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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: August 2022

19 August 2022

Santo Cristo Old Vines Garnachatext
88PTS

Santo Cristo Old Vines Garnacha 2018

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainI enjoyed this garnacha last time out, and it is equally charming in 2018. It grows in the warm iron-rich clays of Campo de Borja, from vines at 40+ years, and offers plenty for the price. The nose and attack are fresh with scents of raspberries, dried strawberries, and red cherries. The palate is silky and lush, with similar raspberries streaked with spice and minerals. Impressive for the price. Perfect for hamburgers, beef tacos, grilled vegetables or pulled pork. Great value here. The Santo Cristo co-op was officially founded in 1956 and is now one of the best in Spain, with modern equipment, including a state of the art bottling line, cool underground cellars, and skilled winemakers. One of the reasons it runs so well is that although they have 900 hectares of vineyards and 700 growers, 80% of the vineyards belong to just 30 growers, so it has been easier to get qualitative practices into place.Prices:
BC$16.99750ml
Producer: Santo Cristo
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Pure est Tempranillotext
88PTS

Pure est Tempranillo 2020

SpainThe big attraction here is floral violets, and the almost pure grape flavours that jump from the glass. Is it tempranillo? Maybe. It is organic, yes. Soft textures and warm spicy fruit juice up the mid palate and the longish, warm, savoury finish. This is terrific mid-week Spanish red that will have broad appeal. Ready to drink and under screwcap. Perfect for beef tacos or cheese empanadas. Good value.Prices:
BC$18.99750ml
AB$19.99750ml
Producer: Vinya Alfori
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Moon Curser Tempranillotext
88PTS

Moon Curser Tempranillo 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAbout the time this grape was planted (2005), Spain was abandoning the heavily-wooded, long-aged Rioja style in favour of tempranillo with more snap and vibrancy. This south Okanagan version has neither of those attributes or the old Rioja style for that matter, but rather a rich, savoury lush style that slides down quickly and with a great deal of warmth. It’s particularly handsome in 2020, which many would claim is a perfect vintage. The fruit comes off a couple of sandy, silica, granite Osoyoos East Bench vineyards with a southwest slope. Look for heaps of blackcurrant, baked plums, cinnamon, and sweet vanilla. This will need time in the bottle or a robust leg of rosemary-rubbed lamb. If you like your big red and rich, this is it.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Moon Curser
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Cuesta del Tejar Garnachatext
95PTS

Cuesta del Tejar Garnacha 2018

SpainCuesta is made with 84 year old garnacha vines. The fruit is destemmed, very gently pressed and lightly extracted. The juice is decanted off its lees post ferment and bottled without filtering after spending nine months in 3 year old oak. The winemaker is Ruben Diaz, born and raised in Cebreros, Avila, one of the principal villages responsible for the reawakening of Gredos wines. The Sierra de Gredos region lies 90 minutes west of Madrid, in a warm continental climate between 650-1200 meters high. There are a few words to describe how fabulous this wine is. Intense, moody, silky, packed with black pepper and black raspberries, delicate, sensitive, moving. It is sensational. Beg, borrow, or steal a few bottles if you can find them.Prices:
BC$43.00750ml
Producer: Viñadores de Gredos
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Izadi Larrosa Negra Garnacha Riojatext
88PTS

Izadi Larrosa Negra Garnacha Rioja 2020

Rioja, SpainThirty-five years in, Bodegas Izadi is a relative newcomer to Rioja Alavesa. Owned by Gonzalo Antón, Anton made his money in hotels and restaurants and set out to produce wine that would work at that level. Larrosa Negra is crafted to showcase the juicy, fruity garnacha grape. It is grown at the highest altitude in Rioja at 700 metres on very stony soils. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for a short six months in second and third-year French and American oak barrels. Bright, fresh, juicy and ready to drink, this is a wine for chicken, lamb chops, or vegetable lasagna.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
Producer: Bodegas Izadi
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Cuesta del Tejar Garnachatext
0PTS

Cuesta del Tejar Garnacha 2018

SpainThe wine region Sierra de Gredos, a 90 minute drive west of Madrid, is named for the neighbouring mountain range, and rests 650-1200 meters high. It's a hotbed for young, adventuresome winemakers recovering ancient vines (in sandy, slate, granite), and winemaking traditions. Ruban Diaz is one of the emblematic winemakers of the area, born and bred in Ceberos. This organic older vine garnacha was mostly destemmed (15% whole cluster), native fermented and aged in older French oak for 9 months, and bottled without filtration. Corked, will try another.Prices:
BC$43.00750ml
Producer: Viñadores de Gredos
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18 August 2022

Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsannetext
89PTS

Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsanne 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe last time I tasted this wine, in July 2021, it had 15 months in used puncheons and barriques. This latest 2019 release, of course another experiment, spent 26 months in wood. To recap its story, this blends 80% roussanne and 20% marsanne from the sustainably farmed Webster Vineyard in Osoyoos. It was whole berry native fermented and macerated for 4 months on stainless before heading to barrel. A clear, golden hue, this draws apricot, peach, pear skin along a sleek, tightly stencilled, light bodied palate, through a lightly saline, very fresh, bitter orange / astringent orange finish. There seems much less of the grapes evident here, and more of the style.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Rigour and Whimsy Bifrösttext
89PTS

Rigour and Whimsy Bifröst 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRigour & Whimsy are a tiny garagiste, family-owned winery based in Okanagan Falls, sourcing vineyards across the Okanagan for their creative and adventuresome (and artfully labelled) portfolio, one that changes annually. Bifröst, aka the rainbow bridge, is a 55 / 45 mix of riesling / gewürztraminer, fermented whole berry with 1 month maceration in stainless, prior to resting 6 months in used French puncheons. Pouring a hazy golden hue, these pretty, perfumed grapes swirl their magic in the structural matrix of skin contact white grapes. Wild orange, apricot skin, peach fuzz, nectarine, musk melon glide through the mellow palate, gripped with fine tannins through a astringent bitter lemon rinse. Edgy yet approachable, this is a smart orange wine for enjoying now, from adventuresome folks that are getting it right.Prices:
BC$32.00750ml
Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Lakeside Cellars Portage Whitetext
86PTS

Lakeside Cellars Portage White 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrafted to be a beach white, this 53/16/31/ mix of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and pinot gris opens with sweet fruit salad and red apple streaked with orange and a slightly bitter undertow, finishing with pink grapefruit. Serve well chilled for best effect.Prices:
BC$21.00750ml
Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Hillside Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Hillside Gewürztraminer 2021

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf you are a gewürztraminer fan, the Hillside label should be on your list every year. Consistently inviting and correct, winemaker Kathy Malone makes a high-quality quaffable style you can drink solo or with food. Exotic is the word for the tropical fruit that loads up the palate with litchi, tangerines, ginger, and ruby grapefruit. Still a party in the glass, it is also a match for a favourite curry or spicy South Asian dish.Prices:
BC$22.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Hillside Heritage Series Muscat Ottoneltext
90PTS

Hillside Heritage Series Muscat Ottonel 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMay I repeat last year’s key note: "Muscat Ottonel was first in the ground at Hillside over 30 years ago when the winery was among a handful of pioneering farmgate producers. In many ways, winemaker Kathy Malone has taken back the farmgate notion, breathing Naramata into the winery and the bottles. As a result, the muscat received a much-needed intervention in the vineyard, allowing these old vines to express their origin meaningfully.” Now back to 2020. This lovely bottle is so spicy and floral it is reminiscent of Alsace. The theme is delicacy via a rush of just off dry (8.8 grams residual sugar) apple, peaches, rosewater, and tangerine.Prices:
BC$26.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Harper's Trail Field Blend Whitetext
87PTS

Harper's Trail Field Blend White 2021

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Harper’s Field Blend is composed of riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay, and gewürztraminer. The nose is aromatic without overpowering. The palate mixes sweet melons and green fruits in a battle for balance that finishes on the sweeter side. A fruit salad in a glass, this summer sipper is best served well chilled or with spicy bites. Simple, well made, and quaffable, it is ready to drink.Prices:
BC$15.99750ml
Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2021

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis has always been a different version of gew, maybe unrecognizable to the purists. The culprit is the stony mineral notes and the citrus stylings, all on a lean palate. It is the polar opposite of the Alsace style. In this case, the peach and litchi are subdued, but they are there and working with the acidity to present a seafood-friendly white, especially if there is a bit of spice in the dish. Welcome to the Thompson Valley G.I.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Kismet Estate Safédtext
87PTS

Kismet Estate Saféd 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 79 percent sauvignon blanc, 16 percent orange muscat, and five percent sémillon. Like last year, the muscat punches well above its weight in the blend, bringing orange blossoms to the fore and aft of the wine. The theme is tropical, and the flavours are super ripe. That said, it has a fresh character and is well made. It would be just fine at the dinner table served alongside a suitably spicy south Asian curry dish.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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17 August 2022

Natte Valleij Darling Cinsaulttext
90PTS

Natte Valleij Darling Cinsault 2020

Darling, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. These isolated, 1978 planted bush vines grow in a very isolated block in coastal-influenced Darling, on sloping Malmsebury shales. After a day's maceration, this is native fermented over 2 weeks, with 15% whole clusters. It is then left undisturbed in a 2500L old oak foudre for 11 months. Dusky wild plum, strawberry, morello cherry fill a supple palate, lit with tart cranberry acidity, and housed with fine, long, tea leaf tannins through the lingering saline and smoked stone finish. Edgy, yet relaxed, this is a very smart wine. Enjoy with a slight chill.Prices:
BC$49.00750ml
Producer: Natte Valleij
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Natte Valleij Stellenbosch Cinsaulttext
90PTS

Natte Valleij Stellenbosch Cinsault 2020

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of older Cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. This is from old bush vines planted in 1974 in Helderberg Mountain’s sea-facing shadows and decomposed granite soils, and is the last to be picked each vintage due to its cooler site. After a 24 hour cold maceration this is fermented over 2 weeks, and then left undisturbed in concrete egg for 11 months. Lithely muscular, and graceful on its feet, this charms with fragrant raspberry, spring rhubarb, morello cherry, and tart cranberry acidity, scented with candle wax and stony smoke. Tannins are soft and fine, hugging this to a white pepper and crushed stone finish. Enjoy with a slight chill.Prices:
BC$49.00750ml
Producer: Natte Valleij
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Viña Chocalán Carmenère Gran Reservatext
87PTS

