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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: January 2020

31 January 2020

CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gristext
86PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018

British Columbia, CanadaThe stony soils coupled with low vigour pinot gris vines in Block 7 has produced a ripe, round, and softer pinot gris, one with a dose of botrytis included in 2018. They decided to push the trend, leaving this at 35 g/l RS, which overwhelms the moderate acidity, green melon, baked pear and honey-washed fruit. The finish is short, and a little green / bitter edged, jarring against the sweetness on the palate.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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23 January 2020

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2018

South Australia, AustraliaFruit for the 2018 Bin 311 comes from the cool climate regions of Adelaide Hills, Tumbarumba, and Tasmania, a big focus of Penfolds, and a style in which they are excelling. This spent 10 months in French oak barriques (30% new) prior to bottling. Lemony acidity is at the core, and runs this greyhound sleek wine to a winning finish, joined with attractive flickers of reduction, tight pear, cashew, and spice. The wood provides just the right level of bracketing for the fruit, firm to guide a few years in the cellar, but not overwhelming at all. A lovely bright stony / chalky note rings on the lingering finish. Well done.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 49.95 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389text
92PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389 2016

South Australia, AustraliaBin 389 has often been referred to as ‘Baby Grange’, partially due to the fact 389 was aged in some of the same barrels that housed the previous vintage of Grange. This is reported to be the second most cellared wine in Oz, after Grange. First made in 1960 by legendary Penfolds winemaker Max Schubert, this was the wine that proved the structure of Penfolds cabernet sauvignon worked with the richness of their shiraz. This vintage is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Shiraz, from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, and Wrattonbully. The wines aged one year in American oak hogsheads (29% new). Blackberry, wild blueberry, black cherry, dark plum, and black peppercorns flood the dense, compact palate, framed with leathery, firm tannins that wrap around the weight and girth of this 14.5 degree declared red. Still very young, this needs more time to unravel itself. If drinking now, decant well in advance and pour with roast beef or lamb.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 55.00 SK 77.00 MB 69.00 ON 69.95 QC 69.95 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28text
89PTS

Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28 2017

South Australia, AustraliaBin 28 is a classic Penfolds wine, taking shiraz from numerous Southern Oz regions, and blending them into a familiar, accessible, ripe, dense, powerhouse. Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Padthaway makes out this hedonistic blend, further played out by one year in toasted American oak hogsheads. Ripe blackberry, dark cherry, and wine gums sweetness floods the full bodied palate, thick with ripe fruit and seasoned with American oak. Up front and ready for drinking now, as intended.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 49.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407text
91PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407 2017

South Australia, AustraliaInspired by big brother 707, this earlier-accessable cabernet takes fruit from Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Wrattonbully, and ages it in French (18% new) and American oak hogsheads (14% new). Structural and compact with dense blackberry, dark cherry, graphite, and star anise, finishing with a bitter cherry / branch note. There's a lovely brooding textural element that teems underneath, reminding more of Tuscany than Bordeaux, and veering more towards restraint than South Oz regional blends are want to do. Tannins are long and firm, ideally situated to house the weighty 14.5 degree palate. Drinking beautifully now, and still will reward with time in cellar.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

South Australia, AustraliaMy bottle of Max's Cabernet Sauvignon, named for the former chief winemaker Max Schubert (1948-1975), came wrapped in a special Chinese New Year skin, all designed around the riches of RED. Ripe, supple, and welcoming on an easy, densely fruited palate, full of dark cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, cracked cedar, and peppery spice. Tannins are sun-sinewy and long, and the finish is a bit abrupt, but nothing that those lamb chops won't mitigate. This is a blend of Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Barossa Valley and Padthaway fruit, aged one year in American oak (5 percent new) and the balance in seasoned American and French oak hogsheads.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernettext
88PTS

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2017

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaKoonunga Hill may be one of the cheaper Penfolds wines on our market, but it shows its pedigree well, with a surprise and welcome freshness that lifts this 14.5 degree shiraz cabernet from South Australia. A soft, plush palate and stelvin closure hint at its intention for drinking now, while you wait for some of its older siblings to be ready. Ripe cherry, blackberry jam, a light dusting of black peppercorn and darker chocolate fill the full, mulitregional palate, representing Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek, and Coonawarra. I imagine the volume here is massive, making this entry wine even more impressive. A flush of dark chocolate / kirsch fills the warm finish, best absorbed with beef ribs or lamb burgers.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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20 January 2020

Masi Brolo Campofiorin Orotext
89PTS

Masi Brolo Campofiorin Oro 2014

Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis is made in the same Ripasso-style as Campofiorin, but with the addition of the indigenous oseleta variety, which was rediscovered by Masi. It also sees time in small casks. It pours a deep ruby colour with dark fruits, chocolate, gobs of spice, and a certain rustic charm. Medium-bodied and lively with blocky tannins, it's an honest red wine that's meant for the dinner table. I'm thinking pasta bolognese. Recommended.Prices: BC 28.99 QC 25.99 AB 25.99 SK 27.00 ON 26.95 NS 29.99 MB 29.99 NFL 27.74 Producer: Masi Agricola
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Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superioretext
89PTS

Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2015

Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis is a blend of 80 percent corvina and 20 percent rondinella made in the traditional ripasso style, with Amarone skins added to the wine after primary fermentation to add complexity and weight. Ripasso is always a bit of a contradiction and this wine is no different, combining an undercurrent of tart red fruits and herbs with confected, raisonated fruit and chocolate. However, the balance is more seamless in this case and, if anything, leans more towards Amarone in style than a generic Valpolicella. It may not have the depth or complexity of the former, but it’s also easily half the price. Good value, and a perfect hearty, medium-full bodied red for the winter months.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 21.99 NS 30.00 NB 28.79 Producer: Da Santi SPA
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Gran Emotive Veneto Rossotext
86PTS

Gran Emotive Veneto Rosso 2018

Veneto, ItalyEmotive is a 60/40 mix of merlot and corvina that presents medium dark with pleasant plummy fruit flecked with spice and some balsamic. The attack is lightly Italian-dry with supple tannins, bright lifted acidity, and notes of overripe fruit. Best with simple spaghetti and meat sauces or any of the hard Italian cheeses.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: 10 International
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Masi Osar Oseletatext
94PTS

Masi Osar Oseleta 2011

Verona, Veneto, ItalyOsar is a wine of vibrancy and complexity that takes appasimento, the drying of the grapes before fermentation, to a whole new quality level. It is made with an ancient Veronese grape variety, oseleta, that the Masi family rediscovered and replanted in the 1980s. It has that particular electricity and structure that snaps you to attention. Fresh and vibrant, dense and round, it covers the palate effortlessly with refined red and blue fruit and sleek, dusty tannins that sing throughout its long, fresh, finish. The Italian words osare and rischiare mean 'to dare or risk', reflect many of the challenges undertaken by the Masi family in using this grape, one that had been abandoned for decades. Osar also means 'cry out with joy' in Veronese dialect, something I’m sure the Masi family did when they finally came to know this ancient grape. Respect.Prices: BC 56.99 QC 56.50 Producer: Masi Agricola
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Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctonitext
91PTS

Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 2015

ItalyOpaque in colour with an intense and persistent smoky tobacco and dried cherry and currant nose. The attack is rich, dark and supple with dense sweet black licorice and cinnamon notes mixed with plums and dusty tannins. Red meats and robust sauces are the match here. This Abruzzo red is a blend of 33% montepulciano, 30% primitivo, 25% sangiovese, 7% negroamaro, 5% malvasia. It is a modern southern red that should be well received by the hedonistic crowd.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 40.00 QC 40.00 NS 46.99 NF 40.00 Producer: Farnese
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Gini Tenuta Scajari Le Mattoline Valpolicella Superioretext
91PTS

Gini Tenuta Scajari Le Mattoline Valpolicella Superiore 2013

Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe 2013 is the first commercial release of the wine. The vineyard was planted in 2000, though they waited until it was certified organic, and also until they were happy with their efforts before release. This is a blend of corvina, corvinone, rondinella, and oseleta from south-east Valpo's Campiano - Località Lopio area, 400-600m altitude, and calcareous clay / volcanic-seasoned soils. After a native ferment and MLF in stainless, this moved to seasoned French oak for two years of rest, and then back to stainless for a final year before bottling without filtration. Give this well-thought out wine some respect with a decant, or open a day in advance. The richer, full palate benefits from stretching, to reveal crushed black plum, wild blackberry, leather seasoned with rosemary, violet leaves, anise, and salted thyme. Tannins are scratchy and ample, though thankfully worn with time. Drinking beautifully now (after that aforementioned decant), and especially with roasted rabbit, lamb, or mushroom dishes. 2400 bottles produced, and 60 bottles imported into Canada.Prices: BC 89.00 Producer: Gini
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Tommasi Arele Appassimentotext
86PTS

Tommasi Arele Appassimento 2016

Veneto, ItalyThis appassimento blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta and Merlot comes from estate hillside vineyards in the Valpo region. 30% of the grapes are partially dried on the wooden trays called Arele, for 60 days prior to fermentation, 10 months in Slavonian oak, and 2 months in French tonneaux prior to bottling. Dark cocoa, baked plums and perfumed mulberries flood the palate of this soft, plump red, with downy tannins and a big bump of sweetness noticeable on the pressed, warming finish.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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17 January 2020

Selbach Riesling (Fish Label)text
90PTS

Selbach Riesling (Fish Label) 2017

Mosel, GermanyAfter another year of the fish label, it's challenging to find the words to describe just how delicious and unassuming this riesling is. It is Johannes Selbach, it is ridiculously delicious, and the juicy fruit is backed with the electricity. Back up the truck and drink this all summer, and if you make riesling in BC, this is a beautiful model for an everyday riesling that maintains its class and standards every year. Incredible value and you can pair it with anything.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: J & H Selbach
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Rieslingtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlanted in 1991, this singular estate block (own-rooted and a mystery clone) was picked in three tranches, with the final two picks going into this Platinum Series bottling. After a few hours of skin contact, this was partial native ferment (the remainder with an organic yeast), before the whole spent six months on lees in stainless (10% in barrel) to build mouthfeel and complexity. There's a lovely limey stream throughout, drawing this long on the lees-padded palate. Starfruit, green apple, crystalline lemon, white blossoms is positively humming with energy, and lingering with minerality, with acidity well balancing out the RS. Drinking beautifully right now; CedarCreek has emerged as one of the riesling leaders of BC.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Trimbach Rieslingtext
89PTS

