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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: August 2020

31 August 2020

Yalumba Samuel's Collection Bush Vine Grenachetext
91PTS

Yalumba Samuel's Collection Bush Vine Grenache 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFrom its lustrous ruby gleam, to the long dusty cherry finish, this lithe red touches all the brain's pleasure points. Rose petals, ripe red cherry, white pepper, orange oil and a gorgeous menthol perfume grace the nose, while fresh plum, wild berries and macerated strawberries define the flavours. Beautifully composed acid and gentle tannins are impeccably balanced and harmonious. Best of all is the sleek, silken mouth-feel that grenache can achieve especially when the vines are old - and in this case old means vineyards planted from 1898 to 1973. Such distinguished Barossa Valley floor fruit manages to be fresh, juicy, elegant, and elevated alcohol embellishes the glossy texture without a trace of burn. Eight months in 2-6 year old hogshead oak casks burnishes the fruit without overpowering it. This is blissful wine to savour with a tender grilled pork chop, herby lamb burger or hard aged cheese. Try ageing a few bottles for five+ years; you'll be rewarded with the kind of caressing richness that (like pinot noir) worthy bottles of grenache can deliver.Prices: NS 22.00 SK 20.47 QC 19.00 BC 29.99 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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RMX by Ingo Gradytext
90PTS

RMX by Ingo Grady 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRMX is a remix of the classic GSM blend, but with five grapes led by grenache (27 percent) mixed with syrah (25 percent), mourvèdre (22 percent), malbec (20 percent), and 6 percent viognier. It is all grown and handpicked from three different Dhaliwal Family (Kismet) estate vineyards on the Osoyoos Lake benches. The reds were cofermented with the viognier in oak vats and stainless steel before the entire wine is aged in French oak (15 percent new) for 14 months. There is a lot to like here, although it could be more intense. That work will have to come from the vineyard. In the meantime, the freshness of grenache is attractive, as are the floral viognier notes, and spicy syrah, with the mourvèdre adding structure. A great start, but it will need some fine-tuning to reveal more concentration and its south Okanagan identity. Serve now with barbecue ribs, or grilled lamb Mediterranean style.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Hermit Wine Company (Kismet Wines)
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28 August 2020

Citation Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Citation Chardonnay 2015

Oregon, United StatesThere is a Citation style, and it revolves around pleasant drinkability without forsaking quality winemaking. If I may, there is little less terroir talk, and little more, 'we think you will like what we are doing because it's different.' The chardonnay is New World meets America. Less oak and alcohol, more fruit and freshness. Fresh ripe apples with citrus offset the tropical fruit, vanilla, and baking spices. Easy to sip and fun to drink, it's on point and will attract both sides of the chardonnay debate. In this warm year and the earliest harvest ever in Oregon, Citation mixed high-elevation old-vine Chardonnay with young Dijon clones. It was barrel fermented and aged in French oak barrels (15% new) for 12 months. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Centerstone Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Centerstone Chardonnay 2020

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesCenterstone Chardonnay comes out of the lauded certified sustainable Erratic Oaks Vineyard in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. There is no oak used in the wine, but a partial malolactic fermentation is employed to add body and weight to the mouthfeel. It’s a very pure expression of regional Oregon chardonnay: ripe red apple with a touch of tropical pineapple, and creamy, leesy, baked pear on the finish. Ready to drink and eminently suited to creamy seafood dishes.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Rosehill Run JCR Rosehall Vineyard Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Rosehill Run JCR Rosehall Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaThis is the 15th vintage of Rosehill Vineyard Chardonnay, monikered JCR for co-founder John Campbell Reston. Planted in 2001 and 2002, this is a selection from North Block and Dijon clones 76, 95, and 96. This was fermented in 500L used French puncheons (that had previously housed JCR Chardonnay) and aged on lees for 17 months. Tight and energetic energy propels forward pithy lemon, fresh hazelnut, crunchy pear, green apple along a slender palate, streaking along to a smoked mineral, saline finish. Epitomizes cool climate chardy.Prices: ON 36.00 Producer: Rosehall Run
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Westcott Vineyards Block 76 Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Westcott Vineyards Block 76 Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Vinemount Ridge, this rich, full, and powerful clone 76 chardonnay (hence, the block name) comes from a tiny 1 acre southeast facing vineyard. After a native ferment and full malo in oak, (25% of which was new), this remained on lees with little bâtonnage. Forward and powerful, but still svelte, this streams hazelnut, fine spice, lemon curd and ripe pear. Now, in youth, this may be a little oak forward for some, but those bones will reward with time because this has the acidity and energy to carry it far. Impressive.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Westcott Vineyards
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Therianthropy Bonnie Vivant Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Therianthropy Bonnie Vivant Chardonnay 2019

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. From St. David's Bench's Bock Vineyard. The soils (Tavistock red phase, Toledo loamy phase, Toledo phase) are not common to the region, and are various mixes of loamy clays. The soils are reflective in the creamy, softer palate, with yellow apple, peach, light corn, grapefruit, held tight by the stainless to a snappy finish.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2017

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesBrewer Clifton surprises from the glass, blending four diverse sites to create a storytelling Sta. Rita Hills label. This blend contains fruit from 3D, Machado, Acin, and Hapgood vineyards, each handled in a manner to respect its origin and innate styling. The nose is surprisingly fresh, offering up citrus, kiwi, and orange blossoms that spill onto the palate with mineral, saline, lime rind notes. Essentially dry, it calls for food in a way most California chardonnay does not. The goal is to protect the origin and showcase the intensity, complexity, and specificity of this mix of sites and clones, and it is done with ease. Delicious styling and ready to drink, or hold through 2027. It was a perfect match with a summer pasta dish featuring fresh cherry tomatoes and basil sauce with aged Reggiano.Prices: BC 41.99 AB 36.99 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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26 August 2020

Church and State Signature Merlottext
88PTS

Church and State Signature Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from Foundation Vineyard, you can feel the warmth of its position on Osooyos’ West Bench. This is a bold, full throttle merlot at 15% declared abv, with jammy, liquered black fruits that are softly accented by fragrant oak spices. It's a style that will appeal widely to those looking for a big red, though expect some lingering coarseness to the tannins. With a wine like this, there’s only one thing to do: throw a steak on the grill and pour a healthy sized glass.Prices: BC 36.79 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Gold Hill Merlottext
90PTS

Gold Hill Merlot 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBuckle up for this 16.1% abv merlot from Gold Hill’s Estate Vineyard. It’s everything you’d expect from the label. It’s big, broad, and dense. The fruit’s dark and jammy, and just beginning to show some development from bottle age. There’s a wallop of oak. But, against all expectations, it works. It’s complex with surprising definition to the fruit. The tannins are smooth and suave at this point. You feel the alcohol but it’s reasonably integrated, with just enough freshness to make it all work. It’s a style that some will love and some will hate - but they’ve nailed it.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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Upper Bench Merlot Limited Releasetext
89PTS

Upper Bench Merlot Limited Release 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis tastes like it couldn’t come from anywhere else but the Okanagan. From its desert sage aromatics to ripe, brambly fruit this is quintessential Okanagan merlot. The fruit is dense and concentrated, true to the low yielding 2017 vintage, with chewy tannins that are softened and smoothed by 4 g/L residual sugar. It also admirably strives to be a fresher style, though the acidity finishes somewhat tart and unintegrated. Fine value at this price. 451 cases produced.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Lock and Worth Merlottext
90PTS

Lock and Worth Merlot 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a small sandy soiled plot planted on Naramata Bench in 1995, this was whole berry, entirely destemmed, and had five days of skin contact before being basket pressed into neutral French oak, where it remained for 3-4 months before bottling in spring, unfined and unfiltered. Cloudy crimson in hue, this lighter merlot is flush with smoked plum, wild raspberry, ripe cherries, red currants, scented with a light puff of white smoke. Tannins are downy soft and fine, acidity is fine but bright, carrying this to a kirsch kissed finish. Best with a slight chill.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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25 August 2020

Centerstone Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Centerstone Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThis is quite a lean pinot noir, led by earthy notes that are accented by wood and tart red fruits. There’s a refreshing briskness to the palate, but the grainy tannins dry out the finish, making this best suited to the dinner table. It’s a fine, entry-level Willamette pinot noir, but don’t expect much more.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Citation Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Citation Pinot Noir 2005

Oregon, United StatesCitation Pinot Noir is a blend of top-rated pinot noir blocks picked across the state of Oregon. It’s a combination of owned and purchased fruit fermented in small vessels. It was punched-down twice a day by hand and eventually pressed off in French barriques and aged for 18 months. At this point, the very best barrels were bottled and then bottled aged for nine years. Over that period, the wine has stood the test of time, and frankly, at fifteen years old, it remains relevant and delicious drinking. The colour is medium-dark, with prominent raspberry black cherry fruit, earthy mushroom mid-palate flavours followed by a classic sour cherry finish. The tannins are mostly soft with only a small amount of dryness snow creeping into the backend — that you could say could be expected at 15 years. Impressive and a testament to selection and fine winemaking. Serve with a mushroom stuffed, oven-roasted chicken.Prices: BC 99.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Citation Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Citation Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesErratic Oaks Vineyard is over ten years and will soon find itself in Mt. Pisgah sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley, across the road from renowned Freedom Hill Vineyard. Citation’s Willamette Valley pinot is a “best block” selection from Erratic Oaks that are fermented separately and seven to twelve days later its pressed-off to French oak barrels and aged for sixteen months. The final mix is a blend of the best barrels. The nose opens with ripe black cherry notes, light vanilla and earthy undertones. On the palate, the black cherries continue to mix with juicy black raspberries and a dusting of vanilla. The style is very approachable, and while it has that Oregon spice and underbrush, it also offers ripe fruit to smooth final palate and be true to pinot’s mouth-filling mandate. Well done. Drink or hold through 2024.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Villa Wolf Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

Pfalz, GermanyYou typically associate German pinot noir (or spätburgunder) with Baden, but here we are in Pfalz, just north of Alsace. However, to this palate, it still tastes definitely German in style, led by smoky, meaty notes that are almost reminiscent of a light-bodied syrah. There’s also a good degree of ripeness, with dark cherry fruit that’s backed by a relatively firm, muscular structure. It makes for a solid introduction to German pinot noir, and overdelivers on its modest price tag. Give this a slight chill and serve with a casual Tuesday night barbecue at home.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 15.00 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
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Domaine Rolet Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Domaine Rolet Pinot Noir 2014

Arbois, Jura, FranceFrom vines planted in the Vines planted on the calcarious clay marl hills of Montesserin, this pinot noir was aged for 15 months, 1/3 in new wood. Gentle wood frames the silken dark raspberries and cherries that flood the medium-bodied palate. Acidity is strung taut and cranberry tart, floating this wine to a buzzy, stony finish. Subtle, elegant, and drinking classically now 6 years along.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Lingua Franca Mimi's Mind Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Lingua Franca Mimi's Mind Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom legendary Willamette farmer Mimi Casteel's home vineyard, this is clone 667, with 50% whole cluster and native ferment. Post ferment, this rests for 17 months in French barriques (20% new), followed by 2 months in tank. Alluring wild raspberry, cherry is scented with wild flowers and textured with fine mineral grippiness. Acidity is lofty, and tannins are tightly grippy and long, streaming this to a lingering finish. Ageworthy.Prices: BC 125.00 USA 66.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Lingua Franca The Plow Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Lingua Franca The Plow Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom a high elevation block on their estate Eola-Amity Hills Vineyard, this is clone 777, sourced from a spectacular Russian River Valley vineyard. It's here grown on Willamette's Gelderman-Jory soils. After 50% whole cluster and native ferment in stainless and concrete, this moved into French barriques (25% new) for one year, followed by 5 months in tank prior to bottling. Wild raspberry, morello cherry, fleshy plum, dried thyme fills the voluptuous palate, one kept fresh and vibrant by fine tuned acidity. Tannins are plush and welcoming, carrying this to a lingering finish. Very satisfying now, and will continue to cellar for years to come. One of Oregon's top producers, and getting better year over year.Prices: BC 125.00 US 66.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Lingua Franca Estate Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Lingua Franca Estate Pinot Noir 2017

Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom their Eola-Amity estate, and its volcanic soils, this pinot noir is a combination of various clones. Approximately 20% whole cluster, this was native fermented and then aged for one year in French barriques (25% new) followed by 4 months in tank prior to bottling. Classic Eola-Amity with its juicy and mouthwatering palate of wild raspberries, strawberries, and interwoven layers of fine, dark earth. Tannins are slight and sticky, appropriately supporting this to a lingering mineral finish. Beautiful now, and more so with cellaring, as one would expect from one of Oregon's shooting star wineries.Prices: BC 99.00 US 66.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noir 2017

Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe majority of this wine comes from their Eola-Amity estate, with the remainder coming from nearby vineyards in the AVA. It is a mix of Dijon and Pommard clones, 25% whole cluster, all native ferment, and foot trodden in stainless. Post-ferment, this ages in a combination of 22% new and 80% old French oak barriques for 12 months, followed by four months in tank prior to bottling. Bright and juicy wild raspberry, strawberry, is kissed with anise and wild flowers, and brightened with a red currant acidity. Tannins are finely knit and long, streaming this charming wine to a saline, spiced finish. Pure and fresh, with a lovely elegance, even now in youth. One of Oregon's top top producers, to be sure.Prices: BC 69.00 US 53.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Villa Wolf Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

Pfalz, GermanyLook for a proper light ruby hue, with bang-on cool-climate pinot noir scents of ripe cherries, tea leaves, forest fern, and damp earth. Juicy fruit flavours range from tart berries to cherry pie filling with high-toned acidity, soft tannins, and a savoury woodsy finish. It's both ripe and edgy, mid-weight, spicy, and mellow. Head-spinning fact: Germany has the third-largest plantings of pinot noir globally, and when planted in sunny regions like the Pfalz, the results can be as harmonious as this high spirited, fruity, well-priced wine.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 15.00 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
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24 August 2020

Mayhem Pinot Blanctext
87PTS

Mayhem Pinot Blanc 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata Bench fruit, this is a relatively simple pinot blanc showing characteristic pear fruit that’s supported by yeasty aromas from aging on its lees for eight months. The palate has a similar balance of fruit and lees, the latter also giving some added flesh to the 12.5% abv frame. It's an easy drinking style, but there’s a slight sour, acetic note here that detracts from the finish. Fine value.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Mayhem Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

Mayhem Pinot Blanc 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA joint project from siblings Terry Meyer Stone (of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards), and JAK Meyer (of Meyer Family Vineyards), this pinot blanc was sourced from Naramata Bench, and whole bunch fermented (mostly stainless, with 17% seeing neutral oak). They were held on lees for 8 months prior to blending, filtering, and bottling. This is a punchy, fruit-forward pinot blanc, packing white peach, apricot, gooseberry, and mandarin into a medium bodied frame. The finish is ginger spiced and snappy, welcoming solo sipping and flavourful food pairings.Prices: BC 15.65 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a German clonal selection of now 34 year old Okanagan Falls estate vines, this was whole cluster pressed and native fermented in a split of stainless, foudre, and French oak barrels, where it remained on fine lees, sans bâtonnage, for 5 months. This is a rare pinot blanc that isn't boring and bland (pinot blah), or fruity and sweet, but rather nuanced and subtle, with gentle notes of white peach, apricot blossoms, lemon, over a base of river stones. Delicate, with confidence, this is drinking well now.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyardtext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Grower's Series Pinot Blanc Middle Bench Vineyard 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Middle Bench Vineyard in the Similkameen, the fruit was whole cluster pressed and then fermented in stainless steel, with some lees contact during ageing. That’s given this some noble reduction, with attractive flinty matchstick and hazelnut notes alongside a splash of fresh citrus. Plus, the lees work has also given this some added weight and texture, punching well above its 12.2% frame. It’s bright, crisp, and complex, in short, everything BC pinot blanc can and should be. Highly recommended and exceptional value at this price. You can drink this now with shellfish, but this will get even better with bottle age. Clos du Soleil has the track record to prove it.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm in complete agreement with Treve and Anthony. I encourage you to try this next to Clos du Soleil's 2019 Pinot Blanc for an interesting comparison of two equally valid, and delicious, stylistic approaches to pinot blanc. This shows more yeasty lees character and a notch more ripeness, with late summer stone fruits that have a slightly honeyed character. But, as we've come to expect from Blue Mountain, the fruit is still restrained, balanced with minerals. There's also a bit more richness, with a pithy texture that gives this real character. Try it with a summertime peach salad.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Upper Bench Pinot Blanc Limited Releasetext
87PTS

