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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: November 2019

30 November 2019

Sorelle Bronca Particella 232 Brut Nature Brut Prosecco Superioretext
90PTS

Sorelle Bronca Particella 232 Brut Nature Brut Prosecco Superiore NV

Veneto, ItalyThere is a new page amongst the hills between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, home to Italy’s most excellent sparkling wines. The story is a drier style of Prosecco with a focus on terroir. Enter the Bronca sisters and a new organic cuvée of bone-dry Prosecco from this tiny plot high in the hills of Farro di Follina. Particella 232 Nature is 40 years old, and the fruit is aged four months on its lees sans sugar. The mousse is tiny and refined, and the nose floral with a dusting of dried wild herbs. The attack is citrus-forward with a bit of creamy peach and a long, nutty, salty, finish. Impressive and very food-friendly. The blend is mostly glera with smaller amounts of bianchetta and perera grapes.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Sorelle Bronca
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Varias Cava Genui Brut Naturetext
87PTS

Varias Cava Genui Brut Nature NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainCava Varias has been bottling sparkling wine for 100 years in the Alt Penedès region of Spain, the historic birthplace of D.O. Cava. Brut Nature is a 30/40/30 mix of macabeo/xarel·lo/parellada that presents as a light, fresh, citrus-flavoured sparkler with a soft, creamy texture. Pleasant, clean and ready to drink, it is a Cava that will get the party started. Serve with assorted sushi or other party bites.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Cava Varias
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Dames Bruttext
86PTS

Dames Brut 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDames Brut is a floral, leesy mix of 70/30 pinot blanc and riesling, biodynamically farmed and certified organic from Ann Sperling's family vineyard in Kelowna. The attack is fresh and pleasant with light green apple, citrus, limey notes and a clean, mature aftertaste. An attractive lightweight bubbly more like prosecco than champagne, and it is ready to drink. Winemaker Mireille Sauve suggests you pair with a hot tub, or just some quick appetizer bites.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain's 2015 Brut Rosé is a blend of 60 percent pinot noir and 40 percent chardonnay, aged on its lees for 30 months prior to being disgorged in fall 2018 and released over a year later. The wine is as serious as the winemaking. This pours a lovely pale salmon colour, and shows lots of red berry fruit with modest autolytic character. It's easy to see why this is a perennial favourite, though the dosage (10 g/L) is more noticeable than in previous vintages, perhaps due to the ripeness and warmth of the 2015 vintage.Prices: BC 39.90 AB 39.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis chardonnay from Blue Mountain’s estate vineyard in Okanagan Falls was aged on its lees for 6.5 years before being disgorged in August 2018 and released a full year later. The nose shows classic blanc de blancs character with lemon, chalk, and lots of toasty autolytic notes. It’s bright and youthful, benefiting from the cooler 2011 vintage, and just beginning to show some development in the background. The mousse is fine, giving way to a laser sharp, precise palate and racy acidity that finishes bone dry with only a 4 g/L dosage. It would be easy to call this champagne in a blind tasting given its combination of restraint and elegance, and indeed I have. Excellent value, and a wine that will only continue to benefit from additional time in bottle.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgognetext
89PTS

Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne NV

Burgundy, FranceFrom well-known Chablis producer Simonnet-Febvre, the only to produce crémant in Chablis, this traditional method fizz is a blend of 60/40 chardonnay/pinot noir, and with 24 months on lees before a dosage of 7 g/l. Tight lemon, anise, green apple, pink florals are bedded with lees, and hums with the stony mineral-laden soils of the area. There's a lovely plump core that makes this welcome, and a tight lemony finish that makes it an easy choice for food.Prices: USA 22.00 Producer: Simonnet-Febvre
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Villa Teresa Prosecco Vino Frizzante Organictext
86PTS

Villa Teresa Prosecco Vino Frizzante Organic NV

Veneto, ItalyThis shelf standard is as reliable as ever, with notes of yellow apple, hay, dried pear, and faint notes of sour ale and cider. The flavours are potent though, and the bubbles fine and light. Take with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Sorelle Bronca Extra Dry Valdobiadene Prosecco Superioretext
87PTS

Sorelle Bronca Extra Dry Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore NV

Veneto, ItalyAt 13 g/l RS this is an off-dry, lively, fresh sparkling wine that fits the diagram for prosecco. The entry is floral and soft but with enough acidity to keep it on course and tangy. Do what the Italians do and pop this bottle the moment guests arrive and pour liberally on the patio and serve with savoury bites, or save it for after the meal and serve it with a selection of traditional cakes or seasonal fruit desserts. Serve well-chilled.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sorelle Bronca
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Sorelle Bronca Particella 68 Brut Prosecco Superioretext
87PTS

Sorelle Bronca Particella 68 Brut Prosecco Superiore NV

Veneto, ItalyThe 68 on the label refers to the official land registry plot number for the exact part of the hill in Colbertaldo where these grapes are grown, at 250-320m altitude. Glera is splashed with bianchetta and perera in this tight, dry fizz, carrying chamomile, yellow apple, pear skin and light bitter lemon along the subdued, lighter bodied palate. A welcome dry, serious-styled Prosecco.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Sorelle Bronca
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The Hatch Gobsmacked Pink Bobbly Rosétext
86PTS

The Hatch Gobsmacked Pink Bobbly Rosé 2018

British Columbia, CanadaJason Parkes' daughter Piper drew this cute label for this easy and fun fizz of gamay, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, and marechal foch. A lightly effervescent, highly sour fizz, this carries crab apple, cranberry and light apple along the slight, shorter palate. A lot more fun to look at than to drink, unfortunately.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: The Hatch
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The Hatch Octobubble Brut Rosétext
86PTS

The Hatch Octobubble Brut Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOctobubble's label shows an octopus floating in champagne while throwing wine barrels with Napoleon stranded on his head. Of course. This is a charmat method fizz of pinot blanc and pinot noir. Deep peach in hue, this carries cherry, red apple, rhubarb, and sour lemon on a frothy, short palate. The wine doesn't reach the label in quality or innovation, unfortunately.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Chandon California Bruttext
87PTS

Chandon California Brut NV

California, United StatesA non-vintage blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and plot meunier, this has subtle autolytic character from only 12 months on lees, combined with youthful green and citrus fruits. The palate is quite frothy and not overly broad, with some residual sweetness poking through the moderate acidity. Clean, correct, and approachable, it’s lacking the verve and tension of top sparkling wines.Prices: BC 29.49 ON 31.70 Producer: Domaine Chandon
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Gratien and Meyer Crémant de Loire Bruttext
86PTS

Gratien and Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut NV

Loire, FranceSoft and pretty in the mouth, with pink blossoms, gentle pear and baked apple, this crémant blends chardonnay, chenin blanc, cabernet franc, and pinot noir into a lightly effervescent sipper. Acidity is also slight and easy, making this a natural choice for breakfast and brunch.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: Gratien and Meyer
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Gratien and Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosétext
87PTS

Gratien and Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé NV

Loire, FranceLight and dry, with ample cherry blossoms and pretty pink perfumes, this blends pinot noir, chardonnay, and cabernet franc in a light bodied sparkler. Light pear, rosehips, and red apples grace the palate. Acidity is fine and lively, carrying the pink fruits and florals.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: Gratien and Meyer
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Kitsch Blanc de Blancstext
88PTS

Kitsch Blanc de Blancs 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEarly picked East Kelowna chardonnay aged for twenty-four months is the story behind this fresh, electric, bubble from Kitsch. It is a very promising first time effort, and will likely be an essential financial success because having a quality sparkler in the line is excellent PR. Winemaker Grant Biggs continues to demonstrate a deft hand inside the winery, and this bright citrus, green apple, light brioche sparkler is only missing some complexity. I'm betting it will come sooner than later. Best now, with lox and cream cheese.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDisgorged in 2018, this 55/45 chardonnay/pinot noir blend has a highly attractive autolytic nose reflecting 6.5 years on its lees. There is better freshness than 2008 and the combination of lees and citrus notes fuel the complex, inviting opening. The Reserve Brut spends a final year in bottle before release. It is an excellent bottle of sparkling wine, entirely complete. Ready to drink now and will accompany just about any food item you can think of to serve. Watch out Champagne, we are coming for you.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Julià & Navinès Brut Nature Reserva Cavatext
88PTS

Julià & Navinès Brut Nature Reserva Cava NV

SpainVery impactful and potent up front, with toasted spice, red apples, roasted nuts, hay, dried apricots on a riffing, bone dry palate. There's a thread of oxidative fruit that runs the length of this organic xarel-lo fizz through to the very drying finish. Very natural; this spent up to 24 months on the lees, and no sulphur was used in this bottling.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Julià & Navinès
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Rama & Selas Baga Blanc De Noirtext
0PTS

Rama & Selas Baga Blanc De Noir 2015

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis traditional method fizz comes from Bairrada's limestone-laced soils, and is entirely baga, a key local grape. Disgorged July 2018Prices: CDN 26.99 Producer: Manuel Dos Santos Campolargo
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Man O' War Tuliatext
90PTS

Man O' War Tulia 2015

Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island, New ZealandTraditional method brut zero blanc de blancs from steep sloped and Pacific swept volcanic soiled chardonnay planted on NZ's Jurassic Park-esque Waiheke Island is NOT on your radar, yeah? Green apple is seasoned with toast, and sharpened with searing lemon pith acidity. There's a grippy extract that closes the finish, lingering with marine saline notes. Bone dry and direct, this is a lovely brut nature for apero hour or oysters.Prices: NZ 57.50 Producer: Man O' War Vineyards Ltd.
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Giró Ribot Brut Rosé Cava ab Originetext
88PTS

Giró Ribot Brut Rosé Cava ab Origine NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis deeper hued rosado cava blends 25-30 year old grapes, 85/15 trepat / pinot noir, and spends up to 20 months on the lees before disgorgement. Punchy with red currant, pomegranate, red apple, tangerine, and a hearty shake of baking spice, this fuller cava is well balanced out by potent acidity. Great to partner to meat pies.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 22.99 Producer: Giró Ribot
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Calvet á Bordeaux Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosétext
89PTS

Calvet á Bordeaux Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé 2016

Bordeaux, FranceThis Crémant de Bordeaux is a blend of cabernet franc and merlot, bringing the best of these two grapes together in a dry, crisp, red-fruited fizz. Herbal edged raspberries, red currants, dried herbs finish clean, bone dry, and astringent, ideal for pairing with salmon canapés.Prices: BC 27.99 ON 19.99 Producer: Calvet
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Villa Teresa Rosé Veneto Vino Frizzante Organictext
86PTS

Villa Teresa Rosé Veneto Vino Frizzante Organic NV

Veneto, ItalyBrisk and bright, pale and dry, this organic Venetian frizzante is from raboso. Pouring a pale pink hue, this streams raspberries, plums, candied cherries along a lightly sparkling palate. The Teresa rosé is at its peak, when briskly chilled, which is how and when this aperitif wine should be enjoyed.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Marqués de Monistrol Seleccion Especial Cava Prestige Cuveetext
88PTS

Marqués de Monistrol Seleccion Especial Cava Prestige Cuvee NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe classic Cava triad of macabeo, xarel-lo, and parellada are blended within this distinct, gold-wrapped bottle. Toasty and fresh with red apple, almond paste, anise, cherry blossoms, and spice, this carries a whack of lively acidity, driving the showy flavours forward. Classic, and ready for tapas.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Marqués de la Concordia
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Two Sisters Vineyards Blanc de Franctext
93PTS

Two Sisters Vineyards Blanc de Franc 2016

Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA classy, expressive, articulate sparkling wine made from a grape seldom deployed for bubbly outside the Loire Valley. Tasted blind, I loved the red berry scents, the excellent display of toasty, nutty complexity from lengthy bottle-ageing (16 months), and zingy, refreshing acidity. There's a red wine-like heft and phenolic bite that makes this an excellent food sparkler, and the absence of dosage puts the spotlight firmly on excellent Niagara-ripened Cabernet Franc.Prices: ON 50.00 Producer: Two Sisters Vineyards
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Haywire Vintage Bubtext
90PTS

Haywire Vintage Bub 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHaywire's inaugural Vintage Bub is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from Secrest Vineyard in Oliver. Even from a warm vintage like 2013, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that the fruit came from so far south. This was on lees for 52 months prior to disgorgement and, though I don’t find it overly autolytic, it’s aging beautifully, combining lemon with baked apple, mushroom, and hazelnut. The soft, creamy mousse gives way to a broad, mouth-filling texture and a decidedly dry finish with vibrant acidity. Well-balanced, it’s a moreish style of sparkling wine that is quite serious. At or near peak for my palate. This has gone up in price since it was last tasted in 2018, but still represents fine value.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821text
87PTS

Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821 NV

Veneto, ItalyA light, fruity style of Prosecco that hits the mark, but with modest complexity and depth. It shows green melon and pear, but lacks the aromatics or purity of fruit of the top wines from the region. It’s well balanced, with just a pinch of perceptible sweetness from the 11 g/L dosage, and a fine, creamy mousse. Well priced, this Prosecco seems meant for Tuesday nights and takeaway.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 14.95 MB 15.10 ON 15.95 QC 15.75 Producer: Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A.
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Church and State Sparkling Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Church and State Sparkling Pinot Gris 2017

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Church & State's Saanich Peninsula vineyard, their original home site, this is a charmat pinot gris, bright, fresh, and lightly floral. Pink blossoms, pear, melon skip along the energetic palate to a snappy, lightly bitter finish. A great local aperitif.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Harper's Trail Sparkling Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Harper's Trail Sparkling Chardonnay 2016

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaLemon, yellow apple, light lees, grassy herbs rings through this sharp traditional method chardonnay, sourced from Kamloops' Thadd Springs Vineyard. After a stainless ferment, the wine spent 14 months on the lees before bottling. 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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29 November 2019

Le Clos Jordanne Les Grand Clos Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Le Clos Jordanne Les Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis wine was always good back when it was a joint venture between Boisset and Constellation Brands, but like a lot of Constellation projects requiring ongoing investments in land, farming, and people, it was shut down. Under Arterra Canada, Le Clos is back, and so is its original winemaker, the irrepressible Thomas Bachelder. Bachelder's return marks a massive injection of electricity back into the project, and if Arterra is smart, they will triple his salary and put him in charge of a whole lot more. But I digress. What has been accomplished, in a so-so vintage, is impressive. I love the energy here amongst the green apple, floral, citrus, and some of the best lees I have savoured in Canada. Salty, stony, mineral, and delicious, this wine hit all the right notes without boasting. Can’t wait to see what Thomas does with a stellar vintage. A wine to savour today or in another five years. Watch out, Burgundy.Prices: QC 45.50 NF 75.00 Producer: Le Clos Jordanne
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Fort Berens Chardonnay 2018

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaNow primarily estate grapes with only about 20 percent coming from the Similkameen Valley. The 2018 regular chardonnay is ripe, but I’m happy to see some freshness here and certainly more electricity than we have seen from this wine since its inception. Yellow apples, tropical pineapple is flecked with spice and lemon curd with a green apple undercurrent to keep it mostly aligned. You feel a touch of oak here, but there isn’t much in the mix after spending only a few months in new and used French oak.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Chardonnaytext
88PTS

CedarCreek Chardonnay 2018

British Columbia, CanadaCedarCreek has a new and much-welcomed package that includes a revamped label design and a switch to the elegant, sleek Stelvin Lux screwcap. The chardonnay is equally fun with a sense of freshness permeating a ripe, generous chardonnay that is fermented and oak and aged in varying vessels from foudres to stainless steel. The northern effect kicks in, adding a mineral, stony undercurrent to the lemon, peach fruit, bringing brightness and lift to a well-made, inexpensive chardonnay. This is a versatile food wine you can serve with salads, poultry, crab, and fish tacos.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Dark Horse Vineyard Chardonnaytext
85PTS

