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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: September 2016

27 September 2016

Cleto Chiarli Premium Vecchia Modena Lambrusco di Sorbaratext
89PTS

Cleto Chiarli Premium Vecchia Modena Lambrusco di Sorbara NV

Modena, Emilia-Romagna, ItalyYou think you know Lambrusco? And you haven't tried this? Think again. The family-owned Cleto Chiarli company is a pioneer in Lambrusco, making wine here for more than 150 years. Today the family owns more than 250 acres of vineyards across the Modena province and sells about two million cases of Lambrusco annually. Despite this volume of production, the quality and attention to detail is impressive. This, Vecchia Modena “Premium” (a name that dates back to the 18th century) is from the grape lambrusco sorbara, one of many varieties of the lambrusco grape. A distinct orange-pink hue is due to 24 hours maceration. Pretty floral, light and tight, with rhubarb, fresh cranberry, subtle balsamic and pink grapefruit rind. Very fine lift of bubbles, fine and lively, with nimble acids. Sherbet / pink grapefruit and white pepper lingers on the snappy finish. Apero hour is complete.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Cleto Chiarli
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Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti White Gold Pinot Nerotext
89PTS

Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti White Gold Pinot Nero NV

Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy, ItalyYou only need to meet Sandro Bottega once to understand why his wines have so much energy. Bottega is a dynamo of the first order who has been running the family business since 1983. The distinctive liquid metal that envelopes his bottles comes in different shades. The silver packaging of the White Gold is as mesmerizing as this 100 per cent pinot noir sparkler. The bead of bubbles is tiny causing a persistent ring of bubbles at the rim of the glass. The bouquet is delicate with floral, white fruit aromas and flavours with a pinch of dried fruits and nuts. Dry, fresh and persistent, the finish is as clean as the bottle. Excellent with jamon, olives, French bread, cheese, nuts - well you get the point. Good value.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Distilleria Bottega Srl
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Lini Lambrusco Rosso 910text
87PTS

Lini Lambrusco Rosso 910 NV

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyDry Lambrusco is a thing, thankfully. Lini has been making wine in Emilio Romagna since 1910, and still making wines true to their region, goods and culture. 910 may surprise with its opaque dark plum hue, and bubbles (!) but do give this characterful wine a try. Black plums, dark cherry, wild blueberries and balsamic brings the riff of depth and tannin to tackle protein, plus fresh and taut acidity to carry it off. Pour with grilled wild mushroom pizza or meatballs and enjoy.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 20.00 Producer: Lini Oreste & Figli
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26 September 2016

Howling Bluff Pinot Noir Summa Quiestext
89PTS

Howling Bluff Pinot Noir Summa Quies 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic funky Howling Bluff pinot here that caught the eye and nose of the judges at The Nationals in Penticton. The nose is both fragrant and savoury with that classic forest floor underpinning its ripe, red fruit aromas. The palate is similar with boisterous cherry fruit flavours, sour candies and bitter orange peel. Complex, brooding and thoughtful, it needs another year or two to fully gather itself. Fine potential.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
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Roche Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Roche Pinot Noir 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSmoky red fruit aromas with a touch of reduction greet you on the nose. The palate is juicy and fresh with beautiful dark cherry, a bit of spice and a long finish. Still youthful with some oak shielding the wine but there is an abundance of lively fruit that carries the day and just enough acidity underneath to keep it fresh through the finish. Fine balance. This needs another 18 months or so in bottle to settle out and really start to sing but you could try it now with duck confit or roasted turkey. Promising at this point.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Roche Wines
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelownatext
89PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelowna 2014

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReimer Vineyard is a pinot noir-only site in south east Kelowna, planted on silty loam and gravels. Partial wild yeast fermented, warm and long, this spent eleven months in French oak (25 percent of which was new). Tight black cherry, black raspberry, and pithy and grippy tannins support a tight core of fruit in this medium-full red. An alluring savoury vein throughout, with smoked flake salts and scented herbs (cinnamon, five spice) weaving along to a stony finish. Young still, but will impress even more with a year or two to knit in the cellar.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
90PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis steeper, gravelled Okanagan Falls vineyard is planted with five French pinot noir clones spread across three different blocks, bringing diversity to the final cuvee. After a cold soak, partial wild yeast ferment and lengthy warm fermentation, this went into French oak barrels (24 percent new) for eleven months. Wild strawberry, raspberry, forest and fine textured minerality stream through this finessed, medium-bodied red, structured with a fine backbone and moderately grippy tannins. Impressive in youth, but will reward even more with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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JoieFarm PTGtext
88PTS

JoieFarm PTG 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPTG (referencing Passe-Tout-Grains and the Burgundian bent of winemaker / owner Heidi Noble) blends four clones of pinot noir from Penticton and Naramata with Naramata Bench gamay. Juicy and lively, this medium-boded red is anchored with black cherry and raspberry, streaked with green, earthy forest notes and seasoned with fine red florals and smoked cinnamon bark. Cocoa-clad tannins hem in the pure-fruited core, and are built upon ten months on gross lees in a variety of barriques, puncheons and one 25hl cask. Drink now with grilled sausages or salmon steaks.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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JoieFarm Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

JoieFarm Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLovely, inviting nose with bright red fruit and floral aromas, scented with hints of spice. The attack is dense with weighty fruit flavours (strawberry, raspberry, cherry) and silky tannins which finish with a fine tuggy, earthy grip and sweet perfumed fruit. Honest, well-made pinot noir from Summerland, Naramata and Penticton vineyards, just in time for fall mushrooms.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a fresh pinot character here with savoury, pine, almost Oregon undertones. The mix is clone 115 in Okanagan Falls and Osoyoos, and the Ritter clone form Okanagan Falls. Minimal winemaking, it spent about 15 months in old wood before bottling. Look for a spicy, ripe nose of red fruits - cherries and raspberries with a hint of cola in the back end. A pleasant easy-drinking style that would be perfect with a piece of grilled salmon. Good value.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyardstext
92PTS

Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyards 2013

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesTasted twice now, a year apart, and this cool, calm, collected pinot noir remains on track. The nose is an understated, aromatic pomegranate, cran-cherry affair with bits of spice. The attack is silky smooth with more cran-cherry, dried herbs and bits of mint in the background. The texture is spot on and balanced. Nearing its peak it should remain on this plateau through 2020. Freestone is 100% estate-grown pinot from Freestone Vineyards (51% Quarter Moon Vineyard and 49% Pastorale Vineyard) - it is all Sonoma Coast. Salmon anyone?Prices: BC 69.00 ON 77.50 NS 64.00 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Nielson by Byron Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Nielson by Byron Pinot Noir 2014