Trimbach Riesling 2017

Alsace, FranceThe Trimbachs are 12th generation growers/producers, with a family style consistently structured, fruity, and elegant. Brothers Pierre and Jean Trimbach select the plots for this larger production riesling each year, fermenting the grapes in stainless and concrete, and preventing MLF so the acidity is as crisp and shining as can be. Wet stone, white grapefruit, yeasty lees run quickly along the narrow palate, dry, taut and unyielding, to a dry, stony, lime sherbet finish. Structure this has, with enough plumping citrus and lees to be accessible. Bernard and Hubert Trimbach, 11th generation and father and uncle respectively, remain involved with daily ops, while Anne, the eldest of the 13th generation, has now joined the team.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 31.53 QC 23.80 ON 23.95 Producer: F.E.Trimbach
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Rieslingtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHistorically, the Platinum Block Riesling gets two picks. In 2017 there were three in a Platinum attempt to create a complexity of flavours and acidities in the wine. It worked. The style is tight and lean with bright minerality and a fresh, linear palate. Look for peach, orange, ginger, and a delicious, floral, mouthwatering finish. Everything is in balance here with a clean, mineral undercurrent to add a dash of complexity. Drink or hold, there is no rush.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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St. Hubertus Rieslingtext
88PTS

St. Hubertus Riesling 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJuicy yellow apple, pear, white florals, is cut with a snap of bitter lime pith, which lingers on the shorter finish. The slight body and slight RS means this is a natural pairing for Thai curries or lightly spiced Chinese dishes. Good value.Prices: BC 16.75 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Rieslingtext
89PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Gebert Family Reserve Riesling 2014

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA current release at 2014, this is certainly showing its age with some honeyed, petrol notes. The fruit feels a bit tamped down by the maturity as well, lacking the vibrance and energy of the 2013 Reserve. This is from 1978 planted vines, some of the oldest Riesling in BC. Parmesan rind savouriness scents the melon, white pear, green apple fruit, with a finish that trails off. Drink now.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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16 January 2020

Aphros Phanus Palhetetext
90PTS

Aphros Phanus Palhete 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalHard to be more natural than Aphros' founder and winemaker Vasco Croft. He made this wine, and others in the Phaunus range, without electricity. Palhete is the local name for a wine that is made in a farmer's style, by blending red and white grapes to create a low-alcohol wine to drink during the day. This biodynamically farmed and produced blend of loureiro (white) and vinhão (red) was crushed, destemmed, and pressed by hand power, then native fermented on skins in a large beeswax-lined talha (the traditional clay amphorae of Alentejo) for 7 months before it was bottled without filtration. The colour is a cloudy peach hue, echoed in the apricot / peach pith ruling the astringent palate, and joined by wild strawberry, raspberry vinegar, pink peppercorns, and a furry grip of tannins that brackets this wine. Unusual, to say the least, and it works. Chill and enjoy.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Aphros
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Niepoort Dialogo Douro Brancotext
89PTS

Niepoort Dialogo Douro Branco 2018

Douro Superior, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis youthful white may show a comic on the label, but make no mistake, this is a serious wine, from one of the world's top winemakers, Dirk Niepoort. From schistous, mica-flecked vineyards on the right bank of the Douro, between 550-700m, this blend of indigenous Portuguese white grapes is native fermented in a split between stainless and older French barriques (30 percent), with no MLF, and remains there for eight months. The blend is 20-50 year old rabigato, códega do larinho, gouveio, dona branca, viosinho, bical and others. Tight with green apple and green fig, citrus, sour melon, lees, lemon thistle, meadow grass and a wash of fine salts, finishing with a lips making lemony acidity. So smashable, and such a fantastic price (especially in ON).Prices: BC 25.00 ON 17.95 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Aphros Phaunus Loureirotext
90PTS

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2018

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalHard to be more natural than Aphros' founder and winemaker Vasco Croft. He made this wine, and others in the Phaunus range, without electricity. This biodynamically farmed and produced loureiro was crushed, destemmed, and pressed by hand power, then native fermented on skins in a large beeswax-lined talha (the traditional clay amphorae of Alentejo) for 7 months before it was bottled without filtration. Pouring slightly cloudy in the glass, this rings with tight apricot oil, elderflower, marmalade, tangerine peel and pith. Ample tight nimble pithiness grips along the sides. Very alive, long, and vibrant in the mouth, finishing with lightly warming honeycomb. Pure, clean, focused amber wine, surprisingly concentrated for 11.5 degrees, and a lovely different view of loureiro.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Aphros
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Niepoort Conciso Brancotext
89PTS

Niepoort Conciso Branco 2016

Dão, Northern Portugal, Portugal60-100-year-old bical, encruzado and malvasia, along with a smattering of other indigenous white grape from Dao's granitic soiled Quinta da Lomba, make up this third edition of Conciso Branco. The wine fermented naturally in granite tanks before transferring to older 500L barrels to complete MLF and age for 20 months, without bâtonnage. Pear, green apple, wild lemon, white pear, yellow apple, flaxen lees, and hints of wood that plump the core, trailing off to a saline finish. There's a gently lifted acidity which brightens this branco, holding a lot of heft for a slight 11.5 degrees.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Fitapreta Branco de Indígenastext
92PTS

Fitapreta Branco de Indígenas 2015

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalFrom Antonio Maçanita's Signature Series, this Branco de Indígenas is a blend of 80/20 arinto/verdelho from Alentejo's granite and schist soils, native fermented and aged for a year in neutral barrels. Super salty from tip to tail, with roasted pine nuts, ripe quince, wild meadow grasses, wet stones on a potent, medium-bodied, very oily palate. So much authenticity and power here, in a streamlined package. Showing beautifully now, and quite memorable.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Bojador Vinho Rosétext
89PTS

Bojador Vinho Rosé 2018

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalWinemakers Pedro Ribeiro and his wife Catarina Vieira moved to Vidigueira, in the Alentejo, to produce wines that are true to the historical traditions of this region. This gracefully pale rosé is a blend of organically farmed aragonez and touriga nacional, with short time in steel to preserve freshness. Salted strawberries, pomegranates, red currants glide along a slight palate, with the thinnest slick of lees bedding the stony palate to a very saline finish. Very smart, and smashable wine.Prices: Portugal 15.00 Producer: Bojador
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Pormenor Rosétext
90PTS

Pormenor Rosé 2017

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalPouring a medium peach hue, this blend of 60-70 year old vines of touriga franca, tinta roriz, amarela, rufete, tinta barocca from the Cima Corgo was fermented in stainless and aged in older French barrel (no MLF, no batonage) for 7 months. Mineral salts ring through this medium bodied rosé, seasoning plum, strawberry, and wild raspberry. The palate is gently silky and lightly plump with lees, making this drink well solo and with food.Prices: Portugal 14.00 Producer: Pormenor Vinhos
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Pormenor Reserva Brancotext
89PTS

Pormenor Reserva Branco 2017

Douro Superior, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOld vines, low intervention, and high altitude aim the direction of Pormenor wines. This is a blend of rabigato, malvasia fine, from 650-700m in Douro Superior. This was native fermented and aged in used French barrels, with no MLF or batonage, for 10 months. The wood certainly is present, sculpting the white peach, pear, plump quince with a toasty wood grain, adding structure and weight. Thankfully it supports rather than overwhelms the mineral laden fruit, adding a silken component to the finish.Prices: Portugal 26.00 Producer: Pormenor Vinhos
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Pormenor Brancotext
90PTS

Pormenor Branco 2017

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOld vines, low intervention, and high altitude aim the direction of Pormenor wines. This is a blend of rabigato, malvasia fine, and bodega do larinho from the mica schist soils of Carrazeda de Ansiaes, in Douro Superior. After a natural ferment this rests in stainless with no MLF or batonage for 7 months. Tightly framed, and filled with stony white fruit, light herbal blossoms, and large flake salts. There's a fine grip around the sides and lofty, effortless acidity, encouraging numerous food pairings.Prices: Portugal 17.00 Producer: Pormenor Vinhos
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MQ Vinhos Vale Dos Ares Alavarinhotext
89PTS

MQ Vinhos Vale Dos Ares Alavarinho 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalVale dos Ares is alvarinho from the subregions of Monção and Melgaço in Vinho Verde. The vineyard is sustainably farmed at 200m, on granite and schist soils facing west. It is a delicious, bright, skinny, mineral white wine with a strong citrus and guava bent. Everything is done by hand to produce a classic, unoaked, yet complex wine at only 13.5 ͦ alcohol that speaks of its terroir. Real wine.Prices: CDN 28.99 Producer: MQ Vinhos
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Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Rosétext
88PTS

Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Rosé 2017

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis Alentejano rosé comes through the lens of Antonio Maçanita, Portugal's young highly heralded consulting winemaker. This blend of 80/20 petit verdot and touriga naçional was fermented and rested briefly in stainless. The grapes' ample perfume wafts above a tart base of wild cranberries, tangerine, red currants. Acidity is snappy and the palate is smooth, finishing with an orange creamsicle note and red floral kiss. Lively and silken, this will well suit rose or light tomato dressed pastas.Prices: CDN 27.99 Producer: Herdade do Arrepiado Velho
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Márcio Lopes Pequenos Rebentos Alavarinhotext
89PTS

Márcio Lopes Pequenos Rebentos Alavarinho 2017

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalA terrific alvarinho from Vinho Verde that is sustainably farmed in granite soils under a cool, Atlantic climate. It is all hand-harvested before a 12-hour maceration without stems, slowly fermented, and aged on its lees with five months of battonage. The acid is bright, the minerality intense, all with a green underbelly. A perfect seafood wine and it is ready to drink.Prices: CDN 31.99 Producer: Márcio Lopes
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Oscar's Quevedo Whitetext
85PTS

Oscar's Quevedo White 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalViosinho, gouveio, arinto make up the blend of this simple Douro white, fermented and aged in stainless for two months. Crab apple and green apple move into sour lemon, white peach and yogurty lees, which finishes brusquely and with a kiss of sweet. Chill and take with simply prepared clams, or salads.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
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Fitapreta Brancotext
92PTS

Fitapreta Branco 2018

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of roupeiro, rabo de ovelha, antão vaz, tamarez, alicante branco, and arinto are sourced from granitic soils of Alentejo, and vines from 30-47 years, up to 400m in altitude. After a native ferment in stainless barrels, this remained there on lees for 6 months prior to bottling. As one would expect from the grapes / soil / winemaker Antonio Maçanita, this is layered and complexed wine, with decomposed stones infiltrating quince, green apple, pear skin, pine nuts, scrubby herbs and potent mineral salts. The mineral bodied palate has a vine veil of wax to support, finishing with a lingering granitic grip. Not about fruit, all about place. Fantastic authentic Alentejano snapshot now, and will age beautifully. Amazing value.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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15 January 2020

Maçanita Tintotext
90PTS

Maçanita Tinto 2018

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalBrother and sister winemakers Antonio and Joana came together to make wines under the Maçanita label, their family name. This is a blend of touriga nacional, sousão and a field blend of old vines, all from the Cima Corgo, and is native fermented with twenty days on skins before being split between neutral barrel and tank for one year. Lovely wild plum, blueberry, sapid thorns, earthy cassis, sour cherry on a tighter, bright palate, with softly grippy tannins holding the sides. Stony and fresh, ideal drinking now.Prices: ON 24.25 Producer: Maçanita
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Fitapreta Tinto de Castelãotext
89PTS

