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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: February 2024

22 February 2024

Da Silva Merlottext
88PTS

Da Silva Merlot 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Richard Silva makes this merlot from fruit grown in two distinct areas: a Naramata fluvial terrace at Blenheim Hill Vineyard; and the Penticton West Bench at Lazy Dog Vineyard. Gravel, shale, and loams feed the fruit that is crushed and fermented in 1/2 ton batches before ageing in French and American oak barrels for 20 months. The colour is medium red. The nose opens with a cool herbaceous, piney note over light red fruit. The palate is smooth with more spicy light red fruit and a savoury back end. Surprisingly delicate and cool for such a noted vintage. Drink or hold.Prices:
BC$37.99750ml
Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Vasanti Estate Merlottext
87PTS

Vasanti Estate Merlot 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaParadise Block is home to this south Okanagan merlot made by winemaker Jason Parkes. Parkes is a rock musician and drummer, and his wines are typically dry and muscular. You see a bit of that here in this cranberry/cherry affair, but it is merlot, so there is some softness in the end. It is tightly wound and will require more time in the bottle before it is ready to drink. It's aged in a combination of French and American oak, adding another layer of weight. It could use more charm, but let's face it: 2021 was hardly a charming year. The grapes come from the Paradise Block inside Monarch Vineyards in Northern Oliver. The vineyard sits on the silts of the nearby Okanagan River and its floodplains. Pockets of the site are riddled with gravel, rock, and sand, allowing for drainage and helping to warm the area. It spends 19 months in 25% new American oak barrels and 75% in a combination of French and American neutral oak barrels.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Vasanti Estate Winery
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Mt. Boucherie Merlottext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Merlot 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from vineyards stretching from Okanagan Falls to Oliver to the Similkameen, this shows a spicy, plummy nose along with black cherry compote and fresh thyme. The style is appealingly ripe yet juicy, framed by 15% new wood. To that end, winemaker Jeff Hundertmark has managed the tannins well, keeping them light and approachable so you can drink this now or hold over the next 2-3 years.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Small Lot Merlottext
87PTS

Fort Berens Small Lot Merlot 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis Small Lot Merlot is entirely Lillooet fruit from their Dry Creek Vineyard and Red Rock Vineyard's sandy soils. After crushing and destemming, the grapes were left to cold soak for two days before fermentation and regular pump-overs for extraction. The wine was then aged 15 months in neutral barrels. Roasted coffee, espresso, and root vegetables open this full-bodied merlot, with ripe blackberry and black plum to follow on the silky palate. Tannins are lightly gritty, holding this to a bitter espresso finish. Quite rugged and rough edged, this requires some hearty/saucy proteins to manage at this stage.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Frind Estate Merlottext
85PTS

Frind Estate Merlot 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot is a grape that likes the Okanagan, although this wine is a blend of fruit from across BC. The nose is a mix of earth and cherries with a slightly smoky cassis in the back end and some sticky, dry tannins to shed. Best with simple dishes like burgers or beef tacos.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Merlottext
88PTS

Frind Estate Premier Merlot 2022

British Columbia, Canada2022 is dense, full-bodied and sweet all at once. This is a big mouth full of merlot pitching the brighter red fruits, black cherries, and boysenberries with a bit of milk chocolate. The tannins are dry and firm and will need some time in the bottle to settle in and dissipate. The sweetness will be over the top for some and highly attractive to others. We look forward to seeing what newly arrived winemaker Corrie Krebiel of Mission Hill fame will do with this grape. A little less oak, a little less sweetness, and better balance shouldn't be that tough a fix.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Merlottext
87PTS

Frind Estate Premier Merlot 2021

British Columbia, CanadaThe Premier Merlot comes from the southern Okanagan, although the label is VQA British Columbia. It offers a nice jump in intensity over the regular 2021 merlot, pitching fully ripe black cherry. It has some of that merlot charm up front while the palate carries the sweet fruit from the front to the back. This has two or three windows for it to reach full maturity, but you can drink it now, especially with beef or pork off the barbecue. It is trending up.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Mayhem Anarchy Merlottext
88PTS

Mayhem Anarchy Merlot 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a full throttle, southern Okanagan merlot, absorbing all the desert sunshine and turning it back into this dense, smokey red. From their Anarchist Mountain Vineyard and 1994 planted vines, this was aged in 53% new French oak and 47% seasoned oak for 11 months. 2% cabernet franc was then tipped in, and this was returned to barrel for an additional 9 months. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Ripe black cherry, smoked blackberry, baked black plum is packed into the compact 14.5% palate, infiltrated with baking spices, and wrapped with sticky, gritty, and bitter-edged tannins. The finish lingers with espresso and bittersweet chocolate. Best suited to shellacked grilled ribs and seasoned root veg.Prices:
BC$39.23750ml
Producer: Mayhem Wines Inc.
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Mayhem Anarchy Merlottext
87PTS

Mayhem Anarchy Merlot 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnarchy comes off the Anarchist Mountain Vineyard planted in 1994 by the Mauz family and is predominately merlot with only 2% cabernet franc in the mix. Post ferment, each variety was aged separately in 53% new 47% used French oak for 11 months. The blend is made then, and the wine returns to the barrel for 9 more months. The nose is a fragrant floral affair with roses, cherries, and savoury desert notes. On the palate, savoury, smoky dark plum mixes with black and blue fruits, spice, and bitter dark chocolate. There is not a lot of charm this year. Best with rich lamb of beef dishes.Prices:
BC$39.23750ml
Producer: Mayhem Wines Inc.
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Van Westen Vineyards Verlorentext
0PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Verloren 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThese barrels were lost in the cellars, but in the end, it was too volatile for us.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie Merlottext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie Merlot 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVivre la Vie tells the story of the Naramata Bench, which many people who think they know Okanagan red wine have yet to learn. The mid-valley bench has a cool, lean side to it that can be transformative for the right grape varieties, namely syrah, cabernet franc, and merlot. Traditionally, Vivre la Vie opens with refined fruit purity, and it is present in 2019. The style is always lean (Bordeuax-like) rather than lush (Napa). It's pleasantly aromatic and spicy with dark plums, cloves, dried blueberries, Bing cherries, and cloves. A wine that allows you to contemplate and enjoy a bit of complexity seldom encountered in BC merlot.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Fort Berens Small Lot Merlottext
86PTS

Fort Berens Small Lot Merlot 2021

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThe Small Lot Merlot is all Lillooet estate fruit from the sandy soils of Dry Creek Vineyard and Red Rock Vineyard. A two day cold soak is followed by fermentation and regular pump overs before a 15 month period in neutral barrels. The nose is awash in roasted coffee beans and earthy scents. On the palate, the wine is low in fruit and big on campfire, with smoky notes that persist across the palate and finish bitter. Drink now and consider grilled spicy sausages to be the match.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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21 February 2024

Rodney Strong Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Pinot Noir 2020

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong is closing in on 65 years of wine growing after Sonoma County pioneer Rod Strong got it all going in 1959, with the Klein family taking over the reins in 1989. The RS heritage River East Vineyard, planted in 1968 over alluvial clay-loam soils adjacent to the winery in Healdsburg, remains a core contributor to the estate vineyard bottling. In 2020, Sonoma County growing conditions were optimal, and the harvest was early. What I like about this wine is how it presents dry. It is only 13.5%, and while it spends 18 months in French oak barrels, only 29% were new, and you do not notice the oak. On the nose, plums, baked cherries, and baking spices lead. The palate is intense but dry with solid notes of earthy black cherry dusted in mushrooms, and perfectly toasted oak. A reliable New World pinot that pairs well with almost any pork dish or a simple mushroom and cheese pizza. It's good value, too.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$28.99750ml
ON$25.99750ml
MB$25.99750ml
QC$25.30750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Hometext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Home 2022

Sonoma County, California, United StatesCharlotte’s Home Vineyard was named in honour of Rodney Strong’s wife when planted in 1971. The original site remains at the core of the modern Charlotte’s Home, joined by selected estate vineyards in the Alexander, Russian River, and Dry Creek valleys. The wine has become increasingly fresher under winemaker Justin Seidenfeld. The wine opens with zesty grapefruit, followed by lemongrass, tangerine, and an undercurrent of tropical melon, with sea salt in the finish. This classic Sonoma match is seared scallops, and the fun pairing is taco chips and cumin. Technically, 15% is barrel-fermented and completed malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
AB$24.99750ml
ON$21.95750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Zinfandel Old Vinestext
90PTS

