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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2021

31 March 2021

Integrale Vino Rosé Frizzantetext
88PTS

Integrale Vino Rosé Frizzante NV

Veneto, ItalyThis organic frizzante rosé of Raboso, Marzemina, Corbinella, Turchetta comes from the volcanic soils of Veneto's Colli Euganei, and was bottled unfiltered. Perfumed raspberry blossoms, wild strawberries is livened by tart cranberry acidity through a snappy, dry finish. Quite charming, and impactful for its 10.5%.Prices: Producer: Integrale
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Integrale Vino Bianco Frizzantetext
87PTS

Integrale Vino Bianco Frizzante NV

Veneto, ItalyThis organic frizzante of Glera, Garganega, Serprino, Pinella comes from the volcanic soils of Veneto's Colli Euganei, and was bottled unfiltered. Crisp and dry and delicate, with gentle white florals, pear skin, white peach lit with a vibrant, bright acidity. Bubbles are fine and light, as is the alcohol (10.5%) to the lime kissed finish. Enjoy with breakfast or a sun-decked patio.Prices: Producer: Integrale
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Niepoort Água Viva Espumante Brutotext
88PTS

Niepoort Água Viva Espumante Bruto 2016

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis traditional method fizz blends Maria Gomes, Bical, Cercial from 30 to 60 year old vines, rooted in Bairrada's calcareous clay soils. After a native ferment in stainless followed by time in barrels and foudres, this moved to bottle for second ferment and 36 months on lees. This was disgorged in June 2020, with zero dosage. Toasted nuts, broken stone base this wine, now showing its bottle age and the extended time on lees with some oxidative notes throughout. Acidity is brisk, carrying sheared lemon, green apple, herbal lees to a limestone buzzy finish. Prime to enjoy now.Prices: ON 41.95 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Danese Lessini Durello Vino Spumante Bruttext
88PTS

Danese Lessini Durello Vino Spumante Brut NV

ItalyDurello is the name of the wine, and it derives from Durella, the name of the grape that translates to tough or strong because of its naturally high acidity levels. The nose is aromatic with refreshing floral citrus, tangerine, and pink grapefruit. The palate is creamy with 8 grams per litre of sugar, flecked with stony mineral to help temper its refreshing style. A highly agreeable mid-afternoon/early evening bubble that works with a lot of food favourites from seafood bites to sushi, chips, and even popcorn. The process is the charmat method in stainless steel tanks.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Cantina Danese
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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, CanadaThis year's RD Reserve Brut blends 65% chardonnay and 35% pinot noir, with 6.5 years on lees prior to bottling, and another year in bottle prior to release. It was disgorged in August 2019 with 4 g/L. Very complexed, with layers of shimmering stony buzz basing red apple, lemon pith, roasted nuts, on a grippy, meringue-based palate. Quite deep with the autolytics provided by the additional aging. This is drinking beautifully now, but with time still ahead.Prices: BC 49.90 AB 49.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Dunes & Greene Chardonnay Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Dunes & Greene Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV

South Australia, AustraliaLight toast previews red apple, white peach, orchard blossoms on a creamy palate, lit with a buzz of lemon sherbet and stony spice on the dry finish. Simple and bright, and ready to crack now.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Dunes & Greene
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Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Canyonview Vineyardtext
90PTS

Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Canyonview Vineyard 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of two traditional method single vineyard Summerland blanc de noirs released in 2019. From 2003 planted pinot noir rooted in Canyonview Vineyard's sandy and granite-studded soils, this was whole bunch pressed and native fermented in large old puncheons until going to bottle in January 2020. After one year's rest, this was disgorged January 2021 with zero dosage and minimal sulphur throughout. Ample red fruit greets at first whiff, led by red cherry, crushed raspberries, crunchy red apple, all kissed with a puff of reduction. The grippy palate rings with grippy chalk through the bone dry, lingering finish.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Lightning Rock
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Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Elysia Vineyard Traditonal Method Brut Naturetext
91PTS

Lightning Rock Blanc de Noirs Elysia Vineyard Traditonal Method Brut Nature 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of two traditional method, single-vineyard blanc de noirs released in 2019, with pinot noir coming off of Summerland's Elysia Vineyard, planted 2006, and its steep slopes of limestone and weathered granite. After a whole bunch press, this native fermented in older puncheons until a January bottling, where it stayed on lees until it was disgorged in late January 2020, with zero dosage and minimal sulphur throughout. Bone dry, this is ripping with chalky acidity, thanks to the combination of profound soils and careful viticulture. Textural broken stones base cherry, tart red currant, crunchy red apple, subtle meringue which streams the electric palate to a lingering chalk and red currant kissed finish.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Lightning Rock
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30 March 2021

Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrahtext
89PTS

Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe smartly blue waxed Okanagan Valley Syrah is one of 3 single-vineyard syrahs released by Rust in the 2018 vintage. This comes from Similkameen's Lazy River Vineyard and its sandy clay loams dotted with limestone and granitic rock. Post ferment, this aged 16 months in American and French oak, 27% new. Dominated by violets, this potent, cushy red is flooded with blackberry, plum jam, fragrant blueberries along a soft palate. Tannins are ample but well absorbed into the cushioned fruit, leaving just a slight tug in its wake.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
89PTS

Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrah 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe smartly orange waxed Okanagan Valley Syrah is one of 3 single-vineyard syrahs released by Rust in the 2018 vintage. This comes from Naramata Bench's South Rock Vineyard's gravelled clays and older vines. This aged 16 months in French and American oak, 27% new. Well-knit from the get-go, with waves of black pepper, cured salami, black cherry, perfumed musk, and blackberry jam along a rolling, plush palate, with softer tannins taking this to a grippy baking spice finish.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrahtext
90PTS

Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe smartly yellow waxed Okanagan Valley Syrah is one of 3 single-vineyard syrahs released by Rust in the 2018 vintage. This comes from Black Sage Bench's Ferreira Vineyard and its volcanic, granitic sands, at 333m. This aged 16 months in American and French oak, 27% new. A wall of black pepper (via Rotundone) greets, leading into potent wild blackberry, fleshy black cherry, downy violets, lightly smoked meats, walled with firm, lightly grippy tannins. This packs a lot into its 13.5 frame, including freshness to carry the weight.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Burrowing Owl Syrahtext
88PTS

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom estate vineyards in the southern Okanagan, this syrah was tipped with 3% viognier, cofermented. Post ferment the wine aged for 15 months in a mix of French, American, Hungarian, and Russian barrels (27% total new). As ever, the wood imparts its hallmark on these reds, with a spice box of aromas and flavours seasoning the smokey, black fruit. Cola, espresso, vanilla, downy violets fill in the gaps, while ragged, ample tannins frame the whole. A big, powerful wine, still very much in youth, and of the BOV style.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 42.00 ON 40.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Campbell Kind Wines Australia Shiraztext
89PTS

Campbell Kind Wines Australia Shiraz 2014

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaCampbell Kind Wines is a new project from Lifford Wine & Spirits founder Steven Campbell, build on from his decades travelling the wine world and connections in this industry. These are carbon neutral wines selected and produced by his winemaker friends around the world, packaged with the Kind Wine packaging, and line priced across Canada at a very attractive price. The aim is overdeliver value for drinkable, well-crafted wines, all while making an environmentally responsible choice. In addition this project has resulting in the planting of more than 90,000 trees in Canada. The Mitchell family are Clare pioneers, and this is from sustainable, organic, dry farmed old vines, aged in French oak. Andrew Mitchell was one of the first to bottle under screwcap, and persuade others to do the same. Potent in fruit, yet moderate in frame at 13 degrees, this packs a lot into a little. Savoury and medicinal hewed, true to Claire, with dark cherry, brooding blackberry, leathery plum and scrubby dried herbs. Tannins are firm, tuggy, and well proportioned to the fruit. This finishes very dry and firmly, best met with grilled sausages or lamb burgers.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Campbell Kind Wines
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Campbell Kind Wines South Africa Syrahtext
88PTS

Campbell Kind Wines South Africa Syrah 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaCampbell Kind Wines is a new project from Lifford Wine & Spirits founder Steven Campbell, build on from his decades travelling the wine world and connections in this industry. These are carbon neutral wines selected and produced by his winemaker friends around the world, packaged with the Kind Wine packaging, and line priced across Canada at a very attractive price. The aim is overdeliver value for drinkable, well-crafted wines, all while making an environmentally responsible choice. In addition this project has resulting in the planting of more than 90,000 trees in Canada. This Saffer syrah comes from Breedekloof, and was made with winemaker Bruce Jack. Riper, smokey red and black fruits are kissed with vanilla and wrapped up with ample, sticky tannins. The palate is full and plush and sun-sweetened through a peppery finish. Ideal with fire grilled meats and veg.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Campbell Kind Wines
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Painted Rock Syrahtext
91PTS

Painted Rock Syrah 2018

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest PR syrah is grown mid-valley on a sunny, west-facing Skaha Bench slope. The style takes us to Barossa with its rich, hedonistic, ripe cassis and black raspberry aroma and its glassy smooth black and blue fruits that spill across the palate, with medium savoury notes and minimal meaty characters this year. It is already inviting, sliding down with ease despite its youth. This mixes two blocks of estate-grown clones: 100 and 99, all handpicked October 22, 2018. The final mix spends 18 months in 30 percent new oak (80/20 French/American), while the remaining 70% of all French oak is one-year-old. Not as complex this year, but ripe and highly attractive nonetheless. You best get some of this while you can.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
92PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEquinoxe is the flagship syrah of LVP. This comes from a few sites in the southern Okanagan, and vines nearing 20 years. This spent 18 months in French oak (approximately half new) before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Quite a masterful red, very structural and muscular, but so well knit and in balance. This cascades wild black plums, cassis, black cherry, anise along the lengthy palate, textured with fine wood spices, cracked peppercorn, and livened with stony minerality to a sweetly spiced finish. Drinking beautifully now, and will continue to cellar over the next 5-10 years easily.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Burrowing Owl Syrahtext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted three months down the road, 2018 (97/3 syrah/viognier) remains in the drier style, with a rich amount of oak and vanilla doused with savoury South Okanagan blackberry, black cherry, black plum fruit. Don’t let its easy-sipping style fool you; it could use three to five years to reach its apex. A strange 2018 growing season began early and stalled under cool summer temperatures and smoky skies before a warm fall kicked in to ripen the fruit. The longer growing season shifted the ripening to warm days and cold nights, tightening the acid, adding a fresh character to the wine. The fruit comes out of Osoyoos and Oliver’s Black Sage Bench, picked October 24 through November 9. The wine spends 15 months in a mix of oaks, including 54% French, 30% American, 13% Hungarian, 3% American, and 3% Russian. One-quarter of the barrels were new, and nearly 70 percent was third fill and older oak, with multiple rackings before being bottled unfiltered.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 42.00 ON 40.95 Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrahtext
90PTS

Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe folks at Rust are celebrating single vineyards with a trio of syrah releases finished under colourful wax capsules from three different soil types. The South Rock Vineyard on the Naramata Bench comes in orange, Lazy River Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley in blue, while this yellow capsule marks the Ferreira Vineyard Syrah from the Oliver area. Grown at 333 meters above sea level on volcanic, granitic soils, it presents much cleaner this year with less new oak (27 percent). Black pepper dominates the front end, leading to vibrant back fruits, dusted with a light covering of smoke and savoury, gamey notes. I love the freshness and lightness of this wine, one that tends to punch you with a lot of alcohol in the South Okanagan, but not here, not at 13.5 percent. Drink or hold for five to seven years.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrahtext
91PTS

Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe folks at Rust are celebrating single vineyards with a trio of syrah releases finished under colourful wax capsules from three different soil types. The South Rock Vineyard on the Naramata Bench comes in orange wax, the Ferreira Vineyard Syrah from the Oliver area is marked with yellow. In contrast, the blue wax marks the Lazy River Vineyard Syrah, grown over sandy clay loamy soils flecked with limestone and granitic rock in the Similkameen Valley. A quieter, more sophisticated, floral nose greets the taster here, with no meaty or vanilla notes to cloud the issue. It is aged for 16 months in American and French oak (27 percent new). The flavours are black and blue, the tannins are rich yet relatively benign, with a savoury, licorice and leather back end. A slightly fresher version reflects its origin in stony, windy Cawston, where cool overnight temperatures stand up to the warm growing days of July and August. Classy.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
88PTS

Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrah 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe folks at Rust are celebrating single vineyards with a trio of syrah releases finished under colourful wax capsules from three different soil types. The Ferreira Vineyard Syrah, from the Oliver area, is marked with yellow wax, while the blue marks the Lazy River Vineyard Syrah in the Similkameen Valley. The orange wax South Rock Vineyard Syrah hails from the Naramata Bench and sits on gravel-strewn clays. Despite its northern location, South Rock is the most open of the 2018 trio of syrahs, presenting with a fatter, broader approach and plenty of sweet black fruit, sweet vanilla, and meaty notes. The tannins are almost non-existent, but there is enough acidity to keep it all together through the finish. Simple, easy sipping and almost ready to drink. Lamb chops, turkey and mature cheeses come to mind.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Syrah Amalia Vineyardtext
91PTS

Stag's Hollow Renaissance Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 Renaissance Syrah is essentially a barrel selection of the top lots, which separates it from the regular selection. There's only 1.2 percent viognier in the mix, resulting in less florals, and a little more savoury wildness. The entry is peppery with cured meat and ripe, smoky, savoury black fruit that penetrates the palate from front to back. The finish is a mix of cracked black pepper, smoky leather, toasted oak, and dark chocolate. More component-like at this point than a sleek blend, it will need a decade to pull it all together. There is plenty of freshness here so ageing shouldn't be an issue. Best with lamb now.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Stag's Hollow Syrahtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Syrah 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the sandy soils of Amalia Vineyard on the Osoyoos West Bench, the latest Stag's Hollow Syrah has changed its style by going down the co-fermentation path, mixing the syrah batches with different levels of viognier. The nose is brighter and clearly more floral, and the palate is juicier with spicy, meaty, ripe blueberry, with a spicy ending. It feels more drinkable, but its youthful edges suggest it will improve with two to three years in the bottle. The ferments were punched down 3 times daily by hand. After 14 days of skin contact, the individual lots were pressed to a mix of French oak barriques, hogsheads, and puncheons (14% new). Post malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged 15 more months on fine lees before being racked, blended, and bottled, unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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29 March 2021

Taylor Fladgate 30 Year Old Tawnytext
91PTS

Taylor Fladgate 30 Year Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, Portugal30 YO Tawny, while not the most common of the decades, hits the sweet spot between youthful spirited fruit, and aged nutty tawny character. This carries a slight reddish hue, still shining and fiery in the glass. Maple and caramel lead the surprisingly fresh and intense palate, backed by roasted hazelnuts, potent Valencia orange, fresh tobacco, fragrant Christmas cake spicing (heavy on the Allspice), over waves of creamy butterscotch and cracked black pepper. This bottle shows quite youthful still; best partnered with caramelized pecan pie or sugar spice roasted nuts.Prices: BC 155.99 AB 145.00 MB 193.95 NF 193.95 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2016

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLBVs are bottled after 4-6 years to make them accessible upon release without the need for decades of bottle age. This is fairly developed, with elegant, dried black fruits intertwined with sweet spices and cedar. It's missing the fresh floral aromatics of the 2015 LBV, which would help to give this a notch more vibrancy. The tannins are still surprisingly assertive, drying out the finish and suggesting this needs to be paired with a cheese plate.Prices: BC 24.99 BC 14.99 375 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Porttext
89PTS

Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis reserve ruby port is aged for 3-4 years in a combination of oak vats and casks to make it ready to drink on release, while retaining an appealing, fruity style. This is a notch more developed than the Fonseca reserve ports, combining rich black fruits with sweet spices and walnut. The complexity is above the norm for the category, with soft, smooth tannins that make this a solid, dependable port for just about any occasion.Prices: BC 22.99 AB 22.00 ON 18.00 NB 23.00 NFL 23.00 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawnytext
92PTS

Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTaylor Fladgate's 10 Year Old Tawny is the real deal. Even at just 10 years, this isn't short on the mature, rancio notes that make tawny port so compelling. But you also get some freshness to the red fruits alongside spice and wood notes to complement the nuts and candied citrus peel. Beautifully balanced, this doesn't drink like it has 110 g/L residual sugar. So, it's easy to pour a second small glass, especially with its fine, silky tannins. Recommended and good value.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 35.00 MB 34.99 ON 34.99 QC 32.95 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Porttext
89PTS

Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTen years of aging in wood may sound like a long time, but this is quite youthful as far as tawny port goes. It still has a lot of colour at its core, and there are heaps of fresh dark fruits. There's a hint of the alluring rancio character that comes with more time in cask, but this is really about the lush fruit and exotic spices that permeate Fonscea's ports. Delicious and ready to drink now.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 40.00 QC 34.75 PEI 40.00 NB 39.00 NS 40.00 NFL 40.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Porttext
90PTS

Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalWhen this was launched in 2006, it was the first certified organic port to be released. As a ruby reserve style, it's not vintage dated, but the current incarnation of this wine is quite impressive (lot number LA20146). It's inky purple in colour with great intensity on the nose, combining lush, concentrated black fruits and an attractive floral lift that keeps things fresh. It's a wine that's meant to be both youthful and ready to drink on release, but there's still a tannic backbone here. If you're looking for something hedonistic to pair with dessert, this is just about perfect.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 29.00 MB 28.00 QC 28.50 ON 25.00 YK 33.00 NS 31.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Fonseca Bin No 27 Finest Reserve Porttext
89PTS

Fonseca Bin No 27 Finest Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThere are more similarities than differences between Fonseca's Bin 27 and Terra Prima, except, of course, for the organic certification. The Bin 27 is a full throttle reserve ruby port, with heady, lush dark fruits and a characteristic spicy quality. It's rich, soft, and sweet, so perhaps best as a dessert on its own, but it's easy to see why this is a classic, especially at this price.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 22.00 MB 20.00 ON 16.95 NB 24.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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24 March 2021

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2019

Livermore, San Francisco Bay, California, United StatesWente’s Livermore Chardonnay is never flashy but sufficiently fresh and modern, thanks to the morning fog that drifts across the East Bay, keeping the vineyards cool into the late morning, and returning late in the afternoon. It opens with light, spicy floral notes, green apples, and pear, with a dusting of honey that carries through to a toasted oak and vanilla finish. Fresh steamed clams or cracked Dungeness crab are a fine match. It is mercifully finished under screwcap.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 17.95 MB 19.99 ON 19.00 QC 18.60 NS 21.99 NB 21.99 PEI 20.99 NL 22.99 Producer: Wente Vineyards
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Champ Divin Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Champ Divin Chardonnay 2018

Jura, FranceChamp Divin is a 6 hectare Jura estate run by husband and wife team Fabrice and Valerie Closset, who spent years in South Africa and the Loire to help wineries develop sustainable winegrowing practices. They have converted their Gevingey estate, in South-Revermont, to certified organic, and they utilize biodynamics in their farming. This comes from clay/limestone soils, was natively fermented, and spent a short stint in older wood before heading to the bottle without fining or filtration and minimal sulphur. Dense chalk lines the base of this wine, drawing a yellow apple, crunchy pear, perfumed white blossom along a creamy palate, livened with lemon zest acidity—a gentle, pure, and alluring view of chardy from this prized plateau of Jura.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Fabrice and Valérie Closset
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Jean Collet et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerretext
89PTS

Jean Collet et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2017

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceJean Collet started Domaine Collet in 1954, the heir of a Chablis grape-growing family since 1792. It passed down to his son, and how to grandson Romain, in charge of his first vintage at age 21. Romain moved the domaine to native yeast, and organic and biodynamic farming. Native fermented in used French oak (5% new), this underwent full MLF and aged in the same barrels for 11 months, prior to moving into stainless for 5 months of tightening. This alluring wine shows Montée de Tonnerre's rightful claim to fame as a preeminent 1er cru. The thin Fyé Valley separates it from the Grand Cru slope, on the eastern side of the Serein, and if it weren’t for some weakness in the soil that led to the creation of this narrow ravine, Montée de Tonnerre would likely have been included in the Grand Cru classification. Lemon blossoms, lemon peel, fine cream, and lightly shimmering Kimmeridgian minerality stream along the slender, gentle, lees-decked palate. The sides are strung with chalk, finishing with a juiciness that invites another glass. An understated, subtle, quietly charming Montée de Tonnerre.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Jean Collet et Fils
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La Soeur Cadette Bourgognetext
89PTS

La Soeur Cadette Bourgogne 2017

Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceValentin Montenay is based in western Bourgogne’s Vézelay, where he is caretaker of his parents’ 22ha of organically farmed vineyards. In 2016, Valentin began a négociant business, creating the La Soeur Cadette range. All the wines are native ferment, with full MLF, no chaptalization, fermentation in stainless, light filtration at bottling, and minimal sulphur throughout. In the winery, he works with the lunar calendar. This Bourgogne Blanc comes from 25 year old vines in limestone laced northern Maconnais, and includes a splash (2%) of the rarely seen Chardonnay Musqué. Red apple, ripe pear, gooseberry, orchard blossoms, lemon peel glide along the juicy, round palate, finishing with a buzzy bracket of stony spice. Drinking quite smartly now.Prices: ON 32.95 Producer: La Soeur Cadette
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Clos des Rocs Monopoletext
94PTS

Clos des Rocs Monopole 2018

Pouilly-Loché, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFuissé's Saint-Philibert estate belonged to a family of winegrowers for 7 generations before Olivier Giroux bought it in 2002. He gave it the name Clos de Rocs, and converted the entire estate (10 ha of vineyards) to organics. They own approximately 30% of Pouilly Loché vineyards, which gives you an idea how tiny it is. This comes off a 3ha, east-facing plot of 70 year old vines rooted in limestone clay, with iron rich topsoils and littered with limestone pebbles. This was native fermented in neutral 500L French barrels (60%) and stainless tanks, where it remained on lees for 11 months prior to bottling without fining. Tight and nimble with lemon pith, lime pith, and green apple driving this long, finessed wine along the slender palate. The base is shimmering minerality, finishing with ample salinity and a shining lemon brightness. Stunning now, but with the energy to age smartly.Prices: BC 95.00 Producer: Clos des Rocs
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Clos de Rocs Pouilly Loché En Chantonetext
94PTS