Upper Bench Pinot Blanc Limited Release 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2019 vintage of Upper Bench’s pinot blanc continues their trend of blending in a small percentage of muscat, which has given this heightened orange blossom aromatics. It adds to the wine’s complexity, but the trade off is less transparent varietal character. Pinot blanc’s crisp tree fruits are present, but pushed softly to the background. Dry and somewhat lean on the palate, the acid is tart and not altogether cohesive. It’ll work nicely with a baked goat cheese salad, especially if enjoyed chilled on the patio while we still have some summer left.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain’s pinot blanc vineyard, now 34-year-old vines (the clone is German), is manually thinned each year to keep the crop yield low. The fermentation is wild, in 17 percent stainless steel, 40 percent 35hl foudres, 17 percent in 500L barrels and 26 percent 4 year old French oak barrels, and all is aged on its fine lees for five months in the same proportions. A quiet white peach nose and subtle lees pull you into the glass. On the palate, mineral, citrus, wet stones, and sea salt all conspire to grab your interest. Certainly one of the best in the country, if not the continent.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Narrative Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Narrative Pinot Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a bright, citrusy pinot blanc that's bolstered by crunchy Asian pear and a subtle lees accent. It’s a light, crisp style with just 12.5% abv, but aging in concrete has given this some roundness and a chalky texture that adds depth. It makes for a serious wine, that’s equally approachable. Drink now with fresh shellfish, such as raw clams on the half shell.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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21 August 2020

Church & State Wines Viogniertext
88PTS

Church & State Wines Viognier 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 is a blend of warm Coyote Bowl fruit and cooler Bella Vineyard grapes. On the nose, look for classic ripe apricots with bits of honeysuckle and ginger. The palate is similar with lees, melon, tropical fruit, and a vanilla sheen that sits across the finish. It's not a lightweight, but neither is it belligerent in the glass. Best with simple seafood dishes like grilled halibut with fruit salsa.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +23/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +23/10 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Laughing Stock style has always been hedonistic. In this case, you get the full meal deal viognier, with baked apple, peach, pear, with a creamy vanilla topping, and a whack of stirred lees. This guy is fully ripe and at 15 percent alcohol, giving it a spicy, warm, slightly bitter finish. The fruit comes out of the south Okanagan and is fermented in a mix of stainless steel tanks and concrete; the final product is stored on its lees for six months. Ready to drink and best with a spicy Thai curry.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora VR +23/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora VR +23/10 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Amphora dropped the M or marsanne grape leaving a VR (Viognier / Roussanne) blend. Winery ownership has changed, and the Enns family is now entirely out of the building as is winemaker Nikki Callaway as the brand falls into the control of the Arterra group. That said, the ripe, lush style has remained consistent. It is the 7th year for this experimental wine, natively fermented in 500L amphorae, with no inputs or deletions other than a small amount of sulphur, before bottling without fining or filtration and the obscure naturalist wine might be the best in the portfolio (no pun intended). Pouring a hazy golden hue, it is bone dry and teeming with honeysuckle, pointed apricot, tangerine, anise, all gripped around the sides with a fuzzy orange riff from the skins. The end lingers with salinity and crystalline apricot. Edgy and exciting, without any apparent bitterness, it is imminently drinkable at 14 degrees — it is is a gem.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +23/10text
86PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Viognier +23/10 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Laughing Stock hit it rich, so to speak, with new international Arterra ownership, the rich, luxurious, high rolling lifestyle wines have remained consistent. This is hedonistic, even by viognier's lush-life standards, with caramel apple, apricot curd, baked peach, vanilla coating a super ripe, 15% palate to a sweet, warming finish. Less discernible as viognier as a boozy, sweeter, custard drink. From Southern Okanagan fruit, this was whole cluster pressed and fermented in a mix of stainless and concrete eggs, and remained on lees for 6 months.Prices: BC 25.49 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Upper Bench Viogniertext
87PTS

Upper Bench Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUpper Bench made its first ever viognier in 2019, and it's built around acidity and crispness, clearly forsaking the flamboyant creamy, luxurious fruit style for a lighter summer sipper, as they refer to it. On the nose, honeysuckle and passionfruit along with some primary fermentation notes of banana. On the palate, an ever so slight touch of citrus oil with a creamy, mineral finish. The suggested matches are Double Cream Brie and Grey Baby.Prices: BC 21.75 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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French Door Viogniertext
88PTS

French Door Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA modest 2 tonnes / acre yield is a part of this two vineyard viognier that hails from the home Black Sage Bench vineyard, and a site in Summerland. Hand harvested, whole cluster, basket pressed, and cold settled overnight, it is racked to 70 percent French oak and 30 percent stainless steel for a high solids fermentation. It remains on its full lees without any addition of sulphites until being stabilized and bottled. Expect a subtle peachy nose with a creamy, peppery palate and a mostly dry leesy finish. It was a cool year, and the acidity is just what’s needed to keep the extravagance of this variety in check.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Viogniertext
89PTS

Hester Creek Terra Unica Viognier 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe viognier is sourced from two long time growers in Osoyoos, at Sitrus Hill, and Star Vineyards. The grapes are hand-harvested and gently pressed. It is fermented cold for 17 days, leaving a fragrant nose with light floral aromatics. The attack is fresh and skinny with pink grapefruit and orange peel flecked with peach and honeysuckle. The style is crisp and much cleaner than the norm for this variety in the New World, known for being blousy. It would be perfect with grilled shrimp or a summer corn salad.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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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 is from La Côte Vineyard on the Similkameen's Upper Bench, a vineyard which is currently in transition to organic certification. The fruit was whole cluster pressed, then fermented and aged in neutral French puncheons, which just provide a faint accent to the wine. You'll find a lively, youthful viognier, bottled after five months on its lees, that shows fresh-picked stone fruits and appealing floral aromatics. There's lots of fruit, but it's bright and with surprising freshness, far from the caricature of itself that viognier can become. It's backed by crisp acidity that leaves you wanting more, and wondering why there can't be more viognier made in this style.Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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20 August 2020

Domaine Richard Rottiers Beaujolais Villages La Sambinerietext
88PTS

Domaine Richard Rottiers Beaujolais Villages La Sambinerie 2018

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceRichard took over five hectares of vineyard near Moulin-a-Vent in 2007, with vines all between 40 and 80 years old and planted on pink granite and manganese laced soils. He converted everything to organics to 2012. After 7-9 days of semi-carbonic maceration in concrete tanks, this aged in wooden vats and barrels during 4 to 6 months. This carries the soils' characteristic violet and iris glint, poking through dusky blueberry, and juicy plum. Tannins are a bit stemy, though providing a welcome structural firmness through the clipped finish. Partner with grilled duck salad, or juicy mushroom or beef burgers. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Domaine Richard Rottiers
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Jean-Claude Lapalu Côte de Brouillytext
92PTS

Jean-Claude Lapalu Côte de Brouilly 2015

Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceJean-Claude Lapalu is one of the naturalist set of Bojo, influenced by Lapierre, Foillard, Thevenet and the like. As with the other great producers of Beaujolais, the farming here is exemplary, with organic certification since 2010, and biodynamic practices in use. From 50+ year old north facing vines on the clay / blue granite of Côte de Brouilly. This was native fermented and semi-carbonic over 3 weeks prior to aging 6-8 months in used tonneaux prior to the blend. This was bottled without fining or filtration, and only minimal sulphur. Rock juice. Perfumed stony blue plums, wild blackberry, wild blueberries, purple florals ride a softly plumped (thanks to 2015) though super juicy palate, still vivacious with that granitic energy and lofted, pixellated acidity. Tannins are fine and slightly grippy, guiding this mineral driven, medium bodied red to a white pepper and dried herb finish. A Bojo star rising, watch this name.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Jean-Claude Lapalu
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Vicara Cantico della Crosia Barbera del Monferrato Superioretext
89PTS

Vicara Cantico della Crosia Barbera del Monferrato Superiore 2016

Piedmont, ItalyAfter a native ferment in stainless, this is racked into 25hl oak barrels for 18 months, followed by one year's rest in bottle prior to release. Though the oak is present on the nose, it is well integrated in this full bodied red, showcasing steely ripe blueberry and deep plum, black cherry and ample minerality, supported by plump tannins. Atypical of place, but a rewarding full red to enjoy with autumnal or winter meals.Prices: USA 21.00 Producer: Vicara
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Vicara Barbera del Monferratotext
88PTS

Vicara Barbera del Monferrato 2018

Piedmont, ItalyThis joyous, juicy barbera carries wild plum, downy cassis and ample saline along a medium bodied palate, housed by slightly grippy tannins to a lightly spiced, peppery finish. Serious yet approachable, this is a lovely wine slightly chilled.Prices: Producer: Vicara
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Vicara Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese .Gtext
88PTS

Vicara Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese .G 2018

Piedmont, ItalyGiuseppe Visconti is one of the most passionate champions of Monferrato, and this grignolino comes from the limestone dominant Bricco dell’Uccelletta vineyard at at 320m. After a native ferment, a third of the must is fermented in concrete and macerated for 90 days with a submerged cap. Pouring a pale garnet / light red hue, this is packed full of elegant and perfumed cherry, rosehips, red currant, and tart pops of pomegranate. Tannins are lightly raspy, courting this to a slightly warming finish.Prices: USA 16.00 Producer: Vicara
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Oops Carmeneretext
85PTS

Oops Carmenere 2018

Region del Valle Central, ChileIntense herby, smoky roasted meats is mixed with green bell pepper notes. Soft dusty tannins and sweet cherry flavours mix with black pepper, and a whiff of a wet forest floor. The more time in the glass the better for this rustic red, best served with meaty pizzas or meatballs. The nose is slightly reduced, so be sure to decant this for a minimum of thirty minutes.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: S.O.I. (Undurraga)
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Niepoort NAT'Cool! Tintotext
91PTS

Niepoort NAT'Cool! Tinto 2018

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalDirk Niepoort's NAT'Cool! range of wines were created to meet certain criteria : be made as naturally as possible, be low alcohol, be terroir-driven, use native grapes to the region, be affordable, and be so smashable that it's only sold in 1L bottles. This lighter, shining red is 40-100 year old baga vines from the limestone laced, clay soils of Bairrada. Native ferment and aging in stainless preserves the purity of fruit and precision afforded from soulful old vines on these soils. Wild plum, raspberry is threaded with scrubby herbs and bushy rockrose. Acidity is crunchy bright, and tannins are whisper slight, guiding this to a pink peppercorn dusted, mineral-humming finish. Serve with a light chill. Smashable, by definition. KILLER deal, especially in Ontario.Prices: BC 27.00 1000 ON 22.95 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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French Door Gamay Noirtext
86PTS

French Door Gamay Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA pale ruby red colour previews a dry, stony gamay with a steady stream of tart fruit underneath. Fresh and earthy notes mix with a cedar, forest floor aroma, flecked with red plums. The acidity is stronger than the tannins and will require something like grilled sausages, creamy cheese, or a charcuterie board. A little longer hang time should be in order next year.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Malbectext
88PTS

Painted Rock Malbec 2017

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother blockbuster edition of this malbec, beginning with some volatility on the nose. The attack is warm and spicy, with rich black fruit and a whack of lingering tannin midpalate and beyond. Big, warm, and unruly, this is going to need five years in the bottle or a classic roasted leg of lamb complete with a mint sauce and roasted potatoes. More finesse would help to align this wine with the other offerings of Painted Rock. Given how impressive the 2017 Icon is, it would seem it got the very best of the malbec fruit.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Cline Old Vine Zinfandeltext
86PTS

Cline Old Vine Zinfandel 2017

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesNo big changes here. Old Vine fruit dates back more than 70 years when the vines were first planted in the soils of Contra Costa County’s Oakley vineyards. Old or ancient, any way you cut it, this wine has a pedigree, and its cherry-berry zin nose is a blast from the past. Ripe cherry chocolate and raisin aromas and flavours spill across the palate. This one is ready to drink, best with a side of smoky barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 19.00 MB 19.99 NFL 21.95 Producer: Cline Family Cellars
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19 August 2020

Church & State Signature Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Church & State Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe nose is intensely sauvignon blanc Kiwi-style, with bright, fresh grapefruit, lime rind, passion fruit aromas that spill across the palate, along with nectarine, lemongrass, and citrus fruits. A well-played cool-climate sauvignon that is mostly stainless steel fermented at 88 percent, with the remainder finished in French oak for six months to add just a hint of cream and mouthfeel. Serve this with any creamy dish or a vegetable favourite that needs a squeeze of lemon.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAgain, one of Canada's top sauvignon blancs, and at an insanely affordable price, the 2019 comes from 12-13 year old Okanagan Falls estate vines. After a native ferment in a mix of stainless, French oak, and foudre, this remained on fine lees with no bâtonnage, for 5 months. Bedded with river stones, threaded with lemon, and lined with herbal lees, this streams along the palate with an alluring salinity to a lingering, lightly smokey crystalline finish. Pristine, mineral expression of the grape, which is a welcome rare wonder, especially in Canada.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is more about place than grape, which is too rarely the case for sauvignon blanc. Don’t expect exaggerated tropical passion fruit or a pungent herbaceousness. Rather, this is led by bright citrus and a chalky minerality that are balanced by a deft touch of oak and lees. That lees influence also gives this some added richness, while still retaining zesty acidity and only clocking in at 12% abv. It’s a finessed, restrained style that seriously overdelivers at this price point. Not that I’d expect anything else from Blue Mountain as of late. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith vines now in the 12-13-year-old range, the BM sauvignon is settling in, and looking pleasantly varietal and Okanagan-like. At 8000 vines per hectare, the high-density plantings are yielding excellent fruit. The wine is fermented in stainless steel (8%), foudres (75%), and finally, in oak barriques (17%). It all ages for five months on its lees without stirring. I love the freshness here, and the bright citrus nose and palate. Green melon, wet stones, and salty minerality round out a very good bottle of sauvignon blanc. Fresh seafood, including shellfish, all works here as well as pasta in a cream sauce. Good valuePrices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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French Door Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

French Door Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is handpicked on two separate dates from the estate vineyard at the northern end of Black Sage Road. The initial harvest went through a one-week carbonic fermentation; the second pick was then combined with the first lot and pressed together. It was cold settled overnight and racked and fermented in French oak, including a full malolactic fermentation. The barrels were stirred weekly during fermentation and then left on lees until it was bottled. There is a hint of gold in the colour. On the nose, you can detect rich and creamy tropical fruit that spill across the palate with honey, lemongrass, minerals, and green melon. It is a big mouthful poised to be on the dinner table. I think roasted chicken would be an excellent match, or a buttery halibut dish. There is no rush to drink this.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Joseph Mellot La Chatellenie Sancerretext
91PTS

Joseph Mellot La Chatellenie Sancerre 2019

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceA warm, late summer set up a solid vintage in 2019 as evidenced by this bright and shiny sauvignon that is crammed full of minerals on the nose. Dry and structured, it has intense citrus, white peach, and flinty flavours that permeates the wine from front to back. Fresh and balanced, it is mouthwatering, and begs for food. Crab, prawns, halibut, or salt-crusted ling cod would be excellent dinner partners.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Joseph Mellot
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Joseph Mellot Sincérite Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Joseph Mellot Sincérite Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Loire, FranceA sauvignon with such purity and elegance rocks in the glass. It opens with bright floral notes of lemon and pink grapefruit. On the palate, similar flavours of citrus, green melon, and ripe, juicy mandarin oranges are hard to resist. There is a twist of lees in the mix that keeps it a little bit complex and food-friendly, but frankly, this bottle disappears in an instant once opened. Serve with any Westcoast shellfish or a favourite cream cheese with crackers. The Joseph Mellot winery was founded in Sancerre over five centuries ago. In 1698, Cesar Mellot was tasked with advising King Louis XIV's regal wine selection. To this day, the estate has remained family-owned.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 20.95 Producer: Joseph Mellot
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Joseph Mellot Le Tronsec Pouilly-Fumetext
90PTS