Rodney Strong Zinfandel Old Vines 2019

Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 15 acres of old vine Russian River Valley zin planted in 1904 remains as it was when Rodney Strong arrived in the 1970s. A small amount of fruit from the Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys and some 2% petite sirah go into the mix. 2019 was a stellar year in California, beginning with plentiful winter rains, a warm start, and a warm, dry finish, leaving the old vine fruit in impeccable condition. Expect a mix of fresh berries with peppery, black raspberry jammy fruit that sits on a soft, round palate that finishes with more inviting dark plum, boysenberry, and a dash of vanilla and oak. You can drink this now or over the next three to five years. Fun matches would be barbecued ribs, a meaty pizza, a pulled pork sandwich, or a favourite hard Italian cheese. This edition was aged in 40% new French oak for 18 months, and closed in a sturdy 15% alcohol, although it doesn't pop out at you.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
AB$28.99750ml
ON$27.95750ml
US$25.00750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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600 Ltext
94PTS

600 L 2019

Sonoma County, California, United States600L comprises the best grapes grown from exceptional blocks that top out at 2,040 feet above sea level on the 20,000-acre Cooley Ranch in the western reaches of Sonoma County. It is named after its fermentation vessel, a custom-made 600L barrel used when making experimental, small-batch wines. Rowan owner and winemaker Justin Seidenfeld chose just a few rows of Cooley Ranch’s Sky High vineyard, where the grapes are picked by hand and fermented in 600L French oak barrels. Once in the barrel, there is a gravity-only process to move the wine around; each bottle is filled by hand and hand-numbered by Seidenfeld. 2019 was born from a superior vintage, pitching dried bay leaves and spicy blackcurrant, blackberry, and cherry, with an appropriate light/dark, mocha/chocolate aroma. The wine possesses grace and power with a fineness of tannins that match the intensity of the mountain-grown grapes. Impressive. 600L stands alone as the best of the best from Rowen Wine Company in 2019, a 90/10 mix of cabernet sauvignon/petit verdot that spent 24 months in French oak barrels.Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
AB$74.99750ml
ON$74.95750ml
QC$73.50750ml
Producer: Rowen Wine Company
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Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hilltext
91PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill 2020

Chalk Hill, Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRod Strong was the first to plant Chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1965, 18 years before the AVA was approved. He thought the region was distinct from the rest of the Russian River Valley for its unique, volcanically derived, chalky white ash soils, and he was right. In 2020, it spent 17 months in French oak, of which 37% was new. Chalk Hill is a Justin Seidenfeld / Greg Morthole production, with both winemakers seeking a transparent wine that speaks to its origins. This label has been evolving for several years now, dropping the oak and heavily wooded notes in favour of more freshness, focused on mineral notes, bright acidity and lees that entertain and pull you into its spicy, creamy textures and Meyer lemon custard, pineapple notes. Food friendly and simply fun to drink.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$28.99750ml
US$22.00750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Symmetry Red Winetext
92PTS

Rodney Strong Symmetry Red Wine 2018

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesSymmetry is made at the RS small lot winemaking facility called the Artisan Cellar. Under the direction of Greg Morthole, artisanal techniques such as cluster pre-sorting, berry sorting, and extended maceration rule the day. With small tanks and equipment sized for the most discriminating vineyard selection process, this facility is truly state-of-the-art and wholeheartedly endorsed by the Klein family as they pursue the finest Symmetry possible. I was around when Symmetry was launched as an Alexander Valley superblend in 1996. In 2018, a vintage admired by many, the blend was 79% cabernet sauvignon, 9% petit verdot, 6% malbec, 4% merlot, and 2% cabernet franc aged for 24 months in French oak barrels, of which 75% were new. The goal is to capture the essence of the Alexander Valley AVA. The nose and palate are alive in slick black plum and fig, Sonoma savoury notes, and vanilla, all dusted in baking pieces. The tannins are light and sticky but are already fading in the wine. This could easily be aged ten years and will only get better. Suave and sophisticated, it is rich in symmetry and harmony. Lamb, anyone?Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
AB$74.99750ml
ON$74.95750ml
QC$73.50750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rowen Red Winetext
91PTS

Rowen Red Wine 2018

Sonoma County, California, United StatesPerhaps unbeknownst to the Bordelais, Bordeaux varieties thrive on steep terrain and volcanic soil, which aptly describes Cooley Ranch Vineyard with elevations ranging from 800 to 2,040 feet. Here, being above the fog line allows for full phenolic ripening during most harvest periods. Rowen is a robust, spicy mountain wine that mixes linear styling with lush fruit. The blend is 55% cabernet sauvignon, 19% malbec, 16% syrah, 6% petit verdot and 4% viognier, the latter co-fermented with the syrah, Rhône style. It then spent 24 months in French oak barrels, of which 75% were new. Look for floral notes upfront, followed by rich black cherries, blackberries, a wisp of toasted smoke, savoury dried herbs, and sweet vanilla. As big as it is, you can drink it now with the right food. Lamb or pork ribs would be the match. Or you can confidently cellar this for five to seven years before revisiting it.Prices:
BC$62.99750ml
Producer: Rowen Wine Company
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Rodney Strong Brothers Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
94PTS

Rodney Strong Brothers Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Brothers Ridge single vineyard comes off 141 acres planted to mostly cabernet sauvignon with small blocks of merlot and malbec, just east of Cloverdale in the Alexander Valley. Winemakers Justin Seidenfeld and Greg Morthole pluck the highly selected grapes from a “sweet spot” off the loamy sandstone, fractured shale, and ancient greenstone soil from a site that sits 450-1030 feet above sea level. The site is west-facing, gathering the maximum afternoon sun, and the result is a powerful mountain red that somehow comes with reliably soft and ripe tannins. Warm is relative in the mountains. Brothers is a relatively cool site with average growing season temperatures of 67 degrees, although mid-day, above the fog line, there is plenty of heat to ripen the cabernet. The 2018 Brothers is cabernet sauvignon that spends 24 months in new French oak barriques. The attack is rich, the fruit deep and blue-black, streaked with dark chocolate and complexing savoury notes in the finish. This is a young, promising red wine from a highly regarded vintage. It is best after 2025 and will effortlessly age into the 2030s.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
AB$99.99750ml
ON$9.95750ml
QC$99.75750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Davis Bynum Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Davis Bynum Chardonnay 2022

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesDavid Bynum has left us, but his spirit and wines live on under the watch of Rodney Strong Vineyards and winemaker Greg Morthole. If you didn’t know, Bynum was the first winery to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The vintage was 1973, and the grapes were from Joe Rochioli’s now prized vineyard. Today, the chardonnay is grown on moderately deep, well-drained soils at River West Vineyard and Westside Road in the Russian River Valley. The clonal mix contains the Spring Mountain clone and clones 806, 76, 15, and 4, all aged 12 months in French and Eastern European oak barrels, of which 35% were new. The attack is distinctively DB with a lemon citrus acidity that sets up the palate for the oak and bâtonnage that continues to provide a creamy complexity and a brioche graham cracker character to the wine, finishing with a touch of caramel. At only 13.5%, this fresh chardonnay continues to flourish under winemaker Morthole, who manages to stay out of the way other than choosing the finest blocks and clones from River West that best reveal the site’s terroir.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
AB$32.99750ml
ON$32.95750ml
QC$33.00750ml
Producer: Davis Bynum Winery
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Davis Bynum Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Davis Bynum Pinot Noir 2021

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesWinemaker Greg Morthole blends fruit from six Russian River Valley vineyards: River West, Middle Reach, Oak Meadows, Jane’s, Dutton Ranch, and Shone Farms; and five clones: 115, 667, 777, Pommard, and Wente. This is off the Pleasanton gravelly clay loam, the Yolo sandy clay loam, and Goldridge fine sandy loam. It spent 14 months in French/Hungarian oak barrels, of which 40% were new. The wine is all about red fruits on the nose with some pleasant spice. I like how winemaker Greg Morthole tempers the Russian River power, looking to more subtle savoury, earthy, cherry, and round soft tannins. In 2021, Morthole blended warmer central Sonoma fruit with grapes grown in cooler western coastal areas to create a wine with tension. The blend was aged 14 months. The alcohol is 14.5%, more than the Russian River, but everything is balanced. Grilled salmon, mushroom pasta, chicken, and pork all work here.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
AB$36.99750ml
ON$36.95750ml
QC$43.50750ml
Producer: Davis Bynum Winery
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
93PTS

