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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: January 2022

31 January 2022

Painted Rock Malbectext
90PTS

Painted Rock Malbec 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is always a good sign when a wine smells like it should, in this case, malbec. Its dark colour previews a brooding nose of floral, spicy, earthy notes and plenty of black and blue fruit. The flavours are a mix of fresh bloody notes, plums, blueberries, youthful vanilla, and toasted oak. The crop was small in 2019, helping to intensify what fruit there was. Painted Rock's unique Skaha site avoided the early frosts, leaving the vines to ripen well into the end of October. It is a cool climate wonder that reminds me of high altitude Uco Valley malbec. Every vintage most of the malbec is blended into the Icon label, but small lots are set aside to bottle solo in special years. Don't wait too long to get some of this one.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Perez Cruz Limited Edition Cottext
90PTS

Perez Cruz Limited Edition Cot 2020

Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileVina Perez Cruz is a family-owned winery in the Alto Maipo, with 250 hectares under vine. This cot (malbec) comes from their Liguai Estate, in the Maipo Andes between 440-520m, and in rocky alluvial / colluvial soils. After a 48 hour cold maceration, this fermented over a week in stainless, with 2 weeks' skin contact, before being transferred to 225L French barrels for 14 months' aging. Ripe and plush with wild cassis, herbal blackberries, branch, and mustard seed, this full-bodied red holds its freshness against the density of the fruit. Tannins are soft and comforting, leading this to a dark chocolate and wild mint laced finish. Quite different from Argentinean malbec, and French côt, and worth exploring, ideally with smoked ribs or root veg.Prices: Chile 21.00 Producer: Perez Cruz
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28 January 2022

Liquidity Viogniertext
89PTS

Liquidity Viognier 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt 15 years of age, this Okanagan Falls clone 642 viognier offers up freshness and brightness that is hard to resist. Winemaker Amy Paynter has whole bunch pressed and fermented her fruit in stainless steel. Five percent is given skin contact to lend some extra texture to the mix with success. Look for a leesy, rich apricot, peach attack, and those elevated honeysuckle notes throughout this juicy white, finishing with a twist of lime.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Red Barn at Jagged Rock Off Centre Viogniertext
88PTS

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Off Centre Viognier 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaViognier has many faces depending on where it is grown, when it's picked, and how it's made. In this case, goblet-trained trellising has yielded a floral style with medium-rich textures and fruit. It is all fermented and aged in concrete to reveal the fruit and minerality. Look for an open, somewhat perfumed nose featuring orange, apricot with a twist of brown spice. Similar flavours mark the palate, adding nectarine and a dusting of citrus. So youthful, this will improve in the bottle through 2023.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Red Barn
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Viña Siegel Naranjo Viogniertext
89PTS

Viña Siegel Naranjo Viognier 2020

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileThis orange viognier comes from Siegel's Peralillo vineyard and its volcanic soils, situated in the Colchagua Valley. After a 3 week period of maceration / fermentation on skins, this rests in older French barrels for one year. Pouring a glowing gold peach hue, this fuller wine draws lanolin, beeswax, chamomile along a generous palate, sharpened on the sides with apricot, peach fuzz, and a buzzy, salty hum. Viognier's lushness comes through, in a striking and adventuresome form.Prices: Producer: Viña Siegel
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Eden Valley Viogniertext
89PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Eden Valley Viognier 2018

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe viognier for this Samuel's Collection Viognier comes from six different Eden Valley vineyards and the dry 2018 growing season, leaving a concentrated, dry, savoury and fuller white. It is native fermented, 2/3 in older barrels and the remainder in stainless, where the lots were left on lees for ten months before the blend. Exotic melon, jasmine perfume, a creamy, leesy base of ripe pear, mandarin, apricot, and ginger. There's a well-handled restraint to this medium-bodied (13.5%) white, one primed for cracking now with equally fragrant Thai or Indian salads and curries.Prices: CDN 27.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Eden Valley Viogniertext
90PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Eden Valley Viognier 2018

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe viognier for this Samuel's Collection Viognier comes from six Eden Valley vineyard sites, and in 2018, they were grown under ideal conditions. The style is dry but savoury, and the wine is packed full of exotic fruit including peach, melon, quince, and ginger, and wrapped in a creamy, spicy jacket. Beautifully balanced and long in the finish, this is a delicious drop of wine. Try this with your favourite pork dish.Prices: CDN 27.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Van Westen Vineyards Viogniertext
89PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Naramata viognier fills the palate with fragrant orange blossoms, candied lemon, ripe apricot, and white peach, cut with a little bitter riff that lingers on the jasmine-spiced finish, checking the ripeness of the fruit. A smart choice for cracking with fragrant Chinese or Thai dishes, and at a welcome 13.5%Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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26 January 2022

Les Crêtes Mon Blanctext
90PTS

Les Crêtes Mon Blanc NV

Aosta Valley, ItalyFrom Valle D'Aosta, though this medium bodied white isn't labeled as such because there are no IGT designations outside of the main DOC in this region. Since this is a non-standard blend, the only alternative is to label it "Product of Italy", which is not very helpful. So let me help you: this is a blend of prié blanc (the only native white variety of the region), müller thurgau, pinot bianco, pinot grigio and chardonnay grown on loose, sandy soils between 600-850m. A gentle pressing and six months in stainless steel on the lees with battonage has well preserved the crisp northern Italian fruit. Almonds, tight lemon, subtle elderflower, chamomile, pear skin skip along the slight 12% palate, nimble with mountainous acidity, bedded on broken stones, rife with salinity, and unadorned by wood or winemaking. Try this with fresh oysters instead of Muscadet.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Les Cretes
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Plot Wines Orange No. 2text
89PTS

Plot Wines Orange No. 2 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlot Wines is a new friendly and funky wine collab based out of Kaleden. Their name refers to the partners' (Kevin Rossion and Adam Kereliuk) practice of sourcing grapes from different plots of land across the Okanagan Valley, making an ever changing roster of minimal intervention wines. Pouring a glowing orange hue, Orange no. 2 blends 85% gewürztraminer, 8% muscat ottonel, 7% muscat orange from 3 vineyards in Kaleden and Penticton. This was native fermented with 2 weeks on skins, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur. Tight apricot, orange oil, white grapefruit pith skips along a slender palate, textured with a fine buzz via time on skins, though a subtly saline finish. Dry and bright, this medium-bodied orange will have you thinking about brothy and fragrant Thai and Vietnamese soups to partner.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Plot Wines
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Anselmi San Vincenzotext
89PTS

Anselmi San Vincenzo 2020

Veneto, ItalySan Vincenzo comes out of the Monteforte area, near San Vincenzo Shrine, Veneto mixing 70/30 Garganega with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and assorted indigenous grapes. Anselmi stepped outside of the Soave DOC certification in 2001, citing quality issues with the consortium standards and set out to raise the image of the white wines of Soave under the IGT Veneto moniker. The nose is fresh with lively, tarragon, citrus, almond notes with creamy juicy textures that excite the palate calling for food. The finish is medium-rich with more mineral/peachy notes. West Coast mussels would be a good match.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Anselmi
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Fitapreta Branco de Talhatext
90PTS

Fitapreta Branco de Talha 2019

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalFrom Antonio Macanita, Portugal's Winemaker of the Year 2020, this blend of Roupeiro (70%) and Antão Vaz (30%) was whole cluster pressed and fermented in 1000L amphora over one month, before it was transferred to stainless. There's a musky florality that pervades this savoury, medium+ white, with honeysuckle, peach fuzz, pear blossom, lemon pith, and a rasp of ginger spicing through the dry, stony finish.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Fitapreta Brancotext
91PTS

Fitapreta Branco 2020

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalFrom lauded winemaker Antonio Maçanita (2020 winemaker of the year in Portugal), this blend of roupeiro, rabo de ovelha, antão vaz, tamarez, alicante branco, and arinto are sourced from Alentejo's granitic soils, and vines from 30-50 years, up to 400m in altitude. After a native ferment in stainless barrels, this remained there on lees for 6 months prior to bottling. This youthful wine is bright and alive on the medium slight palate, with quince, green apple, honeysuckle, earthy lees along a stony base, with a buzzy granitic grip and a lingering salinity.Prices: ON 18.95 BC 37.00 Producer: Fitapreta
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Gérard Bertrand Orange Goldtext
89PTS

Gérard Bertrand Orange Gold 2020

FranceOrange Gold is Bertrand's homage to the long history of orange wines. Under his modern vision, this blends chardonnay, grenache blanc, viognier, marsanne, mauzac, muscat, and clairette was partially carbonically macerated in stainless before heading to barrel to complete maceration and have a short rest. Up front and spicy, with apricot, peach fuzz, tangerine, and ripe pear, with a light riff of tannins and and ample wash of salinity on the finish. This packs a lot of punch for its 13%, and would make an interesting partner for fragrant Indian or Thai dishes.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Fitapreta a Laranja Mecânicatext
92PTS

Fitapreta a Laranja Mecânica 2020

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis is Antonio Maçanita's Clockwork Orange. Arinto, Roupeiro, Verdelho, Antão Vaz, Alincante Branco, Trincadeira-das-Pratas, Fernão Pires make up the Alentejo coferment blend, from various granite-soiled vineyards and vines 15-50 years old. After the first whole bunch pressing, 10-15% of the remaining juice macerated on the skins for a week, and then was pressed again and reunited with the whole, where it native fermented. It remained in stainless on lees until it was bottled, unfiltered, the following fall. There's a lovely completeness to this orange wine, with layers of mandarin, Asian pear, quince, green apple, laced with kaffir lime and deftly textured via the skin contact and grippy granitic soils. Acidity is bright, and the finish lingers with ample salinity, encouraging ample smashability.Prices: ON 31.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses Blanctext
88PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses Blanc 2019

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceFrom various sites across the Languedoc, this distinctively bottled white (check the rose imprint in the bottom of the bottle) blends Grenache, Vermentino, and Viognier. Each variety was harvested separately by machine, destemmed, cooled, and fermented up to one month. After a blend and light fining, this is bottled young. Bright lemon and orange, slick melon, lees, pear runs the fuller, snappy palate, finishing with a warming flush at 14%. Chill and crack now with salads, sushi, or calamari.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Falesco Poggio dei Gelsitext
91PTS

Falesco Poggio dei Gelsi 2020

Lazio, ItalyFrom the memorable DOP of Est! Est!! Est!!! Classico, this blend of 40% Roscetto, 30% Trebbiano, 30% Malvasia comes from 15 year old vines on Montefiascone's rocky soils at 400m, and was was whole cluster pressed in stainless (10 hours of skin contact on the roscetto) for native ferment, with no MLF, and where it remained on lees until bottling. Wild green herbs permeate green fig, crunchy pear, lemon thistle along a salted lees-lined base, culminating in a lingering saline finish. Such a humble, yet striking wine. And a killer deal on our market. As legend has it, a 12th century Bishop was travelling to the Vatican for a meeting with the Pope. The Bishop sent a scout ahead to survey the villages along the route for the best wines, with directions to write 'Est' (Latin for 'It is') on the door of the inns he visited when he was particularly impressed with the quality of the wine, so the Bishop following on his trail would know where to stop for a tipple. At a Montefiascone inn, the scout was reportedly so stoked with the local wine that he wrote Est! Est!! Est!!! on the door.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Falesco, Az. Agr.
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The View White Rhino Blanc de Noirtext
88PTS