Joseph Mellot Le Tronsec Pouilly-Fume 2018

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceThe Mellot Pouilly Fume plot totals 9.5 hectares, some planted to Kimmeridgian limestone marls, and some in the village of Saint Laurent l'Abbaye planted on stones over clay. Pouilly refers to the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire, while Fumé is the local moniker for the sauvignon blanc grape. Simple winemaking: crushed, pressed and settled at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The colour is pale; the nose is all about minerality with light florals and just a touch of pepper. A firm, stylish white capable of taking on most foods up to a full-blown roast chicken. It is the wine they can't make in New Zealand.Prices: BC 39.99 MB 29.99 ON 44.95 Producer: Joseph Mellot
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Joseph Mellot Cuvée Pierre Etienne Sancerre Blanctext
92PTS

Joseph Mellot Cuvée Pierre Etienne Sancerre Blanc 2016

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceCuvée Pierre Etienne is grown on the very best flint-based slopes facing the Loire River. The bottle is large and heavy, a kind of old fashioned hint that wine is barrel fermented, and aged in oak split evenly between one, two and three-year-old barrels for 26 months. The wood is virtually no issue in 2016, given the elegance and fruit in this wine. The nose is a sophisticated offering of mineral, green melon, and lemongrass. The palate is even more intriguing with an enticing creamy texture and more smoky, flinty guava and pear flavours. Excellent quality. The finish is long and complex. This bottling honours founder Pierre Etienne Mellot (1513) and his myriad descendants. Production is limited to 250 cases. The label is a reproduction from the 1930s.Prices: BC 65.99 AB 57.00 Producer: Joseph Mellot
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Lakeside Cellars Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Lakeside Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit comes off the Osoyoos East Bench, basking in the late day sun. It's surprising to learn the vines are now 22 years old, until you taste the wine. A cool stainless steel ferment has protected a crispness that will surprise, and time on lees has added a touch of texture. On the palate, there is a steady stream of lemon and even a hint of gooseberry before a slightly bitter lime rind and melon finish. This is a winning style that should only improve in successive vintages as the winemaking ages like the vines. Well done.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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18 August 2020

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Suolotext
94PTS

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Suolo 2015

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyIf you only buy one other vintage of Brunello di Montalcino let it be 2015. It’s perfection on all levels, and it is a year that will age effortlessly for the next thirty years and beyond. As it happens, Argiano chose 2015 to realize its first single-vineyard Brunello: Vigna del Suolo. It is the oldest sangiovese vineyard in the group at almost 60 years, and it is situated 280 to 310 meters above sea level over limestone-rich soil. Vigna del Suolo is a rare mix of power and elegance, always a winning combination of some of the world’s greatest wines. The initial stainless steel ferment and skin contact last about 21 days, followed by a full malolactic fermentation. In the end, the wine is aged four years, including two and a half years in oak barrels. Look for savoury, sour cherry aromas mixed with espresso, cocoa, and a hint of brown spice. The palate is slick with nuanced red fruit flecked with orange peel and more cherry. Just a baby, but showing huge promise.Prices: BC 299.99 AB 269.99 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Solengotext
93PTS

Argiano Solengo 2017

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Argiano Super Tuscan known as Solengo is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, merlot, and sangiovese. There is no syrah in the mix despite numerous suggestions on the internet that the 2017 includes it. The site is a mix of stony alluvial soils with small amounts of clay and silt planted to medium age vines between 15 and 22 years old. The crop was half the average size at harvest, further concentrating a wine that by nature is abundant. The ferment is done in concrete and aged in sixty percent new, forty percent second year French oak. I love that the Solengo has managed to retain its power and richness while displaying a sense of elegance, an obvious nod to the return to elegance and style at Argiano. Expect a savoury, spicy, black-fruit wine with notes of tobacco, minerality and dense supple tannins. You can drink this now, but waiting a decade would be the best option.Prices: BC 109.99 QC 82.99 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscanotext
88PTS

Argiano Non Confunditur NC Rosso Toscano 2017

Tuscany, ItalyNon-Confunditur is the Argiano motto and found on the family crest. Does it translate to unique or as Berndino Sani translates it, 'not to be confused', from the Latin. It a Super Tuscan mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and sangiovese, but the fruit comes off younger vines, less than 20-years-old, hence Sani’s description of NC as a baby or junior Super Tuscan, and it fits. Look for plummy, spicy, savoury fruit aromas and blocky flavours that spill across the palate. Slightly rustic at this point, this will need three to five years to come into its own. For now, I like spaghetti Bolognese as the match.Prices: BC 32.99 QC 28.25 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcinotext
95PTS

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2015

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyArgiano Brunello is made with 100 percent sangiovese grown on ancient clay with a high level of limestone, at 280 to 310 meters. The vines range from 12 to 60 years old, and are organically farmed at very low yields. The vintage is a superstar and one to invest in for the longterm. The ferment is all stainless steel, but the malolactic take place in concrete followed by 30 months of ageing in Slavonian oak barrels of varying capacity (10/15/30/50 Hl). The work of Antonini is felt here even at 14.16 percent alcohol, where the balance and elegance of this Brunello wafts through its powerful structure with ease. In 2015 the nose is a symphony of ripe red plums and cherries, perfect spicing, and a big dollop of deliciousness. It is the real thing and will be for decades.Prices: BC 69.99 AB 68.99 QC 60.25 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Brunello di Montalcinotext
90PTS

Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2014

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe vineyards of Tenuta di Argiano stretch southwest from the town of Montalcino, on a hill above the river Orcia. At 48 hectares, it's a fabulous size to produce a small amount of wine living up to the less is more philosophy. Argiano's southern exposure has always given it a bigger, more opulent frame. Still, with new research and work by Chilean terroir specialist Pedro Parra and Italian wine consultant Alberto Antonini, Argiano is gaining in elegance and style. 2014 is just such a wine in a so-so vintage that presents with less black fruit in favour of lighter, more ethereal red fruit nuances. Flowers and red cherries are mixed with notes of cedar and earth. A solid effort that makes you think of food from the first sip. Grilled beef, lamb, or roast pheasant come quickly to mind.Prices: BC 68.99 AB 68.99 ON 70.00 Producer: Argiano
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Argiano Rosso di Montalcinotext
89PTS

Argiano Rosso di Montalcino 2018

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Argiano Rosso is 100 percent sangiovese with an average vine age of 12 - 22 years. The fruit goes through a cold preferment maceration, followed by spontaneous fermentation and full skin contact for ten days in stainless steel. The grape selection is all about freshness and fruity characters. It sees a mix of French oak in all sizes for a few months. The attack is lively with intense floral, cherry, mineral scents that spill onto the palate. It is an inviting softer style that is ready to drink early as per its design. Food-friendly, you can serve it with a charcuterie plate or a pasta meat ragú.Prices: BC 38.00 QC 28.25 Producer: Argiano
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17 August 2020

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé 2018

Pfalz, GermanyVilla Wolf is Ernst Loosen's affordable, traditional Pfalz varietal line that combines estate fruit with contract growers. This fruity pinot noir rosé illustrates the Pfalz's warmness and Loosen's Mosel touch. The fruit is purpose-picked for rosé, and a four to six-hour maceration delivers an attractive pale pink colour that draws you into the glass. There is strong lees influence adding some creamy complexity followed by a whack of orange, apple, lime and sweet strawberry juicy fruit in the finish. An electric rosé with a touch of residual is so much fun to taste.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
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Les Ligeriens Rosé d`Anjoutext
87PTS

Les Ligeriens Rosé d`Anjou 2019

Anjou, Loire, FranceThis semi-sweet rosé blends 65% gamay, 25% grolleau, and 10% cabernet franc, from vineyards bordering Saumur. Easy and friendly with baked strawberry, candy apples, and light caramel that sticks on the finish. Chill very well, and pour with light fruit desserts or candied salmon.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Les Vignerons des Terroirs de la Noelle
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Musar Jeune Rosétext
89PTS

Musar Jeune Rosé 2018

LebanonMusar Jeune is a range of youthful, oak-free wines from Lebanon's iconic producer, Chateau Musar. This is organically farmed blend of 85 / 15 Cinsault and Mourvèdre from vines planted in 2000 at 1000m altitude, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. This saignée rosé was fermented in cement lined vats until the following fall. A glowing pink orange hue, this glides along the palate with silken mandarin, pomegranate, plum, and a raft of exotic spices, elevating this far from simple. Enjoy this juicy rose with Moroccan or middle eastern fare.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Chateau Musar
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Vino Lauria Rosé di Zio Paolotext
89PTS

Vino Lauria Rosé di Zio Paolo 2019

Sicily, ItalyVito Lauria is a Sicilian local. After studying winemaking in Friuli, he returned home in 2005 to take over his family's winery in the west of Sicily, renovating the vineyards, focusing on organic viticulture. He focuses on local varieties, like Frappato. Pouring a glowing amber peach hue, this Frappato rosé is potent and forward with strawberry rhubarb, fragrant orange, herbal thyme and scrubby rosemary on a medium palate, finishing with an astringent bergamot rinse. Alluring and exotically spiced, pour this characterful rosé with misto fritto.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Vino Lauria
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See Ya Later Ranch Legacy Rosétext
88PTS

See Ya Later Ranch Legacy Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSee ya Later is a two pick rosé: half of the fruit was picked in mid-September in South Oliver, while the other half was picked in late-October near West Kelowna. The combination of ripe southern fruit and fresh, bright characters of the north meet to give a well-balanced rosé that you want to drink. Isn’t that the final say on any wine? Love that they have dropped the sugar and given this pink a reason to exist. Ready to drink, and the winery suggests roasted rosemary chicken with seasonal vegetables.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 18.00 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Nk'Mip Cellars Rosétext
86PTS

Nk'Mip Cellars Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is a blend of merlot, pinot noir, malbec, cabernet franc, and syrah. The colour is pale orange/pink, and the nose a muted fresh berry affair. The attack is fruity with strawberry and cranberry, and on the sour side on the finish. It is built for food, with a dry, citrus back end. Try this with grilled chicken and a summer corn salad. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosétext
91PTS

Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyAs good as the name of this wine is, the wine is even better. 11 Minutes is the time skins were in contact with juice, leaving a mesmerizing palest of pale orange tint in the glass. The blend is as novel as it gets for Italy: corvina and trebbiano di Lugana with an intriguing syrah and carmenère surprise. The corvina grape makes up the majority of the blend, bringing the floral aromas and significant acidity. Trebbiano brings elegance and a long finish; syrah delicate fruit and spice; while the carménère creates structure, ensuring stability over time. However, this needs no time to gulp down. Dry, light, ethereal, complex, this rosé is a knockout. Even the package is a stunner. Not in BC that we know of, but we will endeavour to find out more in the days to come.Prices: AB 22.00 MB 23.99 NS 24.99 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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Les Ligeriens Rosé d`Anjoutext
89PTS

Les Ligeriens Rosé d`Anjou 2019

Anjou, Loire, FranceLes Ligeriens is a D’Anjou rosé from the southwestern part of the Maine-et-Loire, bordering Saumur. The vineyards sit on low-lying slopes over solid schist. Pink with some red highlights sets the colour of this off-dry sipping rosé. Strawberries and ripe watermelon dusted with cotton candy and caramel fill the palate, and the colder we served it, the better we enjoyed it. We suggest you consider spicy dishes such as poke tuna bowls, or Szechuan noodle dishes. The blend is 65% gamay noir, 25% grolleau, and 10% cabernet franc.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Les Vignerons des Terroirs de la Noelle
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French Door Rosétext
90PTS

French Door Rosé 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe colour is a perfect pale Provençal orange. The nose is eerily south of France and equally beguiling with floral, pepper, and light citrus. The palate is a mix of watery citrus, all in a good way, with grapefruit, pear, and cherry. Refined and elegant, this is a delicious bottle of essentially dry rosé. More, please. This mourvèdre is hand-harvested and placed directly into the press, whole bunch. A slow, gentle press yields just a bit of colour and no tannins. Get it while you can.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Rocky Creek Robin's Rosétext
86PTS

Rocky Creek Robin's Rosé 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA new release of tempranillo rosé with a pink, candied apple red colour. The palate is far from that though, with zero sugar, and dry, tart, red cherry. Better suited to food than sipping, this is ready drink.Prices: BC 27.50 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Viña Leyda Rosétext
88PTS

Viña Leyda Rosé 2019

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis pinot noir grows a mere 4km from the cold Pacific Ocean, and the result is a light, fruity, fresh, pink with strawberry, grapefruit, and a soft, slippery texture. An undercurrent of lees adds a touch of complexity, but this is mostly ready to drink now with shellfish, cream cheeses, tomato pasta, or pizza.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Viña Leyda Ltda
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Viña Leyda Rosétext
88PTS

Viña Leyda Rosé 2019

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis pinot noir grows in the granitic clays gracing the coastal valley of Leyda, 4km from the cooling winds of the Pacific. After a whole cluster press and short time on skins for the deep, cool pink hue, this fermented cool in stainless before racking and resting in stainless for 7 months with weekly bâtonnage. Fresh strawberry, raspberry floods a silken palate, lined with a cool sheet of lees, and seasoned with fine pink pepper dusted tannins. Acidity is crunchy, and RS is slight, making this as ideal for food as it is for food pairings. Coastal Chilean.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Viña Leyda Ltda
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Thr3 Monkeys Rosétext
85PTS

Thr3 Monkeys Rosé NV

SpainExpect a pale colour and a whack of sweet fruit on the mid-palate of this tempranillo rosado. Soft, sweet, and quaffable, with ripe red berry and a spray of citrus. Serve well-chilled solo, or with spicy appetizers to take on the ripe flavours. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 18.40 Producer: Thr3 Monkeys
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Spier Chardonnay Pinot Noir Signature Collection Rosétext
88PTS

Spier Chardonnay Pinot Noir Signature Collection Rosé 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThis peach-pink hued wine is a blend of 70/30 Chardonnay / Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch and Durbanville, with vines averaging 17 years, and no vineyard more than 20km from the sea. Grapes were whole bunch pressed and fermented cool in stainless, where they remained for 3 months on lees. Wild strawberries and cream, cherry blossoms, tangerine ride a silken palate, glossed with a bump of RS before a spiced finish. Stylish and likeable, this is a welcome addition to your summer patio pinks.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Spier
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Spier Chardonnay Pinot Noir Signature Collection Rosétext
87PTS

Spier Chardonnay Pinot Noir Signature Collection Rosé 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaMedium pinky/orange, this rosé gets its colour from the blend: 70/30 chardonnay/pinot noir. The source is also a mix of Stellenbosch and Durbanville, with vines receiving some ocean winds to keep them relatively cool. It is a consumer-friendly style that begins with intense strawberries and cherries, and finishes with creamy, intense, tart and off-dry flavours. A patio pleaser for hot days at an equally pleasing price.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Spier
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14 August 2020

Terra Viva Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Terra Viva Pinot Grigio 2018

Veneto, ItalyTerra Viva is another label from Perlage, one of Italy's first certified organic sparkling wineries, and a family project of the 7 Nardi brothers. From grapes up to 15 years and vines in Veneto's Friuli and Trentino, this was done entirely in stainless to preserve freshness. Pear, yellow apple, stone, and chamomile glide along the juicy, silken palate, running along a bed of river stones. Far beyond most Venezie grigios.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Perlage
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Church & State Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Church & State Pinot Gris 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 PG mixes fruit from two Okanagan sites: Coyote Bowl, and Foundation Vineyards. As ripe and full-flavoured as this is, with a lot of honey and red apple, baked pear, it does have a brightness that snaps your attention back to the palate. It’s the snappy finish folks that matters in wines like this because you want another sip. Ready to drink and would be fun with anything with a touch of chilli pepper in it.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 33 year old estate vines and 2 French clones, this was whole cluster pressed and native fermented and split between foudre, stainless, and older French barrels and puncheons, with partial bâtonnage. The final blend took place in April 2020. Quite fruit-forward, capturing the Okanagan's fruit basket through the ripe pink lady apple, Asian pear crunchy acidity, and a mandarin blossom perfume. Classic, and classy gris, full of typicity and appeal.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate Cuvée may not get the same time in bottle as the Reserve Pinot Gris, released a few months ago, but it fits the style. This is more fruit driven than the Reserve, combining subtle floral aromatics with juicy Okanagan orchard fruit. It's still textural and precise, which is a defining thread across all of Blue Mountain's white wines, but it tastes like you're hopping from fruit stand to fruit stand as you drive down Highway 97. I'm thankful this isn't rushed into bottle for a spring release, but selfishly glad that we get it for at least some of the summer. Whether at the beach or on a patio, this should be one of your go-to Okanagan pinot gris, especially at this price.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +25/09text
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +25/09 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Laughing Stock Pinot Gris is the style we like to rail against. Not that it won’t be popular with a large segment of the public, but the trifecta of residual sugar, alcohol, and lowish acidity makes it just a bit too simple to applaud. The fruit comes out of Okanagan Falls, and it is fermented in neutral French oak, stainless steel, and concrete eggs before ageing six months with weekly bâtonnage. Okay, but not great.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +25/09text
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Pinot Gris +25/09 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThough Laughing Stock hit it rich, so to speak, with new international Arterra ownership, the rich, luxurious, high rolling lifestyle wines have remained consistent. This is a rich, boozy, and opulent pinot gris, clocking in at a flushing 14.5 degrees. This Okanagan Falls gris was whole cluster pressed and then fermented in neutral French barrels, stainless, and concrete eggs. It was aged 6 months with weekly bâtonnage before bottling. Baked green apple, pear, pineapple, is seasoned with vanilla, toast, and spice. The palate is expansive and lush, finishing with a warming flush. If you like Cali chard but want to drink local gris, look here, especially with richer halibut or sablefish.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Upper Bench Pinot Gris Limited Releasetext
88PTS

