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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: June 2020

30 June 2020

Le Vieux Pin Retouchetext
91PTS

Le Vieux Pin Retouche 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetouche pays homage to the historical French practice of adding syrah to Bordeaux in the 1800's (Hermitaging) to deepen colour and body. In 2017, this blend is 50% cabernet franc, 25% syrah, with the remainder equal parts cabernet sauvignon and merlot. After 18 months in French oak, this was bottled unfined and lightly filtered. Very much in youth, with tannins upfront and firm, requiring decanting and most likely a grilled protein or mushroom pairing at this point. That said, with airtime, this relaxes to reveal savoury and brooding dark cherry, cassis, plush plum, dark earth, dusty gravels, bound by the aforementioned firm tannins, to a saline finish. Cellar worthy.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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LaStella Espressivotext
90PTS

LaStella Espressivo 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEspressivo's name evokes a link to Tuscany's rich reds known by their Super Tuscan moniker. It's just what winemaker Severine Pinte is after with this southern BC red blend, mixing 52% cabernet franc, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot, and 16% sangiovese that spends 17 months in Slavonian and French oak barrels and puncheons (28% of the wood is new). The latest 2017 release is dark, fleshy and wild, with ample wood spicing and a leathery, earthy base for cassis, bitter black cherry, espresso and cracked peppercorns. Tannins are sinewy and firm, carrying this bigger wine to a warming, spiced finish. Take this Super Tuscan BC red decanted, with grilled red meats or an autumnal vegetable roast, or lay it away through 2025 in the cellar.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: LaStella
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LaStella Classico D’Osoyoostext
92PTS

LaStella Classico D’Osoyoos 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new wine comes from a single Osoyoos vineyard sloping towards the lake and blends sangiovese with cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Bottled unfined and lightly filtered, this pours a slightly dusky hue, leading into alluring espresso, black cherries, cassis, dried roses, and thorns, riding out the medium-bodied palate. Tannins are slight and slightly grippy, leaving a lingering desert scrub in their wake. A serious, savoury, deftly handled red that is ideal for drinking now and over the next few years. This tastes of Osoyoos, a new Osoyoos classic.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: LaStella
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Le Vieux Pin Retouchetext
92PTS

Le Vieux Pin Retouche 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetouche is an homage to the historical practice of "Hermitage-ing" wines in Bordeaux during the 1800s when winemakers would jack the blend with some hearty syrah. The earlier years of Retouche reminded me of the Australian cabernet shiraz style, but over time the combination has evolved with more finesse and style. In 2017, this mix was 50% cabernet franc and 25% syrah; the remainder splits equally between cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It all spends 18 months in French oak before being bottled unfined and lightly filtered. The attack is youthful with plenty of dense sweet tannins swimming among the savoury, black fruit, Bing cherries, and dark plums dusted in sagebrush and minerals. Impressive in its youth but will need 5-7 years to unfold in the bottle. Best now with grilled lamb or pork. LVP only made 200 cases of Retouche in 2017, no doubt for restaurants and winery only, so don't dawdle if you want some.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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29 June 2020

Te Mata Gamay Noirtext
89PTS

Te Mata Gamay Noir 2017

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandTe Mata is New Zealand’s oldest winery, dating from the early 1890’s. They were also responsible for introducing a superior clone of Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc to New Zealand in 1995, planting this on the north facing, terraced, Woodthorpe Vineyard. This cult wine sells out every year, a coveted and rare NZ gamay. Partial carbonic, with one third traditionally fermented in oak before all is reunited for a short stint in older French oak. Super peppery, with pink peppercorns infiltrating wild raspberry, candied strawberry, forest berries, plump plum on a juicy palate, with fine, long tannins hugging the cushy body. Likeable, as gamay should be. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: 0913881 B.C. Ltd. Dba Terra Vigniti
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Oak Bay Vineyard Gamay Noirtext
88PTS

Oak Bay Vineyard Gamay Noir 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWow, what a charming gamay noir from St. Hubertus, and a pure delight to sip. Juicy, peppery vibrant black cherry laced with dark plums and forest berries. The acidity is fresh but not over the top, and is the perfect tonic to the rooty, cinnamon finish. Planted in 1964, 1990, 1999 at 350-440m on clay, sand and gravels, this was fermented in a blend of stainless, French, and American oak. Fine value.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Simply Noirtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Simply Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of varieties and vineyards across Okanagan Falls, Oliver, and Keremeos, and a similar mix of fermenting techniques are the story of Simply Noir. The original 63% gamay / 28% pinot noir was expanded to take in some 4% dolcetto last year, and some carbonic fermented zweigelt (5%) this year. It’s a mid-weight red with a savoury, earthy undercurrent and an enticing soft red/black fruit palate. Ready to drink, with vegetable tarts, roasted vegetables, ratatouille, tomato salads, picnic, and barbecue favourites.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Haywire Gamaytext
89PTS

Haywire Gamay 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, this gamay was partially whole cluster fermented before being aged for eight months in concrete. It combines juicy black fruits with gamay’s spicy, savoury side, including an attractive herbal, stemmy note. It's easy to think of gamay as an archetypal glou-glou wine, but that oversimplifies the variety's stylistic diversity. This wine is a classically structured expression with firm tannins, that you won't want to excessively chill. The result: a delicious, food friendly gamay that easily overdelivers at this price.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Gamaytext
89PTS

Haywire Gamay 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHaywire has an excellent feel for the gamay noir grape, and this wine is no exception. Finley spiced and perfectly ripe it comes off the 15-hectare Secrest Mountain Vineyard, just north of Oliver. This is farmed organically and will be shortly certified if it isn’t already so. It has a luxurious texture for a cool climate gamay but with plenty of acidity and freshness and even more juicy thyme and raspberry. It was fermented in a combination of open-top and concrete fermenters before ageing for eight months in large Nico Velo concrete tanks. A friendly style red that reaches its zenith with pork and mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Rigour & Whimsy Gamay Noirtext
88PTS

Rigour & Whimsy Gamay Noir 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year, this gamay came from a West Kelowna vineyard, and was whole cluster and partial carbonic. This year, however, they did more foot treading, stomping about half the grapes. This was then aged 5 months in used puncheons. Tight and nervy, with green branch, pine, rhubarb and crunchy cranberry acidity. There's a sapid red currant note slicking the very slight 10 degree palate, finishing sprightly and brisk and with a twinge of balsamic. As last year, super natty, and needing a solid chill. Smart move to screw cap.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Château de Pierreux Brouilly Réserve de Chateautext
90PTS

Château de Pierreux Brouilly Réserve de Chateau 2016

Brouilly, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceNear the base of Bojo's volcanic Mont Brouilly, this Château has 93 hectares of prime vineyards rooted in sustainably farmed decomposed pink granites and schist. This gamay comes from 45 year old vines and was traditionally Burgundian, destemmed and vinified in concrete for 3 weeks before heading to 50hl oak barrels for 7 months. Wild raspberry, cherry is infiltrated and lifted with southern France's bouquet of dried herbs, and granitic salts. This lighter, charming red is wrapped with lightly sticky tannins, and finishes with a lick of alluring blue florals. Drinking perfectly now. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 21.99 QC 21.15 Producer: Mommessin
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Rust Wine Co. Lazy River Vineyard Gamaytext
89PTS

Rust Wine Co. Lazy River Vineyard Gamay 2019

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe thought last year was muscular, and 2019 is similarly crafted, albeit with that intensity and electricity that seems to inject an extra level of energy in Similkameen wine when it is set free at the winery. It is grown in the Lazy River Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley, native fermented, and aged stainless steel. The attack is ripe, offering fresh black cherries and raspberries flecked with black pepper. There is a gentle tug of tannins, although it is barely significant and easily lost in food. Duck, pork, mushrooms, and root vegetables all work here.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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25 June 2020

Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanctext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Fumé Blanc 2019

British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 77 percent sauvignon blanc from Whispered Secret Vineyard in Keremeos and 23 percent semillon from Oliver, the fruit had a short three hours of skin contact before pressing. Following a cool fermentation, the wine was aged on its lees in stainless steel and French oak puncheons for four months. The result is an approachable, bright style of Fumé Blanc with oak that is firmly in the background and less present than I recall from previous vintages. The fruit is lean and crisp with grapefruit, lime, gooseberry, and sweet herbs. The semillon component then brings a richness to the palate, helping to balance sauvignon blanc's tangy acidity. Clearly well made and a steal at this price.Prices: BC 18.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
91PTS

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLow key labels = low-fi winemaking at this singular winery, with grapes coming from select growers around the Okanagan. The 2019 Sauv / Sem comes from Naramata, and was 1/3 whole cluster pressed and rested in neutral French oak prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Tight and streamlined on the youthful palate, with herbal grasses, kumquat, lemongrass skipping along a light lees base to a subtle green hedge / grapefruit pithy finish. Delish now in youth, but as previous vintages have shown, this has a wonderful line ahead of it.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Kismet Estate Safédtext
87PTS

Kismet Estate Saféd 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 60 percent sauvignon blanc, 23 percent semillon, and 17 percent orange muscat, the varieties don’t quite come together as a whole with the muscat component punching well above its weight. It is remarkably aromatic with orange blossom and lavender obscuring the lychee and other tropical fruits in the background. It’s fresh and approachable with an off-dry finish, but you’ll find other wines in this style and price point that deliver more concentration and purity.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Kismet Estate Winery
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Mayhem Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Mayhem Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSuper punchy and forward, this youthful sauvignon blanc comes from Naramata Bench. Intense grapefruit, passionfruit, guava takes over the tart, short palate with a burst of power, finishing snappy and brisk. If you're a big fan of the pungent and punchy Marlborough style, give this local one a try. We love the price. It's made with a mix of destemmed and whole bunch pressed fruit, and partially native fermented in a combination of stainless and French barrels (6% new). Post ferment, this rested six months on lees, before the portions were blended and bottled.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandAta Rangi, meaning dawn sky, or new beginning, is the name that Clive Paton, his wife Phyll, and his sister Alison gave this small winery at the southern end of the North Island, in the town of Martinborough. When Clive planted his first vines on the stony sheep-dotted slopes of the region in 1980, he was one of a handful of early wine pioneers to the unproven region (today known as Wairarapa). Bitter lemons, white cherry, dried herbs, savoury meadow grasses course through this slender wine, now starting to cusp with white honey. This is in a lovely place now, savoury and very elegant, intense and intellectual, all very drinkable. The riff of skin tannins cleanses everything off the finish, demanding another glass.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Ata Rangi Limited
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Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis Sauvignon Blanc comes from growers in Marlborough’s Awatere, Waihopai, Wairau, and Brancott Valleys. The fruit was lightly pressed with minimal skin contact and fermented in stainless steel vats at low temperature allow the powerful fruit flavours to dominate. Pure and direct, with passionfruit, guava, pink grapefruit riding a juicy palate to a snappy, fresh, saline finish. Beautifully balanced and fresh, this is a fantastic example of where Marlborough Savvy should be. Well done.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Astrolabe Wines Ltd.
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Project B Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Project B Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaProject B. is a David and Goliath collaboration involving wine grower Michael Bartier, co-owner of Bartier Bros., a south Okanagan boutique estate, and acclaimed English négociant / winemaking force, Boutinot Wines. Project ‘B’ is Boutinot’s first reach into Canada, The Name: ‘B’ surfaced as a constant in this partnership; a Boutinot – Bartier team, the first harvest from Plot B, and as a special nod to the Boutinot Rhone symbol of quality, the worker bee. Bartier and Monnin set out to create a wine that was Boutinot France in style while honouring the land, viticulture, climate and vineyard sites of the Okanagan Valley. I’m delighted to say the first release is a delicious, highly-affordable ($20-$25), humble, Sauvignon Blanc. It was sourced from a premium, single-vineyard in Oliver and is blended with some four percent barrel-aged Semillon from the same site. The fruit is picked twice, ten days apart, to catch both the fresh version and the ripe version of this grape. It’s not exotic or showy, but as is the Boutinot wont it is suitably restrained with the emphasis on minerality supporting a delicate pear peach flavour profile. Perfect for the subtle flavours of spot prawns.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Calliope Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2018

British Columbia, CanadaThe sauvignon blanc shines in the Calliope range with its intense white grapefruit, guava, passionfruit and orange blossoms dusted in a dry, desert scrub. A very Okanagan look at this variety; you can chill and serve all summer on the patio.Prices: BC 17.99 JPN 37.95 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Free Form Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Free Form Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFree Form is Okanagan Crush Pad’s line of organic, natural-ish wines. From Waters & Banks Vineyard in Summerland, this sauvignon blanc spent 9 months on its skins after a wild fermentation in a combination of stainless steel and amphora, before being pressed off and getting an additional two months aging in concrete. Based on the hazy golden colour and slight sediment, one can also quickly guess this was bottled unfined and unfiltered. It's somewhat reminiscent of a dry, botrytis-affected wine with marmalade, orange, and honey alongside an earthy herbal note. And, of course, there's a weighty, phenolic texture evident from its time on skins, but without being excessively bitter. It's a fun geek wine that will certainly provoke conversation.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Free Form Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Free Form Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis savvy comes from Summerland's Waters & Banks Vineyard, and its granite / limestone slopes. This was native fermented in stainless and amphora, where it aged on skins for 9 months. After pressing, it rested for an additional 2 months prior to bottling unfiltered. This is not your typical sauvignon blanc, and that's the exact point. The time on skins gives it a textural, grippy dimension, with apricot skin, bergamot, guava, white grapefruit peel ruling the tight, taut, herbal frame. The finish snaps with citrus and desert sage, lingering after the slender orange wine is long gone. Very well handled.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Sorrenberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillontext
93PTS

Sorrenberg Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018

Victoria, AustraliaThis is serious wine, and should be considered as one of Australia's top whites. From his biodynamically farmed 2.4ha vineyard outside of Beechworth, owner/vigneron Barry Morey blends 80% sauvignon blanc and 20% semillion, with partial skin contact before a native barrel ferment and extended ageing on lees. This has a lovely gentle generosity on the mid palate, while running a svelte figure through a very lengthy, mineral salt finish. The flint-slicked structure is filled with downy lees, cracked flax, meadow grass, wild green herbs, etched and brightened with crystalline lemon. Structural enough to carry this a decade+ but alluring enough to down this serious bottle now. Only 84 bottles imported into BC.Prices: BC 63.00 Producer: B & J Morey
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Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Aconcagua Costa, Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileWinemaker Francisco Baettig nails this savvy, snapping up the Pacific's fresh breezes with Chile's inherent sun ripeness. From Aconcagua Costa's Manzanar Vineyard, 12km from the coast, this was 20% whole cluster, all into stainless on lees for 3 months. Tight, zippy and fresh, with ample asparagus, hedge, lemon, and tangerine, streaming long and sleek to a humming finish.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Viña Errazuriz
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Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blancotext
89PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Basa Rueda Blanco 2019

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainEvery year we say the signature of top producers is consistency, and that sums up Telmo Rodrigues and this medium-bodied blend of verdejo/viura/sauvignon blanc from Rueda. Not exuberantly fruity, but intense nonetheless, with mandarin, peach, melon, and spice with a juicy, tangy twist of chalk for texture and minerality. The Rueda region remains undervalued as a producer of fresh white wine, which allows Telmo Rodriguez to build his 'basa' or basement/ foundation with this larger production white. Fine value. Real wine.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 20.00 ON 18.99 MB 20.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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24 June 2020

