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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: November 2019

14 November 2019

Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2013

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2013 Signature is entirely sourced from Similkameen fruit and is a blend of 51 percent merlot, 34 percent cabernet sauvignon, 11 cabernet franc, 2 percent petit verdot, and 2 percent malbec. It shows the warmth of the 2013 vintage with ripe, verging on jammy, black fruits that don't quite soak up all of the oak. However, Clos du Soleil's classic, fresh style keeps it in balance, with firm, grainy tannins and a graphite mineral backbone. Give it some time to come together; it will be even better 3-4 years from now.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2012

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 vintage of Signature is sourced almost entirely from the Similkameen, including from Clos du Soleil's home vineyard. A blend of 48 percent cabernet sauvignon, 42 percent merlot, 9 percent cabernet franc, and one percent petit verdot, this was aged in French oak for 18 months, with 19 barrels making the grade for Signature. This has a classic nose of cedar, graphite, currant, and fresh herbs with underlying, integrated oak. Medium-bodied, it's quite fresh with well-managed tannins. It's showing some evolution, but it has at least 10+ years of life yet. A lovely expression of place and vintage.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2010

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2010 is remembered as a challenging, cool vintage but the best wines are aging gracefully and showing a balance of elegance and ripeness. A blend of 48 percent merlot, 34 percent cabernet sauvignon, 9 percent malbec, and 9 percent petit verdot, the 2010 Signature is initially subdued and muted in the glass, but opens up with dried red currant and cherry. However, this is more about granite and crushed rock, with the 2010 vintage including a higher percentage of Similkameen fruit. Medium-full bodied, it's expansive on the palate with fine-grained tannin and the inherent freshness of the vintage. Good length.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2008

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 52 percent merlot, 26 percent cabernet sauvignon, 13 percent cabernet franc, and 9 percent malbec, only 11 barrels were produced. The 2008 Signature shows riper, more opulent fruit than the 2007 vintage, and is decidedly into the black fruit spectrum. It's still quite youthful and primary, with just the faintest hint of evolution. More powerful in style, it's broad and rich but kept in balance with fresh, integrated acidity. 2008 was a cooler vintage in the Okanagan/Similkameen, but this manages to show considerable ripeness, marked by 14.5% abv. Give this another 3-5 years.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2007

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKnown as Red at the time, 2007 was Clos du Soleil's second vintage of what would become Signature. It's sourced predominantly from Okanagan fruit, with 15 percent from the Similkameen, and is led by cabernet sauvignon (45 percent) with merlot and cabernet franc. The colour is only just now beginning to fade at the rim, and it's beautifully balancing savoury cedar and dried herbs with red currant, wild strawberry, and smoky oak. Medium-full bodied, this is a lively, fresh style with resolved, fine tannins. I love how this is drinking now, but it could easily go another 5+ years.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2016

British Columbia, CanadaWith the 2016 vintage, Capella begins the transition from Okanagan to Similkameen fruit. The sauvignon blanc (80 percent) is sourced from Whispered Secret and Blind Creek Vineyards in Keremeos, while the sémillon (20 percent) continues to be sourced from Dhaliwhal Bros. Vineyard in Oliver. The winemaking is similar to the 2015 vintage: 55 percent French oak puncheons; 45 percent stainless steel barrels), with one-quarter of the barrels allowed to naturally complete malolactic fermentation. It has a complex, vibrant nose of ripe grapefruit and tropical fruits combined with a floral lift. The oak sits nicely in the background, and is deftly integrated. Medium-bodied, it picks up some roundness from nine months aging on the lees, with crisp acidity leading to a mouthwatering, chalky finish. Everything is here to enjoy this wine now, but it will definitely benefit from additional time in bottle over the next 5+ years.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2015

British Columbia, CanadaFrom the challenging, hot, 2015 vintage, this is a blend of 80 percent sauvignon blanc and 20 percent semillon from vineyards in Osoyoos and Oliver, respectively. This was fermented in a combination of French oak puncheons (55 percent) and stainless (45 percent) before aging on the lees for nine months prior to bottling. A third of the wine was also allowed to naturally complete malolactic fermentation. This wine doesn't seem to have the depth of other vintages of Capella, with sweet herbs, and ripe mango. It's also already beginning to show some tertiary notes, suggesting a relatively short drinking window. The alcohol is modest for the vintage at only 13% abv, thanks to early picking decisions, but the trade off is tart, bracing acidity that doesn't quite come into balance.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2012

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 vintage is a blend of 92 percent sauvignon blanc and 8 percent semillon, with only 220 cases produced. It has a stunning Bordelais nose of wax, honey, guava, and grapefruit. It's surprisingly round and rich, given the modest 12.7% abv, but with a real sense of tension and precision. The concentration is above the norm, with noticeable dry extract, leading to a chalky finish. This is still remarkably youthful and only just beginning to show subtle tertiary notes. It should easily age for another 4-5 years. Fortunately Clos du Soleil has some bottles tucked away at their tasting room, which are available for purchase if you ask. Exceptional value.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2010

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 90 percent sauvignon blanc and 10 percent sémillion, this is from the cool 2010 vintage. It shows a fair bit of malolactic character on the nose (think yogurt) with pink grapefruit and nougat. At nearly ten years of age, it strikes a nice balance between fresh fruit and aged tertiary notes. It may not have the complexity of the 2006 vintage, but the palate is pure and precise, with a pithy grapefruit rind finish. I found it became more evolved with time in the glass, so I would suggest to drink this vintage in the short term if you're looking to retain some youthful fruit character. 525 cases produced.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2006

British Columbia, CanadaFrom their inaugural vintage in 2006, Clos du Soleil produced only three barrels of Clos du Soleil White, which would be renamed Capella in subsequent bottlings. Cappella is now a sauvignon blanc dominant blend; the earlier vintages are 100 percent sauvignon blanc. It has an intriguing waxy, honeyed nose that's quite tertiary at 13 years of age, though still with some underlying yellow fruits. The wine has gained some weight from bottle age, and there's still sauvignon blanc's hallmark tart acidity, which is just beginning to round out. At or just past peak, this vintage is best enjoyed in the near term.Prices: BC 27.00 AB 30.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Sémillontext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Sémillon 2016

