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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: October 2019

17 October 2019

Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Pizarratext
93PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Pizarra 2011

Castilla-Leon, SpainTeam Rodriguez first discovered the slopes of Arrebatacapas while following the transhumance routes of the Cañada Real. It was love at first sight with the stunning landscape and the old garnacha vines that were growing wild with only nature’s help. That was in 1999. Since then, the team has recovered the slope of Arrebatacapas, described as “the most crucial slate landscape in all of Gredos.” Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra was the first wine made, but not much later, after intensive site investigation, the team discovered other equally impressive individual blocks of granite-laced soil and Pegaso Granito was born. Today, Cebreros (a small region 90 minutes from Madrid) is not part of a recognized D.O., but both the Pizarra and Granito are seen as the children of extraordinary terroir that will surely be identified soon for the unique spots they are. Pizzaro is more expressive than Granito and slightly more receptive at this stage, mixing earthy, plum/cassis aromas that permeate the palate and express themselves in a more significant bolder style. On the palate spicy, dark plum fruit persists from front to back with perfect weight and length to match — a wine for connoisseurs.Prices: BC 55.00 AB 50.00 ON 51.95 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Granito Garnachatext
94PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Pegaso Granito Garnacha 2011

Castilla-Leon, SpainTeam Rodriguez first discovered the slopes of Arrebatacapas while following the transhumance routes of the Cañada Real. It was love at first sight, with the stunning landscape and the old garnacha vines that were growing wild with only nature’s help. That was in 1999. Since then, the slope of Arrebatacapas has been described as “the most crucial slate landscape in all of Gredos.” Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra was the first wine made, but not much later, after intensive site investigation, the team discovered other equally impressive individual blocks of granite-laced soil and Pegaso Granito was born. Today, Cebreros (a small region 90 minutes from Madrid) is not part of a recognized DO, but both the Pizarra and Granito are seen as the children of extraordinary terroir that will surely be identified soon for the unique spots they are. The Granito vineyards sit mostly on shallow soils at 800 to 1000 meters above sea level. Compared to Pizarra, Granito is more accessible, pitching more fruit, less tannin and highly attractive silky, stony, textures. The organic wine is aged 18-24 months in 600-litre French oak to protect its delicate nature, showing licorice, wild red berries, and minerality in spades. An intellectual wine experience not to be missed.Prices: BC 55.00 AB 50.00 ON 51.95 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga Vinedos en Lanziegotext
94PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Lanzaga Vinedos en Lanziego 2013

Rioja, SpainTelmo Rodriguez returned to Rioja in 1998 a different person from the one who first worked with his father making white wines. He was far more experienced and keen to elevate the region’s wines to something directly connected to the past. That passion led to a search for the best places of Rioja: “those towns with a long tradition of viticulture.” In the end, he chose Lanciego de Alava, in the Rioja Alavesa as his base, and he set about buying small pieces of dirt that best express the characteristics of the nearby village. Today Lanzaga covers 15 hectares, an old-time model on a human scale, something Rodriguez imagines to be responsible for “the famed Riojas of the 18th century.” Bush pruning, field blend, organic viticulture, concrete fermentation, ageing in foudres and barrels of different sizes and origins is Lanzaga. The mix is tempranillo, graciano and garnacha grown at 500-700 metres, naturally fermented and aged 14 months in 1500-2500 litre foudres and 225-litre barriques. The attack is juicy, and the flavours mixed with wild berries and hints of jamón and spice. It is texture, intensity, and Rioja life all in one bottle.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 39.95 ON 39.95 QC 39.95 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez g Dehesa Gagotext
90PTS

Telmo Rodriguez g Dehesa Gago 2015

Toro, Castilla-Leon, SpainI’ll never forget the first time I met with Toro producers back in the formative days of the DO in the late 1980s. Rustic would best describe the tasting that day, a far cry from this 2015 Gago. Despite the weighty reputation of Toro reds, Gago has that Rodriguez finesse and style, offering up a sense of elegance along with some delicious juicy, savoury, pipe tobacco-scented fruit flecked with vanilla orange peel, licorice, cardamom, coriander. Certainly among the best wines of Toro. Pork would be a good bet here as would grilled beef or lamb.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Falcoeria A Capilla Single Vineyardtext
95PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Falcoeria A Capilla Single Vineyard 2015

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainThis was my first look at this field blend of ancient varieties from a vineyard the locals hold in respect, that Telmo and the team have brought back to life. The mix is mencia, brancellao, sousón, garnacha and others. Triumphantly mineral with rooty black licorice, crushed red berries, and that high desert, dried menthol, scrubby, herby note that can permeate the finish. It is an astonishingly natural wine that has been made respectfully to expose its origin in all its glory. Drink or hold forever. Try this with grilled lamb chops and fall vegetables.Prices: BC 125.00 ON 125.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Gaba Do Xil Menciatext
90PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba Do Xil Mencia 2015

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainThe origin of viticulture in this region is a mystery, but it is at least as old as the Romans and probably older. Phylloxera wiped out some of the original vineyards, and it was these empty plots, abandoned for over a century, that offered Rodriguez and company the opportunity to replant the best of the old sites. This is mencía in all its glory. Rich, round and savoury, it coats the palate effortlessly with delicious red fruit, spice, and scrubby, herbal, dry, high-mountain notes. It is all native yeast fermented and spends 12 months in stainless steel tanks. The harvesting for mencía began in Santa Cruz on October 1 and finished on Oct 17. Compared to 2015, the wines of 2016 are lower in alcohol and also exceptionally well balanced. Drink or hold.Prices: BC 24.35 AB 24.95 MB 21.99 ON 19.99 QC 20.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil Godellotext
90PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil Godello 2018

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainGaba do Xil is a beautiful expression of mencía, as Telmo describes, with an inland sensibility and an Atlantic influence. A wine that is always fresh and expressive, its highly selected grapes come from the most eastern municipalities of the DO, where they grow on reddish clay soils over slate at 400 to 500 metres. After a native ferment, it matures in stainless for 12 months. Nothing is overworked. The wine is intense with big aromas of pear and melons, and the palate is equally rich with waxy textures and more mineral and pear. Think viognier meets riesling. A specific, mineral, salty, food-friendly white that peers into the complicated story of Galician wine where new meets old and the buyer is the winner.Prices: BC 24.95 AB 28.00 MB 24.95 ON 24.29 QC 24.75 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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16 October 2019

The Hatch Muscat Stones Throw Vineyardtext
88PTS

The Hatch Muscat Stones Throw Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis dry muscat is lean and laced with lime blossom, peach fuzz, pear skin and elderflower, all mingling on the slight palate, finishing with a sprinkle of dried oregano. Sourced from Black Sage Bench's Stone's Throw Vineyard, this is a well handled version of the oft exuberant grape. 200 cases made.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Life Cycle of a Hobotext
87PTS

Life Cycle of a Hobo 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Hobo wine springs from 37 year old müller-thurgau grapes growing peacefully in a single vineyard in East Kelowna near CedarCreek. Back in the day when the future seemed inevitable, this early-ripening, perfumed variety was planted in favour of riesling, a grape many thought wouldn’t ripen so far north. Fast forward to 2018. It is riesling-like after all, with its floral, orchard fruit nose and crisp fruit that provides a cage for all the peachy, apricot, green fruit filling the palate before finishing dry with a touch of bitterness. Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety (Vitis vinifera) created by Hermann Müller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in 1882. It is a crossing of riesling with madeleine royale.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Gobsmacked Cyclops Lovetext
87PTS

Gobsmacked Cyclops Love 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 9 year old daughter of Jason Parkes, Hatch owner / winemaker, drew this charming label. This year's Cyclops Love is an aromatic white blend of muscat, pinot auxerrois and gewürztraminer, held in stainless for a short stint to preserve the grapes' fresh, fruity demeanour. Candied lemon peel, mandarin, melon, pear gummies and sweet salami is juiced with lime and kissed with white blossoms. The palate is kept dry and snappy to a clipped finish. Best with a chill, and Thai green curry.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: The Hatch
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15 October 2019

Grand Amateur Gentleman Syrahtext
92PTS

Grand Amateur Gentleman Syrah 2017

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom a massale selection of clones from a single older vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels, this lighter syrah leads with violet and iris perfume, which permeates the whole. Plum, young blackberries, a riff of black pepper frame the palate, with fine, firm tannins shaping the medium body to a lingering finish. The earlier 2017 vintage dictated destemming, and this was fermented over a week in stainless before moving to barrel (20% new) for 11 months. A welcome much lighter view of Gimblett Gravels syrah. Grand Amateur is MW Sam Harrop's line of wines from sourced fruit around New Zealand, made in ways to make one question what they thought about NZ wine.Prices: NZ 39.00 Producer: Grand Amateur
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Cedalion Onetangi Syrahtext
91PTS

Cedalion Onetangi Syrah 2018

Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island, New ZealandThis light, peppery syrah is from the steeply sloping, elevated Jomara Vineyard in Onegangi Valley on Waiheke Island. 2017 was a cyclone year, and the decision was made to pick this quite early before the disastrous weather hit. The decision was a great one. After a stainless ferment, this was moved into 225L barrels (18% new) for 8 months, and then back into tank to rest for a month prior to bottling. Savoury and graceful, with thorny wild blackberries, plum, whiffs of violets, pink peppercorns on a lighter, effortless palate. Tannins are fine but firm, framing the lithe palate to a lingering, faint bitter plum finish. Lovely with a slight chill and perfectly suited to a charcuterie platter. Beauty light syrah. In Greek mythology, Cedalion, a humble servant from Lemnos, stood on the shoulders of the blinded giant Orion to guide him to Helios and restore his vision. Sam Harrop, MW, returned to NZ from London with his young family, setting up a home base on Waiheke Island, and fulfilling a dream to make world class, single vineyard wines.Prices: NZ 55.00 Producer: Cedalion
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Cedalion Single Vineyard Syrah Rosétext
89PTS