Dark Horse Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDark Horse is a trip back in time to an old-style, over-the-top, oak-laden chardonnay with a creamy caramel tropical fruit nose, coconut, and toasted hazelnuts. The attack is full-bodied, warm and rich, with more penetrating buttery, honey pineapple vanilla flavours and a strong smoky, toasted oak character in the finish. It is aged nine months in oak, 20 percent new, before going to bottle. Try this with grilled lobster or crab.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Dark Horse Vineyard
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Black Swift Vineyards Vintoro Vineyard Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Vintoro Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVintoro Vineyard is a southwest facing vineyard set in East Kelowna. The 3+ acre site is planted to the highly expressive chardonnay musqué clone. Given its natural power and aromatics, it is barrel-fermented in mostly new French oak. The juice is never racked off the lees, but it is stirred monthly. The wine was barrel fermented and raised in a mix of mostly new French oak puncheons for 24 months, spending the entire time maturing on its lees. It has the Black Swift opulence, and the winemaker Jason Parkes swagger, yet both come with an acidic underside to balance the equation. I would age this wine five years for optimum results, but it could be fun to drink with lobster or crab dripping in butter tonight. Not for the faint-hearted.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Fort Berens White Goldtext
90PTS

Fort Berens White Gold 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaWhite Gold is Fort Berens' premium chardonnay, and sourced entirely from their estate Dry Creek Vineyard. After a whole cluster pressing, this underwent a native fermentation in French oak, where it remained to age on lees until the following summer. A big step up in structure and form from their entry chardonnay, you can feel the big wood bones framing this full-bodied white. White peach, lemon curd, candied tangerine, marzipan is layered with spicy oak, and finishes with a warming riff of apricot fuzz. Drinking flashy and well now, this would also suit a couple of years in your cellar.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens White Goldtext
88PTS

Fort Berens White Gold 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaWhite Gold is Fort Berens' premium Lillooet chardonnay, sourced entirely from the Dry Creek Vineyard estate, and fermented on native yeast. Opulent and structural, it leads with a buttery, spicy, oaky punch before a second structural element appears: acidity. This is going to need some time to mesh and mature to see whether the peach and orange fruit can ultimately win out over the oak. Try again in late 2020 and early 2021.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Fort Berens Chardonnay 2018

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaFrom primarily estate grapes with nearly 1/5 coming from the Similkameen, this year's chardonnay is ripe and blousy with yellow apples, applesauce, pineapple, and spiced lemon curd. There's a sharp granny smith acidity that slices through the fat, leaving the whole a bit disjointed in youth, and warm on the finish. After whole cluster pressing and partial native ferment, this was primarily fermented and aged for five months in stainless, with a small amount seeing time in new and used French oak.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Four Shadows Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Four Shadows Chardonnay 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot all that long ago this fruit was going into the highly lauded Foxtrot and Lake Breeze label, though now it stays home. In 2018 it was made by Pascal Madevon, ex- Osoyoos Larose and Culmina. I’m a fan of the juicy, Naramata style, and it is present in this wine in 2018. The nose is fragrant with a fine mix of honey and apples, bright acidity and just a hint of lees. It’s not overly complicated but delicious drinking now. Enjoy this with soft cheese, or a seafood pasta dish. Good value.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Quails' Gate Chardonnay Stewart Family Reservetext
90PTS

Quails' Gate Chardonnay Stewart Family Reserve 2017

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe SFR is the winery flagship chardonnay, and there is an excellent supply made every year. The fruit comes off two estate blocks, Fields 3 and 5, that cling to the ancient volcanic slopes of Mount Boucherie. Barrel fermentation, a full malolactic fermentation, and regular stirring of the lees revs up the power and flavour. The textures are creamy and generous, spreading effortlessly across the palate with notes of lemon curd, baked pear, vanilla, and toasted hazelnuts, all with a twist of minerality. The food matches are many, including fresh BC Halibut, Dungeness crab or local scallops. I love it with roasted chicken.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 39.99 ON 43.95 QC 36.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Meyer Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Meyer Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMeyer has a top reputation for chardonnay, and this youthful wine is a pale silvery lemon in the glass with an aromatic personality of apple, lemon, and pear. The nose is admirably subdued, showing a touch of fennel and a distinct leesy bread dough note. The flavours are on the restrained side for a BC chardonnay, with delicate tree fruits, peach pit savoury flavours, an herbal, yeasty, dimension and high, mouth-watering acidity. Please note the sleek texture (evidence of lees work) and distinctly mineral-laced finish. It's in the Chablis direction with a bit more fruit, and a very nice, appropriate style for BC. There is oak, but the barrels are well-used with no overt oaky flavours. Lightish in body, you can sip this solo, team it up with local soft cheese, or have with a simple chicken and rice bowl.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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28 November 2019

Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Napa Valley, California, United StatesNapa Valley is hardly sauvignon blanc country, but a few folks make it and make it well. One of the best is Spottswoode, and they have been doing it since 1984. The grapes are a mix of organically farmed estate and contract fruit from top vineyards in Napa Valley and on Sonoma Mountain. Fermentation is also a mix: small stainless barrels, oak puncheons, amphora, concrete egg, and ceramic containers totalling some 200 individual fermentations each vintage. Add lees stirring, and you have a recipe for complexity, which sets you apart from almost every other sauvignon blanc made in California. The attack is vibrant thanks to excellent acidity and a refreshing stream of Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit and guava fruit. A mineral stonefruit finish leaves you wanting another glass. Mussels anyone?Prices: BC 126.99 Producer: Spottswoode Estate Vineyards and Winery
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Poggio Alle Gazie dell Ornellaiatext
91PTS

Poggio Alle Gazie dell Ornellaia 2017

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyPoggio Alle Gazie is an elegant white that reflects the generous Mediterranean, even in a warm drought year like 2017. The mix is 81/0/6/3 sauvignon blanc, vermentino, viognier and verdicchio, mostly picked before mid-August to preserve acidity and freshness. The palate is a lime, guava, citrus affair with mineral, stony notes through the finish. Ready to drink, and very food-friendly. Serve with turkey, roast chicken, or a pasta seafood.Prices: BC 77.99 Producer: Ornellaia
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Castello della Sala Conte della Viperatext
90PTS

Castello della Sala Conte della Vipera 2018

Umbria, ItalyConte della Vipera is a tribute to the original owners of the castle, and its label shows an illustration of San Giovanni’s chapel (Saint John), a small chapel located on the estate. On the whole, 2018 was a cool year in Umbria. The sauvignon blanc grapes were picked near the end of August and concluded with the sémillon harvest towards the middle of September. The grapes are fermented in stainless before they are blended. Fresh, savoury, aromatic sauvignon, blends with a softer, supple, tropical sémillon. On the palate, this wine has an alluring green character mixed with grapefruit and grassy notes all wrapped up in a refined, licorice-flecked jacket. Another wine built for food in that classic Italian way.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Castello della Sala
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Attems Cicinis Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Attems Cicinis Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThe Cicinis Sauvignon Blanc was harvested partly at the end of August, and partly in mid-September, to allow for different levels of freshness and ripeness to create an aromatic, complex wine. The critical vineyard site is a terraced hill at the foot of Monte Calvario (Podgora) in Collio Goriziano, boasting seabed sandstone formed by rising geological events more than 50 million years ago. The ferment is done gently in a 45/55 split of cement eggs, and barriques and tonneaux, where it ages on its lees until it’s bottled. Expect a herbal start with notes of thyme, nettles, and dried sage that previews a fresh citrus palate. There is intensity and length of flavour that allows this wine to persist into a long finish. A pasta wine.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Conti Attems S.r.l.
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Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym White Meritagetext
91PTS

Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym White Meritage 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMer'r'iym White has to be one of the best Canadian white wines I tasted this year, and it was equally acknowledged at the National Wine Awards of Canada too. The blend is 62/33 sauvignon blanc / semillon, and it's as bright and fresh as they come. The attack has a beautiful floral, herbal quality with bright acidity and crispness balanced by a long, creamy, luxurious texture. The semillon is barrel-fermented in new oak, but this merely tempers the electric sauvignon fruit that gives this wine its life. You can age this, but frankly, I'm tempted to drink it now while it is fresh and delicious.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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Empire of Dirt Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Empire of Dirt Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaEmpire of Dirt is a collab between Ben Henshaw, a leading UK importer, and Rivar Mayer, low-interventionist legend Timo Mayer’s son. Rivar has learned from working vintage with his father in the Yarra, and this savvy comes from a vineyard next to Timo's Bloody Hill Vineyard. This was whole bunch pressed (partial skin contact) before a ferment and rest in old hogshead barrels. Sprightly tangerine, lemon pith rule a lengthy, finely textured palate, to a lingering vibrating, highly saline sauvy finish.Prices: Australia 25.00 Producer: Empire of Dirt
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Leftfield Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Leftfield Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Nelson, South Island, New ZealandLeftfield of Te Awa hails from Nelson, on the northwest side of the South Island, cooler than Marlborough. This nose is fresh and aromatic with green and white pepper flecked with citrus and cucumber. The attack is bright and crunchy with tart lime, nectarine, and lemongrass that are all seafood friendly. Prawns, mussels, or clams will all work here.Prices: BC 24.95 AB 14.50 ON 14.65 Producer: Te Awa Winery
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Undurraga Terroir Hunter Sauvignon Blanctext
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Undurraga Terroir Hunter Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileWinner of the Best Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at the Decanter World Awards back in 2017, this label is a winner. Powered by Leyda fruit from a windy, west-facing vineyard a mere 14 kilometres from the cold Pacific Ocean, I love the citrus, the nettle, the grapefruit rind, smoky jalapeno, and the rush of passionfruit that floods your palate. New Zealand meets the Loire Valley, and you should too, with a bowl of mussels. Go Chile, so steady and so under appreciated.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Viña Undurraga
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Alain Gueneau Sancerre la Guibertetext
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Alain Gueneau Sancerre la Guiberte 2017

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceFrom 11 hectares of steep slopes on mainly clay-limestone soil, this fresh Sancerre is the mission of father Alain and daughter Elisa. The goal is simple: classic artisanal Sancerre. This opens with white flowers flecked with stonefruit. The attack is lively and the flavours persistent, with robust mineral undertones. It is a terrific apéritif wine, and it pairs well with almost any seafood, but the famous match courtesy of the winery is the regional goat cheese Crottin de Chavignol.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 39.99 ON 39.99 QC 39.99 Producer: Chateau de Sancerre
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Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym White Meritagetext
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Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym White Meritage 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGive credit to the farming and winemaking team for this handsome White Meritage that impressed me in a blind flight at the National Wine Awards of Canada finals. The entire 6-wine flight was uniformly high-quality, but I loved the energy and drive of this blend of 62% Sauvignon Blanc and 33% Semillon. I noted a clear BC character with pungent botanicals, focused acidity, and a gorgeous, creamy texture. The Semillon was barrel-fermented in new French barrels, but melded happily into the unoaked Sauvignon, not for a moment obscuring the gooseberry, lively citrus, beeswax and honeycomb complexity. A well-made food wine for your next dinner of grilled chicken with salsa verde.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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27 November 2019

RockBare Adelaide Hills Single Vineyard Chardonnaytext
89PTS

RockBare Adelaide Hills Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaAdelaide Hills chardonnay grapes were picked at night and cold fermented in stainless steel tanks with aromatic yeasts. It's aged for eight months and stirred weekly. After fermentation, the juice is blended, and lees stirred once a week for eight months. The result is a beautiful, fresh, creamy, 13% chardonnay, with spice oatmeal and juicy peach, nectarine, and green fruit. Love the texture here, and the simplicity of getting the fruit onto your palate. The phenolics are light and the acidity perfect, allowing this to mesh with a variety of foods. I am thinking about pasta olio or asparagus risotto. The RockBare estate is a modern negociant winery situated in Hahndorf, South Australia.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Rockbare
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Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2017

South Australia, AustraliaWe haven’t seen this wine in a decade, but it’s part of a very progressive chardonnay program that has changed the face of Penfold's white wine portfolio. The Penfolds mantra is to follow the best fruit every year, and in 2017 it came from three regions: Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, and Tumbarumba. The nose is bright with subtle citrus aromas, clean lees and attractive bread dough. It spends only eight months in French oak, and only 25 percent is new. The palate is all the aforementioned and more, with impressive minerality and acid throughout. Layered and persistent, this is a terrific bottle of chardonnay and a great model for BC.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 49.95 Producer: Penfolds
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Cedalion Single Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Cedalion Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island, New ZealandSam Harrop MW, returned to NZ from London with his young family to set up a home base on Waiheke Island, and fulfil a dream to make world class chardonnay from an untested site. Cedalion is all single vineyard wines, in this case, Waiheke Island Arae Vineyard chardonnay from a little southwest facing 0.9 hectare plot in Church Bay, on a mix of clay and limestone. Whole bunch pressed and native fermented in stainless, after 3 weeks this was transferred to barrel (25% new hogsheads) where it underwent partial MLF, and remained on gross lees (no battonage) for 5 months before a light sulphur and 5 months in stainless. Flinty and reductive leaning, with ample rock salts seasoning a core of flax, meadow grass. No fear of sulphides here, this is a wine of style.Prices: NZ 39.00 Producer: Cedalion
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Grand Amateur Watchmaker Chardonnaytext
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Grand Amateur Watchmaker Chardonnay 2017

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandSome of the greatest discoveries throughout history have been made by those bold enough to challenge conventions and question the status quo. Grand Amateur is Sam Harrop's line of wines from sourced fruit around New Zealand, made in ways to make one question what they thought about NZ wine. This chardy comes from Hawkes Bay, and two clones, whole bunch pressed and finishing ferment in wood, a mix of old and new 225 litre French barrels, 40% new. The wine was stirred weekly for 6 weeks, then left until the following February when it was bottled. You can certainly feel the wood strident around the sides of this gently fuller chardonnay, bulging with lemon meringue, creme brûlée, verbena and whiffs of clove. The textural plumpness is well framed by the wood, and the whole will continue to merge and mellow with cellaring.Prices: NZ 39.00 Producer: Grand Amateur
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Cedalion Single Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Cedalion Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island, New ZealandIn Greek mythology, Cedalion, a humble servant from Lemnos, stood on the shoulders of the blinded giant Orion to guide him to Helios and restore his vision. Sam Harrop, MW, returned to NZ from London with his young family, set up a home base on Waiheke Island, and fulfilled a dream to make world class chardonnay from an untested site. Cedalion is all single vineyard wines, in this case, Waiheke Island Arae Vineyard chardonnay, from a super low yield vintage (1 ton / ha!) was whole bunch pressed in stainless, before moving to barrel (30% new)where it remained on gross lees for nine months. Textural and lackadaisical on the palate, with lemon cream, downy lees, hazelnut shell, flax, and river stones on a medium (12.5 degree) palate. The wine is shy at this point, but will reveal itself with a year or two in your cellar. 92.Prices: NZ 35.00 Producer: Cedalion
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26 November 2019

Attems Pinot Grigiotext
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Attems Pinot Grigio 2018

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThis is a masterclass in pinot grigio from the great Fruili DOC, and three distinct terroirs: sand, clay and compressed sand. The differences allow the fruit to express itself in unique ways, adding just enough complexity to the mix to make it highly enjoyable on the palate. After that the acidity is fresh, and the combination of almonds, melons, juicy pear, and honey invite you to finish the bottle. Simply prepared fish is a good bet.Prices: ON 20.00 AB 28.00 QC 20.00 NS 25.00 Producer: Conti Attems S.r.l.
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gristext
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018

British Columbia, CanadaBlock 7 is stony, and the yields are low, leading to fruit with a much riper profile. Indeed, the fruit is intense and so is the sugar. The palate is heady with whiffs of botrytis, but at 35 grams/litre of sugar, it’s a bit overwhelming given its so-so acidity. Ripe, spicy, and earthy, but the sugar is cloying. Foie gras would be the obvious choice, or with smoky patés.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Township 7 Pinot Gristext
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Township 7 Pinot Gris 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ‘18 gris is a mix of Naramata Bench and Oliver fruit, with a touch of viognier acidity and lift. The wine is bright and super fruity with a juicy mid palate in a super ripe frame. It’s fun to sip, but is probably best consumed with spicy food to knock down some of the sweet characters in this wine. Fermentation in stainless enables the fresh fruit to shine for a crisp and refreshing palate. It is ready to drink.Prices: BC 18.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Gristext
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Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Gris 2015

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom their 2 acre estate Revana Vineyard in the heart of Dundee. Whole cluster pressed, this was native fermented, 15% in barrel, and with four months lees contact before bottling. Rich and round, with Bosc pear, green apple, fine spicing that wrap around a tight core of orchard fruit. Quite polished, with lovely energy and a tight, astringent grip around the finish.Prices: Oregon 32.00 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Marisco Vineyards The Kings Thorn Pinot Gristext
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Marisco Vineyards The Kings Thorn Pinot Gris 2016

