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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: July 2020

31 July 2020

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaMore than a year down the road from our last tasting, 2018 is holding up just fine. It is a blend of state fruit augmented by other Cowichan vineyards, and it falls into the dry, leesy, mineral side of the pinot gris dry-to-fruity band. Look for pear, quince and grapefruit lead with a stony underbelly. Well-balanced and fresh, this is a terrific food wine, and it appears to be getting better with age.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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29 July 2020

Carm Grande Reserva Douro Tintotext
89PTS

Carm Grande Reserva Douro Tinto 2014

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalCARM stands for Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira, a joint venture between six properties in the Douro Superior, sharing 90 hectares of vines. This blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional spent one year in new Franch oak. This Grande Reserva is felt before it's tasted through the heft of its weighty bottle. Once uncorked, the potency of ripe fruit, wood, alcohol hits like a train. Thick on the palate, with ripe blackberry, dark cherry, cassis, darting florals, housed by toasty, raging tannins. The finish is warming, with a flush of peppercorns to season. Still a massive wine, it is only beginning to soften in the glass now (I decanted 24 hours in advance of tasting).Prices: BC 69.99 Producer: CARM Casa Agricola Roboredo Madiera
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Carm Douro Tintotext
87PTS

Carm Douro Tinto 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalCARM stands for Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira, a joint venture between six properties in the Douro Superior, sharing 90 hectares of vines. This blend of touriga nacional, tinta roriz, and touriga franca spent eight months in American and French oak. Thick with the Douro Superior sun, and plumped out by the wood, this big wine still feels youthful with primary cassis, potent blackberry, plum, and ample toasty wood. Tannins are shellacked with vanilla, somewhat sticky, and finishing with a warming flush. Needs big meats, as intended.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: CARM Casa Agricola Roboredo Madiera
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Koerner La Korsetext
92PTS

Koerner La Korse 2019

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaBrothers Damon and Jono Koerner show classic and alternative Clare varieties through a variety of winemaking vessels and styles, all from estate fruit, and all with low intervention. From Watervale's Vivian, Gullyview and Parish Vineyards, in the southern Clare Valley and plantings from planted from 1935 to 1998 on terrarosa and limestone soils, this is a blend of sangiovese, grenache, malbec, sciacarello, and carignan. The parts were solo native fermented whole berry (50%) and then transferred to ceramic egg and neutral oak, where it remained for three months before blending and an additional five months' ageing. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Pouring a cloudy, pale crimson hue, this lighter red is tightly woven with potent salinity running throughout layers of red currant, wild raspberries, pomegranate, mustard seed, rosehips, wet rocks to a lingering, haunting finish. Acidity is crunchy and lofted, and tannins are bamboo fine, shouldering this slight red seamlessly. Enjoy this serious/smashable red with a chill.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Koerner Wine
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Bartier Bros. The Orchard Rowtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. The Orchard Row 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOrchard Row began life as the Bartier family house wine, but after being pressured by friends who no doubt drank copious amounts, the family was convinced to release this wine to the public. The blend is a 17/16/33/33/ mix of hand-harvested cabernet franc, merlot, gamay noir and pinot noir. Strange bedfellows indeed, but somehow it works. The combination spent 15 months in neutral French oak barrels and was bottled at 13.2% alcohol by volume. Expect a dark fruit wine with a peppery leafy underside and juicy black plum, black raspberry topping. The textures are mostly soft and round with just a dusting of tannin to shed — a perfect wine for summer barbecue meats and most fall menu items requiring red wine.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Farmhouse California Red Winetext
85PTS

Farmhouse California Red Wine 2018

California, United StatesThe reasonably priced Farmhouse Red first came to my attention because it was made by family owned California producer Cline Family Cellars. Farmhouse is named for the old schoolhouse pictured on the label, located at the 140-acre Green String Farm in Petaluma, California. The building is a library/study for those looking to learn the Green String method of sustainable farming. The blend is a 59/15/26 mix of zinfandel, syrah, along with bits of carignan, mourvedre and petite sirah. The attack is juicy, grapey zinfandel with a milk chocolate underlay and plenty of superripe red fruit. If you like your reds big, soft, and on the sweet side, this is it. The Green String farming method promotes the use of compost, compost tea, crushed volcanic rock and oyster shell mineral supplements. Half the crops are grown for human consumption and the other half for nature by using rotating cover crops that enrich the soil.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 18.11 MB 19.99 Producer: Cline Family Cellars
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Moon Curser Dead of the Nighttext
91PTS

Moon Curser Dead of the Night 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLook for a viscous, black cherry colour with flamboyant aromas of sweet violet, kirsch cherries, fine chocolate and cardamom spices. It's a beguiling nose that had me swirling and repeatedly sniffing, chasing a distinct grilled rosemary note—pleasing flavours of plums, currants, mint chocolate and a citrus oil aspect. The acid is boosted, the tannins are very fine-grained and almost creamy, with a slick burnish of smoky oak on a mouth-drying, warm finish. Full-bodied and saturated with powerful ripe fruit, this drinks well now with robust chilli and herbed cornbread, or a grilled, blackened steak. Ageing for another five years is natural; a peek at the tech sheet shows the blend to be 50/50 syrah and tannat grown on the eastern slopes of Osoyoos Bench, aged in 32% new French oak. Admirable job imbuing two strong grape personalities with South Okanagan character.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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28 July 2020

Monte del Frá Ca del Magro Custoza Superioretext
89PTS

Monte del Frá Ca del Magro Custoza Superiore 2016

Verona, Veneto, ItalyA darker yellow colour previews a floral, vibrant, honeyed nose stemming from a rich blend of grapes from Verona's 55-year old Ca' del Magro vineyard. The mix involves garganega, trebbiano toscano, tocai friulano, cortese, chardonnay, riesling italico, malvasia, and incrocio manzoni, and the result is splendid. Post ferment, it spends 6-8 months on full lees in stainless steel, adding a creamy texture and preserving the acidity required to off-set the richness of the fruit flavours. Look for honeydew melon, quince as well as some citrus cutting into the back end of the wine to keep it fresh on the palate. Ready to drink with chicken, pork or fresh fish.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Monte del Frá
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Hester Creek Character Pinot Gris Gewurztraminertext
87PTS

Hester Creek Character Pinot Gris Gewurztraminer 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe style evolution continues with Character White showing a bit brighter and drier. It is not bone dry, but residual sugar is no longer the focus of this summer sipper. It makes the wine much more enjoyable with bites and as a straight summer afternoon sipper. A little less aromatic, a little more mineral combines with a tighter, juicier style with pears, citrus, and yellow apples, with a savoury undercut. Soft and round and ready to drink all summer on the patio. Great price.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Rocky Creek Sirius Whitetext
87PTS

Rocky Creek Sirius White 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe new premium white at Rocky Creek is a mix of viognier, siegerrebe, and Blattner series hybrids. The nose is floral, showing some viognier character with a light citrus undercurrent. The attack is leesy, with soft, yellow fruit followed by a medium to short finish with just a dash of sweetness. Ready to drink and should be served with mild summer bites.Prices: BC 27.50 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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José Maria da Fonseca Albistext
87PTS

José Maria da Fonseca Albis 2019

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalAlbis is produced and bottled in the Setúbal Peninsula and the source of the moscatel de setúbal and arinto varieties. The moscatel accounts for the barely off-dry floral notes, the ripe pear, and peach fruit. The arinto adds a juicy, savoury minerality in its light, bright finish. Serve well chilled with fresh raw seafood or summer salads of tomatoes and corn.Prices: BC 13.50 Producer: José Maria da Fonseca
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José Maria da Fonseca Albistext
87PTS

José Maria da Fonseca Albis 2019

Setúbal Peninsula, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of Moscatel de Setúbal and Arinto comes from Setúbal's sandy soils. As expected from the predominance of moscatel, this off-dry, slight white is flush with florals, pear drop, wet stone, ripe peach. Stainless keeps all tidy and neat, to a brief, snappy finish. Serve well chilled now, as intended.Prices: BC 13.50 Producer: José Maria da Fonseca
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Lakeside Cellars Portage Whitetext
86PTS

Lakeside Cellars Portage White 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPortage White is an unlikely blend of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc from Osoyoos, and comes together about as easily as the set up sounds. Ripe, creamy chardonnay is up sharp against the abrasive and punchy sauvignon, all tied up with a creamy lees palate, and finishing with a citrus snap. Needs a brisk chill.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobiumtext
91PTS

Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium 2018

Lazio, ItalyThis is not your typical Italian white wine. Unless, that is, you usually take of natural wine made by nuns. In the case of Coenobium, it's grown and raised by the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, under the guidance of Giampiero Bea, son of one of Italy's most prominent non-interventionist wine producers, Paulo Bea. Trebbiano, malvasia, verdicchio from Lazio's volcanic soils was native fermented and with one week of skin contact before a short rest and being bottled unfined and unfiltered (and with minimal sulphur at bottling). Almond, chamomile, Asian pear rides a gentle, slender palate, washed with salinity and finishing with a lingering elderflower. Open this in advance and let it stretch a bit; best not briskly chilled.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Monastero Suor E Cistercensi CO Trappiste
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Diamante Whitetext
87PTS

Diamante White 2018

Rioja, SpainBodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890 as a partnership between France and Spain, driven by the wine blight, phylloxera that had wiped out most of the vineyards France. Diamante was the first wine released by the winery, pioneering a slightly sweet style. Today it is the number one selling Spanish white wine around the world. The blend is 90/10 viura/malvasia. The colour is light yellow, the nose perfumed with notes of sweet yellow fruits and flowers. They stop the fermentation before it goes completely dry, leaving a dose of unfermented grape sugar to sweeten the mid-palate and finish. Think spicy curries or sushi rolls.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Bodegas Franco - Espanolas
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Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado Brancotext
92PTS

Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado Branco 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom mica, schist, and feldspar soils (what winemaker Luis Seabra deems the best for whites), this is a field blend of rabigato, códega, gouveio, vioshino and more, with vines 30-60 years old, and at 400-500m in altitude. Ilimitado is akin to Seabra's "village wine". After crushing and destemming, the grapes are pressed together, native fermented, and aged in used French oak barrels for 7 months on lees, with no MLF or battonage. Intense with schistous grip, wet stones, flax, pear, quince, herbal melon, and tangerine, this mineral-driven white expands over an evening in your glass. Delicious now, and will certainly reward with cellaring.Prices: BC 36.00 ON 27.95 Producer: Luis Seabra Vinhos
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Sea Star Salish Seatext
90PTS

Sea Star Salish Sea 2019

Pender Island, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Salish Sea blends ortega and siegerrebe from their organically farmed estate on Pender Island. Just off dry but marine bright, with tight lime blossoms, ripe pear, juicy mandarin on a skippy, fresh palate. Bright, fun, and ideal to crack and enjoy this summer. Sea Star shows itself yet again as a star of the Wine Islands.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Sea Star Stella Maristext
91PTS

Sea Star Stella Maris 2019

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaStella Maris translates as Star of the Sea, and is the winery's flagship blend, changing every vintage. This year it is organically grown gewürztraminer, pinot noir, schonburger, ortega, and chardonnay, from their estate vineyards on Pender and Saturna. Bright and shining with orchard fruit, melon, grapefruit, white blossoms, on a coastal crisp and fresh, slender, just off-dry palate, finishing with lime pith and saline briskness. Such a lovely example of uber-marine wines.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Harper's Trail Field Blend Whitetext
86PTS

Harper's Trail Field Blend White 2019

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThe blend is revealed in 2019 as pinot gris, riesling, unoaked chardonnay and gewurztraminer, a somewhat self-balancing affair of freshness and crispness versus aromatics. The attack is soft and round, not quite as much bite as 2018, with more yellow fruits and less citrus. Easy to sip and ready to go. Love the price but, where did the electricity go?Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanctext
88PTS

Le Vieux Pin Petit Blanc 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetit Blanc is stainless steel fermented and a blend of mostly sauvignon blanc, with muscat, and pinot gris. It spends five months on lees adding richness to the mouthfeel. Pear and melon lead the palate with a strong undercurrent of bitter grapefruit lined with desert scrub notes. It is a food wine for simply prepared dishes like fish tacos, steamed mussels, or barbecue chicken. Ready to drink and good value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Calliope Figure 8 Whitetext
87PTS

Calliope Figure 8 White 2018

British Columbia, CanadaCalliope Figure 8 is another summer sipper that is evolving into a highly drinkable wine you can serve with favourite summer bites. Confidence seems to be spreading among Okanagan winemakers who are eschewing noticeable residual sugar for something more interesting in their gulpable whites. The mix is a lot less aromatic at 64/24/6/6 pinot gris, viognier, sauvignon blanc and semillon/gewürztraminer/riesling. The nose is a subtle affair of flowers and citrus with dessert scrub and white pepper. Light, soft, and ready to go.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Terravista Figarotext
90PTS

Terravista Figaro 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 80 percent roussanne (which was fermented in puncheons) and 20 percent viognier, with fruit sourced from two vineyards in Oliver. This has a deep, rich nose of beeswax, orange blossom, and yellow fruits, alongside nicely integrated oak vanillin. It has an oily, viscous texture without being cloying or excessively rich; there’s a real freshness here, which isn’t always the case for this style of blend. It's one of the best Rhone white blends I've tried from BC, and a steal at this price.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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27 July 2020

Upper Bench Merlot Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Upper Bench Merlot Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot entirely up to 2016 in the voluptuous Napa style, 2018 is a juicier, more northern version with some tannins to shed. The nose and palate are awash in deep black cherry with spicy, savoury flecks throughout. The finish is medium-long with a few sticky tannins. Best now with burgers or steak, or let this sleep another 12-18 months in the bottle.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Fitzpatrick Sudden Inversion Meritagetext
86PTS

Fitzpatrick Sudden Inversion Meritage 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes come off Maverick Vineyards in the South Okanagan. The 60/28/12 mix is merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon, each fermented separately in stainless steel and aged 14 months in French oak (10% new, 90% neutral). Full and toothsome on the palate, this has cushy cassis, blackberry, mint, hugged by ample chewy and thick tannins, carrying this to a warming finish. A big, ripe, sweet-fruited red best served with rustic dishes.Prices: BC 28.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Mt. Boucherie Summittext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Summit 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 Summit is a proprietary red blend of the best vineyard blocks in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, and the best barrels of that, as selected by winemaker Jeff Hundermark. The yield is a low three tonnes per acre or less. All the fruit is handpicked and hand-sorted, and the final blend worked out to be 43/28/20/7/2 merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and malbec. The nose opens with lifted and ripe baked black fruit reminiscent of black cherries and black currants. On the palate, the power, spice, and heat continue with rich black fruit, intense spice, and sweet oak. It is a blockbuster at this point and will need some time in bottle to settle in and behave itself. If you like your reds big and boisterous, this is it. We suggest at least five years of cellaring before you get too serious about drinking this version of The Summit.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Red Icontext
93PTS

Painted Rock Red Icon 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCan 2017 be better than in 2016? I think so. From the less is more perspective, less power, less spice, and less intensity has allowed this Bordeaux blend to show a sense of elegance and depth I haven't seen before. More Euro than most anything but the best red blends in North America, it is aged for 18 months in 30 percent new oak. The mix is 38 percent merlot and 21 percent cabernet franc followed by 20/11/8/2 petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and syrah. Again the texture is measured and elegant. The syrah seems out of place, but alas, the final test in the bottle suggests it works. Not a lot of Meritage can match the elegance and depth here, but they should try.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Mayhem Merlot Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Mayhem Merlot Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2018, the blend was 84/16 merlot/cabernet franc. The fruit is sourced from Osoyoos' Anarchist Mountain vineyard, and a plot in Naramata. Each goes through a partial native ferment separately in stainless before moving to new and old French oak and an 11 months rest prior to the final blend. It is bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is an attractive blend, with the herbal franc wrapping around the plummy merlot, blending peppery spice, wild dark plum and ripe cherry, scented with anise, and hugged by plump, lightly sticky tannins. It is ideal for drinking now, especially with grilled pork or mushrooms.Prices: BC 30.44 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Meritagetext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 opens with a mix of black fruits and a slight lift of balsamic notes wrapped in a milk chocolate, spicy finish. The palate follows with black cherry, blackcurrant, and tobacco dusted in sage. The style is warm and luxurious, the tannins dense but ripe, and should dissipate over the next three years, leaving the fruit to shine. A big red best served with robust meat dishes to temper all the power.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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26 July 2020

Turon LTD Syrahtext
90PTS

Turon LTD Syrah 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaYoung winemaker Turon White is one of the leaders of New Wave Adelaide Hills, and wines like this, just a couple vintages in, show why. LTD is a special single vineyard, single barrel selection from Lobethal, in Adelaide Hills. For this year's selection, it was 20% whole bunch, native fermented with 76 days on skins, and in French oak for 15 months. Opening with a tsunami of reduction which fades with time into black plum, wild cherry, wild cassis, stems, infiltrated with big peppery spicing and atop a meaty, wild base. Fine, gritty tannins lead this impactful wine to a fresher, salty finish.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Turon Wines
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24 July 2020

Turon Artist Series Adelaide Hills Syrahtext
91PTS

Turon Artist Series Adelaide Hills Syrah 2018

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaYoung winemaker Turon White is one of the leaders of New Wave Adelaide Hills, and wines like this, just a couple vintages in, show why. So named, because each label in the Artist Series is as unique as the wine, designed by Ozzie artist Kellie Em, based on the metaphors Turon described to her. This Adelaide Hills syrah features the lion, all powerful. Dark and brooding in hue, it opens with salty, sultry and savoury tamari notes before transposing to wild cherry, ripe blackberry, thorns, and browning edges. The palate is peppery and intense, lashed with eucalyptus and anise, and tannins are structural and ample, but worn slightly soft. Though this carries a 14.4%, it ends on a fresh note. Ideal with grilled lamb.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Turon Wines
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Casale del Giglio Mater Matutatext
90PTS

Casale del Giglio Mater Matuta 2016

Lazio, ItalyMater Matuta is derived from the ancient goddess of the dawn, protectress of fertility and birth. Her cult extended throughout central Italy, and the famous temple of the ancient city of Satricum, situated close to Le Ferriere in the Province of Latina, was dedicated to her. This blend of 85/15 syrah/petit verdot saw the parts fermented separately prior to moving into new oak barrels, where they remained for two years prior to blending. After the blend, this was bottled, and aged for another year prior to release. Full, ripe, and dense with super ripe blackberry, cassis, baked plum, cherry. Tannins are sticky and chewy, reflective of the ripeness, though by now, quite well integrated. Partner with richly sauced rich meat.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraztext
91PTS

Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraz 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaCrudo is meant to be a youthful, smashable, drink now and often Shiraz from one of Yarra's leading next gen, Luke Lambert. That said, don't think this is not serious; this is stamped with the authenticity and attention all Luke's wines carry. From the granitic Denton Hill outcrop, this juicy cool climate Yarra shiraz was native fermented whole bunch with 80% stems and skins (less carbonic maceration). After resting in aged 5000L cask, this was bottled without fining or filtration. Juicy plum, wild raspberry, sweet boysenberry, pink peppercorns flood the palate of this joyous, softer medium bodied red, one that pours a light hazy cherry hue. Shouldered by that fine granitic grip, this wine encourages pairing with charcuterie or mushroom salads, and a slight chill.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
89PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEquinoxe is the flagship syrah of Le Vieux Pin, a winery that has made its name on its mastery of the grape in the Southern Okanagan. This year's comes from various vineyards and vines in their teenage years, spent 19 months in French oak (58% new) before bottling unfined and lightly filtered. The late pick of these grapes is reflected in the very ripe fruit, filled with woven with prune, worked leather, anise, on a plumped, full palate. Tannins are worn soft with time, and though this is pleasant drinking now (especially with braises), this lacks the energy to propel it far into the future. Drink now with lamb, or wait a few years yet.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violettetext
90PTS

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Cuvée Violette relies less on the characteristic violet blooms, and more on syrah's meaty, thorny, wild, and dark side. As with last year, this was fermented with 1% viognier, sharing grace and florals with the wine. This year's blend includes Le Faucon for the first time, and its presence is showing. The Cuvée was aged 10 months in unlined concrete and oak foudre, and then 6 more months in neutral French barriques. Dark soil, dusky cassis, sappy green branch, brooding violets and the aforementioned herbal thorniness lead this over a peppery, wild undercurrent, and framed with grippy, fine, firm tannins. Finishes long, and with a light hint of smoked bacon fat. Very much in youth, this is still drinking quite sharply now (give it some airtime to blow off its youthful reductive puff), but will reward with some time in your cellar.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
91PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEquinoxe is the top of the syrah chain at Le Vieux Pin, and refers to the heat of the day equalling the cool of the night. In 2016, the south Okanagan fruit grown by winemaker Severine Pinte spent 19 months in 58 percent new French oak. As fine as 2016 was for most varietals, the syrah story was different, and in this case, late, as Pinte and company waited for the grapes to ripen deep into the fall. It was worth the wait to get the rich, brambly red and black fruit and the savoury, desert scrub spiked with licorice and pepper. There are some grippy tannins in the back end, suggesting you wait two to three years to attack this bottle. If you must drink it now, the winery suggests serving it with black pepper-crusted New York Steak.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violettetext
90PTS

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Violette 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCuvée Violette started as a fun, early drinking style with prominent floral notes, but it is evolving with the vines and the winemaker. The latest is a more luxurious, meatier style but with a soft texture. Winemaker Severine Pinte likes to coferment one percent viognier with her south Okanagan syrah to keep a sense of elegance and mystery. From here, the wine is aged ten months in bare concrete and large oak foudre before an additional half a year in smallneutral French barriques. I love the floral red fruit aromas and the dark plum, smoke and pepper. All of this and only 13.5 percent alcohol. Well done.Prices: BC 30.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Mt. Boucherie Syrahtext
88PTS

Mt. Boucherie Syrah 2018

British Columbia, CanadaSourced from vineyards throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen, this was aged in a mixture of neutral French and American oak. As far as BC Syrah goes, this is certainly on the savoury side and all the better for it. It shows a spicy, smoky nose of cracked pepper, fennel, and salami alongside plummy fruit. The palate doesn’t quite have the same depth, but there's impressive freshness given the 14.1% abv. However, the tannins are rather hard, stunting the finish. A medium-rare burger topped with peppercorn bacon should do the trick nicely.Prices: BC 23.79 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Syrahtext
89PTS

Painted Rock Syrah 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom syrah clones 99 and 100, this was aged for 18 months in oak, of which roughly one-third was new. 80 percent was French wood, and 20 percent was American. At the moment, the oak is quite forward and not fully integrated with the opulent, ripe black fruits. It’s a full throttle style, which sacrifices some freshness and varietal character for bold fruit, weightier body, and alcohol, with 14.8% declared. Give this some time to allow the oak to further integrate; the densely concentrated fruit and sinewy tannins aren't going anywhere over the next 2-3 years.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 2009 plantings, this is a 80/20 blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Both varieties were harvested on October 24th and then fermented and aged separately for 18 months in French oak, of which 30 percent was new. Like the single varietal syrah, this exudes lush black and blue fruits, but with more fruit weight to balance the oak. It’s a big, bold style, with the 15.2% declared abv proving it, but the cabernet sauvignon helps to bring an added layer of freshness and structure. It’s an approach that has strong merit in the Okanagan, though this ends up being more New World than Next World. Bottled unfiltered; only 140 cases produced.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Road 13 Jackpot Syrahtext
91PTS

Road 13 Jackpot Syrah 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJackpot is always jacked up, beginning with its 15.3 percent alcohol, and from the beginning, it’s been a nod to the ripe, Barossa Valley style of South Australia. Expect ripe, black cherry jam laced with white pepper and a good whack of savoury, spicy Okanagan sagebrush. The tannins are slippery, suggesting this will be ready to go in the next two years. Get out your favourite rich dishes and pair them with this red. If you like big, you may just hit the jackpot.Prices: BC 43.48 Producer: Road 13
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Road 13 Syrahtext
89PTS

Road 13 Syrah 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Road 13 style is beefy with some meaty, almost reductive notes right off the top, but they tend to dissipate quickly in the glass. Still tight, it has a long, smooth, palate coating glycerol nature with powerful, peppery, black fruits. Mix in some Okanagan savoury notes, and you have a wine capable of taking on a leg of lamb or grilled Tomahawk steak. Best to decant at the moment, or age it a decade before you come back to it. Impressive quality for the price.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Road 13
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Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a dark-fruited, aromatic expression of Syrah that's distinctly Okanagan: a combination of pepper, violets, and sage, alongside iodine, and macerated blackberries. It's broad and mouth filling, with medium-grained, sweet tannins. Still youthful and densely concentrated, it really opens up in the glass so give this some time. Made from fruit grown at Cerqueira Vineyard on the Black Sage Gravel Terrace, the majority of the fruit was destemmed and crushed, with 10 percent added as whole clusters. After an inoculated fermentation, the wine was aged for 17 months in neutral French oak.Prices: BC 30.34 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Shot in the Dark Shiraz Petite Sirahtext
87PTS

Shot in the Dark Shiraz Petite Sirah 2018

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaA 70/30 blend of shiraz and petite sirah (also known as durif, a cross between syrah and peloursin), this offers smoky oak and confected black fruits in an accessible, New World style. It doesn’t quite have the body or concentration to carry the 14.5% abv, which is noticeably hot, but it’s otherwise in balance with soft tannins and reasonable freshness. All in all, a fine BBQ wine that’s fairly priced.Prices: BC 13.49 Producer: Quarisa Wines
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22 July 2020

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their Greata Ranch estate, this is a single block selection that spent 10 months in French oak, 14% new, with monthly bâtonnage, and no MLF. Full, creamy, and wide, with sweet white peach, yellow apples, hints of banana, and lemon blossoms. Acidity is moderate / low, pulling this along to a spiced, fading finish. If you're looking for a gentle, softer style of Okanagan chardy, here you go.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Crowsnest Family Reserve Stahltank Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Crowsnest Family Reserve Stahltank Chardonnay 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the best yet for Crowsnest. In my opinion, it is the best wine they make year in and year out. Stahltank refers to the stainless steel fermentation that retains freshness and, in this case, the intensity. I wish it were a bit drier, but we know there is a large market for this style too. The melon and orange carries through to the back end of the palate, flecked with ripe tangerine and mineral streaks that hold it together. Highly drinkable and would be fun with spicy chicken curry.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Big Leap Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Fitz Chardonnay is estate grown at Greata Ranch (Block 6 in the North Field ) between Peachland and Summerland, on a narrow strip of land between Okanagan Lake and Highway 97. The 2018 style is round and soft with plenty of creamy lees throughout. The nose is a mix of butter, caramel, and baked apple, but still with some acidity to keep it reasonably fresh. It aged for ten months in French oak, but only 10 percent was new. Not quite as electric as the previous version, but fun to sip now. My food match would be crab cakes.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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50th Parallel Estate Chardonnaytext
89PTS

50th Parallel Estate Chardonnay 2018

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLove how bright and nutty this wine can be, with a creamy, complex texture, and sharp lemon, nuts, and citrus. It is hard to believe it has been through malolactic fermentation, given the bite of acidity throughout. Cool-climate chardonnay at its best. Look for a spicy, leesy, apple butter nose to spill across the palate. More pear, creamy citrus, butter notes line the palate. Young and fresh, but this is going to age well through 2025. Perfect for shellfish or roast chicken and one to savour. Well done.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Painted Rock Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Painted Rock Chardonnay 2018

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUpping the acidity and pulling back some of the ripe fruit has brought this wine back into the serious chardonnay category. I'm not sure it matters since the wine is long sold out most years before I even get to sample it. It was a cooler vintage, and the two clones 76 and 548 appear to have enjoyed the growing season, yielding a fresher, brighter wine than in 2018. Some 80 percent is aged six months in French oak, 44% new, and the other 20 percent was aged in stainless steel. Only 29% of the wine underwent an acid softening malolactic fermentation, which explains its renewed liveliness. The style is a mix of saline/citrus flavours and creamy textures, with a whiff of oven-fresh bread, peaches, and a mineral lined finished. Drink or hold through 2023.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyardtext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Road Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMicro Cuvée is one of several chardonnays produced by Meyer Family Vineyards, but it is considered the flagship. A small lot bottling from Naramata's Old Main Road Vineyard, it fights the heat with a north-facing aspect and old-ish vines planted in 1996. After a long, cool native ferment in stainless, it spends eleven months on lees in 33 percent new oak. The final blend is a barrel selection: one new French puncheon; and 2 x 1-year-old puncheons. Micro Cuvée is serious stuff, and you sense that from the first taste of, appropriately, Meyer Lemon combined with green apple, mineral, salty flavours that persist through the length and width of the wine. The acidity hums throughout, and at 13.5 percent, so too does Okanagan Fslls. No rush to drink this. One of the best in the valley and consistently so in the last three or four years.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBurrowing Owl has always made a full-bodied, vibrant style of chardonnay, but with each passing year, there is more finesse leaking into the wine. Better oak management, more lees, and a slightly crisper acidity balances the rich south Okanagan chardonnay. The nose is a melange of peaches, baked apple, hazelnuts, and caramel corn. 2018 has a bit of extra lift in the front end that brightens the delivery. Ready to drink. Try this with halibut or crab. The estate grown chardonnay is handpicked, hand-sorted and whole cluster pressed. 15 percent of the must is fermented in stainless steel; the rest goes into a selection of French and American oak barrels. Eight months of ageing follows a partial malolactic fermentation in oak, prior to 28 months of bottle ageing. The wood is 80% French, 20% American with 47% new, 33% one-year-old, 20% two-year-old oak.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 31.00 ON 33.95 QC 35.75 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
89PTS

Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Seacrest Chardonnay is a poster child for concrete egg-shaped fermentation tanks. Creamy, lively, mouth-filling, yet light and fresh and super easy to drink. Look for ripe yellow apple highlights, toast, a touch of cream corn, and peach. Excellent and will get better over the next two years. Classic Matt Dumayne: clean, precise, chiselled, but with a creamy texture. Secrest Mountain Vineyard is a 50-acre site, home to a 38-acre (15ha) vineyard situated on a flat south-west facing bench in a high mountain setting at 487 meters in Oliver, BC. This cool site has flat alluvial soils studded with coarse gravel, and sandy loam with limestone layers. The vineyard was planted in 2000. Since 2010, it has been farmed under the direction of Okanagan Crush Pad, and a conversion to organic farming practices was started in 2014. In 2018, when Brad and Dave Wise decided to retire, the property was purchased by Haywire.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Kitsch Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Kitsch Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEvery bottle of Kitsch Chardonnay purchased means five mangrove trees are planted in the village of Mahabana, Madagascar, which I think makes for pretty happy chardonnay drinkers. Look for a bright, fresh mango, green apple with streaks of ripe pear. The chardonnay is all clone 95 fermented in mostly stainless steel with just 20% in neutral oak barrels. It is delicious drinking and serious enough for this simple wine to attract aficionados. Asparagus pasta, lemon risotto, or roasted chicken all work here.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Terroir Collection is an elite selection of fruit from Mission Hill's growing stable of producing hectares. In this case, Jagged Rock Vineyard sits between 360-380m above sea level and is planted to clone 76 chardonnay. Its tight band of acidity and freshness jumps from the glass after fermenting and ageing in French oak barriques and puncheons. The fruit is a mix of crunchy apple notes with ripe pears creamy lees and affair amounts to citrus. It a touch disjointed at the moment, but it's young. I'm willing to bet this will evolve in the bottle into a full-bodied Okanagan chardonnay with vitality and power.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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21 July 2020

Craven Wines Cinsauttext
92PTS

Craven Wines Cinsaut 2018

Bottelary, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom 30-year-old dry farmed bush vines on decomposed granites in Rustenhof vineyard, in the Faure district, this is one of the Bredall family farms that the Cravens started using in 2017 (and is one of Mick's favourite), and they share the site with with Bernard Bredall and his striking Sons of Sugarland label. Destemmed and native fermented, this aged in neutral puncheons. Wild cherry, wild raspberry, sapid grippy plum is layered with fynbos and fine white pepper. Acidity is pixellated and bright, thanks to precise farming and Tannins are fine and lightly sticky, finishing with that characteristic granitic grip.Prices: AB 38.00 Producer: Craven Wines
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Santo Cristo Old Vines Garnachatext
88PTS

Santo Cristo Old Vines Garnacha 2016

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainGarnacha is a heat-seeking missile, so you can see why it's well suited to the warm iron-rich clays of Campo de Borja. This old vine (40 year old+) garnacha comes from the Santo Cristo Co-op, founded in 1956, and now refurbished and entirely modernized. They have 700 growers contributing more than 900ha of vineyards, though remarkably 80% of the vineyards come from only 30 growers. This saw no wood, utilizing stainless to try and preserve freshness. Concentrated dried strawberries, cherries, and raspberries is lashed with red liquorice, and riding a plump, sun-richened palate. Tannins are sticky and soft, tugging this to a spiced sweet cinnamon finish. The soils have added threads of ferrous minerality, which is really apparent in the back palate and finish. Take this bigger (14 degree) red with a slight chill.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Santo Cristo
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Domaine de L'Olivette Redtext
88PTS

Domaine de L'Olivette Red 2019

Corbières, Languedoc, South of France, FranceWow, this is a lot of wine for $18. Fresh. Ripe black cherries and licorice are dusted in poultry spice, with round soft tannins that run through the savoury (garrigue) finish. It's so juicy and drinkable you will see the bottle drained before all others at barbecue so you better take two and hide your backup bottle. Ready to drink and will work with a variety of grilled barbecue meats and poultry. The property and wine have been certified organic since 1990. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Chateau de Caraguilhes
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Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Cairannetext
92PTS

Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Cairanne 2016

Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe flagship Boutinot label is a stunning bottle of Rhône red with elegance, persistence, minerals, and ripe fruit that will blow you away. The blend includes fully ripe, hand-picked, old, bush vine grenache and syrah grapes along with a bit of mourvèdre. Rich and savoury, with stony dark red fruits, it will stand up to a variety of roasted and grilled foods from mushrooms to lamb, and most anything form the kitchen. The Boutinot's love affair with the southern Rhône stretches back three decades. After years of locating gems and selling wines, the company purchased a winery and vineyards above the village of Cairanne, just northeast of the town of Orange. In all, it owns seven vineyards, planted to old vine grenache noir, syrah, mourvèdre and the local champion carignan noir. They have been instrumental in reviving other traditional varieties such as cinsault and counoise, and they practice time-honoured Rhône winemaking techniques in their cellars. And best of all they make delicious, affordable wine.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Boutinot
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Domaine Tempier Bandoltext
90PTS

Domaine Tempier Bandol 2011

Bandol, Provence, South of France, FranceThe Peyraud family, and Bandol's Domaine Tempier, is THE iconic Bandol winery, and one that has been in the family since 1834. The winery began when Lucie “Lulu” Tempier married Lucien Peyraud in 1936, and her father gave them Domaine Tempier, and a bottle of pre-phylloxera Tempier Bandol. That wine inspired Lucien to research the terroir of Bandol, and its historical ties to Mourvèdre. In 1941, his work led to establishing Bandol as its own AOC, and Mourvèdre now must make up at least 50% of all reds. This is 40+ year old vines, and approximately 75% Mourvèdre, with the balance of grenache, cinsault, and carignan, from Bandol's clay/limestone soils. After a native ferment in stainless, the wine moves to oak foudres for MLF and 20 months' aging before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Now, near a decade on, and benefitting from 2011's inherent freshness, this fuller-bodied red draws worked leather, dried florals, dried dark cherry, tobacco, iodine and ferrous notes along a slow, lumbering palate, infiltrated with dusky spicing and a wild thorniness. Tannins are ever-present and ample, but thankfully nubbed soft with time, showing the importance of laying these wines down. The finish is scented with lusty dried violets. A very worthy wine to set your compass forever more for classic Bandol.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Domaine Tempier
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Boutinot Les Cerisiers Côtes du Rhône Rosétext
90PTS

Boutinot Les Cerisiers Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2019

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Boutinot rosé recipe is grenache noir (85) for the body, cinsault(10) for freshness and a small amount of syrah for spice. It is is a delicious bottle of pink. Juicy, elegant fresh and fruity but never over the top. It’ s always farmed from specific plots that deliver the finesse and texture that give this wine its interest. Boutinot uses the Provence ‘rosé de presse’ method employed as soon as the grapes are picked, grabbing the most aroma and flavours with the least amount of tannins. Roses, wild berries, citrus and crushed red raspberries make for a delicious dop. Vegetarian dishes, summer kinds of pasta, and fresh cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 26.00 MB 22.05 NFL 23.30 Producer: Boutinot
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Boutinot Les Coteaux Côtes du Rhone Villagestext
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Boutinot Les Coteaux Côtes du Rhone Villages 2017

Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceBoutinot puts a twist on the common Côtes du Rhône practice to bottle the best cuvées as a single, named, village wine and the rest as more basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. What they like to do is source wine from the named village vineyards and enhance them with a small proportion of barrel-aged wine from Sablet, Séguret and Cairanne. Les Coteaux is a mix of the best grenache noir and syrah from some of the 17 named Côtes du Rhône Villages. The wine is mostly unoaked, with a small proportion, some 20 percent, aged for 22 months in a few new, but mostly older, oak barrels to add depth and subtle notes of complexity. The style is soft and charming, the fruit a subtle mix of sweet spices, oak and peppery, smoky, savoury black raspberry and licorice fruit—the perfect summer barbecue red.Prices: BC 19.99 MB 22.05 NFL 23.30 Producer: Boutinot
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Mas Donis Negretext
89PTS

Mas Donis Negre 2018

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis rich, spicy red wine entices on the nose with floral hints, and bright fruit on the palate. Look for fresh black plums dusted with light tannins and garrigue-like dried herbs. Indeed, it is the kind of red wine that will repay a bit of cellaring that you can buy at a bargain price. Serve with grilled lamb or grilled vegetables. Mas Donis Negre is a 35/30/35 mix of garnacha, tempranillo and splashes of merlot, syrah and samsó (carignan) that sees no oak. Impressive.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Celler de Capçanes
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Pentâge Winery GSMtext
87PTS

Pentâge Winery GSM 2015

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA 35/35/30 blend of grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah from Dirty Dozen Vineyard, each variety was aged separately in a combination of French and American oak for 16 months prior to blending and bottling. It evokes the warmth of the 2015 vintage, with baked red fruits that show more raisonated than varietal character. This gives the wine a sweet attack, which then sits heavy on the palate given the soft acidity and warming 14.5% abv. Drink now with a slight chill to help freshen it up.Prices: BC 28.70 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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20 July 2020

Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon Remolinos Vineyardtext
91PTS

Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon Remolinos Vineyard 2017

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom the single Remolinos Vineyard at 1000+ metres in Mendoza's Agrelo district comes this cabernet sauvignon. Remolinos refers to the swirling winds that sweep through the vineyard, keeping the vines fresh in the Argentine heat. This gravelly cab was macerated and fermented in stainless over one month before being basket pressed into French barrels (30% new) for 14 months rest. Layered with cassis, black cherry, and deep gravels, this is wrapped with very well-integrated tannins that stretch the length of this long wine to a spiced finish. The altitude has afforded some freshness, and a careful hand has provided elegance. Drinking very well now, and will continue in your cellar.Prices: BC 31.99 AB 25.95 ON 25.99 Producer: Finca Decero
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Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Western Cape, South AfricaDeeply stained dark, dark ruby colour with a hint of brick on the rim, this wine both looks and smells like cabernet sauvignon with aromas of ripe cassis, grilled green bell pepper, stewed fruit, dried mint, and a touch of leather. Composed tart black fruit, boosted acidity, barrel char, and quite edgy grippy tannins form a sturdy structure. The concentrated fruit comes from a patchwork of excellent sites in the Western Cape: 48% Stellenbosch, 26% Bottelary, 11% Darling, 10% Wellington, 3% Botriver, 2% Paarl, and 18 months in oak casks with 35% new oak adds much muscle and backbone to this ambitious cab. Soften its astringent grippiness with a vigorous splash decant into a clean jug, then pair with casual grilled sausages (perhaps classic boerevors), or smokey bacon burgers.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
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Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon Winemaster's Reserve 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaDeep claret colour, forward fruit aromas with black currant, cherry jam, black olive, and graphite, with sweet green menthol perfume and a hint of tobacco spice. Juicy and vinous, ripe black fruit suffuses the mouth, with bright acidity and a leafy greenness adding refreshment. Of full-ish weight, mouth-drying tannins sit comfortably amongst the fruit and finish with a black licorice nip. Showing the smoke and tobacco of many Cape reds, this is a worthy BBQ wine for a crowd. Affordable and true to form from a historic Paarl winery.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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The Bard Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

The Bard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaThis is just barely recognizable as Coonawarra cabernet, with an oak-driven nose that obscures the dusty black fruits and eucalyptus. True to form, it's medium-bodied and linear in texture, but with extremely assertive, bitter tannins that dry out the warm finish. It's not unfairly priced, but this will need a protein to help soften it.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Hollick Wines Pty
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Hollick Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Hollick Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaFrom vineyards planted in the 70s and 80s, this shows a slightly lifted, expressive nose that's equal parts ripe black fruits and eucalyptus, with a smattering of oak spices (from 20% new French oak). Coonawarra is often more a restrained, structured style of cabernet, especially when you consider that they still generally hit 14+% abv, and that's the case here. Medium-full bodied, it's more linear than broad, with firm, fine-grained tannins that will easily allow this to age for least five years. If you can't wait, pour it into a decanter and then head to your favourite butcher.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Hollick Wines Pty
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Natte Valleij POWtext
91PTS

Natte Valleij POW 2016

Coastal Region, South AfricaNatte Valleij's old cape Dutch buildings have seen a lot of history, including housing a prisoner of war who was captured and exiled to the Cape during WWII. He most likely contributed to the farm's farming and winemaking while living in the cottage that winemaker Alex Milner calls home. The inscription P.O.W. B.T. 27/12/1943 is his only mark. In his honour, Milner created this limited release wine, his take on SA Bordeaux blend. In 2016, this was 75% cabernet sauvignon / 25% merlot, rested 36 months in large oak, from vines tucked near the Simonsberg Mountain. Plump with wild blackberries, damson plums, and scented with lavender, pine, rosemary, bay, and fresh thyme, this floods the fuller palate with a wave of juiciness, held in place by furry tannins. There's a lovely herbaceous note, both fresh and dried, that makes this intriguing sip after sip, even without the addition of cabernet franc like the previous vintage.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Natte Valley
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Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valleytext
91PTS

Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesA blend of 88/6/6 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc from Vennes, Jimtown, and Peline Vineyards in Alexander Valley. It is a brooding cabernet with black fruits that are bursting with ripeness along with liberal use of oak (24 months in French oak, 20% new), giving this lots of sweet spices and vanilla. Medium-full bodied, this is broad and rich, packing dense fruit with suave, fine-grained tannins that show deft extraction. It’s a bold, polished style to be sure, but without being over-extracted or overripe, maintaining a vibrant varietal character that is true to Alexander Valley. Well done, and good value at this price. Only 363 cases produced.Prices: BC 52.99 AB 50.00 Producer: Arrowood Vineyards & Winery
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Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileThe wine has a long, storied history as Reserva Antiguas, although I would argue its best wines have come in the last decade. 2016 is another good effort that subdues the classic Chilean boldo notes in favour of more balanced bay leaf, cassis, black cherry, spice, and touch of light chocolate. Cleaner and fresher, it’s in a better position to tell the story of Maipo. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 17.99 Producer: Cousiño Macul
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Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOld World restraint on the nose slowly draws you into the glass where the savoury desert scrub, spice, and black fruit scents sit on a measured scent of oak (30 percent new barrels). Rich but with some elegance early on, it is packed full of spicy back fruit, licorice, sage, and espresso. Just a baby, but very well constructed and will emerge equally balanced another six to eight years down the road. Impressive start. Love the value here.Prices: BC 34.69 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Mercer Bros. Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Mercer Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe Mercer family has been growing grapes in the Columbia Valley’s Horse Heaven Hills for fifty years. The latest cabernet (2017) is classic modern Washington. The fruit is blackberry pie sweet, the tannins are soft, and the style drinkable now. Brown spices and powdery tannins round out the finish. A little Starbucks and little Costco but mostly, a simple, easy-drinking red. The blend is 81/16/3/ cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Mercer Bros. Wines
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Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valleytext
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Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2016

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesArrowood works with three specific Sonoma County AVAs: Sonoma, Knights, and Alexander Valleys. The Knights Valley is one of the most remote AVAs in Sonoma County, bordering Napa Valley to the east and Alexander Valley to the northwest. Free from the influence of the Pacific Ocean, the seasons are longer and warmer, perfect for maturing the late-ripening cabernet sauvignon. In 2016 all the stars aligned in Northern California, spawning some impressive red wines. The Arrowood Knights is a big red with spicy, dense, sweet tannins that saturate the deep black cherry and blackcurrant, flecked with licorice, minerals, and dark chocolate. Rich, dry, and long, there is a sense you can drink this now, at least with a big steak, but I would hold off until at least 2023 before cracking a bottle open.Prices: BC 52.95 AB 52.99 Producer: Arrowood Vineyards & Winery
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignontext
95PTS

La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, United StatesAll La Jota fruit is sourced from the winery’s estate and from nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard. La Jota Vineyard lies on a volcanic plateau, looking east over Napa Valley. 2016 is a Carpenter favourite that he ranks similar in quality to 2012 and 2013, and I agree. The wine is mountain hefty on the palate but with style. The attack is rich and stuffed with pure blackberry, black cherry, and a firm underside that supports its long, savoury Sonoma finish. You could cellar this a decade or two and simply watch it get better every year. Well done.Prices: BC 100.00 AB 100.00 Producer: La Jota Vineyard Co.
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Protea Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Protea Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Coastal Region, South AfricaA mix of purchased fruit from Western Cape, Protea is fermented in stainless, and then aged on oak staves. Classic green cabernet notes dissolve into a blend of black fruit. On the palate, sweet black currant, black cherry, and soft dusty/powdery tannins finish with a touch of briar and chocolate. Light, easy-drinking, good value hamburger red.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Free Form Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Free Form Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom certified organic fruit grown on sandy loam soils in Osoyoos, this was wild fermented and then aged in concrete for 11 months. It is a bright, lighter style of cabernet sauvignon, with wild red fruits and an undercurrent of stony minerality. The tannins are fine and uncharacteristically gentle, giving this a juicy, moreish character at only 12.5% abv. It’s not a steal at this price, but it has a lovely purity of fruit, though the style may not appeal to the stereotypical cabernet drinker. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, with only 30 ppm total SO2.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Free Form Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Free Form Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Osoyoos' Sekhon Family Vineyard, this cab sauv was native fermented in stainless, and then basked pressed into concrete, where it remained for 11 months before bottling. Plump and soft black raspberry, wild blackberry, powdery stones ride a balsamic slicked wave of acidity to a snappy finish. Unlike most cab sauvs, this is lean and very tart, with nearly negligible tannins until the grippy finish. Take with a chill and Thai beef noodle salad.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Enfield Wine Co Waterhorse Ridge Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Enfield Wine Co Waterhorse Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesTake everything you know of Cali Cab and throw it away. Then taste this graceful wine. From Sonoma County's tiny Fort Ross - Seaview AVA's Waterhorse Ridge Vineyard, and its loamy/volcanic soils, this cabernet is cooled by its elevation and proximity to the Pacific, 5 miles away. The 2-acre dry farm, organic, no-till vineyard is farmed and owned by grower Jesus Velasquez. Enfield Wine Co. is the family project of John Lockwood and Amy Seese, focused solely on producing low-intervention wines of individuality and place. John typically farms the sites himself, but this vineyard, nearly 20 years old, was so meticulously cared for by Jesus, he leaves it in capable hands. It was a native co-fermented field blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7.5% Cabernet Franc & 2.5% Petit Verdot, with 25% whole cluster. After a two week ferment, the wine aged for 18 months in a mix of 500L Puncheons and 225L barrels (10% new) before being bottled unfined & unfiltered. Sweet wild plum, wild cassis, perfumed raspberries flow along a slight palate, held with fine, long, bamboo tannins. The finish lingers with dusty gravels, alluring florals, and subtle spices. Acidity is bright, buoying this 14-degree wine far loftier than one would surmise. It shows cabernet sauvignon's grace and presence, and while drinking beautifully now - it will be one to watch over the next few years.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: Enfield Wine Co.
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Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon NV

California, United StatesOne of the reasons to produce a non-vintage wine is to maintain consistency over time, and that approach makes complete sense for this wine. It’s decidedly style-driven, with jammy, liqueured black fruits and smoky oak that’s targeted for the big red crowd. However, the palate is not quite as rich as you’d expect, with a healthy pinch of residual sugar (9 g/L) helping to soften the rough tannins. Overall, it hits its mark but without delivering exceptional value.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 28.00 MB 30.05 ON 27.95 NFL 34.95 Producer: Wagner Family of Wines
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Vérité La Joietext
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Vérité La Joie 2016

Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe harvest took place over two weeks and across four appellations, beginning September 6 in Chalk Hill and ending on September 21 in Alexander Valley, Bennett, and Knights Valley. This year it is a mix of 84/11/5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot. As intense as it presents on the nose, with red plums and bright pomegranate laced with savoury herbs and dried cloves, there is a subtlety of texture at Vérité, as demanded by winemakers Pierre and Hélène Seillan. The palate is awash in floral, mineral, deep red and black fruits, and dense sweet tannins, balanced by a complex, savoury undercut. Just a baby and a wine that will live for decades.Prices: BC 540.00 AB 450.00 Producer: Vérité Estate
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Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at an elevation of 1,400 to 1,800 feet on an area planted since the early 1860s. The estate, on the western flank of Napa Valley, is named for the native Wappos, who first called it home. The mountain site is all about high elevation and thin, rocky soils planted to four cabernet clones (191, 4, 8, and 337) and three rootstocks (3309C, 101-14, and 1103P) that combine to neutralize some of the issues in what is usually a slow-moving, long, cool growing season above the fog line. It’s an excellent vintage, and the black and blue fruits boast very high-quality levels. Mineral, floral, and dry, the underbelly effortlessly balances off the fruit adding extra complexity to the mix. It spends 20 months in 74 percent new French oak. The blend is 86/4/6/2/2.5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. Winemaker Chris Carpenter likes to say, “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder, without overt tannins.” He is right, and it is a stylish blockbuster cabernet that will live on through 2025.Prices: BC 114.00 AB 80.00 Producer: Mt. Brave
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Moon Curser Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Moon Curser Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClassic claret colour and an equally classic cabernet nose: ripe cassis and savoury green. The flavours repeat with black currant and blackberry, green herbs, and full, quite angular tannins. Fresh acidity lightens the fruit concentration and full-bodied potency, and oak is ably handled so as not to interfere with fruit or herbs. Young and a touch unyielding now, air it out a bit, then couple with a smoky burger with caramelized onions.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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19 July 2020

Corcelettes Cabernet Sauvignon Micro Lot Seriestext
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Corcelettes Cabernet Sauvignon Micro Lot Series 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA Micro Lot Series first: Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. The nose is aromatic with strong savoury black fruit flecked with tobacco, licorice, and green pepper. At 14.7 percent alcohol, the aromas and flavours are accentuated, and at this point, battling the oak that was home to the cab for 36 months (40% new, 40% second use, and 20% third use French barrels). It’s a shade on the green side but will have its admirers. In any event, this needs five years in the bottle to settle in and show its worth fully. Definitely a beef wine.Prices: BC 62.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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17 July 2020

Mayhem Cabernet Franctext
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Mayhem Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes come from the Munson Mountain area of the Naramata Bench. It's wild fermented in stainless steel and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 50 percent new and 50 percent neutral. The style is fresh and red-fruited with savoury undercurrents and bright acidity. The attack is plummy, leafy, and dry before finishing a bit tart. There is not a lot of the fun Mayhem style here, and it's accentuated by a hefty price.Prices: BC 30.44 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Nichol Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
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Nichol Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlanted at the home vineyard tucked at the far end of the Naramata Bench in 1989, these cab franc vines are rooted into granite bedrock. Destemmed grapes were fermented in neutral wood and basket pressed into neutral French barrique, where it remained for a year prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Fresh and dried scrubby herbs scent wild raspberry, dark cherry, and fleshy plum on the medium bodied palate. Fine tannins have a thorny grip, and acidity is crunchy bright, touched with balsamic, and finishing with a fine spice.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Therianthropy The Negotiant Cabernet Franctext
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Therianthropy The Negotiant Cabernet Franc 2018

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaTherianthropy is the mythical process of shapeshifting, which is another way to view turning nature into wine. This small collaborative project launched in late 2019. The Negociant is one of two cabernet francs released by this garagiste project in 2020. From 21-year-old vines growing on Twenty Mile Bench's dry farmed Foxcroft Vineyard and its rich calcareous clay loams, this employed 80% stems and 80% whole cluster in the native ferment. After 18 months to rest in neutral barriques, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alluring fleshy plums, perfumed dark raspberries, darting violets is finely tightened with a green herbal sapid edge, and gripped firmly by fine tannins. Acidity is bright, carrying this to a spiced finish. A beautiful interpretation of Niagara franc.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Therianthropy Le Maillot Cabernet Franctext
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Therianthropy Le Maillot Cabernet Franc 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaOne of two cabernet francs released boy Therianthropy in 2020, Le Maillot is in the lighter, chill-worthy, smashable, Loire-esque vein, a style that Twenty Mile Bench does very well. From Foxcroft Vineyard's calcareous-limestone gravels, these 22 year old vines were dry farmed, 60% whole cluster with times on skins, native fermented in stainless, where it remained for 4 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a bright cherry hue, this opens with a wave of reduction before moving into wild raspberry, cherry, earthy green branch, and ample pink pepper. Tannins are soft and lightly sticky, and acidity is bright, easily lofting this medium bodied light red to a spiced finish. Chill and enjoy this summer and through the fall.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franctext
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franc 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA cool, wet spring led to smaller berries, and judging by this franc, berries with super intense flavour. It is a blockbuster ripe, robust red that is more New World this year and less Bordeaux. Everything is hand picked from a single, 1.25-hectare estate block, and berry sorted. Post ferment it is aged for 18 months in 40% new French oak and blended just before it is bottled unfiltered. On the palate is a tobacco laden black raspberry affair with desert scrub notes and spicy oak in the finish. Young and rambunctious, this will be best in five to seven years. Exceptional potential here.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc Cerqueira Vineyardtext
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Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc Cerqueira Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSeven months down the road, 2018 is coming into its own, showing that Bartier finesse that makes it almost approachable at release. The fruit comes off the Black Sage Terrace home site, Cerqueira Vineyard. Bartier mixes in ten percent merlot to add roundness and supple notes to this juicy red. Savoury black plums and dry, leafy flavours mark the palate. It's native fermented on skins for a day, and aged one year in French oak barrels. Will be best in three or four years, but drink now with grilled beef.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farmstext
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Synchromesh Cabernet Franc Turtle Rock Farms 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata's Turtle Rock Farms Vineyard and its granitic gravels comes this herbal, fleshy cabernet franc from a barrel selection. This was whole cluster, seeing 80% new wood in 2016. Plumped with savoury red currant, black cherry, perfumed raspberry, and alluring red florals, this streams long a tight granitic base. Tannins are firm and tightly knit, and acidity is running on the early pick side, streaming this medium bodied wine to its spiced, herbal, mustard seed finish. Decant this still-youthful wine, or open well in advance; this grows with airtime.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Mayhem Cabernet Franctext
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Mayhem Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom vineyards around Munson Mountain, this cabernet franc was partially native fermented in stainless, and then moved into barrel (one new French, and one neutral) for 11 months rest. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, reflective in the alluring, slight hazy crimson hue in the glass. Wild black cherry, dark raspberry, earthy thorns ride along a sapid green palate, tight with fine tannins, scented with wood, and rinsed with astringency on the finish. Snappy, bright, and ready to drink.Prices: BC 30.44 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franctext
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Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's hard not to like this style of South Okanagan cabernet franc, a melding of Pomerol and Bolgheri, that's lush and savoury. The nose and palate are packed full of rich tobacco and black fruit laced with brown spice and long, round, sweet, dense tannins that melt at the back of your palate. Very hedonistic, and this supple, juicy, tasty red is ready to drink now but should keep through 2023. Lamb chops would be an excellent match, or grilled mushrooms and root vegetables in an earthy food / earthy wine match.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 45.00 MB 44.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
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Synchromesh Cachola Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUnfortunately, this is the last vintage for Cachola, as the vineyard has been sucked up by Peller. From Cachola Family Vineyards' west facing slopes, just north of Oliver, this cabernet franc is rooted into the site's gravelled clay soils. Pouring with a slight haze, reflective of its low intervention vinification, Cachola once again flows with subtle florality, dark earth, sapid plum, wild raspberry, thorns, sliding along a silken palate, framed with long, smoked stone, grippy tannins. Showing the earthen greener face of cab franc (clone 214), this will appeal to those who smartly seek out Loire franc. Take with a light chill.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Vista's Edge Cabernet Franctext
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Vista's Edge Cabernet Franc 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Oliver's Vista's Edge Vineyard, this big, powerful, dense cabernet franc has absorbed all of the Southern Okangan's desert sun. Thankfully, it's transmitted to us now with a couple of years of age, allowing the wood and impact to settle some. This is the inaugural release of this wine, and it's a very promising start. It was aged 15 months in French oak (25% new). Softened ripe cassis, wild blackberry is seasoned with cedar and threaded with cool mint. Tannins are plush, guiding this full bodied desert red to a warming, spiced finish. Very polished and stylish, and quite smartly so, this shows why cabernet franc is one of the star grapes of the lower Okanagan / Similkameen.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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16 July 2020