Cedalion Single Vineyard Syrah Rosé 2015

Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island, New ZealandOnly 600 bottles were made of this syrah rosé, sourced from Block 31 vineyard at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, and the Chave and Hermitage clones. Whole bunch pressed, this was foot trodden and left to macerate for a couple of hours for this deep salmon hue, before being pressed off into stainless for a short stint. Glossy with silken strawberries, light pink peppercorn, whiffs of pink florals on a bone dry palate, cushioned with a thin slip of lees. Very Provençal in style, but new world in feel. In Greek mythology, Cedalion, a humble servant from Lemnos, stood on the shoulders of the blinded giant Orion to guide him to Helios and restore his vision. Sam Harrop, MW, returned to NZ from London with his young family, setting up a home base on Waiheke Island, and fulfilling a dream to make world class, single vineyard wines.Prices: NZ 39.00 Producer: Cedalion
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M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers Rougetext
90PTS

M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers Rouge 2016

Crozes Hermitage, Northern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceOne of the best value Crozes-Hermitage, made on the lower slopes and the flats south and east of the Hill Hermitage. Floral, white pepper and with an attractive meaty syrah nose with a twist of garrigue. The attack is more elegant then you might expect with meaty, peppery, savoury, roasted pepper and dried herb. Just a baby, this will put on weight and reward cellaring over the next three to five years. Serve with pork or lamb.Prices: BC 29.00 QC 26.00 Producer: M. Chapoutier
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Ochota Barrels I am the Owl Syrahtext
90PTS

Ochota Barrels I am the Owl Syrah 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaSourced from "the gorgeous section" of eighteen-year-old vines from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills, and produced in the most natural way by Taras Ochota and his wife Amber. Mine was bottle 1831 of 3828 of this year's I Am The Owl Syrah. Opening with a tight dark plum, perfumed pink florals and wild blackberry carry along a very slight palate, lined with briar thorns and candied violets. There's ample pink peppercorns seasoning the whole, while fine, supple tannins support through the lengthy finish. Very delicate and fine, and best enjoyed with a slight chill.Prices: BC 43.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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Bench 1775 Syrahtext
91PTS

Bench 1775 Syrah 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCracked black pepper, smoked sausage, and heady violet announce this stylish Syrah as a classic. Deep dark fruit, exotic orange oil, fine-grained tannins, and luminous, juicy acidity imbues grower/winemaker Val Tait's expression of south Okanagan fruit with finesse and high drinkability. A touch of herbal savour and astringent nip on the finish nicely temper highly ripe fruit from the blistering 2015 vintage.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Screaming Frenzy Shiraztext
90PTS

Screaming Frenzy Shiraz 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe kangaroo on the front label is a crucial clue as to the style of this syrah, that is more shiraz than syrah. On the nose and palate it is big, rich, round, fat and warm; it spills across all your month like a runaway train. The fruit is a 50/50 of two cru vineyards located in Osoyoos: Monarch Vineyard, and Hans Estate. The wine has spent a couple of years in a mix of mostly new American oak, and it is popping out of the glass. The spice is off the charts, the dark fruit brooding and rambunctious. You can drink it now if you are brave enough, or let it steep a bit in the bottle through 2023. Impressive.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrahtext
92PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrah 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI’ve been following this wine in barrel, and this vineyard for two decades, and have been astonished by the texture and elegance that has been coaxed out of this site and its fruit. It is something special in the glass, combining the best of the Northern Rhone with local desert scrubland scents of dried herbs that lift it even higher in the glass. It was a perfect year in the south, with warmth and sunshine, but no massive heat spikes leaving the acidity fresh while still getting full optimal ripeness. 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, and just over 100 cases were made. The 7 acre site, covered in mostly sandy loam, was established by pioneering viticulturist Richard Cleave, on the lower terrace of the Black Sage Bench in the very early 1990s, and only 1.2 acres were planted to syrah. Enjoy a bottle if you can find one; it is well worth the money.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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14 October 2019

Amulet Redtext
88PTS

Amulet Red 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is the latest wine project from winemaker Dwight Sick, something that he's been visualizing for the past 15 years. The Amulet wines are made at Naramata's Roche Wines, and the portfolio, currently one white and one red, focus exclusively on Rhone varieties. An amulet is a piece that will ward off bad spirits, and bring good luck to those who possess it. This inaugural Red is a blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre, from vineyards in Penticton and Osoyoos. After destemming, the whole berry grapes had some grenache stems added back into the mix for a native ferment and pigeage over 3 weeks. The wine then moved into French oak (20% new) for 7 months when the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a brooding, spiced, full bodied red, swirling with cloves, cinnamon, and an overdose of cracked peppercorns. Kirsch, brambles, anise, thorny blackberry fills in the gaps. Tannins are furry and abundant. Certainly tastes like the ripe, full GSM that it is, and would be a great warming winter pairing for roast lamb.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Roche Wines
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Smockshop Band Columbia Valley Red Wine Itext
88PTS

Smockshop Band Columbia Valley Red Wine I NV

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesHiyu is a 30 acre farm in the Hood River Valley, farming biodynamically, practicing permaculture and working with low intervention throughout. Smockshop Band is a line from Hiyu dedicated to exploring the Columbia Gorge. This is from Scorched Earth Vineyard, a leased 10 acre vineyard located on the banks of the Columbia River where the Gorge transitions to desert. The vineyard is planted in black sand and basalt cobbles. Columbia Valley Red Wine I is their first multi-vintage blend of grapes. In this case, it's equal parts syrah and grenache, native fermented, with no inputs or outtakes, including sulphur. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dusky raspberry, boysenberry, forest bark and worn leather rule the medium bodied palate. There's a subtle lining of tar and scents of anise. This feels a touch faded, though prime for drinking now with roasted wild mushrooms or lamb burgers.Prices: BC 48.00 Producer: Hiyu Wine Farm
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Hester Creek Syrah Viogniertext
92PTS

Hester Creek Syrah Viognier 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis exuberant syrah from Hester Creek is extra-flamboyant thanks to a generous inclusion of 16% viognier. You'll spot it on the highly perfumed nose of lilac, violets, blackberries and orange zest. Round in the mouth with chocolate and lashings of sweet summer berries, it's nicely juicy too. The use of 60% American oak in the elevage adds creamy coconut richness to ripe, structured tannins. Pour into a very large glass so you can fully appreciate this syrah's aromatic power.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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The Hatch Dynasty Redtext
93PTS

The Hatch Dynasty Red 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis handsome wine shows off syrah in a blend, and it also demonstrates how very much malbec loves the south Okanagan. Dark, dense and ultra-ripe plummy flavours get a dusting of syrah's cracked black pepper, a pipe tobacco fragrance from malbec, and roundness from charming merlot. Tasting it blind also showed lashings of fine French oak (it rested in new French oak casks for 18 months) adding palate lustre and sweet spice. It's opulent, showy, and very Hatchian.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: The Hatch
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11 October 2019

Rocky Creek Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Rocky Creek Pinot Gris 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom three estate vineyards, vines ranging from 6-20 years, this spent a day in contact with the skins, providing that alluring salmon hue, before a ferment and aging stint in stainless. Tart cherry, gooseberry, mirabelle plum is brightened with stony, salty notes and grounded with a layer of lees. Finishing briskly, this is a lovely look at island gris, and the best pg yet from Rocky Creek. Now if it was only under stelvin for future...Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Haywire Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJuicy, bright, orchard-laden, and joyous, this Secrest Vineyard pinot gris is a poster child for BC's most planted grape. The estate grapes were organically farmed, natively fermented and aged in concrete for eight months before bottling. Pear, yellow apple, white peach, Rainier cherry is infiltrated with a light nutmeg spicing and based with a cloud of fine lees. Restaurant ready.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigiotext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigio 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll home estate fruit that is handpicked is the story of Vino Grigio. Typically fresh and bright with a collection of Naramata Bench orchard fruit aromas and flavours, including apple blossoms, grapefruit, dried apricot and citrus. The attack is lean and mineral with green apple, green melon, and no bitterness this year. The finish is creamy with ripe honeydew and baking spices. Food-friendly, especially if the food has a bit of heat.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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J. M. Sohler Grand Cru Winzenberg Pinot Gristext
91PTS

