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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: November 2014

29 November 2014

Browne Family Vineyardstext
91PTS

Browne Family Vineyards 2011

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe label reads a 'Tribute to my Grandfather,' and a worthy tribute it is. Cabernet sauvignon is splashed with a touch of cabernet franc and petit verdot, and the subtleties of each have introduced lovely layered nuances into this confident wine. Cedar, graphite, plum, cassis and thorn are carried by a bamboo-firm structure, and finish with a little floral lift. Quiet, but confident. Enjoy now (I recommend with dry aged beef) or cellar for 3-5 years and be rewarded. Prices: WA 35.00 Producer: Browne Family Vineyards
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28 November 2014

Brian Carter Cellars Solescetext
91PTS

Brian Carter Cellars Solesce 2009

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesSolesce (sol, Latin for 'sun', and essence) is the winery's flagship blend, a time-worthy release based on cabernet sauvignon and accompanied by merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. Years in bottle have allowed these grapes to meld into a deep, full bodied red, with mature notes of cassis, dried flowers, tar, cherries and a scented wood spice. The generous fruit is bound with plush tannins and stretches to a lengthy finish.Prices: WA 56.00 Producer: Brian Carter Cellars
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Boomtown Syrahtext
88PTS

Boomtown Syrah 2012

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesBoomtown was a line that lauded Dusted Valley created with one singular goal: to overdeliver. Mission accomplished with an alluring nose of spring irises, perfumed cassis and wild raspberries leading to a ripe, juicy core and a round, medium body. Cracked black pepper and sweet vanillin leads out the finish. Lamb burgers with caramelized onions and blue cheese would marry with this ripe red. Prices: WA 19.00 Producer: Dusted Valley
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Gilbert Cellars Malbectext
87PTS

Gilbert Cellars Malbec 2012

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesDense and inky in the glass, a lengthy decant will allow this big wine room to expand. Ripe plums, anise, wild blackberries, perfumed flowers and dark chocolate covered blueberries teem around robust and sticky tannins and spiced wood. This is a big wine, and will well suit your equally big red meat. Prices: WA 30.00 Producer: Gilbert Cellars
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Balboa Merlottext
89PTS

Balboa Merlot 2011

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesOnly ninety-six cases of this fresh, deep-fruited merlot came from Mirage Vineyard in the challenging 2011 vintage, so get on the hunt. Time in decanter reveals dark berries, fragrant cassis, candied plum and black liquorice. There is a lot of density here, but the acidity is brisk and the core is bright and juicy, lifting silken tannins to a lingering finish. Beef tenderloin has found a match here. Prices: WA 30.00 Producer: Balboa Winery
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Ledger David Cellars Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Ledger David Cellars Cabernet Franc 2011

Rogue Valley, Oregon, United StatesThis is a shining example of how graceful cabernet franc can be when you don't try and mess with it. Sweet tobacco, dried cassis, dark cocoa and perfumed fig on the nose lead to a finessed, spiced, medium bodied palate. Pure-fruited plum and wild raspberry fruit, peppery, brambled spice and subtle florals carry to a bright, fresh finish.Prices: Oregon 28.00 Producer: Ledger David Cellars
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Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir text
89PTS

Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir 2011

Chehalem Mountain , Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesTheir flagship wine, Nicholas Estate reflects 5 blocks in Chehalem Mountains, and 5 different clones of pinot noir, resulting in the layered nuances of this finessed wine. Elegant and lifted floral notes, delicate raspberry, cherry skin and bright plum float over a lean, stony edge of acidity (here's the cool 2011 vintage showing) and finish with faint rosebuds and spiced tea leaves. Prices: AB 36.00 Producer: Anam Cara Cellars
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Santa Rita Carmenère 120text
85PTS

Santa Rita Carmenère 120 2013

Region del Valle Central, ChileMade for carmenère fans. Expect a soft, round, juicy, brambly red with resiny, crush dried leaves on the nose and a hint of chocolate. Fairly dense for the price with smoky, spicy, red fruit, a dash of vanilla and a medium smooth finish. Grilled chicken or pork would be a fine match. Ready to drink. Prices: BC 13.00 Producer: Viña Santa Rita
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J. P. Chenet Premier de Cuvee Merlot - Cabernet Reservetext
83PTS

