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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: August 2020

04 August 2020

Karp-Schreiber My Karp Off-Dry Rieslingtext
88PTS

Karp-Schreiber My Karp Off-Dry Riesling 2018

Mosel, GermanyThe Karp family has been farming grapes and making wine in the Mosel since 1664. That's 356 years. In 2018 this showed its off-dry moniker with a bright, honeyed, sweet lime note. The attack is ripe with a sweet and sour midpalate of soft, lemon-sprayed peach. It has that Mosel elegance and lightness in the back end. Pair this with spicy sushi rolls, Indian curries, or soft cheeses.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Weingut Karp Schreiber
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend between Greata Ranch estate, and fruit sourced from the southern Okanagan, this was fermented long and cool in stainless, and held with 18 g/L RS to keep it off dry. Perfumed peach, apricot aromas are met with ripping green apple and lime on the palate, working up that sweet / sour line. The acid wins out on the finish however, with a lingering lime sherbet zestiness. Accessable and friendly and snappy, this is a winning pour with Thai or Vietnamese dishes.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Upper Bench Riesling Limited Releasetext
88PTS

Upper Bench Riesling Limited Release 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEach year this riesling hits all the ready-to-drink-on-a-hot day bells with plenty of brightness, fruitiness, and a light twist (7.9 grams per litre) of residual sugar. It's mostly a mix of Granny Smith apples and grapefruit sprayed with lime and peach, all balanced with a touch of minerality and good desert scrub. Perfect for any charcuterie palate.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrockentext
91PTS

Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2017

Mosel, GermanyThe Zeltinger Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven) Kabinett Halbtrocken demonstrates some of the very best aspects of German riesling. Wild yeast fermented, this is a knockout floral affair flecked with spice and aromatic dried herbs. The attack is intense, offering juicy, citrus, peach lined with savoury tarragon notes. Off-dry at 17 g/l residual sugar, but you hardly notice it thanks to a stony, mineral, electric undercurrent. Ready to drink but will live forever. Think seafood, chicken, pork, or cellar forever. Delicious.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Weingut Selbach-Oster
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Therianthropy Claire de Lune Rieslingtext
91PTS

Therianthropy Claire de Lune Riesling 2018

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaTherianthropy is the mythical process of shapeshifting, which is another way to view turning nature into wine. This small collaborative project launched in late 2019. From Twenty Mile Bench's famed dry-farmed Foxcroft Vineyard, and its rich, calcarious clay loams, this dry riesling was whole cluster pressed and native fermented over 2 months, with 10% receiving 8 days on skins to build texture. This underwent full MLF, and spent 8 months in stainless on fine lees with no bâtonnage before being bottled without fining or filtration. Dry and grippy, with apricot fuzz, tangerine pith, green apple, with a fine grip, and a mineral buzz that drives this along the palate. Some botrytis this vintage brought a lovely white honeyed sheen, and additional subtle savoury layers to the palate. Another example of Ontario's excellence with riesling. Bonus points for the thoughtful recyclable plant-based composite cork and organic beeswax button that seals the top. Huge bonus points for the darling label artwork, instantly recognizable to any in the wine industry as Michel Tolmer. A project that I'm keeping a close eye on.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Crowsnest Rieslingtext
87PTS

Crowsnest Riesling 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new effort by Crowsnest that focuses on the true nature of Similkameen Valley riesling. It is a dry, stony, Alsace-like version of riesling but with lean aromas and flavours. There is a mix of mineral and subtle guava, watermelon, and nectarines. The finish is a bit cottony dry but chill this bottle down and enjoy it with a charcuterie plate and your COVID 19 bubble friends.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lookout is a mix of riesling fruit from the home Greata Ranch estate and grapes bought in the south Okanagan. The ferment was a long, cool affair that stopped with 18 g/L RS. It more on the good sour side than the sweet side, a testament to he Okanagan acidity. Look for a bright, juicy, orchard fruit palate with apricot, green apple, and a squeeze of citrus. Fresh, fun, sippable, and well priced to party with just about any foods you might imagine to serve with it.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Blocktext
89PTS

