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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: September 2017

29 September 2017

Laurent Dufouleur Coteaux Bourguignonstext
87PTS

Laurent Dufouleur Coteaux Bourguignons 2014

Burgundy, FranceA pass-tout-grains from Coteaux Bourguignons, this is a blend of gamay and pinot noir. Soft and easy, with cherry gummies, raspberry, subtle cola and a dusting of cinnamon, wrapped with fine, slightly tuggy tannins and finishing with a dark coffee duskiness. Simple, easy and ready to drink, preferably with wild mushrooms or chicken thighs.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Laurent Gauthier
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Sperling Market Redtext
86PTS

Sperling Market Red 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFresh medium-bodied character here with a bright nose of red fruits and minerals streaked with an undercut of baked red fruit, baking spice and minty, dried herbal notes. The palate follows in the same vein with light to medium soft tannins and more black cherry, raisined plum fruit with a toasted oak finish. Ready-to-drink you can serve this with a pizza, cheesy and covered in mushrooms. The 2015 blend is a mix of estate pinot noir and maréchal foch.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Old Vines Fochtext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Old Vines Foch 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuails’ Gate is well known for its old vines foch planted in 1978 in Osoyoos. The hybrid grape named after French World War I hero, General Ferdinand Foch. The nose is curiously reminiscent of the scorched earth notes you get in South African reds. The fruit is fully ripe with strong coffee and ripe plum notes with bits of cran-cherry, leather and edgy acidity. Best served with rich hearty fall dishes accompanied by mushrooms and root vegetables. A splash decant for 30 minutes is always recommended with foch.Prices: BC 25.00 AB 24.99 ON 27.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Old Vines Foch Reservetext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Old Vines Foch Reserve 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Quails’ Gate Maréchal Foch Reserve is a cult wine for some. The fruit comes off the estate vineyard in West Kelowna that was planted fifty years ago. The nose is intense with strong, earthy, baked plum notes. The attack is full-bodied and complexed with earthy twine, acidic, cherry, smoke meats. The palate is lively with an edgy, fresh, smoked branch and bitter coffee/dark chocolate finish. Best with venison.Prices: BC 50.16 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Château des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit St. David's Bench Vineyardtext
88PTS

Château des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit St. David's Bench Vineyard 2016

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaBack in 1982, Château des Charmes' founder Paul-Michel Bosc was pioneering clonal selection research at his vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake. When walking through the vines, he noticed a single gamay noir vine that exhibited some interesting and unique characteristics. Most noticeably to the eye, the vine shoots grew upright (droit is upright in French). This particular gamay produced grapes that ripen about ten days later than standard gamay noir, building higher sugar levels and achieving darker colour. The result is a red wine with more body, alcohol and flavour concentration. Bosc began propagation of this single vine, tending and cultivating it for two decades before he was granted international Plant Breeder's Rights to recognize it as an entirely new vinifera. Thus, gamay noir droit, Canada's first vinifera, was born. Deep, dark earth, black raspberry, twine, sour cherry, smoked wood, forest floor fills this to a warm, cinnamon spiced finish. This can take on shellacked ribs on the grill easily. This is gamine gamay's brooding, bruiser cousin.Prices: ON 19.00 BC 25.00 Producer: Château des Charmes
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Malivoire Small Lot Gamaytext
89PTS

Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2016

Canada#GoGamayGo. Pixellated fruit, raspberry fruit roll ups, cherry gummies, pink peppercorns flow through this lean, streamlined gamay. This is kept aloft with frisky acidity through to a cola finish. Fine tannins to frame. This is an easy, likeable, gamay.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Malivoire
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JoieFarm Gamaytext
88PTS

JoieFarm Gamay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhat a difference a vintage makes. The 2015 JoieFarm Gamay is markedly different than the 2014, with brooding dark fruit, smoked meats, fire smoke overtaking this single vineyard wine, from Naramata Bench's Deep Roots Vineyard. The warm 2015 vintage has propelled this wine into stewed fruits (and 14 percent). Partial destemmed, this underwent MLF in French barrel before ten months in a mix of barriques, puncheons and 30 hL cask before bottling and an eight month rest prior to release. Big and ripe, full with sour cherry, forest campfire smoke and moss, this is juicy on the sweet, smooth, silk palate, with a finely grippy / gritty framework housing. This is a giant, brooding, punchy gamay, ready to take on rabbit or grilled pork. Darker brooding spectrum for gamay.Prices: BC 25.90 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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JoieFarm PTGtext
88PTS

JoieFarm PTG 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf, like winemaker Heidi Noble, you're a Burgundy nut, you'll know that PTG references Passe-Tout-Grains, the underdog classic that combines pinot noir with gamay. Through her BC lens, that is focused down to 70 percent pinot noir (four clones) from Summerland and Naramata with 30 percent Naramata Bench gamay. Juicy black plum, blackberry, brooding black cherry is tumbled with dried sage and peppercorns and framed with dark cocoa-dusted tannins. There's a fine brace of quenching astringency that keeps this ample medium-bodied red bright, despite the weight and density that makes it a partner for duck or pork.Prices: BC 25.90 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Red Slatetext
87PTS

Red Slate 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the cellar. Clean Slate was Lock & Worth before a German winery of the same name sued the Naramata boys over the rights. Don't mess with Germany #NaramataLove. It's been interesting to watch the progression of this winery. This wine was one of their first attempts. 2012 Red Slate is gamay, fermented in neutral open top vessels before resting in neutral oak. Browning in the glass, this is ripe and fleshy plum, wild blackberry, waves of stem and violets, charcoal dust and toasted wood on a soupy, broody palate. I would not peg this as gamay at all, and if you have it in your cellar as I do, drink now with pork.Prices: Producer: Lock & Worth
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Planeta Etna Rossotext
90PTS

Planeta Etna Rosso 2015

Sicily, ItalyThis is entirely nerello mascalese, a grape only found on this tip of Sicily, and bourne from the volcanic soils and altitude of Etna DOC. Sourced from their Feudo di Mezzo winery at 500m altitude, this was fermented in wood vats and stainless, and spent 18 days with the skins before resting in the same for six months. Pretty and fine grained, dusted with stony tannins, violets, wild raspberries, black cherries, salted wild herbs, textured with a pixellated acidity. This contradicts its 14 percent alcohol, with a youthful exuberance that streams it skyward, and encourages cellaring for the next 5+ years.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Planeta
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Biagi Retro Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Biagi Retro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010

Abruzzo, ItalyAt seven years old, there is a still a bright, floral, mineral nose upon opening. Now fully mature it has a wealth of round juicy, red cherry fruit flavours, with bits of spice and forest floor. The balance is perfect now and the textures very friendly; this is ready to open and drink. Try this with veal or a mushroom pasta dish.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Biagi, Azienda Agricola
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Biagi Hypnosis Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Biagi Hypnosis Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007

Abruzzo, ItalyMature nose of worn leather, chestnuts, and mushrooms with just a light touch of black cherry. The palate is soft, rich and round with more black fruit: blackberries and black plums that finish soft and savoury. A lovely, unpretentious red now a decade old you can serve with most anything on a fall menu.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Biagi, Azienda Agricola
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Pirramimma Petit Verdottext
89PTS

Pirramimma Petit Verdot 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaRipe, sweeter blackberry, sarsaparilla, cassis is pierced with peppery thorns and cushy black berry fruit in this generous, perfumed petit verdot, an iconic highlight not just of Pirramimma's portfolio, but a solid benchmark of pv everywhere. Gritty, tuggy tannins hug the plush black fruit, one streaming along the medium-bodied, velvet-lined palate and shown through a filter of anise and violets, and finishing with dark chocolate.Prices: BC 28.49 AB 29.00 ON 24.95 MB 33.49 Producer: Pirramimma
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Torrevento Torre del Falco Nero di Troiatext
87PTS

Torrevento Torre del Falco Nero di Troia 2014

Puglia, ItalyThe fruit comes off the hills of Apulia at 350 – 450 metres above sea level. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel for ten months. The nose is fragrant with a strong black raspberry note. The attack is soft and juicy with round sweet tannins. A classic pizza red or chicken wine. Fine value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Torrevento, Azienda Vinicola
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Evolve Elevate Carmeneretext
87PTS

Evolve Elevate Carmenere 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaElevate is an invitation from the folks at Evolve to share a wine experience with friends. This particular Elevate is a rare one at that with a BC carménère. The nose is classic Evolve-forward, an open and inviting dusty black fruit affair with a hint of baking spices. The palate is a mix of vanilla and red and black fruits flecked with white pepper and cedar. Fun to drink but will improve in the bottle over the next three years. Perfect with olives and sliced meats.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Evolve Cellars
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Vehemencia Menciatext
89PTS

Vehemencia Mencia 2014

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainIt’s been awhile since we last tasted this but we get the same slight reductive notes early on so make sure you splash decant. Again, the attraction is the minerality, earth and liquorice all mixed into a fresh red fruited wine. All hail the mencia grapes. Soft supple and delicious this is red for wine drinkers. You could cellar this for three years or serve it now with grilled lamb or pork.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Enrique Prada
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Losada Bierzotext
90PTS

Losada Bierzo 2015

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainThis my kind of big, red wine, rich and juicy but mineral laden and full of red fruits. It's rich and warm with meaty, smoky, savoury notes. The palate is big and warm but juicy with spicy, vanilla, savoury, black cherry, plum, smoky tobacco and licorice flavours. A blockbuster red you should decant and serve with roasted meats. My choice would be a leg of lamb.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Losada Vinos de Finca
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Stags' Leap Petite Sirahtext
92PTS

Stags' Leap Petite Sirah 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesBetter than ever. I love it when French winemakers make wine in the New World. Faced with overwhelming fruit they manage to get the balance to a point where everyone wins. The petite syrah comes from a handful of very old vines on the estate and from other sites in the north and south of Napa Valley. It’s big and rich but it comes with complexity of flavours, namely black pepper, raspberries and bitter, dark chocolate. The acidity keeps the wine fresh and linear and in this case, there are still some tannins to shed in the back end. Winemaker Christophe Paubert also uses a small but varying mix of syrah, grenache and mourvèdre to add complexity and balance to the blend. First class and you can cellar this more than a decade.Prices: ON 45.00 AB 45.00 BC 46.99 QC 40.50 Producer: Stags' Leap Winery
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28 September 2017

Graffigna Malbectext
89PTS

Graffigna Malbec 2015

San Juan, ArgentinaGraffigna has been around since 1870 and knows a thing or two about higher altitude malbec. In this case the fruit is harvested from Tulum (700m) and Pedernal Valley (1400m) in San Juan. Look for an enticing savoury, earthy, resiny nose that previews a rich black cherry/plum flavoured red with plenty of black fruit in the finish. Whole and balanced with just enough acidity to keep it all fresh, this one is a winner. Lamb or pork chops would be a fine match.Prices: ON 14.00 BC 12.49 Producer: Bodegas y Vinedos Santiago Graffigna
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Van Westen Vineyards Violetatext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Violeta 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe thought the 2013 Violeta (malbec) was cleaner than the previous vintage, with prominent blueberry/black pepper notes on the nose. In 2014 the volume has been amplified by the heat, but it is a good thing. The style remains juicy with earthy black and blue fruits that remain fresh all the way to the end of a prolonged finish. There’s even a touch of complexity. Barbecue chicken is the match here. Drink or hold through 2022. Hey Mendoza, look out.Prices: BC 30.35 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Condor Peak Malbectext
86PTS

Condor Peak Malbec 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaMake no mistake this is cheap stuff but it is soft, round and juicy and what sugar there is balanced off by a rift of acidity. There are bits of pepper and fruity cassis undertones that are ready to drink now. Think grilled meats and red peppers with brown rice on a Monday night. Good value.Prices: BC 10.49 PEI 11.30 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbectext
88PTS

Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaA year down the road this wine is a good example of why you should always age your reds a bit of time in bottle. It’s still juicy and there are no tannins to worry about but the fruit has lost its baby fat and is showing more licorice and violets before the smooth, savoury black fruit finish kicks in. Fine balance and texture makes it food friendly. I suggest a grilled flank steak or a beef stir fry.Prices: BC 18.49 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Tonel 22 Malbectext
86PTS

Tonel 22 Malbec 2014

Mendoza, ArgentinaIn some ways, the current commercial malbec market looks a lot like the Australian shiraz market before it imploded. Sweet and acidic soft and well not very good. The Tonel 22 skates around the edges of that description but succumbs to a sweet and sour finish. It’s basic malbec that is ready to drink, I suggest, with hamburgers.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Bodega Los Toneles
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Colomé Malbec Estatetext
91PTS

