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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: July 2019

31 July 2019

Privata Chardonnay by Ex Nihilo Vineyardstext
88PTS

Privata Chardonnay by Ex Nihilo Vineyards 2017

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPrivata is Ex Nihilo's reserve chardonnay label grown in Lake County, a cool, north Okanagan region attracting many chardonnay producers. The latest version is all barrel fermented and aged in 85/15 French and American oak, but only 25 percent is new, giving the fruit every chance to express itself. The alcohol has been reigned in as well at only 13.3 percent. The result is a more exciting palate, full of brighter Lake Country fruit with adequate acidity and, dare I say, a touch of dryness. It still has a buttery/caramel character, but it’s offset by the lees and some lingering minerality and sea salt. Privata has a little more curb appeal in 2017, but it remains true to the California-like house style at Ex Nihilo.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumetext
90PTS

Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceVrignaud's four hectare 1er Cru Fourchaume vineyard is situated in the north of Chablis near the commune of Fontenay-Près-Chablis on the eastern banks of the Serein river. 25-year-old vines on clay-limestone Kimmeridgian yield a concentrated and focused wine. After a native ferment in stainless, this remained in inox for 10 months on lees, without battonage. Lemon, green apple, flax and stone run the long, slender, clay-weighted palate, finishing with more river stones. This feels its 2015 vintage concentration, yet still manages to keep fresh. Guillaume joined his family's domaine in 1999, and convinced his father to leave the co-op, build a cellar, and start their own label. They moved to organic viticulture in 2009, but like many growers, had to abandon in the very challenging 2016 vintage. They began the three year conversion period for organic certification again in 2017, and will have completed it by the end of the 2019 vintage.Prices: ON 57.95 Producer: Guillaume Vrignaud
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Guillaume Vrignaud Les Champréaux Chablistext
91PTS

Guillaume Vrignaud Les Champréaux Chablis 2015

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThis organically farmed Chablis comes from the 2.68ha ‘Champreaux’ vineyard, northeast of Fontenay-Près-Chablis. Kimmeridgian soils and 27 year old vines yield concentrated flavours, amplified and well suited to a native ferment, with 30% going to barriques and 500L barrels (10% new). Post ferment and full MLF, this remained in the mix of wood and stainless for ten months on the lees. Subtle vanilla mingles with white blossom, pear skin, lemon, on the medium bodied, concentrated, lees-lined palate, one held taut by lemon pith bracing and salted stone finish. Confident and properly so. Guillaume joined his family's domaine in 1999, and convinced his father to leave the co-op, build a cellar, and start their own label. They moved to organic viticulture in 2009, but like many growers, had to abandon in the very challenging 2016 vintage. They began the three year conversion period for organic certification again in 2017, and will have completed it by the end of the 2019 vintage.Prices: ON 43.95 Producer: Guillaume Vrignaud
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Nielson Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Nielson Chardonnay 2018

Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesNielson by Byron is the next iteration of Byron Wine, intended to honour the area’s first true pioneer, Uriel Nielson. The vines were replanted in 2001, featuring cuttings from the original “Wente” clone planted 1964. The harvest is a mix of select clusters with a combination of berry sizes, combining rich stone fruit with firm acidity and underlying minerality. Much like every year, the wine bursts out of the glass with tight, crisp, tropical fruit sporting streaks of orange, mineral, lees and intense peach. It is an exquisite style to sip, but it is even better with spicy, savoury chicken or sushi. This Santa Maria Valley chardonnay spends 16 months in French oak, of which 45 percent is new.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Nielson Wines (old Byron Winery)
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Cambria Chardonnay Katherine's Vineyardtext
90PTS

Cambria Chardonnay Katherine's Vineyard 2017

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesIs this the best yet Katherine’s from Cambria Estate, one of two vineyards named after the Jackson sisters Katie and Julia of Jackson Family Wines? The site is located on the coastal Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara County. This cooler, fog-blanketed and limestone-laden site is planted to clones 4, 76, 96, and the Wente selection. There's a marvellous freshness here led by green apple streaked with lemon and peach folded into a creamy, complex lees that tones the mid-palate down. The finish is equally bright with lots of nutmeg, hazelnut, and more pear and green apple fruit. Impressive style change.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery
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Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay 2018

California, United StatesAvant is entirely stainless steel fermented and bottled under screwcap, which is a reliable recipe to rein in the bright fruit. In this case, the wine is 47% Monterey County (lemony citrus and mineral notes), 39% Santa Barbara County (fresh pineapple), and Mendocino County (juicy green apple flavours). Clean bright, ripe and ready to drink, this is great for west coast seafood or cream cheese dishes.Prices: BC 25.19 AB 21.99 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Liberty School Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Liberty School Chardonnay 2016

Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Liberty School chardonnay is whole-cluster-pressed and chilled for one to two days before a barrel fermentation followed by six-eight months in both neutral French and American oak barrels. The freshness and elegance surprises despite the intensity of its tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Lemons tangerines and pineapples combined with flecks of crème brûlée with a touch of minerality. Ready to drink and a fine introduction to central coast chardonnay.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 19.00 QC 19.00 NB 26.00 ON 18.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Cono Sur Bicicleta Organic Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Cono Sur Bicicleta Organic Chardonnay 2018

ChileNot a lot of change here. Fresh, bright, honeyed nose with melon, canned grapefruit and peach. The tropical theme carries onto the palate, but I like this somewhat skinnier version with juicy, green apple, grapefruit, nectarine, pear, finishing with citrus and a dusting of lees. Still a dependable entry-level chardonnay.Prices: BC 14.99 MB 13.00 AB 15.00 Producer: Viña Cono Sur
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Sebastiani Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Sebastiani Chardonnay 2017

California, United StatesThe attack is ripe and sweet with intense pineapple and a touch of citrus, before the trademark butterscotch and caramel finish. There was a time when I thought this label was drying out but the sweetness is back so if you love your chardonnay rich, round and ripe this it. Best with equally busy dishes like butter chicken ar Thai curry bowl. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 18.50 ON 18.95 QC 18.50 Producer: Sebastiani
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30 July 2019

Cecchi Chiantitext
86PTS

Cecchi Chianti 2016

Tuscany, ItalyCecchi is a classical Chianti label made from mostly sangiovese grapes. Production is a healthy 85,000 cases, and in 2016, that delivers for the price. It was a great vintage, and you can feel the fruit and the bones of 2016 in this simple but effective red. The attack is bright with warm plummy fruit flecked with earthy, savoury notes and enough acidity to keep it fresh through its powdery tannin finish. A simple red wine you can serve with a favourite pizza or pasta dish.Prices: BC 14.99 AB 13.99 SK 15.99 MB 14.99 ON 15.00 QC 13.80 NL 23.99 Producer: Casa Vinicola Luigi Cecchi & Figli
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Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantenatext
90PTS

Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena 2015

Veneto, ItalyValpantena, the name for the hillsides where this wine was grown, means valley of the gods. It is also the only cru sub-zone in Valpo. This blends 80% corvina veronese with 20% rondinella, with select ripe bunches sent to the drying rooms of the winery in Grezzana, where they are laid out in single-layer crates. In mid-January, the grapes are destemmed, crushed, and fermented. A part ages in Slavonian oak barrels, with the remainder in barriques for about 30 months. After bottling, this rests for a minimum of six months before release. As expected, this all yields a concentrated, dense, rich and intense wine, with sweet dark blackberries, kirsch, raspberry cordial on a plump palate, padded by raisins and studded with peppercorns. Tannins are sticky and the finish is very warm, at 15.5 degrees. This would work alongside rich blue cheese dishes.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Bertani
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Le Ragnaie Miscelonetext
89PTS

Le Ragnaie Miscelone 2018

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis is the first year Le Ragnaie has produced this "Miscellaneous wine", though blending red and white grapes is certainly part of the traditional Chianti 'recipe'. Miscelone is 60% red grapes (sangiovese and canaiolo) and 40% white grapes (malvasia and trebbiano), sourced from the same vineyard, coharvested and cofermented in concrete, and then aged for 6 months in concrete. This chillable, non-intervention red opens with a wall of reduction that quickly blows off into red cherry, liquorice, leather, and an ample wash of sea salts. Tannins are sandpaper fine and acidity is nervous to a taut, brisk finish. Charmer; chill and drink now and over short term.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie
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Ruffino Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcinotext
89PTS

Ruffino Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino 2013

Tuscany, ItalySunbaked leather, old wood, tar, tobacco, dried cherries, flake salt, is washed over with gentle waves of oxidation in this Brunello. Acidity thankfully remains taut, if thin, streaming orange peel through until the falling off the finish. Chewy tannins frame the shadowing fruit. Certainly well-constructed and with pedigree; ready to drink now.Prices: BC 55.00 ON 50.00 Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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Ruffino Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Ruffino Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino 2013

Tuscany, ItalyGreppone is like stepping back in time in Brunello offering up a nose of worn leather, tobacco, and tar with classic dried cherries. The attack is fresh and intense, but it carries its weight effortlessly across the palate with red fruits and more tobacco and earthy notes before finishing long with a tug of tannins that suggests it will have more to give down the road. A sleeper you can try now with grilled meats and mushroom dishes, but it would best to wait through 2023 and beyond. Good value.Prices: BC 55.00 ON 50.00 Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classicotext
90PTS

Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico 2016

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyPoggio Bonelli Chianti Classico is a 90/10 mix of sangiovese and merlot all grown in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area of Siena. The south-facing hillside vineyards sit between 350 and 360 meters above sea level. The winemaking is with a stainless steel ferment, followed by 10-days maceration on skins, ten months in older wood tonneaux and three more months in bottle. A great year to enjoy Chianti Classico in all its glory: red fruit, juicy, soft tannins and lovely savoury, sour cherry fruit dusted in dried herbs.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Tenute Poggio Bonelli
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Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico Riservatext
92PTS

Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico Riserva 2016

Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyWow. What a great year and a delicious Chianti Classico Riserva. Classic black cherry with perfect spicing all supported by lively energy that penetrates the palate. Licorice, plums, peppers, and forest floor are all present in exquisite balance, daring you to drink one glass after another. It was perfect with grilled chicken but would be equally excellent with mushrooms and pasta. This 95/5 mix of sangiovese and other traditional grapes all grown at Castelnuovo Berardenga (Siena) is a wine to buy and cellar and drink over the next decade.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Tenute Poggio Bonelli
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classicotext
87PTS

San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2016

Florence, Tuscany, ItalyBitter cherry, dried cassis, plum, worn leather snake through this organic, rustic Chianti Classico, one that feels somewhat sluggish with time, even though it's a youthful 2016. This bottle's bret gives way to iron pan lining the medium-bodied, brawny palate, with the metal overrunning into the tannins and creating a bitter astringency through the spiced finish. Fermented in stainless, this spent one year in small new French oak barrels before bottling.Prices: ON 27.00 NS 29.00 BC 26.99 Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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San Valentino Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
85PTS

San Valentino Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016

Abruzzo, ItalyThis montepulciano is a simple, easy red of sour cherries, baked rhubarb and scents of roses. Tannins are soft and plump, while the finish is sticky and short. Best chilled, and taken with equally simple tomato / meat sauced pasta.Prices: BC 12.29 Producer: San Valentino
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Abbazia di Novacella Schiavatext
89PTS

Abbazia di Novacella Schiava 2016

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyAbbazia is a monastery founded in 1142 by the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular, and produces wine from their estate vineyards, complemented by neighbouring growers, like this schiava. After opening with a swing of reduction, this moves into balsamic, muddied blackcurrants, thorny plum, hints of spice, and sapid pitch. Tannins are soft, and acidity is bright and pixellated, both encouraging a chill and partnering with grilled sausages.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Abbazia di Novacella
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Abbazia di Novacella Lagreintext
90PTS

Abbazia di Novacella Lagrein 2016

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyAbbazia is a monastery founded in 1142 by the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular, and produces wine from their estate vineyards, complemented by neighbouring growers. This lagrein comes from vineyards in in Bolzano’s Quirein district, at 260-350m, and on soils mixed with sand, clay and eroded quartzite porphyry. You can feel the pixellated grittiness of the soils on the tight / fine textured palate, with blueberry, bumble berry, wild plum and sapid rock roses. Tannins are sticky and plump, and acidity is brisk to carry this to a peppery finish. This was fermented and aged in stainless before six months aging in very large oak casks prior to bottling.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Abbazia di Novacella
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Torrevento Vigna Pedale Castel del Monte Rosso Riservatext
88PTS

Torrevento Vigna Pedale Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva 2014

Puglia, ItalyNero di Troia grapes thrive in the Castel del Monte region of Apulia, here growing at 350 to 450 metres above sea level. It spends just over a year in large casks to better expand its reach in the glass. The nose is an invitation to the southern Mediterranean, with black raspberry and cherry. The attack is fresh with some surprising acidity and earthy, licorice, red fruits with that fierce Italian dryness in the finish. Vigna Pedale is the definition of a wine that needs food but not in a negative way. A mushroom pasta dish or a favourite meaty pizza is the match.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Torrevento, Azienda Vinicola
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Torrevento Torre del Falco Nero di Troiatext
88PTS

Torrevento Torre del Falco Nero di Troia 2015

Puglia, ItalyThis nero di troia grows at 350-450m in the Apulian hills. This dusky red is imbued with scrubby herbs, infiltrating plum, dark raspberry, boysenberry along a medium-slight body. A juicy core, and nubby fine tannins welcome pairing with grilled sausages or kabobs. This saw no oak, thankfully, and could take a chill readily. Well done.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Torrevento, Azienda Vinicola
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Stag's Hollow Dolcetto Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Dolcetto Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere is so much to like about this “dolcetto” or the "little sweet one." The attack is one, big, juicy, black cherry and black raspberry affair with a bolt of acidity and soft tannins. It would be perfect with some grilled sausages off the barbecue or spaghetti Bolognese or a simple charcuterie plate. Ready to drink but no rush to open through the next year or two.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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29 July 2019

Cháteau Peyros Madiran Tannat Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Cháteau Peyros Madiran Tannat Cabernet Franc 2013

Madiran, Sud-Ouest, FranceThis blend of tannat and cabernet franc comes from southern-facing slopes in the Haut Béarn region, in the heart of the Vic Bilh, or 'old country' in local dialect. The soil here is a conglomerate of rolled pebbles and clay, known as pouzzolanes. This is a rustic edged, savoury red with leather, gravels, brambled fruit along a drying palate, lined with cedar bough tannins. Best taken with roasted root veg or sausages.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Chateau Peyros
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The Prisoner Red Winetext
87PTS

The Prisoner Red Wine 2017

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe Prisoner is the most recognized Napa Valley red blend proving once again; consumers love a name they can remember, especially if it is big, red and sweet. They don’t come much bolder at 15.2 percent alcohol by volume, and you sense all of it in the glass and the mouth. The blend is zinfandel mixed with cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, syrah and charbono inspired by the field blends planted regions early Italian immigrants. Expect an intense explosion of cooked cherries, raisins and figs on the nose and palate. The finish is long and warm with black fruits reminiscent of fresh-baked blueberry or blackberry pie. Given the sweet-fruit flavours, we suggest pairing this with spicy ribs.Prices: BC 59.99 NF 29.72 AB 31.00 ON 54.95 Producer: The Prisoner Wine Company
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26 July 2019

