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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2019

29 March 2019

Francois Lurton Les Fumées Blanchestext
87PTS

Francois Lurton Les Fumées Blanches 2017

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceSmoked stones, lemongrass and a core of juicy ripe kiwi float this fantastic value sauvignon blanc from Lurton. Stony spice nips at the snappy finish of this medium-bodied, dry, smart white, one with a lees-plumped core. Previous vintages were labelled Vins de Pays du Comté Tolosan, though current years use Vin de France. Accessible French savvy, at a very affordable price.Prices: BC 14.99 AB 10.99 ON 10.95 QC 16.65 Producer: Francois Lurton S.A
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Serge Dagueneau & Filles Pouilly Fumé Traditiontext
88PTS

Serge Dagueneau & Filles Pouilly Fumé Tradition 2016

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceTheir flagship wine blends various blocks of sauvignon blanc to provide a snapshot of their Fumé Blanc site. After pressing, this spent a few months on lees until the following January when it was fined and then bottled in the spring. Tight, green and citrus, with hedge, grapefruit, and white flowers, this is a lean and streamline glimpse of savvy, seasoned with a savoury smoked stone, characteristic of Fumé. Austere, including direct pressing and maturing on its fine lees. It expresses exotic fruity nuances of grapefruit and other citrus but also the mineral richness of a « Terres Blanches » terroir.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 34.95 ON 34.95 Producer: Serge Dagueneau & Daughters
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Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandAlways reliable this is classic, commercial, Marlborough sauvignon blanc, from the wash of gooseberry and dill to the fresh citrus, lemongrass and herbal undercurrent. Lip smacking fresh, it cleanses the palate with every sip. Best with a touch of fat, even better with west coast steamed mussels. Favourably priced versus the competition.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 20.00 ON 20.00 NS 20.00 NB 20.00 Producer: Whitehaven
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Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Yealands Land Made Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandPunchy gooseberry, pink grapefruit, tropical fruit and tangerine in this assertive Marlborough savvy. Clinically crisp, preserved in stainless to hold freshness, and finishing with a warming flush. Simple, straightforward, textbook Kiwi sauvignon.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 17.00 MB 18.00 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NB 19.00 Producer: Yealands Estate
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Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumétext
91PTS

Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumé 2017

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceNervous and tight smoked stone opens this youthful, sprightly Pouilly Fumé, one lined with a cushion of lees to offset the strident acidity. Medicinal lemon, tangerine, Bosc pear stream along the narrow palate, fringed with smoke and crushed rock. This cuvée is a blend of wine from numerous clay and limestone hilltops of Les Loges, specifically La Cote and Les Griottes, both averaging 20 years in vine age. Super drinkable now in youth, and will mature into something profound with time.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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28 March 2019

Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serranttext
93PTS

Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 2016

Loire, FranceClos de la Coulée de Serrant is a 7ha monopole and sole French AC, one of the very few single-owner sites to garner its own AC. This special wine, of course, belongs to biodynamicist extraordinaire Nicolas Joly, and was first planted in 1130 by Cistercian monks on steep plots of shallow schist and quartz. There is nothing this wine could be except what it is. Harvested by hand over three to four weeks, the native fermentation lasts two to four months in tanks and barrels, after which the wine rests for six - eight months on fine lees in neutral 500L oak barrels (no more than 5 percent new). It’s bottled with a light filtration, no fining, and a low amount of sulfur. Distinctive chenin waxy / wooliness sets the stage for this full bodied (15 degrees) drink of white honey, beeswax, crystalline lemon, bracketed by bamboo slight sides that hold this wine taut. Yes, there's an energy, edge, and depth here that sets this savoury, bone dry wine apart, even in youth. This wine will last a decade+ easy in your cellar.Prices: BC 145.00 Producer: Nicolas Joly
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Weszeli Terrafactum Steingarten Grüner Veltlinertext
88PTS

Weszeli Terrafactum Steingarten Grüner Veltliner 2016

Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaThe Käferberg vineyard is a southeast facing clay/marl slope at 300m in the Kamptal. After eight hours of skin contact, this moved to old wooden barrels for native fermentation, a short time on lees before bottling, and a 13 month bottle rest prior to release. There's a heady puff of reduction upon opening that needs time air time to dissipate. In its wake, expect yellow fruits, chamomile, sour lemon, pear, honeydew, hedge, and kisses of gentle white honey. Bracing upright structure to a stony, bitter lemon finish. On the severe side, this tight grüner welcomes foods.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Weingut Weszeli
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Domaine La Rosière Jongieuxtext
87PTS

Domaine La Rosière Jongieux 2017

Savoie, FranceRiver stones, green apple and lees rule this light bodied jacquère from the cru Jongieux, in Savoie. Steep clay-limestone slopes of the French Alps keep this wine bright even though acidity is lower in the mild, subtle jacquère grape. Smoked lemon peel and white melon close out the short, snappy finish. Simple and honest, and ready to match your steamed clams or olive oil dressed pastas.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Domaine la Rosière
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Katxiña Txakolinatext
87PTS

Katxiña Txakolina 2017

SpainOpening with a light spritz, characteristic of the grape hondarribi zuri, and Basque tradition of txakoli. This light, brisk, youthful wine is consumed nearly entirely in the northern Spanish region surrounding San Sebastien, and ideal with the numerous briny / oily / delish seafood dishes that fill the colourful culture. Melon, green apple, pear skin is lit with aforementioned spritz and grounded with a slick of herbal lees, occupying a slight 11.5 degrees. Post ferment, this is chilled down to 4C, trapping some of the bubbles, and hanging out with the lees for four months prior to bottling. Best enjoyed young, fresh and well chilled.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bodega Katxiña
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Domaine Rolet Naturé du Juratext
89PTS

Domaine Rolet Naturé du Jura 2016

Arbois, Jura, FranceDomaine Rolet Pere et Fils is, at 145 acres, one of the largest estates in the Jura region, founded in the early 1940s by Desire Rolet. Naturé refers to the ouillé style in the Jura, meaning barrels are topped up with wine to prevent the oxidative character and flor yeast that is characteristic of classic Jura. Even still, this streams Jura, through its tight and focused core, clad with meadow herbs, nuts, lemon, plum, and rinse with a salt wash. From the winery's grey marl soils, this savagnin was fermented in stainless and aged 12 months in oak and stainless. Mellow on the savagnin scale, and drinking very well right now and over the short term.Prices: BC 38.00 ON 35.00 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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BK Wines Skin n' Bones Whitetext
91PTS

BK Wines Skin n' Bones White 2017

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaTight, salty and upright, this year's Skin n' Bones, a skin contact savagnin from Adelaide Hills (that's right) is much sharper than the 2016. Native fermented, followed by nine months bâttonage and ten total months in neutral French oak. Fresh and taut is countered with the leesy cushion of time, seasoned with salted nuts, quince, citrus pith along a striated, streamlined palate.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: BK Wines
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Road 13 Blind Creek Viogniertext
86PTS

Road 13 Blind Creek Viognier 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe, rich and round, this viognier came from the Similkameen, but the winemaking here renders that provenance unrecognizable. Whole bunch pressed and fermented in French oak (33 percent new) this then remained on the lees.with monthly battonage until the following May. Overripe peach, nectarine, butter, on the flabby and sweeter palate, finish off with a vanilla note and overarching impression of wood. Old school.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Road 13
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Penner Ash Viogniertext
90PTS

Penner Ash Viognier 2017

Oregon, United StatesThis is a very attractive, juicy, white but is it classic viognier? Maybe not so much, but I like this wine. From its honeysuckle and jasmine overtones to its bright, juicy attack with ripe, red apple, orange, and citrus zest before a swath of honey and lime wrap up a finish with 4.10 g/L of residual sugar. The fruit is a mix of 44 percent Crater View Vineyard, 24 percent RoxyAnn Vineyard, 18 percent Power Block Vineyard and 14 percent Sundown Vineyard, fermented and aged in stainless steel.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Penner Ash Wine Cellars
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Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lietext
87PTS

Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie 2017

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceMaison Bougrier is a family-owned négociant house in the Loire founded in 1885 and now overseen by the 5th generation. From the special slice between the meeting of the Sèvre and Maine Rivers, this was grown on clay and silex soils and within close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Crisp and light by design, with tight pear and green apple buffered by a lees-lined palate, helping counter the marine-laced acidity. Subtle and shorter on the light palate, this is an easy option for oysters.Prices: BC 15.50 Producer: Famille Bougrier
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Suertes del Marqués Vidoniatext
93PTS

Suertes del Marqués Vidonia 2017

Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainFrom Tenerife's volcanic soils and organically farmed old-vine listán blanco at 350-450m, this mineral-driven blend was native fermented in neutral 500 L oak casks, before spending another 11 months rest there. Finely textured, with a beautiful salt wash livening herbal lees flicked with flint, lemon rind and broken stones. A bracing grip of salted pear brackets the sides of this moreish white. Not about fruit at all, but entirely about place and time. A stunning, singular wine now in youth, and with ages to go.Prices: ON 48.00 Producer: Suertes del Marqués
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Heinrich Neuburger Freyheittext
91PTS

Heinrich Neuburger Freyheit 2016

Weinland Österreich, AustriaFreyheit means freedom, and signifies Heinrich's natural range of wines. That is evident in the hazy pour of this unfiltered / unfined white (the bottle recommends to shake before pouring). This is entirely neuburger, a crossing of roter veltliner and sylvaner, from loamy, chalky, sandy soils of Mönchhof and the limestone soils of the Leithaberg. After native ferment, this matured in large oak casks for 21 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Pine nuts and earthy, with a smoked peaty note, tangerine, lemon verbena, dried nettle, subtle quince and yellow plum blossoms. There's a whisper fine tug around the sides that refreshes the palate and keeps you wanting more. Reminiscent of pinot blanc, but with a welcome wild and cutting edge. Very interesting.Prices: ON 44.00 Producer: Weingut Heinrich
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27 March 2019

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA much more normal year, albeit with some elevated disease pressure, ended with a harvest of high quality. Of the vintage, Tinhorn calls “higher notable acidity and lower alcohols than usual with optimal ripeness achieved across all varieties." From Black Sage Bench's sandy soiled Diamondback Vineyard, and 21-year-old vines, this was primarily whole-cluster pressed into French and American oak barrels (30 percent new) and fermented naturally, while a portion is machine harvested and fermented in stainless steel and fermented with selected yeast. The wine was aged equally in oak, concrete and stainless steel until May before they were blended and bottled. Full-bodied and ripe with tropical pineapple, melon, baked pear and brown spicing with a cashew/butterscotch note. This will appeal to those who prefer a more opulent style chardonnay.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Chardonnay continues to evolve, reigning in the oak and brightening the underbelly. It's hardly electric, but the acid is better, and the mid-palate edges are sharper before a softish ending. Plenty of ripe apples and orange will hold your interest before a lemon lined, vanilla, leesy finish kicks in. The MHFE Reserve tier is sourced from the top 15 percent of their estate vineyards, with three-quarters of the same blocks used year over year to ensure consistency.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Ochota Barrels Control Voltage +5vov Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Ochota Barrels Control Voltage +5vov Chardonnay 2018

Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaTaras Ochota makes a lot of small batch, cool climate, Adelaide Hills wines, but this chardy stands out. From a wee plot of organically farmed Basket Range fruit, this is clone G9V7, basket pressed with full solids into one puncheon and seasoned French barriques where it was native fermented, underwent full MLF as well as weekly battonage for four months. This was bottled without fining or filtration, and only tipped with minimal SO2. Fully reductive by intent, with flint, saline and marine notes ruling over smoked lemon, thistle, medicinal citrus, salted brioche, grapefruit pith. Not about fruit, this is an intellectual puzzle as you try and unravel the flavours within (an Australian critic infamously referred to this wine as being like chicken stock + anus). Powerful and confident, this youthful wine can overrun the glass now; best with airtime, or better yet, cellar time.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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Ochota Barrels The Slint Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Ochota Barrels The Slint Chardonnay 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaThis cool Adelaide Hills chardy comes from 14-year-old organically farmed vines at 550m and on fractured rocky ironstone / quartz soils. After basket pressing and a native ferment on full solids in older barriques and one new puncheon, this undergoes weekly battonage for six months, and sees no MLF. Tightly wound and energetic, but gently cushioned and spiced by the rest in wood, this sings with green apple, verbena, lees, thistle and a wash of flinty salts on the finish. Lovely meyer lemon leads and finishes snappy and white honey kissed. This young wine grows with time in the glass, and in your cellar.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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François Mikulski Meursault Poruzotstext
93PTS

François Mikulski Meursault Poruzots 2016

Meursault, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrom 50+ year old vines sourced from the east-facing upper portion of the little known Meursault 1er Cru, Poruzots-Dessus, this is organically farmed chardonnay from brown silt over fractured rock, native fermented and aged in barrel (20 percent new). There is zero denying chardy is a chief terroir-transmitter when you taste this. A stream of tight and driving minerality beds this medium bodied, powerful wine, one with a slight and well-handled reductive intent. Lemon curd, smoked quartz, subtle white florals with a crystalline lemon finish. This stunner deserves to be opened in advance, or cellared for a few years. François Mikulski’s father was Lieutenant Mieczyslaw Mikulski, an escapee from occupied Poland in 1939, fleeing to England and joining the Resistance troops of the Free Polish Forces. It was there he met his future wife, a Burgundian working on an English army base. They moved to Brussels where François was born and raised. François spent his formative summers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with wine culture (fortunately for us).Prices: BC 167.99 QC 151.50 QC 151.50 Producer: François Mikulski
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Fort Berens Chardonnay 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of fruit, 79 percent Lillooet and 21 percent Boshoff Vineyard in the Similkameen, makes up this entry-level chardonnay that comes with fresh, green apple, pear, and grapefruit, and a touch of bitterness in the finish. Only a small percentage of this wine is aged in French oak for nine months, which seems just about right at this level. Crab cakes, sautéed prawns or buttered clams. Fair value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBig, toasty and buttery, this year's golden hued chardonnay blends five clones and 11-28 year old estate vines. After whole cluster press and native ferment (and 20 percent MLF), this aged on lees ten months in new to three-year barrels, as well as a newly introduced 2000L barrel. This is a wider, rounder chardonnay than the 2016, perhaps partially due to the foudre, higher percentage of MLF, or just the vintage. Big toast, yogurt, lemon curd, white florals, light smoke coats baked yellow apples and pear. There's a grippy smoke on the snappy, lightly warm finish. Well suited to creamy pasta or chicken dishes now.Prices: BC 20.90 AB 27.95 ON 24.95 QC 23.95 NB 26.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Bonterra Vineyards Chardonnay 2017

