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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: September 2020

25 September 2020

Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlanted 2006, from the Summerland home block. Alberto pushes for this organic pinot gris to just be called Switchback, because this singular, savoury PG is very much unlike any other. It is all about place. Lovely perfumed pear, subtle toasted stone, smoked nut, earthy fine lees, reflective of the silty, gravelly soils. So much concentration here, with ample texture and a distinct desert sage and mineral salt note. From 2018 onwards, this had the white label. As always, this wine improves with time in the bottle, and will reward in your cellar.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOff their southern Okanagan estates, this fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees until bottling the following spring. Creamy and softer on the medium+ palate, with ripe pear, white peach, and fine, fuzzy spices on the brief finish. Older style, best met with a good chill and peach / melon and prosciutto.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigiotext
91PTS

Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio 2018

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe abbazia (abbey) of Novacella has been around since the 12th century at the Northern end of Alto Adige’s Isarco Valley, on the steep slopes of the Dolomites. Vines have been growing in the area for at least 850 years. The abbasia own many vineyards, and farm many others based on ancient relationships. Forget what you know about not grigio; this is serious stuff. Tight, nervy, mineral-driven, with crisp pear, green apple, lemon verbena streaking across the sleek, subtle palate. The finish hums with stoniness. Beautifully structured, and alive, we wish more grigio could achieve these heights.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Abbazia di Novacella
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Castello di Roncade Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Castello di Roncade Pinot Grigio 2019

Veneto, ItalyThis estate was founded in 1508, and the current family has owned the historic property since the early 1900’s. The entire estate is farmed organically. This is a classic grigio, through its steely tight pear, lemon blossom, and subtle leesy / hay notes. This one, however, finishes crystal clear and bright, with a snappiness that welcomes another glass.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Castello di Roncade
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Spearhead Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyardtext
89PTS

Spearhead Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyard 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGolden Retreat Vineyard is in Summerland, perhaps ground zero for pinot gris. Winemaker Grant Stanley likes sleek wines, and 2019 is that. It is all hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. Ther ferment is 90 percent cold fermented in stainless steel, and 10 percent is fermented in two year old French oak barrels. Clean fresh, and electric, there is just enough fruit with a small hit of residual sugar and flesh to balance the lean acid backbone, giving the wine its life. Ready to drink and well priced, you can serve this with a myriad of seafood choices.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Gris 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaPinot Gris gets a bad rap in BC and rightfully so for some of the toss-in-the-towel, fruit salad offerings we see, but it is possible to rise above the swamp and do something more interesting, and it starts with place and winemaking. At Blue Grouse, where some of the oldest pinot gris vines (34 years) in BC live, the story is different. Two southwest blocks facing south boast low yields. It is 100% organically farmed and mostly dry farmed. 2019 was hot and dry, with a cool period and some rain in early September that delayed maturity and allowed for full ripeness. 30 percent of the juice was pressed off and placed into one year old French oak barrels for fermentation, while the balance is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Both go through spontaneous and full malolactic fermentation, as evidenced by the rich, but not too rich, creamy mouthfeel. The nose is a mix of bright green apple and citrus with correctly measured flecks of butterscotch and vanilla. A full 30 percent of the wine spends three months in new oak with little effect on the whole. Try this with any favourite seafood, and even with lightly spiced items.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Mayhem Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Mayhem Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA joint project from siblings Terry Meyer Stone (of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards), and JAK Meyer (of Meyer Family Vineyards), this comes from vineyards in East Kelowna, Kelowna, and Naramata. All were whole bunch pressed and fermented separately, and aged on lees for 8 months prior to being bottled. 10% overall saw time in neutral oak. Cushy and plump with peach, tight pear, stgarfruit, red apple on a subtle palate, finishing with a dusting of spice. Easy, friendly, and ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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24 September 2020

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
94PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn a recent vertical tasting, we had the chance to taste the Queen Taken Chardonnay from its inaugural 2013 vintage through the upcoming 2017 release. Queen Taken is a single vineyard wine located Southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley site is predominantly gravelly and coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils - rubble that originated from the fluvial fan deposits of the mountain above. Its exposition welcomes a very early and warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day thanks to the shadow of Mount Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity, an Okanagan Valley signature. Our first look at 2017 is favourable. The fruit was harvested by hand on September 14th after several weeks of smoky skies, but with no nearby fires, the was no immediate effect. The smoky inversion layer did ramp up mildew that thrived in the humid air, so you had to be on top of that, and as you might expect, they were at Checkmate. The wine was made in three batches mixing wild ferments and various other percentages of inoculated yeasts. The nose is a lovely floral affair with threads of wet stone/mineral note mixed with ripe tropical melons and citrus. The palate is equally intense nectarine orange marmalade notes with a dash of exotic litchi fruit. Only 8 barrels were made — all French oak, and 44 percent were new; the remaining barrels range from one to four fills. The texture and mouthfeel are as refined as it can be and bodes well for another three to five years of bottle ageing.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
93PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQueen Taken is a single vineyard wine located southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley soils are predominantly a gravel-based mix of coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils that are the washed down rubble of the fluvial fans that define the Golden Mile sub-GI below Mount Kobau. Its exposition welcomes a very early warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day thanks to the early evening shadows cast by Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity: an Okanagan Valley signature. There's lots of finesse here, with some surprisingly piquant notes, ripe melons, and even a touch of rosewater to round out the palate. It was a fire year, but winemaker Philip McGahan picked early and got the fresher result he was looking for from the fruit. It should be fun to watch this age. Love the intensity and power, but as mentioned, with a certain Okanagan savoury finesse. It is in a perfect place now.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
92PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQueen Taken is a single vineyard wine located Southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley soils are predominantly a gravel-based mix of coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils that are the washed down rubble of the fluvial fans that define the Golden Mile sub-GI below Mount Kobau. Its exposition welcomes a very early warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day thanks to the early evening shadows cast by Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity, an Okanagan Valley signature. It's been a while since we last tasted this vintage, but it is holding on with tenacity. 2014 was a warm year, but the McGahan picked with enough acidity to balance off the ripe fruit and give it obvious freshness even now in the mouth. Citrus peel, white peaches, tropical fruit, and some barrel reduction notes bump up against a whack of mineral/flinty/wet stone character, helping to freshen the wine. Longer hang time and night picking further sharpened the edges. It is at its peak right now. It was 88 percent wild fermented, and the final wine was aged 16 months in French oak barrels, of which just under half were new. The final production was limited to seven barrels. Impressive and ready for a lobster feast.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
91PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQueen Taken is a single vineyard wine located southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley soils are predominantly a gravel-based mix of coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils that are the washed down rubble of the fluvial fans that define the Golden Mile sub-GI below Mount Kobau. Its exposition welcomes a very early warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day thanks to the early evening shadows cast by Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity: an Okanagan Valley signature. Queen Taken 2013 has an odd mix of aromatics and richness, although at this point, it is the more decadent fatter style and butterscotch that are winning out. It is time to drink this inaugural release that has given its all up until now. Full malolactic is behind some of that richness, but it is mostly time slipping away. Drink this up by next spring and move forward with younger vintages.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnaytext
94PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQueen Taken is a single vineyard wine located southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley soils are predominantly a gravel-based mix of coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils that are the washed down rubble of the fluvial fans that define the Golden Mile sub-GI below Mount Kobau. Its exposition welcomes a very early warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day heat thanks to the early evening shadows cast by Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity: an Okanagan Valley signature. Queen Taken Chardonnay is all about the 45-year-old vines of Dekleva Vineyard. It is the coolest Checkmate vineyard site that sits beside the newly renovated winery. Production-wise, the site was ready for the 2016 chardonnay crush, giving that year a leg up in production values over previous harvests. There was no rush to pick in 2016, and winemaker Phil McGahan got all he could from the site. The nose is sensational, mixing minerality, wet stones, stone fruit, and freshness that draws you into the glass. The palate is intense with silky textures, deep nectarine flecked with ripe red apples and perfect acidity. Texture, mouthfeel, minerality, length: it is all here, and will be through 2024 and beyond.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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23 September 2020

Hester Creek Garlandtext
91PTS

Hester Creek Garland 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGarland is an ode to cabernet sauvignon and the Golden Mile Bench. It was named after Hester Creek owner Curt Garland and first appeared in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original planting of vinifera vines in 1968. The cab dominates the blend at 84 percent, with the remaining grapes made up of a mix of petit verdot, malbec, and merlot. The fruit is selected from low cropped older vines inside the 115-acre, 52-year-old vineyard. 2017 is the third Garland to be released, and each year it gets better. What began as a celebration of 50 years in the vineyard has morphed into the winery's best red. The blend spends roughly 18 months in mostly medium+ toast French barriques. The attack is dry and linear as cabernet sauvignon tends to be, but there is a sense of style, and while the tannins are dense, they are ripe. Pure black fruit reminds of cassis, dark plums, and black currants. It will age effortlessly through 2027. Best now with grilled meats. Hats off to winemaker Mark Hopley.Prices: BC 55.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Grill Master's Choice Red Blend Baixartext
86PTS

Grill Master's Choice Red Blend Baixar NV

Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileAs you might expect, this is an everyday red that is ready to drink. The theme of the match is barbecue, and we suggest ribs. Puntí Ferrer conceived the wine, and the fruit comes out of the Rapel Valley well south of the city of Santiago. The blend is a mix of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot. This is a cherry chocolate affair that hits the right notes for the price.Prices: BC 14.50 Producer: Puntí Ferrer
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Burrowing Owl Athenetext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Athene 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada57% syrah, 43% cabernet sauvignon comes from BOW's estate BSB vineyard, and were cofermented before moving into a mix of French, American, Hungarian wood, with 25% new, for 18 months. This was bottled unfiltered. Swinging reductive and showing syrah's wild and meaty side, this is scented with Okanagan scrub, and structured with the red fruited and pencil shavings from the cabernet. A well put together blend, drinking smartly now, and will continue with cellar time.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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21 September 2020

Burrowing Owl Meritagetext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom estate vineyards in the southern Okanagan, this vintage blends 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec, all vinified and fermented separately, and then barrel aged 14 months before the final blend. This wine has benefitted from the additional time in bottle, now revealing a plush, integrated fuller red with dark plum, cassis, raspberry jam, cushioned with plump, subtly spiced tannins. This is a wine well matched to a very special steak, or occasion, now.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Clos de los Sietetext
90PTS

Clos de los Siete 2017

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom Canton de Tunuyàn, in Vistaflores, Valle de Uco, the posh 2017 Michel Rolland-led Clos de la Siete is a blend of 52% Malbec, 21% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 7% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were grown on clay / sand soils at 1100m. Post-ferment, this spent 11 months in 70 % in French oak (1/3 new), with the remainder in stainless vats, until bottling, without fining or filtration. Smooth as silk, with ample perfumed violets, iris, ripe blueberries showing malbec's dominance in the blend. Right behind is a hug of plummy merlot, before the structure of cabernet sauvignon chimes in with some medicinal cherry notes. This is meant for drinking now, upon release, but will certainly suit short term cellaring. Whenever you crack, grilled beef and veg needs be on the menu, as intended.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 19.95 ON 23.95 MB 24.99 Producer: Clos de los Siete
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Lunessence Crescendotext
88PTS