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Nielson Vineyard, located in the eastern foothills of the Santa Maria Valley, lies just south of the famous Bien Nacido Vineyard. It boasts mature vines of carefully selected clones of pinot noir planted by Uriel Nielson back in 1964. Today it is owned by Jackson Family Estates. The wine is aged 15 months in French oak, thankfully only 15 percent is new. This is unabashed California pinot noir with black cherries and smoky cinnamon, clove notes. The palate is rich and the fruit dense, with similar smoky, black cherry fruit flavours. All the blocks are harvested separately to allow the winemaker a wide choice of flavours and styles. The use of ten percent whole cluster keeps the wine fresh and juicy. Delicious drinking style that’s fun now with grilled chicken or salmon.Prices: BC 69.95 Producer: Nielson Wines (old Byron Winery)
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Tantalus Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Tantalus Pinot Noir 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTime in the bottle is helping this wine to come around from earlier spring tastings. The attack is juicy and fresh with red plum fruit, cedar, resin and cherries. There are still some sticky tannins mid-palate that need to be shed but there is plenty of fruit here, and length to balance that dryness. The finish is warm earth, mineral and leafy. Definitely a grilled salmon wine.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 30.00 SK 30.00 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Luis Felipe Edwards Pinot Noir Reservatext
87PTS

Luis Felipe Edwards Pinot Noir Reserva 2013

Maule, Valle del Claro, Valle del Maule, Region del Valle Central, ChileThe LFE ‘Reserva’ pinot noir is made in a fruit forward style for early consumption. The nose is a pleasant, earthy, black cherry, mushroom affair with real pinot character. The attack is juicy with mouthfeel and texture gained through ageing in French and American oak for 6 to 8 months. Fairly bright, this is a casual mid-week style pinot for light salmon or chicken dishes. There continues to be a touch of reduction under screw cap, but you can dismiss with a quick splash decant. Well balanced and solid value.Prices: QC 13.00 Producer: Vina Luis Felipe Edwards
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23 September 2016

Tio Pepe Extra Dry Palominotext
86PTS

Tio Pepe Extra Dry Palomino NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainClassic and familiar, high volume and famous, with its pungent, oxidative green apple, dried apple and large flake sea salt. Crunchy, aggressive acidity finishes tightly, with salted almonds. Simple and effective, especially chilled with prawns or olives.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Gonzalez Byass
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Lustau Puerto Finotext
89PTS

Lustau Puerto Fino NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainMuy seco, very dry. Slightly deeper yellow in hue, with potent brininess streaking across a rounder palate, bolstered with roasted salted almonds and dried straw. The finish is clean and tangy with Seville orange oil. Aged in El Puerto de Santa Maria, on the Atlantic coast of Southern Spain.Prices: BC 14.00 375 Producer: Emilio Lustau
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Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin La Guita Manzanillatext
89PTS

Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin La Guita Manzanilla NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainManzanilla's delicacy is evident here, the result of the wine's proximity to the sea. The constant humidity and temperature afforded by the marine environment means that flor can thrive year round, so the wine is more protected (thus more delicate) than in-land fino. Pretty and finessed, with fine crystalline citrus, delicate white floral and a whisper of fine sea salt through the bone dry finish. Ideal with sardines on toast, jamon, and herb brined olives. I only wish this was half sized; its delicacy means it doesn't have a lengthy shelf life and unless I plan on opening it with a few, it won't last long enough for me to fully enjoy it.Prices: BC 22.50 Producer: Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin
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Fernando de Castilla Amontilladotext
92PTS

Fernando de Castilla Amontillado NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainWas on the winelist at El Bulli. Extreme concentration - layers upon layers. Nuttiness hints of oxidative aging, married with briny saltiness. Well roasted salted almonds, fresh walnuts, very fine orange and almond oil. Bone dry, with sea salt flaking across the finish. This elegant, lighter bodied wine carries lightly sweet caramel notes through the exceptional finish. Over 20 years old, defined by "Antique Amontillado" on the label, this producer doesn't use VOS terminology. A beauty with beef consommé, wild mushrooms, chestnuts.Prices: AB 60.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla
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Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortadotext
93PTS

Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortado NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainWines over thirty years old go into this blend, though the producer chooses not to use VORS labelling. This carries a gentle weight on the palate, with the Palo Cortado cushion of glycol adding heady complexities to this layered, mesmerizing blend. Scents of subtle caramel, sun-warmed wood, earthy tobacco, wild herbs, roasted walnuts, hazelnuts, flaked dark salts throughout the dry, savoury body to an exceptional finish. Roast pork tenderloin, duck would suit very well.Prices: AB 68.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla
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El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 15 years oldtext
89PTS

El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 15 years old NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainJose Antonio Sierra was one of the top coopers for Gonzales Byass in the 1830's before he decided to open his own brand. At that time, having a Sherry business was reserved for the upper classes and nobility, so his move caused some ripples. He developed his young brand into an Almacenista (allowed to make and age sherry but not ship product.) As an Oloroso, this has always aged oxidaitvely, with no time under flor. A sweeter nose opens, with subtle treacle notes, fine earth and boozy walnuts, before a dry palate. Confident and slightly punchy, with roasted wood and oxidative notes leading until subtle bitter orange on the finish. Rustic and authentic, with a noticeably weightier palate versus the biologically aged (flor-affected) styles. Can stand up to meatballs, spiced potatoes bravas or smoked jamon.Prices: BC 20.00 375 Producer: Bodegas El Maestro Sierra
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Apostoles VORStext
91PTS

Apostoles VORS NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainColloquially, VORS means "Very Old Rare Sherry”, though Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum is the actual expression. This qualification is issued by Jerez’s Consejo Regulador for specific wines of exceptional quality and an average age of over 30 years. Apostoles is a minimum of 30 years old (verified by carbon dating) and in reality, much older; the Solera was begun in 1862 with the visit of Queen Isabella to Jerez. Rich and intense on the nose, with sweet roasted hazelnuts, fresh figs and sea salt. The lengthy and complex palate is layered with marmalade, dark honey, sweet tobacco, earthy orange oil, and salted walnut richness. There is a slight bitter nut shell grip to the tannins – an isle to grasp onto in this swirling briny sea of concentrated flavours. 6-8% Pedro Ximenez sweetens and fattens up Palomino’s linearity, if blunts the finish ever so slightly. Slight warmth on the finish, best absorbed with pate or blue cheese stuffed dates. Gonzales Byass is one of the dwindling number of shippers with soleras of this age and quality, so when you see this outstanding wine on the shelf at this price, get it.Prices: Producer: Gonzalez Byass
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Lustau Sherry Solera Reserva Deluxe Cream Capataz Andrestext
90PTS

Lustau Sherry Solera Reserva Deluxe Cream Capataz Andres NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainBy definition, Cream sherry has more than 115 g/l RS, so you can be expecting a sweet, or dolce, drop here. Darker walnut in hue, caramelized brown sugar, creme brûlée and dried fig, is soft, warming and hugging on the palate, with quince paste, lovely espresso on the finish. Beauty with nut tarts or pumpkin pie.Prices: BC 12.95 375 Producer: Emilio Lustau
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Fernando de Castilla PX Pedro Ximeneztext
95PTS

Fernando de Castilla PX Pedro Ximenez NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainHow is it that with over 400 g/l of residual sugar, this exceptional, rare Sherry can not finish sweet? Raisins, concentrated beef jus, roasted spices, bitter bergamot, blackstrap molasses, dark chocolate, espresso and earthy tobacco swirl throughout the layered wine, with more and more revealed at every swirl. This is a true marriage of potent savoury and potent sweet. The finish lingers minutes, with a savoury, subtly bitter and salty afterglow. Only fifteen percent alcohol here, and one of the most outstanding wines I’ve tried for a long time.Prices: AB 64.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla
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22 September 2016