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Dhaliwal Bros. Vineyard in Oliver, this was fermented in Clos du Soleil's new (at that time) French concrete tanks and then aged on its fine lees for eight months. This sémillon should have the Bordelais concerned, with exotic notes of ripe mango, guava, and honey. It's medium-full bodied with a broad, viscous texture leading to a chalky, long finish. It's just beginning to show some tertiary development, and has the fruit concentration and balance to easily improve over the next 3-5 years. This is very well done. If only more than 110 cases were produced! Maybe BC needs to plant more sémillon.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to the 2014 vintage, this was sourced from Middle Bench Vineyard in Keremeos, and fermented and aged in stainless. There's still lots of youthful lime fruit, as it is just beginning to develop toasty notes from bottle age. But this wine is all about the texture: it's concentrated with noticeable dry extract, precise fruit, and very good length. Subdued and elegant, make sure not to serve this chilled or you'll miss it. Will be worthwhile to follow its progression over the next 2-3 years.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis pinot blanc comes from Middle Bench Vineyard in Keremeos, was whole-cluster pressed, fermented, and matured in stainless for five months. It shows a waxy, toasty nose that is reminiscent of aged semillon, with lime fruit and crushed oystershell. Dry in style, the acid is still crisp and linear, with five years of bottle age contributing midpalate broadness. This is drinking well now, with a nice balance of primary and tertiary fruit.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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13 November 2019

Puro Rofe Blancotext
93PTS

Puro Rofe Blanco 2018

Canary Islands, SpainThese Malvasía, Diego, Listán Blanco vines are more than 100 years old, growing in the black volcanic sands of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. These grapes come from the traditional hoyos (hand-dug pits up to 2m deep, with a single vine planted at the bottom) of Pedro Umpiérrez and Ascensión Robayna vineyards. The depth of the hoyos allows the vine to access moisture, as well as protect it from the alicio desert winds. After harvesting by hand, these were foot trodden in stone lagares, native fermented, and then aged for 8 months in stainless. Exceptionally salty and ringing with minerality and sea breezes, the salinity infiltrating quince, green apple and gentle herbal lees which stream along the lengthy, slender palate. A rare beauty. The newish project is a collaboration among like-minded local growers Rafael (Chicho) Mota, Vicente Torres, Ascension Robaina, and Pedro Umpiérrez, and enologist Carmelo Peña. Tasted in the UK.Prices: UK 29.00 Producer: Puro Rofe
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Fento Wines Bico Da Ran Albariñotext
89PTS

Fento Wines Bico Da Ran Albariño 2018

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainOne of winemaker Eulogio Pomares' many projects (most notably, Zarate), this albariño master has used grapes from Rias Baixas' sub-area of Valle del Salnés, up to 300m, near the sea. Fresh and marine bright, with saline-kissed lemon, white melon, pear, atop a stony, lees-decked base, to a snappy, lingering, salty finish. Drinking beauty now.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Fento Wines
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Finca Cuarta by Ruben Maure Ribeira Sacratext
88PTS

Finca Cuarta by Ruben Maure Ribeira Sacra 2017

Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, SpainFinca Cuarta is a rare 100 percent mencia grown at Ribeira Sacra in Galicia, northwest Spain. It was once thought to be a rogue cabernet franc clone (it’s not), although there are similarities: savoury fruit and rich, dense, soft tannins. The Ribeira Sacra version, grown on slate in a colder climate, presents differently than Bierzo mencia. Finca Cuarta is on the deeper, more vibrant spectrum, with earthy, firm, dense tannins, cardamom spice, and juicy wild red and blue fruits sprinkled with a stony, mineral undercurrent. First planted by the Romans and expanded and refined by the monks during the Middle Ages, the region's many monasteries gave the ‘Sacred Shore’ its name. Carefully harvested by hand on steep vineyard terraces, typical of this appellation, this is from 50-year-old vines and was aged in French and American oak barrels for at least three months.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Bodega del Abad
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Torres Salmos Priorattext
91PTS

Torres Salmos Priorat 2015

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainEach time I taste this wine, I’m amazed by its balance and elegance. In 2015 it opened with a fragrance that belies Priorat, with ripe black plums sprinkled with pepper and a touch of mocha before the stony mineral electric underbelly cuts in to balance the finish. Fermented in stainless, this aged 14 months in French wood, but you wouldn’t know it thanks to the wild nature of this wine piercing the finish. Think wild lamb, boar pasta, truffle risotto, or a leg of lamb.Prices: BC 49.00 MB 45.99 ON 39.00 QC 35.00 NB 46.00 PEI 43.99 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Laderas del Tiétar Garnachatext
89PTS

Laderas del Tiétar Garnacha 2018

SpainA joint project between Bodega Cooperativo Cristo del Humilladero, and Comando G, the latter two, young friends who farm their garnacha organically and biodynamically, across a collective 15ha of vineyards. In this wine, Dani and Fer from Comando G selected fruit from the co-op and oversee winemaking, edging the co-op into modernity. It is well-padded with sun-ripened raspberry, strawberry and red currant, licked with red licorice, dusted with cocoa and sweet pipe tobacco, and sided with sticky tannins. Youthful and eager, as garnacha has want to be, this 14.5-degree wine is well suited to grilled ribs or roasted acorn squash.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Bodega Cristo Del Humilladero
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Juan Gil Silver Labeltext
89PTS

Juan Gil Silver Label 2016

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainJumilla monastrell is never shy, never reserved, but rather exuberant and out there as much as any red grape can be. Intense black plum jam and pepper lines the nose and palate. The attack is rich and satiny with a long, ripe, black fruit, peppery palate. The finish is warm but mostly in balance, and a beautiful fall/winter red for stews, lamb or cassoulets.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 28.00 NS 29.99 Producer: Juan Gil Bodegas Familiares
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Juan Gil Monastrelltext
87PTS

Juan Gil Monastrell 2017

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainBusy, warm, open, luxurious, hedonistic, soft and more: this is Juan Gill yellow label in a nutshell. There are cherries and chocolates, baked blackcurrant, raisin, and licorice, with chalky tannins. Rustic and frankly a touch rambunctious, it is a party red par excellence best paired with meatball appetizers. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Juan Gil Bodegas Familiares
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Caminos del Bonhomme Caberent Sauvignontext
87PTS

