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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: February 2019

25 February 2019

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
90PTS

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2015

Piedmont, ItalyThis nebbiolo is such a wonderful introduction to the grape variety and region, from its pretty and classic rose petal nose to the spicy, liquorice tar notes, and as is increasingly common, very well managed. The colour is pinot-like and the fruit is too, with its juicy drink-me-now demeanour. Another superb 2015 from Italy, and what a bargain. Back up the truck. This would be a turkey slayer too.Prices: BC 27.99 ON 30.00 Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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Mayer Yarra Valley Cabernettext
90PTS

Mayer Yarra Valley Cabernet 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaA briny black olive swathes its way through this cabernet sauvignon, sourced from Yering, which is a warmer site than Timo Mayer's Bloody Hill vineyard. In classic Timo style, this was whole bunch fermented native, and on lees for a year prior to bottling without fining or filtration, but with a very small amount of sulphur. Wild blackberry, thorns, strawberry jam, peppercorns on a grippy / sticky palate, with pretty perfumed purple florals kissing. Natural and raw, and charmingly so. Less recognizable as cabernet, but feels very Yarra. In Timos words, "stalky shit rocks!"Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Mayer
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Terre del Barolo Barolotext
91PTS

Terre del Barolo Barolo 2013

Piedmont, ItalyCo-op wines are always tricky buys but Terre del Barolo, established in 1958, has an enviable reputation supported by some 400 members. The winery is located in Castiglione Falletto and is home to a plethora of small growers, many of whom are committed to making natural wines using minimum inputs. This 2013 is a winner, from its aromatic dried flowers to its almost sweet, plummy, silky fruit. Cherries liquorice, tar suggests I may want to drink this entire bottle. Think rich umami-laced items such as mushrooms risotto or wild boar osso buco, or just a hunk of salty dry-aged Parmigiano Reggiano. This is delicious and very affordable. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 39.00 MB 29.99 ON 29.00 Producer: Terre del Barolo
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Luigi Scavino Azelia Langhe Nebbiolotext
89PTS

Luigi Scavino Azelia Langhe Nebbiolo 2014

Piedmont, ItalyMedium dark as you might expect, but with an intense nose of violets with an earthy, cherry undercurrent. The attack is dry with firm tannins forming up the sides of your mouth and juicy red fruit flavours with more strawberry and cherry. The fruit comes off 20-year-old vines in Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d'Alba. This has more of Barolo structure and while the winery says it drinks earlier than its Barolos this is clearly needs more time to come about in the bottle. Best through 2021, or serve it now with beef or a mushroom risotto.Prices: BC 54.99 AB 36.19 QC 27.00 Producer: Azelia di Scavino Luigi, Az Agr.
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22 February 2019

Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignontext
95PTS

Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at an elevation of 1,400 to 1,800 feet on an area planted since the early 1860s. The estate, on the western flank of Napa Valley, is named for the native Wappos who first called it home. The mountain 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) combine to neutralise some of the issues in what is normally a slow moving, long, cool growing season above the fog line. Winemaker Chris Carpenter likes to say, “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder without overt tannins.” In 2015 a cooling trend occurred during fruit set, lowering yields as much as 30 percent in some cases. Things turned around near the end of harvest as the small crop allowed for an earlier than usual finish. The quality of the fruit was so high they even added a little bit of petit verdot to the blend. In all, it spent 22 months in 75 percent new French oak. The blend is 87.5/5/3/3/1.5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. It’s just a baby, full of exuberant blue and red fruits, spice and mineral notes. Balanced, earthy, savoury, restrained fruit with a brooding tannin background that will disperse over time, but for now cellar for at least a decade.Prices: BC 120.00 AB 80.00 Producer: Mt. Brave
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesTen months down the road, this wine remains amazingly approachable especially with a juicy T-Bone steak, Portobello mushrooms, or a grilled lamb chop but there is no rush here, in fact I’m more sure than ever it is going to get even better in the bottle if properly cellared through 2024. Jackson 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 a little petit verdot) that 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.Prices: BC 49.99 AB 89.95 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir 2017

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir is a new acquisition for the Jackson Estate lineup. The Cloud Landing Vineyard is planted to a mix of clones including 21 percent Calera, 36 percent 667 and 43 percent 777. The limited release pinot is a spice bomb reflecting its unique Petaluma Gap site that was established as an AVA in 2018. The 18-mile opening in the California coastal range, between Sonoma and Marin Counties, acts as a wind tunnel, pulling marine fog in off the coast, cooling anything in its way before spilling into the San Pablo Bay. The persistent winds and cool climate produce smaller berries and slightly thicker skins, and eventually a richer, full-blown style of new world pinot. The style is savoury with spicy red and blue fruit with a dusting of toasted oak. This pinot can take on most pork or chicken dishes, or a rich grilled wild salmon.Prices: BC 48.99 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 2017

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThis special limited release Santa Maria Valley AVA, established in 1981, sits close to the California Coast in a rare east-west mountain range open to cool Pacific breezes and an almost daily cooling marine influence. The resulting cool and much longer growing season produces intense flavours, think New Zealand, with naturally high acidity. In this case the aromas and flavours are a mix of mango, pineapple, peach, and honey with a creamy tangerine, crème brûlée finish. The vines grow over sedimentary soils with pierces of limestone and calcium carbonate that together with the marine environment keep it fresh. It's the perfect foil to lobster or any butter-based fish dish. It's all clone 4 chardonnay (92 percent Camelot Vineyard), barrel aged 8 months in 86 French oak (34 percent new). Well made hedonistic new world chardonnay.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignontext
95PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesHawkeye Mountain is K-J's signature Alexander Mountain property planted from 900 to 2400 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 cab - an ‘island in the sky’ above the fog line. Early mornings can be cool, building acidity and lengthening the growing season, but the afternoons above the fog line are warm. It’s a mountain wine so the more air it gets at this young age (double decanting recommended) the better. Big and bold but with some surprising restraint, its round full textures are spiked with liquorice, tobacco and black cherry. The finish is long, savoury and persistent with mineral tones and soft, dense, fine-grained tannins that are sensational. This is the real deal and while I rarely, if ever retaste the same bottle, over three days this wine performed amazingly well. As big as it is, it deserved a sophisticated food match that brings an equal amount of finesse and style to the dinner table. Bravo Randy.Prices: BC 61.99 AB 89.95 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay 2017

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThis special limited release Santa Maria Valley AVA, established in 1981, sits close to the California Coast in a rare east-west mountain range open to cool Pacific breezes and an almost daily cooling marine influence. The resulting cool and much longer growing season produces intense flavours (think New Zealand), with naturally high acidity. In this case the aromas and flavours are a mix of mango, pineapple, peach, and honey with a creamy tangerine, crème brûlée finish. The vines grow over sedimentary soils with pierces of limestone and calcium carbonate that together with the marine environment keep it fresh. The perfect foil to lobster or any butter-based fish dish. It's all clone 4 chardonnay (92 percent Camelot Vineyard) barrel aged 8 months in 86 percent French oak (34 percent new). Well made hedonistic New World chardonnay.Prices: BC 48.00 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Stonestreet Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Stonestreet Chardonnay 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesIf Alexander Valley and chardonnay seem odd this wine could change your mind beginning with its pears, stones, mineral, apples, peaches aromas and flavours combines with a cool-ish saline demeanour. If there is a California clue it could be its “Cru”-like, or mountain structure bubbling underneath a spicy, baked apple finish. Stonestreet winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs makes this single-vineyard estate chardonnay from a blend of some 235 individual blocks across her Alexander Mountain vineyard that sits over clay loam at 400-1,800 feet above the valley. Of the 5,100 acres that make up the Stonestreet estate, only 900 are planted to grapes. Jess Jackson acquired the old Zellerbach Winery in 1989 and named it after his late father, Jess Stonestreet Jackson. Since then Stonestreet has quietly reinvented itself as it came to explore the unique fruit of Alexander Mountain. Today, traditional Old-World methods of hand harvesting, small barrel lot production, native yeast fermentation and bottling each wine unfiltered provides the framework and ethos for each Stonestreet label.Prices: BC 52.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe estate cab is a blend of the best vineyard sites illustrating the nature of mountain sites. Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs makes the wine mixing and matching aromas and texture with some obvious Mayacamas’ structural elements. The attack is savoury and raw at this point, with minty plummy raspberry fruit and firm tannins. The palate is relatively supple, with long, linear flavours and tannins and a bittersweet chocolate/coffee finish. Needs time in the bottle to unwind and gather itself. The fruit is grown between 400 to 2,400 feet above the valley floor, some 76 miles north of San Francisco and 23 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Individual vineyard block fermentations go through a 5-day cold soak before a stainless ferment, and 19 months in 33 percent new French oak.Prices: BC 57.99 ON 53.99 US 45.00 AB 55.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Valadornatext
94PTS