Harper's Trail Riesling Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block 2019

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaI am no longer surprised by the quality of this wine that begins with massive mineral and dynamic styling. Crisp lemons with a stony undercurrent and a medium-long dry, tart finish begs for food. It is drier this year than last, which will disappoint a few and attract others who prefer the tighter precision. More of a dinner wine this year, and I am okay with that. Let the fine-tuning continue. Again, well done.Prices: BC 19.29 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Dry Rieslingtext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Dry Riesling 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Quail's Gate Dry Riesling, emphasis on dry, comes off 30 year old vines. There are no big surprises here. The attack is tart with ample green apple, lime, citrus, melon that finishes dry and firm. This is a perfect wine for cheese at the moment. Fresh and clean, it is ready to drink but will hold for years given the styling. Good value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Decora Rieslingtext
89PTS

Culmina Family Estate Decora Riesling 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt feels like a calmness has descended upon Culimna, at least inside the winery, as time and vintages pass, and this riesling is a good example of the maturation of all. From the high- altitude Margaret's Bench (595 metres), this fruity, intense, juicy white comes wrapped in lemon, pink grapefruit, pear, lime, over a creamy lees underbody. Just off-dry, but it is barely noticeable given the bright acidity. Any food or occasion works here. Well done.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 21Btext
90PTS

Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 21B 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHendsbee Vineyard on the Cawston Bench is planted to two different clones, and Orofino has chosen to bottle them separately. The Mosel-like offering is Clone 21B, and it jumps from the glass with fruity aromatic aromas. The vines date back to 2006 and 2008, and the offering is off-dry with an intriguing savoury undercurrent that bolsters the entire length of the sweet lime, stony mineral palate, flecked with ripe pears, and drizzled with lemon juice. At 11.3 percent, it is a poster child for less-is-more in the riesling alcohol department. Think Thai, Chinese, or Indian food. Fine value, ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.05 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 239text
91PTS

Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 239 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHendsbee Vineyard on the Cawston Bench is planted to two different clones, and Orofino has chosen to bottle them separately. Bone dry and just under 13 percent, 239 is a stony, mineral, crunchy riesling that is almost Saar-like with the added electricity of the Similkameen Valley. The name refers to the clone 239; the vines are now a dozen years old. The driest of all the Orofino rieslings, it is a delight to sip. Lime, nectarine skin, green apples, and crunchy pear all hit the palate with precision. It will age forever, but if you open one bottle, you might open them all. Real wine.Prices: BC 19.05 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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03 August 2020

Taylor Fladgate Fine White Porttext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate Fine White Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalWhite Port is a style that just about stands on its own in the world of wine: a sweet fortified white wine that’s both oxidative (in this case, from aging three years in oak vats) and gently aromatic from an array of indigenous grape varieties. There’s also variation in style between port houses, with Taylor Fladgate’s Fine White Port a little sweeter than some. As you’d expect from the winemaking, it’s wildly complex: golden raisins, apricot, baked apple, walnut, white flowers, and the list goes on. Full-bodied and slightly astringent, this is best enjoyed well chilled to dull the alcohol. Although niche in North America, that’s certainly not true in Portugal, where White Port is often blended with tonic water to make a thirst-quenching cocktail. It’s next to impossible to only have one.Prices: BC 22.00 AB 21.00 SK 23.00 QC 16.00 ON 11.75 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonostext
90PTS

Château Dereszla Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonos 2016

HungaryForget all the jargon on the label. All you need to know is that Tokaji produces some of the world’s great sweet wines. This is a good, but not top, example from the region at an accessible price, especially when you consider that individual berries are painstakingly harvested by hand to make it. It lacks the pronounced intensity of marmalade and honey that you find in the best examples, and the oak is a little too dominant as a result. But what makes Tokaji a lovely sweet wine is its characteristic tart, citrusy acidity that beautifully balances the sweetness, which is certainly the case here. It’s a dessert all on its own.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Château Dereszla
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02 August 2020

