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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: February 2021

26 February 2021

Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom west-facing 1999 planted vines on Polkadraai's Karibib Vineyard's decomposed granites, this was early picked and partial whole cluster, fermented native and on skins for a short time before moving into neutral French barrel. Fragrant and finessed, with black cherry, wild raspberry, dusty graphite across the structural and firm, yet slight (12.5%), palate. The finish is hauntingly long, with lingering granitic buzz. A beautiful view of cabernet sauvignon, drinking well now and with cellaring.Prices: Producer: Craven Wines
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Protea Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Protea Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaThis cabernet sauvignon came primarily from the Groenekloof ward in the Darling, an area known for its freshness. Post ferment, it was aged on a French oak staves for one year, imparting a characteristic stunted, powdery texture to this fuller red. Milk chocolate, sour cherry, tart red and blackcurrant finishes short and blunt, with a muddle of spicing. Little to zero typicity here for modern South Africa, unfortunately. The reusable bottle is nice though.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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25 February 2021

Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple Rosétext
91PTS

Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple Rosé 2019

Cabrières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis is the 2nd vintage of this icon wine for the GB house. Rich, wooded, full and ample spiced, this blends cinsault, grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, and viognier. Each plot is harvested and vinified separately, in new French wood, where it remained for 6 months with bâtonnage. The wines were blended on a fruit day. Powerful and elegant, with wild strawberries and raspberries, pear, apricot blossom, imbued with a fine dusting of pink peppercorns. Super long in the mouth, I reckon this polished and powerful pink will age quite smartly.Prices: CDN 299.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Rosétext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Rosé 2020

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis very pale hued rosé is a new release, blending grenache, syrah, and cinsault. After each organically farmed grape is vinified separately in the saignée method, these were blended and rested, partially in oak. MLF is blocked to preserve freshness. Strawberries, silken raspberries, red liquorice is scented with fine spices. This runs a long, silken palate to a very finely spiced finish. Would be lovely with sashimi.Prices: CDN 39.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Château d’Aqueria Taveltext
90PTS

Château d’Aqueria Tavel 2020

Tavel, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceD'Aqueira reaches way back in time to 1595 Tavel, the village's name, the appellation, and the wine produced in the appellation. Jean Olivier purchased the estate in 1919, and 101 years later, it's run by his grandsons Vincent and Bruno de Bez. The production is modern, presenting clean wines grown but 10 kilometres southeast of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The 68-hectare site surrounding the Château is a mix of red clay, limestone scree, galet stones and sands farmed sustainably using only organic fertilization. The blend is a busy mix of 45/20/15/8/6/4/2 grenache noir, clairette, cinsault, mourvèdre, syrah, bourboulenc and picpoul. Candied strawberry fruit leads with enough acidity to make you salivate for another sip. Round and richer than your average rosé, the sweetness is somewhat exaggerated by a warm, dry growing season not seen in 500 years. Ready to drink serve well chilled it has more gastronomic promise as well. Think Indian curries, smoked salmon, tagines and roast chicken.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Château d'Aqueria
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Gérard Bertrand Côte Des Roses Rosétext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Côte Des Roses Rosé 2019

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceIn a short period, the Bertrand Côte des Roses has taken on its cousins in Provence and quickly established itself as a player in the French rosé game. The wine is a celebration of the Mediterranean lifestyle, told through a stylish but playful mix of grenache, cinsault, and syrah grown over mostly hard limestone and schist with a lesser contribution of gravels from the rivers of the Languedoc region. The scent of watermelons and strawberries mix with a citrus/garrigue undercurrent, but more than anything, it tastes like fun. A dry, firm, and elegant pink made for summer, not to mention halibut tacos, spicy tuna poke, or lobster risotto.Prices: BC 24.95 AB 22.99 NB 19.99 NS 19.99 NF 21.99 MB 22.99 ON 19.95 QC 18.35 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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24 February 2021

Marcel Cabelier Côtes du Jura Chardonnay Vieilles Vignestext
90PTS

Marcel Cabelier Côtes du Jura Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes 2015

Côtes du Jura, Jura, FranceMarcel Cabelier is part of Maison du Vigneron, the leading negoc concept of Jura. While the winery has no vineyards of its own, they hand select the farmers from the 100+ in the collection that they want to work with, and support their viticulture efforts. From 25 year old grapes, this chardy has a subtle swing of oxidation, but not from any Jura flor veils. This is showing its age, now 6 years along. Salted almonds, hazelnuts, warm meringue, lead ripe yellow apples, lemon curd to a humming, salted, and flint struck finish. This wine really benefits from time in the glass to stretch its legs. A lovely opportunity to see Jura chardonnay with some time in bottle.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Marcel Cabelier
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Philippe Chavy Bourgogne Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Philippe Chavy Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018

Burgundy, FrancePhilippe Chavy is a third-generation winegrower in Bourgogne. The majority of his Puligny vineyards were planted by his father in the 1950s, while his Meursault vineyards came to him from his mother’s line. Altogether, he now farms fewer than 2 ha across thirty plots and fourteen lieu dit, all with biodynamic practices. The fruit for this Bourgogne comes 90% from Puligny, with the rest from Montrachet. After a stainless ferment, this moves to older wood of various sizes for 11 months' rest on lees, with bâtonnage. This opens with a stream of oxidation (premox?) cutting sharply through lemon, crunchy yellow apple, white florals, leaving a wake of salted nuts and sharp lemon. Quite Jura-esque, and somewhat like chardonnay met Sherry, and got into a scrap. Certainly edgy.Prices: Producer: Philippe Chavy
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Gérard Bertrand Naturae Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Gérard Bertrand Naturae Chardonnay 2020

Sud de France, FranceNaturae is a range of wines with no added sulphites or additives. These organic grapes were native fermented cool to preserve some freshness of fruit. Yellow apple, sour lemon, melon glides along the creamy palate, with a finish lit by some ginger spices.Prices: CDN 28.49 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillonstext
91PTS

Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceVaillons has always been an important premier cru that faces mostly east, lending it a fresher, tighter style that comes with substantial minerality and salinity. 2018 is all that and more, and it is fun to drink. The nose is a complex mix of salty ocean air with flecks of freshly shaved lemon peel. The palate is exquisitely balanced, pulling in the acidity at just the right time before persisting long into the night. Oysters, anyone?Prices: BC 56.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablistext
90PTS

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDomaine Bernard Defaix is located in the tiny village of Milly, at the foot of the Côte de Lechet, a few minutes west of the town of Chablis. The domaine was founded in 1959 by Bernard, 4th generation winegrower, who wanted to begin making wine from the vines his family had long been tending to. Today the 12 HA estate is run by Bernard's two sons, Sylvain and Didier, who oversee the organic and biodynamic program. This Chablis comes from 30 year old vines from various plots throughout the appellation, and was native fermented and raised in stainless over 10 months. Bright and creamy with lemon, wet stone, white mushroom, herbal-kissed lees on a shining, medium bodied palate. There's a shimmer of minerality that hums beneath the surface, holding interest to the buzzy, chalky finish. Subtle, and welcoming, this is drinking very well now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Domaine Bernard Defaix
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Bramito della Sala Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Bramito della Sala Chardonnay 2019

Umbria, ItalyFrom Antinori's Umbrian estate, Castello della Sala, Bramìto is chardonnay from vineyards around the fossil-filled clay soils surrounding the medieval castle. This was fermented cool, partially in oak (with full MLF) and partially in steel (without MLF) before blending and bottling. Bright with lemon and yellow apple, perfumed with white blossoms, and framed with spiced wood, this has a luxuriant, creamy feel to the fuller, softer palate. This finishes somewhat briefly, but nothing that some butter drawn or poached foods wouldn't take care of.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Castello della Sala
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Corcelettes Chardonnay Micro Lot Seriestext
89PTS

Corcelettes Chardonnay Micro Lot Series 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOctober 10, 2019, marked the beginning of a chardonnay revival at Corcellettes Estate Winery. I haven't seen a chardonnay since the early days of Lawrence Herder and from the predecessor Herder Vineyards. The style is a complete reverse from a heavy, almost ponderous California style that was oak-driven and too much for the freshness and weight of the Similkameen fruit. In 2019 a small crop of chardonnay was barrel fermented in 25% new French oak and put through a full malolactic fermentation during bâttonage. It's a cool climate affair that opens with fresh green apple and a creamy texture thanks to all that lees stirring. On the palate, it begins with a citrus butter entry and follows with a selection of tropical fruit before finishing up just a bit short. A great start, but I would like to see a bit more complexity in the future. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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23 February 2021

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanctext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc 2019

Vin de Pays d'Hauterive, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis is a rich, round, and ripe blend of chardonnay, viognier, and sauvignon blanc. 70% was fermented in new barrels, with the remainder in stainless. This remained on lees in barrels 7-8 months with regular batonnage. Perfumed white peaches, ripe pear, white flowers, light honey is woven with ample vanilla and butter, on the full and expansive palate. What this lacks in acidity, it makes up in power. Best taken with butter drawn scallops, and some cellaring.Prices: CDN 70.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Maçanita Brancotext
90PTS

Maçanita Branco 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom the recently named Producer of the Year in Portugal (Antonio Maçinata, for his Alentejo FitaPreta Wines), this is a project he works on with his sister Joana in the Douro Valley. This Branco blends viosinho, códega do larinho, and gouveio comes mostly from the Baixo Corgo (80%), with the remainder from the Douro Superior, and from vines between 580- 700m on granite and schistous soils. This was whole bunch pressed, then fermented and aged in stainless for 6 months on lees. Green fig, quince, pear skin flood the juicy frame, smartly sharpened around the sides by the profound soils and altitude, and with grapes allowed to express their purity through the Maçanitas' thoughtful winemaking. There's a cushion of meadow herb lees threaded with orange pith to the stony finish, making this friendly and welcoming now.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Maçanita
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Millton Les Trois Enfantstext
91PTS

Millton Les Trois Enfants 2017

Gisborne - Poverty Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom NZ's leading biodynamic producer, Les Trois Enfants is a coferment of estate dry-farmed riesling, gewürztraminer, and muscat a petit grains. This was native fermented in stainless and larger oak barrels where it rested before bottling without fining. This pours a rich, shining golden hue, with gew's characteristic honeyed apricot and ripe pear flamboyance at the fore. On the off-dry palate, muscat's plush floral perfumes join in, along with a lightning streak of lemon-lime acidity via the riesling. These three siblings each have their own personalities, though they get along together so well in the glass, riding the waxy, generous palate to a lingering, ginger spiced, humming finish. Quite vibrant for all its lushness, and testament to James Millton's luminous touch.Prices: New Zealand 20.00 Producer: Milton Vineyards & Winery
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Marcel Deiss Complantation Naturetext
91PTS

Marcel Deiss Complantation Nature 2019

Alsace, FranceFrom Marcel Deiss’ biodynamically farmed vineyards, this is a co-fermented field blend of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Muscat à petits grains, Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Beurot, Muscat Blanc, Rose d’Alsace, Traminer, plus others. This was native fermented in foudre, where it rested for one year on lees. There are no inputs, including sulphur. Bright elderflower, mandarin, fragrant pear is stencilled with tangerine pith on a long palate, finishing with a gentle swell of warmth (a nod to its 14%) Lovely harmony here.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Marcel Deiss
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Kamara Pure Nimbus Albustext
90PTS

Kamara Pure Nimbus Albus 2019

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. This 50/50 assyrtiko and malagousia blend comes from the clay and schist slopes of Kamara-Oraiokastro Thessaloniki. Each variety is vinified separately in stainless, with full MLF, before blending and resting on lees for 3 months. Pouring a hazy golden hue, with chamomile, apricot pith, white peach, quince, anise, elderflower on an oily, expansive palate, lofted with bright acidity. A lot of impact for 12.5%.Prices: ON 33.30 Producer: Kamara Estate
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Weingut Loimer Gluegglichtext
91PTS