Upper Bench Pinot Gris Limited Release 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2019 Gris is dry and crisp. If you like residual sugar in your gris, this one is not for you, but if you want a palate of orchard fruit with a bit of bite that makes it very food-friendly, this is it. The nose is a mix of apple and peaches, and the palate is similar, with a dash of quince. The finish is a dry, woolly, citrus affair with a twist of lime rind. Ready to drink. Try this with a classic summer corn salad or any seafood sushi.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThirty three year old pinot gris vines from two French clones are at the heart of this wine. Over the years, the wine has taken on more texture and complexity via the fermentation route that begins with indigenous yeast and then a mix of vessels: foudre, stainless, older French barrels, and puncheons. The wooded wines undergo regular bâttonage or lees stirring, while the stainless portion sits tight on its lees. Eventually, they are blended the following spring. The result is rich pear and lime pith with a lift of creamy lees and spicy baked apple in the finish. There’s a lot to like here, and you can do it with a wide selection of menu items from chicken and pork to seafood and vegetarian plates.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Rocky Creek Pinot Gristext
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Rocky Creek Pinot Gris 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThere are two pinot gris labels in play at Rocky Creek in 2019. One was made by the recently graduated winemaker and daughter Robin Holford, the other by her father Mark Holdford, chief winemaker and co-owner. Mark’s regular vintage gris is the winery’s orange, or skin-contact wine. It is the best yet with less of those astringent skin tones and more enticing tropical melon notes dressed in citrus and apple flavours. A short skin contact adds some mouthfeel and results in a unique orange colour. The finish is clean and tangy in an orange way. The winery match for this style of gris is butternut squash ravioli.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Lakeside Cellars Pinot Gristext
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Lakeside Cellars Pinot Gris 2019

British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is a mix of grapes from the home Osoyoos estate and a family-owned site in Cawston. The style is round and soft with fully ripe, easy-sipping apple/orchard fruit. Best served well chilled on a warm patio.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Rocky Creek Pinot De-Gristext
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Rocky Creek Pinot De-Gris 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThere are two pinot gris labels in play at Rocky Creek in 2019. One was made by the recently graduated winemaker and daughter Robin Holford, the other by her father Mark Holdford, chief winemaker and co-owner. The daughter’s version, labelled Pinot De-Gris, is made with the same grapes but in a different (no skin contact) winemaking style. The nose is appealing with tropical fruit aromas that spill across the palate. A fun sipping style with enough ripe melon fruit and a hint of minerality to take on lightly spiced dishes. The winery suggests truffle fries would be a good match.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Rocky Creek Winery
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Township 7 Pinot Gris Provenance Seriestext
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Township 7 Pinot Gris Provenance Series 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA smoke-free year brought bright sunlight with vines in good condition, progressing according to schedule. Overall, 2019 was a moderately cool vintage with white wines showing juicy and vibrant fruit, crisp acidity, and moderate alcohol levels. The gris is stainless steel fermented to retain fresh orchard fruit characters, mixing the flavours of Township 7 Estate (Naramata Bench) and Hidden Terrace (Oliver) grapes. Just a hint of sweetness gives this broad appeal and makes it fun to sip in the sunshine. It would also be excellent with lightly spicy sushi rolls. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigiotext
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LaStella Vivace Pinot Grigio 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVivace is not your grandmother's pinot gris. Like its moniker, it is vivacious, following down the mineral, salty, citrus route. Taut and alive, it is also a fabulous food wine. Post ferment, it feeds on its lees for a few months to add a touch of cream to an otherwise crisp, lip-smacking gris that screams for seafood. First-class effort.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: LaStella
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Gristext
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Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEstate fruit is whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees until the following spring. The style is full and creamy, the palate ripe with pear, honey, and sweet grapefruit. Easy sipping style but with enough sweetness to take on spicy pasta dishes or appetizers. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gristext
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Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe wine cognoscenti love to diss pinot gris, and often it's with good reason, but not all gris is the same as evidenced by this jewel of an effort by Okanagan Crush Pad. From the home vineyard, it is made with certified organic fruit that, in one word, is alive. It is wild fermented and aged in concrete tanks for ten months, where it interacts with its gross lees, forming creamy textures. The colour is Alsace gold, and the intensity is too, but in the end, it is all Okanagan sagebrush and honey with a super fresh finish. A quality gris that has the structure to be on the dinner table.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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13 August 2020

Niepoort Vertentetext
92PTS

Niepoort Vertente 2017

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalVertente means aspect or hillside, well named for the vineyards of the Douro. 50 to 80 year old vines are sourced from all of the vineyards Dirk works with, with a traditional blend of several grape varieties predominatnly based on Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Rufete, and Tinta Amarela. After a native ferment in stainless, this was aged in French oak for 22 months. Bright and alive with rockrose, fragrant plum, and thorny wild blackberry, this is gripped with those finely structural schistous tannins of the Douro, leading this long on the palate to a lightly peppery finish. In beautiful harmony now, and will be with time in your cellar.Prices: BC 32.00 QC 27.00 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Corcelettes Meritagetext
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Corcelettes Meritage 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 mix of 38 merlot, 32 cabernet franc, 26 cabernet sauvignon, 3 malbec, and 1 petit verdot is all estate grown on stony, sandy, loamy, stemwinder Similkameen soils. The subtle rise in cabernet sauvignon content and drop in merlot has stiffened the mid-palate and finish, with slightly more drying structural tannin. And at just under 15 percent alcohol, it’s looking like it needs time to gather itself. The palate is awash in fresh stony red fruit that runs through the finish. If you need to drink it now it is best served with grilled beef or wild boar.Prices: BC 37.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Corcelettes Cabernet Sauvignon - Syrah Menhirtext
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Corcelettes Cabernet Sauvignon - Syrah Menhir 2017

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Menhir of Corcelettes, Switzerland, is iconic. It stands tall and proud near the castle of Grandson, where the Baessler family originates. In 2017 the Menhir red is a 57/43 cabernet sauvignon/syrah mix that would be at home in Australia. Menhir is aged for 18 months in French oak puncheons that reduce the overall impact of oak in the finished wine. The latest blend is a bold, spicy, savoury affair with cooked blacked fruits and a dusty, stony, dried herb finish. It needs time to gather itself, or serve it with grilled lamb chops.Prices: BC 39.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Niepoort NAT’Cool! Voyeur Tinto Amphoratext
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Niepoort NAT’Cool! Voyeur Tinto Amphora 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThree amphora reds and three amphora whites, all from vines 40-50 years old, from six different sites in the Douro, go into this inaugural Voyeur wine. The initial plan was to release 3 different wines, but the blend worked so well, they blended it all together. Voyeur will remain like this going forward, though it will be taken from different sites, altitudes, etc. each year. In 2018 it’s a 50/50 red and white blend, spending 8 months in 1000L Spanish amphora, lined with beeswax. Pale crimson in hue, this is light, herbal, thorny and finely grippy, with lovely sapid plum and wild blackberry and raspberry. Tannins are whisper fine, and the finish is lingering with schistous minerality. Light, effortless, pure, and alive, as is the Niepoort way.Prices: ON 33.95 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Chateau Cantenac Browntext
89PTS

Chateau Cantenac Brown 2009

Margaux, Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Bordeaux, FranceFrom the cellar. Margaux with age is still quite a regal thing. In 2009, this was 65 Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, aged in 50% new barrels. Porty plum, baked cherry, and sunripened blackberry is plush on the velveteen palate, hued with the browning of age but still of structure. Ample purple florals float throughout the sweet sapidity, shrouded with furry tannins, and finishing with a faint hum on the fading palate. This bottle has started its downhill slope, so if you also have in your cellar, start dipping in now.Prices: BC 98.00 Producer: Château Cantenac-Brown
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +07/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +07/10 2017

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Portfolio style hasn't changed much under the new international Arterra ownership, and this big Bordeaux blend remains a solid hallmark Southern Okanagan red blend. In 2017 the blend is 48% merlot, 32% cabernet sauvignon, 14% cabernet franc, 4% malbec, and 2% petit verdot, sourced from vineyards in Naramata and Osoyoos. After ferment, this rests 20 months in French oak (48% new). Sweetly ripe, voluptuous black fruit entices from first whiff, and envelops the palate, with plush layers of blackberry, black cherry, cassis interwoven with pipe tobacco, subtle smoke. and salty olive. Tannins are soft and plump, with well integrated wood supporting the 14.2 degrees palate easily, to a warming finish. This is of a style, and it's done very well, drinking smartly now (especially with roasted lamb) but will reward with cellaring.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 53.00 AB 53.00 BC 109.99 1500 BC 219.00 3000 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Gold Hill Grand Vin Family Reserve Meritagetext
87PTS

Gold Hill Grand Vin Family Reserve Meritage 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2014 is the third release of the Gold Hill flagship red Bordeaux, a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and malbec. The nose is active, showing oak and chocolate, and the palate is equally busy with lots of moving parts but not a lot of harmony or complexity. Spicy black fruit with a warm, spicy, alcohol finish at just under 16 percent. Too much of everything that will appeal to a small crowd, but I expect more from a Grand Vin.Prices: BC 64.99 Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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See Ya Later Ranch Major's Block Red Blendtext
86PTS

See Ya Later Ranch Major's Block Red Blend 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot and oak dominate the blend that includes petit verdot, syrah, and zinfandel, spending 14 months in French and American oak. The palate is soft, the textures jammy, and that flavours a mix of chocolate, cherry jam, blueberries, and baking spices, all dusted with vanilla. Consumer-friendly sweetness and oak, this is ready to drink with barbecue ribs or meaty pizzas.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: See You Later Ranch
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Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym Red Meritagetext
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Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym Red Meritage 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMer’r’iym (pronounced mur’-eem’) means marriage, and in this case, the perfect union of varieties. In 2017 the mix is 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cab Franc and 10% Malbec, all aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Mer’r’iym is always fairly heady stuff thanks to its warm south Okanagan. Still, over the years, winemaker Randy Picton has continued to refine this red, adding much-needed elegance despite its rich alcohol and weighty nature. The tannins are entirely managed in 2017, almost silky, and they help to let this wine sing the entire length of its palate. Impressive youthful, and is likely to have a long life in the bottle.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Nk'Mip Cellars
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Upper Bench Altitude Limited Releasetext
88PTS

Upper Bench Altitude Limited Release 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAltitude is the newish label at Upper Bench, and likely their best. The blend is 70% merlot and 30% cabernet sauvignon aged 20 months in 30 percent new French oak. While it is not as husky as 2015, it has more red fruit and terroir in the nose and on the palate. Tart red plums and red cherries dominate with spice and dry tannins edging into the finish. It needs some bottle ageing to settle into itself. Serve now with grilled meat or soft cheese.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Liquidity Wines Dividendtext
90PTS

Liquidity Wines Dividend 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaElegant aromas and styling mark the palate of this delicious red that offers everything you want in a well-made terroir-based wine. It also screams Okanagan. The cabernet sauvignon planted in 2009 at the Lucy vineyard, and merlot from 2005 on the Allendale vineyard, represent Okanagan Falls. The remaining merlot comes from Blind Creek Vineyard in the Similkameen, while cabernet franc comes off the Golden Mile Bench in Oliver. The grapes spent 25 days fermenting with skin contact before ageing in mostly French oak barrels (35 percent new) for 15 months. Youthful blue fruits dominate the back end and balance the light tannins. Best now with lamb chops or a favourite steak cut.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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French Door Héritagetext
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French Door Héritage 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe French Door has been turning heads since it opened just west and south of the Black Sage Bench, almost due west of downtown Oliver. The blend is a 61/19/14/5/1 syrah, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot. The fruit is hand-harvested, hand-sorted, destemmed and cold-soaked five days. Fermentation is followed with three to four daily pumpovers, leaving the skins with 50-65 days of skin contact. It was aged without movement in 30 percent new French oak, 10 percent third year, and 60 percent neutral wood. The first impression is the freshness upfront, setting the stage for a figgy, blueberry, quince affair dusted in tobacco. The tannins are dense but silky, promoting a long smooth finish. A fine start and this will get better in bottle over the next three to five years. The fruit comes off Three Boys Vineyard planted in 1996 in the South Okanagan.Prices: BC 48.00 Producer: French Door Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Limited Edition The Judgetext
89PTS

Hester Creek Limited Edition The Judge 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Judge is an estate wine with most of the fruit coming off the oldest vines, first planted on the Golden Mile Bench back in 1968. The 2017 blend is 35/35/30 cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. Fewer varieties signal a bit of change in style is coming, although it still seems as if the wood is more involved then supporting. It’s more hedonistic, and I’m guessing its regular buyers like that. Look for plenty of spicy black fruit dusted in sagebrush, licorice, and chocolate. Growing Degree Days were high, totalling 1422 GDDs, well above the 13-year average of 1054 for the Oliver area. The single varieties are aged in medium-plus toasted oak barrels for 12 months, and then cross blended and aged another 12 months.Prices: BC 43.99 BC 95.99 1500 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Bartier Bros. The Goaltext
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Bartier Bros. The Goal 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMichael Bartier labels this red The Goal to honour the 1955 World Champion Penticton Vees hockey team, suggesting hard work is always worth recognition. It is grown on the Black Sage Gravel Terrace just southeast of downtown Oliver at Cerqueira Vineyard, home to dry loam topsoils over granitic feldspar sand, and gravels. The blend is an 88/12 mix of merlot /syrah that ages 16 months in 225 L neutral French barrels. It is a classic Bartier. Light handed, fresh mineral-based red and black fruits are perfectly balanced with enough tannins to age three to five years gracefully and well beyond under screwcap. It may be the best yet for this label. Steak anyone?Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Orofino Red Bridge Redtext
88PTS

Orofino Red Bridge Red 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Similkameen-meets-Bordeaux inspired blend is flushed out with syrah, the star of the Valley. Four vineyards have contributed a final blend of 42% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, and a mix of soils, altitudes, and aspects. After fermentation with cultured yeasts, this was pressed into American and French 225 and 500L barrels (10% new) for 16 months before blending. You certainly taste the wood, with the gutsy black and red fruit expressed through a coffee filter. Smoked cedar, wild blackberries, fleshy dark cherries, and peppery spices flood the juicy palate, with sinewy tannins pinning all in place to a lightly pinched finish. Drink now, with stewed or grilled meats.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Hedges Family Wines HIP Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Hedges Family Wines HIP Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesEven though this Columbia Valley red is labelled Cabernet Sauvignon, be aware that HIP has 21% syrah, from Red Mountain AVA. I point that out, because it's ample quantity, and it's no where on the label, and I believe in truth in labelling. The cab is coming from Sagemoor Vineyard, in Columbia Valley AVA (the larger AVA in which Red Mountain is nested). Fine, gritty tannins house this darkly gravelled fruit, filled with savoury red cherry, raspberry compote, and perfumed exotic spices running a tauter palate. There's quite a bit of oak here, finishing this off with a ripe plumpness, but thankfully coming at a welcome 13.5 degrees. At four years of age, this 2016 vintage is drinking well now.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Hedges Family Wines
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11 August 2020

