quicksearch
Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: October 2018

15 October 2018

Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farmstext
90PTS

Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farms 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted over one year later. This cabernet franc is from Naramata's Turtle Rock Famrs, and entirely whole cluster fermented before spending twenty months in entirely new French oak. The single barrel selection just gobbles up the wood; this massive wine certainly benefitted from the two years in bottle to settle down the tannins in this wine. Resinous and black with cherry, wild blackberry, dusky spice and dried savoury herbs. There's a thread of medicinal / sarsaparilla tickling this wine. Tannins are sticky, welcoming a requisite partnering with lamb or beef after a decant.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Tertre Rougetext
90PTS

Synchromesh Tertre Rouge 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Alan Dickinson and Synchromesh is legend for riesling, they also produce high quality reds, like this cabernet franc / merlot blend 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 bunch, giving a whole new fresh and brisk dimension to this wine, one under the previous and sun-bloated 2015 was a bit heavy. In contrast, this is positively smashable, with duskier wild blackberries and blue plums, graphite-lined fine tannins and a sketching of textural spices to a lifted, perfumed, bitter cassis finish. Lovely reflection of vintage variation and direction.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rougetext
88PTS

Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rouge 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot the best year for reds, being the hottest ever on record in the Okanagan. Unlike the moderate and long lived 2014, this year clocked in at 14.5 degrees. A 50/50 blend of merlot and cabernet franc from Naramata's Turtle Rock Farms. The cabernet franc was 70 percent whole cluster this year, belying big, deep, thick and plush black fruit and ample ripe tannins. There's a welcome modicum of fresh acidity to counter the intensity, though this giant wine is best suited to giant red meats and drinking now.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rougetext
92PTS

Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Tertre Rouge 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Alan Dickinson and Synchromesh is legend for riesling, they also produce high quality reds, like this blend of merlot and cabernet franc from Naramata's Turtle Rock Farms, a site resting on an ancient lakefront. This is a brooding, dark, deep, plunging blend of 55 merlot / 45 cabernet franc (the latter whole cluster), with heady wild blackberry, spearmint and dark chocolate. This muscular and elegant (think ballerina) red spent twenty months in 45 percent new wood, bottled without fining or filtration, and then two years in bottle pre release. Drinking beautifully now, and cellar worthy.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchomesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Synchomesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Alan Dickinson and Synchromesh is legend for riesling, they also produce high quality reds, like this estate single vineyard pinot noir. This is clones 667 and 115 from the home vineyard site's lower half. Beauty black plum, wild blackberry, black cherry, thorns, pervade this darker, gritty, grippy pinot, framed with black tobacco tannins, and seasoned with cracked black pepper. A muscular, brooding style (albeit a welcome 12.6 degrees), entirely whole cluster and after time in all new French oak.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Alan Dickinson and Synchromesh is legend for riesling, they also produce high quality reds, like this single vineyard cabernet franc. Cachola Family Vineyards is a 2.5 acre site north of Oliver, tucked into the gravelled clay base of a steep slope. Similar to 2014 in its aromatic intricacies, and slightly cloudy with its authenticity, this draws smoked berries, dusky forest, wild mushroom, pipe tobacco along an angular, savoury palate. This reminds me of a Loire / Douro lovechild, and in my opinion, the best Cachola Franc to date. This spent ten months in barrel, one quarter of which was new.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Gibson Block Rieslingtext
93PTS

Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Gibson Block Riesling 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Storm Haven is their home estate vineyard in Okanagan Falls, a stunning biodiverse site perched on outflow from a mountain pass, and nestled at the base of Peachcliff Mountain. It's easily one of the top sites planted in BC. This is a special bottling off Gibson Block, young vines planted in 2013 and from the warm, steep, rocky, decomposed granite area in the SW corner of the vineyard. This carries lovely gentle honey with evolved, fine tannin and faint whiffs of smoke scripting the generous, waxen texture. Brown butter and salts are subtle and well placed, with botrytis working its noble magic. Fantastic depth, interest and length from the scrabble site, resulting in a disctincty savoury wine. PH 2.92, TA 9.225, RS 24. 11.11 degrees.Prices: BC 30.00 375 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Storm Haven Vineyard Whole Cluster Fermenttext
91PTS

Synchromesh Wines Storm Haven Vineyard Whole Cluster Ferment 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Storm Haven is their home estate vineyard in Okanagan Falls, a stunning biodiverse site perched on outflow from a mountain pass, and nestled at the base of Peachcliff Mountain. It's easily one of the best sites planted in BC. This brand new Whole Cluster Ferment was an experimental project that Alan made to prove he didn't like skin contact riesling. Turns out he was wrong. This was a specific pick of Gibson Block, from the hotter SW corner area of their home vineyard. After whole cluster ferment and a week on the skins (zero additives), this was gently pressed to finish in tank, where it spent nine months on the lees. Flint, smoke scent this bone dry, savoury wine, one with a bitter English cider bite, lining of candle wax, and texture by way of broken stone. Like licking flint. A fascinating alternative expression of the legendary site, and total departure from Synchomesh's characteristic style. PH 3.4, TA 9.6, 11.8 degrees.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
94PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Storm Haven is their home estate vineyard in Okanagan Falls, a stunning biodiverse site perched on outflow from a mountain pass, and nestled at the base of Peachcliff Mountain. It's easily one of the top sites planted in BC. This wine is always a highlight, and the 2016 is singing. Juicy and nimble, this is a driving, energetic wine, humming with broken savoury salts. This is not about the fruit. Bacon fat, pear skin, mineral salts skip along the palate with vibrant, but laser like focus and drive. Tasting incredible now in youth; can't wait to see how this develops with time in the bottle. 9.2 degrees, pH 2.81, TA 11.063, RS 38.03.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Rieslingtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Four Shadows Vineyard sits on the southern end of the Naramata Bench, facing Penticton. Alan works with two blocks of riesling from the sloping site. The 2017 feels dialled back in framework than the 2016 (less RS here), with Asian pear, tangerine, mandarine and heaps of spice that textures the svelter palate, and skips up the energy and acidity. There is a chalky finish that is alluring and moreish. RS 45.14, TA 8.4, pH 2.89, 9.79 percent.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Rieslingtext
91PTS

Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Four Shadows Vineyard sits on the southern end of the Naramata Bench, facing Penticton. Alan works with two blocks of riesling from the sloping site. The 2016 is round and expansive in the mouth, textured with much honey, talc, red apple, ripe pear, fine dusted spice. Noticeably Auslese in style, with honeycomb flesh bedding a strip of green apple acidity that runs through the finish. 2.89pH, TA 8.85, RS 52.22, 11 degrees.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
93PTS

Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Thorny Vines vineyard is at the very southern end of the Naramata Bench, facing north and planted to 21B in 2010 on fertile heavy clay. Juicy, with medicinal lemon, white cherry, pear, laced with grapefruit pith, and cored with mandarin. Slight earthy, savoury botrytis lick to my palate, with some honey crisp crunchy BC apple acidity profiling. Alan has now dialled in this property, and it shows. Fantastic now, and for a lengthy future. 61 g/l, TA 9.9, pH 2.86, 9.38 percent.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Thorny Vines vineyard is at the very southern end of the Naramata Bench, facing north and planted to 21B in 2010 on fertile heavy clay. Juicy, buoyant, energetic pear, white grapefruit, melon, eraser is drawn along textural, elastic lees to the finish. Acid is absolutely cranked over last year, and the vineyard is shining. TA 10.125, pH 2.77, RS 53.35, 9.6 degrees.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Rieslingtext
93PTS

Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. Though third generation Naramata farmer Bob Hancock marked his last vintage in 2017, Synchromesh still has use of the fruit for the time being, which is a blessed thing. In Alan's hands, the 3.5 acre gravelled clay / calcium carbonate south facing site of self-rooted 21B riesling vines quivers with energy in 2017, pulsing lovely lime pulp, lemon verbena, pear, quince, honey, ginger and apricot blossom along the fine grained but potently spiced elastic palate, right through the lengthy finish. 9.62 percent, pH 2.79, TA 11.23, RS 47.2 g/l. 220 cases. The site sold, but Alan will still be farmingPrices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Rieslingtext
92PTS

Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted. 2017 was third generation Naramata born and raised farmer Bob Hancock's final vintage, and the name Alan Dickinson, Synchromesh founder and winemaker, gave the special vineyard. Bob had seven decades' familiarity with the site, tucked up the north end of Naramta Bench and adjacent to his family's homestead. The 3.5 acre south-facing site is sloping gravelly clay and calcium carbonate, planted to self-rooted 21B Riesling vines. Lovely verbena, gingered pear, peach, yellow apple, is laced with fine spicing and swelling with juicy acidity. Still very much in youth, and with lengthy staying power, just like its namesake. pH 2.79, TA 9.975. RS 38 g/l. 442 cases.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Rieslingtext
90PTS

Synchromesh Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSynchromesh, and founder / winemaker / powered by riesling inspirer Alan Dickinson, has earned the title as THE riesling producer in Canada, on par with the best anywhere. This is the vineyard's blend of four properties they work with, dominated by Bob Hancock and Four Shadows, and supplemented with Thorny Vines and Storm Haven vineyards. Juicy and welcoming, but not dumbed down, this is the best 'entry level' wine on our market (and at an exceptional price / quality ratio). This young, vibrant wine is scented with pear drop, yellow apple, quince, and light tangerine, zipping along to a snappy, satisfying finish. 9.54%, pH 2.83, TA 10.35, RS 42 g/l.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyardtext
94PTS

Synchromesh Riesling Storm Haven Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the premium riesling from Canada's riesling specialist. Storm Haven is Alan Dickinson's home estate vineyard in Okanagan Falls, a stunning biodiverse site perched on outflow from a mountain pass, and nestled at the base of Peachcliff Mountain. It's easily one of the top sites planted in BC. Low intervention in the vineyard and winery, this was picked in three stages to best express the site. Driving limey minerality, apricot, white peach is held taut with a tight brace of acidity and rasp of broken stones. The palate is absolutely electric with riveting acidity, easily and nimbly carrying the RS along the sleek palate to a lengthy finish. Rainwater freshness and allure in youth (this is just a wee baby), this vintage of Storm Haven will be one that ages beautifully and for a very long time. 8.7 degrees, pH 2.77, TA 11.4, RS 53.5 g/l. 186 cases.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note

12 October 2018

Catena Alta Malbectext
91PTS

Catena Alta Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaCatena Alta is a mix of historic rows within the Catena family estate vineyards, scattered from Lujan de Cuyo to the southern Uco Valley. Dense black plum, blackberry with licorice/mineral undertones and perfectly plump tannins. A stylish, highly polished red wine with the perfect freshness and length for asado (barbecue) beef. As enticing as it can be now, this will age effortlessly for 7 to 10 years.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Malbec Argentinotext
93PTS

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaA giant malbec capable of owning the Argentino moniker, this is all old vines from Catena’s Nicasia and Angelica vineyards, with origins reaching back to pre-phylloxera, mother, or ‘Catena’ cuttings from more than one hundred years ago. It begins with 20 percent whole cluster fruit and 80 percent whole berries going directly into 225-500-liter new French oak to ferment for 30 days and then age for 18 months. I love this cool vintage which really helps to express the moody, deep, malbec. The palate is dense with plush tannins, and chiseled, stony, sweet black fruit loaded with texture and length. It’s bottle unfined and unfiltered, but it’s all finesse in 2015. Cellar this for a decade if you have the patience.Prices: BC 140.00 AB 149.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnaytext
95PTS

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2015

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Adrianna vineyard is located at almost 1450 metres elevation in the Gualtallary sub-district of the Tupungato region. Like White Stones, White Bones comes from select rows within Block 1 of Adrianna Vineyard layered with calcareous deposits and limestone as well as fossilized animal bones, remnants of a river that used to pass through the region. It’s all chardonnay, cold settled and wild yeast fermented in stainless steel and French oak for up to three months. It's a rinse and repeat of White Stones but with even more complexity and substance. The nose is an intense mix of floral notes mixed with native high scrub and a strong jarilla character. I love the precision of citrus and acidity with a dash of salt, quince and green fig. White Bones sits only 100m away from White Stones, but this is the jewel of Argentine chardonnay. Electric to say the least.Prices: QC 125.00 AB 136.50 BC 140.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones Chardonnay 2015