Viña Chocalán Carmenère Gran Reserva 2018

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileCool, coastal Maipo Valley is the home of this Gran Reserva Carmenère growing over granitic clays and loam. 85 percent carmenère combines with 10 percent cabernet franc and 5 percent petit verdot, presumably to bolster the mid-palate. 80 percent is aged one year in a mix of American and French oak. The nose is old style with a robust and dried crush leaf scent mixed with smoke and pepper. The palate is similarly busy, adding rubber and licorice to the mix. Big, rustic, and ready to drink, this would be best with grilled beef on a cold night.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Viña Chocalán
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Undurraga Sibaris Carménère Gran Reservatext
88PTS

Undurraga Sibaris Carménère Gran Reserva 2019

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileFull, plumped and lush, this carménère floods the mouth with gobs of dusky wild plum, sweetly ripe cassis, kirsch, and smoked bay leaf, on a bed of pipe tobacco and dark chocolate. Tannins are near negligible, and acidity is enough to pull this through a warming cinnamon bark finish. The sweet density removes any sense of bitter greenness often seen in entry level Chilean carménère.Prices:
BC$18.49750ml
AB$16.80750ml
MB$17.99750ml
Producer: Viña Undurraga
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Small Lot Block 1B Carménèretext
92PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Small Lot Block 1B Carménère 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis small lot (less than 1% of their total plantings) carménère comes off the estate Becker Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench's sandy loams, between 325-380m. Entirely fermented and matured in French oak over 20 months, this is a plush, suave big red, lined with cedar and flooded with dense black cherry, cassis, herbal branch, dark earth, cracked peppercorns, and dark cocoa. For all its inherent carménère-ness, there is none of the pitchy green qualities seen in poorly managed Chilean examples and all of the graphite / dark cocoa familiar from Bordeaux. Tannins are well integrated into the plump fruit, supporting this through the lengthy, saline-laced finish. Elegant, finessed, muscular, and a top example of the grape.Prices:
BC$95.00750ml
Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Kir Yianni Kali Riza Vieilles Vignes Xinomavrotext
0PTS

Kir Yianni Kali Riza Vieilles Vignes Xinomavro 2017

GreeceCorked.Prices:
BC$28.00750ml
Producer: Ktima Kir-Yianni
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16 August 2022

Bartier Bros. Grüner Veltlinertext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Grüner Veltliner 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis North Okanagan grüner is tipped with 11% chardonnay from Black Sage Bench, all whole cluster pressed and fermented cold, with 4 months in stainless, on lees. The buttery chardonnay buffers GV's inherent steeliness, resulting in a friendly white of green apple, lemon, white peach blossom, and downy lees on a snappy finish. Though I am sadly not getting GV's varietal typicity, this is an easy white to crack this summer alongside fresh veg dishes.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Miral Grillotext
89PTS

Miral Grillo 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis organic grillo is the perfect example of how Italians manage to get it right most of the time when they make wine. Lively and fresh, it has a rich nose and almost sweet fruit, but in the end, the wine is balanced, fresh, and fun to drink with just about anything out of the ocean.Prices:
BC$17.99750ml
Producer: Cantine Fine
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Bartier Bros. Grüner Veltlinertext
90PTS

Bartier Bros. Grüner Veltliner 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI wouldn’t have thought 11 percent chardonnay would be suitable for any GV, but it works here. The Bartier white is an 89/11 mix of grüner /chardonnay from Cold Stream, and Cerqueira Vineyard, Black Sage Terrace in Oliver. First and foremost, it's bright and packed with grapefruit, lemon oil, and mineral/wet stone with a blast of citrus acidity. No wonder it is sold out at the winery to club members only. Michael Bartier says to pair it with creamy dishes featuring veal, pork chops, halibut, and curry. Soft, rich, and creamy cheese are also excellent pairings (think Camembert). It was hand harvested on September 20, whole cluster pressed and fermented cold, almost dry. Impressive. More please for the plebs.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Blue Grouse Estate Ortegatext
90PTS

Blue Grouse Estate Ortega 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaOrtega, a cross between siegerrebe and Müller-Thurgau, is a calling card of the Wine Islands. Most of the grapes in this bottle are from organic estate vines 25+ years, though there are some young estate plantings from 2014 now in the mix. This was whole cluster pressed into tank where it remained on lees for four months (half time on lees), with no MLF. Crisp and dry, with chiseled green apple, gooseberry, tangerine, and a bed of fine downy lees offsetting the chalky, marine fresh acidity. Fresh and pure, this tastes of the #WineIslands, and would be a killer accompaniment to simply dressed shellfish.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Sperling Vineyards Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom two sites on their organic East Kelowna Slopes estate vineyard, these pinot blanc vines date back to the 1980s. The old vines, at 420m, are the last to ripen on the estate. This had 4 hours on skins and was fermented in stainless. Lean and tight, with green apple, lemon blossom, crunchy Asian pear on the light, 10% palate, with a fine slick of lees to offset the zesty acidity. A crisp, dry, refreshing sipper for salads and crudité this summer.Prices:
BC$21.00750ml
Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Terravista Fandangotext
90PTS

Terravista Fandango 2021

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFandango, not surprisingly, is the only albariño / verdejo blend in Canada, and this year it's a 51/49 split, estate grown on the granitic soils of Lone Hand Ranch Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The two were picked and fermented separately, whole cluster in stainless, before blending. Shaped with driving, nervy lime pith, this is juicy and vibrant, with gooseberry, tangerine pith, pulpy lime on a sharpened palate. Though medium+ in body (thanks albariño), this cuts a swath across the palate, and would be a welcome partner to papaya salad or Thai green curry.Prices:
BC$29.00750ml
Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Fort Berens Small Lot Grüner Veltlinertext
88PTS

Fort Berens Small Lot Grüner Veltliner 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis GV is off their estate's Red Rock vineyard. This saw 9 hours skin contact before a cold ferment and 5 months on lees in stainless. Lean and steely, with gooseberry, green apple, crab apple, seasoned with tangerine rind and zesty lime pith. Allow this a chance to warm slightly in the glass, and enjoy with calamari, spring salads, or asparagus dishes.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Unicus Grüner Veltlinertext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate Unicus Grüner Veltliner 2021

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina is often considered a red wine property, but the grüner veltliner is one of the best labels it makes every year. At just under 600 metres, Margaret’s Bench would seem to be an excellent site, yet the style is often opulent here. Ripe pears, guava, and a touch of tangerine linger on the palate long after you sip it, with a dusting of south Okanagan desert scrub. Principally a wine of texture with endless food possibilities. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Moon Curser Arneistext
89PTS

Moon Curser Arneis 2021

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaArneis is a somewhat rare white variety from Italy's Piedmont region. In days gone by, it blended with Barolo's nebbiolo to soften the big red's tannins. Moon Curser has released several quality versions of its Osoyoos East Bench Arneis, and 2021 is another. Arneis translates to "little rascal" in the Piemontese dialect, which refers to its problematic propensity to grow. It has a youthful nose with yellow fruit and flowers pushing to the forefront. On the palate, kiwi, pink grapefruit, and apricots all rush in with just enough acidity to balance the equation. I think roasted chicken is the match, or decadent creamy seafood dishes. The alcohol is now at a moderate 13.9, adding to its charm.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
Producer: Moon Curser
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Albamar Albariñotext
91PTS

Albamar Albariño 2020

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainXurxo Alba's family has been farming and making Albariño in Rïas Baixas' O Salnés subregion for generations. It wasn't until Xurxo finished his enology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006, under his direction. The Alba family owns 2.5 hectares and sources approximately 10 hectares throughout the Atlantic influenced region. This albariño comes from various sandy soiled vineyard, vinified native by parcel in stainless, where it remains for 5 months on lees. Though an entry cuvée, this certainly leaves impact, with fragrant white peach, wild lime, salted marcona almond, anise, sandy spices along a positively salt licked palate. The granite provides a fine buzz to the underlay, one lined with a gentle layer of lees. Youthful, vibrant, and ready to enjoy now.Prices:
BC$0.00750ml
Producer: Bodegas Albamar
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Domaine Gayrad Loin de L'Oeiltext
91PTS

Domaine Gayrad Loin de L'Oeil 2019

Galliac, Sud-Ouest, FranceLoin de l'Oeil is the dominant white grape in Gaillac, a commune in the south of France near Montpellier. It is a juicy, lean wine with more style than weight. Look for green fruit highlights and plenty of minerality with a saline citrus undercurrent. A small pinch of tropical fruit and spice wraps up a clever white wine, terrific for seafood. Fine quality.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Domaine Gayrard
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Blue Grouse Estate Ortegatext
90PTS

Blue Grouse Estate Ortega 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaOrtega, a cross between siegerrebe and müller-thurgau, has long been a BC Wine Islands success story, and the leading purveyor of the German cross that was part of the Becker Project is Blue Grouse. Almost all organic, it spends four months in a tank, and half of that on its lees. The attack is dry and island crisp with plenty of green apple streaked with tangerine and citrus. The marine, saline, chalk notes take it to another level, one that even the Germans have trouble reaching. Any west coast shellfish dish, or an aged piece of cheese, would be in order here.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Small Lot Grüner Veltlinertext
89PTS

Fort Berens Small Lot Grüner Veltliner 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThe Fort Berens GV is grown on the estate Red Rock Vineyard in Lillooet. It gets 9 hours of skin contact during a cold fermentation, and five months of lees contact post ferment in stainless steel. How good is this wine? Very good and gruner fresh, lean, mineral, green, and zesty. Why would you grow anything else? Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but this kind of wine would be embraced in BC restaurants, given how food friendly it is, plus authentically local. Buy it while you can, because my experience suggests this will be $40 before you know it.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Las Moradas de San Martin Albillo Realtext
92PTS