The View White Rhino Blanc de Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhite Rhino could become BC's next icon wine if it isn't already. The 4.54 tons of pinotage Blk 7 hand-harvested Oct. 1, and 3.36 tons of pinot noir hand-harvested on Oct. 2 were pressed gently, Champagne-style, to extract a hint of a sexy copper colour. The juice is cold settled and placed in a single stainless steel tank and five neutral French oak barrels for fermentation, each using a different yeast. The tank ferment was stopped leaving some residual sugar; the barrels were fermented dry and aged sur lees for four weeks with daily bâtonnage. The final bend is 33/60 tank / barrel, with a touch of riesling added to brighten the acid levels. It's an easy sipping white with a bump of residual, but it's alive and fun, and on a warm summer day, this will disappear very quickly at any patio party.Prices: BC 22.95 Producer: The View Winery & Vineyard
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21 January 2022

Monte del Frá Bardolinotext
88PTS

Monte del Frá Bardolino 2018

Verona, Veneto, ItalyBardolino is the next-door neighbour to Valpolicella, and as you might expect, they share similar grapes and styling. Monte del Fra, a Vancouver Wine Festival favourite exhibitor, blends 65 percent Corvina with 30 percent Rondinella and a tiny amount of Sangiovese. The style is juicy, the alcohol low and the fruit front and centre with a twist of spice that makes it very quaffable, and it is price reduced until January 31 for $15.99. Pizza, anyone?Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Monte del Frá
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Tommasi Areletext
88PTS

Tommasi Arele 2017

Veneto, ItalyThis appassimento-style red is a blend of corvina, rondinella, oseleta, and merlot, which are partially dried for 45 days. It's then aged for 12 months in large Slavonian oak casks post-fermentation. It's quite modern in style, led by jammy, confected red fruits that are complemented by cinnamon spice and dried herbs. Thanks to a pinch of sweetness, this soft and easy red will work well with midweek burgers.Prices: BC 25.99 AB 23.99 SK 25.99 MB 23.99 Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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20 January 2022

Domaine Vendange Jacquère La Côtetext
91PTS

Domaine Vendange Jacquère La Côte 2019

Savoie, FranceLocated in Combe de Savoie, on the foothills of the Massif des Bauges, Domaine Vendange stretches over 10 organically farmed hectares, on south facing slopes of youthful glacial till / limestone scree. The Vendange family has been involved with the viticulture and agronomic industries for many years, and are one of the largest vine nurseries in the region. After studying viticulture and oenology in Beaune, Benjamin Vendange returned in 2015 to the family property. With his partner Diane Gounel, oenologist from Languedoc-Roussillon, the step was taken to start their own estate with the family’s holdings. This Jacquère comes from 25 year old vines, and was native fermented and briefly rested in stainless, with a little bâtonnage post ferment. Tight lemon, wild herbs, grapefruit blossoms and pith, salted marcona are strung with buzzy shimmering acidity, offset by a fine veil of lees on the light, 11.5% palate. A light, slight, saline, mountain white for taking with delicate spring dishes.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Domaine Earl Vendange & Fils
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Domaine Vendange Roussette de Savoie Madame de M...text
91PTS

Domaine Vendange Roussette de Savoie Madame de M... 2018

Savoie, FranceLocated in Combe de Savoie, on the foothills of the Massif des Bauges, Domaine Vendange stretches over 10 organically farmed hectares, on south facing slopes of youthful glacial till / limestone scree. The Vendange family has been involved with the viticulture and agronomic industries for many years, and are one of the largest vine nurseries in the region. After studying viticulture and oenology in Beaune, Benjamin Vendange returned in 2015 to the family property. With his partner Diane Gounel, oenologist from Languedoc-Roussillon, the step was taken to start their own estate with the family’s holdings. This Altesse (aka Roussette) is from 20 year old vines, native fermented long and cool in stainless, with 1/3 going through MLF. This then rested 10 months in a mix of older barrels and stainless. Nimble and shining, with tight and perfumed elderflower, hawthorne, subtle tangerine blossoms, pear skin buzzing along the medium bodied palate, lingering with salinity and honeysuckle. A charmer.Prices: BC 25.00 BC 26.99 Producer: Domaine Earl Vendange & Fils
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Bossanova Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Bossanova Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2020

ItalyBossanova is a biodynamic, natural project started between 2 friends in 2018. They're in Abruzzo, bordering Marche, next to the hill of Piceno, on the Adriatic coast. Their vines were planted in 1970. From 40 year old vines, this trebbiano is rooted in clay soils. This was native fermented in concrete, with 5 days on skins, before 8 months aging there. It was bottled without filtration. Pouring a burnished apricot hue, this textural wine has mandarin, clementine, tangerine blossoms and a fine raspy concrete texture infusing the lightly creamy palate. There is a lingering soapy spice on the finish. 3000 bottles produced.Prices: Italy 30.00 Producer: Bossanova
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Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminertext
89PTS

Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer 2020

Alsace, FranceThis gewürztraminer comes from vineyards stretching from Thann (Haut- Rhin) to Kintzheim (Bas-Rhin), spanning 50 miles north to south, and across a mix of granite, limestone, gneiss, chalk, and clay soils. This was fermented in stainless with no MLF, and then aged briefly in stainless. Off-dry, with a welcome (only) 15 g/L RS, this is a sleek, streaming gew with lime leaf, grapefruit, white peach, and ripe lychee. There's a lovely gingersnap spicing seasoning the finish. Nice freshness and balance here.Prices: ON 17.95 Producer: Pierre Sparr & Successeurs
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Willm Réserve Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Willm Réserve Gewürztraminer 2019

Alsace, FranceThis Réserve Gewürztraminer comes off marl-limestone soils, and was fermented long and cool in stainless followed by 2-3 months on lees. Mid-sweet, with heady perfumed pear, peach blossoms, fragrant lime, and soap flooding a creamy, round palate. Ample ginger spicing seasons the finish. Well-balanced and approachable now, ideally with blue cheese / pear / roasted onion canapés.Prices: ON 17.95 Producer: Willm
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Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanctext
88PTS

Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc 2019

Alsace, FranceFrom clay-limestone soils, this pinot blanc was fermented and rested briefly in stainless, preserving the fresh pear, white peach, lemon blossom fruit. There is a buzzy anise undercurrent that livens this off-dry (7 g/L) white, with bright acidity holding it aloft, though the finish is a bit warming. Easy choice for pairing with onion tart.Prices: ON 14.95 Producer: Joseph Cattin
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Clos Lentiscus Cric Cric Whitetext
89PTS

Clos Lentiscus Cric Cric White 2018

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom the biodynamic and biodiverse world of Penedès' Clos Lentiscus, in Catalonia, this natural / organic / biodynamic xarel.lo is from 42 year old vines rooted in the calcareous sandy soils of La Ribetana vineyard. After a native ferment in stainless, this rested there over the winter and headed direct to bottle in the spring, with no additions or deletions. Meadow herbs, white flowers, marcona almond, green apple, lime pith run the length of this sleek palate, lit with a limestone shimmer underneath, finishing with ample salinity. This smashable white is smartly packaged in 1L format; you'll be thankful.Prices: ON 44.95 1000 Producer: Clos Lentiscus
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Le Vieux Pin Roussannetext
92PTS

Le Vieux Pin Roussanne 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Roussanne draws 70% from Sev's own vineyard on the Black Sage Bench, her 'little Chateauneuf du Pape', and 22% from Le Grand Pin vineyard. This was fermented and rested for7 months in 78% French oak, with the remainder in stainless, with twice weekly bâtonnage. Commanding and powerful, with layers of almond, quince, green fig, broken stone and ample spice across a confident, expansive, full bodied palate. Stony acidity is on par to carry the heft of the southern Okanagan fruit. Such a striking wine, not about fruit, but about place. Easy, and humourous, to confirm it's Canada's top roussanne. Ageworthy, as the Diam10 cork would imply. 61 cases produced.Prices: Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Le Vieux Pin Roussannetext
91PTS

Le Vieux Pin Roussanne 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRoussanne is a Rhone superstar finding a niche in the south Okanagan. It is a notorious late ripener, often picked after all the reds, and it is a battle to bring it into the winery clean and keep it clean. The attraction is fabulous aromatics, creamy honeyed fruit, and in BC, a savoury desert scrub note that adds another layer of complexity to this weighty white. It can be flabby, so maintaining acidity is crucial for the winegrowing and making. This Black Sage Bench affair is a Severine Pinte signature: authentic, meticulous, and right on the money. It was fermented and aged in 78% French oak for seven months. A terrific wine for rich vegetarian dishes.Prices: Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Tocco Capostazione Pecorinotext
88PTS

Tocco Capostazione Pecorino 2020

Abruzzo, ItalyTocco was founded in 1981 by Enisio Tocco, in the hills of Pescara, in Alanno, on the Adriatic coast. His sons Lorenzo and Danilo joined him in 2014 after studying and working abroad. Their 34 hectares (half dedicated to vines) is certified organic. This pecorino, planted in 2013, was pergola trained, and native fermented and rested in stainless. Full and potent, with the grape's characteristic pine nut / almond at the fore, backed by ripe pear, white peach over a downy bed of lees. This finishes with a saline wash. Crack now, ideally with spot prawns, halibut, or tomato / basil salads.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Tocco
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Tocco Capostazione Passerinatext
89PTS

Tocco Capostazione Passerina 2020

Abruzzo, ItalyTocco was founded in 1981 by Enisio Tocco, in the hills of Pescara, in Alanno, on the Adriatic coast. His sons Lorenzo and Danilo joined him in 2014 after studying and working abroad. Their 34 hectares (half dedicated to vines) is certified organic. This passerina was pergola trained, and native fermented and rested in stainless. Peach and apricot fill the bright palate, lit with grapefruit, and kissed with anise, finishing with a lingering white pepper note. Quite charming, and a welcome, unique white to pour alongside salads, shellfish, and green risotto.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Tocco
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Tocco Capostazione Trebbiano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Tocco Capostazione Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2020

Abruzzo, ItalyTocco was founded in 1981 by Enisio Tocco, in the hills of Pescara, in Alanno, on the Adriatic coast. His sons Lorenzo and Danilo joined him in 2014 after studying and working abroad. Their 34 hectares (half dedicated to vines) is certified organic. This trebbiano d'Abruzzo was pergola trained, planted in 2013, and native fermented and rested in stainless. Bright and potent with gooseberry, guava, grapefruit, lime pith, across a lees-decked palate, with a refreshing buzz of salinity on the finish. Fresh and charming, ready to crack into now with salads or simple seafood.Prices: ON 21.95 Producer: Tocco
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Nic Tartaglia Pecorinotext
87PTS