Lunessence Crescendo 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrescendo is a 43/40/9/8 blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot grown in the Oliver area of the south Okanagan. It’s aged for a 13 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak. The style is warm and rich with a ripe black currant attack on the nose and palate, but at 13.5 percent, it remains balanced. The finish is smooth with more oak and savoury, sweet black fruit and liquorice. It will be ready to drink by 2021 and should continue to improve and age through 2025. Best with lamb or beef at the moment.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Redtext
94PTS

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate Reserve is the king of reds at Clos du Soleil. Only 96 cases were made in 2016, perhaps the finest vintage ever for BC reds. The grapes are farmed following biodynamic principles en route to organic certification. This blend is a 33/32/20/12/3 mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and malbec. Each variety is fermented on its own and spends 18 months in French oak barrels before the cuvée is put together. This wine has the potential to wow the wine world from the get go, thanks to its savoury, complex aromas of cassis and desert scrub. The palate is alive, not to mention electric, boasting multiple layers of black cherries, plums, and graphite, and great acidity before dense, sweet, rounded tannins fill in the finish. Impressively balanced at the beginning of its life, this wine will age gracefully for 25 years. It’s bottled without fining or filtration to stay whole.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Château Tour Baladoz Saint-Émilion Grand Crutext
89PTS

Château Tour Baladoz Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2004

Saint Émilion, Libourne, Bordeaux, FranceFrom the limestone plateau of Saint-Émilion, this merlot is tipped with cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. After 15-30 days on skins in concrete and stainless, fermented by plot, this was tipped into barrels for 18 months (70% new). Classic right bank, with ample leather, pencil, brooding dark cherry, baked plum, and dense tobacco, this still holds a sheen of bright acidity and remarkably ample tannins, still with a grippy edge to a drying finish. Decant and drink now, with sauced beef or mushroom medallions.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Château Tour Baladoz
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River Stone Stones Throwtext
89PTS

River Stone Stones Throw 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone Winery lies just south of McIntyre Bluff, north of Oliver town centre in the south Okanagan Valley. Corner Stone is a blend of 33/24/22/17/4 merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot, all grown at their estate River Rock Vineyard. The wine was aged in 33 percent new French oak for approximately 12 months, and after the final blend, it goes back in barrel for six months. It is a rich, fruity, black plum red with subtle minerality and length. The finish is a long line of spicy desert sagebrush flecked with coffee and smoke. Impressive but young and will need time. Another notch above the Stones Throw.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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River Stone Corner Stonetext
90PTS

River Stone Corner Stone 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone Winery lies just south of McIntyre Bluff, north of Oliver town centre in the south Okanagan Valley. Corner Stone is a blend of 33/24/22/17/4 merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot, all grown at their estate River Rock Vineyard. The wine was aged in 33 percent new French oak for approximately 12 months, and after the final blend, it goes back in barrel for six months. The wine was barrel aged an additional six months before final filtering and bottling. This is a rich, fruity, black plum red with subtle minerality and length. The finish is a long line of spicy desert sagebrush flecked with coffee and smoke. Impressive but young and will need time. Another notch above the Stones Throw.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Burrowing Owl Meritagetext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Meritage blends 59% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 18% cabernet franc, and 3% petit verdot, into a mix of 80% French, 20% Hungarian wood (20% new), where it remains for 18 months. Alain Sutre consults with BOV, and most importantly, on this wine, their flagship. Cedar, pencil shavings, red fruit are reflective of the higher portion of cab sauv in this vintage, as is the structural component. Merlot plushes out the middle, while cab franc adds a herbal branchiness. Quite a made wine, with each component quite disparate at this point, though with a serving of roast beef, all will come together.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Redtext
93PTS

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI've tasted a number of great wines from the 2016 vintage, and this is one of the best yet. It's a wow wine: not in its ripeness or richness, but rather its detail, elegance, and transparency. It keeps drawing you back in, with layers of vibrant black fruits, dried herbs, cedar, and crushed stones. This wouldn't be out of place in a line-up of Bordeaux classified growths. Not because this wine is trying to be something that it's not, but because it's that good. It’s drinking exceptionally well now thanks not only to its refined tannins and juicy acidity, but also the fact that the winery has kept this back in the cellar prior to release. A complete wine that will continue to age gracefully for years; you'll look back and wonder how you bought this for just over $50.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Redtext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOnly 96 cases of this wine, the pinnacle of their organically / biodynamically farmed estate terroir, was made in 2016. This vintage was a blend of 33% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 20% cabernet franc, 12% petit verdot, and 3% malbec. Each variety was fermented separately, and then rested in French barrels for 18 months prior to the blend. The finished wine was bottled without fining or filtration. This, the 2016, is a new release. Savoury and complexed from first sip, with layers of dusty graphite, wild blackberry, ripe plum, cassis, cedar, pencil shavings on a generously juicy core. The finish lingers with a mineral hum. Best with a slight chill, and something from the grill.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Church and State Signature Meritagetext
89PTS

Church and State Signature Meritage 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meritage is a well made blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Balanced from the front to the back, with savoury, round, soft fruit, lush textures, and low tannins with a touch of smoke and oak. A perfect red for midweek dishes requiring a midweight red wine. Honest, straightforward, and ready to drink, though it should improve in the bottle for the next five years.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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18 September 2020

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Arduatext
92PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Ardua 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOwner Drew McIntrye is a big fan of Pomerol and Bolgheri merlots, and his Ardua 90/10 blend of merlot and cabernet franc is fashioned after those great regions. The fruit comes off his mid-Okanagan Valley Naramata estate at Lake Breeze, a terrific spot to excel in warm days and cool evenings. 2015 was an inordinately warm year, and at 15 percent alcohol, Ardua is all in on the nose and palate with rich, black plum, brambly fruit, and dense sweet tannins. The finish is a spicy, smoky, lightly toasted affair. It has the balance and elegance to age well through 2025.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astratext
91PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astra 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 is still relatively youthful as it combines a bit of Old World styling with the best of the New World. It was tasted alongside 2016, and the nose is fresher here with brighter floral, fresh cut apple, citrus notes to open. 75 percent of the fruit is barrel fermented in French oak, and the remainder is processed in stainless steel. Again the saving grace is the acidity that sharpens up the mid-palate of honey, red apples, mineral, lees, and a touch of butter. We appreciate a slightly tighter focus and hope the wine continues down this road in the future. When Drew Macintyre decided to launch his two Heritage Reserve labels, the names Astra and its merlot brother Ardua were chosen as an ode to his father, who was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The airmen's motto is Per Ardua ad Astra, through adversity to the stars.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astratext
91PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astra 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA year down the road, 2016 is in excellent shape. The fruit comes off the Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard, strategically centred in the middle of the Okanagan Valley. Naramata is an Okanagan sweet spot (not too hot, not too cold) for chardonnay and merlot, and you feel it in the mouth. As it ages, it is slightly broader, showing a bit more butterscotch, but the acidity remains firm and helps to keep it relatively tight in the finish. Citrus, pears, and spicy hazelnut flavours mark the palate. The nose is a mix of bright green apple and citrus with more buttery tones, suggesting it is time to drink this up, but it is in perfect shape and would be a fine accompaniment to lobster, roasted chicken, or grilled halibut.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Arduatext
92PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Ardua 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOwner Drew Macintyre's father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch two high-end labels, the names Astra and its merlot brother Ardua were an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto, Per Ardua ad Astra, meaning through adversity to the stars. The Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard is home to the fruit for Astra, and since 2014, what goes into Ardua. There is minimal production of either wine (fewer than 300 cases), and it is virtually snapped up via the McIntyre mailing list. The switch to Naramata fruit has altered the structure of Ardua a bit, offering less of those big hefty southern black fruit flavours for a more control red /black Naramata fruit profile. The not too hot and not too cold setting is the perfect site for merlot and ten percent cabernet franc. Still youthful, a chocolate, savoury undercurrent props up the palate and the tannins as they begin the long run in the bottle to resolve. Hold this through 2022 and then start grilling the steaks.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Arduatext
90PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Ardua 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOwner Drew MacIntyre's love affair with merlot is the genesis for Ardua, a high-end merlot label released to honour his father and push the team at Lake Breeze to reach for the stars. The last time I tasted this wine, the colour was opaque with lifted black cherry notes. The colour has now faded a bit, and the nose is mostly resolved, with spicy red/black fruit and a swell of dense, grippy tannins that kick in all along the finish. I'm not sure they will resolve over the next five years before the fruit fades, but a grilled steak will quickly appease them. This is a big red wine from a big vintage in BC. Drink now. Production is tiny (fewer than 300 cases), and it's sold out at the winery. You will need to join the email list to get some of the latest wines. MacIntyre's father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch the MacIntyre range, Astra the chardonnay, and its merlot brother Ardua, were selected as an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto, Per Ardua ad Astra, meaning through adversity to the stars. It was tasted as part of a vertical tasting of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Arduatext
93PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Ardua 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThree years down the road from our last tasting, we were knocked out by the mature nose of this merlot cabernet -franc blend. There is an intense core of red-black, plummy fruit with a wonderful savoury, desert scrub undercurrent. The tannins are mostly resolved, and the 15.5 percent alcohol is not a factor given the lovely balance of this wine. It's in a wonderful space right now, so drink it if you have it. Should hold through 2027. Owner Drew MacIntyre has had a long love affair with merlot inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux's Pomerol region and Tuscany's Bolgheri region. In 2012, The Lake Breeze owner decided to pursue his dream of making a high-end merlot and chardonnay to honour his father and push the team at Lake Breeze to reach for the stars. MacIntyre's father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch the MacIntyre range, the names Astra, and its merlot brother Ardua, were chosen as an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto - Per Ardua ad Astra - meaning through adversity to the stars. The Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard is home to the fruit for Astra, and since 2014 what goes into Ardua. There is minimal production of either wine (less than 300 cases), and it is virtually snapped up via the McIntyre mailing list. It's a concept Drew MacIntyre learned from his many years as an active buyer on the famous Harlan mailing list in Napa Valley. It was tasted as part of a vertical tasting of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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15 September 2020

Rivetto Nebbiolo Terracotta Vino Rossotext
94PTS

Rivetto Nebbiolo Terracotta Vino Rosso 2018

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics (though they are the first Demeter certified winery in Barolo), and towards complete biodiversity. Entirely singular; nebbiolo was native fermented for 2 weeks on skins, racked from gross lees, then back on skins until June, for a total of 8 months in Italian amphora. Wild, grippy and bright with plum, wild rose, wild raspberry, cherry, and ample fine, concrete-grippy tannins, lead this haunting, ethereal wine to its lengthy, mineral finish. Exemplary wine, from a Piemontese visionary.Prices: ON 59.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barbaresco Marcarinitext
92PTS

Rivetto Barbaresco Marcarini 2017

Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics (though they are the first Demeter certified vineyard in Barolo), and into complete biodiversity. From a single, south-east facing grey marl and sandy vineyard situated between Treiso and Barbaresco, planted at 350m, this nebbiolo was destemmed and deseeded before native fermentation and three weeks maceration in stainless steel tanks. The removal of the seeds is a unique process Enrico devised, resulting in a gentle silkiness to the elegant palate. This is a capture of the vintage, with blood orange threaded throughout the slender palate of cured sweet salami, cherry, wild strawberry, and fine pink peppercorn spice. The lengthy palate glides long along the medium palate, housed by ample fine and firm and lightly sticky tannins, effortlessly belying its 14.5%. There's a lovely salinity that lingers on the finish. Beautiful now with a decant, and with years to come.Prices: ON 66.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
87PTS