Quails' Gate Chardonnay Rosemary's Blocktext
90PTS

Quails' Gate Chardonnay Rosemary's Block 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRosemary's Block leads a trio of top-flight chardonnays at Quails' Gate, named after the mother of the current Stewart family, Rosemary. It continues to show it can be at the top of the BC chardonnay chain year after year with its quiet, leesy lemon nose and palate. Elegant and mineral, it is all about the place and not so much about the fruit. Citrus, green apple, pear ever so slightly rises above the oak and lees and spice. You can drink this now, but I say wait for two to three years until it's at its zenith. The grapes come off two upper estate blocks on the Boucherie (volcanic) Bench. Clones 809 and 76 were whole-cluster pressed and fermented in new and old French oak barrels for 11 months, with full MLF, and regular battonage.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Joannie Rochette Old Main Road Vineyardtext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Joannie Rochette Old Main Road Vineyard 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 Tribute Series Chardonnay honours Joannie Rochette, a Canadian figure skating Olympic medallist. The fruit comes off the Old Main Road Vineyard in Naramata, a site with a gently sloping northern aspect planted in 1996 to silty loams and clay. Minimalist winemaker, Chris Carson’s ferments, are long, cool and slow and in this case, were followed by 11 months ageing in French oak (22 percent new) resting sur lies with no battonage. The results are stunning, beginning with one of the best-structured chardonnays I have tasted in BC. Look for a bony, mineral, white wine flecked with bits of lemon, green apple, sea salt dusted in dried desert herbs — all you could want in a serious bottle of chardonnay at a fantastic price.Prices: BC 30.52 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Kitsch Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Kitsch Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe regular Kitsch Chardonnay is a complete departure from the reserve edition that leans on a fair bit of oak. The style is light and soft and a bit watery but in the right way, making it almost gulpable. We like the resiny/chalky lees notes and light green apple/pear flavours that leave the palate clean with a touch of complexity. A dollar of every bottle sold goes to Mama's for Mama's - a national charity assisting families in need. Good value here. It is all estate chardonnay, clone 95, planted in 2013 on silty loam over sand. After whole cluster pressing and fermentation in stainless, this spent eight months in neutral French oak.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 is 100 percent estate-grown, and it comes off a single block. It goes through a wild yeast ferment in French Oak before spending a further ten months in French oak, of which 25 percent is new. A small percentage of that was put through natural malolactic fermentation to add those creamy textures evident on the palate. Look for stone fruit and lemon kissed wet stones with a dry, tangy back end. Flinty is a good descriptor, with just a bit of creamy pear and white cherry in the finish. The winery suggests you pair it with crab cakes and fennel salad, soft cheeses, and herb-crusted halibut with pea puree. I simply request an invitation.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Single Vineyard Chardonnaytext
89PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine hails from Block 5 at the top of the Home Block Vineyard – the first year it was farmed organically. Winemaker Taylor Whelan reported the first changes saw the grapes developed riper flavours, but fewer sugars, than in previous years and weather-related the were smaller berry size, clusters and yields. The fruit was barrel fermented in puncheons and barriques and went through a full malolactic fermentation before spending ten months in barrel, on full lees, before bottling. 2017 was highly lauded at the National Wine Awards, but it is showing somewhat disjointed at this youthful stage, with the wood, lean fruit, and lees jockeying it out for pole position. Lemon, green pear, green apple, white blossom, vanilla-kissed spices sit atop a bed of earthy lees, finishing with some warming shell spicing. It needs time to resolve its parts into one.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Seaside Pearl Fraser Gold Unoaked Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Seaside Pearl Fraser Gold Unoaked Chardonnay 2018

CanadaThe Fraser River Gold Rush was a remarkable time in BC and is duly noted on its label. The attack is dry with resiny, light, green apple exposed to no oak. The result is crisp and bright. It would be well suited with a simple fish dish, but the price suggests it should offer up a bit more. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Tightrope Winery Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Tightrope Winery Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove the quality, especially for the price, and love the style even more: fresh citrus, pears, green apples with a stream of lees and acidity that runs from back to front. There is an electric quality here that excites and it should be a superb accompaniment to a wide range of foods. This spends nine months in oak, but you would never know it. Only 60 cases made, but this is well worth buying.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Upper Bench Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Upper Bench Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe UB chardonnay is aged in a 50/50 mix of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for three months. 2017 is the best one yet from my perspective, starting with an inviting leesy, nutty nose and a touch of melon. There is a Naramata liveliness in the front end that suggests the barrel management is being fine-tuned to allow the bright apricot, pear and guava flecked fruit to shine through. The finish is equally fresh with a twist of sea salt and minerality. Impressive and food-friendly. As we said last year this is an excellent example of why Naramata may be the Okanagan chardonnay sweet zone.Prices: BC 28.85 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnaytext
89PTS

JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe En Famille Reserve is made up of Joie’s best blocks of chardonnay coming off the Skaha Bench (Con Vida Vineyard) and the Naramata Bench (Plein de Vie Vineyard). The goal was a juicy, mouthwatering style to balance off the intense ripe fruit in 2017, and it would appear that has been accomplished. The complexity and depth of flavour is the result of multiple picks that saw the last fruit come in at the end of September. It’s all barrel-fermented using native yeast, and the entire lot goes through malolactic fermentation. It’s aged in a blend of premium French oak barriques and puncheons with only a moderate amount of new oak used, extended lees contact and monthly stirring. Expect a high degree of pear and apple dusted in hazelnuts with a salty, fresh, long palate. Impressive and will get better in the bottle. Be patient.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 38.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBright lemon curd and lees lead a bright, vibrant, sun-soaked chardonnay that pops in the glass. On the nose, you get a mix of floral (white flower and lemon blossom notes) that adds energy to a stony, mineral basement. A lot is going on here, but all in a good way. The richness is almost Corton-like, giving this wine a promising future. It's the Next Okanagan style, although much bolder than the flagship Perpetua Chardonnay. At Mission Hill, the Terroir Series wines are meant to tell a story. In this case, the chardonnay is from Oliver's Jagged Rock Vineyard a warm sandy / loamy site. It is planted to clone 76 at some 400 metres above sea level surrounded by towering and steep rocky cliffs. It spends 16 months on the lees in a blend of French oak, foudre, and clayver (ceramic) containers.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Crowsnest Family Reserve Stahltank Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Crowsnest Family Reserve Stahltank Chardonnay 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 continues the streak of ripe offerings from Crowsnest. The nose is like a sweet summer orchard with notes of apricots and orange blossoms. On the palate, there is more red apple and tangerine with ripe, juicy flavours that run through the back end with some helping minerality and wet stones. Many will like this gulpable style that can take on spicier dishes – think Indian, Thai or Chinese.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Arterra Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Arterra Chardonnay 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe colour suggests the wine could be both mature and oaky. It's both pitching a spicy toasted oak nose against warm, forward, ripe pear and apricot flavours. The palate is smooth, the lees muted and the acid strangely low for an Ontario chardonnay. It could use an injection of Thomas Bachelder heading back to Arterra to consult on the Le Clos Jordanne project. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 26.95 ON 26.95 Producer: Arterra Wines
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Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOak Street Vineyard sits on the rocky Okanagan Valley Golden Mile Bench sub-appellation. Facing east, it’s an ideal location to catch the gentle morning sun while avoiding the scorching afternoon heat. The result is a more extended and more useful growing season, promoting optimal ripeness with bright acidity. The site boasts several chardonnay clones: 53, 76 and 96 adding to its complexity, all aged in new French puncheons for 14 months. This “proper” chardonnay via Jason Parkes comes with plenty of vanilla, orange, and spice, with a honeysuckle undercurrent. The palate is full of flavour and weight with pineapple, melon and more honeysuckle. Just a baby, this needs a year or two to settle into itself, but it should come out the other end even better.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Painted Rock Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Painted Rock Chardonnay 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 is a crowd-pleaser style chardonnay focused on ripe, peachy/cherry (orchard) fruit aromas and flavours. Not quite as zippy as 2016 it likely has broader appeal, but it’s a little less Euro and little more New World in the glass. Creamy and ripe it offers up some sweet oak - best with more sumptuous dishes like lobster or turkey. It always sells out early, so it's hard to argue its popularity, but a tighter version of this grape, especially in the Skaha region, could take it to another level.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
90PTS

Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is whole-bunch-pressed to egg-shaped concrete tanks during a long slow ferment. The result is a beautiful chardonnay led by its exquisite texture and length in the mouth. The fruit is pure and lively with notes of pear and green apple mixed with riper red apple/honeydew flavours. There is a terrific balance here in a lovely linear chardonnay that plays the elegant game. Secrest Mountain Vineyard has proven to be an excellent site for grapes. It is a 20-hectare site of alluvial soils interspersed with coarse gravel and sandy loam planted to a 15-hectare vineyard situated on a flat, south-west facing bench at 487 meters above sea level. OCP has been in charge of the farming since 2010; they purchased the vineyard in 2018, and it is currently under conversion to organic farming practices began in 2014.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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25 July 2019

Seaside Pearl Lover's Lane Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Seaside Pearl Lover's Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe winery doesn’t provide much background on this wine. It’s 2016. It’s Cabernet Sauvignon. And, though the winery is based in Abbotsford, the grapes are sourced from Okanagan Falls in the Okanagan Valley. But there’s actually a fair bit to like. A spot-on nose of red currant and fresh herbs, with some smokey oak leads to a medium-bodied palate with fresh, slightly tart acidity, and plush tannins, which isn’t easy to achieve with cabernet sauvignon in the Okanagan. It’s definitely ripe, but I like that they preserved the variety's intrinsic green, herbal edge, and at only 13.7% alcohol to boot. Not a bad showing from this relatively new winery.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Bellwether Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignontext
90PTS

Bellwether Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaNeed proof that Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon can age? This 11-year old cabernet sauvignon still has a deep ruby core, with the colour only beginning to fade at the rim. There’s more evident development on the nose, with attractive tertiary cedar notes, but the fruit is still bright and fresh. And then there’s that dusty, dried eucalyptus, which immediately places you in Coonawarra. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose; it’s well balanced (and only 13% abv) with resolved, fine-grained tannins, but it lacks mid-palate weight and the flavours come across slightly diluted. At peak now, it will hold for an additional 3-5 years. A steal if you can get it on sale for $31.97, as I did. The winery currently lists this wine at AUD $90.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Bellwether Wines
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Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

California, United StatesTom Gore Vineyards was founded in 2014 by grape grower Tom Gore. There's nothing shy about this cabernet, from its spicy, black cherry, blackberry fruit to its warm, round, soft, luxurious, floral fruit finish flecked with brown spice. Try this with your favourite barbecue rib dish.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tom Gore Winery
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Upper Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Limited Releasetext
88PTS

Upper Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Limited Release 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWine geeks rejoice at the easily accessible technical information on the back label: this is a blend of 95 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent merlot (yes, cropped at 2.71 tons per acre) from Upper Bench’s home vineyard. A deep purple colour, this is a full throttle style of cabernet sauvignon from a ripe vintage that shows raisonated fruit and cedary oak, but not much else. Although it’s only 30 percent new oak, the fruit just doesn’t quite hold up to the wood. The tannins are pretty firm, but there’s a pinch of residual sugar (3.9 g/L) to help soften the palate, leading to a hot finish. This should appeal broadly, especially to those that favour a California-style of cabernet. Consider decanting for an hour or two before serving. Only 162 cases produced.Prices: BC 46.10 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery First Edition Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery First Edition Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Valle del Cachapoal, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileValle Secreto is located 122 kilometres south of Santiago in a small production zone known as the Alto Cachapoal. The First Edition is an attractive, style of cabernet sauvignon with plush, fruity, soft tannins, spice and toasted bits of oak, but the attraction is the plummy fruit flecked with fig jam and a bit of minerality. Rich, round, and ready-to-drink.Prices: BC 37.98 Producer: Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery
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Condor Peak Reserve Cabernet Sauvignontext
83PTS

Condor Peak Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaIt is nice to pull out the cork and see a Diam 3, which is a smart (and TCA free) choice of closure for this style of soft and sweet cabernet sauvignon. Quite muted on the nose, the wine shows some muddled baked red fruits and oak adjuncts. It has a good dose of residual sugar, with tart, unintegrated acidity, soft tannin, and confected fruit. This is a wine that was made for easy drinking, but which just doesn’t bring a lot of pleasure.Prices: BC 13.98 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

California, United StatesA varietally accurate rendition of cabernet sauvignon, but one which shows considerable winemaking via confected fruit and oak adjunct character. This will appeal broadly to those looking for a soft, sweet, and easy expression of the variety.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 18.99 MB 22.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA combination of Oliver (68 percent) and Osoyoos (32 percent) estate fruit, this cabernet sauvignon was aged in French and American oak for 14 months, of which 25 percent was new. An attractive nose of juicy blackberry and subtle sweet herbs shows through, with some dill from the American oak. There isn't the same intensity or expected concentration on the palate, and the finish dries out without persistent fruit. Varietally accurate, though this has taken a big step up in price over the last two years and isn't quite the same value it once was.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Treana Cabernet Sauvignontext
0PTS

Treana Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesCorked., to be re-tasted.Prices: BC 39.99 US 30.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesCabernet Sauvignon has been an extended part of the Hope Family’s viticultural history, and no one has embraced the potential of Paso Robles more than Austin Hope, the winemaker and architect of this big cabernet. Not for the timid, its opaque opening leads to an intense, black-fruited big red flecked with black currants, blackberries and black cherries that persist form front to back. It’s also spicy, mixing tobacco and cloves with smoky vanilla notes. It is just a baby, and will keep a decade before it begins to open up to tell the Paso Robles stories.Prices: BC 69.99 US 50.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Hester Creek Terra Unica Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from the winery's estate vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench, this wine is exclusively available to wine club members. The deep purple colour hints at a big, fully extracted cabernet sauvignon. A dense nose with no shortage of chocolatey oak and dark fruits, the palate is medium-full bodied with firm, woody tannins, and fresh, integrated acidity. Everything is in the right place, but just lacking some complexity and elegance. It will be interesting to watch this evolve over the next 3-5 years, as there is potential to improve with bottle age. Only 250 cases produced.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileIn 2016 the start was early and warm, followed by a warm summer. Temperatures finally drop at harvest, but persistent rains made strategic picking necessary. Look for a medium-weight cab with the kind of elegance you would expect from the house of Lafite. The palate is more savoury red fruit than black, with a spicy mid-palate and a dusting of wild herbs (boldo). Best with grilled meats.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 18.95 Producer: Domaines Barons de Rothschild
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Noble Vines Collection 337 Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Noble Vines Collection 337 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesPouring a deep purple, this Lodi cabernet sauvignon shows considerable jammy, stewed fruit along with confected sweet spices and forward oak. On the palate, it is round with perceptible residual sugar (6 g/L), soft acidity, and smooth, barely noticeable tannins. More zin than cabernet sauvignon, this will appeal to those looking for an easy-drinking, oaky, full-bodied red wine for BBQ season.Prices: SK 25.00 BC 18.99 MB 20.00 AB 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Delicato Family Vineyards
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Bordertown Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Bordertown Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot yet released at the winery, so we don't have a lot of information on this wine, but the previous vintage was 100 percent Osoyoos fruit. On the nose, it’s not shy on intensity, but it’s all about roasted red pepper and stewed fruit as opposed to freshness. There’s also some subtle oak spice, which is nicely integrated in the background. The palate is fairly plush with fine tannins, but the tart acidity sticks out on the finish. Tame this with peppercorn steak.Prices: BC 25.50 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaInky purple in colour, this shows surprising varietal typicity for the price. It was also partially aged in French oak barrels for ten months. It’s about what you’d expect from Argentinian cabernet, with chocolatey oak, bright dark fruits, and a sappy green note. The palate is dry (3 g/L residual sugar), and firm with nice freshness. Good value for the price - and a fairly honest wine too, especially if you can get it in Ontario at the LCBO for only $9.95.Prices: AB 17.50 BC 15.99 ON 9.95 QC 10.95 SK 16.99 MB 14.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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24 July 2019

