quicksearch
Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: October 2017

31 October 2017

Clos du Soleil Sémillontext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Sémillon 2016

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSemillon thrives in the Okanagan, and it's always a surprise that more isn't planted here. I think it has more to do with the grape's relative unfamiliarity amongst BC wine consumers rather than its suitability to our climate and soils. Kudos to the growers and producers who strive for wine success over financial success. It's wines like this that seem to achieve both. From Dhaliwal Bros.' Oliver vineyard, this has absorbed the southern Okanagan's dusky sagebrush and sun warmth, and held semillon's driving vein of lemon acidity. Yellow apple, quince, tight apricot is snappy and seasoned with Asian pear and lined with stones. The finish lingers with those herbal-dusted notes of the southern Okanagan. Whole cluster pressed grapes were fermented in concrete and then racked and aged on fine lees for eight months, and lightly filtered just before bottling. In youth, best enjoyed when it builds sem's honeyed notes with a year or two.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
Read Full Note

30 October 2017

Mirabel Rose of Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Mirabel Rose of Pinot Noir 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis saignee pinot noir was grown by the Reimer family (ex-supplying Meyer Family Vineyards) and made by Matt Dumayne of Okanagan Crush Pad. It reminds me of some of the posher Provencal rosés (down to the fancy glass bottle with the vino-loc glass topper). This is glycerol-clad, lees-lined, with generous strawberry, pink peppercorns, richer pear and a flush of cinnamon on the finish. Acidity is seamless; elegant and impressive.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
Read Full Note
Ex Nihilo sX Tous Rosetext
86PTS

Ex Nihilo sX Tous Rose 2016

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis frizzante rosé opens with a sharp balsamic note which swings throughout the full, ripe body to the snappy finish. Dry, fruity and racy, with ripe strawberry, rhubarb and cranberry, lingering with bitter raspberry on the palate. This is a big and gutsy fizz, ready to tackle well-dressed burgers or steak salad.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Dames Rosétext
87PTS

Dames Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrisp, bright and lively, Dames Rosé benefits Les Dames d’Escoffier's BC Chapter, and young women who are working in the hospitality, food and wine industry (I was a wine scholarship recipient many years ago). A blend made in conjunction with Sperling Vineyards' pinot blanc, and Stoneboat Vineyard's pinot noir (80/20 split), this is clean and clear strawberry jam, light raspberry and lifted lime. Dry and sleek at 11.5 percent, with a strong core of red berry gummies and frisky pink peppercorn spicing to the snappy finish. This is a worthy cause your palate will thank you for. Drink now, with salmon / strawberry salad.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Sperling Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

Sperling Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA darker rosy hue, typical of many Spanish rosados, but this is not garnacha or the sun-drenched plains of Spain, but rather pinot noir from the northern Okanagan and Sperling Vineyards' Mission District estate. A 24-30 hour soak provides the intensity of colour and berry fruit: cherry, raspberry, on a juicy palate, streaming over river stones to a snappy finish. The time on skins gives a depth and weight, but this is bone dry and breezy at 11.5 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Movia Puro Rosetext
90PTS

Movia Puro Rose 2016

SloveniaStriking for numerous reasons, initially from the packaging: a cardboard tube that holds this sparkling wine upside down. This is not a gimmick; this traditional method fizz is undisgorged, so the package helps the yeast sediment gather at the neck of the bottle, ready for the consumer to release. If the bottle isn't stored upside down, it needs be inverted for at least one hour to settle all the yeast in the neck. If you haven't disgorged before, and don't want a giant mess, it's best done underwater (Google it for numerous videos showing how). The added step is worth it however, to taste the freshest fizzy pinot noir from this 130 year old vineyard in BRDA Slovenia, just across the Italian border. The estate had been in existence since 1700, and Ales Kristancic has manned the helm for the last few decades. This naturalist property is farmed organically and biodynamically, and no inputs are added into the wines. This pours a cloudy peach pink, streams fine bubbles and streaks with lifted acidity. Riotous and pure, with piercing grippy apricot fuzz, peach pit, raspberry bush, wild thyme and light scented cherry blossom floating atop a mineral, iron clad base. Finely textural and grippy. Highly refreshing, authentic, and unique, this is a must-buy for those seeking authenticity of place, and wine experience.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Movia
Read Full Note
Trius Brut Rosétext
89PTS

Trius Brut Rosé NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPerfumed raspberry fruit throughout this pretty pink fizz, with ample smoked stone, cherry, pink grapefruit riffing along the streamlined palate to a zesty, bitter cherry finish. Pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier is tipped still gamay in this traditional method fizz, one with 21 months on lees. Likeable and enjoyable.Prices: ON 33.00 Producer: Trius Winery at Hillebrand Estates
Read Full Note
Benjamin Bridge Rosé Brut Méthode Classiquetext
91PTS

Benjamin Bridge Rosé Brut Méthode Classique 2012

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaNew release, this blend of 43 percent chardonnay, 37 percent pinot noir and 20 percent pinot meunier spent three years on the lees Pale peach hue, with frisky, crunchy acidity, this is quite textural with peach fuzz, before a medium bodied palate of fragrant rose petals, apricot, red apple, wild raspberry, pink grapefruit tanginess on the finish. All of this, in an alluring 11 percent alcohol package. Still youthful, for fruity enjoyment now, but will mellow and deepen with cellaring. Very impressive.Prices: NS 45.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
Read Full Note
Bench 1775 Brut Rosetext
88PTS

Bench 1775 Brut Rose 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn equal blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, this new release from Bench 1775 is a traditional method fizz that spent two years on the lees and is a blend of two vintages. A copper pink hue, the pinot noir has spent time on the skins, affording a riffy grip to the finish. Dry and snappy, this is cranberry, cherry, strawberry, with a floral raspberry blossom kiss, on an earthy, herbal base. Serious, severe edged style.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
Read Full Note
Evolve Pink Effervescencetext
84PTS

Evolve Pink Effervescence NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Evolve ‘pink,’ is a simple salmon coloured charmat sparkler of pinot blanc and müller-thurgau. The fruit is fresh, mixing candied red flavours to the short, clean finish. The bubbles are persistent with just enough acidity to keep it all lively. Try this with a charcuterie plate.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Evolve Cellars
Read Full Note

23 October 2017

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
89PTS

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2013

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTight as a fist, even now four years on. This Hypothesis is a blend of Golden Mile Bench 38/36/26 merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, from their higher altitude Arise Bench vineyard. Blackberry, cassis thorns, roasted earth line this hard palate, lined with coffee and with gritty espresso bitter tannins to frame. There's a medicinal swing to the potent fruit that finishes astringently at this youthful stage, best mitigated with rib eye steaks. The best is yet to come after some time in bottle.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Le Vieux Pin Petit Rougetext
88PTS

Le Vieux Pin Petit Rouge 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 vintage saw no 750ml of Petit Rouge, the kid brother of LVP's more age-worthy (and pricey) wines, so this is the first full bottle release since 2014. Petit by name only, this shares the same genes, vineyards and love afforded to its elder siblings. The range was developed to be an affordable, well-made wine to drink tonight. This is a blend of teenaged merlot, cabernet franc and syrah, plummy and full (but not overripe) and with six month in oak prior to bottling (ignore the misprint on the label which gives this 14 months in wood). Plump raspberry, fine cherry, spicy plum with fine tannins lined with peppercorns and cushioned with the southern Okanagan sun. If you're grilling up pork ribs or sausages, look no further.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
Read Full Note
Pedro Parra y Familia Pencopolitanotext
90PTS

Pedro Parra y Familia Pencopolitano 2014

ChilePedro Parra is, quite literally, THE doctor of dirt. He has dug 25000 calicatas (soil pits) around the world and consulted for numerous wineries, including Okanagan Valley's Haywire. After many years advising others how and where to grow wines, this is his own project, based in his homeland of Concepcion, the original site of vines in Chile but long since forgotten as a wine growing region. This is a field Blend of malbec, syrah, cinsault, carignan, pais and carmenere from the red granite and fine quartz soils of six dry farmed vineyards in Itata and Cauquenes, and vines 60-100 years old. After native ferment and one year in cement and stainless, this was lightly filtered before bottling. Thick and dense on the concentrated palate, with smoked berries, dried blueberries, tobacco, roasted meats, charcoal, leather all textured with stony grip and fine peppery spice, and cut with a balsamic sappiness. Still very much in youth, this wine-of-place is still fist tight after being opened overnight. I suggest decanting and grilled lamb for current consumption, but recommend cellaring for a few years for maximum enjoyment.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Pedro Parra y Familia
Read Full Note

20 October 2017

Clos des Fous Subsollumtext
90PTS

Clos des Fous Subsollum 2014

ChileSubsollum pinot is a 75/25 mix of fruit from Pucalán in the cool Aconcagua Costa region only eight kilometers from the Pacific - think true Sonoma Coast with remainder come from way down south in Malleco at Traiguén in the very cool Itata region. The nose is fragrant red plums leafy forest floor with spice notes. The attack is medium to full-bodied. The ferment is long and cool with extended ageing on the lees on in cement tanks until bottling. This is not Russian River or Central Otago its Chilean and its fresh and lively with a complex array of cherry flavours from sweet to sour. The future is bright. Clos des Fous is a ‘crazy’ collaboration between Pedro Parra, François Massoc, Paco Leyton, and Albert Cu who are in search of Chile’s ultimate wine potential via its most extreme terroirs. Empanadas any one.Prices: BC 38.99 AB 27.00 ON 18.95 Producer: Clos des Fous
Read Full Note
Coolshanagh Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Coolshanagh Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s our first look at the Coolshanagh pinot and we sure like what we taste. Coolshanagh is owned by Skip and Judy Stothert. The wine is made at Okanagan Crush Pad by winemaker Matt Dumayne, who has a long history of making pinot noir in New Zealand, Oregon and British Columbia, inspired by the minimalist techniques of Burgundy. There is something to be said about clean wine in that it sets the stage to taste the real wine: a cool, red-fruited spicy pinot with a silky texture that makes me think of cru Beaujolais freshness and minerality with the charm and finesse of Côte de Beaune. Of course, the wine is all Naramata with its signature piney/sagebrush savoury undercurrent. Drink or hold for three to five years.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Read Full Note
Fort Berens Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Fort Berens Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere is lots to like here if you get past the meaty, earthy, reduced notes upon pulling its synthetic cork. Four different pinot clones, all estate grown, are aged in French oak barrels including 20 percent new, for 9 months. The flavours remain earthy with lots of peppery cherry fruit but with a strong meaty, barnyard undercurrent. The winery recommends stewed lamb, grilled salmon or mushroom risotto and we would add about 45 minutes in a decanter to blow off some of the reduction. A move to screwcap would likely put this wine into the BC pinot game.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Ex Nihilo Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA fine improvement here over last year. So much fresher and brighter, this 2016 is very Lake Country pinot. The fruit comes off two northern sites: Rise Vineyard and the Ex Nihilo in Lake Country, and goes through whole berry fermentation in stainless steel tanks before being aged nine months in French oak barrels (20 percent new). The nose is an enticing mix of bright plums and cherries with savoury, spicy, tobacco that rides the smooth silky tannins through the finish. Juicy and drinkable, this would be fun to have with some of amazing pork dishes at Mott 32. Drink now or hold through 2020.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
Read Full Note
Haywire White Label Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Haywire White Label Pinot Noir 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA touch reduced on opening so be sure to splash decant. Warm and generous, with ripe cherry, raspberry and stewed forest berries up front. From Secrest Mountain Vineyard, this was native fermented followed by 11 months in concrete. There's a medical, cherry cough candy thread that is buried underneath the earthiness, with tannins that are finely nubby and dusky, to a cola, black pepper finish. Drink now with rare duck burgers or let this settle into itself for another year.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Read Full Note
Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Noir Reservetext
88PTS

Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Noir Reserve 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Stoneboat Reserve Pinot Noir is a richer, softer, fuller version of the solid, regular label. The winery’s calcareous soils are proving to be a good fit for pinot noir on the Gravel Bar below the Black Sage Bench, even if the site seems a bit too warm during the day. It’s made with minimal inputs but the selection of fruit here is darker and richer in nature but with the same juicy, easy-sipping, silky style of the regular. Ready to drink and should be fine with salmon or pork.Prices: BC 36.90 Producer: Stoneboat Vineyards
Read Full Note
Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Noir 2014

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStoneboat’s calcareous soils are proving to be a good fit for pinot noir in a region where warm daytime temperatures are less than optimal for the delicate grape. Minimal handling has yielded a juicy, easy-drinking pinot with simple but correct red fruits and spice. Bright, spicy, savoury, warm and ready to drink. Multiple small-lot fermentations of five clones from two vineyards.Prices: BC 21.39 Producer: Stoneboat Vineyards
Read Full Note
Domaine Queylus Tradition Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Domaine Queylus Tradition Pinot Noir 2014

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA half-year along since I tasted this last, and it continues to impress, even more so now. Domaine Queylus is a collective of a dozen Quebecois wine lovers, who have hired Canadian (and Oregonian and Burgundian) winemaker Thomas Bachelder to make the wines of their domaine. Organically grown Lincoln Lakeshore and Twenty Mile Bench grapes were destemmed without crushing before wild yeast ferment and aging in French oak (1/3 new) for 16-20 months. Pretty and plummy, with perfumed raspberry, silky black cherry, tuckering tannins lining the cheeks, with raspberry leather and worn wood on the palate. Tannins are fine and firmly gritty to a warming, spiced finish. Youthful, this will grow with time. 1900 six-packs produced.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Domaine Queylus
Read Full Note
Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2014

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaGravity is a selection of top blocks within Flat Rock's estate vineyard on the Twenty Mile Bench. Dusky dark plum, sasparilla, twine, cedar spices line the plush, fuller pinot, with gritty oak-clad tannins cushioning the whole through a cinnamon spicing and perfumed rose finish. There's an old world savouriness throughout this ripely new world pinot, which would best meet its equilibrium with a few years more.Prices: ON 35.00 Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
Read Full Note
Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noir 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRob Van Westen collaborating winemaker Tom Di Bello is producing a rich, spicy, mouth-filling pinot noir on the Naramata Bench. The nose is open and intense, with bits of black cherry flecked with floral, mineral, clove. The attack is warm and round - more Russian River than Naramata this year with sweet, black cherry fruit, silky tannins and a long, warm, spicy, finish with bits of orange and sweet tobacco. Duck and roasted fowl are good bets, along with another two years in bottle.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
Read Full Note
Stag's Hollow Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of five clones from Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard is behind this cedary, smoky, tomato leaf scented pinot with charcoal dusted tannins. Destemmed into open top fermenters, with ample punch downs before being pressed into French oak (13 percent new). After MLF, the wine spends an additional 13 months on fine lees before being racked, blended and bottled unfined and unfiltered. A bit disjointed at this point and surprisingly cool given the vintage with cassis and black cherry fruit filtered with black pepper and smoke. Tannins are fine, gritty, and firm but with acidity to match the warm finish. There's a whisper of pinot noir finesse here, but you must search for it.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
Read Full Note
Blue Mountain Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2015

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCured pork, light smoke and tobacco season some serious black raspberry, cherry, flecked with thorns. The attack is earthy with hints of celery and a fine peppery grip that frames wine from front to back. Despite the warm year and the darker, more flush, duskier fruit, the wine remains gentle, light and finessed. Hold until 2019 then drink through 2026. From the home vineyard with vines (113, 114, 115, 375, 667 and 777) ranging from 9-31 years in age, it was destemmed before a native ferment, the first 100 percent wild ferment in tank, for 20 days, before pressing into French oak where it rested until the following summer.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 30.00 ON 30.00 QC 30.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
BK Wines Gower Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

BK Wines Gower Pinot Noir 2016

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaNamed for grower Jeff Gower, this is a Lenswood pinot noir, flush with black plum, dusky cherry, wild blackberry, with wild mushrooms, big flake salts on a juicy, muscular, frame. Root beer scoots throughout, as does a cola note, right up to the spicy finish. Hard to call this pinot fleshy at 12.8 percent, but tasted next to the skinny Skin n' Bones, that visual comes to mind. Youthful, with presence, and finesse, and longevity. Clones 117, 114, 115 were 90 percent whole bunch pressed and spent one month on skins before resting in Vosges-sourced oak (one quarter new).Prices: CDN 60.00 Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
BK Wines Skin n' Bones Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

BK Wines Skin n' Bones Pinot Noir 2013

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaDusky plum, smoked, cured meats opens this Lenswood pinot noir, one native ferment and with 160 days on the skins (hence, SKIN n' Bones). Post skin contact this goes into Frederick Freres barrels, imparting the impervious puff of sweet smoke throughout this generous, ripe pinot. Black tea tannins corset in the generosity here, with a few years age showing some thickening around the middle, but still with a snappy tension right at the finish. More brooding and mellow.Prices: Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
BK Wines Skin n' Bones Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

BK Wines Skin n' Bones Pinot Noir 2016

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaPretty, perfumed dark plum, ripe black raspberry, thorny blackberry, spiced with herbal mustard seed, this is a juicy, fine, but structural red, with finely boned, gritty tannis, black raspberry, thorns, mustard seed to a saline finish. This Lenswood pinot noir was native fermented, spent 90 days on the skins before into Vosges wood (10 percent new, 90 percent neutral) and then was bottled unfined and unfiltered.Prices: Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
Kono Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Kono Pinot Noir 2016

South Island, New ZealandUnpretentious, simple, round and soft: these are good things to find in an inexpensive pinot noir. The nose is cool with bright, black cherry fruit flecked with cinnamon. The attack is juicy with spicy, plummy fruit that slips down effortlessly. It’s all batch fermented in small open-top vessels after a five-day cold-soak, then pressed into French oak barriques. Two thirds of the fruit is sourced from Marlborough Valley's sub-region of Awatere Valley, and the other third from the Moutere Hills area of Nelson. Perfect with a mushroom pizza ore pasta dish. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Kono Beverages
Read Full Note

19 October 2017

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosolitext
96PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyAt Altesino the development of the ‘cru’ concept has helped push the quality of all its top wines way up. Montosoli is a 5-hectare vineyard that sits between 350 and 400 meters above sea level but only a small part of that goes into this cru offering. The fruit was first fermented and aged separately back in 1975. In the years it is made, only 20 Montosoli vintages have been released since 1975, it spends 48 months in the cellar: three years in Slavonian oak barrels, eight months in medium toasted Allier barriques and four final months in bottle. This is our second look at the 2012 and it is a terrific bottle displaying all the elegance and refinement of a great Brunello. Look for alluring floral aromas of red fruits that spill across the palate mixed with bits of tobacco, earth, liquorice and pepper. A pure sangiovese statement made to age a decade or two or serve with a mushroom risotto, venison or beef. This is one for the cellar.Prices: BC 135.00 ON 120.00 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
Read Full Note
Altesino Brunello di Montalcinotext
93PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyRe-tasted in Vancouver this is really coming along in bottle. A bigger, stronger wine than in 2011 with an expansive nose and a richness that marks a warm year, but it remains within itself in the Altesino style. It’s the 40th year for this label and the red fruit, mineral undercurrent persistently surfaces the bolder fruit in 2012. The attack is juicy with spicy red fruit flavours and some rich, dense, fine grained tannins in the back end before the acidity fights back in the finish. No rush here, you could easily age this 10 to 15 years before it peaks in the bottle. A terrific bottle to cellar a decade. The Altesino estate spreads across 89 hectares, 44 of which are planted and subdivided into the four Altesino crus of Macina, Castelnuovo dell‘Abate (in the district of Velona), Pianezzine and Montosoli.Prices: BC 56.99 AB 58.00 ON 51.00 QC 48.00 BC 31.99 375 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
Read Full Note
Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
89PTS

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2014

Piedmont, ItalyThis wine is simply delicious and one of the few you can buy blind very year; that’s how much you can trust it. It’s a finely tuned mix of tobacco, cedar and tar, with smoky bright red strawberry/cherries aromas and flavours that tumble onto the palate with perfect freshness and dry, well-managed tannins. Food-friendly, this is a lighter, more graceful nebbiolo. Try this with your favourite risotto dish. Excellent value.Prices: BC 27.99 ON 30.00 Producer: Giovanni Rosso
Read Full Note
Ciabot Berton Barolo La Morratext
90PTS

Ciabot Berton Barolo La Morra 2011

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyComfortably worn leather, dried raspberry and dried cherry pervade this Barolo from the commune of La Morra. The comfort continues on the mellow palate, ripe and savoury and finely salted, showing more age than its age. Tannins are softly tuggy, and dried rose petals linger on the finish. This is from Cabot Berton's 8ha of hillside Nebbiolo on sandy, marl and calcareous clay soils. After maceration on the skins for 16 days in concrete, this spent 18 months in Slovenian oak casks, followed by a tightening six months in stainless before bottling. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Ciabot Berton
Read Full Note

18 October 2017

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminer 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJoieFarm "En Famille" tier is a reserve line for site-specific fruit, aged in bottle for a year prior to the release. This is two clones of gew from their estate vineyard on Naramata Bench. Perfumed lush pear, candied pink grapefruit, exotic lychee, spicy ginger candies and rosewater fill a gushing palate. This is one plump, rich, spicy, sweet low acid gewürztraminer that will have a lot of fans. Chill down and enjoy with aromatic green curries.Prices: BC 28.90 Producer: JoieFarm
Read Full Note
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Interloper Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Interloper Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA ripe and fragrant garden in a glass, this is intense musk, perfumed melon, lush peach and gingerale spice on a slicked, cold-cream lined, 14+ percent palate. For all its perfumed intensity, this mid-sweet wine holds its form well. After a 45-day ferment, this spent an additional four months in stainless on the lees. The style is fresher than some of its contemporaries but with a bit more resin. Drink all winter with a favourite Indian curry.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Desert Hills Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Desert Hills Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDesert Hills’ Gewurztraminer is made from Black Sage Bench and Okanagan Falls fruit, with only an illusion of sweetness. White flowers and spicy litchi fruit mark the nose and the palate, and finishes relatively dry in the Alsace manner. Simple ready to drink; try pairing this with lightly spiced Indian or Thai curry dishes.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Lang Vineyards Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Lang Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a beautiful expression of gewürztraminer grown in Summerland by Hans and Guenther Lang. The nose is clean with a fresh with bright, tropical, orange fruit aromas and a touch of rosewater. The palate is juicy and leanish with a light, spicy, honey creamsicle followed by a mineral, floral, peach skin finish. Fresh and ripe with a touch of resin. Best with spicy dishes including pork.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lang Vineyards
Read Full Note

17 October 2017

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Santa Lucia Highlands, located within Monterey County, is the foggy, windy, cool home of this label where chardonnay can be intensified thanks to longer hang time. It’s a little older style in weight and oak but the fruit does carry it well and the acidity comes to the rescue underneath. Look for baked peach and honey flavours with spicy lees and touch of brown spice. Drink now with fresh cracked crab or lobster.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 35.00 ON 34.95 SK 39.03 MB 39.00 QC 33.35 Producer: Mer Soleil Vineyard
Read Full Note
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnaytext
82PTS

Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2015

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesMade to be a pure, clean expression of chardonnay via ferments in stainless steel and small concrete tanks, things seem to go awry in the bottle. The attack is soft, sweet and sugary with sweet tinned pineapple and guava flavours with a slippery glycerol coated finish. Disjointed. More like a soft drink than a wine.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 26.00 SK 29.93 QC 23.55 MB 24.99 ON 24.95 PEI 31.77 Producer: Mer Soleil Vineyard
Read Full Note
Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
88PTS

Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the higher altitude Secrest Mountain and its flat, alluvial, limestone layered soils, this vineyard is in its second year of transition to organic certification. After twelve hours of skin contact, destemmed grapes were pressed to concrete for native ferment and six months of aging. Ripe white peach, green apple, honeydew and ripe pear is awash with cream on a generous, textural palate. There is a snappy nutmeg spice seasoning this tropically-tilted and lush, if a touch sweet, chardonnay. Would be fine with a spicy, butter chicken dish.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
Read Full Note
BK Wines One Ball Chardonnaytext
92PTS

BK Wines One Ball Chardonnay 2013

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaNamed in honour of the vineyard owner (who, yes, has one testical), this organically farmed chardonnay affirms Adelaide Hills as a serious, cool climate and complexed wine region. BK Wines' founder and winemaker Brendon Keys is a leading proponent of hand crafted, single vineyard wines from the region. Salty, savoury and elastic on the palate, with flint and saline laced honey streaming along the river stone bedded palate. Showing lovely maturity now with a couple of years in the bottle, this is drinking beautifully at this stage and will continue to age. Dijon clones 95 and 97, with time spent in 10 percent new oak.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
Sea Mountain Limestone Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Sea Mountain Limestone Chardonnay 2016

Robertson, Breede River Valley, South AfricaSteve Ludlam is the man behind the Sea Mountain brand, first developed in 2013. The ‘Sea Mountain’ name refers to Table Mountain, the dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. The Sea Mountain Limestone Chardonnay is a good example of the New South Africa with its intense, almost over the top acidity and stony mineral palate. The fruit comes of the limestone soils of Robertson that are regularly cooled by the prevailing South Easterly winds. Ready to drink; perfect with shellfish.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Sea Mountain Vineyards
Read Full Note
Hester Creek Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Hester Creek Chardonnay 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA traditional style chardonnay that’s more on the old school side. There is plenty of oak contact here and you sense it on the ripe, soft round plate. The attack is slightly fresher with both tropical and green apple nuances. The palate is similar but with more resiny notes mixed with pineapple, baked apple and nutty lees that finish warm with a twist of caramel. Try this with crab or halibut.Prices: BC 24.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
BK Wines Swaby Chardonnaytext
93PTS

BK Wines Swaby Chardonnay 2016

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaSerious wine. Planted in 1983, this is clone 110V1 Kenton Valley chardonnay that saw one year in French oak (25 percent new). Swaby is the grower of this striking chardonnay, one drinking very well now but will easily cellar for a decade +. This opens and carries a reductive swing throughout the muscular palate, drawing roasted nuts, hazelnuts, kernels, crisp apple and lemon blossom on the structural and grippy frame, right down to the big snap of salts / aged parmesan on the flinty finish. Only four barrels were made. Like all of BK's wines, this benefits from a decant.Prices: Australia 45.00 Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Saint Romaintext
93PTS

Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Saint Romain 2014

Saint Romain, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceThis. This is why chardy is the greatest grape in the world. And Burgundy the zenith. Because even in a fringe region (up in the hilly clay limestone cliffs of Saint Romain at 400m altituede) this ia property studied by monks of the 10th century. Earthy and savoury, with stony, flake salts, citrus pith and a wash of fresh saline, this is a structural wine that reflects these 1960s vines of Saint Romain. An organically farmed wine is the result of the blend of old vines from "Combe Bazin" and " Sous Roches ".Prices: BC 63.99 Producer: Clos du Moulin aux Moines
Read Full Note
Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottestext
93PTS

Clos du Moulin Aux Moines Pernand-Vergelesses Les Combottes 2014

Pernand-Vergelesses, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceLovely matchstick and flint leads out this Pernand-Vergelesses, from Clos du Moulin Aux Moines, started by monks in the 10th Century, and purchased most recently by the Andrieu family in 2008, who have converted the farming to biodynamic. The youngest vines in this monopole Les Combottes vineyard vineyard are around 40 years old, sloping, off Corton Charlemagne, with similar soils (white marl on clay-limestone). The wines are lifted with mineral salts, lemon blossom, and pine nuts, very well grounded by a bed of lees. A finessed beauty now, and will cellar very well short and longer-term.Prices: BC 67.00 Producer: Clos du Moulin aux Moines
Read Full Note
Tate Alexanders Vineyard Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Tate Alexanders Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

Margaret River, Western Australia, AustraliaNamed after the patriarch of the Tate clan, this wine in the Alexanders Vineyard range represents what the producer imagines chardy to be. The vineyard is close to Willyabrup and mostly planted to the ubiquitous Mendoza clone. Partial barrel ferment (new and older French barriques) with a good amount of solids, this saw a good amount of battonage in barrel before bottling one year later. This holds the wood, lees, ripeness very well, expressing a pure and creamy core of spiced yellow apple, pear, lemon to a vanilla-tinged finish.Prices: BC 30.49 Producer: Franklin Tate Estates
Read Full Note
Errazuriz Chardonnay Wild Fermenttext
89PTS

Errazuriz Chardonnay Wild Ferment 2015

Aconcagua Costa, Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileErrazuriz continues to lead the way in sustainable, progressive Chilean winemaking. This fresh, saline-laced chardonnay is the perfect example. With vineyards 20 miles from the Pacific ocean at La Escultura Estate, this Casablanca Valley wine embraces the cool stream of air from the chilly Humboldt Currant that cycles off-shore. The whole-cluster fruit was fermented in stainless before partial MLF prior to ten months aging in French oak (17 percent new). White peach leads the tropical fruit on the medium+, creamy palate, finely spiced on the finish. A lovely, serious, fresh, approachable new world chardy at an incredible price.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Viña Errazuriz
Read Full Note
Bota Box Bota Mini Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Bota Box Bota Mini Chardonnay NV

California, United StatesGoing hiking, biking, boating? Packing a picnic? Let me introduce you to the drink box for adults: Bota Mini. In an environmentally-friendly sippy box. At 500ml, this is ripe, round and generous, with an elastic mouthfeel and brisk spicing up to the short, clipped finish. Does the trick, and in environmentally-fruiendly packaging as well.Prices: US 6.00 500 Producer: Bota Box Vintners
Read Full Note
Seresin Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Seresin Chardonnay 2011

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom the cellar. White asparagus, flake salts, meadow herbs and lees fill the frame of this Marlborough chardy, from one of the leading biodynmic wineries of NZ. Grapes from their home vineyard as well as Raupo Creek were native fermented, whole bunch pressed into French barriques, five percent new, for almost one year. White peach, white grapefruit showing slight honeycomb with the time in bottle. Still very much alive and highly enjoyable.Prices: MB 24.95 Producer: Seresin Estate
Read Full Note
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2016

Livermore, San Francisco Bay, California, United StatesMorning Fog is as consistent as the morning fog in the East Bay that cools the vineyards that are home to this wine. Expect a fresh, spicy, floral honeyed nose with a touch of fresh apple core. The attack is a citrus, nutty lees affair with bits of green apple, guava and pear with more citrus poking through the finish. Clams are a good fit here.Prices: BC 19.46 MB 18.99 NS 23.00 ON 20.00 QC 18.60 AB 17.00 NB 20.99 PEI 20.99 Producer: Wente Vineyards
Read Full Note
Mirabel Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Mirabel Chardonnay 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe talented Matt Dumayne who works at Okanagan Crush Pad is the winemaker behind this new release from the Kelowna-based Reimer Family. The fruit is mid-valley Naramata grown and whole bunched pressed. Some 30 percent goes to new Francois Frere oak puncheons. Bright acidity allows for a full malolactic fermentation followed by a leisurely 11 months ageing on its lees. Dumayne is all about ‘less is more’ winemaking, so minimal intervention is the mantra; hence it is unfiltered, unfined and UN-everything wine. What it is, is a bright tropical fruit-scented white with rich mango/orange aromas and flavours but with just the right level of lees and toast to complex the finish and bring you back. Think leaner California with better acidity and freshness. Fresh halibut is a great match. 185 casesPrices: BC 40.00 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
Read Full Note

16 October 2017

Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollotext
89PTS

Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2014

Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyThe 2014 Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo is a 60/40 sangiovese? cabernet sauvignon blend that made the top 100 Spectator picks from a 18,000-strong pool of wines. The nose is clean with scents of meaty black fruits followed by rich red and black fruit mixed with leather and spice that fade into a supple, warm, mineral finish. Rompicollo is an official ambassador of Tuscany’s Maremma district and its name refers to the "neck breaking," labour required to farm Maremma’s volcanic tufa-rich soils. Pork is a terrific match.Prices: BC 21.49 MB 19.00 NS 19.00 NF 20.25 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
Read Full Note
Barone Ricasoli Brolio-Bettino Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Barone Ricasoli Brolio-Bettino Chianti Classico 2013

Tuscany, ItalyBrolio Bettino is the latest label from the Tuscan innovator Baron Ricasoli. The 2103 is the first release bearing the DOCG Chianti Classico designation and is mostly unfiltered sangiovese with ten percent abrusco, or colorino, aged in large casks for a minimum 18 months. The nose is slightly reduced (be sure to splash decant your bottle) with forest floor and dried herbs predominating. The attack is round and supple with fresh red fruit and mineral notes. Best with an olive and sliced meats charcuterie plate. The wine is made in the traditional style of the firm’s founder. It was not filtered and it was matured it in big casks. It could be cleaner, but overall is promising.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: Barone Ricasoli
Read Full Note
Saggitext
91PTS

Saggi 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe Folonaris are among Italy’s oldest wine families with a Tuscan winemaking history that dates to the late 1700s. The father-son team of Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari first created Saggi in 2006. The 2014 Saggi, a 52/32/16 blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, like the other ’14 Long Shadows labels, is impressive. Expect a big red with a licorice, red fruit nose. The texture and tannins are silky soft, fast becoming a Long Shadows trademark. The flavours have a bright wild berry character that easily subdues the spice and heat. It is all aged 18 months in 100 percent French oak barrels, 55 percent new. Long Shadows recently announced that director of winemaking and viticulture Gilles Nicault, who has collaborated with the Folonaris since the beginning, will assumed complete winemaking responsibilities with the 2016 wines.Prices: BC 70.00 US 45.00 ON 85.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
Read Full Note

13 October 2017

Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyardtext
88PTS

Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard 2015

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaGreen apple, orange and a piercing, tinny minerality stream through this small-lot, single vineyard riesling from Thirty Bench (they also make the similarly small Wood Post Vineyard Riesling). Steely like its name, with a tightly sculpted, sleek form building salty weight along the length of the palate to a sour, crab apple finish. Young. Steel Post is a 4 acre parcel located in the middle of their 22 acre vineyard, and was planted in 1983.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Thirty Bench Wine Makers
Read Full Note
Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyardtext
92PTS

Thirty Bench Small Lot Riesling Wood Post Vineyard 2015

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaTight and nervy green apple, crab apple and lemon sherbet in this slate-licked, small-lot, single vineyard riesling from Thirty Bench (they also make the similarly small Steel Post Vineyard Riesling). Wood Post is located next to the Beamsville Bench winery, and is the winery's youngest vines, planted in 1984. The slaty form continues, drawing petrol, apple skin and ample mineral salts to a savoury, tingling finish. A thin pillow of honey on the palate is perfectly situated to comfort the tension. Impressive 10.2 percent alcohol.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Thirty Bench Wine Makers
Read Full Note
Hester Creek Terra Unica Rieslingtext
89PTS

Hester Creek Terra Unica Riesling 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou will have to join the Bench Wine Club to gain access to their Terra Unica Riesling, direct to club members at $22.95. An early warm growing season followed by a cool long fall on the Golden Mile Bench has made for some clean, juicy fruit with plenty of residual sugar. The fruit was dry-farmed before going through a stainless-steel ferment, halted before dryness, and leaving 26 grams per litre of residual sugar. Expect a fresh, mineral, citrus nose with generous orange and lemon flavours and a shake of sea salt. It was perfect with breaded pork. A fitting example of what can be accomplished on the complex Golden Mile Bench in the south Okanagan Valley.Prices: BC 22.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyardtext
89PTS

Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard 2013

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Vineymount Ridge, the highest point of the Niagara Peninsula, the Picone Vineyard is a densely planted, dolomitic limestone-laden site with 30+ year old riesling vines. Vine age shows in the subtle concentration of this wine, with petrol, potent pear, and a slick of key lime on the lees-slicked palate. There's a fine grip of pear skin that frames the edges of this slim wine. 10.1 alc, 15.7 g/l, TA 8.23, pH 3.Prices: ON 35.00 Producer: Charles Baker
Read Full Note
Cave Spring Riesling CSVtext
89PTS

Cave Spring Riesling CSV 2015

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPear gummies, candied lime and talcum powder on this juicy, off-dry Beamsville Bench riesling. Tight, grippy sides reflect the limestone rich soils of the Niagara Escarpment terrace where these old vines are grown. Puckering acidity and staggering stats: 2.95pH, 9.6 RS, 8.3 TA, 11.5 lac. Perfumed lime blossoms on the finish.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Cave Spring Cellars
Read Full Note
Flat Rock Cellars Nadja's Vineyard Rieslingtext
90PTS

Flat Rock Cellars Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2016

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPiercing, perfumed pear, drives this juicy, off-dry Twenty Mile Bench riesling through to the quenching finish. Shallow soils over limestone explains the lively bright minerality throughout. There's a lovely delicacy and fillgree to this potent wine, impressive at 11 percent.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
Read Full Note
Culmina Family Estate En Coteaux Riesling No. 003text
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate En Coteaux Riesling No. 003 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina offers up a succession of one-off wines they are calling the Number Series to showcase “the best of our research and development from any given vintage.” Up third is Nº 003 'En Coteaux Riesling', an opulent offering off the Golden Mile Bench Stan’s Vineyard, a riesling that engulfs the palate from front to back. Ripe apples, juicy sweet oranges with a dusting of stony minerality mark the palate that finishes just a touch short. In a nutshell, after many twist and turns, 2016 allowed for “excellent ripeness and optimal acid balance in all varieties” at Culmina. This riesling, Alsace Clone 49, bursts with freshness and sweetness at 39 grams of residual sugar. The Triggs are food freaks when they are not busy making wine so when they say this wine goes with apple wood smoked foie gras with rosemary rubbed Road 9 Baguette crostini; or traditional raclette with new season tarragon potatoes, you should heed their advice.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Quails' Gate Dry Rieslingtext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Dry Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canadapear oil, pear blossom, tight and lean, but with a core of sweet orchard fruit, this is much better named "off-dry riesling".Prices: BC 15.99 AB 18.00 MB 16.99 YK 18.90 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
Read Full Note

12 October 2017

Concha y Toro Terrunyo Andes Block Las Terrazas Cabernet Sauvignon Pirque Vineyardtext
89PTS

Concha y Toro Terrunyo Andes Block Las Terrazas Cabernet Sauvignon Pirque Vineyard 2013

Pirque, Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileRoasted meats, earthy cassis and dusky thorns pierce into this cabernet sauvignon from Pirque Viejo, one of the winery’s oldest vineyards and one unaffected by phylloxera. It is located 650 m above sea level, running along the Maipo River on alluvial rocky and gravel soils. Fourteen months in French oak has provided structure to house the Andean foothills fruit, one surprisingly fresh for its 14.5 percent. Throughout, roasted onions, tobacco colour the black fruit, all held together with gummy tannins. Drink now with roasted beef or lamb.Prices: BC 34.95 AB 40.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Viña Concha y Toro S.A.
Read Full Note
Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom 50+ year old biodynamic vines in the Vistalba region, this cabernet sauvignon is splashed with 5 percent malbec and spent one year in oak (80 percent in French, with the remainder ??). No worry, because whatever they did works in the glass, with juicy blackcurrant, dark plum, black raspberry, charcoal dusted tannins and a flow of salted black liquorice, works. A cloud of black pepper lingers on the finish, pinching this off quickly, and calling out for asado.Prices: BC 24.99 ON 20.00 Producer: Montes Wines
Read Full Note
Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Reservatext
0PTS

Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaCorked.Prices: BC 18.00 AB 18.00 SK 19.00 NS 18.00 Producer: Montes Wines
Read Full Note
Quails' Gate Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe QG cabernet has winemaker Nikki Callaway’s light touch all over it. Callaway prefers complexity and an elegant style over brute power and big tannins, and this 2015 delivers, with a fragrant cedar, tobacco black licorice nose with similar fresh flavours on the palate. The rare, super warm 2015 was perfect for growing cabernet sauvignon, in this case from QG estate vineyards on the slopes of Mount Boucherie. Post ferment it spent 18 months in French oak. Impressive mid-valley cabernet best served with mature hard cheeses or a T-bone steak.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
Read Full Note
CS Substance Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

CS Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Washington, United StatesI can only assume America loves this candied, lifted cocoa style of cabernet sauvignon because we sure don’t. Better fruit ripeness here but with acidity poking through it is not a flavour I love. Couple that with some rustic, sticky tannins and you have a wine that is sweet, soft and disjointed. Best with some barbecue back ribs smothered in sweet sauce.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
Read Full Note
Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 is riding the warm, spicy, ripe wave that has overtaken this label since 2012. The vineyard block is one of the warmest sites in the Okanagan and that never hurts when you are trying to ripen cabernet sauvignon. Winemaker/grower Jason James’s style can be summed up as rich, and you can expect this wine to deliver. Always aromatic, the 2105 opens with savoury black fruit with a fine dusting of sage. The palate is still a bit rambunctious with bright acidity and some sticky tannins yet to be assimilated. This will improve in bottle through 2020 but you could enjoy it now with a fire grilled steak.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Black Sage Vineyard
Read Full Note
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Apalta Valley, Santa Cruz, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileRubber, roasted meats, grilled onions and wood in this blocky, and dense cabernet sauvignon from Apalta Vineyard. Tannins are massive and gritty, finishing with a choking dryness. There's an iron scent, and bay leaf seasoning which is alluring, but the potency of the firm wood overrides all else. Requires richer red meats to counter.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 21.00 MB 20.00 ON 19.95 QC 17.54 NS 22.00 Producer: Montes Wines
Read Full Note

11 October 2017

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +17/09text
91PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +17/09 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaConsistency from year to year is the measure of any great wine, and the LS syrah has it in spades. Perfect Hedge Vineyard sits along the US border in east Osoyoos so far south that the LS syrah ripens two weeks ahead of the home vineyard in Naramata. It's fermented in three lots: the first is co-fermented with viognier in stainless; the second fermented in 500L open top French puncheons; and the third in ‘The Ferminator’, a large custom-built oak vessel that absorbed 80 percent carbonic maceration and 20 percent whole cluster fruit. Post fermentation, it spends 14 months in 35 percent new French oak. Dark, inviting florals mark the nose of an elegantly styled syrah, packed with blueberry, Bing cherry, white pepper, stony minerals and just a hint of smoky roasted meats. Youthful and robust, this will need a decade to come into its own but should be very refined by then.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
Read Full Note
Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Syrah Middle Bench Vineyardtext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Syrah Middle Bench Vineyard 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClos du Soleil’s first ever syrah to be released under the Growers Series disappeared fast. The nose is an enticing mix of cracked black pepper and floral, deep blueberry fruit aromas and flavours. Classic savoury stony Similkameen on the finish, with just enough tannins to take on grilled lamb. Picked by hand at peak maturity, the grapes are fermented in small open top fermenters for a full month, with manual, daily punch-downs. It’s aged for 16 months in French oak barrels. Sold out, but look for this in better BC restaurants.Prices: BC 32.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
Read Full Note
Hester Creek Syrah-Viogniertext
90PTS

Hester Creek Syrah-Viognier 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHow much do I like this wine? Maybe enough to join the wine club so I can get some. Bright, floral, fresh on the nose with viognier peeking through, the palate is a mix of violet covered black fruits with a strong smoked ham undercurrent. The style is modern, almost Australian in some ways, suggesting it will be easier to drink in its youth. Smooth, juicy and elegant, with tannins are barely perceptible, this works with anything grilled. Post-harvest, the viognier and the syrah are co-fermented on the skins for 15 days before being pressed off, and the juice is aged in 60 percent American and 40 percent French oak for 15 months before being bottled under screw cap. Wine club and winery direct only.Prices: BC 26.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Stag's Hollow Syrah Amalia Vineyardtext
89PTS

Stag's Hollow Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe haven’t seen this wine for a while but it reminds us of how well syrah grows in the Okanagan. Fresh, juicy and super peppery, with ripeness reflecting the warm year. Winemaker Dwight Sick found the hands that lets the fruit shine through the haze of smoke and wood. This spent 14 months in French oak before blending, bottling, unfined and unfiltered. Look for a Rhone white pepper nose, a juicy, red, fruity, stony, mineral, mid-palate, ample florals on the mid palate, and a soft finish that renders this quaffable. Round and ripe with plushy tannins and smoked meats to bed on the warm finish, this is one for earlier drinking. Think roast pork or lamb.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
Read Full Note
Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswelltext
92PTS

Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswell 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Boswell is part of the Quails’ Gate Collector Series, and in 2015 you might want to consider collecting a few bottles. The Boswell label honours the family's grandparents and is made in limited quantities; only 24 barrels were made this vintage. The nose is an enticing mix of floral, lavender and violets, with that cool climate white pepper and spice that keeps the fruit in check but never buries it. The palate is juicy and dry with silky/leathery tannins throughout the finish and the oak is more seamless this year. The vineyard block sits at the base of the West Kelowna, nearest the lake, and is the perfect spot to take advantage of the late day katabatic winds that flush the heat out of the vineyard, contributing t a complex syrah capable of many years bottle age. Lamb, venison, or aged hard cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
Read Full Note
BK Wines Cult Syrahtext
90PTS

BK Wines Cult Syrah 2013

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaThick, supple leather and suede bed this Adelaide Hills sarah, from a single vineyard in Lobethal. Brooding, dark and potent, with cushy, ripe black plum, blackcurrant and fine black/pink peppercorns. Gritty, structural tannins finish warm, dusky and somewhat drying, but there is a brisk stream of acidity to brighten. Autumn roasts callPrices: BC 30.49 Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
Black Sage Vineyard Shiraztext
87PTS

Black Sage Vineyard Shiraz 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2015 seems back on track with that characteristic cracked black pepper nose mixed with sweet black fruits. The attack is ripe with blackberry, dark florals and black licorice, rich in the mouth but short in the finish. Tannins are gritty and somewhat powdery, but acidity is bright. Easy drinking, especially with a simply grilled lamb chop.Prices: BC 28.89 Producer: Black Sage Vineyard
Read Full Note
Desert Hills Syrah Three Boys Vineyardtext
87PTS

Desert Hills Syrah Three Boys Vineyard 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways one of the best labels at Desert Hills, a bright white pepper nose mixes with smoky savoury meaty notes in the 2012. On the palate, more smoked meat, tar and black fruit, with some fairly prominent acidity throughout. Perfect for roast lamb. Three Boys Vineyard is the estate plot on the Black Sage Bench and the syrah is planted 8 x 3 feet to reduce the amount of fruit per vine harvested.Prices: BC 36.90 Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Oliver Twist Estate Syrahtext
90PTS

Oliver Twist Estate Syrah 2013

CanadaOliver Twist winemaker Gina Harfman gave this property something to hang its hat on: syrah. The style is very northern Rhone, from its peppery spicy nose to a fresh, savoury, mid palate where the acidity does a great job of tackling the warm, tarry fruit, keeping it all fresh. It spends 12 months in French and American oak barrels and is bottled unfiltered. Good effort. Next time it might be even more fruitful to go all French oak. A gold medal winner at the 2017 Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada says it all.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Hillside Syrahtext
89PTS