Nic Tartaglia Pecorino 2017

Abruzzo, ItalyThis pecorino comes from the Abruzzo coastline, and was done in stainless. Ripe with the Italian sunshine but lit with the Adriatic freshness, this is a straight and clean pecorino, with pine nuts, almonds, bosc pear, bitter lemon to a subtly stony finish.Prices: Italy 14.00 Producer: Nic Tartaglia
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Fitapreta Branco de Indígenastext
92PTS

Fitapreta Branco de Indígenas 2019

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalFrom Antonio Maçanita's Signature Series, this Branco de Indígenas is entirely Arinto, native fermented and aged for a year in 225L neutral barrels. Full and textural on the expansive palate, with toasted pine nuts, meadow grass, quince, pear skin, subtle honeysuckle atop a buzzy, grippy base. There is ample salinity on the lingering finish. Lovely completeness now, this is a wine that will age effortlessly.Prices: ON 43.95 Producer: Fitapreta
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Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reservetext
86PTS

Sumac Ridge Gewürztraminer Private Reserve 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA reliable label that in its early days stood with some of the best white wine made in BC. It typically opens with litchi, pear dusted in soap flakes. The attack is fresh and spicy with sweet orange with just a touch of ginger and a solid bump of residual sugar. Clean, fresh, and uncomplicated, it would be a fine accompaniment to spicy hot chicken wings.Prices: BC 13.99 AB 16.00 ON 10.45 Producer: Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
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Ataahua Gewurztraminertext
88PTS

Ataahua Gewurztraminer 2019

Waipara Valley, South Island, New ZealandAfter a stint in the premium wool industry, Stephanie Henderson embarked on a career in the wine industry which took her back to University to study, to California for hands-on experience growing grapes and producing wines before the Henderson family set up their first vineyard in 2008 in North Cantebury. The Maori translation of Ataahua is beautiful, picturesque, a place of beauty. A major part of Ataahua’s philosophy for growing grapes then carefully making that fruit into wine is to translate the beauty of the vineyard and area. From the clay loams on Waipara's valley floors, this was macerated on skins for 36 hours and then fermented and rested in stainless. Ripe and perfumed with honeysuckle, lush peach, apricot, gingersnap, pink flowers, lime pith over a slow moving cold cream palate, finishing with ginger spicing and soap bubbles.Prices: ON 27.95 Producer: Ataahua Wines
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Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegnatext
90PTS

Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna 2020

Sardinia, ItalyYou can set your watch by this rinse and repeat wine, because year in and out, it delivers a high-quality bottle. Costamolino comes off cool hillside vineyards set 190 metres above the Mediterranean. Fruit selection is thorough before it gets a light pressing. Only free-run juice makes it to the fermentation. The result is a super fresh and crisp white with bright, enticing floral aromas and a dusting of ginger. There is a small amount of bitter quince on the palate that sets off its juicy, ripe yellow apple streaked with a hint of tangerine. Do not open this wine too early before dinner because it will be drunk long before the food arrives, and it was made for food. Think crab, clams, stir fry, and more. Solid value. Real wine.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 26.00 Producer: Argiolas
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Umani Ronchi CaSal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superioretext
89PTS

Umani Ronchi CaSal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2020

Marche, ItalyNorthern Italian white wines tend to be painted bland by the ocean of average Pinot Grigio that floods wine shops, but this category has been climbing the charts in recent years led by wines like the CaSal di Serra. The engine of this wine is an organically grown verdicchio and vines up to 30 years old sitting on calcareous, clay, loamy hillsides. The fruit shines, mixing citrus, pear, and toasted almonds, all supported by a stony fresh mineral undercurrent with a surprising amount of weight. Any spring dish will work here, or any shellfish selection, raw or cooked, on the West Coast. Fine valuePrices: BC 19.99 ON 17.00 QC 19.00 NF 19.00 Producer: Umani Ronchi
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Laurent Miquel Alaina Albariñotext
90PTS

Laurent Miquel Alaina Albariño 2020

l'Aude, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceLaurent Miquel specializes in white aromatic varieties in Corbières. In the case of the Albariño, it is growing at the Les Auzines estate at altitude between the Alaric Mountains and the Alzou Gorge. The company was the first to grow Albariño in France, and according to Laurent, at 400 metres altitude it is more than possible in a region famous for its reds. Freshness is the region's signature, and this wine opens with an intense citrus nose and early attack on the palate, followed by a strong lemon/lime rind, guava, and more green fruits. Chicken is a good match, as are most vegetarian dishes. Watch out Spain, this is delicious stuff.Prices: BC 22.95 Producer: Laurent Miquel
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Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavitext
89PTS

Villa Sparina Gavi del Comune di Gavi 2020

Gavi, Piedmont, ItalyGavi di Gavi, the wine, takes its name from the Gavi DOCG in Piedmont. It is made with the cortese grape, well-suited to the rolling hillsides of the province of Alessandria. Simplicity is the key to this delicious white that is stainless steel fermented and not much else. Fresh, floral, and bright, the 2020 edition comes with an orange undertone adding to the exotic flecks that bring this mineral, citrus bombshell to life. Delicate, fresh, seafood-friendly, especially with pasta, and simply fun to drink.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: Villa Sparina
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Laurenz V. Und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltlinertext
89PTS

Laurenz V. Und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner 2019

Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaYou can set your watch by a few wines, and this grüner from Laurenz V is one of them. Fresh and electric, it opens with gooseberry, green fig, and white pepper. The palate is tight and bone dry with more herbal, floral, stony mineral flecked with orange and grapefruit. Electric, firm white wine with plenty of acidity to take almost any fatty fish dish. Ready to drink anytime. There is super value here.Prices: BC 23.99 AB 18.00 Producer: Laurenz Five Fine Wine GmbH
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18 January 2022

Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora Syrah +20/10text
90PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora Syrah +20/10 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 is the 8th year for their Amphora series, and the 2020 version sees Syrah co-fermented with 3% Viognier. The whole berry syrah went into 3 x 500L terracotta, and lids were closed for 10 days for a partial carbonic, where it continued ticking off for 5 weeks. This remained untouched in amphorae for 6 months. Soft and cushy, textured by the terracotta, and fruited by the carbo, this syrah is flooded with wild blackberries, thorns, perfumed violets, finely cracked pepper which lingers on the finish. Tannins are fine grained and ample, but well pitched against the density of fruit. Still a giant wine at 15.3%, but much more characterful and interesting than their straight up Syrah. Enjoy now, with local lamb and wild mushrooms.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +11/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +11/10 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis big, ripe Southern Okanagan syrah has a splash of viognier added, all aged in French oak (35% new, 18% puncheons) for 20 months. At 15.4%, you know what you're getting: a chewy monster, with gobs of ripe, sweet, dense blackberry, cherry, black raspberry, and sweet baking spice. Tannins are absorbed by the density of fruit, leaving a bitter cedar note on the warming, peppery finish. Not for the not brave, this is best taken with an equally lusty and gutsy pepper steak.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Clos Lentiscus Wow Wowtext
88PTS

Clos Lentiscus Wow Wow 2018

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom the biodynamic and biodiverse world of Penedès' Clos Lentiscus, in Catalonia, this natural / organic / biodynamic syrah comes from 41 year old vines in Coster de la Francesa vineyard. After a native ferment in stainless with 21 days on skins, this remained there until bottling the following spring, with no additions or deletions. This pale, lighter red shows the grape's characteristic black pepper, met with tart cranberry, wild flowers, green cherry, and ample crunchy acidity. Tannins are negligible, and this finishes with a gentle swell of heat. Certainly natural and pure, and best with a chill and plate of charcuterie. The 1L format encourages cracking with friends.Prices: ON 44.95 1000 Producer: Clos Lentiscus
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The Wine Umbrella Co-Syrahtext
88PTS

The Wine Umbrella Co-Syrah 2020

CanadaThe latest from the Umbrella is Co-Syrah, a blend of 91 percent syrah and 9 percent viognier. The largish hit of viognier takes this syrah into shiraz land, as does its silky smooth, super-ripe fruit aromas and flavours. Winemaker Mireille Sauvé has a style I describe as juicy and unpretentious. Many happy folks will be ready to kill a bottle or two of Co-Syrah over a roast leg lamb or more casual sausages on the barbecue. Black plums, black raspberries, all at the edge of sweetness, give this peppery, weighty red a long smooth delivery that makes it fun to drink. Like last year a portion of the profit goes to the BC chapter of Les Dames D'Escoffier, and its many charitable causes.Prices: BC 37.50 Producer: Sperling Vineyards
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Township 7 Benchmark Series Syrah Fool's Gold Vineyardtext
88PTS

Township 7 Benchmark Series Syrah Fool's Gold Vineyard 2018

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaTime has added additional smoky campfire hints to the earlier mix, although it is still a high acid, aromatic syrah with a smoky, peppery undercarriage. The smoky notes will keep it from achieving any higher status at this point. The attack remains savoury, while the tannins are relatively soft, making it easy to drink now, which I recommend. Serve with grilled lamb or pork to tame the acidity and smoke.Prices: BC 35.97 Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrahtext
94PTS

Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaConsistently well made and at the top of the BC syrah mix, Équinoxe is all about balance: equal day, equal night; an equal heat of the day, the equal cold of the night leading to an equal New World, Old World style. As good as 2017 was, this is equally fine, if not even more elegant, despite having so much density and length on the palate. The balance is perfect, making it a joy to drink, and I know that kind of balance spells a long life in the bottle, meaning more and more complexity. The flavours are desert scrub, licorice, pepper, and savoury dried herbs mixed with ripe, dense, dark black fruit. The source is a mix of South Okanagan Valley sub-appellations, again honouring the adage that the whole is greater than its parts.Prices: BC 89.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classiquetext
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Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvée Classique 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCuvee Classique is the bigger version of Cuvée Violette. Winemaker Severine Pinte suggests it combines elements of both the Old and New World in her syrah, although Cuvée Classique is Rhone-ish. Deep, dark, and savoury, it speaks to the power of south Okanagan syrah, and its peppery, back olive, dried herb notes. It is fully ripe but the tension provided by its juicy acidity runs throughout. Lamb shoulder or cauliflower steak are perfect matches for meat lovers or vegetarians, respectively. This is split 73/27 between Osoyoos Lake District and Black Sage Bench, and spends 19 months in French oak barrels and puncheons, of which 35% are new. You can drink it now, but three to five years of cellaring will repay your patience. Impressive.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Le Vieux Pin
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Painted Rock Syrahtext
89PTS

