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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: November 2020

30 November 2020

The Old Tun Brewing Pinot Noir Rosétext
83PTS

The Old Tun Brewing Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe Old Tun Brewing is a small virtual winery based in Niagara, making sparkling wine of apples, grapes, and honey. This was sourced at the Ridgepoint Wines vineyard, and was charmat method for 4 months prior to bottling without fining or filtration. This off-dry, lightly frizzante rosé pours a peach hue, and fills the short palate with tart rhubarb, cranberry, red currant before a snappy, sour finish.Prices: ON 12.00 375 Producer: The Old Tun Brewing
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The Old Tun Brewing Muscattext
82PTS

The Old Tun Brewing Muscat 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe Old Tun Brewing is a small virtual winery based in Niagara, making sparkling wine of apples, grapes, and honey. This muscat came from Niagara-on-the-Lake's Buis Vineyard, and was fermented to dryness before going to the charmat tanks. Sour lemon, soap, faint lime peel, ale runs the short palate, finishing with a sour lime note.Prices: ON 12.00 375 Producer: The Old Tun Brewing
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The Old Tun Brewing Sauvignon Blanctext
83PTS

The Old Tun Brewing Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe Old Tun Brewing is a small virtual winery based in Niagara, making sparkling wine of apples, grapes, and honey. This savvy had a bit of skin contact before heading to charmat tank for 4 months with no fining or filtration. Sharp green apple, yellow apple, crab apple, melon, ale takes the slight, short palate, finishing with a bitter twist.Prices: ON 22.00 ON 12.00 375 Producer: The Old Tun Brewing
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Vieni Rossotext
85PTS

Vieni Rosso 2017

Ontario, CanadaThis deep, dark, sweeter sparkling red blends cabernet franc and chambourcin in a charmat method, finished with 35 g/L RS. Candied blackberry, balsamic is threaded with herbal green notes to a sticky, short finish.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Vieni
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Vieni Moscato Douxtext
87PTS

Vieni Moscato Doux 2019

Ontario, CanadaThis sweet charmat blend of moscato fills the frothy palate with candied lemon, gooseberry, lime drop, to a snappy finish. Pour this 7% alcohol fizzy alongside lighter fruit desserts and / or brunch.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Vieni
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Lola Seccotext
86PTS

Lola Secco NV

Ontario, CanadaLola is a fun lineup of wines from the folks at Pelee Island Winery, with frizzante wines like this charmat blend of chardonnay and muscat bottled under screw cap, and bottled with 14 g/L RS. Candied pear, kumquat, cantaloupe, lime pith fill the short, lightly fizzy palate, to a brief, snappy finish. Chill well and crack now, preferably in a mixed drink.Prices: ON 14.95 Producer: Pelee Island Winery
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Featherstone Premium Cuvée Joytext
86PTS

Featherstone Premium Cuvée Joy NV

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Twenty Mile Bench estate Featherstone Vineyard, this charmat chardonnay was finished with 12 g/L RS. Soft lime, white peach, yellow apple fill the frothy palate, finishing with a sticky citrus. Simple and easy, I'd love to see this with much less RS, and a more serious style.Prices: ON 35.00 Producer: Featherstone
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Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Isle of Viewtext
87PTS

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Isle of View 2019

Ontario, CanadaThis is the first sparkling wine from Colchester Ridge Estate Winery (aka CREW), and it's a charmat riesling, finished with 9 g/L RS. Baked yellow apples, honey, lime rule the frothy, just off-dry palate, finishing with a green apple snap. A pleasant charmer, and good first effort from this CREW.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Colchester Ridge Estate Winery
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Speck Bros Lazzara Bianco Seccotext
88PTS

Speck Bros Lazzara Bianco Secco NV

Ontario, CanadaLazzara is named for the Speck brothers' great grandmother, and the label is in honour of their family moving from Italy to New York to work in marble on the skyscrapers built at that time. This is a charmat fizz of mystery grapes, dosed with 20.4 g/L RS. This off dry fizz rings with lime pith, tangerine, green apple, on a tight, light, nimble palate. Nice local take on Prosecco, and useful to pour alongside canapés or spiced Thai salads.Prices: ON 17.95 Producer: Speck Bros
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Vieni Momenti Extra Drytext
87PTS

Vieni Momenti Extra Dry NV

Ontario, CanadaMomenti is an off dry charmat fizz blending vidal and pinot meunier. Soap, aromatic white florals, candied peach, lime drop fill the light, bright palate. Enjoy this pretty charmer with brunch.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Vieni
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Vieni Rieslingtext
86PTS

Vieni Riesling NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis charmat method riesling combines the grape's intrinsic citrus acidity with a bump of RS, creating a candied lemon, lime, green apple, sweet melon fizz, with a frothy, light, off-dry palate. This might work with some lime curd desserts.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Vieni
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Greenlane Severine Sparkling Rieslingtext
86PTS

Greenlane Severine Sparkling Riesling 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSeverine is the first wine in the Sisterhood line. Candied lemon, lime pith, green melon streak across the light (10.5%) palate of this riesling charmat fizz, packaged in its distinctive swing top bottle. Riesling's sharp acidity is on full display here briefly, to a shorter, bitter citrus finish. This comes from a single block of 29 year old vines in GreenLane Vineyard.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Greenlane Estate Winery
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Marynissen Estates Charmedtext
84PTS

Marynissen Estates Charmed 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaMarynissen's first sparkling wine is this Charmat blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat, with 18 g/L RS, and fruit from across Niagara. Sharp and searing on the nose, with sour lime, soap, wilted flowers to a short finish. Needs some work to be charming.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Marynissen Estates
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Bruttext
88PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCipes Brut has been around for 28 years, and you might expect it has settled into a rhythm of being well made and offering fair value in the sparkling wine sector. Green and yellow apple fruits lead the charge of a friendly mix of pf organic riesling, chardonnay, pinot blanc, all fermented using the method traditionelle. Style. It gets some nine months of ageing on its lees before being bottled with a generous but not overpowering 2.8 g/l of residual sugar RS, lending it an easy-sipping style. With stony mineral undercurrents, it never wavers into the too sweet category. Ready to drink and excellent with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Vieni Classic Bruttext
87PTS

Vieni Classic Brut 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis charmat sparkling blends chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier from Vinemount Ridge into an easy, frothy fizz of peach, red apple, orange and lemon. The RS is balanced off by high acidity, to the snappy, brisk finish.Prices: ON 23.00 Producer: Vieni
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Vieni Bollicine Extra Drytext
0PTS

Vieni Bollicine Extra Dry 2016

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaCorked.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Vieni
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North 42 Degrees Sparkling Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

North 42 Degrees Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Ontario, CanadaThis charmat sauvignon blanc spent a short time on lees before being disgorged with 18 g/L RS. Tight and racy lemon, lime sherbet, orange peel on a sweeter palate, thankfully held by a cut of citrus acidity. The finish lingers with a candied lemon / candy necklace note. This requires a brisk chill, and a light lemon dessert to finish.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: North 42 Degrees Estate Winery
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Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Luminescencetext
87PTS

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Luminescence 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method riesling spent 1 year on lees before disgorgement with a glug of Vidal Icewine, leaving a demi-sec style. Ripe peach, baked pear, white honey, orange blossoms rule the creamy, bright palate, with a light riff of grip along the sides, leading this to a snappy finish. This would work solo, or with delicate fruit desserts.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
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Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Bruttext
90PTS

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaNamed in memory of Henry's wife and family matriarch, this traditional method fizz blends chardonnay (partially barrel fermented) and pinot noir, with 30+ months on lees prior to disgorgement with 6.5 g/L RS. Red apple, dough, toast, and lemon curd fills the juicy palate, sharpened with ample acidity and bedded with ample lees. This is a welcoming, classic, high quality benchmark Brut, accessible to all.Prices: ON 33.00 Producer: Henry of Pelham
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Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs CSVtext
92PTS

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs CSV 2013

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Beamsville Bench estate Cave Spring Vineyard, and its limestone soils, this is an old-vine parcel selected for a vintage dated fizz, with more than 5 years on lees prior to disgorging. The time on lees is evident, with a salted, savoury biscuit supporting tight lemon, green apple, meringue on a slender, structural palate, with riveting limestone acidity to liven. The finish lingers is a hum of lemon pith and shimmer of stones. Layers of complexity here to unravel; this is drinking beautifully now, and will continue to hold in your cellar.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Cave Spring Cellars
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Cave Spring Riesling Bruttext
0PTS

Cave Spring Riesling Brut 2017

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Beamsville Bench Cave Spring Vineyard, this traditional method riesling aged on lees for 1 year prior to bottling. Corked.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Cave Spring Cellars
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Tawse Winery Sparktext
88PTS

Tawse Winery Spark 2016

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis Traditional Method Sparkling wine is made from a base of 25% Quarry Road Chardonnay, 31% Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir, and 44% Hillside Vineyard Pinot Gris, sustainably farmed, and with 12 months on lees prior to a disgorgement with 11 g/L RS. Red apple, white peach, pineapple rind, musk melon rule the forward, juicy palate, lassoed with shearing acidity to a snappy lime sherbet finish. Would be a lovely partner to fish tacos or crab cakes now.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Tawse Winery
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Tawse Winery Spark Limestone Ridge Sparkling Rieslingtext
89PTS

Tawse Winery Spark Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling 2017

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the north block of their Organic and Biodynamic Limestone Ridge Vineyard, this traditional method riesling spent one year on lees prior to disgorgement with 12 g/L RS. Zippy and bright, this is pure riesling, from its zippy lime / lime pith through its lightning sleek frame, to its mouth-watering acidity. Lemon blossoms, verbena fill out the snappy frame, off-set by a bump of RS. Take now with Thai or Vietnamese spiced dishes.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Tawse Winery
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Cave Spring Blanc de Blancstext
92PTS

Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs NV

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method chardonnay comes their Cave Spring Vineyard on Beamsville Bench. It spent 2 years on lees prior to disgorgement. Tight and racy, with lemon, green apple, anise led by ample chalk on the textural, nimble, savoury palate. The limestone soils are in full force here, gripping, livening the slender palate, and drawing it long to a lingering, humming finish. Uncompromising, and stunning for it.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Cave Spring
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13th Street Winery Premier Cuvéetext
91PTS

13th Street Winery Premier Cuvée 2014

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis blend of pinot noir and chardonnay came from estate Creek Shores fruit, as well as from growers in Creek Shores and Niagara-on-the-Lake, spent 48 months on lees, and was disgorged with zero dosage. Powerful and stately, with deep dough, lemon curd, white peach, lemon pith and a slight oxidative hint, reflecting its lengthy stint on lees. Bright cherry, strawberry brioche, and red currant shows pinot's charm (and dominance at 60%), while chardonnay's steely backbone holds this taut. Certainly a fuller-bodied wine of impact, ready to handle bigger food pairings.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: 13th Street Winery
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Megalomaniac Sparkling Personalitytext
88PTS

Megalomaniac Sparkling Personality 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis charmat method riesling is bright and zippy, with lime cordial, lime zest, lemon, and tight white flowers on a high acid palate, offset by a healthy dose of RS. Fun and fresh, this certainly has a sparkling personality that's easy to like.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Megalomaniac
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Château des Charmes Bruttext
89PTS

Château des Charmes Brut NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method brut blends chardonnay and pinot noir, with a minimum of one years on lees, and 7 g/L RS. Red apple, lemon curd, toasted brioche, almond flood the juicy palate, along a creamy base. The finish is red apple snappy. This is a friendly, classically styled brut.Prices: ON 26.00 Producer: Chateau des Charmes
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Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Hufftext
88PTS

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2017

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaCuvee Peter F Huff is named for the son of Huff Estates owner Lanny Huff, and the 2004 vintage of this wine was the first traditional method fizz from Prince Edward County. This chardonnay spent 24 months on lees and is dosed with 9 g/L. Yellow apple, brioche, almonds fill the potent palate, with high acidity balanced off by the dosage. Quite powerful, this is drinking well now, but will continue over the next couple years.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Huff Estates
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Redstone Sparklingtext
88PTS

Redstone Sparkling 2017

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaRedstone Winery is the latest venture by Moray Tawse, named for its red clay soil and large stones in Lincoln Lakeshore. From Limestone Vineyard, this is a traditional method blend of 80/20 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir with 18 months on lees, and a 6 g/L dosage. Red apple, green apple, lemon, toast fill a creamy palate, bright with zesty lemon acidity, and chalky on the lingering finish.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Tawse
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Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blancs 2015

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaNamed in memory of Henry’s wife, widow, and family matriarch, Catharine Smith, Carte Blanche is the vintage dated Cuvée Catharine. Short Hills Bench estate chardonnay was partially barrel fermented and then aged for 54 months on lees prior to disgorgement with 6.4 g/L. Lemon, meringue, green apple streams along the vibrant palate, tight and mineral driven, finishing long with a saline buzz. Impressive.Prices: ON 50.00 Producer: Henry of Pelham
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Greenlane Estate Winery Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
91PTS

Greenlane Estate Winery Blanc de Blancs Brut 2015

Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaTheir first sparkling wine, this traditional method chardonnay comes from a single block in Lincoln Lakeshore. This spent 36 months on lees before disgorgement. Only 50 cases were produced. Lemon, green apple, biscuit streams along the sleek palate, humming with minerality, and threaded with a gentle and alluring stream of meringue. Quite a bit of depth here; drinking beautifully now, or will hold in cellar. Fantastic start, and I'm looking forward to where this wine will go.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Greenlane Estate Winery
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Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancs 2016

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method chardonnay spent 18 months on lees, and is disgorged with 4.6 g/L RS just before leaving the winery. Green apple, biscuit, lemon, lees, rule the streamline palate, layered with ample minerality, which finishes with a limestone buzz. Impressive.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Chateau des Charmes
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13th Street Winery Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

13th Street Winery Blanc de Blancs 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis chardonnay came from a single vineyard in Creek Shores, and spent 12 months on lees prior to disgorgement with 3 g/L RS. Lemon, meringue, green apple hums along the palate, with a tight shimmer of minerality on the finish. Quite pristine and focused, through a very long finish. Texture, layers, and depth. Fantastic, and great value too.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: 13th Street Winery
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Tawse Spark Blanc de Noirstext
89PTS

Tawse Spark Blanc de Noirs 2013

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Niagara's Laundry Vineyard, this traditional method fizz is entirely pinot noir, with three years ageing on the lees. Raspberry, tight cherry, cranberry, light toast, doughy lees is laced with lemon to hold this tight. The core is pure-fruited, and there's a bright, mineral character to this snappy wine. Enjoy now solo, or with food. Drinking beautifully now.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Tawse Winery
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13th Street Winery Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noirtext
90PTS

13th Street Winery Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noir 2013

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaEntirely pinot noir, from Creek Shores VQA and the singular Whitty Vineyard, this spent at least 60 months on lees and was dosed with 5 g/L RS. Pouring a light peach hue, this is showing lovely finesse and elegance with subtle cherry, red currant, light meringue on a tight, bone dry palate. The lees here gives just the right padding to the palate, which lingers long. Very well done; drinking beautifully now, but will continue to age.Prices: ON 60.00 Producer: 13th Street Winery
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Greenlane Estate Winery Saffron Sparkling Rosétext
86PTS

Greenlane Estate Winery Saffron Sparkling Rosé 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSaffron is their second wine in their Sisterhood series, and the big sister to Severine. Their first sparkling rosé, this is packaged in a swing top reusable bottle. This blends riesling, cabernet franc from vines up to 30 years old. It was dosed with 11.8 g/L RS. Pouring a deep pink hue, this rides a sharp, brisk palate of candied rhubarb, plum, and red currant, to a snappy finish. Chill well and drink now.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Greenlane Estate Winery
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Pelee Island Bellatext
83PTS

Pelee Island Bella NV

This screw-cap charmat rosé blends auxerrois and pinot noir into a simple, off-dry fizz finished with 14 g/L RS. The nose opens with a big wave of sulphur before you can reach some candied strawberry, candy apple on the short palate. Disjointed and awkward.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Pelee Island Winery
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13th Street Winery Cuvée Rosé Bruttext
88PTS

13th Street Winery Cuvée Rosé Brut NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method rosé blends chardonnay and pinot noir, fermented in stainless with no MLF, and with 18 months on lees prior to being dosed with 8 g/L mixed with reserve pinot noir. Pouring a deep blush hue, this is juicy with red currant, red apple, and baked rhubarb. This finishes snappy and bright, with the weight to take on a variety of dishes.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: 13th Street Winery
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Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Bruttext
88PTS

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaA lovely blush hue, this traditional method fizz blends chardonnay and pinot noir, with 24 months on lees before disgorgement with 12.6 g/L RS. Tight raspberry, strawberry leads this bright wine, with an underlay of subtle toast, cherry yogurt, and crunchy red apple. More sophisticated than its peers, this has the structure to take on protein and weightier salads.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Henry of Pelham
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The Foreign Affair Winery Sparkling Rosé Bruttext
87PTS

The Foreign Affair Winery Sparkling Rosé Brut 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis is the inaugural vintage of of their Sparkling Rosé Brut, utilizing 8% apassimento grapes, as is their signature move. This blends 72% riesling and 28% pinot noir in a charmat method, finishing with 10g/L RS. Riesling is at the forefront, with a candied lime and citrus perfume note that pervades, along with a bite of acidity, cutting the candied strawberry, red apple on the palate. There's an acerbic orange note that sticks to the finish.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: The Foreign Affair Winery
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Kacaba Effervescencetext
87PTS

Kacaba Effervescence 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe last time I tasted Kacaba's Effervescence was their inaugural vintage, in 2015, and the wine was white. Fast forward a few years and this is a deeply coloured rosé of pinot noir and chardonnay, in the charmat method, with 20g/L RS. Off-dry, with perfumed raspberries, strawberries, cherry flooding a juicy, frothy palate. The end finishes with candy apple and a bright twist. This has the body and intensity to take on some spicy fare.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Kacaba
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Lola Nerotext
85PTS

Lola Nero NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaLola is a fun lineup of wines from the folks at Pelee Island Winery, with frizzante wines like this charmat-mthod, bottled under screw cap. This is a charmat blend of chambourcin and pinot noir, with 33 g/L RS. Toasted wood, black and red currants, and candied plum rule the frothy, short palate. Best taken with a brisk chill and in a punch, or instead of punch.Prices: ON 18.00 Producer: Pelee Island Winery
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Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosétext
88PTS

Huff Estates Cuvée Janine Sparkling Rosé 2017

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaThis deeper-hued traditional method rosé is pinot noir from Prince Edward County, with 20 months on lees, and a dosage of 10 g/L RS. Deeply spiced, with intense raspberry, green raspberry, green apple, and cranberry on a compact palate. The raging acidity is well balanced off by the generous bump RS, finishing dry with a cranberry twist.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Huff Estates
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Lola Rosé Blushtext
86PTS

Lola Rosé Blush NV

Ontario, CanadaLola is a fun lineup of wines from the folks at Pelee Island Winery, with frizzante wines like this charmat-mthod, bottled under screw cap. This is a blend of vidal and chambourcin, with 20 g/L RS, so expect a sweet, simple, lightly fizzy deeper hued pink with candy apple, sugared raspberries, and orange soda on a juicy palate. This very friendly wine is best with a brisk chill and / or used in a punch. Beautiful packaging.Prices: ON 18.00 Producer: Pelee Island Winery
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Megalomaniac Bubbleheadtext
88PTS

Megalomaniac Bubblehead NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaBubblehead is a pale hued charmat method pinot noir. Dry and direct, with cherry, raspberry streaming on a focused, dry palate, gripped with a riff of tannic structure on the sides. Impressively labelled, this is quite smart for solo sipping as well as with food.Prices: ON 35.00 Producer: Megalomaniac
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Pelee Island Bella Sparkling Redtext
0PTS

Pelee Island Bella Sparkling Red NV

Ontario, CanadaCorked.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Pelee Island Winery
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Vieni Momenti Rosé Extra Drytext
87PTS

Vieni Momenti Rosé Extra Dry NV

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis charmat-method wine is a sweetish pink of Alleria Rose from Vinemount Ridge, with candied strawberries, candy apple, and ample pink florals filling the frothy mouthfeel. This finishes briskly and fresh. Best with a good chill and a warm patio or wedding toast.Prices: ON 16.95 Producer: Vieni
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Vieni Rosé Bruttext
87PTS

Vieni Rosé Brut 2018

Ontario, CanadaThis charmat blends chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir and pinot meunier from Vinemount Ridge on a candied, just off-dry palate flooded with candied strawberry, cherry, and pink florals, to a moderate finish. Frothy and fun, this is best well chilled.Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: Vieni
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Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Rubinescencetext
87PTS

Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery Rubinescence 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSue-Ann Staff is a 5th generation grape grower and winemaker situated on her family's 200 year old estate in Jordan, Ontario. This traditional method rosé is predominantly riesling, with 3% merlot tipped in. It spent one year on lees prior to disgorgement. Sweet and pretty with raspberry jam, cherry, and pink florals on a frothy, sweetish palate. Charming; chill well and enjoy now.Prices: Producer: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
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Sperling Vineyards Speritz Pet Nattext
87PTS

Sperling Vineyards Speritz Pet Nat 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis light and lively, slightly sper…itzy wine is of the obscure perle of csaba grape, planted in 1934 on Ann Sperling's family property, settled by her grandparents more than 150 years ago. Sperling, one of Canada's most well known winemakers, makes this little fizzy wine from those biodynamically-farmed, limestone-rooted vines. With a gentle sweetness and low alcohol (8.4%), this natty pét-nat greets with elderflower, grapefruit, crunchy melon, and perfumed florals on a light, frizzante palate. Try while brunching.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Kitsch Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Kitsch Blanc de Blancs 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis chardonnay was planted in 2013 on the East Kelowna estate and its gravelly, stony soils. After whole-cluster-press and stainless ferment, this went into the bottle to rest on lees for 2 years before disgorging with 4g/L (using their 2017 Chardonnay). Toast, bright green apple, lemon blossoms, roasted almonds, meringue float on the medium palate, appropriately balanced by creamy lees, orchard-fresh fruit, and crunchy acidity. The finish is long and saline, welcoming another glass. Lovely complexities are now entering with the additional lees time; this is exactly where it should be. Beauty now, and will continue to hold in your cellar.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Kitsch Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Kitsch Blanc de Blancs 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe chardonnay in this blanc de blancs was planted in 2013 on the home estate in East Kelowna. The gravelly, stony soils seem well suited to the fresh, minerally, stony style, bursting with green apple, lemon, and almond. Two years on the lees gives a creamy undercurrent, adding to the refinement and complexity of the wine. It is well made and a fine example of what is possible when it comes to sparkling wine. Who knows, maybe sparkling wine will be the new export of the Canadian wine industry. It certainly has the gravitas to get the world's attention.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Frind Estate Winery Bruttext
88PTS

Frind Estate Winery Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is traditional method sparkling wine that should appeal to Prosecco lovers. Aged for 15 months on its lees, there's a very subtle autolytic character, but this is really more about the fruit. A riesling-dominant blend, with 24 percent chardonnay, it combines crunchy tree fruits with floral aromatics. The noticeable dosage (13 g/L residual sugar) gives some honeyed character to the palate's fruit and makes this an easy-drinking bubble to pour as an aperitif.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Unsworth Vineyards Charme De L'ile Rosétext
86PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Charme De L'ile Rosé NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCharme De L'ile is an unofficial appellation of style, native to the Wine Islands. It's a charmat-method sparkling wine, of island-grown grapes, meant to typify our brisk coastal climate. This NV rosé is from Cowichan pinot noir, reflective in the blush hue of this easy bubble. Rhubarb, red currants, raspberries, tomato leaf, romano cheese fill the short, fizzy palate, to a snappy, dry finish. A bit disjointed, and best taken quite chilled, with some veg or salmon dishes to mitigate.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Bruttext
87PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Rosé Brut NV

British Columbia, CanadaThis is the second charmat-method line of wines from Unsworth, the first being their island-centric Charme de l'Isle. This blends gamay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir from Okanagan and Fraser Valleys, as well as Vancouver Island, along with 30% reserve wines. Those reserve wines are noted on first sniff, with an aged floral, aged gouda note, which carries onto the palate. Some dried raspberry, fresh strawberry notes join the mature notes, along with bright acidity, and a hint of spice. 7 g/L holds this pretty dry, and in good balance to the tight acidity. A bit disjointed, I'd love to see more of the pretty, fresh, primary fruit and floral flavours so much more suited to the charmat method.Prices: BC 19.49 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Bruttext
88PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Sparkling Brut NV

British Columbia, CanadaThis is the second charmat-method line of wines from Unsworth, the first being their island-centric Charme de l'Isle. This blends gamay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir from the Okanagan, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island into a drier, slightly more structured sparkler than the Charme. This also has 10% reserve wines added, and was dosed with 7 g/L RS. Dried apple, yellow apple, pear brioche is bedded with a pad of lees, and finishes with an apple cider note. Canapés apropos.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Saintly The Good Sparkling Whitetext
84PTS

Saintly The Good Sparkling White NV

Ontario, CanadaOne of Arterra's brands, this charmat fizz of mystery grapes fills a frothy, short palate with melon, yellow apples, crab apples to a short, acerbic finish.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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Saintly The Good Sparkling Rosétext
86PTS

Saintly The Good Sparkling Rosé NV

Ontario, CanadaOne of Arterra's brands, Saintly Rose is a simple, frothy pink with confected raspberries, strawberries, orange, on a short, dryish palate. A fun, entry-tier pink fizz.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Bruttext
88PTS

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2016

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method fizz blends chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, with 2.5 years on lees, and a dosage of 7 g/L RS. Ripe and full, with baked yellow apple, white peach, butterscotch aromas, toast on a creamy palate. They've done a great job balancing the richness with the sugar and acidity, creating an accessible, friendly Brut.Prices: ON 29.99 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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Steller's Jay Sparkling Shiraz Brut Méthode Classiquetext
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Steller's Jay Sparkling Shiraz Brut Méthode Classique NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVery much in the off-dry, festive, fun, and fruity sparkling shiraz zone, this pours an inky dark, lambrusco-esque hue. With 25 g/L RS, the sugar is immediately apparent on the nose, but the palate is taken over by campfire / smoked wood, overshadowing the blackberry jam, spearmint, roasted coffee on the super short palate. Even well-chilled, this is disjointed.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Finished with Icewinetext
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Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Finished with Icewine 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is quite sweet, thanks to the Vidal Icewine dosage, leaving creamy honey, baked pear, lemon curd, with tight, grippy sides, and a creamy, foamy palate. Pour alongside pear or berry desserts.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Merlottext
87PTS

Jackson-Triggs Niagara Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Merlot 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis traditional method merlot was fermented in wood before moving to bottle for one year on lees prior to disgorging with 30 g/L RS. Pouring a dark, deep hue, this frothy red carries dark chocolate, espresso, balsamic along a fuller, somewhat pasty palate, with the sweetness met by ample acidity. It finishes quickly, with lingering sweet black currant.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of 65 percent chardonnay and 35 percent pinot noir, this spends 6.5 years on its lees like the Blanc de Blancs, and is released 12 months after being disgorged. Trying the two side-by-side makes for an interesting contrast. This is more developed and shows some of its age, but is quite complex as a result, showing a range of lemon curd, red fruits, nuts, toast, and a mealy note. Interestingly, the autolytic character is also more overt here. It's well balanced, with the ripeness of fruit to easily balance the minimal dosage (4 g/L), but doesn't have the same tension as the Blanc de Blancs. Ready to drink now and solid value at $50.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain's 2016 Brut Rosé ups the percentage of pinot noir, from 60 percent in 2015, to 67 percent this year, along with 33 percent chardonnay. That is reflected by the nose, which shows lots of expressive pinot fruit: crisp red berries and red apple that’s framed by modest toasty autolytic character from aging 30 months on its lees. Just off-dry with a 10 g/L dosage, it’s a richer style with a lot of charm and immediate appeal. But it shows its seriousness, and incredible value, as it evolves each time you return to it.Prices: BC 39.90 AB 39.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
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Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis chardonnay from Blue Mountain’s estate vineyard was aged on its lees for 6.5 years before being disgorged in August 2019 and released 12 months later. There are no shortcuts when it comes to making world-class sparkling wine, and Blue Mountain proves it every year. This is everything you want in a blanc de blancs: precise, crunchy green apple and lemon that’s bolstered by hazelnut and brioche. The mousse is fine and silky, with a laser sharp, linear texture that's carried by the density of the fruit. Impeccably balanced, with a 4 g/L dosage, this is delicious now with oysters. But it's remarkably youthful and will only get better with time. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Unsworth Vineyards Charme De L'iletext
87PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Charme De L'ile NV

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaCharme de L'ile is a style that some winemakers on the Island have adopted, branded, and share in, meant to be distinctly Wine Islands. The charmat-method fizz is to use exclusively Island grapes to make a lightly effervescent, delicately fruity and floral fizz, ideal for current consumption (even more ideally with local seafood). There are currently three wineries using the name, and this is Unsworth's largest production wine. This is 85% pinot varieties, led by Gris, Noir, and Auxerrois, and using 10% reserve wines from the previous vintage. Yellow apple, pear skin, this builds texture with lees and full MLF, aided by the 8g/L dosage. This bottle's finish has a bitter / bruised fruit finish; chill well.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Steller's Jay Méthode Classique Rosé Sparklingtext
86PTS

Steller's Jay Méthode Classique Rosé Sparkling NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a deep salmon hue, this traditional method rosé fizz is full of candied cherry, candy apple, strawberry jam, on a sweeter, shorter, frothy palate. Definitely best with a brisk chill and some kind of festivities where simple, sweeter, pink bubbles is required.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Steller's Jay Mountain Jay Brut Méthode Classiquetext
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Steller's Jay Mountain Jay Brut Méthode Classique 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaConsistency is key in this BC classic, easily the greatest fizz by volume, and familiarity in the province. A traditional method blend of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot blanc, this spends two years on lees prior to release. You can feel the cushiness on the palate, supporting apple brioche, lemon, and pear blossom to a snappy, subtle dried apple finish. Friendly and familiar, this accessible brut proves its worth yet again.Prices: BC 22.99 MB 23.50 NS 25.00 ON 26.00 SK 27.25 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Jackson-Triggs Reserve Esprit Sparklingtext
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Jackson-Triggs Reserve Esprit Sparkling NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom JT Okanagan, this traditional method fizz blends riesling, chardonnay, and pinot blanc into a fruit-forward bubble. Lemon, red apple, toast is upfront and present on the brisk, medium palate, kissed with meringue and floral sweetness on the shorter, candied lemon finish. A friendly, approachable sparkler.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate
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Frind Estate Winery Bruttext
88PTS

Frind Estate Winery Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrind Brut is a new sparkling wine to enter the market and an early release from Frind Estate, just starting to get underway on the west shores of Okanagan Lake south of Quails' Gate. It is styled for early release, and with 13 grams of residual sugar, the build is friendly, but it's not overly sweet, thanks to the always present natural BC acidity. It should work with any number of spicy appetizer bites. Solid.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Township 7 Seven Stars Equinox Brut Rosétext
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Township 7 Seven Stars Equinox Brut Rosé 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Equinox is when the day and night are of equal length, which relates to the balance in this rosé. The colour is a beautiful pale pink/orange. The attack is fresh with persistent bubbles and ethereal citrus aromas with a dash of warm bread. The Seven Stars collection is crafted using traditional method techniques where the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The wine tastes as it looks, all strawberries and ripe apples, with a touch of creamy brioche and plenty of salt and minerality that, in the end, is complex and well worth contemplating.Prices: BC 45.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Mirabel Blanc de  Noirtext
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Mirabel Blanc de Noir 2016

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Blanc de Noir is an estate-grown pinot noir in East Kelowna and made using the méthode traditionelle. I am impressed with its elegance that entices on the nose and follows through on the palate. Three years of ageing on lees contributes to an underlying creamy, mineral leesy character that supports a light, ethereal pink grapefruit and wild cherry fizz that is a delight to drink. Balanced, sophisticated, and well worth buying to drink or cellar.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
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29 November 2020

Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L'Ecussontext
89PTS

Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L'Ecusson NV

LuxembourgThis fresh and juicy sparkler is from the Duchy of Luxembourg. Poised between France and Germany, Luxembourg's main vineyard area is a stone's throw from the Mosel Valley. With just 1,300 hectares of vines, the wines are a rarity, and this one is on sale until January 2 at a five dollar discount! The nose delightfully combines bread-dough yeastiness of bottle-fermentation with crisp green apple, peach, hints of honey and herbs. Fulsome in the mouth, ripe fruity flavours of red berries, apple danish and stone fruit are precise and very pleasing, as is the frothy and creamy texture. Bright lemony acidity and mineral undertones refresh, lengthen and dry out the finish. Made in the champagne method from pinot blanc, riesling, pinot noir, and chardonnay, Cuvée de L'Ecusson spends 2 years in the bottle gaining subtle complexity, toastiness and finesse. Pair its exuberant fruit with savory treats like some fine pâté, baked brie or gougères. Will make a novel and welcome gift to your wine loving friends (and not break the bank) and you can tell them that Luxembourg specializes in sparkling wines just like this.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Bernard-Massard
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Bisol Cartizze Proseccotext
90PTS

Bisol Cartizze Prosecco 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFrom the famed hill, and Cru, of Valdobbiadene's Cartizze, this Prosecco was based on glera, and finished with 25 g/L RS. Cartizze wines have a softer presence in the mouth, and are characterized with an elevated RS, as was the historic tradition. Perfumed pear blossoms, yellow apple, float on a tightly strung palate, with a nip of pear skins holding all taut to the humming finish. This is one of the more modern styled Cartizze I've experienced, and one to seek out to understand the style.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 44.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Crede Proseccotext
90PTS

Bisol Crede Prosecco 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyCrede refers to the clay soils throughout Valdobiaddene, contributing to the area's proclivity for top tier Prosecco. This glera-based fizz is refreshingly dry, with only 7.5g/L RS. Elderflower, yellow apple, Asian pear rides a stony palate, finishing with a kiss of pear blossoms on the crisp, citrus finish. Lovely view of Prosecco, and one I wish many, many more producers would adopt and export.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 32.99 Producer: Bisol
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Graham Beck Brut Zerotext
89PTS

Graham Beck Brut Zero 2014

Robertson, Breede River Valley, South AfricaFrom a specialist Cap Classique producer, the Graham Beck Brut Zero is the ultimate no make-up sparkling wine. With no dosage or no added sugar, all that remains is the purest form of sparkling wine, in this case, an 85/15 mix of chardonnay and pinot noir from the limestone-rich Robertson Estate and the decomposed granite soils in Stellenbosch. The secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, and the wine rests on its lees for an impressive 60 months. Expect a subtle nose of red-blue fruits, almonds, and a light hint of spice that spills across a bone dry, creamy palate. The finish persists quietly with a salty mineral undertow.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Graham Beck
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Bisol Jeio Rosé Prosecco Bruttext
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Bisol Jeio Rosé Prosecco Brut 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe Bisol family has been farming the famed hill of Cartizze since the 16th century. This, their lower entry tier of wines, is named for Desiderio Bisol, the current winemaker. This light peach hued rosé prosecco (a brand new classification) is a blend of 85% Glera, and 15% Pinot Nero, dosed at 6.5 g/L. Raspberry blossom, peach, blossoms fill a soft, frothy palate to a snappy finish.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 24.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Jeio Bruttext
88PTS

Bisol Jeio Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe Bisol family has been farming the famed hill of Cartizze since the 16th century. Jeio is an entry-level label named for Desiderio Bisol, the current winemaker. Glera makes up the majority of this cuvée, accompanied by verdiso, pinot bianco, and chardonnay. Crisp and bright, with the 9 g/L RS gobbled up by crunchy citrus acidity, this carries melon, pear and peach blossom to a snappy finish.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 23.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Cartizze Proseccotext
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Bisol Cartizze Prosecco 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis wine originates on the hill of Cartizze, 305 metres high, and spread across 107 hectares of vines owned by 140 growers. The Prosecco from its grapes is widely considered the highest quality or even the Grand Cru of Prosecco. The vineyard work required to make this wine is characterized as heroic, and walking the steep landscape makes that description abundantly clear. The vineyards wind along the crumbly stone hillsides over a firmer rock that results in a more refined Prosecco with a light, airy style. Despite pushing some 25 g/L of residual, it presents relatively dry, offering more finesse enhanced by floral stony notes mixed with blue fruits, fresh bread and minerality. Classy bubble best with subtle bites.Prices: BC 55.99 AB 44.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Jeio Rosé Prosecco Bruttext
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Bisol Jeio Rosé Prosecco Brut 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe Bisol family has been farming the famed hill of Cartizze for 21 generations. Rosé DOC is new to Prosecco and but it acquits itself well, blending 85% glera, and 15% pinot nero, with a small hit of residual sugar measured at 6.5 g/L. Look for a light raspberry colour, and aroma and flavour profile streaked with peaches and dried cherries. Soft, simple bubbly and ready to drink. Pure fun and would be a good match to spicy tuna rolls.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 24.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Jeio Bruttext
89PTS

Bisol Jeio Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyJeio is an entry-level Prosecco named after Desiderio Bisol, the current winemaker. It is a bubbly mix of glera, verdiso, pinot bianco, and chardonnay, but the glera makes up the vast majority of the cuvée. Typically light and fresh, it opens with light notes of straw, dried herbs, and bright acidity that balances off its 9 g/L residual sugar, with peach, melon, pear, and grapefruit that tightens up the finish. Authentic.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 23.99 Producer: Bisol
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Bisol Crede Proseccotext
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Bisol Crede Prosecco 2019

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyCrede is local dialect for the clay-laden soils in the municipality of Valdobbiadene. The ancient slopes were once under the sea before inching back up over time into the hilly vineyards of Prosecco Superiore DOCG. The clay plays a role in avoiding the effects of drought and preserving acidity. Crede is hand-harvested from 250 meters altitude, is 85 percent glera, and comes with bright yellow tones. The nose is reminiscent of wildflowers and wet stones. The attack is fresh and clean with minimal residual sugar, adding some weight and fullness without a big sugary effect. Apples and pears and minerality round out a crisp, clean finish. Perfect for the patio.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 32.99 Producer: Bisol
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Henkell Trocken Dry Sekttext
85PTS

Henkell Trocken Dry Sekt NV

GermanyHenkell is a sparkling wine juggernaut (owned by Dr. Oetker, no less), overseeing a family of popular sparkling wine brands. Their Henkell Trocken Dry Sekt arguably leads the pack and is among the best selling sparkling wines in British Columbia. Floral and fruity, the fruit is both simple and rather muddled. Aggressively frothy upon opening, the bubbles dissipate quite quickly. Noticeably off-dry and short, it's a simple sparkling wine that you could chill down well or better yet, use for a spritz.Prices: BC 14.49 AB 13.39 SK 15.99 MB 14.99 ON 12.95 QC 14.95 NB 16.99 NFL 16.99 Producer: Henkell & Co. Gruppe
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The Hermit Ram Ancestral Method Muller Thurgautext
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The Hermit Ram Ancestral Method Muller Thurgau 2019

Canterbury, South Island, New ZealandTheo Coles makes small lots off tiny naturally farmed vineyards throughout the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The wines are made with the minimal amount of additions and deletions. This natural pét-nat is from 35+ year old Muller Thurgau vines, a variety that was once planted solely for blending off into bulk wines. This comes from one of the oldest vineyards in Canterbury, was fermented whole cluster, and pressed after 2 weeks of carbonic maceration. The second ferment was kicked off in the bottle via some must that was frozen, and then tipped in. Intense on the cloudy yellow palate, yet delicate, with elderflower, orange blossom, Asian pear crunchiness on a subtly frizzante palate, with a riff of texture. Bitter orange rinses the finish. A well-made, natty pét-nat.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: The Hermit Ram
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Tenuta Civranetta Prosecco Organictext
88PTS

Tenuta Civranetta Prosecco Organic NV

Veneto, ItalyFidora, an organic winery in Veneto, was established in 1974, and has been organic since its inception. This Brut is gently sweet with candied peach, pear, orange blossoms and a welcome grippy, riffy texture around the sides. Lovely balance and delicacy; chill and enjoy now.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Fidora
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Domaine Baud Blanc de Blanc Crémant du Jura Bruttext
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Domaine Baud Blanc de Blanc Crémant du Jura Brut NV

Jura, FranceThis family estate dates back to 1742, but it wasn't until 1950 when René Baud, 7th generation, rebuilt the vineyards, expanding from 4 hectares into 20 hectares over the years. Today the estate is managed by siblings Clémentine and Bastien, 9th generation. This sustainably farmed chardonnay is rooted in the Jura's marl and limestone soils and was fermented in stainless before a year on lees before disgorgement and release. Green apple, white florals, oyster shells, meadow herbs, meringue run the bright, sleek palate, with a bed of creamy lees. There's a lovely streaming anise note that leads to a lengthy finish. Drinking beautifully now, but will hold over the next couple years easy.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Domaine Baud Père & Fils
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Mas Codina Cava Brut Nature Reservatext
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Mas Codina Cava Brut Nature Reserva NV