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Apalta Valley, Santa Cruz, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileThey're getting cabernet riper (physiologically) these days in Chile and it looks good on them. Rich and weighty, the sweet cassis battles the savoury, boldo, bay leaf undertones with bits of mocha and spice. Still youthful and raw, and grilled beef is the match for the moment.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 21.00 MB 20.00 ON 19.95 QC 17.54 NS 22.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva de Familiatext
90PTS

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva de Familia 2013

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileInviting, fragrant, open nose of mint, resin and red fruit. The attack is dense but the tannins sweet and round. The flavours are a mix of leafy red currants, figs and plums with a twist of cedar and spice. The fruit is all Maipo Valley (Mariscal) grown over deep, sandy alluvial soils. The maceration goes up to 40 days before it spends 15 months French oak. Stylish to say the least and drinkable now, at least with a steak, but should easily hold for 5-7 years. Impressive. Good value.Prices: ON 18.99 MB 19.99 BC 22.99 NL 22.50 AB 21.00 Producer: Vina Santa Carolina
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21 September 2016

Intrigue Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Intrigue Gewurztraminer 2015

British Columbia, CanadaYou feel the sunshine in 2015 beginning with the floral but slightly cooked melon and pink grapefruit notes. The attack is off-dry with a touch of rose water, floral and spice, all with a ripe, litchi, peach and orange finish. Ready to drink and best with spicy dishes to diminish the sweetness.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Crowsnest Family Reserve Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Crowsnest Family Reserve Gewurztraminer 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGenerally a solid offering from Crowsnest, the gewürztraminer is mostly classic with a floral, tropical fruit and spicy nose, here with a washing of lees. The entry is ripe with bright orange and tangerine flavours and a touch of honey. The finish is medium long and off-dry, with a hint of oil, in the Alsace-style. Try with a favourite curry dish.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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CedarCreek Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

CedarCreek Gewürztraminer 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, round and lush, CedarCreek works to counter the fatness inherent in gewürztraminer, and emphasized in a warm year like 2015, by maintaining a fine bead of limey acidity. A long fermentation preserves the grape's spicy ginger and fragrant rose petals, while 2/3 spent in stainless steel help maintain the bright pear, ripe peach and perfumed litchi fruit. There is a washing of lees throughout to add some texture and complexity without weight, while the remainder is fermented in French oak for similar effect. Full bodied, spicy and warm in the finish, this would match rich butter chicken or mango-dressed fish.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways well made, the 2015 Tinhorn has moved to another dimension. This has all the hallmarks of Alsace but, and it’s a big but, the style is fresher. Big, fresh, lime-scented aromas jump from the glass. The attack is similar with a hint of ginger-scented oil and rich gooseberry, litchi and peach flavours that finish long and persistent. Classic, perfumed, floral, rosewater finish. Super value.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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20 September 2016

Arrowleaf Riesling Ritchie Vineyardtext
89PTS

Arrowleaf Riesling Ritchie Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe North Okanagan is riesling country, and Ritchie Vineyard looks like it will grow into a very special spot. The nose is really the best part here with fragrant floral apricot notes and a ginger, lemongrass undercurrent. The aromas continue onto the juicy, fruity palate, ending with a woolly, off-dry finish. A little cleaner finish and this would be a standout. Very good and food-friendly.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Arrowleaf Cellars
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Rieslingtext
90PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock wines are a singular affair, which best explains this selection made with twenty-three-year old vines that are double harvested; first off are the top clusters, followed later by the lower bunches after gathering a bit more maturity. The style is super bright and direct. The nose is Kelowna floral with a whack of tasty lime juice flecked with apples, pears, ginger and more lime pith. It’s young and gangly still but shows all the potential to gather itself over the next three to five years. Try this now with a pesto pasta dish.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Karp-Schrieber My Karp Rieslingtext
90PTS

Karp-Schrieber My Karp Riesling 2014

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, GermanyThe Karp family has been making wine in the Mosel since 1664. The style is new Germany where there is just enough sugar to balance the intense acidity and freshness of the wine. Expect an explosive nose of apples and apricots. The attack is fresh with crunchy fruit flavours, bright acidity and a clean, mineral, steely finish. Seafood friendly or sip solo. Great value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Weingut Karp Schrieber
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Hardys HRB I 644 Rieslingtext
90PTS

Hardys HRB I 644 Riesling 2010

Clare Valley - Tasmania, AustraliaThe 2010 HRB Riesling is made from a mix of premium vineyard sites located in the Clare Valley and Tasmania. It’s the second release of this unique blend that takes the juicy citrus/limon, talc-scented fruit of the Clare Valley and mixes it with cooler, steely, mineral, spicy green apple Tasmanian riesling. Still delicous at six years old it would be a perfect fit in Vancouver where raw oysters rule the world most months of the year.Prices: BC 26.09 Producer: Hardys Wine Company
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19 September 2016

Vérite La Joietext
91PTS

Vérite La Joie 2010

Sonoma County, California, United StatesVérité is French for truth, and the truth is this is an old world wine made in the new world. The mix is a complicated blend of sites and grapes, with 75/5/14/6 cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc/merlot/petit verdot grown in the Alexander Valley, the Bennett Valley, Chalk Hill and Knights at a mix of altitudes from 600’ to 2400’. It was a cool year, but it's not hard to be attracted to the 13.5 percent alcohol. At six years of age it is its just coming out of 17 months in 100% new French oak and beginning to show its mettle. Dark cocoa powder, tomato beans, tobacco leaves, anise, stewed plum, cherry, and leather notes dominate the nose. The attack is silky with a velvet mid-palate plushness, red and black fruits and filtered smoke tempered by ample tannins through the drying finish. A powerful wine, to be sure, but somewhat disjointed at present. Best decanted and poured with lamb shank now or cellar through 2020 and beyond.Prices: BC 475.00 AB 450.00 Producer: Vérité Estate
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Howling Bluff Sin Ceratext
88PTS

Howling Bluff Sin Cera 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSumma Quies “Sin Cera”, meaning without wax, or sincere/truthful, is a bit of a right bank/St. Emilion style red made from a mix of merlot, malbec and petit verdot. I’m told the malbec was pulled out in favour of more pinot noir vines so I guess this is a collector-edition bottling. The fruit is decidedly fresh and red despite the 18 months it spends in one and two-year-old French oak. Winemaker Luke Smith gives this wine plenty of ageing in bottle as well to let the bright black cherry fruit evolve. The palate is fresh and smooth with savoury flecks of milk chocolate in the finish. Prime rib is a great choice to pair with it now, or cellar another three to five years.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Howling Bluff Estate Wines
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Robert Mondavi Maestrotext
91PTS

