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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: December 2021

29 December 2021

Zarate Albariño Val do Salnéstext
91PTS

Zarate Albariño Val do Salnés 2020

Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainFounded in 1707, the family owned Zarate estate is located in Rias Baixas' Val do Salinas subregion. Their sloping, weathered granite vineyards are translated via albariño, a grape intrinsically associated with the estate. Seventh-generation Eulogio Pomares runs this historic bodega today, farming almost fully biodynamically. This is from 30 year old vines, fermented native, and with three months on the lees in stainless. This is positively alive with a buzzy energy livening lime/lemon pith and peel, pear skin, green apple, over a bed of river stones, all gripped with granite's inherent tension. A beaut, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Zarate
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Vinyes Domènech Bancal del Bosc Tintotext
89PTS

Vinyes Domènech Bancal del Bosc Tinto 2019

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainVinyes Domènech is a family project started Joan Ignaci and his wife, Rita, in Capçanes, in the south of Priorat. Together with their sons, they biodynamically farm 15 hectares of recovered old-vines vineyards. This is 85/15 Garnacha / Samsó (AKA Carignan) from red clay and calcareous soils. After a native ferment, this aged in both French oak and stainless for 6 months. Dark cherry, boozy dark plums, flood a brooding, full palate, freshened by stony mountain acidity, and framed with gritty, iron-dusted tannins. Quite authentic and pure view of a region.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Vinyes Domènech
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4Kilostext
94PTS

4Kilos 2019

SpainA kilo is old Spanish slang for one million Pesetas, Spain’s former currency. 4 Kilos founders Francesc Grimalt and Sergio Cabellero’s investment of 4 million Pesetas (the equivalent of a modest $35,000 Canadian dollars) founded this now renowned winery. From these humble beginnings they produced their first wine on Mallorca, fermenting in old milk refrigeration units. Officially launching in 2007, they converted that former sheep farm into the 4 Kilos winery. The garagiste operation sources grapes from organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards in northern and southern Mallorca. This, their flagship wine, is 20-45 year old callet vines, indigenous to the island, from various organically farmed plots, each native fermented separately and aged in a mix of stainless and 600L French barrels. This serious, striking red rings with minerality, the precision of which sculpts the graceful wild plum, iris, herbal scrub scenting the medium (12% palate). Tannins are long and fine, and acidity is buoyant, carrying this through a haunting, saline finish. This charmer carries that magic quality of intensity x lightness of being. Drinking beautifully now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 79.00 BC 68.00 Producer: 4Kilos Wines
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4Kilos Wines Gallinas y Focastext
92PTS

4Kilos Wines Gallinas y Focas 2018

SpainA kilo is old Spanish slang for one million Pesetas, Spain’s former currency. 4 Kilos founders Francesc Grimalt and Sergio Cabellero’s investment of 4 million Pesetas (the equivalent of a modest $35,000 Canadian dollars) founded this now renowned winery. From these humble beginnings they produced their first wine on Mallorca, fermenting in old milk refrigeration units. Officially launching in 2007, they converted that former sheep farm into the 4 Kilos winery. The garagiste operation sources grapes from organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards in northern and southern Mallorca. Gallimas y Focas (Hens & Seals) is primarily Manto Negro, with a splash of syrah, rooted in the region's red, calcareous iron oxide clay soils known as Call Vermell. This was native fermented in stainless, and aged in older 500L barrels for a year, followed by 6 months in 4000L foudre, and 6 months in bottle. There's a lovely gentle generosity to the medium bodied palate, with wild plums, wild blackberries, kirsch, violets, pink peppercorns cradled by long, downy tannins through a smouldering, saline finish. The whimsically-labelled bottle is so named because 'hens are funny and seals clap'. Very unique, and impressive.Prices: ON 51.50 BC 40.00 Producer: 4Kilos Wines
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Microbio Verdejotext
92PTS

Microbio Verdejo 2019

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainIsmael Gozalo is renowned for his work with the Verdejo grape, native to his village of Nieva, in Castilla y León. This 5th generation winemaker is named by some as "El Mago de las Verdejos" (Wizard of the Verdejos). His MicroBio wines are from 5 hectares of organically and biodynamically farmed old vines, some of which, rooted in sandy soils, are ungrafted. These ancient vines are up to 200 years old, around 800-900m. This verdejo was whole cluster native fermented in stainless, where it holds on lees for 5 months. Wild lemon, anise, candied quince, almonds, tight white florals skip across a shimmering, slender palate, lingering with ample salinity. Subtle, yet expressive, this is verdejo like you've never experienced.Prices: BC 52.00 Producer: Microbio Wines
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Albamar Capitán Xurelotext
88PTS

Albamar Capitán Xurelo 2018

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainXurxo Alba's family has been farming and making Albariño in Rïas Baixas' O Salnés subregion for generations. It wasn't until Xurxo finished his enology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006, under his direction. The Alba family owns 2.5 hectares and sources approximately 10 hectares throughout the Atlantic influenced region. This red blend, a rarity in white-centric Galacia, mixes 95% Mencía, 3% Caíño Tinto, 2% Espadeiro. The grapes and stems are foot-trodden and native fermented in plastic buckets before 1 year in older barrels, and bottling without fining or filtration. This slender 10.5% red streams along the palate with cherry, cranberry, pomegranate framed with whisper fine tannins and ample crunchy acid. The lean finish rings with salinity, a wash of VA, and more lip-smacking acidity. Take with a slight chill and adventuresome spirit.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Bodegas Albamar
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Albamar O Esteiro Tintotext
89PTS

Albamar O Esteiro Tinto 2018

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainXurxo Alba's family has been farming and making Albariño in Rïas Baixas' O Salnés subregion for generations. It wasn't until Xurxo finished his enology studies that the Alba family started bottling and commercializing their wines in 2006, under his direction. The Alba family owns 2.5 hectares and sources approximately 10 hectares throughout the Atlantic influenced region. This red blend, a rarity in white-centric Galacia, is sourced from 100 year old vines rooted in Val do Salnes' sandy, granitic soils. The 95% Mencía, 3% Caíño Tinto, 2% Espadeiro was 80% whole bunch, and all is native fermented on skins over three weeks. The wine then undergoes aging for 8 months in small French oak barrels. It is bottled without fining or filtering. Fragrant red florals, pomegranate, walnut shells, mustard seed streaks along the slender palate, wrapping around a plum core, and shaped by brisk salinity as much as the sandy granitic soils. Acidity is tight and sharp, easily lofting this 11% red, while tannins are whisper fine. Quite intriguing; blind I would go to pockets of cool climate Oz, like Yarra or Clare.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Bodegas Albamar
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Envinate Migantext
91PTS

Envinate Migan 2019

Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainEnvínate, translating as "wine yourself," is the brainchild of 4 friends who came together in 2005 while studying enology at the University of Miguel Hernandez in Alicante. Upon graduation, they formed a winemaking consultancy, which evolved into Envínate, a project focused on exploring distinctive parcels mainly in the Atlantic-inflected regions of Ribeira Sacra and the Canary Islands. Migan comes from two very old parcels of cordon trenzado (braided vines) Listan Negro in the Orovata Valley of Tenerife. 60% is off volcanic sands at 600m, while the remainder is off an older plot at 350m, with more clay in the soils. Each plot was fermented separately, foot-trodden, with the higher elevation entirely whole cluster, in large concrete vats. It then moved into 228L and 600L older French barrels for MLF and 11 months' ageing. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Typically Listen Negro, this is a tsunami of reduction upon opening, before the palate floods with pink peppercorn, herbal pitch, thorns, scrubby wild herbs, wild flowers, and the scratchy edginess via the profound volcanic soils. Tannins are feather light, as is the weight of this 12% red, finishing with ample salinity. Requires a chill, and decant, unless you enjoy your wines RAF.Prices: Producer: Envinate
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23 December 2021

Telmo Rodriguez Corriente Bueno de Diariotext
90PTS

Telmo Rodriguez Corriente Bueno de Diario 2018

Rioja, SpainCorriente (common everyday wine), a tribute to an unofficial and traditional wine classification, was used across the Rioja region for many centuries. Winemaker Telmo Rodríguez describes it as wine without pretence, “a wine that represents a region, its culture….” This Rioja Alavesa mix of tempranillo, graciano, and garnacha is grown organically by the winery. It is supplemented by field blends and bush vines manually harvested in small boxes from local suppliers practicing traditional viticulture. The ferment is done with native yeasts, and the wine is aged in older barrels and foudres of mixed ages. Despite a wet year that challenged the viticulture, the wine remains inviting, warm, round and as comfortable as ever, or what I like to call everyday red wine with extraordinary style. So, attention to BC winegrowers: you need to add this type of wine to your toolbox.Prices: BC 35.90 MB 24.99 Producer: Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez
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Faustino I Rioja Gran Reservatext
88PTS

Faustino I Rioja Gran Reserva 2009

Rioja Alavesa, Rioja, SpainThe Faustino Gran Reserva is a tempranillo, graciano, mazuelo blend. The nose is old style, a touch dirty mixed with some oxidation and leather notes. It is an intensely flavoured leather/mahogany oil affair on the palate with smooth slippery tannins and a long, warm, spicy, cinnamon finish. It could be a shock to the system of New World wine drinkers who drink a lot of young wine, but my advice is to give it some air and taste it over the evening and explore the style to the fullest.Prices: BC 46.99 AB 38.85 ON 35.95 Producer: Bodegas Faustino
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Black Hills Tempranillotext
90PTS

Black Hills Tempranillo 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaKudos to Ross Wise for his perfect interpretation of tempranillo, at least BC-style, with his latest effort in 2019. The nose is packed with red fruit nuances, and the palate follows along led by its vibrant acidity, texturally soft tannin, and what would tempranillo be without a little bit of used oak. At 13.5 percent, it reveals all it can, without any interference from the weight and heat of excessive alcohol. The length is long, and the finish is silky with spicy, black licorice, sagebrush. Ready to drink with grilled lamb, roasted chicken or rich, soft cheeses.Prices: BC 49.00 Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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2house Tempranillotext
89PTS

2house Tempranillo 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt took a while to get around to tasting this wine, but I wanted to reference it against other BC tempranillo, which are few and far between. I'm not sure it is the perfect example of tempranillo, but this is more than a well-made wine put together by the winegrowing winemaking team of Val Tait and Ian Sutherland. The colour is deep, edging toward opaque, the nose savoury with very pleasant black plum. On the palate, the attack is silky with a slurry of soft tannins that melt into black licorice, dark chocolate finish. Delicious drinking now but should age through 2025. Grilled lamb chops would be a good match. A wonderful start for this venture.Prices: BC 0.00 Producer: 2house
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22 December 2021

Painted Rock Merlottext
90PTS

Painted Rock Merlot 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 vintage turned out better for some than others across the Okanagan. It got off to a cool, wet start that triggered heightened attention in the vineyards to avoid mould throughout the growing season. Thinning the vines and dropping fruit led to lower yields at Painted Rock. However, the Skaha Bluff vineyards avoided the devasting early October frosts that wreaked so much damage across the Okanagan due to superb air drainage. Merlot clones 181 & 347 are behind this Skaha merlot with a long track record of quality bottlings. 2019 clocks in 14.8 percent alcohol. All four estate vineyard blocks of merlot were cold-soaked and fermented, totalling 25 days on skins before spending 18 months in 30% new French oak. In the glass, black plums and a savoury, spicy undercurrent run through a somewhat cooler, earthy version of merlot. It is all balanced by an acidity easily achieved in BC wine country. The finish is tight, but the tannins are refined and should easily dissipate from year three through the seven year mark. Serve if you must, with a grilled steak to best effect, or cellar through 2025.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Old Vine Merlottext
87PTS

Hester Creek Old Vine Merlot 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has a consistent, wood-driven style that is generally spicy, rich, and supple. The flavours stray into the cherry, cocoa, mocha spectrum before the acidity kicks in across the finish. It is a little bit more old time than old vines. This is ready to drink with any beef dishes.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Oyster Bay Merlottext
84PTS

Oyster Bay Merlot 2019

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom Hawke's Bay's omahu stony gravels and red metal soils, this is Merlot clone 181. Destemmed fruit was fermented in stainless before resting in a blend of stainless and French barriques for 11 months. Milk chocolate, light spice, muted plum take the short, clipped palate, finishing with a bitter cocoa note. Tannins are softened, as is acidity. Hard to find varietal or regional typicity here.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Delegat's Wine Estate Limited
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Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie Merlottext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vivre la Vie Merlot 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaVivre la Vie always sells out early, and 2018 is no exception. This merlot opens with vibrant intense fruit that is more lean than plush, more spicy than soft, with elevated flavours of dark plums, blueberries, Bing cherries and cloves. Well-structured, it needs a bit of protein at the moment to smooth out the edges, but this is a solid effort with no smoke effect that I can detect.Prices: BC 34.90 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Mercer Bros. Merlottext
87PTS

Mercer Bros. Merlot 2018

Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, United StatesThe Mercer family has been growing grapes in the Columbia Valley’s Horse Heaven Hills for fifty years. 2018 opens with a sweet blackberry pie nose with a whiff of oak and cola. The mid palate is soft and chocolatey with brown spices, powdery tannins, mixed with a warm, vanilla caramel, coconut finish. Last year I said, “a little Starbucks and little Costco”, and it is all that and more this year. The blend is 81/16/3 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah. Introductory stuff best served with some richly sauced barbecue ribs.Prices: BC 26.90 Producer: Mercer Bros. Wines
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Stag's Hollow Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
89PTS

Stag's Hollow Merlot Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWeighing in at a perfect 13.8 degrees alcohol, this merlot confirms that if merlot is going to make a comeback in North America, it will likely be led by British Columbia producers. Bright, spicy, fruit-forward, vibrant, and enveloped in perfectly ripened tannins that are a pleasure to sip. It is not overly complex, but the balance is spot on, and the black cherry, sagebrush, and well-managed 30 percent new French oak bodes well for this wine down the road, not that it isn't already drinkable. Think Asian beef dishes, flank steak, and lamb. Good value.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Hester Creek Joe's Blocktext
89PTS

Hester Creek Joe's Block 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJoes' block is an Okanagan original with roots from Italy. Block 13 is home to Italian merlot vines planted in 1968 by pioneer Joe Busnardo. Small berries contribute to its intense flavours. It is all handpicked, and the grapes were left whole for a gentle extraction with fewer solids. The fruit spends 15 days in Italian Ganimede fermenters, followed by French oak barrels for 18 months. The attack is dry and earthy with strong peppery undercurrents and spicy black raspberry. Only four barrels were made, about 100 cases. The winery says you can pair it with salmon burgers with caramelized red onion and bacon jam. Sounds good to me, although I was thinking Spaghetti Bolognese.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Da Silva Merlottext
87PTS

Da Silva Merlot 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom two Penticton mid-valley sites, Blenheim Hill Vineyard and Lazy Dog Vineyard, this merlot surprisingly rich, although three full years in French and American oak has added a layer of weight and vanilla to the mix. The attack is warm and round with chocolate cassis and coffee, and an earthy, spicy finish. The tannins are tamed, and it's ready to drink. Try this with roasted meats or even turkey, or let it age through 2025.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Da Silva Legado Series Merlottext
90PTS

Da Silva Legado Series Merlot 2012

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDa Silva Black Label Legado Series Merlot is the best of the best from the winery. 2012 was a solid vintage for whites and rosé but a little iffy for late-ripening reds. That said, mid-valley merlot escaped most of the late drama and rains, as evidenced by this delicious bottle. The fruit comes off two Penticton mid-valley sites: Blenheim Hill Vineyard, and Lazy Dog Vineyard. At this juncture, the wine is fully mature and working as one. The oak has dissipated the palate, dry with all the older notes you might expect from earth and cedar to subdued red fruits. The tannins are nonexistent save for a bit of shaping and weight. A wine for contemplation and to remind one that BC wines can easily go the distance. I would add that what is going on at Da Silva today far surpasses anything in 2012, which should give everyone a lot to look forward to.Prices: BC 110.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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21 December 2021

Liquidity Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Liquidity Pinot Gris 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Amy Paynter crafts this 1575 case pinot gris that goes to bottle in mid-January after a short time on its lees. The fruit was picked over the last two weeks of September, fermented at different temperatures (20 percent in French barrels), and kept separately until the final blend. The style is Kiwi-cool, with green fruit, a dusting of honeysuckle, ripe peach, and Okanagan sagebrush finishing with a salty, stony, mineral wash. The vines come off many sites, including the own-rooted 457 clones planted on the Allendale site in 1994. Dry and fruity, it can match most seafood dishes from shellfish to seabass to sushi.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Sumac Ridge Pinot Grigio Private Reservetext
86PTS

Sumac Ridge Pinot Grigio Private Reserve 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFermented and stored in stainless steel, this simple, clean pinot gris is ready to drink. Look for lemon and nectarine skin with a bump of sugar to round out the palate, finishing slightly bitter. Try this with a vegetarian pizza or a Ricotta dish.Prices: BC 11.99 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Longshot Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Longshot Pinot Grigio 2020

California, United StatesThis is a bright, clean, citrusy pinot grigio with simple lemon and crunchy pear. The label says “dry, balanced, and crisp” and that's just about spot on. It’s light and refreshing, with just a gentle hint of sweetness (4 g/L) that leads to a dry finish. It’s the type of pinot grigio that’s about chilling down and effortlessly sipping on a patio. Solid, fairly priced, and well made.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: E & J Gallo
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Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigiotext
88PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vino Grigio 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAlready sold out, you will have to shop around in private wine shops or restaurant wine lists to find this wine. The fruit is all Naramata and hand picked from the home vineyard. It is awash in honeyed orchard fruit drizzled in citrus and dried apricot. The attack is invitingly rich with more honey and orange before a creamy fennel flecked finish. Perfect for lightly spiced fare.Prices: BC 19.90 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Pfaff Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Pfaff Pinot Gris 2020

Alsace, FrancePfaff continues to over deliver at this price point, demonstrating the intense Alsace style that comes with plenty of fragrant soft fruit. In this case, the palate is lush and lengthy, with sweet melon, spicy ginger throughout a just off-dry palate of smoky yellow fruits with honeysuckle undercurrent. Showy but not over the top. Perfect for spicy sushi rolls. I love the price. The Alsace style of gris is almost always richer and a little, not a lot, weightier than the Italian version, but tasted with some BC gris, there are similarities.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Cave Vinicole de Pfaffenheim & Gueberschwihr
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Bota Box Pinot Grigiotext
86PTS