J. P. Chenet Premier de Cuvee Merlot - Cabernet Reserve 2012

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceLight leafy, peppery nose with earthy, gamey aromas. The attack is soft almost chalky in texture with cedar bark, milk chocolate, and blackberry jam with a skinny somewhat tart finish. Simple hamburger red that is ready to drink.Prices: BC 14.00 AB 13.00 SK 14.00 MB 13.00 ON 12.00 QC 12.00 NB 12.00 NS 13.50 NF 13.00 Producer: J. P. Chenet
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J. P. Chenet Cabernet - Syrahtext
83PTS

J. P. Chenet Cabernet - Syrah 2011

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceOpen cooked fruit nose with bits of raisins, meaty, sweet berry nose. The attack is soft and round with resiny, herbal, tobacco leafy flavours. The finish is short and sweet with some acidity poking through, almost Oz-like in character.Prices: BC 13.00 AB 13.00 SK 14.00 MB 13.00 ON 12.00 QC 12.00 NB 12.00 NS 13.50 NF 13.00 Producer: J. P. Chenet
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Santa Rita Carmenère Reservatext
88PTS

Santa Rita Carmenère Reserva 2010

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileOne of the things I like about the Santa Rita 'Reserva" series is the wines consistently deliver at a higher level. Texture and fruit dominate this bottle along classic carmenère notes of lead pencil, dark chocolate, tobacco and briar. Perfect with barbecue ribs. Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Viña Santa Rita
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Santa Rita Merlot 120text
85PTS

Santa Rita Merlot 120 2012

Region del Valle Central, ChileConsistent Maipo sappy, cassis, bay leaf aromas with bits of cherry and roasted coffee bean. The attack is soft with resiny, menthol, cedar notes flecked with black cherry, coffee and tobacco flavours. Solid fruit in a simple, affordable red. Best with grilled meats.Prices: BC 10.00 AB 11.00 NF 13.00 Producer: Viña Santa Rita
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27 November 2014

Enrico Winery & Vineyards Red Dragontext
85PTS

Enrico Winery & Vineyards Red Dragon 2012

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada100% pinot noir from the estate vineyards. Orange pink hue, with delicate strawberry and mandarin notes, finishing with a touch of salty parmesan cheese and a light spritz. Rustic and rough around the edges, chill adequately. Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Enrico Winery
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De Vine Vineyards Foch Rosétext
85PTS

De Vine Vineyards Foch Rosé 2013

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from the Cowichan Valley, this light plum coloured rosé has big spice and youthful wild blackberries, with a mustard seed herbal note. Blackberries, dark plum and spice close out this bold wine. Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: De Vine Vineyards
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De Vine Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir Rosétext
86PTS

De Vine Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2013

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the picturesque mountainside Home Vineyard. Ripe strawberries and cream, potpourri and cinnamon, cherry blossoms and zippy rose thorns. Densely fruited and finishing a touch sweet. Try chilled, for brunch. Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: De Vine Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Rosétext
87PTS

Clos du Soleil Rosé 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMade from 17 year old Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the southern Okanagan, this deep watermelon pink wine stands out in a lineup. Bold summer sweetened berries and candy floss aromas lead to a juicy and bright cranberry and strawberry palate, with cherry branch and vanilla bean/raspberry jam on the finish. Gutsy style to match up to your chicken or salmon burgers. Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Blue Grouse Quill Rosétext
85PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Rosé 2012

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom grapes grown on Vancouver Island comes this newcomer, medium pink rosé. A blend of pinot gris, pinot noir, gamay and muscat results in a cider apple and blossom note, with light rhubarb and cranberry flavours and slight prickle to the finish. Best with crab.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Little Farm Winery Rosetext
91PTS

Little Farm Winery Rose 2013

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBest BC wine I've tasted this year? Absolutely a contender. I kept this wine in my fridge for a few days, and it kept getting better and better. It was delicious when chilled, and when the glass warmed up. A winner with food, and without. Stood out when blind tasted. Every which way, this wine shone just a rosé should: pure, bright, characterful and vibrant. This single vineyard, 100% cabernet franc beauty should be your go-to pink this year (if you can find it - only a scant 170 cases). A very pale peach hue, this opens with wild strawberry, subtle spice and tangerine aromas. The bone dry palate teems with fragrant cherries, light lees, dried sage and dusty, stony spice. Impressive depth of flavour for such a light wine. Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Little Farm Winery Rieslingtext
90PTS