Hillside Syrah 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA year down the road, this wine has improved a lot in bottle. This is sourced from nearby Hidden Valley Vineyard, just south of the winery and another prime Naramata Bench site. The nose is an attractive mix of floral, finely-ground black pepper and ripe red and black fruits. This syrah is all about elegance and finesse, from its fine-grained tannins to its juicy fruit flavours. Winemaker Kathy Malone cold soaks the fruit for 17 days before fermenting the grapes in small stainless vats. It gets nine months gentle aging in French oak; only 15 percent is new. The style is fresh, the alcohol barely 13.5 percent, and there is plenty of acidity. Elegant, round and forward, this could be drunk over the next three to four years. Try it with grilled lamb chops.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Hillside Winery
Read Full Note
Sequel Syrahtext
93PTS

Sequel Syrah 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesAfter his time at Penfolds Grange, winemaker John Duval chose the Columbia Valley and Long Shadows for his “Sequel” and continuation of his life-long association with syrah/shiraz. Duval takes full advantage of his Oz training in blending fruit from The Benches at Wallula, Alder Ridge, Red Mountain and Yakima Valley. The latest Sequel is the most elegant yet, not light, but seamlessly put together. The nose is a meaty mix of black cherries and smoked meats with bitter chocolate, black licorice and savoury, blueberry flavours. This aged an average of 18 months in 65 percent new French oak barrels, leaving tannins yet to shed, but this is a remarkable effort. Roast lamb will be required to slay this beast.Prices: US 60.00 AB 65.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
Read Full Note
Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s warm on the Black Sage Gravel Bar most years, but winemaker Michael Bartier seems to be able to extract the floral, fragrant notes from his syrah. Notes of spice and black pepper permeate the palate of the rich, fruity red. Ripe black cherries, pipe tobacco and a twist of savoury cocoa linger throughout the stony, mineral finish. The grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed directly into French barrels and macerated over 36 days, rolled to twice a day. After being pressed off, it's aged for another 14 months in neutral French barrels. Roasted meats or wild fowl are the match here.Prices: BC 23.39 AB 23.95 Producer: Bartier Bros.
Read Full Note

10 October 2017

Bachelder Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Bachelder Pinot Noir 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThomas Bachelder buys fruit a la négociant style from various sites in the Willamette, growing on both sedimentary sandstone and volcanic soils. Although he is the ultimate terrorist, he has a style, albeit one of non-intervention and elegance. The fruit is dark and savoury, the length long but still graceful (or, still Bachelder). The 2014 vintage was one of the earliest and largest ever for Willamette pinot. Large yields seem not to have detracted from the richness of this classic mineral, spicy, powerful Oregon pinot, seemingly with time on hand. This is made at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, a collective of like-minded garagistes sourcing Willamette fruit. Duck confit and mushrooms anyone?Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Bachelder Oregon
Read Full Note
Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2015

United StatesFrom the spectacular Sonoma Coast, Flowers is a pinot superstar whose vineyards live on the edge of failure. The Sonoma Coast Pinot tends to be on the cool, pristine side with pure red plum and cherry aromas and flavours flecked with black tea. As you might expect, there is pronounced savoury, forest floor aspect, reflecting the cool fruit. Elegant and soft, it has a long, silky mineral finish that is hard not to like.Prices: BC 68.99 BC 64.99 Producer: Flowers
Read Full Note
Ata Rangi Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2014

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandThe Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is the winery’s ‘Grand Cru’ label where only the finest fruit makes the grade. The storied Abel clone, said to have arrived in a suitcase from Burgundy makes up 40% of the blend; the rest is a mix of Clone 5 and several Dijon clones. After a glorious 2013, the ’14 is an excellent vintage. The winemaking is steady and mostly traditional with 25% whole bunch; the remainder destemmed. The pre-soak lasts five days before an indigenous yeast ferment that is hand plunged for 20-26 days. Post ferment, the wine spends 11 months in 35 percent new French oak. The style is bright, the fruit spicy, floral and perfumed but in a complex, structured manner. Chinese five-spice finds its way into the cool, savoury, black cherry fruit. A stylish, elegant style you can drink or hold.Prices: BC 75.99 AB 65.00 ON 70.00 Producer: Ata Rangi Limited
Read Full Note
Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013

Burgundy, FranceDomaine de Montille has farmed organically since 1995 and over the last twenty years the estate has morphed into a bio-dynamically farmed site that is certified "Ecocert Bio." The winery mantra is “We want to 'erase' the errors of 'progress'. Bourgogne Rouge doesn’t get a lot of love in Burgundy but at Domaine de Montille this simple, regional mix of fruit is all about purity. Slightly floral, perfectly earthy this silky soft red with some serious acidity won’t bowl you over with power but rather seduce you with red fruit and finesse. The secret, while not so secret, is whole clusters in the ferment and purchasing fruit that is sustainably farmed or in some cases on the road to organic viticulture. The fruit comes off from across the Côte de Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise, the Mâconnais and Chablis. The 2013 is a cool, fresh vintage with an emphasis on elegance. There is no new oak here so this is a wonderful wine to reset your pinot noir tasting clock.Prices: BC 73.99 Producer: Domaine de Montille
Read Full Note
Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyardtext
90PTS

Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyard 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer winemaker Chris Carson is the author of this wine that comes off the free-draining, alluvial/colluvial soils of the Naramata Bench. Carson makes a somewhat hedonistic style of pinot noir from 115 Dijon clones that express juicy, red fruit with a savoury, spicy undercurrent. Like last year, it's reminiscent of Oregon over Central Otago. The ferment runs about three weeks before it spends a little under a year in a third new, a third first fill, and a third second fill French oak barrels. If anything, the 2015 is warmer and richer on entry with ripe, strawberry fruit from back to front. The textures are slippery and long. This was perfect with day old turkey and all the leftover trimmings. Delicious.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Carson
Read Full Note
Hidden Bench Locust Lane Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Hidden Bench Locust Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis certified organic pinot noir is from Beamsville Bench's Locust Lane Vineyard, with 13 months in French oak (42 percent new) and a tightening for three months in stainless prior to bottling. The wood comes across through the somewhat drying and gritty tannins, housing dark cherry, dark chocolate, earth and fine smoke. Espresso lingers on the finish. Best opened in advance, and served up with mole-sauced pork.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
Read Full Note
Rosehill Run Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Rosehill Run Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaPerfumed raspberry and cherry fill this softer, silken pinot noir, from Prince Edward County's limestone studded soils. A barrel selection, this was aged in French oak (60 percent new) for seventeen months on lees without racking, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Forest moss, dried herbs, smoked stones, aged paper, and fine, gritty structure lines the sides. Warmer on the end than the 12.3 noted, this is suited to duck breast or wild mushroom casserole.Prices: ON 39.00 Producer: Rosehall Run
Read Full Note
Stanners Vineyard Barrel Select Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Stanners Vineyard Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2014

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaYouthful and brash at this point, the Barrel Select benefits from a decant and some air time. Otherwise, it starts off assertive and overt, with sour cherry, moss, forest, wet wood on a lightly smoked framework. Give it air, and that youthful assertiveness calms a little, revealing silky cherry and raspberry fruit, cinnamon and cloves, over river stones. Has weight, and can stand up to proteins like pork tenderloin.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Stanners Vineyard
Read Full Note
Bachelder Lowrey Vineyardtext
90PTS

Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard 2014

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis single vineyard St. David's Bench pinot noir is some of the oldest pn vines in Niagara. The Lowrey Vineyard was once part of the Alliance project between Jaffelin (Burgundy) and Inniskillin. Native ferment and with 18 months in French oak (25 percent new), before a further eight months in bottle before release. Perfumed raspberry, sour cherry, with a salted raspberry core, this finessed and elegant wine, while still quite firm, has a welcoming fleshy centre, robed with silky tannins and autumnal spices. This youthful wine is showing very well now, but still has some baby fat to shed.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Bachelder Oregon
Read Full Note
Tall Tale Wines Pinot Noir Blanctext
86PTS

Tall Tale Wines Pinot Noir Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTall Tale Wines was established in 2016 by siblings Kyle and Kirstin Lyons, who both obviously have the gene for spinning tall tales : "Planted in 2014, our old vines vineyard grows on soils imported from Jura... " spins one of the yarns on the back label. This is a blush peach hued, off-dry wine, textured with honeycomb and flushed with ripe pear, apricot, gingerale and cut with a swath of vinegar -- the whole all kept afloat with a wash of acidity. It's impossible to peg this as pinot noir. Pinot gris perhaps? Sweet and sour, regardless. More reminiscent of an Alsatian gris than any noir I've ever seen.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Tall Tale Wines
Read Full Note

09 October 2017

Redstone Winery Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Redstone Winery Chardonnay 2013

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis Beamsville Bench chardy is a blend of numerous lots, barrel-fermented and aged for a year in French oak. Ripe, toasty and full, with white florals, lemon curd this wine displays complex notes of white flower, citrus, ripe apple and a generous modicum of toasted oak to a grippy finish. A bump of RS keeps this structural wine accessible now.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Redstone Winery
Read Full Note
Leaning Post Wismer Vineyard Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Leaning Post Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaOnly 95 cases were made of this, entirely from the Foxcroft Block of Twenty Mile Bench's iconic Wismer Vineyard. Whole cluster pressing, six week native ferment in barrel followed by MLF and one year in French oak (35 percent new) has resulted in a massive wine. Overwhelming reduction upon opening, with roasted almonds, giant flake salts, toasted popcorn, walnut shells on the ripe, full-bodied palate. The palate tingles with the limestone laced Wismer soils, though the potency and potential of the tense wine overrules the present at this point. Full on, structured and quite proud of it, this will mellow with time in the bottle (and is helped with decanting now).Prices: ON 35.00 Producer: Leaning Post Wines
Read Full Note
Southbrook Poetica Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2013

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaGolden yellow, with ripe, yellow apple, dense and thick on the palate. The wood is overriding at present, creating a coating of spices on the finish. Orange, cream, hazelnuts rule the ripe, sun-sweet and full bodied palate, with a warm flush on the finish that reminds of California. Certified organic and biodynamic, this was wild fermented in French oak (70 percent new) where it spent 11 months before being bottled. Potent and dense, to pair with butter drawn lobster or crab.Prices: ON 50.00 Producer: Southbrook Vineyards
Read Full Note
Tinhorn Creek Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, sweet, rich and overt, with perfume musk, apple butter on the creamy palate. From their Black Sage Bench's Diamondback Vineyard, this is 20 year old vines, partial whole cluster, partial oak fermented (French and American), partial MLF, all sounds great in theory, but this is left as a disjointed wine at this stage. Pointed perfume, red apple, sweet wood, gingerale to a shorter finish. Happy to see the return of acidity however, aiding to freshen this wine.Prices: BC 19.49 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Read Full Note

07 October 2017

Lustau Sherry Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcostext
92PTS

Lustau Sherry Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThis beauty Amontillado streams walnut shells, Seville orange oil, grilled wood, smoked stones and large flake salt, the latter lingering along a very lengthy finish. Classic, textbook and so fresh and memorable. Exceptional value. The bodega started as an Almacenista, or buyer of wine, on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera in the 1890s. When Don Emilio Lustau Ortega took over from his father in law in the 1940's, he moved the bodega to Santiago in the old city, and founded Emilio Lustau SA, one of Sherry's most creative and consistent producers with numerous products in the portfolio, each held in high regard.Prices: BC 20.00 375 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
Read Full Note
Sperling Late Harvest Rieslingtext
90PTS

Sperling Late Harvest Riesling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeep, clay with ultrafine limestone particles high in calcium and minerals is the base for this delicious late harvest riesling. The nose is all about bright apples with just a whiff of honey. On the palate, it is refreshing and light allowing some of riesling’s juicy notes to break free and further brighten the finish. At only 10 grams per litre of residual sugar make this a perfect match for fruit flans, apple pie and light cake desserts.Prices: BC 30.00 375 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Sperling Vidal Icewinetext
92PTS