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015

Siena, Tuscany, ItalyFrom the community of Gaole in Chianti, the the southern part of Chianti Classico, this is a blend of vines 20-25 years old at 800m, and a mix of 80% sangiovese, 13% merlot, and 7% malvasia nera. After a 3 week long native yeast ferment in stainless for each variety, this was transferred into barriques (22% new) for one year. Perhaps the very warm 2015 vintage is showing through here, as this bottle is showing ample oxidation and brown fruit, with raging ragged tannins housing bitter cherry, tobacco, and leather. The finish is very warm, much more than 13.5% declared would suggest. Drink now, with a rustic hearty stew.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 56.95 QC 54.00 Producer: Castello di Ama
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Medici Ermete Quercioli Lambrusco Reggiano Seccotext
88PTS

Medici Ermete Quercioli Lambrusco Reggiano Secco NV

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyThe Medici family has been producing quality sparkling wine since the beginning of the Emilia Romagna's sparkling appellation DOP Lambrusco di Modena, and today is in the hands of the 5th generation. This dry fizz pours a deep, gutsy, near opague dark plum, which is translated across on the palate, along with herbal wild blackberry, cassis, and swings of balsamic that dart through to the astringent finish. An equal split of lambrusco salomino, and lambrusco marani, this was native fermented before a charmat method fermentation. Ideal for equally gutsy and flavourful charcuterie platters. .Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Medici Ermete
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Poggio Al Sole Casasilia Gran Selezionetext
91PTS

Poggio Al Sole Casasilia Gran Selezione 2015

Tuscany, ItalyPoggio al Sole is owned by the Davaz family, experienced in winemaking in Switzerland since 1972. This project of theirs comes from Chianti Classico's far west, and the commune of Barberino Tavarnelle. This is one of the relatively new premium tier of Chianti Classico - the Gran Selezione. From estate sangiovese grown on clay, tuff, and gravels at 300, this spent 30+ months aging in cask. Powerful and structural, aided by the generous 2015 vintage, this rich, smoothed red is very elegant and mineral woven with layers of worked leather, flake salts, dried florals in between dried cherry, ripe black raspberry, wild blackberry and ample baking spices. Tannins are long and fine, slightly grippy, guiding this to the lengthy finish. Drinking beautifully now, and with much time ahead.Prices: ON 59.00 BC 63.00 Producer: Poggio Al Sole
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Tedeschi Corascotext
87PTS

Tedeschi Corasco 2014

Veneto, ItalyFrom Corvina, Raboso, and Refosco, Corasco uses dried grapes, desiccated over one month in drying racks, losing water and concentrating sugars and flavours. After fermentation, this aged for 18 months in Slavonian oak. Rich, thick and dense, this pulls prune, fig, leather, and tobacco along the full palate, with oxidative notes woven throughout, to the warming, baking spice finish. This big, rich wine needs an equally rich root veg / beef stew to match.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Tedeschi
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Stefano Farina Barbarescotext
92PTS

Stefano Farina Barbaresco 2011

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyGiancarlo, Bruno and Gino Farina, sons of the founder Stefano, manage this family winery, farming their 16 acres of vineyards. From Cuneo's Diano d'Alba, this nebbiolo is rooted on exposed hillsides of calcareous clays, growing at 550m. Pouring a golden, glowing brick orange hue, this 9 year old wine is still amazingly alive, up front with an intoxicating mix of dried black tea leaves, dried roses, blood, bergamot, worn leather, fine spices, housed with long, fine, structural tannins to a mineral and dark cocoa kissed finish. This showcases nebbiolo's graceful ageworthiness beautifully.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Stefano Farina
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Tenuta di Nozzole La Forra Chianti Classico Riservatext
89PTS

Tenuta di Nozzole La Forra Chianti Classico Riserva 2015

Greve, Florence, Tuscany, ItalyFrom the Folonari brothers' Nozzole estate, in the La Farra district of northern Greve in Chianti commune, this sangiovese (tipped with 5% cabernet sauvignon) grows at 300-330m and on galestro and albarese soils. After a stainless ferment over 3 weeks, this moved into French wood for 18 months, followed by an additional 6 months' bottle age. This is marked both by the vintage (warm) and wood, pouring a deeper, richer red, with a slightly brownish hue, ample ferrous notes, worn leather, and bigger flake salts amidst the layers. There's an underlying freshness that brightens the fleshy fruit, aided, no doubt, by the schistous limestone soils. Drink now with roast pork or root veg.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari
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Villa Trasqua Chianti Classicotext
88PTS

Villa Trasqua Chianti Classico 2016

Tuscany, ItalyThis organic Chianti Classico comes from Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest part of the appellation. Trasqua is loaded on a high, windswept plateau, with gentle hills of galestro, clay, and silts. Initially planted in the 1960's, the Dutch / Swiss family who purchased the property in 2001 did a thorough soil analysis of the 120ha property, dividing 60ha up into 13 plots, each matched to the most suitable grape variety. This is a blend of 80% sangiovese, 10% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, fermented in stainless before one year in large Slavonian oak barrels. Plush and plump, with some brooding black fruit, dusty gravels, a green herbal edge, and ample ferrous / bloody notes woven throughout. Ample tannins are furry at this stage, requiring a hearty pasta in meat sauce to tame.Prices: ON 18.95 QC 20.15 Producer: Villa Trasqua
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Castello di Bossi Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2016

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyFrom the commune of Castelnuovo Beradenga, in the southernmost part of the Chianti Classico appellation, there have been vineyards dotting these gently rolling hills since 1200. The current family has owned the estate, tucked into the west of the commune, since 1998, when they also employed Alberto Antonini as consultant. Planted to yellow clays, tuff, and gravel, this 100% sangiovese is flush with morello cherry, dark plum, on a slightly plump palate. Tannins are appropriately striated, chalky, and firm, drawing this to a stony, warming finish. From the excellent 2016 vintage, this is drinking well now (especially with a decant) but will reward with cellaring.Prices: ON 22.95 QC 23.40 Producer: Castello di Bossi
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Monteraponi Chianti Classicotext
91PTS

Monteraponi Chianti Classico 2018

Tuscany, ItalyFrom the southern parts of the cooler, forest-fringed Radda commune, in the central east of Chianti Classico, and on sandy / sandstone / calcareous marls, Monteraponi, has been owned by the current family since the 1960's, though the site has been occupied since the 10th century. This CC Annata is from certified organic vineyards 450-570m, and vines 15 years old. Predominantly sangiovese, this has 5% canaiolo tipped into the mix for additional fragrance and welcoming early drinkability. After a native ferment in concrete, this macerated on skins for 3+ weeks prior to aging in larger French and Slavonian oak for 16 months. It went back into concrete to firm and settle before bottling without fining or filtration. This certainly is fragrant with an alluring plum and cherry purity, an a fine grained expansiveness on the medium-bodied (13.5%) palate, afforded by the finely textured mix of soils. Tannins are long, fine, and whisper grippy, courting the bright, silken palate to a lingering, mineral finish. A lovely, finessed, and feminine red, ready for drinking now but with a few years ahead.Prices: ON 43.94 Producer: Monteraponi
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Casale del Giglio Matidia Cesanesetext
90PTS

Casale del Giglio Matidia Cesanese 2017

Lazio, ItalyMatidia, who held the title of Augusta, was the niece of Emperor Trajan, and mother in law of Emperor Hadrian. When she passed in 119, Hadiran proclaimed her a deity. A temple in Rome's Campt Marzio was dedicated to her, in a part of Rome, where the owners of Casale del Giglio began their career. This cesanese comes from 30-year-old vines on volcanic limestone soils, at 500m. After a cold maceration and ferment in stainless, this was partially aged in oak tonneaux with the remainder in stainless, for one year. Perfumed plum, wild blackberry, wild blueberry runs the delicate, long palate, scented with black tea and star anise, and framed with fine, lengthy tannins.Prices: Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Le Calvane Quercione Chiantitext
88PTS

Le Calvane Quercione Chianti 2016

Tuscany, ItalyVilla Le Calvane sits on the hills of the Montagnana Val di Pesa just outside of Florence. The style is fresh with bright florals and juicy red fruit aromas. On the palate, bright cherry fruit mixes with a savoury spice undercurrent and a light dusting of vanilla and oak. Le Calvane wine production dates to 1427. In 2011 a small group of international entrepreneurs purchased the property and set about to restore some lustre to this Tuscan legend. A simple, well made Chianti, from an excellent vintage under $20, has to be welcomed in this market.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 14.95 Producer: Fattoria Di Vicchio Sarl
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14 September 2020

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom BOV in Oliver, this was aged in a mix of French, Russian, Hungarian wood, with 6% new wood. Roasted cedar, black cherry, fleshy cherry, crayon wax, this is lofted with some bright acidity, but still very much ripened by the southern Okanagan sunshine, and weighted down and framed by the toasty oak. 115, 667, and 777 clones.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 39.00 ON 40.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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CedarCreek Platinum Clone 777 Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Clone 777 Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year CedarCreek released three single clone Home Block Pinot Noirs, all from Dijon clones planted on their estate silty loams. All were fermented and aged similarly, for an ultimate geek tasting experience. This clone 777 was native fermented in stainless before 14 months in French barrels and puncheons. Herbal throughout, with damp moss, autumnal forest berries, fleshy dark cherries, wild mushrooms, and brooding baking spices filing a fuller, plumper core. Tannins are plush, supporting the sunripened weight, to a sarsaparilla spiced finish. Acidity is perfectly pitched to leave this bigger red feeling fresh, and ready to handle bigger flavours like pheasant, goose, roasted root veg now. Would lay down for a bit for more integration.Prices: BC 135.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Clone 667 Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Clone 667 Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year CedarCreek released three single clone Home Block Pinot Noirs, all from Dijon clones and planted on their estate silty loams. All were fermented and aged similarly, for an ultimate geek tasting experience. This clone 667 was native fermented in stainless before 14 months in French barrels and puncheons. Dark and plump, with plush black cherry, dark raspberry, and sultry sasparilla-kissed spices subtly dotting the lingering finish. Tannins are grippy but still softened, well situated to support this darker shaded, muscular pinot. There's a lovely natural freshness throughout, making this a natural for partnering with wild mushroom risotto or herb roasted pork tenderloin.Prices: BC 135.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Clone 115 Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Clone 115 Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year CedarCreek released three single clone Home Block Pinot Noirs, all from Dijon clones planted on their estate silty loams. All were fermented and aged similarly, for an ultimate geek tasting experience. This clone 115 was native fermented in stainless before 14 months in French barrels and puncheons. Silken and gentle, with perfumed red fruit and a natural bright and lifted acidity, tannins are long and light, leading this lithe red to a gently spiced finish. This is a natural for grilled planted salmon or wild mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 135.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom three of Blue Mountain's estate vineyards, and fruit 21-34 years old, this blends 4 clones (113, 114, 115, 667) in a native ferment in steel, before decanting into French barrels (new - 4th fill). Autumnal shaded, with forest berries, wild cherries, cinnamon bark seasoning the plump body. Tannins are slight but bamboo firm, guiding this to a salted stone finish. Upon decanting, this is showing glints of the gracefulness that will be omnipresent in a couple years' time.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom now 12-year-old estate vines (the youth) and four clones (114, 115, 667, 777), this was native fermented in French oak where it remained on lees until the following spring. Smoky, toasty forest berries dominate the nose and palate at this young age, with tart cranberry acidity lifting plump black raspberry, ripe cherry, and ample cinnamon spicing. It is a darker, smouldering, perfumed pinot, with smoothed tannins leading this to a toasty finish. Fire-grilled root veg/duck breast ready.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Cuvée differentiates itself from its Estate younger sibling through its use of 21-34 year old vines. The fruit character is similar, both shrubby and with dark cherry fruit, but with more concentration and fruit density. The oak feels a bit less obvious as a result, with the fruit weight to carry it. There's also more of a flinty reductive character that adds to its complexity. It's a pleasure to drink now, thanks to its silky tannins, but it no doubt has a long life ahead of it. Blue Mountain is one of the Okanagan’s top pinot producers for a reason.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate Cuvée is sourced from younger blocks that are now 12 years old. Expect a savoury, shrubby pinot noir with black cherry fruit and spicy, well-integrated oak. It's quite a pure, attractive nose, with the darker fruit suggesting more ripeness than you get on the palate at only 13% abv. Lighter-bodied, it’s a touch thin, which makes the medium-grained tannins more prominent. It feels a bit more muscular in style as a result, and is calling for some gamey meat. A solid introduction to Blue Mountain's pinot program.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Noir +28/09text
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Noir +28/09 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPinot for malbec fans, this punchy, potent, warming pinot packs a lot of power, in every way. Predominantly, Okanagan Falls it tips in 5% Naramata Bench fruit. After a whole berry ferment in stainless (20% whole cluster), it is aged for one year in French oak. Smokey bacon, roasted meats, is met with a wave of aromatic violets, baked plum, blueberry jam, and smoked plum. Tannins are soft, and the finish is smoked and short. None of this leads me to pinot noir or Okanagan Valley, but if you're looking for a smoothed, smokey, gutsy red for BBQ burgers, here you go.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Estatetext
88PTS

Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Estate 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their Okanagan Falls estate, this comes from Liquidity’s 1994 planting of own rooted clone 115, along with clones 667, 828, 777 and 114, each fermented separately. After two weeks of skin contact, this was pressed to French barrels (25% new) for 15 months' aging. Forest berries, black cherries, dusky spice glides along a smooth palate, framed with slight, grippy, cedary tannins. A plumper, darker shaded pinot for duck or roasted beet dishes.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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French Door Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

French Door Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrench Door is a new family-owned winery located on the Black Sage Bench, with 10 acres under vine (across 13 varieties), planted in the early 2000s. They have employed Pascal Madevon as a winemaker. This fruit comes off a contract vineyard in Summerland. This whole berry pinot noir contained 10% stems and underwent a month-long stint on skins before being pressed off to French barrels. There is nothing shy (and little pinotesque) about this giant wine, from its hefty, distinctively shaped bottle, to its boggling 15% alcohol, to its intensely potent wallop of fruit and wood. A dense plum, cherry, kirsch, dark chocolate is wrapped with plush, tuggy, cedar scented tannins, and finishes with a hefty fistful of baking spice. Amazing to think this comes from the cooler slopes of Summerland. Pinot for Zin drinkers, perhaps?Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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11 September 2020

Culmina Family Estate N˚ 011 Stan's Bench Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate N˚ 011 Stan's Bench Chardonnay 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina released two single bench (that's right) chardonnays from 2018, both from their elevated Golden Mile Bench estate. Though Stan's Bench is slightly warmer than it's sibling, Margaret's Bench, this has far more verve and energy. This was basket pressed into older wood for a native ferment and MLF, where it remained for 8 months. There's a smoked stone edge that defines this wine, especially compared to Margaret. That alluring smoked stoniness threads throughout lemon cream, hazelnut, flake salts, and ample lees, on a full palate. Very well handled, powerful, yet elegant, and a wine that will improve with cellaring, though drinking smartly now.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate N˚ 010 Margaret's Bench Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Culmina Family Estate N˚ 010 Margaret's Bench Chardonnay 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina released two single bench (that's right) chardonnays from 2018, both from their elevated Golden Mile Bench estate. This is from the slightly higher and cooler Margaret's Bench, and clones 76 and 101-14. Full and creamy, this was basket pressed into older wood for a native ferment and MLF where it remained for 8 months. Thought the barrels are said to be neutral, the wood here is super present, with ample clove, toast and baking spice. Lemon curd, red apple, ripe peaches and thick cream fill the generous palate, girdled with a firm coil of lemon peel. The full bodied wine trails off with gentle vanilla and fine spices. A lot of a lot, and too much for now.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95text
89PTS

Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClone 95 is a unique bottling of a single French clone grown on two very different sites, one on the Naramata Bench the other on Spearhead's home site in southeast Kelowna. It is a very stylish chardonnay, and fun drink from its mineral, leesy, hazelnut nose flecked with ripe, pear to its creamy textures and flavourful ripe red apple and preserved lemon palate. It's fermented and aged in French oak for ten months in a combination of smaller standard barriques and larger format puncheons. No rush to drink, but it's in great shape already.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Hester Creek Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Hester Creek Chardonnay 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI love how this wine continues to evolve. It’s a big chardonnay with a svelteness that belies its flavours. Fresh, honeyed, and lemony with peaches, orange, and cream corn before flashing its mineral Golden Mile Bench mid-palate, through its toasty, fine lees finish. It’s estate sourced from handpicked fruit off Block 17, a low yielding site planted to Burgundy clones 76 and 809. The free run juice is cold settled for five days. Post ferment, the barrels are stirred weekly, until the malolactic fermentation is complete. One third is barrel fermented in French oak, and two thirds is fermented in stainless steel, where it is aged and stirred on fine lees for eight months. It’s an overt style but not without a touch of restraint. Try this with Dungeness crab, halibut, or lobster, and just for fun, gnocchi and pancetta. The overall Growing Degree Days (GDD) were 1598, above the 20 year average of 1474. Seasonally averaged temperatures with few heat spikes in the summer resulted in an even growing season.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Burrowing Owl Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year is 85% barrel fermented, and 15% stainless, and a mix of 80% French and 20% American oak (47% new). Partial MLF was followed by 8 months in wood. Creamy, fleshy lemon, cushy lees, meringue floods a plump palate. Flooded with wood on the finish. This slims down slightly every vintage, but still swings in the old school Cali / BC house style.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 31.00 ON 33.95 QC 35.75 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom La Côte Vineyard, which is in transition to organic certification, this was whole cluster pressed and then fermented and aged for eight months in French oak puncheons. It's a lean, crisp style of chardonnay that's all about lemony fruit with a dab of spicy oak and kernel. It's elegant, clean, and refreshing at only 12.8% abv, but lacking some complexity. Only 119 cases produced, and this is already sold out at the winery.Prices: BC 20.61 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the top of their Home Block vineyard, this was transitioned to organic viticulture in 2017. According to winemaker Taylor Whelan, the change in the vineyard was dramatic, with smaller canopies, and phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol and higher acidities; all good results. After a native ferment, partially in foudre and rest in barrel, and with partial MLF, this remained in wood for one year prior to a 6 month tightening stint in stainless prior to bottling. This vintage is positively boned with potent flint, structuring the medium body through the lemon curd, lemon zest, fragrant white blossom, savoury hay that flushes out the frame. All is bedded on a broken stone base that lingers along with the flintiness long after the last sip is gone. It's a style that reminds me very much of New Zealand's expert handing of the flinty, powerful, reductive chardy style, and is quite well balanced even at a relatively youthful age.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Foxtrot Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Foxtrot Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 fruit comes out of the southern end of the Okanagan Valley. Although it is not smoke affected, several weeks of smoky skies slowed the ripening cycle, reduced heat spikes, and pushed the harvest times back into the cool fall weather. The result is some snappy fresh citrus notes that set the stage for a first-class chardonnay. The wine is barrel fermented in French oak and undergoes a full malolactic fermentation, giving it plenty of texture and mouthfeel, but the acidity keeps it all lively. It’s aged sur lie for 11 months in 30% new and 70% used French oak, followed by six more months in stainless steel to tighten everything up. The wine is delicious. The nose is a riot of lemon and lime with some classic mineral leesy underpinnings. On the palate, honey and orange mix with ripe apples and toasted oak. The balance is perfect, and while it presents a touch riper, there is enough complexity here to hold your interest. It should also improve in the bottle over the next three years.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate La Côte Vineyard, in transition to certified organic, this was whole cluster pressed and fermented in French puncheons, where it remained for MLF and 8 months' maturity, with occasional bâtonnage. Though the wood used isn't new, it is present, with a tight, stalky/reedy framework housing steely pear, yellow apple, melon, pineapple rind, lemon pulp. There's an earthy lees lining the base that lingers on the stunted finish. Youthful and clunky at this stage, so best to wait a while before cracking.Prices: BC 20.61 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Cote Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is about as skinny as it gets, but it is not in the Chablis style either. Look for tightly wound bright lemon notes that dominate the palate, with a touch of desert scrub and pear in the back end. This will need some creamy seafood or pasta to fight off the austerity. I prefer this to much vanilla and oak, but let’s hope for a little less severe style as vines reach 10 years of age.Prices: BC 20.61 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Church and State CBS Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Church and State CBS Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe CBS chardonnay is barrel fermented and barrel aged. It is not hard to notice the oaky vanilla notes, but they are in balance. The initial attack is a mix of honey and ripe apples with a dusting of almonds and vanilla. Not particularly terroir-based, but many will be attracted it its pleasing rich, opulent style: an updated California chardonnay-style of the 80s and 90s. There is no rush to drink this, especially under screwcap. Perfect for a mushroom stuffed, whole-roasted chicken.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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10 September 2020

Famiglia Pasqua Passion e Sentimento Veneto Rossotext
88PTS

Famiglia Pasqua Passion e Sentimento Veneto Rosso 2017

Veneto, ItalyPassion e Sentimento is dedicated to Verona, the city of love. The label tells the famous love story of Romeo and Juliet, that lives today through the messages left daily at Juliet's house on Cappello Street in Verona. This rosso is a 40/30/30 blend of merlot, corvina, and croatina, hand-harvested and dried for one month into wooden trays. The subsequent loss of 30 percent water content concentrates the grape sugars. Each variety is fermented solo in stainless steel, and the wine is aged in large, second-fill cherry barrels for three months. The final blend follows, and as you might expect, the merlot and the drying gives the wine immediate appeal and drinkability. The style is fresh red berry with pleasantly spicy, soft tannins. A perfect red for spaghetti and meatballs.Prices: AB 32.99 PEI 52.99 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Pasqua Hey French You Could Have Made This But You Didn'ttext
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Pasqua Hey French You Could Have Made This But You Didn't NV