Las Moradas de San Martin Albillo Real 2020

Vinos de Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainLas Moradas de San Martín was founded in 1999 to recover the ancient vineyards of garnacha cultivated since the 12th century on the hilltops of Pago de Los Castillejos, on the edge of the Sierra de Gredos. The vines benefit from the altitude and, even more, critical granitic/volcanic soils that spawn freshness and minerality to this delicious white wine. Winemaker Isabel Galindo farms organically / biodynamically. Albillo Real is berry fermented natively, with one-quarter of the batch going through complete malolactic fermentation before it spends a short six months in 300 and 500 L French barrels. I love this wine awash in lively, savoury meadow grasses and wet stone fruit with an underbelly of chalk and lees. The nose is floral with tangerine undertones that lift the mid-palate creaminess through the almond and orange-streaked finish. There is enough acidity to keep it fresh, which was the perfect fit for our halibut.Prices:
BC$41.99750ml
Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
87PTS

Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2021

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Stag's Hollow style is ripe and floral, with flavours of the seaside mixed with peach, pineapple, and honey. Its leesy textures and citrus undercurrent work to balance the wine and give it more of its albariño heritage. The fruit comes off Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard's gravel, till, and silty loam that seems well suited to the style. Albariño is a flexible dinner wine, and we enjoyed this with grilled eggplant and prawns. It would be equally fine with steamed clams or mussels.Prices:
BC$26.00750ml
Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Viñátigo Listán Blanco de Canariastext
92PTS

Viñátigo Listán Blanco de Canarias 2020

Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainJuan Jesús, 4th generation winemaker, founded Viñátigo in 1990, and worked tirelessly since identifying and renovating the native grapes of Spain's Canary Islands. From pre-phyllexera pergola-trained organically grown Listán Blanco rooted in northwest Tenerife's volcanic soils (500-700m), this marine wine was fermented and aged in stainless. Opening with the island grape's characteristic reductive swing, this positively vibrates with volcanic intensity, buzzing quince skin, wild lemon blossom, verbena, green apple, meadow grasses along a saline palate. The finish lingers with a salt wash. Terrific typicity, and ample smashability.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Bodegas Viñátigo
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Miral Grillotext
89PTS

Miral Grillo 2020

Sicily, ItalyCantine Fina winery is located in western Sicily between Marsala and Erice looking out to sea. It was established in 2005 by Bruno Fina and his wife, and organic vineyards rest between 100-400m. This grillo was aged in a mix of barriques and concrete tanks. Ripe with the Sicilian sun, this is a waxy white of yellow plum, fragrant honeydew, seasoned with scrubby spicing. Lovely, friendly, youthful grillo, full of typicity, and ready to drink now, ideally with seafood and Med veg.Prices:
BC$17.99750ml
Producer: Cantine Fine
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWill pinot blanc ever get its moment in BC? I guess if Clos du Soleil has its way, it will. Blue Mountain has done a great job with this grape, and this Keremeos' Middle Bench Vineyard pinot blanc is up to the task of projecting a slightly more electric version. It was whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless at cool temperatures to extract maximum fruit. Time on its lees helps to layer in complexity and texture to take on the skinny, lean acidity lining the pockets of this bright white. Gooseberry, lime pith, and citrus peel conspire to keep it mouthwatering and juicy with a twist of desert sagebrush in the end. Drink or hold with oysters through halibut.Prices:
BC$24.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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St. Hubertus Chasselastext
88PTS

St. Hubertus Chasselas 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe quintessential Swiss version of BC chasselas is not for everyone, but if you like sugar free wine with plenty of acidity and a tight line from front to back, this is it. Its delicate structure and freshness walk a tightrope from the front of your palate to the back, and its citrus, grassy flavours are as food friendly as it gets. Perfect for fondue, a simple charcuterie plate, or steamed shellfish. Terrific value.Prices:
BC$19.50750ml
Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanctext
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Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanc 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 25 year old vines in East Kelowna, this is an elegant, crisp expression of chenin blanc that's led by honeyed orchard fruit along with citrus and white flowers. Compelling and complex, this shows chenin's intrinsic savoury character, with expressive fruit that's all Okanagan. It feels off dry on the palate, giving this an easy drinking appeal while also balancing out some of the astringency on the finish.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gristext
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gris 2021

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 1961, the Stewarts planted their first shipment of Vitis Vinifera on the Quails' Gate Estate. It was chasselas. Of Swiss origin, the vines have adapted with ease to West Kelowna. The blend is chasselas, pinot gris and pinot blanc. The nose is a lemon and pear affair drizzled in honeydew, and the palate is full of juicy, ripe fruit. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
MB$18.99750ml
SK$19.99750ml
QC$19.95750ml
NS$20.99750ml
YK$20.95750ml
AB$20.99750ml
Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Pinot Blanctext
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Hester Creek Pinot Blanc 2021

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Blocks 4 and 9 at their estate Golden Mile Bench Vineyard, these old vines date back to 1968, with Block 9 planted in 1997/98 (Alsace Clone 54). Destemmed, whole berry fruit was cold settled with a long, cool ferment in stainless where it remained until bottling. Juicy and lively, with lime zest, lime blossom, green apple, tangerine rind flooding the medium palate, finishing with alluring white pepper spicing. No pinot blah here, this smart wine has concentration, fruit, and freshness, and ample smashability. Crack this summer.Prices:
BC$17.99750ml
Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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12 August 2022

Culmina Family Estate Malbectext
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Culmina Family Estate Malbec 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe malbec comes off Arise Bench, on the Golden Mile Bench, and post ferment, and spends 16 months ageing in French oak with a minimum amount of new oak. The attack is fragrant and more delicate than you might expect. Definitely a cooler version than the Moon Curser malbec. The palate is awash in black cherries, licorice, blueberries, and dusty minerals. The tannins are in check, dense but sweet, and with an overall savoury finish. Not so backward, this has appeal now but will improve in the bottle through 2025. Steak Florentine, anyone?Prices:
BC$42.00750ml
Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Moon Curser Malbec 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA thin-skinned grape, malbec adores heat within reason. Thus, it is well suited to the south Okanagan and its Osoyoos East Bench home. At Moon Curser, 2020 is described as an "unforgettable season" that "allowed for fantastic flavour development and balanced accumulation of sugars and acidity." Post its stainless steel ferment, the wine is aged in 225L barriques (25% new). It is a juicy mix of spice and blueberries streaked with violets, earth, and a touch of milk chocolate. Attractive, warm and spicy, this will have many fans. Barbecue ribs come swiftly to mind. The tannins are dense and long but should only be a mid-term interference. Very well done.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Moon Curser
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French Door Malbec 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their home vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, this thick, opaque malbec is as imposing as the heavyweight bottle, and the extra thick wax sealing the top. Pascal Madevon is the winemaker here, and his style is stamped all over this polished red. Fermented and aged in French oak over 14 months, this weighs the slow palate with dried cherry, dried cassis, dried herbs, herbal green tomato paste stretched out along a leathery base. Tannins are gritty and ample, and although there is an under-lurking buzz that helps carry this to a warming, baking spiced finish, there's not enough freshness to entice drinking solo. For now, decant and partner with herb-crusted lamb.Prices:
BC$58.00750ml
Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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11 August 2022

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Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gris 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is organic and all Cowichan Valley. The vines are estate and ar enow up to 35 years old. The fermentation mixes French barrique, hogshead (40%), and stainless steel to best show off the delicate fruit. It spends a few months on its lees before all the lots are blended and aged for four months. Tight, juicy, and bursting with minerality, this is another kind of pinot gris, with barely there apple, pear, and litchi with subtle spice of gin and a saline/marine finish. It is on the edge of lean but an excellent edge that will appeal to wine enthusiasts and chefs looking for a food wine with great style. It has lovely balance and drinkability and deserves a better standing than a second label.Prices:
BC$21.00750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyards 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaUnsworth has worked with Saison Vineyard pinot gris since 2010, and its performance has inspired the winery to produce a single vineyard label. We are all the better for it. The Saison effect is its delicacy. It is primarily fermented in stainless steel with a minor amount of neutral French oak (10%) to take on the rush of minerality. The style is electric with a silky leesy undercurrent to keep it running through the palate. A perfectly chiselled clean finish lingers with a scent of the sea. Impressive. Back up the truck if you love real wine. The regional soils are volcanic in origin, layered with marine sediments and gravel carved and deposited by glaciers. Today, clay loams lay on top of this gravelly base, sitting between the 48th and 50th parallel, only a few kilometres from the current-day ocean, long receded from the landscape.Prices:
BC$26.00750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gristext
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaIf you are a drinker of fruit salad pinot gris, this is not for you. The Island way is dry and filled with bracing acidity. Clean and sharp, this is pinot gris with a destiny: food. The palate is a pear with a touch of quince and almonds. Balanced and fresh, anything from the ocean will work here.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
AB$24.99750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gristext
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Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gris 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their organic Cowichan Valley estate vineyard and vines up to 35 years old rooted in silt, loam, and sands, this gris was fermented in a mix of French barrique and hogshead (40%) and stainless steel. It spends a few months on its lees before all the lots are blended and aged for four months. Juicy and quenching, with ripe pear, green apple, fragrant lychee, and pineapple rind flooding the medium palate, with stony spices lingering on the fresh marine finish.Prices:
BC$21.00750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Pinot Gris 2021

British Columbia, CanadaLook for a crisp northern style, more grigio than gris in my estimation. This year, it is 53 percent estate with additions from West Kelowna and Savona. Post ferment, it gets five months of lees contact to encourage a creamy palate. This leads with white flowers, pear and yellow apple, with citrus, mineral, and melon on the palate before ending dry, streaked with bitter grapefruit. Perfect for pan seared calamari with salt, olive oil, and chillies.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Foxly Pinot Gris 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Foxly Gris comes from two vineyards, one in Summerland, and another from Lake Country. Tighter and brighter, this is a much more exciting version of pinot gris and far friendlier with food. Citrus, minerals, and melon take me to the best of northern Italy with a savoury Okanagan undercurrent. You could serve this with freshly shucked oysters, a classic Vongole pasta, or a halibut favourite. Good value too.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Kismet Estate Pinot Grigio 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 edition comes with the faintest salmon skin colour. It is a touch tighter and drier than last year with more Okanagan stone fruits and slight bitterness in the finish. This is a much better direction for this wine and is undoubtedly more food friendly. Drink now with fresh seafood.Prices:
BC$22.49750ml
Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Gris Parson's Vineyard 2021

