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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: October 2021

29 October 2021

Penfolds 802-B Cabernet Shiraz Superblendtext
95PTS

Penfolds 802-B Cabernet Shiraz Superblend 2018

South Australia, Australia802-B is the second of two new wines at Penfolds they describe as "Superblend." Both are cabernet sauvignon/shiraz mixes, a nod to the iconic Australian wine blend, but in this case, the B is aged in French oak hogsheads for 19 months, in the proportion of 54/46 cabernet sauvignon/shiraz. Make no mistake, all the fruit in the super =blends were grown from parcels in Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe, and Clare Valley, destined for flagship Penfolds wines. 2018 in South Australia was a stellar year, and the B delivers across the board. The colour is opaque, the nose an appealing mix of aromatics and French oak with super bright blackberry, mulberry, blueberry flecked with spicy cardamom and chocolate. One giant of a wine that is all in balance and primed for a long life.Prices: BC 1000.00 AB 999.95 MB 999.99 ON 995.00 QC 995.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds 802-A Cabernet Shiraz Superblendtext
96PTS

Penfolds 802-A Cabernet Shiraz Superblend 2018

South Australia, AustraliaPenfolds has two new wines they describe as "Superblend." Both are blends of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, a nod to the iconic mix that has made Oz red wine famous worldwide, but they are distinctly different. Superblend 802-A sets itself apart from the French oak-aged Superblend 802-B. It is aged separately in new American oak hogsheads (assembled in Australia) for 22 months before mixing 68/32 cabernet sauvignon with shiraz. The classic blend is structural via the cabernet sauvignon and rich and fleshy the contribution of shiraz. The style is all Penfolds, from instant generosity on the palate to the oak and spice complex. The wine is black and massive at this early stage, and the fine-grained and polished oak tends to ride herd over the wine. Blackcurrants and chocolate dominate the flavour profile you best leave alone for another six to eight years. The fruit comes off a mix of sites from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale to Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe, and Clare Valley. It's unclear if the first year is an experiment while chief winemaker Peter Gago and the team decide which wood type they will go with down the road. I vote French.Prices: BC 1000.00 AB 999.95 MB 999.99 ON 995.00 QC 995.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraztext
97PTS

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz 2017

South Australia, Australia2021 marks the 70th anniversary (1951 experimental–2021) of Grange in the marketplace, a wine that could be credited with putting the Australian wine industry on the world wine map. The multi-regional blend was the brainchild of winemaker Max Schubert, one of four chief winemakers to make Grange over the last 70 years. The latest iteration only cements my belief that winemaker Peter Gago has firmly grasped the baton and will likely be as inspirational in keeping this wine in the top ten of wines made anywhere in the world for a long time to come. As Peter has said, “The numbers have it: In its 70th anniversary year, this is only the 7th Grange to proclaim 100% shiraz, namely 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, 2000, 2011, and now 2017. A 10% Shiraz hit-rate.” It might be the most drinkable Grange ever to come out of the Penfolds lineup at this stage in its life. The colour is purple/black after spending 18 months in new American oak hogsheads. The nose is classic toast and smoke with fragrant, spicy, savoury blueberry, plummy fruit that lingers forever. The palate is rich but glossy, with dense, fine-grained tannin under the smoked meat, blackberry, and chocolate. Best of all, the finish goes on for an eternity. Is it one of the best? We won’t know for sure for another 25 years.Prices: BC 1000.00 AB 999.95 MB 999.99 ON 995.00 QC 995.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds  Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707text
96PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707 2019

South Australia, AustraliaBin 707 is and always has been a multi-regional, multi-vineyard cabernet sauvignon made with a singular purpose: to be one of the very best cabernets in the world. That goal explains why it isn’t made every year. 707 was not made from 1970 to 1975 nor in 1981, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2011 or 2017. 2018 was a dream year for 707, naturally adding weight and heft to a boisterously big red wine with intensive varietal expression. It spends 18 months in new American oak hogsheads, although you hardly notice the oak that is easily soaked up into the wood. Intense, glossy blackberry, black cherry, spice, chocolate, and power, all with finesse, believe it or not. It needs a decade to wake up and will live through 2050. Collectors, this one is for you.Prices: BC 600.00 AB 600.00 SK 600.00 MB 600.00 ON 600.00 QC 600.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798text
96PTS

Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe RWT is no longer a Red Wine Trial; hence it's an additional and coveted Bin Number 798. Yet that moniker has little effect on a wine already established as one of the best in the entire Penfolds lineup. The French oaked version of Grange continues to be a standout year after year. In 2019 the wine spent 18 months in 57% new French oak while the remainder sat in one-year-old hogsheads. The fruit is Barossa Valley, and it's as opulent and fleshy as ever in complete contrast to the power of multi-regional Grange. It is still a big wine but with a linear elegance and style, undoubtedly aided by the French oak. Glossy, intense, and awash in black and blue fruit, this will live for decades in the bottle and delight all who open it over time. The 2019 growing season was extremely dry and warm in the Barossa, with only 61% of the long-term average rainfall. Low yields delivered Barossa Valley shiraz with rich, dark, intense flavours and fully ripe tannins. Not quite as luscious as 2018, but still a very solid wine. Lamb shoulder would be a great match to the intensity and depth of this red wine. Collectors dig in; this is a good example of an expensive wine that is of great value.Prices: BC 249.99 AB 249.95 SK 249.95 ON 249.95 QC 249.50 NS 249.50 NFL 249.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraztext
93PTS

Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2019

Adelaide Plains, South Australia, AustraliaMagill Estate is always French and American oak, always made in open-top-fermenters, and always basket-pressed. Like Grange and 707, it always completes its fermentation in barrel, the same way Magill reds were made 177 years ago. Eight kilometres from Adelaide, the 1844 site has been completely overhauled and resurrected under winemaker Peter Gago’s eye as a tribute to the property’s stature within the Penfolds ethos. It is a refined version of Oz shiraz with medium weight and soft, lush textures with a rush of savoury dried herbs, a touch of roasted meat, a dusting of oak, and black fruit. Drink or hold, but the lush textures will pull you in every time. Gago says, “It gets what it gets; no additions, only deletions."Prices: BC 150.00 AB 150.00 SK 150.00 MB 150.00 ON 150.00 QC 150.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds St. Henri Shiraztext
95PTS

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2018

South Australia, AustraliaSt. Henri was first made in 1957 commercially, but its history dates to 1888-1889. The style never changes, and in 2018, it joins a quartet of superstar vintages: 2016, 2010, 1990, and 1971. St. Henri has always been an alternative expression of Australian shiraz that wants to be considered among the highest quality shiraz in Oz. The trick is it has to be done without the use of any new oak. It is no easy task, but after nearly 65 years, St. Henri has proven that using no new oak is not only possible but can produce sublime wines. One of the tricks is mixing in a small proportion of cabernet sauvignon to support the structure without impacting the shiraz coming from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley, and the Adelaide Hills. The use of very old wooden vats completes the story. In 2018 it showed its true colour sporting a freshness that lifts the fruit and feeds the wine that winemaker Peter Gago says you can drink tomorrow or drink it in 50 years. Balanced, lush, savoury, and spicy, its fruitcake flavours preview a highly polished red with generosity and suppleness to beat the band; a classic vintage of S.t Henri. You can almost re-crush its rich fruit in your mouth. A wine to slat away another decade or two.Prices: BC 149.99 AB 149.99 MB 149.99 ON 149.95 QC 149.95 NB 149.99 NS 149.99 NF 149.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389text
92PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389 2019

South Australia, Australia‘Baby Grange’ is used as a moniker for Bin 389 primarily because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange, i.e. one-year-old American oak. Wood aside, 389 has always been crafted as red wine with the structure you expect from a cabernet but the richness you find in a great bottle of shiraz. In 2019 the mix is 53/47 cabernet sauvignon/shiraz. It is a multi-regional blend involving Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, and Barossa Valley. This spends a year in oak (25 percent new). The winemaking team talks about black forest cake as a marker for this red, so if it didn’t have your interest before, it may now. Coffee, cola, chocolate, and spice penetrate the wine through the finish. It’s the textures that attract, so lush and smooth but all balanced by the appropriate acidity that keeps it fresh and humming along the palate. There is no rush to drink this wine; it will easily age for a decade and likely for another one after that. It is a very good 389.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 99.95 SK 99.99 MB 99.99 ON 99.95 QC 99.95 NB 99.99 NS 99.99 NFL 99.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407text
91PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407 2019

South Australia, AustraliaGago has referred to the 407 with respect “as not unlike a youthful and sprightly Bordeaux Right Bank Merlot sourced off clay – all red fruits, cranberry." The cabernet is multi-regional from Padthaway, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley that spends one year in French oak (27% new) and American oak (8% new) hogsheads. It is meant to be a cabernet first and foremost. The attack begins with a hint of menthol, cedar, oregano and more up front. The black fruit mixes into the bitter chocolate and walnut to finish the cabernet theme seamlessly. It is a textbook cabernet, but the style is made for less ageing than you would afford the 389 and 707.Prices: BC 99.99 AB 99.99 SK 99.99 ON 99.95 QC 99.75 NB 99.99 NS 99.99 NFL 99.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Bin 128text
90PTS

Penfolds Shiraz Bin 128 2019

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaBin 128 is Australian cool climate, and in 2019 it comes with intriguing savoury notes. The fruit is grown on the famed terra rossa soils of Coonawarra, the source since the wine's inception in 1962. Winemaker Peter Gago uses a mix of new and seasoned French oak hogsheads to tighten up the fruit that seems more simpatico with Coonawarra fruit than American oak. The style is grainy, resiny with a touch of herbaceousness to set off the cherries and pomegranate along with cooler mulberry, loganberry mixed with cedar and mahogany old dresser, flecked with licorice and spice. Not as rich as the previous edition, but it is Coonawarra. 128 spends a year in French oak hogsheads (24% new, 33% one-year-old, and 43% in two-year-old barrels).Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 ON 50.00 QC 50.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz - Grenache - Mourvèdretext
90PTS

Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz - Grenache - Mourvèdre 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaWhat's new is old most of the time at Penfolds. Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro (Mourvèdre) is a traditional regional blend based on old vines that date to 1895. The initial vintages (1992–1997) were released as GSMs. In 1998 it was elevated to Bin status, befitting its true inspiration via the wines of Southern Rhône. The French mix shiraz, grenache, and mourvèdre in varying amounts depending on their source, but all are rich, full-bodied reds. The fruit for Bin 138 is sourced from old Barossa Valley vines (some more than 100 years old) and matured 12 to 15 months in seasoned oak barrels. Despite the steep competition of the 2021 Collection tasting, Bin 138 easily holds its own while exuding a comfortable, cozy, easy-drinking style. Strawberries enlivened by pomegranate will make your mouth water on the way to richer, spicy, savoury-laced fruit with supple tannins. The final blend is a 70/17/13 mix of grenache, shiraz, and mataro all out of the Barossa. There is no new oak, but they use smaller barriques. A lovely drop at 14.1 percent alcohol, and a bargain price.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 50.00 SK 50.00 ON 50.00 QG 50.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28text
91PTS

Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 2019

South Australia, AustraliaThe first Kalimna Bin 28 was released in 1959 and was sourced and named after the Barossa Valley Kalimna Vineyard purchased by Penfolds in 1945. Over time, Bin 28 has become a multi-region, multi-vineyard blend, albeit with a generous amount of Barossa Valley. Kalimna has come off the label to be used more powerfully, perhaps for rarer red wine. The latest Bin 28 emerges from a low-yield year bringing deep colour and rich tannins. Fresh wild blackberry leads a parade of savoury black olive, ash, toasted pastry. It has a lifted frame and super-ripe aromas that run through a rich and glossy wine that will have wide appeal among those who like their shiraz with power. This needs time to develop in the bottle over the next five to ten years.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 SK 50.00 MB 50.00 ON 50.00 QC 50.00 NB 54.99 NS 54.99 NFL 50.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnaytext
95PTS

Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnay 2019

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaIt’s the blend that has set Yattarna free in recent years, allowing Gago and the team to shop around to the coolest, most marginal sites year after year and create the tightness and styling that is Yattarna. In 2019 Tasmania led the team at 57 percent, followed by a 32/11 mix of Tumbarumba and Adelaide Hills, all aged briefly for eight months in 55% new French oak. Hazelnuts and fresh pastry set the stage for an electric chardonnay perfectly fermented in oak, adding weight and texture without much obvious wood influence. Instead, it’s the flinty mineral that attracts and take this tightly wound chardonnay to another level. A barrel fermented oxidatively made chardonnay with no colour that will wow you. Drink or hold, you have plenty of time with this stelvin finished wine.Prices: BC 220.00 AB 220.00 ON 220.00 QC 220.00 Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2019

South Australia, AustraliaBin 311’s rise to fame is a direct result of the Yattarna program that has laid the foundation for every chardonnay in the Treasury group to excel beyond its global claim as the largest selling white variety in the world. The fruit sources went multi-regional in 2018, and the wine continues to excel as winemaker Peter Gago and company go after the coolest fruit of the year. In 2019 the fruit mix included parcels in Tasmania (68%), Picadilly (25%), and Henty (6%). According to Gago, it is now a “Yattarna in waiting.” The style is similar too, with a fresh lemon-lime entry, followed by peach and a spare, mineral, bright, acid undercurrent that runs from front to back to complement the weight and textures of barrel fermentation. Once made with no oak, it benefits from the trickle-down effect of barrels coming out of the Yattarna program, so in 2019 the new oak amounts to 41%. Electric and a must buy for the price.Prices: BC 50.00 AB 50.00 ON 50.00 QC 50.00 Producer: Penfolds
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26 October 2021

Therianthropy David Eagle Gamaytext
90PTS

Therianthropy David Eagle Gamay 2020

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom Four Mile Creek's Willms' vineyard, and 34 year old vines rooted in calcareous clay loams, this was native fermented with 60% whole cluster in Bourgogne concrete eggs, where it remained for 7 months, bottled without fining or filtration. Bright and juicy with crunchy plum, boysenberry, and purple florals, this lifted lighter red is etched with balsamic, and framed with fine, downy tannins to the tart, snappy, saline finish. Lovely with a light chill. #GoGamayGo!Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Therianthropy
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Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Gamay Noirtext
91PTS

Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Gamay Noir 2020

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada#GoGamayGo! This pale hued gamay shows there is little that the small and mighty Lightfoot and Wolfville can't do. From a tiny organic / biodynamic gamay plot off their Oak Island Vineyard, this was 30% destemmed and 70% whole cluster, native fermented and quickly barrelled down into 60% stainless and 40% French barrique where they sat for 3 months prior to blending and bottling, sans filtration. Light and skippy on the slight palate, with salted strawberry, cherry, white pepper, and an astringent rinse on the tart, lifted finish. Tannins are feather fine, and acidity is easily lofted. A joyous charmer, and one to watch.Prices: NS 36.00 Producer: Lightfoot and Wolfville
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Haywire Gamaytext
89PTS

Haywire Gamay 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGamay has become a specialty at Haywire, where it is handled with the utmost care and attention, allowing it to be a true, cool climate British Columbia wine. It is a mix of Oliver and West Kelowna fruit that is processed in a very elementary manner. First, the grapes are destemmed and placed into concrete and open top stainless tanks for fermentation. There are twice daily punchdowns while it spends four weeks on skins. Post ferment, it is basket pressed and transferred by a gravity induced run into concrete tanks for ten months of ageing on its lees before being bottled unfiltered. The style is cool and fresh with silky textures and spicy plum, raspberry, and earth. A modern version of Beaujolais with a bright future. Try this with mushroom stir fry.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noirtext
92PTS

Bachelder Bai Xu Gamay Noir 2019

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2019 vintage. Jackson Bai and his family own Four Mile Creek's Bai Xu vineyard, planted in 1981 with unknown clones, on a mix of loamy clay, silt, sand and limestone. This gamay utilized 20% whole cluster. Pouring a pale crimson hue this finessed gamay opens with bright and lifted cherry blossoms, wild raspberry, candle wax, and a soft dusting of white peppercorn and mineral salts. Tannins are fine and long, hugging this lighter red through the haunting finish. Drinking beautifully now, and with tine ahead.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
91PTS

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 52% Whole Cluster 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2019 vintage, including two from Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard, the special Twenty Mile Bench site known for its exceptional chardonnays and pinot noirs. Planted in 1993 to magnesium and limestone laced soils, this gamay was 52% whole cluster. This opens with a swing of reduction before moving into a dense, yet elegant palate of fleshy raspberries, cherries, candle wax infiltrated with ample mineral salts, and livened with a green balsam twinge. Very well knit, this is drinking well now and with time ahead.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
90PTS

Bachelder Wismer-Foxcroft Gamay Noir Niagara Cru I 22% Whole Cluster 2019

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2019 vintage, including two from Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard, the special Twenty Mile Bench site known for its exceptional chardonnays and pinot noirs. Planted in 1993 to magnesium and limestone laced soils, this gamay was 22% whole cluster. Opening with a wave a reduction, this then moves into ample cracked pink and black peppercorns, savoury green stem, sapid black plum, wild raspberry, celery, ferrous notes, and a good shake of mineral salts on the finish. Tannins are long and well integrated into the toothsome fruit. More a brooding style, this gamay can handle pouring alongside roast pork and/or wild mushroom dishes.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Crutext
90PTS

Bachelder Willms les Naturistes Gamay Noir Niagara Cru 2019

Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThomas Bachelder, long heralded with his skilled hand at chardonnay and pinot noir, has turned his eye towards gamay, with a series of releases from the 2019 vintage. Les Naturistes comes from a 1983 planted vineyard owned and farmed by the Willms family, in the heart of Four Mile Creek, rooted in silty, loam clays, gravel, limestone and sand. This was fermented with 55% whole cluster. Ample white pepper and alluring spices open this savoury lighter red, flooded with red flowers, crunchy plum, wild raspberry, candle wax, and studded with rock salt. Tannins are fine, hugging this to a lingering spiced finish.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Mary et Thomas Delaney-Bachelder et Filles
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Orofino Vineyards Gamaytext
89PTS

Orofino Vineyards Gamay 2020

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOrofino has established a well deserved following for their gamay, which continues to be a steal at just over $20 a bottle. It's light-bodied and juicy, led by sappy berry fruit, spice, and underbrush. Bright, fresh, and pure, this is dangerously quaffable thanks to its soft, almost negligible tannins and modest 12.7% abv. Just make sure to serve it with a light chill. Recommended.Prices: BC 21.65 Producer: Orofino Vineyards
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25 October 2021

Hester Creek Pinot Blanctext
87PTS

Hester Creek Pinot Blanc 2020

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe pinot blanc is all Golden Mile Bench estate primarily from Block 4 of the original historic vineyard planted in 1968. There is a small addition of clone 54 from Alasace planted in 1997/98 at Block 9. After a four-day cold soak, the fruit is fermented for 27 days at 13°C, then racked to stainless for seven more months on its fine lees. The nose is a lemon and apple affair that spills across the palate. Unoaked and dry, it finishes clean and refreshing with a touch of lime. Perfect for steamed mussels. An exceptional year for fruit quality that should age effortlessly.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanctext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWow, buy this wine. If pinot blanc needs a poster child, I'm willing to say it is among the best in the world. The details, in short, are whole cluster pressed, wild fermented, and aged on lees in a mix of stainless steel, foudre, puncheons, and older barriques. It is singing with full-flavoured lemon, pears, complex, refreshing creamy lees, and just the hint of spice at the two-year mark. Elegance and persistence with a mineral aftertaste, it will send you looking for shellfish. Drink or hold but get some.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & 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, CanadaFitzpatrick draws its pinot blanc fruit from home Greata Ranch Vineyard. The windswept fruit perfectly ripens before heading to a stainless steel ferment and a four-month ageing session in 40% neutral barrels, with regular lees stirring. The palate is bursting with yellow apples, tangerines, and apricot jumping from the glass. There is lovely tension between sugar and acidity, inviting you back to the glass. Clean, fresh, and very well made, precise is the word, and the value is stellar.Prices: BC 18.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Narrative Pinot Blanctext
89PTS

Narrative Pinot Blanc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLike last year, this wine surprises with its bright, citrusy, pear notes and delicious creamy lees textures. Light, bright, and elegant on its feet, it has some complexity on the mid-palate and through a finish of minerals and chalk. Shellfish, anyone?Prices: BC 22.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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22 October 2021

Garzón Viognier de Cortetext
88PTS

Garzón Viognier de Corte 2021

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayOne of the good things about living in BC under the monopoly wholesale arm of the BCLDB buyers is we generally get wines (if there are any left) months behind the rest of the world. So we are less affected by supply chain interruptions unless, of course, they become as serious as they are right now. You can expect a big shortage of wine from all over the world for many pandemic-related reasons, so when you find a wine like this Uruguayan white, you should act quickly. Who knows if the next vintage will make it to BC. The attraction of this stainless-steel fermented viognier is its simplicity and purity of fruit. Citrus, mineral flavours and styling make it fun to drink and food friendly, with a floral nose and refreshing pear notes. Less flashy, more elegant is a style I like a lot, all at a modest 12.5 percent alcohol.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Louis Bernard Côtes du Rhône Blanctext
88PTS

Louis Bernard Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2020

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThis wine remains delicious and, for the price, a real revelation regarding the potential for inexpensive white Rhone. The blend is a mix of grenache blanc, bourboulenc, and clairette, and it is as juicy and as fresh as it gets for the price. The palate has a floral, mineral, slightly bitter citrus note with a fresh, stony finish. I love the value here; back up the truck.Prices: BC 13.89 ON 13.00 Producer: Louis Bernard
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Amulet Whitetext
91PTS

Amulet White 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is a fascinating wine project featuring winemaker Dwight Sick (Moraine) with Penelope and Dylan Roche (Roche Winery), inspired by the major grapes and wines of the Rhône Valley. There is not much of it, 110 cases, but you can look for the wines via Roche Wines on the Naramata Bench and a few select restaurants. The first vintage released was in 2018, and there have been incremental gains in style and quality since the start. The 2019 Amulet White is an 87/13 mix of viognier/marsanne grown on the Naramata Bench, and the Penticton West Bench. I’m a big fan of this blend when it's fresh, and this wine certainly is. Apricots, tangerines, peaches have a dusting of honey and lees that intensifies throughout the length of the wine. The oak is seamless, the acidity perfect. If this was from the Rhone, you could easily double the price and the hype, but that is what I love about BC wine. The question is, how much longer will wines like this fly under the radar? The fruit was whole cluster pressed and fermented in French oak barrels, of which 20 percent were new. Impressive.Prices: BC 26.79 Producer: Roche Wines
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21 October 2021

Tantalus Rieslingtext
91PTS

Tantalus Riesling 2020

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRetasted a couple of months along, the 2020 is just growing in the bottle with drinkability. This, 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 a creamy, lees-lined bed of river stones. This is one worth stocking up on and trying to hold some back (but you probably can't because it's smashable). 15.18 g/L RS, 9.15 TA.Prices: BC 22.61 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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CedarCreek Estate Rieslingtext
89PTS

CedarCreek Estate Riesling 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis youthful riesling shows pithy grapefruit and lime, white flowers, and a touch of chalk. It’s a linear, racy style that’s all about balance, with a pinch of sweetness (10 g/L) that's perfectly in tune with the zesty acidity. It's the sort of lip-smacking riesling that makes you want to quickly pour a second glass. And it's not just your typical entry-level riesling, either, with real precision and definition to the citrus fruit. Recommended and excellent value.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Rieslingtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPicked over three passes from Block 3 of CedarCreek's Home Block Vineyard, situated above the East Kelowna winery, this block is planted to 20-year-old, own-rooted, riesling vines, with the clonal information lost to the passage of time. Year over year, this is one of BC's top rieslings, and this vintage is no different. It's impeccably balanced, with notable concentration and dry extract, and marked by precisely defined lime, orchard blossoms, and wet stones. It is what East Kelowna riesling is all about, as expressed through CedarCreek's characterful, distinctive house style.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Calalta Davverotext
89PTS