Clos de Rocs Pouilly Loché En Chantone 2018

Pouilly-Loché, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFuissé's Saint-Philibert estate belonged to a family of winegrowers for 7 generations before Olivier Giroux bought it in 2002. He gave it the name Clos de Rocs, and converted the entire estate (10 ha of vineyards) to organics. They own approximately 30% of Pouilly Loché vineyards, which gives you an idea how tiny it is. En Chantone comes from a .65 hectare plot of organically farmed 90 year old vines, on iron-rich clays and limestone. This was native fermented and aged in neutral 500L puncheons, where it remained for 11 months on lees before bottling, unfined. This is intense with minerality, shimmering with limestone vibrancy, and amply seasoned and structured via the neutral barrels. Deep lemon and chalk rule, riveted with alluring reduction, with crisp apple and Anjou pear playing a supporting role. The whole flows along a river of lees to a lingering, saline, flinty finish. Quite complex, and complete, and a lovely expression of place.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Clos des Rocs
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Clos des Rocs Pouilly Loché Les Murestext
91PTS

Clos des Rocs Pouilly Loché Les Mures 2018

Pouilly-Loché, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFuissé's Saint-Philibert estate belonged to a family of winegrowers for 7 generations before Olivier Giroux bought it in 2002. He gave it the name Clos de Rocs, and converted the entire estate (10 ha of vineyards) to organics. This comes from a 1 hectare plot of 40 year old vines on limestone laden gravels. This was native fermented in stainless, where it remained for 11 months on lees. Fresh lemon, tight white florals, crunchy pear lead into a creamy, lees-decked palate, brightened with lemon peel and pith, and riding a base of crushed stones to a grippy, saline finish. Lovely authenticity and typicity of place here. Very much in youth, and drinking deliciously, but will certainly age smartly over the next couple of years.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Clos des Rocs
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Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hilltext
90PTS

Rodney Strong Chardonnay Chalk Hill 2017

Chalk Hill, Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesA year down the road, a quick re-taste confirms the estate high-end chardonnay program is on track. The style is decidedly cooler with less overt oak and fruit, replaced by more texture and complexity. The light, volcanic, white ash soil of the Chalk Hill appellation is at the centre of this story. The style is fresh and juicy; the flavours a mix of pear, apple, and Meyer lemon with a nutty, mineral, wet stone underside. Ready to drink. We matched this with a cauliflower chickpea curry dish to perfection. 2017 Chalk Hill Chardonnay is barrel fermented in new (41 percent) oak and seasoned French oak for 18 months with regular lees stirring. It’s been 55 years since founder Rodney Strong planted chardonnay in 1965 to ultimately become the Chalk Hill AVA, established officially in 1983.Prices: ON 26.95 BC 27.99 QC 26.00 SK 29.99 AB 27.99 US 22.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Louis Latour Ardèche Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Louis Latour Ardèche Chardonnay 2018

FranceMaison Louis Latour has been growing chardonnay and making wine in Ardebche since 1979. Over the decades, the warmer climate and clay-limestone soils have come together to yield an impressive inexpensive French chardonnay. Chardonnay d'Ardèche is aged on lees in stainless vats for ten months. 2018 is delicious, from its fresh green apple nose to its riper red apple fruit flavours sprinkled with hazelnuts, honey, and a dusting of lees. It is the perfect introduction to white Burgundy and a style that would be widely welcomed in the New World. If you love simple seafood dishes, this is the wine for you, back up the truck.Prices: BC 18.99 ON 16.00 NF 18.25 PEI 19.00 Producer: Maison Louis Latour
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23 March 2021

Alliance Loire Lieu Dit Les Epinats Saumurtext
89PTS

Alliance Loire Lieu Dit Les Epinats Saumur 2018

Saumur, Loire, FranceThis dependable Loire cabernet franc often overdelivers for the price, and the 2018 vintage is not an exception. The juicy black fruits have a wild, savoury edge, with a stemmy, spicy component that evokes ripe cabernet franc. It's, first and foremost, a vin du soif, but the depth here is still above the norm. Recommended and good value.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Alliance Loire
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Kloof Street Swartland Rougetext
90PTS

Kloof Street Swartland Rouge 2018

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom eight parcels throughout Swartland, with plantings ranging from 12-40 years-old, this is a 44/44/7/4/1 blend of tinta barocca, syrah, grenache, cinsault, and carignan. In the same way that Côtes du Rhône is more about the style than the grape varieties, that's the case here. It's juicy and approachable, with the syrah front and centre in the glass given the cracked pepper and crunchy black fruits. It's medium-bodied, fresh, and supple, even at 14.5% abv, with no new oak to get in the way. Simply delicious, and a great introduction to the Mullineux portfolio.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Mullineux Wines
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Natte Valley Cinsaulttext
90PTS

Natte Valley Cinsault 2018

Coastal Region, South AfricaIn an era where many wineries try to be something to everyone, Natte Valleij focuses almost exclusively on cinsault. This bottling is an ensemble of old bush vine plantings from throughout the Cape. The fruit’s darker and more brooding here than the Darling Cinsault, but it's still quite pure. There's also an attractive reductive note that brings a smoky savouriness that dissipates with some time in the glass. It's a moreish style with negligible tannins, vibrant acidity, and all at just 12.5% abv. Recommended and good value.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Natte Valleij
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Black Hills Carménèretext
89PTS

Black Hills Carménère 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Ross Wise has been busy tweaking the wines at Black Hills, and this carmenere is a good example. At 12.6 percent alcohol, he awakens the fruit, leaving the warm, dead fruit flavours that mark many south Okanagan red wines for a fresher, more nimble palate. The nose is classic Chilean carmenere with that crushed dried leaf scent mixed with jalapeno. The palate is a mix of smoky, meaty, cedary, peppery notes with black cherries and sweet brown spices. Ready to drink and best with powerful grilled meat dishes like lamb or roasted pork. The price is a bit too ambitious.Prices: BC 63.99 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Pentâge Winery Tempranillotext
87PTS

Pentâge Winery Tempranillo 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA tempranillo speaks to the diversity of sites and grapes growing in the Okanagan. In this case, the Pentâge Tempranillo offers up a rush of red fruit and plummy flavours with brown spice and soft tannins. The oak is spicy, and noticeable but not completely over the top, thanks to a fresh underside of acidity that keeps the wine on track from front to back. In all, it spends 18 months in oak to give it that Rioja flair. The oak is a mix of neutral American oak, new and second fill French oak barrels.Prices: BC 28.70 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Elio Sandri Langhe Nebbiolotext
89PTS

Elio Sandri Langhe Nebbiolo 2018

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyCascina Disa in Monforte d'Alba was a settlement of Monks of the Abbey of Breme at the beginning of the 15th century, and even then was used for wine production. Since 1965 it has become the heart of the Sandri family winery, who continue the ancient wine-growing traditions of the area. Elio now makes his wines with the highest respect for nature and for tradition, eschewing industrial methods. This nebbiolo opens with crushed rosehips and candle wax, before moving into raspberry, wild cherry on a fine, salted palate. Tannins are quite present, hemming in the slender, understated fruit at this youthful stage. The finish lingers with subtle salted bergamot, and a swell of warmth. This benefits from some airtime, to allow nebbiolo to reveal.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Elio Sandri
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Arboleda Carmenèretext
88PTS

Arboleda Carmenère 2016

Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThis falls on the vegetal side of the spectrum, which is not altogether unusual for carmenère. There’s also a touch of stewed character to the black fruits and some graphite savouriness. Medium-full bodied, this is still quite firm and not overly generous on the palate right now. A bit of patience will be rewarded, though this doesn’t have the fruit to carry it further than 2-3 years. Correct, if a bit old school.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Viña Arboleda
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Vino Lauria Frappato Scoglittitext
90PTS

Vino Lauria Frappato Scoglitti 2019

Sicily, ItalyFrom 3rd generation winemaker Vito Lauria, Vino Lauria is based in the northwest corner of Sicily, though fruit for this organic frappato comes from the eastern island's sandy soils. This was fermented and aged in stainless for 8 months. Ripe cherry, candied strawberry, red liquorice, mustard seed is housed with tuggy, sticky tannins to a saline finish. Fuller and riper than most frappato, this can take on heartier dishes.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Fitapreta o Alfrocheiro TB Quer Estar Nutext
91PTS

Fitapreta o Alfrocheiro TB Quer Estar Nu 2018

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalAlfrocheiro likes to be naked. Going on that premise, which inspired the name, this, the first wine made from these 47 year old dry farmed vines, sees no time in oak, to reveal the pure nature of the grape. Rooted in broken schist and granite soils, this was native fermented and rested in stainless barrels until bottling. The dense 15.5% palate is compact with wild blackberry and black plum, scented with fragrant cherry blossoms, bedded with a fine layer of wax, and seasoned with medicinal herbal scrub. Tannins are long, fine, firm, and structural, housing this to a lingering finish. Quite impactful, and age-worthy. Only 1982 bottles were produced.Prices: ON 42.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Craven Wines Cinsauttext
92PTS

Craven Wines Cinsaut 2020

Bottelary, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom 30-year-old dry farmed bush vines on decomposed granites in Rustenhof vineyard, in the Faure district, this is one of the Bredall family farms that the Cravens started using in 2017 (and is one of Mick's favourite), and they share the site with with Bernard Bredall and his striking Sons of Sugarland label. Destemmed and native fermented, this aged in neutral puncheons. Classic fynbos, wild raspberry, sapid plum is layered with ample white pepper. Acidity is pixellated and bright, and tannins are lightly sticky, finishing with the amazing granitic grip.Prices: AB 38.00 ON 34.95 Producer: Craven Wines
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Domaine Rolet Trousseautext
91PTS

Domaine Rolet Trousseau 2018

Arbois, Jura, FranceTrousseau vines were planted in Montigny-les-Arsures, on hillsides on the localities of Chagnon and L'Euvrin, as well as Arbois' Montesserin. The marl and clay soils are ideal for the trousseau, as proven by this charming wine. After destemming and a few days of maceration, it was fermented in stainless for three weeks and then aged for 9 months in a split of stainless and foudre. Pouring an orange/crimson hue, this charms with fragrant raspberry, wild plum, finely rasped pink peppercorn, gentle smoked stone, and fresh autumnal notes. Acidity is crunchy, and tannins are fine yet firm, guiding this charmer through the lingering, salted, mouthwatering finish.Prices: BC 35.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Natte Valleij Darling Cinsaulttext
92PTS

Natte Valleij Darling Cinsault 2018

Darling, Coastal Region, South AfricaIn an era where many wineries try to be something to everyone, Natte Valleij focuses almost exclusively on cinsault. From their impressive line-up of single vineyard cinsaults, this is named for the Darling district from which it's sourced. A short drive from the ocean, Darling is nearly surrounded on all sides by the larger Swartland district. This bottling, from bush vines planted in 1978, shows exception definition, led by pure black raspberry, intriguing spice, and herbs. It’s quite concentrated, even at just 12% abv, but still lively with soft, rounded tannins and beautifully integrated acidity. A delicious, quaffable, food friendly wine that's best served slightly chilled. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Natte Valleij
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Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reservetext
88PTS

