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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: May 2019

31 May 2019

Rivetto Nascetta Terracotta Vino Biancotext
91PTS

Rivetto Nascetta Terracotta Vino Bianco 2017

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. Nascetta is a historical semi-aromatic white grape, and the only white grape native to the Langhe. When Enrico started working with this near-extinct grape in 2007, only 7 other producers were using it. The ranks have now grown past 50. If that isn't rare enough, Enrico puts this into Italian-crafted amphora for extended skin contact and fermentation, for a total of 8 months. Very floral honeysuckle, lemon blossom, pear skin, quince, pine nuts is drawn tight along a very edgy palate, finely grippy around the sides. Quince oils linger on the long finish. This natural orange wine is molto moreish, interesting, balanced, and elegant. Wow. The label was created by one of Rivetto's children.Prices: Italy 30.00 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Loirano Soprano Barbera d'Albatext
92PTS

Rivetto Loirano Soprano Barbera d'Alba 2015

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. This is from highest part of the the 1944 Zio Nando (uncle Nando) vineyard at the top of Lirano Hill, and this special wine is not made every year. Enrico makes this like a Barolo, with three years of aging. Deeper, darker raspberry, with plum, wild blackberry, wild cherry. Tannins are finely grippy, and acidity is altitude lifted and precise. Very dense but elegant, with exceptional perfumed darts of roses throughout. Profound intensity, with a lovely restraint = the magic spot. Who knew barbera? Drinking beautifully now, but certainly cellar-worthyPrices: Italy 35.00 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barolo Leon Riservatext
89PTS

Rivetto Barolo Leon Riserva 2013

Barolo, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. This is a cellar selection of their best barrels, chosen for their potential for longevity. Leon Riserva aged for a total of 5 years at their estate before release. Deep and muscular, with evident oak time, swings of balsamic, brooding cherry, dried cherry and savoury cured meats. Tannins are strident and grippy even still. For the 2014 vintage, the winery will hold it back one decade prior to release. Enrico advises that this wine will be at its best after two decades cellaring.Prices: ON 137.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barolo Briccolinatext
93PTS

Rivetto Barolo Briccolina 2013

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. From a 15-year-old south west facing single vineyard in Serralunga, Briccolina translates as small top of the hill, and this exceptional half hectare site was their first to work biodynamically in 2015. It is their most prized single vineyard. The soils are rich in calcareous clays, with a profound marl presence running 2 meters deep. Briccolina was harvested in three stages over 45 days. This nebbiolo was destemmed and deseeded before native fermentation and 60 days maceration in wooden vats. The deseeding is a technique devised by Enrico to remove the bitter pips from the wine, resulting in a smoother, silkier outcome and what Enrico deems "noble tannins". This single vineyard Barolo displays exceptional elegance and finesse. Salts, iodine and crushed rose petals open this very long, structural and elegant wine, scented with tobacco and framed by very fine, grippy tannins. Haunting dried florals linger on the lengthy finish. Though drinking well now, this is really just a babe, and deserves to be cellared for a few years.Prices: ON 244.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Albatext
93PTS

Rivetto Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba 2015

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. 
From three vineyards in Serra, Manocino, and San Bernardo, all in the eastern corner of Barolo, and at 340-420m, this was harvested in three stages over 45 days. This nebbiolo was destemmed and deseeded before native fermentation and 25 days maceration. The deseeding technique is one devised by Enrico to remove the bitter pips from the wine, providing a silkier, smoother wine. Serious and structured, with ripe cherry, raspberry, violets, iodine and ferrous notes. Tannins are fine and grippy, running the long length of this wine to a peppery and mineral salted finish. Huge intensity, but with a gentleness, grace, and restraint, which is what top quality Barolo strives to be. Drinking beautifully now, but will reward with cellaring.Prices: ON 78.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barbaresco Marcarinitext
91PTS

Rivetto Barbaresco Marcarini 2016

Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. From a single, south-east facing grey marl and sandy vineyard situated between Treiso and Barbaresco, planted at 350m, this nebbiolo was destemmed and deseeded before native fermentation and three weeks maceration in stainless steel tanks. The removal of the seeds is a unique process Enrico devised, resulting in a gentle silkiness to the elegant palate. Pale in hue with glints of orange, with wild strawberry raspberry, roses and fine, firm tannins to a gently haunting finish. Drinking beautifully now, but with time ahead.Prices: ON 66.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Nebbiolo Terracotta Vino Rossotext
89PTS

Rivetto Nebbiolo Terracotta Vino Rosso 2017

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. Entirely singular; nebbiolo was native fermented for 2 weeks on skins, racked from gross lees, then back on skins until June, for a total of 8 months in Italian amphora. Bright and primary cherry, raspberry is lifted with crunchy acidity, and housed with tightly grippy tannins. 31 mg total sulphur. Only 1,000 bottles produced. The label art was created by one of Enrico's children.Prices: ON 59.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Langhe Nebbiolotext
90PTS

Rivetto Langhe Nebbiolo 2016

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. This nebbiolo, tipped with 5 percent barbera, comes from a west facing vineyard planted 340-400m on clay and limestone at the top of Lirano Hill, between Sinio and Serralunga d’Alba. Native fermented in stainless. This streams youthful strawberry, roses, herbal mustard seed, with a gentle pillow of raspberry filling the core. Fine, grippy tannins house the light, long, and nimble frame. This was their first certified organic vintage.Prices: ON 38.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Langhe Nascetta Boreatext
90PTS

Rivetto Langhe Nascetta Borea 2016

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. Nascetta is a historical semi-aromatic white grape, and is the only white grape native to the Langhe. When Enrico started working with this near-extinct grape in 2007, only 7 other producers were using it. The ranks have now grown past 50 producers working with nascetta. Historical texts liken it to the great wines of Rhein, with high acid and excellent ageing potential. From a north facing, sandy-calcareous vineyard planted at 400m, this was hand harvested, and macerated cool on skins for 72 hours before gentle pressing and fermentation in a concrete Nico Velo, without MLF. White honey, lemon blossom, quince with a slight welcome concrete-grip on the bright, medium-bodied palate.Prices: ON 47.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Barbera d'Alba Zio Nandotext
91PTS

Rivetto Barbera d'Alba Zio Nando 2016

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyYouthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. Zio translates to uncle in Italian, and the vineyard that forms an important part of this wine was planted by Uncle Nando in 1944. This youthful red uses one third of 1944 vines from a vineyard planted at 365m, on sandy, western-facing slopes. Native fermented in stainless. Cherry and plum fill the vibrant palate, bright with acidity, seasoned with peppery herbs, and hemmed with lightly grippy sides. Joyous.Prices: ON 47.95 Producer: Rivetto
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Rivetto Kaskal Metodo Classico Vino Spumante di Qualità Dossagio Zerotext
91PTS

Rivetto Kaskal Metodo Classico Vino Spumante di Qualità Dossagio Zero NV

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyKaskal translates as the way to the king in ancient Sumeric, referencing nebbiolo's nobility. Youthful, energetic, travelled Enrico Rivetto farms his family's estate with a philosophy beyond biodynamics, and towards complete biodiversity. For this unique wine, Enrico uses just the tips of the long nebbiolo grape bunches, handpicked one month before regular harvest. The remainder of the fruit is left on the vine to mature as normal for his nebbioli. This traditional method sparkling is mainly from the 2014 vintage, with 5-7 percent reserve wine from a solera begun in 2010. The wine is fermented with selected yeasts from a private collection pied de cuve in Epernay, and did not undergo MLF. Kaskal spent 45 months on lees before bottling with a zero dosage. Tight and focused, with lemon, anise, and vibrant acidity to a lingering, dry and snappy finish. This was disgorged in January 2019. Future vintages will have 60 months on the lees prior to release. Shockingly good, and incredibly unique. #justthetip.Prices: ON 71.95 Producer: Rivetto
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30 May 2019

Tantalus Rosétext
89PTS

Tantalus Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways a solid pink, Tantalus' 2018 rosé blends equal parts young vine pinot noir with mature pinot meunier, first planted on their estate in 1985. Pinot noir was whole bunch for lifted herbal aromatics, while the pinot meunier spent four days macerating on skins to give the wine its brilliant colour. Juicy and mouth filling, with rhubarb, cherry, rose fragrance, red currant tartness, and nutmeg spicing on the finish. Lovely gently fruity pink, perfect for this summer.Prices: BC 19.09 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Chic Fille Pinot Noir Rosétext
90PTS

Chic Fille Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChic Fille is Heidi Noble's natural wine side project, and this is her second rosé (the first was pinot meunier). Chic Fille can be translated as "cool girl", and certainly she's talking to all the cool kids with this line. From Skaha Bench's Con Vida Vineyard, planted in 1989, this is macerated overnight on skins to yield a pretty, French pink before a gentle press and separation of free run juice for a long three day cool settling. After a native ferment to dry in neutral puncheon, this was aged on lees for three months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur. Charming wild strawberries, raspberry kisses, young rhubarb streams buoyant, with lifted acidity on a bright, shining palate. There's enough orchard berry fruit to match the bright acidity in this dry, mature, super cool rosé. My favourite pink from the Noble Heidi so far. 50 cases made - go find some.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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JoieFarm Re-Think Pink! Rosé (iii)text
87PTS

JoieFarm Re-Think Pink! Rosé (iii) 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPerennially one of BC's top selling rosés, this year's Re-Think Pink! blends pinot noir, gamay, pinot gris, and pinot meunier, from Skaha, Kelowna, Keremeos and Naramata. Each variety was crushed, cold soaked, pressed, and vinified separately before blending. Juicy watermelon, strawberry, cherry jam fills this glycerol-slicked rosé, nice and plump with candied fruit and dusted with sweet spices. Easy and welcoming, with a swell of easy acidity to match the bump of RS, this is yet again a friendly pink, and will be a very popular one this summer.Prices: BC 23.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Ramblin' Rosetext
88PTS

Ramblin' Rose 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRamblin’ Rosé is an Okanagan Crush Pad special release for Save-on-Foods. It’s a fun fruity affair with texture and mouthfeel thanks to a fermentation and ageing process in concrete. The juice is mostly pinot noir that was saignée from various tanks at the winery, from a variety of vineyards across the Okanagan. Not all the fruit is organic, so it’s not certified, but the ferments are all native and the ethos is natural with minimal inputs and stabilization, hence its light cloudy character. Finally, the ferment terminated naturally with six grams of residual sugar. The final blend included some viognier and gewürztraminer and the wine ended up with 10 grams of residual sugar, just enough to give it a fruity finish. This is the perfect bottle for spicy tuna sushi. The more you buy the cheaper it gets at Save-on-Foods, so stock up.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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24 May 2019

