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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: October 2022

31 October 2022

Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir Bruttext
87PTS

Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir Brut NV

British Columbia, CanadaThis traditional method blanc de noirs (typo on the label) is from Fraser Valley pinot noir, and starts off pink grapefruit crisp before a red apple palate with bitter lemon and pear skin. Relatively short as it warms in the glass, enjoy this very well chilled.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Jansz Premium Cuvéetext
90PTS

Jansz Premium Cuvée NV

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaThe fruit is sourced from selected cool climate vineyards across Tasmania and ends up as individual batches especially chosen to form the Cuvée base. The blend usually is 75/25 chardonnay/ pinot noir. The nose is a riot of aromas mixing lemon zest, honeysuckle, and a subtle wild strawberry note. It gets 18 months of lees contact, adding a nutty complex underside to support a delicious, creamy, bright, fresh palate full of citrus and salinity. Oysters are the west coast match. This delicious non-vintage sparkler was first released in 1999.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
QC$28.00750ml
ON$28.00750ml
AB$30.00750ml
Producer: Jansz Wine Company
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Noble Ridge The Pink Onetext
91PTS

Noble Ridge The Pink One 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Pink One is all Okanagan Falls and all pinot noir grown on the home site. Its secret to success is a mix of several clones (114, 115, and 777), planted in 2001 and 2008. It gets a brief four hours of skin contact to perfect its light copper colour before a cold fermentation and a long 29-month sleep on its lees. Like, The One, it has an intriguing complexity woven through its strawberry and freshly baked biscuit nose. The palate flashes red currants and citrus with a perfectly leesy/yeasty undercurrent. It struck gold at the National Wine Awards of Canada this year, never an easy task when tasted among the country’s best. Dry and ready to drink, you can take this to the dinner table.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge The Onetext
91PTS

Noble Ridge The One 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI'm impressed by the journey of this label that has taken it from an okay sparkler to a top-flight fizz, spending an impressive 47 months on lees. Elegance and complexity are never easy to achieve, but The One has it, mixing 77 percent chardonnay with 23 percent pinot noir, all from the home vineyard. A nutty, buttery pastry aroma up front spreads across the palate and pushes deep into the finish. It has hint of oxidation but the citrus notes and high acidty are the perfect foil to balance it all. Another marker that point to a bright future for BC sparkling wine.Prices:
BC$47.90750ml
Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Noble Ridge The Fizzy Onetext
87PTS

Noble Ridge The Fizzy One NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Fizzy One is a sparkling frizzante made as only a BC sparkler could be, with 62 percent kerner from Tappen in the Shuswap Valley, and 38 percent pinot gris out of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley. The nose is a riot of flower blossoms and fruit that spills onto an off-dry palate of gooseberries, pears, and candied apples. So fresh and enticing, this is a fun sipping breakfast bubble, or you could serve it with spicy appetizers before dinner.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery
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Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir Bruttext
87PTS

Backyard Vineyards Blanc de Noir Brut NV

British Columbia, CanadaA Fraser Valley sparkler, this was made with estate grown pinot noir, traditional method. A minor brush of colour previews a very fruity, red cherry, red apple and grapefruit palate with a hint of spent lees and brioche. The bubbles are bigger than I would like, but this is a good start. The acidity suggests you served it with something cheesy or creamy for balance. It just needs a little tightening up to get to the next level.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Liquidity Reserve Bruttext
90PTS

Liquidity Reserve Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe first speaker at Liquidity, a Reserve Brut, is made using the traditional method. The nose is enticing, mixing bakery brown butter shortbread notes with Meyer lemon, guava, and red apple. The palate is fresh and dry with more of the same, some lime rind, and a dusting of honey. Firm yet delicate, it slides down easily. It is all Okanagan Falls fruit from the estate Allendale Vineyard site. The blend is 85/15 pinot noir/chardonnay, fermented in new and neutral French oak before spending 24 months on lees, plus five more months in the bottle after dosage. A solid first effort.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Liquidity Wine Ltd
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Fitz Reserve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Winetext
92PTS

Fitz Reserve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Blanc de Blancs is a chardonnay affair, always a good start for a sparkler. 2018 was an excellent year for the fruit at Greata Ranch, and this wine reflects it. The minimal dosage left a perfectly balanced bubble with a rich, creamy texture stuffed with flavour. At 36 months, it is the longest aged bubble in the house, and it’s reflected in the complexity and maturity of its flavours. Expect a green apple tightrope with a fleshy brioche underside that leads to a citrus and desert savoury sagebrush finish with a grind of sea salt. The finish is long and persistent, and pleasing to the last drop. This would make a unique Christmas gift for fans of sparkling wine.Prices:
BC$42.50750ml
Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Fitz Brut Sparkling Winetext
91PTS

Fitz Brut Sparkling Wine 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFitz Brut has been a quality sparkler from day one, and it’s no different in 2018. The mix is three-quarters chardonnay with roughly one-quarter pinot noir and a splash of pinot meunier, all off the home Greata Ranch Vineyard. Winemaker Sarah Bain ages the Brut 24 months most years before it gets a mild dosage of 5.5-6.5 grams of sugar per litre, leaving this bubble dry to the taste. The fruit is crunchy and precise, mixing orchard pear and green apple with a dusting of wet stone and cherry pie. Consistently well made, offering complexity and style at a fair price. I like the winery match: salmon gravlax, a few capers, and maybe some pickled red onion.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards
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Crowsnest Sunset Sparkling Rosétext
85PTS

Crowsnest Sunset Sparkling Rosé 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMade of pinot auxerrois and pinot noir, this sparkling rosé exhibits predominantly strawberry and red berry aromas. With a noticeable sweetness on the palate, the fruit has a somewhat candied and jammy quality, and a fairly short finish lends a rustic astringency to the end.Prices:
BC$0.00750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Crowsnest Gewürztraminer Frizzantetext
87PTS

Crowsnest Gewürztraminer Frizzante 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis lightly sparkled wine, hence the name Frizzante, screams gewürztraminer with its distinctive lychee and mangosteen nose mixed with rose water. Off-dry on the palate, the effervescence evaporates rather soon leaving a bittersweet, honeyed ginger aftertaste. It will pair well with Thai or other spicy dishes.Prices:
BC$0.00750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Crowsnest The Nest Proseccotext
85PTS

Crowsnest The Nest Prosecco 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA blend of chardonnay, pinot auxerrois, and riesling, this sparkling white opens with ripe apple and a hint of floral. Generally lacking fruit intensity on the palate, it offers rather aggressive bubbles which evaporate fairly quickly leaving a sense of sharp acidity.Prices:
BC$24.75750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Church & State Wines Blanc de Blancs Brut Naturetext
89PTS

