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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: July 2021

30 July 2021

Zonin Prosecco Rosétext
85PTS

Zonin Prosecco Rosé NV

Veneto, ItalyThe new Prosecco Rosé category is a smart thing, as there is no denying the appeal of pink fizz around the world. This simple version colours pear blossoms and melon with a bitter cherry note, finishing briefly and off-dry. Pleasant, ideally as part of a cocktail or sangria.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 14.95 MB 15.10 ON 15.95 QC 15.75 Producer: Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A.
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Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821text
86PTS

Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821 NV

Veneto, ItalyOff-dry, this simple Prosecco is bright with pear blossoms, candied lemon peel, ripe melon on a shorter, snappy palate, finishing with an anise twist. Chill and enjoy now, ideally as part of a spritzer or fruit cocktail.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 14.95 MB 15.10 ON 15.95 QC 15.75 Producer: Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A.
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain is in a class of its own with this latest bottling of the Gold Label Brut, based on the 2017 vintage and disgorged in August 2020. Few, if any, sparkling wines can compete at this price, and with this level of seriousness. For those who have been following this wine over the years (the first review in GOW's database dates to 2003), the blend is familiar: pinot noir (57%) and chardonnay (39%), with a dollop of pinot gris (4%). A portion is fermented in puncheons, and the blend also includes reserve wine that was aged in a 2000L oak cask. It then ages on its lees for 24 months, before resting in bottle post-disgorgement for six to nine months prior to release. It's remarkably complex, with toasted brioche, hazelnut, golden pear, lemon, red apple, red berries, and spice. The balance is exceptional: rich and creamy, with real tension thanks to bright acidity and an integrated 8 g/L dosage, leading to a dry, chalky finish. Put the Champagne down. This should be your go-to sparkling wine for any occasion if it isn't already. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis latest incarnation of the BC classic is from the 2017 vintage, and predominantly pinot noir and chardonnay, with its hallmark tip of pinot gris, and with 24 months on lees. My bottle was disgorged in August 2020. This showing is particular crisp and bright, with a nearly flinty reductive edge that chisels the orchard fruit. Green apple, crunchy red apple, flake salts, crisp pear lead the palate, one seasoned with nutty / toasty spices, and finishing with a wash of salinity. This used to be a dependable go-to BC fizz. Now, this has stepped up the game to be a serious sparkling. Well done Blue Mountain.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOn a shortlist of what I consider iconic BC wines, Blue Mountain Brut has to be one of the leaders. It’s generally in a class of its own, but more importantly, it has spawned many imitators over the years, expanding the interest in BC sparkling wine. The blend hasn’t changed a lot. In this bottle, the numbers are 57/39/4 pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot gris. Puncheons are used for a portion of the wine to give the juice a chance to expand. The secret sauce is the reserve wine, aged in 2000L oak casks. The Brut spends full two years on its lees before getting yet another six to nine months in bottle. That's an impressive gift consumers are not paying for, given the true cost of cellaring finished wine. Best of all is the freshness factor, and how this wine has evolved over the last two decades going from sparkling wine to a wine that sparkles. Expect a mineral, flinty affair with green and red apple, spice, with nutty toasted almond highlights that pull you into the glass. A great value and ready to drink.Prices: BC 27.90 AB 29.85 ON 34.95 QC 34.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
88PTS

Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaThis traditional method blanc de blancs is entirely chardonnay from their PEC estate. Time in wood before heading to secondary ferment may be behind the oxidative, bruised fruit note that carries through this creamy wine, along with yellow apple, pear custard, and ample toasty barrel spice. Take this softer wine now.Prices: ON 36.00 Producer: Rosehall Run
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Adamo Blanc de Blancstext
87PTS

Adamo Blanc de Blancs 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Kirby Vineyard's sand and loam, this traditional method chardonnay underwent ferment and aging for 8 months in oak before transferring to bottle for secondary ferment. It was disgorged with 2 g/L RS. Toasty, with sharp lemon, pith, green apple on a creamy base, this is a tart, high acid fizz, finishing with a chalky grip. The acidity is a bit much, but if you're looking for that style, here you go.Prices: ON 52.00 Producer: Adamo Estate Winery
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Aphros Yakkos Grande Reservatext
90PTS

Aphros Yakkos Grande Reserva 2009

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis biodynamic, sparkling vinhão comes from Vinho Verde’s Lima subregion, and its granitic soils. It was foot-trodden and native fermented in granite lagares, and aged on lees before heading to bottle for secondary ferment, where it remained for 67 months before disgorgement with 3 g/L. Pouring a dark purple hue, this dry, brisk fizz streams dried violets, blackcurrant, black cherry, thorns along a tight, crunchy palate, with the tart, herbal fruit well balanced by the slight blip of RS. Lambrusco-esque, this is an impressive, authentic, food-friendly fizz.Prices: MB 26.95 ON 33.95 Producer: Aphros
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Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Rosé Bruttext
89PTS

Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Rosé Brut NV

Jura, FranceThis bottle of Crémant Rosé is entirely from 2016, and centered on poulsard and trousseau, followed by smaller parts pinot noir, chardonnay, and savagnin. This aged for one year on lees in bottle, with a disgorgement in April 2018 with 6 g/L RS. Pouring a peach hue, this crémant is bright and grippy with red currants, strawberry, red apple blossoms on a floral palate, finishing with a stony raspy grip. Acidity is high, easily lofting the fragrant fruit through the finish. A friendly, interesting rosé crémant for drinking now.Prices: BC 32.00 ON 32.60 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Hester Creek Old Vine Bruttext
88PTS

Hester Creek Old Vine Brut 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2018 was the first vintage of this traditional method fizz, from older vine pinot blanc off their 50+ year old vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench. After a stainless ferment, this moved to bottle and spent 24 months on lees. Apple fritter, brioche, ripe red apple, citrus blossom, lemon zest rule the creamy palate, held aloft with bright, lemony acidity, and finishing with a tart sour lemon twist. A nice addition to the portfolio, and a welcoming fizz to enjoy now.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Vaporetto Prosecco No 8 Bruttext
86PTS

Vaporetto Prosecco No 8 Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe name Vaporetto pays homage to the Venice steamer boats. This is a simple glera Prosecco, with pear blossoms, yellow apple seasoned with toast. There is a little earthy / nutmeal note on the mid, that detracts from the fragrant orchard fruit, and making this less a sipper wine but one to try with some canapés.Prices: BC 17.29 AB 19.90 MB 17.99 Producer: Jeio Belstar S.r.L
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Hester Creek Ti Amotext
87PTS

Hester Creek Ti Amo 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTi Amo is a charmat sparkling with estate and purchased fruit, blending pinot gris and gewürztraminer into a soft, off-dry, Prosecco-esque bubble. Perfumed white blossoms, orange, peach and lime peel lead this lighter, 11.7% palate, finishing with a gentle floral fragrance. Quite pretty, and well-knit, this would be a lovely breakfast or brunch fizz.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Poppyshake Cidertext
89PTS

Poppyshake Cider 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis cider is a Naramata orchard backyard assortment, including Ambrosia, Manchurian Crab, Hyslop Crab, Kingston Black, Stokes Red, and Michelin. This was native fermented, and done as a pét-nat, with 6 months on lees before being hand disgorged in spring 2021 with no dosage and zero additions throughout. This is nervy and dry, pithy textured, with tight green apple, pear skin, elderflower blossoms on a slight, grippy palate, finishing with a lemon twinge. A very authentic, characterful, natural and traditional cider that summarizes Naramata beautifully.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Poppyshake
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Poppyshake Chardonnay and Roussanne Ancestral Methodtext
89PTS

Poppyshake Chardonnay and Roussanne Ancestral Method 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPoppyshake is the personal project of Kathleen Sinclair, a natural wine and cider maker based in Naramata, working with Bella Wines these past few years. This natural (0 additive) pét-nat blends 60% Chardonnay and 40% Roussanne, with the latter spending 11 days on skins prior to blending with the Chardonnay and native cofermenting in a neutral barrel. This then spent 6 months on lees before being disgorged by hand in spring 2021. Peach yogurt, nectarine fuzz lead the creamy, herbal, dry palate, lit with a flick of lime pith to the soft, crab apple, humming finish.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Poppyshake
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
90PTS

Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2017 Fitz Brut is based on chardonnay (73%), plus 25% pinot noir and 2% pinot meunier, all from their Greata Ranch estate. This is the first time that pinot blanc wasn't included in the blend, showing their maturity as a serious sparkling producer. All were fermented in stainless, before 24 months on lees prior to disgorgement (6/6 g/L RS). Toasted brioche, red apple, white peach rule the creamy palate, with toasted almond and subtle cherry nougat on the finish. Easy and delightful in youth, this Okanagan-centric fizz should continue to build in your cellar over the next couple of years. Heading in the right direction.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Rosé Crémant de Bourgognetext
88PTS

Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne NV

Burgundy, FranceBouillot was an early adopter of the sparkling Bourgogne market and has made wine for nearly 150 years. The blend is pinot noir, gamay, and chardonnay sourced from the Côte d'Or and the Maçonnais. It spends 12 months on its lees to add depth and complexity to a fresh, light, bright rosé sparkler full of cherry, berry, and grapefruit acidity. A fun summer sipper on the patio with tapas. Good value.Prices: BC 23.49 AB 20.00 ON 20.00 QC 24.00 Producer: Louis Bouillot
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Bella Wines Gamay Noir Pet-Nat Mariani Vineyard Clone 509text
89PTS

Bella Wines Gamay Noir Pet-Nat Mariani Vineyard Clone 509 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of two 2020 gamay pét-nats from Naramata Bench's organically farmed Mariani Vineyard, each made from a different clone, processed and picked the same. Clone 509 is the most common gamay clone found in BC. They left this on skins overnight for a darker hue, nearly a sparkling red. Crunchy black raspberry, rhubarb, peppercorns rule the punchy palate, with an alluring plum blossom lift and a riffing savoury stoniness on the finish. Serious and smashable at 10.8%.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Gamay Noir Pet-Nat Mariani Vineyard Clone 787text
88PTS

Bella Wines Gamay Noir Pet-Nat Mariani Vineyard Clone 787 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is one of two 2020 gamay pét-nats from Naramata Bench's organically farmed Mariani Vineyard, each made from a different clone, processed and picked the same. Clone 787 is rarely found in BC. The delicate peach hue is coming from just a few hours' skin contact. Delicate strawberry blossoms preview a creamy palate of cherry yogurt, wild strawberries, orange rind, with a gentle bump of sweet jam before a riffing finish. Light bodied at 10%, this is best with a brisk chill and a summer brunch.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Gamay Noir Ancestrale Sparkling Wine Keremeostext
88PTS

Bella Wines Gamay Noir Ancestrale Sparkling Wine Keremeos 2020

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBella has been working with Gamay from Robin Ridge Vineyard in Keremeos since 2017, but this is their last vintage with this vineyard, so don't miss out if you're a fan. Lambrusco-esque, this dry pét-nat pours a deep, dark, lusty burgundy hue, drawing balsamic, birch, tart blackberry, plum, and scrubby rosemary along the brisk, astringent palate, finishing with a quick snap. This has the guts and structure to stand up to grilled sausages or summertime burgers.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Gamay Noir Ancestrale Sparkling Winetext
88PTS

Bella Wines Gamay Noir Ancestrale Sparkling Wine 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis gamay pét-nat comes off their organically and biodynamically farmed estate vineyard's steep clay banks. A dusting of white pepper seasons this peach-hued fizz, along with red currants, sour plum, and early raspberries, all twinged with a balsamic swing, finishing with a kiss of sweet strawberry jam. This fun and fresh fizz is a Bella wine club exclusive, or found at Dachi Restaurant in Vancouver under the co-lab “Bubble Dogs” label.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Chardonnay Ancestrale Sparkling Winetext
89PTS

Bella Wines Chardonnay Ancestrale Sparkling Wine 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn 2020, Bella released a small batch release of Backyard Chard: small lot chardonnay pét-nats made from three locations in Naramata village. This comes off their organically and biodynamically farmed estate vineyard's steep clay banks, and is a Dijon clone. Fragrant pear blossom, hawthorne, white peach and lemon rule this bright, dry, creamy fizz, trailing off with a riff of stones. An easy charmer, and certainly a young vineyard to watch. 400 bottles.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Champagne Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Charles Mignon is a 6th generation grower based in Epernay, and have been working towards organic certification these past years. The family became a NM (negoce) in the 1990s as they had to begin purchasing fruit to maintain and grow the business. This cuvée blends 20% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 55% Meunier from across the Marne Valley (Chavot, Monthelon, Moussy, Epernay, Fleury la Rivière, Venteuil, Port à Binson, Jonquery, Barbonne, Bergère les Vertus, Leuvrigny), as well as from the Sézannais and Vitry. This was fermented in stainless, and with 20-40% reserve wines. After 18-24 months on lees, this was dosed with 9 g/L reserve wines. Old school stylings, with white florals, red apple, flashes of lemon and ample patisserie dough on a creamy, cushy palate, tightened with a chalky dusting that runs through the finish.Prices: BC 70.00 Producer: Champagne Charles Mignon
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Bella Wines Buddha's Blend Rosétext
90PTS

Bella Wines Buddha's Blend Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaB2, Buddha's Blend, was a 2017 experiment that worked so well it has continued. Unlike all of Jay's other fizz, this blends two grapes: chardonnay and gamay. Jay scooped suitable lees from his various single-vineyard pressings around the Okanagan and Similkameen, and combined them into one tank to native ferment, topping up as they were racking all their single lot wines. After five months on lees following secondary ferment, this was bottled with zero dosage. The 2020 vintage was approximately 50/50 chardonnay / pinot noir. Frisky and bright, with crunchy red currant, tayberry, green apple, plum blossom on a bone dry palate. Lovely balance of chardy and gamay here.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Reserve Brut Nature Oliver Eastside Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Bella Wines Reserve Brut Nature Oliver Eastside Chardonnay 2016

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Bella's black label series, indicating serious ageing has occurred to this traditional method fizz. Serious for sure, with 54 months on lees in this release, disgorged March 2021. 600 bottles. From the limestone laced soils of Oliver's Cerqueira Vineyard, this streaks along a saline palate, with broken stones, lemon pith and peel, green apple to a brisk, stony finish, kissed with almond. A more severe, savoury style drinking beautifully now, and with time ahead.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Peak Cellars Sparkling Rieslingtext
89PTS

Peak Cellars Sparkling Riesling 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a high elevation block of riesling at Carr's Landing Vineyard in Lake Country, this traditional method sparkling wine aged on its lees for nearly a year before disgorgement, though it's not overly autolytic. It's fruit-driven with no shortage of riesling character, led by zesty lime and aromatic white blossoms, with good character and definition to the fruit. The palate is quite racy and austere, with just a 5 g/L dosage, and a soft mousse. You'll want to pair this with something to balance that acidity, like a warm goat cheese salad.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Bella Wines Cavada Gamay Rosé Bruttext
88PTS

Bella Wines Cavada Gamay Rosé Brut 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 20-year-old vines on a steep, west-facing granite and alluvial loam slope above Naramata Village, these dry-farmed vines are organically farmed. Unfortunately the vineyards sold in 2021, so this is the final version of this wine. Pouring a light plum hue, this opens with ample pepper, cranberry sauce, and rhubarb along a brisk, juicy, dry palate, finishing with a kiss of balsamic. A gutsier version of gamay.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines Westbank Gamay Rosé Bruttext
89PTS

Bella Wines Westbank Gamay Rosé Brut 2019

West Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis terroir-focused traditional method fizz is from organic, volcanic soiled Beaumont Vineyard in Westbank (gamay loves volcanic). This is the final vintage of this wine. Pouring a peach hue, this salty wine streams wild raspberry, wild strawberry along a streamline palate, buzzing with energy and finishing with a red currant kick on the bone dry, white pepper finish. Mouthwatering.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Bella Wines King Family Farms Chardonnay Sparklingtext
90PTS

Bella Wines King Family Farms Chardonnay Sparkling 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Naramata's King Vineyards, this chardonnay was brought in over a two day pick, with most of the fruit resting overnight on skins. After a whole cluster press and native ferment, this had a tirage of Champagne yeast to kickstart secondary fermentation and its five months in bottle on lees, before hand riddling and dégorgement. Bright with lemon, lemon peel, river stone on a crisp, dry, lip-smacking palate, this hums along to a lingering citrus, smoked stone finish.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Bella Wines
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Nichol Vineyard Extra Brut Rosétext
88PTS

Nichol Vineyard Extra Brut Rosé 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis no-compromise, zero dosage traditional method fizz blends pinot noir with a splash of meunier, sourced from the highest altitude plots of this Naramata Village property. This traditional method fizz spends 6 months on lees, and is finished with dosage. Searingly bone dry, with kisses of wild strawberry, raspberry, cherry riffing along the crunchy, slight (11% palate). Tight and tart.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
90PTS

Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 Fitz Brut is a 73/25/2 mix of chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier, all off the Greata Ranch home estate just south of Peachland. The new blend, sans pinot blanc, was fermented in stainless steel; before a two year rest on its lees. The nose opens with toasted almond and fresh, inviting red apple with peach permeating a creamy texture that runs through the finish. Impressive and getting better each year out. Drink or hold it certainly has a five to seven year window at the moment. Solid value.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Enrico Winery Célébration Charme de L'Île Sparkling Rosétext
80PTS

