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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2018

31 March 2018

Rodney Strong Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe regular Sonoma chardonnay is 60 percent barrel fermented and aged for six months in 50/50 French and America oak; the rest is fermented in stainless steel. The style is getting fresher, but the ripe fruit and leesy buttery tones suggest malolactic. Texture remains a focus even at this level. The fruit is a mix of ripe peach and red apple with tropical, pineapple notes. Pleasant sipping, Sonoma-style chardonnay. Try this with a chicken salad.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 21.95 QC 20.00 ON 21.95 SK 22.99 MB 19.99 NB 25.00 YK 26.00 NF 26.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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30 March 2018

St. Hubertus Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

St. Hubertus Pinot Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a brighter, lighter ‘riesling’ version of pinot blanc. Here apple/ lemon/peachy, aromas spill onto a juicy palate where sweet, ripe fruit breaks through before the acidity reins it back in at the finish. The lean bright Gebert family style has waited decades for consumers to catch up but now is their time. Try this halibut with fruit salsa. The family planted the vines back in 1987 and they are only just getting started at 30 years plus to show their stuff. Real wine, good value too.Prices: BC 15.75 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Pinot Blanctext
87PTS

Hester Creek Pinot Blanc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTraditionally on the softer, richer ‘chardonnay’ style of pinot blanc with just enough freshness to stay in balance. Look for peach/pear/apple/butter aromas and flavours with a twist of citrus rind in the finish. Serve with creamy pastas, fresh goat cheese or clams.Prices: BC 15.49 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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J. Hofstatter Weissburgunder Pinot Biancotext
89PTS

J. Hofstatter Weissburgunder Pinot Bianco 2016

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThis northern Italian weißburgunder, or pinot bianco, grows on light marl soils which tend to warm up quickly in spring. jumpstarting the growing season. The grapes undergo minimalist winemaking to yield a classic straw yellow colour, fresh pear/apple/peach aromas and similar flavours across an elegant palate. Crisp and clean, it has the finesse to be food friendly. Perfect for fish cakes.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: J. Hofstatter
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29 March 2018

San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileThis opens with a wave of reduction, and requires some airtime. Meaty, with tar, pitch, freshly roasted coffee, grilled meats, and brooding black fruit, this is a hefty and full bodied red, thankfully with a swell of acidity to assist. One month of maceration and ferment is followed by one year in wood (95 percent French and the rest American), half of which were new. This requires a decant, and roasted red meats to match.Prices: ON 20.00 BC 21.99 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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CedarCreek Platinum The Last Wordtext
90PTS

CedarCreek Platinum The Last Word 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Last Word is the pinnacle red at CedarCreek, made only in the very best years. It is a month-long co-fermentation (on the skins), in concrete, of 26/31/19 cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and malbec, all picked at once. The merlot, 24 percent, is added before it all goes to barrel for 20 months in French oak. This is a rich, dense red, full of black cherry, black raspberry with some noisy baking spices and some youthful dry tannins in a peppery finish. This needs time to lose some of its extracted character although I suspect many more will be attracted now to its boisterous, hedonistic style. Best with grilled meats.Prices: BC 77.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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San Pedro Cabo de Hornos Special Reservetext
91PTS

San Pedro Cabo de Hornos Special Reserve 2014

Region del Valle Central, ChileCabo is made from biodynamically grown grapes in volcanic clay soils in the cooler foothills of the Andes from 20-25-year-old vineyards. Total maceration is just over three weeks before the juice is devatted, filtered and drained to barrel. The 2014 growing season was warmer and riper than 2013, but without any harmful heat spikes giving the wine sufficient structure to take on 60 percent new oak for 18 months. The blend is 67/22/11 cabernet sauvignon, syrah and malbec grown in the Maipo Valley, Alto Cachapoal, Curicó. Maule. It’s big and its intense, shouting boldo, the indigenous garrigue of Chile’s countryside. Spice bay leaves, cassis, and black cherry mixes with cedar, tobacco, vanilla, resin and olives. As big as it presents, there is a sense of elegance and nobility. Cellar through 2022. If you must open it now serve with rare charred T-bone steak.Prices: BC 72.99 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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28 March 2018

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
97PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalA third look at this wine in four years confirms it is going nowhere fast. This will be a great Taylor for those with patience and a cellar. Vargellas was the first Taylor quinta to harvest beginning September 10. Smaller amounts were contributed by Terra Feita and Quinta do Junco. The nose is fiery and youthful with fragrant, floral violet tones. The palate is Taylor dry and reserved with layers of sweet black fruits and similar tannins mixed with liquorice root, mineral, orange peel and black tea. So rich, powerful yet well managed, and easily identifiable as Taylor. One to age for decades. A super bottle of port but as we mentioned, you will have to wait.Prices: BC 185.00 QC 141.00 NL 155.00 AB 165.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
96PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2003

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe explosive heat of the summer of 2003 wreaked havoc across Europe. Even in the Douro, where super-warm summers are a way of life, the grapes struggled under the heat and lack of water. Most came to the lagares heavily shriveled, yet the folks at Taylor manage to make the best of a difficult task capturing powerful fruit flavours and holding its big tannins in check. It’s a sweet vintage that’s licorice laced, with pruney, brown sugar, spice and molasses. Long and persistent, it's losing some of its plump, youthful fruit under notes of chocolates and raisins. You can drink this now but I’m sure it will easily live 50 years.Prices: BC 200.00 QC 142.00 AB 199.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
94PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1997

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalVery few vintages of Taylor Vintage Port are described as flashy, but the 1997 is close. The nose is a very ripe mix of blue and black fruits, now fully dissolved back into the wine at two decades of age. More mineral, drier, spicy notes are predominating as the third decade of age begins to wrap itself onto the patina of this wine. You can drink now, but there is never any rush thanks to the refined structural detail that makes up any Taylor vintage. On this day it was a stylish affair, showing some advancement in maturity. Try this with a rich piece of cheese.Prices: BC 250.00 QC 246.00 NS 253.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
95PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1985

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe winter before the 1985 growing season was cold and wet, a harbinger of what was to come. After an early April bud burst, flowering took place in calm conditions at the end of May. A hot summer led right to a large harvest that began on 26th of September. By the end of the crush, most agreed it was an exceptional year. Today the ’85 Taylor is ready to drink. Tasted alongside the more opulent Fonseca, the reserved, dry, elegant styling of Taylor ports are without compare. As per usual, the flavours are multi-dimensional, reflecting the wine's multiple layers and persistence in the mouth. At this point youthful fruit has slipped away, leaving more spicy, figgy, licorice notes, worn edges and mellow nutty notes in the back end. In a perfect space.Prices: BC 214.00 MB 245.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
97PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1977

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, Portugal“Remarkably backward yet still impressive when young,” are the wise words of Robert Parker, brought on by tasting youthful Taylors. I remember buying the 1977s and at the time I was told to just put them down for two decades and leave them alone. Forty years down the road, the ’77 is beginning to show the cracks of age. Mellow is a word that comes to mind, although only in the sense that the power of this wine is giving way to old age. The rich, dry fruit is persistently black, the tannins worn, the finish an aromatic mix of tea, floral notes and spice that persist on the palate for several minutes. Tasting this wine is more of a privilege than anything else. If you missed its 40th anniversary it seems clear it will effortlessly make it to its 50th in 2027.Prices: BC 299.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellastext
92PTS

Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalIn the years when the classic Taylor port is not made, it is replaced by a 'single quinta' port that is made exactly as Taylor's 'vintage', but using only fruit from the Vargellas property. It was dry in 2015 and fruit was healthy, and if the load was light that was balanced by grape bunches without raisins. Expect the floral jasmine notes of Vargellas, with bits of pipe smoke, liquorice, black cherry jam. The attack is round but with firm tannins and savoury, intense, sweet black cherry fruit. The finish is long with fine minerality and more youthful fruit, flecked with figs and walnut notes. An excellent single quinta port that will easily age a decade and beyond.Prices: BC 75.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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27 March 2018

Atteca Old Vines Vieilles Vignestext
88PTS

Atteca Old Vines Vieilles Vignes 2014

Calatayud, Aragon, SpainBodegas Ateca is based in Ateca, Zaragoza, fourteen kilometers from Calatayud. The slate soiled, higher elevation vineyard is made up mainly of small parcels of old vine garnacha. Ripe red fruit, supple leather and mulberry fill this dense garnacha, with tea leaves, balsamic, orange rind spicing the thick, slow palate. Tannins are chewy and the finish crusted with pink pepper. This spent ten months in French oak, which is felt on the lengthy, toasty finish.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Bodegas Ateca
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Anciano 35-Year Old Vines Garnachatext
88PTS

Anciano 35-Year Old Vines Garnacha 2015

Valdepeñas, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainThe garnacha vines are old, averaging 35 years of age, and are grown over chalk and clay soils at an altitude of 600-900m in a very dry environment. Low yields = big flavours, and it's evident here. Only fifteen percent of the wine is matured in American and French oak for 120 days before bottling. Intense raspberry, black cherry tumbles onto the palate cleanly with a pronounced spicy undercurrent and a lick of dryness in the back end. Rustic, and as ready to drink as it will be. It will be fine with richer foods like grilled lamb.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Guy Anderson Wines
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Austin Hope Grenachetext
90PTS

Austin Hope Grenache 2014

Templeton Gap District, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe ’14 is super dark in the glass, and the nose an intense mix of dried black cherries and raisins with a strong savoury undercurrent flecked with brown spicing and rich vanilla notes. Hedonistic and voluptuous, and this year is all about power and heat in the finish with just enough acidity to keep in in line. There is a tip of the hat to grenache-based Châteauneuf du Pape. Try this with barbecue ribs or grilled lamb or whole oven-roasted chicken. The Austin Hope Grenache is a mix of three clones: Tablas Creek Vine Selection #2, Clone 362, Garnacha Clone 814 (Spain), all of which a testament to the detail employed at the winery. The vineyard is all high-density, the fruit is all handpicked and fermented separately by vineyard block in five-ton, open-top tanks. It's aged eight months in 35 percent new French oak.Prices: AB 41.00 QC 43.50 BC 59.99 NS 47.99 US 55.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Dodgy Bros. Grenachetext
88PTS

Dodgy Bros. Grenache 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaSalted anise, black cherry, raspberry, downy peppercorn fills this Willunga, McLaren Vale grenache. Tannins are a bit mossy and the finish is brisk and snappy. After destemming this was fermented cool and long before pressing to older French oak barriques where it chilled out until a touch of sulphur prior to bottling. Though the grape, and region, has a proclivity to sunripeness, this bigger wine remains fresh, though not so spritely at 14.3 percent. Chill down, grill up some salmon burgers, and you're set.Prices: BC 37.95 Producer: Dodgy Bros.
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26 March 2018

Anciano Gran Reserva Tempranillo Aged 7 Yearstext
86PTS

Anciano Gran Reserva Tempranillo Aged 7 Years 2008

Valdepeñas, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainWe like a wine that does the time for us. This tempranillo is aged for seven years in the cellars of Bodegas Navalon in Valdepeñas. The grapes are hand-harvested from 30-year-old vines, fermented in stainless steel and aged in a combination of American, French and Hungarian casks. This wine, at 2008, is a current release. Expect a red, brick orange colour with a leathery, tired barrel nose to match. The palate feels equally aged, with leathery, rustic black cherry, prune, smoked vanilla, liquorice root, cedar and tobacco. A simple old, classic Spanish style red best with fire grilled meats. Ready to drink, and that's the point.Prices: BC 13.49 Producer: Guy Anderson Wines
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Run Rafa Run Tempranillotext
85PTS

Run Rafa Run Tempranillo 2016

Castilla-Leon, SpainSweet cherry candies, subtle sweet cured meats, and light pink pepper finish clipped and clean in this fun, easy tempranillo. Tannins are gummy but the palate is light (11 percent) on this entry-level wine, welcoming pairing with salami sandwiches.Prices: BC 8.49 Producer: Felix Solis
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Vina Real Rioja Crianzatext
88PTS

Vina Real Rioja Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainSoft black fruit, bright cherry, balsamic, light smoke, stone dust in this youthful, well-integrated Rioja from the Alavesa area. After a stainless ferment, this is transferred to French and American oak for 12-14 months. Tannins are slight and sticky, and acidity is bright and lifted on this tempranillo base, one splashed with garnacha, graciano and mazuelo. There's a bitter dark cocoa twist on the finish that keeps this slender wine upright and ready for food.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reservatext
95PTS

CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2010

Rioja, SpainI thought the 2009 from a warm vintage was good, but this is even better. A Rioja classic, the latest Imperial GR is all that and plus. The density, weight, texture is sensational. It’s as if this winery has stepped out of the worst of the past and embraced the best of the future and kept everything in between. Delicate, focused, persistent and elegant, do you need any more urging to buy this wine? A sublime red you can drink now or hold for another decade and beyond. Bodegas C.V.N.E. is still owned and run by the Real de Asua family, who opened the doors back in 1879. Its full name is Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España but everyone calls it ‘coonay’ After its initials. The C.V.N.E. Imperial is a Rioja classic, first bottled in the 1920s. The name is an ode to a special bottling for the English in a measure the Spanish called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’, approximately half a litre. The vineyard, in Villalba and Haro in Rioja Alta, is over 20-years-old and is part of a new facility built in the late 1980s, putting an end to several years of less than clean wines. The dry farmed bushvines are responsible for low yields and intense fruit all aged in American and French oak barrels. Load up collectors. The blend is mostly tempranillo with fifteen percent graciano and mazuelo.Prices: BC 88.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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23 March 2018

Fonseca Vintage Porttext
95PTS

Fonseca Vintage Port 2003

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAnother wet winter is behind the success of this wine, followed by a late May flowering, a hot August, followed by pre-harvest rains, all setting up for a fine vintage port recipe. At the fifteen-year mark it is only beginning to shed that youthful puppy fat that makes Fonseca so drinkable. It’s still voluptuous in texture, and there is plenty of power, but the showy fruit is beginning to back off. Look for black cherry, licorice, spicy, citrus peel, with bits of chocolate on the nose. The tannins are backing off too, merely supporting its fiery, spicy, licorice root, black cherry jam, orange compote, mineral, chocolate flavours. The 2003 is sipping into the classic port mode. No rush here but you can put it on the drink list beginning in 2020.Prices: BC 131.99 AB 130.00 ON 125.00 QC 132.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Vintage Porttext
97PTS

Fonseca Vintage Port 2011

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe winter and early spring were kind to the 2011 vintage, dropping some 500 millimetres of much needed rain on Pinhão in the heart of the Cima Corgo area through April. The weather turned dry but the rain did its job, allowing for perfect bunch development. A bit more precipitation in late August would help to finish off the growing season with highly coveted, even ripening across the region. The picking order began at Quinta do Panascal in the Távora Valley, followed by Quinta do Cruzeiro in the Pinhão Valley and finally at Quinta do Santo António, also in the Pinhão Valley. Early on the wines were aromatic and powerful and little has changed in the glass since then. The colour is almost black, the nose youthful with rich, floral aromatic notes, ripe black fruits, liquorice, perfumed violets, black tea and exotic five spice scents. The attack is rich and plump with fabulous black fruits, soya, raisins, licorice, mint and plums that sit on a stony mineral undercurrent. Really an opulent (Fonseca) style that is going to need decades to settle in. For these who love the hedonistic youthfulness of port it is amazingly approachable now but this wine will live for decades.Prices: BC 119.99 AB 126.00 ON 125.00 QC 140.00 BC 75.00 375 AB 65.00 375 MB 125.00 QC 73.00 375 SK 120.00 SK 375.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Vintage Porttext
94PTS

Fonseca Vintage Port 1997

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrequent showers throughout the growing season retarded ripening, though September was hot. Overall, yields were down 30 percent in 1997. Quality was high but almost two decades down the road this port is showing some age and is somewhat light for the traditional Fonseca style. Certainly advanced at this point, and easy to drink, offering soft, round black fruit flavours and sweet, fading tannins. Showing maturity, but a ready to drink port is always welcomed in our house. Drink before the 1994.Prices: CDN 250.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Vintage Porttext
95PTS

Fonseca Vintage Port 1985

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe '85 harvest was a giant, yielding the most Port in the last 50 years, but it doesn't seem to have affected quality. At 33 years old it still has remarkable colour. The structure is supple and spicy, the fruit still very much present from what was a rich, powerful vintage. Stony mineral, plummy fruit with bits of violets linger across the palate. The tannins are fading, revealing the opulent hedonistic style of a great Fonseca. No rush to drink this.Prices: BC 249.99 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Vintage Porttext
98PTS

Fonseca Vintage Port 1977

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalIt’s been some time since I first saw this wine, back in the 1980s. Fonseca Vintage Port is wine that often gains ground on its bigger, richer, drier, competitors in the bottle where its adds complexity over the decades. At this point, 40 years down the road, its just awakening as it reaches perfect harmony between its once boisterous fruit and its rich firm tannins, now mostly dissipated, save for a minimal structural element. This wine is now a marriage of nuances: floral, liquorice, mineral, black fruits, chocolate, tobacco and more, with great persistence and is near perfect. Despite the years that have passed, it retains some of its highly attractive lushness that caused Robert Parker to once refer to Fonseca as the Pomerol of vintage ports. One of the best of the vintage and wine that will still be relevant in 2050.Prices: BC 429.99 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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22 March 2018

Quails' Gate Chardonnay Rosemary's Blocktext
91PTS

Quails' Gate Chardonnay Rosemary's Block 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRosemary’s Block Chardonnay is dedicated to the Stewart family's mother Rosemary, and was launched to celebrate the winery’s 25th anniversary in 2015. The wine was well received, and renewed again for 2016 as one of three chardy's released from 2016. From two blocks on the base of Mt. Boucherie, an ancient volcano, the grapes were whole-cluster pressed and fermented in new and old French oak barrels for 11 months, with full MLF and on the lees. Tighter and more focused than the flagship Stewart Family Reserve, with tight lemon pith cutting and brightening a creamy base, and hints of flinty reduction giving this interest, and length on the palate. At this youthful stage the wood is a bit too noticeable (as is with all the QG wines), but this has impressive structure that will provide ample opportunity for this to age gracefully. I hope the winery continues in this streamlined direction.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Alvaro Palacios Vi de Vila Gratallopstext
93PTS

Alvaro Palacios Vi de Vila Gratallops 2014

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainIt’s just under 30 years since Alvaro Palacios arrived in Gratallops, at the time an obscure town in an obscure region of the international wine world. Today it’s home to one of Spain’s top wines and a region well established among the hierarchy of fine wine regions. Palacios was charmed by the geography and the geology (steep slate slopes) of what he calls a mystical region. Vines date back to the 6th Century and the Carthusian monastery of Escaladei. Parts of his estate surrounding L’Ermita, Finca Dofí, encroach on the village Gratallops. Here under the bright Mediterranean light the old vine garnacha and samsó (carignan) bathe in more than 4,000 hours of sun a year and receive very little rain. Vi de Gratallops was the first village location recognised by name; today there are nine DOQ Priorat villages in all. The ’14 Gratallops is mix of village fruit along with parts of L’Ermita and Dofi. It is an 80/20 split of garnacha and samsó and it opens with a mineral, floral, dust storm. The tannins are exquisitely worn, the textures soft. The flavours are conservative red and black fruits with spice all over a smoky, savoury undercurrent. Simply complex. Real wine.Prices: AB 1000.00 QC 620.00 Producer: Alvaro Palacios
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Alvaro Palacios L'Ermitatext
98PTS

Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita 2015

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainÁlvaro Palacios’ three wineries reside in the historical Spanish wine regions of Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo. Each property features a unique geography and climate that reflects the centuries-old culture of the vineyard, revealing what Alvaro likes to call “mystical traits from the past.” The vineyards are situated near monasteries, chapels and pilgrimage routes linking them to a spirituality of the past. It’s imperative to Alvaro that his wines be transparent, as in able to transmit the historical and cultural pulse of the region, as well as the ever-important altitudes, orientations, the rocks, the steep slopes and the light. In short, the living elements and integral identity of each wine’s origin. When Palacios arrived in Priorat in the 1980s he purchased the single vineyard Finca Dofi, and planted it himself in 1992; in 1993 he bought the 1.1 ha ‘L’Ermita’ single vineyard, at the time planted to the oldest vines of a local garnacha clone in the region. The ’15 blend is a 95/4/1 mix of garnacha, cariñena and one percent indigenous white grapes said to be pedro ximenez, macabeo and garnacha gris. By now you recognise the smoky stony mineral red fruit nose. The palate is a mix of cherries, red currants flecked with exotic orange peel notes. A Priorat red is often characterized as big, and powerful but L’Ermita is all about nuance, finesse and refinement.Prices: AB 1000.00 QC 1313.50 Producer: Alvaro Palacios
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Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofitext
96PTS

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2015

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFinca Dofi is a new vineyard on an old land. Alvaro planted it about the same time he purchased L’Ermita back at the end of the 80’s, on brown slate. The ancient slopes called for "ancestral methods" and high density so Palacios planted 7,200 vines per hectare. It’s all dry-farmed and bush-trained and now can only be cultivated by horse. The average yield is an astounding 18 hl/ha while the current grape mix is 95 percent garnacha with 4 percent cariñena and one percent indigenous white grapes. All is destemmed, crushed and fermented naturally in oak vats before spending 14 months in oak before bottling. Like Ermita, the nose is alive and intense, again with those exotic orange peel notes. And again, it’s the silky refined textures of the wine that pull you into the glass to discover a slurry of red and black fruits including blackberries, pomegranate, strawberries and a savoury, liquorice, chalky, stony finish. Álvaro Palacios’ three wineries reside in the historical Spanish wine regions of Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo. Each property features a unique geography and climate that reflects the centuries-old culture of the vineyard, revealing what Alvaro likes to call “mystical traits from the past.” The vineyards are situated near monasteries, chapels and pilgrimage routes linking them to a spirituality of the past. It’s imperative to Alvaro that his wines be transparent, as in able to transmit the historical and cultural pulse of the region as well as the ever-important altitudes, orientations, the rocks, the steep slopes and the light. In short, the living elements and integral identity of each wine’s origin.Prices: BC 110.00 QC 113.00 US 60.00 ON 103.00 Producer: Alvaro Palacios
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Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona El Ferrotext
95PTS

Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona El Ferro 2015

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainLa Faraona, like Las Lamas, comes off a single, south-east facing vineyard on the highest hill of Corullon at 855 metres. The vines average 65 years of age and this unfiltered red is super scarce due to a 2-barrel production. This wine has unreal finesse from start to finish. There is all the minerality and floral highlights of Las Lamas with strawberries, stones and amazing freshness and intensity. Yet it’s the finesse that seals the deal after only 11 months in barrels. The mix is 97/3 mencía and indigenous white grapes.Prices: QC 1202.00 Producer: Descendientes De J. Palacios
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Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lamastext
95PTS

Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lamas 2014

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainFrom a .54-hectare, single parcel, Las Lamas is all about three blocks of south-facing 60, 90 and 100-year old vines. It’s fermented in open top wooden vats. Only 3,500 bottles are made after spending some 16 months in large format oak barrels. The ’14 is a 91/7/2 mix of mencía, indigenous white grapes and alicante bouschet. The nose is as beautiful and as wild as the Las Lamas hillside. Floral and meaty sounds a strange combination but it works here when combined with mineral stony red fruit notes and the earthy smoky bits that mark the finish. Just a baby, it will age effortlessly for 15 to 20 years. A real wine packed full of details, details, details.Prices: US 105.00 Producer: Descendientes De J. Palacios
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Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullontext
92PTS

Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullon 2015

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainDescendientes de Palacios is a joint venture between Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez. Together the curious perfectionists make seven wines, including this very stylish Corullon, named after the main village surrounded by the grapes that make up the wine. At 20,100 bottles, production is minuscule, while worldwide demand is gigantic. The blend is 89/9/2 mencía, indigenous white grapes and other red grapes coming off three 50-100-year-old vineyards in six villages. The wine is mostly red fruited, very fresh, texturally inviting, mineral and packed full of stony, crunchy, chalky fruit that is raised organically and soon biodynamically. A real wine of substance that should age effortlessly. The New Spain is Old and we like it a lot.Prices: QC 52.50 Producer: Descendientes De J. Palacios
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Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalostext
91PTS

Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2015

Bierzo, Castilla-Leon, SpainÁlvaro Palacios’ three wineries reside in the historical Spanish wine regions of Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo. Each property features a unique geography and climate that reflects the centuries-old culture of the vineyard, revealing what Alvaro likes to call “mystical traits from the past.” The vineyards are situated near monasteries, chapels and pilgrimage routes, linking them to a spirituality of the past. It’s imperative to Alvaro that his wines be transparent, as in able to transmit the historical and cultural pulse of the region as well as the ever-important altitudes, orientations, the rocks, the steep slopes and the light. In short, the living elements and integral identity of each wine’s origin. Pétalos is all about its old vines, in this case, 60-years plus, and biodynamically farmed mencia grapes spread across several small, rocky slatey hillside plots worked by Álvaro Palacios and his nephew and co-proprietor, Ricardo Perez Palacios. Pétalos is made to be enjoyed now, as reflected by its light, airy, label design. Aged 10 months in barrels, the 314,000 bottles is a 94/5/1/ of mencía, indigenous white grapes and other red grapes. The attack is round and juicy, the nose aromatic and inviting, with rich, earthy, dark berry fruit flavours and just the right amount of tannin and texture to support the fruit. A playful, welcoming style meant to entice and complement your meal. Real wine that invites you to drink the entire bottle.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 30.00 MB 28.00 ON 22.00 Producer: Descendientes De J. Palacios
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianzatext
92PTS

Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainThe character of wines produced at Palacios Remondo is the sum of some 2,000 years of grape growing. The former Baja, now known as the Orientale, or eastern La Rioja, was historically the land of exchange where, for centuries, merchants, pilgrims and settlers passed through the region trading. Nearby on the Yerga Mountains, the Cistercian order founded its first monastery in Spain. This wine is a blend of sloping sites from Yerga to Valtomelloso, Valviejo and Valfrío as well as nearby sites at Las Mugas and Valmira, home of the estate’s most ancient and traditional viticulture. The Palacios have been on the land for 150 years. The 2014 is aged one year in barrel and is an 88/12 blend of garnacha and tempranillo. Cedary red fruit jumps from the glass with bits of smoke and plums. It’s all dry-farmed and almost half of the fruit is abandoned to ensure texture and quality. Paella or lamb both work here. It’s delicious, real wine.Prices: BC 25.49 AB 20.00 ON 25.00 QC 19.40 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorattext
91PTS

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2016

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainHow much do I like this wine? A lot. The blend is 35 percent garnacha, 25 percent cariñena, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent syrah and 10 percent merlot. Camins del Priorat presents a kaleidoscope of flavours from savoury, spicy dark cherries to cassis, cloves and a touch of roasted tomato, root vegetables and licorice but never out of balance - that quality that makes you want to finish the bottle. Beef pork, lamb or turkey pies, it all works here along with older, hard cheeses. The mostly restored ‘Camins’ of Priorat are the pathways that connect the villages up and down the hillsides, from valley floor to mountain top.Prices: BC 36.99 QC 28.45 MB 28.15 Producer: Alvaro Palacios
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21 March 2018

Tsukasabotan Yamayuzu Shibaritext
88PTS

Tsukasabotan Yamayuzu Shibari NV

JapanCloudy with authenticity, this is a a yuzu infused sweet sake from southern Japan's Kochi's prefecture, the prime area for all things citrus in Japan. Ten percent Yuzu juice turns this sake into a sweet, imminently quaffable drink of meyer lemons and perfumed citrus. At a dangerous 8 degrees alcohol, this is far too easy to consume, but best enjoyed with soda, or in another mixed drink or cocktail. I find it far too potently sweet solo, but if you'd like it straight, do it on the rocks.Prices: US 27.99 Producer: Tsukasabotan
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Yamagata Masamune Junmaitext
89PTS

Yamagata Masamune Junmai 2014

JapanThough this is the brewery's entry level sake, it is certainly not simple, nor neglected. From local Dewa-san-san rice owned and organically farmed by the brewery (rare), this has a rice polish rate of 55 percent, SMV +3, and 16 percent alcohol. The result is a lighter, delicate and nuanced Junmai (no additional alcohol added), with quince, pear, and Asian pear notes, and an alluring swing of fennel and white pepper spicing on the finish. It's interesting to taste with a little age weight on it; making this ready for sablefish or sashimi.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Mitobe Sake Brewery Co Ltd
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G Sake Joy Junmai Ginjo Genshutext
89PTS

G Sake Joy Junmai Ginjo Genshu NV

United StatesLet's start with the lingo. This is a Junmai (no added alcohol), Ginjo (top 4 premium sake grades) Genshu (undiluted with water) Sake. From Oregon, no less. With Calrose sake rice grown in the Sacramento California. Being undiluted, this is at the upper scales for sake alcohol content at 18 percent. And you can feel it: a punchy, bold, smooth and full bodied sake with lush melons, perfumed Anjou, Asian pear crispness and a sweet cereals note on the weighted, glycerol palate. There's a riff of grip on the sides.Prices: BC 18.50 300 QC 30.75 Producer: Sake One
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YK3 Yu Junmai Nama Genshutext
88PTS

YK3 Yu Junmai Nama Genshu NV

British Columbia, CanadaHeady pear, anise, orange creamsicle fills the cloudy, glycerine-filled palate of this Nama (unpasteurized) sake. Grapefruit zest seasons and lush melon fills the punchy palate. The finish lingers with pickled ginger heat. It is also Junmai (no added alcohol at all), and Genshu (undiluted with water), key translations to know if you're new to the sake nomenclature. YK3, so named because the Toji (brewmaster) and two founders all share these two initials, is based in Richmond, BC. The rice is Calrose, imported from Sacremeto, California, where most of the North American sake rices are sourced from. Since this is a Nama sake, it needs to be refrigerated at every point along its journey, including restaurant / store shelves, and your home. Unpasteurized sake is not inherently better or worse than pasteurized sake; it is a stylistic choice. I would choose to pair this with savoury Japanese custards or mushroom sautés.Prices: BC 20.00 375 Producer: YK3 Sake
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20 March 2018

Eve Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Eve Chardonnay 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesRipe and floral yellow apples and lifted tropical fruit scent this round, soft and round chardonnay. Whole cluster pressed and partially native fermented, this saw 20 percent MLF in stainless, where it remained for six months on lees. Custard, banana, orange creamsicle coat the flabby palate, finishing short and brief. This is from Evergreen Vineyards in Columbia Valley's cooler Ancient Lakes AVA.Prices: BC 18.00 ON 22.00 AB 23.00 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
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Poplar Grove Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Poplar Grove Chardonnay 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpring arrived very early and warm with bud break four weeks ahead of normal, but by summer wetter and cooler weather slowed fruit development and called for increased vineyard management. A long, warm fall with shorter days and cooler nights eventually allowed all the fruit to ripen. The wine is sourced from individual estate blocks located in Osoyoos (55 percent) and Naramata Bench (45 percent). Some 80 percent is fermented in stainless steel tanks while the remaining 20 percent is fermented in 228L new French Burgundian barrels - malolactic is allowed to occur naturally in the barrel fermented portion. The style is easy-drinking and very ripe. Candied pear and banana wafts from the glass. The attack is sweet and round with green apple/caramel/vanilla notes throughout. Simple and ready to drink.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2015

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesRegal Californian chardonnay from a hillside that sits above the Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara. This is from premium chardonnay blocks known as the Camelot Highlands, and what winemaker Randy Ullom likes to calls "the filet mignon" section of that historic bench. The vines, planted to their own roots and over 40 years old, are deeply set in an ancient seabed. Tropical fruits mark the nose with scents of pineapple, mango and papaya, previewing a creamy rich mid-palate laced with butter, mineral, cinnamon, vanilla, orange and crème brûlée. Eight months down the road the lees character is more pronounced, adding extra complexity to the finish. As always, the richness comes with restraint and finesse. Top-flight. A KJ/Randy Ullom jewel.Prices: ON 37.75 BC 49.95 US 38.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyard 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meyer Micro Cuvée is from the north-facing, organically-farmed Naramata Bench Old Main Road Vineyard, planted in 1996 on silt loam over clay. You feel the site difference on the palate immediately; this is weightier, more expansive and more full-bodied on the palate. With ample popcorn and flint leading creamy citrus and hazelnuts, it's a mouthful. Still quite streamlined, even with the weight. Lemon curd, lemon pulp pulls this structural wine through to a snappy, salted finish. This was made like all Meyer chardonnays: stainless-started ferment, finishing in French oak where it remains on lees for 11 months. In this wine, however, half the oak is new, and it makes its mark in a sure-footed way. Powerful and very intense now (too much for solo sipping), a wine that will pleasantly mellow and reward with time in your cellar. For the moment a whole-roasted, lemon-stuffed chicken could take this on. Bravo.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Donovan Tildesley Old Main Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Donovan Tildesley Old Main Road Vineyard 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards have become known for their single-vintage chardonnays and pinot noirs, all set within the distinct MFV style. From the Old Main Road in Naramata the 2016 Tribute Series Chardonnay label honours Canadian Donovan Tildesley, an accomplished blind Paralympic swimmer, for outstanding achievement in his field. Each year owners Jak & Janice Meyer donate $1,000 per year over 5 years toward a not-for profit foundation, endowment or scholarship as a way of encouraging or honouring the legacies of these Canadians. Expect a tight, fine, bamboo strong lemon acidity laced throughout this flinty, reductive-styled chardonnay. Concentrated, but fine, this hums with stony minerality and tight acidity that prolongs the finish. This wine is made similarly to the McLean Creek Road Vineyard Chardonnay (stainless started ferment, French oak finished and rested on the lees for 11 months), however this wine took on a bit more new oak at 22 percent. This wine has the intensity to hold more wood, swallowing rather than wallowing. Impressive drinking now at a streamlined 13 degrees alcohol, and will hold. Impressive. Unknown clone (s), planted in 1996, with full MLF.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards is known for its distinct single-vintage labels both chardonnay and pinot noir, all set within the MFV style. From its home Okanagan Falls, estate, McLean Creek Road Vineyard and its steep, gravel and sandy loams, this is a flinty, leesy, reductive-swinging, medium+ bodied white, threaded with lemon peel and textured with grippy pith and a mineral, broken stone palate. Few BC winemakers make chardonnay in this style; here MFV is pioneering. After a long, cool, stainless-started ferment, the must is transferred to French oak (only 18 percent new) for the remainder of ferment, followed by 11 months ageing on the lees and full MLF. The wine is unfined and coarsely filtered prior to bottling, preserving the appealing authenticity of place. Drinking beautifully now, especially with salted, thyme and sage roasted chicken. Impressive. Planted on their home estate 1995 to unknown clones.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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19 March 2018

J. Hofstatter Meczan Blauburgunder Pinot Nerotext
90PTS

J. Hofstatter Meczan Blauburgunder Pinot Nero 2016

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe world needs more lighter, lithe, pale, smashable red wines. And when you're talking about pinot noir (blauburgunder) planted in the lime, clay, and eroded porphyry soils of Alto Adige, you can expect only this. This is 25+ year old pinot noir, planted on steep slopes of South Tyrol. Twenty-five percent whole bunch, this is kept in contact with skins and solids for ten days before gentle pressing into concrete vats, where it rests for six months. White pepper dusts woodland berries, light sapid notes, wild raspberry florals, subtle rose petals, on the light, graceful palate. There's a gentle berry sweetness here that charms, and a salt kiss that is alluring on the finish. This is beauty with a light chill. The 50 ha of J. Hofstätter estate vineyards are ideally situated in South Tyrol, with vineyards along the steep slopes of both sides of the broad valley. They are one of the largest family estates in the region, now run by 4th generation.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: J. Hofstatter
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Framingham Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Framingham Pinot Noir 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandSoftly sweet spices weave attractively throughout this Wairau Valley pinot noir, chosen from seven different sites. A mix of clones (5, 10/5, 115, 667, 777 and Abel), the fruit was was primarily destemmed into stainless steel, with a minor component of whole bunch. After fermentation, the lots spent ten months maturating in a French barriques (20 percent new) before blending and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Pretty and feminine, with graceful raspberry, perfumed cherry and a haze of light smoke wrap around a youthful, juicy and red fruited core. This likeable pinot is a joy to drink.Prices: BC 29.95 Producer: Framingham
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Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 1er Crutext
90PTS

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Grèves Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 1er Cru 2003