La Marimorena Albarino Sobre Liastext
90PTS

La Marimorena Albarino Sobre Lias 2017

O Rosal, Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainI could stop at "La Marimoreno is a delicious albariño". But what about the flowers, the fruit, pear, mango all with a light dusting of lees, wild herbs and seawater? A perfect wine for west coast seafood. The fruit comes from the Rosal region near the mouth of the Miño River on the northern Spanish-Portuguese border. A lovely rendition of the fatness of albariño tempered by the acidity of Rosal fruit.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Casa Rojo
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Poggiotondo Vermentinotext
89PTS

Poggiotondo Vermentino 2015

Tuscany, ItalyPoggiotondo is Alberto Antonini's home base, and the vineyards here were first planted by his father. Marine origin soils bear this vermentino, a grape rarely associated with this area. That said, the grape (rolle in French), loves the Mediterranean climate and the sunshine, and works well in these rolling hills. Whole cluster juice is kept on skins for several days before heading to concrete tanks for fermentation. White honey, lemon, white peach, big spice and concrete grip around the sides bracket this medium-bodied, gentle white, one cushioned with a slick of lees.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Poggiotondo
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Lock and Worth Semillontext
91PTS

Lock and Worth Semillon 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSemillon is an unsung hero in BC, a rarity that I seek out. Most often it's blended with sauvignon blanc, but in BC, as elsewhere, it rarely stands alone. Lock + Worth is one of the sole producers that makes one, and a single vineyard one at that. For the first time, L+W's semillon is coming from Losthorn Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. Planted in 1995, this was native fermented in neutral French barrels before resting there briefly and being bottled unfined and unfiltered in January 2019. Though from a different vineyard, this reminds me of 2016, with a gentle, composed generosity to the palate, textured with sea salt, meadow grasses, thistle that extends long along the medium-bodied palate. Very youthful, this drinks well now but has a long future ahead.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Lock and Worth Semillontext
90PTS

Lock and Worth Semillon 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSemillon is an unsung hero in BC, a rarity that I seek out. Most often it's blended with sauvignon blanc in a white Bordeaux blend, which is generally very successful. In BC, as elsewhere, it rarely stands alone. Lock + Worth is one of the sole producers that makes one, and a single vineyard one at that. It is from Kelowna's Knorr Vineyard, planted in 1993 on clay, gravels and schist. After whole cluster pressing and a native ferment in 6-11-year-old French barrique, this rested on full solids in neutral French before being bottled unfined and unfiltered, which is evident in the cloudiness of this lemon-hued wine. Unlike 2016, or 2018, this vintage is pinched with bitter lemon and led by underripe pear; green apple slicked with a film of lees.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Albariño Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThat's right - BC albariño. This year's local lens of the classic Spanish / Portuguese grape seems to carry more wood than last vintage, with a toasty oak notes up front and present, propping up the ripe pear, peach, orange and golden apple fruit. This is a ripe, structural wine, relying on ripe fruit, lees, and wood to go the distance, though it's all compacted into an impressive 12.5 degree frame. From Okanagan Falls' Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard, this was destemmed, lightly crushed, cold soaked, inoculated, and split between stainless, concrete, French oak in eight different ferments. All were aged on lees for three months post ferment with regular battonage until January 2019 when they were reunited and filtered before bottling.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Semillontext
90PTS

Hester Creek Terra Unica Semillon 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSemillon is rarely seen in the Okanagan and most often pops up only in blends with sauvignon blanc, which is a shame. These vines were planted in 1997/1998 on Hester Creek's home vineyards on Golden Mile Bench. Whole berry pressed, this fermented long and cool in stainless steel (with a small amount in French oak) before ageing four months in the same vessels. There's a lovely restraint to this wine, and though comfortably plump in its medium-bodied frame, there's a whip of lemony acidity to sharpen the edges. Apple, lemon, grapefruit, quince and bright lime curd stream along the palate to a snappy tangerine finish. The acidity here gobbles up the 7g/l RS without issue. More of this, please, BC.Prices: BC 22.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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23 May 2019

Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reservatext
94PTS

Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2011

Rioja, SpainImperial is a unique brand from the historic Rioja estate of CVNE, the Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. They only make Reserva and Gran Reserva wines and boy, do they age magnificently. The 2011 edition is a complete wine that is still showing a lot of youth. The nose is beautifully perfumed with fresh and dried cherries, a sweet herbal and balsamic fragrance, and a hint of game and leather. The palate is loaded with plummy rich flavours, chocolate, rose hip syrup and a smoky cast-iron character. The flavours show more evolution than the nose suggests, with lovely mellow elegance and vinous, silky texture. The tannins are quite firm and grippy, but so fine-grained that they melt effortlessly into the dusty fruit. There are years of development ahead for this wine, and while it is lovely to taste now, it will reward patience. When you do open it, serve with an ultra-prime cut of beef or savour it alongside some fine aged Manchego cheese.Prices: BC 88.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Corona Blanco Semidulcetext
92PTS

Cune Corona Blanco Semidulce 2014

Rioja, SpainThis glorious little sweetie is a true gem from Rioja’s CVNE. Fresh as a daisy, it smells of heady white flowers, peaches and dried apricots. The honeyed palate has high lip-smacking acidity that refreshes the rich flavours of lime curd, almond cream and sugared herbs. It’s hard to imagine conditions for botrytis in Rioja, but don’t underestimate the significant Atlantic influence. Viura (85 percent), malvasia and garnacha blanco get positively afflicted with botrytis which you can sense in the wine with subtle smoky, toasty, dried fruit flavours. Perfectly pitched sweetness can work with blue cheese cheesecake, passionfruit pavlova, or even a thick chunk of rich pâté. I reward it with an extra point for rarity.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Cava Bruttext
90PTS

Cune Cava Brut NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis impressive cava is clean, elegant, fresh and satisfying to sip. Delicate white flowers start the aroma parade, joined by lemon, peach, and brioche. There is apparent yeasty complexity and absolutely none of the rubbery whiffs that mar some cavas. Brightly focused flavours of apple, stone fruit and pastry bounce on a pillowy mousse. Most impressive is a dusty, saline, limestone finish that shows a clear stamp of quality terroir. Priced in the premium cava range, but it assuredly belongs there. Pair with grilled peaches wrapped in Iberico ham.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Gran Reserva Riojatext
91PTS

Cune Gran Reserva Rioja 2012

Rioja, SpainLook carefully in the glass; this wine is holding plenty of pigment for its age, with a ruby core and just the hint of orange at the rim. Note the metallic blood and meat whiffs that change quickly to dried currants and sweet plums. It’s lifted and floral, with developed aromas of leather, tobacco, old books and tar. In the mouth is when you come to understand the leap in quality and concentration that Gran Reservas offer. Wonderfully focussed fruit flavours of ripe strawberries and dark cassis strut on a red carpet of cocoa, ink and savoury dried herbs. Both French and American oak has a voice in the wine, with notes of brown sugar and clove spice, nicely complimenting rich fruit and complex, leathery maturation character. The tannins are substantial and present from this low-yielding, concentrated vintage, but best of all, bright acidity illuminates the wine from inside. Gran Reserva wines are only made in the best vintages and must age at the bodega for five years before they are released, ensuring a base level of integration, harmony and burnish. It’s got years to go but offers much satisfaction now with a leg of lamb or breast of duck.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Vina Real Reserva Riojatext
92PTS

Vina Real Reserva Rioja 2012

Rioja, SpainThis wine looks pale garnet and mellow in the glass, and the aromatic nose confirms just what you hope for: a classic, earthy, developing Rioja. Captivating aromas of violets, raspberries, strawberries plus a lovely sweet greenness, and then come interesting notes of fine Cuban cigar combined with inimitable ‘library’ associations of old books and old furniture. The fruit tastes dark, ripe (the low-yielding vintage helps) and concentrated, with a perfect layer of subtle vanilla and spice. Medium bodied tempranillo’s trademark juicy acidity and finely textured tannins frame the wine perfectly without being obtrusive. Classic Rioja Reserva but with notable elegance, finesse and lingering length. Lamb stew in winter, and herby grilled lamb chops for summer.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Vina Real Rioja Crianzatext
90PTS

Vina Real Rioja Crianza 2015

Rioja, SpainFresh and super juicy, this Crianza embodies the classic Rioja balancing act with superb ripe red fruit, lively acidity and ripe tannins. Lovely berries and cream signal a familiar Rioja nose, with vibrant aromas of cherries, raspberries and currants. Of course, the sweet creaminess of American oak plays a vital role, mellowing and rounding the tangy tartness of tempranillo, while providing a velvety softness of texture. Vina Real evokes a popular traditional style, with overt earthiness, the fragrance of antiquity and clear Riojan identity. Vina Real is only ever made from fruit grown in the sub-region of Rioja Alavesa, where limestone clay soils and a mild climate yields lighter and elegant wines. The future of Rioja is all about focusing on sub-regional distinctions, and Vina Real has been doing this since the brand’s inception in 1920. Pair the exuberant fruit with spicy bbq ribs, or even blackened sockeye salmon.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Rioja Crianzatext
88PTS

Cune Rioja Crianza 2012

Rioja, SpainA precise hint of mahogany on the rim is what you’d expect in this developed red, and it reminds us that Rioja is built to age – even a value-priced Crianza-level wine like Cune’s 2012. Mature aromas of tobacco, damp leather and dried berries provide a nice contrast to some pretty vivid cherry flavours in the mouth, with spice, vanilla and coconut joining the festivities. There is a softness to the mild tannins (Cune pops their Crianza wines into used American oak for a year) and admirable harmony of fruit and oak. Light to mid-weight, this is a terrific age-mellowed wine to chill in the summer and share with a juicy lamb burger. One sip of this bargain helps you understand why Cune Crianza is Spain’s best-selling Rioja red in this price bracket.Prices: BC 18.99 QC 15.55 ON 16.95 MB 17.01 AB 19.95 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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CVNE Monopole Rioja Blancotext
90PTS

CVNE Monopole Rioja Blanco 2017

Rioja, SpainA sensational dry, crisp white wine with scents of white flowers, herbal perfume, and ripe apples charming the nose, before vivid citrus, green melon and tangy yellow plums wash over the palate. Texture is Monopole’s strength, with a lovely mouthcoating bees wax sensation, before it all tightens up into a snappy, dry, minerally finale. Viura is the high-quality white grape of Rioja whose flavourful nature and surging acidity keeps wines like this charmer fresh and exciting for food pairing. Monopole sees no oak, is a middleweight with just enough succulence for pan-seared halibut, and pairs with Spain’s great culinary gift to the world – Romesco sauce.Prices: BC 22.99 QC 17.00 AB 19.00 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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21 May 2019

Bordertown Merlottext
87PTS

Bordertown Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot gets a bad rap at retail, but merlot is an excellent choice from the south Okanagan where it quickly ripens. This estate version from Bordertown is all that and more with fragrant garrigue that wraps around a black raspberry core, seasoned with pepper and dried oregano. Soft and round, it finishes with a twist of bitter chocolate. Best with grilled meats, especially sausages, or meaty Bolognese sauce.Prices: BC 19.25 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlottext
86PTS

Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlot 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThick, wooded, rich and ripe with dense black and red raspberry cloaked by sweet, toasty wood. Unfortunately you can't taste the old Block 2 vines through the French and American oak for 16 months. As stands this lingers with potent fruit, vanilla, big spices, and mocha. Drink now, with roasted meats. Not a case of less is more.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Bottega Merlottext
86PTS

Bottega Merlot 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBottega is a new label from winemaker Daniel Bontorin, the man behind the Seven Direction rosés. The merlot fruit comes of the certified organic Kozier Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The '14 is dense and weighty with a lifted fruit nose and palate. At this point, it needs decanting and a piece of rare beef to take you past the early signs of volatility that dry out the long peppery, warm finish.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Bottega Merlottext
88PTS

Bottega Merlot 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted a year and a half down the road and this certified organic merlot grown at Kozier Vineyard on the Naramata Bench is looking good. The fruit purity is poking through the oak and richness of texture that reflects its clay-based soils, and its year in new French oak. It’s hedonistic and ready to drink. The fruit is black and savoury with streaks of licorice, pepper and sagebrush. Steak anyone?Prices: BC 47.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Lunessence Merlottext
87PTS

Lunessence Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA solid look at a more refreshing merlot style replete with red fruit. The attack is appealing with its juicy cherry and spice until some relatively grippy tannins kick in, signalling youth and rusticity. The wine spends six months in a mix of French, Slavonian and Hungarian oak, and six months in stainless steel. Lamb and beef are the call but have some fun with kabobs with peppers.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery End Game Merlottext
91PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery End Game Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Checkmate “merlot” project is slowly maturing aided by a string of fine south Okanagan growing seasons, namely 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 too. In the case of 2015, a super warm season, it proved to be a good one for reds if you had your viticulture in order, a specialty for winemaker Phil McGahan and the Von Mandl Estates viticultural crew. End Game comes off two, warm, southwest facing benches along the eastern side of the valley: Osoyoos East Bench and the Black Sage Bench. The soils are mostly sandy soils, but the rolling hillsides offer multiple exposures leaving McGahan with a selection of flavours and styles to blend. The fermentation is wild, and it's finished in the barrel where the wine remains in contact with its skins for 50+ days, building texture and complexity of flavour. McGahan is seeking purity of fruit and feels he gets that from the extended macerations times. The nose is warm in 2015 with sagebrush dusted blackcurrant fruit tones. The attack is similar with less red fruit and more black fruit in superheated 2015, but the texture and the melt in your mouth tannins keep everything in balance. Again the barrel regime is designed to increase complexing by using wood from two different forests and alternating air-dried staves with complexing the wine. Soft round rich and mouth-filling it finishes with a spicy licorice long run. Many will drink this now a steak, but you could store this three to even years and allow it to become all that it can be.Prices: BC 85.00 BC 196.00 1500 BC 439.00 BC 989.00 6000 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Silent Bishop Merlottext
93PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Silent Bishop Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Silent Bishop accentuates the vagaries of the site in the south Okanagan. It comes from the cooler western benches of the south Okanagan under Mount Kobau. It gets the gentle early morning sun, and at 49 degrees north that could be as early as 5 am all summer but escapes the baking late day rays when the sun slips behind Kobau in the late afternoon. In all, three separate sites figure in the Silent Bishop: Oliver North, Golden Mile and Osoyoos West. Even in the superheated 2015, you pick up the less is more style of the Silent Bishop. The entry is delicate, the weight medium, the tannins and texture silky and the blueberry/black raspberry fruit surprisingly fresh. It’s only in the finish where you notice the spice and heat inherent in the vintage although for many it will be a plus. Like the End Game, you can drink this now, but it will improve through 2022. Perfect now with a lamb osso buco dish.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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Painted Rock Merlottext
91PTS

Painted Rock Merlot 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGiven how warm 2015 was in the Okanagan, 14.7 percent alcohol seems miraculous for this southwest facing site that is drenched in sunlight until very late in the evening. The blend is one of clones 181 and 347 and three blocks from within the estate vineyard located on the newly minted Skaha Bench. The picking began on October 8, and after a 4-day cold soak, the fruit was fermented for three weeks on the skins before ageing 18 months in oak of which only 30 percent was new. The style is earthier, and the oak a touch weightier than Checkmate, but this is a nice improvement over the 14. ,It’s less floral, but much cleaner and more focused and the alcohol is in much better balance this year with a lot of Alan Sutre finesse in the finish.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Merlottext
88PTS

Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA chilly June and July slowed the 2016 growing season, bumping the harvest into mid-October where an early frost pushed the picking to a quick end. The fruit was de-stemmed and partially crushed, leaving some whole berries to be fermented in both closed and open top fermenters. Tinhorn uses a mix of French, American and Hungarian oak for malolactic fermentation and ageing 12 - 14 months. The wine has a red fruit undertone with less chocolate and more freshness. The nose is more about the bright plum and the cherry while the mid-palate is drier with some toasted nuts and graphite in the back end. More food-friendly and undoubtedly capable of ageing three to five years.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlottext
91PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFifteen percent of cabernet franc makes all the difference in this ’15 reserve. This beefy, textural merlot holds it together from front to back, and although it's warm and spicy, it's never quite over the top. If you like dense, round, rich, chocolatey merlot, this is it. Tinhorn picked almost all of the merlot before the end of September, the earliest it’s been harvested from its high elevation site on the Black Sage Bench, at Diamondback Vineyard. Post ferment the wine is pressed and racked to barrel for 18 months. The nose is an intriguing mix of pomegranate, black cherry, black raspberry with streaks of coffee and chocolate but with some restraint. The finish is long, dry and impressive. It's warm but balanced, and should age well into 2023 and beyond. One of their best merlots, ever.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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20 May 2019

Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2015

British Columbia, CanadaCelestiale is one of the winery's Bordeaux blends, combining fruit from Keremeos and Cawston in the Similkameen, with fruit from Osoyoos in the southern Okanagan. This year it's a blend of 54/32/7/7 cabernet sauvignon / merlot / cabernet franc / malbec, all harvested and vinified separately, and then barrel aged in French oak for 15 months. Soft cassis, blackberry jam is seasoned with whiffs of charcoal, wintermint, black pepper across a savoury palate to a warm finish. Tannins are plush and sticky, and acidity is en pointe, making for a serious, and seriously drinkable classic red now. Impressive.Prices: BC 23.50 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Sunrock Vineyard Red Meritagetext
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Sunrock Vineyard Red Meritage 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou taste every degree of this southern Okanagan red blend of 80 merlot / 20 cabernet sauvignon. The grapes were destemmed and fermented separately in stainless before blending just after MLF, and then into French and American oak for 15 months. Rich, thick and potent on the palate, ripe and sweet with the Okanagan sun, and spiced and structured and toasty with the overt use of oak. Cedar, mocha and strident wood tannins close this out on the finish. Drink now, with grilled meat or hearty mushroom stews.Prices: BC 30.49 Producer: Arterra Wines
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Road 13 Seventy-Four Ktext
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Road 13 Seventy-Four K 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSeventy-Four K refers to the length of all Road 13's vines laid end to end. I know, it’s a lot. In 2017, merlot and syrah leads a gaggle of grapes including cabernet franc, teroldego, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot, viognier, grenache and mourvèdre into this kitchen sink blend. It's round, warm, spicy, and meaty on the attack with similar flavoured fruit. If anything the syrah seems to dominate lush and ripe, and you can drink it now. It would be perfect barbecue fare especially if there were a sweet sauce involved. Rustic and ready.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Road 13
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Road 13 Fifth Element Redtext
89PTS

Road 13 Fifth Element Red 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is always a bit of a wild, southern monster loved by many and avoided by a similar amount who can't take the heat. A perfect vintage has left it with an abundance of structure and power, as well as its typical 15.1 percent alcohol. The attack is soupy with a cedary undercurrent, dimpled black fruit flavours and warm, summer’s day desert fragrance. The tannins are rich and spiced by the warm alcoholic finish. Best with rosemary rubbed lamb now or wait five years for it to settle down.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Road 13
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Arduatext
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Ardua 2013

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOwner Drew MacIntyre’s love affair with merlot continues with year two of Ardua, a high-end merlot label released to honour his father and push the team at Lake Breeze to reach for the stars. MacIntyre’s father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch the MacIntyre range, Astra the chardonnay, and its merlot brother Ardua, were selected as an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto - Per Ardua ad Astra - meaning through adversity to the stars. The Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard is home to the fruit for Astra, but we have to wait one more year before we see the Naramata version of Ardua. 2013 is opaque with lifted black cherry on the nose. The attack is warm and spicy previewing an even warmer, expressive red full of lifted black fruits, chocolate and toasted oak. It’s still youthful and angular and needs to shed some oak tannins. Production is tiny (fewer than 300 cases), and it is virtually snapped up via the McIntyre mailing list.Prices: BC 103.50 Producer: Lake Breeze Vineyards
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Black Hills Addendumtext
87PTS

Black Hills Addendum 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSmokey! This big red reflects both the conditions of a forest-fire-fuelled vintage, and the rich Black Sage Bench blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc aged for a year in French oak, 35 percent new. Stalky green vines, thorns, black cherry jam, ripe cassis are smothered with toasted oak and surrounded by grippy oak tannins. Very disjointed at present, this requires something like roast beef and all the fixings to mitigate.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Red Icontext
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Painted Rock Red Icon 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe '16 Red Icon returns to its more usual balanced Skaha style after the super hot 2015 vintage. It's more Euro and less California in 2016, although at 14.9 degrees alcohol it is no shrinking violet. It's aged for 18 months in only 30 percent new oak, respecting the peak aromas of its aromatic, savoury, spicy, minty nose and blue/red Skaha palate. Its texture and elegance sing Alain Sutre, longtime Bordeaux consultant and advisor to the Skinner family, as does its Bordeaux five-grape mix led by a textural 44 percent merlot and 21 percent cabernet franc. The remainder is filled out with cabernet sauvignon, malbec and petit verdot before a smoke and sagebrush finale. There should be no rush to drink this red, but its natural elegance and balance would suggest you could get away with it. Best after 2023.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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19 May 2019