Painted Rock Syrah 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 was a cool year as noted when it comes to BC syrah. Despite its propensity to shine in especially warm years, the cooler editions give it an attractive peppery signature. The fruit is grown mid-valley on a sunny, west-facing Skaha Bench slope, but in 2019 it is less Barossa and Washington State and more Sonoma County. Cool, dark, dry, and peppery, with savoury black fruit and a strong licorice underside, it is a solid middleweight red you can drink now through 2027. The grapes planted in 1999 comes off two estate block clones, 100 and 99, all handpicked on October 21. The final mix spent 18 months in 30 percent new oak (80/20 French/American), while the remaining 70% was all second-year French oak that quietly reduced the overall oak influence across the final blend.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Penfolds St. Henri Shiraztext
96PTS

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2018

South Australia, AustraliaI taste St. Henri and marvel at its elegance, restraint, and majesty year after year. For the uninitiated, this is Penfolds’ ode to old oak. For 65 years, St. Henri has been an iconoclast. 2018 is one of the greatest yet expressions of shiraz that avoids the toasty, buttery, caramel flavours that dominate the standard Aussie style. Instead, the focus is upon pure, unadulterated shiraz fruit, burnished in big seasoned 50 year old, 1460 litre wooden casks. A classic multi-regional blend, fruit is fused from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare, and Adelaide Hills. The riveting aromas detonate with red, black, and blue fruit, adorned with savoury wafts of tapenade, dried mint, espresso, and licorice. Impossibly expansive in the mouth with colossal fruit, superb juicy freshness, melting tannins, exotic spice, and a finish that already takes the breath away. Yes, it is young and a bit rigid now, but also shockingly easy to sip at this stage of life. It’s hard to imagine a better deal for $150 than St. Henri. Finesse, elegance, power, and prestige, and good for another 10 to 20 years in the cellar, this will make a beautiful gift for the deserving. If you plan to breach the bottle this year, open, decant and let breathe for a good hour, then pour into massive glasses and pair with a simple roasted leg of lamb or beef.Prices: BC 149.99 AB 149.99 MB 149.99 ON 149.95 QC 149.95 NB 149.99 NS 149.99 NF 149.99 Producer: Penfolds
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora Syrah +20/10text
87PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Amphora Syrah +20/10 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA Small Cap release of only 120 cases honours the ancient method of true hands-off winemaking approach using terracotta clay Amphorae. 2020 is giant wine with pronounced, sweet, dark chocolate mixed with a savoury crushed olive and blueberry underside. Soft, round, and easy sipping, it draws you into the glass even at this young age. A bit over the top this year, but I'm sure many will be just fine with its hedonistic palate. The 2020 is a 97/3 co-ferment of syrah and viognier. The winemaking is simple: you place whole berry fruit into three 500L terracotta containers and close the lids. After ten days, a natural five-week ferment starts, followed by a six month sleep in the Amphorae with zero intervention. The 2020 crop was light in general. However, the winery reports "loosely formed bunches with smaller than average berry size allowed for full sunlight penetration with resultant development of intense fruit flavours". The syrah was picked on October 20th from the Perfect Hedge Vineyard on East Bench Osoyoos. At bottling, the alcohol topped 15.3% adding extra weight and warmth to the final product.Prices: BC 49.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +11/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah +11/10 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe LS Syrah has been a consistent performer, even after the Enns family sold to Arterra. I’m sure a lot has to do with Perfect Hedge Vineyard, home to this fruit on the Osoyoos East Bench. The original wine was Côte Rôtie inspired, hence the drop of viognier co-fermented with the syrah each harvest. In 2019 it was a giant wine with dense, sweet, spicy black raspberry and Bing cherry that tips the hedonistic scale. It is all aged for 20 months in 35% new French oak (18% puncheons). The result is sophisticated fragrant blue fruit with a subtle mix of grilled meat and smoke throughout rich Bing cherry and black raspberry. It is soft, round, and approachable. More Australian than French in 2019, it is pretty much ready to go.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Pentâge Winery Syrahtext
89PTS

Pentâge Winery Syrah 2016

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPentâge Winery continues to hold back its syrah at the winery, in effect doing the ageing for you, and you sense it as soon as you take a whiff of 2016. Some early reduced rubbery syrah notes dissipate with air time in your glass or decanter. But, like last year, the tannins are silky, and the palate is awash in savoury, meaty, peppery, sagebrush and cool raspberry. Fine value. Four separate ferments using different selected yeasts add to its complexity. It is matured for 18 months in 70% French and 30% American oak. Only 30 percent of the barrels are new; the rest of the wood was two to four years old. I would love to see an French oak version of this wine.Prices: BC 24.35 Producer: Pentâge Winery
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraztext
89PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraz 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFrom sites across Barossa, this shiraz was aged for a year in French, American, and Hungarian hogsheads, barriques, and octaves (26% new). Black fruit leads, with blackberry, cassis at the fore, woven with tobacco, dark chocolate, mint, and sultry spices. Tannins are ample, but well absorbed by the fleshy dark fruit, leaving a flush of peppery warmth in their wake on the finish. This 2018 is at a great place for drinking now.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraztext
89PTS

Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraz 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe fruit is sourced from Barossa vineyards. The vines range from young (approximately 10 - 12 years old) to 35+ years. Production goes into a mix of French, American, and Hungarian, with 25% new, to shape this surprisingly easy-sipping, densely textured shiraz. Blackberry, blueberry, and cassis with a touch of leather mark the attack flecked with tobacco and brown spices. As mentioned, this is easy on the palate already, so you can drink it now, although another year in bottle would further help this wine reach its zenith. A solid, if safe, offering.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Stag's Hollow Syrah Amalia Vineyardtext
90PTS

Stag's Hollow Syrah Amalia Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 was a cooler than average year across the Okanagan and can produce some exciting wines in the south, where too much heat can be an issue in some years. Less skin contact and less oak were employed to play up the fresher, floral fruit side. It opens with a classic peppery, meaty nose with a fresh reddish/dark fruit dusted in violets and smoked meat. The palate is more similar, with some tart notes and rounded tannins in the finish—a perfect wine for grilled pork or lamb chops. The fruit comes from the sandy loam soils of Amalia Vineyard, Osoyoos West Bench.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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17 January 2022

Luigi Einaudi  Barolo Bussiatext
94PTS

Luigi Einaudi Barolo Bussia 2017

Piedmont, Italy2017 was another warm year and mostly dry, with a frost event that had little impact. The harvest was early, but the fruit was ripe, so all in all, it was excellent, especially given the cooler nighttime temperatures that reappeared in the late summer and fall. The freshness is evident upfront, as is a mix of rose petals and minerality followed by fresh black cherry, raspberry, and deep, dense tannins that are fully ripe. It will go down as one of the earliest harvests, but the quality is very high in the end. It was the last year of stainless steel fermentation, with concrete entering the picture in 2018. It is aged 30 months in large traditional casks and tonneau to finish off its spiced textures to perfection.Prices: AB 125.00 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Luigi Einaudi Barolo Terlo Vigna Costa Grimalditext
91PTS

Luigi Einaudi Barolo Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi 2017

Dogliani, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe five-hectare Costa Grimaldi vineyard at Terlo, Barolo, was first purchased and planted by Luigi Einaudi in 1958. The vines are nebbiolo (Michet clone) growing over a calcareous/marl soil at 310 metres, facing southeast. After a temperature-controlled fermentation and 24 days of maceration, the wine is aged in 5000L French oak barrels for 30 months, followed by nine months in bottle before release. The nose is reserved, showing light floral rosehip. The attack is full-bodied with rich, silky tannins and a spicy balsamic finish. There is no rush to open this wine, but you must pair it with hearty winter fare like game or grilled beef. Poderi Einaudi was founded by the first president of the Italian Republic, democratically elected by his peers in 1948, 51 years after he acquired his first farmstead in San Giacomo, Dogliani. Since then, the properties have grown exponentially, reaching 160 hectares with more than 60 hectares under vine. Today Einaudi is owned and run by a great-grandson, Matteo Sardagan, with a goal is to make elegant Langhe wines of strong character.Prices: BC 99.95 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Luigi Einaudi Barolo Cannubitext
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Luigi Einaudi Barolo Cannubi 2017

Dogliani, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyToday Einaudi is owned and run by great-grandson Matteo Sardagna, who works with enologist Beppe Ca Viola; Zvonimir Jurkovic, cellar master and vineyard manager; and Roberto Mozzone, logistics manager. The fruit in Cannubi comes off two nebbiolo clones, Michet and Lampia, grown in two highly regarded plots with the southern and southeastern exposure and on the white marl of Sant'Agata (30% Sand, 55% Clay, 15% limestone). The latest ferments are in concrete followed by 30 months in larger oak barrels and nine months in bottle. Elegance is the game's name at Cannubi, along with fragrant nuances of fruit and earth and an extraordinarily long finish. It is a wine to age whenever possible. Wild boar, anyone?Prices: BC 111.95 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Luigi Einaudi Barolo Ludotext
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Luigi Einaudi Barolo Ludo 2017

Dogliani, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe not so regular Einaudi Barolo is a mix of fruit from Bussia, in Monforted'Alba; Cannubi, in Barolo; Terlo, Village of Barolo; and in 2017, grapes of Monvigliero, in Verduno. Look for a classic red/burnt orange colour with a fragrance and a spice that counterbalances the power of the mid-palate's long, persistent, dry finish streaked with balsamic. This wine is going nowhere in a hurry and will be a cellar candidate for years, if not decades. The winemaking is simple: stainless steel ferments, some concrete, but none exceeded 30°C-32°C. There are 22-25 days of post-ferment skin contact before it goes through malolactic and heads for a long sleep in older barrels. So you can start to approach this wine now, but 2027 is probably a better first open date.Prices: BC 65.00 Producer: Poderi Luigi Einaudi
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Marcarini Barolo La Serratext
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Marcarini Barolo La Serra 2017

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyMacarini La Serra is as elegant as it gets for Barolo, given its naturally spicy, floral, rose petal nose mixed with leather, earth, mushrooms, and strawberry. The palate is umami like, drawing you in with its dark red fruit, licorice, and smoky, leather. Round, dry, but supple with excellent finesse, it finishes with a light peppery, cherry, mushroom to a dry Italian finish. A long life awaits this wine, one you can serve with braised beef, game, and aged cheeses.Prices: BC 84.95 AB 78.00 QC 79.95 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Marcarini Barolo del Comune di La Morratext
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Marcarini Barolo del Comune di La Morra 2017