SpainMas Codina is a 40-hectare estate in the Alt Penedès, dating back to 1681, and traditionally planted to polyculture. Over time the family has transitioned the organically farmed estate to vineyards (and the 100+-year-old olive trees). This Cava blends macabeo, xarel-lo, chardonnay, and pinot noir from 20 to 30-year-old vines harvested a single vintage. This spent a minimum of two years on lees before release, with no dosage. Tight and nervy with apple (fresh and dried), almonds, broken stone, ginger, and orchard blossoms on a fine, lees-lined palate. This finishes with vanilla biscuits and a hum of acidity. Quite smart, this is far beyond your typical Cava and worth seeking out.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Mas Codina
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La Jara Prosecco Brut Biologicotext
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La Jara Prosecco Brut Biologico NV

Veneto, ItalyLa Jara's silver-labelled organic Prosecco is its Brut, a drier style that is less common throughout the region. It's more delicate in style than its gold-labelled sibling, with restrained pear and peach fruit alongside floral aromatics. The mousse is soft, creamy, and gentle, with the 10 g/L dosage leading to an off-dry finish that's still in balance. Good value for $18, and certainly a step above what you typically find at this price point for Prosecco. Pour this as an aperitif, but don't be surprised if you end up pouring a second glass.Prices: BC 17.99 ON 17.95 Producer: La Jara
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Freixenet Prosecco Extra Drytext
87PTS

Freixenet Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyIf you want a bottle on your table that leaves an impression, this is certainly it. At least the packaging does, thanks to its stunning bottle mould. The wine is also on point, if slightly less impressive. It combines crisp green apple fruit with orange blossom, and there's sufficient freshness to balance the 18 g/L dosage and keep this lively. An aperitif-style Prosecco that will turn heads over the holidays (even on Zoom).Prices: BC 27.99 AB 25.95 MB 22.99 ON 19.95 QC 21.35 NB 25.99 NF 24.98 Producer: Freixenet
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Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Bruttext
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Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyNow part of the Henkell group, Mionetto was originally founded in 1887 in Valdobbiadene and has become one of the world's top selling Proseccos. The fruit on their Prestige Prosecco is rather flat and simple: pear with a hint of florals, lacking the charm and purity of higher quality Prosecco. Expect a vigorous, frothy mousse on a light frame, leading to an off-dry finish (12 g/L residual sugar). It's an easy, approachable style at a fair price, though this will be most successful in sparking cocktails.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 17.99 SK 18.99 MB 18.99 ON 16.95 NB 20.99 PEI 20.99 NS 19.95 NF 20.98 Producer: Mionetto S.p.A.
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Treveri Blancs de Blancs Brut Zerotext
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Treveri Blancs de Blancs Brut Zero NV

Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThis traditional method chardonnay from Washington's Columbia Valley spends 24 months on its lees and is finished with zero dosage. Candied orange, lemon drop, pear fills the ripe, cushy, softer palate, finishing with a snappy lime twist — simple, quaffable fizz, ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Treveri Cellars
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La Jara Prosecco Extra Dry Organictext
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La Jara Prosecco Extra Dry Organic NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe jump from La Jara's silver label to gold label takes you from Brut to Extra Dry and a notch more dosage (12-17 g/L) as a result. There’s a little more oomph to the fruit here than the Brut, verging into honeyed stone fruits. There's also more richness and fruit density to carry the underlying sweetness nicely. Sometimes residual sugar is about approachability, but that's not the case here. It's integral to this wine, and it's easy to taste why Extra Dry is the classic Prosecco style. Excellent value; certified organic and vegan friendly.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: La Jara
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Maschio Prosecco Treviso Bruttext
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Maschio Prosecco Treviso Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyPink florals, peach blossoms, red apple, almond, and honey fill this frothy, juicy, entry Prosecco. Though certainly with a bump of residual sugar, this is all in balance, offering a simple, off-dry fizz to kick off festivities.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Cantine Maschio
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Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Bruttext
87PTS

Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyThis glera comes from Prosecco's heartland of hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Pear, peach blossoms, kisses of anise, and subtle apricot fill the frothy, soft, off-dry palate, tightened subtly by some apricot pit bitterness. Chill well and crack now.Prices: CDN 20.00 Producer: Santa Margherita S.P.A.
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Bolla Prosecco Extra Drytext
85PTS

Bolla Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalySimple and sweetish, with candied peach, subtle florals, light pear some sour ale notes riding a frothy palate, to a short, snappy finish. Chill well and use in fruity cocktails / punches for some sparkle.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Fratelli Bolla S.p.A.
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Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Prestigetext
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Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Prestige NV

Lombardy, ItalyCa' del Bosco, or the 'house in the forest,' is all Maurizio Zanella. He was the driving force behind the Franciacorta movement that earned the coveted status of DOCG in 1995. Our visit to the property was a discovery of excellence and ingenuity. Cuvée Prestige is a multi-year blend of the best vintages, with the grapes (chardonnay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir) coming off more than 130 vineyards, made using the traditional method, and aged a minimum of 28 months. The colour is deep straw, with a heady mix of lees, bread dough, and light tropical fruits. The palate is similar in style, with lovely intense leesy baked apple that amplifies all the parts before the bright acidity balances out the finish. Different and impressive. Rich fowl or fish dishes work here.Prices: BC 55.00 ON 45.00 QC 33.00 NS 48.00 PEI 50.00 Producer: Ca' del Bosco
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Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour Brut Rosétext
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Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour Brut Rosé NV

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMadame de Pompadour (mistress to Louis XV) is credited with introducing Champagne to the court at Versailles and the inspiration for the Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour, declaring it was "the only wine that a woman can drink and remain beautiful." Pompadour hails from California's Carneros region, just north of the San Pablo Bay. The cuvée is 72/28 pinot noir/chardonnay, where a portion of the pinot noir is allowed several days of skin contact to pull additional fruit character and colour. Expect an intriguing mature, salty, strawberry/cherry attack with light nuances of peaches, honeysuckle and spice. A creamy mineral texture carries through a dry, food-friendly finish. Not sure when this arrived in the market, or when it was bottled, but it is now fully ready to drink it needs no extra ageing. Salmon anyone?Prices: BC 52.99 AB 49.95 Producer: Domaine Carneros
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Cune Cava Bruttext
89PTS

Cune Cava Brut NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainBack in the 19th Century, Rioja's CVNE produced consistent quantities of sparkling wine to fill the void for Champagne, ravaged by phylloxera. Although the company evolved into being still wine focused, they continued with Cune Cava Brut represents a return to the future. This xarel·lo, macabeo and parellada blend floats along a dryish, biscuity palate, with dried apple, almond, and lemon pith holding this taut and bright. Lovely balance throughout, and excellent value for quality.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Compañía Vitivinícola del Norte de Espana (CVNE)
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Valdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Marca Oro Extra Drytext
87PTS

Valdo Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Marca Oro Extra Dry NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThere's no shortage of fruit on this approachable Prosecco. It's packed with confected peach and pear, but the fruit is slightly muddled and missing the purity and floral complexity of higher quality examples. The lighter body, noticeable residual sugar (as Extra Dry it falls between 12-17 g/L), and soft mousse make this an easy drinking style that will go down quickly as an aperitif over the holidays, or keep the spritzes flowing.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 20.00 SK 21.00 Producer: Valdo
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Mezza di MezzaCorona Italian Glacial Bubblytext
86PTS

Mezza di MezzaCorona Italian Glacial Bubbly NV

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyMezzacorona has been cultivating vineyards since 1904. From Trentino-Alto Adige's Dolomiti mountains comes this off-dry blend of chardonnay, müller-thurgau, and pinot blanc. Pear blossom, medicinal white cherry, white peach, and orange blossom is cut with a sharp severing acidity, matching the ample RS, but leaving this a bit disjointed to the short finish. Needs a brisk chill, and possibly a mixer.Prices: BC 17.00 ON 12.95 MB 13.02 PEI 15.00 NS 15.00 NF 15.00 Producer: Gruppo MezzaCorona
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Estelado Brut Rosétext
90PTS

Estelado Brut Rosé 2018

Valle del Curicó, Region del Valle Central, ChileEstelado is an ode to the first grape variety planted in Chile back in the 1550s. It was known as listán prieto in Spain; in New World colonies, it was tagged the mission grape; while in Chile, it would become país. The rosé is made with 100 percent país, dry-farmed by farmers resurrecting a historic grape and supporting traditional small family traditions. The colour is Provençal pale orange/red, while the nose is a light fragrant floral affair with earthy, cherry aromas. The attack is crisp and in the drier style with less than 5 g/L of dosage, leading to a delightful, spicy, strawberry, citrus sparkler: a perfect sparkling rosé for hand passed bites. The Torres family has a history of supporting local and ancient varieties, and this sparkling rosé is a wonderful tribute to both. It is estimated that there are some 15,000 hectares of país, second only to cabernet sauvignon in Chile. The vines are concentrated in the dry interior and coastal areas of Maule and Bio Bío, where there are an amazing 8000 producers. Technically the wine is first fermented in stainless steel for 18 days. The second fermentation took place in the bottle for 45 days before it rested for six months on its lees. By the time it is shipped, it spends a minimum of one year in bottle.Prices: BC 22.00 ON 20.00 QC 22.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Chile
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Cono Sur Sparkling Rosétext
88PTS

Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé NV

Valle de Bio-Bio, ChileCono Sur is producing some of the best value wines on the planet right now. Their sparkling rosé isn't an exception, though you won't confuse this for Champagne. Not that that's the intention. Using the charmat method, it's made in an approachable, fruity style with an emphasis on crisp red fruits from 100 percent pinot noir. A hint of sweetness (11 g/L) makes this an easy drinking sparkling wine that will appeal broadly. When this is on sale, you'll want to stock up.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 16.50 SK 23.45 MB 24.99 ON 14.95 Producer: Viña Cono Sur
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Masi Modello Prosecco Bruttext
87PTS

Masi Modello Prosecco Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyBright lemon, orange, peach on this tight and skippy Prosecco, lined with almonds, and vanilla biscuit. Clean, fresh, and welcoming, this is a well made entry to the region, not dumbed down. Chill well and enjoy.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 19.65 ON 15.95 QC 17.25 Producer: Masi Agricola
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Toso Bruttext
86PTS

Toso Brut NV

Maipú, Northern Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaIn the mid 1880s, Pascual Toso left his hometown of Canale D’Alba, in Piemonte, and set out towards Argentina, settling in Mendoza. Today Pascual Toso is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. This deep yellow hued sparkler is charmat chardonnay from Maipu, with custard apples, toast, lime curd on a shorter palate. The dosage is ample, making this a super friendly, easy fizz.Prices: BC 15.95 MB 17.99 Producer: Pascual Toso
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Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cavatext
87PTS

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis everywhere Cava blends macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo into an approachable, consistent, and dependable fizz. Red apple, ample toast, anise, toasted almonds fill the creamy, lemony palate, finishing with bitter red apple countered with a noticeable bump of sugar to help make it go down smoothly. Chill well.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 15.95 SK 18.49 MB 15.99 ON 15.95 QC 14.40 NB 19.79 PEI 18.39 NFL 18.99 Producer: Segura Viudas
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Freixenet Cordon Negro Gran Selección Cava Bruttext
84PTS

Freixenet Cordon Negro Gran Selección Cava Brut NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis ubiquitous Cava is consistent as ever, with red apple, rubber cement, candied lemon, candy necklace, toast ruling a shorter palate. The finish is somewhat bitter with wilted florals and acerbic citrus. Definitely welcomes a chill, and pairing with cocktails or punch.Prices: BC 16.49 AB 15.49 SK 15.99 MB 15.69 ON 14.95 NB 18.49 NS 16.97 PEI 17.50 NF 17.99 Producer: Freixenet
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Freixenet Prosecco Extra Drytext
84PTS

Freixenet Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyFreixenet, known instantly around the world for their Cava, has now hopped over to Italy, and invaded Prosecco, a move solely intended to win the coveted UK market. The eye-catching bottle will certainly lure some buyers worldwide, as will the Spanish house's reputable name. At 18 g/L RS, this is firmly in the sweeter (Extra Dry) category, though a bitter / harsh acerbic white floral, lemon blossom note counters the sugar, disjointing this pretty looking bottle. Sweet candy necklace rules the short palate, finishing with more bitter lemon notes. Stick to Cava, por favor.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 25.95 MB 22.99 ON 19.95 QC 21.35 NB 25.99 NF 24.98 Producer: Freixenet
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Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cavatext
88PTS

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainI've been tasting this Brut for decades, and it remains consistently well made. It is made from three classic Cava grapes: macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo. The style is crisp, just off lean, with subtle notes of creamy lees and hints of fresh apples and apricots. The finish is perceptibly dry. You can serve this with an array of appetizers. Good value.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 15.95 SK 18.49 MB 15.99 ON 15.95 QC 14.40 NB 19.79 PEI 18.39 NFL 18.99 Producer: Segura Viudas
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Henkell Trocken Dry Sekttext
83PTS

Henkell Trocken Dry Sekt NV

GermanyFragrant orange, apple blossoms opens this cheap and cheerful Sekt from one of the largest producers worldwide. This Dry Sekt is firmly off-dry, frothy on the palate, and coloured with a sweet salami note before a very short finish. Chill well, and utilize in punch.Prices: BC 14.49 AB 13.39 SK 15.99 MB 14.99 ON 12.95 QC 14.95 NB 16.99 NFL 16.99 Producer: Henkell & Co. Gruppe
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Albinea Canali Ottocentonero Lambrusco Dell'Emilia Vino Frizzantetext
88PTS

Albinea Canali Ottocentonero Lambrusco Dell'Emilia Vino Frizzante NV

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyThe winery history began in 1934 when Lorenzo Motti and Riziero Camellini decided to group initially seven and then twelve growers of Lambrusco and Ancellotta to create a new production model in this hilly region. Gradually more and more grape growers associated themselves with the idea, and in 1936 the Cantina Albinea Canali was officially founded. Rich in the Italian tradition, the name ‘Ottocento’ evokes Italy’s romanticism toward the 1800s. The word for black, ‘nero,’ refers to the wine’s nearly opaque deep purple hues. From the Canali family, one of Italy’s leading producers of sparkling wines, this dry, dark/opaque purple fizz blends 50% Lambrusco Salamino, 40% Lambrusco Grasparossa, and 10% Lancellotta into a structural, powerful fizz, with heaps of rosemary and thyme scenting the scrubby cassis, wild blueberry, thorny plum, rock salt. Tannins are finely grippy, and the smooth palate is lined with blackberry jam, finishing with a snap. The acidity in here eats up the 10g/L RS, leaving a brisk, dry finish. Intriguing wine.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Albinea Canali
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Riunite Lambrusco Vino Frizzantetext
86PTS

Riunite Lambrusco Vino Frizzante NV

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyThis sweet, fruity, and fizzy red has been a North American staple import since the mid-70s. Unfortunately, that put serious Lambrusco behind, since everyone associated the style with, well, this. Candied blueberry and cherry, with an undercurrent of cassis soda, this is a short, fizzy, dark hued red, with ample sweetness on the mid until a severe bitter Italian finish. Needs a big chill, and probably a mixer (punch) to suit today's drinkers.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 13.65 SK 9.35 MB 9.99 NB 11.99 Producer: Riunite
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Villa Conchi Cava Brut Selecciontext
89PTS

Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion NV

Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom higher altitude parcels, protected by the Montserrat Mountains, comes this blend of xarel-lo, macabeo, parellada, and chardonnay. Led by almond patisserie and lemon, this high acid, bright, elegant Cava runs long on the palate, with lemon zest, almonds, and light meringue. Impressive quality for the price.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 16.80 MB 17.84 ON 16.70 NB 17.99 PEI 16.40 NS 18.99 NF 19.98 Producer: Bodegas Villa Conchi
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Ferrari Brut Rosé Metodo Classicotext
90PTS

Ferrari Brut Rosé Metodo Classico NV

Trento, Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyGiulio Ferrari, a Trentino native, started his venerable sparkling wine house in 1902, after studying winemaking in France. Convinced that his native region’s mountainous terroir was ideal for growing Chardonnay, he set out to make the best traditional method sparkling wines of Italy. With 300 acres today, Ferrari is the largest property in Trentino. This blend of 60/40 pinot nero / chardonnay, spent 30 months on the lees, and has a dosage around 7 g/L. Pouring an elegant pale rose in hue, this fills the elegant palate with delicate cherry, red currants, raspberry, tensed with a bright acidity, and centred around a core of cherry brioche. Certainly on par with, and besting, many Champagne. Brava.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 34.95 MB 30.99 ON 24.95 QC 24.99 PEI 31.99 NS 30.99 Producer: Ferrari Fratelli Lunelli
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Ferrari Brut Metodo Classicotext
91PTS

Ferrari Brut Metodo Classico NV

Trento, Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalySelected chardonnay plots, all handpicked across Trento's province, is the source of this tasty Brut that spends a minimum of 2 full years on its lees. They have been making this wine for 118 years. Clean, fresh, leesy, with light oven-fresh brioche kicking off a stylish fizz that brings green apple, honey, and almonds to the nose and palate. The simplicity and complexity seal the deal here. Finally, the packaging is a master class in simplicity and complexity that invites you always to have a bottle of this wine in the fridge ready to go — a blanc de blancs par excellence.Prices: BC 33.99 AB 34.95 MB 30.99 ON 24.95 QC 24.99 PEI 31.99 NS 30.99 Producer: Ferrari Fratelli Lunelli
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Freixenet Cordon Negro Gran Selección Cava Bruttext
88PTS

Freixenet Cordon Negro Gran Selección Cava Brut NV

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFreixenet's Cordon Negro is a classic for a reason. It's a fairly priced traditional method sparkling wine that captures the essence of Cava. There’s subtle toasty autolytic character from a short time on lees and a savouriness that I generally associate with Penedès' indigenous varieties. Underneath is green apple and lemon, but it's safe to say this is not an overly fruity wine. Medium-bodied, there’s surprising precision to the palate with a fine mousse leading to a dryish finish at 10 g/L residual sugar. Yes, Cava can reach much greater highs, but this is a solid everyday bubble.Prices: BC 16.49 AB 15.49 SK 15.99 MB 15.69 ON 14.95 NB 18.49 NS 16.97 PEI 17.50 NF 17.99 Producer: Freixenet
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Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Bruttext
85PTS

Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyGotta love that Mionetto Prosecco, one of the simple, easy, entry-level Proseccos on the market has a necker that declares it 'Prestigue Collection'. Though labelled Brut, it's certainly on the higher end of the scale, with candied red apple, florals, and pear drop filling a short, assertive, sweetish palate to a sour citrus finish. Consistent as ever; chill well done and serve upon such occasions a Prosecco like this is needed (punch?)Prices: BC 16.99 AB 17.99 SK 18.99 MB 18.99 ON 16.95 NB 20.99 PEI 20.99 NS 19.95 NF 20.98 Producer: Mionetto S.p.A.
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Castello di Roncade Prosecco Bruttext
89PTS

Castello di Roncade Prosecco Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis estate was founded in 1508, and the current family has owned the historic property since the early 1900s. The entire estate is farmed organically. This glera is quite dry at 9 g/L RS and yeast-led, with green apple, citrus, meadow grass on a tight, compact, humming palate. If you are looking for a drier, more serious style of Prosecco, give this a try.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Castello di Roncade
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Terra Serena Prosecco Extra Drytext
86PTS

Terra Serena Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Veneto, ItalyThis Treviso glera is tipped with 15% chardonnay, pinot grigio, and pinot bianco in an extra day (sweetish) style, with 15-17 g/l RS. Pear, yellow apple, pink florals, is ringed with grapefruit pith and studded with candied cranberries, finishing snappy and brief. Needs a brisk chill, or maybe a mixer, to best result.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Viicola Serena
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Costaross Rosé Extra Drytext
87PTS

Costaross Rosé Extra Dry NV

Veneto, ItalyOne of the first new pink Proseccos to be allowed the Prosecco DOC appellation, this glera is splashed with 10% pinot nero, giving its elegant, pale pink hue. With 15-17 g/l RS, it falls firmly in the extra-dry (meaning, sweetish) category, with fragrant cherry blossoms, tart cranberry, and subtle strawberries on a short, snappy frame, finishing with a bitter raspberry note. Best taken with a chill and some canapés.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Costaross
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Costaross Prosecco Biologico Bruttext
88PTS