Blasted Church Nectar of the Godstext
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Blasted Church Nectar of the Gods 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNectar of the Gods is a new release from Blasted Church, and a flagship label, so to speak, from the winery. It's made under the watch of consultant Pascal Madevon and shows his uber-Bordeaux, hands-on winemaking style. The blend includes 49 percent petit verdot from Oliver and Osoyoos, 40 percent cabernet sauvignon from their estate Skaha Bench vineyard, and malbec (cot noir) from Osoyoos. After each lot is picked, fermented and vinified separately, it spends three months in barrel before the final blend. The wine is racked back to barrel for another 17 months plus time in a tank before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Thick and dense on the full-bodied palate, the perfumed violets of petit verdot dominate this giant wine, backed up by blueberry pie, blackberry jam, sandalwood flecked with some green, toasty wood, and vanilla. Tannins are plush and sticky, and it finishes warm. Built for prime rib and big red fans, of which it will have many.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Blasted Church Vineyards
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Rutini Cabernet Sauvignon - Malbectext
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Rutini Cabernet Sauvignon - Malbec 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Rutini Cabernet Malbec is 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec from the Uco Valley. The nose is boisterous and fresh with notes of fresh crushed black cherries and black plums with classic savoury high altitude Argentina notes. The attack is rustic, a bit old school but the fruit is mouth-filling with more cherry and black plum notes and a robust mineral undercurrent. It’s all new oak, 50 percent French and 50 percent American, adding a layer of vanilla over the back end. Hold or drink. Best now with grilled beef and a chimichurri sauce now.Prices: BC 35.89 Producer: La Rural / Familia Rutini Wines
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Mascota Vineyards Unánime Gran Vino Tintotext
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Mascota Vineyards Unánime Gran Vino Tinto 2015

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaUnámine is a 60/25/15 mix of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc that is aged 20 months in wood. It’s surprisingly youthful and tight, packed full of dense tannins and jammy, meaty, savoury black fruit with a bead of acidity and freshness to keep it linear and long in the finish. There is no rush to drink this; I would guess it will easily improve in the bottle through 2023, at which time the oak should subside for good.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Bodegas Santa Ana
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Hillside Mosaictext
90PTS

Hillside Mosaic 2014

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHillside winemaker Kathy Malone has grown immeasurably as a winemaker over the last decade, and so has Mosiac. No longer is Mosiac that brawny red full of lifeless fruit. This all-Naramata version has come to life with vibrancy, red fruits and a refreshing undercarriage that suggest it will develop into a more interesting, complete character as the years slip by. For now, this savoury, Okanagan red with slippery tannins is projecting a delicious youthful side that suggests you can taste it now, but its best is yet to come. Spicy red fruits punctuate the wine that has a vibrant structure and length to beat the band. Impressive, lively and just beginning its life, it will be a joy to drink in 2024. Real wine.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Hillside Winery
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Lake Breeze Tempesttext
90PTS

Lake Breeze Tempest 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI’m a big fan of 2013 BC reds, in this case, Tempest, a 50/30/10/10 mix of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and merlot. There is nothing shy about this wine at 15 percent alcohol, but it holds itself together well with the fruit, tannins and acidity in balance. The palate is spicy and warm with plenty of savoury warm black fruit spiked with pepper and wrapped in new oak. The oak is just beginning to recede into the background as this wine enters its mid-life at six years old. Serve with roast lamb or venison to best take on its youth and power at the moment. Another five years should see this reach its apex, improving each year on the way to 2023.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Lake Breeze Vineyards
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Mission Hill Reserve Meritagetext
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Mission Hill Reserve Meritage 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSilky and seductive, without being a caricature of itself, the first Reserve Meritage is cabernet franc dominant (at 35 percent), along with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot, from their estates in Osoyoos and in Oliver. Potent and firm black fruit, violets, boysenberry, are seasoned with espresso and linger with vanilla. This large 15 degree wine is ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Vérité Le Désirtext
97PTS

Vérité Le Désir 2015

Sonoma County, California, United StatesA mild, dry, winter led to another early bud break in mid-March followed by an early bloom at the end of April. A cool, rainy April and May delayed bloom until June and an early July veraison, but it was the first time 49 vintages vigneron Pierre Seillan picked in August. Harvest at Verité lasted only 12 days, and while yields were low, the quality of the grapes was outstanding. Seillan likes to talk about structure and precision, and both are in evidence here. The red fruit is intense but hardly soft, supported by a stony mineral undercurrent. The mid-palate is filled in with earthy, savoury, leathery notes before a denouement of lightly smoked blue and black fruits and silky, dense tannins that signal a decade or two of bottle age are possible. It's a complex Sonoma star and the definition of world class. The fruit is highly selected by the fastidious Pierre Seillan, choosing from an impressive array of sites owned by Jackson Family Farms in the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill and Knights Valley. Every block, every tilt of land, every exposure, and the multitude of places and facets that make up any vineyard are the storytellers.Prices: BC 520.00 AB 400.00 Producer: Vérité Estate
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Laurent Saillard Joy(Full)text
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Laurent Saillard Joy(Full) 2017

Loire, FranceDark and dusky hued, cloudy with authenticity by intent. It's 80/20 cabernet franc/cabernet sauvignon, with dusty violets, black raspberry, black currant and swaths of balsamic, wrapping around a light 11 degrees body. Tannins are fine and sticky, to a stuck finish. Give this a chill and pour alongside bistro fare. Edgy, natural Loire.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Laurent Saillard
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis may be the wildest wine made at Painted Rock, a 70/30 mix of syrah/cabernet sauvignon, picked on October 26 from small blocks planted in 2009. The nose is intensely meaty with pine needles and peppery undertones. The palate is juicy, the tannins fine-grained and finessed, adding support but not intruding. The finish is similar in style with more peppery blue and green fruit. You can drink or hold this wine but be sure to serve with boisterous dishes; lamb comes to mind.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek The Creektext
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Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear two of The Creek is looking right at a young age. The flagship Tinhorn red is a mix of vines from seven to twenty-one years old grown on the Golden Mile Vineyard site and across the valley at Black Sage. The ’15 mix is 50/20/20/7/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, and is more complex than its predecessor. A typical hot and dry South Okanagan summer ended with a chilly October, allowing the Bordeaux varieties time to slowly ripen into the end of October. The malbec and petit verdot, grown on the Golden Mile Bench, bring acidity and spice, while the two cabs and the merlot bring the weight and full flavours of the warmer Black Sage Bench. The oak, 40 percent new French and Hungarian, is clean and supportive without overwhelming the fruit. The grapes are destemmed and partially crushed, leaving some whole berries, and pumped to stainless steel tanks for fermentation which ferments naturally, long and slow before finishing a 24 month journey in wood. The nose is fresh with blueberry and cassis. The palate similarly fresh and tighter than is typical for Tinhorn, with a linear path of black fruits, spice and acidity to beat the band. Young and it will need some time in bottle, but this is going to be an excellent bottle of wine in five years.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 75.00 SK 75.00 MB 75.00 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Moon Curser Border Vinestext
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Moon Curser Border Vines 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA robust red blend mixing 44/24/20/7/5/ cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot, and carménère. It’s better structured than the super warm 2015, but the fruit is almost equally ripe and sweet - appealing to one sector and less appealing to another. The grapes come off the Osoyoos' eastern bench, and the tannins are almost already resolved. Fun to drink now and over the next three years mainly around the barbecue this summer.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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17 May 2019

Fort Berens Rosétext
86PTS

Fort Berens Rosé 2018

British Columbia, CanadaPerfumed strawberries, soap and light spice fill the glossy palate of this medium-bodied rosé, a blend of organically farmed pinot noir and gamay from West Kelowna. The soapy perfume note is most likely due to the splash of muscat, which is an unnecessary move in my opinion. Strawberry jam, orange, baked pear takes over the soft, shorter, sweetish, spicy palate. Best well chilled.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Rosétext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStrong as ever, this year's Clos du Soleil Rosé is surprisingly entirely malbec, a complete change from previous vintages. From Keremeos' La Côte Vineyard, this was purpose-grown for pink. After destemming and lightly crushing the grapes, this was on dry ice for 20 hours, gently pressed and fermented in stainless, away from oxygen. It was aged for a few months on lees before a light filtration and bottling. Wild raspberry, orange, light medicinal cherry is fine lined with lees, along a long, slender palate, the whole scented with fine spices and finishing with mineral salts. Serious, and at 12.4 degrees, seriously smashable too.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Agricola Le Nuvole Russìnë Vino Rosatotext
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Agricola Le Nuvole Russìnë Vino Rosato 2017

Basilicata, ItalySometimes wine is about more than wine. Food and wine journalist Alessandro Bocchetti founded the Le Nuvole project in 2013. Bocchetti is also the father of an autistic son. The project was created to give 'little wings' (Piccole ali) via job placement, and independence, to people from areas of hardship and social exclusion. With land gifted to the cause, they made their first wines, always organic and from native grapes, native fermented in cement, and without manipulation. This rosato is aglianico from Mount Vulture in northern Basilicata. Deeper in hue, with a natural prickle of spritz on the tongue, and a full 14 degrees body afforded by the gusty grape and sunny site. Ripe pomegranate, tart rhubarb, fleshy cherry is nipped in the sides by a balsamic swing. The weight is kept aloft with the aforemented spritz and a rise of acidity. Would love to see this even more vibrant under screw cap.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Azienda Agricola Le Nuvole
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Triennes Rosétext
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Triennes Rosé 2017

Provence, South of France, FrancePrimarily cinsault, with doses of grenache, syrah, and merlot, this dry, pale rosé sings of Provence. Herbal scrub scented strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb finish tart and snappy, with a quenching herbal lime pith that brightens the light body. Lovely food wine.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Domaine de Triennes
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16 May 2019

Quails' Gate Rosé Lucy's Blocktext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Rosé Lucy's Block 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLucy’s Block, named for the Stewart family grandmother, Lucy Mary Stewart, is a rosé made from young vines grown at the family’s east Kelowna Westpoint Vineyard. In 2019, the blend is a mix of pinot meunier and pinot noir that opens with savoury strawberry, pear on a slightly sticky mid-palate. The style is Provençal dry with juicy red fruit and a dusting of sage and spice. It’s ready to drink, but it is best served with food. We enjoyed it with grilled asparagus and chicken. Not quite as delicate as last year.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Rosé Lucy's Blocktext
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Quails' Gate Rosé Lucy's Block 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rose of young vine pinot meunier and pinot noir is from the winery's estate Westpoint Vineyard in East Kelowna and named for Stewart family grandmother, Lucy. Spiced strawberry, salmonberry, Anjou pear, on a slick, less-bedded juicy palate, finishing with a dusting of baking spice and dried sage. Quite elegant, and Provençal styled, with a tight, lingering minerality that makes it quite moreish.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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15 May 2019

Quails' Gate Pinot Noirtext
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Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweetly ripe and musky perfumed, the 2017 pinot noir is from 20 year old vines, was fermented in stainless with partial native yeast, and aged ten months in French oak. There's a wet forest / moss that pervades this wine, one with soft tannins to house the cherry, raspberry, spiced strawberry compote flavours. This is best enjoyed with food (think roasted winter squash) to smooth out the edges.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 30.99 MB 26.99 QC 29.10 NS 30.00 PEI 30.09 YK 27.00 SK 30.00 NB 27.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Unsworth Vineyards 10th Anniversary Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards 10th Anniversary Rosé 2018