Valadorna 2012

Tuscany, ItalyValadorna is made under the eve watchful eye of viticulturist and winemaker Pierre Seillan, who first worked with cabernet franc more than forty years ago on his family’s estate in Armagnac. From there he moved to the Loire, and then Bordeaux for two decades, before arriving in California in 1997. Seillan is big on tradition, allowing him to work seamlessly with his Italian crew at Arcanum. The result is a well-aged merlot dominated blend that takes your breath away. Ripe savoury black cherry, with violets, sweet pipe tobacco and that characteristic Bolgheri resin/ash/dried herb nose that makes this succulent, mineral red a pleasure to drink glass after glass. Decadently juicy and opulent, this is a delicious bottle of wine. The blend is 70/20/10 merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, aged twelve months in 70 percent new French oak. The fruit is mostly a selection from the Valadorna and Capraia blocks, located on the cooler part of the estate, and which produce the winery's most complex wines.Prices: BC 75.00 US 65.00 AB 75.00 Producer: Tenuta di Arceno
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20 February 2019

Rowen Red Winetext
90PTS

Rowen Red Wine 2015

Sonoma County, California, United StatesIn the pioneering spirit of Sonoma and Rodney Strong, winemaker Justin Seidenfeld has created Rowen a new red blend made with fruit grown at the high-elevation Cooley Ranch Vineyard in northeastern Sonoma County. The mix is dominated by 55 percent cabernet sauvignon and complemented with 26 percent malbec and 17 percent syrah cofermented with 2 percent viognier, the latter two adding a peppery floral note. The attack is super soft and round, almost hedonistic, thanks to 24 months in 100 percent French oak barrels of which half was new. In 2015 the grapes were picked at peak ripeness from September 6 through September 23 under perfect weather conditions. Lushness pervades this red with rich black raspberry marked with pepper, violets and dark chocolate. What it lacks in complexity, it has in immediate drinkability, yet all in the cooler restrained Sonoma character. The winery says braised lamb shanks and I say bring them on. Now tastwed twice in three months and its really settling into the bottle.Prices: BC 62.99 Producer: Rowen Wine Co.
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Rodney Strong Upshottext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Upshot 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesUpshot is a Justin Seidenfeld affair. Taking after its name, this new red blend from Rodney Strong is thought to be the final or eventual positive outcome or conclusion of a discussion, action, or series of events. It’s all Sonoma County fruit and predominantly Alexander Valley and Knights Valley. The unique blend in 2016 is 37/30/27/3/3/ zinfandel, merlot, malbec, petit verdot and riesling (!!). The style is soft and fruity, round and drinkable, sophisticated to a point, but not overly complex. Fun to drink would be its best descriptor. The hipster label that chronicles the life of the wine is accompanied by a screw cap closure for easy access. Very barbecue-party friendly.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 29.95 US 28.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2018 vintage was late to start but it finished long and strong, spawning this intriguing Russian River Valley pinot noir rosé picked at 19.5 to 20 degrees brix, suggesting it has a chance to be fresh and bright and delicious. Guess what? That’s exactly what this wine is, with a pale pink Provençal colour, strawberry, melon and citrus with just a hint of sweetness for balance.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyardtext
95PTS

Rodney Strong Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard 2015

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Brothers Ridge vineyard is 141 acres planted to mostly cabernet sauvignon with small blocks of merlot and malbec, just east of Cloverdale. This single vineyard bottle is claimed from a “sweet spot” harvested off the loamy sandstone, fractured shale and ancient greenstone soil at 450 to nearly 1,000 feet above sea level. The site faces west for maximum afternoon sun and the result is a powerful, mountain red but with impressive smooth texture. Brothers is a relatively cool site with average growing-season temperatures of 67 degrees although mid-day, above the fog-line, there is plenty of heat to ripen cabernet. The 2015 vintage was warm overall, but cooler than the previous few years and average yields were way down. It took steely nerves to wait for the small crop to fully ripen without turning into a sugar bomb. The attack is rich the fruit deep and blue black with a strong cassis undercurrent with light mocha notes. As mentioned it's softer than you might expect although a ten-year slumber is the best route for this red today. This wine is improving very year out.Prices: BC 99.00 AB 80.00 US 75.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
94PTS

Rodney Strong Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesIn the middle of the valley, Rockaway Vineyard, with average temperatures of 62 degrees, balances heat and Pacific Ocean cooling breezes. Rising to an elevation of 750 feet, the land generally slopes northeast and southwest, with soils comprised of gravelly clay subsoil over fractured Greywacke sandstone. The 2015 vintage was warm overall, but cooler than the previous few years. Low yields led to sugars accumulating much faster in the clusters than the speed at which ripening was occurring. The fruit was left to hang until the acid dropped and tannins came around in the third week of September. The results are quite amazing: a rich 94 percent cabernet sauvignon, 4 percent merlot and 2 percent petit verdot are intensely cabernet with dark plum, mineral, tobacco and leather flavours. Again, like the 2014 and 2013, it’s the finesse and structure of this red that impresses. It’s Sonoma savoury with bits of brown spice throughout a long linear finish.Prices: BC 99.00 AB 80.00 US 75.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander's Crown Single Vineyardtext
92PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander's Crown Single Vineyard 2015

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesAlexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon is grown inside the 22-mile-long Alexander Valley AVA ranging in elevation from 250 to 350 feet above sea level. The super cool Alexander’s Crown Vineyard averages 59 degrees, explaining its more delicate styling. It was first planted in 1971, and was the first single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in the Alexander Valley. The 63-acre site is the first to encounter the cool breezes of the Pacific. Only Block 1, planted to Clone 4, which is from the top 15 acres of well-drained red volcanic soil, makes it into the Crown. In 2015, Alexander’s Crown is packed full of black and red fruits with a strong current of dried herbs and floral notes. The texture is crazy smooth for a mountain wine and a cabernet sauvignon. You could drink this now, but I know from experience that five to seven years’ bottle age only improves the final outcome. The final wine spent 27 months in 100 percent French oak barrels, of which 76 percent were new.Prices: BC 94.97 NS 86.30 US 75.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Zinfandel Old Vinestext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Zinfandel Old Vines 2016

Northern Sonoma, Sonoma County, California, United StatesAt Rodney Strong the 15 acres of old vine Zinfandel planted in 1904 remains as it was when Rodney Strong arrived in the 1970s. The 2016 Old Vines has some fruit from the Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys added to complete its Northern Sonoma AVA. The 2016 growing season is the poster child of ideal conditions, with an average amount of rain over winter, and only one big storm in early March to top off soil moisture. Spring was pleasant, and the vines got an early start. Temperatures remained average through summer, with few heat spikes, and harvest commenced in early fall. This is a benign 15 percent alcohol with gobs of fresh berry fruit (Russian River) mixed with peppery, black raspberry jam (Alexander Valley and Dry Creek). The textures are soft and creamy with an inviting plummy, boysenberry, vanilla undercurrent. Perfect now with your choice of spiced short ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, or a chicken barbecue pizza. It spent 18 months in 80 percent French and 20 percent American oak barrels.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 22.00 ON 23.00 US 25.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir Estate Vineyardstext
90PTS

Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir Estate Vineyards 2016

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2015 offered a sea change in style and the 2016 treks down the new path too. A lighter, more translucent red colour previews a soft, spicy, cedar, forest floor affair that spills across the palate. The attack is silky and very spicy with a mix of twiggy, earthy, red fruit along with a more ethereal Russian River style, long on silky textures but without the heat and power of many of its brethren - and less sweetness. This is a very good direction with more complexity and interest and with a balance that makes it more food friendly. Bravo Rodney Strong.Prices: BC 28.00 AB 27.00 US 19.00 ON 25.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hilltext
90PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill 2016

Chalk Hill, Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe estate high-end chardonnay program is permeating the breadth of Rodney Strong chardonnays, leading with less obvious oak and fruit, replaced by more texture and complexity. The light, volcanic, white ash soil of the Chalk Hill appellation is at the centre of this story. The style is fresh with bright, juicy, mineral, pear, apple, and Meyer lemon with creamy, mineral, nutty, wet stone undertones. Crab, halibut, mahi mahi, roasted chicken and brie all work here. The 2017 the Chalk Hill Chardonnay is 97 percent barrel fermented in new and seasoned French oak for twelve months with regular lees stirring, and it was bottled at a very pleasant 13.5 percent alcohol. It’s been nearly 55 years since founder Rodney Strong planted Chardonnay in what would later become the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983.Prices: ON 26.95 BC 27.99 QC 26.00 SK 29.99 AB 27.99 US 22.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Hometext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte's Home 2017

Northern Sonoma, Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong named Charlotte’s Home Vineyard in honour of his wife when it was first planted to sauvignon blanc back in 1971. The original site remains the core of this very modern Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, along with select estate vineyards in the Alexander, Russian River and Dry Creek valleys. Winemaker Justin Seidenfeld continues to contain the maximum amount of freshness even in the ultra wet and warm 2017 vintage, with an enticing mixture of lemongrass, orange, lime, and candied grapefruit with an undercurrent of saline and tropical honeydew melon. It was the perfect tonic to taco chips and cumin salsa served on a sunny patio. Ninety percent is cold fermented in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic, with the latter 10 percent barrel fermented in French oak barrels with full malolactic.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 22.99 US 18.95 18 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong planted his first cabernet sauvignon in 1971, Alexander’s Crown, on a small hill in Jimtown. Today there are three vineyards, from Jimtown to Geyserville and all the way north to Cloverdale. The soils are a mix of well-drained alluvial, volcanic, and uplifted shale/sandstone soils that cabernet seems to love. The 2016 vintage was ideal, from plenty of water and sunshine to very few heat spikes. Look for a highly flavourful cabernet sauvignon with plummy, violet fruit, and peppery spice with a lick of tannin to let you know it is still cabernet sauvignon. Hamburgers, meaty pasta dishes, beef and black bean sauce all come to mind. The wine spends 16 months in 45 percent French and 55 percent American oak barrels but it’s all handled perfectly. At 13.5 percent alcohol you can enjoy that juicy savoury berry fruit character that sets Sonoma apart from Napa. A fine introduction to Sonoma County cabernet.Prices: BC 27.49 AB 24.99 ON 24.95 SK 25.00 YK 27.00 QC 23.90 US 20.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Merlottext
89PTS

Rodney Strong Merlot 2015

Sonoma County, California, United StatesRodney Strong Vineyards has been growing merlot for almost five decades, first at Geyserville, planted by Rodney Strong in the heart of Alexander Valley. Today the fruit comes off three different Alexander Valley sites. The 2015 vintage was warm over all, but cooler than the previous few years and you feel it in the wine. It's typically round and lush, but with a fine, savoury, dried herb note that adds interest to the mid-palate and the finish. Fresh black cherries with a hint of coffee, toast, and smoke. There is far less sweetness (no American oak here) thanks to the use of 52 percent small French oak barrels and 48 percent Hungarian oak barrels. Try this with anything from burgers to spaghetti. Hold or drink now with food.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 24.95 ON 23.95 NF 27.00 MB 21.95 QC 25.00 US 20.00 SK 25.99 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Rodney Strong Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2017

Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe regular RS Sonoma Chardonnay is 60 percent barrel fermented and aged for six months in 50/50 French and American oak; the remainder is fermented in stainless steel. The style continues to be tightened up by the chardonnay team, perhaps not as fast as some would like and likely too fast for others, but is now a fresher, cooler fruit style with peach and red apple and a tropical twist of orange and pineapple that slides down easily, finishing with a textured leesy, buttery cream note that is inviting without going over the top. A pleasant sipping, Sonoma-style chardonnay made for grilled chicken and avocado salad.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 20.95 QC 18.95 ON 22.95 SK 26.95 MB 20.99 NB 25.00 YK 26.00 NF 26.00 US 17.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Davis Bynum Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Davis Bynum Chardonnay 2016

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2016 DB chardonnay is grown at River West Vineyard and Westside Road in the Russian River Valley, on moderately deep, well drained soils. The clonal mix is an interesting gathering of 30 percent clone 809, 27 percent Spring Mountain, 21 percent 76, 15 percent clone 15, and 7 percent clone 4, all aged 12 months in French and Eastern European oak barrels, of which 21 percent were new. The attack is singularly bright with a lemon citrus acidity that sets up the palate for the oak and battonage, providing a creamy complexity and fresh and complex brioche character to the wine. Davis Bynum is distinguished as the first winery to produce a single vineyard pinot noir from the Russian River Valley. The vintage was 1973 and the grapes were from Joe Rochioli’s now-prized vineyard. Today they continue under the ownership of Rodney Strong, and single vineyard wines grown exclusively in Russian River Valley.Prices: BC 30.99 ON 29.99 AB 26.95 QC 32.75 US 22.00 Producer: Davis Bynum Winery
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19 February 2019

Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noirtext
93PTS

Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noir 2015

Oregon, United StatesSourced from several blocks within Zena Crown Vineyard, the 2016 is clone 667 coming off vines that are about a dozen years old. It’s aged 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 75-90 percent are new depending on the year. Winemaker Shane Moore likes a high percentage of new oak with medium and medium-plus toast levels because ‘new barrels breathe, permitting more oxygen ingress than wine-soaked neutral wood, and we can limit excess reduction without racking the wines. After a year and a half in oak, the wines only move once: into the bottle.” The south facing Slope block produces a big powerful style that needs more time in the bottle. The wine is savoury, the fruit is dark and spicy with more forest floor, cedar, mushroom than juicy fruit. One to age for five to seven years. Jackson Family Wines purchased the Zena Crown Vineyard, just west of Salem, in 2013 and work with winemakers Tony Rynders and Shane Moore. Today, Zena Crown Vineyard comprises 115 acres of vines and 48 vineyard blocks producing four pinot noirs.Prices: US 129.00 Producer: Zena Crown Vineyard
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Siduri Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Siduri Pinot Noir 2017

Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesPinotphiles of the Burgundian nature can’t really understand the exuberance of a pinot like Siduri, in particular this Santa Barbara version, but many others do and they love drinking this intense hedonistic style. The fruit come off vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley and its black cherry/wild strawberry flavours are super vibrant and alluring. There just enough earth and spice to keep it from being too much over the top leaving a long, sweet, mouth-filling, pinot finish. Grilled wild salmon is the match.Prices: BC 41.99 AB 40.00 US 19.00 ON 25.00 Producer: Siduri Wines
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Diatom Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Diatom Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesCambria Estate is led by sisters Katie and Julia Jackson (of Jackson Family Wines) and is home to this single vineyard selection under the Diatom label. The fruit comes off the coastal Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara County. This cooler, fog-blanketed, limestone-laden site is planted to clones 4, 76, 96, Wente. The vines are forty-eight-year-old, self-rooted and sit up the hillside in the north west corner of Cambria’s Santa Maria Estate. The nose is très tropical with citrus and melon notes, green apple, pear notes with just a hint of pineapple. Fresh but soft with plenty of honeyed, leesy note spiked with nutmeg and vanilla. A cooler, fresher more modern look Santa Barbara chardonnay and we like it. Try this with mahi mahi fish tacos.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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La Crema Russian River Chardonnaytext
89PTS