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Stag's Hollow gris is a lush affair with a lashing of residual sugar at 10.9 grams per litre, pushing it into the off-dry zone. Look for fresh ripe peaches and honey on the nose with even more floral fragrances to follow. The palate is more or less the same, with a hint of spice. A favourite curry is the answer here, or an ice bucket and warm patio.Prices:
BC$24.00750ml
Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Sandhill Pinot Gris 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClean standard stuff with a fresh demeanour. Citrus, gooseberry, and grapefruit rind with a touch of chalk. Plenty of acid in the finish suggests mussels or freshly shucked oysters. Ready to drink and a solid local alternative to the commercial Kiwi selections.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
AB$17.00750ml
MB$17.00750ml
SK$18.00750ml
Producer: Sandhill Wines
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gristext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gris 2021

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe gris is grown at the Whispered Secret Vineyard in Keremeos and is certified organic. The fruit is fermented in stainless barrels, tanks, and French puncheons for about a month, and left on its lees for 90 days. The result is a juicy creamy style with quite a ripe pear character. It will surely attract with its charms, less grass. and more complexity. It is very food friendly.Prices:
BC$21.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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10 August 2022

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Rigour and Whimsy Bite of the Dragon 2021

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRigour & Whimsy are a tiny garagiste, family-owned winery based in Okanagan Falls, sourcing vineyards across the Okanagan for their creative and adventuresome (and artfully labelled) portfolio, one that changes annually. This riesling comes off Suicide Block (the steepest, western facing section) of God's Mountain Vineyard, in Okanagan Falls, at an altitude of 380m. It was whole bunch pressed into stainless, aided into fermentation by a 20L tip of fermenting juice from another God's Mountain site. Once the ferment kicked off, this was racked into 2 puncheons, 1 barrique, and stainless tank, where it remained 4 months prior to firming up back in stainless before bottling unfined and unfiltered. This bone dry riesling has a nervy, stony, herbal lime leaf edge, shaping the medium, textural palate, and drawing white grapefruit, lime pith, white pepper, green apple, Asian pear, and fine, earthy lees through the saline finish. There's a lot to unfurl here, much like the dragon on the label (or the one within us). Let your preconceived notions of riesling go and try this, preferably at cellar temperature.Prices:
BC$42.00750ml
Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Old Vines Riesling, one of Canada's top wines year in and year out, comes entirely off their north facing 1978 plantings of clone 21B, sheltered by Ponderosa pines, and rooted in deep silty soils. This was handpicked on October 16, gently whole bunch pressed, and fermented cold for 39 days before resting 4 months on lees, and 2 years in bottle. Concentrated and heady, savoury and singular, with honeysuckle, burnished pear, quince, and ample pulpy lime, pith and peel on a sleek, shimmering palate. Lots of textural extract and energy here, running long on the finish. Still quite young, give this ageworthy time to reveal.Prices:
BC$39.00750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Riesling 2021

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, their flagship riesling, was picked over a few weeks across a number of blocks, with some plantings dating back to 1978. All was whole bunch pressed, and fermented by block in stainless, aging on gross lees until blending and bottling in late February 2022. Ripe and round, with lime, mandarin, white honey flooding the juicy palate, sculpted with lime leaf and pith, and bedded by river stones. There's an alluring white pepper note throughout, that lingers on the saline finish. Such a moreish delight. TA 9.7 g/L, pH 2.93, RS 15.4 g/L, 13.4%.Prices:
BC$27.85750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Riesling Lab Hard Pressings Experiment 11text
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Tantalus Riesling Lab Hard Pressings Experiment 11 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiesling Lab is a playground for the winery, widely lauded as one of Canada's top riesling producers. This is the 11th annual geek out experiment for the cellar crew, seeing them take the hard pressings of all their riesling blocks and native ferment together in old oak puncheons and barriques. This year a tip of Gew was added in, making up less than 5% of the finished wine. Fragrant lime blossoms, pear blossom, freesia floats along the off-dry palate (16 g/L), lined with honeysuckle and ash, and seasoned with alluring white pepper and jasmine tea. The sweetness makes it super friendly, while the layered flavours keep it from being simple simple. Certainly a worthwhile experiment, standing alone from their Classic and Old Vine Rieslings.Prices:
BC$21.75750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Fort Berens Rieslingtext
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Fort Berens Riesling 2021

British Columbia, CanadaOne of two riesling Fort Berens puts out every year, this classic style has more RS (8 g/L) than their Dry Riesling (at 3 g/L). Fruit comes off Vernon's Rise Vineyard, as well as their Lillooet estate. After crushing and 12 hours skin contact this was fermented cool in stainless, halted when the desired sweetness was reached. After 5 more months on lees, this was bottled. Ripe pear, fragrant peach, mango, lime pith and apple blossoms rule the juicy, off-dry palate, finishing snappy. A simple, sweeter white to crack into, well chilled, this summer.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Small Lot Dry Rieslingtext
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Fort Berens Small Lot Dry Riesling 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 2 older blocks in their Lillooet Dry Creek estate vineyard, this had 6 hours of skin contact before pressing and a long, cold ferment followed by 5 months on lees. Though this is called Dry, in contrast to the winery's classic Riesling, there is a bump of 3 g/L RS to offset the acidity. Pulpy lime, ripe pear, apple blossoms, gingerale rule the mellow palate, finishing with a snappy dust of spice. A simple, friendly, dryer style well suited to fragrant Thai noodle dishes this year.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI last tasted this vintage 2 years ago, so it was a treat to revisit. Ann Sperling biodynamically farms the Kelowna land her grandparents settled more than 150 years ago. The Old Vines Riesling is the winery flagship, from vines planted in 1978 in deep limestone laced clay. This was partially native fermented in stainless, halted when the desired RS is achieved. Ample concentration for its 11.5%, with lime leaf, lime pulp, quince paste, lychee, and fragrant pear blossom across a waxy palate. The finish is dusted with white pepper and lingers with rubber elastic. A nice chance to try an aged Riesling, still drinking very smartly under screwcap.Prices:
BC$27.89750ml
Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Fort Berens Small Lot Dry Rieslingtext
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Fort Berens Small Lot Dry Riesling 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaA Lillooet dry riesling that opens with a bright limpid hue. The attack is a pleasant mix of tropical fruit, lemon, ginger, and malic green apple and minerals. A medium bodied wine with a creamy finish on the palate, the fruit comes off two older blocks on the estate. The winemaking is reductive, and the wine gets six hours of skin contact and five months of lees contact to add a touch of cream.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Rieslingtext
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Fort Berens Riesling 2021

British Columbia, CanadaFruit comes off Vernon's Rise Vineyard and the home of Lillooet estate. Post crush and twelve hours of skin contact this is fermented cool in stainless steel to the desired RS level. It does get five months of lees contact to give it a touch of body. The nose mixes orange, peach, and tangerine leading to a pear, lime, and mango palate. Fresh with a bump of sugar to smooth the midpalate and finish. We enjoyed this with a green curry chicken dish.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block Rieslingtext
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block Riesling 2021

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe best thing about the 2021 Silver Mane Block is it is as good as the 2020 edition. The style is juicy, fresh, and very smashable. Expect a rush of lime and yellow fruits with a dusting of minerality. So bright and fresh, it is an easy wine to quaff on a warm patio or to serve with any number of tapas.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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09 August 2022

Sage Hayward Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
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Sage Hayward Vineyards Pinot Noir 2020

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaSage Hayward Vineyards is a new family-owned estate found on Saturna, comprised of two brothers and their wives. They purchased and recovered mostly fallow vineyards on a property that Sea Star had owned, but had to sell. Tyler Cox is the winemaker, and Michael Bartier is a consultant. From Falconridge vineyard, this was 10% whole cluster, with the remainder destemmed, and all fermented in stainless over 2 weeks prior to heading to neutral barrel for 7 months. Weedy, herbaceous green notes rule the 10% palate, alongside tart red currant, rhubarb, and a slight smoked stone and wet wood note. Tannins are slight and sticky, leading this unripe pinot to a snappy finish. A work in progress.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Sage Hayward Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reserve 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Pinot Noir is fronted by a golden mask created by heralded Tahltan-Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob, signifying its importance in the portfolio, as well as its rarity (only 100 cases). The Reserve is based off a small mid-slope block of estate 667, with a splash of 37 and 777 blended in. The whole were native fermented with 50% whole bunch, racked to barrique (40% new) for MLF. It remained there for 15 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Perfumed dark plum, black cherry, dusky wild blackberry, tobacco, and dark florals fill a structural palate, textured and framed with finely grippy tannins that stretch to the cedar spiced finish. Under a Diam10 closure, so the winery has clear intent on the ageability of this wine. I concur. Drinking well now (with grilled pork / mushrooms) but will reward with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices:
BC$65.22750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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CedarCreek Platinum Home Block Pinot Noirtext
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CedarCreek Platinum Home Block Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTheir Home Block vineyard was planted on the eastern shores of Okanagan Lake in 1991, on a mix of clay, silt, and stones. This was native fermented with one year in French oak. Fleshy dark plums, black raspberry rule the medium bodied palate, with a tart blackcurrant lift, and furry tannins to frame. There is a tobacco and toasty baking spice seasoning, courtesy of the time in barrel. A worthy pour alongside duck.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Bachelder Lowrey Old Eastern Block Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Lowrey Old Eastern Block Pinot Noir 2019

St David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. This single vineyard St. David's Bench pinot noir is some of the oldest pinot noir vines in Niagara. The Lowrey Vineyard was once part of the Alliance project between Jaffelin (Burgundy) and Inniskillin. This is from the oldest block at Lowrey Vineyard, planted in 1984 and 1988. Perfumed and elegant from the fore, with wild raspberries, wild cherries woven with tight, fine spicing and black tea leaves across a graceful palate. Wild herbs and salinity season, all framed with long, fine tannins. Energy and finesse, this is drinking beautifully now and with time ahead.Prices:
ON$65.00750ml
Producer: Bachelder Oregon
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Bachelder Lowrey Old Vines I Vielles Vignes 2019