J. M. Sohler Grand Cru Winzenberg Pinot Gris 2017

Alsace, FranceWinzenberg Grand Cru rests between 240-320m, south and south-east facing, on granite soils laced with mica and feldspar. This young pinot gris is off-dry and potent on the medium+, plump palate, one lined with white honey, crystalline lemon peel, pear blossoms, and baked bosc pear. The soils and altitude focus the acidity, perfectly pitched to take on the ripe sweetness of the wine. Echoes of river stones linger on the lengthy finish. A classic.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: J. M. Sohler
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Quails' Gate The Bench Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Quails' Gate The Bench Pinot Gris 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJust love the texture and flavours of The Bench, an exceptional release of pinot gris at a giveaway price. Red apples and perfectly ripe pears, floral notes, and brown spices lead to an equally beguiling palate, with classic orchard fruit again flecked with exotic tangerine and pink grapefruit. Best of all it’s a subtle expression of creamy pinot gris, one you seldom see. Think scallops, lobster or whole roasted chicken. Winery direct, wine club members only.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Haywire Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Haywire Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of Summerland and Oliver fruit yields a simple, juicy, fresh pinot gris with a selection of orchard fruit aromas and flavours. Peaches, pears, yellow apples mark the ripe palate, one that is fully ready to drink. It’s naturally fermented and aged in concrete on its lees for eight months. It is getting pricey.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPhantom Creek winemakers worked with two vineyard blocks in Okanagan Falls to make their inaugural gris. The wine was made by the now-departed winemaker Ross Wyse, working with Alsace winemaker and consultant Oliver Humbrecht (his first-ever work outside of his property), and Californian Anne Vawter. It was painstakingly fermented to dryness over seven months using indigenous yeasts. 40 percent was aged in traditional oak casks, providing additional richness and intriguing spice notes. Alsace is very much the model here, and it carries the style with all the necessary opulence and complexity. Four months down the road from my first look, it continues to offer up a variety of floral and orange notes, mixed with pears and spice that linger throughout the long finish. A stunning start on a very different track from most pinot gris outside of Alsace. As you might expect, it's very food-friendly.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Township 7 Reserve Pinot Gris Naramata Bench Estate Vineyardtext
88PTS

Township 7 Reserve Pinot Gris Naramata Bench Estate Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to last year, this Naramata Reserve Pinot Gris is operating at another level, leaving me once again to ask why there is a regular version? Expect freshness, and a vibrancy that comes with a hint of sweetness this year that will be well received by many but tends to limit its work with food to spicier dishes. Sweet peaches, ripe pears, lemon, honeydew melons suggest it is ready to drink. The reserve is barrel fermented in neutral French oak with another five months of ageing further in bottle, rounding out its finish.Prices: BC 26.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Mayhem Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Mayhem Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike the rest of the Mayhem lineup, this handpicked Okanagan Falls pinot gris is given some love at the winery, and the result is a juicy white wine from Kaleden and Naramata. Post ferment, it was left on its lees in tank until it was bottled in April. Fresh and packed full of orchard fruits, this is an easy sipping gris that comes with acidity and lift. Best with spicy sushi rolls. Killer price.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Tommasi Pinot Grigio Le Rossetext
88PTS

Tommasi Pinot Grigio Le Rosse 2018

Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis wine has had a massive makeover beginning with a screwcap that really changes the direction of this grigio, Fresh, mineral, clean and bright from front to back, it attacks the palate with vim and vigour, fresh pear and lees, and a dusting of honey. Ready to drink. Bring on the seafood; good value too.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 16.95 QC 17.00 AB 18.00 MB 17.00 NB 16.00 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +19/09text
89PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +19/09 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAppealing lemon-lime hues in the glass which, by the way, you should swirl quire vigorously to help open up a pretty, restrained nose. Stone fruits show shyly, with telltale sagey herbs and clover honey. There's also a little green apple and lemon drop. I like the way the flavours start on a strong surge of citrusy acidity, then reveal more lavish apricot and peach skin. There is an excellent level of concentration on the mid-weight palate, that also shows a creamy, leesy texture and a pleasant, spicy finish. I think that using three vessels (neutral French oak barrels, stainless steel, and concrete eggs) adds welcomed complexity, and few would argue that this grape does not need it. Clean, fresh, quite complete, and a pinot gris that seems to be made with purpose and intent. A saline note on the finish helps this jive with chicken and mushroom pasta, or brunch lox and bagels.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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10 October 2019

Gérard Bertrand Aigle Royal Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Gérard Bertrand Aigle Royal Chardonnay 2018

Limoux, Languedoc, South of France, FranceDomaine de l'Aigle is a 47‐hectare estate located in the northernmost part of the Haute Vallée de l'Aude, ranging between 250 and 500 metres above sea level. L’Aigle Royal comes off a block of vines rooted in clay‐limestone soil, south-facing, at the property's highest elevation. The vineyard is densely planted to 1250 to 1500 vines per hectare to keep the vines under control and produce wines of exceptional quality. The vines are trained up espalier style to ensure optimal exposure to sunlight and perfectly ripe grapes. Aigle Royal is always expressive on the nose with fruity, peachy notes followed by creamy textures and pastry and marzipan in the finish. This wine has the elegance, acidity and minerality to age gracefully. Look out Burgundy. Poultry, fish, or mushrooms all work here.Prices: BC 95.00 ON 75.95 QC 70.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom one of BC's top chardonnay producers, and the 2018 Stevens Block does not disappoint. The steep sloped terrace block on Naramata Bench's Old Main Road Vineyard was planted in 2006 with French clones 4 and 5, and is farmed with organic practices. After a long and gentle whole cluster press and native ferment in stainless, this was moved to older French oak for MLF and six months aging on fine lees. Tight, nimble, and mineral-led, this is a serious chardy that can rest a couple of years in the cellar but also is drinking beautifully now. Lemon zest seasons river stones, fine cream, young pear, finishing with a trail of chalk dust and positively buzzing with nervy energy. As this warms and grows in the glass, a flicker of flinty reduction reveals itself, charming even more. Impressive.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Meyer Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUnlike their single vineyard chardys, this Okanagan Valley Chardonnay comes from two estate vineyards in Naramata Bench and Okanagan Falls, as well as Anarchist Mountain Vineyard in Osoyoos, and Cellarsbend Vineyard in Naramata, all practicing organic viticulture. This was whole cluster pressed and partially native fermented in older French oak and stainless. The wine rested for four months on fine lees, and went through full MLF. Creamy on the palate, with lemon, green apple, pear, brightened with a gentle lemony acidity. This is a welcoming, easy, smart chardy that will appeal to many, and perfectly priced as such at $20. Well done.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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The Audacity of Thomas G Bright Sussreserve Chardonnaytext
85PTS

The Audacity of Thomas G Bright Sussreserve Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFollowing on the original T. G. Bright formula of a sweeter style chardonnay, Audacity looks as if it could be a straightforward, solid chardonnay on its own. Alas, it is enriched with unfermented chardonnay juice giving it a sweetness factor some will love, and others will lament. To each his own.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Thomas G. Bright Wines
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The Atom Half-Life Chardonnaytext
87PTS

The Atom Half-Life Chardonnay 2017

California, United StatesCreamy and Cali-sun filled, with a round palate textured via moderate wood and scented with vanilla, apple blossom, and ripe pear. There is a bump of lemony acidity that is welcome for easy drinkability and pairing options. A simple, friendly Cali chardy, true to type and price.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: The Atom
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Lightning Rock Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Lightning Rock Chardonnay 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Canyonview Vineyard, and its alluvial, river stone littered vineyard, this is the inaugural chardy from the young Lightning Rock Winery. After a whole cluster press into puncheons (30% new), this was native fermented, with full MLF. Ripe and lees-generous on the slender frame, this draws popcorn, stones, rock salts, lemon curd, green apple along the palate. A swath of lemon peel acidity carves through the downy lees, finishing with a dusting of flint. They went for it, full stop, and it's working. Looking forward to seeing where they take this young wine (and winery) in future.Prices: BC 25.50 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOld Main Road Vineyard sits on a terrace on Naramata Bench in the sweet spot of the Okanagan Valley. Stevens Block is one of four acres on a steep slope that has developed a particular style worthy of its label. The fruit clusters go directly to press, followed by a long 60-day indigenous ferment in stainless steel, before remaining on lees in older French oak barrels for six months. I love the searing acidity that tempers its chalky textures, leesy reduction, and on the edge ripe pear. No rush to drink this wine but it is delicious now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2017

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Brewer-Clifton philosophy is embedded in the geographic, geologic and climatic peculiarities of the Santa Barbara sub-AVA Santa Rita Hills. The fruit is intense and tropical, and using only neutral barrels allows it to shine through without any extra weight, but with power and finesse. There are four vineyards in the blend, using a mix of clones including a Wente selection initially taken from the Nielsen Vineyard planted in Santa Maria in 1964, and the Mount Eden chardonnay, each adding complexity. In 2017 this label remains fresh and juicier than you might expect, offering up floral undertones and an attractive lemon and lime flecked with ginger and lees before a full marmalade and nutty finish. This is full-throttle chardonnay that is ready to drink. Best with grilled lobster or Dungeness crab with butter.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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Copain Tous Ensemble Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Copain Tous Ensemble Chardonnay 2017

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesBarbara Banke made a stylistic left turn, and an astute buy when she purchased the Copain property and brought it under the Jackson Family banner. Although lauded for their Rhone variety wines, the strength of winemaker Wells Guthrie is his ability to source fruit. Tous Ensemble or ‘all together’ is a mix of fruit that gets a rare foot-treading in macro bins before this wine goes direct to press in whole clusters. It is then pressed to tank, settled overnight, and barreled down in preparation for a natural fermentation (primary and MLF) in barrel. There is no battonage or stirring but the wine is aged on its lees for eight months before going back to stainless steel tanks for two months to tighten up. The wine is coastal with crisp aromatics, and some floral and mineral notes before the intensity of California’s sun kicks in with some Meyer lemon, mandarin and tangerine streaked with pear, apple and very lively acid. The finish is long and persistent with a nutty buttery undertone. Stylish and ready to drink.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: Copain Wines
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François Mikulski Côte d'Ortext
91PTS