Caminos del Bonhomme Caberent Sauvignon 2017

Valencia and Murcia, SpainCaminos is a single parcel of 30-year-old cabernet sauvignon that grows on the radiant slopes of the Sierra de L'Ombría, in Valencia. After a traditional ferment, it spends 22-24 months ageing in French Taransaud oak barrels. The attack is fresh with prominent acidity and herbaceous red fruit. Lively and linear, this red calls for grilled meats to pull the edges back in. Best cellared through 2021 to allow it to settle into itself.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Les Vins Bonhomme
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Torres Sangre de Torotext
87PTS

Torres Sangre de Toro NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe Sangre de Toro, a blend of grenache and carignan, spends a quick six months in American and French oaks to round out the edges. This is a ready-to-drink mix of dark fruits and dried herbs with a light dusting of licorice and curry. Smooth and round, this mid-week red is perfect for stews, meaty pizzas, grilled chicken, and meat pies.Prices: BC 11.99 AB 15.99 ON 12.00 NB 15.00 SK 15.00 MB 13.00 AB 16.00 YK 16.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Fento Wines Xabretext
89PTS

Fento Wines Xabre 2016

Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, SpainFrom northern Spain's historical Ribeira Sacra region, Xabre is a blend of native grapes grown in the Quiroga-Bibei sub-area. This blend of 15-80 year old mencía, sousón, mouratón and garnacha vines is planted between an altitude, with vines planted on granite, clay, and slate terraces from 300-700m. This was fermented and aged for 10 months in used French oak barrels, 6 more months in foudres, and in bottle for one year prior to release. Deep herbal plum, wild blueberries, pomegranate, fragrant iris fill the smoothed, medium-bodied palate, framed with lightly tuggy tannins, and carried by an easy swell of acidity. The finish lingers with stony minerality. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Fento Wines
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Señorío de P. Peciña Rioja Bianco Cosechatext
89PTS

Señorío de P. Peciña Rioja Bianco Cosecha 2018

Rioja, SpainThis virua macerated for 24 hours before a native fermentation and aging in tank on lees for 6 months, prior to up to a year in bottle before release. Classic white Rioja, through dry roasted almonds, white peach, pear, and a pad of downy lees. There's a nice salted pine nut grip around the end to close this out. Direct and mouthwatering, and a wonderful food wine.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Señorío de P. Peciña
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Okendo Astobiza Txakolitext
90PTS

Okendo Astobiza Txakoli 2018

Navarra and Basque Country, SpainThis young bodega is nestled in Spain's Txakolí de Alava DO, named after nearby mountains. Xabier Abando grew up with his father in the vineyards and making wine, up until his untimely death when Xabier was only fifteen. It was his dream then to one day create his own bodega. In 1996, he purchased an estate near the town of Okendo, planted 2 hectares of vines, and grew his holdings every year. He built his bodega in 2008, in time for his first vintage of his own wine, at age 68. He now oversees the organically-farmed estate with his son-in-law Jon Zubeldia, and the help of enologist Ana MartÍn. Txaokoli is one of those wines that rarely transports out of the region it is heartily consumed in, so to taste one here, and in such pristine a condition, is a joy. Hondurrabi Zuri is joined by 10% Petit Courbu, 20 year old vines at 300m, at the upper heights of the Alava zone. A ferment and time in stainless preserves the crisp, Atlantic-influenced white, and all its tight lemon and white grapefruit drive. Green apple tartness, yeasty lees, a hint of tight white florals, and ample hum of stony salts skips this effortlessly across the palate, finishing with a satisfying citric and stone snap. Bringing me back to the Basque; pass the anchovies.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Okendo Txakoliña
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Alta Alella Garnatxa Negratext
91PTS

Alta Alella Garnatxa Negra 2016

Alella, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainAlta Alella began 20 years ago when Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillen acquired nineteenth-century estate Can Genis, near Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea, and converted it to organics. Their daughters Mireia and Georgina have now joined them in the farming of their sea-facing 17ha of vines, planted on slopes and terraces between 100-250m. Their soils are sauló, an acidic, white granite-based sandy soil. This lightly hued, fragrant garnaxta grows at 150-300m. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless, preserving the delicacy of the charming light cherry, wild red berry, scrubby herbs, red liquorice, and sapid young plum. Tannins are fine, and the slight frame is textured by soils and authenticity. A lovely, savoury, fruity, light red.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Alta Alella
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Castaño Monastrelltext
86PTS

Castaño Monastrell 2018

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainThis is a relatively simple, straightforward red with bright berry fruit, which shows a slightly confected, carbonic character from use of 25-30 percent whole cluster. Medium-bodied, fresh, and juicy, it's a solid Tuesday night pour to pair with burgers or tomato-based dishes. Best served slightly chilled.Prices: BC 12.49 AB 12.00 NB 12.00 ON 8.95 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Zarate Caiño Tintotext
87PTS

Zarate Caiño Tinto 2017

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainSeventh-generation Eulogio Pomares runs this historic bodega today, continuing the legacy of quality started by his ancestors. His farming is almost fully biodynamic, and his inputs near nothing. Caiño tinto is one of the three indigenous grape varietals of Val do Salnes (loureiro tinto and espadeiro being the other two). Zarate have some of the only remnant plantings of these once-dominant local grapes, so you can think of this as a cultural heritage preservation project, as well as a delicious lighter red. This was sourced from granitic clay soils, and native fermented in open-top foudre before a year aging in second and third use French oak. Highly perfumed red fruit, led by tart cranberry and rhubarb, followed by young raspberry, white pepper, and strawberry vinegar running the light, sleek 11 degree palate. Tannins are near negligible, with a whisper to side this wine. It's a strange fit to have such a light, sprightly red in a hefty, wide bottle, but don't let that dissuade you.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Zarate
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12 November 2019

