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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: April 2022

29 April 2022

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Bruttext
89PTS

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA new package finally presents this wine in a manner befitting its style and quality. Cipes Brut has been around for three decades, always offering fair value in the sparkling wine sector. The latest version appears a touch drier and firmer, which always a good thing when it is stuffed with green and yellow apple, almonds, and wet stone. This is a mix of organic riesling, chardonnay, pinot blanc, all fermented in the traditional method. The ageing is about nine months, and the style is easy sipping.Prices: BC 27.99 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Mission Hill Family Estate Exhilaration Brut Rosétext
88PTS

Mission Hill Family Estate Exhilaration Brut Rosé NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first sparkling rosé from Mission Hill is made in the prosecco style but with the usual care and attention Mission Hill puts into all of its wines. The pinot fruit comes off two specific vineyard blocks from two different Oliver estate vineyards: one on Black Sage Road, and the other on the Golden Mile Bench. With more than 60 individual blocks of 26 year old vines, an array of premium quality fruit is available. The attack is soft with mostly dryish red fruit with a twist of citrus rind to add some interest. Light and easy sipping, this perfectly quaffable pink bubble was made for chilling and serving on the summer patio.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Cantina Arceto Migliolungo Lambruscotext
90PTS

Cantina Arceto Migliolungo Lambrusco NV

Emilia-Romagna, ItalyMore than 40 different ancient, traditional red grapes go into this Lambrusco, with 21 of these different varieties of Lambrusco alone (!). Lambrusco Oliva, Amabile di Genova, Marzemino, Sgavetta, Corona, Filucca, Uva della Quercia, Termarina Rossa, Uva Tosca, Picol Ross, Scorza Amara, Uva Bisa, Lambrusco Viadanese, and Lambrusco Corbelli are but a few rooted in the calcareous clays of Reggio Emilia. The project to safeguard these ancient varieties was started in 2002, on the farm surrounding the A.Zanelli Institute, where the Emilia Wine co-op of four wineries (including Arceto) is based. After a soft pressing and 6 days' maceration, these were fermented in stainless, before heading to the autoclave for secondary ferment. Pouring a hazy, gutsy dark plum hue, this lightly sparkling red pops with tart cassis acidity, pulling wild plum, black cherry, across a dry palate, lashed with black pepper and gripped with fine, thorny tannins. The snappy finish lingers with salinity and perfumed balsamic. Such a lovely, fresh example and gift from these historic varieties.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Cantina Arceto
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La Cheteau Crémant de Loire Brut Biotext
89PTS

La Cheteau Crémant de Loire Brut Bio NV

Loire, FranceThis Crémant de Loire that opens with apple straw colour and classic Loire floral notes reminiscent of white flowers and dried fruit aromas. Straight and lively attack, with well structured, persistent effervescence, this has a touch of lemon and berry, in a translucent, brilliant, pale yellow hue with silver reflection. Lacheteau is a family business founded by André Lacheteau in 1987, based in Anjou. The fruit is all harvested by hand. The second fermentation is in the bottle before at least 18 months of ageing on its lees. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 23.49 Producer: La Cheteau
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Haywire The Bubtext
89PTS

Haywire The Bub 2017

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is my first look at The 2017 Bub, presenting as tight as they come at this point. It is a classic example of the potential of BC fizz, given its naturally high level of acidity. The mix is 55/45 pinot noir / chardonnay split, with the divide of 70/30 between Summerland and Oliver fruit. The fermentation is also split between stainless steel and concrete tanks before heading to bottle and a 30 month sleep on its lees with zero dosage. It is fresh and electric, maybe too much, but give this some time to settle into the bottle. There is no rush. The palate is full of lemon pith and earthy, nutty mineral lees with a precise, clean, chalky finish. A creamy cheese is currently an excellent match to tome down the acidity and smoothly put the finish. One to watch.Prices: BC 32.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Free Form Blanc de Noirtext
90PTS

Free Form Blanc de Noir 2018

Garnet Valley, Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGarnet Valley Ranch is home to the fruit that goes into this organic sparkler, in this case, all pinot noir, whole bunch pressed, and naturally fermented in concrete. It spends 20 months on its lees, building texture, length, and flavours, before it is disgorged and recorked with no sugar. The palate is dusty dry with a fresh lemony, almost saline nose pulling you into the glass. The fruit is pure green apple, with a touch of croissant and wet stone and a taut, lemony finish. An impressive wine that speaks to place and purpose, but for wine lovers only.Prices: BC 44.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Narrative XC Methodtext
89PTS

Narrative XC Method 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2019 Narrative XC is a charmat method fizz made from 42-year-old pinot blanc vines growing in Okanagan Falls. The method is 90 days (XC) on its lees in a pressurized tank, like Prosecco, before it gets bottled at a modest 4 g/L residual sugar. The light pink/peach colour precedes a lively bubble full of citrus cranberry striped with red currants and a touch of desert scrub for complexity. Reserved and tight, it is classic winemaker Matt Dumayne. Ready to drink all spring and summer, simply add warm weather.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Haywire Vintage Bubtext
91PTS

Haywire Vintage Bub 2014

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2014 is here, but it was a pleasure drinking 2013 for several years. Translation, this sparkler was built to age in the bottle. The Vintage Bub is a serious bottle of fizz that gets extended ageing at the winery and is released only when it is showing its best. Both 2013 and 2014 were aged on its lees for 60 months before disgorgement, in this case, June 19, 2021. Like its predecessor, this stony, earthy, leesy bubble is a winner already and will continue to improve in bottle. The acidity is perfect, and the dusting of Okanagan sagebrush, licorice, and minerality only heighten its appeal. Drink or hold, and don’t be afraid to serve it with richer menu items.Prices: BC 43.90 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Vaporetto Prosecco No 8 Bruttext
87PTS

Vaporetto Prosecco No 8 Brut NV

Treviso, Verona, Veneto, ItalyThe name Vaporetto pays homage to the Venetian public waterbus. It is simple Prosecco, with pear, citrus, and orchard blossoms. It is well balanced, mainly appearing dry on the palate, making it equally at home as a patio sipper with appetizers or at the lunch table. Ready to drink.Prices: BC 21.99 AB 19.95 MB 19.99 Producer: Jeio Belstar S.r.L
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28 April 2022

Gómez Cruzado Cerro Las Cuevastext
93PTS

Gómez Cruzado Cerro Las Cuevas 2019

Rioja, SpainGómez Cruzado operates out of their 135-year-old cellar (founded 1886) in the Station District in Haro, the historic heart of Rioja. The bodega focuses on sustainably farmed old vine plots and indigenous varieties. The Cerro Las Cuevas comes from their Ollauri vineyards and the Las Laderas and Calitrancos sites, where the 90+-year-old vines grow on very narrow, steep slopes. It blends 80% tempranillo, 12% graciano, 3% mazuelo, and 5% garnacha from the sites' limestone pebbles and sandy soils. After native fermentation in open stainless vats, it was aged in French foudre. Tight, mineral-laden cherry, wild raspberry buzzes along the savoury palate, bedded with leather and perfumed with baking spices. Limestone and iodine vibrate throughout, easily carrying this to a lingering stony finish. Modern, exciting, finessed Rioja.Prices: BC 84.99 Producer: Bodegas Y Viñedos de Gómez Cruzado
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Gómez Cruzado Rioja Honorabletext
92PTS

Gómez Cruzado Rioja Honorable 2016

Rioja, SpainGómez Cruzado operates out of their 135-year-old cellar (founded 1886) in the Station District in Haro, the historic heart of Rioja. The bodega focuses on sustainably farmed old vine plots and indigenous varieties. Honorable comes off their oldest vineyards (50+ years) in the calcareous clay foothills of the Sierra Cantabria and is a field blend with Tempranillo in the lead, followed by Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, and Viura. After four days of maceration, it was fermented in steel before finishing MLF in new barriques. It was then aged 18 months in French fine-grained barriques. Potent and dense, with silken black cherry, blackberry, leather, roasted onions, seasoned with espresso and cracked peppercorns. Tannins are long and firm and gritty, housing this through a lingering finish. Quite a powerful wine, showing the prowess of the old vines and limestone-laced soils. This is drinking well now with a decant but will easily hold in your cellar.Prices: BC 64.99 Producer: Bodegas Y Viñedos de Gómez Cruzado
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Gómez Cruzado Rioja Reservatext
91PTS

Gómez Cruzado Rioja Reserva 2014

Rioja, SpainGómez Cruzado operates out of their 135-year-old cellar (founded 1886) in the Station District in Haro, the historic heart of Rioja. The bodega focuses on sustainably farmed old vine plots and indigenous varieties. This Reserva blends 85% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano from 30-year-old bush vines located at the foot of the Sierra Cantabria and its alluvial, calcareous, and ferrous soils. The remaining 5% of Garnacha comes off bush vines near the village of Badarán. It was native fermented in stainless cones before aging for 18 months in new and second-year French barriques, followed by two years of bottle ageing. Sultry black fruit caresses the textural palate, with wild blackberry, black plums, black cherry imbued with savoury stoniness and atop worked leather. Tannins are ample, both fine and gritty, housing this through a lingering ferrous finish. Beautiful acidity throughout keeps this fuller red feeling fresh. Though still stately as per the category, this is Rioja Reserva through a modern lens.Prices: BC 41.99 Producer: Bodegas Y Viñedos de Gómez Cruzado
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Gómez Cruzado Crianza Riojatext
91PTS

Gómez Cruzado Crianza Rioja 2018

Rioja, SpainGómez Cruzado operates out of their 135-year-old cellar (founded 1886) in the Station District in Haro, the historic heart of Rioja. The bodega focuses on sustainably farmed old vine plots and indigenous varieties. This crianza blends 80% Tempranillo from vineyards in the foothills of the Cantabrias, and 20% Garnacha from the Upper Najerilla (Badarán), rooted in the region's alluvial, sandstone ferrous clays. It was native fermented in stainless before one year in primarily new American barriques. Ripe and smooth with black cherry, perfumed raspberry, savoury salted iron notes along a full palate. The soils give this accessible amplitude and lift, with fine-grained tannins leading to a spiced finish. Such a charming, finessed, and new wave Rioja.Prices: BC 28.50 Producer: Bodegas Y Viñedos de Gómez Cruzado
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27 April 2022

Prima Donna Crianza en Roble Tannattext
86PTS

Prima Donna Crianza en Roble Tannat 2013

Canelones, UruguayThis tannat comes from the Riberas del Santa Lucía, and spent 8 months in French oak. Ripe and full with twiney cassis, blackberry leather, medicinal cherry and a spritzy tart cranberry twist Tthe tannins were are still massive and drying, but now, near a decade on, have sunken into the fruit some. Unfortunately the whole dries out at the finish, since the fruit hasn't kept pace.Prices: Producer: Antigua Bodega Stagnari
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Ramón Bilbao Edición Limitadatext
89PTS

Ramón Bilbao Edición Limitada 2018

Rioja, SpainThis crianza tempranillo comes off 75 hectares of vineyards located in Rioja Alta, near the Ebro River. It was native fermented in wooden vats before 14 months' aging in new French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Sweetly perfumed cherries, lead to a compact palate of tobacco, black cherry, wild blackberry, and kirsch. Tannins are ample and gnarly at this young age, easily supporting and spicing this well constructed wine to a amply spiced finish. Best suited to grilled lamb and / or root veg.Prices: Producer: Ramón Bilbao
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Gusbourne Pinot Meunier Mill Hill East Vineyardtext
91PTS

Gusbourne Pinot Meunier Mill Hill East Vineyard 2020

EnglandDusky, perfyumed plum, blackcurrant, violets, on a slight, sleek frame, gripped with sticky tannins and infiltrated with pink peppercorns and white pepper spicing. Precise and pixelated, this is a striking example of meunier. This builds intensity with airtime in the glass, and lingers with a haunting violet memory. Leave it to Engiand to show us what Pinot Meunier Tastes like.Prices: Producer: Gusbourne
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Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tintotext
90PTS

Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tinto 2020

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis fuller Alentejo touriga nacional was native fermented in a mix of inox and large oak vats before resting for a few months in the same. Touriga's inherent purple perfumes lead, followed by the grape's characteristic tannic grip. Black plum, wild blackberry, cassis, crushed violets rule the grippy palate, lit with a bright acidity and finishing with a chewy plum note. A pretty, fuller red primed for drinking now with roast lamb and/or beef. Well known consultant winemaker Antonio Maçanita makes this wine.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Herdade do Arrepiado Velho
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Domaine Rolet Trousseautext
89PTS

Domaine Rolet Trousseau 2016

Arbois, Jura, FranceTrousseau vines were planted in Montigny-les-Arsures, on hillsides on the localities of Chagnon and L'Euvrin, as well as Arbois' Montesserin. The marl and clay soils are ideal for the trousseau, as proven by this charming wine. After destemming and a few days of maceration, it was fermented in stainless for three weeks and then aged for 9 months in a split of stainless and foudre. Ripe and dried cherry, worked leather, ample stony salts draw across the medium palate, with sticky / grippy sides holding all in through the saline finish. At this age, best taken now, ideally with mushroom dishes.Prices: BC 35.00 ON 30.00 Producer: Domaine Rolet Père & Fils
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Elena Fucci Titolo Aglianico Del Vulturetext
90PTS

Elena Fucci Titolo Aglianico Del Vulture 2014

Basilicata, ItalyElena Fucci grew up in the middle of the vineyards that her grandfather Generoso began farming in the 1960’s, selling the fruit to the local cooperative. Rather than sell off the family properties in 2000, Elena Fucci took on the challenge of stewarding the oldest vineyards on Monte Vulture, forever changing the future of the Aglianico del Vulture DOC. The organic vineyards are rooted at 600m, on the steep slopes of the dormant volcanic cliffs. Titolo is the focus cru and wine of the winery. The 2014 is showing moderate evolution, with worked leather, dried cassis, ripe black cherry, dried dark florals, and ample mineral salts woven throughout the muscular frame. Tannins are now yielding with time, housing the still tense, volcanic energy that buzzes through the dusky palate. The 2014 is drinking now, ideally with roast lamb or steak.Prices: BC 75.00 ON 63.00 Producer: Elena Fucci
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Natte Valley Cinsaulttext
91PTS

Natte Valley Cinsault 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaYoung winemaker Alex Milner suddenly became very cinsault-centric when a professor told him not to bother reading the cinsault chapter in his textbook because it would be worthless to him. Fast forward from that 2011 conversation to today, and The Natte Valleij Cinsault Collective. Alex set out to find forgotten patches of old dryland bush vine cinsault across the Western Cape, expressing their individualities through low-interference winemaking. This is his collective bottling from 5 sites (Wellington, Simonsberg-Paarl, Darling, Swartland, Stellenbosch) showcasing the grape and greater Cape. This was native fermented with up to 30% stalks, and a partial whole bunch, depending on site, After whole bunch fermentation, this spent one year in old oak barrels, foudre, and concrete eggs. This lighter red charms from first whiff, with scrubby fynbos, wild raspberry, wild cherry, wild plum on a juicy 13% palate. Tannins are long and fine, hugging this fresh red to the white pepper finish. Full of typicity, this is a beauty wine to set your SAF cinsault compass to.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Natte Valleij
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Modest Wines The Crimson Crusader Carmeneretext
89PTS

Modest Wines The Crimson Crusader Carmenere 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCarmenere is popping up more and more in the Okanagan with labels at Moon Curser, Black Hills, Time Family of Wines, Phantom Creek, and this Crusader from Mt. Boucherie. The fruit is off the Black Sage Bench and seamlessly matched with French oak for 12 months. More red than black, it is a refreshing version of the grape that embraces the Southern Okanagan with its scrubby, sagebrush spicy notes that permeate the wine. Dense yet balanced and led by black cherry, green pepper, and cedar notes, it transports me to Chile. Inspired styling and a wine that you can drink year round.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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26 April 2022

Il Fauno di Arcanumtext
92PTS

Il Fauno di Arcanum 2019

Tuscany, ItalyThe 1011 hectare Tenuta di Arceno estate sits at 404-809 metres above sea level. The site between Florence and Siena has been producing wines for nearly 3000 years. According to Roman mythology, in the estate's center, an ancient Roman statue, Il Fauno, was installed to protect the estate from intruders. The estate produces DOCG Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Reserva. Still, their IGT wines reveal the depth of the soil that, while famous for sangiovese, are particularly suited to cabernet franc and merlot. A cold spring and a cool early summer finally got a break as the temperatures soared in the summer. Occasional rain showers in August moderated the escalating temperatures leading to a picture perfect fall. Harvest began on September 14th and concluded on October 23rd. The nose is a riot of savoury black cherries with a dusting of mint. Rich, robust, and full-bodied, it is only beginning its life. Black plums and licorice dominate the palate, supported by cedar, toasted oak, and a more savoury, peppery note in the finish. Il Fauno is a Bordeaux-style blend of 43/32/20/5/ merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. It is one to lay away for seven to ten years. However, if you must drink it now, wild boar would be a fine match.Prices: BC 44.99 AB 43.49 ON 49.95 QC 49.50 Producer: Tenuta di Arceno
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Chateau Bouscassetext
90PTS

Chateau Bouscasse 2016

Madiran, Sud-Ouest, FranceChateau Bouscassé is the second of the estates led by Alain Brumont, a leading vigneron of Madiran. The winery, based in the commune of Maumusson-Laguian on clay-limestone soils, has been in the Brumont family for several generations. The Bouscassé is a blend of tannat, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, with an appealing balance of fruit and savoury complexity. Brambles and black currant are complemented by dried herbs, florals, and a meatiness that will be familiar to fans of syrah. Tannat may have a reputation for producing fiercely tannic wines, but that's far from the case here. It's polished and finessed thanks to thoughtful winemaking and five years in bottle. $28 goes a long way here. It's a worthwhile discovery the next time you have a craving for Bordeaux or the Northern Rhone. It's drinking well now but there's no rush to pop the cork, either.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Vignobles Brumont
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Chateau Montustext
91PTS

Chateau Montus 2016

Madiran, Sud-Ouest, FranceChateau Montus is one of two estates led by Alain Brumont, one of the leading vignerons in Madiran. Tucked in the southwest corner of France, this is the ancestral home of tannat. The Montus Rouge may blend in 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, but tannat is still very much the star. It's a refined, elegant expression of this underappreciated variety. Brumont purchased the Montus property in 1980, though the reputation of this steep, hillside vineyard dates to the 18th century. Complex, layered, and savoury, it shows restrained dried black cherries alongside cedar, dried herbs, and humus. The oak is also nicely proportioned, as this has the depth to effortlessly carry the use of 60-80% new barriques. Far from a tannic powerhouse, this is nicely balanced with fine tannins that are just starting to resolve. A beautiful wine to discover now, or cellar for the next 4-5 years. And excellent value at this price.Prices: BC 34.99 QC 29.35 Producer: Vignobles Brumont
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25 April 2022

Modest Wines By Jove Sangiovesetext
90PTS

Modest Wines By Jove Sangiovese 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA five-percent dollop each of merlot and cabernet franc are added to this sangiovese, which is sourced from Quinta Ferreira Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench. Sangiovese can be challenging to get right outside of Italy, but this is really impressive. There’s true varietal character, with juicy dark cherries, spice, and fresh florals, without sacrificing a sense of place, with desert shrubs that transport you to the South Okanagan. It’s not pushing the ripeness, extraction, or oak, and it’s all the better for it. Even at 13.9%, this is light on its feet and moreish, elevated by seamless balance and concentration that is above the norm. Even better with a light chill. I tasted the previous vintage blind at the NWAC and was equally impressed. Recommended.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Montalbera Laccento Ruché di Castagnole Monferratotext
92PTS

Montalbera Laccento Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato 2017

Piedmont, ItalyThe Morando family founded Montalbera Winery at the beginning of the 20th century in the townships of Grana, Castagnole Monferrato, and Montemagno. Their hillside vineyards are rooted in clay and limestone. This Ruchè (pronounced 'roo-kay') with an orange glint similar to its nebbiolo neighbour uses 20% overripe grapes for added concentration. The grape's inherent florality is on full display here, with perfumed violets and iris imbuing wild blackberry, salted plum, and pink peppercorn spicing. The overripe grapes plump the full-bodied palate, providing a generous cushion to the whole, and a tip up to 15%. Tannins are plush, and well absorbed into the wine, while the limestone soils help the acidity shine—fascinating wine and one well suited to a rack of lamb.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Montalbera
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Modest Wines By Jove Sangiovesetext
88PTS

Modest Wines By Jove Sangiovese 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRarely seen in the Okanagan,this Sangiovese (from sanguins Jovis, meaning the blood of Jove, hence, By Jove) came off Black Sage Bench's Quinta Ferreira vineyard, and has 5% merlot and cabernet franc blended in, marking a Super Okanagan tradition. Sultry and potent black cherry, cassis, and blackberry pack the dense palate, framed by grippy / sticky tannins, and scented with subtle woodsmoke through the bitter cherry finish. It's a wood-driven bigger red, best absorbed with comparable wood-driven fare, like steaks or burgers.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Vino Lauria QuarantaSarme Perriconetext
89PTS

Vino Lauria QuarantaSarme Perricone 2018

Sicily, ItalyThis is the rarest of Vito’s wines, sourced from 40 sarme of Perricone, hence the name Quarantasarme. Sarme is an ancient system of measurement in Sicily, and 40 sarme equates to roughly 80 hectares, situated between Alcamo and Campo Reale. This organic Perricone spent one year in large oak barrels. Ripe and full of the Mediterranean sunshine, this fuller red pours an opaque hue, dense with baked blackberry and plums, dark earth, wild herbs, fruitcake, and pine. Tannins are chewy and wild, housing a juicy palate. Partner this full bodied red with equally dense proteins like grilled lamb.Prices: ON 27.00 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Vino Lauria Nerello Mascalesetext
84PTS

Vino Lauria Nerello Mascalese 2019

Sicily, ItalyVito Lauria is a Sicilian local. After studying winemaking in Friuli, he returned home in 2005 to take over his family's winery in the west of Sicily, renovating the vineyards, focusing on organic viticulture. He focuses on local varieties, like nerello mascalese. This is sourced from Sambuca di Sicilia, and sees time in stainless only. This year's vintage is wrought with VA, pinching and strangling the typically charming, lifted fruit. Shame. Will wait for the next vintage to retry.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Vino Lauria
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Passato Barbera d'Albatext
88PTS

Passato Barbera d'Alba 2020

Piedmont, ItalyThe Bosio family has lived in Langhe's hills since the 17th century, making wine and growing grapes for generations. This organic big boy barbera comes from Canale's calcareous clays, at 300m. After 10 days of skin contact, this was vinified in stainless before 6 months in 5000L Slavonian oak. Full and dense on the 15.5% palate, with ripe blackberry, gutsy black plum, and black cherry jam, this has soft, plush tannins to house to a spiced finish. A wine well suited to shepherd's pie or meatloaf.Prices: BC 32.00 Producer: Bosio Family Estate
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Passato Barbera d'Asti Superioretext
88PTS

Passato Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2019

Piedmont, ItalyThe Bosio family has lived in Langhe's hills since the 17th century, making wine and growing grapes for generations. The barbera comes from the calcareous clays of Asti, around 300m. Some 50% of the grapes concentrate inside the drying room over 20 days and were then mixed with the grapes from the vine in a three-week native ferment. This then aged two years in French tonneaux and Slovenian casks. The result is put together well, with ample plump black fruit lightly seasoned with florals and amply seasoned with peppery/baking spice. There's a bright, fresh acidity to counter the 16% alcohol, but the end still warms with an intense fire. Necessary to match this with rustic roasted root veg or beef dishes.Prices: BC 33.00 Producer: Bosio Family Estate
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Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico 2017

