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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: February 2023

03 February 2023

Nichol Vineyard Old Vines Syrahtext
90PTS

Nichol Vineyard Old Vines Syrah 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaComing from Canada’s oldest syrah vines planted in Naramata, this deeply coloured syrah opens with brooding dark fruit and earthy notes. With only 12.4% abv declared, you would expect something light, but there’s ample dry extract here, making it meaty and chewy but not quite fleshy. Stripped down of any fat and flesh, it’s pretty tight and firm, with sufficient tannins and taut acidity to frame the dark fruit. It finishes with lingering flavours of spices and a subtle hint of iodine as well as a touch of sweetness. Aerating for a couple of hours beforehand will help unmask the flavours.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Middle Bench Vineyard Syrahtext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Middle Bench Vineyard Syrah 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Blind Creek Vineyard, Cawston syrah (97%) mixed with La Côte Vineyard, Keremeos viognier (3%) is all Similkameen Valley and part of the Clos du Soleil Winemaker’s Series. It opens with a mysteriously opaque level of black purple. The nose has an enticing, beguiling wild black fruit with dried herbs and white pepper. On the palate, black raspberries reign with a deep silky plummy mid palate awash in pillowy tannins dusted in floral, sagebrush, and baking spices. Long, penetrating, and balanced with a touch of dark chocolate in the finish. As drinkable as it seems, this stony mineral affair will live in the bottle for years, if not decades. The fruit is hand-harvested at peak maturity, gently destemmed, lightly crushed, and fermented in concrete. The destemmed viognier was co-fermented with the syrah at just the perfect quantity to brighten up the syrah without intruding. It was aged 16 months in French oak barrels, of which only five percent were new. This is a benchmark wine.Prices:
BC$39.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Condor Peak Syrahtext
85PTS

Condor Peak Syrah 2020

ArgentinaIt’s no secret that the vast majority of wine at retail is overpriced, which makes us want to pull for any wine that sells for $12-$13. This wine is simple, if not ordinary, for a Mendoza red, but it’s not a malbec, which could explain its lack of character. It is soft, round, red, and drinkable but could be from anywhere. Maybe an injection of malbec would help this wine reach its goal of being inexpensive and tasty. Hamburgers, or a beef taco are the match.Prices:
BC$11.99750ml
Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Orofino Reserve Syrahtext
91PTS

Orofino Reserve Syrah 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Syrah is a limited release small batch wine aged in the finest French oak barrels. On the surface, it presented more depth and a somewhat firmer structure, with denser, sweeter tannins and increased spice. Look for a wild wine with a light peppery meaty style, all with a touch of leanness and reserve. In many ways, it portrays the power and weight of syrah, but it has a certain elegance that catches you by surprise and that tempers its wild terroir. Complex and balanced, serve this with lamb or roasted pork for best results.Prices:
BC$29.65750ml
Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Orofino Syrahtext
90PTS

Orofino Syrah 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKeremeos is home to this old vine single vineyard syrah that sits above the valley floor on a wild, windy, harsh and rocky site. It is native fermented in open-top fermenters, and the cap is hand punched down twice daily before spending 16 months in older French barrels. Minimal winemaking and only 13.2 percent alcohol are the key to releasing the wild Similkameen notes that permeate this syrah, and energize its spicy, meaty nose. The tannins are structurally present but dense and sweet and laced with minerality. Like last year, but even better, this is all you could want in a big, mouth-filling syrah. This will age effortlessly, but don't be afraid to drink it now. It is a splendid bottle.Prices:
BC$27.74750ml
Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Mt. Boucherie Reserve Syrahtext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Reserve Syrah 2020

British Columbia, CanadaThe Mount Boucherie Reserve Syrah was farmed at Lazy River Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley, South Rock Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench, and Lost Horn Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. The blend is an attractive drink-now style of syrah with rich, black cherry, peppery fruit, relatively sleek in style and moderate at 13.5 percent in alcohol after 15 months of barrel ageing. The finish is wild, stony dry, and mineral soaked, adding an excellent level of complexity to the wine. Think fire-roasted meats, lamb, venison, and duck, all of which you can enjoy at the winery restaurant The Modest Butcher.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
91PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Syrah 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJagged Rock Vineyard is fast becoming a Grand Cru vineyard in the South Okanagan. It is a spectacular piece of dirt surrounded by steep rocky cliffs at 356m - 385m elevation. The sparse, sun-scorched soils hit with reflected heat off the soaring cliffs make it ideal for a heat-loving grape variety. Expect an aromatic floral nose that pulls you into a red wine swimming in dense black fruits, spice, pepper, and sweet, generous tannins that fill the palate from front to back. The mix is 97/3 syrah/viognier, with the latter white fixing the colour and lifting the front end with those floral notes. It spends 15 months in 60 percent French oak barrels, 16 percent in foudre, and eight percent in puncheon. You can enjoy this wine now, but it will only improve in bottle over the next seven to ten years. Well done.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Nichol Vineyard Old Vines Syrahtext
90PTS