Unsworth Vineyards Allegrotext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a lightly aromatic blend of sauvignette, petit milo, and amiel, which shows lovely, pure aromas of almond blossom, lemon, and a saline minerality. From the packaging, you’d expect an everyday sipper. But there’s a lot more to this wine. If we go by the tech sheet, this is not technically dry at 10 g/L residual sugar. However, the residual sugar here is more about balance than it is approachability, offsetting the tangy acidity to give this a dryish finish. Some time on the lees has also fleshed out the texture and given this an extra layer of complexity. The resulting style lies somewhere between Chablis and Muscadet, and with only 12.5%, it’s a wine that is begging to be poured at the dinner table alongside fresh shellfish. It is spot prawn season, after all. However, it tastes like some of the hard pressings may have gone into this blend, as there is quite a firm phenolic grip to the palate. Recommended.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Allegrotext
88PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 Allegro is a blend of sauvignette, petit milo, and amiel, three Blatnner hybrid varieties. The grapes are scattered across the south end of Vancouver Island in the Cowichan, Westshore, and Saanich Peninsula. It’s all fermented and aged on lees in stainless steel. Despite an apparent freshness of character, it went through a full malolactic fermentation, adding a creamy texture to the mid-palate. The palate is awash in grassy, candied lemon mixed with pears and ripe melons that are unexpectedly off-dry at 10 grams per litre, but balanced with a whack of acidity. Serve well chilled and pair this with a spicy tuna roll or light curry dish.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphonytext
86PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Symphony 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of four hybrids (cabernet libre, labelle, 0583, and petit milo), this is dominated by wood at the moment after aging for 20 months in French and American oak. But underneath the coffee, dill, and vanilla, there is some characterful fruit. It's just slow to emerge. One of the challenges with hybrids is their notoriously high acidity. That’s been well handled here, with fresh acidity that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Unfortunately, the sharp, woody tannins work to further obscure the fruit. It’s trying to be a wine for the big red crowd, but in a climate that may not be best suited for it.Prices: BC 24.25 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyardstext
0PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyards 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCorkedPrices: BC 26.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Rieslingtext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm with Geoff on this one. The palate is more vibrant than you'd expect from the lean fruit profile on the nose. There is a healthy dose of residual sugar (16 g/L), still with plenty of racy acidity, it ends up being a juicy, citrus, mineral affair sourced from across the Salish Sea on the Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley. A hint of petrol (a sure sign of a warm year in young rieslings) marks the evolved nose with lime and green apple, showing good varietal character but not an abundance of complexity. The result is a well balanced, approachable style that finishes just off-dry, with a slight effervescence also helping to give this some added verve. Only 150 cases produced. A super patio pick.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyardstext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyards 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe Unsworth Saison Vineyard Pinot Gris is a window into Vancouver Island’s future as a premium producer of white wines. Primarily fermented in stainless steel, a small amount (10%) goes into neutral French oak to reduce the stark, mineral tones. Extended lees contact helps to build texture, as does a full malolactic fermentation, but this wine is mostly electric. A stony mineral, quince, and pear affair, it has all the hallmarks of a serious ageable gris. There’s a bit of dryness in the back end but that should resolve itself with time in the bottle. I love the bright green apple and pear opening, drizzled with citrus and sprinkled with dried herbs, mostly fennel. The finish is all mineral. The soils are volcanic in origin, layered with marine sediments and gravel carved and deposited by glaciers. Today, clay-loam soils lay on top of this gravelly base that sits between the 48th and 50th parallel with obvious ocean influence. As wet as the winters can be, the summers are drier and drier, although temperatures rarely rise above 30 degrees Celsius. Paradise.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA 50/40/10 blend of pinot gris, pinot noir, and auxerrois, this was fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels before undergoing secondary fermentation in bottle. The oxidative approach, plus some bottle age, has given this a complex nose of nuts and honey, with a good amount of toastiness from aging 15 months on its lees. Plus there’s still underlying fruit, with lemon and green apple. The mousse is fine and creamy, with good balance to the palate. The Extra Brut style (2 g/L residual sugar) surprisingly works; the acidity is racy but not austere, leading to a bone dry finish that leaves you wanting more.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
0PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFaulty cork; unable to review.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada2015 is more or less a carbon copy of 2014, with just a slightly fresher tone. The mix is about half pinot gris mixed with pinot noir and auxerrois; a portion is from the estate, the rest from nearby Cowichan Valley vineyards. After 15 months in the bottle, it comes to life in the glass, offering a blend of yellow and red orchard fruits with floral overtones and a creamy, leesy underbelly with a good rip of acidity. Fresh, bright, and unique, this is yet another benchmark for BC sparkling wines worth following.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle is the flagship sparkler at Unsworth, and in 2014 is a mix of A 50/40/10 pinot gris, pinot noir, and auxerrois. It's fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels before undergoing second fermentation in the bottle, where it remains for a minimum of 15 months. The nose is goût Anglais, as the Brits might say, showing some age and the results of barrel ferment. It opens with a nutty, honey tone, creamy lees on the palate, and with a baked apple, dry, citrus finish. There are two grams per litre of residual sugar but you would never know as it surprisingly works. The acidity is racy but not austere, leading to a bone dry finish that leaves you wanting more. Drink now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Island Melodytext
87PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Island Melody 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaI love that this wine presents as a Vancouver Island white and nothing more. It's bone dry with tart fruit and a fresh if short finish. Chill this down, find a warm sunny patio and few bites of food and voila, you have yourself a delightful happy hour. Look for this wine at Save-on-Foods, where the discounts add up to about three dollars per bottle if you buy a case.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphonytext
86PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Symphony 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSymphony is stainless steel fermented and aged 20 months in French and American oak. The mix is 52/26/20/2 cabernet libre/labelle/0583/petit milo. The medium-dark red opens with earthy, leafy notes flecked with espresso, milk chocolate, cherry, and pronounced dill. The attack is smooth and round, with light tannins and black cherry, earthy, foxy, vegetal flavours. Well made and fun to sip, but it would be best with grilled beef or spicy Italian sausages.Prices: BC 24.25 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sauvignettetext
87PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Sauvignette 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSauvignette is a proprietary name, used by the folks at Unsworth Vineyards. The single grape variety involved is epicure, a Blattner variety VB2 originally planted in Saanich in the late 1990s. The latest effort is classic northern, with a bright acidic frame supporting richer barrel ferment characters from spending five months on lees in neutral French oak barrels. On the palate there is a fresh mix of pear and citrus with creamy, light, almond notes and a crisp dry finish. I like this as an aperitif, and you can pair it with seafood sushi rolls or fresh cheeses.Prices: BC 27.50 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Gamay Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Gamay Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVancouver Island winemaker Dan Wright has made a delicious Okanagan Valley gamay/pinot noir displaying his fine touch and low-intervention style. Look for refreshing cherry with a dusting of sagebrush and white pepper. Light, fresh, quaffable, and everything you could want in a gamay. Serve with your favourite pizza or charcuterie plate. Ready to drink. The mix is 58/42 gamay noir/pinot noir.Prices: BC 21.95 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Brut Méthode Cuvée Clostext
87PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Brut Méthode Cuvée Clos NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe Unsworth Rosé Brut is a limited production offering that is made using the Charmat Method, intended to complement the Charme De L’île. The fruit comes from outside the region. On the edge of dry, the mix is 49/43/8/ gamay noir, pinot blanc and pinot noir, with up to 30 percent reserve wine for some gravitas. The colour is barely pink, the nose is a mix of nut and red fruit. On the palate, strawberries and cream dominate, along with rhubarb and apple. Pleasant and easy sipping, try this with summertime afternoon bites on the patio.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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