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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2019

15 March 2019

Blue Mountain Gamay Noirtext
87PTS

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to the 2016, with soft, smoked raspberry and soupy forest berries on an amply juicy palate, one that finishes with a shake of dusty cinnamon and tightening swig of tobacco and bitter cherry. 10-28 year old estate gamay, across three clones, spent three weeks macerating and was native fermented, before one year in 225 and 500L French oak. There’s a space on the mid that I also noted in the previous vintage, which may be filled with food. I prefer this with a brisk chill now.Prices: BC 22.90 AB 26.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Pascal Aufranc Probus Juliénastext
88PTS

Pascal Aufranc Probus Juliénas 2013

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FrancePeppery, tight and unyielding, this gamay is sourced from the Les Crots climat, one with noticeably more clay which sets it apart from typical Julienas, and gives it a weight felt within its 12.5 degree frame. From 70+ year old vines, whole cluster pressed, and aged in foudre for ten months, this carries perfumed raspberry, pure plum, a rinse of astringent acidity and fine, peppery spice on a high acid palate. This structural, lighter wine benefits from being opened in advance, giving it some room to breathe and grow in the glass. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Pascal Aufranc
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Mayer Gamaytext
89PTS

Mayer Gamay 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaUpon first opening, this bottle is a bit too funky for its (or even my) own good. However, with airtime (or a decant), this reveals meadow, mossy forest, bay leaf, white pepper, on a lean, earthy red drawn from Roundstone Vineyard, a plot brought to fame when deBortoli made gamay here. Semi-carbonic, whole bunch brings this lightness and herbal freshness, lifting cherry, wild raspberry, above a tar, cigar, and tobacco leaf base. Drink now, with an adventuresome spirit. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Mayer
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Sorrenberg Gamaytext
92PTS

Sorrenberg Gamay 2017

Victoria, AustraliaMore of this please mate. Gamay is not widely grown in Oz, but if folks tasted this small lot, I reckon there would be a lot more. This gamay is from Barry and Jan Morey's small biodynamically farmed property on the edge of Beechworth. Low intervention and high attention to detail earns this charming gamay its cult status. After a wild ferment, this is basket pressed and rested in caves beneath the Morey house before bottling. Slight in body (13.3) and hue, with raspberry, dried herbs, tobacco, wild cherry, and bamboo-strong, upright tannins. A wonderful salt wash on the lingering finish makes this moreish. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 68.00 Producer: B & J Morey
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Ochota Barrels The Price of Silence Gamaytext
90PTS

Ochota Barrels The Price of Silence Gamay 2018

Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaSuch a charmer, and a characterful one at that. This Piccadilly Valley gamay is a blend of three clones planted in 1985. #GoGamayGo. However, a few years later, they were grafted over to chardonnay. Sad. But wait! In 2013, Taras convinced the grower to chainsaw off the chardy grafts and bring back canes from the gamay rootstock - and it worked. This resulting wine, made in very small lots (my bottle was 244 of 1208), is light and delicate, with wild strawberries, cherry, red fruit and flowers, bound with whisper-weight tannins and fine spices. Such an alluring wine, and at 11.8 degrees, an effortlessly smashable one as well (though, tragically much less so at this Canadian price).Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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13 March 2019

Château Pesquié Ventoux Les Terrassestext
89PTS

Château Pesquié Ventoux Les Terrasses 2016

Côtes-du-Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceLes Terrasses is usually a 60/40 blend of grenache and syrah with traces of carignan, cinsault and mourvèdre. Only about a third of the juice is aged in oak for about six months but none of it is new. The style is modern Rhone with ripe and fleshy red and black fruits including raspberry, black cherry and mulberries punctuated with black pepper, bits of resin and tar with a dried herb/garrigue finish. There are tannins, but they are mostly silky. Try this with fire-grilled beef dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianzatext
91PTS

Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianza 2015

Rioja, SpainLa Montesa is a blend of the indigenous grape varieties that grow on winemaker Alvaro Palacios' Remondo estate. Montesa is named after a hillside vineyard located on the northeastern slope of the Yerga mountain in eastern Rioja. Alvaro, as only he could, described the wine as "flowing wide in the mouth and possessing the wild strength of the mountain from which the wine hails.” For a mountain wine, I am impressed by its balance and finesse, and the silky, vibrant, red fruit flavours with some exotic notes of orange, brown spice and peaches. This is a garnacha-based blend at its best. The garnacha/tempranillo fruit was field selected and then sorted at the winery, fermented separately in stainless steel tanks for a spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. After a 35-day maceration, it was aged 12 months in new and used French (90 percent) and American oak barrels. This is real wine and we enjoyed it with rosemary-scented lamb chops.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 25.99 QC 20.85 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Mas Donis Negretext
88PTS

Mas Donis Negre 2017

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMas Donis Negre is a 50/20/15/10/5 mix of garnacha, tempranillo, merlot, syrah and samsó (carignan). Depending upon the grape, some spends a brief amount of time in French and American oak barrels, most in stainless-steel tanks. This is juicy, stony, spicy red with plenty of dimension and a small but important floral and mineral aspect. This nose is full of red cherries with garrigue dried herbs and some youthful grippy tannins in the back end. The perfect wine for street barbecues and patio entertaining. Great price; back up the truck. Especially good with lamb or grilled vegetables.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Celler de Capçanes
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Ortas Côtes du Rhone Le Dome du Grand Boistext
87PTS

Ortas Côtes du Rhone Le Dome du Grand Bois 2016

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceA light, fresh, warm, round almost sweet mix of grenache, cinsault and carignan is at the heart of this easy-sipping, ready-to-drink, Cotes du Rhône red from Le Dome du Grand Bois. Look for plenty of red and black fruits with a dusting of fresh garrigue and spice. Chicken is a classic match, but most Mediterranean ingredients work here.Prices: BC 19.95 MB 14.99 Producer: Cave de Rasteau
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Ortas Tradition Rasteautext
89PTS

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017

Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceBright, youthful purple colour with a similarly lively, fruity nose and palate. A pleasing, soft, Rhone red that mixes grenache, syrah and mourvèdre with light mellow tannins. Best of all, it's dry, with just enough freshness to suit a variety of foods. Excellent price in Quebec; serve all summer on the patio.Prices: AB 21.95 MB 16.12 ON 17.95 QC 16.95 Producer: Cave de Rasteau
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Gratavinum Silvestristext
91PTS

Gratavinum Silvestris 2016

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainGratavinum Silvestris is a ‘natural’ wine in the sense that it is made the way wine was elaborated thousands of years ago using only fermented grape juice with the grape’s natural or wild yeasts and without any other additives. The fruit is grown in organic vineyards that have never received any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The grape blend is 85/15 garnacha and cabernet sauvignon grown over llicorella (slate) soils. Its fermented in stainless steel and aged in 400L new French oak barrels. Look for an intense black colour. The color is opaque. The attack is fresh and vibrant with pure red and black fruit with a savoury, mineral undercurrent. There are some tannins to disperse, but there is plenty of acidity to carry the weight for five to seven years. Roast lamb or chicken would be excellent matches.Prices: BC 55.91 AB 42.50 QC 42.50 Producer: Parés Baltà
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Thunevin-Calvet Maury Vin Doux Natureltext
91PTS

Thunevin-Calvet Maury Vin Doux Naturel 1998

Maury, Roussillon, South of France, FranceJancisRobinson.com describes Maury as Banyuls' inland cousin. The two expressive regions are positioned on either side of the lesser Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes areas. This is an impressive dessert wine from its slightly rancio, nutty nose, through its authentic tawny colour, to its sweet chocolate, cherry, black raspberry, coffee notes that expand across a silky-smooth palate, sporting a reasonable 16.5 percent alcohol. Tawny-like for those of you who enjoy port, and similarly it's probably as good as it gets the day it's bottled. Tasty. I suggest nutty cakes or well-aged cheese.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: Thunevin-Calvet
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12 March 2019