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaWhite Stones comes from a highly select 27 rows within Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard. Under those vines is a gravel field of oval white stones. There’s not a lot of soil at 1450 metres above sea level in the Gualtallary sub-district of Uco Valley's Tupungato region. Poor shallow soils, not a lot of rain, cool nights, warm days, well, you get the picture: heaven for grapevines. It’s all chardonnay that is cold settled for half a day in stainless steel tanks before fermentation in French oak barrels for anywhere from 45 to 95 days. Battonage and partial malolactic see it through 12-16 months in 2nd, 3rd and 4th use French puncheons. The minerality is off the charts but it comes with a creamy palate and bright acidity, and a mix of quince, clover, honey, salt and minty sagebrush. Impressive world-class chardonnay from Argentina.Prices: BC 108.99 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbectext
97PTS

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard River Stones Malbec 2013

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe River Stones Vineyard is a 2.6-hectare parcel of alluvial origins covered with oval white stones left over from an ancient riverbed. With a bare 12 inches of topsoil, the stones provide fabulous drainage and act as a temperature gauge, retaining heat through the early evening after a warm day and keeping the vineyard cool after a cool night. Think stony, bony Bordeaux or malbec with impressive aromatics and a well-defined structure. Floral, mineral and highly distinctive, this is a wine for collectors. After a wild yeast ferment, this spends 24 months in barrels of varying ages, dictated by each vintage. Extreme altitude, at 1366 metres above sea level, best describes Adrianna Vineyard, planted by Nicolás Catena Zapata in 1992 in the hopes of finding the coolest site to grow vines in Mendoza. The Winkler classification, a method developed in California to track degree days at which the vine grows, places Adrianna between zone 1 and 2, or somewhere between Burgundy and a very cool part of Bordeaux. Undaunted, the Catena family planted the Adrianna Vineyard with cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay cuttings from France, and malbec taken from Lot 18 of their 75-year-old Angélica vineyard. Over time, the cabernet proved to be less interesting, but the malbec and chardonnay excelled in minerality, density, weight and mouthfeel. Plenty of sunlight, slow to rien, and lower potential alcohol makes Adrianna an ideal vineyard site for serious, age worthy wines.Prices: BC 150.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Malbectext
97PTS

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Mundus Bacillus Malbec 2014

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaExtreme high altitude, 1366 metres above sea level, best describes Adrianna Vineyard, now perhaps the wine world’s most studied piece of dirt. Nicolás Catena Zapata planted the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary in hopes of finding the coolest site in Mendoza where wines would grow. The Winkler classification, a method developed in California to track degree days at which the vine grows, places Adrianna between zone 1 and 2, or somewhere between Burgundy and a very cool part of Bordeaux. Undaunted, the Catena family planted the Adrianna Vineyard with cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay cuttings from France, and Malbec taken from Lot 18 of their 75-year-old Angélica vineyard. Over time, the cabernet proved to be less interesting but the malbec and chardonnay excelled in minerality, density, weight and mouthfeel. Plenty of sunlight, slow ripening, and lower potential alcohols makes Adrianna an ideal vineyard site. The Mundus Bacillus ’14 comes off a 1.4-hectare parcel at 1390 metres altitude, riddled with limestone and marine deposits that date back millions of years ago. The well-drained limestone layers are particularly rich in rhizobacteria or microorganisms said to embolden vine roots from stress, allowing them to absorb nutrients, hence "mundus bacillus terrae" or "elegant microbes of the earth." The style is reserved and tight-fisted. The deep rock beds yield a dusty, stony, floral, mineral, red wine with extreme elegance. Higher acidity and an embarrassment of tannins combine to suggest this wine will have a very long life. Already complex, it can only get better. Bravo.Prices: ON 350.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbectext
96PTS

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2014

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaAt 1366 metres above sea level, extreme high altitude best describes Adrianna Vineyard, now perhaps the wine world’s most studied piece of dirt. Nicolás Catena Zapata planted the Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary in 1992 in hopes of finding the coolest site in Mendoza where wines would grow. The Winkler classification, a method developed in California to track the degree days at which the vine grows, places Adrianna between zone 1 and 2, equivalent to somewhere between Burgundy and a very cool part of Bordeaux. Undaunted, the Catena family planted the Adrianna Vineyard with cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay cuttings from France, and Malbec taken from Lot 18 of their 75-year-old Angélica vineyard. Over time, the cabernet proved to be less interesting but the malbec and chardonnay excelled in minerality, density, weight and mouthfeel. Plenty of sunlight, slow ripening, and lower potential alcohol makes Adrianna an ideal vineyard site. Fortuna Terrae, or luck of the land aptly describes this 5-hectare parcel Adrianna Vineyard where the deep soils support numerous species of native vegetation that in turn attract beneficial insects, birds and foxes that provide balance to the site. I love the freshness of this aromatic red wine that fully supports the silky, dense, sweet tannins that never quit on the palate. The balance is as impeccable as the fruit, and despite its power, it has a fun, juicy, feel in the mouth. Drink now with a T-bone steak or hold a decade or two because it will cellar effortlessly.Prices: MB 127.00 NS 112.30 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note
Catena Malbec High Mountain Vinestext
88PTS

Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis malbec is a blend of four high mountain estate vineyards from 920 meters to 1450 meters, overseen by Laura Catena and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil. Over the years Catena has shed some oak in favour of fruit, and it looks good on this wine. In 2016, a short season plagued with rain brought many challenges, although a crop load that was half the normal kept quality in check, and the cool weather in the end may be a blessing. At a mere 13 percent alcohol it's a blast from the past, albeit a light one. The palate is a mix of violet and red plums. It’s a midweight year you can drink already, and is well suited to restaurants.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 23.63 ON 19.95 NS 24.00 NB 23.29 PEI 24.00 SK 25.99 NF 23.90 MB 23.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
Read Full Note