Covert Farms Zinfandel Grand Reserve 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe grapes are certified organic and come off the winery's Coyote Block Vineyard just on the south edge of McIntyre Bluff in Oliver. It was planted in 2007-2008 at 420 metres. Zinfandel is a rare bird in BC, but this wine has grown from a curiosity to an interesting addition to the Covert Farms lineup. The attack is soft, lush, and fruity, in that zinfandel way, but with plenty of savoury, desert scrub underpinnings to support the blackberry, black plum, peppery fruit. What puts it above many simple California editions is its acidity and freshness. There are some tannins to shed, but it is getting close to the real deal, and the vines will only get better as they put on age through the next few decades. Serve now with grilled lamb chops or sausages to tame its youthful tannins.Prices: BC 53.80 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Moon Curser Petit Verdottext
89PTS

Moon Curser Petit Verdot 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetit verdot is typically used sparingly in a blend because it's a lot of everything. But in the right hands it produces really interesting single variety wines, and that's the case here. It's not shy on dark fruits, but it's elevated by graphite, liquorice, and floral aromatics. The dusty oak is also quite evident, even at just 25% new. But, if anything, petit verdot is about structure and that's true here, too. It's medium-full bodied, linear in texture, with rather hard tannins and some tartness to the finish. And 15% abv just to prove that, yes, this is a powerhouse. All in all, a fun, worthwhile discovery.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Moon Curser Carmeneretext
90PTS

Moon Curser Carmenere 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCarménère may be a rarity in the Okanagan, but this makes the case for more - especially on the Osooyos East Bench, where this is sourced. It shows nicely defined blueberry and blackberry, with a herbal, menthol lift that's true to the variety. The balance of freshness and ripe, intensely concentrated fruit is what makes this work so well. It's far from just a curiosity; it's worth seeking out. And the dense, fine-grained tannins in combination with the fruit weight suggest it's worth waiting on, too. Only 394 cases produced.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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19 March 2021

Gérard Bertrand Orange Goldtext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Orange Gold 2020

FranceOrange Gold is a mix of chardonnay, grenache blanc, viognier, marsanne, mauzac, muscat, and clairette fermented in stainless steel before completing its ageing in the barrel. Bertrand, inspired by the orange wine movement, pays tribute to Georgia and makes a modern version of traditional wine. Orange Gold comes with a powerful aromatic nose of peaches, apricots, and plum. The palate has a touch of tannin without the bitterness, giving the entire wine a sheen of complexity. Bertrand says the colour reminds him of the sunsets he sees some 300 days a year in the south of France. Food matches run from Tarte Tatin and clementines, to grilled octopus, chicken curry, and hard cheeses.Prices: CDN 35.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Pollinat' Syrahtext
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Gérard Bertrand Pollinat' Syrah 2019

Cévennes, Languedoc, Sud de France, FrancePollinat is part of a new Bertrand series of wines that celebrates the role of bees across the Languedoc, and it is about as pleasant and quaffable as syrah gets. The grapes are lightly macerated during the pre-fermentation phase before being placed on fine lees in post-ferment stainless steel. The nose is aromatic, the palate packed with ripe, supple, dark fruit with none of the gamey, spicy notes encountered in the Northern Rhone. The finish is equally attractive with warm round black fruit flavours. Solid.Prices: CDN 28.49 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Rosétext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Rosé 2020

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe Source of Joy is a pale pale blend of grenache, syrah, and cinsault harvested from the AOP Languedoc and made to be served with food, a style the French term gastronomy. A portion is vinified in barrels to add richness and some weight, but it stays fresh with no malolactic fermentation. The palate opens with fresh red berries flecked with licorice and dappled with a spicy finish. This is a classy edition to the Bertrand lineup of rosés. It's both organic and vegan certified. Pairing suggestions range from wild salmon sashimi or sushi to ceviche.Prices: CDN 39.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Change Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Gérard Bertrand Change Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Sud de France, FranceThe Change series concept is about being the change. In this case, the Bertrand grower partners are asked to “Be the Change” by converting from conventional to organic farming. The colour is green/yellow, the nose a citrus, green melon affair. The attack is less aggressive than many sauvignon, playing on riper fruit and slightly less overall acidity than you might encounter in New Zealand. On the palate, lemon-lime, green melon, and creamy lees. Ready to drink and most any light seafood dish will do here.Prices: CDN 22.99 QC 19.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Change Merlottext
88PTS

Gérard Bertrand Change Merlot 2019

Sud de France, FranceSimple, well made merlot can be a blessing when you look for a mid-week red that won’t overwhelm the food or the conversation. A portion of the wine is wood aged post malolactic fermentation in French Bordeaux barriques for eight months. The remainder of the juice is left in stainless steel and is blended back at bottling to refresh the wooded portion with an aromatic lift. Look for pure plums, boysenberry, and spice with a swath of savoury notes and chalky tannins underneath. Ready to drink and perfect with pork, chicken or rich vegetarian dishes.Prices: CDN 22.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanctext
91PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc 2019

Vin de Pays d'Hauterive, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe high density vineyard of chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc is managed according to biodynamic doctrines, and yields are kept under an impressive 25hl/ha. It is a Burgundy, Rhone, Bordeaux blend that amuses Bertrand as he fights to establish a place for Languedoc wine among the serious bottles of French wine. The fermentation is a 70/30 new oak /stainless steel affair followed by 7-8 months of barrel ageing until the spring equinox. The nose is a complex offering of ripe grapefruit, white flowers, peaches, and toasted notes while on the palate, the textures are silky smooth with more exotic citrus fruit flavours. A winner.Prices: CDN 70.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Rougetext
92PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Rouge 2019

Sud de France, FranceA broad contribution of grapes is at the heart of Cigalus Rouge, a wine that shouts of the Languedoc. The blend mixes syrah, merlot, caladoc, cabernet franc, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, and carignan and it is all Demeter certified. The ageing occurs in new 225L French oak barrels for 12 months before the final blend and bottling. This wine gets better every year as Gerard and Co., and the vineyard find their connection to the terroir. Look for a storm of garrigue throughout the juicy black and red fruit, flecked with white pepper, curry, mint, and licorice. Its easy demeanour invites you to sip it now, but this will age with ease. Match this with Bejing duck or spaghetti Bolognese.Prices: CDN 70.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple Rosétext
95PTS

Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple Rosé 2019

Cabrières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThree months down the road from a previous tasting, there is no discernible change here. Clos du Temple is located on the historical terroir of Cabrières, in the heart of Languedoc, 240 metres above the Mediterranean with a southern/south-western exposure. Its old vines reside at the birthplace of rosé, on an eight hectare, seven parcel site of schist and limestone. The wine is a blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah, mourvèdre, and viognier. Bertrand introduced oak to help with ageing and give the wine structure to handle main course menu items. On the palate, it is a study in refinement and grace with intense apricot and peach that stream through a sleek and creamy palate flecked with strawberries, tangerines, and grapefruit pith in the finish. A complex rosé seems like an oxymoron, but this pink is all that and more, and it will age. Look out, Provence, Gerard is coming for you. As per my last note: At $299.99 a bottle, this rosé will always be controversial, but if I am to be fair, I could say that about many wines from Napa or Bordeaux and wherever folks are reaching for the stars. Nor do I accept that because it is a rosé, it can't be priced like wines that age forever. In the end, it's the quality of the wine that matters, and this is an excellent rosé. Many have complained about the use of oak in rosé but is there not oak in some Champagnes? Don't some Chablis wines have oak in them, not to mention white Burgundy? Six months in the finest French oak barrels shouldn't be a problem for a rosé from an outstanding piece of dirt with grapes grown biodynamically.Prices: CDN 299.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Clos d'Oratext
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Gérard Bertrand Clos d'Ora 2017

Minervois la Liviniere, Minervois, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceA year down the road from our last tasting, Clos d'Ora is only beginning to wake up in the bottle; even so, there is little doubt it is the essence of Gérard Bertrand and a two-decade-long dream to capture the spiritual experience Bertrand first felt when he stepped onto the property in 1997. I know what he means after my first visit to the nine-hectare stone-walled vineyard. It was magical, beginning with the intense smell of garrigue that washed down the vineyard as we walked the sloping site being worked by a massive mule and plowman. The old vine carignan and grenache, beside which Bertrand planted syrah and mourvèdre, are farmed biodynamically at 220 metres above sea level over a mix of chalk, sandstone, and marl soils. The grapes are harvested and macerated separately in concrete before spending a year in French oak. A dense, concentrated wine abounds with youthful energy and enthusiasm, still tightly wound yet revealing a glimpse of the future. Cherry, wild herbs, leather, and sweet black plum fill the aromas. The attack is lush with velvety tannins, white pepper, savoury black fruit, fresh fig, licorice, and smoky tobacco. It has the balance to be drunk now, but really, it still requires three to five more years to reach its tasting plateau, where it should rest for another decade or more.Prices: QC 262.00 ON 261.00 NS 242.00 CDN 350.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Naturae Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Gérard Bertrand Naturae Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Sud de France, FranceThe Naturae lineup is made sulphur-free, is certified organic and vegan, and is bottled relatively early to preserve full aromatics and acidity. Look for a deep purple-red colour and an open spicy nose with cooked fruit. The palate is soft and light for cabernet, with blue and black fruits, light bell pepper notes that fade into a herbal, peppery finish. Ready to drink and best served around the barbecue with grilled vegetables or beef. Bertrand says there is no magic to sulphur-free wines other than looking after a thousand details.Prices: CDN 29.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Naturae Chardonnaytext
85PTS

Gérard Bertrand Naturae Chardonnay 2020

Sud de France, FranceThe Naturae lineup is made sulphide-free, is certified organic and vegan and is bottled relatively early to preserve full aromatics and acidity. The colour is yellowish, the nose a yeasty mix of apples and citrus that is not as clean as previous versions. The palate is creamy with a touch of brown spice. Ready to drink but not up to the usual GB standard.Prices: CDN 28.49 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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18 March 2021

Gérard Bertrand Clos d'Oratext
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Gérard Bertrand Clos d'Ora 2017

Minervois la Liviniere, Minervois, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceClos d'Ora is the essence of Gérard Bertrand's 20+ year long dream to capture the unique terroir, and spiritual experience Bertrand first felt on the Minervois la Livinière property in 1997. He considers this his first Grand Cru, and it is treated as such throughout. This Demeter certified blend of syrah, Mourvèdre, carignan, and grenache grows around 200m, with the soils worked by horse. The grapes are harvested and macerated separately in concrete before spending a year in French oak. The syrah is destalked; the grenache and Mourvèdre are destemmed and lightly crushed; and the carignan is whole bunch at higher temperatures. Dark and brooding blackberries, black plum, dark earth, charcoal, resinous herbs fill the dense, structural palate, ripe and intense with the southern France sun. Grippy and peppery, firm tannins house this to an amply spiced finish. This is a baby right now; give this some time in cellar and enjoy with lamb.Prices: QC 262.00 ON 261.00 NS 242.00 CDN 350.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Rougetext
91PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Rouge 2019