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe latest Barolo from Marcarini explores the terroir of the La Morra area, and its Tortonian soils formed 11.63 to 7.246 million years ago. It is supposed to be a more approachable, easier-drinking style of Barolo that maintains the family elegance and tradition, perhaps reflecting its fruit source. The rejected barrels headed for Brunate and La Serra, but there is no need to fret. It is a delicious wine that is slightly more aggressive on the nose and palate than the silky crus. This nebbiolo is stainless steel fermented age in 10 to 50-year-old Slavonian oak barrels. Expect a garnet colour, a fresh floral red fruit affair with tobacco, leather, minerals and mushrooms, again with plenty of acidity to keep it all fresh. Old hard cheeses or osso bucco would be the perfect tonic for this young red. That, or seven to ten more years in the cellar.Prices: BC 61.99 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Produttori del Barbaresco Pajé Riservatext
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Produttori del Barbaresco Pajé Riserva 2016

Piedmont, ItalyFrom a single 9.8 acre calcareous vineyard in Pajé, one of the crus of Barbaresco, this nebbiolo was fermented in stainless and aged in large oak casks for 36 months, prior to 6 more months in bottle prior to release. This is a typecast barbaresco, primed for drinking now, with a taut, grippy, Nebbiolo frame housing black cherry, tart raspberry, summer strawberry along a lean frame. Tannins are still fierce, even after 5 years and a day's opening, and best met with herbed lamb and/or hearty mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 75.00 Producer: Produttori del Barbaresco
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Terre del Barolo Langhe Nascettatext
89PTS

Terre del Barolo Langhe Nascetta 2018

Piedmont, ItalyTerre del Barolo is a co-op of 300 families, starting in the 1950s with a founding core of 21. From sandy clay soils in Novello and Alba, this nascetta was destemmed, fermented and rested in stainless on lees over 5 months. Ample almond, wild lemon, Asian pear pack the compact palate, smoothed by a generous lees bed through a lightly saline, bitter twist finish. A fuller wine with ample freshness and interest, and one that would well suit grilled scallops or yellow veg curry dishes.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Terre del Barolo
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Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Le Ormetext
92PTS

Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Le Orme 2019

Piedmont, ItalyThis comes from several calcareous laced sedimentary soiled vineyards in the southern part of Asti, primarily La Court Estate and Montemareto in Castelnuovo Calcea, La Serra in Montaldo Scarampi, and Costa delle Monache in Agliano. Fermentation in steel tanks. After 10 days of maceration during ferment, this rested 16 months in stainless prior to release. So perfumed and fragrant, yet precise and serious, with a brilliantly alluring tension between violets, iris, and plums, blueberries. Tannins are long, supple, and whisper fine, and acidity is bright, easily lofting this slight red through the saline finish. True to house style, a seriously finessed wine, and a Barbera worth seeking out.Prices: BC 23.00 Producer: Michele Chiarlo
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Marcarini Barolo Brunatetext
94PTS

Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2016

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyTasted from a 20ml bottle under screwcap, 2016 managed to overcome its packaging to present with some impressive credentials. The la Morra-based fruit is welcoming. It offers a mix of licorice, mushrooms, and aromatic red fruits with an uncanny balance of acidity that lifts the wine above the palate, transporting it along with grace, yet allowing its complexing power to shine through. Italian firm and dry in the back end, this is an exceptional bottle that will repay a decade or more of cellar time in the fullness of time.Prices: BC 94.99 Producer: Poderi Marcarini, Az Agr.
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Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
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Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2018

Piedmont, ItalyWinemaker Davide Rosso leads the family winery based in Serralunga d'Alba and, for my money, is one of the most talented winemakers in Piemonte. A mix of organically and biodynamically grown fruit processed with minimal intervention results in a stunning Langhe Nebbiolo. In my forty years of tasting, it is hard to think of a better nebbiolo that isn't a cru Barolo. Rosso is all about the details, as evidenced by a red native fermented in cement and aged in 50hl French casks, leaving it lively and fragrant from its plummy, rose petal nose to its tarry, savoury, earthy raspberry palate. It spills across the palate as a balanced, fresh wine with a stylish ending. The ultimate dinner wine. Real wine.Prices: BC 29.99 ON 30.00 Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolotext
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Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo 2018

Montforte d'Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyLanghe Nebbiolo is more approachable than its big brother Barolo, and it's cheaper, so when its quality is as meticulously cared for as Barolo, it is easy to fall in love with. The colour is Barolo orange-red, the nose both delicate and fragrant with the depth and complexity you associate with Barolo. Scavino employs a cool fermentation and a rest in stainless steel and neutral oak to help to retain maximum freshness for ten months. Today, Enrico Scavino and the daughters Enrica and Elisa, the fourth generation, run the family estate, and the wines have never been better. It is mostly high quality, declassified Barolo you can buy for a lot less money.Prices: BC 38.95 Producer: Paolo Scavino
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12 January 2022

François Mikulski Bourgogne Côte d'Or Chardonnaytext
92PTS

François Mikulski Bourgogne Côte d'Or Chardonnay 2019

Burgundy, FranceFrançois Mikulski’s father was Lieutenant Mieczyslaw Mikulski, an escapee from occupied Poland in 1939, fleeing to England and joining the Resistance troops of the Free Polish Forces. It was there he met his future wife, a Burgundian working on an English army base. They moved to Brussels where François was born and raised. François spent his formative summers in Burgundy, where he fell in love with wine culture (fortunately for us). They have been the caretakers of these 1.5 hectares of chardonnay vines since 1992, from two parcels of lower slope, organically farmed vines planted in 1986 and 2005, bordering Meursault. This was aged in oak barrels for 10 months, and then drawn off and tightened in tanks for 2 months prior to bottling. This shares the neighbouring appellation's grandeur, with an expansive palate of crystalline lemon, perfumed white florals, Rainier cherry, ripe pear, and toast, bedded with a riveting buzz of stony minerality which drives through the lingering finish. Lovely balance of generosity and cut, this is drinking smartly now, and with time ahead. Great find.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: François Mikulski
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Domaine Michel Briday Rullytext
90PTS

Domaine Michel Briday Rully 2018

Rully, Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, FranceDomaine Michel Briday was founded in 1976 by Michel and Lucette Briday with 15 acres. Today the domaine is managed by Michel’s son and daughter-in-law, Stéphane and Sandrine, and consists of 38 acres spread across the municipalities of Rully, Bouzeron, and Mercurey. From vines averaging 40 years across 4 parcels in Côte Chalonnaise's Rully (Chaponnières, Saint Jacques, La Crée, and La Bergerie) and a mix of stony clay soils, this was native fermented in stainless and barrels, with 25% remaining in wood for maturation. Creamy and complete, with stony, subtly spiced green apple, crisp pear, elastic, wrapped with a downy blanket of pure lees, trailing off with gentle baking spices. Though this has the expansion of the warm 2018, it holds the stony minerality of the site through the saline finish. An impressive Rully, drinking very well now, especially alongside simple spring veg or prawn risotto.Prices: BC 47.00 Producer: Domaine Michel Briday
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Noble Vines Collection 446 Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Noble Vines Collection 446 Chardonnay 2019

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesNoble Vines 446 is a super ripe tropical chardonnay with rich, toasted vanilla undertones. Smooth, silky, and weighty, it slides down easily at just under 15 percent alcohol finishing with a creamy, ripe pear, and peach palate dusted in coconut. Try this with spicy seafood sushi rolls to the best effect. Chardonnay 446 is named for the chardonnay vine stock 4, whose origins were in the Bourgogne region. Chardonnay vine stock 4 grows in Block 46 and other vineyard sites in Monterey County.Prices: BC 19.99 AB 16.95 Producer: Noble Vines
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Jean Max Le Lièvre Blanctext
90PTS

Jean Max Le Lièvre Blanc 2020

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThis chardonnay comes from growers in Denicé and Cogny, in the Pierres Dorées of Southern Bojo, and the regions' ferrous red clay and calcareous soils. The vines are 12-15 years old. This was native fermented and spent 11 months in older wood before a moon phase in stainless for tightening. Bright lemon, red apple, Asian pear, lemon verbena is bedded with a layer of lees, over a fine base of shimmering stony chalkiness that lingers on the finish. These are made in the cellar of Eric Texier in the Rhône, hence they are labelled as Vin de France. 1400 bottles produced.Prices: ON 39.95 Producer: Maxime Barrot
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Guillaume Vrignaud Chablistext
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Guillaume Vrignaud Chablis 2020

Chablis, Burgundy, FranceThe Vrignaud family, settled in the village of Fontenay-près-Chablis, have been growing vines for 5 generations. Guillaume Vrignaud started to bottle his first wines in 1999, and became certified organic in 2009. They have 28 hectares today. Lemon blossom, lemon balm, green apple rule this sleek, expressive Chablis, with a fine, zippy Kimmeridgian buzz livening the whole, and lingering on the lip-smacking finish. Great freshness and vibrancy in this youthful wine.Prices: ON 34.95 Producer: Guillaume Vrignaud
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11 January 2022

Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Redtext
88PTS

Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Red 2018

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This entry level red comes from older mandilaria (60 years average) vines, with a short maceration prior to ferment in stainless for 9 months, with a small proportion seeing time in oak. Soft and fragrant with wild plum, cherry, raspberry across a shorter, stony, lactic palate, finishing with a dusting of spices and salinity. A lighter hued, lighter bodied red, ready for cracking nowPrices: ON 25.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Rosétext
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Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Rosé 2020

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This entry level pale pink rosé blends 80% Mandilaria and 20% Assyrtiko, with vines averaging 50 years, from Exo Gonia, Akrotiri, Megalochori and Mesaria. After a brief cold soak this was fermented and spent 5 months on lees. Bright and fresh, with wild strawberry blossoms, raspberry, orange across a dry, slick, lees-bedded palate, finishing with a raft of salt and pepper spicing. Enjoy now, with coastal Mediterranean fare (think red peppers and seafood).Prices: ON 25.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Mysteriotext
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Artemis Karamolegos Mysterio 2018

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This comes from 100 year old assyrtiko vines, in Pyrgos, native fermented and with 19 days on skins before aging for 10 months in stainless. This saw minimal sulphur throughout. Pouring a burnished tangerine hue, this very textural orange streams bergamot, blood orange, medicinal white cherry, wild mint, ample citrus pith, mineral salts along a slick, incredibly grippy palate, finishing with a wave of salinity. 2500 bottles produced.Prices: ON 65.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Louroi-Platiatext
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Artemis Karamolegos Louroi-Platia 2018

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This is a single vineyard with 150 year old assyrtiko vines, in the lower part of Pyrgos. This spent 11 months in stainless with regular bâtonnage, with one year in bottle prior to release. Full and expansive on the palate, with ripe quince, elastic, bosc pear, honeysuckle, grapefruit, kissed with reduction, and sprinkled with salinity on the lingering finish. Quite an accomplished, impressive wine. 1350 bottles made.Prices: ON 110.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Ftelostext
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Artemis Karamolegos Ftelos 2017

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. Ftelos is a single vineyard with 150 year old assyrtiko vines, in the district of Fira, facing the caldera rim. This spent 2 years in stainless, plus time in bottle prior to release. Super saline and marine, with darts of reduction moving through lemon, grapefruit, salinity on the earthy, stony, savoury, textural palate. Quite powerful. 2650 bottles produced.Prices: ON 132.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Papastext
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Artemis Karamolegos Papas 2017