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
91PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere’s never very much of the Cuvée because it’s a small selection of winemaker Grant Stanley’s best barrels. The flagship pinot mixes a variety of clones 828, 115, 667, and Mt. Eden, each hand harvested and aged separately for 13 months in 40 percent new French oak barrels. The nose is cool, with floral, red fruit and spice notes. The mid-weight palate is a mix of mineral, saline, black plums, black raspberry with just a dusting of brown spicing. Round, soft, easy sipping, it will be best drinking over the next three to five years.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyardtext
91PTS

Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyard 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Winery winemaker Chris Carson is the force behind this eponymous label that comes off the spare, free-draining, alluvial/colluvial soils of Todd Road Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. Another 2016 that simply delivers on all levels beginning with being fun to drink. Carson’s style seems just a little less serious then I usually see at Meyer, not so much in quality but in early-drinking/approachability, or maybe it’s the all 115 Dijon clones that bring rich, juicy, red and black fruit flavours with a savoury undercurrent and a silky finish, all at 13.5 percent alcohol. As I have said before, it’s reminiscent of a repass of Central Otago juice over Oregon skins. It’s indigenous yeast fermented, goes through full malolactic, and the wine ages for 11 months in one-third new French oak, one-third two-year-old, 16 percent each of three and four-year-old barrels.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Carson
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
90PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGentleman Farmer Vineyard, GFV, is Spearhead’s East Kelowna home vineyard. It’s a mix of clones 115, 777 and 828, native fermented and with a full three weeks on skins before resting 13 months in 25 percent French oak. This is a friendly, supple, easy-sipping northern Okanagan version of pinot noir that will attract a large audience (private wine shops take note). What it lacks in edgy acidity and tightness, it more than makes up for it with a sweetish mix of raspberries and cherries, pliable tannins and brown spice. Very different from the other single site pinots; ready-to-drink.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Oldfield Reserve is a mix of fruit from the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile Bench. The style is rich, with warm, spicy, black cherry, black raspberry fruit that spills softly across the palate. More hedonistic than electric, this is ready to drink and would work well with any roasted birds, or mushroom dishes. The wine is partly whole cluster pressed, partly native ferment, and partly aged in new French oak for a year, prior to an 18-month rest in the bottle.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Spearhead Club Consensus Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Spearhead Club Consensus Pinot Noir 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClub Consensus is a new pinot noir from Spearhead, one of five pinot noirs from 2017, and a blend decided upon by its wine club members. The folks decided on clones 667, 777, 828, native fermented, on skins for three weeks and then aged 13 months in French oak (25 percent new), a procedure consistent across all their pinots. The grapes came from their vineyards in Summerland and Kelowna. The style is soft, ripe and welcoming, with plum, raspberry, forest, roses and fine downy spice that fill the palate. As you might expect it’s a charming wine for drinking now.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
89PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSalted black raspberry, cherry, plum, fruit leather, nutmeg leads this serious pinot noir, one of five released from Spearhead in 2017. This is from their home Gentleman's Farmer Vineyard in south east Kelowna, and a mix of clones 828, 115, 667 and Mt. Eden, all fermented native, solo, with three weeks on skins and 13 months in French oak barrels (40 percent new). Though in a broody, softer vein, this structural pinot is still threaded with acidity, keeping the heft at bay. Drinking well now, or over short term.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
88PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGFV refers to Gentleman Farmer Vineyard, Spearhead’s East Kelowna home vineyard. From here clones 115, 777 and 828 are native fermented, spend three weeks on skins and then are pressed into French oak (25 percent new) for 13 months. Dusky and muddled raspberry, cherry, sarsaparilla swing across the medium bodied palate, framed with supple tannins and finishing with cinnamon bark spicing and some bitter cherry notes. Soft and welcoming, on the blousy side, and for current drinking. This is a richer, warmer expression than the three single vineyard pinots.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyardtext
89PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyard 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich spicy, toasty notes with a whiff of reduction that disappears with time in the glass is imbued with cherry, raspberry, forest berry and intense, dried thyme. Well balanced this medium bodied pinot is spice and scented by pink-peppercorns and roses. The tannins are gentle and well integrated, and the acidity rises to match its 14-degree frame of alcohol. A lovely new addition to the Spearhead, eccentric, single vineyard pinots. From West Kelowna's volcanic-soil Coyote Vineyard is home to ten-year-old clone 115 vines, destemmed and native fermented with three weeks on skins. After pressing, this finished MLF goes through a 13-month stint in French oak (25 percent new). Drink or hold through 2022.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyardtext
90PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyard 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Golden Retreat Vineyard, this is one of a series of single vineyard pinots (plus two multi-site blends) that Spearhead (nee Spierhead) released from 2017. Darker raspberry, black cherry, dark earth is carried on the medium-bodied, cool palate to a savoury, Worcestershire-scented finish. There's a welcome tart acidity to lift this easily to the finish making it very food-friendly. A lovely wine for duck or rabbit. This one blends Pommard 115 and 667 clones, each native fermented with three weeks on skins before 13 months in French oak barrels, 25 percent new.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Black Hills Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Black Hills Pinot Noir 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new release from Black Hills is for wine club members only, and is a very strong reason towards signing up. From grapes grown across Naramata Bench, a proper area for pinot, this streams cherry, raspberry, pomegranate along a medium bodied, positively slender palate. Tannins are long, tobacco kissed, and fine, finishing with a gentle, alluring smoked orange sweetness. This spent ten months in French oak, twenty percent new, and one hundred percent integrated at this youthful time, which is impressive. There’s restraint here, which is so often missing in BC pinot noir. Well done, especially for a first release.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Black Swift Vineyards Palo Solara Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Palo Solara Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPalo Solara is another East Kelowna site in need of a sub-appellation. The vineyard is cool-sited, and has been sustainably farmed for some time. Suitably pale, the nose is an earthy, forest floor affair with savoury black cherry, and a touch of bitter/toasted almond and smoke. Still just a baby, this will need a year or two to gather itself and move forward. Low on fruit but big on style, it’s another piece of the BC pinot puzzle.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch bigger in the mouth than the Palo Solara Pinot, and sweeter, although it's more on the dry side of sweet fruit. Look for spicy black cherry fruit with an earthy, herbaceous, forest floor that runs through the finish. Smoke and toast flecked the final flavours. A touch rustic at this point, but another year or two in bottle should turn the tide. Drink now with grilled salmon or rich pork dishes.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards makes several single vineyard wines from both pinot noir and chardonnay. This is the latest from the home estate in Okanagan Falls: McLean Creek Road Vineyard. The sparse, sloping, sandy alluvial/glacial gravels and sandy loams support five Pommard and Dijon clones (114, 115, 91, 667, 777) each farmed organically, plot by plot. Destemmed and native fermented with gentle hand plunging, this then went into French oak (25 percent new) for 11 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Expect a lusty dark raspberry, plush cherry, sarsaparilla flavoured pinot wrapped around a ripe core sprinkled with leather and spiced cedar on the way to a warm finish. You can drink this now, but it will reward another two four years cellaring.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Tantalus Maija Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Tantalus Maija Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEventually the ‘Juveniles’ grow up. They can be still youthful, but in this case, the young vines at Tantalus are growing up just like owner Eric Savics’ daughter. Maija is named for Eric’s daughter, and is the new iteration of the Juveniles Pinot Noir, made with a mix of Dijon clones. The colour is ruby red, the nose an alluring mix of raspberries and spice mixed with tea leaf and savoury earthy notes. The attack is sweet but tempered by acidity and well-managed tannins. It was a hot, smoky summer, but in the end the smoke retarded the maturation, working more like a sunscreen than something invading the grapes. The fruit is mix of home vineyard vines and a neighbouring vineyard. It’s all wild fermented before ageing in 20 percent new and seasoned French oak barriques for 11 months. It’s blended just prior to bottling. Best of all, it’s a bargain. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reservetext
92PTS