Sud de France, FranceThis powerful red blends syrah, merlot, caladoc, cabernet franc, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, and carignan, all Demeter certified. The syrah and carignan are carbonically macerated, with the others each vinified traditionally. Each variety goes into new 225L French oak barrels for one year before being blended, and bottled unfiltered. Rich and full, with ample garrigue housing big blackberry, black plum, peppercorns on a round, sweetly ripe, classic Southern France palate. Very peppery on the finish. Drinking smartly now, and will reward with aging.Prices: CDN 70.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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17 March 2021

Suertes del Marqués Vidoniatext
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Suertes del Marqués Vidonia 2019

Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainFrom Tenerife's volcanic soils, this organically farmed old-vine listán blanco was rooted at 350-450m. Vidonia is an old colloquial term for the historic whites of the island, traditionally dominated by listán blanco, and generally field blends. This mineral-driven blend was native fermented in neutral 500 L oak casks, before spending another 11 months rest there. This rings of the sea, with ample salinity and minerality leading crunchy green apple, wild herbs, lees, threaded with flint to a very long, saline finish. So much in youth, this will sharpen and focus and reward with time. A rare gem.Prices: ON 48.00 Producer: Suertes del Marqués
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Domaine de l'Ecu Classic Muscadettext
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Domaine de l'Ecu Classic Muscadet 2019

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine de l'Ecu has been farming its 27 hectares without chemicals since 1972, and has been biodynamically certified since 1988. The Domain was groundbreaking in its isolation of wines by soil type (Gneiss, Orthogneiss, and Granite), showing how the profound differences in terroir affect melon de bourgogne. They also own more than 30 amphorae, ranging from 150, 300, to 450 liters. The grapes for Classic come from 35 year old vines. After a native ferment in concrete, this aged on lees in underground vats covered with glass tiles for 14 months. Textural and complete with green and yellow apple, bosc pear, apple blossom, fine lees, livened by a slight intentional spritz, and finishing with lingering salinity. Quite a compelling wine considering this is their 'entry' muscadet.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Domaine de l'Ecu
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Craven Wines Chenin Blanc Karibibtext
92PTS

Craven Wines Chenin Blanc Karibib 2019

Polkadraai Hills, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaTheir 4th vintage of Chenin, this is from early-picked, 37-year-old radial bush vines on the weathered granite soils of Polkadraai’s Karibib Vineyard, a vineyard they took control of in 2015, and started organic viticulture. Grapes are whole bunch pressed to neutral 500L barrels after 5 hours, and after a five month wild ferment and natural MLF, it was left on the lees for four more months before racking. Savoury and complexed, this is really not about fruit, but about place. Tangerine, honeysuckle, green earth rides over a generous bed of downy lees, while a characteristic granitic grip hums along the lengthy, wild scrub kissed finish. Drinking very well now, very much in youth, and will age gracefully.Prices: AB 37.00 ON 34.95 Producer: Craven Wines
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Vino Lauria Grillo Giardinellotext
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Vino Lauria Grillo Giardinello 2019

Sicily, ItalyVito Lauria is a Sicilian local. After studying winemaking in Friuli, he returned home in 2005 to take over his family's winery in the west of Sicily, renovating the vineyards, focusing on organic viticulture. He focuses on Sicilian indigenous varieties, like Grillo, Catarratto, Fontane Bianche, and Zibibbo for whites, plus Nero d’Avola, Perricone, and Frappato for reds. His 70 hectares of vineyards are spread throughout Alcamo, ranging from 600-1000 meters and on clay and calcareous soils. This Grillo is planted in the hills around Alcamo, around 600-700 meters. Fresh and citrus forward, this medium-bodied white is flooded with tropical pineapple, zesty grapefruit, medicinal white cherry, and aromatic wild sage and mint. Straight from and flooded with the Mediterranean sunshine, this powerful Mediterranean white would be ideal with fresh, fragrantly spiced shellfish dishes.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Vino Lauria
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16 March 2021

Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rosétext
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rosé 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe rosé grapes grow over an old uplifted seabed of limestone and clay with a few sandy plots some 300 meters above sea level. The blend is 50/40/10 cinsault, grenache and syrah, all farmed using biodynamic practices since 2015. It's fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel and directly pressed to tank for blending, ageing, and bottling. Expect a pale colour and a wild red fruit nose sprinkled with citrus that spills across a fruity palate, tempered by a touch of garrigue. It is a fun aperitif-style rosé capable of double duty on the spring and summer dinner table, paired with raw or grilled fish, charcuterie plates, soft white cheeses, and south Asian sweet and sour dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 18.29 ON 22.95 QC 18.95 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Terrasses Blanctext
89PTS

Château Pesquié Terrasses Blanc 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Chaudière family uses 'Terrasses' on their signature red, white and rosé blends to honour the work done by their ancestors, carving terraces into the Pyrenees hillsides around the winery. The poor limestone soil, once underwater, is the perfect medium for growing grapes. The cuvées are made from a mix of soils and varietals that reflect the terroir and cool-climate setting of Mont Ventoux. The family is committed to tension and freshness in their white wine. Terrasses Blanc comes off a limestone setting at an altitude of about 350 metres. It sets the mood easily, along with a swath of fresh citrus and white flowers on the nose. The blend is a 40/20/20 20 mix of viognier, grenache blanc, roussanne and clairette farmed biodynamically since 2015. The winemaking is simple, and post ferment is blended and aged in concrete and stainless steel vats. The attack is fairly intense, mixing fresh lemon-lime with more exotic litchi/pineapple. Ready to drink. Serving suggestions include most vegan dishes, grilled fish, shellfish, and simple pasta dishesPrices: BC 19.99 AB 18.29 ON 22.95 QC 17.70 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Cuveé Juliettetext
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Château Pesquié Cuveé Juliette 2019

Sud de France, FranceCuvée Juliette Blanc is 70 percent clairette mixed with 30 percent grenache blanc. Named after Frederick Chaudiere’s daughter (4th generation in this wine family), this white wine has an exotic undertone sporting ripe pineapple and orange rind and finishing with a twist of salinity. Again the freshness of fruit and acidity plays into some inviting creamy textures and savoury garrigue notes. A wonderful start for the undervalued grapes in the blend. There is no rush to drink this wine, one that makes a wonderful match for creamy seafood dishes or roasted chicken with a salt crust.Prices: ON 64.95 QC 59.75 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rougetext
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rouge 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceThe Pesquié Ventoux red ticks a lot of buy boxes. It grows at an altitude of roughly 300 metres on various estate terroirs along Mount Ventoux's hillsides. The soils are a stony limestone, flecked with iron oxide sands and clays. The property is certified organic using some biodynamic techniques, and production is a third-generation family affair. The blend is 60/40 grenache/syrah macerated for 15 days and then aged for several months in stainless steel and cement. The attack is round, ripe, and fleshy with spicy black raspberry, black cherry, mulberry. Underneath, a peppery, garrigue, crushed stone character gives it a bit of generosity on the way to the finish. A good year for sure. The Pesquié freshness adds even more to an easy-sipping red with all the serious Rhone wine hallmarks that will easily age a few more years in the bottle if desired. Food matches include pizzas, kebabs, charcuterie, vegetable pies, terrines, and more.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 18.29 ON 22.95 QC 18.55 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Ascensiotext
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Château Pesquié Ascensio 2018

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceChâteau Pesquié is a remarkable convergence of limestone soils, altitude, and old vines mined to spawn a series of three single vineyard labels that include Artemia, Silica, and this delight: Ascensio. Its name celebrates the tradition of the ascent of the Mont Ventoux, which goes back to the XIVth century. Ascensio is only produced in tiny quantities (less than 3000 bottles) and only in exceptional vintages from 50-80-year-old grenache vines. The fruit is farmed manually, and all treatments and composts used in the vineyard are organic. Alexander Chaudiere runs the winemaking. All ferments are done in stainless steel, but the ageing occurs in various vessels (tank, barrel or concrete) depending on the particular grape involved. In 2018 Ascensio is all about the power of super-ripe grenache fruit mixed with five percent syrah. It is a big wine with a rich and overpowering nose of black raspberries, dark plums, licorice, mineral, and dried herbs. Like all the Pesquie wines, it manages all its intensity by remaining fresh and vibrant. There is no rush to drink this intense red, but if you must, think of equally rich dishes like bœuf bourguignon or venison.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 94.99 ON 119.95 QC 90.75 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Quintessence Blanc 2019

Sud de France, FranceQuintessence Blanc is the flagship Pesquié white produced in tiny amounts (4000 - 5000 bottles) and predominately styled around the roussanne grape. The mix is 80/20 roussanne /clairette, picked and processed separately. Both grapes are fermented in barriques, 600-litre barrels, and cement eggs over eight months. There is no malolactic fermentation to retain freshness further. Both varieties are then aged in concrete for another six months. The nose opens with complex, lively florals spiked with pineapple, curry, and nutmeg. The attack is silky with medium weight, full of ripe stone fruits and lively salinity courtesy of the ever vivacious clairette. Best with rich dishes like truffle risotto, mushroom dishes, and big cheeses.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 26.99 ON 28.95 QC 27.85 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Quintessence Rougetext
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Château Pesquié Quintessence Rouge 2018

Sud de France, FranceWe revisit this wine 20 months down the road, and it's completely on track. Quintessence Rouge is an 80/20 blend of syrah/grenache. The latest journey for Château Pesquié began in 1990 from tightly selected plots of 50+ year old, south-facing vines that sit between 250-350 meters above sea level, on an old uplifted seabed of clay and limestone. The yields are impressively low at 30-35 hectolitres per hectare. A traditional maceration runs three to four weeks with pumpovers for aeration before the blend is aged twelve to fifteen months in a mix of stainless steel and cement. The colour is opaque, the nose reminiscent of Bing cherries, dried thyme, and black olives. The palate is rich and meaty with more black fruits, licorice, and black pepper flecked with orange peel. This is serious Ventoux at a great price. If anything, the extra ageing in the bottle has allowed the components to meld further and become an even richer presentation. Think venison, wild boar, or turkey as matching menu items. There is no rush to drink this label. As before, the freshness and vitality of this organic red is beguiling.Prices: BC 33.00 AB 30.00 ON 42.95 QC 24.15 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Artemiatext
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Château Pesquié Artemia 2018

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceOne of three single vineyard wines produced at Pesquié, Artemia takes full advantage of Mont Ventoux's sloping benches growing between 340-420 metres above sea level on mostly limestone soils, giving the wine a bony undercurrent. Most of the work is done by hand, and the vines are farmed organically, further promoting fruit purity. The blend is 75/25 syrah and grenache. There is real power here with perfectly ripe, vibrant black fruits dusted in garrigue and flecked with subtle white pepper and bacon. It takes you more north toward the Hermitage style than anything in the south. A modern look at high end Ventoux through an organic/biodynamic lens. Cellar this a decade with no worries. Another Pesquié label that is well worth tracking down.Prices: BC 54.99 AB 47.29 ON 64.95 QC 43.75 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Edition 1912mtext
90PTS