Robert Mondavi Maestro 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesMaestro is 100 percent Napa fruit grown on Mondavi sites at To Kalon and Wappo Hills. Winemaker Geneviève Janssens says Maestro was inspired by Robert Mondavi at the opening of the new To Kalon cellar in 2000 when he grabbed the baton from the orchestra leader playing on the lawn and became the maestro of music. It was made to be drunk early, hence merlot leads the 59/25/7/3 blend with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and malbec. The philosophy was whimsical, the blend serious, the result is an early-drinking St. Emilion-styled Napa Valley red blend. Intense almost piercing black cherry fruit is at the core of the blend, with a mix of brown spices and dried herbs. Round, soft and long in the mouth, it is surprisingly drinkable. Perfect with steak now but will cellar another five to seven years.Prices: BC 60.00 ON 60.00 US 49.00 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Maculan Brentino Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Maculan Brentino Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Veneto, ItalyOld school leafy/cassis, cabernet nose. The attack is firm with bright acidity that seems to lift the earthy, leafy, cranberry flavours. The palate is elegant but the acidity keeps puckered up through the finish. A big piece of roasted meat is the answer here to tame the acidity and youthful notes in this red. It’s an old school version of cabernet merlot for sure.Prices: BC 22.95 Producer: Maculan
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Blind Trust Red +06/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Blind Trust Red +06/10 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlluring dark florals, cassis, thorns, anise, sweet tobacco fill this juicy and full-bodied Bordeaux blend, a second-label under their flagship Portfolio. If you peel off the capsule, this "Blind" trust for 2014 is revealed; this vintage it's 42 percent malbec, along with merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The blue fruit and violet perfume from the malbec is potent and lovely throughout, from first whiff though the lingering finish, backed up by the firm lashing of cassis and thorns from the cabernets and lifted with a swell of acidity. Tannins are firm but softly clad. Stainless steel and oak fermentated, before a sixteen month stint in French oak. The alcohol (nearly 15 percent) is felt on the finish of this likeable young wine, best mitigated by pork ribs or tenderloin.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Stag's Hollow Heritage Blocktext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Heritage Block 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Bordeaux-style blend brings all the heavy hitters (merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and malbec) in a floral, bright red that tastes far lighter than its 14+ percent alcohol and southern Okanagan provenance. Lifted violets, blueberry and perfumed plum brightens plush, sweetly ripe cassis, tar, black liquorice and cedar hewn tannins. Fifty percent whole cluster pressed before fermentation and eighteen months rest in American and French oak, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Lingering vanilla on the finish. Pour this young wine with juicy steaks.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Chaberton AC 50text
87PTS

Chaberton AC 50 2012

British Columbia, CanadaSuper rich in oak, fruit and body, this dense full red is a 50/50 blend of merlot and cabernet franc sourced from the southern Okanagan. Vanilla stewed blackberries, black plums and thick cassis is scented with cloves and cinnamon. Tannins are strident and firm, though sanded around the edges to a clipped finish. Young and powerful, this is best served now with roast beef or beef, or allowed a year or two to relax in the cellar. This is the premium AC series of Chaberton wines, all based around merlot.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Domaine de Chaberton
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Vanessa Vineyard Meritagetext
88PTS

Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2012

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSmoked branch, ripe and dense dark berries and dusky, sticky tannins fill this potent and full-bodied meritage blend from the Similkameen. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc is fermented and barrel aged for six months before blending, and then aged for one more year in French and American oak, 60 percent of which was new. Baking spices, tar, dark chocolate, vanilla, sweet tobacco and crushed gravels season the whole, while a gush of juicy acidity works overtime to try and balance the intensity and alcohol. Young and rich and fiery on the finish, best served up now with grilled lamb or porterhouse steak.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Vanessa Vineyard
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17 September 2016

Luxardo Fernet Amarotext
90PTS

Luxardo Fernet Amaro NV

ItalyFernet is an Italian type of amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit. It is made from a number of herbs and spices, the recipe of which is particular to the brand. Luxardo Fernet has been made since 1889, and opens with assertive exotic baking spices, anise and piercing peppermint oil which echoes in the mouth long after the last heady drop (40% alcohol). This bitter, potent, medicinal dram is a prolonged infusion of 15 different herbs and spices including liquorice, cardamom, gentian, condurango, cinnamon, enzian, saffron and cinchona. Best enjoyed in cocktails, to temper the strength - both in alcohol and flavour.Prices: Producer: Girolamo Luxardo
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Amaro Punicotext
92PTS

Amaro Punico NV

ItalyInspired by Marsala, Amaro Punico is named in homage to the city's ancient seafaring origins, and the very important naval base on Punic island. This sweet amaro entices with a nose of sweet Sicilian citrus, fresh thyme, oregano and cinnamon. The silken palate introduces sarsaparilla, figs, cola, mace and candied anise, with eucalyptus and marmalade ringing on the finish. The blend includes yellow gentian, oregano, cinnamon, lemon, coriadolo (cilantro), cloves, basil, peppermint and bitter orange. At 30 percent alcohol, this makes for a lovely sipping amaro post dinner, perhaps with a cube of ice.Prices: Producer: Amaro Punico
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Amaro Lucanotext
91PTS

Amaro Lucano NV

ItalyAmaro Lucano was originally created in 1894 by Pasquale Vena, a pastry chef who blended together more than 30 herbs in its creation. The recipe has been handed down through the Vena family to the present day, and is still in use. Fragrant exotic orange, walnut oil, to a lighter, satiny palate with salted almonds, fresh oregano, golden raisin and candied chestnut. Acidity is ringing to a bitter seville orange marmalade finish. Though the recipe is a secret, it has been revealed that wormwood, absinthe gentile, clary sage, achillea moscata, cardo santo, sweet orange, angelica, gentian, elder, rue, and aloe are included.Prices: Producer: Cav. Pasquale Vena & Figli
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Kvint Divin DVS Aged 8 Years Extra Oldtext
89PTS

Kvint Divin DVS Aged 8 Years Extra Old NV

MoldovaSolid well made straight forward cognac with a gentle demeanour. The flavours are harmonious mix of white fruit, flowers and a hint of nuts. Raisins apricots and peaches mark the palate flecked with honey and white flowers. The finish is smooth but warm with brown some gentle brown spices with just a hint of rancio. Good value.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: CJSC Tiraspol Winery & Distillery 'Kvint'
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Kvint XO Surprise Aged 10 Yearstext
91PTS

Kvint XO Surprise Aged 10 Years NV

MoldovaThe ten-year-old has a deep amber colour. The nose is fragrant with a mix of flowers and a hint of chocolate. The palate is smooth and the aftertaste extremely long. The producer suggests serving it with a charcuterie palate of lean meats, olives and cheese. It is made by traditional production process from high-quality wine-distilled spirits, aged in oak barrels for at least 10 years. It was first produced by the Tiraspol Distillery KVINT in 1961. It is made from eaux-de-vie seasoned in oak barrels not less than 10 years according to traditional production standards. A fine mix of power, richness elegance and complexity.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: CJSC Tiraspol Winery & Distillery 'Kvint'
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15 September 2016

Monster Vineyards Cabs Meritagetext
87PTS

Monster Vineyards Cabs Meritage 2013

British Columbia, CanadaSavoury, lifted, black olive, cassis, dried herbs nose with bits of tobacco leaf and leather. The attack is warm with a mix of cloves, smoked olives and black cherry juice. Unknit and angular, this needs time in the bottle or a big piece of grilled meat to tame it now.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Monster Vineyards
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Blue Grouse Quill Redtext
82PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Red 2014