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandExpect an off-beat nose of tropical fruits with leesy, reductive onion notes. The palate is creamy and a little flat, with just hints of fruit before finishing dry. Not my cup of gris this year. On to the next vintage.Prices: BC 29.05 Producer: Marisco Vineyards Limited
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Poplar Grove Pinot Gristext
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Poplar Grove Pinot Gris 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA simple, clean expression of unoaked pinot gris that is reminiscent of red apples, ripe pears, and peaches. It is ready to drink. Serve with creamy white cheeses.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 24.00 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Gristext
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEstate fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees until the following spring. Full and creamy, the expansive and weighted palate carries ripe pear, yellow apple, white florals, and ample spice. Acidity is moderate, and just enough to bear the Southern Okanagan's sun ripened fruit. This full bodied white is best suited to rich, creamy dishes.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Villa Teresa Pinot Grigio (Organic)text
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Villa Teresa Pinot Grigio (Organic) 2018

Veneto, ItalyRipe cooked pear and apple on the nose, but otherwise clean. The entry is soft and round with a dusting of almonds and spice. A bit old school organic style that lacks lift and energy. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Liquidity Wines Pinot Gristext
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Liquidity Wines Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSparkling pale gold in the glass, with an immediate Okanagan whiff of sagebrush, honey, and peaches. It's on the tight and spare side, with restrained green almond, barely ripe stone fruit, plus a liberal fennel/vegetal savoury note. Quite mouthcoating with clear lees toastiness, and a fresh squeeze of lime, and on the lingering, dry, delicately mineral finish.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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River Stone Pinot Gristext
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River Stone Pinot Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuite golden in the glass with a strong nose of very ripe fleshy peach, pear, applesauce, and ripe banana, followed by candied aromas and a generous scent of herbal honey and tinned tropical fruit. These emphatically sweet aromas are mirrored in the sweet attack of slightly overripe stone fruit and fuzzy peaches, showing a touch hot and dilute. The finish has a slight spicy burn, and a softness that could use a little more stiffening acidity. A richer, off-dry style that drinks fine casually on a patio with a view.Prices: BC 20.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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25 November 2019

Louis Côtes du Rhône Blanctext
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Louis Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2018

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceA new name and a new label, but the Louis Bernard Côte du Rhône Blanc remains a solid mid-week white you can serve with white meats or seafood. The blend is a mix of grenache blanc, viognier, and roussanne, opening with a stony floral mineral nose with a similar dry, citrus, mineral palate. Food-friendly and ready to drink, it finishes clean and dry.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Louis Bernard
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Roche Amulet Whitetext
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Roche Amulet White 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is the latest wine project from winemaker Dwight Sick, something that he's been visualizing for the past 15 years. The Amulet wines are made at Naramata's Roche Wines, and the portfolio, currently one white and one red, focus exclusively on Rhone varieties. This inaugural white is a blend of 90% viognier (from Penticton and Naramata Bench) and 10% marsanne, from Penticton. After a whole cluster press, this went to French oak (14% new) for fermentation, MLF, and 6 months on gross lees with batonnage. The wine was dosed with a small amount of sulphur, blended, and bottled unfined and unfiltered in July 2019. Ripe and generous, as viognier does, with orange creamsicle, lush peach, apricot, fill the palate, smooth and voluptuous.Prices: BC 26.79 Producer: Roche Wines
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Lightning Rock Viogniertext
87PTS

Lightning Rock Viognier 2017

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis ballerina of a viognier comes from the east facing granite slopes of Elysia Vineyard, in middle Okanagan Valley's Summerland. I call it a ballerina, because it is delicate, but muscular and strong. After a puff of reduction blows off under the screw cap, this streams perfumed cold cream, apricot puree, orange blossom along a potently salty, narrow palate. Somewhat knees and elbows (young vines / young winery) at this time, but promising for future.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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22 November 2019

Sarmentero Rosadotext
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Sarmentero Rosado 2018

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainThis Ribera del Duero tempranillo rosado is made and aged in stainless. The colour is on the darker side of the new light rosés, and the nose a candied, strawberry affair. The attack is dry, with a modicum of lees complexity propping up the finish. It’s going to be much better with food like a charcuterie plate or seafood paella.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: M. Amparo Repiso Vallejo
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Sarmentero Roble Ribera del Duerotext
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Sarmentero Roble Ribera del Duero 2016

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainThe Roble is tempranillo grown across two estate vineyards: Prado de Oyales and Peñuelas. The winery is the backyard of a wee house in the tiny town of Quintanilla de Arriba, Valladolid. Amparo Repiso, a 4th generation winemaker, decided to start her winery in 2004 with just one barrel of wine. The blend is a delightful mix of crushed berries, dusty cedar, and earthy, stony notes spiced with dried herbs. Five months in French, Hungarian and American oak smooths the edges. Good value for Ribera del Duero, but will require a grilled piece of lamb or beef to tame the acidity in the finish.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: M. Amparo Repiso Vallejo
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Finca Villacreces Prunotext
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Finca Villacreces Pruno 2017

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainGrupo Artevino was founded by the Anton Family, who came to wine via the restaurant world. The family owns the Michelin starred Zaldiaran. The first venture in the wine world was Bodegas Izadi in Rioja, and over the next decade they added Villacreces (Ribera del Duero), Vetus (Toro), and Orben (Rioja). The wine is delicious, and one you want to drink to the finish. I’m told the grapes used to go into Flor de Pingus. The blend is 90/10 tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon, with 12 months of oak ageing. There is a sense of fruit purity and minerality here, with noticeable tannins, but it's more dense than grippy. Best with any grilled entrée. Super value.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Finca Villacreces S.L.
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Torres Celeste Crianzatext
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Torres Celeste Crianza 2015

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainAnother wow for this wine that remains dependable as well as over-delivering for its price. Celeste is made at altitude, 950 meters above sea level, and it has charm that is rare in most young Ribera del Duero tempranillo. Expect an attractive, smoky, black cherry nose with a rich warm tone. The tannins are ripe and almost lush, and so is the fruit. Crazy delicious crowd-pleaser you can drink or cellar for five more years.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 26.99 MB 22.99 QC 20.95 QC 39.20 1500 NB 29.99 NFL 29.99 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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El Grand Bonhomme Cuvée Especial Tempranillotext
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El Grand Bonhomme Cuvée Especial Tempranillo 2015

Castilla-Leon, SpainEl Grand 2015 opens with a fresh, bright nose. It spends 16 months in one and two-year-old French barrels, but the impact is minimal. The attack is round and the fruit is clean and plummy, with licorice and tea in the finish. Still youthful, so there is no rush to drink this. Serve now with a pork roast or lamb chops.Prices: BC 31.50 Producer: Les Vins Bonhomme
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Marqués de Monistrol Tempranillo Blancotext
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Marqués de Monistrol Tempranillo Blanco 2018

Rioja, SpainA classic Euro, light white from an rare tempranillo blanco. Fresh with bright acidity, this has a salty undercurrent with a light peachy finish. It is a warm weather patio sipper that in Spain would be served with seafood tapas. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Marqués de la Concordia
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Marqués de Monistrol Tempranillotext
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Marqués de Monistrol Tempranillo 2017

Rioja, SpainA youthful expression of Rioja, this combines dark berry fruit with a savoury edge. It’s more fruit-driven than you’d typically expect from the region, rounded out by six months in new French and American oak. The tannins are quite angular and assertive at this point, and you can taste why Rioja is a wine well-suited to long-term aging. It needs a hearty protein if you’re going to open it anytime soon.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Marqués de la Concordia
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Finca El Encinal Robletext
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Finca El Encinal Roble 2016

Ribera del Duero, Castilla-Leon, SpainThis tempranillo has been aged for six months in 50/50 American and French oak. The nose is fairly muted, with stewed black fruits that are on the verge of being oxidized as well as a sappy, green note, likely from the American oak. The oak is forceful, and sits on top of the fruit right now. It needs time to allow the oak to further integrate, and tame the harsh, woody tannins, but I don’t know if the fruit is there to provide the requisite ageability.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Bodega Valparaiso
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Rioja Bordón Tempranillo Reservatext
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Rioja Bordón Tempranillo Reserva 2013

Rioja, SpainA classic blend of 85 percent tempranillo, 15 percent garnacha tinta, and 5 percent mazuelo (also known as carignan), this was aged for 24 months in American oak prior to additional time in bottle. It shows why Rioja is one of the best values in the world of wine today. It has a well-defined nose of plum and strawberry, with the ripeness and concentration to seamlessly balance the oak. It’s just beginning to show some tertiary notes, with cedar and leather, but there's a long life ahead. However, true to form, this is approachable and drinking well now, especially if you pair it with a meaty cut like flank steak. I can't help but note that the price difference between BC and QC is striking.Prices: BC 31.99 QC 19.90 Producer: Bodegas Franco - Espanolas
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Rioja Bordón Crianzatext
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Rioja Bordón Crianza 2014

Rioja, SpainA blend of 80 percent tempranillo and 20 percent garnacha tinta, this was aged for 12 months in American oak, consistent with the crianza designation. It’s a classic style of Rioja, combining baked red fruits with dill from the American oak, and cedar from age. Medium-bodied, the tannins are approachable and nearly resolved with tempranillo’s characteristic freshness. However, it lacks the complexity and concentration of the top wines of the region, finishing rather thin. At or near peak, this is fine value and ready to be opened now while you age your other Riojas.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Bodegas Franco - Espanolas
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Ferdinand Tempranillotext
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Ferdinand Tempranillo 2016

Amador County, Sierra Foothills, California, United StatesFrom Amador County's Shake Ridge Vineyard, around 530m, this tempranillo is grounded in rocky, red volcanic soils. Said footage, plus an early pick preserves freshness, as does a natural ferment in stainless. After three weeks this was moved to barrel to finish MLF, and then rest for 20 months in French oak (20% new) before bottling unfined and unfiltered, and with minimal SO2. Wild blackberries, cassis, dusky black plum, and waves of black pepper fill the plush palate. The full-bodied red is cloudy with authenticity, and tannins are lightly furry and cinnamon bark scented through to the warming 14.5 degree finish. There is certainly more than a nod to tempranillo's Spanish roots here, but this feels firmly Californian, somehow.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Ferdinand Wines
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Faustino I Rioja Gran Reservatext
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Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva 2006

Rioja Alavesa, Rioja, SpainThe Faustino Gran Reserva has a long reputation for ageing, no doubt connected to the simple fact that it is only made in exceptional years, and by law must be aged for a minimum of five years, with two of those years in oak barrels. It’s mostly tempranillo with a splash of graciano and mazuelo. Time in the bottle is the consumer's friend, and you taste it when this wine is opened. The attack is deliciously ripe and round. There is exceptional density and length and despite all the ageing, includes some black raspberry fruit that peeks through well-worn wood in the background. Perfect now but should hold through 2026.Prices: BC 42.99 QC 28.45 ON 35.95 Producer: Bodegas Faustino
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Faustino I Rioja Gran Reservatext
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Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva 2001

Rioja Alavesa, Rioja, SpainThis was the Decanter Wine of the Year in 2013, but time waits for no one and as it closes in on two decades, this tempranillo is losing a bit of steam. More leather and less fruit mark the palate with menthol, balsamic and spicy plum notes that run out through a dry, earthy, tobacco finish. Fully mature and ready to drink now. Perfect for a birth year or anniversary celebration and may be best served with aged cheese.Prices: BC 67.99 ON 55.95 Producer: Bodegas Faustino
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21 November 2019

Pascal Clement Meursaulttext
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Pascal Clement Meursault 2016

Meursault, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrom the warmer, lower side of Merusault, this was native fermented in foudres, where it was held for a year. Pascal, well known for his exceptional white wines, loves using older foudre for his whites, as he feels it brings out the saltiness in the wine. Pascal also never uses batonnage on his wines, leaving them on full lees in barrels after pressing. Honeycomb, brown butter, waves of ash, and potent hazelnut fill a more generous palate, held taut with pristine acidity. Classic yet modern Meursault, drinking beautifully now, but will certainly grow with cellaring.Prices: Producer: Pascal Clément
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Pascal Clément Saint Romaintext
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Pascal Clément Saint Romain 2014

Burgundy, FranceFrom Saint Romain, a region larger and less well known than Saint-Aubin (thus a hidden gem for value-seekers), this was native fermented in foudres, where it was held for a year. Pascal, well known for his exceptional white wines, loves using older foudre for his whites, as he feels it brings out the saltiness in the wine. Pascal also never uses batonnage on his wines, leaving them on full lees in barrels after pressing. 2014 was a very small vintage, and its concentration is evident here. Quite reductive up front, with earth, herbals, and ample salinity through the finish. This is a simple, perfect equation where acidity + reduction = awesome. This fuller bodied white, silken on the palate, positively hums on the finish, thanks to the limestone soils. So much in youth still, knit tight with energy and longevity ahead. Powerful.Prices: Producer: Pascal Clément
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Pascal Clément Savigny-les-Beaunes Dessus Les Vermotstext
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Pascal Clément Savigny-les-Beaunes Dessus Les Vermots 2017

Burgundy, FranceFrom Savigny-les-Beaune, this was native fermented in foudres, where it was held for a year. Pascal, well known for his exceptional white wines, loves using older foudre for his whites, as he feels it brings out the saltiness in the wine. Pascal also never uses batonnage on his wines, leaving them on full lees in barrels after pressing. From the top of Savigny's hills, and a cooler, wind-swept site, this is pointed and tight, with a welcome lick of reduction up front. Nimble and taut, with flecks of pencil lead. Very juicy, saline, and mouthwatering, this is very long in the mouth with lingering mineral salts. Powerful, yet fresh, this is drinking stunning now, but will age beautifully.Prices: AB 44.95 Producer: Pascal Clément
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Pascal Clément Bourgognetext
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Pascal Clément Bourgogne 2018

Burgundy, FranceFrom Savigny-les-Beaune, Chorey-les-Beaune, and Puligny, this was native fermented in foudres, where it was held for a year. Pascal, well known for his exceptional white wines, loves using older foudre for his whites, as he feels it brings out the saltiness in the wine. Pascal also never uses batonnage on his wines, leaving them on full lees in barrels after pressing. Lemon and orange fill the core, held together with a taut wrap of tension. There's a lick of lemon verbena / lemon balm that brightens the finish. Youthful, but still with great intent, this grows with time in the glass, and overdelivers for Bourgogne.Prices: AB 32.95 Producer: Pascal Clément
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Alexana Terroir Series Chardonnaytext
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Alexana Terroir Series Chardonnay 2015

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesWhole cluster pressed, native fermented, partially fermented in oak (18% new, and 34% in stainless), this then rested for 4 months on the lees before bottling. Light lemon, white blossoms, lemon curd is bracketed with wood siding, and finishes with a raft of cedar spicing and a kiss of pear skin. Very polished, yet still elegant and bright. Drinking well now.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Domaine Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillonstext
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Domaine Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDrouhin has been around since the 1880s doing business as a négociant before planting their vineyards in the early 1960s. From the south-facing slopes of the left bank, this 1er cru Vaillons presents linearly with green apple, pear, and citrus pith dusted in chalk. A stainless steel ferment lends a further steely, cool, demeanour balanced by creamy, nutty lees in the finish. Classic Chablis built to age. Taste through 2023, with oysters, of course.Prices: BC 55.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Domaine Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillonstext
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Domaine Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceFrom the left bank's south-facing slopes of 1er cru Vaillons, this drives a tight and skippy palate with anise, green apple, lemon pith nimbleness wrapping around a Bosc pear base. This streams along with a riff of sea salts, pear skin to texture. This wine was fermented and aged in stainless, on lees until racked and bottled in the following summer. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 55.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudontext
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Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudon 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceFrom Drouhin family vineyards in the Valley of Vauvillien, between the Premier Crus of Montée de Tonnerre and Mont de Milieu, and vines averaging 24 years, biodynamically farmed since 1999, and with ferment and 8 months on lees in stainless. Yellow fruited and expansive on the plump palate, with pear, quince, tightened with green apple and fine tight mineral spicing. Ready to drink now.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 32.00 QC 32.00 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnaytext
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Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay 2016

Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesRoserock is a DDO vineyard at the southern tip of the Eola-Amity Hills, on ancient volcanic soils, and cooled via the Pacific winds that sail up through the Van Duzer corridor. Sourced from three blocks, after pressing this is divided in equal parts into tank and barrel for ferment and MLF. After complete, Véronique Drouhin makes the final blend. Refined and elegant, with a creamy, potent core of pear, crisp apple, anise, clover honey, this is full and plump (13.9%), gently girdled by those soils and fresh winds. Indeed, the stony minerality is just enough to carry this to the finish. I'd love to see it tightened even further in future, though this is a thoughtful, polished wine now.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Domaine Drouhin Oregon
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Domaine de L'Ecette Bouzeron Les Bouillottestext
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Domaine de L'Ecette Bouzeron Les Bouillottes 2017

Bouzeron, Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, FranceNestled in the Côte Chalonnaise, the winery and 14ha is overseen by Vincent Daux, who took over the family winery in 1997. This aligoté is very Bourgogne in feel, structural with well-integrated wood boning the lemon, stoney, thistle core. Lees well-pads the bottom layer, supporting the slender 12.5% frame, lingering with a subtle dried salted herb note. Simple, and well done, and cracking with braised chicken thighs or artichokes.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Domaine de L'ecette
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Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Bourgogne Aligotétext
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Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Bourgogne Aligoté 2017

Burgundy, FranceThe estate was started in 1955 by Daniel Rion with only two hectares of vines in the commune of Vosne Romanée. Daniel sold his wine to Burgundian negociants until 1978 when his sons joined him, and they worked together in the business until Daniel retired in 1995. They now farm 18ha across multiple appellations. From 15+ year old vines on gravelly, silty loams and clays, this aligoté is all tight and sharp green apple and streaming lemon. Quite lean and tart and lemony; best taken with shellfish or lighter green salads.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils
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Simonnet-Febvre Chablistext
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Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceFresh lemon, floral, mineral overtones greet the palate, along with green apple, a touch of butter and lees. There is less finesse here than in the crus, as expected, but all in all, it’s an elegant dinner wine with the right length for a standard Chablis. It should be okay with most west coast shellfish dishes.Prices: BC 36.38 Producer: Simonnet-Febvre
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20 November 2019

Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyard 2013

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBurgundian inspired is the calling card of Foxtrot, not to mention hundreds of other New World pinot producers. But few have vines on the magical Naramata Bench in the middle of the Okanagan Valley. The 2013 attack is much more vibrant than its colour might suggest, but then again it’s pinot, and we know colour is meaningless. Expect a lightly spiced, heavily flavoured, gently lifted pinot, reminiscent of black plums dusted in spice and red licorice. When you think it might warm your palate, it offers up both balance and elegance throughout its long, lingering finish. Think pheasant or perhaps a dish of truffle dusted pasta.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Henricsson Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Henricsson Vineyard 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Henriccson Vineyard pinot, formerly bottled as Erickson Vineyard, is a boisterous aromatic floral affair that jumps from the glass with big ripe fruit. Deep cherry in colour, it is an exuberant mix of sweet cherry, raspberry, floral fruit with brown spicing, and a lovely, creamy, silky texture. Fully mature and showing some candied notes in the finish, this is ready to drink, and it can handle any number of luxurious chicken or turkey dishes.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Reimer Vineyard 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReimer Vineyard pinot has been a star at Meyer Vineyard and now is back in the hands of the Reimer family at Mirabel, but this version made at Foxtrot is impressive and instructional. I would describe it as Reimer with acidity, lighting up the fresh cherry and plum that marks this East Kelowna vineyard. Light, almost ethereal, and very pinot, it is the style that can put us on the map. The acidity also makes the mineral component look brighter, and the combination is dynamite. Still, plenty to give this could age for another three years. Best now with simply prepared grilled salmon. Bravo.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyard 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 vintage was the first of many good ones in the Okanagan Valley, and it’s reflected in this pinot, made from 21-year-old vines on the Naramata Bench, a recently approved Okanagan sub-region. There is excellent weight here and more of that mouth-filling pinot noir flavour, with intense black cherry, baking spices, and an earthy barnyard note. The tannins are round and rich, and there is power in the finish. Fully mature and ready to drink; try this with grilled duck or grilled salmon.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyard 2011

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVintage 2011 was a cool one, helping with the acidity, but can leave some wines lacking body. It’s not the case with this fully mature pinot that is showing some lifted/volatile notes, leading to earthy, forest floor, dark red fruit. It was aged 18 months in oak, which isn’t a factor at this point. There is harmony here, but this wine needs drinking. Surprisingly big for the year and as I say, showing some porty notes. Best with a rich mushroom pork dish.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir The Waltz Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir The Waltz Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Waltz Pinot Noir is a 65/25/10 blend from the estate Foxtrot Vineyard, Raisin D’Etre Vineyard, and the winery's own Evelina’s Block, all on the Naramata Bench. The Waltz moniker stems from the triple time dance, and references the three vineyards in the blend. Post ferment the juice is run into 30% new and 70% second and third fill Francois Freres barrels for 20 months. It feels and tastes less forced than the 2015 Foxtrot label with brighter, mid-valley pinot character that is the strength of Naramata. It is interesting how the lesser wines can sometimes show the real potential of a site because they are a little less managed, allowing them to express their DNA. In this case, the silky textures and acidity are the winning combination, along with the fresh red fruit and spice. Fine purity here with endless food opportunities.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Foxtrot Vineyard 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEverybody claimed careful management of the vineyard during the super hot 2015 vintage, but few achieved their goal. At Foxtrot, the home vineyard was hand-harvested September 19, the earliest ever, but even that couldn’t overcome the baked fruit and raisiny flavours that heat the wine from front to back. In all, this pinot spent 20 months in French oak, 50 percent new and 50 percent 2nd and 3rd-year barrels before it was bottled unfiltered. Black cherries and spice dominate the nose and mid-palate, with stark resiny, earthy, savoury flavours in the finish. It’s okay, but it lacks the charm and mouth-filling character we associate with pinot. It is best drunk young before it falls apart.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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19 November 2019

Georges Duboeuf Julienastext
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Georges Duboeuf Julienas 2018

Juliénas, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThe Duboeuf Julienas cru is some of the best of the appellation, with a winemaking tradition that goes back 2000 years. The colour is always dark with a strong blackberry jam aroams flecked with pepper, light spice, and a dusting of cocoa powder. Sumptuous and warm on the palate, the same characteristics run through to the finish. It will need time in the bottle and could effortlessly age five to seven years. An impressive representative of the appellation.Prices: BC 22.99 QC 19.00 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Georges Duboeuf Morgontext
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Georges Duboeuf Morgon 2018

Morgon, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceBroken schist and mica are scattered about the soil of this cru, giving Morgon a mineral, fresh underlying structure. There’s a hint of toast on the nose followed by black raspberries and black cherry. The palate is similarly flavoured with super silky textures that envelope. Full-bodied and juicy with zero tannins, wow, this is fun to drink now. Try it with lighter duck, chicken, and mushroom courses.Prices: US 18.99 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Georges Duboeuf Fleurietext
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Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2018

Fleurie, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFleurie is generally about elegance and refinement, especially in top vintages. The Duboeuf version immediately charms with its fresh floral, black cherry fruit and spice that is wholly refined by a mineral undercurrent and balance that runs through the finish. Silky, satiny, and delicious drinking now through 2023. Beer can chicken may not be as elegant as this wine, but the match is perfect. Excellent value, by the way. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais 2018

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceExpect the classic fruity BoJo nose with bits of cedar and earth to keep it interesting. The palate is spicy and fresh with juicy, uncomplicated red fruit from front to back. Quail would be the perfect match, but less fussy dishes like a Margherita pizza or spicy tuna sushi roll would be equally fun to share with this wine.Prices: BC 14.99 ON 13.95 QC12.95 0.00 NB 17.80 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Chateau de Vaux La Reserve de Jacques Beaujolais-Villagestext
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Chateau de Vaux La Reserve de Jacques Beaujolais-Villages 2018

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceYannick de Vermont is a family-owned, fifth-generation producer making masterfull gamay. The Reserve de Jacques is macerated for more than two weeks to extract as much colour and tannin as possible to give it the potential to age. The attack is rich and spicy with bright acidity, floral undercurrents, and warming black liquorice. Already fun to drink, but this could be held for another year if need be. Serve with just about any type of roasted bird.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Yannick de Vermont
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Jarre Beaujolais-Villagestext
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Jarre Beaujolais-Villages 2016

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceJarre BV is an excellent example of what is going on in modern Beaujolais. The nose is an explosion of black plums and black cherries with a satiny, succulent palate. It is easy- sipping but with enough heft to take on a fall dish of mushroom pasta, or risotto. You could also lay this down for a year or two and wait to see it at its zenith. Not cheap but impressive for a Beaujolais-Villages. Production of this amphora-matured gamay is tiny.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Domaine Longere
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Domaine des Marrans Fleurietext
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Domaine des Marrans Fleurie 2015

Fleurie, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceDomaine des Marrans is located in Fleurie, in the heart of the northernmost section of Beaujolais, and is run by the talented Mathieu Mélinand, who joined the family estate just over a decade ago. Old vines and crystalline granite soils yield this silky, pristine gamay. The fruit is all hand-harvested from old vines, farmed using organic practices, and the vinification is old school, with semi-carbonic maceration, whole clusters, minimal intervention, and indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged in large older barrels for ten months before bottling. The attack is delicious with juicy, silky, black raspberries and bright red strawberries laced with stony mineral flecks that coat the palate. It’s everything you could hope for in a Fleurie and more. Perfect with pork, veal, or a favourite soft cheese.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Domaine des Marrans
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Domaine Baron de l'Ecluse Côte de Brouilly Les Garancestext
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Domaine Baron de l'Ecluse Côte de Brouilly Les Garances 2016

Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceA serious cru built for ageing. The viticulture is sustainable, with fermentation in cement, while the ageing in oak takes place in two-year-old barrels. Look for slightly elevated tannins that will disperse with time, and rich, toasted black fruit and licorice that finishes dry and well structured. You could drink this now with a steak and peppercorn sauce or perhaps a duck dish, or wait another year or two for the final result.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Domaine Baron de l'Ecluse
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Mathieu & Camille Lapierre Morgontext
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Mathieu & Camille Lapierre Morgon 2018

Morgon, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceSlick and stony with crunchy acidity and black fruit, you can sense how alive this biodynamic Morgon is the moment it hits your palate. Its wild herbs and bitter cherry flavours carry through to a salty, stony, finish. This Morgon is every bit a cru and will no doubt be amongst the leading sites to be chosen for the next level of Beaujolais before the next decade is out. It was perfect with chile-lime black bean tacos.Prices: BC 46.99 Producer: Marcel Lapierre
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Joseph Drouhin Morgontext
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Joseph Drouhin Morgon 2016

Morgon, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceDrouhin's Morgon vineyard is filled with broken schist and mica, typical of the Cru. These gamay vines underwent semi-carbonic ferment and a short stint in stainless, for a clean, easy, forward Morgon. Raspberry, morello cherry, candied strawberry is wrapped with tight, lightly grippy tannins. Acidity is bright to the short finish. This is the easiest, most straightforward Morgon you may try, so drink now, with lighter duck or mushroom courses.Prices: US 18.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villagestext
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Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages 2015

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFrom schist and pink granite soiled vineyards in the Bojo-V AC, this underwent semi-carbonic fermentation, as is tradition in the region. Red-fruited, with red florals and light peppery notes seasoning a medium+, silken body. Tannins are sinewy and fine, acidity is lifted, and the whole quite polished and drinkable. Prime for drinking now.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 19.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villagestext
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Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2018

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThe appellation of Beaujolais-Villages signifies a wine made from grapes grown in the 38 wine-making villages of the Beaujolais production area. The slightly elevated area connects the flat Beaujolais plain with the charming rolling hillsides of the ten famed crus that grow to the north. At its best, BV is a fruity red wine emphasis on the red fruit that is uncomplicated but stylish with a savoury, mouth-watering style that will make you want to sip glass after glass. It’s the perfect foil to grilled chicken or a fresh piece of cheese. In the case of this 2018, the fruit is slightly darker, but the acidity is healthy, A juicy affair that finishes dry. Fine value.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 15.99 SK 14.49 MB 14.99 ON 14.95 QC 13.95 NS 15.49 NB 17.29 NFL 17.84 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Georges Duboeuf Brouillytext
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Georges Duboeuf Brouilly 2018

Brouilly, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceBrouilly is the most southerly of the ten crus of Beaujolais, often described as the most exuberant, and it is the largest by production. The vineyards wrap around the base of the impressive Mont Brouilly, stretching across six communes. The colour is intense and vibrant, the nose a mix of floral notes and light pepper and red raspberry fruit. The attack is elegant and understated with bright black cherry/blueberry fruit with only moderate, mostly slippery tannins. Drink or hold through 2021. We imagine duck or pork dishes would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 21.00 AB 17.99 SK 20.49 ON 16.95 QC 18.80 NS 24.99 NB 22.79 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Louis Latour Gamay Bourgognetext
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Louis Latour Gamay Bourgogne 2016

Burgundy, FranceGamay from declassified Beaujolais Crus can use the term Bourgogne Gamay as of the 2011 vintage, as is the case with this Louis Latour. It is 85 to 90 percent cru, mostly Chenas, Regnie and Moulin-a-Vent, with 10 percent pinot noir from Burgundy. The nose is showing a bit of mushroom and oak with brighter fruits underneath. The attack is fresh with bright red fruit and a splash of pepper, licorice, and black tea in the finish. Richer than Beaujolais Village and not quite as cerebral as Cru Bojo.Great mid-week red with ham or sausages.Prices: BC 25.99 ON 19.00 QC 20.00 Producer: Maison Louis Latour
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Georges Duboeuf Chateau des Capitans Julienastext
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Georges Duboeuf Chateau des Capitans Julienas 2015

Juliénas, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThe “Capitans” estate, named after an ancient Roman headquarters, is surrounded by a one-piece vineyard facing south/southeast. Only 20 percent of this cru is matured in oak, leaving the fruit to sing. The nose, like the wine, is pretty with a spicy, floral nose flecked with wild cherries and dusty granite. The palate is more of the same. Delicious red/black raspberry fruit flecked with pepper throughout a silky, mineral, stony finish. Fresh, yet serious, and certainly capable of ageing a few years.Prices: BC 24.99 QC 22.95 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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18 November 2019

Georges DuBoeuf Moulin-à-Venttext
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Georges DuBoeuf Moulin-à-Vent 2018

Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceDueboeuf likes to say that because its business started at the foot of a windmill (moulin à vent) they needed to present the best of the best under the Moulin-à-Vent appellation. It would seem they are doing just that with this stunning gamay that is dier and firmer and tighter than any other labels. A mix of plums and blackberries bolster the mid-palate while the floral stony mineral notes support the finish. No rush here; it is easily ready to age to 2025 and beyond. Best now with duck or pork. Dishes.Prices: BC 21.95 Producer: Georges Duboeuf
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Freemark Abbey Chardonnaytext
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Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2017

Napa Valley, California, United StatesA selection of Napa Valley vineyard sites including Huichica Hills (37.9%), Rancho Sarco (29.6%), Ahmann Vineyard-Carneros (24.3%), Keyes Vineyard-Howell Mountain (6.7%) and Spring Mtn AVA (1.5%) presents a much welcomed lighter impression of chardonnay, that beguiles with a fragrant, honey aroma flecked with citrus washed pear and green apple. The oak is subtle, and with zero malolactic, the wine is fresh with an excellent mid-palate. The fruit was harvested before the October fires, leaving the wine clean and a perfect match for halibut, turkey, or lobster. Only 15 percent of the wine is aged in new French oak, and a total of 84 percent is aged 4½ months in wood.Prices: BC 40.00 AB 29.00 ON 37.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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La Crema Chardonnaytext
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La Crema Chardonnay 2017