Greve, Florence, Tuscany, ItalyThe Castle of Verrazzano is on top of a hill in Chianti Classico, looking out over the Greve Valley. The castle was an Etruscan, then a Roman settlement, before becoming the property of the Verrazzano family in the 7th century. This organic sangiovese is tipped with 5% other local grapes off their limestone laced hillside estate. It rested in 33 hl French barrels for 18 months, followed by 4 months in bottle prior to release. Savoury black cherry, black raspberry is laced with forest floor, walnut shells, subtle purple florals, and suede. Tannins are ample and grippy, propping this to the salty, bitter edged finish.Prices: BC 35.95 ON 28.00 Producer: Castello di Verrazzano
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23 April 2022

Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyardtext
90PTS

Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyard 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBartier Syrah is grown within a chip shot of the winery on Cerqueira Vineyard over the Black Sage Gravel Terrace. Bartier specializes in funnelling all the nuances of the desert surrounding his vineyard into the bottle, lending this slick version of syrah a floral, scrubby, garrigue undertone with a rich mineral finish. The attack is of a similar construct with savoury blueberries and wild silver sage-scented blackberry jam. Youthful and almost drinkable now, this will repay five to seven years in the bottle, if not longer. Lamb burgers are the match now. The fruit is hand-picked, destemmed, and crushed into 5-ton closed fermenters with 15% whole clusters and macerated for 22 days. Post ferment, it spent 16 months in 225L neutral French barrels and a neutral oak tank before heading to bottle in spring.Prices: BC 30.34 Producer: Bartier Bros.
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22 April 2022

Maverick Estate Winery Bush Vine Syrahtext
92PTS

Maverick Estate Winery Bush Vine Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis syrah won a platinum medal at the 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada and it easily lives up to the hype. The fruit is pure and vibrant, with a balanced ripeness that clocks in at just 13% abv. What really sets it apart is the expressive aromatics, with perfumed violets and savoury spices, nicely accented by integrated wood. It's the real deal, and impressively structured and suave, too. Sure, it's tempting to compare this to the Northern Rhône, but that could be selling it short. Okanagan syrah like this can stand on its own on any stage, and at a fraction of the price, too. Highly recommended.Prices: BC 29.95 Producer: Maverick Estate Winery
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Lomond Conebrush Vineyard Syrahtext
88PTS

Lomond Conebrush Vineyard Syrah 2018

Western Cape, South AfricaFrom the southernmost tip of Africa, at Cape Agulhas, this single vineyard syrah comes from sandy, gravelled clays 50-100m. Destemmed grapes spent 3 weeks on skins before going to 1st and 2nd French oak, where it remained for 18 months' rest. This opens with a puff of reduction before a smouldering blackberry, cassis, smoked stone on a compact, shorter palate. Tannins are gritty, but absorbed into the blocky fruit. Wishing for more expressiveness here.Prices: South Africa 26.00 Producer: Lomond Vineyards
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Mission Hill Reserve Syrahtext
90PTS

Mission Hill Reserve Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Mission Hill reserve wines are both a vineyard and cellar selection, and the fruit is a selection of the top 15 percent off its estate vineyards. Interestingly with time, 75 percent of the same vineyard blocks are used, ensuring consistency from vintage to vintage. 2019 is another fine effort, and for keen-eyed drinkers, you may note the label says syrah this year. I would conclude the style is tighter, drier, and more Rhone than Oz. Blueberries and pepper lead the rush along with a unique sleek texture throughout. At 13.5 percent alcohol, it has terrific balance: it doesn't attack you and supports the food. Well done. You can drink or hold.Prices: BC 35.00 AB 28.00 ON 27.00 QC 28.00 SK 27.00 Producer: Mission Hill Family Estate
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Langmeil Hangin' Snakes Shiraztext
90PTS

Langmeil Hangin' Snakes Shiraz 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThanks to a drier than average growing season and spring frosts, 2019 is the smallest vintage in twenty years. The harvest was quick and conducted under hot, dry conditions threatening excessive sugar levels. Warm and dry was the antidote to disease, so what fruit got to the winery was in immaculate condition and fully ripe. There is only two percent viognier in the mix, but it does what it is supposed to do: lift the shiraz off the floor and give the wine a kickstart. The nose is aromatic with plums and blueberries mixed with soft, sweet fruit and plenty of savoury notes. It is a wine for the barbecue — rich, round and drinkable; it is suited to pork or beef favourites. The alcohol stabilizes at 14.5 percent as the wine ages for ten months in seasoned American and French oak—a great wine for summer backyard parties.Prices: BC 34.99 AB 32.99 MB 34.99 Producer: Langmeil Winery
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21 April 2022

Gray Monk Rosétext
87PTS

Gray Monk Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGray Monk Rosé is an estate grown blend of cabernet franc, merlot, and rotberger, finished to a pale pink / copper colour. The nose presents with fragrant ripe watermelon and strawberry that spill onto the palate, where cranberry and watermelon fill in with off-dry red fruits. A light, effortless style you can serve on the patio all afternoon with tapas (including some with spice).Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Gray Monk Estate Winery
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Quails' Gate Rosétext
87PTS

Quails' Gate Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2021 Rosé is a mix of gamay and pinot noir with four hours of skin contact before being being pressed off and fermented separately in stainless steel. The style is fruity but dry, with intense watermelon and strawberry, butter, guava, and a touch of desert scrub. An easy sipping pink perfect for vegetarian pizzas, melon and prosciutto, or even a spinach and strawberry salad.Prices: BC 19.99 NB 19.29 ON 19.95 Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Rosé 2021

South East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe rosé is 100% pinot noir sourced from East and West Kelowna, and all the grapes are hand-harvested by the vineyard team, selecting the large cluster, high acid fruit. The grapes are destemmed and the juice and skins cold-soaked for 48 hours before heading to fermentation and dryness. The nose is expressive with intense wild strawberry, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. The palate is similar with crunchy acidity. A crisper edition that makes it more food friendly.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Spearhead Winery
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Saint Sidoine Rosétext
88PTS

Saint Sidoine Rosé 2020

Côtes de Provence, Provence, Sud de France, FranceFounded in 1923, the co-op Cellier Saint Sidoine now covers 700 hectares from around 180 members. This blends 55% Grenache, 21% cinsault, 14% carignan, and 21% cinsault, all in stainless, to preserve the fresh purity. This very pale pink is dry and lively, with wild strawberry, wild cherry on a silky sleek frame. Clean and bright, for popping this summer.Prices: BC 21.00 Producer: Cellier Saint Sidoine
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Chain Reaction True Colours Pinot Noir Rosétext
89PTS

Chain Reaction True Colours Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

British Columbia, CanadaChain Reaction is a relatively new virtual winery based on the Naramata Bench, owned by Joel and Linda Chamaschuk and named for their love of cycling. Originally from the Lower Mainland, they've enjoyed BC wine since 1991 and finally decided to become part of the industry, purchasing an orchard on the Bench and planting their first vineyard in 2019. Well-known winemaker Dwight Sick oversees the wines made at nearby Moraine Winery. This destemmed pinot noir had 3 hours of skin contact, imparting the deep peach hue. After two days of chilling and settling, the fermentation was started in stainless, where it continued for a month. It remained there on lees for a short time until bottling. Juicy and lively, with wild strawberries, wild raspberries imbued with ample stony spice, dried sage, and flake salts across a silken palate. Friendly, charming, and smart, this is an excellent choice to crack into this summer.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Chain Reaction Winery
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Modest Wines The Eye of the Partridge Pinot Noir Rosétext
91PTS

Modest Wines The Eye of the Partridge Pinot Noir Rosé 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaModest Wines is a fairly new stand alone line from the folks at Mt Boucherie, spearheaded by GM Jesse Harnden (ex of Hatch Wines), and originally intended to be consumed in their on-site Modest Butcher Restaurant. Oeil-de-Perdrix is French for 'eye of the partridge', a colour supposedly similar to the eyes of that game bird, and oft used to categorize wine hues. This pinot noir rosé is sourced from Similkameen's Lazy River Vineyard, and was soaked on skins for just 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 24 seconds. The pale hued rosé streaks across the palate, with wild strawberries, tangerine, cherry imbued with ample salinity and even more verve. Impressive rosé.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyardtext
90PTS

Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé Secrest Mountain Vineyard 2020

Summerland, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom their estate Secrest Mountain vineyard and its special limestone-laced soils, this blush-hued gamay rosé was native fermented and aged in concrete, imparting that alluring textural complexity the winery is known for. Wild strawberries, Rainier cherries run the juicy, streamlined palate, seasoned with sagebrush and a cool, stony, saline minerality, and finishing with a tea leaf and orange rind note. Pure, clean, and quite moreish, and one you'll want to return to often this summer. #GoGamayGo.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Gidda Family Estate One Block Rosétext
87PTS

Gidda Family Estate One Block Rosé 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Gidda family planted its first vineyard in West Kelowna in 1978. The winemaking in this single block series is guided by Daniel Bontorin, and done in a low intervention style. The nose is a quiet affair of red fruits, while on the palate, it presents dry and fresh with delicate raspberry, lime, and rhubarb with a twist of bitters. It needs a touch of fat to set itself off. The winery is spot on recommending a watermelon and feta salad, baked brie and glazed ham, or turkey burgers with guacamole.Prices: BC 37.00 Producer: Volcanic Hills Winery
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Tantalus Rosétext
90PTS

Tantalus Rosé 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFresh, juicy, lively style with a touch more colour than pale, this is an impressive style of rosé that you want to drink with food. The attack is bright and vibrant with a savoury blood orange undertone supporting citrus peel and wild berries, with a saline, stony mineral undertone. A wonderful balance of fruitiness and savoury flavours makes this wine a delight any time of the week. The blend is a 65/35 mix of pinot noir and pinot meunier. Seriously good.Prices: BC 23.48 Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Adega de Penalva Indigena Rosétext
86PTS

Adega de Penalva Indigena Rosé 2021

Dão, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom the Adega Penalva co-op in the Dão, and its 950 members with 1200 hectares of vineyards, this juicy, peach-hued rosé blends touriga nacional and tinta roriz. Red apple, peach, strawberry rule the off-dry and round palate, thankfully tightened with the region's granitic grip. Chill well and crack now.Prices: BC 14.95 Producer: Adega de Penalva
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Modest Wines The Eye of the Partridge Pinot Noir Rosétext
90PTS

Modest Wines The Eye of the Partridge Pinot Noir Rosé 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOeil de Perdrix, or the eye of the partridge, is an old French expression used to describe pale pink rosé champagnes. In this case, it aptly describes the Mt. Boucherie Rosé. In fact, this Cawston rosé has all the spare manner of a stony, dusty Similkameen pink, with notes of strawberries. It is much drier this year, making it readily suited to food. At the Modest Butcher Restaurant, this wine is widely, or should I say modestly, applied to local charcuterie plates.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Solis Lumen Rosétext
88PTS

Solis Lumen Rosé 2021

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceSolis Lumen Rosé is an organic project from Domaine Montrose, using grenache and cinsault from contract vinegrowers, packaged in lightweight glass and recyclable cans. Pouring a pale pink hue, this slight pink carries wild strawberries, raspberries along a light, dry, lees-licked palate, with ample orange rind and citrus blossoms. Such a pretty, charming pink, ready for cracking now.Prices: ON 7.00 250 Producer: Domaine Montrose
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Domaine Montrose Rosé Mon Rosétext
88PTS

Domaine Montrose Rosé Mon Rosé 2021

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceThis elegant, pale rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah from Languedoc's calcareous clay, volcanic gravels. Pouring the palest pink hue, this silken wine fills the mouth with candied strawberries, red apple, orange gummies, and wild raspberries, finishing with a raspy grip on the finish. A friendly, smart rosé ready for cracking this summer.Prices: ON 20.00 Producer: Domaine Montrose
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La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosétext
88PTS

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2020

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesMonterey's windy, cool climate has fingerprints all over this picture perfect pink. The nose offers subtle aromatics of strawberries and watermelon. The fruit remains cool and muted on the palate with pink grapefruit and mandarin that persist lightly through the finish. Serve chilled with young goat cheese, smoked sausage, and a fruit compote. Bring on summer.Prices: BC 28.99 AB 28.00 ON 27.95 QC 30.00 Producer: La Crema
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Harper's Trail Rosétext
87PTS