Enrico Winery Célébration Charme de L'Île Sparkling Rosé 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis charmat-method fizz is one of the Wine Islands' Charme de L'ile, a series of sparklers from local producers using island-grown grapes, and made in a ready-to-drink style. This opens with a bitter, sour, and ascorbic note that carries through the shorter palate, joined by pear skin, and some river stones. Quite bitter and sharp again on the finish; needs some winemaking direction.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Enrico Winery
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Sperling Vineyards Organic Ruby Pét Nattext
87PTS

Sperling Vineyards Organic Ruby Pét Nat NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey make a pair of pét nats (short for the French pétillant naturel meaning natural sparkling) at Sperling. It is a wine made according to the ancestral method, namely a single, continuous fermentation. The Organic Ruby Pét Nat reminds me of fizzy grape pop from when I was a kid and is a favourite pizza wine at the winery. It's juicy, mostly fresh, which is more than I can say for many of those in the category. It is an 85/15 mix of marechal foch and pinot noir, the latter all but obliterated by the wild foch. So fresh and barely effervescent, it is a pizza wine with pizzaz.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Tantalus Blanc de Noirtext
92PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Old Vines Riesling Brut is made from a single block of only a few rows of 1978 heritage plantings that returns to the lineup in 2018 but sadly with only a 50 case production count. A small amount of the free run juice is split€ during fermentation and cooled down to arrest and ferment. This base wine spends 22 months in bottle before disgorgement and a 5 g/L dosage from the Old Vines Riesling. The wine has a very pretty pale salmon colour. The palate is an elegant affair with subtle aromas of smoke, lemon, and pineapple with a desert mineral salty back end. Lean and stylish, this is a winner. This wine continues to be a delight to drink and one of the best Blanc de Noirs made on the continent.Prices: BC 31.30 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Blanc de Blancstext
92PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Blancs 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis blanc de blancs comes off a single block on the home Kelowna estate. It's fermented in older puncheons and barrique to keep the fruit as pure as possible before ageing on lees. The following May, it is transferred into the bottle for the secondary fermentation and 22 months of further lees contact. The nose is magic, mixing lees, brioche and subtle citrus notes. The palate opens with a fresh cut apple before a rush of wet stony minerality kicks in and elevates the wine to another level. It is a stunning north Okanagan bubble with the balance and style that should age effortlessly if you don’t drink it all this year.Prices: BC 31.30 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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29 July 2021

Pearl Morissette Fouguetext
91PTS

Pearl Morissette Fougue 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada2018 marks the second vintage of Fougue, their chardonnay off their high density home farm vineyard in Creek Shore. Whole clusters native fermented in a mix of concrete and foudre, where it remained on lees for 23 months prior to bottling unfined and unfiltered. The gently generous fruit is laced with ample salinity, seasoning red and green apple, light cream, wild herbs, and meadow grasses. There is a palpable energy throughout, returning to mineral salts on the finish. A lovely chardy of place, drinking well now and with time ahead. More like this please.Prices: Producer: Pearl Morissette
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Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Crutext
95PTS

Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1er Cru 2018

Beaune, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceThe complexity attracts from its evocative floral nose to the intensity of the flavours across and below the palate. The trademark grilled hazelnut and almond lace the wine with umami that fades into the citrus, honey, earthy, truffle, nutmeg notes that fence, with the mineral backbone throughout the finish. This is one delicious white wine. The depth and layering of flavours are sublime, suggesting it can take on rich meals. The winery describes it as having "the complexity and elegance of a Bâtard-Montrachet with the power of a Corton-Charlemagne". 2018 is considered an exceptional year for whites, leaving you to imagine drinking this wine in five years or as many as 30 years.Prices: BC 166.00 AB 130.00 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune Blanctext
90PTS

Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune Blanc 2018

Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceThis label contains estate grapes from the Côte de Beaune, the hillside above the village of Beaune, and some declassified juice from the younger vines at the famous Clos des Mouches vineyard. It has been biodynamically farmed since 1990 at a density of 10 to 12.5 thousand vines per hectare. Post ferment, it is aged in French oak (20 percent new) for a year. Look for a quiet nose of citrus and hazelnuts that melt into a creamy mid-palate of almonds, a hint of honey, and light lemongrass. Ready to drink and perfect with most west coast seafood dishes such as Dungeness crab or buttered clams.Prices: BC 69.99 Producer: Joseph Drouhin
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Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieutext
91PTS

Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Vrignaud family, settled in the village of Fontenay-près-Chablis, have been growing vines for 5 generations. Guillaume Vrignaud started to bottle his first wines in 1999, and became certified organic in 2009. They have 28 hectares today. This comes from 40 year old vines in the 1er Cru Mont de Milieu, situated south of the Right Bank's acclaimed Grand Cru Chablis. This wine was native fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees for one year, sans bâtonnage. Amply saline throughout, this creamy wine is weighted with pear and lees, but lit with a vibrant lemon pith and peel that streak along the green apple palate, finishing with a saline lemony snap and lingering mineral salts. Powerful wine, drinking beautifully now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 58.95 Producer: Guillaume Vrignaud
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Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumetext
90PTS

Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2018

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Vrignaud family, settled in the village of Fontenay-près-Chablis, have been growing vines for 5 generations. Guillaume Vrignaud started to bottle his first wines in 1999, and became certified organic in 2009. They have 28 hectares today. Vrignaud's four hectare vineyard in the 1er Cru Fourchaume is planted to 30 year-old vines, rooted in the climat's brown clay and Kimmeridgian soils. After a native ferment in stainless, this remained in inox for one year on lees, without bâttonage. Quite elegant, with tight lemon, pith streaming through the slender palate, drawing green apple, light creamy lees, pear skin along for the ride. Drinking well now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 51.95 Producer: Guillaume Vrignaud
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Domaine de Pisse-Loup Petit Chablistext
89PTS

Domaine de Pisse-Loup Petit Chablis 2019

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceBright and joyous, shining with lemon, pith, green apple all decked with a layer of fine lees. Such a shining example of what Petit Chablis SHOULD and CAN be as a youthful expression of drink-me-now Chablis. Domaine de Pisse-Loup is a family operation with Beine, and with 14 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis and Chablis appellations. This comes from 17 year old vines rooted in the appellations Portlandian limestone. It was partially native fermented in enamel vats, where it aged for 7 months (2 of which on lees).Prices: QC 25.15 Producer: Domaine de Pisse-Loup
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Giant Steps Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Giant Steps Chardonnay 2020

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaThis is entirely Yarra Valley chardonnay, blending fruit from Sexton, Tarraford, and Applejack Vineyards. It begins at a pleasant alcohol level of 13.5 percent. The vintage was iffy across most of Oz. Still, in the Yarra, lower yields thanks to tight, small bunches resulted in naturally high acidity and overflowing bright flavours of melons drenched in citrus. It is rich in a Grand Cru way but not overpowering. Food possibilities are endless, but some winery suggestions I love are: soft shell crab Bao, with fresh coriander and bean shoots; grilled fresh goats curd and olive tapenade on grilled sourdough; and fresh rocket salad, roast crispy skin baby chicken, preserved lemon and roast garlic; or finely aged Pecorino cheese drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It is all hand picked, chilled overnight to 12C, whole bunch pressed, fermented on full juice solids with wild yeast in 500L French puncheons (10% new) for 8 months. There is no stirring of the lees, and only 20% of the blend underwent spontaneous malolactic fermentation.Prices: BC 42.99 AB 33.99 ON 29.95 QC 40.00 Producer: Giant Steps Wine
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Cambria Chardonnay Katherine's Vineyardtext
90PTS

Cambria Chardonnay Katherine's Vineyard 2019

Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesKatherine’s Vineyard is located on the coastal Santa Maria Bench in Santa Barbara County. The property is typically fog-covered and cool most mornings, providing a surface asset to match the underground fossilized seashells, shale, limestone, and sand soils planted to the Wente selection and clones 4, 76, 96. The wine is rich but bright most years with intense citrus, ripe red apple, tangerine, and pink grapefruit with a dusting of vanilla and honey over bright acidity. Big and busy, but still food friendly with creamy pasta and or halibut dishes. Big value for New World chardonnay lovers. Should be on every restaurant wine list in the province under $55.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 26.99 SK 29.99 MB 29.99 ON 29.95 Producer: Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnaytext
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Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2018

Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesThe Brewer-Clifton philosophy is embedded in the geographic, geologic, and climatic peculiarities of the Santa Barbara sub-AVA Santa Rita Hills. This blend comprises 3D Machado, Acin, and Hapgood vineyards yielding a range of intense tropical fruit aided by only neutral barrels adding zero extra weight to the wine. 2018 is fresh and juicy, mixing baked orchard fruits with mineral, saline notes boosted with orange marmalade streaks for extra added lift. Best with grilled lobster, Dungeness crab with butter, or your favourite holiday roasted turkey with stuffing.Prices: BC 42.99 AB 35.99 SK 44.99 MB 44.99 ON 44.95 Producer: Brewer-Clifton
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Black Stallion Limited Release Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Black Stallion Limited Release Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe 2019 Limited Release Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay from Carneros spends seven months in barrels (55 percent new French oak, five percent new Hungarian oak). The style is medium bodied and rich with a silky well-balanced mid-palate. Look for buttery, ripe stone fruit led by peach and white nectarine with a streak of Meyer lemon in the back end to keep it fresh. New World style but with some restraint. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: Black Stallion Estate Winery
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Felino Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Felino Chardonnay 2018

Mendoza, ArgentinaThis chardonnay has evolved over the years, rightfully shedding some oak and focusing on fruit and lees management. The site is fruit is grown in semi-arid Valle de Uco and Luján de Cuyo at 1000 metres above sea level. It spends a short four months in oak post ferment leading to a creamy textured chardonnay with baked green apple, poached pears, and butter with a touch of vanillin on the finish. Finally, a New World crowd pleaser chardonnay fans love. It’s all good, but there is plenty of room to lean this out a bit and let it soar.Prices: BC 32.00 AB 22.00 ON 19.00 Producer: Viña Cobos
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28 July 2021

Sandhill Rosétext
88PTS

Sandhill Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis gamay-merlot rosé pours medium pink with juicy strawberry and watermelon, and some underlying spice to add interest. The fruit shows just a hint of candied character. Medium-bodied, with a pinch of sweetness (6 g/L), this finishes just barely off-dry. The balance is spot on if you're looking for an approachable style of rosé, with an appealing 12.6% abv. Well made and solid value.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Sandhill Wines
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Peak Cellars Pink Granite Rosétext
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Peak Cellars Pink Granite Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Pink Granite Rosé comes off a single plot of their Lake Country Carr's Landing vineyard, with soils rich in, yup, pink granite. This was planted to clone 828, and underwent 18 hours of skin contact prior to cold settling, ferment, and time in stainless. Tight and fresh, this dry rosé is led by pink grapefruit and pomegranate, and backed with tangerine, lime pith, and crunchy wild strawberry. The granite keeps this humming on the palate to a subtly saline finish. Quite smart.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Peak Cellars Pinot Noir Rosétext
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Peak Cellars Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThese pinot noir came off their Lake Country estate Orchard Blocks, and their clay-laden soils. After approximately 18 hours of skin contact, the juice was cold settled, then racked and fermented to dryness, all in stainless. Cool and sleek, with wild strawberry, raspberry, mandarin on a tightly spiced, lightly creamy palate, finishing with a refreshing saline rinse. Smart and ready to crack this summer.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Imbzzl Ruse Rosétext
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Imbzzl Ruse Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaImbzzl is a new Brand wine from the folks at Laughing Stock, obviously trading in on the whole stock market / trading theme. This slickly packaged pink is syrah dominant, with the remainder split between merlot and cabernet franc. This was cold settled at freezing for 17 days with stirring, prior to fermentation, all in stainless. Candy red apple, cherry, and strawberry jam rule the glycerol-decked palate, with ample baking spices infiltrating, and a pink grapefruit laced finish. A fuller bodied pink, for taking by the pool or with salmon paté.Prices: BC 19.49 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Pearl Morissette Roselanatext
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Pearl Morissette Roselana 2020

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis deeply crimson hued rosé is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir, with Gamay, Merlot and Lemberger from various vineyards across the Niagara Peninsula. All were direct press, with various time on skins (2, 4, 6 days) each in their own concrete tank for native ferment. After 7 months there on lees, sans bâtonnage, the wines were blended and aged for 2 more months in stainless, prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Silky and sultry on the dry palate, with a melange of cherry, cranberry, red currant jam on a glycerol-bedded, medium bodied palate. Rock salts are studded throughout, finishing with a saline wash. The expanse on the slight 13% palate gives this opportunity to stand up to some bigger dishes, like miso marinated grilled tofu or chicken.Prices: ON 28.00 Producer: Pearl Morissette
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Lock and Worth Merlot Rosétext
91PTS

Lock and Worth Merlot Rosé 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis blush labelled Merlot Rosé is a new wine for Naramata garagiste Lock + Worth, sourced from Apricot Hill Vineyard, part of Matt Sherlock's property on the Naramata Bench, and planted in 2005. The grapes are currently undergoing organic conversion, and the fruit used to be sold to Laughing Stock Vineyard. After a whole cluster press, this was fermented in plastic tanks (due to the tiny volume) and then aged in neutral oak until it went to bottle, unfined and unfiltered. Dry and textural, with rainier cherry, wild raspberry, wild strawberry, apricot blossoms on a slender palate, decked with herbal lees, and finishing with a wash of salted sage. Quite a lovely, savoury rosé, and worth seeking out.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Unsworth Vineyards Sunnydale Vineyard Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Sunnydale Vineyard Rosé 2020

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSaanich's Sunnydale Vineyard has been supplying Unsworth with Pinot Noir grapes since their first vintage. This is the first single vineyard rosé from that site, located on the silt slopes of Mount Newton. This is own-rooted clone 164 pinot noir, destemmed and fermented in neutral barrique before aging in stainless on lees for 4 months. Pouring a pale white peach hue, this is bone dry and tart with subtle cranberry, rainier cherry, and prickly pear spread across a creamy palate. The finish rings with a marine salinity and tart cranberry snap. This finishes a touch somewhat disjointed at this youthful stage, but it's a cuvee that I'm looking forward to tracking.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosétext
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Poplar Grove Lakeview Rosé 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lakeview is an estate-grown (Naramata Bench) single-vineyard rosé mixing merlot and malbec (the latter using the saignée method that typically involves ‘bleeding’ off liquid from a juice tank for red wine in the early stages of the winemaking process). It opens with persistent aromas of wild strawberries and pink grapefruit overtones. In the glass, more ripe strawberry flavours carry the day before a dry finish kicks in. A solid pink we enjoyed with assorted late-afternoon patio bites.Prices: BC 30.05 Producer: Poplar Grove Winery
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Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosétext
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Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRipe wild strawberries mark the nose of this pink. The attack is similar with more strawberry and slightly candied fruit matched with a firm citrus undercurrent. It is a bit Provence-style in colour (pale) and notably the silky textures that run throughout the wine. The finish is essentially dry with savoury, sagebrush hints, and more juicy acidity to keep it all fresh. Ready to drink. The syrah comes off Amalia Vineyard on the Osoyoos West Bench, and the eight percent viognier is grown at Play Vineyard in southwest Penticton. Perfect for a variety of southeast Asian dishes, Mexican tacos, or on the patio.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Unsworth Vineyards Sunnydale Vineyard Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Sunnydale Vineyard Rosé 2020

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaSaanich's Sunnydale Vineyard is the source of this impressive Pinot Noir rosé, the first single-vineyard offering from Unsworth. The colour is chic, Provençal pale pink, and it's bone dry. Just a pure delight to nose and drink, it delivers a fresh, tart red fruit palate with bits of pear and a dash of minerals and oyster liqueur. A sophisticated pink for upscale sipping in the late day. Good value.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosé 2020

British Columbia, CanadaFrom three vineyards on the Island, this crisp, refreshing pinot noir rosé shows restrained fruit with grapefruit, green strawberries, and rhubarb. It's lighter-bodied and delicate, with just 11.9% abv, but there's impressive concentration here and a creaminess to the palate that leads to a dry, pithy finish. It's serious rosé, and a steal at this price, that's equally approachable. Now through August 31, Unsworth is donating one dollar for every bottle sold to the BC Hospitality Foundation. Time to stock up.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosétext
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Unsworth Vineyards Rosé 2020