Colomé Malbec Estate 2014

Salta, North, ArgentinaColomé has been making wine in the Upper Calchaquí Valley, Salta since 1831. Growing sustainably farmed malbec in a high elevation desert is no easy task. The flagship house wine is a mix of four estate vineyards: La Brava Vineyard (1700m) is known for intense ripe fruit. The Colomé Vineyard (2300m) adds complexity and weight. The El Arenal Vineyard (2700m) is all about freshness and elegance while the Altura Máxima at a stunning 3100m (the highest vineyard in the world) adds the floral and mineral notes. The blend itself is an 85/15 mix of malbec with tannat, cabernet sauvignon and petite verdot aged in French oak, of which only 20 percent is new. Precise, clean, bright, with blackberries, cherries, blackcurrants and raspberries. All of it is checked by a strong mineral floral undercurrent. How good is this wine? Good enough to not be sold in government stores. A T-bone steak is the match.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Grupo Colomé
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TH Wines Malbectext
90PTS

TH Wines Malbec 2016

CanadaFrom a few organic plants on the Golden Mile, Tyler Harlton makes this hauntingly perfumed malbec. In 2016, instead of blending it away, he tossed a bit into a bin for native ferment, before a stint in barrel and then into bottle sans fining or filtration. Perfumed black cherry, wild blueberry, dusky floral plum and pink peppercorns woven throughout the soft, plush core, one easily arced with fine, firm bones. Brisk salts linger on the elongated finish. Tannins are tightly wound but fine and the alcohol is an alluring 12.6 percent. Not just the best BC malbec I've tasted (easy enough to say) but one of my top BC reds I've tasted this year (which is not easy to say). Twenty cases made, and all wine club exclusive, so no retail price to report.Prices: Producer: TH Wines
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Argento Reserva Malbec Organictext
88PTS

Argento Reserva Malbec Organic 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaNot the wine the 2014 is, but still a bargain, at least in Ontario. The colour is deep, the nose is a mix of floral violet aromas. On the palate, the fruit is juicy with dark plum flavours and a svelte texture. The finish is long and textured flecked with white pepper and brown spices. The fruit is 100 percent Mendoza malbec from altitude Luján de Cuyo (Alto Agrelo) and San Carlos (La Consulta).Prices: ON 14.00 NS 16.00 Producer: Bodega Argento
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Bench 1775 Malbec Nouveautext
87PTS

Bench 1775 Malbec Nouveau 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is exactly what the ‘Nouveau” tag suggests it should be. Fresh, juicy, light, and quaffable, and for that we are thankful. Red fruits with a touch of orchard apricot and plenty of fried herbs add some interest to the ripe, juicy, sweet finish. Serve it slightly chilled with a charcuterie plate and watch it disappear quickly.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Pascual Toso Malbectext
86PTS

Pascual Toso Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaEasy, approachable and accessible malbec, both in style (soft, blueberry gummies, perfumed violets, subtle roasted meats, low nubile tannins) and price. The finish is short, but tidy, making this a friendly, value choice for a crowd and a burger party.Prices: AB 13.00 BC 13.49 ON 14.00 QC 14.00 YK 17.20 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vinestext
90PTS

Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis wine continues to improve each year, showing less oak and more terroir, which is never easy when production is large. Look for a floral red fruit nose: always a good sign someone is paying attention in the vineyard and winery. The nose and palate are all violets and plums with some round, rich, textures from back to front. Juicy but solid, the acid works effortlessly to keep the flavours well framed in a cool year. Steak anyone?Prices: BC 23.99 AB 23.63 ON 19.95 NS 24.00 NB 23.29 PEI 24.00 SK 25.99 NF 23.90 MB 23.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Oliver Twist Estate Malbec Proprietor's Reservetext
86PTS

Oliver Twist Estate Malbec Proprietor's Reserve 2013

CanadaThere’s not a lot of malbec in BC and this label illustrates some of the difficulties. The nose is slightly reductive but when it clears off (splash decant for best effect) there are floral, plummy, savoury notes lurking. The palate is similar with confected black fruit and brown spice flavours. Ready to drink with any meat grilled on an open flame.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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Punto Final Malbec Reservatext
87PTS

Punto Final Malbec Reserva 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Punto Reserva is a well-made, drier version of malbec with savoury, caraway, floral, peppery aromas. The attack is soft upfront with just a tug of tannins at the end. The fruit is black but not over the top, with smoky licorice, black cherry and low power with some acidity poking through the finish. Ready to drink, and lamb osso buco would be a fine match. The grapes for the Reserva are predominately from the Los Patos Vineyard in Perdriel, with an average age of the vines is 80 years.Prices: BC 23.49 AB 20.00 MB 27.49 Producer: Bodega Renacer
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Punto Final Malbectext
84PTS

Punto Final Malbec 2016

ArgentinaPleasant and aromatic peppery, black cherry nose with a clean, savoury earthy undertone. The attack is fresh with elevated acidity that dominates the mid-palate, accentuating the light tannins and leaving a mouth puckering finish. Out of synch this year.Prices: AB 14.99 BC 17.49 QC 17.00 Producer: Bodega Renacer
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Renacer Milamoretext
87PTS

Renacer Milamore 2015

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaSweet dusky and downy violets, cassis jam, balsamic jus flow through this amarone-style wine through to a vanilla pod finish. Plush, off-dry and full bodied, this is a blend of malbec, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and bonarda. What this has in impact (a lot!) it lacks in finesse (overt and clunky) at this stage. After harvest, the grapes were placed on drying racks outside, where wind and the elements dried the berries and concentrated the flavours and sugars. Grapes lost approximately 30 percent of their weight in this process. After wild yeast ferment and MLF in French oak barriques, this wine aged for 12 months in new French oak. Alberto Antonini consults on this project, one run by winemaker Pablo Sanchez.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 34.99 MB 36.99 Producer: Bodega Renacer
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27 September 2017

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rougetext
89PTS

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rouge 2014

Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceA fabulous example of bio-dynamically grown fruit at giveaway price. Back up the truck this is a rare bargain and. The earth-friendly Chapoutier red is from Roussillon. Expect a fresh peppery palate with bits of liquorice, black raspberry jam and a wisp of chocolate all in a polished elegant style. This one is for your connoisseur friends. Serve it blind and watch their reaction.Prices: BC 16.00 AB 17.00 QC 16.35 Producer: M. Chapoutier
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Torres Sangre de Toro Garnachatext
87PTS

Torres Sangre de Toro Garnacha 2015

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis is one of the best Sange de Torres I can remember. Juicy, round, slippery, fruity with a twist of dried herbs it’s hard to stop drinking it. Wild blackberries plums and toasted coffee beans all conspire to make this a delicious red wine especially for the price. An intense, warm, succulent palate with an echo of licorice on the finish. Pairs perfectly with stews, wild game, meat paellas and hearty, traditional mountain cuisine. A simple, charming rustic luncheon red perfect for grilled chicken or pork chops.Prices: QC 13.00 BC 14.99 ON 12.95 NB 16.50 SK 15.00 MB 13.49 AB 16.00 YK 16.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Santo Cristo Seleccion Garnachatext
89PTS

Santo Cristo Seleccion Garnacha 2014

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainThe Santo Cristo co-operative has vineyards from Ainzon in the heart of Campo de Borja south to include some high-altitude sites. This area is known for viticulture since the Middle Ages. The Santo Cristo co-op, founded in 1956, is one of the best modern co-ops in Spain. They have 900 hectares of vineyards and 700 member growers but 80 percent of the vineyards belong to just 30 growers helpful in raising the overall quality of the old vineyards. The soils are stony over mineral, iron-rich red clay on limestone bedrock. Garnacha is grenache and in this case it's fermented cool, seeing no oak. The result is a juicy, red-fruited, raspberry/cherry wine with light peppery undertones. The old vines give it some persistence and length that defies its price. Chicken is a perfect match.Prices: BC 17.50 Producer: Santo Cristo
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Stag's Hollow Grenachetext
89PTS

Stag's Hollow Grenache 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJust tasted this impressive grenache alongside a similar styled, old vines Spanish garnacha made from forty-year-old vines. The fruit is darker here and riper but there are similarities, namely the peppery, raspberry, cherry notes. The palate is juicy with bright acidity and that savoury, sagebrush BC undercurrent. In 2016, it’s much more pinot-like as exemplified by its soft tannins. Winemaker Dwight Sick destems the hand-picked, hand sorted fruit and gravity feeds it whole berry into one ton open-topped fermenters and after a 72-hr cold soak he puts in 40 percent, ripe, lignified stems back to the ferments. The ferment is punched down by hand, two to six times daily, and after 10 days it’s pressed directly to 500L French puncheons for six months. A small amount of syrah is added to the blend that is bottled unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Ochota Barrels The Green Room Grenache Syrahtext
92PTS

Ochota Barrels The Green Room Grenache Syrah 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaTasted last two years along, there are still a few bottles of Ochota Barrels on BCLS shelves post Vancouver Wine Festival a few years back when Oz was the theme region. Taras Ochota's aim is to express old vine, single vineyard sites as naturally as possible. Raspberry leather, forest berries, dried violets and black plum gracefully filter through this 88/13 grenache/syrah. Eighty year old grenache is whole bunch pressed and spends ample time on the skins providing a fine, deep texture. A generous dusting of white and black peppercorns season the finish. Acidity shines fine but bright, while mellow tannins throw a light rasp on the frame. Alcohol is a welcome 12.8 percent. Winemaker Ochota is one of the lead nonconformists of Adelaide Hills and the Australian wine industry.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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M. Chapoutier Marius Grenache Syrahtext
87PTS

M. Chapoutier Marius Grenache Syrah 2016

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceMarius is a blend of grenache and syrah from Languedoc-Roussillon. Michel Chapoutier named the wine after his grandfather, Marius, and then went about making a delicious drinking red. An intriguing mix of juicy, crushed red and black berries, a sprinkle of savoury garrigue makes this a soft, dark red and easy sipping wine for unpretentious dinners. Food-friendly and ready to drink, serve this with your favourite rustic chicken dish.Prices: QC 13.55 Producer: M. Chapoutier
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Guigal  Côtes du Rhônetext
88PTS

Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2013

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceCôtes du Rhône may not be the flagship red at Guigal but it's the money-maker and reliable and they produce a lot of it. The blend is 50/45/5 syrah/grenache and mourvèdre. It is said they ultimately select one out of every hundred lots they taste. The 2013 is a solid bottling of dried, floral cherry fruit, pepper, black olives and a hint of meatiness. It’s classic Côtes du Rhône with a little extra lift. Rich and round you can confidently cellar this for another five years. A perfect match for lamb osso buco.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 21.00 ON 19.95 QC 19.25 Producer: E. Guigal
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Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riservatext
89PTS

Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2013

Sardinia, ItalyCannonau is the Sardinian grape said to be the forerunner of grenache. In this wine, it is grown on clay and sandy soils. The nose is fresh in the Mediterranean way, showing warmth and intense plummy/raspberry fruit. The palate shows a touch of weight with a juicy, dry, savoury, cherry flavour and just a touch of Brett. The grapes are aged for two years in large Slavonian oak barrels before spending several more months in bottle. Good value.Prices: BC 21.29 AB 20.50 MB 19.90 Producer: Sella & Mosca
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La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux Rougetext
87PTS

La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux Rouge 2015

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThey say that magnums (1500ml) are in, but were they ever out? Here’s a barbecue red that will turn heads all night because it's fun to drink and the bottle is, well big. This Ventoux red slides down with ease, mixing carignan, cinsault, grenache and syrah. Fresh and juicy, with light tannins, it is a grilled beef slayer—and it is under screwcap. Best of all is the price in magnum at $18.99 or 9.50 per bottle. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 12.49 AB 13.00 ON 11.30 QC 13.50 NF 14.00 QC 13.30 MB 12.75 BC 18.99 1500 Producer: Famille Perrin
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Alaya Tierra Old Viinestext
88PTS

Alaya Tierra Old Viines 2014

Almansa, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainCalifornia meets Spain in this super rich garnacha tintorera red made with old vine fruit grown at 1000 meters above sea level over limestone/sandy soils. Expect a big, super ripe, raisiny-flavoured red with some spicy oak to add to its weight and power. The 2014 clocks in at 16 percent alcohol which becomes the focus of the long, warm aftertaste. As big as it is, it will have an appeal to a certain crowd who love ginormous reds. Personally, an earlier pick might be in order here to better express the terroir.Prices: BC 40.99 Producer: Vinas Familia Gil
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26 September 2017

Van Westen Vineyards Vivacioustext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivacious 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 vintage sees a return to a fresher style in this 96/4 mix of pinot blanc and pinot gris. The attack is juicy yet honeyed and rich with some 30 percent of the pinot blanc barrel fermented in used French oak. The finish is a juicy, citrus, pear affair with dusting of dried herbs. Vivacious is home-grown on the Home Lot Vineyard right on the Naramata Bench. Curried chicken would be a fine match.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Sperling Market Whitetext
88PTS