Soave, Verona, Veneto, ItalyYou had me at the name, but what the heck, I tasted the wine too. Pasqua is one of those large producers that continues to evolve with the times, turning out quality wine at an affordable price. This playful wine is classified as a Bianca Veneto, and made from grapes grown on the Veronese side of Mount Calvarina, in the easternmost part of Soave. It also is a blend of finished wine from the best four vintages of the decade (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017). Only ten percent of the wine is fermented in barriques before it is all aged in second use oak for six months, followed by storage in stainless steel. Few folks age garganega, but it has the potential to mature in the bottle and put on complexity too. This wine was a delicious super-Soave, with intense citrus and floral, with an even stronger hit of minerality. The combination of blended vintages only adds to its charm. As the label says: You Could Have Made This, but You Didn't…Prices: CDN 45.00 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Famiglia Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicellatext
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Famiglia Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella 2015

Veneto, ItalyFamiglia Pasqua sources its Amarone grapes from five vineyards: Poiano, Roccolo di Mozzole, San Felice, San Pietro di Lavagno, and Tregnago. This apassimento wine blends corvina, corvinone, rondinella, and negrara, planted on calcareous clays and gravels, and all harvested very late and left to dry on bamboo racks and straw mats in the drying loft. It is during this desiccation that the bunches lose 25% of their weight, concentrating the remaining fruit and sugars. After approximately 3 months, the raisinated fruit is pressed and alcoholic fermentation in steel begins. Post ferment, this moves to French barrels and 20 months of aging prior to bottling and further aging. Plush and rich with baked currants, bittersweet cocoa, black cherry, and worked leather, this full+ bodied red (15%) still carries a freshness that moves it along its plumped, sinewy tannins. A rich wine for equally rich braised meat dishes.Prices: PEI 52.99 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Pasqua Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella Superioretext
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Pasqua Mai Dire Mai Amarone della Valpolicella Superiore 2012

Veneto, ItalyThis wine, named 'Never Say Never' in Italian, could reflect its long hang time before picking, and its longer time resting in barrel and bottle prior to release. This comes from the 23 ha Montevegro vineyard, at 350m and basalt and calcareous soils, between the Val d'Illasi and the Val di Mezzane. After the super ripe grapes are picked, they are left to dry in crates for 4 months to dehydrate, and concentrate. After pressing and fermentation in steel, this was moved to all new French oak barrels (70% 225L barriques and 30% in 500L tonneaux) for 2 years. Super rich and powerful in heft, fruit, density, and alcohol, with thick blackberry, cassis, tobacco, mocha, and wood on the palate. Tannins are ample and sticky, and the palate is plumped and dense, drawing this massive, intense wine to a very warming, drying finish.Prices: NB 125.00 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Pasqua Mai Dire Mai Valpolicella Superioretext
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Pasqua Mai Dire Mai Valpolicella Superiore 2013

Veneto, ItalyIn 2013, the grapes were harvested under ideal conditions and came to the winery with intense flavours. Mai Dire Mai, or “never say never,” is a project involving the winemaking Pasqua family and the Dal Colle family owners of Monte Vegro vineyard, a 23-hectare basalt and limestone vineyard set 350 metres above sea level. The second version of this label is another shot at elevating the Valpolicella story. From wild berry aromas to mineral, spicy, figgy after tones, there is a sense of complexity, but at this point, it is hard to get by the toasty oak notes emanating from spending 18 months in French oak 500-litre casks and 225-litre barrels (mainly new or second-use). Give this at least another two years to shed some oak and be more Valpolicella than barrel.Prices: ON 63.15 NB 58.99 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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09 September 2020

Vina Esmeralda Coral Editiontext
87PTS

Vina Esmeralda Coral Edition 2019

Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThough the packaging is new for 2019 (special coral edition), the juice inside is the same as ever, thankfully. This predictable 'Mediterranean Classic' blends moscatel de Alejandría and gewürztraminer into a mid-sweet, aromatic white, ripe and rich with fragrantly perfumed orange blossoms, starfruit, mandarin on a creamy, lush, 11.5% package. The shorter finish is straight perfumed cold cream and spice, showing gew's straight up luxuriant side. Chill well, and break out the pretty bottle for guests who would be appreciative of such things (especially if you pour alongside fragrant seafood or veg Thai dishes).Prices: BC 16.99 QC 15.00 ON 11.60 MB 14.00 AB 16.00 YK 17.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Marchesi di Barolo Zagara Moscato d'Astitext
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Marchesi di Barolo Zagara Moscato d'Asti 2018

Piedmont, ItalyClassic and pristine Moscato d'Asti, from its pristine orange blossoms, perfumed apricot, peach, nougat on a mid sweet palate, brightened with a prickle of spritz. The moscato grows on hillside vineyards and a mix of marls, quartz, and silt. Fermentation is stopped with chilling, leaving 140 g/L RS, and a refreshing 5 degrees alcohol. Pleasant breakfast wine, alongside your bowl of fresh peaches and cream.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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Marchesi di Barolo Zagara Moscato d'Astitext
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Marchesi di Barolo Zagara Moscato d'Asti 2018

Piedmont, ItalyThis Moscato d'Asti is not the cheapest option you'll find on the shelf, but it differentiates itself through its purity of fruit. It has such a pure nose of orange blossom and fresh apricot, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had a serving of fruit after a glass. Moscato d'Asti is always fairly sweet, and this is no different, clocking in at roughly 140 g/L residual sugar, but it manages to maintain a real brightness on the palate. It makes for a perfect brunch wine.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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Domaine de Coyeux Elegans Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Vins Doux Natureltext
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Domaine de Coyeux Elegans Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Vins Doux Naturel 2014

Beaumes de Venise, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceWe don't see much Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, or any Vin Doux Naturels on our market, which is a shame, because these elegant sweet wines are very misunderstood. A VDN is sweet because the fermentation is stopped mid-way, with the addition of high alcohol spirit, killing off the fermenting yeast, and leaving ample residual sugar in the wine (in this example, 110 g/L RS. From Muscat à petits grains noirs et blancs planted in the 1980's, this is a potent, focused sweet wine rich in orange blossom, baked honeyed pear, with whiffs of lavender and torrents of vanilla syrup. Best taken well chilled, with a simple dessert of poached orchard fruit.Prices: BC 35.99 375 Producer: Domaine de Coyeux
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08 September 2020

Oliver Twist Estate Viogniertext
88PTS

Oliver Twist Estate Viognier 2019

CanadaFrom a single block in their Oliver home vineyard, this rich, oily, full viognier reflects well the southern Okanagan sunshine. Ripe melon, juicy apricot, marmelade, fleshy peach and scrubby Okanagan spices fill the medium bodied white, held responsibly and respectfully to 13%. Well made, and well priced.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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Oliver Twist Estate Kernertext
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Oliver Twist Estate Kerner 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic dry kerner, from its anise-licked white florals, tight white peach, dragonfruit, pithy lime, and ample spices lining the finish. This estate kerner is sleek and lean, with just a bump of well-integrated RS to keep all silken on the palate. Lovely pure into to the grape, and would be delish with fragrant Vietnamese or Thai curries.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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Blue Grouse Estate Ortegatext
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Blue Grouse Estate Ortega 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 25+ year old estate vines, as well as some new 2014-planted vines all estate organically farmed on silt loam, gravel and sands, this is partial-dry farmed, and fermented in 3 stages of ripeness, adding extra layers to the wine. Done entirely in stainless, with no MLF, this is an excellent marine-hallmark Island white, with tight, crisp lemon blossom, lemon pith, mandarin, white peach, subtle anise, and starfruit. Lovely balance between fruit, acidity, and salinity, all in a welcome 11.6 degrees frame.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Visintini Friuli Colli Orientali Friulanotext
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Visintini Friuli Colli Orientali Friulano 2018

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThe Visintini estate, once the location for the Castle of Gramogliano, has been in the family since 1884, and has a history dating back to 1290. Located on the hills south of the DOC Friuli Colli Orientali area, this estate rests on the border with DOC Collio, and alongside the provinces of Udine and Gorizia. In 2002, the company passed to heirs and siblings Oliviero, Cinzia, and Palmira, who farm and produce all the wines biodynamically. This friulano was done entirely in stainless, to preserve freshness. Bright green and yellow apple, almond and marzipan, hawthorne and chamomile pack a juicy, svelte palate, finishing with some hedgerow and a hum of warming spice. A full, yet fresh, white that would be a natural with white fish or spring risottos.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Visintini
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Ferdinand Albariñotext
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Ferdinand Albariño 2019

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesThe grapes for Ferdinand’s Albariño come from Marcus Bokisch’s breezy Vista Luna Vineyard in Lodi, and its cobbled, rocky soils. The grapes were gently whole cluster pressed and barrelled down to neutral barrels where it was native fermented, with no MLF. The wine remained there for 8 months on lees, with no stirring. Direct and pure, with peach, pear, and light honeyed nuttiness packed into a juicy, compact package. There's a fine vein of salinity that draws you to the spiced finish.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Ferdinand Wines
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Rapitalà Grillo Organictext
87PTS

Rapitalà Grillo Organic 2019

Sicily, ItalyGrillo, one of the main Sicilian whites, is thought to be a cross between catarratto (another important Sicilian grape) and Muscat d’Alexandria. It is a significant grape for Rapitalà, and was one of the first native grapes to be widely planted on the property in the 1970s. This organically-farmed (to be certified in 2020) grillo comes from sandy clay soils, and was fermented and aged briefly in stainless to preserve freshness. Flush with the Sicilian sun, this is plump with white peach, prickly pear, white blossoms, shaved almonds on a snappy, shorter palate.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Tenuta Rapitalà
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St. Hubertus Family Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanctext
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St. Hubertus Family Estate Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSubtle and watery apricot, pear, melon opens this estate pinot blanc, grown on the Gerbet's Kelowna vineyards. Typical of their style, and cooler region, this is slimmed down and sleek, with gentle acidity, and finishing with a wash of spice on a warming finish. Simple, clean white for drinking now.Prices: BC 16.75 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillontext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillon 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Dhaliwal Bros. Vineyard in Oliver, this aged on its lees for six months in stainless steel (72%) and French oak puncheons (28%) prior to bottling. You won't pick up a lot of oak character, though. This is quite mineral driven, with a saline quality that's backed by juicy yellow fruits, grassy herbs, and lees. Even at 12.4% abv, there’s still some broadness to the chalky texture, complemented by a refreshing crispness. Still very youthful at this stage, it will benefit from a quick spin in the decanter. It really evolves in the glass over time, so be patient.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillontext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillon 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Dhaliwal Bros. vineyard in Oliver, this sémillon was whole cluster pressed and fermented in a mix of stainless and French puncheon, before aging on lees in the same for 6 months, with occasional bâtonnage. This is quite open and opulent for youthful sém, perhaps indicative of the super warm climate where it grows. Greengage, Asian pear, white grapefruit line the slender, fruity palate, with a fine stony hum on the finish. Pour now, alongside halibut or prawns or summer tomato basil salads.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich, ripe, and full, like biting into a juicy, overripe Okanagan peach, this powerhouse of an Albariño is from Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard's gravel, till and silty loam. It stuffs a big punch into a 13% declared frame, with that aforementioned peach melding with apricot, gooseberry, and vanilla on the palate. The grapes were lightly crushed and settled in large stainless drums, concrete tanks, and French barrels, where they were fermented separately and held on lees for 6 months with full bâtonnage, prior to blending and bottling. Certainly a richer style, needing an equally rich halibut or sablefish dish (preferably laced with peaches) to marry.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillontext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Sémillon 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Sémillon comes out of Oliver, where it is grown by Dhaliwal Bros. The bunches were hand harvested in late September, whole cluster pressed, and fermented in a mix of stainless steel tank (72%) and large French oak puncheons (28%). It is aged six months with sporadic bâtonnage. Not quite as aromatic as the last vintage, it offers up delicate grassy, scrubby desert notes with exotic greengage pear, grapefruit, and Similkameen stone dust. Fresh and food-friendly, this works with halibut, prawns, Dungeness crab, creamy pasta, and most any vegetarian dish. It’s just the beginning of life for this wine, but it will age for decades. A label to watch.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Church and State Marsannetext
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Church and State Marsanne 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMarsanne almost always produces a rich, reasonably decadent wine. On the nose, there is orange, dried apricot, sweet white peach, with an undercurrent of lemon, almonds, and vanilla. They have done well to hold the alcohol to 13.6 to keep a sense of freshness in the finish. Still, this is a heavyweight white and is best served chilled and with a favourite creamy recipe. A fine addition to the BC repertoire of grapes.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Church and State Roussannetext
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Church and State Roussanne 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom two warm sites on the Black Sage Bench, Coyote Bowl and Bella Vineyards, this is a fun introductory style of roussanne fermented in French oak, that seemingly, as Treve says, “amplifies and plumps up an already rich wine". Exotic spices, sandalwood, white peach, vanilla are all here on a fat palate. If you are a fan of rich and full-bodied whites on a plump, expansive palate, this is it. I think it is the perfect lobster wine but would be just as well-matched to a creamy pasta dish or your favourite buttery fish dish.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Gautronnièrestext
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Gautronnières 2018