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaNovember 2019 is the 10th anniversary of Unsworth Vineyards, and the winery is celebrating the festive occasion a new, limited release rosé. The pinot noir is from Sannich Peninsula's Sunnydale Vineyard. Pale in hue, and subtle on the palate, this is a sophisticated pink, packaged in a classic Provençal bowling-pin shaped clear glass. Wild strawberries, melon, pear is kissed with pink peppercorn, slight salts, and bergamot, finishing with sour cherry. Acidity swells like the sea, just a couple kilometres away from the vineyard. Quite elegant, and celebratory-worthy. No need for the faux-cork for this wine; screwcap would be a preferred alternative.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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10 May 2019

Sea Star Blanc de Noir Rosétext
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Sea Star Blanc de Noir Rosé 2018

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaConfirming its seat as one of BC's top wineries again with the first of the 2018's, this is also the year when it's becoming crystal clear that The Wine Islands are also making some of BC's top rosés. Sea Star blanc de noir is one of those leading the pinks, a light salmon hue, and flowing with spiced cherry, herbal raspberry, pink grapefruit, and ample pink peppercorn spicing, which lingers on its silken finish. This carries a confidence and intelligent intensity that belies its 11.9 degrees frame. Well done. This pinot noir is sourced from three vineyards on Pender and Saturna Islands, and from vines 11-24 years oldPrices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Black Cottage Rosétext
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Black Cottage Rosé 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandBlack Cottage Rosé takes its inspiration from the pinks of Corsica and the South of France where winemaker David Clouston spent considerable time. You sense it right away, from its light copper colouring to its crisp, dry entry, to the spare, elegant palate of raspberries dusted with icing sugar. The mineral, salty, dry finish balances off the fleeting, mid-palate fruit flavours, leaving you ready for another bite of food. Perfect as an aperitif but even better with fresh steamed mussels, or a chicken fajita.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Black Cottage Wines
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Poderi dal Nespoli Filarinotext
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Poderi dal Nespoli Filarino 2017

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyFrom the hills of Forlì, in Emilia Romagna, Filarino opens with a vibrant orange pink colour that makes sense given its sangiovese make up. The nose is refined with delicate notes of pomegranate, wild berries and bergamot. The attack is Italian dry and refreshing before you are charmed by its floral, mineral cherry/orange jacket. The finish is clean and crisp. Bring on just about any patio food or a favourite – Margherita pizza. As for Filarino, it is a local reference which refers to an admirer. Pure fun. Stock up.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Poderi Dal Nespoli 1929
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Bordertown Cabernet Franc Rosétext
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Bordertown Cabernet Franc Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBordertown has a wealth of cabernet franc vines, enabling them to divert a few to a rosé that winemaker Daniel Bontorin (also of Seven Directions) says is made in the classic French Provence style. The colour is Provençal pink, the aromas melon and strawberries that spill across the palate. The texture is not quite Provençal, but then again, neither is the price. The finish, however, is crisp and dry, making it easy to drain the bottle quickly. A great match could be rice dishes, spot prawns, goat cheese, summer style salads, or mussels.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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M de Minuty Rosétext
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M de Minuty Rosé 2017

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FranceMinuty is a highly focused producer of climat sourced fruit from a rigorous selection of the best Côtes de Provence vineyards. The vinification is uncomplicated: direct crushing, meticulous settling and low-temperature fermentation. The result is an alluring pale pink colour tinged with orange highlights, and just a squeeze of acid over citrus, watermelon, red berry. It’s as good as it gets for the price. Serve with gazpacho, grilled and raw vegetables, mussels, clams, spot prawns and more. The blend is a classic mix of grenache, cinsault and syrah.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Minuty SA
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosé 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis pale coral-hued pink once again charms, blending estate pinot noir with neighbouring Cowichan fruit. Salmonberries, young raspberries, cherries are easily brightened with a cranberry tartness and crunchy acidity. The mid is finely lined with lees, lending a strawberry and cream charm up until the tangerine spiced finish. A welcome 12.9 degrees.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Tantalus Rosétext
89PTS

Tantalus Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTantalus' 2018 Rosé is a 50/50 mix of young vine pinot noir complemented by older pinot meunier, the latter planted on the home site in 1985. Although smoke haze was a worry, Tantalus thankfully escaped its effect on the wines and enjoyed a slightly cooler environment that in the end slowed the ripening phase and prevented the sugars from jumping up too quickly in the summer. The result is a juicy, vibrant watermelon and rose petal affair flecked with rhubarb and notes of wild strawberry. The finish is dry and palate cleansing, a la Tavel. Grilled salmon or native mushroom dishes seem appropriate.Prices: BC 19.09 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThis Monterey, pinot noir pink is fermented in stainless steel to maintain its fresh, crisp, northern Pacific Ocean style. The colour is Provençal pink, the palate a delicate, crunchy mix of pink grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, mandarin oranges with a touch of guava that precedes a barely dry, stony mineral finish. The grapes come off different sites across the Monterey appellation and an equally diverse mix of pinot clones 115, 667, 777, 2A, and Pommard. A cool year with a normal harvest beginning September 9 is behind this delicious rose. Think Margherita pizza, or steamed mussels.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 28.00 ON 27.95 QC 30.00 Producer: La Crema
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rosétext
87PTS

50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt 50th Parallel they use Central and Southern Okanagan fruit, farmed for rosé, that arrives in the glass off-dry with a slightly fat, sweet undercurrent. Think ripe strawberries and cherry gummies poured over a slice of watermelon to lift the finish. Fun, easy-sipping pink to be served well chilled and paired with slightly spicy food. Patios and sunshine work too.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosétext
87PTS

Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDistinctlively bottled in a riesling bottle, this syrah rosé is splashed with 8 percent viognier, the former from Amalia Vineyard in Osoyoos' West Bench, and the latter from Penticton's Play Vineyard. A whole lot of winemaking goes into this medium pale pink. Partial saignée, partial maceration, this is a slicked and polished Provençal-styled pink, with strawberry jam, mandarin, starfruit and ample pink florals, filling a round, juicy palate. A wee bump of RS helps this glide.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Stag's Hollow Blanc de Noirstext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Blanc de Noirs 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new wine blends 76 percent whole cluster pressed Ritter clone pinot noir with 24 percent destemmed gamay. Two-thirds of the wine is fermented in two new 500L French oak puncheons, with the remainder in stainless steel. Post ferment, this rested in two new French oak barriques and two stainless barrels, all with battonage. All that oak and workmanship is absolutely felt in this delicate hued, lightly fruited pink, shouting over, rather than supporting the tangerine, red apple, raspberry jam, and nutmeg spicing. Nice juicy fruit, which I hope to see through a clearer lens in the future.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Rosétext
87PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

South East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJuicy summer strawberries, raspberries jump from this mouthwatering, likeable, pale-hued pinot noir rosé, sourced from the home Gentleman Farmer Vineyard in southeast Kelowna. The summer berry fruit rides the wave of juicy fun, buoyed by a bump of RS, to a soft finish. That said RS gives a slick of glycerol to the palate, enabling this summer delight to partner with salmon burgers.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Seven Directions Tractor and Vines Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosétext
91PTS

Seven Directions Tractor and Vines Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTractors and Vines is an 11-year-old, one-acre, lake-level, pinot noir vineyard in Summerland with an east-west exposition. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and neutral French barrels; it is a 75/25 split that preserves freshness and adds texture and creaminess to this melt in your mouth rosé. Delicately wild this is a prime example of what can be done when you are focused on rosé from start to finish. Stony, mineral, elegant and vaguely fruity this is the real thing. Seven Directions Wine is a virtual winery owned and operated by Kristine Witkowski. The wines are made by the highly passionate consulting winemaker Daniel Bontorin of Bottega Wine Studio. Seven Directions is making wines inspired by the Provencal model. All wines are single vineyard designates, and they are farmed from bud break to the harvest to end up as rosé.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Seven Directions Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosétext
89PTS

Seven Directions Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé 2018

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSeven Directions is a virtual winery owned and operated by Kristine Witkowski. The wines are made by the highly passionate consulting winemaker Daniel Bontorin, of Bottega Wine Studio. Seven Directions is making wines inspired by the Provençal model. All wines are single vineyard designates, and they are farmed from bud break to the harvest to end up as rosé. Fruitvale Ridge is a cabernet franc rosé grown in Osoyoos over a mix of rocky, loamy, clay soils. 2018 was a smoky year, sot photosynthesis, and hence ripening time, was retarded by the layers of smoke that blocked the sunlight. There doesn’t appear to be any smoke damage although Bontorin was careful with the skins. There was no maceration except during the crush. At 1.3 grams of residual sugar, this wine is essentially bone dry. It is a slightly bigger version of the Tractor and Vines Vineyard, with an earthier, spicy character running through wild strawberry fruit dusted in sagebrush. Try this with grilled pork chops.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosétext
87PTS

Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe syrah rosé is made in two lots. The first portion comes off a rosé dedicated block in Amalia Vineyard. It is destemmed and lightly crushed with a mere 30 minutes on the skins. It’s cold settled for 72 hours before being racked into another stainless steel tank to ferment. Part two is made using the saignée method, bleeding a small amount coming off an 8-hour cold soak of syrah/viognier, settled another 42 hours before it's racked and fermented. The final mix of 92/8 syrah/viognier was blended post ferment. Look for a soft, round style with more intense wild berry flavours, creamy textures and a richness that suggests just a hint of tannin. Think Tavel meets Provencal. Best paired with Meditteranean dishes.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Intrigue Wines Social Rosètext
86PTS

Intrigue Wines Social Rosè 2018

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGlossy pink in hue, this sweet rosé is a juicy, candied pink of riesling, pinot gris, rotberger, and merlot. It tastes as you'd imagine from the fun packaging and hue: strawberry, watermelon, candy apple, pear gummies. Chill well, and drink this summer.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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09 May 2019

Haywire Baby Bubtext
87PTS

Haywire Baby Bub 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBaby Bub is among the very first releases of the year at Haywire and despite its “Bub” moniker, the reference is not about sparkling wine but rather the childhood nickname of family member and promotions and sales director Alison Scholefield. It’s a charmat sparkler made from chardonnay and pinot noir picked from winery-owned vineyards in Oliver and Summerland. The vibrant pink-orange colour comes from a dash of still red wine. The style is just off-dry and juicy with primary red fruit and just enough cranberry acidity to balance the sweet-ish finish. Love the pop-and-go crown cap.Prices: BC 15.90 375 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Méthode Traditionnelle Extra Bruttext
89PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Méthode Traditionnelle Extra Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe third time around, and this Okanagan sparkler continues to impress. It's more Bourgogne Cremant at this point, but I’m sure they are shooting for the Champagne ring down the road. It’s a 70/30 bottle fermented fizz with two grapes they know a lot about - chardonnay and pinot noir. The mousse is tiny, and the nose quietly mineral with salty, green apple. The style is vibrant, and the palate creamy with fuzzy pear and nectarine. Frico is my new favourite sparkling wine bite. MFV's Méthode Traditionelle Extra Brut is aged on its lees for 20 months and disgorged from May 2016 through to June 2016. In lieu of dosage, this was topped up with 2014 blanc de blanc base wine and bottled unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 34.88 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Township 7 Seven Stars Polaristext
87PTS