British Columbia, CanadaTobacco, branch and earth imbue this dark cherry conserve of a wine, a blend of Marechal Foch from Cowichan, and Cabernet Franc and Merlot from Oliver. New and used French oak for 18 months only ups the sticky potency. Warm, round and dense, this is framed by silky tannins to a very boozy kirsch, grainy finish.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Valdepeñas, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainRipe, sweet raspberry and candied cherries rule this simple, easy blend of tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon from Vino de la Tierra de Castilla. A touch of sweet oak supports the juicy fruit, providing enough structure to partner with grilled burgers. Crack and drink this great value wine now.Prices: BC 10.79 MB 9.75 YK 14.40 ON 11.65 NS 13.00 PEI 12.00 NF 10.16 QC 13.00 Producer: Osborne Internacional
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Lacruz Vega Terroirtext
87PTS

Lacruz Vega Terroir 2012

La Mancha, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainTempranillo, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from DO La Mancha fill out this smooth, full blend, redolent with sunbaked black fruits, liquorice, pipe tobacco and sweet spice, and built on six months in American and French oak. Tannins are supple, dusky and downy textured through the pencil-laden, drying finish. Some interesting detailing here, and worth adding into your mid-week rotation, especially with grilled sausages.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Bogarve
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Calliope Figure 8 Redtext
84PTS

Calliope Figure 8 Red 2013

British Columbia, CanadaSweet blackberry, black raspberry and cherry coat a round palate, and powdery tannins frame. Tar and black liquorice before a lingering burnt note on the shorter finish. Disjointed throughout.Prices: BC 15.29 AB 16.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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14 September 2016

Familia Castaño Casa C Cisca Monastrelltext
90PTS

Familia Castaño Casa C Cisca Monastrell 2012

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainBush vines over sixty years of age, planted at 700m altitude and on stony, sandy soils make up this layered monastrell from Yecla. Perfumed violets, wild blackberry and anise is textured with peppercorns, tobacco, flighting meaty notes, and a drying, earthy, grip of tannins. Noticeable astringent wood on the finish (sixteen months in oak here), but complexed throughout, and invites pairing with herbed lamb or pork.Prices: BC 55.99 QC 64.00 AB 60.00 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Lujuriatext
86PTS

Lujuria 2015

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainBlackberry, cherry and raspberry are imbued with sweet peppercorns, cedar bark, and orange peel. Slightly chunky and rustic grip on the finish. Bright, simple, authentic and honest, and an ideal mid-week value red.Prices: BC 8.99 AB 9.00 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Familia Castaño C Monastrell Vinas Viejas en Alturatext
87PTS

Familia Castaño C Monastrell Vinas Viejas en Altura 2015

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainAmple black peppercorns, black cherry and perfumed black plum fill the bright core of this compact, old vine monastrell from Yecla. Appealing freshness and a juicy core. Grippy and stony on the finish, this would be a natural for grilled poultry or pork chops. Great value.Prices: BC 11.29 NB 12.00 AB 11.00 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Castaño C Monastrell Ecológicotext
86PTS

Castaño C Monastrell Ecológico 2014

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainBarnyard and tight, earthy blackberry branch lead this organic monastrell from Yecla. Black plum perfume, dark cocoa, cherry jam and light tobacco finish on a shorter note. Bright frisky acid in this juicy and young red, even through the rusticity. Ribs, shank work well here.Prices: BC 11.49 AB 12.00 NB 12.00 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Castaño Santa Monastrell Garnachatext
86PTS

Castaño Santa Monastrell Garnacha 2013

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainA new blend of old vines, this is unirrigated 45 year old bush vines of monastrell and garnacha grown at altitude in Yecla. Ten months in American and French oak give a stridently firm wood frame. High toned, tight cassis and plum, with dusty, dusky tannins. Missing some of the fruit fleshiness needed, but a solid, bigger red ready to take on grilled ribs.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Familia Castaño
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13 September 2016

Monte Creek Ranch Hands Up Whitetext
88PTS

Monte Creek Ranch Hands Up White 2015

British Columbia, CanadaThe judges were impressed with the 2015 Hands Up White at the Nationals and nosing the glass you can smell why. The Kamloops-based winery has an enticing fragrant floral nose with a follow-up of exotic, almost tropical, fruit and that savoury BC back end that keeps it all in line. It’s a touch sweet, but use that to work with spicy foods. The blend is 61 percent frontenac blanc, 14 percent viognier, 25 la crescent.Prices: BC 14.49 375 Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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Intrigue Frosted Vinestext
84PTS

Intrigue Frosted Vines 2015

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMid-sweet, with later-harvest grapes (hence the name), this soft and round blend of kerner, riesling and ehrenfelser brings gooseberry, peach, apple blossom and pear nectar, cut with a fine pithy lime spiciness. Wishing for more acid here; suited to orchard fruit desserts or custards.Prices: BC 18.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Tinhorn Creek 2Bench Oldfield Series Whitetext
86PTS

Tinhorn Creek 2Bench Oldfield Series White 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPerfumed, with expressive and creamy pear, fennel, apple blossom imbued with fine spice. This aromatic white blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier, semillon and muscat is super ripe, round and soft on a creamy, glycerol-slicked palate that lacks the acidity to carry the heft of this fruit this vintage. New and used French oak is in play, as is stainless. Hoping for more brightness to carry this sun-laden fruit next year.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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CedarCreek Ehrenfelsertext
88PTS

CedarCreek Ehrenfelser 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA CedarCreek signature that over delivers every year. Highly perfumed gooseberry, lime pith, garden florals and ripe pear lead into this mid-sweet ehrenfelser, from vines up to 38 years old, some of the oldest in Canada. Splashes of gewürztraminer and riesling join the party, all fermented in stainless to preserve purity. Fine notes of peach fuzz, spice and orange blossoms and a hint of bitters linger on the finish. Fruit salad in a glass; highly enjoyable.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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12 September 2016

Blue Mountain Gamay Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2011

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. Dark Cherry, dried blackberry, thorns, tar and a faint reductive note blow off with air and open to a finessed, fluid core. The dark cherry core continues, imbued with forest floor and leather and black pepper spicing. Fleshy, pinned together with fine, precise tannins. Loving the cool 2011 vintage. Decant and allow time to stretch its legs, and then enjoy with thick portobellos, grilled pork chops or rabbit. Aging well.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 25.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Chaberton 25th Anniversary Limited Release Gamay Noirtext
81PTS

Chaberton 25th Anniversary Limited Release Gamay Noir 2015

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEarthy, cedar spiced wood, moss and forest fill this green-tipped, medium bodied gamay noir, created from estate grapes, fermented wild, and released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the winery. Stewed rhubarb and tart cranberry dominate the palate, one snipped short with astringent, extracted tannins and finishing with black peppercorns and the bitterness of the oak chips used during the five months in tank. A miss.Prices: Producer: Domaine de Chaberton
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JoieFarm Gamaytext
90PTS

JoieFarm Gamay 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada#GoGamayGo. This is the brightest, freshest, most savoury JoieFarm gamay in memory. Dark cherry, herbal raspberry and plum are contained by a lithe but firm structure, more akin to Cru Beaujolais than North American gamay. Stony, savoury and salty throughout, with a subtle, supple sun-sweetness to a lengthy and crisp, peppery finish. From the clay banks of Deep Roots Vineyard on Naramata Bench, this was aged for ten months in a mix of French barriques, puncheons and cask, and allowed the grace of a year in bottle before release. At 12.6 percent, this is exceptionally quaffable. Stock up, while you can.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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09 September 2016