British Columbia, CanadaPouring a peachy hue, this year's rosé is pinot noir, primarily from from Damm Vineyard (82%), and supplemented with fruit from Unsworth Vineyard and Cherry Point Vineyard, and clones 777, 667, 115. The destemmed fruit was fermented and aged on lees in stainless for 3 months. Fruit forward, with a slick palate of raspberry, cherry yogurt, mandarin, and white pepper spice to a shorter finish. Best with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Mirabel Rosé of Pinot Noirtext
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Mirabel Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRosé of Pinot Noir has always been on the deeper side of pale with a touch of orange. The estate pinot is a mix of Pommard and Dijon clones, coloured by 14 hours of maceration (for two-thirds of the grapes) before fermentation and a six month sleep on its lees. 2020 is drier than the previous version, giving it a more food-friendly demeanour and a grown up style. The scent is strawberry with a dash of cream over an earthy, desert scrub, rhubarb finish. Solid.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Mirabel Vineyards
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Township 7 Provenance Series Rosétext
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Township 7 Provenance Series Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere's a lot of intention behind this rosé. The merlot (38%), malbec (7%), and petit verdot (5%) are picked together and direct pressed after four hours of skin contact, imparting a beautiful pale Provençal colour. The cabernet franc (33%) and cabernet sauvignon (16%) are fermented separately. It's quite perfumed and alluring, with white blossoms, spice, crunchy red berry fruit, and grapefruit. And it's just as much about the texture as it is the fruit: pithy and precise, with a dry but not austere finish.Prices: BC 24.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Enrico Winery Red Dragon Rosétext
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Enrico Winery Red Dragon Rosé 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThis uncomplicated Cowichan Valley pinot noir rosé shows muted, muddled cherry fruit and rose petal, in a dry, refreshing style. Some bitterness on the finish.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Enrico Winery
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Sandhill Sangiovese Rosétext
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Sandhill Sangiovese Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is easily one of the best rosés I've tasted so far this year. What stands out is the complexity and restraint to the fruit, with grapefruit, orange zest, delicate red berries, and a vanilla accent. It's textured and layered, lip-smacking and saline, with impeccable balance to the dry finish. This is serious rosé, to be sure. But most importantly, it's just outstandingly delicious.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Sandhill Wines
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Red Rooster Rosétext
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Red Rooster Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRed Rooster has been retooling its wines under winemaker Eliane Vickers for the last year or so, and the latest results are looking highly promising. The former Blasted Church winemaker has been working with Ross Wise, chief winemaker at Black Hills and area lead for the Peller group of wineries in BC. The nose of this pale pink, Provence-like rosé is very appealing, with subtle strawberry, watermelon aromas that spill across the palate. It is entirely malbec from Osoyoos, gently foot stomped and lightly pressed, and at 1.7 grams of sugar, you should consider it dry. Well done, and a great new start at Red Rooster. Fine value here.Prices: BC 19.00 AB 18.00 Producer: Red Rooster Winery
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With Love from the Cape Pinotage Rosétext
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With Love from the Cape Pinotage Rosé 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaThis pours an attractive pale Provençal pink, but it's fairly simple with confected watermelon and some citrus. It's just off dry, making this an easy drinking rosé for the patio. Correct and approachable.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Rascallion Wines
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Azores Wine Co. Rosé Vulcânicotext
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Azores Wine Co. Rosé Vulcânico 2020

PortugalThis grows on the island of Pico, in the Azores archipelago, off Portugal, and its pure volcanic, black basaltic, scrabbly rocky soils. This blends 5-30+ year old saborinho, agronomica, aragones, touriga nacional and many other co-planted varieties across 13 vineyards, sustainably grown in wee plots (2 to 6 bush trained vines per square), planted in 1991 at sea level. This is a partial saignée from António Maçanita's Tinto Vulcanico, along with partial whole bunch, and including some cofermentation. Stainless steel preserves the crisp fruit, and no maceration created the pale peach hue. The 600-1000L stainless barrels were lain on their sides to give more lees / wine contact and texture on the palate. Bright and juicy, with wild strawberries, Rainier cherries, pink grapefruit on a marine-led, saline-dominant, light bodied palate, finishing with more quenching grapefruit pith. There's a riffing texture that draws this to the salty finish. Smashable, characterful, and moreish.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Azores Wine Co.
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rosétext
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rosé 2020

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceFrom Ventoux's limestone and clay soils around 300m, this pale pink rosé blends biodynamic cinsault, grenache, and syrah. This was fermented cool in stainless, where it rested for a short time on lees. Subtle and slick, with wild strawberries, tangerine, Rainier cherry dusted with fine spices, all on a whisper fine bed of lees. Light, bone dry, and sophisticated, and ideal for an aperitif or with canapés.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 18.29 ON 22.95 QC 18.95 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Peak Cellars Pinot Noir Rosétext
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Peak Cellars Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis pinot noir comes from the Orchard Blocks at Carr's Landing, which are richer in clay. Like the Pink Granite Rosé, this gets 18 hours of skin contact, but the colour here veers more towards a medium pink. Like the colour, the fruit is bolder, even at 12.5% abv, led by red cherries and accented by strawberry and watermelon. Medium-bodied, this is decidedly dry with just a touch of tartness to the finish. Enjoy on its own or with a strawberry spinach salad with feta.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Peak Cellars Pink Granite Rosétext
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Peak Cellars Pink Granite Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is from Block 30 at Carr's Landing, which is rich in pink granite and planted entirely to pinot noir clone 828. The pale peach colour is from 18 hours of skin contact after whole cluster pressing. Compared to Peak Cellars' Pinot Noir Rosé, this is both more restrained and complex. There’s an attractive floral quality alongside pink grapefruit, watermelon, strawberry, and smoky herbs. Medium-bodied, and just 12.4%, it’s crisp and bone dry with noticeable concentration. A serious rosé that deserves contemplation, this is just as much about place as it is style. Well worth the price.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Orofino Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rosètext
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Orofino Vineyards Cabernet Franc Rosè 2020

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Pozza Vineyard, located in the Olalla Gap between Keremeos and Penticton, this cabernet franc rosé gets its pale colour from just a short time on skins. This is delicate and savoury, exuding cabernet franc character with bright cranberry, grapefruit, and fresh herbs. Lighter bodied and crisp, there's just a pinch of residual sugar (5.5 g/L) to bring it into balance, leading to a dry finish. This is a winner year over year, and 2020 is no exception. Just make sure to stock up before the winery sells out.Prices: BC 19.04 BC 38.90 1500 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Copain Tous Ensemble Rosétext
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Copain Tous Ensemble Rosé 2019

Mendocino County, California, United StatesJackson Family Wines bought Copain, and like most of its acquisitions, it was given what it needed and left alone to pursue its ethos in peace. Copain has been lauded for its Rhone wines, so it only seems natural they would make a rosé of substance. This pink treads an edge consumers will like: dry, earthy, saline, and fresh. Look for that snappy pink grapefruit and strawberries with just a hint of licorice. Fine quality for this very un-Californian rosé. It is all Mendocino pinot noir, and Pommard, clone 667, and 777, fermented in stainless steel. The site is northwest-facing, so it gets minimal sunlight, allowing multiple passes in the vineyard and harvest at numerous ripeness levels.Prices: BC 24.95 AB 22.99 SK 26.99 MB 26.99 Producer: Copain Wines
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Sandhill Rosétext
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Sandhill Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring a day-glow peach hue, this 'terroir driven' wine comes from two different vineyards and blends gamay and merlot. So I'm not exactly sure what terroir they're driving towards, other than the general 'Okanagan Valley.' Candied apple, strawberry jam, pear nectar rule the off-dry, creamy, glycerol-licked palate, with a slight fuzz of spicing to the shorter finish. Benefits from a brisk chill.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Sandhill Wines
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27 July 2021

Singletree Winery Siggytext
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Singletree Winery Siggy 2020

Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSiggy is entirely siegerrebe, from the Fraser Valley, and fermented and aged briefly in stainless. Lime blossoms, soap, pink grapefruit, gingersnap spicing rule the short, somewhat bruised, lighter bodied palate. Finishing off-dry, this needs a brisk chill.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Singletree Winery
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere are only about 400 acres of ehrenfelser planted worldwide, and a handful of them are in the Okanagan. This vintage saw 6% skin contact, and was fermented and aged in stainless. Fragrant and floral with apricot blossom, white peach, and lush pear, this is seasoned with lime pith, finishing with a buzzy hum that helps offset the bump of RS. Enjoy now with fragrant Thai dishes.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanctext
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 showcases the estate's 35 year old Germanic clone vines to best result. This was whole cluster pressed and native fermented in a split of stainless, foudre, and French oak barrels, where it remained on fine lees, sans bâtonnage, for 5 months prior to bottling. Tight and bright orchard fruits (Asian pear, anjou pear, honeycrisp and green apples), are tautly lassoed by a lemon peel tightness, reeling this medium bodied white to a white grapefruit and saline finish. Leaner and edgier than past vintages, and all the better (food friendliness) for it.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Covert Farms Pinot Blanctext
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Covert Farms Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis organic pinot blanc comes off their higher altitude estate Coyote Block vineyard, and was fermented primarily in stainless, with 10% seeing neutral oak. It remained there on lees until bottling. Quite tropical, led with pineapple, papaya, and fragrant melon, this is obviously not your typical BC pinot blanc. The soft, silken palate finishes with a dusting of ginger spicing. Perhaps the yeast program they use infused a dose of the tropics into this wine. Curious.Prices: BC 20.70 Producer: Covert Farms Family Estate
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Terravista Roussannetext
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Terravista Roussanne 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Severine Pinte's home vineyard in Oliver, this Focus Series Roussanne was whole cluster pressed and then fermented in a 50/50 mix of stainless and one neutral 450L French puncheon. It underwent bâtonnage for 3 months and then aged on lees in barrel for 5 months. Roussanne's fragrance is at the fore here, with peach, mandarin, and lush apricot basing lime leaf and peel, with a dusting of ginger spicing on the finish. A fuller wine held still taut and nimble with acidity, this is drinking beauty now, especially with fragrant Thai or Chinese dishes. 89 cases produced.Prices: BC 31.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Agramante Grillotext
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Agramante Grillo 2019

Sicily, ItalyThis organic grillo speaks to the Sicilian countryside, with lush, ripe melon, mandarin, white peach on a juicy, expansive, waxen palate, slicked with honey, and finishing with an ample wash of salinity. This accessible white packs a punch for a slight 12.5%. Crack with your sablefish or shellfish stews.Prices: ON 21.80 Producer: Lunaria Orsogna
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Tinhof Leithaberg Weissburgundertext
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Tinhof Leithaberg Weissburgunder 2018

Leithaberg, Burgenland, Weinland Österreich, AustriaErwin Tinhof is the 11th generation making wine in the sub-region of Leithaberg, Burgenland, located in Austria’s south-east corner close to the border with Hungary. Organically certified for a number of years, Erwin works with local grapes, like Weissburgunder (pinot blanc). This is rooted in Leighaberg's shallow shell-scattered limestone soils. After a native ferment, this rested in large foudre before bottling. Salinity runs throughout this sleek, subtly creamy white, lighting white blossoms, river stones, and fresh lemon. The finish lingers with that crystalline chalkiness from the profound soils. No blah pinot blanc here.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Weingut Tinhof
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Vino Lauria Catarratto Costabisacciatext
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Vino Lauria Catarratto Costabisaccia 2020

Sicily, ItalyCostabisaccia is a 30-year-old vineyard exposed to the north, in the hills surrounding Grisì, situated at 600 meters. This organically farmed Catarratto was fermented and rested in stainless for 6 months. Fragrant orange blossoms, lush melon, honeysuckle, rule a waxen palate, with heady pine nuts lingering on the saline finish. Tastes, smells, feels of the Mediterranean sea; bring on shellfish and roasted peppers.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Nostalgia Home Vineyard Kernertext
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Nostalgia Home Vineyard Kerner 2020

CanadaFrom the Black Sage Bench, this kerner was farmed by Gina Fernandes Harfman, 4th generation South Okanagan farmer, and now part of the woman owned and operated Nostalgia Wines. Done in stainless, this is off-dry with apricot, pear, yellow apple on a glycerol-padded mid, finishing with a wash of ginger heat. An easy, friendly, fragrant white to crack this summer.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Nostalgia Wines Inc.
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Free Form Vin Gristext
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Free Form Vin Gris 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted one year along, and the 2019 Vin Gris is still shining, though has grown into its frame now with more age. For the first time in 2019, Free Form Vin Gris comes from Garnet Valley Ranch. It is made the same as the previous two vintages: whole bunch pressed and native fermented in concrete, where it underwent full MLF and rested for six months on lees prior to bottling unfiltered, with a wee amount of SO2. Bosc pear, meadow grass, wild herbs rule the streamlined palate, with ripe gooseberry and white peach on the gently cushioned, lees-bedded palate, finishing with a wash of stones and rasp of salty parmesan. A very interesting wine that transcends grape.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Moon Curser Arneistext
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Moon Curser Arneis 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs far as I, or they, know, Moon Curser is the only one in Canada working with Arneis, the star white from Piemonte. Rooted on the Osoyoos east bench, this was cool fermented in stainless, with no MLF, where it stayed on lees without bâtonnage until the following spring, when it was bottled. The 2020 has slimmed out some since the 2019, bringing more peach fuzz and apricot to the fore, and shedding some of the flabby glycerol on the palate. Lime pith and grapefruit peel continue to tighten this very full bodied white (nearing 15%). Hopefully this trend towards lightness continues in future.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Moon Curser
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Las Moradas de San Martin Albillo Realtext
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Las Moradas de San Martin Albillo Real 2019

Vinos de Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainEstablished in 1999, Las Moradas de San Martín was established to recover the centuries-old vineyards of Garnacha that had been cultivated there since the 12th century. Located in the hilltops of Pago de los Castillejos, they benefit from its altitude and granitic / volcanic soils, imbuing a natural freshness and minerality. Winemaker Isabel Galindo farms organically / biodynamically. This is entirely Albillo Real, destemmed and native fermented, with 1/4 MLF, aged 6 months in 300 and 500 L French barrels. Very earthy and savoury, concentrated with meadow grasses, crushed stone, and ample chalkiness, structured through time in barrel that is easily absorbed into the fruit, imparting an easy, confident creaminess to the medium body. Acacia florals, wild orange, marcona almonds are woven throughout the profound minerality. Acidity is moderate, and the finish lingers with a stony memory. Worth seeking out.Prices: BC 41.99 Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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Peak Cellars Grüner Veltlinertext
89PTS

Peak Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the granitic soils of Carr's Landing Vineyard, this Grüner Veltliner was picked just before the Okanagan's recording-breaking snowfall on October 23. Fermentation was in a combination of stainless steel, 1, and 2 year old barrels, before being blended into stainless in January. This really speaks to the cooler growing conditions of Lake Country. Far from exuding long hangtime, this is quite restrained in style, led by grapefruit, peach, delicate white pepper, and fine herbs. Crisp, refreshing, and well made, this is perfect for lighter salads.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelsertext
89PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Unwinder Ehrenfelser 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI didn’t know that every four or five years, Ehrenfelser likes to take a rest. At Fitzpatrick, they think it “just likes to relax and unwind a bit?" It produces a short crop about twice a decade, and in 2020 it was one of those years. The long, warm fall helped its flavours develop nicely, and its signature early evening shade promotes brisk acidity to keep it fresh. It is fermented in stainless steel, 6% on skins. Look for a tropical nose with floral and orange highlights. The palate is similar, showing more ripe pear and stone fruit with a light dusting of minerals, spice, and desert scrub that counters the off-dry palate. Serve well chilled on the patio or alongside a spicy curry.Prices: BC 19.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Hester Creek Sémillontext
90PTS

Hester Creek Sémillon 2020

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSémillon, sauvignon blanc, grüner veltliner, riesling are regal wines of BC, and one can only hope they continue to build an audience. These sémillon vines were planted in 1997/1998 on Hester Creek's home Golden Mile Bench estate. It's whole berry pressed, and fermented in stainless steel with a small amount in French oak before ageing four short months in the same gear. I am partial to young sémillon, and this is a winner. Lemon, apples, and lime pith all come together in a bright, juicy white with a streak of orange. This is the perfect freshly shucked oyster wine.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Schiopetto Ribolla Giallatext
90PTS

Schiopetto Ribolla Gialla 2019

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThe Schiopetto family has been active in Collio for three generations, making wines as Schiopetto in 1965 when Mario Schiopetto rented a property in the hills of Capriva del Friuli. His first vineyards were planted in 1954 with friulano, and it was from these grapes that Mario produced the first single variety wine in the region. From the hilly marly soils across the region, this Ribolla was fermented cool and aged in stainless, where it remained on fine lees for 5 months. Pear blossoms and Anjou pear, freesia, mirabelle plum, almond float along a bright, lightly oily palate, with a fine, stony texture around the edges, and a dusting of white pepper. Very harmonious and drinking well now.Prices: ON 32.95 Producer: Schiopetto
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Peak Cellars Grüner Veltlinertext
90PTS

Peak Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCarr’s Landing would seem like the perfect place to grow grüner veltliner, with its warm days and super cool nights. It is grown on granitic soils at elevation, and fermented in a mix of old and new oak and stainless steel. It is not your edgy Austrian version but rather a fun, juicy white with papaya, lime rind, and sagebrush, followed up by a touch of crushed stone. A terrific start.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Free Form Vin Gristext
90PTS

Free Form Vin Gris 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Okanagan Crush Pad's Garnet Valley Ranch above Summerland, this vin gris is made from pinot noir that was whole cluster pressed and wild fermented in concrete eggs. It was bottled unfiltered after aging on its lees for six months. It's all about texture and elegance, with a combination of crunchy red fruits, delicate spice, and savoury herbs. It may be quite pale in colour, but there's still a lot of pinot character here. There’s a nice creaminess to the palate, with a mineral-laden texture that speaks both to place and the concrete aging. Nicely done and a steal at this price. This will be one I'll be revisiting.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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26 July 2021