CedarCreek Home Block Sparkling Bruttext
87PTS

CedarCreek Home Block Sparkling Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCedarCreek has a fizz. It’s another charmat method (Prosecco-like style), but this one is made from a native ferment muscat ottonel that spent about 60 days on its lees. The nose is perfumed and floral with orange, licorice, and bitter almond notes on the palate. Soft and ready to sip, and I think this will be better with food than serving solo. Not quite the elegance we see from the Italian version of moscato d’Asti, but there is time to get there.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis BC classic comes from the 2016 vintage, and this year blends 53/43/4 of estate pinot noir / chardonnay / pinot gris. All are whole cluster pressed, and fermented separately before blending. Post ferment, this spends 24 months on lees, and nine months in bottle prior to release. Tight and toasty, with green apple, crisp red apple, biscuit, lemon peel, and a gentle anise blossom on the finish. Acidity is tight and bright, streaming this to a snappy finish. Classic for a reason.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLabelled non-vintage, this traditional method sparkling wine is from the 2016 vintage. The 53/43/4 blend of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot gris is aged on its lees for 24 months, before resting in bottle post-disgorgement for up to nine months prior to release. The pinot noir is quite forward this year, bringing red apple and crunchy raspberry that sits alongside golden-hued fruit. It has nice depth, and is rounded out by a good amount of toasty autolytic character. The chardonnay gives this a good amount of verve, though the 8 g/L dosage still gives a touch of sweetness to the finish. You have to look twice at the price, because it’s hard to believe this is only $28. Recommended.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the oldest chenin vines in North America (planted in the 1960s), this chenin was early picked, fermented in tank before secondary ferment and three years in bottle. Red apple, white peach and lemon swirl with ample toasted biscuit and piercing white florals across a broad palate finishing brisk and crisp. An accessible, friendly fizz.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Road 13
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanctext
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Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA chenin sparkler made from the oldest chenin blanc vines in North America is a good start. Two chenin sparklers are made at Road 13, and this is the everyday fun sipper. The wines mature quickly; the care is taken in getting the acidity levels to remain lively. The primary fermentation is done in tank before a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The wine was kept at the winery another three years before a final disgorging and labelling. Look for a friendly, fruity affair full of ripe red apple mixed with citrus, peaches, and toasted nutty notes to round out the finish. Ready to drink and a perfect wine for south Asian dishes.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Road 13
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Gold Label Brut is a classic BC sparkler that over-delivers most every release, and has been instrumental in the growing cadre of sparkling wine producers around the province. Made using the traditional method, the 53/43/4 blend of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot gris spends an ideal 24 months on its lees. It is then allowed to hang around the winery another nine months to pull itself together after disgorgement. Just enough fruit to offset the leesy, toasty notes that give it the gravitas of real sparkling wine. The dosage comes in at 8 g/L, adding enough sweetness to balance any bitter notes, giving it broad appeal. It's a bargain at $28 and certainly sets the tone for a sparkling that rings all the bells.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Anthony Buchanon Wild Ferment Méthode Ancestraletext
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Anthony Buchanon Wild Ferment Méthode Ancestrale 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis ancestrale method is a blend of organically farmed chardonnay, pinot gris, gamay from vineyards in Kaleden and Oliver. It was fermented in stainless, and spent four months on lees. This bottle was disgorged in February 2020. Bone dry, with sour lemon, melon, grapefruit, green apple tartness and a wash of ale on the finish, this is taut with tight acidity through the snappy end. An interesting effort, and a nice option if you are looking for a dry, light pét-nat.Prices: BC 27.49 Producer: Anthony Buchanan Wines
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L'Acadie Vintage Cuveetext
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L'Acadie Vintage Cuvee 2016

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaPale flaxen colour with fast streams of lively bubbles, then inviting aromas of bread dough, windfall apples, lemon marmelade, a pleasing green fennel note, and distinct earthiness. Delicious flavours of lemon and green pear, carmelized apple, and honey-roasted nuts suffuse a vivid palate, ending with a juicy, grapey finish. Dry tasting but with pleasing softness from a well-integrated dosage of 7 grams (exactly in line with most Champagne), this is a very well made, fresh, highly drinkable traditional method wine from Nova Scotia. L'Acadie blanc is joined by chardonnay and seyval blanc in this blend, all farmed organically and rooted in mineral-rich seabed soils. Showing a nice degree of bottle aged complexity, pair this with savoury bites like a brick of pate and crusty baguette, grilled prawns, or a triple cream cheese.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: L'Acadie Vineyards
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L'Acadie Vineyards Prestige Bruttext
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L'Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut 2013

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaWines that present wine lovers with fascination and discovery sometimes taste better. That's true for this wine. Made from 100% L'Acadie blanc, this sophisticated hybrid tolerates Nova Scotia's abridged growing season. Winemaker Bruce Ewert left British Columbia decades ago for the Gaspereau Peninsula and has since devoted himself to making excellent sparkling wines from L'Acadie, bred in 1953 in Niagara. Bright gold, the wine pours frothily but then settles down into languid threads of tiny bubbles. The nose deserves your attention before you sip deeply. It's complex and eloquent with lemon curd, buttery brioche, tarte tatin, and two things that make the wine special: wonderful maturation character of toast and spearmint; and an unmistakable terroir note of briney mineral salts. Fresh as a daisy, surging acidity helps this seven-year-old wine taste youthful with green apple, Meyer lemon, and subtle stone fruit. But then caramelized toasty, gingery flavours take hold, tapering into a dry, dusty finish. This duality of fresh yet mature, and light but with a depth of flavour makes for a serious, authentic wine, imbued with complexity, finesse, and impeccable balance. It does not need to be elevated or completed by food. Still, you could pair truffle chips, crab cakes, or perhaps obviously, Nova Scotia lobster tails liberally anointed with lemony butter.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: L'Acadie Vineyards
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50th Parallel Estate Blanc de Noirtext
87PTS

50th Parallel Estate Blanc de Noir 2017

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA Blanc de Noir sparkler with a fine-looking eye of the partridge hue. The nose has a floral undertone with intense, candied strawberry notes. The palate is more northern with stony mineral, fresh red fruit with a swell of lees. The finish is dry, suggesting it needs to be on the table with food. The overall quality would indicate the price is a reach at this point, but production is limited.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: 50th Parallel Estate
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Road 13 Jackpot Sparkling Chenin Blanctext
90PTS

Road 13 Jackpot Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2011

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe upcoming release of the 2011 Jackpot Sparkling Chenin Blanc moves back toward the drier, racy, bony style that befits the vineyard age and the climatic conditions. It begins with an electric shot of acidity, crisp green apple, with a biscuity lees undercurrent, and creamy textures. With age comes a hit of complexity too that adds another layer to this elegant sparkler. It was perfect with a pan sauteed shrimp. Winery direct and Club members only.Prices: BC 86.99 Producer: Road 13
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Lunessence Riesling Bruttext
88PTS

Lunessence Riesling Brut 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNot every sparkler has to be Champagne or a project in technical precision. Sometimes we just want a bubble that is fun to drink late in the afternoon, and that doesn’t require a PhD in wine to figure out. Lunessence Riesling Brut is all that and more. Expect a bright, peach, grapefruit fizz that is merely fun to drink. Mission accomplished.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Anthonij Rupert L'Ormarins Brut Classiquetext
90PTS

Anthonij Rupert L'Ormarins Brut Classique NV

Western Cape, South AfricaL’Ormarins is focused on terroir specific wines and fruit spread across four farms in Franschhoek, Rooderust in Darling, Riebeeksrivier in the Swartland, and Altima in isolated Elandskloof. This sparkling wine opens with a highly appealing nose of toasted hazelnuts, brioche, and baked apples and an alluring creamy texture that runs through the entire wine. Peaches and crunchy apples work the midpalate with a fine dusting of citrus to keep it all fresh. It is very appealing from front to back. Sparkling and sophisticated, this would be a perfect smoked salmon bet.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Intrigue I Do Sparklingtext
84PTS

Intrigue I Do Sparkling NV

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI DO is a frizzante style sparkler with ripe red apples and peach with some underlying acidity to help freshen the overall experience on the palate. The grapes are strange bedfellows at 53/29/14/4 riesling, gewürztraminer, merlot, and kerner, but somehow it works. The finish comes with some bitterness, but all in all, this off-dry fizz gets the job done. I would serve this early in the day with hand-passed appetizers.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Mission Hill Reserve Bruttext
88PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Prosecco effect is widespread globally; if folks aren’t busy buying the Italian fizz, they are trying to imitate the style of soft, round, and ready to drink. Mission Hill's first Reserve Brut is tank fermented, charmat method, blending mostly chardonnay with 10 percent pinot noir grown on two estate vineyards in the south Okanagan. Appropriately mellow on entry with an enticing lime/pear aroma that spills across the palate. The acidity is perfectly tuned to keep it all fresh, and at 11 percent alcohol, it is light on its feet. A summer fizz for the patio, think vegan favourites or summer pasta salads.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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10 August 2020

Alheit Vineyards Fire by Nighttext
94PTS

Alheit Vineyards Fire by Night 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaChris Alheit is one of South Africa's top winemakers and old vine rescuers, working closely with the Old Vine Project to preserve the country's OV heritage, and making expressive wines of place, like this. Wow. This exceptional chenin comes from the decomposed granites of Swartland's hallowed ground of Paardeberg, sourced from the Nuwedam Farm on the Joubertskloof side, and from a vineyard that he loves and was able to purchase in August 2019. The vines, planted in 1978, were native fermented in cement eggs. Savoury, intense, yet graceful (the holy trinity), this dances across the svelte palate, leaving a wake of quince and subtle white peach atop a slender cushion of lees, all taut with a granitic vibrato. The lengthy finish echoes with salinity, imprinting this bottle. Stunning now, and moreso with cellaring.Prices: BC 69.00 Producer: Alheit Vineyards
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Alheit Vineyards Nautical Dawntext
91PTS

Alheit Vineyards Nautical Dawn 2018

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom two False Bay chenin parcels planted in 1978 and 1988, and no more than 13 km from the sea, these granite rooted vines were dry farmed and early picked, the bright acidity driving this old vine chenin from tip to tail. Native fermented and aged in older oak, this juicy white is flooded with stony white peach, yellow plum, mandarin, on a stony, broad palate. There's a welcome savoury nutty undercurrent that bases this wine, drawing it to a humming finish. Impressive now, and with some time in the cellar.Prices: BC 59.00 Producer: Alheit Vineyards
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Nicosia Grillotext
89PTS

Nicosia Grillo 2018

Sicily, ItalyIf you give grillo a chance, it will grow on you. Certified organic, this Sicilian white opens with a bright, fresh, demeanour offering notes of citrus with a fine backdrop of minerality. The site is an ancient seabed of calcareous remains, and you can taste the electricity the soil injects into the wine. Perfect with a summer corn salad, or a fall shellfish boil. Excellent value to boot. Real wine.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Nicosia SPA
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Nigl Herzstück vom Kirchenberg Grüner Veltliner Erste Lagetext
93PTS

Nigl Herzstück vom Kirchenberg Grüner Veltliner Erste Lage 2016

Kremstal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaFrom the Ried (single vineyard) Kirchenberg, a sheltered, south-east facing 1st Lage site on a bedrock of mica schist comes this savoury, powerful gruner. Smouldering smoked stones, lemon verbena, wildflowers, green herbs melds into bright pear and lemon. Tautly textured by the riveting attention of schist, the core is plump with savoury lees, ending with a moreish wash of mineral salts. Serious grüner, absolutely delish now, but will with time to go ahead.Prices: ON 75.95 Producer: Nigl
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Loimer Kamptal Grüner Veltlinertext
91PTS

Loimer Kamptal Grüner Veltliner 2018

Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaCarrying on his family's winemaking tradition, after studying oenology at Austria’s Klosterneuburg University and working in Germany and Napa, he took over the winery from his father in 1997. His 80 hectares of vineyards began conversion to biodynamics in 2006, and all are certified today. Unlike most of his peers, Fred vinifies his wine to dryness, like this concentrated, stony, older vine grüner from vineyard around Langenlois, growing on loess and gneiss soils at 200-400m. Predominantly fermented and aged in large stainless tanks (5% in large oak barrels), this rested 4 months on lees before blending and bottling. Tight green apple, apricot skin, Asian pear and wild green melon stream along the slender palate, streaked with fresh green chervil and ample white pepper to a snappy and bright finish. The palate is pure stony lees, supporting this for delish solo drinking, but providing enough structure to partner with numerous dishes. Remember this wine at asparagus season.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Weingut Loimer
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Casale del Giglio Faro Della Guardia Biancolellatext
92PTS

Casale del Giglio Faro Della Guardia Biancolella 2019

Lazio, ItalyA native of Campania, the biancolella grape was introduced to the Island of Ponza from the Island of Ischia during the 18th century, when the city was ruled by the Bourbon monarchs. Today in Lazio, the grape is authorized exclusively on Ponza, where it grows at the base of a sheer sea cliff surmounted by the imposing lighthouse ‘Il Faro della Guardia', from which the wine takes its name. After a native ferment in stainless, this rested on lees for 8 months prior to bottling. Piercing grapefruit acidity drives this slender wine forward, skipping along river stones waxed with white honey, quince, grapefruit, lemon verbena, fresh thyme and sage, and grapefruit pith. Effortlessly marine fresh, this rings with salinity, which remains on the finish. Delish now, and over the next few years.Prices: BC 44.95 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Casale del Giglio Anthium Bellonetext
92PTS

Casale del Giglio Anthium Bellone 2019

Lazio, ItalyA grape variety cited by Pliny the Elder and present in the region since Roman times, bellone here grows in the warm sandy soils of coastal Anzio, cooled by the sea breezes. Anthium is Latin, in honour of the town of Anzio, and the bellone grapes utilized come from 60+ year old ungrafted vineyards. After a short stint on skins, this was native fermented in stainless, where it rested briefly before bottling. More complexed on the palate than the younger vine Bellone, with layers of quince, wild melon, pithy grapefruit, pine nut, hay, all sculpted deftly by marine acidity, and vibrant on the bitter citrus finish, seasoned with mineral salts. Medium+ in body, at 14 degrees, but you'd never feel it thanks to the sea air. Impressive.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Casale del Giglio Bellonetext
90PTS

Casale del Giglio Bellone 2019

Lazio, ItalyA grape variety cited by Pliny the Elder and present in the region since Roman times, bellone here grows in the warm sandy soils of coastal Anzio, cooled by the sea breezes. After a short stint on skins, this was native fermented in stainless, where it rested briefly before bottling. Tight with green melon, pine nut, wild lemon, subtle elderflower, verbena and lime pith that streaks across the slender palate, this finishes with marine salinity and a fresh snap. Spring reg and shellfish ready.Prices: BC 28.00 QC 24.70 Producer: Casale del Giglio
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Bartier Bros. Sémillontext
92PTS

Bartier Bros. Sémillon 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCrisp, dry, summer white wine is exemplified by this pure and racy sémillon from the gifted hands of winemaker Michael Bartier. Flowers and fruit mesh attractively in the aromas with acacia and elderflower, custard apple, peach, and citrus. A note of beeswax and honey signals a very expressive sémillon, and a subtle herbal fragrance is a clear south Okanagan stamp. Dry and light-bodied, the flavours are terrifically focused with stone fruit, pear and lemon first, salty minerals to follow, and a botanical nip on the finish. The texture is waxy lending a fullsome feel to the wine, but 12.2% and zesty, fruit-coated acidity keep it streamlined. Fresh and energetic, artfully farmed sémillon grapes from the Cerquiera Vineyard on the Black Sage Terrace are steel fermented simply to let the site speak. Native yeast and lees-aged, you can sense a wildness in the wine. Very complete, impeccably balanced, and a little more dimension than the excellent 2018. All you need is a picnic blanket under dappled light, local camembert cheese and a crusty baguette. Or you could cellar for 5 years and be rewarded with toasty, honeyed complexity.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Hester Creek Terra Unica Sémillontext
90PTS

Hester Creek Terra Unica Sémillon 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSémillon remains a rare sighting in BC, but when you come across one, it usually overdelivers and begs the question, why isn't there more? Well, the short story is folks don't buy it. Long story short is you can find these wines, and they are terrific buys. A lot of sémillon finds its way into sauvignon blanc, but as the Australians have proven, it can go it alone too. The vines are now over two decades old, signalling great possibilities. It is grown on the Golden Mile Bench, a fine piece of terroir. It is all whole berry pressed, and stainless steel fermented with a small portion of barrel-fermented fruit that helps to plump up the texture. The attack is ripe with bright acidity to balance the sweetness, alongside grapefruit, tangerine, sweet limes, and quince. Well done and excellent value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Craven Wines Chenin Blanc Karibibtext
93PTS