Township 7 NBO Blue Terrace Vineyardtext
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Township 7 NBO Blue Terrace Vineyard 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFully saturated dusky crimson colour is a fitting visual set-up for this hefty wine. The nose is very impressive with cherries, cocoa powder, orange peel, and a delicate stippling of spices. There's also a gamey, sagey aspect, and the shoe polish aromas of high toned oak. The palate is alive with vivid red and black fruit, keen acidity, and quite a bite of tannin at this youthful stage. Broad shouldered and bold, the blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot comes from a single vineyard in North Bench Oliver and packs a whollop of fruit that is dense but brightened by a savoury freshness. Best with a little bottle ageing, or open at least an hour ahead to help stretch out flavours and tight tannins. A robust meat dish or slab of aged hard cheese is required.Prices: BC 35.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Shot in the Dark Cabernet Shiraztext
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Shot in the Dark Cabernet Shiraz 2018

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaA classic Australian blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, this is heavy on smoky, confected oak, alongside jammy blue and black fruits that aren't overly distinct. The tannins are a bit firm, as you’d expect from cabernet, but the acidity is quite soft, leading to a sweet finish that verges on cloying. Best enjoyed with a chill.Prices: BC 13.49 Producer: Quarisa Wines
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Calliope Figure 8 Redtext
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Calliope Figure 8 Red 2018

British Columbia, CanadaFigure 8 is a 50/41/8 mix of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, all hand picked from Osoyoos vineyards. Tight and youthful on the nose with black cherry, but the palate is super dry and tannic at this point. The best way to serve this is with some rich fatty foods to break down the tannins and bitter notes.Prices: BC 19.98 AB 16.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Moon Curser Border Vinestext
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Moon Curser Border Vines 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis flagship wine from Moon Curser is true to their house style: potent, expressive, not overdone, but nice and pure. Intoxicating aromas of crushed summer berries, dried salted plums, mole, and exotic spices are tinged with herbs, citrus oil, and a pretty floral lift. Oak shows too with sweet vanilla and coconut aromas and flavours. Mouthfilling, with black currant, plums, and bitter chocolate with savoury dusty tannins and enhanced acidity. Lavish spicy and smoky oak guilds the fruit and the finish is a little tight now, but will extend with another year or so. Cabernet sauvignon provides the framework (71% in the 2017 vintage) with upholstery from 16% petit verdot, 7% malbec, 4% carmenere, and 2% cab franc, all burnished in French oak casks, just 20% new. Give plenty of air and definately serve with a charred cut of something meaty. You'll find plenty of fruit for enjoying now, but another two years of bottle age will allow the East Bench Osoyoos terroir character to present fully.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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15 July 2020

Craven Wines Pinot Gristext
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Craven Wines Pinot Gris 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaLove this characterful wine. Pouring a lovely peachy red hue, this skin contact Pinot Gris was fermented like a red. It's rare enough to find PG in SAF, and unheard of to find one as memorable as this. After destemming, this had 6-7 days skin contact (until it goes dry) before being pressed and racked into older French barrels where it remained for 9 months. From Newlands Vineyard and its heavy iron-rich koffeklip soils, this textural wine opens with beauty roiboos and bergamot, woven with flakes of sea salts. Tight with texture and grip, the tension ever alternates from the citrus centric fruits to the mineral salts. Vines are 15 years old, facing east, and have responded incredibly well to the Cravens holistic viticulture. Smashable.Prices: AB 35.00 Producer: Craven Wines
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Lakeside Cellars Pinot Gristext
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Lakeside Cellars Pinot Gris 2019

British Columbia, CanadaFrom their Osoyoos estate as well as a family owned vineyard in Cawston, this pinot gris typifies the South Okanagan through its plump, ripe orchard fruit and fine desert spices, bedded on a creamy mid, and bumped with RS. Acidity is lower, making this an easy, accessible wine to crack this summer.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Dolomititext
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Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Dolomiti 2018

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyYou can't think of Alto Adige pinot grigio as 'typical italian pinot grigio'. And certainly not from stellar Alois Lageder. This wine comes from 25 growers in the southern part of the appellation, from 230 to 420m, and planted on rocky, sandy, limestone-laced soils, the latter giving this Dolomiti its name. After a stainless ferment (partial with stems and skins), this spent 4 months on lees. Very little fruit here to be found, outside of some light melon, pear skin. More prominent is the stony, white honey, light lees that bases this medium bodied white.Prices: BC 25.99 ON 21.95 QC 19.95 Producer: Alois Lageder
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Nichol Vineyard Pinot Gristext
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Nichol Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two pinot gris' Nichol produces each year. The oval labelled one, the classic, is the one that has been an iconic gris over the years for Canada, thanks in part to its characteristic light peach/orange hue. Thirty-six hours on skins lend the tint and texture. Finely structured, this precise, 11-degree alcohol white carries a significant impact, through apricot fuzz, grapefruit pith, bergamot, and granitic grip, along with some fine tannic tension thanks to the skin contact. Acidity is bright, streaming this to a lingering, saline finish. This vintage is especially shining, making this smashable wine a joy.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Nichol Vineyard Two Barrels Pinot Gristext
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Nichol Vineyard Two Barrels Pinot Gris 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two of Nichol's characteristic peach / orange hued pinot gris', this square label pg goes through full MLF, in barrel, as the name suggests, before it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The effect has plumped out the 11.9 degree body some, affording some tangerine, kumquat, lees, melon, for the grapefruit pith / peel acidity to tighten. Astringency cleanses out the finish, and with the slight padding on the mid, and texture from some skin contact, this gris was built for food.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Graffigna Pinot Grigiotext
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Graffigna Pinot Grigio 2018

San Juan, ArgentinaFrom San Juan, and vineyards up to 700m, this bright, crisp grigio carries juicy orchard fruit, tropical melon and fresh green herbs along a lees-slicked palate. Easy, bright, and fresh, this is a sunny and simple white for equally simple shellfish or green veg dishes.Prices: BC 14.69 AB 13.00 MB 14.65 ON 12.79 SK 17.65 NB 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Bodegas Y Vinedos Santiago Graffigna
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LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigiotext
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LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigio 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIndeed not your typical BC PG, Vivace is a sleek, slender version, built less around ripe orchard fruits, and more around grigio's citrus character. From vines in their mid-teens, this was picked early, and fermented and rested for a few months on fine lees in stainless, further enhancing the bright fruit. Green apple, green melon, Asian pear crunchy acidity, and the aforementioned lemon/lime peel notes lead this to a smacking finish. Seafood and salad centric. Such a leading example, especially considering the Southern Okanagan's heat.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: LaStella
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Harper's Trail Pinot Gris Thadd Springs Vineyardtext
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Harper's Trail Pinot Gris Thadd Springs Vineyard 2019

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThis label continues to impress. In 2019 the colour has a tinge of gold, and it makes a slightly more luxurious impression on the nose. The style is fresh with floral notes with a bit more honey and leesy notes mixed into a stony, mineral, floral nose. The attack is juicy, with wet stone, quince, and pear. The finish is round and slippery. Try this with summer salads, seafood pasta, or creative charcuterie plates. Go Thompson Valley.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Graffigna Pinot Grigiotext
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Graffigna Pinot Grigio 2018

San Juan, ArgentinaThis pinot grigio was sourced from vineyards in Pedernal and Tulum Valley in San Juan, at 1300 metres. The nose is fresh and bright with grassy green apple aromas. On the palate, there is more grapefruit, almonds and bright acidity mixed with green apple and nectarine skin. Light and bright, this a fun luncheon white for fish tacos or a crab sandwich.Prices: BC 14.69 AB 13.00 MB 14.65 ON 12.79 SK 17.65 NB 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Bodegas Y Vinedos Santiago Graffigna
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Gristext
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Gris 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTake your cue from the 50th Parallel moniker, suggesting it will be crisp, refreshing, lively, and rich in acidity. The fruit is all hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. In 2019, 75% of the juice was fermented cold in stainless steel tanks, while the remaining 25% was fermented in three-year-old French oak barrels mixing texture with freshness. I confess this style has more appeal to me with its electric peach, nectarine and citrus palate. Ready to drink and best served with halibut or grilled salmon, or some of your favourite samosas.Prices: BC 22.50 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Mt. Boucherie Pinot  Gristext
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Mt. Boucherie Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCawston’s Lazy River Vineyard is home to this ripe, intense pinot gris. Baked pears and quince paste lead a full-bodied gris that could use more of that stony mineral notes that make the Similkameen famous. That said, it is perfectly fun to drink now. I suggest you cool this one down and serve it on the patio on a warm sunny day.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Gristext
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Gris 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe current 2019 Gris from Stag's Hollow is a lush affair with a bump of residual sugar at 10.9 grams per litre, pushing it into the off-dry zone and the Alsace milieu. The nose is a luxurious mix of peaches, red honey, and a wafting jasmine scent. The palate follows along in a similar vein with more sweet melon and spice. Best built for spicy curries. The fruit is grown at Parsons Vineyard inside the Skaha Bench Sub GI.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Two Oceans Pinot Grigiotext
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Two Oceans Pinot Grigio 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaAll the way from South Africa for $11, you get what you pay for here in a simple commercial version of pinot grigio. It's clean, fresh (which is a bonus) with mild light apple flavours and a soft finish. A picnic quaffer for warm days.Prices: BC 10.99 Producer: Bergkelder, The (Distillers Corporation)
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Haywire Pinot Gris Switchback Vineyardtext
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Haywire Pinot Gris Switchback Vineyard 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Okanagan Crush Pad’s certified organic Switchback Vineyard, this was wild fermented and aged in concrete tanks for 10 months on its gross lees. There’s a golden hue to the fruit here, alongside honeycomb and a bready note from the lees. It’s more evolved than you’d typically expect for a young Okanagan pinot gris, but that seems true to the winemaking approach. It’s confidently understated and more about texture than a fruit salad. Medium-full bodied, it’s dry and well balanced with crisp acidity that drives the finish. Don't overchill, and give this some time to develop in the glass.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Pinot Gristext
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Haywire Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe ‘White Label’ Gris is a mix of four Okanagan vineyards from Summerland to Oliver. The ‘19 is very ripe, but still fresh with bright orchard fruit led by peaches and pears drizzled with orange. It is fully ready to drink and capable of taking on light priced dishes like spicy tuna sushi rolls or a spicy shellfish pasta. It’s naturally fermented and aged in concrete on its lees for eight months.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gristext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Whispered Secret Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Whispered Secret Vineyard in Keremeos, this pinot gris was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and French oak puncheons before aging on its lees for three months. It’s a restrained, lightly aromatic style that balances bright citrus and tree fruits alongside a subtle touch of wood. There’s a lovely richness and concentration to the palate, with a viscosity that’s gently bolstered by the pinch of residual sugar (3.8 g/L). It still retains a tension and precision that is difficult to achieve with pinot gris, which is what sets this apart. It’s tempting to think of pinot gris as a ‘drink now’ variety, but this wine should convince you otherwise. It really opens up nicely in the glass: a good indication that the best is yet to come. Only 388 cases produced. Great value.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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14 July 2020

Invinity Sparkling Wine House Blancs de Blancstext
84PTS

Invinity Sparkling Wine House Blancs de Blancs 2018

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Saanich Peninsula's relatively new Invinity Winery, a sparkling-only wine house on the old Starling Lane Vineyards site. This traditional method fizz (labeled Blancs de Blancs) blends pinot gris, ortega, and siegerrebe in stainless and neutral barrels, before moving to bottle and 10-14 months on lees. Classical music was played to the vines, and wines throughout. Unfortunately, this wine is somewhat discordant, opening with a whack of sulphur, which moves into wilted florals, sharp and acerbic orchard fruit and a bitter pithy finish. A promising story and one I'd love to follow in the future.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Invinity Sparkling
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Fitz Reserve Sparkling Rosétext
90PTS

Fitz Reserve Sparkling Rosé 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve tier of Fitz' sparkling wines rests 36 months on lees, the lengthiest stint of any of their sparkling wines. Using their Great Ranch pinot noir, this was fermented and aged in stainless, and dosed with 6 g/L. Orchard fresh and bright, as is Fitz' way, this juicy, softer palate is flush with red apple, cherry, strawberry and a wash of lemon pith. Acidity is shining, and the finish is snappy and lingering, welcoming numerous pairings from flavourful canapés through vegetable terrine through to salmon.Prices: BC 42.45 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
90PTS

Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted one year along, and this is still showing as fresh and bright as before. 2016 Brut blends chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot blanc, and meunier from their Greata Ranch home estate, with 24 months on lees. Lemon, green apple, subtle anise rule the slender, well-balanced palate, with orchard fruit freshness and purity embodying Okanagan fizz. Pop and enjoy now.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Bride Valley Dorset Crémanttext
89PTS

Bride Valley Dorset Crémant NV

EnglandFrom Steven Spurrier's home estate in Dorset, in the south west of England, this is a blend of 55% chardonnay, plus pinot noir, and pinot meunier from the 2015 and 2016 vintage, dosed with 9 g/L. This is their first NV wine, with only 15000 bottles made, and not intended for the export markets. A typical very cool climate 11.5 degrees, this bright, tight sparkler rings with green apple acidity, swirled with white peach, lemon custard, some creamed corn, and light pastry on the palate. The mousse is slightly softer in the palate than most, which is why Spurrier called this wine Crémant (from the French crémeux = creamy). £30 at winery.Prices: Producer: Bride Valley
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Genevieve Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
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Genevieve Blanc de Blancs Brut 2014

Overberg, South AfricaGenevieve MCC is the dream of Melissa Genevieve Nelson, winemaker and founder (and ex-pilot) who started the company to achieve a dream of making sparkling wine of high quality chardonnay. She makes two vintage wines, one without dosage. Two chardonnay vineyards from Botrivier's deep riverside soils go into this blanc de blancs, with four years on the lees, and bottled with 6 g/l dosage. Crisp and focused with bright pear, red apple, toast, and lemon, on a bed of nougat, finishing with lemon peel and hazelnut. Though there is a meringue-like padding to the palate, this has a chalky texture that keeps it grippy and lively, to a savoury finish. Stylish and elegant, this is in an ideal place right now, and with time ahead. More MCC like this on our markets please.Prices: MB 40.00 Producer: Genevieve
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Montedelma Franciacorta Bruttext
91PTS

Montedelma Franciacorta Brut 2016

Lombardy, ItalyThe Montedelma Franciacorta is grown in the vineyards of Passirano (Valenzano district) and Provaglio (Provezze district) at mid-hill. The blend is an elegant 80/15/5 mix of chardonnay, pinot bianco, and pinot nero. The grapes are hand harvested and fermented separately, and aged until springtime blending. The final cuveé spends at least 18 months on the lees before being disgorged, and often up to 24 months. The colour is barely a perceptible straw-yellow. The mousse is tiny and delicate, forming a creamy cap on pouring before melting into the wine and persisting on the palate, lifting the subtle fruit, flowers, and currants before the yeasty brioche kicks into the finish. There is fine acidity and refinement in general, making this a very impressive Italian bubble. I think a seafood tower is in order.Prices: BC 40.99 375 BC 55.00 Producer: Montedelma
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Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco Bruttext
87PTS

Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyBottega is a vibrant producer of sparkling, and the Poeti is an excellent example of what can be done with a little care at this price point. There’s a small bump of residual sugar, but it disappears into the brut dry flavours that mark the midpalate and the finish. Red and green apple, subtle flowers float among the creamy textures and the citrus lined finish. Well made, ready to drink, and affordable, it touches all the bells. Try this with some cream cheese and salmon for something unique. Widely available. Authentic.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bottega S.p.A.
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Dolceorotext
88PTS

Dolceoro NV

Piedmont, ItalyAuthentic Moscato D’Asti grapes grown in the southern part of Piedmont are the soul of this afternoon treat. Lightly frizzante with sweet citrus, orange blossom, peach, yellow fruit and just a hint of stoniness. Chill this to ice cold to start and then watch the bottle disappear in short order. Nothing but fun. Spicy bites of food are optional before dinner is served.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Acqui Terme
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Domaine Rolet Coeur de Chardonnay Crémanttext
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Domaine Rolet Coeur de Chardonnay Crémant 2016