Church & State Wines Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe inaugural Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature release is made with chardonnay from the Détente Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench. The wine is aged for 30 months on Vancouver Island at the Brentwood Bay winery and is finished essentially dry at 5 grams of sugar per litre. Expect a mix of enticing aromas mixing citrus, red apples, and seashore notes. The palate is similar, with a creamy texture, refined bubbles and a hazelnut and lemon finish. A great start and a bubble to watch. Serve now with warmed cheese sticks or freshly shucked oysters.Prices:
BC$32.88750ml
Producer: Church & State Winery
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D.V. Catena Zapata Naturetext
91PTS

D.V. Catena Zapata Nature NV

Mendoza, ArgentinaDV Catena Nature is a 70/30 mix of chardonnay and pinot noir clones especially selected for sparkling wine production. The grapes are grown at Tupungato at 1525m, and the wine spends 30 months on its lees before disgorgement. The bead is tiny and tight, and the nose is very Champenois, with subtle white flowers and lemon notes throughout. The palate is equally impressive with creamy, brioche flavours with a stony, mineral, Tupungato chardonnay bent lifting this bubble to another level. Smoked salmon, anyone?Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Tantalus Blanc de Noirtext
90PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Noir 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Blanc de Noir is handpicked from a single block of 1985 Clone 93 Pinot Noir. Described as a "pale sunset pink," this sophisticated fizz is reminiscent of Champagne. Fresh cut red apple and wild strawberry with a nutty brioche underside create refreshing highly sippable bubbles. The finish is all you could want in complexity, length, tension, and salinity. Drink or hold this will keep through 2027. The method is traditional: the base wine is made in used puncheons and barriques; the secondary bottle fermentation was aged for 22 months in a bottle on its lees before disgorgement; and a five g/L dosage of the Tantalus still 2019 Pinot Noir was added back.Prices:
BC$36.50750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Blanc de Blancstext
93PTS

Tantalus Blanc de Blancs 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Blanc de Blancs come off a single block of chardonnay in East Kelowna that dates back to the Pioneer Vineyard days of the Dulik family, and some original clonal selections were chosen to produce sparkling wine. I love the creamy opening textures, green apple nose, and palate that signal something special. Candied citrus peels, a touch of pie crust, anise, and sea salt combine to add intrigue to this delicious sparkler. Tightly strung but delicately preserved, this is a winner.Prices:
BC$31.30750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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28 October 2022

Terralux Reserve Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Terralux Reserve Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the inaugural chardonnay release from West Kelowna’s Terralux Estate Winery. The colour is light gold, with slightly oxidized peach and honey underlying a full, nutty finish. It is concentrated and rich enough in flavours but lacks freshness. Soft and round, it is a reasonable effort for year one, if pricey.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Terralux Estate Winery
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Foxtrot Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Foxtrot Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 Foxtrot Chardonnay is a blend of fruit from Peachland, Osoyoos, and the Similkameen. It is whole cluster pressed and transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation. After undergoing a complete malolactic fermentation, it was aged sur lies for ten months in 12 percent new French oak. Next, it gets six months of aging in stainless steel to tighten up the structure. The palate opens with an intense fresh Meyer lemon that drops onto the palate with butter and almonds. Only 196 cases were made. Stock up. 2020 was a rock and roll growing season across BC. A freezing winter caused some bud damage, yielding smaller clusters for many growers. A warm early spring brought bud break in late April, but cool and wet weather caused vine growth to slow, delaying flowering until late June. Warm weather finally arrived in mid July, and temperatures held for the rest of the summer. However, increased humidity and moisture, due to above normal precipitation followed by higher temperatures, caused extreme mildew pressure in the vineyard through the middle of the summer, requiring ongoing treatment and vigilance. Vérasion was in late August, still behind schedule, but warm temperatures and reduced rainfall in autumn allowed them to achieve excellent phenolic maturity by mid October.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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O'Rourke Family Estate Clone 96 Chardonnaytext
92PTS

O'Rourke Family Estate Clone 96 Chardonnay 2020

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is early days, and only 17 barrels were made of the Clone 96, but it is an impressive start for the Carr’s Landing winery. While it is a single clone chardonnay, it comes from two different vineyard sites in Lake Country, 35 minutes north of Kelowna on the west side of Lake Okanagan. The lean leesy nose reflects the thoughtful barrel program: 23 percent new French oak, 17 percent one year old barrels, with remaining neutral French oak barrels for fermentation and aging. At 50 degrees north, the early ripening clone 96 shines with low yields and subtle levels of peach, pear, and pineapple with a green melon mineral underside. This wine is just a baby and will grow in the bottle through 2028. Halibut, anyone?Prices:
BC$80.00750ml
Producer: O'Rourke Family Estate
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Tender Hope Winery Chardonnay Buta’s Vineyardtext
87PTS

Tender Hope Winery Chardonnay Buta’s Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSkinny, tight, acidic style with a big citrus attack and touches of vanilla and honey in the back end. The grapes are grown in East Kelowna in Buta’s Vineyard, and the wine is a composite of specific block selections. The grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented, and aged in a mix of stainless steel tanks and neutral French oak barrels for eight months with weekly lees stirring. It’s bone dry and, as mentioned, spare on the palate, but would be perfect with oysters or a creamy pasta dish.Prices:
BC$26.00750ml
Producer: Tender Hope
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Black Hills Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Black Hills Chardonnay 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Ross Wise is a fan of the 2020 growing season, calling it “An outstanding vintage that has produced bold white wines that are full of character.” His chardonnay is very pure, offering citrus and floral aromas with an undercurrent of freshly baked bread. The palate is tight with precise acidity and intense Meyer lemon, ripe and waxy pear that finishes with spicy, pastry notes and a subtle salinity. Rich and textural, this is a big chardonnay but with enough restraint to offer a complex side too. Hidden Terrace Vineyard sits at 430m, basking in large amounts of light exposure and cool nighttime desert temperatures. The deep sandy soils are home to Clone 76 Block A14 chardonnay. It’s hand harvested and sorted, whole cluster pressed, fermented with wild yeasts, and matured for 11 months in seasoned French oak barriques and puncheons.Prices:
BC$29.90750ml
Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanctext
92PTS