Craven Wines Chenin Blanc Karibib 2018

Polkadraai Hills, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaTheir third vintage of Chenin Blanc, sourced from early-picked, 37-year-old radial bush vines on the weathered granite soils of Polkadraai’s Karibib Vineyard, a vineyard they took control of in 2015, and started organic viticulture. The Polkadraai is set to get its own WO in 2019. Grapes are whole-bunch pressed to neutral 500L barrels after 5 hours, and after a five month wild ferment and natural MLF, it was left on the lees for four more months before racking. Slight cloudy by intent and with texture, this has beauty concentration and energy, teeming wild oranges, tangerine, light white honey, alluring white mushroom, and subtle wildflowers over a slight bed of downy lees. The finish lingers with granitic grip. Fantastic mouthfeel and completeness, drinking beautifully now and will be for years.Prices: AB 37.00 Producer: Craven Wines
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Else Wines Muscat on Skinstext
88PTS

Else Wines Muscat on Skins 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the family that owns Echo Bay Vineyards, this organically farmed moscato gallo is from Summerland. This was native fermented with 15 days on skins. Half spent 3 months in neutral oak puncheons and stainless, and the remainder all in stainless steel. A small amount of sulphur was added at bottling. Pouring quite cloudy, this is a heady, potent and perfumed pour of bitter apricot, pear skins, tight yellow apple, and grapefruit rind, finishing quite sour, and very astringently grippy. Very severe in style, for those looking for an edgy naturalist local.Prices: Producer: Else Wines
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Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave Classicotext
89PTS

Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave Classico 2018

Soave, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFrom twenty year old grapes harvested from the commune of Monteforte d’Alpone, the oldest area of Soave, this shows garganega is not all insipid and boring. Tight and crisp with lemon, bosc pear, light lees, elderflower and apricot, this skips with a nervy acidity along the sleek palate. Lean but with concentration, this is a winner with seafood or fresh veg.Prices: QC 17.65 BC 21.99 Producer: Tedeschi
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Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner vom Haustext
89PTS

Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner vom Haus 2018

Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaWith a light spritz to keep the palate light, this Niederösterreich GV rings with white fruits, tight citrus, wet stone, and white pepper, strung taut and humming along the clean, crisp palate. There's a nice depth of fruit on the mid palate, giving this a cushion that makes it widely accessible. Crack and pour often with salads, seafood and fresh veg.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Pfaffl
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Thr3 Monkeys Whitetext
86PTS

Thr3 Monkeys White NV

SpainA fun sipping white from Spain for those who prefer fruit over terroir. This airen is served up off-dry, mixing grapefruit, candied pears, honey, and grassy gooseberry notes. Simple, clean, and ready to drink. Serve well chilled on a sunny patio or pair this up with spicy dishes from tuna sushi to barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 18.40 Producer: Thr3 Monkeys
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Run Rafa Run Airentext
86PTS

Run Rafa Run Airen 2018

Castilla-Leon, SpainAiren, workhorse grape of Spain, is one of the most planted in the world, usually producing oceans of bland, basic, tart-ish wine for blending, or distilling. Here, in this budget-priced edition, it's bright and shiny with light melon, apple, some bitter herbs on the short finish. Chill liberally, and crack this summer easily.Prices: BC 11.99 Producer: Felix Solis
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Szászi Birtok Badasconyi Rózsakótext
89PTS

Szászi Birtok Badasconyi Rózsakó 2018

Badacsony, HungaryHighly perfumed, with rosewater, gooseberry, honeysuckle and lime pith, this rózsakó has an oily, textural base, reminiscent of gewürztraminer. The lime leaf and star anise spicing makes this pop, along with a fine grip along the palate. Grown exclusively in the Badasconyi region, rózsakó is a cross between kéknyelű and budai zöld.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Szászi Birtok
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Feudo Antico Terre di Chieti Pecorinotext
90PTS

Feudo Antico Terre di Chieti Pecorino 2019

Abruzzo, ItalyThis organic pecorino comes from the limestone / clay soils of Tollo, in the Chieti province. This was entirely raised in stainless, to preserve the bright fruit and acidity. Quince, white peach, pear, Mediterranean lemon, fresh thyme, fills the compact palate, fresh and humming, to a snappy, wild honey finish. Lovely example of grape and place.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Feudo Antico
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Silvio Carta Vernaccia di Oristano Riservatext
92PTS

Silvio Carta Vernaccia di Oristano Riserva 2001

Sardinia, ItalyPouring a walnut hue, this exceptionally concentrated wine is from the rarely seen Vernaccia di Oristano D.O.C. Riserva, situated only in Sardinias small Tirso Valley in the Sinis Peninsula, in the central west of the island near the sea. In order to be called Riserva, this must be at least 16.5%, and aged a minimum of 4 years. Silvio Carta ages theirs much longer; this went into barrel in 2001, and has remained there for 18 years. The barrels, between 90-120 years old, are all Sardinian chestnut, and 300L. They are intentionally left untopped, allowing the beneficial veil called su Murray, akin to Sherry's flor, to develop. Each year the Angel's Share (evaporation) in the chestnut takes 5 to 8% of wine, leaving a highly concentrated, and thus higher alcohol, wine. Walnuts, hazelnuts, burnished orange, tea leaves, cured meats, chestnuts, aged wood and ample umami teem through this intellectual, savoury wine, concentrated and direct, but with an ethereal quality on the palate and lingering honeyed finish. There's a spire of freshness that buoys this on the palate, keeping even the 18 degrees at bay. Tasted blind you could go for a high quality Palo Cortado; this has incredible depth and length, and is drinking beautifully now (and remains so, kept in your fridge for days after opening). A rare beauty to sip solo, or alongside salty bites, mature cheese, or dark chocolate.Prices: ON 91.95 Producer: Silvio Carta
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Hárslevelű Drytext
88PTS

Château Dereszla Tokaji Hárslevelű Dry 2018

HungaryWine geeks know Hárslevelű as one of the supporting grape varieties in Tokaji Aszu sweet wines. But here is a dry, single varietal bottling to get nerdy. It shows green apple, oyster shell, and lees in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Chablis but with a broader texture. In this case, there's also a slight effervescence that isn't fully integrated into the palate, accentuating the pithy, bitter finish. It's a fun discovery at a fair price and should appeal to fans of non-aromatic white wines from the Old World.Prices: BC 16.49 Producer: Château Dereszla
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Furminttext
89PTS

Château Dereszla Tokaji Furmint 2018

HungaryA blend of 87 percent furmint and 13 percent muskotaly (also known as muscat ottonel). After an initial whiff of sulphur dioxide, this shows soft pear, lemon, and white flowers in a semi-aromatic style that's reminiscent of a high quality pinot grigio. It’s dry and unoaked, with nice definition to the fruit and added complexity from time on lees. It's not as racy as furmint can be, perhaps due to the addition of the muskotaly, but it's still crisp, with the heightened aromatics adding to its broad appeal. A steal at this price, and it has just landed at BC Liquor Stores.Prices: BC 16.49 Producer: Château Dereszla
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Terravista Albariñotext
90PTS

Terravista Albariño 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis isn’t just a curiosity: it makes a serious case for more albariño in the Okanagan. A combination of Naramata (69 percent) and Oliver (31 percent) fruit, this was wild fermented and aged in stainless steel. True to variety, it's semi-aromatic, with white flowers, peach skin, and a sapid salinity. A subtle effervescence gives this a liveliness to the palate, with a linear texture and crisp acidity. It effortlessly carries the 13.8% abv. Nice precision across the board, with good length. Break out the shellfish.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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07 August 2020

Luke Lambert Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Luke Lambert Chardonnay 2018

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaLuke Lambert's top chardonnay, this rings with cool climate Yarra minerality. From the same vineyard as his Syrah, these 23 year old vines grow on a layer of volcanic soils over granite studded yellow clays, on a higher altitude, windy site. After a native ferment and ample oxidative handling, this was aged 9 months in older puncheons, and bottled without fining or filtration. Waves of flint stride through a savoury edged palate, led by granite, white grapefruit pith, quince, green pear. The body is sveltely lees-shaped, acidity is lip-smacking, and the finish is lengthy and saline. Serious, age-worthy chardy.Prices: BC 74.99 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Luke Lambert Crudo Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Luke Lambert Crudo Chardonnay 2019

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaCrudo is Luke Lambert's 'entry' level wines, but by no means does that make them simple. This comes of the Denton Block's granitic sandy soils, and was whole bunch pressed (no skin contact in 2019) and native fermented in older oak, with full MLF, resting in old 2000L foudre, minimal sulphur at bottling, and no fining or filtration. Classic cool climate Yarra, with crystalline lemon, and grapefruit tightening a gently plump white peach and light quince palate, all threaded with a streaming river stone minerality. The finish is super moreish with shimmering salinity. Ideal drinking now.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Luke Lambert
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Paddy Borthwick Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Paddy Borthwick Chardonnay 2018

Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandFrom Wairarapa's Gladstone subregion and own-rooted chardonnay planted in 1997 on stony, alluvial soils, this was whole berry pressed and transferred to French puncheons for a native ferment, with little MLF, and 10 months in French oak puncheons (20% new) before blending and bottling. Rich, plump, and full, with ample oak presence buffering lemon curd, vanilla, nougat and baked nectarines. This has a bump of grapefruit pith acidity to move the heft through the lingering finish. This is a powerful, textural, cool climate chardy, built for rich shellfish or seafood dishes, or luxuriously creamy green veg.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Borthwick Vineyards
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Villa Maria Taylors Pass Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Villa Maria Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2018

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom Taylors Pass Vineyard, on the northern banks of the Awatere River in southern Marlborough, this feels all of the refreshing coastal breezes travelling down the valley. From silty, stony gravels and reflective greywacke stones, this chardonnay was planted in 1999, partially wild fermented and entirely barrel fermented in barriques and puncheons (35% new). After 40% MLF, this spent 11 months on lees prior to bottling. Alluring layers of reduction weave throughout river stones, toasted popcorn, bright lemon pith and ample lees flood this structural palate, finishing with a riff of texture on the finish. This is a powerful example that drinks well now with food, but will reward with time in cellar.Prices: ON 34.00 Producer: Villa Maria Estate Ltd.
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Domaine Laroche Petit Chablistext
89PTS

Domaine Laroche Petit Chablis 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceDomaine Laroche is one of Chablis' historic names, with vines crossing many crus and more than 90 hectares. This, being Petit Chablis, comes from Portlandian limestone soils at the top of the hills. Packaging in stelvin alludes to its freshness, with bright crunchy pear, lemon, and a slight bed of anise-threaded creamy lees lining the medium bodied palate. Elegant and approachable now, as intended.Prices: Producer: Laroche
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Domaine Gueguen Chablis Premier Cru Vaucoupintext
93PTS

Domaine Gueguen Chablis Premier Cru Vaucoupin 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceCeline Gueguen comes from Chablis' iconic Brocard family, where she and husband Frederic worked closely with her father for 13 years, prior to starting their own family domaine in 2013. Based in Pretty, the couple works 23 ha of vineyards in Chablis and Grand Auxerrois. This 1er cru comes from Vaucoupin's kimmeridgian limestone and clay soils, and vines of 40 years. Vaucoupin is a very steep, south-facing slope in the commune of Chichée, on the south side of Fleys. This was done entirely in stainless to preserve the fresh purity of fruit. Layers of tight, fine lemon is interwoven with herbal lees, and strung taut by a vibrant minerality that hums this along to the finish. Fantastic structure and intensity, in a very pristine and focused package. Drinking beautifully now, and for the next years in your cellar, without question.Prices: Producer: Domaine Gueguen
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Beauty in Chaos Chardonnaytext
85PTS

Beauty in Chaos Chardonnay 2018

Washington, United StatesAnytime you can get a cooler vintage in Washington State, it is a good thing. In 2018 a hot spring and early summer morphed into a cool finish, and wines like this chardonnay are the benefactors. The attack is ripe and fresh with bright acidity and intense pear/apple fruit with a whiff of vanilla. Most of the action is upfront as the wine fades towards the back of the palate. Still, not bad for the price, and clean too.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Chateau Ste. Michelle
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Craven Wines Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Craven Wines Chardonnay 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Stelly's Blue Gum Grove and it's super sandy granitic soils (like a beach), this was native ferment and whole cluster pressed to neutral 500L barrels after 5 hours, and after a five month wild ferment and natural MLF, it was left on the lees for four more months before racking. They only made 1000 bottles in 2019, a tricky, low-yield year for this wine. Lovely tight lemon, white florals, yellow plum and crunchy quince is tightened with crystalline lemon pith, and concentrated by the low yields. The finish is classic granitic grip, with a lingering mineral saltiness.Prices: AB 38.00 Producer: Craven Wines
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Lingua Franca Estate Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Lingua Franca Estate Chardonnay 2017

Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesLingua Franca Estate Chardonnay is sourced exclusively their estate Eola-Amity vineyard, and its stony, boney volcanic soils, over red basalt. Half of our original Chardonnay vineyard acreage is planted from CH548 cuttings taken from the fabled Montrachet vineyard in Bourgogne (Dominique Lafon is part owner), and the rest is planted with clone 76. After a native ferment, this rested 11 months in a mix of new 600L French puncheons, and neutral barriques. Waves of reduction filter through herbal lees, framing lemon curd, smoked stone, crystalline lemon, and ample salty minerality that lingers on the finish. Fantastic impact for only 12 degrees alcohol, this is one for your cellar, but very enjoyable now.Prices: BC 95.00 US 68.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesAvni is Latin for stone, or rock, and a hallmark found across the Willamette Valley. In contrast to Lingua Franca's single-vineyard wines, this is sourced from various sites across the greater Willamette, including their Eola-Amity Hills Bunker Hill Estate vineyard. Mostly Dijon clones, this was harvest early, pressed and rested in tank for one day to settle and then a natural fermentation and full MLF before a year in French puncheons (partial new) and a tightening stint back in tank before a light filter and bottling. Flicked with reduction, this opens into herbal lees, cream, lemon curd and pith, and green apple brightness. Acidity is tight and fine, drawing this generous wine easily into a svelte form, and to a lingering, saline finish. Structure to go the distance, but approachability for drinking now.Prices: BC 69.00 QC 52.25 US 37.00 Producer: Lingua Franca
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Olivier Morin Cuvée Constancetext
92PTS

Olivier Morin Cuvée Constance 2016

Burgundy, FranceThe Morin family has owned the Chitry domaine since 1650, and it is now in the careful hands of Olivier Morin. Chitry is a neighbour to Chablis, just 12 km away, and in the early part of the 20th century, the wines from Chitry were labelled Chablis Village. It is now an established village within the AOP Bourgogne Framework, with the official appellation Bourgogne Chitry for their wines of chardonnay and pinot noir. Olivier studied oenological studies in Beaune but took a decade-long pause to fulfill a successful career as a DJ before returning to the family property and joining his brother Christian, in 1992. Now, together with his wife Nelly, Olivier tends to their 11 hectares of older vines organically. Half the vines are planted to chardonnay, with the remainder split between pinot noir and aligoté. Being so close to Chablis, the vines share the same Kimmeridgian limestone and clays, which you can feel in the mineral hum in this wine. As with all his wines, this was native fermented in stainless, and aged on its lees before bottling without filtration and low SO2. Wet stone beds and leads this alluring white, graced with subtle wildflowers, herb-scented lees, lemon pith, delicate anise flower, to a lengthy, savoury finish: beauty balance and precision, and another apparent reason to let chardonnay and limestone just be.Prices: Producer: Olivier Morin
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Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Chardonnay 2015

Côtes du Jura, Jura, FranceA wine of place. From En Chagnon in Montigny-les-Arsures, and vines rooted into gravels and Lias' grey marls, this is tucked up against the limestone cliff. Post-ferment, this rested 16 months in oak, including 30% new, which adds to the structure in this confident wine. Mineral-driven, with smoked stones, lemon pith, green apple, overtop fine, earthy lees, driven by ample salts, to a tight, grippy finish. Energy abound, and showing beautifully now for 2015 (with time ahead in cellar). 92Prices: ON 35.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Domaine Labet Lias Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Domaine Labet Lias Chardonnay 2017

