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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: April 2020

06 April 2020

Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere are no significant changes here from my previous review, which points to its ability to age. The fruit component is cleaner and fresher than many of the older vintages, suggesting the vineyard work is likely better, and due to the vines getting older. The picking takes place over two separate periods to select the fruit at the perfect moment. Honey and pears dominate, with a touch of petrol. The attack is soft with more fresh nectarine and pink grapefruit, adding a bit of fullness to balance the minerality. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 6.3 g/L, Alcohol 13.8, TA 9.0 g/L, pH 3.06.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
88PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA super warm year is evident in the change in profile here. Plush with more mouthfeel and weight, less acidity, and concentrated red apple and nectarine. The alcohol is in check at 12.8 percent, and that seems to have given it some life. Pleasant but ready to drink, and given all the other examples in this vertical it should be drunk first. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 9.2 g/L, Alcohol 12.8, TA 8.5 g/L, pH 2.99.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
90PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata Bench bench comes a super fresh, expressive riesling. At six-years-old, this screwcap finished white is alive with lemon and lime pith, green apple and pear fruit. Still youthful with prominent spice flecked with dried herbs, the balance here will repay many years in the bottle yet; a Naramata riesling postcard. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 8.4 g/L, Alcohol 13.2, TA 9.6 g/L, pH 2.96.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
92PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVery reminiscent of Eden Valley riesling with its dry infrastructure and talcum powder aromas. With only a hint of sweetness, this is a terrific bottle of riesling electrified by its acidic base and nuanced with Naramata orchard fruits and sagebrush. Again it’s the secondary and tertiary notes that give this wine its truth. An impressive ambassador for Naramata and BC riesling. Ready to drink but should hold indefinitely. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 13.2 g/L, Alcohol 13.3, TA 8.7 g/L, pH 2.95.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
91PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine first crossed our radar at the National Wine Awards, wherein the week-long blind tasting it was admired by the judging panel, most of whom had never tasted it before. It won several awards, and I’m happy to say it is standing up to the praise eight years down the road. At this point, the Vaseline/petrol component permeates a lemon, mineral undercurrent, but it's all holding together and, of course, benefiting from these well-developed secondary and tertiary flavours. It is as good as it gets at this point, but under screwcap will hold on for years yet. Now best with more lavish menu items, like pork or wild game. Go Naramata. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 9.2 g/L, Alcohol 12.6, TA 9.2 g/L, pH 2.98.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2016 is a juicy affair of orchard aromas and fruits, including white flowers, peach, and honey, with a thin beam of acidity cutting across the base. Crisp and fresh, it flashes a bit of orange and petrol in its long, persistent, dryish finish. The estate-grown grapes are picked in two lots, one week apart, in search of the ultimate ripeness while retaining its secret weapon, its stony minerality. Fish cakes or tacos or a plate of favourite cheeses all work here. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of Tightrope Riesling 2012-2018 - RS 6.9 g/L, Alcohol 13.1, TA 9.2 g/L, pH 2.99Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
88PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTightrope uses two separate picks about a week apart to search for maximum ripeness. After a cold ferment, the wine is left with a small amount of residual sugar that has a subtle balancing effect with a wine that presents as otherwise dry. The fruit is all Naramata Bench. The nose is clean with white and green fruit aromas and a touch of orange. The palate is crisp with citrus, mineral, nectarine, pink grapefruit and a tart finish. Match with fish tacos, halibut with fruit salsa, or lightly spiced sushi rolls.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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05 April 2020

Maan Farms Raspberrytext
88PTS

Maan Farms Raspberry 2018

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGorgeous crimson with a vibrant pink-rim, this killer fruit wine radiates the essence of raspberry. The nose is alive with tangy red berry aromas as well as the green leafy earthiness of the entire raspberry cane. The flavours are fresh and lively with a delicious sweet/tart aspect. Intense and lip-smacking, sizzling acidity balances the potent fruit in a way that dries out the wine's fruity sweetness. Try drinking this in the spirit of decent Beaujolias: with a juicy and spicy grilled merguez sausage, or with tender goat roti. Maan Farms is an Abbotsford institution, run by an exuberant family who have wisely engaged respected consuntant Laurent Lafuente to work with Gaurav Maan on the fruit wines.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Maan Farms Estate Winery
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Maan Farms Blueberrytext
86PTS

Maan Farms Blueberry 2017

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlueberries are such a familiar summer specialty in BC, and this fruit wine interestingly has heightened aromas of ripe blueberries (of course!), combined with mulled spices and a captivating herbal complexity. The palate is tangy, tart and nicely bracing, featuring blue, purple and black fruit. The back label declares the wine to be dry, and it teeters between sweetly ripe fruit and zingy acidity, and is so cleansing, that the finish does indeed appear dry. Culinary uses are obvious: in marinades, salad dressings and sauces, but also splashed with soda for a delicious spritzer, or pair a glass with highly seasoned food like bbq chicken wings, or spicy chili. Maan Farms is an Abbotsford institution, run by an exuberant, industrious family who have wisely engaged respected consuntant Laurent Lafuente to work with Gaurav Maan on the fruit wines.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Maan Farms Estate Winery
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04 April 2020