Calalta Davvero 2019

Veneto, ItalyCalalta is a small winery at the foot of Veneto's Grappa Mountain, with vineyards located between 150 and 200 meters. Son Nicola took over in 2017, and together with his girlfriend Giulia, transformed the already sustainable project to organic farming and producing natural wines. This riesling grows at 150m on a mix of clay and iron silicate soils. This natural orange was native fermented with 50 days on skins prior to resting in older tonneau until the following spring, when it was bottled without filtration. Pouring a hazy gold hue, this is etched with bitter lemon, orange pekoe tea, wild mint, and sour melon along a slender palate, textured with the skin tannins and finishing with a sharp grapefruit twist. A lifted, adventuresome orange for drinking now.Prices: BC 41.50 Producer: Calalta
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CedarCreek Estate Rieslingtext
89PTS

CedarCreek Estate Riesling 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe “regular” CedarCreek Riesling is not so regular but rather an inviting dance between sugar and acidity that begs you to finish the bottle. It has all the citrus you can handle, from limes to grapefruit, dusted in floral, chalky minerals. As racy as it is, there are 10 grams per litre of residual sugar to temper the acidity and keep it all fresh and, above all, friendly. Pick your food; you can’t go wrong. Super value.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Rieslingtext
91PTS

CedarCreek Platinum Block 3 Riesling 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCedarCreek winemaker Taylor Whelan is carving out his path, and the Block 3 Platinum Riesling is a good example of his innovation. Grown at the Home Block Vineyard above the East Kelowna winery, it is all own-rooted on 20-plus-year-old vines that are now certified organic. Two thousand nineteen throws rich, intense, lime-scented, nectarine fruit flecked with a steely, stony back end to deliver a complex white wine that will live for years. Whelan ferments the hand-selected bunches using organic yeasts, which feed the wine as it ages in 75/35 stainless steel /French oak barriques. Drink or hold; there is no rush. Bottled under a screwcap, it will keep forever.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Moselland Ars Vitis Riesling Qualitätsweintext
86PTS

Moselland Ars Vitis Riesling Qualitätswein 2020

Mosel, GermanyThe Mosel is the home of riesling that dates back 2000 years. Steep slopes, slate soils and relatively cool temperatures provide the perfect medium to grow riesling grapes. This entry-level look at riesling is medium sweet at 37 grams per litre of residual sugar, yet it presents elegant and fresh with crisp-like fruit flavours that help freshen the wine on the palate. Clean fruity and easy to drink, this would be perfect with spicy curries. Fair value.Prices: BC 17.99 AB 18.49 SK 17.99 MB 16.00 ON 9.00 Producer: Moselland eG
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Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rieslingtext
88PTS

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2017

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaSourced from sustainably farmed vineyards across Niagara Peninsula, this classic riesling is meant to provide a sketch of Tawse's take on the grape in the region. Juicy and bright, with gobs of sweet lime, pear, Asian pear, and tangerine. There's a bump of RS, smartly countered by some fresh acidity, leaving this just off-dry on the snappy finish. An easy, friendly choice for cracking now, especially at 10%.Prices: BC 22.00 ON 18.95 Producer: Tawse Winery
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Mayhem Rieslingtext
88PTS

Mayhem Riesling 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Garagan Vineyard in Naramata and Capagnero Vineyard in Summerland, this riesling wine aged 6 months in a combination of stainless, neutral French 225L, and neutral French 500L puncheons. All parcels were aged on lees for 6 months prior to blending and bottling in April 2021. Juicy and bright with tangerine, pear, lime, and ginger on a cold cream palate, finishing with lip-soaking limey acidity. A fun, bright white for cracking now.Prices: BC 18.26 Producer: Mayhem Wines Inc.
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20 October 2021

Château La Coste Grand Vin Rosétext
91PTS

Château La Coste Grand Vin Rosé 2020

Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, Provence, Sud de France, FrancePouring a pale pink hue, this is a graceful, finessed old vine syrah/grenache rosé, whole cluster and gas-protected, with cool ferment in stainless, where it spends 6 months on lees prior to bottling. Leading with wild strawberries, wild raspberries across the silken, finely textured palate, this lingers with fine salinity. Impressive drinking now.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Château La Coste
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Somos Barbera Rosétext
89PTS

Somos Barbera Rosé 2020

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AustraliaSomos means “we are” in Spanish, with the 'we' referring to the duo of Aussie Ben Caldwell and Mexican Marco Ruiz Cantú, who met while attending the Uni of Adelaide. They focus on alternative and obscure varieties from sustainably farmed vineyards, and making them in a natural/minimal interventionist way. This barbera comes from Willunga's House Block vineyard. It was basket pressed and native fermented in old French hogsheads, before moving to barrel to age on lees. Pouring a deeper peach hue, this feels full and deliberate on the 13% palate, with raspberry, red currant, pink peppercorns across a lees pad palate, finishing with a bitter orange twist. Nice change of pace, and a pink that will easily sail through fall.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Somos
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Maison Saint Aix Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosétext
90PTS

Maison Saint Aix Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2020

Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, Provence, Sud de France, FranceClassic Provence pale peach/pink from a mix of grenache, syrah, cinsault, and carignan, this is a 30/70 saignée/direct press affair done at cool temperatures to preserve its pure red fruit. The vineyard sits at 420m on a high plateau to fend off the heat of summer. The palate is slippery red fruit with black pepper and a mineral, stony, cleansing finish spiked with a touch of garrigue. It was a perfect match with a stuffed pork shoulder and eggplant lasagna. Well done.Prices: BC 25.00 ON 24.95 Producer: Maison Saint Aix
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Ogier Ventoux Rosétext
87PTS

Ogier Ventoux Rosé 2020

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceOgier is a solid Rhone producer and usually provides value for money in most of its labels. The rosé is an enticing salmon colour with light whiffs of watermelon and red plums. The attack is soft and easy sipping, making it perfect for warm summer days on the patio. Serve well-chilled for best results.Prices: BC 18.00 AB 15.00 MB 15.25 ON 13.00 QC 15.00 Producer: Ogier
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Da Silva Cor de Rosa Rosétext
88PTS

Da Silva Cor de Rosa Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis deeper hued rosé blends 55% pinot noir / 45% merlot from Blenheim Hill Vineyard on Naramata Bench. After a 24 hour cold soak, this was fermented in stainless, where it remained for a short time prior to bottling. Ripe and round, with baked strawberry, rhubarb, pomegranate on a glossy, glycerol palate, dusted with a sprinkling of spice on the finish. A posh pink for cracking this summer.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Da Silva Cor de Rosa Rosétext
89PTS

Da Silva Cor de Rosa Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDon't let the darker colour scare you off (but it could be paler). The blend is 55/45 pinot noir/merlot from the Blenheim Hill Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The style is very inviting, with ripe strawberry leading, and a fresh citrus undercurrent flecked by watermelon and rhubarb. A stylish version of rosé that is a perfect match to many dishes that come to out of The Kitchen restaurant at Da Silva.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Black Hills Rosétext
89PTS

Black Hills Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis 2020 pink is an intriguing 64/30/6 blend of syrah, Mourvèdre and grenache, as winemaker Ross Wise looks to the south of France for inspiration. The wine has been systematically dried out to allow for a more interesting rosé with bright acidity and some of that trademark Provence softness. Strawberries and sagebrush dominate along with a dusting of cranberry and spice. Any charcuterie plate would be a good match.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Chronos Rosétext
87PTS

Chronos Rosé 2020

British Columbia, CanadaThe style is off-dry, with rich candied red fruit spilling from the glass. 2020 is all syrah which explains the weight and white pepper note, but it is sweet. Many will love this, and it can be tamed with spicy food choices like a spicy tuna sushi roll. Ready to drink all winter.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Niepoort Nat'Cool Rótulo Rosétext
90PTS

Niepoort Nat'Cool Rótulo Rosé 2020

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalShowcasing their new embossed Nat'COOL 1L bottles, this brand new rosé is a mixed field blend from the Douro, and only 4000 bottles were made. Pouring a blush peach hue, this medium bodied rosé opens with red florals, geranium, crunchy mirabelle plum, and meadow grasses on a silken, stony palate, finishing with a dusting of spice and a puff of warmth. This glides easily long the palate, fitting easily into the smashable Nat COOL framework. Drink now.Prices: ON 22.95 1000 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

California, United StatesI like that the Ryder Estate estate is certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA). I was also surprised by its freshness and weight. Yes, weight it is a touch Tavel-like in the mouth, although fruiter and fresher in style. Look for a pale pink colour with peaches, citrus blossoms, and dark cherries at the finish. It's honeyed but not sweet and further tempered by a pink grapefruit finish that washes it away. Impressive from California, especially under $20. Fish cakes, vegan burgers, to grilled fish will work.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Ryder Estate
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Meinklang Prosa Rosétext
89PTS

Meinklang Prosa Rosé 2019

Neusiedlersee, Burgenland, Weinland Österreich, AustriaThis lightly fizzy biodynamic and natural rosé blends Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch from Burgenland's Neusiedlersee, and its cool, sandy loamy soils. After a short maceration and pressing, native fermentation started in stainless, and finished in a pressurized tank. Just off-dry, with a mouthful of fresh raspberries, cherries, wild strawberries and a gentle riff of skin tannins to counter. Very pure and honest view of the grapes, with a very light spritz, and at a welcome 10.5%. Brunch buddy.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Meinklang
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19 October 2021

Gabriel Meffre Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint Mapalistext
87PTS

Gabriel Meffre Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint Mapalis 2017

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceRounded pebbles and alluvial terraces are home to this grenache/syrah/mourvèdre, blending a perfect growth of the grapes. 2019 is a solid vintage with a September of warm, sunny days and cool nights. Post ferment, the wines spend about six months in vat before heading to the bottling line. Look for a savoury, spicy, garrigue nose with a pleasant palate of black fruits and plush textures. A perfect wine for a charcuterie plate, roasted chicken, or the classic Provencal ratatouille. It is fully ready for fall and at a great price.Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Gabriel Meffre
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Paul Mas Grenache Noirtext
88PTS

Paul Mas Grenache Noir 2018

Sud de France, FranceThis wine hits all the marks for value. The price is crazy low, the style is fresh and juicy, so it has wide appeal, and the garrigue of southern France adds to the raspberry, black cherry, and brown spices that heat a finish made for barbecue meats or fall roasted vegetables. Stock up.Prices: BC 13.49 Producer: Domaines Paul Mas
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Calalta Grièrtext
89PTS

Calalta Grièr 2016

Veneto, ItalyCalalta is a small winery at the foot of Veneto's Grappa Mountain, with vineyards located between 150 and 200 meters. Son Nicola took over in 2017, and together with his girlfriend Giulia, transformed the already sustainable project to organic farming and producing natural wines. Grièr is a blend of 94% syrah, 6% grenache off their highest vineyard, planted in 2009 beyond the northern woods. This was destemmed and native fermented, with 18 months in older tonneau prior to bottling without filtration. Wild plum, black raspberry cherry run the sleek 12.5% palate, seasoned with pink and black pepper and tickled with balsamic kisses. Crunchy acidity keeps this fresh, while fine, tuggy tannins hold this in close through a violet laced finish. Lovely honesty in this surprising natural Venetian blend.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Calalta
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Amulet Redtext
91PTS

Amulet Red 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnthony and I tried this wine from the tank with winemaker Dwight Sick just moments before it was bottled at Roche, where the wines are made in partnership with Penelope and Dylan Roche. It was a wine that immediately grabbed our attention, and the type of wine you don't just want to taste but drink, buy, and cellar. The fruit is pure and layered, with dark cherries, wild blueberries, and blackberries intertwined with white pepper, fresh herbs, and lavender. There's real depth and elegance, and then there's the texture: supple, silky, and elegant. A real wine and a real steal at this price.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Roche Wines
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Gérard Bertrand An 462text
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand An 462 2018

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceGérard Bertrand is a superior marketer, as evidenced by the price and quality of 462. The number, by the way, marks the year the Visigoths began their prosperous reign in Languedoc. The palace remnants are honoured by the Bertrand emblem, with the dove cross, a symbol of sharing and brotherhood, on every label. The syrah grenache blend is harvested manually and separately for optimum maturity. Post ferment, a portion of the wine is matured in 225-litre Bordeaux barrels for about ten months. Expect a spicy cedar nose with velvety smooth red and black fruit and finely textured tannins. Perfect for fall/winter menus. Hard to ask for more given the price.Prices: CDN 19.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Emiliana Coyamtext
92PTS