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Ex Nihilo Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted nine months along, and this Lake Country pinot noir is holding well. Wood is mellowing, further softening the downy soft cherry, raspberry, vanilla-scented fruit. Whole berry fermented, this was aged nine months in American and French oak, yielding a Sonoma-meets-Okanagan red. There's a soupiness to the palate that welcomes tightening with a chill, and a partnering with meatloaf or pork chops.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 4 Single Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 4 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the upper, sandy loam slopes of their home estate, this is 21-year-old vines of clones 115 and 667. After a native ferment in concrete and stainless, this aged for a year in French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Finely textured throughout, this elegant pinot carries cherry, black raspberry, tree bark, fine tobacco, and walnut shells. Tannins are spider web fine, easily framing a long, slight, silken palate. Lovely savoury-edged form.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Blocktext
90PTS

Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Block 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNamed for the Stewart family patriarch, Richard, who was one of the first to introduce pinot noir to the Okanagan in the early 1970s. From the oldest vines in Block 11 the Mt. Boucherie, volcanic-soiled estate, this is clones 667, 117, and 115, up to 30 years in vine age. After a ferment in stainless, this aged 13 months in French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Dusky plum, bitter black cherry, bark, tobacco leaf rule a medium bodied palate, with striated tannins from the wood, and a finely grippy texture that increases on the finish, welcoming rabbit or pork pairings. There's a very serious reserve and restraint here, while still allowing the pure Okanagan fruit to pulse through. Drinking well now, and over the next couple of years.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Ochota Barrels Home... Pinot Noirtext
93PTS

Ochota Barrels Home... Pinot Noir 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaAfter making it through the impressive / annoying two layers and colours of wax (so pretty though), this incredibly spicy, tight and characterful pinot opens. Tomato plant, wild herbs (chervil, tarragon, parsley, chives), rhubarb, cranberry, medicinal anise, white cherry buoy from this bright and lifted red, crunchy with acidity and alive. As the wine opens, more tart red fruit shines, along with a lovely gentle earthy scent. Quite memorable. This was made entirely by Amber Ochota, down to the photo of the poppy field she shot while cycling that adorns the label. This tiny organically farmed vineyard is a mix of clones, was handpicked by the family in under 2 hours, and whole bunch native fermented, basked pressed, and bottled without any additions or filtering. 298 bottles.Prices: BC 103.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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Ochota Barrels Impeccable Disorder Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Ochota Barrels Impeccable Disorder Pinot Noir 2018

Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaI don't know about disorder, but this light red certainly is edgy. Youthful wild strawberry, earth, hops, herbs and flicks of moss stream through this light, silken Picadilly pinot noir, all 777 clone, organically farmed and native fermented. Soft on the palate, with furry tannins hugging baked plum, warm boysenberries, rhubarb and cranberry, trailing off into worn leather. This was racked from a puncheon into bottle with minimal SO2, and no other inputs. 616 bottles made.Prices: BC 84.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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Ochota Barrels A Forest Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Ochota Barrels A Forest Pinot Noir 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaA Forest Pinot Noir is a very apt name for this Adelaide Hills red. Clones 777, 114, 115 and D5V12 from 450-600m were native fermented separately, 85 whole bunch, and basked pressed to French barriques and one new chassin where it hung out for a few months prior to bottling. There are no additions outside of minimal SO2 at that end point. Light in hue, with wild raspberry, dusky young cherry, forest floor, sapid cranberry core, with fine, lightly grippy tannins around the sides. Acidity is crunchy and the finish is dusted with pink peppercorns. Unfined and unfiltered with intended authenticity. Drinking beautifully now, and will continue to do so.Prices: BC 54.00 Producer: Ochota Barrels
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J. M. Sohler Les Terrasses Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

J. M. Sohler Les Terrasses Pinot Noir 2017

Alsace, FranceSourced from a 27-year-old granitic soiled, terraced pinot noir vineyard in Blienschwiller, in the Bas-Rhin, this was fermented and aged in very old (75+ years), very large wood. Concentrated but so elegantly finessed, with beauty haunting cherry and raspberry licked with kirsch and flaked with sea salts. The core of red fruit is housed by spiderweb tannins and lifted with an easy, natural swell of acidity. Nothing is forced with this charming wine; drinking lovely now, but will hold in your cellar short term.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: J. M. Sohler
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Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016

Burgundy, FranceA leaner, fresher style of chardonnay, with only 5% aged in oak barrels and the balance fermented and aged in stainless steel. At first taste, you might think you’re in Chablis. But there’s a ripeness to the fruit that points further south, with a combination of yellow apple and lemon notes, yet the fruit isn’t the focus. The wine gains complexity from ten months on lees, with wet rocks and a flinty, reductive note that pulls you into the glass. The lees influence also adds some creaminess to the palate, which is balanced by fresh acidity and a clean finish. An excellent introduction to white Burgundy, and at a price that makes you want to reach for the region more often. It is not your standard Bourgogne.Prices: BC 38.99 AB 85.00 Producer: Olivier Leflaive
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Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir Leyda Estatetext
88PTS

Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir Leyda Estate 2018

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileWe love what winemaker Alejandro Wedeles is doing with this way-too-affordable pinot noir (clones 777 and 667) made in a terrific year. The fruit comes off the cool hillsides of the Coastal Mountain Range, mostly isolated from any warm inland air, and making the growing season long and slow. You can taste it in the is pinot. Juicy and succulent, it is packed with raspberries, cherries, cedar, and pepper that keeps on coming. Fresh, mouth-filling, affordable, and well, what are you waiting for, back up the truck. It is handpicked and 10 percent barrel-aged for six months.Prices: BC 13.99 SK 15.60 MB 12.99 NL 15.90 Producer: Vina Santa Carolina
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Cirro Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Cirro Pinot Noir 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandSmoke, forest, moss pervade this spicy Marlborough pinot noir, infiltrating the cherry, raspberry, red currant fruit. Autumnal spices and grapefruit peel stick on the finish, carried by furry tannins. Though the citrus peel gives a subtle lift, I would love a slice less ripe fruit to allow this pinot to shine. As is, chill slightly, and enjoy now with a slight chill and/or mushroom risotto.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Brewer-Clifton pinot is an assembly of three Sta. Rita Hills AVA sites: 3D (Swan, Pommard and 667 clones), Machado, and Hapgood (Merry Edwards clone). The style is in-your-face pinot with full-on fruit aromas and flavours. This may be intense from the European standpoint, but restrained by New World views. The nose is a dusty mix of sandalwood, brown spices, and tea leaf undercut by an earthy/forest floor, raspberries and pomegranate. The fruit rests in all neutral barrels; stems are an essential part of the structure and earthy characters of the Sta. Rita Hills fruit. Warm, mouth-filling and ready for rich duck or pork dishes.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 69.95 US 49.00 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noirtext
85PTS

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2018

Region del Valle Central, ChileTraces of pinot mark the nose of this commercial offering that mixes rooty, earthy notes with cherries, compost and smoke. The attack is dry, with more rooty, spicy notes and a dollop of rhubarb and celery root. Simple style and not that fruity. Try it with a pulled pork sandwich or a salmon pizza.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Viña Cono Sur
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Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
93PTS

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandThe Te Muna Road Vineyard (The Secret) sits just outside the Martinborough township at 41° 16' 41.3"S. The vineyard is neatly divided into two different soils, but it’s the higher terraces made up of mostly stony clay soils that are perfect for pinot noir. This wine has evolved into something extraordinary over the last 15 years. As technical as pinot noir has become, especially in New Zealand, this wine sings from the glass because it has a fantastic balance of fruit and flavours that both stimulates and melts on the palate in a way that makes you want to drink another glass. Beautiful juicy ripe cherries dusted in sagebrush remind one of BC, but the sophistication is off the charts. It is sophisticated, elegant and well worth the money.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 48.95 Producer: Craggy Range Vineyards Ltd.
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Yealands Land Single Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Yealands Land Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandExpect a somewhat reduced nose with peppery, forest floor and celery salt aromas. The attack is juicy and smooth with similar green undertones, spicy beetroot and sticky tannins. This pinot needs to be served with a piece of grilled wild salmon to maximize its charm. Decant for thirty minutes.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Yealands Estate
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23 July 2019

Church & State Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Church & State Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the southern Okanagan Valley's Foundation and Souto Vineyards and sandy loam soils, this was fermented and aged in a mix of stainless and French oak. Tight and bright, with lemon, green apple, verbena, green melon, and cut grass stretching along a taut frame to a snappy finish. There's a welcome veil of lees to counter the lean fruit, complementing well. Would be lovely with simply dressed local prawns or a Thai salad.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike the punchy, fruit-forward, acid-ample Chilean style of sauvignon blanc, but want to keep it a bit more local? Look no further. This Reserve tier was predominantly seen in stainless, with 10 percent each in oak and concrete. Potent lemongrass, pineapple rind, passionfruit and lemon rind fill this powerful white, propelled by spices to a snappy finish. Solid.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSerious sauvvy here, via 12-year-old French clone vines, native fermentation in stainless and French oak, and a five month stint in stainless, foudre, puncheons and older barrels. Elegant, as is the BM style, this is long on the medium bodied palate, with river stones, lemon verbena, pear skin and flesh, anise, ample mineral salts and a moreish whisper fine texture that brings you back. Sancerre meets Okanagan Falls for a winning combination.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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CedarCreek Platinum Border Vista Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Border Vista Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Osoyoos' Border Vista Vineyard, as the name suggests, this savvy had 4 hours skin contact in the press before fermentation, half in stainless, 40 percent in foudre, and 10 percent in concrete. It remained four months on the lees before bottling. Green-edged, with cut hedge, gooseberry, underripe guava and crunchy green apple acidity buffered by the aforementioned lees pad, this runs long on the palate with streaks of lemon peel to a snappy finish. Quite serious, while remaining highly savvy, try this with pan-roasted lingcod.Prices: Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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River Stone Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

River Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis sauvignon remains a delicate dance between acidity and sweet fruit. The grapes are grown just North of Oliver on the cooler, west side of the valley, in sandy loam deposited during the last glaciation. It’s a bit Californian in style but with better acidity and some underlying minerality. Melons, passionfruit, and pink grapefruit make the palate. Try this with pan-fried squid or steamed mussels.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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Tightrope Winery Sauvignon Blanc Sémillontext
91PTS

Tightrope Winery Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes, handpicked and whole cluster pressed, are from the Eira Thomas Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The ferment is long, slow and super cool, and takes four weeks to complete. The attack is vibrant with fresh lemon, and grassy fruit everywhere. More juicy than oaky, it delivers a refreshing experience but with some minerality and complexity. The winery suggests the match could be asparagus frittata, steamed mussels or clams. I recommend you find this wine and buy it. Bravo.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesMost of this iconic sauvignon is fermented for two to three weeks in stainless steel; 20 percent is fermented in neutral oak barrels. The nose is an enticing mix of green fruits. with guava and nectarine. There is a touch of sémillon (grass) and a musqué clone (floral) in the mix, but overall this is a dry, crisp, and perfectly bitter sauvignon blanc that offers complexity and length. The fruit comes off as many as 38-plus blocks each individually harvested, fermented and kept separate for the tasting table. Predictably good, year in and year out.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 24.95 Producer: Matanzas Creek Winery
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc  - Semilliontext
92PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - Semillion 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the southern Okanagan's Jagged Rock Vineyard, this white Meritage is a 60/40 mix of sauvignon blanc/semillon, aged in a combination of stainless and French oak. There is exceptional intensity here, with a layer of texture and complexity. On the palate, there is a delightful mix of white fruits, honey, grapefruit, and a touch of Okanagan sagebrush and stony minerality. A super wine that should improve in the bottle through 2021 and perhaps beyond. Seriously well done.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Reserve Meritage Whitetext
90PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage White 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 began earlier than usual due to above-average growing degree days in the spring. Summer arrived with cooler temperatures, encouraging the fruit to develop beautiful acidity, while allowing more time for full flavour retention. This was followed by a very cool September slowing sugar accumulation and allowing the fruit to develop phenologically. This Reserve White Meritage is grown on two estate vineyards in Oliver, with more than 60 unique individual blocks, and in their Osoyoos vineyard, providing more than 200 frost-free days. I have tasted this wine several times and can say I'm impressed by yet another Mission Hill Reserve. The attack is bright and fresh, full of grapefruit with a dusting of ripe apricot, but it's the balance and linear vibrant back end that seals the deal. The blend is 51% sauvignon blanc, 49% semillon. Thirty percent is fermented in wood (13% new, 17% neutral) with another six% fermented in concrete. Try this with seafood.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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22 July 2019

Intersection Axiomtext
91PTS

Intersection Axiom 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWow, this is impressive from front to back. The blend of cabernet franc and merlot, with a bit of cabernet sauvignon, presents in the mouth with substantial weight and power, but with balance. The peppery, spicy fruit spills across your palate with round tannins and persistent black fruit and blacker chocolate. The finish is long and lingering, with notes of coffee, bitter chocolate and black cherry jam. There's plenty to contemplate here and it is likely best to do that with grilled lamb or beef. Well done; a wine to watch.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Parallel 49 Vineyards Limited
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Mission Hill Reserve Meritagetext
89PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe second edition of this 39/38/20/3 cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot is about as slick texturally as you can get. Elegance is the watchword here, especially upfront where the merlot dominates. You feel the cabernet franc more on the mid-palate and in the back end, with its smoky, peppery, black cherry and a hint of dryness. The finish is long, round and silky with a savoury Okanagan twist. Perfect for a favourite steak cut. It spends 15 months in French and American oak, and the fruit comes off two estate vineyards, one in Osoyoos, and the second in Oliver.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Bordertown Living Desert Redtext
90PTS

Bordertown Living Desert Red 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine continues to improve in the bottle and is a beautiful advertisement for cabernet franc and the warm, south Okanagan. The nose is an enticing mix of graphite, sagebrush, and blackberry, dipped in oak but not overdone. There is a minor tug of dryness at the four year mark, but even that disappears into the juicy fruit. Food friendly, and a delight to drink now.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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19 July 2019

Beaufort Ortegatext
87PTS

Beaufort Ortega 2018

Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe ortega comes off two estates, one is the winery's in Comox, the other on the Saanich Peninsula. It was fermented and briefly aged in stainless, to preserve the crisp, delicate island fruit. Pretty lime, gooseberry, Asian pear, yellow apple is scented with apricot blossoms and a lick of anise on the medium-bodied, finishing snappy and bright — impressive length and flavours with just the right amount of dryness. Again can we move to screwcap? It will change the whole complexion of this wine.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery
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Beaufort Petite Milotext
86PTS