Sperling Vidal Icewine 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey never make a lot of this label at Sperling but we wish they would. It’s the acidity that makes this vidal so intriguing balancing off its rich, tangy peach and orange flavours. It’s not often you want another glass of icewine, and vidal at that, but this is one of the good ones. It should also age well for a decade and beyond but my experience is the fresher younger wines are the most interesting to drink. Well done.Prices: BC 55.00 375 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Bench Spirittext
88PTS

Bench Spirit 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFortified petit verdot, what a clever idea. The late ripening grape seldom shows its best except in warm years; enter 2014 in the Okanagan Valley. The winery describes this wine as having essences of lost inhibitions on a bear skin rug that will make you second guess that long walk home. A bit racy but seriously this bottle deserves more of your attention if you are a fan ruby/vintage character port. Plums raisins and spice come together with a dollop of alcohol to make this savoury, fortified red come to life. Be careful its slides down effortlessly.Prices: BC 24.90 500 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
Read Full Note
Il Poggione Vin Santo Sant'Antimo Riservatext
91PTS

Il Poggione Vin Santo Sant'Antimo Riserva 2005

Tuscany, ItalyVin Santo is one of those historic wines often overlooked in the modern wine business that deserves much more respect and acclaim. This blend from trebbiano and malvasia is dried on straw matts post harvest to increase the sugar concentration before pressing. A long, long fermentation and five years in small wooden barrels (100L caratelli) where the juice is in contact with the madre (yeast) the entire time. Worn orange in hue, with potent honey, burnished orange, golden raisins, walnut, dried apricot, candied tangerine, almond biscotti and chestnut filling its potent frame, one that inches lackadaisically across the palate. There's a tightening grip to close out, though the finish echoes on. A beauty, with biscotti and cantucci.Prices: BC 35.00 500 Producer: Tenuta Il Poggione
Read Full Note
Lang Vineyards The Original Maple Wine Whitetext
88PTS

Lang Vineyards The Original Maple Wine White NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of chardonnay and Canadian maple syrup ends up creating a light, smoothly textured dessert wine with caramel, milk chocolate flavours on the palate and in the aftertaste. The winery hits it on the nose suggesting caramel ice cream as a match or to kickstart an extravagant morning pouring some on your waffles and pancakes.Prices: BC 22.00 375 Producer: Lang Vineyards
Read Full Note
Lang Vineyards The Original Maple Wine Redtext
0PTS

Lang Vineyards The Original Maple Wine Red NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSadly corked.Prices: BC 22.00 375 Producer: Lang Vineyards
Read Full Note
Lang Vineyards Riesling Icewinetext
90PTS

Lang Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s been well over a decade since we last looked at this wine but we are glad to get this chance. Lang has always done an excellent job with the essence of riesling and it’s well-captured in this intense but juicy, very drinkable, icewine. The nose is fresh and perfumed, with a mix of orange blossoms, honey and mineral aromas that tumble onto the palate. Rich and luxurious but with enough acid to remain fresh. Perfect with peach pie.Prices: BC 48.00 375 Producer: Lang Vineyards
Read Full Note
Vermut Lustautext
92PTS

Vermut Lustau NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainSarsaparilla, warm marmalade, cedar, toast, walnut and potent gingersnap warmth in this stunning, textural and extremely rare, sweet vermouth—an aromatized wine, and the first premium one from Lustau. Amontillado and pedro ximénez each aged in their own soleras for ten years and macerated with ten botanicals included before bottling. This traditional recipe incorporates wormwood, gentian, coriander and rich marmalade, textured with dried and frizzed sage to scent the velveteen whole. Balanced and complete, this vermouth doesn't even need an ice cube to be brill (though it could elevate it to another dimension).Prices: BC 40.00 QC 30.00 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
Read Full Note
Taylor’s 325th Anniversary Limited Edition Reserve Tawny Porttext
91PTS

Taylor’s 325th Anniversary Limited Edition Reserve Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe "325th Anniversary" is a blend of 10, 20, 30 and 40-year-old aged tawny ports that in many ways reflects the best attributes of each of the classic Tawny styles. The freshness of the 10-YO cuts into the balance and steady handy of the 20-YO but is matched by the smoky, woody notes of the 30-YO and the complex, figgy seductive textures and flavours of the 40-YO. Best of all there is no need to wait to drink this bottle, but there is no rush to drink it once it is open. This is the story of tawny port in a bottle. As the British might say it is a brilliant blend, assembled by David Guimaraens, Taylor Fladgate’s chief winemaker and keeper of the gate.Prices: BC 48.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
Read Full Note

06 October 2017

Selbach-Oster Riesling Bruttext
89PTS

Selbach-Oster Riesling Brut 2014

Mosel, GermanyIt’s no surprise that Johannes Selbach loves Champagne, its precision and complexity is something he surely understands and no doubt inspires his Brut that sits on tirage between 18-24 months. Unlike the often muted fruit of Champagne this riesling bubble is exuberant with floral, green apple, nectarine aromas and flavours all with a backdrop of complex-ing lees. Fresh and sensitive it’s the perfect fizz for pre-dinner appetizers.Prices: BC 24.97 Producer: Weingut Selbach-Oster
Read Full Note
Dönnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinetttext
92PTS

Dönnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett 2015

Nahe, GermanyOne of the Nahe's most celebrated producers is Helmut Dönnhoff, thanks to the winery's ability to turn out a bevy of lip-smacking rieslings. The epitome of racy and juicy, his rieslings manage to cram complexity into delicious, young wines that will age forever. The Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett is nothing if it ain’t fruity, but with electric acidity previewing ripe red apple and pear mixed with stony, salty, mineral notes, all finishing in a nectarine bath. Precise and chiseled; this is a delight to drink.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Weingut Dönnhoff
Read Full Note
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrockentext
91PTS

Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2015

Mosel, GermanyThe Zeltinger Himmelreich Kabinett Halbtrocken comes with a fresh, wild yeast nose, flecked with dried herbs and spice. The attack is an intense stream of juicy, citrus and spicy orchard fruit that is simply mouth-watering. Selbach say’s “its heavenly good and if you drink enough of it you might get to heaven.” Cool, delicate, persistent and with a stony lick of minty minerality reflecting the steep slate covered slopes of Himmelreich. Serve with seafood, chicken, pork and sushi or hold without cause for a decade. Delicious.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Weingut Selbach-Oster
Read Full Note
Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett VDP Grosse Lagetext
93PTS

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett VDP Grosse Lage 2015

Mosel, GermanyBC is justifiably proud of its riesling, but few if any can reach the heights of this Kesselstatt Sonnenhur Kabinett. The freshness and the vibrancy of this acidity is amazing. The combination of floral herbal notes with that stony mineral undercurrent draws you back to the wine, glass, after glass, after glass before it finishes in a crescendo of grapefruit pith and citrus. Serve with anything or nothing.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt
Read Full Note
Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl Armand Riesling Kabinetttext
90PTS

Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl Armand Riesling Kabinett 2014

Pfalz, GermanyFarmed organically, the historic Reichsrat von Buhl estate was founded in 1849, is a VDP member and one of the legendary properties of the Pfalz. Armand was a personality in the estate’s history who put the winery on the international map, and was present at the opening of the Suez Canal where Von Buhl wines were served. This wine is said to be similar to that historic wine, and thus, was named for him. Ample kabinett sweetness here, with a thick coat of honey on the palate which supports ripe pear, fleshy apricot and lime pulp. A juicy swell counters Pfalz's round and ripe generosity, tightened with lime twist on the finish. A welcome eight percent alcohol makes this concentrated, juicy wine an easy one to drink, liberally.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl
Read Full Note
Kessler Cuvée Brut Rosétext
87PTS

Kessler Cuvée Brut Rosé NV

Baden-Württemberg, GermanyUnlike most (really, all) sekt you've tried, this is real sparkling wine, made by Germany's oldest producer of fizz, Kessler. This is a traditional method sparkling brut of chardonnay and pinot noir, with 20 months on the lees. Strawberry, raspberry, cherry floss is kept frisky and tight with acidity. There's a fine film of tannins around the edges to house the fruit. Pour with lox and brunch.Prices: Producer: Kessler
Read Full Note
Leitz Out Riesling Trockentext
88PTS

Leitz Out Riesling Trocken 2015

Rheingau, GermanyThis riesling is modern from the (light's out) film noir label "A super-sassy Riesling Spectacular" to the style - generous and direct and welcoming, typical of the upper Rheingau, but nipped into a tight 12 degree form. In addition to a memorable label moniker, it's a device for remembering how to pronounce the Leitz' name. Fermented and aged in stainless, this preserves the bright pear, candied lemon, juicy peach fruit, all bedded with nougat, light honeysuckle and wet stones through to a short and snappy, crystalline orange finish. Lovely intensity and interest here in youth, but will hold short term in your cellar easily.Prices: ON 25.00 BC 29.95 Producer: Weingut Josef Leitz
Read Full Note
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Feinherbtext
88PTS

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Feinherb 2016

GermanyFeinherb means "off-dry", which in German riesling terms can be something of a misnomer, but is something you should look for if you're in the mood for a dry-ISH, serious riesling. Soft florals, juicy pear, apple butter and honeysuckle scent this light, finely structured and easy riesling. There's a prickle of something that detracts from the elegance here, but overall this is a zippy, easy Mosel from a credible producer.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler
Read Full Note
Deinhard Green Label Rieslingtext
86PTS

Deinhard Green Label Riesling 2015

GermanySweet peach gummies, pear, apple butter, in this simple, juicy riesling from the Mosel. Soft, round and short, but pleasant. Not all wine needs be contemplative or involved. This is Mosel Riesling: drink now, chilled wellPrices: NB 7.00 ON 11.95 PEI 15.12 AB 15.50 SAQ 12.55 Producer: Deinhard KG Koblenz
Read Full Note
Moselland Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Kabinetttext
87PTS

Moselland Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Kabinett 2016

GermanyJust off-dry and flush with apricot, fleshy peach and pear, this is a clean and bright and direct Mosel riesling from one of the region's top co-ops, based in Bernkastel. Zippy and zesty, with lemon pith and a green apple bite offset with a gentle bump of RS to a crisp finish. Exceptional value and very food friendly.Prices: BC 13.50 AB 11.75 Producer: Moselland eG
Read Full Note
Black Tower Rieslingtext
86PTS

Black Tower Riesling 2016

GermanyThough ubiquitous to much of the wine drinking world, this was my first ever experience with Black Tower Riesling. From this funny looking two-toned bottle (black up top, blond below) I was expecting a sweet, caricature of cheap riesling. Instead I found a crisp, dry-ish and lemon led riesling, with a high dose of acidity and low dose of alcohol (9.5 percent) on a green apple bright frame. Yes, it's cool ferment in stainless and a tad on the clinical, simple side. But it's not cloying or sweet or tricked up, and it's all German fruit. All of which made for a pleasant surprise, considering how much of this is made, shipped and consumed.Prices: BC 10.99 AB 12.00 NLL 13.87 Producer: Reh-Kendermann
Read Full Note
Moselland Bernkasteler Kurfürstlaytext
86PTS

Moselland Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay 2015

GermanyA simple medium-sweet Mosel riesling, with sweet liquorice, lemon and lime sherbet over a pear butter base. Icing sugar powderiness lingers on the shorter, sharp finish. Fresh and juicy. Chill well. Well priced.Prices: ON 11.00 Producer: Moselland eG
Read Full Note
Kessler Hochgewächs Chardonnay Bruttext
86PTS