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. Papas is a single vineyard in Megalochori with 150 year old assyrtiko, with 22 months on stainless and 2 months in large oak before bottling. This rested for 1 year in bottle prior to release. Lemon verbena, subtle melon, pear, broken stones, flake salts, lees rule this medium+ bodied, powerful and striking wine, lashed with salinity, and positively vibrating with energy. 1350 bottles made.Prices: ON 154.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Pyritistext
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Artemis Karamolegos Pyritis 2018

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This assyrtiko comes from three vineyards of 120+ year old vines in Pyrgos and Megalochori. This was native fermented in stainless, where it remains for 10 months with bâtonnage. This is striking and vibrant, positively ringing with flinty minerality and salinity, streaking across the lees-lined palate with lemon pith and peel, quince, anise. Very finessed and singular, drinking stellar now and with time ahead.Prices: ON 76.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos 34text
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Artemis Karamolegos 34 2019

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This comes from very old assyrtiko vines (some of the oldest on the island), partially native fermented (10% in oak), where it remains for 8 months on lees. Quite powerful and potent, mineral-driven, with lashes of broken flint, wild lemon, wild quince streaming the length of the textural, medium+, vibrant palate. Ample salinity lingers on the lengthy finish. Quite stunning now, and will reward with cellaring.Prices: ON 51.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Aidanitext
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Artemis Karamolegos Aidani 2020

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. From the rare Adani grape, this comes from vines 15-20 years, sourced from vineyards in Kamari and Exo Gonia, and harvested in two triers. This was partial native fermented in stainless, where it remained for 4 months with bâtonnage. Very fragrant, with perfumed white blossoms, lime zest, melon, and honeysuckle, seasoned with jasmine spicing, and livened with brisk marine acidity. Quite a pretty wine.Prices: ON 48.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Nykteritext
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Artemis Karamolegos Nykteri 2018

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This is 90% assyrtiko, 10% Athiri and Aidani, from vines up to 100 years, and vineyards in Megalochori and Pyrgos, up to 400m. This was native fermented in barrel (a small proportion new), where it remained for 16 months total on lees. It rested in bottle for 1.5 years prior to release. Fragrant honeysuckle, quince, fragrant cantaloupe, rule the fuller palate, with the riper fruit easily standing up to the wood, leaving just some lingering spice in its wake, along with a flush of marine salinity on the lingering finish. Quite a serious, accomplished wine.Prices: ON 57.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Santorinitext
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Artemis Karamolegos Santorini 2019

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This comes from vines averaging 80 years, and blends 90% assyrtiko and 10% Athiri Aidani. This was fermented and aged in stainless, on lees for 7 months. Lemon blossom, pear blossom, pear, jasmine rule this medium bodied white, ringing with marine salinity through the chalky / grippy finish. Streamlined, yet textural, this would be a winner with fresh seafood.Prices: ON 43.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Whitetext
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Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera White 2019

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This 'entry level' Assyrtiko comes from relatively young vines, averaging only 50 years, from lower altitude vineyards. It was fermented and aged in stainless, on lees, for 6 months. Tight and fresh, with lemongrass, verbena, melon, and crunchy green apple on a slight palate, shining with acidity, and washed with salinity through the finish. Refreshing, and seafood-ready.Prices: ON 32.95 Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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10 January 2022

Oddbird Rosétext
86PTS

Oddbird Rosé NV

Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceThis 'liberated from alcohol' rosé fizz blends chardonnay and pinot noir wines from Languedoc. It was dosed with 47 g/L of residual sugar to make up for the lack of body and flavour of alcohol. Quite sweet, with watermelon, sugared cranberries, green apple on a frothy palate, finishing with candied apple. Serve over ice cubes.Prices: Producer: Oddbird
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Rosé Alcohol Freetext
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Rosé Alcohol Free NV

GermanyThis non-alc organic tempranillo fizz comes from vineyards across southern Spain. To make up for the lack of alcohol, and body, it is dosed with just under 60 g/L RS (!!). Even with all that sugar, it still comes across as sharp and searing, with tart cranberry fruit, candied red apple, on a short, pasty finish. Find a San Pellegrino instead.Prices: Producer: Thomson & Scott
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay Alcohol Freetext
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay Alcohol Free NV

GermanyThis non-alcohol organic chardonnay was sourced from vineyards across southern Spain. with under 30 g/L RS, it comes in as light for non-alc fizz sweetness. Unfortunately, the result is a pasty banana custard, with red apple, canned pear to a bitter, short finish. Not even ice will save this.Prices: Producer: Thomson & Scott
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Oddbird Blanc de Blancstext
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Oddbird Blanc de Blancs NV

Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceThis non-alcohol (as they say, 'liberated from alcohol') fizz is based on chardonnay from the Languedoc, and to mitigate the lack of alcohol, it is afforded 42 g/L RS. The result is a disjointed, sweeter, frothy fizz, with candied pear, red apple, and flat beer, with an almond note. If you chilled this very well (maybe ice cubes) it could pass for a sweeter prosecco.Prices: CDN 17.00 Producer: Oddbird
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Oddbird Spumantetext
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Oddbird Spumante NV

Veneto, ItalyOddbird is a line of non-alcoholic wines, a steadily speeding category of adult beverages for those wanting to bypass alcohol. This dealcoholized (or as the producer calls it, 'liberated from alcohol') glera comes from Treviso, aged a total of 1 year, and was finished with 44 g/L RS. The sweetness is apparent, but still doesn't quite mitigate the searing sharp acidity on the palate, one wrung with rubber and plastics along with unripe Asian pear. I reckon San Pellegrino in a flute might be a better way to go if you want to avoid alcohol.Prices: AB 23.99 Producer: Oddbird
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay Alcohol Freetext
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Thomson and Scott Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay Alcohol Free NV

GermanyLet’s start with the good stuff. At 29 grams per litre residual sugar, the Noughty sparkler has almost half the sugar content of its competitors. It would appear relatively healthy at just 14 calories per glass, and certified organic with zero alcohol. As for the wine, it was one of the more interesting tasted in this round, although again, I maintain expert tasters who spend a lifetime tasting wine should be tasting these wines with anything less than an open mind. The nose is aromatic with green apple that presents crisp. Its somewhat searing acidity and bitterness are offset by the residual sugar, but it is not necessarily balanced. The mousse is well executed. Try this with potato chips; the salt should help. Thomson & Scott partners with Treepoints to offset the carbon footprint of every purchase, supporting a more sustainable future for the planet.Prices: Producer: Thomson & Scott
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Oddbird Spumantetext
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Oddbird Spumante NV

Veneto, ItalyWe like that they made this Spumante from glera grown at Treviso in the Prosecco region of the Veneto. The sugary sparkler reminds me a bit of Prosecco with fresh pear and green apple throughout its foamy, high acid finish. Indeed, it is an Oddbird, displaying the biggest challenge all non-alcoholic labels, namely balance, or lack of it. Still, there is demand for non-alcoholic beverages that are unfortunately compared to their alcoholic counterparts, and it is not a fair comparison.Prices: AB 23.99 Producer: Oddbird
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Oddbird Blanc de Blancstext
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Oddbird Blanc de Blancs NV

Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceThe Blanc de Blancs is chardonnay grown on light, stony, limestone/clay soils in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France. At zero alcohol, you can focus on the fresh apple citrus notes with sweetish honey and almond notes that result from a bump of residual sugar at 42 g/L. That said, its medium-dry finish is one of the better balanced zero alcohol bubbles we tasted. This has a well-balanced freshness, crispy acid, and beautiful notes of lime and green apples and red plums. Ready to drink.Prices: CDN 17.00 Producer: Oddbird
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Oddbird Rosétext
87PTS

Oddbird Rosé NV

Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceI wonder if tasters of regular alcohol-based wines should be tasting and rating non-alcoholic wines. Of course, we can do it, and we have opinions, but frankly, these wines are so far outside the realm of alcohol-based wines it is really a whole new arena. The Oddbird Sparkling Rosé, as they say. "is liberated from alcohol." I might add weight and texture too, but is that even a fair judgement? It is a light red/pink sparkler that mixes chardonnay and pinot noir that is wood-aged and pumped up with 47 grams of residual sugar to fill in any holes. In the end, it is a frothy strawberry, watermelon, green apple sparkler with a sweet finish. As good as any we have tasted in this style.Prices: Producer: Oddbird
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07 January 2022

Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaElegance and opulence define this Okanagan Valley showstopper. Ripe peaches, Meyer lemon, pastry and toasty lees form a rich palate, flecked with judicious clove and vanilla oak nuances. Best of all is the zap of thrilling, luminous high acidity that elevates the Stewart Family Reserve among elite Okanagan chardonnays. Weighty, concentrated, complex and extra-fresh, courtesy of the streamlined cooler 2019 vintage. Chicken suprèmes with creamy wild mushroom sauce or grilled peaches and pork chops it's built for a gourmet dinner.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Chronos Chardonnaytext
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Chronos Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLess is more for this Chronos chardonnay. No oak and no malolactic fermentation means the focus is squarely on the fruit, which is sourced from Mirror Lake Vineyard in Oliver. Expect bright pear and lemon in a style that is crisp but approachable, with a softness coming from lees stirring. Easy to enjoy on its own, it'll be at its best paired with a simple crab salad.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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McWatters Collection Chardonnaytext
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McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis stylistic chardonnay is on the bolder, creamier side of the spectrum, but it doesn't overdo it either. It has a balanced hedonism, which gives it a broad appeal. The fruit is sourced from two Osoyoos vineyards, but that southern ripeness is reined in thanks to early picking, as suggested by the 12.6% declared abv. That helps to give this a punch of freshness, balancing the richness that comes from the cellar. Melon and soft stone fruits are bolstered by popcorn, vanilla, and caramel.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Plot Wines Chardonnaytext
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Plot Wines Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPlot Wines is a new friendly and funky wine collab based out of Kaleden. Their name refers to the partners' (Kevin Rossion and Adam Kereliuk) practice of sourcing grapes from different plots of land across the Okanagan Valley, making an ever changing roster of minimal intervention wines. This chardy comes off vineyards in Kaleden, Willowbrook, and Peachland, partially native fermented, and with 14 months in French oak (40% new). It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with minimal sulphur added at bottling. Creamy and expansive on the medium+ palate, with ripe pear, white peach, green apple, lemon curd scented with toasted spices, which linger on the finish. A bit heavy on the oak, though with nice freshness underneath, this would well suit pan seared scallops or tofu.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Plot Wines
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Chardonnay +06/10text
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Chardonnay +06/10 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's chardonnay is all Okanagan Falls fruit, with the 92% fermented in French oak (19% new), and the remainder in concrete eggs. This sees partial MLF, and 9 months' rest in 86% oak (21% new), 10% concrete, and 4% stainless, with regular bâtonnage throughout. This opens with a massive wall of sulphur, before some aeration reveals baked yellow apple, white florals, caramel, banana custard, cloves, on a soft, expansive, creamy, lazy palate. Old school Cali, and missing any spark we've seen in past (plus the hope of bright OK Falls fruit).Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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Chronos Chardonnaytext
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Chronos Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Mirror Lake vineyard in Oliver, this was fermented and aged in stainless, with no MLF, and regular bâtonnage. Lean and skinny on the softer palate, with sour lemon, green apple, crab apple, ale, and a welcome flick of reduction that holds on the saline-laced finish. A Welcome direction, and my favourite (so far) from the new Chronos portfolio.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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McWatters Collection Chardonnaytext
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McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis creamy, softer chardonnay comes off two Osoyoos vineyards, and was entirely barrel fermented and aged in 20% new French oak, with bâtonnage and full MLF. As one would expect from the above, this is a big and rich chardonnay, with caramel, baked red apple, cloves, and toasted brioche, finishing with a flush of heat. A big old school Cali, with some northern latitude freshness.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
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Fort Berens Chardonnay 2020