Culmina Family Estate R and D Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate R and D Chardonnay 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHow much do I like this style of chardonnay? And at $20, what a bargain. R&D stands equally for research & development and is used to label the more experimental, small-lot line of wines pursued at Culmina Family estate. The label photos refer to the founder Don and his twin Ron Triggs who themselves grew up researching life. The nose is an exquisite take on tangerines and pears. The palate is equally enticing with its pear, mineral, crunchy fruit and crisp acidity. Delicious, versatile, and ready to drink.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of a series of chardonnays produced by Meyer Family Vineyards, this small lot bottling is from Naramata's Old Main Road Vineyard, a north-facing aspect planted in 1996 on silt and clay loams. After a long, cool native ferment in stainless, this moved to French oak (33% new) for 11 months on lees, without batonnage and with full MLF. Micro Cuvee is a barrel selection, and this year proved to be one new French puncheon, and 2 x 1 year old puncheons. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Certainly a product made with much care, and it shows, through the layers of Meyer lemon curd, lemon pith, green apple, herbal lees, mineral rock salts that stretch long on the structural palate. Acidity is tight, keeping this confident 13.5 degree wine bright and shining throughout to a humming finish. Still in youth and with much time ahead, but quite impressive; I'd place this in a blind line up of chardy from around the world, anytime.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Niagara's limestone laced glacial till comes this ripe, rich, cushy chardonnay, courtesy of winemakers Thomas Bachelder and Kelly Mason. Organically grown, this was whole cluster pressed before a long wild ferment in French oak and 18 months' rest in barrel, 20-30% new. Ripe, full, lemon curd, baked yellow apple, toasted popcorn spicing is brightened with lemon peel and drawn with moderate acidity along the cushioned, leesy palate. Best for those used to a sun-ripened Cali chardy, but wanting to drink wisely from home.Prices: ON 28.00 Producer: Domaine Queylus
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Painted Rock Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Painted Rock Chardonnay 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the coolest years in the Okanagan makes it a lightning rod for chardonnay, and this 2019 is an amazing example of the diversity you encounter around the valley. The latest chardonnay to be planted on the Skaha Bench site is clone 95, and it was harvested at four different times across two weeks to capture an array of flavours. 80 percent is aged six months in 44 percent new French oak; the remainder was in stainless steel. Only 29 percent of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine is acutely fresh with strong grapefruit aromas flecked with peach and mandarin notes, and a tiny touch of caramel. The style is dry and mouthwatering with light creamy textures before the refreshing finish. Lean and tight, this could use another six months in bottle to come together.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyard 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Cerqueira Vineyard is located on the Black Sage Terrace, a bench full of granite glacial till with widely occurring calcium sulphate precipitates, southeast of the town of Oliver. The Bartier chardonnay turned the corner in 2019, adding a creamy character and a touch of fatness that amps up the texture and staying power of this wonderfully mineral, stony affair. There is no wood here, but six months in stainless steel, in contact with its lees, adds to its stylish finish. This year the limey, apple, pineapple citrus notes take a back seat to the texture and smoky flinty notes. It is the New Okanagan.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 23.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, this was whole bunched pressed, fermented by native yeasts, and then aged in concrete eggs. It has golden apple and stone fruits alongside a significant amount of malolactic character (cream, sweet corn) and a toastiness from 10 months on gross lees that you’d be forgiven for mistaking for oak. Dry, this is quite precise and crisp, but still rounded out by its time on lees. Good length and excellent value.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Four Shadows Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Four Shadows Chardonnay 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI am a fan of the juicy, orchard fruit, Naramata style of chardonnay at the introductory level. The fruit fragrance followed by ripe red apple, honey, and just a hint of complexing lees is ready to drink, and fun to drink. Enjoy with spicy fish cakes, chicken, pork, or pasta in a creamy sauce, even mild curries with buttery sauces. 2019 is 40 percent fermented in second-year French oak barrels and 60 percent in stainless steel.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge Noble Knights Powers Vintage Reserve Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Noble Ridge Noble Knights Powers Vintage Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPowers Vintage is all clone 76 grown on north sloping glacial and fluvial deposits of sand, gravel, and rock inside the new Okanagan Falls sub-GI. The fruit is whole cluster pressed and then goes through a cold fermentation in neutral French oak barrels and a partial malolactic fermentation. It gets about five months bâtonnage followed by an additional seven months of barrel ageing. The attack is smooth and silky, a touch lighter than the Reserve and the Ransom labels. It tastes a bit riper thanks to a butterscotch undercurrent that carries through the wine from front to back, challenging the apple, citrus notes fighting to balance the wine, but it ends drier with a hint of nutty bitterness. Think crab, prawns,, lobster or clams.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge King's Ransom Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Noble Ridge King's Ransom Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 King's Ransom is the pinnacle of chardonnay at Noble Ridge, following the same primary path as the Reserve: a mix of French clones 76 and 95 grown on north sloping glacial and fluvial deposits of sand, gravel, and rock inside the new Okanagan Falls sub-GI. The difference begins with the ageing of 14 months in 100 percent new oak barrels, and 50 percent of the juice going through an acid-softening malolactic fermentation. There is an undeniable richness here brought on by the amount of new oak, beginning with a spicy vanilla nose. The attack is much riper with a full-on sheen of honey, ripe apple, peach, and butterscotch notes in the back end. A bit old style but this will have its legion of admirers. The "rich and rich" match is pan-seared scallops, truffle prawn risotto, pecan-crusted halibut, or lobster.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Noble Ridge Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Noble Ridge Reserve is a mix of French clones 76 and 95 grown on north sloping glacial and fluvial deposits of sand, gravel, and rock inside the new Okanagan Falls sub-GI. It's aged 14 months in French oak; 20 percent is new. 2017 was a solid year with slightly smaller clusters and crop sizes, forcing a bit more fruit intensity. The Reserve is always a bit more California in style but with brighter fruit Look for peachy, creamy, honey notes. On the palate, it presents as a middleweight with ripe, creamy, spicy vanilla flavours across the finish. Rich enough for a variety of menu items, including your favourite Asian dishes. Drink through 2023-24.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Indigenous World Chardonnay Single Vineyardtext
87PTS

Indigenous World Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Single Vineyard series is meant to be a warm and expressive series of wines with characteristics unique to the source of the wine. The fruit is grown at Jager's Rock Vineyard in Cawston. 60 percent was fermented and aged in new French oak, the rest was fermented and aged in stainless steel. All the wine was actively stirred every three weeks to create a creamy base and soften the bright Similkameen acidity. Look for light vanilla notes upfront that mix with tropical fruit soaked in pear and lemon juice. It's well structured and will need some time to express itself fully.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Indigenous World
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Quails' Gate Stewart Chardonnay Family Reservetext
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Quails' Gate Stewart Chardonnay Family Reserve 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuails' Gate's flagship white wine, the Stewart Family Reserve, is primarily clone 95, planted in 1996 alongside other clones on their estate Mt Boucherie vineyards. After an overnight settling in stainless, this moved to French barrel for a long, 4 month ferment, and then a rest there on lees for an additional 6 months. It was then racked, blended, and bottled. Polished, creamy, and rich, this flows with lemon curd, downy lees, fine wood spicing along a plumped palate and structural frame. Very elegant and sophisticated choice, especially now, with 6 years of aging for us.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNow a mix of valley fruit sourced out of Oliver, Osoyoos, and Naramata, the latter brings a renewed freshness to this wine, moving into the brighter, more modern version of BC chardonnay. 75 percent is fermented and aged in oak, but only 11 percent see new oak; the remainder goes into a mix of concrete eggs and stainless. The attack is a mix of citrus led by lemon peel, green apple, and crisp pear with a creamy lees finish. A very approachable style to be served with seafood pasta or creamy cheeses.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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23 June 2020

Anthonij Rupert Optimatext
90PTS

Anthonij Rupert Optima 2015

Franschhoek Valley, Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaOptima is a 40/35/25 blend of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon from the Franschhoek and Darling districts. It pours a deep ruby that's beginning to show some evolution. The fruit is at a similar place: ripe black cherry and plum that have started to dry out, alongside cedar and dried herbs. The wood is also nicely supported by the fruit, with 18 months in French oak (35% new) that adds another layer of complexity without distracting. It's a medium-bodied and fresh Bordeaux blend, though a little tart on the finish, with tannins that are already quite nicely resolved. There's no need to wait on this; it's drinking well now and at peak for this palate.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Stormy Bay Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Stormy Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThis is a rather generic, off-dry red that shows confected red fruits and spicy oak adjuncts. Medium-bodied, the residual sugar drives the palate and masks the tannins, leading to a soft, mellow finish. It’s a style driven wine, to be sure, but this veers a little too close to being an RTD. Best served chilled, maybe with an ice cube or two.Prices: BC 14.00 ON 10.95 Producer: Spier
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Boschendal 1685 Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaFounded in 1685, Boschendal is one of the oldest Cape estates. The fruit here comes from Stellenbosch, Elgin, and the Boschendal farm in Franschhoek. This was whole bunch pressed and fermented in 30% stainless / 70% French oak (12% new) before 10 months on lees, with regular bâtonnage. Ripe, rich, and creamy, with ample green apple, crisp pear, and perfumed honeysuckle, with a lift from lemon citrus, and a plumpness from the ripe grapes and 4 g/l RS. For all its weight, this is held respectably bright with acidity and a welcome 13.5% alcohol.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Boschendal Estate Winery
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Front Row Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viogniertext
86PTS

Front Row Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaFront Row is a mix of shiraz, mourvèdre, and viognier from Swartland. The fruit is purchased on long-term contracts to create a value-for-money blend. The style is light and fresh, with peppery, meaty mocha flavours and a touch of salt in the finish. A simple, straightforward red wine that delivers for its price point.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Stefan Basson
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Riebeek Cellars Collection Merlottext
87PTS

Riebeek Cellars Collection Merlot 2018

South AfricaI’m going to repeat part of our last note from 2016 because it is still relevant to his 2018 version. This wine is an excellent lesson in wine buying. At $12.99 by the time you take all the tax off, the shipping from South Africa, the winery fees, agent fees and retailer’s profit, what’s left? Two or three dollars seems about right, but wait; this wine is a star. The key: It comes from the Riebeek Valley, renowned for shiraz, and Swartland is the uber-hip region where young people rule the winemaking. I’m betting good genes, information sharing, and peer pressure have given this wine all it needs and more for $12.99. The attack is a delight of fresh peppery, meaty fruit that is lush and round and balanced. It’s eminently drinkable for the price, and while it is not a 90-point wine, it remains a bargain buy you can liberally serve around the barbecue all summer.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Riebeek Cellars
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Roodeberg Redtext
89PTS

Roodeberg Red 2017

Western Cape, South AfricaDusky crimson coloured, I like the way this wine faithfully smells of its two main grapes: cabernet sauvignon (47% of this vintage blend) brings ripe blackcurrants and juicy bramble, and shiraz (28%) struts cracked pepper and dark chocolate. There’s a bowl-full of cherries and berries in the mouth, ripe and juicy and scattered with dried herbs. Bright and savoury the tannins have a bit of a bite, but the fruit floods back on the finish to soften. That smoky, pungent, tobacco character is what places this wine in the Cape for me, and while chewy and rustic, it’s more polished than most under $15 bottles. Roodeberg Red has been around since 1949, was one of the first SA table wines to feature shiraz, and the 2017 vintage was killer in the Cape. I’m awarding an extra point just for unbeatable value.Prices: BC 13.99 ON 12.00 SK 14.00 MB 14.00 NS 12.00 NB 15.00 YK 16.00 Producer: KWV International
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Pandiculationtext
88PTS

Pandiculation 2015

Western Cape, South AfricaI like the balance here between the shiraz and the bush vine grenache, melding into one soft round red that is very easy to sip. The nose is a mix of blueberries and red plums with subtle floral and spice in the background. Pandiculation is not the best name I can think of for this wine, but its meaning, a lazy stretching (after a sound sleep), is a good description. Drink now with a favourite barbecue chicken recipe or any mushroom-based dishes.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Rascallion Wines
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Spier Seaward Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Spier Seaward Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Western Cape, South AfricaSpier strives for purity of fruit in its wines, never an easy task at this price point. The cabernet sauvignon does present some impressive clean, pure cabernet aromas and flavours led by blackcurrant and black cherries, with a dusting of cedar and sweet oak. Easy sipping and ready to drink, it delivers all you could want at this price point. Good value, and a perfect match for flank steak.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Spier
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The Reserve Bank Redtext
87PTS

The Reserve Bank Red NV

Western Cape, South AfricaA proprietary blend of classic South African grapes made by the talented people at Boutinot Wines out of the UK. If you are looking for a juicy, soft, round, clean, fruity, textured, silky, delicious red, especially for the money, this is it. Back up the truck and serve all summer around the barbecue. Not your typical SA wine that sells for 11.99; it is way better.Prices: BC 11.99 Producer: Boutinot
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Glen Carlou Grand Classiquetext
87PTS

Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2016

Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Paarl, this Bx inspired blend blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, all fermented in stainless, and aged in French barrels (30% new) separately for 18 months before being blended. Super old school, thick with wood, vanilla, cedar, bedding ripe cherry, raspberry jam, leather, baking spices, and ample dried florals. Tannins are chewy, and the finish is very warming, more so than 14.5 degrees would suggest. This certainly welcomes airtime before drinking, and then partnering with a braai of grilled meats.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Glen Carlou
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Protea Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Protea Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom vineyards around the Western Cape, this was fermented in stainless, and then aged on oak staves, which are apparent on the plank flanked palate. Black currant, dark cherry, bitter chocolate, and sour cherry finishes short and powdery, with powdery soft tannins housing. Needs meaty stews to match.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Bruce Jack Shiraztext
87PTS

Bruce Jack Shiraz 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaThis initially has quite a reductive note, which needs a vigorous decant to blow off. With some patience, meaty and spicy aromas emerge alongside plummy black fruits. But everything still comes across a bit muddled. Fortunately, the tannins are soft and approachable, and there is a good degree of freshness. It doesn’t typify South African syrah/shiraz (at least to this palate), but it will likely appeal to fans of cool(er) climate Australian shiraz, especially at this modest price point. The barbecue is calling.Prices: BC 15.91 NFL 16.04 Producer: Bruce Jack Wines
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Anthonij Rupert Optimatext
88PTS

Anthonij Rupert Optima 2015

Franschhoek Valley, Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from Franschhoek and Darling. The wines were made and aged separately for 18 months in 225L French oak barrels (35% new), then blended, and aged for a further 6 months in barrel and tank, before a bottle stint for 24 months prior to release. All that means it's primed for drinking now, with a leathery base drawing dried cherry, earthy red cassis, dried florals, tobacco along an autumnal palate. Tannins are worn nubby, and provide a spiced wood framework to this fading, shading oxidative red. Drink now, with roast root veg or roast beef.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Roodeberg Redtext
87PTS