Mendocino County, California, United StatesBonterra is made with certified organic fruit from Mendocino County. Just over two thirds of the juice is barrel fermented in French and American oak and undergoes malolactic fermentation to create a creamy palate. The remaining fruit is tank fermented in stainless steel to preserve the crisp fresh fruit of Mendocino. Most of the wine is aged in older barrels or neutral oak containers, again to the let the fruit shine. The attack is ripe and rich with honeyed tropical fruit and a lemon crème brûlée-like undercurrent. Best with crab or lobster dishes, or with popcorn and a movie.Prices: BC 19.00 AB 19.00 ON 19.00 QC 19.00 MB 20.00 YK 20.50 NS 19.00 NF-LAB 19.50 SK 22.00 Producer: Bonterra Vineyards
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Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95text
86PTS

Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata Bench as well as Spearhead's home site in south east Kelowna, this chardy is ripe and thick with cream, lees, white peach, hazelnut, creamed corn, soft apple, and oak spicing. Oak is evident and omnipresent, battling it out, and eventually winning against the fruit. This was whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in French oak (40 percent new) for 11 months, and tastes every inch of it. Drink now.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Screaming Frenzy Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Screaming Frenzy Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn intriguing combination of sagebrush scented Okanagan chardonnay with strong floral undertones. The attack is creamy, mixing leesy, nuts, butter, whetstones and apples with just enough freshness to keep it all together. Serious entry-level chardonnay that makes a vital step past fruit into a more complex realm of flavours and textures. Ready to drink and food friendly. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer winemaker Chris Carson runs the chardonnay directly to press for a long, cool gentle pressing regime where only the purest, free-run juice from the early stages of the pressing are retained. The ferment begins in stainless steel with indigenous and cultured yeasts, and it remains there for most of the fermentation before it is moved to French oak (18 percent new) to complete. The wine sits on lees for 11 months without battonage while undergoing a natural malolactic fermentation. McLean Creek Road Vineyard chardonnay was planted in 1994 on two very different estate blocks, adding additional character to this impressive chardonnay. Citrus, nutty mineral, stony flavours attract before riding a long, linear palate of Okanagan freshness. Well done.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is green apple with dried apple core notes. The palate is raw, fresh cut green apple with a dusting of resin, citrus, vanilla and toasty oak. It’s definitely in an awkward stage. I recommend leaving it alone for a few months, or serve it with a creamy Indian butter chicken dish. The estate grown chardonnay was picked over four passes from mid-September until the end of the month. The fruit is all hand-sorted and whole-cluster pressed, drained overnight before half goes to tank and half into oak casks to ferment. Partial malolactic softens it a bit but does add texture, prior to it spending nine months ageing in oak. The oak is an 84/12/4 French, American and Russian, roughly two-thirds new and the remainder second use.Prices: BC 25.00 AB 31.00 ON 33.95 QC 35.75 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Perseus Select Lots Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Perseus Select Lots Chardonnay 2017

Penticton Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSelect Lots is a mix of north Okanagan fruit that spends ten months in American oak. This is more old-style than new, with rich, buttery, tropical fruit with a twang of acidity but not really enough to attract the serious palate. The finish is similar with a touch more citrus, honey and toasted. Ready to drink. Rich and rich is the match with the likes of lobster ravioli or double crème brie.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Perseus
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Long Barn Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Long Barn Chardonnay 2016

California, United StatesThis is a well-made, if old-fashioned chardonnay with rich, honeyed, buttery notes but there is some freshness in the finish to keep it balanced. Simple easy-drinking California chardonnay that would offer value on wine list. You can serve this solo as an aperitif or with your favourite fish cake recipe.Prices: BC 19.00 NL 19.97 Producer: Long Barn
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26 March 2019

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer winemaker Chris Carson runs the chardonnay directly to press for a long, cool gentle pressing regime where only the purest, free-run juice from the early stages of the pressing are retained. The ferment begins in stainless steel with indigenous and cultured yeasts, and it remains there for most of the fermentation before it is moved to French oak (18 percent new) to complete. The wine sits on lees for 11 months without battonage while undergoing a natural malolactic fermentation. McLean Creek Road Vineyard chardonnay was planted in 1994 on two very different estate blocks, adding additional character to this impressive chardonnay. Citrus, nutty mineral, stony flavours attract before riding a long, linear palate of Okanagan freshness. Well done.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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25 March 2019

Santa Ana La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Santa Ana La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis is a robust, introductory cabernet sauvignon from Argentina. The tannins are soft and supple, the fruit savoury and ripe with black liquorice, black cherries, toasted cedar and a slightly resinous finish. Like last year, it is friendly and affordable. Pour liberally around the barbecue.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 21.95 MB 17.00 ON 15.00 QC 16.50 NS 17.25 PEI 17.25 NF 17.25 NB 17.25 Producer: Bodegas Santa Ana
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Punto Final Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Punto Final Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Perdriel District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA problematic vintage marred by rain, hail, and cool conditions got a helping hand from lower production, but this is one to drink now. The Renacer Cab is always a bit resinous and more about red fruit, all of which is heightened in 2016. The oak tannins are drying in the finish, suggesting you need some grilled meat here. Hamburgers are probably the best match, especially at this price.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 16.99 MB 17.99 Producer: Bodega Y Vinedos Renancer S.A.
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Sunrock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
90PTS

Sunrock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom one of the southern Okanagan's special vineyards, this cabernet sauvignon stands tall and mighty even in one of the hottest vintages on record. After stainless ferment and twice daily punch downs for two weeks, this was fermented and aged in French (70 percent) and American oak for 14 months before bottling. Ripe and dense, for sure, with potent black cherry, cassis livened with a bright blue stony streak. Tannins are tight and stacked, providing appropriately youthful grip to the structure that will see this wine age well. Dusty dark cocoa, leather, twine lingers on the finish. Well handled, and presenting well now (especially with roast beef), this will reward with cellaring.Prices: BC 30.49 Producer: Arterra Wines
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Catena Alta Historic Rows Cabernet Sauvignontext
90PTS

Catena Alta Historic Rows Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe 2015 Historic Rows is a 95/5 mix of cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc fermented naturally, and spends 18 to 24 months in French oak. The fruit is pulled from historic rows within Catena estate vineyards that create what the family says is "a symphony of flavours". There are fragrant cassis and smoke aromas that draws you into a soft, dense, savoury, peppery, floral-fruited red with the telltale cabernet structure amidst its long, linear finish. This could use two to three more years in a bottle, or serve now with a steak and Caesar salad.Prices: BC 53.90 AB 49.52 ON 47.95 QC 48.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Hatchchild Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Hatchchild Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA surprising 2015 in that this presents on the underripe side. Could it be a classic example of too much heat causing the vines to shut down mid-season, and possibly too much smoke protection from the sun? Whatever the cause, the wine presents as a cabernet with not quite enough phenolic ripeness. A resinous, green attack with leafy, peppery, cassis fruit flavours, the tannins are not particularly hard nor are they ripe. Best grilled meats smothered in mushrooms.Prices: BC 33.99 Producer: The Hatch
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San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileThe harvest was more than a month early in 2017, a warm season known for yields down 20 percent, as well as several forest fires in the south. The 1865 is already a rich, structured version of cabernet sauvignon, but in 2017 it was intensified. There is less florality, more black fruit, and drier tannins with the same savoury boldo undercurrent. This is best with grilled meats, and likely will not need as much bottle ageing. Solid.Prices: ON 20.00 BC 21.99 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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Tarapacá Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Tarapacá Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileThis is Maipo Valley cabernet from the foothills of the Andes at the eastern end of Colchagua. It’s an impressive 2700-hectare property, with only 611 hectares of vineyards. 2015 was an excellent growing season, showing fragrant, savoury bay leaf, cedar-lined, red and black fruits with medium body, round tannins and exceptional freshness in this wine. Perfect for grilled or roasted beef or lamb, it is aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels, 15 percent new. The 70 acres devoted to cabernet sauvignon were planted in 1992. Good value.Prices: BC 21.95 QC 20.00 ON 17.95 AB 19.00 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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Noble Ridge King's Ransom Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Noble Ridge King's Ransom Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe super hot 2015 vintage has left an imprint on this cabernet with intense and ripe black and red fruit, and ample tannins tugging this wine along to a warm (15 degrees) finish. With a majority of Okanagan Falls estate fruit, along with what we surmise is a potent injection of south Okanagan fruit, this spent two years in French (75 percent) and American oak (25 percent), 80 percent of which was new. Thick and overtly ripe fruit mixes with leather, cigar and dark chocolate, finishing with a kiss of smoke. This giant, youthful, structural wine is best realized with a decant and rib eye now and hopefully will resolve with three to five years bottle ageing.Prices: BC 109.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reservatext
87PTS

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2017

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileThe eastern edge of the Colchagua Valley is home to these fresh, spicy cabernet sauvignon grapes. Deep rocky soils and warm, dry days cooled by nighttime mountain breezes make for an elegant style at a super affordable price. Post fermentation the wine spends eight months in French oak and is bottled one year later. Expect that classic Chilean red fruit, cassis, nose with herbal undertones. The weight is medium, the flavours a mix of berries and cedar. A perfect midweek red that is ready to serve with grilled meats or a pappardelle alla Bolognese. Good value.Prices: BC 13.99 AB 11.99 QC 14.70 ON 13.95 NL 15.90 MB 12.99 PEI 12.62 SK 15.60 Producer: Vina Santa Carolina
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Mission Hill Quatraintext
91PTS

Mission Hill Quatrain 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA quatrain is a four line verse, interpreted here with four harmonious grapes. In 2014, this was 44 merlot, 28 syrah, 14 cabernet franc, and 14 cabernet sauvignon, sourced from their vineyard estates in eastern Osoyoos (87 percent) and the Black Sage Bench. This was fermented in small French oak fermenters, and aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. The 2014 Quatrain is very structural, but finely so, with chiselled black fruit, tobacco, graphite, charcoal in a dense, energetic form. This is a big wine for sure, but smartly streamlined through the lengthy finish, with lightly sticky tannins correctly cupping the fruit. Really appreciate the direction this wine is moving. Ways to go, lightly sticky tannins.Prices: BC 75.00 AB 79.00 MB 65.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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22 March 2019

Black Swift Vineyards Hans Estate Cabernet - Syrahtext
90PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Hans Estate Cabernet - Syrah 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHans Estate Vineyard is located directly below the Mission Hill Oculus block on the East Osoyoos Bench. The blend is a very sexy 50/50 cabernet franc/syrah. The nose has an aromatic, perfumed edge with an exotic, fragrant five-spice/tea note that spills onto the palate. Youthful and slightly rambunctious, there is plenty of ripe fruit to embrace here and nothing grilled beef, lamb, or pork won’t subdue for the moment. Still, I would wait three to five years for the wine to really blossom. Well done.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Moon Curser Dead of the Nighttext
89PTS

Moon Curser Dead of the Night 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ‘16 growing season in Osoyoos was a dream. A warm start, cool middle and warm finish allowed the grapes to hang until the perfect moment. The fruit is all Osoyoos East Bench: Home Vineyard, Moon Curser Vineyard, Stubb’s Vineyard. The aspect is sloping south-west with loamy sand, silica and granite. The blend is 50/50 syrah and tannat, aged 70 percent neutral French oak and 30 percent new. Moon Curser was the first to grow tannat in the Okanagan at their Home Vineyard in Osoyoos in 2005. When you think about syrah and tannat, you think big and brawny, but this blend is relatively elegant with fragrant, (and in 2016) intense, pure fruit aromas and flavours reminiscent of plums and vanilla. The palate is equally intriguing with blueberry, black cherry and licorice running in all directions. It’s fun to drink now around the barbecue, but this needs five years in the bottle to settle into itself.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Hester Creek Charactertext
87PTS

Hester Creek Character 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCharacter Red is a blend of syrah, merlot, petit verdot, and malbec that spends 6-8 months in a mix of French and American oak. The aromatics continue to improve and the style continues to get fresher, showing less prominent oak in favour of brighter, more savoury fruit. The weight is up a bit as are the tannins, but it is all supported by dense, dark fruit, dried herbs, all dusted in vanilla and cocoa. Best now with grilled beef.Prices: BC 20.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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The Hatch Dynasty Redtext
90PTS

The Hatch Dynasty Red 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Dynasty is a made from select blocks grown at two formidable Osoyoos vineyards, Monarch and Hans Estate. The blend was syrah, malbec and merlot in 2016 and it’s all aged in new French barriques for 18 months. There is lavishness here that will attract a certain crowd now, but I would wait five to seven years to let this wine and this vintage show what it has. Winemaker Jason Parkes likes what the syrah and malbec add to the merlot. Syrah adds structure, black pepper and boysenberry, while malbec rounds out the blend with black cherry charm and luscious pluminess. Both also contribute fragrance. I am sticking with my previous chops recommendation, either beef, lamb or pork.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Marietta Christotext
89PTS

Marietta Christo 2014

North Coast, North Coast Region, California, United StatesChristo is an excellent example of an American Rhone Ranger. The blend is 60/22/14/4/ syrah, petite sirah, grenache and viognier, aged 18 months in neutral oak. Expect a dense mixture of dark, savoury, ripe black cherries and black raspberry laced with liquorice and spice. The finish is still sporting some grippy tannins that will require another three to five years in bottle to fully dissipate. Best now with lamb or beef.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 32.00 ON 31.00 Producer: Marietta Cellars
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Omen Red Blendtext
89PTS

Omen Red Blend 2016

Oregon, United StatesA modern California red blend of 50/27/16/7 syrah, barbera, petite sirah and zinfandel made by a French winemaker from the Languedoc. This is more along the sweeter, riper, fresh berry style with blackberry jam, licorice, and a green peppercorn finish. The texture is round and lush, and despite some young tannins and flavours, it makes it much more approachable at this point. Enjoy this with a bacon burger, meatballs, or a beef stirfry.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 27.99 Producer: Atlas Wine Company
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Rabble Red Winetext
87PTS