Hajszan-Neumann Wiener Gemischter Satztext
90PTS

Hajszan-Neumann Wiener Gemischter Satz 2018

Wien (Vienna), AustriaWith a name like Fritz Wieninger, you have to trust that wine is in his blood. Fritz is a pioneer of the New Vienna wine movement, co-president of RESPEKT with Fred Loimer, as well as a founding member and chairman of the Wien Wein growers association. Gemischter Satz is a traditional Austrian field blend of different white varieties cultivated and vinified together, and Fritz was one of the vintners responsible for resurrecting this dying tradition. It is is a blend of pinot blanc, grüner veltliner, neuburger, riesling and welschriesling, from Nussberg's limestone / fossil-studded soils. After a native ferment in stainless, this remained on lees for a short stint before bottling. Wet stone and earthy lees bed a light topping of melon, Asian pear, green apple, bitter lemon, and green herbs, running a slight, snappy palate. The finish rinses with mineral salts, encouraging another chilled glass, hopefully with dressed shellfish.Prices: ON 26.95 BC 35.00 Producer: Weingut Hajszan-Neumann
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Van Westen Vineyards Vivacioustext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivacious 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Vivacious is leaner than previous versions and all the better for it. There is a dash of pint gris in this mostly pinot blanc white, fermented in both barrel and tank. The attack is crisper, as mentioned, than previous versions, with bright, juicy citrus, nectarine, with that now-familiar dusting of Okanagan scrubby sagebrush and grass in the finish. Vivacious comes off the Home Lot Vineyard and boasts that bright Naramata, mid-valley demeanour. I love this wine with curry, so add your favourite protein or vegetable and stir.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Free Form Whitetext
89PTS

Free Form White 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFree Form White is a blend of pinot blanc, chardonnay and viognier, but it's more about the style than the grape varieties. Reminiscent of a hazy cider in the glass, there’s no second-guessing that this is an orange wine. It has an exotic nose with orange blossom, lily, and stemmy herbal notes. A lot is going on, and with excellent precision, too. Bone dry with racy acidity and a firm line of tannins forming the backbone, there’s fruit concentration here, leading to some unsurprising bitterness on the finish given the eight months of skin contact. For adventurous palates looking to go well outside of the status quo, this is a very good example of the style, and one that rewards contemplation and reflection.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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11 November 2019

Corazon del Sol Soleadotext
90PTS

Corazon del Sol Soleado 2013

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom their 17-acre estate in Uco's Los Chacayes, this blends malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from four prized acres. This spent two years in French oak (60% new) before bottling. Roasted meats open to a baked red/black fruit palate, thick with the potent Argentine sunshine, and framed with ample sticky tannins. Dark earth, dried herbs, linger on the warming finish. Best taken with equally significant roasted meats now.Prices: ON 54.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Corazon del Sol Vista Flores Vineyard Malbectext
92PTS

Corazon del Sol Vista Flores Vineyard Malbec 2015

Vista Flores, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe winery's only white label wine not made from estate fruit, and there's a good reason for that. This wine comes from Michel Rolland's vineyard at Clos del los Siete in Vista Flores. This malbec spent 14 months in 225L French oak (20% new). Dark fruit is tightly chiselled with acidity, lifting the savoury black cherry, wild cassis, roasted meats and stony base along lengthy tannins. Very polished, but taut and firm, allowing for drinking now and a few years in your cellar — 191 cases produced.Prices: ON 51.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Corazon del Sol Malbectext
88PTS

Corazon del Sol Malbec 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaRoasted meats and smoked fruit quickly yield to peppery, green-edged sapid, wood notes. Acidity is brisk and punchy, and ample tannins are worn and sanded. There's a disconnect between acid and wood at this young age, but nothing that a side of grilled meat wouldn't mitigate. The fruit is grown among the rocky soils of Uco's Los Chacayes at 1200m altitude. It is aged for a year in second and third use French oak.Prices: ON 35.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vinestext
89PTS

Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaNow super consistent, this blend of three mountain estate vineyards from 920 meters to 1450 meters is carefully overseen by Laura Catena and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil. Over the years, Catena has shed some oak in favour of fruit, and it is making a big difference. Bright, lively, juicy, and fun to drink, the palate is a pleasant mix of violets and red plums. The malbec grapes are given a five-day cold maceration at 8,8ºC to extract more lavish aromas without alcohol. Post ferment, it spends 12 months in a mix of first, second and third-year barrels.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 19.50 ON 19.95 NS 24.00 NB 23.29 PEI 24.00 SK 25.99 NF 23.90 MB 23.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Chateau Eugenie Tradition Cahorstext
88PTS

Chateau Eugenie Tradition Cahors 2015

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceA Cahors by way of Mendoza, the fruit is more pronounced than you’d typically expect for the former, with ripe blackberry and mulberry. It’s the palate that is more confounding, though. It’s surprisingly soft, with tart acidity that sticks out on the finish, making you wonder if it was acidified. It feels forced, like putting a square peg in a round hole. However, it’s an approachable style of Cahors that could be an excellent gateway for fans of Mendoza malbec.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Chateau Eugenie
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Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery Key Malbectext
84PTS

Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery Key Malbec 2016

Valle del Cachapoal, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileA confected malbec with jammy, nondescript black fruits followed by noticeable residual sugar on the palate — soft, smooth, and commercial in style. It speaks of winemaking more than anything else.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery
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Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reservatext
88PTS

Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserva 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaArgentine wine is continuing to reinvent itself, but this is firmly within the old guard style of malbec. The fruit is overshadowed by assertive oak, with loads of espresso and dark chocolate. Underneath are some jammy black fruits, which are not fully defined. Medium-full bodied, this has Mendoza's characteristic plush texture with good mid-palate weight, which can be a challenge with malbec. It would be nice to see the fruit come through more, but it's well made, and fans of big reds will find a lot to like here.Prices: CDN 21.99 QC 21.70 ON 19.95 Producer: Terrazas de los Andes
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Van Westen Vineyards Violetatext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Violeta 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the exceptional 2016 vintage, Violeta is 100 percent malbec from Van Westen’s Homelot Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. Yes, this has violets, but it also has wild dark fruits and a certain rustic charm. That said, if there’s an initial thought that this could be from Cahors, the silky palate certainly places this elsewhere. It’s not overly complex or lengthy, but it’s a well-balanced and exciting expression of Okanagan malbec, which continues to be underrated.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Domaine de Cause La Lande Cavagnactext
91PTS

Domaine de Cause La Lande Cavagnac 2015

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceLa Lande Cavagnac is the top wine from Domaine de Cause, which is sourced from a parcel of the estate’s old vines planted in the 1970s. Dense and savoury on the nose, this is classic rustic style Cahors that is perfect for the upcoming winter season (think hearty meals like Cassoulet). The palate is chewy and concentrated, and well outside of the stereotype of malbec, but it all comes together as a balanced whole, with a mineral backbone and excellent length. If you’re looking to start exploring southwest France, begin here — exceptional value that will undoubtedly reward careful cellaring.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Domaine de Cause
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Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbectext
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Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbec 2017