Beaune, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrom the cellar. The signature wine from Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus is a plot in the centre of the very large Beaune Greves vineyard, considered to be the heart, or best, of the site. From the big, hot 2003, this is showing its age (and beyond). The once fat, now fine, palate is filled with iodine, dried cherry, forest soils, worn leather, dried leaves. There's a strike of VA and a raft of grippy tannins that keep squeezing to salted dryness at the finish. This may be past its prime, but it is still drinkable with a gentle, herbed protein like pork tenderloin or roast turkey. The name Vigne de L’Enfants Jésus presumably dates back to 1638 when Anne of Austria gave birth to King Louis XIV. To celebrate, the Camelite order named its most prominent Beaune vineyard after the baby. The vineyard was under the ownership of the Carmelite order until the French revolution. It has been owned by the Bouchard family for the paste 100 years.Prices: BC 120.00 Producer: Bouchard Père & Fils
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Gran Moraine Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Gran Moraine Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe Oregon style is front and centre here with cranberries, cedar, forest floor mixed with leather and strawberry notes. The palate is equally piquant with juicy pomegranate and red fruits, juniper berries and sandalwood, all in a silky textured red that slips down effortlessly. This Carleton-Yamhill pinot is drinking well now and would be perfect with duck confit.Prices: BC 95.00 Producer: Gran Moraine
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La Crema Pinot Noir Fog Veiltext
92PTS

La Crema Pinot Noir Fog Veil 2015

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is an impressive style of RRV pinot beginning with its fresh, almost electric, acidity followed by lifted aromas of sandalwood, plums and boysenberry fruit. The attack is the classic black fruit that dominates Russian river pinot with bits of brown spice threaded throughout its lush finish. The grapes come off 20-year-old, neighboring estates, Piner and Olivet, in the heart of the Russian River Valley where the fog often lingers into the late morning hours. The soils are free draining Huichica loams well-suited to a mix of pinot clones in this case 23, 667, 777, Flowers and Pommard. The Fog Veil harvest began on August 31 and the wine spent 15 months in 33 percent new French oak. Delicious stuff.Prices: BC 59.99 AB 49.99 ON 45.00 QC 42.95 Producer: La Crema
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Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noirtext
94PTS

Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noir 2014

Oregon, United StatesSourced from several blocks within Zena Crown Vineyard it is a mix of Pommard 4 and 667 clones off 11-year-old vines. It’s aged 16 months in French oak barrels of which 84 percent are new with medium and medium-plus toast levels. The final bottling is considered the absolute best from the vineyard as chosen by winemaker Shane Moore. The colour is darker than normal the nose opens with savoury, fragrant dark fruit with notes of forest floor, cedar/leather notes. Richer black fruit notes mixed with smoke and spice feed into a long finish. Complex and dry, this would be perfect with duck. Jackson Family Wines purchased the Zena Crown Vineyard just west of Salem in 2013 and work with winemakers Tony Rynders and Shane Moore.Prices: US 129.00 Producer: Zena Crown Vineyard
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La Crema Pinot Noir Russian River Valleytext
91PTS

La Crema Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2015

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesExpect a rich, spicy, entry with bright, juicy dark cherry pinot bathed in dried herbs. The palate is silky with bright plummy, floral, raspberry, blackberry fruit and a pinch of cola. There is an attractive, juicy, acidity character within the warm, spicy finish. Made for restaurants and pinot lovers. It is a complex mix of Russian River fruit that is aged in French oak for 11 months - only one third is new. Fog-bound mornings create a cooler climate and more intense flavours accented by hand-picked, hand-sorted berries with 70% whole berries making it to the fermentation tanks. The free run is transferred to tank for one night of decanting before racking to barrel where its sits until blending prior to bottling. The complex clone mix includes 777, Flowers, Pommard, 2A, 667, 828 and 23.Prices: BC 59.99 AB 49.99 ON 45.00 QC 42.95 Producer: La Crema
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La Crema Shell Ridge Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

La Crema Shell Ridge Pinot Noir 2015

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Shell Ridge is tagged Sonoma Coast but most of the grapes are grown primarily in the Annapolis area of the rugged Sonoma Coast, where the steep sloped mountainside vineyard sits one ridge in from the cool Pacific Ocean. The sandy loam soil occasionally yields ancient sea shells hence the wine’s moniker. It’s 100 percent pinot noir, namely clones 23, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard age for nine months in all French oak (35 percent is new). The 2015 harvest is the earliest on record and the wines are intense. In this case this pinot mixes cooler pomegranate fruit with black cherries, blackberries and resiny cedar undercurrents and black tea. Even so there is considerable charm here in a silky, rich, ready-to-drink pinot.Prices: BC 69.00 US 60.00 ON 31.00 US 49.00 Producer: La Crema
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Penner-Ash Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Penner-Ash Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesJackson Family Wines purchased the Penner-Ash winery (Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash) in 2016 and immediately did what they do with all their small estate purchases, nothing, other than making extra resources available where needed. In this case JFW brought Zena Crown and Gran Moraine to the party adding even more diversity to the mix of fruit that was coming off 13 other separate lots. This wine is deliciously Oregon, maybe a little more bitter than need be but all in all a very attractive juicy fruity affair with the right amount of oak, now only 300 days in 29 percent new French oak. The wine is surprisingly dark but the fruit fresh and plummy with just a hint of brown spice. It was warm year but it seems to have handle it all well. Ready to drink now or over the next three to four years.Prices: US 42.00 Producer: Penner-Ash Wine Cellars
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17 March 2018

Pulpoloco Sangriatext
86PTS

Pulpoloco Sangria NV

SpainPulpoloco is a tempranillo offset with a whack of spices and swig of sugar. Even with the party-in-a-bottle, there's some dry blueberry tempanillo character poking through amidst the orange, cinnamon, peppercorns and blueberry. There are no real fruits in here, of course, save for grapes, but the fruity, spicy, seven percent alcohol loco will have a lot of fans. Add a pitcher and some ice and you're good to go.Prices: BC 9.99 Producer: Spanish Story
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Rustic Roots Apple Rhubarb Crisptext
86PTS

Rustic Roots Apple Rhubarb Crisp NV

British Columbia, CanadaCandied apple, sasparilla and light cherry berry fill this newly released, off-dry, lightly effervescent cider from Rustic Roots Winery. With five generations of farming in the Similkameen Valley, this organic farming family is better known for their amazing produce, and then their portfolio of fruit wines. It's great to see this cider, a blend of honey crisp apples, rhubarb, and vanilla, as the latest in their ever-developing portfolio. Sip this local product when you'd like a local version of a cooler.Prices: BC 29.00 375 Producer: Rustic Roots Winery
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Twisted Hills Craft Cider Pipin's Fate Drytext
87PTS

Twisted Hills Craft Cider Pipin's Fate Dry NV

British Columbia, CanadaYellow fruits (apple, peach, bosc pear) and gummies flood the bright palate of this organic cider from Similkameen's Twisted Hills. A soft, fuzziness grips the sides, refreshing the palate, which lingers with a subtle off-dry fruit sweetness. at seven percent, this makes for an ideal breakfast / brunch wine, especially workable with apple dutch pancakes.Prices: BC 14.00 Producer: Twisted Hills Craft Cider
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16 March 2018

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe fruit comers off vineyards across Washington’s Columbia Valley including Rattlesnake Mountains, Wahluke Slope, and Roza Hills. The 2015 growing season was warm and is reflected in the wine. The mix is 97/2/1 cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and cabernet franc aged for 10 months in 40 percent new French oak. This is modern American cabernet sauvignon, stuffing in with a soft, round, chocolate cherry demeanour and a sweet palate that finishes a bit short, pasty and drying. Commercial at best.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
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Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis youthful cabernet benefits from a lengthy decant, and would suit a few more years in bottle. At this time, roasted meats, charcoal, camp smoke, thick blackberry and violets are framed by gritty tannins and heady with wood effect. Potent and direct, what this lacks in finesse in this youthful stage it makes up for in intensity; pair with roasted meats.Prices: BC 34.69 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Margaret River, Western Australia, AustraliaThis youthful, compact wine requires a lengthy decant now, or better yet, a few years in the bottle. 85 percent cabernet sauvignon is joined with 13 percent malbec and two percent petit verdot before one year in French oak (13 percent new). Savoury and brooding, with dusky cherry, blackcurrant, anise, pipe tobacco, dark chocolate and a slick of mint on the full bodied palate. Tannins are sticky and the end is warm and cedar lined; this structural, tightly knit wine needs time to mature, or a pairing with lamb or beef now.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 34.95 Producer: Vasse Felix Pty Ltd.
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15 March 2018

Cenyth Redtext
92PTS

Cenyth Red 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesLove the finesse here, plus the nod to the Old World with only 13.5 percent alcohol. The nose opens slightly reduced before lifted red fruit aromas and flavours kick in with raspberries, cherries and plums. The textures are silky with earthy undertones and a touch of balsamic in the finish. Impressive and needs time, five to seven years, to really show its stuff. The blend is 60 percent cabernet franc, 25 percent merlot, 10 percent cabernet sauvignon, and 5 percent malbec all aged in French oak (30 percent new) for 10 months. Interestingly the wine is made by two second gen kids. Winemaker Hélène Seillan (daughter of Pierre Seillan) makes the wine while Julia Jackson (daughter of Jesse Jackson and Barbara Banke) created the art on the label.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Cenyth
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CedarCreek The Senator Redtext
88PTS

CedarCreek The Senator Red 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA tribute to Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, founder of CedarCreek Vineyard in 1986, this is a blend of estate cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot sourced from numerous vineyards. Fermented in stainless before 16 months in French oak, this is a deep, plush red, soft on the palate with brambles and baking spices. Tannins are tuggy and worked soft, and the finish is cinnamon heart warm. I like the prevalence of cabernet franc here (40 percent), imparting a branchy earthiness to what is otherwise a soft, dark fruited wine.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Arcanumtext
92PTS

Arcanum 2011

Tuscany, ItalyArcanum is based on cabernet franc, sourced primarily from the sandy clay soils of the Apparita and Belvedere blocks, and is considered the signature grape of the estate. The attraction here is the red fruit floral, violet aromas and raspberry flavours. The 77/14/7/2 blend in 2011 is cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, with one year in 80 percent French oak. The Tenuta di Arceno property resides in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the province of Siena, and is now in its thirteenth year under the care of California’s Jackson Family Farms. The palate is dense with sweet round tannins and savoury black cherry jam, plum, tobacco and licorice. The label is inspired by an ancient statue located on the estate, Il Fauno, the mythological Roman god of nature, the countryside and the woods. Viticulturist and winemaker Pierre Seillan is behind the man behind the wine.Prices: BC 82.39 AB 79.99 Producer: Tenuta di Arceno
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14 March 2018

Painted Rock Syrahtext
90PTS

Painted Rock Syrah 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA reductive character opens this youthful red from Skaha Bench, one followed quickly thereafter by savoury roasted meat notes. With time in the glass the wine settles into its groove, offering rich black pepper, licorice and super ripe cassis flecked with umami and floral notes. A warm year has delivered a syrah more akin to the Languedoc than the northern Rhone: round rich and drinkable but less complexity. There is just enough acidity in 2015 to keep it on track but it is a warmer version of this noted Skaha syrah. That said. many will love the hedonistic nature of this vintage. Grilled lamb is an excellent dish to tame this big red.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Boom Boom Syrahtext
88PTS

Boom Boom Syrah 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesBoom Boom is turning drier with each succeeding year, but still remains a very ripe fruit bomb. Charles Smith is the master of marketing, but somehow Boom Boom seems a bit of overkill and over sell for a Columbia Valley red that has real syrah character, mixing savoury Northwest notes with meaty licorice, ripe blackberry, black pepper and black cherry jam. This is mouth filling and lush, soft and round, making it even more attractive to its target niche. Think smoked barbecue meat and enjoy.Prices: BC 30.00 QC 27.50 AB 21.50 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
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CedarCreek Syrahtext
87PTS

CedarCreek Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft black fruits tumble across the palate of this youthful Haynes Creek Vineyard syrah. There’s just enough structure to hem in the spicy blueberry, blackberry jam, black pepper. The finish is round and soft and it’s drinkable now. This spends 14 months in French oak barriques, providing some of the peppery structure and spice, and a veil of Rhone.Prices: BC 22.29 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Poplar Grove Syrahtext
89PTS