Little Farm Winery Riesling 2013

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLimey! If you like acid like I like acid, you will like this wine and we can drink it together. Riveting acidity, shimmering lime pith, juicy lime pulp and a lively pulse. An austere, chalky core is lightly loosened with hints of exotic orange and green apple. Lip smacking acidity leaves mouth watering with memories of white grapefruit. Alishan Driediger makes the wine and husband Rhys Pender MW farms the grapes on their 4 acre (Little Farm) in Similkameen. In this vintage, 6 different Riesling clones were whole cluster pressed directly to a mix of old, neutral barrels and a stainless steel tank before allowing for a long, slow ferment on the lees. Partner with fresh oysters for due diligence. Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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26 November 2014

Kendall-Jackson Avant Red Blendtext
85PTS

Kendall-Jackson Avant Red Blend 2012

California, United StatesNine months in French and American oak barrels, only 11 percent new are at the heart of this soft-ish, sixty-one percent merlot, with 15 percent syrah, 10 per cent malbec and three percent cabernet sauvignon and three percent carignane from Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Napa County. The attack is soft and silky with chocolate, raspberry and spicy black cherry fruit that finishes sweet and smooth. Too sweet for us but currently what many young wine drinkers are demanding. Best with super spicy ribs or chocolate bars.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 19.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Il Passo Nerello Mascalese e Nero d'Avola Vigneti Zabutext
86PTS

Il Passo Nerello Mascalese e Nero d'Avola Vigneti Zabu 2012

Sicily, ItalyYou can smell the heat in this wine along with the spice and raisiny undertones. The grape were picked after a warm summer and further dried naturally to reduce about thirty percent of their pick weight. After a pressing and a long maceration it's aged in barrique for six months. Expect a black colour, a sweet black cherry fruit attack with very soft almost silky tannins. Rich sweet rustic southern Italian best served with spicy, meaty pasta dishes.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Tenimenti Zabu SRL
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Trapiche Pure Malbectext
86PTS

Trapiche Pure Malbec 2012

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaJust what we don't need another, middling malbec. In this case the wine is un-oaked hence the "Pure" designation on the label but ironically the wine is slightly dirty or "reduced" on the nose wine with strong underlying savoury leafy notes followed by a smoky, spicy sweet fruit flavour finish. OrdinaryPrices: BC 18.00 MB 17.00 NS 19.00 ON 16.00 SK 20.00 Producer: Trapiche
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Perseus Select Lots Invictustext
87PTS

Perseus Select Lots Invictus 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaInvictus is a 40/21/18/11/10 blend of merlot, malbec, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The nose is resiny with damp earth and scents of dark berries. The attack is weighty with savoury, cedar, menthol notes with black fruit throughout. Young herbaceous and awkward at this moment. Needs time to settle down.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Perseus
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Cassini Cellars Cabernet Franc Collector's Seriestext
88PTS

Cassini Cellars Cabernet Franc Collector's Series 2008

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA solid effort in a cool year which likely contributed to the aromatics that combines cool, dark fruit and leafy notes with hints of candied fruits. The attack is soft with a savoury, black fruit flavours with a subtle dusting of oak. This will improve in the bottle over the next two years but you can drink it now with a grilled steak.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Cassini Cellars
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Cassini Cellars Nobilus Merlot Grand Reservetext
86PTS

Cassini Cellars Nobilus Merlot Grand Reserve 2011

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft forward, spicy, smoky nose with big black raspberry fruit. The palate is soft and resiny with a persistent vanilla flavours punching through the palate and the finish. It a bit too much oak for the rest of the structure and will need some time to dissipate. Serve with beef or lamb if you can't wait.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Cassini Cellars
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25 November 2014

Little Farm Winery Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Little Farm Winery Chardonnay 2013

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe wine opens with an intriguing wild herb and stone, earthy lees and floral thistles. A textured mid-palate hints to the low yields, whole cluster press and partial wild ferment utilized, while the slicing, savoury minerality communicates the chalky, mineral-rich soils. Pressed apple, lees, hazelnuts and citrus unite through the lingering finish. Only 68 cases of the 2013 were produced, so scoop it if you spy it so you can glean a sense of their Similkameen heritage.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Little Farm Winery
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Opawa Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Opawa Pinot Noir 2012