Roodeberg Red 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThis is a simple, juicy red with confected red fruit alongside a slight hint of under-ripeness. Medium-bodied, it's a soft, approachable style with a short, astringent finish. Everything is correct, but not overly complex or inspiring.Prices: BC 13.99 ON 12.00 SK 14.00 MB 14.00 NS 12.00 NB 15.00 YK 16.00 Producer: KWV International
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Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Western Cape, South AfricaSourced from vineyards throughout the Western Cape, this shows bold, luscious black fruits alongside coffee-tinged oak and green herbs. The palate’s not quite as rich as the nose lets on, more medium-bodied than full, with granular tannins and unintegrated, tart acidity on the finish. It’s a style of cabernet sauvignon that could come from throughout the new world, but certainly tastes more Chilean than South African. Best enjoyed slightly chilled. A fine value BBQ wine.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 19.00 MB 17.95 ON 17.95 QC 17.95 NFL 18.25 Producer: KWV International
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Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaster's Reservetext
86PTS

Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaster's Reserve 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThe Nederburg Cab is a consistent performer, offering up a pleasant ripe sweet black fruit nose that spills across the palate. Look for sweet blackcurrant flecked with liquorice, menthol, cherry, and smoky tobacco. There is a vibrancy and a freshness here that allows it to rise above its price point.Prices: BC 13.99 ON 12.10 NS 13.85 NF 16.00 MB 13.50 Producer: Nederburg Wines (Pty) Ltd.
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Two Oceans Shiraztext
84PTS

Two Oceans Shiraz 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaSoft, rounded, sweaty/sweet smokey chocolate nose with a touch of syrah reduction. The attack is similar with sweet black and blue fruit and smooth textures streaked with ash and warm earth notes. Simple, old school style that is ready to drink.Prices: BC 10.99 AB 10.75 ON 11.00 NB 12.99 PEI 13.99 Producer: Bergkelder, The (Distillers Corporation)
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Spier Pinotage Signature Collectiontext
86PTS

Spier Pinotage Signature Collection 2018

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe pinotage originates in the Western Cape (Darling, Durbanville, and Paarl), 40-80 kilometres from the ocean. Post ferment, 20 percent of the wine is matured in French oak barrels for eight to 10 months, while the remainder ages in stainless steel tanks with French oak staves. The nose an attack has a generous, juicy, sweet undertone marked by black cherries, dark plums, and softish tannins. A classic SA match is pulled pork, but hamburgers are just as enticing. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 14.99 AB 15.99 NB 16.99 Producer: Spier
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Spier Merlot Signature Collectiontext
86PTS

Spier Merlot Signature Collection 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThe Spier Merlot comes off cooler vineyards, averaging 20 years old, located 20 to 60km from the coast in Swartland, Paarl, Overberg, and Stellenbosch. Post-ferment, twenty percent remains in stainless steel while the rest is exposed to wood staves during the ageing process. Spier has a brighter attack than its companions in this price range, and you fell it in the soft, plummy, cherry fruit marked with a touch of menthols, earth, and ash in the finish. Ready to drink and well suited to roasted chicken.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spier
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Pastor's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franctext
85PTS

Pastor's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2018

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaIn 1995 the Gabb family, originally from Shropshire, UK, took control of this South African wine farm surrounded by 20 ha of vineyards. Over time they have expanded their investment, and the estate now totals 120 hectares under vine. All cultivars, as they say in SA, were fermented and aged separately for 12 months in second and third fill French oak barrels before being blended, fined and bottled. The style is old world with leather, chocolate, tobacco mixing with roasted tomatoes, cherries, earth, and ash. Serve with grilled meats.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Journey's End
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Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosétext
89PTS

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaA showy bright, youthful rosé made from cabernet sauvignon, it is one of the first SA rosés to be designed from vineyard to bottle. The colour has lightened up over the years to add to its curb appeal. Fresh and juicy with a good mix of tart and sweet cherries with a twist of citrus. Food-friendly and ready to drink, this is a lot of fun for the price.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Mulderbosch
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Savage Wines Thief in the Nighttext
94PTS

Savage Wines Thief in the Night 2017

South AfricaDuncan Savage is well recognized as one of the unofficial/official leaders of the Zoo Cru, a collective of like-minded winemakers focusing on wines of place. He seeks and sources sustainably-farmed cool climate vineyards from across the Cape for his low-interventionist, namesake wines. From the isolated, steep Piekenierskloof, this blend of Grenache (from Soldaart vineyard), Cinsault, and Syrah was 70% whole cluster, and aged for 9 months in large old foudre. Pouring a slightly hazy garnet, alluring darker florals lead directly into wild raspberry, morello cherry, and bright juicy plum. Layers of mineral salts and pink pepper infiltrates the pure fruit, while fine, long tannins hold this linear, slight red in place to a lingering finish. This was the inaugural vintage of this alluring, characterful red blend; serious, yet smashable. 94/100Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Savage Wines
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22 June 2020

Rocky Creek Wild Blackberrytext
89PTS

Rocky Creek Wild Blackberry NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFolks who live in BC know wild blackberries like nobody else because they grow just about everywhere. Picking them along a trail or a city lane has become an enjoyable birth rite, so it only makes sense that we have a wine made from these little black treasures. Rocky Creek has been turning out a blackberry wine for some time, and it is a local gem. Each bottle is the essence of the fruit. The palate is a mix of jammy, savoury, earthy, peppery fruit with a twist of liquorice and a hint of oxidation. Try this with an apple cake or ice cream.Prices: BC 25.00 500 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Telmo Rodriguez g Dehesa Gagotext
90PTS

Telmo Rodriguez g Dehesa Gago 2014

Toro, Castilla-Leon, SpainTelmo Rodriguez (or T-Rod, as his groupies know him) is a Spanish winemaking pioneer crafting terroir-driven wines from unique vineyards across his country. Instead of the flying winemaker moniker, he calls himself a driving winemaker, crisscrossing Spain via autopistas. G refers to the wild bulls (gago) in the rugged and recently revitalized (thanks to T-Rod) Toro region, and the rustic, windy, dry countryside is woven into this wine. Ripe dark cherries, fig, and cured meats lead to a leathery, full-bodied palate of baked fruits, black liquorice, dusty stone, black peppercorns. Heady and hearty, and drinking well now thanks to age, best served with equally powered dishes.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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De Martino Estate Carmeneretext
89PTS

De Martino Estate Carmenere 2017

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileDe Martino Winery was founded in 1934, and now has 4th generation brothers Marco and Sebastián at the helm, This Maipo carmenere spends 9 months in concrete and French oak barrels. With time in decanter or your glass, this opens to reveal some of the grape's charm, with bright herbal kirsch, leather, wild resinous scrub, and sapid plum notes. Tannins are worn softly nubby, carrying the medium-bodied palate to a peppery finish.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: De Martino
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Masroig Sola Fred Montsanttext
89PTS

Masroig Sola Fred Montsant 2018

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe Masroig or 'red farm' co-op was established in Montsant, the Holy Mountain region surrounding Priorat, in 1918. Today, a century later, it is among the finest cooperatives in all of Spain. The samso (carignan) grown over clay and black slate terraces couldn't be any more fun to drink. It is a touch more luxurious than the previous edition, but still with a large amount of floral, dried herbs, and red and black berries with little noticeable tannins, previewing a medium-long finish. Savoury and balanced, it is a wine drinker's wine that can meet just about any dining occasion. Foods that work here include sausages, meaty pasta dishes, grilled beef, and medium-hard cheeses. Fine value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Cellar Masroig
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Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reservetext
87PTS

Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reserve 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe haven't seen this wine in a while, but it remains one of the better Okanagan Valley zinfandels. The vines are planted to fluvial and glacial sedimentary soil at about 420m above sea level. The nose is savoury with a rich peppery note that is quickly enveloped in bright acidity and a fair whack of tannins. There is some juicy black fruit here, but at the moment, the wine is a series of parts that need time to come together. If you must open it now, try it with grilled beef or lamb, or rich, creamy cheeses.Prices: BC 53.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Moon Curser Tempranillotext
88PTS

Moon Curser Tempranillo 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA pretty ruby garnet colour, the aromas immediately show a south Okanagan sagey herbal character, combined with dark figgy fruits, and a florality you expect from the tempranillo grape. Sweet American oak and potent plum and cherry fruit layered with vanilla, chocolate, and sweet coconut define the fulsome palate. Juicy enough with firm tannins that have a dusty, gritty texture, but a slight greenness. Give a little chill and pair with chorizo saffron pilaf.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Tannattext
91PTS

Moon Curser Tannat 2015

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a deep claret colour, bright and glossy, with absolutely no colour evolution after five years. This has an inky graphite nose with dense, dark, plummy fruit and brandied cherries. There is a lovely vinous quality with a fragrant oak perfume of coconut husk and vanilla, and a hint of shoe polish. Magnificently ripe without any raisiny or stewy character, it transits the fruit spectrum from raspberry to blackberry to blueberry, plummy, earthy, and distinctly savoury. Full, dry, edgy tannins sit comfortably amongst rich, spicy fruit, adding a dark chocolate flavour. The finish shows off tannat's imperious structure with brisk acid, potent fruit, broad tannins and dry extract melding together into a decent finale with a throat-warming note. Carries 15.4% alcohol well, mainly because the 2015 vintage fruit is so turbo-charged, thus helping balance the heat. This needs massively flavourful food to match, or harness the softening effect of aged cheese with this thumper.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Tempranillotext
88PTS

Moon Curser Tempranillo 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA pretty ruby garnet colour, the aromas immediately show a south Okanagan sagey herbal character, combined with dark figgy fruits, and a florality you expect from the tempranillo grape. Sweet American oak and potent plum/cherry fruit layered with vanilla and sweet coconut define the fullsome palate. Juicy enough with firm tannins that have a dusty, gritty texture, but a slight greenness. Give a little chill and pair with chorizo saffron pilaf.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Petit Verdottext
89PTS

Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDeeply tinted black crimson, the aromas wafting from this petit verdot are intensely fragrant with iris petals, macerating cherries, and high toned oak perfume. It's heady indeed, and a subtle undercurrent of earth, dried herbs, and orange oil adds extra interest. There is a tug-of-war between fruit and oak in the flavours: tangy cherry, ripe plums, black currant vying with coconut and smoked oak. The fruit is concentrated yet brightened with brisk acidity, and tannins are firm and woodsy. Glossy smoked oak takes over from the fruit on the finish. An excellent effort that expresses the petit verdot, a grape that typically bolsters a Meritage blend in BC, rather than headlining the bottle. Everything is sitting in the right place now, so pair this medium-bodied red with slow-cooked lamb tacos, roasted herby veg on creamy polenta, or grilled pork and plums.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Malbectext
90PTS

Moon Curser Malbec 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDon't wear white and drink this wonderful Malbec! Deep fuschia colour, it's vivid, youthful and eyecatching. I love the exuberant fruity nose, alive with sweet flowers like iris, tobacco flower, and peony. There's also perfumed fruit that is multicoloured red, black and blue, with unmistakable herbal whiffs that are very Okanagan and very appealing. The flavours melt into one another with raspberry jam then blackberry pie, then dried blueberries. Spicy flavours layer the concentrated fruit, and oak shows with sweet coconut flavours. Full bodied, nicely balanced with tart acidity, and finishing with a tannic thrust.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Touriga Nacionaltext
93PTS

Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine quite simply knocked my socks off. Deep crimson in colour, the aromas are an intoxicating mélange of exotic dark berry fruit (think mulberry, black raspberry, wild blueberry), violets and black pepper, plenty of black pepper. Many flavour dimensions roll over the palate: plum, black cherry, orange oil, grilled sticky herbs, and fruit leather, all kept fresh and lively by juicy acidity. The tannins are velvety smooth, and while full-bodied, the wine has impressive weight without heaviness. Best for me is the wine's heady floral perfume that bewitches both the nose and palate, and it truly conveys a unique side of touriga's nobility and pedigree. I'm giving extra points for potency, which when well executed, deserves merit. This was one of a celebrated few dozen platinum award winners at the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, and it's worthy of a prime cut of beef and your biggest-bowled wine glass.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Carmeneretext
91PTS

Moon Curser Carmenere 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine glows deep crimson in the glass and has a spectacularly expressive carmenere nose that hits all the DNA markers for this wonderful grape. The aromas bloom with lovely dark fruit: rich black currant and ripe hedgerow berries (remember picking summer blackberries from a ditch)? The best part of the nose is the savoury aromatic intensity of sweet dried herbs laced with cracked pepper. The flavours show similar black fruits: plum, cherry, kirsch, and carmenere's classsic herbal savour, which serves as a perfect counterpoint to all that lavish dark fruit. The tannins are bold and firm yet polished, and sit with ease in opulent fruit. High juicy acidity is luminous and seems to come from deeply within the wine. A long, savoury finish reveals a stamp of sweet oak; everything is simply in the right place. Shows more carmenere typicity than the 2016. Pair with earthy mushroom tart with caramelized onion, or guanciale pasta.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Dolcettotext
89PTS

Moon Curser Dolcetto 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoody purple colour with a crimson rim and plum core. The aromas are pretty, spicy and quite dolcetto-like, with plum, and dark cherry, with a true warmth to the fruit and a fragrant note of oak. The flavours are bright and tangy with dark cherry, plum, subtle licorice and sticky herbs. Quite juicy as you expect dolcetto to be, but also spicy, ripe and generously fruited. Acids are vivid and the tasty finish shows red fruit compote. Tannins are nicely ripe and more substantial than Italian versions. Vinous and full of sweet fruit flavours with a juicy, dusty finish. A complete outlier in the Okanagan, dolcetto is a juicy grape from Piedmont in north western Italy. Moon Curser uses no oak here for pure grape expression, albeit with a south Okanagan ripeness rather than alpine restraint. Something Italian like pizza or a meaty calzone will step up nicely.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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20 June 2020

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2019 a small amount of sauvignon blanc and viognier made it into the blend, changing the chenin nature of this label. I'm okay with the result, but its more like an Okanagan blend big on freshness and, in this case, dryness. Look for juicy pear and apple streaked with quince. Its tart lean style will be attractive to food fiends looking for something to slay the fat in a fish or chicken dish.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 22.99 SK 23.79 MB 20.99 ON 23.00 QC 20.05 NS 23.00 PEI 23.19 NB 23.99 NF 23.00 YK 21.05 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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19 June 2020

Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collectiontext
88PTS

Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collection 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis pleasing Cape chenin starts with a quiet nose showing apple, pear, quince and touch of peach. The volume changes considerably in the mouth with a surge of juicy fruit - lychee, melon, spiced pears, fuzzy peaches and a bite of grapefruit pith on the finish, and even a beautiful tail of minerality. Not quite dry, the succulent fruit is squeezed with fresh limey acidity balancing this colossal best value wine. I have long been a fan of Spier wines, a 300-year old Stellenbosch wine farm that's family-owned and dedicated to the local community. Keep the food as easy-going as this crisp white with a herby chicken burger, cold pasta salad, or savoury melon and feta salad.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spier
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Natte Valleij Axle Chenin Blanctext
90PTS

Natte Valleij Axle Chenin Blanc 2019

Darling, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom cinsault-centric Alex Milner, this is a delish Darling chenin from old dry farmed bush vines, planted in 1985. After a native ferment, this spent 9 months in neutral oak prior to bottling. A creamy flow of quince, yellow apples, white honey glides along a waxen palate, coming across much weightier than the 12 degrees would suggest, and finishing with a dollop of sunsweetened orchard fruits and pithy tangerine.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Mullineux Old Vines Whitetext
92PTS