Château Pesquié Edition 1912m 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceÉdition 1912m honours Mont Ventoux, standing 1912 meters above the sea, and said to be the last real mountain of the Alpes chain, commonly referred to as the Giant of Provence. We first saw this wine in 2018 and loved it, but 2019 might be even better. The nose is highly inviting with rich pepper and red fruit doused with a savoury garrigue note. On the palate, more supple red/black fruit is lifted by violets and wild herbs. Ventoux is one of the coldest, windiest areas of the southern Rhone, and the freshness that crafts is reflected in this wine. The blend is close to 70/30 grenache /syrah, with cinsault and carignan traces in the mix. The vinification is in stainless and concrete tanks for fifteen days, and none of the wine sees oak. Outstanding value, and hard to believe it's not listed everywhere. Perfect for pizza, it will also perform well with charcuterie, meat pies, empanadas, and chicken salads. There is fair value here.Prices: BC 19.29 AB 17.49 ON 17.95 QC 15.90 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Château Pesquié Silica Rougetext
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Château Pesquié Silica Rouge 2018

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceSilica Rouge is the latest and third single vineyard label from the Chaudière brothers Alexandre and Frédéric. Its name speaks to its sandy terroir, and the blend is predominately grenache (90 percent) with 10 percent cinsault. Post ferment, 25 percent is aged in concrete eggs, while the remaining 75 percent goes into older 600 litre oak demi-muids for 12 to 15 months to keep the wood influence to a minimum. The nose is an intense, bold slash of black cherries and strawberries laced with black licorice and violets. The palate is dense, with dark cherries and white pepper, and rich but rounded tannins. The finish is long, and the textures silky. Power and finesse is a rare combination, but when it appears, it is a winning combination, and it's all here in a deliciously powerful package. It is Ventoux at its best, as translated through the biodynamic lens. Lamb chops or a vegetable terrine work here.Prices: BC 54.99 AB 47.29 ON 64.95 QC 59.75 Producer: Château Pesquié
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15 March 2021

J. L. Chave Sélection Offerus Saint-Josephtext
90PTS

J. L. Chave Sélection Offerus Saint-Joseph 2017

Saint Joseph, Northern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceFor the Domaine Chave experience, at an approachable price, look to JL Chave Selections, a négoc operation sourcing fruit from across the Rhone. Jean-Louis makes these wines to showcase what he believes to be the potential of appellations with which he works. The Chaves have been wine growers in the northern Rhône since 1481, with the current generation of Gérard and son Jean-Louis representing 16 generations of unbroken lineage. Offerus is syrah from baby to 80 year old vines, on eastern sloping granite soils off estate vineyards in Mauves, Tournon, and St. Jean de Muzols. This was half destemmed, and native fermented in wood tonneaux and stainless steel tanks before aging in barriques and foudres for 18 months. Savoury, spiced, and structural, this draws brooding black fruit, wild game, tobacco, and dark earth across the fuller palate. Tannins are ample, and starting to sink into the depth of flavour, but still peaking through the edges at points.Prices: BC 52.00 Producer: J. L. Chave
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Altaland Syrahtext
89PTS

Altaland Syrah 2017

La Rioja, ArgentinaAltaland is a new regional series by Catena, highlighting various winegrowing regions of Argentina. Syrah is the historical grape of La Rioja, a large province north of Mendoza, centred on the high altitude Famatina Valley. Ripe and fleshy, sweetened by the Argentine sun and amplified UV, this is dense with blackberry, black raspberry, violet, vanilla, and peppery spicing, with a savoury, smoked meat undercurrent. There's a freshness of altitude that helps brighten the density. Drinking smartly now.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Altaland
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89PTS

René-Jean Dard & François Ribo Crozes-Hermitage 2018

Crozes Hermitage, Northern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceRené-Jean Dard and François Ribo started their estate in 1983 in a back street of Tain-l’Hermitage, with about a hectare from Dard’s family. Over the years, they slowly rented or purchased their 9 ha of organically-farmed vineyards that they oversee today from their home base of Mercurol, north of Valence. These legends of natural wine were part of the first generation of dedicated sans-souffre winemakers in the early 90's. Most of their holdings are in Crozes-Hermitage. This syrah comes from a 2.2-ha parcel known as Les Bâties, in Larnage, on red clay with gravel and alluvial stones. Whole bunch, with 10% of the grapes foot trodden, this was native fermented, and aged in demi-muids and barrels, with no additives, a long decanting period in place of filtering, and no sulphur. Generous, textural, and supple, with blackcurrant, thorny wild blackberry, black cherry, tarted up with rhubarb, and infiltrated with peppery spicing. Tannins are fine, softly plush, but still hold this expansive wine through the warming peppery finish. There's an easy freshness and drinkability from the gentle handling; enjoy this now with rosemary scented mushrooms or lamb.Prices: BC 58.00 Producer: René-Jean Dard & François Ribo
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Montes Alpha Syrahtext
90PTS

Montes Alpha Syrah 2018

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileColchagua is located in the central zone of Chile, less than two hours driving south of Santiago. It is here that the Montes vineyards are found in the famed terroir of Apalta. In the same valley, between the Coastal Range and the sea, the Montes Marchigüe vineyards' rolling hills march toward a slow, measured maturity, a mere 25 kilometres from the cool Pacific Ocean. The syrah comes in at 90 percent topped up with 7% cabernet sauvignon and 3% viognier. Post ferment, 55% of the wine is aged for a year in first, second, and third-use French oak barrels. The wine is correctly wild with noticeable bay leaf and boldo scents. On the palate, the intensity continues with meaty, savoury, tobacco, black cherry, coffee, licorice notes before a minty, gamey finish. Tannins are fine and dense, suggesting this will mellow nicely over the next decade. If you serve it now, the match is grilled lamb.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 25.00 QC 23.00 ON 20.00 NS 25.00 NB 29.00 MB 25.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Gérard Bertrand Pollinat' Syrah 2019

Cévennes, Languedoc, Sud de France, FrancePollinat' is a new line from GB, and result of a collaborative project and movement to protect bees in the region. This is pressed under gas, and rested in stainless, to keep the grape's fresh, fruity notes. Dark, peppery fruit rules (blackberry, blueberry, plum), with ample cracked pepper, and soft tannins leading this to the shorter, cinnamon spiced finish.Prices: CDN 28.49 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Craven Wines Syrah Firs Vineyard 2019

Devon Valley, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaSituated on a warm site in Stellenbosch's Devon Valley, on red, heavy clays, this was whole bunch, lightly stomped, gently handled, into old puncheons for 10 months. This wine is a classic pretty / ugly, with brooding, dark ferrous earth, worn leather interwoven with ample fragrant wild violets, black raspberry, wild cherry, herbal scrub, and ample cracked peppercorns, all on a finessed palate. Ageworthy, but drinking lovely now.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Craven Wines
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12 March 2021

Dr. Edge Pinot Noirtext
93PTS

Dr. Edge Pinot Noir 2019

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaDr. Edge is the personal wine project of Peter Dredge, the head winemaker of Meadowbank. This is a blend of several vineyards across Tasmania, blending East Coast, Tamar Valley, and Pipers Brook fruit. The 2019 saw a slight shift with more Northern Tasmanian fruit due to the bushfire affect in the South. After a native ferment and two weeks on skins, this was pressed to oak casks where it remained for 9 months before heading to bottle without fining. Pouring a pale crimson hue, this lighter, ethereal red opens with ample fragrant perfumed raspberries and cherries, dusted with pink peppercorns and riding a bed of finely crushed rock. There's a slight green sapidity woven throughout the length of this slender wine, one easily lofted with acidity, framed with fine, spiderweb tannins, and finishing with a hint of mineral salts. Such a wine, even now in youth.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: Dr. Edge
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90PTS

Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Pinot Noir 2017

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandFrom their certified organic and biodynamic Bendigo Estate, these 677 clone pinot noir vines were rooted in 1998 into a north-facing slope of Waenga fine sandy loam and Letts steep land, between 217 – 264m. It was native fermented with 23 days on skins before draining directly into French oak barriques (50% new) for 15 months of ageing. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Dark and brooding, shaped by well-absorbed toasted wood, fresh and dried black cherry, sultry dark plum, forest bark, and gentle smoke on a plush palate. Though the aforementioned tannins sink into the plump, savoury fruit, the wood spicing still stands above, thankfully met by a swell of juicy acidity.Prices: NZ 50.00 Producer: Quartz Reef
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Marcel Deiss Alsace Rougetext
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Marcel Deiss Alsace Rouge 2018

Alsace, FranceRetasted 14 months later, and this lovely lighter pinot is exactly where it should be. This certified organic and biodynamic estate pinot noir (splashed with pinot gris and pinot blanc) comes from Alsace's Bergheim, St Hippolyte, and Beblenheim terroirs and their mix of limestone, flint, gravel and granite soils. After destemming, gentle maceration, and a native ferment, this continued to age one year in tank and barrel. Juicy dark raspberry, black cherry, tobacco, fragrant dark plum is etched with fine, grippy structural tannins, housing the medium palate to a very mineral-laden finish. Fresh, dark, and a little wild, this is a lovely take on pinot.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Marcel Deiss
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11 March 2021

Gérard Bertrand Change Merlottext
88PTS

Gérard Bertrand Change Merlot 2019

Sud de France, FranceThe Change line of wines comes from vineyards in the transition to organic certification. This merlot was aged in a mix of stainless and cement for 6-12 months. Dark plum, boysenberry, juicy cassis, red licorice fills the softer palate, with slightly ragged tannins housing this to a vanilla-kissed finish. Simple and friendly.Prices: CDN 22.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Sea Change Merlottext
88PTS

Sea Change Merlot 2018

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe more I taste this brand, the more I like it. The sustainability aspects are attractive, and from corks, bottles, labels and fruit, it is constructed to help protect our seas and the planet. But none of that works unless the wine is worth drinking. Enter the Pay’s d’Oc fruit and merlot that sings deliciously. Balanced, round, flavourful and persistent, this is the definition of easy-drinking and should be applauded for its style. Blue and black fruit, a dash of spice and light tannins come together perfectly. Well-priced and ready to drink.Prices: BC 19.49 Producer: Château Canet
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10 March 2021

Vignoble du Reveur Un Instant sur Terretext
93PTS

Vignoble du Reveur Un Instant sur Terre 2019

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 throughout, though with an effortless, lofted freshness, this dry orange streams with bergamot, white tea, and honeycomb, with buzzing minerality underneath, and ample mouthwatering salinity. The sides are stencilled with a tight, fine grip, framing this to the lengthy finish. Savoury, complexed, finessed, and memorable, this is drinking beautifully now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 56.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Vignoble du Rêveur Artisan 2019

Alsace, FranceThis orange of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris comes from 40 year old vines rooted in their biodynamic Bennwihr estate. This was native fermented in stainless, where it rested on lees for one year until bottling with light filtration and a minimum of sulphur. Pouring a hazy peach orange hue, this is potent with apricot blossoms, pear skin, wild flowers, ash, on a savoury, super juicy palate. There's a lovely grip holding in the sides, guiding this to a gently spiced finish. As with all their wines, this is understated, and memorable.Prices: ON 41.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Vignoble du Rêveur La Vigne en Rose 2018

Alsace, FranceThis off-dry blend of Gewürztraminer and Riesling comes from 40-year-old vines rooted in their biodynamic Bennwihr estate. Ten percent of the Gewürztraminer was macerated on skins for ten days and then blended back with the whole for a native ferment in stainless, where it rested on lees until bottling with light filtration and a minimum of sulphur. Gew's aromatics are at the fore here, with ample apricot, honeysuckle, peach gliding along the juicy, waxen palate. There's a fantastic grippy salinity framing this, and a buoyant juicy acidity carrying this demi-sec to the ginger-spiced finish. Classic Alsace, revisited. Impressive.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Vignoble du Rêveur Vibrations 2018