Harper's Trail Rosé 2020

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaThis blend of this pale pink Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris comes from vineyards across BC. This sleek, dryish wine leads with a tight lime and green raspberry note, followed by ripe strawberry, watermelon, perfumed pink florals, and fine spice. Quite clinically clean, this shows best with a brisk chill and cracking this summer.Prices: BC 19.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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20 April 2022

Famille Chasselay Brouilly Les Balloquetstext
90PTS

Famille Chasselay Brouilly Les Balloquets 2019

Brouilly, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThe Chasselay family can trace their lineage in the village of Chatillon d'Azergues, in southern Bojo’s Pierres Dorees, back to 1418. The region, the land of the golden stones, is named for the local ochre-hued limestone, traditionally quarried for buildings. Fabien Chasselay, his sister Claire, and their father Jean-Gilles have farmed their 15 acres in the Pierres Dorees organically since 2000, with the average vine age of 55 years. This comes from a 0.69 ha plot named Les Balloquets, in d’Odenas’ shallow granite soils, and vines 45 years average age. This was native fermented and macerated for 2 weeks in concrete vats before 7 months’ rest in oak barrels. Fragrant raspberry, cherry, blueberry is seasoned with fine spices and scented with perfumed violets and iris. Tannins are long and finely sticky, framing this medium wine through a pink peppercorn finish. Drinking smartly now, ideally with a light chill. #GoGamayGo.Prices: ON 35.95 Producer: Famille Chasselay
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Henry Marionnet Renaissance Tourainetext
88PTS

Henry Marionnet Renaissance Touraine 2019

Touraine, Loire, FranceThe Marionnet family has owned the Domaine de la Charmoise since 1850, nestled in the village of Soings. Henry and his son Jean Sebastien make wines from organic, ungrafted vines, including one of the oldest vineyards in France: a 160 years old pre-phyloxera Romorantin plot. This gamay was planted in 1992 on clay soils, was whole bunch and native fermented in stainless, where it remained for one year, with no sulphur throughout. All of that makes for not your typical gamay, with dusky black plum, wild blackberry, thorns on a soft, downy palate. Tannins are slight and sticky, while acidity is lofted. This is a charming wine with a very slight chill, and charcuterie / sausage platter.Prices: BC 32.95 Producer: Henry Marionnet
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19 April 2022

Domaine de la Folie Rully Blanc Monopole Clos la Folietext
91PTS

Domaine de la Folie Rully Blanc Monopole Clos la Folie 2018

Rully, Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy, FranceFrom the north-east clay limestone Monopole vineyard of Domaine de la Folie, this comes from sustainably farmed 40-year-old vines, and was fermented and aged in steel. There's a lovely textural component to this wine, drawing tight wild lemon, straw, and amply stony minerality through the medium palate, kissed ever so slightly with an alluring quince blossom note. Very well knit now, and with time ahead, this is a striking example of Rully.Prices: England 27.00 Producer: Domaine de la Folie
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Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Bourgogne Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019

Burgundy, FranceThis family has been cultivating vines for more than 8 generations, since approximately 1620. Today they cultivate 30 hectares of vines across 35 appellations. This chardonnay comes off 25 year old vines, rooted in calcareous clays. It was fermented and aged in stainless. This opens with a swing of reduction imbuing a flinty saltiness to this medium bodied white. Lemon peel, pith, green apple, is woven with ample salinity, running over a bed of sea stones to a shorter finish. This holds its 14% very well, and is drinking smartly now.Prices: Producer: Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret
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Jules Desjourneys Mâcon-Prissé En Chaillouxtext
91PTS

Jules Desjourneys Mâcon-Prissé En Chailloux 2017

Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. From a gently sloping site, with slightly gravelly clay loam soil, this was native fermented and spent time in tank. Interesting flick of reduction on this, sharpening a pure core of green apple, lemon blossom, and rock salts. Great length across a lingering, buzzy finish.Prices: ON 47.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Jules Desjourneys Mâcon-Verzétext
89PTS

Jules Desjourneys Mâcon-Verzé 2017

Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. This comes from the top of a very chalky, gently west-facing slope outside of Verzé. Ripe and creamy, with red and yellow apple, honeydew, rich cream, creamed corn, lit with vibrant lemon zestiness. The medium+ palate finishes with broken stones and a lemon twist.Prices: ON 47.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Longeaystext
92PTS

Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Vinzelles Les Longeays 2017

Pouilly-Vinzelles, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. This comes from an east facing vineyard on clay limestone, and a small portion spends time in oak. Bright and nimble, with lemon pith, lemon peel tightening a lightly creamy / silken palate, framed with toasted wood, and finishing with a twist of lemon pith and a swath of reduction. Quite striking.Prices: ON 70.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes de la Côtetext
93PTS

Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes de la Côte 2017

Pouilly-Fuissé, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. This is a cuvée that includes fruit from all of the south-facing slopes they work in Fuissé. Such a wine. Precise, powerful, with an ample flick of reduction, this streams along a purposeful palate, with green apple, lemon pith and lemon peel, fresh hazelnut, light pastry, through a lingering vibrato saline finish. Quite structural and straight, this is drinking beautifully now, with time ahead.Prices: ON 95.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes Blanchestext
94PTS

Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé Vignes Blanches 2017

Pouilly-Fuissé, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. Les Vignes Blanches is a steeply-sloping vineyard facing southeast in the heart of Fuissé. It was native fermented and vinified 80% in tanks and 20% in new barrels, before aging in barrels. Such a profound wine, with deep chalk imbuing lemon peel, green apple, and flake salt. Structural, full bodied, powerful, but still with a lightness of being that is strung taut and vibrating along the saline finish. Tasting beautifully now, and with time ahead.Prices: ON 95.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissétext
92PTS

Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Fuissé 2017

Pouilly-Fuissé, Mâconnais, Burgundy, FranceFabien Duperray is a well known wine agent name, representing some of the finest Bourgogne estates, including DRC, Arnaud Ente, and Coche-Dury among others. However, he wanted to try his hand at making amazing wine, not just selling it. In 2007 he purchased gnarly old Gamay vineyards in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent (some 140+ years old), and he added some Chardonnay parcels from select Côte Macconais sites in 2014, which he shares with Christophe Thibert. Farming is biodynamic, everything is done by hand (tractor-free), and yields are low. The name of the winery pays homage to Jules Chauvet, the winemaker, scientist, and Beaujolais native who is often credited for launching the natural wine movement. This Pouilly-Fuissé comes from a mix of schist soils, and calcareous-clays, was native fermented and aged partially in older wood. This is vibrance, with tight, nimble, driving salinity streaming the length of this mineral driven wine. there's a buzzy textural component running the length of the bottom, and stretching this very long and taut on the palate. Impressive.Prices: ON 77.00 Producer: Jules Desjourneys
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18 April 2022

Bosman Family Vineyards Optenhorst Chenin Blanctext
89PTS

Bosman Family Vineyards Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2019

Wellington, Paarl, Coastal Region, South AfricaThe Optenhurst vineyard in Wellington is the third oldest block of Chenin Blanc in South Africa, planted in 1952. The Bosman family are inherently pioneering, with the first generation of the Bosman family settled on the farm in 1798. Pouring a deeper lemon hue, this was whole bunch pressed, and native barrel fermented and matured in French 228 litre casks. It then rested for 6 months in a mix of concrete and oak with bâtonnage. Creamy and plumped, with evident wood seasoning the expansive palate of white peach, ripe nectarine, baked red apple. If you are looking fora well handled richer style, look here. Production is a mere 266 casesPrices: England 22.00 Producer: Bosman Family Vineyards
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Wolf & Woman Chenin Blanctext
92PTS

Wolf & Woman Chenin Blanc 2020

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis chenin comes off old dryland bush vines in Swartland's iron rich (Malmesbury) and decomposed granite soils (Paardeberg). This was native fermented and matured in old French oak for 10 months. This fills the palate with chenin's characteristic waxiness, making a bed for flax, wild lemon, and broken stones. The old vines and old wood provide an alluring texture to the medium body, which stretches long into a dusting of salts. Quite profound, especially considering this is a debut effort from winemaker Jolandie Fouché. Only 1300 bottles produced.Prices: England 18.00 Producer: Wolf & Woman
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Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanctext
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Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanc 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaModest Wines is a sister project to Mt. Boucherie, designed to be a tiny project to pair with the food from their on-site Honest Butcher restaurant. The creativity started flowing, however, and Modest Wines now sources fruit from a few different vineyards in the Okanagan, including their estate, to make more edgy, adventuresome wines. New to the portfolio, this chenin (used to be known as steen in South Africa) comes off an East Kelowna vineyard, planted 1997. This was cool fermented in stainless, and aged in older acacia puncheons for 3 months. The wood gives a fragrant and exotic nuttiness to the ripe fruit, mixing sweet honeysuckle, fragrant orange blossoms, jasmine, on a creamy, off-dry palate, finishing with a grapefruit twist. A more tropical and lush take on the grape than we typically see for BC.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanctext
88PTS

Modest Wines Steen Down So Long Chenin Blanc 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Modest Wines project is a Mt. Boucherie production conceived to make something different to be served on-site at the Modest Butcher restaurant. Each of the wines irreverently builds off a classic wine world style or label, in this case, the steen or chenin blanc wines of South Africa. Chenin blanc has a growing following in the Okanagan, and this release is an excellent example of why it is attracting so much attention. The fruit is from a 25-year-old-vineyard in East Kelowna. The style is uber cool and fresh, with a fragrant nose mixing exotic pineapple, citrus, and almonds. It is barely off-dry and creamy, with a bitter grapefruit squeeze in the finish. Best with a seafood or vegetable pasta dish.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanctext
90PTS

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaNamed for Bellingham's founder, Bernard Podlashuk, this chenin comes from 4 Coastal Region vineyards and bush vines between 35 and 47 years. It was native fermented in a mix of 32% new French oak, 30% second fill barrels, 30% foudre, and 8% in amphora. From the excellent 2019 vintage, this is still showing some youthful tightness, with green hedgerow and tight herbal lemon leading a medium palate of verbena, flake salts, scrubby fynbos, finishing with potent salinity and propped by firm wood. Compared to past years, this is surprisingly streamline, but will soon relax into its characteristically powerful self.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Bellingham - DGB
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Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanctext
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Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2020

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaTasted 18 months along, and the 2020 Kloof Street Chenin is showing the grape's prowress (not to mention the exemplary winemaker's, Andrea Mullineux). Kloof Street is a second label from Mullineux Wines, a champion old vine winery in the Swartland, guided by wife and husband Andrea (winemaker) and Chris Mullineux. This comes from 3 sustainably farmed parcels of chenin: 38 year old vines planted in the stony shale and schist based soils of Kasteelberg; and two parcels of 40+ year-old dry land, bush vine Chenin grown in the decomposed granite soils of the Paardeberg. This was whole bunch, native fermented over 6 weeks in a mix of stainless and 15% older French barrels, and bottled after 7 months or so, with no additions or deletions throughout. The youthful chenin has settled into its frame now, with more honeyed pear, subtle quince, yellow apple leading green apple and lemon peel on the slender 13% frame, now padded out some with adolescence. Chenin's characteristic acidity still nimbly pulls this through the lingering stony finish. One for enjoying now, ideally with sablefish or spring veg risotto.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Mullineux Wines
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Château du Hureau Argiletext
91PTS

Château du Hureau Argile 2020

Saumur, Loire, FranceThe Vatan family has been making wine in the Loire for more than 300 years, with fifth generation Philippe and his daughter Agathe Vatan currently in charge of their 17 hectares. This organic / biodynamically farmed chenin comes from vines 30+ years from 4 plots in deep clay and limestone. It was native fermented, and aged in a mix of vat and barrel for up to 1 year. Youthful and bright, with green apple, lemon, broken stone, white honey and a thin layer of lees, taut on the shining palate. There's a palpable fine energy here, ready for enjoying copiously now, and over the next few years.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Château du Hureau
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15 April 2022

