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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: June 2017

28 June 2017

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosso di Montalcinotext
91PTS

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe roots of the Colombini family in Tuscany go back to 1592, with winemaking beginning in 1790 with the founding of the Fattoria dei Barbi. Francesca Cinelli Colombini, also known as the “Lady of Brunello” made a name for herself in the 1970s the leader of Barbi’s top wines. This sangiovese aged one year in oak, revealing sweet salami, smoked wood, brooding black plum, earthy cherry, tobacco, leather, tar and lightly tuggy framing tannins that run the sides. Potent balsamic and tobacco linger on the grippy finish. This is a imposing wine that is really a softy underneath. Once open (or flash decanted) this will charm you, especially with roasted pork or lamb.Prices: MB 33.00 Producer: Donatella Cinelli Colombini
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Donatella Cinelli Colombini Leone Rosso Orciatext
92PTS

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Leone Rosso Orcia 2011

Orcia, Tuscany, ItalyDOC Orcia is produced in 13 municipalities between Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This is 60/40 sangiovese/merlot from the historic estate, built by Donatella Cinelli Colombini's ancestors in 1592. Six months in tonneaux has given a frame of smokey structure, without overwhelming the plush fruit. Salted black liquorice, anise, brooding blackberry fills the dense, compact frame. This is youthful still; tannins are sticky, the medium body (13.5 percent) intense and the finish lengthy, salted, and concentrated. That said, for all its potency, it's drinking beautifully now, assisted by ample decanting and by the addition of roast lamb or game.Prices: ON 26.00 MB 27.00 Producer: Donatella Cinelli Colombini
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27 June 2017

Shardana Valli di Porto Pinotext
90PTS

Shardana Valli di Porto Pino 2011

Santadi, Cagliari, Sardinia, ItalyFragrant, warm spiced and floral, this blend of old vine carignano (over 100 years old, some pre-phylloxera) and shiraz from the sandy, southern, wild and rugged tip of Sardinia charms with its alluring and welcoming nose. The full-bodied palate continues the dark florality along with wild blackberry, thorns, scrubby dusky plum and blackberry. The supple, silken, expansive flow is framed with tuggy leathery tannins (reflective of a year in wood), anise and warming black pepper to the drying finish. Drinking well now, especially with roasted pork or fowl.Prices: BC 39.00 AB 39.99 Producer: Empson and Company
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Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riservatext
0PTS

Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva 2013

Puglia, ItalyCorked.Prices: BC 19.40 Producer: Leone de Castris
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Abbott's and Delaucay Minervois Reservetext
88PTS

Abbott's and Delaucay Minervois Reserve 2015

Minervois, Languedoc, South of France, FranceSyrah, grenache, carignan flood this full, plush and ready-to-drink Minervois. Syrah and grenache are carbonically macerated to highlight the fresh and bright dark berry fruit, with the syrah destemmed. This spent time in 40 percent barrels (20 percent new) and the remainder in stainless. Black liquorice, sweet kirsch, blackberry gummies, black chocolate are all violet laced, housed with fine, powdery tannins and filled with Minervois' expansive generosity to a plummy, tight, slightly warming finish. Lovely companion to grilled ribs or duck.Prices: Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre!text
89PTS

Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre! 2015

AustriaThe Basic has left Claus' portfolio, and this, Puszta Libre, has taken its place. A blend of Zweigelt and St. Laurent made in "Burgunland Beaujolais" style - this is Claus' interpretation of passe-toute-grain; a smashable 'vins de soif' of zweigelt and st. laurent from Gols. Wild ferment and aging in a combo of stainless and old large oak, this was bottled without fining or filtering. A lovely perfumed violet florality throughout this lighter, soft red, with wild blackberry, thorns, black plums and a swing of balsamic. Tannins are minimal, acidity is bracing and the finish salted; chill this and soif away, particularly with charcuterie.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Claus Preisinger
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Di Majo Norante Ramitello Biferno Rossotext
89PTS

Di Majo Norante Ramitello Biferno Rosso 2012

Molise, ItalyBlack plum, black cherry and anise imbue this sultry, savoury blend of montepulciano and aglianico from DOC Bifurno Rosso in Molise. Supple leather on the palate carries dried cherry and raspberry, dusky mulberry, anise and perfumed scrubby herbals (rosemary, thyme, rock roses). Lovely red fruited and floral intensity for its 13.5 percent frame.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Di Majo Norante
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Abbott's and Delaunay Corbières Reservetext
87PTS

Abbott's and Delaunay Corbières Reserve 2014

Corbières, Languedoc, South of France, FrancePotent and direct, now worn soft around the sides with some time, this is drawn from three terroirs: easter Corbières, south, near the edge of the Fitou and 15 percent from the Corbières Boutenac cru. This spent time on lees, 40 percent in barrels (20 percent new) and 60 percent in stainless. Drilling dark anise, cassis jam, brooding black pepper and sultry pipe tobacco along sticky, ripe tannins to a warming, espresso bitter finish. Even open a day in advance, this welcomes hearty beef and lamb shank to counter.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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Cerejeiras Tintotext
87PTS

Cerejeiras Tinto 2015

PortugalThis is a rustic, approachable and friendly blend of castelão, aragonez and touriga nacional from Lisboa, near the sea. You can taste a salinity throughout, along with crisp and floral plum, blueberry and herbal rock rose scrub. Tannins are downy and fuzzy, right to the short, purple floral finish. Authentic and charmingly so, especially with your Thai or Indian spiced goat or eggplant. Fantastic value.Prices: BC 11.00 Producer: Companhia Agricola do Sanguinhal
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26 June 2017

Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt thirteen-years-old, the vineyard is delivering more consistent fruit, as is winemaker Luke Smith. There is always a hint of sweetness to this wine, I think because his wife likes it that way, but it’s balanced with a rush of lime rind and grassy gooseberry/grapefruit flavours. Chill this down and head for a patio on a warm summer’s day and serve with some spicy tuna rolls.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
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Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Blasted Church Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis the best we have tasted from Blasted Church’s sauvignon portfolio. The nose is a mix of grassy grapefruit, melon rind, floral notes. The attack is similar with a subtle undertone of sweetness and pink grapefruit with more grassy/nettle, ripe passion fruit flavours. A solid effort hat would be perfect with west coast mussels.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
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Babich Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandA simple, delicious fresh style with citrus, melon, smoked jalapeño and passionfruit aromas and flavours. The palate is clean and fresh but without those aggressive grassy/acidity notes. Lean but round with a passionfruit finish. Perfect for seafood. Good value.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 21.99 ON 18.15 Producer: Babich Wines Limited
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Black Hills Alibitext
88PTS

Black Hills Alibi 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 Alibi is 75/25 sauvignon blanc/sémillon, the latter barrel fermented in puncheons. There's a sweet and sour element here, with a bitter melon, hops and citrus set off against ripe, creamy orchard pear and Asian pear. The finish returns to a pithy, woolly, citrus note and a flush of warmth. The wine is currently out of sorts but it should come around in bottle by the fall. It is best soothed now with oily fish or dark poultry meat. Still good value.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Fume Blanctext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Fume Blanc 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the more singular BC wines this is a 88/12 sauvignon blanc/sémillon from vineyards in both the Similkameen and Okanagan. It spends a little time in oak and thus is a well-managed, fuller white, with racy freshness and a distinct smoked stone character. The sémillon was whole cluster pressed, while the sauvignon blanc spent a few hours on its skins before pressing. They were blended just prior to bottling. Linear and tight with nervy grapefruit laced acids, Asian pear crunchiness and a thick cushion of lees. A thread of smoke throughout, though less so than in previous years, taking back seat to the white asparagus, herbal and lemon thistle notes. A solid food wine.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceLovely lees-led, stony, fresh and shining, this sauvignon blanc is a blend of three terroirs in the Gard, the Aude and Hérault. Reductive, stainless winemaking aims to keep the tight pear, yellow apple, lemon and honey blossom bright, while a short stint on the lees lends a welcome slip of cushion. Lovely stony minerality throughout to a lick of medicinal herbs on the humming finish. Likeable, easy and fantastic value.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Les Jamelles
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Matua Valley Lands and Legends Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Matua Valley Lands and Legends 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. A super warm, dry growing season resulted in low yields and quality grapes in 2015. Lands and Legends represents a tiny amount of expressive sauvignon parcels in Marlborough. The goal was to make something ‘legendary’. The winemaking is standard with the juice left on light lees for two moths before bottling. The goal is balance with bright smoky pineapple, lemon and sagebrush with a cut of leafy blackcurrant underneath. Mussels, chicken or a goat cheese led charcuterie plate is your match.Prices: CDN 25.00 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesIt’s been a while since we last saw this sauvignon and this must be one of the best they have made. The Cakebread sauvignon blanc grapes come from a section sites across Napa Valley, including its estate ranches in Carneros, southeastern Napa, Rutherford and Calistoga. The blend is 90/6/4 sauvignon blanc/sémillon/ sauvignon musqué. A short crop helped to concentrate the fruit that was picked between August 4th and September 2nd, the earliest ever. Some 80 percent of the juice goes into stainless steel tanks and 20 percent in neutral French oak barrels for ferment before it spends five months in neutral French oak barrels. Barely aromatic, the flavours are a mix of grapefruit, kiwi, fennel and honeydew melon with a spicy, mineral chalky, Graves-like finish. Food friendly: think shrimp, chicken, asparagus, smoked salmon or onion tarts.Prices: BC 45.99 ON 44.95 NL 51.34 Producer: Cakebread Cellars
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Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Haywire white is named after Summerland vineyard owners Terry Waters and Cathy Banks' three hectare Trout Creek Canyon vineyard. The soil substructure is a mix of rich limestone and granite and the site is currently in year three of its transition to certified organic. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and fermented with native yeast and despite the bright acidity, it goes through a full malolactic fermentation in concrete tanks before spending seven months on its gross lees with no racking. As Treve would say “lemon thistle” and desert herbs mark the nose, which previews a creamy but bright mid-palate full of lees, citrus/mandarin, fennel, sea salt and smoke. Super impressive style which should scare the Kiwis.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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River Stone Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

River Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA hint of residual sugar makes this an attractive patio wine, especially if well chilled. There is plenty of tropical fruit here with melon, grapefruit, guava and gooseberry. The acid barely supports the weight and ripeness but it works. The grapes come of the west side of the valley, just north of Oliver. A fun sipping style perfect with avocado toast or a spicy squid dish.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Three Mile Creektext
88PTS

Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Three Mile Creek 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ‘Reserve’ HB sauvignon is defined by oak. In this case 60 percent of the Three Mill Creek Vineyard fruit was fermented in 60 percent new French oak puncheons and then aged in the wood for four months. Lime rind and passion fruit fill the palate with some scruffy, woolly elements in the back end. This will need a bit of time to settle into itself but if you like the style and are patient this should deliver sometime next spring. If you open this now, try it with veal piccata or a simply roasted chicken.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
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Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwo French clones make up the nine-year-old estate vines planted near the entrance of the estate. The winemaking begins with whole cluster pressing of the fruit before a wild ferment and extended aging on the lees, including 25 percent into oak. The nose is bright, 2016-like, with fresh acidity, and grassy, gooseberry, sea salts spilling across the palate. Well-made conservative style sauvignon that could easily slip on to local restaurant wine lists to take on most local seafood.Prices: BC 18.90 AB 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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23 June 2017

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Nikki Callaway likes to says she is talking to her chenin blanc vines, hoping to see what it wants to be in the future. The 2016 version seems to be where it wants to be. I could say it's super fresh and clean, but let’s add electric and enervating. Unlike so many heavy, weighty versions of chenin blanc, the 2016 is on the brighter side, seen in green melon, citrus, pear. The fruit is sourced from estate vineyards Mannhart and Osoyoos and in 2016 Callaway put 10 percent sauvignon blanc in the mix to great effect. The fruit is whole bunch pressed, then cold fermented in 80 percent stainless steel tanks with the remainder into 20 percent older French oak barrels and new 500 litre puncheons. Complex and delicious, it is quintessential Okanagan. Great value.Prices: BC 17.00 AB 15.00 SK 19.99 MB 19.00 ON 23.00 QC 20.05 NS 23.00 PEI 23.00 NB 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA thankful return to form in the 2016 chenin blanc, with that nervy energy back to the fore. Though please, let's drop the 10 percent sauvignon blanc in the mix; it's not needed. This comes from their Kelowna estate as well as Osoyoos, all whole bunch pressed and cold fermented in 80/20 stainless / French oak barrels and new 500L puncheons. Pithy white grapefruit, crunchy pear, green apple and a swing of grass on the lighter body. I'd be hard pressed to call this chenin blind in a line up (the SB is seen and heard), but in future, I'd like to be able to.Prices: BC 17.00 AB 15.00 SK 19.99 MB 19.00 ON 23.00 QC 20.05 NS 23.00 PEI 23.00 NB 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanctext
87PTS

Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanc 2014

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaRe-tasted this week and as you might expect this wine is improving in the bottle. Still fresh and full of quince and pear aromas and flavours it has put on a bit of weight and texture as chenin can and its actually more complex. Wild herbs and yellow apples dominate the warm finish. Try with chicken or pork to best effect. Good value.Prices: BC 16.50 Producer: Painted Wolf Wine Pack
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22 June 2017

Pétales d'Osoyoostext
89PTS

Pétales d'Osoyoos 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the best Pétales yet, appearing to be less of a second label and more of a stand alone wine from Osoyoos Larose. The 2013 vintage helps to give this a serious tone full of savoury, spiced black fruit aromas. The palate mixes bitter black cherry and espresso notes with bits of tobacco, grilled meats, cherries, and smoke. Not quite as firm and dry as the Osoyoos Larose, suggesting it's time to start drinking this. Perfect for grilled steak. The blend is merlot dominated, with cabernet sauvignon, malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot.Prices: BC 26.00 QC 28.00 MB 26.00 NS 29.00 SK 29.00 NF 31.00 Producer: Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Quatraintext
90PTS

Mission Hill Quatrain 2012

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt Mission Hill they say “Quatrain is four lines of verse that we interpret as four varietals giving balance and structure to this wine.” In 2012 the handpicked fruit was an 80/20 mix of eastern Osoyoos and the Black Sage Bench in Oliver all fermented in small French oak and aged in 82 percent French oak barrels for 14 months. Quatrain is a mix of 45/21/18/16 mix of merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and impresses in the glass. Deeply coloured, its savoury, spicy, red fruit aromas jump from the glass expressing a fine growing season. The attack is rich and dense with very refined tannins from front to back, and the fruit ripe and almost succulent. Should continue to improve in bottle through 2020. Well done.Prices: BC 71.99 AB 79.00 MB 65.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Chateau la Besage Grande Cuvéetext
85PTS

Chateau la Besage Grande Cuvée 2014

Bergerac, Sud-Ouest, FranceThis rustically edged Bergerac is a blend of 70/20/10 merlot/cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc, so typical of the region. Green boughs, smoked branch, black plum and cherry rule the severe frame, with tobacco and light smoked stone finishing out the short finish. This is a simple Bordeaux, ready for steak frites or roast beef sandwich now.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Chateau la Besage
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Clos de los Sietetext
90PTS

Clos de los Siete 2013

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis well known blend is made from a mix of fruit grown by a group of Bordeaux-based partners involved in the Clos de la Siete project at Vista Flores in the southern Uco Valley. Each year the blend is organized by Michel Rolland, the owner of Bodega Mariflor, mixing malbec, merlot cabernet sauvignon and syrah all aged in used French oak. It’s my experience that French in Argentina and Chile for that matter are a good match for the savoury rich fruit. There is always more elegance then you might expect. Expect an expressive red with rich but balanced black fruit flavours streaked with floral licorice, cocoa powder notes. The tannins are dense but sweet and this will hold admirably through 2020. Serve now with a classic T-bone steak.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 19.95 ON 23.95 MB 24.99 Producer: Clos de los Siete
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Chateau Canadatext
87PTS

Chateau Canada 2014

Bordeaux, FranceGood old Château Canada - always a hit with Canucks. The Château has been making wine for 115 years from the rolling hills of Cubzac-les-Ponts. This is a blend of 70/30 merlot / cabernet sauvignon, averaging 30 years in age. Juicy and approachable, albeit with a worrying oxidative note weaving throughout. Dried cherry, earth, tobacco, Worcestershire sauce on an appropriately lean 12.5 percent. Tannins turn drying and squeezed on the finish, welcoming pairing with steak frites, now.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Chateau Terrefort-Quancard
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Croix Saint-Martintext
85PTS

Croix Saint-Martin 2015

FranceEasy, simple and straightforward, with soft cherry, tobacco, earthy branch and soft, rounded tannins. This is an accessible and round Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, meant for drinking now, without contemplation.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: CVBG - Dourthe - Kressmann
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Château Pey la Tour Reserve du Chateautext
88PTS

Château Pey la Tour Reserve du Chateau 2014

Bordeaux, FranceThis vineyard dates back to the Middle Ages. Respect. This blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon is splashed with two percent petit verdot before a year in oak (approximately 50 percent is new). Severe in youth, as befitting a Bordeaux Superieur, this carries smoked stones, branchy tobacco, and tight cassis on its strict form. There's a wee cushion of black plum and blacker cherry on the mid palate, but this strips quickly back quickly to the tight, bitter-edged and powdery finish. Simple, classical, and proper, drink now with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding or hold for a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 22.99 QC 21.55 AB 21.95 MB 21.71 ON 19.95 PEI 26.25 NF 27.45 Producer: Dourthe Freres S.A.
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Clos de los Sietetext
89PTS

Clos de los Siete 2014

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaMalbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and petit verdot is styled by the famous French consultant, Michel Rolland. Befitting his Bordelais stylings, this is a polished, rich red, with red and black fruit, resin, sultry cola, dark chocolate, dusky spices and a lifted, potent acidity. Tannins are supple, but sticky around the edges, reflective of its youth. This is a winemaker's wine, benefitting from a decant now, but with the structure and balance to cellar for a couple years before pouring with grilled beef.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 19.95 ON 23.95 MB 24.99 Producer: Clos de los Siete
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Cellar Hand Punch Down Redtext
87PTS

Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSmoked red peppers and paprika right off the start of this generous and welcoming red blend, the second label from Black Hills Estate Winery. Merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and cabernet franc show ripe, southern Okanagan sun-baked character, with black fruit jam pulled along powdery tannins and a soft palate to a shorter, smoke-puff finish. BBQ ready, for drinking now.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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21 June 2017

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHaywire works with Brad and Dave Wise, owners of the 36-hectare Secrest Vineyard, and its alluvial soils mixed with gravels, sandy loam and limestone layers. Its pale orange/pink derives from twelve hours of skin contact before a wild yeast fermentation in concrete, plus six months aging. Minimalist gamay. The nose is a mix of lifted cherries and wild strawberries with a citrus, creamy lees finish. Fresh and vibrant, it calls for another glass.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Flagstone Poetry Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Flagstone Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Western Cape, South AfricaThis cabernet sauvignon has 13 percent malbec tipped into it upping its friendly fruity factor. Beyond that, there is branchy, blackberry, resin and thorns to a shorter, warm, charcoal dusted finish. Sweetly spiced, this has a pretty lick of dark florals in its favour. A simple, straightforward, softer-style cabernet at an affordable price. Pour with roasted meats.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Flagstone Winery
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Abbott's and Delaunay Cabernet Sauvignon Les Fruits Sauvagestext
87PTS

Abbott's and Delaunay Cabernet Sauvignon Les Fruits Sauvages 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FrancePerfumed and sweet plum, wild blackberry, thorns and dusky spicing fill this easy and accessible cabernet sauvignon, drawn from two distinctly different terroirs in Languedoc. Ten percent of the cuvee is aged in oak for the slight framing tannins, while the rest rests briefly in stainless to keep the bright, sun-kissed fruit. Lightly grippy black cherry, black raspberry, soft on the palate, with sticky dried black fruit to frame before a warming, cinnamon finish. For drinking now, thankfully with some varietal recognition and interest.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Secrest Mountain Vineyard, a higher altitude, limestone laced site bench site outside of Oliver farmed by the Wise Brothers. After the gamay is destemmed, it spends twelve hours on the skin before being pressed into concrete for wild yeast ferment and a six month stint. Youthful strawberry is scented with rhubarb, Anjou pear and mandarin, and lined with a cushion of slick lees before a snappy, stony finish. Well built; this will build more complexity with some age.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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20 June 2017

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBrowning crimson hue, this is a soft, downy, and oxidative pinot noir from the Sperling's Kelowna estate, farmed by the family since 1925. Organically farmed (2nd year into transition) and following some of Ann Sperling's biodynamic practices, this stripped down red is filled with forest floor and woodsy berries, a fine veil of smoke and fine peppery spicing and a gently juicy core.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Pinot Noir 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft, salted plum and resinous black cherry on this downy pinot noir, sourced from the Black Sage Bench (Diamondback Vineyard) and Golden Mile Bench (Tinhorn Creek Vineyard). Eighteen months in neutral barrels on the lees, followed by one year in bottle has worn soft the tannins, leaving a wash of forest floor, moss, red currants, dried raspberry and finely smoked spices. A blink of cranberry tartness brightens briefly the finish, which lingers with dried florals. Smoked duck, charcuterie would be a natural pair.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Similkameen Valley fruit, this earthy, lighter red signals pinot immediately from its forest-threaded fruit down to its earthy, stony finish. A core of red currant, lightly smoked plum, twine and raspberry is swept along fine, lightly gritty tannins to a spicy, brisk finish. Showing very well now, and would shine with pork tenderloin or wild mushroom risotto.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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19 June 2017

Ocone Plutone Piedirossotext
88PTS

Ocone Plutone Piedirosso 2015

Campania, ItalyThis family has been growing grapes and making wine in the ancient vine-growing Campania since 1910. Certified organic and additive free, this is 100 percent piedirosso from the limestone soil hillsides of Ponte, Sannio, between 200-400m. Time in stainless was employed to preserve the bright, red floral notes before tight raspberry, green herbal leaf and fine, gritty tannins to a crunchy finish. Youthful, lighter, authentic and rustic (in a good way), this is lovely red to crack with bitter greens, fired pizza.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Ocone
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Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianicotext
88PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico 2010

Campania, ItalyFrom the cellar. Worked old leather, sun-dried tomato, balsamic and dried plum line the palate of this aglianico, now seven years along. You can tell this wine was once powerful and towering, now greying and showing its age, with drying / sunbaked fruit turning clad with sticky tannins. drying quickly on the finish, leaving a warm cinnamon and star anise trail. Drink now, with saucy lamb leg.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 26.99 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
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16 June 2017

La Crema Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

La Crema Pinot Noir 2014

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesLa Crema Sonoma Coast is cool climate California and over the years this pinot has been leaned out to reflect the site and frankly where this wine should go. Svelte by California pinot noir standards, it is a mix of clones fermented in small open-top tanks and aged in French oak, a quarter of which is new. Look for spicy red fruits, cherries and wild raspberries with earthy, cedary, savoury undercurrents. The style is soft and ready-to-drink. Try this with duck, pizza, roasted birds or salmon.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 29.00 ON 27.00 Producer: La Crema
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Tantalus Juveniles Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Tantalus Juveniles Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJuveniles alludes to youthfulness, as explained by using the most recent Dijon clone plantings (youngest vines), that are much more approachable than the estate pinot. We like the smoked raspberry, cherry and ripe strawberry nose that lifts this juicy, youthful red without sacrificing a level of seriousness. Wild fermented and in French oak for 11 months, this is not a simple wine, though the name may lead you to think otherwise. Brisk acidity brightens the soft palate, awash in forest berries and perfumed raspberries, and lined with fine white pepper. Gentle oak and a touch of minerality suggest if you can wait it will get even better. Good value.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Sea Star Reserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Sea Star Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Pender Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaThis reserve pinot noir comes from grapes from the Pender Island estate's warmest upper benches. Perfumed sasparilla and scents of cola mark this medium bodied red, one built on plum and cherry, scented with rosemary and scrubby resin, framed with moderately gritty tannins and based with forest moss. The finish is short and brusque, best matched with grilled pork chops or wild mushrooms.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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15 June 2017

Santadi Noras Cannonau di Sardegnatext
86PTS

Santadi Noras Cannonau di Sardegna 2013

Sardinia, ItalyDense and thick on the palate, with chewy, sun-baked, dried and ripe red and black fruits, leather on the supple palate. This is 90/10 cannonau/carignano from vineyards in Basso Sulcis (lower Sulcis). This sees six months in barrique (second use) and six months in bottle. Mediterranean scrub, sweet spice, coffee, and dark chocolate lingering on the very hot, alcoholic finish (nearly 16 percent)! Needs decanting.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Cantine San Marco
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Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannattext
88PTS

Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannat 2015

San Juan, ArgentinaImpressively well knit and balanced for such a young tannat. Anise, tobacco, dusky blueberry fill this firm form, one lined with river stones, textured with graphite and perfumed with peonies. Love the freshness and bright acidity here - a friendly 13.5 percent. This interesting, accessible tannat welcomes another glass, especially with grilled pork.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Finca Las Moras
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Edmeades Zinfandeltext
88PTS

Edmeades Zinfandel 2013

Mendocino County, California, United StatesSaline-scented, this dense Mendocino zinfandel is from nearly thirty-year-old vines, sourced from across the AVA. Old vineyards are the base of Edmeades, with Ciapusci Vineyard planted in 1878, Perli Vineyard planted in the late 1800’s, Zeni Vineyard planted in 1910 and Piffero Vineyard planted in 1930. Wild yeast fermented, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dense smoked plum, cassis jam, ripe blackberries, violets, cracked peppercorn and a dusky, musk perfume. There is a swell of acidity here to carry, but the finish, at 15 percent, is still warming and cinnamon clad.Prices: BC 23.00 AB 22.00 Producer: Edmeades
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Black Hills Carménèretext
89PTS

Black Hills Carménère 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHighly perfumed, with an alluring lilac / lily fragrance, this deep and ripe 100 percent carménère is a rarity in Canada. This intense, compact wine spent time in both French and American wood, and carries lashings of blueberry, red liquorice, leather, raspberry compote and smoked stones. Tannins are powdery and sticky, finishing floral. A striking, ripe carménère, (no green here), all within 13 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 59.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Terre del Principe Ambrucotext
88PTS

Terre del Principe Ambruco 2010

Campania, ItalyThe name Ambruco is a linguistic contamination of "vitis labrusca" = wild vine, and reflective of the centuries of ancient, wild vines that have grown in this area. This is thirty-year-old organic pallagrello nero from vineyards in Castel Campagnano and Vigna Monticelli, that spent one year in wood (30 percent new) before a further 18 months in the bottle. Dark, dusky black berry, dark cherry, dark and wild florals and an earthy, resinous herbaceous note woven along with balsamic and leather. Tannins are sinewy to the drying, peppery finish. This powerful wine is showing a little age, and suits pouring alongside wild boar or lamb leg.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Terre del Principe
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Abbott's and Delaunay Alto Stratustext
89PTS