Weingut Loimer Gluegglich NV

AustriaThis new biodynamic orange wine blends Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Riesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, and Muskateller from sedimentary, limestone gravels, and vines up to 85 years old in the Gumpoldskirchen. This was partial whole cluster native fermented in barrels (some lots on skins) for 8-10 months on full lees. This dry wine was bottled without fining or filtration, evident in the slight haze to the medium-yellow hue. Wild flowers, lemon, wild mint, ash, fresh herbs ride a vibrant, buzzing palate, livened with that limestone hum to a lingering finish. Alluring beauty, drinking beautifully now, all too easily. This NV bottle is a blend of 2017 (21%), 2018 (48%), and 2019 (31%).Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Weingut Loimer
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Vignoble du Reveur Singuliertext
92PTS

Vignoble du Reveur Singulier 2019

Alsace, FranceThis dry Alsatian orange is a carbonic maceration coferment of Riesling and Pinot Gris, with 10 days on skins prior to a native ferment in large oak barrels, without any additions. The wine aged for one year on fine lees prior to bottling with a very low level of sulfites. Pouring a hazy, deeper orange gold hue, this medium+ orange streams tangerine, apricot, elderflower along the textural palate, threaded with citrus pith grippiness and finishing with a fine wash of mineral salts. Very harmonious and interesting.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Heinrich Naked Whitetext
89PTS

Heinrich Naked White 2018

Burgenland, Weinland Österreich, AustriaNaked and unadorned, this is a natural biodynamic white blend that hides nothing. Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Muskat-Ottonel, Pinot Gris are sourced from vineyards on both sides of Burgenland’s Lake Neusidel, rooted into limestone, schist, gravel soils. After a native ferment in stainless, this rested 14 months on lees in large, older oak before being bottled unfiltered with minimal sulphur. This opens with a wave of reduction before moving into a creamy, saline palate of pear and pear skin, grapefruit pith, broken stones. The finish is clean, if slightly warming. Quite an interesting Austrian rock juice.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Weingut Heinrich
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Moon Curser Roussanne Marsannetext
87PTS

Moon Curser Roussanne Marsanne 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis classic Rhone blend made its return to Moon Curser in 2019, with 70% roussanne and 30% marsanne, sourced from the Osoyoos east bench. It is whole-cluster-pressed and fermented warm in stainless before resting in 25% new French oak / 75% stainless for four months, with regular bâtonnage. Rich, ripe, and heady, as is the Moon Curser style, weighs the palate with heavy oak spice, vanilla, peach pie, baked pear, expressive white florals creamed butter. It's hard to make out the varieties through the treatment, but if you're looking for a rich, buttery, low acid white, give this a try.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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18 February 2021

Tormaresca Calafuriatext
88PTS

Tormaresca Calafuria 2020

Salento, Puglia, ItalyFrom the Antinori owned Tormaresca estate, in Puglia, this peach pink rosado is negroamaro based, and sourced from the Maìme estate in San Pietro Vernotico. Glossy and glycerol-lined, this dry, fuller pink carries grapefruit, ripe pear, and fragrant floral blossoms along the palate, finishing with a dusting of spice and a wilting floral note. Simple, yet aspirational, and a nice change of pace from Southern France (the obvious target audience).Prices: BC 22.50 Producer: Tormaresca
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Protea Dry Rosétext
89PTS

Protea Dry Rosé 2020

Western Cape, South AfricaThere are precious few serious, modern, pale, fresh and dry rosés coming out of RSA, and this is one of them, now prominently displaying DRY on the front label (at least in this market). Also new are the labels - stickers purposefully laid overtop the stunning etched bottle, so you can peel them off after drinking and reuse the bottle as you'd like. The '20 blend is mourvèdre, cinsault, grenache, carignan, and shiraz from Anthonij Rupert's farms throughout the Coastal Region. Pouring a moderate peach hue, this streams wild strawberries and raspberries, spring rhubarb along the brisk palate, threaded with lime peel and fine pink peppercorn spicing. As with all of their wines, there is an elegant air of sophistication here, and coupled with 2020 freshness, this is ideal for drinking now, copiously.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Sea Change Rosétext
88PTS

Sea Change Rosé 2018

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceSea Change produce a small range of ethically-sourced, eco-friendly wines from around the world that help to fight plastic pollution. A portion of sales also support ocean conservation projects worldwide. This Languedoc rosé is entirely syrah, and pours a pale peach hue, streaked with tangerine, strawberries, wild raspberries, salted strawberries on a silken palate. Juicy and fresh, to the saline finish, this is a charming little rosé ideal for this summer.Prices: BC 19.49 Producer: Sea Change Wines
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Cellier des Princes Rosé La Princessetext
88PTS

Cellier des Princes Rosé La Princesse 2018

Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceDon't let the cartoon character on the label fool you into thinking this is silly wine. It's actually quite smart: The label changes colour once the wine temperature reaches 12°C, indicating that it's ready to drink. Pouring a shining orange peach hue, this blends grenache, syrah, and cinsault from Vaucluse into a creamy, medium bodied pink with ripe strawberries, raspberry, orange blossoms and fine pink peppercorn spices on the shorter finish. Losing some of its shine with age; drink now.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Cellier des Princes
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La Closerie des Lys Les Fruitières Rosétext
88PTS

La Closerie des Lys Les Fruitières Rosé 2016

Limoux, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceYes, I was just as surprised as you to see the 2016 of this Pays d'Oc rosé available. Especially as the last vintage available on this market was 2019. I suppose they found some extra stock somewhere, and have it on sale to encourage thinking outside of your Fresh Is Best mindset. This is certainly still drinking soundly, if not as fresh as before. Deeper in hue from time in bottle, this blends syrah, cinsault, grenache, and merlot from Limoux. The Château's vineyards are in the Pyrenean foothills, and from vines at 300-600m. Salted strawberries, mandarin orange, flows along the mellow palate, brightened with grapefruit pith and finishing in a gentle wash of mineral salts.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Collovray & Terrier
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17 February 2021

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrahtext
93PTS

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2018

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandTrinity Hill was one of the first to plant on the Gimblett Gravels, back in 1993. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been overseeing the 80ha of vineyards since 1997. Each individual site and clones was fermented separately, with a range of maceration periods to suit each batch. 30% whole bunches were included, as was a small percentage of Viognier skins to further aid in complexities. Once blended, the wine aged for eight months in 5000L oak ovals before bottling in February 2019. Syrah's savoury, peppery side leads here, with ample black peppercorns seasoning the pure black cherry, wild blackberry, downy violet fruit. The wood and tannins are seamlessly integrated into the wine, with a trace of gravels / graphite, imbuing it with elegance, while the whole bunches provide a charming lift and brightness that carries this to the lingering, smoked stone finish. There's a great deal of intensity for its 12.5 degree frame, and impressively so.Prices: Producer: Trinity Hill
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Domaine Jamet Syrahtext
92PTS

Domaine Jamet Syrah 2017

Northern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceJean-Paul Jamet began his career in the vineyards of Côte Rôtie in 1976 at the age of 16, working with his father, Joseph, who bottled his first wine that year. With the 2017 vintage, Jean-Paul, rightfully one of the legends of the appellation, celebrated his 41st year growing and making Côte Rôtie. This IGP comes from three parcels: young-vine Côte Rôtie; a plateau of mica schist, next to domaine and outside of AC Côte Rôtie; and a plateau above Condrieu. This is 90% destemmed, fermented in stainless, and spends 11 months in 20-30 year old barrels before being bottled unfiltered. The cloudy haze in the glass reflects the latter, and the noticeable green twinge reflects the small amount of whole bunch, both contributing to the complexity of this medium (12.5%) red. A puff of smoked meat and swing of reduction appears at very first (as is syrah's way), leading off into tart black raspberry, alluring perfumed plum, geraniums, and black cherry. Acidity is crunchy, and tannins are fine and long, guiding this slender wine to a tart red currant and cola-spiced finish. Enjoys a very brief chill, some airtime, and partnering with roasted mushrooms and/or salmon. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Domaine Jamet
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Mullineux Syrahtext
93PTS

Mullineux Syrah 2017

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe Mullineux classic Syrah is drawn from 11 parcels across the 3 Swartland syrah soil types they work with: granite, schist, and iron. Vines are between 22-29 years old. In 2017 they employed 20% whole bunch, and used more bigger format barrels than previous years, mixing 225L, 500L and foudres (15% new wood in the mix). After 1 year in wood, this was blended into tank for another year's rest. In the draught 2017 year, berries were very small, and resulting wines quite intense. The swing of reduction I noted on this wine upon tasting a couple times in 2019 is a shadow now, leading directly into wild, dark perfumed blackberries, cassis, thorns, and broken stones, through to a kirsch licked finish. The palate holds its stony freshness, and tannins are lightly sticky, yet firm, well integrated into the savoury fruit. Aging beautifully, with a long life ahead.Prices: BC 58.00 Producer: Mullineux Wines
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François Villard L'appel des Sereines Syrahtext
92PTS

François Villard L'appel des Sereines Syrah 2017

Rhone Valley, FranceFrançois Villard is well known in the Northern Rhone for his masterful and poetic Côte-Rôtie and Saint-Joseph. Starting off his career as a chef before shifting into front of house, and then into winemaking, Villard is basically a self-taught vintner. Today, he’s working with 64 organically managed hectares, 40 of which he owns. For this cuvée, declassified as a Vin de France, he's blending young-vine fruit from four parcels ranging from Ardoix in St-Joseph to St-Michel-sur-Rhône, and Vérin near Condrieu. Native fermented and 25% whole cluster, has a 12 day maceration in open-top wood tronconique vats followed by 11 months aging, half in the vat and half in neutral barrels. This achieves a full natural ripeness, yet is streamlined sleek, with a gentle puff of reduction that quickly blows off into mineral driven wild blackberry, wild blueberry, damson plum driving through a dusky medicinal cherry haze, tightly edged with herbal sapid green notes. Acidity is lofted, and tannins are slightly tuggy, housing this bright, medium, finessed red to a peppery finish. So Northern Rhone, through a pure lens, and such fantastic value. Take with a slight chill.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: François Villard
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16 February 2021

Cantina di Terlano Lagreintext
89PTS

Cantina di Terlano Lagrein 2018

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyCantina Terlano (the Terlano Wine Growers’ Cooperative) was established way back in 1893 when 24 winemakers decided to form their own group to stand equal to the dominant large landowners. Wine growing in the region of Terlano, tucked into Italy's mountainous Alto Adige, goes back to pre-Roman times. The vineyards are planted in terraces of volcanic porphyry, laced with feldspar, quartz, and muscovite. This lagrein was destemmed and fermented in stainless before aging in large older barrels for 10 months. Potent with dusky purple floral perfume, black and morello cherry, wild wild dusky spices framed by long, grippy, wood-grained tannins. Lots of depth of flavour, colour, and intensity here for only 13.5 degrees.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Cantina di Terlano
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Azienda Agricola COS Frappatto Terre Sicilianetext
92PTS

Azienda Agricola COS Frappatto Terre Siciliane 2016

Sicily, ItalyFrom the cellar, retasted nearly 4 years along. COS is a 1980 born joint project between three friends, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano, the initials of which make up this iconic naturalist winery's name. The have farmed organically since the beginning (though certified in 2007), and have been biodynamic since 2000. Their dedication to Sicily, and their inherited bush vines around the city of Vittoria, province of Ragusa, enabled them to make the first ever DOCG wine of Sicily. This is frappato di vittoria, grown at 230m on the red, limestone laced soils. Native fermented on skins in concrete, where it remained for 9 months, this is now showing its age some, with slight bricking in the glass, and slight browning of the fruit. Still present and foremost is the spine of minerality that cores this finessed red, with ferrous, saline notes leading wild, scrubby raspberry, perfumed plum, dried rosemary, whiffs of balsamic, along a slight, pink peppercorn spiced palate. Tannins are fine but certainly still present, bamboo boning this through the spiced finish. Charming as ever, give this wine a little time in glass to open up.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Azienda Agricola COS
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G. D. Vajra Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2018