Mullineux Old Vines White 2019

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaAbout a quarter of the 2019 White Blend was lost when a transport truck tipped over. So if you find the 2019, cherish it even more than it normally warrants. This Swartland blend of chenin, clairette blanche, viognier, grenache blanc, semillon gris is mostly sourced from older vines, lending greater concentration, and was native fermented in 500-5000L barrels (5% new). Lovely complex nose with fragrant melon, pear, apricot, white peach, with a generous pad of lees on the middle. Herbal imbued and textured, with a great savoury meadow grass note throughout to a humming, salted finish. Long and full in the mouth, this is quite impactful, yet still fresh, this is drinking beautifully now and will continue over the next few years.Prices: BC 60.00 ON 38.00 QC 40.00 Producer: Mullineux Wines
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Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaChenin from 6 Helderberg mountain vineyards averaging 38 years vine age and from clovelly soils goes into this chenin, handpicked in 2 tranches dependent on the facing of the grapes. The earlier picked grapes, from the warmer western side of the vine, were native fermented in stainless, while the second pick, a few days later and from the shaded eastern side of the plant, were native fermented in barrel. Both were left on all lees for 9 months in French oak (20% new). Flax, white peach, pear feels full on the well-cushioned mid, but is hemmed around the edges with a slight phenolic hug. Great value.Prices: BC 21.99 ON 17.95 QC 18.00 Producer: Ken Forrester Wines
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Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Chenin Blanc 2017

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis chenin comes from Swartland's Riebeeksrivier, and shale soiled bush vines at 400m. After a whole bunch pressing, 22% of the wine was fermented and matured in 300L French oak barrels (17% new, 8% 2nd fill), with the balance in stainless. After 7 months on lees the wine was blended and bottled. Showing chenin's cusping with age, this carries mushrooms, white honey, broken stones along the waxen palate, plumped out with white peaches and tropical melon. The finish snaps with mineral salts. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Tania and Vincent Carême Terre Brûléetext
91PTS

Tania and Vincent Carême Terre Brûlée 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaVincent Carême is a well-known Loire producer situated in Vouvray at Domaine Vincent Carême, but his wife Tania is from South Africa, where the couple has a 10-acre vineyard planted over decomposed granite in Swartland. They make wine in both places, and both hemispheres certainly influence the other. This is their flagship bottling, with 40 year old vines from Swartland's decomposed granite and shale soils, at 656m altitude. After a whole bunch pressing, this was native fermented and aged on lees in stainless, wood tank, and 500L new French oak barrels. Chenin's waxiness coats the palate, giving this 13 degree wine more depth than anticipated. Honeycomb, white peach, wild lemon, streams along the palate, with tight, crystalline lemon acidity. This vibrates along the palate to a ringing mineral finish. Quite a striking wine now, and one that will easily sail through the few years in your cellar.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Vincent Carême
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Protea Chenin Blanctext
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Protea Chenin Blanc 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaProtea is South Africa's national flower, and this wine, and beautifully distinctive label, pays tribute to the beautiful bloom. These grapes come from Swartland and Voor-Paardeberg, and were whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees for 2 months. Crisp and bright with hedgerow, lime pulp, lemon blossom, and white peach, this charms with alternating darts of light lees and bright acidity, to a subtly spiced finish. Packaging bonus : this is sealed in an innovative twist off cork. Smart wine, smart packaging.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Chenin Blanctext
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Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Chenin Blanc 2017

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaCorked.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collectiontext
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collection 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaMy preference is for a slightly skinnier, fresher style of chenin blanc that is less weighty and oily, and this Spier Signature Collection hits all those marks. Spier was first planted to vines in 1692, with the first grapes pressed in 1712. The grapes are grown in the Western Cape's Breede and Coastal regions. They get brief skin contact before a straightforward stainless tank ferment and post-fermentation ageing on lees for three months. Look for bright peach and apple with a drizzle of lemon and creamy citrus. Crazy value here. Drink all summer with a variety of appetizers on the patio.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spier
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Tania and Vincent Carême Terre Brûléetext
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Tania and Vincent Carême Terre Brûlée 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaI have not had the opportunity to visit this property, but I want to after tasting this wine again. Vincent Carême is a well-known Loire producer situated in Vouvray at Domaine Vincent Carême. Even more interesting, his wife is South African, where the couple farm just over 4 hectares of vineyard located on Swartland granite. Terre Brûlée is the winery's flagship label, and it delivers on all levels. The vines are 40 years old and sit at 625 meters of elevation, explaining the elegance and freshness on the nose. It a balanced 13 percent alcohol, allowing the fruit to shine through with its bony mineral, wild citrus, quince and green peach. Drink or hold, this wine is going nowhere for a decade.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Vincent Carême
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Protea Chenin Blanctext
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Protea Chenin Blanc 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaProtea is South Africa's national flower, and its part of the impressive packaging that makes this wine look like it tastes. The grapes come from Swartland and Voor-Paardeberg, and are gently whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel, staying in contact with lees for two months. Clean and mostly crisp, it has a distinct lemon-lime attack with peach and fresh cut herbs. The lees have given it just a twist of texture and weight for mouth presence. Impressive for the price, although the twist-off real cork is as goofy as it gets. Not sure who it is catering to, but it's not Canadians. Screwcap, please, and watch your sales soar.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Alheit Vineyards Cartologytext
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Alheit Vineyards Cartology 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaTen percent sémillon is tipped into this chenin blanc. Wild ferment, bush vines from nine parcels (still the same building blocks since the initial Cartology) make up the layered. blend. Wild herbs, green verbena, light cream, quince, subtle perfumed elderflower is spired with chenin's characteristic acidity, drawing this long along the waxen, lees-plumped palate. Savoury and potent mineral salts infiltrate, to a lengthy, saline finish. Excellent representation of the Cape, and of Alheit's style.Prices: BC 60.00 ON 60.00 QC 60.00 Producer: Alheit Vineyards
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A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanctext
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A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaAdi Badenhorst is a champion of the Swartland, the region his family has family has been rooted in and growing in for generations. This wine is mostly from the family farm, Kalmoesfontein, on the granite soiled northern side of the Paaardeberg Mountain. Old unirrigated bushvines planted in the 60s-70s is picked over nearly two weeks, with fresh juice added to the already native ferment. After whole bunch pressing (15% skin contact) this was fermented in older large foudre and concrete where it remained on full lees for seven months, with occasional stirring. Chenin's waxiness is on full display here, woven through wild meadow grasses, herbal citrus, wild orange, fennel, marcona almonds, on a plump, savoury bed of lees. Easy to understand and enjoy without being dumbed down at all, this youthful wine is all about representing Swartland chenin, and it does so expertly.Prices: BC 26.00 ON 24.00 QC 19.00 Producer: A. A. Badenhorst
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collectiontext
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collection 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaSouth Africa's climate, and soils, are so well suited to chenin blanc; it's no wonder that the country has more hectares planted than any other (double what is planted in France's Loire Valley). Spier is one of the country's oldest and most significant wineries, with vines first planted on the farm in 1692, and with the first grapes pressed in 1712. Grapes for this friendly chenin comes from the Western Cape's Breede and Coastal regions. After light crushing and brief skin contact, and overnight cold settling, this was tank fermented where it spent three months on lees before bottling. Orchard fruit fresh, with pear, white peach, lemon verbena on the snappy finish, lined with a light bed of lees. Fantastic value, and a lovely naked view of the grape.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spier
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Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc Clone 220text
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Quails' Gate Chenin Blanc Clone 220 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA bone dry, single clone (220) chenin blanc that comes in at only 13.5 percent alcohol is definitely on my radar. It has a different style than most Okanagan whites, with far less orchard fruit and more floral, honeysuckle, starfruit, nectarine skin, with bright underlying acidity and a pleasant bitter note in the finish. The textures are rounded and silky, thanks to fermentation of 90 percent in a 1700L concrete egg, while 10 percent was fermented in stainless steel. The result is a well made, delicious, complex, food-friendly white we enjoyed with a mild curry dish.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Road 13 Chip Off The Old Block Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Chip Off The Old Block Chenin Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is made with younger vines sourced from the old block of chenin blanc vines first planted in 1968. The style is soft and approachable, made for early drinking, and relies on typical south Okanagan orchard fruit. Think fun, white wine you can gulp with green apple, pear skin and quince notes. There is some residual sugar lurking so it will best be served with spicy appetizers or barbecue.Prices: BC 17.39 Producer: Road 13
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18 June 2020

Narrative Rieslingtext
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Narrative Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a lean, racy style of riesling that’s all about green apple and lime. It may not be overly complex, but I also don’t think it needs to be. It's well made; both precise and textural. Plus, it'll be at home at the dinner table, where it'll act as that squeeze of lime that brightens your plate (my vote: shrimp tacos). Another fine Okanagan riesling at a more than reasonable price.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Mt. Boucherie Rieslingtext
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Mt. Boucherie Riesling 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThirty-year-old vines from the Similkameen Valley are at the heart of this off-dry riesling, leading with bright, ripe fruit. The Lazy River Vineyard, in South Cawston, is home to mineral, stony, fresh flavours, with intense candied lemon and honey on the finish. A fun wine to drink now and enjoy with spicy curries or barbecued chicken.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Mayhem Rieslingtext
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Mayhem Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Campagnaro Vineyard, this was whole cluster pressed and partially native fermented in a mix of puncheons and steel. Fermentation was stopped when the desired sweetness (final, near 10 g/L) was reached. It remained on lees for 6 months prior to bottling. Juicy and bright with grapefruit, sweet lime, and orchard pear, this skips along the palate to a citrus pith finish. The sugar is offset by the shining acidity. Fun, smart, and ready to crack this year, as intended.Prices: BC 18.26 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Road 13 Rieslingtext
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Road 13 Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA clean, cool fermentation is employed to make this delicious, upscale, ready-to-drink style of just off-dry riesling. The fruit is fresh and easy sipping with stony, mineral aspects mingling with flowers, lime zest, nectarine, and juicy green apples. A gentle touch of sugar smooths out the finish and leaves you wanting more. They say a twist of bright acidity makes it ‘so bright you gotta wear shades.’ I say, 'well if you're outside, why not?' Serve with spicy Indian/Chinese/Thai curries, mild cheese, pork, or chicken. It’s all Golden Mile fruit picked two weeks apart.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Road 13
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Lunessence Rieslingtext
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Lunessence Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2019 Single Vineyard is all estate Summerland fruit aged on lees for five months. It has an attractive honeydew and mango aroma that spills on to the palate. It's almost dry but perfectly balanced with ripe orchard red apple and pear, with juicy, lime cordial and honey. Just on the edge of mouthwatering, this is a treat. At 10.5 percent alcohol, it slides down easy and leaves you wanting to finish the bottle at lunch. Well done, in a drier, crisper tone. Food-friendly.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Free Form Rieslingtext
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Free Form Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom certified organic fruit grown at Garnet Valley Ranch, this was fermented in amphora with native yeasts before aging in stainless steel. Initially shy, with time it shows subdued white florals, stone fruits, and an earthy herbal note. The palate is taut and precise. You'd be hard pressed to guess there's 17 g/L of residual sugar, with a pithy, phenolic texture that makes you wonder if there was some skin contact. If riesling could get any geekier, this is probably it.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Narrative Rieslingtext
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Narrative Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe narrative in 2018 is extreme, as in tartness. Expect a pure, untouched version of Okanagan riesling that reflects its origins in a northern desert with dry, short, and intensely warm and cool growing conditions. It is fermented in stainless steel and aged for a few months in concrete eggs. The attack is tart, with crisp, stony lemon pith flavours that finish dry and super fresh. It needs some fresh goat cheese or a warm cheese and ham panini. I do admire its 10.5 percent alcohol level. A geek wine for sure. Winery direct and private wine shops.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Free Form Rieslingtext
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Free Form Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis organic riesling comes from Garnet Valley Ranch, the exciting higher altitude vineyard planted by OCP, and under the guidance of Pedro Parra and Alberto Antonini, and under the care of viticulturist extraordinaire Duncan Billing. This was native fermented in clay amphora, and then aged in stainless prior to bottling. Off-dry, with 17g/L RS, this still feels quite tight with earthy, yeasty lees, green apple, river stone, and a long, lingering, humming, grippy finish. Partner with complexed and fragrant Thai or Vietnamese seafood or veg dishes; this can handle it.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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17 June 2020

Terravista Figarotext
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Terravista Figaro 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFor the first time in eight vintages, roussanne bests viognier in Figaro, with the former sourced entirely puncheon fermented, and the remaining 20% Viognier partially fermented in neutral oak barrels. Lush yet sleek, with orange blossoms, ripe pear, apricot all held in check by a potent stream of tangerine acidity. There's a bed of river stones basing this fuller white, lending a dusting of stony salts on the finish. Would be ideal with spot prawns, or a papaya salad.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanctext
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Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanc 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetit Blanc is the crisp, youthful white from a winery well known for its structured, age-worthy wines. Done entirely in stainless, this blends sauvignon blanc, muscat, and pinot gris, with 5 months on lees to add some body to the slender 12.2 degree frame. Pear, melon, and sagebrush leads this lighter white, edged with a bitter citrus and sour ale note that lingers on the finish. Chill well and crack this summer with fish tacos or lighter salads.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gristext
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gris 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWho would think a chasselas led blend would be one of the top selling BC VQA wines? But maybe we underestimate consumers; they seem to know a good value when they taste it. This is a tidy light, crisp white blend with bright citrus and a subtle floral note. It's essentially dry, with just a pinch of residual sugar poking through. I like the refreshing style, which seems purpose-built for drinking on an Okanagan beach. It's a perennial favourite for a reason.Prices: BC 18.99 MB 18.99 SK 19.99 QC 19.95 NS 20.99 YK 20.95 AB 20.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Great White Northtext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Great White North 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou can set your watch by the wine style at St. Hubertus: clean, fresh and lately highly impressive for the price. Great White North blends chasselas, riesling, and gewürztraminer into a brisk, citrus affair that presents bone dry with juicy, citrus, herbal notes. Pair this with any dish that has a touch of fat. Super value at $12.50.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Terravista Fandangotext
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Terravista Fandango 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis 9th vintage of Canada's sole Albariño and Verdejo blend (obvs) has the nested Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley appellation this year. From their Lone Hand Ranch and its granitic soils, the varieties were fermented separately, and then blended to make up the final 61/39 blend. Tight and nervy with lime pith, crunchy pear, anise, green apple, and kumquat riding a wave of juicy acidity to a snappy and brisk finish. There's a fine texture buzz throughout that keeps this vibrant and alive in the glass. Quite exciting, and a style to emulate in BC.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Orofino White Bridgetext
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Orofino White Bridge 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of muscat (75%), chardonnay (13%), and riesling (12%), this is a fruit forward, aromatic blend that shows muscat’s perfumed orange blossom and pear. Light-bodied with fresh acidity, likely thanks to the chardonnay and riesling, there’s just a faint perception of residual sugar (3.9 g/L), which fits the approachable, quaffable style. This wouldn’t be out of place alongside sushi, but I’d be tempted to pour it as an aperitif with a good chill. Well made and reasonably priced; you can’t go wrong here.Prices: BC 17.30 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Livio Felluga Abbazia di Rosazzotext
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Livio Felluga Abbazia di Rosazzo 2014