Tantalus Pinot Noir Reserve 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNine months down the road this wine is just getting better in the bottle. Its been almost three years since I first tried this from barrel, and it continues to impress. It is the first Tantalus Reserve Pinot, ably marked by its gold Dempsey Bob mask and wax dipped capsule. Winemaker David Paterson makes a barrel selection from his top parcels, centered on clone 667 with lesser volumes from clone 115 and 828. The attack is sweet and round but with a delicate underbelly flecked with plums, black cherries, and wafting notes of raspberries dusted with cinnamon and pepper. Although it weighs in at 14.5 percent alcohol, the balance is perfect and as it ages it just seems to build on its delicate, sweet pinot personality. Forty percent whole cluster, native fermented and aged 16 months in all French oak (30 percent new). Can’t wait for the 2016.Prices: BC 60.95 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPinot noir struggles in the southern Okanagan, and this big, ripe, twiney pinot shows the strain of the heat, clocking in just under 15 degrees. From both the Black Sage Bench and Golden Mile Bench, this is partial whole cluster, partial native ferment, and partially aged in new French oak for a year, prior to 18 months in bottle. This 2014 is the current, new release. A flush of warmth on the nose and palate reveals baked red currants, cherries, raspberry leather, peppery spices, prune, and leather. Tannins are cedar sanded smoothed, and stick on the smoked finish. For drinking now; best with sauced pork.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Unsworth Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a great follow up to the 2014 with that same spicy, black raspberry nose. The attack is mouthwatering with freshness combined with silky texture before the cool, spicy, intense red fruit fills the palate. Long, persistent, forest floor flavours mark its balanced finish. Should be a perfect match for a rich, fatty piece of grilled wild salmon. Love its cool demeanour and its 13.2 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Rathjen Cellars Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Rathjen Cellars Pinot Noir 2015

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is such a delicious bottle of pinot noir it makes you want to jump on a ferry to Vancouver Island and visit this tiny Sidney-based winery, located minutes from Swartz Bay. The 2015 is textbook, cool-climate pinot with just an extra hint of ripeness due to the warm year. Bright, round, intense, crisp, steely, cool red fruits spill across the palate and persist for a long time. The blend is a mix of four Dijon clones from a single vineyard in the Cowichan Valley, fermented wild and aged 24 months in neutral oak. Bravo Michael Rathjen. Winery direct.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Rathjen Cellars
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSometimes it’s not what a pinot noir is, but it’s more about what it isn’t. The 2016 is subtle pinot on the nose with notes of earth and forest floor, just a dusting of black cherry fruit, and a hint of balsamic. Round, soft and dry this silky pinot is ready to drink with cream cheese and salmon, or pork and vegetable kabobs.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reservetext
89PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reserve 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA good example of the overall potential of East Kelowna is evident in this pinot noir. Quietly ripe with ample spice, this reminds me a bit of Oregon. I love the delicacy here, as well as the effort not to do too much, especially with oak. Raspberry, cherry, and spice with just a dusting of oak reveals the true nature of north Okanagan pinot noir. Less is more, and I like where this food-friendly pinot is heading.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Kitsch Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKitsch came out of the gate strong four vintages ago with their laser rieslings and packaging smarts courtesy of a previous business venture SAXX underwear of the 4th gen Kelownans Ria and Trent Kitsch. A smart hire of somm Grant Biggs as winemaker has solidified the winery as one to watch. This is from the seductively named G Spot Vineyard in East Kelowna and combines clones 828 and 115 grown over silty loam, sand and clay. There is ten percent whole cluster fruit in the mix that spent 18 days in maceration and stainless ferment before eight months in French oak. Slightly smoked forest berries, earth, cedar, leather, black cherry, wild raspberry are stencilled and a dry, yet supple palate. The acidity is bright; the tannins are featherweight. For immediate consumption with a wild mushroom risotto or duck pizza.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe reserve tier sources from the top 15 percent of estate vineyards, with an impressive 75 percent return rate to site year over year. This vintage sees 77 percent from estate vineyards in Lakeshore, and the remainder from Naramata, all with 11 months in French oak. Tight, lean and punchy, with cranberry / pomegranate on a strident frame, one with smoothed, smoked, cedar tannins. There's a pinch of bitter red fruit and balsamic on the finish that makes this wine appear drier and leaner than most local pinots. This will be best served with dishes rich in oil /fat to flush out the palate.Prices: BC 28.00 AB 26.00 ON 25.00 QC 26.00 MB 28.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Haywire Pinot Noir Canyonview Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir Canyonview Vineyard 2014

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove how this wine is still shining nearly four full years post ferment, and if anything, putting on a bit of weight. Canyonview is a 2ha vineyard on four east/west terraces facing south. The land slopes down into Trout Creek Canyon and is under constant air movement to cool the vineyard in summer and warm it up a bit in the winter. The wine was fermented in small batches with wild yeast, and underwent manual punch downs. It was then transferred to age in concrete tanks for 11 months. Sweet cherries with brown spices (like Russian River) further plump this pinot up beyond its normally cool roots. The finish is long and soft with sweet, smoky, raspberry jam notes, pipe tobacco and cinnamon. Very hedonistic.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJust released, the Meyer Pinot is made to drink while you wait for the richer, more complex family members. In 2017 the attack is juicy, the fruit fresh and red with bits of raspberry, pomegranate, and cherries with fine minerality and floral undertones. The textures are silky, which helps to cover up a short-ish finish. The fruit is sourced from the McLean Creek Road Vineyard (Okanagan Falls), Anarchist Vineyard (Oliver), Teasdale Vineyard (East Kelowna) as well as Naramata. Post maceration it spends ten months in older French oak. Duck pizza anyone?Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Haywire White Label Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire White Label Pinot Noir 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft on the palate but finely detailed with an ample thorny, pitchy grip, this earthy, medium bodied pinot noir is imbued with medicinal raspberry, black cherry, sarsaparilla, star anise and desert sagebrush atop a sturdy black plum base. From Oliver's higher elevation and organically farmed Secrest Vineyard (purchased by Haywire in 2018), this was native fermented in clay amphorae as well as concrete, with the former on the skins for nine months before the two parts were blended prior to bottling. A naturalist, unadulterated lens for central Okanagan pinot that may be less attractive fruit-wise for some but more complex, which will appeal to others. It is a bold move. This youthful wine deserves an equally bold match like duck or roasted winter squash.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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11 March 2019

Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraztext
92PTS

Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraz 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaCompared to Luke Lambert's 2017 Syrah (at double the price), Crudo Shiraz is meant to be a youthful, smashable, drink now and often red. That said, this is stamped with the authenticity and attention all Luke's wines carry. From organically farmed Tibooburra Vineyard's granitic sands seamed with volcanic topsoil, this was 20 percent whole bunch, native fermented, split between neutral oak and stainless for three months, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Charming from the start, with cracked peppercorns, wild blackberry, brambleberry, cherry blossoms, savoury dried herbs on a juicy, slight, frame. Tannins are fine but firm and long, running the length of this streamlined, moreish wine. Characterful and alluring, perfectly balanced for drinking now or short-term cellaring. Well done.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Mayer Syrahtext
91PTS