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFantastic value as ever, Varja's Langhe Rosso is a blend of younger vine nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, fresia, albarossa, and pinot noir, meant to give an overview of Piemonte's Langhe region. This is sourced from various vineyards, each variety vinified separately, fermented in stainless and then into French barrels from new to three years in age, for two years. Fragrant black cherries, wild plums, herbal cassis, salted anise is woven with streaks of tar and dried roses to a firmly spiced finish. Tannins are fine and firm, well-enveloped into the medium-bodied fruit. A wonderful capsule of nebbiolo in the Langhe.Prices: BC 30.00 QC 23.20 Producer: G. D. Vajra
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Kamara Pure Shadow Playtext
88PTS

Kamara Pure Shadow Play 2018

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. From sandy clay schists, at 140m altitude, this xinomavro was native fermented and aged for one year in older barrels. Wild and untamed with grippy tannins framing cassis, anise, schistous dust to a drying finish. The freshness keeps this lofted, thankfully. Best at this point with roast pork or root veg, but will settle with time in bottle.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Kamara Estate
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Foradori Morei Teroldegotext
92PTS

Foradori Morei Teroldego 2014

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyFrom one of the most inspiring biodynamic producers in the world, Elisabetta Foradori, this teraldago is 1989 and 1996 planted vines, rooted in the pebbly, sandy, Noce river bank soils of Vigneto Morei, in Campo Rotaliano, Mezzolombardo. Morei means moro, or dark, in the Trentino dialect and the grapes echo this, hence the vineyard's name. This was native fermented in amphorae, on skins, for 8 months, before a stint in old wood, prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Showing its age beautifully, this has relaxed into dusky plum, subtle wild blueberries, and wild blackberries, a pierce of balsamic, and a fine rasp of pink pepper. Tannins have been enveloped into the medium bodied red, feeling cushier beyond its 12.5%, yet entirely fresh through the crushed violet finish. Very much alive; drinking ideally now.Prices: BC 70.00 Producer: Foradori
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Marcarini Barolo Brunatetext
95PTS

Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2015

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis magnificent Barolo is from one of the most renowned vineyards in the region, and from the excellent 2015 vintage. Bright crimson, the colour shows a young wine not yet bricking at the rim. The aromas are a roll call for nebbiolo’s essence: rose, raspberry, cherries, anise, tar and dusty earth. Inhale a little more and the pungency of undergrowth, menthol, beef tea and brandied cherries emerge. The very warm 2015 vintage shows in the first sips with ripe, lush red berried fruit, balancing acidity that’s bright but not searing, and tannins that are firm, but gorgeously plush. Powerful and structured, it’s just beginning to let you in, with accessible, exuberant fruit and mellowing complexity. Marcarini’s approach is staunchly traditionalist, and this Brunate sees a 4-week skin maceration and two years ageing in Slavonian oak. Brunate in the commune of La Morra is known for elegance, and Marcarini’s 2015 is classic and finessed. The finish is lengthy and profoundly minerally. Of course you could age for another 15+ years or give it an hour to breathe and pair with a deserving dish like osso bucco or mature cheese.Prices: BC 94.99 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Claus Preisinger Blaufrankisch Kalksteintext
90PTS

Claus Preisinger Blaufrankisch Kalkstein 2018

AustriaClaus Preisinger's winery is right outside the small town of Gols, on the northeast corner of the Neusiedlersee. He farms 19 hectares split between about 64 different plots, and has been fully biodynamic since 2008. Though quite young, Claus already has 20+ vintages under his belt, and is a darling of the natural wine scene in Austria. This natural blaufrankisch comes from 30ish year old vines sourced from numerous vineyards rich in kalkstein (chalk and limestone). After a native ferment in stainless, this rested 6 months in large neutral barrels before bottling without fining or filtration and with minimal sulphur. Juicy and vibrant, with a swing of reduction upon opening that opens into twiny dark plum, wild cassis, tart mulberry, tight balsamic to a peppery, brisk finish. Acidity is elevated, and tannins are slight. Enjoy this natty, fresh red with a chill.Prices: BC 23.50 Producer: Claus Preisinger
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Mac Forbes EB 56 Italian Stallion Dolcettotext
93PTS

Mac Forbes EB 56 Italian Stallion Dolcetto 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThough Mac has been working with Italian varieties in the Yarra for a while, this is his first dolcetto, aptly placed in his EB (Experimental Batch) series. Juicy purple and blue fruits flood this medium+ red, kept buoyant by bright acidity. Thorns, darting violets, fine peppercorns season the compact palate, held tight by a firm, fine brace of tannins. The finish lingers with perfumed medicinal toned cassis. Quite interesting and alluring to see a fresh, structural take on this charming northern Italian grape. 900 bottles made.Prices: Producer: Mac Forbes
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Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Picassestext
90PTS

Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Picasses 2017

Chinon, Touraine, Loire, FranceRetasted a few months later, and happy I did. Jean-Maurice Raffault and Rodolphe Raffault’s family began cultivating vines in Chinon 14 generations ago, when their ancestor, Mathurin Bottreau, bought his first parcel of vines in 1693. Today, Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault owns 50 organically farmed hectares of vines in 7 communes. This cabernet franc is from the Les Picasses lieu dit, atop a plateau overlooking the Vienne, the windiness of the site reflected in the windmill on the label. Soils here are stony limestone and clay. After destemming and a native ferment this moves to barriques for MLF and aging 18 months on fine lees. Massive plum perfume greets and lingers through the whole, with wild cherry, red liquorice running the medium+ palate. Tannins are tightly grippy, to a black cherry, mineral salted finish. Quite structural, this pretty red benefits from some air, and partnering with roast pork or root veg.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Jean-Maurice Raffault
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Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reservetext
88PTS

Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reserve 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their McIntyre Bluff organic estate's Coyote Block, planted 2007-2008 at 420m, this zinfandel was fermented over 3 weeks with daily punch downs before a 20 month rest in French and American oak. Plump and ripe, but with a tightening green belt, this floods the savoury palate with wild blackberry, dark plum, cracked pepper, and a good dose of grippy / sticky tannins. More savoury than most zinfandels we see, this fuller red is a worthy partner for your local lamb leg.Prices: BC 53.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Señorío de P. Peciña Crianzatext
90PTS

Señorío de P. Peciña Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainBodegas Hermanos de Peciña is firmly planted in traditional Rioja, one of perhaps a dozen of producers adhering to the tenets passed down through generations. This includes long aging in mostly neutral American oak, regular open-air racking by hand (called trasiego), and then further aging in bottle often well beyond the specifications required by the DO. Founder Pedro Peciña had over two decades of working in Rioja Alta before opening his own Bodega in 1992. This wine is a blend of Tempranillo (95%), Graciano (3%), and Garnacha (2%), from various calcareous-clay vineyards, and vines averaging 40 years old. The wine ages 2 years in used American oak barrels, and 1.5 years in bottle prior to release. Classic with dried cherries, juicy plum, crushed florals, toasted coconut, cigar, and baking spices across a medium palate, with fine-grained, grippy/sticky tannins through the bitter kissed and finely spiced finish.Prices: ON 26.00 Producer: Bodegas Hermanos Peciña
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Señorio de P. Peciña Cosechatext
88PTS

Señorio de P. Peciña Cosecha 2019

Rioja, SpainBodegas Hermanos Peciña is firmly planted in traditional Rioja, one of perhaps a dozen of producers adhering to the tenets passed down through generations. This includes long aging in mostly neutral American oak, regular open-air racking by hand (called trasiego), and then further aging in bottle often well beyond the specifications required by the DO. Founder Pedro Peciña had over two decades of working in Rioja Alta before opening his own Bodega in 1992. This is a blend of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, and 2% Garnacha, from Hermanos Pecina's youngest vineyards, La Veguilla and Valseca, which average 25 years in age. This was native fermented in stainless, where it aged for six months before bottling without fining or filtration. Pouring a deep garnet hue, this is flush with red florals, downy plums, wild blackberries, thorns, and threads of balsamic. Brisk acidity works well against the tighter, fine tannins, guiding this to a lightly spiced wood finish. Drinking very well now, especially with lamb or roasted root veg. Great value.Prices: ON 16.95 Producer: Bodegas Hermanos Peciña
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Moon Curser Dolcettotext
87PTS

Moon Curser Dolcetto 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rarely-seen dolcetto grows in Fernandes Vineyard, on Osoyoos East Bench's loamy sands. This was destemmed and not crushed, fermented cool in 5000L stainless with thrice daily pumpovers for a week prior to being pressed off skins. It remained in stainless until it was bottled the following March. Downy and soft in the glass, with some stewed plum, blackcurrant, and gently perfumed liquorice scenting a tiny, leathery base. Tannins are fine but astringent, finishing with a pinched bitter cherry note. Best with a slight chill, and a bowl of rich tomato sauced noodles.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Touriga Nacionaltext
89PTS

Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rarely seen Touriga Nacional is planted in Osoyoos East Bench's loamy sands. This was destemmed and fermented warm in large stainless fermenters, with thrice daily pumpovers, before heading to 225L French barriques (20% new). Ripe and perfumed with fragrant rosemary, violets, bumbleberry, black plum, and ample cracked pepper on a succulent, sweeter palate. Tannins are ample, but well enveloped by the dense fruit. Very youthful still; enjoy now with a decant and roast lamb and/or portobellos.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moric Hausmarke Rottext
90PTS

Moric Hausmarke Rot 2017

AustriaThe Moric winery deals mostly with Blaufränkisch from the villages Neckenmarkt and Lutzmannsburg. The grape features highly in this blend, through rotburger (zweigelt) dominates this red, along with pinot noir. Bright, crunchy, and fresh with wild forest berries, black raspberry, sapid plum. Tannins are grippy and firm, to a bright finish. Very harmonious and moreish, especially at 12.5%.Prices: ON 32.95 Producer: Weingut Moric
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Niepoort NAT'Cool! Primatatext
88PTS

Niepoort NAT'Cool! Primata 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe newest NAT'Cool! in the range, Primata is the result of Dirk Niepoort giving his cellar master Luís Pedro a push to make his own wine in 2016. These touriga nacional grapes come from vineyards at 600m in the Douro Valley's Tabuaço region, with about half sourced from old vines. Whole bunch and foot-trodden, this was macerated and native fermented in lagares before being pressed into stainless, for a 6 month rest. Opening with a wave of reduction, this crunchy, bright red streams black currant, rhubarb, green raspberry, scrubby rockrose on a lifted palate. Tannins are fine and light, holding this to an astringent finish. Very natty, very cool; chill and crack this 10.5%, 1L bottle now.Prices: ON 28.00 1000 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Moon Curser Tempranillotext
87PTS

Moon Curser Tempranillo 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rarely-seen Canadian tempranillo comes from Osoyoos East Bench, the hottest growing region in the country. Planted on sandy loams, this was destemmed and fermented warm in large stainless vats with thrice daily pumpovers, prior to resting in 225L French barriques (15% new), and American oak. Dense and super ripe, with compact kirsch, blackcurrant, medicinal cherry, and vanilla. Tannins are gritty and ragged, housing this to a shorter finish. There is a lot of potency here, requiring an equally punchy stew to match.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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15 February 2021

Sea Change Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Sea Change Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceA lightweight, ready-to-drink sauvignon blanc from the Pays d’Oc with fresh lemon rind with a hint of jalapeno pepper. The palate is similar with light green notes, grapefruit, and a clean finish. Sea Change makes a range of ethically sourced, environmentally conscious wines that support ocean conservation through direct partnerships with key ocean and marine-focused charities. Read more at seachangewine.comPrices: BC 19.49 Producer: Château Canet
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Augey Bordeaux Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
87PTS