Township 7 Seven Stars Polaris 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Mary McDermott is bringing back the Township 7 bubble program with the release of three traditional méthode labels: Polaris, Equinox and Eclipse. McDermott has made a bunch of fizz at Trius Winery in Ontario, so I am expecting good things. Polaris is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation and is the centre of of the new releases. It’s a blanc de blanc, made from chardonnay grown at one site in Oliver, along with the estate vineyard in Naramata. It has spent a reasonable 18 months en tirage to add some texture and mouthfeel. The attack has a ripe apple demeanour, and the entry is soft and round with creamy baked apple, flecked with sweet lime and peach. Serve this well chilled on the patio with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 35.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Township 7 Seven Stars Equinoxtext
90PTS

Township 7 Seven Stars Equinox 2015

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Mary McDermott is bringing back the Township 7 bubble program with the release of three traditional méthod labels: Polaris, Equinox, and Eclipse. McDermott has made a bunch of fizz at Trius Winery in Ontario, so I am expecting good things. Seven Stars Equinox is sourced from Sperling Vineyards in Kelowna, and from the first pour, this is one intriguing rosé sparkler. The colour is perfectly hued along the light pink/orange vein. The nose is even better — complex, dry, earthy, and yeasty reflecting 25 months bottle ageing. The attack is tight, the bubble bead firm and the flavours deliciously contained in its far north, citrus, red-berry style. It will work with a variety of foods.Prices: BC 48.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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08 May 2019

Ornellaia Biancotext
93PTS

Ornellaia Bianco 2016

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyOenologist and estate director Axel Heinz considered the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons just about perfect in Bolgheri although if he had to choose one, I get the impression it would be the slightly tighter, and racier 2016 that would rank first. Winemaker Olga Fusari says, “Although typically dry and sunny, 2016 has benefitted from beautiful conditions for the ripening, particularly cool nights, favourable to the aromatic expression and acidity, while the absence of summer rain has led to rich and concentrated grapes.” The bianco colour is typically golden that spills into the structure and extends the length of this wine. Again, its saline notes intermixed with lees, acid and subtle oak create a wine of substance even if it is only in its formative years. We love the dance of richness and tension of the acidity pulling the juicy, exotic, guava fruit along a persistent and lengthy linear route. It’s all sauvignon blanc harvested in the last week of August. The best yet form this new label.Prices: CDN 240.00 CDN 577.00 1500 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Ornellaia Biancotext
92PTS

Ornellaia Bianco 2015

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyThe 2015 Ornellaia Bianco, year two of this wine, is 100 percent sauvignon blanc. The fruit selection is specific, from vineyard sites that face north. The soils are predominately sand and clay. The growing season was almost uniformly typical and not an issue in 2015. You can expect an open, mature nose of lees and citrus notes and subtle vanilla undertones, à la white Bordeaux. The palate is full-bodied, the fruit juicy and weighty with more salty, leesy, citrus, guava notes, with a clean, fresh underbelly and lightly toasted oak finish. There is no malolactic fermentation. Ready to drink.Prices: CDN 240.00 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Ornellaia Biancotext
94PTS

Ornellaia Bianco 2014

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyOrnellaia Bianco was conceived from the beginning to be the equal of its red kin. It had to be according to Axel Heinz there could be no other path if it were to bear the Ornellaia moniker. The 2014 is only year two of the project, and ironically, it’s a stunner aided and abetted by a cool, wet August, delaying the ripening into the more favourable season of warm days and cold nights. The mix is 74/13/13/ sauvignon blanc, viognier and petit manseng that come off three, small, north facing vineyard sites that are not only yielding superb fruit but more importantly express the ethos of Ornellaia – power, delicacy and an exotic wildness. The sandy/clay soils of Bellaria that enrich the texture of the Ornellaia rosso bring the same game to the bianco. The nose and palate are a storm of salty, mineral, exotic fruits with an emphasis on the acidity and length. This is a real surprise and another way Bolgheri is finding its place among the wider wine world. Less super, more Tuscan and a lot more Bolgheri. Bravo. The grapes were hand-harvested in 15 kg bins in the early hours of the morning and chilled on arrival at the cellar to maintain their aromatic potential. Following careful selection, the entire grape clusters were subjected to slow and soft pressing with maximum attention to protection against oxidization. After static decantation lasting approximately 24 hours, all the must was placed in barriques, 30% new and 70% used, for alcoholic fermentation at temperatures no higher than 22°C. No malolactic fermentation was carried out. The ageing continued for 12 months on the lees with periodic batônnage over the entire period and concluded in steel vats for 3 more months. Before bottling, the blending of the multiple batches was carried out, along with light fining. The wine was then aged in the bottle for a further 6 months before its introduction to the market.Prices: BC 240.00 AB 240.00 ON 240.00 QC 240.00 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Ornellaia Rosso la Tensionetext
98PTS

Ornellaia Rosso la Tensione 2016

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyAs good as 2015 is, I believe 2016 is the star of those two great vintages. It’s all about the acidity in 2016 aptly captured by the annual character assessment of the vintage: “La Tensione,” the tension. The blend is 51/27/18/4 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. In 2016, Ornellaia was all you expect from a generous Mediterranean red that has long surpassed it Super Tuscan moniker of its founding years but with a lift a freshness, a tension that takes it to another level. Axel Heinz praises the “abundant sunshine, without excessive heat, and a dry summer to allow the grapes to achieve perfect ripeness and concentration, and just about enough rain to avoid stress.” The wine is brooding dark, the nose a delightful mix of fresh black fruits and that savour, spicy, cedar Bolgheri ‘garrigue.’ Heinz is splitting his time between Ornellaia and Masseto with the help of two, talented women who are the onsite winemakers. In this case, Olga Fusari is looking after the day to day winemaking at Ornellaia. The wine is simply outstanding and will be for the next 25 years and beyond. The tasting was part of a trilogy of Ornellaias, ’14, ’15, ’16.Prices: BC 240.00 AB 240.00 ON 240.00 QC 240.00 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Ornellaia Rosso Il Carismatext
97PTS

Ornellaia Rosso Il Carisma 2015

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyOver the years the idea of nurturing the estate’s exceptional qualities has been a large part of Ornellaia’s philosophy. At a recent visit, I noted several ongoing renovations, all in the vineyards, as winemaker and general manager Axel Heinz drills down to the essence of the famed Bolgheri site, searching for the ultimate expression of what is a magical piece of land. Harmony is the goal, and it starts in the vineyard where grapes, clones, rootstocks and trellising is all under reassessment to maximize quality. In 2015, the vintage tag was “Il Carisma,” something Ornellaia has in spades most years. Of course, ’15 was exceptional and for those who know wines, it's the great years that solidify a wine's reputation. The blend is 53/23/17/7/ cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The wine is all about balance. Intensity with finesse is my take, including the colour, the fruit and the texture. The mix of red and black fruit is impeccable as are the nuanced balsamic notes. Long, dense, refined and layered, this is an excellent Ornellaia and one that will stand the test of time for decades. The winemaking at Ornellaia is classic: the clusters are hand-picked into 15 kilogram boxes and then re-selected by hand on a double sorting table before being crushed gently. Each variety and each single vineyard block is vinified separately. The fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks; skin contact was a maximum of 15 days. The French barrels are a blend of 70 percent new and 30 percent single use, and hold the vintage for 18 months. After a year has passed the blend is put together before returning to the oak for another six months. Hardly earth-shattering except for the due diligence with which it was all done. After bottling, Ornellaia spends a further year resting before its release. The tasting was part of a trilogy of Ornellaias: ’14, ’15, ’16.Prices: BC 240.00 AB 240.00 ON 240.00 QC 240.00 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Ornellaia Rosso L’Essenzatext
93PTS

Ornellaia Rosso L’Essenza 2014

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyThe Ornellaia estate lies camouflaged in the low hills that create the Bolgheri amphitheatre capturing all that the Mediterranean offers, including increased luminosity, and cool maritime breezes throughout the growing season. During the winter the mountain works as a giant deflector protecting the vines from the cold north winds. An intriguing mix of marine, alluvial and volcanic soils bring diversity to the blend, allowing winemaker Axel Heinz the freedom to plant a variety of grapes in a variation of landscapes, each adding layers of complexity. Every year the Ornellaia team sum up the year in one word or phrase. In 2014, Ornellaia was tagged “L’Essenza” or the Essence. Heinz calls 2014 “one of the most demanding years in memory”, yet five years down the road the wine is robust, and at the least, a dependable Ornellaia. The blend is a 34/32/20/14/ mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc. Rounder and more luxurious than the norm, what it lacks in tension and energy it over-delivers in texture and weight. The winemaking is artisanal, hand-picked and sorted, and barely crushed it spends 12 months in barriques as single varietal wine before it's blended and returned to barrel for six more months. Post-bottling it spends another year at the winery before release. This wine will have shorter ageing potential but is fun to drink now, and I suspect it will remain so over the next decade. The tasting was part of a trilogy of Ornellaias: ’14, ’15, ’16.Prices: BC 240.00 AB 240.00 ON 240.00 QC 240.00 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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Le Serre Nuove Dell' Ornellaiatext
92PTS

Le Serre Nuove Dell' Ornellaia 2016

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyLe Serre Nuove is all grown up in 2016, looking every bit its own wine and very much a Bolgheri Rosso. The fruit is a 44/26/18/12/ mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and cabernet franc from younger vines and blocks that don’t make the ultimate cut to go into the Ornellaia cru. There a lot of finesse here evidenced by the dense, silky tannins that permeate this fragrant red. Winemaker Axel Heinz characterizes the 2016 vintage as well above average, and while it is easily the equal of 2015, the style is different. Expect an almost opaque colour, a fragrant, spicy, savoury undercurrent before the bright red fruit flecked with coffee and chocolate kick in across the palate. The texture is haltingly smooth and dense, suggesting it will effortlessly age seven to ten years and beyond. I think grilled lamb chops or pappardelle and wild boar are terrific matches at the moment. Impressive. Le Serre Nuove undergoes malolactic fermentation that begins in stainless steel, and completes upon transfer to mostly French barriques – 25 percent new and 75 percent second fill. It’s aged 15 months in oak but is assembled after one year before being returning to the barrels for a further three months. After bottling, it was aged for six months at the winery.Prices: BC 69.99 AB 69.95 ON 69.95 QC 69.75 QC 129.00 1500 QC 275.00 3000 Producer: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
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07 May 2019