Poplar Grove Syrah 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe style is friendly and soft with savoury, ripe red fruit, cassis, stone and floral fragrant undertones of cherries and raspberry. The tannins are light and the extra cellaring has allowed the wine to mesh with minimal tannin to disperse. Pour with lamb chops, pork tenderloin or a wild mushroom risotto. The 2014 vintage is described as the perfect vintage, especially down south where the syrah fruit emanates from south-east Osoyoos. The grapes are crushed and combined with three percent viognier skins for aromatics and texture. It all goes through a four-day cold soak and partial wild yeast fermentation. About 30 percent of the syrah is kept in new French oak barrels, while the remainder was aged in one and two-year-old barrels for 15 months. There is seven percent cabernet sauvignon in the mix. After bottling it spends 18 months at the winery before release.Prices: BC 30.35 AB 48.99 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Brooks Road Shiraztext
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Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard Brooks Road Shiraz 2015

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaThe Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, established in 1971, is now a part of the country’s wine heritage, supplying fruit to produce many iconic labels. Oz Winemaker Charlie Seppelt takes the lead in shiraz production, making a markedly different style than its more full-bodied McLaren Vale cousins made at lower altitudes. The attack is almost skinny, with spicy red fruit and spice that suggests a wine that is bigger than it is. Hand-picked at 210-230 metres above sea level, the bunches are destemmed, and the sorted berries run into open fermenters. There is a four-day cold soak with a minimum of eighteen days on the skin. The wine was then basket pressed, and to minimize filtration at bottling, four rack-and-returns were conducted over fifteen months as the wine seasoned in a mixture of Burgundy-coopered barrels.Prices: BC 89.99 AB 80.00 MB 80.00 Producer: Hickinbotham Clarendon Vintners
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Syrah Amalia Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRenaissance Syrah, part of the premiere tier at Stag’s Hollow, comes off Amalia Vineyard on the west side of Osoyoos, gathering warm morning-sun days and finishing in the cooler evening mountain shade. Attractive and highly aromatic peppery nose with candied violets, potpourri, roasted meats, blackberry jam and oak spice which carries to the palate of this opulent, ripe syrah. Whole berry, half of which were whole clusters, was fermented and free run into French oak barrels (half new) and aged on the lees for 15 months. A splash of petit verdot (only five percent of the whole, but totally noticeable) was added before bottling unfined and unfiltered. We would love to see this without any petit verdot given its propensity to take over a wine; the perfumed violets and potpourri sticks out from and overrides the whole, amplifying syrah's inherent perfume. Tannins are silky but the and acidity keeps pace to the Spice Route finish. Berry decked duck, lamb or pork would work here.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Austin Hope Syrah 2014

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesEvery once and while we see this wine in the BC market and it never disappoints those attracted to big, super rich syrah. Savoury and spicy, lush textures coat the palate. offering up bacon fat, vanilla and Christmas cake aromas that spill onto the palate. New World and rich, this warm red of roasted meats and ripe black cherries is persistently long with the ending punctuated by liquorice and coffee. Not made for the feint of heart. Serve this your favourite game or roasted lamb dish.Prices: BC 59.99 QC 50.00 NB 52.99 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Black Swift Vineyards Monarch Vineyard Syrah 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs time goes on I love to hear things like Monarch Vineyard is in the central flats of the Osoyoos Bench. Ah yes - location. It seems it matters. Even if the Osoyoos Bench is yet to be delineated as a sub-appellation it has ‘central flats’ sitting within it. Guess what? It is one of the hottest and sunniest locations in all of BC, seemingly made for syrah. After 30 months in American oak, 66 percent new, this seemingly Australian-style shiraz is nothing but obese. Tight-grained Montana oak, described as being closer to Slovenian oak (think big Tuscan reds) helps to contain the fruit rather than let it spill out of its sides. The days are warm, but the nights are cooler, so again, less Oz more Rhone. In fact, it’s another Next World Okanagan red mixing fresh peppery notes, fine acidity and plenty of ripe blueberry that finishes mostly dry. You can add another one to the expanding list of top-flight Okanagan syrah.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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13 March 2018

Vaglio Chango Red Blendtext
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Vaglio Chango Red Blend 2015

ArgentinaChango is a 65/20/15/ mix of malbec, tannat and cabernet sauvignon all grown at an average 1700 meters above sea level. The malbec and cabernet comes from Altamira in the Uco Valley while the tannat comes from Cafayate, Salta. Some 40 percent of the wine is aged in one-year-old barriques. The nose is exuberant with bright cassis and ripe strawberries dusted with dried herbs. The attack is juicy with more intense red and blue fruits with a stony mineral undercurrent and structure that lives through the finish. You can drink this or cellar it through 2020. Serve now with grilled meats or mature cheeses.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Vaglio (B-72597) (B-88906)
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Vaglio Chacra Malbec 2014

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis is 100 percent varietal malbec from the 47-hectare DDP Vineyard in Agrelo, Mendoza. It’s all hand harvested fruit, grown at 3215 feet, and spends 11 months in second and third use oak before spending another six months in bottle. The style is pure with dark fruit, and the attack is a mix of plummy, juicy, jammy blackberry. The tannins are soft with bits of raisin and spice pushing through the back end. Made by José Lovaglio Balbo, son of famed Argentine winemaker Susana Balbo.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Vaglio (B-72597) (B-88906)
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Vaglio Aggie Malbec 2013

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis is all Gualtallary fruit grown at an average 1,270 metres above sea level that’s hand harvested and double sorted. The fruit is macerated from 25-40 days and is aged in 40 percent new French oak. This is bright, red and black fruited, with fine, stony, floral, minerality and bright acidity throughout – very Gualtallary. The tannins are mountain firm but it’s all in balance. The finish has a lick of chocolate/butterscotch from the oak which needs to disappear. A fine effort nonetheless. and perfect with grilled beef.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Vaglio (B-72597) (B-88906)
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Vaglio Temple Malbec Anchoris 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Temple malbec is sourced from hand-harvested fruit grown at a single vineyard in Anchoris, Lujan de Cuyo. This is a wine from the northeast of Uco Valley and the vineyards are over 80-years-old. The style is richer (warmer) than the malbec from Tupungato, with more cassis and plum, toast and baking spices, and a glossy sweet Napa Valley finish. Almost ready to drink, and will be fine with roasted chicken, pork or beef.Prices: BC 23.49 MB 25.99 Producer: Vaglio (B-72597) (B-88906)
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12 March 2018

Hester Creek Pinot Gris Viogniertext
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Hester Creek Pinot Gris Viognier 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHester Creek is celebrating the 50th year of its vineyard site and may we suggest you do it also with this delicious sipper. A lot of BC aromatic wines suffer from a certain flatness on the palate that tends to accentuate the fruit and residual sugar; not this one. A wet spring was followed by a fine hot, dry summer in 2017. The gris grapes are from local Oliver vineyards while the viognier is Osoyoos-based; all fermented in stainless steel and blended post ferment. Aromatic, but with fresh bright fruity flowery aromas and citrus/orchard fruit flavours. Juicy, dry and delicious; it’s a perfect Margherita pizza wine.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde NV

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalWhenever you feel your palate fatiguing, or the weather is too hot, that's the time to turn to Casal Garcia. Expect a light frizzante palate, awash in citrus blossoms, green apples and enticing hints of lees. The attack is equally fresh and juicy watery with pear skin, lemon, lees, quince and green apple. Light, delicate, juicy and fresh for any occasion where fun is to be had. Super value.Prices: BC 11.99 AB 12.00 MB 14.99 YK 14.25 NB 12.99 SK 12.29 ON 9.95 Producer: Quinta da Aveleda
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Coenobiumtext
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Coenobium 2016

Lazio, ItalyThis is not your typical Italian white wine. Unless, that is, you usually take of natural wine made by nuns. In the case of Coenobium, it's grown and raised by the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, under the guidance of Giampiero Bea, son of one of Italy's most prominent non-interventionist wine producers, Paulo Bea. Trebbiano, malvasia, verdicchio from Lazio's volcanic soils was native fermented and with one week of skin contact before a short rest and being bottled unfined and unfiltered (and with minimal sulphur at bottling). Almond blossom, subtle asian pear, chamomile, kernels on a rainwater palate. There's a gentle white/orange fruit sweetness and a nip of salty grip around the edges, giving this a lovely slender form. Fresh, drinkable, detailed, interesting; these nuns have it going on.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Monastero Suor E Cistercensi CO Trappiste
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Coenobium Ruscumtext
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Coenobium Ruscum 2016

ItalyI've long been a fan of Coenobium, the wine made by nuns. In particular, they are the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, under the guidance of Giampiero Bea (yes, the son of one of Italy's most prominent non-interventionist wine producers, Paulo Bea). So I was thrilled to come across this new-to-me wine from the Sisters, Ruscum. This is the same blend of trebbiano, malvasia, verdicchio and grechetto grown on volcanic soils, fermented wild on skins for a lengthy period, with nothing added / taken away. The difference is Ruscum has 2+ more weeks of skin contact, giving even more depth and texture and grip to this orange wine. Elderflower, orange blossoms, grilled almond, rambutan, Asian pear, on a grippy, fine, palate, threaded with pomelo oil. A wash of salts throughout, finishing with a pinch of spice. So easy, so natural (no pun intended), so singular. I love this characterful wine.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Monastero Suor E Cistercensi CO Trappiste
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Musar Jeune White 2014

LebanonMusar Jeune is a range of youthful, oak-free wines from Lebanon's iconic producer, Chateau Musar. This is organically farmed viognier, vermentino and chardonnay from limestone and silty soils of the Bekaa Valley, fermented in concrete and released the following year. Youthful vines they may be, but no less striking on the textural palate, confidently taking its time to sidle along the length, yet tightly strung with tension. Spiced anjou pear, elderflower blossoms, light white honey, meadow herbs, yellow apples, tangerine pith, on a dry, cleansing, oil-slicked palate to a toasted pine nut finish. The dichotomy here between fuller bodied and cleansing lightness is appealing, glass after glass. Now four years along, this shows even better after a decant (yes, you can decant whites) or on the second day, when all this density has time to relax. Mussels, salty mezze, tabbouleh sing with this.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Chateau Musar
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Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallele 45 Blanctext
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Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallele 45 Blanc 2015

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceWhite florals, lemon blossom and verbena dominate this accessable Rhone blend from one of the Northern Rhone's leading estates, first established in 1834. The Paralleles line, their 'entry level' tier, was named because the 45th parallel runs two kilometers from the domaine’s cellars near Tain L’Hermitage. This cuvée began in 1950 and represents the Jaboulet commitment to producing France’s finest Rhône value. The estate been under the purview of the Frey family for the past decade or so, and Caroline Frey is currently oenologist and proprietor. Biodynamically farmed, this is a blend of grenache blanc, marsanne, viognier and bouboulenc averaging 20 years of age and from two family farms on the right side of the Rhone river. Succulent on the palate but streamlined in form, this was stainless formed and raised, with no MLF. Lean and lemony, with a palate padding of herbal oils and citrus cream, textural spicing, before a snappy, stony finish. Excellent value, this wine would rock with green curries, white fleshed fish / scallops or spring pea risotto. House white, solved.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné
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Pipeno Blancotext
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Pipeno Blanco 2017

Valle del Maule, Region del Valle Central, ChileLouis-Antoine Luyt went down to Chile at 22 years old, fell fell in love with the country and especially her native grape Pais, which was entirely unappreciated back in 1988. After a return to France, wine studies in Beaune, and harvests in Beaujolais (where he became great mates with natural winemaking legend Marcel Lapierre), Luyt returned to Chile to make wine. He sources high altitude, dry farmed vineyards in the south of Chile, where he could find ancestral vines up to 200 years old. Pipeño, a term that used to denote peasant wines, are his 'entry level' tier, smashable and approachable. He vinifies using the traditional Chilean methods dating back to the 16th century: pressing the grapes on a zaranda sieve made of sticks, with free run juice falling into lagares. The wine is kept in pipas, casks made of redwood. Blanco, a blend of moscatel de alexandria, torontel, corinta and cristalina from Maule and Itata, spends three weeks on the skins and is lightly filtered before bottling. You can feel the grippy / gritty skin contact housing elderflower, Oolong tea, jasmine, crystalline lemon, and fine white pepper and star anise spicing on a light palate. Very herbal, earthy and fine, this is a distinct, remarkable wine, and amazing value. Fortunately this comes in a 1L bottle.Prices: BC 28.00 1000 Producer: Louis-Antoine Luyt
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B. Vintners Haarlem to Hopetext
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B. Vintners Haarlem to Hope 2015