Gérard Bertrand Cigalus Blanc 2019

Vin de Pays d'Hauterive, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceGerard Bertrand is the guru of biodynamics as exemplified by his high-density, biodynamic vineyard planted to chardonnay, viognier and sauvignon blanc in the hills of the Hautrive, an important geographical sub-category of the IGP Aude designation. The Hautrive region lies east of Carcassonne and just west of Narbonne. It is roughly contiguous with the famed central Corbières appellation. Yields are kept under an impressive 25hl/ha, and the result is a Burgundy, Rhone, Bordeaux blend that frankly amuses Bertrand as he fights to establish Languedoc wine among the weighty, covered in thick mud, time-honoured bottles of famous French wine grown much further north. The fermentation is a 70/30 new oak /stainless steel affair followed by 7-8 months of barrel ageing until the spring equinox. Tasted several times, this wine is in full bloom ripe grapefruit, white flowers, peaches, and toast on a complex palate. The texture is luxurious with silky, exotic citrus fruit flavours—a perfect partner to a chicken penne pasta meal.Prices:
BC$59.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnaytext
86PTS

Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaStahltank translates to steel tank, referring to the fact that this chardy sees no oak. Ripe and tropical notes prevail, with melon, tangerine, yellow apple, and fragrant candied pear on a moderately plump, medium bodied palate. Sweeter and shorter, this is a friendly, old school style. I'd love to see less winemaking, and more of the incredible terroir of their Similkameen site.Prices:
BC$20.00750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Crowsnest Vineyards Stahltank Chardonnay 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis unoaked Chardonnay from the Similkameen leads with ripe orchard fruits mixed with hay and sweet honey. On the palate it shows baked apple and pear, and subtle cantaloupe with some sweetness. The acidity is not quite there to balance it out. A straightforward finish leaves a hint of smokiness.Prices:
BC$20.00750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Blue Mountain Blossom Slope Chardonnay Single Vineyard Block 17text
91PTS

Blue Mountain Blossom Slope Chardonnay Single Vineyard Block 17 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlossom is a mix of clones 76, 95, and 96 from 29 year old estate vines inside the demarcated Okanagan Falls GI. The fruit was washed and harvested whole cluster to protect the purity. It was native fermented and aged 18 months in three year old 228L French oak barriques. Blossom Slope Chardonnay faces the west, exposing it to the longest days in the wine world and the late day sun that comes with those hours. You feel it in the honeyed undertones that wrap up the finish of this wine. However, it remains fresh and lively upfront with plenty of minerality, citrus and stony notes. Love the alcohol at 13.5%, leaving the wine to express its site.Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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27 October 2022

Livio Felluga Illiviotext
92PTS

Livio Felluga Illivio 2020

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyLivio Felluga is one of the most respected producers of Friuli, dedicating his life to reviving high-quality and sustainable viticulture in the hills of this north-eastern, Adriatic-influenced Italian countryside. He emigrated from Istria and established his property in Brazzano in the 1950s, buying up old, neglected vineyards and rejuvenating them. Illuvio was created in 1998 by Livio Felluga’s children, who dedicated the wine to him for his 85th birthday. Unlike his signature varietal series, done in stainless, this blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Picolit was fermented and aged in small oak casks on lees. Ripe and creamy quince, pear, melon, and white peach fill a textural, expansive palate seasoned with fine fresh green spices and ample salinity. Very complete, drinking smartly now, and with time ahead.Prices:
ON$64.00750ml
Producer: Livio Felluga
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Inglenook Blancaneauxtext
90PTS

Inglenook Blancaneaux 2020

Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, United StatesBlancaneaux, or “white waters,” is named after one of the Family Coppola hideaway hotels in Belize. A rare Rhône blend since 2003, the ‘20 is a 36/33/31 of organic viognier, marsanne, and roussanne. The colour is medium yellow but don’t be fooled. The style, although intense, is very fresh and juicy. It pitches intense Meyer lemon curd upfront before a creamy honeysuckle, white peach kicks in. It spends eight months on lees in 60 percent stainless steel and 40 percent French oak (22 percent new).Prices:
BC$129.99750ml
Producer: Inglenook Wine Estate
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Black Hills Alibitext
89PTS

Black Hills Alibi 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Bordeaux-inspired Alibi blend of sauvignon blanc and sémillon was the first white wine produced at Black Hills in 2003. In 2021, the mix was 85/15 sauvignon dominant, and it is a good one. It is all Black Sage Bench fruit, so as you can imagine, the flavours are rich and intense. Look for a mix of ripe pineapple tempered by fresher gooseberry and citrus, with melons and lemon on the palate, with a stony, mineral, leesy, creamy texture. This is a good match for Asian seafood.Prices:
BC$24.90750ml
Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Sage Hayward Vineyards Nuance Aromatic Blendtext
88PTS

Sage Hayward Vineyards Nuance Aromatic Blend 2021

Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, CanadaSage Hayward Vineyards is a new family-owned estate found on Saturna, comprised of two brothers and their wives. They purchased and recovered mostly fallow vineyards on a property that Sea Star had owned, but had to sell. Tyler Cox is the winemaker, and Michael Bartier is a consultant. Nuance blends 74% pinot gris, 25% gewürztraminer, and 1% muscat, from Longfield and Falconridge vineyards. It was whole cluster pressed and fermented over 2 weeks in stainless, where it remained on lees for 5 months. Tight and sleek, with elderflower, lemon blossom, gooseberry on a dry, slight 11% frame. Certainly feels coastal and marine, with its crisp acidity. A pretty sipper for starters and fragrant seafood dishes.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Sage Hayward Vineyards
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Amulet Whitetext
89PTS

Amulet White 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAmulet is a wine project featuring Okanagan consulting winemaker Dwight Sick and Roche Winery owners Penelope and Dylan Roche on the Naramata Bench. It is inspired by the significant grapes and wines of the Rhône Valley. Production is small, and the first vintage was in 2018. The wines continue to grow and evolve each year. The latest Amulet White is a 90/10 mix of viognier/marsanne grown on the Naramata Bench and the Penticton West Bench. The style is intense but fresh with peaches, apricots with a dusting of lees to keep the sweetness in check and add complexity. It is a lush perfumed style of viognier with enough bitter notes to balance the finish. This will stand up to some substantial dishes like spicy Thai dishes. Good value here.Prices:
BC$26.79750ml
Producer: Roche Wines
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Les Vignerons du Castelas Côtes du Rhône Whitetext
89PTS