François Mikulski Côte d'Or 2017

Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrançois Mikulski’s father was Lieutenant Mieczyslaw Mikulski, an escapee from occupied Poland in 1939, fleeing to England and joining the Resistance troops of the Free Polish Forces. It was there he met his future wife, a Burgundian working on an English army base. They moved to Brussels where François was born and raised. François spent his formative summers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with wine culture (fortunately for us). From a 1.5 ha organically farmed vineyard planted in 1986 and 2005 by François on the borders of Meursault, this was aged in oak for 10 months prior to two months in stainless to tighten. Lemon, cream, white peach, and fine spice rule this gently plump, medium bodied white, nonchalant in its demeanour, but serious in its intent. Fine, tight minerals linger on the finish. Finely corseted to hold in its centre, this is a serious entry-level wine that reflects its pedigree. Grows in the glass, so give this young wine airtime / a decant.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: François Mikulski
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Le Vieux Pin Équinoxe Chardonnaytext
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Le Vieux Pin Équinoxe Chardonnay 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Équinoxe Chardonnay was sourced from two vineyards on the Naramata Bench, and 25-30 year old vines. This spent 15 months in French puncheons, 90% new, with twice weekly battonage. 53 cases were made. French cream, lemon curd and verbena, with hints of green leaf and ample light gingery toast. The palate is pillowy with lees, while the green spiciness and tart acidity keeps this tight. A tad disjoined at this young stage, to be mitigated by sautéed scallops or risotto.Prices: Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Noble Knights Order of Nobility Powers Vintage Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Noble Knights Order of Nobility Powers Vintage Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new release at Noble Ridge that is only available to club members. The Power Chardonnay honours Richard Powers, an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. He has been awarded numerous teaching awards for excellence, in addition to his considerable volunteer contributions, such as with the Canadian Commonwealth Games, Rugby Canada, and the Canadian Olympic Committee. The 2017 Noble Knights Powers Vintage Chardonnay is a full-blown, old-style chardonnay big on vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel with rich brown spices. The fruit is mostly tropical with flecks of citrus and peach, but the finish is long, rich, and oily. If you like your chardonnay big and blousy this is it.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay 2018

Las Compuertas, Vistalba District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFinca Los Nobles comes out of Las Compuertas in Luján de Cuyo at 1050 metres above sea level, where the vines are an astounding 90-years-old. Half of this vibrant chardonnay is aged in new oak, and the rest in older barrels for eight months. The nose is super bright with fresh tropical pineapple and mango, honey, and vanilla contributed by delicate ageing in casks. Rich, round, mouthfilling but with just enough acidity to keep it all fresh and linear. Impressive and a statement. Perfect with Chinese seafood dishes or lobster. Fine value.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Stoller Reserve Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Stoller Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesSourced from the oldest blocks of their Dundee Hills estate (planted in 1995), and a mix of Dijon clones, this was fermented and aged in French oak before a barrel selection meant to typify their estate. Lovely kernel, lees, cream wrap around a core green apple, threaded with flax, and ringing with minerality. Fantastic impact for 13.2 degrees. This is drinking very well now and will continue to cellar impressively.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Stoller Family Estate
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI was dazzled by this alluring chardonnay when tasting it blind at the National Wine Awards of Canada. My notes say, 'lovely terroir expression' eerily channelling the name of this Mission Hill tier, 'Terroir Collection.' Lush Meyer lemon curd, ripe peach and heady honeysuckle scents appear in a more restrained form on the palate. Here the wine shows 'rocks and lemons' according to my blind note, with delicate layers of ripe orchard fruit, beautifully expressed oak, and a salty mineral finale. Jagged Rock Vineyard is a head-turning site near Oliver in the sun-drenched South Okanagan, allowing full ripening, but 425 metres of elevation and evening shading ensure the fruit is as streamlined as it is ripe. Smart and thoughtful winemaking sees this chardonnay refined in small French oak casks (only 6% new which explains the subtle oak nature), large French oak barrels (32%), and 10% of this chardonnay saw time in the small clay sphere called a Clayver. Almost a year and a half of resting upon the lees have built textural interest and added complex toasty aromas and flavours. Elegance, precision, tense fruit and a clear terroir expression are one for Dungeness crab cakes or lemony grilled chicken. A year or two of age will reveal even more complexity.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Joannie Rochette Old Main Road Vineyardtext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Joannie Rochette Old Main Road Vineyard 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wonderful chardonnay is both swashbuckling and full of finesse. Bold lemon drop, peach, barely ripe pineapple and aromatic sage distinguishes the stylish, showy nose. The flavours are a parade of citrus, tropical, caramel and clove spice. Finesse is revealed in its balance of succulent acidity; the nuanced interplay of oak (22% new French barrique) and opulent fruit; magnificent texture-enhancing lees work; and an elegant, minerally finish. Old Main Vineyard is a significant site for Meyer: clay-based, sloped, and bearing mature vines planted in 1996. Joannie Rochette's story is a heartwarming tale of tragedy and triumph that this wine critic will never forget. She heroically won an Olympic figure skating medal in the 2010 Vancouver games just 48 hours after losing her mother. Joannie is becoming a doctor now, and I applaud Meyer's tribute to this worthy, inspiring Canadian.Prices: BC 30.52 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis was aged for 14 months in new French oak puncheons and, well, it shows. This is a ripe, rich, evolving chardonnay full of golden fruit and baked apple alongside considerable oak influence. There’s almost an unctuousness to the palate, with just enough acidity to keep it in balance, leading to a slightly tannic finish from the wood. In short, a more old school style of chardonnay. It’s bottled under a Diam 30 cork, which guarantees the closure for 30 years, but this is a wine best suited for short-term consumption.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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09 October 2019

Casa di Baal Bianco di Baaltext
88PTS

Casa di Baal Bianco di Baal 2017

Campania, ItalyThis skippy, fragrant little white is a blend of fiano, moscato, and falanghina from Campania's Salernitan Hills, farmed organically and biodynamically. Six months in stainless preserves the crispness, while contact with lees gives a slight cushion to the lighter palate. White peach, fragrant orange blossom is touched with wild sage and pine, and the slight palate is lined with floral sap, trailing off on the finish. The Baal family has been growing grapes for generations, but decided in 2005 to start producing their own wine. On their 30ha of land, 5 are dedicated to grapes, with the remainder filled with olive groves and fruit orchards. The property rests approximately 10km from the sea.Prices: ON 31.95 Producer: Casa di Baal
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Koerner Rolletext
92PTS

Koerner Rolle 2018

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaRolle, or vermentino, is relatively recognized in Australia, and the Koerner brothers make one of the country's top examples. Damon and Jono show classic and alternative Clare varieties through a variety of winemaking vessels and styles, all from estate fruit, and all with low intervention. This rolle was organically farmed from 10 year-old vines planted on the Terra Rossa soils of Gullyview Vineyard. After a half day with skins, this was native fermented, and aged in both concrete and older oak foudres for additional texture and complexity (a welcome addition to the oft bland rolle). The fullness on the palate doesn't reflect the meagre alcohol (11 degrees), but rather the careful handling and lower yields of the grape. Savoury rather than fruity, with meadow hay, broken stones, sea salts, honeyed melon, lemongrass and a tight, skippy acidity that prolongs the mineral, flint-flecked finish. Charismatic, new classic Clare.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Koerner Wine
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Forti del Vento An Piotatext
89PTS

Forti del Vento An Piota 2018

Piedmont, ItalyPouring a walnut tone, this is a natural chardonnay, aged in amfora, with 90 days on the skins. Opening with a splash of apricot oil and wave of bergamot, before a slender palate of apple peel, kumquat, apricot pith, rinsed with tea astringency, and a pierce of ethyl acetate. Great grippy texture holding this taut, with nervy, stencilled acidity. Very interesting project; will watch in future.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Forti del Vento
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Blanville Vermentinotext
87PTS

Blanville Vermentino 2018

Languedoc, South of France, FranceFrom the clay-sandy soils of Pézenas, this humble, low-intervention vermentino (locally known as rolle) is ripe with the southern France sun, and tight with fermentation and ageing in stainless. Golden apple, light pear, apple blossom is tightened with pear skin and finishes with a pithy tangerine and river stones. Simple and honest, and proper with your equally simple shellfish dishes.Prices: ON 14.95 Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Livio Felluga Pinot Grigiotext
89PTS

Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2018

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyLivio Felluga is one of the most respected producers of Friuli, dedicating his life to reviving high-quality and sustainable viticulture in the hills of this north-eastern, Adriatic-influenced Italian countryside. He emigrated from Istria and established his property in Brazzano in the 1950s, buying up old, neglected vineyards and rejuvenating them. From marl and sandstone hills, this was macerated for a short time (hence the slightest copper hue and grip) before a stainless ferment and six months on lees. Crisp and tight, with nimble lemon, pear skin, tangerine, lemon blossom on a slight palate, slicked with a healthy bed of lees. Quite a polished and sophisticated version of grigio.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Livio Felluga
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Planeta Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Planeta Chardonnay 2017

Sicily, ItalyPlaneta has 6 different vineyards, across 6 different terroirs, on Sicily. This chardonnay, from the Menfi region, was fermented and aged in barriques, on lees, with battonage. Perfumed lemon, baked yellow apples, thick cream and white florals coat this fuller-bodied chardy, ripe and rich with Mediterranean sunshine and reflective of ample wood action. There's a thread of slender acidity that pulls this to the spiced finish.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Planeta
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Planeta Etna Biancotext
92PTS