Sperling Market White 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLow alcohol—check. Fresh fruity nose—check. Dry refreshing citrus palate with red apple and grapefruit flavours that remains lively through the finish—check. Fund to drink—check. Dim sum—check. This what a simple aromatic white should be all about. Good value—double check.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Il Poggione Bianco di Toscanatext
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Il Poggione Bianco di Toscana 2016

Tuscany, ItalyIf you're ready for a change from pinot grigio, this IGT Toscana white is blend of 70/30 vermentino/chardonnay in stainless to preserve the crisp, bright fruit. Green apple, melon, Asian pear, perfumed lemon blossom on the clean, simple palate. Drink now, preferably with kale salad.Prices: BC 15.75 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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Angiolino Maule Masieritext
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Angiolino Maule Masieri 2016

Veneto, ItalySo delicious, this garganega (with ten percent trebbiano second pass grapes) is only produced in magnum. #Respect. Herbal meadow blossoms stream throughout this textural wine, filtering through earthy lees, lemon, almonds, pear skin and over a bed of river stones to a snappy finish. From volcanic soils and low-intervention farming, this was stainless fermented with no added sulphites and no filtration at bottling. Effortless, with presence, yet smashable, this is brilliant value.Prices: BC 46.00 1500 Producer: La Biancara Di Angiolino Maule
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Terravista Figarotext
90PTS

Terravista Figaro 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWho knew roussanne and viognier from the Naramata Bench would emerge one of the iconic wines of BC? Seems Senka and Bob Tennat did. Perfumed peach, tangerine, apricot fuzz, lime pith, mandarine blossoms on the medium bodied palate, intense with potency, but restrained with elegance. The whole is brightened with a sunny orange citrus acidity to a spicy, gingerbread finish. Impressive, and with some years ahead.Prices: BC 24.00 AB 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Biagi Ashe Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
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Biagi Ashe Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2013

Abruzzo, ItalyAshé is a 60/10 mix of trebbiano/chardonnay grown at a small, ten-year-old vineyard in Colonnella, a town in the Abruzzo region of eastern Italy. The colour is light yellow and showing some age. The nose is a mix of ripe apples, yellow fruits and almonds that spill across the palate. Old school but lively and a perfect foil to fresh seafood.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Biagi, Azienda Agricola
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Liv Vinho Verdetext
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Liv Vinho Verde 2015

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe Liv Vinho Verde is made with avesso and arinto from the sub-region of Baiao on granitic soils. The vineyard work is done sustainably while the cellar work is based on minimal intervention. It is fermented in stainless steel to retain a fresh style. The palate is a mix of candied citrus flavour, with a touch of stony minerality. A perfect wine for spicy sushi. Vegan friendly. Fair value.Prices: BC 13.49 Producer: A&D Serve Investimentos Ltda
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Domaine de L'Olivette Blanc Organictext
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Domaine de L'Olivette Blanc Organic 2016

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceLight, bright, shining organic blend of grenache blanc and marsanne from the Languedoc. Chateau de Caraguilhes is one of the leading long-time proponents of organic viticulture in Languedoc. Bright lemon, green apple, light stone on a subtle, slim frame, finishes with fresh river stone wash. If you're looking for a light, lithe white to pour with clams or simple shrimp, here you go. Excellent value.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Château de Caraguilhes
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Blue Grouse Quill Off Dry Whitetext
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Blue Grouse Quill Off Dry White 2016

CanadaThis 52/48 gewürztraminer/schönburger blend presents as you might expect. Floral, litchi, green apple notes fade into an off-dry wine with peach/resiny fruit flavours with a honeyed Alsace-style finish. Solid effort here and good respect for the fruit. Try this with a favourite curry or an older cheese.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Baron de Ley Rioja Blancotext
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Baron de Ley Rioja Blanco 2016

Rioja, SpainA plastic cork on a white Rioja. Why? Don't do that folks. This is a full, glycerol-slicked blend of virua and malvasia. Ripe pear, musk melon, yellow plum, yellow apple is scented with meadow flowers on the soft, lighter palate. Simple and easy.Prices: QC 14.30 Producer: Baron de Ley
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25 September 2017

Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franctext
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Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpen, spicy, oaky nose with some meaty, leathery notes coming from this old vine (40 years) cabernet franc. Smoky cherry fruit with that signature savoury Okanagan sagebrush over a mix of earthy, tobacco cooked black fruits. Rich, soft and ready to drink.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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TH Wines Cabernet Franctext
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TH Wines Cabernet Franc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTyler Harlton has been dialling back extraction and intervention on all his reds, and his efforts are paying off in this finessed southern Okanagan red from the hot 2015 vintage (this is still 14.5 percent). This is sourced from two vineyards, one in Osoyoos and one in Oliver. It's certainly ripe and plush, showing perfumed black plum with darts of violets, anise, blackberry on the sculpted palate. Tannins are sueded, and lined with pepper. Think of a ballerina: muscular poise. Mostly destemmed, this ticks away at ferment for a couple of weeks before being pressed into neutral French oak. A lovely foil for roasted lamb with rosemary, and will certainly cellar for the short term.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: TH Wines
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Two Sisters Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Two Sisters Cabernet Franc 2013

Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaDeep, dark and brooding, with stewed plum, star anise, cherry compote, herbed branch, and smoked meats filling the full, fleshy palate. Tannins are structural, but sanded, with a rush of cinnamon warmth on the finish that lingers. This muscular cab franc rested two years in French wood, 15 percent new. This is a richer, darker style of cab franc, but one that works, and works with beef tenderloin. Open in advance, or decant now.Prices: ON 50.00 Producer: Two Sisters Vineyards
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Fielding Estate Cabernet Franctext
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Fielding Estate Cabernet Franc 2015

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaIs cabernet franc Canada's signature red? Certainly one of them. From Lincoln Lakeshore's Telford Road Vineyard, this was punched down daily, gently pressed to French oak where it spent over one year before bottling without fining or filtration. Perfumed raspberry, dark cherry, cola and cinnamon spicing fill out this fine, firm structure, one joyous with juicy acidity. A slick of salts closes out the finish. Well handled and a choice foil for pulled pork.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Fielding Estate Winery
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Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
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Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother solid wine and in such a warm year; kudos to the team who kept the fruit lively and in line. This fallow site was replanted in the early 1990s at N 49˚ 06.890’. With more than 20 years of age the vineyard is beginning to strut its stuff. Only 20 percent new oak has freed up the fruit to shine. Plenty of perfumed black fruit and sagebrush mark the nose and palate with some medium rough tannins still to shed. Mint lingers on the finish, which is a pleasant touch. A year or two in bottle is required before it shows its ultimate potential. Grilled lamb works for the moment.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Black Sage Vineyard
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Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franctext
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Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTinhorn CEO Sandra Oldfield was the first champion of cabernet franc in the Okanagan Valley, a grape that has come to distinguish itself among province's top reds. This is from Tinhorn’s 18-year-old Diamondback Vineyard, east across the valley, on the Black Sage Bench. Partial whole berry and partial native ferment is followed by 18 months in a mix of French, Hungarian and American oak before blending and bottling. Dusky cassis, blackberry, dark cherry, bittersweet chocolate and espresso fill the juicy, oak covered palate, one clipped in with gritty, grippy tannins. This shows its youth through rusticity, and is best tamed with lamb or beef shank.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicellatext
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Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2012

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFrom grapes harvested in various hilly clay/limestone vineyards (Mezzane and Tregnago hills) across Valpo, this is a blend of corvina, corvinone, rondinella, rossignola, oceleta, negara and dindarella vines averaging 20 years in age. The grapes are racked and dried for four months before a gentle press, a two month ferment and a three year stay in Slavonian oak and a six month stint in bottle after blending, bottling. Leathery blackcurrant and ripe plum is imbued with a twiney thread and tarry undercurrent which seasons the full, potent core through to a humming and lengthy finish. The heft (not negligible at 16 percent) is surprisingly lifted with a wispy cloud of acidity and bracketed with gritty tannins. A serious lens to modern Amarone Classico, a wine that has often become a caricature. Lay this down.Prices: BC 48.99 AB 50.00 ON 40.00 QC 45.50 Producer: Tedeschi
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Santi Amarone della Valpolicella Classicotext
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Santi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyOld school, old wood, aged worn edges lead into this amarone, one benefitting from a little time in bottle to tame the potency of the concentration. A blend of corvina, rondinella, and molinara, this is intense and dense smoked figs, blackberry jam, kirsch, prunes, clove, leather and boozy fruitcake. The supple palate is full and sweet, housed with dusky, dusty wood tannins to a flaming hot finish (16 percent). Pour with saucy leg of lamb and couscous to absorb.Prices: BC 44.95 Producer: Da Santi SPA
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23 September 2017

Tinjas del Maule Viejo Feo Sauvignon Blanc Villa Alegretext
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Tinjas del Maule Viejo Feo Sauvignon Blanc Villa Alegre 2017

Maule, Valle del Claro, Valle del Maule, Region del Valle Central, ChileThis is a pleasant herbal-scented sauvignon blanc blending a bit of Sancerre with a lot of New Zealand. Fresh and floral with a touch passionfruit. What it lacks in intensity it gives back in drinkability and freshness. Good value. Try this with steamed mussels or fresh goat cheese. Viña Tinajas del Maule Winery was founded in 1997 when the Mena Undurraga family acquired old, established vineyards in the town of Villa Alegre in the Maule Valley of Chile. The existing vineyards and adobe buildings and oak casks that dated back to 1918 were all updated while stainless steel tanks for vinification and bottling was installed.Prices: BC 11.49 Producer: Tinjas del Maule
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Time Sauvignon Blanctext
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Time Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt Time the sauvignon is barrel-fermented placing it on the creamy, softer style. What the barrel ferment adds in complexity is shaved off by the riper fruit that seems more prominent after the barrel ferment than any biting acidity. Still all-in-all this is a good alternative to the many skinny competitors in the market. Ready-to-drink and perfect for an avocado or Santa Fe chicken salad.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Evolve Sauvignon Blanctext
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Evolve Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFresher than 2015 with bright, tropical fruit notes leading the way but still very much on the softer side of sauvignon with more orange than citrus flavours upfront and a ripe melon-flavoured finish with just a hint of rind-y bitterness. Easy to sip and best with a touch of spicy food. Ready-to-drink.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Evolve Cellars
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Desert Hills Sauvignon Blanctext
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Desert Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is an interesting bottle. Dry and green (sagebrush) on entry with a just ripe gooseberry/guava middle palate and a somewhat dry, woolly ending. The fruit is all-Osoyoos grown at Sira’s Vineyard on the banks of Lake Osoyoos. Well done for such a warm site and will be perfect for a variety of seafood sushi rolls and fresh goat cheese.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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22 September 2017

Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Beringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). In 2013 the mix is 89/6/3/2/ cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot. The grapes are harvested lot by lot and vinified and aged separately prior to the blend. It’s all aged for 14 months in 23 percent new French oak. This is a richer, warmer blockbuster style with cassis and blackberry fruit dominating on the nose and palate. Warm and powerful it is more Napa than Sonoma this year. Still youthful with considerable tannin yet to shed, some will drink this now but not me. If you must open a bottle make sure you have some rare T-bone steaks for dinner.Prices: BC 42.99 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Beringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). The 2014 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a anomaly in this six tasting set. Big, spicy and sweet is the moniker of this wine that lacks the substance and general gravitas exhibited in every vintage since 2010. Warm and earthy with leafy, sweet cherry fruit that dominates the nose and palate. The finish is short and fruity but again with a sweetness that seems uncharacteristic. Winemaker Mark Beringer is ageing his wine in French oak barrels (25 percent new) for 16 months. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 45.99 AB 35.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Ventisquero Glacier Grey Single Block Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Ventisquero Glacier Grey Single Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Apalta Valley, Santa Cruz, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileClassic Chilean style cabernet with cassis, tobacco, licorice root, olive aromas. The attack is similar with an herbal, sappy, menthol coffee chocolate flavour base. It’s a touch rustic but otherwise a solid red best served with grilled meats to ameliorate some of the herbal licorice notes.Prices: On 19.95 Producer: Viña Ventisquero
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Berringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). Never a blockbuster, the Knight’s Valley treads the line between elegant and rich which makes sense given its physical position between Sonoma and Napa Valley. Bits of currant, resin and rich, black cherry fruit marks the nose and palate. The wine is warm and spicy on entry with more black fruit and dark chocolate but it is never overwhelming. Heading toward its peak today but still has few years left in the bottle. The finish is mix of leather and cherries with light but still sticky tannins. Best with a grilled steak and salad.Prices: BC 45.99 AB 35.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Beringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). Minerality isn’t a word we use much in reference to California Cabernet Sauvignon but it comes into play with this 2010 Knights Valley offering from Beringer. The nose and palate are awash in black fruit and power but the wine is more elegant than anything. Licorice, menthol, sagebrush, graphite and more fleck the wine from front to back. Perfectly vibrant at seven years old with an opulent texture this should be a winner for another decade and beyond. There is enough finesse here to work with duck. The blend is 93 percent cabernet sauvignon, 4 percent merlot and 3 percent cabernet franc.Prices: BC 45.99 AB 35.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Beringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). I love the cooler years in California (remember the cool term is relevant) when the fruit is a hint red and more floral on the nose. It’s a wonderful counterpoint to the rich blackcurrant that may be as pure as it's ever been in this label in 2011. The palate is soft and round with sweet milk chocolate, coffee notes and smoky spicy licorice. The mid-palate is about as herby as it gets for California, with tobacco and a touch of tomato leaf marking the dense, dark flavoured fruit. The tannins are still a bit grippy. Lamb would be a fine match for dinner.Prices: BC 45.99 AB 35.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is one of six notes written during a Late September vertical of Beringer’s Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from 2009-2014. Beringer has been harvesting grapes from Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s. The narrow valley is almost a bridge AVA between Napa and Sonoma famous for its cobbled alluvial soils. The Knights Valley designation first appeared on a Beringer label in 1974 and the company was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 when it was designated an American Viticulture Area (AVA). Attractive, enticing, easy drinking at an earlier stage all describes the Knights Valley style. A rich mix of blueberries and blackberries with cherry cola before a leaner, resiny, mineral, savoury, tea character takes over in the finish. Still youthful and frankly a bit angular, this will be worth waiting for up to 2020. A remarkable effort for a wine that is at the 80,000 - 100,000 case count these days.Prices: BC 45.99 AB 35.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Pérez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reservatext
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Pérez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014

Alto Maipo, Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChilePotent and driving VA opens this dense cabernet sauvignon from Alto Maipo. Roasted onions, roasted meats, rubber, shellack, with soft tannins lined with grippy and gritty sides to a warming finish. There is a bright lift of acidity, which was welcome. Could I tell this was cab sauv right away? Not really. Could I tell it was old school Chile? Si. Best with your grilled meats BBQ.Prices: BC 15.49 ON 14.95 QC 17.85 Producer: Perez Cruz
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21 September 2017

TH Wines Pinot Noirtext
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TH Wines Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's been years since I've tried Tyler Harlton's (TH) wines, so I was pleased to taste through a few recently. Tyler has a tiny, garagiste winery in Summerland, with small-scale, hands-on and expressive wines. Not very much is made, and what is released is very quickly snapped up by those in the know (hence, my lengthy gap in trying). The 2014 pinot, not current release, was sourced from a cooler facing vineyard just north of Oliver. silky and smooth, with a smoked pipe tobacco frame housing cherry jam, perfumed black plum, earth, twine, black pepper. There's a balsamic swing on the finish. Ripe and round, this reminds me of cooler Cali.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: TH Wines
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JoieFarm Pinot Noirtext
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JoieFarm Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the better Joie pinots we have tasted with its smoked berries, forest floor, black cherries and black currants in what is a fuller, darker, brooding pinot noir. Toasted wood and earthy spice filters throughout, buffered by the tar-tuggy sides and brightened with tomato-tinged acidity. Three vineyards (Naramata, Summerland and Penticton) and three clones are used. The ferment is open top and pressed into barrel for ten months in a mix of 25hl casks, puncheons and barriques, with the thirty percent new wood adding the firm toast. One year in bottle prior to release has softened the wood, but it's still enough to call out for skirt steak or grilled pork ribs at this point. Solid.Prices: BC 25.90 AB 35.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Pinot Noirtext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe reserve is all dark cherry, wild cassis and inky plum fruit flavours but in a finessed, stately elegant manner with layers of wispy smoke, delicate exotic jasmine and star anise spicing. There is even a pinch of savoury cured meats woven throughout the ripe palate. Two vineyards (Naramata and Summerland) and nine clones are drawn from, destemmed into open top fermenters and pressed off into barrel for eight months (twenty percent new) before bottling and a years' rest prior to release. Riper style, and handled excellently. Cellar for a few years, or enjoy with duck confit or wild fowl and wild mushrooms now. Best yet.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noirtext
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Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe red currant, cherry, peppery raspberry fruit sits on a savoury cherry-leather palate. Salt dried sage and thyme season the a pinot framed with nubby tannins and lingering with nutmeg and bergamot. We call it pinot noir for merlot lovers or Carneros pinot freshened with BC acidity? Perfect with duck or smoked salmon dishes. The fruit comers off Tinhorn vineyards on both the Black Sage Bench and Golden Mile Bench that spend 18 months additional time in bottle (2014 is current release). Made in two parts: one was 30 percent whole cluster, native ferment in open top fermenter; the second was destemmed and fermented in closed tanks with cultivated yeast. A mix of punch downs and pump-overs before partial aging in new French oak before blending and bottling. A fine effort.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir Vintner's Reservetext
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Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir Vintner's Reserve 2015

California, United StatesMore of an introductory style pinot noir but perfect for the curious, new to the heartbreak grape. The nose is a mix of dry, spicy strawberry fruit, with mostly smooth, juicy, strawberry, peppery forest floor fruit that finishes medium long with a touch of rusticity. A simple, well-made pinot for grilled chicken or salmon.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 25.00 PEI 27.00 NB 30.00 ON 25.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Parker Station Pinot Noirtext
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Parker Station Pinot Noir 2015

Central Coast, California, United StatesA blend of pinot noir fruit from Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara that is friendly warm and ripe without crossing the super commercial line. The nose is fragrant with ripe Bing cherry notes and bits of raspberry and strawberry that preview a sweet, black plum mid-plate with brown spices and vanilla finish. Try this with a simple chicken pasta dish.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 19.99 Producer: Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard
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19 September 2017

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcinotext
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2011

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyBrunello di Montalcino is sangiovese from the town of Montalcino, in Tuscany, near Siena, and this wine is from vines 20+ years old, aged in French oak for three years and then bottle aged. This is an intense, pointed wine, with precison focus on black cherry, tobacco, cured leather and ample brown spice. Tannins are grippy, gritty, sinewy and work to frame the intensity and expansion here, still powerful six years on. Salt roasted walnuts linger on the grippy finish. The 2011 is more severe than the 2012, but with an air of refinement that's hard to mimic. Drink now with rabbit or pork tenderloin.Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcinotext
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Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyDid you know that in 1980 Brunello di Montalcino was awarded the first Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation? No worries, just find some and figure out for yourself why. Brunello di Montalcino is sangiovese from the town of Montalcino, in Tuscany, near Siena. This is filled with leathery, brown spices, tobacco, medicinal black cherry, dried petals and dried plum, with ample salty spices and a thread of bacon fat that beds the palate. Tannins are huge, expected at this point and after three years in wood, and present as firmly grippy. This has all of the warm 2012 generosity, plus the wisdom of the oldest vines of the estate. Decant and drink now, but better saved for five years down the road (with rabbit or long-braised lamb).Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
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Ruffino Il Ducaletext
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Ruffino Il Ducale 2014

Tuscany, ItalySmoked meats, singed cassis and a flush of mint open this blend of sangiovese, merlot and syrah from Ruffino's La Solatia estate, one known for its galestro soils, and with vineyards approximately 250-350m altitude. A ten day ferment, followed by another week on the skins preceded MLF and one year in oak (mix of new and old). This is a modern, polished and medium bodied blend, slick on the palate with cherry jam, more minty eucalyptus, roasted meats, grilled onions and black pepper. If your'e doing fire roasted beef and want something to match, here you go.Prices: BC 18.49 NS 23.00 NF 23.00 Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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18 September 2017

Mélodie de Gustave Fouassiertext
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Mélodie de Gustave Fouassier 2004

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceI love aged Sancerre. With a decade on, the wine changes completely, showing honeyed, salted stones and an elasticity on the savoury palate, reminiscent of some aged chenin, or semillon. So when I found this 2004 (current release) Sancerre from iconic biodynamic family producer Fouassier on the shelves of my local private liquor store, I bought some. From 40+ year old vines, this was fermented and aged in oak barrels for ten months. Pouring a deep golden hue, the maturity is evident, drawing alluring savoury mushroom, white asparagus dried orange peel and truffled honey along the fuller bodied, generous palate that grows as the wine warms and expands in the glass. Lovely hint of smokey salts on the finish. This cuvee is drinking well now, so if you find (or have in your cellar), tap into it and taste sauvignon blanc like you've never known it.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Domaine Fouassier Pere et Fils
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Calliope Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2016

British Columbia, CanadaCrisp lemon, meadow, thistle in this lean and nimble sauvignon blanc, a highlight of the Calliope portfolio. White grapefruit pith leaps across the palate, lit with passionfruit, orange rind and subtle jasmine. Chill well and enjoy this summer.Prices: BC 17.00 AB 34.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandWe are not overly impressed with this edition, a somewhat severe example of sauvignon with a skinny, aggressive, acidic, passionfruit flavoured profile. Mouth-puckering mid-palate with more aggressive citrus notes and a short finish that calls for food to balance the palate. Try this with a creamy seafood pasta.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Jackson Estate Ltd
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Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Haywire Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of BC (Canada's) singular wines, this is a sauvignon blanc from Summerland's Waters & Banks vineyard, but it's not about the grape. Savvy is just a vessel for transmitting the site that Pedro Parra, Alberto Antonini and Matt Dumayne have analyzed as worthy. Whole bunch pressed, native ferment in concrete tanks for seven months on gross lees, without racking. White asparagus, lemon thistle, elderflower, large flake salts filter throughout the creamy base, scented with grilled fennel, medicinal white cherry and lingering with a persistent minerality. Challenging perhaps, but rewarding definitely, this is one to seek out and geek out (or cellar).Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 sauvignon is picked and fermented in nine separate lots to allow for a spectrum of flavours and acidity in the finished wine. In 2016, a near perfect white wine vintage, this features a bright citrus mix of gooseberries, green melon and white peaches. The palate is fresh and the finish is crisp calling for simply prepared steamed clams or mussels. There is no sémillon in this year’s edition leaving it laser crisp for those sunny patio parties.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2015

British Columbia, CanadaSauvignon and sémillon have been blended for ages in Bordeaux which is the recipe for this wine. In an age of skinny sauvignon blanc this barrel-fermented and aged white is a softer, smoother offering that plays on elegance and complexity, the latter to come with age in the bottle. The nose is fresh with citrus, lime rind, guava and grapefruit aromas and flavours that tumble onto its rich palate. Would we like a bit more acidity, who wouldn’t on 2015, but the it’s the layers of flavours that make this wine. The finish is all Similkameen with a salty/mineral undertone. Most sea-food works here but so too will roast chicken or pork. Drink through 2020.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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15 September 2017

Goats do Roam (Red)text
86PTS

Goats do Roam (Red) 2015

South AfricaNew World wine? Fairview Cellars was established in 1693. That's right. This is a blend of shiraz, grenache, mouvedre, petit syrah, carignan, cinsault from Paarl, aged in tanks and barrels. Ripe, juicy and smooth, this medium bodied, easy-drinking red carries smoked meats, cherries and stewed cassis to a short, clipped finish. There's a driving level of VA and some reduction brewing underneath the surface of this screwcapped wine which detract. That said, partnership with smokey beef ribs will mitigate.Prices: BC 15.00 AB 14.90 SK 15.33 MB 14.00 Producer: Fairview
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Johnny Q Shiraztext
85PTS

Johnny Q Shiraz 2014

South Australia, AustraliaSweet and dense with brown sugar, blueberries, blackberry pie, this is an old school Aussie shiraz. Easy and simple, fruit driven and thick, with oaken vanilla, intense berry jam and a flush of cinnamon heart spiced heat on the finish.Prices: Producer: Quarisa Wines
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Woolshed Shiraztext
86PTS

Woolshed Shiraz 2015

AustraliaRubber and tar filters throughout this old school Aussie shiraz, labeled solely as "Wine of Australia". Thick blackcurrants, cassis, black plum is all lifted with a sell of acidity, but plummets to a shorter finish.Tannins are a bit gummy, and the reductive note grows the longer this is in the glass. Try with burgers for best results.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Wingara Wine Group
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Lang Vineyards Syrahtext
88PTS