Beaufort Petite Milo 2918

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaPetite Milo is a "Blattner hybrid", Swiss-designed, and bred to tackle wet, cool conditions, like here on the marine west coast. It is very Blattner-esque, with sour, tart, steely flavours. These grapes come from Saanich, were stainless fermented and bottled without fining. Clinical cool, with yellow apple, pear butter, hedge, and a smack of candied gummies that sweetens the warm, drying finish, leaving it somewhat disjointed. There is plenty of promise here, and with a few tweaks, it could be considerably more nimble. Best now with pan-seared scallops. Oh and ditch the synthetic cork for a screwcap to protect the fragile aromas of this grape.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery
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LaStella Moscato D’Osoyoostext
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LaStella Moscato D’Osoyoos 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the unique specialties of the Okanagan, inspired by Piemonte - the blend is moscato bianco a petits grains, muscat ottonel, and orange muscat. The vines are six to nine-years-old and grow on heavy clay/gravel soils in the Osoyoos Lake District, and vines 6-9 years old. Mid-sweet, and low on alcohol, this is an effervescent and lifted light-bodied wine, buoyant with gooseberries, pear blossom, elderflower, mandarine. A beauty size and wine for brunch, summer fruit desserts, and picnics. Super value.Prices: BC 19.99 500 Producer: LaStella
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Muscattext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Muscat 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSuper potent and focused, this dry moscato giallo (yellow muscat) is from their estate vineyard on Naramata Bench, planted in 2007. After destemming, this was fermented cool with an aromatic-forward yeast in stainless, where it remained for a short amount of time before bottling. Heady key lime, white peach, green hedge, and cilantro skip along a spiced, tight palate to a snappy finish. Quite a unique wine, especially considering the intensity compact into 11 degrees alcohol.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 9 Single Vineyard Ehrenfelsertext
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 9 Single Vineyard Ehrenfelser 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Ehrenfelser was deemed Platinum worthy, coming off of their single stony Block 9, and 13-16 year old vines. Eleven percent was fermented in neutral oak, with the remainder split between stainless tanks and stainless barrels. Four months on the lees provides texture and richness to the already concentrated grapes. Honeysuckle, tangerine, honeydew, ripe pear, key lime walks that fine line between sugar and acid, deftly balancing the 11 g/L RS with 8.1 TA, and held to a smart 12.5 degrees, leaving an impression of dryness and freshness. Orange lingers on the long finish. Impressive.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year, this blends estate fruit with grapes from West Kelowna's Mannhardt Vineyard. After a stainless ferment and short rest, this was bottled with a remaining bump of RS, leaving this off-dry. Soft pear, peach blossom, lime peel and anise slides along the slim palate to a snappy finish. Very pretty, and a natural to pour alongside fragrant Thai dishes.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Cuma Organic Biologique Torrontéstext
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Cuma Organic Biologique Torrontés 2018

ArgentinaCuma is Michel Torino's organic line, and this bright and fresh torrontés is appellated "Argentina", leading one to assume it's using grapes from all over the country. Light soap, lime blossoms, peach, honey, and melon on a slim body to a shorter finish. Bright, light, easy, and a touch sweet, this is a fine and pretty organic torrontes at a great price.Prices: BC 12.49 Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Muscattext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Muscat 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOoh la la, this is muscat. Dry moscato giallo (yellow muscat) is estate grown on the newly minted Naramata Bench sub-appellation in the mid-zone of the Okanagan Valley. It was fermented cool in stainless steel, giving it a refreshing edge. The nose has a hint of the classic armpit before a starkly mouthwatering palate of nectarines, key lime and noisy cilantro, all finishing clean and tightly wound. A star at 11 percent alcohol, and wine with endless food possibilities. Go Heidi.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Singletree Winery Siggytext
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Singletree Winery Siggy 2018

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlways fruity and floral, this off-dry, Fraser Valley siegerrebe presents as fruit salad of flavours with a touch fo spice. Mashed apples, pears, apricots, with a twist of lime rind offers up a light white for summer days on the patio or evenings with Asian dishes. Ready to drink, well chilled.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Singletree Winery
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Szászi Birtok Badacsonyi Rózsakótext
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Szászi Birtok Badacsonyi Rózsakó 2017

Badacsony, HungaryHighly perfumed, with white florals, gooseberry, honeysuckle and lime pith, this rózsakó has an oily, textural component. Broken stone, lime leaf, exotic spicing and an herbal sappiness stick through the gently warming finish. Grown exclusively in the Badasconyi region, rózsakó is a cross between kéknyelű and budai zöld.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Szászi Birtok
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Seaside Pearl Charlotte Estate Petite Milotext
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Seaside Pearl Charlotte Estate Petite Milo 2018

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCharlotte is inspired by Mount Lehman’s fertile soil and perfect daffodil growing climate. English horticulturist Fenwick Fatkin invited local growers to showcase their daffodils annually to “make this a second Holland,” and honour his wife, Charlotte. The Charlotte Petit Milo is equally floral with soft honeysuckle and citrus, flecked with ripe pineapple. It could use more acidity to pop in the glass, but if chilled it would be an excellent patio sipper and would work well with spicy seafood and sushi roll dishes.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Bordertown Muscattext
87PTS

Bordertown Muscat 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA small amount of muscat is planted on the family estate, and is responsible for this 2016, fully ready to drink. It has that classic, grapey, muscat nose with notes of litchi, pineapple, and peach. The good news is it's dry and fresh, although the nose is more intense than the flavours that tend to peter out in the back end. Serve on the patio with smoked salmon to best effect.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Muscat Frizzantetext
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Stag's Hollow Muscat Frizzante 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA unique bottling for BC made with muscat ottonel and orange muscat. Light, soft, round and filled with pink grapefruit, pear, honey, and apricot that feels and tastes fresher with an injection of fizz. The balance is key to its drinkability, with acid holding the sugar at bay. Brunch worthy at 11.1 percent.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Hester Creek Old Vines Block 16 Trebbianotext
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Hester Creek Old Vines Block 16 Trebbiano 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt was only a matter of time before this wine got to this place. Unique in Canada, the 50-year-old, Italian-suitcased vines are just hitting their stride. Awash in pear, honeysuckle and yellow fruits soaked in citrus and melon, this slides down dangerously easy. It’s richer than you think on the mid-palate, almost Rhone-like, but then the finish falls back in line and tightens up. Perfumed papaya lingers on the finish this year, intermingling with lime zest spicing. So much not Okanagan, but yet, so very right.Prices: BC 23.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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18 July 2019

Culmina Family Estate R&D Dry-ish Rieslingtext
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Culmina Family Estate R&D Dry-ish Riesling 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDry-ish is such a great name for riesling. This, from Culmina's R&D line (Research & Development + brothers Ron & Don Triggs fronting the label) embraces the concept, with a tight line of citrus acidity that draws the ripe pear, orange, yellow apple, lime through to a lip-smacking finish. The tight acidity is perfectly offset against the ripe, off-dry fruit on the mid-palate. This was sourced from the higher altitude Stan's Bench on their Golden Mile Estate, proving that riesling can excel in the warm southern Okanagan.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Ex Nihilo Rieslingtext
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Ex Nihilo Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom northern Okanagan's cool Lake Country, this vintage of Ex Nihilio's riesling was picked after the first snows and freeze of the season, meaning the fruit was concentrated on the vine. Knowing that makes the honeyed and heady concentration natural, joined with ripe pear, apricot, apple butter on a slow moving palate. Acidity is low for riesling, making this easy, sweeter white highly approachable for drinking now.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Ex Nihilo Vineyards
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Kitsch Maria's Block Rieslingtext
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Kitsch Maria's Block Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMaria is the sweeter, friendlier of the Kitsch's rieslings boasting a healthy 16.5 g/L of residual sugar. Like Esther, the clone 239 fruit is from the estate, grown on clay/limestone soils. There is an immediate attraction here to a richer underbelly. You can sip this wine on the patio without food, but why would you? Look for mandarins, peaches, lemon and that open fruitiness that finishes super fresh. Balanced and a delight to sip. Think shellfish, Thai or a favourite curry.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Kitsch Esther's Block Rieslingtext
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Kitsch Esther's Block Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey make two rieslings at Kitsch and Ester is the driest. It’s piquant, in a manner sommeliers get all excited about, though consumers, a little less. That said, I love this wine, and we need this wine because it promotes purity and precision and complexity, and it's the next step for our rieslings. The fruit, all clone 239, is grown on clay/limestone soils, and the vines are barely five years old. The attack is fresh and zesty, mostly lemon-lime with some wet stone minerality flecked with nectarine skin, tangerine and cherries. Needs food, but the choice is yours. It will pretty much match anything.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of Greata Ranch estate fruit plus Kelowna's Mannhardt vineyard, this purposefully walks the line between sweet and sour. White honey, lime, pear drop and green apple ride a juicy, medium bodied palate to a mineral dusted finish. Zesty, tart acidity keeps this electric and skipping, welcoming solo sipping as well as partnering with lightly spiced curries.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Rieslingtext
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Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the inaugural release of Den's Riesling, a tribute to a longtime farmer and viticulturist Daniel Martin Dulik, known by all as Den. Den owned and operated Pioneer Vineyards for several decades, on the site where Tantalus now rests. Den passed in 2016, and this special release riesling is a tribute to him. Medium sweet, with lushly ripe pear, white peach, roasted pineapple, lime curd and a rivlet of juicy acidity on the palate to a lengthy, lime pith finish. This is a style departure for Tantalus, with an RS of 49.5 g/L, but still feels firmly in the family. A lovely tribute.Prices: BC 34.70 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Old Vines Rieslingtext
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Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Old Vines is aptly named, referencing its near heritage (for BC) vine status with estate plantings from 1978. Block 5 is a north-facing, deep silty soiled site, and is bordered to the west by a bank of mature Ponderosa Pine. This was fermented to near dryness in stainless, the savoury potency of the old vines allowed centre stage. Lime oil, medicinal white cherry, pear skin, streams along a stony riverbed, bracketed with textural dry extract, to a very lengthy, broken slate finish. Very intense; drinking well now, but certainly one for the cellar.Prices: BC 30.35 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Rieslingtext
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Tantalus Riesling 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVibrant and singing as ever, the 2018 feels especially joyous. Estate fruit was picked as lots and whole cluster pressed separately, each fermented and aged in stainless to preserve the fresh, pure fruit. They were then blended to achieve this winning, youthful white. Lime rules the juicy, off-dry palate, with pulp and peel playing staring roles, and accompanied by green apple, pear, kiwi, and mouthwatering sherbet-laced acidity which holds the 19 g/L RS at bay. This is one of three rieslings released by Tantalus this year, and they all carry distinctly the house hallmark.Prices: BC 19.91 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Rust Wine Co. Gamaytext
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Rust Wine Co. Gamay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis may be one of the most muscular and brooding gamays you've had. Sourced from the Similkameen Valley, this was native fermented and aged stainless, with one third carbonic maceration. That candied fruitiness bumps up against a wall of smoke, perhaps reflective of the forest fires raging through BC last summer and into fall. The palate is super ripe with cherry, raspberry, and heaps of cracked pepper and smoked spice. Tannins are supple, and again, smoke spiced tinged. The finish burns the throat a bit solo (could be the 14.5 degree alcohol), but could be a partner for fire-grilled ribs?Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Seaside Pearl Interurban Cabernet Fochtext
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Seaside Pearl Interurban Cabernet Foch 2017

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCabernet foch is a cross of cabernet sauvignon and marechal foch created by Swiss grape breeder Valentin Blattner. Experimental plots of cabernet foch have gone into the ground in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia’s. As you might guess it’s winter hardy and the is bright acidity before the animal, spicy, earthy notes kick in. Medium-light to soft tannins rounds out this pure hamburger/sausage red that is ready to drink.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
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Tightrope Winery Riesling 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe estate grown grapes are picked in two lots, one week apart, to get as much ripeness as possible. The nose is a mix of honey, green apples and pear with a touch of petrol. The attack is tart early on with an intense nectarine and pink grapefruit palate and a fresh, tart finish. I love the minerality here, and although it may be a bit stark for some, I see endless food possibilities and a long life in bottle. Halibut, fish cakes, fish tacos, sushi: they all work here. The fruit qualifies for the new Naramata sub-appellation.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Upper Bench Riesling Limited Releasetext
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Upper Bench Riesling Limited Release 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 stays the course of bright and light with a twist of residual. The petrol encountered last year is gone in favour of a fresher palate with a medium weight grapefruit, Granny Smith apple core flecked with gooseberry, lime and peaches. There’s a touch of minerality here, and the winery famous for its cheese recommends this riesling with their King Cole blue cheese.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Township 7 Riesling Fool's Gold Vineyardtext
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Township 7 Riesling Fool's Gold Vineyard 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFool's Gold Vineyard is a dry riesling from North Oliver, whose character reminds me a bit of Australia’s Clare Valley. The fruit is pressed and cold settled before fermenting at temperatures of 12-14C, with a small portion of the wine fermented wild in neutral oak, to retain every bit of the fruit. You smell and taste a pleasant fruity wine with a touch of talcum powder, grapefruit pith, lemon, lime and just a dusting of spice. Tart, crisp and ready for food, this is a winner.Prices: BC 24.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Blocktext
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block 2018

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaFrom nowhere to the superb in just a few short years is a testament to BC terroir, and what can be done if you let the site and weather dictate the direction of the wine. The Silver Mane Block has leapt into the stratosphere in 2018; what a delicious riesling. Electric really, with all the components you would want in a New World riesling. The palate is an enticing, crunchy mix of pineapple and pears sprayed with citrus and a hint of ginger. Back up the truck. Kamloops is on the wine map now. Super value.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Pioneer Blocktext
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thad Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block 2018

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaWe see continual improvement and incremental energy injections that lift the palate pf this wine. Again, freshness and minerality rule, with a ripe guava undercurrent that gives this wine some upfront attraction and balances off the acidity. More orchard fruits dusted with sagebrush and sweet citrus mark the palate. Solid, easy-to-drink, almost gulpable – well done.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Moraine Rieslingtext
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Moraine Riesling 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has been consistently delicious, and 2018 is likely the best yet. It is all Naramata Bench fruit, of which some 50 percent is estate grown clone 49. It’s gently whole bunch pressed and wild fermented in a series of batches that span a couple of months – all under 13C. The result, much like last year, is very juicy, with big citrus, apples, and excellent tension balancing the fruit and acidity perfectly. Best with your favourite curry, or spicy sushi roll. Drink all summer.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Sea Star Maréchal Fochtext
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Sea Star Maréchal Foch 2018

Pender Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaI reckon if more maréchal foch was made like this (chillable, light-bodied, with care and sensitivity), the oft-lamented grape would become much more lauded. Following on last year's success, this is another pale cherry hued, lighter red, fully tuned with boysenberry, cherry, drippy ripe raspberry on the juicy, buoyant palate. Tannins are near negligible, and the finish rings with sea salts, encouraging (demanding, really) another glass. Do take it with a chill; this wine was designed to be smashable.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Spearhead Botrytis Affected Late Harvest Rieslingtext
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Spearhead Botrytis Affected Late Harvest Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Botrytis Affected Late Harvest Riesling is new to the Spearhead lineup, picked November 15 from Spearhead's Orchard Block Riesling. The young fruit was foot tread in the picking bins, detaching the rich juice from the dehydrated raisin-like grapes. The colour is gold, and the nose full with tropical apricot and honeyed, botrytized, marmalade notes. The attack is more of the same with a surprisingly good balance. It's creamy, if not unctuous, but never cloying, making it fun to sip. Perfect for crème brûlée or tarte tatin. Serve well chilled and let it warm up in the glass.Prices: BC 25.00 375 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Blue Grouse Estate Black Muscattext
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Blue Grouse Estate Black Muscat NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaBlack muscat is a red Vitis vinifera grape variety spawned from Schiava Grossa and Muscat of Alexandria crossing back in 1850. It is commonly produced as table wine, but in California's Central Valley it has been used in the production of dessert wine. That goes ditto for Blue Grouse on Vancouver Island where it is to at the only planting on self-rooted vines in clay loam soil, spur pruned on a sprawl trellising system. This fortified red is a mix of two vintages 2011 and 2012, that has been in bottle since October 2012. The colour is a rich purple with a mahogany edge. The nose spicy and lifted with raisin-ed black currants and brown spices. The spirit is still evident, and you can fell the 18 percent alcohol by volume in the back end. The classic match is blue cheese, but an assortment of nuts and or nutty cake with caramel sauce would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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17 July 2019

Benjamin Bridge Pet-Nattext
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Benjamin Bridge Pet-Nat NV