11 October 2018

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 16 ‘reserve’ mixes two prime BC pinot locations: Naramata and Summerland across ten different clones. It’s all small lots that are pressed to barrel for an eight-month sleep in 40 percent new oak. The nose is on the dark fruit, black raspberry, black cherry side that spill onto the palate with an earthy, spicy, smoky finish. Still youthful with some light tannin to disperse this won’t be ready for prime time until 2020. Solid.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: JoieFarm
Read Full Note
Five Vineyards by Mission Hill Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Five Vineyards by Mission Hill Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNice improvement here, offering cleaner fruit on the nose with earthy spicy flecks. The attack is round and ripe but with a strong, earthy, spicy, licorice undercurrent. Ready to drink and should be fine with chicken salads, salmon burgers or a favourite creamy cheese. Fair value at under $20 for an introductory style pinot.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 17.99 SK 18.00 MB 17.00 ON 16.45 NB 19.00 NF 20.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
Read Full Note
Ex Nihilo Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEx Nihilo is finding its groove in Lake Country as evidenced by this whole berry fermented pinot noir that spends nine months in American and French oak. The wood is a big part of its style, adding a softness and richness to the fruit that is reminiscent of Sonoma but with a bit more finesse. The nose and palate are a pretty mix of plummy, spicy cherry with super silky tannins throughout. Friendly, warm, juicy pinot, attractively light in hue and body (12.7 degrees) that you can drink now. Think pork, rabbit or duck.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Mac Forbes Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Mac Forbes Pinot Noir 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaPouring a diaphenous light cherry hue, this is an elegant, lifted and pure pinot, intense with red fruit and light spice, but light and bright on the peppery palate. The Yarra Valley Pinot, their 'entry level' tier, blends declassified barrels from each of their single vineyard wines: Coldstream, Woori Yallock, Yarra Junction, Seville, Wesburn and Hoddles Creek, and four clones. Ten percent whole bunch, and partial foot stomped, this spent up to 30 days on skins, before 11 months in oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Earthy cherry, raspberry, moss, whiffs of tobacco swell with an easy rise to the finely pepper smoked, spiced finish. Bright acid, tannins are whisper fine, more a suggestion to house the slight body. Twelve degrees alcohol, this is best with a light chill, this is a beauty example of where Yarra pinot is now. BC should pay attention to this.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Mac Forbes
Read Full Note
Blue Mountain Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe regular pinot is a mix of fruit from estate vines as young as 10-years-old and topping out at the 32-year mark. The complexity comes from many places including six different clones, in this case de-stemmed before going through a native yeast ferment. There’s a bit more French oak showing now, but this will be a good one. It’s slightly reduced on the nose so be sure to decant it or swirl it in the glass to get started. Look for a pale pinot colour, plummy, sweet black raspberry fruit with an alluring tobacco undercurrent. The tannins are muted the texture silky and slippery through the finish. You could drink this now, but we suggest another 12 months in the bottle to allow it to settle in. Fine quality.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 30.00 ON 30.00 QC 30.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
8th Generation Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

8th Generation Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

British Columbia, CanadaFrom the winery's estate Summerland vineyard, this is the 667 clone, fermented on the skins, before one year in old and new French oak. Dark raspberry, dark cocoa, ripe forest berries and ample truffles on a sultry, shaded, softer palate win fine-grained tannins and buoyed by a swell of acidity. Star anise tickles the finish. Impressively managed for a richer style pinot that will continue to mellow and complex with time. Serve with duck breast or coq au vin made with pinot noir.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: 8th Generation Vineyard
Read Full Note
Inniskillin Okanagan Pinot Noir Dark Horse Estate Vineyardtext
87PTS

Inniskillin Okanagan Pinot Noir Dark Horse Estate Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s been fifteen years since we last saw this wine and clearly it has improved. It has an attractive ripe pinot nose with juicy, spicy, black fruit aromas and flavours. It’s the texture that attracts: soft, chalky, and slippery, it is a rustic yet easy-sipping red. The finish is lightly sweet with just enough earthy, vegetal, pinot funk to hold your interest. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Inc.
Read Full Note
Morandé Pionero Pinot Noir Reservatext
87PTS

Morandé Pionero Pinot Noir Reserva 2017

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThe grapes come from the cool, marine-influenced, sandy clay soils of Belén Vineyard in Casablanca. The vineyard is high-density (10,000 plants/hectare), the grapes are machine harvested (note the price), but there is berry selection at the winery. There is a three-day cold soak followed by traditional gentle pump overs to near dryness. It’s stored in stainless steel tanks with 25 percent aged in used French oak barrels for 3 months. The nose is a mix of red fruits and tea with a whiff of dried herbs and forest floor. Light, fresh, and juicy this is fun to drink. Perfect with chicken or pasta dishes or a favourite Asian noodle dish. Only 13 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Viña Morandé
Read Full Note
JoieFarm Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

JoieFarm Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 JoieFarm Pinot Noir is the best yet. Structured and assured, but with finesse and vibrancy that easily carries the darker fruit. Black cherries lead, while gently smoked plum, sweet tobacco spice, autumn forest filter through the medium, fleshy body to a tight, smoke ringed finish, welcoming partnering with well cured jamon, duck, or pork rillettes. This blends fruit from Summerland, Naramata and Penticton mixing up four clones in the blend. Many small fermentation lots, plus gentle pressing and barrel fermentation and aging in various larger format sizes of wood (new wood enters in puncheons only) results in the dialled in complexities of this distinctly JoieFarm, and BC, pinot noir.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: JoieFarm
Read Full Note
Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilkameen Valley is the home of this robust pinot noir with an earthy, forest floor nose. The ’16 has some grippy upfront tannins that sit on a core of blacker fruits flecked with raspberry and spice, leading to a dry, stony finish. I would give this some time in the bottle to soften or serve it with rustic mushroom/chicken dishes.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
Read Full Note