Augey Bordeaux Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018

FranceEvery year, this note writes itself thanks to the consistency of this simple, well made white Bordeaux that is equally well-priced. It is a classic mix of sauvignon blanc and sémillon that opens fresh with citrus, almonds, and lemongrass. On the palate, gooseberr, kiwi, and lime fill out the wine. It is perfect for fish cakes, sushi, and other simply prepared dishes.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyard 2019

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandA wet start followed by a warm, dry maturation season has many in New Zealand lauding the 2019 vintage, and it's evident in the Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc from Martinborough. It's a pure expression of sauvignon, and unlike most of its competitors, the mid-palate and finish of this wine take it to another level. I love the mineral, wet-stone attack and creamy mid-palate textures, but it's the intensity of tropical fruit and lime that carry the day. Stylish with no bitter, herbaceous notes, it can change the way you think about Kiwi sauvignon blanc. Te Muna Road Vineyard consists of two distinct soil types. The sauvignon grows on a lower terrace stony soils sprinkled with limestone. Ready to drink but will age two or three years effortlesslyPrices: BC 29.99 AB 26.95 MB 30.95 NB 32.99 Producer: Craggy Range Vineyards Ltd.
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12 February 2021

Père Anselme La Fiole du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Papetext
89PTS

Père Anselme La Fiole du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape NV

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Père Anselme Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Fiole du Pape is one of the most recognizable bottles in the wine business. It was created in 1952 by Charles Brotte with the co-operation of local Provençal glass and ceramic artisans. The shape represents the gnarled and twisted vines typical of the region, that struggle to grow against the Mistral wind. La Fiole, Phiala in Latin, refers to a precious bottle. Bottle aside, the tasty, mostly grenache/syrah blend is grown at a moderate yield of 35 hl/ha, and the current edition is well worth picking up. Each new year is infused with reserve juice, some as old as five years that contribute to its mellow, ready to drink style. The maceration period is 20 days, with both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation taking place in concrete vats. The final selection represents about 30-40 percent of the total amount fermented, and it matured in 100-year-old large oak barrels. The attack is spicy with black cherry, licorice root, strawberry jam, and spice with a light touch of milk chocolate. Stews, casseroles, barbecue beef, and more all work here.Prices: BC 53.99 AB 45.00 MB 49.95 ON 44.00 QC 42.95 NB 48.99 PEI 48.99 NFL 57.95 Producer: Père Anselme
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Yangarra Old Vine Grenachetext
90PTS

Yangarra Old Vine Grenache 2017

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaThe Yangarra Old Vine Grenache comes from old, biodynamically-farmed bush vines planted in 1946 on the cooler Blewitt Springs estate's deep, sandy soils, at 200m altitude. This utilized 50% whole berry, and was cold soaked for 5 days until the native ferment kicked off. The free run juice was rested in older French barrel for 10 months, prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Ample fragrant black plums, salted cherries, flood the juicy palate, wrapped with bamboo-firm tannins, guiding this to a floral, saline, pink peppercorn dusted finish. Lovely freshness here, belying its 14.5% right up until the slightly warming, grenache-hallmark finish. Drinking well know, especially with fire grilled beets and / or pork.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yangarra Estate Vineyards
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Yalumba Samuel's Collection Bush Vine Grenachetext
90PTS

Yalumba Samuel's Collection Bush Vine Grenache 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFrom gnarly old grenache vines 35 years and up across Barossa, this was vinified by block, partial whole bunch, and fully native fermented, with some lots receiving extended skin contact. Post-ferment, all batches are racked into older American, French, and Hungarian hogsheads for six months maturation. Ripe red fruits fill the palate, blanketed by a velveteen mouthfeel, and lofted with a saline freshness. Crushed raspberries, boysenberries, perfumed tayberries are tied off with fresh green herbs and cracked pink peppercorn on the spicy finish. Tannins are present but soft and cushioning, well pitted to support the density of fruit. A charming powerhouse, drinking well now, especially with lamb sausages or fire roasted eggplant.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Eric Texier Chat Foutext
92PTS

Eric Texier Chat Fou 2019

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceEric Texier is a leading natural and biodynamic vigneron in the Rhone, renewing and reviving the tiny Brézème appellation in North, as well as acting as négociant for other like-minded sites in the Rhône and Mâconnais. This humble Côtes du Rhône is based on 85% grenache with the remainder blending marsanne, clariette, and chasseslas, and vines planted between 1968 and 1978 on clay, limestone, quartz, and granitic rocks. After a native ferment and short maceration in concrete, this is gentle pressed before a year's rest in in concrete, and bottling without fining or filtration. Juicy, bright, and mineral led, this pretty, slight red could be mistaken for a proper Julienas or Régnié. Wild raspberries, strawberries, crushed red florals swirl amidst a buzzy granitic base, with finely grippy concrete-formed sides firmly hemming this to a lingering, peppery finish. As mentioned, mineral-led, and charmingly smashable while remaining a serious wine.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Eric Texier
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Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenachetext
88PTS

Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenache 2020

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaThe 2020 Tarot Grenache comes from two old vine vineyards in two South Australian regions: Riverland's Ricca Terra Farms (84%) from the Barmera subregion; and McLaren Vale's Bell Vineyards (16%) from the Whites Valley subregion. This was 15% whole bunch, native fermented over 10 days before a nine month rest in foudre. Ripe, round and cushioned with doughy raspberry, strawberry jam, bayberries, and ample spicing. Tannins are present, but well absorbed into the generous palate, finishing in a gentle raft of sweet spice. For drinking now.Prices: BC 229.99 Producer: Viottolo Pty
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Ogier Clos de L'Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rougetext
93PTS

Ogier Clos de L'Oratoire des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2017

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceOgier is known for its more restrained Châteauneuf-du Pape style, starting with a fresh, clean nose as evident in this 2017 version. If 2016 was outstanding, 2017 is only a half step behind. The Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes benefits from a diversity of soils mixing limestone, sand terraces, and red clay. Strawberry and raspberry is flecked with licorice and spice and a dusting of garrigue on the nose. The attack is elegant at 14.5 percent, and the textures supple with well-managed, soft tannins and more ripe orange, raspberry, black cherry and even a hint of stones and minerals underneath. You can drink this now with grilled lamb chops or cellar it for a decade and beyond. The wine undergoes a long post-fermentation vatting, then ageing in a mixture, both in terms of size and age, of oak barrels for 14 months.Prices: BC 53.99 AB 46.95 MB 56.01 QC 72.99 NB 54.99 NF 56.99 Producer: Ogier
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Torres Grans Murallestext
92PTS

Torres Grans Muralles 2016

Conca de Barbera, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom DO Conca de Barberà, and 450-470m, this blends garnacha, cariñena, querol, monastrell, and garrò from the llicorella and granite soils of the region. Torres has been working hard to recover near-extinct local varieties like querol and garrò, revitalizing vines and plantings to showcase in small lot wines of place like this. Each parcel was vinfied separately in small stainless tanks. Aging varies depending on the variety, but averages 18 months in new thin-grained French oak barrels. This is an alluring blend, layered with perfumed purple and blue florals, wild scrubby herbs, rock salts, wild berries, on a textural, lengthy palate. Acidity is elevated, and tannins are slightly sticky. Though this is a 14.5% wine, all is in check, for a very balanced whole. Drinking well now, and with life ahead.Prices: BC 120.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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11 February 2021

Taboadella 1255 Grande Villae Redtext
92PTS

Taboadella 1255 Grande Villae Red 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. This is the icon wine of the estate, blending alfrocheiro, touriga nacional, and tinta roriz. This aged one year in new 500L French oak. Perfumed violets, wild blueberry, blackberry, cassis flood the structural, dense palate, held bright with the altitude and granitic soils. Drinking beautifully now and with ample time ahead.Prices: Portugal 59.00 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Villae Redtext
91PTS

Taboadella 1255 Villae Red 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. From Dão's granitic soils, and 550m elevation, this blends tinta roriz (Aragonês / Tempranillo), jaen (mencia), alfrochiero, and tinta pinheira (rufete), all separately fermented and aged in stainless. Crunchy and fresh with wild herbs, lilac, lillies, blue fruit, wild plum on a bright palate. Tannins are firm and fine, and this finishes with a lingering pepperiness. Super charming, drinking well now and for the future.Prices: Portugal 9.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Touriga Nacional Reservatext
91PTS

Taboadella 1255 Touriga Nacional Reserva 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. From Dão's granitic soils and 520m elevation, these 50-year-old vines were destemmed and aged for 7 months in new French oak and stainless. Wild violets, wild blackberry, cassis, and fine peppery spices flood this fuller red. Tannins are firm, structuring this medium+ bodied red through the spiced finish. However, the altitude and brisk granitic-fed acidity keep this bright in the mouth. Drinking well now and will continue to hold for the next 5+ years easy.Prices: Portugal 15.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Jaen Reserva Redtext
89PTS

Taboadella 1255 Jaen Reserva Red 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. From Dão's granitic soils and 550m elevation, this was destemmed, fermented, and aged in a split of new French and stainless, for 7 months. Shy on the nose, this grows with violets, wild blueberry, blackberry, wild rosemary. Tannins are fine but firm, and acidity is crunchy, finishing with a bitter cherry twist.Prices: Portugal 15.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Alfrocheiro Reservatext
91PTS

Taboadella 1255 Alfrocheiro Reserva 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years.. From Dão's granitic soils, and 450m altitude, this alfrocheiro was entirely destemmed before fermentation and aging for 7 months in a split of stainless and new French oak barrels. Full and doughy, with wild blackberry, perfumed dark plum, herbal scrub framed by grippy, fine tannins. Acidity is brisk, carrying this easily to a lengthy finish. Feels lighter on its feet than its 14%. 8400 bottles produced.Prices: Portugal 15.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Grande Villae Whitetext
90PTS

Taboadella 1255 Grande Villae White 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. From Dão's granitic soils and Tabodella's elevated vineyards (500m), this is a blend of old vine encruzado and bical. This was aged for one year in new 500L French oak barrels. The wood is upfront and present, creating this powerful, forward, full-bodied white. Toasted wood brackets lemon, lemon curd, baked green apple, white florals, pear, finishing with a warming flush. A bit too much of too much at this youthful state, but should age admirably.Prices: Portugal 38.00 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Villae Vinho Brancotext
91PTS

Taboadella 1255 Villae Vinho Branco 2019

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. Villae Branco is a blend of encruzado, bical, and cercial, from Dão's granitic soils. This was whole-bunch-fermented and aged in large inox. Bright and citrus-driven, with crunchy lemon, lemon curd, and a cloud of lees to base, this has a lovely balance and depth while remaining fresh and friendly.Prices: Portugal 9.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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Taboadella 1255 Encruzado Reservatext
89PTS

Taboadella 1255 Encruzado Reserva 2018

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaboadella is an exciting new Dão project from the Amorim family (of cork domination). The family is no stranger to winemaking, however, owing Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, as well as the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo, where they have been planting vines over the past few years. From Dão's granitic soils, this encruzado aged 8 months in a 50/50 split of new French oak and stainless. The wood is fiercely present, bracketing and striating this wine. Fortunately, the soils and grape fight to keep this fresh, with that granitic grip creating interest on the palate. Pear, green apple, lemon, cream float underneath, with ample toasty spices through the lengthy, warming finish. A powerful wine that needs time in the cellar to relax.Prices: Portugal 15.90 Producer: Taboadella 1255
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10 February 2021

The Hermittext
89PTS

The Hermit 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is the second release of this wine, designed and blended by long time BC wine agent/educator turned wine grower/negociant, Ingo Grady, with assistance from Suki Daliwhal and the Kismet Estate Winery team. The Hermit mantra is to be drinkable and delicious. In year one, the blend was cabernet sauvignon dominant at 60 percent, but in year two, that number has dropped to 44 percent, accompanied by a 33/12/11 mix of malbec, syrah, and petit verdot. The result is a fresher, more approachable red that more closely aligns with the original goal. Bright soft and juicy this easy-sipping red slides down with a wealth of spicy raspberry and blueberry, with an earthy undercurrent. Again it's very reminiscent of a Languedoc blend, and it's very food friendly.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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St. Hubertus Great Canadian Redtext
85PTS