Fitapreta Tinto de Castelão 2015

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis castelão (aka periquita) came from the granite-clay soils of the Serra d'orsa mountain, its regional home. To honour that this grape needs time, winemaker Antonio Macanita has given it a slow native ferment and 30 day maceration, one year in neutral barrel, and another year in bottle before release. Brooding black plum, dark cherry, wild thorny blackberry are layered with tobacco on a fresh palate, one weighted with leathery, sinewy tannins. There's a swing of balsamic that licks at the back of the palate, hinting at the wildness of castelão. Leaning rustic, with freshness, this could take on roasted wild game or wild mushrooms.Prices: ON 40.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Fitapreta Trincadeira Não é Tão Preta Signature Seriestext
90PTS

Fitapreta Trincadeira Não é Tão Preta Signature Series 2015

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis trincadeira preta (aka tinta amarela) 'is not black', as the label references, and refers to the fact Antonio Maçanita picks this early, against custom, and unlike most who wait until the fragile grape is super-ripe and often raisinated. This comes from the granite and schist soils of Alentejo, and was native fermented and aged in stainless. Balsamic, blackcurrant, black plums, dried violets are held brisk and taut, humming with black pepper and lofted with acidity. Quite fresh, belying its 14 degrees. A lovely opportunity to taste a pure trincadeira.Prices: ON 47.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Niepoort Diálogo Tintotext
89PTS

Niepoort Diálogo Tinto 2017

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis youthful red may show a comic on the label, but make no mistake, this is a serious wine, from one of the world's top winemakers, Dirk Niepoort. This is a blend of touriga franca, touriga nacional, tinta roriz, tinta amarela from the Cima Corgo's schistous soils, and vines up to 40 years in age. This was native fermented in stainless, and aged in a mix of stainless and oak for 6 months. Dusky plum, thorny wild blackberry, black raspberry on a slender, fresh, slightly graphite gripped palate, finishing with a dusting of broken stones and a hum of minerality. Accessible, but not dumbed down, and ready to drink, this is an easy, smart choice for house pours.Prices: ON 17.95 BC 24.00 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Pormenor Trilhotext
91PTS

Pormenor Trilho 2015

PortugalOld vines, low intervention, and high altitude aim the direction of Pormenor wines. This is a blend of 60-70 year old vine tinta roriz, tinta baroca, touriga franca, and rufete, from Alijo and 700m altitude. This sees partial whole bunch and partial destemmed fruit native fermented in lagares, and aged for 2 years in used French barrels. This medium-bodied red is showing some age smartly, with gently worn leather, cherry, red currant, and tightly grippy fine grained tannins outlining the worn-in red. Mineral salts linger on the drying finish.Prices: Portugal 47.00 Producer: Pormenor Vinhos
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Pormenor Tintotext
90PTS

Pormenor Tinto 2016

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOld vines, low intervention, and high altitude aim the direction of Pormenor wines. This is a blend of touriga franca, tinta roriz, amarela, and rufete, from vines 60-70 years old in the Cima Corgo. After a native fermentation in lagares, this aged in older French barrels for 18 months. Cherry, raspberry and red currant feel lofty in the 12.5 degree frame, housed with fine tannins, and finishing with a raspy spicing. Youthful, honest, pure, and ready for drinking now.Prices: Portugal 16.00 Producer: Pormenor Vinhos
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Da Foz Douro Redtext
90PTS

Da Foz Douro Red 2014

Douro Superior, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of touriga naçional, touriga franca, and tinta roriz comes from 80+ year old vines on the terraced schist soils of the Douro. After ferment and foot trodding in old granite lagares, this spent 18 months maturing in new French oak barrels. The fruit has gobbled up the oak, as has time in bottle. This is for drinking now, with mellow, lightly grippy tannins housing dried aromatic rock roses, mulberry, raspberry jam, balsamic to a pinched finish. Best enjoyed as intended, with lamb or wild boar.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Quinta da Foz
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Herdade do Cebolal Parcela Calcariotext
89PTS

Herdade do Cebolal Parcela Calcario 2014

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalHerdade do Cebolal is located on the Alentejo Coast, 10 km from the sea and 20 km from the historic city of Santiago do Cacém. This Setubal blend of touriga nacional, alicante bouschet, petit verdot was fermented in stainless and clay, before aging in French oak for 18 months. This is showing its age; thankfully time has turned the southern Portuguese sun into worked leather, dried cherry, tobacco, and dried tea leaves. Tannins, however, are still very present, tuggy and forward, necessitating drinking this with something protein-heavy and/or fatty to mitigate.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Herdade do Cebolal
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Post Scriptum de Chryseiatext
91PTS

Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalPost Scriptum is a second label to Prats + Symmington's lead wine Chryseia, and intended to enjoy at a younger age. From 2007 this came predominantly from fruit from Rio Torto's Quinta da Perdiz, in the Cima Corgo. A near split between touriga nacional and touriga franca, this spent a year in 400L French barrels. Crushed violets, wild cassis, dusky blackberries fill the full palate, dusted with charcoal, chiseled with graphite and streaked with schist. Tannins are firm, but slight and fuzzy, yielding for drinking now, especially with wild boar or mushrooms. Certainly still worthy for your cellar, with reward.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 39.95 MB 30.99 Producer: Symington Family Estates - Prats & Symington
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AdegaMãe Dory Reserva Redtext
88PTS

AdegaMãe Dory Reserva Red 2015

PortugalFrom Lisboa's Adega Mãe, and winemakers Anselmo Mendes and Diogo Lopes, this blend of touriga nacional, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot aged in French and American oak casks for one year. Brooding dark fruit, cedar spicing, black liquorice, is framed with grippy thorns, and peppercorns. Fuzzy tannins house the full, but fresh, palate to a sticky finish.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: AdegaMãe
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Quinta Da Costa Do Pinhão Peladosatext
92PTS

Quinta Da Costa Do Pinhão Peladosa 2015

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis wine shows old vine Douro reds are not all about power and show. This is a field blend of 80-90 year old vines in the Cima Corgo, including Tinta Roriz, Tinta da Carvalha, Tinto da Barca and Alicante Bouschet, with approximately 20 other indigenous grapes all from a single schistous site 300-350m. 60% whole cluster, and native fermented in open cement, this spent 21 months in 500L French barrels for 21 months. Fresh and mineral-led, with layers of sapid plum, wild raspberry, scrubby rock rose resins, graphite, worn leather, and wax. Tannins are ample, but fine, and well situated to support the old vines. The finish lingers with a dusting of pink peppercorns. Beautiful minerality and vibrancy from front to back, this is a wine drinking lovely now, and will reward with cellar time.Prices: CDN 62.99 Producer: Quinta da Costa do Pinhão
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AdegaMãe Merlot Tintotext
85PTS

AdegaMãe Merlot Tinto 2014

PortugalFrom the heat of Lisboa, this 2014 merlot is already pouring brown in the glass, with obvious notes of oxidation, dried black fruits, dark earth, and bitter, very gritty tannins. After a stainless ferment, this was aged in new French oak for 11 months. Not so pleasurable on its own, this may better suit hearty and rustic stews.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: AdegaMãe
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Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tradição Reservatext
89PTS

Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tradição Reserva 2015

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalYou can tell this full bodied red is an icon wine from the heft and weight of the bottle, echoed in the expansiveness of this touriga nacional from Alentejo. After a native ferment, this was pressed off skins into French oak, where it remained for 18 months. Very touriga, with its ample dark, dried florals atop dried cherry and plum, leather, peppery spice drawing slowly along a tarry palate. The alcohol (15%) reflects the picking decisions as much as the Douro's baking sun. Drink now with suitably equal proteins to match this mass. Winemaker Antonio Maçanita works on this project.Prices: CDN 58.99 Producer: Herdade do Arrepiado Velho
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Herdade do Arrepiado Collection Red Reservatext
89PTS

Herdade do Arrepiado Collection Red Reserva 2015

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThe heft of this wine is matched by the heft of its bottle, with dense and potent touriga nacional, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah controlling the massive palate. After a native ferment, this spent 24 months in new French wood, before it was lightly filtered prior to bottling. Balsamic swings through the palate, swathing through tobacco, blackberries, roasted plums and dark earth. Tannins are wood hewn and ragged, and the finish filled with warming cracked peppercorns. Very much in youth, and in need of a rich protein to match now. Better yet, wait a few years in the cellar. The winemaker for this project is Antonio Maçanita.Prices: CDN 58.99 ON 55.95 Producer: Herdade do Arrepiado Velho
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Vasques de Carvalho Oxum Redtext
87PTS

Vasques de Carvalho Oxum Red 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of Douro touriga nacional, touriga franca, tinta roriz, and tinta amarela is ripe and potent on the palate, with gobs of sweet raspberry, sharp blackcurrant, and medicinal black cherry. The tannins are raging, pinching in the ripe fruit to a tight, drying, charcoal-dusted finish. This rustic red needs a hearty chunk of meat to mitigate.Prices: CDN 37.00 Producer: Vasques de Carvalho
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Márcio Lopes Anel Reserva Tintotext
88PTS

Márcio Lopes Anel Reserva Tinto 2016

Douro Superior, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of touriga nacional, touriga franca comes from the baking hot Douro Superior, and 25 year old vines. After foot treading in granite lagares, this fermented over 10 days before moving to used oak for six months. Give this giant red some airtime in a decanter to reveal wild blackberries, brooding cassis, and thorns. Tannins are firm and strident with oak, appropriate for the fullness of the fruit. Thankfully Douro's schist is present in aiding freshness and acidity in this big red. Drinking well now (after aforementioned decant) and with suitable proteins to match.Prices: CDN 31.99 Producer: Márcio Lopes
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Oscar's Quevedo Redtext
87PTS

Oscar's Quevedo Red 2017

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalRoasted meats and a toasty cedar frame house this rustic, medium bodied Douro blend of touriga naçional and touriga franca. Acidity is moderate enough to mitigate the grippiness, and fill the core of black cherry and red currants to a brusque, spicy finish. Simple and friendly with a burger on the grill.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
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14 January 2020

Natte Valleij Swartland Cinsaulttext
92PTS

Natte Valleij Swartland Cinsault 2017

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine Cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. These dry farmed bush vines were planted in 1986 on decomposed Malmesbury shale, lying on an eastern facing, morning-sunned slope. This was aged in foudres, with 20% stems (left in the full sun for a day). That shale shines through, with a brooding, broken stone base, bedding wild plum, dusky raspberry, medicinal cherry, and thorny scrubby, salt tossed, eucalypt-scented herbs. This has a lovely firm structure that works so well to form the fruit. Really settling into itself with some bottle age. 800 bottles.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Natte Valleij Darling Paarltext
90PTS