Bota Box Pinot Grigio NV

California, United StatesBoxed wine makes sense for the environment. It is easily recycled, it lasts a long time in the refrigerator, and it is almost always solid value, as in 30-40% less than its glass-bottled competition. The trick is to find a good one. The Bota version is a warm, slightly sweetish version of Italian-style pinot grigio with medium-light peachy nectarine fruit over a citrus undercurrent. A simple solution to a thirsty crowd.Prices: BC 34.79 3000 Producer: Bota Box Vintners
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The Ned Pinot Gristext
87PTS

The Ned Pinot Gris 2020

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandPinot Gris is the forgotten grape in New Zealand. Often off dry, it never really had the same appeal as the best from elsewhere worldwide. I like this drier version, sporting a touch of copper in colour. Look for grass, nectarines, and quince with a lemon-lime pithy textured finish. A solid New World version you can serve with Pad Thai.Prices: CDN 20.99 Producer: Marisco Vineyards Limited
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Italia Pinot Grigiotext
87PTS

Italia Pinot Grigio 2020

Veneto, ItalyVeneto pinot grigio from mature vineyards made very simply: crushed, settled, fermented, aged in the tank for three to six months on its lees, and bottled. The result is a fresh, dry, citrus and honeyed affair that is ready to drink. A perfect luncheon white for creamy pasta or a turkey BLT.Prices: BC 14.99 Producer: Boutinot
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20 December 2021

Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verdetext
87PTS

Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde NV

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe current Vinho Verde selection is sadly wanting in BC but don’t dismiss a wine that has been here forever: Casal Garcia. A slight frizzante note pops the palate of this introductory Vinho Verde that comes with fresh citrus blossoms, a green apple nose and just a whiff of lees. The almost watery attack is equally fresh with light lemon, lees, quince, and green apple. The price is a bargain. Think sushi, fish tacos, vegetarian pizza.Prices: BC 11.99 AB 12.00 MB 14.99 YK 14.25 NB 12.99 SK 12.29 ON 9.95 Producer: Quinta da Aveleda
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Aphros Ouranostext
89PTS

Aphros Ouranos 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis exciting, rarely seen single variety alvarelhão, a grape near extinction in Portugal, and helped back to life by Portugal's biodynamic mastermind, Vasco Croft. This was 25% whole bunch, native fermented in stainless with 1 month on skins before pressing into chestnut barrels for 6 months' rest. This was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a hazy light plum, this is tight and lifted with a swing of VA, pink peppercorn, early raspberry, perfumed florals, subtle balsamic on a light, tight palate. Tannins are very slight, and acidity is bright on this light bodied (11.5%) wine. Enjoy now with a chill. Ouranos is a Sky God, reflective of the light, ethereal qualities of this wine. 2000 bottles made.Prices: ON 38.60 Producer: Aphros
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Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro & Alvarinhotext
88PTS

Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro & Alvarinho 2020

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThe 2020 version of this wine jumps from the glass with amazing freshness. There is no more storied Portuguese family than the Guedes, now five generations deep into viticulture, dating back to the 1870s. The 150-hectare estate has been home to the family since the 15th century. The mix here is two classic regional white grapes, loureiro and alavarinho. It is stainless steel fermented and left on its lees, instilling a cool fresh style with citrus, apple highlights, ripe melon, and a tight, salty mineral finish. A terrific value wine for seafood that will please white wine drinkers who avoid oak.Prices: ON 13.00 Producer: Quinta da Aveleda
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João Portugal Ramos Alvarinhotext
88PTS

João Portugal Ramos Alvarinho 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis alvarinho is grown on granitic soils from the renowned subregion of Monção and Melgaço. The colour is pale, the textures crisp, and the flavours bright. Expect a mixture of floral and white fruit with a sea salt mineral undercurrent. Simply simple, but a wonderful seafood wine. Not in Canada, but it should be.Prices: PEI 24.95 Producer: João Portugal Ramos
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Borges Quinta de Simaens Vinho Verdetext
87PTS

Borges Quinta de Simaens Vinho Verde 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalQuinta de Simaens is in the southern part of Vinho Verde, and it mixes several grapes from 15-year-old vines, including pedernã, avesso, azal, alvarinho, loureiro, and trajadura. The fermentation regime is basic: cool in stainless steel and no more than four months ageing on its lees. The result is a clean, simple, juicy white with pear melon and a dusting of dried herbs. It is best served with modest dishes, like vegetarian sushi rolls, as not to overpower the wine.Prices: QC 15.45 Producer: Borges Quinta de Simaens
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Soalheiro Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhastext
90PTS

Soalheiro Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalI can’t say enough about how good this Vinho Verde is. The property was planted in 1974, making them only the 4th producer in bottling their wine in the region. Soalheiro, or sunny, describes the site, protected from the harsh, cool Atlantic winds by a range of mountains. The warmer temperatures are reflected in the richness of the wine. The introductory alvarinho is fermented and aged in stainless steel to keep the fruit fresh and pure. The nose and palate is a salty mix of pear and green apples with a splash of lemon juice. A fabulous fish wine made for the west coast of Canada but sadly currently unavailable.Prices: QC 28.00 Producer: Quinta de Soalheiro
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Quinta da Raza Avesso Colheita Selecionadatext
88PTS

Quinta da Raza Avesso Colheita Selecionada 2019

Vinhos Verde, Northern Portugal, PortugalQuinta da Raza Avesso is a single variety avesso Vinho Verde, fermented in stainless steel, and it's given four months of lees contact before it is bottled and sent to market. It presents with a full palate of grassy/hay/citrus with more pear and a touch of almonds in the back end. It is reasonably complex, reflecting its site and granitic soils. Try this with steamed shellfish dishes or fresh asparagus recipes. Well-balanced at 13.5 percent and only 2.5 percent residual sugar. Not in Canada.Prices: Portugal 9.00 Producer: Quinta da Raza
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17 December 2021

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cenerentolatext
90PTS

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cenerentola 2017

Orcia, Tuscany, ItalyCenerentola (Cinderella) is named for the young girl in the fairytale with two older and more famous sisters who get all the attention. This wine comes from the Orcia appellation, a valley between the two famed territories of Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Though Orcia is often overlooked by its powerful siblings, the wines have authenticity, purity, and worth, much like the fabled Cinderella. This is a blend of 2/3 sangiovese, and 1/3 foglia tonda, a historic grape indigenous to Toscana, and rarely seen (only 20 hectares exist). Post ferment and aging in 5-7 hl tonneaux and 15 hl barrels, the wine is blended and rested in concrete egg prior to bottling. Mouthfilling and expansive, with dark purple florals, lusty wild plums, and cherries. Acidity is bright and vibrant, and tannins are velveteen, guiding the full bodied, harmonious wine through the lingering stony, dark cocoa finish. Drinking now.Prices: ON 58.95 Producer: Donatella Cinelli Colombini
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Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcinotext
93PTS

Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2016

Tuscany, ItalyWhat’s immediately captivating about this handsome Brunello is how very ripe, forward and drinkable it is now. The splendid 2016 vintage shows in an extravagant nose of dark berries, dried rose petals, salted licorice and fines herbes. Firm, fulsome and generous fruit coats an already-velvety palate, with black plum and bing cherry flavours. Compact, fine-grained tannins are resolved and lack any astringency; ripe, juicy acids refresh and uplift. Fastidious, self-assured and correct, with admirably subtle oak. As drinkable as CastelGiocondo Brunello is now, it will unwind over the next decade. Let breathe for an hour and make your very best Tuscan ragù for this dapper, well-priced rich red.Prices: BC 58.99 AB 55.00 MB 60.00 ON 53.95 QC 50.85 Producer: Tenuta di Frescobaldi
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Valdipiatta Vino Nobile di Montepulcianotext
90PTS

Valdipiatta Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2017

Tuscany, ItalyValdipiatta was founded in 1973, but it was not until Giulio Caporali purchased the property in 1990 that it began to earn a reputation for producing some of the finest Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This impressive Valdipiatta cuvée is a blend of 95/5 Prugnolo Gentile (sangiovese) / canaiolo that was fermented in stainless before a 6 month rest in barrique before prior to another year in large oak casks, plus 6 more months in bottle. Smoothed marginally with time in the bottle, this stately wine carries black cherry, black raspberry, bitter cassis through the fresh, yet full palate. Tannins are firm and striated, housing this bigger red to a spiced finish. Still somewhat unyielding, this requires roast lamb or beef to tame at this time.Prices: BC 48.99 Producer: Tenuta Valdipiatta
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Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufinatext
91PTS

Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2019

Tuscany, ItalyRufina is the smallest appellation in Chianti, extending across 750 hectares. This is 95% sangiovese, joined with tips of canaiolo, colorino, and malvasia nera from well-drained, dry and stony north and north-west facing vineyards. These 15-40 year old vines grow in medium density clay and limestone at 200-300m. Fermentation and maceration occurs in stainless over 25 days with native yeast, before aging in 25hL French casks for 12 months. Bright and lifted, with crushed cherry, red currant lit with a tart acidity, and seasoned with fragrant red florals and orange rind over a crushed stone base. Tannins are fine, long, and dry, streaming this lighter bodied red to a bitter edged, saline finish. Take now, with a slight chill, and tomato-sauced pasta, and be sure to give this time to open and expand in the glass.Prices: BC 36.99 ON 25.95 Producer: Fattoria Selvapiana
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Canalcchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcinotext
91PTS

Canalcchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino 2019

Tuscany, ItalyProduced mostly from their youngest vineyards, this Rosso represents their calling card for Canalicchio di Sopra wines: a young, fruity, and versatile expression of their estate Sangiovese. This comes mainly from vineyards located in the Canalicchio Cru, with ample clay, magnesium, iron and Manganese soils. It was macerated and fermented in stainless over three weeks, before resting one year in Slavonian Oak Barrels (50 hl and 25 hl), and French oak barrels (750 liters). Lively and fresh, with an alluring ferrous minerality brightening wild cherry, black raspberry, dried herbs, subtle dark cocoa and candle wax. Acidity is lofted, and tannins are long, fine, and firm, directing this medium bodied red to a salt and pepper finish. Well knit, even in youth, this is drinking very smartly now.Prices: ON 31.95 Producer: Canalicchio di Sopra
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Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classicotext
91PTS

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico 2019

Siena, Tuscany, ItalyWinemaker Marco Pallanti ages his Chianti Classico for 12 months in used barriques that give the fruit some breathing room without inhibiting its vibrancy. The aromas are spectacular, all on the red fruit spectrum mixing cherry and raspberry with the perfect amount of earth and classic forest floor. Vibrant, energizing, and pure, it is a delicious bottle of Chianti that speaks to the full potential of the region's wine. Drink or hold seven to ten years, there is no rush. Pallanti and his wife and co-owner Lorenza have farmed the Chianti Classico estate since 1974. Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is named after the picturesque San Lorenzo valley viewed from the estate's eighteenth-century Villa Pianigiani and Villa Ricucci. Over the last quarter-century, all of the vineyards have been replanted, and everything at the winery has been upgraded. The acclaimed single vineyard wines grow on 75 hectares of vineyard amid 35 hectares of olive trees planted on a mix of limestone and clay at an elevation of 1,650 feet.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Castello di Ama
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Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
95PTS

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016

Siena, Tuscany, ItalyIt's hard to overstate how good this wine is at a full five years old. It's only beginning to awaken, but this is what a Gran Selezione should be — intense and packed full of pure sangiovese fruit. It is a blend of four San Lorenzo estate vineyards that draws you into the glass with a savoury, dried herb nose that doesn't quit. The style is highly polished, mixing licorice and even a chocolate touch with perfectly ripened cassis. The finish is enveloped in tannins yet dispersed, portending perhaps even a greater wine down the road. Drink or hold seven to ten years; there is no rush. Marco Pallanti and and wife and co-owner Lorenza have farmed the Chianti Classico estate since 1974. Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is named after the picturesque San Lorenzo valley viewed from the estate's eighteenth-century Villa Pianigiani and Villa Ricucci. Over the last quarter-century, all of the vineyards have been replanted, and everything at the winery has been upgraded. The acclaimed single-vineyard wines grow on 75 hectares of vineyard amid 35 hectares of olive trees planted on a mix of limestone and clay at an elevation of 1,650 feet.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 56.95 QC 54.00 Producer: Castello di Ama
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Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
91PTS

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015

Siena, Tuscany, ItalyFrom hills of Gaiole in the southern part of Chianti Classico, comes the Castello di Ama Gran Selezione a blend 80/13/7/ sangiovese, merlot, and malvasia nera. Purity of fruit is the house specialty, and in a warm 2015, this wine has it in spades. Black cherries and blackberries intermingle with bits of dried herbs, leather and earth. The texture is Gran Selezione rich with even richer tannins yet to be dispersed. Our bottle has fine acidity, keeping it lively through the finish. Drink now with a classic Osso Buco dish or cellar through 2025. The 35.42-hectare property sits over a clay/calcareous soil planted 1974, 1978, 1996 35.42 ha.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 56.95 QC 54.00 Producer: Castello di Ama
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Fattoria San Lorenzo Rosso Piceno di Ginotext
81PTS

Fattoria San Lorenzo Rosso Piceno di Gino 2018

Marche, ItalyMarche's Rosso Piceno DOC was established in 1968, making it one of the oldest DOCs in Italy. From 15-20 year old certified organic, biodynamically farmed vines in the sandy soiled Barcaione vineyard, in Corinaldo, this is a 60/40 blend of montepulciano and sangiovese, native fermented over 2 weeks before one years' rest in concrete. This is an earthy, rustic red, laced with VA, lending a tartness to the dusty cherry, raspberry, red currant on the palate. Tannins are sticky to the short, tart cranberry finish. TCA evident as well. Not the cleanest example.Prices: ON 23.00 Producer: Fattoria San Lorenzo
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Altesino Brunello di Montalcinotext
94PTS

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2016

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyAltesino, first produced in 1972, spends a minimum of two years in oak and four months in bottle before release. It is a proven ager that can easily go 20 years most vintages. The colour is never dark. In 2016 it is ruby red at most, with a touch of Bordeaux brick at the edge. The nose is explosive with intense, complex scents of violets and balsamic with trampled forest underbrush and spicy cranberry and cassis. It’s regal Brunello rich with silky tannins and a sense of balance that suggests it will live for decades.Prices: BC 59.99 ON 59.00 QC 64.50 Producer: Altesino, Az Agr.
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Cafaggio Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2016

Tuscany, ItalyVilla Cafaggio dates back to hundreds of years ago when the property was named Cahago, a local dialect for “enclosed, cultivated field.” It is situated at Panzano in Chianti, where it produces a DOCG Chianti Classico made from sangiovese grapes. The site is a mix of silty-clay loam soil originating from grey and olive green marl limestone and calcareous sandstone. 2016 was a great year for Chianti Classico, the kind of year you should stock up on a favourite and drink for the next 5 to 10 years. The nose is a floral affair with raspberry undertones and sweet spicing. The palate is medium-light and wonderfully dry. The acidity is lively, adding a sour cherry spine to the plummy, earthy black tea flavours that run the length of the wine. The perfect mid-week red for a mushroom pizza or pasta dish. The grapes are harvested in late September and early October, the fermentation tanks are broken up by pump-overs with air before maturation for 12 months in 65 hl Slavonian oak barrels, and then bottle aged for three months before release. Hold or drink.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Villa Caffagio
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Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Vallocchiotext
93PTS

Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Vallocchio 2015

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Tenuta Fanti estate has belonged to the Fanti family since the beginning of the eighteenth century. It extends across 300 hectares, 52ha of which certified sustainable vineyards. This comes from four south-east facing plots of 20-30-year-old vines (Vigna Bellavista, Vigna Sassone, Vigna Casabandi, and Vigna Macchiarelle Nuova) in the heart of the Fanti estate, historically known as Vallocchio. After a ferment in stainless, this aged 30 months in wood, 50% in 500L tonneaux, and the rest in big oak barrels of 30hl. When bottled, this remains an extra year before release. From the generous 2015 vintage, this is packed with black cherry, cassis, tobacco, thorns, threaded with stony, savoury notes. Tannins are ample but well integrated into the depth of fruit, structuring this through a lengthy, saline, spiced finish. Impressive now, and will remain so in your cellar for quite some time.Prices: BC 83.95 ON 89.85 Producer: Tenuta Fanti
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Fanti Brunello di Montalcinotext
92PTS

Fanti Brunello di Montalcino 2015

Tuscany, ItalyThe Tenuta Fanti estate has belonged to the Fanti family since the beginning of the eighteenth century. It extends across 300 hectares in Toscana, 52 hectares of which are specialized certified sustainable vineyards, 110 hectares are olive orchards, 80 hectares are used for seed plots, and 70 hectares are forests. Made from 20-30-year-old vines, this Brunello fermented over 25 days in stainless before aging 28 months a mix of French oak barrels and 3,000L Slavonian oak vat. The wine then aged in bottle for one year prior to release. From the generous powerhouse 2015 vintage, this is dense with perfumed black cherry, cassis, threaded with tobacco and savoury dark chocolate that pull this to a warming, spiced finish. Tannins are ample and chewy at this young stage, while acidity is bright, ensuring a decent future ahead for this bottle.Prices: ON 79.95 Producer: Tenuta Fanti
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Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riservatext
91PTS

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2018

Tuscany, ItalyThe 220 hectare Tenuta di Bibbiano is one of Chianti Classico’s historical wine properties, mentioned in an official document of 1089 as the Castello di Bibiune. In the 1960s it was just one of 36 wineries producing and bottling wine under their own labels. Today, Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi manages the estate and since 2006 has also served on the Board of Directors of the Consorzio. He owns the winery jointly with his brother Federico. They organically farm 27 ha of vines on slopes between 270-300m, across a range of soils including calcareous clays, alberese, and limestones. This Riserva ages in both cement and tonneaux for 18 months. Very refined, with silken cherry, raspberry, bright minerality layered across the medium+ palate, easily lifted with the limestone soils and elevated acidity. There's a beautiful lingering blue / purple florals note on the lengthy finish. Drinking smartly now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 42.95 Producer: Tenuta di Bibbiano
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Bibbiano Chianti Classicotext
88PTS

Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2019

Tuscany, ItalyThe 220 hectare Tenuta di Bibbiano is one of Chianti Classico’s historical wine properties, mentioned in an official document of 1089 as the Castello di Bibiune. In the 1960s it was just one of 36 wineries producing and bottling wine under their own labels. Today, Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi manages the estate and since 2006 has also served on the Board of Directors of the Consorzio. He owns the winery jointly with his brother Federico. They organically farm 27 ha of vines on slopes between 270-300m, across a range of soils including calcareous clays, alberese, and limestones. Sourced from all the their vineyards, this Sangiovese fermented for 3 weeks in stainless, prior to aging one year in cement vats. Black cherry, raspberry and cranberry is scented with subtle eucalyptus and ample dusty earth. The wine's tannins are long and smooth, backed by bright acidity and ending with a warming finish.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Tenuta di Bibbiano
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Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollotext
88PTS

Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2017

Maremma, Tuscany, ItalyThis 60 / 40 sangiovese / cabernet sauvignon comes off Tommasi's Tuscan Pitigliano estate, rich in tufa. It was stainless fermented before one year in 65hl Slavonian oak casks. Soft and plush on the palate, with crushed dark plums, blackberry, kirsch jam, dough laced with dusky baking spices and finishing with a flush of warmth. Tannins are soft and velveteen until the bitter cherry, dark chocolate astringency on the finish. Drink now, with hearty rustic stews.Prices: BC 22.99 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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16 December 2021

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2018

Piedmont, ItalyBurgundy-trained winemaker Davide Rosso leads his family’s winery, based in Serralunga d’Alba. The plots are farmed organically and biodynamically, with minimal intervention in the cellar. This nebbiolo comes from the same vineyards used for their flagship Barolo, and vines planted from 1984 – 2008. It was native fermented in cement, and then aged in 50hl French casks for a few months until bottling, without filtration. Teeming with fragrant roses, this finessed red shows crushed plum, wild raspberry, cherry, crushed stone through the medium bodied palate, firmly bound by ample, fine nebbiolo tannins to the savoury, spiced finish. Drinking very smartly now, especially with roast poultry and/or wild mushrooms, this still has a couple years in the cellar ahead.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 30.00 Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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Ceretto Brunate Barolotext
94PTS

Ceretto Brunate Barolo 2015

Barolo, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFrom the historic Brunate vineyard, a reference point for La Morra, this cuvée comes from the Ceretto family's 5.5 hectares of vineyards. After aging in 300L French oak (10% new) for 1 year, this went into Austrian oak casks for 2 additional years. From the powerful 2015 vintage, this is showing open and engaging wild cherry, perfumed raspberry, subtle wild rosemary, and ample stony spice throughout the silken, yet structured palate. Tannins are firm, and lean, and acidity is lofted and effortless through the lingering saline finish. For all its power, this remains very finessed and elegant. Drinking beautifully now, with time ahead.Prices: BC 220.00 Producer: Ceretto
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Filippo Broccardo Langhe Nebbiolo Il Giò Pitext
92PTS

Filippo Broccardo Langhe Nebbiolo Il Giò Pi 2019

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Broccardo estate has been in the family since 1900 and is currently in the hands of the third generation, Federica, Filippo, and Laura. Their 13 hectares of vineyards are located in the Langhe, Monforte d’Alba, Barolo, and Novello. After a two week ferment in stainless, this rested 10 months in new to 10 year old 35hl Slavonian and French tonneaux, prior to a 10 month bottle rest before release. Fragrant cherries, black plums, cassis rule the streamline palate, lifted with a mineral wash, scented by darting red and purple florals, and framed by firm, lean tannins though the saline finish. A serious, yet charming Langhe nebbiolo that is drinking well now and with time ahead.Prices: BC 36.00 Producer: Filippo Broccardo
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Ocone Diomedetext
88PTS

Ocone Diomede 2016

Campania, ItalyThis Aglianico comes off vines 300-400m in the hilly Taburno subzone, near the municipality of Ponte, and the regions calcareous / alluvial soils. Post ferment, this heads to tonneaux for one year, before a stint in stainless for tightening. This spends 2 years in bottles before release. The wood is amply evident from first whiff, with smoked herbal notes overriding the ripe, dense, tobacco clad and kirsch-drenched fruit. Tannins are ample, and sticky soft with time. There's a light hum on the finish, but the heft and weight of this wine overrides place.Prices: ON 33.95 Producer: Ocone
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Ocone Apollotext
88PTS

Ocone Apollo 2017

Campania, ItalyThese aglianco vines are rooted in calcareous soils at 400m in the hilly areas of the Taburno subzone, in Ponte. This was fermented in concrete, and then rested briefly in stainless. Ripe and fleshy with black raspberry, black cherry, laced with limestone and bound by firm, grippy tannins. Quite structural and powerful, this is a solid textbook example of Campania aglianico.Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Ocone
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Hajszan Neumann Nussberg Zweigelttext
90PTS

Hajszan Neumann Nussberg Zweigelt 2017

Wien (Vienna), AustriaFrom the limestone, clay and chalk soils of Vienna's Nussberg, these zweigelt vines range from 35-50 years old and were farmed and vinified biodynamically. After destemming and native ferment, this moved to oak barrels (1/4 new) for 18 months, after which it was bottled without fining or filtration, and with minimal sulphur. Wild blackcurrant, sapid plum, black raspberry flood a juicy, textural palate, hugged by sticky fine tannins, and threaded with mustard seed and cracked black peppercorn. The finish is flushed with a slight medicinal warmth and ample stony salinity. Enjoy now with a slight chill.Prices: ON 27.95 BC 36.00 Producer: Weingut Hajszan-Neumann
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Tetramythos Naturɛ Agiorgitikotext
89PTS

Tetramythos Naturɛ Agiorgitiko 2019

Peloponnese, GreecePanayiotis Papagiannopoulos, known for being one of the most innovative wine producers in Greece, is the co-owner and oenologist behind the wines of Kalavryta's Tetramythos, in Greece's stunning Peloponnese. Panayiotis has worked to save local grapes from extinction, and often employees amphora in his organic wines (it is in this ancient region that the first "pithos" (amphora) are said to have been made. Their wines all come from from Tetramythos’ rocky 800m vineyards. This low-intervention (Naturɛ) agiorgitiko was native fermented over 3 months in stainless, with another couple of months' rest prior to bottling, without fining or filtration and very little sulphur. Juicy and vibrant, with downy plum, wild black currant, sapid cherry, a twist of tart rhubarb, and a dusting of fine black pepper. Tannins are lightly sticky, and acidity is mountainous lofted. Enjoy with a slight chill, and some lamb kabobs or shellacked grilled tofu.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Tetramythos
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Umani Ronchi Fonte Del Re Lacrima Di Morro D'Albatext
90PTS

Umani Ronchi Fonte Del Re Lacrima Di Morro D'Alba 2019

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyLacrima is an ancient indigenous grape variety saved from extinction that is currently cultivated in a tiny area around Morro d'Alba in the Marche hills (near Ancona), 15 km from the Adriatic sea. The wine opens with peppery, floral, pine sap and dark plum mixed with strong savoury scents. It is gamay fresh on the palate with more spicy, plummy, floral fruit flecked with garrigue dried herbs and soft round tannins. I suggest a slight chill before serving to supercharge this wine in your glass. The eponymous DOC appellation is now 37 years old. The Lacrima moniker refers to the tear drop which weeps from the cluster when the grapes are fully ripe.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Nada Giuseppe Dolcetto d'Albatext
90PTS

Nada Giuseppe Dolcetto d'Alba 2014

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe winery and organically farmed vineyards of Nada Giuseppe are situated in Treiso, one of the four villages in the Barbaresco DOCG, and their Dolcetto grapes hail from the Casot cru, one of the oldest and most well-known, generally reserved for nebbiolo. From the sandy alluvial soils, this was fermented and rested in stainless to preserve the fresh, pure fruit. Alluring roses, peonies mingle with fresh plum, Morello cherry in this charmer, lofted with easy stony minerality and seasoned with ample white pepper. Tannins are fine and lightly sticky, guiding this slight (12.5%) red to the finish. Enjoy now with a slight chill.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Nada Giuseppe
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Assuli Lorlando Nero d'Avolatext
88PTS

Assuli Lorlando Nero d'Avola 2018

Sicily, ItalyFrom northwestern Sicily's Mazara del Vallo, this Nero d'Avola grows on stony soils around 100-150m. After a month of maceration / fermentation in stainless, this remained there to rest for 3 months followed by 3 months more in bottle prior to release. This opens with a puff of reduction, before moving into ripe, sticky raspberry, cherry, red currant, scrubby rosemary that fills a medium bodied palate, finishing with a raft of medicinal spicing and a swell of warmth. Acidity is moderate, though salinity is ample, encourage drinking now with herbed pork chops.Prices: ON 22.95 Producer: Assuli
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Assuli Furioso Perriconetext
87PTS

Assuli Furioso Perricone 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis perricone is sourced from Mazara del Vallo, in northwestern Sicily, and on pebbly clay limestones around 150m. This fermented with skins over one month, before transferring to large oak barrels for a year, followed by another further year in bottle prior to release. Wild herbs, baked black fruit, thorns, cured meats, and anise are drawn across the full bodied palate, hugged by sticky tannins to the finish. Lacking some freshness at this stage.Prices: ON 33.95 Producer: Assuli
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Carnascialetext
93PTS

Carnasciale 2018

Tuscany, ItalyCarnasciale is the second label of Il Carnasciale's iconic Caberlot, ready for drinking earlier, but with all the layers, and care, given to its big brother. Podere Il Carnasciale is situated in the southern Chianti mountains in the Valdarno di Sopra region of Tuscany, 30km north of Siena and Arezzo and 60 km south of Florence. True to original owner’s (Wolf Rogosky) vision, the secluded hilltop estate is run today by Bettina and her son Moritz Rogosky, in collaboration with the enologists and winemakers Peter Schilling and Marco Maffei. This cabernet, a naturally occurring crossing of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is cultivated exclusively at Podere Il Carnasciale. After a native stainless start to the ferment, MLF is finished in French fûts and barriques (60% new). The wines remain in barrel for 22 months, with one racking, before bottling and 6 months' rest prior to release. Lovely luring wild black fruit, thorns, dark earth, violets is lofted with easy stony acidity, and bound by long, firm and velvet edged tannins through a lightly peppery finish. Though a big wine, this is graceful and elegant, even in youth. Enjoy over an evening now, or for many years in your cellar.Prices: ON 93.95 Producer: Il Carnasciale
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Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Kékfrankostext
88PTS

Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Kékfrankos 2020

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaWhat the what?! Yup, Kékfrankos, from Nova Scotia. Aka blaufrankisch, or lemburger. Off their organic and biodynamically certified Oak Island Vineyard, this destemmed Kék was native fermented and aged 8 months in older French barriques. Pouring a deep, dusky purple hue, this lighter, earthy, wild red is full of thorns, dusky plum, red and black currant, and wild blackberry, on a crunchy palate ringed with downy tannins. There's an astringent balsamic rinse on the peppery, saline finish. Best with a chill. Certainly rustic, yet, inspiring to plant this classic and beloved Hungarian grape on the eastern reaches of Canada. We shall see...Prices: NS 35.00 Producer: Lightfoot and Wolfville
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Somos Menciatext
90PTS

Somos Mencia 2020

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, 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 is a single vineyard mencia from Adelaide Hills, native fermented and partial whole bunch for native ferment into 2nd-4th fill French oak, where it rested for a year. This is a juicy, youthful mencia, full of primary raspberry, fragrant plum, wild blueberry, boysenberry and white pepper. The palate is slight, yet mouthwatering and jubilant, with a flush of acidity and soft, fine tannins taking this to a pink peppercorn finish. Mencia has certainly found a new home in the Adelaide Hills, and these fellows do it well.Prices: BC 43.00 Producer: Somos
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Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
87PTS

Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2019

Abruzzo, ItalyThe Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century and the Tenute Barone di Valforte vineyards cover 42 hectares in various communes in the Teramo hills, a prized place for montepulciano. This was vinified in stainless before ten months in French oak. Smoked wood, roasted meats and root veg rule the shorter palate, with tart blackcurrant acidity, and blocky tannins dusted with dark cocoa. Quite rustic, this requires a hearty beef / root veg stew.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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15 December 2021

Tetramythos Naturɛ Roditistext
92PTS

Tetramythos Naturɛ Roditis 2020

Peloponnese, GreecePanayiotis Papagiannopoulos, known for being one of the most innovative wine producers in Greece, is the co-owner and oenologist behind the wines of Kalavryta's Tetramythos, in Greece's stunning Peloponnese. Panayiotis has worked to save local grapes from extinction, and often employees amphora in his organic wines (it is in this ancient region that the first "pithos" (amphora) are said to have been made. Their wines all come from from Tetramythos’ rocky, calcareous 800m vineyards. This Roditis is from their Naturɛ range, a line-up of single variety wines made with no intervention save for a small addition of sulphur before bottling. Grapes come off 50 year old bush vines at 850m in Aigialeia, were native fermented in stainless where it remains on lees for 6 months prior to bottling. This is tight and nimble, with pear skin, green apple, almond humming along a sleek, lees-bedded palate through to the saline finish.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Tetramythos
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Chronos Sémillontext
86PTS

Chronos Sémillon 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Oliver's Diamondback Vineyard, this sém was whole bunch pressed and fermented in 54% stainless with no MLF, 46% French oak (20% new), with full MLF. After some time on the lees, the parts were blended and bottled, without fining. This youthful sémillon is in an awkward state, with crab apple, green hedge, yellow apple, crunchy pear, wood spice, ale, and lees all jockeying for position. For now, mitigate with butternut squash soup, or lay down for a year and try again.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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François et Julien Pinon Silex Noir Vouvraytext
92PTS

François et Julien Pinon Silex Noir Vouvray 2019

Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, FranceFrançois, a former child psychologist, took over the Vallée de Cousse, Vouvray estate from his father in 1987, and is now joined by his son, Julien. The vineyards are dedicated to organic viticulture and minimal intervention vinification. From estate vines averaging 40 years, on flint, clay, tuffeau, and limestone soils. The cuvée is named for their 2 parcels of rare black flint soils going into this wine. This was native fermented in old wooden vats over 2-3 months, leaving some RS naturally upon completion. The wine is then aged on its lees for 4-5 months in a variety of older barrels and foudres. This youthful wine is subtle up front before shrining in the glass with honeysuckle, fragrant pear, subtle quince along a seamless, palate, lit from beneath with a buzzy shimmer of stony minerality, and gently expansive on the palate thanks to the well-placed honeyed RS in this demi-sec. Striking now in youth, this will continue to develop and grow in the bottle. Cellar-worthy.Prices: BC 42.00 Producer: François Pinon
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François Pinon Vouvray Le 2016text
92PTS

François Pinon Vouvray Le 2016 2016

Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, FranceFrançois, a former child psychologist, took over the Vallée de Cousse, Vouvray estate from his father in 1987, and is now joined by his son, Julien. The vineyards are dedicated to organic viticulture and minimal intervention vinification. Le 2016 is from 40 year old vines rooted in calcareous, clay, tuffeau, and limestone. The Le 2016 was Pinon's main still white bottling from the very difficult vintage, in which the estate lost 75% of its crop. It replaced the usual trio of Trois Argiles, Silex Noir, and Les Deronnières. This was native fermented in old wooden vats over 2-3 months, and naturally stopping with some RS intact. The wine was then racked and aged on its lees for 4-5 months in a mix of used oak barrels and foudres. Pouring a golden yellow hue, this opens with layers of honeysuckle, quince, ripe pear and fragrant yellow apple, all bound tightly by chenin's characteristic brace and buoyed with a gentle pad of RS. The bones are worn some with time however, with all the parts in harmony, lingering with a shimmering wave of minerality in its wake. This moelleux is alluring drinking now.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: François Pinon
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Tselepos Blanc de Gristext
89PTS

Tselepos Blanc de Gris 2020

Peloponnese, GreeceYiannis Tselepos was born in Pafos on the island of Cyprus. He studied Oenology at the University of Dijon in France, before moving to Arcadia in the Peloponnese. Together with his wife Amalia, Yiannis established Domaine Tselepos in 1989. The domaine has been one of the pioneers who helped establish and bring to prominence to Moschofilero, and his name is closely associated with the Greek Wine Renaissance of today. From a single vineyard at 750m in the hilly clay soils of Peloponnese's Perpatiara, this moschofilero was cold soaked for 10 hours prior to fermentation, with one third seeing stainless, and the remainder divided between amphorae and foudres. Post ferment, the wine rested on lees for 4 months prior to blending and bottling. Florality meets texture, savoury meets tropical, with perfumed lime blossoms, heady anise, pink grapefruit, pear, lemon verbena, and fine exotic spice along a slick, svelte palate. This finishes dry with a lingering salinity and lime pith, encouraging partnering with Thai green curry.Prices: BC 31.00 Producer: Tselepos
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Hajszan-Neumann Nussberg Grüner Veltlinertext
91PTS

Hajszan-Neumann Nussberg Grüner Veltliner 2020

Wien (Vienna), AustriaWeingut Hajszan Neumann is located at the foot of the Nussberg and the district of Grinzing, with 20 hectares of certified biodynamic vineyards spread across the region's mineral-rich, weathered limestone soils. This cuvée comes from the cooler Weisleiten and Haarlocke vineyards. After a short maceration on skins, this was native fermented in stainless, where it remained until the following spring. This youthful GV is positively alive, buzzing with limestone energy across the sleek palate. Streaming lemon and lime pith, green apple, white pepper, and river stones culminate in a lingering, flinty finish. So striking and smashable in youth, this village-level Ortsweine will continue to put on pounds and impress with age.Prices: BC 34.00 Producer: Weingut Hajszan-Neumann
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Ocone Diana Falanghinatext
90PTS

Ocone Diana Falanghina 2020

Campania, ItalyThis family has been growing grapes and making wine in the ancient vine-growing Campania since 1910. This falanghina comes from southwest facing hillside vineyards in Taburno, and tufa clay soils at 300m. The destemmed grapes were fermented in stainless, where it rested for a short time before bottling. Lively and fragrant, with wild pear, quince, lemon verbena, almond, on a creamy palate, finishing with ample stony spice and an ample saline limestone buzz.Prices: Producer: Ocone
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Tenuta San Pietro Gavitext
89PTS