St David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. This single vineyard St. David's Bench pinot noir is some of the oldest pinot noir vines in Niagara. The Lowrey Vineyard was once part of the Alliance project between Jaffelin (Burgundy) and Inniskillin. These vines were planted between 1988 and 1993, on a gentle slope at the base of the Niagara Escarpment. Sultry wild raspberry, cherry roll across the silken palate, with tight, bright acidity and fine, long tannins framing this to a lengthy saline finish.Prices:
ON$47.95750ml
Producer: Bachelder Oregon
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Bachelder Saunders Warren Saunders 100 Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Saunders Warren Saunders 100 Pinot Noir 2019

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. From Beamsville Bench's organically farmed Saunders Vineyard (named for visionary farmer Warren Saunders, who recently turned 100 (!), 3.9km from the lake and on clay, silt and limestone soils. So perfumed, with fragrant raspberries, cherries flooded across a plumped base. There are some herbal green twinges to brighten, and long, finely downy tannins to frame. The whole finishes long with a wash of salinity. Very smart, drinking well now and with time ahead.Prices:
ON$47.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Hanck Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Hanck Pinot Noir 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. Hanck vineyard is on the sweet spot of the Vineland Bench, on reddish magnesium and dolomitic-limestone clay soils. Though just 10 metres from Wismer-Parke, the wine is entirely different. Very earthy and green-edged, with herbal raspberry, sapid cherry, wet tea leaves, on a sleek, streamlined palate, lit with salinity. Ample tension here.Prices:
ON$47.99750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Cuesta Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Cuesta Pinot Noir 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. Cuesta (old lake coast) is 5km from the lake at an altitude of 133 metres on the Twenty Mile Bench, on soils rich in dolomitic limestone and silt. A reductive wave opens into black cherry, black raspberry, pitchy thorns, with a softly cushioned palate framed with fine green edged tannins. The finish lingers with a ample seaweed / flinty salinity. Open this in advance and enjoy.Prices:
ON$44.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Les Villages Bench Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Les Villages Bench Pinot Noir 2020

Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon and years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. This comes from his single vineyard Bench vineyards on the Escarpment in Vineland and Beamsville. Juicy and bright, with plums, wild blackberry, subtle downy violets, framed with light, furry tannins, and finishing with a tart twist. Drink now, with a light chill.Prices:
ON$24.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer Parke Wild West End Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Wismer Parke Wild West End Pinot Noir 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon and years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. The Wild West End Wismer-Parke is taken from the westernmost rows of the Vineland Bench vineyard, planted to a mystery clone of pinot noir rooted into reddish magnesium oxide and dolomitic-limestone clay soils. This has more gravitas than the classic Wismer Park Pinot Noir, imbued with even more sultry ferrous notes within the dark cherry, black raspberry, crushed red florals, dried leaf matrix. Tannins are fine, yet firm and structural, while acidity remains lofted and limestone lit. Quite striking, and special.Prices:
ON$60.00750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer Parke Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Wismer Parke Pinot Noir 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon and years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. This Wismer-Parke is on the Vineland Bench, 5.4 km from the Lake, and an altitude of 110 metres, rooted into reddish magnesium oxide and dolomitic-limestone clay soils. Earthy ferrous notes weave throughout this silken pinot, tinged with herbal raspberry, crushed red florals, and fleshed with cherries. Tannins are light and long, and acidity is lifted and shining, imbuing the wine with inherent energy. Lovely seriousness met with lightness of being.Prices:
ON$47.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Tantalus Pinot Noirtext
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Tantalus Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, their classic pinot noir, mixes estate and neighbouring (grafted off their home estate) clones of 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, 37, 943, all native fermented by block, often with foot treading to assist, and with 30-50% whole bunches in the mix. After 18-35 days on skins this was pressed into oak barriques (20% new) where it remained for 16 months' rest prior to blending. The final blend rested over winter in neutral oak, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Silken black raspberry, plums glide across the palate, dusted with fine white pepper and nutmeg, and framed with lightly sticky, black tea lined, well placed tannins. Lovely structure, freshness, and charm, and an easy choice to crack into now or over the short term.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStag's Hollow Vineyard is always a step up in intensity over its sister label, Shuttleworth Vineyard, primarily due to its warmer, west-facing aspect. In 2020 it was swimming in black plums and black cherries mixed with warm spice and a somewhat acidic mid-palate flecked with earth and licorice. It's pinot soft, if a bit dry in the back end, but it is young and a big vintage. Perhaps another two years in the bottle will repay your patience. Stag's Hollow Estate Vineyard is home to the oldest pinot noir plantings in the winery, at almost 27 years. The wine is a coferment of two Dijon clones: 115 and 667.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
AB$30.00750ml
Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaShuttleworth Creek Vineyard is a mix of Dijon clones, including 115, 667, 777, and 828. It is a bit over the top in 2020, perhaps forgivable given the powerful vintage experienced in the Okanagan. The attack is warm and spicy with rich black cherry, black tea, and cola sweetness. At 13.2 percent alcohol, it manages to counter its New World richness. However, it does open itself out to richer dishes like duck confit, Bejing duck, or smoky pork ribs.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
AB$30.00750ml
Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Sunnybrae Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Sunnybrae Pinot Noir 2020

Shuswap, British Columbia, CanadaThis small batch, single vineyard, estate grown pinot is grown on the shores of Shuswap Lake just under 51 degrees north. The style is light and branchy with spicy, earthy notes, cranberry, and cherry. It is a light, easy sipping kind you can drink now with food to best effect. Duck pizza would be exotic but fun to serve with this.Prices:
BC$27.00750ml
Producer: Sunnybrae Vineyards and Winery
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Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Ponzi Vineyards Tavola Pinot Noir 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesClassic spicy red fruited Oregon pinot with a savoury undercoating. The nose is aromatic and alive with notes of black cherries, rhubarb, and cloves. The palate is similar, with a sweetish caramel note and wild herbs in the back end, complete with a hint of baking spices. Silky tannins leave it ready to drink but with the stuffing to take on reasonably substantial menu items like duck, turkey, salmon, or mushrooms. The fruit comes from several vineyards sourced across the Willamette Valley. The two generation family winery was sold to the Bollinger family of Champagne fame in 2021.Prices:
BC$0.00750ml
Producer: Ponzi Vineyards
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Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Laurelwood Districttext
90PTS

Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir Laurelwood District 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThis pinot hails from the recently spawned Laurelwood District AVA and blends fruit from three family vineyards and four other volcanic sites at elevation. It’s a big pinot that gets 14 months in French oak (20% new). Deep, dark, and near opaque, it opens with sweet black raspberry, baked strawberries, and a warm peppery underside. The finish is hedonistic and long, with warm baking spices lingering. A New World pinot that is up for a pork challenge at the dinner table.Prices:
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Ponzi Vineyards
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Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hillstext
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Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesSokol Blosser is family owned and has been since the start in 1971. Today it is run by the second generation Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser. The style is pleasingly rich, and a treat to taste. Black cherries, black raspberries scented with truffle and earth fill your palate from front to back, dense and full of sweet, earthy fruit with a slightly peppery finish. The tannins are a mix of silk and weight, giving them the legs to age through 2025 and beyond. Wild salmon remains the match or a fall mushroom pasta or risotto dish.Prices:
BC$41.99750ml
AB$38.99750ml
MB$46.95750ml
Producer: Sokol Blosser Winery
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Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Pinot Noirtext
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Elk Cove Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2020

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe estate pinot noir is entirely home grown fruit from all six Elk Cove vineyards: the winery Estate, Mount Richmond, Five Mountain, Clay Court, Goodrich, and Windhill. The final blend is made to create a delicious easy-drinking fine quality pinot. Despite the disastrous fire and smoke issues across most of the Willamette in 2020, Elk Cove's location in the northwest corner of the Willamette, where smoke effects were minimal, saved the wines. The proof is in the bottle, which is a deliciously juicy drinking pinot with plenty of round black cherry, smooth tannins and a savoury, earthy, spicy finish. The vines are a mix of multiple clones of Pommard and Dijon plant material sitting over three prominent soil types. The fruit is all fermented separately, block by block, in small, temperature-controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily, and barrelled in French oak for ten months.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Elk Cove Vineyards
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Chain Reaction Pendulum Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Chain Reaction Pendulum Pinot Noir 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChain Reaction is a new label on the Naramata Bench, just down Naramata Road from Little Engine, Red Rooster, and Ruby Blues. Joel and Linda Chamaschuk have combined their passion for cycling and wine with this new venture, and the team is rounded out by consulting winemaker Dwight Sick. This pinot noir is their first vintage from McMillan Vineyard, and it's a serious new entry among Naramata pinots. It shows a complex, enticing combination of bright, expressive fruit and earthy savouriness, sweet dark cherry and beetroot, alongside well integrated toasty oak (15% new French). Seamlessly balanced with crisp acidity and silky tannins, this is a beautiful expression of vintage and place, which evolves nicely in the glass and becomes even better on day two. Recommended and well-priced.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Chain Reaction Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Gebert family consistently turns out inexpensive pinot noir, an oxymoron if ever there was one. As noted before, sometimes it is not what a pinot noir is, but it's more about what it isn't. This earthy, spicy, bright pinot with a touch of tomato leaf, red fruit, and forest floor hits the palate in a lively fashion without using oak, alcohol, or sugar to attract. I like its silky round tannins dusted with a hint of soy and balsamic. Perfect for drinking now at lunch or dinner with salmon or pork. A fine example of when that is not overthought.Prices:
BC$22.00750ml
Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Gidda Family Estate One Block Pinot Noirtext
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Gidda Family Estate One Block Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a single block West Kelowna pinot planted in 1978. The colour is pale, pale red brown with an almost waterty rim. It looks much older than the vintage. The nose is suitably fragrant with sour cherry cherries and strawberry sour cherry. earthy notes with a touch of bitter roots. The palate is spicy and round with more of the same, finishing dry and warm. Ready to drink and best with smoke salmon starters or pork tacos. Pricey.Prices:
BC$62.00750ml
Producer: Volcanic Hills Winery
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Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noirtext
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Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2019

