Château Trillol Grenache Carignan Syrahtext
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Château Trillol Grenache Carignan Syrah 2012

Corbières, Languedoc, South of France, FranceFrom 400m and 35 years vine age, in the hills of Corbières, this grenache, syrah, carignan employs partial carbonic maceration, and aging for up to one year in oak barrels, before light fining and no filtration. Grenache rules (nearly half) with perfumed raspberry, strawberry, dark cherry, violets and a lurking scrubby herbaceousness on a soft, bright palate, with tannins finely grippy. A fine peppery spicing and bitter blackcurrant lingers on the finish. Expect a balance and elegance you might not normally find in the south. An ideal bistro wine, well priced, and one I'd gladly order with steak frites.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Chateau Trillol
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Henschke Henry's Seventext
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Henschke Henry's Seven 2013

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaPotent raspberry jam, plum and boysenberry throughout this full-bodied blend of shiraz, grenache, mataro and viognier. Saturated, but lifted, with perfumed red fruit and florals brightening a thick and plump medicinal-hued palate of blackberry, cassis and plum. This is not a shy wine, but it is very well handled, with smoothed, polished tannins. The finish is lingering, with a buzz of warmth (14.5 percent) and stony spice.Prices: BC 41.99 Producer: Henschke
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Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Gigondastext
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Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Gigondas 2013

Gigondas, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceRetasted this spring and developing as expected. The 2013 crop was small but quality at the top end was fine. Deeply coloured, the 2013 Domaine Grand is a 65/20/15 mix of grenache, mourvèdre and syrah grown close to 500 metres above sea level. The nose is pepper, savoury, smoky affair with bits of chocolate, all of which move to the palate with ease. More garrigue with meaty, black cherry notes carry right through the finish. Well-made and youthful, and will age gracefully for a decade. Anything off the barbecue or with mushrooms will work for now. Great cellar buy.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Pierre Amadieu
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