Kessler Hochgewächs Chardonnay Brut NV

GermanyKessler is Germany's oldest sparkling wine cellar, and Hochgewächs is their top tier wine. This traditional method chardonnay (noted by the flaschengärung) spent 20 months on the lees and has been given a dosage of 11 g/l. Yellow apple, quince and pear mark the sharp, tight and searing palate, one that shows some plastic sweetness to a stony riff along the finish. A bit rustic and coarse on the palate, reminiscent of a modest crémant.Prices: BC 29.95 Producer: Kessler
Read Full Note
Über Kabinett Rieslingtext
87PTS

Über Kabinett Riesling 2015

Pfalz, GermanyIn the distinctive blue bottle, this is a light, lively snappy, dry(ish) kabinett riesling with pithy orange, pink grapefruit, lemon and riffing stones. There's a medicinal grapefruit on the finish that reins all things in to a very tight, if sour, 10 percent frame. Bright and refreshing, for drinking now.Prices: BC 15.50 NS 17.99 ON 14.10 AB 17.99 Producer: Reh-Kendermann
Read Full Note
Deinhard Rieslingtext
85PTS

Deinhard Riesling 2015

Rheinhessen, GermanySweet pear gummies, apple butter, warm pear, fine spice on an oil-slicked, juicy palate. Noticeable, well managed bump of sugar is cut on the short, choppy finish. That said, chill this down and enjoy; this is well-priced dryish Rheinhessen riesling.Prices: BC 12.95 Producer: Deinhard KG Koblenz
Read Full Note
Pauly Lieserer Riesling Spatlesetext
89PTS

Pauly Lieserer Riesling Spatlese 2015

GermanyAxel Pauly is a shooting star in the Mosel. After time spent in New Zealand and California, he returned to Geisenheim for studies, and took over his family's wine estate in Lieser, Mosel. This is from Lieser's cool blue and grey slate soils, and is a highly concentrated, sweet, steely riesling, with dense and streaming pear cordial, roses, crystalline orange and ample stony minerality. The sweetness here overrides the acidity, but considering the eight percent alcohol, this is in lovely balance.Prices: ON 40.05 Producer: Wineconsale Gmbh
Read Full Note
Clean Slate Rieslingtext
87PTS

Clean Slate Riesling 2015

GermanyMid-sweet with pear gummies, red apples and a firm grip provided by the steep, blue slate soils of the Lower Mosel and the prickly pepper spiciness of the Middle Mosel. Juicy, bright and easy, this is a fresh entry-level riesling to introduce you to the textures of the Mosel.Prices: ON 13.00 Producer: Gustav Adolf Schmitt'sches Weingut
Read Full Note
Gustav Adolf Schmitt Niersteiner Riesling Spätlese Late Harvesttext
86PTS

Gustav Adolf Schmitt Niersteiner Riesling Spätlese Late Harvest 2016

Rheinhessen, GermanyIn a distinctive blue bottle, this is an easy and simple, mid-sweet (Spätlese) Rheinhessen riesling with generous pear juice, orange and peach gummies. Round and cushy, up to a snappy, lightly spiced finish. Chill well and drink now.Prices: BC 12.95 Producer: Gustav Adolf Schmitt'sches Weingut
Read Full Note
Dr. Hermann H Rieslingtext
90PTS

Dr. Hermann H Riesling 2015

GermanyThis Mosel property has over 400 years of wine history, and has been overseen by Rudi Hermann since 1967and now with his son Christian. This plays the sweet / sharp / salty trifecta well, even in its joyous and exuberant youth from ungrafted vines, 10 to 40-years-old on steep sandstone, and grey/blue slate vineyards in Erdener Herrenberg, Kinheimer Rosenberg and Lösnicher Försterlay,. Fermented in stainless to preserve crispness, it is concentrated but light on its feet, off-dry with ripe pear, honey, white peach countered by electric acidity and harnessed through a streamlined frame. The 46 g/l RS is well-handled by the acidity (TA 9.3), finishing with an addictively easy 9.5 percent alcohol. A beauty, and as one of the "entry tier" from the house, you know that the quality and precision only goes up from here. Stock up.Prices: ON 14.75 Producer: Weingut Dr. Hermann
Read Full Note
Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Kabinetttext
88PTS

Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Kabinett 2014

Rheingau, GermanyThis is an Erste Lage, the equivalent of a "premier cru" and from the site of Schützenhaus, a south-southwest sloping vineyard around 150 meters in altitude. The site is protected (in German, "schützen") from cold easterly winds. Off dry and softly scented, with pear butter, ripe white peach, pear scented with a salty snap. Slightly waxy on the palate and certainly honeyed, adding substance to pair with halibut or roasted ham.Prices: BC 24.00 ON 18.00 QC 20.00 Producer: Weingut Balthasar Ress
Read Full Note
Weingut Heitlinger Riesling Trocken Shiny Rivertext
88PTS

Weingut Heitlinger Riesling Trocken Shiny River 2015

Baden, GermanyTomato leaf, pear skin and pressed apple in this textural Baden riesling. Dry and fresh and stony, with nectarine, juicy peach, and a dusting of stone to the light (11 percent) frame. Severe and bone dry, this earthy riesling is best suited to oily white fish. Distinctive and interesting.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Heitlinger
Read Full Note
Schloss Schönborn Hattenheim Nussbrunnen Riesling Kabinetttext
90PTS

Schloss Schönborn Hattenheim Nussbrunnen Riesling Kabinett 2008

Rheingau, GermanyIt's a rare treat to find a 2008 riesling as current release on our shelves, but I guess the folks at the LCBO found some of this Hattenheim Nussbrunnen available and loaded up. From one of the largest vineyard holders in the Rheingau, this is from the choice slopes of Nussbrunnen. Heady and generous pear butter, lime pulp, ripe peach, petroleum and broken stones to a textural, eraser-nubs finish. Quite sweet, but countered by the savoury, secondary undercurrent. Drink now.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Domanenweingut Schloss Schonborn
Read Full Note
Weingut Burg Ravensburgtext
88PTS

Weingut Burg Ravensburg 2015

Baden, GermanyThis trocken Burg Ravensburg is a VDP Orstwein, noted to be from superior soils and a village's best vineyards. The producer has been making wine since 1251, so they have some practice. A warm rush of medicinal white cherry and lemon prickle the palate, as well as a swing of sulphur. The palate is lined with a dense layer of lemon, before crunchy pear, thistles close out the punchy finish. This is a potent and direct riesling, packing a lot of intensity into a 12.5-degree frame. Can easily take on assertive pork dishes.Prices: ON 24.30 Producer: Weingut Burg Ravensburg
Read Full Note
Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Dry Rieslingtext
87PTS

Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Dry Riesling 2014

GermanyBischöfliche Weingüter Trier cultivates approximately 95 hectares of vineyard, among them some of the most legendary sites in the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer and most entirely planted to riesling. Petrol and sulphur open this Mosel riesling, characterized "dry" with a touch (9 grams per litre) of residual sugar. Fermented in stainless, where it spends a few months on lees before bottling, this is a light, simple, dry-ish riesling, filled with lemon tart and white peach, and that finishes with an efficient snap. Drink now.Prices: ON 18.00 Producer: Bischofliche Weinguter Trier
Read Full Note
Loosen Bros Dr L. Rieslingtext
88PTS

Loosen Bros Dr L. Riesling 2015

GermanyAlways fantastic value, Dr. L. is Dr. Loosen's introductory riesling, at an impressive price. Juicy and ripe, mid-sweet and joyous, with pear gummies, yellow apple and soft, perfumed florals wrapping the round, generous frame. Gushing intensity packed into 8.5 percent. There's a slick of fine spicing on the finish. Easy to like. Welcome to the Mosel.Prices: BC 17.49 ON 14.95 NFL 18.45 SAQ 15.30 MB 15.25 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
Read Full Note

05 October 2017

Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Gris 2016

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes come off two Cowichan Valley vineyards. The styling is super fresh with a strong citrus core. Look for tight, pear/apple fruit with bits of melon all with bright acidity and the perfect touch of lees. Serve with crab, shellfish or local goat cheese.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Roche Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Roche Pinot Gris 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 “Inox” Roche is a delight. It‘s built on the concept of freshness and acidity, there is fruit but it plays a supporting role to wine perfectly tailored for most BC seafood. Not as complex as the previous edition but equally as intriguing. The Roche tasting room is now open in Naramata, providing a perfect opportunity to drop by and taste some impressive wines.Prices: BC 23.40 Producer: Roche Wines
Read Full Note
Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Stoneboat Pinot House Pinot Gris 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic BC pinot gris with plenty of pear, apple with a twist of honey. The attack is soft and round with a touch of anise. Lacks vitality but otherwise easy sipping and perfect for spicy appetizers. Less sugar and more minerality would be a better route for this wine.Prices: BC 18.90 Producer: Stoneboat Vineyards
Read Full Note
Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigiotext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigio 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBack to a much fresher, brighter style in 2016 with a citrus lead on the nose and palate. The attack is mineral with solid green apple, green melon and lively acidity throughout. The finish is pleasingly creamy with a hint of bitterness to balance everything off. Try this with fresh grilled halibut accompanied by a side of fruit salsa.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
Read Full Note
Sperling Vineyards Amber Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Sperling Vineyards Amber Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOrange, or amber, wines are popping up all over BC. The Sperling is pinot gris, 40 percent whole cluster, 40 percent whole berry and 20 percent pressed juice. It’s described as natural wine, a nod to its indigenous yeast and that fact no sulphite or other additives are added to the wine, and it is bottled under screwcap with no fining or filtration. It is slightly cloudy, textural and grippy, with apricot skin, well-steeped bergamot tea, broken stone on the dry palate. Best served slightly chilled and give it 20-30 minutes to open in the glass. A perfect match for vegetarian dishes but it's just as good with pulled pork.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe have described this wine as being in another league from most BC pinot gris, and from around the world for that matter, and in 2016 we would like to double down on that. The freshness is back in 2016 along with texture and mouthfeel in what is a 60/40 stainless steel/oak fermented white. Lively fresh bright and with a creamy mouthfeel. More mineral than fruity with strips of citrus and lees. Just beginning to gather itself you can drink this now with food or hold it for another year in bottle. The vines are 30 years old now; watch out Alsace.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 26.95 ON 24.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
Nichol Vineyard Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Nichol Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of BC's iconic wines, and one that I enjoy tracking year after year. Iconic because it's 12-27 year old vines, planted on granite, shard, loess and glacial till, sustainably grown and with minimial-intervention throughout. Salmon-orange in hue, the result of 36 hours on the skins in open tops fermenters before pressing (during fermentation) into old French barriques and two-tonne open top fermenters for a few months before being bottled with gentle filtration. Grippy tangerine skin lightly frames mineral salts, apricot fuzz, grapefruit pith and a fine cloud of lees. This has nothing to do with pinot gris, yet it entirely embodies pinot gris from this Naramata vineyard. Best enjoyed over an evening, with room to breathe (when's the last time you said that about a BC PG?)Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
Read Full Note

04 October 2017

Pianirossi Rosso Black Labeltext
90PTS

Pianirossi Rosso Black Label 2010

Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyA dusky, earthy Toscana blend of of petit verdot, montepulciano and cabernet sauvignon. Thick black plum and thicker leather lead the ripe, grippy palate. After a decant (or a day open) this relaxes a bit into itself: ink, supple leather, sueded tannins, cacao and gravels, with a ripe cassis core to the warming finish. There's a lovely gentle relaxation that comes with seven years of age, welcoming drinking now (leg of lamb).Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Pianirossi
Read Full Note
Periquitatext
88PTS

Periquita 2015

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalDefinition of value? This at less than a tenner on private liquor shop shelves shows, again, the value in Portuguese wines. From Setúbal Peninsula, this is a regional blend of castelão, trincadeira and aragonez, exuberantly rustic, with gutsy black plum, leathery blackcurrant and gritty/tuggy tannins to the spicy finish. This is not some sweet dumbed down marketing wine, but rather an authentically rustic and honest simple gutsy red for casseroles or stews. Stock up.Prices: BC 9.00 ON 9.20 QC 12.00 Producer: José Maria da Fonseca
Read Full Note
Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoriatext
91PTS