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesLots of ripeness here and a bit of a backslide for those of us who prefer a crisper version of Sonoma fruit. Tropical pineapple fruit marks the nose and palate with orange flecks and plenty of creamy, vanilla flavours that soften the finish and leaves it just a bit too sweet for modern food and wine lovers. Still, there is a market for this style just not here in BC where we have decidedly moved in a brighter, fresher direction in the finish.Prices: BC 30.99 AB 28.99 ON 32.95 QC 26.60 MB 28.99 NF 32.87 PEI 39.69 NB 40.48 Producer: La Crema
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Pascual Toso Reserva Chardonnay Barancas Vineyardstext
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Pascual Toso Reserva Chardonnay Barancas Vineyards 2017

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaLook for a bright, fresh, spicy, baked pear, guava and honey affair that presents similar on the palate. There is enough freshness to attract, but this is more old style than new. The finish is round and ripe with soft honey and orange, and a creamy vanilla finish. Best with a grilled lobster sandwich or a creamy cheese. A solid, entry level chardonnay.Prices: BC 21.99 ON 11.00 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Beringer Chardonnay Private Reservetext
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Beringer Chardonnay Private Reserve 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesGamble Ranch is the fruit source for Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay. It is just outside the town of Yountville, at the limit for modern chardonnay in my view. 2017 is a big fat chardonnay hit by three heat spikes that have impacted a lot of Napa white wines. This wine had been tracking in a different direction, so I'm going to chalk it up to the vintage rather than any deliberate turn around in style at Beringer. If you are a fan of crème brûlée, pineapple, and sweet tropical fruit this is it. Many will like this wine and it's scoring well in the US market but it’s not a wine I have a lot of interest in drinking with food.Prices: BC 57.99 AB 55.00 PEI 47.00 ON 64.95 Producer: Beringer Napa Valley Vineyards
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Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay Vintner's Reservetext
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Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay Vintner's Reserve 2017

California, United StatesEyecatching gold colour in the glass, this California standby sports an assertive, sweet-smelling nose of vanilla custard, caramel candy, buttercream, grilled bananas and ripe peaches. A big lush mouthful of pineapple, mango and meyer lemon will please any lover of full-bodied chardonnay. If oak aromas define the nose, fruit has primacy on the palate, with extremely ripe stone fruit and orange curd flecked with vanilla and spice. Silky and round with brisk acid and spicy balanced with alcohol dancing throughout. The balance between opulent fruit, confident creamy oak, and refreshing acidity is excellent. Yes, this is traditionally built rich oaked chardonnay, and it hits all the right pleasure points for the style. You'll taste exactly why this is a colossal best seller. Top fruit from coastal vineyards (Mendocino to Monterey to Santa Barbara) and proper barrels are used to make this wine, and wow, does it ever punch above its modest pricetag. I'm giving an extra point just for that. Pair with robust flavours like baked salmon with citrus butter, or blackened chicken.Prices: AB 23.00 BC 23.99 ON 20.00 MB 19.00 QC 21.00 US 15.00 NB 27.50 Producer: Kendall-Jackson Vineyards and Winery
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Murphy-Goode Chardonnaytext
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Murphy-Goode Chardonnay 2017

California, United StatesA shy but appealing nose of lemon, apples, and peaches with pretty honeysuckle notes. The oak shows aplenty, with caramel and maple sap. The flavours are lively with citrus, banana candies, peach schnapps and a fair bit of clove. Midweight with fruity acidity and spicy flair, this certainly meets the expectation of a well priced Cali chard. It holds its form through a medium finish, and a happy balance of sweet fruit and citrus zest keep the party going.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 16.00 QC 18.60 NB 24.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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Carmel Road Unoaked Chardonnaytext
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Carmel Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2017

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThis unoaked chardonnay is a silvery pale lemon in the glass. The aromas signal chardonnay with ripe fruits like peach, sugared citrus and lime at first, with butter and caramel corn showing with each swirl. Peach and baked pear flavours spread warmly across the palate, and there is just enough acidity to keep it all fresh and lively. The finish is modest, and despite being unoaked, there's a custardy flavour that brings the impression of vanilla and spice. Carmel Road is a dependable chardonnay that will suit a broad range of tastes; do chill to emphasize its zesty citrus core.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 18.49 Producer: Carmel Road Winery
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Plume Chardonnaytext
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Plume Chardonnay 2018

Napa Valley, California, United StatesLuminous lemon gold in the glass, Plume Chardonnay shows a pretty nose of citrus, baked apple crisp, tropical mango, and pineapple. There are oak aromas too, but the wood is subtle with delicate vanilla and coconut. Plume's flavours start with a nice burst of lemon curd, followed by plenty of apple, pear, and peach in both fresh and cooked fruit form. Oak shows a little more assertively in the finish with caramel and an astringent nip but is well-framed by delicious fruit and lemony acidity. Warm alcohol is notable in this youthful Napa chard, building quite a big body and padding out the palate. The wine is certainly in the first flush of life, but it shows promising creamy energy. The finish is a bit short now but will elongate as elements resolve. There's plenty of typical Napa chardonnay character in this wine that is part of the Okanagan Quails' Gate family, and I'd suggest a creamy chicken pasta dish to pair.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 25.99 Producer: Plume Winery
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Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnaytext
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Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay 2017

Las Compuertas, Vistalba District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThere is plenty to enjoy and celebrate in Luigi Bosca's Finca Los Nobles Chardonnay 2017. If the very pale gold colour looks shy, do not be fooled as the aromas are super-expressive with vibrant lime citrus, tropical fruits and distinct clovey, smoky barrel characters. Peach preserve, caramel pastry, and toasted marshmallow flavours are bold and emphatic with exotic clove spiciness that's so fresh and present, it numbs the palate slightly. Full-bodied, full-flavoured and dreamy creamy, this is for lovers of shapely, decadent, lush chardonnay. Higher altitude vineyards (1,050 metres) in the fine growing region of Luján de Cuyo has helped sharpen acidity to keep the extravagant oak and fruit of this ambitious wine ideally in check. Los Nobles finishes long, washed with cloves and lime zest. The chardonnay vineyard is more than 20 years mature, it's cropped at near grand cru Burgundy levels, and biodynamic farming principles are practiced. Give this impressive young chardonnay lots of air in a big glass (or decanter) and put it to work with a sumptuous dinner of seared pork chops with butter-sautéed apples.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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15 November 2019

Domaine de la Vougeraie Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Damodes 1er Crutext
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Domaine de la Vougeraie Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Damodes 1er Cru 2016

Nuits-Saint-Georges, Côtes de Nuits, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceLes Damodes is a small 0.9 hectare parcel originally planted in 1985/86 with 10,000 vines per hectare, and now farmed organically and biodynamically. From the very good 2016 vintage, this was fermented by indigenous yeasts before aging in French barriques for 16 months (34 percent new) and then being bottled unfined and lightly filtered. It initially shows an attractive flinty, reductive note which opens up to oak spices, strawberry, and earth. Pure and elegant, it's quite perfumed and alluring. This needs some time to come together and to allow the oak to further integrate, but it's already a wow wine. Only 3803 bottles produced.Prices: BC 125.99 Producer: Domaine de la Vougeraie
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Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocellestext
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Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Les Evocelles 2016

Côtes de Nuits, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceLes Evocelles was Domaine de la Vougeraie's first vineyard back in 1966, and it is now farmed organically and biodynamically. From the very good 2016 vintage, this was fermented by indigenous yeasts before aging in French barriques for 15 months (32 percent new) and then being bottled unfined and lightly filtered. It has a youthful, exuberant nose that combines ripe cherry fruit with savoury, gamey notes and underbrush. The oak brings it all together, and is quite fine. Classic Gevrey character, but with real purity and precision. Medium-bodied, the tannins are fine and supple, making this approachable today but with the potential to age for 10+ years. Only 5258 bottles produced.Prices: BC 105.99 Producer: Domaine de la Vougeraie
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Pascal Clément Bourgogne Pinot Noirtext
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Pascal Clément Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018

Burgundy, FranceThough Pascal Clement focuses on white wines (80% o production), he also makes a few reds from his 10 ha farmed across 29 appellations. This Bourgogne Pinot Noir comes from the limestone and chalky marls of Savigny-lès-Beaune and Chorey-lès-Beaune, and spent 10 months in French oak. Sticky from the front, with cherry, light cola, light prune, and tight spices lining the sides. Tannins are supple, hugging the darker flashing fruit. Very fresh and natural-bent, with lower sulphur, slightly elevated CO2, and no filtration.Prices: USA 23.00 Producer: Pascal Clément
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Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Black Swift Vineyards Stone's Throw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe lower Black Sage Bench, alongside Stone Boat Vineyards, is home to this mix of pinot noir clones 114, 115, 667 and 777, that post ferment spends 19 months in neutral barrels. The site is cool for the Black Sage Bench, but still warm for pinot noir, and you feel it on the nose and the palate. Sweet and slightly lifted aromas, with earth, cherries and a touch of raisin. The attack is soft, round, and mouthfilling with more chocolate cherry fruit and a warm baking spice finish. Not as rustic as last year, yet lacking the freshness of 2016. Fun, round, and ready to drink. Try this with duck pizza, or a mushroom or pork risotto dish.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Alexana Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Alexana Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom the 55 acre Revana Vineyard in Dundee Hills, this encompasses 10 clones of pinot, growing across a 300 foot elevation change. Each lot was native fermented and barrel aged 11 months (33% new) before the final blend. Sasparilla, cola, cherry, ripe raspberry is held brisk with acidity, and seasoned with sea salt spicing. Very polished, with energy to carry this another new years.Prices: ON 59.95 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Noirtext
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Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Noir 2016

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesA selection of barrels from the younger blocks of the Revana vineyard in Dundee Hills, along with vineyards in Yamhill-Carlton, Eola-Amity, Chehalem Mountains, and McMinnville. Each lot is separately native fermented before aging 11 months in French oak (23% new). Sweet plum, cassis jam, fill a plump palate, hemmed in with fine staves of toasted French oak which linger on the finish. Quite a plush and stylish pinot, well suited to roasted duck.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Fort Berens Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Fort Berens Pinot Noir Reserve 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a bricking brown hue, this full bodied Reserve Pinot Noir comes from the winery's estate Dry Creek Vineyard in Lillooet. The five clones were fermented separately, and aged in French oak for ten months. Rich and spicy, with ripe plum, dried dark cherry, tobacco, leather, dark cocoa, and ample fragrant musk and rose petals that linger on the warming finish. This is a giant pinot, more akin to a Russian River pinot than northern BC. Would suit rich braised mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Moraine Reserve Pinot Noirtext
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Moraine Reserve Pinot Noir 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Pinot is grown at Moraine's Sophia Estate Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The final wine stems from a vineyard selection of hand-harvested French clone 777. The fermentation was whole berry using natural yeast to express the site as much as possible, and all punch downs were done gently by hand. The final step involved a gravity transfer of the fermented juice to age sur lees in small French oak barrels for ten months before going to bottle unfined and unfiltered. The nose of this 13 percent pinot is electric, sporting savoury black cherries and tamarillo, a tangy fruit with a varying mix of kiwifruit, tomato, guava, or passion fruit. Bright and lean, calling for food and sophisticated sippers. I think flavourful dishes are best here like duck paté, cedar plank salmon or moo shu pork.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Pinot Noirtext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a bricking cherry hue, this lean and tart pinot has an underbelly of ripe, plump plummy fruit which flushes out the fuller palate. Earthy, forest floor notes season, while fine, metallic-edged tannins nip at the sides to a bitter cherry finish. Best for drinking now, with a mushroom-laden stew.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Henricsson Vineyard Deux Hivers Pinot Noirtext
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Henricsson Vineyard Deux Hivers Pinot Noir 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis relatively new, very small scale Naramata-based winery is making only a few hundred cases / year, focusing on pinot noir and chardonnay. The site, however, is familiar to pinot noir lovers, as the Henricsson fruit was sold to them for a number of years. This is from 5 clones across 4 organically-farmed blocks, each block fermented and aged separately and then blended. This was 55% whole cluster, fermented with the vineyards' pied de cuve, and then transferred into 500L and 228L French barrels, where it remained for 17 months before a short 2 month stint in steel prior to bottling with a small amount of sulphur. Sharp cherry, green raspberry, and a swing of balsamic opens this medium-bodied pinot, covering up some pretty floral character. The palate is a bit murky with muddied forest berries, baked rhubarb, and a tart cranberry spike. There is obviously good fruit here, and good farming; winemaking needs some sharpening. Looking forward to seeing where they can take it in futurePrices: BC 55.00 Producer: Henricsson Vineyard
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Four Shadows Pinot Noirtext
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Four Shadows Pinot Noir 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA solid clean pinot noir nose reminiscent of earth and cherries. The attack is similar but with some rustic grippy tannins mid-palate leading to a dryish chewy finish. It is best served with some fat to take on the palate. Pork comes to mind as an excellent match to this simple pinot noir.Prices: BC 21.47 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Reserve 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe top tier pinot at Liquidity is darker, richer and more fulsome than the delicious 'regular'. You'll find a ripe, impressive, and complex nose of plum, sweet vanilla, cherry compote and layers of satisfying flavour. Surging acidity supports dense fruit and the tannins are fairly full yet supple. This worthy reserve finishes tart, dry, youthful, and tight. Best in 3-5 years with a bit of beef. The tech sheet reveals 36% new oak for 18 months, and quite low cropped Okanagan Falls Burgundian clones (2 tons per acre which is proper for a reserve-level wine). I'd love to see Liquidity adopt a full wild fermentation, and maybe tone back the new oak even more than they have. There is glorious fruit here that I sense needs little embellishment.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Estatetext
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Liquidity Estate Pinot Noir Estate 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI've been a fan of Liquidity's confidence with this grape, and also admired how the oak touch has lightened over the past few vintages. This 2017 appeals with a pretty ruby hue and aromas that evoke cherry, woodsy berries, earth, leather and rose petal. Mouthfilling with precise sweet/tart red fruit, tongue-tingling bright acidity, and an excellent pinot noir texture, which is to say there is a silky feel to the wine. I admire the heft and feel of the mid weight and very fine-grained tannins too. The wine's technical sheet shows some pretty fastidious work: fruit from mature vines planted in the mid 90s; top Burgundian clones separately fermented in small batches; meticulous new and used oak treatments. These are all pursuits that result in expressive pinot noir.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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14 November 2019

Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2013

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2013 Signature is entirely sourced from Similkameen fruit and is a blend of 51 percent merlot, 34 percent cabernet sauvignon, 11 cabernet franc, 2 percent petit verdot, and 2 percent malbec. It shows the warmth of the 2013 vintage with ripe, verging on jammy, black fruits that don't quite soak up all of the oak. However, Clos du Soleil's classic, fresh style keeps it in balance, with firm, grainy tannins and a graphite mineral backbone. Give it some time to come together; it will be even better 3-4 years from now.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
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Clos du Soleil Signature 2012

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 vintage of Signature is sourced almost entirely from the Similkameen, including from Clos du Soleil's home vineyard. A blend of 48 percent cabernet sauvignon, 42 percent merlot, 9 percent cabernet franc, and one percent petit verdot, this was aged in French oak for 18 months, with 19 barrels making the grade for Signature. This has a classic nose of cedar, graphite, currant, and fresh herbs with underlying, integrated oak. Medium-bodied, it's quite fresh with well-managed tannins. It's showing some evolution, but it has at least 10+ years of life yet. A lovely expression of place and vintage.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
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Clos du Soleil Signature 2010

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2010 is remembered as a challenging, cool vintage but the best wines are aging gracefully and showing a balance of elegance and ripeness. A blend of 48 percent merlot, 34 percent cabernet sauvignon, 9 percent malbec, and 9 percent petit verdot, the 2010 Signature is initially subdued and muted in the glass, but opens up with dried red currant and cherry. However, this is more about granite and crushed rock, with the 2010 vintage including a higher percentage of Similkameen fruit. Medium-full bodied, it's expansive on the palate with fine-grained tannin and the inherent freshness of the vintage. Good length.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
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Clos du Soleil Signature 2008

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 52 percent merlot, 26 percent cabernet sauvignon, 13 percent cabernet franc, and 9 percent malbec, only 11 barrels were produced. The 2008 Signature shows riper, more opulent fruit than the 2007 vintage, and is decidedly into the black fruit spectrum. It's still quite youthful and primary, with just the faintest hint of evolution. More powerful in style, it's broad and rich but kept in balance with fresh, integrated acidity. 2008 was a cooler vintage in the Okanagan/Similkameen, but this manages to show considerable ripeness, marked by 14.5% abv. Give this another 3-5 years.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
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Clos du Soleil Signature 2007