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Attack Chardonnaytext
94PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Attack Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAttack has consistently been among the best Checkmate labels every year. It is a co-ferment of Dijon clones and the Dekleva clone: 1/3 Dekleva; 1/3 Clone 76 from Jagged Rock on the Black Sage Bench near Oliver; and one-third Clone 76 from Border Vista Vineyard on the Osoyoos East Bench. 2018 was fermented and aged just under 500 days in a single, new French oak foudre. The foudre sets this chardonnay free, beginning with a fresh saline, seaside note that permeates the wine. The structure is fresh with a reductive minerality that adds a bit of tightness to a very pure fruited chardonnay. The density and persistence can surprise you, as does the complexity that suggests it could age effortlessly through the next seven to ten years. I like to call it next world BC chardonnay. The 2018 edition comes in at 14.1 alcohol that perfectly suits its creamy textures and persistent length. Winemaker Phil McGahan says the move to organic farming is essentially complete at all the Checkmate vineyards, and by the end of 2021, all the fruit will be certified organic.Prices: BC 115.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnaytext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Fool's Mate Chardonnay 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLast time out, I worked through a vertical of Fool's Mate, tasting every vintage to date (2013-2017). As young as the winery is, I learned that the original ageing window, thought to be about five years, is expanding quickly into the 7-10 year range as the wines evolve in the bottle. 2018, like all its predecessors, is the only chardonnay that is a blend of sites, fitting the adage that the sum may be greater than the parts. The current edition is 63 percent eastern fruit from Sunset, Jagged Rock, and Border Vista, with lesser amounts from Dekelva and Combret vineyards. The clones are equally mixed: Dijon 76, Dijon 95, 809, Dekleva, and Combret. The use of more high end Burgundy barriques at 77% (49% new), and 23% concrete egg is adding more dimension to the wine. Look for a slightly sweeter pear character in 2018, with ripe melon, plenty of creamy lees, minerality, and that saline, desert scrub/savoury undercurrent that keeps it all together. Impressive now, and this will improve in the bottle over the next five years. One to cellar.Prices: BC 80.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay Dekleva Vineyardtext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen Taken Chardonnay Dekleva Vineyard 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn a recent vertical tasting from 2013 – 2017, I noticed Queen Taken had been leaned out over the years, becoming a far more interesting wine at slightly lower alcohol and increased freshness across the palate. It is a single vineyard wine located southwest of the town of Oliver, beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau on the Golden Mile Bench DVA. It was initially tagged the Heritage Vineyard in 2013, but ever since, it was named the Dekleva Vineyard in honour of the family that first planted the unknown chardonnay clone now more than 40 years ago. The west side valley site is predominantly gravelly and coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils, all rubble originating from the mountain above's fluvial fan deposits. Its exposition welcomes a very early and warming sunrise. At the same time, it protects the fruit from baking in the late day, thanks to the shadow of Mount Kobau, thus extending the ripening season while retaining its bright acidity, an Okanagan Valley signature. The nose is a lovely floral affair with wet stone and mineral notes mixed with ripe tropical melons and citrus. The palate is equally intense, featuring nectarine with a dash of exotic litchi. I love the texture and mouthfeel of the Queen Taken label and its general refinement. It is simply getting more serious each year. Only nine barrels were made, all French oak and 46 percent new, with the remaining barrels ranging from one to four fills. In 2018, the Dekleva clone chardonnay was joined by a small percentage of Wente Clone 72, the first of several Heritage California clones coming into production on the Dekeleva Vineyard.Prices: BC 125.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Knight's Challenge Chardonnay Sunset Vineyardtext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Knight's Challenge Chardonnay Sunset Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKnight's Challenge comes off Sunset Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, and continues to be a wine where the site dominates the clones. Elevation changes and east/west row orientations affect the wine's disposition more than its 26 year old Dijon clone (76 and 95) vines. Two distinct blocks go into the wine, allowing for separate pick dates to maintain its inviting balance of power and acidity. In 2018 88 percent of the wine was fermented naturally, and post ferment, it spends 16 months in French oak (48 percent new). Knight's Challenge is very much an Okanagan chardonnay with herbal, green and black tea notes mixed with desert scrub and sagebrush. The flavours are similar with honey saline, mineral notes, and a dusting of spice on the palate. It is a softer, rounder, easier-drinking version compared to the other Checkmate offerings. Drink or hold; it is your choice.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen's Advantage Chardonnay Combret Vineyardtext
92PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Queen's Advantage Chardonnay Combret Vineyard 2018

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Queen's Advantage nods to the unknown clone inhabiting Combret Vineyard, the winery's single estate plot, now considered among the oldest chardonnay vines in the country. It was planted in 1973, leaving the gnarly old vines deeply rooted in the Golden Mile Bench's calcium-carbonate coated stones on the hillside site. The vineyard, lovingly restored via precision agriculture techniques, sits at 1266-1319 feet. The ferment is wild in 50 percent new French oak, followed by 16 months ageing in barrel. The nose opens with subtropical fruit and wet stones on a hot day. What begins with rich, peachy fruit leans out to more mineral, wet stone notes showing fine complexity. Crab or lobster are good matches.Prices: BC 85.00 BC 190.00 1500 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnay Border Vista Vineyardtext
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Capture Chardonnay Border Vista Vineyard 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBorder Vista Vineyard on East Osoyoos Bench is the warmest site that Checkmate farms, sitting just a few metres from the United States border. The single block designated 2C was planted to Dijon Clone 76 in 1997, on finely textured, complex, low-nutrient, sandy soils. The fermentation is native, and it is all done in water-bent French oak barrels. As in the past, it is surprising how fresh and elegant this wine can be given how warm the site is. It gets regular bâttonage for 16 months of ageing in 50 percent new oak. Capture is all about texture and weight, but with restraint. Look for creamy, buttery apple streaked with pears, spice, honey, tangerine and sea salt. A perfect wine for fresh BC halibut.Prices: BC 90.00 BC 200.00 1500 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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CheckMate Artisanal Winery Little Pawn Chardonnay Jagged Rock Vineyardtext
93PTS

CheckMate Artisanal Winery Little Pawn Chardonnay Jagged Rock Vineyard 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLittle Pawn comes off Jagged Rock Vineyards, planted over 20 years ago on a west facing plateau at the top of the Black Sage Bench that butts up against the Okanagan Highlands foothills. The exposition is west tilting, and the site is warm. The clone selection is a 58/42 mix of Dijon 76 and the local Dekleva selection, grown on the home estate. The soils at Jagged Rock are decidedly poor and mostly porous fine grained sands with little ability to retain moisture. As a result, the bunches are small, and the flavours intense. The nose is a mix of sagebrush and fennel desert scrub, and the textures are creamy with floral, lees, citrus, and orange, with a dash of sea salt and spice. Across the New World, it is a rare combination of power and elegance. 83 percent is wild fermented and only twelve barrels (50% new French oak), all Burgundy coopers, were made. Winemaker Phil McGahan says the move to organic farming is essentially complete at all the Checkmate vineyards, and by the end of 2021, all the fruit will be certified organic. His take is you can already taste the change as the fruit is coming to the winery with riper flavours and lower sugars.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: CheckMate Artisanal Winery
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23 July 2021

Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Cantina di Torra Blanctext
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Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Cantina di Torra Blanc 2019

Corsica, Sud de France, FranceFrom Bindi's home estate in Patrimonio, and the Carcu collection of parcels, these north facing organically farmed vermentino vines are on clay and limestone soils. This spent a few hours on the skins before a native ferment in stainless. Light pear, lemon verbena, green and yellow apple, pine nuts is lashed with a marine salinity, and textured with chalk through the gentle lemon pith finish. If you've bypassed vermentino in the past for being too boring, you need to try this Corsican example.Prices: ON 35.95 Producer: Nicolas Mariotti Bindi
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Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superioretext
89PTS

Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019

Marche, ItalyFrom organically grown verdicchio, and vines up to 30 years rooted in hillsides of calcareous clay loams, this was partially cold-soaked, and native fermented where it remains on lees (no MLF) for 5 months prior to bottling. Shining lemon, bosc pear, almond is lit with a humming stony minerality, and based with an amplitude offered through the deep clay soils. Quite characterful, with easy freshness and inherent charm. Partner with green risottos or shellfish now.Prices: BC 18.99 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Querceto Vernaccia di San Gimignanotext
88PTS

Querceto Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018

Tuscany, ItalyVernaccia di San Gimignano was the first Italian wine to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1966. It was elevated to DOCG in 1993. This estate was taken over by the current family at the beginning of the 20th century. Carlo François bought the picturesque property and transformed it from a country residence to an agricultural firm, and today the winery owns around 200 hectares of land, of which 60 are vineyards, 6 are olive groves, and the rest are chestnut groves and oak woods. This is 85% vernaccia, along with other local white grapes sourced from the hillsides of San Gimignano, and aged in stainless. Heady and honeyed on the nose, with ample white mushroom earthiness, downy lees, musk melon on an expansive palate, finishing with lemon and tangerine rind. Partner this expansive white with richer white fish or chicken, or creamy white / green risotto.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Castello di Querceto
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Muscat Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
88PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Muscat Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis organic and Demeter certified biodynamic muscat comes off their Kelowna home estate. The fruit was soaked on skins for 2 hours before pressing, native fermented in stainless, and allowed to stop ferment when it wanted (leaving 28 g/L RS). This showcases muscat's fragrance well, with ample freesia, pear blossoms, jasmine scenting a base of ripe pear and gooseberry. This off-dry white is well balanced by shining citrus acidity, trailing off on the finish with a dusting of ginger. Enjoy now with fragrant Vietnamese or Thai dishes.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Ehrenfelsertext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Ehrenfelser 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis ehrenfelser comes off three vineyards stretching the length of the Okanagan: Osoyoos, the home vineyard in Kelowna, and further north. When the desired off-dry sweetness was achieved (19 g/L) ferment was halted by cold stabilization. The sugar certainly sticks out, leading a somewhat disjointed palate of gooseberries, pear gummies, sour lime candies, and ripe honeysuckle apples. The finish tightens up with a limey snap. Try this aromatic white with fragrant and spicy Thai dishes.Prices: BC 20.00 AB 18.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Peak Cellars Grüner Veltlinertext
90PTS

Peak Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis grüner comes off their Carr's Landing estate vineyard's granitic soils, and was fermented in a mix of French oak and stainless. Post-ferment the wine underwent weekly bâtonnage for 1-2 months prior to the final blend and rest in stainless. It's a lovely balance between the cool stony steel notes, and the textural, flinty, savoury notes from the oak, all in harmony even at this youthful age. Crisp Okanagan orchard apples and pears ring throughout, lined with a fine layer of herbal lees to a white pepper finish. Certainly a grape that seems well suited to site, and I hope more in the cooler parts of the Okanagan give it a try.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards The Mischief Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Greata Ranch estate pinot blanc had a long, cool ferment in stainless before aging for 4 months (40% in neutral barrel) with regular bâtonnage. This is flooded with orchard fruits: yellow apples, white peach, apricot. There's a slight bump of RS which counters the shining acidity, and making this an easy, friendly choice for the table.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Upper Bench Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Upper Bench Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe estate pinot blanc is splashed with 4% muscat. It is fermented and aged in stainless works to preserve the bright orchard fruit. Crunchy pear, honeysuckle apple, white peach flood a juicy, mouthwatering palate, cut with pithy lime and green apple which trails into a lemon zest finish. Shining and bright, and fun to crack into this summer, especially with summer salads and green veg dishes. Great value.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Upper Bench Winery
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Lock and Worth Sémillon Losthorn Vineyardtext
90PTS

Lock and Worth Sémillon Losthorn Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Okanagan Falls' Losthorn Vineyard, this sémillon was planted in 1995, and aged in neutral French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered in January 2020. Herbal and wooly, as youthful sém can be, this has already started putting on some adolescent weight, with a honeyed sheen adding to the gentle generosity on the medium bodied palate. Meadow grasses, flake salts, elderflower, lemon thistle stream the long length of this wine, bedded with thick downy lees, and finishing with a lingering salinity and bitter lemon twist. Serious and savoury now, and will continue on that path for the years to come.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Blue Grouse Estate Ortegatext
90PTS

Blue Grouse Estate Ortega 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaOrtega is a cross of Siegerrebe and Muller-Thürgau, and historically, it has been one of the most planted grapes on Vancouver Island. The established vines are own-rooted and pushing 30 years old, with some additional plantings now seven years old making up this estate white, farmed organically on silt loam, gravel and sands. It is partially dry farmed and fermented at three stages of ripeness to layer in some complexity. The ferment is all stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation to keep it crisp. The attack is fresh with crisp lemon pith, mandarin, white peach, light licorice and yellow fruits. Elegantly styled and finished with a mineral marine salty touch. Pure class and food-friendly, all at 12 degrees alcohol. I wish they all were made like this.Prices: BC 19.00 Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Schiopetto Collio Friulanotext
92PTS

Schiopetto Collio Friulano 2018

Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyThe Schiopetto family has been active in Collio for three generations, making wines as Schiopetto in 1965 when Mario Schiopetto rented a property in the hills of Capriva del Friuli. His first vineyards were planted in 1954 with friulano, and it was from these grapes that Mario produced the first single variety wine in the region. This tocai friulano comes from the same hilly Collio of Gorizia and its clay and limestone (marna) soils. This was fermented and aged on lees in stainless for 8 months. Potent and concentrated with honeyed pear, yellow apple, mirabelle plum, rainier cherry on a stony palate, lined with a fine sheen of beeswax and lingering with a shimmering limestone buzz. A striking wine, drinking beautifully now and with time ahead.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Schiopetto
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Ceibo Godellotext
91PTS

Ceibo Godello 2019

Valdeorras, Galicia, SpainXurxo Alba's family has been farming and making Albariño in Rïas Baixas' O Salnés subregion for generations. It wasn't until Xurxo finished his enology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006, under his direction. The Alba family owns 2.5 hectares and sources approximately 10 hectares throughout the Atlantic influenced region. In his ongoing quest to make fresh, characterful wines, he found a unique vineyard in A Rúa, Valdeorras, lying at 500m and planted to old vines in in slate soils. This godello comes from that site, was pressed with stems and native fermented, with one third aging in steel and the remainder in French oak for 8 months on lees. Savoury and saline, with lemon custard, tangerine, meadow grass and a rasp of fine honeysuckle spicing along the finish. This has texture without weight, and oak structure without the flavour of wood. An excellent food wine, ideally with seafood / shellfish and lemon kissed orzo or risotto.Prices: BC 45.99 Producer: Bodegas Albamar
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Muscat Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
90PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Muscat Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMuscat is not for everyone, but it can be alluring when it's as right as this one. Fragrant and floral from jasmine to orange blossoms, this wine brings it all to the table. Demeter certified, it comes off the home estate in East Kelowna and burst out of the glass with juicy, bright, off-dry fruit. The ferment naturally packed it in at 28 grams residual sugar, but while it is sweet, there is enough juicy, citrus acidity to keep it all fresh and linear on the palate. It is well balanced before finishing with a pop of ginger-like spice, but its sweetness suggests serving it with a favourite spicy curry or a Thai dish.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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22 July 2021

Peak Cellars Unoaked Chardonnaytext
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Peak Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis unoaked chardy comes off Blocks 8, 21, and 27 of their estate Carr’s Landing vineyard, and a mix of clones 76, 548, and 95. The three blocks were blended in stainless prior to fermentation, and remained there with weekly bâtonnage for four months post-ferment. Whistle-clean, with lemon cream, green apple, citrus blossoms riding over a slick of lees, to a snappy lemon peel finish. If you like your chardy squeaky bright and oak-free, here's a great option for you.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Peak Cellars Unoaked Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Peak Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Peak Cellars' Carr's Landing Vineyard, this is exactly what you want in a bottle of unoaked chardonnay. It's fruit-driven and not overly complicated, led by lemon, red apple, and crunchy pear fruit, with a delicate floral touch. Medium-bodied and round, thanks to weekly lees stirring over four months, this is easy to enjoy on its own or with light appetizers.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Liber Farm & Winery Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Liber Farm & Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe reserve chardonnay is organically grown and produced by the hardworking Dowell family and consulting winemaker Pascal Madevon. Madevon's vast experience assures a quality bottle, while the gently sloping, west-facing, riverfront estate, once a part of the historic Mariposa site, delivers vibrant chardonnay fruit. Look for light pear and apple and a lovely mid-palate with a wet stone mineral lift that carries through the finish. It was aged in French oak and on its lees, giving it just enough complexity without interfering with its wild Similkameen roots.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Liber Farm & Winery
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Orofino Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Orofino Chardonnay 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s sometimes hard to imagine how far BC wine has come until you taste something like the Orofino 2019 Chardonnay. It is not even estate fruit, but the family manages the Cawston Flats site and farms the fruit. There is important, direct input with the grape growing and harvesting, and the wine is boffo for the price. It is fermented in 20% new French oak, which in my opinion, is the max for northern chardonnay fruit. It spends nine months on its lees and another nine months in bottle before it is released. The attack is all mineral, sand, bones, citrus and Meyer lemons with crisp fruit dusted in sagebrush and desert scrub magic dust. Savoury, salty, focused, and delicious, there is nothing but finesse here. And they are giving it away. Burgundy be scared.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Chardonnay Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Chardonnay Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlocks 10 and 19 are home to this certified organic and Demeter biodynamic chardonnay at the Summerhill home estate in East Kelowna. It is natively fermented, and over the last few years, winemaker Michael Alexander is using more neutral oak barrels to build some extra texture. The attack is creamy with a mix of yellow fruits and lemon custard sitting over a mineral, stony underside that finishes with a touch of residual sugar. Each year is different and when you are using natural yeast, getting the ferment to arrive at the exact spot you want is not an option. Making this wine every year isn’t an option either. Only when it meets the winemaker's standard is it declared fit to be certified, and in some years, refreshingly, the wine will not be made. There is a certain elegance here that bodes well for future versions. Ready to drink or hold through 2024-2025.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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19 July 2021