Costaross Prosecco Biologico Brut NV

Veneto, ItalyThis fruity yet structural Prosecco splashes 15% chardonnay, pinot bianco, and pinot grigio in with the region's traditional glera. Crunchy pear, yellow and green apple, light flowers skip along the palate, held pretty dry with 8-10 g/L RS. Snappy and bright, and a step up from most Prosecco in its class.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Costaross
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28 November 2020

Guy LaFleur Brut 60text
92PTS

Guy LaFleur Brut 60 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada"60" is an homage to the 60 goals Montreal Canadian Guy Lafleur (The Flower) scored in 1978 and the 60 months of ageing given this traditional method sparkler on its lees. The wine resulted from a partnership with Lafleur and Canadian vintners Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble. They put together a re-blend for the superstar Montreal Canadian and now, five years later, the vintage BC blanc de blancs made at Sperling Vineyards with 100 percent pinot blanc, from 25-year-old vines, has been released. As if Lafleur was streaking down his wing, the wine is electric. The nose is an intriguing mix of fresh-cut lemon, pears and dried herbs with an underlying cushion of complex, mature, creamy lees notes. It all continues on the palate with intense citrus flavours and creamy lees textures with a touch of toast and wash of minerality that finishes long with persistent lemon highlights. Ready to drink, but you can still age this through 2023. Well done, impressive styling — a refreshingly serious "celebrity" that has to be among one of the best we have seen anywhere in the world.Prices: BC 95.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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26 November 2020

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Co-Fermented Malbec Petit Verdottext
88PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Co-Fermented Malbec Petit Verdot 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a giant of a wine, from its inky black colour to its firm, long, dry finish. The blend is an unusual 80/20 mix of malbec and petit verdot. The nose is aromatic with spicy, savoury back pepper, with some hints of red fruit. The palate is similar with a fiery, peppery entry, impressive juicy mid-palate textures, and freshness, before the tannin and oak kicks in to dry out the finish. It is early days for this wine, but it is unique and a good showcase for the versatility of the south Okanagan, and what could be an exciting future as we play more with so many different red varieties. Best put away for three to five years for now.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Petite Cuvée N° 2text
90PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Petite Cuvée N° 2 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetite Cuvée comes with little information, but the name can be considered a clue. It's a smaller blend representing a section of barrels from across the estate that ultimately was not selected for the top Cuvée. It is much better than that and probably deserves a new name but let's not argue about semantics. The wine's core is an aromatic, savoury, south Okanagan red loaded with plummy fruit and with a sagebrush undercurrent. The oak and spice are spot on, and the wine's texture and density are off the charts good. As it lingers on the palate, dusty, chalky, mineral-dense soft tannins with a stony, savoury chorus pulls back the fruit and complexes everything. Just a baby, let this grow in the bottle or serve now with a T-bone steak.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Cabernet Franc / Merlottext
90PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Cabernet Franc / Merlot 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm a fan of the cabernet franc/merlot blend, and this 68/32 mix illustrated why the cuvée is such a winner in the Okanagan. A selection of barrels for each variety was chosen from across the estate's vineyards on the east and west sides of the valley to create a bold, savoury red. The texture, grace, and red fruit from the merlot disappear into the boisterous, savoury, herbal, desert scrub notes of the cabernet franc. Long, fresh, and full of dark plummy fruit, this will age effortlessly through 2025 and beyond.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Rieslingtext
90PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Riesling 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI love the way PC handles this 11-year-old parcel of East Kelowna riesling. The style is dry, resulting from a gradual six month long ferment on its indigenous yeasts that also help build richness and complexity. The attack is floral, aromatic, and packed full of lemon and orange, making this simply a delight to sip. Refined, elegant acidity pulls the wine through the finish and keeps it fresh without going over the top. A fabulous food wine too.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrahtext
91PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrah 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom one of the most famous vineyards in the south Okanagan, the Phantom Creek Syrah, like last year, leaves me astonished at its texture and elegance. The fruit is left to shine on its own, falling somewhere between the Northern Rhone garrigue style and a south Okanagan desert sagebrush affair. It is Barossa opulent with peppery, jammy, black cherry from a vineyard exposure to the late setting sun as well as a St. Joseph firmness and dryness that lives in its smoky, peppery back end. Again the texture and tannins are dense but slippery, giving it the ability to age forever.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Becker Vineyard Cuvée N° 25text
91PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Becker Vineyard Cuvée N° 25 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBecker Vineyard dates back to 1977 when it was home to Germanic white varieties as part of the original Becker Project that was established to assess the region's grape-growing potential. By 1993 it was clear late-ripening red varieties were suited to the steep slopes of the upper Black Sage Bench. In 2017 the wine was dominated by merlot (44) with a mix of cabernet sauvignon (34) and cabernet franc (22), which was matured for 17 months in French oak, 42 percent new. Like last year, the nose is an aromatic affair of desert scrub, sagebrush, and spicy balsamic. The palate is awash in slick black fruit that presents harmony and balance as they slide into the finish. Chalky, dense tannins support the wine as it finishes up with dark plummy nuances and a twist of savoury cedar. Solid, if a touch less interesting than 2016. Time will tell. Cellar this one for six to eight years to allow for the full picture.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée Cuvée N° 22text
93PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Cuvée Cuvée N° 22 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAfter a slow start, 2017 took off in the summer, making up the two week delay and easily maturing the fruit to full phenolic ripeness. Pioneering viticulturist Richard Cleave planted the site, now known as Phantom Creek Vineyard, in 1996 on the Black Sage Bench's lower terrace. The 38/35/13/10/3/1/ mix of cabernet sauvignon/petit verdot/malbec/cabernet franc/syrah/merlot sits just above the warm valley floor on a small seven acre parcel. It is 100 percent barrel fermented, helping meld the oak and fruit early. In all, it spends 20 months in French oak, 77 percent new. The wine is intense with strong black fruit, black olive, and savoury notes that run throughout the wine. The textures and tannins are highly refined, offering a chalky, mineral streak to a wine that won't be ready to drink for a decade. There is a lot of oak here in a fairly traditional, youthful, New World red blend. Less is more might be useful here, but with so few iterations of this wine, each year is a discovery. Time to wait.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Merlottext
89PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Merlot 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 got off to a slow start, but a hot, dry summer set the tone for the rest of the year, allowing for full phenolic ripeness. The southerly aspect of the Kobau vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench allows the vines to bask in the early morning sun and escape baking in the late afternoon. Yields were down with smaller bunches, but that only increased the intensity of the fruit. The nose is a mix of cedar, graphite, and black fruit that spills onto a powerful midpalate and a rich, spicy finish. Rich, full, and youthful, this needs time to calm down and shed some oak. At 75 percent, the new oak dominating its Okanagan ethos at this point suggests five to seven years of cellaring before coming back to this wine.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Viogniertext
89PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Viognier 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit comes off a small 2.9 acre block at Kobau Vineyard, a cooler east-facing site on the Golden Mile Bench that escapes the warm, late day setting sun. The nose is intense and perfumed with exotic fruit undertones. The attack is glossy with orange, guava and a light stream of honey and apricots splashed in minerals. Perfect for lighter southeast Asian dishes, sushi rolls, or vegetarian casseroles. This elegant, mineral-driven Viognier benefits from retained freshness due to the vineyard's cooler afternoons.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Chardonnay 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe PC chardonnay comes off historic Becker Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, initially developed in 1977 as part of the pioneering Becker Project looking at which Vitis vinifera could thrive in British Columbia. As it turned out, the property went mostly red in 1993, leaving only a small amount of chardonnay that goes to the wine club. The style is on the warmer, richer side. Still, ten months of lees contact and 100 percent barrel fermentation in French oak (20 percent new) bring complexity and texture to the wine: a mix of fresh green apple with tropical overtones and brown spice hint at a modest 12.5 percent alcohol. Ready to drink and would be a fine match for fresh BC halibut.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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24 November 2020

Wirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet Shiraz Merlottext
87PTS

Wirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2017

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaChurch Block was the first wine produced under the Wirra Wirra label back in 1972. The name came from one of the original vineyards, next to the small Bethany Church (1854) in McLaren Vale. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot from various growers. It was matured in a mix of French and American oak (10% new) of varying sizes. Ripe black fruit is cut with savoury dark chocolate, bay laurel, tobacco, and black olive on the full palate. Tannins are big, but well integrated, leaving a bitter black cherry lingering on the finish. Partner with a hearty root veg stew to best effect.Prices: BC 25.00 QC 23.95 ON 21.95 AB 20.99 MB 22.95 Producer: Wirra Wirra Vineyards
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Oliver Twist Meritage Proprietor's Reservetext
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Oliver Twist Meritage Proprietor's Reserve 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Meritage is predominantly Osoyoos East Bench cabernet sauvignon with a splash of merlot and malbec, aged one year in French and American barriques before 18 months in the bottle prior to release. Ripe and juicy blackberry, black plum, cassis fill a juicy palate, with ample grippy, strained, pinched tannins pinning in the sides to a very drying finish. The wood still overrides the fruit, as dense as it is, and requiring a hearty veg or beef stew to match.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Oliver Twist Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2017

British Columbia, CanadaThis is the real deal, and a relative steal at $45, especially when you consider this is among the top Bordeaux style blends in BC. Two things really set this apart. First, it's remarkably approachable after only 1.5 years in bottle. The 2017 vintage produced some fiercely tannic reds, and yet this is impressively silky and refined. Second, the fruit is incredibly pure and bright, and nicely framed by espresso-tinged oak. It's elegant and fresh, even at 14.7%, and not aspiring to be from somewhere else. Why would it, when you have the Similkameen's characteristic saline minerality. Only 373 cases produced.Prices: BC 45.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Signaturetext
92PTS

Clos du Soleil Signature 2017

British Columbia, CanadaSignature is the flagship red at Clos du Soleil, made by winemaker Michael Clark. 2017 was a classic year with moderate temperatures and the ripening period that suits the savoury, stony, dusty fruit of the Similkameen Valley. The fruit comes off several Similkameen vineyards: Clos du Soleil Estate Vineyard (Keremeos), La Côte Vineyard (Keremeos), Middle Bench Vineyard (Keremeos), and Chopaka Ridge Vineyard (Cawston). The ’17 mix is 38/29/21/9/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot fermented in concrete tanks using native yeasts, and aged for 15 months in French oak. This wine is attractive from the get-go, and has proven to remain so over the years as it ages. Look for a balanced mix of raspberry and blackberry, with notable stony, floral mineral highlights. Best of all are the textures, seemingly weighty and dense before they melt away in a long, intriguing desert scrub/savoury finish. Only the exceptional barrels make it to the Signature blend.Prices: BC 45.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Conundrum Redtext
84PTS

Conundrum Red 2018

California, United StatesThere is no Conundrum when it comes to this wine. Each year I taste it, it remains big, round, soft, and sweet. The nose is a milk chocolate and black raspberry affair, and so is the palate. The finish is packed with ripe, candied fruit and 11 grams per litre of residual sugar that contributes to its silky, sweet, powdery finish. More confection than wine, it is for a very specific market with a red wine sweet tooth. Ready to drink, and best with smoky, sweet-sauced barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 24.99 ON 24.95 QC 24.95 MB 24.99 NS 26.80 NB 29.99 NFL 29.26 AB 24.99 SK 25.99 PEI 26.39 Producer: Caymus Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Meritagetext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 opens with a youthful mix of warm southern black fruits streaked with sweet balsamic notes. The blend is 59/20/18/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot aged in French and Hungarian oak for 18 months. The midpalate is a cedar, mocha, chocolate affair that finishes with some grippy tannins. It will need some bottle time for another three years to settle in and meld together. Best served today with rich beef and lamb cuts, roasted or stewed.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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23 November 2020

Frind Estate Premier Syrahtext
89PTS

Frind Estate Premier Syrah 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Knollvine Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, these 30 year old vines spent 10 months in new French oak. Perfumed violet, peppercorns, dusky cassis fill the juicy, full palate, ripely sweet with black fruit, and amply framed by spicy oak to a peppery finish. A pretty version of this Okanagan star red grape, and one drinking very well now, in youth.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Syrahtext
87PTS

Frind Estate Premier Syrah 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from 30-year old vines at Knollvine Vineyard in Okanagan Falls, this shows quite a youthful nose, with dusty oak at the forefront right now after aging for 10 months in new French oak. Underneath, there’s a confected quality to the fruit, but without the savouriness typical of Okanagan syrah. The abundant oak gives a slight perception of sweetness to the palate, but it still retains a juiciness thanks to its 13.3% abv. The soft tannins make this approachable now, but if possible I'd give this some time to try to allow the oak to further integrate.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Rock Pile Vineyard in Oliver, this is South Okanagan cabernet sauvignon through the lens of the relatively short 2019 growing season. It's not a blockbuster, but it's also not underripe either. Rather, it's a juicy style of cabernet sauvignon that's dark fruited and bolstered by dusty oak. It still manages to be linear and structured, but with an easiness common to Frind's 2019 Premier reds. If anything, the acidity may be a notch too tart, but it should do well at the dinner table at only 12.7% abv.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Merlottext
88PTS

Frind Estate Premier Merlot 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Frind Estate's Rock Pile Vineyard in Oliver, a former gravel pit, this is led by dusty, mocha-flaked oak that sits on top of plummy fruit. The desert sage characteristic of the South Okanagan also comes through, adding an extra dimension to the wine. It's clearly quite youthful at this stage, but it's also been made to be ready-to-go out of the gates. The palate is smooth and easy, helped by a touch of residual sugar (5 g/L), and it comes in at an attractive 13% abv.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Big Redtext
88PTS

Frind Estate Big Red 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBig Red blends Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for a year in a mix of French and American oak. Big, ripe black fruit is seasoned with toasted wood, wrapping around a dense, savoury, smooth cassis core, and gripped with ragged, cedar-dusted tannins that dry out on a warming vanillin finish. This needs some grilled red meats or root veg to tuck in with.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrind Estate Winery is a new lakefront winery facility and visitor centre on the historic Bennett family property in West Kelowna just south of Quails’ Gate. Owner Markus Frind purchased the property in 2017 and has been busy acquiring vineyard sites up and down the valley ever since. This franc is predominately fruit from Rock Pile Vineyard in Oliver. The style is mid-weight at 13 percent alcohol with soft tannins and intense bright red cherry and cassis dusted with sagebrush and cedar. You can drink this now or hold three to five years, given the fruit available to age here. A solid start for a new label. It is aged in French and American neutral oak barrels for only ten months, with a small portion going into new French cigar barrels. Vegetarians will like this with a mixed grill of fall vegetables; others will enjoy this with flatiron steak.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Frind Estate Premier Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA bit old school but in a good way, this juicy straight up cabernet sauvignon comes in at a friendly 12.7 percent alcohol by volume. The nose and palate are a mix of pure Bing cherry dusted in oak and cedar. As youthful and fresh as it is, the tannins are negligible, meaning you can drink it now if you must. Think grilled sausages or hamburgers and enjoy the moment. A good start.Prices: BC 37.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Merlottext
88PTS

Frind Estate Premier Merlot 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMerlot continues to make its way in BC and as its origins improve, so do the wines. Frind Estate is using fruit from Rock Pile Vineyard in Oliver. The old gravel pit has a new life, and it seems at one with merlot. Look for a fresh, open, mocha, cherry chocolate nose with cedar and sagebrush. The attack is similar, with sweet intense cassis and espresso. It finishes with a touch of residual sugar, which won't bother most folks, but I think you should age this three to five years to let all the parts come together. Think mushroom burgers, or a flat iron steak.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Premier Syrahtext
88PTS

Frind Estate Premier Syrah 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit comes off old vines (30 years) at Knollvine Vineyard in Okanagan Falls. The style is understated, and the sipping is easy. Not the blockbuster, meaty, Rhone-ish version we see a lot of out of the south, but a sweeter Barossa style with soft, floral, black fruit and spicy oak from a 10-month sleep inside the French version. Drink or hold. Pricey for the style.Prices: BC 44.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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20 November 2020

Calliope Figure 8 Redtext
85PTS

Calliope Figure 8 Red 2018

British Columbia, CanadaFigure 8 blends cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot from the southern Okanagan into a warming, smoky, dusky big red. Blocky in structure, with dusty cherry, blackberry housed with powdery tannins to a warming finish. One to crack with grilled burgers or meatballs.Prices: BC 19.98 AB 16.00 MB 26.00 Producer: Calliope Wines
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Bartier Bros. The Orchard Rowtext
85PTS

Bartier Bros. The Orchard Row 2018

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Orchard Row is an unlikely mix of cabernet franc, merlot, gamay, and pinot noir, with a 15 month stint in neutral French barrels. The unlikely sounding mix doesn't come together any easier on the palate, with green, herbal edged cassis, soft cherry, milk chocolate, plum, and forest floor all jockeying for position. Tannins are powdery and the frame blocky to a warming finish. Try with a slight chill and partnering with grilled veg or beef burgers.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Unsworth Vineyards Symphonytext
84PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Symphony 2017

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of four Vancouver Island grown hybrids (cabernet libre, labelle, 0583, and petit milo), this aged 20 months in French and American oak. The wood is very much up front and present, bashing up against the green-tinged, sour cranberry, red currant, cassis fruit. The palate is quite warming (though only 13.5%) and short, with soft, lightly gummy tannins on the sides. This very hefty bottle comes across more like a wood symphony at this point in time, illustrating why bigger reds and the Wine Islands usually make for an uncomfortable fit.Prices: BC 24.25 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Schell Wines Rubytext
86PTS

Schell Wines Ruby 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPencil shavings, cedar staves, hard-press cassis leads this blocky red blend, a 50/50 blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon aged in French and American oak (40% new). There's a juicy core of black fruit, but the tannins stick out around the edges, coming in for a warming close. Best taken with grilled beef dishes.Prices: BC 33.95 Producer: The Westbury Wine Group Inc.
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Château la Grolet Cuvée Classique Rouge Côtes de Bourgtext
88PTS

Château la Grolet Cuvée Classique Rouge Côtes de Bourg 2018

Cotes de Bourg, Cotes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FranceChâteau La Grolet is a 17th-century manor house at the bottom of a valley surrounded by its 50-hectare estate, including 38 hectares of vines. The Hubert family acquired the estate in 1997 and began its conversion to biodynamics, with Demeter certification coming in 2000. This blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc comes from vines averaging 50 years in age and off steep gravel/clay slopes. This was native fermented in concrete before a rest in older wood. Ripe cherry plum is woven with leather, espresso, and earth and cut with a red current acidity that keeps this bright. Tannins are moderately grippy and coated with dusty gravels, welcoming partnering with lamb or pork.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Chateau la Grolet
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Mar de Lisboa Atlantic Coast Vinho Tintotext
87PTS

Mar de Lisboa Atlantic Coast Vinho Tinto 2015

Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Syrah comes from Portugal's coastal Lisboa region. The red and white stripes on the capsule mimic the lighthouses dotting the Lisboa coast. Soft and easy, but held fresh, with ripe black plum, cassis, subtle violets, and cracked pepper. Tannins are raggedy sticky to a shorter finish. A simple red for burgers or roasted eggplant.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Quinta de Chocapalha
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Oscar's Quevedo Redtext
0PTS

Oscar's Quevedo Red 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalCorked. Try another one.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
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Poplar Grove CSMtext
88PTS

Poplar Grove CSM 2016

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt's been several years since I last had a look at this wine. In 2016 the mix was cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah. The nose is almost aromatic with savoury desert scrub notes, cedar, and balsamic spice. On the palate, the fruit is red and fresh with more spice before the soft textures take over and run to a long peppery, espresso, mocha finish. Drink with lamb now or hold for another three to five years in bottle.Prices: BC 30.35 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Five Vineyards by Mission Hill Cabernet Merlottext
86PTS

Five Vineyards by Mission Hill Cabernet Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn entry-level cab/merlot drawing fruit from across the Okanagan Valley, it opens with a cedary savoury nose that tumbles onto the palate, mixing dry, rustic tannins with ripe chocolaty, black fruit. The flavours are fresh if a bit choppy but nothing a hamburger or beef taco wouldn't soften up. Simple, ready to drink, mid-week red.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 15.00 SK 17.99 MB 17.00 ON 17.00 QC 17.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Chateau Montustext
89PTS