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaPét-nat in a can? From Nova Scotia? I'm used to being surprised by this ground-breaking Canadian producer, so when this 250ml can of methode ancestrale, gorgeously designed and labelled, landed on my door, I took it as a natural step for this cult fizz favourite. Entirely cloudy/opaque in the glass, this is a blend of estate whites unnamed, leading me to believe it's mostly local hybrids. Grapefruit rules, from pith to oils, buffered by apricot fuzz, green apple, medicinal white cherry, rose petals, washed with marine saline. I think the sharp hipsters will have fun with this format on the beach, bus, or ferry. Nice chilled, but I prefer it when it warms slightly in the glass.Prices: NS 8.99 250 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
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Beaufort Zephra Sparkling Ortegatext
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Beaufort Zephra Sparkling Ortega 2017

Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaZephra a new traditional method fizz from Comox's Beaufort Vineyard & Estate Winery. This fall they will become the first certified organic vineyard on Vancouver Island, one of the many changes instigated since Jim, and Suzy Cameron (yes, of the movies) purchased the estate in 2014. The name is a slight misnomer, as Zephra blends 60% estate ortega and 12% estate Siegerrebe with the remainder a Blattner hybrid grown elsewhere in Comox (with the super sexy name of 49-28-04). Salted cherries, lemon, apricot fuzz, white peach blossom is strung taut along a nimble, vibrato core, awash with saline to a very snappy finish. Dry and floral, light and fresh, very marine, this is one to watch.Prices: BC 28.90 Producer: Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery
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Noble Ridge The One Sparklingtext
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Noble Ridge The One Sparkling 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate in Okanagan Falls, this is a 70/30 chardonnay / pinot noir blend, whole cluster pressed, and with 28 months on the lees. Showing nice development on the palate, with a creamy bed of lees, citrus, green apple, and anise. Nice bright acidity counters the richness on the palate, dosed with a mere 2 g/L. Youthful, but highly approachable now, especially with food.Prices: BC 47.90 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Brut blends chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot blanc, and meunier from their Greata Ranch home estate. Lemon, green apple, light anise, and a rift of nuts ride the slender, well balanced palate. Good complexity here, and great value. Embodies BC fizz with its fresh, pure fruit character, and natural acidity. More like this please.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Tawse Spark Blanc de Noirstext
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Tawse Spark Blanc de Noirs 2014

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Niagara's Laundry Vineyard, this traditional method fizz is entirely pinot noir, with three years aging on the lees. Raspberry, tight cherry, cranberry, light toast is laced with lemon to hold this tight. The core is pure fruited, and there's a bright character to this snappy wine. Very well balanced throughout.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Tawse Winery
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Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirstext
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Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2015

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaEstate pinot noir was early picked, fermented cool in stainless and then spent 26 months on lees. Oxidative red fruit, red apple, toast, tight spices is tightened by snappy acidity. Though the palate has an amply dough padding, this finishes somewhat disjointed and sharp. Best with food.Prices: ON 50.00 Producer: Queenston Mile Vineyard
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Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Hufftext
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Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2016

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaCuvee Peter F Huff is named for the son of Huff Estates owner Lanny Huff, and the 2004 vintage of this wine was the first traditional method fizz from Prince Edward County. This chardonnay spent 24 months on lees and is dosed with 9 g/L. Sweet lemon blossoms, yellow apple, frisky spices bed a brioche and almond palate. Quite traditional and safe, this could use a tightening and drying out to keep it current and fresh.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Huff Estates
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Trius Showcase Blanc de Blancstext
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Trius Showcase Blanc de Blancs NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis blends chardonnay from two vineyards in Lincoln Lakeshore and Beamsville Bench. Entering oxidative on the palate, with sour lemon, green apple, toast, sesame, and citrus pith on the finish. Crunchy acidity holds this taut and nervy, and feeling slightly underripe. This spent 4 years on lees, and was disgorged in September 2018. A more mature version of Trius' flagship Brut.Prices: ON 55.00 Producer: Trius Winery at Hillebrand Estates
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Trius Bruttext
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Trius Brut NV

Ontario, CanadaWhite florals, pear, yellow apple, laced with lemon sherbet, this screams along the doughy palate with tight acidity, finishing with a bitter kissed finish. This spent 2.5 years on lees, and is dosed with 10 g/L, which feels apt to offset the obviously early-picked, sharp fruit. Crowd-pleaser.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Trius Winery at Hillebrand Estates
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Niagara Teaching College Balance Bruttext
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Niagara Teaching College Balance Brut NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaBig brash nose of red fruits, lemon and ample toast with a toasty, nutty palate, this is very well offset between acid and fruit. This year's Balance blends 76% chardonnay, and 24% pinot noir, with 5 g/L RS. Crowd pleasing, and well made in its style. Go class!Prices: ON 25.15 Producer: Niagara Teaching College
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Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea's Cuvéetext
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Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea's Cuvée 2017

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaDea's Cuvée is a charmat method blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from their estate Cold Creek Vineyard in PEC. Sharp, ragged acidity cages pink florals, yellow apple to a bitter finish. Chill well.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Casa-Dea Estates Winery
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Benjamin Bridge NV Méthode Classiquetext
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Benjamin Bridge NV Méthode Classique NV

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaBB's classic NV, this traditional method is an estate blend of L’Acadie, Seyval, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, with reserve wines that stretch back over 13 years. Lemon pith, lime pith, white blossoms, and riveting green apple acidity is held at bay by 11 g/L dosage, and thankfully taut on the palate at 12 degrees alcohol. By now, a BB classic, and a brightened (no more vidal) one at that.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Benjamin Bridge
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has undergone a lot of change over the years, moving from a racy, old-vine, bone dry wine to this slightly more accessible version. Make no mistake; this still carries chenin's telltale striking acidity. It's just now clothed with lemony quince, yellow and green apple, biscuit and lemon pith that riffs along the finish. Snappy, bright, and certainly unique, pour this for your acid loving / chenin loving friends (often one in the same). Winery and Club members only.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Road 13
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Parés Baltà Cava Pink P Organictext
89PTS

Parés Baltà Cava Pink P Organic NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainSummer cherries, salted nuts, apple brioche, rhubarb, light toast and a whiff of smoke fill this bright pink fizz from one of Penedès' leading biodynamic families, Parés Balta. This traditional method Cava blends garnatxa, parellada, and macabeo, and rests 18 months on the lees prior to release, with zero dosage. The riveting, joyous cran-tinged acidity works well with the slightly plump, red fruited palate, finishing with a lingering deep berry essence and spice. For current consumption, liberally, and most certainly with salmon or pork dishes.Prices: AB 23.95 BC 28.99 Producer: Parés Baltà
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JoieFarm Quotidien Bruttext
89PTS

JoieFarm Quotidien Brut 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuotidien translates as daily ration, and references Joie's joie-de-vivre for drinking fizz, liberally. This is a mix of 70/30 riesling / chardonnay, the former from Naramata's Paxon Family Vineyards, and the latter from Skaha Bluff's Con Vida Vineyard. The blend was aged in neutral puncheons on the lees over the winter, before getting a hit of a solera riesling that has been maturing without sulphur. A pied de cuve / Champagne yeast and bump of sugar kicked off second ferment in the charmat tank. This was then bottled with zero dosage. The vini, extended wood aging, and addition of solera has given a richness beyond the normal charmat method. Lemon, pear, toasted meringue, apple brioche is all kept snappy and lemon pith tight with the zero dosage. Super interesting, and super unique. Get your quotidien.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Sperling Vineyards Speritz Pet Nattext
85PTS

Sperling Vineyards Speritz Pet Nat 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has taken a dramatic turn since I tasted it last, going from a lightly sweet and candied fizz to a bone dry, light and lean one. With sour lime, sour lemon, unripe melon, green apple and dish soap notes on a lightly frizzante palate. This biodynamic, pét-nat is entirely Perle D'Csaba vines, planted in 1934. Natural in every turn, from the native ferment to the no sulphites, to leaving the wine unfiltered in bottle, on its lees. Low alcohol and low flavour, though high in sour fruit, this year's quirky Speritz isn't my favourite.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Harper's Trail Sparkling Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Harper's Trail Sparkling Chardonnay 2018

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaLemon, yellow apple, light lees, grassy herbs rings through this sharp and high acid charmat method chardonnay, sourced from Kamloops' Thadd Springs Vineyard. The streaking acidity snaps on the tight, very bitter finish. If you're looking for acid, here you go.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Cono Sur Sparkling Rosétext
87PTS

Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé NV

Valle de Bio-Bio, ChileI've said it before, and will say it again: Cono Sur has to be one of the most consistent, best value brands on the market. I've yet to come across a wine that is disappointing, and most are entirely overachieving, especially considering their humble price. This deeper blush-hued pinot comes from the Bio-Bio Valley, just off-dry and ripe with wild strawberries, raspberries, candied rhubarb and light sweet spices. The mousse is generous and silken, but Bio-Bio's extremities keep the acidity tight. The sugar swings out out when the temperature drops, so keep this well chilled. Highly friendly for crowds.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Viña Cono Sur
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16 July 2019

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc  - Semilliontext
89PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - Semillion 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the southern Okanagan's Jagged Rock Vineyard, this 60/40 sauvignon blanc/semillon spent time between stainless and French oak, both playing roles in building the structure and layers of this full bodied, potent white. White honey, potent grapefruit, white peach, Rainier cherry, on the savoury palate, trailing off with a rasp of broken stones and kiss of cherry sweetness. Serious attempt; one to watch in future.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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CedarCreek Sauvignon Blanctext
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CedarCreek Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis juicy, youthful and bright sauvignon blanc was sourced from Jagged Rock and Border Vista Vineyards in the southern Okanagan. This was fermented in stainless, with 10 percent done in concrete for added texture and depth. Post-ferment, the parts were reunited in stainless for three months on the lees before bottling. The result feels Okanagan fresh, with sage, meadow florals, greengage, Asian pear and potent fragrant spice on the snappy finish. Well done.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumétext
91PTS

Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumé 2018

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceEnergy up front, with smoked stone, flint, medicinal white cherry, and potent, focused lemon to lead. This powerful, fuller-bodied wine can take the intensity, gobbling up a palate of tangerine, pear, guava, white grapefruit, and a gobsmacking 15 degrees of alcohol, and giving out ample crushed rock, flinty puffs of smoke, and a lingering lemon pith on the back end. The grapes are sourced from numerous clay and limestone hilltops in Les Loges, specifically La Cote and Les Griottes, both averaging 20 years in vine age. Striking now, this will certainly evolve with cellaring.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe LVP sauvignon hails from the south Okanagan, with fruit coming off Osoyoos Lake Bench and the Golden Mile Bench. The style is fresh, the acidity brisk, and the texture is Euro lean. It spends only four months on its lees in a mix of stainless steel and puncheons. Battonage has added a touch of weight, but this is lean and mean on the palate with super bright, green apple fruit tempered with flecks of gooseberry, lemongrass and melon. Marlborough meets Leyda in the Okanagan. You can pair just about anything with this snappy white, and it will work.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Cirro Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Cirro Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandSuper concentrated, with passionfruit, pear, citrus filling a juicy, assertive, ripe and off-dry palate. There's a great raft of spicing on the potent palate, finishing off with ample spicing and jalapeño. If you like your Marlborough savvy's potent and punchy, chill well and drink now.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanctext
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Nobilo Icon Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThe Icon is the flagship of Nobilo Wines, impressively first established in 1943. The fruit comes off three select Marlborough sites: Brooklands, Southern Valleys; Gifford Creek Lane, Rapaura; and Twin Creek, Rapaura. Each block was harvested and fermented separately using a variety of yeasts. The nose and attack is a mix of flint and minerality before the tropical passionfruit kicks in along with guava, citrus and jalapeño. Fish tacos, grilled halibut with fruit salsa and fresh grilled asparagus all work here - real New World sauvignon blanc.Prices: NFL 27.50 AB 19.75 ON 25.00 BC 23.99 Producer: Nobilo Wines Limited
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Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blancotext
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Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blanco 2017

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainThe signature of top producers is consistency, and this medium-bodied blend of verdejo/viura/sauvignon blanc from Rueda delivers that and more. Expect a fruity style (well, as fruity as Euro whites can be) with mandarin, peach, and assorted orchard fruits on the nose. The palate is more of the same with lime pith, melon, pineapple and spice that finishes juicy and tangy with a twist of chalk for texture. The Rueda region remains undervalued as a producer of fresh white wine, which allows Telmo Rodriguez to build his ‘basa’ or basement/ foundation with this larger production white.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 20.00 ON 16.99 MB 20.00 Producer: CVNE Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanctext
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Blue Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs the sauvignon blanc vines settle in on one dozen years, this might be the best BM savvy I have tasted. The grapes, two French clones, are fermented with native yeasts in a combination of stainless and French oak, the latter adding some weight and mouthfeel before another five months in stainless steel, foudre, puncheons and older barrels. In 2018 the energy was retained, and the wine further leaned out to give freshness and the precision I love. Pears, citrus, white peaches: it is all here in this tight, compact white that finishes with just the right amount of weight and texture. Most seafood works here and if the adornments are creamy and fatty, so much the better. Bravo.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Fleur Moelleux Bordeaux Blanctext
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Fleur Moelleux Bordeaux Blanc 2016

Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, FranceWhite Bordeaux can be a revelation at the top end, but so are the prices. Entre-Deux-Mers is a different proposition, often over-delivering for the price. Moelleux Blanc is a chateau-bottled semillon from this region set between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Most of the area is red, but the 20 percent that is white can be a delightful find for many. The soils are high in lime and calcareous clay, and limestone is excellent for white grapes. The style is fruity, the attack soft and round with guava, honeysuckle, peach, and stone fruit. Ready to drink and perfect for spicy sushi rolls or Thai/Indian Chinese dishes. Serve well chilled.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Condor Peak Sauvignon Blanctext
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Condor Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaClean and bright, with greengage, hedge, green apple, pineapple and an alluring herbal lees bed on the slender palate. Lipsmacking acidity rings out the snappy finish. Great value for a simple, authentic little white.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Murphy-Goode The Fume Sauvignon Blanctext
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Murphy-Goode The Fume Sauvignon Blanc 2018

North Coast Region, California, United StatesWarm and brash flavours of pineapple, papaya, mandarin and spices rule this wooded sauvignon blanc from the North Coast of California. There's ample glycerol on the medium bodied palate to hold the big fruit, and toasty spices, sliding it along to a warming, sweetish finish. Chill well and serve with protein-rich appies.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 16.00 QC 18.60 NB 24.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Township 7 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Blue Terrace Vineyardtext
90PTS

Township 7 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Blue Terrace Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Mary McDermott has a terrific touch, as evidenced by the vibrancy and freshness of this sauvignon blanc. This wine will surprise you with its electricity, but even more so with its texture and complexity. Classic passionfruit leads the way with gooseberry, lemon, and lightly bitter, citrus pith flavours. A revelation for BC sauvignon blanc. Prawns, clams, mussels and goat cheese all work here.Prices: BC 26.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanctext
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Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Reserve Sauvignon Blanc remains a terrific value. The style is super brisk; if you are lemon, citrus, passionfruit freak, the 2017 sauvignon blanc is for you. Multiple picks continue to deliver vibrancy and freshness to a wine that sees ageing in 80 percent stainless steel and ten percent each oak and concrete. The flavours are citrus drenched pineapple, lemongrass and lime with a dusting of sagebrush. This year is definitely on edge. Steamed mussels, fish tacos or a fresh local tomato burrata salad would all work.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Cono Sur Bicicleta Organic Sauvignon Blanctext
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Cono Sur Bicicleta Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis all you could want in an inexpensive sauvignon, from the juicy, passionfruit entry to the lime pith and lemon rind back end riddled with nectarine skin and perfect tropical, orange undertones and bitterness. Ready to drink - an ideal match with fish tacos, steamed mussels, or a summer tomato burrata salad. Terrific value.Prices: BC 14.99 AB 13.00 Producer: Viña Cono Sur
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Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyard 2018