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine Bonnet-Huteau, nestled in La Chapelle-Heulin, in the heart of Muscadet’s Sèvre et Maine appellation, has been producing Muscadet for over 150 years. Today it is run by the Bonnet brothers, Jean-Jacques and Rémi. This 42 hectare vineyard has been certified organic since 2005, and biodynamic since 2010. They’ve divided their Melon de Bourgogne into parcels to highlight the nuances and subtlety of their individual terroirs, and their focus is on producing pure, fresh, Muscadet. From 20-30 year old vines and profoundly rocky clays and amphibolite fossil-rich volcanic soils comes this powerful, mineral-driven Muscadet. After a native ferment, this spent 9 months on lees in inox, with full MLF, adding to the generosity and breadth on the structural palate. Mineral driven, with savoury broken stones, lemon pith, white grapefruit, and subtle white peach running in layers down the palate, this profound wine is drinking beautifully now, but has time ahead.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Bonnet Huteau
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Bonnets Blancstext
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Bonnets Blancs 2019

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine Bonnet-Huteau, nestled in La Chapelle-Heulin, in the heart of Muscadet’s Sèvre et Maine appellation, has been producing Muscadet for over 150 years. Today it is run by the Bonnet brothers, Jean-Jacques and Rémi. This 42 hectare vineyard has been certified organic since 2005, and uses biodynamic philosophies. From 15-30 year old vines from La Tarcière’s limestone over gneiss comes this fresh, bright, and sleek Muscadet. After a slow native ferment, this spent 6 months on lees. Fine and precise, with wet stone, lemon, subtle white peach and light notes of hay, this pure-fruited wine sings with minerality through the very saline finish.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Bonnet Huteau
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Kabartext
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Kabar 2018

HungaryThis dry kabar comes from Sajgó, Lapis, in Hungary, and it was aged in barrel, in which I surmise to be an attempt to 'premiumize' or 'internationalize' it. That's a shame, because the local grape's unique qualities are masked by the cloak of oak, painting a thick coat of vanilla, toast, and spice over the wine. There's some perfumed florals, musk melon, and white pear sticking through, finishing with a warming 14.5% glow. If you're looking for an exotic Euro version of ripe Cali chardonnay, give this a try.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Château Dereszla
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07 September 2020

Blue Grouse Traditional Methodtext
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Blue Grouse Traditional Method 2017

British Columbia, CanadaThough the label has dropped the name Paula, this is the current incarnation of their traditional method wine. From estate müller-thurgau, pinot gris, and ortega, this spent 24 months on lees. Dried apple, green apple, brioche, toast, and subtle anise roll across the dry, tight palate, padded out with lees and toast, but carrying the Islands' hallmark brisk marine acidity. Ideal with oysters.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Ti Amotext
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Hester Creek Ti Amo 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis charmat method fizz blends pinot gris and gewürztraminer from estate and local Oliver growers. As you would expect from the grapes, this is a fruity, floral fizz, with soft mousse carrying pink florals, peach, orange blossom to a just off-dry finish. At a welcome 11.4%, this would be a lovely brunch sipper.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Segura Viudas Organic Cavatext
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Segura Viudas Organic Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainA blend of two traditional, indigenous Spanish varieties, 47 percent macabeo and 32 percent parellada, is paired with 21 percent chardonnay. It has quite a bright, lemony nose with just a touch of autolytic character from 9-12 months on the lees. It’s not overly complex, but there’s excellent precision to the fruit. With an off-dry finish (9 g/L residual sugar), it makes for a fresh, approachable style that could start as an aperitif and then quickly transition to the first course.Prices: AB 16.00 BC 15.49 ON 15.00 QC 14.00 MB 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Segura Viudas
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Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cavatext
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Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe Reserva Brut is a dependable, go-to Cava made from Penedès’ three traditional varieties: macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo. The emphasis is on crisp, honeyed orchard fruit with just a hint of lees from ageing 15 months in bottle. There’s a notch more complexity here than the Organic Brut, and the mousse is more delicate, showing surprising poise for this price point. The palate also comes across drier, though the dosage is about the same, which will make this even more versatile at the dinner table — recommended, especially if you’re someone who always wants to have a bottle of chilled sparkling wine in the fridge.Prices: AB 16.00 BC 15.49 ON 15.00 QC 14.00 MB 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Segura Viudas
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Segura Viudas Organic Cavatext
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Segura Viudas Organic Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainLocal meets international in this new organic offering from Segura Viudas. The blend is a mix of indigenous Spanish grapes: 47/32 macabeo/parellada; blended with 21 percent chardonnay. The nose is fresh and bright with a traditional citrus leesy bent. The palate is a combination of green apples, citrus, and sweet pastry. It spends 9-12 months on lees, and it's finished at the off dry level of 9 grams per litre of sugar, giving it more of a quaffable, friendly style. Tapas anyone?Prices: AB 16.00 BC 15.49 ON 15.00 QC 14.00 MB 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Segura Viudas
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Perlage Canah Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Bruttext
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Perlage Canah Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyPerlage began in 1985, when the 7 Nardi brothers, encouraged by their parents, decided to convert the family vineyards to organic agriculture. Perlage became one of the first Italian organic sparkling wineries, making high quality Prosecco Valdobbiadene using both tradition and innovation. This glera comes from Farra di Soligo and Refrontolo, in Treviso, and was dosed with 10 g/L. Subtle white flowers, hawthorn, green and yellow apple, pear floats along a slender palate, buoyed by a bright natural acidity, and finishing with some delicate stony spices.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Perlage
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Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Blanc Bruttext
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Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Blanc Brut NV

Jura, FranceThe Rolet estate was created by Mr. Désiré Rolet in 1942, with just 4 hectares, and was taken over by his children, Eliane, Bernard, Guy and Pierre in 1958. They grew and ran the estate to be the second largest in the Jura until 2018 when they took retirement and sold to the Devillard family, well known for their Bourgogne estates. This blend of Chardonnay, Savagnin, Pinot Noir, and Poulsard was sourced from various marl-based vineyards in and around Arbois, and was whole cluster pressed with at least 6 months on lees prior to secondary fermentation. The wine rested a minimum of 3 years on lees prior to disgorgement, with 10 g/L. Creamy red and brisk green apple, crystalline lemon, grapefruit pith, stony toast, and a kiss of vanilla pod perfumes the lingering finish. The creaminess is well balanced off with a bright spire of lemony acidity.Prices: BC 35.00 ON 31.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Church and State Signature Frizzante Muscattext
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Church and State Signature Frizzante Muscat 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis frizzante muscat comes across sharp and bitter, with some soap, faint lime, pear skin, to a shorter finish. Pretty strict, this is not so friendly, and certainly not an accurate version of this beauty grape. A mix of Vancouver Island and Okanagan fruit.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Church and State Sparkling Pinot Gristext
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Church and State Sparkling Pinot Gris 2017

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe Victoria-based Church & State property is on the Saanich Peninsula and is the original home vineyard. This easy-sipping, charmat pinot gris is bright, clean and fresh with a ripe grapefruit red apple aromas and flavours and with the classic foamy mousse—a perfect wine for a warm summer’s day you can serve with or without food.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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L'Acadie Vineyards Vintage Cuvée Rosétext
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L'Acadie Vineyards Vintage Cuvée Rosé 2016

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaAntique pink in colour, this Annapolis Valley sparkler is made from 43% maréchal foch which makes it interesting from the get-go, given that foch is not a common red grape for bubbles. The aromas present a mix of ripe strawberry, citrus, and greenery, with caramel, toast, and raisin danish, all yeast-derived scents from two years of bottle age. Chardonnay and l'acadie blanc make up the balance of the fruit and you can feel their lightness and brightness in the lemony, apply flavours. Super fresh with cranberry tartness, frisky mousse, and generous amounts of toasted brioche in the background, this is full of interest and racy personality. Essentially dry, a burst of vivid red berries punctuate the finish. Crab salad, popcorn shrimp, or aged cheese and crackers will do just fine. Winemaker Bruce Ewert clearly has a elevating touch with complex hybrid grapes like maréchal foch and l'acadie.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: L'Acadie Vineyards
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Fitz Reserve Sparkling Rosétext
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Fitz Reserve Sparkling Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Fitzpatrick sparkling wine program continues to ascend the BC charts under winemaker Sarah Bain, ex-Central Otago (Burn Cottage and Quartz Reef). Bain’s Reserve labels spend a minimum of 36 months on lees, and you sense the effort the instant you stick your nose in the glass. The fruit is pure and refreshing, led by bright red apples and ripe watermelon that spill across this pale orange rosé. The combination of electric acidity and complex lees places it among the best sparkling rosés made in BC. Drink now or hold through 2025 with no issues. Salmon, turkey, or Dungeness crab all work here.Prices: BC 42.45 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Tantalus Blanc de Noirtext
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Tantalus Blanc de Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine looks pretty with a pale salmon colour, and tastes even prettier. It’s made from a single block of clone 93 pinot noir, fermented in barriques and puncheons with native yeast. After six months' rest, it is transferred to bottle, where it spends another 22 months on lees. The up front palate is svelte with tight acidity and fresh plummy fruit before creamy lees and mineral salts set in to ride the long finish. Just a delight to drink and one of the best North American Blanc de Noirs I can remember tasting. At disgorgement, the dosage is 6 g/L of the Tantalus 2017 Pinot Noir still wine.Prices: BC 27.83 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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04 September 2020

Calliope Figure 8 Whitetext
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Calliope Figure 8 White 2019

British Columbia, CanadaFigure 8 is an aromatic white blend of Gewürztraminer and Viognier from the southern Okanagan. Tight, short, and snappy with pear, jasmine, soap blossoms, this is kept (thankfully) reasonably dry through the spiced, snappy finish.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Calliope Gewurztraminertext
86PTS