Emiliana Coyam 2018

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileCoyam is a winner from top to bottom, and considering it is an important Chilean red, the price is an absolute giveaway at $29.99. Well-balanced, it opens with a dense, dark colour that describes its perfect textures. It has been farmed biodynamically and certified organic for years, only adding to its attraction. The blend is 42% syrah and 39% carmenere followed by cabernet sauvignon, malbec, garnacha, petit verdot, carignan, tempranillo, and mourvèdre, all grown at an idyllic site in Colchagua. The nose is an expressive black olive, floral, cocoa with classic mint in the background. Round and ripe, the tannins are seamless, and the acidity is perfect. It is aged for 13 months in French oak spanning several years and sizes. I love that winemaker Noelia Orts has taken this Alvaro Espinoza inspiration to even richer heights. Los Robles refers to the native oak trees that surround the property.Prices: BC 28.00 MB 31.00 ON 29.95 Producer: Viñedos Emiliana
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Vinyes Domènech Teixartext
92PTS

Vinyes Domènech Teixar 2016

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainTeixar de Vinyes Domènech is the first wine of the DO Montsant and the fourth in Catalonia that INCAVI has granted the classification of ‘Vi de finca,’ referring to its single-vineyard status and very strict viti/vini rules. This organic/biodynamic red comes from a place in Capçanes known as the Font del Teixar, an area of 3ha located in a protected natural area between the Serra de Llaberia and el Montalt, at 400m, surrounded by pine forests. This is a very low production of 70-year-old Grenache Peluda (aka hairy garnacha) on sloping calcareous stones. It was native fermented in 300 and 500L casks before resting 14 months in old casks. Perfumed plum, cassis, wild blackberry, medicinal cherry flood a full, cushioned palate, framed by finely grippy tannins that lead this to warming, cinnamon and salted black licorice finish. Quite complex and layered, this is a giant of a garnacha, even now, best served with grilled lamb.Prices: ON 104.95 Producer: Vinyes Domènech
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M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rougetext
89PTS

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rouge 2019

Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceAnother rinse and repeat from Chapoutier, who has instilled the mentality to his entire team that every wine should be made to show its absolute best, no matter the price. Bila Haut is a billboard for the Côtes-du-Roussillon Villages from its floral, savoury, black fruit aromas to its juicy, plummy, wild, smoky, peppery fruit. It is a simply delicious, biodynamically farmed red selling at a bargain price: back up the truck. The AOC is Côtes-du-Roussillon Villages, and the cépage is syrah, grenache, and carignan grown in the Vallée de l'Agly. The fruit is hand-harvested, destemmed, and macerated for two to four weeks before ageing nine months in a 70/30 mix of stainless steel vats and mainly new demi-muids, with batônnage.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 17.00 QC 16.35 Producer: M. Chapoutier
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Gérard Bertrand Terroir Fitoutext
90PTS

Gérard Bertrand Terroir Fitou 2018

Fitou, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceFitou is a wonderful style to embrace, and the Bertrand grenache/carignan is a prime example. The palate is lush and fleshy with round, ripe, vibrant red currant, cherry, and wild raspberry. When you can't take any more, a savoury garrigue undercurrent cuts in to freshen the finish. The texture is dense and persistent. Think earthy, warm, fall dishes when pairing. Super value but strangely not available in BC.Prices: ON 18.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Domaine des Escaravailles Les Coteaux Rasteautext
89PTS

Domaine des Escaravailles Les Coteaux Rasteau 2017

Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceDomaines des Escaravailles was established in 1953 by Jean-Louis Ferran and his two sons, Daniel and Jean-Pierre, in the village of Rasteau. Today it is run by the 3rd generation, Gilles, who oversees the organic estate vineyards, spread across the southern Rhone. From Rasteau's stony slopes of clay and limestone, this blend of 80% grenache / 20% syrah was destemmed and fermented for a month with daily pigeage in stainless, where it remained for 9 months prior to bottling. Softer and seamless in the mouth, this fuller, savoury red teems with black cherry, wild blackberry, waves of iron, hints of scrubby dried herbs, and cracked black pepper. Tannins are softened with time, and acidity is lofted, leaving a stony buzz in its wake through the finish. Has the Rasteau muscles, but in an approachable form for drinking now. Very well knit and complete, as are all of Escaravailles' wines.Prices: Producer: Domaine des Escaravailles
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Saveurs du Tempstext
87PTS

Saveurs du Temps 2018

Costières de Nîmes, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceFrom Southern France's Vignerons Propriétés Associés co-op, this full-bodied blend of 75% syrah and 25% grenache comes from the Costières-de-Nîmes. Soft and plush on the palate, with lightly smoked blackberries, dark cherry jam, cassis, framed with soft tannins, and finishing with peppery spice and a tightening bitter black fruit / espresso note. Simple, plumped red for summer and fall BBQs.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Vignerons Proprietes Associes
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Amulet Redtext
91PTS

Amulet Red 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDwight Sick and Penelope and Dylan Roche (Roche Wines), collaborate to make the Amulet wines led by this highly impressive 50/40/2 mix of grenache/syrah/viognier. The fruit was hand harvested in mid-October after an early frost terminated the 2020 growing season. It gets a five-day cold soak, after which all of the lignified grenache stems were added back into the ferments before a native ferment. Twenty days later, the free run wine was drained off, the grape skins were gently pressed, and the wine transferred into neutral French oak barrels to mature on fine lees for seven months. By spring, it had undergone a full malolactic fermentation, perfectly softening the edge. The palate is alive with juicy cherries and strawberries with a floral undertone. A hit of Okanagan garrigue or sagebrush adds further interest, along with a dusting of pepper and dried herbs. It is an elegant style that could catch on with white wine drinkers who won't drink cabernet but want something different than pinot noir. Hello Rhone. Food possibilities are endless. Real value, real wine.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Roche Wines
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Domaine Duseigneur La Goutte du Seigneur Côtes du Rhônetext
90PTS

Domaine Duseigneur La Goutte du Seigneur Côtes du Rhône 2020

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThe name of this organic and biodynamically farmed cuvée refers to their family name, translating as "Drop of the Lord". La Goutte du Seigneur is an easy drinking blend of Grenache and Syrah, from 30 year old, vines rooted in the estate’s clay limestone soils. This underwent 2 weeks of maceration in concrete tank before a native ferment, and saw no time in oak. Tight blackcurrant, red currant, red cherry is gripped with a graphite minerality, and fine, lightly sticky tannins. Acidity is bright, easily freshening its 14%. Drinking smartly now. Great value.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Domaine Duseigneur
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Rigour & Whimsy Multiversetext
89PTS

Rigour & Whimsy Multiverse NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMultiverse is a multi vintage blend of red and amber wines, and a mix of syrah, viognier, roussanne, and marsanne from Oliver and Osoyoos. The syrah and viognier is a coferment from 2020, and the 20% skin contact roussanne and marsanne is from 2019. Both underwent fermentation in stainless, and were barrel aged between 6-16 months. This multi pours a medium raspberry / cherry hue, with balsamic streaking through a soft, medium-bodied palate of plum, raspberry, wild blackberry, thorns, purple florals, dusted with pink peppercorns. Acidity is tight and bright, and tannins are near negligible, giving just a slight tug on the finish. A curious experiment, enjoy this now with a light chill.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Ortas La Domeliére Rasteautext
89PTS

Ortas La Domeliére Rasteau 2019

Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceSome wines just deliver year in and year out and this Rasteau is one of them. La Domelière is planted to a commune hillside over chalky-limestone terraces covered with pebbles. The mix on average is 40 years age for the grenache (70%), syrah (20%) and mourvèdre (10%). The palate is a savoury, spicy garrigue affair with dark red, slightly jammy red fruit, flecked with licorice and pepper. It’s the value and the honesty here that makes this wine so attractive. Drink or hold. Try with pork, or chicken or pair with fresh goat and sheep cheeses.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 21.99 MB 25.99 Producer: Cave de Rasteau
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RMX by Ingo Gradytext
90PTS

RMX by Ingo Grady 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRMX is an Ingo Grady production made at Kismet Estate Winery. His plan is fun wines, and this recipe a GSM RMX, or remix. In 2018, RMX is a 32/27/14/21/6 blend of syrah, malbec, grenache, mourvèdre and viognier that is co-fermented with the syrah. The wine is aged in a mix of older oak and stainless steel from 20-24 months. The final blend was put together about nine months ago, and it is surprisingly drinkable. The latest edition is slightly more intense than year and more elegant. Dark plums and blueberries lead to the soft, savoury textures that slip through your mouth with ease before a hit of pepper arises. It is a style BC could own in North America, and it is fun to see wines like this and Amulet pursuing new ground.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Hermit Wine Company (Kismet Wines)
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Domaine Duseigneur Yamakasitext
80PTS

Domaine Duseigneur Yamakasi 2020

Rhone Valley, FranceYamakasi translates as spirit / strong man, and it's the name that Bernard Duseigneur wanted to name his new natural cuvée. This organic and biodynamic blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault is from 45 year old vines in the clay and limestone soils of Lirac. Naturally made, this was semi-carbonic for the syrah, with direct pressing of grenache and cinsault, and minimal sulphur used. Very youthful and fruited, with perfumed plum, juicy raspberries, candied strawberries, florals on a softer palate, with low tannins, and ample pink peppercorn spice. Sadly, this went mousey after being open a day. Better luck for a cleaner result next time.Prices: Producer: Domaine Duseigneur
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18 October 2021

Familia Monje Amestoy Biga de Luberri Crianzatext
89PTS

Familia Monje Amestoy Biga de Luberri Crianza 2017

Rioja, SpainFlorentino Martinez Monje started off life as a grape supplier before deciding to set up his own winery in Rioja Alavesa. Few know as much about the region as he does, nor how to get the best out of the local vineyards. With an intimate understanding of the 32 hectares he farms, he remains a farmer first and foremost. This Tempranillo spent one year in American and French oak. Ripe and fleshy with dark cherry, cassis, light toast, candle wax on a fuller palate, held with firm, striated tannins which take this to a bitter cherry spiced finish. Modern styled, traditionally based, drinking very well now.Prices: ON 25.50 Producer: Familia Monje Amestoy
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Olivier Rivière Gabaxotext
92PTS

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2018

Rioja, SpainGabaxo is Olivier’s only wine that blends fruit from a range of sites within Rioja. The Tempranillo is from Rioja Alavesa, planted on a rocky, clay-limestone soil at an elevation of 500 meters above sea level. The Garnacha is from a site near Cárdenas in Rioja Alta on red clay at 600 meters. Gabaxo is a not completely flattering term for a French border jumper – a nickname that Olivier embraces with pride. Olivier considers Gabaxo to be his Côte de Nuits version of Rioja. After a native ferment in concrete, this spent 12 months in foudre and 500L French oak demi-muids. Savoury and stony, this is built around fresh and dried floral black cherry, wild thorny blackberries, bacon fat, and ample stony flake salts. There's a beautiful freshness here, thanks to altitude, soils, and Olivier's light touch. Tannins are firm, long, and lightly grippy, carrying this to a lingering, saline finish. A beauty wine now in youth, this modern, fresh Rioja has time ahead still.Prices: ON 30.95 Producer: Olivier Rivière Vinos
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Olivier Rivière Rayos Uvatext
90PTS

Olivier Rivière Rayos Uva 2019

Rioja Baja., Rioja, SpainRayos Uva is Olivier’s version of a Bourgogne Rouge, sourced from fruit grown in the sandy, gravelly and alluvial soils of Rioja Baja. This year’s blends biodynamically farmed Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano into a bright, unoaked red for drinking now. Juicy and youthful, with black cherry, raspberry, perfumed blackberry, framed with toasted tobacco, threaded with subtle reduction, and lightened with a stony minerality. Tannins are long and lightly gritty, carrying this to a warming, spiced, 13.5% finish. Drink this smart young red to see modern, fresh Rioja.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Olivier Rivière Vinos
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15 October 2021