Alsace, FranceThis Riesling comes from 40 year old vines rooted in their biodynamic Bennwihr estate. Ten percent was macerated on skins for 10 days, and then blended back with the whole for a native ferment in foudre, where it rested on lees for 1 year until bottling with light filtration and a minimum of sulphur. Tight and nimble, this is electric with mouthwatering salinity, lime pith, green apple, wild flowers over a grippy, chalky base. Vibrations is the perfect name for this vibrant wine. Understated, and impressively so.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Vignoble du Reveur Pierres Sauvagestext
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Vignoble du Reveur Pierres Sauvages 2018

Alsace, FranceThis is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir, from 40 year old vines rooted in their biodynamic Bennwihr estate. This was native fermented in foudre, where it rested on lees for one year until bottling with light filtration and a minimum of sulphur. Honeysuckle, pear skin, yellow apple, wild flowers stream along the dry palate, juicy with mouthwatering salinity, and finely gripped along the sides. Lovely trio of pinots.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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08 March 2021

Chateau de Ferrandtext
92PTS

Chateau de Ferrand 2015

Saint Émilion, Libourne, Bordeaux, FranceChâteau de Ferrand was built during the reign of Louis XIV in the 17th century on the plateau of Saint-Hippolyte. It was bought in 1978 by Baron Bich, only the second owner of the property currently rated a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru. In 2015, by all accounts a top quality year in Bordeaux, the blend was 79/11/10 merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. At this point, it is a classic St. Emilion that is just coming into its own at the age of six, and it should remain on this plateau through 2026. Harmony best describes the wine in the mouth that opens with hints of dark chocolate, espresso, dried herbs and dense but highly refined tannins that flow through to the end of the palate. It’s almost opulent by Bordeaux standards but with a mineral undercurrent to keep it elegant and aligned. Should be a winner with the likes of veal, pork chicken, mushrooms or grilled beef.Prices: BC 69.99 Producer: Château de Ferrand
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Domaines Barons de Rothschild Légende R Bordeaux 2017

Bordeaux, FranceDiane Flamand had overseen the Légende R range since 2004 when the acclaimed oenologist returned to the house where she first interned at 21. Intended as an introductory Bordeaux, ready to drink every day, this 60/40 blend of cabernet sauvignon/merlot from the Entre-Deux-Mers rested 9 months in vats, 40% was in oak vats, with the remainder in stainless. Juicy black cherry, raspberry, takes the simple palate, with finely powdery/grippy tannins taking this to a shorter, snappy finish, with a faint cedar / gravelly note—elementary Bordeaux for novices.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Domaines Barons de Rothschild
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Clos des Fous Caqueninatext
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Clos des Fous Caquenina 2014

Itata Valley, ChileClos des Fous is an exciting project between four Chilean friends: Pedro Parra (the terroirist, aka Dr. Dirt), François Massoc and Paco Leyton (the winemakers) and Albert Cussen (the business). Fous is French for 'crazy men,' a reference to how their peers described them for exploring Chilean viticulture's extremes. Cauquenina means a girl from Cauquenes and is a blend of several varietals from Itata. In 2014, the mix is old-vine, dry-farmed 27% carmenère, 25% carignano, 11% petite sirah, 10% cinsault, 10% malbec, 10% pais, 7% syrah from red granite soils. Each lot was natively fermented in cement vats and aged separately, with 20% of the wine going into new French oak and the rest in 1-year-old wood. Even now, 7 years along, this needs airtime to relax and stretch. This initially opens with roasted meats, fire smoked branch, resin, dark earth seasoning the ripe, dense, wild black fruit. With some time, the assertive nature tames some, and wild mint, crushed violet, anise perfumes push through. The tannins have just now shed some of their ferocity, sinking into rather than sticking out of the potent fruit, guiding it to the cracked peppercorn finish — quite an interesting wine to unravel over an evening or a couple of days.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Clos des Fous
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Château Canadatext
88PTS

Château Canada 2018

Bordeaux, FranceI've always thought the name Château Canada is a tad unfortunate, because it could be construed as a gimmick for the Canadian market. That's not the case; it was named by a previous owner after spending time in Lower Canada two centuries ago. What you get is a solid Bordeaux Supérieur that's fresh and juicy in style, combining currant and plum fruit with leafy herbs. The tannins are firm, and a touch chalky, but this is meant to be served at the dinner table after an hour or so in the decanter anyway. Who says Bordeaux has to be overpriced? Recommended.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Château Canada
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87PTS

Château Valentin 2015

Bordeaux, FranceThe name Valentin pops up throughout Bordeaux, but Château Valentin is from Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux, on the right bank across from the Haut-Médoc. This is an unoaked, Merlot-dominant blend, with cabernet franc (30 percent) and petit verdot (10 percent) playing supporting roles. 2015 was a high quality vintage, especially on the right bank, but this shows surprisingly muddled fruit and fairly advanced development. Fans of savoury reds will want to drink this now.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Château Valentin
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Augey Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Bordeaux, FranceThis is an unusual style, at least as far as entry-level Bordeaux goes. Some of the appeal of Bordeaux's less prestigious appellations, like generic AOC Bordeaux, is that they're often unoaked, relatively light, and quaffable. And that is not the case here. This is awash in poor quality wood and forced fruit. It's a classic case of trying to be something it's not, and that rarely pays off when it comes to the world of wine.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Purple Angel by Montestext
94PTS

Purple Angel by Montes 2017

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChilePurple Angel is 92 percent carmenere and eight percent petit verdot barrel aged for 16-18 months in 80 percent new French oak barrels, and 20 percent second use. The fruit comes off two vineyards Finca de Apalta and the El Arcángel de Marchigüe estates in the Colchagua Valley. The soils are of granitic origin with varying clay content mixed with remnant fluvial and glacial stones. Unusually high heat spikes in January and February were somewhat balanced with cooler March afternoons to help stall the ripening to ensure full phenolic ripeness. Expect a dark, opaque, black purple colour with a powerful scent of black fruits, ripe blueberry, and a denser, full-bodied palate. Complexed candied plums, baked cherries rule the savoury, resin, dried herb palate, reflecting the carmenere content. Hedonistic, ripe, and full-throttle, this will need a decade in the bottle to tone down and reveal its depth. It is already drinkable, but only for the bravest at this point. Best served with red meats, lamb chops with rosemary, pork ribs, stews, and casseroles.Prices: BC 85.99 AB 75.95 ON 69.95 PEI 66.99 NS 66.95 Producer: Montes Wines
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04 March 2021

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Region del Valle Central, ChileA solid performer, this Colchagua cabernet sauvignon has a long history of growing on the Montes estate in the Apalta Valley, with a small amount of fruit coming from the cooler Marchigüe Estate at the cooler Western edge of the Colchagua region in southern Chile. The blend is 90/10 cabernet sauvignon/merlot. It mixes blue and black fruits with a healthy umami dose to offset the chocolate and oak, although the oak is very subtle. The tannins are nicely reined in, so you can drink it now, but this will improve in the bottle for several more years. Empanadas, anyone?Prices: BC 23.99 AB 27.00 MB 23.02 NS 22.00 SK 28.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Apalta Valley, Santa Cruz, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileThe fresh fruit notes are long gone as you would expect after a dozen years, trading places with more earthy, olive, savoury (boldo) notes, mixed with a cedar tobacco finish. The tannins have expired, leaving a mellow cabernet sauvignon with herbal cassis flavours and a smooth, silky back end. Ready to drink with braised beef dishes. The grapes are grown at the La Finca de Apalta estate in the Apalta Valley, Colchagua.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 24.00 MB 24.00 ON 20.00 QC 23.00 NF 25.00 NS 34.00 Producer: Montes Wines
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Gérard Bertrand Naturae Cabernet Sauvignontext
85PTS

Gérard Bertrand Naturae Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Sud de France, FranceThe Naturae wines are made organically, without any inputs. This cabernet sauvignon comes across as branchy, with hard-pressed fruit, dark earth, bitter black cherry, and ample peppery notes. Tannins are fine but gritty and ragged to the bitter finish. Work in progress.Prices: CDN 29.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom west-facing 1999 planted vines on Polkadraai's Karibib Vineyard's decomposed granites, this was early picked and partial whole cluster, fermented native and on skins for a short time before moving into neutral French barrel. Fragrant and finessed, with black cherry, wild raspberry, dusty graphite across the structural and firm, yet slight (12.5%), palate. The finish is hauntingly long, with lingering granitic buzz. A beautiful view of cabernet sauvignon, drinking well now and with cellaring.Prices: Producer: Craven Wines
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Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileFrom the Aconcagua Valley, Max Reserva was macerated and fermented in stainless before heading to French oak (30% new) for a year's ageing. Potent and dense, with compact medicinal black fruits woven with sharp and pitchy green sap and roasted root veg, over a black, tarry, shellac base to a minty finish. The whole is scented with campfire, while tannins are pretty well absorbed into the whole. It definitely requires fire-charred meat to match (as intended).Prices: BC 19.99 MB 17.00 ON 19.00 QC 19.00 SK 22.00 NS 19.00 PEI 21.00 Producer: Viña Errazuriz
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Protea Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Protea Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaThis cabernet sauvignon came primarily from the Groenekloof ward in the Darling, an area known for its freshness. Post ferment, it was aged on a French oak staves for one year, imparting a characteristic stunted, powdery texture to this fuller red. Milk chocolate, sour cherry, tart red and blackcurrant finishes short and blunt, with a muddle of spicing. Little to zero typicity here for modern South Africa, unfortunately. The reusable bottle is nice though.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Simi Winery Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Simi Winery Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesFrom Alexander Valley, a very warm Sonoma County sub-region some describe as the Napa Valley of Sonoma. Simi was the first winery to use the Alexander Valley moniker on its labels long before AVAs came into play. Landslide Vineyard takes its name from a landslide that blocked the original Russian River run, diverting the water west to the Pacific Ocean from a course that ran through the Napa Valley. There are three main terroirs: the top or upper area; the middle vineyard; and the low sections. Each brings a certain complexity to the blend. Look for a broad structure with both black and red fruit with dry, firm, mountain tannins. Notes of pomegranate, red currants, and cassis carry through a long, dry, youthful finish. It not often you describe cabernet as delicious, but this one sure is. It is barely legal as a cabernet sauvignon at 75 percent mixed with 9/7/4/3/2 malbec, cabernet franc, petit verdot, merlot, and tannat. Impressive. The winery recommends several dinner matches, including pappardelle pasta with duck and porcini ragu, braised short ribs and polenta, or grilled portobello mushroom on toasted brioche. I'm ready. Buy and cellar through 2026. Super value.Prices: ON 36.60 NS 41.95 Producer: Simi Winery
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Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon The Reserve To-Kalon Vineyardtext
96PTS