Tenuta San Pietro Gavi 2020

Gavi, Piedmont, ItalyTenuta San Pietro lies in the town of Tassarolo, along Piedmont's hilly southern stretches and just a short distance from the Ligurian coast. Their 35 hectares, mostly cortese, are planted on limestone clays, at altitude, certified organic and farmed biodynamically. This was native fermented in stainless, over 3 weeks, where it remained until the following spring, on lees. Quite fragrant, with almond blossom, tangerine, sprightly lemongrass, lime peel on a slender, cold cream palate, finishing with a saline wash. Very much in youth, enjoy this now with Thai green curry or simple vegetarian spring soups.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Tenuta San Pietro
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Red Barn at Jagged Rock Lost Art Semillontext
90PTS

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Lost Art Semillon 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe red barn has been visible for decades on the Black Sage Bench, essentially a tasting room and an escape from the noon-day sun for the trade folks visiting Mission Hill vineyards. However, recent events have given it new life as the Red Barn Winery, the latest project of Anthony Von Mandl, owner of the Iconic Wineries of British Columbia. Red Barn is the seventh member of the group joining Mission Hill, Cedar Creek, CheckMate, Road 13, Liquidity, and Martin’s Lane. Visitors can expect to get a look at the intimate facility in 2022 when it opens to the public by appointment only. In the meantime, the wines are out, and the sémillon is a winner. Jagged Rock Vineyard has already yielded some impressive sémillon fruit seen in multiple Mission Hill labels, and the Red Barn version is equally impressive. The fruit is raised in a mix of stainless steel and concrete, blending freshness and luscious texture throughout. Round and dense, the palate is a refreshing mix of exotic lemon and yellow apple with a shake of sea salt. An impressive start, another example of why sémillon needs more love in BC. No rush to drink this wine that should easily slide in 2024 and beyond. About the label: artist Kathy Ager works in a Dutch Masters style, but then she puts her own modern spin on it. The result is this kind of Pop Art that welcomes new, fresh ideas.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Red Barn
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Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet Sévre et Maine Les Laurestext
89PTS

Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet Sévre et Maine Les Laures 2019

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceFrom Les Laures' shallow, stony soils over a deep granite base, this sees 15-30 year old vines, native fermented and with 9 months on lees. Pear, yellow apple, gooseberry fills a generous palate, humming with a steely, granitically gripped base to a saline and white pepper finish. Nice generosity and likability here, drinking smartly now.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Bonnet Huteau
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Viña Costeira Via Barrosa Albariñotext
90PTS

Viña Costeira Via Barrosa Albariño 2019

Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainFounded In 1968, Vina Costeira is one of the largest in Galicia, with 60 hectares of vineyards. This albariño comes from the prized Val do Salnés subregion, and is tight and buzzy with the region's granitic soils. The buzz beds white peach, apricot, orange blossom, almond that stretches until the saline finish. Lovely freshness and completeness in this drink-now white.Prices: ON 22.75 Producer: Viña Costeira
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Chronos Sémillontext
87PTS

Chronos Sémillon 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis sémillon was whole bunch pressed before fermenting in 54 percent stainless steel and 46 percent in neutral French oak barrels (one-fifth new). The barrel portion went through full malolactic conversion, adding a richer character to the wine to balance the crisper stainless steel portion. The wine is young and, frankly, a bit backward at this point. Look for green fruit characters mixed with fresh yellow apples and pears covered in light lees. It will put on weight over the next two years and fill out, but you can serve it now as a fresher edition with sushi rolls, vegetarian pizzas, or roasted root vegetables.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Assuli Donna Angelica Lucidotext
88PTS

Assuli Donna Angelica Lucido 2018

Sicily, ItalyThis Lucido is from Mazara del Vallo, in the Northwestern part of Sicily, rooted in clay/limestone soils around 200-250m. After starting ferment in stainless, this transferred to large wooden barrels where it continues ferment and 8-10 months' lees aging. Pouring a glowing yellow / gold hue, this coats the dry, medium bodied, lightly waxen palate with tropical melon, honeysuckle, pineapple rind, mandarin, framed by neutral oak's ghosted generosity, and finishing with a wave of marine salinity. Though a bit quiet, this aged lucido is still showing quite smart.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Assuli
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Assuli Carinda Insoliatext
89PTS

Assuli Carinda Insolia 2020

Sicily, ItalyInsolia is one of the main Sicilian indigenous white grapes, very historic to the island, and Assuli cultivates it on their Carcitella estate, Mazara del Vallo, at 120-150m on rocky clay soils. This was fermented and rested briefly in stainless, on lees. Peach, pear, honeysuckle slides along the lightly waxen, aromatic, dry palate, finishing with a raft of sandy, scrubby, Mediterranean spices. Lovely completeness to this distinctly Sicilian white.Prices: ON 18.95 Producer: Assuli
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Château de la Grange Vielles Vignes Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu Sur Lietext
87PTS

Château de la Grange Vielles Vignes Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu Sur Lie 2018

This muscadet comes from south facing slopes and vines more than 40 years old, fermented and aged on lees. Subtle pear, white peach, lemon, honeysuckle float along the soft palate, with a hearty sprinkling of marine salts on the finish. A quieter muscadet that is drinking very smartly now.Prices: ON 13.95 Producer: Château de la Grange
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Livio Felluga Friulanotext
90PTS

Livio Felluga Friulano 2020

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyLivio Felluga is one of the most respected producers in Friuli, dedicating his life to reviving high-quality and sustainable viticulture in the hills of this north-eastern, Adriatic-influenced region. He emigrated from Istria and established his property in Brazzano in the 1950s, buying up old, neglected vineyards and rejuvenating them. From Friulano’s Ponca soils (marl and sandstone), this friulano was fermented and aged in stainless, on lees. Tangerine blossom, pear, honeysuckle wrap around a gently waxen core, seasoned with a light dusting of white pepper on the finish. Subtle, and quietly confident, this youthful white is drinking well now and with time ahead.Prices: ON 38.95 Producer: Livio Felluga
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Lock and Worth Sémillon Kelownatext
92PTS

Lock and Worth Sémillon Kelowna 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOne of two sémillons produced by Lock & Worth from 2019 (the other from Okanagan Falls) comes off a lauded sémillon vineyard on Mount Boucherie in West Bank, planted in 1993. Whole cluster pressed and native fermented, it was raised in neutral French puncheons for 18 months on full solids, mostly undisturbed. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, hence the slight cloudiness. Very green-led, with hedgerow, green apple, white lemon, fresh green herbs, and delicate white blossoms on the slight (10.4%) palate, bedded with a thick cloud of downy lees, and finishing with a stony shimmer and dusting of white pepper. Very much in youth, and while fun to drink now, this is best enjoyed in the years ahead - open this in advance and let it relax a bit in the glass.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Lock & Worth
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Torres Forcadatext
93PTS

Torres Forcada 2016

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainForcada is one of the many Spanish grapes that were on the brink of extinction. That is, before the Torres' family recognized, researched, and replanted this ancestral white grape. The family discovered Forcada in the northwestern part of the Penedès, rooted in the foothills of the Roca Forcada Mountain, hence it is part of their Varietat Recuperada collection (# 23). They planted it in 2014 in Penedès' calcareous clay soils, at 450m altitude. This was fermented in stainless before aging in a split of 40% new oak, 40% in used oak, and 20% in concrete tanks for 3 months. Like Palomino, rooted in Jerez' albariza limestones, this speaks to the profoundness of site and soils, leading with ample, intense stony chalkiness, green apple, fresh almonds, crystalline lemon on a shimmering, vibrant, 13% palate. The finish streams long with salinity. Forcada, like Palomino, has just won a very important space in my little heart.Prices: QC 60.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Scheurebetext
89PTS

Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Scheurebe 2020

Nova Scotia, CanadaFrom their Oak Island Vineyard in Avonport, this organic / biodynamic scheurebe opens with ample perfumed white peach and starfruit, before transitioning into lime peel, mango, lush white melon, and a healthy dusting of white pepper across a slender palate, slicked with a fine layer of lees. Acidity is bright and lofted throughout. A pretty, charming, light-boded aromatic white.Prices: NS 32.00 Producer: Lightfoot and Wolfville
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Domaine de l'Ecu Granite Muscadet Sevre et Maintext
92PTS

Domaine de l'Ecu Granite Muscadet Sevre et Main 2018

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine de l'Ecu has been farming its 27 hectares without chemicals since 1972, and has been biodynamically certified since 1988. The Domain was groundbreaking in its isolation of wines by soil type (Gneiss, Orthogneiss, and Granite), showing how the profound differences in terroir affect melon de bourgogne. They also own more than 30 amphorae, ranging from 150, 300, to 450 liters. Granite is from vines 45 to 55 years old, native fermented in underground cement where it remains for a few months on lees. This is pure rock juice, slender along the palate, carrying melon, lemon blossom, green apple, wet stone, and a briny marine salinity through the lingering finish. Subtle, yet holds presence, and grows in confidence with airtime.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Domaine de l'Ecu
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Elios Katamaceratotext
90PTS

Elios Katamacerato 2019

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 organic catarratto grows in Alcamo's black clay soils, at 200m. It was native fermented in stainless, with 7 days' skin contact before aging 8 months. This pours a burnished golden hue, with ample skin tannins gripping the palate, holding in wild orange, grapefruit, scrubby dried rosemary and wild mint. You can feel Sicily's marine breezes in the saline rinsed finish. Lovely balance in this striking orange.Prices: ON 39.00 BC 44.00 Producer: Elios
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Andi Weigand Silvanertext
89PTS

Andi Weigand Silvaner 2019

Franken, GermanyYouthful Andi Weigand took over his father's Franken vineyards in 2015, and converted them to certified organics, and the wine programming into natural wine. They now work together as a united team, overseeing the vineyards on the Iphöfer Kronsberg, a slope that features Keuper (marl and limestone) soil. Andi uses an 80 year old basket press and very large wooden barrels, with no fining, filtration, or sulfur. This dry silvaner comes off 50 year old vines pressed into older 1250L barrels for native ferment and 10 months on lees prior to bottling. Juicy wild orange, mandarine, melon, green apple, kumquat ring through this medium bodied wine, finely gripped on the sides by skin tannins, and finishing with a saline rinse. Nice ease to this characterful orange.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Andi Weigand
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Pieropan Soave Classicotext
92PTS

Pieropan Soave Classico 2019

Soave, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThis is a classic, riveting Soave, gleaming pale gold with the telltale greenish tints of youth. Certified organic, the wine is a blend of 85% garganega and 15% trebbiano di Soave, fermented traditionally in glass-lined concrete vessels. It has the excellent balance between generously ripe fruit and juicy acidity typical of the temperate region of Veneto in the northeast of Italy, where ample sun is offset by cool mountain air at night. Aromas and flavours read like a roll-call of ripe garganega: white flowers, apricot, almond, peach, and fennel with an underpinning of green apple and earthiness. A definitive aspect of the wine is the pungent twang of minerality imparted by the richly volcanic hillside soils in which the mature vines are planted. You’ll sense this in the lengthy, saline finish of this masterful Soave. Displaying an intricate dance of fruit and botanical savour, this is one of the great little less-is-more wines of the world, from the leading estate in the region, Pieropan. 'Food-friendly' may be becoming an over-used term, but this wine truly is supremely food-friendly. A worthy pairing would be Spaghetti Vongole.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Pieropan, Az Agr.
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Marcel Deiss Spring Muscattext
91PTS

Marcel Deiss Spring Muscat 2017

Alsace, FranceThis Muscat comes off biodynamically farmed vineyards in Bergheim’s Altenberg and Pflänzer regions, and their clay-limestone soils. This was native fermented, with one year on lees. Very fragrant, with honeysuckle, pear blossom, lime pith, lemon balm on a dryish, lightly waxen palate. This streams long on the slender palate, finishing with a limestone hum. Very pure.Prices: ON 33.95 Producer: Marcel Deiss
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El Petit Bonhomme Blancotext
88PTS

El Petit Bonhomme Blanco 2019

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainThis verdejo comes off 50 year old bush vines rooted in the gravelled sandy soils of Rueda. After a cold tank ferment, this rested in a mix of 80 / 20 stainless / new French oak for 4 months, on lees. Ripe and creamy, with pear, white peach, rambutan, and lychee flooding a juicy, brief palate. Lovely balance and typicity, this is primed for cracking into now, ideally with green salads or spring veg dishes.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 16.99 SK 15.99 MB 15.99 Producer: Les Vins Bonhomme
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Fento Wines La Liebre y la Tortuga Albariñotext
88PTS

Fento Wines La Liebre y la Tortuga Albariño 2020

Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainOne of winemaker Eulogio Pomares' many projects (most notably, Zarate), this youthful albariño has the energy of the rabbit (libère), as well as the grape's tortoise-like ageability (the tortuga). Sourced from the mountainous sub-region of Condado, alongside the river Miño, and from 10-15 year old vines on granite and slate soils, this was vinified and aged for a short time in stainless. Spritely and a bit spritzy, this is a fresh, bright white, shining with gooseberry, guava, pear skin, and grapefruit, with a dusting of white pepper and a subtle granitic grip on the lighter palate, finishing with a pithy lime twist. Drinking well now, with lighter white fish or salads.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Fento Wines
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Barone di Valforte Pecorinotext
90PTS

Barone di Valforte Pecorino 2020

Abruzzo, ItalyThe Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century, and their vineyard lies within the DOCG Colline Teramane area. This pecorino is grown on north facing (cooler) calcareous laced soils in Piomba and Colle Sale, and from 150 - 350m. Almonds, lemon, bosc pear sail through this slender white, finishing with a flush of alluring salinity. Lovely food white with a simple green salad, spaghetti alle vonvole, or steamed mussels.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Hárslevelű Drytext
88PTS

Château Dereszla Tokaji Hárslevelű Dry 2019

HungarySituated in the heart of the Tokaj region, the origins of Chateau Dereszla can be traced back to the 18th century. Here, Hárslevelű is presented as a dry white, with green apple, tight white melon, Asian pear buffered with a pad of lees, taking this to a snappy, sour lemony finish. A nice attempt to show this grape dry and pure, but comes up a little lacking.Prices: BC 19.98 Producer: Château Dereszla
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Château Dereszla Tokaji Furminttext
87PTS

Château Dereszla Tokaji Furmint 2019

HungarySituated in the heart of the Tokaj region, the origins of Chateau Dereszla can be traced back to the 18th century. This dry ferment is tippled with 8% Kabar B, and 7% Muscat. Lime pith, melon, prickly pear, crab apple run the medium palate, with bright acidity, and a sweet kiss of apple blossom on the shorter finish. A simple, clean, if forgettable white.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Château Dereszla
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Church & State Wines Roussannetext
89PTS

Church & State Wines Roussanne 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe fruit is grown on the warm Black Sage Bench southeast of Oliver, in Coyote Bowl and Bella Vineyards. Like its sister label, Marsanne, the oak and the alcohol have been pulled back, and at 12.5 percent alcohol, it is all about the fruit and the terroir. The entry is a ripe mix of orange and peach with the right amount of spice underneath. Less fat and puffy than last year, the Roussanne resurfaces as a serious gastronomic wine. It would be a perfect match with fresh halibut in a butter sauce.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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Church & State Wines Marsannetext
89PTS

Church & State Wines Marsanne 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA nice shift to a drier style has given the 2018 Marsanne a more complex edge out of the gate. Look for a mix of orange and dried apricot on the nose, with nectarines and almonds underneath. The alcohol has gone down even further to 12.5%, adding to the freshness of the wine. I love the direction this wine is heading toward. It is perfect for vegetarian or simple shellfish dishes. The fruit comes off two warm sites on the Black Sage Bench, Coyote Bowl and Bella Vineyards, and it's aged for eight months in oak.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Church & State Winery
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14 December 2021

Maison Tardieu-Laurent Les Becs Finstext
89PTS

Maison Tardieu-Laurent Les Becs Fins 2019

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceFamille Tardieu has become one of the best micro-negociants in the Rhone Valley. From the challenging 2019 vintage, this organic 70/30 Grenache / Syrah comes from very pebbled soils in the Gard, and was destemmed, native fermented and then aged 10 months in concrete. It was bottled without sulphur, or filtration. Plush and rich with cassis, black plum, blackberry, thorns on a plump, full palate, this is threaded with cracked peppercorn, wild mint, leather, perfumed violets, and framed by firm, sinewy tannins. Acidity is bright throughout, able to manage the muscular fruit and density. This pure, youthful, red is primed for drinking now with rich root veg and/or lamb braises.Prices: Producer: Famille Tardieu
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Gérard Bertrand La Forgetext
92PTS

Gérard Bertrand La Forge 2015

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceLa Forge is a four-hectare site at Domaine de Villemajou, in the middle of the Boutenac sub-appellation of Corbières. This is based on 100+ year old carignan vines, spiced with syrah. George Bertrand has said this is his favourite red, possibly because the Domaine de Villemajou is the historical birthplace of the Bertrand family. The majority of grapes undergo carbonic maceration, and the blend happens post-ferment, resting in new oak barrels for 1 year. The wine heads to bottle without fining or filtration, and it is held one year in bottle prior to release. Dense and intense with wild cherry, wild blackberry, sweet ripe plum, downy violets on a fleshy palate, scented with anise and herbal Mediterranean scrub. Tannins are worn soft and sticky, and the finish carries a portly sweetness. Super ripe, dense, and mouthfilling, this still requires richer lamb or beef dishes to partner.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand L'Hospitalitastext
91PTS

Gérard Bertrand L'Hospitalitas 2018

La Clape, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceIn the Middle Ages, l'Hospitalitas was a place of refuge for pilgrims, protected from fierce winds and the punishing summer sun by a high cliff. Today, Chateau l'Hospitalet occupies the La Clape spot, with the biodynamically farmed, coastal vineyard planted on the site's marls, chalks and limestones. The Hospitalitas plot is located at the foot of the cliff and is planted to syrah and mourvèdre. The syrah is partially carbonic, while the remainder of the grapes are traditionally vinified, with the blend happening before the wine heads to oak barrels for one year's ageing. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration and then rested for one more year before release. Highly perfumed, with ample fragrant violets, crushed blackberries, cherry jam, wild thorns, Mediterranean scrub flooding the full, cushy palate, with softly grippy, ample tannins housing this to a warming, exotically spiced and cracked black pepper finish. This is a giant wine still, dense and compact, and best taken alongside herb roast lamb.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Torres Mas de la Rosatext
93PTS