Therianthropy Mouflon Viognier Chardonnay Marsannetext
90PTS

Therianthropy Mouflon Viognier Chardonnay Marsanne 2020

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaCofermented Viognier, Chardonnay and Marsanne from Bock Vineyard on St. David's Bench make up this orange wine. This was whole cluster, native fermented in two small eggs, where it remained on skins and stems for 6 months. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a glowing peach / orange hue, this rings with apricot pith, clementine, grapefruit along a slight palate, positively grippy with tannins through a lingering, humming, white pepper finish. Lovely purity and freshness here.Prices: ON 40.00 Producer: Therianthropy
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Elios Modus Bibendi Bianco Maceratotext
91PTS

Elios Modus Bibendi Bianco Macerato 2018

Sicily, ItalyNative Sicilians and friends Guido and Nicola joined forces in 2015, leaving their consulting jobs to create Elios, focusing on naturally made, terroir-true wines from their family farms' vineyards that were previously sold off as cheap bulk fruit. This orange is equal parts Catarratto, Zibibbo, and Grillo, off 17 year old vines rooted in calcareous clay soils at 300m. After a native ferment in stainless, with 20 days' skin contact, it remained there on lees until the following spring. The blend brings a welcome richness to this burnished orange wine, with wild orange, wild mint, fresh rosemary, scrubby florals all intertwined on the lightly textural, medium bodied, oily palate. The skin grip is well countered by the Mediterranean flavours, finishing with a saline wash. Allow this to open up and enjoy off the chill, closer to room temperature.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: Elios
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Beck-Hartweg Granittext
89PTS

Beck-Hartweg Granit 2018

Alsace, FranceBeck-Hartweg is one of the historic domaines of Alsace, tracing their lineage back to the early 16th century. They’re located in the medieval town of Dambach-la-Ville, built upon pink granite bedrock. Florian and Mathilde are the 16th generation at the domaine and despite their young age (early 30s) they've already gained a solid reputation as a skilled and progressive representative of natural Alsace. They are certified organic, and practicing biodynamic. Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir come off the estate's granitic, sandy, stony soils, picked together and cofermented whole cluster, with native ferment and 10 months' rest in older cask. it was bottled without filtration or sulphur. Pouring a peachy amber hue, this medium bodied orange wine teems with mandarin, chamomile, bitter melon, wild lemon along the slender, lifted palate. This natural wine finishes with an saline and sour citrus wash. Refreshing and characterful.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Beck-Hartweg
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Vignoble du Reveur Imaginetext
90PTS

Vignoble du Reveur Imagine 2019

Alsace, FranceFrom the revolutionary, biodynamic, and dynamic Deiss family (Vignoble is son Marcel's natural project with his wife Emmanuelle), this is an off-dry blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Gris, part of which has macerated with the skins for 10 days. Mouthfilling tangerine, mandarin, gingersnap, ripe pear, lime blossoms fill the palate, pleasantly textured by the time on skins. The RS is smartly balanced by riesling's limey acidity, driving this to the spiced finish. A weightier wine that belies its 13.5 degrees.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Vignoble du Reveur
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Da Silva Vinho Brancotext
88PTS

Da Silva Vinho Branco 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Branco blends Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pearl of Csaba and Chardonnay from their Outwash, Cabana, and St. Rocc Vineyards. It was fermented cool in stainless, where it remained on lees for 4 months. Perfumed white blossoms, white peach, pear, and apricot lead this just off-dry, slender white, with a bump of RS offset by easy lemon acidity to a bitter citrus end. Pretty white for cracking this summer.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Da Silva Vinho Brancotext
88PTS

Da Silva Vinho Branco 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of the finds of the year, Branco is a mix of pinot gris, viognier, pearl of casaba, and chardonnay off three vineyards: Outwash, Cabana, and St. Rocc. Winemaker Richard da Silva fermented in stainless steel and aged this a short four months, leaving a remarkably fresh, intriguing blend that suits much of the menu at The Kitchen, the patio restaurant at Da Silva that is packing them in. Floral, off-dry, and packed full of white fruit with a twist of ripe apricot and citrus. The label designed by Twyla Da Silva is spot on the money. Look for future versions to contain Portuguese grape varieties as Richard pays homage to the family history.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Evolve Spontaneitytext
87PTS

Evolve Spontaneity 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaEvolve is part of the Time Family of Wines, an urban winery in downtown Penticton. Evolve is a brand that surprises by its quality and price ratio. The blend is 50/30/20 pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, and ortega, and the result is aromatic and bright, clean and fresh, with notes of orchard fruits, a scrub of nectarine skin, and a slightly sweet and sour finish. If you like sushi, a spicy tuna roll would be a good match.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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McWatters Collection White Meritagetext
89PTS

McWatters Collection White Meritage 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhite Meritage has long been one of the best blends at Time Family of Wineries. In the case of the 2020 McWatters Collection, a blend of 55% sauvignon blanc and 45% sémillon, it upholds the tradition. The fruit is hand-sorted and then whole bunch pressed before a stainless ferment. There is no malolactic fermentation to keep the wine as fresh and bright as possible. The flavours are full of apricot, grapefruit, and green apple, typical for a young blend, before the sémillon kicks in with more weight and heft down the road. The oak is well managed, leaving this wine with a bright future. Most shellfish will work with this wine now, but richer food could come into play down the road. The winery likes it now with shrimp scampi and tortellini pesto.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Blomidon Tidal Baytext
88PTS

Blomidon Tidal Bay 2020

Nova Scotia, CanadaThe 2020 Tidal Bay blends L'Acadie Blanc, Seyval Blanc, and New York Muscat into this light, lower alcohol (11%), off-dry white. Ample pink florals, pear blossoms, lime peel floats along the snappy palate, finishing with a lemon twist and a riff of stony salinity. For enjoying now, in the sunshine.Prices: ON 22.95 NS 22.00 Producer: Blomidon Estate Winery
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Pearl Morissette Irrévérence 2018

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaThis, their second vintage of Irrévérence, blended Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer (including 30% botrytized Gew) coming off Twenty Mile Bench, Lincoln Lakeshore, and Niagara on the Lake vineyards. Each grape was treated separately, in various mixes of foudre, stainless, quervi, and the botritized Gew and a portion of the Riesling was co-fermented. Each wine rested on lees in their respective mix of vessels for one year prior to blending, and an additional year together in concrete and foudres. This was bottled unfined and unfiltered in early fall 2020. Pouring a golden hazy hue, this bone dry white rings with honeysuckle, bosc pear, apricot, and lime peel, streaming along a subtly textural palate, thanks to the partial skin contact. The wine is in motion throughout, quite alive yet nonchalant, through a VA laced finish. A lovely subtle, layered orange, drinking smartly now.Prices: ON 34.00 Producer: Pearl Morissette
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Lunessence ESV Whitetext
89PTS

Lunessence ESV White 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the inaugural release of an Alsace inspired Gentil blend made with certified organic fruit. The blend is 55/27/18 gewürztraminer, pinot blanc, and riesling. The attack is fresh with an alluring floral mix of tangy primary orchard fruit led by stone fruits, lemon, lime with a dusting of minerality. It is impressive winemaking reminiscent of its Alsace ancestors. Clean, bright, and Summerland fresh, it is a winner. The wine spends five months on its lees, and a full 46 percent is aged in 2nd fill French oak that you don’t notice.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
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Fitzpatrick Runabout Whitetext
88PTS

Fitzpatrick Runabout White 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRunabout hits all the right bells, blending pinot blanc, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, riesling, and ehrenfelser, fermenting the Greata Ranch fruit in stainless. The style is light and refreshing at a mere 10.5%, perfect for an aromatic off-dry white. Look for bright, crunchy orchard fruit with a light spicy finish. So well made and balanced, it will be a friend to many south Asian dishes.Prices: BC 16.50 Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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14 October 2021

Therianthropy The Negotiant Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Therianthropy The Negotiant Cabernet Franc 2020

Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the organically farmed Redfoot Vineyard, in Lincoln Lakeshore, this cabernet franc is rooted in the region's rich red clays, planted 18 years ago. It was native fermented 75% whole cluster over 3 weeks, before resting in Bourgogne concrete eggs for 7 months, and bottled without fining or filtration. Luring purple florals, cassis, savoury herbal branchiness, and wild blackberry flood this juicy, fruity, youthful and carbonic-forward red. Tannins are downy and sticky, and acidity is crunchy, propelling this to a softly floral, amply saline finish. Easy, harmonious, fun franc for enjoying now, with a light chill.Prices: ON 34.00 Producer: Therianthropy
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Therianthropy Hunter's Moon Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Therianthropy Hunter's Moon Cabernet Franc 2018

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaFrom the highly regarded Foxcroft Wismer Vineyard, on Twenty Mile Bench, these 21 year old cab franc vines are planted in calcareous clay loams. This was 80% whole cluster, native fermented over 3 weeks before aging 18 months in 225L barriques. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alluring fragrant dusky violets, wild blackberry, black plum, wild thorns fill the medium palate, framed by firm, fine, lightly chewy tannins and buoyed by a bright and crunchy acidity. There's a charming and pure plum core this charming cab franc is wrapped around. The finish lingers with a dusting of pink peppercorn, kiss of balsamic, and a return of that darling violet note. Drinking well now, and with some time ahead still.Prices: ON 44.00 Producer: Therianthropy
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CedarCreek Estate Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

CedarCreek Estate Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCedarCreek has been producing cabernet franc for more than two decades, but they've just started bottling single variety expressions. From the South Okanagan, this shows juicy dark plum that's bolstered by violets and graphite, with an impressive interplay of ripe fruit and savoury complexity. Medium-full bodied, this is firmly structured with powdery tannins that will benefit from another 2-3 years in bottle. A winner at this price.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Calalta Onbrìatext
88PTS

Calalta Onbrìa 2019

Veneto, ItalyCalalta is a small winery at the foot of Veneto's Grappa Mountain, with vineyards located between 150 and 200 meters. Son Nicola took over in 2017, and together with his girlfriend Giulia transformed the already sustainable project to organic farming and producing natural wines. This cabernet franc grows on flinty clay soils at 150-180m. It was native fermented in stainless, where it remained for eight months. This hazy auburn-tinged wine opens with a peppery whiff, which carries through the lighter palate, seasoning sour cherry, red currant, herbal tart raspberry, and crunchy black plum. Tannins are softly sueded, and acidity is softly lifted, finishing with a black pepper and bergamot kiss. Certainly a different, much more natural look at cab franc, and one best suited to a chill.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Calalta
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CedarCreek Estate Cabernet Franctext
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CedarCreek Estate Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt’s been twenty years since the first cabernet franc was grown at CedarCreek, but the winery has only recently produced a single variety. The grapes are grown in the south Okanagan, not all that far from the border. The wine is dense and firm, with a balanced mix of red and black fruit. 2019 was an impressive year up to September, but late rains and cool weather made picking tricking and selection even more crucial. The wine has all the plummy graphite notes you might expect, and round-ish tannins with a touch of heat and spice in the back end. A perfect steak wine for a rainy fall day. The final blend is 90/10 cabernet franc/merlot, all fermented in stainless steel and aged one year in French oak barriques.Prices: BC 26.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franc opens with smoked dark fruit. It has the south Okanagan version of garrigue, but most of it sits under the mocha, black fruit under a campfire sheen that runs through the finish. The smoke stands out when you taste this in a lineup of various vintages, but I’m guessing some will be okay with the weight and heft of this wine. You could drink it with a charcoal-fired steak and hardly notice it. I look forward to the 2019 label.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Da Silva Cabernet Franctext
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Da Silva Cabernet Franc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSweet spices encase this Black Sage cabernet franc with its soft entry and palate. It tastes more like a seven year old wine after spending 36 months in French and American oak, so for those who prefer a more mature style, this one is for you. It opens with a touch of wildness mixed with chocolate, fire roasted red peppers, and blackberry, finishing silky soft. A T-bone steak or spaghetti Bolognese would work here. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Church & State Wines Cabernet Franctext
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Church & State Wines Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis bold, ripe cabernet franc comes from Foundation Vineyard in the South Okanagan, showing cherry compote and dried stemmy herbs that are shrouded in smoke. That smoke dries out the finish, leaving this rather harsh and astringent. A good effort in a challenging vintage, this medium-full bodied cabernet franc will pair nicely with grilled dried ribs.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Free Form Cabernet Franctext
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Free Form Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Sekhon Vineyard, a certified organic site in Osoyoos, this was fermented in stainless steel before aging in concrete for 11 months. It's a lean, restrained style of cabernet franc, clocking in at just 12% abv, which gives this a fantastic quaffable character. That said, there's complexity too, with crunchy red fruits, fresh aromatic herbs, and savoury spices. Best enjoyed with a light chill; the juicy acidity and fine, grippy tannins are calling for bistro fare.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Moraine Cabernet Franctext
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Moraine Cabernet Franc 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMoraine is all about the Naramata Bench. That's true not just for pinot noir and chardonnay, but also Bordeaux varieties like this cabernet franc. The slightly cooler climate gives this a striking expressiveness with juicy dark fruits that are heightened by menthol and floral aromatics. Plus, the oak is balanced and integrated, adding a spiciness that complements the fruit. Medium-bodied, this is fine-grained and supple, ready to drink now or enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Get excited for the 2020 reds from the Okanagan.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Cabernet Franctext
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Phantom Creek Estates Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe South Okanagan Phantom Cab Franc comes off selected estate blocks of fruit picked from the west side of the valley, on the Golden Mile bench, and the eastern Black Sage Bench. Look for smoky, dry, brambly fruit with dry sagebrush and tarry notes. It’s not the best example of the variety in a tough wildfire season in the south. Best to drink this now with grilled beef and take advantage of its youth.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Catena San Carlos Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Catena San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2018