Mayer Syrah 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis syrah comes from a small portion of Bloody Hill vineyard (named of the effort it is to walk up and down it each day) at the base of Mount Toolebewoong, averaging 200m and on gravelled sandstone. After a whole bunch native ferment in open vats, this spent 11 months in hogshead before seeing its first, very light sulphur prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Alluring from the start, with a perfumed raspberry, cherry, forest, and white pepper that infiltrates a slight palate, erect with black peppercorns and bamboo firm, lightly furry tannins. The mouthfeel is detailed, acidity is vivid, texture gripping, and result is entirely cool climate Yarra shiraz. Well done, and best enjoyed with a slight chill.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Mayer
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Bannockburn De La Roche Shiraztext
89PTS

Bannockburn De La Roche Shiraz 2015

Victoria, AustraliaA single block of old vine, close planted shiraz (10000 vines per hectare) this is Tahbilk R6WV28 clones and on volcanic debris soils, lending the block its apt name - translated as “of the rocks”. This was half whole bunch fermented with native yeast, with two weeks on skins before pressing and racking to puncheons (25 percent new), until the following August. Blue and black fruited, with a cool line of stoniness that runs through the finish. Blackberry compote, cherry leather rule the plush, heavier palate, one severely cut with the earthy twinge of whole bunch shiraz. Tannins are soft and sueded, and there's a potent red florals that pervades from top through finish.Prices: BC 88.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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Bannockburn Shiraztext
88PTS

Bannockburn Shiraz 2015

Geelong, Victoria, AustraliaFrom volcanic soiled vineyards, this shiraz was 20 percent whole bunch fermented and on skins for 2 weeks before 16 months in French oak (20 percent new) prior to blending and bottling. This was the first time the winery used whole bunch on shiraz, previously just utilizing it for pinot noir. Ripe and rich with sunbaked red fruits, potent red florals, cinnamon bark spicing on a plush palate. The whole bunches cut a knife edge green / branchy swatch through the overripe fruit, creating a little discordance on the palate. I reckon pork tenderloin would go a long way to amend.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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San Pedro 1865 Limited Edition Syrahtext
89PTS

San Pedro 1865 Limited Edition Syrah 2016

Elqui Valley, Coquimbo Region, ChileElqui has always been a formidable place to grow syrah, and if it wasn’t in Chile it would likely be a lot more famous. Chilean wine must be good value and cheap or retailers and sommeliers in North American and Great Britain will not sell the wine and even then, it’s mostly an afterthought. Too bad given the quality of many of these wines, this 1865 syrah being a case in point. The nose is aromatic and fresh, loaded with cassis, black plums and black raspberries with harmonious acidity. There is some prominent smoky oak but at this young age it is just fine. It's high altitude and cooler than just about anything in the market. A fine effort form a tough vintage. Best now with roast lamb.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 35.95 US 40.00 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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Baglio Normanno Syrahtext
87PTS

Baglio Normanno Syrah 2016

Sicily, ItalyFresh, open, aromatic nose reminiscent of blackberries and blueberries, with a resiny liquorice undercurrent. There is a sweet fruit character throughout before a chocolate, peppery, slightly bitter finish kicks in. There a rusticity here that works if matched by foods like grilled sausage or a meat ragú. It would also benefit form a couple of years ageing at this point.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Baglio Normanno
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08 March 2019

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafontext
93PTS

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon 2015

Maconnais, Burgundy, FranceThis certified biodynamic chardy was from two older vine (25 year+) 400m parcels neighbouring Lafond's estate vineyards, and from clay limestone soils. After a native ferment, this aged in neutral large oak (foudres and demi-muids) until the following summer when it was bottled. Alluring wet stone, well-timed reduction is carved with tight acidity along a streamlined palate, leaving a chalky swath in its wake. Downy lees, meadow herbs, honeysuckle, light flake salts allude to richness, but the tight palate keeps this narrow and effortlessly drinkable now. Will reward further with cellaring. Excellent value.Prices: BC 41.00 Producer: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon
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Di Lenardo Father's Eye Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Di Lenardo Father's Eye Chardonnay 2016

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyA bit old school in structure with smoke, hazelnuts, and lemon. The attack is creamier than you might expect, with baked apple, lemon, nuts, brioche, this weighty wine has layered flavours that have yet to melt together. The fruit is grown in the coolish Friuli-Venezia Giulia, at the foothills of the Alps. The wine is fermented and aged for three months in new American wood barriques and goes thorough malolactic fermentation. Solid.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Di Lenardo Vineyards
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Château de Béru Chablistext
93PTS

Château de Béru Chablis 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceChâteau de Béru is an historic estate in Chablis, overseen by 20th generation Athénaïs Béru and in her family's care for the past 400 years. When she came back to the estate in 2010, she converted the entire farm to organics and biodynamics. Béru is the highest hill in the area at 350m, and atop kimmeridgian rocky soils. For this wine, Terroirs de Béru, vines from the village of Béru, 35-40 years old were used, were fermented and spent 12-18 months in stainless steel, and was bottled without fining or filtration with minimal sulphur. This is an exceptional wine that embodies the energies of the estate, savoury with broken stones and shimmering with energy. Green apple, fine salts, dried herbs thread the downy lees palate, one that opens in the glass as it warms to reveal layers of mineral complexities. Beauty now in youth and will swan even more with age.Prices: BC 51.00 Producer: Château de Béru
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J. Moreau & Fils Chablistext
90PTS

J. Moreau & Fils Chablis 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceI love when the simple wines overdeliver. The thought of a picture-perfect simple Chablis in peak condition at an affordable price is almost too much to comprehend in the modern wine world. Light leesy, green apple notes waft from the glass. It has a bright, skinny, electric, taut, lean stony structure but with a sense of elegance. Buy it, drink with food, you will love it.Prices: BC 26.49 AB 26.99 Producer: J. Moreau & Fils
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Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablistext
89PTS

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis straight up, well-made Chablis is aged in stainless steel to deliver the highest amount of fruit, something that is always subtle, if not elusive, in Chablis. Bright and fresh with big minerality, citrus and resin, it remains a delicious, sipping seafood wine, be it with oysters, mussels, clams or simply-prepared white fish. Solid given the nightmare 2017 vintage, with frosts and heat spikes.Prices: CDN 37.00 Producer: Domaine Bernard Defaix
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Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Léchettext
90PTS

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Léchet 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDefaix, the largest owner of Cote de Léchet Premier Cru vineyards, works 8 hectares on the slopes near the village Milly, on the right backs of the Serein. The fossil rich soil is the perfect medium for chardonnay and this very impressive chablis. Citrus, resin, stony, steely minerals are at the heart of this wine, ready for drinking now. Think fish or poultry with creamy or buttery sauces.Prices: CDN 44.99 Producer: Domaine Bernard Defaix
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Louis Michel and Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésirtext
93PTS

Louis Michel and Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis might be one of the ripest Vaudésir I have tasted in some time, even though it is situated on a north-facing slope at the far end of the valley. The vines average well over 50 years, which no doubt contributes to the intensity. Classic Kimmeridgian soils embedded with limestone pebbles and ancient marine fossils inject the vitality and minerality in the wine. A salty, stony undercurrent steadies the sweet orange and citrus flavours that draw you in and extend throughout the wine. Love the intensity and weight that suggest this wine will age gracefully. Dungeness crab anyone?Prices: BC 94.99 Producer: Louis Michel and Fils
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Louis Michel and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillonstext
91PTS