Chateau Montus 2013

Madiran, Sud-Ouest, FranceAn 80/20 mix of tannat/cabernet sauvignon that comes standard with an opaque colour. The nose is aromatic with a big savoury hit of dried herbs and cherry aromas. It's aged in 80 percent new oak, adding even more power to the mix, but it seems to answer the rich black fruit flavours mixed with cedar and leather notes through the finish. There is fine freshness here, lending some overall balance to the final picture as big as it is. Bst with grilled led lamb or similar big mu items. A giant of a wine.Prices: BC 34.99 QC 29.35 Producer: Vignobles Brumont
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Mission Hill Estate Series Cabernet Merlottext
87PTS

Mission Hill Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA dark, slightly more polished version of the Five Vineyard Cab Merlot, the fruit is just a touch riper here, and the tannins follow the storyline, albeit with softer edges. On the palate, a spicy, cedary, cherry fruited red slides down easily. It delivers in a category that seldom offers much value at the $20 mark. Ready to drink. Try this with beef or pork.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Running Duck Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotagetext
87PTS

Running Duck Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaDucks apparently play an important role in Stellar Winery's organic viticulture program, roaming for snails and other pests, hence the name Running Duck. This is quite savoury and surprisingly complex for the price. It's laden with smoke and tar alongside fresh, characterful red fruits. Medium-bodied, it's bright and juicy with modest tannins. It's not overly concentrated, but that's clearly not the intended style. Rather, it's a solid everyday pour.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Stellar Organic Wines
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Therapy Superegotext
87PTS

Therapy Superego 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSuper Ego is a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. The wine opens with a dark red colour and notes old barrels, smoke, and meat. The attack is round with more earthy, meaty, muddled black fruit mixed with dark chocolate and tobacco. Ready to drink but generally lacking some direction.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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19 November 2020

Unsworth Vineyards Allegrotext
85PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year, the 2019 Allegro is a hybrid blend of sauvignette, petit milo, and amiel, from vineyards in the Cowichan Valley, Westshore, and Saanich Peninsula. This was fermented and aged in stainless on lees. This is a lean and sharp white with tight, piercing lemon, green apple, underripe melon, and subtle white blossoms, with a screeching acidity that leaves even this acid freak gasping. There's a little lactic lees action padding this out, finishing a bit sour and short. Coastal brisk, to be sure.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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A Vita Leukòtext
89PTS

A Vita Leukò 2019

Calabria, Italy'A Vita is located in Cirò, on the arch of Italy’s boot tip, nestled between the Ionian sea and Sila mountains. Wine has been made from Cirò since the time of the ancient Olympics. Francesco and his wife Laura de Franco moved back to his native Calabria to make wines sustainably after finishing oenology studies. They purchased 4 vineyards and 8 hectares of vines planted in the historic alberello method, with each vine staked independently to allow for maximum air and light flow. From Frassà vineyard, near sea level, this is a certified organic 70/30 blend of greco bianco and gaglioppo, with the greco receiving a few hours of skin contact before it was native cofermented, prior to 8 months in steel, on lees. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Pouring a deep golden hue, this fills the palate with a grippy, herbal, pitchy scrub of bergamot, apricot, pear, wild herbs and broken stones. Texture is high, and acidity is moderate, finishing with a gentle astringent rinse. Super interesting and detailed taste of history (and tasty too).Prices: ON 30.00 Producer: A Vita
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Domini del Leone Veneto Biancotext
88PTS

Domini del Leone Veneto Bianco NV

Veneto, ItalyFidora, an organic winery in Veneto, was established in 1974, and has been organic since its inception. This non-vintage white is a cofermented blend of Pinot Grigio, Glera, Chardonnay from across Veneto, aged for 8 months in stainless on lees, with partial MLF. Gentle pear, white blossoms, is fresh and bright on the palate, to a snappy finish. A crisp, light white ideal for apero hour.Prices: ON 15.95 Producer: Fidora
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Le Ragnaie Toscana Biancotext
90PTS

Le Ragnaie Toscana Bianco 2018

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyFrom the highest planted vineyards in Montalcino, this skin contact wine blends the area's traditional white grapes in a 50/50 Trebbiano and Malvasia mix. After a native ferment in stainless for 10 days on skins, this moved into one new 500L French oak barrel for 9 months before bottling unfined, with minimum sulphur. Pouring a glowing light gold hue, this shimmers along the medium palate with tight apricot, bergamot, elderflower, and ample mineral salts. The texture is fine, and acidity is subtle but shining. A well balanced orange wine worth seeking out.Prices: ON 44.95 Producer: Azienda Agricola Le Ragnaie
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Suertes del Marqués Trenzadotext
92PTS

Suertes del Marqués Trenzado 2019

Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainFrom Tenerife's volcanic soils, this is based on Listán Blanco, with a mix of 10-150-year-old native grapes Marmajuelo, Guao, Vijariego Blanco, Verdelo, Torrontés and Baboso Blanco sourced across various vineyards 300-700m in the Valle de La Orotava, and predominantly grown in the traditional cordón trenzado training system. After native ferment in a mix of concrete and older French casks, this aged nine months on lees in concrete, foudres, and older 500L barrels. Intrinsically and fantastically marine, with a deep thread of salinity and reduction throughout the slender, medium palate of pear skin, kernel, and meadow herbs. The texture is very grippy fine, and brisk acidity keeps this vibrating along the palate to a lingering finish—such a stunner.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Suertes del Marqués
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Domaine Martin Jund Edelzwickertext
89PTS

Domaine Martin Jund Edelzwicker NV

Alsace, FranceThis Colmar based family winery can trace its history in grape growing and winemaking in the region back to 1630. This is their modern take on the most historic of wine styles, Edelzwicker. An off-dry blend of pinot blanc, muscat, riesling, and gewürztraminer, this glides along the silken palate with gooseberry, starfruit, white peach, and pear, slicked with anise, and finishing with a grapefruit twist. Bonus - only 12.5 degrees, and in a magnum! I only wish BC's ubiquitous aromatic white blends could nail it like this.Prices: BC 31.99 1000 Producer: Maison Martin Jund
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The Tea Leaftext
88PTS

The Tea Leaf 2017

Western Cape, South AfricaAs its name alludes to, the grapes used in this wine grow among South Africa's wild native rooibos (red tea) plants protected from removal and yet to be successfully cultivated anywhere else in the world. The winery says Tea Leaf is English rhyming slang for thief, linked to the grapes "stolen" off in the cool twilight hours and delivered to the winery.” The blend is 55/42/3 chenin blanc / palomino / grenache blanc, naturally fermented in old wooden barrels and stainless steel. I love the texture and feel of this wine with its fruity, wet stone nose and mineral, stony mid-palate with a hint of (and we have to agree with locals), tea. Perfect for fishcakes, seafood pasta, or a favourite sushi roll. 2018 is on the way. Most monopolies refuse to list top quality SA wines like this but have little problem buying junk wines from around the world. Too bad. Support your local independent private stores for gems like this.Prices: BC 37.00 AB 27.00 Producer: Boutinot
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Vignoble du Reveur Un Instant sur Terretext
92PTS

Vignoble du Reveur Un Instant sur Terre 2018

Alsace, FrancePouring a deep, hazy orange hue, this is 50% Pinot Gris, 40% Gewurztraminer, 10% Riesling, macerated for 8 months in amphora on skins, with an additional 3 months in amphora without skins. This was bottled without filtration or sulphur. Intense and full in the mouth, but with an amazing salinity and freshness, this dry wine teems with bergamot, white tea, mineral salts, honeycomb, and apricot. There's a firm, fine stencilling of tannins housing this to the lengthy finish. Beautiful harmony throughout.Prices: ON 54.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Vignoble du Reveur Singuliertext
91PTS

Vignoble du Reveur Singulier 2018

Alsace, FranceThis dry Alsatian orange is a carbonic maceration coferment of Riesling and Pinot Gris, with 10 days on skins prior to a native ferment in large oak barrels, without any additions. The wine aged for one year on fine lees prior to bottling with a very low level of sulfites. Pouring a slightly hazy, deep gold hue, this medium bodied wine streams grippy apricot and peach skin, orange blossom, and exotic florals along the sleek, saline palate. Very textural and savoury through to the dry finish.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Fitapreta a Laranja Mecânicatext
91PTS

Fitapreta a Laranja Mecânica 2019

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis is a new orange wine release from Antonio Maçanita, his Clockwork Orange. Arinto, Roupeiro, Verdelho, Antão Vaz, Alincante Branco, Trincadeira-das-Pratas, Fernão Pires make up the Alentejo coferment blend, from various vineyards and vines 15-50 years old, on granite soils. After the first whole bunch pressing, 10-15% of the remaining juice macerated on the skins for a week, and then was pressed again and reunited with the whole, where it native fermented. It remained in stainless on lees until it was bottled, unfiltered, the following fall. Pouring a hazy golden hue, this orange wine is teeming with alluring bergamot, quince, and stencilled with finely grippy tannins and that characteristic granitic hum. Fantastic texture, salinity, and moreishness in this medium bodied wine.Prices: ON 31.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Papantonis Winery Metron Aristontext
89PTS

Papantonis Winery Metron Ariston 2019

Peloponnese, GreecePapantonis Winery was established in 1993 in Nemea by siblings Antony and Kallie Papantonis. The vineyards, are situated just outside of the village Malandreni. Metron Ariston (meaning ‘moderation is best’) is a blend of Roditis (65%) and Chardonnay (35%), planted on their estate's sandy clay soils. Creamy and full in the mouth, with acacia, fragrant florals, lemon blossom, pear, offset by a bright, lifted acidity. This concentrated white tastes of the Mediterranean, but remains fresh throughout, making it particularly food-friendly.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Papantonis Winery
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Lunessence Marsanne Roussanne Viogniertext
87PTS

Lunessence Marsanne Roussanne Viognier 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis full, rich MRV comes from Oliver, and is filled with the southern Okanagan sunshine. The marsanne and roussanne was native cofermented in stainless, before going into French oak for 6 months (25% new). Slow and waxy on the palate, with rich honeysuckle, apricot paste, ripe peach, and ample orchard spicing on the sweeter finish. The RS feels higher due to the low acidity here, welcoming a brisk chill.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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gPG Garganega Pinot Grigiotext
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gPG Garganega Pinot Grigio 2017

Garda, Verona, Veneto, ItalyAraldica is a third-generation, family operated cooperative based in Piedmont, but have expanded beyond their home region, working with local growers across Italy. This comes from garganega and 15% pinot grigio, from the Garda DOC, in between Lake Garda and Vicenza. Fermented and aged entirely in stainless (3 months on fine lees), this is a crisp, simple, snappy white with subtle melon, pear, and lemon notes. Clean (almost clinically so), this will suit simple salads or shellfish dishes.Prices: BC 14.49 Producer: Castel Boglione
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Blue Grouse Quill Dry Whitetext
86PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Dry White 2019

British Columbia, CanadaQuill is an off-dry, aromatic Island blend of contract fruit from Cowichan and Comox, and in 2019 is made up of 35% schönburger, 26% pinot gris, 22% gewürztraminer, 17% sieberrebe, each fermented separately in tank prior to blending. Only the gris underwent MLF. There's some gentle sweetness here, made more apparent by the lowish acidity. There's a bracing passionfruit / guava bite that pierces this slight wine, pulling along pithy grapefruit, mandarin, melon to a snappy, shorter, somewhat ascerbic finish. Needs a brisk chill and some veg / seafood canapés to meet.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Ciù Ciù Oris Faleriotext
89PTS

Ciù Ciù Oris Falerio 2019

Ascoli Piceno, Marche, ItalyOris is a blend of Trebbiano, Pecorino, and Passerina, grown in the towns of Offida and Acquaviva Picena, in Ascoli Piceno province at 300m. This was native fermented in stainless, and left to settle for 4 months. Shining, pale yellow, this medium bodied white leads with subtle honeysuckle, lychee, lemon, white peach, wild spearmint, fresh almonds, and a hearty shake of white pepper on the finish. Very versatile and food friendly, from green veg dishes (including artichokes) through calamari.Prices: ON 15.95 Producer: Ciù Ciù
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Filipa Pato & William Wouters Dinamica DNMC Bicaltext
89PTS

Filipa Pato & William Wouters Dinamica DNMC Bical 2019

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis biodynamic blend of 80% Bical and 20% Arinto was grown in Bairrada's calcareous clay soils, and native fermented (10% in 500L casks; the other 90% fermented in tank), with the final blend and bottling in spring after 5-6 months’ aging. Tight and fresh, this is stencilled with pear skin and teeming with lemon blossom, elderflower, subtle melon, crystalline acidity, and the buzz of limestone minerality. This rings of the Atlantic.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Filipa Pato
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Free Form Whitetext
90PTS

Free Form White 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRevisiting this wine now two years after first glimpse, and it's pouring a beauty slight golden hue. Super grippy, with a saline marine note, this streams apricot skin, grapefruit pith, green apple, bergamot, dried thyme and sage along a sleek, textured palate. Primarily Secrest pinot blanc, this is splashed with chardonnay and viognier, from two other vineyards in the Okanagan, all organically farmed. After destemming and a native ferment (pinot blanc in concrete, the others in neutral French oak), these remained on skins for 8 months before being pressed off and blended in a large concrete tank. It rested there for 6 weeks before bottling in Mid August 2018. Another proof positive how winemaker Matt Dumayne's wines are built for aging.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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CedarCreek Amphora Projecttext
90PTS

CedarCreek Amphora Project 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe last time I saw this wine it was in a large amphora, topped with a thick cap of skins, Winemaker Taylor Whelan reached down through the cap and drew some of the cloudy amber wine for us to taste. It was delicious then, and it remains so now. Inspired by Edelzwicker, this is a certified organic Home Block blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris, all from vines 20+ years old. They were all destemmed and wild fermented together, in the aforementioned amphora, where they remained on skins for 6 months prior to gentle foot treading. Cloudy peach in hue, this slight wine is chiseled by tangerine pulp, pith, and peel, and flooded with perfumed apricot, wild lime, peach fuzz, all tightened with a slight tannic riff, and rinsed with a grapefruit astringency on the pristine finish. Really lovely first attempt, and one I hope they'll continue with.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Manuel Pulcini Marròcatext
92PTS

Manuel Pulcini Marròca 2018

Tuscany, ItalyYoung winemaker Manuel Pulcini grew up in the vineyards and winery of his parents, which imprinted into him a passion for the lands. After oenology school in Pisa, he turned his focus to biodynamic winemaking, and began renting and resting abandoned vineyards. He now is caretaker of approximately 2.5 hectares of vineyards, primarily around San Macario a Monte in the province of Lucca. His goal is simple: to make minimal-intervention, honest wines to celebrate the ancient viticultural traditions of this region. This rising naturalist producer has won the respect of the local elders, earning him the nickname of 'amico dei nonni,' or friend of the grandpas. Manuel sees himself as a generational link, thankfully for us, and our future. This blend of trebbiano, malvasia, vermentino, and others is as mesmerizing as its singular blue label of Marròca, an aloof but dangerous mythological being who lurked in nearby wells, and was rumoured to snatch children who came too close. Stunning, and striking, with wild lemon, grapefruit pith, hay, pine nut, wild herbs shimmering along the vibrant palate, with streaking acidity and a lengthy, mineral salted finish. There's a slight grip to the sides, hemming in the slight 12% frame. Lovely fine balance in this harmonious, characterful, moreish wine.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Manuel Pulcini
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Pulpoloco Sangria Whitetext
88PTS

Pulpoloco Sangria White NV

SpainA ready to pour sangria mix already bottled, the instructions are to add fruit and ice to a glass and pour this in. The wine is made using a traditional Spanish recipe mixing airen with extracts of orange peels, spices, Mediterranean lemons, and grapes. I have to say it is very intoxicating and would be fun to sip on a hot afternoon. They say it goes great with guacamole and empanadas, so let's stop there. Great value and big fun too.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spanish Story
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Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Traditiontext
91PTS

Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Tradition 2012

Côtes du Jura, Jura, FranceThough it doesn't say Tradition on the Canadian label, this is an equal part chardonnay / savagnin, where the latter has aged under veil for 4 years, while the chardonnay was aged in barrels for 4 years. It was blended 3 months before bottling. A glowing golden hue, this shows distinct oxidative notes of dried apple, dried apricot, overtop of intense minerality, lemon pith, concentrated wild mushrooms, and honeysuckle. The finish is super saline, and incredibly long. Very savoury, and distinct, this powerful wine feels more than its 13.5 degrees.Prices: ON 44.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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18 November 2020

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvée Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
90PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvée Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2000

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCertainly the most distinctive packaging for a sparkling wine in BC, from the most unique winery, and probably the most memorable wine story as well. A misplaced lot in the cellars was rediscovered a couple of years ago, resulting in the release of this ultra-premium 1998 cuvée. The 2000 is the follow up, a blend of 68/30/2 pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier, disgorged in small batches since September 2019. Quite oxidative, with some vegemite notes woven amongst the hazelnut, burnished lemon, popcorn, dried apple, ample toast, and flake salts. Bubbles are still present, though this wine is ready to drink now, and on the gentle fade.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegantext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegan 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Demeter certified biodynamic GV comes off 2011 planted estate vines, and was native fermented, half in stainless without skins, with the other half fermented on skins, and a very minimal amount of sulphur was used. Quite natural, with a swing of VA and some acetone leading into almonds, lemon, and dried green apple. There's a flush of warmth on the finish, along with some mineral salts.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Demeter certified biodynamic GV comes off 2011 planted estate vines, and was native fermented, half in stainless without skins, with the other half fermented on skins, and a very minimal amount of sulphur was used. This pours a deeper yellow hue, showing potent white pepper, oxidative orchard fruits, dried apple, and an earthy hay note on the salted finish.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 sees fresh, smart new packaging for Summerhill winery, with this grüner in an appropriate tall, slender bottle, and a new label highlighting both the Demeter biodynamic certification, and the iconic pyramid. This comes off 2011 planted estate vines, and the 2019 was fermented in stainless, without skins (unlike the two previous vintages). Intense and spicy, with rafts of white pepper seasoning an exotic floral bouquet, star anise, musk melon and a mid-sweet palate (17.7 g/L). Much fresher than the previous incarnations. Now if they could just make this dry again...Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2019 Grüner makes a strong right turn with a new bottle, new label, and a dramatically different style. The fruit comes off the original 2011 estate plantings, and it was fermented in stainless steel without any skins. The result is a fresher, cleaner wine with bright floral, peppery fruit and a surprising sweet mid-palate thanks to 17.7 g/L of residual sugar. It should be excellent with spicy Asian foods. Can we get a dry version of this too?Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted alongside the 2017 and 2019, 2018 comes with a deep yellow colour, the trio's darkest. It is Demeter certified biodynamic from seven-year-old vines grown on the estate in south east Kelowna. It was native fermented in stainless steel, 50% with skins, and with minimal sulphur, explaining the early dark colour. The nose opens with tired green apple peel, and pepper, while the palate delivers an oxidative orchard fruit vibe with a grassy almond mineral finish. It is a natural wine, although I would like just a bit more freshness and purity. My advice is to drink it now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegantext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegan 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA cou[le of years down the road, this wine shows some oxidation but frankly not much more than we saw in 2018. Biodynamically certified, it has a deep yellow colour with notes of volatility, grated almonds, and dried lemons. About as natural as you could want, and ready to drink. A curiosity that is hanging in there. Sablefish is still a good match. The grapes come from estate vines planted in 2011.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the estate plantings of clone 21B, over 40 years old, this biodynamic riesling is native fermented in stainless steel before being super cooling halts the ferment leaving it an off-dry offering of significant merit. In 2018 the numbers were 31 g/L RS, with 6.3 TA, and 10.3% alcohol. It's pretty delicious right out of the gate and similar to last year with a slightly greener streak of sweet pear and juicy ripe red apple. The finish is clean and fresh, and amazingly youthful. This is a buy-to-hold recommendation this year, and we like the value here too.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the estate plantings of clone 21B, now over 40 years old, this biodynamic riesling is native fermented in stainless. It is eventually halted by super chilling at the desired residual sugar / acid level. In 2018 the numbers were 43 g/L RS, 8.7 TA, and 10.8% alcohol. This is a terrific wine, packed full of sweet pear and ripe lime flavours cut by green apple and a peppery finish. It doesn’t quite have the elegance of a Mosel riesling, but it is getting very close. Bright, juicy, and ready to drink, it will age forever. Fine value.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOld vines (riesling clone 21B planted in 1978) and certified Demeter biodynamic vineyards are at the heart of this riesling, fermented outdoors with the ambient vineyard yeasts in the Summerhill Vineyard in 2017. The fruit is whole cluster pressed and fermented cold and left with a healthy dose of sugar (25.9 g/L RS) to counter its naturally crisp acidity (9.8 TA). I’m impressed with how this wine has evolved in bottles putting on a little weight and intensifying its bright, stony, lime. It is a real treat, and at 11.4 alcohol, you can almost gulp it. Use the sugar to tame a favourite savoury, spicy curry dish. Well done.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvée Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Ariel Premier Cuvée Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2000