Jura, FranceThis is Rolet's only vintage-dated crémant, and it is all chardonnay from Arbois and Côtes du Jura, with 36 months on the lees and full MLF. Lemon pith, green apple, fresh hazelnuts stream along a tight, palate, with a fine cushion of lees, but taut with a vibrato of acidity. Lovely balance throughout to the lengthy, chalk dust finish. Striking, and serious.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Moraine Shipuchka Frizzantetext
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Moraine Shipuchka Frizzante 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is essentially a typical off dry BC white, fizzed up. Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay from Naramata Bench and Okanagan Falls shows sharp and angular on the sweetish palate, sheared with high acidity through a perfumed, soapy lime, orange tablet, candied pear palate, to a short finish. This requires a brisk chill (ice cubes), or blending into mimosas for optimal drinking.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Intrigue Social Bubblytext
86PTS

Intrigue Social Bubbly 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis festive looking bottle (there are fireworks, after all) is a typical BC white blend bubbled up. Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Kerner, Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser is sweet and floral on the lightly fizzy palate, with lime, soap, and fruit salad carrying this to a short finish. Needs a very brisk chill and quick consumption because these bubbles fade fast.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Covert Farms Sparkling Zinfandel Methode Ancestraletext
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Covert Farms Sparkling Zinfandel Methode Ancestrale 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaZinfandel rosé, done in the ancestrale method. From the Okanagan. And only 8.9% abv. Try putting that in a blind tasting. After a vigorous rush of bubbles, this pours a salmon colour. Early picking has given this an intriguing nose of russet apple, rhubarb, and crushed vitamins alongside some fermentation aromas. The mousse is quite frothy, though it softens over time, with some noticeable residual sugar present. However, the snappy acidity gives this a dryish finish. To this palate, it almost tastes more like a cider than a wine. An interesting discovery for adventurous drinkers. A word of caution: I’d recommend opening this over the sink.Prices: BC 32.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Niche Wine Co. Small Batch Bubblestext
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Niche Wine Co. Small Batch Bubbles 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTight, sharp and high acid, this wine of unnamed grapes would be mistaken for a simple ale, with its sour citrus, grasses, metallic note on a shorter palate. The back recommends pairing with "popcorn, triple cream brie, caviar & crepes, anything buttered, or honeyed, and all the chocolate". None of which would be a pleasant partnership, in my opinion.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Niche Wine Co.
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13 July 2020

Crowsnest Family Reserve Merlottext
87PTS

Crowsnest Family Reserve Merlot 2016

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Crowsnest style has always been cooler and greener, and you get a vegetative cassis undercurrent here, but the textures are much improved, almost silky and persistent from the front to the back. Red fruits and spice mark the palate with a dusting of sagebrush and crushed dried herbs. Try this with a spaghetti Bolognese or a cheesy pepperoni pizza. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Merlottext
89PTS

Synchromesh Turtle Rock Farms Merlot 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a single vineyard on a granite / gravel base above the Naramata Bench, this barrel-selected merlot is plump and rich with ripe black plum, inky dark cherry, black liquorice, dark chocolate, on a deep, rich palate. Though hedonistic for Alan, the acidity is granite-brightened, and tannins are soft and leathery, leading to a warming, espresso and savoury spiced cake finish. Drink this heavyweight merlot now, ideally with grilled ribs, or wait a few years in the cellar.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Synchromesh Wines Inc.
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Painted Rock Merlottext
90PTS

Painted Rock Merlot 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2016 offered some respite from the oppressive 2015 heat, even if it started early and hot. June was cooler than usual before the warm weather returned for the wrap up of the growing season, delivering fully ripe fruit. Three estate blocks of merlot were picked in the second week of October and spent 25 days on the skins, including a 4-day cold soak and twice daily pumpovers. It was aged 18 months in 30% new French oak and blended before being bottled unfiltered. At 15.1%, it takes no prisoners. The palate is rich and laden with dark super spicy fruit, suggesting this wine will need some time in bottle. The style is more Washington with a splash of California this year, which will have broad appeal to those who love their merlot big and showy. I would wait for five years before you approach this wine to give it a chance to gather itself and become whole.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Burrowing Owl Merlottext
90PTS

Burrowing Owl Merlot 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 harvest was done by hand in Oliver and Osoyoos on October 9 through 18. Post ferment, the wine is typically aged 14 months in 50% in French oak, with the remainder American, Hungarian and Russian oak. We tasted it alongside 2017, and it showed more vibrancy and a fresher undertone. More floral, red fruit on a silky mid-palate, all flecked with black plums, black raspberries, and a touch of tannin appropriate for its youth. Lamb chops, grilled pork, or most any steak cut all work here, and will for some time as it ages through 2025 and beyond. Well done.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 34.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Merlot Cerqueira Vineyardtext
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Bartier Bros. Merlot Cerqueira Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSeven months down the road from our last tasting, this Cerqueira Vineyard Merlot continues to impress as it unfolds. It’s grown on the Black Sage Terrace, southeast of the Oliver town centre. The gentle sloping, west-facing vineyard contains a mix of dense loam topsoil over gravels with calcium carbonate covered granite, quartz, and basalt cobbles. I love the density of this red and the creamy, silky textures that spring from spending fourteen weeks in neutral French oak barrels. On the palate, it is slightly more expansive at this point, and the savoury, desert blue fruits are singing a salty mineral chorus. The Bartier reds like about five years in bottle before they reach their zenith, but the balance would suggest it can go a decade and beyond. Perfect now with your favourite steak cuts. Super value. Real wine.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Burrowing Owl Merlottext
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Burrowing Owl Merlot 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot has been a strong performer at BOV and remains among its top reds year in and year out. 2017 is fully ripe, if not a touch overripe, reflecting a sunny, warm summer in the south Okanagan. The attack is full-bodied with rich black fruit, a hint of raisins, mocha, and a dusting of Okanagan sagebrush. It is big and powerful, but with enough balance in the finish to keep you coming back to the glass. Best served now with rich dishes like grilled lamb or T-bone steaks.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 34.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Merlottext
94PTS

La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Merlot 2016

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe La Jota wines are Napa Valley originals with roots that date back to 1888, when winemaking pioneer W.S. Keyes planted some of the first vines on Howell Mountain. A decade later, Fredrick Hess built a stone winery and established La Jota Vineyard Co., named after its location on the Mexican parcel Rancho La Jota. The fruit comes off the home estate and nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard, both mountain cool mineral-laden sites that look east over Napa Valley. This is all native yeast barrel fermented in French oak barrels. The 2016 blend is 90/5.5/4.5 merlot, petit verdot and tannat. Mountain power with elegance is the La Jota mandate, and you quickly feel it and taste in this dense, ripe, hedonistic wine. The fruit is an intense mix of blueberry and mulberry with fine acidity and a creamy layer of polished tannins. Dark chocolate and espresso and spice mark the finish. Just a baby and will comfortably live in the bottle for a decade and beyond. One for collectors.Prices: BC 95.00 AB 95.00 Producer: La Jota Vineyard Co.
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Four Shadows Merlottext
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Four Shadows Merlot 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 is a solid followup to 2017 for this Naramata merlot that offers more red fruit than black. The acidity is bright, and the oak in check, allowing a mix of black plum and black raspberry and even a hint of black currant to push through. It’s more juicy and friendly than complex, but just fine for mid-term drinking. Pair with grilled chicken, hamburgers, and even better, a mushroom pizza. Drink through 2022.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Barnard Griffin Merlottext
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Barnard Griffin Merlot 2017

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesBrown sugar dusted plum rules this sweet, ripe, doughy merlot from Columbia Valley. There's blackberry pie, vanilla on the warming palate, with ample wood spice, finishing with a bitter snap. It is aged 19 months in new and neutral European oak. A simple interpretation of what the grape is capable of in Washington State.Prices: ON 31.00 Producer: Barnard Griffin
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10 July 2020

Lock and Worth Sémillon Losthorn Vineyardtext
92PTS

Lock and Worth Sémillon Losthorn Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted 16 months along, this Losthorn Vineyard Sémillon is one of 2 séms released in 2018 by L+W. This comes from Okanagan Falls' Losthorn Vineyard, planted in 1995 on a south / south west facing site. This was native fermented in stainless and neutral French barrels before resting there for 6 months prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered (hence the lattice of sediment gracing the bottom of the bottle). Savoury salts infiltrate meadow grass, dried herbs, wild lemon, mandarin pith and peel to a lingering finish. There's an alluring dance between mineral / salt / savoury / fruit that entices. As much as I enjoy drinking this now (liberally), I know it will improve with age.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Lock and Worth Sémillon Kelownatext
92PTS

Lock and Worth Sémillon Kelowna 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two sémillons produced by Lock & Worth from 2018 (the other from Okanagan Falls), this comes from a lauded Sém vineyard on Mount Boucherie in West Bank, planted in 1993. Whole cluster pressed and native ferment, raised in neutral French puncheons for 18 months on full solids, mostly undisturbed. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered in January 2020, hence the characteristic white sediment in the bottom of this wine. Tight and light at 10.4 degrees, this is strung taut with wild lemon, lemon balm, fresh green herbs, meadow grass, verbena, green apple, subtle elderflower on a long, slim, dry palate. Tight lemon verbena lingers on the finish. Very much in youth, this sém (like all age worthy séms), needs time to unknit and reveal itself. Buy now (if you can find it) and lay it down.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Invivo X SJP Sauvignon Blanc Sarah Jessica Parkertext
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Invivo X SJP Sauvignon Blanc Sarah Jessica Parker 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandInvivio & Co has launched this celebrity sauvy with Sarah Jessica Parker, now available in 7 countries and represented in Canada by Summit Fine Wines / Jackson Family Wines. Outside of knowing this is a Marlborough sauvignon blanc, little is known about Invivo X. This is certainly a potent and powerful Marlborough SB, with punchy guava, tropical melon, papaya, hedgerow, and white pepper flooding the palate. There's a full, plump base of glycerol to glide this medium-bodied white over the palate and match with substantial fare. Unmistakable Marlborough Sauvy.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Invivo & Co
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Lakeside Cellars Sauvignon Blanctext
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Lakeside Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine comes from their Osoyoos east bench vineyard and 22 year old sauvignon blanc vines. A cool ferment in stainless, and time on lees provided freshness and layers, while letting the vines maturity shine though. Tight and crisp lemon, gooseberry, and lime stream though this sleek sauvy, strung taut with citrus acidity, and punchy with cool, tropical melon.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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VQ Finca Venta Don Quijote Sauvignon-Blanc Macabeotext
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VQ Finca Venta Don Quijote Sauvignon-Blanc Macabeo 2019

Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla, SpainThis simple white blends sauvignon blanc and macabeo from central Spain's Tierra de Castilla into a short, lightly fruity, light-bodied sipper. White peach, green apple and white flowers appear on the brief, tight palate, finishing with a citrus snap. Best taken well chilled.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Bodega VQ
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Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumétext
91PTS

Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumé 2019

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceI love pouring Pouilly-Fumé for folks that say they don't like sauvignon blanc. This sauvy comes from numerous clay and limestone hilltops in Les Loges, specifically La Cote and Les Griottes, both averaging 20 years in vine age. Bright and upright, with burnished lemon, smoked stone, medicinal-hued Rainier cherry, and guava. Waves of herbal green hedgerow and white grapefruit acidity stream this structural, juicy wine forward to a very long, spiced stone finish. Back to a more classic 13.5 degrees this year, this youthful wine is showing impressively now, but will continue to do so with cellaring.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc Provenance Seriestext
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Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc Provenance Series 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Provenance Series Sauvignon Blanc is new at Township 7, and most welcomed. It is a stripped-down version of the variety, aided by a touch of sémillon, and no residual sugar. The style is not for everyone, although I'm sensing drier styles like this are becoming more popular as wine drinkers evolve over the years. A portion of the mix is barrel fermented to help with mouthfeel, but there's a starkness and purity of flavour that suggests the wood is minimal. Ready for a variety of food, this will be a wine to watch moving forward, and frankly, another exciting step in the evolution of Township 7.Prices: BC 19.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanctext
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Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandLook for a typical, refreshing Marlborough sauvignon blanc that gets your attention with lively citrus, citrus rind fruit laced with intense passion fruit, and spiced with jalapeño. The attack is a yin and yang sweet and sour affair that is ready to drink. Best served with steamed mussels, asparagus dishes, and cream cheese.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 20.00 MB 22.00 BC 34.99 2000 BC 34.99 2000 Producer: Rossendale Winery
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Stachlburg Baron Von Kripp Terlaner Sauvignontext
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Stachlburg Baron Von Kripp Terlaner Sauvignon 2017

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyClassic northern Italian styling: elegance, lightness, minerality, and green fruit tones spill across the palate. A floral, spicy undercurrent adds interest before the herbal, forest berry undergrowth flavours take over. Really an intellectual white best consumed with a mouthwatering seafood dish. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Stachlburg
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The Doctor's Sauvignon Blanctext
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The Doctor's Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandDr. John Forrest has been pursuing the concept of low alcohol sauvignon blanc for more than a decade. His Doctors label, launched in 2012, is front and centre at 9.5 percent. This bone dry version of the intense Kiwi gooseberry, passionfruit style might seem stark to some but attracts others in droves. It is fun to sip, and at lunchtime, it allows for the rest of the day to proceed in order. Try this with fish tacos or fresh steamed clams.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Forrest Estate Wines
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Kono Sauvignon Blanctext
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Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandKono is a reliable, native producer of Kiwi sauvignon from Marlborough. The attack is bright and fresh, laced with guava, passionfruit, and citrus. The style is fruit-driven, but the trick is halting the fermentation with a touch of residual sugar left to balance the palate and finish. Expect a bit of candied grapefruit in an otherwise mostly dry finish. Serve with a charcuterie plate, or freshly steamed mussels. Fine value in an introductory NZ sauvignon blanc.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Kono Beverages
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Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanctext
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Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is a 91/9 mix of sauvignon blanc and semillon, the latter grown in Keremeos, and when tasted alongside 2018, it shows a little less vibrancy. The nose is lightly scented with notes of gooseberry and desert scrub with just a hint of oak. 35 percent is barrel fermented and aged in oak for three months. The palate is dry with a mix of citrus and lees. Best now with food or leave to age through 2020 in the bottle.Prices: BC 28.70 AB 29.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanctext
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Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 has a splash of semillon (8 percent) in the mix that seems to lift this wine to another level. The style is fresh with a citrus opening, and mid-palate flecked with lemongrass, hay, smoked stone, and grapefruit pith. Lively, fresh, and drinking well now.Prices: BC 28.70 AB 29.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Sémillontext
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Bartier Bros. Sémillon 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Cerqueira Vineyard slopes south-west between Oliver and Osoyoos just below Black Sage Road, collecting the late day sun. It is the domain of winemaker Michael Bartier who speaks with a richness of thought but makes wine with a sparing hand. The ferment is all wild yeast, leaving a fresh white wine laced with savoury desert scrub, figs, and grassy undertones with a lick of mineral salts. Entirely ready to drink now, but it will effortlessly age as it goes down the nutty, honey-rich road to aged sémillon. Raw oysters are the match, or a freshly picked summer salad. Real wine.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc The Winemaster's Reservetext
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Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc The Winemaster's Reserve 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaConsistency is the word to describe The Winemaster's Reserve, and at $14, you get all you could want with passionfruit and gooseberry aromas, and citrus, herbal, lime hrough the finish. It's stainless steel fermented and stored to maintain its bright and zesty style until you crack its screwcap seal. Friendly and affordable.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Nederburg Wines (Pty) Ltd.
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Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanctext
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Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaA bright, simple, fresh style of sauvignon made in a round, soft, commercial way. The nose and palate are a mix of ripe pink grapefruit and gooseberry, with musky herbal notes in the finish. Just off-dry, this is a patio sipper that can take on simple bites. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 10.99 AB 11.00 SK 12.00 MB 11.00 ON 12.00 NB 12.00 NF 13.00 YK 12.45 Producer: Bergkelder, The (Distillers Corporation)
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Framingham Sauvignon Blanctext
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Framingham Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFramingham has always eschewed the power and aggressive notes of most Marlborough sauvignon, to its credit. The styling reflects a few key winemaking techniques including picking fully ripe Wairau Valley fruit, a small amount of fermentation on the skins, and small amounts of ageing in oak and acacia barrels for an even smaller amount of time. Each contributes to a layer of complexing that shouts 'I'm more than just passionfruit and acidity'. I love the richer, softer version of Kiwi sauvignon that tastes more balanced on the palate. Ready to drink and fairly priced.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Framingham
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Bizou + Yukon Savvy Gristext
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Bizou + Yukon Savvy Gris 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBizou and Yukon are a couple of sheepdogs, starring in a series of labels at Okanagan Crush Pad. Savvy Gris is a juicy, lightweight mix of sauvignon blanc and pinot gris, fermented using indigenous yeast in concrete tanks. It is a ready to drink soft, round, summer sipping white, offering up lemon-lime notes and a lime rind finish. Try it with a favourite sushi roll.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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09 July 2020

Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolotext
91PTS

Damilano Lecinquevigne Barolo 2014

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis nebbiolo comes from 30-50-year-old vines off five sites in the calcareous-clay hills of Piemonte's Grinzane Cavour, Monforte, and Novello. With its characteristic orange tint, this bright nebbiolo is filled with ample mineral salts, wild cherry, red currant and summer strawberry, knit together with layers of worn leather and fine dust of pepper. Bright, finessed and savoury, this is drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 47.99 Producer: Damilano SrL
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Monastero Suore Cistercensi Benedictext
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Monastero Suore Cistercensi Benedic 2018

Lazio, ItalyThis is not your typical Italian white wine. Unless, that is, you usually take of natural wine made by nuns. In the case of Coenobium, it's grown and raised by the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, under the guidance of Giampiero Bea, son of one of Italy's most prominent non-interventionist wine producers, Paulo Bea. The sisters produce a very little amount of red wine for this blend of roughly equal parts santgiovese and ciliegiolo, plus a tip of newly planted merlot in 2018 for the first time, from vines planted near their historical plots. Even with a 2 week maceration, this pours a pale, cloudy crimson orange hue, leading into a beguiling tapestry of black tea, wild plum, rock roses, and scrubby herbs, twinged with balsamic and rinsed with mineral salts. Tannins are nubby to negotiable, and acidity shines subtlely. All has the calm understatedness of a superfluity of sisters. Let this breathe upon opening, and take with a slight chill.Prices: Producer: Monastero Suor E Cistercensi CO Trappiste
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Novaia Valpolicella Classico Organictext
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Novaia Valpolicella Classico Organic 2017

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFrom marl/clay/lime/tufa laden hillside vineyards in Novaia di Marano di Valpolicella, this classic blend of corvina / rondinella / molinara was fermented and rested 10 months in steel, prior to release. Bright cherry, red cassis, is streaked with green herbal branch, and finishes snappy and briefly. Tannins are soft and fine, housing this to a pasty end. Best with meatballs.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Novaia Azienda Agricola
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Locatelli Caffi Valcalepio I Pilendri Rossotext
88PTS