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyLivio Felluga is one of the most respected producers of Friuli, dedicating his life to reviving high-quality and sustainable viticulture in the hills of this north-eastern, Adriatic-influenced Italian countryside. He emigrated from Istria and established his property in Brazzano in the 1950s, buying up old, neglected vineyards and rejuvenating them. This, Livio's flagship white, is a blend of Pinot Bianco, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon, Friulano, and Malvasia, from Brazzano di Cormòns' marl and sandstone soils. After starting ferment in stainless, this was moved to oak casks to complete fermentation and aging. Acacia, honeysuckle, grapefruit, lemon pith, is layered with salted marcona almonds and green leaf on a softer palate before a mineral hum on the finish. This is a wine that is showing lovely age now, but has a ways to go yet.Prices: ON 62.00 Producer: Livio Felluga
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Terravista Fandangotext
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Terravista Fandango 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf you are surprised by an albariño and verdejo blend in British Columbia, don't be. It's year nine for this label, and it is one of the best from this special piece of granitic soil on the Naramata Bench they call Lone Hand Ranch. Winemaker Nadine Allander takes us to Spain and beyond with this electrified blend of 61/39 albarino/verdejo. Look for a pear and nectarine affair drenched in citrus, finishing clean and tart. Prawns or clams in butter would be perfect; add some pasta and you have dinner.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Rigour & Whimsy Hyperdrivetext
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Rigour & Whimsy Hyperdrive 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBuilding on the success of last year's 2018 Flux Capacitor, the all-new 2019 Hyperdrive is a skin-contact blend of pinot blanc (70%) and viognier, and fruit from the top of the valley (West Kelowna) and bottom (Osoyoos). Fermented separately as whole berries in stainless, where it macerated for 2 months, it then moved to used puncheons and barriques for 4 months. Pouring a hazy yellow / orange, this is stencilled tightly with apricot and tangerine, housing a nimble, energetic core, grippy around the edges with light tannins, and humming with a bitter citrus acidity that sticks on the snappy finish. At 10.5 degrees, and whistle clean, this is a colourful amber wine for summer.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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The Wine Umbrella Fleurtext
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The Wine Umbrella Fleur 2019

CanadaMireille Sauvé is the woman behind The Wine Umbrella’s Fleur, her latest release. Fleur is an Okanagan orchard fruit salad with just enough ripeness to hint of sweetness without really showing much on the palate. Ready to drink all summer. A portion of sales goes towards scholarships for women in the food and beverage industry via Les Dames d’Escoffier. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Rocky Creek TLCtext
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Rocky Creek TLC 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaTLC is a fun summer sipper that mixes several grapes, including viognier, albarino, madelaine sylvaner, siegerrebe, and ortega. It is a floral affair with soft, juicy, round orchard fruit. It would appear they have abandoned the frizzante character I saw last year, settling for a completely still version. Ready to drink. Serve well chilled or consider pouring with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Intrigue Socialtext
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Intrigue Social 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSocial hits all the right tones for a friendly white blend. There’s a generous hit of apples and lemons and a similarly generous dollop of residual sugar. The mix is 60/35 riesling/gewürztraminer with chardonnay, muscat canelli, ehrenfelser, and kerner topping off the blend. A spicy chicken dish would be a fine match, or serve well chilled on a warm patio.Prices: BC 15.00 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gristext
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gris 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe number one selling BC VQA white in the province, and it's easy to see why. This cherry, bright blend of chasselas, pinot blanc, and pinot gris is filled with gooseberry, asian pear, green and yellow apples, melon, and finishes crisp and bright. Entirely done in stainless, this is fresh and youthful, and not overly complexed, as intended. Great patio and food wine, crack this wine this summer.Prices: BC 18.99 MB 18.99 SK 19.99 QC 19.95 NS 20.99 YK 20.95 AB 20.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gristext
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Quails' Gate Chasselas - Pinot Blanc - Pinot Gris 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf you own a winery in BC and you want to make a summer white blend, you might want to study this label. A perennial favourite with consumer and critics, 2019 is a well-made, light, crisp, affair with bright citrus, gooseberry, and pear that finishes as bright as it starts. Pour all summer on the patio.Prices: BC 18.99 MB 18.99 SK 19.99 QC 19.95 NS 20.99 YK 20.95 AB 20.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Izadi Rioja Blancotext
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Izadi Rioja Blanco 2019

Rioja, SpainIzadi Blanco is a 65/10/10/5/5/ mix of viura, malvasía, garnacha blanca, tempranillo blanco, maturana blanca, and turruntés, grown in some of the oldest vineyards in Rioja. The brand Izadi is young by Rioja standards, with just over three decades of production, but there is a feeling, a soul, for wine that belies that youth. A small percentage is barrel-fermented, and the result is a creamy, round palate. Expect an exuberant, juicy white with notes of quince, ripe apple, nectarines, and citrus. It begs you to serve it with food, from chicken to sushi to west coast seafood.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 26.99 Producer: Bodegas Izadi
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Contino Rioja Blancotext
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Contino Rioja Blanco 2017

Rioja, SpainThe cork is a signal they are serious about this wine, though putting it under screwcap would likely allow it to soar in restaurants and at retail in Canada. Nevertheless, this is a terrific bottle of wine. The mix is viura and garnacha blanca, with a soft sheen of lees and a creamy almond texture that would suggest some wood ageing, but there is none. The entry is all about light yellow fruits mixed with crisper green apple notes and a lime citrus finish. Love the styling here and the finesse. A proper fish wine.Prices: BC 69.99 Producer: Viñedos del Contino S. A.
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Sperling Market White Organictext
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Sperling Market White Organic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey had me at 10.6 percent alcohol, but the aromatic, fresh, lean citrus with a rich orchard fruit and grapefruit undercurrent seals the deal. The blend is an organically farmed mix of bacchus, pinot blanc, and riesling from vines averaging 30 years, grown on the family estate in East Kelowna. A sophisticated patio white.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Moon Curser Afraid of the Darktext
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Moon Curser Afraid of the Dark 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI admire this delicious effort from Moon Curser - a tiny winery whose main fascination lies in plumbing the potential for unusual grapes in the South Okanagan like dolcetto, arneis and touriga. Are You Afraid of the Dark deliciously unites the Rhône trio of viognier, roussanne and marsanne. This well-priced white blend looks silvery with peach highlights. The nose shows a touch of petrol and nicely defined stone fruit, honeycomb, chamomile, fennel fronds and custard apple. Stones and understated tropical hints weave throughout a cream-textured, unoaked palate, refreshed by limey acidity. The finish is persistent and warm with fennel bulb, peach schnapps and orange peel all vying for your attention. Pair with weighty cuisines like pork chops with braised red cabbage or cheese fondue.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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15 June 2020

Sea Star Maréchal Fochtext
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Sea Star Maréchal Foch 2019

Pender Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaOne of BC's best maréchal foch, yet again, this light-handed, light-hued, and light-bodied wine shows the charm in this often maligned hybrid grape. Here rhubarb, candied strawberries, fragrant plums, roses rule the silken palate, bright with marine coastal breezes, and finishing with a lick of saline. Ideal with a good chill.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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St. Hubertus Great Canadian Redtext
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St. Hubertus Great Canadian Red 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA basic red wine made with fruit grown in the cool, north Okanagan Valley. This juicy, tart red mixes chambourcin, pinot noir, and maréchal foch and the output are the same as last year. The nose and palate are a mix of earthy, barnyard cedary red fruit with a distinct animal undercurrent. Something rich and smoky is the match here, like barbecue ribs. Ready to drink and priced very modestly.Prices: BC 12.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Rocky Creek On The Marktext
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Rocky Creek On The Mark 2016

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaOn the Mark is an unusual blend of cabernet foch, maréchal foch, tempranillo, malbec, and carmenère grown on Vancouver Island over four estate vineyards facing south or west. Its deep colour reflects a multi-day cold soak before fermentation, and an extended maceration followed by nine months in barrel. The acidity is front and centre, followed by an intense peppery, sour cherry palate. I would suggest you age this for a decade, but I'm guessing its appeal for many is its youthful wild exuberance, which is much cleaner than some of its peers. Think barbecued hamburgers, grilled sausages, or ribs to help tame the wild flavours.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Niche Wine Co. Fochtext
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Niche Wine Co. Foch 2018

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a vibrant, wild, tart, red wine laced with chocolate, black fruit and blousy oak. Foch freaks rejoice. Serve with lamb or turkey. This wine is made with twenty-five-year-old vines from Hugh & Mary Vineyard and premium growers in the Thompson Valley. It was picked at the end of October. It s crushed and cold and destemmed and then left to cold soak over several days. The must is fermented in small individual 3/4 ton lots until halfway to dryness, before being pressed via a half-ton basket press and left to finish fermentation in American oak, before aging for eleven months prior to bottling.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Niche Wine Co.
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Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Foch Reserve 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn organic, biodynamic, estate-grown version of marechal foch is intriguing, and perhaps the best I tasted on this day. It begins with ancient vines, planted in the 1960s on gravelly soil. The roots are deep and the block self-crops like clockwork every year. Whole clusters, at 35% by weight, are included in the wild yeast fermentation before spending ten months in a mix of newer and neutral oak barrels. The attack is fresh with plenty of smoke and chocolate, tobacco, and riparian notes. The attack is sharp, but the acidity under control, the textures are roundish and persist through the smoky, wild fruit finish. Game anyone?Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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12 June 2020

Sea Star Ortegatext
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Sea Star Ortega 2019

Pender Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaFewer wines typify The Wine Islands, to me, as this one does. Ortega, a cross between Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe, has certainly proven itself to be a star of the region. This organically farmed example comes from 12 year old vines from Clam Bay vineyard on Pender Island, neighbouring the winery. Tight, sleek, and humming with lemon sherbet, lime pith, starfruit, green melon, tangerine peel to a bright, shining finish. This quick-to-sell-out small lot rings with marine freshness, leaving an imprint that remains until the next vintage.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Terravista Viogniertext
89PTS

Terravista Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith grapes from both the home vineyard on Naramata Bench, and Oliver, this was native fermented cool in stainless, where it remained to preserve freshness and brightness, always a plus for the heavier viognier. Lush and cool with apricot jam, peach, anise, and key lime, this concentrated, fuller white glides along the silken palate to a five spice finish. Great typicity of grape, and valley.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Albariñotext
91PTS

Terravista Albariño 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of BC's best rarities, this albariño is predominantly from Terravista's home vineyard (69%) on the Naramata Bench, with 31% coming from Oliver's Gravelbourg vineyard. After a whole cluster press and cool native ferment in stainless, this remained in steel to preserve the fresh aromatics. Longtime cult winery Terravista has been passed to new stewards now, with Eric and Dallas Thor the new owners, and Nadine Allander the winemaker. Lime pith, white peach, nectarine rule the fleshy palate, carved with a crunchy pear acidity and buoyed with a joyous acidity to a spiced finish. The grape is well suited to BC, as proven by this 5th vintage.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Domaine Rolet Naturé du Juratext
91PTS

Domaine Rolet Naturé du Jura 2018

Arbois, Jura, FranceNaturé refers to the ouillé style of savagnin in the Jura, meaning barrels are topped up with wine to prevent the oxidative character and flor yeast that is characteristic of classic Jura. Almost all modern Jura whites are made in this way. This very old variety has beget many other grapes over the centuries, including chenin blanc. From the winery's grey marl soils, this savagnin was fermented in stainless and aged 9 months in small oak barrels. Perfumed meadow herbs, wax, wild lemon, quince streams along a silken palate, finishing with a cloud of lees and mineral salts.Prices: BC 38.00 ON 35.00 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Alvaianas Alvarinhotext
88PTS

Alvaianas Alvarinho 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis concentrated and potent alvarinho comes from Vinho Verde's Monçao and Melgaço subregion. There's a creaminess on the palate that carries white peach, orange, ripe melon and light stony spice, with an alluring light grip on the finish to close it off. Fresh and bright, with a weight that enables this to partner well with foods.Prices: Producer: Alvaianas
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Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorinotext
89PTS

Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorino 2016

Abruzzo, ItalyFamily owned and founded in 1957, Umani Ronchi practices organic production on 210 hectares across various sites in Marche (where they are based) and Abruzzo. This organically farmed pecorino comes from a single sandy clay vineyard overlooking Abruzzo's Centovie village, between the Gran Sasso mountains and the Adriatic coast. After a light pressing the must is cooled before stainless fermentation, over three weeks. It was then aged in concrete, with no MLF, for one year prior to 5 months minimum in bottle before release. This is a very well worn 2016, with ample bright yellow fruit and Mediterranean lemon still present, riding atop a honeyed, leesy, oily pine nut base. This has pecorino's inherent weight (at a welcome 13 degrees) to take on proteins or richer dishes.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Cantina Tollo Aldiano Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Cantina Tollo Aldiano Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2017

Abruzzo, ItalyFounded in 1960, Abruzzo's Cantina Tollo has grown into one of the foremost CoOps in Italy, with near 800 shareholders and approximately 3000 hectares of vineyards. They bottle 30% of their wine as Cantina Tollo, and sell the remainder bulk to other producers. This trebbiano d'Abruzzo was sourced from various vineyards around Tollo, where thy are based. Vinification in both stainless keeps the tight citrus freshness, while time on lees pads the core. Mediterranean citrus, Marcona almond, light scrubby spices on a bright, friendly form. Seafood and fresh veg ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Cantina Tollo
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Barone di Valforte Pecorinotext
90PTS

Barone di Valforte Pecorino 2019

Abruzzo, ItalyPecorino the grape, not the cheese, is grown on north-facing, calcareous laced soils in Piomba and Colle Sale, from 150 to 350m above sea level. The nose is a cool amalgam of almonds, minerals, and Asian pears, with an electric undercurrent of wet stones, citrus, and scrubby Meditteranean countryside. Another fantastic style BC could ape, and best of all, it’s a giveaway at under $20. We served it with slices of Pecorino cheese, and it was perfection. The Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century, and their vineyard lies within the DOCG Colline Teramane area.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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Culmina Family Estate Unicus Gruner Veltlinertext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate Unicus Gruner Veltliner 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUnicus is one of the best wines made at Culmina, expressing its site and the valley’s temperament to a tee. At just under 600 metres, Margaret’s Bench plays home to this soft, opulent interpretation of gruner veltliner. Look for a delicious lees character, pears, and desert scrub, all finished with textures via concrete eggs, concrete amphora, stainless, and neutral French oak fermentation vessels. Perfectly balanced and ready to drink.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Moon Curser Contraband Series Arneistext
88PTS

Moon Curser Contraband Series Arneis 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoon Curser's arneis has a really interesting nose of peach, orange peel, delicate petals, and pastry cream. The palate is expressive and complex with a nice mix of stonefruit (all parts: the skin, the pit, the flesh) and sticky herbs. Savoury with botanical fennel flavours, the midpalate is glycerol-creamy, the acid tetters in balance, and it ends on a rather hot note. With body, heft, and spirity warmth, this full figured, bone-dry arneis is far more ample than any Italian one I have tasted, and it's no surprize that innovative Moon Curser has planted BC's first arneis vines. Pair with savoury dishes like cacio e pepe, gnocchi with pesto, or nutty, aged cheese.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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11 June 2020