Sprucewood Shores Hawk's Flight Reserve Barrel Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Sprucewood Shores Hawk's Flight Reserve Barrel Chardonnay 2017

Pelee Island, Ontario, CanadaSprucewood Shores is located along the shores of Lake Erie, in the Lake Erie North Shore appellation. They were selling their fruit to neighbouring wineries up until 2004, when they decided to start bottling their own label. As the name suggests, this is a very barrel-forward chardonnay, with the wood entirely dominating the wine even now 4 years along. Chewy and dense, with ripe peach, cream, baked apple, hazelnut infiltrated with toasted spices through a warming, clipped finish. Very old school style.Prices: ON 19.50 Producer: Sprucewood Shores
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Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Montague vineyards in Four Mile Creek, this chardonnay went through full MLF and aged in French Oak for 6 months. Ripe and creamy, with ample white florals, baked white peach, custard, and tight and somewhat gritty oak spice on a soft palate, finishing with a dusting of broken stones. Old school, drink now.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Inniskillin Niagara
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Adamo Oaked Chardonnaytext
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Adamo Oaked Chardonnay 2016

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Four Mile Creek's Willms Vineyard, this was planted in 1996 on sandy, stony soils. As the name suggests, this was French oak fermented and aged for 10 months (29% new). Though the oak is certainly present, this is now well-integrated (5 years along), with the wood giving more of a sweet spiced vanilla framework to the ripe and soft yellow apple, pear, vanilla palate. Quite complete, and quite intense for 12.5%. If you enjoy well-handled oaked chardonnay, seek out this current release.Prices: ON 26.00 Producer: Adamo Estate Winery
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Kin Vineyards Carp Ridge Chardonnaytext
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Kin Vineyards Carp Ridge Chardonnay 2018

Ontario, CanadaPrevious Vintage: 2019 Previous Scores: 90, 16.50, 3.75 Previous Tasting Notes: Kin Vineyards is a family estate winery on 47 acres in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, 10 of which are sustainably farmed vineyards, following organic and biodynamic principles. Located on the grey limestone of Carp Ridge, the vineyard is bisected by the Hazeldean Fault, leaving glacial till over limestone on the upper slope, and clay loam over limestone on the lower slope. This was native fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak (18% new) and 28% stainless, and is a mix of clones 95, 76 and 548. This underwent partial biweekly bâttonage, as well as partial MLF. The 2018 is showing beautiful integration at this point, with popcorn, broken stones, brown butter and waves of alluring, well-handled reduction. You can feel the profound soils here, carrying this wine through the lingering, limestone buzzing finish. Impressively handled, drinking very well now and with time ahead in cellar.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Kin Vineyards
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Kin Vineyards Carp Ridge Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Kin Vineyards Carp Ridge Chardonnay 2019

Ontario, CanadaKin Vineyards is a family estate winery on 47 acres in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, 10 of which are sustainably farmed vineyards, following organic and biodynamic principles. Located on the grey limestone of Carp Ridge, the vineyard is bisected by the Hazeldean Fault, leaving glacial till over limestone on the upper slope, and clay loam over limestone on the lower slope. This was native fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak (18% new) and 28% stainless, and is a mix of clones 95, 76 and 548. This underwent partial biweekly bâttonage, as well as partial MLF. This is quite primary at present, with youthful orange, lemon pith and ample broken stones on a sleek palate, shaped with stones, lined with reduction, and finishing with a lemony snap. This is not about the fruit, but about the soils. I'd love to see even more of the soils and less of the winemaking in the future. Well done.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Kin Vineyards
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Arterra Chardonnaytext
85PTS

Arterra Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaRich and creamy, with sweet candied pear, ripe yellow apple, vanilla, and full cream on a shorter palate, finishing with a spike of bitter wood and lemon. A shot of acidity lifts this, thankfully, though it sticks out from the sweet fruit, making this old school wine somewhat disjointed.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Arterra Wines
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Jackson-Triggs Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Jackson-Triggs Reserve Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom fruit across Niagara Peninsula. Full, creamy, and rich on the palate, led with toasty wood, and backed by ripe red and yellow apple, lemon curd, and light spice. This is an easy, simple, friendly wine for now.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate
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The Farm Wines Chardonnaytext
89PTS

The Farm Wines Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada“The Farm” is a 10 acre vineyard in Niagara’s Twenty Mile Bench. The vineyard was farmed organically from the initial planting in 2000, and is the home of Peter and Dora Neudorf since 1962. This was native fermented, with full MLF, and aged in second fill and neutral French barrels and puncheons. Led by lemon pith and bedded with cream, this streams white florals, green and yellow apples along the medium palate, scented with blossoms, and finishing with a gentle spice and grippy chalkiness. A friendly chardy for drinking now.Prices: ON 23.00 Producer: The Farm Wines
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The Farm Wines Chardonnaytext
89PTS

The Farm Wines Chardonnay 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada“The Farm” is a 10 acre vineyard in Niagara’s Twenty Mile Bench. The vineyard was farmed organically from the initial planting in 2000, and is the home of Peter and Dora Neudorf since 1962. This was native fermented, with full MLF, and aged in second fill and neutral French barrels and puncheons. Creamy and bright on the palate, with lemon, yellow and green apple, subtle flax to a lightly spiced finish. Quite smart, this friendly wine is drinking well now.Prices: ON 23.00 Producer: The Farm Wines
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Nord Chardonnaytext
94PTS

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Nord Chardonnay 2018

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. Nord comes off a plot in the large, lauded Wismer-Foxcroft vineyard, 5.4 km from the lake, and 30 year old chardonnay vines at 110m altitude on a steep, stony-silty and dolomitic limestone slope. After a native ferment, this rested in older French barrels for near 16 months, sans bâtonnage. This stunner is not about fruit, but about place. And this place is limestone. Tight and racy with lemon peel, green apple riding a base of crushed stone and lingering with a shimmering limestone hum. Such presence and lightness of being in this rock juice wine, drinking beautifully now, and with ample cellaring time ahead. 1392 bottles produced; get some.Prices: ON 47.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder L'Ardoise Niagara Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Bachelder L'Ardoise Niagara Chardonnay 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. L’Ardoise, translating to blackboard in French, blends older vine chardonnay from across the Niagara Peninsula, with the majority coming from Beamsville Bench and Vineland. These small lot vineyard wines were fermented and aged for at least 16 months in mostly neutral French barrels prior (sans bâtonnage) prior to bottling. Creamy and open, with lemon curd, yellow apple, fragrant pear blossom on a bed of fine lees, this is a welcome, open, smart chardy ready for drinking now.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Les Villages Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Bachelder Les Villages Chardonnay 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder is one of Canada's leading chardonnay and pinot noir specialists, honed through time in Bourgogne and Oregon, as well as years in the vineyards of his Niagara home base. Les Villages blends parts from their single vineyard, older vines grown in Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland, and 4 Mile Creek. After a native ferment in primarily neutral French barrels, this rested 16 months sans bâtonnage before bottling. At this youthful state, the oak is at the fore, though quickly absorbed by creamy lemon curd, green apple, meadow grass, flax and stony spice that lingers on the finish. This has years to go, and is a lovely summary of Niagara.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Leaning Post Wines Senchuk Vineyard Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Leaning Post Wines Senchuk Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Lincoln Lakeshore Senchuk Vineyard, this blends clones 548 and 96, harvested in the warm 2018 vintage. After whole cluster pressing, these settled overnight in chilled tanks and was then racked into puncheons and barriques, with each clone separated. They underwent native ferment and MLF in barrel, where the wine remained, sans bâtonnage, for 16 months. Full and ripe and round, with perfumed blossoms, ripe pear, baked yellow apples, custard, and fine spice on a creamy palate, seasoned with wood spice. Old school stylings, done well.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Leaning Post Wines
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Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnaytext
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Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis chardonnay was sourced from three vineyards: Il Vigneto, on Lincoln Lakeshore; Wismer - Foxcroft, on Twenty Mile Bench; and Senchuk Vineyard in Lincoln Lakeshore. The majority of this was fermented in concrete tanks, with the remainder in 228L barrique, a 500L puncheon, and stainless. Post-ferment, all the wine was aged on full lees in concrete and stainless for 9 months prior to bottling. Green apple, lemon, melon, almond blossom fills a cushioned palate, finishing with a sprinkling of spices and a subtle stony shimmer. A friendly, smart chardy for drinking now.Prices: ON 23.00 Producer: Leaning Post Wines
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Le Clos Jordanne Les Grand Clos Chardonnaytext
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Le Clos Jordanne Les Grand Clos Chardonnay 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder's prowess with pinot noir and chardonnay cannot be denied, and his return to Twenty Mile Bench's Le Clos Jordanne, where he was founding winemaker from 2003-2010, is a wonderful turn indeed. This is the second chardonnay release since his return, sourced from the western part of the Le Clos Jordanne Estate Vineyard, Le Grand Clos. This is a powerful wine, ripe with the 2018 vintage, and gentle treatment. Whole cluster pressed, this was native fermented, mostly in 228 L barrels, prior to aging in French barrels for 22 months total (20% new), on lees. Creamy flax, lemon blossom, almond, red apple leads the fuller palate, bracketed with wood and finishing with cedar spicing. Drinking well now in youth, but will continue in your cellar.Prices: ON 45.75 Producer: Le Clos Jordanne
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Trail Estate County Chardonnay V3text
90PTS

Trail Estate County Chardonnay V3 2018

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaFrom their Prince Edward County estate, this was whole cluster pressed and settled for 2 days before a native ferment and transfer to barrel (none new) for 10 months prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Flax, lemon, kernel, and almond lead this savoury chardonnay, amply spiced with broken stones and hints of toasted cedar on a lemon balm and yellow apple base. Drinking well now in youth, and will continue to develop and knit over the next couple of years. V3 refers to this third vintage of this cuvée.Prices: ON 45.00 Producer: Trail Estate
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Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnaytext
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Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis chardonnay was fermented and aged in French oak, where it remains for 10 months prior to bottling. Rich and creamy, with yellow apple, pear, lemon blossoms, and butter ruling the powerful, direct palate. It is striated with stones, providing a welcome grip against the creaminess of the fruit. Drinking well now.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
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Flat Rock Cellars Unplugged Chardonnaytext
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Flat Rock Cellars Unplugged Chardonnay 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe Unplugged part of the name refers to the fact that this chardonnay was fermented and aged entirely in stainless, to preserve the pure, fresh fruit. This opens with a puff of reduction that blows off to reveal tight and crunchy Asian pear, green apple, and lemon balm on a slender palate. There's a kiss of lemon blossoms and tangerine pith on the brief, snappy finish. If you like your chardy unplugged, and stone fresh, here you go.Prices: ON 18.15 Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
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Cave Spring Chardonnay CSVtext
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Cave Spring Chardonnay CSV 2019

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaCSV is produced from the top old vine parcels of their Beamsville Bench estate, and its mix of stony clay till laced with limestone, dolostone, sandstone, and shale. This was whole cluster pressed and native fermented in neutral, 225L and 500L French barrels, with full MLF. It rested 12 months on lees, and was bottled with minimal sulphur. Fragrant orange blossoms, lemon blossoms lead this creamy wine, backed by ripe pear, salted butter, and decked with river stones. Quite a complete wine, drinking beautifully now and with time ahead in the cellar.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Cave Spring
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Cave Spring Chardonnaytext
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Cave Spring Chardonnay 2018

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom their estate Cave Spring Vineyard on the Niagara Escarpment's Beamsville Bench, and its mix of stony clay till laced with limestone, dolostone, sandstone, and shale. This was 60% fermented in neutral 225L and 500L French oak barrels, 15% in new 225L French oak barrels, and 25% in tank, with partial native yeast and undergoing partial MLF. All lots aged 12 months on the lees. Creamy and fragrant with lemon blossoms, orange blossom, verbena, yellow apple on a round, medium bodied palate, seasoned with mandarine peel and lingering with stony salts. Friendly and primed for drinking now.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Cave Spring
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Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnaytext
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Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench is one of Canada's preeminent chardonnay producers, and this Chardonnay comes off their organically farmed Felseck Vineyard, on their Beamsville Bench estate. 60% of the fruit comes from 1992 plantings, with the balance of younger Dijon clones. This was whole bunch pressed and native fermented in a mix of French oak (82%, 17% of which was new) and concrete egg, where it remained for 10 months prior to blending and resting in 228L barriques and stainless steel barrels for an additional 4 months. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Opening with a beauty lick of reduction that is well-woven throughout this complex wine, drawing lemon, green apple, stones, and scents of savoury brown butter through the lengthy, humming finish. Such a beauty wine, drinking gorgeous now, and with time ahead. Well done.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
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Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay Beamsville Benchtext
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Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay Beamsville Bench 2018

Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench is one of Canada's preeminent chardonnay producers, and their Estate Chardonnay encapsulates their organically farmed Beamsville Bench estate. This takes fruit from the limestone laced soils of their Locust Lane, Felseck, and Rosomel Vineyards, all whole bunch pressed and cold settled for 24 hours prior to a native ferment in barrel (and 4% in concrete egg), with biweekly bâtonnage and full MLF. 15% of the French barrels were new. The wine remained on lees for 9 months prior to a barrel selection and bottling. The bright lemon led fruit is bedded with a fine cream / herbal lees base, studded with river stone and humming with a limestone buzz. Tangerine zest lingers on the lengthy finish. Lovely balance and texture in this harmonious wine, drinking beautifully now, and with years ahead in the cellar.Prices: ON 29.00 Producer: Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery
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16 July 2021

Play Merlottext
86PTS

Play Merlot 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Wild Horse Estate Vineyard in Kaleden and Naramata's King Vineyard, this merlot finished ferment in French oak barrels, where it remained for 16 months. Soft and plush, with cassis, plum, camp smoke, and toasted wood up front, and a bitter black cherry twist on the finish, this is framed by gritty tannins that end with a puff of heat. Certainly one to try with grilled ribs or root veg.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Lock and Worth Merlottext
89PTS

Lock and Worth Merlot 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom a small sandy soiled plot planted on Naramata Bench in 1995, this was whole berry, entirely destemmed, and had five days of skin contact before being basket pressed into neutral French oak, where it remained for 7 months before bottling in spring, unfined and unfiltered. If you're used to L+W's regular light hued / near rosé merlot, you'll be surprised by this vintage, because it actually looks and feels like RED WINE. Deep crimson in hue, with smoked plum, espresso, black cherry, on a soft palate, stencilled with a smoky granite note, and framed with balsamic scented, lightly grippy tannins. The finish lingers with bitter dark cherry. Best taken now with grilled burgers / sausages.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Church & State Wines Merlottext
89PTS

Church & State Wines Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFoundation Vineyard is on the Osoyoos West Bench, one of the warmest sites in all of Canada to grow merlot, and you can smell it snd feel it in the wine, but all in a good way. Expect rich, jammy, full-flavoured black fruit, and at 15 percent abv, it has a bit of punch. The nose is toasted via French oak, mostly absorbed by the fruit. The palate is long and warm but not over the top, and tannins are rich and dense enough to cushion the finish. It is a very appealing style, all you need is to add dinner. A T-bone would be an excellent choice or a grilled Portabello mushroom.Prices: BC 36.79 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Corcelettes Merlottext
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Corcelettes Merlot 2018

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCorcelettes Estate Vineyard contains three separate blocks of merlot, all pushed up against a wall of Black Rock Mountain that lines the northern edge of the property. The vines are rare in that they are all self-rooted in Similkameen Stemwinder soils. Winemaker Charlie Corcelettes mixes two clones: “181 (think pipe tobacco and more leathery, masculine flavours) and clone 184, which expresses more blue and black fruits like figs and blueberries.” The fruit is tasted and selected block by block over a two-week span. The attack is lively with a mix of black and blue fruits, fragrant tobacco, and many stony, mineral, dusty notes that remind you of walking in a Similkameen vineyard. The tannins are well managed and have to be because the savoury/spicy notes are off the charts. Post-ferment, the wine is aged in a series of French and American oak barrels and French oak vats (1000L in size) for 18 months, with 25 percent new wood. Buy this one for the cellar and taste again in 2025.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Play Spotlight Merlottext
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Play Spotlight Merlot 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is straight up mid valley merlot made very simply via a short cold soak, a stainless steel fermentation, and 16 months in French oak. The final blend of two vineyards, Wild Horse Estate Vineyard and King Vineyard in Kaleden, is made via a barrel selection for style and taste. Look for a tight, fresh, bloody style with a red fruit persona and some rustic tannins in the back end that need time to disperse. Best now with grilled meat.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Play Merlottext
86PTS

Play Merlot 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Play Merlot comes off two mid-valley vineyards, and is crushed and finished fermenting in French oak barrels. The style is simple and soft with round, fairly plush fruit and somewhat rustic tannins that persist through the finish. Smoky and toasty with black cherry and a tug of tannins, this needs a bit of grill beef or perhaps a favourite barbecue rib recipe to pull it all together.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Play Estate Winery
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Mt. Boucherie Merlottext
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Mt. Boucherie Merlot 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA big rich, flavourful black fruited wine with tobacco, black olive, black cherry, blackberry. The attack is fresh with bright acidity and black raspberry, black pepper, anise with smoky undertones and some dense unresolved tannins in the back end. A lot of wine for the price, but at the moment, it is rambunctious and needs time to settle down. Serve now with grilled Italian sausage or lay it down for two to four years.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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15 July 2021