Torres Mas de la Rosa 2018

Priorato, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainMas de la Rosa is one of the hidden valleys of Priorat, a place that historically was one of the first inhabited masias (farmhouses) near Porrera. This is an 80-year-old bush vine field blend of garnacha and carineña, around 500m. The shallow soils are made of broken llicorella. After eight days of skin contact, this was fermented in small stainless tanks for a week and then into French oak for 16 months' rest. So perfumed and finessed, with wild blackberries, scrubby plums, wild blackberries, fragrant violets easing their way from the bottle. Savoury and mineral-laden, effortless and elegant, this is a stunner of a wine now and will continue to impress with time in the cellar.Prices: Canada 560.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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Lou Coucardié Costières de Nîmestext
89PTS

Lou Coucardié Costières de Nîmes 2012

Rhone Valley, FranceVarious old vine, organic parcels make up this 49% mourvèdre, 35% grenache, 16% syrah blend, all rooted in calcareous soils. It includes 30 percent whole cluster for a 30-day native ferment and maceration. It rested on year in neutral French barrels before bottling, without filtration. This is a mouth-filling, fleshy wine with brooding plum, wild blackberry, tayberry, crushed violets along a full palate. Tannins are worn to a velvet plushness at this state, but the acidity is held lofted, thanks to the soils and old vines. This 2012 is drinking well right now, though browning some at the finish, so drink up.Prices: BC 45.00 ON 34.95 Producer: Michel Gassier
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Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rougetext
89PTS

Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses Rouge 2019

Ventoux, Southern Rhone, Rhone Valley, FranceFrom various certified organic, biodynamically farmed estate vineyards in Ventoux averaging 300m altitude, this blend of 60/40 grenache/syrah is rooted in the region's stony limestone and iron oxide sands. After a native ferment in stainless, this aged in a mix of stainless and cement. Earthy plum, wild raspberry, crunchy cherry stream along the palate, seasoned with scrubby rosemary and thorns, and lofted with bright, easy acidity. Tannins are fine and furry, and the finish hums with ferrous stoniness imbued with a warming medicinal cherry note. Quite smart, characterful and well-priced red for enjoying now and over the short term.Prices: BC 18.99 AB 18.29 ON 22.95 QC 18.55 Producer: Château Pesquié
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Gérard Bertrand An 1877text
88PTS

Gérard Bertrand An 1877 2018

St Chinian, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe 1877 pays tribute to the modern revolution brought by the steam engine, and the first Saint-Chinian railway that enabled wines to be transported from the Languedoc to cities beyond. This cuvée blends Syrah and Mourvèdre from sandstone and schist slopes. The destemmed grapes have a 3 week fermentation and maceration before pressing into a mix of stainless and oak (33% wood) for 9 months prior to bottling. Pouring a deep, inky hue, this is somewhat closed upon first opening, so give the compact, wild black fruit time to expand with some airtime. Dense and full, with dark chocolate, cassis, wild cherry, dusky blackberry, and smouldering spice. Tannins are ample and sticky, somewhat blocky, reflective of the Mediterranean sunshine, and ripe fruit. The finish ends on a bitter chocolate and herb note. Certainly more earthy / savoury than some of Bertrand's wines, and a suitable partner for roast beef or roast root veg.Prices: BC 24.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenachetext
89PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenache 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFrom older bush vines, planted from 1889 to 1972 (average planting 1944) across Barossa's valley floor, this was partial whole bunch, and had a lengthy maceration period along with a native ferment in stainless. All batches are racked into older American, French, and Hungarian hogsheads for six months maturation prior to bottling. Fragrant black cherry, raspberry, and plum is imbued with wild flowers and fine grained pink peppercorns, all lofted with an easy acidity. Tannins are fine and long, guiding this to a peppery, mustard seed finish. Drinking very smartly now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenachetext
89PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Bush Vine Grenache 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaOld bush vines are at the core of this offering, with plantings from 1935, 1945, 1965 and 1972. After ferment and a long maceration, the wine is aged in an older mix of French and Hungarian wood for seven months before bottling. The style is aromatic with predominately red fruit, including plums and raspberries with a dusting of spice and acidity pushing through the back end. Ready to drink now and best with grilled chicken or grilled root vegetables.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Pentâge Winery GSMtext
89PTS

Pentâge Winery GSM 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGSM, grenache syrah mourvedre, is mixed at roughly one-third each, all fermented separately before ageing for 16 months in new and neutral French and American oak. Not as jammy as last year, there is more purity of fruit in 2016 and more balanced flavours reflecting a standout vintage. Look for black plums and cherries with a hint of smoked meat and fine acidity. The tannins are soft and silky throughout its floral, peppery finish. Stews, cassoulets, and charcuterie plates all work here.Prices: BC 28.70 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Gérard Bertrand An 806text
90PTS

Gérard Bertrand An 806 2017

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThe year 806 marks the first traces of Peyrepertuse Castle, a legacy of the Cathars who built the towering citadels that still overlooks the vineyard in Corbières. This GSM is rooted in the site's schist, limestone, and worn pebbles. The syrah in this GSM was carbonically macerated, while the Grenache and Mourvèdre were traditionally destemmed, macerated and fermented. Post MLF, the three were blended and aged in 225L barrels for eight months, with a fining before bottling. This 2017 is primed for enjoying now, with defined blackcurrant, perfumed black cherry, wild plum, crushed violets, and ample scrubby thorns flooding a full-bodied, yet very fresh *thanks 2017* palate. Tannins are firm but well-integrated by this time, leaving a stony grip in their wake. A lot is packed into this smart wine, and for a great price—partner with any pork / grilled root veg dish.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Stag's Hollow Cachet 05 Limited Editiontext
90PTS

Stag's Hollow Cachet 05 Limited Edition 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe attack is full on with smoked meat, toast, and strong savoury notes of mostly black fruits but with a touch of red fruit acidity underneath. The finish is similar, with more sagebrush and desert scrub notes woven into soft tannins. Cachet wines are not produced every year. Amalia Vineyard in Osoyoos is the source for Cachet No. 5, which leads with syrah and merlot and lesser amounts of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon from the same block. Post ferment, it is aged in a mix of one 500L French oak puncheon (Syrah) and two French oak barriques (Merlot field blend) for 18 months. It is blended and bottled in an impossibly heavy bottle in February 2021.Prices: BC 85.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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RMX by Ingo Gradytext
87PTS

RMX by Ingo Grady 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRMX is an Ingo Grady remix of GSM. This year's is a 32/27/14/21/6 blend of syrah, malbec, grenache, mourvèdre, viognier (the latter co-fermented with the syrah). The whole aged in older oak and stainless for 20-24 months. Super perfumed, with sweet plums, blackberry jam, violets, cracked pepper along a cushy, shorter palate, framed with toasty / sticky tannins, finishing with a swell of heat and a violet candy. As you might imagine from the blend, this is somewhat disjointed red, needing mitigation from roasted meats.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Hermit Wine Company (Kismet Wines)
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Road 13 Syrah Malbectext
92PTS

Road 13 Syrah Malbec 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPouring an opaque colour, the nose and palate are awash in blackberry and blueberry highlights flecked with earth, leather, pepper, licorice, and sagebrush. The tannin management is scary good, with soft, lush textures enveloping most of the palate. Rich and indeed intoxicating, it is a winner. Over the years, this wine is gaining refinement and looks like it is becoming a serious label. Think rich smoky grilled ribs, lamb shoulder, or flank steak.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Road 13
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Road 13 GSMtext
92PTS

Road 13 GSM 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGSM is a giant of a wine with all the proper notes you want in a grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blend. It is amazingly spicy from front to back with earthy savoury aromas and black plums, pepper, meaty, dark chocolate. It will need a decade to fully mature in the bottle to be something special, but it will be well worth the wait. In the meantime, the lushness and silky tannins would suggest you can enjoy it now, with rich fall fare.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Road 13
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El Petit Bonhomme Tintotext
88PTS

El Petit Bonhomme Tinto 2019

Jumilla, Valencia and Murcia, SpainPetit is made with passion, but it is meant to be drinkable when you crack the screwcap. Winemaker Nathalie Bonhomme keeps the yields down to intensify the flavours. It is all hand harvested and fermented in small stainless steel vats. It goes through malolactic fermentation in 225L French oak barrels for the monastrell and syrah, and 300L American oak for the garnacha. All is aged for six months in oak. The fruit is pure and light with a black cherry lead mixed with black plums, dried herbs, and black pepper. Balanced, smooth, and tasty, it is well suited to lamb chops, hamburgers, or meaty pizza. The monastrell comes off 25 year+ bush vines, adding complexity to a well made red. Back up the truck.Prices: BC 15.99 AB 16.99 SK 15.99 MB 15.99 Producer: Les Vins Bonhomme
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Laya Garnacha Monastrell Vieilles Vignestext
88PTS

Laya Garnacha Monastrell Vieilles Vignes 2020

Almansa, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainA familiar silver leaf label on our market, Bodegas Atalaya, was founded in 2007 by Jumilla's Gil Family. It blends 75% garnacha and 25% monastrell rooted around 1000m in Almansa. It spent four months in French oak before bottling. Dense and potent with smoked stone interwoven with ripe cassis, kirsch, dusky blackberry, blackest espresso, and tar. Tannins are ample but plush and velveteen, hosting this to a peppery finish. Take this youthful rustic red with roast beef or winter squash.Prices: BC 16.99 AB 15.99 SK 15.99 MB 15.99 Producer: Vinas Familia Gil
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Mas Donis Negretext
88PTS

Mas Donis Negre 2019

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThere is no need to complicate wine when you pour Mas Donis Negre. 2019 is a 30/25/25/20 tempranillo, syrah, merlot, and garnacha blend that presents softish tannins and black plummy fruit dusted with licorice garrigue dried herbs. It is capable of some short term ageing but it's better served now with grilled lamb or grilled root vegetables. Stock up.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Celler de Capçanes
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Borsao Tres Picos Garnachatext
89PTS

Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2018

Campo de Borja, Aragon, SpainTres Picos is the top of the line at Borsão. The heat-loving, head-pruned garnacha vines are grown on volcanic soils and average 30-65 years of age. Look for intense red cherry and black raspberry with just the right amount of savoury. It is complex with mineral, chalky notes and a washing of chalk and vanilla in the finish. Fun, juicy, and ready to drink, it was the perfect pairing for grilled lamb.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 24.95 Producer: Bodegas Borsao
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10 December 2021

Chronos Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Chronos Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a bright, restrained sauvignon blanc led by zesty citrus fruits, fresh herbs, and a touch of lees. Dry, crisp, and nicely balanced, it's also concentrated and textured, with a creaminess that rounds out the palate, elevating this above your average everyday sipping sauvignon. Well made and fairly priced, this will make an excellent pairing with asparagus risotto.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Chronos Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Chronos Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith fruit from Okanagan Falls' Silver Barrel Vineyard, this was whole bunch pressed and fermented by lot in stainless, where it remained until bottling. Potent, brash, and crunchy, with grapefruit, green apple, guava, sherbet on a short, zippy, zesty palate to a snappy finish. A youthful, friendly sauvy for cracking now.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2020

British Columbia, CanadaCapella is the flagship white of Clos du Soleil, with fruit from Keremeos and Oliver, and a mix of 77% sauvignon blanc, and 23% sémillon in 2020. Each vineyard block was harvested separately, whole cluster pressed, and partially native fermented in French puncheons (1/4 saw MLF). After 9 months' barrel age, with bâtonnage, the best barrels were blended into Capella. Lemon verbena, green hedge, Anjou pear, green apple sail through the medium bodied palate, brightened with lime and grapefruit pithiness, but grounded on a cushy bed of stony lees, finishing with a buzzy citrus hum. Again, quite a compelling, and unique wine for BC, drinking smartly now in youth, but will certainly reward with a few years in the cellar. 410 cases.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Wairau River Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Wairau Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandWith fruit off their five estate vineyards, this was fermented and rested on lees in stainless. Bright, refined gooseberry, lemon/lime, lemon verbena, hedgerow glide along the palate, lit with a fine stony shimmer and padded with a bump of RS. A very friendly, smart wine for drinking now.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Rose Family Estate
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Riverlore Marlborough Sauvignon Blanctext
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Riverlore Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandRiverlore pays tribute to the Taniwha, a protective creature that lives in pools, caves and shallow waters in Maori mythology. This sauvignon comes primarily off of the pioneering Rose family's Wairau Valley estate vineyards, one of the oldest family wineries in NZ, planing their vineyards in 1978. Lip smacking juicy and shining bright, this sings with lime and lemon, green apple, green hedge, tart gooseberry on a stony, medium bodied palate. There is ample tension from citrus pith and peel, and an alluring shimmering stoniness that beds from front to back. Crack into this youthful charmer now with fresh shellfish or green veg/salads.Prices: BC 16.00 Producer: Rose Family Estate
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Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThe Black Label Sauvignon Blanc is a step up from the classic white label, with more intensity and power within, and an aim towards gastronomy. From estate vineyards throughout Marlborouh, this was partially native fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees, with partial MLF, until bottling. Creamy yet bright with gooseberry, lime pith and peel, guava, and white grapefruit, this carries some citrus weight on the palate, aided by a couple of grams of RS. Certainly one to partner alongside fragrant Indian or Thai curries.Prices: BC 22.49 ON 19.95 Producer: Babich Wines Limited
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Babich Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis classic white label sauvignon blanc sources grapes from across Marlborough, and is partially native fermented in stainless, where it sees no MLF, and remains on lees for a few months. Juicy and brisk with gooseberry, guava, lime through a snappy, bright palate. This welcoming sauvy is a classic for a reason. Enjoy now with any matter of spring veg or simple green salads.Prices: BC 19.99 ON 17.70 Producer: Babich Wines Limited
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Kelly Washington Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Kelly Washington Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom Marlborough's Southern Valleys, this organic and biodynamically farmed sauvignon comes from a hillside vineyard of clay-loess soils. This was native fermented in a mix of stainless and 30% older barrels, where it remained for 10 months prior to bottling. Textured and layered with juicy lime, quince, gooseberry, wild orange peel set atop a savoury, broken stones backdrop. The medium bodied wine is ringing with limey acidity, and lingering with more of that broken stony salinity. Not your typical Marlborough savvy, especially with some age under its belt.Prices: ON 41.95 Producer: Kelly Washington
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Greystone Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Greystone Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Waipara, Canterbury, South Island, New ZealandThis organic sauvignon blanc comes from Waipara Valley, on the Southern Island's North Canterbury region, and the estate's loess over clays. This was native fermented in older French barrels over six months to achieve dryness. It went through partial MLF before being racked out of barrels for the final blend and bottling, without fining. Candied lemon, fragrant gooseberry, guava, tropical florals flood the fuller, creamy palate, one expansed by the time in wood. This medium bodied (13%) white finishing with a lingering wash of salinity. If you're feeling like sauvignon blanc, but looking for something to partner with fragrant, creamy, coconut milk curries, give this a try.Prices: ON 29.00 Producer: Greystone Wines
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Chronos Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Chronos Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Lynzee Schatz makes this sauvignon blanc from grapes in their Okanagan Falls vineyard harvested from two different sections at two different times and fermented separately. Look for plenty of clean, fresh green notes flecked with passion fruit undercurrents. The attack is dry and lively, with classic green fruit styling with a twist of bitterness. Winery suggestions include smoked salmon, green hummus, sautéed asparagus.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Marc Deschamps Vinealis Pouilly-Fumétext
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Marc Deschamps Vinealis Pouilly-Fumé 2019

Loire, FranceThis sauvignon blanc comes off limestone kimmeridgian marls from the oldest vines in the 2.3-ha Champs de Cri lieu dit, near the hamlet of Les Loges. It was native fermented in small barrel (15% new), where it spent 12 months on lees prior to bottling. Layered and complexed with broken stones, lemon pith and peel, white cherry, white honey, and lees, this fuller white floods the palate with a brace of acidity, and is amply seasoned with salinity and mineral salts. Quite profound and complete, this is a striking wine for drinking now, and in future.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Patrice Moreaux Corty Artisan Pouilly-Fumétext
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Patrice Moreaux Corty Artisan Pouilly-Fumé 2017

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceThis sustainably farmed, low-intervention sauvignon comes from a 4.5 hectare monopole rooted in kimmeridgian marl, rarely seen in Pouilly-Fumé, and at 200m altitude. It was native fermented in stainless, where it remained on lees, and bottled when the lunar cycle was favourable. Earthy and savoury, this is scented with wild orange, broken stones, anise, green hedge, tarragon, with a lees-decked palate finishing with bitter lemon pith. An adventurous, yet challenging wine.Prices: ON 48.00 Producer: Vignobles Patrice Moreux
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Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerretext
88PTS

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre 2019

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceThis organic Sancerre was cold settled, native fermented in stainless where it remains on lees until it was lightly fined and filtered pre bottling. Bright lemon, lemon verbena, green apple ring throughout this medium bodied white, sharpened by green acidity, and lingering with buzzy stony spices. A smart Sancerre ready to drink now.Prices: ON 33.95 Producer: Jean-Max Roger
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Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanctext
87PTS

Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Touraine, Loire, FranceThis Sauvignon Blanc comes from plots across Touraine, fermented and matured on fine lees, with regular bâtonnage. Unmistakably sauvy, from its gooseberry, lemon, hedge, green apple, and guava to the lightly green edged finish. This is a fresh, juicy, varietally-correct sauvignon for cracking into now.Prices: ON 16.95 Producer: Thierry Delaunay
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Parlez Vous Sauvignon Blanctext
86PTS

Parlez Vous Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Loire, FranceFrom various sites throughout the Loire, this is a tight, youthful and green edged sauvignon, with green hedge, grass, bright lemon, guava on a short palate. Nice sauvignon character, though certainly not discernibly Loire, at a bargain price.Prices: ON 11.75 Producer: Lacheteau
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Marc Deschamps Les Champs de Cri Pouilly-Fumétext
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Marc Deschamps Les Champs de Cri Pouilly-Fumé 2020