La Crema Russian River Chardonnay 2017

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThere is always an expectation that Russian River fruit will be a little more intense than the norm but when it’s in balance, it really hits the mark. It’s not Burgundy, but then Burgundy is not Russian River. The palate is awash in intense Meyer lemon and nectarine notes with a creamy lees adjustment to keep it on track to a moderately ripe finish, lingering with ripe tangerines, honey and a nutty lees. Again, it’s more new world chardonnay than Euro but it finishes balanced and vibrant. Ready to drink now with baked halibut, mahi mahi, or as the winery suggests, with risotto primavera and brown butter scallops.Prices: BC 41.00 ON 39.95 QC 38.00 Producer: La Crema
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Penner-Ash Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Penner-Ash Pinot Noir 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesPinot lovers value delicacy and floral notes over all others and when you add some plummy, spicy, savoury, black cherry fruit well they are easily seduced. It would appear Jackson Family Wines is doing what they do best supporting the brand and letting the Penners reach for the sky. This is so much fun to drink, so mouth-filling, yet with a tug of soft tannin that suggests it will improve in the bottle over the next three years. It was aged ten months in 33% new French oak, 27% one-year-old French oak, 23% two-year-old French oak, and 17% in neutral French oak. Zena Crown and Gran Moraine have been added to the mix of fruit coming off 13 other separate lots. Beijing duck would be divine, grilled salmon more attainable at home.Prices: US 42.00 CDN 42.00 Producer: Penner Ash Wine Cellars
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13 February 2019

Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslesetext
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Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2016

Mosel, GermanyWeingut Willi Schaefer is a small family winery with a history dating back to 1121. Today's estate is a result of the work of Martha and Willibrord Schaefer, post-World War Two era. Today the property is overseen by their son Willi, who took responsibility for his first harvest in 1971, and their grandson Christoph, who joined the family business in 2002 as co-owner. Their vineyards are filled with up to 100-year-old, ungrafted vines that lie on steep slopes of Devonian blue slate. They work with low intervention, slowly and methodically, in both the vineyard and winery, settling the wines in tank and then fermenting in old, large barrels. With Himmelreich, the fruit generally leads over the minerality, which is the case here. Perfumed pear, elderflower, chamomile, pear curd, plasticine on the tight, energetic palate, light palate. There's a lightness of being here, feeling as effortless at the 7 degree palate. A fine grip and mild white honey wash through the finish. This builds with time in the glass and temperature, and will reward with cellaring. Lovely and pure.Prices: BC 55.00 375 Producer: Willi Schaefer
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Rieslingfreak No. 8 Polish Hill River Schatzkammer Rieslingtext
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Rieslingfreak No. 8 Polish Hill River Schatzkammer Riesling 2018

Polish Hill River, Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaNo. 8 is John Hughes' foray into pitching RS against acid. From Polish Hill's Jaeschke Vineyard, this swells with juicy acidity, buoying ripe pear, honeysuckle, lime curd, green apple, and perfumed petals up through a lengthy pink grapefruit pithy finish. Great intensity considering its seven degrees alcohol, reminiscent of great German rieslings, and certainly worthy of that peer group. 2018 was a drier season, hence the super concentrated flavours.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Rieslingfreak No. 6 Clare Valley Aged Release Rieslingtext
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Rieslingfreak No. 6 Clare Valley Aged Release Riesling 2013

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe deeper hue stands No 6 out in a lineup of Rieslingfreak's individual rieslings. Indeed, this is a current 2013 Aged Release Riesling, from John Hughes' family Clare Valley estate. Intense honeysuckle and rubber rule the nose and linger on the palate, joined by a cast of characters including ripe pear, green apple, crystal ginger, whiffs of petrol and hints of heady brown butter. This dry Clare riesling (same as Hughes' No. 3) was aged five years prior to release, the additional lag time adding depth and shoulders to an already very impressive wine. A fantastic grippy, near toothsome texture hems the light palate, one that clocks in mightier than its 11.6 degree frame may suggest. A lovely opportunity to taste Clare with some age.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Rieslingfreak No. 5 Clare Valleytext
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Rieslingfreak No. 5 Clare Valley 2018

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaWith No. 5, John Hughes nudges up into the off-dry range, pitting a soupçon of residual sugar up against the light clay soils of his family's Clare Valley vineyard. If you're busy smashing this wine, as is easy to do, you may not notice the RS at all, though it is certainly there, by way of a wound core of sweet pear fruit. Asian pear, mandarin, white peach, apricot blossom quickly fills the rest of the slender palate, one that remains elegant while being eminently friendly and likeable, right up to its snappy finish. Very much in youth, and with much time to go.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Rieslingfreak No. 4 Eden Valleytext
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Rieslingfreak No. 4 Eden Valley 2018

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaNo. 4 was sourced from two vineyards in Eden, and aims to characterize the region, which it does strikingly. No 4 was a massive surprise in 2018; normally harvested three weeks after the Clare Vineyards, these vineyards were harvested one day before Clare. The two sites are between 450-500m, and a mix of sandy loam, shales, clay and quartz. Tight lime, broken stone, kisses of honeysuckle, pear skin on a dry, taut, lively palate, one strung with tension and perfectly balanced through the grapefruit pithy finish. Slender but filled with intensity, this is a highlight of John Hughes' 2018s, and show of his mastery of the grape. Well done.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Rieslingfreak No. 3 Clare Valleytext
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Rieslingfreak No. 3 Clare Valley 2018

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaNo.3 classically captures Clare Valley and its heavy, red clay soils. Said grounding here is well pitched to offset the tightly wound riesling, sourced from John Hughes' family vineyard. Orange blossom, green apple, Asian pear and grapefruit is tight and pithy on this bone dry, slender, streaking Riesling. Alive. Must love acid to agree with me.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Rieslingfreak No. 2 Polish Hill Rivertext
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Rieslingfreak No. 2 Polish Hill River 2018

Polish Hill River, Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaTight, lean, and green, this is a sleek, slick Polish Hill riesling, tight as the limestone and shale soils. Yellow apple, lime blossom, pear skin is scented with a delicate baby powder talc and finishes with citrus sherbet. If you shy away from acid, this is not the wine (or truthfully, the grape) for you.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Rieslingfreak
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Kitsch Esther's Block Rieslingtext
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Kitsch Esther's Block Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKitsch came out of the gate strong four vintages ago with their laser rieslings, as well as their packaging progress (SAXX underwear are a past enterprise of 4th gen Kelownans Ria and Trent Kitsch). They're building on their riesling roots with a pair of single block riesling released from the 2017 vintage. Esther's Block, like the sibling Maria's Block, is clone 239, planted in 2013 on the home estate's clay and limestone soils. This was whole bunch pressed, fermented in stainless over 25 days before 90 days of lees contact in tank. Tight, nervy and finely textured, this hums with energy along a narrow frame led by green apple and followed in line by apricot, peach, lime peel and closed with ginger. Concentrated, streamlined, and dryish (8.4 g/l), this is an energetic youthful riesling, the dryer of the two rieslings released in 2017.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Narrative Riesling by Okanagan Crush Padtext
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Narrative Riesling by Okanagan Crush Pad 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou wouldn't expect a bright, tight, low alcohol riesling to come from the warm southern Okanagan, but winemaker Matt Dumayne picked this Osoyoos riesling very early, which is evident in its slight 10.5 degrees. It's native fermented in stainless steel and aged eight months in concrete eggs prior to bottling. Light, subtle green apple, pear, orange rind, tight and nervy on the very light palate. There's a watery mid prior to the snappy orange finish. Fun, bright, dry, light, and surprising that this wee white came from the deep south.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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St. Hubertus Rieslingtext
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St. Hubertus Riesling 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Gebert family is taking its latest winemaking cues from their ancestors, vowing to do less to make more. It's working. The 2016 St Hubertus Riesling is awash in bright, juicy, delicious red apple fruit streaked with honey and spice, and all at a pillow light 12.5 percent alcohol. All you need do is add sunshine or a favourite spicy Chinese dish. Real wine. Real value.Prices: BC 16.75 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Kitsch Maria's Block Rieslingtext
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Kitsch Maria's Block Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPotently ripe and round, with a juicy core of orange swelling the core. Off-dry, this carries a tropical fruit salad led by pineapple, guava and lime, tightened on the short finish with a noose of citrus and peach fuzz. One of two rieslings released from 2017, Maria is the sweet sister to Esther, carrying 19.8 g/l RS on its medium bodied frame. This was whole bunch pressed, had a 25 day ferment and spent 90 days on the lees before bottle. Another lens to view riesling, and an easy-drinking now one at that.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Narrative Riesling by Okanagan Crush Padtext
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Narrative Riesling by Okanagan Crush Pad 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Narrative collection includes wines and spirits made from grapes sourced from independent growers across the Okanagan. The wines are meant to be storytellers that illustrate the Okanagan terroir and growing conditions, chiefly dry, short, and intense. Matt Dumayne has selected his riesling fruit from a warm site in Osoyoos. It’s picked early (19.5 Brix) to protect its bright fruit and acidity, fermented in stainless steel, and aged eight months in concrete egg tanks. The result is a very pleasant riesling based on balance than extreme acidity or sugar. It's not overly complex, but rather juicy and inviting and at 10.5 percent it’s getting close to being gulpable. Winery direct and private wine shops.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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08 February 2019