Lang Vineyards Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe wine is opaque on the way from bottle to glass. The nose is lifted with sweet florals over a meaty undercurrent. The entry is super ripe with rich blueberry compote, a touch of cracked pepper and a dense, soft, sweet tannin finish. A solid effort that speaks to warm vintage and earlier drinking. Lamb chops or grilled pork would be a good match.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Wallace by Ben Glaetzer Shiraz Grenachetext
90PTS

Wallace by Ben Glaetzer Shiraz Grenache 2015

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaIntense plum and blueberry fruit scents on the nose roll across the palate, one covered in silk and spice. Rich raspberry jam, orange peel, black cherry and menthol with a smoky, licorice finish. Amazingly juicy but with balance and purity reflecting its old vine heritage. The fruit is an all-Barossa mix of 78 percent shiraz and 22 percent grenache. The ancient dry-farmed vineyards are in the Ebenezer district grown by third and fourth generation Barossa grape growers. The very best, non-grafted bush vines are now 80-110 year old.Prices: AB 28.95 BC 30.99 ON 26.00 Producer: Glaetzer Wines Pty Ltd
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Road 13 Syrahtext
87PTS

Road 13 Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet, ripe violets, blueberries, blackberry pie in this ripe and full syrah, sourced from Okanagan and Similkameen. The floral violet musk pervades the entire wine, leading the blue/black fruit, furry tannins and smoked peppery finish. Syrah is joined by viognier, roussane, mourvedre, partially co-fermented, before time in wood. Not shy, this is a hedonistic syrah for drinking now.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Road 13
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14 September 2017

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianzatext
88PTS

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainTempranillo with a classic top up of garnacha and graciano. Love the nose here, an earthy mix of cherries flecked with floral notes. The attack is juicy with lively red fruits and spice with a warm, spicy, but modern, clean finish. Eighteen months in older American oak frames the fruit but doesn’t cover it. Pizza, burgers, chicken kebabs will all work here.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bodega Classica (Vintae)
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Ciumes Garnacha Rosétext
85PTS

Ciumes Garnacha Rosé 2015

SpainRustic, ripe and ready, this is a deeper hued rosé of garnacha from Spain. A reductive swing and noticeable bump of sugar make this extra-punchy to the short, hot finish. Well chilled, this might have a chance with your tuna burgers this summer.Prices: BC 10.00 Producer: Bodegas Milenium
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Baron de Ley Varietales Gracianotext
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Baron de Ley Varietales Graciano 2014

Rioja, SpainThis is an all graciano rioja from the Baron de Lay Varietales series. Back in the day graciano and mazuelo were routinely found in Rioja blends but graciano has fallen out of favour over the years in the same way malbec has disappeared from Bordeaux. Look for a fun combination of black fruit and bright acidity flecked with dried herbs and a touch, but not too much, vanilla. It spends 12-15 months in wood but remains juicy and bright with light tannins. A perfect wine for lamb chops.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Baron de Ley Rioja Rosadatext
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Baron de Ley Rioja Rosada 2016

Rioja, SpainDay-glo pink, this is a glycerol-lined, short, stunted blend of tempranillo and garnacha from the estate's Mendavia vineyards. Candied berries, cherry jam and sweet spice slide along a generous dose of sugar on the plump palate. Old school, down to the plastic cork.Prices: BC 26.90 ON 14.95 Producer: Baron de Ley
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reservatext
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Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Reserva 2012

SpainAt a mellow five years, this rioja is beginning to show its stuff. Still a touch youthful with juicy rich red fruit with spicy, clean, plummy flavours. The tannins are dense but light and the acidity keeps it fresh and helps to reveal a touch of minerality in the back end. A snappy mix of mostly tempranillo with bits of graciano, and garnacha. Drink now with lamb or pork or cellar for five years. Good value.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 17.95 Producer: Bodega Classica (Vintae)
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Cliotext
89PTS

Clio 2014

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainThis is a Parker wine, big, powerful red and ripe. It’s a 70 percent old vine monastrell and 30 percent cabernet sauvignon that is barrel-aged for 24 months in French and American oak. The attack is warm spicy and fruity—blueberry and blackberries to be specific - then long, warm and smooth throughout the back end. There is plenty of sweet vanilla and mocha but the wine is surprisingly in balance with the rest of the components. There are some tannins here so you could wait another three years to open this or serve it now with a big piece of meat.Prices: BC 60.89 Producer: Vinas Familia Gil
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Dominio de Pingus Ψ PSItext
92PTS

Dominio de Pingus Ψ PSI 2013

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainHaving successfully created Dominio de Pingus in Valladolid, Peter Sisseck enjoyed worldwide fame along with its two main wines: Pingus and its second wine, Flor de Pingus. Psi Pingus Ψ is described as Sisseck’s give back wine. Named after the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet (Ψ) it has come from working with farmers to upgrade their vineyards so they can achieve better financial gain. The project began in 2006, and after years of work a select group of farmers have turned their old vine tempranillo plots around using biodynamic and organic farming practices. The wine is made by Sisseck and Pablo Rubio in large concrete vats before it is aged in wooden tanks and oak barrels. Quietly enticing with floral red fruit, licorice and spice, all quietly contained. Its main attraction is the silky, deftly light temperate tannins that carry the quiet savoury anise and cassis flavours. Elegance and minerality; it’s my favourite combination.Prices: BC 51.00 Producer: Dominio de Pingus
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Riojatext
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Rioja 2013

Rioja, SpainWinemaker Alvaro Palacios is on a rampage, redefining Spanish wine by maximizing Spain's rich selection of spare terroir, and cutting back on the use of oak. The 2013 is a good example of the kind of freshness Palacios brings to the bottle. It’s a more modern version of the ancient ways. Cedary red fruit flavours morph into a ripe, smoky, plummy red. The blend is 7/25/5 garnacha, tempranillo and mazuelo. A in year in French oak, 50 percent new, contribute to its texture but by dry-farming and dropping close to 40 percent of their fruit, the Palacios Remondo team ensures only the highest quality fruit was picked. In this case, harvest was between the 10th of October to the 1st of November. Lamb anyone?Prices: BC 27.00 AB 20.00 ON 25.00 QC 19.40 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Palacios Remondo La Vendimia Riojatext
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Palacios Remondo La Vendimia Rioja 2015

Rioja, SpainLa Vendimia is a blend of Spain's two star grapes: garnacha and tempranillo. The style is fruit forward to respecting the youthfulness of this wine that spent less than six months in oak. The attack is ripe with bright floral raspberry/cherry fruit, light spice and just a hint of tuggy tannins. La Vendimia, or 'The harvest,' is a delicious style joven or young Rioja made for simple foods. The fruit sits at some 500m and the estate-owned 10-to 40-year-old vines have been grown organically since 2003. Drink now or over the next three years with lamb, veal or even fish.Prices: BC 25.00 AB 19.00 ON 16.95 QC 17.25 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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13 September 2017

Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lietext
91PTS

Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2015

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceMuscadet is one of my favourite wines, and Domaine de la Pépière is one of the region's iconic producers. Organic, native-fermented muscadet is aged on the lees in earthen vessels, buried in the ground for coolness and rest (no racking possible) until the following spring. Crushed stones, marcona almonds, lemon peel are grounded with savoury lees, scented with delicate white blossoms and crusted with a salty minerality. Light and lean, this streamlined white was born for fresh oysters (and vice versa). Less is more.Prices: BC 20.50 Producer: Domaine de la Pépière
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Chateau Megyer Tokaji Furminttext
91PTS

Chateau Megyer Tokaji Furmint 2015

HungaryFrom northeastern Hungary's Tokaji-Hegyalja, the Megyer estate was classified as First Growth in 1772 by Royal decree. In 1991, Frenchman Jean-Lousi Laborde, purchased the estate (along with the historic Pajzos estate) and replanted the 64 hectares vineyard. He went on to purchase Pomerol's Chateau Clinet in 1999. Furmint is one of those secret grapes that few people in this market know about, but those that do, covet. This shows furmint's steely, salty, streamlined strengths as a bone dry wine. Stony, green apple, white pepper, lemon pith, meadow hay, bosc pear skin, mineral salts stream along the medium bodied palate to a bright, snappy finish. There's a veil of texture here, making this very food friendly. Plus, eight months in stainless has kept this tight and bright. Stock up.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Chateau Megyer
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Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillontext
91PTS

Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2005

Pokolbin, Hunter, New South Wales, AustraliaIt's been lovely to track this vintage over time. This shows semillon's striking ability to age gracefully. Streamlined and white honeyed, this flows with intent. Showing twelve years of age with smile lines, this is pixellated lemon pith on the precise, medium-bodied palate. Everything about this wine is in a delicate and tender moment: fresh almonds, wild flowers, dried chamomile, salts, finishing on a bitter pear skin riff. Acidity hums, almost with a prickle, to the gentle finish (easy at 11.2 percent). Not done yet, but feels slowing down. 91Prices: BC 60.00 AB 65.00 Producer: Tyrrell's Wines Pty., Ltd.
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Jacob's Creek Moscatotext
86PTS

Jacob's Creek Moscato NV

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaThe latest Jacob's Creek Moscato arrived to the Trevehouse in a 250ml can. It's clutch-sized, and clearly meant to appeal to those ready to party. Sweet pear candies, peach, honey, flower pastilles, candy necklace are livened with the injection of gas and kept off-dry. Fizzy and sweet, like Sprite, but with the added benefit of alcohol (a pleasant 7.6 percent), this is picnic / party / brunch / shower perfect. The can launched in Ontario, though watch for it to shower the rest of the country.Prices: BC 5.99 250 ON 4.95 250 Producer: Jacob's Creek
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Li Veli Fianotext
87PTS

Li Veli Fiano 2016

Puglia, ItalyGrilled seville oranges, bitter pear skin, crab apple and sharp stones in this fiano from central Apulia's Itria Valley. There's an acrid, bitter rim that sharpens the finish. This is fiano minutolo, mini, for the size of the small berries, which are said to contribute to the spicy character of the wine. This certainly has a snappy spice and the Mediterranean heat. Helps to be tamed with food: try spicy calamari.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Masseria Li Veli Srl
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Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Alvarinhotext
92PTS

Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalYou think Vinho Verde is fizzy simple juice? Think again. Anselmo Mendes is one of Vinho Verde's icons, and this from northern Vinho Verde's Monção and Melgaço, subregion, regarded as a "cru" in quality. The sloping granitic hillsides of northern Vinho Verde's prized subregion Monçao e Melgaço imbue a bright freshness into this fuller alvarinho. Confident but quiet, with creamy herbal bosc pear, pear blossoms, meadow herbs and a filigree of sea salts lining the juicy palate, one buoyed with an easy, natural acidity. Precise mineral pixels frames and carries this VV, one of the more serious and age-worthy ones you'll see.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Vincent Caillé X Bullestext
89PTS

Vincent Caillé X Bulles NV

Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceA singular pet-nat from the iconic Vincent Caillé, fifth generation vingneron and one of the few organic producers in Pais Nantais. Vincent took over the family business in 1986, and the property became "organic" in 1996. This ancestral fizz perfectly captures melon's youthful and innocent charm. This epitomizes pretty and fragrant pear blossom and rosewater carried along a fine zip line of green apple acidity and a fine bubble to a snappy, mineral water finish. At 11 percent alcohol, this defines smashable. This grape is perfectly suited to this style.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Vincent Caillé
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Heidi Schrock Furminttext
91PTS

Heidi Schrock Furmint 2015

Bergland Österreich, AustriaHerbal, esoteric and characterful from top to tail, with an alluring meadow herbs, sea salts, lemon pith kiss driving the lean form. There's a lick of medicinal white cherry and dried chamomile that pervades the green apple, pear brioche, bacon fat core. Texturally gritty, with a fine bed of white honeyed lees to balance the precise and upright acidity. This wine is alive and vibrant, through echoes with faint medicinal Rainier cherry on the finish. Like all of Heidi's wines, this is not about fruit, but place. In her case, the historic site that Heidi took over from her family in 1983, in the village of Rust, Burgenland approximate 5 miles from the Hungarian border. Here, 10 acres of predominantly south-facing vineyards flow through the softly rolling hills in an amphitheater around Lake Neusiedl, on soils of mica slate, limestone and sandy loam.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Heidi Schrock
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Sacristía AB Manzanilla Primera Sacatext
90PTS

Sacristía AB Manzanilla Primera Saca 2013

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainSacristía AB is a project of Antonio Barbadillo Mateos, who left the family bodega in 2008 to start his own brand. Rather than the lengthy process of producing wines and soleras, his wee negoc selects specific butts (barrels) from existing soleras. This was sourced from Bodegas Sánchez Ayala Light dusty orange in hue, this bone do Manzanilla lures with its playful lick of orange and chamomile woven throughout the salty, streaming, boned palate. Beauty with anchovies on toast, roasted marcona almonds, or fried sardines.Prices: Spain 42.00 375 Producer: Antonio Barbadillo Mateos
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Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contactotext
92PTS

Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThere is Vinho Verde you think you know, and there are wines like this. From one of Vinho Verde's icons, this is alvarinho from the Monção and Melgaço, subregion, regarded as a "cru" in quality. For this wine, the vineyards siddle the river, and are blanketed with stones. The Contacto refers to the fact that this wine spent extended time on the skins. Wild pear is slicked with salts, meadow herbs and scented with a perfume of wild mint. The form is greyhound sleek and the finish lingers with savoury allure. Best with some breathing space.Prices: BC 24.00 AB 25.99 ON 26.09 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Val do Salnés Viña Vedra Albariñotext
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Val do Salnés Viña Vedra Albariño NV

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainA squeeze of lemon tightens the peach, melon and pear albarino from a Co-op in Rias Baixas. Spanish warmth gives this an easy and friendly generosity, one that would partner well with fish tacos or gentle green curry. A slick of spice perks up the finish.Prices: BC 17.50 Producer: Luzada
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Cirelli La Collina Biologica Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
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Cirelli La Collina Biologica Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2016

Abruzzo, ItalyShining yellow hue, with white peach, musk melon, golden delicious apples bedding a wilting floral note on this organic trebbiano. Though textured with an herbaceousness, there is a dour, bruised fruit note here that overtakes. Cirelli's other wines are quite impressive; this is an portfolio outlier in 2016.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Francesco Cirelli
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFitzpatrick is one of the rare wineries that focuses on sparkling wine, specifically traditional-method fizz. While waiting for that lengthy project to fully come to fruition (and probably continuing then) they produce single-variety still wines, like this crisp pinot blanc. From their home vineyard, this spent one month fermenting in stainless before a four-month stint in neutral oak. Tight pear, white grapefruit, white cherry, lemon blossom hints, on a steely core, clad with a cushion of pear and melon. A lovely show of what pinot blanc looks like in central Okanagan Valley. Bonus - beauty with spot prawns.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEhrenfelser grapes from West Kelowna's Mannhardt Vineyard supplement Fitzpatrick's five year old estate vines. A three-week ferment 85 percent in stainless steel, 15 percent neutral oak barrel, this then aged four months on lees in stainless steel. Pear butter, pink florals, ripe melon on an easy, soft palate. I appreciate the lift of pink grapefruit on the finish. This is one of the better aromatic white wines of BC.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Sémillontext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Sémillon 2016

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey say the 2016 Sémillon is the first, and only, white wine that will be fermented in the new French concrete tanks at Clos du Soleil. Too bad I say, because this wine is a winner. Post fermentation, the wine gets racked once as it ages on its fine lees for 8 months. It goes through a light filtering just before bottling. In a classic case of less is more this wine offers up a stony/mineral portrait of the Similkameen Valley with a subtle citrus undertone of limes and lemons with a squeeze of nectarine skin. The concrete gives it a softer, gentler look than the racy, youthful Hunter Valley style but you can bet it will mellow with age, and age it will, for a decade or more. Well done. 110 cases made.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Evolve Pinot Blanctext
86PTS

Evolve Pinot Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChrista-Lee McWatters Bond oversees the line of affordable and approachable wines at Evolve. Look for a soft fruity white with green apple/melon fruit flavours. Not near as sweet as the 2015 and we are good with that evolution. Serve with a classic like fish and chips.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Evolve Cellars
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Anthony Buchanan Pinot Blanc Lawsontext
88PTS

Anthony Buchanan Pinot Blanc Lawson 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpen, perfumed green apple nose with flecks of butter and lees. The fruit is Naramata-based; one third is barrel fermented in new oak—the remainder in stainless steel. Post fermentation it's aged in a mix of new and neutral oak for six months. Better balanced that last year, with a bit more richness to offset the fresh orchard/pear/grapefruit palate. A solid effort here that you could enjoy with fresh halibut.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Anthony Buchanan Wines
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Agrihof Ehrenfelsertext
87PTS

Agrihof Ehrenfelser 2016

CanadaAgrihof is a personal release of winemaker Robert Thielcke’s of Lang Vineyard. His Ehrenfelser is made along classic lines with plenty orange blossom aromatics but it's dry and structured on the palate with bits of peaches, baked apple and mineral flavours. Try this with Indian cuisine.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bravo Winery Ltd.
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Oliver Twist Estate Kernertext
87PTS

Oliver Twist Estate Kerner 2016

CanadaBC kerner lives a double life, often seen as a later harvest offering and less occasionally as an icewine, though it can be fun to drink as a dry or slightly off-dry white wine. This well made kerner has a fresh, floral nose flecked with orange and honey tones. The palate is bold with ripe peach flavours, sweet Asian tangerine and just a touch of spice. I enjoyed it well chilled on a warm patio and later served it with a favourite Thai curry dish.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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12 September 2017

Tinhorn Creek Merlottext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is big merlot, full ripeness from front to back. The nose is a smoky toasted coffee affair with flecks of black cherries. The entry is fresh and lively with warm, spicy, black fruit flavours that finishes a bit dry and firm. Still needs a bit of time in the bottle to resolve some sticky tannins or you could consider serving this now with barbecue ribs and or flank steak.Prices: BC 20.49 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlottext
91PTS

LaStella Maestoso Solo Merlot 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot is the number one planted red grape in BC. The majority are disappointing. Maestoso, "Solo", aims to displace that thinking with this 100 percent merlot from the southern Okanagan. This is the top tier wine in the La Stella portfolio, and one of the priciest reds in BC at $90. Osoyoos and Golden Mile fruit, 17-22 years old, spend 8 months in French oak, 1/3 new, before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Savoury and dense, this barely yielding even after one day open, showing just inky cassis, thick tobacco, espresso on the structured, firm palate. Tannins are rigid, though finely wrought, and well positioned to house the brooding fruit. This is a wine for cellaring, and shows the real potential for classic merlot in the southern Okanagan. Can't wait to try again in five years.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: LaStella
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlottext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRoasted sausage, grilled red peppers, smoked beef, ragged wood rule this youthful and intense merlot, a grape Tinhorn is well known for. The 2015 has shed the sweet ripe fruit of the past and dove deep into the savoury, earthy (still ripe) spectrum. Dark earth, smoke, branch and bitter espresso are carried with gritty tannins to a warm, harsh finish. Needs richer beef to counter the rusticity.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Pedestal Merlottext
91PTS

Pedestal Merlot 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe twelfth vintage is a giant of a merlot. The mix is 81% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 2% malbec and 2% petit verdot. In the case of the merlot equal parts are pulled from Conner Lee Vineyard near Othello WA (Columbia Valley), Dionysus Vineyard near Pasco, and The Benches Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills). The Red Mountain cabernet sauvignon comes from Taptiel Vineyard, while the Weinbau Vineyard (Wahluke Slope) is home to the cabernet franc. The mix of sites no doubt adds additional layers of complexity and character to the blend. The 2014 powers its way across the palate spreading a savoury, spicy dark fruit character laced with chocolate, vanilla, pepper, licorice and black olives. There is a modicum of style in the finish with more black cherry and espresso pushing through. Solid if not trying a bit too much. Best now with roasted meats.Prices: BC 83.99 US 55.00 ON 60.00 AB 65.00 QC 75.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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11 September 2017

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted six months down the road, just before its official release on September 16 at the winery, and I remain impressed. The latest Hypothesis or proposition from the Triggs family is a fine jump up in quality, but everyone should just take a deep breath. People forget these are very early days for wineries like Culmina no matter how many times you dot your i's and cross your t's, vineyards take time to find their feet and winemakers may need even more patience. The blend is 38/36/26 merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon all grown on the Arise Bench. Hypothesis has shed its rusticity in 2013 and is projecting some early elegance despite a wealth of dense but sweet tannins in the back end. The fruit is black and savoury but with an elegant, stony mineral undercurrent. Age another three to five years for optimum quality, or serve now with pheasant, venison or beef. Super value.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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LaStella Fortissimotext
89PTS

LaStella Fortissimo 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReductive waves opens this youthful Fortissimo at first, a blend of 63 merlot, 17 cabernet sauvignon, 11 sangiovese, 9 cabernet franc from the south Okanagan. Fifteen months in French and Slavonion oak barrels and puncheons (16 percent new) was employed. After decanting (or do as I do and open it a day in advance) any reductive notes have resolved and you're left with layers of sunripened cassis, wild blackberry, thorns, dried tobacco and dark earth, wrapped with firm, fine, gritty tannins. Serious and stately, this drinks well now with rabbit or lamb, but will reward more with time in the cellar.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: LaStella
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Osoyoos Larosetext
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Osoyoos Larose 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOsoyoos Larose is the original single vineyard in BC, as in it was planted and raised, or elevated as the French might say, from the beginning to be a vineyard that was built for the blend. The rootstock and clone combinations were selected in Bordeaux, shipped to Canada, and planted by hand in high density. The 2014 might be the friendliest OL since its launch, with elegance and silky tannins leading the way. The palate is a youthful mix of black currants, black cherries and plums with savoury supple tannins. This wine has shown a propensity to age effortlessly and 2014 will be no exception. Barrel aging at Osoyoos Larose is all about French oak and a 18 to 20 month rest in new and one-year-old barrels. They rack the wine every three months and fine it with egg whites prior to bottling. Le Grand Vin is fully owned by Groupe Taillan (having bought out Constellation Brands) and this co-owner of Château Gruaud Larose in Saint-Julien is starting to making some impressive tweaks to its Canadian treasure. The 2014 blend is 68/11/5/8 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot.Prices: BC 45.99 MB 44.99 ON 48.95 QC 43.60 SK 58.30 NL 47.07 AB 49.99 Producer: Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
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Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2014

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll five classic Bordeaux varieties are in the 2014 blend of Célestiale, Clos du Soleil’s earlier drinking red blend. All the Similkameen nuances are here: elegance, perfect acidity, and a stony mineral under-thread with soft tannins. The nose is fresh and bright with a mix of red and black aromas. The attack is similar with savoury, juicy red fruits dominating and a licorice spicy finish. This is designed for early drinking and while it is less complex than Estate Reserve it still needs two to four years to reach maturity. Good value.Prices: BC 26.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Desert Hills Dust Stormtext
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Desert Hills Dust Storm 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSomewhat reductive nose upon opening with meaty, wet tobacco undertones. The attack is sweet and sour with even more meaty mercaptan notes. The texture is soft but there is too much going on here including some lifted volatile notes. A bit too stormy. Back to the drawing board.Prices: BC 23.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Lang Vineyards Meritagetext
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Lang Vineyards Meritage 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lang Meritage is a 12/16/72 blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, and like a lot of 2013 red blends it is a good one. Both aromatically and structurally you feel the richness of the fruit despite quite a bit of oak, especially American. The palate is soft with some squeaky acidy and spice a touch of chocolate and a warm savoury spicy finish. This needs about two more years in the bottle but you can drink it now or with prime rib or even barbecue chicken.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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River Stone Stones Throwtext
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River Stone Stones Throw 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone is a small estate winery operating south of McIntyre Bluff in the south Okanagan Valley. The Stones Throw red blend is all estate fruit grown at the River Rock Vineyards, surrounding the Oliver winery. In 2014 the acidity remains prominent, giving the entry a definite linear bent. The attack is savoury and warm with black fruits, some obvious vanilla and slightly tuggy tannins. This need a bit of time in bottle but seems a little off-balance when compare to the 2013. Merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon are all in the mix. Best now with grilled meats.Prices: BC 25.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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River Stone Corner Stonetext
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River Stone Corner Stone 2013

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRiver Stone is a small estate winery operating south of McIntyre Bluff in the south Okanagan Valley. In 2013 Corner Stone stands out as one of the richest red blends in the province. Look for plenty of perfumed black fruit scents and pepper on the nose of this 47/21/21/7/4/ mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. This leads to a similar boisterous palate of chewy black fruits with mostly small-grained tannins and a touch of toasted oak. No rush here but if you must open it this fall think roasted meats.Prices: BC 31.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Parés Baltà Mas Elena Organic Winetext
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Parés Baltà Mas Elena Organic Wine 2012