Rabble Red Wine 2015

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Rabble winery takes its name from a disorderly mob, fueled by passion, pushing the public to think differently. It makes sense when you see the label: a rendition of a circa 1400 wood block print from the Nuremberg Chronicle depicting the Apocalyptic Comet falling upon Florence with the Unicorn and Phoenix. The blend is grown at Mossfire Ranch in Paso Robles where its subjected to regular diurnal shifts in summer of 40◦ F. Surprisingly vibrant on the nose with intense black fruit and cedar with mocha undertones and warm spicy, rustic black cherry coated in soft, sweet tannins. Best matched to barbecue ribs with a sweet and sour sauce.Prices: AB 23.95 Producer: Rabble Wine Company
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Lunessence Duettext
84PTS

Lunessence Duet 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMedium-light red colour with earthy raspberry aromas, the attack is dry with herbaceous, savoury strawberry and a dry, somewhat bitter finish. The tannins are equally hard and dry. Not a lot of fun here. Back to the drawing board.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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21 March 2019

Kopke Ten Years Old White Porto Matured in Woodtext
91PTS

Kopke Ten Years Old White Porto Matured in Wood NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis white port has an enticing golden sheen and a complex, nutty nose with spice, bits of dried fruit and old wood notes. The attack is smooth and round with complex dried fruit flavours from front to back. We tasted this chilled and recommend it as a simple but highly elegant aperitif. You can also serve it with foie gras or a mushroom risotto. It’s very fresh for its age and would be perfect with a crème brûlée. Traditional Douro grape varieties, grown at up to 600 metres above sea level over schist and sandstone interspersed with granite. The age on the label is the average age of all the wines in the blend. It’s fermented on its skins in stainless steel vats at temperatures between 16-18ºC to give them the structure required for long-term ageing.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 22.99 QC 17.95 Producer: Sogevinus/Barros
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Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Porttext
91PTS

Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOtima 10 is a blend of 5 grapes: touriga nacional, touriga francesa, tinto barroca, tinta roriz and tinto cão selected for their ability to age. The wine itself spends an average of ten years in old oak casks, though parts of the blend can be up to 40 years old. Otima displays a golden red colour and a rich, smooth palate of golden raisins, fig newton centres, dried fruits, nutty butterscotch and caramelized sugar. The finish is seamless and long with enough acidity to remain fresh preventing a cloying finale. It's a contemporary look at Portuguese tawny best paired with walnuts, dried fruit and favourite cheeses.Prices: BC 26.99 500 AB 29.99 500 SK 29.07 MB 25.10 NB 29.79 NL 29.79 Producer: Symington Family Estates - Warre & Ca
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20 March 2019

Emmanuel Brochet Le Monte Benoit Extra Bruttext
93PTS

Emmanuel Brochet Le Monte Benoit Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFrom a small plot of organically-farmed land called 'Le Mont Benoit' in the village of Villers-aux-Noeuds and on the Vallee de la Marne's calcareous limestone soils, this was based on the 2015 vintage, with 20 percent reserve wines, and a blend of 35 percent pinot meunier, 35 percent pinot noir, and 30 percent chardonnay. Vinified and aged 11 months in wood sur lie, this then spent 24 months on the lees before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Though light on its feet, this makes a big impact, with lemongrass, anise, lemon peel, fine salts on a nervy, energetic palate with a deep lemony chalk base. Savoury minerality rules this wine, as it does all of Brochet's wines.Prices: France 50.00 Producer: Champagne Emmanuelle Brochet
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Françoise Bedel Origin'elle Extra-Bruttext
89PTS

Françoise Bedel Origin'elle Extra-Brut NV

Champagne, FranceBased on 2010, this biodynamic grower champagne is 90/10 pinot meunier / pinot noir, evident in the darker, deeper hue and aromas of mature cherry, raspberry that fill the glass. Cherry patisserie rules the doughy palate, tightly nipped in at the sides by a grip of lemon pith. This was disgorged in October 2016 after five years on the lees, furthering the development on the the palate. A weightier wine that well suits pork.Prices: France 40.00 Producer: Champagne Françoise Bedel
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Barrat Masson Fleur de Craie Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Barrat Masson Fleur de Craie Extra Brut 2015

Champagne, FranceChampagne Barrat-Masson extends over seven hectares of organically farmed vineyards in Bethon in Villenauxe-la-Grande, on the slopes of the Sézannais. Bright lemon and stones open this blanc de blancs from 40 year old vines. Soft on the palate, with a downy chalky texture, this is a subtle and slight BdB, with a lemon purity and charm through to the lingering chalky finish. Authentic and moreish. My bottle was disgorged in November 2018.Prices: France 45.00 Producer: Champagne Barrat Masson
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Champagne Dom Pérignon Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Dom Pérignon Brut 2009

Champagne, FranceFrom the warm 2009 vintage, they felt this was ready to release before the tight 2008, and was the first released out of chronological sequence. Dom Perignon was first released in 1937. Dom Pérignon is made with many grapes from Grand Cru vineyards, but always includes grapes from the original plot in the Abbey of Hautvillers where the monk worked c. 1700, which is classified as 1er Cru. This is roughly equal parts pinot noir and chardonnay, fermented and through MLF in stainless, using their own yeast strains for both ferments. The 2009 is a powerhouse, growing in breadth and depth in the glass. Brown butter leads the savoury cut through layers of complexity. Salted brioche, dried apple, toasted hazelnuts, lemon pith all come together seamlessly. Great finesse within great power, drinking very well know but will suit well your cellar for the next decade easy.Prices: BC 220.00 QC 250.00 ON 231.95 NS 224.00 SK 215.25 NB 210.00 YK 213.00 Producer: Dom Perignon
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Eric Rodez Dosage Zerotext
90PTS

Eric Rodez Dosage Zero NV

Champagne, France8th Generation Eric Rodez has been in charge of his family winery since 1984. Prior to that, Eric was cellar master for Krug, where he was responsible for Grand Cuvée. He farms 6 ha of Grand Cru fruit with biodynamic practices in Ambonnay. Tight and nimble, with oxidative sharpness cutting a swath through the green apple, bitter citrus, dried apricot, dried cherry and pear skin fruit. The palate is cushioned and the finish is long and spiced. From nine vineyards in Ambonnay, and vines averaging 36 years, this blends 70/30 pinot noir / chardonnay, based on the 2010 vintage and with portions of 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005 (30 percent reserve wines in total). 95 percent of this was vinified in small oak barrels, and one quarter underwent MLF. I find the non-dosé slightly jarring up against the ample reserve wines and oak vinification here, taking away from the elegance I associate with the house.Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Champagne Eriz Rodez
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Pol Roger Brut Reservetext
92PTS

Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceFounded in 1849, and overseen by family for five generations, Pol Roger Brut Reserve was famously Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne. Equal parts pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay, this was drawn from 30 crus across the Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, & Côte des Blancs. After a stainless ferment and full MLF, this ages four years on lees and includes 25 percent reserve wines. Creamy, lees led and brioche dominant, with green apple, toasty notes, high acid (easily enough to counter the 9 g/l dosage). Lovely meringue / marshmallow notes on the finish. A well-balanced classic.Prices: BC 69.99 ON 66.00 QC 63.00 NF 72.00 NB 65.00 BC 39.99 375 NS 67.00 Producer: Champagne Pol Roger
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Philipponnat Blanc de Noirstext
90PTS

Philipponnat Blanc de Noirs 2011

Champagne, FranceThe Philipponnat family have been wine growers and merchants since the 16th century, and own 17 hectares of vineyards, all worked sustainably, with horses and no chemical inputs. This powerful blanc de noirs is entirely pinot noir from first press juice from Premier and Grand Cru plots in Montagne de Reims, and estate vineyards in Mareuil-sur-Ay. After partial MLF in vats and no MLF for barrel-fermented fruit, this is blended and spends five to seven years on lees before being dosed at 4.25 g/l. Structural and firm, this brings tight cherry, clay, and slight toasty notes, reflective of its time on lees. There's a tight spicing that holds the finish stately. This well shows off pinot noir and its affinity for pairing with food. My bottle was disgorged in January 2018.Prices: BC 120.00 Producer: Champagne Philipponnat
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Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
90PTS

Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFrom a single Grand Cru vineyard in Cramant that Mumm acquired in 1882, the house sees this wine an historically important expression, purposefully reflecting this tradition with a folded corner label to reflect the hand-afixxed labels of the past. It is also bottled with lower pressure (4.5 bars), as were Champagnes of 100+ years ago. A rare cuvée made since 1882, the Mumm De Cramant (nee Cremant de Cramant) has only been available for sale since 1960. White florals, green apple, and toast is laced with tight lemon acidity. Lively and exuberant, with ample spiciness and toast through to the tight lemon pith/peel finish. The Grand Cru weight and heft is evident, as is the creamy elegance of Cramant.Prices: US 78.00 Producer: Champagne G. H. Mumm & Cie
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Michel Loriot Champagne Apollonis Les Classiques Authentic Meunier Brut Blanc de Noirstext
88PTS

Michel Loriot Champagne Apollonis Les Classiques Authentic Meunier Brut Blanc de Noirs NV

Champagne, FranceThe Loriot family are 12th generation wine growers located in Festigny since 1675 and music lovers, who play classical music in the vineyards and the cellars, believing the melodies have an enriching effect on the vines and the yeast in wine. This is doughy and ripe, with cherry brioche, raspberry, a lick of kirsch and fine spices, ending with milk chocolate. Soft and expansive on the palate, with fine spice nipping the finish. Left bank of the Marne, north. disgorged June 2014 - giving a bit of oxidative notes on the finish to this bottle at present. 9 g/lPrices: BC 55.99 Producer: Champagne Michel Loriot
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Jean Vesselle Oil de Perdrixtext
89PTS

Jean Vesselle Oil de Perdrix NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceThe orange-pink color of this “eye of the partridge” pinot noir-based wine historically was the hue of most Champagne made in Bouzy in the nineteenth century, and this is winemaker Delphine Vesselle's way of honouring the traditions of her Champagne-making grandparents. The wine’s singular hue is like the colour of a partridge’s eye. 15-30 year old pinot noir grapes are macerated briefly to extract colour then pressed, and native fermented in stainless before three years on the lees. This was dosed with 6 g/l. Red apple abounds, with a light pink florals and riffing apple skin grip around the sides. Quite creamy on the palate, with a subtle toastiness that lingers on the finish. Gentle.Prices: US 65.00 Producer: Champagne Jean Vesselle
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Champagne Gosset Grand Reserve Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Gosset Grand Reserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFounded in Aÿ in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne. For 17 generations Gosset was family owned, but in 1993 it was sold to the Cointreau family from Charente, owners of Frappin Cognac. The Grand Reserve Brut is sourced almost entirely from premier cru and grand cru vineyards (10 villages in total), with a cepage of 40/40/15/5 chardonnay / pinot noir / pinot meunier /pinot blanc, fermented in stainless, and with no MLF. Classic and stately, a tightly perfumed nose of brioche, lemon blossoms, green apple, pine nut opens this flagship brut. Though the palate still feels tightly structural and and highly strung, nearly four years on the lees base this wine. River stones and white flowers hum along the grippy finish. This bottle was based on 2010, with '11 and '09 playing supporting reserve wine roles. It was disgorged in late 2018 and is dosed with 8 g/l.Prices: BC 92.99 QC 73.00 Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Bruttext
92PTS

Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceMostly first press juice of mainly Grand and Premier Crus fruit, in this case, 65 percent pinot noir, 30 percent chardonnay and 5 percent pinot meunier, and 20 to 30 percent reserve wines aged in old barrels using a solera. The wine is aged on lees for thirty-six months, lending elegance with leesy, citrus, cracked stone savouriness. The palate is a mix of green apple, red fruits and notes of dried apricot. Best of all is its lengthy, salty, honeyed finish. Elegance befitting its Royale Reserve moniker that dates back to “the ancestors of the Philipponnat family, vineyard owners, wine-merchants and winemakers, suppliers to Louis XIV, magistrates and Royal Mayors of Ay.”Prices: AB 70.99 ON 60.00 BC 70.99 Producer: Champagne Philipponnat
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19 March 2019

La Celia Elite Malbectext
88PTS

La Celia Elite Malbec 2015

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaElite lives up to its name, coming from La Celia's La Consulta vineyard at 1100m. That impressive altitude easily holds the the 88 malbec, 8 cabernet franc, and 4 tannat heft aloft, buoying the near 15 degree alcohol. This is a smooth and blue fruited red with graphite, anise, cool rocks and darts of violet. The freshness rules this wine here, making it drinkable and interestingly so now, but also worthy to rest in your cellar for a few years.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Finca La Celia
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Corcelettes Malbec Micro Lot Seriestext
88PTS

Corcelettes Malbec Micro Lot Series 2016

CanadaThe 2016 malbec is the first single varietal malbec made at Corcelettes and it’s released under the Micro Lot Series. The fruit is hand picked from the furthest west block of their Similkameen Vineyard that bathes in the warm, late-day sun. The nose and palate are a delicious mix of black cherry and blackcurrants, reminiscent of old vine Sonoma zinfandel. It is juicy and there is a lively acidity to hold it fresh and focused. Well balanced and linear, it doesn’t try to bowl you over with weight or alcohol. Try this with grilled beef Argentine style with a chimichurri sauce.Prices: BC 31.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Finca El Camino Malbectext
85PTS

Finca El Camino Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaBright, fresh, dark fruit nose with an earthy, forest floor undercurrent. The entry is light with juicy, red fruit flavours. Simple stuff that is ready to drink. Try this with a beef stir fry.Prices: BC 12.00 Producer: El Camino Vineyards
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Narrative Malbectext
89PTS

Narrative Malbec 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis small batch of malbec was grown in Osoyoos in a vineyard bordering the USA. Destemmed grapes go into amphora and one 600L barrel, and post ferment the wine spent eight months on its skins before the vessels are blended into a single concrete egg. Dusky blue in profile, with blueberry, dark plum centring the core, and sweet wild blackberry, thorns, and a potent swing of balsamic seasoning. Fine, brisk tannins frame, and peppery spice finishes. Narrative is Haywire's line of wines involving purchased fruit and made to reflect the unique terroir of the Okanagan. Only 135 cases produced, and it's delicious.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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16 March 2019