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaChurchside Pinot comes off a site across the road from Closson Chase and it is enthralling. Mysteriously complex, crazy delicate, and as fragrant as you could hope for, it is simply a delight to drink. The balance and refined nature of this pinot make you lose sight of its power, but it is all there and as it should be. This spends 18 months in 20 percent new oak but should easily age five to seven years. I’m thinking about barbecue pork, Mott 32 (Vancouver) style.Prices:
BC$42.00750ml
Producer: Closson Chase
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Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noirtext
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Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis single vineyard pinot noir, sourced from the north Okanagan, is darker fruited than its estate sibling, showing dark cherry and black raspberry accented by layers of spice and considerable oak influence (60% new French). Seamless and well balanced, in a lighter, elegant style (13.3% abv), this doesn't quite have the fruit weight to support the oak, which carries the finish.Prices:
BC$69.00750ml
Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Kitsch Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Kitsch Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from East Kelowna, Kitsch's home base, this lighter-styled pinot noir leads with bright wild strawberry and cherry rounded out with delicate, integrated oak (15% new French) and a subtle earthiness. Exceptionally fine and expressive, with impressive concentration that belies the lighter style, this is at its best with a light chill. At a lovely place now but will age gracefully over the next 3-4 years.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Bachelder Saunders Warren Saunders 100 Pinot Noirtext
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Bachelder Saunders Warren Saunders 100 Pinot Noir 2019

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSaunders Vineyard (Beamsville Bench) is organically farmed pinot noir one and one of many labels produced by pinot savant Thomas Bachelder. It is named after centenarian farmer Warren Saunders, whose vineyard sits only 3.9km from the lake and on the perfect mix of clay, silt, and limestone soils. Ontario pinot is often a bit of a cross between Oregon and Burgundy with its rooty, herbal underscoring, but they quickly fade into a more welcoming raspberry and strawberry medley of fruit supported by some fragrant, silky textures that carry it along the palate from the front to back. Drink or hold with anything mushrooms or wild birds. Delightful.Prices:
ON$47.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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08 August 2022

Terravista Viogniertext
92PTS

Terravista Viognier 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's viognier came off their Naramata Bench home site, as well as Similkameen. Bother were whole cluster pressed and cool fermented in stainless until fermentation was complete, when they were blended together. Viognier's inherent lushness is aptly held in check here, with fragrant apricot, ripe peach, honeysuckle gliding across a sleek cold cream base, dusted with gingersnap spicing. Well placed lime-laced acidity easily brightens the 13.9%, leaving the palate fresh. Very smart wine, with great varietal typicity, without being a caricature (so easy to do with this grape).Prices:
BC$24.00750ml
Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Hester Creek Viogniertext
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Hester Creek Viognier 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Storied Series Viognier is a mix of four vineyards that gets whole berried pressed and fermented at cool temperatures for an extended time. The wine is essentially dry at just over 4 grams per litre residual sugar. The style is clean and expressive, and sits on the brighter, lighter side of the viognier needle, which makes it a fun summer sipper. Look for floral, honeysuckle, and peach notes throughout. Ready to drink, perhaps with fresh seafood and fruit salsa.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Moon Curser Viogniertext
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Moon Curser Viognier 2021

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDid we say it was a challenging season? The yields averaged slightly higher than expected, but the highly fresh fruit comes off several Osoyoos and Oliver vineyards. All in all, this is bright, and while perhaps skinnier than the style viognier lovers are attracted to, it is a style I enjoy quite a bit. It jumps from the glass mixing white flowers, lemon, and peach with a twist of minerality.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Moon Curser
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Terravista Viogniertext
91PTS

Terravista Viognier 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2021 is a skillful blend of Naramata understatement and Similkameen wilderness fermented in stainless steel and blended post ferment. Expect a stony, fresh, electric version that is delicious. Look for apricots, honeysuckle, spice, and a silky smooth interior enlivened by squeezes of lime. Don't miss this one. It is a super cool BC white wine, and the price is very amenable.Prices:
BC$24.00750ml
Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Hillside Heritage Series Viogniertext
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Hillside Heritage Series Viognier 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Kathy Malone is long on fragrance and elegance at Hillside, and this Naramata viognier delivers. Floral blossoms and honeysuckle signal a fresh style with a lightly bitter guava underside to keep it all on track. Dry and polished, it is a fine food wine too. 38 percent was barrel fermented in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd use French oak barrels, while the balance was slow fermentation in stainless steel. After five months, it was racked, blended and bottled.Prices:
BC$28.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Kismet Estate Viognier Roussanne Marsanne Reservetext
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Kismet Estate Viognier Roussanne Marsanne Reserve 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFermented predominantly in new 300 litre oak barrels, the viognier, roussanne, and marsanne blend comes off more grassy than anything else on the nose, and bone dry on the palate. There are some hints of passionfruit mixed with bitter orange rind. However, the textures are soft, and the wine is ready to drink. Try this with fresh goat cheese or a spicy sushi roll. Serve chilled but not cold.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Liquidity Viognier Reservetext
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Liquidity Viognier Reserve 2021

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Okanagan Falls clone 642 viognier is now 16 years old. It is fermented in concrete and an amphorae which yields an almost non-viognier jacket showing grass and citrus along the lines of a sauvignon blanc. Fresh and zesty with a streak of orange, apricot, and hint of pepper. It is dry, crisp, and fun to drink, but is it a viognier? I leave it up to you.Prices:
BC$52.00750ml
Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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05 August 2022

Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyardtext
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Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyard 2021

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOff Cerqueira Vineyard, on the Black Sage Bench, this chardonnay is rooted in the calcium carbonate laced glacial till that makes the site so special. It was whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees for 6 months. Salted lemon, white peach, green apple, river stones slide along the silken palate, subtly scented with sage and lemon blossom. This is a friendly, mineral-driven and compact chardy to enjoy now.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Chardonnaytext
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate Chardonnay uses 14-31 year old estate vines and clones 76, 95, 96, and 548. The fruit was whole cluster pressed and native fermented (full MLF) and aged in new-3rd year 228L French oak where it remained until the following March. The wood is very noticeable in this young wine, powering over the ripe green apple, pear skin, pineapple, French cream, toasted nutmeg spicing to the warm finish. At this stage, best served with equally powerful dishes, preferably butter / lemon drenched.Prices:
BC$28.00750ml
AB$27.95750ml
ON$24.95750ml
QC$23.95750ml
NB$26.00750ml
MB$26.00750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
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Fort Berens Chardonnay 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaFruit for this chardy is primarily off their Dry Creek Vineyard, with a smaller portion from Fraser Bench vineyard. The destemmed, crushed fruit saw 4 hours skin contact before fermenting primarily in stainless (30% in neutral French barrels) with twice monthly bâtonnage over 6 months. The portions were blended the following April and bottled in May. Zesty and zippy, this clinically clean chardy streaks across the palate with lime zest, lemon peel, white peach, and green apple, finishing with a snappy finish. Tight and tart.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Chardonnaytext
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has been a benchmark Okanagan chardonnay from the beginning, usually in a less-is-more kind of wine for at least 15 years. In 2020 the sheer power of the vintage pokes out more than usual and combined with the new oak, it is currently showing off. The palate is all about red/green apple, pineapple, and spicy toasted oak in the finish. It is still attractive in many ways and should settle down in the bottle over the next two years. The Estate Chardonnay vines are entering their fourth decade in Okanagan Falls, and that is a mix of clones 76, 95, 96, and 548. The winemaking is minimal: it’s whole cluster pressed and fermented on native years in new to three year old French oak for six months. The entire wine goes through malolactic fermentation.Prices:
BC$28.00750ml
AB$27.95750ml
ON$24.95750ml
QC$23.95750ml
NB$26.00750ml
MB$26.00750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Tantalus Chardonnaytext
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Tantalus Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, their flagship chardonnay, is built around their estate 1985 plantings alongside younger vines planted 2007-07, across a mix of clones 76 and 95. All was native ferment, then aged for 10 months in French barriques and puncheons (30% new) with full MLF. Richer and riper than their young vine Bear Chardonnay, this fills the mouth with creamy pear, green apple, lemon zest and curd, seasoned with nutmeg and clove. A more luxuriant style of Okanagan chardonnay.Prices:
BC$36.50750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Bear Chardonnaytext
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Tantalus Bear Chardonnay 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bear label replaces the Juveniles Chardonnay, now that the vines are nearing a decade old. The Bear tag is a nod to the nickname of owner Eric Savics’ eldest son. From clones 76, 95, and 548, this was small lot native fermented in neutral French barriques and puncheons, where it remained on lees until bottling. Creamy and bright with green apple, lemon peel on a lees decked palate, with subtle flinty kisses on the finish. Smart, modern, Okanagan.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Hidden Bench Tête de Cuvée Chardonnaytext
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Hidden Bench Tête de Cuvée Chardonnay 2015

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the cellar. From Hidden Bench's top organic estate old vine chardonnay off Locust Lane and Rosomel Vineyards (dating back to 1976), Tête de Cuvée is just as it sounds: the top barrels. This was native fermented in French oak (4% new), with full MLF and bi-weekly bâtonnage during fermentation. It remained there for 14 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Ripe and concentrated, thanks in part to the warm 2015 vintage, with white peach, perfumed yellow apple, vanilla biscuit, lemon cream across a still buzzy limestone base. If you've this vintage in your cellar, I reckon now's the time to drink it, ideally with a summer risotto.Prices:
ON$48.00750ml
Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
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Jules Desjourneys Beaujolais Villagestext
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Jules Desjourneys Beaujolais Villages 2017

Fabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. From Beaujolais' granite soils, this chardy sees no oak. Tight and chiseled up front, with broken stone, green apple, sour lemon on the saline palate, all imbued with that fine granitic grip. Somewhat edgy and disjointed, though hard to notice when paired with grilled chicken or cod. Lovely pure form of Bojo chardy.Prices:
ON$43.95750ml
Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Painted Rock Chardonnaytext
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Painted Rock Chardonnay 2021