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTasted twice this year, 2000 spent 17.5 years on it lees and the mix is 68/30/2 pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier. It has been disgorged in small batches since September 2019. The nose is mature, with complex scents of toasted nuts, ginger, and leesy umami. The palate is creamy and showing age, but with citrus, gout Anglais, brioche notes throughout the middle, to a mineral finish. At this point, this wine is best drunk before it begins the long slide into oblivion. Try this with the ultimate match: caviar.Prices: BC 100.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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17 November 2020

La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirtext
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La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United States2018 has given us very pure pinot noir packed full of black cherry. The textures are similarly inviting, with just enough structure to channel all the mouth filling fruit along the palate to an even more impressive 13.5 alcohol content. Seriously pinot like, this was once thought unattainable in California. Delicious and friendly, you can serve it with duck, mushrooms, root vegetables, soft cheeses and pork. La Crema Sonoma Coast oversees a large production of estate and grower vineyards, all within the cool, marine swept boundaries of Sonoma County. The parcels are kept separate until the final blend to capitalize on the best lots. Clones include 23, 37, 115, 667, 777, 828, Pommard, Calera, Swan, and Martini. The fermentation is done with 70 percent whole berries placed into open-top fermentation tanks. Post ferment, it's aged nine months in 98 percent (20 percent new and dwindling) French oak. Bravo.Prices: BC 38.99 AB 38.10 ON 34.95 QC 28.85 NFL 41.99 NB 39.99 Producer: La Crema
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Murphy-Goode Pinot Noirtext
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Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir 2018

California, United StatesA California wine shop staple, this pinot noir hits all the pinot varietal buttons from its bright red fruits, mouthfilling, earthy, cran-cherry, and soft tannins. Fresh, mouthwatering acidity balances the ripe fruit before ending in a savoury, smooth finish. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 27.49 NB 26.99 MB 21.99 Producer: Murphy-Goode
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A to Z Pinot Noirtext
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A to Z Pinot Noir 2017

Oregon, United StatesA to Z Wineworks was started in 2002 by Oregon wine industry veterans Deb Hatcher (Eyrie), Bill Hatcher (Domaine Drouhin Oregon), Sam Tannahill (Archery Summit), and Cheryl Francis (Chehalem). This larger volume, entry-tier wine comes from more than 50 vineyards throughout the state, though this is classic Willamette on the nose, with pretty perfumed plum, tight raspberry, green herb note that carries through to the silken palate. Tannins are slight, and the finish is snappy. Best taken with a light chill and simple fare.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: A to Z Wineworks
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Cirro Pinot Noirtext
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Cirro Pinot Noir 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandCirro is a classic Marlborough pinot: soft, round, and juicy. On the nose it has a strong mossy note mixed with spicy cherry, raspberry, red currant. Brown spices and bitter cherry previews an earthy, spicy finish. Serve with any mushroom dish.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Undurraga Sibaris Pinot Noir Gran Reservatext
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Undurraga Sibaris Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2018

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileAs the years tick by, it is clear the world is catching up to Burgundy when it comes to pinot noir. It's not that they are creating Côte d'Or reds that rival the French standard, but they are making wines that respect the grape, and they seem to be getting the most out of their terroir. Case in point, Sibaris 2018. This Leyda Valley pinot noir opens with earthy, forest floor that underlies a sweet pinot entry full of ripe, cherry before finishing with a touch of poultry spice. Clean, fleshy and at 13.5 percent alcohol, very drinkable. Good value at $18.Prices: BC 17.49 Producer: Viña Undurraga
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Erath Pinot Noirtext
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Erath Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe wine is crafted to be ready to drink based on its juicy, plummy, cherry fruit and soft, slippery tannins. Uncomplicated, with a hint of earth, spice, and forest floor, this wine is perfect for chicken fajita or pork lettuce wraps. If you are in the US, you can find it for $14-$15 at Costco.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 27.95 PEI 29.99 NB 29.99 NS 27.99 NFL 30.99 Producer: Erath Vineyards
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Lake Sonoma Pinot Noirtext
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Lake Sonoma Pinot Noir 2018

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Stewart Family, pioneering third-generation West Coast winemakers who founded BC's Quails' Gate Winery, owns Lake Sonoma Winery. We tasted earlier this year, and seven months down the road, it remains a solid bottle of pinot full of bright cherry, baking spices, and vanilla. Soft, mouth filling and ready to drink, you can serve it with duck, pork, and chicken.Prices: BC 29.50 AB 31.99 MB 32.95 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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Château d'Antugnac La Closerie des Lys Pinot Noirtext
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Château d'Antugnac La Closerie des Lys Pinot Noir 2018

Limoux, Languedoc, South of France, FranceThis comes from higher altitude vines. After 3 days of cold soak, half the destemmed fruit is native fermented and raised in steel while the other half undergoes its élevage in wood (10% new). Bright and fresh, this shines with cranberry, red currant, fresh raspberry, running along a sleek, salted palate. Certainly high in acidity, and delightfully so, enjoy this youthful pinot with wild mushrooms, and wild salmon. Fantastic value.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Collovray & Terrier
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Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir Estate Vineyardstext
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Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir Estate Vineyards 2016

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThis is a big, bold pinot noir from Russian River Valley. Expect ripe, jammy fruit that's awash in cinnamon and sweet spices from aging 14 months in French oak (35% new). At this level of ripeness, and 14.5% abv, it's a bit flat and lacking freshness, with a smattering of chalky tannins. Moderate length. Best enjoyed with a slight chill.Prices: BC 28.00 AB 27.00 US 19.00 ON 25.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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16 November 2020

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesFrom the Santa Lucia Highlands and 5th generation winemaker Charlie Wagner comes this Cali stalwart chardy. Full, sweet, and ripe, with vanilla, baked pears, lemon, white peach, floral honeysuckle, on a plump palate. The finish sticks and stops slightly short, with sweet ginger spicing. Enjoy now with richer crab cakes.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 35.00 MB 35.00 ON 34.95 Producer: Mer Soleil Vineyard
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Louis Jadot  Bourgogne Chardonnay Couvent des Jacobinstext
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Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay Couvent des Jacobins 2018

Burgundy, FranceYou seldom find any white Burgundy that delivers like this label at $32. Traditionally a mix of fruit from the Côte Chalonnaise, the Mâconnais and the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, but lately, Jadot has added a portion of Côte d'Or to improve the quality significantly. Look for toast, baked apple, pear that tumbles onto the palate where they mix with citrus and a creamy undercarriage. Pair with citrus seafood dishes. Well done.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Maison Louis Jadot
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Sterling Vineyards Collection Chardonnaytext
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Sterling Vineyards Collection Chardonnay NV

California, United StatesAvailable in a slick 375ml aluminum cylinder, a modern presentation for a more classic style of California chardonnay. The nose is a mix of honey and baked apple. The palate similar, with round, smooth vanilla, citrus, butter baked apple, and light mineral notes. Simple and ready to drink. A format that is perfect for hikers and beachgoers.Prices: BC 10.49 375 AB 7.99 375 MB 9.50 375 ON 9.95 375 YK 11.45 375 Producer: Sterling Vineyards
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Lindemans Chardonnay (Can)text
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Lindemans Chardonnay (Can) 2018

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaAt $9 equivalent bottle price, the 250ml can chardonnay overdelivers. The style is fresh with aromatic notes of peach and citrus. A touch of butter smooths out the fresh peach and lemon that coats the palate. Juicy and flavourful, this is a terrific picnic wine. Simple, well made, and ready to drink.Prices: BC 2.97 250 AB 4.99 250 SK 4.99 250 MB 4.40 250 ON 0.00 250 QC 4.50 250 NS 3.99 250 NFL 5.99 250 Producer: Lindemans Wines
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Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Santa Lucia Highlands, located within Monterey County, is the foggy, windy, cool home of this chardonnay made by 5th generation winemaker Charlie Wagner of Caymus fame. I can honestly say it's fresher, with better acidity, in 2018, which is good, but it remains buttery and intense with vanilla, baked apple, brown spicing that is more of a throwback style than new wave. Serve with fresh cracked crab or lobster.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 35.00 MB 35.00 ON 34.95 Producer: Mer Soleil Vineyard
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Louis Latour Chardonnay Bourgognetext
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Louis Latour Chardonnay Bourgogne 2018

FranceThanks to their vast array of vineyards to choose from, the mega-negoc Louis Latour can easily piece together a very well knit and layered Bourgogne chardonnay from the region's clay and limestone soils. With an average vine age of 30 years, this was fermented in stainless with partial MLF, before aging there for 8-10 months. Creamy and lemon-led, with green apple, green pear, and lemon blossoms, to a gentle finish. Simple, classic, and identifiably Bourgogne, this is a great choice for the price.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 18.99 SK 25.49 MB 23.99 ON 22.95 QC 19.40 NB 29.99 NS 28.98 NFL 16.95 YK 29.95 NWT 16.95 Producer: Maison Louis Latour
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Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc Vinification Bourguignonnetext
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Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc Vinification Bourguignonne 2018

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceTerres Dorées is land of the golden (clay-limestone) slopes, and where leading Beaujolais non-interventionist elder statesman, Jean-Paul Brun, owns 39ha. He makes two Bojo Blancs: this wood-rested one, and another completely inox wine. From 30-40 year old vines, this was long and slowly barrel and foudre fermented, with 5% new wood, and with full MLF. Fortunately the soils here keep this wine bright and shining, bed by a finely creamy, leesy mid, laced with fine lemon pith and peel. This lingers with a saline rinse. Earlier this year Brun told me he's seeing a big rise in Beaujolais Blanc because people are planting chardonnay for crémant. Drinking beautifully now, and with short term cellaring.Prices: BC 31.00 Producer: Jean-Paul Brun
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Lake Sonoma Chardonnaytext
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Lake Sonoma Chardonnay 2018

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United States45% of this Russian River Chardonnay is barrel fermented in 30% French oak (15% neutral barrels), with the remainder fermented in stainless steel. 75% of the juice goes through a softening malolactic fermentation during its one year of ageing. The result is a fresh wine with notes of pear, pineapple, butter, and vanilla. The palate is similar with more ripe peach, pear, melon, and mandarin. A New World chardonnay that pairs well with grilled scallops, buttered clams, Dungeness crab, and seafood pasta.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 22.50 SK 23.97 MB 24.96 ON 28.00 QC 27.95 NB 26.49 PEI 27.23 YK 26.65 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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Domaine des Deux Roches Macon-Villages Traditiontext
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Domaine des Deux Roches Macon-Villages Tradition 2018

Mâcon-Villages, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceThis wine was a great reminder of how far French winegrowing has come in the past 20 years, aided and abetted by the next generation. Mâcon-Villages was a simple appellation when I was young, but this wine has so much more verve and character. The property is run by brothers Christian Collovray and Jean-Luc Terrier, along with their wives (who are sisters). In 1986, they joined forces to manage the family vineyard first planted in 1928 by Collovay’s grandfather. The vines are intertwined between the ancient massive rocks of Vergisson and Solutré, hence the Deux Roches. In the end, the rolling limestone hillsides with pockets of clay are the energizer for this delicious drinking, stony, mineral chardonnay, with some perfectly ripe red fruit to juice up the finish further. Seafood, chicken, vegetarian dishes all fit here. Good value.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Collovray & Terrier
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13 November 2020

Mamete Prevostini Nebbiolo Botonerotext
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Mamete Prevostini Nebbiolo Botonero 2018

Valtellina, Lombardy, ItalyAlpi means Alps, the mountanous chain in the North of Italy. Retiche means Rheatic, the portion of the Alps in Valtellina close to the Swiss border. The Prevostini family planted vines here more than 70 years ago, and still are hands-on in the vineyards and winery. The appellation IGT Alpi Retiche indicates that these nebbiolo (called chiavennasca locally) grapes come from terraced vineyards in the province of Sondrio. From altitudes up to 700m and a mix of sand, silt, limestone, and granite soils, this was done entirely in stainless, where it remained for 8 months post-ferment. Here you are seeing nebbiolo naked, as it were, without the structuring cloak of oak. Though, certainly if any grape has the intrinsic structure and tannins to stand rigid without oak, nebbiolo would be it. Black cherry, wild cassis, medicinal red currant, perfumed wild strawberry, rose petals stream through the pure, slender, medium-bodied palate, propped by firm, tightly grippy tannins. Acidity is alpine brisk, and the finish lingers. An alluring and finessed approach to this brilliantly belligerent grape.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Mamete Prevostini
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Bruna Grimaldi Nebbiolo d’Alba Bonureitext
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Bruna Grimaldi Nebbiolo d’Alba Bonurei 2018

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Grimaldi Nebbiolo d'Alba is crafted to be elegant, and a red wine you can drink sooner than any of its big brother cousins Barbaresco or Barolo. The fruit comes off several sites ranging from southeast to southwest exposures at altitudes between 250-450m. The classic ferment is aged 12-15 months in 500 and 700 litre tonneaux. The colour is pale orange-red, the nose earthy with some of those tarry red cherry aromas the spill on to the palate. Here the dryness and the acidity kicks in, so you know you're drinking Italian red wine from Piedmont, and you begin to think about pasta all'uovo, pasta with rich sauces, grilled meats, raw beef, and mature cheeses.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Bruna Grimaldi
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Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Albatext
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Albino Rocca Dolcetto d'Alba 2019

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyAlbino Rocca's Dolcetto d'Alba is drawn from a 40+ year old single vineyard in Barbaresco, with a mostly east to south-east exposure. At this age, the yields are self-limiting, offering high quality fruit in most years, and something special in a year like 2019. In some ways, the reputation of Dolcetta d'Alba does this wine little credit. The fruit is all stainless steel fermented and aged, releasing the purity of its fruit. The nose and attack are all about cherries and cranberry set against a floral background. Youthful, exuberant, and fun to drink, it works with a variety of classic northern Italian dishes, including anything with mushrooms and truffles, be it risotto or pasta or pizzas.Prices: BC 29.70 Producer: Albino Rocca
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Albino Rocca Rosso di Rocca Langhe Nebbiolotext
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Albino Rocca Rosso di Rocca Langhe Nebbiolo 2019

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe death of Angelo Rocca in 2012 reshaped the winemaking team at Albino Rocca, with Angelo's son-in-law Carlo Castellengo, and Angelo's daughters Paola, Monica, and Daniela taking over. The Rosso di Rocca is a blend of nebbiolo and a dash of cabernet franc. The source stems from a 2016 acquisition of a vineyard south in Magliano Alfieri, on the left side of the river Tanaro, plus a few parcels in East Barbaresco. The style is very much Albino Rocca, offering up a fragrant softish red, plenty of flavour and concentration, and an uncanny drinkability factor, especially when paired with traditional but simple Italian regional dishes. The wine sees no wood and is finished at 13.5 percent alcohol. The sample I tasted was under cork; it is also bottled under screwcap.Prices: BC 32.60 Producer: Albino Rocca
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Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
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Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2017

Piedmont, ItalyIt was unusually warm in Piedmont in 2017, although calling warmer vintages unusual is becoming as dodgy as some of the wines that come from them. In this case, a bit of warmth might be welcomed in the vineyards, but it’s the elegance of this nebbiolo that is harmed, so unlike 2016, it sings a little less. That said, many will like this California-like vintage that leaves the fruit softer and rounder and more fun drink now. It’s a matter of style, and it will have its champions. Sticking to what’s normal or authentic, this is less so, at least for the moment. On that note, buy, drink, and enjoy it now through the next five years. Certainly, it would be a good bet with turkey this holiday season.Prices: BC 28.99 ON 30.00 Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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12 November 2020

Tommasi Pinot Grigio Le Rossetext
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Tommasi Pinot Grigio Le Rosse 2019

Verona, Veneto, Italy2019 continues the Tommasi reset of its grigio, starting with a screwcap closure. There has been a 180 change in direction here since the cork was dropped, leaving mineral, clean, bright white wine from front to back that will attack your palate with fresh pear and lees and a light dusting of honey. Ready to drink. Any west coast shellfish dish will work here.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 16.95 QC 17.00 AB 18.00 MB 17.00 NB 16.00 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAn overall cooler vintage that finished late and included a long period of smoke-filled skies has given BC an excellent harvest of ripe fruit, free of sugar bomb bunches. The picking began in October and finished up in early November. The blend is 77/23 syrah/cabernet sauvignon, where each variety is fermented separately before ageing in 30 percent new French oak barriques. It is a classic Australian mix made in a Bordelais style on Skaha terroir: full-flavoured and boisterous upfront, with a whack of blue fruit and meaty flavours flecked with black pepper and vanilla. Long, silky, warm, and showy, this will have a wide appeal to those who prefer a hedonistic style of red wine. Steak anyone?Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Langmeil Steadfast Shiraz Cabernettext
87PTS

Langmeil Steadfast Shiraz Cabernet 2017

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaSteadfast is 54/46 shiraz/cabernet sauvignon matured in seasoned American and French oak for six months. It’s all Barossa and multi-regional with fruit from Dorrien, Light Pass, and Eden Valley. Interestingly, the Lindner family of Langmeil Winery has been immersed in Barossa’s culture of farming, food, wine, and community for six generations. 2017 marked a return to a more normal harvest with perfect rain additions, few if any heat spikes, and a much later ripening, thanks to cooler temperature. The wine is medium dark in colour and awash in ripe juicy red and black fruits, flecked with leafy savoury notes. The finish is a sweet and sour affair with soft tannins. Best served with smoky barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 27.99 AB 22.00 ON 22.00 MB 27.00 Producer: Langmeil Winery
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Front Row Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viogniertext
86PTS

Front Row Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe second time around, Front Row remains a soft, ready to drink red with all the hallmarks of a commercial, South African red. It is a mix of shiraz, mourvèdre, and viognier from Swartland. The fruit is purchased on long-term contracts to create a value for money blend. The style is light and fresh, with peppery, meaty mocha and a touch of salt in the finish. A straightforward red wine that delivers for its price point.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Stefan Basson
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11 November 2020

Tenuta Civranetta Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Tenuta Civranetta Pinot Grigio 2019

Veneto, ItalyFidora was established in 1974 in Veneto, and has been organic since its inception. This single vineyard pinot grigio pours a deeper yellow hue, and is full in the mouth with white florals, white peach, lemon blossom, and tangerine, through to a spiced finish. There's a pad of lees plumping this out and upping its food-friendliness. Easy to enjoy with numerous salads or white fish. Great value.Prices: ON 16.95 BC 22.00 Producer: Fidora
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Attems Pinot Grigiotext
89PTS

Attems Pinot Grigio 2018

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyScared of Italian pinot grigio? Give this a whirl. From Friuli's low laying Gorizia hills and their marls, sandstone and clay, and near 20 year old grigio vines, this was fermented in steel and 10% barriques, prior to a four month rest in the vessels on lees. The lees is very much felt here on the round, plumped palate, cushioning pear, honeysuckle, white peach, and yellow plum on the 12.5 degree palate. There's a delicate fine spicing on the finish. Lovely ease and freshness to this substantial wine; would be ideal with fresh halibut or sablefish.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.95 ON 19.95 QC 18.95 NB 18.80 Producer: Conti Attems S.r.l.
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Lindemans Pinot Grigio (Can)text
86PTS

Lindemans Pinot Grigio (Can) 2018

South Eastern Australia, AustraliaThere are no surprises in Lindeman’s Bin Series wines, meant to be fresh, clean, ready-to-drink, and varietally-correct. Like all other Lindeman offerings, you may not know that it is mothered by Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay, which was first launched in 1985 as wine made to meet a price point in Canadian monopolies. Bin 65 went on to be a bestseller for decades. The pinot grigio, shaped after its Italian cousin, is leaner, fresher, and mixes lemon and green apple notes with a hint of grapefruit acidity. Simple, affordable, and highly desirable in 250ml cans, perfect for the beach.Prices: BC 2.49 250 AB 4.79 250 SK 4.99 250 MB 4.40 250 ON 4.45 250 QC 5.95 250 NB 4.95 250 PEI 5.49 250 NS 3.99 250 NFL 5.95 250 Producer: Lindemans Wines
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Attems Pinot Grigiotext
90PTS