Rodney Strong Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRockaway was planted in 1994 to mostly cabernet sauvignon and grows the other four classic Bordeaux varieties. The elevation ranges from 225 to 700 feet, and the land generally slopes northeast and southwest, with gravelly clay subsoil over fractured greywacke sandstone. The clusters and berries are small in true mountain style, yielding bold flavours. In 2018, the growing season was dry through spring with well below average precipitation, and cooler weather dominated, leaving only two relatively mild heat spikes to manage all year. Look for a well-balanced red and black fruit character, mixing black plum, light cassis, streaked with licorice, tobacco, and leather with plenty of savoury Sonoma dried herbs touched with brown spice. The wine was aged 24 months in new French oak barrels. It's currently wound tight and will likely stay that way through 2025 before beginning to blossom.Prices:
BC$99.00750ml
AB$99.99750ml
ON$99.75750ml
QC$99.75750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reservetext
92PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2018

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States2018 will long be remembered for the quality of the fruit, thanks to a cool summer and lack of heat spikes. By the fall, the cool weather had delayed the picking for nearly an entire month compared to 2017, and the longer hang time resulted in larger yields and more complex flavours. This year the harvest ran October 9-24. What I like most about this 79% Sonoma County, 21% Alexander Valley cab, hand-harvested, fermented separately and aged in the finest French oak, is that it tastes like a reserve. Dense, deep, complex, spicy, and rich, this is a full-on version of Sonoma cabernet sauvignon. The wine is aged 24 months in French oak barrels, 75% new, before bottling. It is made in the RS small lot Artisan Cellar, where winemaker Justin Seidenfeld employs cluster pre-sorting, extended maceration, and small tanks and equipment sized for the most discriminating vineyard selection. Look for an aromatic, dusty, spicy espresso nose with blackberries and black currants. It's been eight years since I have seen this wine. Winemaker Justin Seidenfeld has been polishing away the oak and heavier notes, revealing a tighter, more linear cabernet filled with spicy, smoky blackberry jam and sophisticated French oak. There is no hurry here. You could wait a decade and not be rushed to drink this. If you must drink it now, a T-bone steak would be my choice, matching the wine's sophistication and length of flavour.Prices:
BC$74.99750ml
AB$69.99750ml
ON$69.95750ml
QC$69.95750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander's Crown Single Vineyardtext
92PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander's Crown Single Vineyard 2018

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesAlexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon is grown inside the 22 mile long Alexander Valley AVA, ranging in elevation from 250 to 350 feet. The site was established in 1971 and recognized as the first vineyard in the valley to produce a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Alexander’s Crown vineyard sits on a hill just south of Jimtown. It is a cold site whose average daily temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. It certainly explains its more delicate styling. In 2018, most things went right in Sonoma, producing phenolically ripe cabernets that were picked in late October. The replanting of the Crown has paid off, giving this wine new life with rich blackcurrant, violets, and blueberry with streaks of chocolate and dried herbs. The tannins are particularly attractive, dense, and sweet but not hard and dry. An opulent mountain, one that has the power and the elegance you want, it is only beginning to expand.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
AB$99.99750ml
ON$9.95750ml
QC$99.75750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valleytext
91PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2020

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2020 Alexander Valley Cab is a 90/5/5 mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and malbec that spends 18 months in French oak barrels, of which half were new. Sonoma has a recognizable savoury dried herb, rosemary/sage/thyme nuance that enriches the wine. The Alexander Valley mix is a big step from the regular label in intensity and length on the palate. It's not super complex, but then, neither is it simple. 2020 was another dry growing season, with only a few spring showers, mild temperatures, and generally lower yields at harvest. Balanced and content on the vine, the fruit was harvested over 27 days from September 4 to October 1. It opens with lavish Sonoma flavours (thankfully less than Napa) of cassis, milk chocolate, dark plum, and ripe fig. Plenty of tannin and cabernet structure suggests ageing will be helpful for three to five years before it reaches its maximum drinking window. Polished and smooth, this is all you could want in a modern Alexander Valley cab.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$28.99750ml
ON$29.99750ml
QC$29.75750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2021

Sonoma County, California, United StatesAgain, this might be the best RS chardonnay I have tasted and is certainly proof of the evolution in style at Rodney Strong. It is down to 60% barrel fermented in French oak, with 40% new wood, and 40% in stainless steel. The malolactic fermentation touches 75% of the juice. The winemaking team continues to tighten the style, no doubt faster than America would like and slower than we would like, but the direction is good. The fruit is drawn from cooler, coastal locations outside Sonoma County, including Monterey and Santa Barbara, injecting a tropical note without the heavy perfume. Fresh citrus, red apple, pear, and lees dance along the 13.5 degree palate, suggesting this could be a fine match with seafood or chicken, or as an appetizer with avocado toast.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
AB$23.99750ml
ON$21.95750ml
QC$21.95750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignontext
90PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong first planted cabernet sauvignon over 55 years ago at Alexander's Crown on a small hill in Jimtown, Sonoma County. Today, the RS cabernet sauvignon sites stretch from Jimtown to Geyserville and north to Cloverdale. The soils are a mix of well-drained alluvial, volcanic, uplifted shale and sandstone, well-suited to cabernet roots. The regular classic Sonoma 2020 Cabernet opens with warm, rich black cherry that spills onto the palate, mixing with more black plums, a hint of milk chocolate, oak spice, black pepper, and warm, dense, slippery tannins. You can easily enjoy this now or drink it through 2026. Ribs, steaks, beef tacos, or even a spaghetti Bolognese work here. Winemaker Justin Seidenfeld brings this in at 14.5% alcohol with bright acidity and a savoury undertow that easily takes on a short six month stint in French oak barrels.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$28.99750ml
ON$29.99750ml
QC$2.99750ml
Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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20 February 2024

Gérard Bertrand An 1877 St Chiniantext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand An 1877 St Chinian 2019

St Chinian, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceDark and ripe-fruited, this full bodied syrah and mourvèdre blend shows bold flavours of plum, dark cherry, and licorice mixed with black olives, bacon, and sweet spices, all accentuated by the 15% alcohol. Its generous and somewhat bulky tannins contribute to its character, showcasing the full spectrum of syrah and mourvèdre traits grown in a sunny and warm southern locale.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Olivier Coste Illégal Mourvèdretext
89PTS

Olivier Coste Illégal Mourvèdre 2022

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis wine comes from a small appellation in Languedoc, but 100% mourvèdre is illegal there, thus, the winery declassified it to Vin de France and hid its origin. Destemmed grapes were macerated and fermented in stainless for 3 weeks, and kept there for a brief time before bottling in late winter. Tight and crunchy plum, boysenberry, wild blueberry flood the bright palate, with fine, sticky tannins to pin in the sides and welcome food pairing (sausages). Brighter and tighter than previous vintages.Prices:
ON$22.00750ml
Producer: Olivier Coste
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Blanville Haut-Blanville Horustext
89PTS

Blanville Haut-Blanville Horus 2018

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau Haut-Blanville is a family-owned wine estate founded in 1997 by Béatrice & Bernard Nivollet. Their goal was to find unique vineyard sites and produce single parcel, low-intervention wines when most of the local wineries were producing volume and bulk. They now own 70ha of organically farmed vineyards, and make a range of single site wines, as well as regional blends like this. Horus blends syrah and grenache into this ripe, sun-fuelled red, with baked cherry, perfumed raspberry, and ample scrubby Mediterranean herbs. Tannins are sticky and ample, though acidity is moderate, making this a natural pairing for grilled sausages / veg kabobs.Prices:
ON$23.00750ml
Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Kirkland Signature Gigondastext
88PTS