Loire, FranceThis sauvignon blanc comes from limestone kimmeridgian marls from a 2.3 hectare plot in the Champs de Cri lieu dit, near the hamlet of Les Loges, and with vines 50+ years in age. It was native fermented in tank, where it spent 8 months on lees prior to bottling. Rich and impactful, this full bodied white buzzes with broken stones, lemon pith, pear skin across a wide lees bed, lit with ample mineral salts and finishing with that limestone buzz. A fall / winter ready white if ever there was one, this has the structure and acidity to hold in your cellar over the next few years easily.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Marc Deschamps Tradition des Loges Pouilly Fumétext
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Marc Deschamps Tradition des Loges Pouilly Fumé 2020

Loire, FranceThis sauvignon blanc comes from limestone kimmeridgian marls on the slopes of Les Loges, and vines averaging 25 years. It was vinified and aged in tank, on lees. Lemon blossoms, prickly pear, pear skin, lime pith, and white grapefruit stream along the medium palate, buzzing with limestone through the lingering, vibrating finish. Quite striking now, this structural, warming white has time ahead.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumétext
90PTS

Marc Deschamps Les Porcheronnes Pouilly Fumé 2020

Pouilly-Fume, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceFrom numerous clay and limestone hilltops in Les Loges, specifically La Cote and Les Griottes, these sauvignon blanc vines average 20 years in vine age, and were fermented and aged in tank, on lees. Bright and brisk with lemon verbena, prickly pear, tangerine, guava and white grapefruit, this buzzes along a fuller (14.5%) palate, finishing with a raft of broken stones. Quite a potent wine, primed for drinking now.Prices: ON 29.95 Producer: Marc Deschamps
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Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom the stony, silty soils of Marlborough Central Valley's Rapara District, this youthful, forward sauvy was fermented and rested briefly in stainless. Juicy and fruit-driven, with passionfruit, guava, tangerine, kumquats and pointed lime sherbet acidity that drives this through the snappy palate, finishing with a dusting of ginger spice. A brisk, fun, potent Kiwi SB for cracking now.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 20.00 MB 22.00 BC 34.99 2000 BC 34.99 2000 Producer: Rossendale Winery
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Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanctext
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Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis is a current release from the 2014 vintage, so you can expect a serious wine in your glass. With fruit from Rapaura and Renwick, this was gently pressed and settled over 24 hours before partial native ferment in French barrels (8% new) over a slow 4-5 months, with partial MLF. It remained there on lees until the following spring when barrels were tasted and blended and bottled. Quite up front and potent, with nettle, capsicum, hedgerow, lemon verbena, key lime, white grapefruit all jockeying for position at the fore, while a savoury honeycomb lees note beds the base. Very textural and gripped with broken stones and wood spice, while acidity holds this medium+ bodied white taut and strident. There is a lot going on here, so give it some time in the glass (and let it warm some) before pairing with umami-filled Japanese or Vietnamese dishes, or give this unique Kiwi sauvy another couple of years in the cellar.Prices: BC 59.49 AB 74.45 MB 58.65 QC 54.00 Producer: Cloudy Bay Vineyards Limited
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Petrichor Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

Petrichor Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPetrichor is a new brand from Mark Anthony, meant to embody the southern Okanagan Valley. From estate vineyards, this sauvignon blanc is sleek and steely, with lemongrass, crunchy Anjou pear, Asian pear, and a light dusting of spice. Smart wine for cracking now, but why the super heavy bottle?Prices: BC 17.99 Producer: Artisan Wine Company
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CedarCreek Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

CedarCreek Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Marlborough-styled sauvignon blanc leads with pungent gooseberry, grapefruit, and fresh herbs, with the restrained fruit ripeness true to the 12.5% abv declared on the label. Lean, taut, with integrated brisk acidity, this finishes bone dry in a style that's calling for oysters. Well-made sauvignon blanc through and through, there's a clarity to the fruit that speaks to the seriousness of the winemaking.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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CedarCreek Estate Sauvignon Blanctext
88PTS

CedarCreek Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe savoury/herbal sage and antelope brush that mark the summer air in the south Okanagan has a positive effect on sauvignon blanc grown in the region. In this case, a grassy, herbal, citrus note pervades the wine from front to back. The style is Marlborough, undoubtedly trying to tackle the massive import market share for sauvignon head-on. In the end, it is fresh, grassy and clean with grapefruit and lemongrass notes, which is all you need at this price point. It’s bone dry and ready to drink with shellfish, chicken salads, fresh goat cheese, and crackers.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Cirro Sauvignon Blanctext
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Cirro Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandCirro refers to Cirrus clouds “the highest of all clouds, with thin wispy feather-like tails formed by ice crystals” that soar 25,000ft above New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Marlborough. This potent, bright, youthful white streams green hedge, passionfruit, lemon sherbet on a medium bodied palate, finishing with a green apple snap. Quite potent and forward, if you're looking for a great flavour impact, look here.Prices: BC 22.98 Producer: Viscosity Ltd.
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Garzón Sauvignon Blanc De Cortetext
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Garzón Sauvignon Blanc De Corte 2021

Garzon, Maldonado, San José, UruguayGarzon Uruguayan Sauvignon is grown 20 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, and the results are highly impressive. Pure, clean, fresh flavours jump from the glass with gooseberry, citrus pith, and nectarine. The finish is crisp with a definite salty mineral note. Most shellfish, or a simple spread of goat cheese and crackers will do here.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Bodega Garzón
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Da Silva Fumé Blanctext
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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. The Fume Blanc is wood-aged for eight weeks, adding weight and a richer structure to the Hidden Hollow Vineyard fruit grown on the Naramata Bench. The fruit remains fresh, the oak notwithstanding, with bits of green apple, pear, nectarine and gooseberry fruit. A fine accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.Prices: BC 27.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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09 December 2021

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noirtext
96PTS

Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2019

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandFelton Road is not just one of New Zealand's most highly regarded wineries, it's in the top percentile globally. Their viticulture is 100% organic and biodynamic, fully certified by Demeter and BioGro. The 2019 Bannockburn Pinot has a magical aroma of raspberries and cherries scented with wild thyme and damp earth. The wine is supremely well-balanced, with the sleek, plush texture of lavishly ripe pinot noir. Energetic fruit and tannins are beautifully integrated with refreshing and uplifting fine acids on the palate. The final impression is all about texture and shape in classic Felton Road fashion: curved, velvety, and luxurious. The wine has an immensely satisfying and long-lasting finish, complex and tasty beyond belief. Bannockburn is a blend of all the Felton vineyards, and each of them has a strong voice in this wine. Cornish Point brings black fruit, velvety texture, hedonistic aromatics and chocolatey tannins; Calvert offers the density of clay soils and vivid red fruit; Block 5's stern tannins are borne of even harder clay soils; Block 3 brings crushed herbs, fine tannins, and tapering length courtesy of Felton's oldest vines (27 years as of 2019). A rather wet vintage bookended by frosts, this was not the easiest year (double the normal amount of rain), but lower yields have increased concentration. Decant and let stand for 30 minutes to awaken this young superstar (and try to drink it slowly over several hours) or cellar for 8-10 years. Duck, lamb chops, or grilled salmon are excellent pairings.Prices: BC 84.99 Producer: Felton Road
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Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noirtext
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Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2017

Central Otago, South Island, New ZealandIn 1975, Rolfe Mills, third generation on his family's Lake Wanaka farm in Central Otago, started to plant a series of experimental rows of Vitis vinifera, when no one else in the area was thinking of such a thing. Together with his wife Lois they released their first commercial vintage in 1989. Today, Jo and her husband Nick Mills run their portion of the farm, around 150 acres, with Nick’s mother, Lois, while Nick’s cousins farm the other half. This older vine biodynamically farmed pinot noir comes off a north-facing escarpment overlooking Lake Wanaka, rooted in moraines and gravels over schist, a site Nick calls 'the voice of the vineyard'. Dark and voluptuous, yet articulate, with reams of crushed black plum, wild blackberry, stony cassis, running the savoury palate. Licks of downy violets and kirsch pop up throughout, with the whole framed by fine, long tannins, and vibrant with an ever-present mineral hum which lingers long on the pink peppercorn laced finish. This darker shaded pinot is drinking very well now, but certainly has time to go ahead.Prices: BC 76.00 Producer: Rippon Estate
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Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses Pinot Noir 2019

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceFrom grapes around Languedoc, this memorably packaged pinot noir (check the rose imprint on the bottom of the bottle) was destemmed, macerated and fermented in stainless over 2 weeks, before maturing in stainless and 225L barrels for a few months prior to bottling. Juicy cherry, plum, tayberry are plump with the Mediterranean sunshine, before quickly tapering off at the astringent finish, along with a dash of spice and some bitter coffee notes. Tannins are smooth, as is the shorter palate. This is a pinot to crack into now (with the fancy vino loc closure) along with a hearty veg/bean stew.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Viña San Pedro 1865 Tayú Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Viña San Pedro 1865 Tayú Pinot Noir 2019

ChileThis is the second version of Tayú 1865, the wine that San Pedro makes in collaboration with the Mapuche community of Buchahueico in the town of Purén, at the foot of the Nahuelbuta Mountain Range in Southern Chile's Malleco Valley. The project began in 2015 as a way to forge a successful relationship with the local Mapuche people. Tayu means "ours" in Mapudungun. This mix of Bourgogne clones yields a darker pinot, with fleshy wild plum, fleshy blackberry, cherry, scrubby wild herbs, and sarsaparilla which finish with an alluring pink peppercorn note. Acidity is easily lofted by latitude, leaving this a bright 12.5%.Prices: ON 19.95 Producer: Viña San Pedro
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Satellite Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Satellite Pinot Noir 2018

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom estate vineyards across Marlborough, this was mostly destemmed and native fermented in open vats before heading to barrels for 11 months's reset prior to blending. Smooth yet tart, with milk chocolate, cherry, raspberry, pomegranate across a medium bodied frame. Tannins are soft, taking this to a pasty finish. Best with a chill and crack now, ideally with burgers.Prices: BC 24.95 ON 22.95 Producer: Spy Valley Wines
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Oyster Bay Pinot Noirtext
85PTS

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom sites across Marlborough, this pinot is predominantly Dijon clones (777, 667, 115 and Abel), destemmed and fermented in stainless, with a small amount run off to finish ferment in French barriques. The wine rested in a mix of tank and barriques for 11 months prior to bottling. Quite earthy and rubbery up front, with roasted meat and roasted root veg, dark florals, tart blackcurrant, and milk chocolate swirling on the spiced, smoky palate. Tannins are blocky, siding this to a warming finish. A pinot that wants to be a cabernet, take this now with grilled burgers.Prices: BC 23.99 ON 21.95 Producer: Delegat's Wine Estate Limited
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Domaine Jean Fournier Bourgogne Côte d'Ortext
88PTS

Domaine Jean Fournier Bourgogne Côte d'Or 2018

Burgundy, FranceDomaine Jean Fournier began in 1962 in Marsannay-La-Côte, a small village north of the Côte de Nuits. In 2003, Jean’s son Laurent took over the 16 hectare estate, certifying it as organic in 2008. This pinot noir comes off marl and limestone pebbles, was 80% destemmed and native fermented over 2 weeks prior to aging one year in 600L barrels. It was bottled with light filtration, and following the biodynamic moon calendar. Pouring a deeper crimson/violet this leads with ripe plum / prune, baked cherry, and sultry raspberry along a plumped palate. Tannins are soft and sticky, like the velveteen palate, which straightens itself a little on the saline finish. Feels baked, which might be an effect of the warm 2018 vintage. Drink now.Prices: Producer: Domaine Jean Fournier
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Domaine de la Luolle Les Oiseaux Rares Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaisetext
90PTS

Domaine de la Luolle Les Oiseaux Rares Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise 2018

Burgundy, FranceThis Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise comes off Olivier and Sandrine Dovergne's estate's 8 hectares of organic vines. 80% of these 45 year old pinot noir vines are rooted in clay-limestone, while the remainder sit on clay-silt. This was partially destemmed, native fermented over 3 weeks in wood, before it ages in French barrels (15-20% new). The limestone lit soils brightens this slight wine, lifting wild raspberry, tart cherry, crunchy plum along a svelte, stony palate, tightened on the sides with fine, grippy tannins. The finish charms with subtle florals, and ample white peppery spices. Lovely now with a slight chill.Prices: Producer: Domaine de la Luolle
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Domaine Jean Claude Courtault Côte de Grisey Bourgogne Epineuiltext
90PTS

Domaine Jean Claude Courtault Côte de Grisey Bourgogne Epineuil 2018

Burgundy, FranceThis Régionale Bourgogne earned the geographical designation of the village Epineuil, in northern Bourgogne, where the grapes are sourced. Jean-Claude Courtault arrived in the Chablis region almost 40 years ago, determined to create his own estate, and producing his first vintage in 1984. Today his daughter Stéphanie and her husband Vincent Michelet run this sustainably farmed, 2 hectare domain. This pinot is rooted in south/southeast facing kimmeridgean limestone. It was cool macerated and fermented in stainless, where it predominantly remained for 10 months (15% in older oak barrels). Tight and nimble via the kimmeridgian and northern latitude, this lighter red positively hums along the palate, brightening wild cherry, raspberry, perfumed rosehips, framed by fine, grippy, firm tannins. This lingers with a stony rasp, and ample lingering salinity. A little charmer, ready for drinking now.Prices: Producer: Domaine Jean Claude Courtault
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La Crema Monterey Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2018

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesA consistent performer out of Monterey comes in at a sensible 13.5 percent. This aged in French oak barrels (19 percent new) for eight and half months. The attack is savoury with juicy black plum, earthy, spicy notes with flecks of rhubarb and minerals. Ready to drink. Monterey is rocky, cool, windswept, and wild, and there is always a bit of all that in the wine.Prices: BC 36.99 AB 29.00 ON 31.00 Producer: La Crema
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Carmel Road Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2018

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesA solid introductory style Monterey-based pinot that offers a silky soft palate and sweet red fruit mixed with dried herbs, spice, and freshly turned earth. The oak is present, but it doesn’t overpower the wine. A fruity charming berry-laden red is the first duty of inexpensive New World pinot. It is certified sustainable. The perfect mid-week drop.Prices: BC 29.99 AB 24.49 Producer: Carmel Road Winery
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Lake Sonoma Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Lake Sonoma Pinot Noir 2018

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, United StatesStewart Family Estates is one of the rare Canadian wine companies to have ventured abroad, in this case to Sonoma. That California sun is felt here, with bold, sweet dark fruits, that are lifted by dried florals and a dusting of oak spices. Medium-full bodied, this is round and fleshy, with some stickiness to the tannins that would be a great pairing with a burger.Prices: BC 29.50 AB 31.99 MB 32.95 Producer: Lake Sonoma Winery
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J. Christopher Volcanic Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

J. Christopher Volcanic Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesIn the 2015 vintage, J. Christopher Wines introduced two new labels, Volcanique, and Basalte, to replace the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. They divided that cuvée into two AVA-specific wines to offer more focused wines at the same price point. Volcanique comes off hand selected sites from the Dundee Hills AVA, home to some of the oldest pinot noir plantings in the state. The J. Christopher philosophy is about an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length, and balance. Even though it is a warm year and the wine is somewhat brawny on the mid-palate, it is Oregon pinot. The entry is juicy with earthy, bloody, red cherry and a rich, soft, lush texture that melts in your mouth. Expressive and rich enough to take on full-flavoured dishes like pork belly or duck.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: J. Christopher
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Vanzini Kairos Pinot Nerotext
87PTS

Vanzini Kairos Pinot Nero 2020

Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy, ItalyFrom calcareous clay slopes in the San Damiano al Colle district of Oltrepò Pavese, and vines up to 25 years, this was fermented and aged for 3 months in stainless before bottling in the distinctive squat bottle. Baked raspberry, strawberry jam, milk chocolate, hay, fine spice lead this medium+ red, with soft, sticky tannins and a pillowy soft palate. Lacking the freshness and acidity I would expect from this area.Prices: Producer: Azienda Vitivinicola Vanzini
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Maison Leroy Bourgogne Rougetext
90PTS

Maison Leroy Bourgogne Rouge 2017

Burgundy, FranceFrom the legendary Bourgogne house of Leroy. One of the best values in this portfolio is the Maison Leroy Bourgogne level wines. Do not be deceived by the designation. While Lalou Bize Leroy never reveals the source of the grapes, it is known that these are usually grapes from villages and 1er Cru plots, and she blends each vintage to best represent her wines for that vintage. This is where Lalou Bize-Leroy spends her most energy; the Bourgognes are the real flagship wines of the house. From the elegant and cooler 2017 vintage, this shows bright cherry, black raspberry, seasoned with a dusting of sweet spice. Tannins are still tight and firm yet fine, and acidity is easily lofted through the gently humming, limestone-laced finish. Give this youthful pinot some time to open in your glass now, or better yet, try again in a year or two.Prices: ON 220.00 Producer: Maison Leroy
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Aquinas Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Aquinas Pinot Noir 2018

North Coast Region, California, United StatesThe fruit on this north coast pinot is bold, jammy, and hedonistic, joined by a healthy dash of sweet oak spices and vanilla. It's a full-throttle style, with a subtle sweetness to round out the palate. Soft and plush, this is made to enjoy on its own, but certainly has the heft to pair with grilled meats.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Don Sebastiani & Sons
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Villa Wolf Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2019

Pfalz, GermanyThis German pinot – and, yes, it's labelled pinot noir, not spätburgunder – comes from the Pfalz, just north of Alsace. Ernst Loosen has a way with crafting delicious, affordable wines, and the Villa Wolf label is no exception. This shows good varietal character, which isn't always the case for pinots under $20, with a combination of crunchy red cherry, spices, and underbrush, plus some smoky, meaty notes for good measure. Medium-bodied, round, and supple, this is a solid pour for a cold winter weekday night alongside herb-roasted chicken.Prices: BC 18.49 ON 15.00 Producer: Weingut Dr. Loosen
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Oceano Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Oceano Pinot Noir 2018

San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesOceano Wines is a boutique winery founded in 2016 in San Luis Obispo Coast, the newly designated AVA highlighting this cool climate wine region. This comes off the Spanish Springs Vineyard, the westernmost vineyard in the US, 1.5 miles from the Pacific, on a mix of marine shale, limestone, sandstone. This is a mix of Swan, 115, fermented in tank and then moved to 228 and 500L French barrels for 9 months' aging. This opens with an earthy, autumnal note of decaying leaves, musk, ripe plum, cinnamon, on a fuller palate, framed by toasted oak.Prices: ON 74.95 Producer: Oceano Winery and Vineyard
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Oceano Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Oceano Pinot Noir 2019