Peak Cellars Goldie Whitetext
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Peak Cellars Goldie White 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGoldie is a cofermented field blend of pinot gris, riesling, and gewürztraminer off of two Lake Country vineyards (including Goldie Road). A stint in stainless keeps all fresh and lively in the mouth, with a little bump of RS well set against electric acidity. Lemon sherbet, kiwi, green apple, lime peel screams along a pithy, high acid palate, finishing with a mouth-watering snap. Happy to see cofermented field blends, and white blends that don't rely on sugar. More like this please.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Baillie-Grohman Récolte Blanchetext
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Baillie-Grohman Récolte Blanche 2020

Creston, British Columbia, CanadaRécolte Blanche is a blend of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Schoenburger, Chardonnay, and Kerner, from a mix of Creston Valley vineyards. Each variety was fermented in stainless before the final blend. Off-dry and bright with starfruit, kiwi, lime pith and lime blossoms to a snappy finish. The extreme acidity well handles the generous RS, leaving this a pleasurable 11.5%. Crack and enjoy this summer.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery
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Terravista Figarotext
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Terravista Figaro 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFollowing the successful 2018 Figaro, Roussanne leads the blend again at 44%, followed by Marsanne (30%), and Viognier (26%). The first two grapes were entirely barrel fermented and aged on lees in neutral and 2nd fill oak, while the viognier saw only stainless. Quite tropical, with lush white peach, fragrant pineapple, lush apricot on a full, fleshy palate, lashed with wood, and finishing with a dash of coconut seasoning. This is a lot of a lot at this stage, with the white Rhone varieties really strutting their stuff. Try now with coconut curry / prawns, or let rest a little before cracking into.Prices: BC 26.00 AB 24.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Terravista Fandangotext
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Terravista Fandango 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Fandango, and this year the singular Canadian albariño / verdejo is a 56/44 split, all off their Naramata Bench Lone Hand estate's granitic soils. Whole cluster grapes were fermented by variety in stainless, with partial MLF and 7 months rest there before blending. Quite fruit-forward this year, with ample fragrant melon, pineapple rind, lime blossom, and gooseberry on an expansive, just off-dry palate. This is a richer vintage of Fandango, capable of taking on fuller proteins (like sablefish) and flavours (like Thai green curries).Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terravista Vineyards
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Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsannetext
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Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsanne 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs with the 2018, this blends roussanne and marsanne from the sustainably farmed Webster Vineyard in Osoyoos, though this year the proportions are 80/20. This was whole berry native fermented and macerated for 4 months on stainless, before 15 months' rest in used puncheons and barriques. Next to the heady, textural 2018, this seems light and breezy in comparison. Bergamot-gripped, the sleek palate buzzes with white peach, honeydew, crunchy honeycrisp apple, and subtle ginger bark spicing, which lingers on the saline finish. This is a lighter, fresher orange drinking smartly right now.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsannetext
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Rigour and Whimsy Roussanne Marsanne 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis orange wine blends 90% roussanne and 10% marsanne from the sustainably farmed Webster Vineyard in Osoyoos at 300m. Whole berries were native fermented and on skins in stainless for 4 months before heading to used puncheons and barriques for 15 months' rest. Previous vintages of their flagship orange were made for the winery via the good folks at Okanagan Crush Pad; this is the first vintage that they've made it themselves. Pouring a hazy gold hue, this is full in the mouth for only a slight 11.7%, drawing textural apricot, bergamot, honeydew, ash slowly along the structural palate, finishing bone dry with a rasp of ginger. Quite serious indeed, drinking beautifully now, and with some time ahead.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicartext
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicar 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis cofermented, skin contact field blend is a tip to Alsatian Edelzwickers and their easy, off-dry, aromatic profile. The name also plays homage to BC's Father Pandosy, the first to plant wine grapes in BC. This blends muscat, pinot gris, riesling, and gewurztraminer, sourced from Lazy River Vineyard, in the Similkameen. Ginger, white pepper, melon, yellow apple and yellow plum rule the sleek, streaming palate, with enough tension from the skin contact to attract attention and interest, but not to detract from the aromatic white blend. In fact, the edge and citric bitterness from time on skins works very well against the florality and fruitiness of the grapes, all finishing with a refreshing snap. An interesting project to keep an eye on.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Fitzpatrick Runabout Whitetext
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Fitzpatrick Runabout White 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the winery's Greata Ranch estate, this year's Runabout White is a blend of pinot blanc, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, riesling, and ehrenfelser, fermented in stainless, and clocking in at a light 10.5%. The 8.5 g/L RS plants this in the aromatic off-dry white category, something BC seems to produce endless versions of, for some reason. This one is orchard fresh, with crunchy yellow apple, white peach, melon, orange blossom, and a dusting of gingersnap on the bright finish. Nice balance and friendliness; chill and crack into this summer with Thai salads.Prices: BC 16.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Niepoort Conciso Brancotext
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Niepoort Conciso Branco 2016

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalTasted 18 months along since my last 2016, and this little Dão white is showing beautifully. Based on 60-100 year old bical, encruzado, and malvasia, along with a smattering of other indigenous white grapes from Quinta da Lomba's granitic soils. This was native fermented in granite tanks before transfer to older 500L barrels for MLF and 20 months' rest, without bâtonnage. White peach, pear, quince is woven with meadow grasses, flax, and downy lees, lit with lemon peel, and studded with flake salts through the saline finish. Enjoy watching this unravel over the evening. Beauty now, and with time ahead.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Peak Cellars Goldie Whitetext
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Peak Cellars Goldie White 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is quite a serious Okanagan aromatic white blend. The cofermented field blend of pinot gris, riesling, and gewürztraminer comes from Goldie Road Vineyard (hence Goldie White) and Block 26 in Lake Country. It's fruit-driven and gently floral, with a combination of tangerine, green apple, pear, and white blossoms. It's just barely off-dry, crisp, and refreshing, equally approachable and sophisticated, with real poise and precision. Well made and excellent value.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Peak Cellars Goldie Whitetext
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Peak Cellars Goldie White 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe name has changed, but the wine is the same. The fruit comes off two estate sites: Goldie Road Vineyard and Block 26, both of which are planted to field blends of pinot gris, riesling, and gewürztraminer. Everything is picked at once and cofermented. The blend can vary from year to year, depending on the growing season, but the vineyard ratio is 46% pinot gris, 38% riesling, and 16% gewürztraminer. Like last year the result is very encouraging, with a little bit of lightning or electricity in the bottle. The old-school field blend has an enticing nose of orchard blossoms, pears, and Granny Smith apples that spill onto the almost dry palate, finishing with a mineral, saline, peppery note. Impressive and very food-friendly. Take your pick from clams and mussels to burritos and Asian food.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Niche Wine Co. Farm Freshtext
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Niche Wine Co. Farm Fresh 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Farm Fresh white from Niche blends 70% Gewürztraminer and 30% Riesling into a simple, off-dry, aromatic white. Soap bubbles, lime blossoms, musk melon, white peach, Asian pear lead the slender palate, finishing with a bitter melon snap and a dusting of ginger. Crack and enjoy with a brisk chill this summer.Prices: BC 22.00 Producer: Niche Wine Co.
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic Whitetext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic White 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vintage of Alive is an aromatic white blend of gewürztraminer, muscat, riesling, chardonnay, ehrenfelser from organic vineyards across the Okanagan. A ferment and short time in stainless preserves the fragrant fruit. Off dry and light bodied, with jasmine, acacia, melon, candied lemon and pear gummies, this is cut with a bitter orange / lime pith note that shortens the hot finish. A bit disjointed, this is best with a brisk chill.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Le Mortelle Viviatext
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Le Mortelle Vivia 2019

Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyAntinori's Le Mortelle Vivia is a blend of Vermentino and Viognier, with a dash of Ansonica, all from Maremma, on the Tuscan coast. Each variety was fermented cool in stainless, where they remained on lees for 3 months prior to blending. Ripe pear, white peach, green apple, honeysuckle run the sleek palate, tightened by stainless, and finishing with a citrus snap. Clean, easy, polished wine for enjoying with green salads or simple shellfish now.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: Marchesi Antinori
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Frind Estate Big Whitetext
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Frind Estate Big White 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 was a cooler vintage, and wetter, but it can be a godsend for some wines like this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink blend. The grapes are a blend of cool north and warm south Okanagan fruit. The result is fresh, lively, floral easy sipping white for a warm afternoon on the patio. A nice improvement over 2018, offering a crisper, more stylish pear fruit finish.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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14 July 2021

Coterie of Wildeberg Cabernet Franc Malbectext
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Coterie of Wildeberg Cabernet Franc Malbec 2018

Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom vineyards across Franschoek and the Coastal Region, this blends 67% Cabernet Franc and 33% Malbec, native fermented, with 20 months in barrel. This is a soft, toothsome, and voluptuous red, rich with cushy plum, baked black cherry and smoked stone. Tannins are velvet soft, cushioning the density to a lingering smoked finish. Take this BBQ-ready red now.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Wildberg
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Kanonkop Kadette Pinotagetext
88PTS

Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2018

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaKadette is the mini pinotage at Kanonkop, not that it is all that mini. The nose is a lot of the classic smoked meat and earthy tones with slight plummy fruit and a five spice dusting. The palate is medium-full with black fruit and spice on a silky palate save for a few tannic tugs at the end. The acidity is fresh, the wine is well made, but I have to admit, it is an acquired taste for me.Prices: AB 24.99 Producer: Kanonkop
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Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc is a blend of six vineyards from the Helderberg Mountains of South Africa. A blend of post-fermentation lots sits on its lees for nine months in 20% new French oak. The style is neat and clean, with fresh notes of nectarines and pears. It is all wild fermented, and only 20 percent of the French oak is new. It is a lovely toss to chenin blanc drinkers who prefer the cool, leaner, citrus side. A delicious food-friendly white for all seasons that we enjoyed with halibut.Prices: BC 21.99 ON 17.95 QC 18.00 Producer: Ken Forrester Wines
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With Love from the Cape Chenin Blanctext
85PTS

With Love from the Cape Chenin Blanc 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaMaybe just a bit too much love here, where the perfume and sweet fruit overwhelm the palate from back to front. It is a style, and if you are comfortable with a softer, sweeter version of chenin blanc, this one is for you. Serve with spicy bites to the best effect.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Rascallion Wines
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Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc 2018

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom gnarly old bush vines on Stellenbosch's Helderberg Mountain and its steep granite slopes, this was cold settled in stainless prior to a native ferment in a mix of stainless (70%) and Burgundy barrels (partially new), with a portion undergoing skin contact. After aging in barrel on lees, this underwent another 16 months of bottle aging prior to release. This is a generous wine, reflective of the warm 2018, some bottle age, and the richer Vinum cuvée. Ripe white peach, pear, orange blossom, acacia flood the honeyed palate, finishing with alluring wood spices. Still feels somewhat in youth, though certainly befitting richer, more substantial food pairings now.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Radford Dale
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Raats Eden Chenin Blanctext
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Raats Eden Chenin Blanc 2018

Polkadraai Hills, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Stellenbosch's Polkadraai Hills, these younger Montpellier clone chenin vines are rooted in decomposed granite / dolomite, and planted high density, at 8000 vines / ha, individually staked. This is the first high density planting release in Africa, and named Eden after the name of Brewer Raats' farm. After a whole bunch press, this was native fermented in tight grained 300L French barrels, where it remained on lees for 11 months. Unfortunately my bottle was corked; looking forward to tasting again in the future.Prices: ON 80.00 Producer: Raats Family Wines
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Pearce Predhomme Chenin Blanctext
90PTS

Pearce Predhomme Chenin Blanc 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaPearce Predhomme Chenin Blanc is a global (oft virtual) partnership between Ontario négociants Will Predhomme and Nicholas Pearce, together with Alex Dale and Jacques de Klerk at Radford Dale in Stellenbosch. These chenin bush vines are rooted in the decomposed granite and quartz of Helderburg mountain, in southwest Stellenbosch. It was native fermented before resting in neutral French barrels. Orange, pear, apricot fuzz, grapefruit streak through the lightly textured palate, with some skin contact providing a raspy pithiness. Lovely freshness and smashability here, at a fantastic price (in ON).Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Pearce Predhomme
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Bruce Jack Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Bruce Jack Chenin Blanc 2020

Breedekloof, Breede River Valley, South AfricaFrom Breedekloof's deep alluvial soils, and gentle river bank slopes, this chenin was fermented in a mix of stainless and older French barrels (for the old vines), where it remained on lees until bottling. Bright and punchy, with passionfruit, grapefruit, peach, characteristic from the warmer, inland area and sandier soils. The finish is snappy and brisk with orange peel. Fun and ready to drink. Great value.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Bruce Jack Wines
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Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignontext
86PTS

Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaThis old school SAF Cab will remind you of the burnt rubber / roasted root veg wines of the past. With fruit from Stellenbosch, Swartland, Darling, Voor-Paardeberg, Botrivier, Wellington, and Paarl, this is drenched in oak (a combo of 95% French / 5% American, and 35% new), imparting toast, roast, smoked meats onto the ripe cherry fruit. Tannins are sanded soft, and the finish is flushed with cedar and spice. If you want to taste what's really happening in South Africa within the past decade or so, look further.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 19.00 MB 17.95 ON 17.95 QC 17.95 NFL 18.25 Producer: KWV International
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The Wild Olive Old Vines Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

The Wild Olive Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2020

Western Cape, South AfricaThe Wild Olive packaging is attractive and showy, as is the nose of this aromatic version of chenin. On the palate, the wine is leaned out and intensified, reflecting its Swartland bush vine heritage. A cool ferment and six months on lees in stainless add to its freshness and interest. Crisp and clean, look for a citrus, green melon affair with a hint of sea salt that you can serve with clams or pasta. Amazing value.Prices: BC 12.29 Producer: The Grape Grinder
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collectiontext
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collection 2020

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaMy preference is for the skinnier, brighter style of chenin with less perfume and more bright fruit. The Spier Signature Collection always presents fair value, and 2020 is no exception. A quick hit of S02 quickly dissipates, leaving a bright orchard fruit white that overdelivers for $14. Ready to drink and varietally correct, you can’t go wrong.Prices: BC 13.99 Producer: Spier
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Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2017

Tygerberg, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom the hills of Tygerberg outside Cape Town, this vineyard is planted to 35 year old vines that are dry farmed and grown on Malmesbury shale, 15km from the ocean. The bottle is overweight, as is the oak, but otherwise, it delivers a mouthful of zesty, tangy peachy fruit with grapefruit acidity. It spends a hefty 14 months in barrel, adding a nutty almond note with a touch of oxidation. The full meal deal and it should be served with one. Pricey.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Spier
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Spier Pinotage Signature Collectiontext
87PTS

Spier Pinotage Signature Collection 2019

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe pinotage originates in the Western Cape, 40-80 kilometres from the ocean. Post ferment, 20 percent of the wine is matured in French oak barrels for 8 to 10 months, while the remainder ages in stainless steel with French oak stave inserts. The style is more pure fruit, less smoke and earth, including juicy black cherries, dark plums, milk chocolate in the back end. It will be a hit with consumers and less attractive to pinotage enthusiasts, which is the fun of this grape. Ready to drink. The classic SA match is pulled pork, but hamburgers are just as enticing. Good value.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 15.99 NB 16.99 Producer: Spier
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13 July 2021

Citation Willamette Valley Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Citation Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom the Mt. Pisgah AVA of the Willamette Valley, this is a selection of the best blocks from their Erratic Oaks vineyard, and Pommard clones. This aged 10 months in French oak, 20% new. Soft and plush in the mouth, with downy black cherry, a swath of forest moss, and warmed cherry jam. Tannins are ample and sticky, leading this to a warming finish. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Citation Wines
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Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2019

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe Stoller family established their Willamette property in 1943, and the vineyard 50 years later. Over the last 25 years, they have transformed the 400-acre property into the largest contiguous vineyard in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, and done it all sustainably, becoming the first winery in the world to receive LEED Gold certification along the way. From blocks across their Dundee Hills estate, this is a lovely summary of the AVA and its red clay Jory soils. This was primarily whole cluster, this was native fermented with 10 months in oak. Forest moss, crushed cherries, raspberries, and fine spices flow along the silken palate, with soft, light tannins housing, and an easy bright acidity lifting. Drinking well now.Prices: BC 50.00 ON 40.00 Producer: Stoller Family Estate
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Adelsheim Vineyard Breaking Ground Pinot Noirtext
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Adelsheim Vineyard Breaking Ground Pinot Noir 2016

Chehalem Mountain , Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom Chehalem Mountain's Laurelwood District and Ribbon Ridge AVAs, this pinot noir was partial whole cluster, with a 6 day cold soak followed by 2 week ferment, all in stainless. This then aged 10 months in 225L French barrels (29% new). Bright forest berries, cherry grace the palate, with long, light tannins holding all in and alluring spices woven throughout. Quite elegant and fine, drinking beautifully now and with time ahead.Prices: ON 64.95 Producer: Adelsheim Vineyard
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Boedecker Cellars Stewart Willamette Valley Pinot Noirtext
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Boedecker Cellars Stewart Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom Cherry Grove vineyard in Willamette, and Shea and Hirschy Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, this pinot was native fermented, 30% whole cluster, with 10 months' rest in French barrels (25% new) on lees, followed by an additional 9 months in entirely neutral barrels, off lees, prior to bottling. This 2015 was aged a few years in bottle prior to release (current vintage). This has a balsamic twinge that opens, before downy raspberry, strawberry, and an herbal branchy note take over. Tannins are a bit grippy / gritty through a cola note on the finish. Showing its age, this is best consumed now.Prices: ON 49.95 Producer: Boedecker Cellars
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Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noirtext
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Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom five estate vineyards around the Willamette, this rested 10 months in oak before 15 months' rest in bottle prior to release. Downy and plush and soft, with ripe cherry and forest floor scented with smoke and ample toasted cedar. Tannins are ample and ragged, drawing this to a warming finish. On the rustic side, and certainly calling out for grilled meats/burgers.Prices: USA 40.00 Producer: Willamette Valley Vineyards
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Wine by Joe Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Wine by Joe Pinot Noir 2017