Kirkland Signature Gigondas 2021

FranceLast year's version was good, and so is the 2021. Gigondas is a unique piece of dirt, and more often than not, the wines can be magical, so finding this wine in Costco is a wine drinker's dream. The GSM blend is heavily slanted toward grenache, with syrah and mourvèdre filling out the rest. It is made by Guillaume Gonnet, whose family winery is Domaine Font de Michelle. It Is not quite as intense as the superstar labels, but neither is the price. Look for an inviting roundness with a dusting of garrigue that complexes the cherries and black raspberries mid-palate, and the lightly smoked meat and earthy mushroom ending streaked with mineral and wet stones. Drink now through 2028.Prices:
US$13.99750ml
Producer: Brothers In Arms
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Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornudstext
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Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2019

Vinsobres, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceLes Cornuds' stony terraces are located in the village of Vinsobres, the most northern of the Southern Rhône. The Perrin family owns 60 contiguous hectares here, and grows the syrah and grenache for this 50/50 blend. The former is vinified in oak foudres, and the latter in stainless, with the blend happening right after MLF. Sadly, this bottle is corked.Prices:
Producer: Famille Perrin
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Domaine Clef de Saint Thomas Pierre Troupel Châteauneuf-du-Papetext
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Domaine Clef de Saint Thomas Pierre Troupel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2020

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Pierre Troupel cuvée and its blue label pay homage to the owner's grandfather, Sophie Kessler-Matière: he had piercing blue eyes, and made Bleu d'Auvergne cheese from the Cantal region. The wine originates from two lieux dits, Charbonnières and Cansaud, in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region. The blend is 50/50 syrah / grenache aged in traditional stainless steel tanks. The attack with red berry aromas and an underlying minerality is as inviting as the wine. The textures are soft and round with a touch of earth, dried herbs, and more generous fruit. Drink or hold, it is one of the best buys locally in the overheated Châteauneuf-du-Pape market.Prices:
BC$59.99750ml
Producer: Domaine Clef de Saint Thomas
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L'Artisan Le Grenache Noirtext
88PTS

L'Artisan Le Grenache Noir 2021

Sud de France, FranceThe grenache opens with bright, savoury, complex aromas of small black fruits and florals. The palate is a nervy black raspberry affair with spicy balsamic notes in the back end. A solid mid-week red for chicken or beef dishes. With over 750 hectares of estate vineyards, including 100+ now growing organically, Domaine Paul Mas is a force in the Languedoc. The Mas family has been cultivating vines since 1892, but since 2000, Jean-Caude Mas, winemaker and owner, has added 1450 hectares of vineyards with 80 associated winegrowers, amassing a large selection of terroir and grapes to choose from.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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19 February 2024

Mt. Boucherie Original Vines Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Mt. Boucherie Original Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCabernet sauvignon blended with a touch of merlot (8%), this Similkameen red opens with a lifted nose, hinting at slightly evolved fruit, yet displaying more freshness compared to our previous bottle. The palate reveals herbal savouriness, a nice core of concentrated ripe dark berries, and oak spices layering over the chewy tannins. With additional time, the herbal elements of the cabernet and oak spices become more integrated, offering a balanced development on the palate.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Errazuriz Max Edicion Aniversario Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Errazuriz Max Edicion Aniversario Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileNamed after founder Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the fruit for this Chilean cabernet sauvignon is sourced from estate vineyards across the Aconcagua Valley. Smoked earth, sunbaked cherry, and tar open up this punchy, compact wine, with bitter, ragged tannins propping up the leathery core to a mint kissed finish. Would certainly need ample roasted meats to meet this.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
MB$22.99750ml
ON$22.95750ml
QC$19.00750ml
SK$22.00750ml
NS$19.00750ml
PEI$21.00750ml
Producer: Viña Errazuriz
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Catena Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vinestext
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Catena Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vines 2020

Mendoza, ArgentinaMore subdued than the 2020 High Mountain Vines Malbec, this shows soft dark cherry and plum with complementary toasted oak spice. It's supple and round, but this bottle seems to lack some varietal character, with a noted tartness to the finish. Go for a grilled flank steak with blistered cherry tomatoes.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
AB$23.99750ml
MB$22.95750ml
ON$19.95750ml
NB$23.29750ml
PEI$24.00750ml
NF$23.90750ml
Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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16 February 2024

Foolish Wine Hooligan Meritagetext
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Foolish Wine Hooligan Meritage 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeritage (Hooligan) is one of 23 wines the folks at Foolish Wine intend to make. The Coghill and Main families own the winery, among other ventures, that include Yellowdog Brewery in Port Moody and Penticton, and Neighbourhood Brewing also in Penticton. When they decided to get into the wine side of the alcohol business, many of their friends suggested it was a Foolish idea. We shall see. At least they are business people who understand the highly regulated mess that is the BC alcohol business. They seem to have it together with this 2020 blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon with some merlot and a dash of cabernet franc. The wine is ripe and forward at 14.7% alcohol. Look for plenty of blackberries, blackcurrants, and dark red cherries that dance along the palate with a spicy undertow and mostly slick tannins. Drink or hold, but would be best now with a medium-rare steakPrices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Foolish Wine
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Township 7 NBO Blue Terrace Vineyardtext
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Township 7 NBO Blue Terrace Vineyard 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNBO (North Bench Oliver) is a 56/44 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, aged for two years in 225L French and American oak. The blend of fruit comes from the Blue Terrace Vineyard in Oliver. It carries the signature Okanagan savoury, spicy black fruit with the scent of black currants, black cherries, and baking chocolate. The attack is 2020 generous, with dense, firm, sweet tannins and more dried black fruits and shaved dark chocolate. There is no rush to drink this wine, but if you must, think lamb, T-Bone, or pork ribs to help break down the line in your mouth. I would love to see this with all French oak.Prices:
BC$44.97750ml
Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Vasanti Estate Cabernet Merlottext
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Vasanti Estate Cabernet Merlot 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe blend is 47/17/36 cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. The nose is tight-pitched, mostly dry earthy tones with only a hint of dark fruits. The Osoyoos fruit opens with good acidity on the palate, keeping it fresh throughout as the cassis and blackcurrant open up. Spicy and firm, this will need time to settle in, but it is off to a solid start. This was fermented in stainless steel tanks with daily (three) pump-overs before ageing in barrels for 19 months. The cabernet sauvignon was aged 50% in new American oak, and 50% in neutral oak. The cabernet franc was aged entirely in new American oak, while the merlot was aged 25% in new American oak and 75% in neutral oak barrels. It is a bit overpowering for the moment, so it should be consumed with more decadent meat dishes. It should age effortlessly through 2026 and soften along the way. The Sidhu family grows the grapes, and Jason Parkes is the winemaker.Prices:
BC$40.99750ml
Producer: Vasanti Estate Winery
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Black Bank Hill Runway Redtext
88PTS

Black Bank Hill Runway Red 2021

Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaEstablished by vintner Taylor Emerson in 2017, Black Bank Hill is focused on single vineyard wines from the Niagara Escarpment. Runway Red, named for the 1918 Beamsville Aerodrome and runway that preceded the vineyard, is a blend of 59% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot, 13% Pinot Noir, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Syrah. Each varietal was vinified separately, native fermented and aged 17 months in mostly neutral French oak. Bright, tight plum, cassis, and herbal green stems rule this medium red, with lightly furry tannins and a dusting of peppery baking spice on the finish. An easy choice for grilled sausages / kabobs.Prices:
ON$19.75750ml
Producer: Black Bank Hill
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HMC McWatters Collection Meritagetext
90PTS

HMC McWatters Collection Meritage 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA 40/30/20/5/5 blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot, this Meritage shows ripe, brooding dark berries along with dried thyme and sage, graphite, and integrated toasted oak spice. It's a complex, complete blend that's densely structured but without being out of balance, which will allow this to continue to improve over the next 5-7 years. Recommended.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Time Family of Wines
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15 February 2024

Fontanafredda Barolotext
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Fontanafredda Barolo 2019

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFontanafredda is known to be the largest volume producer in Barolo. Still, in reality, they produce much less wine if only because it is Barolo, and Barolo is a small region with minimal production. That said, Fontanafredda is a well-known name in Canada with a long sales history. The 2019 platinum label sticks to the program, delivering well-made, authentic Barolo that is easy on the pocketbook. It's a bit brighter and more aromatic than 2018, pitching red fruits (cherries and currants) mixed with earthy floral undertones streaked with classic leather and tar with firm but non-invasive tannins. Perfect for raw beef, pick your favourite recipe or maybe a rack of lamb. Affordable but without some complexity and appeal for the connoisseur.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$40.00750ml
MB$49.99750ml
NS$45.99750ml
Producer: Fontanafredda
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Paolo Scavino Barolo Classicotext
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Paolo Scavino Barolo Classico 2017