Meyer Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Meyer Gewurztraminer 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage is super concentrated, due to the fact yields in the gew were down by approximately 50%. This was partially whole bunch pressed, with later picks destemmed and crushed for a cold soak on skins for 24 hours prior to pressing. Both lots were then combined for a month-long, cool, native ferment in stainless and older French barrels. MLF was prohibited. Potent and driving candied lime, lychee, ample lush blossoms, rosewater drives along the direct, narrow palate, barely off-dry with 3g/L, and finishing snappy with a lingering soapiness. This vintage lacks the light and lifted elegance of the 2018, replaced with direct power.Prices: BC 18.12 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf you tend to avoid overblown gewurztraminer, you're in luck here. This has a gently floral nose with orange zest and bright stone fruits. The emphasis on fresh fruit character, combined with a palate that is dryish with soft acidity, makes it an easy patio sipper that should have broad appeal. I find this is elevated by concentration that is above the norm and good length. Well made and fairly priced.Prices: BC 16.99 SK 21.59 MB 16.99 QC 19.00 NB 19.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Calliope Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Calliope Gewurztraminer 2019

British Columbia, CanadaAnother solid rendition of an aromatic gewürztraminer that presents with a quieter, more elegant style, with honeysuckle, litchi, jasmine, and assorted orchard fruits. The style is dry and pleasant, light and watery in the right way, with lemon, lime, and mango. There are always exceptions, but I like this wine with Indian dishes and, in particular, at dinner where several spicy dishes are on the table. It also reflects a growing ability by many to make proper wine vintage in and vintage out. Super value.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Moraine Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Moraine Gewurztraminer 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDwight Sick has the touch that can make an ordinary grape rise above its station, as he has with this highly attractive gewürztraminer. Jasmine and orange blossoms pull you into the glass, but it’s the ripe lemon, spicy ginger notes that please the palate. Not complicated but sure is a lot of fun to drink. The Alsace style at its best, and one the winery suggests pairs well with braised pork dishes.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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K - Little Vintners My Whitetext
86PTS

K - Little Vintners My White 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFloral, candied fruit salad marks the nose and palate of this light summer white. Soft and easy, this is a poolside luncheon wine that is ready to drink well chilled on a warm day. The blend is mostly gewurztramienr with a splash of pinot gris.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Pentâge Winery Gewurztraminertext
89PTS

Pentâge Winery Gewurztraminer 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA distinctive style of gewürztraminer, from its floral lifted litchi to the hints of oily nectarine and peach. The palate is equally lively with more spicy, peachy, bright orange and litchi, and a long, persistent, dry finish. A wine for food and a classic match would be Pad Thai. Well done and crazy value.Prices: BC 16.52 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Moraine Cliffhanger Whitetext
88PTS

Moraine Cliffhanger White 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe blend is 40% Naramata Bench, Kutyn Vineyard-grown gewürztraminer; 60% Okanagan Falls, Lone Oak Vineyard-grown pinot gris. Each variety is made with the utmost attention by winemaker Dwight Sick, producing a lively, just off-dry white that is gulpable. Expect a flush of peachy, nectarine fruit streaked with floral litchi. Fresh, clean, and precise, I think this would be a perfect wine for turkey or pork. Excellent value too.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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10 June 2020

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOpen bright, fragrant floral notes of litchi and fragrant white blossoms. The attack is similar in what is a mostly dry expression of orchard fruits, nectarine skin and rosé petals. This one is ready and easy to drink but lacks a bit of electricity. Consider serving this with some of your favourite lightly spiced menu items.Prices: BC 16.99 SK 21.59 MB 16.99 QC 19.00 NB 19.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Gewürztraminertext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Gewürztraminer 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic gewurztraminer from its rose petals and litchi fruit to its orange blossom and peach fuzz spicing. This year's QG Gew was partially destemmed and pressed with some skin contact, giving that light peachy hue to the glass. After a cold ferment in stainless, this spent a short while in stainless. Quails' Gate reins in the RS on their Gew now, thankfully, keeping this under 3 g/l, brisk on the finish, and quite drinkable. Crack and drink this summer with lightly spiced curries or Pad Thai.Prices: BC 16.99 SK 21.59 MB 16.99 QC 19.00 NB 19.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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08 June 2020

Azores Wine Co. Rosé Vulcânicotext
91PTS

Azores Wine Co. Rosé Vulcânico 2019

PortugalThe Azores, a volcanic archipelago and wine region in the Atlantic off Portugal, grow wine grapes on three of the nine islands. This is from the island of Pico and its pure volcanic, black basaltic, scrabbly rocky soils. This blends 5-30+ year old saborinho, agronomica, aragones, touriga nacional and many other co-planted varieties across 13 vineyards, sustainably grown in wee plots (2 to 6 bush trained vines per square), planted in 1991 at sea level. This is a partial saignée from António Maçanita's Tinto Vulcanico, along with partial whole bunch, and including some cofermentation. Stainless steel preserves the crisp fruit, and no maceration created the appealing scant orange hue. The 600-1000L stainless barrels were lain on their sides to give more lees / wine contact and texture on the palate. Saline laced wild strawberries, cherries, pink grapefruit pith, crunchy red currant is scented with spring rhubarb, bergamot, and alluring campari bitterness, streaming along the mineral-driven palate to a briny finish. This smacks with marine acidity, making this characterful rosé easily smashable.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Azores Wine Co.
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Domaine Terre de Mistral Rosalie Rosétext
90PTS

Domaine Terre de Mistral Rosalie Rosé 2019

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FrancePouring a pale peach hue, this Côtes de Provence Rosé is a blend of syrah, grenache, and rolle from 8-40 year old vines at 300-400m in the foothills of the mountainous sub-appellation of Sainte Victoire. After a cold skin maceration and Nitrogen blanketed cool ferment, this rested one month on lees with no MLF. Cool, silken, and spiced, with a buzzy mineral undercurrent common to these clay-limestone soils, this glides along the medium palate with wild strawberry, tangerine pith, rosewater, to a lingering finish. Don't err and drink this too chilled, for you'll mute out these subtle fruits. Sip alongside sashimi.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Domaine Terre de Mistral
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Meyer Rosétext
88PTS

Meyer Rosé 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Pinot Noir Rosé comes from the estate McLean Creek Road vineyard in Okanagan Falls, as well as from vineyards in East Kelowna, Kaleden, and Naramata. This saignée pink had 12-24 hours with skins, was partial native fermented and then into a 50/50 split of barrels and stainless for aging 6 months on lees. That lees has certainly built up a plump cushion on the medium bodied palate, with fleshy cherry, raspberry, and red currants spiced with an herbal desert scrub mix. Quite Provençal in polish and form, with a bit more overt and inherent Okanagan fruit, this would suit a similarly stylish patio lunch or dinner this summer.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Mayhem Rosétext
89PTS

Mayhem Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMayhem Wines is a fun collab between two established wine siblings: Terry Meyer Stone of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards, and her brother JAK Meyer of Meyer Family Vineyards. This merlot comes from their estate Anarchist Mountain Vineyard, was foot trodden, and chilled for 24 hours on skins before being pressed off for a long, cool ferment, 23% native in older barrel with full MLF, and the remainder in stainless with no MLF. They were blended after 6 months into tank where they came together before bottling. Fantastic snappy packaging here reflects what's in the bottle, with a shiny peach / blush hue leading to sage-scented wild cherries, plums, and red currants. Acidity is juicy and brisk, and there's a light dusting of peppery spice for interest. Fun, joyous, easy, and one to crack this summer.Prices: BC 19.13 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Haywire Gamay Rosétext
90PTS

Haywire Gamay Rosé 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOrganically farmed gamay from higher altitude Secrest Mountain Vineyard was whole bunch pressed and native fermented to dryness in a mix of concrete (80%) and stainless (20%). The wine was then pressed to concrete where it rested on for six months prior to filtering and bottling. Always a highlight, this year's is the choicest yet, with the limestone laced soils and light touch of winemaker Matt Dumayne resulting in a lifted, tight, mineral-laden rosé, positively humming with energy, driving wild strawberries, light rhubarb, pink grapefruit on a sleek, lightly lees lined, juicy palate. Subtle and savoury, finishing with a desert scrubby herb allure.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Luke Lambert Crudo Rosétext
90PTS

Luke Lambert Crudo Rosé 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaPouring a shining peach orange hue, this Yarra Valley blend of syrah and nebbiolo was an early pick, whole bunch pressed, and native fermented with MLF in seasoned oak foudres before it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Super savoury, it's hard to find much fruit here save for some spring rhubarb. Bergamot, tangerine pith, earl grey tea, crunchy Asian pear acidity, and perfumed rosehips float over a bed of wild meadow grasses and broken stones. Acidity is tight, holding this to a hum throughout. Adventuresome, direct, and a super interesting (geek) wine that is smashable.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Domaine La Suffrene Bandoltext
89PTS

Domaine La Suffrene Bandol 2019

Bandol, Provence, South of France, FranceBandol is always a powerful pour for pink, and this fresh 2019 is no exception. The 2019 is a blend of mourvèdre, grenache, cinsault, and carignan 10 from various plots on the communes of La Cadière-d’Azur and Le Castellet, all currently in conversion to organics. Pouring a mid-peach hue, this opens with a blast of stony fruitiness, with tangerine, mandarin, red currant, on a savoury stony base. Bone dry, this has a stern backbone of crunchy acidity punching this to a snappy, spiced orange finish. Punchy and forward, this is built for food.Prices: BC 33.99 Producer: Domaine La Suffrene
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Roche Texture Rosétext
90PTS

Roche Texture Rosé 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe zweigelt grape may not be a household name but when it comes to rosé, grape varieties matter less than the style of the wine. Roche Texture Rosé 2019 is made from a small block of 20 year old, own-rooted zweigelt vines, organically farmed and wildly fermented. Pale and pretty apricot hued, the aromas are arresting with wild berries, peppery spice, and herbal scents. Take a gulp and you’ll find eye-popping, mouth-watering acidity followed by a rush of crunchy tart red fruits like cranberry, red currant and rosehip. It does indeed have a nice slippery texture, and a long, emphatically dry, slightly briny finish. It’s an intense, focused rosé that’s built for food with the kind of body and acidity to slice through charcuterie, pulled pork, or unfussy grilled bratwurst. Dylan and Pénélope Roche are remarkably experienced young winegrowers, with a tiny estate on the Naramata Bench. Their wines are intimate and pure, with a deceptive and touching simplicity that is, of course, complexity in disguise.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Roche Wines
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Corcelettes Oracle Rosétext
90PTS

Corcelettes Oracle Rosé 2019

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLook for a beautiful pale salmon colour that signals a nod to a Provençe inspired rosé made from an 80/20 blend of pinot noir and syrah. Dry and rich, Oracle hits all the bells and buttons of the southern French legend, including wild floral notes, citrus, wild strawberries and creamy texture supported by that stony, mineral Similkameen underbelly. An impressive rosé and exceptional value. Drink year-round.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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The Palm by Whispering Angel Rosétext
89PTS

The Palm by Whispering Angel Rosé 2019

Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, Provence, South of France, FranceThe Palm mixes mostly grenache with small amounts of cinsault and syrah from vineyards around Provence. The colours are a shade darker than its cousin Whispering Angel, with more of an orange/pink hue in 2019. Likely one of the few rosés in the world that is optically sorted to select only the best individual berries, the fruit is gently crushed before ageing on lees in stainless steel. Not quite the ethereal experience of Whispering Angel, but this rosé will have broad appeal for its slippery palate of lemon and fresh flavours streaked with tangerines and crisp acidity to fill the finish. Serve with grilled prawns to the best effect.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Château d'Esclans
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Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosétext
92PTS

Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2019

Côtes de Provence, Provence, South of France, FrancePale pink with a twist of orange, Whispering Angel is all about luxury: the luxury of scent, the luxury of flavour, and the luxury of texture. Wild strawberries, light cinnamon spice, and a long, silky, mineral palate entice from front to back. When you want to make a rosé statement or impress anyone, this is the ticket.Prices: BC 38.99 Producer: Château d'Esclans
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Seven Directions Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosétext
90PTS

Seven Directions Fruitvale Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFruitvale Ridge Vineyard is all about cabernet franc grown over rock, gravel, loam and some clay that opens with a whiff of savoury, stony minerality. As BC, as that is, its barely orange colour is a perfect Provençal knockoff. Seven Direction techniques under winemaker Daniel Bontorin are minimalist, giving it creamy, rhubarb, strawberry, citrus that cuts with a bite of tangerine rind in the backend. Seven Directions is a virtual winery owned and operated by Kristine Witkowski and Daniel Bontorin. Their blended family of five kids plus the parents are the folks heading in Seven Directions. Provençal inspired, this rosé is a beautiful model for the Okanagan to emulate on its journey to world recognition.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Seven Directions Tractor and Vines Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosétext
91PTS

Seven Directions Tractor and Vines Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSeven Directions is a virtual winery owned and operated by Kristine Witkowski and Daniel Bontorin. Their blended family of five kids, plus the parents, are the folks heading in Seven Directions. This wine is only heading in one direction, up to the stars. Provençal inspired, this rosé is a wonderful model for the Okanagan to emulate. Both wines, Fruitvale Ridge, and Tractor and Vines, are single vineyard designates and farmed from bud break to be a rosé. Tractor and Vines is made with pinot noir and is essentially dry at 3.9 grams of RS per litre The big citrus highlights the firm red fruit base that comes dusted in Okanagan sagebrush. Wow; such a delight that would confuse the most seasoned European rosé drinkers. Try this with white meats or a favourite fresh cheese. Crushed, cold-soaked on the skins for a mere 2 hours, gently pressed, fermentation took place in 75% stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness and aroma, as well as 25% in neutral French oak barrels for added creaminess and texture. Sourced from a 1.1 acre, single vineyard, the grapes for this Pinot Noir rosé were sustainably farmed.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Bottega Wine Studios
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Atlantis Tinta Negra Vinho Rosétext
90PTS

Atlantis Tinta Negra Vinho Rosé 2018

Madeira, PortugalThis stylish dry rosé comes from a very humble background. Tinta Negra is the red grape of Madeira that goes into youthful / less premium Madiera. This is made by the powerful Madeira Wine Company, the group that owns much of the island, including Blandy’s, Cossart Gordon, Leacocks, and Miles Madeira. Grapes from the southern island were macerated on skins for 24 hours before a cool ferment, and four months on skins. With this wine, the grape goes from workhorse to fashionista, pouring a pale / medium peach. Wild raspberry, youthful cherry, tangerine is spiced with scrubby herbs and broken stones, to a snappy finish. Smart, fresh, and dry, and at a welcome 11 degrees, this is a savvy rosé for summer.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Maetierra
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Intrigue Social Rosètext
87PTS

Intrigue Social Rosè 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's blend mixes 37% riesling, 25% pinot gris, 15.4% gewurztraminer, 12.2% merlot, 8.2% rotberger and 0.2% malbec, which results in a juicy, light, off-dry rosé full of strawberry, watermelon, red apples and pears, wrapped in pink. Simple, quaffable, and versatile, you can sip it solo or pair it up with spicy sushi rolls, a fresh strawberry salad with goat cheese, or turkey dinner. Chill well and drink all summer.Prices: BC 17.00 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Four Shadows Rosétext
87PTS