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPainted Rock conducted four separate micro-harvests picked over two weeks to capture different fruit ripeness and acidity levels. Some 80 percent of the wine ages for six months in French oak (33% new) with the remainder in steel. Only 20% underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine is surprisingly fresh, with plenty of melon and some stony mineral notes. A slight ropey character in the backend diminishes the purity of this wine but not to any great end. The finish is dry and food-friendly. A perfect companion to halibut or creamy pasta dishes.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Tantalus Bear Chardonnaytext
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Tantalus Bear Chardonnay 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bear label vines are approaching a decade; hence the label departure from Juveniles to Bear, the nickname of owner Eric Savics’ eldest son. The '21 is a mix of clones 76, 95, and 548, all fermented in neutral French barriques and puncheons, where it remained on lees until bottling. The result is delightful. The flavour intensity pervades the creamy, leesy textures and citrus green apple highlights—a lovely northern expression of the Okanagan, at a bargain price.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Chardonnaytext
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Tantalus Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Tantalus flagship chardonnay comes off a mix of 35-year-old estate vines and vines planted in 2007, mixing French clones 76 and 95. It is all fermented using native yeats and aged for ten months in French barriques and puncheons. Only 30 percent of the wines see new oak, but all of the wine goes through the acid softening malolactic process. Its reductive leesy nose and palate paint a tightly restrained fruit picture built around pears and green apple with a citrus undercurrent and a touch of spice. A blockbuster effort from a generous vintage, it should easily go the distance to 2028 and beyond. It's rare to see such a concentrated effort this far north, but I embrace it with gusto.Prices:
BC$36.50750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnay 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada2020 marks the second chardonnay release at Unsworth, fast becoming part of a bigger story on Vancouver Island. It is a cool climate expression that opens with a juicy palate quickly transformed by minerality, bright acidity, lemon curd, hazelnuts, and spice. Best of all, it happens at around 12 percent alcohol. This label appears to have a very bright future, as does the Cowichan Valley.Prices:
BC$30.35750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
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Fort Berens Chardonnay 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada2021 is the first entirely estate grown chardonnay and acquits itself well. 30 percent of the juice is fermented in new and used French barrels, while the remainder is processed in stainless steel. About the same amount was aged in French barrels for nine months. Look for fresh notes of lime, peach, and orange with a dusting of spice. We enjoyed it with a rich match of scallops. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Foxly Chardonnaytext
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Foxly Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFoxly is a sister label from Foxtrot, designed drinkable sooner and affordable. That said, it adheres uncompromisingly to the tight Euro house style regarding chardonnay. 2020 was such a great year. You will note a slightly fuller, creamier style with intense citrus and lees throughout that makes for an attractive drink. It is a food wine in the best sense of that term for aficionados.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Blue Mountain Alluvium Reflection Chardonnay Single Vineyard Block 32text
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Blue Mountain Alluvium Reflection Chardonnay Single Vineyard Block 32 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 32 is a new chardonnay release from Blue Mountain pairing two famous French clones, 96 and 76. The vines are a full three decades old and planted on the estate inside the Okanagan Falls G.I. The nose is a mix of minerals and exotic fruit nuances. the wine is fermented on its yeast and aged for 18 months in three and four year old neutral oak barrels. The style is electric with stony, savoury, tropical fruit all wrapped up in a medium, creamy texture and long citrus finish flecked wth hazelnuts. This is the real thing. Watch this bottle disappear in front of your eyes. Drink or hold through 2026.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Le Bonheur Chardonnaytext
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Le Bonheur Chardonnay 2021

Western Cape, South AfricaLe Bonheur 2020 was the first year since the drought years that began back in 2014. The rain has been a big help in helping to express the chardonnay. The wine comes from a mix of blocks with different characteristics, from citrus driven to white pear and floral styles. It was relatively fresh, with some oak showing through but not out of place. It has the complexity of a much more expensive chardonnay, but the freshness makes it fun to drink, with enough ripeness to capture that crowd. Try this with a favourite Thai curry. It's primarily stainless steel ferment before going to barrel for three months. Back up the truck, there is super value here.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
ON$15.99750ml
Producer: Le Bonheur
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French Door Chardonnaytext
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French Door Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA big, rich noisy, warm, south Okanagan chardonnay with a firm lashing of oak will have its appeal to those who love the modern California style. Honey, vanilla, and barrel fermented caramel flood the palate, balanced by orange, spice, toasted almonds, and a touch of reduction. The adventurous could serve this with steak, but any buttery fish dish works too.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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04 August 2022

Bachelder Bator Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 100% Destemmedtext
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Bachelder Bator Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 100% Destemmed 2020

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage. This is one of 3 wines using Bator Vineyard fruit this year, a site close to the Welland Canal, in Four Mile Creek. As the label states, this cuvee is entirely destemmed, leaving a silken wild strawberry, green raspberry palate, with white pepper spicing, and softly sticky tannins to frame. There's a bright zippy freshness to this green edged wine, making this a charmer. Enjoy now, with a slight chill.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Bator Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 13% Whole Clustertext
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Bachelder Bator Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 13% Whole Cluster 2020

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage. This is one of 3 wines using Bator Vineyard fruit this year, a site close to the Welland Canal, in Four Mile Creek. As the label states, this cuvee has 13% whole cluster in the mix. Wild cherries, fragrant wild raspberries, candle wax glide along the silken palate, with lifted, bright acidity and long, fine tannins framing. The whole cluster brings an alluring lift to the whole. Bright and charming, and ready to enjoy now with a slight chill.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 55% Whole Clustertext
90PTS

Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 55% Whole Cluster 2020

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage. Les Naturistes comes from a 1983 planted vineyard owned and farmed by the Willms family, in the heart of Four Mile Creek, rooted in silty, loam clays, gravel, limestone and sand. This was fermented with 55% whole cluster. Herbal edged and green tinged, with lovely sapid raspberries and crunchy plum along a lengthy, saline and peppery palate. Acidity is bright and energy is high through the lightly warming, ample white pepper finish.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Les Villages Gamay Noirtext
89PTS

Bachelder Les Villages Gamay Noir 2020

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage. Les Villages is a blend of the 5 gamay parcels he works across Niagara, incorporating 28% whole clusters in the final blend. Fragrant wild raspberries, strawberries flood the juicy, jubilant palate, threaded with brighting green herbaceousness, and hugged with downy soft tannins. An herbal style, in nice balance, ready for chilling and enjoying now.Prices:
ON$24.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 33% Whole Clustertext
92PTS

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 33% Whole Cluster 2021

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage, including two from Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard, the special Twenty Mile Bench site known for its exceptional chardonnays and pinot noirs. Planted in 1993 to magnesium and limestone laced soils, this gamay was 33% whole cluster. Super fragrant, with wild blueberry, iris, slatey notes along a lengthy, slender palate, shimmering on the bottom with that limestone light, and effortlessly lifted with a bright acidity. Drinking beautifully now, with a slight chill, and will continue to hold smartly short term.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 52% Whole Clustertext
91PTS

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 52% Whole Cluster 2020

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage, including two from Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard, the special Twenty Mile Bench site known for its exceptional chardonnays and pinot noirs. Planted in 1993 to magnesium and limestone laced soils, this gamay was 52% whole cluster. Silken smooth, the palate is gilded with herbal raspberry, herbal crunchy plum, white peppercorns, wrapped with long, soft tannins and lit with a bright acidity. The finish is long with white pepper.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 32% Whole Clustertext
90PTS

Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 32% Whole Cluster 2020

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2020 vintage. Jackson Bai and his family own Four Mile Creek's Bai Xu vineyard, planted in 1981 with unknown clones, on a mix of loamy clay, silt, sand and limestone. This gamay utilized 32% whole cluster in 2020. Deep raspberry, strawberry jam, wild cherry flood a structural palate, threaded with herbal green notes, and hugged with downy tannins moving slightly astringent on the finish. A plumper, fuller cuvee in Thomas' terroir-driven gamay collection.Prices:
ON$27.95750ml
Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Domaine des Billards Saint-Amourtext
91PTS

Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour 2019

Saint-Amour, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceDomaine des Billards owns five hectares in Saint Amour that are part of the original Loron wineries, overseen by the Barbet and Teissier families for more than 200 years. Saint Amour is the northernmost cru and one of the smallest at 321 hectares under vine, but the vines sit over some of the most diverse soils in all of cru Beaujolais. The mix of blue volcanic schist, granite, pink granite, clay, alluvial fans, and sandstone from the time that Burgundy was under the ocean gives this cru a richness and roundness that is hard to equal. As a result, in 2019, a somewhat atypical super warm year, this yields a rich, masculine, almost powerful gamay full of ripe cherries, crushed raspberries, black licorice and spice, all with the alluring Saint Amour texture. The wine is on its skins for about 12 months, submerged gently by a patchwork of wood before ageing in older foudres and cement. More Burgundy than Beaujolais this time, it was the perfect foil to Bejing duck.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Héritiers Loron
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03 August 2022

Bartier Bros. Rosétext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith syrah, pinot gris and chardonnay from the Black Sage Terrace, and gewürztraminer from Summerland, this was a partial whole cluster, with the gris seeing some skin time. All were fermented in stainless, where it remained three months on lees. Pouring a deep blush hue, this is filled with juicy raspberry, strawberry jam, and apricot blossom on a smooth, silken palate, dusted with a fine sage spicing finish. Easy and friendly, ready to crack into now.Prices:
BC$18.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Blue Grouse Quill Rosétext
88PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Rosé 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaWith grapes from the northern Cowichan Valley, this gamay is rooted in silty loam soils. Destemmed grapes were crushed into tank and on skins for 24 hours before fermentation in stainless. The ferment was halted to preserve a blip of RS (4.1) to offset the island acidity. It aged 3 months on lees prior to bottling. Pouring a deep blush hue, this glossy rosé is filled with strawberry jam, tangerine pith, and candied apple, dusted with baking spices on the snappy finish. Acidity is high, and alcohol is low (11.5%), making this a friendly choice to crack into this summer.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Sage Hayward Rosétext
88PTS