Castiglione Falletto, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyPaolo Scavino was founded in 1921, and the family-run estate today is in the hands of the fourth and fifth generations, Enrico Scavino and his two daughters, Enrica and Elisa, who farm and produce low-intervention, highly-finessed wines. The 2017 Classico is from a selection of the crus from varying altitudes and soils on the estate, and each plot separately spent twelve months in neutral French before an additional year in large casks before blending. The final selection of wine spends an extra year in stainless steel, followed by ten months of bottle aging. Essentially, the family does all the aging for you. Look for gentle notes of dried roses floral with streaks of orange blossom and cranberries. The palate is perfectly balanced and surprisingly soft, with dried cherry fruit flavours mixed expertly with truffle and earthy notes. It is lovely to drink and will last for five to seven years.Prices:
BC$85.99750ml
Producer: Paolo Scavino
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Aurelio Settimo Barolo Riserva Rocche Dell'Annunziatatext
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Aurelio Settimo Barolo Riserva Rocche Dell'Annunziata 2016

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Riserva Rocche Dell'Annunziata comes from the oldest estate vineyards (45-65 years old), and within those parameters, the final selection is made block by block. Best of all, and rare anywhere in the wine world, it is only made in outstanding vintages. 2016 follows 2012 and 2009 releases. Nothing is small about this older styled Barolo, mirroring the reputation of the vintage that fully ripened the fruit without the grapes experiencing any heat spikes (a rarity in this day and age of climate change). It pitches 14.5% alcohol, but it is all in balance with no hot spots. If anything, the wood is somewhat prominent even at the seven-year mark, but it will dissipate, allowing the fruit and elegance to push forward and take over. Patience will reward this wine, one that has so much to give yet. For now, dried cherries and a touch of balsamic and bitterness all play into the complexity that is building in the bottle. One for collectors that they can occasionally drink while waiting for the final curtain.Prices:
BC$115.99750ml
Producer: Aurelio Settimo
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Vietti Nebbiolo Perbaccotext
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Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco 2019

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis Langhe Nebbiolo comes off declassified cru sites and aged for less than the minimum requirements, disqualifying it for the Barolo DOCG. Oldish 35-year-old vines offer an exciting mix of florals that percolate a red raspberry fruit flavour, elevated acidity, and stony mineral notes blanket the finish. The tannis are frim but mnangebale butt eh acidty at least at th emoent need staming. We suggest a classic raw beef dish to pull it all together. Young and energetic, this will only improve with time in the bottle.Prices:
BC$61.99750ml
AB$51.99750ml
Producer: Vietti
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Fontanafredda Barolotext
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Fontanafredda Barolo 2018

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe platinum label reflects the Fontannafreda tradition built across 160 years of history. The Nebbiolo used to produce this Barolo is grown in the Alba area of Langhe over clay-limestone marl soils. The fermentation is traditional, lasting 15 days with frequent pumpovers before ageing 24 months in large Slavonian and French oak casks before spending 8 months in bottle at the winery. It's quite a traditional tarry style with savoury dried herbs mingling with leather, spice, and light red fruit. Firm and dry with moderately spicy tannins, it needs food to match now, or another year or two to mature.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$40.00750ml
MB$49.99750ml
NS$45.99750ml
Producer: Fontanafredda
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Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D'Albatext
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Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D'Alba 2018

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis label first appeared in 1988, celebrating the terroir of Serralunga and the elegance of Fontanafredda. The nose is an inviting red fruit affair streaked with leather, earth and truffle notes. Freshness and finesse mark a wine that the sommelier and collectors mostly underrate because production is significant. Still, this meets the grade for those looking for affordable, high-quality Barolo. Meat and cheese are the traditional matches, but outside the box, boeuf bourguignon, Nasi Goreng, and smoked meats would all work. The fermentation is medium-long at 15 days in stainless steel vats. The must stays in contact with the skins for a further 15 days to optimize the extraction of the polyphenolic substances. From there, it's aged 24 months in oak barrels and 12 months in concrete tanks before bottling.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$40.00750ml
MB$49.99750ml
NS$45.99750ml
Producer: Fontanafredda
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13 February 2024

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Rd Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Rd Vineyard 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard, in OK Falls, this Micro Cuvée Chardonnay comes off a steep sandy and gravelled loams site, planted in 1996. After a long, cool ferment in stainless, this transferred to French oak (50% new) for MLF and 11 months on lees, with full MLF, sans bâtonnage. The Micro Cuvée is a barrel selection that was bottled unfined and coarsely filtered. Toasty and expansive, with barrel flavours colouring a full bodied palate of creamy lemon, green apple, scrubby sage, and flax. There's a lingering stony salinity on the finish of this structural chardy, calling out for food. A powerful white, drinking well now and with time ahead.Prices:
BC$60.97750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2022

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard, in OK Falls, this Chardonnay comes off a steep sandy and gravelled loam site, planted in 1994, between 320-380m. After a long, cool partial native ferment in stainless, this transferred to French oak (22% new) for MLF and 11 months on lees, sans bâtonnage. This was unfined at bottling. Of all their chardy bottlings, this is consistently the flintiest, threaded with alluring reductive darts amongst the bright lemon, subtle toast, green apple, and crushed stones on the medium palate, finishing with lingering salinity. Drinking very smart now, and with time ahead.Prices:
BC$32.26750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Black Bank Hill Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Black Bank Hill Chardonnay 2020

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaEstablished by vintner Taylor Emerson in 2017, Black Bank Hill is focused on single vineyard wines from the Niagara Escarpment. From Twenty Mile Bench's Wingfield Vineyard, this chardonnay was whole bunch pressed, settled, and racked into 2nd and 3rd use French barrels for native ferment and 19 months' rest on lees. Creamy and expansive with lemon curd, lemon blossom, white peach, and toasted coconut across a lees-decked, medium bodied palate. The end lingers with river stones. A smart, modern wine of place, I look forward to future editions.Prices:
ON$27.72750ml
Producer: Black Bank Hill
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Frind Estate Winery Chardonnaytext
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Frind Estate Winery Chardonnay 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a fine follow up on 2020, an easy sipping, cool chardonnay with green apple and citrus. Another measure of acidity this year gives the wine an added dimension. With a little more lees for complexity, it will be a solid addition to the Okanagan Chardonnay crowd. For now, it's worthy of a simply dressed Margherita pizza, or a favourite vegetarian power bowl. Well done.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnaytext
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Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnay 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada2021 is year three for the Unsworth Chardonnay, which is no doubt surprising to some, given the attention this grape is getting at the winery. This fruit comes off Mildenstein Vineyard, a Cowichan slope covered in marine silts. The winemaking is rudimentary, with a whole cluster press, partially native fermented in neutral barriques, and aged 8 months on its lees. This is the best yet, with almost luscious acidity, in essence, tempered by the lees, with a salty hazelnut inner core, fresh lemon and green apple palate, and mineral finish. An impressive bottle with new vineyards and a new production facility to follow shortly. Oysters are the match.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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12 February 2024

Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcinotext
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Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2018

Tuscany, ItalyCastelGiocondo has long been an elegant expression of Brunello, and in 2018, a cool vintage heightened that aspect of its regal history. For some reason, this wine is always comparatively cheap for Brunello, but I will take it. A mix of blueberries and redberries joins a sweet florality to open. Look for spicy licorice up front on the palate, with more red fruit, sweet tannins, adequate structure, and a refined mineral back end. As noted, this is a good value. A mushroom ragu is the ticket here. CastelGiocondo sits over varied terrain with many expositions on its galestro, clay, and Pliocene sands. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks and is then aged in wood for five years plus another 9-12 months in a bottle.Prices:
BC$60.99750ml
AB$58.95750ml
MB$60.00750ml
ON$53.95750ml
QC$50.85750ml
Producer: Tenuta di Frescobaldi
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Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino Fiore del Ventotext
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Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino Fiore del Vento 2017