Gray Monk Odyssey Rose Brut Méthode Classiquetext
89PTS

Gray Monk Odyssey Rose Brut Méthode Classique 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrizzed strawberry, brisk acid, dry, cherry and ample toast in this crisp, tight and lean traditional method fizz, a blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier. Light berry lingers on the juicy finish. Accessible and consistent, this has proven a good match to seafood / poultry canapés.Prices: BC 17.39 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Wolfberger Crémant d'Alsace Bruttext
87PTS

Wolfberger Crémant d'Alsace Brut NV

Alsace, FranceFrothy, expansive mousse sets the stage for this dry, racy and intense crémant, full of salted crisps, delicate white florals, light orange, red apple and lemon pith to a shearing palate. A blend of 90/10 pinot blanc/ pinot auxerrois, this equates to a bone dry fizz, ideal for canapés.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Wolfberger
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditonelletext
88PTS

Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditonelle 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLight sour cherry, rhubarb, wild strawberry, green raspberry, cranberry and a bitter sling of red apple skin on this traditional method 65 / 35 pinot noir/chardonnay. Though the label "R.D. 2011" might lead you to think this was disgorged in 2011, it was actually disgorged in March 2015 with fruit from the cool 2011 vintage. Whole cluster pressed before 36 months on the lees. A welcome 10 g/l dosage helps to offset the ripping sharpness here. Pithy grapefruit bitterness on the finish.Prices: BC 33.00 AB 37.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2008

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRacy, crisp and fine from tip to lingering tail, with a lick of lees to build out the corners and counter the austerity. Chardonnay is whole cluster pressed before spending seven years on the lees. Ample lemon and green apple, scented with biscuit and lingering with lively vibrancy on the palate. Disgorged in March 2015. Even with a small bump of RS in the dosage, this is a shearing style for those looking for acidity.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blomidon Crémant Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blomidon Crémant Méthode Traditionelle 2013

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaWow. Wow. This méthode traditionelle blend of 57/23/20 seyval, l'acadie blanc and chardonnay from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley is expressive, tight and nimble with green apple, lemon pith, pear and light toast. Fine chalky spicing and a grip of tannins though the lingering finish. Alluring and impressive at 10.4 percent alcohol and with less pressure that the typical méthode traditionelle. This is one to watch.Prices: NS 25.00 Producer: Blomidon Estate Winery
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Thirty Bench Sparkling Riesling Steel Post Dosagetext
88PTS

Thirty Bench Sparkling Riesling Steel Post Dosage NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA distinctively riesling nose (lime sherbet, stone) opens this very austere and narrow traditional method fizz, scented with lime peel, green apple and searing with ripping, pithy acidity. The texture is quite literally palatable, and lingers on on the palate. A severe style, that works, but might not be for everyone.Prices: Producer: Thirty Bench Wine Makers
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Kacaba Effervescencetext
88PTS

Kacaba Effervescence 2015

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe first sparkling wine from Kacaba, this is charmat method chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling from Niagara Escarpment. Fresh, brisk and structured, with bright acids lifting apple butter and orchard pear notes. An overly pithy, bitter-edged grip on the finish keeps things tight, though overtly sharp at the end. Riveting acidity throughout.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Kacaba
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Trius Brut Rosétext
88PTS

Trius Brut Rosé NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA pretty pale pink hue, with tight cherry, subtle toasted biscuit, grapefruit pith and light strawberry blossom set against crisp and ripping acidity. Fine, tight and narrow, this is dialled through to a riff of bitter grapefruit and light smoke on the finish. Finishes dry and brisk and ready for canapés. Pinot noir is tipped with pinot meunier and scented with a drop of chardonnay in this traditional method fizz.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Trius Winery at Hillebrand Estates
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08 September 2016

Chateau de Caraguilhestext
88PTS

Chateau de Caraguilhes 2013

Corbières, Languedoc, South of France, FranceAmazingly consistent, this certified organically grown Corbières pulls you into the glass. The mix is 50/40/10 syrah/carignan/grenache, sporting fragrant, black fruit aromas. Similar black currant, blackberry fruit with a smoky licorice underside mark a fresh and clean palate. An impressive organic red for the price. Grilled chicken or beef will work here. Super value.Prices: BC 19.49 YK 21.50 Producer: Chateau de Caraguilhes
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Cháteau Rigaud Faugeres Organictext
89PTS

Cháteau Rigaud Faugeres Organic 2012

Faugères, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceFaugères is a Languedoc appellation built on sandy schist. Château Rigaud is a mix of 55/26/19 syrah, mourvèdre and grenache. The organically-grown grapes sit over a flaky schist soil with southern exposure. The syrah sees 12 months in wood while the rest of the fruit is aged in concrete for an equal length of time. The theme is floral, black fruit with a spicy licorice undercurrent. The texture is silky smooth adding another layer of complexity to this wine. Perfect with grilled lamb.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Château Rigaud
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Famille Perrin Rasteau L'Andéoltext
88PTS

Famille Perrin Rasteau L'Andéol 2013

Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceDark cherry, black raspberry, and thorny florals fill this meaty Rasteau. Flirting with wildness, there is a garrigue and white pepper herbaceousness that filters throughout the fleshy palate, with dark cocoa textured tannins drying on the finish. This honest rusticity is best paired with lamb or hearty mushroom ragout.Prices: BC 20.00 ON 20.00 Producer: Famille Perrin
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Domaine de Beaurenard Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rougetext
91PTS

Domaine de Beaurenard Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2012

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceCertified organic and biodynamic, Domaine de Beaurenard's 32-hectare vineyard in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is carefully tended by the seventh generation of the Coulon family. Perfumed and expressive, this lush blend of grenache, syrah, mourvèdre and cinsault is joined by four percent "other varieties", a mix of the medley of grapes allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The supple palate is tufted with savoury raspberry, cherry, anise, florals and bramble, cushioned by baked strawberry and spiked with peppercorns. Soft, downy tannins give a lightly grippy tug at the finish, helping to hem in the warm 14.5 percent alcohol. Not quite a refined as the 2010 but well ahead of 2011, the finish is long, with stony vibrations lingering on the palate.Prices: BC 62.99 Producer: Paul Coulon et Fils
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Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epinetext
88PTS

Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine 2015

Tavel, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceTavel makes some of the richest rosé in France and this cool and creamy strawberry pink is as full-bodied, bold and confident as ever. Grenache, cinsault, clairette, syrah and grenache blanc build a lush wild cherry, ripe pear and red liquorice pink with a cushy gel base. The finish is lengthy with some cinnamon bark spicing and ample warmth (14 percent declared). Best chilled, drunk now. Try this with a veal or pork chop.Prices: BC 24.99 ON 19.00 Producer: Domaine Lafond
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Chateau D'Angles Classique Red La Clapetext
88PTS