Haywire Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Haywire Pinot Noir 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 Pinot Noir comes from four Okanagan sites (Kelowna, Naramata, Summerland, and Oliver), with 30% whole clusters, and a native ferment in concrete tank and large format neutral oak. Post basket pressing, the wine rested for 10 months prior to bottling, without fining or filtration. Juicy and ripe with morello cherry, raspberry, rhubarb, dried thyme, lit with a cranberry acidity, and framed with fine, sticky tannins. The concrete gives a pleasant texture to the palate, finishing with a dusting of savoury spice. A complete, friendly and smart pinot for cracking now.Prices: BC 27.91 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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14 April 2022

J. M. Sohler Les Terrasses Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

J. M. Sohler Les Terrasses Pinot Noir 2018

Alsace, FranceSourced from a 30 year old granitic soiled, terraced pinot noir vineyard in Blienschwiller, in the Bas-Rhin, this pinot noir was fermented and aged in very old (75+ years), very large wood. Finessed and elegant, with wild morello cherry, wild raspberry layered with salty stoniness, and licked with kirsch. Tannins are long and fine, housing this to the lingering saline finish. So pure and effortless, this is a treat to find.Prices: ON 29.00 Producer: J. M. Sohler
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Terranoble Reserva Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Terranoble Reserva Pinot Noir 2021

Valle de Casablanca, Region de Aconcagua, ChileTerraNoble is over a quarter-century old, with 300 hectares of vineyards scattered across Casablanca, Colchagua, and Maule. The Reserva Pinot is hand-harvested and goes through a three to four-week maceration on the skins before the fermentation. In addition, 40 percent of the blend is aged in used French oak barrels to add texture. Look for a tart, but round, red cherry fruited pinot with a vibrant, fresh, simple character, perfect for grilled salmon sandwiches or mushroom soup. Good value.Prices: BC 18.99 Producer: Santa Camila
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La Crema Monterey Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2019

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesLa Crema remains a steady performer, which is no mean task given its substantial output. However, in 2019 it came in with a little more texture and fruit and a little less rhubarb and roots. The alcohol remains a mild 13.5 percent, and it is aged in French oak barrels, about 20 percent new, for eight and half months. The attack is savoury with juicy red plum and dried cranberry with an earthy, spicy underside flecked with minerals. Monterey is a cool, windswept region with spare soils, and its wild nature is never far from the wine. Salmon steaks, anyone?Prices: BC 36.99 AB 29.00 ON 31.00 Producer: La Crema
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Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
93PTS

Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaGiant Steps is on a roll portraying the ultimate potential of single-vineyard sites in the Yarra. Earthy cherries, dark plums and a swath of forest floor and licorice combine to take this sweet pinot to the next level. Impeccable balance suggests you could drink it tonight, but you could wait five years and be assured it would be even better. A mix of clones, some destemmed, some whole-bunch-pressed, hand-picked and chilled overnight and cold-soaked for five days before an indigenous fermentation in small oak fermenters. All is matured in French oak (25% new, 75% older) for eight months in 225L barriques before blending with no fining and no filtration before bottling by gravity.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: Giant Steps Wine
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Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Primavera Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
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Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Primavera Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaAs intense as this wine is, it remains the most refined and delicate version of pinot noir from Giant Steps. Expect an exuberant cherry nose and palate with juicy airy pinot fruit full of spice and floral notes. It seems like it melts in your mouth until it persists for minutes on the palate. Showy, complex and brooding, it has it all. Cellar for five to seven years for maximum benefit. Every block purchased from the 12-hectare Primavera Vineyard, planted in 2001, made it into the 2020 blend. High praise for the 230 metres high Yarra Valley site that sits over red volcanic soil. Only two clones, the MV6 fermented as 100% whole bunch and the G clone destemmed and cold-soaked five days, were wild ferment. The up and down season produced a small crop of intense fruit processed in small oak fermenters and matured in 225-litre French oak barriques (25 percent new), while the remainder was all used wood. All the barrels are racked to blend with no fining, no filtration and bottled by gravity.Prices: BC 59.99 Producer: Giant Steps Wine
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Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
94PTS

Giant Steps Single Vineyard Wines Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Yarra Valley, Victoria, AustraliaI love this all-in lightly red coloured pinot noir with firm, spicy, savoury fruit. The flavours are a mix of ripe red berries, white pepper, with firm underlying earthy notes and medium fine tannins. There is a lovely balance, meaning you could drink it now or wait seven to ten more years. Impressive, to say the least. The 12.5 hectare Applejack Vineyard, planted in 1997, resides at 300 meters in the upper Yarra Valley. It is a dramatic slope with high-density plantings on underlying basalt-based volcanic soil and rock. This pinot is a mix of five clones that made their way through an up and down 2020 vintage that began with a frigid winter, a cool, wet spring, a dry and warm December a mild February/March. Low yields resulted in tighter, smaller bunches, the consequence of which is naturally high acidity and fresh flavours. The fruit is handpicked and chilled overnight to 12 degrees Celsius, and the indigenous yeast fermentation occurs in small oak fermenters and stainless steel open vats. All the blocks or parcels are matured in 225-litre French oak barriques that are 25 percent new, while the remainder is all used wood. It is finally racked to blend with no fining, no filtration and bottled by gravity.Prices: BC 55.99 Producer: Giant Steps Wine
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De Loach Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

De Loach Pinot Noir 2018

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesBoisset has shaped the style of this wine toward a less-is-more pinot noir statement, enhancing its Sonoma black cherry, wild strawberry, with rhubarb, compost smoke, and spice. Well managed oak with just enough savoury notes to keep it interesting, this is ready to drink. A fine foil for lamb chops or roast chicken.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 39.99 Producer: De Loach Vineyards
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13 April 2022

Rust Wine Co Lost Horn Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co Lost Horn Vineyard Syrah 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis purple waxed syrah takes us to Okanagan Falls, and Rust's new plantings of ungrafted clone 877. It's juicy and expressive, with the forward fruit that’s not uncommon for young vines, showing spiced blackberry and black raspberry along with sage and a delicate touch of oak. Of the four 2019 syrahs from Rust, this is the most structured and muscular, and the one that still needs a few years in bottle to flesh out. One gets the sense the best is yet to come, not just for this wine, but for the vineyard, too. It's an exciting start for Lost Horn Vineyard all the same.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Ryan de Witte takes us on an exploration of Okanagan and Similkameen syrah with the 2019 vintage. The yellow wax leads us to the sandy soils of Ferreira Vineyard on the northern tip of the Black Sage Bench. Here, clone 877 vines were planted in 2002 and bask in the afternoon sun. You certainly feel that warmth, with lush, high-toned dark fruits. There's no shortage of ripeness, but the fruit still maintains its freshness, with a complement of white pepper and integrated oak spices. It's a true-to-form expression of Black Sage Bench syrah that's already drinking beautifully on release thanks to carefully managed fine tannins. Unfined and unfiltered.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe blue wax takes you to the river. Located ten kilometres north of the US border in South Cawston, Lazy River Vineyard is nestled on the stony slopes that typify the Similkameen Valley. From ungrafted vines planted in 2002, this shows juicy brambles and dark plum backed by more obvious oak, even though the level of new wood is about the same across all four of the 2019 syrahs. It's also the most savoury of the four, with real elegance and purity to the fruit. Well proportioned and balanced, this has the fruit intensity to seamlessly carry the structure and enjoy now.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrah 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the real deal and seems to be the unanimous favourite at GOW of the four 2019 syrahs released by winemaker Ryan de Witte. The orange wax evokes the early morning sunrise that you see from the Golden Mile Bench. The wine comes from South Rock Vineyard, at its southern edge, on gravelly clay and eroded mountain rock. It's complex and perfumed, with ripe, macerated dark fruits that are joined by a burst of violets, thyme, pepper, and a judicious touch of oak that works nicely with the fruit. Juicy, fine grained, and elegant, this is a seamless, complete wine that shows Okanagan syrah at its best.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co Lost Horn Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co Lost Horn Vineyard Syrah 2019

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPurple wax seals the Rust Okanagan Falls Lost Horn Vineyard Syrah, one of four single vineyard releases in 2018, and the first from OK Falls. It is made with barely planted (2016) ungrafted clone 877 growing over clay loam soils. Post ferment, it spends ten months in 20 percent new French oak. OK Falls is pinot country and decidedly cooler than the south Okanagan, so as rich as this syrah is, it remains more peppery and savoury with underlying blackberry, black plum, and blueberry with a hit of brown spice. Fresh (at 400 metres) and a bit skinny, this wine is pretty much what you might expect from younger vines. Serve now with savoury meats or age three to five more years in the cellar.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co. Ferreira Vineyard Syrah 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFerreira Vineyard sits at the very northern edge of the Black Sage Bench in northeast Oliver. The soils are a mix of volcanic, granitic sands that give the wine a specific lift in acidity. The vines, clone 877, are now 17 years old. You don't feel much of an effect from its ten months rest in French oak, although only 20% was new. The attack is fresh, and the wine is light on its feet for a syrah with black plum and pepper more than anything else. The tannins are well managed, and the finish is a spicy affair. Definitely more northern Rhone, and very food friendly.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co. South Rock Vineyard Syrah 2019

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Rust Syrah (orange waxed capsule) comes off South Rock Vineyard at the southern end of the Golden Mile Bench. The site is home to some of the oldest vines in BC, and the syrah is perhaps the most fragrant and enticing of the four labels. The fruit is aromatic and bright with solid and floral undertones and rich plum over black and blue fruit flavours. It is a big red but balanced, before silky, peppery textures fill in the finish thanks to well-managed tannins. It is aged 16 months in American and French oak, of which some 42 percent is new. Hefty and elegant is a good combination.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrahtext
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Rust Wine Co Lazy River Vineyard Syrah 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlue means the Similkameen when tasting the waxed dipped syrah put out by Rust Wine Co., one of four single-vineyard syrahs in 2018 and now 2019. The fruit comes off Lazy River Vineyard, whose sandy clay loams flecked with limestone and decomposed granite seems accomodating to syrah. At 17 years of age, the vines are just beginning to hit their stride in this wild and windy place. Look for cool, peppery fruit that mixes cassis with rich black plums and a natural dusting of savoury desert brush. The finish is sweet and balsamic spicy. The tannins are already disappearing quickly. Lamb chops and a plate of grilled vegetables would be a good match.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Rust Wine Co.
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12 April 2022

Koerner Pigatotext
91PTS

Koerner Pigato 2021

Clare Valley, South Australia, AustraliaFrom Watervale's Gullyview Vineyard, and its terra rossa soils, this 2007-planted vermentino will have you thinking it's the most proper iced tea you've ever drunk. And that's a great thing. It was destemmed with 50% whole berry for a native ferment in open top steel, and with twice daily pigeage over its 20 days on skins. The free run and pressings were combined before resting in steel for 7 months. It was bottled without fining or filtration. Pouring a hazy light peach hue, this textural, slight (10.8%) dry wine draws honeysuckle, tangerine peel, clementine along the crunchy palate, with finely stencilled tannins pinning in the sides. Fantastic freshness and purity, this is a very well-handled orange.Prices: BC 50.00 Producer: Koerner Wine
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Terra de Asorei Nai E Señora Albariñotext
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Terra de Asorei Nai E Señora Albariño 2021

Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Galicia, SpainNai E Señora is a tribute to Galician women, as imaged by the floral silhouette gracing the front label. Nai translates to mother, in Galician. From Val do Salinés' clay and pink granite, this albariño spent 30 days macerating in stainless before ferment and a brief stint on lees. Fragrant peach blossoms open to a bright, creamy, plump palate of white peach, apricot, yellow apple, and stony spice. The granitic grip keeps this fresh, and this friendly, open wine is ready for drinking now.Prices: ON 19.00 Producer: Terra de Asorei
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Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Blanctext
90PTS

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Blanc 2021

Chinon, Touraine, Loire, FranceOnly 2% of Chinon is planted to white, so when you find a Chinon Blanc, you know you're in for a special chenin blanc experience. This organically farmed chenin comes mostly from Ligre's chalky, limestone clay soils, and was native cool fermented in stainless, to preserve the bright, fresh, very special character of chenin on limestone. White florals, blossom honey, Bosc pear, quince, and green apple glide over a lightly waxed base of stones and gently expansive palate, finishing with that characteristic limestone shimmer.Prices: ON 25.00 Producer: Jean-Maurice Raffault
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Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio Taburnotext
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Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio Taburno 2020