Nichol Vineyard Old Vines Syrah 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNichol first planted syrah back in 1990. The small block, totalling just 17 rows, is the oldest planting of syrah in Canada. It's stood the test of time, on own-rooted vines no less, and today produces one of the benchmark Okanagan bottlings. The winemaking is all about showcasing the fruit from these old vines. Fermented in small open-top fermenters and then basket pressed, aged in older 500-litre puncheons and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Bright and vibrant, it shows black raspberry and bramble, lifted by perfumed violets alongside savoury notes of cured meat and spice. It evolves every time you go back to the glass, and this will only continue to improve with time in bottle.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Tightrope Winery Syrahtext
90PTS

Tightrope Winery Syrah 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Naramata Bench syrah, co-fermented with viognier (6%), exhibits a bright yet deep crimson colour. It's perfumed, packed with florals, clove, and peppery spices layered with red and black brambleberries. It's everything you would expect from a good syrah. The hallmark black pepper note is more emphasized on the palate, continuing through to the finish. The lighter weight, perhaps lifted by the refreshing acidity and silky tannins, makes it approachable at this stage and enjoyable for immediate consumption.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Kitsch Syrahtext
88PTS

Kitsch Syrah 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis syrah sees Kitsch venture from their East Kelowna estate to the South Okanagan. That sun-soaked ripeness is felt here, with a dark, brooding nose of brambly fruit, chocolate, and lavish oak spices. A solid, polished, bold red, but one that seems to depart from what we've come to expect and love about Kitsch.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Miles From Nowhere Shiraztext
90PTS

Miles From Nowhere Shiraz 2020

Margaret River, Western Australia, AustraliaMargaret River shiraz is miles from nowhere which may explain its style: lighter than traditional Oz shiraz but often more complex. The fruit is night-harvested during the coolest hours. At the winery, the fruit is gently split or kept whole to promote different levels of carbonic maceration to freshen the must and add more complexity. The fermentation occurs in a combination of open-top and closed stainless fermenters with temperature control. The various batches are aged in French and American oak for 16 to 18 months before a barrel selection decides on the final blend. The nose is highly aromatic with super fragrant blue fruit mixed with cedar, dried herbs and white pepper. The palate is juicy with intense boysenberry dusted in vanilla and baking spices, with a fresh undercurrent. The winery suggests a ribeye steak with an Argentinian chimichurri sauce, and I say bring it on. Drink or hold through 2025. Good value.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: Miles From Nowhere
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Terralux Syrahtext
90PTS

Terralux Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 showed well at the highly critical National Wine Awards, taking home a silver medal. It remains consumer friendly with an inviting smoky, earthy, cracked pepper nose. The entry is soft and round with rich black fruit, black pepper, and a touch of meaty animal notes. The tannins are well managed; if anything, the intensity drops off through the finish, with a little less structure and more drinkability, making it fun to drink now. Lamb chops, anyone?Prices:
Producer: Terralux Estate Winery
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Winemaker's Cut Bohemian Syrahtext
88PTS

Winemaker's Cut Bohemian Syrah 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new wine to us, but on first impression, it brings quite a bit to the table. The blend is 92/8 syrah/viognier, with the latter adding quite a floral jasmine and violet character to the wine. The Bohemian labels are single vineyard offerings made in small quantities and are made only in the finest of years by winemaker Michael Mosney. The colour is close to opaque, and the attack leads with juicy black fruit laced with black licorice, white pepper, cloves, and some quiet oak. The style is bone dry, and in such a youthful state, it needs equally intense food like lamb or venison at this point. A good effort that may be even better with a little less viognier next time out. The fruit comes off Deadman Lake Vineyard in Oliver and is cold-soaked for two days, followed by 18-day fermentation on organic yeast. It spends ten months in a mix of Slovakian, American, and French oak barrels. I suggest you give this syrah three to five more years of bottle ageing for best results.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Winemaker's Cut
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02 February 2023