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's chardonnay blends 83% from their dry creek estate, and 17% from Riverbend Vineyard in the Similkameen. This was primarily fermented in stainless, with the remainder in French barrels, with regular bâtonnage. This is a slender, softer, somewhat flat rendition, with muted lemon, yellow apple, and a steel note that is more stainless than mineral-driven. The finish is a bit sour at this point.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Chardonnay La Côte Vineyardtext
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Chardonnay La Côte Vineyard 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAt 12.5% alcohol, this chardonnay is fresh and fruit-driven, mixing green apples, quince, and lemon pith dusted with a stony mineral, Similkameen sagebrush, with just a twist of oak. La Côte Vineyard is currently in transition to certified organic status. This chardonnay was hand-harvested in mid-September, the whole cluster pressed, lightly settled, and racked to a 50/50 mix of French oak puncheons and stainless steel tanks. Half the barrel lots, or 30% of the wine, was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation before all the lots had an eight-month sleep with occasional lees stirring. Serve with a favourite baked white fish.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Fort Berens Chardonnaytext
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Fort Berens Chardonnay 2020

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest blend is 83% Dry Creek estate and 17% from Riverbend Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley. Three-quarters of the mix is fermented in stainless steel. The remainder is fermented in French oak barrels. The wine was stirred twice a month to help the texture post ferment. The style is lean and bright with ample citrus and a fresh tight profile. Best to serve this with creamy or buttery dishes to ease the acidity. Well made and needs only a few adjustments to be a stylish, friendly chardonnay.Prices: BC 20.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Liquidity Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Liquidity Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Chardonnay continues to improve, shedding oak and packing on fruit and creamy lees textures. The nose is a mix of fresh melon and tropical fruit that spills onto a citrus palate with toasted hazelnut, fresh papaya. It is all estate fruit (Clone 76), from the oldest block planted in 1994. It is aged ten months in 25% new French oak with frequent lees stirring. Only 60% of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation. Lobster or Dungeness crab with drawn butter will work.Prices: BC 52.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Liquidity Chardonnaytext
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Liquidity Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWe haven't seen this wine for seven vintages, but I am delighted to get to taste this crisp 2019. It is all clone 96, a Bourgogne selection well suited to BC vineyards. The winemaking and balance are impressive. This year it's a creamier version, giving it a lot of appeal with long fragrant peach, pear with exotic flecks of floral blossoms. Pear and lemon pie dusted in baking spice are equally appealing on the palate. The oak is there, but it is well integrated into a fresh, pleasantly bitter, creamy finish. West coast shellfish, squid, halibut or a creamy seafood pasta dish will work. A solid effort is heading in the right direction.Prices: BC 29.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Terry Threlfall Old Main Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Terry Threlfall Old Main Road Vineyard 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meyer Family Tribute Series Chardonnay honours one exemplary Canadian each vintage. For the 2020 vintage, they've honoured Terry Threllfall, a respected, renowned local wine director who passed suddenly, far too early, in 2020. From their northerly facing 1996 planted Old Man Bench vineyard, on the Naramata Bench, and it's silty loams over clay, this was whole bunch pressed and cool fermented in stainless before heading to French oak (22% new) for 11 months on lees, without bâtonnage, and with MLF. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Alluring reduction darts through this wine, livening green apple, stone, lemon cream, flake salts that stream along the medium, lees-decked palate. The finish lingers with salinity, welcoming another glass. Certainly a somm's wine, but also graciously welcoming to all drinkers, much like the gentleman Terry himself.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family vineyards Chardonnay Deklava Clone Anarchist Mountain Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family vineyards Chardonnay Deklava Clone Anarchist Mountain Vineyard 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the first single vineyard Anarchist Mountain Chardonnay, from one of BC's chardy specialists. This comes off their family's estate Osoyoos vineyard, planted in 1985 to an unknown clone (planted by Anthony Deklava, hence the name on the label). This was native fermented long and cool in stainless, and then transferred to French oak (25% new) for 11 months' rest on lees, without bâtonnage. Creamy and ripe with the southern Okanagan sun, with ripe white peach, pear, butter, toast, and a lick of caramel flushing out the expansive palate, one that thankfully carries a buzzing hum on the finish. Certainly the ripest, softest of this year's Meyer chardonnays.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate McLean Creek Road Vineyard, in OK Falls, this Micro Cuvée Chardonnay comes off a steep sandy and gravelled loams site, planted in 1994. After a long, cool partial native ferment in stainless, this transferred to French oak (22% new) for MLF and 11 months on lees, sans bâtonnage. This was unfined at bottling. Tight and nimble, this hums on a stony baseline, with green apple, lemon pith/peel, tight white blossoms, subtly earthy lees, and toasted wood spice that sticks on the finish. Very much in youth, give this smart wine some time to come together in your cellar.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyardtext
89PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Stevens Block Old Main Road Vineyard 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a single block selection from their Naramata Bench Old Main Road Vineyard, planted in 2006 to French clones 4 and 5. Stevens Block is a steep, cool slope, farmed with organic practices. After a whole cluster ferment, the free-run juice was natively fermented over 6 weeks in stainless, before resting in older French barrels on lees for 10 months, with MLF. This youthful wine is showing its wood at present, with a creamy, downy core framed with spiced cedar toast, hazelnuts, lemon curd, finishing with a pithy lemon note on the finish, which feels warmer than its 13.5%. At present, take with creamy risottos or chowder, or lay down for a year and allow this time to settle a bit.Prices: BC 27.04 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Chardonnay La Côte Vineyardtext
90PTS

Clos du Soleil Winemaker's Series Chardonnay La Côte Vineyard 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Clos du Soleil's La Côte Vineyard, which is on track for organic certification, this chardonnay puts its Keremeos terroir at the forefront. The ripeness, and winemaking for that matter, is restrained, showing green apple, lemon, and delicate orchard blossoms that are framed more by the Similkameen's distinctive salty minerality than the subtle touch of wood. Some lees character helps to broaden the palate, but the texture is still laser sharp and precise, with a lip-smacking freshness that is the undercurrent of this wine. Exceptional value.Prices: BC 24.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Red Barn at Jagged Rock Discordian Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Discordian Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThey had me fermented and aged in concrete because in the Okanagan and particularly at Jagged Rock, the Chardonnay has earned the right to be made with as little intervention as possible. Fans of 'Next World Chardonnay' will embrace this mineral, flinty, wet stone affair with fresh-cut pear and green apple mixed with nectarine skin. The acidity is lively but in check, and the creamy textures that come with concrete ageing add mid-palate weight and length to the wine, filling out its lime, pear, sea salt finish. The label depicts a red coloured fish swimming with some authority in the opposite direction — does that remind you of any B.C. proprietor? It is only available online at Artisan Wine Shop.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Red Barn
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Laughing Stock Vineyards Chardonnay +06/10text
88PTS

Laughing Stock Vineyards Chardonnay +06/10 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIn this case, a fine vintage has led to a mix of citrus, pear, vanilla, and caramel with a touch of dryness. 2020 is made with all Okanagan Falls fruit fermented in 92% oak (19% new French oak) and 8% concrete eggs. A partial malolactic fermentation occurs while the wine spends nine months ageing in 86% oak barrels (21% is new French oak), 10% concrete, and 4% stainless steel, and all the lees get a regular stirring. Bright and creamy with a dusting of hazelnuts, this is ready to drink. Mushroom risotto or roast turkey are both good matches.Prices: BC 31.99 Producer: Laughing Stock Vineyards
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McWatters Collection Chardonnaytext
89PTS

McWatters Collection Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm impressed with the evolution of this chardonnay, one that used to be an oaky butterball, but those days are gone. It is all hand sorted and whole bunch pressed from two Osoyoos vineyards. It remains barrel fermented, but only 20% of the French oak is new. The lees are stirred, and it goes through malolactic fermentation. The nose has a toasted caramel note, and the attack is similar with spice, nutty baked apple, and vanilla, with some refreshing acidity. It is leaner and finished dry and much better for it. A wine for chardonnay lovers who like a less severe style. The winery restaurant likes to pair this wine with chicken thighs in a mushroom sauce.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Chronos Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Chronos Chardonnay 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaChronos winemaker Lynzee Schatz works with Mirror Lake Vineyard out of Oliver. This 12.5% chardonnay presents fresh and dry with no malolactic fermentation, and it remains crisp throughout. No oak further tightens the lime, guava with a touch of exotic pineapple underneath. Ready to drink and best with rich seafood dishes including oysters, prawns and scallops. Hot buttered popcorn would also be a good fit for a late afternoon treat.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Time Family of Wines
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Monte Creek Chardonnay Ancient Waters Seriestext
90PTS

Monte Creek Chardonnay Ancient Waters Series 2019

British Columbia, CanadaMonte Creek will surprise many unfamiliar with the winery's vibrant, bright fruit style. Fresh green apples lead to a chardonnay that charms with leanness and a razor-sharp acidity that cleanses the palate after every sip. The fruit was fermented in a mix of concrete and oak using indigenous yeast. The palate is tight and lined with more leesy, citrus, peach with a clean finish. It would be a fine wine to tackle creamy, fatty dishes that need a squeeze of lemon. Aged 14 months on lees and only one-third put through malolactic fermentation. The Ancient Water Series is well worth checking out.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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Meyer Family vineyards Chardonnay Deklava Clone Anarchist Mountain Vineyardtext
89PTS