Abbott's and Delaunay Alto Stratus 2014

FranceI love carignan. And so do the folks at Abbott's & Delaunay, who have declassified this 100 percent carignan to a Vin de France because Languedoc appellation laws do not allow for a 100 percent carignan. The pinnacle tier of their portfolio, Alto Stratus draws from 100-year-old vines growing at high altitudes, as well as lower Mediterranean garrigue shrub land soils. Sixty percent whole bunch, this rested nine months with the split 60 percent in oak (30 percent new) and the remainder in stainless. Worn wood, dried and fresh cherry, red currants and toasted cinnamon ride the soft, lightly plush palate, with sueded tannins to house in the generosity. Acidity is lifted, just enough to carry the density, and easily handling the 13.5 percent alcohol. The finish is a bit coarse and drying, crying out for roasted goose or pork.Prices: QC 25.00 Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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14 June 2017

Little Engine Silver Merlottext
89PTS

Little Engine Silver Merlot 2014

CanadaFrom the exclamative This Is It vineyards on the Naramata Bench, this is a single clone merlot planted in 2007. A large proportion of whole berries were soaked and fermented cool, macerating for three weeks before being pressed into barrel for 15 months (35 percent new). A core of plum and black raspberry centres this tight, textural merlot, now well worn with a couple of years in the bottle. Anise, dark florals brood underneath black plum, wild blackberry and thorny rose brightness. Brisk, crunchy acidity supports the fruit, and carries it to a tuggy finish. Merlot's huggy plushness meets with a structural form for aging. Impressive, restrained and drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Little Engine Wines
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Little Engine Gold Merlottext
88PTS

Little Engine Gold Merlot 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHefty bottle aside (please, just no), this premium, youthful merlot was sourced from three Naramata Bench vineyards, one of which owned by the winery. Potent and dense, this very certainly spent 100 percent of its life in oak. The 2015 was in barrel for sixteen months (63 percent new) without racking until blending, unfiltered. In contrast to the 2014, this is full-throttle, bold and woody, led by baking spices, potent dark cassis, blackberry, tobacco. You feel every inch the 15 percent alcohol and density of fruit, working diligently to match up to the wood. For all its potency and confidence, this is a well balanced, highly youthful wine that will show much better in the teen years (with five years cellaring) when it calms some. At present, please decant, and pair appropriately. Now, about that bottle weight...Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Little Engine Wines
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Les Jamelles Merlottext
87PTS

Les Jamelles Merlot 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceA blend of merlot from three distinct terroirs around Languedoc makes up this bright and fresh red. Plum, wild blackberry, light dough, stones, with a pure fruited core and lovely fine spicing on this brisk, herbal finish. Hits far beyond its price; Easy to drink, easy to like.Prices: Producer: Les Jamelles
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Abbott's & Delaunay Merlot Les Fruits Sauvagestext
88PTS

Abbott's & Delaunay Merlot Les Fruits Sauvages 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceDark plum, wild blackberry and finely sticky tannins in this drinkable, finessed Vin de Pays d'Oc merlot. Grapes come from four different areas in the region, was partially carbonic ferment and aged in a mix of stainless and oak for 6-9 months. Ripe, soft black fruit mingle on the lightly smoked and plush palate, drinking easy now, as was intended. Excellent value for an interesting, affordable and likeable young French merlot.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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Stags' Leap Merlottext
91PTS

Stags' Leap Merlot 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesWhen everything is perfect in California you can get merlot like this, but it is rare. Rich, savoury and structured, it draws you into the glass with quiet confidence and floral, mineral notes. Plum and raspberry mark the nose, mixed with dried herbs, cedar and a wisp of oak before fairly substantial, dense, tannins fill in the back end. More St. Emilion than Napa, this will need five years of cellar time to reach its zenith. A great demonstration of the power and the finesse of the 2013 vintage.Prices: ON 40.00 AB 42.00 BC 50.00 MB 45.00 Producer: Stags' Leap Winery
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13 June 2017

Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnaytext
80PTS

Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2014

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesButterscotch and caramel blanket this tinned pineapple, asparagus, weedy and sour white with sugar and alcohol adding perceived richness and the expected opulence, up to a short finish. This is a commercial, concocted and engineered wine that makes up for its rich and cloying "Unoaked" status via a number of other additives.Prices: BC 28.49 AB 34.00 SK 32.50 QC 27.95 Producer: Mer Soleil Vineyard
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Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesFull and rich, with bristling spices livening the lemon curd, honeydew and vanilla oats. A hint of mint and ample shaved wood closes out the finish. Full bodied and expansively rich on the palate, this has a steady hum of bright acidity working overdrive, but keeping pace. Youthful, this should settle some with another year or so in bottle, but will always make a match with richer white seafood or creamy shellfish.Prices: BC 72.00 Producer: Patz & Hall
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Neudorf Twenty Five Rows Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Neudorf Twenty Five Rows Chardonnay 2015

Moutere Hills, Nelson, South Island, New ZealandFrom Moutere's clay, gravel slopes, this is - as the name suggests - 25 rows of chardonnay from Rosie's Block. Lean, stony and bright, with shining lemon, pith and a fine slick of lees. Subtle, only because it is so well balanced and seamless, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered after time in large neutral oak.Prices: Producer: Neudorf Vineyards
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Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay Certified Organictext
88PTS

Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay Certified Organic 2014

Mendocino County, California, United StatesCertified organic fruit from Mendocino County opens with honeyed, leesy green apple and pears. Some 70 percent of the juice, resting in French and American oak, undergoes malolactic fermentation, giving the wine a creamy, soft, demeanour that will appeal to some but not all. Look for tropical fruits, citrus bits and a touch of crème brûlée. Solid if a bit predictable. Best with crab or lobster.Prices: BC 19.29 AB 19.00 ON 19.00 QC 19.00 MB 20.00 YK 20.50 NS 19.00 NF 21.00 SK 22.00 Producer: Bonterra Vineyards
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Beringer Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Beringer Chardonnay 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis is not your father’s Beringer chardonnay. Some 67 percent is barrel fermented in 33 percent new French oak for eight months. The rest is fermented in stainless steel barrels but just before the freshness turns you inside out, some 80 percent goes through malolactic fermentation adding creamy textures to the mix. The style is fresher than days gone by, though it remains Napa rich mixing citrus and melon with flecks of creamy, leesy, spicy orange notes. New World chardonnay in all its glory.Prices: AB 25.00 BC 30.00 QC 27.00 ON 25.00 NF 30.00 MB 35.00 NB 31.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Freemark Abbey Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesLight green/straw yellow color previews an expressive ripe, fruity nose of pineapple, guava and peach. The fruit is a mix of cooler sites including Coombsville, Howell Mountain. Carneros and Suscol Creek. The palate is fresh with a linear tone and a complex, spicy nutmeg underbelly with creamy pear, citrus, green apple. The wood and lees is subtle but present with 67 percent of the wine barrel fermented and no malolactic fermentation. Only 15 percent of the wine is aged in new French oak and a total of 84 percent is aged 4½ months in wood.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 29.00 ON 37.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Beringer Luminus Oak Knoll Chardonnay 2014

Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe 2014 Luminus is a single vineyard chardonnay from Oak Knoll that comes off a little richer and a little fatter than previous efforts. It’s still a very good wine but losing that cool edge changes the style. Even if it's delicate, the textures are bigger and richer in 2014, with beautiful pear notes and more honeydew and oily notes on the back end of the palate. The finish is long and spicy with and undercurrent of nutty, orange flecks. Good value in a New World style, meant for crab, lobster or whole roasted chicken.Prices: BC 40.00 ON 40.00 AB 43.50 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Abbott's and Delaunay Chardonnay Les Fruits Sauvagestext
88PTS

Abbott's and Delaunay Chardonnay Les Fruits Sauvages 2015

Languedoc, South of France, FranceGrapes for this Pays d'Oc come from four terroirs: the Cévennes, the Aude valley, Limoux, and the Hérault. One third of the cuvée is fermented in oak barrels (new and one-year-old) before nine months ageing in barrels, on the lees with regular stirring. Rich, full and deep, with toast coating a dense core of stones, lemon pith and wood spicing. Quite warm on the finish, this welcomes richer dishes, perhaps involving hollandaise or cream sauces.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Abbott's and Delaunay
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12 June 2017

Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay Osoyoos Vineyard Estatetext
91PTS

Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay Osoyoos Vineyard Estate 2013

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLoving the 2013, the warmest vintage since 2003, that cooled off just in time for harvest and allowed Perpetua to maintain its cool/chiseled floral, mineral style but with slightly more intense flavours. The wine comes off three individual blocks of Dijon clones inside the eastern Osoyoos vineyard estate. There is limited skin contact before a select portion is fermented in new French oak and aged sur lie for nine months with gentle hand-stirring every two weeks. The usual bright acidity seems even better suited under the richer pear, citrus lime and spice. You could age this two to four years or serve it now with your favourite seafoodPrices: SK 40.00 BC 49.99 AB 54.01 MB 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Sperling Vineyards Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Sperling Vineyards Chardonnay 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the family's historic and limestone-laced Kelowna vineyard, this chardonnay was fermented and aged in larger format French oak barrels. It's a smart choice as the wood use here is very well integrated, especially considering the young age of this wine. White asparagus kicks off this savoury wine, one that hums with golden apple, pear and white peach, bedded with creamy lees and textured by a fine file of flintiness to the lengthy, lemon pith finish.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Monte Creek Ranch Reserve Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Monte Creek Ranch Reserve Chardonnay 2015