Côtes du Jura, Jura, FranceThe Labet family of Rotalier in the area south of Lons-le-Saunier, known as the Sud Revermont, has been making thoughtful wines for generations but it was Alain Labet that elevated the estate to an icon of low-intervention and organic practices, and one that followed the Bourgogne tradition of topping up barrels. His eldest son, Julien, continued and expanded on the minimal intervention track, certifying the old-vine vineyards to organics (2010), and incorporating animals into their vineyard management program. Along with his siblings Charline (a trained oenologist), and Romain (a viticulturist), Julien is directing the next-gen of Labet wines. From 35 - 80 year old vines on the blue clay / limestone soils known as Lias, and the lieux-dits of La Bardette, En Chalesse, Pellerine, this aged for 21 months in 228L barrels prior to release. Opening with a heady saline wash and a wave of reduction, this moves swiftly into white florals, tight apricots, green apple that vibrates along the mineral-laden palate. As with all Labet's terroir-transmitting wines, there's a direct correlation to place here.Prices: ON 72.95 Producer: Domaine Labet
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Sorrenberg Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Sorrenberg Chardonnay 2017

Victoria, AustraliaSorrenberg is a 2.5 hectare vineyard on the outskirts of Beechworth, owned by Barry and Jan Morey. Vines were planted in 1985 on the cool site's granitic soils, and the farm has been Demeter certified biodynamic since 2008. Though they've only been farming on this site for 20+ years, the family has a tradition of winemaking that stretches back over 500 years to the Mosel River in Germany. This is French barrel fermented, 25-30 percent of which in new wood, and undergoes full MLF. After ten months on lees with weekly bâtonnage, this rested eight more months in barrel undisturbed before minimal filtration and bottling. Absolutely striking, even in youth, this is gilded with Meyer lemon, crunchy pear, fresh hazelnuts, light nougat, and woven with waves of flinty reduction, flooding a firm, structural frame. Acidity is crystalline bright, easily matching the wood, and driving this to a lingering savoury, flinty finish (and many more years in your cellar). Serious, smashable, chardy.Prices: BC 70.00 Producer: B & J Morey
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Boschendal 1685 Chardonnaytext
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Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaNo big change here. Boschendal was founded in 1685, making it one of the oldest and grandest Cape estates. The chardonnay fruit is a selection of grapes from Stellenbosch, Elgin, and the Boschendal farm proper in Franschhoek. The fermentation begins in stainless steel. After a couple of Baume, 70 percent is moved into French oak (only 12 percent new) to finish fermenting before ageing ten months on its lees where it is stirred regularly. The style is creamy but very bright in a Euro-style New World chardonnay. Fresh green apple, sliced pineapple, and honey walk a delicate citrus path through the finish. A cleansing chardonnay perfect for serving with crab, lobster, or creamy pasta dishes. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Boschendal Estate Winery
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06 August 2020

Graffigna Malbectext
88PTS

Graffigna Malbec 2018

San Juan, ArgentinaGraffigna has produced wines from higher altitude Andean vineyards since 1870, and this malbec carries on that tradition with malbec sourced from Tulum (700m) and Pedernal Valley (1400m) in San Juan. Soft layers of cherry, raspberry, crunchy plum, float along a savoury edged palate, with bright acidity, and finely raspy tannins to hold all in place. Not the longest finish, but come on, this is under $15. This is about as good as it can get for this price.Prices: BC 14.99 On 13.95 Producer: Bodegas Y Vinedos Santiago Graffigna
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El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbectext
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El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbec 2018

Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaFrom Calchaquí Valley, and 1800m altitude, this malbec was partially native fermented in stainless before moving into a mix of French and American oak (70%) and stainless for a year of rest. Plush and sweetly ripe blueberries, juicy dark plums, wild blackberries ride a juicy swell, buoyed by soft tannins and seasoned with pipe tobacco. The finish is plush and pleasurable, inviting another glass. An excellent value malbec, not dumbed down, that is ready for drinking now, especially with lamb or hearty root veg pies.Prices: BC 15.99 MB 15.00 AB 15.00 Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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Doña Paula Estate Malbectext
89PTS

Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2018

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaDarting dark florals and a smouldering bacon rule this Uco Valley malbec, grown at the high altitude Alluvia vineyard. Ten months in French barrique certainly contribute to the structure and smoky sultriness, though the plush, ripe blueberry, plum, and cassis fruit override that, well absorbing any wood aggression. As intended, this big red is meant for equally sized BBQ meats or veg.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 15.99 ON 16.99 QC 17.99 NS 17.99 MB 20.99 SK 20.00 Producer: Doña Paula Estate
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Felino Malbectext
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Felino Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis Mendoza (Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo) malbec is a Paul Hobbs project, and his Californian hand is evident in this richer, riper, softer, plusher red. After a partial native ferment in stainless, this aged in American oak barrels (10% new) for 8 months. Perfumed plums, baked raspberries, red licorice and waves of peppery spices are carried along a softly grippy, velvet palate to a warming, shorter, pasty finish.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 21.95 MB 25.99 Producer: Viña Cobos
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Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbectext
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Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec 2012

Vista Flores, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFlechas de los Andes is a partnership between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault, after a long search for terroir in Mendoza. Flechas de los Andes, or Andes arrows, refers to the 5 arrows of the logo, symbolic of the Rothschild family (symbolizing the five brothers at the origin of this dynasty of entrepreneurs). This comes from Vista Flores, in Uco Valley, and the granite, sand and gravel that spills down from the Andes. After whole cluster pressing and native ferment, this was fermented new French oak, before a one year rest in said vessels (1/3 new). Rich and polished, with long grained tannins very well integrated into the layers of cassis, thorny blackberry, subtle smoke, sultry violets, finely rasped peppercorns. The intensity of the fruit is now tempered with age, thankfully; this and the next few years is when you want to be drinking a wine like this.Prices: BC 33.95 AB 28.99 Producer: Flechas de los Andes S.A.
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Carotext
91PTS

Caro 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaCARO is a partnership between CAtena and ROthschild, uniting Chile with France in a premium wine. This 85% malbec / 15% cabernet sauvignon blend comes from the 8ha CARO vineyard, located in Uco Valley's Altamira. Vineyards are planted at 1000m, on the ancient alluvial bed of the Tunuyan River. After a 3 week maceration and fermentation, this is transferred to French oak (50% new) for 18 months. Give this big red time to stretch its legs in decanter or glass, allowing this elegant and refined red time to express. Black cherry, cassis, thorns, dusty earth unravels in layers, gripped with firm tannins and lined with leather.Prices: BC 65.00 AB 65.00 Producer: Domaines Barons de Rothschild
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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vinestext
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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaBig, ripe, and bold, but with a welcome freshness, thanks to the altitude of the three mountain estate vineyards ranging from 920-1450m. Post ferment, this spends a year in new, second, and third use barrels. This swirls with rich, ripe blackberry, potent cassis, toasty oak, and peppercorns. Tannins are ample and sticky, drawing this to the warming clove-scented finish. Bigger and riper than the last time I tasted it, this requires grilled meats or mushrooms to meet.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 19.20 ON 19.95 NS 24.00 NB 23.29 PEI 23.99 SK 25.99 NF 24.25 MB 22.99 QC 21.90 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Puntí Ferrer Signature Malbectext
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Puntí Ferrer Signature Malbec 2016

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis leads with liquered black fruits alongside chocolatey oak and a pungent vegetal character, making it oddly reminiscent of carmenere. Medium-full bodied, it’s quite concentrated with smooth, dense tannins, extracted, but not overly so. It’s identifiably Chilean, if not part of the New Wave; unfortunately, the varietal character is a bit lost here. Serve slightly chilled alongside a grilled marinated flank steak.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Puntí Ferrer
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Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbectext
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Andean Vineyards Reserve Malbec 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaNever judge a wine by its label, and this is a good example. Always a tasty malbec, it has all the touchpoints in 2017. The attack is ripe and juicy, the fruit black and savoury with a peppery herbal finish and a fraction of sticky tannins poised to take on grilled meats, a mushroom pizza, or spaghetti Bolognese. It’s ready to drink but would be happy with a splash decant and 30 minutes in a decanter.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Andean Vineyards Aires Andinos Malbectext
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Andean Vineyards Aires Andinos Malbec 2019

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis is an entry-level, fruit-forward malbec that's all about simple, candied red fruits. The palate gives an impression of sweetness, making for a soft, approachable style that masks any rough tannins. It feels pretty heavily worked, though, with some sourness to the finish. Chill this down for when you're looking for an easy drinking red.Prices: BC 12.95 Producer: Andean Vineyards
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Trapiche Reserve Malbectext
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Trapiche Reserve Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis shows brambly black fruits with a healthy amount of mocha and oak spices from aging nine months in barrel. But the fruit, though simple, is pure, and remains front and centre, which isn’t always common at this price point. You can tell there’s been a conscious effort to retain freshness: it’s more medium-bodied than full, and clocks in at a relatively moderate 13.5% abv. This is what Tuesday night wines are all about. Pour a glass, lightly chilled, to enjoy on its own while you fire up the barbecue, then pair this with an array of grilled meats. Good value.Prices: BC 14.99 SK 15.00 ON 12.00 NS 14.00 Producer: Trapiche
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Domaine Bousquet Malbec Organictext
87PTS

Domaine Bousquet Malbec Organic 2018

Tupungato, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThis is somewhat of an outlier in this flight: slightly lifted, it has tart black fruits with dried herbs and cedar. It’s a more savoury style, giving this added complexity while sacrificing some purity. The palate is fairly dilute, making the powdery, rustic tannins stick out even more. Chill it down and pair with a sweet potato stew. Made from organic grapes.Prices: MB 17.00 BC 15.99 ON 18.00 AB 17.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bousquet
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Doña Paula Estate Malbectext
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Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2018

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom Alluvia Vineyard in the high altitude Valle de Uco, this shows abundant ripeness with dense, dark berry fruits that are framed by a gravel minerality and smoky, toasty oak after aging in French barriques for 10 months. It has no shortage of extraction: it’s bold and full-bodied, but the tannin quality suffers as a result, with a harsh, gritty character. The components are all here, but it could use a touch more finesse.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 15.99 ON 16.99 QC 17.99 NS 17.99 MB 20.99 SK 20.00 Producer: Doña Paula Estate
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Pascual Toso Malbectext
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Pascual Toso Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaA simple, fairly foursquare malbec that combines non-descript black fruits with violets and smoky wood from partial aging in American oak. It’s a lighter style, relatively speaking, but the heavy, grainy tannins don’t exactly make this an easy sipper. There are other malbecs that provide more bang for your buck, even at this price, but it'll still go down nicely with a burger.Prices: BC 15.49 ON 14.00 QC 14.00 YK 17.20 AB 13.00 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Felino Malbectext
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Felino Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaFelino is a rambunctious malbec made with a mix of fruit from the Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo. Big dark plums, crushed raspberries, black licorice and supple midpalate is balanced with oak and soft, lightly smoky tannins. A winter stew or a summer mixed grill of pork and beef would be the match.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 21.95 MB 25.99 Producer: Viña Cobos
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Amalaya Malbectext
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Amalaya Malbec 2018

Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaIt's been a while since we have seen this wine, but I would reach for it in any store without hesitation. Now perfected under screwcap, it smells like it tastes: stony, mineral, dusty with an inviting black cherry, tobacco, black pepper, savoury palate flecked with orange peel and espresso. Wonderfully dry and fresh, the palate is round and juicy, and the tannins light but structured. Steak or a Tuscan pizza would suit. The Milagro, waiting for a miracle, Amalaya is grown at some of the highest vineyards (1800 meters) in the world. It is mostly malbec mixed with 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and tannat, and it is a bargain at $21.99.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 18.99 MB 21.99 ON 18.99 NS 20.49 Producer: Grupo Colomé
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Valle Las Acequias Malbec Oaktext
89PTS

Valle Las Acequias Malbec Oak 2015

Mendoza, ArgentinaThe vines are elderly at 85 years old, from the Don Angelino estate in Medrano, Mendoza. The attack is dense and chewy, the fruit is black and intense, followed by dusty spices and still a few sticky tannins. It spends ten months in French oak that seems more about getting some air into the wine rather than wood. Ripe and savoury, you could give this some more time in bottle or serve it now with a grilled steak.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 16.00 YK 24.00 Producer: Luis Segundo Correas
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Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbectext
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Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec 2012

Vista Flores, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFlechas de los Andes is a partnership between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault, as the result of their research for exceptional terroir in Mendoza. Their research took them to Vista Flores, but the winemaking is Bordeaux, beginning with cold maceration and fermentation in stainless steel, ageing in barrels, 30% new and 30% second fill, and the rest in large wooden vats for 18 months. It's exciting to taste an eight year old version whose mix is 60/20/20 malbec, syrah, cabernet franc. The attack is dense with luxurious floral blue/black fruit. There is enough texture to keep your interest as you taste through the layers and depths of this wine. The oak is present but balanced with savoury, smoky tobacco and desert scrub. Impressive for the price, and this will age effortlessly. Steak anyone?Prices: BC 33.95 AB 28.99 Producer: Flechas de los Andes S.A.
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Escorihuela 1884 Estate Grown Malbectext
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Escorihuela 1884 Estate Grown Malbec 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaYields were back to normal in 2018, a year described as a classic for Mendoza with juicy dark fruit and slippery tannins. 1884 is a much better proposition in 2018, offering up strong floral, savoury scents with ripe blackberry and smooth, chocolate, coffee, oaky notes that fit the bill at this price point. Serve up some sausages or burgers and crack a bottle or two and enjoy the evening.Prices: BC 17.99 YK 18.85 Producer: Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon
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Finca Decero Malbec Remolinos Vineyardtext
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Finca Decero Malbec Remolinos Vineyard 2017

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFinca Decero started with bare land and a hands-on approach free of any traditional restraints. In fact, ‘decero’ means from scratch. The malbec hails from the Remolinos Vineyard in Agrelo at 1050 metres above sea level. The vineyard takes its name from the Remolinos, or whirlwinds, which keep the grapes dry and clean. It opens with floral notes and a mix of red and blue fruit. The palate is soft and seductive with more blackcurrant and black raspberry flavours and dense, soft tannins. Pleasing enough to drink now or hold for another two to four years and beyond. Beef tacos for lunch or a T-Bone steak for dinner.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 22.95 ON 25.95 Producer: Finca Decero
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Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon Remolinos Vineyardtext
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Finca Decero Cabernet Sauvignon Remolinos Vineyard 2017

Agrelo District, Luján de Cuyo, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFinca Decero is a vineyard that was carved out of its landscape from ‘scratch’ or ‘decero’ as they say in Spanish. The winery philosophy is less is more, to allow the character of the 3500-foot-high Remolinos Vineyard in Agrelo to shine through the wine. The ‘remolinos’ reference is to the whirlwinds that sweep through the countryside keeping the grapes dry and in perfect condition. This wine is leaned out a bit of late and is showing more terroir and less Napa, and that is a good thing. It is still powerful, aromatic, and spicy with big cedar and red and black cherry, but with a stony, mineral undercut. Cabernet fans will drink this now. Wine fans will prefer to wait three to five years. Prime rib, lamb, or T-bone steak would be an excellent match.Prices: BC 31.99 AB 25.95 ON 25.99 Producer: Finca Decero
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El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbectext
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El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbec 2018

Calchaqui Valley, Salta, North, ArgentinaThe label pays homage to the winery’s founder, Don David Michel, and the DD malbec is harvested from vines that are closing in on 25 years of age. The fruit is all estate-owned in the Cafayate Valley, from vineyards well above 900 metres. The wine is awash in rich black plum with a whiff of dried tomato with the freshness and the minerality of Salta. Ready to drink, but this will hold for three years or more in the bottle. Best with the classic grilled meats.Prices: BC 15.99 MB 15.00 AB 15.00 Producer: Bodega El Esteco
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Catena Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vinestext
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Catena Cabernet Sauvignon High Mountain Vines 2017

Mendoza, ArgentinaPure cabernet with a cedary nose, spicy plums and cherries with a savoury after taste. Well-balanced and just enough tannin to age gracefully for another three to five years in bottle. Dependable and affordable, “High Mountain Vines” is a blend of four vineyards picked at a different time to reflect each unique site and story. A quick tour includes Agrelo 950 m of clay topsoil with rounded rocks on the bottom. Villa Bastías 1,120 m of silty, loamy soil with limestone on the bottom. Altamira in La Consulta at 1,095 m of loamy soil, with rounded rocks on the bottom and finally El Cepillo, Eugenio Bustos 1,090 m of loam-sandy soil with thick calcareous layers and rounded rocks on the bottom. It’s all fermented in stainless steel tanks for 14 days and post-wild ferment the juice sits on its skins for 20-23 days followed by 12 months in barrel whose age first, second and third use barrels is determined by the quality of the vintage. The mix is 90/7/3/ cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 18.75 MB 22.95 ON 19.95 NB 23.29 PEI 24.00 NF 23.90 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Carotext
90PTS