Les Vignerons du Castelas Côtes du Rhône White 2022

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThe winegrowers of Castelas created their cooperative cellar in 1952, the same year the AOC Côtes du Rhône was developed. Today, 45 families make up the cooperative, and the cellar's vineyard covers 450 hectares, mainly in Côtes du Rhône. The white is a 60/20/20 mix of viognier, grenache blanc, and roussanne. This wine has a delicious fresh white flower, strawberry that is a delight to sip. Peaches and grapefruit offset each other, creating a perfect balance that is food friendly. This wine will enliven any vegetarian dish. I love the value too, but it is only sold in private wine stores.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Les Vignerons du Castelas
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25 October 2022

Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraztext
94PTS

Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2017

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThis is an impressive Octavius right off the hop with a beautifully fragrant nose full of aromatic florals. The palate is a mix of savoury black and red fruits with meaty, peppery notes and fine textures that come at you in layers and complexity. It is about as seamless as you can get for such a young wine, but there will be no hurry to drink this bottle. The blend mixes 71 percent Barossa Valley and 29 percent Eden Valley. This flagship shiraz sourced from some magical old vines dating back to 1854, which are some of the oldest shiraz plantings in the world (there's an overall average of 82 years in this bottle). It is all aged 23 months in 30 percent new oak, some of that being Yalumba coopered 100 litre oak octaves, the inspiration behind its name. One for the cellar.Prices:
BC$199.99750ml
ON$130.00750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignontext
89PTS

Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaClassic Coonawarra, and it jumps from the glass: spice, balsamic, and savoury, earthy, leafy red fruits. The palate is a minty, spicy cassis affair with a whiff of tomato leaf. The weight is medium-full, and the texture is firm, with plenty of acids and firm tannin throughout the finish. 2017 was an excellent vintage in Coonawarra, adding to its herbaceous character. The vineyard site is flat, but the wine is alive thanks to its unique sandy loam over limestone, perhaps the defining feature of Coonawarra's top cabernet sites. Most of the vines are now 25 years of age, generally yielding small bunches and berries. The Yalumba game is minimalist intervention and small batch winemaking, making The Menzies a regional benchmark.Prices:
BC$89.99750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache Ancestor Vinetext
95PTS

Yalumba The Tri-Centenary Grenache Ancestor Vine 2019

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaWhat can you say about this wine that hasn't been said? Well, how about rush out and buy it and drink it? Don't let its pale red colour put you off; this is the real thing. Hand-picked from a ragged bunch of old bush vines planted 133 years ago in 1889, the story is texture, texture, texture. This wine is swimming in one of the silkiest palates I have tasted in my long career. Blue and red fruits with a caramel coating and savoury dried red fruits entice, as does an undercurrent of spice. Nothing but net here, with a finesse you seldom see in any wine. It is persistent, long, and luxurious without being fat and sweet: a genuine Australian treasure. Undervalued in every market.Prices:
BC$84.99750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz The Signature Robert Hill-Smithtext
97PTS

Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz The Signature Robert Hill-Smith 2012

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaPerhaps the individual who contributed the most to Yalumba's culture and tradition is family member and former CEO, Robert Hill Smith. Robert's name was attached to this magnificent 2012 vintage. I tasted this wine in 2016 and thought it was special, but its development is even more than I could have imagined. Like Robert, this wine is a giant and should last well into the middle of the century, if not beyond. The nose is now entirely resolved and so attractive you want to smell this wine forever, but unfortunately, everyone else will be drinking it. The savoury cedar aromatic notes are perfection. Long and silky, the fruit has become endlessly expansive and mixes effortlessly with oak, now only a background note. A delicious, free-flowing, elegant wine, this is Barossa at its best. My wrap-up has no change: it is an impressive take on the classic blend, and one of the best from Yalumba.Prices:
BC$150.00750ml
ON$65.00750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Viognier The Virgilius Eden Valleytext
94PTS

Yalumba Viognier The Virgilius Eden Valley 2019

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe Virgilius is the flagship white at Yalumba and the pinnacle of the long running and highly successful viognier project at Yalumba. With the support of the Hill-Smith family, winemaker Louisa Rose and the Yalumba team could be credited with saving the viognier variety from global extinction. There wasn't much left in France's northern Rhone region when Yalumba started exploring its ability to grow in the Eden Valley in the early 1980s. Over time some newer clones have been planted to expand the family, and the selection for winemaker Louisa Rose. Rose's touch has been masterful, gently extracting all required to be viognier without going over the top into the heavily perfumed, oily range. Almost all barrel selection is matured 11 months in older French oak barriques, puncheons and demi-muids. Over time Yalumba has mastered the art of picking viognier at the exact moment of ripeness, in what can be a concise window. Fragrant and bright, the fruit dances along your palate, stopping to release some citrus, apricots, and white pepper, followed by a mineral, stony, almond finish. More ethereal than any other label, it is sure to be the standard for viognier for many decades.Prices:
BC$68.00750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz The Signature Nick Watermantext
90PTS

Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz The Signature Nick Waterman 2018

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaIn 2018 The Signature is a 54/46 cabernet sauvignon/shiraz blend of all Barossa fruit. Of note are the shiraz blocks that date back to 1945. It all fermented and aged for 21 months in 33 percent new French barriques, American and Hungarian hogsheads, with the balance in older French, Hungarian, and American barriques and hogsheads. It opened with intense black and blue fruit mixed with mint and cedar, and some meaty notes from the shiraz, alongside black plums and licorice. It is as elegant as it gets for Barossa, but there are tannins to shed, so a decade of bottle age or more is recommended, especially given the track record of this label, made only in the finest vintages. Each vintage of The Signature is named in honour of an individual who has contributed significantly to Yalumba's culture and traditions, and in 2018 the award goes to Nick Waterman.Prices:
BC$89.99750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraztext
94PTS

Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2015

Coonawarra - Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe Caley was born from the fine 2015 vintage, a blend of Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and Barossa shiraz. Planted in 1992, the Ming D block's two clones in the Yalumba Coonawarra vineyard brings the 74 percent cabernet sauvignon. The 26 percent shiraz component comes off two Barossa blocks: the Burgemeister Linke block planted in 1901 at Light Pass; and the Horseshoe Vineyard on the southern side of the Yalumba winery in Eden Valley, produced by Helen Hill-Smith in 1971. The Coonawarra cabernet is the unmistakable alpha grape in the blend, bringing cool, leafy, green olive and all the structure. The counterpoint is the Barossa shiraz that fleshes out the mid-palate, filling the holes with luscious black and blue fruits and chocolate. Long and persistent, it is a wine for the decanter and contemplation. It is matured for 21 months in 46% new French barriques, balanced in two year and older French barriques. You can drink it now, but 2025 seems a more realistic starting point.Prices:
BC$529.00750ml
ON$514.95750ml
Producer: Yalumba Wine Company
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24 October 2022