Locatelli Caffi Valcalepio I Pilendri Rosso 2015

Lombardy, ItalyFrom Lombardy's DOC Valcalepio, this blend of equal parts merlot and cabernet sauvignon came from hillsides east of Bergamo. The name Pilendri’ is an ancient expression to indicate a particular soil characterized by steep and elevated faces. The blend was aged one year in oak, followed by one year in bottle prior to release. Worn leather supports wild strawberries, red currant, fragrant raspberries along a medium bodied palate to a shorter finish. Tannins are savoury edged and fine, and acidity is impressively lofted. Enjoy this humble red with grilled veg and simple tomato sauced pastas.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Locatelli Caffi
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Braia Barbera d'Astitext
89PTS

Braia Barbera d'Asti 2017

Piedmont, ItalyBarbera can be such a lively, fun, friendly grape, especially when treated simply, respectfully, like this. From the Braia cru, in the town of Aramengo, this was destemmed and fermented in stainless, where it remained for half a year prior to bottling and a two months' rest prior to release. Juicy and joyous with plush cassis, cherries, fleshy blueberries, and inky plums. Tannins are soft, housing this to a mellow, spiced finish. Enjoy as intended, now in youth, with a simple meat and /or mushroom tomato sauced pasta dish.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Fasoglio
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Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianicotext
90PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico 2018

Campania, ItalyWild cherry, dark plum and blackberries coarse through this fresh, bright aglianico, from deep ash and pomice soils at 300-400m in southern Italy's Campania. This wisely preserved freshness comes from a ferment and aging stint entirely in stainless. Wild flowers, sap, thorns season the palate, with tannins fine and nubby, housing this to a wild flower and saline finish. This has all of aglianico's impact, with the freshness of youth, altitude, and soils. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
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Firriato Naritext
87PTS

Firriato Nari 2019

Sicily, ItalyNari is a classic spaghetti red made from a blend of nero d’avola and petit verdot. Typically Sicilian in structure, but a little lighter than you might think. There is some tannin and Italian dryness that permeates the dark, brooding fruit and spice. At $14.99, it is all you can expect and a bit more. Hamburgers would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Firriato
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Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico del Vulturetext
88PTS

Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico del Vulture 2015

Basilicata, ItalyExpect a big, chewy, slightly rustic red from the volcanic soils of Aglianico del Vulture. You can feel the warmth of southern Italy with baked red fruits, but this wine is more about savoury mushroom and leather. You'll find more concentration and refinement in top examples from the region, but there's a lot to like here for this price.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Basilisco
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Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianicotext
88PTS

Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico 2012

Campania, ItalyYou can feel and taste the southern Italian heat in this ripe aglianico from Irpina. This was fermented and macerated in stainless over 2-3 weeks, before 10 months rest in stainless and 6 months in bottle, prior to release. Thick with dark chocolate, worn leather, baked black cherries, dried plums on a dense palate, with chewy, toothsome tannins to a lingering, dusky spiced finish. Ready for hearty braises and stews.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Feudi Di San Gregorio
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Argiolas Carda Nera Carignano del Sulcistext
88PTS

Argiolas Carda Nera Carignano del Sulcis 2017

Sardinia, ItalyCarginano Del Sulcis was made a DOC in 1977 for red or rosés made from the carignano (carignan) grape. Sulcis is a coastal zone in southern Sardinia, and includes the island of Sant'Antioco. This comes from the winery's dry farmed vineyards 500m from the sea, and on a mix of soil, sand, and clay soils. Deep with stony plum, thorny raspberry, ripe blackberry, this is seasoned with scrubby herbs, and finishing with mustard seed spicing. Tannins are soft and lightly sticky, making this youthful, wild, medium bodied red apt for drinking now.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Argiolas
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La Gerla Rosso di Montalcinotext
88PTS

La Gerla Rosso di Montalcino 2016

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis Sangiovese comes from hillsides around 300m, and vines averaging 15 years, and aged 22 months in Slavonian wood, prior to 2 months in bottle before release. The wood is very firmly felt now, even four years along, with ample toasted cedar framing the cushy cassis, blackberry, and baked plum fruit. There's a thread of tobacco and worn leather throughout, while soft, plump tannins hold this chewy wine in place to a brighter finish. Give this some airtime, and enjoy with hearty Bolognese or roasted squash.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: La Gerla
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G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Albatext
90PTS

G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba 2018

Piedmont, ItalyMost barbera present with more aggressive acidity, but the Vajra opens with finesse, violets, and bright red fruit scents. The palate is equally inviting with more powerful blue, red, mineral, fruit flavours that finish balanced and fresh with tobacco. A perfect wine for spaghetti and meatballs now, or cellar through 2023. G.D. Vajra was established in 1972, and the wines are all about natural flavours. The fruit grows at 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. Considered a traditionalist, Vaira balances old style winemaking methods with modern techniques, namely temperature controlled ferments.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: G. D. Vajra
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G. D. Vajra Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2018

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyG.D. Vajra is one of the foremost producers in Piedmont. Varja's Langhe Rosso is a blend of younger vine nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, fresia, albarossa, and pinot noir, meant to be a snapshot of Piemonte's Langhe. A baby Barolo if you like, and it is easy to see why. Look for a fragrant nose of tobacco, plums, and floral notes. The attack is round and forward with soft red fruit flavours reminiscent of cherries, pomegranates, spice, and liquorice, with a mineral dryness, finesse, and firmness in the finish that screams Italian. Onion soup, steak tartare, mushroom risotto, and young hard cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 30.00 QC 23.20 Producer: G. D. Vajra
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Tenuta di Castellaro Ypsilontext
90PTS

Tenuta di Castellaro Ypsilon 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis comes from Lipari Island, part of the volcanic Aelian Islands north of Sicily. The blend is based on corinto nero, an indigenous variety commonly associated with the Aelian Islands, alongside 30% nero d’avola, and 10% alicante. The fruit is destemmed and then fermented with wild yeasts at cool temperatures, with a short time on the skins. It is then aged in stainless steel for 12 months and bottled unfiltered. From the winemaking to the glass, there’s a clear stylistic aspiration: a light-bodied, juicy red that is meant to be enjoyed with a slight chill. However, it doesn’t sacrifice any sense of place in achieving that. The fruit shows clear Mediterranean character, with sunbaked black fruits, sun-dried tomato, herbs, and a distinctive florality. It’s quite savoury, true to Italian form, but moreish in a way that will be familiar to fans of Beaujolais. A wine well off the beaten path that is worth discovering.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Tenuta di Castellaro
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Tenuta di Castellaro Ypsilontext
89PTS

Tenuta di Castellaro Ypsilon 2017

Sicily, Italy350 metre deep, sandy volcanic soils are at the heart of this 60/30/10 blend of corinto, nero d'avola, and alicante grown on Sicily's Lipari Island. The attack is attractively ripe but balanced by altitude acidity and the island's magical volcanic soils. Bing cherries mark the nose and spill across the palate, mixing with black raspberries and dried herbs. There is a lot to like here, and it is only beginning to show its very bright future. Savoury and laced with dense powdery tannin, this will age gracefully through 2025 and beyond. A whole roasted chicken would be an elegant dinner match.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Tenuta di Castellaro
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Di Majo Norante Contado Riservatext
90PTS

Di Majo Norante Contado Riserva 2014

Molise, ItalyThe Di Majo family is the largest and most important producer in Molise, and have been producing wines in the region since 1800. Alessio Di Majo is the current generation in charge of the 85 hectare, organically farmed estate. This aglianico comes from Camarda vineyard's sandy clay slopes, at 200m altitude. After one month maceration and fermentation, this spent 3 years in barriques and tonneaux. Well worn with time, this offers up plump, softened black plums, dusky cassis, wild thorny, salted spices on a deep, expansive, textural palate, weighted with ripeness and age, but straightened with a still-stern acidity, perfectly pitched to the heft of the wine. Aglianico's raging tannins are just now worn appropriately, making this eminently enjoyable with hearty braised dishes or ragu.Prices: BC 22.49 Producer: Di Majo Norante
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Cantina Tollo Cagiòlo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Reservatext
87PTS

Cantina Tollo Cagiòlo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Reserva 2012

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 montepulciano comes from 25-30 year old vines and clay/limestone sites around Tollo, where the CoOp is based. After a lengthy maceration and warm fermentation, this rested 18 months in French barriques before an additional 6 months in bottle. Pouring a browning hue, reflective of its age, this smooth red carries leathery dried fruits, dried leaves, salted dried herbs and dried florals to the savoury finish. Waves of oxidation are creeping in, without surprise, and encouraging drinking this autumnal red right now.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Cantina Tollo
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Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2018

Abruzzo, ItalyThis is a dependable go-to every year and the 2018 vintage is no different. It's everything you want in montepulciano: juicy black fruits that have a wild, savoury edge and a subtle floral lift. It's not overly complex, but it has a lovely purity. The tannins are not so overbearing that you couldn’t enjoy it on its own with a light chill. As with so many Italian reds, this will thrive at the dinner table. Good value.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classicotext
85PTS

San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2018

Tuscany, ItalySangiovese is tipped with canaiolo and colorino in this simple, rustic Chianti Classico. Tannins are ample and hard-edged, leaving a bitter ring around the already bitter Italian cherry and prune plum fruit. The finish is short and abrupt, and warmer than the 13.5 degrees should suggest. Requires equally rustic foods (lasagne, spaghetti) to match.Prices: BC 26.99 ON 27.00 NS 29.00 Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Casa Boschino Organictext
85PTS

San Fabiano Calcinaia Casa Boschino Organic 2016

Tuscany, ItalyThis simple IGT Toscana blends sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Earthy dark fruit, smoked bark, peppery spices finish short and abrupt, with furry tannins housing the bitter edged fruit. Needs a saucy spaghetti in meat sauce to mitigate.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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La Stoppa Trebbiolotext
90PTS

La Stoppa Trebbiolo 2018

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyIn 1991, La Stoppa owner Elena Pantaleoni partnered with Guilio Armani of Denavolo, and they made the decision in 1996 to replant the older traditional varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Noir) with indigenous vines of Barbera, Bonarda, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortruga and Trebbiano. The estate covers 58 hectares, 30 of which are organic vineyards. Trebbiolo is a blend of 60/40 barbera/bonarda, from the younger estate vines. Pouring a slightly hazy hue, this naturalist blend of Barbera and Bonarda is taken from the younger vines of the estate. Ripe wild strawberries, summer raspberries, young blackberries float along the juicy, plumped palate, reined in by a bracket of savoury herbs, sharpened with tart cranberry acidity. Tannins are a mere suggestion, hugging this slight wine to a juicy finish. Youthful, savoury, and fruity.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: La Stoppa
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Elio Sandri Perno Barolotext
92PTS

Elio Sandri Perno Barolo 2014

Piedmont, ItalyCascina Disa in Monforte d'Alba was a settlement of Monks of the Abbey of Breme at the beginning of the 15th century, and even then was used for wine production. Since 1965 it has become the heart of the Sandri family winery, that continues the ancient wine-growing traditions of the area. Elio now makes his wines with the highest respect for nature and for tradition, eschewing industrial methods. A characteristic orange tint, this Barolo opens with dried herbs, earl grey tea along a leathery palate, wrapping a core still very much alive with wild cherry, perfumed rose petals, thyme, salted sage, and bergamot. Tannins are ample, but worn softened with 6 years of age, giving a gentle tug to the palate, drawing this to a lingering ferrous close. A beaut.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Elio Sandri
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Sartori Valpolicella Superioretext
88PTS

Sartori Valpolicella Superiore 2016

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis limited edition Valpo Superiore was released for the winery's 120th anniversary, and comes from a single clay-limestone vineyard at 260m. The blend of 50% Corvina Veronese, 35% Corvinone, 10% Croatina, and 5% Rondinella was fermented in stainless, and then racked in to oak casks for 18 months prior to the barrel selection blending. Round and plump with concentrated black cherry, dark plum, anise, and leather, on a well-worn palate, seasoned with dried savoury herbs. Tannins are supple, and the finish spiced. Drink now with roasted pork or root veg.Prices: BC 42.99 AB 20.95 Producer: Casa Vinicola Sartori S.p.A.
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Sartori Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 120 Anniversarytext
89PTS

Sartori Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 120 Anniversary 2015

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis limited edition Valpo Ripasso Superiore was released for the winery's 120th anniversary, and comes from old vines on overhead pergola, Veronese-style. This blends 55% Corvina Veronese, 25% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella, 5% Croatina. After a stainless ferment, this was racked to concrete prior to the Ripasso fermentation, where the wine passed over leftover Amarone fermentation skins, soaking up additional aromas and tannins. Rich and concentrated with dried black cherries, rum soaked prunes, baked blackberries, on a plump, ripe, worn leathery palate, ending with a sweet vanillin note. Tannins are soft and sticky, and the finish is filled with peppery spices. The concentration in this wine calls for equally concentrated foods.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 34.99 Producer: Casa Vinicola Sartori S.p.A.
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08 July 2020

LaStella Moscato D’Osoyoostext
88PTS

LaStella Moscato D’Osoyoos 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoscato d'Asti realized in the Okanagan, this little spritzy wine blends moscato bianco, muscat ottonel, and orange muscat from Osoyoos Lake District. The vines are now up to 10 years old, happily growing on heavy clay/gravel soils. The aforementioned light spritz lifts lime blossoms, gooseberries, elderflower along a slight, off-dry palate. The ultimate breakfast, or light fruit dessert wine.Prices: BC 19.99 500 Producer: LaStella
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Côte Vineyard Viogniertext
89PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Côte Vineyard Viognier 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis viognier comes from their organically-farmed estate La Côte vineyard, on the upper bench of Keremeos. After a whole cluster press, this was fermented in older French puncheons, and aged on lees for 5 months. Viognier's inherent lushness and fatness is smartly tamed here, with plump orchard fruits, juicy mandarin, nectarine, star anise, and ample spice, all in a tidy 3.8 g/L. Tropical, yet restrained, this is a drinkable 14+ degrees wine.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis off-dry ehrenfelser is a mix of fruit sources grown at the Greata Ranch estate vineyard, as well as vineyards in Naramata and the Southern Okanagan. Ripe melon, gooseberry, white peach, pink florals are seasoned with anise and spice, which helps counter the off-dry palate. Chill thoroughly, crack, and try this summer with Thai or Vietnamese. Fermented in stainless steel, it is finished with six grams per litre of residual sugar.Prices: BC 24.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Blanctext
90PTS

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Blanc 2018

Chinon, Touraine, Loire, FranceOnly 2% of Chinon is planted to white, so when you find a Chinon Blanc, you know you're in for a special chenin blanc experience. This organically farmed chenin comes mostly from Ligre's chalky, limestone clay soils. This was native cool fermented in stainless, to preserve the bright, fresh, very special character of chenin on limestone. Wildflower honey, pear skin, lemon, eraser, subtle quince streams along the lees-lined palate, finishing with a shimmering hum of energy. A beaut now, but will certainly continue to hold in your cellar over the next few years. A mystery while they bottle this with a plastic cork.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Jean-Maurice Raffault
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Côte Vineyard Viogniertext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series La Côte Vineyard Viognier 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaClos du Soleil owns and runs an organically-farmed estate named La Côte Vineyard. The upper bench Keremeos fruit is the subject of this wine. Wisley fermented in older French puncheons, this aged on its lees for five months. I love the slimmed-down style, and the minerality and brightness of the Similkameen are shining through in the form of ripe orchard fruits and a full, juicy, spicy finish with barely a whisper of sugar. A definite winner if you like the leaner viognier style.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Terravista Viogniertext
89PTS

Terravista Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of fruit from Oliver and Naramata Bench, this was whole bunch pressed then fermented and aged in stainless steel. It's a more citrus-fruited expression of viognier, with white floral aromatics that are present but not overwhelming. Sometimes viognier can be over-the-top and cloying, but this is medium-bodied, and surprisingly refreshing, while easily carrying the 13.9% declared abv. Clean, crisp, and delicious.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Indigenous World Muscattext
86PTS

Indigenous World Muscat 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a blend of muscat ottonel, orange muscat, and black muscat from Indigenous World’s home vineyard in West Kelowna. This is a soapy, perfumed style of muscat that’s initially muted by a reductive funk. It has an unusually tart frame, and could use some residual sugar to bring this into balance, but still manages to achieve a creamy, oily texture at only 11.5% abv. Best at the dinner table with a light summer salad.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Indigenous World
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St. Hubertus Chasselastext
89PTS

St. Hubertus Chasselas 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI have said it before, but this is quintessential Swiss Wine. Free of sugar, its delicate structure and freshness walk a tightrope from the front of your palate to the back, and its citrus, grassy flavours are as food-friendly as it gets. Perfect for a backyard gathering for fondue, a simple charcuterie plate, or steamed shellfish. Terrific value.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Road 13 Viogniertext
87PTS

Road 13 Viognier 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Blind Creek Vineyard viognier hails from the Similkameen Valley. An average year changed after the wildfires took over in 2018, making the growing season another challenging campaign, with smoke blocking off a lot of sunlight and slowing down ripening. The result was intense flavours at lower potential alcohol levels, and healthy natural acidity levels. The grapes were picked for richness, complexity, and aromatics, pressed whole bunch, and fermented in stainless steel to retain as much flavour a possible. The nose is a classic mix of apricots and nectarines, with floral, orange blossom. The mid-weight palate is fresh and lively, with similar flavours. Ready to drink, it is an excellent rich/rich match with prawns, crab, scallops, or peaches wrapped in prosciutto.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Road 13
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Bartier Bros. Muscattext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Muscat 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis muscat ottonel is hand-harvested off the sandy/loam topsoil and sandy/silty subsoils of the gravel bar, middle bench, that runs through the Bartier Winery, below Black Sage Road. A brief six-month sleep follows a whole cluster press and a cold, 17° C ferment in stainless steel. At 10.5 percent alcohol, this is a fantastic patio sipper to while away the afternoon, and at $17.99, it's highly affordable. I love the floral, desert scrub aromatics, and the slight pétillant palate to heighten the freshness. Don't overthink this wine. Get out some favourite crackers and cream cheese and party on.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Narrative Viogniertext
89PTS

Narrative Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Narrative collection includes wines and spirits made from grapes sourced from independent growers across the Okanagan. The wines are meant to be storytellers that illustrate the Okanagan terroir and growing conditions, chiefly dry, short, and intense. Viognier is new to the mix, but it gets the now well-known slow, concrete fermentation that is adding weight and texture throughout. The fruit is bright and tropical, with round, oily, orange notes, but all with a touch of lift and spice to keep it fresh. Indeed, the story is quite good.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Terravista Viogniertext
88PTS