Four Shadows Rosé 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFour Shadows Winery, owned by Wilbert and Joka Borrens, is set upon a 17-acre vineyard near the entrance to the Naramata Bench. After selling their grapes for many years, they have begun making wines under the direction of French-born, Okanagan-based, Pascal Madevon. This is a sweet rosé, with candied strawberries and taffy apple dominating the nose and palate before finishing with soft, round, mouth-filling textures and a hint of caramel. Last year I said it was showy but simple, and it remains consistent. Serve this well-chilled on the patio or try it with some heavily sauced spicy-sweet spareribs.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Bizou + Yukon Pinkie Rosétext
87PTS

Bizou + Yukon Pinkie Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bizou + Yukon label is an amusing offering from the folks at Okanagan Crush Pad, where mostly they take wine very seriously. The Great Pyrenees who tend to the sheep all night and day at Garnet Valley Ranch are a sight to behold most days in the vineyard, and have been honoured with series of dog labels that will no doubt have appeal to the large sector of the dog-loving wine-drinking public. The blend is a secret mix of red and white grapes that make for a refreshing citrus, watermelon pink that cleanses the palate and calls for another glass. Ready for most any food served outdoors. Perfect for the dog days of summer.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Clos du Soleil Rosétext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe malbec is grown specifically for this wine, on a steep southern-facing slope of Clos du Soleil’s La Côte Vineyard on the Upper Bench of the Similkameen Valley. The nose is delicate and aromatic, with notes of red cherries and pomegranate. The attack is lively with juicy raspberry, cherries, and rhubarb, streaked with a bit of salty, mineral, orange zest. The fruit is destemmed, lightly crushed, and soaked under dry ice for 6 hours followed by gentle pressing, and a long, slow, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged on lees until bottling. Almost any food works here, including salmon, chicken, soft cheeses, cheesy popcorn, or a sunny patio. Well done.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Indigenous World Red Fox Rosétext
87PTS

Indigenous World Red Fox Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rosé has shown well for several vintages. In 2019 the pale, salmon-coloured rosé open with a mix of citrus, strawberry, and savoury rhubarb that finishes with a touch of residual sugar in the form of candied strawberries. Not a lot of complexity, but it will do for a fun patio pink. Good value.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Indigenous World
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Moraine Pink Mountain Rosétext
87PTS

Moraine Pink Mountain Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPink Mountain rosé comes from on Moraine's Anastasia Vineyard on Naramata Vench. The blend is 75/25 gamay noir/malbec. The style is soft and off-dry at 9 g/L residual sugar. Ther is a touch of acidity to keep it in line, but I suggest this ripe pink would be best suited for spicy dishes to temper the sweetness in the wine. Of, course some will love it for what it is: a quaffable pink you can serve cold on a hot sunny day. The gamay was all hand-harvested and pressed off the skins. The malbec was saignéed as the berries were being destemmed. A seven-week fermentation was halted by chilling, and the wine was stabilized and crossflow filtered before bottling in early February 2020.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Intrigue Rotberger Drought Rosètext
86PTS

Intrigue Rotberger Drought Rosè 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rotberger rosé was grown and made by Brent Drought, a 30-year veteran winemaker whose family motto “always thirsty” appears in Latin on the label. The style is frizzante, adding a short, bubbly foam as you pour the wine, giving the colour and the nose a lift as it hits the glass. A pale pink hue previews a dry rosé with subtle citrus and red fruits that finish with a grippy, skin contact texture. Ready to drink, but will be best with food.Prices: BC 16.90 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Rust Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon South Rock Vineyard Rosétext
87PTS

Rust Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon South Rock Vineyard Rosé 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Rust Rosé is made using the saignée method, bleeding juice from tank, and in this case, from cabernet sauvignon. Generally, you get a slightly richer flavour and deeper pink colour when you use the saignée method, and it is the story here. The fruit is from the Golden Mile Bench where a wild ferment reveals a mix of flavours led by lemon, orange peel, and a spicy touch of watermelon. The finish is smooth with some residual sugar helping to balance out the rust-ic nature of this pink. Best with spicy appetizers. Serve well chilled for best results.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Fort Berens Rosétext
88PTS

Fort Berens Rosé 2019

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaI’ll trade perfection for an all-Lilloooet wine and that’s what you get with this rosé. The entry is juicy, tart, and full of cranberry, watermelon, and floral notes. The off-dry palate is light citrus, cherries, watermelon, and red apple. Five different pinot noir clones add some mystery to the mix that finishes with light, grippy tannins suggesting it might be best to serve this wine with food. Winery favourites include BBQ salmon, pulled pork, bacon-wrapped scallops, or a Niçoise salad.Prices: BC 18.49 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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05 June 2020

Anthonij Rupert L'Ormarins Brut Classiquetext
90PTS

Anthonij Rupert L'Ormarins Brut Classique NV

Western Cape, South AfricaThis was made in Anthonij Rupert’s sparkling cellar, La Garonne, in Franschhoek, but the wine comes from various cooler spots and a variety of soils around the Western Cape. This release is a blend of 59/41 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Franschhoek, Elandskloof, Darling and Robertson and spends 24-48 months on the lees before a dosage approximately 9g/L. This sophisticated fizz carries toast, red apple, brioche on the palate, with an easy swell of acidity, and a riff of salted stones on the finish. Lovely intensity, while maintaining elegance and prestige; a very drinkable and accessible MCC.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Free Form Blanc de Noirtext
90PTS

Free Form Blanc de Noir 2017

Garnet Valley, Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is 100 percent pinot noir from Garnet Valley Ranch near Summerland, which underwent a wild fermentation in concrete before being bottled for secondary fermentation. The nose shows classic blanc de noir character with red apple skin, tart red berries, and a light touch of brioche from 20 months on its lees. There’s also a subtle oxidative character, maybe explained by the lack of added sulphites, which adds an extra layer of complexity. But what sets this apart is the palate, from the rich, mouth-filling texture to the fine, creamy mousse to the excellent balance. While zero dosage sparkling can sometimes be unforgiving, that’s not the case here. Between the elevated concentration and fresh, but not austere, acidity, you can taste why no dosage was needed. Vegan friendly.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Free Form Blanc de Noirtext
90PTS

Free Form Blanc de Noir 2017

Garnet Valley, Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new traditional method fizz comes from Okanagan Crush Pad's pioneering Garnet Valley Ranch estate vineyard. These young organic pinot noir grapes were whole bunch pressed and native fermented in concrete, before heading to bottle in January 2018 where it rested on lees for 20 months. It was disgorged with zero dosage. The wine is as uncompromising as its naturalist approach, with negligible fruit save for some subtle pear skin and tight, racy green apple. More prevalent is the broken stones, ample earthy yeast, aged parmesan, and subtle note of herbal grasses skipping along the taut palate. Very severe style now upon release, but one that will build flesh with a little age.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Château Dereszla Methode Traditonelletext
87PTS

Château Dereszla Methode Traditonelle 2015

Tokaj-Hegyalja, HungaryHungary's main whites, Furmint (65%) and Hárslevelű (35%) come together in this traditional method fizz, with 14 months on the lees and a dosage of 8 g/L. Fuzzy white and yellow fruits show on the palate, touched with an aged lees tiredness floating on a dense foam, and finishing with a snappy peach fuzz bitterness. Softer on the palate, and relatively dry, this is a simple, easy fizz for drinking now.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Château Dereszla
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Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperialtext
91PTS

Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial NV

Champagne, FranceMoët has records dating back to 1881 showing Napoleon ordering the Rosé Impérial. Climate change is a definite thing in Champagne; Rosé only used to be produced in the best / warmest years. Now all the rosés in the portfolio make up 20% of production, up from only 2% 20 years ago. One thing that sets this rosé apart from most peers is the use of pinot meunier in the base wine mix. Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez puts the pinot meunier through thermovinification, macerating the fruit for only 2 hours and then pressing, with no skin or seed contact. This extracts a lot of colour and fruit, but it's not a long-lived production method. To this they add pinot noir, macerated as normal. This is also the only red that goes into the reserves, as it has the structure and production method to last years. The two each make up 10% of the final blend of the Rosé Impérial, with chardonnay making up the majority at 80%. After up to 48 months on lees, this is dosed with 7 g/L. Strawberry leather, cherry brioche, red apple floods the palate, tightened on the sides with a slight grip, and lingering with cherry leather and fine spice.Prices: BC 77.99 QC 89.25 MB 87.88 NF 94.68 ON 82.95 NB 84.99 AB 76.99 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Moët & Chandon Impérial Bruttext
89PTS

Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV

Champagne, FranceMoët & Chandon is the largest champagne house, and their Brut Imperial is the most consumed champers in the world. It is estimated that a bottle of this is popped every 1.3 seconds around the globe. Since his arrival in 1998, Benoît Gouez, Chef de Cave, has gently evolved the style, holding house consistency, while steering this historic wine into modernity. Brut Imperial began in 1869, and was known for being drier than its contemporaries at that time, near 100 years before Brut became normal. Today the wine is dosed with 7 g/L (down from 14 > 11 > 9 over the past 2 decades). As dosage has decreased, reserve wines have increased, now up to 30-50%. Though the NV blend changes every year, it's based on 30-40% pinot noir, followed by pinot meunier and a smaller portion of chardonnay, blended from more than 288 villages (estate and contract, as of 2019), and with at least 24 months on lees. Red apple, biscuit, dough is tightened with green apple and lemon pith.Prices: BC 69.99 SK 65.74 MB 69.99 ON 67.00 QC 67.00 NB 71.79 NS 66.50 PEI 70.60 NL 78.99 BC 145.00 1500 AB 64.99 ON 145.00 1500 Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Jean Bourdy Crémant du Jura Bruttext
88PTS

Jean Bourdy Crémant du Jura Brut NV

Jura, FranceJean Bourdy is 15th generation of direct descendants in the Bourdy family, documented since 1475. He continues the tradition of producing wines as they were made up to 150 years ago from the Jura family estate. This chardy crémant speaks to the heritage of the estate and cellars, with dusty stones, yeast, lemon pith, green apple, dried apple, dried peach, toasted hazelnuts, and mushroom notes drawing along the dry, lightly spiced palate. For drinking now.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bourdy
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Blomidon Estate Winery Cuvée L'Acadietext
89PTS

Blomidon Estate Winery Cuvée L'Acadie NV

Nova Scotia, CanadaFrom their estate vineyard, this is the first NV of traditional method l'acadie blanc, a smart move to cover off the vagaries of vintages in NS. From the same block each year, this bottle was 65% from 2017, with the remainder from 2016, was bottled in August 2018, spent 16 months on lees, and was disgorged in December 2019, with 6 g/L. Future vintages will have a perpetual reserve added into the mix, for additional consistency. Brisk, sharp and saline, with tight white flowers, lemon pith, crystalline lime, and a shimmering mineral salinity that pulses along to the faintly floral finish. Like all of Blomidon's fizz, this has a palpable energy and nervous tension. Dosage is necessary to balance out the acidity here, and winemaker Simon Rafuse does is deftly.Prices: NS 35.00 Producer: Blomidon Estate Winery
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Graham Beck Bruttext
89PTS

Graham Beck Brut NV

Robertson, Breede River Valley, South AfricaClassic, consistent and accessible, from South Africa’s leading sparkling wine house and one of the world's top fizz experts, Pieter Ferreira. This is a 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir MCC (Method Cap Classique = traditional method) coming 80% from their Robertson estate, and spent 15 months on the lees. This has 6-10% reserve wine from a perpetual reserve, and was dosed with 8 g/L. This bottle was disgorged April 2019. Red apple, toasted brioche, richer lemon, light cherry fill a creamy palate, lightly spiced to a generous finish. Friendly, rightfully so, and a great gateway to the world of MCC.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Graham Beck
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Contratto For England Blanc de Noir Pas Dosétext
89PTS

Contratto For England Blanc de Noir Pas Dosé 2008

Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy, ItalyContratto was founded in 1867 by Giuseppe Contratto, and is known as the oldest producer of sparkling wine in Italy, with their 1919 Contratto Extra Brut the first vintage sparkling wine ever made in the country. This wine, For England, was named in 1930, when Contratto began producing a low-dosage wine for the English market. At that time, the trend for Champagne and sparkling wines were very sweet (doux), though England's posh Royal Court had developed a drier palate for wine. This traditional method fizz is entirely pinot noir, sourced from calcareous-marl soils at 600m in Oltrepo Pavese, and aged a minimum of 30 months on lees before being disgorged with no dosage. Quite alive for 12 years old, with telling oxidation overridden by brioche, Rainier cherry, marzipan, and anise on a very plumped palate, all held tight by that zero dosage. The finish shimmers with a telling limestone buzz. Such an idiosyncratic wine, and quite interesting to unravel (and drink).Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Giuseppe Contratto
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Château de Bligny Blanc de Blancstext
89PTS

Château de Bligny Blanc de Blancs NV

Champagne, FranceThis chardonnay comes entirely from the Aube, where blanc de blancs are still fairly rare. Though the house style is amply rich with green apple, almond brioche, full cream, and oxidative notes, those kimmeridgian soils and chardonnay backbone holds this wine upright. Vines have been planted in Bligny since the 12th century, and the château's current vineyards cover twenty hectares. All the plots that were well-reputed in the past have been replanted, including the former vineyards of the Sainte Euladie Priory founded centuries ago, the Bernardin vineyards that once belonged to the monks of the famous Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux, and the Val-l’Ermite.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Chateau de Bligny
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Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Bruttext
90PTS

Nino Franco Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyNino Franco was founded in 1919 and is one of the oldest wineries in Valdobbiadene, and the winery is now overseen by the forth Franco generation. Refreshingly dry, with tight while flowers, hints of elderflower, almond, with crunchy Asian pear acidity and a lingering bitter lemon essence on the finish. Serious Prosecco, from a respected family, and definitely worth seeking out.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Nino Franco
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvéetext
92PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvée 2000

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMysteriously lost in the depths of the cellar, Ariel 1998 emerged as one of the finest sparkling wines made in British Columbia. The follow up 2000 is equally blessed after 17.5 years on lees. Ariel is estate grown at Summerhill Vineyard in East Kelowna. The 2000 blend is 68/30/2 pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier, and it’s been disgorged in small batches since last September 2019. The nose is mature, with complex scents of toasted nuts, ginger, and leesy umami. The palate is creamy and showing age, but there is plenty of citrus, gout Anglais, brioche notes throughout the middle, and to the mineral finish. Slightly tighter and drier than in 1998. We know it can age but suggest you drink it now. Try this with the ultimate match: caviar.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Pentâge Winery Fizz Rosétext
86PTS

Pentâge Winery Fizz Rosé 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis youthful sweetish rosé is a field blend of 10 different varieties, obviously superfluous to the winery's main portfolio, and used in this fizzy melangé. 30 hours of skin contact gives the deep cherry hue, while stainless ferment keeps things as bright as can be. Jammy raspberry, strawberry, orange creamsicle fill a plump, candied palate, finishing with a maple kiss. Best with a brisk chill (on ice!) and a summer patio.Prices: BC 21.74 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Rathjen Cellars Sparkling Rosétext
89PTS