Louis Michel and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceA mix of climats in the Valvan Valley (some of which are 50-years-old) is the source of this Premier Cru Vaillons. The soil is a mix of stones and clay, giving the wine a stony, mineral bent with a touch of richness. The site is a heat trap, promoting full ripeness and spicy notes. The ferment is natural and long before ageing in stainless steel for 12 to 16 months. The nose is a classy mix of pears and hazelnuts with a linear citrus, mineral undercurrent. Just enough power to suggest its Premier Cru rank. Solid and capable of ageing through 2025. Serve with freshly prepared shellfish for best results.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Louis Michel and Fils
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Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon Cuvée Guy Moreautext
92PTS

Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon Cuvée Guy Moreau 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Guy Moreau is made from very old vines planted in 1933 inside the cru Vaillon demarcation. Typically, the fruit is slightly riper that the regular Vaillon and in 2016 a difficult year for rot it appears to have emerged mostly unscathed. The nose is mix of salty/lemon aromas with bits of grass and fresh struck match. The attack is dry and juicy, with more lemon/lime mixed with ripe apple, oyster liqueur and chalky/seaweed/leesy notes. Good intensity and length with a touch of butter and oak in the finish. Drink now or hold through 2021. Freshly shucked west coast oysters are the best match.Prices: BC 65.99 AB 35.00 MB 37.00 Producer: Domaine Christian Moreau
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07 March 2019

Poet's Leap Rieslingtext
90PTS

Poet's Leap Riesling 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe historic Long Shadow of this wine is German Armin Diel, whose family has owned the celebrated estate of Schlossgut Diel, in Burg Layen, Nahe River Valley since 1802. Diel officially stepped back from the project in 2016 leaving all decisions for this vintage to the long-time facilitator and onsite winemaker Gilles Nicault. Despite another warm year and a ripe honeyed peach and mandarin nose this wine manages to eke out a sense of freshness on the attack. The flavours are mix of wet stone minerality and savoury (bitter in an effective way), green fruits. The residual sugar is non-existent at 1.1 g/100 ml. The 2016 blend is a mix of Columbia Valley vineyards, of which roughly half is from German clones planted in the Horse Heaven Hills high above the Columbia River. The acid contributions come from Yakima; ripe, powerful fruit from Sagemoor; and the savoury stuff out of the Columbia Gorge. With Diel out of the picture, can we get a screwcap on this wine?Prices: BC 33.99 US 20.00 QC 31.00 AB 31.00 SK 30.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Chester-Kidder Red Blendtext
94PTS

Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe soul of Long Shadows is Chester Kidder and the 2014 is looking like the best yet. It’s made with care by director of winemaking and viticulture, Gilles Nicault who macerates this red for over 40 days and ages it in 85 percent new French oak. The enticing, savoury, earthy, dry, blackberry scented red with well-managed oak, is fun to drink. The mix is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, and 6% Petit Verdot is somewhat reminiscent of some old Penfolds reds but with a bit more oomph. The palate is dense, but balanced, with a more linear character that focuses on a harmonious balance of fruit, acid and tannin to lead you through the finish. The perfect steak wine now, it will remain so for a decade or more. Impressive. Allen Shoup named this wine in honor of his mother Elizabeth Chester, and his grandmother Maggie Kidder.Prices: BC 87.99 AB 70.00 ON 69.00 US 42.00 QC 54.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Feather Cabernet Sauvignontext
94PTS

Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFeather is a Washington cabernet sauvignon made by noted California vintner and king of Howell Mountain, Randy Dunn. In 2015, Dunn faced a super warm year and you can feel some of that heat in this, big enough to soak up 90 percent new French oak. The colour is an opaque purple but when the fruit hits your palate it’s less weighty than you might expect. The tannins are dense but fine grained and the balance is amazing. Black currants, licorice, toasted oak and smoky, earthy, charcoal, espresso notes speak to its youth and ability to age for a decade or two. Excellent wine.Prices: BC 94.99 US 65.00 AB 77.00 ON 85.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Sequel Syrahtext
92PTS

Sequel Syrah 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesAfter his time at Penfolds, making Australian icon red Grange, winemaker John Duval chose the Columbia Valley and Long Shadows for his “Sequel” and his continuation of a life-long association with shiraz. Duval, an expert and effortless blender of widespread fruit, works with several sites to make this complex, rich, meaty, powerful syrah. In 2015 the grape mix is 93/7 syrah/cabernet sauvignon from noted sites in the Yakima Valley and the Columbia Valley. Look for a smoky, savoury nose with bits of dark chocolate threaded through deep blueberry and blackberry fruit. It spends 18 months in 65 percent new French oak that calls for another decade in the bottle. If you can wait to drink this and I know you can’t serve this with a well-seasoned leg of lamb.Prices: US 60.00 AB 65.00 BC 77.99 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Saggitext
92PTS

Saggi 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe 2015 will be the last Saggi (wisdom) made by Italian icons Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari and it remains as big as a sangiovese can get, anywhere in the world. The Folonaris stepped back from the project in 2016 leaving the winemaking process to the highly talented in-house winemaker Gilles Nicault. Its intense cassis and black cherry nose spills onto the palate where the smoky, plummy, red fruit flecked with savoury, black licorice notes finishes soft and refined with small-grained silky tannins in place to carry this fresh wine through 2020. The blend is 62% sangiovese, 28% cabernet sauvignon, and 10% syrah all aged in French oak for 18 months (55% new). Like previous editions Saggi sangiovese is a blend of two vineyards: Candy Mountain lies in the Columbia Valley beside Red Mountain while the famed Boushey Vineyard sits in Yakima.Prices: BC 77.99 US 45.00 ON 85.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Pedestal Merlottext
92PTS

Pedestal Merlot 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFrenchman Michel Rolland is the “long shadow,” behind Pedestal, a blend of Columbia Valley vineyard merlots: Wahluke Slope’s Weinbau and Stone Tree Vineyards dominate the blend, adding aromatics, bright fruit, texture and fine tannins. Conner Lee Vineyard adds richness, and Dionysus Vineyard grapes builds complexity. Despite the oppressive heat of 2015, sophisticated vineyard techniques have kept this wine fresh and elegant. Hand-harvested, double-sorted and whole-berry fermented in 1,500-gallon upright wood tanks has built the richness of the textures, propelled further by 22 months in French oak barrels (85 percent new). This is full bodied, the fruit is dark and savoury, and it's warm, almost too warm, but it is the texture that saves it. Dusty, round, smooth, velvety, dense and savoury, it's New World merlot with an attitude. Age this a decade.Prices: BC 95.99 US 55.00 ON 60.00 AB 65.00 QC 75.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Pirouette Red Blendtext
91PTS

Pirouette Red Blend 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesAgustin Huneeus, Sr. and Philippe Melka are the “Long Shadows” behind Pirouette. The 2015 blend is a mix of 65/21/11/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. British Columbians will remember the super warm 2015 growing season in the northwest that followed a warm, dry spring. The cool nights of summer were the key to saving this wine from being a monster providing the acidity and elegance to temper its warm, rich fruit. Like most years the wine spends 22-months in French oak barrels that are 75 percent new. The Red Mountain sourced cabernet sauvignon ferments in 400L French oak barrels that were gently rolled throughout fermentation. The other varieties ferment in traditional stainless-steel tanks. We love the savoury, northwest undercurrent which also helps to temper the richness and power of this Bordeaux blend replete with black fruits, olives and a stony minerality. This needs a long rest to be re-examined in 2022.Prices: BC 88.92 ON 75.00 AB 65.00 US 55.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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06 March 2019