Moon Curser Touriga Nacionaltext
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Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSo much black pepper here, it's insane, infiltrating every pore of this bigger red, even after a decant. I've never known touriga nacional to present like this. Then again, this is the sole TN in BC (perhaps Canada?), so who knows what to expect, really. This is from the Osoyoos East Bench's sand, loam, granitic soils. The grapes were destemmed and fermented sans-crushing at warm temperatures in 5000L stainless, with thrice daily pumpovers before heading to French oak barrels, 25 percent of which were new. It remained there until spring 2018 bottling. This is dry and potent with extract, fruit and alcohol (14 degrees). Compact on the peppery palate, with dried blueberries, potent leather, pipe tobacco and ample potpourri. Tannins are sticky to a stuck short finish. Best taken with rustic braised beef or lamb.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Tempranillotext
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Moon Curser Tempranillo 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTempranillo is a grape that loves the heat, thus, Osoyoos East Bench, first planted in 2005. The luxurious 2016 growing season yielded some spectacular raw material in the Okanagan including this tempranillo, picked at 24.9 brix and perhaps the best I have tasted from Moon Curser. The fruit is bright and spicy with a strong core of black cherry flecked with peppery spicy undertones and a dollop of toasted oak. I enjoyed the lively mid-palate and concentrated fruit that is fighting off the oak and vanilla. The texture is medium lush with equally soft tannins. Try this with grilled lamb chops or roasted pig.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Tannattext
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Moon Curser Tannat 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll of tannat's trademark tannins are on full display in this rustic red. Moon Curser was the first winery to plant tannat in BC in 2005 at their sandy soiled Osoyoos Home Vineyard in Osoyoos. Fermented warm in 5000L stainless, with thrice daily pumpovers, this then went on to age in French oak barrels (25 percent new) until spring 2016. Roasted coffee, bitter black cherry, black earth are held between hard pressed tannins, choking out the finish. Intense and overwrought, this needs equally rustic and potent foodstuffs to mitigate - think beef or lamb stew.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Petit Verdottext
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Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWild blackberries, blueberries, dark cherry, thorns, purple florals are veined with stones in this alluring, fleshy petit verdot, grown on their Osoyoos East Bench Moon Curser Vineyard and its loamy sand, silica and granite. There's a dark gravelled undercurrent that flows the length of this big red. Tannins are firm and structural, appropriately matched to the density of fruit. Drinking well now with food, though will reward with cellaring short term. This was destemmed and uncrushed, with a warm ferment in large stainless steel, pumped over three times daily. This then went into French oak, one quarter new.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Malbectext
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Moon Curser Malbec 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFresh cracked peppercorns fill this full palate, padded out with blueberry, blackberry jam, plush plum, thorns and gripped with ample tuggy tannins. Inky in hue and in the mouth, this is an intense wine, yet holds its appeal through its perfumed purple floral fruit. There's a lovely peppery spice note on the lifted finish, belying its near 15 degrees. From Osoyoos East Bench's Moon Curser Vineyard and its loamy, sandy soils, grapes were uncrushed, cool fermented in large stainless and pumped over thrice daily. The wine then went into French oak (one quarter new).Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Dolcettotext
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Moon Curser Dolcetto 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of two dolcettos grown in BC, here planted in 2013 on Osoyoos East Bench's loam, sand and granite soiled Fernandes Vineyard. Meaning little sweet one in Italian, dolcetto is Piemontese in origin. Moon Curser smartly chose to follow their tradition of making fruity, oak-free wines for early consumption. Dusky plum, muddied blueberry, prune, cherry jam on an easy, round, medium bodied palate. There's a bitter green herbal twinge here with hard press tannins that finish with a bitter, short finish. Whole berry and cool fermented in large stainless with thrice daily pumpovers, this spent a short stint in stainless before bottle. Best enjoyed with a chill, and alongside sausage pizza.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Carmeneretext
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Moon Curser Carmenere 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCarménère is a rarity in BC, planted predominantly to use in Bordeaux blends. This is one of the solo carménère, and 407 cases were made. From Osoyoos East Bench's Home Vineyard, and Stubb's Vineyard, this was fermented warm in large stainless, pumped over thrice daily and then into French oak (30 percent new). This has a violet and purple fruited perfume that I find foreign in typically dusty, earthy carmenere. Potpourri, cracked black pepper, sweet salami on the full bodied, soft and cushy cherry palate, one framed with rustic hewn tannins appropriate for the ripe, southern Okanagan fruit. Intense and bold. and challenging grape variety is truly spectacular. The 2016 Carménère is a medium to full-bodied red wine with a dark raspberry red colour. It displays an opulent nose of cherry, black pepper, violets and fennel seed. The palate also has red cherry and pepper notes but deviates from the nose with other characters like baker’s spice and black fruit. This plush wine has a medium tannin structure. This is an elegant wine that strikes a lovely balance between fruit, spice, acid and its tannic structure. It drinks well now but would also evolve nicely in the bottle over the next six to eight years.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Moon Curser Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHuge, sun-ripened and oak sweetened, this is from Saunders Vineyard on the Osoyoos East Bench. Intense cassis, blackberry jam, medicinal cherry on a heated, plush palate. Tannins are hard pressed and drying on the black espresso finish, welcoming beef or lamb proteins, and making this hard for solo sipping.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Arneistext
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Moon Curser Arneis 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's nice to revisit this wine after a many-years hiatus, and find it's as singular as ever. Dried and fresh white florals, elderflower, honey, golden apple, dried quince on a waxen palate, nipped in with a griff of skin tannins. This spent time in stainless, fermented cool and with no MLF or battonage. Unique.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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07 February 2019

Familia Zuccardi Polígonos Cabernet Franctext
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Familia Zuccardi Polígonos Cabernet Franc 2017

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Polígonos creed is a selection of the best lots from different mountain terroirs within the Uco Valley. The criteria includes differences in altitude, soil and climate that define the sub-regions of San Pablo, Paraje Altamira and Gualtallary. Expect an aromatic, red fruited style slightly reminiscent of Loire Valley franc. The wine is aged in foudres, limiting the oak influence, and playing on its elegance and freshness. The palate is dry and floral with an herbaceous leafy undercurrent. Not your typical Argentine red. This need time in the bottle to gather itself.Prices: BC 39.99 QC 35.95 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Familia Zuccardi Polígonos del Valle de Uco Malbectext
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Familia Zuccardi Polígonos del Valle de Uco Malbec 2016

Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe idea behind Polígonos is a selection of the best lots from different terroirs within the Uco Valley. The criteria includes differences in altitude, soil and climate that define the sub-regions of San Pablo, Paraje Altamira and Gualtallary. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete and presents as a bigger malbec, a mountain fruit malbec, then we normally see. The nose is somewhat austere with light floral notes. The palate is full of bright acidity with mouth filling dense, sweet tannins and black plum. A remarkable look at malbec and one that will only improve over the next decade.Prices: BC 39.99 QC 35.95 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaZuccardi Q wines use fruit from the oldest parts of the vineyard, pre-selected for quality. In this case, the cabernet sauvignon comes from Gualtallary. The cool fruit is aromatic with notes of red fruits and blueberries with a peppery, spicy, back end. It’s concrete fermented and barrel aged in French oak but not really showing much at this stage with some significant tannins yet to dispense from the cool year, one not really suited to cabernet sauvignon. Give this some time in bottle.Prices: BC 22.00 AB 20.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Zuccardi Q Malbec Paraje Altamira and Vista Florestext
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Zuccardi Q Malbec Paraje Altamira and Vista Flores 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom high altitude sites in the Uco Valley, the two Q, quality blocks, used here are in Altamira and Vista Flores. The wine has a terrific demeanour, soft and generous on the palate but as winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi likes to say, “with no sweetness.” The wine is native fermented and spent 20 days on skins before going through a mix of concrete and oak aging to build structure. I love the floral tones, the ripe fruit blue and black, and the suave tannins that combine effortlessly to add layers of flavour to this malbec. Food friendly and ready to drink, though you could cellar this a decade. Fine value, but unbelievably not listed in government stores.Prices: BC 22.99 QC 20.00 NF 22.00 NS 21.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Zuccardi Fosil Chardonnaytext
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Zuccardi Fosil Chardonnay 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaFosil is chardonnay from San Pablo in the Valle de Uco, Mendoza. The grapes are whole cluster pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete vessels. There is no malolactic fermentation and all the ageing is done in concrete vats. This wine is all about texture and minerality. The style is tighter than most other Argentine chardonnays, or most of the New World for that matter. The palate is a citrus affair with bright acidity and creamy lees, making for delicious drinking. Winemaker Sebastien Zuccardi chose the cooler San Pablo Area to plant a massal selection of chardonnay vines plus some clone 548, given its cool location only a couple hundred meters from the Andes Mountains. A wine to watch.Prices: BC 61.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Zuccardi Q Chardonnaytext
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Zuccardi Q Chardonnay 2017

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Q-range stems from an old family practice of marking with the oldest uniform plots of each vineyard that yield exceptional quality batches with a "Q" for Quality. This wine is sourced from two vineyards: the limestone laced soils of Gualtallary & El Peral at Tupungato in the Valle de Uco, Mendoza. The nose is an enticing, fragrant, lemon dance with sea salt, lees and wet stone notes. After direct press, this was native fermented in a mix of concrete and 20 percent oak, aged on its lees with no malolactic fermentation; the latter is done to keep the energy up in this white. This wine is all about texture and lees with a creamy mix of pears, peaches and very refined toast that finishes with a film of citrus covered cashews. Simply delicious. Bravo.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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06 February 2019

Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Rutherford Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThick, potent and hefty, this structural cabernet is sourced from the Oak Knoll appellation and two estate vineyards in the Rutherford appellation, Franklin and Abela. Dark and muscular, with sinewy, sticky tannins, dark chocolate, cassis, black cherries to a savoury, dried floral finish. Cellar-apt. Giant red, best met with giant beef.Prices: ON 49.95 Producer: Rutherford Wine Company
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Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe 2016 Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was aided by 7 percent malbec, 4 percent Merlot, 3 percent Petite Sirah, and one percent petit verdot, the blend spending at least one year in French and American oak. Chewy oak tannins house sweet ripe cassis, cherry jam, thorns, pitch and leather, finishing with spice and a kirsch kiss. Potent and big, but not overtly so, and ready for drinking now alongside grilled meats.Prices: BC 46.75 AB 40.99 ON 39.95 Producer: Rutherford Wine Company
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesA warm, early ripening growing season is reflected in the style of 2015 Napa cab. The nose is fragrant offering black plum fruit and black pepper in spades with a dusting of dried herbs. Full-bodied in the Mondavi way, with fine-grained tannins, minerals and coffee grinds, all with a hint of charcoal. This will be a fine mid-term red, say three to five years from the vintage, and that makes it ready to drink now with a fire-grilled steak.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 37.95 NF 38.50 NB 37.00 NS 56.95 SK 36.00 MB 44.00 PEI 40.00 US 20.00 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesSoft, plush, deep and dusky, with ripe black fruit (blackberries, cassis, cherries, plums) that drag slowly along the brooding palate, sticking to the potent charcoal-lined tannins surrounding the wine. A bed of leather, and dusting of peppercorns and black bodum grinds complete this mouth filling, full-bodied red, one with heft necessitating partnering with the biggest of red meats.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 37.95 NF 38.50 NB 37.00 NS 56.95 SK 36.00 MB 44.00 PEI 40.00 US 20.00 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Wolf's Head Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Wolf's Head Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesFrom Calistoga's rich volcanic red soil, this is a dense, compact blend of deep cassis, leather, dusty gravels, tobacco, black cherry and spiced cedar. Tannins are plush and the finish is long and spicy. This is a structural, savoury wine that has a raft of acidity to counter the richness and heft. Drinking well now, especially with grilled beef.Prices: BC 79.99 Producer: Wolf's Head Vineyard
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Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Avalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesKirsch, wild blackberry, leather, cherry open this approachable, balanced and moreish Napa cab. Structural and savoury, with grippy / gritty tannins from the 14 months split between French and American oak, and ripe, sun-warmed fruit from vineyards sourced in Rutherford, Oakville and Oak Knoll AVAs. There is a 15 percent tip of merlot that aids in the drinkability. Best with BBQ. The plastic cork has to go.Prices: BC 35.99 NF 29.72 AB 31.00 Producer: Avalon Winery
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05 February 2019

St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignontext
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St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Sonoma County, California, United StatesFrom hillsides across Sonoma, this full bodied cab is rich with tobacco, thorny blackberries, liquorice and cherry jam, though for all its ripeness and heft, it is thankfully dry. Tannins are thick and sticky to a chocolate mocha dusted finish. Drink now, with lamb or beef.Prices: BC 32.99 QC 32.50 ON 34.95 AB 32.95 Producer: St. Francis Vineyards and Winery
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Wente Vineyards Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Charles Wetmoretext
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Wente Vineyards Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Charles Wetmore 2014

Livermore, San Francisco Bay, California, United StatesPlush and mouth filling, with velvet tannins supporting the rich and sun-ripened black and red fruits. There's a savoury leathery note to this bold wine that provides cab's proper gravitas. Cassis, baked plums, dark chocolate, cedar on the intense palate, with toasty wood spicing. The wood is enveloped into the density of the fruit, making this ready for drinking now, with beef. This single vineyard cab (Charles Wetmore Vineyard) comes from Livermore Valley's clay hillsides and gravelled alluvial fans, between 460-735ft. This aged for 20 months in 40 percent new French oak. This is splashed with petit verdot, petite sirah, and malbec.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Wente Vineyards
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Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesWarm, thick and dense with southern California sun, this is lined with leather and filled with ripe cherries and kirsch. Tannins are ample, a bit raggedly grippy, housing the plush, round and velveteen fruit to a sticky finish. Welcoming and accessible, especially with beef braises and roasts. Easy.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 19.00 ON 19.00 QC 20.00 SK 22.00 NS 26.00 NF 22.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Mettler Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesThis thick, opaque, near black pour is from Lodi, and feels every single decimal of its 15.6 degree declared frame. Twelve percent petite sirah joins this blend, with the cabernet selected from four blocks of French clones. The whole spent 16 months in barrel prior to release. Chewy black fruit, blackberry syrup, ripe black cherry, dark molasses, peppercorn, smoked wood and medicinal cherry coat the palate of this monster, bound by sticky tannins and finishing with that swell of heat that lingers in the lungs. If you think more is more, you may be interested in this. Especially if you're serving BBQ ribs.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Mettler Family Vineyards
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesPotent red and black fruits fill this rich yet restrained Knights Valley cabernet sauvignon, owned and farmed by the Beringer family since the mid 1960s. The cobbled alluvial soils and special site of the 600 acre Knights Valley vineyard led the winery to use it as a designation on a Beringer label in 1974, and the family was instrumental in garnering official AVA status for the area in 1983. This sees small parts cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot blended into the cabernet sauvignon, kept in barrel for 16 months (30 percent new), layering savoury cherry, mocha, leather, blackberry along the plush, long palate. Tannins are smoothed and perfectly pitched for the fruit. For drinking now.Prices: BC 46.99 AB 47.00 SK 35.50 MB 47.00 ON 45.00 QC 37.10 NL 49.98 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Broadside Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesHerbal edged, this shows a brighter, red fruit-led cabernet, this coming from Paso Robles and kept to a respectable 13.5 degree size. Anise, tobacco, cherry and raspberry are held by grippy, sinewy tannins and ride a slick wave of acidity to the snappy finish. Appreciate the fresher, lighter hand. Do not appreciate the plastic cork - it deserves better.Prices: BC 39.99 BC 20.99 375 AB 39.00 MB 50.00 QC 44.75 Producer: Broadside
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04 February 2019