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Belhara estate is comprised of 3 vineyards with altitudes between 1100 and 1400 meters. Their 180 hectares of planted vineyards include vines up to 80 years old. This Single Vineyard bottling comes from some of their best plots in Gualtallary and aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Hugely perfumed, with ample violets, mulberries, blueberries, lusty raspberries, anise all filling a fuller, fleshy palate that is held aloft with a riveting acidity. Tannins are grippy but subtle; the ripe fruit and acidity gobbled up that new oak. Quite polished, while fresh, and ready for drinking now.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Belhara Estate
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Belhara Estate Amayan Malbectext
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Belhara Estate Amayan Malbec 2018

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Belhara estate is comprised of 3 vineyards with altitudes between 1100 and 1400 meters. Their 180 hectares of planted vineyards include vines up to 80 years old. It opens with ample dusky blueberries, violets lifting a ripe swell of perfumed purple and black fruits. Tannins are sticky, reflecting the unripened warmth of Tupungato, while the acidity is vibrant, thanks to the altitude. Ready for drinking now, preferably alongside grilled beef.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Belhara Estate
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Luigi Bosca Iconotext
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Luigi Bosca Icono 2011

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis has to be one of the heaviest bottles you'll pick up this year. A blend of 57 percent malbec and 43 cabernet sauvignon, this is sourced from low yielding 90+ year-old vines planted at 1,050m above sea level. Deep purple in colour, it pours like a youthful wine. However, it's at a lovely point of development right now, combining tertiary notes of cedar and underbrush with ripe black fruits and chocolatey oak. With 200 percent new French oak, the oak is not subtle, but it's balanced by the intensity and concentration of the fruit. It's a big wine to be sure, but it's also not lacking structure or freshness. Ideally, you'd tuck this away for another 2-3 years, but it is drinking well now.Prices: BC 137.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Luigi Bosca Malbec Terroir Las Miradorestext
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Luigi Bosca Malbec Terroir Las Miradores 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Bosca Malbec Terroir is sourced from Finca Los Miradores vineyard that sits at 1,150m above sea level in the Valle de Uco planted to a massal selection of malbec vines a decade ago. It’s ripe and extracted, with blackberry, cola, and blueberry in combination with toasty oak from ageing in 30 percent new French barriques. The fruit and oak work harmoniously, but this could benefit from additional time in the bottle to allow the wood to integrate further. The tannins are also firm and youthful, and demand a hearty protein if this is going to be opened tonight. It just doesn't quite have the freshness and purity of fruit of top examples.Prices: BC 52.99 AB 39.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Luigi Bosca Iconotext
91PTS

Luigi Bosca Icono 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe blend is fluid, but it revolves around the 50/50 mark of malbec and cabernet sauvignon made from 90-year-old vines. The 2015 vintage was cold by Mendoza, Uco Valley standards. The nose is lifted with intense black plums, red jam, spices, floral, roasted coffee beans. The attack is warm and rich, almost overwhelming the palate with more floral, meaty, rich fruit and a spicy, savoury aftertaste. The textures are silky, long, and warm, with freshness and lingering alcohol. It isn’t near ready to drink, but it would be okay with a leg of lamb or a grilled steak. Icono has a total of 18 months of ageing in barrels. Each variety is aged separately in new oak for six months before they are married another 12 months in more new French oak barrels. It was bottled without filtering.Prices: BC 137.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expressiontext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expression 2017

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new release under the Winemaker Series label that blends 63 percent malbec with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, all out of the Similkameen Valley. The initial attack is intense with a slurry of black and blue fruits redolent of blackberries, blueberries, and brown baking spices. The tannins are youthful after 15 months in French oak. No rush here; this needs time to settle in and find its mojo. That said, it should be well-received and will age effortlessly through 2022.Prices: BC 32.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expressiontext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expression 2017

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpression is a new small-lot malbec, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc blend, sourced from the Similkameen Valley. Potent and intense, thick with ripe blueberries, blackberry jam, dusky plums, perfumed violets, and heaps of baking spices coating the palate. Tannins are lined with fresh hewn, sanded wood spicing. After harvesting and fermenting each vineyard block separately, this was blended and aged in French oak for 15 months before bottling unfined. Very young still, and showing it, this needs some time to settle and mellow, or a giant thick rib eye now.Prices: BC 32.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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08 November 2019

The Hatch Hobo Series Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

The Hatch Hobo Series Gewurztraminer 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first-ever Hobo Series gew won't be easy to track down with sales confined to the cellar door, select restaurants and retailers, but it is well worth tracking down. The ferment is all stainless steel and aged on lees for eight months. The fruit comes off the Palo Solera Vineyard in East Kelowna and leads with a fragrant, dry, electric styling that spells food-friendly. This is the 5th installment of the Hobo Series, and it’s a good one. As for the hobo connection, The Hatch says “[if] you go to Alsace this grape produces some of the most ethereal wines in the world. Outside Alsace? Hasn’t happened. This chap, though, brings the big aromatics, exotic flavours and rich texture that would make its Alsace cousins proud.”Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: The Hatch
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St. Hubertus Great White Northtext
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St. Hubertus Great White North 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Great White North is a blend of estate gewürztraminer, chasselas, and riesling, in transition to organics. There's a bump of sweetness sharpened by a piercing acidity, housing a juicy palate of anise, apricot, honeydew and a powdered bitter orange on the warming flush finish. Best with a brisk chill, and pairing with chilled, fragrant Asian noodle dishes.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Meyer Gewurztraminertext
90PTS

Meyer Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFinally a BC gewürztraminer that absolutely nails typicity and transmits vineyard site. It's a tricky grape to manage, with perilously low acidity, powerful aromatics, and a tendency to fatness. Not so this streamlined, perfumed gewürztraminer from winemaker Chris Carson, who is confident and minimalist, as witnessed by his refined, restrained, and graceful pinots and chardonnays. Lychee, rose petals, orange peel, and a hint of herbed sausage prepares the tastebuds for flavours of peach, vibrant citrus, and delicate botanicals. It is both broad in flavour, yet contoured in body and alcohol. Meyer's Okanagan Falls gewürztraminer vineyard is nicely mature, helping deliver such articulate fruit. Clever winemaking gives a little skin contact, and time in used French barrels, plus suppressed MLF, keeps acids as sharp as possible. The emollient texture will dovetail smoothly with porkchops or rich Thai green curry.Prices: BC 18.12 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Township 7 7 Blanctext
87PTS