Attems Pinot Grigio 2018

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyTasted first at the property and now a year later, this pinot gris is as good as it gets on this market, and is still full of life. From the famed Fruili DOC, it is grown on three distinct terroirs of sand, clay, and compressed sand. The differences allow the fruit to express itself in unique ways, adding just enough complexity to the mix to make it highly enjoyable on the palate. The acidity is fresh, and the combination of almonds, melons, juicy pear, and honey invite you to finish the bottle. Simply prepared fish is a good bet, but why rush? It is getting better in the bottle.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.95 ON 19.95 QC 18.95 NB 18.80 Producer: Conti Attems S.r.l.
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CedarCreek Platinum John Simes Vineyard Pinot Gristext
90PTS

CedarCreek Platinum John Simes Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis 0.5-hectare north-facing vineyard is the coolest, latest ripening site on the eastern shores of Okanagan Lake, and the perfect source for this electric pinot gris. The fruit is certified organic, as are the yeasts fermented in a mix of stainless steel, concrete, and oak. The wine is fragrant with a reductive, leesy, citrus note that excites aficionados, and leaves casual drinkers less than enthused. Be that as it may, it is a terifffic bottle of wine offering bright citrus, lemon, lime, and stony minerality with texture and length. Complex and thought-provoking, this is more like Fruili and amen to that. Nice touch to name this wine after John Simes, recognizing his role in laying the foundation for all of Anthony von Mandel's wines. Kudos to Taylor Whelan.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gristext
88PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 7 Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019

British Columbia, CanadaA better version of Block 7 appears in 2019, spurred on by “not to warm days and not too cool nights,” says winemaker Taylor Whelan. An extra cool September and October added hangtime to intensify the flavours. The underlying stony-ness in 2019 and what seems like a more reductive, leesy style has given the wine better balance, but make no mistake; the wine is riper and sweeter than the normal spectrum of pinot gris in the market with 8.1 g/l of residual sugar. Many will be attracted to its honeysuckle nose and full flavoured baled pear, ripe melon, flecked with salted caramel. Serve well-chilled.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Hillside Heritage Series Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Hillside Heritage Series Pinot Gris 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Heritage Gris is all Naramata fruit grown at Umoya and Davies Vineyards, although some Hungarian oak seems to have given this wine a touch of Hungary on the palate. The nose is floral and full of orchard fruit with orange blossoms and vanilla for support. Winemaker Kathy Malone says the “ Vineyard blocks were chosen for tropical characters to complement the spicy, floral oak flavours of Tokay wood.” I like the wine and the twist of richness that suggests this would be a fine wine for the dinner table. Think creamy pesto dishes, most vegetarian casseroles, and a BC favourite, grilled halibut. The wine is made with free jun juice, two days skin contact, 58% Tokaj barrels, (15% new) with sur lie ageing for six months.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Hillside Winery
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Township 7 Reserve Benchmark Series Pinot Gris Naramata Estate Vineyardtext
88PTS

Township 7 Reserve Benchmark Series Pinot Gris Naramata Estate Vineyard 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Benchmark Gris is made in limited amounts for ClubSeven members. The fruit is specially chosen from select Naramata sites and grown sustainably. It is fully barrel-fermented in neutral oak, lending richness and depth with no obvious oak overtones. Lemons, peaches, desert scrub, and minerality all conspire to make this a pinot gris you can sip before or during dinner.Prices: BC 26.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Tightrope Winery Pinot Gristext
86PTS

Tightrope Winery Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes are all Naramata Bench, sourced from the Tightrope vineyard and the vineyards owned by the Madsen, Riccio, and Rubis families. The winemaking is simple: it is all whole-cluster pressed, cold settled for three days, racked off the solids, and cool-fermented at 14°C in stainless steel for about 30 days. The result is easy-sipping pear and apricot, with a bump of residual sugar to attract a vast crowd of wine drinkers. Serve well chilled and with spicy appetizers.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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River Stone Pinot Gristext
87PTS

River Stone Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMostly dry and a touch tart with floral, tropical aromas, with a mix of green melon, green apple, and peach. The palate is fresh, the acidity bright, with a nice touch of minerality. This wine is better suited to simply prepared seafood dishes like buttered clams or steamed mussels. The grapes for this 17-year-old single vineyard estate Pinot Gris were picked before the September rains.Prices: BC 20.90 Producer: River Stone Estate Winery
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10 November 2020

Le Colombier Vacqueyras Cuvee Gtext
90PTS

Le Colombier Vacqueyras Cuvee G 2017

Vacqueyras, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceIt’s Vacqueyras in structure, with plenty of dense tannins to carry it through the next decade, but it has a softer side that makes it amazingly attractive to those who would decant and serve it now with lamb or beef. The blend is 50/50 grenache/syrah, and the style is surprisingly Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Concentrated savoury black fruits with a twist of cola, and smoky, meaty notes carry the back end before melting into a long, persistent, warm finish flecked with mint. A lot of wine for $39, and one that will improve through 2025.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Les Vignobles Mourre
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Perinet Merittext
91PTS

Perinet Merit 2016

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMerit is a 35/30/169/16 blend of merlot and syrah with small amounts of garnatxa and carinyena to add some classic Priorat complexity and structure to the mix. The grapes are handpicked early, reflecting their southern exposure and hot summer temperatures. That said, it is not cooked, and after a five-day cold soak, they are fermented in stainless steel tanks using carbonic maceration for 20 days. The result is a fruity style that sees no oak, and winemaker Antoni Sanchez nailed it. The palate is a mix of earthy, iron, slatey mineral notes with sour and sweet black cherry, licorice, and a savoury chocolate finish. The tannins are dense but soft, allowing you to drink this now or hold it for a decade. It's bottled unfined and unfiltered after one year in stainless steel. The Perinet Priorat DOQ wines are available at Coal Harbour Liquor Store, Sutton Place Liquor Store, Viti Liquor Store Vancouver, New District Liquor Store and Stablehouse Restaurant.Prices: BC 41.00 Producer: Perinet
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Perinettext
94PTS

Perinet 2016

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainPerinet is classic Priorat, combining a 31/26/20/18/5 mix of garnatxa, carinyena, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot in stainless steel. The various varieties ripen at different times across the estate vineyards and are picked and sorted by hand. Each lot goes through a 1-2 day cold soak before fermentation. Perinet uses a gas rumbling technique to break up the cap during fermentation, and the macerations often last beyond 30 days. The ferment is racked into 40% new and 55% 1-year old French oak barrels, In 2016, 5% of new American oak is added for toasty/spicy notes. The opening is slightly lifted with juicy, ripe, perfumed black raspberry streaked with balsamic and sweet baking spices. The long palate is stony and mineral with licorice and iron notes that persist. A giant wine that is almost elegant, from an excellent vintage that invites you into its world and its sophisticated but showy style. Decant for an hour now or cellar for a decade. The Perinet Priorat DOQ wines are available at Coal Harbour Liquor Store, Sutton Place Liquor Store, Viti Liquor Store Vancouver, New District Liquor Store and Stablehouse Restaurant.Prices: BC 108.00 Producer: Perinet
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Terra Ventoux 5 Terroirs Vielles Vignestext
87PTS

Terra Ventoux 5 Terroirs Vielles Vignes 2018

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceTerra Ventoux comes off five different geological terroirs spread across a 600 hectare vineyard. Terra Ventoux Les 5 Terroirs is made with grapes grown on all five of the individual terroirs, including Burgundian limestone very fragmented by erosion, white clay with limestone pebbles, sandy hills with red clay with pure broken quartz, and iron-rich red acidic soils. The blend is 60/40 grenache/syrah from 30+ year old vines. The nose is fragrant with hints of savoury garrigue, the attack soft and round with juicy fruity black plum that easily slips down. Good value and ready to drink. Serve with grilled meat and the classic Mediterranean tomato dishes.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Terra Ventoux
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4 Monos Cien Lanzastext
90PTS

4 Monos Cien Lanzas 2017

Vinos de Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain4 Monos (4 Monkeys) is a project started in 2010 by 4 wine savvy friends: Javier García, Laura Robles, David Velasco and David Moreno. They work 4 hectares of their own in the Sierra de Gredos mountains, west of Madrid, as well as 10 hectares with other growers, all located in the villages of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Cadalso de los Vidrios, and Cenicientos. Their mission is to capture the purity of the local old vine Albillo and Garnacha on these granitic soils, through the lens of organic viticulture and natural winemaking. This is 60-100 year old bush vine garnacha, along with a 5% tip of garnacha blanca and cariñena, growing on pink, white, and grey granite at 830-960m in the village of Cenicientos. This was entirely whole cluster, native fermented and with up to 43 days maceration before resting in 500L French and Austrian barrels plus 5000L French foudre for 14 months. It was lightly fined and bottled without filtration. Pouring a lighter, slightly cloudy hue, this is quite textural, with ample buzzy granitic grip woven throughout medicinal-edged plum, fragrant raspberry, darting kirsch, to a swell of heat that fans the finish. Tannins are slight, acidity is elevated, and the mouthfeel is garnacha-generous.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: 4 Monos Viticultores
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Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sablières Côtes du Rhônetext
90PTS

Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sablières Côtes du Rhône 2017

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceIf you're wondering why there's a wee beetle on the label, Escaravailles is the Occitan name for scarab beetles. The word was also used for the black-robed monks who occupied the area’s Catholic monasteries centuries ago. The domaine has been in the Férran family since the 1950s, and today amounts to 65 hectares of vineyards, 40 of which are in the rocky, clay-limestone hillsides of Rasteau. This grenache/syrah blend comes entirely from Rasteau, and from vines between 30-50 years old. This was raised entirely in concrete, where it rested for 11 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. Authentically Rhone, and cloudy by intent, this is layered with resinous scrubby herbs, cassis, black raspberry and finocchiona. There's an alluring dusting of pink pepper floating throughout and lingering on the finish of this charmer.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Domaine des Escaravailles
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Silvio Carta Serenatatext
89PTS

Silvio Carta Serenata 2017

Sardinia, ItalySilvio Carta founded his eponymous company in Baratili San Pietro in the 1950’s, devoting himself to making traditional wines and spirits of the region. Sixty years on, Silvio, together with his son Elio, the latter at the head since 1973, still devote themselves to these aims. Spicy, ripe, sun-kissed red fruits fill the dry, savoury palate of this cannonau. Overripe cherry, raspberry, leather, floods the full palate, with sticky, tuggy tannins reflective of the Sardinian sunshine, and a finish of Mediterranean scrub.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Silvio Carta
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09 November 2020

Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2017

British Columbia, CanadaCélestiale is the little sibling to Clos du Soleil's Signature red blend. It's also Similkameen based and the blend is similar: 38/33/13/13/3 merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. However, this is meant to be enjoyed in its youth and is made in a fittingly approachable style. It shows a smoky nose with forward oak spice and vanillin alongside ripe black fruits. Medium-bodied, with warming 14.5% abv, the tannins are fine-grained and smooth, making this a wine to open now while you tuck Signature away in your cellar.Prices: BC 23.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Clos du Soleil Célestialetext
88PTS

Clos du Soleil Célestiale 2017

British Columbia, CanadaCelestial is a nod to Bordeaux, blending four Similkameen vineyards and five grape varieties: 38/33/13/13/3 merlot / cabernet sauvignon / cabernet franc / malbec / petit verdot, from Keremeos and Cawston in the Similkameen, and Osoyoos in the southern Okanagan. The superheated 2015s were barrel-aged for 15 months in French oak, and while good, it lacks the lift and energy of the 2013 or 2014. This is essentially crafted to be consumed sooner than the flagship Signature blend. The attack is young and juicy with smoky cedar, spicy black cherry, albeit with ripe, silky tannins. There is a touch of forest floor in the finish balancing the ripeness and playing to the savoury aspects of the Similkameen. Anything off the barbecue works here. Eight hundred five cases were produced.Prices: BC 23.90 ON 26.00 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Bartier Bros. The Goaltext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. The Goal 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEqual parts merlot and cabernet franc off Cerqueira vineyard, on the Black Sage Bench, this macerated and fermented over 26 days prior to a 17 month stint in neutral French barrels. Big black plum, cassis, blueberries, blackberries, anise rule the compact, silken palate, housed with ragged, powdery tannins, and ringed with smoke. A bigger, potent, powerhouse red that needs a couple of years, or a grilled porterhouse or portabello mushroom now.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Bartier Bros. Illegal Curvetext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Illegal Curve 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Black Sage Bench's Cerqueira Vineyard, this merlot spent 9 days on skins in stainless over ferment, followed by 9 months in tank. It was tipped with a 6.5% barrel-aged cabernet franc before bottling. You can feel the spicy franc up against the lighter, tarter merlot here, mingling the fresh cherry and plum notes with herbaceous cedar staves. There's a smokiness that runs throughout, most likely the result of the wildfires that year. Tannins are long and fine until the warming finish (feeling much more than 13 degrees). A bit awkward solo, but best taken as intended with juicy mushroom or beef burgers.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Garbo Negretext
87PTS

Garbo Negre 2018

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis gutsy, rich, internationally styled Montsant blends the region's increasingly-seen syrah with merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Destemmed grapes were fermented in stainless and then fermented in used French and American oak for 4 months. Ripe and dark fruited, with sweet kirsch, blackcurrant jam, roasted coffee, and sweet baking spice filling a round palate. Tannins are slight and sticky; welcome partnering this now with ribs. Not much sense of place here, sadly.Prices: CDN 19.99 Producer: Freixenet
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Garbo Negretext
88PTS

Garbo Negre 2018

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainGarbo Negre involves three non-indigenous grapes: merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. Each is fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged briefly (120 days) in third-year French and American oak barrels for a little polishing. The nose is an intense mix of dark fruits, with a touch of meatiness and dusty, stony undertones. The palate is full-flavoured, the fruit ripe black cherry and blueberry, but at less than 14 percent alcohol, it has a sense of balance and freshness. The tannins are firm but silky, and the finish medium-long. A terrific barbecue red or winter stew companion.Prices: CDN 19.99 Producer: Freixenet
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Bartier Bros. Illegal Curvetext
88PTS

Bartier Bros. Illegal Curve 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Michael Bartier is a big hockey fan, and this merlot with a dash of cabernet franc aged 9 short months in oak, comes off like his favourite hockey team: solid, if not quite Stanley Cup worthy. Spicy, smoky, savoury, fresh red fruit sloshes around on your palate in a youthful, rambunctious way, calling for more time in the bottle or some grilled beef.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 21.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Bartier Bros. The Goaltext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. The Goal 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA fifty/fifty mix of merlot and cabernet franc comes with classic Bartier juicy black fruit, perfect ripeness, and balancing acidity. The fruit comes off the home estate Cerqueira Vineyard, on the middle gravel Black Sage Bench. All of the fruit goes into neutral French barrels (leaving no effect other than getting some air into the juice) over a 17 month stop. Black plums and savoury desert scrub scented blackberries finish with a wisp of smoke and stone. A youthful profile calls for a grilled steak, but this wine will settle down in two to three years, adding more nuances.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Narrative Redtext
87PTS

Narrative Red 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNarrative Red is a blend of cabernet franc, and merlot. Green edged, with franc's herbal pinch coming through, the cherry, raspberry and cedar is imbued with a persistent smoked wood note. Tannins are ragged and slightly powdery, finishing with a swell of warmth. An Okanagan desert red ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 20.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Hillside Merlot - Malbectext
88PTS

Hillside Merlot - Malbec 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s been a while since we saw this easy sipping red blend featuring two Bordeaux varieties, namely merlot and malbec. The nose is fragrant, offering up spicy coffee mixed with orange blossom and black cherry. The palate is similar, with soft, fine grained tannins and a fresh juicy finish. A lively red you can pair with roast chicken or a meaty pizza, this light, mini-Bordeaux red is all Naramata.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Hillside Winery
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Blue Grouse Quill Redtext
87PTS

Blue Grouse Quill Red 2018

British Columbia, CanadaQuill is Blue Grouse's line of wines from contract fruit. In the case of Quill Red, it is comprised of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Marechal Foch, from Oliver and Cowichan, each fermented separately and aged in neutral French and American oak for 12 months. Easy and soft with black cherry, blackberry, and dark chocolate, with plush, plump tannins. An easy, put-together red for ribs or meatballs.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Tightrope Winery Vertigotext
88PTS

Tightrope Winery Vertigo 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVertigo is an oddball blend of merlot, cabernet franc, and barbera that somehow works. The style is fresh and juicy with savoury, fruit-forward black plum and black cherry, and bright acidity. It’s a perfect pizza red, but it will also work with roast chicken or grilled vegetables. Vertigo is handpicked and fermented in small lots. Drink or hold over the next two to three years.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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06 November 2020

Upper Bench Riesling Limited Releasetext
92PTS

Upper Bench Riesling Limited Release 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUpper Bench has unleashed a head-turning and heart-stopping Naramata Bench riesling. Get ready for stimulating aromas of Granny Smith apple, zesty citrus, savoury snipped herbs and a subtle whiff of petrol. It has a rain-water fresh quality that conjures up Mosel rieslings, complete with delicate jasmine fragrance and salty minerals. Laser-like lemon and lime flavours arouse the tastebuds, with a touch of stone fruit and guava. Racy and nervy, it’s bone-crunchingly dry but with a fruity mid-palate that lends terrific succulence. A blade runner of a riesling, harness its electric acidity to some pork belly, smoked salmon pizza, take out Thai, or triple cream cheese on crusty baguette. Naramata’s Upper Bench continues to impress with wines that are precise, pure and expressive, made by the genius hands of owner/winemaker (ex-Poplar Grove and Painted Rock) Gavin Miller.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
88PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their Naramata Bench estate, this was whole cluster pressed, with 14 hours of skin contact before pressing, and then ferment in stainless, stopped when the desired level of sugar was balanced. This walks the tightrope between acidity and sugar, with 4.5 g/L RS and TA 9 g/L, and lime peel cutting a sharp swath across ripe pear and Asian pear, finishing with bright lime sorbet. Nimble and high acid, take this dryish riesling with Vietnamese or Thai noodles or salads.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
90PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate 1977 planting of clone 21B Riesling, this biodynamic riesling was native fermented in stainless, arrested with chilling when the desired sugar / acid level was achieved. This year was 25.9 g/L RS, 9.8 TA, and 11.4%. Now, with a couple of years' age, is showing beautifully, with pulpy lime, white pepper, pear on a shining, off-dry palate. This finishes with a riffing grip, welcoming another glass or a variety of pairings.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
89PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate 1977 planting of clone 21B Riesling, this biodynamic riesling was native fermented in stainless, arrested with chilling when the desired sugar / acid level was achieved. This year was held to 43 g/L RS, 8.7 TA, and 10.8%. There's a lovely balance here between sweet pear, white pepper, and green apple, with a lime pith tension drawing this along the off-dry palate. Juicy and bright, this is drinking well now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
89PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate 1977 planting of clone 21B Riesling, this biodynamic riesling was native fermented in stainless, arrested with chilling when the desired sugar / acid level was achieved. This year was at 31 g/L RS, with 6.3 TA and 10.3%. A massive infusion of white pepper leads into a sweeter palate of pear, red apple, and a kiss of lime blossom. Juicy and spicy, and very much in youth, this finishes snappy and briskly now, but will settle into itself with time.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Selbach Riesling (Fish Label)text
89PTS

Selbach Riesling (Fish Label) 2018

Mosel, GermanyRinse and repeat doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but it perfectly describes this delicious riesling that consistently outperforms the opposition for the price. Expect a crisp, dry riesling picked in the middle Mosel region on steep south-facing slopes. The style is Kabinett-plus in terms of ripeness, meaning red apple, not green. The palate is peachy fresh, and as winemaker Johannes Selbach likes to say, it is crunchy too. Great value and pairs with anything, including your holiday turkey.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: J & H Selbach
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Tightrope Winery Rieslingtext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Riesling 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTightrope makes two separate picks about a week apart, searching for maximum ripeness, although in 2019, this riesling is deliciously nervy, so perhaps maximum ripeness is off the table. The nose is clean and fresh, with notes of green apple, oranges, and wet stones. The palate is electric with citrus, mineral, pink grapefruit, and nectarine with a perfectly tart finish. Match with fish tacos, halibut with fruit salsa, lightly spiced sushi rolls, a favourite curry, and well, just about anything you can think about to eat. Well done.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Therapy Rieslingtext
88PTS