Calliope Gewurztraminer 2019

British Columbia, CanadaSourced from the southern Okanagan, this is a clean, tight, lean gew, with soap, lime blossoms, orange, and subtle jasmine spicing on the snappy, brief finish. A simple, tidy, and aromatic dry white that would well suit spiced Chinese or Thai dishes.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Gewürztraminer 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWell made, clean, and bright, this is a perfect introduction to a northern gewürztraminer. I love the value coming out of this brand, not to mention the style. Look for cool, skinny citrus and apricot, drier this year than previous. A real palate cleanser, this will be perfect with anything creamy, cheesy, or fat. I like it with a classic Greek salad or barbecue chicken.Prices: BC 16.75 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Mayhem Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Mayhem Gewurztraminer 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA joint project from siblings Terry Meyer Stone (of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards), and JAK Meyer (of Meyer Family Vineyards), this fruit comes off of Cellarsbend Vineyard, in Naramata. This was whole bunch fermented in stainless (21% into neutral oak) for three weeks, after which almost all was moved into oak to rest on lees for 8 months. Lovely friendly Gew, with apricot, peach, lychee and orange on a silken, medium bodied palate. Sugars are thankfully help to a slight 1.43 g/l RS, just enough of a bump to smooth out edges, but leaving this dry and frisky enough to meet with food. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Mayhem Fortified Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Mayhem Fortified Gewürztraminer 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMayhem Fortified Gew was picked at 24 Brix on October 13, 2018, from Cellarsbend Vineyard in Naramata. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and fermented down to 19 Brix before it was fortified with 93% alcohol. After that, it spent 20 months ageing in a barrel, including one summer spent outside in the heat, intensifying the oxidation and complex flavours. It was removed from the barrel, sterile filtered, and bottled in June 2020. Look for a super sweet cross between a sherry and a Tawny Port. The nose and attack is a mix of orange and caramel with a hint of spice. A summer serving could be over ice with orange slices. Ready to drink abut will hold for a decade and beyond.Prices: BC 30.43 500 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Mayhem Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Mayhem Gewurztraminer 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMayhem is a young joint project from siblings Terry Meyer Stone (of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards), and JAK Meyer (of Meyer Family Vineyards). The fruit is Naramata based, from Cellarsbend Vineyard. The ferment is a mix of stainless steel and 20+ percent neutral oak for 21 days before almost all of it went into old oak for eight months. The attraction here is the dryness and freshness that lets the apricot and peach shine. I tried this with Dungeness crab, and it was a good match.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Township 7 Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Township 7 Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn all-Okanagan gewürztraminer from Township 7 Naramata Bench Estate Vineyard, Oliver's Vista Lago Vineyard, this is cold-soaked for six hours before pressing. The juice went into six stainless steel, and six neutral French oak barrels, for a month-long cool ferment. The nose and attack are all orange dusted with a touch of ginger and rosewater. There is just enough residual sugar to sweeten the mid-palate to attract a wide audience. Go for the classic Alsace pairing: wild boar, or something more west coast, like spicy Thai. Vegan friendly.Prices: BC 26.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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50th Parallel Estate Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

50th Parallel Estate Gewurztraminer 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is aromatic with a touch of reduction before the bright orange apricot notes spiked with roses push through. The palate is similar with more citrus and orange mixed with honeydew melon and a pinch of soap. Ther is some wooliness in the back end, but nothing food wouldn’t brush away. Try it with fish tacos, even Dungeness crab, spicy tuna sushi rolls, or spicy pork rice dish.Prices: BC 20.50 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Rust Wine Co Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Rust Wine Co Gewürztraminer 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom ungrafted vines planted in 1973 at South Rock Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench, this had six days of skin contact before fermentation in stainless steel. It’s all about perfumed, floral aromatics, with restrained fruit ripeness at 12.5% abv. The result is a fresher style of gewürztraminer, buoyed by a subtle effervescence, that just finishes off-dry with 8 g/L residual sugar. There's a touch of phenolic bitterness from the skin contact on the finish, suggesting that this will show best alongside something like a red curry.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Villa Wolf Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer 2018

Pfalz, GermanyVilla Wolf Gewürztraminer is textbook Loosen, and textbook spicy gewürztraminer. Plenty of litchi, orange, rosé petals, and a substantial bump of residual makes this fun to sip and perfect with anything spicy. A subtle style for BC producers to emulate.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 14.95 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
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Bartier Bros. Granitetext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Granite 2018

British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Michael Bartier refers to his Granite as a rosé/orange style wine. In 2018 it was a gewürztraminer that comes off a sandy/loam, sandy/silt vineyard in Summerland. The fruit was crushed into a 1-ton open top fermenter and underwent a 21-day maceration. There was no malolactic fermentation as it aged for six months in concrete and stainless steel tanks on its yeast lees. The attack is slightly grippy and bone dry, with tea, cedar, and grassy aromas and flavours. A touch of skin tannins suggests this will work with food. The winery says a favourite curry dish is the match.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Bartier Bros. Gewürztraminer Lone Pine Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Gewürztraminer Lone Pine Vineyard 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMichel Bartier is in good space when it comes to making BC wine, and this gewürztraminer is a super example of simply getting what you are given from a vineyard and getting it into the bottle. Medium lean, it has a pure, fresh and lightly aromatic desert scrub and sagebrush nose that spills onto the palate. The fruit is from Summerland's Lone Pine Vineyard, and the attack is a juicy/watery mix of peach, orange, and red apple. Linear, stylish, and ready for food. Well done.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Meyer Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Meyer Gewurztraminer 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove the concentration here thanks to super-low yields almost half what is expected. The native ferment in stainless and older French barrels was month-long, yielding a fresh, candied citrus palate flecked with rosewater and bitter lime flavours with some classic soapy notes in the mostly dry finish. Reliable and ready to drink. It is broader than elegant this year but ready to drink. Think pork chops or a creamy, Thai green curry.Prices: BC 18.12 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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03 September 2020

St. Hubertus Vineyards Family Estate Rieslingtext
88PTS

St. Hubertus Vineyards Family Estate Riesling 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe estate vineyard riesling is farmed sustainably but is in the transition to organic; it feels like it's already there. 2019 is razor-sharp in acidity as it cuts through just about anything. Think crisp green apple drenched in lemon and lime, with a twist of savoury dried herbs. This one is for riesling or food enthusiasts. The winery suggests a green curry chicken, and I want one right now. Real wine. Real value.Prices: BC 16.75 AB 18.95 QC 18.95 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Storm Haven Vineyard Rieslingtext
94PTS

Storm Haven Vineyard Riesling 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the first release of the Storm Haven series for Synchromesh, coming off their home site, and the result of 10 years of experimentation there. This floods the palate with honeyed pear, lime pith, savoury and salted brown butter, with a firmly grippy frame that draws this long to a very lingering finish. A very masterful wine, that will only improve with age. If you get the chance to find this, buy it. pH 2.77, 11.4 TA, 64 g/L RS, 8.4%Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Storm Haven Riesling Drytext
92PTS

Storm Haven Riesling Dry 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the first release of the Storm Haven wines for Synchromesh, coming off their home site. This spectacular Dry Riesling could be considered the GG of Alan's exemplary range, and is the result of 10 years of experimentation on the site. This Dry combined both press fractions as they were both proving quite complexed, with the blend whole cluster cold soaked for 9 hours prior to being gently pressed off into puncheon with the gross lees until the following July, when it was racked and bottled. A dry rarity from Alan, this streams with dry lime pith, subtle apricot, green apple, herbal Okanagan scrub, and a grippy texture that draws this to a lengthy white pepper finish. Hauntingly different. 12.3%, pH 3.1, 7.3 TA, 2.81g/L RSPrices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
93PTS

Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Thorny Vines vineyard, at the very southern end of the Naramata Bench, the site faces gently north and was planted to 21B in 2010 on fertile heavy clay loam. The north facing site gives this crazy acidity, easily cutting through the boggling 75.52 g/L RS. Juicy wild pear, quince, lime verbena quivers on the palate, with a thread of botrytis drawing this to a long orange rind finish. Amazing length, this is drinking beautifully now, and will continue to do so.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchomesh Long's View Vineyard Rieslingtext
90PTS

Synchomesh Long's View Vineyard Riesling 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata's Long's View Vineyard (the ex-Bob Hancock Vineyard), the 3.5 acre gravelled clay / calcium carbonate south facing site of self-rooted 21B riesling vines shines with its characteristic juiciness. Tight pear, green apple, perfumed lemongrass, talc, tight quince, this finishes with a grip of chalkiness to close out the gentle, but persistent acidity throughout. 8.47%, pH 2.84, TA 10.125, RS 57.84 g/L.Prices: Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Drier Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Drier Riesling 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is only the second Drier Riesling, from a producer known for his knife edge sweeter riesling. This comes from the Road 13's Golden Mile Bench site in Oliver, and 40 year old vines, the first time Alan worked with this fruit. Approximately 80% of the clusters had botrytis this year, giving a wonderful oily complexity to this wine. Green leaf, pear skin, apricot pith, and juicy ripe mandarin flood the palate, matched with a finely chalky texture that dries up the finish. Well named, and suiting those looking for a drier food-friendly style.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Rieslingtext
90PTS

Synchromesh Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith fruit from the four vineyards Synchromesh works with (Bob Hancock, Thorny Vines, Four Shadows on the Naramata Bench; and the home Storm Haven Vineyard in OK Falls). Bright, easy, and friendly, with green apple, sweet pear, and a swell of juicy acidity to counter the boggling 53.95 g/L RS. I wish all Riesling introductions went this well. Excellent value.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Ancestral Method Rieslingtext
90PTS

Synchromesh Ancestral Method Riesling 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada50 cases were made of this, with 25 cases disgorged in August 2020, and the rest to remain on lees for a future disgorge. This Riesling comes from the home Storm Haven Vineyard, and a north facing site. Lovely fresh apricot skin, green apple, bright and shining, with tight streaming buzz of acidity skipping this along the palate. A tip of sugar balances it out perfectly, as is Alan's signature. So fun, so smashable.Prices: Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Free Form Rieslingtext
89PTS

Free Form Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis organic riesling comes from Garnet Valley Ranch, the exciting higher altitude vineyard planted by OCP, and under the guidance of Pedro Parra and Alberto Antonini, and under the care of viticulturist extraordinaire Duncan Billing. This year it was native fermented in stainless, holding the sleek frame tight and energetic on the palate. Citrus, green apple, subtle lemon blossom and humming river stone minerality skip along the frame, leaving this humming on the dry palate. Zing! pH 2.54, TA 11.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Scout Rieslingtext
89PTS

Scout Riesling 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis skin contact riesling is splashed with some gew and pinot gris, and spent 10 days on skins before 6 months in neutral barrels. Pouring a cloudy peach hue, this is subtle upon opening, but grows with some time in the glass, carrying bitter apricot, wild grapefruit, Bosc pear skin, wild lemon, and pithy grapefruit on the slight, mouth watering palate. The finish is astringent with bitter tangerine, lingering with mineral salts. Intellectual, and moreish.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Scout Vineyard
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50th Parallel Estate Rieslingtext
89PTS