Sage Hayward Rosé 2021

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaSage Hayward Vineyards is a new family-owned estate found on Saturna, comprised of two brothers and their wives. They purchased and recovered mostly fallow vineyards on a property that Sea Star had owned, but had to sell. Tyler Cox is the winemaker, and Michael Bartier is a consultant. This is Falconridge vineyard pinot noir, whole cluster pressed with no skin contact and fermented in stainless where it remained on lees for 5 months. Pale pink in hue, this slight (10.8%) screaming acid rosé streams grapefruit, lemon pith, wild strawberries, all lit with a bright marine acidity, and a wee spritz across a yeasty palate. A new coastal pink to suit local sushi / sashimi this summer. A promising new project.Prices:
BC$28.00750ml
Producer: Sage Hayward Vineyards
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Fort Berens Rosétext
88PTS

Fort Berens Rosé 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaFrom entirely Lillooet fruit, this rosé is primarily pinot noir, with splashes of merlot and cabernet franc, the latter two from their new Red Rock vineyard, planted 2018. The destemmed grapes had 12 hours skin contact time, resulting in the potently peach hue. The wine was long in cold in stainless. Wild strawberry, lush peach, mandarin fill a juicy palate, with an orange citrus note that spices the finish, and a wee bump of RS to counter. A friendly, easy rosé to crack into this summer.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Lunessence Estate Single Vineyard Blanc de Noirstext
88PTS

Lunessence Estate Single Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLunessence makes two rosés. The Blanc de Noirs is a single vineyard wine mixing 81/19 syrah/merlot, partially barrel fermented in neutral French oak before ageing on lees for five months. It is slightly darker than their classic Rosé and shows more flavour intensity. The faint pink hue gives off a rush of honeysuckle, orchard blossoms, and red fruits that spill onto an intense palate of strawberry and tangerine, with a juicy finish. Best served well chilled with spicy bites.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Lunessence Rosétext
88PTS

Lunessence Rosé 2021

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2021 Rosé comes off a mix of Summerland vineyards and contains 68/28/4 merlot, cabernet franc, syrah. The style is just off-dry with candied apples and strawberries and a slick, soft back end. A bump of residual fights off the citrus, leaving a primarily clean palate. Serve well chilled, and enjoy all summer.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Lakeside Cellars Rosétext
87PTS

Lakeside Cellars Rosé 2021

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest version of Lakeside Rosé is entirely cinsault, giving it an aromatic aspect. This year goes into this off-dry style, with a few hours of skin contact before it is pressed off. Look for tropical fruit with a thread of citrus. Soft, simple, and easy to sip, it is best-served solo and well chilled.Prices:
BC$22.00750ml
Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosétext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Rosé 2021

British Columbia, CanadaThis is an ideal style for BC rosé and well worth pursuing if you are a rosé and food nut. Dry and delicious, it plays the band of red fruit supported by generous acidity and vibrant tones from front to back. It is a mix of pinot clones aged in stainless steel, and aged in place on its lees for three months. A sunny patio and your favourite bites are all you need to complete the picture.Prices:
BC$26.90750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Blue Grouse Quill Rosétext
87PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Rosé 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis gamay rosé gets 24 hours of skin contact, yielding a pink/orange colour. The style is a bit yin and yang with a light bump of residual sugar and an undercoating forest floor. Look for strawberries and citrus rind with a somewhat candied apple finish. It remains fresh but seems best suited to food at this point. Blue Grouse suggests cedar planked salmon or a watermelon and goat cheese salad.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Rosétext
86PTS

Fort Berens Rosé 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThe new rosé is 100 percent Lillooet fruit, the majority of which is pinot noir with tips of merlot and cabernet franc. It takes 12 hours of skin contact time to achieve an orangy pink colour and a wild strawberry nose. The attack is soft and slightly sweet, with a dusting of spice and a few green notes in the finish. Ready to drink; serve this one well chilled.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Sperling Organic Vision Pinot Noir Rosétext
88PTS

Sperling Organic Vision Pinot Noir Rosé 2021

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Organic Vision Series Rosé is made from Pinot Noir clone 777, a block favoured "for its slightly darker skinned berries, fine dusty tannins and earthy notes. It is a rosé for wine thinkers from its medium tart cherry palate to its strawberry and bramble fruit". Firm, dry and structured, it is built for food. Winery pairing suggestions include steamed mussels or your favourite seasonal risotto.Prices:
BC$25.00750ml
Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Rosétext
89PTS

Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Rosé 2021

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit comes off Thadd Springs Vineyard, amongst rolling hills of sage and grass on the South Thompson River bank. In 2021 the pink was mostly pinot gris with a dash of pinot noir. The style is fresh, the fruit spare but present, sprinkled with sage and citrus. Dry and food friendly, this is a rosé you can entertain solo or serve with tapas.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Foxly Rosétext
89PTS

Foxly Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has gone all pinot noir in 2021 and is much better for it. The pale salmon colour attracts, and the fruit and sheen of Provence does not hurt. It is left on skins for three hours before pressing, and is fermented and aged for four months in stainless steel before bottling. It's fresh, juicy, lively, and fun with fruity mandarin, ripe pink grapefruit, and orange streaks. Well made, and affordable so stock up.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Kismet Infinity Rosétext
87PTS

Kismet Infinity Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaInfinity is a kitchen sink blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, syrah, petit verdot, malbec, mouvèdre, and grenache, bled off using the saignée technique. Like last year, the result is quite a pleasant, if simple rosé, with fresh red fruit, a small amount of sweetness, and fairy good acidity. A summer patio pink you can serve solo or with lightly spicy bites.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Sunnybrae Rosétext
86PTS

Sunnybrae Rosé 2021

Shuswap, British Columbia, CanadaThe Sunneybrae fruit is all estate grown in the Shuswap north of the upper reaches of the Okanagan Valley. in the case of the rosé, it is a blush of siegerrebe, kerner, ortega and maréchal foch. This pink mixes savoury, herbal, earthy notes, candied cherries, and candied apples with a soft palate and sweet finish. Ready to drink and should be served well chilled.Prices:
BC$17.50750ml
Producer: Sunnybrae Vineyards and Winery
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02 August 2022

Corcelettes Merlottext
91PTS

Corcelettes Merlot 2020

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCorcelettes Estate Vineyard works with three separate merlot blocks pushed up against the stone wall of Black Rock Mountain at the northern edge of the property. The vines are self-rooted in stemwinder soils, making them an accurate translator of the Similkameen Valley terroir. It is a blend of two clones: 181, with its pipe tobacco and more leathery, masculine flavours; and 184, which expresses more blue and black fruits like figs and blueberries. It is a giant of a wine that, in some ways, carries the generosity of Napa but delivers the complexity of Bordeaux. The mix of plums, chocolates, tobacco, and a stony mineral undercurrent make this almost irresistible. It is one impressive bottle of merlot, and I think it is better than last year, which says something. You can drink this now, but it will only get better through 2027 and beyond.Prices:
BC$31.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Hillside Merlot Hidden Valley Vineyardtext
92PTS

Hillside Merlot Hidden Valley Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Hidden Valley Vineyard is hidden but not far from the winery: it is tucked into the upper hillside just south of the winery off the main road. This is first-class merlot from start to finish. The nose is so fragrant and inviting, drawing you toward the glass with its savoury red fruit and mineral notes. It presents layers of flavours shared equally in black and red fruit on the palate. It is warm, rich, and plummy with glossy satin tannins on the long, rich palate, seasoned with tobacco and mint—more Euro than New World, or maybe just mid-valley Naramata Bench. Stock up; the price is right, and this will age effortlessly. Great value too.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Sandhill Merlot Sandhill Estate Vineyardtext
88PTS

Sandhill Merlot Sandhill Estate Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest merlot is all south Okanagan, with fruit coming off Sandhill Estate Vineyard, and Hidden Terrace Vineyard. The style is mid-weight with more red fruit than black, and plenty of tart cranberries underneath. It's aged in a mix of American and French oak. The tannins are youthful and tuggy at this point, but it's a good year, and this wine should settle in over the next three or four years. Hold or serve now with steak.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
AB$21.99750ml
Producer: Sandhill Wines
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French Door Merlottext
90PTS

French Door Merlot 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a silky smooth, spicy, intense merlot of black cherries, black plums, and a dash of cassis. The mouthfeel is rich and warm, with more spice in the long, warm finish. There is plenty of concentration here and no rush to drink this stylish version. The French Door works with two blocks (north and south) of merlot on the Black Sage bench. Both are subjected to significant leaf removal later in the season to help develop the tannin structure ripening flavours. The merlot is fermented for 21 days and left on skins at high temperatures for another week to develop tannins and mid-palate structure before the free run is drained directly into 35% new French oak barrels. It is aged for 14 months, racked to tank, and bottled a month later.Prices:
BC$78.00750ml
Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Play Merlottext
86PTS

Play Merlot 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlay Merlot comes off two mid-valley vineyards. After crushing, this finishes fermentation in French oak barrels. The style is straightforward and rustic with earthy, cranberry, cherry, and a dry finish. The tannins are similarly rustic and need some rich protein to balance off. Hamburgers and beef tacos would be a fun pairing. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$22.00750ml
Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Lunessence Merlottext
88PTS

Lunessence Merlot 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lunessence Merlot is aged in a mix of French and American oak for 14 months, but only 15 percent is new. The nose is ripe, the attack spicy and full-bodied with black cherry, black plum, vanilla, and a small amount of smoke and toast. The tannins are firm and round, adding more charm. Think beef tacos, hamburgers, or grilled flank steak. Drink or hold; there is no rush to open this bottle.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Dostana Merlottext
86PTS

Dostana Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDostana grapes are from Oliver, and the wine is aged for 30 months in new Odysé (American oak) barrels of medium and medium+ toast. The attack is earthy, with dry, spicy notes in the lead. The palate is similar, with peppery red cherry and rustic dry tannins in the finish. It needs drinking now, and less time in oak next time out.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: Kalala Organic Estate Winery
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Volcanic Hills Merlottext
89PTS

Volcanic Hills Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNice to see a ripe, expressive, fruity merlot from Volcanic Hills. The fruit is Osoyoos-based, so more sandy than volcanic, but there is a delicious plush character, streaked with chocolate, black plums, tobacco, and dried herbs. Perfectly aged at five years but will remain so for another three to five years.Prices:
BC$21.69750ml
Producer: Volcanic Hills Winery
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