Stag's Hollow Harttext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Hart 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVery rich, sweet, and firey, like boozy Christmas cake (complete with rum butter) set aflame. Thankfully there's a frame of tannins to help hold all in place, and a raft of acidity to counter. The full palate carries sugarplums and vanilla cassis compote to a spiced finish. This is made of super ripe Merlot from Osoyoos East Bench, harvested in October 2013. Half way through fermentation (and to preserve the sugars) it was dosed with barrel aged grape spirit, and he free run wine was then drawn off, and the wine was then left to mature for 24 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Take with the aforementioned Christmas cake, or rich dark chocolate and raspberry dessert.Prices: BC 40.00 500 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Stag's Hollow Royaltext
91PTS

Stag's Hollow Royal NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a golden yellow hue, this very sweet elixir is like drinking floral syrup, with dense and intense white blossoms, lime essence, dried apricot, golden raisin, rich quince paste, filling the full palate to a very spirited, spiced ginger finish. Super sweet (205 g/l), though thankfully there is a well handled line of acidity to counter. This is the third release of NV Royal, a blend of orange muscat and ottonel muscat that fermented naturally, arrested halfway with the addition of barrel aged grape spirits, and transferred to older French oak barrels where it remained for a minimum of 5 years, with random exposure to the hot Okanagan sun.Prices: BC 40.00 500 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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02 April 2020

Play Starring Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Play Starring Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMy first look at the Play Sauvignon reveals a fresh style with not a lot of aromatics but fairly intense flavours on the palate. The nose offers a faint hint of dried herbs and sagebrush before a soft, warm tropical fruit palate pushes forward. It has lovely ripeness with minimal residual, making it very quaffable and just the thing for a sunny patio while you are self-isolating. It has enough maturity to take on a spicy tuna roll or a lightly spiced curry. Ready to drink. A portion of the blend (25 percent) is kept on fine lees with regular bâtonnage and in a single barrel of François Frères French oak. A solid start. Play Estate sits above the Penticton Airport in the area known as the Wild Horse Mountains.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Greywacke Wild Sauvignontext
90PTS

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandGreywacke's Wild Sauvignon is one of those idiosyncratic wines folks look forward to tasting, and have been doing so since the cuvee began in 2009. In 2016, fruit comes from the Southern Valleys and the central Wairau Plains, and young alluvial greywacke-laden soils along with older, denser clay loams. This was native fermented over 6 months in French barrique (a small percent new), with random batonnage, and partial MLF. It was transferred to bottle in fall 2017, where it remained for 6 months prior to release. Wild and earthy, textured with heavy solids, this is a full bodied, weighty white that draws white asparagus, lime blossom, a kiss of soap, meadow grass, broken stone and lanolin along a plump palate, riveted with a salted lemon acidity. There's a notable wood spice at this youthful stage, though history shows this will mellow and cusp into another level in a few years time. For now, a bit of knees and elbows, so cellar for a year or two and enjoy.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Greywacke
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Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandNautilus continues to nail this category year after year, it's a label you can reach for with confidence if you love New Zealand sauvignon blanc. 2019 opens with intense citrus and passionfruit aromas that coat the palate. The mid-palate is zesty with vibrant, crunchy nectarine and a creamy fruit finish: all you could want in a sauvignon, along with a drizzle of lees. Serve with everything from fish tacos to a favourite vegetarian dish and use it anywhere you need a squeeze of lemon. Delicious and balanced.Prices: BC 26.99 ON 23.00 NS 25.00 MB 22.00 Producer: Nautilus Estate
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Lake Sonoma Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Lake Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesCalifornia sauvignon blanc is rarely tart and grassy, taking its cues from the sunshine, and offering a riper wine. Look for a candied lemon character that runs up against herbaceous lemongrass, and citrus rind that even reveals a touch of minerality. Yay. You could pair this with a classic goat cheese salad or a favourite of ours, a Margherita pizza. Well-chilled on the patio also works.Prices: BC 20.99 ON 24.00 QC 23.95 NB 25.49 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandMatua is said to have produced New Zealand’s first sauvignon blanc in 1974 in Auckland. The 2018 opens with a slightly earthy vegetal note, and is reduced open opening. The theme continues onot the palate with dried herbs, flecks of jalapeno and a peppery, light passionfruit palate. The fruit is a blend of sites across Marlborough's Wairau and Awatere Valleys. A bit flat but ready to drink. Think fish tacos.Prices: BC 22.49 QC 17.15 MB 18.00 NF 19.00 NS 19.00 AB 16.00 NB 20.49 Producer: Matua Valley Wines
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Bench 1775 Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Bench 1775 Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMultiple picks help to add a range of flavours and aromas to a wine that is traditonally lean and crisp, and 2018 is no exception. In all, six picks from the estate vineyard creates six very different wines that are blended and aged in 85 percent stainless steel and 15 percent French oak. Look for notes of grapefruit, sour lemons, green melon all in an energetic, fresh style that is best with food like spot prawns, creamy pasta, and chicken. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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01 April 2020