San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesOceano Wines is a boutique winery founded in 2016 in San Luis Obispo Coast, the newly designated AVA highlighting this cool climate wine region. This comes off the Spanish Springs Vineyard, the westernmost vineyard in the US, 1.5 miles from the Pacific, on a mix of marine shale, limestone, sandstone. This is a mix of Swan, 115, 667, 777, fermented in tank and then moved to 228 and 500L French barrels for 9 months' aging. Ripe and perfumed, with fragrant black raspberry, cherry, on a silky, soft core, framed by toasted oak, to a warming, baking spiced finish. Drinking now.Prices: ON 74.95 Producer: Oceano Winery and Vineyard
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The Ned Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

The Ned Pinot Noir 2019

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThis Marlborough pinot, from Marisco Vineyards in Waihopai Valley, overdelivers on its modest price tag, perhaps a reflection of the very good 2019 vintage. The fruit is ripe, concentrated, and well-defined, led by bright dark berries, which give this a real appeal. But there's depth, too, with a hint of spice and earth to add complexity. Even with that darker fruit profile, this is still fresh, juicy, and easy to enjoy on its own or paired with cedar-planked salmon.Prices: BC 21.49 AB 20.00 MB 20.99 NS 21.99 Producer: Marisco Vineyards Limited
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Lightfoot and Wolfville Ancienne Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Lightfoot and Wolfville Ancienne Pinot Noir 2018

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, CanadaThis small lot pinot noir comes off low yielding vines on the south facing slopes of their organic and biodynamic estate Oak Island Vineyard. This was native fermented, with 18 months' rest in neutral French barrqiues. There's a sizeable rinse of VA here that washes through the wine, sharpening the tart cherry, tart raspberry ruling the medium- palate, dusted with pink peppercorn. Acidity is cranberry tart, as is the finish.Prices: NS 45.00 Producer: Lightfoot and Wolfville
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The Hermit Ram Zealandia Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

The Hermit Ram Zealandia Pinot Noir 2019

Canterbury, South Island, New ZealandTheo Coles makes small lots off tiny naturally farmed vineyards throughout the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The wines are made with the minimal amount of additions and deletions. This comes off several parcels of organically grown fruit around North Canterbury, from a mix of basalt, clay, limestone, and gravels. After destemming and a native ferment, this macerated on skins for six weeks with only 1 punchdown. It was aged in Tinajas, bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur. Tight and lifted, this slender red is washed with a balsamic rinse to reveal scrubby plum, crunchy wild blueberries, cherries, and wildflowers. Though quite structural, tannins are a slight suggestion, while acidity is pointed to the sky. Certainly a natural view of pinot, once best taken with a chill and current consumption.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: The Hermit Ram
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Andi Weigand Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Andi Weigand Pinot Noir 2018

Franken, GermanyYouthful Andi Weigand took over his father's Franken vineyards in 2015, and converted them to organics, and the wine programming into natural wine. They now work together as a united team, overseeing the vineyards on the Iphöfer Kronsberg, a slope that features Keuper soil. Andi uses an 80 year old basket press and very large wooden barrels, with no fining, filtration, or sulfur. This pinot noir comes off 30 year old vines, destemmed and native fermented with 12 weeks on skins before resting 2 years in large oak. Fresh and lifted, this is tight with crunchy plum, red currants, pomegranate, rinsed with earthy balsamic, and stencilled with fine, grippy tannins to a tart finish. No mistaking the natural intent in this fresh pinot.Prices: BC 70.00 Producer: Andi Weigand
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Alexana Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Alexana Dundee Hills Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom the 55 acre home Revana Vineyard in Dundee Hills, this encompasses 10 clones of pinot, growing across a 300 foot elevation change. Each lot was native fermented whole berry, and barrel aged 11 months (27% new) before the final blend. Dusky plum, cherry, black raspberry, cinnamon, flood the savoury, volcanic dusted palate, held by firmer tannins, and lifted with tight acidity. Somewhat unyielding at first, give this time to open up in the glass.Prices: ON 59.95 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Noir 2018

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesThough named Terroir Series, this is a Willamette-wide blend of various soils and clones. This is a selection of barrels from the dry-farmed younger blocks of the Revana vineyard in Dundee Hills, along with vineyards in Yamhill-Carlton, Eola-Amity, Chehalem Mountains, and McMinnville, and clones Pommard, 115, 777, Wadenswil, 667, La Tache, 943, 114, 828, Coury, and 113. Each lot is separately native fermented whole berry before aging 11 months in French oak (23% new). Quite fragrant, with perfumed black cherries, blackberry, forrest berries, and a light dusting of pepper. Tannins are long and firm, with a slight grip. Drinking very well now.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Alexana Winery
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Michel Prunier et Fille Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Clos du Valtext
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Michel Prunier et Fille Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Clos du Val 2018

Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FranceFrom very stony, south facing calcareous soils and 52 year old vines, this was 50% whole bunch, fermented in stainless before resting in barrels (25% new) with bâtonnage for 15 months. Quite fragrant, with perfumed cherries, black cherries, red currants, and plums filling the mouth, chiseled by fine, firm tannins which take this to a lingering buzzy finish. The soils are quite present here, imbuing this finessed and elegant wine with a persistant vibrancy. Drinking very well know, and with some time ahead in cellar.Prices: ON 72.95 Producer: Michel Prunier et Fille
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Michel Prunier et Fille Bourgogne Pinot Noirtext
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Michel Prunier et Fille Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018

Burgundy, FranceFrom a very cool, stony, calcareous slope, and vines 50 years old, this pinot noir was macerated for 10 days and fermented in stainless before resting in older wood for 10 months. Fragrant cherry, sandalwood, black plum is tinged with forest moss, and framed with astringent tannins, finishing with a bitter espresso / dark chocolate note. Best taken with heavier fall fare.Prices: ON 36.95 Producer: Michel Prunier et Fille
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Undurraga Sibaris Pinot Noir Gran Reservatext
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Undurraga Sibaris Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2018

Valle de Leyda, Valle de San Antonio, Region de Aconcagua, ChileFrom the granitic soils of Lomas de Leyda Estate in Leyda Valley, this Chilean pinot is on the riper, fuller side of the spectrum, at least as far as pinot goes. It shows sweet red fruits with subtle herbs and oak spices after aging in barriques for 10 months. There's also a hint of evolution now at 3 years of age. The elevated fruit ripeness translates to a fleshy palate, with an appealing glycerous, plush texture that makes this ready to drink now. Well made and good value.Prices: BC 17.49 AB 18.99 SK 17.99 MB 17.99 Producer: Viña Undurraga
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Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir Couvent des Jacobinstext
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Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir Couvent des Jacobins 2019

Burgundy, FranceThis charming Bourgogne is perfumed and expressive, showing a combination of soft cherries and hibiscus. It's a more aromatic style, with fruit that is bright and pure. Medium-bodied, juicy, and finely structured, this is calling for a light chill and French bistro fare.Prices: BC 31.99 AB 26.49 SK 31.99 MB 31.99 Producer: Maison Louis Jadot
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08 December 2021

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
89PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaB Field Blend is a new release from Meyer, with fruit primarily off the 2017 B Block of their estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard's sloping gravels and sandy loams, planted to Dijon clones 115, 667, 777. The fruit was picked and cofermented together. Destemmed fruit was macerated and native fermented over two weeks before heading to French barrels for 11 months' rest. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Wild plum, wild blackberry, morello cherry carries an easy lofted acidity across the smooth, silken, darker shaded palate, framed with lightly spiced tannins, and finishing with a generous dusting of baking spice. This youthful pinot is showing well now, and is a worthwhile crack alongside duck or pork tenderloin.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis white label Meyer Pinot Noir is their entry PN, with fruit off vineyards in Okanagan Falls (their home McLean Creek Road), as well as Kaleden and Naramata. This was native fermented, and then rested 8 months in neutral French oak. Perfumed plum, blackberry, mulled cherry fill a lightly spiced, softer palate, with nice toasty spicing framing with lightly sticky tannins, finishing with a dusting of baking spice. A friendly pinot for cracking now.Prices: BC 23.57 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Quails' Gate's West Kelowna estate, the 2019 vintage of their flagship Stewart Family Reserve Pinot is led by generous dark, savoury fruits, with the concentration to balance the forward, layered oak spices. Medium-full bodied, it's rich, dense, and well structured, with succulent acids and fine-grained tannins that will reward careful cellaring over the next 5-7 years.Prices: BC 51.99 AB 49.99 MB 56.50 ON 54.95 QC 48.00 SK 59.99 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
89PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaB Field Blend is new at Meyer. The fruit is centred around 2017 B Block on the estate, McLean Creek Road Vineyard. The vines are planted over gravels and sandy loams that slope across the property, providing excellent drainage for wind and water to the Dijon clones 115, 667, 777. The style is deeper and darker than the norm at Meyer, beginning with less fruit and more terroir. Earthy, plummy, dried black plums mark the palate with a solid dusting of baking spices. Tight and youthful, it is more suited to pork dishes at this point. Cellar through 2025.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAfter the substandard 2019, this white label Meyer Pinot Noir is back on track. It’s an entry level pinot that over-delivers for its price, boasting fruit from Okanagan Falls, Kaleden, and Naramata. In 2020 it was fermented on its native yeats and spent a mere eight months in neutral French oak. As a result, the nose is lightly aromatic and stuffed with the perfect amount of plummy black and red fruit dusted in brown spice and enveloped in a soft robe of tannins that slide down effortlessly. Stock up. Simple and delicious.Prices: BC 23.57 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Reserve Pinot Noir is a blend of Blue Mountain's 3 key PN vineyards, and vines at least 26 years old. It uses clones 113, 114, 115, 667, destemmed and native fermented in open top tanks. Post ferment and settling this rested in new through 4th fill 228L French barrels, with gentle racking until the following spring when it was bottled. Plush and generous with downy black raspberry, damson plum, dark florals on a generous palate, framed with lightly toasted tannins. Quite a polished and sophisticated pinot for enjoying now or over the next couple of years.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTheir estate pinot noir is from their youngest vines (13 years) and a mix of clones 114, 115, 667, 777. The fruit was destemmed and native fermented in a mix of stainless and open top wood fermenters. Post fermented, this aged in French oak until the following spring. Soft and welcoming with downy plum, black raspberry, gentle perfumed florals framed by sticky tannins, and finishing with a light toast. A smart, adult pinot for drinking now.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 37.85 ON 41.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Cuvée draws from older plantings at Blue Mountain's Okanagan Falls estate, ranging in age from 22 to 35 years old, and this certainly steps up the concentration and intensity in the glass. The fruit's also more brooding, with the depth to carry the forward toast and spices. It manages to do it all at just 13% abv, with Blue Mountain continuing to produce some of the most balanced pinots in the province. Elegant, savoury, and serious, this is the real deal.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Estate Cuvée draws from 13-year-old vines and a range of four clones planted at the highest elevation of Blue Mountain's Okanagan Falls estate. Stylistically, this is exactly what we've come to expect from Blue Mountain's pinot program over the last several years: sappy, perfumed dark fruits that are layered with spice and shrubby herbs. They continue to go from strength to strength, thanks to serious viticulture and serious winemaking, and the 2019 vintage of the Estate Cuvée is the best yet. There's more concentration here, but what really stands out is how seamless it is, with fine, elegant tannins that are beautifully balanced. It manages to be an earlier-drinking style that still offers no shortage of depth and complexity. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 37.85 ON 41.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noirtext
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Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noir 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 marks a decade of collaboration between the Van Westen and Di Bello families, with the ominously named VD Pinot Noir. As always, the style is hedonistic, and in 2020 it remains committed to the design. Look for rich black fruit mixed with red fruit streaks and a touch of umami. Sonoma north style with silky but textured black fruit, floral violet notes, earthy raspberry, black cherry, and Okanagan freshness. Drink or hold The Pommard clone fruit is grown at Granite Ridge Vineyard aged in French oak barrels for nine months. Richer Chinese duck dishes, pork belly, or salmon/soy dishes work here.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Tantalus Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, their flagship pinot noir, mixes estate clones 115, 667, 777, 828, 37, and 943, all native fermented by block, often with foot treading to assist, and with 20-40% whole bunches in the mix. After 18-35 days on skins this was pressed into oak barriques (25% new) where it remained for 15 months' rest prior to blending. The final blend rested over winter in neutral oak, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered in February 2021. Herbal cassis, wild blackberry, black plum are at the fore here, followed by savoury thorns, pipe tobacco, stones, and subtle, sultry purple florals. Tannins are firm and lightly gritty, while acidity is easily on pace to hold all in check to a lingering saline finish. This is a big wine, yet fresh and well structured, and will show its best with a short stint in the cellar (as intended).Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Maija Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Tantalus Maija Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMaija is the next gen Juveniles Pinot Noir, named for owner Eric Savics' daughter. Fruit for this Pinot Noir came off their youngest estate blocks of Dijon plantings, complemented by fruit off a neighbouring vineyard. It was native fermented and then into French barriques (20% new) for 11 months prior to blending and bottling. Though youthful and accessible now, this is by no means dumbed down. Spiced cherry, wild raspberry is framed by lightly toasted spice, and lightly sticky tannins, finishing with nutmeg and a lingering salinity. Smart pinot for drinking now, ideally with wild mushrooms.Prices: BC 21.74 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyardtext
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Carson Pinot Noir Naramata Vineyard 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Chris Carson is the force behind this eponymous label that comes off the spare, free draining, alluvial/colluvial soils of Todd Road Vineyard on the Naramata Bench. I last tasted a very good 2016, and in 2018, a big wildfire year, the latest version is equally as good. The Carson style is a bit carefree upfront and then more serious on the palate. It’s a mix of 115 and 667 Dijon clones lending it a juicy, dark red and black fruit profile. The midpalate is savoury and rich with just a touch of grip, but at 13.5 percent alcohol, the textures are silky and slippery in the finish. Reminiscent of a meeting of Central Otago and Oregon with a big squeeze of Okanagan. The ferment is natural and goes through full malolactic before the wine ages for 11 months in 1/3 new French oak, 1/3 two year old barrels, 16% each of 3 and 4 year old barrels.Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Carson
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Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 23 River Flow Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 23 River Flow Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain revamped its pinot noir program in 2017, adding three single-vineyard labels to the mix. River Flow Block 23 was planted in 1994 over rising sandy loam soil. The vineyard’s almost northern exposure, combined with gentle, east-facing slopes, expose the vines to cool morning sun, promoting slow, steady ripening and rich flavours. The clones are 113 and 114, and the vines are 27 years old. All fruit is washed and harvested, destemmed and placed in open top fermentation tanks. Post native fermentation, it is aged in 1st through 4th fill 228L French barrels for 17-18 months. The style is cleaner and fresher, with more plummy red fruit accentuated by its youthful acidity. I like the elegance here, and it should be a winner with another two to three years of bottle age and beyond. A classic match would be a mushroom stuffed roasted chicken.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaReserve Cuvée mixes three main Blue Mountain vineyard sites growing clones 113, 114, 115, 667, from vines 22-35 years old. The style is plush and almost easy sipping for a Blue Mountain wine. The fruit is lively and full flavoured on the black raspberry, black plum side that gives way to a dry, earthy, forest floor finish streaked with smoke and umami. I love this sophisticated styling and that it will improve in the bottle over the next three years. A legitimate reserve.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 14 Gravel Force Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 14 Gravel Force Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue Mountain revamped its pinot noir program in 2017, adding three single vineyard labels to the mix. Gravel Force Block 14 takes its name from the many small, round stones mixed into the light clay soil that spreads over an old, dry river bed. The attack is round and mouth filling, reflecting the west and south facing vineyard that sunbathes daily. The thirty-one year old clones that go into the wine are 115 and 667. The remains are muscular, with a prominent earthy, barnyard, almost reductive nose that requires decanting at this point. One thing that jumps out is the acidity that keeps it fresh before the black cherry, bloody, earthy, mushroom notes kick in. At 13 percent, it also has an old school Burgundian thing going on. Give this three to five years to round into prime condition. It is fermented with wild yeast and aged in one to four year old 228L French oak barrels.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 9 Wild Terrain Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 9 Wild Terrain Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAs its name suggests, Wild Terrain is the untamed sibling of the trio of single block wines first launched in 2017. Wild Terrain represents the most extreme and varied topography of the pinot blocks, from steep slopes exposed to the wind and facing south west, to sun drenched, flatter plains over loamy sand. The vines are 22 years old, and the grapes went through a 14-18 day maceration before spending 17 months in French oak. As a result, it would appear to have the best pinot texture of the three single-vineyard block pinots. The nose is dry and savoury with earth, spice, and desert scrub mixed with black plums and ripe raspberries, with fresh acidity that runs through a mineral finish. Complex and brooding, this is a keeper. I suggest ageing this bottle for three to five years or serving with duck confit this year to take on all the pointy bits and flavours.Prices: BC 55.00 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe introductory or Estate Pinot Noir comes off the property’s youngest vines, now about 13 years old. It is a mix of clones 114, 115, 667, 777 that is fully destemmed and native fermented in a mix of stainless steel tanks and open-top wood fermenters. The wine is then in French oak for roughly six months. The style is round and the tannins are light but sticky. The flavours are more on the dry, earthy side with umami-like flavours mixing with black raspberry and black plum with a just hint of toast. It is a pinot for wine enthusiasts searching for some mystery and complexity in their pinot. Drink or hold another three to five years.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 37.85 ON 41.95 Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Stag's Hollow Vineyardtext
89PTS

Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Stag's Hollow Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStags’ Hollow is another step up in intensity versus Shuttleworth, thanks to its warmer, west-facing aspect that collects the late day sun. Black plums and cherries mix with warm spice and medium bright acidity before licorice and cola kick in throughout the finish. Its soft, round, easy-sipping style will attract New World pinot lovers. Stag’s Hollow Estate Vineyard is home to the oldest pinot noir plantings of the winery, at almost 27 years. The wine is a coferment of two Dijon clones: 115 and 667.Prices: BC 27.00 AB 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Shuttleworth Creek Vineyardtext
88PTS