Oregon, United StatesFrom vineyards in the Willamette and Rogue Valleys, this was fermented in a blend of stainless and oak, with 11% moving to barrel for a 6 month rest, and the remainder staying in stainless. Wet wood, moss, cedar spices a ripe, round, softer palate of tart cherry, red currant, and green branch. Tannins are lightly sticky / pasty, and the finish is a little clipped. An entry level Oregon pinot for drinking now.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Wine by Joe
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Primarius Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Primarius Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom a selection of vineyards across Oregon, this was entirely destemmed, fermented whole berry, and aged in a mix of 95% French / 5% American oak (10% new) for 8 months. Soft and plush in the mouth, with ripe cherry, forest notes, ripe plum on a downy, easy palate, framed with lightly sticky tannins, and finishing briefly with a swell of warmth. A well-made entry Oregon pinot for drinking now.Prices: ON 25.99 Producer: Precept Wine
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Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reservetext
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Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesEvenstad Reserve is Domaine Serene's flagship pinot noir, named for founders Ken and Grace Evenstad. From vineyards in the Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity, and Yamhill Carlton AVAs, up to 300m, this was cold soaked and macerated over one week before heading to French barrel for 16 months' aging, followed by one year in bottle. Soft and plump, with black raspberry, cherry compote, damp forest, cola, and baking spices seasoning the sultry palate, framed with plush tannins, and finishing with gentle cedar and smoked nutmeg spicing, and ample salinity. Now is the time to drink this, ideally with duck or grilled mushrooms.Prices: ON 75.00 Producer: Domaine Serene
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Portlandia Vintners Pinot Noirtext
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Portlandia Vintners Pinot Noir 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesPortlandia's Damien Davis came from a hospitality family and background, and wanted to produce everyday delicious drinking wines, at sub $20 (Oregon pricing). He predominantly sources fruit from South Valley growers for his range, though this included 15% from McMinnville, and 83% from 3 vineyards in and around Dallas and Monmouth, and classic Willamette soils: jory, sedimentary, and loess. After ferment in open-top vats, this aged 10 months in French oak (10% new). Soft and friendly, with plush cherry, raspberry, perfumed sarsaparilla, on a lightly spiced, medium bodied palate. Tannins are supple and finely grippy, hugging this likeable pinot to the spiced finish. Drinking smartly now, as intended, for everyday enjoyment.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Portlandia Vintners
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Chemistry Wine Willamette Valley Pinot Noirtext
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Chemistry Wine Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesLaunched in 2018, Chemistry is a collaborative project between Stoller Family Estate and Chehalem Winery, both owned now by Bill Stoller, and sourcing fruit from their 4 estates in Chehalem Mountains and one in Dundee Hills. This pinot came from their various sites and lots, with some lots whole cluster, some with extended cold soaking, all native fermented in stainless before 10 months in oak (15% new) and one year in bottle prior to release. Tart and green edged, this bright pinot carries red and black currant, cherry, raspberry across a crunchy palate, framed by soft tannins and lit by tart acidity. An edgy, accessible style of Willamette pinot, from some of the folks that know it best.Prices: ON 26.95 Producer: Chemistry Wine
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Ken Wright Cellars Guadalupe Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Ken Wright Cellars Guadalupe Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThe Guadalupe Vineyard is the last vineyard on the eastern edge of Yamhill-Carlton, straddling the border with Dundee Hills. The vineyard was planted in 1989 on a mix of volcanic basalt and sedimentary soils, and this wine blends Wadensvil, Pommard, 115, 777 clones, and an equal number of yeast strains in fermentation, prior to heading to French barrels (20% new) for 10 months, followed by 4 years bottle aging. Tight and wrung with VA, followed by sour cherry, baked rhubarb, black currant on a medium-bodied, lightly grippy palate.Prices: ON 65.00 Producer: Ken Wright Cellars
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Soléna Grand Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Soléna Grand Cuvée Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesAfter successful careers in the Oregon wine industry, the husband and wife team of Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu purchased an 80-acre estate in Yamhill to commemorate their marriage, releasing their first vintage of Soléna in 2002. Since, they have purchased vineyards in Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville AVAs. This blends different estate vineyards, and sees 9 months aging in French oak. Toasted cedar, black cherry, forest floor, light smoke flood the softer palate, one framed by ample sticky tannins to a wood-lined finish. Somewhat rustic at this stage, this would be best met with grilled root veg or pork.Prices: ON 32.95 Producer: Soléna Estate
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Rock Point Pinot Noirtext
86PTS

Rock Point Pinot Noir 2018

Oregon, United StatesRock Point is situated in Southern Oregon, and their estate vineyard rests at the northern end of the Rogue Valley, ranging in elevation from 700 to 1800 feet, rooted in ancient volcanic and alluvial fan soils. This was fermented in a mix of stainless and wood, though the wood certainly wins out, with smoked cedar wood, ample barrel spicing, forest berry and cherry on a heady, plush palate, bound by soft, pasty tannins. This simple, rustic red finishes somewhat briefly, best mitigated by hearty grilled fare.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Rock Point
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Irvine & Roberts Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Irvine & Roberts Pinot Noir 2018

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThis pinot noir comes from the southern end of the Rogue Valley, and its sandy loams at 640m altitude. A mix of Wädenswil, 4407, 777, Pommard, and 115, this was destemmed and fermented in tanks, block by block, before aging in French oak (32% new) for 16 months prior to the final blending and bottling. Damp forest, black cherries, red currant rule the cushy palate, harnessed by bitter edged, grippy tannins, to a bitter cherry, dark chocolate spiced finish. A bit on the rustic side, this would well match up with mushroom and / or root veg ragouts.Prices: ON 59.00 Producer: Irvine & Roberts
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Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noirtext
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Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2019

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom Archery Summit's 5 estate vineyards in Dundee Hills, this is rooted in the region's Jory volcanic soils. This is 40% whole cluster in 2019. Post ferment, this was aged in French oak (38% new) until the following summer, when it was racked and blended, and returned to barrel for another 8 months prior to bottling. This is a fragrant and elegant pinot, lofted with perfumed raspberry and cherry, and layered with forest moss. Tannins are long and quite firm, and acidity is Dundee Hills lofted, carrying this to a lingering cedar spiced finish. Drinking well now, but will certainly have some time ahead in the cellar.Prices: ON 65.00 Producer: Archery Summit
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Left Coast Estate Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noirtext
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Left Coast Estate Cali's Cuvee Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom Rickerall, in the breezy Van Duzer Corridor, this pinot noir is rooted in marine sedimentary soils, and a mix of Pommard, Wadenswil, 115, 667, 777 clones. After a stainless ferment, this spent 8 months in French oak (15% new). Bright and fragrant with raspberry, cherries, red currants, and moss on a medium-bodied palate. Tannins are long and fine, holding this slender red through the amply spiced finish. Left Coast Estate was one of the first producers in Van Duzer Corridor, and instrumental in its move to official appellation status in 2019. Of their 500 acres of land, they have 125 acres planted, almost entirely to pinot noir.Prices: QC 32.00 Producer: Left Coast Estate
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Rex Hill Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Rex Hill Pinot Noir 2017

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThis comes off 10 different biodynaically-farmed Willamette Valley vineyards, and was fermented in stainless before aging 10 months in French oak. There is approximately 70% estate fruit in this cuvée, and is based on Laurelwood loess soils over volcanic bedrock. Some toasted cedar leads this fuller wine, quickly swallowed by ripe cherry, black raspberry, forest floor / moss on a cushy palate. Tannins are firm and striated, holding this pinot structured and upright. Nice freshness.Prices: ON 43.95 Producer: Rex Hill
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Erath Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Erath Pinot Noir 2019

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom vineyards in Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Valleys, and a mix of Jory, Willakenzie, silty loams and clays, this pinot noir was destemmed and aged 9 months in oak. Fragrant forest berries, cherries are imbued with cedar spicing and bound by tight, lightly grippy tannins, finishing with a bitter cherry twist—an easy intro into Willamette pinot noir.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Erath Vineyards
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12 July 2021

Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noirtext
91PTS

Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noir 2019

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThe Bai Xu Vineyard is owned by Jackson Bai and family, and sits close to two main bodies of water, five kilometres from Lake Ontario and about four kilometres from the Niagara River. The vines, chardonnay and gamay, are considered old for grapevines, given they were planted almost 40 years ago. The soil is a mixture of loamy clay with some silt, sand and limestone, typical of the Four Mile Creek appellation. A lot is going on here, beginning with an outstanding freshness that lifts all the flavours along its linear path. The nose is savoury, and the fruit is led by intense, Bing cherry. Pretty, elegant, with some understated power and a complex deliciousness, and it is just a baby. This will only improve through 2029. Thomas and Mary Bachelder have been making chardonnay and pinot noir for others since the mid-’90s, initially for several domains in Burgundy and others in Oregon, Coastal Chile, and Niagara. The journey has taken them full circle to a point where they have decided to focus on Niagara wines as the region begins to get its footing in the real wine world.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Crutext
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Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Cru 2019

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder waxes about Les Naturistes, "a beautiful site guarded by a huge Willow tree on Line Two in Niagara-on-the-Lake." Erv and Esther Willms and their children Rebecca and Eric farm the historic site and grow most of the food they eat on the same farm. The gamay noir was planted in 1983, six kilometres from Lake Ontario and four kilometres from the Niagara River, in the heart of the Four-Mile Creek, itself a sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake on Line Two. The soil is a mix of silt, loamy-clay, gravel, limestone and sand. Bachelder calls the wine "Les Naturistes" because it comes without any make-up. The punch downs are gentle, the wine light-coloured, spicy, red-fruited and stylish with silky tannins and a long, penetrating old-vine finish. An excellent gamay for wine aficionados. Super value.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 22% Whole Clustertext
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 22% Whole Cluster 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaProprietors Thomas and Mary Delany Bachelder are dedicated to making pure, mineral wines of elegance that speak to their origin, with no compromises. The second-generation Wismer family supplies the fruit for this wine from the Vineland Bench, where they have been growing grapes for 20+ years. The Foxcroft lies 5.2 kilometres from Lake Ontario, about 100 metres above the water in magnesium and limestone-laced, glacier-derived soils. With more clay and silt, the heavier soils add some heft to this gamay that opens with a meaty, gamy, bloody nose. It offers a rush of mid-palate weight on the palate with more wild cherry, spicy, stony fruit that is slightly reduced but blew off over time. It’s a richer version of gamay made from nearly 30-year-old vines. Bachelder’s first gamay was made in this vineyard, and he says the site “made us think of making an ageable ‘Cru” Gamay Noir." I do too. Drink through 2027.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 52% Whole Clustertext
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Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 52% Whole Cluster 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaWinemaker Thomas Bachelder's first gamay was made in this vineyard, and he says the site "made us think of making an ageable 'Cru" Gamay Noir." It would appear using 52 percent whole bunches does just that, amping up the fruit and intensity to a level reminiscent of the lighter Beaujolais crus. The second generation Wismer family supplies the fruit for this wine from the Vineland Bench, where they have been growing grapes for 20+ years. The Foxcroft lies 5.2 kilometres from Lake Ontario, about 100 metres above the water in magnesium and limestone-laced, glacier-derived soils. With more clay and silt, the heavier soils add some weight to a very pure expression of gamay from what has turned out to be an excellent year. Look for wild cherries, wild game, bloody/iodine notes with pleasant undertones of spice on the finish. There is no rush to drink this, given the freshness and balance of this wine. Well done.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Les Villages Gamay Noirtext
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Bachelder Les Villages Gamay Noir 2019

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaAt only 12%, Les Villages Gamay presents with a bright, juicy nose as savoury as it is meaty and aromatic. The palate is full of red berry mixed with a touch of black fruit, and the combination is beguiling. Not as rich as the full BC version, but tighter and more focused with fine stemy mineral notes calling for a wild bird dish or a classic mushroom pasta. Winemaker Thomas Bachelder calls this a reserve level blend, fermented with 28% whole clusters to give it lift and brightness. The fruit is a mix of wild fermented sites and aged 16 months in neutral barrels. It’s showing well already, but it will age effortlessly through 2025. Bachelder is a small Niagara ‘Micro -Négoce’ winery with barrel cellars in Beamsville and Vineland. Proprietors Thomas and Mary Delany Bachelder are dedicated to making pure, mineral wines of elegance that speak to their origin, with no compromises.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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09 July 2021

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +02/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio +02/10 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2018 Portfolio is led by merlot, followed by cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. This was fermented whole berry in a mix of stainless and oak, before 21 months' rest in French oak (42% new). True to style, this is a full and expressive red, but not lavish and overdone. Ripe with black cherry, blackberry, violets, fine grained cedar spice and black peppercorns, this caresses an expansive palate, wrapped in long, well integrated tannins, and finishing with a puff of camp smoke. Still quite big at this youthful age, serve now with roasted meats or cellar for a few years and allow this to settle into itself even more.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 53.00 AB 53.00 BC 109.99 1500 BC 219.00 3000 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2016

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's big boy blend from Culmina blends 42% cabernet sauvignon with merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot, all from their Golden Mile Bench estate's Arise Bench. This is a current release at 2016, with 16 months in barrel (33% new) and 3 years bottle aging before release. Thankfully, as this big bruiser requires ample airtime and decanting upon opening. Roasted meats, charcoal, toasted cedar lead the full, sluggish palate, drawing baked blackcurrants, ripe plum, black cherry compote, tobacco, black earth along its path. Tannins are ample and ragged, though now absorbing into the dense soup of black fruit. Partner this with roast root veg and / or roast beef now, or wait a few years and try the same pairing. Old school.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic Redtext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic Red 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlive 2019 blends organically grown syrah, merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon fermented in a mix of stainless steel and large oak tanks before aging 6 months in barrel and then blended. Ripe and full with blackberry jam, cherry pie and camp smoke flooding a generous, smoothed and plumped palate. Tannins are bitter edged and a bit ragged, and acidity is quite tart and lean, encouraging partnering with grilled fare.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Arrogant Frog Ribet Redtext
87PTS

Arrogant Frog Ribet Red 2019

Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe not-so-Arrogant Frog is a fun 55/45 mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, awash in savoury soft Languedoc fruit and representing terrific value. It's grown between the Mediterranean Sea and the Hérault Valley, from vines 20- 40 years old. The palate is packed full of black jammy fruit, chocolate, blackberries, and glossy vanilla (via 25 percent new French oak ageing). A modern red from the south of France made for summer backyard BBQ.Prices: BC 12.99 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Ca'Marcanda Promistext
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Ca'Marcanda Promis 2018

Bolgheri, Tuscany, ItalyGaja in Tuscany is Ca' Marcanda, and the family created the proprietary name Promis to denote its commitment and hope for the property. The grapes are grown in Bolgheri and neighbouring Bibbona on rich, dark clay and lime soils. 2018 was a stellar year. If elegance and finesse are in your wheelhouse, this wine has it in spades. The mix is 55/35/10 merlot, syrah, and sangiovese. This is Bolgheri savoury with rich, dark fruit, smoke, black cherries and complex smoky tarry flavours that spill across the juicy palate. The tannins are Bolgheri silky and, while you can drink this now, you can hold it indefinitely. Very fine.Prices: BC 73.99 ON 45.95 AB 39.00 QC 58.95 Producer: Gaja
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Zuccardi Tito Zuccarditext
91PTS

Zuccardi Tito Zuccardi 2016

La Consulta, Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom a single site in Uco Valley's Paraje Altamira, this malbec (plus 15 percent cabernet sauvignon and 10 percent ancellotta) was grown at 1100m on a mix of alluvial soils laced with calcium. A whole bunch selection is native fermented and is in contact with the skins for 20 days before transfer to concrete and barrels to go through malolactic fermentation. The wine is a tribute to Alberto "Tito" Zuccardi, Sebastian Zuccardi's grandfather, who founded the winery in 1963. It is aged six months in cement vats and used (but newish) French oak. The nose is alive with florals and black fruit. It is dense and layered with wild black fruit and fresh acidity to keep it all in balance. A steak wine, if ever there was one, and at a welcomed alcohol level well under 14 degrees. Go Zuccardi.Prices: BC 47.99 Producer: Familia Zuccardi
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Carotext
91PTS

Caro 2015

Valle de Uco, Tunuyán, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaCARO takes its name from family winery partners Catena and Rothschild. In 2015 the blend is 85/15 malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Given how tough the growing season was, the wine has emerged in fine shape six years down the road. A little less of everything in 2015 has left the wine looking quite elegant. The malbec continues to dominate more and more each year which is fine with me. It comes off the oldest blocks of vineyards in Paraje Altamira and Las Compuertas. After 18 months in French barriques (60% were new) the cooler vintage has left it elegant and fresh, allowing the wine to show as much class as possible. You can drink this now or hold it through 2025.Prices: BC 62.99 AB 65.00 Producer: Domaines Barons de Rothschild
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Treana Redtext
89PTS