Township 7 7 Blanc 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 7 Blanc is a mix of gewürztraminer, pinot gris, viognier, riesling, and muscat, designed to deliver "summer in a glass." The wine is refreshingly unoaked, and there is a light, mineral, fresh undercurrent to mount a balancing effect to the exotic floral, tropical notes of rose petals, ginger, litchi and pear flavours drenched in citrus and spice. Thai anyone?Prices: BC 18.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Mayhem Gewurztraminertext
86PTS

Mayhem Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe vines are 25 years old and originate from cuttings of a German variety, and the clusters are pressed whole to retain its delicate aromatics, although the word delicate might be a stretch. A bit of lees time is the best solution to keeping gewurztraminer from running away from itself in the glass with an over-exuberant, litchi fruit character. It’s a solid effort and ready to drink. Capable of matching most dishes with spice or sweetness that would overpower a completely dry wine.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2018

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy and alive with BC sagebrush herbal notes that dart among roses, lychee, and stonefruit. It's on the restrained side, with as much savoury character as tropical fruit flavours. Dry with balancing acidity and a pleasant oily texture that expresses gewurztraminer's nature. The finish shows a touch of astringency that is also correct for the grape, and will link nicely to charcuterie or a deluxe grilled cheese. A statement of good value.Prices: BC 16.99 SK 21.59 MB 16.99 QC 19.00 NB 19.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Thornhaven Gewurztraminertext
90PTS

Thornhaven Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExtravagant nose with diagnostic gewürztraminer aromas: lychee, Turkish delight, orange peel, heady blossoms, and cosmetics. Similar flavours suffuse the palate in quite a rich way, with marmalade, baked apples, and peach nectar. There is surprisingly bright acidity that counters a touch of sweetness on the finish that is entirely appropriate. Another strong effort from Thornhaven, and one for roasted turkey or baked ham.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Thornhaven Estates Winery
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminertext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminer 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear after year this Gewürztraminer displays a pleasing correctness for the variety. It's an extravagant grape, and the JoieFarm team give it full rein: lychee, honey, orange blossom and Turkish delight are focused and pure. The palate has richness, spice, a touch of bacon fat, and it's a little chubby and boozy, also appropriate for the style that self-consciously emulates ripe, fulsome Alsatian thoroughbreds. The finish is clean, essentially dry, and fruit-fuelled, but well refreshed by acidity to help wash down the platter of charcuterie you'll need to accompany. Confident Gewürztraminer that is made with care and vision.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Seaside Pearl Matsqui Prairie Gewurztraminertext
84PTS

Seaside Pearl Matsqui Prairie Gewurztraminer 2018

CanadaMelon, pear, and apple under a distracting odour of sulphur. The palate shows fruit at first, but is quickly overtaken by bitter and astringent flavours. Slippery in the mouth with soft acidity and a sugary finish, this is overall rustic and a touch clumsy. The price seems a little steep for this naive winemaking.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reservetext
86PTS

Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reserve 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis opens with a distinct nose that shows a little lychee, pear, peach, and gewürztraminer's typical laundry soap. The flavours are uncomplicated and spicy, with sweet apple sauce, fuzzy peach and a dusting of herbs. On the oily side, with softish acidity and a floral cologne finish that is largely dry. Holds its balance fine, and while not multifaceted, it's a clean and straightforward drop that has always been a dependable Okanagan standby.Prices: BC 13.99 AB 16.00 ON 10.45 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Gewürztraminertext
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CedarCreek Gewürztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's no surprise to me that this Gewürztraminer is precise, expressive and well-made. The quality at this East Kelowna winery surges year upon year, and the prices for the estate range are more than reasonable. This heads in the exotic direction with a showy nose of rose and peaches, and a hint of lychee and Turkish delight. There is a honeyed sweetnesss to the aromas which helps prepare the palate for focused stonefruit and orange citrus flavours, and perfectly pitched sweetness. A swell of acidity on the finish keeps everything in balance, fresh and inviting, courtesy of the 2018 vintage which presented a cool, acid-boosting August. As is typical at CedarCreek, there is meticulous winegrowing and winemaking behind each wine. A portion of the grapes were foot-trodden to gently coax out Gewurztraminer's heady perfume, and winemaker Taylor Whelan opted for steel tanks for a cool, aroma-retaining ferment. Chill nicely and pair with a juicy pork chop, or a savoury Alastian quiche.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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07 November 2019

Poplar Grove Merlottext
87PTS

Poplar Grove Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou can feel some heat upfront on the nose and body of this mature black-fruited red with a strong licorice undercurrent. Round, if a little bit rustic, it is ready to drink, and I suggest you serve it with grilled duck or a mushroom risotto to help smooth out the finish.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s an intriguing mix of raspberries dusted in sage and mixed with juicy cherries. The structure is mid-weight, the acidity is bright and tangy with a finish that comes with a whiff of bitters. It is more of a sommelier wine with its sharp edges and tones, but it will be fun to have with food. I like the adventurous winery suggestion of serving this with Japanese-style beef dishes or Chinese crispy duck. Approximately 50% of the berries were left whole and uncrushedPrices: BC 34.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Quails' Gate Merlottext
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Quails' Gate Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is textbook Okanagan sagebrush with big roasted coffee and red fruit aromas. The attack is dry and muscular, with a substantial amount of tannin. The palate is more coffee, licorice, and black fruit, with a firm tannic finish that smothers the wine at this point. This will need five years minimum to open up and find itself. It is an anomaly for merlot, usually delivering much earlier on in life. The wine was fermented in stainless and pumped over for a month for additional extraction (maybe too much) before spending 18 months in French oak. Best served now with slowly braised barbecue beef ribs or a simple peppercorn steak.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 17.99 SK 26.00 MB 27.00 ON 27.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Four Shadows Merlottext
90PTS