Stag's Hollow Pinot Noir Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaShuttleworth Creek Vineyard is the force behind this stylish pinot noir. The attack is juicy, the fruit ripe, earthy, and packed full of ripe round black cherry with a refined, black tea spiced umami finish. Best of all, it's only 13 percent alcohol, which allows the pinot fruit and its complexity to shine. It's delicious drinking and for pinot, pretty affordable. Salmon pizza would be fun, duck confit would be serious. It is up to you.Prices: BC 27.00 AB 26.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Da Silva Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Da Silva Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDa Silva Pinot Noir comes off Hidden Hollow Vineyard, in Penticton, owned and grown by Richard and Twylla da Silva; and Lazy Dog Vineyard, also in Penticton, owned by grower Dean and Liz Marchand. The style is slightly fat on the palate with black cherries mixing with earthy, forest floor and mushroom notes. The texture is silky and the alcohol is well balanced yet it presents a bit flat. Ready to drink and best with roasted chicken or a salmon grilled and smoked on the barbecued. It was barrel aged 24 months in 60 percent medium+ toasted French Oak and 40 percent medium toasted Hungarian oak.Prices: BC 39.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Da Silva Legado Series Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Da Silva Legado Series Pinot Noir 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAfter 36 months, three barrels of the 2018 vintage sourced from Blenheim Hill and the Marchand's Lazy Dog Vineyards were selected to make up the 2018 Legado. Coming in at a reasonable 13.3 percent alcohol, this mix of Naramata Bench and Penticton West Bench pinot is the pride of growers Richard and Twylla da Silva. It was grown over the clay, silt and loam, fermented in half ton open top fermenters, aged 24 months in 50 percent medium + toasted French oak and 50% medium+ toast Hungarian oak. The style is old school, not fruit-forward but rather earthy and more forest floor with dry firm red fruits mixed with dried mushrooms and earth. Not for everyone, but worth the journey.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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07 December 2021

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reservetext
91PTS

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2016

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesThe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a 50/50 mix of Sonoma County and Alexander County fruit, specially selected from the best vineyards and blocks in the company. It spends 30 months in 50 percent new French oak, and it weighs in at 15 alcohol, although the balance would suggest it is more in the 14-14.5 percent range. 2016 was a picture perfect year for cabernet across northern California, and you can sense it from the moment you sip this rich, luscious red packed with savoury black fruit streaked with a sliver of dark chocolate. At this stage, it requires a full flavoured dinner like rack of lamb or a richly marbled steak. Otherwise, lay this away for 8-10 years and let it reach its full potential.Prices: CDN 60.00 AB 55.00 ON 60.00 US 40.00 Producer: Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards
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Chateau Lanesson Haut-Médoctext
90PTS

Chateau Lanesson Haut-Médoc 2018

Haut-Médoc, Médoc, Bordeaux, FranceThis bullseye claret is not only well priced at $45, it’s one of the best this charming estate has produced. Château Lanesson’s 2018 blends 52% cabernet sauvignon with 42% merlot, fleshed out with a soupçon of spicy petit verdot. Delightful to swirl and inhale, cabernet’s cassis and grilled green pepper show immediately, followed by notes of ripe red plum, and roasted cedar. Far more substantial than the leaner 2017, this vintage’s warm summer temperatures deliver abundant black fruit density, ripe plump tannins, and admirable fresh, elevated acidity. You can taste the dusty gravels on the finish, along with a burnish of fine French oak. Lanesson’s vineyards are situated near the Saint Julien boundary. Everything is in the right place in this midweight Haut-Médoc standard bearer, and while it is drinking supremely well now, a few more years will reveal greater complexity. The lauded 2018 Bordeaux vintage offers immense choice, and for the price, there is much pleasure in this bottle of Château Lanesson.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Château Lanesson
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Torres Mas La Planatext
92PTS

Torres Mas La Plana 2017

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThis iconic Spanish wine has been in the spotlight since the 1979 Paris Judgement (The Wine Olympics) when the 1970 Mas La Plana beat out Bordeaux for the Cab Crown. From deep, limestone-rich soils in Alt Penedès, Catalunya, this cabernet sauvignon was destemmed, fermented in stainless and oak foudres, with a gentle extraction. This spent 18 months in French oak (65% new) barrels. This is showing quite smart at this youthful point, with heaps of dark florals, dark cocoa, wild berries, graphite, tobacco, seasoned with lightly toasted spices. Tannins are worn soft, and acidity is well placed, lifting the weight of this bigger red easily through the lingering, stony finish. Drinking very well now, and easily with a few years ahead.Prices: Canada 69.00 Producer: Miguel Torres Spain
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La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

La Jota Vineyard Co. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, United StatesWinemaking pioneer W.S. Keyes planted some of the first vines on Howell Mountain in 1888. A decade later, a stone winery was established and named after the Mexican parcel Rancho La Jota. Today, La Jota Vineyard Co. carries on the legacy with its small-production mountain cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc. The fruit is a mix of estate grown additions from nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard. It is a big, brooding, dry, tannic cabernet whose life is all ahead of it. Winemaker Chris Carpenter ferments using native yeast in a mix of open and closed top stainless-steel tanks. The wine was barrel aged for 22 months in 84 new French oak, only adding to its structure. On the palate, it is mountain hefty with dry, peppery, black licorice covered in a dense film of rounded tannins. This bottle will require 10- 15 years of bottle age to show even a touch of maturity. In 2017 the mix was 80/7/6//5/2 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. Steak, anyone?Prices: BC 195.00 AB 100.00 Producer: La Jota Vineyard Co.
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Mount Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignontext
95PTS

Mount Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United StatesMt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at an elevation of 1,400 to 1,800 feet on the original home of the Napa native Wappo tribe. The area has been planted since the early 1860s. The site is all about high elevation, meaning thin, rocky soils and numerous winegrowing challenges. Four cabernet clones (191, 4, 8, and 337) and three rootstocks (3309C, 101-14, and 1103P) combine to give this wine a certain complexity under its attractive juicy black fruit opening. Youthful and a long way from the finish, the wine does have a certain charm for a mountain wine that lends itself to drinking for experimental purposes. I love the earthy, savoury, restrained fruit with rich, dense sweet tannins that will disappear over time. Winemaker Chris Carpenter likes to say, “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder without overt tannins.” And it is readily apparent in 2018. In all, it spent 22 months in 82 percent new French oak. The blend is 88/6.5/3.5/1/1 cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, and petit verdot. Drink through 2035.Prices: BC 181.00 AB 80.00 Producer: Mt. Brave
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Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyardstext
94PTS

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyards 2017

Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, United StatesSycamore is a clear leap up in intensity over the regular Freemark cab that isn’t all that regular. The rich black and red fruit have more muscle power and interesting savoury raspberry cedar veins that run through a spicy, dark chocolate cherry jam finish. Freemark has had exclusive sourcing rights to the Rutherford Bench fruit of the 24-acre Sycamore Vineyard for 40 years. In 2017 the mix was 88/5/4/3 cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and merlot, all aged 27 months in 74 percent new French oak. Winemaker Kristy Melton is knocking it out of the park at Freemark Abbey, adding elegance to what is now a modern Napa cab you can age 25 years.Prices: BC 139.99 ON 195.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignontext
92PTS

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe renaissance at Freemark Abbey continues under the Jackson Family Wines banner. The 2017 cab is a reserve style red with a composition of 84% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 2% petit verdot, 1.5% malbec, .5% cabernet franc. This blend is a Napa Valley story including valley floor vineyards, western and eastern mountain topsoils, all aged 27 months in French oak barrels, of which 37% are new. The attack is intense, pitching fresh, juicy boysenberry and bing cherry spiced with a savoury cedar undercurrent and a touch of milk chocolate. Napa cab always lends itself to early drinking, but this will sleep a decade with little problem. A perfect wine to gift over the holidays to any serious wine drinker.Prices: BC 72.99 AB 62.00 MB 73.00 ON 70.00 NB 79.00 Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Cardinaletext
97PTS

Cardinale 2018

California, United States2018 Cardinale is a 90/10 cabernet sauvignon/merlot aged 22 months in 81 percent new French oak. It comes at you in waves from the glass as it gulps in oxygen. Winemaker Chris Carpenter appears to be letting Cardianle find its way, and the result is a less boisterous, more stylish Napa cabernet that tells an impressive tale. The wine is magnificently balanced, rich in black and blue fruits, bright acidity and Napa Valley power with a strong, savoury, mineral undercurrent. Long, complex, and nowhere near ready to drink, it is a delight to taste. You will eventually get to enjoy the full picture by 2024-26, but it will age effortlessly into the 2040s and beyond.Prices: BC 390.00 AB 430.00 ON 485.00 Producer: Cardinale
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Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard El. 950 Feettext
95PTS

Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard El. 950 Feet 2018

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesHelena Montana Vineyard runs northeast to southwest at an elevation of 950 feet above sea level. It is an impressive 60 acres, featuring vast rolling hillsides and benches that tilt as much as 30 degrees, allowing them to capture an adequate supply of sunlight. The soils are described as firm, dense, white/yellow gravelly loam that drain well. It was tasted alongside its El. 750 Feet Helena Dakota Vineyard sibling. The differences are subtle, but Helena Montana cab presents with a bit more power showing some of the bigger, more mountain characters. The fruit is black and spicy, the tannins dense and at this point fairly muscular, but in the hands of winemaker Pierre Seillan there is always balance and elegance, and the biggest key of all is the juicy acidity to keep it fresh. The wine spends 13 months in 90 percent new French oak.Prices: BC 114.99 Producer: Anakota
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Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard El. 750 Feettext
96PTS

Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Dakota Vineyard El. 750 Feet 2018

Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United StatesSince 2001, Anakota has made two single vineyard, single variety, single appellation estate cabs: Helena Dakota, and Helena Montana. Helena Dakota is a 12.4-acre block of vines sited below Mount St. Helena’s two highest peaks at 750 feet elevation. It is an ancient volcanic zone, with reddish-brown, gravel/silt loam soils intermingled with volcanic rock, well suited to the main Bordeaux grapes. This year I tasted it alongside its El. 950 Feet Helena Montana Vineyard sibling. The differences are subtle, but Helena Dakota exhibits more generosity and elegance and a less rugged mountain character. The fruit is black and spicy, with some mineral savoury chocolate streaks and dense but sweet tannins. Winemaker Pierre Seillan is the master of balance, and this wine has it all from front to back.Prices: BC 114.99 Producer: Anakota
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04 December 2021

Cockburn's Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
89PTS

Cockburn's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalCockburn’s was founded in 1815 by the Scottish brothers Robert and John Cockburn. Over the years it had fallen into neglectful hands, and it wasn't until the Symington family purchased the house in 2010 did the vineyards and wines receive much needed attention. The wine in LBV Ports are made from grapes harvested in a single year, from different vineyards, and are aged for up to six years in cask (vs 2 years for Vintage Port), making this ready to drink upon release, and ideal for entertaining or restaurant settings. This fruit comes from Quinta dos Canais, and Quinta do Vale Coelho, both located in the remote Douro Superior. Dusty cassis, stony plum, raisins rule a shorter, structural palate, framed by blocky / chalky tannins to a sticky, snappy, lightly peppery finish. Best taken with generous milk or dark chocolate desserts now.Prices: ON 16.75 BC 25.00 Producer: Cockburn Smithes & Ca
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Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porttext
94PTS

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis masterful 2018 Vintage Port combines fruit from three distinctive Quintas: Vargellas (Douro Superior), and Terra Feita and Junco (Cima Corgo). The spread in geography and terroir creates layers of dimension to this ageworthy wine. This opens and streams perfumed black plums, wild blueberry, crushed cassis, anise, violets, slate throughout the elegant palate, chiseled by firm, long, finely grippy, dark cocoa dusted tannins that guide this through the lingering, nutmeg and star anise spiced finish.Beautiful freshness and structure from front to finish, this is drinking smartly now but will reward with a couple of decades.Prices: BC 305.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Porttext
92PTS

Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalGuimaraens Vintages Ports are typically made in years when the wines are more approachable and can be enjoyed young. The 2018 combines the ripe fruit of Quinta do Panascal in the Távora Valley with the structure of the Pinhão Valley. True to form, this is soft and welcoming, with cushy blackberry, cassis jam, and cracked peppercorns, threaded with subtle kirsch on a plush palate, and lofted with easy schistous acidity. Tannins are dark cocoa dusted and ample, hugging this to the baking spiced finish. Certainly one for enjoying now, with dark chocolate.Prices: BC 95.00 Producer: Fonseca Guimaraens
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Croft Quinta da Roeda Vintage Porttext
91PTS

Croft Quinta da Roeda Vintage Port 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalOne of the original founding Port houses, Croft traces its origins to 1588 when the company was established in England by Henry Thompson, a member of the Merchants Company of York. The Croft family, which joined the partnership in 1736 gave the firm its present name. In 2001, Croft became part of The Fladgate Partnership. From the historic terraces at Quinta da Roêda, in Pinhão, this opens with chalky, dusty cassis, sugarplum, anise, sweet balsamic, with darts of wintermint across a fresh, brisk palate. Tannins are grippy and long, well integrated with the fruit and spirit, taking this to a spirited finish.Prices: BC 68.99 Producer: Taylor Fladgate Partnership
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Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
90PTS

Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalGraham’s has been cultivating grapes for 200 years, primarily sourced from five iconic quintas in the Douro Valley. 2015 is a commemorative edition, bottled in 2020, marking Graham’s bicentenary (1820-2020), and sourced from four of Graham’s vineyards located in the mountainous Douro Valley. A wet winter and a dry growing season produced fully ripe grapes in 2015, laying the foundation for a fine LBV led by touriga franca. It is all matured in large oak barrels for 60 months. Traditionally on the sweet side of the LBVs, look for enticing floral, licorice with dried figs, and plum jam. The structure is smooth and long, with a hint of black tea in the finish. Ready to drink all winter. Serve with hard cheeses or roasted almonds.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 24.99 SK 29.99 MB 23.99 ON 18.00 NFL 25.99 Producer: Symington Family Estates - W. & J. Graham & Co.
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Niepoort Tawny Porttext
89PTS

Niepoort Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom three schistous soiled vineyards in the Douro and vines upwards of 30 years, this is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, fermented in lagares with foot treading, and aged in small oak casks for 3.5 years. Heady butterscotch, dark caramel, burnished orange, spearmint runs the palate, with a hint of fiery spirit, before the baking spiced, warming finish. Best taken with a light chill now, ideally with gingerbread.Prices: ON 17.95 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawnytext
90PTS

Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis 10-year-old Tawny Port is a blend of numerous wines averaging 10 years in age. This comes from vines over 30 years from the schist soils of Vinha da Pisca, Vale do Pinhão, and Ferrão, and blends Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz and others. It was foot-trodden and fermented in lagares before ageing in small oak casks. Pouring an amber hue, this carries brown sugar, marmalade, burnished orange peel, roasted chestnuts, roasted Kona, and old paper along a silken smooth palate, finishing with a bright, frizzed orange peel note. Much less fiery and more sophisticated than most 10-year-old Tawny.Prices: ON 48.30 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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YK3 Sake Junmai Ginjotext
92PTS

YK3 Sake Junmai Ginjo NV

British Columbia, CanadaYK3 is a Richmond-based sake company, so named because the Toji (brewmaster) and two founders all share these two initials. The rice is high quality Calrose, imported from Sacremeto, California, where most of the North American sake rices are sourced from. Junmai is very pure, with only rice, water, yeast, and koji added. Junmai Ginjo indicates that at least 40 percent of the rice grain has been polished away. Very creamy, with a pillowy silken vanilla sweetness that slides along the dry palate, joined by perfumed melon and subtle gooseberry. Very charming and alluring.Prices: BC 20.00 375 Producer: YK3 Sake
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YK3 Sake Junmaitext
90PTS

YK3 Sake Junmai NV

British Columbia, CanadaYK3 is a Richmond-based sake company, so named because the Toji (brewmaster) and two founders all share these two initials. The rice is high quality Calrose, imported from Sacremeto, California, where most of the North American sake rices are sourced from. This pure Junmai is polished to at least 70%, and only rice, water, yeast, and koji are used. This Junmai is a medium+ sake, very creamy with ripe melon, honeysuckle, almond paste and almond blossom on the lengthy, cool vanillin finish.Prices: BC 16.00 375 Producer: YK3 Sake
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Graham's 10 Year Old Tawny Porttext
91PTS

Graham's 10 Year Old Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTen Year Old Tawny is all about style. It doesn't have to be strictly ten years old, but it has to taste like it's ten years. Toss in a bit of the Graham's style to be ripe and rounder than most, and you have delicious-sipping, fortified wine that isn't consumed enough. This wine was more or less designed in 2012, long before the pandemic or anything else that happened over the last ten years. The colour is appropriately light brick, the nose perfumed and long on dried fruits, old-fashioned Christmas cake, dark chocolate, figs, and spice. The palate is intense but balanced, and the finish goes on forever. Add a book, a fireplace, and a snowstorm for a perfect match.Prices: BC 38.99 AB 41.99 MB 39.99 ON 31.99 Producer: Symington Family Estates - W. & J. Graham & Co.
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Cockburn's Special Reserve Portotext
90PTS

Cockburn's Special Reserve Porto NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalIt's been a decade since Cockburn's joined the Symington family, and it's fair to say the renovation and renewal of the storied Port brand have brought it back to its original glossy, smooth Reserve style. Special Reserve goes through a lengthy period in wood (four to five years). As a result, there's more body than a Ruby and less tannin than a Vintage Port, leaving it eminently drinkable. Look for spicy cherry, and with its slightly longer fermentation process, there's less sweet fruit and slightly more grip to this port. Once opened, it will keep well for several weeks. Great with cheese or nutty cakes and chocolate, or on its own on a snowy afternoon.Prices: BC 20.99 AB 20.99 SK 27.99 ON 19.99 QC 21.99 Producer: Cockburn Smithes & Ca
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Licor Beirãotext
90PTS

Licor Beirão NV

PortugalLicor Beirão could be considered Portugal's national liquor, used in numerous cocktails, but most oft simply served over ice, with possibly a citrus twist. It certainly doesn't need much else, with the numerous botanicals, herbs, and spices in the secret recipe poking through. Its origins go back to the 19th Century, where it was first conceived as a medicine to aid poor tummies. I note fragrant rosemary, cinnamon, anise, sarsaparilla, over a bed of sweet boozy oranges, trailing off with cool wintermint that lingers on the finish. If you're a fan of herbal liqueurs, and/or amari, seek this out.Prices: BC 47.00 Producer: J. Carranca Redondo
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