San Carlos, Central Region, Mendoza, ArgentinaThe San Carlos Cabernet Franc comes is sourced from vineyards in San Carlos, a sub-appellation of the Uco Valley. The site boasts sandy loam soils at 1090 metres, yielding highly concentrated ripe wine with a red demeanour. The texture is a focus at Catena, and this wine has it in spades mixed with mint and black pepper and dense, rich tannins that swell the finish. Cabernet franc can be captivating the world over, and this Argentine version over-delivers for the variety. You will find it in BC restaurants and private wine shops, and it is worth looking for.Prices: BC 33.00 AB 24.50 MB 26.00 ON 19.95 Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Argento Estate Reserve Organic Cabernet Franctext
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Argento Estate Reserve Organic Cabernet Franc 2019

Mendoza, ArgentinaFrom Agrelo, in Mendoza’s Lujàn de Cuyo, this organic cabernet franc is stainless steel fermented with about a third aged in larger French oak. The nose is lightly toasted, the attack greenish with soft black fruits and short, tugging tannins. A step back from the Antonini vision, this finishes dry and disjointed. On to the next year.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 19.00 NFL 18.00 Producer: Bodega Argento
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13 October 2021

Nichol Vineyard Syrah Nate's Vineyardtext
90PTS

Nichol Vineyard Syrah Nate's Vineyard 2019

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNate's Syrah is Nichol's younger vine estate syrah, named for the owners' son, and planted in 2007-2010 on granite bedrock and glacial till at the southern part of the property. From the Beaucastel clone from WA State, these vines are dry farmed, destemmed and with 2 weeks of skin contact before going into neutral barrel for 12-14 months. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Wild blackberry, thorns, cracked peppercorn flood the juicy palate, framed by fine, lightly downy tannins which hug this to the amply white pepper finish. Joyous and fun, yet serious syrah for drinking now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Nichol Vineyard
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Amulet Syrahtext
91PTS

Amulet Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis syrah, from Oliver's Suncrest Vineyard Oliver, is topped with 4% Viognier off Naramata's Kozier Vineyard. After destemming and a 7 day cold soak, this was native fermented over 3 weeks before pressing into French oak barrels (50% new, 50% 2nd fill), where it remained for the following 24 months or so. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal SO2 addition in July 2021. Big and brooding, with ample violet duskiness and fragrance permeating big blackberry, cassis, pipe tobacco on the medium+ palate. Tannins are big but well integrated, with a grip up front, yet finishing with a velvet plumpness on the lingering, spiced, warming finish. Quite polished, and a good deal of freshness for such a big syrah.Prices: BC 62.52 Producer: Roche Wines
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Road 13 Syrahtext
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Road 13 Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Road 13 blend is a mix of seven blocks of syrah taken from both the east and west sides of the Okanagan Valley. Winemaker Barclay Robinson is a balance freak, and with a sommelier background, he has an equal interest in making wines that are fun to drink. All blocks are hand-harvested, sorted, destemmed, and fermented individually. The syrah is co-fermented with just the right amount of viognier, one percent, and sees only 20 percent new oak, both French and American. I love the pure, peppery, syrah notes replete with raspberry, blackberry, with a juicy, smooth, clean, spicy back end. Well done and good value. Think steak or even a favourite curry for a double hit of spice.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Road 13
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Amulet Syrahtext
91PTS

Amulet Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is the passion project of winemaker Dwight Sick, with a singular focus on Rhône-inspired wines. Quantities are minuscule and almost exclusively available through Roche Wines, where the brand makes its home, though you may luck out and find the wines at select restaurants, too. The Syrah is a new release for the brand, with fruit sourced from Suncrest Vineyard along Tuc-El-Nuit Road in Oliver. This shows beautifully defined bramble and blueberry alongside savoury spices and an aromatic floral lift, with four percent viognier blended in from Kozier Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. The oak is present but harmoniously balanced with the fruit weight to effortlessly carry the 50% new French barriques. Even with that fruit ripeness, this still is restrained, elegant, and vibrant. What stands out most of all is the texture: supple, silky, polished, seamless, and complete. It's a joy to drink now but a wine that you will regret not having more of in your cellar. In short, another wow wine from Dwight. Only 88 six-packs produced.Prices: BC 62.52 Producer: Roche Wines
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Hester Creek Syrahtext
89PTS

Hester Creek Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 was a fine growing season in the Oliver and Osoyoos region led by overall Growing Degree Days (GDD) of 1598, above the 20 year average of 1474, but with few heat spikes. A warm, wet September stole the crop from perfection. A severe widespread frost across the entire Okanagan Valley abruptly ended the season on October 9. The fruit is a mix of handpicked syrah from the Golden Mile Bench and longtime grower at Eagles Nest Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench. The syrah was cofermented with a small amount of viognier from the Star Vineyard in Osoyoos to lift the aromatics. The attack is full and ripe, more Barossa than Rhone, with spicy, floral, rich black cherry, blueberry flecked with bacon and smoke and a rich dollop of oak. You can drink or hold this wine through 2024 and beyond. Lamb burgers sound just about right as a pairing. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on fine lees for 12 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Syrahtext
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Syrah 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe year of smoke and wildfires has had little, if any, effect on this Kobau Vineyard Syrah, tucked underneath Kobau Mountain on the Golden Mile Bench. Instead, its southerly aspect gives it a gentle exposure to the early morning sun, escaping the late afternoon heat that coats the east side of the Okanagan between Osoyoos and Oliver. The nose is polished and inviting with rich black fruit and a sophisticated hit of new French oak, reduced to 40 percent in 2018 to great effect. Glossy and stylish, this is a surprisingly sexy syrah with one foot in the Rhone Valley and one foot in the Barossa Valley. Blueberries, black pepper, velvety tannins, and creamy textures give this wine wide appeal, which is no surprise for southern Okanagan syrah. You can drink this now given its balance, but I would cellar this five to seven years before returning to it. Refined quality. Think rich fall fare from lamb shoulder to roasted root vegetables.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrahtext
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Phantom Creek Estates Phantom Creek Vineyard Syrah 2018

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPhantom Creek Syrah hails from one of the most famous vineyards, Phantom Creek, in the south Okanagan. It's not a shy wine, but it offers more elegance than you might expect, especially up front and on the mid-palate. The last half of the wine is a peppery, intense, wild syrah that reminds me of a Crozes-Hermitage with slightly more style. With only 1.2 acres planted, a meagre four barrels production in 2018, there isn't much to go around. Floral, savoury, smoky, and fresh, this is an explosive wine on the palate that will reward more time in the cellar, perhaps a much as a decade. Well made.Prices: BC 90.00 Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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Corcelettes Syrah 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe stony, dry, wild Similkameen is simply a treat to smell and sip. It's hard to explain how the rest of the world is chasing this style of wine with little hope of catching it, short of moving to the Similkameen. The fruit comes off the home estate set upon the Upper Bench of Keremeos. The soils are described as Stemwinder, essentially stone and gravel and sand that is windblown, like the Northern Rhone. The style is slightly drier than 2018 but less smoky with blueberry, black pepper dusted in local sage and deer brush. Tight, linear, and structured, it will live for a decade in a bottle and only improve. Serve now with lamb chops, but I like lamb shoulder and root vegetables as it ages.Prices: BC 27.90 Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Amulet Syrahtext
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Amulet Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is a collaboration between Dwight Sick, and Penelope and Dylan Roche. The grapes are hand tended from the vine to the winery. Nothing much else is done to leave the fruit in a natural state through fermentation. The blend is 96/4 syrah/viognier, and production is a minuscule 88 x 6-packs. First, it gets a whole berry cold soak in one ton open top fermenters. After seven days, the must is gently warmed, and an indigenous fermentation complete with hand punch downs gently extracts tannins for 22 days. Finally, the grapes are pressed into 50 percent new and 50 percent second-fill French barrels to mature on the gross lees for 20 months. The nose comes with sweet spice and floral notes. The attack is rich with textured red and black fruit, terrific acidity, and fine overall balance, a Dwight Sick calling card. A classy interpretation of a northern Rhone syrah that will get even better in the bottle. The medallion on Amulet bottles is a replica recast of the original hand-struck Gold Angel coin from the Elizabethan era. First appearing in 1470, the coin depicts St Michael slaying an evil dragon. Rumoured to be Shakespeare's preferred payment method for his services, the gold coin was also frequently worn as an amulet to ward off evil and bring good luck to those in its possession.Prices: BC 62.52 Producer: Roche Wines
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12 October 2021

Maçanita Letra F Vinho de Misturatext
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Maçanita Letra F Vinho de Mistura 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLetter F is a play on words for the categorization system for port grapes in the Douro, finishing at letter E. From the Cima Corgo and 480m - 720m altitude, this is a blend of more than 20 red and white varieties, including many very old vines. After a cold soak, this was native fermented in small lagares, with 28 days on skins before ageing 1 year in stainless. As one would imagine, with all those grapes, this is incredibly perfumed and complexed, with purple florals, tight plum, rockrose, pink peppercorns, cherry blossoms, scrubby lavender and rosemary leading the medium palate. Tannins are long, fine, and grippy, guiding this lighter bodied red to a very saline, schistous finish. Such an intriguing and characterful wine; seriously smashable.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Tinto Reservatext
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Maçanita Tinto Reserva 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project. This Reserva blends 64% Sousão (now called Sesão), 30% Touriga Nacional, and 6% field blend of traditional Douro grapes. This was native fermented and macerated on skins for 26 days before aging 18 months in French oak barrels (25% new). Black plum, wild blackberry, tart black cherry, violets is seasoned with toasty spices, and gripped with firm tannins through the saline finish. The schist gives a tight, firm grip and ample freshness to the 14% wine, still very much in youth. Open this in advance, or give it a year or two in the cellar. Certainly of a place, and only could be Douro.Prices: ON 41.95 Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Tintotext
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Maçanita Tinto 2019

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project. This is a blend of touriga nacional, sousão (now renamed sezão) and a field blend of old vines, all from the Cima Corgo, and is native fermented with twenty days on skins in stainless, where it remains for one year. Fresh plum, wild blackberries, perfumed cherries leap from the glass, scented with rockrose and pink peppercorns, and framed with long, firm and finely grippy tannins. There is a great tension and freshness throughout from the schist soils, and hands-off treatment. Very saline, and moreish.Prices: ON 24.25 Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Touriga Nacional em Rosétext
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Maçanita Touriga Nacional em Rosé 2020