Lamont Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Lamont Chardonnay 2018

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandLamont is a family wine producer established in 1999 in Bendigo, Central Otago. This is 25 year old organically dry farmed Mendoza clone chardonnay from Minaret Peaks Vineyard, in Lake Wanaka. After whole bunch pressing, this was fermented in ceramic egg and oak barrels, with full MLF and lees stirring monthly. After ferment, this spent 11 months in barrel. Full and round on the layered palate, with white blossoms, pear, apple and white peach, swirled with cream and tensed with oak. Quite complete, ripe at 14 degrees but slimmed by a white grapefruit lacing which helps with freshness. A lingering hazelnuttiness on the finish.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Lamont
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Nautilus Estate Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Nautilus Estate Chardonnay 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandWinemaker Clive Jones nailed 2018, checking in at 13 percent alcohol with an intense nutty hazelnut nose and rich, creamy textures. There is a touch of yellow colour reflecting its 100 percent barrel fermentation in 20 percent new French oak. The palate is equally fresh and lively with nectarine, citrus, almonds that beckon you toward a mineral, stony finish. Despite one of the warmest seasons ever, this wine delivers all you want in a cool-climate Next World chardonnay. Forty percent of the 2018 blend is now from new Burgundian clonal plantings in their Renwick vineyard, which nicely complements their mature clone 15 on the same site. Whole roasted chicken stuffed with lemons is a great match. Super valuePrices: BC 29.99 Producer: Nautilus Estate
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Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2017

Margaret River, Western Australia, AustraliaVasse Felix Chardonnay has always been a cult wine among Australians. Filius translates to 'son of' in Latin, reflecting the relationship between this second label and its premier father. The nose opens with tropical pineapple and grapefruit mixed with crunchy nectarine. The use of French oak (15 percent new) and lees management adds further complexity in the form of spice, almonds, and lemon curd. The attack is fresh with more intense citrus, green apple and sagebrush/herbaceous notes, with underlying stony, mineral, lean notes. Reliable and best with creamy and buttery dishes.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Vasse Felix Pty Ltd.
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Simi Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Simi Chardonnay 2018

Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis holds some lovely Sonoma coastal freshness up against Cali's inherent creamy, baked apple and pear. Lashings of oak and pads of creamy lees are cut with a slice of lemony acidity, saving this on the spicing finish. Simple, ready to drink Cali chard.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Simi Winery
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Cathedral Cellar Chardonnaytext
85PTS

Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2016

Coastal Region, South AfricaRipe, full, perfumed and creamy, with stemmy, stalky notes overriding green fruit and banana, to an orange tablet finish. There's an underripe note battling it out with an overripe note, leaving this overall disjointed and simple. Chill down, drink now,Prices: ON 17.95 Producer: KWV International
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Wakefield Estate Label Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Wakefield Estate Label Chardonnay 2018

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFresh lemon, cream, verbena and soft swirls of oak throughout this Clare Valley chardy. The finish tightens up smartly, with a nice twist of lemon pith acidity. After a whole bunch pressing, this went into French oak (10% new) and stainless for ferment and aging with battonage. After 4 months, all the lots were blended and married in stainless for tightening before bottling. A welcome 13 degrees alcohol.Prices: BC 16.95 Producer: Wakefield Wines Pty
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Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudontext
91PTS

Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudon 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Réserve has a slightly more vibrant, more expansive palate than the entry-level Vaudon, mixing biodynamically-farmed Drouhin estate fruit drawn primarily from Premier Crus Montée de Tonnerre and Mont de Milieu on the right bank, close by the Grand Cru terroirs. In 2018 the intensity was slightly ramped up by a warmer vintage but all in the best way. The attack has a rich pear and beeswax nose that tumbles onto the palate, where the textures are smoother and creamier in more of a Grand Cru style. It is delicious and very drinkable right now. Post fermentation, it spends eight months in stainless tanks on its lees. Drouhin has been around since the 1880s, with the current generation's great grandfather starting the business as a negociant. In the early 20th century, the family started as winemakers, purchasing and planting their first vineyards in the early 1960s.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 32.00 QC 32.00 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesAnvi is Latin for stone, or rock, and a hallmark found across the Willamette Valley. In contrast to Lingua Franca's single-vineyard wines, this is sourced from various sites across the greater Willamette, including Dundee, Salem, and Yamhill-Carlton. Mostly Dijon clones, this was harvest early, pressed and rested in tank for one day to settle and then a natural fermentation and full MLF before a year in French puncheons (20% new) and a tightening stint back in tank before a light filter and bottling. A lovely and potent flick of flint leads into green apple, lemon curd and peel, all textured with a subtle stony grain and shaped by its time in wood. There's a wonderful, natural lift and brightness here to this structural wine, drinking beautifully now but with a capacity to age—one of USA's top wineries.Prices: BC 69.00 QC 52.25 US 37.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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