Chateau D'Angles Classique Red La Clape 2012

La Clape, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceScrubby Mediterranean herbs season this Languedoc red, from the limestone laced sloped soils of La Clape. Syrah, grenache and mourvedre were grown without chemicals, and picked throughout a two-month harvest, led by the ripeness of each grape. Thirty days maceration was followed by eighteen months in vat, before bottling without fining or filtering. The result is a finely textured, medium bodied, bistro-rustic red, scented with plums, wild cassis and thorns. Tannins are appropriately grippy/sticky and acidity is brisk through to the drying finish. Enjoyed with pork chops and lardon-lashed lentils.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Chateau D'Angles
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07 September 2016

Les Cretes Petite Arvinetext
90PTS

Les Cretes Petite Arvine 2014

Veneto, ItalyNew to me is this 100 percent petite arvine, an indigenous vinifera grape that comes to Valle d’Aosta, Italy via Switzerland. The DOC spreads across seven DOCS from near Francia in the west to near Piemonte in the east. At Les Cretes, the vines began production in 1992, the wine is fermented in stainless steel, gets six months “sur lies” maturation with continual batônnage and sees no oak. Look for a light straw-yellow colour and an enticing floral/citrus nose. The palate is an electric mix of exotic fruits, dried herbs and a salty, mineral crisp finish. You can have those orange wines, I'll take this. Any seafood will work well here but maybe shellfish is your best bet, with a delicious squeeze of lemon.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Les Cretes
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Rocky Creek Wild Blackberrytext
89PTS

Rocky Creek Wild Blackberry NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaIf you live in BC, picking blackberries in the wild is rite of birth and one of the tastiest late summer activities. That said, bears like to do the same thing so if you are out of pepper spray or courage or both, you can always turn to the liquid solution. Rocky Creek captures the pure essence of the fruit and manages to get it in the bottle unadulterated. Rich blackberry jam, liquorice and clove aromas and flavours tumble across the palate with fine intensity. We tried ours with ice cream.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Lindemans Bin 90 Moscatotext
86PTS

Lindemans Bin 90 Moscato NV

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaVery sweet lime cordial, lime, perfumed pear and pretty lemon blossom is held snappy with a fine, tight line of acidity. Soft on the mid palate, this dials it in for a pithy finish. Light, lively, and brunch or pavolva-ready.Prices: BC 10.49 AB 11.00 ON 11.10 Producer: Lindemans Wines
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Terravista Albariñotext
89PTS

Terravista Albariño 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFragrant with lush peach, honeydew, quince paste, pear blossom and gooseberry, this concentrated Naramata Bench albariño (yup - you read that right) counters perfumed fruit with a spire of juicy acidity. Mineral briskness and a lingering mandarine pith adds to the appeal. The alcohol (14 percent) is felt on the gingery finish. Unique, characterful and special for Canada.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Viogniertext
91PTS

Terravista Viognier 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis viognier is Naramata meets Condrieu, displaying rich, confident form throughout its expansive, creamy palate. Ripe nectarine and apricot is built on a cushioned bed of lees, with perfumed mandarin and peach fuzz seasoning and a warm, herbal gingersnap and anise spicing. A swell of juicy acidity aptly handles the weight, while a riff of bitter pit counters the sun-ripe sweetness. Best viognier I've tasted from Canada? You bet. Drinking beautifully now, but will hold for short term cellaring.Prices: BC 18.90 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Fandango Albariño Verdejotext
91PTS

Terravista Fandango Albariño Verdejo 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEntirely unique in Canada, this singular blend of Albariño and Verdejo stands alone in all the ways. From the granitic soils of their Naramata Bench estate, this concentrated, focused and vibrant blend is entirely dialled in yet again. Perfumed lime oil, mandarin, gooseberry and yellow plum flow fluidly along a raft of fine ginger spicing. Wild herbs and meadow flowers season the medium bodied palate, one kept fresh with bright and grippy grapefruit pith laced acidity. Youthful and intense, and will continue to impress over the next year or two in the cellar.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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A Mano Biancotext
87PTS

A Mano Bianco 2015

Puglia, ItalyFleshy white peach, orange blossoms, sherbet is seasoned with exotic jasmine and light ginger in this juicy medium-bodied white. Fiano minutolo, falanghina and greco are fermented cool in stainless to preserve acidity along with the ripeness of southern Italian sunshine. Tasty on its own, or with calamari or clams.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: A Mano
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Lacruz Vega Verdejotext
87PTS

Lacruz Vega Verdejo 2015

La Mancha, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainThis ripe, punchy and fruity verdejo is pierced by an herbal lime pith. Peach, pineapple rind, tangerine, green apple and melon moves briskly on the palate, swept along with a broom of scrubby herbs and spicy saffron. Great value for a taste of the Mediterranean. Seafood paella, here's your match.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Bogarve
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06 September 2016

C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA good example of how hard it is to grow cabernet sauvignon and get it physiologically ripe, even in the sun-drenched desert scrub of southern Okanagan. Dried herbs, green olives and tart cherries mark the nose and palate. The attack is dry and the tannins drier, with spiced cedar, black cherries and winter fresh acidity. Time will help this wine in the bottle, but it is a bit too green for us currently. Best now with grilled lamb or pork.Prices: BC 49.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
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Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyardstext
93PTS

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyards 2010

Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, United StatesSix years seems about right to get to this idiosyncratic cabernet from Sycamore Vineyard near Rutherford, Napa Valley. The blend is 85 percent cabernet sauvignon, mixed with merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The colour is opaque, the nose a spicy, minty affair with pure black fruit flecked with notes of resin, earth and brown spices. You don’t taste that many savoury Napa Valley reds but this is one of them. Muscular and rich, the textures easily offset the spice and blazing cassis fruit. Just coming into its own now and should be perfect by 2020. A T-bone steak is the match.Prices: BC 140.00 AB 140.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reservetext
93PTS

Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve 2012

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThere were 10,000 cases of PR made in 2012 and it's likely they will age well into the third decade of the 21st century. The colour is nearly opaque with smoky toasted barrel and blackberry notes at its core. Classically rich and mouth-filling, Napa cabernet is always a little less linear than its French counterpart in Bordeaux. It was a textbook vintage, and as usual that means the Steinhauer vineyard at 30 percent anchors the blend. Some 17 percent of the fruit comes off Howell Mountain (Bancroft Ranch) and an equal amount comes from the St. Helena Home ranch purchased in 1875. Winemaker Laurie Hook also added some Rutherford fruit to knit the cabs together. It’s dense, dark and delicious, mixing cocoa and blackberries throughout. It is surprisingly drinkable even it should age effortlessly through 2027. T-bone steaks anyone?Prices: BC 139.99 US 112.00 AB 140.00 QC 149.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hillstext
83PTS