Terravista Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of warm Oliver and cooler Naramata Bench fruit, this was whole bunch pressed and fermented and aged in stainless steel. The attack is a vibrant, creamy version of viognier, packed with tangerine and spicy apricot preserves on the palate. It is the full meal deal, albeit with some freshness. If you like your viognier in a rich way, stock up. Lobster is the match.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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07 July 2020

Seven Terraces Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Seven Terraces Pinot Noir 2018

Canterbury, South Island, New ZealandAlways consistent, the Seven Terraces remains a workhorse Canterbury pinot from its cool, spicy rhubarb and floral nose to its silky, savoury, strawberry, carrot top, earthy compost flavours. Simple, fresh, round, and drinkable, it is is a perfect mid-week red that works with salmon, chicken, pork or a vegetable casserole.Prices: BC 27.00 ON 19.95 AB 23.00 Producer: Rossendale Winery
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Loveblock Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Loveblock Pinot Noir 2014

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandThis is a very serious wine, from the hallowed pinot noir soils of Central Otago. The estate Loveblock vineyard, in a warmer section on Bendigo Loop Road, is planted to clones B777, B667, B115, Clone 5 (Pommard) and Abel, on molyneux soils (sandy loam over schistous gravels). Partial whole berry and native fermented, this was aged in a mix of stainless and oak for 8 months. Savoury and gravelly, with wild cherry, raspberry, and alluring fine perfume running a long, textured palate. Tannins are slight and grippy, properly setting this up for drinking now, or more time in your cellar.Prices: ON 35.95 NB 37.99 BC 40.00 Producer: Loveblock
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Turon LTD Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Turon LTD Pinot Noir 2019

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaWinemaker Turon White is one of the leaders of New Wave Adelaide Hills, and wines like this, just a couple vintages into his own label, show why. The Limited Range is a bottling of one stand-out parcel within a block, and only one barrel of each variety is made each year. Darker shaded and fruited, with black raspberry, fleshy cherry, threaded with subtle smoke, sarsaparilla, dried roses, and savoury thorns. This came from a single clone of pinot noir, was 50% whole bunch, and native fermented. It spent 10 months in French oak. Tannins are slight and sticky, though acidity is modestly well matched to see this to a spiced fruitcake finish. Masterfully naturalist, this is best taken with a slight chill.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Turon Wines
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Turon Artist Series Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Turon Artist Series Pinot Noir 2019

Lenswood, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaYoung winemaker Turon White is one of the leaders of New Wave Adelaide Hills, and wines like this, just a couple vintages in, show why. Pouring a slightly hazy hue, this Lenswood pinot noir is a mix of 4 clones, was 30% whole bunch and native fermented, before 9 months in French oak (10% new). The whole bunch proportion is noticeable, with a branchy, earthy, herbal, sapid note shading wild raspberry, rhubarb, and wild cherry, with crunchy acidity brightening a youthful, silken palate. Tannins are slight and sticky, housing this medium bodied wine to an amply peppery and saline studded finish. Youthful and naturalist, and best taken with a slight chill, as intended. For the Artist Labels, Turon provided artist Kellie Em with the tasting notes of each wine. She then designed the artwork, providing her visual metaphor for the personality of each wine.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Turon Wines
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2016

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe style is in-your-face pinot with full-on fruit aromas and flavours. It may be intense from a European standpoint, but it is restrained by New World standards. The nose is a dusty mix of sandalwood, brown spices, and tea leaf undercut by an earthy/forest floor, raspberries and pomegranate. The fruit rests in all neutral barrels; stems are an essential part of the structure and earthy characters of the Sta. Rita Hills fruit. Warm, mouth-filling and ready for rich duck or pork dishes. Drink o hold through 2023. The Brewer-Clifton pinot is an assembly of three Sta. Rita Hills AVA sites: 3D (Swan, Pommard and 667 clones), Machado, and Hapgood (Merry Edwards clone).Prices: BC 43.99 AB 37.50 US 49.00 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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05 July 2020

LaStella Lastellina Rosatotext
89PTS

LaStella Lastellina Rosato 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLaStellina is a mix of both press and bleeding techniques, using cabernet franc, merlot, and sangiovese. In 2019 the colour is a pale orange/pink. It is slightly off-dry and showing a flatter, warm, southern style with crushed Bing cherries flecked with a touch of orange and pear. The winery suggests pairing with spicy Thai and Indian dishes, and I agree.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: LaStella
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Road 13 Rosétext
89PTS

Road 13 Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is a mix of 60/37/3/ gamay noir/cabernet franc/syrah that gets an overnight cold soak before a cool fermentation. The colour is off pink, and the style is juicy and fresh with just enough sugar to offset the acidity. Citrus, strawberries, and pomegranate invite sip after sip. Pair it with a variety of summer, physical-distancing patio parties. Think Bocconcini, tomato basil skewers, raw oysters, roasted chicken, or smoked salmon crème cheese and crackers.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Road 13
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03 July 2020

Ethica Wines Cantina Lavis Simboli Rosé Pinot Grigiotext
87PTS

Ethica Wines Cantina Lavis Simboli Rosé Pinot Grigio 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyA pretty package, pale peachy copper colour, and perky nose of stone fruit, apple, and white blossoms attract. Tangy flavours of red apple, peach, and lemon keep the palate tight and tidy, with a savoury, earthy finish. Chill this clean, amiable wine for a picnic, where its core of focused fruit will quickly take on a hearty muffuletta sandwich. Organic farming and a great price tag make two more reasons to try this stylish Italian rosé.Prices: BC 14.99 QC 12.75 Producer: La Vis Sca (Ethica Essenza del Vino)
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosétext
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosé 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis rosé gets you at the bottle, with clear glass, sleek contoured shape and apothecary stopper. It positively glows from within and shouts 'drink me now.' Glossy translucent coral, it's all about red fruit on an extroverted nose - raspberries, strawberries and cream with a sprinkle of black sage. Juicy cherries, red currant and cranberry, the flavours swell in the mouth and end with a limey jangle. Vividly fruity, beautifully balanced, it shows just how ably malbec is suited to rose wines. Bold, fresh, full-flavoured and possessing a distinctly Okanagan herbal identity, Bone dry, only 12.5% alcohol, it's complete enough to sip solo or fancy up with crab salad. There's more to this rosé that meets the eye: Poplar Grove is a family-owned Naramata winery, and the fact that they are donating $5 per bottle to the BC Hospitality Foundation is beyond generous. There are only 300 cases of this heartwarming rosé, so don't miss your chance to do some good.Prices: BC 30.05 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Lakeside Cellars Rosétext
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Lakeside Cellars Rosé 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEqual parts estate cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon go into this off-dry rosé, each with a few hours on skins prior to pressing and fermenting solo, prior to the blend. Cherry blossoms, strawberry, rose hips float atop a creamy base, seasoned with wild herbs. Easy to enjoy, but not dumbed down, this is the rosé-in-holding until their estate cinsault vines are mature enough to take their place. Hopefully next vintage will dial down the RS just a notch.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosétext
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 rosé was malbec, and this year's version is cabernet sauvignon, entirely from Clos du Soleil's certified organic estate vineyard, on Keremeos' Upper Bench. After 4 hours skin contact, this was gently pressed off and fermented slow and cool in stainless, where it remained on lees without disturbance until light filtration and bottling. When first opened, this youthful, deeper hued pink gives off an earthy reductive huff, indicative of cabernet sauvignon not wanting to be made into rosé, but after a short amount of airtime, more pretty red fruit characters emerge. Potent strawberries, spiced raspberries fill the silken palate, with a subtle and alluring pink peppercorn dusting the shorter finish. Atypical, for certain, but works, especially with the likes of salmon, beef, vegetarian, or chicken burgers / sausages.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosétext
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCabernet sauvignon from Clos du Soleil’s organic certified Estate Vineyard, this was picked late into October, then crushed and cold soaked for four hours. Just looking at this wine makes you want to drink it, with a striking pale salmon colour. The fruit is equally subdued and elegant, with tart cranberry and grapefruit. Even with the late pick date, it’s still slender and medium-bodied but rather austere with bracing acidity, perhaps indicative of the vintage. Should shine with a warm goat cheese salad.Prices: BC 21.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosétext
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Clos du Soleil Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe cabernet sauvignon 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, cold 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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Township 7 Rosé Provenance Seriestext
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Township 7 Rosé Provenance Series 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has really improved in the past three years with clearly more sensitive and intelligent winemaking getting the most, or in this case, the least, out of some pretty big fruit you wouldn't normally associate with rosé, The mix includes cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot, and a touch of syrah. Another surprise is the freshness and fruit dance that it does across the palate, with crispy edges and delicate citrus acidity. Throw in a beautiful pale pink colour, and you have a winner. Name your food or sip solo on a sunny patio. Well done.Prices: BC 24.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Crowsnest Similkameen Sunsettext
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Crowsnest Similkameen Sunset 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is a blend of pinot auxerrois and pinot noir, in a fresh and clean off-dry style. The fruit is all Similkameen, with bright cherries and strawberries and just enough acidity to keep it from being cloying. A solid effort in a rounder style that will be perfect with a favourite summer curry. Good value.Prices: BC 16.45 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Free Form Rosétext
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Free Form Rosé 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Sekhon Family Vineyard in Osoyoos, this cabernet franc rosé was fermented using wild yeasts and then aged on its lees in concrete. This nicely balances bright red berry fruit with smoky herbs, led by strawberry and tobacco leaf. Light on its feet at 12% abv, this is fleshed out by a bit of residual sugar (6 g/L), with added texture from the extended lees aging. Balanced by juicy acidity, the result is a dryish style that is both serious and approachable.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Gamay Rosétext
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Haywire Gamay Rosé 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 Gamay Rosé comes entirely from the certified organic Secrest Mountain Vineyard now owned by Haywire. It is a high altitude, organically farmed site just north of Oliver. Haywire tends to tangle and be unpredictable, a term that, according to owners Chris Coletta and Steve Lornie, is an “apt description of their impromptu decision to own a winery." Rosé wines are a focus at OCP, and you can feel it through this bone-dry savoury pink that is crisp and mouthwatering. The fruit is whole bunch pressed into an 80/20 mix of both concrete and stainless steel, and fermented using native yeasts. Look for subtle hints of wild strawberry and crushed raspberries dusted with black pepper, in what is a spare, fresh version of rosé.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Lock and Worth Cabernet Franc Rosé grey labeltext
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Lock and Worth Cabernet Franc Rosé grey label 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis grey label Cab Franc Rosé sources fruit from a small sandy Naramata vineyard planted at the original Poplar Grove property in 1995. There was also a bin of cab franc from Oliver tipped into this year's rosé, to make the most of a lovely looking extra bin of fruit needing a home. This was whole cluster pressed and into neutral French oak for 6 months prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Pouring slightly hazy, this carries bergamot, pear, wild strawberries, and a flush of mineral salts along a slender palate, lined with fine herbal lees, and finishing with a tangerine snap. Striking, serious, smashable, this is the pink for folks like me to drink all summer and beyond.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Harper's Trail Rosétext
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Harper's Trail Rosé 2019

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThe colour has been adjusted to a more Provençal pink, and the aromatic nose carries subtle scents of crushed strawberries and watermelon. The attack is mostly dry with more red berries, all in a pleasant, light, mineral, understated style. Will work with a variety of summer bites, especially outside.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rosétext
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike many others in BC, this rosé has been given an overhaul for the better from its pale pink/orange colour to its refreshing, juicy citrus and red fruit. This pinot noir is a cool, savoury, watermelon, strawberry-scented pink with just a hint of candied notes in a mostly dry finish. Ready to drink and a piece of grilled salmon would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 23.50 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Croft Pink Porttext
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Croft Pink Port NV

PortugalCroft was well ahead of the #roséallday craze with their Pink Port, though this pours such a deep pink that you’d almost be forgiven for thinking it was a lightly-coloured red wine. It's a blend of the traditional red Port grapes, and amazingly it does have some recognizable Port character. There's berry fruit, yes, but there's also nutty, oxidative notes reminiscent of a tawny port. Plus, this is still fortified and still sweet, with 100 g/L residual sugar and 19.5% abv. Although quite enjoyable on its own with a good chill, any one of the cocktails on Croft Pink's website are also tempting. The good news is this will keep in your fridge for a good while to try them; I don't recommend finishing a bottle in one sitting.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 19.99 ON 20.00 QC 20.00 NF 20.00 MB 22.00 NS 20.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosétext
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Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVaila 2019 is a straightforward rosé made from direct press pinot noir. It’s a hands-off effort, yielding a simple, subtle style of rosé with a dry mid-palate. There is just a hint of strawberries and raspberries with a note of desert scrub and a short, tart finish. Ready to drink, and must be served with food to best effect.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Mt. Boucherie Rosétext
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Mt. Boucherie Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2019 Rosé is a cofermented field blend of zweigelt and pinot noir from vines averaging 18 years of age planted over decomposed granite from nearby Mt. Boucherie. It’s a very ripe bone dry rosé with a mix of juicy watermelon, strawberry, orange, and spice. Light and fresh and ready to drink, chill this down before serving it on the patio or with any number of summer bites, including spicy ones.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosétext
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Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis direct press rosé of pinot noir was fermented and aged briefly in stainless, to preserve freshness. Softer than last year's, this silken dry rosé shows strawberries, raspberries, subtle orange, faint florals, on a slight, subtle palate, finishing briskly, with an astringent rinse reminiscent of ale.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Culmina Family Estate Saignée Rosétext
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Culmina Family Estate Saignée Rosé 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina's 2019 Saignée shows a really proper rosé nose of joyful red fruit and botanicals in a perfect aroma ratio. Big and expansive in the mouth with juicy cherries, peppered strawberry, and tart red apple, and perfect note of herbal pungency. Add in the richness of a creamy/glossy texture, 14% abv, and you've got a powerful rosé with body, heft, and staying power. Put its mouthwatering acidity and flavourful super-dry finish to work with crab cakes, grilled pork chops, or simple saucisson sec and crusty baguette. Very well made rosé from malbec, merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon that is ridiculously appealing and moreish.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Reserve Rosétext
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Mission Hill Reserve Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCoppery pink/gold attractive colour with decisive aromas of watermelon, ripe peach, and red plum. Delicious flavours run the spectrum from pink grapefruit to cranberry and cherry, well washed with limey acidity and refreshed by a raspberry leaf character. Dry but with plenty of fruit, this come-hither rosé is juicy, lipsmacking, and pungent in a good way. A savoury pairing like tapenade thickly spread on a crisp cracker will unlock even more pleasing fruit. Fruit is from the South Okanagan: 50% merlot, 45% syrah, and a 5% pinch of pinot noir.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Vigneti Villabella Bardolino Chiaretto Classicotext
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Vigneti Villabella Bardolino Chiaretto Classico 2018

Bardolino, Verona, Veneto, ItalyPouring a glowing orange hue, this salty dry rosé blends corvina and rondinella from the clay soils surrounding the village of Calmasino, the the heartland of Bardolino. This rosé could only be Italian, what with the campari, bitter orange, pine nuts, Mediterreanean citrus, and dried sage running on a bed of herbal lees. Bright acidity throughout to the very lengthy finish. Super savoury, interesting, and very moreish.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Vigneti Villabella
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St. Hubertus Frizzante Rosétext
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St. Hubertus Frizzante Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI am no longer surprised by the wine coming out of St. Hubertus. Fresh, bright, and correct, they have nailed the everyday rosé, a gamay noir blush made for summer. The colour is light orange/pink, the attack fresh with a juicy frizzante edge pushing up a strawberry, rhubarb, pink grapefruit off-dry palate that invites. Grilled chicken, salmon, or pork, anyone?Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Le Petit Chat Malin Rosétext
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Le Petit Chat Malin Rosé 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceI'm always amazed how a wine like this gets fumbled around in BC retail when it has been pretty impressive for the price since that day it arrived more than a decade ago. From its eye of the partridge colour to its fresh, floral strawberry and citrus nose, this is a delight to sip all afternoon and evening on a sunny patio. It was made by the rosé de presse method, where the grapes are not macerated on their skins but instead go immediately to the press to extract only the most delicate of aromas and flavours. Following alcoholic fermentation, only the best cuves make it to bottle. The result is a Provence-style dry rosé, full of juicy strawberry, raspberry with a twist of garrigue spicing. Pair with tomato and cheese pasta dishes, crab, pork, or chicken. Back up the truck, they are giving it away.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Boutinot
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Sea Star Blanc de Noir Rosétext
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Sea Star Blanc de Noir Rosé 2019

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaThis medium-peach hued rosé blends pinot noir from their organically farmed vineyards on Pender and Saturna Islands, and vines up to 25 years old. This year's is more plump, and peppery, than last year, with rooibos tea, cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate, brightened with red current tartness, and riding a light lees palate, finishing with a raspberry yogurt note and a marine saline rinse.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Rosétext
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Bartier Bros. Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe colour is a perfect pale pink/orange, at least for me a result of 38/33/29 mix of merlot, chardonnay and gewürztraminer, the latter an off-site addition from Summerland. The '19 is restrained, dry, and elegant and all you could want in a rosé to sip in the late day with a bite of food, or for dinner, given its freshness and ability to pair well with food. Delicate with dry cranberry, citrus pomegranate flavours that finish crisp and clean. There is just the perfect hint of fatness or texture to help it slide down. Ready to drink and priced accordingly.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Lunessence Blanc de Noir Rosétext
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Lunessence Blanc de Noir Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect an enticing pale pink colour that reviews a fresh, clean strawberry and raspberry scent. The style is fresh with silky textures aided by 13 percent of the fruit going through a barrel ferment in neutral oak. At only 12 percent alcohol, it is fresh and juicy and made from an unexpected source of interplanted merlot and syrah. At 6 grams residual sugar, it is just off-dry with sweet pink grapefruit, though pleasantly drier than previous editions. Ready-to-drink and fun as well, you can enjoy this with barbecue pork, or a spicy sushi salmon roll. What a difference the white label and screwcap make to the first impression of this rosé, and its ability to remain stable in the bottle.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosétext
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosé 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI was pleasantly surprised by the dryness of 2019, which immediately elevates it to the first team of BC rosés. Fresh and mouthwatering, the strawberry and pink grapefruit, and perfect balance takes me to Provence. Serve all summer with your favourite patio bites. A rosé for grown-ups.Prices: BC 30.05 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Meyer Rosétext
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Meyer Rosé 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is a blend of sites including the home McLean Creek Road vineyard in Okanagan Falls, Kaleden, Naramata, and as far north as East Kelowna. The method is saignée (or to bleed off tanks) after 12-24 hours of skin contact. Some of the fruit is barrel fermented, adding some weight and roundness to the final mouthfeel. Look for a full-flavoured cherry, berry pink that slides down effortlessly, Provençal-style. Best with friends and a warm patio all summer evening.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Mayhem Rosétext
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Mayhem Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMayhem is sailing in the blue ocean of BC wine. It is made for consumers who want a glass of fun without education or appellation talk, just something to drink on the patio when you need a hit of joy. Its secret: it is a well made rosé that begins with a savoury south Okanagan sagebrush scent that permeates a melange of red berries, plums, and cherries with a twist of red currants. It is a juicy, tart, peppery, pink merlot that is ready to drink. What are you waiting for?Prices: BC 19.13 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Calliope Rosétext
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Calliope Rosé 2019