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandThe best New Zealand sauvignons have an electric current running through them, and the Craggy Te Muna is one of those. Key lime, melons, peaches, and chalk all conspire to draw you into this glass. The attack is similar, with gooseberry and sea salt highlights, and more juicy citrus undercurrents. Fun to sip, and even better with food. Crisp, dry, mineral-driven, this is the real thing. Steamed mussels, crab, fish tacos, and more all go with this beauty. Good value.Prices: AB 32.95 BC 29.99 ON 22.95 Producer: Craggy Range Vineyards Ltd.
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Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanctext
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Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc 2018

British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Fumé is a 75/25 mix of sauvignon blanc and semillon centred about Cawston, Keremeos, and Oliver. It’s another Euro-lean version with sauvignon dominating the nose and palate. Expect a lot of New Zealand gooseberry and lemon-lime, guava, green apple notes but with a woolly underscore that tends to dry out the finish. If you like your sauvignon lean but bright, this is for you. It will work with creamy or buttery seafood dishes, and both components will be better for it.Prices: BC 20.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Franciscan Sauvignon Blanctext
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Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesCalifornia sauvignon is an enigma. The region calls for a new version of sauvignon, à la New Zealand or the Loire, but you seldom encounter that style. Sure, it is warm, but why not pick earlier and head for the coast and try for a skinnier style? In this case, the wine is halfway there. The lemon is present, but the fruit is more candied than tart. There is a nice touch of grass and herbs that perfectly offsets the ripe tropical notes, but the finish is a touch woolly and bitter. It will appeal to those who don't like the tartness, but I would prefer it with a bit more zip in the finish.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Franciscan Estate
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Emandare Vineyard Sauvignon Blanctext
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Emandare Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaWe continue to be impressed by this Vancouver Island sauvignon, grown organically in the Cowichan Valley. They are the oldest sauvignon vines on the island and seem to be thriving under the watch of Mike & Robin Nierychlo. The attack is floral with sweet rose and honeysuckle. On the palate, melon, starfruit, pear and kiwi is elegantly structured and punctuated with classic lemongrass before a candied lemon finish. It would be a good match with spicy tuna rolls or similarly spiced fish tacos. Always in short supply.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Emandare Vineyard
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15 July 2019

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 29 Bluebird Passage Viogniertext
89PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 29 Bluebird Passage Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of MHFE's Terroir Series, this is based on Osoyoos fruit, with a 10 percent splash from Black Sage Bench. This spent time in stainless, concrete egg, and French oak for additional layers of complexity. Lush and perfumed white peach, pear, apricot fuzz, prickly pear, and gingersnap and white pepper spicing along the medium-bodied, smooth palate. Varietally true, which is not always easy with finicky, flabby viognier.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Viogniertext
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis small lot viognier comes from two long-time Osoyoos growers: Citrus Hill, and Star Vineyards. It was fermented and rested briefly in stainless, to preserve acidity. Lush blossoms, apricot, peach and lime, ride a slow, just-off-dry creamsicle palate, finishing with a dusting of gingersnap spice on the shorter finish. Impressively light at 11.5 degrees, chill this down and enjoy this summer.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Road 13 Roussannetext
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Road 13 Roussanne 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich, full, intense and heady, this roussanne was sourced from the Similkameen Valley, was whole cluster pressed, and fermented and aged in a myriad of vessels, from concrete eggs to stainless steel barrels to older French barrels. All the parts do not equal a better whole, however. This remains clunky and disjointed, with rich perfumed pineapple, apricot, pear nectar, big spice and vanilla all jockeying for position on the flabby and shorter palate. Less is more, and this wine allows roussanne to fulfill its more is more side.Prices: BC 25.22 Producer: Road 13
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Artakama Viognier Roussannetext
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Artakama Viognier Roussanne 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaArtakama is a natural, magnum-only line from the good folks behind Le Vieux Pin and La Stella wineries. This 2018 blanc is a blend of viognier and roussanne, with "nothing added, and nothing taken away". Native fermented in stainless, this was then pressed into a 500L barrel for regular battonage before bottling the following spring. Etched with apricot, tangerine, lit with green apple acidity, scented with quince and orange blossom, and seasoned with a saline minerality, this is a snappy and bone dry, and a fantastic result. A shining light for natural wines in BC.Prices: BC 49.00 1500 Producer: Artakama Wines
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Tightrope Winery Viogniertext
84PTS

Tightrope Winery Viognier 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is sourced from the Naramata Bench. An incredibly reductive nose needs a lot of time to blow off. Once it does, there is some lovely stone fruit and a touch of oak, from ageing in a combination of French oak, acacia, and stainless steel barrels for eight months. You’d almost think this was chardonnay instead of viognier, with its linear texture and tart acidity. Maybe just a notch underripe in 2017.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Penner Ash Viogniertext
89PTS

Penner Ash Viognier 2018

Oregon, United StatesOur note from last year asks, “is it classic viognier?” And the same question is valid for the 2018 vintage. It skews towards the green fruit spectrum, with a swath of green apple and lime, before revealing subtle floral aromatics and honeyed stone fruit that are more characteristic of viognier. Entirely fermented and matured in stainless steel, the fruit is bright and pure with a silky, oily texture.Prices: BC 45.00 AB 39.95 Producer: Penner Ash Wine Cellars
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Vanessa Vineyard Viogniertext
90PTS

Vanessa Vineyard Viognier 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Similkameen Valley seems an excellent place for growing the heat-seeking-missile of a grape, viognier. Concentrated orange, apricot, white peach is expressed, though held to a welcome slight 12.2-degree frame and kept dry. The finish is salty and bright, leaving you with a sense of buoyancy, not heft, as viognier is want to do. It has quickly shot to one of BC's best viogniers.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Vanessa Vineyard
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Viogniertext
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom two vineyards in Osoyoos, this was fermented and matured in stainless before being bottled in March 2019. A fresh, pure nose of orange blossom and apricot, with subtle lees character. The texture is broad and viscous, with balancing acidity and a clean finish. It is surprising to see this at only 11.5 percent, as you typically expect to see viognier at higher alcohol levels. That said, the wine doesn’t come across unripe. Varietally accurate, if not the most complex example.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Road 13 VRM Viognier Roussanne Marsannetext
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Road 13 VRM Viognier Roussanne Marsanne 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRich, potent and heady, this is a full-bodied blend of roussanne, viognier, and marsanne from Similkameen's Blind Creek Vineyard that sucks up every grade on the heat thermometer. Peach jam, apricot, lime curd, pear pie and heaps of ginger spicing flood the voluptuous palate, declared at 14.3 degrees. After whole bunch pressing and 24 hours of cold settling, it is fermented in French oak (25% new). The wine remained in barrel with regular battonage until the following summer. If you're looking for a creamy, hedonistic white to work alongside sweet/sour pork or chicken, this will do.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Road 13
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Bottega Viogniertext
85PTS

Bottega Viognier 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from Osoyoos (40 percent) and Naramata (60 percent), the Osoyoos fruit was crushed and left on the skins overnight before pressing while the Naramata fruit was directly whole cluster pressed. Fermentation was by cultured yeast, with the wine fermented and matured in stainless for five months before bottling. Not the most aromatic nose, but there is viognier’s characteristic ripe apricot, even if it comes across slightly muddled. The wine has some freshness, which is always a challenge with this grape as it can quickly end up soft and flabby. A relatively short finish, with some bitterness.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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11 July 2019

Borsao Tres Picos Garnachatext
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Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2016

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainPotent raspberry, cherry, medicinal strawberry, leather, dusty stone fill this round, spicy old vine garnacha from Campo de Borja. Tres Picos is the top cuvée of Borsão, drawn from 30 to 65-year-old, head-pruned garnacha from the slopes of the extinct Moncayo volcano. Thick on the palate, with potent wood courtesy of 10 months in older French oak barrels, and stainless steel. This holds its sun-drenched alcohol (15 degrees) very well. Enjoy now, with grilled sausages or lamb.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 24.95 Producer: Bodegas Borsao
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Familia Castaño Hécula Monastrelltext
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Familia Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2016

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainSpain's Hecula is the benchmark producer of commercial monastrell (mourvèdre in France), courtesy of the Castaño family, owners of more than 410ha in the Yecla DO, and 80 percent of those planted to monastrell. This wine comes from a mix of sandstone and limestone soils located 750m above sea level, and the vines are a tantalizing 50 years of age. It’s all stainless fermented and then aged six months in oak, 80 percent French, 20 percent American. Modern and accessible, it is the perfect barbecue red, and it is marked down three dollars all July at BCLS.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 16.00 YK 17.00 ON 14.00 NB 17.50 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Borsao Tres Picos Garnachatext
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Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2016

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainTres Picos is the top cuvée at Borsão. The fruit grows on volcanic soils and the vines, heat-loving, head-pruned garnacha, average 30-65 years of age. The attack is rich and heady with soaring red cherry and raspberry-scented fruit with a dusty, resiny medicine cabinet edge. It’s old school, but its complex, mineral, chalky notes will surprise. Spain means oak again, and in this case, it is about ten months in older oak. It is rich in the mouth boasting 15 percent alcohol, but it's easily tamed by grilled lamb sausages or a favourite steak cut. Ready to drink through 2022.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 24.95 Producer: Bodegas Borsao
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Comando G La Bruja de Rozastext
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Comando G La Bruja de Rozas 2017

Castilla-Leon, SpainComando G is a partnership of minds, mates and winemakers Fernando García and Dani Landi. La Bruja de Rosas is their village wine, sourced from numerous vineyards around Las Rozas de Puerto Real, between 900-1200m altitude and from granitic sands. Organically and biodynamically farmed 50-80 year old garnacha vines is native fermented with a lengthy maceration followed by nine months in oak vats. The result is a pale hued, lengthy, well-knit red, with harmonious and seamless red fruit, white pepper, perfumed red florals, scrubby wild herbs and an easy and buoyant swell of acidity to carry. Tannins are slight and slightly buggy, and the finish is brisk with pepper. Welcome new wave Spain - we've been waiting for this. More, now, please.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Comando G
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Laderas del Tiétar Garnachatext
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Laderas del Tiétar Garnacha 2017

SpainThis garnacha was made by a co-op (Bodega Cooperativo Cristo del Humilladero) and Comando G, two young friends who farm their own garnacha organically and biodynamically across their collective 15ha of vineyards. In this wine Dani and Fer selected fruit from the co-op growers and advise on the winemaking, trying to assist the members into modernity and sustainability. Garnacha's exuberance is on full display here, with medicinal cherry, strawberry jam, smoked cocoa on a juicy palate, lightly framed by sticky tannins. Youthful and exuberant, this is well suited to sweet-shellacked ribs.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Bodega Cristo Del Humilladero
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10 July 2019

Blue Mountain Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 33 year old vines, this was whole cluster pressed, native fermented in French oak (barrels, puncheons, foudres) and stainless, with partial battonage until the following spring. White blossoms, lemon, white peach, anise, and lime flow along the easy, medium-bodied palate to a tidy bitter lime finish. This is a bit sharp on its own, but would be a welcome partner with fragrant green curries or citrus sautéed prawns.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the standout pinot blancs in BC, and the 2018 Clos du Soleil follows suit. A light dusting of sage and thyme infiltrates pear, Asian pear, white peach and nectarine, with a cut of green apple acidity to sharpen. From Middle Bench Vineyard, in Keremeos, this was whole cluster pressed before a long, cool ferment and rest in stainless on the lees. Tight, energetic, spiced and bright, this rises blanc far beyond the blah.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Hester Creek Pinot Blanctext
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Hester Creek Pinot Blanc 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe and perfumed white fruit, starfruit, apricot, peach, yellow apple, and gingersnap fill this round, softer pinot blanc from the winery's Golden Mile estate blocks 4 and 9, and planted from 1968 and 1996-98. This was fermented and aged for a short stint in stainless before bottling. Drink now, with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Road 13 Chip Off The Old Block Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Chip Off The Old Block Chenin Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChip Off The Old Block is the lighter, more youthful, more accessible version of their Old Vines Chenin. This is from estate fruit on the Golden Mile Bench, as well as contracted fruit. Orchard fruit forward, with chenin's characteristic waxy core intact, this is flush with yellow apples, yellow plums, jasmine blossoms, white peaches on a softer, just off dry palate. Chenin is splashed with orange muscat and viognier here, upping that florality.Prices: BC 17.39 Producer: Road 13
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08 July 2019

Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbectext
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Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbec 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaA tasty malbec from a cool 2016 vintage, with ripe, juicy, black cherry flecked with plums and coated with smoky, soft tannins. I like that it’s not overly sweet or alcoholic. Grapey with chalky, soft textures, it is ready to drink. It would be a fine match for a mushroom pizza or spaghetti Bolognese.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Condor Peak Malbectext
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Condor Peak Malbec 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaExpect an easy-sipping malbec that opens with a mix of red and black berries on the nose. The attack is smooth but straightforward, with more blackberry flavours and a touch of acidity poking through the back end. Ready to drink. Serve with hamburgers or other barbecue fare.Prices: BC 12.99 PEI 11.30 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Malbectext
90PTS

C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Malbec 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Small Lot Series is serious stuff at C.C. Jentsch. This 100 percent malbec is a mix of two sites: 66% Golden Mile Bench Vineyard, and 34% Testalinden Creek Vineyard. The ferment and maceration is just over two weeks, and the ageing is 13.5 months in Hungarian and American oak barrels. The attack is juicy and soft with rich, savoury black fruit spilling all across your palate. Floral black cherries and peppery spice mark the long, warm finish. Just a baby, but you could enjoy it now with lamb or beef. A rarity in BC, but one we could get used to real fast. Well done. Cellar through 2022.Prices: BC 49.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
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Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbectext
87PTS

Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaSavoury desert-like aromas jump from the glass along with a subtle (screwcap induced?) reductive character so be sure to give this wine some air. The attack is soft, round and juicy with plummy, spicy red fruit flavours and a spicy undercurrent that finishes medium-long. A hamburger red that can do double duty at a street party. The fruit grows at El Alto Vineyard, in Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo, on sandy clay loams, and at 1050 metres.Prices: BC 12.99 AB 12.95 Producer: Doña Paula Estate
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Santa Julia Vin Biologique Malbec Organic Winetext
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Santa Julia Vin Biologique Malbec Organic Wine 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Zuccardi family is a shining light in the New Argentina, and this simple, but sophisticated malbec raised organically is but one of many contributions the family is making to Argentine wine. That this wine isn’t listed in government stores is a crime. Let’s hope you can find in private wine shops. Expect soft, round, plummy fruit with flecks of chocolate and even a touch of tannin yet to be shed. A superior red malbec you could age for a year or two. Delicious.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Santa Julia Malbec del Mercadotext
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Santa Julia Malbec del Mercado 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaJust in time for summer, Malbec del Mercado is a soft, round, velvety ready to drink red with lively red plums and cherry. It comes from the Zuccardi family's line of certified, organic wines and reflects their mission of focusing on sustainable agriculture, respecting the environment, and the biodiversity of the area. It is both a good tasting and a feel-good experience.Prices: BC 16.00 ON 15.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Santa Julia Malbec + Julia Zuccarditext
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Santa Julia Malbec + Julia Zuccardi 2018

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe + series is a range of varieties from selected areas of Mendoza. It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but the wine is terrific. Santa Julia ¨Plus¨ is said to express the four significant strengths of the winery: innovation, respect for the environment, quality, and contribution to the community. Say what you like, it’s a dense, soft, spicy, deep, cherry-flavoured malbec that is super smooth. A mid-week red for grilled beef at an attractive price.Prices: AB 17.50 BC 16.49 ON 14.00 QC 15.00 SK 16.99 MB 14.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Santa Julia Reserva Malbectext
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Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2017