10 October 2018

Ex Nihilo Merlottext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose has an unexpected beguiling, medicinal, red/black fruit aroma with a savoury undertone. The attack is more the Ex Nihilo we know, rich and round with big sweet, California-like stylings. The dense, rich fruit grown on the Black Sage Bench is aged 20 months in a mix of French and American oak. The palate is brimming with minty, cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry fruit laced with spice. This will need a few years to age but you could drink it now with lamb osso buco or slow cooked pork dishes.Prices: BC 36.00 AB 43.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Mission Hill Reserve Merlottext
90PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Mission Hill Reserve series is actually a 'reserve' wine made with the top 15% of fruit picked from estate vineyards only. Over the years winemakers John Simes, and now Darryl Brooker, have been returning to some 75% of the same vineyard blocks to ensure vintage to vintage consistency. We could say a lot about this merlot, the fruit is fragrant and forward, the textures lush and mouth-filling in that merlot way with judicious oak ageing but more than anything it is the best merlot we have tasted under $26 in the country. We say merlot, but the addition of 10 percent cabernet franc may be the secret weapon here. Just a tug of tannins suggests you could age this another year or two in bottle, but a grilled steak would smooth all that out today. Impressive.Prices: BC 25.99 SK 25.00 ON 26.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
Read Full Note
Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vietext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike 2014 with a bit more heat but the nose is fragrant and inviting. The attack is perfumed and spicy with violets, ripe black cherries and dark, rich, black fruit. Cassis, black plums and spice mark the mid-palate and finish with a touch of balsamic. It seems a bit soft on entry, but after that it just builds on the palate. Fun, if not complex, you can drink or hold for another 24 months.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
Read Full Note
Rust Wine Co Merlottext
88PTS

Rust Wine Co Merlot 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis big, rich, ripe merlot is almost enough to match the heft of its ginourmous, overweight bottle. And working your way through the wax on the cork, 1/2 centimetre thick, will certainly work up an appetite for this toothsome, chewy red. Sourced entirely from the Golden Mile, this is lined with cedar and filled with perfumed violets, ripe red cherries, kirsch and baking spices. Tannins are ample but plush, working to cushion all this weight. You can enjoy this hedonistic red solo, or with your rare beef tenderloin.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
Read Full Note

09 October 2018

Van Westen Vineyards Violetatext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Violeta 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe warm 2015 growing season has had a positive impact on this rich, dense showy red. The nose is marked by black fruit aromas and pepper. The attack is juicy and plump, the tannins dense but refined giving it structure through the finish. Impressive already and this will improve in the bottle over the next five years. WE served with a whole roasted savoury chicken and it was a perfect match. Hey Mendoza, look out.Prices: BC 30.35 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
Read Full Note
Domaine Capelanel Amphut Sebastien Dauliactext
90PTS

Domaine Capelanel Amphut Sebastien Dauliac 2012

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceThe warm 2015 growing season has had a positive impact on this rich, dense showy red. The nose is marked by black fruit aromas and pepper. The attack is juicy and plump, the tannins dense but refined giving it a firm structure through the finish. Impressive already and this will improve in the bottle over the next five years. We served with a whole roasted savoury chicken and it was a perfect match. Hey Mendoza, look out.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Domaine de Capelanel
Read Full Note
Château Les Croisille Calcairetext
91PTS

Château Les Croisille Calcaire 2014

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceFrench malbec has a spotty history in Cahors unless you loved the monster, black editions that were the norm in the 70s and 80s and persist among some producers today. We lean more toward the refined offerings. Germaine Croisille is one such grower and family in its third generation making beautiful malbec with finesse and style. The vineyards are 30 to 25 years old on limestone soils and you can feel it throughout the wine and its understated fruit, light licorice and pepper and its sensational chalky textures. This is a bargain for wine geeks. Real wine.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Château Les Croisille
Read Full Note
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbectext
89PTS

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2016

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe nose is an attractive mix of florals and dark fruit with a touch of licorice. The attack is silky smooth suggesting an almost hypnotic balance throughout. On the palate the fruit is cool and peppery with bits of anise, blueberries, tobacco and dark blueberry with a touch of medicine chest. Exceptional value and a wine made for beef.Prices: NF 21.50 MB 23.00 SK 25.00 NS 28.00 AB 24.00 BC 20.99 ON 19.95 Producer: Trivento Bodegas y Vinedos S.A
Read Full Note
Tonel 78 Barrel Select Malbec - Bonarda Barrel Selecttext
88PTS

Tonel 78 Barrel Select Malbec - Bonarda Barrel Select 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Tonel 78 Barrel Select is a 50/50 mix of malbec and bonarda, the latter giving it an attractive, juicy, character in the mouth. The two varieties are fermented separately before they are blended and aged in oak for 12 months. The nose is a mix of plums and licorice the palate almost identical with soft, floral, fruity textures that finish dry. A solid ready-to-drink red you can serve with grilled meats.Prices: BC 24.69 Producer: Bodega Los Toneles
Read Full Note
Tonel 22 Malbectext
86PTS

Tonel 22 Malbec 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaA cooler year has leaned this label out in a good way. Soft and slippery on entry, its peppery black fruit is carrying less sugar making it more sippable and table worthy. This is a ready-to-drink, basic hamburger red malbec that sells for less than $16.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Bodega Los Toneles
Read Full Note

08 October 2018

Ex Nihilo Rieslingtext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEx Nihilo sits near 50 degrees north in cool-climate Lake Country, British Columbia, and in 2017 the late hanging fruit was picked after a winter snowstorm and freezing temperatures. The normally lean style is much richer with yellow fruits and spätlese style residual sugar giving it an off-dry demeanour, but with enough acidity in the finish. Soft and round, this would be best served with spicy dishes to tame a bit of the sugar. Think barbecue pork or a Thai curry.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trockentext
89PTS

Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trocken 2016

Pfalz, GermanyBeauty balance here in this trocken (dry) riesling from the Pfalz. Native fermented, and additive-free, this streams river stones, pear skin, lime pith, lemon verbena and kiwi along a light and dancing palate. The palate is lined with a thin sheen of honey, yet tight and taut with a tangerine line of acidity. Fine spice lingers on the lip smacking finish. A lovely alternative lens for Pfalz' typical richness.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Bassermann-Jordan
Read Full Note
Rieslingfreak No. 5 Clare Valleytext
93PTS