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project. This Touriga Nacional rosé comes from the Cima Corgo, around 200m altitude. Gently crushed grapes were macerated for 3 to 6 hours, before ferment and a short rest in stainless. Pouring a blushing pink hue, this dry rosé rings with wild strawberry, cherry blossoms, tightened with a grippy pink grapefruit pith. Acidity is racy, easily skipping this along the slight palate to a tart finish. Fresh and vibrant, meant for drinking now.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Branco Reservatext
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Maçanita Branco Reserva 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project, and this is the first Branco Reserva release. This blend of Arinto, Rabigato, and a field blend of traditional Douro grapes comes from vines mostly 500m and above. This was whole bunch pressed, then fermented in 40% stainless and 60% neutral oak barrels where it remained for 14 months, with bâtonnage. Green fig, quince, subtle white peach, kernel rule the medium palate, with an ample bed of earthy lees, and a sliver of lemon pith around the sides. The schistous soils lend a textural tension throughout, and linger on the saline finish.Very much in youth, give this time in the glass or your cellar to relax into itself.Prices: ON 41.95 Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Brancotext
90PTS

Maçanita Branco 2020

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project. This Branco blends viosinho, códega do larinho, and gouveio comes mostly from the Baixo Corgo (80%), with the remainder from the Cima Corgo and from vines between 580-700m on granite and schistous soils. This was whole bunch pressed, then fermented and aged in stainless for 6 months, on lees. Subtle white blossoms, pear, green apple, green fig, lemon peel is slicked with lees, and cut with a bracing stony schistous hum that lingers long on the finish. Accessible, bright, and drinking very smartly now.Prices: ON 23.95 Producer: Maçanita
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11 October 2021

Imbzzl Fast Double Cross Pinot Gristext
87PTS

Imbzzl Fast Double Cross Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaImbzzl (embezzle) is a new label out of Laughing Stock, connected to the brand's link with stock market terms, although the notion of stealing money from the company seems like an odd theme. As a pinot gris, this joins a long list of ripe and slightly tart editions in the market. Nectarine notes lead pear/apple fruit with a citrus ending. Ready to drink. Serve with creamy pasta dishes to the best effect.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Red Rooster Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Red Rooster Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is advertised as a lot of fun to drink, and it is. Balanced and packed full of perfectly ripe, juicy fruit with a hint of minerality and a touch of cool (clay loam soil) weight, all of which heightens its mouthfeel. A terrific summer white you can follow this into the fall and winter with most any favourite shellfish dish — more, please.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Red Rooster Winery
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Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMission Hill is a model of consistency at the Reserve level and continues to tweak the lineup in search of something special each time out. 2020 is a mix of Naramata (freshness) and Oliver (ripeness and orange peels) fruit. Some 46 percent is fermented on oak, but only nine percent is new. It has just about all you want in fruit, texture and weight, with nectarines and oranges vying for the flavour profile. Clean refreshing with a creamy, leesy finish. Stylish and ready to drink. Fish tacos, creamy pasta, and soft cheeses all work here.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Imbzzl Fast Double Cross Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Imbzzl Fast Double Cross Pinot Gris 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 pinot gris comes from Thomas Ranch Vineyards, with loamy silt over sandy gravels. After a light pressing, this was fermented and briefly rested in stainless. Ripe pear, nectarine, Asian pear is threaded with lime pith along a creamy palate, finishing with a dusting of spice and a bitter orange note. Nicely polished and ready for drinking now.Prices: BC 21.49 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Peak Cellars Skin Kissed Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Peak Cellars Skin Kissed Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe peachy hue of this gris comes from the 16 hours of cold cooking the whole clusters, prior to a gentle pressing and fermentation in stainless, where it remained for 6 months, on lees, prior to bottling. White peach, subtle apricot, gooseberry, peach yogurt rule the creamy palate, livened with a dusting of ginger spicing that lingers on the saline finish. Smart choice for cracking into now.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 34 year old estate vines, and 2 French clones, this classic, unstated, and confident BC Gris was native fermented in a mix of foudre, 500L French oak, and stainless, where it remained 6 months on lees, without bâtonnage. Orchard pear, lemon, meadow herbs is threaded with scrubby sage spicing, and seasoned with light toast. The finish lingers with a gentle stony hum. Grown up gris, drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 24.90 AB 26.85 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Haywire Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Gris 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from Oliver and Summerland, this was wild fermented and aged in a combination of concrete, stainless steel, and foudre. If the Switchback Vineyard is about texture and restraint, this is more about the fruit. But don’t take that to mean it’s a simple, fruit salad style of pinot gris. This has a depth that far surpasses your average entry level gris, with nicely defined pear and white blossoms alongside pillowy lees. It's fresh, lively, and approachable, but still with a level of seriousness. Nicely done and well priced.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Haywire Switchback Organic Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from the organic certified Switchback Vineyard in Summerland, this was whole bunch pressed to concrete tanks, where it was wild fermented. This shows a beautiful combination of crunchy Asian pear, soft peach, chalk, and an attractive flinty reductive accent after aging on its lees for 10 months. It's mineral driven and textured, both restrained and concentrated, with a crisp, pithy finish. This is serious Okanagan pinot gris that's only going to get better with 3-4 years in bottle. Recommended.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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08 October 2021

Vina Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanctext
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Vina Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileI loved this wine the last time I tasted it, 15 years ago, and I still like it. Then it was cork finished and would never be sold under screwcap. Of course, it is under screwcap now, but tragically the winery and its agents have failed to get us any of their wines to taste for more than a decade. I mention that only because if you wonder where brands go, it is usually a failure to market the wine to the right people. But that was then, and this is now. Look for an intense version of sauvignon that is picked at night and cold-soaked for five days before being pressed off and fermented. The attack is a mix of key lime, guava pineapple, and sea salt with just a hint of smoke and white pepper for complexity. In the mouth, bright flavours of ginger, citrus zest, and white pepper give way to a tight mineral backbone and fresh acidity. A solid effort in a warm year. Ridiculous value at $13 in Ontario.Prices: BC 17.95 Producer: Viña Casas del Bosque Ltd.
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Errazuriz Estate Reserva Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Errazuriz Estate Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Region de Aconcagua, ChileAt $12.95, my advice is to buy this and drink it if you like sauvignon blanc and want a solid alternative to the New Zealand examples that rule the world. Errazuirz has done some amazing stuff in Aconcagua Costa. Although this label is not from the coast, it benefits from all the research and development into sauvignon at Errazuriz. Dry limon notes with a touch of bitterness; it is all you need for the price.Prices: BC 14.75 Producer: Viña Errazuriz
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Da Silva Fumé Blanctext
89PTS

Da Silva Fumé Blanc 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Da Silva family fave been farming the Okanagan Valley since they arrived in the 1950s, continuing the work of their ancestors who have been involved in farming and winemaking on Portugal's Azores Islands since the 1700s. From Hidden Hollow Vineyard on the Naramata Bench, this was stainless fermented before heading to new American medium+ toasted oak for 8 weeks, on lees. The wood is certainly evident, overriding the crunchy green-edged orchard fruit at this youthful stage. Fresh green apple, green pear, gooseberry are almost holding their own, and will have a better chance when the oak tames down some in 6-12 months. Quite structural and worthy of partnering with protein-laden dishes.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc Itext
90PTS

Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc I 2015

Pfalz, GermanyThis dry sauvignon wine comes from high density plantings in Deidesheim, in the Pfalz, and the region's sandy loam, red sandstone, and loess soils. This was entirely fermented in oak. Pouring a deeper yellow hue, this is honeyed and concentrated with focused mandarin, grapefruit, quince, lined with brown butter. The finish lingers with shimmering stone. Worn beautifully with time, this is the time to drink this striking wine.Prices: BC 46.00 Producer: Von Winning
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07 October 2021

Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Craven Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom west-facing 1999 planted vines on Polkadraai's Karibib Vineyard's decomposed granites, this was early picked and partial whole cluster, fermented native and on skins for a short time before moving into neutral French barrel. This lighter, fresher cab rings with cassis, black cherry, plum across a graphite base, scented with dried florals, and drawn with that characteristic granitic grip. Acidity is bright, and tannins are long and lithe, pulling this towards a lingering sappy, saline finish.Prices: ON 37.95 Producer: Craven Wines
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Craven Wines Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Craven Wines Chardonnay 2020

Polkadraai Hills, Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Danie Carinus' Bluegum Grove Vineyard in the Polkadraai Hills, this chardonnay was planted in 2005 on super sandy granitic soils (like a beach). This was whole cluster pressed and native fermented in neutral 500L barrels for MLF and 8 months' rest. Savoury and stony, with yellow plum, young quince, lemon blossom, unbuttered popcorn, and a saline wash on the humming finish. Lovely, pure view of Stelly chardy.Prices: AB 38.00 Producer: Craven Wines
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Restless River Wanderlusttext
90PTS

Restless River Wanderlust 2019

Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Walker Bay, Overberg, South AfricaRestless River is a small, but mighty, family-owned winery in the cool Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hundreds of years ago, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley was known as Attacquas Kloof. In 1760 the elder, Wessel Wessels arrived with his family and set up home. Some historians say it was Wessel who called the valley 'Hemel-en-Aarde'. What is known for sure is that old man Wessels was the first European of settler descent to live in and farm the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Fast forward a few hundred years, when husband and wife Craig and Anne Wessels started planting part of the farm in 2004, launching the Restless River label in 2012 to continual critical acclaim. They have truly made a name for themselves, and the cool climate, higher altitude Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, with world-class wines like this. The Wanderlust project allows Craig the freedom to make a one-off wine each vintage. The 2019 is a medium-bodied blend of pinot noir and pinotage from neighbouring north-facing vineyards, around 215m, on granite soils with gravelled rocky loam over decomposed granite clays. The grapes were whole cluster, native fermented separately, partially carbonic, before being pressed off in their basket press, with the pinotage being pressed off after 7 days, before dry. The wine then moved into older French barrels (allowing the pinotage ferment to finish), where it remained for one year prior to a 2 month stint in stainless before bottling, without fining. Opening with a puff of reduction that quickly dissipates, this lighter red is tight and grippy, woven with green branch and fresh green herbs throughout bright cherry, green raspberry, with crunchy acidity, and light, downy tannins. Balance is brill on this glou-glou wine. Take now with a chill. 2520 bottles made.Prices: Producer: Restless River
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Restless River Main Road & Dignitytext
94PTS

Restless River Main Road & Dignity 2017

Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Walker Bay, Overberg, South AfricaRestless River is a small, but mighty, family-owned winery in the cool Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hundreds of years ago, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley was known as Attacquas Kloof. In 1760 the elder, Wessel Wessels arrived with his family and set up home. Some historians say it was Wessel who called the valley 'Hemel-en-Aarde'. What is known for sure is that old man Wessels was the first European of settler descent to live in and farm the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Fast forward a few hundred years, when husband and wife Craig and Anne Wessels started planting part of the farm in 2004, launching the Restless River label in 2012 to continual critical acclaim. They have truly made a name for themselves, and the cool climate, higher altitude Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, with world-class wines like this. They have the oldest plantings of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in the valley, dating back to 1999, and still one of the only working with cab sauv in this cool region. Main Road and Dignity are two single vineyards, with slopes of gravel and koffeklip soils over decomposed granite clays. This was destemmed and native fermented in small open top oak vats, with a lengthy maceration followed by basket pressing. This then went into French barriques (20% new) where it rested undisturbed for 21 months. It was then racked from barrel to stainless for a short tightening stint prior to bottling, and 2 more years' rest prior to release. Iron-laced black cherry, wild blackberry, blackcurrant, anise, tobacco, graphite race through this medium+ red, structured with firm, long tannins, and effortlessly lifted with a stony, saline rise, carrying this to a lengthy salted liquorice and forest bark finish. Powerful, yet energetic and finessed, this is a striking cab that can compete with the world's best. 7973 bottles made.Prices: Producer: Restless River
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Restless River Le Luctext
93PTS

Restless River Le Luc 2019

Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Walker Bay, Overberg, South AfricaRestless River is a small, but mighty, family-owned winery in the cool Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hundreds of years ago, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley was known as Attacquas Kloof. In 1760 the elder, Wessel Wessels arrived with his family and set up home. Some historians say it was Wessel who called the valley 'Hemel-en-Aarde'. What is known for sure is that old man Wessels was the first European of settler descent to live in and farm the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Fast forward a few hundred years, when husband and wife Craig and Anne Wessels started planting part of the farm in 2004, launching the Restless River label in 2012 to continual critical acclaim. They have truly made a name for themselves, and the cool climate, higher altitude Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, with world-class wines like this. This pinot noir, planted in 2013, was named for their son, and rooted in sloping, well-drained gravel granite loam and iron rich koffieklip soils. This was partial whole cluster, native fermented in small open top vats, without punchdowns or pumpovers. Post ferment, this moved into French barriques (25% new) for a year long rest. It was then racked into stainless for a couple of months' tightening stint before bottling, without fining. Fragrant and alluring with wild cherries, black raspberries, plums, tea leaves threaded with iodine and iron running the slender, finessed palate. Tannins are long and fine and firm, housing this through a saline finish. Hints of quality Mornington Peninsula, and Volnay, but very distinctly H-e-A, which is thrilling. Beautiful now, and with ample time ahead. 3554 bottles madePrices: Producer: Restless River
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Restless River Ava Marietext
95PTS