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon The Reserve To-Kalon Vineyard 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe blend is a 92/6/2/ mix of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot harvested from the finest blocks within To Kalon. The grapes are hand harvested with three stages of strict sorting: first, on the vine; then by individual clusters; and then again by single berry following destemming. The selected grapes go directly to traditional French oak vats for a cold soak, fermentation, and extended 35 days of skin contact. The new wine is pressed into new French oak barrels before malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled through repeated tasting trials over eighteen months of barrel ageing. Look for flavours of rich blackberries, black plums, and dried herbs. There is more precision here, with elegant floral notes and stylish, savoury, umami, and wild dried herbs running through the finish. It is also more aromatic than Mt Veeder. Super quality and length with balance for the ages. A great vintage.Prices: BC 174.95 Producer: Robert Mondavi Winery
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Mount Veeder Winery Reservetext
93PTS

Mount Veeder Winery Reserve 2016

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe wine is legally a cabernet sauvignon at 88 percent cabernet sauvignon paired with 10 percent malbec and two percent petit verdot. As its name suggests, Mount Veeder is at elevation, from 1,500–1,600 feet above sea level in what could be described as a rugged mountain environment. The result is low yield, loose cluster, small bunches of high quality fruit. The harvest is described as Zen-like as pickers move up and down the hillsides taking fruit from the uphill side of the vine only, or the downhill side, or just the north, south, east, or west section. The colour is blackish red and opaque. The nose complex, intense, and layered with blackberry, Bing cherry, and cassis with a beautiful savoury underside of dried herbs and pepper pushing through a along finish. There are mountain tannins, but the edges are just soft enough to let you in even at this early stage. A blockbuster cabernet that will have wide appeal. Excellent.Prices: CDN 85.99 Producer: Mount Veeder Winery
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Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignontext
95PTS

Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at an elevation of 1,400 to 1,800 feet on an area planted since the early 1860s. On the western flank of Napa Valley, the estate is named for the native Wappos, who first called it home. The mountain site is all about high elevation and thin, rocky soils planted to four cabernet clones (191, 4, 8, and 337) and three rootstocks (3309C, 101-14, and 1103P) that combine to neutralize some of the issues in what is usually a slow-moving, long, cool growing season above the fog line. It’s an excellent vintage, and the black and blue fruits boast very high-quality levels. Mineral, floral, and dry, the underbelly effortlessly balances off the fruit, adding extra complexity to the mix. It spends 20 months in 74 percent new French oak. The blend is 86/4/6/2/2.5 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. Winemaker Chris Carpenter likes to say, “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder, without overt tannins.” He is right, and it is a stylish blockbuster cabernet that will live on through 2025.Prices: BC 114.00 AB 80.00 Producer: Mt. Brave
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03 March 2021

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Gamay Noirtext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Gamay Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 12-30 year old estate vines, and clones 358, 509, and 789, this gamay was destemmed, native fermented, and aged one year in older 228 and 500L French barrels before racking, blending, and bottling in October 2020. Amply salted cherry, black raspberry, flood the juicy palate, seasoned with desert scrubby herbs, and housed with soft, downy tannins. There's an autumnal shading to this savoury wine, likening it more to pinot noir than gamay noir. Take with a slight chill.Prices: BC 30.00 AB 26.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Domaine Steeve Charvet Chiroublestext
90PTS

Domaine Steeve Charvet Chiroubles 2018

Chiroubles, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThe Charvet family has farmed this Chiroubles-based estate for more than 6 generations. Today, Steeve Charvet oversees their 7 hectares of vines, including the Crus of Chiroubles and Morgon. The 2018 Chiroubles was bottled earlier than normal to compensate for Steeve's loss of the 2016 vintage, and 40% of the 2017 crops. From 40 year old vines rooted in steep sandy and granite slopes, this was 20% destemmed and native fermented before aging 6 months in concrete. Layers of cherry, plum, perfumed peony are well woven around a pure-fruited plummy core, wrapped with fine grained, lightly grippy tannins, and finishing with pink peppercorn spicing and mineral salts. A modest little charmer, gentle yet lively, and with great typicity for Chiroubles.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Domaine Steeve Charvet
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Pascal Aufranc Vignes De 1939 Chénastext
88PTS

Pascal Aufranc Vignes De 1939 Chénas 2017

Chénas, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFrom gnarly, tiny old bush vines planted in 1939 on granite, quartz, and sand, and a west facing 450m site bordering the Moulin à Vent appellation, this was whole cluster pressed before resting 8 months in concrete. Light and tight raspberry, tart rhubarb, plum blossoms, and a swing of sapid green skip across the lean palate, bright with red currant crunchy acidity, and bound with fine, downy tannins. This finishes with a granitic rasp, best matched with sauccison or mushroom ragout.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Pascal Aufranc
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02 March 2021

San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigiotext
88PTS

San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio 2017

Tuscany, ItalyThis Riserva is from the top plots of the estate, and entirely sangiovese, planted on albarese, galestro, and macigno del chianti at 300-400m. 80% of this was matured for two years in 60-90hL Slavonian oak casks, with the remainder in 225L French barriques. Old school in style, with kisses of Brettanomyces, this opens softer, with some prune, black cherry, framed with spiced old wood, and gripped with ample, ragged, firm tannins through the dusty, bitter finish.Prices: ON 26.95 BC 28.00 Producer: San Felice S.p.A., Agricola
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classicotext
86PTS

San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2018

Tuscany, ItalySan Fabiano Calcinaia is family owned since 1983. They have 165ha, with 46ha vineyards, all organically farmed since 2012. Calcinaia refers to the main soil of the estate = calcareous clays. From 250-500m, this is a blend of 90% sangiovese, 5% colorino, and 5% malvasia nera, native fermented and with 12 months in 2nd use 500L French oak barrels. Ripe raspberry, cherry, with ample hard tannins; this is somewhat clamped/closed down at this stage. The palate is quite compact through the bitter-edged finish.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellinotext
88PTS

Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellino 2014

Tuscany, ItalyPart of the Ricasoli family, this organic estate is situated in Monti in Chianti and Vigneto San Marcellino. This CCGS is 90/10 sangiovese / pugnitello, planted on albrarese and galestro soils at 350-510m. The grapes were natively fermented and macerated separately with extended skin contact, with two years ageing in barriques (70%) and tonneaux (30%), utilizing 25% new wood, before two years bottle ageing before release. Black cherries, black raspberries, dark earth leads, along with a twinge of oxidation. The generously cushioned palate is framed with strident, firm tannins, leading to a bitter espresso finish. It was quite intense and dense and somewhat disjointed at this stage, indicative of the very tricky 2014 vintage.Prices: ON 75.95 Producer: Rocca di Montegrossi
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Rocca delle Macie Tenuta Sant'Alfonso Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Rocca delle Macie Tenuta Sant'Alfonso Chianti Classico 2017

Tuscany, ItalyRocca delle Macìe was founded in 1973 by legendary film producer Italo Zingarelli. His impressive film career allowed him to fulfill his dream to produce wine. His son, Sergio, oversees the operations today. This CC comes from Tenuta Sant'Alfonso, a 40ha single vineyard site. This is rooted in clay soils, at 300m, giving a weighted expansiveness to the palate. The wine rested in 35hl French barrels. Lush and generous on the supple palate, yet still firmly structural, with long, raging tannins. Ripe cherry, ripe strawberry, perfumed plum, anise, and earth fill the mid, finishing with a bitter espresso spiced note. At this youthful time, best taken with grilled pork or lamb, but better with time in the cellar.Prices: ON 23.99 Producer: Rocca delle Macìe S.p.A.
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Castello di Monterinaldi Chianti Classicotext
91PTS

Castello di Monterinaldi Chianti Classico 2017

Tuscany, ItalyThis historic Radda property was the first mention dating back to 1010. They have identified 17 clones of Sangiovese on the property. This comes from galestro and alberese soils at 320-420m and was fermented in concrete vats before 1 year in 80% French oak of 500L and 750L, and the remaining 20% in concrete. Richer black cherry, sweet plum is imbued with mineral freshness, and housed by very firm, long tannin to a bitter cherry finish.Prices: ON 32.90 Producer: Castello di Monterinaldi
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Antinori Tignanellotext
93PTS

Antinori Tignanello 2017

Tuscany, ItalyOne of the world's iconic wines, the 2017 Tig, wore the challenging vintage well, with ample concentration, via the reduced quantity. This wine is always treated with the utmost care, and most certainly this vintage. From the same vineyard, a 57-hectare limestone-rich parcel at 350-400m, Tig is only made in quality years. Primarily sangiovese, this has a tip of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc in the mix. After running the wine off its skins, it underwent MLF in small oak barrels, with each vineyard lot and variety fermented separately. After blending, the wine was moved to French and Hungarian oak, new and second fill, for 16 months. Once in the bottle, the wine rested for a year before release. Savoury and elegant on the nose, with crushed violets leading the way for an intense palate of cassis, wild blackberries, perfumed black plums, and quality Kirsch. An undercurrent of worn leather and alluring anise moves the fuller, subtly supple palate through the very lengthy spiced, minted finish, all the while held upright by long, structural and firm tannins. The soils provide a surprising and welcome freshness to all this power, resulting in a great deal of harmony even at this very youthful stage. Drinking very well now, and with an easy 5+ years ahead.Prices: BC 136.99 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riservatext
91PTS

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2015

Tuscany, ItalyThe Marchese Antinori is a historic wine of the house, and since 2011 has been sourced from the legendary Tignanello estate, in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone. This sangiovese is tipped with 10% cabernet sauvignon, fermented in stainless and then moved to a year in large French and Hungarian oak barrels. After bottling, it was aged for another year in bottle prior to release. Rich and sultry in the glass, with ripe wild plums, dried black cherry, and wild cassis flooding the supple and expansive palate. The ample, firm tannins are well absorbed into the velveteen fruit, leaving a plush sensation through the lengthy, pencil shaving finish. Drinking well now, as expected, even from the warm 2015 year, this will continue to plateau for the next few years in the cellar.Prices: BC 58.00 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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La Braccesca Vino Nobile di  Montepulcianotext
90PTS

La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015

Tuscany, ItalyAntinori's La Braccesca estate in Toscana sprawls over 508 hectares, including 340 hectares of vineyards. This prugnolo gentile (sangiovese grosso, from the town of Montepulciano) is splashed with merlot, fermented and rested in large oak casks for a year. It gets another year bottle rest before release. Dark, brooding, sultry spices opens this fuller wine, rolling with cassis, salted black cherry, and dried blackberry fruit. There's a potent undercurrent of leather and thorns on the supple, full palate, all framed with ample tannins now showing some smoothing polish from time. The finish is potent with espresso and baking spices. Showing a bit of age now in the glass, this is at a good point for drinking, especially with rich, hearty braises.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classicotext
88PTS

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2018

Tuscany, ItalyPèppoli is an Antinori single estate dedicated to quality Chianti Classico. This is based on sangiovese and complemented by other indigenous grapes, all harvested separately. Each was fermented in stainless through MLF, and then the lots were blended and transferred into large Slavonian oak barrels for 9 months (a small part remained in stainless for a sprinkle of freshness). Dried red currants, black and red cherry, earthy woodsy notes rule this medium+ wine, with an ample dosage of Slavonian wood spicing, though quite polished tannins. There's a good amount of freshness to carry this to a warming baking spice finish. A touch old-school and rustic-hewn, this would well suit braised meats or root vegetable dishes.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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