St. Hubertus Great Canadian Redtext
84PTS

St. Hubertus Great Canadian Red 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a basic red wine made with fruit grown in the cool, north Okanagan Valley. A juicy red it mixes chambourcin, pinot noir and maréchal foch making a fresh, light, ready to drink red with a cedar, earthy, foxy, undercurrent. The winery suggests serving it with wild mountain mushrooms and steak.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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15 March 2019

Blue Mountain Gamay Noirtext
87PTS

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to the 2016, with soft, smoked raspberry and soupy forest berries on an amply juicy palate, one that finishes with a shake of dusty cinnamon and tightening swig of tobacco and bitter cherry. 10-28 year old estate gamay, across three clones, spent three weeks macerating and was native fermented, before one year in 225 and 500L French oak. There’s a space on the mid that I also noted in the previous vintage, which may be filled with food. I prefer this with a brisk chill now.Prices: BC 22.90 AB 26.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Pascal Aufranc Probus Juliénastext
88PTS

Pascal Aufranc Probus Juliénas 2013

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FrancePeppery, tight and unyielding, this gamay is sourced from the Les Crots climat, one with noticeably more clay which sets it apart from typical Julienas, and gives it a weight felt within its 12.5 degree frame. From 70+ year old vines, whole cluster pressed, and aged in foudre for ten months, this carries perfumed raspberry, pure plum, a rinse of astringent acidity and fine, peppery spice on a high acid palate. This structural, lighter wine benefits from being opened in advance, giving it some room to breathe and grow in the glass. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Pascal Aufranc
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Mayer Gamaytext
89PTS

Mayer Gamay 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaUpon first opening, this bottle is a bit too funky for its (or even my) own good. However, with airtime (or a decant), this reveals meadow, mossy forest, bay leaf, white pepper, on a lean, earthy red drawn from Roundstone Vineyard, a plot brought to fame when deBortoli made gamay here. Semi-carbonic, whole bunch brings this lightness and herbal freshness, lifting cherry, wild raspberry, above a tar, cigar, and tobacco leaf base. Drink now, with an adventuresome spirit. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Mayer
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Sorrenberg Gamaytext
92PTS

Sorrenberg Gamay 2017

Victoria, AustraliaMore of this please mate. Gamay is not widely grown in Oz, but if folks tasted this small lot, I reckon there would be a lot more. This gamay is from Barry and Jan Morey's small biodynamically farmed property on the edge of Beechworth. Low intervention and high attention to detail earns this charming gamay its cult status. After a wild ferment, this is basket pressed and rested in caves beneath the Morey house before bottling. Slight in body (13.3) and hue, with raspberry, dried herbs, tobacco, wild cherry, and bamboo-strong, upright tannins. A wonderful salt wash on the lingering finish makes this moreish. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 68.00 Producer: B & J Morey
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Ochota Barrels The Price of Silence Gamaytext
90PTS

Ochota Barrels The Price of Silence Gamay 2018

Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaSuch a charmer, and a characterful one at that. This Piccadilly Valley gamay is a blend of three clones planted in 1985. #GoGamayGo. However, a few years later, they were grafted over to chardonnay. Sad. But wait! In 2013, Taras convinced the grower to chainsaw off the chardy grafts and bring back canes from the gamay rootstock - and it worked. This resulting wine, made in very small lots (my bottle was 244 of 1208), is light and delicate, with wild strawberries, cherry, red fruit and flowers, bound with whisper-weight tannins and fine spices. Such an alluring wine, and at 11.8 degrees, an effortlessly smashable one as well (though, tragically much less so at this Canadian price).Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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14 March 2019

Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Franc Icewinetext
87PTS

Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Franc Icewine 2015

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPouring an auburn crimson hue, reflective of cabernet franc, this is a very sweet wine from vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula. Candy apple, raspberry leather, green raspberry, berry jam and a milk chocolate note - all things that would pair with a chilled glass of this. Would love to see more acid here to counter the fruity sweetness. Finishes with cherry chocolate. RS 235, TA 9.Prices: ON 99.95 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Mission Hill S.L.C. Riesling Icewinetext
90PTS

Mission Hill S.L.C. Riesling Icewine 2005

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn the heftiest icewine bottle I've ever lifted (this thing weighs as much as a 750ml), this Select Lot Collection riesling pours a light brown / pecan hue. Hard crack sugar, maple, roasted nuts and savoury nut oil is licked with anise and orange caramel on a full and silken palate. This is powerful, but remains elegant, in its mellow, sweet frame. Drinking very well now. 252 g/l RS, 9 degrees.Prices: BC 80.00 375 AB 80.00 ON 80.00 375 QC 80.00 375 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Reserve Riesling Ice Winetext
90PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Riesling Ice Wine 2008

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe last tasted this wine at GOW in 2010. It now pours a golden brown hue, with strong and intense sesame oil, rancio on the nose and palate. The oxidative character is better integrated on the very sweet palate, imbuing birch syrup, fresh pressed apple cider, salts, worn wood through a lengthy roasted walnut finish. I like the savoury element here to counter the sweetness. If you've in cellar, drink now.Prices: BC 60.00 375 AB 60.00 375 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewinetext
87PTS

Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine 2014

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNk'mip hadn't even finished pressing their red wines when a cold spell in early November had them picking icewine. Sourced from two vineyards in the southern Okanagan, this was stainless fermented for a month. It feels its short hang time with low complexity, low acid and a whack of sugar (238 g/l). Crab apple and tinned pineapple fills the short palate.Prices: BC 60.00 375 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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Inniskillin Okanagan Riesling Icewine Dark Horse Vineyardtext
88PTS

Inniskillin Okanagan Riesling Icewine Dark Horse Vineyard 2005

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's been 12 years since this wine was tasted at GOW. The wine is now showing a brown green hue, reflecting its age. Dilute maple, ash, Seville marmalade, butter, on a slender palate, the acidity just enough to pull this to the finish. Mellow to the max, and should be drunk now if you've still one in your cellar.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Inc.
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CedarCreek Platinum Riesling Icewinetext
88PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Riesling Icewine 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis has changed a bit since the last time I tasted it in 2015. Pear nectar, yellow apple butter, dried apricot, fine spice on a fatter palate, finishing with warmed sesame oil. After basket pressing, this was fermented in neutral French oak and then aged in barrel another five months prior to bottling. 11.5 degrees, 12.9 TA, 242 g/l RS.Prices: BC 53.00 375 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Vidal Icewine Reservetext
87PTS

Mission Hill Vidal Icewine Reserve 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuite different from the last time I tasted this wine, in 2014. Now this is pouring a deeper auburn tawny hue, rich on the syrupy palate. Dark maple, brown butter, butterscotch, with a tuggy apple grip on the sides. Tastes a bit tired; drink now.Prices: BC 50.00 375 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Sperling Vidal Icewinetext
90PTS

Sperling Vidal Icewine 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGolden in hue, with a silken palate carrying pear, orange blossom, baked yellow apple, tight spicing along the snappy finish. The ample honeysuckle lining the palate is lifted with a rise of bright citrus acidity and cut with a welcome slight savoury note. Less sweet than some of its contemporaries, and ringing in at 10.2 degrees, this makes for lovely drinking now.Prices: BC 55.00 375 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Reif Estate Winery Vidal Icewinetext
88PTS

Reif Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2015

Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaShining gold in hue, this is filled with warm butter, marmalade, pear nectar, tropical fruits and tight ashen spicing through the shorter finish. This was harvested on January 4, 2016, which is a curiosity for a 2015 wine.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Reif Estate Winery
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Gray Monk Ehrenfelser Icewinetext
88PTS

Gray Monk Ehrenfelser Icewine 2000

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a rich golden green hue, this is potent apple cider, focused and intense with marmalade, golden molasses, golden raisins, and pumpkin puree. Acidity is through the charts and lip-smacking, carrying the super high sugar content along to the finish. Not oft you taste a 19-year-old ehrenfelser icewine, but a wonderful curiosity.Prices: BC 49.99 375 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Saturntext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Saturn 2017

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis sauvignon blanc was late harvested by hand from 22-year-old vines in the very early morning of November 4, 2017. The fruit was gently pressed and fermented for 60 days in mostly old, neutral, French oak puncheons, and then aged on its lees until bottling. The nose is expansive, packed full of deep peach, apricot and floral notes that spill onto an intense lime, mandarin, pear palate that is intense and long with a beautiful juicy, spicy and savoury finish that pulls it all together. Wow; easily one of the best late harvest wines made in North America. Fresh fruit tart is the match.Prices: BC 28.90 375 BC 56.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Inniskillin Riesling Icewinetext
91PTS

Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the home of riesling icewine, the 2017 is enticing on the nose with an intense lemon, orange drawing you into the glass. The palate is awash in tropical fruit with bits of apricot and honey and terrific acidity that keeps it fresh throughout its long finish. Try this with pâté and chutney, or with baked apple desserts.Prices: Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewinetext
91PTS

Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaVidal is a consistent performer in the limited field of sparkling icewine, and using bubbles to animate its rich, cloying flavours is a stroke of genius. The nose is always busy with big, spicy, baked orange, and a dollop of honey that spills across the palate before those bubbles lift the ending. Ready to drink, and to celebrate this as one of the few unique wines in the world.Prices: ON 79.95 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanctext
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Hester Creek Late Harvest Pinot Blanc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe LH pinot blanc is all Golden Mile Bench fruit that in 2017 was picked in December and full-berry/whole-cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel. The ‘17 is a creamier/fatter style than the 2016, with sweet pear and peach. Ready to drink with a variety of desserts including fresh fruit, poached pears, lemon cheesecake and apple or peach crumble.Prices: BC 18.95 200 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewinetext
90PTS

Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2016 Nk’Mip harvested 9.72 tonnes of icewine, the largest crop ever, on December 8. The grapes pressed out at 38 brix and you can feel a slightly lower level of sugar after the ferment was stopped early at just over 8 percent alcohol. There are strong aromas of peach and honey with a touch of mandarin and apricot. There is a freshness here that invites you back to the glass. Crème brûlée is a fine match.Prices: BC 60.00 375 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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Inniskillin Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewinetext
92PTS

Inniskillin Sparkling Cabernet Franc Icewine 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSparkling icewine is uniquely designed for dancing on the palate, lightening what is intrinsically a rich wine. In the case of cabernet franc, it also helps to lift its low acid frame, pushing the sugar up, and giving it life. I love the richness, apple butter, caramel, powerful dark berry flavours and gentle acidity that comes with just a prickle of fizz. It's dessert in a glass. The process of sparkling an icewine is done during the fermentation, halfway through, when it’s moved to a pressurized tank to take on a hit of carbon dioxide. The result is almost magical, and 100 percent Canadian.Prices: ON 119.95 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Franc Icewinetext
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Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Franc Icewine 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaPretty light red colour, only from the pressing. The nose is aromatic with lifted strawberry and cherry, and the palate is a similar mix of intense strawberry with super fresh acidity. Perfect to pour over strawberries and cream. Ready to drink, but it has the acidity to age for a decade.Prices: ON 99.95 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon Icewinetext
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Inniskillin Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA softer, fatter style, this cabernet sauvignon icewine was conceived by winemaker Bruce Nicholson, following in the innovative footsteps of Karl Kaiser. The intensity is up, and the texture feels a bit softer and rounder than the cabernet franc. The palate is packed with bright strawberry, flecked with rhubarb and caramel and into a long, sweet finish. There is brightness to keep it balanced, but it’s a mouthful of wine. Best with chocolate.Prices: ON 124.95 375 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Grizzli Winery Cabernet Franc Icewinetext
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Grizzli Winery Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStarting to show some age, this cabernet franc icewine is one of the better I have tasted from Grizzli. There is a touch of tawny underlying a sweet mix of strawberry and ripe raspberry, with a pinch of spice. The finish is sweet and soft, suggesting pairings of ice cream, and chocolate. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 92.00 375 Producer: Grizzli Winery
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Grizzli Winery Merlot Icewinetext
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Grizzli Winery Merlot Icewine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the best icewines made at Grizzli, the merlot struts its fruit and brings just enough acidity to keep the party going. The nose is lifted with a touch of volatility mixed with black fruits, ripe dates, and figs, and the palate is soft and silky with a rush of sugar. As in their other icewines , there is a touch of rancio tawny here. This might be the wine for chocolate. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 115.00 375 Producer: Grizzli Winery
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Grizzli Winery Sauvignon Blanc Icewinetext
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Grizzli Winery Sauvignon Blanc Icewine 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmber coloured icewine with a tawny-like nose. Strange as it sounds, this is past its prime as icewine, but could be mistaken in another life for a super sweet tawny. Caramel, plasticine, shower curtain notes mark a silky sweet orange and caramel palate. Drink up.Prices: BC 78.00 375 Producer: Grizzli Winery
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Grizzli Winery Gewürztraminer Icewinetext
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Grizzli Winery Gewürztraminer Icewine 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to the sauvignon blanc, the gewürztraminer icewine is getting long in the tooth, showing notes of maderization mixed with mango and litchi. This is a little fresher than its sibling, but is best consumed sooner than later. Sweet and long with honey, vanilla, and candied almonds. Best drizzled over ice cream or cheesecake.Prices: BC 68.00 375 Producer: Grizzli Winery
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Stoneboat Pinot House Verglas Botrytis Affected Icewinetext
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Stoneboat Pinot House Verglas Botrytis Affected Icewine 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis gets my votes as one of BC’s top icewines. It doesn't get much rarer than botrytis oraniensteiner, and they are nailing it at Stoneboat. This yields a massively sweet wine that has some complexity thanks to the botrytis, or noble rot, adding layers of honey, caramel, apricot marmalade, and dried fruits. Add in the bright acidity, and this just sings. Delicious golden nectar.Prices: BC 36.90 375 Producer: Stoneboat Vineyards
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13 March 2019

Château Pesquié Ventoux Les Terrassestext
89PTS

Château Pesquié Ventoux Les Terrasses 2016

Côtes-du-Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceLes Terrasses is usually a 60/40 blend of grenache and syrah with traces of carignan, cinsault and mourvèdre. Only about a third of the juice is aged in oak for about six months but none of it is new. The style is modern Rhone with ripe and fleshy red and black fruits including raspberry, black cherry and mulberries punctuated with black pepper, bits of resin and tar with a dried herb/garrigue finish. There are tannins, but they are mostly silky. Try this with fire-grilled beef dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianzatext
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Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianza 2015