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2014

Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesSuper ripe and round, with black fruit jam imbued with rubber, tar, black peppercorn and smoke to a vanilla, milk chocolate, grainy finish. The heat of Horse Heaven Hills is felt here, and exploited through this extracted, harsh-edged red.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 19.95 QC 21.05 Producer: Columbia Crest Winery
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Edge Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesRipe and full, this rich Napa red leads with black liquorice, cassis and ample sweet spice. The palate is similar with blackberry jam, pepper and light smoke that plumps up a youthful, astringent finish. Sixteen months in French oak (35 percent new) is evident throughout this 89/8/3/ blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. A slightly rambunctious cabernet you can serve now with a well-marbled grilled steak or hold a year or two. Should be a restaurant favourite.Prices: BC 38.99 AB 27.00 Producer: Edge Wines
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Fuse Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesFuse is a Signorello creation, with a price set between the estate Cabernet Sauvignon and the entry level Edge to make it a more affordable Napa Valley cabernet. Though the term affordable in BC is a bit of a stretch, it should be $50 to $60 less than the estate wine. Look for dark cherry jam, ripe black raspberry and potent anise aromas throughout this full-bodied cabernet. Plush and smooth, with supple tannins and mocha density it has the easy-drinking, approachable, modern Napa Valley style. Sixteen months in French oak (40 percent new) fill in the finish and reign in the fruit. As planned, it is drinkable now and is an inviting pairing with a big juicy steak.Prices: BC 110.00 US 65.00 Producer: Fuse Wines
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El Esteco Don David Cabernet Sauvignon Reservetext
87PTS

El Esteco Don David Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013

Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaRoasted onions, cured meats and freshly ground coffee fill this fuller Calchaqui Valley cabernet sauvignon. Earthy branch, roasted yams, cassis and black cherry back it up, while firm, rustically grippy tannins frame it all. Twelve months in new barrels explains the woody intensity here, while a warming rush of heat on the espresso-lined finish welcomes pairing with grilled meats. Simple, effective.Prices: BC 13.99 MB 15.00 AB 15.00 Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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05 September 2016

Jean Bousquet Malbectext
88PTS

Jean Bousquet Malbec 2013

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaJuicy cherry, cedar, tobacco, savoury, black olive notes with a dusting of pepper. Soft and fresh, with a slightly sweet palate and light, chalky tannins. Cherry jam, poultry spice, earthy, licorice, coffee grinds and dried herbs all sing out here in the Mendoza style. A simple malbec made with organic grapes. Perfect for grilled meats or chicken.Prices: MB 17.00 BC 16.00 ON 18.00 AB 17.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bousquet
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Pascual Toso Malbectext
86PTS

Pascual Toso Malbec 2014

Mendoza, ArgentinaRipe, round, perfumed black fruit, framed by sweet, supple oak. Tar, violet gummies and roasted meats fill the lush palate until the short, vanilla and pepper finish. A bit dated, but still good value for a familiar style.Prices: AB 13.00 BC 13.49 ON 14.00 QC 14.00 YK 17.20 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbectext
87PTS

Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaViolets imbue this full and round Mendoza estate vineyard malbec, seasoned with black pepper and dried herbs. Soft velvet on the palate, anchored by the clay soils, and with pretty acidity afforded by 1000m in altitude. Great value, considering all that goes into this. Pair now with grilled ribs.Prices: BC 12.29 AB 12.95 Producer: Doña Paula Estate
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Pascual Toso Malbec Reserva Barrancas Vineyardstext
89PTS

Pascual Toso Malbec Reserva Barrancas Vineyards 2013

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaDeep plum, cassis and dried blueberry fill the basin of this fleshy, Maipú malbec, sourced from their estate vineyards in Las Barrancas. After ferment in stainless, this spends a year in new oak (20/80 French and American), imparting sweet, ripe, toasty richness and potent, silky kirsch. Tannins are thick and sticky, and chocolate and cherries linger on the spicy, warming finish.Prices: BC 19.79 AB 17.00 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbectext
88PTS

Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec 2012

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaRipe, baked black cherry, potent kirsch and coffee coat this full bodied malbec. Fleshy tannins are lined with a sticky grip, the heat and concentration of the vintage and vintner evident, now four years along. Potent black liquorice dominates the chocolatey finish. Drinking well now, and widely available.Prices: BC 16.99 ON 16.25 QC 17.55 SK 19.00 YK 20.40 NS 22.00 Producer: Pascual Toso
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02 September 2016

Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verdetext
87PTS

Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde NV

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe hotter the weather the better this wine gets. Look for frizzante on the palate, with lemon blossoms, green apple and pleasant lees aromas. The attack is fresh and juicy with watery, pear skin, lemon, lees, quince and apple skin flavours. Light, delicate, juicy and fresh for any summer seafood. Super value.Prices: BC 10.99 AB 12.00 MB 16.00 YK 14.25 Producer: Quinta da Aveleda
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Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet Les Pins De Camilletext
88PTS

Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet Les Pins De Camille 2015

Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceNot much changes here which is great, and I love the value. When everyone is drinking sauvignon blanc you can be sipping picpoul and looking like the ultimate wine hipster. Fresh and citrus covered, there’s notes of honey, quince and ginger on the nose and palate that fade into a juicy persistent finish of lemon oil, quince, ginger and grapefruit. Even better under screwcap. Grilled fish or assorted charcuterie work here. Please try something different.Prices: BC 14.79 MB 12.99 Producer: JeanJean
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Chaberton Reserve Siegerrebetext
86PTS

Chaberton Reserve Siegerrebe 2015

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPerfumed pear, peach, gooseberry and kiwi on this sweeter siegerrebe from Langley's Chaberton Estate Vineyard. Whole bunch pressing adds a bit of grip to offset the sweetness, while potent lime oil drives the medium body. Ample weight here, suited to peach clafouti or pear custard.Prices: BC 16.25 Producer: Domaine de Chaberton
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Mission Hill Reserve Limited Edition Viogniertext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Limited Edition Viognier 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich and perfumed apricot nectar, ripe peach, quince jam and pear butter fill this intense, voluminous viognier from MHFE's sun-drenched West Osoyoos vineyard. Warming ginger and marmalade trail on the finish (felt at 14.5 percent declared). This reserve tier is said to be drawn from their top fifteen percent of holdings. In 2015, the fruit was fermented in a mix of concrete eggs, oak barrels, and stainless steel tanks. Off dry, supple and confidently rubenesque, this is a match for tropical scented rich proteins and curries.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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01 September 2016

Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc cl 214text
90PTS

Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc cl 214 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s hard not to like this juicy, perfumed, cassis-scented red. There is a terrific freshness/lively acidity on the palate that lifts the plum, blueberry and florals on the nose. Sourced from their east facing Osoyoos vineyard, it’s made with the very expressive Bordeaux clone 214. Subtle smoked branch, thorns and persistent peppercorn spicing add complexity throughout the lengthy palate. Tannins are dusty and lightly sticky, providing a fine base for the sun-ripened fruit. Just settling into its frame, you can cellar this through 2020. Pour now with roasted pork chop.Prices: BC 34.50 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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River Stone Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

River Stone Cabernet Franc 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet black plum, dried cassis and wild blueberries fill this fleshy, full red. The attack is full-bodied with sticky tannins and a whack of warm black licorice that supports a ripe, juicy, fruity red framed with fourteen months of French oak. The finish is long and warm flecked with perfumed wild desert herbs and thorns while dark cocoa lingers on the warm finish. Great potential for short term cellaring but you could drink this now with your favourite steak.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Young and Wyse Collection Zinfandeltext
85PTS

Young and Wyse Collection Zinfandel 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe blackberry, black cherry is cushy in the mouth, lined with tomato paste and spiked with a lift of acidity. Powdery tannins carry the whole to a short, clipped finish. Drink now, with burgers or ragu pasta.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Young and Wyse Collection
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