Rathjen Cellars Sparkling Rosé NV

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaMike Rathjen made 75 cases of this inaugural traditional method rosé and released 25 cases worth in February 2020. This pinot noir came from 25-year-old organically farmed vines from Saanich's Brambleside and Starling Lane Vineyards, and the 2017 and 2018 vintages. After a 4-5 hour skin contact soak, the base wines fermented native in neutral barrels with no MLF kicked off secondary ferment in the bottle with primary fermenting lees and organic sugar and then aged on the lees (this second release for 18 months) before bottling unfined and unfiltered, with no dosage. Sour cherry, young raspberry, rhubarb ring through the tight palate with a cranberry tartness, and lingering salted smoke finish. Bone dry, the body is light, the fruit slender, and the acidity brisk, precisely as the Wine Islands should be. Rathjen is one of a handful of passionate WineIslands advocates and explorers, redefining this unique region.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rathjen Cellars
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Tantalus Blanc de Noirtext
92PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAfter a year hiatus, it's lovely to see this Blanc de Noir back to the portfolio. From a single block of 1985 clone 93 Pinot Noir, this native fermented in barriques and puncheons, where it spent 6 months before transferring into bottle for 22 more months on lees. This was disgorged with 6 g/L of 2017 Pinot Noir. Tight and brisk, with ample perfumed cherry blossoms, plum, pink grapefruit acidity, this rides an alluring base of stony spices along a slip of fine lees, finishing with a lingering subtle savoury wild raspberry. Lovely balance here between riveting acidity and pure fruit, drinking beautifully now, but will age in your cellar.Prices: BC 27.83 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Stag's Hollow Muscat Frizzantetext
86PTS

Stag's Hollow Muscat Frizzante 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis lightly sparkling muscat comes from Okanagan Falls, was cold fermented and injected with carbonation for a simple, buzzy little white. Delicate florals, lime pith, bitter lime, subtle tropical melon dances across the short, light palate. Best with a brisk chill, or as part of your mimosa programming.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Tantalus Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Blancs 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTight lemon, green apple, seashell rings through this blanc de blancs, one of BC's leading serious sparklers. There's a gentle pad of lemony lees reflecting this estate chardonnay's fermentation and 6 months in French barriques and puncheons before 22 months on lees. A lovely stony spice mingling with subtle toasted hazelnuts linger on the finish. This was dosed with 8g/l from their 2017 Chardonnay.Prices: BC 27.83 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Jean-Paul Brun Terre Dorees FRV 100text
89PTS

Jean-Paul Brun Terre Dorees FRV 100 NV

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFRV100 = F R V Cent = Effervescent. Classic Jean-Paul Brun, and his wry, smart take on the wines of his Beaujolais homeland. Brun is the elder statesman of Beaujolais non-interventionist winemaking, and Terres Dorées is his realm of the golden (clay-limestone) slopes in the south of Bojo, where he is based. It is gamay, left deliberately sweet, and flush with sugared strawberry, pear gummies, candy apples. Acidity holds bright and riveting. Brun was the first to do a pét-nat in Bojo, 15 years ago. Back then, it was 65 g/l RS and has dropped to 35 g/l over the years—a lovely 7.5% pink fizz, ready for brunch, or light fruit desserts.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Jean-Paul Brun
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Covert Farms Sparkling Zinfandel Methode Ancestraletext
86PTS

Covert Farms Sparkling Zinfandel Methode Ancestrale 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis pét-nat zinfandel comes from Covert's organically / biodynamically farmed estate, striding McIntyre Bluff. After starting its ferment in stainless, it was moved into the bottle and capped with a crown cap to complete fermentation. Rhubarb, baked cherry, sour apple, cinnamon spicing, and apple blossoms fill a slight, just off-dry palate, finishing tart and brisk.Prices: BC 32.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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André et Mireille Tissot Crémant du Jura Rosétext
90PTS

André et Mireille Tissot Crémant du Jura Rosé NV

Arbois, Jura, FranceImpressive crémant, and among the top from Jura, where crémant makes up nearly one-third of wines. The numbers are similar at Tissot (one of many Tissots), with fizz comprising approximately one-quarter of their production. Now headed by the winery’s second generation, Benedicte and Stephane Tissot produce 28 wines from 40 hectares in Arbois, farmed organically, biodynamically and chemical-free. It is a blend of 25-year-old vine pinot noir, poulsard, and trousseau, and my bottle was disgorged in July 2018 with zero dosage. It pours an orangey peach hue, with redcurrant, wild alpine strawberry, mandarin, white cherry, laced with heady pink florals and lightly smoked stone, on a dry, brisk, super stony palate. Quite savoury, playing well up against the subtle fruit sweetness. A lovely aperitif, or wine to handle lardon-laced salads.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: André et Mireille Tissot
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Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée n° 742 Extra-Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée n° 742 Extra-Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Jacquesson was founded in 1798 by Memmi Jacquesson, and was a house favourited by Napoleon, who bestowed it a gold medal for its cellars. The winery has been innovative from the beginning, instituting the radical notion of training vines in rows with the collaboration of Dr. Guyot, and patenting the muselet, the wire cage that holds the cork in place. The real innovation, however, began in 1978, when the Chiquet family purchased the house, and brothers Jean-Hervé and Laurent spend the next ten years campaigning to their father to do something radically different, from the structure of the company to vineyard management. In 2000 they took a bigger risk and announced the 700 series. This numbered, vintage-based cuvée began with ‘728’, represented by the 2000 vintage. Rather than making a consistent NV wine every year, they aim to make the best possible blend each vintage. Each year, a new-subsequently numbered-cuvée is released, maths meaning this current release 742 is from 2014. This blend is 59% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Dizy and Hautvillers) and 41% Chardonnay (from Avize and Oiry), and was disgorged in July 2018 with 1.5 g/l. This year saw the wine aged on lees under cork rather than crown cap, and with two months further ageing in oak prior to heading into bottle. Ripe and full with lemon pith, brioche, fresh hazelnuts, dried white florals seasoning a core of pear and white peach, and swung with an oxidative sherry-like note, finishing with a lingering nutmeg / cinnamon kiss. The dominance of pinot noir, extended aging in oak, and the move to bottle age under cork has rendered 742 more voluptuous than previous releases. I think this is drinking deeply, and ideally, now, but will hold in your cellar.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Champagne Jacquesson
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02 June 2020

Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswelltext
92PTS

Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswell 2015

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2015 The Boswell Syrah is ageing effortlessly, and it was fun to have a look it three years down the road. The Westbank estate grown syrah is part of the winery's prestigious Anniversary Series, honouring its pioneering Okanagan ancestors. It spent 18 months in French oak that was more than adequate to stand up to its strong fruit base. Its black cherry, lashed with licorice and dried herbs, is humming along, shedding tannin and turning into a sleek Rhone style red still with plenty of life ahead of it. The vineyard block sits at the base of West Kelowna, nearest the lake. It is the perfect spot to take advantage of the late day katabatic winds that flush the heat out of the vineyard, contributing to a complex syrah capable of many years bottle age. Lamb, venison, or aged hard cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Lightning Rock Syrahtext
90PTS

Lightning Rock Syrah 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBuilding on last year's solid start with Syrah, this 2018 vintage (as of yet unreleased) dials it up a few notches, impressively so. Shedding some of the heft and weight and alcohol of the 2017, this vintage of syrah was cofermented wild with viognier skins before being lightly pressed to neutral puncheons. Savoury and floral, this youthful wine darts along the palate with peppery spice and granitic energy, buoying blackberry, wild blueberry, violets, thorns, and cured meats around a tight core, finishing with a slight balsamic astringency. A fresher, brighter style of syrah.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Lightning Rock Syrahtext
88PTS

Lightning Rock Syrah 2017

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Elysia Vineyard, and its decomposed granite / limestone slopes, this deeply perfumed red flows with ample violets, iris, and lavender lining its velveteen, plush palate. Soft tannins cuddle this to the finish line, while a buzzy minerality keeps it bright on the 14.9 degree palate. Well handled ample style, and an interesting syrah project to follow.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Narrative Syrah Viogniertext
89PTS

Narrative Syrah Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOkanagan Crush Pad's Narrative line is all about freshness, purity of fruit, and in the end, being seriously crushable. The blend in 2018 is syrah and viognier from two Osoyoos vineyards, some of which were cofermented in clay amphora and left on skins for nine months. The result is heightened aromatics and silky textures. On the palate, the wine is juicy, spicy, and alive with the hint of the good side of naturality. Drink or hold through the next three to five years. Whole roasted organic chicken would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Orofino Syrahtext
92PTS

Orofino Syrah 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage was based on a new Similkameen vineyard for the first time, with the Scout Vineyard that historically made this wine now being used by its owners for their project. In 2018, a higher altitude, windy, rocky, older vine Keremeos Bench vineyard makes the base for this wine, with a small amount still tipped in from South Cawston's granitic Scout Vineyard. After destemming, this was native fermented and then pressed into older French barrels, where it aged for 16 months before bottling without fining or filtration. Striking Similkameen syrah, from its dusty, stony bed to its perfumed violets, through its peppery seasoning, all colouring thorny cassis, wild blackberry and black plum to a lingering, dusty stone finish. Tannins are slight furry, mimicking the texture layered throughout this wine — a lovely expression of Similkameen syrah, a variety best suited to this valley in BC.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Pentâge Winery Syrahtext
90PTS

Pentâge Winery Syrah 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSkaha-based Pentâge Winery likes to do the ageing for you, as evidenced by this recently released five-year-old syrah. The screwcapped finished bottle is slightly reduced upon opening, but that reduction dissipates with some air time (I recommend a splash decant). The attack is smooth and the tannins silky before the wild cassis and black raspberry floods the palate. It's laced with pepper, charcuterie, and scrubby desert sagebrush. Fine value. This is another excellent example of where syrah is in BC and where it is headed in the future. It's certainly amongst the best reds made the province. The syrah is fermented in four batches, using different hand-selected yeasts to promote the wine's complexity. It is matured for 18 months in 70% French and 30% American oak. Only 30 percent of the barrels are new; the balance was aged in two to four-year-old barriques.Prices: BC 24.35 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Orofino Syrahtext
91PTS

Orofino Syrah 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2018 a vineyard change was made for this label, albeit still remaining in the precious soils of the Similkameen Valley. The new Keremeos site is slightly higher in altitude, boasting older vines but is equally rocky and windy, contributing to the wild makeup of this syrah. A small amount from the original Scout Vineyard still makes its way into the mix that spends 16 months in older French barrels, providing plenty of oxygen without adding any traces of oak. The attack is a mix of wild stony minerality and intensely sweet, almost candied black fruit. It’s tour de force, although a slightly drier version would really make the ultimate statement. If you like powerful, rich, ripe, red syrah this is it. Grilled lamb anyone?Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswelltext
93PTS

Quails' Gate Syrah The Boswell 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Boswell Syrah is a Westbank estate grown syrah that is part of the winery's prestigious Anniversary Series, honouring its pioneering Okanagan ancestors. In 2017 the wine is singing freshness, reflecting its northern position, cool climate, and ancient volcanic soils. It is the elegance and sleek styling that gives it its gravitas. Look for intense black and blue fruits with fresh cracked black pepper and a touch of salami dusted with a savoury, spicy mix of dried desert herbs. The tannins are youthful and dense, but with a sweetness and roundness that lets them slip by almost unnoticed. Impressive and the best yet from this Westbank producer.Prices: BC 69.99 AB 69.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Border Vista Syrahtext
88PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Border Vista Syrah 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Osoyoos's Border Vista vineyard, and its gravelly, loamy sands, this potent and powerful syrah sucks up every bit of its southern Okanagan heat. This spent 14 months in French oak, felt throughout the spiced structure of this big, youthful red. Plush and dense with crushed violets, inky cassis, wild blackberry, and potent peppery spice, tannins are firm and dense, and the finish is potent and warming. This needs some airtime, as well as an appropriately equal protein pairing.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Reserve Shiraztext
87PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Shiraz 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThick with ripeness, and smoke, and wood, this potent syrah came from the Black Sage Bench, and was splashed with 3% viognier. It spent 14 months in wood, 20% new French, 65% used French, and the remainder used American wood. You can feel all of this as you chew through the palate, taking in dense blackcurrant, blackberry, kirsch, wrapped with furry tannins. There's a hickory sweetness that lands on the finish. Quite up front, this lacks the sophistication of Mission Hill's other reserve tier.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 28.00 ON 27.00 QC 28.00 SK 27.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
89PTS

Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrah 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSouth Rock Vineyard is on the Golden Mile Bench, and opens in a drier, more peppery style that draws you into the glass. The midpalate is a mix of meaty, peppery licorice notes with just a hint of sweetness, and a long, warm, smoky, peppery finish. The fruit comes off gravel laced clay that seems to paly a small role in the elegance of this wine, as big as it is. You can drink this now or age it for three to five years to let it mellow, but it's fun at this youthful stage and can take on some pretty robust items like lamb, duck, venison, or wild boar.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrahtext
91PTS

Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year this is the best of what are three exciting syrah releases from Rust. Lazy River Vineyard, in the Similkameen Valley, is home to this stony, intensely black-fruited wine. It reflects its origin in stony, windy, Cawston, where cool overnight temperatures equally match the warm growing days, even in July and August. I love the rich, savoury, almost chewy entry of black cherries, black raspberries, cassis and black pepper. The tannins are dense but sweet, the finish warm but mostly balanced. It lacks a bit of persistence in the finale, but this is a beautiful bottle of syrah and something that speaks to a very bright future.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrahtext
88PTS

Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrah 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Okanagan Syrah, one of three releases from Rust in 2017, originates from the Ferreira Vineyard, known for the production of high quality syrah fruit for many years. The richness here is all about 50% new oak, and a mix of American and French, where it is aged for 16 months. The style is super ripe and fat with intense black raspberry, with a candied, sweet finish, tempered by a peppery underside. It needs a few years of bottle age or a fire grilled, richly seasoned piece of meat.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Border Vista Syrahtext
90PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Border Vista Syrah 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBorder Vista is a west-facing, single vineyard estate property in East Osoyoos. A mix of new and old French oak is used for 14 months to add a polished sheen to this plush red wine with super smooth edges. Big and youthful, it is less wild than its contemporaries, but it also a pure style with no reduction, letting its floral, blackberry, blueberry shine through before the pepper and spice take over. It’s all grown on loamy sand with no stones in a site that speaks to the round, silky textures that will attract many. Turkey or roast suckling pig would be a fine match.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Reserve Shiraztext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Shiraz 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA warm, dry summer resulted in a crop of small, concentrated berries that played into the voluminous, Oz-style of this shiraz. Look for a lavish, rambling, peppery affair with sweet blackberries, black plums streaked with vanilla. Open, soft, and savoury, serve this now with beef ribs, pork ribs or chicken swathed in barbecue sauce. There is a small amount of viognier (three percent), in the mix that spent 14 months in wood: 20% new French, 65% used French, and 15 percent used American lumber.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 28.00 ON 27.00 QC 28.00 SK 27.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Moon Curser Syrahtext
91PTS

Moon Curser Syrah 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoon Curser's syrah appears plum coloured in the glass, and the first swirls and sniffs show fragrant oak emphatically, matched by aromas of crushed summer berries, floral perfume, and black pepper. An underlying smoke note and meaty savour completes the arcetypal syrah checklist. Zesty acidity leads the flavour parade, with ripe cassis and blueberry, and vanilla custard notes of oak. Overall there is a lovely cool-climate weight and juiciness to this savoury syrah, with a touch of alcohol warmth on the finish that reminds us that this is the south Okanagan, not the northern Rhone valley. Excellent effort and I'd grill a herb-crusted rack of lamb for dinner.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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