Callejuela Almacenista Manzanilla Callejuelatext
91PTS

Callejuela Almacenista Manzanilla Callejuela 2015

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainIt is 100% palomino fino from the La Callejuela plot situated just outside Sanlúcar de Barrameda at sea level less than 1.5 kilometres from the ocean. The vines are oriented east-west and are directly impacted by the Poniente, the moist, cool westerly wind. The soil is a mix of rock and lime, lending the finished wine intense minerality. The wine sits undisturbed in old, used sherry casks under flor for four years. The style is super elegant, leaving a wine with excruciatingly dry saline flor-scented notes throughout. This is one is for curious drinkers.Prices:
BC$63.00500ml
Producer: Callejuela
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21 October 2022

Las Moradas de San Marín La Sabina Garnachatext
89PTS

Las Moradas de San Marín La Sabina Garnacha 2015

Madrid, SpainEstablished in 1999, Las Moradas de San Martín was established to recover the centuries-old vineyards of Garnacha that had been cultivated there since the 12th century. Located in the hilltops of Pago de los Castillejos, they benefit from its altitude and granitic / volcanic soils, imbuing a natural freshness and minerality. Winemaker Isabel Galindo farms organically / biodynamically. La Sabina comes from dry farmed wind-whipped bush vine garnacha at 900m, rooted in rocky granite, on the Madrilean side of Sierra de Gredos. it was native fermented over 3 weeks prior to a rest averaging 16 months in French oak of various sizes prior to bottling without fining or filtration, and no sulphur. This reflects the hot 2015 vintage, with baked red fruits, sweaty leather, iodine, with ample sticky tannins hugging this through the finish. Acidity is still granitic and mountainous, but the ripeness of the fruit at 15% pulls this down. A chewier garnacha for your roast beef.Prices:
Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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Las Moradas de San Martin Initiotext
92PTS

Las Moradas de San Martin Initio 2017

Vinos de Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, SpainLas Moradas de San Martin sits at a height of 870m above sea level, on the fringes of the Sierra de Gredos, in the unique landscape of San Martín de Valdeiglesias to the south-east of Madrid. Twenty-one hectares of vineyards surround the winery. From old vine (some over 100 years), high altitude garnacha located at 900m in the windy Madrilenian slope, these organically dry farmed bush vines are rooted in the estate's granitic sandy soils. Winemaker Isabel Galindo is very hands-off in the winery, respecting the vines and farming. After a week of cooler maceration, this was native fermented over three weeks prior to heading to French barrels for an average of 14 months prior to the final blend. This was then bottled without fining or filtration. Sultry perfumed dark plum, wild black cherry, ferrous notes, thorns, scrubby herbs flood the fuller palate, held fresh and taut with altitude and soils. The finish lingers long with salinity and pink pepper. So much freshness and complexity in this mountainous red.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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Las Moradas de San Martín Sendatext
92PTS

Las Moradas de San Martín Senda 2017

Madrid, SpainEstablished in 1999, Las Moradas de San Martín was established to recover the centuries-old vineyards of Garnacha that had been cultivated there since the 12th century. Located in the hilltops of Pago de los Castillejos, they benefit from its altitude and granitic / volcanic soils, imbuing a natural freshness and minerality. Winemaker Isabel Galindo farms organically / biodynamically. This dry farmed bush vine garnacha comes from a vineyard at 870m, with sandy granitic soils. It was native fermented and aged 10 months in neutral French wood of various sizes. Fragrant cherry, wild raspberry is lit with tight and buzzy stony acidity, and framed by fine grippy, firm tannins, cradling this medium+ red through the pink peppercorn / saline finish. Pure and mountainous.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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20 October 2022

Las Moradas de San Martín Sendatext
92PTS

Las Moradas de San Martín Senda 2017

Madrid, SpainThe picking came three weeks early in 2017 at Pago de los Castillejos on the Madrid side of the Sierra de Gredos. The vineyards sit at 870 meters on mountain granitic soil with a sandy-loam texture. Winemaker Isabel Galindo uses organic and biodynamic practices to obtain high quality dry farmed bush vine grapes, faultless acidity, and outstanding balance. The ferment is natural, followed by ten months of ageing in French oak barrels of varying sizes and ages. This special garnacha walks the pure fruit, lively aromatic line but has all the attributes of powerful mountain wine underneath. The combination ideally yields impressive black plums, Bing cherries, and mineral dust. Established in 1999, Las Moradas de San Martín came into being to resuscitate garnacha vineyards cultivated since the 12th century.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Las Moradas de San Martin
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Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Hors-Série Rougetext
90PTS

Nicolas Mariotti Bindi Hors-Série Rouge 2018

Corsica, Sud de France, FranceAfter studying law in Paris, Nicolas decided to make a U-turn and return to his roots in Corsica to live the dream of winemaking. Nicolas set up his winery in Oletta where he organically grows 7 ha of vines on his domaine. These Nielluccio (Sangiovese) vines, in conversion to organics, are 49, 24, and 10 years old, planted on a north facing slope of clay and limestone. After a 48 hour cold soak in concrete, this was native fermented, and remained there for 2 years’ rest. It is bottled with a slight fining, unfiltered, with minimal SO2. Dusky cherry, leather, nutmeg work along a smouldering stony base, with bright, buzzy acidity and tightly firm fine tannins pinning all in. An authentic view of the grape from this special island; very unique.Prices:
ON$41.00750ml
Producer: Nicolas Mariotti Bindi
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Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
93PTS

Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016

Florence, Tuscany, ItalyThis is classic Classico rife with savoury cherries and plums with a mineral saline undercurrent. The acidity is perfect, and the tannins are dense but sweet. It is a keeper. We ate this with a mushroom pizza, but it will work with a mushroom risotto as it comes of age in 2026 and beyond. Baron Francesco Ricasoli’s family has been living and caring for the castle at Brolio for 32 generations. A selection of individual plots surrounding the castle makes up this sangiovese that gets three percent abrusco to fill out the blend. Post ferment, it spends 18 months in 30 percent new French 900L tonneaux barrels to age without any significant oak influence.Prices:
BC$74.99750ml
Producer: Ricasoli
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Carpineto Chianti Classico Riservatext
90PTS

Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2017

Tuscany, ItalyThe Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva is aged 12 months in Slavonian and French oak, and has now been in bottle for another four years, giving it some maturity and harmony. The palate is a juicy dark mix of black plums and cherries with leather and dried herbs, but the finish remains fruity and dense with a refined blend of tannin and fruit. So savoury and silky, and it is just beginning to hit its plateau. It is the perfect dinner wine for more decadent menu items like pork, beef, or mushrooms. Impressive.Prices:
BC$30.99750ml
Producer: Carpineto
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Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico Riservatext
91PTS

Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva 2019

Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThis Riserva is made with a selection of estate-grown grapes grown 260 to 500 meters above sea level over sandstone, marl, marine deposits, and alberese soils, giving it an authenticity and complexity of place. Full and firm, 2019 opens with floral black cherry that spills onto the palate with streaks of espresso, more dark plum, and a slick of tannin lined with a savoury dried herb crust. Thoughtful and dense, this needs time for all the layers to come together in harmony. One worth giving lots of time in a bottle. Be patient.Prices:
BC$38.99750ml
Producer: Ricasoli
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Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca Guicciardatext
89PTS

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Riserva Rocca Guicciarda 2018

Tuscany, ItalyRocca Guicciarda is a DOCG Chianti Classico Riserva that mixes 90/5/5 sangiovese, merlot, and canaiolo. It is also an old name that Ricasoli used for its most prestigious estate. Still, today it is a blend of sites that lie on the five most representative soils in Brolio: sandstone, galestro, alberese, marine deposits of sandy deposits and clay at deeper levels and ancient fluvial terrace 0f silty deposits with clay. The winemaking, while attentive, is unremarkable. The wine spends 18 months in tonneau and large casks and a further three to six months in the bottle. Look for a richer, deeper, earthier style of Chianti with dark plum with a robust, savoury underside. A gastronomic release that begs for mushrooms in risotto, pasta, or even a favourite duck dish. Baron Francesco Ricasoli is the 32nd generation family member to live on the property carrying on the dream and the vision that his ancestor first began 875 years ago.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
ON$25.00750ml
QC$29.95750ml
Producer: Ricasoli
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Mazzei Ser Lapo Chianti Classico Riservatext
91PTS

Mazzei Ser Lapo Chianti Classico Riserva 2018

Tuscany, ItalySer Lapo is a 90/10 mix of sangiovese and merlot that, in 2018, is something to behold. HJ called it seamless, and Treve mentioned its stony acidity, which leads me to a wine that is effortlessly complex yet inviting. The fruit is round and lush, offering dark cherry, all of which take on its 50 percent new oak, adding yet another layer of weight and complexity without interfering with its heritage. It is a drink or hold wine, depending on how much fruit you like in your Chianti. Impressive for the price.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
ON$25.00750ml
Producer: Marchesi Mazzei S.P.A. Agricola
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Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
91PTS

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2017

Tuscany, ItalyThe Riserva Ducale Oro has been made only in the best years since its inception in 1947. 2017 mixes 83/12/5 sangiovese/merlot/colorino, spending 12 months in concrete, 12 months in large Slavonian oak casks, and 12 months in used barriques. I love the aromatic forest floor cedar notes with muted plum, black cherry, and spice. It is a food wine in the best sense of the phrase and almost any fall dish grilled over a fire would be acceptable. Drink or hold through 2025.Prices:
BC$48.99750ml
ON$47.95750ml
QC$45.00750ml
NS$50.00750ml
Producer: Tenimenti Ruffino
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Famiglia Zingarelli Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riservatext
89PTS

Famiglia Zingarelli Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2017

Florence, Tuscany, ItalyThe Reserva is more of a light to medium-bodied red that relies on a juicy palate of crushed red berries, coffee grounds, balsamic hints, and a fair bit of spice. It is not a wine to age at this point but instead, it is ready to drink with chicken or pork dishes, or a meaty pasta dish. Rocca delle Macìe was founded in 1973 by legendary film producer Italo Zingarelli. His impressive film career allowed him to fulfill his dream of producing wine. His son, Sergio, oversees the operations today.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
AB$30.00750ml
ON$22.95750ml
QC$24.00750ml
Producer: Rocca delle Macìe S.p.A.
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Famiglia Zingarelli Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classicotext
88PTS

Famiglia Zingarelli Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico 2019

Tuscany, ItalyRocca delle Macie was established in 1973 by acclaimed Italian film producer Italo Zingarelli. The property spans 600 hectares and six estates across Tuscany. Rocca today is led by Italo's son Sergio, his wife Daniela, and two children. The winemaking includes maceration of the 95/5 sangiovese/merlot must with the skins for 12-14 days with short but frequent pumpovers to extract colour. Post-fermentation in stainless, the malolactic fermentation goes in concrete before it all rests in large Slavonian oak for 6-10 months. The nose is clean and fresh with hints of wild red berries. The palate is a savoury affair of cherries, leather, mushrooms, and balsamic. It is an easy drinking 13.5 percent alcohol red you can serve mid-week with a cheesy pizza or spaghetti and meatballs.Prices:
BC$20.99750ml
AB$21.00750ml
MB$27.00750ml
ON$18.95750ml
Producer: Rocca delle Macìe S.p.A.
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San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classicotext
86PTS

San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2019

Tuscany, ItalySangiovese mixed with canaiolo and colorino is made in a straightforward style. The nose is lightly aromatic with cherry and forest floor, but the acid dominates the palate, highlighting the low, pruny, dry finish. It is best served with a meaty pizza or spaghetti dish. Drink now.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
ON$21.95750ml
Producer: San Fabiano Calcinaia
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Carpineto Chianti Classico Gran Selezionetext
93PTS

Carpineto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015

Tuscany, ItalyThe Gran Selezion (the best wine of the year made at the estate) comes off a cool, 2-hectare site in Greve in Chianti. 2015 was a warm year yielding an atypical Chianti Classico with a dark colour and a rich, almost luscious structure. Look for Bing cherries over a licorice, forest floor undercurrent, and even after seven years, there is a hint of oak lingering in the finish. This New World vintage will be widely admired outside of Europe, and it clearly has time in the bottle ahead of it. Serve this with any rich dish containing mushrooms.Prices:
BC$69.99750ml
Producer: Carpineto
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Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classicotext
89PTS

Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico 2019

Tuscany, ItalyBaron Francesco Ricasoli is the 32nd generation family member to live at the Brolio castle. He also has resurrected the vineyards and farming, elevating the Brolio name back to respectability among wine drinkers. The Chianti Classico is grown on a mix of soils across the estate encompassing sandstone, galestro, alberese, clay and silt. It is stainless steel fermented and aged for nine months in large oak barrels. 2019 opens with a firm tight line of black cherry, bright acidity, and just a touch of that savoury forest floor underside. Well made and soft enough to enjoy now or over the next three years. Try with your next favourite recipe from vegetarian to meatballs.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
AB$26.00750ml
MB$24.00750ml
QC$23.00750ml
Producer: Ricasoli
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Donatella Cinelli Colombini Il Drago e le 8 Colombetext
89PTS