Planeta Etna Bianco 2016

Sicily, ItalyPlaneta has 6 properties on Siciliy, spread across 6 distinct terroirs. This carricante comes from the Montelaguardia vineyard at Feudo di Mezzo winery, in the centre of Etna’s wine growing area in the north east part of the island. Fifteen percent is fermented and aged in barriques, with the remainder in stainless. Strikingly direct on the palate, with candle wax, yellow plum, pear, and perfumed quince. There's a buzzy acidity and bed of stones that brightens this medium bodied white, lashed with enlivening minerality and lined with a slick of lees. Very complete and impactful for 13 degrees.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Planeta
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Planeta La Segreta Grillotext
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Planeta La Segreta Grillo 2018

Sicily, ItalyPlaneta has 6 estates on the island of Sicily, and this comes from their Menfi estate. It's not so often you get to taste a single variety grillo. Lemon verbena, dried thyme, pears, yellow plums are dotted with crystalline lemon and fleshed with nectarine. Peach fuzz lingers on the finish. Acidity is tight and bright throughout, swathing through the Mediterranean sunshine.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Planeta
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Zenato Lugana San Benedettotext
90PTS

Zenato Lugana San Benedetto 2016

Veneto, ItalyIf all you know of trebbiano is the tart, thinner, green-hewn grape, you have to try this. This tribbiano di Lugana Zenato's flagship white, from their oldest vines in the Podere Massoni vineyard, near the south shores of Lake Garda. Sergio Zenato started the highly respected Veneto winery in 1960, and today his children Alberto and Nadia run the estate and winemaking. Pouring a light golden hue, this concentrated and potent fuller bodied white was fermented and aged in stainless on lees for 5 months. Scents of honey previews perfumed melon, gooseberry, fragrant pear, tangerine, toasted pine nut, and a cool mint note on the finish. Acidity is bright, carting this to a gentle, lingering finish. It's a striking array of flavours and richness, especially considering its 13 degrees.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Zenato, Az. Agr.
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Araldica Cortesetext
87PTS

Araldica Cortese 2016

Piedmont, ItalyAraldica is Piemonte's most forward-thinking co-op, located in Castel Boglione, in the heart of Barbera d'Asti. This is one of their entry-level whites, entirely cortese sourced from various limestone / clay sites across the Monferrato hills, ranging from 250-400m. After a short stint in stainless, with lees contact, this is bottled under screw cap and ready to drink. Lemon, pinenut, melon, green fig, grapefruit is slicked with a find layer of nutty lees, finishing with a snappy briskness. Simple, sure, but very well made and varietally correct. Chill and crack now, with melon and prosciutto, on a patio.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Araldica Vini Piemontesi
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Lupi Reali Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Organicotext
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Lupi Reali Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Organico 2016

Abruzzo, ItalyThe name for this organic certified project, Lupi Reali, comes from the fact that these vineyards are located inside The National Park of Abruzzo Lupi Reali, The Royal Wolves. This nature preserve is dedicated to the repopulation of previously endangered Apennine wolfs, and reflects the winery's commitment to nature and biodiversity. Lean and clean from a short stint in stainless, this lighter white carries white blossoms, melon, gooseberry, and pear to a snappy, bitter lemon finish. Drink now, with light lemon-laced seafood or summer squash salad.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Valle Reale
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Querceto Vernaccia di San Gimignanotext
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Querceto Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2017

Tuscany, ItalyI love that Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first Italian wine to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1966. It was elevated to DOCG in 1993. This estate was taken over by the current family at the beginning of the 20th century. Carlo François bought the picturesque property and transformed it from a country residence to an agricultural firm. Today the winery owns around 200 hectares of land, of which 60 are vineyards, 6 are olive groves, and the rest are chestnut groves and oak woods. This is 85% vernaccia, along with other local white grapes sourced from the hillsides of San Gimignano, and aged in stainless. Meyer lemon, musk melon, pear, meadow herbs are cushioned with a mushroomy lees, framed with a steely slickness, and finish with a lingering lemon pith and almond. This medium bodied white wears its regal heritage well.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Castello di Querceto
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08 October 2019

Van Westen Vineyards Viscoustext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Viscous 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJust when you thought they were all out of Vs, vinegrower Rob Van Westen releases his first riesling = Viscous. The style is fresh and vibrant, combining both high acid and substantial residual sugar that mostly tend to cancel each other out. The palate is a mix of ripe sugared lemon drops with baked apples and poached pears before a mineral, zippy finish kicks in. You can cool this down and drink it solo for its fresh sugary fruit, or serve it with a favourite curry dish and let it work its magic. An excellent addition to the lineup, Robert.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Kühling-Gillot Nierstein Riesling Trockentext
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Kühling-Gillot Nierstein Riesling Trocken 2016

Rheinhessen, GermanyThe Rheinhessen estate of Kühling-Gillot dates back over 200 years, though the young, enthusiastic husband and wife team of Olivier Spannier and Carolin Gillot is focused firmly on the future, and producing high quality trocken wines with minimal intervention. This riesling comes from the biodynamically-farmed, red slate-soiled south east facing Pettenthal and the south facing Oldberg vineyards. The grapes are kept on their skins for up to three days, and following a native ferment, the wine ages in 1200L wooden stuckfass, remaining on fine lees until bottling. Focused yellow apple, pear skin, petrol, honeysuckle reverbs with nervy acidity, skipping this medium bodied wine across the palate. The mid-palate reveals Rheinhessen's natural gentle generosity, while the soils and farming drive this long on the 12 degree palate. Lovely view of site and grape.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Kühling-Gillot
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Leitz Dragonstone Riesling Kabinetttext
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Leitz Dragonstone Riesling Kabinett 2016

Rheingau, GermanyThis wine used to go by the name Rüdesheimer Drachenstein, the vineyard name. Dragonstone is a bit easier to say (and spell) for international markets, and this fantastic value wine does well across North America. From quartzite soils and with time only in stainless, this is potent and focused, with eraser, broken stones, tangerine peel, pear skin. The solid swing of RS is countered by tight, juicy green apple acidity. Nice grip around the finish, making it friendly for food and solo sipping.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Weingut Josef Leitz
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Quails' Gate Riesling B.M.V.text
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Quails' Gate Riesling B.M.V. 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBoucherie Mountain Vineyard, or BMV, is part of the origins of Quails’ Gate Family Estate, and its earliest riesling plantings. It’s a mix of clone 21B off the original Westbank site mixed with clone 49 grown in East Kelowna, all fermented two months with indigenous yeast in neutral oak barrels, leaving the wine weighty yet nimble. Look for fragrant aromas of white peach, lime, green apple, and nectarine with a touch of residual sugar to counterbalance the acidity and electricity that runs throughout. Barrel fermentation adds richness, but a stony undercurrent keeps it all fresh and linear. BMV is part of the highly successful Collector Series, which means there isn’t very much to buy. Club members and winery direct is your best bet.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Narrative Rieslingtext
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Narrative Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from a warmer site in Osoyoos, this wine makes you challenge the conventional thinking that the South Okanagan is too warm for riesling. An earlier harvest date likely helps, with the fruit in this case being picked at only 11 percent potential alcohol. Fermentation was then by indigenous yeasts before being matured for eight months in concrete. The nose offers precise lime and floral aromas combined with chalky undertones: classic Okanagan riesling. It’s impressively balanced, just barely off-dry (8 g/L residual sugar), with fresh, integrated acidity and appealingly low alcohol. Well priced; it's only going to get better over the next 3-4 years. If only more people drank Okanagan Riesling.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Rieslingtext
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Phantom Creek Estates Riesling 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFor those who think Phantom Creek Estates is about red wines, think again. The first riesling release is made from fruit acquired in East Kelowna. The fruit, from 10-year-old vines, was fermented dry over four months using only native yeasts. It's aged in a mix of stainless steel and neutral barrels to preserve the authenticity of this dry riesling. In 2017 the vintage was variable in quality, leading to lower yields and higher concentration during the long, dry fall. Four months down the road, this wine continues to develop intensity both on the nose and the palate. The colour is a deeper yellow than the Okanagan norm. On the palate, the yellow fruits and pears appear chiselled and preview a razor-sharp, dry, firm style that finishes clean. There is a touch of ripeness poking through the back end, adding to the texture and length that is long and impressive. We look forward to more of the same from Olivier Humbrecht in the coming years. It is made for food.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Mayhem Rieslingtext
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Mayhem Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Riesling is grown mid-valley at Summerland. The style is fresh, the fruit is ripe, and the finish is dry. The nose is a mix of citrus notes, and the palate is similar, with a touch of tropical fruit before it finishes dry. Again it hits all the right notes for the price point, which is something this new brand is doing with ease. It works with so many foods you might need a bottle around for every day of the week.Prices: BC 18.26 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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07 October 2019