Galerie Plenaire Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Galerie Plenaire Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesPleinaire is a reference to the French painters' method of painting outdoors (en plein air), which developed around the same time as Napa's first European-style vineyards in the 1800s. It also plays to the styling of this cabernet sauvignon that tries to stay within itself using complex vineyard sites and soils to create some mid-palate mystery. It’s still Napa rich and powerful with deep, dark abundant fruit but there is a core of acidity and freshness that leads to a structured wine with a long, dry finish. The fruit is sourced from St Helena, Spring Mountain, Atlas peak and Yountville. Best with grilled meats at this youthful stage.Prices: BC 83.99 Producer: Galerie Wines
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Lander Jenkins Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Lander Jenkins Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

California, United StatesSweet rich, ripe red fruit fill this round, rustic cali cab, one filled with a kirsch, licorice and eucalypt cordial and framed with sticky tannins that makes this ready to drink now, especially with grilled meats. Fruit from across California was blended for this wine.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Rutherford Wine Company
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Morgan Bay Cellars Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Morgan Bay Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

California, United StatesBig, ripe and rich, with stewed red berries flushing out the full palate. Juicy plums, raspberry jam, purple flowers, baked cherries are housed with sticky, ample tannins and finish with toast and vanilla. Easy, sweetish, big and fruity = drink now.Prices: BC 14.49 AB 14.49 Producer: Rutherford Wine Company
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James Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignontext
81PTS

James Mitchell Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesSimple, sweet, soft Lodi cabernet sauvignon, with notes of baked plum, cherry, mocha on a cardboard core. Tannins are smoothed negligible, wrapping around a plush palate, and finish that is short, confected and dumbed down.Prices: BC 18.29 MB 19.00 AB 18.00 Producer: James Mitchell Winery
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Trim Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Trim Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

California, United StatesI'm a bit confused as to the name of this wine. Trim, meaning slight, slim and narrow, feels the opposite of this Cali Cab, declared at 14.2 degrees. Sweet, ripe, candied black and red fruit is potent and thick on the palate of this Cali red. Overripe, and rich with blackberry pie, amply dosed with potpourri, nutmeg and cinnamon. Tannins are light and softened, and the finish is short and very warm. A commercial wine for drinking now.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Trim Wines
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Omen Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Omen Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

California, United StatesOmen is one in a very long series of (oft) monosyllabic labels of "California Cabernet" or "California xxxx". The back label notes that Omen "This Is A Good Sign". And, to be honest, I entirely agree. These are self-identifying clues as to exactly what to expect from these overweight reds. And for wine drinkers looking for ripe, dark, potent, baller, sweetish red wine on the shelf, clues make these easy to pick out. The back label also notes the ingredients here: grapes, yeast and oak. Oxford comma pains aside, I would bet my last greenback that there are much more adjuncts here. All that said, this is one of the drier Cali Cabs in this peer group, and deserves much more than what the marketing department spun. Potent blackberry, cherry jam, red liquorice, black olive on a oak-drawn palate, with tannins softened (by nothing identified on the label), and finishing with a pasty, stuck finish. To aid drinkers, this "Pairs great with BBQ". 14.3 degrees alcohol declared.Prices: BC 44.99 AB 27.99 Producer: Atlas Wine Company
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Chop Shop Cabernet Sauvignon Superior Gradetext
82PTS

Chop Shop Cabernet Sauvignon Superior Grade 2012

California, United StatesSelf identifying back label of "Superior Grade Cab For Prime Cuts", and an appellation of California and a declared alcohol of 14.3 degrees is a pretty good indicator of what to expect: sweet, ripe, black fruited, sweet, wood influenced, soft, candied, short, warm, sweet. Tannins and finish are negligible, as are any chance this could receive a Real Wine seal. I truly reckon your Prime Cuts deserve better than this.Prices: BC 25.61 AB 21.95 Producer: Winc
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McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
84PTS

McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

California, United StatesThis rich, mouth filling red is sourced from California, spent up to six months in French and American oak and is primed for current consumption. Ripe black and red fruit, vanilla, cola is pressed with cedar plank tannins that finish choppy and pasty on the warm finish. Light smoke / toast notes suggest pouring alongside grilled burgers or sausages.Prices: BC 23.99 MB 22.99 ON 19.95 QC 18.35 NS 21.99 NB 21.99 PEI 21.99 Producer: McManis Family Winery
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Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

California, United StatesSweet, soft, succulent and spiced, this is an easy-sipping cabernet sauvignon with rich cherry, raspberry jam, strawberry jam and cedar. Tannins are worn soft, and the finish is tidy, both inviting drinking now and for a wide audience.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 18.99 MB 22.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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01 February 2019

Fowles Farm to Table Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Fowles Farm to Table Pinot Noir 2017

Victoria, AustraliaWith fruit sourced from across Victoria, this is a lighter bodied, darker fruited, floral pinot noir. After native ferment, this matured for five months in French oak (75 percent new). Amazingly, little to none of that new oak rears here, just all of the fruit and floral purity. Bright and crunchy red currant, cranberry, strawberry are framed with fine tannins, scented with violets and wild herbs, and finish with peppery spice. Lovely approachable and smart pinot for drinking now, and as the label suggests, it is very food friendly.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Fowles Wine
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Acacia Carneros Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Acacia Carneros Pinot Noir 2016

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United StatesAcacia has been making single vineyard labels for over 30 years, but this wine is a blend of fruit from two windswept, cool, estate vineyards in the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA): Lone Tree Vineyard from the rolling hills surrounding the winery; and Winery Lake Vineyard, a couple of miles away. Both sites are home to a diverse set of clones and soils. The fruit is dark by BC standards but cool and earthy with a mix of soft, silky, black and red fruits over a spicy, plummy underside. Ready to drink. Perfect for grilled salmon or duck sausage.Prices: US 28.00 BC 34.99 NB 34.99 Producer: Acacia Winery
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Bannockburn Vineyards Serré Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Bannockburn Vineyards Serré Pinot Noir 2015

Geelong, Victoria, AustraliaSerré is French for tightly packed, referring to the very high density vineyard meant to replicate conditions of Grand Cru Burgundy. This is Bannockburn's pinot pinnacle, a block of own-rooted MV6 (yes, the same cultivar that was propagated from the cuttings that James Busby sourced from Clos Vougeot in the 19th century) planted in 1984 and 1986. This was 15 percent whole bunch, native ferment for 19 days prior to pressing to French hogsheads (20 percent new) for 15 months, then racked into older hogsheads to settle prior to bottling. Fragrant and haunting black raspberry, dark cherry, smoked wild herbs, spiced rhubarb flow along the focused, finessed and lengthy palate, deftly framed by fine, firm tannins. The finish is long and salt rinsed, welcoming investigating with glass after glass. Beauty drinking now, but will continue to shine with cellaring.Prices: BC 97.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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Bannockburn De La Terre Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Bannockburn De La Terre Pinot Noir 2013