Campania, ItalyThis falanghina comes off the limey marl soils of Sannio, in Campania, at 350m. It was raised in stainless, to preserve the fresh fruit. There's such a wild scrubby rosemary note that runs thoughout this wine, with ample concentration and fresh acidity to match. Acacia blossoms, bosc pear, quince, honeysuckle, white grapefruit, meyer lemon merge seamlessly on the medium palate, lingering with stony spice. Very smart.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Fontanavecchia
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegantext
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Summerhill Pyramid Winery Summerhill Vineyard Grüner Veltliner Organic Vegan 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYou don't see a lot of grüner veltliner, although it seems like a grape that could do well here in the right spot. At Summerhill, it is far enough north, yet this wine has been and remains deeper in colour and richer in texture than what you might expect. The nose is fragrant with some brown spice undertones, but the attack is herbal with citrus, orange, baked pear, and quince running through the palate. More exotic than precise and off-dry, which in itself will generate fans. It is a bit of northern Italy in the arneis or vermentino mould, and definitely would work well with spicy menu items.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Summerhill Pyramid Winery
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Hester Creek Old Vines Block 16 Trebbianotext
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Hester Creek Old Vines Block 16 Trebbiano 2021

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 16 Trebbiano has roots that date back to 1968. Over the years, it has transformed itself from a soft, slightly sweet white under cork to one of Canada's white wine wonders under screwcap. It is destemmed and fermented cool in stainless steel before ageing in the tank for three months. In 2021 it remains fresh, with delicate floral styling apeing northern Italy. The palate is awash in green apples, sweet melon, tangerine, and sharper nectarine. What smells sweet is dry and clean through the finish. Prawns on the barbie make a pleasing appetizer. This is a special wine with no real competition.Prices: BC 23.99 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Passato Roero Arneistext
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Passato Roero Arneis 2020

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyPassato Roero Arneis is a delicious bottle of white offering up a mix of flavours that you seldom encounter. The wine is entirely arneis, a grape well-known in Piedmont as Barolo Bianco. It is DOCG in Roero and DOC in Langhe. Straw yellow is a typical colour coming off a 36 hour cold soak and 15 day ferment in stainless. After that, it gets another six month rest on its lees before it is bottled. The attack is understated with only medium acidity, but the complexity is high, and the rush of ripe pears and citrus-soaked sweet almonds entice. Pick a quality seafood dish, or atypical for the region, spaghetti aglio e olio for the match.Prices: BC 26.00 Producer: Bosio Family Estate
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Gehringer Brothers Old Vines Auxerroistext
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Gehringer Brothers Old Vines Auxerrois 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom 35+ year old estate vines on the Golden Mile Bench, this just off-dry (11 g/L) aromatic wine glides along the palate with apple blossoms, white peach, and kisses of lime, to a softer finish. Classic and consistent, as is the producer, this is a lovely subtle white for brunch or salads.Prices: BC 14.99 AB 19.99 Producer: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery
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Frind Estate Winery Viogniertext
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Frind Estate Winery Viognier 2020

British Columbia, CanadaWith fruit from the Okanagan and Similkameen, this is a smart, sleekly spiced, dryish viognier, with ripe peach, pear blossoms, apricot fuzz ruling the medium body, all wrapped up in ginger spicing. There's a little flush of heat on the finish, reflective of the 14%, but nothing that a papaya salad couldn't tame.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Bonnets Blancstext
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Bonnets Blancs 2020

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine Bonnet-Huteau, nestled in La Chapelle-Heulin, in the heart of Muscadet’s Sèvre et Maine appellation, has been producing Muscadet for over 150 years. Today it is run by the Bonnet brothers, Jean-Jacques and Rémi. This 42 hectare vineyard has been certified organic since 2005, and uses biodynamic philosophies. This youthful, fresh Muscadet is off 15-30 year old vines from La Tarcière’s limestone over gneiss. Light and sprightly, this skips across the palate with light lemon, crunchy pear, cool stones across a slight slick of lees. A bright and friendly Muscadet for enjoying now.Prices: ON 20.95 Producer: Bonnet Huteau
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Gautronnièrestext
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Bonnet Huteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Les Gautronnières 2020

Muscadet, Pays Nantais, Loire, FranceDomaine Bonnet-Huteau, nestled in La Chapelle-Heulin, in the heart of Muscadet’s Sèvre et Maine appellation, has been producing Muscadet for over 150 years. Today it is run by the Bonnet brothers, Jean-Jacques and Rémi. This 42 hectare vineyard has been certified organic since 2005, and biodynamic since 2010. They’ve divided their Melon de Bourgogne into parcels to highlight the nuances and subtlety of their individual terroirs, and their focus is on producing pure, fresh, Muscadet. From 20-30 year old vines and profoundly rocky clays and amphibolite fossil-rich volcanic soils, Les Gautronnières was native fermented in stainless, with full MLF and 9 months on lees. Mineral-driven, with a pure core of lemon, river stone, and green apple cloaked by a fine layer of lees, and brightened with white grapefruit peel. This meets halfway between tense and friendly, yielding a wine both geeks and novices will be charmed by. Take this slight white liberally now, with oysters, as intended.Prices: ON 24.95 Producer: Bonnet Huteau
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Pazo das Bruxas Albarinotext
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Pazo das Bruxas Albarino 2019

Rueda, Castilla-Leon, SpainThe Pazo das Bruxas albariño opens with a medium yellow colour and a symphony of aromas led by a mix of lemon-lime, green apple, and lemongrass. More of the fresh fruit is on the palate, balanced by a bitter underscore and a racy mineral finish. It is an intense version of albariño. The Pazo das Bruxas stands for the folklore and nature of Galicia. A long time ago, Galician witches who lived in old country houses (Pazos) connected with nature through their dances and spells, hoping to influence the harvest for good. It is another European white that should hold your interest throughout a Westcoast seafood dinner. The albariño come primarily from the cool, humid O Rosal subzone of Rias Baixas, where the grapes grow on pergolas to get them into the wind where they can stay dry and rot-free. A stainless steel fermentation keeps the fruit fresh.Prices: BC 34.99 Producer: Familia Torres
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11 April 2022

Badiola Las Parcelastext
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Badiola Las Parcelas 2019

Rioja, SpainThis Viura comes from vineyards 20-40 years old in Rioja Alavesa's Leza, Samaniego, and Laguardia. A third of the wine is fermented in near new French barrels. Bright pear, perfumed melon, quince rule the silken, medium bodied palate, with the wood imparting only texture and depth.Prices: 91 0.00 Producer: Bodega Badiola
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Badiola Las Parcelastext
90PTS

Badiola Las Parcelas 2018

Rioja, SpainThis Viura comes from vineyards 20-40 years old in Rioja Alavesa's Leza, Samaniego, and Laguardia. A third of the wine is fermented in near new French barrels. The wood imparts only texture and gentle spice to this medium bodied white, with white peach, pear, perfumed quince, lees wrapped around a creamy core. Really well handed, and quite fresh, this is a lovely wine for prawns or spring pea risotto.Prices: Producer: Bodega Badiola
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08 April 2022

Volcanic Hills Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Volcanic Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA deep yellow colour leads into a leesy, pineapple, vanilla nose that spills onto a flat palate, with some brown spices in the back end. Fully mature and ready to drink, if not past its prime. It will have some appeal to those who love the old-style California chardonnay of the past. Try this with a bowl of popcorn with some melted butter. The ageing mix is 87/13 French oak and stainless steel.Prices: BC 33.99 Producer: Volcanic Hills Winery
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Volcanic Hills Reserve Chardonnaytext
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Volcanic Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA skinnier version of the 2016, but strangely it shows advanced maturity. More oxidative, but as mentioned, with a skinnier attack, more citrus, and less butter, with ripe pineapple and vanilla in the finish. Again, this is fully mature and ready to drink but is just too old-fashioned for me. It is all barrel-fermented in new French oak. I suggest a less-is-more attack and let the fruit sing.Prices: BC 35.99 Producer: Volcanic Hills Winery
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Closson Chase The Brock Chardonnaytext
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Closson Chase The Brock Chardonnay 2019

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaClosson Chase is in Prince Edward County and has a charming winery to visit. The Brock Chardonnay comes off the K.J. Watson vineyard in the Niagara River sub-appellation. It's a 50/50 mix of stainless steel and older (neutral) oak-aged juice that walks the line between true northern Euro tightly wound chardonnay with a hint of New World style. The latter gives it some consumer appeal and a place among restaurant wines. There is plenty of citrus here, toast, pears and lime rind in the back end. Although the colour is darker than you might expect, the result is lean and tight. Ready to drink food-friendly chardonnay at an affordable price.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Closson Chase
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Closson Chase The Brock Chardonnaytext
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Closson Chase The Brock Chardonnay 2018

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaThe Brock label was developed for restaurants, explaining why half goes into old wood for a year while the remainder is kept in stainless steel. The attack is round with buttery undertones (50% through malolactic fermentation), but in the warm 2018, it has left the wine a touch soft. This Niagara chardonnay remains lively enough to carry its creamy texture, and frankly, it is very drinkable. It has that curb appeal that chardonnay drinkers love, and it's easy to approach under a screwcap. Inexpensive by BC standards.Prices: BC 25.00 Producer: Closson Chase
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Closson Chase Closson Chase Vineyard South Clos Chardonnaytext
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Closson Chase Closson Chase Vineyard South Clos Chardonnay 2019

Prince Edward County, Ontario, CanadaThe wine and the viticulture have evolved over the years at Closson Chase, and in 2019, a cool year that saw the fruit hang forever, it is quintessential PEI chardonnay. The nose is a flinty reductive affair with nutty leesy undertones before a super intense wall of peach, apricot, and salted lemons fade into a mineral, stony finish. Complex, long, and elegant, this is on the shortlist of serious Canadian chardonnay. Serve with authentic crabcakes, lobster rolls, cannelloni, Dungeness crab, and other richer foods.Prices: BC 40.00 Producer: Closson Chase
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Frind Estate Winery Chardonnaytext
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Frind Estate Winery Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaExpect a light, easy sipping, cool chardonnay with green apple and citrus that spills onto the palate. The attack continues with more green apple and crisp pear with a fresh citrus back end. A mid weight, northern chardonnay worthy of a margherita pizza or power bowl.Prices: BC 25.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Fort Berens White Gold Reservetext
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Fort Berens White Gold Reserve 2019

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis chardonnay comes off a single block on their estate Dry Creek Vineyard, in Lillooet. After whole cluster pressing, this was fermented in French barrels over two weeks, followed by a further 6 months there, with monthly bâtonnage. Ripe and creamy, with sweet baked pear, yellow apple, pineapple accentuated with ample toasty spice, and finishing with a vanillin note. This feels more weighted than its 13.5% would suggest, encouraging partnering with butter drawn clams or creamy pasta dishes.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens White Gold Reservetext
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Fort Berens White Gold Reserve 2019

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaWhite Gold is all Lillooet estate-grown chardonnay from a select Dry Creek Vineyard block finished at a modest 13.5 percent alcohol. It is aged six months in French oak barrels and one more year in the bottle. The style is fresh, with bright tropical fruit baked red apple, all flecked with toasted nuts — a modern California-style ready-to-drink.Prices: BC 29.99 Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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07 April 2022

Framingham Classic Rieslingtext
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Framingham Classic Riesling 2021

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandFrom Marlborough's Conders Bend subregion, and 20-40 year old vines rooted in the stony old river bed on silt and greywacke rocks, this was whole bunch pressed, primarily fermented in stainless, with 3% of the blend seeing skin contact and aging in acacia. All parts were aged on full ferment lees without S02 for 5 months prior to blending and bottling. As per the house style, this is a lip-smacking, streamlined riesling, with ample limey acidity offsetting the 20 g/L RS. Ripe white peach, ripe pear, yellow apple, talc is shaped with river stones and juicy lime pulp and peel, streaking along the palate to a pithy finish. Lovely concentration on the medium- palate, and easily likability welcoming glass after glass (ideally with fragrant Thai or Vietnamese).Prices: BC 35.00 Producer: Framingham
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Pewsey Vale Single Vineyard Estate Rieslingtext
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Pewsey Vale Single Vineyard Estate Riesling 2020