Four Shadows Merlot 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI first encountered this fruit via Upper Bench when they made an impressive 2013 using neighbours Wilbert and Joka Borrens' merlot grapes. 2017 hits all the marks you would expect from the Naramata Bench, with fruit more red than black, flavours as bright as the acidity, and just the right enough wood to let the fruit shine through. Look for a blackcurrant and raspberry affair that fishes polished and elegant. Food-friendly; roast chicken and mushrooms seem a good bet for dinner. Delicious.Prices: BC 19.98 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Black Sage Vineyard Merlottext
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Black Sage Vineyard Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSuch a pretty merlot combining pure pleasure with just the right amount of serious structure. Sweet, forward, plummy flavours are flecked with graphite, savoury leafiness, and sage fragrance. Firm tannins are plump and inviting, and bright acidity refreshes every sip. I really admire the inky, vinous finish. Lots of wine for the price.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 29.95 Producer: Black Sage Vineyard
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The Hatch Merletext
88PTS

The Hatch Merle 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerle may be the newest hobo at the Hatch, but he is far from the littlest. Named after the blackbirds that specifically feast on this grape variety near harvest, possibly reducing the yields in a good way, the Merle became the namesake of this merlot. And with that, Merle, the grape thief, was born. The wine is a smoky mix of powerful black fruits, and rich tannins all with a twist of acidity to keep it fresh. There is no rush here. In fact, I suspect two to three years will allow this wine to gather itself and show its true mettle in 2022. If you must open it now, pair it with a well-marbled steak.Prices: BC 28.74 Producer: The Hatch
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06 November 2019

El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Years Oldtext
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El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Years Old NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThis Bodega was started by master carpenter José Antonio Sierra in 1832, after he decided he could make better sherries than the producers he was suppling barrels to. Against the will of the large Sherry houses, his little outfit became one of the top Almacenistas. This super salty, bone dry amontillado spent 12 years in solera, mostly under the protective power of flor, but with oxidative aging in the end. Salt roasted almonds, scents of dark caramel, brown butter, linger on the very lengthy finish. Ideal tapas wine; bring on the salt and fried fishes.Prices: BC 25.00 375 Producer: Bodegas El Maestro Sierra
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Lustau Almacenista José Luis González Obregón Amontillado del Puertotext
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Lustau Almacenista José Luis González Obregón Amontillado del Puerto NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThe Spanish word almacenista means warehousekeeper or wholesaler. In Sherry-speak, Almacenistas are generally small family businesses that buy or produce young base wines, and mature them in soleras for several years. Once (semi-)mature, they are sold to larger houses for blending, or in special growers / instances, produced as a single wine, like this. There once were over 50 almacenistas in the Jerez area, now there are fewer than twenty. José Luis González Obregón has three wines in Lustau's Almacenista range, with Lustau being the first to spotlight these wines / growers. Rich, dry, beauty, with roasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts throughout. This complexed and layered wine weaves caramel, orange oil, chamomile, preserved lemons, lightly smoked marine salts over and over, cascading the umami flavours on the palate and hauntingly long finish. Such a mesmerizing wine, and great reminder to drink more sherry.Prices: BC 55.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Amontilladotext
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Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Amontillado NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThe Spanish word almacenista means warehousekeeper or wholesaler. In Sherry-speak, Almacenistas are generally small family businesses that buy or produce young base wines, and mature them in soleras for several years. Once (semi-)mature, they are sold to larger houses for blending, or in special growers / instances, produced as a single wine, like this. There once were over 50 almacenistas in the Jerez area, now there are fewer than twenty. Manuel Cuevas Jurado is a small almacenista in the Calle Trabajadero in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Lustau includes two of his wines in their Almacenista series, and were the first to spotlight these wines / growers. This Amontillado first aged as a Manzanilla for 5-6 years before ageing another 7 years or so in an oxidative way. Roasted almonds, burnished orange, flake salts, dried tobacco, mint, a whisper of smoke and orange peel are interwoven on the medium-bodied, lightly plump, bone dry, and very long palate. The saltiness rings of Sanlucar, while the long, caramel-kissed finish hints at its length in wood. A beaut.Prices: BC 55.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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Lustau East India Solera Sherrytext
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Lustau East India Solera Sherry NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainEast India Solera is a sweetened Oloroso. The name refers to the East India Company, a British trading company that transported cotton, silk, spices, tea, saltpetre and other commodities from the East Indies. Lustau's East India references the historic seafaring tradition, and is made from a selection of approximately 80% oloroso and 20% pedro ximénez butts that have aged separately, and then blended and put into a solera for 3 years. This is a potent, sweeter style, around 130 g/l of sugar, placing it in the Cream category. Potent with tobacco, maple, figs, baked orange, espresso, and creamy milk chocolate. The oloroso salty, walnutty edge is welcome, cutting across px's dense sweetness. The warming (20 degree) finish lingers with sugar roasted walnuts and orange oil. Best as an accompaniment to maple tarts or rum pudding.Prices: BC 32.99 500 ON 24.00 500 QC 24.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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05 November 2019

Podere di Pomaio Rosanticotext
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Podere di Pomaio Rosantico 2018

Arezzo, Tuscany, ItalyThis deep-hued sangiovese rosé opens with a puff of reduction, which quickly blows off to reveal a thicker / glycerol-lined palate of rhubarb, red candy apple, and tart cranberry acidity, finishing with a big grip. A bit overt, and at 14% a bit overdone. Serving it well chilled is necessary.Prices: Italy 21.00 Producer: Podere di Pomaio
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Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence Rosétext
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Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FranceThis pale pink+ hued rose typifies Côtes de Provence, with its scrubby dried herbs, wild strawberries, and infiltrating peppercorns. This blend of syrah, grenache, cinsault, and mourvèdre is dry and crisp, slicked with a moderate pad of lees, and seasoned with oranges, and pink florals. Enough peppery bite to take on hearty charcuterie, but enough refinement to sip solo.Prices: BC 22.98 Producer: Henri Gaillard
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Villa Teresa Rosétext
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Villa Teresa Rosé 2018

Veneto, ItalyPouring a pale peach hue, this organic, dry rosé blends Venetian raboso and merlot into a subtle strawberry, orange swirl. Fresh and minimal, this finishes with a welcome saline wash. An impressive showing, at a fantastic price, and welcome with any number of foodstuffs.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Pulpoloco Garnacha Rosadotext
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Pulpoloco Garnacha Rosado NV