St. Hubertus Great Canadian Red 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA basic, clean, fresh wine made with fruit grown in the cool, north Okanagan Valley. This juicy red mixes chambourcin, pinot noir, and maréchal foch to make a light, fresh, ready to drink red with a foxy undercurrent. Try this with a cheese pizza.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Moon Curser Border Vinestext
88PTS

Moon Curser Border Vines 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBorder vines is a cabernet forward blend of 69/15/10/3/3/ cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot, carménère, cabernet franc. At a hefty 14.8 percent alcohol, you feel the cabernet sauvignon tannins and the power of the petit verdot. It is a bit of a bruiser at this point and will need time to settle down in the bottle. All East Bench fruit from the Osoyoos region has been well-ripened, picked at full maturity, and fermented and aged in classic 225-litre French oak barrels (31 percent new). Rich and potent black fruits reminiscent of Bing cherries, black currants, and blueberries with dark chocolate, spice, and savoury dried herbs. Youthful and rambunctious but has fine potential. I suggest five years in the bottle or serve with a slab of rare beef.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Dead of the Nighttext
91PTS

Moon Curser Dead of the Night 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDespite its name, Dead of Night is quite an attractive red blend full of bright red fruit aromas and flavours that persist throughout the wine. The blend is a mix of tannat and syrah that was co-fermented for the first time. Last year we thought it was flamboyant, and it is just as showy in 2018. Clean and chock full of flavour from kirsch cherries, savoury south Okanagan peppery blueberries, and black currants. Rich full-bodied and covered in oak, it is just a baby, but there is a sense of balance that points to a fine future. Hold through 2024.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic Red Vegantext
87PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic Red Vegan 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlive is an organic red that utilizes biodynamic practices. The blend is a mix of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and malbec, fermented in oak vats before ageing in neutral oak for eight months. This is a smoky, earthy affair with a whiff of black fruit. The attack is fresh with almost no tannins. Ready to drink and would be a good match with earthy vegetable dishes.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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09 February 2021

Fernando de Castilla Manzanillatext
91PTS

Fernando de Castilla Manzanilla NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainBodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla was founded in 1837, purchased and revitalized in 1999 by Jan Pettersen (a Norweigian with 15 years at Osborne). Jan also took over the cellars of Jose Bustamante next door and quickly established Fernando de Castilla as one of the region’s finest small, independent sherry houses. From the estate vineyard Pago Balbaino, and its white albariza soils containing 70-80% limestone, this was aged in the Solera in Sanlúcar de Barrameda for an average of 3 years. Marine fresh, with ample saline notes running the sleek palate, carrying green apple, lemon pith, marcona almonds, on a tangy, crispy, bone dry palate. Very well balanced, this is the ideal wine to pour alongside cured sardines, olives, and roasted almonds.Prices: BC 22.00 375 Producer: Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla
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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLate Bottled Vintage is a cross between barrel aged ports (tawny) and bottle aged ports (vintage), combining the best elements of both, with a few years each cask aging and bottling aging, prior to filtering and release. With LBV, you get the experience of vintage port, with out the need for lengthy bottle aging. Potent and spirited, with ripe blackberry, plum, ripe cassis on a smooth, sweet palate that rolls through the warming finish. Certainly dense, but with parts all in place, this is ready to drink now, as intended.Prices: BC 24.99 BC 14.99 375 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Historic Edition Reservetext
91PTS

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Historic Edition Reserve 2020

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe Historic Limited Edition bottle shape was inspired by the chestnut shaped wine bottles manufactured in England circa 1715 to 1740. This limited edition blend was specially selected from the extensive aged Tawny stocks of Taylor Fladgate, resting in seasoned oak Port pipes. The style is rich and mellow but with a touch of underlying grip and, well, Taylor Fladgate styling to give it substance. There is a riff of red colour throughout its warm caramel, spiced palate that stays with you long after it has been swallowed. Plums, raisins, butterscotch, and marzipan notes fill out the finish. Perfect for fruitcakes and ready to drink.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate 30 Year Old Tawnytext
93PTS

Taylor Fladgate 30 Year Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalIf you thought you don't see many 30 Year Old ports, it might be because Taylor Fladgate is one of the few remaining houses to produce such a niche port that requires a great deal of commitment and long-term thinking. Imagine making any other product for the market thirty years down the road. Taylor draws upon a wealth of stocks from the eastern areas of the Douro Valley, matured in seasoned oak casks seemingly forever in their cellars at Vila Nova de Gaia. The physics of the cool and damp coastal climate encourage a slow and gentle ageing process, producing an aroma of great complexity and finesse. On a broad scale, every two or three years, a reserve of Port deemed to have sufficient structure, fruit, and power to age is laid aside to age in oak casks. After thirty years, those which have reached their peak are blended for balance and finesse to ensure quality and style to age forever in the bottle. Look for a deep amber/gold colour with hints of dried fruit, nuts, butterscotch, and caramel. Silky, rich, and full of finesse, it dances on the palate forever. Pour a few ounces into a glass, set aside an hour or two, and savour it all on its own.Prices: BC 155.99 AB 145.00 MB 193.95 NF 193.95 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Porttext
95PTS

Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Port 1970

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalI have to say these 50-year-old releases by Taylor Fladgate are a home run wine idea if only because they hold one of the most extensive reserves of very old cask aged Port of any producer in the Douro, or the world for that matter. Part of that collection is a whack of rare Single Harvest Ports aged to full maturity in seasoned oak casks that we are now enjoying on their 50th anniversary. The 1970 release is number seven in the series, and I think one of the best. The nose and the palate are off the charts in intensity, seemingly layer after layer of luscious, mellow flavours of coffee, butterscotch, walnuts, cigar, and candied citrus. The finish goes on forever. A fabulous gift for any 50th celebration. Ready to drink and does not require decanting.Prices: BC 289.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Porttext
91PTS

Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Port 1969

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalI tasted the 1969 alongside the 1970, and it is much more fiery and a little less opulent. The nose is intense with honey and caramel, this time with more resin and cinnamon spice flecked with dried herbs and tobacco. You will be surprised by the touch of acidity after all these years, lifting the back end, further intensifying the figgy, raisiny aftertaste. A complex wine that in this year is best suited to port enthusiasts.Prices: BC 299.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Porttext
96PTS

Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Port 1968

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaylor has extensive reserves of very old, cask-aged tawny ports. Beginning with the 1964 vintage, since 2014, they have been releasing single vintage Colheitas, marking the wine's 50th anniversary in barrel ever since. Time mellows all wines, and in the case of tawnies, it tends to intensify its internal structure. It opens with a deep, light-brown colour that bleeds to the edge. The nose is a nutty, walnut, resiny affair with hits of melted caramel and marzipan. On the palate, it is viscous and sweet with more nutty butterscotch flecked with spice and mellow oxidative vanilla and Christmas cake notes. A wine for contemplation and sheer enjoyment of drinking 50 years of cellar work. In an otherwise unremarkable year for European wine, this is one to celebrate with especially if you have a connection to 1968.Prices: BC 285.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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08 February 2021

Astoria Prosecco Rosé Millesimato Extra Drytext
88PTS

Astoria Prosecco Rosé Millesimato Extra Dry 2019

Veneto, ItalyPouring an alluring pale pink, this rosé prosecco blends glera and pinot nero from Astoria hillside vineyards at 150m, and vines 15 years old. Pretty perfumed blossoms, red apples, candied pear float on the extra dry (meaning mid-sweet), frothy palate, finishing with pink grapefruit on the snappy end. With nice bright acidity to counter the RS, this fresh prosecco is ready to crack into this now.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Astoria Wines
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Alta Alella Bruant Cava Brut Naturetext
91PTS

Alta Alella Bruant Cava Brut Nature 2016

Alella, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainRetasted 18 months along, and happily so, able to see this once crisp and racy wine putting on bottle weight. Alta Alella began 20 years ago when Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillen acquired nineteenth-century estate Can Genis, near Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea, and converted it to organics. Their daughters Mireia and Georgina have now joined them in the farming of their sea-facing 17ha of vines, planted on slopes and terraces between 100-250m. Their soils are sauló, an acidic, white granite-based sandy soil. This xarel.lo (aka pansa blanca) cava is one of their natural wines. It was aged on lees up to 24 months, bottled without dosage or added sulphites. Fresh and dried green apple, roasted marcona almonds, brioche, meringue, lemon ride along a streamline palate, one starting to show some nutty maturity, but with a precision of form and acidity that holds the palate humming (aided by that classic granitic hum, most certainly).Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Alta Alella
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Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Elysia Vineyard Traditonal Method Brut Naturetext
91PTS

Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Elysia Vineyard Traditonal Method Brut Nature 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two traditional method, single vineyard Blanc de Noirs released by winemaker Jordan Kubek (nee Okanagan Crush Pad), Elysia Vineyard's vines grow over a mix of limestone and weathered granite on a steep sloping bench. Like Canyonview, it's an all pinot noir bubble, whole cluster pressed into neutral oak puncheons where it goes through wild primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered, it is tiraged and bottled in January 2020. The style is slightly more intense than Canyonview, with brighter acidity and persistent lemon and red fruit. The finish is clean and salty with a touch of the desert scrub herbaceousness that only adds to the mystery. We served it with a Margherita pizza to great delight, but salty potato chips seem like a good bet too.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Canyonview Vineyardtext
91PTS

Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Canyonview Vineyard 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs its name suggests, Canyonview Vineyard (planted in 2003) looks out over dramatic Trout Creek Gorge that runs across Summerland before it empties in Okanagan Lake. Lightening Rocks works with three single vineyards that lie within kilometres of each other in Summerland, and each produces a distinctive style. This Pinot Noir Canyonview is whole cluster pressed into neutral oak puncheons where it goes through wild primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered, it is tiraged and bottled in January 2020, with no dosage and minimal sulphur. Like last year this bottle explodes in the glass with energy and freshness, showing grapefruit and passion fruit notes with a light, pleasant saline note in the finish. Impressive and ready to drink. I'm guessing there isn't enough money to age this wine any longer in the cellar, but something tells me it could be fabulous with 60 months of ageing. Serve with oven warmed cheese straws, and forget about your troubles.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Bottega Gold Rose Prosecco Spumante Bruttext
89PTS

Bottega Gold Rose Prosecco Spumante Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalySandro Bottega is a force across the Prosecco business, and his Bottega Gold series, sold in painted bottles of gold, silver, and now pink, have gained iconic status overnight. Bottega Gold Rosé is a 100 percent pinot noir, with a pale pink colour resulting from a limited skin contact. Fresh and lively, the 11.5 percent alcohol, lightly effervescent pink is fun to quaff. The nose is floral and fruity, while the palate is equally lively, mixing red berries with just the right amount of acidity. A great wine to start Valentine's Day and equally fun to unwrap as a gift.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Bottega S.p.A.
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Sea Change Prosecco Rosétext
87PTS

Sea Change Prosecco Rosé NV

Veneto, ItalySea Change produce a small range of ethically-sourced, eco-friendly wines from around the world that help to fight plastic pollution. A portion of sales also support ocean conservation projects worldwide. Pouring a very pale peach hue, this rosé prosecco is an 85/15 blend of glera and pinot noir. Crisp and fresh acidity is balanced off by sweetly fragrant cherry blossoms, candied strawberries, ripe pear, and a bump of sugar. Best with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Sea Change Wines
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Sea Change Proseccotext
87PTS