Tuscany, ItalyWinemaker Hayo Loacker, fueled by his love of Burgundy's vineyard system, has spent a decade observing the terroir and vines at Corte Pavone, hoping to produce several singular Brunello crus. Today, there are 7 individual single vineyard Brunello on the property, with blocks subjected to yearly selections, meaning the wines are constantly changing. As he says, the anemone (it. Fiore del Vento) feels and reacts to every little breeze. It is a delicate and sensitive flower, like the wine Fiore del Vento. In 2017, winter temperatures were above average, as was the summer. Rainfall at the correct times was essential. The colour is medium dark, the attack dense and full of red cherry and dark plum, and the acidity is perfect, keeping the wine vital as it travels across your palate. It is long and persistent but with a sense of Brunello elegance. This is an impressive red that will age effortlessly through 2035.Prices:
BC$119.99750ml
Producer: Loacker Wine Estates
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganellitext
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli 2016

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyOne of Montalcino’s largest wineries, Tenuta Il Poggione sits on 600 hectares, of which 125 are covered in vines. Its wine history began at the end of the 19th century when Lavinio Franceschi purchased the estate, and today, Leopoldo Franceschi represents the current generation comfortably in the hands of a dream winemaking team of Fabrizio Bindocci and his son Alessandro. The wine is grown from 200-400m vineyards around Sant'Angelo in Colle, south of Montalcino hill. The Riserva Vigna Paganelli is produced only in the finest years and in small amounts from vines planted in 1964, making them the oldest on the estate. This clone is a reference for all new plantings. The 2016 comes from a highly lauded vintage marrying the best aspects of top-flight Brunello: power, elegance, intensity and staying power. There is a fullness here, pitching plenty of cassis and black cherry streaked with savoury dried herbs, smoke, and earth. Despite all that is going on, it’s a stunning mouthful of wine that is in balance and shows the elegance for which the region can be famous. You can start drinking this now or hold it through 2026. This needs a rich piece of protein and some mushrooms at the moment.Prices:
BC$127.99750ml
AB$104.99750ml
Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classicotext
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2021

Tuscany, ItalyCalcinaia CC is mixed with canaiolo and colorino but is more old school than new. The style is rustic in the spaghetti red vein. Earthy dried cherry with dryish tannins with bitter walnut notes in the finish. It's fresh but short, and a bit too edgy to serve without food. Best with spaghetti and meatballs. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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Luce Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Luce Brunello di Montalcino 2017

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyGiven its position in Montalcino, the Luce Brunello is a latecomer to the Montacino mix. It comes off a small, select block of vines inside the 88 hectare estate at higher elevation. The grapes come off some of the higher, cooler sites planted to sangiovese over sandstone and limestone. It’s aged a year in primarily old Slavonian oak, with only 10% new oak in the mix, helping to expose the terroir and impressive fruit. In 2017, the wine was slightly more advanced, although, despite an elegant chassis, some sticky tannins in the back end will require 3 to 5 years to settle down. Look for a drier style with peppery, spicy red fruit and a dry finish. Drink or hold.Prices:
BC$135.99750ml
AB$149.99750ml
ON$149.95750ml
QC$149.75750ml
Producer: Tenuta Luce
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Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Organictext
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Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Organic 2018

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyCol D'Orcia, as the name points out, is a sunny slope that runs down to the Orcia River at the southwest border of Montalcino. 140 hectares of organic vines sit between 140 and 440 metres above sea level, facing south/southwest. The year 2018 was cool and undoubtedly favourable to Sangiovese. This is structurally attractive with firm but dense sweet tannins, a medley of savoury dark cherry streaked with tobacco, mushrooms, and light chocolate with a complex of earth and eucalyptus. This elegant version of Brunello's style should carry itself well for 8 to 10 years. It was fermented over 3 weeks in stainless steel and aged for 2 years in varying sized Slavonian and French oak casks.Prices:
BC$69.99750ml
ON$59.95750ml
QC$58.75750ml
Producer: Col d'Orcia
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Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Organictext
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Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Organic 2021

Tuscany, ItalyThe Ricasoli-Firidolfi family traces its origins in the Chianti Classico fabric to Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who created the original formula for Chianti Classico, a blend of grapes, in 1872, and even further back when a family member named Geremia was involved in battles between warring families on the same property in the mid-1100s The Rocca of Montegrossi was a strategic post, located on a plateau, providing shelter for travelling dignitaries. The Rocca di Montegrossi estate is in Monti in Chianti, part of Gaiole in Chianti. The high altitude plateau, with its stony, calcareous soils, is known for its elegant and harmonious Chianti Classico. Experts have recognized the 2021's as among the very best ever made in the region. At Montegrosso, they blend minor amounts of local varieties like colorino and canaiolo with 90% of sangiovese. This wine has a beautiful depth, a testament to the vintage and the rising star of Chianti Classico. Harmonious and long, it is simply impressive for the money. Mushroom pasta continues to be a brilliant match. Wonderful value.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Rocca di Montegrossi
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San Polo Brunello di Montalcinotext
93PTS

San Polo Brunello di Montalcino 2018

Tuscany, ItalyNothing but refinement and elegance here. There's a mix of red plum and earth with featherweight tannins, allowing all to float across your palate, finishing dry and slightly tart. The balance is remarkable. This is more of an ethereal experience, than a power red living at the finesse end of Brunello. Careful food selection is required here to keep the wine front and centre in your glass. Drink now through 2028.Prices:
BC$91.99750ml
AB$89.99750ml
Producer: San Polo
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09 February 2024

Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantinotext
88PTS

Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino 2015

Umbria, ItalyAfter a career in wine consulting, Guido Guardigli retired in 2000 and bought Perticaia, an estate not far from Montefalco in Casale, Umbria. This is the heartland of sagrantino, and this full bodied (15.5%) example was macerated and fermented over 1 month prior to 24-36 months' rest in larger barrels and French barriques. It waited an additional year in bottle prior to release. Full, dense, and potent, with baked cherry, leather, and baking spices across the tart, bitter edged palate. The wood tannins are still present and gritty, finishing with more baking spice and bitter cherry. A giant red requiring an equally robust protein food pairing (ideally including tomatoes).Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Cantina Perticaia
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Perticaia Montefalco Rossotext
88PTS

Perticaia Montefalco Rosso 2018

Umbria, ItalyAfter a career in wine consulting, Guido Guardigli retired in 2000 and bought Perticaia, an estate not far from Montefalco in Casale, Umbria. This Rosso blends 70% Sangiovese, 20% Sagrantino, and 10% Merlot. The Sangio and Merlot spent 1 year in stainless while the Sagrantino was in barrel, prior to blending. Spiced cherries, black raspberries are wrapped with toasty wood and framed with lightly grippy tannins through the bitter cherry finish. Acidity is lofted, keeping this fuller red easily food friendly (think grilled sausages or rustic ragu). Drinking now.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: Cantina Perticaia
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Lanciola Le Masse di Greve Chianti Classico Riservatext
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Lanciola Le Masse di Greve Chianti Classico Riserva 2016

Greve, Florence, Tuscany, ItalyMasse di Greve is a 70 year old, 10.8 ha single vineyard rooted in shale soils at 300-400m in Greve. This field blend is dominated by Sangiovese (over 90%), but also includes many other autochthonous varieties including Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nera and Mamolo. The Riserva is a barrel selection of the winery’s finest grapes. This wine was fermented in stainless over 3 weeks before 16-24 months’ rest in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th year barriques, prior to 6 months in bottle before release. Wild and dried cherry, raspberry, autumnal leaves is woven throughout the medium palate, studded with mineral salts and buoyed by a lifted acidity which carries this through a lingering bitter cherry / saline finish. Tannins are well absorbed into the fruit at this stage, elegantly framing, and welcoming food pairings like pork tenderloin or ragu. In a lovely place right now.Prices:
ON$49.00750ml
Producer: Lanciola, Az Agr.
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Lanciola Chianti Colli Fiorentinitext
89PTS

Lanciola Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2020

Greve, Florence, Tuscany, ItalyIn Greve, in the heart of the Chianti Classico area, the winery has 14 hectares, 10 of which are devoted to vineyards sitting on shale soils at approximately 300 meters. This organically farmed Sangiovese is splashed with 10% of other local grapes, and fermented in stainless before resting in concrete. Dried and fresh cherry, perfumed raspberry is scented with dried florals, and framed with finely grippy tannins through the bitter edged finish. Nice freshness throughout.Prices:
ON$18.95750ml
Producer: Lanciola, Az Agr.
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Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcinotext
93PTS

Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2017

Tuscany, ItalyCastelGiocondo sits over varied terrain with many expositions on its galestro, clay, and Pliocene sands. The 2017 winter was mild, with slightly above average temperatures. Summer and spring brought high temperatures and low rainfall, all playing into the site's clay soils that balanced the vines through ripening. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature with frequent early pump-overs. It is then aged in wood for 5 years, plus another 9-12 months in a bottle at the winery. CastelGiocondo has a long history of understated elegance, and 2017 is all that and more. The nose is richly developed, pitching red and black fruit with earthy floral undertones. The texture will grab you, soft and inviting yet full of depth and length, with peppery licorice, black cherries, and mineral toasted notes in the finish. Stylish, round, subtle, and drinkable, a mushroom ragu is the ticket here.Prices:
BC$60.99750ml
AB$58.95750ml
MB$60.00750ml
ON$53.95750ml
QC$50.85750ml
Producer: Tenuta di Frescobaldi
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08 February 2024

Chronos Sémillontext
90PTS

Chronos Sémillon 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted two years on, this sémillon is shining with some bottle age, showing a combination of lemon, green apple, and toast, framed by a deft use of lees. There's a lovely richness now, giving this texture while also balancing the ripe, crisp acidity. Fans of Hunter Valley sém will know that the grape can't be rushed. That seems to be the case for the Black Sage Bench, too. This is sourced from Diamondback Vineyard, and aged in a combination of stainless steel and French oak (20% new), which is now fully integrated. This is likely just going to keep getting better with more time in bottle.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Foolish Wine Spark Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Foolish Wine Spark Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpark is a straight-up ready to drink sauvignon blanc that presents bone dry. The nose is a bit of that classic old New Zealand armpit and passion fruit with fresh acidity and a touch of mineral and lemongrass. It’s a good start and a perfect style for fatty seafood or pasta dishes.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Foolish Wine
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Swerwer Rooi Groen Skinstext
91PTS

Swerwer Rooi Groen Skins 2021

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaSwerwer (Nomad / Wanderer) is Jasper Wickens project in the Swartland, and this Rooi Groen (red-green) Skins version is an edgier version of his classic Rooi Groen, initially developed for the Japanese Market in 2017. Rooi Groen refers to the grape, Sémillon Gris, a rare mutation of Sémillon developed over centuries in South Africa, resulting in red-pink grapes. These 10 year old vineyards were planted with massale selection material from a 1963 vineyard, with John Secombe taking the majority of the fruit for Tin Soldier. As the name suggests, this version spent some time on skins, ranging from 2-3 days pre-ferment, 3-7 days during ferment, or up to 20 days post-ferment, after which each lot rests 6 months in old oak prior to the final blend. It is bottled without any additional SO2. This slip of a wine glows orange and is super textural, with tangerine pith and peel, pear skin, and subtle quince, spiced with herbal rooibos tea, and finishing with lingering salinity. Don't drink this too chilled; allow this textural orange wine to open and expand some in the glass and be charmed.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Swerwer
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Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanctext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc 2022

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 69% sauvignon blanc and 31% sémillon, this crisp white boasts the freshness of zippy grapefruit alongside sauvignon's untamed essence, expressing crushed sage and green olive. The palate unfolds as savoury and saline, with bright acidity accentuating the citrus vibrancy. A discreet, pithy phenolic grip at the finish adds textural depth.Prices:
BC$25.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Catena Alta Lujan de Cuyo White Claytext
90PTS

Catena Alta Lujan de Cuyo White Clay 2022

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA blend of 60% sémillon and 40% chenin blanc from Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, this unique white reveals aromas of white blossom, quince, yellow apple, white peach, and a touch of citrus peel. The palate delivers sweet citrus and subtle spices enveloped by a leesy character and subtle waxiness, leading to mineral finish. It’s a texturally intriguing wine with elevated brisk acidity.Prices:
BC$30.99750ml
AB$26.99750ml
Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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El Esteco Don David Reserve Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

El Esteco Don David Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Cafayate, Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaThis shows a pungent shrubby, herbal nose accented by evolved gold-hued fruit that's carried by zesty, citrusy acidity. Its drinking window may be closing, but it still manages to show some varietal character at this stage. Drink now.Prices:
BC$18.99750ml
Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanctext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc 2022

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Fumé Blanc is led by sauvignon blanc, not just in terms of the blend percentage but also the lean, restrained aromatics. There's a combination of pink grapefruit, lemon, and gooseberry, with additional flesh and richness coming from 31% sémillon. Although you typically expect Fumé Blanc to show forward oak impact, this is more about the crisp, expressive fruit, having been fermented and aged for four months in a combination of stainless steel and French oak puncheons. I personally think the wine is all the better for it, with an electric mineral streak that carries through to the excellent finish. This is easily among the top value BC white wines.Prices:
BC$25.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Leyda Reserva Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Leyda Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis embraces Chile's cold climate Leyda and the UV intensity of the southern hemisphere. Punchy and forward, with potent gooseberry, white grapefruit, lemon verbena, juicy cantaloupe, and tart / sweet lime sherbet on the snappy finish. A bright, fresh choice for ceviche.Prices:
BC$16.99750ml
Producer: Viña Leyda Ltda
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Winemaker's Cut Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Winemaker's Cut Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother fine effort from fruit serenaded by classical music in the vineyard and the winery. Classic sauvignon aromas jump from the glass, with lemons, minerals, and tropical fruits spilling out. Similar notes are on the palate with a stylish, stony, saline finish. It's not as intense as last year, but it is refreshingly less aggressive than the Kiwi versions. Mix and match with any number of dishes, including fish dishes from Thailand, Korea, China or the west coast of British Columbia.Prices:
BC$26.00750ml
Producer: Winemaker's Cut
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Jabber The Winemaker The Blend Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Jabber The Winemaker The Blend Sauvignon Blanc 2022

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileRetasted recently, but there is no need to change a word about this project or the wine. What I like best about Jabber is that Kim Crawford’s important work in Chile brings a high level of acknowledgement to Chilean sauvignon blanc. Crawford’s work in the Casablanca Valley shines a long overdue light on this cool climate region ideally suited to sauvignon blanc but virtually ignored by most wine retailers in the Western world. Crawford takes full advantage of the granitic soils, red clays, black chalk, slopes, and three microclimates within Casablanca to craft a deliciously bright, citrus-powered sauvignon with a tight mineral, reductive note. 2022 is slightly riper in style, only adding to its attractiveness and reminding us what the Casablanca Valley can produce. Ready to drink with mussels, clams, or freshly shucked oysters.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Jabber Wines
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Mt. Boucherie Original Vines Semillontext
91PTS

Mt. Boucherie Original Vines Semillon 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLost Horn Vineyard overlooks Lake Vasseau and Macintyre Bluff, and turned 22 in 2022. The soil is a mix of glacially deposited rock in mounds with glaciofluvial sands and gravels, which seems perfect for sémillon. 60% of the juice was fermented in stainless steel, and the remainder was wild fermented in new French oak barriques with full MLF. This underwent bâtonnage over 6 months before a final blend, and return to stainless steel for 2 months. This is an intriguing wine pitching intensity, some richness, and honey with beautiful lean but ripe pear. This sophisticated front end leaks into a savoury orange streaked finish.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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07 February 2024

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Syrahtext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Syrah 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2021 Winemaker's Series Syrah comes from Blind Creek Vineyard in Cawston, and is cofermented with 3% viognier off La Côte Vineyard in Keremeos. After 3 weeks in concrete fermenters, this was basket pressed into French oak barrels (15% new) where it rested for 16 months. Savoury and wild with grilled meats, thorny wild blackberry, charcuterie, and cracked peppercorn, this is kissed with purple florals which linger on the finish. Tannins are muscular, though well absorbed into the stony fruit, structurally framing this through the finish.Prices:
BC$39.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Amulet Syrahtext
91PTS

Amulet Syrah 2021

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Amulet Syrah comes solely from Simlkameen's Bypass Road Vineyard in Keremeos. Grapes were destemmed and whole berry soaked over 5 days prior to 50% of stems joining the native ferment. After 3 weeks, this was moved in to French oak (1/3 new) to rest for 2 years prior to bottling, unfined and unfiltered. Full and dense with roasted meats, cracked peppercorn, and lush, brooding violets this screams classic Syrah, all swept with Similkameen's wildness. Lavender, rosemary scent, while firm, well placed tannins hold all in place through a peppery finish. For its power there is a lovely freshness to carry this 14% wine to the dinner table (think roast lamb) now, or in a year or two easy.Prices:
BC$62.52750ml
Producer: Roche Wines
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Yalumba GEN Organic Shiraztext
88PTS