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandOpawa translates as "smoky river", and while there's a hint of light smoked branch in this Marlborough pinot noir, it's not - thankfully - a river's worth. Ripe strawberry jam, sweet raspberry, red currants and herbal twine dominate this juicy, simple and lightly raspy red. A bit of heat on the punchy finish leads me to think this would partner with grilled pork ribs or mushroom ragú.Prices: BC 27.00 ON 25.00 Producer: Nautilus Estate
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Atalon Pauline's Cuveetext
91PTS

Atalon Pauline's Cuvee 2011

Napa Valley, California, United StatesPauline's Cuvee is a rich Napa Valley blend of mostly merlot and cabernet franc with a pinch of cabernet sauvignon with a nod to Bordeaux's Right Bank. The fruit is mix of Stagecoach, Atlas Peak and Coombsville vineyards. The nose is a mix of sweet spices and oak all in a commensurate amount for the depth of fruit. The palate is awash in black cherry, cola and spicy resiny flavours. Dry and showing some restraint this should be an excellent bottle in three to five years. Drink now with grilled meats.Prices: AB 35.00 BC 40.00 Producer: Atalon Winery
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24 November 2014

Villa Locatelli Friulanotext
88PTS

Villa Locatelli Friulano 2013

Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyFrom Friuli-Venezia-Giulia near the Slovenia border this Friulano white is stony fresh and alive offering up a wall of flowers, nectarine skin, citrus, fennel honey and pears on the nose. The attack is equally fresh and bright with more green apple, honey and almond notes. Made for simple seafood dishes may we suggest grilled prawns with a touch of spice.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Tenuta di Angoris
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Kismet Estate Viogniertext
86PTS

Kismet Estate Viognier 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpen ripe nose of white flowers and apricots with dash of ginger. The attack is warm and with some early bitter notes, more ginger and tropical yellow fruits. Powerful to the point of alcoholic with a long warm barley sweet finish. Original style just needs a bit more acidity and freshness.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Smoking Loon Viogniertext
86PTS

Smoking Loon Viognier 2012

California, United StatesIt's been a few years since we lasted tasted this wine and it appears to be a little skinnier and fresher and a little cheaper. The nose is a mix of honeysuckle and orange/pear fruit with a dash of crushed mango and rose oil. The entry is similar with a soft palate and a ripe tropical melon/ passion fruit a dash of spiced orange. Try with spicy chicken or pork dishes.Prices: BC 15.00 AB 17.00 MB 15.00 SK 17.50 ON 16.55 Producer: Don Sebastiani & Sons
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Wild Goose Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Wild Goose Gewurztraminer 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove the evolution of this wine as the fruit quotient is intensified the bitterness reduced and the fun factor upped. Look for litchi, lemon, ginger and rose petal across the palate from front to back with a squeeze of orange. A touch sweet in a good way to fight off a spicy black bean sauce. Balanced friendly delicious.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery
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Wild Goose Gewurztraminer Mystic River Vineyardtext
88PTS

Wild Goose Gewurztraminer Mystic River Vineyard 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Mystic River vineyard gewürztraminer seems a little more stony and mineral but with a more soapy litchi ginger, honey, grapefruit nose. The attack is nimble and light with mineral, lime, litchi, rose water nectarine and baked green apple flavours. Drier and lacking a little intensity; the regular seems more substantial this year.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Wild Goose Vineyards and Winery
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Poplar Grove Viogniertext
89PTS

Poplar Grove Viognier 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother year and another equally fine example from Poplar Grove maybe the best yet. The style is fresh and juicy, plenty of nectarine skin/apricots and orange blossoms. Love the skinny style here with an emphasis on peaches, pineapples, citrus and spice. Classic white for west coast shellfish or pan seared calamari. No wood no malolactic. Drink all year round.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Spier Chenin Blanctext
87PTS

Spier Chenin Blanc 2013

Western Cape, South AfricaThis Stellenbosch-based chenin comes with spicy green apple fruit with bits of nectarine skin. The attack is delicate with juicy, creamy, grapefruit, honey gooseberry flavours with a squeeze of lime rind. Zero oak influence. Balance and finesse make this a great choice for food. Try this with your favourite chicken dish or goat cheese.Prices: BC 12.69 Producer: Spier
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Dunavár Collection Muscat Ottoneltext
85PTS