Rioja, SpainLa Montesa is a blend of the indigenous grape varieties that grow on winemaker Alvaro Palacios' Remondo estate. Montesa is named after a hillside vineyard located on the northeastern slope of the Yerga mountain in eastern Rioja. Alvaro, as only he could, described the wine as "flowing wide in the mouth and possessing the wild strength of the mountain from which the wine hails.” For a mountain wine, I am impressed by its balance and finesse, and the silky, vibrant, red fruit flavours with some exotic notes of orange, brown spice and peaches. This is a garnacha-based blend at its best. The garnacha/tempranillo fruit was field selected and then sorted at the winery, fermented separately in stainless steel tanks for a spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. After a 35-day maceration, it was aged 12 months in new and used French (90 percent) and American oak barrels. This is real wine and we enjoyed it with rosemary-scented lamb chops.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 25.99 QC 20.85 Producer: Palacios Remondo
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Mas Donis Negretext
88PTS

Mas Donis Negre 2017

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMas Donis Negre is a 50/20/15/10/5 mix of garnacha, tempranillo, merlot, syrah and samsó (carignan). Depending upon the grape, some spends a brief amount of time in French and American oak barrels, most in stainless-steel tanks. This is juicy, stony, spicy red with plenty of dimension and a small but important floral and mineral aspect. This nose is full of red cherries with garrigue dried herbs and some youthful grippy tannins in the back end. The perfect wine for street barbecues and patio entertaining. Great price; back up the truck. Especially good with lamb or grilled vegetables.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Celler de Capçanes
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Ortas Côtes du Rhone Le Dome du Grand Boistext
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Ortas Côtes du Rhone Le Dome du Grand Bois 2016

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceA light, fresh, warm, round almost sweet mix of grenache, cinsault and carignan is at the heart of this easy-sipping, ready-to-drink, Cotes du Rhône red from Le Dome du Grand Bois. Look for plenty of red and black fruits with a dusting of fresh garrigue and spice. Chicken is a classic match, but most Mediterranean ingredients work here.Prices: BC 19.95 MB 14.99 Producer: Cave de Rasteau
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Ortas Tradition Rasteautext
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Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017

Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceBright, youthful purple colour with a similarly lively, fruity nose and palate. A pleasing, soft, Rhone red that mixes grenache, syrah and mourvèdre with light mellow tannins. Best of all, it's dry, with just enough freshness to suit a variety of foods. Excellent price in Quebec; serve all summer on the patio.Prices: AB 21.95 MB 16.12 ON 17.95 QC 16.95 Producer: Cave de Rasteau
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Gratavinum Silvestristext
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Gratavinum Silvestris 2016

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainGratavinum Silvestris is a ‘natural’ wine in the sense that it is made the way wine was elaborated thousands of years ago using only fermented grape juice with the grape’s natural or wild yeasts and without any other additives. The fruit is grown in organic vineyards that have never received any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The grape blend is 85/15 garnacha and cabernet sauvignon grown over llicorella (slate) soils. Its fermented in stainless steel and aged in 400L new French oak barrels. Look for an intense black colour. The color is opaque. The attack is fresh and vibrant with pure red and black fruit with a savoury, mineral undercurrent. There are some tannins to disperse, but there is plenty of acidity to carry the weight for five to seven years. Roast lamb or chicken would be excellent matches.Prices: BC 55.91 AB 42.50 QC 42.50 Producer: Parés Baltà
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Thunevin-Calvet Maury Vin Doux Natureltext
91PTS

Thunevin-Calvet Maury Vin Doux Naturel 1998

Maury, Roussillon, South of France, FranceJancisRobinson.com describes Maury as Banyuls' inland cousin. The two expressive regions are positioned on either side of the lesser Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes areas. This is an impressive dessert wine from its slightly rancio, nutty nose, through its authentic tawny colour, to its sweet chocolate, cherry, black raspberry, coffee notes that expand across a silky-smooth palate, sporting a reasonable 16.5 percent alcohol. Tawny-like for those of you who enjoy port, and similarly it's probably as good as it gets the day it's bottled. Tasty. I suggest nutty cakes or well-aged cheese.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: Thunevin-Calvet
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12 March 2019

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
91PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere’s never very much of the Cuvée because it’s a small selection of winemaker Grant Stanley’s best barrels. The flagship pinot mixes a variety of clones 828, 115, 667, and Mt. Eden, each hand harvested and aged separately for 13 months in 40 percent new French oak barrels. The nose is cool, with floral, red fruit and spice notes. The mid-weight palate is a mix of mineral, saline, black plums, black raspberry with just a dusting of brown spicing. Round, soft, easy sipping, it will be best drinking over the next three to five years.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyardtext
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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyard 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Winery winemaker Chris Carson is the force behind this eponymous label that comes off the spare, free-draining, alluvial/colluvial soils of Todd Road Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. Another 2016 that simply delivers on all levels beginning with being fun to drink. Carson’s style seems just a little less serious then I usually see at Meyer, not so much in quality but in early-drinking/approachability, or maybe it’s the all 115 Dijon clones that bring rich, juicy, red and black fruit flavours with a savoury undercurrent and a silky finish, all at 13.5 percent alcohol. As I have said before, it’s reminiscent of a repass of Central Otago juice over Oregon skins. It’s indigenous yeast fermented, goes through full malolactic, and the wine ages for 11 months in one-third new French oak, one-third two-year-old, 16 percent each of three and four-year-old barrels.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Carson
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGentleman Farmer Vineyard, GFV, is Spearhead’s East Kelowna home vineyard. It’s a mix of clones 115, 777 and 828, native fermented and with a full three weeks on skins before resting 13 months in 25 percent French oak. This is a friendly, supple, easy-sipping northern Okanagan version of pinot noir that will attract a large audience (private wine shops take note). What it lacks in edgy acidity and tightness, it more than makes up for it with a sweetish mix of raspberries and cherries, pliable tannins and brown spice. Very different from the other single site pinots; ready-to-drink.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noirtext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Oldfield Reserve is a mix of fruit from the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile Bench. The style is rich, with warm, spicy, black cherry, black raspberry fruit that spills softly across the palate. More hedonistic than electric, this is ready to drink and would work well with any roasted birds, or mushroom dishes. The wine is partly whole cluster pressed, partly native ferment, and partly aged in new French oak for a year, prior to an 18-month rest in the bottle.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Spearhead Club Consensus Pinot Noirtext
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Spearhead Club Consensus Pinot Noir 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClub Consensus is a new pinot noir from Spearhead, one of five pinot noirs from 2017, and a blend decided upon by its wine club members. The folks decided on clones 667, 777, 828, native fermented, on skins for three weeks and then aged 13 months in French oak (25 percent new), a procedure consistent across all their pinots. The grapes came from their vineyards in Summerland and Kelowna. The style is soft, ripe and welcoming, with plum, raspberry, forest, roses and fine downy spice that fill the palate. As you might expect it’s a charming wine for drinking now.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvéetext
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Cuvée 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSalted black raspberry, cherry, plum, fruit leather, nutmeg leads this serious pinot noir, one of five released from Spearhead in 2017. This is from their home Gentleman's Farmer Vineyard in south east Kelowna, and a mix of clones 828, 115, 667 and Mt. Eden, all fermented native, solo, with three weeks on skins and 13 months in French oak barrels (40 percent new). Though in a broody, softer vein, this structural pinot is still threaded with acidity, keeping the heft at bay. Drinking well now, or over short term.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGFV refers to Gentleman Farmer Vineyard, Spearhead’s East Kelowna home vineyard. From here clones 115, 777 and 828 are native fermented, spend three weeks on skins and then are pressed into French oak (25 percent new) for 13 months. Dusky and muddled raspberry, cherry, sarsaparilla swing across the medium bodied palate, framed with supple tannins and finishing with cinnamon bark spicing and some bitter cherry notes. Soft and welcoming, on the blousy side, and for current drinking. This is a richer, warmer expression than the three single vineyard pinots.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyardtext
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyard 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich spicy, toasty notes with a whiff of reduction that disappears with time in the glass is imbued with cherry, raspberry, forest berry and intense, dried thyme. Well balanced this medium bodied pinot is spice and scented by pink-peppercorns and roses. The tannins are gentle and well integrated, and the acidity rises to match its 14-degree frame of alcohol. A lovely new addition to the Spearhead, eccentric, single vineyard pinots. From West Kelowna's volcanic-soil Coyote Vineyard is home to ten-year-old clone 115 vines, destemmed and native fermented with three weeks on skins. After pressing, this finished MLF goes through a 13-month stint in French oak (25 percent new). Drink or hold through 2022.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyardtext
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyard 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Golden Retreat Vineyard, this is one of a series of single vineyard pinots (plus two multi-site blends) that Spearhead (nee Spierhead) released from 2017. Darker raspberry, black cherry, dark earth is carried on the medium-bodied, cool palate to a savoury, Worcestershire-scented finish. There's a welcome tart acidity to lift this easily to the finish making it very food-friendly. A lovely wine for duck or rabbit. This one blends Pommard 115 and 667 clones, each native fermented with three weeks on skins before 13 months in French oak barrels, 25 percent new.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Black Hills Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Black Hills Pinot Noir 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new release from Black Hills is for wine club members only, and is a very strong reason towards signing up. From grapes grown across Naramata Bench, a proper area for pinot, this streams cherry, raspberry, pomegranate along a medium bodied, positively slender palate. Tannins are long, tobacco kissed, and fine, finishing with a gentle, alluring smoked orange sweetness. This spent ten months in French oak, twenty percent new, and one hundred percent integrated at this youthful time, which is impressive. There’s restraint here, which is so often missing in BC pinot noir. Well done, especially for a first release.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Black Swift Vineyards Palo Solara Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Black Swift Vineyards Palo Solara Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPalo Solara is another East Kelowna site in need of a sub-appellation. The vineyard is cool-sited, and has been sustainably farmed for some time. Suitably pale, the nose is an earthy, forest floor affair with savoury black cherry, and a touch of bitter/toasted almond and smoke. Still just a baby, this will need a year or two to gather itself and move forward. Low on fruit but big on style, it’s another piece of the BC pinot puzzle.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch bigger in the mouth than the Palo Solara Pinot, and sweeter, although it's more on the dry side of sweet fruit. Look for spicy black cherry fruit with an earthy, herbaceous, forest floor that runs through the finish. Smoke and toast flecked the final flavours. A touch rustic at this point, but another year or two in bottle should turn the tide. Drink now with grilled salmon or rich pork dishes.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: The Hatch
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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 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer Family Vineyards makes several single vineyard wines from both pinot noir and chardonnay. This is the latest from the home estate in Okanagan Falls: McLean Creek Road Vineyard. The sparse, sloping, sandy alluvial/glacial gravels and sandy loams support five Pommard and Dijon clones (114, 115, 91, 667, 777) each farmed organically, plot by plot. Destemmed and native fermented with gentle hand plunging, this then went into French oak (25 percent new) for 11 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Expect a lusty dark raspberry, plush cherry, sarsaparilla flavoured pinot wrapped around a ripe core sprinkled with leather and spiced cedar on the way to a warm finish. You can drink this now, but it will reward another two four years cellaring.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Tantalus Maija Pinot Noirtext
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Tantalus Maija Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEventually the ‘Juveniles’ grow up. They can be still youthful, but in this case, the young vines at Tantalus are growing up just like owner Eric Savics’ daughter. Maija is named for Eric’s daughter, and is the new iteration of the Juveniles Pinot Noir, made with a mix of Dijon clones. The colour is ruby red, the nose an alluring mix of raspberries and spice mixed with tea leaf and savoury earthy notes. The attack is sweet but tempered by acidity and well-managed tannins. It was a hot, smoky summer, but in the end the smoke retarded the maturation, working more like a sunscreen than something invading the grapes. The fruit is mix of home vineyard vines and a neighbouring vineyard. It’s all wild fermented before ageing in 20 percent new and seasoned French oak barriques for 11 months. It’s blended just prior to bottling. Best of all, it’s a bargain. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reserve 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNine months down the road this wine is just getting better in the bottle. Its been almost three years since I first tried this from barrel, and it continues to impress. It is the first Tantalus Reserve Pinot, ably marked by its gold Dempsey Bob mask and wax dipped capsule. Winemaker David Paterson makes a barrel selection from his top parcels, centered on clone 667 with lesser volumes from clone 115 and 828. The attack is sweet and round but with a delicate underbelly flecked with plums, black cherries, and wafting notes of raspberries dusted with cinnamon and pepper. Although it weighs in at 14.5 percent alcohol, the balance is perfect and as it ages it just seems to build on its delicate, sweet pinot personality. Forty percent whole cluster, native fermented and aged 16 months in all French oak (30 percent new). Can’t wait for the 2016.Prices: BC 60.95 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noirtext
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPinot noir struggles in the southern Okanagan, and this big, ripe, twiney pinot shows the strain of the heat, clocking in just under 15 degrees. From both the Black Sage Bench and Golden Mile Bench, this is partial whole cluster, partial native ferment, and partially aged in new French oak for a year, prior to 18 months in bottle. This 2014 is the current, new release. A flush of warmth on the nose and palate reveals baked red currants, cherries, raspberry leather, peppery spices, prune, and leather. Tannins are cedar sanded smoothed, and stick on the smoked finish. For drinking now; best with sauced pork.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Unsworth Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noirtext
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Unsworth Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a great follow up to the 2014 with that same spicy, black raspberry nose. The attack is mouthwatering with freshness combined with silky texture before the cool, spicy, intense red fruit fills the palate. Long, persistent, forest floor flavours mark its balanced finish. Should be a perfect match for a rich, fatty piece of grilled wild salmon. Love its cool demeanour and its 13.2 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Rathjen Cellars Pinot Noirtext
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Rathjen Cellars Pinot Noir 2015