Cune Corona Blanco Semidulcetext
91PTS

Cune Corona Blanco Semidulce 2014

Rioja, SpainYou don’t see this wine every year but rather when climatic conditions conspire to allow for optimal ripening in the vineyard – the grapes in question are 85 percent viura mixed with 15 percent white grenache and malvasia. The must is barrel-fermented in American oak barrels until the yeast expires in a sugary grave of some 25 grams per litre of residual sugar. There is a yellow tinge its the colour and a tropical yellow fruit nose complexed with a dusting of botrytis, nuts and smoke. The attack is silky with honeyed crème brûlée flavours flecked with a peppery, caramel finish. Serve this well chilled and give it a go with spicy Thai or Indian food if you dare or more conservatively with foie gras. It’s a perfect dessert in itself if served solo after the meal.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Cava Bruttext
88PTS

Cune Cava Brut NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainBack in the 19th Century, Rioja's CVNE produced consistent quantities of sparkling wine to fill the void for the Champagne region, ravaged by phylloxera. Although the company evolved into being a still wine specialist, Cune Cava Brut represents a return to the future. The process is traditional méthode with long-term bottle ageing and riddling by gyropalette. You can expect a delightful fizz with the same balance and acidity that is the hallmark of Cune. It has an appealing fresh fruit nose with a yeasty/almond undertone. The palate is creamy and bright with nutty, green apple fruit and a mostly dry finish: a perfect patio, party starter you can serve with what else - pinchos and tapas. The blend of grapes is xarel·lo, macabeo and parellada.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reservatext
93PTS

Cune Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2011

Rioja, SpainImperial GR always grabs your attention, but in 2011 it gets a boost from warm weather and heat stressed fruit that offers a little less acidity to the mix in exchange for a bit more power and mid-palate richness. Like 2010, the density, weight, and texture are wonderfully balanced, adding a sense of elegance to a red you can drink now or cellar for a decade and beyond. Bodegas C.V.N.E. is still owned and run by the Real de Asua family, who opened the doors back in 1879. Its full name is Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España, but everyone calls it ‘coonay’ reference to its famous initials: C.V.N.E. The name is an ode to a special bottling for the English in a measure the Spanish called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint,’ approximately half a litre.Prices: BC 88.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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CVNE Monopole Rioja Blancotext
89PTS

CVNE Monopole Rioja Blanco 2017

Rioja, SpainThe CVNE Monopole is 100 percent viura, grown in the Rioja Alta subzone, at high altitude where it is subject to the influence of the cold Atlantic Ocean. More than anything, this is a wine for your summer soul. This style is dry, crisp, and elegant, with creamy, juicy, mineral, lime-flavoured fruit and a chalky, salty, mineral finish. If that is not enough for $18, it’s guaranteed fresh because it’s finished under screwcap — the perfect west coast seafood wine. Monopole is the oldest white wine brand in Spain. Compania Viticola del Norte de Espana has produced this wine since 1915.Prices: BC 22.99 QC 17.00 AB 19.00 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Vina Real Rioja Crianzatext
90PTS

Vina Real Rioja Crianza 2015

Rioja, SpainThis wine presents as an honest hardworking red that reflects its origin and grape. It’s a mix of red and dark fruit, with a slippery silky jacket and a core of bright cherry flecked with balsamic/stony, mineral notes. The fruit for Vina Real comes off the Alavesa area of Rioja, it's fermented in stainless before spending 12-14 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels. Like all Cune wines, it’s the bright acidity of tempranillo that attracts, accented by small amounts of garnacha, graciano and mazuelo. A brilliant chicken wine.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Rioja Crianzatext
88PTS

Cune Rioja Crianza 2012

Rioja, SpainNo significant changes which suggest this wine was finely balanced coming out of the gate and it still is. The fruit comes from the La Rioja Alta in an 85/15 mix of tempranillo/ garnacha tinta and mazuelo. It's fermented in steel followed by a full malolactic fermentation before spending a year in older American oak barrels. The nose is red-fruited and flecked with violets. The palate is similar dried cherries and an always persistent acidity keeping the mix fresh and bright — a refreshing mid-week character red best served with grilled sausages or lamb.Prices: BC 18.99 QC 15.55 ON 16.95 MB 17.01 AB 19.95 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Cune Gran Reserva Riojatext
91PTS

Cune Gran Reserva Rioja 2012

Rioja, Spain2012 Gran Reserva is a classic 85/10/5/ mix of tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo that is aged in oak for two years and then aged in glass in the bottle for three more years. If you weren’t aware, the Riojanas do all the ageing for you, in the perfect environment (their cellar) making it simple for you to enjoy drinking older wine. All that said, this wine has a lovely fresh, red fruited modern-style nose that appeals. The attack is much more substantial but equally clean and appealing with earthy, cherry, bloody flavours that stretch out through a dry, reserved finish where the oak supports but is barely noticeable in the flavour profile. You can drink this now with a grilled lamb chop, or you can continue to cellar it through 2022.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Vina Real Reserva Riojatext
91PTS

Vina Real Reserva Rioja 2012

Rioja, SpainViña Real launched its first wines in 1920 Elciego, in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa province, and has continued through to today. They border the Camino Real or Royal Drive, thus the Viña Real moniker. 2012 was a drought year so the crop was lower and the intensity higher. The blend is 90/10 tempranillo with garnacha, graciano and mazuelo. Always a step up, the Reserva opens with dried cherries, leather and spice but with more weight and mid-palate presence than a crianza. It's all stainless steel fermented before spending 22 months in French and American oak barriques — a classic, older style Rioja that would work well with pork or lamb dishes.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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03 May 2019

Lunessence Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Lunessence Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI haven’t seen this label since 2013, but there has been some nice improvement. This cabernet sauvignon is sourced from a single vineyard in Oliver, and is aged in Hungarian and French oak. For the most part it is physiologically ripe. There’s a lot of freshness here, but also some super firm, dry tannins and it is going to take some time for them to subside. There is plenty of acid to keep the wine alive, but will there be enough fruit? If you are going to open this be sure to serve it with something rich and meaty to tear into the awkward tannins and balance off that dry finish.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesWhat a difference a year makes. The 2016 is fully ripe but not over the top, like the 2015. There’s no Chateau and the fruit comes of several sites across Washington’s Columbia Valley but the end result is solid. The 2016 blend is 94/4/1/1 cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, merlot and cabernet franc, coming with full ripeness, and round black cherry but with that savoury Washington undercurrent and well managed oak it is much more food friendly than the 2015. Hedonistic in a good way and ready to drink. Fair value as well.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Charles Smith Wines
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Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe Franciscan wines have always been good value, and now they come with some polish too, shedding the big fat Napa image for something a little fresher and more savoury that draws you into the wine. It’s a touch rustic with meaty, black olive, cassis and tobacco notes but all in all, it delivers for the price and its Napa Valley moniker. Serve this with grilled meat to round off the lightly grippy tannins yet to be shed. A beautiful vintage and one that will repay with extended cellaring.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Franciscan Estate
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Cardinaletext
97PTS

Cardinale 2015

California, United StatesEvery year Cardinale begins with 50 different lots of wine that winemaker Chris Carpenter eventually reduces to a handful of complex, aromatic samples that are all about intensity, texture and length. In 2015 it was Diamond Mountain and Spring Mountain that would carry the load. Carpenter and his followers insist that the wine be different every year by taking what the land gives you. In this case, the red, floral fruit of Spring Mountain is the shell while the Diamond Mountain fruit supplies the rich mid-palate and refined, dense, silky tannins. Volume is low, the yields are down, and the cases are few. A slightly cooler version than 2014 attracts, making it at least as good, if not better than last year. Time will tell. If you can’t wait, lamb leg would be the match for the moment. Cardinale offers a broad mix of 100 percent Napa Valley vineyards: Veeder Peak, W.S. Keyes, Yverdon and Van Z. The 2015 blend is 90 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent merlot all aged 20 months in 100 percent French oak, 84 percent new. The alcohol tops out at 14.5 percent.Prices: BC 359.99 QC 379.00 ON 485.00 Producer: Cardinale
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Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs good a year as 2016 is for red blends, this is cabernet sauvignon that in some ways may be fussier than pinot noir when it comes to ripening it north of BC's McIntyre Bluff. The 2016 is as juicy as a cabernet can get, before a savoury resiny, jalapeno, menthol attack kicks in. The tannin is well managed, but this wine will need time in the bottle to get to its final resting place. If you are a California fan, it will challenge you. At the moment this is more of a roast lamb wine.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Intrinsic Redtext
87PTS

Intrinsic Red 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe label stands out, though I wasn't so sure about the name, or the intrinsic qualities of this big, ripe, potent red from Columbia Valley. Research undercovered that half the fruit stayed on skins for nine months after ferment, and ten percent of the wine was fermented in concrete. Half of this final blend aged in French oak for a year, though none was new. Lots of different parts go into the construction of this wine. More than half of this fruit comes from Horse Haven Hills' heavier rocky loam soils. There's a green edge here, tipping off the cabernet franc slipped into the mix, pitting off the overripe fruit against the green pinched note. Tannins are long and sticky, holding the ripe cherry, dried blueberry, raspberry jam, chocolate in to the squeezed off finish. Intense and warming. Drinking may make you feel as firey as the impressive woman on the label. For current drinking, most definitely with meat.Prices: AB 34.00 MB 44.40 ON 39.95 QC 40.00 Producer: Intrinsic Wine Company
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Edge Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesFrom Alexander Valley, the 2016 Edge is a blend of 87/10/3 cabernet sauvignon / cabernet franc / malbec and saw 18 months in French oak. This big red is tight as a spring at this stage, hinting at cigar, blackberry, medicinal cherry lurking within its hefty 14 degree frame. Tannins are sinewy and the finish rinses astringent, both welcoming (perhaps necessitating) partnering with fatty stews or meats now. Best with a decant.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 27.00 Producer: Edge Wines
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Rabble Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Rabble Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesRabble is a single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, sourced from Paso Robles' Mossfire Ranch Vineyard. Opulent, plush and full with spiced red fruit, cherry jam, peppery spice and housed by cushy tannins, this spent ten months in French oak, 20 percent of which is new. This is a drink-now, soft, full red that holds its fruit sweetness and alcohol (14 degrees) well to a bitter black cherry / espresso finish. Partner with beef.Prices: AB 24.95 Producer: Rabble Wine Company
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Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Napa Valley, California, United StatesFreemark Abbey is enjoying a renaissance of sorts under the ownership of Jackson Family Wines. The Napa label is sizeable at 24,000+ cases, but it remains 'reserve' style in taste and quality. The nose and the attack are fresh and vibrant with spicy black fruit, umami-like savoury, tobacco and cedar mixed into a warm, mineral, floral undercarriage flecked with cloves and cinnamon. It’s just settling in at the five-year mark, but there is plenty more to come.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 47.99 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesEleven months down the road from my last tasting, winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs’ cabernet sauvignon remains impressive, if a little softer. The fruit, hand-picked and cold soaked for 3-5 days before 18 months in 32 percent new French oak, appears to be pushing through the ageing now. It’s definitely pure Alexander Mountain black fruit (cherries and plums) with a refreshing blackcurrant addition and savoury, dried herbs. The acidity remains bright and lively at this point, tempering the intense mountain fruit. The tannins are softer in 2014 and you feel it now, but it will still age effortlessly for a decade. The 5100 acre site has 900 acres planted to grapes in 235 individual vineyard blocks.Prices: BC 57.99 ON 53.99 US 45.00 AB 55.00 Producer: Stonestreet Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon Vintner's Reservetext
89PTS

Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon Vintner's Reserve 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesKJVR cabernet is over 30 years old and it is only getting better thanks to a deep reserve of fruit sources. The blend is 85/6/4/4/1/ cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, malbec and merlot, almost entirely Sonoma sourced. It’s aged just under a year in a mix of French and American oak barrels and stainless steel. The nose is open and inviting with fresh black cherry, blackberry, cedar and cassis with a hint of mocha. The palate is similar with more black fruit, cassis and savoury Sonoma undercurrents. It’s ready to drink and a fine match for barbecued beef.Prices: BC 31.99 AB 28.99 US 18.00 ON 22.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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02 May 2019

Joseph Phelps Insigniatext
96PTS

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe 2015 Phelps Insignia was harvested from September 8 to October 5, mixing 90/7/2/1 cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec that all come off estate-owned Napa Valley vineyards in Stags Leap District, St. Helena, Oak Knoll District, South Napa Valley, and Rutherford. Insignia spends two years in new French oak barrels crafted by five different coopers. It’s a warmer, more generous style, if that’s possible, with super fine grained tannins adding density without too much extra weight. The attack is intense and rich but with plenty of finesse and more fragrance than the Napa cab. Big and supple seem incongruent. but Insignia is that and more and it has a history of ageing effortlessly. This is a very fine Insignia.Prices: BC 409.99 AB 412.00 MB 489.00 ON 390.00 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Insigniatext
91PTS

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2011

Napa Valley, California, United StatesNo longer available, other than the odd restaurant list or courtesy of a generous collector, the 2011 Insignia is showing some age. The 82/11/4/2/1/ cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, merlot and cabernet franc from estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards are now reaching middle age. The growing season began typically with bud break occurring at the end of March, but cold weather delayed bloom by two to three weeks. By mid-June, preparations were underway to mitigate an unusually cool growing season: vines were forced into competition for water by leaving cover crop untilled, irrigation was delayed, and clusters were thinned. An eleven-day warming trend in mid-September helped to ripen the fruit but the first grapes in the merlot block weren't picked until October 3 at the Yountville Vineyard. The cabernet sauvignon, from the Home Ranch Vineyard, was picked on November 1. The wine is typically floral, and its personality is on the lighter side although the structure and tannin remain reasonably intense. The highlights are rich black cherry, tobacco and espresso. Drink now with a steak and chimichurri sauce.Prices: ON 225.00 QC 225.00 NS 225.00 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Insigniatext
93PTS

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2010

Napa Valley, California, United StatesLike many of the star 2010 California reds, it’s the cool, mineral, floral stony notes that attract. The blend is 84/10/4/2 cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, merlot and malbec. A svelte Insignia, at least as lean as a Napa red can be, has helped this wine to age effortlessly. The palate reveals more of the richness and dark chocolate and New World sweetness that speaks to California cabernet sauvignon. This bottle was fading a bit, at least on the nose, but the palate remains impressive offering spicy, leafy, chocolate, coffee, blackcurrant, and violets that fade into a long, chalky finish. Perfect drinking now but will likely hang in through 2025. Roast beef and roasted vegetables would be an excellent match. Availability restricted to restaurants, specialty retailers and auctions at this point.Prices: ON 225.00 QC 225.00 NS 225.00 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignontext
94PTS

Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesIn 2016, the overall story was a slightly cooler vintage that allowed for a longer, more orderly ripening process, delivering outstanding fruit and flavour intensity. The blend is a hefty 86 percent cabernet sauvignon, 7 merlot with some spicing from 3 petit verdot, 2 malbec and 2 cabernet franc from a variety of owned vineyards in South Napa, Oak Knoll District, St. Helena, Rutherford and the Stags Leap District. The wine spends 18 months in 48 percent new oak split 62/38 French / American, and 52 with percent first and second fill. Expect picture perfect piercing cabernet sauvignon that attacks the palate in a fresher, more precise manner, albeit with dense, dark fruit sprinkled with licorice, coffee, cedar, and notes of graphite. The tannin is equally dense but sweet in taste and creamy in texture. Long, youthful, vibrant, impressive young cabernet. One to lay away unless you like your steaks blue.Prices: BC 125.99 AB 121.95 MB 151.99 ON 125.00 QC 116.99 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Napa Valley, California, United StatesRevisiting the 2015 Phelps is a pleasure, and if anything, it’s getting better in the bottle. The blend is a 78/15/3/2/2 mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc coming off several Phelps vineyards in South Napa, Oak Knoll District, St. Helena, Rutherford, and Stags Leap District. It’s consumed most of the 40 percent new oak (now including 35 percent American barrels), revealing a dark, inky red with intense, sweet, black fruit. You taste the small berries and loose cluster intensity, yielding sweet mulberries, plums, anise, and dense, rich, soft tannins. It’s the layers and complexity that sets this apart from the norm, and what you pay the premium for. An impressive young cabernet clearly on a winning path for collectors. If you must drink it now, the match is rare T-bone steak but I think you should wait until 2023 before thinking about opening this gem.Prices: BC 125.99 AB 121.95 MB 151.99 ON 125.00 QC 116.99 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Innisfree Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Innisfree Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesInnisfree is made from blocks of cabernet sauvignon that miss the cut for either the Phelps Insignia, or the Napa Valley labels. Often that happens in years when the crop is generous. It ticks all the boxes for a second label, with less oak, approachability, drinkability and most importantly, less money than the star bottles. The palate is Napa fragrant, offering up bright, intensebBing cherry, black raspberries and cocoa with well-rounded, balanced tannins. Ready to drink, but it will age for three to five years if asked.Prices: BC 55.00 AB 45.00 MB 57.00 ON 54.99 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyardstext
92PTS

Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyards 2016

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe cumulative effect of the drought produced a small pinot noir vintage in 2016, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the quality of this juicy pinot noir. The nose is bright and aromatic with pronounced red fruit and moderate spicing. The entry is silky and seamless: a testament to the complex mix of 14-16 clones planted on the property. On the palate, the mix of cranberry, cherry, raspberries and dried herbs linger in a mouthfilling way before the long, sweet pinot finish kicks in. The texture and balance are a joy. Freestone is estate-grown pinot from Freestone Vineyards (51 percent Quarter Moon Vineyard and 49 percent Pastorale Vineyard) aged in French oak barrels, 38 percent of which are new the rest is all second-year barrels. Fine quality. Grilled wild Pacific salmon is the match.Prices: BC 80.95 AB 84.27 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Chardonnay Freestone Vineyardstext
92PTS

Joseph Phelps Chardonnay Freestone Vineyards 2017

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2017 harvest lasted 24 nights from mid September into early October. It’s estate-grown Freestone Vineyards fruit that spends 13 months in 42 percent new French oak puncheons and barrels, 58 percent first fill. It’s whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented and full malolactic fermentation. When compared with 2016, this wine is more electric, with a very bright entry of citrus drenched tropical fruit and underlying saline, flinty mineral notes. It was a warm year, yet this fresher style chardonnay has all the hallmarks of the next gen California chardonnay. Drink or hold.Prices: BC 71.54 AB 75.03 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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Joseph Phelps Chardonnay Freestone Vineyardstext
91PTS

Joseph Phelps Chardonnay Freestone Vineyards 2016

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe 2016 harvest lasted some 20 nights from September 9 – 29 for this Freestone Vineyards chardonnay. It spends 13 months in 35 percent new French oak puncheons and barrels, 65 percent of which are first fill. The barrels are stirred during the long malolactic fermentation. Always fragrant, the 2016 seems even more so, offering up green apple and citrus peel, while on the palate baked apple and nectarine pervades a fresh, mineral finish kissed with oak. It is impressive stuff and well above what folks might generally think of California chardonnay.Prices: BC 71.54 AB 75.03 Producer: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
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01 May 2019

Tinhorn Creek Innovation Series Whole Cluster Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Tinhorn Creek Innovation Series Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTinhorn's Innovation Series has spawned 250 cases of this single vineyard cabernet franc, whole cluster pressed and fermented with native yeast before spending 16 months in French oak barrels. The colour is pale red, and the nose a sweet, smoky affair of ripe red fruits. The attack is soft with sweet, peppery fruit reminiscent of late picked strawberries and raspberries. The wood is well set into the wine, supporting but not dominating the whole. This is a luxurious version of cabernet franc in a year when the sun was plentiful. There are still some grippy tannins to shed' grilled meats, particularly lamb sausages, would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Poplar Grove Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Poplar Grove Cabernet Franc 2015

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlready garnet orange in hue, this forward, fat, cabernet franc with lifted fruit appears to be ageing quickly. It was a super hot year, not always complementary to wines that walk the hedonistic line. Lifted dark, baked fruit flavours and a spicy sheen of oak combine to take this down the palate to a firm, medium long finish marked with dark chocolate, and short, drying tannins. The blend is 90/10 cabernet franc and malbec. Ready to drink now with grilled beef.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Franc 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2016 vintage continues to impress when it comes to the red blends. This is classic franc, balancing the dry, herbaceous, leafy notes with red fruit and perfect acidity. The fruit is all Skaha Bench that is bathed in the late day sun for most of the growing season. It was picked on November 7 in perfect condition. The palate is fresh, with fruity, violet, savoury notes, supple tannins and plenty of oak, albeit finessed. You can drink this now but five years in the bottle would be the best way to maximize your purchase.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Innovation Series Whole Cluster Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Tinhorn Creek Innovation Series Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPart of Tinhorn's new Innovation Series, 250 cases of this single vineyard cab franc were made. This was an experiment with whole cluster and native ferment, then racked to French oak for 16 months prior to bottling. I was surprised by the medium pale hue of this bigger red, one ringed with smoke, but not choked by it. Give this youthful red some airtime to reveal finessed raspberry, soft wild strawberries, cracked peppercorn and tight wood spicing, held by nubby, fine tannins. The warmth of the southern Okanagan is felt in the finish of this youthful wine, inviting grilled pork or sausage. The most finessed Tinhorn Creek wine in recent memory, and a welcome lighter direction.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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