Caro 2016

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe CARO red takes its name from family partners CAtena and ROthschild. The 83/17 blend of cabernet sauvignon/malbec is from one of the coldest years ever in modern Argentine winemaking. The rain dissipated by the second half of the growing season, but the acidity and aromatics remind me of the temperatures. The nose is a mix of cassis with a dusting of ground capsicum, and dusty, stony notes. The attack is Lafite supple upfront, but the fruit fades early, leaving the finish dry and a little bit short at this point. Best to let this sit in the cellar through 2022 and give it some time to come together.Prices: BC 65.00 AB 65.00 Producer: Domaines Barons de Rothschild
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04 August 2020

Karp-Schreiber My Karp Off-Dry Rieslingtext
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Karp-Schreiber My Karp Off-Dry Riesling 2018

Mosel, GermanyThe Karp family has been farming grapes and making wine in the Mosel since 1664. That's 356 years. In 2018 this showed its off-dry moniker with a bright, honeyed, sweet lime note. The attack is ripe with a sweet and sour midpalate of soft, lemon-sprayed peach. It has that Mosel elegance and lightness in the back end. Pair this with spicy sushi rolls, Indian curries, or soft cheeses.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Weingut Karp Schreiber
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend between Greata Ranch estate, and fruit sourced from the southern Okanagan, this was fermented long and cool in stainless, and held with 18 g/L RS to keep it off dry. Perfumed peach, apricot aromas are met with ripping green apple and lime on the palate, working up that sweet / sour line. The acid wins out on the finish however, with a lingering lime sherbet zestiness. Accessable and friendly and snappy, this is a winning pour with Thai or Vietnamese dishes.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Upper Bench Riesling Limited Releasetext
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Upper Bench Riesling Limited Release 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEach year this riesling hits all the ready-to-drink-on-a-hot day bells with plenty of brightness, fruitiness, and a light twist (7.9 grams per litre) of residual sugar. It's mostly a mix of Granny Smith apples and grapefruit sprayed with lime and peach, all balanced with a touch of minerality and good desert scrub. Perfect for any charcuterie palate.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrockentext
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Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2017

Mosel, GermanyThe Zeltinger Himmelreich (Kingdom of Heaven) Kabinett Halbtrocken demonstrates some of the very best aspects of German riesling. Wild yeast fermented, this is a knockout floral affair flecked with spice and aromatic dried herbs. The attack is intense, offering juicy, citrus, peach lined with savoury tarragon notes. Off-dry at 17 g/l residual sugar, but you hardly notice it thanks to a stony, mineral, electric undercurrent. Ready to drink but will live forever. Think seafood, chicken, pork, or cellar forever. Delicious.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Weingut Selbach-Oster
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Therianthropy Claire de Lune Rieslingtext
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Therianthropy Claire de Lune Riesling 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. From Twenty Mile Bench's famed dry-farmed Foxcroft Vineyard, and its rich, calcarious clay loams, this dry riesling was whole cluster pressed and native fermented over 2 months, with 10% receiving 8 days on skins to build texture. This underwent full MLF, and spent 8 months in stainless on fine lees with no bâtonnage before being bottled without fining or filtration. Dry and grippy, with apricot fuzz, tangerine pith, green apple, with a fine grip, and a mineral buzz that drives this along the palate. Some botrytis this vintage brought a lovely white honeyed sheen, and additional subtle savoury layers to the palate. Another example of Ontario's excellence with riesling. Bonus points for the thoughtful recyclable plant-based composite cork and organic beeswax button that seals the top. Huge bonus points for the darling label artwork, instantly recognizable to any in the wine industry as Michel Tolmer. A project that I'm keeping a close eye on.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Crowsnest Rieslingtext
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Crowsnest Riesling 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new effort by Crowsnest that focuses on the true nature of Similkameen Valley riesling. It is a dry, stony, Alsace-like version of riesling but with lean aromas and flavours. There is a mix of mineral and subtle guava, watermelon, and nectarines. The finish is a bit cottony dry but chill this bottle down and enjoy it with a charcuterie plate and your COVID 19 bubble friends.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards and Barcello Canyon
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Rieslingtext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Lookout Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lookout is a mix of riesling fruit from the home Greata Ranch estate and grapes bought in the south Okanagan. The ferment was a long, cool affair that stopped with 18 g/L RS. It more on the good sour side than the sweet side, a testament to he Okanagan acidity. Look for a bright, juicy, orchard fruit palate with apricot, green apple, and a squeeze of citrus. Fresh, fun, sippable, and well priced to party with just about any foods you might imagine to serve with it.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Blocktext
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Harper's Trail Riesling Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block 2019

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaI am no longer surprised by the quality of this wine that begins with massive mineral and dynamic styling. Crisp lemons with a stony undercurrent and a medium-long dry, tart finish begs for food. It is drier this year than last, which will disappoint a few and attract others who prefer the tighter precision. More of a dinner wine this year, and I am okay with that. Let the fine-tuning continue. Again, well done.Prices: BC 19.29 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Dry Rieslingtext
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Quails' Gate Dry Riesling 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Quail's Gate Dry Riesling, emphasis on dry, comes off 30 year old vines. There are no big surprises here. The attack is tart with ample green apple, lime, citrus, melon that finishes dry and firm. This is a perfect wine for cheese at the moment. Fresh and clean, it is ready to drink but will hold for years given the styling. Good value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Decora Rieslingtext
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Culmina Family Estate Decora Riesling 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt feels like a calmness has descended upon Culimna, at least inside the winery, as time and vintages pass, and this riesling is a good example of the maturation of all. From the high- altitude Margaret's Bench (595 metres), this fruity, intense, juicy white comes wrapped in lemon, pink grapefruit, pear, lime, over a creamy lees underbody. Just off-dry, but it is barely noticeable given the bright acidity. Any food or occasion works here. Well done.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 21Btext
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 21B 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHendsbee Vineyard on the Cawston Bench is planted to two different clones, and Orofino has chosen to bottle them separately. The Mosel-like offering is Clone 21B, and it jumps from the glass with fruity aromatic aromas. The vines date back to 2006 and 2008, and the offering is off-dry with an intriguing savoury undercurrent that bolsters the entire length of the sweet lime, stony mineral palate, flecked with ripe pears, and drizzled with lemon juice. At 11.3 percent, it is a poster child for less-is-more in the riesling alcohol department. Think Thai, Chinese, or Indian food. Fine value, ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.05 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 239text
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Orofino Hendsbee Vineyard Riesling Clone 239 2018

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHendsbee Vineyard on the Cawston Bench is planted to two different clones, and Orofino has chosen to bottle them separately. Bone dry and just under 13 percent, 239 is a stony, mineral, crunchy riesling that is almost Saar-like with the added electricity of the Similkameen Valley. The name refers to the clone 239; the vines are now a dozen years old. The driest of all the Orofino rieslings, it is a delight to sip. Lime, nectarine skin, green apples, and crunchy pear all hit the palate with precision. It will age forever, but if you open one bottle, you might open them all. Real wine.Prices: BC 19.05 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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03 August 2020

Taylor Fladgate Fine White Porttext
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Taylor Fladgate Fine White Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalWhite Port is a style that just about stands on its own in the world of wine: a sweet fortified white wine that’s both oxidative (in this case, from aging three years in oak vats) and gently aromatic from an array of indigenous grape varieties. There’s also variation in style between port houses, with Taylor Fladgate’s Fine White Port a little sweeter than some. As you’d expect from the winemaking, it’s wildly complex: golden raisins, apricot, baked apple, walnut, white flowers, and the list goes on. Full-bodied and slightly astringent, this is best enjoyed well chilled to dull the alcohol. Although niche in North America, that’s certainly not true in Portugal, where White Port is often blended with tonic water to make a thirst-quenching cocktail. It’s next to impossible to only have one.Prices: BC 22.00 AB 21.00 SK 23.00 QC 16.00 ON 11.75 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonostext
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonos 2016

HungaryForget all the jargon on the label. All you need to know is that Tokaji produces some of the world’s great sweet wines. This is a good, but not top, example from the region at an accessible price, especially when you consider that individual berries are painstakingly harvested by hand to make it. It lacks the pronounced intensity of marmalade and honey that you find in the best examples, and the oak is a little too dominant as a result. But what makes Tokaji a lovely sweet wine is its characteristic tart, citrusy acidity that beautifully balances the sweetness, which is certainly the case here. It’s a dessert all on its own.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Château Dereszla
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02 August 2020

Unsworth Vineyards Allegrotext
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Unsworth Vineyards Allegro 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a lightly aromatic blend of sauvignette, petit milo, and amiel, which shows lovely, pure aromas of almond blossom, lemon, and a saline minerality. From the packaging, you’d expect an everyday sipper. But there’s a lot more to this wine. If we go by the tech sheet, this is not technically dry at 10 g/L residual sugar. However, the residual sugar here is more about balance than it is approachability, offsetting the tangy acidity to give this a dryish finish. Some time on the lees has also fleshed out the texture and given this an extra layer of complexity. The resulting style lies somewhere between Chablis and Muscadet, and with only 12.5%, it’s a wine that is begging to be poured at the dinner table alongside fresh shellfish. It is spot prawn season, after all. However, it tastes like some of the hard pressings may have gone into this blend, as there is quite a firm phenolic grip to the palate. Recommended.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Allegrotext
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Unsworth Vineyards Allegro 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 Allegro is a blend of sauvignette, petit milo, and amiel, three Blatnner hybrid varieties. The grapes are scattered across the south end of Vancouver Island in the Cowichan, Westshore, and Saanich Peninsula. It’s all fermented and aged on lees in stainless steel. Despite an apparent freshness of character, it went through a full malolactic fermentation, adding a creamy texture to the mid-palate. The palate is awash in grassy, candied lemon mixed with pears and ripe melons that are unexpectedly off-dry at 10 grams per litre, but balanced with a whack of acidity. Serve well chilled and pair this with a spicy tuna roll or light curry dish.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphonytext
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphony 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of four hybrids (cabernet libre, labelle, 0583, and petit milo), this is dominated by wood at the moment after aging for 20 months in French and American oak. But underneath the coffee, dill, and vanilla, there is some characterful fruit. It's just slow to emerge. One of the challenges with hybrids is their notoriously high acidity. That’s been well handled here, with fresh acidity that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Unfortunately, the sharp, woody tannins work to further obscure the fruit. It’s trying to be a wine for the big red crowd, but in a climate that may not be best suited for it.Prices: BC 24.25 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyards 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCorkedPrices: BC 26.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Rieslingtext
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Unsworth Vineyards Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm with Geoff on this one. The palate is more vibrant than you'd expect from the lean fruit profile on the nose. There is a healthy dose of residual sugar (16 g/L), still with plenty of racy acidity, it ends up being a juicy, citrus, mineral affair sourced from across the Salish Sea on the Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley. A hint of petrol (a sure sign of a warm year in young rieslings) marks the evolved nose with lime and green apple, showing good varietal character but not an abundance of complexity. The result is a well balanced, approachable style that finishes just off-dry, with a slight effervescence also helping to give this some added verve. Only 150 cases produced. A super patio pick.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Gris Saison Vineyards 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe Unsworth Saison Vineyard Pinot Gris is a window into Vancouver Island’s future as a premium producer of white wines. Primarily fermented in stainless steel, a small amount (10%) goes into neutral French oak to reduce the stark, mineral tones. Extended lees contact helps to build texture, as does a full malolactic fermentation, but this wine is mostly electric. A stony mineral, quince, and pear affair, it has all the hallmarks of a serious ageable gris. There’s a bit of dryness in the back end but that should resolve itself with time in the bottle. I love the bright green apple and pear opening, drizzled with citrus and sprinkled with dried herbs, mostly fennel. The finish is all mineral. The soils are volcanic in origin, layered with marine sediments and gravel carved and deposited by glaciers. Today, clay-loam soils lay on top of this gravelly base that sits between the 48th and 50th parallel with obvious ocean influence. As wet as the winters can be, the summers are drier and drier, although temperatures rarely rise above 30 degrees Celsius. Paradise.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA 50/40/10 blend of pinot gris, pinot noir, and auxerrois, this was fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels before undergoing secondary fermentation in bottle. The oxidative approach, plus some bottle age, has given this a complex nose of nuts and honey, with a good amount of toastiness from aging 15 months on its lees. Plus there’s still underlying fruit, with lemon and green apple. The mousse is fine and creamy, with good balance to the palate. The Extra Brut style (2 g/L residual sugar) surprisingly works; the acidity is racy but not austere, leading to a bone dry finish that leaves you wanting more.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFaulty cork; unable to review.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2015

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada2015 is more or less a carbon copy of 2014, with just a slightly fresher tone. The mix is about half pinot gris mixed with pinot noir and auxerrois; a portion is from the estate, the rest from nearby Cowichan Valley vineyards. After 15 months in the bottle, it comes to life in the glass, offering a blend of yellow and red orchard fruits with floral overtones and a creamy, leesy underbelly with a good rip of acidity. Fresh, bright, and unique, this is yet another benchmark for BC sparkling wines worth following.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelletext
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Unsworth Vineyards Cuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle 2014

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCuvée De L'ile Méthode Traditionelle is the flagship sparkler at Unsworth, and in 2014 is a mix of A 50/40/10 pinot gris, pinot noir, and auxerrois. It's fermented in stainless steel and neutral barrels before undergoing second fermentation in the bottle, where it remains for a minimum of 15 months. The nose is goût Anglais, as the Brits might say, showing some age and the results of barrel ferment. It opens with a nutty, honey tone, creamy lees on the palate, and with a baked apple, dry, citrus finish. There are two grams per litre of residual sugar but you would never know as it surprisingly works. The acidity is racy but not austere, leading to a bone dry finish that leaves you wanting more. Drink now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Island Melodytext
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Unsworth Vineyards Island Melody 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaI love that this wine presents as a Vancouver Island white and nothing more. It's bone dry with tart fruit and a fresh if short finish. Chill this down, find a warm sunny patio and few bites of food and voila, you have yourself a delightful happy hour. Look for this wine at Save-on-Foods, where the discounts add up to about three dollars per bottle if you buy a case.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphonytext
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphony 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSymphony is stainless steel fermented and aged 20 months in French and American oak. The mix is 52/26/20/2 cabernet libre/labelle/0583/petit milo. The medium-dark red opens with earthy, leafy notes flecked with espresso, milk chocolate, cherry, and pronounced dill. The attack is smooth and round, with light tannins and black cherry, earthy, foxy, vegetal flavours. Well made and fun to sip, but it would be best with grilled beef or spicy Italian sausages.Prices: BC 24.25 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sauvignettetext
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Unsworth Vineyards Sauvignette 2018

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSauvignette is a proprietary name, used by the folks at Unsworth Vineyards. The single grape variety involved is epicure, a Blattner variety VB2 originally planted in Saanich in the late 1990s. The latest effort is classic northern, with a bright acidic frame supporting richer barrel ferment characters from spending five months on lees in neutral French oak barrels. On the palate there is a fresh mix of pear and citrus with creamy, light, almond notes and a crisp dry finish. I like this as an aperitif, and you can pair it with seafood sushi rolls or fresh cheeses.Prices: BC 27.50 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Gamay Pinot Noirtext
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Unsworth Vineyards Gamay Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVancouver Island winemaker Dan Wright has made a delicious Okanagan Valley gamay/pinot noir displaying his fine touch and low-intervention style. Look for refreshing cherry with a dusting of sagebrush and white pepper. Light, fresh, quaffable, and everything you could want in a gamay. Serve with your favourite pizza or charcuterie plate. Ready to drink. The mix is 58/42 gamay noir/pinot noir.Prices: BC 21.95 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Brut Méthode Cuvée Clostext
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Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Brut Méthode Cuvée Clos NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe Unsworth Rosé Brut is a limited production offering that is made using the Charmat Method, intended to complement the Charme De L’île. The fruit comes from outside the region. On the edge of dry, the mix is 49/43/8/ gamay noir, pinot blanc and pinot noir, with up to 30 percent reserve wine for some gravitas. The colour is barely pink, the nose is a mix of nut and red fruit. On the palate, strawberries and cream dominate, along with rhubarb and apple. Pleasant and easy sipping, try this with summertime afternoon bites on the patio.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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