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis inexpensive gem is 100 percent Uco Valley malbec handpicked at the end of April. The ferment and maceration lasted just over 25 days, and a portion of the wine is aged in older oak. The nose is classic Zuccardi, red-fruited and fresh, evoking cherries, plums and blackberries. The tannins are subdued, but support the finish, bright with flecks of black licorice. Serious yet simple stuff that overdelivers for the price. Back up the truck, again.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 17.50 ON 14.00 QC 15.00 SK 16.99 MB 14.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Masi Tupungato Passo Dobletext
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Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaOpen, aromatic, earthy, meaty nose with warm black fruit. The blend is an 85/15 mix of malbec and lightly dried corvina Veronese. The latter gives it a warm, luxurious texture. Sweet cherries and spice fill the nose and the palate. Drying the grapes make sense in cool, wet years like 2016, but the Argentines should be careful not to overdo it. The rich raisins, black fruit laced with liquorice, and a touch of reduction should be served with older cheeses and big meaty pasta.Prices: BC 14.99 NS 17.00 QC 17.00 ON 14.00 NF 18.00 AB 16.00 MB 15.00 PEI 19.00 YK 18.00 NB 19.00 Producer: Masi Agricola
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbectext
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Kaiken Reserva Especial Malbec 2016

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaNot the best year for red wines that lagged behind normal parameters in cool weather. The attack here is fresh, and the fruit red flavoured as you might expect, but without a lot of meat or density. The fruit was hand-picked and further sorted at the winery. The fruit goes through a 30-day fermentation and maceration before aging in French oak barrels for six months. Light, bright, floral and spicy but lacks body and length. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.00 ON 15.95 Producer: Montes Wines
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Hillside Malbec Reservetext
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Hillside Malbec Reserve 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI would join the Hillside Wine Club to get access to this delicious Naramata malbec. The 2016 comes off a long established vineyard just south of Naramata village. It projects the best of malbec: soft, juicy fruit with a wrapping of savoury Okanagan sagebrush. Round, lively and food-friendly, you can’t ask for much more. The perfect growing season and a warm lakeside vineyard combined to give this malbec an energized plushness and a love of food. Stock up they are giving it away at $28.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Hillside Winery
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Painted Rock Malbectext
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Painted Rock Malbec 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a blockbuster malbec that presents awash in black fruit and spice. The dry, desert Skaha environment may not be Andean but the proximity of the lake and cool nights have stoked its florals and acidty to keep it on point. Another level above the C.C. Jentsch and the Hillside, this tells an impressive Okanagan tale. Big, boisterous and ready to go, this must be tamed with a grilled piece of lamb or another decade in the cellar.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Malbectext
90PTS

Painted Rock Malbec 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHow surprised was I to fine this charming little malbec my favourite of the Painted Rock portfolio? Perhaps because it is a little quirky, a small lot (most of their malbec is poured into Red Icon), and under made, compared with some of their other, highly crafted and cellar-intended wines. Lovely generosity and freshness here, with crushed blueberry, dusky plum, and brisk spicing, framing this bigger red. The 18 months in French oak (30 percent new) is gobbled up by the potent, pure, blue fruit. Youthful, tight, and smart, this is worth seeking out. 210 cases made.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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05 July 2019

Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosétext
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Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Severine Pinte has a light touch, and you can taste it in this super fresh version of a pinot noir rosé. The style is a startlingly bone dry, raspberry rhubarb affair with a spicy strawberry undercurrent. Not for everyone unless you are a fan of dry, food-friendly rosé.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Cirro Pinot Noir Rosétext
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Cirro Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandWe know that Kiwis do pinot noir very well. Yet it's still surprising to see a rosé of pinot noir on this market. Hopefully we'll see more like this snappy Cirro from Marlborough. Bright cherry, strawberry, rhubarb fruit is threaded with ample zesty orange pith. Pretty dry, amply juicy, and super snappy on the spiced finish, this is a friendly pinot pink very well made. And obvs, under stelvin.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Domaine La Croix Belle Caringole Rosétext
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Domaine La Croix Belle Caringole Rosé 2018

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis pale belle is a blend of syrah and grenache from Pays d'Oc, thankfully left dry and spiced with Languedoc garrigue. Cherry, raspberry, thorns and dried rosemary and thyme intermingle on the slight, short palate, finishing with a smack of bitter rhubarb. Best chilled, with food. Fine value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Jacques y Francois Boyer
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Fado Rosétext
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Fado Rosé 2018

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis deeply hued, lusty rose is a blend of aragonez and touriga nacional, from Portugal's Alentejano region. It's named Fado, for the Portuguese music that permeates the culture. Raspberry, tayberry and a sprinkle of dusty spice fills the medium plump pink, nearly bone dry, and with a lovely swell of juicy acidity to brighten. Bitter cranberry closes out the finish with a short snap. Easy choice for this summer.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Terre d'Alter
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Cellier des Princes Rosé La Princessetext
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Cellier des Princes Rosé La Princesse 2017

Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceDon't let the cartoon character on the label fool you into thinking this is silly wine. It's actually quite smart: The label changes colour once the wine temperature reaches 12°C, indicating that it's ready to drink. Liberally. This is a smart little blend of grenache, syrah, and cinsault from IGP Vaucluse. Warm summer strawberries, light cream, orange blossom and a dusting of spice on the slight palate, one dry and breezy, though blows warm on the finish. Drink this cutie this summer.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Cellier des Princes
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rosétext
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 1 Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBoth Treve and I agree on the pedigree of this wine that is fast becoming one of the most elegant rosés made in North America. The fruit is all estate grown, harvested from the Home Block, Block 1. Winemaker Taylor Whelan makes two passes to get the juicy, flavourful pink to be all that it can be. It’s partially native fermented in neutral oak after a short one hour of skin contact. Three months on the lees, attention folks three months on the lees, builds creamy textures that are as light as pillows. Look for spicy, wild strawberries and Bing cherry with a squeeze of tangerine tempered with a savoury, sagebrush, northern Okanagan undercurrent. Exciting stuff and capable of matching a variety of summer foods. Not cheap but worth every penny.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Copain Tous Ensemble Rosetext
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Copain Tous Ensemble Rose 2018

Mendocino County, California, United StatesTous Ensemble is French for all together, referring to the pinot noir coming from three vineyards across Mendocino County for this medium blush-hued pink. Sweet strawberry, raspberry jam, cherry blossoms fill this ripe, round rosé, one thankfully held dryish. Silken on the palate, this finishes smooth and slightly warming. A stylishly made Cali rosé best taken on a patio or yacht.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Copain Wines
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Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Rosétext
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Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Rosé 2018

California, United StatesSweet orange creamsicle, strawberry, peach, raspberry jam fill this fuller, slicked, Cali pink. Silken on the palate. Kendall-Jackson obviously has a lot of grapes to choose from. This year is 39% Santa Barbara County, 29% Sonoma County, 23% Monterey County, 9% Mendocino County, and a mix of 82% Pinot Noir, 15% Syrah, 3% Grenache, all in stainless. Chill well. Predictable Cali Pink.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Painted Rock Rosétext
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Painted Rock Rosé 2018

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMedium pink in hue, this rosé packs a punch, like all of Painted Rock's wines. The 2018 is a blend of 41% Merlot, 21% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, mostly saignée method, concentrating their muscular red wines. This is intense, with sweet cherry, red currant, rhubarb compote and light spice, on a hot (14.4 degrees declared), glycerin palate. Even with a brisk chill, this is a wallop. I reckon skirt steak or tuna steak would meet this pink. Old school.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Township 7 Rosétext
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Township 7 Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a lovely pale pink, this year's rosé is a far cry from the last one we've tasted, way back from 2014. They've dialled the sugar way back to near dryish, though kept some similar grapes : merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot, sourced from both the Township 7 Estate in Naramata, and Sunshine Acres Vineyard in Oliver. The merlot, malbec and petit verdot were direct press, and cofermented. This year cab sauv was added to the mix after to give structure and possibly some gravitas. Seems to be a working model, with strawberry gel, raspberry, candied red apple on a medium palate. Chill well and drink this summer.Prices: BC 21.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Blanc de Noirstext
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C.C. Jentsch Small Lot Series Blanc de Noirs 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis sweeter rose channels its southern Okanagan provenance through super ripe, sweet strawberry, candied peach, pear nectar and cinnamon spicing. The palate is somewhat syrupy, though there's a rise of acidity to keep this somewhat aloft. This is estate merlot, macerated for 24 hours on skins before stainless ferment and brief aging. A swell of RS is best taken with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: C.C. Jentsch Cellars
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Crowsnest Family Rosétext
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Crowsnest Family Rosé 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a deeper pink hue, this pinot auxerrois / pinot noir rosé is on the sweeter style, with cranberry sauce, strawberry jam, brisk spicing on the medium+ palate. Best enjoyed well chilled, and if you prefer your pinks sweeter. Old school.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Vanessa Vineyard Rosétext
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Vanessa Vineyard Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's rosé is a big jump up / dryer / fresher than last year, with tight raspberry, strawberry, crunchy red apple, and baked rhubarb along a leesy, stony river bed base, so characteristic of its stony Similkameen site. There's a thread of lemon pith bracing this dry blend of estate merlot and syrah to a lingering stony finish. And a huge bonus - this early picked pink clocks in less than 2 degrees less alcohol than last year, at a very welcome 12.3 degrees. Well done.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Vanessa Vineyard
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosé 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis pale, Provençal-coloured pink is another strong effort from Unsworth, made with Cowichan fruit. All kinds of berries, with a fresh, crunchy, underbelly and a twist of sweetness makes this (what do the kids say?) smashable. Creamy, bright, and linear, this is a delight to sip and is a terrific match with lighter patio snacks. Well done.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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04 July 2019

Gray Monk Pinot Gristext
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Gray Monk Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFermented and aging in stainless, with no MLF, keeps this gris, the namesake grape for Gray Monk winery, crisp and fresh. Steely pear, yellow apple, Asian pear is infiltrated with a light spice. Approximately 12 hours on the skins lend a medium hue and sliver of texture to the palate, offsetting the bump of RS. Classic BC gris.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 21.94 MB 21.28 SK 22.69 ON 19.95 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gristext
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother solid effort from the Reserve series. The fruit comes off estate vineyards on Black Sage Road and Naramata Ranch. In all, some 60 blocks were involved in the blend, 25 percent of which was barrel-fermented in French oak, and five percent of that was new wood. The nose and palate is bright pear with a squeeze of lemon, and the mid-palate is firm and dry. Don’t bother looking for any sugar; it ends with the perfect lime pith bitterness. Rich, yet svelte, I can think of dozens of matches for this wine starting with pesto pasta.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gristext
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Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOrchard-fresh and juicy, this year's pinot gris is from two French clones and 32-year-old estate vines. After whole cluster pressing, this was native fermented in a mix of foudre, stainless, French barrels and puncheons. The wooded wines received regular battonage or stirring of the lees, while the stainless portion did not. The lots are blended the following spring. Bright and crunchy Asian pear, lime pith and lime leaf, green apple rings through this wine, one with a thin cushion of lees, but overall much tauter and tighter than last year, and charmingly so. Snappy and impressive. Solid.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.95 QC 24.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Cirro Pinot Gristext
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Cirro Pinot Gris 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandPinot Gris has an identity crisis in New Zealand. It can be lean and sprightly, grigio style, or rich and lush Alsatian inspired. This Cirro, from Marlborough, seems to take its inspiration from sauvignon blanc. Grassy, passionfruit, lemon, pear drop on a snappy, bright palate, finishing with a bitter citrus twist. If you like NZ sauvignon, but want to try something new, here you go.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Seaside Pearl Sam and Issac Pinot Gristext
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Seaside Pearl Sam and Issac Pinot Gris 2018

CanadaCousins Sam and Isaac Lehman arrived on the banks of the Fraser River by riverboat in 1875 and set about living in the shadow of Mount Lehman. This gris is dry with a citrus, melon, green apple nose that spills onto a creamy palate. Simple and ready to drink. Try with fish tacos or a vegetable and egg frittata.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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San Valentino Pinot Grigiotext
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San Valentino Pinot Grigio 2017

Puglia, ItalyPinot Grigio is either loved, or reviled, it seems. The grape and style is a chameleon, running the gamut from thin and insipid and forgettable, to chiseled and zesty and mineral-rich. This well-priced model is on the simple side, but thankfully not dumbed down like many of its contemporaries. There is a generous bed of lees to bed the crisp lemon, green melon, pine nut and herbs. Snappy and salty on the brief finish, this is a welcome addition to your summer patio.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: San Valentino
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Harper's Trail Pinot Gris Thad Springs Vineyardtext
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Harper's Trail Pinot Gris Thad Springs Vineyard 2018

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaBarely coloured, this Kamloops pinot gris is an interesting one. The style is super fresh and tight with a stony, mineral, floral nose. The attack is juicy, with more wet stone, mineral, pear, quince, and nectarine. Very food-friendly; summer salads and pastas cold or hot would be excellent matches. Impressive effort and very true to the site.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Moraine Pinot Gristext
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Moraine Pinot Gris 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoraine has been making some impressive wines in the last few years. Tightly wound with mineral underpinnings, this PG lives on the edge of lean and juicy. This is an excellent example of the mid-valley Okanagan style with apricot and lemon infused with a stony mineral current. The vineyard sits on an old moraine deposit that is responsible for its tight, juicy, orchard fruit flavours. Think crabcakes, fish tacos, or Chinese duck.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigiotext
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Abbazia di Novacella Pinot Grigio 2017

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe abbey of Novacella has been around since the 12th century at the Northern end of Alto Adige’s Isarco Valley. If only walls could talk. Viticulture itself is 850 years old in the region. The Abbey owns many vineyards and works with many others based on ancient relationships. It is classic pinot grigio from very cool high altitude sites. The aromas and flavours reflect a tighter mineral style with mouthwatering lemony acidity, minerality and freshness from front to back. Stony, resiny, bright and lively, it is the match made in heaven for fresh shellfish.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Abbazia di Novacella
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigio del Mercadotext
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigio del Mercado 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaWine aficionados will be drawn do this dirt cheap but delicious Argentine PG that comes in a fresh, citrus, pear jacket and was made by a winery that knows minerality. Clean and crisp, it's a perfect mid-week white for most any seafood dish you can think about serving. Chill down and serve all summer on the patio. Super value.Prices: BC 13.49 AB 13.99 SK 13.99 MB 10.99 ON 11.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigio Julia Zuccarditext
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Santa Julia Pinot Grigio Julia Zuccardi 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaI want to say this Argentine pinot grigio is more reminiscent of the BC style, but I'm not sure anyone knows what that is except for British Columbians. This is slightly more intense than expected, with bright fruit and even a little stony minerality. The palate is medium long, salty, dry, to a lightly bitter finish. Serve with your favourite seafood entrée that you can squeeze some lemon over. Good value.Prices: BC 13.49 AB 13.99 SK 13.99 MB 10.99 ON 11.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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03 July 2019