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaAt 540 metres, the contoured, windswept Pewsey Vale vineyard is a worthy icon site of Eden, and Australia, originally established in 1847 (!). 2019 was a very dry year, meaning this 2020 had low crops and high intensity. Done entirely in stainless to preserve the purity of fruit, this streams lime pith and peel, green apple, lemon verbena, across a taut palate. The sides are licked with a cool stony rasp, helping to carve this through the lingering subtle saline finish. Bone dry, and confident in its subtleties, this is a classic drinking very smartly now, and with ample time ahead.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Pewsey Vale
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block Rieslingtext
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Pioneer Block Riesling 2020

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaA just off-dry riesling opens with floral jasmine, and honeyed sagebrush. The attack is fresh and taut, with notes of apricots, green mango and more honey. Lively, bright, and ready to drink, it will accompany various menu items. I love the authentic mineral wild BC undertones that reflect the Thompson Valley GI.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block Rieslingtext
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Harper's Trail Thadd Springs Vineyard Silver Mane Block Riesling 2020

Kamloops, British Columbia, CanadaSilver Mane Block Riesling is an exciting effort out of the Thompson Valley. They describe the style as subtle and nuanced, not wrong. Don't overchill this wine either because it has a lot to offer on the palate. Look for limes, lemons, and yellow fruits dusted in minerality. It is an inviting electric style that is very food-friendly. The residual sugar at 10.86 grams per litre is barely noticeable at a pH of 2.82.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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06 April 2022

Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillontext
89PTS

Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillon 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe name alludes to the sauv-sém blends of Graves, which the team at Mt. Boucherie have "robbed" and made their own under the Modest Wines label. This is crisp and zesty, forgoing the wood you typically find in Graves for stainless steel. Sourced from the Naramata Bench (57 percent sauvignon blanc) and Okanagan Falls (43 percent sémillon), this leads with youthful, pure gooseberry and grapefruit, accented by fresh herbs and chalk. Mouth-watering, expressive, and perfect with oysters.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Tohu Sauvignon Blanctext
90PTS

Tohu Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandTohu is sourced entirely from vineyards located in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. The nose has a fantastic aromatic effect as soon as you approach the glass. Orange, lemongrass, and passionfruit are all in balance, reducing the usual aggressive nose that can plague many Kiwi sauvignons. The attack is equally well-balanced with more ripe, juicy, sweet mandarin, a dash of pink grapefruit, and a mineral, fresh citrus finish. The fruit is all machine-picked and fermented cool for 21 days. The Awatere Valley is cooler, drier, and windier overall than other sub-regions of Marlborough, leading to an even longer growing season and a ripeness few can claim.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Tohu Wines
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Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillontext
89PTS

Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillon 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaModest Wines is a sister project to Mt. Boucherie, designed to be a tiny project to pair with the food from their on-site Honest Butcher restaurant. The creativity started flowing, however, and Modest Wines now sources fruit from a few different vineyards in the Okanagan, including their estate, to make more edgy, adventuresome wines. La Graves Robber is a cheeky reference to Bordeaux's Graves region, and its reign over excellent sauvignon blanc / sémillon blends. This 'robs' that Bx idea with 57% Sauvignon Blanc from Naramata, and 43% Sémillon from Okanagan Falls. This year's was fermented and aged in stainless, giving a more Kiwi spin to this Bordeaux-meets-BC inspired blend. Indeed, ripe gooseberry, underripe passionfruit, Asian pear rule the crunchy palate, lined with lees and finishing with a pink grapefruit twist. A departure from their previous vintage's stylings, but one that will have many fans, no doubt.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Ata Rangi Te Wã Sauvignon Blanctext
92PTS

Ata Rangi Te Wã Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Martinborough, Wairarapa, North Island, New ZealandAta Rangi, meaning dawn sky, or new beginning, is the name that Clive Paton, his wife Phyll, and his sister Alison gave this small winery at the southern end of the North Island, in the town of Martinborough. When Clive planted his first vines on the stony sheep-dotted slopes of the region in 1980, he was one of a handful of early wine pioneers to the unproven region (today known as Wairarapa). Te Wã means time and place in Māori, speaking to the distinctive style off the stony, alluvial gravels and the cool climate of the Martinborough Terrace. This was partial whole bunch, partial destemmed fruit fermented on skins in large oak hatch barrels, and then the remaining portions pressed and fermented in oak barrels and small stainless-steel tanks. The result is a layered, complexed wine, with broken stones, lemongrass, wild lemon, green papaya running the long length of this sleek wine, with a light riff of texture keeping things interesting. The finish lingers with subtle wild mint and ginger. A classic, and one to seek out.Prices: BC 31.00 Producer: Ata Rangi Limited
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Villa Maria Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Villa Maria Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandTaylor's Pass Vineyard sits on the gravelled silts of the northern bank of the Awatere River, and this sauvignon blanc is from vines 12-17 years. It was fermented in steel, where it remained on lees to build complexity. Tight gooseberry, white asparagus, crunchy papaya, lime pith, and tangerine run a sleek palate, with herbal white grapefruit lingering on the stony finish. Well knit and complete, this sums up the spectacular wind-swept Awatere Valley well.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: Villa Maria Estate Ltd.
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Coralie et Damien Delecheneau Trinqu'âmestext
92PTS

Coralie et Damien Delecheneau Trinqu'âmes 2020

Touraine, Loire, FranceOn the bank of the Loire River, La Grange Tiphaine was created at the end of the 19th century by Alfonse Delecheneau, followed by three generations: Adrien, Jackie and as of 2004, Damien, along with his wife Coralie. Their biodynamically farmed 15 hectare estate is spread across Montlouis-sur-Loire, Touraine, and Touraine-Amboise. Trinqu'âmes is their negoce label, translating as "Let's toast to our souls", and made with organic fruit from neighbours. These vineyards are located between Amboise and Oisly, in sandy silex over clay. After a native ferment, this aged 6 months in cement tanks with no bâtonnage. Bright and juicy, this stony, sleek wine streams pear skin, mirabelle plum, mandarin, lemongrass along the slender palate, with a base of buzzy stoniness, and a brisk acidity to loft. The finish lingers with white grapefruit pith and ample salinity, enticing another glass. With delicacy and potency at once, this smart Touraine is drinking beautifully now.Prices: BC 30.00 Producer: La Grange Tiphaine
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Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillontext
89PTS

Modest Wines La Graves Robber Sauvignon Blanc / Sémillon 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe creative minds at Mt. Boucherie played with the great Graves blend of sauvignon and sémillon, labelling it the Grave Robber. But with no wood in sight, this wine is much fresher and crisper on the palate. The sauvignon/sémillon blend is a 57/43 Naramata/Okanagan Falls mix flexing gooseberry, lemongrass, and passionfruit with a citrus, herbal, grapefruit undercurrent.Prices: BC 28.00 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Sattlerhof Südsteiermark Sauvignon Blanctext
91PTS

Sattlerhof Südsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Südsteiermark, Steiermark (Styria), AustriaThe Sattler family has been growing wine in the village of Gamlitz since 1887, and they were one of the first in the region to bottle high quality dry white wines under their own name in the 1970s. Willi Sattler is the current family member in charge and has grown the estate to 35 hectares of biodynamically farmed vines in some of the region’s most famous vineyards. This comes from the steep quartz and limestone slopes of Südsteiermark. Green hedge, lemon verbena, white grapefruit rule the crunchy, streamlined palate, livened with salinity and lit with stony acidity. Fresh and youthful and full of verve, this juicy white makes for joyous drinking now.Prices: ON 24.00 Producer: Weingut Sattlerhof
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Domaine Vacheron Sancerretext
91PTS

Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2020

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceDomaine Vacheron Sancerre is a biodynamic sauvignon blanc grown on the 47-hectare family estate of calcareous, flint soils, now under the direction of the third generation. It is all picked by hand into small 20 kg boxes. The bunches are pressed and decanted cold before fermenting in stainless tanks. The nose is an intoxicating mix of white and yellow flowers. The palate is light and lively, with green fruit, mineral, chalky notes and a fine thread of complexing lees. This is a big-time winner with ageing possibilities, long, electric, and persistent. Perfect for simply adorned seafood dishes.Prices: BC 47.99 AB 29.99 MB 33.95 SK 33.97 AB 29.99 MB 33.95 Producer: Domaine Vacheron
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Hubert Brochard Sancerretext
89PTS

Hubert Brochard Sancerre 2020

Sancerre, Upper Loire, Loire, FranceThe Brochard Sancerre vineyard is a patchwork quilt of sites that includes more than 220 fields across seven villages. The fruit is both hand and machine harvested from 30ish year old sauvignon blanc vines, and hand sorted at the winery where the berries are destemmed and pressed. The fermentation regime is slow and cool. The result is a classic presentation of Sancerre: bright floral aromas with green fruit and Meyer lemon with chalky, mineral, creamy notes. It is the perfect shellfish wine and can be classically paired with Crottin de Chavignol or chèvre.Prices: BC 39.99 AB 32.99 SK 42.99 MB 42.99 Producer: Hubert Brochard
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Frind Estate Baronessetext
87PTS

Frind Estate Baronesse 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Baronesse is a blend of sauvignon blanc, sémillon, and a touch of viognier named after Annie Frinds' grandmother, die Baronesse Bianca Von Hahn of Germany. Lime, nettle, and quince mark the nose and palate of a solid dry, slightly herbal white blend with just enough acidity to stay fresh throughout the palate. In terms of food, you can serve this with shellfish, fish tacos, or halibut with fruit salsa.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Frind Estate
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Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Sauvignon Blanctext
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Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandThe blocks are handpicked and pressed to the tank to settle. Several hours later, the juice is drained into barrels and fermented in a mix of 1200L and 225L oak barrels and aged 9 to 11 months. After blending to tank, the wine remains on its full lees for several months before bottling in the winter of 2017. The nose is a nutty slurry of lees that permeates a creamy palate of citrus and passion fruit, smoke and oak. A ‘chardonnay’ sauvignon blanc that is at its acme.Prices: BC 39.99 Producer: Spy Valley Wines
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Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanctext
89PTS

Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2021

Marlborough, South Island, New ZealandSpy Valley is a family-owned 400-acre winery that sits on the sunny southern side of Marlborough's Wairau Valley. This reliable white comes off a mix of well-drained, alluvial, stony silt loams in Waihopai Valley, mid-Wairau Valley, and the Lower Wairau Valley. The fruit is picked early in the morning, processed in small batches, and fermented primarily stainless steel. Several blocks are designated to be fermented in a barrel before they are all blended. 2021 suffered an early frost, so fewer bunches and smaller bunches easily ripen in what was otherwise a good vintage. Much crisper than last year, with floral, grapefruit, white peach, intense passionfruit, sweet lime, and nectarine with a mineral finish. Mussels, anyone?Prices: BC 25.99 AB 24.99 MB 21.99 NB 18.51 NS 20.88 Producer: Spy Valley Wines
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Clos du Soleil Capellatext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Capella 2020

British Columbia, CanadaI've had the opportunity to taste this twice now, and both bottles were knockouts. Year in and year out, Capella is about restraint. This vintage leans towards the citrus end of the spectrum, showing bright lemon and grapefruit alongside fresh herbs, pillowy lees, and subtle wood. Medium-bodied, this is taut and precise, with real finesse, leading to a long, saline finish. It's a true expression of the Similkameen, that's marked by outstanding purity of fruit. Capella is one of the most consistently reliable whites in BC, and one that continues to be a steal.Prices: BC 29.90 Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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05 April 2022

Domaine Piétri Géraud Banyuls Traditionnel Cuvée Méditerranéetext
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Domaine Piétri Géraud Banyuls Traditionnel Cuvée Méditerranée 2015