Sea Change Prosecco NV

Veneto, ItalySea Change produces a small range of ethically-sourced, eco-friendly wines that help fight plastic pollution. A portion of sales also supports ocean conservation projects worldwide. This glera Prosecco is juicy with pear, white florals, orange blossom on a crisp, sweeter palate, typical for the DOC. Snappy on the finish, this is an ethically sound choice for some fun fizz.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Sea Change Wines
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Albet i Noya Petit Albet Brut Reservatext
90PTS

Albet i Noya Petit Albet Brut Reserva 2017

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainPetit Albet Brut is your classic Penedès bubble, blending macabeo, xarel·lo and parellada. The label is simple and as clean as the wine, which is a good start. Look for a steady stream of tight bubbles with the scent of toast, fresh cut herbs, and flowers that run into bright green apple and pear, and a stream of acidity that feeds the wine from front to back. It spends 15 months ageing in the bottle to add some autolytic complexity to the mix. The perfect late day wine for tapas or pre-dinner appetizers to kick off the evening. Organically grown fruit.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Albet i Noya
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Chandon California Rosétext
88PTS

Chandon California Rosé NV

California, United StatesPouring a deep pink hue, this fruity Cali fizz is a blend of predominantly pinot noir and chardonnay, with tips of pinot meunier, shiraz, pinot gris, and riesling. Tasting as it presents, with ripe strawberries, perfumed red apples, candied cherries, raspberry biscuits on a soft, creamy palate. Super friendly and accessible, thanks to a healthy dosage, this is a well made, widely available pink Cali fizz.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Domaine Chandon
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's RD Brut Rosé raises the pinot noir to 67%, accompanied by 33% chardonnay. The two were whole cluster pressed and fermented separately, then blended and added to bottle for 30 months' rest on lees. This was disgorged with 10 g/L in August 2019, and released in November 2020. The elevated pinot this year is evident in this red fruited fizz, with red berries, red apple leading the cushioned, doughy palate. While generous, the acidity is still bright, able to lead this fruity fizz to a gentle finish. 30 months on its lees. Just off-dry with a 10 g/L dosagePrices: BC 39.90 AB 39.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of Canada's top tier sparkling wines every year, and the RD 2012 BdB earns its spot once again. From their OK Falls estate, this chardonnay was whole cluster pressed in stainless, where it remained for a few months prior to heading to bottle in February 2013 for second ferment. It remained there on lees for 6.5 years before being disgorged in August 2019 with 4 g/L RS. This was released in November 2020. Led by chalk and shaped by lemon pith, this streams along the palate with crunchy green and red apple, toasted biscuit, a decent pad of lees, and shimmering lemony minerality. Acidity is bright, and the whole is elegant, through to the lingering, chalky finish. Drinking very well now, and will continue in your cellar.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Hidden Bench Natur Zero Dosagetext
91PTS

Hidden Bench Natur Zero Dosage 2013

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Beamsville Bench estate's Locust Lane and Felseck vineyards, this blend of 70/30 chard / pn was fermented in French oak, before heading to bottle and 73 months on lees. This was disgorged in September 2019 with no dosage. Deeper gold in hue, with evident evolution on the palate and very gentle mousse, this is filled with brioche, nougat, hazelnuts, lemon pith on a lengthy palate. Age, with freshness still, this is a very vinous and serious fizz.Prices: ON 39.00 Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
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G. D. Vajra Moscato d'Astitext
88PTS

G. D. Vajra Moscato d'Asti 2017

Piedmont, ItalySo fine and regal, led by lime blossoms, elderflower cordial, apricot jam, rich cold cream, and musk perfume, so very gently lifted with bubbles along the quite sweet, silken palate. Less bubbles than many, especially in the 375ml screwcap bottles, this needs be chilled, cracked, and consumed in quick succession (not like that's a problem, especially with lime tart).Prices: BC 19.00 375 Producer: G. D. Vajra
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Cavit Collection Proseccotext
84PTS

Cavit Collection Prosecco NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis has all the hallmarks of a label responding to a market craze. Prosecco is the fizz market's current darling, but sadly, many taste like this wine: soft, sweet, fat, and fizzy. It is what you get what you order a glass of prosecco at the bar while you are still talking with your friends. Harmless and ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 17.99 Producer: Cavit S. C.
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H's Brut Sparkling Winetext
90PTS

H's Brut Sparkling Wine 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaH’s Brut! is a collaboration between the Fitzpatrick winemaking team and the sommelier team at Hawksworth Restaurant, and it's a winner. The fruit is from Greata Ranch in the non-appellated subregion of Peachland in the north-central Okanagan Valley. The blend is 75/23/2 chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, and the attack is fresh with bright citrus and a light leesy, yeasty, mineral, stony finish. It's fermented in the traditional method, and aged a generous 24 months on its lees. You can order this at Hawksworth Restaurant and Nightingale by the bottle at $78, or by the glass at $16. H’s Brut can also be purchased on its own at $58 per bottle or with 2018 H’s Blend Pinot Noir in H’s Blend Duo Package for $130. Add a signed copy of Chef David Hawksworth’s cookbook with the wine for a total of $180. Order direct on the Hawksworth website.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Covert Farms Sparkling Pinot Noir Methode Ancestraletext
86PTS

Covert Farms Sparkling Pinot Noir Methode Ancestrale 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new release pinot noir pét-nat comes from Mimi's Block, planted 2009 on their McIntyre Bluff organic farm. After a native ferment in stainless, this went into bottle while fermenting, capturing the fizz. Light strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb rule the brisk palate, with a bump of RS countering the zingy acidity, before a sour cherry finish. Quite a natty pét-nat, so be forewarned.Prices: BC 32.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Lightning Rock Pét Nattext
87PTS

Lightning Rock Pét Nat 2020

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIs this your first BC wine from the 2020 vintage? Me too. From their Summerhill estate and Elysia and Canyonview vineyards, this was whole-cluster and double pressed, with a night on skins to suck up more texture and aromatics before heading to concrete tank for a native ferment. This headed to bottle and crown cap during fermentation, leaving it with the desired amount of pressure and sweetness. This potent little fizz presents quite dry and highly acidic, green apple, green melon, underripe pear skin on a racy, and a slight (10.5%) palate. There is zero viognier characteristic here that I can access, indicating the grapes were very early picked. Pour this if you're in the mood for a wickedly zippy, lighter fizz.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Intrigue Social Bubblytext
86PTS

Intrigue Social Bubbly 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted from a fun-sized, 200ml bottle, Social is a fizzy mix of pinot gris, pinot blanc, gewurztraminer, kerner, chardonnay, and ehrenfelser that presents in a sweet and floral, Prosecco-like style. A fruit salad affair that is ready to drink. Try it with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Moonlit Frizzante Roussanne Viognier Marsannetext
87PTS

Moonlit Frizzante Roussanne Viognier Marsanne 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis frothy frizzante blends roussanne, viognier, and marsanne from Stubbs Vineyard on Osoyoos East Bench. The grapes were whole cluster pressed and fermented and aged in stainless, with full MLF, prior to carbonation and bottling the following June. Yellow apples rule, along with subtle lime, white peach, iced tea on a light, lightly sweet palate. Acidity is crisp, and the finish is snappy. Tastes very much like a bright sparkling apple cider. The fizz fades very quickly, so chill briskly, pop the top, and consume without haste.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 Reserve Brut was disgorged in August 2019 and finished in the classic brut style with a dosage of 4g/L. Post disgorgement, it spends another 12 months in bottle before its release. I love that the winery extends such love to this wine and wish other BC producers would consider similar ageing options. The blend of 65 percent chardonnay and 35 percent pinot noir, 6.5 years on its lees, seems to set this sparkler free. It’s livelier on the palate but with a wonderful reductive autolytic scent that entices. The palate is a nutty mix of red fruits and citrus with a strong lees undercurrent. Impressive and a real bargain at $50.00. It was a perfect match to lox and fresh cream cheese, but pairings with this bubble are almost endless. A Canadian treasure.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
93PTS

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Blancs de Blanc is the best of the best at Blue Mountain, made in the traditional style. It is chardonnay, all whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The second fermentation in the bottle sits on lees for 78 months before disgorgement. It is finished dry and aged another year in a bottle before its release. Precision is its best descriptor, but you can throw in some chalk, green apple, citrus, and hazelnuts finished with a whiff of warm baked bread. As well aged as this is, my experience is there is no rush to drink this. Get it well you can. Oysters anyone?Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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05 February 2021

Stina Vugavatext
91PTS

Stina Vugava 2018

Vis, Central and South Dalmatia (Srednja i Južna Dalmacija), Coastal Croatia, CroatiaStina Winery opened on the island of Broč, off the Dalmatian coast, in 2009, when Jako Vino rented a building from the Agricultural Cooperative of Bol. Wine had been made in the building, 'The first Dalmatian Wine Cooperative,' since 1901. This vugava comes from an ancient vineyard at 420-550m, on the island of Vis, where it was thought to have been initially brought by the ancient Greeks. This stately medium-bodied white is crisp and bright, with white grapefruit, ripe pear, white peach offsetting a honey-slicked, wild lemon, stony and amply saline base. Quite unique, and quite a fantastic fit for our coastal seafood-centric cuisine.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Jaco vino Stina
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Kamara Pure Stalismatext
91PTS

Kamara Pure Stalisma 2019

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. From the slopes of Kamara, Oraiokastro Thessaloniki, this malagouzia is splashed with white juice from the black skinned xinomavro for structure and minerality. After each variety goes through native ferment solo in stainless, the blend happens (80/20 this vintage) before 3 months on the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. Pouring a hazy yellow hue, this streams honeysuckle, quince, wild mint, jasmine, yuzu, and elderflower, to a shimmering finish. Very interesting.Prices: ON 31.90 Producer: Kamara Estate
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Ciù Ciù Merlettaie Pecorinotext
89PTS

Ciù Ciù Merlettaie Pecorino 2019

Marche, Italy‘Merlettaie’ means lace, and the name of this wine pays homage to the lace workers of Offida who weave the fine threads so precisely and quickly. They are the last witnesses of a precious art of ancient origin, a similarity shared with Pecorino. Confined for decades onto the bare and steep slopes of the Piceno Apennines, Pecorino, known for its austere, structured, powerful form, has recently been rediscovered by a new generation of local wine growers, who are working to restore it to its former heralded glory. Here, its personality and strength are enhanced through production: the decanted must is spontaneous fermented with indigenous yeast in medium toast, 25hL Slavonian oak barrels over a period of 8-10 weeks, then aged for 6 months on its lees in the same barrels. The finished wine is refined for 3 months in bottle prior to release. Vineyards lie in the towns of Offida and Acquaviva Picena, in Ascoli Piceno province at 280m. Quite floral, with lillies and almond blossoms leading into pear skin, white peach, on a silken / creamy base. The wood shows only through the gentle spicing on the finish. This full bodied white holds its freshness well, and can take on weightier dishes.Prices: Producer: Ciù Ciù
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Aphros Phaunus Loureirotext
90PTS

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalHard to be more natural than Aphros' founder and winemaker Vasco Croft. He made this wine, and others in the Phaunus range, without electricity. This biodynamically farmed and produced loureiro was crushed, destemmed, and pressed by hand power, then native fermented on skins in a large beeswax-lined talha (the traditional clay amphorae of Alentejo) for 7 months before it was bottled without filtration. Pouring a hazy light yellow hue, this is teeming with wildflower honey, apricot pith, elderflower, tangerine marmalade, lime pith, riding a buzzy mineral base to an apricot oil finish. Very much alive, and harmonious, with fantastic presence for its 11%.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Aphros
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Zidarich Vitovska Greentext
91PTS

Zidarich Vitovska Green 2019

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyVitovska is an indigenous grape specific to the Friulian region of Carso, a very rocky region that borders Slovenia. It is a natural cross between malvasia bianca lungo and prosecco tondo. Benjamin and his wife Marisa Zidarich tend 8 hectares here in a naturalist, non-intervention vein. Green is their more youthful and approachable vitovska, from 4-10 year old vines grown on rocky calcarious soils between 260-280m. After native ferment and a short time on skins, this spent 13 months in old Slovenian oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a hazy bright gold hue, this hums with white grapefruit, apricot skin and apricot blossoms, wild citrus, on a very saline and sleek palate. Beautiful shining acidity glides this along the palate to a lingering finish. Such a charmer even now in youth, this will continue to impress over the next few years easy.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Zidarich
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Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contactotext
92PTS

Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom one of Vinho Verde's groundbreaking and esteemed winemakers, this is alvarinho from the Monção and Melgaço subregion, widely seen as the highest quality cru for alvarinho. Contacto refers to the time this wine has spent on skins (vs his straight Muros Antigos Alvarinho). This is sourced from Monção's Quinta da Torre, and organic vines siding the river, rooted in stony, granitic soils. After 12 hours on skins and a native ferment, this spent 3-4 months on lees. Seamless and lengthy down the slender frame, with meadow herbs, pear skin, yellow pear, white grapefruit pith, and a precise freshening of dried and fresh green herbs. Just a buzz of texture along the sides deftly hems this in to a humming granitic finish. Beauty now in youth, but will continue to impress with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Moon Curser Arneistext
88PTS

Moon Curser Arneis 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs far as I, or they, know, Moon Curser is the only one in Canada working with Arneis, a white grape from Piemonte. Rooted on the Osoyoos east bench, this was cool fermented in stainless, with no MLF, where it stayed on lees without bâtonnage until the following spring, when it was bottled. Full and ripe, as is Moon Curser's MO, this pulls along the waxen palate with pear compote, honeysuckle, quince jam, and yellow apple. A twist of lime pith adds some freshness to the palate and snappy finish, though this remains a full, generous white. Pour alongside richer white fish or flavourful and tropical-scented Asian salads.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Viogniertext
89PTS

Moon Curser Viognier 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is yet another really solid Okanagan viognier. Or maybe more precisely, Rhone white blend, because it includes 6 percent of both roussanne and marsanne. It combines honeysuckle, apricot, and cream in a style that is neither excessively aromatic nor blowsy. The one curiosity is the noticeable sweetness here (20 g/L residual sugar). It's a bit unusual for this style of blend, and it sticks out even with the relatively high acidity (at least for these grape varieties). However, the sugar does add some flesh to the medium-bodied frame and tames some of the bitterness on the finish. All in all, a delicious wine that is more than reasonably priced.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Van Westen Vineyards Viogniertext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 blows in on a fresh wave of apricot and jasmine. The plate is equally impressive, with a bright attack of nectarine and Meyer lemon that refreshes every sip. Full-flavoured but with some of that mid-Okanagan acidity that entices with freshness. I called it extravagance with restraint last time out, and it's consistent with this offering. The juice is fermented in large neutral barrels to add textural complexity without any woody notes. It is fun to sip solo, but we enjoyed it with spicy tacos.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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03 February 2021

La Closerie des Lys Chardonnaytext
88PTS

La Closerie des Lys Chardonnay 2018

Limoux, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe Collovrays/Terrier families work out of Burgundy and the Languedoc region; the latter is home to this Limoux, mountain-based chardonnay grown on 15-year-old vines. The style is fresh and straightforward with a subtle hint of lees and clean apple-based fruit with classic French acidity. Dependable and instructive, it is a solid chardonnay that would accompany a wide range of chicken, creamy pasta, and cheese to a Margherita pizza. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: Collovray & Terrier
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Domaine Montrose Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Domaine Montrose Chardonnay 2020

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceDomaine Montrose was founded by the Coste family in 1701 in Pézenas, in Languedoc, and today Bernard and Olivier Coste oversee the estate. This chardonnay is rooted in IGP Côtes de Thongue's white chalky clay and dark volcanic pebbles. Each plot was fermented and vinified separately, and then blended. After a short skin contact, this was fermented and aged in stainless to preserve the fresh fruit. Bright and crisp, with lemon curd, lemon blossoms, white peach, and hints of lemon verbena, with a gentle slick of lees on the 13% palate. Drinking smartly now, crack and enjoy this fresh white with shellfish or salads.Prices: ON 16.95 Producer: Domaine Montrose
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Château-Fuissé Mâcon Villagestext
89PTS

Château-Fuissé Mâcon Villages 2018

Mâcon-Villages, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceThe Vincent family has overseen southern Bourgogne's Château Fuissé for five generations, since 1862. They own more than 40 hectares spanning five appellations. Grapes for this wine come from vineyards adjoining Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint-Véran, and soils are a mix of stoney clays. This was fermented and aged in stainless, to preserve the bright fruit. Lemon, ripe green apple rides a comfortable base of herbal lees, striated with stones, and finishing with a bright mandarin / lemon snap. Drinking well now. This is sealed with a Nomacorc Green cork made of bamboo.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Famille Vincent
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Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Blanctext
91PTS

Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Blanc 2014

Jura, FranceThe Bourdy family has been growing vines / making wine since 1475 in Jura, and brothers Jean-Phillipe and Jean-François Bourdy is the 15th generation. The Bourdys grow their vines on 10 hectares of land, including a half hectare in Chateau Chalon AOC. They proudly make wine the old fashioned way, using old barrels (up to 80 years old) for fermentation and aging. This chardonnay was from 30-40 year old biodynamically farmed vines rooted on clay, limestone, and blue marl. After a native ferment in stainless, this spent four years in barrel without inputs or topping up. Intense with almonds, flake sea salt, elderflower blossoms, lemon curd, and that oxidative flor cut that sharpens this to a lingering herbal finish. Fantastic freshness throughout. This is an uncompromising wine; open well in advance now, even a day, for best results.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bourdy
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Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablistext
92PTS

Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis winery has been passed from father to son without pause since 1620. Benoît is the 14th generation, working with his father Jean-Paul on their 26 hectares in Chablis, all managed lutte raisonée. This was fermented wild, aged on fine lees without battonage, and spent 8-10 months in tank on lees. Tight and lean, even with the warm 2018 vintage, this streams along the palate with stony minerality, lemon peel and pith, subtle white blossoms. Understated, yet memorable, this humble Chablis is a gem.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin
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Les Hêritiers du Comte Lafon Saint-Vérantext
92PTS

Les Hêritiers du Comte Lafon Saint-Véran 2018

Saint Véran, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceIn September 1999 Mersault's Lafon family bought a domaine in Mâconnais' Milly Lamartine, renaming it Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon. Saint-Véran is next to Pouilly Fuisse, and is quite early ripening, at least for Dominique Lafon. From organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards (2 parcels), and 25+ year old vines, this holds freshness even in the challenging and warm 2018 vintage. From a lower altitude (250m), rooted in clay over limestone soils, this was aged in large 45hl barrels and 500L demi-muids. Drinking beautifully now, with orchard-fresh pear, fragrant white florals, and a kiss of lemon verbena on the expansive palate, always held with a firm, fine tension through to a vibrant, spiced finish. The wood is present in form, and via the subtle spices, but not at all in flavour.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon
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02 February 2021

Bilancia Tiratore Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Bilancia Tiratore Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandTiratore is Italian for hunter, or marksman. When they were planting these vines, old spent bullets were found in almost every hole dug on the famed slope of La Collina, most likely from years of use as a target practice. This single vineyard chardy comes from 2001 vines planted on the lower slopes of an old river bed. Quite direct, with notes of earl grey tea intertwined with lemon, meringue, pear on a creamy, slippery, lengthy palate, finishing with a twist of Yuzu. Quite a stylish wine in every way.Prices: NZ 90.00 Producer: Bilancia
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Elephant Hill Salomé Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Elephant Hill Salomé Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom Te Awanga and Bridge Pa, this was aged for one year in French oak (28% new), and tightened by 4 months on lees in tank prior to bottling. Power driven, with toasted popcorn, frizzed lemon, mandarin, and layers of reduction and oak spice driving through a mineral-driven core. There's a brace of acidity that drives this to the finish. A lot of intensity for 13.5%, this will reward with some cellaring.Prices: NZ 75.00 Producer: Elephant Hill Estate and Winery
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Church Road TOM Chardonnaytext
94PTS

Church Road TOM Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom Tuki Tuki Valley, this was predominantly from a vineyard planted by Tom McDonald in the 1960s, close to the Tuki Tuki river on dense clay over calcareous clay / limestone outwash. The remainder comes from Terraces Vineyard, an old river terrace to the north of Te Mata Peak. A mix of clones 95, 1066, 15, and 548, this was whole bunch pressed directly to French oak barriques (31% new) for a native ferment and full MLF. This aged on full lees for 11 months, occasional bâtonnage before being bottled unfined and lightly filtered. Super powerful with ample reduction, toasted popcorn, rich brown butter, lemon curd, and toast, studded with rock salts, crystalline lemon, and scented with white florals. A potent acidity carries the intensity easily to the lingering finish. This is a lot of intensity in a 13.5% frame, drinking very well now, but even better with cellaring.Prices: NZ 135.00 Producer: Church Road
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Clearview Chardonnay Reserve Hawke's Baytext
91PTS

Clearview Chardonnay Reserve Hawke's Bay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandThese old vines are rooted in coastal Te Awanga, and whole bunch pressed, partially in barrel, with 43% new oak. This remained in barrel for one year, with regular bâtonnage. Quite potent and focused, with perfumed pear scenting a savoury, brown butter laced palate, with flicks of reduction running throughout, and ample toasted oak framing the palate. Acidity is brisk, pulling this to the lingering, spiced, warming finish. A lot of intensity packed into 13.5%.Prices: NZ 45.00 Producer: Clearview Estate Winery
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Collaboration Wines Aurulent Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Collaboration Wines Aurulent Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandAurulent is named after the colour gold. This is 70% clone 15, and 30% Mendoza clone, from Kokako Vineyard in Ohiti Valley (old riverbed) and Askerene Vineyard, in Havelock North (clay, silt, loams). This was whole bunch pressed to 30% new French oak for a native ferment and full MLF. The wine aged there on lees for 11 months with regular bâtonnage before a light filtration and bottling. Bright lemon and hazelnut drives this direct, shining wine, backed by alluring flicks of reduction and a shimmer of minerality. There's a swirl of white florals seasoning the slender 13% palate to the wood spiced finish. Lovely energy throughout, this is drinking beautifully now, and with capacity for aging.Prices: NZ 35.00 Producer: Collaboration Wines
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Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandThis is old vine own rooted Mendoza clone planted on an elevated river terrace in Dartmoor Valley. This was whole bunch pressed into tightly grained French oak (80% new) for ferment, with full MLF and regular bâtonnage over 12 months. Powerful and direct, with popcorn, lemon curd, spiced wood, roasted hazelnuts, and licks of reduction flooding a full, yet sleek (13.5%) palate. Such a baby, this powerful wine has time to unfold. Riflemans is the name of a little known native bird local to NZ.Prices: NZ 70.00 Producer: Sacred Hill
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Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnaytext
94PTS

Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandThis is a single vineyard chardonnay, planted in 1999 on the western edge of the Bridge Pa Triangle and the Ngaruroro river, on an ancient riverbed with silt loams over red metals and gravels. Clones 115 and 548 were native fermented in French barrique (40% new), with partial MLF and 11 months in wood with weekly bâtonnage. Reductive led, this powerful wine drives with salt and broken stones, and follows with pear, lemon and kisses of white blossoms, all seasoned with well integrated toasty wood spice. Quite complex and powerful, this will reward with cellaring.Prices: NZ 80.00 Producer: Villa Maria Estate Ltd.
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Askerne The Archer Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Askerne The Archer Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandThis is the first Archer Chardonnay and this wine represents the pinnacle of this variety from Askerne. Predominantly Mendoza (55%), this blends in 27% Clone 95 and 18% Clone 15, grown on the stony sands of the lower terrace. After a whole bunch press, this was partial native fermented, with partial MLF, in French oak (45% new) and aged on lees for 11 months with occasional bâtonnage. Full and rich, with a vanilla undercurrent filling the mouth, and wood spice framing baked pear, lemon curd on a viscous palate. A sharp cut of lemon pith acidity driving this big wine through a wood spiced finish. Very much in youth, this should settle with time in bottle.Prices: NZ 50.00 Producer: Askerne
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Cooper Creek Select Vineyards Limeworks Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Cooper Creek Select Vineyards Limeworks Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom limestone-laced soils near Havelock North, this is full and forward, with ample white flowers, lemon pith and peel, and a fine glimmering hum of minerality that lifts this to a perfumed finish. There's a back shadow of toasted oak immersed in the wine, emerging more on the spicy, warming finish, leaving this a bit disjointed.Prices: NZ 25.00 Producer: Coopers Creek Vineyard Limited
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Monowai Upper Reaches Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Monowai Upper Reaches Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom a vineyard in Crownthorpe, on the banks of the Ngarororu River, this was fermented and aged in new, 1, and 2 year old French oak, with full MLF. Quite perfumed, with white florals, musk melon, and medicinal kissed Rainier cherry, on a fuller, wider palate. This trails off with oak spicing on the shorter finish.Prices: NZ 35.00 Producer: Monowai
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Pask Declaration Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Pask Declaration Chardonnay 2019

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandThis is a mix of clone 15 and Mendoza from Settlement 1 block on the Gimblett Gravels. After a whole bunch press directly to new French barriques for a native ferment, this was aged 10 months in barrel (55% new). Very silken, with white florals, baked pear, lemon verbena, fresh hazelnuts, and ample wood seasoning spicing the lingering finish. Quite polished.Prices: NZ 45.00 Producer: Pask
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Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnay 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandMendoza clone, this was whole bunch pressed and fermented in new and used French barriques, with partial native ferment. This remained in barrel for 11 months. Lemon verbena, yellow apple, pear fill a spiced palate, scented with a heady pear perfume on the creamy, buttery palate. Medicinal white cherry lingers on the silken finish. The wood, while evident, is very well integrated into this stylish wine.Prices: NZ 35.00 Producer: Tony Bish
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Mac Forbes Villages Woori Yallock Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Mac Forbes Villages Woori Yallock Chardonnay 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis year marked the new Villages label from Mac Forbes, highlighting distinctly regional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Yarra. Woori Yallock is a hilly area based on red volcanic and grey loams, tucked behind the Waramate Hills. As is typical for the site, a favourite of Mac's, this is a structural, savoury, reserved white, built around a spine of stones. The vineyard was planted in 1995, and worked by Mac since 2012. This was destemmed and crushed before pressing and native ferment, with partial MLF before 10 months in older oak. This is not about fruit, but about structure, with lemon pith, rock salts, pear skin running the taut, vibrant palate, to a humming and saline finish. Very much in youth, this is powerful now, just starting to reveal itself, and will certainly continue to impress over the coming years in your cellar.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Mac Forbes
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Mac Forbes Gladysdale Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Mac Forbes Gladysdale Chardonnay 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis year marked the new Villages label from Mac Forbes, highlighting distinctly regional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Yarra. Gladysdale sits at the southern end of the Yarra, in the valley running north-south down to Gippsland, and across grey brown clay soils. This was destemmed and crushed before pressing and native ferment and 10 months in older oak. Sleek and svelte with lemon pith, white grapefruit, and a fine bed of herbal lees streaming this taut white to a lengthy, saline finish. Reserved, and confident, very much in youth, this is drinking well now but has years ahead.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Mac Forbes
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Petaluma Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Petaluma Chardonnay 2020

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaFrom the cooler Adelaide Hills, this was fermented in a mix of stainless, French oak barriques, and hogsheads, with partial MLF. Lovely balance achieved here between fruit, acidity, and wood, creating a seamless whole. Perfumed lemon cream, verbena, cashew rides a gently creamy, finely structured palate, brightened with a squeeze of grapefruit, and seasoned with subtle wood spicing. Lovely typicity, and freshnsss in an oaked style.Prices: Producer: Petaluma Australia
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01 February 2021

Lunessence Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Lunessence Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLunessence has embarked on a pinot noir planting program on the home property in Summerland, but in the meantime, this wine comes from the Palo Solera Vineyard in East Kelowna, a region now attracting a great deal of pinot noir attention. Although it boasts a moderate alcohol level (for pinot noir) at 13.5 percent, it presents slightly rich and weighty, somewhat beyond what you might expect for a pinot that spends eight months in oak, of which only 20 percent was new. In some ways this points to the uniqueness and fragility of the grape, that was bottled unfined and unfiltered. For now, you can expect a New World style with black cherry flecked with earth, tobacco milk chocolate. The textures are soft, and it is ready to drink. I suggest grilled or roasted pork as a match.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the home estate single Storm Haven vineyard, this pinot noir is a blend of clones 828, 114, and 115, whole bunch fermented, and rested in oak (partial new). Cloudy in hue, dusky and earthy in intent, with forest floor, wild plum, blackberry, balsamic, sapid thorns flooding a hazy palate, slight in weight (11.8 degrees) and bracketed by grippy sides. This quite natural pinot is best with a chill, and for drinking now / short term.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reservetext
89PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reserve 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Family Reserve is equally compelling for its simplicity and svelte demeanour, leaving one to focus on the pinot noir. It is richer, and you feel a rub of tannin, but the oak is in order, and the intensity is appropriately ratcheted up over the regular version. The style is dry and spicy, continuing down the less-is-more pinot road. Light black cherries mix with raspberries and a dash of oak, setting the pint noir free. Food-friendly and ready to drink. Pork, salmon, duck, take your pick.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother home run for the Gebert family, who consistently turn out some impressive, inexpensive pinot noir, an oxymoron if ever there was one. As noted before, sometimes it is not what a pinot noir is, but it's more about what it isn't. This earthy, spicy, bright pinot with bright red fruit and forest floor is devoid of alcohol and sugar, but I like its silky round tannins dusted with a hint of soy and balsamic. You can drink this now with a piece of grilled salmon or pork, or hold it through 2021-22. Good value.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Covert Farms Pinot Noir Grand Reservetext
82PTS

Covert Farms Pinot Noir Grand Reserve 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 19-year-old vines in Mimi's Block, at 420m on Covert Farms' organic McIntyre Bluff estate, this aged 21 months in French oak. This opens with ample wood spices, swirling over-browning, oxidative fruit. Dried leather, faint rubber, some stunted black cherry, and cedar spicing waves finish warm, with a note of Worcestershire and sticky tannins. This wine needs a rework.Prices: BC 40.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada5 Barrel is their premium pinot noir, with a barrel selection amounting to 121 cases produced this vintage. This was 35% whole cluster and entirely native fermented from their East Kelowna estate, with a 5-day cold soak and 17 days on skins before ageing in French oak for eight months (60% new). You can feel the wood shading this fuller, spiced pinot noir, plumped on the palate with sultry dark plums, brandied cherries, ripe blackberry. Tannins are wood spiced but supple, well integrated into the fruit. A supple, spiced, darker-toned pinot that could easily meet skirt steak or hearty grilled portobellos.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Kitsch Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their East Kelowna estate's gravel and stone soils, this was 35% whole cluster and entirely native fermented, with a 5-day cold soak and 17 days on skins. This then rested in French oak for 10 months. Plush and juicy, with dusky plum, wild blackberries and rafts of fine-grained baking spices running to a lingering finish, with a swell of warmth. Tannins are plush and well-integrated, encouraging cracking into now. Try alongside wild mushroom ragout or pan-seared spiced duck. 425 cases produced.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the Sperling family's East Kelowna biodynamically-farmed estate, these French Dijon clone 114, 777, 828 vines are rooted on calcium limestone soils. This was 40% whole cluster and native fermented, then rested in larger French oak barrels, with a small percentage of new wood. This pours a light crimson brown hue, with gently spiced cherry, raspberry, and baked rhubarb on a slender palate. Tannins are fine and lightly sticky, guiding this to a lingering finish. A charmer.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
0PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe winery has pulled this wine back based on some reviews to deal with an issue of volatile acidity not reflected in the analysis but detected by some reviewers but not all. It will be reissued down the road and we will review the new bottling against the old bottle and make a final decision then. EDPrices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noir 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is the 9th year of collaboration between the Van Westen family and the Di Bello family regarding the VD Pinot Noir. The style has always been on the indulgent, hedonistic side, in this case featuring a spicy, mouth-filling pinot more akin to Sonoma than Côte de Beaune. Still, it is Naramata from its floral black cherry, mineral nose to its sweet, round, black cherry fruit, sweet tobacco, and silky tannins. This is the pinot for richer duck dishes, pork, and grilled salmon.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is a mix of French Dijon clones 114, 777, 828 from the biodynamically farmed home estate in East Kelowna. It all native fermented and aged in larger French oak barrels, with a small amount of new oak. 2018 opens with a light red/amber colour with a touch of brown at the edge. The nose is an earthy, spicy cherry affair with a touch of barnyard. Most of that initial profile spills onto the palate with a touch of raspberry and dried herbs and lightly grippy tannins, normal at this young age. A bit of an old-fashioned view that charms rather than overwhelms.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada5 Barrel is the reserve level pinot noir that blends two clones, 828 and 115, all grown at G-Spot Vineyards in East Kelowna. Traditionally it is a big, dark, rich style that gets plenty of new oak while it ages for eight months in the cellars. It presents much darker than the regular pinot, with black cherries, black raspberries, and strawberries mixed into a smoky oak and forest floor undercurrent. A sensual style that invites early-drinking and richer foods, such as baked salmon or duck pizza.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Kitsch Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Kitsch Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKitsch Winery is East Kelowna based, and the two vineyards where they grow pinot noir sit over silt, clay, glacial sediments, rock, gravel, and sand. This is pressed with 35% whole cluster bunches, and all of the wine is native fermented after a five-day cold soak, spending a total of 17 days on skins. Post ferment, the wine spends just under one year in French oak. The style is fresh and juicy, somewhat reminiscent of Marlborough pinot noir. Look for plummy blackberries dusted with brown spices, finishing warm and smooth. Not cheap.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
0PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe winery has pulled this wine back based on some reviews to deal with an issue of volatile acidity not reflected in the analysis but detected by some reviewers but not all. It will be reissued down the road and we will review the new bottling against the old bottle and make a final decision then. ED.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBOV sits on the Black Sage Bench a few kilometres southeast of the town Oliver. It’s not pinot noir country, but the style is spicy and rich, and the fruit is a silky mix of black cherries and candied raspberry, so it has its charms. It is aged in oak barrels from a mix of countries, but only a very small percentage is new. Ready to drink and should be served with richer mushroom or duck dishes.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 39.00 ON 40.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Biodynamic Pinot Noir Demeter Certifiedtext
88PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Biodynamic Pinot Noir Demeter Certified 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe second iteration of this biodynamic pinot noir is youthful, and it is exhibiting intense, pure primary pinot noir. It was fermented in 10,000 L foudres, and pressed off into a stainless steel tank to go through malolactic fermentation. It is bottled early, and considering 2018, it does well with another year in bottle to settle into itself. Vibrant and fresh, it opens with a cloudy pale red colour. There is plenty of soft texture here underlying bright fruit, with plenty of acidity and that sour black cherry mixing with a touch of soy and balsamic. It’s going to be fine, just give it some time, say 12 to 18 months, to fill out and show its stuff. Natural wine fans should snap this up.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Pinot Noir Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
88PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Pinot Noir Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first certified biodynamic pinot noir in the province was fermented in 10,000 litre foudres pressed off into a stainless steel tank. It was bottled as young as possible in early March, and it is delicious. The vibrancy and freshness of the wine serve it well. The attack is juicy, and the bright, sour cherry enamours before the earthy, forest floor notes keep it all in balance. It is quite startling in texture and weight. It tastes "natural." There is no yeast added, no intervention, and well, not much but pinot noir fruit from the home vineyard. An impressive start. Kudos to the team.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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