Kitsch Pinot Gristext
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Kitsch Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Kitsch PG is a fresh, savoury affair with more body than you might expect, yet it remains somewhat taut. It is super dry with a mix of green apple, pears, and citrus, with a supporting stony/chalky undercarriage. The vines – all clone 52 – are young, but they are going to thrive in the sandy-silty soils that cover the estate in East Kelowna. Another wine made for fresh shellfish or halibut with fruit salsa.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95text
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Spearhead Chardonnay Clone 95 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClone 95 is a unique bottling of a single French clone from two sites: one on the Naramata Bench as well as Spearhead's home site in southeast Kelowna. The attack is leesy, resiny and creamy with peach, pear, hazelnut, and a creamed corn finish. Set against that drier image is a vibrant red apple flecked with spice in the back end. There's a touch of bitterness in the oaky finish that can be off-putting but I like the style and expect it will all resolve over the next year. It’s whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in French oak (40 percent new) for 11 months. Drink now with richer foods or hold into early 2020.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Rust Wine Co Chardonnaytext
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Rust Wine Co Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Okanagan Falls' Lost Horn Vineyard, this 1998-planted clone 76 chardonnay was native fermented and aged in stainless. Super ripe and round, with baked yellow apples, pear compote, ripe honeydew, and ample woodsy, cinnamon spices. Sweet and plump on the palate, this lacks the verve and energy needed, especially when it wears the appellation of prized chardonnay region Okanagan Falls.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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JoieFarm Chardonnay Un-Oaked (ii)text
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JoieFarm Chardonnay Un-Oaked (ii) 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two chardys released yearly from JoieFarm, the unoaked version comes off three sites: Skaha Bluff's Con Vida Vineyard (and 1989 planted vines), nearby Hollenbach Family Vineyard, and Oliver Twist Vineyard, in Oliver. It’s fermented and aged in stainless, with regular battonage. The attack is bright and tropical, with pineapple, yellow apple, green apple, sweet corn, and ample spice. There's a sizeable bump of sweetness here that will appeal to the masses. We suggest you give it a brisk chill and serve it with spicier dishes and have a drink-now attitude.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom MHFE Terroir Series, this chardy comes from Oliver's Jagged Rock Vineyard, a warm sandy / loamy site surrounded by towering and steep rocky cliffs. The vineyard sits around 400 m in altitude, and this comes from clone 76. This spent 16 months on the lees in a blend of French oak, foudre, and clayver. Toast and lemon curd lead this fuller bodied white, one that has absorbed the sun of its southern Okanagan site. There's a lovely white flower / lemon blossom note that lifts, and a stony grip that firms. The finish is flush with warmth and a medicinal white cherry. As it stands, still too much on the blousy wooded style at this young stage, but moving very much in the right (tight) direction. One to watch.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Quails' Gate Chardonnaytext
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Quails' Gate Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuails' Gate's regular chardonnay is a classic BC label, delivering at a high level year in and year out. The reg is a mix of estate blocks using French clones. It is mostly fermented in stainless steel with a small portion spending time in used French oak. Look for an inviting smooth entry with yellow fruits, stony mineral and hazelnut aromas. There’s a hint of vanilla at every end. Perfect for lobster, crab or creamy fish dishes.Prices: BC 26.44 AB 24.99 SK 24.99 ON 24.95 NS 23.00 MB 25.98 NB 24.99 QC 23.50 NL 24.98 PE 24.99 YK 24.90 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Kitsch 7 Barrel Chardonnaytext
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Kitsch 7 Barrel Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGrant Biggs is the winemaker at Kitsch, and these early releases look promising. In 2017 he made 7 barrels of chardonnay and it's documented for all on the label. This is clone 95 planted on silty loam over sand. The winemaking begins with a whole cluster press, followed by a native ferment and ten months ageing in French oak; 69 percent of the wood is new. The result is a medium yellow colour with a vanilla baked apple nose. Thankfully it’s brighter on the palate with more citrus and savoury notes that tame the oak and the weight. A little less is more would take this wine to another level, but all in all, it’s an excellent start, and it’s a style many chardonnay consumers like. Try this with roasted chicken or crab.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnaytext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe En Famille Reserve is one of two chardonnays JoieFarm releases each year, this one comprised of their special old vine block of Skaha Bluff's Con Vida Vineyard, as well as fruit from their Plain de Vine vineyard on the Naramata Bench. This was partially native fermented in Bourgogne barrels and puncheons, 30 percent new, which is certainly felt. This remained in wood for ten months with regular battonage, and then a further nine months in bottle prior to release. Vanilla permeates the whole, the floral blossoms reflecting the fact this is chardonnay musqué. Lemon curd, green apple, lime pith, roasted hazelnuts is a bit overwhelmed by the warming wood omnipresent at this young stage. Best enjoyed now with corn risotto to match the richness.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 38.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay Watching Tree Vineyardtext
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Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay Watching Tree Vineyard 2017

Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaWinemaker Craig McDonald is behind this tight, citrus lined chardonnay that is wild fermented. The texture is creamy and layered but punctuated by lemon and lees to lend it a complex nature. Look for bright apple and pear with a subtle line of baked apple caramel and fresh, sour apple mash finish. Taut enough for creamy dishes, and I'm leaning towards mushroom risotto or a roasted turkey. No rush to drink this through 2022.Prices: ON 55.00 Producer: Trius Winery at Hillebrand Estates
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Bordertown Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Bordertown Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit here is all estate, meaning all Osoyoos. The attack is soft and creamy, reflecting its full MLF and ageing for eight months in French oak. Rich, buttery and round with a thread of guava underneath that helps to tighten up the middle just a bit and keep it from being overbearing. The finish is long and opulent with a touch of sweetness. Try this old style chardonnay with veal chops with mushrooms.Prices: BC 23.15 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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Bordertown Unoaked Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Bordertown Unoaked Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReady to drink, that probably offers all you could want in an unoaked chardonnay. The nose is fresh, reminiscent of a fruit salad. Its skinny, stainless steel styling hems in the citrus-splashed orchard fruits that dominate the palate and finish. Crisp, clean and affordable.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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Tantalus Bear Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Tantalus Bear Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new label for Tantalus it replaces the Juveniles Chardonnay whose vines are gaining age now seven years in the ground. The ‘Bear’ tag is a nod to the nickname of owner Eric Savics’ eldest son. The fruit is natively fermented and aged in a mix of stainless and older French barrels. The result is a lovely mix of crystalline lemon, verbena, polished stone, pineapple rind, green apple, guava and a thin cushion of fine lees and a scent of smoky flint. The balance is impeccable, and the acidity pitch-perfect. Smart, tidy, and ready to drink, but also capable of sitting on for a couple of years. Try this with fresh cracked crab and butter.Prices: BC 19.30 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astratext
92PTS

MacIntyre Heritage Reserve Astra 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI did not see 2015 of this label, but 2016 is a significant improvement on the first 2014 release. The fruit comes off the Lake Breeze Naramata Bench vineyard, strategically centred in the middle of the Okanagan Valley where daytime temperatures are warm and the night is comfortably cool: perfect acidity for making premium white wine. Before I highly recommend this wine, know that production is tiny and it is virtually snapped up via the McIntyre mailing list, so if you want some, you had better get signed up. The difference is this year is a more modest tone, letting the bright fruit shine while the lees and oak add support for texture and length. The palate is a mix of citrus, pears, and spicy hazelnut. The nose is a mix of bright green apple and citrus with some spicy hazelnut notes. Less Napa, more Burgundy this year. Lobster or crab would be the perfect match. Owner Drew Macintyre’s father was a member of the RCAF, so when he decided to launch two high-end labels, the names Astra, and its merlot brother Ardua were an ode to his father and the Royal Canadian Air Force motto - Per Ardua ad Astra - through adversity to the stars.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: MacIntyre Heritage Reserve
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Blue Mountain Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhen you are slogging through some fairly mundane chardonnay, it's always a pleasure to come across wine appropriately made such as this vibrant toasty, buttery regular label Blue Mountain. Actually, it is not so ordinary, from its five clone blend to its aged (11-28-year-old) estate vines. The attack is broader than 2016 thanks to the use of foudres to build texture and creaminess, and a higher percentage of malolactic fermentation. Lemon curd, flowers, smoked pears and apples mark the flavour favourably. Think creamy pasta or chicken dishes now.Prices: BC 20.90 AB 27.95 ON 24.95 QC 23.95 NB 26.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Black Hills Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Black Hills Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 version is not entirely up to 2016. Although the initial fruit component is fresh and lively, it is smothered in a sheen of vanilla that tends to blur the picture. The fruit intensity is big and rich with tropical, pineapple, peach, crème caramel, hazelnuts, butter and oranges. It’s the full meal deal, and it will have its fans, but it is on the edge of being an over-the-top New World Chardonnay. It seems like an easy fix, and I am guessing that the recently arrived winemaker Ross Wise will fine tune all the Black Hils wines and bring them into the modern era. For now, think lobster or butter drenched crab.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Reserve Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Fort Berens Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaA blast from the past, this chardonnay relies on a heavy dose of oak to build the palate, and it almost gets away with it given the pure, ripe fruit involved. The apple is cloaked in a honey and oak jacket that is spicy and rich but somewhat flat on the palate. The intensity is excellent, and if you like a big, oaky chardonnay, this is for you. I would love to see a gentler hand here and let the fruit speak first. At 12.6 percent alcohol, this wine has plenty to give. It needs only be set free from wood to tell its story. Ready to drink. Best with a turkey.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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01 July 2019

Kitsch Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Kitsch Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy ginger seasons this savoury pinot gris, from first sniff through the lingering warming finish. The interior is packed with pear, green apple, nutmeg, and spiced lemongrass, riding along a stony river bed base. From their sandy and silty Kelowna estate, this is clone 52, planted in 2014, whole cluster pressed and fermented plus one additional month on lees. A friendly, hedging serious pinot gris that offers more than the typical BC fruit basket norm. Thankfully. Yum.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom two of MHFE's estate vineyards, Black Sage Road and Naramata Ranch, this is a mix of 60 different blocks, and was one quarter fermented in French oak (five percent of which was new). Potent primary pear, yellow apple, white peach, and spice rides along a silky palate, slightly plump via lees and wood to a bitter pear skin, lime pith finish. There's a stately structure to this gris, making it proper for drinking alongside white-fleshed proteins.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first time for this wine, a pinot gris from Keremeos' Whispered Secret Vineyard, and it's fair to say that the secret is out. After a whole cluster press, this was fermented in stainless and French oak for more than a month, and then aged on the lees for an additional four months before bottling with a light filtration. The light touch is welcome in this beautifully balanced, zippy white, full of orchard fruit and bright and juicy with lime and lemon pith acidity. Super expressive in the mouth, with citrus sherbet and a fine zesty texture. No boring BC gris here; well done for creating your own, distinct Similkameen style. We are no longer surprised that Olivier Humbrech got involved with Phantom Creek's new vineyard in the Similkameen to grow pinot gris. The Similkameen is more than exceptional.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate vineyard and neighbouring Cowichan fruit, the 2018 pinot gris is electric with juicy acidity, lighting up pear, quince, crunchy Asian pear streaming along the slender, stony palate. There's a lovely balance here, embracing both coastal freshness, and Cowichan sunshine (Cowichan translates to 'the warm lands' in the local First Nations language). River stones, grapefruit pith, green apple and joy rocket through this vibrant wine. Wine Islands classic. Consistently fine.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards
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Chic Fille Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Chic Fille Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChic Fille (translating as cool girl) is Heidi Noble's natural wine side project, and this year she's released two wines in the line, this amber gris, as well as a pinot noir rosé. Peach in hue, this pinot gris comes from Skaha Bluff's Lakeside Vineyard, was destemmed and soaked with skins for three days before a light pressing, bringing some of gris' skin tannins along for the cool settling and native ferment in barrel. It was left on gross lees in barrel before bottling, unfiltered, and with minimal sulphur. Apricot, peach, kiwi is cured with astringent orchard fruit peels, and scented with floral apple and pear blossoms on the watery palate. This finishes with a gentle bergamot hug. Bone dry, with lowish acidity, though feels tight and scripted from the time with skins.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: JoieFarm
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Sperling Vineyards Amber Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Sperling Vineyards Amber Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis orange / peach hued wine reminds us that pinot gris is firmly footed in the pinot camp. From young vines off their biodynamically farmed home Kelowna vineyards, this natural wine in their Vision Series has "nothing added nor taken away", and is bottled unfiltered with its lees. This is truly all pinot gris, whole clusters, destemmed berries, native yeasts, and natural MLF. Nothing else happens to this wine until bottling. Hazy in the glass this strikes with tight apricot and orange oils, nimble and nervy on the taut frame. Astringent bergamot, peach fuzz, bitter lime leaf snaps along the palate to a zesty citrus finish. Firmly, unapologetically, and properly natural, and fully BC.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Bordertown Pinot Gristext
86PTS

Bordertown Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bordertown gris is sourced from three vineyard parcels on the family estate. The wine is stainless steel fermented, and it presents in a soft tropical ripe fruit style offering honey and apples with a dusting of bananas and oranges. It's ready to drink — best with spicy foods.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Gristext
89PTS

50th Parallel Estate Pinot Gris 2018

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe name 50th Parallel says it all: cool, refreshing, lively, and fun to drink. What more do you need? The fruit is all hand harvested, and the fruit is whole bunch pressed. It's left to settle in an oxygen-free environment to up its primary aromatic ante. The ferment is an 80/20 split of stainless steel / three-year-old French oak barrels which appears to be the perfect mix of freshness and texture. I love the fresh orchard fruit mix of peach, nectarine and citrus, with a dash of figs in the back end. Grilled salmon, chicken samosas or grilled prawns shine with a glass of this gris.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Spearhead Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyardtext
88PTS

Spearhead Pinot Gris Golden Retreat Vineyard 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrunchy and fresh pink grapefruit, passionfruit and tangerine mark this eminently drinkable pinot gris from Summerland's Golden Retreat Vineyard. Whole bunch pressed, this was partially fermented in French oak, with the remainder fermented cool in stainless steel. Fully ripe and balanced orchard fruit flavours are tipped with a bump residual sugar in the punchy finish. Fun and ready to drink all summer with any number of classic summer dishes, especially green curries.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Gristext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Gris 2016

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne is rarely disappointed by the Reserve Gris from Blue Mountain, especially in a great year like 2016. It opens with its signature cool, creamy textures and understated leesy fruit. The reserve is the result of two French clones planted 30 years ago. For 2016, the amount fermented and aged in French oak for eight months is back to 30 percent, but you should expect nothing less than a delicious white wine. Look for orchard fruits mixed with floral, mineral, creamy lees and a quiet, salty, orange finish. Pesto pasta would be a fun match.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 31.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Arterra Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Arterra Pinot Gris 2020

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA first release for the Arterra folks, this Niagara PG opens with a mix of vanilla and peach tones that carries on to its soft, round palate. The style is smooth and textural, but it would be nice to have a bit more acidity, and mid-palate lift to carry the waves of honey, peach and crème caramel. Try this with more sumptuous seafood dishes.Prices: BC 26.95 ON 26.95 Producer: Arterra Wines
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Hester Creek Pinot Gristext
86PTS

Hester Creek Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 Pinot Gris was sourced from both Hester Creek's estate Road 7 Vineyard, and contract farms in neighbouring Oliver. Fermented and aged briefly in stainless, this was intended to be a juicy, fruity, friendly orchard fruited white, and that's achieved. Melon, yellow and red apple, pear and a light dusting of gingery spice on the snappy finish, this is bumped with a bit of residual sugar to make it even more accessible. Drink this summer with a chill and a patio party.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 17.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Fort Berens Pinot Gris 2018

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 Pinot Gris is based on estate Lillooet fruit, with a swig from the Similkameen. The whole was fermented in stainless, with a partial native ferment for added local layers. Sweeter and ripe with melon, baked yellow apple, peach blossoms and spicy gingerale on the finish, this is a friendly gris for chilling and enjoying this summer.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Inniskillin Discovery Series East West Pinot Grigiotext
86PTS

Inniskillin Discovery Series East West Pinot Grigio 2017

CanadaThis is part of Inniskillin's upper Discover Series tier, though it's impossible from the front or back label to discover anything about this wine, including the most important details : where it is from. We do know, from the East-West title, that it contains some fruit from both BC and Ontario. After that, it's a hazy mystery. In the glass, pear puree, apple butter, yellow apple, and nutmeg spicing riding a glossy palate to a warm finish. Simple, soft, sweetish. And, clunkily, under cork. Not much to discover here.Prices: ON 16.95 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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