British Columbia, CanadaThis is clean, fresh, simple stuff of mostly citrus and green apple fruit on the nose and the palate. The attack is light - 13.5 percent - and fresh, with more citrus and this year a little less bitterness. Ready to drink now with a favourite summer salad or a vegetarian pizza.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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Liquidity Wines Estate Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Liquidity Wines Estate Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll the chardonnay, a mix of rooted (2010) and own rooted (1994) clone 76, comes off the Allendale Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. The style is consistently creamy and maybe even more so in 2015, offering pear and melon aromas and even richer tropical, pineapple flavours with bits of orange zest and spice. More California, less France this year. Best with lobster, or roast chicken or a creamy pasta sauce.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Blue Mountain Reserve Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFive French clones and twenty-five-year-old Okanagan Falls vines make up this elegant Reserve Chardonnay. Forty percent was fermented and aged in stainless, with the remainder in French oak (new to 4th fill) for 11 months. The result is a vein of driving acidity to draw along the nutty, wooded, lees-led density. Structured green apple, crisp pear and lemon is seasoned with a brisk, crystalline lemon and nutmeg spicing. Serious juice. What I appreciate about this wine is that it has intensity and finesse and power, without being overt and vulgar, like many of its contemporaries. Drinking very well now, but will impress more with time in the bottle.Prices: BC 29.95 AB 31.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Little Engine Gold Chardonnay Reservetext
87PTS

Little Engine Gold Chardonnay Reserve 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeep gold in hue, this Gold series chardonnay is from a majority of 26-year-old vines. It was whole cluster pressed and fermented—long and cool, in French oak with partial MLF before spending another 16 months in barrel with bi-weekly battonage. It’s built to be super rich and you feel it in this oaky, buttery and full white. At this point, almost overwhelming in the mouth, with dense wood, vanilla, lemon curd, butterscotch and ripe pear. Weighty, spicy and heady, this requires something rich to temper its power. Lots of folks like this style, almost ‘old California’, but we are looking for something less overt and over the top.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Little Engine Wines
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich, tropical and wooded, this full-bodied chardonnay reflects both the hot 2015 autumn, and the warmth of the Golden Mile Bench. The whole bunch pressing and fermentation, partial aging in French oak (50 percent new) and MLF only up the generosity here, one that coats the palate with a thick layer of creamy lees, dense pear, ripe peach, vanilla and butterscotch. Too much wood, too little acid to be balanced. That said, if you prefer a ripe, full, sweeter style (think old school Cali) but want to support local, look no further.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyardtext
87PTS

Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyard 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes were harvested August 30 and September 8 from Cerqueira Vineyard, a gentle west-facing slope on the Black Sage Gravel Bench, below Black Sage Road between Oliver and Osoyoos. The nose has a peachy, almond, nutty, caramel tone that extends to the palate. A medium-rich style that isn’t quite as chiselled as previous years. Ready to drink now. Best with crab, lobster or creamy seafood pasta dishes.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 23.99 Producer: Bartier Brothers
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Little Engine Silver Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Little Engine Silver Chardonnay 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a generous chardonnay reflective of the warm 2015 vintage. It is whole-cluster pressed, settled and fermented in a mix of stainless and new and older French barrels before resting in oak for six months with regular battonage. All that intervention shows up in the wine that is warm and rich with vanillin oak sheen. The attack is awash in vanilla, pear, ripe yellow apple, lemon curd with a riff of river stones and potent ginger spicing that finishes with a bright, lemon peel note. A fresher version of the Gold that you can pour now with butter poached fish or lobster.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Little Engine Wines
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Rodney Strong Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesRe-tasted in the market and the 2014 remains solid but ready to drink. The RS regular chardonnay (Sonoma) is 60 percent barrel fermented and aged in oak for six months. Then the remainder is cold fermented in stainless steel. The style is ripe and buttery but with some restraint, including a gentle touch of lees and toasted oak for complexity. The fruit is a mix of peaches and pears flecked with red apple and pineapple, and enough underlying acidity to keep it juicy. A fresher style that could be dryer but otherwise a very pleasant sipping style chardonnay. Try this with a creamy seafood pasta dish.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 22.00 QC 20.00 ON 20.00 SK 22.99 MB 19.99 NB 25.00 YK 26.00 NF 26.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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09 June 2017

Reflets Rose Cotes de Provencetext
89PTS

Reflets Rose Cotes de Provence 2015

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FranceI admit I’m a sucker for the super light Provençal pink colour of French rosé. It’s enough to get me to taste the wine and when it follows that up with a dry, fresh, barely fruit scented rosé, well what more can you ask for. This blend of syrah, grenache, vermentino and cabernet sauvignon grown at 300-plus meters on clay and limestone hits the mark. Think tomatoes, fish, chicken, cheese or sunshine. A delicious drink.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Arnaud Dragon
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Chateau Mira Luna Rosetext
91PTS

Chateau Mira Luna Rose 2016

Coteaux Varois, Provence, South of France, FranceLocated in the heart of Provence, the Coteaux Varois en Provence appellation includes 28 communes around the town of Brignoles, between the Sainte-Baume Mountain in the south and the Bessillons Mountains in the north. There are 2500ha of predominantly limestone soils set in a mountainous landscape where peaks rise from 600-1000m, offering many slopes and variation of terroir. This is a blend of bone-dry syrah and cinsault, lean and streamlined with salted scrubby herbs, wild raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. Acidity is pink grapefruit pithy and bright, and there is a wash of salts that liven the gently cushioned palate and linger on. Lovely savoury and charming rosé, equally serious and smashable.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Chateau Mira Luna
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08 June 2017

Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltestext
90PTS

Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes 2009

Roussillon, South of France, FranceMuscat of Alexandria and Muscat petit grains were blended in this biodynamic VDN (vin de naturel) from Rivesaltes. Honey rules through this aged example, with orange blossom, overripe pear, orange oil and tangerine peel brightening a shy hum of spicing on the lengthy finish. Delicate, but potent, this is best served now, with dense carrot cake or a lighter gingerbread.Prices: Producer: Domaine Cazes
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Jorge Ordonez & Co Selección Especialtext
92PTS

Jorge Ordonez & Co Selección Especial 2007

Malaga, SpainFrom the super-rare Malaga DO, this is a collaboration of Jorge Ordoñez (Spaniard) and Gerhard Kracker (Austrian). These high-altitude grapes (muscat) are dried on the vines before pressing this honeyed, elegant and effortless vino naturalmente dulce. Now worn with time, this is showing beautifully right now, with a spider web fine strength acidity drawing the whole through.Prices: US 25.00 375 Producer: Jorge Ordonez & Co
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Mauregard Monbazillactext
91PTS

Mauregard Monbazillac 2007

Monbazillac, Sud-Ouest, FranceCrystalline orange and lemon, fragrant white flowers, piercing orange oil mark this potent Monbazillac, a blend of semillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle. Hints of plasticine, waves of botrytis, ash season the fuller, buttered palate, one apricot heady, through to the warm, fuzzy finish. The higher proportion of muscadelle differentiates Monbazillac from neighbouring Sauternes. This was a Marks & Spencer bottling from Yvon Mau.Prices: BC 20.00 375 Producer: Mauregard
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Inniskillin Niagara Vidal Icewine Commemorative Editiontext
92PTS

Inniskillin Niagara Vidal Icewine Commemorative Edition 2006

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the cellar. Now ten years on, this is a deep burnished gold, with dark honey, caramelized nuts, golden raisins, ash, fine peppery / ginger spicing on a thick, unctuous palate. Creme brûlée and vanilla linger on the spicy finish. This still has persistent and driving fine acidity to carry to the end, one that almost crunches with honeycomb. Well made icewine can certainly age, beautifully, and this is a prime example.Prices: BC 60.00 375 AB 60.00 375 ON 60.00 375 QC 60.00 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Château de Rayne Vigneautext
93PTS

Château de Rayne Vigneau 2009

Sauternes, Graves, Bordeaux, FranceDeep honey, orange blossom, overripe pear in this concentrated sauternes from Château de Rayne, classified a Grand Cru Classé in 1855. The 84 ha estate encompasses the third highest point in the area after Yquem, and the soils, mainly gravel and sand with clay subsoil, are surprisingly rich in agates, amethysts, onyx, and even sapphires. This potent, elegant wine pours a shining, deep golden hue, and coats the palate with honeyed richness and the characteristic botrytis ash. Light smoke echoes on the finish. A stunner, and reason to buy Sauternes now, and sit on it for a decade or more, as it will age beautifully. The blend in '09 is 80/20 sémillon/ sauvignon blanc.Prices: CDN 49.99 350 Producer: Chateau de Rayne Vigneau
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Lions de Suduirauttext
90PTS

Lions de Suduiraut 2009

Sauternes, Graves, Bordeaux, FranceDense, rich and direct, this a honeysuckle heady and richly perfumed Sauternes, with brown butter, marmalade, gingerbread on an expansive, round palate. Lions is the second wine of Suduiraut, and makes for a more direct, assessable (and yes, less elegant) wine than their classic Sauternes. That said, this is still a lovely pour, and a Sauternes for drinking now, rather than years from now. The mix is 96/4 sémillon/sauvignon blanc, with gentle, welcome botrytis.Prices: Producer: Chateau Suduiraut
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Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson Sweet Agnestext
89PTS

Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson Sweet Agnes 2010

Nelson, South Island, New ZealandFrom raisinated grapes, this is a honeyed orange and lemon curd sweet wine, from partially raisinated and partially frozen *no ice wine here* grapes. Apricot flesh, pear butter, ash, brown butter on the honeyed, full palate, one that streaks lemon acidity. Feels a little tired now, so drink up.Prices: Producer: Seifried
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Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Noble Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandBotrytis streaks this Awatere Valley sauvignon blanc, with honey, honeysuckle, white asparagus, ash, and earthy sea salts dominating. Quite rich, unctuous and lemon-curd thick on the palate, though with acidity to carry, and a lingering richness and warmth on the finish.Prices: Producer: Yealands Estate
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De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillontext
94PTS

De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2006

AustraliaFrom the cellar. An impressively shining deep golden hue, with smoked marmalade, ash, golden raisins, deep gingerbread and crystalline lemon spicing. This is a stunner of a wine, any vintage, and the 2006 is showing beautifully now, with fine flake salts, savoury brown butter lingering on the long finish. Showing its age well; drink now.Prices: QC 27.00 375 Producer: De Bortoli Wines
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Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest Rieslingtext
91PTS

Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest Riesling 2012

Elgin, Overberg, South AfricaPotent white honey, orange peel, lemon curd rule this youthful botrytis affected late harvest riesling from Elgin. Marmalade and apricot fill the palate, though there is a welcome herbal cut of pith/ash/earth on the finish to counter the raisiny sweetness. This is still showing the youthful eagerness of 2012; with time the bashfulness will temper.Prices: Producer: Paul Cluver
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Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Icewinetext
88PTS

Fielding Estate Winery Riesling Icewine 2012

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSoft and welcoming, this riesling icewine is showing some wear of age, with soft, downy edges framing a honeyed, apricot, beach ball core. Perhaps reflective of the warm 2012 vintage in Niagara, this is lacking that acidic edge that makes icewine soar. Instead, this is pleasant drinking, very sweet wine that is best drunk now, with sweet blue cheeses, or crème caramel.Prices: Producer: Fielding Estate Winery
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Pellegrino Passito de Pantelleriatext
92PTS

Pellegrino Passito de Pantelleria NV

Sicily, ItalyFrom the cellar. Warm marmelade, ash pervades this haunting passito de pantelleria, now showing its age (purchased the NV bottle 10+ years ago). 20-30 year old zibbibo (Muscat of Alexandria), 20 percent of which is nautally dried, carries sasparilla, earl grey, golden raisins, orange creamsicle and a fine raspy, pithy note on the very lengthy finish. Potently sweet, but with a potent savoury current to counter. This bottle, a decade on, is fading now, but newer bottles to market should shine.Prices: Producer: Cantine Pellegrino
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Ruffino Serelle Vin Santo del Chiantitext
90PTS

Ruffino Serelle Vin Santo del Chianti 2011

Tuscany, ItalyMalvasia and trebbiano make up this perfumed, soft vin santo, one of the most floral and delicate I've had. honeyed orange, rosewater, citrus cake, marmalade, candied almond drapes along a medium bodied palate, one finishing with cinnamon and dried apricot notes along with a puff of heat. Enjoy now with olive oil cake or biscotti.Prices: BC 25.99 375 Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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07 June 2017

Intrigue Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Intrigue Gewurztraminer 2016

British Columbia, CanadaThis Lake County gew comes off three sites: the Grapewood Guest House in Oyama, The View vineyard, and Grown and Wine vineyards in Kelowna. The extended growing season in 2016 shows the value of cool and long with this variety. The attack is off-dry with a mix of exotic floral spices and tropical fruit flavours including litchi and pear. It’s ready to drink with most spicy Indian or Asian cuisine. The winery suggests chicken satay with curry-coconut peanut sauce.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Ruby Blues Gewürztraminertext
87PTS

Ruby Blues Gewürztraminer 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft, round, ripe pear and peach gummies take over this sweeter-style gewürztraminer, perfumed with fragrant roses and a warm candied ginger spicing. Thirty-eight-year-old vines are the backdrop for this 18 percent whole cluster and partially crushed fruit that is raised in stainless steel. There's a sweetness on the finish that sticks out a bit; best to chill this down and serve solo on a warm summer patio or toss it up against some spicy foods.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Ruby Blues
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See Ya Later Ranch Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

See Ya Later Ranch Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe SYL ranch is one of the better sites in the valley for gewürztraminer. North facing at 550 metres of elevation it is cool-climate. The ’16 is bright and super floral with orange flecks (a splash of ehrenfelser could explain that) and fresh ginger spicing. Half of this wine was cold soaked in the press for some skin-based aromatic and flavour compounds to toned down the litchi, grapefruit ripe melon notes. We tried it with barbecue chicken wings with a sweet and sour sauce and it was a perfect match.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 22.00 SK 19.00 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Meyer Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Meyer Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA pleasant 13 percent alcohol sets the stage for this southwest-facing heritage block of gewürztraminer vines planted on the estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard 23 years ago. Gravelly sandy loam regulates the vines and the flavours, giving this wine an aromatic aura that doesn’t obliterate its textures and the flavours on the palate. Light litchi, lees, bits of orange with a hint of spice mark what is a tasty ready-to-drink white. Sushi anyone?Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe like the leaner, fresher, lighter, (northern?) style of Okanagan gewürztraminer. The nose is bright and perfumed with orange blossoms, lime pith, soap and marmalade, with similar notes and litchi on a bright palate kissed with honeysuckle sweetness. The finish lingers with rose petals, a hum of spicing and a return to the floral soap perfume oft characteristic of the grape. A lovely, leaner (12.5 percent) style for Thai scented food this summer. Well done.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways a favourite of the Tinhorn portfolio the 2016 is a bit more candied, gummy fruit than the 2015, which was our favourite so far. Round, softer and sweeter, with candied pear, ripe red apple, ripe apricot and ample ginger spice on a full, almost fat and warming palate (14 percent). The higher glycerol and lower acidity makes for a classic, sultry gew, best chilled and enjoyed on a warm patio this summer. Good value nonetheless.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Mt. Boucherie Estate Collection Gewürztraminertext
86PTS

Mt. Boucherie Estate Collection Gewürztraminer 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 comes with plenty of ripe fruit underlying a sweet nose of rose petals and tropical, ginger orange notes with ample soapiness. The blend is a mix of Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley fruit. This summer sipper is best chilled, and drunk now.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Harper's Trail Gewurztraminer Thad Springs Vineyardtext
88PTS

Harper's Trail Gewurztraminer Thad Springs Vineyard 2016

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaA different kid of gew, the Harper’s Trail lets a stony mineral thread seep into the wine. Leaner and with more citrus, while the cool peach and almond undercurrent refreshes rather than tires the palate. A lighter, fresher, stronger white with a delicate sheen. This is a delicious food wine that speaks to its south Thompson home.Prices: BC 18.90 Producer: Harper's Trail
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06 June 2017

Alcangelis For a Few Whole Bunches Moretext
91PTS

Alcangelis For a Few Whole Bunches More 2016

Overberg, South AfricaDusky plum, wild cassis and thorny branch throughout this Bot River syrah/mouvedre blend. The name should signify that whole bunch makes up a good presence in this wine. Peppery black fruit carries a light smoked meats, thorny, resinous and stoney palate, one with a wild herb streak and lightly grippy tannins. Juicy, bright and structured - even now in youth this wine is highly drinkable; in a year or two even more so. *Bottle sample, unlabelled.Prices: Producer: Alcangelis
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English Sparkling Bruttext
88PTS

English Sparkling Brut NV

EnglandBottled exclusively for Tesco's in the UK, this is a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier from Hush Heath's Kent estate, in the south east of England. Sharp toned red apple, peach, and wheat is kept lively with bright, lively acidity and bubbles, and scented with perfumed red currants. Chill and drink now.Prices: UK 26.00 Producer: Hush Heath Estate
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Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Oldtext
90PTS

Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old NV

Champagne, FranceThree years on the lees, and a 3 g/l dosage gives this new release a tighter, deeper form. A blend of 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010, this was bottled in November 2013 and disgorged June 2016. Light brioche, piercing lemon pith with a nervy acidity and humming acidity on the end. This is Veuve's classic toasty and shouldered generosity, kicked up a notch. Purchased in the UK.Prices: UK 100.00 Producer: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
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Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs 2013

EnglandKit's Coty are the new single-vineyard, super-premium wines released from Chapel Down, one of the UK's largest wineries. These have reached a new level, with the sister wine to this, the Couer de Cuvée priced at £100. The Kit’s Coty vineyard is 38 hectares of chalky soils in the North Downs of Kent. Lemon pith, orange pith and tight grippy chalk texture on this blanc de blancs. Full MLF, twenty percent of the wine is matured in barrel before resting on the lees for three years. Red apple, yellow apple, broken stones on an expansive middle. This is dense and weighted, with a finessed acidity to carry. 9 g/l dosage.Prices: Producer: Chapel Down
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Taittinger Prestige Rosétext
89PTS

Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceDeeper pink hue, afforded by the 15 percent still pinot noir in the blend. The cuvee is 50/30/20 pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier from 15 crus, including some some reserve wines. Crisp cherry, bright raspberry and strawberry notes, with a riff of pithy spice. A bit coarse on the palate and crunchy on the finish, this is best appreciated with food, and would make an ideal partner for seared duck or poached salmon.Prices: BC 79.00 QC 75.00 NS 75.00 Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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05 June 2017

Sperling Vineyards Market Whitetext
88PTS

Sperling Vineyards Market White 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNow packaged in all-new colourful, modular and modern packaging, Market White remains a bright, shining aromatic blend of old vine (averaging 30 years) bacchus, pinot blanc and riesling from the historic home vineyard on the East Kelowna benches. Crisp, light-bodied and lively, with whiffs of lemon blossom, gooseberry, crunchy pear, yellow apple, with just a sheen of white honey. Beautifully balanced for such a light wine (11 percent) and ideal for brunch or pairing alongside summer salads.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Road 13 Honest John's Whitetext
87PTS

Road 13 Honest John's White 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHonest John's is an aromatic white blend of chardonnay, pinot gris, kerner, chenin blanc, viognier and orange muscat, all from winery-owned vineyards in BC. Whole-bunch pressed, this was fermented in stainless where it briefly aged before being bottled in December 2016. Youthful and shiny, this is a medium-bodied white with gentle perfumed pear, white peach, gooseberry apricot fuzz and a squeeze of lime. A good bump of residual sugar lines the palate and enhances the muscat, viognier and kerner in the blend, right to the brief, clean finish. Chill and drink this summer, especially with green curry.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Golden Mile Cellars (aka Road 13)
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA BC classic, this aromatic blend of chasselas, pinot blanc and pinot gris has returned to its bright, light and fresh form in 2016 and we think it's delish. Fine tangerine, Asian pear, yellow apple and a nip of zesty spice to the snappy finish. Light bodied and brunch ready, at a thankful 12 percent alcohol, this is a worthy by-the-glass pour on any patio in BC this summer.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 19.00 SK 20.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Soto y Manrique la Orquestratext
92PTS

Soto y Manrique la Orquestra 2014

Castilla-Leon, SpainThis biodynamic, characterful and challengingly alluring white is mostly high altitude 75-year-old Verdejo vines from poor, sandy limestone soils. A ten percent splash of chardonnay fills out this naturalist white, one shaped by the extreme continental climate. Fifty percent was aged reductively in clay amphorae with the remainder fermented and aged in old oak barrels, with battonage for 10 months. Oxidative-leaning and salt licked, this is roasted hazelnuts and almonds, pear skin, light quince, green fig, fennel to a lingering, salted stone finish. This wine shines when it has time open, allowed to warm some and expand.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Soto y Manrique
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Graham Beck Bruttext
89PTS

Graham Beck Brut NV

Robertson, Breede River Valley, South AfricaClassic, consistent and accessible (it’s impossible to dislike this), from South Africa’s leading sparkling wine house. This is a 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir MCC (Method Cap Classique = traditional method) that spent 15 months on the lees and was plumped with a tip of reserve wines. Bright and fresh orchard fruits on a lightly cushioned palate, finishing with an apple blossom kiss. Robertson, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek sourced fruit..Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Graham Beck
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Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Painted Wolf The Den Chenin Blanc 2016

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaSimilar to last year, this remains a value gem on our market, a varietally-true chenin at a killer price. And that's not even considering this is from 20-40 year old Swartland vines, partially dry-farmed and partially wild fermented. There's also parts of this wine that was fermented and aged in stainless, some with French oak staves, and some with a good swath of earthy, funky lees and a long, slow ferment for mouthfeel and texture. Did I mention the price? Shiny and bright, with juicy pear, apple, light herbal lees and ample tight citrus, on a well cushioned palate. A splash of 10 percent chardonnay seems redundant, but it works. Youthful, vibrant and likeable - stock up.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Painted Wolf Wine Pack
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The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc 2015

Olifants River, South AfricaThe Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc is from a high altitude area (750m) in the far North Western Cape, Olifants River Region, Citusdal Mountain District and in the ward of Piekenierskloof. It's here that one of RSA's star winemakers, Donovan Rall, is drawing the 70-year-old bush vines, a single plot 'lost' in a fringe region far better known for cultivating Rooibos tea plants. From the stellar 2015 vintage, this was wild fermented and half aged in older wood barrels. Savoury crushed stones and bristling herb salts (rooibos?) on a creamy, lightly oily palate, possibly aided by the addition of 15 percent grenache blanc this vintage. Pear and yellow apple fruits charm, while bright citrus acidity lifts. Well-made and well-priced, this is a wine well-worth adding to your chenin kit.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Boutinot
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Reyneke Biodynamic Chenin Blanctext
92PTS

Reyneke Biodynamic Chenin Blanc 2016

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaBiodynamic beauty. Reyneke was South Africa’s first certified biodynamic vineyard and winery, and all their wines are made without additives (yeasts, enzymes acidity or settling agents). Young RSA star winemaker John Reyneke is Old vine (50+ years) Chenin Blanc on decomposed granite loans is harvested from a single vineyard in the Polkadraai Hills, just west of Stellenbosch. Whole bunch pressed, this was fermented in a both 300L barrels (second fill) and a 2500L foudré, and spent ten months on the lees followed by a two month stint in stainless for tightening. Serious and savoury, this vibrates the length with a flinty mineral hum, with savoury meadow herbs, lemon thistle and quince lining the medium+ palate. There's a gentle but streaming wild bergamot / Earl Gray tea that lingers on the finish. A striking chenin.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Reyneke
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Cape of Good Hope Carolinetext
88PTS

Cape of Good Hope Caroline 2015

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis is one of the Anthonij Rupert projects, now owned by the Rupert family and based on the l'Ormarins Farm in Franschhoek, dating back to the 17th Century. This is a blend of chenin blanc, roussanne, viognier and marsanne from the decomposed Malmesbury shale slopes of the Riebeek Kasteel mountains. Sixty-year-old chenin bush vines make up the majority of this blend, one that was ten percent new French oak fermented and spent nine months on the lees. Perfumed and full bodied, with heady pear, quince paste and cream on a waxy base, propped with toasty oak. The finish is equally perfumed and polished, with a lingering honeyed grapefruit note. Reflections of richer Rhone.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Glen Carlou Classic Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Glen Carlou Classic Chardonnay 2014

Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaRelatively young by South African standards (and a winemaking tradition more than 350 years old), Glen Carlou was founded in 1985, and now in the hands of Hess Family Estates. This chardonnay was sourced from ten different sites in Paarl, and picked over three weeks. After ferment, the wine spent an additional ten months in barrel to knit. Rich and creamy, with waves of lemon curd, tangerine and sunripened pear. Acidity is lemon-lined and works to swell the weight. All this intensity is packaged in a 13.5 percent form, with a glow of warmth on the finish. A fuller style set to take on richer seafood or poultry.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Glen Carlou
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Protea Rosetext
88PTS

Protea Rose 2016

Western Cape, South AfricaThere are few serious, modern, pale, fresh and dry rosés coming out of RSA, and this is one of them. A blend of mouvedre, shiraz, cinsaut and grenache from Anthonij Rupert's Rooderust farm in Darling and Riebeeksrivier in the Swartland, as well as a few coastal sites, were used in this pale-pink hued wine. Wild strawberries, perfumed raspberries and orange peel carry a brisk, lightly peppery freshness. A slick of lees smooths out the gentle palate to the crisp finish. Fantastic value.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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B. Vintners Liberté Pinotagetext
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B. Vintners Liberté Pinotage 2015

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaB. Vintners is a collaboration between Bruwer Raats, whose family was amongst the first Dutch settlers, and his cousin Gavin. The Raats family has always been based in Stellenbosch, and this project was created to show some of the special sites and areas of Stelly - much like they saw the Swartland Independents doing - through minimal intervention. This is old vine pinotage on decomposed granite soils at altitude, and close to the ocean in Bottelary Hills. An earlier pick, wild ferment, light extraction and gentle elevate (14 months in oak, 10% new) has provided a crisp, fresh and crunchy pinotage, one that pours a medium cherry hue and is full of wild raspberries, pomegranate, herbal plum, fynbos scrub. Tannins are fine, sapid-lined and the finish is bright. Chill this expressive light red slightly for a maximum enjoyment.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: B. Vintners
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Wandering Beeste Syrahtext
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Wandering Beeste Syrah 2015

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis skinny syrah is aptly named and labelled for Africa's famously skinny Nguni cattle. ‘Beeste’ is the Afrikaans word for cattle, and ‘Wandering Beeste’ was sourced from a farm high on Swartland’s Kasteelberg Mountain, sharing the steep, stony slopes with the wandering Beestes. Young, lauded South African winemaker Donovan Rall oversees this line of wines from Boutinot, devoted to single vineyard, terroir-expressive and low-intervention wines from around the Cape. This charming, bright, peppery red is half whole berry, half whole bunch, with sapid, resinous notes, perfumed blackberry, black cherry and a slate/stone base. Tannins are gritty but fine, and the acidity is brisk. Anise lingers on the end. A lovely, fresh, authentic, charming, medium-bodied syrah that speaks of place.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Boutinot
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Dorrance Cuvee Ameena Syrahtext
90PTS