Dunavár Collection Muscat Ottonel 2012

Mátraalja, HungarySubdued style muscat with fresh ginger, floral, lemongrass peppery notes. The attack is dry with melon guava lime flavours and a dry, slightly bitter finish. Simple dry seafood wine best with buttered clams or calamari. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 11.00 ON 9.00 Producer: Binderer St. Ursula
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21 November 2014

Osoyoos Larosetext
89PTS

Osoyoos Larose 2010

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2010, one of the coolest years ever at Osoyoos Larose has yielded a good if not great wine. The blend this year is dominated by merlot (a good idea) at 67 percent along with 20 cabernet sauvignon six petit verdot four cabernet franc and three malbec. Always restrained there is less muscle in 2010 promoting an earlier drinking date and a softer wine. The fruit is still black with a savoury south Okanagan undercurrent with peppery, coffee black cherry liquorice, meaty olive notes. A very respectable bottle in a tough year. Drink through 2017.Prices: BC 46.00 AB 45.00 ON 45.00 QC 45.00 Producer: Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery
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18 November 2014

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +09/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +09/10 2012

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLook for a big rich spicy, peppery nose with tobacco, mint and smoky vanilla/coffee notes with bits of cassis. The attack is round, smooth and suave, the palate fresh with juicy acidity. More coffee, pepper, black olive, tobacco, black cherry and smoky cedar/black tea flavours mark the flavours. The finish has some youthful tea tannins and oak to diminish but is well balanced overall. A solid effort that will improve with time in the bottle. The '12 Portfolio mixes all five Bordeaux varieties in a 45/25/22/7/1 blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. The 2010 saw some of the wine fermented in oak before spending 19 months in French oak.Prices: BC 45.00 ON 53.00 AB 53.00 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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14 November 2014

Champagne Le Mesniltext
92PTS

Champagne Le Mesnil NV

Champagne, FranceIt's easy to like this classy little bubble that brings purity and complexity to the mix pushing its delicate fruit into the background allowing the minerality and brioche notes to play a prominent role in the bottle. A rare grand cru at this price that easily over delivers in the Champagne category. Gougeres anyone?Prices: BC 50.99 Producer: Champagne Le Mesnil
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Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancstext
88PTS

Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainSparkling, check. Almost all-chardonnay Blanc de Blancs, check. Delicious, check. Inexpensive check and in a stunning white wrap modern package, check. Anna Blanc de Blancs began as Anna Cava three decades ago in 1984. It has since evolved into a super bottle of bubble. Food friendly, stylish and the perfect holiday pour.Prices: BC 15.49 MB 19.00 Producer: Codorníu
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12 November 2014

Bartier-Scholefield B-S Red Table Winetext
87PTS

Bartier-Scholefield B-S Red Table Wine 2008

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom clay soils northeast of Penticton comes this BS Red - a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot. Now with a few years of age, this scented wine opens with fragrant dried black cherry and aged wood. The fruit is wearing down to nubs, but there is gentle dried strawberry and cherry before the finish nips off. If you have in your cellar (like I did) the time to drink is now.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Gamay Noirtext
87PTS

Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Gamay Noir 2012

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery has been a constant fixture in West Kelowna, the grapes for this wine come from their Similkameen Vineyards in Cawston. Huge peppercorn, resin and sappy branch aromas lead off this assertive gamay. Dusky, brooding black cherry and black pepper on the palate, spiked with tart acidity and held together with slightly gummy, ripe tannins. Medium bodied, but ripe-fruited - no gamine gamay. Partner with roast pork or wild mushroom casserole. Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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01 November 2014

Moêt & Chandon Grand Vintage text
93PTS

Moêt & Chandon Grand Vintage 2004

Champagne, FranceThe 70th edition of Moet's vintage champagne now with ten years in the bottle is enticing to say the least. The fruity citrus, white peach, notes are evolving into more complex esters of biscuits, toasted nuts, minerals, pear, citrus and spice. The attack is richer with just enough weight to balance off the bubbles and fruit. A perfect wine for the dinner table to be paired with rich seafood items, white meats and even duck. Drink now or over the next three to five years.Prices: BC 81.00 SK 86.00 QC 84.00 ON 84.00 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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