Natte Valleij Darling Paarl 2017

Darling, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. These 1978 planted bush vines grow in a very isolated block in Darling, on a hill surrounded by wheat fields, on on decomposed granite. This was fermented in concrete egg. Garrigue, dried rosemary, dried thyme and scrubby thorny herbs coat the medium+ palate, toned with darker raspberry and cherry, lined with sarsaparilla, seasoned with rafts of fine pink peppercorns, and housed by sticky tannins. Acidity is grapefruit-laced and lifted enough to carry the sun-weight, finishing with a sapid wild plum smokiness. 800 bottles.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Natte Valleij Cinsault Simonsberg Paarltext
92PTS

Natte Valleij Cinsault Simonsberg Paarl 2017

Simonsberg-Paarl, Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine Cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. These bush vines were planted on decomposed granite in 1993, and face northwest in the protection of Simonsberg Mountain. They are the youngest in the collective, picked early and fermented with 10% stems, and aged on foudre. Lovely liquorice, licks of kirsch, dried violets, raspberry blossoms, whiffs of cured spiced meats and darts of pink pepper in an upfront and very present nose. Acidity is bright, and tannins lick to the sides, holding all the energy in. Little flush of warmth on the finish. Very charming and youthful. 800 bottles.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Natte Valleij Stellenbosch Cinsaulttext
90PTS

Natte Valleij Stellenbosch Cinsault 2017

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine Cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. This is from old bush vines planted in 1974 in Helderberg Mountain’s sea-facing shadows and decomposed granite soils. This was destemmed into concrete egg, which is felt in the gently grippy texture throughout this bright, energetic wine. Sapid raspberry, plum, cracked mustard, meadow herbs is framed by shadow fine tannins and buoyed by lifted acidity, showcasing its 11.7 degrees alcohol. Very pretty; best taken with a light chill.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Chateau des Adouzes Le Tigretext
89PTS

Chateau des Adouzes Le Tigre 2017

Faugères, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceFrom the Montrose family, and brothers and sisters Olivier and Jeanne Coste, this is 70+ yo vines of carignan, grenache, and syrah growing on schist soils. Potent and concentrated, with savoury kirsch, thorns, black raspberry, sausage, and waves of peppery spicing. Well handled and managed for 14%.Prices: UK 9.00 Producer: Château des Adouzes
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Olivier Coste Cinsaulttext
90PTS

Olivier Coste Cinsault 2018

l'Hérault, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis French cinsault reminds me of new wave South Africa, wild with sap, resin, light pitch and spiced red fruits. There's darting florals, and an infiltration of light peppercorn, with lightly sticky tannins, reflective of the southern France environment. Lovely with a light chill.Prices: UK 30.00 Producer: Olivier Coste
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L'Oustal Blanc Ktext
88PTS

L'Oustal Blanc K 2016

Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis is entirely Carignan, 50% from St-Chinian and 50% La Liverois Minervois, fermented and aged in cement, with 20% going into barrel for aging. Super ripe, sun-filled, and filled with purple florals and fruits. Tannins are smoothed and acidity is low, so this bigger red is best not left for solo sipping.Prices: France 13.00 Producer: L'Oustal Blanc
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Olivier Coste Oldstar Carignan Noirtext
89PTS

Olivier Coste Oldstar Carignan Noir 2018

l'Hérault, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FrancePure, fresh, sapid and wild, with bright acidity, ample energy and tight spice on the finish. This was done entirely in stainless, keeping the focus on the bush vine fruit. Lovely with a chill, for solo sipping or with food. Smashable.Prices: UK 34.00 Producer: Olivier Coste
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Olivier Coste Rare Carignan Blanctext
89PTS

Olivier Coste Rare Carignan Blanc 2018

l'Hérault, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceIt's very rare to taste a single variety carignan blanc, and this is one that you should imprint with should you get the chance. Ripe and expansive, reflective of the Languedoc sun, with ripe melon, tangerine, cold cream, pineapple rind and spicy energy to a warming finish.Prices: UK 35.00 Producer: Olivier Coste
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Domaine Ollier Taillfer Grande Reserve Faugerestext
90PTS

Domaine Ollier Taillfer Grande Reserve Faugeres 2015

Faugères, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, South of France, FranceDomaine Ollier Taillefer’s oldest carignan vines go into this delicious, balanced red. The mix is grenache, syrah and a dash of mourvèdre, grown organically on schist soils. The attack is all red berries, particularly silky raspberries with a stony mineral underside, dusting of garrigue, and a round, soft, long supple finish. Perfect drinking now but will no doubt age five to seven years effortlessly. Lamb, pigeon, mushrooms all work here. Excellent value and real wine.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Alain Ollier Fils et Fille
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13 January 2020

Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franctext
86PTS

Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franc 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada50 year old eat cab franc vines fermented for 20 days in stainless before aging in 75/25 French / American oak for one year, and the power of the aforementioned is felt is this big red. Ripe, dense black and red fruit, smokey hickory bacon, pimento and charred red pepper floods a thick palate, with blocky tannins, a clunky, youthful palate, and a short, stunted finish. Needs equally roasted / weighted red meats to match.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc Cerqueira Vineyardtext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc Cerqueira Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis franc has just been released, and even though it is 2018, it has that Bartier finesse that makes it approachable at release. The fruit comes off the Black Sage Terrace home site Cerqueira Vineyard. Bartier mixes ten percent merlot into the wine to keep it supple and round, but it’s the savoury black fruit and leafy flavours of the cabernet franc that makes this wine work. It’s native fermented, on skins for a day, and aged one year in French oak barrels. Look for black plums and a persistent herbaceous undertow that runs through a polished finish dotted with baking spices. Tasted twice already and it is looking very friendly.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMy first look at this Oldfield Reserve Cab Franc and it's impressive. 2016 was an excellent vintage until an early frost on October 13 and 14, followed by rain, which made picking difficult. Two ferments, selected yeast and natural ferment, and ageing in French oak (35% new) for a year prior to a selection for the reserve, followed by a return to barrel for a further six months. I love the intense, deep freshly baked cherry, plum pie that tumbles onto the palate in soft textures and baking spices. The final blend is an 88/11/1/ mix of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Bottled under screwcap, this will be fun to drink and watch over the next decade.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc cl 214text
89PTS

Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc cl 214 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClone 214 is known for its aromatics, and planted on a cool east-facing slope (morning sun and afternoon shade) it opens with a refreshing earthy, cedar, peppery resin nose that spills onto a dry, firm palate. The fruit is medium bright, mixing plums with peppery graphite notes that devolve into a smoky, cedar, silky tannin finish. Spaghetti Bolognese works here, and so would a grilled pepper steak. Drink or hold through 2023.Prices: BC 34.50 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Hester Creek Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franc 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA wet spring was followed by a typical hot, dry Okanagan summer ending in 1422 growing degree days (GDDs), well above the 13-year average of 1054 for the Oliver area. The 50-year-old franc vines are thinned to one bunch per shoot and are fermented for 20 days in stainless steel before ageing in a 75/25 mix of French and American oak for one year. Look for an equal mix of vibrant red and black fruits with a peppery, earthy, tobacco leaf underneath, and medium length slightly soupy tannins. Solid and food-friendly. Hester Creek Estate Vineyard Block 3 turned fifty in 2018.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Dark Horse Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Dark Horse Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Golden Mile Bench with its vast alluvial fans is the source of this Dark Horse Vineyard cabernet franc. Site shows through the warm, high spirited nature of sweet, ripe fruit imbued with luxurious oak in this ambitions re-imagining of Inniskillin's pedigreed vineyard. Plummy aromas repeat in the flavours which are dark and dense, velvety, creamy, and spicy. Tannins feel soft and smooth, propping the wine up guite nicely, while balancing acidity refreshes from within. There's enough lovely Okanagan savoury herbs to keep things interesting, and while the oak is substantial, the dense fruit can handle it. One for a few years of bottle ageing, or sip alongside shortribs braised with mushrooms and herbs.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Dark Horse Vineyard
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Black Swift Vineyards Desert Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Black Swift Vineyards Desert Valley Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeep vinous purple in the glass, this wine has a fullsome, expressive nose that leaps directly to the piriform cortex. Cabernet franc aromas present perfectly: raspberry, graphite, violet, plum, leafy green, and a hint of shoe polish. Impressive, and quite arresting. There is cassis, cherry, linzertorte, and clear oak whiffs of toasted cedar and sandlewood. In the mouth the wine is expansive and mighty, with dark black and red fruit, cocoa powder, spice and a distinct cool-climate leafy laurel savoury character. The tannins are quite perpendicular in their youth. Wonderfully fresh, clean, juicy and leaner on the palate than the nose suggests, showing classic BC balance of ripe fruit, elevated acidity, and herbal greenery. Maturation in new French oak casks for 31 months gives a nice vanillin lacquer. Desert Valley Vineyard sits on the alluvial fans of the Golden Mile Bench and this wine is impressive throughout; more relaxing time in bottle will help stretch out the tannins. Full bodied and dynamic, it needs robust food like an elk braise or venison pie.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Vista's Edgetext
91PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Vista's Edge 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeep plum in the glass, you'll find a heady nose of smouldering dark berried fruit, vanilla-scented oak, and grilled herbs. The wine is muscular, intensly flavoured with black and blue fruit, creamy milk chocolate, and an espresso finish that speaks to 15 months in 25% new French oak. Glossy and impressive, with explosive fruit that is reigned in by Okanagan-brisk acidity and the streamlining effect it has on excess. Lengthy vinous finish has a dusty and oaky flair. Mission Hill's impressive Terroir Collection uses just the finest top three percent of all their fruit, and Vista's Edge vineyard is in the Okanagan's deep south, where west-facing slopes help cabernet franc ripen to concentrated perfection. Decant for half an hour, pour into your largest wine stems, and pair with herbed rack of lamb.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franc Reservetext
90PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc Reserve 2017