Banyuls, Côte Vermeille, Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceThis 26 hectare organically farmed family estate is operated by two generations of women: Maguy Piétri-Geraud and her daughter Laetitia. They make a range of wines from Collioure and Banyuls, including VDNs and table wines. This cuvée comes from the area's schistous soils, and blends 90% grenache noir and gris, and 10% carignan, from vines between 45 and 100 years. After 3 weeks' maceration, fermentation began, and was muted with grape spirit to leave 90 g/L RS. It was then aged 1 year in concrete tanks, then 4 years in 1 year old barrels, kept outside and directly exposed to the elements (ouillé, or topped up, throughout). The resulting wine is complexed with layers of roasted hazelnut, toffee, molasses, caramelized pecans, and freshly roasted coffee, and christmas cake spices. There's a slight grip to the sides, along with a stream of acidity, which cuts the richness on the 17.5% palate. Such a special wine to drink and enjoy, ideally with pecan pie, or darkest chocolate / espresso torte.Prices: BC 44.00 Producer: Domaine Piétri Géraud
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Niepoort NAT'Cool! Trudy The True Ruby Porttext
88PTS

Niepoort NAT'Cool! Trudy The True Ruby Port NV

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalTrudy, The True Ruby, is a blend of vintages, with wines averaging 3 years old, sourced primarily from vineyards 30-80 years in Vale de Mendiz in the heart of the Cima Corgo. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz and others were foot trodden and fermented in lagares, followed by ageing in large old wooden vats. Candied blackberries, baked cherry, brown sugar, fruitcake streams across a downy palate, with grippy schistous sides adding texture though to the warming finish. This is aimed a youthful audience, and best enjoyed with a chill (maybe even over ice).Prices: ON 28.00 Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Controcorrente Vermouth Levantetext
89PTS

Controcorrente Vermouth Levante NV

Veneto, ItalyControcorrente translates as 'against the mainstream' in Italian. This is a boutique vermouth company, using organic Veneto grapes and Mediterranean botanicals. This dry vermouth is made from Verduzzo grapes, infused with Gentian, Elderflower, and green tea. Very spicy and intense, with heady perfumed musk, melon, lemon, exotic florals, and an ample dose of resinous spices, finishing with white pepper. Quite striking, try this dry aperitivo with smoked fish or green veg canapés.Prices: Producer: Controcorrente
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Controcorrente Vermouth Rossotext
90PTS

Controcorrente Vermouth Rosso NV

Veneto, ItalyControcorrente translates as 'against the mainstream' in Italian. This is a boutique vermouth company, using organic Veneto grapes and Mediterranean botanicals. This comes from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes, imbued with thyme, helichrysum, and rhubarb. Very potent, with ample scrubby herbaceous spice, resin, wild plum and perfumed cherry. The ample brown cast sugar is offset by a beam of acidity, leading this to a lingering spiced finish. Quite smart, and would be fantastico in negroni or with pannetone.Prices: Producer: Controcorrente
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Controcorrente Vermouth Biancotext
90PTS

Controcorrente Vermouth Bianco NV

Veneto, ItalyControcorrente translates as 'against the mainstream' in Italian. This is a boutique vermouth company, using organic Veneto grapes and Mediterranean botanicals. This Bianco is from Durella and Chardonnay grapes, infused with lemon balm, tangerine, and chamomile. Heady and intense, based on the aforementioned three key notes, along with wild pine, mint, white pepper, pine nut, anise, and kumquat. This off-dry vermouth finishes clean and brisk, ready for aperitivo hour, or savoury cheesecake.Prices: Producer: Controcorrente
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Hester Creek Old Vine Late Harvesttext
90PTS

Hester Creek Old Vine Late Harvest 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe old Block 4 pinot blanc was first planted in 1968, making it a truly old vine as described by its new label. It is perfectly sweet at 83.5 grams per litre of residual sugar with just a squeeze of acidity at the finish to draw one pack to the glass. 2019 is an attractive orange, baked peaches, pear, late harvest sipper that comes with a hint of cinnamon and is fully ready to drink. A perfect accompaniment to the classic crème brûlée.Prices: BC 16.99 200 Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Porttext
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Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis LBV was bottled in 2020 after sixty months in cask, marking Graham's 200th anniversary since its inception in 1820. Graham's didn't declare a vintage in 2015, like the majority of houses. But 2015 has produced some spectacular LBVs at bargain prices. This shows luscious, dense dark fruits, with blackberry, blueberry, and fig, complemented by dried violets, orange peel, chocolate, and an array of spices. It's soft and lush, with a glass-straining level of concentration, that's as sweet and bold as it is fresh and elegantly balanced.Prices: BC 24.99 AB 24.99 SK 29.99 MB 23.99 ON 18.00 NFL 25.99 Producer: Symington Family Estates - W. & J. Graham & Co.
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Graham Six Grapes Reserve Porttext
90PTS

Graham Six Grapes Reserve Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSix Grapes is a reserve port sourced from five of Graham's iconic properties. Aged for two years in seasoned casks, this is still youthful but ready to drink upon release, with lush dark berries and plummy fruit that's layered with perfumed sweet spices. Complex and alluring, it's a satisfying, hedonistic pour that has the concentration and fruit density to easily carry the sweetness through to a balanced finish.Prices: BC 26.99 AB 24.99 SK 33.99 MB 26.99 ON 24.99 YK 30.99 Producer: Symington Family Estates - W. & J. Graham & Co.
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04 April 2022

Modest Wines The Elder Vicartext
89PTS

Modest Wines The Elder Vicar 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNamed for Father Pandosy, who was responsible for planting the first white grapes in British Columbia, this is a nod to the Edelzwicker noble blends of Alsace. It's an aromatic blend of pinot gris, riesling, gewurztraminer, and muscat that combines jasmine and orange blossoms with mandarin, lemon, and pear. There’s an appealing balance of floral perfume and clearly delineated fruit, with complexity coming from a wild fermentation that stopped early in 2021. That’s left this wine approachable and off-dry, but still well balanced thanks to a light effervescence and crisp acidity. Edelzwicker wines are meant to be fun, youthful, and easy drinking, and this checks all of those boxes.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicartext
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicar 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis cofermented, skin contact field blend is a tip to Alsatian Edelzwickers and their easy, off-dry, aromatic profile. The name also plays homage to BC's Father Pandosy, the first to plant wine grapes in BC. This blends muscat, pinot gris, riesling, and gewurztraminer, sourced from Lazy River Vineyard, in the Similkameen. Just off-dry, this perfumed blend shows jasmine, musk melon, gooseberry, ripe pear, lime, and sop on a lightly waxen palate, finishing snappily with a hearty dusting of ginger. The RS sticks out a bit, and is best met with a brisk chill and bowl of green curry.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Narrative 2 Pinots Pinot Gris - Pinot Blanctext
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Narrative 2 Pinots Pinot Gris - Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new wine blends pinot gris from the northern Okanagan, and pinot blanc from the southern Okanagan. Lean and tart, with crab apple, bitter lime, red apple, lemon rind and on a slight, shorter palate, bedded with lees, and finishing with a dash of spice. Best with a chill and a crack this summer, with salads or veg fare.Prices: BC 59.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Grow Wild Enchanting Whitetext
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Grow Wild Enchanting White 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAromatic whites are a dime a dozen in BC, and there are two main camps: the fruit salad, medium-sweet labels that can be pretty tiring from the first sip; to the fresher, green fruit examples with a slightly bitter undertone and brighter acidity style that hold your interest, like this wine. It works better with most summer bites on a hot day. Mainly harmonious and ready to drink, it is worth exploring, especially at $16.99.Prices: BC 16.99 Producer: Artisan Wine Company
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La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanctext
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La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc 2020

Côtes du Lubéron, Provence, Sud de France, FranceThe Perrin family does a great job with this simple but well-made white Luberon that mixes Grenache Blanc with Bouboulenc, Ugni Blanc and Roussanne. The nose is a mix of fresh pastry, yellow pear, quince, and lemon oil that spills onto a dry palate with juicy, citrus fruit flavours and creamy textures — a perfect wine for chicken dishes and soft cheeses or shellfish. Terrific value.Prices: QC 13.30 ON 11.30 AB 13.00 BC 13.00 NS 11.66 ON 20.00 MB 14.00 Producer: Famille Perrin
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Falesco Poggio dei Gelsitext
90PTS

Falesco Poggio dei Gelsi 2020

Lazio, ItalyMy father used to drink Est! Est!! Est!!! on warm summer days. That, along with its compelling story, won me over. It's been years since I've seen the original label, but when I noted the Famiglia Cotarella, including Enzo and Riccardo, were behind this wine, it was a no-brainer. Poggio dei Gelsi is a 40/30/30 mix of roscetto, trebbiano, and malvasia grown on the rocky soils of Montefiascone at 400m. The fruit is gently handled and native fermented, intensifying its prominent green herbal nose. More green fig, citrus, and underripe pear precede a saline, mineral lees finish. Ready to drink and versatile white for seafood and vegetables. As for the name: a 12th century Bishop travelling to the Vatican to meet the Pope sent a scout ahead to survey the villages along the route, searching for the best wines. He was to mark 'Est' (Latin for It is) on the door of the inns where the wine impressed as a guide for the Bishop to follow up. At a Montefiascone inn, the scout fell in love with the local wine and wrote Est! Est!! Est!!! on the door. The rest, as they say, is history.Prices: BC 21.99 Producer: Falesco, Az. Agr.
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicartext
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Modest Wines The Elder Vicar 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe elder vicar referst to Father Pandosy, the first European settler in the Okanagan and a clever nod to the Alsace classic Edelzwicker, meaning a noble blend of pinot gris, riesling, gewürztraminer, and muscat. The Okanagan version is a wild, co-fermented version of muscat, riesling, pinot gris, and gewürztraminer that stopped a little earlier in 2021, leaving it decidedly off-dry. Instead, look for a bright, fresh acid base that takes on the musky, floral, lime, melon, pear, and ginger notes. It's built for spicy foods this year.Prices: BC 24.99 Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Narrative 2 Pinots Pinot Gris - Pinot Blanctext
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Narrative 2 Pinots Pinot Gris - Pinot Blanc 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPinot blanc continues to be a tough sell with consumers, although the cool kids will buy it instantly. Narrative played a hunch and decided to add another pinot to the mix. In this case, it was pinot gris, and it seems to work. The attack is fresh, but the textures are softer and rounder bringing a better balance to attract the casual drinker. Concrete ageing adds another dimension and supercharges the minerality. Look for apples, lime, creamy lees, all with a dusting of spice. Food friendly and ready to drink, you can serve this all summer. Cheeseboards, summer salads, grilled prawns all work here.Prices: BC 59.00 Producer: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery
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Harper's Trail Field Blend Whitetext
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Harper's Trail Field Blend White 2020

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada2020 is a field blend of pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, and gewürztraminer that is big on aromatics. A fragrant mix of stone fruits spread across the palate, with melons and green fruit making it seem sweeter than it is. A fruit salad summer sipper best served well chilled. A bit reminiscent of an Alsace Eldezwicker.Prices: BC 15.99 Producer: Harper's Trail Estate Winery
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Moraine Cliffhanger Whitetext
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Moraine Cliffhanger White 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe blend changed in 2021 adding 18 percent riesling to the mix of 37 percent gewürztraminer and 45 percent pinot gris. The style is aromatic and lively with a large bump of residual sugar. Expect a nose of rose petals and white flowers with a palate of ripe litchi fruit, pineapple, and peaches, with a twist of lemon meringue pie. It is fresh enough but the sugar dominates and suggests it could be served with very spicy dishes on the patio, well chilled.Prices: BC 18.00 Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Vina Esmeralda Sunset Editiontext
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Vina Esmeralda Sunset Edition 2020

Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFor decades, Vina Esmeralda has been a steady performer for the Torres family. The blend is moscatel de Alejandría and gewürztraminer, and the result is a medium-sweet, aromatic Mediterranean white with orange blossoms and mandarin on a creamy, highly spiced mid-palate. The finish, while short, is clean and fruit-packed. Serve cold with a favourite Thai curry.Prices: BC 16.99 QC 15.00 ON 11.60 MB 14.00 AB 16.00 YK 17.00 Producer: Familia Torres
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