Meyer Family vineyards Chardonnay Deklava Clone Anarchist Mountain Vineyard 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first single vineyard chardonnay to come off Anarchist Mountain was originally planted in 1985 by Anton Dekleva. The unknown clone has since been named the Dekleva clone, spelled wrong on the inaugural label and is being grown to great success by Checkmate Winery on the Golden Mile Bench. The fruit was blended into the Okanagan Valley label at Meyer before the single vineyard label was released with 2019 fruit. Winemaker Chris Carson decided the fruit deserved to stand on its own, and so it has rested unstirred for 11 months in 25% new French oak for 11 months. The nose is fresh with green apple undertones. The palate is creamy with pear butter and a touch of spice. Not as polished as other Meyer chardonnays, but it will be fun to drink earlier.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLast year I suggested Meyer winemaker Chris Carson move to the important second level of winemaking, where the wines are consistently well made from year to year. Well, you can rinse and repeat that in 2020. Dependability is the best accolade we can give any winery, and Meyer is all that and more, especially the McLean Creek label. In what has been described as a terrific year for chardonnay in Okanagan Falls, you can look for a bright citrus, nutty, stony, mineral character that permeates, delivering just the right level of complexity to hold your interest throughout. Again, it is all you could want for the price. Chardonnay goes directly to press for a long, cool, gentle before only the purest, free run juice is retained. Most of the ferment is in stainless steel with indigenous and cultured yeasts before moving to under 20% new French oak barrels for 11 months on lees without bâtonnage, undergoing a natural malolactic fermentation.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Terry Threlfall Old Main Road Vineyardtext
93PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series - Terry Threlfall Old Main Road Vineyard 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBoth Treve and I agree on this special wine that is almost as special as the guy it's named after, Terry Threlfall. I first encountered Terry at Hawksworth Restaurant and then behind the scenes at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. He led a sommelier team that took a great festival to a new level of wine competence. His unexpected death from a heart attack was a cruel ending for someone so young and so full of life. He was all you could want in a wine guy and more, which makes his choice as this year's Tribute Series nominee all the more important. The standard doesn't get any higher. As for the wine, it is a wow wine from a wow vintage. Bourgogne in B.C. is all you need to know about this bottle that is alive with green apple, mineral, a stony undercurrent riding a leesy, sea salt finish. Terry, you are widely missed.Prices: BC 31.39 Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnaytext
92PTS

Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaQuails' Gate's flagship white wine, the Stewart Family Reserve, primarily clone 95, is now 23-year-old vines planted on the ancient volcanic soils of Mount Boucherie. The nose is a fragrantly enticing mix of pears, toasted nuts, honeyed lees and light, but effective spicing. The palate is even better with medium weight, bright, mineral, ripe red apple, lees through the balanced back end. Impressive as always and ages with little effort. Complex and inviting, this is a beacon of B.C. chardonnay.Prices: BC 45.00 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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06 January 2022

Fort Berens Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc 2019

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaFrom predominantly estate grapes, this franc was barrel aged for 15 months in a mix of seasoned French and American oak barrels, followed by an additional 6 months' bottle ageing. Dark and sultry, with toasted cassis, black raspberry, cherry seasoned with cedar spicing to a warming finish. Tannins are lightly rustic, encouraging pairing with veg or pork stews.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franctext
92PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Franc 2019

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 is another blockbuster. The black raspberry folds effortlessly into the ultra-smooth textures, flecked with tobacco, desert scrub, and spicy oak on the palate. It's youthful but seemingly gaining in refinement as the vineyard ageing and the winemaking settles in. Again, there is no rush to drink this wine, and like in 2017, it has exceptional potential. The fruit is hand picked off a single 3.01 acre block, then berry sorted. The winemaking is Bordelais: a four-day cold soak is followed by 21 days on the skins in the tank with twice daily pump-overs. The batches were barrel aged for 18 months in 40% new French oak and blended before bottling. Unfiltered.Prices: BC 54.99 Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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Hester Creek Old Vine Cabernet Franctext
86PTS

Hester Creek Old Vine Cabernet Franc 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 3 sits on the Golden Mile Bench with original vines planted in 1968. It is now one bunch per shoot, handpicked and sorted, and whole berry fermented 17 days in Italian Ganimede fermenters. It is then aged for 18 months in 75/25 French / American oak. The tannins are richer than the fruit, which is decidedly on the red side, and somewhat thin in the finish. Best now with hamburgers or grilled chicken to take on the acidity and unresolved tannins.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franc Reservetext
87PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc Reserve 2018

British Columbia, CanadaA portion of grapes was left whole cluster on the bottom of the tank to allow for a natural carbonic maceration. It is then aged in oak for 14 months before a small amount of cabernet sauvignon was added to provide extra depth and complexity. The nose is a bit out of sorts with dried herbs mixed into black plums, espresso, and a whiff of garlic dill. The palate is lively with spicy red fruits and savoury underbrush and campfire notes. It's a skinner style when compared to the 2019. Best served with grilled lamb or beef.Prices: BC 36.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc 2019

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaMedium-dark looks a bit like a new world pinot until you catch the nose. Lightly herbaceous, warm blueberries and black raspberries have a savoury dried herb underside. The texture is surprisingly supple with a youthful rustic edge that will disappear quickly. The fruit is mostly Lilloett estate grown, harvested late in the season at optimal ripeness. It was barrel aged for 15 months in a combination of seasoned French and American oak and then bottle aged for an additional six months before release. Anything mushroom works here.Prices: BC 28.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Liquidity Cabernet Franctext
92PTS

Liquidity Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLiquidity destems, crushes, and ferments its cab franc in stainless steel, and after 25 days on skins, the wine is pressed into new and neutral French oak barrels and aged for 15 months. Only three barrels made the free-run cut (one was new). It opens with a lovely slick edge of rich, round, spicy fruit coursing across the palate with a warm, savoury finish. It is just a baby, but it already has a polished demeanour that will repay more cellar time. It is somewhat reminiscent of a Bolgheri cabernet franc, making it a candidate to watch.Prices: BC 60.00 Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Red Barn at Jagged Rock Silent Partner Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Red Barn at Jagged Rock Silent Partner Cabernet Franc 2019

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSilent Partner is 30% whole bunch fermented, adding extra aromatics, although it is not usually an issue with BC cabernet franc. An intracellular or anaerobic fermentation happens inside an uncrushed grape that can produce different flavours and aromatics in a bottle of wine. The stems absorb colour, leading to paler wines, something you see in pinot noir. This wine is aged in concrete to lend it some fullness and round texture without any oak interference. It is cutting edge and another hopeful sign for BC wine. Now to the wine. Wow, what a start. The nose is like a fresh-baked, black fruit pie. The palate is similar, with bright black fruit perfectly ripe and dusted in espresso and black licorice. The finish is almost perfectly balanced, hedonistic, hot, and spicy but with a wonderfully slippery texture that melts into your mouth with a modicum of tannin to shed. Osso Buco would be a great dish, as would Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Super value.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Red Barn
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Kelly Washington Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Kelly Washington Cabernet Franc 2018

Hawkes Bay, North Island, New ZealandFrom Hawke's Bay's acclaimed Bridge Pa Triangle, and The Howell Vineyard, this cab franc was destemmed with 30% whole berries, and fermented in stainless over 3 weeks before heading into tight grain French barrels (13% new) for one year. Ripe plum, cherry, and mulled raspberry rule the soft palate, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. Tannins are well worn and absorbed into the fruit at this stage, taking it to a browning finish. Feeling a bit tired; best taken now, perhaps with veg and / or pork stew.Prices: Producer: Kelly Washington
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Van Westen Vineyards Vulturetext
86PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Vulture 2018

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine has been up and down now for a few years. 2018 was a challenging year, and the wine shows it. Normally rich, it presents skinny with typically spicy savoury notes but not enough fruit or heft to carry the savoury components. It finishes dry and is relatively short. Best to wait for 2019.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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03 January 2022

St. Michael-Eppan St. Magdalenatext
91PTS

St. Michael-Eppan St. Magdalena 2019

Trentino- Alto-Adige, ItalyThe imposing twin towers of the grand St. Michael-Eppan can be see from a distance, representing the 340+ growers that make up the co-op's family since 1907. Vines have been grown in the area around Eppan for 2000 years. This is a blend of 90% Schiava, 10% Lagrein, the former indigenous to this area, from the region's sloping hills, and aged in a mix of barrels and steel. This lighter-hued red streams wild raspberries, wild cherries, worn leather, perfumed red florals and ample white pepper spicing along a sleekly streamlined palate. Acidity is alpine brisk, and tannins are long and lightly grippy, hugging and guiding this to a lightly smoked, saline finish. A tidy view of this spectacular region, ready for enjoying now.Prices: BC 38.00 Producer: Cantina St. Michael-Eppan
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Ocone Bozzovich Nerotext
86PTS

Ocone Bozzovich Nero NV

Campania, ItalyA blend of the typical red grape varieties of the Benevento area (mainly Aglianico and Piedirosso) growing on calcareous clay soils. Post ferment, this went into second use barrels for six months before a tightening stint in steel. Unfortunately, the wall of wood overrides any of the fruit, imparting dark chocolate, mint, tobacco, smoky spices over the sultry dark cherry fruit.Prices: BC 20.00 Producer: Ocone
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Tenuta San Pietro Nerotext
88PTS

Tenuta San Pietro Nero 2019

Montforte d'Alba, Cuneo, 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. It is a medium-bodied blend of albarossa, barbera, cabernet sauvignon, with bright stony acidity and ample sticky tannins framing black cherry, black raspberry, cassis and kirsch, the latter of which gently warms the finish. There is a lovely freshness to hold this up and encourage pairing with tomato-sauced pasta or stews.Prices: ON 24.15 Producer: Tenuta San Pietro
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Tedeschi Marne 180 Amarone della Valpolicellatext
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Tedeschi Marne 180 Amarone della Valpolicella 2015

Pedemonte Valpolicella, Verona, Veneto, ItalyAmarone has never been a wine for the casual red wine sipper. It is the type of wine that can overwhelm the senses in youth, and evolve into a highly complex affair over time. In 2015 Tedeschi was a giant wine that opens with an intense, earthy, garrigue-like nose. On the palate, a rich, warm black cherry rises from front to back to take over the flavours and sweeten the finish, at least as sweet as it gets for a big, dry Italian red. There is less bitterness and more drinkability, although there is no rush to drink this wine. There is plenty of time to allow it to become increasingly more intriguing and complex. Since 2015, this label has the name "Marne 180," referring to the vineyard's soil type and the 180 aspects of the site.Prices: BC 59.99 AB 55.95 MB 60.00 QC 45.50 Producer: Tedeschi
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Rivera Il Falcone Castel del Monte Rosso Riservatext
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Rivera Il Falcone Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva 2014

Puglia, ItalyA mix of nero di Troia and montepulciano, this Apulian red is a local legend aged 14 months in large and small oak and further aged another year in the bottle at the winery. The attack is busy with gamey, savoury red and black plum that spills onto the palate to mix with licorice and spicy tobacco. The finish is Italian dry. I suggest you serve it with rich, rustic winter fare or mature cheeses, and decant it for as long as you can before dinner.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Azienda Vinicola Rivera S.P.A.
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