Thornhaven Pinot Noirtext
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Thornhaven Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn attractive pale pinot colour of garnet with a watery rim. Good clean, fresh pinot nose too: herbal, plummy, cherry and whiffs of earthy, gamey woodsiness. Sweet, ripe strawberry sweeps across the palate, with fleshy, juicy flavours leading to a slightly tart and astringent finish, showing a whisper of smoke. Clean and uncomplicated, respecting the grape. Pair with something really savoury like mushroom pizza to keep the fruit well-focused.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Thornhaven Estates Winery
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Haywire Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Haywire's higher altitude Secrest Mountain Vineyard, and its gravel / sandy / limestone laced soils, this organically farmed pinot noir, planted in 2000, was native fermented in concrete, and bottled unfined. Softer and friendly up front, this is laced with a fine tautness that holds in wild raspberry, dried sage, baked cherry, and lightly grippy, concrete-clad tannins, finishing with a distinct stony note. Easy to like, this will have wide appeal.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Meyer Okanagan Valley Pinot Noirtext
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Meyer Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom six vineyards dotted around the Okanagan (Okanagan Valls estate, South East Kelowna, Naramata Bench, Kaleden, and Osoyoos), this really is an overview of the entire valley, and its proclivity for pinot noir. The fruit was destemmed, native fermented, and pressed into older French barrels and puncheons for 8 months. Soft and welcoming, with dusky plum, black raspberry, black tea astringency, kissed with sarsaparilla, and wrapped in autumnal hues. Tannins are plump and smooth, providing a gentle introduction to Okanagan pinot, ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reserve 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear two for this reserve release, conspicuous by its gold Dempsey Bob mask label and black wax seal. A mix of Dijon clones 667, 777 and 115, it is all handmade, including foot trodding the fruit. I love the elegance that permeates the dry, plummy, dark fruit, lightly spiced and with silken tannins. The finish is long and warm, accentuated by a savoury undercurrent (think of Nuits-Saint-Georges). You can and should cellar this for five years or serve it now with a substantial bird dish. The reserve spends 16 months in French oak (30 percent new) before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 60.95 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noirtext
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 2 Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 2 sits on the lower slopes of Home Block vineyard just above Okanagan Lake. The block’s clay soils originate from the postglacial sediment of the immense Lake Penticton, the ice age predecessor to Okanagan Lake, and contribute to the more imposing structure of this pinot noir. A cool vintage contributed to a long ripening period and lighter coloured silky fruit. Despite an elegant shell, this is a big New World pinot, full of dark cherry fruit and a robust savoury character. Duck fried rice would be an excellent match, as would salmon with soy or garlic sauce. The fermentation was in 44 percent concrete and 56 percent stainless steel, before 12 months in French oak. Drink through 2023.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Mac Forbes Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Mac Forbes Pinot Noir 2018

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaPouring a beauty cloudy pale raspberry hue, this is Mac Forbes' overview of Yarra, blending multiple clones, and declassified barrels from some of their single vineyard wines: Coldstream, Woori Yallock, Yarra Junction, and Hoddles Creek. This was 20% whole bunch, on skins for 3 weeks, native fermented, and then into older oak for 11 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Wild strawberry, young raspberry, worked leather, damp forest moss is kissed with sarsaparilla, dried rosemary and thyme, and scented with light smoke. The light palate is framed with spider web tannins to the trailing finish. A delicate pinot best enjoyed with a light chill, a plate of fresh raw / cured salmon, or wild mushroom toastie.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Mac Forbes
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Smockshop Band Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Smockshop Band Pinot Noir 2018

Columbia Valley, Oregon, United StatesHiyu is a 30 acre farm in the Hood River Valley, farming biodynamically, practicing permaculture and working with low intervention throughout. Smockshop Band is a line from Hiyu dedicated to exploring the Columbia Gorge. They source this from Eastside Road vineyard, a 7 acre site in the East Hills of Hood River with heavy clay and iron soils. The pinot noir was kept whole cluster untouched for 8 days before it was worked slowly and gently with daily pigeage for three weeks before pressing directly to barrel. It remained there on lees for 8 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a cloudy, dark plum hue, this broods with dusky raspberry, balsamic, blackberry thorns, dried florals and earthy wild mushrooms. Tannins are tuggy and the finish is astringent and drying. Very natural, quite extreme.Prices: BC 64.00 Producer: Hiyu Wine Farm
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Haut-Blanville Grande Réserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Haut-Blanville Grande Réserve Pinot Noir 2018

Languedoc, South of France, FranceThe vines are planted in the limestone and basalt (volcanic) soils of Pézenas at 100-150m, on a cool, north-facing single vineyard. Soft plum, black raspberry, light forest, moss, and cocoa powder fill the cushy palate, finishing with light tobacco and smoke. Tannins are nubby fine, and acidity is bright and lively thanks to time solely in stainless. Very good value for a varietally correct, honest French pinot noir.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Cliff and Gorge Unoaked Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Cliff and Gorge Unoaked Pinot Noir 2018

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaCliff and Gorge received their winery license in 2018, becoming the second winery in Lillooet. This is the inaugural release of their unoaked pinot noir and it's an impressive debut. There's juicy black cherry, but what's more intriguing is the sappy, herbal savoury note. It may not be overly complex, but I don't think that's necessarily the goal. Rather, Cliff and Gorge have produced an authentic expression of pinot noir that makes you want to pour a second glass, and managed to do so at only $19. The 2018 vintage is already sold out according to their website, so you may want to keep an eye out for the 2019 vintage before it's too late. Best served slightly chilled.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Cliff and Gorge Vineyards
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Philippe Bouzereau Bourgogne Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Philippe Bouzereau Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017

Burgundy, FranceSourced from the greater Bourgogne, this was destemmed and macerated for three weeks prior to one year in barrel. Distinctly pinot, with its lighter hue, forest berries, dusky cherry, wild raspberry, plum, and fine spices on the finish. Tannins are whisper fine, and acidity is bright. Drinking well now, and bonus points for a recognizable, proper Bourgogne red at this price point.Prices: Producer: Philippe Bouzereau
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Meyer Okanagan Valley Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Meyer Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meyer quaffing pinot noir is sourced from six separate Okanagan Valley vineyards. The goal is a juicy, easy-sipping house style that reflects its Okanagan origins. Typically the fruit is gently destemmed via gravity, and the berries are run into small open-top fermenters for a cold soak and an indigenous ferment lasting 18-28 days. From there, it gets a gentle press and an eight month sleep in older seasoned French oak barrels. Expect a softer, fresh red fruit affair with a touch of stony minerality that slips down effortlessly. The finish is silky and long. Duck pizza, chicken, pasta dishes, and salmon all work here.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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CedarCreek Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

CedarCreek Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn easy, open pinot noir filled with charming red cherry and strawberry, spicy oak nuances, and a pleasant earthy finish. CedarCreek makes vineyard specific pinots in the platinum tier that convey great complexity and expression, and this one is made with similar care: fruit comes from four home vineyard blocks that have been converted to organic farming. It's fermented in stainless steel and concrete, then in French barrique for a year. Pure, clean, juicy, and deserves a few grilled lamb chops, pan-seared halibut with chorizo, or duck prosciutto pizza.Prices: BC 24.49 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Blasted Church Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Blasted Church Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith a deep ruby hue, an expressive cherry-scented nose, and pure red fruity flavours, this pretty pinot impressed from the start. Savoury herbs join the exuberant raspberries and strawberries, and a few layers of forest floor and spice add exciting dimensions. Clean, fresh, cleansing, a light middleweight, and awaiting a filet of grilled sockeye salmon.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaRipe cherry and red plums greet the nose, along with some very proper violets and a scent of damp earth. There's an herbal fragrance too, but a lovely one of sweet thyme, oregano and citrus cumin. A lightweight palate is alive with tart cranberry, cherry, and raspberry, and woodsy herbs. Pitch-perfect acidity and mild tannins drive a savoury finish on this charming pinot that starts on a pretty fruit note and moves earthward. The vineyard is called Saison, and it's planted with tiptop Burgundian clones. The wine sees 15 months in used French oak barrels. With restrained alcohol of just 11.2%, this wine embodies the virtues of Island wine. It'll sing with grilled or baked local salmon, and I paired it successfully with wine-braised mushrooms and thyme served over polenta.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Screaming Frenzy Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Screaming Frenzy Pinot Noir 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBright cherry colour with a slight fading at the rim, this well-priced pinot has soft plummy fruit, a strong presence of cocoa powder and more than a note of stick green herbs. Dark fruit starts the flavours out well, with mocha, cherry truffles and a bite of astringent oak on the finish. Open and easy with lots of sassy Hatch character. Can easily handle some spicy ribs, so drink up now.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Haywire Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe white label pinot comes from Oliver's organically farmed Secrest Vineyard, now wholly owned by Haywire. It was native fermented in clay amphorae as well as concrete before blending and bottling. Soft on the palate, you can detect an earthy, cherry, plum nose that spills onto the palate with intense spice and a dusting of Okanagan desert garrigue. A juicy, ethereal, complex pinot that adds to the diversity of Okanagan offerings. Perfect for turkey.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Waters and Banks Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire Waters and Banks Pinot Noir 2015

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSummerland is home to the steep-sloped Waters and Banks Vineyard and its mix of limestone and granite. Look for a drier style, with forest floor, strawberries, five-spice, fresh acidity and classic earthy, mushroom notes in the finish. Soft, and warm in 2015, and ready to drink. Two French clones, 115 and 667, are whole-bunch fermented with native yeast, spending 28 days on skins, and eleven months in concrete.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Domaine Antonin Guyon Côte de Beaune Villagestext
89PTS