50th Parallel Estate Riesling 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLake Country riesling is quickly becoming lightning in a bottle. At 50th Parallel, the fruit is all hand harvested and whole bunch pressed before it is fermented at what they term icy cold temperatures. The attack is all red apple with a covering of lime pith and just an almost imperceptible hint of residual sugar in the finish. Fresh and bright, it works with chicken pizza, Thai curry, or west coast shellfish.Prices: BC 23.50 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Orofino Home Vineyard Wild Ferment Old Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Orofino Home Vineyard Wild Ferment Old Vines Riesling 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Home Vineyard 21B riesling clone is responsible for this delicious wine, on the cusp of celebrating 30 years in the sandy, loamy, gravels of the Similkameen valley. The berries are destemmed and cool fermented on native yeast for a long time in old French barrels. Think complexity in and amongst vibrant fruit. It’s been a while since I have visited these wines, but clearly, the winemaking is much wiser, and the ability to expose the stony mineral wet stone aspect of these old vines has taken this wine to another level. Apricot and limes is jolted with a captivating acidity that makes you want to empty the bottle immediately. Throw in a savoury element and outstanding balance, and you have a unique wine that should scare the Old World. Oh, and under screwcap, this will live forever in the bottle. Back up the truck if there is any left.Prices: BC 25.13 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
94PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStorm Haven is one of Canada's top rieslings made by winemaker Alan Dickinson. It's also the flagship estate vineyard of Okanagan Falls-based Synchromesh Winery, one of Canada's riesling specialists. The stunning site is biodiverse, perched on the outflow from a mountain pass, and nestled at the base of Peachcliff Mountain. It's easily one of BC's best vineyard sites. Low intervention in the vineyard and winery combines with fruit picked in stages to best express the site. It is super savoury this year, threaded with truffle, broken stones (quartz-like), lemon verbena, lime pith, pure granny smith. It is an entirely complete wine, with riveting acidity that holds this greyhound sleek. Muscular, structural, but still nimble and nubile, this is a wine that will reward with decades in the cellar. Again, Canada's riesling specialist. 7.4%, 2.78 pH, 12 TA, 67 g/L RS.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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02 September 2020

Storm Haven Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Storm Haven Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the first release of the new Storm Haven wines for Synchromesh, coming off their home site, and the result of years of experimentation. From young vines home site, and a blend of clones 214 and 332 (the latter a sole rarity in the Okanagan), this was whole cluster for a week, then pressed off into tank where it remained until August 2020 when I tasted it, just bottled. This defines the Okanagan scrub, infused with wild plum, finely grippy tannins, white pepper, wild rose, and iris, all housed with whisper fine, and firm tannins, leading this slight wine to a lengthy finish. Loire-esque, at an impressive 10.6 degrees; serve with a chill. Quite unique for the Okanagan, and one to watch.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Tertre Rougetext
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Synchromesh Tertre Rouge 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted again 2 years along, and showing strong. This cabernet franc / merlot blend comes from Naramata's Turtle Rock Farms. The 2016 was packaged under the white label, and is a blend of 66 merlot and 34 cabernet franc, 30 percent of which saw new French barrels for 20 months. The cab franc is entirely whole cluster, as is some of the merlot, giving an herbal backbone and a whole new fresh and brisk dimension to this wine. Wild black cherries, wild blackberries, tight cassis flood a juicy palate, teeming with peppery spices and threaded with liquorice, drawing this to a warming finish.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Church and State Signature Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Church and State Signature Cabernet Franc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 franc is a mix of three vineyard sites: Foundation, Bella, and Coyote Bowl in the south Okanagan. This youthful cab franc opens with ripe black cherry, and a wealth of rich tannins mixed with savoury black pepper. The back end is fresh and floral, helping to balance the picture. This will need five to seven years in the bottle to find its feet, but it should be a good one down the road. If you need to drink now, steak is the best option to tackle the youthful tannins.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Free Form Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Free Form Cabernet Franc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom an organic vineyard in Kaleden, this cabernet franc was wild fermented and aged in a combination of clay amphorae and large oak vessels. Quite smoky and lifted out of the gate, there’s also some tobacco and dried herbs, but not a lot of fruit. The dense, grippy tannins dominant the palate at this point, no doubt a partial result of aging on its skins for eight months. It’s an interesting pour, but one that certainly needs a hearty protein at the dinner table. Drink now.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Gold Hill Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 Cabernet Franc is a single-vineyard offering sourced from the home block, Gold Hill Estate Vineyard, in the Okanagan Valley just south of Oliver. The attack is pure and juicy cabernet franc with a near-perfect varietal nose of black cherries and leafy, freshly turned loam notes. It’s just under 16 percent alcohol, but you don’t feel it given its fresh, deliciously juicy, bloody black fruit and savoury undertones. A crowd-pleaser that speaks to the special nature of south Okanagan cabernet Franc. It is aged in 100% French oak barrels for 18 months and then gets an extra and important, 24-plus months in the bottle before release. Drink with bold menu items now or hold for a decade; you will love it either way.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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Gold Hill Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is packed with stylish and intense cassis and blackcurrant fruit with floral underpadding and a hint of spice. On the palate, more juicy black raspberry, mocha lined with medium-full tannins and an earthy, ripe black cherry finish. There is freshness here despite a very mature palate, suggesting it might be best consumed through 2023. An excellent effort. Just a thought: bag the cheap artificial cork. It's noticeable.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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Alliance Loire Lieu Dit Les Epinats Saumertext
87PTS

Alliance Loire Lieu Dit Les Epinats Saumer 2018

Saumur, Loire, FranceAlliance Loire Cooperative sources fruit from across the Saumer AOC in the Loire Valley to assemble this simple but affordable cabernet franc. The nose is aromatic and full of leafy plummy fruit that spills onto the palate, mixing juicy blueberry and plum with some light, chewy tannins that lend a rustic finish to the Euro-styled franc. I served this with grilled sausages, and it worked out perfectly for the price. You could cellar it for another year or two, but go with the sausages or a similarly robust menu item, and it should be fine.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Alliance Loire
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01 September 2020

Familia Estrada Palacio Vispiustext
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Familia Estrada Palacio Vispius 2019

Somontano, Aragon, SpainThree siblings oversee this winery since 2006, originally begun by their grandfather Martin Palacio more than 100 years ago, and passed down from their father Francisco Estrada. Located in northeastern Spain, this blends equal parts tempranillo and garnacha, in what was intended to be their 'international style' red. I wish they hadn't, because this ripe, sweet, simple styled red detracts from their estate vineyards' sandy soils at 450m. Candied raspberry, cherry jam, sugared plum slides along a silken palate, with no tannins, and a snappy short brown sugared finish. Please, stop trying to be what you think the market wants, and be what you are. At this point, this promising wine is disappointing, and could be from anywhere.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Familia Estrada Palacio
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Masroig Sola Fred Montsanttext
89PTS

Masroig Sola Fred Montsant 2018

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMontsant's Masroig (red farm) co-op was founded in 1918, and today is a quality example of how a co-op could and should operate. This samso (carignan) is grown over red clay and limestone, and fermented in stainless and sealed under stelvin to preserve freshness. This lighter red streams lifted red currant, raspberry, wild plum across a light palate, housed by finely grippy tannins, and threaded with a mineral salinity. Chill slightly and enjoy all summer / fall long.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Cellar Masroig
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Thr3 Monkeys Tempranillotext
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Thr3 Monkeys Tempranillo NV

SpainThr3 Monkeys was founded in 2008 to develop a new category of wine that would be attractive millennials, based on statistics. They are said to be less conscious about wine. They make buying decisions on influence, brand, label and price. It sounds a lot like the boomers before they turned 40 years old. This tempranillo made famous in Rioja, for you non-millennials, hails from somewhere in Spain. It is soft and round and sweet and fruity with a chocolate cherry flavour.Prices: BC 18.40 Producer: Thr3 Monkeys
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VQ Finca Venta Don Quijote Tempranillo Syrahtext
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VQ Finca Venta Don Quijote Tempranillo Syrah 2018

Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla, SpainThis 50/50 blend of tempranillo and syrah comes from central Spain's La Mancha and the J. Fernando family. They used to sell their grapes to other wineries but recently banded together to produce their label. Dark and wild florals on the nose lead to a greener, peppery, pinched palate, with powdery tannins supporting bitter cocoa, sappy and tart blackberries, to a short finish. Less friendly than hoped.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Bodega VQ
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Run Rafa Run Tempranillotext
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Run Rafa Run Tempranillo 2018

Castilla-Leon, SpainPouring a light red, this tempranillo is full and juicy with peppery raspberry, cherry, and red currant tartness. The finish is bright and spiced, and tannins are soft to negotiable. Chill and pour this peppery budget-friendly red at any summer BBQ. Great value.Prices: BC 11.99 Producer: Felix Solis
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Telmo Rodriguez Gaba Do Xil Menciatext
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Telmo Rodriguez Gaba Do Xil Mencia 2017

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainThe origin of viticulture in this region is as old as the Romans and probably older. Phylloxera wiped out some of the original vineyards, and it was these empty plots, abandoned for over a century, that attracted Telmo Rodriguez and friends to revive some of the best mencia sites in Valdeorras. For the aficionado, this mineral saturated mix of scrubby dried herbs and bright red, smoky, peppery fruit is heaven. Pure and authentic, this indigenous grape is wild fermented and aged 12 months in stainless steel tanks.Prices: BC 24.35 AB 24.95 MB 23.99 ON 22.99 QC 20.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Corriente Bueno de Diariotext
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Telmo Rodriguez Corriente Bueno de Diario 2016

Rioja, SpainCorriente is a tribute to an unofficial and traditional Rioja wine qualification from the early twentieth century. Winemaker /owner Telmo Rodríguez describes it as wine without pretence, “a wine that represents a region, its culture, and surely its wine.” This Rioja Alavesa blend is a mix of tempranillo, graciano, and garnacha grown by small, traditional suppliers, often in field blends, on bush vines, and is manually harvested in small boxes. The ferment is done with native yeasts; the ageing is in barrels and foudres of mixed ages. The result is an honest, gentle red, with an earthy plummy mineral bent with just the right squeeze of red fruit aromas and flavours. Like the last vintage, this is everyday red with extraordinary style.Prices: BC 35.90 MB 24.99 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia 2017 Viña Bosconia Reservatext
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Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia 2017 Viña Bosconia Reserva 2007

Rioja Alta, Rioja, SpainOver 130 years of winemaking tradition have gone into the wines of Rioja’s Vina Tondonia, one of the legendary old school producers still vital and vibrant today. Old vines, local grapes, estate fruit and lengthy cellaring are their hallmarks. This blend of older vine tempranillo, garnacha, graciano, and mazuelo is sourced from El Bosque vineyard, at 465m on clay and limestone soils, next to the river Ebro. This aged 5 years in large oak before bottling. Leathery tannins house savoury dried dark cherry, dried florals, roasted root vegetables and pumpkin, old paper, scents of cloves, studded with mineral salts and echoing with wild scrubby, anise and thorns. Tannins are still strident, though worn with age, and although oxidative notes are infiltrating, this still has a treble of acidity drawing it to a lingering finish. Drink now, with grilled lamb, or a wild mushroom risotto.Prices: BC 60.00 AB 57.00 QC 43.00 Producer: Bodegas R. Lopez Heredia Vina Tondonia S. A.
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