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis is a textural, savoury, ripe and rustic blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, wild fermented and with eight months in French oak. Dusky plum, blackberry, cloves, graphite, licorice and tobacco are marked with clouds of smoke and whisps of black pepper. Tannins are gritty/grippy enough to frame the density, as potent and warming as it is. The finish swells with peppery acidity. Would I place this as Penedès? Never. Does it taste like Penedès? Si. Best enjoyed with young lamb or spicy morcilla.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 18.00 QC 19.85 Producer: Parés Baltà
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Ex Nihilo Privata Proprietary Red Winetext
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Ex Nihilo Privata Proprietary Red Wine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey don’t hold anything back at Ex Nihilo, except which grapes are in this blend made from fruit grown in the warm southern end of the Okanagan Valley at Osoyoos. The nose is bursting with licorice and savoury black fruit scents. The palate is similarly structure with rich round, warm, spicy black fruit and soya notes with rich lashings of oak. More Napa style than BC but there will be a market for this powerful red. Personally I would lay it down for a decade and let it settle in. One thing we do know, they do not make the blend ‘ex nihilo’.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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09 September 2017

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Pink Mile Rosétext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Pink Mile Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy strawberries fill the glass of this pinot noir rose, a lovely creamy pink hue. Even though 2016 was the hottest on record, Fitz has keep a bright and tight lift in this medium bodied wine, from two blocks of their home estate. You can feel the sunny generosity with a fine cushion of rhubarb, strawberries and cream on the palate, while four months in stainless hemmed in the edges. Drink this summer with a salmon-dressed salad.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Time Syrah Rosetext
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Time Syrah Rose 2016

British Columbia, CanadaDeep, day-glo pink, this is a full, glycerol-fuelled, slicked up, round and off-dry fruity rose. Bananas, candy apples, lime gummies and heat in this simple version of rose, one where time looks to have stood still.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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08 September 2017

Calliope Viogniertext
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Calliope Viognier 2016

British Columbia, CanadaEnticing baked pear, peach pie and gingersnap nose cookies fill this simple and direct viognier. There's a thread of limey acidity that draws this along its off-dry palate toward a warm, gingery finish. Ready to drink and would be fine with a spicy tuna roll.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Moillard Viognier Hugues le Justetext
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Moillard Viognier Hugues le Juste 2016

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceHeady pear, melon and green notes float above a base of toast in this simple viognier from Languedoc. Stainless steel has kept the fruit clipped and clean until a warm (nearly 14 percent) and gingery finish.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Moillard
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Bench 1775 Viogniertext
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Bench 1775 Viognier 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet candied tangerine nose with bits of perfumed apricots. The attack is similar with an off-dry entry and floral soapy gewürztraminer notes on the palate. The finish remains sweet with spicy ginger notes. This needs a spicy hot curry dish to temper the sugar and balance the dish; or severely chill down and serve on the patio with appetizers.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Time Viogniertext
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Time Viognier 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIntense leesy buttery, citrus, peach, vanilla and baked apple/tropical aromas. The attack is similarly rich and blousy with baked peaches, pineapple, spicy lees, honey and vanilla butter flavours. If you are a fan of the big, rich. hedonistic style give this a year or two to blossom in the bottle.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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07 September 2017

Selbach Riesling (Fish Label)text
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Selbach Riesling (Fish Label) 2015

Mosel, GermanyIt seems every year I write: what I like most about this wine is how consistently delicious it is, especially for the price. There I did it again. This is Selbach Mosel from its peachy, fresh apple scents to its crunchy, bright, juicy nectarine and citrus flavours and ever present acidity. It is easy to drink and seemingly better with most everything you pair it with. Stock up for the fall and consider this a Thanksgiving staple. Still fair value.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: J & H Selbach
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JoieFarm En Famille Rieslingtext
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JoieFarm En Famille Riesling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe JoieFarm "En Famille" tier is a reserve line for site-specific wines, all aged in bottle for a year prior to the release. The riesling is from an old block St. Hubertus Vineyard in Kelowna (planted 1987) and from Summerland's Whitfield Road Vineyard. The style is juicy and mouth-fillingly with lime gummies, perfumed pear, ripe white peach and an alluring lick of anise. Off-dry (Spätlese-style) and medium bodied, this finishes with crystalline lime peel and a sour ginger ale spicy warmth with a friendly 12 percent alcohol. You can drink this now or wait three years for the secondary flavours to kick in.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Four Shadows Vineyard Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFour Shadows Vineyard stretches up the hillsides above the northern edge of Penticton on a steep east-facing, gravelly site. The fruit is a selection of old blocks from the site recovered in 2014 after it lay fallow for five years. The vines are routinely stressed in the late day sun providing a textured, Auslese style wine with later picked flavours including pineapple, apricots and honeysuckle all kept in line by a beautiful citrus lime acidity in the finish. A remarkable 52 g/l RS over 8.85 total acid and 11 percent alcohol. Stock up and cellar for half a decade and beyond. Perfect with a strong Indian curry.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Bob Hancock Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the last vineyards at the northern edge of the Naramata Bench the site tilts south and sits over gravelly clay above the cooling effects of Okanagan Lake. The vineyard is run by 3rd generation Naramata farmer Bob Hancock, and the clone is 21B grown on own roots. Plenty of calcium carbonate add to the chalky textures in the win, mixing effortlessly with enticing orange, apricot, apple blossom notes. The flavours are off-dry, pushing the limits of Kabinett in a good way. Look for juicy, delicious notes of tangerine, peach, lime and honeysuckle. Super value and ready to drink.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Rieslingtext
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Synchromesh Wines Thorny Vines Riesling 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of several single vineyard rieslings, Thorny Vines has been in the Synchromesh portfolio since 2010, with 2012 marking the first single vineyard release. The site is at the very southern end of Naramata Bench, and is planted to German clones on fertile, heavy clay. The key to its freshness is it faces north. Dickinson’s methods are holistic, no pesticides no chemicals (but not certified). He claims he sold his lab equipment and only makes wine by taste. Whatever his methods, this wine is a beautiful drop with bright lemons and green apples cutting a linear swath into the sweet fruit finish of lime and fleshy pear. At 53 g/l RS you come to understand the importance of the acidity to temper the sweet factor leaving the wine moderately off-dry. Super value.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Calliope Rieslingtext
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Calliope Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBright, tight and shiny, with lemon juice and grapefruit pith riding a juicy river of acidity. Pleasantly off-dry and easy-sipping, though the lime puckering acidity around the sides harnesses this in to a short, snappy, citric finish. Simple, but fun to drink on the patio on a warm afternoon.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate vineyard, this riesling comes off a long fifty-day ferment followed by four months in neutral oak. Juicy lime pulp and pith rides an off-dry, gushing palate to a snappy finish. Ripe pear, white peach and a kiss of jasmine keep this intense riesling interesting, while 11 percent alcohol keeps it smashable, especially this summer. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in drinkability. Perfect with your favourite curry.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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CedarCreek Rieslingtext
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CedarCreek Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate riesling is at the core of CedarCreek's strength, and while the 2016 is tastes sweeter than previous editions, the acidity is tight as ever. A 45-day ferment in stainless (with 3 percent in neutral French) has held tight to shiny citrus, candied lime pith and orchard pear but with aforementioned sugar poking out at this stage, leaving a disjointed, blocky finish (possibly to meld with time?). For now, best enjoyed with a flavourful Thai seafood or vegetarian dishes preferably with a bit of spice.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Time Rieslingtext
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Time Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Time style steps back here to reveal a fresh, tart food-friendly style of riesling with very little obvious sugar. Look for a rush of fresh cut green apples, lemon rind and nectarine skin that spill onto the palate. Bitter lime rind notes more lemon zest with a touch of minerality. Fresh, crisp and not for everyone, but would be fun with grilled pork.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Lang Vineyards Select Harvest Rieslingtext
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Lang Vineyards Select Harvest Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA much riper, late harvest style made from select bunches on the estate. Bright mineral, yellow fruit nose with floral, beeswax, ginger aromas. The attack is rich and round with sweet fruit flavours reminiscent of honeysuckle, mango and lime, with a touch of spice and just enough acidity to keep it fresh in the finish. Try this with a favourite creamy soft cheese.Prices: BC 19.50 375 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Rieslingtext
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Lang Vineyards Farm Reserve Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLang’s signature white is made in the classic Alsace style and is always one of their best labels. Look for warm, tropical, yellow fruit aromas with a hint of green apple. The palate is a mix of orange blossoms, tangerine, honey and citrus with a hint of oxidation. Ready to drink on the patio or serve with pulled pork sandwiches.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
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See Ya Later Ranch Rieslingtext
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See Ya Later Ranch Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLong, cool ferments are used at SYL to emphasis the floral aspects of their cool-high altitude. The attack is juicy with fresh cut green apple aromas, and the palate is a mix of green apple, guava flecked with bitter lime rind. Simple, clean ready to drink.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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06 September 2017

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTime in the bottle has given this wine a bit more life. The fruit is brighter on the nose, albeit rich and tropical and reflective of a super warm 2015 fall ripening period. This Golden Mile Bench chardonnay is whole bunch pressed and fermented and partially aged in French oak (50 percent new). A malolactic fermentation has beefed up the texture and creamy textures and reveals a nutty, rich mid-palate packed with pear/peach fruit and even some caramel notes. There is too much everything here but it is not unbalanced. A good start but we expect much more and look forward to the 2016.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnaytext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe En Famille set of JoieFarm's wines are barrel selections, and don't happen every year. For this 2015, barrels from the Skaha Bluff and Joie's home vineyard on Naramata Bench were drawn. 2015 is a really tricky year for whites in the Okanagan; the hottest on record led to an early harvest. Many folks lost their acids before they knew it. This wine is showing very well considering the year. French oak ferment (20 percent new), 70 percent native ferment, full MLF, limited sulphur and eight months in oak with regular battonage. The additional time in bottle (this is a new release) has aided this wine. You still feel the toasty warmth of the wood and the heat of the vintage, but it's seamlessly enveloped by the rich, ripe density of the fruit at this stage. Dense pear, baked apple, quince, white peaches on a bed of almond butter, carried along a river of lemon curd acidity. Toasted hazelnuts linger on the finish. This is a big, ripe wine, yes, but intentionally, and with elegance. If you're looking for Cali with BC verve, here you go.Prices: BC 29.90 AB 38.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Planeta Chardonnaytext
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Planeta Chardonnay 2015

Sicily, ItalyRipe, full and rich, with dense white florals, sweet almond paste, fleshy yellow peaches, ripe apricots and musk melon weighting the creamy palate, lingering on the finish with a pool of lemon caramel. Yes, this is not a shy chardonnay. Fermented and aged in 50 percent new 225 litres Allier oak barriques for 10 months. For all its creaminess, this holds a fine capillary of acidity that streams it along, and a saltiness that buoys it through the finish, elevating it from the old schoolIf this was half the price, it would make sense and impress.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Planeta
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Time Chardonnaytext
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Time Chardonnay 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the last Sundial Vineyard chardonnays made by Harry McWatters, the 2014 stays the course with its rich honeyed nose and baked apple/pineapple aromas. One third of the fruit fermented in oak and was aged in barrel for four months in a combination of new and one-year-old barrels. The style is always rich and luscious where pineapple, butter and honeysuckle reign. Old style for sure but there is a market for this fatter style.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Desert Hills Unoaked Chardonnaytext
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Desert Hills Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn unoaked chardonnay from two vineyard sites: the warm Sagebrush (Black Sage Bench) and the cooler Night Hawk (Okanagan Falls). The wine is fresh, if a bit thin, with somewhat woolly phenolics pulling on the round soft apple/pear fruit flavours. Clean yet sour. Drink now with chicken-based salads.Prices: BC 17.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Bachelder Willamette Valley Chardonnaytext
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Bachelder Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesA blend of various sites in the Willamette and from both sedimentary sandstone and volcanic soils, the 2014 has an expansive bed of lees, saline, generous pear, a medicinal swing and flinty kiss over a river stones base. The wood is very well integrated, with MLF and extended aging in oak (the 2014 is a new release). This was made at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, a collective of like-minded garagistes sourcing Willamette fruit. Native-ferment and gently handled, this is a firm, generous wine, deftly shaped with a light touch. Drinking well know, but will age beautifully.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Bachelder Oregon
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See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnaytext
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See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year but with much better acidity to balance off the richness. The nose is fresh with baked apple/pear notes and a touch of brown spice. The attack is medium rich with creamy, melon vanilla flavours and just a hint of sweetness/crème brûlée to carry the long, warmish finish. Try this one with a piece of halibut and a fruit salsa.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 21.00 ON 18.00 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Black Swift Vineyards Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Vineyards Pinecrest Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 Pinecrest was a very sentimental wine for The Hatch as this was the last year they had access to this Westbank vineyard, rumoured to be the oldest block of Chardonnay in the Okanagan. When the owner of the organic 2 acre Glenrosa area vineyard passed, the land was sold and the new owners ripped out the old vines. So the 200 cases of 2015 Pinecrest is this vineyard's finale. Black Swift is the premium, single vineyard project from the folks at The Hatch, and I tasted bottle #1760. Full-bodied and confident, with a creamy, lees-lined base for the ripe and dense yellow apple, pear and lemon curd. Perfumed and expressive white florals and almond blossoms scent this ripe wine, one gently but firmly buoyed with a swell of stony acidity. The lingering finish is dusted with stony salts. Drinking well now, this really is meant for a couple of years in the cellar. I'd say this 45 year old vineyard went out on a high note.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three single vineyard 2015 chardonnays The Hatch released under the Black Swift line, this is from a cooler site on Oliver's Golden Mile Bench. Entirely into new French oak puncheons, this streams green apple and cinnamon spicing, but screams new wood. Fortunately there's taut acidity, ample flow and energy to carry this, even though the weight of the new wood drags it down at this stage. This has all the potential and structure to age, though at this youthful point, it requires decanting and something potent like pheasant or grilled turkey to counter. 200 cases were made.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Vineyards Melville Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Swift Vineyards Melville Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of three single vineyard 2015 chardonnays The Hatch released under the Black Swift line, this is from a half acre vineyard outside of Peachland on deep clay loams. One puncheon was made, so there are only fifty cases out there for you to seek out. Said puncheon is overwhelming at this young stage, with strident wood, vanilla pod, ripe and creamy pear, on a structured, muscular, green apple-lined core, finishing with heady wood spicing. This is a wine to lay down for 2+ years, to allow the integration of wood into the potent orchard fruit. At 12.9 percent, this is certainly not flabby or overripe. Hopefully future vintages will benefit from older puncheon use.Prices: BC 43.00 Producer: The Hatch
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Alamos Chardonnaytext
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Alamos Chardonnay 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis Mendoza chardonnay undergoes partial malolactic fermentation before spending four/six months on its lees in French and American oak. The technique appears to soften the sour acidity that can plague inexpensive chardonnay. There are some citrus notes here that help to tighten up the butter and spice but it lacks depth off lavour and complexity to entice the serious drinker. Simple ready-to-drink mid-week chardonnay.Prices: BC 13.49 AB 15.00 ON 14.00 QC 15.00 NS 15.00 MB 15.00 ON 14.95 NS 16.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnaytext
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 2015