Rieslingfreak No. 5 Clare Valley 2017

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaWhat a difference a spoonful of sugar makes. Sourced from the same Clare Valley family vineyard as Riesling No. 3, but from lighter soils than the No. 3's heavy red clays, which shows in the brightness and lift of this wine. This just off-dry riesling fills out the slender palate with pear flesh, kefir lime pulp, apricot, Asian pear, light exotic spice, all tightened with lime pith and kissed with honeysuckle and brulée. There's a wash to the mid that trails to the pineapple rind finish. The blip of 11-15 g/l RS is well matched by the taut, limey acidity acidity. So much wine, at only 10 degrees. Impressive now, and for future drinking.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Rieslingfreak
Read Full Note
Rieslingfreak No. 4 Eden Valleytext
91PTS

Rieslingfreak No. 4 Eden Valley 2017

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe 2017 No. 4 Riesling was sourced from three vineyards in Eden, and is representative of the region's crushed stone, talc and lime-laden character. Subtle on the nose, and still reserved on the palate, this youthful wine is quite closed upon opening, with key lime, lime pith, pear skin, Asian pear, yellow apple poking out when the glass warms some, finishing with kisses of anise. Bone dry, with a talc dusting, this has racy acidity holding tight the palate taut and long. Hinting at the potential to come, this dry, savoury / severe wine well shows John Hughes' deft hand and touch with the grape.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Rieslingfreak
Read Full Note
Rieslingfreak No. 3 Clare Valleytext
91PTS

Rieslingfreak No. 3 Clare Valley 2017

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaRieslingfreak No.3 is harvested from John Hughes' Clare Valley family vineyard, and its heavy red clay soils. The expansiveness from the clay well offsets this racy, bone-dry wine, tempering the acidity with a modicum of flesh on the palate. Orange blossom, tangerine, Asian pear, white grapefruit, quince and apricot fuzz fill the slender, lengthy frame, lingering on the finish.Prices: BC 26.50 Producer: Rieslingfreak
Read Full Note
The Chase Block 11 Rieslingtext
89PTS

The Chase Block 11 Riesling 2017

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI love the simplicity and balance of this wine, letting you appreciate it for what it is: a very drinkable riesling. The nose is fresh with classic young riesling fragrance, in this case, green peach and grapefruit. The attack is juicy and the red and green apple slides down seamlessly, constantly calling you back to the glass. The acidity is understated but real, allowing for 20 grams of natural residual sugar to be present but hardly noticeable. A giant food-friendly wine. The fruit comes off Block 11 of the Carrs Landing Vineyard and even then, from selected rows. A terrific effort by winemaker Adrian Baker.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: The Chase Wines
Read Full Note
Rieslingfreak No. 2 Polish Hill Rivertext
89PTS

Rieslingfreak No. 2 Polish Hill River 2017

Polish Hill River, Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaStony, chalky and locked-fist tight, this bone dry riesling is scented with lime pith, white grapefruit, underripe quince. This really shows Polish Hill's limestone and shale soils through its tight, refined frame, one that streams a rivlet down the racy palate. Flint licks the finish. This severe styled, lively wine is not for everyone, but it is for acid freaks. Like me.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
Read Full Note
Moraine Rieslingtext
89PTS

Moraine Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoraine riesling is entirely Naramata Bench fruit, of which nearly half is estate grown clone 49. It’s all whole bunch pressed and wild fermented in three batches over four weeks, six weeks, and nine weeks at very cool temperatures (under 13C). The result is a juicy, fresh white with a lot of tension pushing off the fruit sugars in one direction and the citrus acidity in the other. It’s a mineral, stony, citrus affair you could serve with a favourite curry.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
Read Full Note
8th Generation Vineyard Riesling Classictext
88PTS

8th Generation Vineyard Riesling Classic 2017

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, the winery's Classic Riesling, is 32-year-old estate Okanagan Falls fruit, grown on sandy soils. Some early sulphur turns to broken stones, lime pith, bitter orange and earthiness along a medium palate, finishing with a burst of bittersweet lime and with crunchy acidity. This is off-dry, but constrained in a tight pocket, and at 13 degrees alcohol, leaving one feeling hemmed in. Perhaps with age this will relax some; certainly old vine riesling has the goods to go the distance. At present, this is a vibrant choice for lightly spiced and citrus-fragrant dishes.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: 8th Generation Vineyard
Read Full Note
8th Generation Vineyard Riesling Selectiontext
90PTS

8th Generation Vineyard Riesling Selection 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 8th Generation Selection begins in early August at veraison when they take fourteen rows and thin the crop to one cluster/one bud. The 31-year-old vineyard then puts its entire energy into ripening that fruit. The style is lively, the acidity bright but with ripe yellow fruit flavours that keep it all in balance. A slow native yeast ferment continues into January adding complex layers of flavours. There’s the perfect mix of fruit and acidity here and a whack of minerality. A versatile food wine that will work with just about anything.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: 8th Generation Vineyard
Read Full Note
Culmina Family Estate Decoratext
91PTS

Culmina Family Estate Decora 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDecora, from the Latin for beautiful, comes off Margaret’s Bench at 595 meters above sea level. The 2017 is a beautifully crafted style showing much more finesse than previous versions. It’s extremely delicate, with fleeting mineral floral undertones and scents of orchard fruits. The attack is stony with grapefruit pith and more mineral, chalky, stony notes. Not as intense as a great Mosel, but definitely tracking in the right direction. Very drinkable and well balanced; oysters on the half shell please. A super bargain, so back up the truck.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Culmina Family Estate Susser Riesling No. 005text
91PTS