Treana Red 2018

Central Coast, California, United StatesThis Paso Robles red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (75%) and syrah (25%), harvested from mid October to early November. It's double oaked, first in a combination of second fill and neutral barrels, followed by a 75/25 blend of new and second fill French oak. Between that, the 15% abv, and the heavy bottle, you almost know what you're getting before you even pull the cork. It's a mammoth, no holds barred wine, with bold dark fruits and a small forests worth of sweet oak. It's full bodied and incredibly rich, with a sweet attack and chewy tannins that coat the finish. A love it or hate it wine, but it's no doubt an impressive wine for those that like this style.Prices: BC 49.99 ON 42.95 QC 41.35 NS 42.95 AB 41.00 Producer: Hope Family Winery
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Pentâge Winery Hiatustext
89PTS

Pentâge Winery Hiatus 2014

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIf you think Okanagan reds are released too young, here's a 2014 for you (and, yes, it's available on Pentage's website). This is an unconventional blend of nine (!) grape varieties: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, cabernet franc, petite sirah, mourvedre, tempranillo, petit verdot, and grenache. And all from the Skaha Bench. The result is a nicely aged red that already shows tertiary notes of cedar and tobacco, backed by savoury herbs and black fruits that still retain their freshness. But that's not to say this is at its peak, yet. The tannins aren't yet resolved, and this has the depth of fruit to continue to mature gracefully over at least the next 3-4 years. It's a fun discovery, especially at this price. Recommended.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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08 July 2021

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Organic Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Osoyoos' Sekhon Vineyard, this cabernet sauvignon was native fermented in foudre, then aged for 14 months in oak barriques (1/3 new). Fragrant blackberries, blackcurrant, cushy plum, and ample spice rule the sleek, medium bodied palate, with lightly gritty tannins guiding to a warming finish. This is an easy, welcoming cabernet sauvignon for current consumption. Pricey.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Organic Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a fairly lean, tart cabernet sauvignon from the South Okanagan. The fruit is decidedly on the red end of the spectrum, with fresh, savoury herbs that give this some classic appeal. There's a perception of sweetness that brings more generosity to the palate, but it still finishes quite brisk. Enjoy now with a light chill for when you're craving a vin de soif.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Dirty Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignontext
87PTS

Dirty Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, this shows lush, spiced black fruits with some underlying herbaceousness. Medium bodied and soft, this ready to enjoy now, preferably with a light chill. If someone is serving it with elk tenderloin, as the winery suggests, I'll happily partake. The finish is just a touch disjointed.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Dirty Laundry
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Time Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Time Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Haynes Point and Gold Hill Vineyards in Osoyoos and Oliver respectively, you can feel the warmth of the South Okanagan here. It's a bold cabernet sauvignon that combines rich black fruits with a lavish amount of oak. Medium-full bodied with firm, grainy tannins, this is years away from its peak but should drink well now paired alongside a grilled flank steak.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Township 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhen Okanagan cabernet sauvignon is good, it's really good. This combines juicy dark berry with dried herbs and nicely integrated American oak. Best of all, it stays true to the Okanagan. It's about freshness and bright fruit, as opposed to chasing ripeness. You still feel the warmth of Osoyoos and Raju Vineyard, from where the fruit is sourced, but it's balanced and not heavy on the palate, with fine-grained, supple tannins that make this ready to drink now.Prices: BC 29.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileNamed after founder Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the fruit for this Chilean cabernet sauvignon is sourced from estate vineyards across the Aconcagua Valley. Ripe but fresh, this shows luscious blackberry, bright black currant, sweet herbs, and just a hint of oak (even at 30% new). The complexity is certainly above the norm for this price point, but it's the overall balance that really makes it appealing. Medium-bodied, with some sweetness to the attack, the juicy acidity and fine, supple tannins make this an approachable cabernet that’s perfect for midweek barbeque.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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02 July 2021

Roche Nuancestext
89PTS

Roche Nuances 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2017 Nuances blends cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon from their Naramata estate as well as further south, with one year in French oak (10% new) before bottling unfined and unfiltered. Now 4 years on, this remains a powerful blend, with roasted espresso, dark earth, smoked blackcurrant, studded with rock salts, and housed with big, grippy / sticky tannins. Fortunately, acidity is lofted, and there's a perfumed plum note that lures through the stony finish. Drinking well now, ideally with steak or grilled mushrooms.Prices: BC 32.19 Producer: Roche Wines
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Famiglia Pasqua Passion e Sentimento Veneto Rossotext
88PTS

Famiglia Pasqua Passion e Sentimento Veneto Rosso 2017

Veneto, ItalyPassion e Sentimento is dedicated to Verona, the City of Love. The label tells the famous love story of Romeo and Juliet, which lives on today through the messages left daily at Juliet's house on Verona’s Cappello Street. This rosso is a 40/30/30 blend of merlot, corvina, and croatina, hand-harvested and dried for one month into wooden trays. The subsequent loss of 30 percent water content concentrates the grape sugars. Each variety is fermented solo in stainless steel, and the wine is aged in large, second-fill cherry barrels for three months. The final blend follows, and as you might expect, the merlot and the drying give the wine immediate appeal and drinkability. The style is fresh red cherry-berry with pleasantly spicy, soft tannins. A perfect red for spaghetti and meatballs — super value.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 16.95 NB 15.04 Producer: Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine SPA
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01 July 2021

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamictext
90PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Estate Grown Riesling Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 is the best yet from Summerhill, and it all Demeter certified from estate plantings of clone 21B, now over 40 years old. The wine is native fermented in stainless steel before they drop the temperature, supercooling the juice and halting the ferment to leave an off-dry Kabinett style riesling, albeit with a little less acid and electricity. You can drink it now, enjoying the ripe apple, orange that persists through the finish. It will keep for a while in the bottle, so there is no rush to drink it, and it will overperform with spicy, full-flavoured dishes. Can we get a dry version picked earlier next year as well?Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Rieslingtext
91PTS

Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the second release of Den's Riesling, a tribute to a longtime farmer and viticulturist, Daniel Martin Dulik, known by all as Den. Den owned and operated Pioneer Vineyards for several decades, on the site where Tantalus now rests. Den passed in 2016, and this special release riesling is a tribute to him. Off-dry, with 53 g/L RS, it floods the palate with ripe pear, pulpy lime, tangerine, perfumed musk over a base of river stones and white peppercorns. If you're a fan of sweeter riesling, look no further.Prices: BC 56.42 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Old Vines Rieslingtext
93PTS

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe OV Riesling comes entirely off their north facing, 1978 plantings, bordered by Ponderosa Pines. This was gently whole bunch pressed and fermented cold for 45 days. The wine spends 4 months on lees and 2 years in bottle before release (2018 is current release). Savoury and singular, with struck stone, lime pulp and peel streaking across the shimmering palate, with ample salinity throughout. Crazy numbers for the geeks: 11.4 g/L, 10.7 TA, 12.6%. Drinking well now for riesling freaks, but most may want to lay this severe (in a good way) wine down for a few years.Prices: BC 34.78 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Rieslingtext
90PTS

Tantalus Riesling 2020

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, their flagship riesling, is a BC classic for a very good reason. From plots around their Kelowna estate vineyard, including some dating back to their 1978 old vine plantings, this was harvested in two batches (Oct 7 and 23), whole bunch pressed, with each parcel fermented separately in stainless before being blended. Marmalade, tangerine, flood the juicy, mouthwatering palate, taut with lime pith and peel, and fragrant with lime blossoms and white pepper over bed of river stones. Drinking beautifully now, and with time ahead. 15.18 g/L RS, 9.15 TA.Prices: BC 22.61 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Kitsch Maria's Block Rieslingtext
89PTS

Kitsch Maria's Block Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMaria's Block was home to the first plantings of riesling at Kitsch's East Kelowna estate. However, winter damage resulted in the vines being pulled out in January 2019, so this is the last Maria's Block Riesling, so named to honour 3 generations of Marias in the family. This is clone 239, from Geisenheim, planted in 2013. After a whole cluster press, this was fermented in stainless over one month, and then remained in stainless for 60 days on lees prior to bottling. Juicy and bright, with ample mouthwatering sweetness via lime pulp, ripe pear, nectarines, and candied lemon peel. This intense wine is drinking well now, especially with fragrant Thai or Vietnamese curries.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Kitsch Wines
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Fort Berens Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fort Berens Riesling 2020

British Columbia, CanadaIn contrast to their Dry Riesling, this has a couple more g/L, at 9.3. This too came from different vineyards: Kelowna, Vernon, and their estate Lillooet site. It was fermented in stainless, with ferment halted by cooling when the desired sweetness was reached. Juicy and bright with lychee, honey crisp apple, white grapefruit, green hedge, with a hint of passionfruit on the snappy finish. This reminds me more of sauvignon blanc than riesling somehow, but fits the bill as a juicy, fragrant and bright white for cracking now with fragrant Thai dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Dry Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fort Berens Dry Riesling 2020

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Dry Riesling used 82% estate fruit and 18% from the north Okanagan's Rise Vineyard. This was whole cluster pressed and settled for a day before heading to tank for innoculation and a short amount of time on lees before bottling. This isn't entirely dry; there's a little bump of RS that counters intense lime sherbet, lime pith, green apple on the tart palate, finishing with some peach blossom and pit. This is a lively, snappy, zesty riesling for pairing with equally fragrant Asian salads or curries.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Free Form Rieslingtext
89PTS

Free Form Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom young vines planted at Okanagan Crush Pad's Garnet Valley Ranch, this was whole cluster pressed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, and then aged for six months in stainless steel. It's quite a zesty riesling, led by lime and bolstered by honey and chalk accents with a slight oxidative character. Taut and racy, with a precise, linear texture, this finishes dry even with 10 g/L residual sugar thanks to the zippy acidity. It's everything youy want in a great bottle of riesling: exceptional balance, verve, and energy. Certified organic and vegan friendly.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Ursa Major Only Memories Remain Rieslingtext
89PTS

Ursa Major Only Memories Remain Riesling 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaUrsa Major is the passion project of Rajen Toor, who was born and grew up on his family's vineyard. The project began as a conversion to organic growing, sustainable cellar practices, and the open mind to experiment and play with the grapes his family had been growing for 25 years. From Josey’s Vineyard on the Naramata Bench, this riesling was destemmed, foot stomped, and left overnight before basket pressing into stainless for a 45 day native ferment. It was then racked into neutral puncheon for 3 months prior to bottling. Juicy and lime-driven, with pulp and peel and pith all at the fore, joined by fragrant lemon blossoms, crunchy green pear, and a slight slick of RS to balance off the acidity. Impressive youthful wine, and if you can get your hands on a bottle (they sell out near immediately), do. But really - a plastic cork?Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Ursa Major Wines
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Free Form Rieslingtext
91PTS

Free Form Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI love this certified organic riesling from the spectacular Garnet Valley Ranch, a 300+hectare, high altitude property planned and executed by Chris Coletta and Steve Lornie and visionary David Scholefield, along with superstar consultants Chilean Pedro Parra and Italian Alberto Antonini. The property is currently under the care of viticulturist Duncan Billing, and he’s killing it with this riesling. 2019 is screamingly good. It’s packed full of minerals, Okanagan desert scrub and mouth watering flavours. Lemons, green apples, and wet stones are all here in a tight, fresh, balanced, bone dry package. Kudos to winemaker Matt Dumayne. Wow.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Intrigue Focus Rieslingtext
89PTS

Intrigue Focus Riesling 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI haven’t seen this label in a while and wonder why. It is a vibrant, dry, lean, green apple, crisp style of riesling made from handpicked fruit off Wong Vineyard in Oyama, in Lake Country. Small berries have yielded a higher ratio of skin to juice, giving this featherweight 10.5% white intense aromas and flavours. The winery suggests gnocchi, lobster rolls, or sharp or creamy cheese.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Intrigue Wines Ltd.
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Fort Berens Dry Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fort Berens Dry Riesling 2020

Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada2020 is an 82/18 split of Lillooet estate grown fruit and north Okanagan Valley riesling from Rise Vineyard. The nose is an intriguing mix of honey and savoury desert brush notes. The palate is mostly dry with green apple, lime peel, and bright acidity that accentuates the dryness. It lacks intensity and depth, but that will come with time as the vineyard fully matures. Well done, good value, this fresh, vibrant white is ready for food.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Rieslingtext
88PTS

Fort Berens Riesling 2020

British Columbia, CanadaAt 9.3 g/L of residual sugar, the FB riesling is perceptibly sweet, making it widely attractive to many consumers. The fruit is a blend of sites, including some estate grapes and the rest from Kelowna and Vernon. It is stainless steel fermented before a cold arrest, leaving the desired sweetness. The style is light and juicy with a mix of honey, red apples, and grapefruit, with a dusting of northern BC scrub lending a sense of place. It's a bit skinny, but the freshness is an asset at this point. Ready to drink and capable of taking on some favourite spicy dishes.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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AdegaMãe Rieslingtext
88PTS

AdegaMãe Riesling 2015

Portugal2015 shows a bit of age and oxidation under a cork at this point, but the lightly petrol scented riesling is long on complexity. Bone dry, it is tightly wound tangerine and apricot coated in minerality, and a finished with a dusting of sea salt. A food lover's dream, this would be a perfect wine for fish tacos, octopus, or squid dishes.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: AdegaMãe
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Blank Canvas Marlborough Rieslingtext
88PTS

Blank Canvas Marlborough Riesling 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis single vineyard Marlborough Riesling was inspired by the Mosel, and wines that work the interplay between acidity and sugar. From the Blind River subregion, in southern Awatere and its schistous, gravelly soils, this was night harvested, quickly destemmed, crushed, and pressed into stainless steel tank to settle and then ferment at cool temperatures. Juicy and vibrant with pulpy lime, lemon sherbet, ripe pear, woven with a cool river stone note. The ample RS works well against the acidity, and the 9% alcohol, to make this an easy sipper in the summer heat. Try with Thai or Vietnamese dishes.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Kiwi-Oeno
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Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Tantalus Den's Block Old Vines Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDen's Block Riesling is a team effort at Tantalus and an hommage to BC wine industry pioneer Daniel Martin Dulik, affectionately known to his friends and peers as Den. Dulik died in 2016 but had owned and operated Pioneer Vineyards in South East Kelowna, where Tantalus sits now, for several decades. He established some of the earliest vinifera in Canada, planting riesling sourced from the Weis family of Mosel's St. Urbans-Hof winery back in 1978. The Tantalus team credits Den and his wife Pat and daughter Sue with much of their early success, not only for laying the foundation for what they farm today but also for the immeasurable, sage advice he passed along over the years. In 2018 the wine is bright and lively with intense ripe fruit. The nose is a mix of apricots and mandarin oranges that meet in the middle of the palate with wet stones, sea salt, lemon curd, and a long, mouthwatering finish. It is made in the sweet spatlese style, but there is plenty of acidity to keep it all balanced. Well done.Prices: BC 56.42 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Old Vines Rieslingtext
92PTS

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThere is nothing like Tantalus Old Vines Riesling, beginning with its single, north-facing block of vines planted in 1978. It’s fermented to perfectly balance its 11.41 grams of residual sugar with its 10.7 grams per litre of total acidity, leaving you to marvel over its minerality and fresh stony lime and tangerine fruit. I like to say it's not for everyone, and riesling aficionados should be happy with that, otherwise it would be sold out in an instant. As it is, the taut, slender, savoury white is a classic North Okanagan experience in a bottle. Buy a case or two and spread out your consumption over the next twenty-five years. The two acre Block 5 sits on deep, silty soils by a mature Ponderosa pine forest on its western edge, which offers dappled late afternoon and evening sun exposure. It is all handpicked at optimal ripeness, and gently whole bunch pressed. The fermentation runs 45 days before it spends four months on its lees, creating a creamy, chalky palate. It then spends two more years in the bottle before release.Prices: BC 34.78 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Rieslingtext
93PTS

Tantalus Riesling 2020

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe flagship riesling at Tantalus is a study in purity and precision, none of which happens without a lot of work. The colour is pale yellow, the nose is an aromatic rush of orchard fruits with an underlying floral tone throughout. The mix of nectarine, grape, lime and lemon zest keeps it razor-sharp as it travels its long linear palate line before it dissolves, slowly, into a wet stone, mineral finish. In 2020, the harvests took place from October 7 and 23, from several blocks of fruit whose origins date back to the 70s. The parcels are kept separate and fermented in isolation and kept cold on their gross lees to be used judiciously in the final blend. Production was down, but the quality is among the best. I have said it before, and I will say it again; there is nothing regular about the “regular” Tantalus Riesling.Prices: BC 22.61 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Spearhead Rieslingtext
89PTS

Spearhead Riesling 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe not-yet-released 2020 is looking sharp, as all of winemaker Grant Stanley wines do. Half of the fruit was whole bunch and stomped by foot to provide a little added texture and ripe fruit flavours. The acid is knife-edge sharp and contains grapes off both Seven Mountain Vineyard on Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna, and Gentleman Farmer Vineyard in southeast Kelowna. As per usual, the fruit is green apple fresh, streaked with nectarines and limes dusted with a stony, mineral finish. Mouthwateringly good and food friendly.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Spierhead Winery
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