Therapy Riesling 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker/viticulturalist Jack Kempf continues to turn the Therapy ship around. Look for intense floral, lime blossoms, white flowers flecked with orange. Similar flavours mark the palate from front to back with some underlying mineral poking through the palate, rich in texture and minerals and a touch of complexing oxidation. No rush to drink this. You can use it as a squeeze of lemon now or wait for its full glory to jump forth by 2023-2025.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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05 November 2020

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraztext
98PTS

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz 2016

South Australia, AustraliaAs long as Peter Gago is making Grange, I have little doubt every release will be meaningful. The vintage variation will always have a hand in the outcome, but Gago's passion and his intimate connection with this historical label will likely never let it slip to even just good. In 2016 it is fabulous. Gago has already placed the 2016 Grange into one of the four great vintages in the last fifty years, including 2010, 1990, and 1971. Over the years, he says, “I've seen every variation on the theme. What extreme hasn't happened? In 2011 it was so wet you could shake the vines, and the grapes fell off. In 2008 there were 16 days of a massive heatwave with every ferment stopping in the old open fermenters. In 2020 what haven’t we seen?" 2016 Grange is a rambunctious giant of a young red wine invoking in my mind (with all respect) a note of crushed ants for all you history buffs. Unlike the RWT, this is a brazen shiraz with rich, spicy dark chocolate and blueberry, and even glossier textures. It will outlive the youngest of collectors. Its current price tag is painful, but history had proven it will only go up in price. 2016 is 97% Shiraz, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon grown across the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and at Magill Estate. It was matured 18 months in American oak hogsheads that were 100% new. Decant for two hours or more if you dare open it.Prices: BC 1000.00 AB 999.95 MB 999.99 ON 995.00 QC 995.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389text
93PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389 2018

South Australia, AustraliaThe most cellared red wine in Australia is 389, and 2018 marks its 60th vintage. It is an intricate blend of fruit that follows the season: cool years are heavily slanted to Barossa and Mclaren Vale, and the warmer years tap southern vineyards. In 2018 physiological ripeness favoured all regions, and winemaker Peter Gago and the squad took full advantage, picking the 57 percent cabernet sauvignon, 43 percent shiraz from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Coonawarra, Robe and Wrattonbully. All the fruit was aged in American oak hogsheads, of which 38 percent were new. That is a new high, signalling the quality of the 2018 fruit. The rest of the used barrels are usually passed down from the Grange program. Gago calls this year backward and one to wait for and less forward than many of its predecessors. Everything deepens to an amazing black forest cake lookalike on the palate (a 2018 marker according to the winemaking team) with more cherry, blackcurrant, and blueberry. Rich, powerful, and showing some oak but in its finest form, supporting not dominating. It will need a decade or more to round into form and begin to express its vast potential. Yes, you can drink it now, but why open your bottles? Drink a friend's first. You can drink this now or for the next 30 years.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 99.95 SK 99.99 MB 99.99 ON 99.95 QC 100.00 NB 99.99 NS 99.99 NFL 99.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds St. Henri Shiraztext
94PTS

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2017

South Australia, AustraliaAlways one of the more inviting Penfolds reds, St Henri comes by its nature via older wood. In 2017 the 97/3 shiraz/cabernet sauvignon was harvested across Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, and Port Lincoln before spending a year in 2000 litre vats now over fifty years old. Unlike the warm 2018 growing season, 2017 was comparatively cool and long, playing into St Henri's strength of projecting a savoury, fruity style. The high acidity adds energy to the persistent, spicy red fruitcake, pomegranate, and dried beef notes, supplemented by a garrigue-like finish. Supple and polished, it is approachable now yet has all the hallmarks that will let it age effortlessly for a decade and beyond. Not your typical Australian shiraz, which is the story of St. Henri. A very fine effort and one of the best I have tasted. As drinkable as it is now, this will age into two decades with ease.Prices: BC 149.99 AB 149.99 MB 149.99 ON 149.95 QC 120.00 NB 149.99 NS 149.99 NF 149.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798text
97PTS

Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaSince its inception, I have been a fan of RWT, now tagged with Bin Number 798. The French oaked version of Grange is simply a standout. In 2018 the oak was 64 percent new, and the rest is from one year old barrels. It is a giant of wine, but it always projects a sense of linear elegance and style that only French oak can achieve. The mix of fruit is so glossy, and so RWT, Gago says they pretty much knew in the vineyard which blocks were going to make it to the final blend. "A wonderful year in a phenological sense, for lush, pure fruited, lovely svelte sort of fruits… something quite magical." Blackberry jam, black plums, white pepper, fruit cake, tobacco, and dried herbs, it is all here and, as mentioned, with an elegance that belies Australia. It's completely on the opposite spectrum of the powerful, assertive nature of Grange. A blend of grower fruit and Penfolds' own vineyards but somewhat unusual in that it is all from Barossa Valley. Gago says the blend was self-evident at the classification tasting. The blend was right, 20 minutes after the classification started. A super red for collectors. A bargain in the face of Grange and a wine that Gago hints itmight be better than the amazing 1998. As for tagging RWT, already perfectly monikered with a Bin Number, open the number dial screen on your cell phone and, well, it's not the company's finest moment. Winelovers should be thankful winemaker Peter Gago wins more than he loses at that corporate table.Prices: BC 249.99 AB 249.95 SK 249.95 ON 249.95 QC 249.50 NS 318.53 NFL 249.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407text
92PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407 2018

South Australia, AustraliaGago refers to the 407 upon reflection and respectfully as "not unlike a youthful and sprightly Bordeaux Right Bank Merlot sourced off clay – all red fruits, cranberry." Indeed, the wine is bright and the acid firm and forward, giving it substantial vitality in the glass. The fruit is multi-regional from Coonawarra, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, and Robe. It spends one year in French oak (21% new) and American oak (9% new) hogsheads. The attack begins with a cedary savoury edge screaming cabernet with a twist of persimmon. The savoury notes continue through the black plummy fruit and the bitter chocolate walnut finish. It is an impressive cabernet at a very young age. Precise and form fitting for the long haul; cellar through 2030 before you start to appraise its real value. The fruit comes from several sources. By percentage, it's Coonawarra 32, Padthaway 27, Wrattonbully 7, Barossa Valley 5, Robe 5, and it goes on. Warm autumn weather ensured phenological ripeness, bringing well-rounded tannins and tremendous varietal flavour. An exceptional vintage for cabernet sauvignon at all levels.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 99.99 SK 99.99 ON 99.95 QC 99.75 NB 99.99 NS 99.99 NFL 99.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28text
90PTS

Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28 2018

South Australia, AustraliaOnce a single vineyard wine, Kalimna has long been a blend of shiraz from across South Australia. In 2018 the grapes were sourced from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Fleurieu, Robe, Mt Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek before spending a year in used American oak hogsheads. The nose is awash in plummy fruit dappled in brown spice and almond. The attack is super lush and inviting thanks to a rift of savoury dried herbs and surprisingly bright acidity. Australia, you have been busy. Dark berry persists throughout until a streak of creamy milk chocolate finishes off the wine. The tannins are dense and sweet and will only prolong the wine's life without interrupting its drinkability. It's less chiselled and glossier in 2018, which will only broaden its appeal. Great value and mostly ready to drink.Prices: BC 49.99 AB 49.99 SK 49.99 MB 49.99 ON 49.95 QC 49.75 NB 54.99 NS 54.99 NFL 0.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2018

South Australia, AustraliaThe incredibly successful Yattarna program laid the foundation for every chardonnay in the Treasury portfolio to excel and become something more than just the largest selling white variety in the world. Bin 311 is the classic example as it now sits firmly under Yattarna as a huge overachiever. The fruit sources change every year as Gago and company go after the coolest fruit of the year. In 2018 the 311 mix was Adelaide Hills, Tumbarumba, and Tasmania. After ten months in 30% new French oak barriques, the resulting juice was electric with a lemon core of acidity flecked with spicy cashews, pear, and creamy lees to balance its taut, linear styling. Impressive, to say the least, for the price, and a chardonnay style BC winemakers should consider. Get it before the prices take off.Prices: BC 49.99 AB 49.95 ON 49.95 QC 49.75 Producer: Penfolds
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04 November 2020

Elephant Island Reserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Elephant Island Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Series of wines happens only in particular years when the grapes and vintage prove worthy of putting aside. In the case of this 2018 Reserve Chardonnay, this came from their Naramata estate Sideshow Hill Vineyard and 19-year-old own-rooted vines. This lot aged one year in new French oak, which is noticed immediately upon nosing. Sweet vanillin previews pear custard, apple butter, bright lemon curd and fragrant gardenias, firmly wrapped in that blanket of new wood. The finish trails off with a hint of butterscotch and ample nutmeg spicing. At this point, this is a lot of a lot, but it has the structure and stuffing to age over the short term, so I suggest pouring it alongside butter drawn lobster now or wait a few years when it's refined and ready for crab.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Elephant Island Orchard Wines
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Elephant Island The Other Way Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Elephant Island The Other Way Chardonnay 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOn Naramata Bench, this chardonnay comes off 19-year-old own-rooted vines from the estate Sideshow Hill Vineyard and saw 3 months ageing in barrel. The purity of Naramata orchard fruit streams through here, with a bright melody of apples, spice, lemon zest, and river stone. The wood plays a backdrop to the fruit, though it will certainly support it for a few years in the cellar. Well done.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Elephant Island Orchard Wines
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Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyardtext
89PTS

Bartier Bros. Chardonnay Cerqueira Vineyard 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Black Sage Bench's Cerqueira Vineyard and its calcium carbonate laced glacial till this chardonnay transmits both its vibrant terroir and its 6 months on lees in stainless. Crisp apple, river stone, lemon peel and pith ride a juicy, bright palate, with the aforementioned bed of lees to cushion to a saline laced finish. Drinking well now and will continue easily over the short term.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 23.99 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Tightrope Winery Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata's Four Shadows Vineyard, this fuller, plumper chardonnay was barrel fermented in both French wood and stainless over 2 weeks, underwent 1/3 MLF, and spent 7 months in French oak on lees. Lemon curd rules, along with apple custard, vanilla, and baked pear. Certainly Cali-leaning, but with that hallmark Okanagan freshness, this is a worthy match for crab cakes or butter chicken.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Township 7 Provenance Series Chardonnay Vista Lago Vineyardtext
88PTS

Township 7 Provenance Series Chardonnay Vista Lago Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVista Lago Vineyard in Oliver is the source of this 50/50 French barrique/stainless steel fermented chardonnay. 2018 is a vintage of freshness and elegance, and this chardonnay does not disappoint. The nose is a mix of wet stones and apricot skin, and the palate is similar with more lemon and peach, with a refined texture and mineral notes in the finish. Food-friendly and definitely part of the New Chardonnay market.Prices: BC 21.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Therapy Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Therapy Chardonnay 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJack Kempf has made a big early impression at Therapy, turning the wine and vineyard program around in a big way, as evidenced by this amazing chardonnay. It's Naramata fruit grown on the 60-acre estate vineyard, entirely whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak. Some 36 percent of the barrels were new, adding a toasty and complex dimension to the wine. The attack is creamy with a strong reductive leesy note flecked with mineral, stony ripe apricot, honey, and orange blossoms. The winery recommends foie gras over a toasted baguette, pan-seared scallops nestled on a bed of arugula, or salty goat cheese. Our advice is to prepare the food before the bottle is opened, otherwise it will be gone before you get to the food. The profile reminds me of a bit of the outstanding Penfolds chardonnay program. Should have been platinum at the LG Awards?Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Therapy Vineyards
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Mirabel Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Mirabel Chardonnay 2018

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA small amount of chardonnay has been planted on the estate, but the fruit for this wine is Naramata grown. The style is lean and linear with bright acidity that allows for a full malolactic fermentation and almost a year of ageing on its lees. The style is ‘less is more,’ leaving a very pure expression of BC chardonnay. Look for tropical fruit peeking through the streamlined palate, with lots of pears, apples, and a strong mineral wet stone undercurrent. Give this some time in the bottle to blossom.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen's Advantage Chardonnaytext
94PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen's Advantage Chardonnay 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI had the chance to taste the Queen Taken Chardonnay from its inaugural 2013 vintage through the upcoming 2017 release in a recent vertical tasting. Queen Taken is a single vineyard wine located south west of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley site is predominantly gravelly and coarse stemwinder, ponderosa, and ratnip soils that became washed down rubble originating from the fluvial fan deposits of the mountain above. Its exposition welcomes a very early warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day thanks to the shadow of Mount Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity, an Okanagan Valley signature. Our first look at 2017 is favourable. The fruit was harvested by hand on September 14 after several weeks of smoky skies, but there was no immediate effect with no nearby fires. The inversion layer did ramp up mildew that thrived in the humid air, so you had to be on top of that, and as you might expect, they were at Checkmate. The wine was made in three batches mixing wild ferments and various other percentages of inoculated yeats. The nose is a lovely floral affair with threads of wet stone and mineral mixed with ripe, tropical melons and citrus. The palate is equally intense, with nectarine and orange marmalade, and a dash of exotic litchi fruit. Only 8 barrels were made, all French oak, and 44 percent new; the remainder ranges from one to fourth fills. The texture and mouthfeel are as refined as possible, and bode well for another three to five years of bottle ageing.Prices: BC 85.00 BC 190.00 1500 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnaytext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnay 2017

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCapture is grown at Border Vista Vineyard on East Osoyoos Bench. It's the warmest site Checkmate pulls fruit from, and it sits just a few metres from the United States border. The single block dates back to a 1997 planting of Dijon clone 76 on finely textured, complex, low-nutrient, sandy soils. The fermentation is all in barrel, and 67 percent involves native yeast. I like how peach and tropical notes jump from the glass, yet as warm as the site can be, it still sits at 49 degrees north, adding a freshness to the wine that easily withstands regular battonage and 16 months of ageing in 46 percent new French oak. Winemaker Phil McGahan employs water bent barrels to keep the toast factor in check, allowing the bright fruit a chance to break through early on the palate. Capture is a texture and weight chardonnay but with restraint. The butter, apples, and pears give way to spice, honey, and tangerine before a lightly saline mineral finish. You can drink this now, but I suggest five years of cellaring for the best results.Prices: BC 90.00 BC 200.00 1500 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
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Haywire Chardonnay Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Secrest Mountain Vineyard in Oliver, this was whole bunched pressed, fermented with native yeasts, and then aged in concrete eggs and nico bello. This year Matt used some of the hard press that went into neutral puncheons (8% overall), giving the wine an extra level of creaminess to the palate. In total, it spent approximately 10 months on lees prior to bottling. Green apple, crisp pear finishes with a tight, mineral, savoury spice that lingers on the palate. Super young, this needs time to integrate. Cellar-worthy.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnaytext
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 5 Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 5 sits at the top of the estate Home Block Vineyard, high above Okanagan Lake. Year two of organic farming drastically reduced the canopy and aided in developing riper flavours with less sugar, a win-win. It was wild fermented in a mix of puncheons and French oak barrels that includes a portion of texture softening malolactic fermentation over 12 months of ageing. It goes into stainless steel for six months before bottling. An early warm start and a cool finish contribute to a terrific wine under 13 percent alcohol. In the glass, it is attention-grabbing, mixing mineral, wet stones, and a reductive style with lemony, floral savoury fruit that is deliciously complex. Wow, kudos to winemaker Taylor Whelan. Good value.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Gold Hill Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Gold Hill Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGold Hill's latest chardonnay release is made with young fruit (clone 96) grown in Peachland at 680 meters above sea level. The northern site has yielded some fresh fruit that was perfectly ripe when picked in late October, demonstrating why a long and slow ripening is a good recipe for chardonnay. The fermentation was relatively cool, never exceeding 18 degrees. The result is a fresh, full-flavoured chardonnay displaying lemon, green apples, mineral aspects, and an enticing wet stone finish. It should have a wide appeal and will work with a variety of foods. Good value.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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03 November 2020

Stag's Hollow Teroldego Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Teroldego Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis unusual Teroldego grape continues to make its mark in the south Okanagan. That is saying something for a grape grown primarily in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy. The colour is deep, and the nose a lovely mix of pepper and fresh black cherry. Like its predecessors, it has a nervous energy. You will find floral, black cherry, black plum notes with vanilla and chocolate dusted in savoury spice among its fresh palate. This will age for a decade, but you can drink it now with poultry dishes. Solid, again.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Da Vero Catarratto Vino Rosso Biologicotext
86PTS

Da Vero Catarratto Vino Rosso Biologico 2017

Sicily, ItalyAraldica is a third generation, family operated co-operative based in Piedmont that remains faithful to a wine growing artisanal approach. Over time it has expanded its reach by working with local farmers and growers throughout Italy to produce authentic wine, enter Da Vero. This cooperative in Sicily has the island’s largest plantings of organic vines, and has been working with Araldica for years. Daverro means really, or naturally, in Italian. The Nero d’Avola comes off organic vineyards converted in 2007. Expect ripe black raspberry and brambleberry with grippy tannins and a dry Italian finish. Best with rustic fares like spaghetti and meatballs, casseroles, or grilled beef.Prices: BC 15.49 Producer: Araldica Vini Piemontesi
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Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riservatext
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Cantina Tollo Mo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2014

Abruzzo, ItalyThis montepulciano comes from central Italy's Abruzzo region, and spent 24 months in cask before another 6 months in bottle prior to release. Simple and shorter on the palate, with pasty / sticky tannins housing dusty forest berries, blackberries, and cedar bark, finishing with a swell of warmth. Best met with equally rustic meat / mushroom stews.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Cantina Tollo
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Tenute N'Anticchiatext
91PTS

Tenute N'Anticchia 2016

Sicily, ItalyPaolo Caciorgna is a renowned Italian Oenologist having worked in some of the greatest names in Tuscan viticulture. Along with consulting to many Italian wine producers he has his own label, Pietro Caciorgna named in dedication to his Father Pietro. Paolo acquired plots of ancient ungrafted vines in the Contrada Marchesa. A selection from his three vineyards, this is 100+ year old unrooted vines, aged in stainless, and then rested for 18 months in barrel. Pencil shavings, leather, wild mediterranean scrub open this big wine, imbued with an intense medicinal cherry, cinnamon and raspberry. This is a deeply sun-ripened, wild, big red, with ample chewy, sticky tannins, reflective of the climate and area. Remarkable fresh, though quite warming on the finish, and best suited to wild boar or hearty pork dishes.Prices: Italy 36.00 Producer: Tenute Pietro Caciorgna
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Pietro Caciorgna Guardoilvento Etna Rossotext
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Pietro Caciorgna Guardoilvento Etna Rosso 2017

Sicily, ItalyPaolo Caciorgna is a renowned Italian Oenologist having worked in some of the greatest names in Tuscan viticulture. Along with consulting to many Italian wine producers he has his own label, Pietro Caciorgna named in dedication to his Father Pietro. Paolo acquired plots of ancient ungrafted vines in the Contrada Marchesa. Dark, dusky, and herbal, with a massive wild Mediterranean scrub in this full bodied red. Tannins are big, grippy, and wild, and there's a cool mint that runs the length of this. Great presence.Prices: Italy 16.00 Producer: Tenute Pietro Caciorgna
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Pietro Caciorgna Ciaurìa Etna Rossotext
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Pietro Caciorgna Ciaurìa Etna Rosso 2019

Sicily, ItalyPaolo Caciorgna is a renowned Italian Oenologist having worked in some of the greatest names in Tuscan viticulture. Along with consulting to many Italian wine producers he has his own label, Pietro Caciorgna named in dedication to his Father Pietro. Paolo acquired plots of ancient ungrafted vines in the Contrada Marchesa. Medium in hue, with ample medicinal cherry, raspberry, infiltrated with a bushel of wild Mediterranean scrub on the medium-bodied palate. Tannins are sticky, and acidity is brisk, reflective of the soils and altitude.Prices: Italy 14.00 Producer: Tenute Pietro Caciorgna
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Vino Lauria Scoglitti Frappatotext
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Vino Lauria Scoglitti Frappato 2018

Sicily, ItalyFrom 3rd generation winemaker Vito Lauria, Vino Lauria is based in the northwest corner of Sicily, though fruit for this bottle comes from the eastern island's sandy soils, and an altitude of 600-1000m. After some youthful reduction blows off, the wild, scrubby herbs, sapid cherry, and fragrant raspberry shines, with tight, fine, grippy tannins over a base of concrete. The acidity is lifted, making this authentic, lighter red perfect for a light chill.Prices: ON 24.00 Producer: Vino Lauria
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