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaB. Vintners is a collab of cousins Gavin Bruwer and Bruwer Raats, both respected winemakers with their own labels. With B, they aim is to tell the story of the some of the most interesting vineyards in the Cape, focusing on Stellenbosch. This is low-intervention chenin and semillion, with a splash of muscat d'alexandrie, whole bunch pressed, fermented and aged in older oak and with ten months' time on the lees (the muscat was done in stainless) before all was assembled, cold stabilised and bottled. The wood is evident, bolstering and batting around spicy citrus, lemongrass, white peach, and orange blossom, with chenin's scratchy herbal wooliness lining the mouth amply. Dried apricot sticks to the medium/full palate, and wood spice lingers on the finish. The bracketing wood requires food to meet; herbal stuffed poultry on the fire would work beautifully.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: B. Vintners
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Treana Blanctext
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Treana Blanc 2014

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesCan’t say enough about this wine, and at four years old it is singing. This is one of the best white Rhone-style blends in America. It’s intense but light on its feet, wonderfully complex yet gulpable. Balanced and ready to drink. The nose and palate are all about pineapple, honeysuckle, melon, guava and mandarin orange, but it’s never too much thanks to the underlying minerality and freshness. Impressive texture due to only 25 percent new French oak. The blend is 45/45/10 viognier, marsanne and roussanne. Perfect with a chickpea curry.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 25.25 QC 29.85 NS 30.31 NF 29.97 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Forbidden Fruit Winery Sauvidaltext
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Forbidden Fruit Winery Sauvidal 2016

British Columbia, CanadaSauvidal is, as the name suggests, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Vidal. What the name, nor the bottle, mentions is that this regular looking 750ml bottle of white wine, one of their "Earth Series" is generously sweet. Honeyed pear, candied lemon, tropical melon coats the palate, finishing with a sticky sweetness. This could be useful with some fruit desserts, or in a cocktail.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Forbidden Fruit Winery
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Chateau Megyer Tokaji Dry Szamorodnitext
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Chateau Megyer Tokaji Dry Szamorodni 2011

Tokaj-Hegyalja, HungaryThe Megyer estate was classified as “First Growth” in 1772 by Royal decree. Here igneous and sedimentary soils and exposed southwest facing slopes house this furmint/harslevelu Szamorodni, a traditional style for Tokaj. The word Szamorodni is Polish for "as comes off the vine", and refers to healthy, shriveled and botrytized grapes all being harvested and fermented together, at the end of harvest. Depending on the sugar level, it is made into either Száraz (Dry) or Édes (Sweet) Szamorodni. This dry one feels its botrytis earthiness, but predominantly apparent is the biological aging affect from the flor veil and five years in 220L barrels, just like non-oxidative wines from Jerez and Jura (this wine tilts towards the latter's vin jaune). An amazing freshness throughout, with a swing of alluring rancio botrytis. White honey, honeycomb, brown butter, salted pine nuts, dried quince, white pepper and ample salty minerality throughout this intriguing wine, one that changes with every sip, and every day open. Exceptional.Prices: BC 29.99 500 Producer: Chateau Megyer
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Ollieux Romanis Cuvée Classique 2013

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis organic blend of marsanne, roussane and grenache blanc is from one of the largest privately owned wineries in Corbières, covering 130 ha. Ollieux Romanis has belonged to the same family since 1860. This is full bodied and round, slicked with the heady ripeness of the region and grapes, with honeysuckle, green fig, dried sage and rosemary. The palate is deep and spiced, lined with lees and honey, finishing with an alluring spicy finish and a flush of warmth. A few years in bottle is this wine's friend. Partner with roasted winter squash or braised chicken thighs.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Chateau Ollieux Romanis
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Perseus Riesling Gewurztraminertext
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Perseus Riesling Gewurztraminer 2016

British Columbia, CanadaThis 2016 Riesling Gewürztraminer is Perseus' first white blend, and a typical BC aromatic one. Lime spritz, candied pear, orange blossoms on a short, off-dry palate. There's a lemon pledge note that sticks on the finish.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Perseus
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Planalto Vinho Branca Seco Reservatext
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Planalto Vinho Branca Seco Reserva 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalA simple, pleasant, less-is-more white with freshness to beat the band. Citrus, apricot, nectarine notes dot the palate with bits of green apple in the fresh back end. It’s a mix of several indigenous varieties and is as fun to drink solo as it is with food. Real wine for wine lovers. perfect with a barbecued chicken. The mix is 30/15/15/15/15/5/5 viosinho, malvasia fina, gouveio, arinto, códega, rabigato and moscatel.Prices: BC 15.99 QC 11.99 Producer: Casa Ferreirinha
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09 March 2018

CedarCreek Platinum Desert Ridge Single Vineyard Meritagetext
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CedarCreek Platinum Desert Ridge Single Vineyard Meritage 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSavoury gravels speak to the mineral aspects in this red blend, with dusty tobacco and earthy wood all filtering throughout. The 2014 is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and cabernet franc. You feel every degree of the Osoyoos desert heat, plus every grain of the 20 months spent in French oak in this dense, potent, big red. Gritty tannins backstop its youthful cassis fruit that lifts from the glass pointing to a specific clone of cabernet sauvignon, one with tight, tiny berries and thick skin. Cassis, black cherry is licked with mint before a tight, savoury, warm finish. This needs time in the bottle and or the decanter before a roast beef dinner.Prices: BC 40.49 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritagetext
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe last time we tasted a Renaissance Meritage was the 2005 vintage, also the last time the wine was produced. Winemaker Dwight Sick felt the fruit in 2015 was up to the Renaissance standard, and produced this full, complexed co-fermented blend of estate merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc. The latter was left whole berry and the first two were whole cluster, all pressed directly into French oak (1/3 new) where it rested 18 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dusky blackberry, savoury black cherry, thorns, pitch, anise and worn leather absorb the space on the palate and stream it along to a lingering, satisfying finish. Love the ample earthiness of the whole cluster franc here (11 percent), making this feel distinctly Okanagan. The texture is picture perfect in a year when it would have been easy to lose these grapes to excessive raisin-ing and for that matter alcohol. Hopefully it is not a decade until we see this again.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Hugging Tree Telltale 2012

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDense black fruits, smoked branch, pitch, and firm, sticky tannins in this compact, full bodied Bordeaux Blend from the Similkameen Valley. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc are expressed on a cushy, plush palate, dense with sun-ripened fruit and smokey, toasty oak. The finish lingers with a savoury cedar note and a gentle warmth, welcoming lamb or game to match. Walter and Cristine Makepeace have been rooted in the Similkameen since 2005 at the Cawston apple and peach orchard they purchased as they were winding down their careers with the RCMP. Over the decade that followed, and together with their three children, they began a small estate winery, currently spread across 8 hectares of their property, and with future plantings planned.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Makepeace Organic Farms
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Corcelettes Meritagetext
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Corcelettes Meritage 2015

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a highly expressive, savoury nose with lifted, ripe, fruit tones from a warm year. It is a little less Similkameen and little more Napa this year no doubt due to some excessive heat spikes. The blend is 60/25/10/5 merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and petit verdot. The attack is rich with black fruit flavours flecked with youthful oak. It is mostly the American oak you feel and plenty sagebrush and fennel. This needs some time to lose a bit of its exuberance. Well-made but we prefer the more stony, restrained, Similkameen style from normal, cooler years.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Red Icontext
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Painted Rock Red Icon 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis big, compact wine needs to breathe, so give it time to air. Dusky dark cherries, ripe black raspberries, smoked stones, black earth, roasted root veg, dried violet leaves, heaps of cracked pepper all chug slow along the palate, drawn by thick, wood-streaked tannins and seasoned with baking spices and walnut shells. Merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon was aged for 18 months in French oak (30 percent new) and it feels it at this point. There is certainly integration, like the beginning glimpses of a puzzle coming together, but at this stage, the oversized pieces (fruit, oak, tannin, spice) all stick out. Decant, fire up the grill and throw on the lamb. Or better yet, lay down for a few years and then attempt.Prices: BC 47.79 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Scoundrels Punchtext
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Jason Parkes Customs Crown + Thieves Scoundrels Punch 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGotta admit, when I picked up this massive, hefty, supersized bottle, I thought it was a 1L. How it is possible to weigh so much for a 750ml? How thick is this glass? Is it lined with lead? Is this a joke? Does this one bottle weigh more than the 6-pack delivery of Cono Sur on my counter? After my posing questioning period abated, I tucked into this (equally hefty) blend of merlot and cabernet franc from the stand-apart folks at The Hatch. Scoundrels Punch is another in the Crown + Thieves special bottlings, via Jason Parkes. Here 58 percent merlot is worked with 42 percent cabernet franc, all from Osoyoos' Bordertown (in sight of the US border) vineyard. Thick in the mouth with dense and ripe black fruits, smoked stones, branch, dark florals, graphite, blueberry compote. There's an edginess to the tannins, surprisingly compliant, to hem all in to a nutmeg, clove finish. Drinking well now upon release, though will continue to hold for a couple years in your cellar easy. If you've extra strong shelves for the overweight bottle, that is...Prices: BC 47.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Upper Bench Yard Winetext
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Upper Bench Yard Wine 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYard Wine is a tribute to a wine co-owner Gavin Miller painstakingly made from a tiny vineyard at his old home on the Naramata Bench. In 2014 it is a 70/30 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc picked on October 15 and 16. It was co-fermented, a Miller traditional, before spending 18 months in 25 percent new French oak. It’s foursquare in nature with some blocky tannins and resiny fruit all far too young to be drinking at this point but certainly not without potential. Rich Bing cherries with cocoa dust and coffee and dark chocolate coat the palate but we suggest another three years in the cellar would be beneficial.Prices: BC 30.50 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Il Fauno di Arcanumtext
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Il Fauno di Arcanum 2012

Tuscany, ItalyThe blend in 2012 is 48/27/22/3/ merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot. The nose is a peculiar mix of floral/meaty (reductive?) notes with bits of black fruit and coffee aromas. The attack is similar with resiny, licorice, black fruit and bitter espresso notes. Not terribly Tuscan and it needs another three to five years to settle down. Best mushroom or meaty pasta dishes.Prices: BC 37.99 AB 42.99 ON 49.95 QC 49.50 Producer: Tenuta di Arceno
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Van Westen Vineyards Vtext
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Van Westen Vineyards V 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaConcentrated and compact, the 2014 vintage of V (Roman numeral five) is a blend of five Naramata grapes from two vineyards within 2km from the winery. Merlot, malbec, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot fill the fleshy palate, one smoothed and silken. Crushed florals, dark cherries, espresso is all perfumed with violets and framed with gritty spicing and thorny pitch. Decant this youthful wine now, and serve with bigger red meats.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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08 March 2018

Treana Redtext
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Treana Red 2015

Central Coast, California, United StatesOver the years, this wine has evolved from an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink blend to this modern-day, 75/25 cabernet sauvignon/syrah blend, that speaks to the strength of the Hope Family wines. 2015 is opaque, a precursor to its full, luxurious styling. Blackberries, black currants, dark chocolate, cloves, dried fruits and smoky oak build across your palate from front to back before the rich brown spices hinted with cinnamon. All Paso Robles and then some, it has the chops to age a decade if not more, but you may be surprised by its elegance and restraint even at 15 percent alcohol. Speaking of chops, how about grilled lamb chops as a match. Treana is the original Hope family label and represents over thirty years of grape-growing history.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 42.95 QC 41.35 NS 42.95 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Petit Verdot - Malbectext
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Petit Verdot - Malbec 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canadapetit verdot and malbec thrived in 2014 when warmer-than-average temperatures appear to have been a boon to ripening the notoriously difficult petit verdot, amazing in years in which is it fully ripe. The Terra Unica red is exclusive to the winery’s “Bench Club” subscribers. The petit verdot from Block 4 and malbec from Block 6 are 100 percent estate-grown grapes, co-fermented before barrel ageing for 12 to 16 months in a mix of 75 percent French and 25 percent American oak. The style is opulent, with rich spicy dark fruit aromas and flavours with bits of licorice and grippy youthful tannins in the back end. At just over 14 percent alcohol, there is a sense of balance which suggests this will only improve in bottle over the next five years. Well done. Serve now with grilled meat finished rare.Prices: BC 32.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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07 March 2018