Domaine Antonin Guyon Côte de Beaune Villages 2015

Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceBrothers Michel and Dominique Guyon oversee the their family's 47ha of vines, stretching across 15 different appellations, and grown from meagre beginnings from ancestors generations ago. Forest floor, mushrooms, moss, muddled raspberries, plump plum carry this Côte de Beaune Village. There's a streaking acidity and bed of mineralogy keeping this medium bodied red shining, though the fruit, being 2015, is a bit heavy and sluggish. Nubby, fine tannins support to a trailing finish. Drink now, comfortably, with mushroom risotto.Prices: Producer: Domaine Antonin Guyon
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Noir +08/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Noir +08/10 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis ambitious pinot noir starts quite assertively and powerfully with spiced cherry, dark plum and a generous amount of oak defining the aromas. The flavours are expansive with plenty of sweet red fruit, cocoa powder, nut husk and vanilla. Substantial tannins for pinot noir, plumping up the body, while warm alcohol spices up an emphatic finish of bold fruit and fine French oak. Two Naramata sites provide the fruit, well-ripened from a pretty warm vintage. Typical of BC pinot, brisk acids keep this wine nice and bright and food-welcoming.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Fitzpatrick The Elusive Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Fitzpatrick The Elusive Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLovely pale pinot colour of the classic 'eye of the partridge,' along with a sensual nose of ripe, wild berries with attractive suggestions of greenery and earth. Fresh raspberry juicy flavours flow forth, with herbs, woodsy mushrooms, and a dusting of cocoa. Very streamlined and pure, with a little astringent nip on a charming finish. Mild tannins, very well balanced acidity, and all in all, a very delicious drop. Don't overwhelm with intense food flavours; perhaps just some herbed stuffed mushrooms.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Tightrope Winery Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Tightrope Winery Pinot Noir 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe colour is still lovely and bright in this 2016 pinot, cherry red just like the aromas which are super-attractive. Herbal, earthy then sweet cherry and plum scents, along with a hint of undergrowth and violets. Very expressive and pure, as are the flavours of wild red berries, nut husk and subtle spice. Mid wieght with slightly chewy tannins and very cruncy acidity, there is an effortlessness to this Naramata Bench pinot. Yes there is bold fruit and a presence of new oak, but everything is in the right place, and it's just as compelling as when I tasted it last year. You can whip up a nice earthy lamb shank braise to pair.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 4 Single Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 4 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe upper slopes of the CedarCreek Home Block Vineyard are home to sandy loam soils and the Block 4 Pinot Noir. Smaller berries, darker colour, and increased ageing potential is part of the DNA of this block, one that shines in 2016. The palate is full, in the Sonoma Coast style, soft, round, and expressive with cherries, black raspberries, dried herbs, and with better freshness than the Block 2 Pinot. Elegant, long, and easy to drink, this is a crowd-pleaser.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Crowsnest Family Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Crowsnest Family Pinot Noir 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPretty crimson in colour, full of youthful appearance, with young aromas to match of chokecherry, and wild berries. There is a distinct herbal aroma that manifests on the palate as a savoury line through quite tart and perky red fruit. Considerable oak supports the herbal/berry flavours, and contributes to a weighty mouthfeel. The Similkameen's rugged conditions show well here, with decent concentration and a distinct salty note on the quite oaky finish. The alcohol is a trim 12% and helps it stay juicy and energetic.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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04 October 2019

Domaine de la Chaise Sauvignontext
88PTS

Domaine de la Chaise Sauvignon 2018

Touraine, Loire, FranceThe Davault family is six generations on at Domaine de la Chaise and its 57 hectares of hillsides at Saint Georges sur Cher. The style is fresh and ripe, almost New World, until you taste the balance and intensity of this sauvignon that brings you back to the Loire. Global warming is bumping up the ripeness here with even some pineapple notes mixed in with passion fruit and lemon, all supported by minerality. Goat cheese, shellfish and salads all work here. Excellent value, but you will have to search for it in private wine shops or scan restaurant wine lists.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Domaine de la Chaise
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2017

British Columbia, CanadaCapella is the Clos du Soleil flagship white based on sauvignon blanc and sémillon. In 2017, it was a 74/26 split, respectively. The fruit comes off two sauvignon vineyards in Keremeos, and one sémillon vineyard in Oliver. A partial native ferment in 60 percent French puncheons and 40 percent stainless steel barrels is followed by a full malolactic fermentation and nine months on its lees with battonage. The palate opens with intense grapefruit, with notes of pear and pineapple, a bitter rind undercurrent, and a salty, mineral finish. The texture is already creamy as it sets a 3-7 year ageing timeline in bottle. Well made and indeed a benchmark blend for BC.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Hometext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Home 2017

Northern Sonoma, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe aromas reveal a melange of tropical notes like guava, passionfruit and grapefruit, delicate floral character, and the subtle suggestion of vanilla-flecked oak. The fruits spread out very satisfactorily in the mouth, and tastes of citrus and baked fruit cobbler with a zig of freshly chopped herbs. The wood (only 10% but it shows) adds an agreeable spice note and softens sauvignon blanc's angularity, while zesty acid does a lovely job of keeping everything fresh and juicy. I always find this a reliable, got-it-all, crowd-pleaser, well made and expressive of its cool vineyard sites in northern Sonoma. Some of the vines that contribute fruit to this delicious white are almost 50 years old, clearly boosting the natural balance and effortless harmony of Charlotte's Home. Try with simple herb risotto, using lots of tarragon and parsley.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 22.99 US 18.95 18 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Screaming Frenzy Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Screaming Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a crisp, dry, fresh, bright citrus style with notes of nettle, melons, stone, and chalk. The finish is clean and more intense this year, with better persistence. Still a little Sancerre-like to this writer. The fruit is grown at Antares Vineyard, a small pocket of coolness just northeast of Oliver. Perfect for BC shellfish or butter and cream based seafood dishes.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc Blue Terrace Vineyardtext
88PTS

Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc Blue Terrace Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Mary McDermott is turning heads at Township 7, using her extensive Ontario winemaking resume to freshen the entire lineup. Case in point is the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc grown at Blue Terrace Vineyard near Oliver in the south Okanagan. There were two picks a week apart, capturing freshness and ripeness for the blend. The first part was fermented in stainless steel, while the second part was fermented in oak to add richness and texture. The result is a refreshing, ready to drink, tropical and gooseberry sauvignon that would be perfect with mussels.Prices: BC 18.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandAbundant scents of guava starts the fruit parade on this pungent Marlborough sauvignon blanc, with currant leaf, jalapeno pepper and white grapefruit to follow. We like the earthy leafy, verdant aspect. Brash tropical flavours of kiwi, passionfruit and fresh tarragon define the palate, before a wave of crisp, limey acidity appears. The wine tightens up with a savoury, salty greeness that complements the tropical fruit. Typical Marlborough sauvignon blanc that hits all the right notes for a fair price.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 21.99 MB 18.00 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NB 19.00 Producer: Yealands Estate
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03 October 2019

Clos Lentiscus Perill Blanc Àmfora Xarellotext
90PTS

Clos Lentiscus Perill Blanc Àmfora Xarello 2016

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom the biodynamic and biodiverse world of Penedès' Clos Lentiscus, this is 1938-planted xarello from El Buschet vineyard, in the mineral-laden Garraf Mountains sub zone. After picking and leaving with stems on skins for 15 days, this spends 6 months in amphora before a light filtration and bottling. Pouring a shining yellow gold with a very light haze, this streams tight apricot, pear skin, crab apple, young mirabelle plum, and rambutan along a slight palate, rinsed with bergamot astringency, and grippy from time in amphora. Acidity is stencilled and brisk. Very natural, clean, and unique.Prices: ON 44.95 Producer: Clos Lentiscus
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Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinhotext
91PTS

Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinho 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own. This is his line of wines exploring grape (in this case albariño) and terroir (the granite soils of Vinho Verde's Monçao e Melgaço subregion). These vines were planted in 1989 at 50-150m. After a four month native ferment in two older oval 1000L vats and one new oval 2000L vat, all Eastern European origin, this went through partial MLF, and spent nine months in said vessels on lees without battonage. Light lime, lemon pith scents the stony palate, one bright with green apple, crisp Anjou pear, and finishing with a kiss of honeysuckle. Tidy and neat, with a fine veil of lees to cushion. All about the place, as Luis attended, and a lovely raw view of albariño's expression on granite.Prices: ON 40.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Wilson Foreigner Albariño Rorick Vineyardtext
89PTS

Wilson Foreigner Albariño Rorick Vineyard 2016

Sierra Foothills, California, United StatesThe back label sums up Wilson Foreigner's MO: "Wilson Foreigner exists for the purpose of exploring heritage and prospecting for beauty." This full-bodied white is from the schistous soiled Rorick Vineyard in Calaveras County, whole cluster pressed, and fermented in neutral Hungarian and French oak, with full MLF. A striking lemon blossom note opens this creamy wine, followed by white peach, starfruit, vanilla grapefruit curd, all bedded with crunchy stony / salty notes that linger on the long finish. I don't reckon I'd go to albariño, and most definitely not from the Sierra Foothills of California, but I'm certainly glad it's been done. Hopefully more follow suit. A welcome 13.2 degrees.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Wilson Foreigner
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Terra de Asorei Nai E Señora Albariñotext
89PTS

Terra de Asorei Nai E Señora Albariño 2018

Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainNai E Señora is a tribute to Galician women, as imaged by the silhouette gracing the front label. Nai translates to mother, in Galician. From clay and pink granite, this albariño spent 30 days macerating in stainless before ferment and a brief stint on lees. Ripe pear, scented peach, gooseberry and potent grapefruit fill a plump, stone-bedded, medium bodied palate. There's a griff of peach fuzz adding texture and interest, finishing with an anise kiss. A pure, authentic look at the grape and of Galicia.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Terra de Asorei
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Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blancotext
89PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blanco 2017