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKnown as Red at the time, 2007 was Clos du Soleil's second vintage of what would become Signature. It's sourced predominantly from Okanagan fruit, with 15 percent from the Similkameen, and is led by cabernet sauvignon (45 percent) with merlot and cabernet franc. The colour is only just now beginning to fade at the rim, and it's beautifully balancing savoury cedar and dried herbs with red currant, wild strawberry, and smoky oak. Medium-full bodied, this is a lively, fresh style with resolved, fine tannins. I love how this is drinking now, but it could easily go another 5+ years.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
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Clos du Soleil Capella 2016

British Columbia, CanadaWith the 2016 vintage, Capella begins the transition from Okanagan to Similkameen fruit. The sauvignon blanc (80 percent) is sourced from Whispered Secret and Blind Creek Vineyards in Keremeos, while the sémillon (20 percent) continues to be sourced from Dhaliwhal Bros. Vineyard in Oliver. The winemaking is similar to the 2015 vintage: 55 percent French oak puncheons; 45 percent stainless steel barrels), with one-quarter of the barrels allowed to naturally complete malolactic fermentation. It has a complex, vibrant nose of ripe grapefruit and tropical fruits combined with a floral lift. The oak sits nicely in the background, and is deftly integrated. Medium-bodied, it picks up some roundness from nine months aging on the lees, with crisp acidity leading to a mouthwatering, chalky finish. Everything is here to enjoy this wine now, but it will definitely benefit from additional time in bottle over the next 5+ years.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
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Clos du Soleil Capella 2015

British Columbia, CanadaFrom the challenging, hot, 2015 vintage, this is a blend of 80 percent sauvignon blanc and 20 percent semillon from vineyards in Osoyoos and Oliver, respectively. This was fermented in a combination of French oak puncheons (55 percent) and stainless (45 percent) before aging on the lees for nine months prior to bottling. A third of the wine was also allowed to naturally complete malolactic fermentation. This wine doesn't seem to have the depth of other vintages of Capella, with sweet herbs, and ripe mango. It's also already beginning to show some tertiary notes, suggesting a relatively short drinking window. The alcohol is modest for the vintage at only 13% abv, thanks to early picking decisions, but the trade off is tart, bracing acidity that doesn't quite come into balance.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
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Clos du Soleil Capella 2012

British Columbia, CanadaThe 2012 vintage is a blend of 92 percent sauvignon blanc and 8 percent semillon, with only 220 cases produced. It has a stunning Bordelais nose of wax, honey, guava, and grapefruit. It's surprisingly round and rich, given the modest 12.7% abv, but with a real sense of tension and precision. The concentration is above the norm, with noticeable dry extract, leading to a chalky finish. This is still remarkably youthful and only just beginning to show subtle tertiary notes. It should easily age for another 4-5 years. Fortunately Clos du Soleil has some bottles tucked away at their tasting room, which are available for purchase if you ask. Exceptional value.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
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Clos du Soleil Capella 2010

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 90 percent sauvignon blanc and 10 percent sémillion, this is from the cool 2010 vintage. It shows a fair bit of malolactic character on the nose (think yogurt) with pink grapefruit and nougat. At nearly ten years of age, it strikes a nice balance between fresh fruit and aged tertiary notes. It may not have the complexity of the 2006 vintage, but the palate is pure and precise, with a pithy grapefruit rind finish. I found it became more evolved with time in the glass, so I would suggest to drink this vintage in the short term if you're looking to retain some youthful fruit character. 525 cases produced.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
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Clos du Soleil Capella 2006

British Columbia, CanadaFrom their inaugural vintage in 2006, Clos du Soleil produced only three barrels of Clos du Soleil White, which would be renamed Capella in subsequent bottlings. Cappella is now a sauvignon blanc dominant blend; the earlier vintages are 100 percent sauvignon blanc. It has an intriguing waxy, honeyed nose that's quite tertiary at 13 years of age, though still with some underlying yellow fruits. The wine has gained some weight from bottle age, and there's still sauvignon blanc's hallmark tart acidity, which is just beginning to round out. At or just past peak, this vintage is best enjoyed in the near term.Prices: BC 27.00 AB 30.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Sémillontext
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Clos du Soleil Sémillon 2016

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Dhaliwal Bros. Vineyard in Oliver, this was fermented in Clos du Soleil's new (at that time) French concrete tanks and then aged on its fine lees for eight months. This sémillon should have the Bordelais concerned, with exotic notes of ripe mango, guava, and honey. It's medium-full bodied with a broad, viscous texture leading to a chalky, long finish. It's just beginning to show some tertiary development, and has the fruit concentration and balance to easily improve over the next 3-5 years. This is very well done. If only more than 110 cases were produced! Maybe BC needs to plant more sémillon.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSimilar to the 2014 vintage, this was sourced from Middle Bench Vineyard in Keremeos, and fermented and aged in stainless. There's still lots of youthful lime fruit, as it is just beginning to develop toasty notes from bottle age. But this wine is all about the texture: it's concentrated with noticeable dry extract, precise fruit, and very good length. Subdued and elegant, make sure not to serve this chilled or you'll miss it. Will be worthwhile to follow its progression over the next 2-3 years.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2014

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis pinot blanc comes from Middle Bench Vineyard in Keremeos, was whole-cluster pressed, fermented, and matured in stainless for five months. It shows a waxy, toasty nose that is reminiscent of aged semillon, with lime fruit and crushed oystershell. Dry in style, the acid is still crisp and linear, with five years of bottle age contributing midpalate broadness. This is drinking well now, with a nice balance of primary and tertiary fruit.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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13 November 2019

Puro Rofe Blancotext
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Puro Rofe Blanco 2018

Canary Islands, SpainThese Malvasía, Diego, Listán Blanco vines are more than 100 years old, growing in the black volcanic sands of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. These grapes come from the traditional hoyos (hand-dug pits up to 2m deep, with a single vine planted at the bottom) of Pedro Umpiérrez and Ascensión Robayna vineyards. The depth of the hoyos allows the vine to access moisture, as well as protect it from the alicio desert winds. After harvesting by hand, these were foot trodden in stone lagares, native fermented, and then aged for 8 months in stainless. Exceptionally salty and ringing with minerality and sea breezes, the salinity infiltrating quince, green apple and gentle herbal lees which stream along the lengthy, slender palate. A rare beauty. The newish project is a collaboration among like-minded local growers Rafael (Chicho) Mota, Vicente Torres, Ascension Robaina, and Pedro Umpiérrez, and enologist Carmelo Peña. Tasted in the UK.Prices: UK 29.00 Producer: Puro Rofe
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Fento Wines Bico Da Ran Albariñotext
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Fento Wines Bico Da Ran Albariño 2018

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainOne of winemaker Eulogio Pomares' many projects (most notably, Zarate), this albariño master has used grapes from Rias Baixas' sub-area of Valle del Salnés, up to 300m, near the sea. Fresh and marine bright, with saline-kissed lemon, white melon, pear, atop a stony, lees-decked base, to a snappy, lingering, salty finish. Drinking beauty now.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Fento Wines
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Finca Cuarta by Ruben Maure Ribeira Sacratext
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Finca Cuarta by Ruben Maure Ribeira Sacra 2017

Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, SpainFinca Cuarta is a rare 100 percent mencia grown at Ribeira Sacra in Galicia, northwest Spain. It was once thought to be a rogue cabernet franc clone (it’s not), although there are similarities: savoury fruit and rich, dense, soft tannins. The Ribeira Sacre version is mencia, grown on slate, in a colder climate that presents differently than Bierzo mencia. Finca Cuarta is on the deeper, more vibrant spectrum with earthy, firm, dense tannins, cardamom spice and juicy wild red and blue fruits sprinkled with a stony, mineral undercurrent. First planted by the Romans and expanded and refined by the monks during the Middle Ages, its many monasteries gave the ‘Sacred Shore’ its name. Carefully harvested by hand on steep vineyard terraces, typical of this appellation, this is 50-year-old vines and was aged in French and American oak barrels for at least three months.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Bodega del Abad
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Torres Salmos Priorattext
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Torres Salmos Priorat 2015

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainEach time I taste this wine, I’m amazed by its balance and elegance. In 2015 it opened with a fragrance that belies Priorat, with ripe black plums sprinkled with pepper and a touch of mocha before the stony mineral electric underbelly cuts in to balance the finish. Fermented in stainless, this aged 14 months in French wood, but you wouldn’t know it thanks to the wild nature of this wine piercing the finish. Think wild lamb, boar pasta, truffle risotto, or a leg of lamb.Prices: BC 49.00 MB 45.99 ON 39.00 QC 35.00 NB 46.00 PEI 43.99 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Laderas del Tiétar Garnachatext
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Laderas del Tiétar Garnacha 2018

SpainA joint project between Bodega Cooperativo Cristo del Humilladero, and Comando G, the latter two, young friends who farm their garnacha organically and biodynamically, across a collective 15ha of vineyards. In this wine, Dani and Fer from Comando G selected fruit from the co-op and oversee winemaking, edging the co-op into modernity. It is well-padded with sun-ripened raspberry, strawberry and red currant, licked with red licorice, dusted with cocoa and sweet pipe tobacco, and sided with sticky tannins. Youthful and eager, as garnacha has want to be, this 14.5-degree wine is well suited to grilled ribs or roasted acorn squash.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Bodega Cristo Del Humilladero
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Juan Gil Silver Labeltext
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Juan Gil Silver Label 2016

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainJumilla monastrell is never shy, never reserved, but rather exuberant and out there as much as any red grape can be. Intense black plum jam and pepper lines the nose and palate. The attack is rich and satiny with a long, ripe, black fruit, peppery palate. The finish is warm but mostly in balance, and a beautiful fall/winter red for stews, lamb or cassoulets.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 28.00 NS 29.99 Producer: Juan Gil Bodegas Familiares
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Juan Gil Monastrelltext
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Juan Gil Monastrell 2017

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainBusy, warm, open, luxurious, hedonistic, soft and more: this is Juan Gill yellow label in a nutshell. There are cherries and chocolates, baked blackcurrant, raisin, and licorice, with chalky tannins. Rustic and frankly a touch rambunctious, it is a party red par excellence best paired with meatball appetizers. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Juan Gil Bodegas Familiares
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Caminos del Bonhomme Caberent Sauvignontext
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Caminos del Bonhomme Caberent Sauvignon 2017

Valencia and Murcia, SpainCaminos is a single parcel of 30-year-old cabernet sauvignon that grows on the radiant slopes of the Sierra de L'Ombría, in Valencia. After a traditional ferment, it spends 22-24 months ageing in French Taransaud oak barrels. The attack is fresh with prominent acidity and herbaceous red fruit. Lively and linear, this red calls for grilled meats to pull the edges back in. Best cellared through 2021 to allow it to settle into itself.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Les Vins Bonhomme
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Torres Sangre de Torotext
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Torres Sangre de Toro NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe Sangre de Toro, a blend of grenache and carignan, spends a quick six months in American and French oaks to round out the edges. This is a ready-to-drink mix of dark fruits and dried herbs with a light dusting of licorice and curry. Smooth and round, this mid-week red is perfect for stews, meaty pizzas, grilled chicken, and meat pies.Prices: BC 11.99 AB 15.99 ON 12.00 NB 15.00 SK 15.00 MB 13.00 AB 16.00 YK 16.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Fento Wines Xabretext
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Fento Wines Xabre 2016

Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, SpainFrom northern Spain's historical Ribeira Sacra region, Xabre is a blend of native grapes grown in the Quiroga-Bibei sub-area. This blend of 15-80 year old mencía, sousón, mouratón and garnacha vines is planted between an altitude, with vines planted on granite, clay, and slate terraces from 300-700m. This was fermented and aged for 10 months in used French oak barrels, 6 more months in foudres, and in bottle for one year prior to release. Deep herbal plum, wild blueberries, pomegranate, fragrant iris fill the smoothed, medium-bodied palate, framed with lightly tuggy tannins, and carried by an easy swell of acidity. The finish lingers with stony minerality. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Fento Wines
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Señorío de P. Peciña Rioja Bianco Cosechatext
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Señorío de P. Peciña Rioja Bianco Cosecha 2018

Rioja, SpainThis virua macerated for 24 hours before a native fermentation and aging in tank on lees for 6 months, prior to up to a year in bottle before release. Classic white Rioja, through dry roasted almonds, white peach, pear, and a pad of downy lees. There's a nice salted pine nut grip around the end to close this out. Direct and mouthwatering, and a wonderful food wine.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Señorío de P. Peciña
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Okendo Astobiza Txakolitext
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Okendo Astobiza Txakoli 2018

Navarra and Basque Country, SpainThis young bodega is nestled in Spain's Txakolí de Alava DO, named after nearby mountains. Xabier Abando grew up with his father in the vineyards and making wine, up until his untimely death when Xabier was only fifteen. It was his dream then to one day create his own bodega. In 1996, he purchased an estate near the town of Okendo, planted 2 hectares of vines, and grew his holdings every year. He built his bodega in 2008, in time for his first vintage of his own wine, at age 68. He now oversees the organically-farmed estate with his son-in-law Jon Zubeldia, and the help of enologist Ana MartÍn. Txaokoli is one of those wines that rarely transports out of the region it is heartily consumed in, so to taste one here, and in such pristine a condition, is a joy. Hondurrabi Zuri is joined by 10% Petit Courbu, 20 year old vines at 300m, at the upper heights of the Alava zone. A ferment and time in stainless preserves the crisp, Atlantic-influenced white, and all its tight lemon and white grapefruit drive. Green apple tartness, yeasty lees, a hint of tight white florals, and ample hum of stony salts skips this effortlessly across the palate, finishing with a satisfying citric and stone snap. Bringing me back to the Basque; pass the anchovies.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Okendo Txakoliña
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Alta Alella Garnatxa Negratext
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Alta Alella Garnatxa Negra 2016

Alella, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainAlta Alella began 20 years ago when Josep Maria Pujol-Busquets and his wife Cristina Guillen acquired nineteenth-century estate Can Genis, near Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea, and converted it to organics. Their daughters Mireia and Georgina have now joined them in the farming of their sea-facing 17ha of vines, planted on slopes and terraces between 100-250m. Their soils are sauló, an acidic, white granite-based sandy soil. This lightly hued, fragrant garnaxta grows at 150-300m. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless, preserving the delicacy of the charming light cherry, wild red berry, scrubby herbs, red liquorice, and sapid young plum. Tannins are fine, and the slight frame is textured by soils and authenticity. A lovely, savoury, fruity, light red.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Alta Alella
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Castaño Monastrelltext
86PTS

Castaño Monastrell 2018

Yecla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainThis is a relatively simple, straightforward red with bright berry fruit, which shows a slightly confected, carbonic character from use of 25-30 percent whole cluster. Medium-bodied, fresh, and juicy, it's a solid Tuesday night pour to pair with burgers or tomato-based dishes. Best served slightly chilled.Prices: BC 12.49 AB 12.00 NB 12.00 ON 8.95 Producer: Familia Castaño
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Zarate Caiño Tintotext
87PTS

Zarate Caiño Tinto 2017

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainSeventh-generation Eulogio Pomares runs this historic bodega today, continuing the legacy of quality started by his ancestors. His farming is almost fully biodynamic, and his inputs near nothing. Caiño tinto is one of the three indigenous grape varietals of Val do Salnes (loureiro tinto and espadeiro being the other two). Zarate have some of the only remnant plantings of these once-dominant local grapes, so you can think of this as a cultural heritage preservation project, as well as a delicious lighter red. This was sourced from granitic clay soils, and native fermented in open-top foudre before a year aging in second and third use French oak. Highly perfumed red fruit, led by tart cranberry and rhubarb, followed by young raspberry, white pepper, and strawberry vinegar running the light, sleek 11 degree palate. Tannins are near negligible, with a whisper to side this wine. It's a strange fit to have such a light, sprightly red in a hefty, wide bottle, but don't let that dissuade you.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Zarate
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12 November 2019