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2013

Sicily, ItalyThe only DOCG in Sicily, this takes its name from “Cerasa”, cherry in Sicilian dialect. This is a 60/40 blend of indigenous varieties Nero d’Avola and Frappato, and from the countryside of Dorilli, between the sea and the Iblean mountains. Fourteen days on the skins, this spent its life in stainless before being bottled. Medium bodied with salted raspberry, plum cherry bodied, wild tobacco, geraniums, anise, olive, sea salt and squid ink, the complexities of this wine reveal over the course of the evening. The finish is lingering and haunting; drinking beautifully now, with or without food (but stunning with fennel, sardines and orange or a funghi pizza).Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Planeta
Read Full Note
Casa Ermelinda Freitas Monte da Baíatext
86PTS

Casa Ermelinda Freitas Monte da Baía 2015

Palmela, Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalPotent and powdery-lined, this is a dusky, rustic blend of castelæo, touriga nacional and syrah from Setúbal. Sweet and ripe with black plum, blackberry, black cherry and potent cassis, framed with gritty/grippy cocoa tannins and hugging a solid core of black fruit. Best taken with an equally simple and rustic plate, like sausages or lamb casserole.Prices: BC 12.49 Producer: Casa Ermelinda Freitas
Read Full Note
Sidus Montecucco Rossotext
0PTS

Sidus Montecucco Rosso 2013

Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyCorked.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Pianirossi
Read Full Note

03 October 2017

Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe standard for a reason, and the latest release of Gold Label Brut doesn't disappoint. In fact, it feels even sprightlier and livelier than ever. The latest release is based on 2014 fruit and disgorged in March 2017 - key intel on the back label. Okanagan Falls estate pinot noir and chardonnay is splashed with five percent pinot gris before two years on the lees. All are whole cluster pressed, and fermented separately before blending. Lemon zest leads this NV, with green apple, light biscuit, chalk across a nimble, lemony palate. Lively, bright and complete, striking a perfect chord between the bright acidity and the 8 g/l RS, this is deserving of its classic status and one of Canada's best bubbles, year after year.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
Read Full Note
Stoneboat Pinot House Bubble Boat Bruttext
85PTS

Stoneboat Pinot House Bubble Boat Brut NV

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes for this muller-thurgau-schönburger-kerner-pinot blanc blend are picked intermittently at ripeness off the Home Block Vineyard on the Oliver Gravelbar Bench. The varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel and left on their light lees for two months before they are blended the following spring. The juice then heads to charmat tank to undergo a second fermentation. The nose is oddly quiet, with light leesy, nectarine, lime rind notes. It’s clean, fresh, light, and fruity, perfect for midweek parties, pakoras or weekend samosas.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Stoneboat Vineyards
Read Full Note
Steller's Jay Mountain Jay Brut Méthode Classiquetext
86PTS

Steller's Jay Mountain Jay Brut Méthode Classique 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSolid, if a bit boring, a sparkler with all its idiosyncrasies removed. Stellar's Jay ‘Mountain Jay’ Brut has been transformed into a stand-alone brand and it's conforming nicely. Softer, rounder, and less edgy, it’s an everyday blend of chardonnay, pinot blanc and pinot noir with bits of green apple, lemon pith and notes of white grapefruit. Simple, straightforward and ready to drink with any classic appetizer bites.Prices: BC 22.99 MB 23.50 NS 25.00 ON 26.00 SK 27.25 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Read Full Note
Concerto Reggiano Lambruscotext
88PTS

Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco 2015

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyIf you eschew Lambrusco because of the sweet, candied wines of your past, give some authentic and serious Lambrusco a try. Swing of dark balsamic, wild blackberry, tart black currant and grippy thorns in this single-vineyard Lambrusco, traditional method and lightly effervescent (serve lightly chilled). This comes from Tenuta La Rampata vineyard in Reggio Emilia province. Deep and dark in hue but light and crisp in acidity, this is a blend of 85/15 Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Ancelotta, the former a tannic and deeply coloured grape and the latter a gentler, slightly sweeter grape, used to soften the blend. Grilled sausages or cured meats win here.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 19.95 QC 19.95 Producer: Medici Ermete
Read Full Note
Sperling Vineyards Brut Reservetext
90PTS

Sperling Vineyards Brut Reserve 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom BC’s oldest heritage vineyard, first planted to table grapes in the 1930s, and home of organic and biodynamic winegrower Ann Sperling, this pinot noir and chardonnay bubble is an all traditional method. It gets 36 months of aging on the lees in bottle, giving it a leg up on most of the competition. The result is a sophisticated sparkler packed full of ripe, red apple fruit tempered by creamy lees and an intriguing brioche note with a touch of savoury butter and honey. Good now, but will be even better in a couple more years.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
Read Full Note
BK Wines Pétillant Naturel Chardonnaytext
90PTS

BK Wines Pétillant Naturel Chardonnay 2017

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaOne of the leading low-interventionist winemakers of the Basket Range, this is one of two pet-nats (petillant-naturel, or ancestral method wines) in the current BK Wines portfolio. This whole bunch pressed chardonnay has 9 g RS "for the moment", Brendon Keys jokes. "If you want less, leave it in the sun." Drinking somewhere between a serious, single vineyard dry Prosecco and a housemade pear soda, lightly effervescent and gently sweet, all with a rustic riff of authenticity. This is whole bunch pressed chardonnay direct to concrete eggs for three weeks before going straight to bottle, while still undergoing fermentation. It may pour cloudy in the glass (a plus!), but on the palate it's clean and creamy and bright, brisk and lifted with the gentle fizz. Definition smashable (especially at 11.5 percent). 450 cases made.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: BK Wines
Read Full Note
Valdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Marca Oro Extra Drytext
87PTS

Valdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Marca Oro Extra Dry NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyWe have tasted this numerous times and confirm the quality is consistently good. It’s an extra dry (sweetish) Prosecco from Valdobbiadene DOCG located in the classico or heartland of the region. There is a welcomed freshness that restrains the extra dry, residual sugar style (from 12-17 g/l RS) without changing the impression of candied pears, juicy peaches, white flowers and the classic candy necklace flavours of your youth. A fun aperitif you can sip solo or serve with a spicy sushi roll.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 20.00 SK 21.00 Producer: Valdo
Read Full Note
Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reservatext
92PTS

Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2010

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainIf you shun Cava for being too simple, too sweet or too unforgettable, please seek out this iconic producer, and this exceptional bottle (new to our market). This biodynamic, family grower/producer uses only estate fruit in this cuvee, from vineyards located in the calcareous soils of Alt Penedès' Bitlles Valley Highlands. You get the soils at once, with the grip and freshness in this striking fizz. I love (geek) the transparency in labelling here: this aged 70 months, was disgorged on March 3, 2017, and was hand disgorged without freezing the neck and with no dosage. Pixellated mineral, lemon pith and dusty, sun-baked stone on the tight and nimble citrus scented palate, grounded with a firm gravitas, but lifted with effortless stream of fresh acidity (12 percent alcohol). This is a wine of place and time - not something you can usually say about Cava. Plus - when was the last time you drank a Gran Reserva Cava? Si, never.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Recaredo
Read Full Note
Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Crutext
92PTS

Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru NV

Champagne, FranceFrom the villages of Jouy-lès-Reims and Villedommange in the Montagne de Reims this is a unique and singular blend of 45 percent Pinot Meunier, 25 percent Chardonnay, 25 percent Pinot Noir and 5 percent of lesser seen grapes Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromenteau. The cuvee uses 50 percent from the previous vintage, and and 50 percent ‘perpetual reserve’ going back to 1998. After a stainless ferment, this spent two years sur latte (on sides). Tightly wound on the core, with sharp green apple, green fig, lemon verbena and light notes of pear brioche seasoned with sea salt. This wine carries a depth of flavour thanks to half perpetual reserve (rare to see this much), and a layered complexity due to the presence of Champagne's rarely seen minor grapes. There's a vibrato of energy that makes the palate hum to a crystalline lemon finish. Memorable and charming, I always enjoy this fresh and distinctive grower fizz. Great value.Prices: US 45.00 Producer: Champagne Aubry
Read Full Note
Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
91PTS

Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted nine months along, and this traditional method fizz from Fitz continues to impress. Pinot noir / chardonnay 53/47 was fermented in neutral oak, and spent 27 months on the lees. Crisp and precise acidity carries this bright, fresh, white cherry, wild strawberry and green apple to a snappy, bright finish. There's just enough generosity to the palate to make this imminantly likeable, and enough tension to keep it very serious. Well done.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
Read Full Note
Benjamin Bridge Pétillant Natureltext
89PTS

Benjamin Bridge Pétillant Naturel 2016

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaThe first pét-nat (ancestral method) from Gaspereau Valley's Benjamin Bridge, this is a hand crafted small lot release from the hybrid Geisenheim grape (a cross between Riesling and Chancellor). Soft and pretty, with delicate pink florals, cristalline lemon pith, white peach, orange water and a gentle and precise bubble to a vibrating finish. The 12 g/l RS is easily balanced out with a TA of 8.2 g/L and pH 3.19. Effortlessly smashable; I wish i had a case for this summer and every summer. *Note - this is a pre-release label for sampling.Prices: NS 30.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
Read Full Note
Fresita Blueberry and Raspberrytext
86PTS

Fresita Blueberry and Raspberry NV

ChileAs the name announces, this is a blend of blueberry and raspberry, mixed with sparkling wine, and the next gen from the super popular original, Frisita Strawberry. Low alcohol (eight percent), sweet (55 g/l) and fruity (aforementioned), this is sure to be a winner amongst the folks that want this sort of sparkling fruit wine. The wine part of that, if you're curious, is a blend of sauvignon blanc, muscat and alicante bouschet. A brown sugar caramel carries out the fizzy finish. Brunch? Dessert? Baby Showers? ? Here is your sparkle.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Viña Casal S.A.
Read Full Note
Evolve Elan Effervesencetext
85PTS

Evolve Elan Effervesence NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Evolve sparklers are all about fun and uncomplicated sipping. The Elan Effervescence opens with a ripe red apple nose. The attack is soft and slightly foamy on entry, floral with sweet candied fruit flavours that carry through the finish.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Evolve Cellars
Read Full Note

01 October 2017

Roche Rosétext
88PTS

Roche Rosé 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDylan and Pénélope Roche are self described ‘vignerons’ “committed to hands-on crafting of their wines from start to finish.” The Roche Rosé has a peculiar candied apple pink colour, no doubt due in part to the 97/3 zweigelt/schonberger mix. The nose is subtle leesy florals with fresh, juicy watermelon/apple flavours that finish dry. Grilled salmon is a perfect match.Prices: BC 15.01 Producer: Roche Wines
Read Full Note
Mirabel Rose of Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Mirabel Rose of Pinot Noir 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMirabel Vineyards winery is owned by Doug and Dawn Reimer. Their rosé is a result of the saignée process used on their pinot noir by winemaker Matt Dumayne. The vineyard is planted to a mix of French Pommard and Dijon clones, all farmed sustainably and shaped by Provencal Rosé. Expect a light pink watermelon colour with fresh, sweet, creamy raspberry fruit and a dash of dried herbs. Perfect with spicy crab cakes or spicy tuna roll.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
Read Full Note
Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rosétext
89PTS

Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rosé 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear two for this label and it’s a winner. Almost no colour is fine with us and winemaker Alan Dickinson, who prefers to take the emphasis off the colour of the wine and concentrate more on texture and aromatics. The ’16 seems fresher than the 2015, more linear with more focused acidity. The wine is intentionally picked earlier. It gets 7.5 hours of cold soak before it is whole cluster pressed and wild fermented to dryness. The finish is pleasantly earthy with an orange/saline finish. Food friendly and was the perfect foil to blackened Ahi tuna.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
Read Full Note