Yalumba GEN Organic Shiraz 2022

South Australia, AustraliaGEN Organic is a fantastic initiative from Yalumba, going beyond mere organic certification (which it still is) and taking a more comprehensive, sustainable approach. It's a juicy, brambly syrah that's accented by a touch of rustic spice, leading to a lively, medium-bodied frame that will be a solid match for bistro fare.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Church & State Wines Syrahtext
90PTS

Church & State Wines Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is always fun to come back and taste BC Syrah as it ages. Ten months later, the classic C&S Syrah that mixes Coyote Bowl and Détente Vineyard fruit is just beginning to spread its wings. The fruit comes off the first and third Black Sage benches that, post stainless steel fermentation, spend 12 months in French barriques before bottling. The nose is aromatic, pitching classic violets and black pepper before morphing into blackcurrant and blueberry, which has shed most of its tannin. The finish is warm and spicy with more peppery tones. Lamb, anyone?Prices:
BC$40.25750ml
Producer: Church & State Winery
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High Note Verismo Syrahtext
89PTS

High Note Verismo Syrah 2021

British Columbia, CanadaVerismo Syrah is described as living up to the winery motto: honest, raw, and uncompromising. The source is the elegant, mineral-driven Golden Mile Bench, which is the perfect tonic for a powerful syrah that pitches all it can from a savoury, peppery nose to an equally savoury spicy palate of floral (violets) and local sagebrush before the back and blue fruits blueberry and black currant kick in. Surprisingly restrained in the finished, it is wise beyond its years. The fruit comes off Rattlesnake Vineyard and is aged in French oak barriques. The high notes for listening are Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, one of the first verismo operas; the match is a green peppercorn steak.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: High Note
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Amulet Syrahtext
91PTS

Amulet Syrah 2021

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ’21 Amulet Syrah is an all-Similkameen Valley red from Bypass Road Vineyard in Keremeos. After a five-day whole berry soak, half of the stems made their way to a native fermentation. Post ferment, the ageing was two years in 33 percent of new French barrels. It is bottled, unfined, and unfiltered. This is a gnarly, peppery, meaty, spicy affair that unveils the wild side of syrah. A dusting of floral tones keeps it balanced and fresh, but this one will need three to five more years in a bottle to sing.Prices:
BC$62.52750ml
Producer: Roche Wines
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Corcelettes Syrahtext
92PTS

Corcelettes Syrah 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ’21 follows an outstanding ’20, awarded a coveted platinum medal at the National Wine Awards, and this one could be even better. Adding 5 percent viognier skins to the ferment adds a charm rarely seen in syrah as big as this. The aging is 90/10 in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. It is surprisingly friendly now, but it will age effortlessly into 2028. Like the Northern Rhone, the Syrah is grown on decaying Stemwinder soils, essentially stone, gravel, and windblown sand. Look for dusty pepper sagebrush notes among a perry meaty red that entices from front to back. This is impressive work here, although this fruit is under pressure from two cold winters. Buy it well, you can.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +20/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +20/10 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe LS Syrah has been a consistent performer, even after the sale to Arterra. The fruit source Perfect Hedge Vineyard has been altered to include blocks from Bull Pine and Bear Cub across the lake on the east side. It is all aged for 20 months in 37% new French oak (18% large oak puncheons). There is five percent viognier in the mix to freshen the palate and stabilize the colour of what has been a reasonably sophisticated syrah big on blue fruits and grilled meat streak with black raspberry and a touch of acid poking through. The growing season was terminated early, although it seems perfectly ripe, if a bit soft. Approachable and drinkable, and we argue against that.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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06 February 2024

Blue Grouse Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Blue Grouse Pinot Gris 2022

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Grouse has dropped the Quill from the Pinot Gris, and the 2022 vintage is entirely Cowichan Valley. Crunchy pear, yellow apple, subtle melon lead the lees-decked palate, with some tart lemon / lime on the snappy finish. Island bright, this lighter white is well suited to green salads or simple shellfish.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadigetext
87PTS

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige 2022

Valdadige, Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalySanta Margherita makes a lot of pinot grigio and is one of the biggest grigio brands in the world. On the plus side, it has some attractive citrus and crunchy pear with slim, clean lines. On the back side, the finish hints at cardboard and is quite short, dropping off without giving you a sense of completion. Ready to drink and simple if you are looking for a quick white wine hit with a seafood appetizer.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Santa Margherita S.P.A.
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Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigiotext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigio 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI like most of the Van Westen portfolio, but if anyone could use a reset, it might be this pinot gris. I'm sure it's popular. It is all hand picked from Home Lot Vineyard. I wish it had been picked a little earlier and had more electricity. Its signature is honeyed orchard fruit streaked with juicy, sweet orange. It is easy to sip, and many will find this style delicious, so what do I know? Maybe keep this label and make another style for those who want a tighter, leaner version. Best with lightly spiced Asian fare.Prices:
BC$22.50750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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05 February 2024

Mt. Boucherie Summittext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Summit 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a Merlot-dominant Okanagan red blend that's certainly big, bold, and ripe, but already nicely resolved with long, fine tannins thanks to 24 months in wood (35% new). That lends a somewhat evolved character, combining dried dark fruits, cedar, and earth. For my palate, this will be best enjoyed over the short term, but there's no question this has the stuffing to continue to hold for the next 5+ years. It's an impressive wine and one I'm sure will appeal broadly.Prices:
BC$59.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis youthful and vibrant red blend (56% merlot, 18% cabernet sauvignon, 12% cabernet franc, 12% malbec, and 2% petit verdot) bursts with juicy plum, blueberry, and perfumed violets. Fresh herbal scents, a touch of graphite, and well-integrated oak spices add layers of complexity to the palate. The finish with a subtle spicy kick is a bonus. It is an unpretentious yet serious red, perfect for mid-week enjoyment.Prices:
BC$29.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Frind Estate Big Redtext
88PTS

Frind Estate Big Red 2021

British Columbia, CanadaBehold a BC red that is fun to drink, well made, and affordable. I love complex wines, but there are days, many more than you think, when a well-made wine with soft tannins, florals, and ripe red plum with a dash of dried spice is exactly what's needed. Merlot dominates the 62/29/4/3/2 merlot / cabernet franc / cabernet sauvignon / syrah / grenache that spends a year in French and American oak barrels. Beef tacos, hamburgers, meaty pizza, and grilled winter vegetables would all be good pairings.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate The Premiertext
90PTS

Frind Estate The Premier 2021

British Columbia, CanadaThe Premier is Frind's pinnacle label, a rambling 60/15/12/6/4/2/1 mix of merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, cabernet franc, and teroldego, proving that in many cases small lot fermentations blended are better than the parts. Deep, dark, rich, and soft with a modicum of residual sugar that will please many a palate, this wine is ripe with black cherry, red plum, and a hint of vanilla. The latest version appears to be profiting from adding petit verdot, lending a bit of power and weight to a very approachable red. Indeed, one you can know now. It is aged for 12 months in French and American oak. A rib roast with balsamic glazed roasted vegetables is the winery's choice. I would add a pork roast to the menu as well.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Corcelettes Talustext
91PTS

Corcelettes Talus 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn year three, Talus remains a product of high-bank alluvial and talus slopes that are the soul of the Corcelettes vineyards. Think of this as a note from the unique Similkameen Valley terroir. Windswept and free of any disease most years, the winery’s signature red in 2021 is a mix of 40% merlot, 35% cabernet franc, 23% cabernet sauvignon, 1% malbec, and 1% petit verdot. Talus is rich in powerful, savoury briary fruit that is as dark as a red wine can be. The tannins are surprisingly supple, but I would say it is slightly drier in the back end than the previous two. However, it is still young and years away from full maturity in the bottle. The finish is marked with bitter dark chocolate, some toast, and plenty of spice, again characteristics that will melt into the wine with time. Twenty barrels were made from select rows, and in some cases, vines on the estate.Prices:
BC$54.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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