Hajszan-Neumann Wiener Gemischter Satztext
90PTS

Hajszan-Neumann Wiener Gemischter Satz 2018

Wien (Vienna), AustriaWith a name like Fritz Wieninger, you have to trust that wine is in his blood. Fritz is a pioneer of the New Vienna wine movement, co-president of RESPEKT with Fred Loimer, as well as a founding member and chairman of the Wien Wein growers association. Gemischter Satz is a traditional Austrian field blend of different white varieties cultivated and vinified together, and Fritz was one of the vintners responsible for resurrecting this dying tradition. It is is a blend of pinot blanc, grüner veltliner, neuburger, riesling and welschriesling, from Nussberg's limestone / fossil-studded soils. After a native ferment in stainless, this remained on lees for a short stint before bottling. Wet stone and earthy lees bed a light topping of melon, Asian pear, green apple, bitter lemon, and green herbs, running a slight, snappy palate. The finish rinses with mineral salts, encouraging another chilled glass, hopefully with dressed shellfish.Prices: ON 26.95 BC 35.00 Producer: Weingut Hajszan-Neumann
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Van Westen Vineyards Vivacioustext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivacious 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Vivacious is leaner than previous versions and all the better for it. There is a dash of pint gris in this mostly pinot blanc white, fermented in both barrel and tank. The attack is crisper, as mentioned, than previous versions, with bright, juicy citrus, nectarine, with that now-familiar dusting of Okanagan scrubby sagebrush and grass in the finish. Vivacious comes off the Home Lot Vineyard and boasts that bright Naramata, mid-valley demeanour. I love this wine with curry, so add your favourite protein or vegetable and stir.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Free Form Whitetext
89PTS

Free Form White 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFree Form White is a blend of pinot blanc, chardonnay and viognier, but it's more about the style than the grape varieties. Reminiscent of a hazy cider in the glass, there’s no second-guessing that this is an orange wine. It has an exotic nose with orange blossom, lily, and stemmy herbal notes. A lot is going on, and with excellent precision, too. Bone dry with racy acidity and a firm line of tannins forming the backbone, there’s fruit concentration here, leading to some unsurprising bitterness on the finish given the eight months of skin contact. For adventurous palates looking to go well outside of the status quo, this is a very good example of the style, and one that rewards contemplation and reflection.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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11 November 2019

Corazon del Sol Soleadotext
90PTS

Corazon del Sol Soleado 2013

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom their 17-acre estate in Uco's Los Chacayes, this blends malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from four prized acres. This spent two years in French oak (60% new) before bottling. Roasted meats open to a baked red/black fruit palate, thick with the potent Argentine sunshine, and framed with ample sticky tannins. Dark earth, dried herbs, linger on the warming finish. Best taken with equally significant roasted meats now.Prices: ON 54.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Corazon del Sol Vista Flores Vineyard Malbectext
92PTS

Corazon del Sol Vista Flores Vineyard Malbec 2015

Vista Flores, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe winery's only white label wine not made from estate fruit, and there's a good reason for that. This wine comes from Michel Rolland's vineyard at Clos del los Siete in Vista Flores. This malbec spent 14 months in 225L French oak (20% new). Dark fruit is tightly chiselled with acidity, lifting the savoury black cherry, wild cassis, roasted meats and stony base along lengthy tannins. Very polished, but taut and firm, allowing for drinking now and a few years in your cellar — 191 cases produced.Prices: ON 51.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Corazon del Sol Malbectext
88PTS

Corazon del Sol Malbec 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaRoasted meats and smoked fruit quickly yield to peppery, green-edged sapid, wood notes. Acidity is brisk and punchy, and ample tannins are worn and sanded. There's a disconnect between acid and wood at this young age, but nothing that a side of grilled meat wouldn't mitigate. The fruit is grown among the rocky soils of Uco's Los Chacayes at 1200m altitude. It is aged for a year in second and third use French oak.Prices: ON 35.95 Producer: Corazon del Sol
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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vinestext
89PTS

Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaNow super consistent, this blend of three mountain estate vineyards from 920 meters to 1450 meters is carefully overseen by Laura Catena and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil. Over the years, Catena has shed some oak in favour of fruit, and it is making a big difference. Bright, lively, juicy, and fun to drink, the palate is a pleasant mix of violets and red plums. The malbec grapes are given a five-day cold maceration at 8,8ºC to extract more lavish aromas without alcohol. Post ferment, it spends 12 months in a mix of first, second and third-year barrels.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 19.50 ON 19.95 NS 24.00 NB 23.29 PEI 24.00 SK 25.99 NF 23.90 MB 23.00 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Chateau Eugenie Tradition Cahorstext
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Chateau Eugenie Tradition Cahors 2015

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceA Cahors by way of Mendoza, the fruit is more pronounced than you’d typically expect for the former, with ripe blackberry and mulberry. It’s the palate that is more confounding, though. It’s surprisingly soft, with tart acidity that sticks out on the finish, making you wonder if it was acidified. It feels forced, like putting a square peg in a round hole. However, it’s an approachable style of Cahors that could be an excellent gateway for fans of Mendoza malbec.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Chateau Eugenie
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Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery Key Malbectext
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Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery Key Malbec 2016

Valle del Cachapoal, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileA confected malbec with jammy, nondescript black fruits followed by noticeable residual sugar on the palate — soft, smooth, and commercial in style. It speaks of winemaking more than anything else.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Valle Secreto Vineyards and Winery
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Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reservatext
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Terrazas de los Andes Malbec Reserva 2016

Mendoza, ArgentinaArgentine wine is continuing to reinvent itself, but this is firmly within the old guard style of malbec. The fruit is overshadowed by assertive oak, with loads of espresso and dark chocolate. Underneath are some jammy black fruits, which are not fully defined. Medium-full bodied, this has Mendoza's characteristic plush texture with good mid-palate weight, which can be a challenge with malbec. It would be nice to see the fruit come through more, but it's well made, and fans of big reds will find a lot to like here.Prices: CDN 21.99 QC 21.70 ON 19.95 Producer: Terrazas de los Andes
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Van Westen Vineyards Violetatext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Violeta 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the exceptional 2016 vintage, Violeta is 100 percent malbec from Van Westen’s Homelot Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. Yes, this has violets, but it also has wild dark fruits and a certain rustic charm. That said, if there’s an initial thought that this could be from Cahors, the silky palate certainly places this elsewhere. It’s not overly complex or lengthy, but it’s a well-balanced and exciting expression of Okanagan malbec, which continues to be underrated.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Domaine de Cause La Lande Cavagnactext
91PTS

Domaine de Cause La Lande Cavagnac 2015

Cahors, Sud-Ouest, FranceLa Lande Cavagnac is the top wine from Domaine de Cause, which is sourced from a parcel of the estate’s old vines planted in the 1970s. Dense and savoury on the nose, this is classic rustic style Cahors that is perfect for the upcoming winter season (think hearty meals like Cassoulet). The palate is chewy and concentrated, and well outside of the stereotype of malbec, but it all comes together as a balanced whole, with a mineral backbone and excellent length. If you’re looking to start exploring southwest France, begin here — exceptional value that will undoubtedly reward careful cellaring.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Domaine de Cause
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Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbectext
88PTS

Belhara Estate Single Vineyard Malbec 2017

Gualtallary, Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Belhara estate is comprised of 3 vineyards with altitudes between 1100 and 1400 meters. Their 180 hectares of planted vineyards include vines up to 80 years old. This Single Vineyard bottling comes from some of their best plots in Gualtallary and aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. Hugely perfumed, with ample violets, mulberries, blueberries, lusty raspberries, anise all filling a fuller, fleshy palate that is held aloft with a riveting acidity. Tannins are grippy but subtle; the ripe fruit and acidity gobbled up that new oak. Quite polished, while fresh, and ready for drinking now.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Belhara Estate
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Belhara Estate Amayan Malbectext
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Belhara Estate Amayan Malbec 2018

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Belhara estate is comprised of 3 vineyards with altitudes between 1100 and 1400 meters. Their 180 hectares of planted vineyards include vines up to 80 years old. It opens with ample dusky blueberries, violets lifting a ripe swell of perfumed purple and black fruits. Tannins are sticky, reflecting the unripened warmth of Tupungato, while the acidity is vibrant, thanks to the altitude. Ready for drinking now, preferably alongside grilled beef.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Belhara Estate
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Luigi Bosca Iconotext
92PTS

Luigi Bosca Icono 2011

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis has to be one of the heaviest bottles you'll pick up this year. A blend of 57 percent malbec and 43 cabernet sauvignon, this is sourced from low yielding 90+ year-old vines planted at 1,050m above sea level. Deep purple in colour, it pours like a youthful wine. However, it's at a lovely point of development right now, combining tertiary notes of cedar and underbrush with ripe black fruits and chocolatey oak. With 200 percent new French oak, the oak is not subtle, but it's balanced by the intensity and concentration of the fruit. It's a big wine to be sure, but it's also not lacking structure or freshness. Ideally, you'd tuck this away for another 2-3 years, but it is drinking well now.Prices: BC 137.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Luigi Bosca Malbec Terroir Las Miradorestext
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Luigi Bosca Malbec Terroir Las Miradores 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe Bosca Malbec Terroir is sourced from Finca Los Miradores vineyard that sits at 1,150m above sea level in the Valle de Uco planted to a massal selection of malbec vines a decade ago. It’s ripe and extracted, with blackberry, cola, and blueberry in combination with toasty oak from ageing in 30 percent new French barriques. The fruit and oak work harmoniously, but this could benefit from additional time in the bottle to allow the wood to integrate further. The tannins are also firm and youthful, and demand a hearty protein if this is going to be opened tonight. It just doesn't quite have the freshness and purity of fruit of top examples.Prices: BC 52.99 AB 39.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Luigi Bosca Iconotext
91PTS

Luigi Bosca Icono 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe blend is fluid, but it revolves around the 50/50 mark of malbec and cabernet sauvignon made from 90-year-old vines. The 2015 vintage was cold by Mendoza, Uco Valley standards. The nose is lifted with intense black plums, red jam, spices, floral, roasted coffee beans. The attack is warm and rich, almost overwhelming the palate with more floral, meaty, rich fruit and a spicy, savoury aftertaste. The textures are silky, long, and warm, with freshness and lingering alcohol. It isn’t near ready to drink, but it would be okay with a leg of lamb or a grilled steak. Icono has a total of 18 months of ageing in barrels. Each variety is aged separately in new oak for six months before they are married another 12 months in more new French oak barrels. It was bottled without filtering.Prices: BC 137.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expressiontext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expression 2017

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new release under the Winemaker Series label that blends 63 percent malbec with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, all out of the Similkameen Valley. The initial attack is intense with a slurry of black and blue fruits redolent of blackberries, blueberries, and brown baking spices. The tannins are youthful after 15 months in French oak. No rush here; this needs time to settle in and find its mojo. That said, it should be well-received and will age effortlessly through 2022.Prices: BC 32.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expressiontext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Expression 2017

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpression is a new small-lot malbec, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc blend, sourced from the Similkameen Valley. Potent and intense, thick with ripe blueberries, blackberry jam, dusky plums, perfumed violets, and heaps of baking spices coating the palate. Tannins are lined with fresh hewn, sanded wood spicing. After harvesting and fermenting each vineyard block separately, this was blended and aged in French oak for 15 months before bottling unfined. Very young still, and showing it, this needs some time to settle and mellow, or a giant thick rib eye now.Prices: BC 32.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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08 November 2019

The Hatch Hobo Series Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

The Hatch Hobo Series Gewurztraminer 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first-ever Hobo Series gew won't be easy to track down with sales confined to the cellar door, select restaurants and retailers, but it is well worth tracking down. The ferment is all stainless steel and aged on lees for eight months. The fruit comes off the Palo Solera Vineyard in East Kelowna and leads with a fragrant, dry, electric styling that spells food-friendly. This is the 5th installment of the Hobo Series, and it’s a good one. As for the hobo connection, The Hatch says “[if] you go to Alsace this grape produces some of the most ethereal wines in the world. Outside Alsace? Hasn’t happened. This chap, though, brings the big aromatics, exotic flavours and rich texture that would make its Alsace cousins proud.”Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: The Hatch
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St. Hubertus Great White Northtext
86PTS

St. Hubertus Great White North 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Great White North is a blend of estate gewürztraminer, chasselas, and riesling, in transition to organics. There's a bump of sweetness sharpened by a piercing acidity, housing a juicy palate of anise, apricot, honeydew and a powdered bitter orange on the warming flush finish. Best with a brisk chill, and pairing with chilled, fragrant Asian noodle dishes.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Meyer Gewurztraminertext
90PTS

Meyer Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFinally a BC gewürztraminer that absolutely nails typicity and transmits vineyard site. It's a tricky grape to manage, with perilously low acidity, powerful aromatics, and a tendency to fatness. Not so this streamlined, perfumed gewürztraminer from winemaker Chris Carson, who is confident and minimalist, as witnessed by his refined, restrained, and graceful pinots and chardonnays. Lychee, rose petals, orange peel, and a hint of herbed sausage prepares the tastebuds for flavours of peach, vibrant citrus, and delicate botanicals. It is both broad in flavour, yet contoured in body and alcohol. Meyer's Okanagan Falls gewürztraminer vineyard is nicely mature, helping deliver such articulate fruit. Clever winemaking gives a little skin contact, and time in used French barrels, plus suppressed MLF, keeps acids as sharp as possible. The emollient texture will dovetail smoothly with porkchops or rich Thai green curry.Prices: BC 18.12 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Township 7 7 Blanctext
87PTS

Township 7 7 Blanc 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 7 Blanc is a mix of gewürztraminer, pinot gris, viognier, riesling, and muscat, designed to deliver "summer in a glass." The wine is refreshingly unoaked, and there is a light, mineral, fresh undercurrent to mount a balancing effect to the exotic floral, tropical notes of rose petals, ginger, litchi and pear flavours drenched in citrus and spice. Thai anyone?Prices: BC 18.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Mayhem Gewurztraminertext
86PTS

Mayhem Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe vines are 25 years old and originate from cuttings of a German variety, and the clusters are pressed whole to retain its delicate aromatics, although the word delicate might be a stretch. A bit of lees time is the best solution to keeping gewurztraminer from running away from itself in the glass with an over-exuberant, litchi fruit character. It’s a solid effort and ready to drink. Capable of matching most dishes with spice or sweetness that would overpower a completely dry wine.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2018

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSpicy and alive with BC sagebrush herbal notes that dart among roses, lychee, and stonefruit. It's on the restrained side, with as much savoury character as tropical fruit flavours. Dry with balancing acidity and a pleasant oily texture that expresses gewurztraminer's nature. The finish shows a touch of astringency that is also correct for the grape, and will link nicely to charcuterie or a deluxe grilled cheese. A statement of good value.Prices: BC 16.99 SK 21.59 MB 16.99 QC 19.00 NB 19.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Thornhaven Gewurztraminertext
90PTS

Thornhaven Gewurztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExtravagant nose with diagnostic gewürztraminer aromas: lychee, Turkish delight, orange peel, heady blossoms, and cosmetics. Similar flavours suffuse the palate in quite a rich way, with marmalade, baked apples, and peach nectar. There is surprisingly bright acidity that counters a touch of sweetness on the finish that is entirely appropriate. Another strong effort from Thornhaven, and one for roasted turkey or baked ham.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Thornhaven Estates Winery
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminertext
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JoieFarm En Famille Reserve Gewurztraminer 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear after year this Gewürztraminer displays a pleasing correctness for the variety. It's an extravagant grape, and the JoieFarm team give it full rein: lychee, honey, orange blossom and Turkish delight are focused and pure. The palate has richness, spice, a touch of bacon fat, and it's a little chubby and boozy, also appropriate for the style that self-consciously emulates ripe, fulsome Alsatian thoroughbreds. The finish is clean, essentially dry, and fruit-fuelled, but well refreshed by acidity to help wash down the platter of charcuterie you'll need to accompany. Confident Gewürztraminer that is made with care and vision.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: JoieFarm
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Seaside Pearl Matsqui Prairie Gewurztraminertext
84PTS