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainDynamic Telmo Rodríguez is one of Spain’s greatest winemakers. He is dedicated to the preservation of indigenous grapes and regional winemaking traditions. Made from a blend of Verdejo (90%) and Viura grapes grown on gravelly limestone soils, Basa Blanco is an arrestingly fresh and juicy wine that is super-adaptable with food. Verdejo is an historic grape in the Rueda zone, where it was used to produce sherry-type wines, but with stainless steel, temperature-controlled fermentation (like Telmo does with Basa), it reveals a charming balance of delicate green fruit, distinct botanical savour, and almond nuttiness. Reminiscent of the flavours and brightness of Sauvignon Blanc, Basa is bone-dry, mid-weight, and shows distinct earthy, herbal complexity. The 2017 vintage was devoid of rain and produced an unusually small crop, which in turn deepens the intensity of this wine. Basa (pronounced bah-sah) refers to 'basement or foundation', and sales of this best-value white support Telmo's many vineyard rehabilitation projects around Spain, which in turn helps families and communities. Try this globally-admired dry white with scallop ceviche, chicken with tarragon, or pan-seared white fish.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 20.00 ON 16.99 MB 20.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Bodegas Vetus Flor de Vetus Verdejotext
88PTS

Bodegas Vetus Flor de Vetus Verdejo 2017

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainThis verdejo comes out of the DOs of Toro and Rueda from old bush vines grown in sandy soils at 800-930 metres above sea level. The winemaking is minimalist and done in stainless-steel tanks to create an annually fresh, intense notes of grassy, citrus fruits flecked with bits of peach, melon and lime rind that persists from the front of the palate to the back — a terrific mid-week seafood wine for clams, oysters or mussels that is wine for wine people.Prices: BC 27.00 AB 20.66 Producer: Bodegas Vetus
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Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
89PTS

Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest albariño from Stag’s Hollow is the first release of winemaker Keira LeFranc, and it is a hedonistic, drink-me-now affair. More luxurious, riper and rounder than previous editions, it slides down easily. A little less acid will endear it to the masses, versus the acid-obsessed sommelier crowd. Plenty of battonage gives this peach and pear white all the texture it needs. Drink now. Perfect for a Greek salad.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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02 October 2019

Kamara Pure Nimbus Ritinitis Retsinatext
88PTS

Kamara Pure Nimbus Ritinitis Retsina NV

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. Retsina is odd enough, yes, but have you ever had an entirely natural retsina? Right - no one has. The assyrtiko comes from the slopes of Kamara, Oraiokastro, Thessaloniki. The skins and must were macerated for one week before the juice was native fermented for one month, during which time pine resin from the mountains of Evia was added, following an ancient recipe. This then underwent a native ferment and full MLF before resting on full lees for 3 months, with no inputs or outtakes. Cloudy amber in the glass, this opens with the distinctive resinous pine sap, pitch, and bark on the nose, which continues to rule the palate, turning the quince / pear / orange, white florals into green oregano and thick, heady leaves. Though the palate is medium-bodied, the end is heady with a medicinal and bitter cherry note. This is a highly distinctive and ancient wine style, treated with care and respect, so if you're looking for a retsina, this is my recommended bottle.Prices: ON 34.00 Producer: Kamara Estate
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Kamara Pure Stalismatext
91PTS

Kamara Pure Stalisma 2018

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. From the slopes of Kamara, Oraiokastro Thessaloniki, this malagouzia is splashed with white juice from the black skinned xinomavro for structure and minerality. After each variety goes through native ferment solo in stainless, the blend happens (80/20 this vintage) before 3 months on the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. With a beauty heady concentration of honeysuckle, ripe quince, elderflower, and jasmine, this is long and smooth on the waxen palate, carrying pine nuts, yuzu to a pithy, salted citrus finish. Lovely balance here between mineral freshness, concentrated yellow fruits, and exotic spices.Prices: ON 31.90 Producer: Kamara Estate
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Kamara Pure Nimbus Albustext
89PTS

Kamara Pure Nimbus Albus 2018

Thessaloniki Area, Makedonia, GreeceDimitrios Kioutsoukis and his family decided to give up city life to be more connected to nature, moving to Thessaloniki and planting 11 ha of organically farmed vines. All of their wines are low intervention, with native ferment, no sulphur additions and bottling without fining or filtration. This 50/50 assyrtiko and malagousia blend comes from the clay and schist slopes of Kamara-Oraiokastro Thessaloniki. Each variety is vinified separately in stainless, with full MLF, before blending and resting on lees for 3 months. Deeper hued and concentrated with burnished pear, honeysuckle, white peach, apricot, heady quince, anise, and ample fragrant chamomile, with lingering elderflower lining the oily palate, and scenting the concentrated finish. Quite a big impact for 13.5 degrees.Prices: ON 33.30 Producer: Kamara Estate
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01 October 2019

Cape of Good Hope Laing Semillontext
92PTS

Cape of Good Hope Laing Semillon 2014

Olifants River, South AfricaFrom Henk Laing's farm, Trekpoort, on Cistrusdal's Skurfberg Mountain, this semillon is made from 50+-year-old bush vines, almost one metre tall, planted on red sand and clay in between indigenous rooibos, fynbos, and apricot trees. Whole-bunch pressed, it is fermented in stainless before six months in neutral, large French oak. Sharp and salted, with lemon, melon, roasted pinenuts, dried papaya, sharpened with a reductive edge. There's a slick of oily lees riding out the palate, in true aged semillon style. Beauty presence, filling the glass and your memory only 13 degrees alcohol.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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A. A. Badenhorst White Blendtext
91PTS

A. A. Badenhorst White Blend 2013

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis layered, full-bodied white reflects its origin: dry farmed, older bush vines from Adi's home farm Kalmoesfontein, along with others in Swartland and around Paardeberg mountain. The complexing makes even more sense when you realize the blend. This vintage is based on chenin blanc, and joined by roussanne, marsanne, grenache blanc, viognier, verdehlo, chardonnay, grenache gris, clairette blanche, and palomino. After a whole bunch press, this was transferred to old, very large casks (1200L and 3000L) for ferment and 15 months aging, and where the blending process begins. At the end of their time in cask, all was blended together in one large concrete tank with all the unsulfured lees, where it remained for eight months before bottling. 7000 bottles produced. Nutty, leesy and lemon verbena kissed, this is intense and voluminous with honey, dried scrubby herbs, meadow grasses, wildflowers, quince, and roiboos spicing, filling the 13.5 degree palate with a weight far beyond its alcohol content. A slight phenolic grip holds all the multitudinous components in place, and lingers on the finish. Shows sense of place, and drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: A. A. Badenhorst
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Raats Family Original Chenin Blanc Unwoodedtext
89PTS

Raats Family Original Chenin Blanc Unwooded 2014

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis Stelly chenin is sourced from vines averaging 35 years, growing on decomposed granite and sandstone, and incorporating both bush vines and dry farmed fruit. Six months on lees in stainless preserves the bright, crisp fruit. Tight and streamlined, with melon, lemon, honeyed green fig, bedded with river stones, finishing snappy and bright. A clean, crisp view of chenin, still shining bright under screw cap.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Raats Family Wines
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B. Vintners Liberté Pinotagetext
91PTS

B. Vintners Liberté Pinotage 2016

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaB. Vintners is a collaboration between winemaker Bruwer Raats, whose family was amongst the first Dutch settlers, and his cousin Gavin, also a winemaker in his own right. The Raats family has always been based in Stellenbosch, and this familial project came together to spotlight Stelly's special vineyards through minimal intervention winemaking. Liberté is old vine pinotage on decomposed granite soils at altitude, located near the ocean in Bottelary Hills. If more pinotage was treated like this, the poor grape wouldn't have such a bad rep. An earlier pick, native ferment, 20% whole bunch and around a year in oak (a touch new) provides firm, fine bones and lightly sticky tannins, while Stelly's inherent sunshine makes for a great natural cushion of cherry leather, sapid raspberry, red liquorice, scrubby fynbos, and tight, nimble spicing. A beauty, especially with a slight chill.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: B. Vintners
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Reyneke Organic Cornerstonetext
89PTS

Reyneke Organic Cornerstone 2013

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaReyneke was South Africa’s first certified biodynamic vineyard and winery, and a beacon of bio (quite rare) in the country today. Proceeds from this wine, Cornerstone, go towards heping Reyneke's workers and families with home ownership and education. Here 43/32/25 cabernet franc / merlot / cabernet sauvignon was fermented in concrete Nomblot fermenters before 18 months in French oak barrels, 20 percent new. Showing its age through worn leather, dried dark cherry, salted black liquorice, and thorny cassis. The palate is sunripened, and tannins are worn and chewy, drawing this to a warming nutmeg finish. Take this medium+ red now with meat / mushroom roasts.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Reyneke
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Natte Valley POWtext
89PTS

Natte Valley POW 2015

Coastal Region, South AfricaNatte Valleij's old cape Dutch buildings have seen a lot of history, including housing a prisoner of war who was captured and exiled to the Cape during WWII. He most likely contributed to the farm's farming and winemaking while living in the cottage that winemaker Alex Milner calls home. The inscription P.O.W. B.T. 27/12/1943 is his only mark. In his honour, Milner created this limited release wine, his take on SA Bordeaux blend. In 2015, this is 55% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot, and 9% cabernet franc, from old vines growing in the shadow of Simonsberg mountain. The wine rests in 225L oak barrels for a year before two years in 500L barrels. Sun ripened plum, cherry, anise leads into layers of leather, dried herbs, tobacco, along a savoury palate, aloft with a fine acidity that keeps this 14.5 degree wine feeling fresher than expected.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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