British Columbia, CanadaLillooet's Fort Berens Reserve version of the 2017 cabernet franc offers a deep raspberry colour, and potent nose of dried cherry, raisin and cherry cola with oak spice, vanillin, graphite and toasted coconut on full display. Several sips reveal powerful dark black and red fruit, boosted by partial drying of some of the grapes. Just as it does for Venetian wines, the appassimento process notches up the concentration, softens quite firm tannins, and focuses fruit and acid. Fresh grapes and partially dried fruit are fermented together in large open topped oak fermenters, then aged for a further ten months in French and American oak. Definately sweetly riper and more potent than the charming non-reserve, but this is a sucessfully made wine, with more than ample BC character and juicy balance. It will continue to open up for a few more years, and needs a wedge of aged cheese and rosemary focaccia, preferably beside a roaring fire.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaAlways a BC cabernet franc success, the 2017 vintage is handsome and presents a lovely cool climate silhouette of the grape. Scents of bay leaf, bitter cherry, and purple flowers grace the nose, and crisp flavours burst with juicy plum, tart raspberry and leafy green, conjuring up Loire weight, body and streamlined tannins. Nine months in American and French oak barrels remain unobtrusive and well-met by plenty of fruit. The tannins are middling and fine grained. Most of the cab franc comes from Fort Beren's Dry Creek vineyard in Lillooet, with a little pulled from Oliver. Very nicely done, easy to drink, and just as easily dressed up for a roast beef dinner.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPersian carpet-magenta coloured with a pretty nose of cassis, dark plum and violet candies. The pencil lead and dried herbs of classic varietal cabernet franc are nicely displayed in this Golden Mile wine. Sweet, ripe, dark fruit flavours with are heavily coated with mocha oak notes and uplifted by fresh Okanagan acidity; two years in oak barrels shows on the highly toasted, savoury finish. Solid effort that showcases well-ripened fruit, balanced by the savouryness that one hopes for in cabernet franc.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Kitsch Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Kitsch Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTranslucent black raspberry colour in the glass with alluring aromas of dried petals, cassis fruit and a little tar. The flavours bloom in the mouth with blackberry and cocoa, a distinct pepper spice, and dried mint. Crisp acidity trims the body to medium, the tannins are modest and fine-textured, with a little bite of oak toast from 10 months of barrel time on the finalé. Eminently drinkable, clean and expressive effort from Kitsch for a casual dinner of juicy burgers, or cheese and charcuterie.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Moraine Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Moraine Cabernet Franc 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPretty, claret-coloured with a high-toned nose of newspaper ink, dark berries, a floral fragrance and leafy green shows the classic varietal characteristics of cabernet franc to a T. Mid-weight with gorgeous blackcurrant, plummy flavours, and savoury bay leaf complexity that meshes beautifully with graphite and cool menthol tones. Restrained and streamlined, this has a gravelly finish that will stretch out with a few more years in the bottle. Fresh and inviting with a simple lamb stew.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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10 January 2020

Bartier Bros. Merlot Cerqueira Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Merlot Cerqueira Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bartier Merlot comes off the estate Cerqueira Vineyard along the Black Sage Terrace, south of Oliver. The vineyard has a gentle west-facing slope of dense loam topsoil above gravel with calcium carbonate covered granite, quartz, and basalt cobbles throughout the deep profile. The density of this merlot is always impressive. Creamy and silky, the difference is in the ageing, namely fourteen weeks in neutral French oak barrels. The wood encourages a healthy oxygen exchange without any oak interfering with the naturally dry, savoury, desert blue fruits. Love the mineral notes and salt that cleans up the finish. These wines like about five years in bottle before they reach tier zenith, but the balance would suggest it can go a decade and beyond. Perfect now with your favourite steak cuts. Super value. Real wine.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Upper Bench Merlot Estate Growntext
90PTS

Upper Bench Merlot Estate Grown 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2016 we see the finesse we have been craving from this merlot. We love the vintage and the acidity that lifts the fruit and lightens the load on the palate. It’s still rich and full-bodied, but the balance and freshness will serve it well five years down the road. In the meantime, enjoy the blue fruit, black cherries, and the glossy Naramata Bench tannins. Cheese anyone?Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlottext
88PTS

Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve Merlot 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuch like last year, the Reserve Block Two Merlot is as rich and a supple it gets for merlot. The style is ripe with sweet black fruit and smoky, savoury undercurrents with just enough acidity to hold it together, but it was definitely on the hedonistic side in 2017. The attack is a cherry, cocoa/mocha affair with medium length. It should have broad appeal for its drinkability and softness. Perfect for a beef and mushroom pizza, or grilled tip steak with a chimichurri sauce.Prices: BC 28.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Township 7 Merlottext
88PTS

Township 7 Merlot 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine surprised me last year with its size and structure, and it’s almost as rich this vintage. The nose is a mix of savoury and balsamic notes that spill onto the palate. The attack is full-bodied but in that softer, rounder merlot way, bringing black cherries, plums and sweet tobacco leaf into the mix. Young but not particularly awkward, this will be fun to drink in two years and through 2027. Most of the power comes from the gravelly North Oliver Bench (Blue Terrace Vineyard) with lesser amounts for finesse from the Front Yard Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. It gets 14-20 days of maceration with thrice daily hand punch downs before ageing in American and French barrels for 18 months. I would love to see this with no American oak to tighten the final picture.Prices: BC 25.97 AB 24.95 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlottext
90PTS

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAll was good in 2016 until the October full moon frost that led to a rush to pick on the 13th and 14th. Rain further delayed the picking another ten days, when the highest blocks on the Black Sage Bench made it into the wine. It is aged 18 months in 35 percent new oak. A deep colour precedes a tight, mineral, graphite nose that hits the palate with style and acidity. More linear then you might expect, it runs long and deep on the palate. Red and black fruits, perfect acidity, and firm, dense, yet almost sweet tannins balance the finish. Already impressive, this is a wine you can cellar for a decade. The final blend is 85% merlot, 10% cabernet franc 3% petit verdot, 1% malbec, 1% cabernet sauvignon.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot Cold Creek Vineyardtext
89PTS

Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot Cold Creek Vineyard 2013

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesSourced from Cold Creek Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, a pioneering vineyard originally planted in 1973, this merlot shows more winemaking than vineyard. Lavishly oaked with 71 percent new French and American barrels, there’s lots of spice and dark chocolate, with caramelized black fruits and a herbal note poking through in the background. It’s round and medium-bodied with soft, wooly tannins that are fairly well resolved at this stage. All in all, this is ready for prime time, as the fruit is beginning to fade behind the oak. I’d like to see just a bit more depth and nuance at this price.Prices: BC 56.00 MB 48.99 Producer: Chateau Ste. Michelle
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09 January 2020

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
92PTS

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2014

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is the brightest and purest edition of Hypothesis that I have encountered, with an abundance of fruit and acidity to carry it along for the next decade in the bottle. The blend is 45/33/22 cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. It’s a beautiful road map for others to follow because the purity of Okanagan fruit with a dusting of sagebrush is unique. The florality is off the charts, and it lifts the middle of the palate, giving it vibrancy and length. It’s just a baby at this point and very primary, but I have high hopes for this wine down the road. Buy and hold for the moment.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Covert Farms Amicitiatext
89PTS

Covert Farms Amicitia 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmicitia [am-ee-CHEE-tee-ah] is Latin for friends, and in 2016, it suits this friendly, organic red blend, perhaps the best yet from this producer. Winemaker Gene Covert blends 37/23/16/14/9/1/ of organic merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot and syrah, creating a vibrant, harmonious red. Look for soft black cherries, raisins, a touch of cloves, and coffee with amazingly silky tannins. You can drink or hold this wine through 2025. Serve now with a creamy mushroom risotto or grilled beef sliced thin. Even if you haven't visited Covert Farms, do so the next time you are in Oliver. This small winery follows organic and biodynamic practices and is located on the stunning 600-acre property where they raise a variety of organic fruits and vegetables.Prices: BC 29.80 Producer: Covert Farms
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Fort Berens Meritage Reservetext
88PTS

Fort Berens Meritage Reserve 2017

British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Reserve Meritage is led by cabernet sauvignon with merlot and cabernet franc filling out the rear. The cabernet sauvignon is Similkameen-sourced, while the others come from Fort Beren’s estate vineyards in Lillooet. Thankfully, unlike others under the reserve grey label tier, this employs no apassimento stylings. The ferment is traditional with all three kept separate in stainless steel before ageing in French and American oak for ten months – followed by the assemblage or blending. Dark cherry drives this full, savoury edged palate, drawing along tobacco, pencil shavings, cassis and black plums in its wake. Tannins are finely grippy, well-positioned to direct the youthful fruit. The finish lingers with cracked peppercorns. A well-handled reserve red, drinking well now, especially with Sunday roast beef.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Charactertext
87PTS

Hester Creek Character 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA challenging year that started slow, heated up, and dried out all summer before finishing fresh. The 2018 Character Red mixes four varieties of Golden Mile fruit. The blend is a mix of old vine merlot, syrah, petit verdot, and malbec, handpicked and handled gently, as emphasized by its round edges and soft textures. The flavours are a bright mix of savoury dark fruit, dried herbs with a dusting of vanilla. You can drink this now, and the winery suggests you do it with smoked ribs or pulled pork. Excellent value.Prices: BC 20.95 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Le Serre Nuove Dell' Ornellaia 20text
90PTS

Le Serre Nuove Dell' Ornellaia 20 2017

Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy2017 will go down in history as being one of the hottest, driest years ever in Bolgheri. The fruit is a 54/26/14/6 mix of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot from younger vines and blocks that don’t make it into Ornellaia. It’s a high bar, but what’s left is pretty impressive juice because nothing much is left to chance at Ornellaia. This is classic scrubby, savoury, Bolgheri with red and black fruit flecked with balsamic. The tannins are sleek, allowing you to enjoy the wine now, but I suggest a minimum of five years of ageing before you get into it. I love this with wild boar pappardelle, but most meat dishes work just as well. Le Serre Nuove undergoes malolactic fermentation that begins in stainless steel and completes upon transfer to mostly French barriques, 25 percent new and 75 percent second fill. It’s aged 15 months in oak but is assembled after one year and then returned to barrels for a further three months. After bottling, it was aged for six months at the winery.Prices: BC 66.99 AB 71.95 ON 69.95 QC 70.00 Producer: Ornellaia
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Dark Horse Vineyard Meritagetext
88PTS

Dark Horse Vineyard Meritage 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Dark Horse Meritage opens with an opaque colour and a ripe, dark fruit nose. The attack is rich in vanilla and wood spice with more blackcurrant, blueberry flecked with tobacco and brown spices in a round, easy-sipping style with jammy balsamic fruit notes in the finish. Big round and red, this will appeal to the hedonistic crowd who love a big weighty palate with plenty of sweet fruit and oak.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Dark Horse Vineyard
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Fort Berens Meritagetext
87PTS

Fort Berens Meritage 2017

British Columbia, CanadaFrom sourced vineyards in the Okanagan and Similkameen, as well as from their Lillooet estate, this blends merlot (65) cabernet sauvignon (24), and cabernet franc (11)into a plump, plush, ripe red. After a stainless ferment, these spend near a year in French and American oak barrels, and then another year in bottle prior to release. Kudos to Fort Berens for the additional bottle ageing, helping this little Meritage be ready for popping and serving now (with steak). Roasted cassis, ripe cherry, grilled meats, smoky tobacco drive the medium frame to a brief finish.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Château Argadens Bordeaux Supérieurtext
89PTS