Dorrance Cuvee Ameena Syrah 2013

Western Cape, South AfricaFrom the first urban winery in South Africa, Dorrance is a project from Normandy's Christophe and Sabrina Durand set up in Cape Town's Heritage Square. They source grapes from across the Cape for their wines. Cuvée Ameena, named for their daughter, was sourced from decomposed granite and sandstone. Swartland and Elgin grapes, 50 percent whole bunch and then gently pressed into oak barrels for MLF and two years maturation. Smoked meats, wild blackberries, cracked pepper and wild violets on the dense, but fresh palate. Stones filtered throughout, reflecting the Tasting well now, but will certainly age for a few.Prices: BC 47.00 Producer: Dorrance
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Anthonij Rupert Optimatext
90PTS

Anthonij Rupert Optima 2012

Western Cape, South AfricaThis is one of the Anthonij Rupert projects, now owned by the Rupert family and based on the l'Ormarins Farm in Franschhoek, dating back to the 17th Century. This is cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc on decomposed granite and clay from Franschhoek and Darling. Fermented in new French oak barrels and 10000L wood tanks, the wines wines were made and aged separately for 18 months in barrels (35 percent new oak) before blending and aging for a further 6 months in barrel and tank, and then bottle matured for two more years before release. Rich and ripe, with ample oak still guiding the dense, textured fruit, but it has integrated well with this effort into aging. Tobacco, black cherries, cassis are surrounded with thicker tannins, though there is a fine elegance and stony vein on the palate that shows pedigree and potential for aging. This is a bigger red drinking very well now, and will reward with another couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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The Chocolate Blocktext
89PTS

The Chocolate Block 2015

Western Cape, South AfricaBoekenhoutskoof was established 1776, and today, in the hands of talented maverick winemaker Marc Kent, they are still kicking off great things, like the behemoth that is Chocolate Block, known in markets the world over, thanks to its 500,000 bottles/year. The 2015 Chocolate Block is a blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier and for the first time, this is all Swartland fruit. The 2015 also had a greater splash of Grenache than previous years, which is noticeable up front on the massive florality here (the Grenache was matured in 600L barrels to retain its fruity aromas and vibrancy.) Mulberry, brooding black plum and kirsch on the full palate, one smooth and housed by fine, firm tannins. This is a polished wine, but not overtly so, with a textural fruitcake spicing throughout to a dark mocha finish. The wine matures in 1st (all of the Cabernet Sauvignon), 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels (eight 2500L French oak foudres) for 16 months before it undergoes a light egg-white fining and filtration.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Boekenhoutskloof
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A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanctext
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A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom the man credited with spearheading the Swartland Revolution, this chenin blanc is always a joy to have on this market. One of Adi's "entry-level" Secateurs line, this is sourced mostly from his family farm, Kalmoesfontein, on the northern side of the Paardeberg Mountain and on low-yielding granite. Old dry farmed bush vines (and a splash of palomino) were picked over a period of 12 days, with each added to the fermenting wine as they came in. The result is a very extended ferment, adding layers of complexity and interest. Approximately one quarter of the wine was fermented in older casks and large foudres, and spent seven months on lees in wood and concrete. From the stellar 2015 vintage, cream, wild herbs, meadow flowers are drawn across a very waxy palate, where spiced pear and earthy fennel notes join. Savoury, with precise lemon zest vibrancy, broken stones, roasted nut, medicinal lemon balm and gentle honeycomb, this vintage lingers with some gentle waxy warmth on the weighted palate. Drinking now well, but will hold with short term aging.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 24.00 MB 23.00 Producer: A. A. Badenhorst
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02 June 2017

Rioja Bordon Gran Reservatext
90PTS

Rioja Bordon Gran Reserva 2007

Rioja, SpainThe Bordon Gran Reserva ‘07 is a blend of tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano with 30 months of aging in medium toasted American oak barrels. You notice the acidity right off, along with a spicy, balsamic note. The palate is smooth and round with bits of cocoa and bright red raspberry fruit. The finish is long and fresh with more spice and smoke. Quite youthful a decade down the road. We suggest lamb or pork as a suitable dinner match.Prices: BC 28.99 ON 23.20 Producer: Bodegas Franco - Espanolas
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CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reservatext
94PTS

CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2009

Rioja, SpainBodegas C.V.N.E. is still owned and run by the Real de Asua family who opened the doors back in 1879. Its full name is Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España but everyone calls it ‘coonay’ After its initials. The C.V.N.E. Imperial is a Rioja classic first bottled in the 1920s. The name is an ode to a special bottling for the English in a measure the Spanish called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ or approximately half a litre. The vineyard, in Villalba and Haro in Rioja Alta, is over 20-years-old today and is part of a new facility built in the late 1980s, putting an end to several less than clean wines. The dry farmed bushvines are responsible for low yields and intense fruit all aged in American and French oak barrels. Look for a rich hedonistic enticing nose of black fruits with a whiff of earth. The palate is silky soft with spicy, savoury, ripe yet elegant black fruit and tobacco flavours. Impressive at eight years but will hold another decade and beyond. A delicious blend of 85/10/5 tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo.Prices: BC 86.00 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana
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El Nomada Special Selection Riojatext
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El Nomada Special Selection Rioja 2014

Rioja Alavesa, Rioja, SpainSixty year old tempranillo and graciano from the cooler, higher altitude, calcium-clay soils of Labastida, in Rioja Alavesa. Finca de la Rica owns all the 39ha of this village. A quarter of this was fermented in stainless, before all returning to French oak for 14 months. As grippy and strict as you'd expect from a youthful Rioja, though there's a lovely core of plum and cherry that counters the tight tannins, surrounded by mulberry, warm baking spice, tobacco leaves, light smoke, leather before the tight, astringent, cocoa-crusted finish. This medium-bodied red is far too young to drink now without protein (think pork or lamb), but the freshness and authenticity is solid.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Finca de la Rica
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01 June 2017

Blankbottle Confessions of a White Glove Chasertext
89PTS

Blankbottle Confessions of a White Glove Chaser 2015

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFragrant plum, youthful cassis, thorns and a light sappiness on this tight and fresh cabernet sauvignon (tipped with some cinsault). No new oak, this is a clear lens of Helderberg cabernet sauvignon (from three parcels), with 2.5 months skin contact post fermentation before 15 months in small French nine year old barrels and a small amount of sulphur at bottling. Bright fruited, finely structured a whisper tug of tannins. The wine is named because the Helderberg is one of the top places to grow Bordeaux varieties in the Cape, so sourcing the top vineyards is a key skill. There's one group of meticulous vintners that dress all in white, including gloves, when they work in their selected vineyards. Blankbottle's Pieter Walser buys grapes next to where they've chosen, hence, chasing the White Gloves :)Prices: Producer: Blankbottle
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Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carientext
91PTS

Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carien 2016

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaA blend of verdelho (from the oldest verdelho vines in South Africa at 21 years) along with grenache blanc, roussanne and chenin blanc. Alluring bacon fat, fine lemon spicing, wild herbal notes, this is quite textural with great grippy spicing framing and on the finish. Light reductive eraser notes and some gentle warmth on the finish, even though very well balanced at 13 percent.Prices: Producer: Lourens Family Wines
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Crystallum Malabel Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Crystallum Malabel Pinot Noir 2014

Overberg, South AfricaLightly bricking in hue, this pinot noir is from a high elevation (700m) single vineyard site in Overberg. Wild yeast fermented, this was destemmed, spent two weeks on the skins before another two weeks ferment before it went to barrel (30 percent new). After 14 months, it was sent to bottling. Forest moss, forest floor and earthy, with cherry, raspberry and tobacco throughout, and a lingering floral on the finish. Gently ripe, but with a lovely bright lift to carry.Prices: Producer: Crystallum
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Crystallum Malabel Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Crystallum Malabel Pinot Noir 2015

Overberg, South AfricaThis finessed pinot noir is from a high elevation (700m) single vineyard site in Overberg. Wild yeast fermented, this spends two weeks on the skins before another two weeks ferment before barrel. Subtly smoked raspberry, cherry and plum in this youthful and juicy pinot noir. A pure core of fruit buoys the whole, with finely grippy spice to frame, and a warm medicinal, supple core to complete. Lovely violets on the finish. So young, and so much potential here. This vintage had only 10 percent whole cluster, before 11 months in barrel (20 percent new). Lightly bricking in hue, this pinot noir is from a high elevation (700m) single vineyard site in Overberg. Wild yeast fermented, this spend two weeks on the skins before another two weeks ferment before it went to barrel (30 percent new).Prices: Producer: Crystallum
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Lourens Family Wines Howard Johntext
91PTS

Lourens Family Wines Howard John 2016

Paarl, Coastal Region, South Africa100 percent whole bunch blend of cinsault, carignan and grenache. Bright and fresh, with a lining of darker floral, thorns and light anise on a medium bodied frame. Lovely pure blackcurrant core, juicy black plum freshness and grippy on the finish. Lovely structure here, and one that will age beautifully.Prices: Producer: Lourens Family Wines
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