Culmina Family Estate Susser Riesling No. 005 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is extremely food-friendly, and at Culmina they pay attention to potential matches, suggesting a sweet-savoury chèvre tartelette with new season vegetables, or cut fruit and chicken liver mousse. The fifth release in the “Number Series” opens with an aromatic orchard fruit nose with flecks of lemon, melon and honey. The off-dry palate is delicate but rich in stone fruit flavours with fine underlying acidity. The fruit comers off Block X2, a cool corner of vines on Arise Bench planted to clone 21. The 'Susser' tag is a direct translation of the German for sweeter and it more than adequately reflects the overall final impression of this tasty white.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Riesling Organic Vegantext
89PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Riesling Organic Vegan 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOld vines (riesling clone 21B planted in 1978) and certified Demeter biodynamic vineyards are at the heart of this riesling, fermented outdoors with the ambient vineyard yeasts in the Summerhill Vineyard in 2017. The fruit is whole cluster pressed and fermented cold and left with a healthy dose unfermented sugar to counter its naturally crisp acidity. It’s off dry, but vibrant with complex notes of honey, lemon, peach and river stones. Love the intensity, and while it's on the sweet side it only needs a spicy, savoury turkey dish to set it right.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Read Full Note
Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Blocktext
88PTS

Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block 2017

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThe Silver Mane Block takes it up a notch in 2017. It’s less sweet, albeit still off-dry, but the mix of pears, peaches, apples and citrus taste more complex with a touch of earth and ginger in the finish. I like this with a curry bowl or spicy Thai noodles. Kamloops is stretching its legs. Good value.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Pioneer Blocktext
87PTS

Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block 2017

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThere’s a slight lift in energy here this year otherwise it remains a solid label like its previous edition. The nose is a mix of orchard fruits with a dusting of sagebrush and citrus. There’s better weight an style this year but with some extra phenolics that dry out the back end. Solid and ready to drink try this with pork or chicken dishes.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
Read Full Note
The View Rieslingtext
89PTS

The View Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is an interesting take on BC riesling. It's super dry with over the top acidity that will either have you running for the hills or opening a second bottle. I think the latter. It is a crisp, fresh, electric white with bright, lemon-lime notes and that zesty, mineral finish. A bit more fruit balance will make this a superstar label. A vegetarian and vegan delight, the winery suggests pairing it with Miss Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips which gives you a clue of how edgy this dry white is.Prices: BC 17.95 Producer: The View Winery & Vineyard
Read Full Note

04 October 2018

Falletto di Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva Red Labeltext
94PTS

Falletto di Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva Red Label 2004

ItalyFrom the cellar. Bruno Giacosa has been producing some of the most sought after wines out of Piedmont since 1961. The Red Label Reserva isn't produced every year, only when the winery deems a vineyard and wine worthy. All the other wines of the vintage are released under the white label. Thus, when you are lucky enough to find a Giacosa Red Label, scoop. In 2004, it was decided that the Barbaresco Asili was red label worthy. Pouring a bricking hue, and benefitting with decanting, this reveals intoxicating complexities of spices, leather, worn wood, dried currants, truffles and hints of anise on a lengthy, finely supple palate, one striated with 14 years in bottle, but still tight with drive and energy to carry it another decade. Notes of sarsaparilla, dried black tea, worn tobacco leaves season this contemplative, finessed wine through the lengthy end. This was bottle 6193. Sadly, Bruno Giacosa passed away earlier this year at age 88, still running the 44ha estate, winery and cellar with his daughters Bruna and Marina.Prices: US 369.00 Producer: Bruno Giacosa Falletto
Read Full Note
Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannattext
88PTS

Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannat 2016

San Juan, ArgentinaThis big, brooding tannat benefits from airtime, so decant or open well in advance (I went for a full day). Wild blackberry, black cherry, inky plum cloak a juicy core, fired by sun-warmth and housed with sticky tannins. Pipe tobacco, espresso and purple florals tie this up, finishing with a wash of sea salts and kept afloat with a wave of blue-stone acidity. For all its potency, and warming finish, this is a respectable 13.5 degrees.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Finca Las Moras
Read Full Note

03 October 2018

Costaripa RosaMaratext
91PTS

Costaripa RosaMara 2016

Lombardy, ItalyThis attractive rosé is from Valtènesi DOC, a subzone of the Riviera del Garda Classico DOC, near Lombardy's Lake Garda. This is a blend of estate groppello, marzemino, sangiovese, and barbera, macerated with skins (giving that striking orange peach hue) before 30 percent or so goes into small oak casks and the remainder into stainless for six months. They seem to be going for the Provençal feel, from the distinct bottle to the silken mouthfeel. Bitter cherry, strawberry, rose petals, red currants, mandarin are infiltrated with a resinous herbal scrub before finishing with bitter bergamot tea and grapefruit pith. The mid palate is plump with lees, though the silken mouthfeel and length keeps this savoury, dry wine sleek. A lovely unexpected find, and one suited to smoked / oily fish.Prices: BC 29.95 AB 24.90 QC 20.90 Producer: Costaripa
Read Full Note
Francesco Cirelli Vino Rosatotext
88PTS

Francesco Cirelli Vino Rosato 2017

Abruzzo, ItalyThis is a new line from a familiar name in Abruzzo's natural wine circles. At Francesco Cirelli's estate Cireclli Farms, the wines are all made in amphora (illustrated by the sketched vessel on the label). Here, with this series, he purchases neighbouring organic fruit and raises it in stainless, rather than amphora, casting a different lens on his winemaking regime. Savoury strawberries, raspberry jam, boysenberry fill a juicy core, bright with fruit purity and not with ripeness.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Francesco Cirelli
Read Full Note
Rust Wine Co. Pinot Noir Rosétext
86PTS

Rust Wine Co. Pinot Noir Rosé 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRust Wine Co. opened a year ago, taking over what was Rustico Farm and Cellars for their tasting room, and making small lot, single vineyard wines from Golden Mile, Okanagan Falls, South Cawston, and West Osoyoos. This is a deeply pink hued rosé of pinot noir, from West Kelowna's Mt. Boucherie Estate Vineyard. Planted in 1999 on clay loam with glacial till and volcanic scrub, this was raised in stainless. Glycerol lined palate of strawberry jam, orange, ripe raspberries, with a noticeable bump of RS and shaking of cinnamon spice on the finish. I hope to see the fruit more, and winemaking less in the future, but I look forward to tracking this project.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
Read Full Note
Two Rivers of Marlborough Isle of Beauty Rosétext
89PTS