Geelong, Victoria, AustraliaDe La Terre - of the earth - is an estate plot selection of clones 114 and 777, on volcanic topsoils, mixed clay and sands over limestones. This high density planting on an east facing slope was inspired by Burgundy. Earthy it most certainly is, with mossy forest, mushroom and tomato plant notes that infiltrate the whole of this concentrated, medium bodied red. Stewed plums, dried roses, five spice, bay leaves and sapid thorns float atop, housed by iron-dusted, lightly sticky and very lengthy tannins. Perhaps its the age of this wine, but I'm missing the freshness this Geelong pinot so rightfully deserves. This was whole bunch pressed and aged in hogshead barrels for 20 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 78.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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Bannockburn Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Bannockburn Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016

Geelong, Victoria, AustraliaBannockburn was amongst the first to plant vineyards in the Geelong region, and now farm hectares of vines situated on three separate sites within their home estate. This is sourced from plots, blending clone MV6 with 114, 115 and 777, planted in 1976, 1997 and 2007. Native fermented, and 20 percent whole bunch, this spent 15 months in hogshead barrels, 20 percent new, before bottling. Proper autumnal, with forest floor, smoked cedar, bough, ripe raspberry tightened by sour red currant acidity, and lined with a cherry leather palate. Tannins are cocoa dusted and fine. Lovely elegant pinot of place.Prices: BC 71.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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Mayer Granite Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Mayer Granite Pinot Noir 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis pale cherry hued pinot noir is, as the name suggests, drawn from granite soils in the Upper Yarra Valley. There are two such vineyards in Yarra Valley; this one is Swallowfield. Native fermented in small open fermenters, this spent three weeks on skins before pressing off and leaving on lees all year, then bottled without fining or filtration, and with minimum sulphur. Fragrant raspberry, cherry blossoms, anise, and ripe wild strawberries are filled in with forest moss and floor, bound together with potent spicing and fine smoke. Though light in hue and body (at a charming 13 degrees), this feels intense and concentrated in the mouth, the finely textured, stony, firm tannins drawing this through a warming cardamom and clove finish. Elegant and finessed, very much in youth, this is ready for drinking now and will also be with a few years in the cellar.Prices: BC 79.00 Producer: Mayer
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Garagiste Terre de Feu Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Garagiste Terre de Feu Pinot Noir 2016

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, AustraliaOnly 60 dozen were made of this special reserve wine from Barney Flanders, sourced from 20-year-old vines in one corner of the impressive Merricks vineyard. Terre De Feu is a small lot release above and beyond his single vineyard wines. Entirely whole bunch, lightly foot trodden and native fermented in two barrels (one brand new) where it spent ten months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alluring from first whiff, with exotic cinnamon, pink pepper, star anise, rhubarb, sarsaparilla, sweet tobacco, black raspberry gently hemmed in with nubby tannins. There's a wild, sapid texture to the palate via the whole bunches that adds another dimension to the wine, one that trails off with campari allure. Very much in youth, and very much Mornington.Prices: BC 91.00 Producer: Garagiste Vintners
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Garagiste Merricks Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Garagiste Merricks Pinot Noir 2017

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, AustraliaDark raspberry is dosed with sarsaparilla in this Merricks Grove pinot noir, one shaded darker than many Mornington pinots, but with a very light and gentle touch. This was partial whole berry, and partial whole bunches, fermented separately and native, and then blended together for a long, relatively hands-off approach. Post ferment, this spent ten months in 300L barrels (20 percent new) before being bottled unfiltered. Sensual and silken, with forest floor, dried plum and kisses of wild blueberry that finish with cinnamon and amaro. Tannins are near negligible save for a slight muddiness, and acidity is fine but lofty.Prices: BC 54.00 Producer: Garagiste Vintners
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Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch 5 Barrel Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKitsch came out of the gate strong four vintages ago with their laser rieslings, as well as their packaging prowess (SAXX underwear are a past enterprise of 4th gen Kelownans Ria and Trent Kitsch). A smart hire of somm Grant Biggs as winemaker has solidified the winery as one to watch. This is their higher tier pinot noir, still sourced from their East Kelowna G Spot vineyard and clones 828 and 115. This, however, was native fermented, with 35 percent whole cluster before a twenty day maceration in stainless and aging in French oak (80 percent new) for eight months. As the name alludes, only five barrels were made. Darker and more structural shades of red than their standard pinot noir, this is bursting with lusty raspberry, morello cherries, wild strawberries, and forest floor, framed with textural tannins, and finishing with dusky pipe tobacco and light smoke. Lovely intensity and finesse in a darker shade. Well done.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Blomidon Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Blomidon Pinot Noir 2017

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaVery small amounts of this estate pinot noir was made, all entirely sourced from their Woodside Road Vineyard, and with time in French oak. Supple and smooth, with shining cranberry acidity, woodsy forest berries and peppery nutmeg and cinnamon spicing. The body is medium, as are the lightly sticky tannins, supported but never overwhelmed by the aforementioned wood. Enjoy with a slight chill and a braised turkey leg or mushroom dish.Prices: Producer: Blomidon Estate Winery
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Rathjen Cellars P + Gtext
91PTS

Rathjen Cellars P + G 2016

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaRathjen nails what many island wineries miss : bright, crisp, fresh, lighter-bodied wines from island fruit. P+G is a perfect example of just that. A blend of pinot noir and gamay, hinting at that other marginal cool climate region of Burgundy, and their Passe-Tout-Grains tradition of blending the two lighter reds. This was native fermented and aged in older French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a light red hue, this is aloft with bright cherry, herbal raspberry, perfumed plum, rasped with fine peppercorns. Acidity is brisk and crunchy and the body is comfortably lean at 12.7 degrees. Such a lovely example of island reds, and what others might aspire to. Impressive.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Rathjen Cellars
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Martin's Lane Fritzi’s Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Martin's Lane Fritzi’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFritzi's is a special site in the MHFE portfolio, named after owner Anthony Von Mandel's mother. It's located at the bast of Mt. Boucherie, a dormant volcano, in West Kelowna. This pinot is from a single block of the oldest vines, planted to clone 115 and on granitic soils. After a native ferment, this spent 17 months in French extra tight grained oak. Savoury, and muscular, with tight, dark black fruit and firm, fine tannins. This structural wine is coursing with energy in youth, and will reward with cellaring. This is the inaugural vintage of this wine.Prices: BC 150.00 Producer: Martin's Lane Winery
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Martin's Lane Simes Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Martin's Lane Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimes is a cooler, steep, north-facing vineyard in East Kelowna, with granite-based soils, and planted to pinot noir clones 943 and 667. The northern aspect is rare, giving this already cooler site some additional freshness. After a native ferment, the two clones (picked a couple weeks apart) were aged in extra tight grain French oak for 17 months (18 percent new) before being bottled unfiltered. This is the inaugural vintage for this wine, one of three single vineyard pinot noirs released in 2014. Reserved and tight black fruit, cherry is stencilled with fine grained spices and granite to a pencil lead finish. Tannins are firm, and there is great energy tucked into this youthful wine, ready to evolve with cellaring. Proper cool climate pinot noir, and an impressive one.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Martin's Lane Winery
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Martin's Lane Naramata Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Martin's Lane Naramata Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of a trio of single vineyard pinot noirs released in 2014, this is sourced from the volcanic soiled Naramata Ranch vineyard, at the far north end of the bench, and a mix of Pommard, 943 (the newer Dijon clone with small, oval berries and long bunches) and 828. After native ferment, this rested 17 months in French extra tight grain oak before bottling unfiltered. Generous on the elegant blue-fruited palate, with plum, boysenberry, black cherry, light kisses of smoke and black pepper. Tannins are softly silty, housing well the youthful fruit. Drinking very well now, and will age.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Martin's Lane Winery
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Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Synchromesh Storm Haven Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Alan Dickinson and Synchromesh is legend for riesling, they also produce high quality reds, like this estate single vineyard pinot noir, a blend of clones 777, 114 and 667. Alan made the decision to bottle this under the white label in 2017 because he incorporated some of his younger fruit in the mix, planted in 2014. Entirely different from the brooding, muscular 2016, this youthful, wild wine carries light earth, tight plum, raspberry and a rinse of VA, bundled in a light (10.6 degree), grippy style. Charcoal dust lingers on the finish. Entirely whole cluster, this rested in 50 percent new oak to counter the sharpness, smartly. Fun to drink now with a chill, and one to watch in future; unique for the Okanagan.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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