Poderi Marcarini Barbera D'Alba Ciabot Cameranotext
89PTS

Poderi Marcarini Barbera D'Alba Ciabot Camerano 2015

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyDusky violets, floral raspberry, sultry plum, dark cocoa, sweet espresso, cherry imbue the palate of this charming barbera, sourced from La Morra and Neviglie vineyards, 300-380m altitude, and a mix of calcarious clay and manganese soils. This aged eight months in Slavonian barrels prior to resting in bottle. Ready for drinking now, most certainly with rabbit or veal.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Luigi Einaudi Dogliani Vitext
88PTS

Luigi Einaudi Dogliani Vi 2016

Dogliani, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis easy dolcetto is from the hills of San Luigi, San Giacomo and Madonna delle Grazie, in Dogliani. Eight months in stainless preserves bright red fruit: cherry, red currant, plum, all rinsed with balsamic astringency, and ending with a tight, quick snap. Acidity is bright, tannins are gummy, and the frame is narrow, all of which call out for food.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Villa Sparina Barbera del Monferratotext
89PTS

Villa Sparina Barbera del Monferrato 2016

Piedmont, ItalyFrom Piemonte's clay/limestone soils, and 300-320m hills, this barbera was stainless fermented and partially aged in oak. The wood provides a good framework for the bright blue fruit, led by plums and wild blueberries, and held tight with a refined stoniness, finely sticky tannins and bright acidity. This hums with light spices on the finish. A lovely, honest, drinkable, fresh red, belying its 14 degrees. Villa Sparina was founded by the Moccagatta family in the 1970's, and sweeps over 100 hectares of land, 70 of which are planted to vines.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Villa Sparina
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Forti del Vento Capoviatext
89PTS

Forti del Vento Capovia 2008

Piedmont, ItalyPiemonte's DOC Monferrato was established in 1994, and runs along a series of hills below the River Po in the south-east corner of the region. This flagship wine is made only in certain years when quality is high, is 50+year old dolcetto, and from the naturalist-leaning Forti del Veneto. Organically and biodynamically grown, and bottled unfined and unfiltered, this leads with damson plum, dusky blackberry, tobacco and a swing of balsamic. Tannins are are leathery, and acidity is high, streaking across the palate to a gentle warmth on the finish. Rustic and authentic, this well suits long boar braises and autumnal mushrooms. Fantastic opportunity to taste a decade-old dolcetto.Prices: ON 42.00 Producer: Forti del Vento
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Batasiolo Barolotext
90PTS

Batasiolo Barolo 2014

Piedmont, ItalyWe love how the newer Barolo vintages are so much cleaner and appealing on the nose and the palate – it is a long way from the old, earthy, barnyard, leathery wines that ruled the day in Barolo from the 70s through the 90s and beyond. Look for a light-ish colour, and an elegant mix of freshness, cranberries, cherries, violets with some resiny, savoury, tar notes before the long, lean, fine-grained tannins kick into the finish. Steak tartare is the choice today, but why not cellar this through 2022.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 32.99 ON 29.95 QC 28.95 Producer: Beni di Batasiolo
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Batasiolo Barbera d'Albatext
88PTS

Batasiolo Barbera d'Alba 2016

Piedmont, ItalyIt's been a decade since we have seen this wine. The nose is an aromatic floral mix of red fruits, violets, leather and spice with just a hint of tar. The attack is barbera fresh with prominent acidity followed by rich, dry, round tannins and subdued sweet and sour red cherry. This is a food wine, best served with meaty or mushroom pastas or risottos, or midweight cheeses. Drink or hold. Solid. Outstanding value for Italian wine lovers.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Beni di Batasiolo
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Terre del Barolo Pelavergatext
90PTS

Terre del Barolo Pelaverga 2016

Piedmont, ItalyPelaverga gets its own appellation known as Verduno in Piemonte where the 'piccolo' Pelaverga has been re-established honouring a history that goes back to the 1500s, when it accompanied Nebbiolo and Barbera in prime Piemonte vineyards. Terre del Barolo is a co-op, established in 1958 that has a respected reputation for quality, innovation and employing organic methods that has attracted some 400 members. Expect alight colour with a red brown edge, quiet, earthy red fruits with a fresh structure of delicacy and finesse. Quietly complex. Pair with classic antipasto dishes, light first courses and soups and youthful fresh cheeses.Prices: BC 34.99 MB 29.99 ON 29.00 Producer: Terre del Barolo
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Scagliola Mati Barberatext
89PTS

Scagliola Mati Barbera 2017

Piedmont, ItalyHow delicious is Mati? From the Calosso Province of Asti, this is grown at 400 metres, giving it a cool, fresh demeanour with aromatic red fruit coupled with dry, earthy, forest floor hints so prevalent in many Italian reds. It’s barbera and it's bright acidity is completely in tune with the region and the style. Think of raw beef dishes, roasted chicken or mushroom risotto. Fun to drink but this will cellar well for three to five years.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 17.99 Producer: Scaglioli
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Vietti Barolo Castiglionetext
91PTS

Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2014

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Vietti Barolo is made for earlier drinking, although its structure and dryness would be a shock to someone drinking most New World reds. This nebbiolo comes off several small vineyard sites across the Barolo region. The vines are 7 to 40-years-old and planted to clay-limestone soil. Everything is fermented in stainless steel and post ferment the wine is aged 30 months in oak prior to blending. Its surprisingly backward now, showing more earth and truffle than fruit, with touches of tar, spice, leather and florals with plenty of tannins to yet disperse. What it really needs is a year or two in the cellar to gather itself. Best with stews, game, roasted meats or mature cheeses.Prices: BC 94.99 BC 185.99 1500 Producer: Vietti
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Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Tradizionetext
92PTS

Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Tradizione 2013

Piedmont, ItalyThe grapes for the Tradizione Barolo come from premium vineyard sites in Castiglione Falletto, Barolo and Monforte d’Alba. The wine is blended and aged for 2 years in traditional large Slavonian oak barrels. The attack is rich and almost lush, at least as lush as a Barolo can get. The nose is open and almost a bit showy. The attack is full of bright cherry fruit, flecked with licorice, roses and even some chocolate. There’s still some tannins and acidity to resolve but this is quite modern in style. You could drink it now with roasted meats, but again we say wait a decade for a more interesting wine to grow into itself. Be patient it’s nebbiolo. Very good nebbiolo.Prices: BC 75.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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Marchesi di Barolo Barbarescotext
90PTS

Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco 2014

Piedmont, ItalyFiercely Barbaresco, the fruit comes from two vineyards in Barbaresco and Neive sitting over mostly clay and calcareous soils. Post ferment wine is racked into concrete tanks lined with fiberglass and insulated with cork where it remains until the malolactic finishes and its moved to 30 hl Slavonian and French oak barrels, and finally, into large classic Slavonian oak casks. Look for a bright fresh style with prominent acidity lending the rose aromas and cherry fruit a sense of elegance even at this young age. Firm, linear, and long this will need time to show its true potential leave alone until 2020 and beyond.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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05 March 2019

Antonio Scala Ciro Rosatotext
91PTS

Antonio Scala Ciro Rosato 2017

Calabria, ItalyThe Scala family purchased this Calabrian estate in 1949, and it is forth generation Francisco who oversees the business side of the winery, while his father, Luigi, makes the wines. They organically farm 18ha of indigenous grapes like this rosé from gaglioppo, the king grape of the Cirò region, drawn from 50ish year old vines on sandy/calcium carbonate/clay soils. Said to be one of Italy's oldest varieties, DNA studies have found that gaglioppo is a natural crossing of sangiovese and mantonico. A short stint in stainless preserves the fresh fruit. Pouring a pale orange salmon, this is tight and light with youthful herbal berry, heady sapid red florals, held taut with saline notes that carry this charming pink to the snappy cranberry finish. Dry, salty, herbal, and moreish, and at a welcome 13 degrees, smashable as well. Amazing value.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Francesco Scala
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Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Irpinia Rosatotext
89PTS

Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Irpinia Rosato 2017

ItalyThis very pale, very elegant rosé is from 15 year old aglianico vines in Lapìo, on clay and limestone soils around 400m altitude. Lacrimarosa translates as pink tear, referencing the slight hue of this gently pressed pink. A stainless ferment and short three month stint on lees keeps this fresher and more delicate than its warm Campania provenance might suggest. Very silken and salty, with crushed currants, wild raspberries, spicy peonies on the slender palate. Has the body and elegance to suit salmon tartare. The family owned Mastroberadino estate was founded in 1878.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Mastroberardino
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Medici Ermete i Quercioli Lambrusco di Sorbara Seccotext
89PTS

Medici Ermete i Quercioli Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco NV

Modena, Emilia-Romagna, ItalyCheerful and charming, this is a brisk, dry and refreshing lambrusco di sorbara, the acidity on pace to match the light youthful berry sweetness. Rosewater, cranberry, rhubarb finishes with that bitter cherry and balsamic Italian twist. The 11 degrees makes this lightly effervescent, light cherry hued wine even more smashable. Easy choice for summer fun, though I'm enjoying it equally mid-February. Located north of Modena near the village of Sorbara, lambrusco di sorbara is regarded as very high quality, producing the most fragrant wines.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Medici Ermete
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Crudo Catarratto Zibibbotext
88PTS

Crudo Catarratto Zibibbo 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis sunny blend of catarratto (the most widely planted white grape in Sicily) and zibibbo (muscat of alexandria) was fermented in stainless to preserve the bright, shining tropical guava, lime and pineapple, finishing with ample orange sherbet. Perfumed elderflower and scrubby rosemary give this off-dry white some fresh drinkability and grounding. Crack with papaya salad = smiles.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Mare Magnum
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Umani Ronchi Cùmaro Conero Riservatext
90PTS

Umani Ronchi Cùmaro Conero Riserva 2013

Marche, ItalyThe Conero Riserva is montepulciano, first produced in 1985 at Conero, Marche. The vineyard faces south‐east, at a height of about 150‐200 meters, sitting over marine formations of very deep, chalky loams soils. Cùmaro is central to the story of Umani Ronchi, created in the mid-eighties to celebrate the montepulciano grape. The name Cùmaro is a tribute to Mount Conero, komaros in Greek, which means arbutus: an evergreen shrub which grows freely in its woodlands. Sound familiar, British Columbians? It’s a well made red, with plenty of structure and weight. The black cherry is almost chewy in that rustic style, but with the proper food it can be charming and heartwarming, and of course it will age for another decade.Prices: BC 36.93 ON 29.95 NS 36.99 NF 35.99 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superioretext
88PTS

Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2017

Marche, ItalyNo big changes here, just bright, fresh verdicchio with a fruity, nutty, buttery nose. The attack is mouthwatering, calling for food, led by more citrus, butter, guava, peaches and minerality. The finish is taut and cleansing, giving it all the tools to work with seafood, pesto, vegetables and even spicy dishes. Terrific value in a real wine.Prices: BC 18.99 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Vino Lauria Frappato “Scoglitti”text
91PTS

Vino Lauria Frappato “Scoglitti” 2016

Sicily, ItalyLovely light crimson hue, with wild cherry, raspberry, white pepper through a finely grippy frame. There's a bed of dried strawberry and herbal raspberry bedding the slender body that is alluring and moreish. Form is slight, the finish is long and salty, and this characterful frappato is entirely smashable. From 600-1000m and the calcareous soils of western Sicily.Prices: ON 24.00 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Le Ragnaie Tronconetext
90PTS

Le Ragnaie Troncone 2015

Tuscany, ItalyMontalcino has an altitude limit in Brunello; it's not allowed to grow above 600m. This organically farmed sangiovese is grown from 620-655m altitude, hence it fell into the declassification of IGT Chianti Colli Senesi. In the early 2010's, the wine was too pale and wasn't even approved for that, so Riccardo Campinoti said BASTA and labelled the wines IGT Toscana Rosso. Troncone means stump, and was the nickname of Riccardo's grandfather. There is also a large stump in the sandstone, limestone and clay vineyard, giving this wine's name a double meaning. Ragnaie is the name of the vineyard, Etruscan for spiderweb, and reflecting the label and the netting that Etruscans would use to catch small birds. This is 13-year-old organically farmed vines, native fermented and on skins for two weeks in concrete tank, before resting one year in Slavonian oak casks, then back to small concrete tanks for six months prior to bottling. Authentic sangiovese, fresh and pure, reflecting the higher altitude, with young raspberry, cherry, thorny scrub, all seasoned with a resinous, wild rosemary salts. Ideal drinking now, or with a few years in your cellar. More like this please.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie
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Lezèr Teroldecotext
89PTS

Lezèr Teroldeco 2017

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyTheo Zierock is Elisabetta Foradori's son, and the scion of the Lezèr wines, experimental vin de soif in the same vein as his naturalist / biodynamic championing mother. The project came to be when a hailstorm severely damaged the grapes and Theo decided to try and make something of it. This is teroldego, fermented native in ten parts split between cement, wood, steel, and amphora, before four months on lees in cement. This charmer entices with young plum, wild raspberry blossoms on a lithe palate, with a whisper of tannins and a giant modicum of white pepper spicing. To be enjoyed now, with a chill. A lovely and worthwhile experiment.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Foradori
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Baglio Normanno Nero d'Avolatext
87PTS

Baglio Normanno Nero d'Avola 2016

Sicily, ItalyThis wine dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s for $17.49. The fruit is round and lush and flavoured with red plums and black cherries with a touch of tar and spice. Fresh, bright and ready to drink with chicken cacciatore pasta. Stock up.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Baglio Normanno
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Passori Rosso Venetotext
87PTS

Passori Rosso Veneto 2016

Veneto, ItalyPassori Rosso is 60/40 mix of merlot and corvino with a special richness thanks to a portion of the corvino being air-dried and the merlot getting some extra hang time. The nose is a melange of ripe blackberry and spicy, figgy notes mixed with oak and the requisite residual sugar in a warm finish. This is a big red for the price and is best considered with richer foods like lamb stew.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Passori
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Le Calvane Quercione Chiantitext
86PTS

Le Calvane Quercione Chianti 2015

Tuscany, ItalyVilla Le Calvane sits on the hills of the Montagnana Val di Pesa just outside of Florence. It has a fresh, high-acid entry with floral, (violet) notes and juicy, cranberry/boysenberry flavours. Light and skinny it’s best with simple dishes like pizza, beef and pasta or a chicken and mushroom dish. Ready to drink introductory Chianti.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 14.95 Producer: Fattoria Di Vicchio Sarl
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Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicellatext
92PTS

Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2013

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyTasted several times in the last two months, this modern, stylish Amarone brings power with finesse. Look for floral blackcurrant flecked with licorice and tar before a bright beam of acidity settles in. Balanced and rich, it finishes with plenty of tannin to suggest a minimum two-decade life ahead. Made from grapes harvested in several sites across Valpolicella, this is a blend of corvina, corvinone, rondinella, rossignola, oceleta, negara and dindarella, averaging 20+ years. The grapes are racked and dried for four months before a gentle press, a two-month ferment, a three year stay in Slavonian oak, and a six-month stint in bottle after blending and bottling. Teriffic value here.Prices: BC 48.99 AB 50.00 ON 40.00 QC 45.50 Producer: Tedeschi
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Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riservatext
88PTS

Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2012

Abruzzo, ItalyMontepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region of central Italy are at the core of this rich, red riserva. The nose has intense black cherry that spills onto a fresh palate with rich black cherries and liquorice root, followed by grippy tannins in the back end. This needs more time or should be served with roasted meats now for best results. The wine spends 24 months in oak casks and six months in the bottle before release. A great rustic pizza/pasta red.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Cantina Tollo
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Zidarich Roztext
88PTS

Zidarich Roz 2013

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThis is a blend of terrano, merlot and refosco del peduncolo rosso (the most prestigious refosco with the red stem) with 10-20 years vine age. This was destemmed, open vat fermented with native yeast in large oak, and then aged in Slavonian oak for two years prior to bottling without fining or filtration, and with no inputs. Plummy, with an etching of blue and black fruits and ample fine tannins that tug at the sides. There's a green branch swing that reminds of cabernet franc. Rustic and simple red ready for sausages.Prices: EU 20.99 Producer: Zidarich
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Zidarich Zi-Da Terrossotext
89PTS

Zidarich Zi-Da Terrosso NV

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThis unfiltered trad nat is from the Terrano grape. By trad-nat, I mean they've used a finished still wine and added fermenting must to kickstart a fermentation that finishes in bottle, combining traditionally made wine with a methode ancestrale (pét-nat). Lambrusco-esque in hue and feel, this is a brisk, frisky fizz with swings of balsamic, inky plum, briar and thorns, with grippy tannins that fuzz the sides and a brisk raft of acidity. Chill and chug, copiously, with charcuterie.Prices: EU 22.99 Producer: Zidarich
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04 March 2019

Vinhas da Comporta Vinho Brancotext
87PTS

Vinhas da Comporta Vinho Branco 2015

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalSituated on the bracing Atlantic Alentejo coast, and with 12500 ha (35 of which are under vine), Herdade da Comporta is one of the largest agricultural estates in Portugal. This a blend of indigenous grapes castes antão vaz, fernão pires, muscat, verdelho, and viognier, and reflects the hot, dry 2015 through its waxy and heady concentration. Dried yellow fruits, tropical notes, honey finish quickly on a sticky palate. Enjoy now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Herdade da Comporta
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Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Loureirotext
89PTS

Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Loureiro 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalLoureiro's ample florality here is hemmed in tightly, with Asian pear, green fig, lemon, salted melon on a lean, high acid palate. This has the freshness of many Vinho Verde, along with focus that many do not. This is from the Lima subregion and spends some time on skins before a long, cool ferment and short stint on lees in stainless. You may miss loureiro's inherent fruitiness in this example, though it's easy to admire the streamlined frame, especially as this opens in the glass. Anselmo Mendes is one of the top winemakers in the region, making wine under his own label since the late 1990s.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 19.99 ON 17.80 QC 17.30 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Luis Seabra Xisto Crutext
93PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Cru 2015

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. Rather than a single vineyard, this is a single soil field blend, sourced from two plots planted on mica schist in the Cima Corgo subregion of the Douro from 1920-1933, and between 400-570m altitude. After a native ferment, this field blend of rufete, touriga franca, malvasia preta, alicante bouschet and donzelinho tinto spent 11 months on lees, and 22 months total in older French oak. Big and structural, yet so well knit, with knotty purple and blue fruit, thorns, worn leather, salts, and dried florals on the savoury, long frame. Tannins are savoury and firm, though very well integrated even in youth. Much time to go ahead.Prices: ON 66.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Indie Xistotext
92PTS

Luis Seabra Indie Xisto 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. This blends tinta roriz, touriga franca, tinta amarela, tinta barroca, rufete, touriga brasileira, donzelinho tinto, malvasia preta and touriga femea, from a sustainably farmed, blue schist soiled single vineyard planted since 1950 and at 510m elevation. Native fermented, this spent 22 months in French oak barrels and saw very low sulphur additions throughout. This is a serious, structural, sharply savoury red, with crushed leaves, stones, thorns, clad in darker shades of blue and purple fruit. Grippy with white and black peppercorns and mineral salts through to the tight finish. So youthful, this has decade+ to go.Prices: ON 49.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitadotext
91PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. A field blend of six varieties planted across three subzones, Illimitado is a soil survey of the schist-driven terroir in the Douro. The 2016 Ilimitado blends touriga franca, tinta amarela, tinta roriz, rufete, tinta barroca, malvasia preta, and donzelinho tinto, all sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards planted from 1960-1980, and at 400-600m altitude. This was 30 percent fermented in stone lagars for eight days with foot pigeage, with the remainder in vat for just under one month, all whole cluster and native fermented. This was then racked to neutral barrel for a year, followed by five months in tank. Black cherry, olives, plum are threaded with thorns, salt, and leather, all in a very fresh, tight, mineral driven frame. This is a very textural, medium bodied red, with a fine buzz of stones that linger long on the palate.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Cru Brancotext
93PTS

Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Cru Branco 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. From sustainably farmed vineyards planted from 1920-1933 on mica schists at 650-700m, this is a blend of 70 percent rabigato, balanced out with codega , gouveio, and viosinho dozelino branco. After a native ferment in used tonneaux where this spent nine months on the lees, this was moved to old French barrels for a year without battonage or MLF. Smoked stones are potent and driving, with a good pillow of lees and grip around the sides to tuck it all in. This savoury white is not about the fruit, but rather all about the soils. So structural, with incredibly flirty licks, fine salts and kisses of brown butter that linger on the finish. There's an effortless lift that gives this effortless drinkability now, while intensity to last time in the cellar also. Douro whites are exciting, and this is one of the forerunners.Prices: ON 57.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinhotext
91PTS

Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinho 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own. From Vinho Verde's Monçao e Melgaço subregion, this is 1989-planted alvarinho grown on granite soils at 50-150m. As the name suggests, this is Luis Seabra's low-intervention expression of the relationship between grape and terroir. After a four month native ferment in two older oval 1000L vats and one new oval 2000L vat, all Eastern European origin, this then aged nine months on lees without battonage in aforementioned vessels. Green apple slices through this compact, tight, taut alvarino, with river water freshness and a fine bed of lees to cushion. Lemon, river stones, light honeysuckle hums along the palate with a tight shimmer of mineral and a fine grip tucking it all in. Serious.Prices: ON 40.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Portada Winemaker's Selectiontext
87PTS

Portada Winemaker's Selection 2016

PortugalPortada is made in the classic manner, fermented in stainless steel vats with twice daily pumpovers. Post ferment, the cap is plunged for 30 days as the wine undergoes MLF. The blend is big, mixing tinta roriz, alicante bouschet, cabernet sauvignon, caladoc, castelão, pinot noir, and touriga nacional. The colour is deep, and the nose fragrant with rich, aromatic, juicy, berries with a hint of smoke. Clean, bright style with firm acidity, it is best served with food. Hamburgers and pizza come to mind as well as beef tacos or cheese dishes. A super deal.Prices: BC 12.99 AB 10.99 Producer: DFJ Vinhos Lda
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Maçanita Tintotext
89PTS

Maçanita Tinto 2017

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalBrother and sister winemakers Antonio and Joana came together to make wines under the Maçanita label, their family name. This is a blend of touriga nacional, sousão and old vine field blend from the Cima Corgo, and is native fermented and with twenty days on skins before being split between neutral barrel and tank for one year. Bright blue fruits, ample plum, sapid rock roses on a full, yet fresh palate, one with fine tannins to house the stony, pure fruit. Drinking well now.Prices: ON 27.25 Producer: Maçanita
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