Collavini Broytext
89PTS

Collavini Broy 2019

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyCollavini began in 1896 under founder Eugenio Collavini. His grandson, Manlio, is known as 'the lord of ribolla, for his work the grape. The winery is now in the hands of Manlio and his sons Giovanni and Luigi. They are now centred in Corni di Rosazzo, with 170 hectares of vineyards in Collio, on the Slovenian boarder, and Colli Orientali, at altitude. This blends Friulano (50%) and Chardonnay (30%) that were partially dried in lofts, with 20% sauvignon, harvested normally. The 3 parts were then blended and fermented in a mix of stainless and barrique. This powerful wine mixed dried citrus fruits with fresh lemon, ripe peach, and apricot, filling a creamy, expansive palate. The sides are gripped with buzzy stones and toasty wood, taking this to a snappy orange finish. Quite a surprising, peculiar wine. Partner with shellfish and/or squash risotto.Prices:
Producer: Eugenio Collavini
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Domaine Rolet Arbois Traditiontext
90PTS

Domaine Rolet Arbois Tradition 2015

Arbois, Jura, FranceThis oxidative 50/50 blend of chardonnay and savagnin is from parcels in Château Gimon and Sous le Viaduc, in Montigny-Les-Arsures, planted in grey marls. The savagnin is aged sous voile in an oak barrel for four years, while the chardonnay was aged for four years in foudres, topped up (ouillés). The components were blended and rested for three months before bottling. Pouring a light golden hue, this opens with an evident oxidative note thanks to the savagnin (lightly reminiscent of amontillado) but with a creamy lemon, green apple, and lees woven in, courtesy of the chardy. The two seemingly at ends parts come together in a nutty, lemony, medium-bodied wine, with a fine grip around the sides and a lingering tart salted lemon finish. Try with a French onion soup.Prices:
ON$50.00750ml
Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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01 February 2023

Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado Brancotext
90PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado Branco 2021

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalIlimitado is akin to Seabra's village wine. This Branco comes from mica, schist, and feldspar soils (what winemaker Luis Seabra deems the best for whites), this is a field blend of rabigato, códega, gouveio, vioshino and more, with vines 30-60 years old, and at 400-500m in altitude. After crushing and destemming, the grapes are pressed together, native fermented, and aged in used French oak barrels for 7 months on lees, with no MLF or bâtonnage. Fragrant pear blossoms, lemon streak across a sleek, silken palate, ringing with river stones and a peachy kiss. Lovely pure version of the grapes.Prices:
BC$36.00750ml
ON$29.00750ml
Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Brotte Esprit Côtes du Rhône Blanctext
88PTS

Brotte Esprit Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2021

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThis blend of Grenache blanc 70%, Clairette 15%, Viognier 15% was fermented in stainless (no MLF) where it remained for 6 months on lees. Ripe and creamy white peach, lush melon, fragrant orchard blossoms is bedded with a downy layer of lees, finishing briefly with a little stony spicing and a flush of warmth. A simple, creamy, floral white for drinking now.Prices:
Producer: Brotte Negociant Eleveur
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Ferraton Père & Fils Samorënstext
88PTS

Ferraton Père & Fils Samorëns 2021

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Ferraton family have been winemakers for generations, and the estate was converted to biodynamic practices by Michel Chapoutier. This CdR Blanc blends Grenache blanc 30%, Roussanne 30%, Viognier 30%, Clairette 10%, from clay-limestone soils. It was fermented in stainless (no MLF) where it remained for a few months prior to bottling. Tight white blossoms, ripe pear, white peach, and kisses of honeysuckle glide along a glycerin palate, with light stony spices on the snappy finish. A fresh, medium bodied white for drinking now with salads or lighter vegetarian dishes.Prices:
QC$17.45750ml
Producer: Ferraton Père & Fils
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Frind Estate Baronessetext
88PTS

Frind Estate Baronesse 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn the Okanagan, we're increasingly seeing syrah in so-called Bordeaux blends, so it's only fitting to see viognier (3%) alongside sauvignon blanc (69%) and sémillon (25%), in this case, rounded out by a dollop chardonnay. It offers a complex, developed nose rich in honeyed stone fruits and fine herbs, lifted by toasted spices and dried orange blossoms. It's distinctive and oddly compelling, with a rich, oily texture that will be versatile with roasted chicken.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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