Seaside Pearl Matsqui Prairie Gewurztraminer 2018

CanadaMelon, pear, and apple under a distracting odour of sulphur. The palate shows fruit at first, but is quickly overtaken by bitter and astringent flavours. Slippery in the mouth with soft acidity and a sugary finish, this is overall rustic and a touch clumsy. The price seems a little steep for this naive winemaking.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Seaside Pearl Farmgate Winery
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Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reservetext
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Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reserve 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis opens with a distinct nose that shows a little lychee, pear, peach, and gewürztraminer's typical laundry soap. The flavours are uncomplicated and spicy, with sweet apple sauce, fuzzy peach and a dusting of herbs. On the oily side, with softish acidity and a floral cologne finish that is largely dry. Holds its balance fine, and while not multifaceted, it's a clean and straightforward drop that has always been a dependable Okanagan standby.Prices: BC 13.99 AB 16.00 ON 10.45 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Gewürztraminertext
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CedarCreek Gewürztraminer 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's no surprise to me that this Gewürztraminer is precise, expressive and well-made. The quality at this East Kelowna winery surges year upon year, and the prices for the estate range are more than reasonable. This heads in the exotic direction with a showy nose of rose and peaches, and a hint of lychee and Turkish delight. There is a honeyed sweetnesss to the aromas which helps prepare the palate for focused stonefruit and orange citrus flavours, and perfectly pitched sweetness. A swell of acidity on the finish keeps everything in balance, fresh and inviting, courtesy of the 2018 vintage which presented a cool, acid-boosting August. As is typical at CedarCreek, there is meticulous winegrowing and winemaking behind each wine. A portion of the grapes were foot-trodden to gently coax out Gewurztraminer's heady perfume, and winemaker Taylor Whelan opted for steel tanks for a cool, aroma-retaining ferment. Chill nicely and pair with a juicy pork chop, or a savoury Alastian quiche.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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07 November 2019

Poplar Grove Merlottext
87PTS

Poplar Grove Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou can feel some heat upfront on the nose and body of this mature black-fruited red with a strong licorice undercurrent. Round, if a little bit rustic, it is ready to drink, and I suggest you serve it with grilled duck or a mushroom risotto to help smooth out the finish.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s an intriguing mix of raspberries dusted in sage and mixed with juicy cherries. The structure is mid-weight, the acidity is bright and tangy with a finish that comes with a whiff of bitters. It is more of a sommelier wine with its sharp edges and tones, but it will be fun to have with food. I like the adventurous winery suggestion of serving this with Japanese-style beef dishes or Chinese crispy duck. Approximately 50% of the berries were left whole and uncrushedPrices: BC 34.99 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Quails' Gate Merlottext
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Quails' Gate Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is textbook Okanagan sagebrush with big roasted coffee and red fruit aromas. The attack is dry and muscular, with a substantial amount of tannin. The palate is more coffee, licorice, and black fruit, with a firm tannic finish that smothers the wine at this point. This will need five years minimum to open up and find itself. It is an anomaly for merlot, usually delivering much earlier on in life. The wine was fermented in stainless and pumped over for a month for additional extraction (maybe too much) before spending 18 months in French oak. Best served now with slowly braised barbecue beef ribs or a simple peppercorn steak.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 17.99 SK 26.00 MB 27.00 ON 27.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Four Shadows Merlottext
90PTS

Four Shadows Merlot 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI first encountered this fruit via Upper Bench when they made an impressive 2013 using neighbours Wilbert and Joka Borrens' merlot grapes. 2017 hits all the marks you would expect from the Naramata Bench, with fruit more red than black, flavours as bright as the acidity, and just the right enough wood to let the fruit shine through. Look for a blackcurrant and raspberry affair that fishes polished and elegant. Food-friendly; roast chicken and mushrooms seem a good bet for dinner. Delicious.Prices: BC 19.98 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Black Sage Vineyard Merlottext
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Black Sage Vineyard Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSuch a pretty merlot combining pure pleasure with just the right amount of serious structure. Sweet, forward, plummy flavours are flecked with graphite, savoury leafiness, and sage fragrance. Firm tannins are plump and inviting, and bright acidity refreshes every sip. I really admire the inky, vinous finish. Lots of wine for the price.Prices: BC 22.99 ON 29.95 Producer: Black Sage Vineyard
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The Hatch Merletext
88PTS

The Hatch Merle 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerle may be the newest hobo at the Hatch, but he is far from the littlest. Named after the blackbirds that specifically feast on this grape variety near harvest, possibly reducing the yields in a good way, the Merle became the namesake of this merlot. And with that, Merle, the grape thief, was born. The wine is a smoky mix of powerful black fruits, and rich tannins all with a twist of acidity to keep it fresh. There is no rush here. In fact, I suspect two to three years will allow this wine to gather itself and show its true mettle in 2022. If you must open it now, pair it with a well-marbled steak.Prices: BC 28.74 Producer: The Hatch
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06 November 2019

El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Years Oldtext
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El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Years Old NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThis Bodega was started by master carpenter José Antonio Sierra in 1832, after he decided he could make better sherries than the producers he was suppling barrels to. Against the will of the large Sherry houses, his little outfit became one of the top Almacenistas. This super salty, bone dry amontillado spent 12 years in solera, mostly under the protective power of flor, but with oxidative aging in the end. Salt roasted almonds, scents of dark caramel, brown butter, linger on the very lengthy finish. Ideal tapas wine; bring on the salt and fried fishes.Prices: BC 25.00 375 Producer: Bodegas El Maestro Sierra
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Lustau Almacenista José Luis González Obregón Amontillado del Puertotext
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Lustau Almacenista José Luis González Obregón Amontillado del Puerto NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThe Spanish word almacenista means warehousekeeper or wholesaler. In Sherry-speak, Almacenistas are generally small family businesses that buy or produce young base wines, and mature them in soleras for several years. Once (semi-)mature, they are sold to larger houses for blending, or in special growers / instances, produced as a single wine, like this. There once were over 50 almacenistas in the Jerez area, now there are fewer than twenty. José Luis González Obregón has three wines in Lustau's Almacenista range, with Lustau being the first to spotlight these wines / growers. Rich, dry, beauty, with roasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts throughout. This complexed and layered wine weaves caramel, orange oil, chamomile, preserved lemons, lightly smoked marine salts over and over, cascading the umami flavours on the palate and hauntingly long finish. Such a mesmerizing wine, and great reminder to drink more sherry.Prices: BC 55.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Amontilladotext
92PTS

Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Amontillado NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThe Spanish word almacenista means warehousekeeper or wholesaler. In Sherry-speak, Almacenistas are generally small family businesses that buy or produce young base wines, and mature them in soleras for several years. Once (semi-)mature, they are sold to larger houses for blending, or in special growers / instances, produced as a single wine, like this. There once were over 50 almacenistas in the Jerez area, now there are fewer than twenty. Manuel Cuevas Jurado is a small almacenista in the Calle Trabajadero in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Lustau includes two of his wines in their Almacenista series, and were the first to spotlight these wines / growers. This Amontillado first aged as a Manzanilla for 5-6 years before ageing another 7 years or so in an oxidative way. Roasted almonds, burnished orange, flake salts, dried tobacco, mint, a whisper of smoke and orange peel are interwoven on the medium-bodied, lightly plump, bone dry, and very long palate. The saltiness rings of Sanlucar, while the long, caramel-kissed finish hints at its length in wood. A beaut.Prices: BC 55.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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Lustau East India Solera Sherrytext
88PTS

Lustau East India Solera Sherry NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainEast India Solera is a sweetened Oloroso. The name refers to the East India Company, a British trading company that transported cotton, silk, spices, tea, saltpetre and other commodities from the East Indies. Lustau's East India references the historic seafaring tradition, and is made from a selection of approximately 80% oloroso and 20% pedro ximénez butts that have aged separately, and then blended and put into a solera for 3 years. This is a potent, sweeter style, around 130 g/l of sugar, placing it in the Cream category. Potent with tobacco, maple, figs, baked orange, espresso, and creamy milk chocolate. The oloroso salty, walnutty edge is welcome, cutting across px's dense sweetness. The warming (20 degree) finish lingers with sugar roasted walnuts and orange oil. Best as an accompaniment to maple tarts or rum pudding.Prices: BC 32.99 500 ON 24.00 500 QC 24.00 500 Producer: Bodegas Lustau
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05 November 2019

Podere di Pomaio Rosanticotext
86PTS

Podere di Pomaio Rosantico 2018

Arezzo, Tuscany, ItalyThis deep-hued sangiovese rosé opens with a puff of reduction, which quickly blows off to reveal a thicker / glycerol-lined palate of rhubarb, red candy apple, and tart cranberry acidity, finishing with a big grip. A bit overt, and at 14% a bit overdone. Serving it well chilled is necessary.Prices: Italy 21.00 Producer: Podere di Pomaio
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Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence Rosétext
89PTS

Henri Gaillard Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FranceThis pale pink+ hued rose typifies Côtes de Provence, with its scrubby dried herbs, wild strawberries, and infiltrating peppercorns. This blend of syrah, grenache, cinsault, and mourvèdre is dry and crisp, slicked with a moderate pad of lees, and seasoned with oranges, and pink florals. Enough peppery bite to take on hearty charcuterie, but enough refinement to sip solo.Prices: BC 22.98 Producer: Henri Gaillard
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Villa Teresa Rosétext
88PTS

Villa Teresa Rosé 2018

Veneto, ItalyPouring a pale peach hue, this organic, dry rosé blends Venetian raboso and merlot into a subtle strawberry, orange swirl. Fresh and minimal, this finishes with a welcome saline wash. An impressive showing, at a fantastic price, and welcome with any number of foodstuffs.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Vini Tonon s.r.l.
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Pulpoloco Garnacha Rosadotext
87PTS

Pulpoloco Garnacha Rosado NV

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainThis grenache rosé is grown in Zaragoza's Campo de Borja DO, in the Northeast of Spain. It is surprisingly fresh and light with bright citrus, raspberry, and a lightly peppery finish. A tapas wine for sure but will work on any patio in the summer or with any charcuterie dish otherwise. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Pulpoloco
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Four Shadows Rosétext
87PTS

Four Shadows Rosé 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFour Shadows Winery is a new label in BC, though the vineyard and owners have been part of the landscape for a while. Wilbert and Joka Borrens moved to the Okanagan in 2011, purchasing a 17-acre vineyard in Naramata Bench, and without any viticultural background, they jumped into wine life. They sold their grapes to wineries for seven years, until they slowly started making wines with the assistance of consultant winemakers. In 2018 it was French-born, Okanagan-based, Pascal Madevon, and this sweetly ripe pinot noir rosé is very reminiscent of Madevon's fingerprint. Strawberry jam lines the fuller, glycerol palate, joined by fine peppery spicing. Showy, but simple, this gives a quick burst of ripe sweetness before it fades away, and is best well chilled and solo. I am looking forward to seeing where they take this label in the future.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Domaine Rolet Aquarelle Rosétext
90PTS

Domaine Rolet Aquarelle Rosé 2018

Arbois, Jura, FrancePouring a lovely salmon hue, this poulsard rose comes from 40+ year old vines in clay and gravels, and was native fermented and rested in stainless. Subtle crushed florals, wild raspberry, spring rhubarb, and heaps of salty minerality flow throughout this bone dry, slender, savoury pink. An alluring peppercorn/sea salt lingers on the finish. Very, very moreish.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet
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Willakenzie Estate Rosétext
90PTS

Willakenzie Estate Rosé 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesSunset pinky orange, this Willamette Valley rosé looks very pretty in the glass, and smells just as attractive, with wild berries, currant leaf, and overt earthiness. Bone dry, juicy strawberry flavours layer a very creamy palate, which is a delightful aspect of this textured, slightly salty rosé. Savoury and slimmed by cleansing, lemony high acidity, it's a natural with fatty food like pork belly or smoked salmon, but also complete enough to gulp just a chilled glass. Mostly pinot noir, there is a dash of meunier and pinot blanc to keep things lively. No reason to not drink this purposeful rosé well into the cold weather.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Willakenzie Estate
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Mayhem Rosétext
87PTS

Mayhem Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Mayhem pink is a lightly coloured merlot grown on the Anarchist Mountain Vineyard in Osoyoos. A cool ferment was racked off its gross lees and left for one month on fine lees, stirred weekly. Like the entire lineup, the rosé strikes all the right notes for the price, mixing savoury orange and raspberry with a fresh, bright, spicy finish. Ready to drink and priced accordingly.Prices: BC 19.13 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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01 November 2019

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernettext
88PTS

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2017

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaSurprisingly fresh and red-fruited, it jumps from the glass with peppery, plummy fruit. Crafted through blending, it appears this label is moving away from the ripe black fruit toward a cool-climate version. Long and soft, its raspberry/chocolate finish solidifies the structure, acidity, and appeal of a wine that will age a decade or more. The 77/23 blend of shiraz/cabernet sauvignon represents the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek and Coonawarra.Prices: BC 19.49 AB 15.50 ON 17.00 SK 18.00 MB 16.00 NS 18.00 NF 17.50 NB 18.50 PEI 12.50 QC 18.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2015

British Columbia, CanadaSignature, as the name implies, is the signature wine of this Similkameen winery. The big five Bordeaux red grapes are in play here: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, cabernet franc and malbec come from the estate vineyard, as well as nearby vineyards in Keremeos and Cawston. After destemming and a cold soak, this was partial native fermented and then transferred to French oak for 15 months aging. Rich and dense with southern sunned fruit: thick blackberries, cassis, baked raspberry, is scented with vanilla, and bound by furry, wood-borne tannins. The acidity is a pleasant 13.8 degrees, squeezing a lot of youthful impact into a medium+ frame. This can drink well now in youth, with a decant and a medium steak, but will reward with a couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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The Hermittext
89PTS

The Hermit 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new release from Kismet Winery, designed and blended by long-time BC wine agent educator, turned negociant Ingo Grady. The Hermit is a nod to the old French custom of dosing or Hermitageing a Bordeaux red blend with a bump of extra-strength syrah. The combination features a 60/18/15/7 mix of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, syrah and malbec. After all the tough talk, this is a pleasantly soft, juicy, easy-sipping red with a dusting of spice that slides down effortlessly. Reminiscent of a South Australia/Languedoc cross.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Santa Julia Magnatext
87PTS

Santa Julia Magna 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaA blend of 50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 40 percent malbec, and 10 percent syrah, this high altitude blend was sourced from Valle de Uco and aged for twelve months in barrel. This seems to be more about the oak than the fruit, with lots of chocolate and wood spice notes. If you’re able to look past the assertive oak, the underlying fruit is impressive for this price point, with fresh, vibrant blueberry and blackberry. Another solid value from Santa Julia.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Heartland Stickleback Redtext
86PTS

Heartland Stickleback Red 2015

South Australia, AustraliaFrom winemaker Ben Glaetzer, this entry-level blend is 74 percent cabernet sauvignon, 24 percent shiraz, and 2 percent lagrein, aged for 12 months in French and American oak. It's a relatively fresh, easy drinking style of red, and heavy on cabernet character with sweet herbs and fresh red currant. Not overly complex or meant for serious contemplation, it's a solid Tuesday night pour. At four years of age, it’s just beginning to show some tertiary influence. Fine value.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 14.00 SK 14.95 MB 15.00 ON 14.00 Producer: Heartland Wines
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée No 21text
93PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée No 21 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted twice this week to same effect. There is more spice and Okanagan sagebrush breaking through since June, but all in all, it remains a terrific bottle of youthful wine. It was an excellent year to launch a red blend, one with all the red grapes grown at Phantom Creek Vineyard. It was picked between September 26 and October 15. Only 13 barrels were made, and the mix is 38/26/15/8/8/5/ of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec, syrah, cabernet franc and merlot. Climate change and impeccable farming have given cabernet sauvignon a foothold in the south Okanagan. It's not a get out of jail free card for the stubborn variety, but it's evident in the right spot and the right year with perfect farming it can over-deliver in a way California or Bordeaux can. The fruit, while intense and on edge, covers the palate, aided by the structure and bones of the cabernet sauvignon. The rest of the grapes work to fill in the flesh and texture and easily mingle as one to a fabulous finish. If anything the syrah could go away, but then it wouldn’t be all the red grapes. Style with grace and power. Kudos to former winemaker Ross Wise and the Phantom Creek team.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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