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards have carved a niche for themselves with their single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays. This special Micro Cuvee is the best barrel selections of the vintage, and sourced from their organically farmed estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard's sloping alluvial and glacial gravels and sandy loams. Micro Cuvee 2016 is predominantly Pommard 91, with one quarter clone 115. All went into French oak (1/3 new) for 11 months before bottling. Plush cherry, dark plum, black raspberry fill the soft palate, one framed with finely structured tannins to a salty finish. The palate moves slow and confidently, drawing us along with it. Generous, with restraint, this is an elegantly showy wine, the top of the portfolio, and very much in the MFV style.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir-Old Block McLean Creek Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir-Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards have carved a niche for themselves with their single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays. In this, the Old Block of their Okanagan Falls estate McLean Creek Vineyard, the clone is unknown, though the 2009 replanting has consistantly yielded impressive results from this steep, amply sun-struck site. This may be an old block, but these are young vines. This was 15 percent whole cluster, cold soaked before native ferment at warmer temperatures before transfer to French oak (30 percent new) for 11 months. Soft, round and plush, with forest berries, baked rhubarb, baking spices brightened by a persistent cranberry acidity. There's a flush of heat here poking through the structure that welcomes pork tenderloin or rabbit pairing. Confident and assured winemaking, and in the MFV style. This will continue to mellow and merge with age. Well done.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards have carved a spot for themselves with their single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays. This is from their Okanagan Falls estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard, with its sloping alluvial and glacial gravels and sandy loams. Five Pommard and Dijon clones (114, 115, 91, 667, 777) were farmed organically, plot by plot. All was destemmed (15 percent whole cluster) to a cold soak before a native ferment. Post maceration, this was transferred to French oak, a quarter of which was new, for 11 months. Though this is a generous, softer, ripe wine, there's a tense vibrato of acidity that streams throughout, cutting through the forest berry, cherry leather, ripe fruit, wet forest, and toasty wood, and keeps this streamline. A sweet sarsaparilla note floats right to the snappy finish, lingering with warming, smoked baking spices. Another classic MFV wine, drinking well now, but will reward with short-term cellaring. 650 casesPrices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelownatext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelowna 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards have carved a niche for themselves with their single vineyard pinot noirs and chardonnays. This is from South East Kelowna's Reimer Estate Vineyard and its alluvial and loess layered silt loam soils. Pommard and Dijon clones (115, 667, 777) were destemmed into a cold soak, fermented wild at warm temperature before 11 months in French oak (roughly one quarter new). Medicinally-lined morello cherry, dark raspberry, flashes of kirsch and a dusting of nutmeg on the soft, supple, seductive palate. Tannins are slight, silty with a gentle stickiness, to the salted cinnamon bark finish. Classic MFV, drinking well now, but with intensity to cellar short term.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a downy / cloudy hue, this youthful pinot gains friends with its joyous ease. Ripe raspberry, perfumed plums and roses swirl on a soft, lighty spiced palate, finishing with smoked salts and cinnamon warmth. This is sourced from MFV's home vineyard in Okanagan Falls, as well as three vineyards in East Kelowna. After a long native ferment, the wines was pressed into older French oak barrels for ten months. Riper and softer, but still stencilled with structure, this is a welcoming pinot for drinking now, at a great price.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir-Old Block McLean Creek Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir-Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEarly 2016 looked a lot like 2015 with warm, dry conditions, early bud burst, and a warm advanced harvest, but cool and wet weather brought all that to a halt in July extending the season back into a more normal and acceptable time frame for pinot noir maturation. The Old Block, one of the original vineyard plantings in 1994 and part of the largest block of pinot noir at McLean Creek Road, was harvested at 25 brix on Oct 9th. The clone is unknown. It has a steep southerly aspect to capture the full range of the sun and you can taste it in the density and weight of this wine. The rest of the story is Chris Carson not doing too much. The fruit is de-stemmed via gravity into small open top fermenters (15 percent goes in whole cluster). After a cold soaking there is an indigenous fermentation before it spends 11 months in (30 percent new) French oak. Only 350 cases made. Beautiful, supple, dark cherry fruit with flecks of what I like to term mineral mud. It’s a fresher version of the 2015. Again finesse, persistence and the individuality of this wine makes it a special bottle.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEarly 2016 looked a lot like 2015 with warm, dry conditions, early bud burst, and a warm advanced harvest, but cool and wet weather brought all that to a halt in July, extending the season back into a more normal and acceptable time frame for pinot noir maturation. A cooler harvest saw very little shrivel on the younger berries. Early September showers retreated, leaving a perfect fall finish. The harvest commenced on September 21 and ran through Oct 5. They picked the pinot at 24 to 25.5 brix and it’s all off the home McLean Creek Road Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, a mix of French Dijon and Pommard clones set out in three separate, steep-sloped, organically farmed blocks facing south, west and northwest. The attack is cherry, raspberries and plums with soft, silky, melt in your mouth tannins and a twist of forest floor, all at an exciting 13.5 alcohol. Delicious drinking already and full measure for an eleven month stay in all French oak (only 25 per cent new). If you are patient you could cellar this for three to five years. Pork belly is a decadent match.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelownatext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard Kelowna 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe harvest at Reimer, in northeast Kelowna, commenced 24.5 brix on Oct 6. This is handpicked pinot noir off a moderately steep northwesterly aspect of silt loam overlaying gravel loam. Simple winemaking entails a cold soak, indigenous fermentation and gentle hand plunging of the must. Like the Mclean Creek, it spends 11 months in French oak barrels, 27 percent new. The attack is rich and juicy with ebullient fruit spilling from the glass. A little less red and a little more black, the Reimer is hedonistic with a spicy savoury forest floor core to balance the finish. This can handle smoked fowl, or richer duck confit. Early 2016 looked a lot like 2015 with warm dry conditions, early budburst and a warm advanced harvest, but cool and wet weather brought all that to a halt in July extending the season back into a more normal and acceptable time frame for pinot noir maturation. A cooler harvest saw very little shrivel on the younger berries, and early September showers retreated, leaving a perfect fall finish.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Micro-Cuvée is meant to be the best of the Meyer pinots every year, although it appears the Old Block is pushing for similar status. All 150 cases are grown at McLean Creek Road and the MC is winemaker Chris Carson and his personal selection of the best barrels, what he likes to call the, “most harmonious blend.” They picked the pinot at 24 to 25.5 brix and it’s 75/25 mix of clone 91 and 115. The oak is a mix of one new French oak 500-litre puncheons, and two one-year old French oak puncheons. A joyous 13.5 percent alcohol, it's awash in silky, textured pinot, redolent in rich earthy dark plum flavours, bright acidity and length and a long persistent, mouth-filling finish. Early on, 2016 looked a lot like 2015 with warm dry conditions, early budburst and a warm advanced harvest, but cool and wet weather brought all that to a halt in July, extending the season back into a more normal and acceptable time frame for pinot noir maturation. A cooler harvest saw very little shrivel on the younger berries. Early September showers retreated, leaving a perfect fall finish. The harvest commenced on September 21 and ran through Oct 5. A must buy for pinot lovers.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEarly 2016 looked a lot like 2015 with warm dry conditions, early budburst and a warm advanced harvest, but cool and wet weather brought all that to a halt in July extending the season back into a more normal and acceptable time frame for pinot noir maturation. Harvest began September 14. The fruit is a mix of McLean Creek Road (Okanagan Falls), Reimer Vineyard (South East Kelowna) and two other East Kelowna sites. At the winery the fruit gets a cold soak in small open top fermenters before an 18-day indigenous ferment with gentle hand plunging. Post maceration, the wine ages ten months in seasoned French oak barrels. Sweet, juicy, gulpable pinot with persistent cinnamon spice and a stream of acidity that holds it all together. A delicious, no need to think about it pinot, that is ready to drink. Oregon meets California. A hefty 2,000 cases made. This is the best $26 pinot in the market.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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06 March 2018

The Velvet Devil Merlottext
88PTS

The Velvet Devil Merlot 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesOpen, savoury black fruit aromas with earth and red currant notes. The 2015 seems a touch turned down in intensity, which is a good thing. It is also less sweet on the palate complimented by an oak regime that has been dialled back. The fruit is grown on several sites including one of the oldest vineyards on the Wahluke Slope, planted in 1997. An enjoyable effort in a very warm year. The blend is 84/9/3/2/2 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, cabernet franc and other varieties all aged 10 months in 30 percent new oak. The attack is glossy smooth but with fruit prominent and the finish more sapid. A new direction and I like it. Try this with barbecue pork or beef.Prices: BC 19.99 MB 21.00 NS 19.00 ON 20.00 AB 19.00 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
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CedarCreek Platinum Desert Ridge Single Vineyard Merlottext
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CedarCreek Platinum Desert Ridge Single Vineyard Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTobacco alluringly infiltrates this deep, black cherry and inky plum merlot from Desert Ridge Vineyard in Osoyoos. You can feel the desert heat as this inches across the palate, thick with sun-ripened merlot skins. Red fruits creep in: red currant, raspberry jam, bitter cherry, all of which are pinned with sticky tannins, studded with dusty gravels, and structured by the 20 months in French oak. Downy violet leaves on the finish are bested by that tobacco note and warmed with alcohol. This is a compact, dense wine drinking well now in youth (decant), but that will reward with time in the cellar.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot is tricky, often lacking what its best blending partners, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, bring to the mix. You feel it here too, in Stag's Hollow's top tier Renaissance Merlot, though there is a tip of 5 percent cabernet sauvignon in 2015. This is a baby; hard press tannins streaked with wood frame a dark cherry, savoury, medicinal cassis core. Tannins are grippy anise, the generous fruit housed by a hard shape, and the finish flushed with heat. This is from their gravel/marl Stag's Hollow Estate Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. Half of the grapes were left whole and uncrushed in the three day cold soak. After regular punchdown and light pressing the wine fermented in French oak (2/3 new) until MLF was complete, and then stayed in barrel for 15 months before bottling, unfined and unfiltered. Decant now, or better yet, put this potent wine down for a few years to settle.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Merlottext
92PTS

La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Merlot 2014

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, United StatesLa Jota Vineyard Co. has a long history that dates to 1898, when Frederick Hess founded the company in a remote, wind-swept hollow high on Howell Mountain. Winemaker Chris Carpenter is the man behind La Jota’s Howell Mountain wines, bringing some two decades of mountain winemaking experience with him. The blocks are nestled between forested areas, each bringing a distinctive story to the grapes and the wine. Power and elegance is the La Jota mandate and it has both in spades. The merlot is dense, and intense, with bright mulberry/blueberry fruit, excellent acidity, compelling lush tannins with dark chocolate and clove highlights. It’s spicy and persistently long and warm in the finish. The blend is 90/10 merlot/petit verdot that is cold-soaked for a more gentle extraction of colour, flavours and tannins, and fermented with native yeast in a mix of open and closed-top stainless-steel tanks before aging 19 months in oak. You could easily cellar this through 2025.Prices: MB 87.00 AB 95.00 BC 90.00 Producer: La Jota Vineyard Co.
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Château Phélan Ségur La Croix Bonistext
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Château Phélan Ségur La Croix Bonis 2013

St. Estèphe, Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Bordeaux, FranceLa Croix Bonis comes from selected parcels at Château Phélan Ségur, a cru bourgeois property in Saint-Estèphe. Sixty percent cabernet sauvignon is met with merlot and spends one year in oak (half new) prior to bottling. Lovely firm, graphite presence, this is dark fruited density around a tight core, with black cherry and cassis fruit at the centre. Youthful and unyielding now, this will unknit and reward with time.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Château Phelan Segur
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Rodney Strong Merlottext
88PTS

Rodney Strong Merlot 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong Vineyards has been growing merlot since the early 1970’s in Geyserville. In 2014 the fruit comes off three sites in the Alexander Valley, and while good, it's not quite up to the excitement experienced with the 2013. The nose offers up an expressive mix of plums, milk chocolate and baking spices with medium persistence. The tannins are light, promoting an easy-drinking style. Think Italian-style sausages, pork chops or hamburgers as the food match. It’s all aged in 100 percent small French oak barrels for 20 months.Prices: BC 24.95 AB 24.95 ON 23.95 YK 24.00 MB 21.95 QC 25.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyardtext
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRockaway was first planted in 1994 to mostly to cabernet sauvignon and merlot, but includes all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties. The vineyard stretches up to 750 feet, and the blend in 2014 is is 81/12/4/3/ cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot and petit verdot, all aged in 26 months in French oak barrels (of which just under half is new). This is a powerful, mountain wine that delivers flavour and finesse. In the middle of Alexander Valley, Rockaway Vineyard with average temperatures of 62 degrees, provides the perfect balance of warm afternoons and cool Pacific mornings and evenings. Its well-drained hillsides and low pH soil gives up mostly small-berried clusters. The 14 has all the intensity you could want but without knocking you back. Again, it’s the finesse and structure of this cabernet that strikes you, as in black fruits with red currants and plums on the nose and palate. It has that mountain backbone and savoury ‘Sonoma’ undercurrent with some spice and textural oak in the finish. This wine carries the balance to enjoy it now, but like the 2013, it has a long life ahead.Prices: BC 99.00 AB 80.00 US 75.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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05 March 2018