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Il Drago e le 8 Colombe 2016

Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, ItalyThe Colombini Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a 60/20/20 Supertuscan blend of sangiovese, merlot, and sagrantino fermented in stainless steel and aged 18 months in large barrels and 5 to seven hectolitre French oak tonneaux. At six years, the wine is just beginning to show its stuff from a highly regarded vintage. Rich, dry and Italian, it brings together bright acidity and dense tannins, all of which require more time in the bottle. The persistent dark fruit now supports a leather espresso forest floor finish. There is no rush to drink this. Chinese dishes with some fat would be a good match here, and you could go Indian as well.Prices:
BC$33.99750ml
ON$35.95750ml
Producer: Donatella Cinelli Colombini
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19 October 2022

Cascina Galarin La Querce Barbera d'Astitext
89PTS

Cascina Galarin La Querce Barbera d'Asti 2018

Piedmont, ItalyWith some freisa (5%), this barbera opens with red cherry and plum layered with hints of leafy herbal notes and some dusty earthiness. Juicy, ripe red and black fruits along with some chocolatey sweetness dominate the palate. The hallmark acidity of the grape balances out the alcohol warmth and richness of the fruit. A fruit-driven and uncomplicated example of barbera from Asti.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Cascina Galarin
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G. D. Vajra Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2019

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyLanghe Rosso remains one of my favourite little gems, almost always overdelivering quality wine for price. Essentially these are wines for drinking up and in the Langhe, now. Varja's Langhe Rosso is a blend of younger vine nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, fresia, albarossa, and pinot noir, meant to give an overview of Piemonte's Langhe region. This is sourced from various vineyards, each variety vinified separately, fermented in stainless and then into French barrels from new to three years in age, for two years. Wild cherry, raspberry, plum is woven with scrubby herbs, anise, and pink peppercorns along a slender palate, with an alluring stony textural underlay. Tannins are long and fine, and acidity is naturally lofted. One to enjoy liberally now.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
QC$23.20750ml
Producer: G. D. Vajra
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Cascina Galarin La Querce Barbera d'Astitext
88PTS

Cascina Galarin La Querce Barbera d'Asti 2018

Piedmont, ItalyA riper expression of barbera with sappy, macerated red berries and spice, leading to a warming palate (15% abv declared on the back label) with just enough acidity to keep everything in balance. Best enjoyed with a light chill. Certified organic.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Cascina Galarin
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18 October 2022

Burrowing Owl Syrahtext
90PTS

Burrowing Owl Syrah 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom estate vineyards in Oliver and Osoyoos, this syrah was destemmed and lightly crushed before heading to fermentation tanks (partially cofermented with 2% viognier) for 25 days. The wine was moved to barrel to complete MLF and 16 months' barrel aging in a singular mix of French, American, Hungarian, and Caucasus wood, amounting to 22% new wood overall. It was bottled unfiltered. As per the house style, this is a full bodied syrah, though with style and elegance. Cracked pepper seasons the dense cassis, cherry, mint, earth on the compact palate, with firm tannins framing through a warming, baking spice finish. Very much in youth, this benefits from a decanter and spice grilled steak now, and better still, with time in the cellar.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
AB$42.00750ml
ON$40.95750ml
Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyardtext
90PTS

Bartier Bros. Syrah Cerqueira Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the heralded Cerqueira Vineyard, this syrah was destemmed and crushed in an oak tank, with 15% whole clusters, over 21 days. It then rested 16 months in neutral 225L oak barrels, plus the oak tank. The ripe, plump palate carries rich blackberries, black cherries, dusky plum, structured with time in wood, but smoothed through the core, with a bristling brushing of tannins and bright stony acidity. The warming finish is dotted with peppercorns and kissed by violet. A wine well suited to lamb, and cracking into now.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Lake Breeze Cellar Series Mistraltext
88PTS

Lake Breeze Cellar Series Mistral 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPaying homage to the Rhône's famed Mistral winds, this syrah is from their Naramata Bench estate. Super syrah, with dense perfumed black plum, cassis, ample violets, cracked black pepper, on a thick, full palate. Tannins are ample and chewy, clawing through the slick oak and baking spices to a very warming 15% finish. Feels like Paso Robles, and would be a good match for equally massive lamb dishes.Prices:
BC$36.00750ml
Producer: Lake Breeze Vineyards
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Corcelettes Syrahtext
91PTS

Corcelettes Syrah 2020

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe stony, dry, wild Similkameen permeates this syrah, a mix of clone 100 and 7 with five percent viognier added to cleave the wine open and fix the colour. As I said last year, the rest of the world is chasing this style of wine with little hope of catching it, short of moving to the Similkameen. The syrah is grown on decaying Stemwinder soils, essentially stone, gravel, and sand that is windblown, much like the Northern Rhone. The opening is a dusty, peppery affair with an underlying mix of blueberries, sagebrush, and spice. So streamlined and structured, it is simply a baby at this stage. It needs five years to start to be open and ten to be ready. Lamb is the match, and it is a great one.Prices:
BC$32.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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17 October 2022

Caruso and Minini Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalesetext
90PTS

Caruso and Minini Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis wine was a delightful surprise, starting with its blend of indigenous grapes, mixing the slightly hefty Nerello Mascalese with the gentler Frappato. The nose is an exquisite display of wild berries and spicy floral perfumes. The black cherry is explosive and electric on a perfectly balanced palate. A lightness and lift through the finish make for a perfect ending. In away reminiscent of gamay, pinot noir, and mature Barolo all in one. A fabulous food wine too. The winemaking is basic: fermented in stainless steel tanks, it also goes through malolactic in tanks. Thirty percent is aged in barriques, with 70 percent going to stainless steel tanks. Coming in December or early January to BC.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Caruso & Minini
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Caruso and Minini Perricone Naturalmente Biotext
91PTS