Château Argadens Bordeaux Supérieur 2015

Bordeaux, FranceParts of Chateau Argadens date back to the 12th century, so when the Sichel family purchased the property in 2002, it underwent extensive renovations and investment to highlight and preserve the 45 hectares of mostly red grapes that are under vine. Dry, fresh, dense, and firm, this is more about less than a lot. A lovely modern red with mouth-filling density that is amazingly approachable right from the start. The mix is 63% merlot, 32% cabernet sauvignon, and 5% cabernet franc but most of all, it has an excellent sense of balance. It is also a versatile food wine working with a grilled steak or a meaty pizza. Good value.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Famille Sichel
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritagetext
92PTS

Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWow, what a treat, and a further confirmation that 2016 is the best vintage we have experienced in the modern BC wine era. Clean, supple, and simply delicious to drink, it has the balance to go the distance, but you can enjoy it now – a rare combination in wine. From dark chocolate to red and black fruits to silky tannins, it's all here but in a tighter package that leans toward complexity rather than pure hedonism. It is already an excellent dinner wine that can take on most major meat dishes or a favourite cheese. The wine finished its ferment in French oak barrels: 40 percent in new 228-litre, thin-staved Bordeaux barrels, and the remainder in 3rd-fill 300-litre hogsheads, ageing in place for 18 months before blending and bottling without fining or filtration. It is 76% merlot, 13% cabernet sauvignon, 11% cabernet franc. Well done.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Road 13 Fifth Element Redtext
89PTS

Road 13 Fifth Element Red 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Fifth Element always has a wild, meaty side, and 2017 is no exception. A finicky year has resulted in a robust offering that comes in at a rare sub 15° of alcohol. The nose is slightly reductive, calling for a decanter to get some air on the wine for 15 to 30 minutes. The texture is medium-soft with a linear lilt mixed with cedar, earth, and warm black jammy fruit. The finish is long and persistent with a touch of spice, black tea, and sagebrush to keep it interesting. Best with roasted or grilled beef at the moment and the bigger, the better.Prices: BC 46.95 Producer: Road 13
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08 January 2020

Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Le Macchiarelletext
92PTS

Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Le Macchiarelle 2012

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Tenuta Fanti estate has belonged to the Fanti family since the beginning of the eighteenth century. It extends across 300 hectares, 52ha of which are certified sustainable vineyards. This Riserva comes from Le Macchiarelle, a 2.5 hectare, 35-year-old vineyard in the heart of the Fanti estate, at an altitude of 250m, southward exposed, and planted to 3000 vines per hectare. The sandy soil is rich in galestro (marl), and this wine was fermented for 30-35 days in stainless before aging 36 months in 500L French oak tonneaux. The wine then aged in bottle for two years prior to release. Pouring with the slightest orange hue, reflective of age, this is layered with alluring mineral salts, dried tobacco, supple worn leather, dried morello cherry on the long, generous, finessed palate. Drinking beautifully now, as intended, but will continue to hold in your cellar.Prices: ON 139.95 Producer: Tenuta Fanti
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Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Vallocchiotext
90PTS

Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Vallocchio 2013

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Tenuta Fanti estate has belonged to the Fanti family since the beginning of the eighteenth century. It extends across 300 hectares, 52ha of which certified sustainable vineyards. This comes from four south-east facing plots of 20-30-year-old vines (Vigna Bellavista, Vigna Sassone, Vigna Casabandi, and Vigna Macchiarelle Nuova) in the heart of the Fanti estate, historically known as Vallocchio. After a ferment in stainless, this aged 30 months in wood, 50% in 500L tonneaux, and the rest in big oak barrels of 30hl. When bottled, this remains an extra year before release. Dark, brooding cherry, graphite, inky balsamic, worn leather, and earthy spices shade the fuller, supple palate, housed by tannins that have thankfully worn through most of their wood with time in bottle. Drinking well now, especially with long braises or slow roasts.Prices: BC 83.95 ON 89.85 Producer: Tenuta Fanti
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Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superioretext
97PTS

Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore 2016

Tuscany, ItalyThe evolution of Guado al Tasso continues on its subtle path of refinement. The syrah was dropped more than a decade ago, and now the petit verdot is out, leaving the current mix of 60/20/20 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc. It bolsters the finesse count of this wine, one that is beginning to look like a major player of Bolgheri under estate director Marco Ferrarese. Again, the attraction is less oak and less baked fruit in favour of freshness, vibrancy, pureness of fruit, minerality and balance. Best of all is the salty, savoury marine notes in the finish. It is a wine of place. Collectors take note: there are 10,000 cases out there, which is remarkable.Prices: BC 184.95 AB 120.00 ON 134.00 Producer: Tenuta Guado al Tasso
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Luce della Vite La Vite Lucentetext
90PTS

Luce della Vite La Vite Lucente 2017

Tuscany, ItalyLucente is termed a second wine, but this blend of merlot and sangiovese is much more than that. It begins with a stainless steel ferment before spending 24 months of ageing in a mix of aged barrels, including a portion of new oak. 2017 was a perfect year, from a fresh, crisp spring to a dry summer, with only a little helping rain before harvest to freshen the fruit. The nose is fragrant with notes of wild strawberries, black raspberries, and spice that tumble onto its toasty, silky, umami-laden red fruit palate. There is a slight tug of tannin, but you can easily enjoy this now with steak or chicken. Hold or drink. Love the balance.

VIDEO: Interview with the winemaker and tour of the estate.
https://youtu.be/pnDYmiGBxd8
Prices: BC 35.99 AB 31.00 ON 33.95 QC 34.95 QC 75.00 1500 ON 90.00 1500 NF 42.00 Producer: Luce della Vite
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Tenuta Luce della Vite Lucetext
93PTS

Tenuta Luce della Vite Luce 2016

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyAt 350 to 420 metres, the Luce estate is among Montalcino's highest. Sangiovese likes the heights, while the merlot grows in the clays of the lowest elevations. Since 2002, Lamberto Frescobaldi has been entirely responsible for the Luce project, keeping a close, watchful eye on this Super Tuscan with a worldwide reputation. In 2016, Luce was a potent mix of black raspberry and black cherry flecked with cedar and spice. At this point, it's tight and a little peppery, but there is a sense of elegance that will poke through over the next ten years as it settles into its long run in the bottle. A solid effort in a solid year. Luce spends two years in hand-split oak barriques, of which 85 percent are new. This was born a collaboration of the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi and Robert Mondavi families, with the idea of matching the roundness and softness of merlot with the elegance and structure of sangiovese in the revered home of the sangiovese-only Brunello di Montalcino.Prices: BC 147.98 AB 111.00 ON 119.00 QC 120.00 Producer: Luce della Vite
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Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcinotext
91PTS

Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyPian comes off one of the warmest sites in Brunello. In most years this is a blessing, and the wine is consistently ripe. The nose is open and friendly with a mix of rich black fruits, faintly stewed. Pian delle Vigne is quietly aged in 3000 to 8000-litre oak casks, long free from any oak influence, to promote a pure fruit red wine. The mid-palate is all black cherry, plums and licorice with soft, dense, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2022-2027 and beyond. It has a magnetic quality that will attract plenty of attention. Mushrooms and pasta anyone?Prices: BC 73.99 AB 56.00 ON 63.00 QC 53.75 NB 65.00 PEI 65.00 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2013

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Orcia River marks the southwest border of the Brunello di Montalcino region. It sits below the hillside vineyard and winery facing south/southwest that bears its name. The nose is complex, earthy and aromatic, with mushrooms, cedar, tobacco supporting scents of bold cherries. The palate is a similar affair with deep black cherries flecked with spice and just a hint of oak. The tannins are already softening at six years old, making it drinkable, but there is no rush given its undeniable Brunello power in the finish. It will age for decades. Brunello di Montalcino by law must be 100 percent sangiovese. Grilled smoky meats or mushroom risotto is the ticket here. Fermentation lasts about 18-20 days in 150 hl wide and shallow stainless steel tanks, designed to extract tannins and colour efficiently and gently. Post ferment, it ages four years in 75hl oak casks from Slavonia and Allier, followed by at least one year of bottle ageing at the winery.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 63.95 ON 53.95 QC 53.75 1500 Producer: Col d'Orcia
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07 January 2020

Pax Buddha's Dharma Chenin Blanctext
93PTS

Pax Buddha's Dharma Chenin Blanc 2017

Mendocino County, California, United StatesThis single vineyard organically-farmed chenin was planted in 1944 on the gravelled volcanic soils at the base of Enlightenment Mountain. After a whole cluster press and native ferment in neutral French oak and new Stockingers, this goes through full MLF and ages in the same for 10 months. Full in the mouth, far beyond its meagre 12.2 degrees, this is voluminous with layers flavours that constantly shift in the glass: licks of reduction, savoury salts, broken stones, hay, wild mushroom, green apple. The palate is lined with beeswax and lees, and the finish is incredibly long with rafts of salty minerality. Very impressive now, and will continue to impress with cellaring.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Pax Mahle Wines
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Natte Valleij Axle Chenin Blanctext
91PTS

Natte Valleij Axle Chenin Blanc 2018

Darling, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom winemaker Alex Milner, best known for his terroir series on cinsault, this comes from a 1985 planted block in Darling, was native fermented, and then spent nine months in neutral oak. White fruits, green apple are interwoven with meadow herbs, hay, and light pear skin spicing on a subtly waxen palate. There's a lovely weight and mouthfeel here, especially considering its slight 12 degrees alcohol (a benefit of ocean-breezed Darling). Quite smart, and will continue to age and deepen in your cellar.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Tinhof Ried Golden Erd Neuburgertext
91PTS

Tinhof Ried Golden Erd Neuburger 2016

Burgenland, Weinland Österreich, AustriaNeuburger is an Austrian crossing of roter veltliner and sylvaner, and this comes from the Golden Erd vineyard, in eastern Austria's Burgenland. Herbal and oily, this intriguing wine is woven with camphor, thyme, sage, prickly pear, quince and salts, streaming the length of this potent, medium-bodied, nervous white. The finish rings with shimmering minerality and a warming flush. Beguiling.Prices: ON 69.95 Producer: Weingut Tinhof
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Waterside Vineyard & Winery Ortegatext
80PTS

Waterside Vineyard & Winery Ortega 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the banks of the Shuswap River, this ortega comes across green, bitter edged, and sharp, with lime pith, tinned asparagus. bitter melon and crab apple. The finish hums with a chemically warmth. Looks, tastes, and presents like amateur homemade winemaking, right down to the stubby, soggy fake cork. Kudos for pioneering a new region, but please get some professional direction in the program.Prices: BC 15.95 Producer: Waterside Vineyard & Winery
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Matthiasson Napa Valley White Winetext
90PTS

Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine 2017

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis Napa white blend was inspired by the wines of numerous European regions: Friuli, Rhone, Burgundy, Alsace, Graves.... It makes more sense when you see the blend of 50 percent sauvignon blanc, 25 percent ribolla gialla, 20 percent semillon, and 5 percent tocai friulano, from two vineyards in the southern, fog-cooled part of the valley. After whole cluster pressing, all four varieties were blended and rested on lees for 10 months in Boutes barrels (20% new), with no stirring and no MLF. The White is held in bottle for at least a year before release. Pine nuts and almonds lead the medium bodied palate, one lined with a honeyed waxiness. White peach, honeysuckle, bitter melon, and river stone fill in the gaps, finishing with a light trickle of ginger spice. Lots to unpack here, and fun to keep returning to the bottle over an evening. Drinking well now, but this will continue to grow in the bottle with cellaring.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: Matthiasson Family Vineyards
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Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Bourgogne Aligotétext
89PTS

Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Bourgogne Aligoté 2017

Burgundy, FranceAligoté is the third grape of Burgundy, often called the third cousin of the more profitable chardonnay. That said, it’s been planted in Burgundy for over 200 years, and the variety is at its best in the wines of the regional Bourgogne Aligoté appellation. At Rion, the Aligoté vines are nudging sixteen years, planted over gravelly, silty loams and clays. Aligoté is always a skinny wine but in the right way with fresh acidity that perks up the palate, a touch of lees, and a lemony, green apple bright, refreshing finish. This laser-sharp white is great with creamy seafood and pasta dishes. Love the value here. Could we do this in BC?Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils
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Benanti Etna Biancotext
91PTS

Benanti Etna Bianco 2017

Sicily, ItalyThe Benanti winery was founded in the shadows of mount Enta in 1988 by Giuseppe Benanti, with the aim to preserve the unique terroir of Etna’s volcanic slopes, and develop the region's indigenous varieties. The winery is now run by Giuseppe’s two sons Antonio and Salvino. This carricante comes from different sloping mountain vineyards and 30-50 year old vines, 700-950m altitude, and fermented with selected native yeasts in stainless, where it rests for a short stint prior to bottling. Orange blossom, peach fuzz, soft pear is bedded with fine, downy lees, and seasoned with tight citrus spicing and lightly smoked stones. Fuller in body, and able to take on halibut or branzino easily.Prices: USA 23.00 Producer: Benanti Viticoltori Srl
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Casale del Giglio Bellonetext
88PTS

Casale del Giglio Bellone 2018

Lazio, ItalyA grape variety cited by Pliny the Elder and present in the region since Roman times, bellone here grows in the warm sandy soils of coastal Anzio, cooled by the sea breezes. After a short stint on skins, this was native fermented in stainless, where it rested briefly before bottling. Green apple, pine nut, tangerine pith rings on the slight, bright palate, finishing with a wash of sea salts. A lovely white to take with shellfish or lighter pastas.Prices: BC 23.00 QC 24.70 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Tiberio Pecorinotext
91PTS

Tiberio Pecorino 2018

Abruzzo, ItalyPecorino is an ancient grape that has always called the mountainous Appennine ridges of the Marche and Abruzzo home. This massale selection pecorino grows at 350m, on limestone marls, and was fermented and aged briefly in stainless, preserving all its herbal, nutty, textural vibrancy. Fresh sage, dried thyme, stony salts season green fig, meyer lemon, green melon, and bosc pear, all humming with a fine textural vibrato that is alluring and moreish. Amazing lightness of being for 14.5 degrees alcohol.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: Agricola Tiberio
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Tiberio Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
89PTS

Tiberio Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2018

Abruzzo, ItalyThe story of Azienda Agricola Tiberio is old, but the latest results under owner winemaker Riccardo Tiberio is all new and exciting. The vineyard lies 37 kilometres inland under the Majella and Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo, near Cugnoli. Here the trebbiano abruzzese vines are roughly 50 years old, and they deliver impressive fruit. After several encounters in late 2019, it is safe to say this is a delicious white wine offering northern-like freshness with a touch of southern power. The attack is skinny with bright grapefruit, lemon, lime, nettle and ginger notes. Real wine at a fair price.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Agricola Tiberio
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Casale del Giglio Petit Mansengtext
89PTS

Casale del Giglio Petit Manseng 2017

Lazio, ItalyPetit Manseng is a grape native of the Jurançon region in the foothills of the French Atlantic Pyrenees. It’s small-berried and thick-skinned, yielding very little juice. It has evolved into a late pick when the grapes are shrivelled and the sugar content is high. At Casale del Giglio, in Lazio, the petit manseng is adapting nicely to the Agro Pontino Valley, where it was planted for the first time by Casale del Giglio. The primary ferment is spontaneous after a 10 to 12-hour maceration. Look for a bit of straw-yellow colour, before the aromatic oily nose kicks in with nutty, fruity mineral overtones. The palate is full of ripe fruit, but the wine finishes satisfyingly dry and crisp. Grilled chicken anyone?Prices: BC 26.99 QC 24.70 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Jim Barry Assyrtikotext
92PTS

Jim Barry Assyrtiko 2018

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaPeter Barry first tasted Assyrtiko in August 2006 while on holiday with wife Sue on the Greek island of Santorini, the birthplace of the grape. Unlike most tourists, he went directly home and set about importing the vine, running it through quarantine and finally planting it in 2012 at his Lodge Hill Vineyard in Clare Valley. The Assyrtiko is uncannily Greek despite it's new found home. The colour is straw pale, the nose is a magnetic storm of citrus blossoms and Meyer lemons with a squeeze of guava and honeydew melon. The mid-palate is fresh and slaty with more limey notes and a perfectly crisp finish. This stuff is gulpable. Attention BC: we should see if this can survive winter. Perfect with halibut fishcakes, or asparagus.Prices: BC 57.99 Producer: Jim Barry
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Barone di Valforte Pecorinotext
90PTS

Barone di Valforte Pecorino 2018

Abruzzo, ItalyThe Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century, and their vineyard lies within the DOCG Colline Teramane area. This pecorino is grown on north facing (cooler) calcareous laced soils in Piomba and Colle Sale, and from 150 - 350m. Pine nut, kernel, Asian pear rule this charmer, with a bed of broken stones, wild Mediterranean herbs, and skippy acidity. If you're not familiar with pecorino, here's a fantastic example, and price, to start with.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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Gini Soave Classicotext
89PTS

Gini Soave Classico 2018

Soave, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFrom one of the leading organic farmers of the region, these 70 year old garganega vines are grown on volcanic and limestone soils in the historic hillsides of Soave Classico, 100-200m in altitude. After a native ferment, this spends six months on the lees in small stainless barrels, with no MLF. Tight and very lean, with green apple, bitter melon, lemon to a snappy, yeasty finish. Slender and light and aperitif (or raw oyster) perfect.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 29.95 QC 24.99 Producer: Gini
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06 January 2020

Matthiasson California Rosé Winetext
89PTS

Matthiasson California Rosé Wine 2018

California, United StatesThis pale California rosé blends grenache, syrah, mouvèdre, and counoise from the Windmill vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills, and syrah grapes from the Hurley Vineyard in Napa Valley. After a whole-cluster press, the grapes were fermented and aged sur lees untouched in stainless barrels, with no MLF, topping, stirring, racking, fining, or cold-stabilization. This is a rosé that benefits from some airtime. Strawberry, raspberry and red currant glides along the slight palate, one with a dairy / yogurt that distracts from the polish. Perhaps it's the grape mix, but this feels distinctly yacht-proper, especially at this price. Chill well and drink now.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Matthiasson Family Vineyards
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Casale del Giglio Albìola Rosatotext
88PTS

Casale del Giglio Albìola Rosato 2018

Lazio, ItalyCasale del Giglio was founded in 1967 by Dr. Berardino Santarelli, a native of the Appenine hill town of Amatrice. The estate lies between the towns of Aprilia and Latina in the Agro Pontino valley, 50 km south of Rome. Unlike other parts of the Latium region, or other regions of Italy, this territory was still uncharted in viticultural terms when Berardino Santarelli and his son Antonio launched their research project into the viability of viticulture here in 1985. This deeply hued rosé is a saignée blend of made from 85% syrah and 15% sangiovese. Ample roses and florals lead into a ripe, glycerol-lined palate of strawberry, raspberry, and rhubarb. A snappy spice keeps this tidy on the finish. Fuller bodied but fresh, this can handle rose-sauced pasta dishes or meat-centric salads.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Tiberio Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosétext
91PTS

Tiberio Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosé 2018

Abruzzo, ItalyCerasuolo d'Abruzzo is a relatively recent DOC in central Italy's Abruzzo, and is a category named for the light and graceful cherry-like colour of these wines (cerasuolo means cherry in Italian). Take this as a cross between a rosé and a very light red, with the 50+ year old montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes being allowed to shine. The single block of heritage massale clones rest at 350m on limestone soils. After a destem, this sees only 20 minutes of skin contact before the free run juice is fermented in stainless. Fresh, bright, and aglow with rhubarb, cranberry tart, pink grapefruit, dried rosemary and a wash of mineral salts. There's a whisper of tannins that gently house this charming, bone dry, savoury wine to the finish. So in balance, this lifted wine belies its 14 degrees. Fantastic solo sipping as it is with food; take as intended, with a slight chill.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 29.95 Producer: Agricola Tiberio
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Chateau Ste. Michelle Rosétext
87PTS

Chateau Ste. Michelle Rosé 2018

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesA Provençal colour appeals to the eye while the fragrant watermelon and raspberry nose sells the sizzles. It is drier in 2018, with only 0.31 grams of residual sugar. It seemed to be at home alongside a spicy Singapore noodle stir fry, and a black bean beef and broccoli dish. Ready to drink all year and easy to access under screwcap.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Chateau Ste. Michelle
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Falernia Rosétext
87PTS

Falernia Rosé 2019

Valle de Elqui, ChileThe Falernia Rosé is all syrah from a cool site at 640 metres in the Elqui Valley. Everything is done by hand before a 48-hour crush and clarification followed by a stainless steel ferment with no skin contact. The style is fresh and fruity with a pinch of sugar left to keep it balanced and fun to sip. Food friendly and ready to drink, try this with a Margherita pizza. Good value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Vina Falernia
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Vinas de Miedes Garnacha Rosétext
87PTS

Vinas de Miedes Garnacha Rosé 2018

SpainSan Alejandro was founded in 1962 in Miedes de Aragón, in Zaragoza. It is named in honour of St. Alexander, whose remains were found in the 17th-century Franciscan convent Mudejar located in Miedes. This garnacha rosé is pale in colour, with a juicy, dry bent in the mouth. Look for aromas and flavours of strawberries and raspberries drenched in citrus. Clean, fresh and straightforward, it is the perfect summer sipper or try it with any number of vegetarian dishes. Ready to drink and highly affordable.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 15.99 Producer: Bodegas San Alejandro
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Famille J-M Cazes L'Ostal Rosetext
87PTS