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is such a delicious bottle of pinot noir it makes you want to jump on a ferry to Vancouver Island and visit this tiny Sidney-based winery, located minutes from Swartz Bay. The 2015 is textbook, cool-climate pinot with just an extra hint of ripeness due to the warm year. Bright, round, intense, crisp, steely, cool red fruits spill across the palate and persist for a long time. The blend is a mix of four Dijon clones from a single vineyard in the Cowichan Valley, fermented wild and aged 24 months in neutral oak. Bravo Michael Rathjen. Winery direct.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Rathjen Cellars
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSometimes it’s not what a pinot noir is, but it’s more about what it isn’t. The 2016 is subtle pinot on the nose with notes of earth and forest floor, just a dusting of black cherry fruit, and a hint of balsamic. Round, soft and dry this silky pinot is ready to drink with cream cheese and salmon, or pork and vegetable kabobs.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reservetext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reserve 2015

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA good example of the overall potential of East Kelowna is evident in this pinot noir. Quietly ripe with ample spice, this reminds me a bit of Oregon. I love the delicacy here, as well as the effort not to do too much, especially with oak. Raspberry, cherry, and spice with just a dusting of oak reveals the true nature of north Okanagan pinot noir. Less is more, and I like where this food-friendly pinot is heading.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: St. Hubertus Estate Winery
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Kitsch Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Kitsch Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKitsch came out of the gate strong four vintages ago with their laser rieslings and packaging smarts courtesy of a previous business venture SAXX underwear of the 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 from the seductively named G Spot Vineyard in East Kelowna and combines clones 828 and 115 grown over silty loam, sand and clay. There is ten percent whole cluster fruit in the mix that spent 18 days in maceration and stainless ferment before eight months in French oak. Slightly smoked forest berries, earth, cedar, leather, black cherry, wild raspberry are stencilled and a dry, yet supple palate. The acidity is bright; the tannins are featherweight. For immediate consumption with a wild mushroom risotto or duck pizza.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe reserve tier sources from the top 15 percent of estate vineyards, with an impressive 75 percent return rate to site year over year. This vintage sees 77 percent from estate vineyards in Lakeshore, and the remainder from Naramata, all with 11 months in French oak. Tight, lean and punchy, with cranberry / pomegranate on a strident frame, one with smoothed, smoked, cedar tannins. There's a pinch of bitter red fruit and balsamic on the finish that makes this wine appear drier and leaner than most local pinots. This will be best served with dishes rich in oil /fat to flush out the palate.Prices: BC 28.00 AB 26.00 ON 25.00 QC 26.00 MB 28.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Haywire Pinot Noir Canyonview Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir Canyonview Vineyard 2014

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove how this wine is still shining nearly four full years post ferment, and if anything, putting on a bit of weight. Canyonview is a 2ha vineyard on four east/west terraces facing south. The land slopes down into Trout Creek Canyon and is under constant air movement to cool the vineyard in summer and warm it up a bit in the winter. The wine was fermented in small batches with wild yeast, and underwent manual punch downs. It was then transferred to age in concrete tanks for 11 months. Sweet cherries with brown spices (like Russian River) further plump this pinot up beyond its normally cool roots. The finish is long and soft with sweet, smoky, raspberry jam notes, pipe tobacco and cinnamon. Very hedonistic.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJust released, the Meyer Pinot is made to drink while you wait for the richer, more complex family members. In 2017 the attack is juicy, the fruit fresh and red with bits of raspberry, pomegranate, and cherries with fine minerality and floral undertones. The textures are silky, which helps to cover up a short-ish finish. The fruit is sourced from the McLean Creek Road Vineyard (Okanagan Falls), Anarchist Vineyard (Oliver), Teasdale Vineyard (East Kelowna) as well as Naramata. Post maceration it spends ten months in older French oak. Duck pizza anyone?Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Haywire White Label Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire White Label Pinot Noir 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSoft on the palate but finely detailed with an ample thorny, pitchy grip, this earthy, medium bodied pinot noir is imbued with medicinal raspberry, black cherry, sarsaparilla, star anise and desert sagebrush atop a sturdy black plum base. From Oliver's higher elevation and organically farmed Secrest Vineyard (purchased by Haywire in 2018), this was native fermented in clay amphorae as well as concrete, with the former on the skins for nine months before the two parts were blended prior to bottling. A naturalist, unadulterated lens for central Okanagan pinot that may be less attractive fruit-wise for some but more complex, which will appeal to others. It is a bold move. This youthful wine deserves an equally bold match like duck or roasted winter squash.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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11 March 2019

Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraztext
92PTS

Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraz 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaCompared to Luke Lambert's 2017 Syrah (at double the price), Crudo Shiraz is meant to be a youthful, smashable, drink now and often red. That said, this is stamped with the authenticity and attention all Luke's wines carry. From organically farmed Tibooburra Vineyard's granitic sands seamed with volcanic topsoil, this was 20 percent whole bunch, native fermented, split between neutral oak and stainless for three months, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Charming from the start, with cracked peppercorns, wild blackberry, brambleberry, cherry blossoms, savoury dried herbs on a juicy, slight, frame. Tannins are fine but firm and long, running the length of this streamlined, moreish wine. Characterful and alluring, perfectly balanced for drinking now or short-term cellaring. Well done.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Mayer Syrahtext
91PTS

Mayer Syrah 2017

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis syrah comes from a small portion of Bloody Hill vineyard (named of the effort it is to walk up and down it each day) at the base of Mount Toolebewoong, averaging 200m and on gravelled sandstone. After a whole bunch native ferment in open vats, this spent 11 months in hogshead before seeing its first, very light sulphur prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Alluring from the start, with a perfumed raspberry, cherry, forest, and white pepper that infiltrates a slight palate, erect with black peppercorns and bamboo firm, lightly furry tannins. The mouthfeel is detailed, acidity is vivid, texture gripping, and result is entirely cool climate Yarra shiraz. Well done, and best enjoyed with a slight chill.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Mayer
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Bannockburn De La Roche Shiraztext
89PTS

Bannockburn De La Roche Shiraz 2015

Victoria, AustraliaA single block of old vine, close planted shiraz (10000 vines per hectare) this is Tahbilk R6WV28 clones and on volcanic debris soils, lending the block its apt name - translated as “of the rocks”. This was half whole bunch fermented with native yeast, with two weeks on skins before pressing and racking to puncheons (25 percent new), until the following August. Blue and black fruited, with a cool line of stoniness that runs through the finish. Blackberry compote, cherry leather rule the plush, heavier palate, one severely cut with the earthy twinge of whole bunch shiraz. Tannins are soft and sueded, and there's a potent red florals that pervades from top through finish.Prices: BC 88.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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Bannockburn Shiraztext
88PTS

Bannockburn Shiraz 2015

Geelong, Victoria, AustraliaFrom volcanic soiled vineyards, this shiraz was 20 percent whole bunch fermented and on skins for 2 weeks before 16 months in French oak (20 percent new) prior to blending and bottling. This was the first time the winery used whole bunch on shiraz, previously just utilizing it for pinot noir. Ripe and rich with sunbaked red fruits, potent red florals, cinnamon bark spicing on a plush palate. The whole bunches cut a knife edge green / branchy swatch through the overripe fruit, creating a little discordance on the palate. I reckon pork tenderloin would go a long way to amend.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Bannockburn Vineyards
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San Pedro 1865 Limited Edition Syrahtext
89PTS

San Pedro 1865 Limited Edition Syrah 2016

Elqui Valley, Coquimbo Region, ChileElqui has always been a formidable place to grow syrah, and if it wasn’t in Chile it would likely be a lot more famous. Chilean wine must be good value and cheap or retailers and sommeliers in North American and Great Britain will not sell the wine and even then, it’s mostly an afterthought. Too bad given the quality of many of these wines, this 1865 syrah being a case in point. The nose is aromatic and fresh, loaded with cassis, black plums and black raspberries with harmonious acidity. There is some prominent smoky oak but at this young age it is just fine. It's high altitude and cooler than just about anything in the market. A fine effort form a tough vintage. Best now with roast lamb.Prices: BC 39.99 ON 35.95 US 40.00 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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Baglio Normanno Syrahtext
87PTS

Baglio Normanno Syrah 2016

Sicily, ItalyFresh, open, aromatic nose reminiscent of blackberries and blueberries, with a resiny liquorice undercurrent. There is a sweet fruit character throughout before a chocolate, peppery, slightly bitter finish kicks in. There a rusticity here that works if matched by foods like grilled sausage or a meat ragú. It would also benefit form a couple of years ageing at this point.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Baglio Normanno
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08 March 2019

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafontext
93PTS

Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon 2015

Maconnais, Burgundy, FranceThis certified biodynamic chardy was from two older vine (25 year+) 400m parcels neighbouring Lafond's estate vineyards, and from clay limestone soils. After a native ferment, this aged in neutral large oak (foudres and demi-muids) until the following summer when it was bottled. Alluring wet stone, well-timed reduction is carved with tight acidity along a streamlined palate, leaving a chalky swath in its wake. Downy lees, meadow herbs, honeysuckle, light flake salts allude to richness, but the tight palate keeps this narrow and effortlessly drinkable now. Will reward further with cellaring. Excellent value.Prices: BC 41.00 Producer: Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon
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Di Lenardo Father's Eye Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Di Lenardo Father's Eye Chardonnay 2016

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyA bit old school in structure with smoke, hazelnuts, and lemon. The attack is creamier than you might expect, with baked apple, lemon, nuts, brioche, this weighty wine has layered flavours that have yet to melt together. The fruit is grown in the coolish Friuli-Venezia Giulia, at the foothills of the Alps. The wine is fermented and aged for three months in new American wood barriques and goes thorough malolactic fermentation. Solid.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Di Lenardo Vineyards
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Château de Béru Chablistext
93PTS

Château de Béru Chablis 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceChâteau de Béru is an historic estate in Chablis, overseen by 20th generation Athénaïs Béru and in her family's care for the past 400 years. When she came back to the estate in 2010, she converted the entire farm to organics and biodynamics. Béru is the highest hill in the area at 350m, and atop kimmeridgian rocky soils. For this wine, Terroirs de Béru, vines from the village of Béru, 35-40 years old were used, were fermented and spent 12-18 months in stainless steel, and was bottled without fining or filtration with minimal sulphur. This is an exceptional wine that embodies the energies of the estate, savoury with broken stones and shimmering with energy. Green apple, fine salts, dried herbs thread the downy lees palate, one that opens in the glass as it warms to reveal layers of mineral complexities. Beauty now in youth and will swan even more with age.Prices: BC 51.00 Producer: Château de Béru
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J. Moreau & Fils Chablistext
90PTS

J. Moreau & Fils Chablis 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceI love when the simple wines overdeliver. The thought of a picture-perfect simple Chablis in peak condition at an affordable price is almost too much to comprehend in the modern wine world. Light leesy, green apple notes waft from the glass. It has a bright, skinny, electric, taut, lean stony structure but with a sense of elegance. Buy it, drink with food, you will love it.Prices: BC 26.49 AB 26.99 Producer: J. Moreau & Fils
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Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablistext
89PTS

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis straight up, well-made Chablis is aged in stainless steel to deliver the highest amount of fruit, something that is always subtle, if not elusive, in Chablis. Bright and fresh with big minerality, citrus and resin, it remains a delicious, sipping seafood wine, be it with oysters, mussels, clams or simply-prepared white fish. Solid given the nightmare 2017 vintage, with frosts and heat spikes.Prices: CDN 37.00 Producer: Domaine Bernard Defaix
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Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Léchettext
90PTS

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Léchet 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDefaix, the largest owner of Cote de Léchet Premier Cru vineyards, works 8 hectares on the slopes near the village Milly, on the right backs of the Serein. The fossil rich soil is the perfect medium for chardonnay and this very impressive chablis. Citrus, resin, stony, steely minerals are at the heart of this wine, ready for drinking now. Think fish or poultry with creamy or buttery sauces.Prices: CDN 44.99 Producer: Domaine Bernard Defaix
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Louis Michel and Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésirtext
93PTS

Louis Michel and Fils Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis might be one of the ripest Vaudésir I have tasted in some time, even though it is situated on a north-facing slope at the far end of the valley. The vines average well over 50 years, which no doubt contributes to the intensity. Classic Kimmeridgian soils embedded with limestone pebbles and ancient marine fossils inject the vitality and minerality in the wine. A salty, stony undercurrent steadies the sweet orange and citrus flavours that draw you in and extend throughout the wine. Love the intensity and weight that suggest this wine will age gracefully. Dungeness crab anyone?Prices: BC 94.99 Producer: Louis Michel and Fils
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Louis Michel and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillonstext
91PTS

Louis Michel and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceA mix of climats in the Valvan Valley (some of which are 50-years-old) is the source of this Premier Cru Vaillons. The soil is a mix of stones and clay, giving the wine a stony, mineral bent with a touch of richness. The site is a heat trap, promoting full ripeness and spicy notes. The ferment is natural and long before ageing in stainless steel for 12 to 16 months. The nose is a classy mix of pears and hazelnuts with a linear citrus, mineral undercurrent. Just enough power to suggest its Premier Cru rank. Solid and capable of ageing through 2025. Serve with freshly prepared shellfish for best results.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Louis Michel and Fils
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Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon Cuvée Guy Moreautext
92PTS

Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon Cuvée Guy Moreau 2016

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Guy Moreau is made from very old vines planted in 1933 inside the cru Vaillon demarcation. Typically, the fruit is slightly riper that the regular Vaillon and in 2016 a difficult year for rot it appears to have emerged mostly unscathed. The nose is mix of salty/lemon aromas with bits of grass and fresh struck match. The attack is dry and juicy, with more lemon/lime mixed with ripe apple, oyster liqueur and chalky/seaweed/leesy notes. Good intensity and length with a touch of butter and oak in the finish. Drink now or hold through 2021. Freshly shucked west coast oysters are the best match.Prices: BC 65.99 Producer: Domaine Christian Moreau
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07 March 2019

Poet's Leap Rieslingtext
90PTS

Poet's Leap Riesling 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe historic Long Shadow of this wine is German Armin Diel, whose family has owned the celebrated estate of Schlossgut Diel, in Burg Layen, Nahe River Valley since 1802. Diel officially stepped back from the project in 2016 leaving all decisions for this vintage to the long-time facilitator and onsite winemaker Gilles Nicault. Despite another warm year and a ripe honeyed peach and mandarin nose this wine manages to eke out a sense of freshness on the attack. The flavours are mix of wet stone minerality and savoury (bitter in an effective way), green fruits. The residual sugar is non-existent at 1.1 g/100 ml. The 2016 blend is a mix of Columbia Valley vineyards, of which roughly half is from German clones planted in the Horse Heaven Hills high above the Columbia River. The acid contributions come from Yakima; ripe, powerful fruit from Sagemoor; and the savoury stuff out of the Columbia Gorge. With Diel out of the picture, can we get a screwcap on this wine?Prices: BC 33.99 US 20.00 QC 31.00 AB 31.00 SK 30.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Chester-Kidder Red Blendtext
94PTS

Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2014

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe soul of Long Shadows is Chester Kidder and the 2014 is looking like the best yet. It’s made with care by director of winemaking and viticulture, Gilles Nicault who macerates this red for over 40 days and ages it in 85 percent new French oak. The enticing, savoury, earthy, dry, blackberry scented red with well-managed oak, is fun to drink. The mix is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, and 6% Petit Verdot is somewhat reminiscent of some old Penfolds reds but with a bit more oomph. The palate is dense, but balanced, with a more linear character that focuses on a harmonious balance of fruit, acid and tannin to lead you through the finish. The perfect steak wine now, it will remain so for a decade or more. Impressive. Allen Shoup named this wine in honor of his mother Elizabeth Chester, and his grandmother Maggie Kidder.Prices: BC 87.99 AB 70.00 ON 69.00 US 42.00 QC 54.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Feather Cabernet Sauvignontext
94PTS

Feather Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFeather is a Washington cabernet sauvignon made by noted California vintner and king of Howell Mountain, Randy Dunn. In 2015, Dunn faced a super warm year and you can feel some of that heat in this, big enough to soak up 90 percent new French oak. The colour is an opaque purple but when the fruit hits your palate it’s less weighty than you might expect. The tannins are dense but fine grained and the balance is amazing. Black currants, licorice, toasted oak and smoky, earthy, charcoal, espresso notes speak to its youth and ability to age for a decade or two. Excellent wine.Prices: BC 94.99 US 65.00 AB 77.00 ON 85.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Sequel Syrahtext
92PTS

Sequel Syrah 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesAfter his time at Penfolds, making Australian icon red Grange, winemaker John Duval chose the Columbia Valley and Long Shadows for his “Sequel” and his continuation of a life-long association with shiraz. Duval, an expert and effortless blender of widespread fruit, works with several sites to make this complex, rich, meaty, powerful syrah. In 2015 the grape mix is 93/7 syrah/cabernet sauvignon from noted sites in the Yakima Valley and the Columbia Valley. Look for a smoky, savoury nose with bits of dark chocolate threaded through deep blueberry and blackberry fruit. It spends 18 months in 65 percent new French oak that calls for another decade in the bottle. If you can wait to drink this and I know you can’t serve this with a well-seasoned leg of lamb.Prices: US 60.00 AB 65.00 BC 77.99 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Saggitext
92PTS

Saggi 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe 2015 will be the last Saggi (wisdom) made by Italian icons Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari and it remains as big as a sangiovese can get, anywhere in the world. The Folonaris stepped back from the project in 2016 leaving the winemaking process to the highly talented in-house winemaker Gilles Nicault. Its intense cassis and black cherry nose spills onto the palate where the smoky, plummy, red fruit flecked with savoury, black licorice notes finishes soft and refined with small-grained silky tannins in place to carry this fresh wine through 2020. The blend is 62% sangiovese, 28% cabernet sauvignon, and 10% syrah all aged in French oak for 18 months (55% new). Like previous editions Saggi sangiovese is a blend of two vineyards: Candy Mountain lies in the Columbia Valley beside Red Mountain while the famed Boushey Vineyard sits in Yakima.Prices: BC 77.99 US 45.00 ON 85.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Pedestal Merlottext
92PTS

Pedestal Merlot 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesFrenchman Michel Rolland is the “long shadow,” behind Pedestal, a blend of Columbia Valley vineyard merlots: Wahluke Slope’s Weinbau and Stone Tree Vineyards dominate the blend, adding aromatics, bright fruit, texture and fine tannins. Conner Lee Vineyard adds richness, and Dionysus Vineyard grapes builds complexity. Despite the oppressive heat of 2015, sophisticated vineyard techniques have kept this wine fresh and elegant. Hand-harvested, double-sorted and whole-berry fermented in 1,500-gallon upright wood tanks has built the richness of the textures, propelled further by 22 months in French oak barrels (85 percent new). This is full bodied, the fruit is dark and savoury, and it's warm, almost too warm, but it is the texture that saves it. Dusty, round, smooth, velvety, dense and savoury, it's New World merlot with an attitude. Age this a decade.Prices: BC 95.99 US 55.00 ON 60.00 AB 65.00 QC 75.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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Pirouette Red Blendtext
91PTS

Pirouette Red Blend 2015

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesAgustin Huneeus, Sr. and Philippe Melka are the “Long Shadows” behind Pirouette. The 2015 blend is a mix of 65/21/11/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. British Columbians will remember the super warm 2015 growing season in the northwest that followed a warm, dry spring. The cool nights of summer were the key to saving this wine from being a monster providing the acidity and elegance to temper its warm, rich fruit. Like most years the wine spends 22-months in French oak barrels that are 75 percent new. The Red Mountain sourced cabernet sauvignon ferments in 400L French oak barrels that were gently rolled throughout fermentation. The other varieties ferment in traditional stainless-steel tanks. We love the savoury, northwest undercurrent which also helps to temper the richness and power of this Bordeaux blend replete with black fruits, olives and a stony minerality. This needs a long rest to be re-examined in 2022.Prices: BC 88.92 ON 75.00 AB 65.00 US 55.00 Producer: Long Shadows Vintners
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06 March 2019

Poderi Marcarini Barbera D'Alba Ciabot Cameranotext
89PTS

Poderi Marcarini Barbera D'Alba Ciabot Camerano 2015

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyDusky violets, floral raspberry, sultry plum, dark cocoa, sweet espresso, cherry imbue the palate of this charming barbera, sourced from La Morra and Neviglie vineyards, 300-380m altitude, and a mix of calcarious clay and manganese soils. This aged eight months in Slavonian barrels prior to resting in bottle. Ready for drinking now, most certainly with rabbit or veal.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Luigi Einaudi Dogliani Vitext
88PTS

Luigi Einaudi Dogliani Vi 2016

Dogliani, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis easy dolcetto is from the hills of San Luigi, San Giacomo and Madonna delle Grazie, in Dogliani. Eight months in stainless preserves bright red fruit: cherry, red currant, plum, all rinsed with balsamic astringency, and ending with a tight, quick snap. Acidity is bright, tannins are gummy, and the frame is narrow, all of which call out for food.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Villa Sparina Barbera del Monferratotext
89PTS

Villa Sparina Barbera del Monferrato 2016

Piedmont, ItalyFrom Piemonte's clay/limestone soils, and 300-320m hills, this barbera was stainless fermented and partially aged in oak. The wood provides a good framework for the bright blue fruit, led by plums and wild blueberries, and held tight with a refined stoniness, finely sticky tannins and bright acidity. This hums with light spices on the finish. A lovely, honest, drinkable, fresh red, belying its 14 degrees. Villa Sparina was founded by the Moccagatta family in the 1970's, and sweeps over 100 hectares of land, 70 of which are planted to vines.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Villa Sparina
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Forti del Vento Capoviatext
89PTS

Forti del Vento Capovia 2008

Piedmont, ItalyPiemonte's DOC Monferrato was established in 1994, and runs along a series of hills below the River Po in the south-east corner of the region. This flagship wine is made only in certain years when quality is high, is 50+year old dolcetto, and from the naturalist-leaning Forti del Veneto. Organically and biodynamically grown, and bottled unfined and unfiltered, this leads with damson plum, dusky blackberry, tobacco and a swing of balsamic. Tannins are are leathery, and acidity is high, streaking across the palate to a gentle warmth on the finish. Rustic and authentic, this well suits long boar braises and autumnal mushrooms. Fantastic opportunity to taste a decade-old dolcetto.Prices: ON 42.00 Producer: Forti del Vento
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Batasiolo Barolotext
90PTS

Batasiolo Barolo 2014

Piedmont, ItalyWe love how the newer Barolo vintages are so much cleaner and appealing on the nose and the palate – it is a long way from the old, earthy, barnyard, leathery wines that ruled the day in Barolo from the 70s through the 90s and beyond. Look for a light-ish colour, and an elegant mix of freshness, cranberries, cherries, violets with some resiny, savoury, tar notes before the long, lean, fine-grained tannins kick into the finish. Steak tartare is the choice today, but why not cellar this through 2022.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 32.99 ON 29.95 QC 28.95 Producer: Beni di Batasiolo
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Batasiolo Barbera d'Albatext
88PTS

Batasiolo Barbera d'Alba 2016

Piedmont, ItalyIt's been a decade since we have seen this wine. The nose is an aromatic floral mix of red fruits, violets, leather and spice with just a hint of tar. The attack is barbera fresh with prominent acidity followed by rich, dry, round tannins and subdued sweet and sour red cherry. This is a food wine, best served with meaty or mushroom pastas or risottos, or midweight cheeses. Drink or hold. Solid. Outstanding value for Italian wine lovers.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Beni di Batasiolo
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Terre del Barolo Pelavergatext
90PTS

Terre del Barolo Pelaverga 2016

Piedmont, ItalyPelaverga gets its own appellation known as Verduno in Piemonte where the 'piccolo' Pelaverga has been re-established honouring a history that goes back to the 1500s, when it accompanied Nebbiolo and Barbera in prime Piemonte vineyards. Terre del Barolo is a co-op, established in 1958 that has a respected reputation for quality, innovation and employing organic methods that has attracted some 400 members. Expect alight colour with a red brown edge, quiet, earthy red fruits with a fresh structure of delicacy and finesse. Quietly complex. Pair with classic antipasto dishes, light first courses and soups and youthful fresh cheeses.Prices: BC 34.99 MB 29.99 ON 29.00 Producer: Terre del Barolo
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Scagliola Mati Barberatext
89PTS

Scagliola Mati Barbera 2017

Piedmont, ItalyHow delicious is Mati? From the Calosso Province of Asti, this is grown at 400 metres, giving it a cool, fresh demeanour with aromatic red fruit coupled with dry, earthy, forest floor hints so prevalent in many Italian reds. It’s barbera and it's bright acidity is completely in tune with the region and the style. Think of raw beef dishes, roasted chicken or mushroom risotto. Fun to drink but this will cellar well for three to five years.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 17.99 Producer: Scaglioli
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Vietti Barolo Castiglionetext
91PTS

Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2014

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Vietti Barolo is made for earlier drinking, although its structure and dryness would be a shock to someone drinking most New World reds. This nebbiolo comes off several small vineyard sites across the Barolo region. The vines are 7 to 40-years-old and planted to clay-limestone soil. Everything is fermented in stainless steel and post ferment the wine is aged 30 months in oak prior to blending. Its surprisingly backward now, showing more earth and truffle than fruit, with touches of tar, spice, leather and florals with plenty of tannins to yet disperse. What it really needs is a year or two in the cellar to gather itself. Best with stews, game, roasted meats or mature cheeses.Prices: BC 94.99 BC 185.99 1500 Producer: Vietti
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Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Tradizionetext
92PTS

Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Tradizione 2013

Piedmont, ItalyThe grapes for the Tradizione Barolo come from premium vineyard sites in Castiglione Falletto, Barolo and Monforte d’Alba. The wine is blended and aged for 2 years in traditional large Slavonian oak barrels. The attack is rich and almost lush, at least as lush as a Barolo can get. The nose is open and almost a bit showy. The attack is full of bright cherry fruit, flecked with licorice, roses and even some chocolate. There’s still some tannins and acidity to resolve but this is quite modern in style. You could drink it now with roasted meats, but again we say wait a decade for a more interesting wine to grow into itself. Be patient it’s nebbiolo. Very good nebbiolo.Prices: BC 75.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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Marchesi di Barolo Barbarescotext
90PTS

Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco 2014

Piedmont, ItalyFiercely Barbaresco, the fruit comes from two vineyards in Barbaresco and Neive sitting over mostly clay and calcareous soils. Post ferment wine is racked into concrete tanks lined with fiberglass and insulated with cork where it remains until the malolactic finishes and its moved to 30 hl Slavonian and French oak barrels, and finally, into large classic Slavonian oak casks. Look for a bright fresh style with prominent acidity lending the rose aromas and cherry fruit a sense of elegance even at this young age. Firm, linear, and long this will need time to show its true potential leave alone until 2020 and beyond.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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05 March 2019

Antonio Scala Ciro Rosatotext
91PTS

Antonio Scala Ciro Rosato 2017

Calabria, ItalyThe Scala family purchased this Calabrian estate in 1949, and it is forth generation Francisco who oversees the business side of the winery, while his father, Luigi, makes the wines. They organically farm 18ha of indigenous grapes like this rosé from gaglioppo, the king grape of the Cirò region, drawn from 50ish year old vines on sandy/calcium carbonate/clay soils. Said to be one of Italy's oldest varieties, DNA studies have found that gaglioppo is a natural crossing of sangiovese and mantonico. A short stint in stainless preserves the fresh fruit. Pouring a pale orange salmon, this is tight and light with youthful herbal berry, heady sapid red florals, held taut with saline notes that carry this charming pink to the snappy cranberry finish. Dry, salty, herbal, and moreish, and at a welcome 13 degrees, smashable as well. Amazing value.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Francesco Scala
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Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Irpinia Rosatotext
89PTS

Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Irpinia Rosato 2017

ItalyThis very pale, very elegant rosé is from 15 year old aglianico vines in Lapìo, on clay and limestone soils around 400m altitude. Lacrimarosa translates as pink tear, referencing the slight hue of this gently pressed pink. A stainless ferment and short three month stint on lees keeps this fresher and more delicate than its warm Campania provenance might suggest. Very silken and salty, with crushed currants, wild raspberries, spicy peonies on the slender palate. Has the body and elegance to suit salmon tartare. The family owned Mastroberadino estate was founded in 1878.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Mastroberardino
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Medici Ermete i Quercioli Lambrusco di Sorbara Seccotext
89PTS

Medici Ermete i Quercioli Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco NV