British Columbia, CanadaA unique mix of 45/35/25/ zinfandel/malbec/syrah spawns a vibrant cranberry coloured rosé. The nose opens with sweet fruit and floral aromas. On the palate, more candied apple, strawberry, a touch nectarine skin, and bitter citrus to keep it balanced. A softer, rounder version of pink made to take on spicy chicken, grilled pork, or tuna sushi rolls. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Culmina Family Estate R&D Rosé Blendtext
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Culmina Family Estate R&D Rosé Blend 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Culmina’s research & development lineup, this small lot rosé opens with a pale peach/orange colour and a cool nose of rhubarb and raspberries. The texture is smooth and inviting with subtle hints of red fruits, a rich orange undercurrent, and a lightly savoury finish. An excellent selection for food. Ready to drink, but this will also work in the fall, especially at Thanksgiving.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Saignée Rosétext
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Culmina Family Estate Saignée Rosé 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Saignée Rosé is a bit of powerhouse at 14 percent alcohol and no shortage of ripe, round, silky fruit complete with a touch of caramel in the finish. The style is over the top juicy with spicy strawberry, cherry, herbal dusted fruit. Just enough acidity keeps it upright and ready to drink with substantial summer fare. Think crab, salmon cakes, grilled pork chops, or fresh cream cheese. A blend of malbec (32%), merlot (31%), cabernet franc (26%) and cabernet sauvignon (11%) from Arise Bench.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Monte del Frá Bardolino Chiarettotext
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Monte del Frá Bardolino Chiaretto 2017

Bardolino, Verona, Veneto, ItalyChiaro means light, or pale, in Italian, which perfectly describes this dry Valpo rosé of Corvina, rondinella, and sangiovese, from vineyards in Sommacampagna, southeast of Lake Garda. Pale pink in hue, with white cherry, rosehips, perfumed yellow plum, salmonberry gliding along the silken smooth palate to a spiced finish. Drinking beautifully now, especially with charcuterie.Prices: BC 16.95 Producer: Monte del Frá
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02 July 2020

Township 7 Pinot Noir Remuda Vineyardtext
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Township 7 Pinot Noir Remuda Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTownship 7's Remuda Vineyard Pinot Noir is made with a mix of Burgundy clones 115 and 667, grown in Okanagan Falls. The colour is dark, and the attack is rich with peppery pinot fruit and dense tannins reflecting the site's southern exposure. It was fermented over 11 days with two pumpovers per day before spending 12 months in French oak barrels. It's a bit of a monster at this point with spicy dark cherry coating your palate, with a prolonged spicy, savoury finish. Serve now with pork or grilled salmon, or let this one sleep through 2022 in the cellar.Prices: BC 35.97 200 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Nichol Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Nichol Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom vines planted in 2000 at the top of the property, around 700m, this was fermented in open-top fermenters before moving to neutral French barrique for 13 months, and then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Bright and fresh, this lively pinot noir streams raspberries, wild blackberries, crunchy plum and perfumed summer strawberries along a slender palate, with tight and grippy tannins framing this to a long, saline and smoked stone finish. The most finessed, freshest Nichol PN yet, drinking beautifully now, and over the next few years.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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50th Parallel Estate Unparalleled Selection Pinot Noirtext
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50th Parallel Estate Unparalleled Selection Pinot Noir 2017

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUnparalleled is a mix of several blocks in 2017, a year that began wet and flooded, and ended mostly dry with lower yields. Block 6 and clone 943 make up half the blend, along with Block 3 and Block 7 boasting clones 115 and 667. The fruit is grown on sloping Lake Country vineyards situated at the 50th parallel. The style is rich, savoury and spicy with earthy forest floor notes and some light, youthful tannins to disperse. This wine needs time in the bottle or a substantial menu item like grilled salmon or a roasted pork loin.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noirtext
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50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir 2017

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEven at 50 degrees north, this pinot is more about hedonism and power than delicacy, and that’s just fine with many consumers. A mix of Dijon clones is at the root of this boisterous red, with smoky, spicy red/black fruit and a fair dollop of tannin at this point. Mulberries, crushed leaves, black tea, and liquorice finish dry and a touch astringent. For now, pork is the match, but you could let settle in a for another year or two in the bottle.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Covert Farms Pinot Noir Grand Reservetext
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Covert Farms Pinot Noir Grand Reserve 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a single block pinot noir from 18 year old vines in Mimi's Block, located on the northwestern edge of Covert's expansive estate. Aged for 21 months in French oak, the nose is led by lavish oak spices with lifted, candied red fruits that are already slightly evolved. It’s a bigger style of pinot that’s more about weight than subtlety, with blocky tannins and moderate acidity that finishes tart. I’d like to see a bit more concentration and freshness to the fruit, but fans of bold California pinot noir will find a lot to like here.Prices: BC 40.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Fort Berens Pinot Noirtext
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Fort Berens Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a pan-BC pinot noir with fruit from Lillooet, the Okanagan, and Similkameen. It’s just missing the Islands. Naturally fermented, this was aged in French oak for 9 months, presumably older barrels as the oak is not very evident. It’s less of a fruit-driven style, and more about pinot noir’s sous bois and spice. Fairly light-bodied, and only 12.3% abv, the palate is lean with silky tannins and crisp acidity. It makes for a refreshing, savoury style that’s best enjoyed with a slight chill and will certainly appeal to Old World palates. Drinking well now, I don’t know if there’s the fruit to carry this past the next 1-2 years. Recommended.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Four Shadows Pinot Noirtext
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Four Shadows Pinot Noir 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the Naramata Bench, this is a simple, red-fruited pinot that shows sour cherry and raspberry with a generous amount of dusty oak. Medium-bodied, it's rather foursquare with an assertive grippiness to the tannins, which is calling for a protein. The underlying fruit shows promise, but it just doesn't quite come into balance.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Four Shadows Vineyard and Winery
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Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noirtext
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Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Mt. Boucherie Similkameen Valley is an earthy, stinky, leathery, forest floor affair with a touch of rusticity. Slightly dry, bitter red fruit preview a soft, dark-fruited mid-palate and a shorter spicy, cool, dill finish. Best with food, and I suggest a mushroom risotto or a mushroom burger.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMicro Cuvée Pinot Noir is a barrel selection from the home estate McLean Creek Road vineyard. In 2018, the grapes predominantly came from a block of Pommard Clone 91, with 25% coming from Clone 115. This went into two new French oak 500L puncheons, along with four one-year-old puncheon, where it remained for 11 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Unmistakably pinot, with its fragrant and pure black cherry, wild raspberry, forest scents, pencil lead, and dusky baking spices. Tannins are ripe, hugging this cushioned, expressive and forward pinot to a lingering spiced, saline finish. Enjoy this expansive pinot noir with duck or wild mushrooms, or tuck it away for a few years.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reservetext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir Gebert Family Reserve 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSt. Hubertus continues to exhibit the potential of East Kelowna pinot noir. Perfectly ripe and juicy with a subtle spicing, the winery continues down the less-is-more pinot road. Bright black cherries mix with raspberries and a sprinkling of oak, allowing what the Gebert family would suggest is the taste of the True North. Food-friendly and ready to drink. Salmon anyone?Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Oak Bay Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe last time I tasted this, I noted that sometimes it is not what a pinot noir is, but it's more about what it isn't. This earthy, spicy, bright pinot with bright red fruit and forest floor notes is soft and round on the palate, finishing with a dusting of balsamic notes. Dry with a touch of tannins, you can serve this now with cream cheese and salmon, or pork and vegetable kabobs.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2018

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMicro Cuvée Pinot Noir is one of the best pinots made in BC, year in and year out. Since we need to avoid the Burgundy descriptor, I would characterize Micro Cuvee as a Grand Cru BC pinot given its incredible mouthfeel and lengthy, silky finish. It’s a best barrel selection from the home McLean Creek Road vineyard, and in 2018 the selection of two clones: a block of Pommard Clone 91, and a quarter of clone 115. It was aged eleven months in two new 500L French oak puncheons, along with four one-year-old puncheons, before it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The style is fragrant and attractive but substantive on the palate with dark raspberry, slippery tannins, and a dusty saline mineral finish. It will repay cellaring or current drinking with creamy, rich mushroom, duck, pork, or turkey dishes. Good value too.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Coolshanagh Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Coolshanagh Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCoolshanagh Pinot is a bit of a mystery wine, as in, it is hard to find. It is probably best to join the club to ensure any supply. Skip and Judy Stothert own the winery; the wine is ably made at Okanagan Crush Pad by winemaker Matt Dumayne, a Kiwi with a long history of making pinot noir in New Zealand, Oregon, and now British Columbia. Matt is inspired by the minimalist techniques of Burgundy, and he employs them in almost all of his wines. The vineyard is a tiny gem located at the northern boundary of the Naramata Bench at the Chute Lake cut off. The style is rudimentary in the right way, with silky textures, refined spice, and beautiful red fruit with just a whisp of desert scrub and pine tree. Mineral and vibrant, this is a delicious bottle of wine reminiscent of Cru Beaujolais with the charm and finesse of Côte de Beaune.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Lightning Rock Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Lightning Rock Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCanyonview is one of three pinot noir vineyards Lightning Rock owns / stewards in Summerland. The attack is firm and dry with bitter cherry on entry and a youthful tightness that runs through a spicy finish. It is fermented in three separate tanks boasting fluctuating percentages of whole cluster grape bunches before being pressed off into neutral oak of varying sizes. The vineyard was planted in 2003 on two terraces overlooking Trout Creek, and on a mix of south-facing sandy soil that is speckled with large granite stones. The alcohol is a super moderate 12.5 percent, leaving the fruit centre stage. If there's one quibble, there is a bit of reduction, but it does blow off in the glass.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Lightning Rock Pinot Noir Elysia Vineyardtext
91PTS

Lightning Rock Pinot Noir Elysia Vineyard 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaElysia Vineyard impressed me with its sparkling wine contribution to Lightning Rock, and this still pinot is equally attractive. It one of three released and in 2018 and the best I have tasted. The vineyard was twelve years old at harvest and seemingly just hitting its stride. The attack is round and soft with mouth-filling and delicious cherry and plum, before ending in a salty, mineral, stony storm. Dry and firm, but with finesse, it has a lot going for it. Not sure about the ageing potential, but hell, why not drink it now? We can also assess it again if there is any left in 2025.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Lightning Rock
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1 Mill Road Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

1 Mill Road Pinot Noir 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada1 Mill Road is the second incarnation of the Enns family, David and Cynthia, post Laughing Stock Estate, located a few kilometres south of the new venture. Cynthia Enns grows the fruit, while David is responsible for making the wine — in this case, a 2018 mid-Okanagan Naramata Bench pinot that appears to be well-suited to its lone 115 pinot noir clone. The fruit is grown just north of the village centre and is part of what the Enns hope will be a revitalization of the Naramata town centre, first founded in 1907. The vineyard was initially planted by the Enns in 2012 and used at Laughing Stock, but after today's tasting, I can safely say the style of the 2018 pinot bears little resemblance to anything we have seen before. The site planted on abandoned pear orchard overlooks the original village of Naramata, now enjoying a renaissance of sorts led by the Enns and a small band of locals. Heavier silty soils appear to help with the density and mouthfeel of this silky red-fruited wine that is located almost on the lake. Yet because it faces southwest, the Enns can let it hang most years to up the intensity but not the alcohol. Handpicked, hand-sorted and aged in oak tanks, year one is surprisingly fresh and nimble if not a touch Oregon/Burgundy-like. A 2019 barrel sample, tasted alongside, is even more impressive, with slightly darker ripe fruit tones that take us to Sonoma Coast/Central Otago. One to watch.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: 1 Mill Road Vineyards
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Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Blocktext
89PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir GFV Saddle Block 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is sourced from Spearhead's estate Saddle Block, in South East Kelowna. It is a wide mix of pinot clones, including 115, 777, 828 and 667. It is hand harvested, cold soaked for 5-7 days before a natural ferment, 16 to 21 days long, and a 13 month maturation in French oak barrels, of which 25 percent is new. The nose is savoury, and the attack cool forest floor scented and spicy. On the palate, sour cherries mix with floral, mineral, and white pepper notes with a herbal finish. Textures are soft, and the style is one that is ready to drink with root vegetables, duck, or salmon.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyardtext
90PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Golden Retreat Vineyard 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Summerland's Golden Retreat Vineyard, this is one of three single vineyard pinots (plus two multi-site blends) that Spearhead is producing. Again, Summerland distinguishes itself as a very favourable home for pinot noir, in this case, a mix of Pommard, 115, and 777 clones, each native fermented with three weeks on skins before spending 13 months in French oak barrels, 25 percent new. Winemaker Grant Stanley opens his pinot with savoury, spicy juniper plum followed by dark raspberry, black fruit, earth, chocolate, and Worcestershire sauce. Fresh and piquant, this is a lively pinot you can pair with rabbit, duck, or pork, or pair up alongside a roasted Tuscan-style pizza. Well made and should age effortlessly through 2025 and beyond.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyardtext
90PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Coyote Vineyard 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced exclusively from the West Kelowna Coyote Vineyard, this is clone 115. This is a spicy red-fruited pinot with swelling acidity, fresh plums and cherries, and intense savoury, dried herbs with a pinch of clove. A rich sockeye salmon grilled on the barbecue is the perfect match. It is a unique northern red that is becoming a big part of the future of the new, true north pinot noir. Drink or hold through 2024.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Blocktext
90PTS

Quails' Gate Pinot Noir Richard's Block 2018

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRichard's Block is part of the QG Collector's Series. It takes its name from the family patriarch Richard Stewart, who recently died, leaving a long legacy in the Okanagan Valley that includes bringing pinot noir to West Kelowna in the early 1970s. The fruit comes off the oldest blocks on Mt. Boucherie just above the winery and is a mix of clones, including 115, 667, 777 and 828, now on average 15 years in age. The nose is a complex mix of minerals, damp earth, and violet undertones. The palate is round and rich, with chocolate cherry, dried herbs, and a long silky finish. A New World style best served with full-flavoured, rustic menu items like osso buco, pork shoulder, mushroom pizzas, or wild salmon. A little less refined this year but will still have broad appeal thanks to its generosity on the palate.Prices: BC 64.99 AB 64.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Corcelettes Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Corcelettes Pinot Noir 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA mix of two Similkamen vineyards is behind this soft, juicy fruit forward red. The style is weighty, more California than Burgundy, and all the fruit is aged in French oak. The palate is spicy and savoury with black cherry and soft, sweet, light tannins in the finish. Easy sipping and well balanced, this makes for a tasty introductory pinot noir that is priced accordingly.Prices: BC 22.52 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Pinot Noir Simes Vineyardtext
88PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Pinot Noir Simes Vineyard 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the coolest Septembers on record slowed down the sugar accumulation, allowing the fruit to fully develop phenolically before a November 8 harvest of uniformly ripened fruit with mouthwatering freshness and acidity. The nose is full on intense with smoke, cedar, and forest floor elements followed by full flavoured dark berries and dusted in a savoury spice. Classic New World pinot noir. The grapes were only 15 days on skins, and 25 percent of the crop went into the fermentation in whole bunch clusters before ageing ten months in 100% French oak. The attack is somewhat reductive with earthy, herbal, forest floor. The cooler green style is vintage related, but the silky textures suggest this wine will be one to watch in subsequent years. Best now decanted for 45 minutes; serve with richer menu items like salmon in soy sauce, or duck confit.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Terroir Collection Pinot Noir Dehart Vineyardtext
89PTS

Mission Hill Terroir Collection Pinot Noir Dehart Vineyard 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis single vineyard sits on a steep slope along DeHart road in East Kelowna, and is unique for its cool climate and early ripening characteristics. The key is complete afternoon sun exposure, which balances off its high, northern elevation site. It is all clone 777 that gives you intensity and vibrance along with a good measure of finesse. It's wild fermented and aged ten months in French oak prior to bottling without fining or filtration. In this super cool year, it clocked in at a modest 13.5 percent. Expect bright black cherry fruit, spice, and cedar on the attack and throughout the palate. The finish is showing a bit of dryness, but the tannins will dissipate over time in the bottle. Best now with mushrooms, chicken, pork, and salmon led menu items.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest MHFE Reserve Pinot Noir has become a mix of sites, including cooler northern vineyards. The 2018 breakdown is Naramata (35%), Lakeshore (32%), East Kelowna (29%), and West Kelowna (4%). It was one of the coolest Septembers leading to harvest at full ripeness on November 8. There is richness and intensity here that you might associate with New Zealand or even Sonoma, aided by ten months in French oak. The attack is medium weight with intense red and some black fruit, with strong, savoury, peppery underbrush. Think salmon, pork, duck, or a favourite soft cheese to tame its youthful exuberance.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 26.00 ON 25.00 QC 26.00 MB 28.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2017

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the Sperling family's East Kelowna estate, farmed biodynamically to best interact with the estate calcium/clay benches planted to French Dijon clones 114, 777, 828. 40 percent of the bunches are fermented whole and all of the wine is fermented to both alcoholic and malolactic dryness before being run into large French barrels, of which a small amount is new. 2017 isn't quite as charming as 2016, flashing brighter acidity and a thinner mid-palate. It's still very pinot with earthy, forest berries and a spicy, cherry, mushroom back end. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Haywire Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe white label pinot comes from Oliver's organically farmed Secrest Vineyard, now wholly owned by Haywire. It was native fermented in clay amphorae as well as concrete before blending and bottling. Soft on the palate, you can detect an earthy, cherry, plum nose that spills onto the palate with intense spice and a dusting of Okanagan desert garrigue. It's a juicy, ethereal, complex pinot that adds to the diversity of Okanagan offerings, and it is just coming into its perfect window of drinkability. Consider serving this with turkey in the fall or grilled pork off a summer barbecue.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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