Famille J-M Cazes L'Ostal Rose 2018

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, South of France, FrancePale, pale, pink, with a considered nose of red berries and flower blossoms. The mix is 50/50 syrah / grenache, and the palate a delicate blend of strawberries and raspberries with a dry, citrus rind finish. A fun pink for party appetizers. Good value.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Famille J.M. Cazes
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La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThis Monterey, pinot noir pink is fermented in stainless steel to maintain its fresh, crisp, northern Pacific Ocean style. The colour is Provençal pink, the palate a delicate, crunchy mix of pink grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, mandarin oranges with a touch of guava that precedes a barely dry, stony mineral finish. The grapes come off different sites across the Monterey appellation and an equally diverse mix of pinot clones 115, 667, 777, 2A, and Pommard. A cool year with a normal harvest beginning September 9 is behind this delicious rose. Think Margherita pizza, or steamed mussels.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 28.00 ON 27.95 QC 30.00 Producer: La Crema
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03 January 2020

Bench 1775 Viogniertext
86PTS

Bench 1775 Viognier 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe viognier aromas here are always on the sweet, candied tangerine side. The attack is similar, with a touch of soapy/green fruit to keep it lively on the palate, off-dry with litchi and orchard fruits with a splash of ginger. The winery suggests spicy Thai dishes, no doubt to offset the sugar and balance the palate. It would also be fine on a hot summer patio served well chilled.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Bench 1775 Winery
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The Hatch Dynasty Whitetext
88PTS

The Hatch Dynasty White 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGraced with an elephant, roman numerals, and sleek custom bottle, The Hatch Dynasty White looks aspirational. The nose is a perfect aromatic mélange of all the grapes chosen for the 2018, with scents of fruit cocktail, white peach, lime sorbet and butter-sautéed apples. The grapes change year-by-year in this self-declared decadent white, and the 2018 sports 50% viognier, 25% chardonnay, 16% pinot blanc, and 9% riesling. All the varieties do their job on the palate too, with juicy orange, ripe mango, and tropical citrus which suffuses the mouth with unctuous fruit and just enough acidity to to keep you interested and coming back for more. Neutral barrels have helped to air the fruit, and plenty of lees stirring has plumped the palate. Meant for fun and pairing with a big dish like takeout sweet and sour ribs, or chicken with orange glaze.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Road 13 Viogniertext
87PTS

Road 13 Viognier 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAromas of stone fruit, banana, and vanilla signal a viognier with a wood (and slight smoke) treatment. It is true that this grape is sometimes oaked in its Northern Rhône homeland, but only for the most opulent-fruited. Road 13 has chosen fruit from the excellent, low-cropped Blind Creek Vineyard in the mineral-rich Similkameen Valley, whole-bunch pressed, then fermented in 33% new French oak casks. There is a flavour push-pull on the palate, with orange and peach vying with coconut and vanilla oak. The result is a a rich, ripe, and full wine, with creamy weight and texture. The impression of sweetness is accentuated by soft acidity, and the oak erases a hoped-for minerally finish. Pair the fruit/oak power with a juicy porkchop with apricot glaze, or grilled prosciutto-wrapped mango slices.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Road 13
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Road 13 VRM Viognier Roussanne Marsannetext
89PTS

Road 13 VRM Viognier Roussanne Marsanne 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVRM sounds like 'vroom', and this is a hot-rod of a wine. Flashy and showy, it blends three highly aromatic grapes (viognier, roussanne, and marsanne farmed in the Similkameen Valley), fermenting some fruit in 33% new French oak and some in stainless steel. Extravagant stonefruit aromas start the race, and flavours of melon, guava, honeycrisp apple are refreshingly swathed in fruity acidity, and adorned with a pleasing herbal note. Interestingly the oak does not dominate the nose, but it sure drives the palate to a creamy, custardy, spicy finish line. Everything is in the right place, and while potent and spicy, VRM does not overheat. Some creamy food is in order, like deluxe mac and cheese with smoked cheddar and pork belly.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Road 13
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Moraine Viogniertext
89PTS

Moraine Viognier 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoraine's 2018 Viognier starts out with a quiet nose of mandarin peel, ginger, and white peach, but opens up with a little more of the anticipated fruity goods on the palate. Piquant apple acidity props up ripe stone fruit flavours, custard apple, and pink grapefruit. Admirable fruit concentration pads out the mid-palate, and a creamy texture helps elongate a spicy finish where a hint of salty mineral adds interest. Clean, fresh, crisp, and streamlined, it's a pretty viognier for roast chicken or Chinese noodles.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Van Westen Vineyards Viogniertext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNever shy and retiring, Van Westen's 2018 Viognier has a captivating varietal nose of apricot, jasmine, and curry leaf. The palate is awash with nectarine and meyer lemon, with a nice oily (in a good way) mid-palate richness that fattens the wine before bright Okanagan acidity slims it. Extravagance and restraint at the same time, which is a common Okanagan characteristic. The Naramata vineyards enjoy excellent exposure and soils, and the fruit is fermented in large neutral barrels to add textural complexity. Medium weight, with herbal, salty notes making it an interesting wine for food. Try pairing with blackened salmon or vegan jackfruit tacos. Like all Van Westen wines, they are pretty good on their own too.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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02 January 2020

Fort Berens Red Gold Reservetext
87PTS

Fort Berens Red Gold Reserve 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaRed Gold is one of Fort Berens' reserve tier, and this year is 67/33 merlot and cabernet franc. The cloudy thickness on the palate is better explained when you know that the franc was done in apassimento style, drying and concentrating the ripe berries to raisins, before pressing. I don't quite understand the appeal, especially when you have such lovely grapes, like these from their estate vineyard in Lillooet. I can only assume the big red grapes did not achieve full phenolic ripeness on their own. This is a full, over-ripe red blend teeming with smoked fruit, toasted cedar spice, mocha oak, all wrapped with a soft hug of wood tannins. For drinking now, with an equally large piece of grilled beef.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Intersection Axiomtext
89PTS

Intersection Axiom 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2014 Axiom blends cabernet franc, merlot with a splash of cabernet sauvignon into this full bodied, structural and savoury blend. Inky dark fruit, dark earth, dark chocolate, and peppery spices fill the palate, one held in place by firm tannins courtesy of one year in oak. There's an alluring thread of gravels, tobacco, and red cherry that courses throughout, brightening and charming this wine above the average BC cab blend. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Parallel 49 Vineyards Limited
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The Wine Umbrella 70I40 Cab Franc Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

The Wine Umbrella 70I40 Cab Franc Pinot Noir 2018

CanadaCabernet Franc (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%) who knew — well the French did, and once and a while, they mix the two varieties in the Loire, but then it's hardly a headliner. In BC, well, it’s an elegant solution that works because of an elementary test. It tastes good. It’s juicy, fresh, sort of pseudo-natural wine but in a better way. Oh, it’s a bit green or more to the point herbaceous, and it's not for everyone, but if you are adventurous, opposed to oak and interested in the stuff that happens at the edge as opposed to the middle of winemaking, well, 70/40 is for you. The extra 10 percent for Loire Inspiration had the label police in a bit of a tizzy. That hadn’t tasted the wine. In the end, many will enjoy this juicy, unpretentious red wine that would be at home with any charcuterie plate or local goat cheese. Best of all, the profit goes to the BC chapter of Les Dames D'Escoffier and its many charitable causes. It’s made by the irrepressible Mireille Sauvé a dame herself who may be headed for a new career.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: The Wine Umbrella
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The Hatch Hatchfinitytext
87PTS

The Hatch Hatchfinity NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhat began as a vintage wine has morphed into non-vintage, now multi-vintage, multi-vineyard and multi variety, which explains everything and nothing, and that, officially makes it a Hatch wine, I guess. The nose is a mix of chocolate syrup and cherries with some lifted notes. The palate is soft and sweet, with some acidity poking through the back end; wine as it only could happen at The Hatch. I’m not sure where this wine is going, but it has a few issues to resolve in the meantime. Cellar through 2022 or serve with sturdy winter dishes like wild boar stew.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: The Hatch
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The Hatch The Unicorn of the Seatext
88PTS

The Hatch The Unicorn of the Sea 2015

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere was no name for this wine when it was “Hatched,” so it was dubbed The Unicorn, and we know less now then we knew then about the mix. It’s a Hatch thing and its cult following seems to care even less. The wine is huge and dark and smoky on the nose with bits of black cherry and black raspberry fruit along with some elevated acidity and spice in the finish. A lifted, power red that will need time in the bottle. Best now with grilled or roasted meat dishes.Prices: BC 73.99 Producer: The Hatch
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Fort Berens Red Gold Reservetext
87PTS

Fort Berens Red Gold Reserve 2017

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaRed Gold is a blend of 67% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Franc with a bit of an Italian detour. The franc grapes underwent the apassimento process, air drying for six weeks and losing some 30% of their moisture. Concentrated and partially raisin-ed, the franc berries are fermented in open-top French oak barrels for 30 days to promote maximum extraction. I’m not sure the wine needs it, but it is what it is. The reserve tier blend opens with a touch of meaty reduction and smoke before the black fruit pokes through. The palate is equally oaky and smoky before the concentrated ripe black fruit flavours flood the finish. If you are going to drink it now, make sure the menu is similarly intense.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Lakeside Cellars Portage Redtext
87PTS

Lakeside Cellars Portage Red 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Dhaliwal family purchased their 14-hectare Osoyoos lakeshore property in 2015 and set about renovating the older vineyards (from 1998) and decrepit heritage building, formerly part of the Haynes homestead of 1882 — the first commercial orchard in the Okanagan. The attack and styling are ripe, with sweet oak everywhere. The blend is a 44/32/24 mix of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot from the family's vineyards in Osoyoos and on the Golden Mile. It spent 24 months in French and American oak before release — perfumed musk, lusty violets, vanilla all season the full, plump palate. Tannins are wood shellacked and slightly ragged but work on housing the full plumpness. Not shy and ready for drinking now, especially with a BBQ. A little less of everything next time out and this wine has the potential to wow.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Cabernet Bouchet Field Blendtext
92PTS

Luigi Bosca Finca Los Nobles Cabernet Bouchet Field Blend 2015

Las Compuertas, Vistalba District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaDeep plum-hued in the glass with rich and seductive aromas of dried currants, brandied fruitcake, leather, dried rose petals and spice. There is a sticky herb note as well as a high-toned elegance. The first sip reveals potent juicy fruit: dark berries like black currants and rowan. Graphite and savoury laurel flavours are refreshed by wonderfully integrated and bright acidity, and the tannins are extremely fine grained, smooth and elegant, without any astringency. Overall very claret-like and stately. Fruit from an ancient vineyard of cabernet sauvignon and bouchet (which is an old name for cabernet franc) situated in a sub-zone of Argentina's Luyan de Cuyo at 1050 meters of elevation has been respectfully aged in oak barrels for two years, then bottled for 18 months to mesh. And harmonized it has, yielding a full-bodied, mellowing, graceful wine with the kind of complexity that comes from 90 year old vines. Decant for 30 minutes then serve with prime meat or aged cheese.Prices: BC 78.99 Producer: Luigi Bosca
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