Modena, Emilia-Romagna, ItalyCheerful and charming, this is a brisk, dry and refreshing lambrusco di sorbara, the acidity on pace to match the light youthful berry sweetness. Rosewater, cranberry, rhubarb finishes with that bitter cherry and balsamic Italian twist. The 11 degrees makes this lightly effervescent, light cherry hued wine even more smashable. Easy choice for summer fun, though I'm enjoying it equally mid-February. Located north of Modena near the village of Sorbara, lambrusco di sorbara is regarded as very high quality, producing the most fragrant wines.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Medici Ermete
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Crudo Catarratto Zibibbotext
88PTS

Crudo Catarratto Zibibbo 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis sunny blend of catarratto (the most widely planted white grape in Sicily) and zibibbo (muscat of alexandria) was fermented in stainless to preserve the bright, shining tropical guava, lime and pineapple, finishing with ample orange sherbet. Perfumed elderflower and scrubby rosemary give this off-dry white some fresh drinkability and grounding. Crack with papaya salad = smiles.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Mare Magnum
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Umani Ronchi Cùmaro Conero Riservatext
90PTS

Umani Ronchi Cùmaro Conero Riserva 2013

Marche, ItalyThe Conero Riserva is montepulciano, first produced in 1985 at Conero, Marche. The vineyard faces south‐east, at a height of about 150‐200 meters, sitting over marine formations of very deep, chalky loams soils. Cùmaro is central to the story of Umani Ronchi, created in the mid-eighties to celebrate the montepulciano grape. The name Cùmaro is a tribute to Mount Conero, komaros in Greek, which means arbutus: an evergreen shrub which grows freely in its woodlands. Sound familiar, British Columbians? It’s a well made red, with plenty of structure and weight. The black cherry is almost chewy in that rustic style, but with the proper food it can be charming and heartwarming, and of course it will age for another decade.Prices: BC 36.93 ON 29.95 NS 36.99 NF 35.99 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superioretext
88PTS

Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2017

Marche, ItalyNo big changes here, just bright, fresh verdicchio with a fruity, nutty, buttery nose. The attack is mouthwatering, calling for food, led by more citrus, butter, guava, peaches and minerality. The finish is taut and cleansing, giving it all the tools to work with seafood, pesto, vegetables and even spicy dishes. Terrific value in a real wine.Prices: BC 18.99 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Vino Lauria Frappato “Scoglitti”text
91PTS

Vino Lauria Frappato “Scoglitti” 2016

Sicily, ItalyLovely light crimson hue, with wild cherry, raspberry, white pepper through a finely grippy frame. There's a bed of dried strawberry and herbal raspberry bedding the slender body that is alluring and moreish. Form is slight, the finish is long and salty, and this characterful frappato is entirely smashable. From 600-1000m and the calcareous soils of western Sicily.Prices: ON 24.00 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Le Ragnaie Tronconetext
90PTS

Le Ragnaie Troncone 2015

Tuscany, ItalyMontalcino has an altitude limit in Brunello; it's not allowed to grow above 600m. This organically farmed sangiovese is grown from 620-655m altitude, hence it fell into the declassification of IGT Chianti Colli Senesi. In the early 2010's, the wine was too pale and wasn't even approved for that, so Riccardo Campinoti said BASTA and labelled the wines IGT Toscana Rosso. Troncone means stump, and was the nickname of Riccardo's grandfather. There is also a large stump in the sandstone, limestone and clay vineyard, giving this wine's name a double meaning. Ragnaie is the name of the vineyard, Etruscan for spiderweb, and reflecting the label and the netting that Etruscans would use to catch small birds. This is 13-year-old organically farmed vines, native fermented and on skins for two weeks in concrete tank, before resting one year in Slavonian oak casks, then back to small concrete tanks for six months prior to bottling. Authentic sangiovese, fresh and pure, reflecting the higher altitude, with young raspberry, cherry, thorny scrub, all seasoned with a resinous, wild rosemary salts. Ideal drinking now, or with a few years in your cellar. More like this please.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie
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Lezèr Teroldecotext
89PTS

Lezèr Teroldeco 2017

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyTheo Zierock is Elisabetta Foradori's son, and the scion of the Lezèr wines, experimental vin de soif in the same vein as his naturalist / biodynamic championing mother. The project came to be when a hailstorm severely damaged the grapes and Theo decided to try and make something of it. This is teroldego, fermented native in ten parts split between cement, wood, steel, and amphora, before four months on lees in cement. This charmer entices with young plum, wild raspberry blossoms on a lithe palate, with a whisper of tannins and a giant modicum of white pepper spicing. To be enjoyed now, with a chill. A lovely and worthwhile experiment.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Foradori
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Baglio Normanno Nero d'Avolatext
87PTS

Baglio Normanno Nero d'Avola 2016

Sicily, ItalyThis wine dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s for $17.49. The fruit is round and lush and flavoured with red plums and black cherries with a touch of tar and spice. Fresh, bright and ready to drink with chicken cacciatore pasta. Stock up.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Baglio Normanno
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Passori Rosso Venetotext
87PTS

Passori Rosso Veneto 2016

Veneto, ItalyPassori Rosso is 60/40 mix of merlot and corvino with a special richness thanks to a portion of the corvino being air-dried and the merlot getting some extra hang time. The nose is a melange of ripe blackberry and spicy, figgy notes mixed with oak and the requisite residual sugar in a warm finish. This is a big red for the price and is best considered with richer foods like lamb stew.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Passori
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Le Calvane Quercione Chiantitext
86PTS

Le Calvane Quercione Chianti 2015

Tuscany, ItalyVilla Le Calvane sits on the hills of the Montagnana Val di Pesa just outside of Florence. It has a fresh, high-acid entry with floral, (violet) notes and juicy, cranberry/boysenberry flavours. Light and skinny it’s best with simple dishes like pizza, beef and pasta or a chicken and mushroom dish. Ready to drink introductory Chianti.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 14.95 Producer: Fattoria Di Vicchio Sarl
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Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicellatext
92PTS

Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2013

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyTasted several times in the last two months, this modern, stylish Amarone brings power with finesse. Look for floral blackcurrant flecked with licorice and tar before a bright beam of acidity settles in. Balanced and rich, it finishes with plenty of tannin to suggest a minimum two-decade life ahead. Made from grapes harvested in several sites across Valpolicella, this is a blend of corvina, corvinone, rondinella, rossignola, oceleta, negara and dindarella, averaging 20+ years. The grapes are racked and dried for four months before a gentle press, a two-month ferment, a three year stay in Slavonian oak, and a six-month stint in bottle after blending and bottling. Teriffic value here.Prices: BC 48.99 AB 50.00 ON 40.00 QC 45.50 Producer: Tedeschi
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Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riservatext
88PTS

Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2012

Abruzzo, ItalyMontepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region of central Italy are at the core of this rich, red riserva. The nose has intense black cherry that spills onto a fresh palate with rich black cherries and liquorice root, followed by grippy tannins in the back end. This needs more time or should be served with roasted meats now for best results. The wine spends 24 months in oak casks and six months in the bottle before release. A great rustic pizza/pasta red.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Cantina Tollo
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Zidarich Roztext
88PTS

Zidarich Roz 2013

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThis is a blend of terrano, merlot and refosco del peduncolo rosso (the most prestigious refosco with the red stem) with 10-20 years vine age. This was destemmed, open vat fermented with native yeast in large oak, and then aged in Slavonian oak for two years prior to bottling without fining or filtration, and with no inputs. Plummy, with an etching of blue and black fruits and ample fine tannins that tug at the sides. There's a green branch swing that reminds of cabernet franc. Rustic and simple red ready for sausages.Prices: EU 20.99 Producer: Zidarich
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Zidarich Zi-Da Terrossotext
89PTS

Zidarich Zi-Da Terrosso NV

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThis unfiltered trad nat is from the Terrano grape. By trad-nat, I mean they've used a finished still wine and added fermenting must to kickstart a fermentation that finishes in bottle, combining traditionally made wine with a methode ancestrale (pét-nat). Lambrusco-esque in hue and feel, this is a brisk, frisky fizz with swings of balsamic, inky plum, briar and thorns, with grippy tannins that fuzz the sides and a brisk raft of acidity. Chill and chug, copiously, with charcuterie.Prices: EU 22.99 Producer: Zidarich
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04 March 2019

Vinhas da Comporta Vinho Brancotext
87PTS

Vinhas da Comporta Vinho Branco 2015

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalSituated on the bracing Atlantic Alentejo coast, and with 12500 ha (35 of which are under vine), Herdade da Comporta is one of the largest agricultural estates in Portugal. This a blend of indigenous grapes castes antão vaz, fernão pires, muscat, verdelho, and viognier, and reflects the hot, dry 2015 through its waxy and heady concentration. Dried yellow fruits, tropical notes, honey finish quickly on a sticky palate. Enjoy now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Herdade da Comporta
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Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Loureirotext
89PTS

Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Loureiro 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalLoureiro's ample florality here is hemmed in tightly, with Asian pear, green fig, lemon, salted melon on a lean, high acid palate. This has the freshness of many Vinho Verde, along with focus that many do not. This is from the Lima subregion and spends some time on skins before a long, cool ferment and short stint on lees in stainless. You may miss loureiro's inherent fruitiness in this example, though it's easy to admire the streamlined frame, especially as this opens in the glass. Anselmo Mendes is one of the top winemakers in the region, making wine under his own label since the late 1990s.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 19.99 ON 17.80 QC 17.30 Producer: Anselmo Mendes
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Luis Seabra Xisto Crutext
93PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Cru 2015

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. Rather than a single vineyard, this is a single soil field blend, sourced from two plots planted on mica schist in the Cima Corgo subregion of the Douro from 1920-1933, and between 400-570m altitude. After a native ferment, this field blend of rufete, touriga franca, malvasia preta, alicante bouschet and donzelinho tinto spent 11 months on lees, and 22 months total in older French oak. Big and structural, yet so well knit, with knotty purple and blue fruit, thorns, worn leather, salts, and dried florals on the savoury, long frame. Tannins are savoury and firm, though very well integrated even in youth. Much time to go ahead.Prices: ON 66.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Indie Xistotext
92PTS

Luis Seabra Indie Xisto 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. This blends tinta roriz, touriga franca, tinta amarela, tinta barroca, rufete, touriga brasileira, donzelinho tinto, malvasia preta and touriga femea, from a sustainably farmed, blue schist soiled single vineyard planted since 1950 and at 510m elevation. Native fermented, this spent 22 months in French oak barrels and saw very low sulphur additions throughout. This is a serious, structural, sharply savoury red, with crushed leaves, stones, thorns, clad in darker shades of blue and purple fruit. Grippy with white and black peppercorns and mineral salts through to the tight finish. So youthful, this has decade+ to go.Prices: ON 49.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitadotext
91PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. A field blend of six varieties planted across three subzones, Illimitado is a soil survey of the schist-driven terroir in the Douro. The 2016 Ilimitado blends touriga franca, tinta amarela, tinta roriz, rufete, tinta barroca, malvasia preta, and donzelinho tinto, all sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards planted from 1960-1980, and at 400-600m altitude. This was 30 percent fermented in stone lagars for eight days with foot pigeage, with the remainder in vat for just under one month, all whole cluster and native fermented. This was then racked to neutral barrel for a year, followed by five months in tank. Black cherry, olives, plum are threaded with thorns, salt, and leather, all in a very fresh, tight, mineral driven frame. This is a very textural, medium bodied red, with a fine buzz of stones that linger long on the palate.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Cru Brancotext
93PTS

Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Cru Branco 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own, leaving his own name on the wines of Douro. From sustainably farmed vineyards planted from 1920-1933 on mica schists at 650-700m, this is a blend of 70 percent rabigato, balanced out with codega , gouveio, and viosinho dozelino branco. After a native ferment in used tonneaux where this spent nine months on the lees, this was moved to old French barrels for a year without battonage or MLF. Smoked stones are potent and driving, with a good pillow of lees and grip around the sides to tuck it all in. This savoury white is not about the fruit, but rather all about the soils. So structural, with incredibly flirty licks, fine salts and kisses of brown butter that linger on the finish. There's an effortless lift that gives this effortless drinkability now, while intensity to last time in the cellar also. Douro whites are exciting, and this is one of the forerunners.Prices: ON 57.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinhotext
91PTS

Luis Seabra Vinhos Granito Cru Alvarinho 2016

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalAfter a successful decade as winemaker at Niepoort, Luis Seabra decided to break out on his own. From Vinho Verde's Monçao e Melgaço subregion, this is 1989-planted alvarinho grown on granite soils at 50-150m. As the name suggests, this is Luis Seabra's low-intervention expression of the relationship between grape and terroir. After a four month native ferment in two older oval 1000L vats and one new oval 2000L vat, all Eastern European origin, this then aged nine months on lees without battonage in aforementioned vessels. Green apple slices through this compact, tight, taut alvarino, with river water freshness and a fine bed of lees to cushion. Lemon, river stones, light honeysuckle hums along the palate with a tight shimmer of mineral and a fine grip tucking it all in. Serious.Prices: ON 40.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Portada Winemaker's Selectiontext
87PTS

Portada Winemaker's Selection 2016

PortugalPortada is made in the classic manner, fermented in stainless steel vats with twice daily pumpovers. Post ferment, the cap is plunged for 30 days as the wine undergoes MLF. The blend is big, mixing tinta roriz, alicante bouschet, cabernet sauvignon, caladoc, castelão, pinot noir, and touriga nacional. The colour is deep, and the nose fragrant with rich, aromatic, juicy, berries with a hint of smoke. Clean, bright style with firm acidity, it is best served with food. Hamburgers and pizza come to mind as well as beef tacos or cheese dishes. A super deal.Prices: BC 12.99 AB 10.99 Producer: DFJ Vinhos Lda
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Maçanita Tintotext
89PTS

Maçanita Tinto 2017

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalBrother and sister winemakers Antonio and Joana came together to make wines under the Maçanita label, their family name. This is a blend of touriga nacional, sousão and old vine field blend from the Cima Corgo, and is native fermented and with twenty days on skins before being split between neutral barrel and tank for one year. Bright blue fruits, ample plum, sapid rock roses on a full, yet fresh palate, one with fine tannins to house the stony, pure fruit. Drinking well now.Prices: ON 27.25 Producer: Maçanita
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