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay is made from a collection of vineyard blocks that sit some 32 kilometres inland from the cool Pacific Ocean along the Santa Maria Bench. The area is covered in dense fog most mornings that protect the vines from intense heat during the growing season and there are days when the fog never burns off. I hesitate to say old school here likely because the tropical fruit can be overwhelming but somehow the combination of pineapples and papaya doubled down with a creamy, vanilla crème brûlée finish hold it together. The vines grow over sedimentary soils with pierces of limestone and calcium carbonate that together with the marine environment keep it fresh. The perfect foil to lobster or any butter-based fish dish.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnaytext
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2015

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesUnabashedly Californian chardonnay from a hillside that high sits above the Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara. This is from premium chardonnay blocks known as the Camelot Highlands, and what winemaker Randy Ullom calls the filet mignon section. The vines, planted to their own roots and over 40 years old, are deeply set in an ancient seabed. Tropical fruits mark the nose with scents of pineapple, mango and papaya, previewing a creamy rich mid-palate laced with butter, mineral, cinnamon, vanilla, orange and crème brûlée. As always, the richness comes with restraint and finesse. Another crowd pleaser.Prices: ON 37.75 BC 49.95 US 38.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Privata by Ex Nihilo Vineyardstext
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Privata by Ex Nihilo Vineyards 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine continues down the rich, warm, fat style that heats your palate from front to back. The nose is a potent mix of perfume and vanilla flecked with butterscotch and spicy lees. The attack is similar with a bitter, nutty, caramel, burnt butter undercarriage. From another era for another palate.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwoodedtext
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Gray Monk Chardonnay Unwooded 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis slightly sweet chardonnay is a mix of fruit from vineyards located in the north and south Okanagan. The nose is lightly aromatic with tropical fruit, green melon and grassy sagebrush notes. The palate is soft and round but without much intensity to extend the finish. Simple and ready to drink, try this with steamed clams or spaghetti vongole.Prices: BC 14.79 AB 21.59 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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05 September 2017

Tinhorn Creek The Creektext
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Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTwenty-three years along, this is the first release of "the flagship" of one of BC's wine legends, Tinhorn Creek. Named for THE Creek (yes, there is one), this is a blend of 6-20 year old vines, 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot from both the Black Sage and Golden Mile Benches, partially wild fermented and aged for two years in French and Hungarian barrels. True to house, this is a welcoming, friendly and cushioned black fruited red. What makes The Creek stand out, however, is the salt-licked firm, gritty tannins, the walnut nuttiness, the elegance of the shape and balance overriding, even at this young stage. This is ripe, reflective of its southern Okanagan terroir. There is a swarm of heat on the finish of this young 14 percent wine, but at this stage, easily mitigated by roasted pork or veal. Tuck this away for a couple of years in the cellar, or do what I did and open it a day ahead (or decant) for maximum enjoyment now.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 75.00 SK 75.00 MB 75.00 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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LaStella Expressivotext
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LaStella Expressivo 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLovely savoury old-world stylings in this new "super tuscan meets BC" release from La Stella, A blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and a splash (5 percent) santiovese. Restrained yet powerful, with stones, dusky cassis, textured with worn wood and firmly structured. Tannins are potent, but fine, and gritty with the intent to house the fruit. Impressive now, and will be more so with age.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: LaStella
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Synchromesh Tertre Rougetext
90PTS

Synchromesh Tertre Rouge 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA 66/34 mix of cabernet franc/merlot from Turtle Rock Farms, tucked above Naramata Road halfway between Penticton and Naramata Village. Fragrant perfumed, black plum nose with light meaty cassis and tobacco. The attack is elegant with more peppery, dense black fruit keeping the 21 months in 33 percent new oak at bay. The wine then spends another 24 months in bottle to settle into itself. When it makes sense, winemaker Dickinson will turn out a single varietal wine form this site, otherwise the blend is a better early drinking option. Solid.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Desert Hills Miragetext
86PTS

Desert Hills Mirage 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother red with some bottle age, which is always good thing when you are working with Bordeaux varieties. In this case, the big five are present, but the overall impression is something simple. There is plenty of spicy and herbal savoury notes but the cedar, coffee, tobacco leaf aromas and flavours lack substance and length. Dry, round, supple and ready to drink. Try this with hamburgers or stews to best effect.Prices: BC 36.95 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Glen Carlou Grand Classiquetext
87PTS

Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2013

Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaI last tasted this vintage in 2015, when it first came onto our market. I was surprised to see the 2013 now, two years further along, and suspect it has something to do with sales flow rather than cellaring strategy. The smoke and leather in this blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, merlot, cabernet franc are still evident, but more pronounced with age, and the wine is now showing oxidative, OXO notes. Tannins are sticky and the spicing is five star. Drink now, either off the shelf, or in your cellar, with Asian-spiced ribs.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Glen Carlou
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Ex Nihilo Nighttext
87PTS

Ex Nihilo Night 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis Black Sage Bench blend is a 47/41/12 mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, all handpicked in October. After a standard stainless steel ferment, the wine is aged in an 80/20 mix of French and American oak barrels for 19 months. The style is bold, with spicy dark fruit, coffee, chocolate and a fair amount of brown spices that persist along the finish. Overall, a bit sweet and spicy on the palate before it dries out in the finish. I suggest barbecue ribs to tame this or, another five years in the wine cellar. 882 cases produced.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Ryan Patrick Redhead Redtext
86PTS

Ryan Patrick Redhead Red 2015

Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFrom eastern Washington's Columbia Valley AVA, this is a full bodied and easy-sipping red blend that mixes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and syrah. The attack is warm and generous with plenty of black fruit and pepper sitting over a base of rich American oak for seven months. Simple, rich, soft red wine best for beef ribs or richer fall stews.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Ryan Patrick
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Pirouette Red Blendtext
93PTS

Pirouette Red Blend 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesPhilippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus Sr. are the architects of this ultra-elegant Washington red blend that exceeds all expectations in 2014. Finesse is the word that best describes the 2014, a vintage that delivers all Washington has to offer, without blowing your palate out with spice and alcohol. The wine spends 22-months in superior French oak barrels, of which three quarters are new oak. The Red Mountain sourced cabernet sauvignon ferments in 400L French oak barrels that were gently rolled throughout fermentation. The petit verdot (18%), merlot (17%), cabernet franc (7%) and malbec (1%) ferments in traditional stainless steel tanks. The nose has that savoury northwest appeal with bits of lead pencil, olives and cassis. The palate is perfectly balanced with stony, plummy, mineral, red and black fruit flavours. Dense yet balanced, this will age effortlessly for a decade or more.Prices: BC 85.00 ON 85.00 AB 77.00 US 55.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Murphy-Goode Red Blendtext
86PTS

Murphy-Goode Red Blend 2012

California, United StatesA steady-Eddy brand, the Murphy-Goode opens with a friendly, inviting nose that draws you into the glass. Spicy cherry, sweet black fruit aromas and flavours mark this modern commercial red blend that has a zinfandel lead. The fruit is a 34/27/16/13/6/4/ blend of zinfandel, merlot, petit verdot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. Ready to drink with smokies or burgers. Pricey.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Beringer Quantum Red Blendtext
89PTS

Beringer Quantum Red Blend 2013

Napa Valley, California, United StatesA label led by cabernet sauvignon, with merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and a twist of petite sirah. The fruit and oak melange attracts at a certain level before the spicy ripe black fruit flavours kick in, lashed with chocolate, brown spices and a sweet, soft, glycerol fuelled back end that finishes warm. A big red for big dishes.Prices: BC 61.99 AB 70.00 ON 69.95 NF 70.00 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Le Vieux Pin Retouchetext
88PTS

Le Vieux Pin Retouche 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2014 mixes 43 percent cabernet franc with 21 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent syrah and one percent merlot from fruit grown on the Golden Mile Bench, North Oliver and Osoyoos Lake District Vineyard. All aged 17 months in 100 percent French oak barrels, of which none were new. They made 5 barrels of Rétouche in 2014, a wine whose raison d'être is to pay homage to the historical practice of “Hermitage-ing” Bordeaux wines by adding syrah from the Rhone and super, rich, black wines from North Africa to bolster the blend. The flavours tend to be a mix black cherries, blackberries and plummy fruit and super bright acidity almost mimicking the Oz expression. Richer braised meat dishes are the best match.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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01 September 2017

Godori Saperavi Red Drytext
87PTS

Godori Saperavi Red Dry NV

Kakheti, GeorgiaFrom the teinturier (red-fleshed) saperavi grape, this is from Georgia's Kakheti district in Georgia. Youthful, soft and duskly flavoured, with perfumed soft plum, forest berries, twiny red currant, sour cherry with a grippy tug around the edges that catches the side of the cheeks. Six months in oak gives a bit of structure to this soft, easy, red. Best with grilled sausages.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Marniskari
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Godori Pirosmani Red Semi Drytext
85PTS

Godori Pirosmani Red Semi Dry NV

Kakheti, GeorgiaSweet and ripe blueberry, blackberry gummies, candied plums and violet pastilles fill this "semi dry" (read sweeter) red from Georgia. Smooth and silky, low in tannins and acidity, his is entirely saperavi, a teinturier (red fleshed grape) grown in Kakheti, Georgia. Fermentation in stainless is stopped by cooling to keep the sugary sweetness to this dry-ish red wine. An acquired taste; try this rustic-hewn wine with rustic farm cheeses with a fig or blackberry paste.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Marniskari
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Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Winetext
89PTS

Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Wine 2014

Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, GeorgiaTetri Kindzmarauli is made from the saperavi grape grown in the controlled appellation of Kindzmarauli. The regional winemaking is almost universal and is based on the ancient method. It’s a slow fermentation at a low temperature that ends without all of the sugar being fermented. In this case 35 to 45 grams per liter. In 2014 there is an amazing black cherry / black raspberry aroma and flavour profile that jumps from the glass. This is more of a dessert wine when compared to the 2015 and would really work well with chocolate desserts and nut-based cakes and cookies. It’s an excellent opportunity to try something different and maybe fool your friends.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Marniskari
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Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Winetext
87PTS

Tetri Kindzmarauli Red Semi Sweet Wine 2015

Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, GeorgiaThe Tetri Kindzmarauli is made from the saperavi grape grown in the controlled appellation of Kindzmarauli. The regional winemaking is almost universal and is based on the ancient method. It’s a slow fermentation at a low temperature that ends without all of the sugar being fermented. In this case 35 to 45 grams per liter. The good news is the wine is in perfect balance with the sweet, almost grapey notes feeding off some brown spices, bitter chocolate and dried herbs. This would be fun to taste with hot, spicy savoury dishes as they do in the Republic of Georgia. A good chance to try something different.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Marniskari
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