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45text
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Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 2015

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FrancePaul Jaboulet Aîné is one of the Northern Rhone's leading estates, first established in 1834. The Parallèle line, their 'entry level' tier, was named because the 45th parallel runs two kilometers from the domaine’s cellars near Tain L’Hermitage. This cuvée began in 1950 and represents the Jaboulet commitment to producing France’s finest Rhône value. The estate been under the purview of the Frey family for the past decade or so, and Caroline Frey is currently oenologist and proprietor. The rouge is a blend of 40 year old grenache and syrah vines from family farms, half of which is declassified Villages fruit. Youthful cherry, is roughed just the right amount with sanded wood and scented with cedar shavings. Cherry, black raspberry is raspy on the palate with drying, gritty tannins to a tight finish. This rustic red is best suited to grilled sausages.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné
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Paux-Rosset Gros La Condamine Paulignantext
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Paux-Rosset Gros La Condamine Paulignan 2013

Minervois, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau de la Négly owner, Jean Paux-Rosset, and his consulting winemaker, Claude Gros have worked on this wine together, employing some of the best grape growers from Minervois. The mix is syrah, grenache, carignan and cinsault all grown on the clay limestone terroir of Siran and La Livinière. The fermentation spreads over 15 to 40 days. The nose has an alluring fragrant note of red and black fruits. The palate is equally rich and spicy but with balance and length that matches the intense fruit, finishing long and supple. Rabbit is the match.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 17.95 Producer: Paux-Rosset Gros
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Domaine Guissettext
91PTS

Domaine Guisset 2015

Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceAn impressive wine that opens slightly reduced, so give it some air. The nose is intense and redolent in black, blue and red fruits. All concrete tank aged, this syrah and grenache is huge, yet sensuous and balanced, and just loaded with flavour. It speaks to the distinctive character of Roussillon, the mineral, stony notes, and the power and fruit of the region. Cellar this a decade and you will not be disappointed.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Domaine Guisset
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Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèlstext
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Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèls 2014

Faugères, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceLes Bancèls grows on two parcels. The organic fruit comes off a terraced mound of vines planted over schist; syrah and grenache is situated north and northeast, the mourvèdre vines face south. Winemaker Brigitte Chevalier will count a decade of vintages in 2018, yet appears to have an innate touch suggesting many more years of experience. The vineyards are part of small group chosen “Best of the South” by noted wine writer Andrew Jefford, who referred to the wines as “text-book examples of Faugères.” Chevalier is trying to capture a cooler style of Languedoc wines, hence Les Bancèls faces north at 320 metres above sea level. Expect a fresh, red and black fruited wine with terrific acidity and notes of white pepper. The palate is equally fresh and soft with blueberry and a strong undercurrent of the garrigue so prevalent in the south. Only 14 percent alcohol, and sees no oak. Les Bancèls is a local term designating the schist terraces where many of the Domaine de Cébène vines grow.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Domaine de Cébène
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02 March 2018

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakvilletext
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2013

Oakville, Napa Valley, California, United StatesThere is something about 2013 California cabernets that makes them very easy to like and when you add Mondavi Oakville to the mix it is a slam dunk. Perfectly structured at this point showing only glimpse of its future with hints of dark fruit, stones, graphite and beautiful, fine-grained tannins. The blend is 81/13/2/2/2 cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot and merlot. This needs time for the fruit and coffee espresso notes to subside but this will be an excellent bottle in ten years.Prices: BC 59.99 BC 119.99 1500 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at 1,400 to 1,800 feet. The estate, on the western flank of Napa Valley, is named for the native Wappos who first called it home. Mt. Veeder has been planted to wine grapes since the early 1860s, while Mt. Brave Vineyard dates to 1841—before the Gold Rush and the Civil War. The site is all about high elevation and thin, rocky soils that present many winegrowing challenges. Four cabernet clones (191, 4, 8, and 337) and three rootstocks (3309C, 101-14, and 1103P) neutralise some of the issues in what is normally a slow moving, long, cool growing season above the fog line. Winemaker Chris Carpenter says “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder without overt tannins, and the 2014 is a great example of that proposition". I say, is it ever; the finesse of this wine and the silkiness of the 2014 tannins is other-worldly. The wine fermented in stainless steel and goes through malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels (89 percent new). After some 19 months of barrel ageing it is bottled without fining or filtration. The attack mixes black raspberry/blackberry fruit, dried herbs and blueberries with a floral, mineral undercurrent that perfectly meshes with the silky tannins. The blend is 90.5/4/3.5/2 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec. Cellar for a decade.Prices: BC 120.00 AB 80.00 Producer: Mt. Brave
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignontext
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, United StatesAll La Jota fruit is sourced from the winery’s estate and from nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard. La Jota Vineyard lies on a volcanic plateau, looking east over Napa Valley. Carpenter looks for blocks that produce soft-textured cabernet, yielding wines of earlier approachability. The decomposed granite soils of W.S. Keyes Vineyard impart a pop of bright fruit character and broader tannins. The 2014 growing conditions were excellent, yielding grapes without the worries of sun burn, shrivel or early fall cold. The wine is huge on the palate, and redolent in dark chocolate, espresso and blackberry, and just to amp it all up there is 5 percent petit verdot among the 75.5 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12 cabernet franc, 5 merlot and 2.5 malbec. It spends 19 months in French oak (90 percent new). A decade of ageing is a minimum here, and likely another 10-15 before it reaches its peak. Impressive.Prices: MB 87.00 AB 95.00 BC 99.99 BC 219.99 1500 Producer: La Jota Vineyard Co.
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesA half year down the road there are no big changes here. The Hawkeye Mountain is KJ's signature Alexander Mountain property planted from 900 to 2200 feet above sea level. Shallow, rocky and gravelly loam on steep, westward facing hillsides with some terracing is the home to the limited release Hawkeye Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, an ‘island in the sky’ above the fog line. The attack remains brawny although there are signs the tannin is beginning to turn, giving both the front and back end some breathing room. The mountain textures are accentuated by spicy liquorice, tobacco, black cherry. The finish is long, savoury and persistent with mineral tones and soft, dense, chewy tannins. This will easily repay a decade in the bottle.Prices: BC 60.99 AB 89.95 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesJackson Estate wines are all about the company’s top estates situated on hillsides, raised benchland and even mountain tops. The Alexander Valley AVA (1984) is home to this cabernet, and is a mix of six vineyards. It has all the hallmarks of a rich red wine: blackberries, black currant, cassis and tannins. It's aged for 19 months in an 83/17 ratio of French to American oak with only 31 percent new barrels. This wine is amazingly approachable now especially with a juicy T-Bone steak, portobello mushrooms, or a grilled lamb chop but you could easily cellar this through 2022.Prices: BC 49.99 AB 89.95 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Lake Sonoma Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Lake Sonoma Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Sonoma County, California, United StatesEverything came together in 2014 across Sonoma allowing late ripening varieties like cabernet sauvignon to really shine. Look for fully ripe, black fruit with flecks of cassis and cedar and dusting of milk chocolate that remains in check thanks to a savoury component. The Sonoma County style is always a bit more linear and to me more attractive versus the richer more hedonistic Alexander fruit and that is the case in 2014. The finish is dry with just a hint of spice. The tannins are soft and you can drink this now with no issues especially with grilled meats. Excellent value.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 26.00 MB 29.99 ON 33.00 QC 31.00 NS 33.79 NB 33.79 SK 36.99 YK 32.80 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesWinemaker Lisa Valtenbergs is the stylist of this impressive young cabernet. The fruit is hand-picked, cold soaked for 3-5 days and fermented in tank before an 18-month stay in only 32 percent new French oak. The result is pure Alexander Mountain black fruit and blackcurrant mixed with savoury, dried herbs on the nose, surprisingly bright acidity, and rich black cherry and black plums. The tannins are richer and softer in 2014 but it will still age effortlessly for a decade. The 5,100-acre site has 900 acres planted to grapes in 235 individual vineyard blocks.Prices: BC 57.99 ON 53.99 US 45.00 AB 55.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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01 March 2018

Summerhill Pyramid Winery OM Organic Meritagetext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery OM Organic Meritage 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOh my, OM is a rich, friendly red blend from Summerhill that is going to have wide appeal. The OM means organic meritage, and opens with an attractive sweet nose of cassis, blueberries and milk chocolate that spill onto a spicy cedary, ripe, black fruit palate. The blend is 57/38/5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec all aged 30 months in French and American oak barriques. The finished wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered but should be capable of cellaring over the next five to seven years. Try this with grilled beef today for the best results. Love the potential here, and would love to see it with the fruit toned down and in all French oak, but this is well worth buying.Prices: BC 71.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Poplar Grove The Legacytext
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Poplar Grove The Legacy 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2013 growing season was a good one with an early and warm spring, an early June flowering and a beautiful summer. The great growing conditions continued until mid-September when it cooled significantly. The Legacy blend is dominated by cabernet sauvignon (44 percent) in 2013, giving you an idea of the warmth of the year. Additional varieties include 27/13/13/3 of cabernet franc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot. Legacy is never a blockbuster red but a wine that is under control, offering a snapshot of the year from its savoury, sagebrush Okanagan garrigue, to its red and black fruits, and licorice, all in balance. Stylish, this has just enough structure to keep it all contained. The wine is aged 21 months in French oak and then 24 more months at the winery prior to release. Love this with a rare grilled T-bone steak.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum The Last Wordtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum The Last Word 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCedarCreek makes the Platinum Ridge Meritage, as well as this Platinum tier Bordeaux blend, The Last Word. What's the difference? This wine was cofermented with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and malbec picked together and spent a month-long ferment on the skins in concrete. The merlot was blended in separately to complement the rest, and all spent 20 months in French oak. This is a full, dense, red, with long, ample, well integrated tannins. Firm, dusty black cherry, black raspberry, sweet plum, tobacco, dried herbs, dusty gravels with a core of juicy red fruit. An alluring floral note darts throughout to a spicy, peppery finish. This is tasting very well in youth, but its full reward will come with time in the cellar. An impressive wine.Prices: BC 77.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Cardinaletext
97PTS

Cardinale 2014

California, United StatesCardinale starts out with 50 different wines, and under winemaker Chris Carpenter that number is reduced to a handful of complex, aromatic samples awash in intensity, texture and length. In 2014 there were only a few heat spikes, leaving Carpenter to settle on 24 different wines, spanning six different appellations and 12 vineyard sites. A third of the final blend came from Spring Mountain’s volcanic loam soils, which Carpenter credits with fine tannins and delicate floral notes. Howell Mountain kicks in 25 percent, bringing dark fruit characters, herbs and weight adding complexity and depth. The final blend is an 88/12 mix of cabernet sauvignon and merlot aged 19 months in French oak, 94 percent of which is new. Complexity is a big part of Cardinale, with additional fruit sourced in Stags Leap, St. Helena, Diamond Mountain District, and Mount Veeder. It’s a wine for the ages from Carpenter and Napa that will repay a decade of bottle age. If you can’t wait, roast lamb would be a fine match.Prices: BC 359.99 QC 379.00 ON 485.00 Producer: Cardinale
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Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage Red Winetext
92PTS

Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage Red Wine 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesSymmetry is a red meritage from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, and in 2014 is a mix of 80/8/5/4/3 cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc aged 20 months in French oak barrels (53 percent new). Most of the fruit comes off the hillsides of the Alexander Valley and is fermented separately. In 2014, Brothers Cabernet Block 1, at the base of the mountainside, was picked first on September 8 while the last Symmetry picks came in early October: Petit Verdot at Rockaway and Cabernet Franc and Malbec from the warm soils of Knight’s Valley. Symmetry sports fragrant, floral, open black cherry, plums, black figs on the nose and palate. The texture is melt-in-your-mouth silky, the finish harmonious and elegant. It should peak by 2021. Beef, lamb, hard cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 80.00 ON 70.00 AB 77.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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