Restless River Ava Marie 2018

Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Walker Bay, Overberg, South AfricaRestless River is a small, but mighty, family-owned winery in the cool Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hundreds of years ago, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley was known as Attacquas Kloof. In 1760 the elder, Wessel Wessels arrived with his family and set up home. Some historians say it was Wessel who called the valley 'Hemel-en-Aarde'. What is known for sure is that old man Wessels was the first European of settler descent to live in and farm the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Fast forward a few hundred years, when husband and wife Craig and Anne Wessels started planting part of the farm in 2004, launching the Restless River label in 2012 to continual critical acclaim. They have truly made a name for themselves, and the cool climate, higher altitude Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, with world-class wines like this. The farm has some of the oldest Cabernet sauvignon and Chardonnay in the Hemel-en-Aarde, with vines first planted in 1999. This Chardonnay bears the name of its single 2.06 hectare vineyard, named after their daughter. The slopes are south and east facing, with shallow top soils with iron-rich rocks and sandy gravels over decomposed granite clays. This was whole bunch pressed, settled overnight, and then native fermented into various sized French barrels (7% new) as well as two terracotta amphora, from Tuscany. Post ferment, this rested on lees for 11 months prior to moving to stainless for a 3 month tightening stint prior to bottling. Once in bottle, this rested for 18 months prior to release. Alluring from first flint-kissed whiff, this chardonnay is riveting with ample salinity, lemon, wild herbs and fresh hazelnuts racing the length of the finessed palate. The chiselled structure comes easily via the granitic soils and altitude, guided by gentle handling in the winery. The finish lingers long with light toast and ample mouthwatering salinity. Such a stunner, and up there with top chardonnay made anywhere. 9342 bottles made.Prices: Producer: Restless River
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04 October 2021

François Mikulski Bourgogne Aligotétext
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François Mikulski Bourgogne Aligoté 2019

Burgundy, FranceFrançois Mikulski’s father was Lieutenant Mieczyslaw Mikulski, an escapee from occupied Poland in 1939, fleeing to England and joining the Resistance troops of the Free Polish Forces. It was there he met his future wife, a Burgundian working on an English army base. They moved to Brussels where François was born and raised. François spent his formative summers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with wine culture (fortunately for us). These organically farmed 1929 and 1948 planted aligote vines are planted in prime Meursault, native fermented in tank and older wood. The 2019 is noticeably softer than the tight 2018, with lemon, light cream, verbena running the slender palate, lit with a shimmering lemon peel and bedded with stones. The finish lingers with a wash of salinity. More subtle, yet still striking, and satisfying.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: François Mikulski
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Domaine Fichet Bourgogne Aligotétext
89PTS

Domaine Fichet Bourgogne Aligoté 2019

Burgundy, FranceThis aligoté comes from a single hectare of vines planted in the Maconnais, planted in 1998 on clay/limestone soils. It was fermented and rested in stainless. This 2019 aligoté is quite ripe and forward, with lemon curd, ripe pear, flax, honeysuckle on a softer waxen palate. I think this suffers some from the scorching summer temperatures in Bourgogne in 2019, but is still a pleasant sipper now, ideally with salads or steamed clams.Prices: QC 22.80 Producer: Domaine Fichet
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Buissonnier Bourgogne Aligoté Silextext
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Buissonnier Bourgogne Aligoté Silex 2018

Burgundy, FranceCave des Vignerons de Buxy is a co-op of growers of the Cote Chalonnaise that began over 80 years ago, and today includes 120 family farms. These aligoté parcels are located mainly between Buxy and Saint-Gengoux-le-National, at the bottom of the hills and on rocky, scree-scattered calcareous soils. This was fermented and rested entirely in stainless. Creamy and smooth on the medium bodied palate, with lemon cream, red apple, lemon blossoms, a comfortable pad of lees, finishing with a wash of stones. I am really liking Bourgogne Aligoté from 2018, and this is no exception. Drinking very well now. Shining bright lemon, stones, pear run the sleek palate, finishing with a lemon twist.Prices: QC 18.00 Producer: Vignerons de Buxy
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Domaine Chevalier Bourgogne Aligotétext
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Domaine Chevalier Bourgogne Aligoté 2019

Burgundy, FranceFrom 30 year old vines in the village of Ladoix Serrigny, on the Côte de Beaune, this Aligoté was fermented and aged in stainless over 11 months, and lightly fined and filtered before bottling. The 2019 has a fresh lemon profile, with lemon blossoms, ripe pear ruling a sleek, stony, lightly waxy palate. This finishes with a hint of creamed corn and a potent lemon peel twist. Quite a bit of energy still.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: Domaine Chevalier Pére & Fils
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Domaine Chevalier Bourgogne Aligotétext
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Domaine Chevalier Bourgogne Aligoté 2018

Burgundy, FranceDomaine Chevalier originated in 1850 when it was created by Emile Dubois. From 30 year old vines in the village of Ladoix Serrigny, on the Côte de Beaune, this Aligoté was fermented and aged in stainless over 11 months, and lightly fined and filtered before bottling. The 2018 is showing some age, with aligoté gaining a honeyed edge to the stone, pear, subtle quince and a slick of brown butter on the lightly waxy palate, finishing with a lemon pith flicker. Losing a bit of energy, but drinking well now, ideally with poultry or endive salads.Prices: ON 28.95 Producer: Domaine Chevalier Pére & Fils
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Jean-Claude Ramonet Bourgogne Aligotétext
92PTS

Jean-Claude Ramonet Bourgogne Aligoté 2018

Burgundy, FrancePierre Ramonet arrived in Burgundy in the late 1920s with nothing but a knapsack, and started to earn money by buying and vinifying grapes. The land value was very low, so hardworking Pierre was able to accumulate vineyard plots surrounding the village of Chassagne-Montrachet, with his first purchase within the great Ruchottes vineyard in 1934. Pierre eventually handed over the reins to his son André, who passed in 2011, and subsequently to his grandchildren, Noël and Jean-Claude, who had tended the family vineyards since 1984. The Domaine produces 24 appellation wines from 40 acres located primarily near Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet in the southern Côte de Beaune. This Bourgogne Aligoté comes from vines planted in 1956 and 1963. Quite intense in the mouth, yet restrained with 12.5%, this achieves that rare wonder in wine of lightness of being while complex. Darts of reduction weave throughout lemon thistle, river stone, crunchy pear, all riding a slick of downy lees, and finishing with a flush of wild meadow grass and ample flake salts. Quite alluring, and holding its slender figure considering the 2018 vintage. That diam cork will come in handy for your short-term cellaring, if you can keep yourself from drinking it all now.Prices: BC 53.00 Producer: Jean-Claude Ramonet
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Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Aligotétext
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Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Aligoté 2017

Burgundy, FranceOlivier Leflaive is one of Burgundy’s respected wine négoces, offering wines of excellent quality from village appellations and cru vineyards across the Côte d’Or. The house makes all wines in house at their winery in Puligny-Montrachet, and maintains close relationships with their growers. The grapes for this Bourgogne Aligoté are sourced from plots located in Puligny and Corpeau. It was matured for 10 months (20% in stainless, 80% in oak barrels) before release. A gentle wave of reduction is well worn into the wine by this time, absorbed by lemon, green apple, river stones running a lees-decked, medium bodied palate. A dusting of toast lingers on the finish, along with studs of crystallized lemon. Quite a polished and smart aligoté, and apparently age worthy, with a Diam10 cork.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Olivier Leflaive
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01 October 2021

Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Chardonnay 2019

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaWe have been waiting for this wine to get to market, and the first ever chardonnay from Unsworth does not disappoint. The fruit comes off Mildenstein Vineyard, formerly Godfrey Brownell, and was handled with extreme care. A whole cluster press, a partial native ferment in neutral barriques, and ten months on lees with monthly bâtonnage leave it with a lot of verve. The style is fresh and nutty with persistent island acidity leaving every sip refreshing with a whack of green apple and citrus mixing with a stony, salty, mineral undercurrent. An impressive start, this chardonnay comes in under 12 percent alcohol while ringing a lot of bells for the future of this variety in the Cowichan Valley.Prices: BC 30.35 Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Michel Prunier et Fille Auxey-Duressestext
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Michel Prunier et Fille Auxey-Duresses 2018

Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceThis comes from three parcels in Auxey-Duresses: le Village, les Closeaux, and les Hautées, with calcareous, well-draining soils and vines averaging 34 years. This was fermented in a mix of stainless and wood, before resting in barrels (10% new) with bâtonnage for 10 months. You can feel the structure of the soils, and elevage, right away, with stony bones framing lemon, green apple, fresh hazelnuts through the lingering, limestone buzzing finish. Though drinking very well now, this is still showing some youth, and will continue to grow and reward with time in your cellar.Prices: ON 62.95 Producer: Michel Prunier et Fille
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Michel Prunier et Fille Bourgogne Chardonnaytext
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Michel Prunier et Fille Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018

Burgundy, FranceFrom a very stony, east-facing slope in the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, these Chardonnay vines are 28 years of age. After a stainless ferment, this rested in older barrels with bâtonnage for 10 months. The lees is evident, bedding the medium body and basing the lemon, cream, subtle apple blossom atop. There's an ample stoniness throughout, reflective of the bony, calcareous soils. Holds freshness well, considering the hot 2018 vintage. Drinking smartly now, and with some time ahead.Prices: ON 38.95 Producer: Michel Prunier et Fille
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Domaine Jean Bourdy Douce Jeanne Chardonnaytext
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Domaine Jean Bourdy Douce Jeanne Chardonnay 2019

FranceThis natural, deeply orange hued, hazy orange wine is one of Jean Bourdy's daughter Laura's set of sulphur-free wines, and only a few bottles made their way to Canada. This whole bunch chardy, named for her niece Jeanne, had 15 days on skins before pressing into barrel for one years' rest, with no sulphites throughout. That barrel was tucked amongst a bunch of Savagnin, so a fine, thin layer of yeast developed. Bone dry, with riffing pear skin, apricot fuzz, baked apricot, broken stones and grapefruit pith on a grippy, fino-esque palate to a luring bergamot and saline finish. This medium+ bodied wine opens with time, so give it a bit to relax in the glass.Prices: BC 52.00 Producer: Domaine Jean Bourdy
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Merryvale Vineyards Chardonnay Carnerostext
91PTS

Merryvale Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros 2018

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United StatesThis Chardonnay was grown primarily on their historic Stanly Ranch Estate Vineyard in Carneros, with some lots from the Hyde and Bayview Vineyards blended in. These vineyards’ proximity to the San Pablo Bay helps keep a cool freshness to these Carneros wines. This was entirely native barrel fermented, with full MLF. The wine spent 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. This is complex and layered with hazelnuts, lemon curd, lemon peel, and flicks of brown butter on a medium+ palate, finishing with a kiss of vanilla. Acidity is lofted and gently tightened with a lemon pith brace. Quite elegant, drinking beautifully now and with ample time ahead.Prices: Producer: Merryvale Vineyards
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Starmont Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Starmont Chardonnay 2018

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United StatesStarmont was built in 2006 by the Schlatter Family, owners of Merridale Vineyard. 40% of this wine came from Stanly Ranch, with the balance from vineyards throughout Carneros. A combination of barrel fermentation (55%) and stainless steel tank fermentation (45%) was used, and this rested 10 months in 75% French oak, with partial MLF. Gentle cream, lemon curd, lemon blossom and pear is scented with vanilla across the gently expansive mid palate. Acidity keeps this thankfully fresh and moderate at 13.5%. A smart, modern Carneros, drinking well now.Prices: Producer: Merryvale Vineyards
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