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainThis grenache rosé is grown in Zaragoza's Campo de Borja DO, in the Northeast of Spain. It is surprisingly fresh and light with bright citrus, raspberry, and a lightly peppery finish. A tapas wine for sure but will work on any patio in the summer or with any charcuterie dish otherwise. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Pulpoloco
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Four Shadows Rosétext
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Four Shadows Rosé 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFour Shadows Winery is a new label in BC, though the vineyard and owners have been part of the landscape for a while. Wilbert and Joka Borrens moved to the Okanagan in 2011, purchasing a 17-acre vineyard in Naramata Bench, and without any viticultural background, they jumped into wine life. They sold their grapes to wineries for seven years, until they slowly started making wines with the assistance of consultant winemakers. In 2018 it was French-born, Okanagan-based, Pascal Madevon, and this sweetly ripe pinot noir rosé is very reminiscent of Madevon's fingerprint. Strawberry jam lines the fuller, glycerol palate, joined by fine peppery spicing. Showy, but simple, this gives a quick burst of ripe sweetness before it fades away, and is best well chilled and solo. I am looking forward to seeing where they take this label in the future.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Domaine Rolet Aquarelle Rosétext
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Domaine Rolet Aquarelle Rosé 2018

Arbois, Jura, FrancePouring a lovely salmon hue, this poulsard rose comes from 40+ year old vines in clay and gravels, and was native fermented and rested in stainless. Subtle crushed florals, wild raspberry, spring rhubarb, and heaps of salty minerality flow throughout this bone dry, slender, savoury pink. An alluring peppercorn/sea salt lingers on the finish. Very, very moreish.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet
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Willakenzie Estate Rosétext
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Willakenzie Estate Rosé 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesSunset pinky orange, this Willamette Valley rosé looks very pretty in the glass, and smells just as attractive, with wild berries, currant leaf, and overt earthiness. Bone dry, juicy strawberry flavours layer a very creamy palate, which is a delightful aspect of this textured, slightly salty rosé. Savoury and slimmed by cleansing, lemony high acidity, it's a natural with fatty food like pork belly or smoked salmon, but also complete enough to gulp just a chilled glass. Mostly pinot noir, there is a dash of meunier and pinot blanc to keep things lively. No reason to not drink this purposeful rosé well into the cold weather.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Willakenzie Estate
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Mayhem Rosétext
87PTS

Mayhem Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Mayhem pink is a lightly coloured merlot grown on the Anarchist Mountain Vineyard in Osoyoos. A cool ferment was racked off its gross lees and left for one month on fine lees, stirred weekly. Like the entire lineup, the rosé strikes all the right notes for the price, mixing savoury orange and raspberry with a fresh, bright, spicy finish. Ready to drink and priced accordingly.Prices: BC 19.13 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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01 November 2019

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernettext
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Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2017

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaSurprisingly fresh and red-fruited, it jumps from the glass with peppery, plummy fruit. Crafted through blending, it appears this label is moving away from the ripe black fruit toward a cool-climate version. Long and soft, its raspberry/chocolate finish solidifies the structure, acidity, and appeal of a wine that will age a decade or more. The 77/23 blend of shiraz/cabernet sauvignon represents the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek and Coonawarra.Prices: BC 19.49 AB 15.50 ON 17.00 SK 18.00 MB 16.00 NS 18.00 NF 17.50 NB 18.50 PEI 12.50 QC 18.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2015

British Columbia, CanadaSignature, as the name implies, is the signature wine of this Similkameen winery. The big five Bordeaux red grapes are in play here: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec come from the estate vineyard, as well as nearby vineyards in Keremeos and Cawston. After destemming and a cold soak, this was partial native fermented and then transferred to French oak for 15 months aging. Rich and dense with southern sunned fruit: thick blackberries, cassis, baked raspberry, is scented with vanilla, and bound by furry, wood-borne tannins. The acidity is a pleasant 13.8 degrees, squeezing a lot of youthful impact into a medium+ frame. This can drink well now in youth, with a decant and a medium steak, but will reward with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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The Hermittext
89PTS

The Hermit 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new release from Kismet Winery, designed and blended by long-time BC wine agent educator, turned negociant Ingo Grady. The Hermit is a nod to the old French custom of dosing or Hermitageing a Bordeaux red blend with a bump of extra-strength syrah. The combination features a 60/18/15/7 mix of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, syrah and malbec. After all the tough talk, this is a pleasantly soft, juicy, easy-sipping red with a dusting of spice that slides down effortlessly. Reminiscent of a South Australia/Languedoc cross.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Santa Julia Magnatext
87PTS

Santa Julia Magna 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA blend of 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent malbec, and 10 percent syrah, this high altitude blend was sourced from Valle de Uco and aged for twelve months in barrel. This seems to be more about the oak than the fruit, with lots of chocolate and wood spice notes. If you’re able to look past the assertive oak, the underlying fruit is impressive for this price point, with fresh, vibrant blueberry and blackberry. Another solid value from Santa Julia.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Heartland Stickleback Redtext
86PTS

Heartland Stickleback Red 2015

South Australia, AustraliaFrom winemaker Ben Glaetzer, this entry-level blend is 74 percent cabernet sauvignon, 24 percent shiraz, and 2 percent lagrein, aged for 12 months in French and American oak. It's a relatively fresh, easy drinking style of red, and heavy on cabernet character with sweet herbs and fresh red currant. Not overly complex or meant for serious contemplation, it's a solid Tuesday night pour. At four years of age, it’s just beginning to show some tertiary influence. Fine value.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 14.00 SK 14.95 MB 15.00 ON 14.00 Producer: Heartland Wines
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée No 21text
93PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée No 21 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted twice this week to same effect. There is more spice and Okanagan sagebrush breaking through since June, but all in all, it remains a terrific bottle of youthful wine. It was an excellent year to launch a red blend, one with all the red grapes grown at Phantom Creek Vineyard. It was picked between September 26 and October 15. Only 13 barrels were made, and the mix is 38/26/15/8/8/5/ of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, syrah, cabernet franc and merlot. Climate change and impeccable farming have given cabernet sauvignon a foothold in the south Okanagan. It's not a get out of jail free card for the stubborn variety, but it's evident in the right spot and the right year with perfect farming it can over-deliver in a way California or Bordeaux can. The fruit, while intense and on edge, covers the palate, aided by the structure and bones of the cabernet sauvignon. The rest of the grapes work to fill in the flesh and texture and easily mingle as one to a fabulous finish. If anything the syrah could go away, but then it wouldn’t be all the red grapes. Style with grace and power. Kudos to former winemaker Ross Wise and the Phantom Creek team.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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