Two Rivers of Marlborough Isle of Beauty Rosé 2017

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandTwo Rivers Rosé is one of New Zealand’s most popular pinks and is constantly sold out Down Under. The wine has a pale copper colour and is made in the traditional Mediterranean style. The nose is fresh and clean with citrus, orange blossom aromas sprinkled with dried herbs. The attack is similar with a light, fresh, watery, salty, citrus flavour profile that draws you back to the glass. It’s an easy bottle to finish with mussels, fish cakes or charcuterie.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Tscharke
Read Full Note

02 October 2018

Ex Nihilo Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Ex Nihilo Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt Ex Nihilo the style is on the riper, richer side and the 2017 is no exception. The nose is mix of honey, pink grapefruit and pineapple that tumbles onto the palate. The finish is long and weighty with ripe, tropical fruits and candied lemon. Ready to drink. Try this with a spicy jalapeno scallop dish or Thai fish cakes.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Willakenzie Estate Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Willakenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe 420-acre winery estate was founded in 1992 at Yamhill-Carlton. Willakenzie takes its name after the sedimentary soil on the estate no doubt deposited by the nearby Willamette and the McKenzie that merge in Eugene. The nose is an open, mineral, lime affair and those traits follow onto the palate. The palate is creamy and ripe finishing on the warm side. It is mostly fermented in stainless steel with just a small amount barrel fermented fruit to add texture and complexity. The mix is 95/5 pinot gris/pinot blanc. Ready to drink. Try this with a favourite curry.Prices: BC 27.95 Producer: Willakenzie Estate
Read Full Note
Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigiotext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigio 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTypical bright, fresh Naramata orchard fruit leading with apple blossoms, dried apricot and citrus notes. The attack is lean and mineral with green apple, green melon flavours with a touch of bitterness. The finish is creamy with a sweet melon undercurrent. Try this with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
Read Full Note
Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey have this recipe dialled, creating a dependable and reliable white year over year. This year's gris is from 31-year-old vines and two French clones, grown on their Okanagan Falls estate. No big changes here although it seems riper if not sweeter than perversions which will likely only increase demand. Whole cluster pressed, this was fermented in a blend of stainless, foudre and oak barrels of varying sizes. The barrelled wine spent six months on the lees, while the stainless wine (39 percent) was racked after fermentation. The two were blended in early summer, and now released. Lovely polish and elegance to the palate, with creamy pear, lemon, green apple, kisses of orange and a bracket of tight spicing. Confident, quietly so, this is drinking well now but will deepen and reward for another couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 26.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
CedarCreek Platinum Block Single Vineyard Pinot Gristext
87PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock Seven is 100 percent pinot gris grown on stony sections of the vineyards that produce more concentration and a riper profile. In 2017 winemaker Taylor Whelan decided to push the intensity and ripeness of sugars and phenolics to new levels hoping to make a weighty Alsace style. The grapes were whole bunch pressed, the juice was fermented using organic yeasts in oak barriques, French oak puncheons and concrete eggs and finished in an off-dry style (18 grams/litre) - where the sugar was asked to take on the acidity and phenolics. The nose and palate are all about ripe pears with spicy, sweet red apples. If you like opulence or you are tackling a rich spicy dish, this wine will work. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
CedarCreek Pinot Gristext
87PTS

CedarCreek Pinot Gris 2017

British Columbia, CanadaThe CedarCreek pinot gris is a 50/50 mix of 90 percent estate fruit from south and north of Penticton, which no doubt helps with volume, if not the vitality of this wine. Winemaker Taylor Whelan uses 30 percent neutral oak to add texture and mouthfeel, but truth be told it could use a bit more acidity and freshness. The attack is a mix of ripe fruit salad notes with a hint of butter and spice. A mid-week white for a sunny patio or appetizers. Best well chilled.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
Read Full Note

01 October 2018

Mac Forbes Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Mac Forbes Chardonnay 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaYarra Valley's Mac Forbes is one of the Aussie vanguard proving the worth of appreciating and understanding terroir and site over brand. He works with a number of single vineyards across Yarra. This, however, his 'entry tier' chardonnay blends fruit from Healesville, Hoddles Creek and Woori Yallock vineyards, all in the Yarra Valley. It's still an exciting drop, wound with lemon-laced acidity and accessible with white / yellow fruits, a moderate lees-decked and fennel scented palate, and ample cracked stony spice through the lengthy finish. Native fermented in barrel, this remained ten months in older oak and was bottled without fining.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Mac Forbes
Read Full Note
Sebastiani  Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Sebastiani Chardonnay 2016

California, United StatesThis is a well-made, if old-fashioned chardonnay with rich, honeyed, buttery notes but there is some freshness in the finish to keep it balanced. Simple easy-drinking California chardonnay you can serve solo as an aperitif.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 18.00 ON 18.00 QC 19.00 Producer: Sebastiani
Read Full Note
Silver Heights Family Reserve Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Silver Heights Family Reserve Chardonnay 2015

ChinaImpressive reserved nose of melon and apples with a floral undertone. The oak is perfectly managed; it is aged six months in new French (Burgundy) oak barrels. The palate is linear with fine freshness, lime/grapefruit tones and a firm lemon undercurrent. There is a purity of fruit and light toast with a touch of minerality. Elegant, but not as complex as you would expect for the price. A very good start. I look forward to watching this label progress in the years ahead.Prices: BC 53.99 Producer: Gaoyuan Silver Heights Vineyards
Read Full Note
Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnay 2016

California, United StatesIt’s gratifying to see the subtle changes in this wine. Less oak and way less butter and baked apple fruit in exchange for freshness and a touch of lees for texture. The attack is round and easy-sipping, but it tastes like chardonnay with a mix of red apples, honey and guava. Friendly, easy-sipping and a perfect match with vegetarian pizza.Prices: BC 16.49 AB 17.00 NB 17.00 MB 17.00 ON 17.00 QC 20.50 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
Read Full Note