Caruso and Minini Perricone Naturalmente Bio 2020

Sicily, ItalyLocated on the westernmost shores of Sicily, Caruso & Minini's history reaches back to the late 1800’s when Antonio Caruso bought the company to grow grapes for the nearby Marsala factories. The company was passed through subsequent generations until Nino Caruso finally decided to begin making and bottling his own wine in the mid 1900’s. In 2004, Stefano Caruso joined forces with Mario Minini of Lombardy to launch the present-day winery, producing wines from indigenous grapes such as Catarratto. Today, Stefano’s daughter Giovanna works closely with her father to head up this historic winery, while also cultivating 5ha organically for her own side project, Naturalmente Bio. This is an unoaked Perricone, allowing the indigenous grape to shine, and it does in spades. Ample scrubby resinous perfume pervades every second of this medium bodied wine (reminiscent of Lacrima), with wild mint, rosemary, basil, pink peppercorn across a waxen, streamlined form, lined with long, fine tannins and lifted with a buzzy stony saline acidity. Very characterful and charming perricone, ready to crack and enjoy with food (think mushrooms, winter squash, pork, lamb).Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Caruso & Minini
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Caruso and Minini Catarratto Naturalmente Biotext
89PTS

Caruso and Minini Catarratto Naturalmente Bio 2021

Sicily, ItalyLocated on the westernmost shores of Sicily, Caruso & Minini's history reaches back to the late 1800’s when Antonio Caruso bought the company to grow grapes for the nearby Marsala factories. The company was passed through subsequent generations until Nino Caruso finally decided to begin making and bottling his own wine in the mid 1900’s. In 2004, Stefano Caruso joined forces with Mario Minini of Lombardy to launch the present-day winery, producing wines from indigenous grapes such as Catarratto. Today, Stefano’s daughter Giovanna works closely with her father to head up this historic winery, while also cultivating 5ha organically for her own side project, Naturalmente Bio. These Catarratto vineyards are planted in a very windy area, offsetting the island's ample warmth. Though only 12.5%, this is heady and waxen on the palate, thanks to the Mediterranean sunshine. Honeysuckle, apricot, white peach, pineapple flood the expansive palate, with moderate acidity, yet all lit by a super saline underlay that keeps this afloat. One to think of when having fragrant green curry or shellfish.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Caruso & Minini
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Vino Lauria Zio Paolotext
89PTS

Vino Lauria Zio Paolo 2020

Sicily, ItalyZio Paolo is the first wine that Vito made and it takes its name from the vineyard, the expansive land around Alcamo. This organic Nero d’Avola grows on clays, and was fermented and aged 1 year in stainless. Wild scrubby herbs and flowers teem throughout this Mediterranean red, coursing through wild raspberry, wild blackberry, cherry, with a faint ferrous medicinal hint. Tannins are sticky, leading this fresh, dusky red to a wild mint finish.Prices:
ON$25.00750ml
Producer: Vino Lauria
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Vino Lauria Grillo Giardinellotext
90PTS

Vino Lauria Grillo Giardinello 2021

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 Sicilian indigenous varieties, like Grillo, Catarratto, Fontane Bianche, and Zibibbo for whites, plus Nero d’Avola, Perricone, and Frappato for reds. His 70 hectares of vineyards are spread throughout Alcamo, ranging from 600-1000 meters and on clay and calcareous soils. This Grillo is planted in the hills around Alcamo, around 600-700 meters, and is fermented and rested for 6 months in stainless. Pouring a golden hue, this is etched with apricot, pithy grapefruit, pear skin, and scrubby wild mint, with a ripe orchard fruit core easily lofted with freshness thanks to the soils and altitudes. Lovely wine for food.Prices:
ON$25.00750ml
Producer: Vino Lauria
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Tornatore Etna Rossotext
90PTS

Tornatore Etna Rosso 2019

Etna, Sicily, ItalyGiuseppe Tornatore's family history in Sicily dates back to the 17th century. This Carricante comes from terraced vineyards around 650m in Etna's volcanic northern slope. This blend of nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio came from Castiglione di Sicilia. After destemming and partially crushing, these macerated and fermented in concrete tanks over 12 days, before pressing into large wooden barrels for 6 months aging, followed by 3 more months in bottle. Wild flowers, wild raspberry, mustard seed and a noticeable oxidative note flood the lifted palate, bedded with cherry leather and lined with long, lithe tannins. This slight red is lit with buzzy acidity throughout to the persistent saline finish. Pork chops and/or wild mushroom ragout would suit.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tornatore Pietrarizzo Etna Biancotext
91PTS

Tornatore Pietrarizzo Etna Bianco 2021

Etna, Sicily, ItalyExpect a medium straw yellow colour. The nose is mildly exotic, with yellow flowers and perfume drifting out of the glass. Citrus, almonds, green apple, and white peach fill a lively palate full of minerality and brightness. Tornatore focuses on indigenous varieties: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante and Catarratto. In this case, the latter two make up the Pietrarizzo blend of one of the largest and oldest producers in the region situated on the north face of an active volcano Mount Etna, 650m above sea level. Tornatore has been around since 1865 and is still family-run by the ancestors.Prices:
ON$23.95750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tornatore Etna Biancotext
91PTS

Tornatore Etna Bianco 2021

Etna, Sicily, ItalyGiuseppe Tornatore's family history in Sicily dates back to the 17th century. This Carricante comes from terraced vineyards around 650m in Etna's volcanic northern slope. It spent 4-6 months in a mix of concrete and stainless prior to bottling, the understated treatment showcasing the ample salinity of sea and soils in this slender white. Marine and volcanic go hand and hand, here imbuing elderflower, meadow grass, pear skin, wild lemon, green apple with a palpable buzzy energy and brisk verve. Youthful, direct, interesting, and smashable.Prices:
ON$23.95750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tornatore Pietrarizzotext
92PTS

Tornatore Pietrarizzo 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis perfumey nerello mascalese offers delicate aromas of wild flowers and raspberries peppered with flavourful star anise and cinnamon. The meticulous tannin management during fermentation and judicious aging regime, in wooden barrels and cement tanks, results in an elegantly textured wine with refined tannins and finesse. Lingering flavours of savoury earthiness and smokey mineral undertones emphasize its volcanic Sicilian origins.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tasca d'Almerita Tascante Ghiaia Nera Nerello Mascalesetext
91PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Tascante Ghiaia Nera Nerello Mascalese 2015

Sicily, ItalyShowing a touch of volatility, but in an appealing way, this delicate nerello mascalese exhibits dates and baked cherries mingled with subtle dried flowers and spices. Precise and lively on the palate, it offers refined tannins which frame charming red berry before a nutty, earthy finish. Linear and lithe in style, this wine translates the sense of place and the grape gracefully.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tornatore Etna Rosatotext
90PTS

Tornatore Etna Rosato 2019

Etna, Sicily, ItalySlightly darker and deeper showing a ruby amber hue, this nerello mascalese rosato embodies the terroir where it’s grown. It’s packed with ripe, juicy, vibrant red berries, perfumed orange peel, and licorice spices peppered with dried flowers and herbs. It exhibits excellent typicity, finishing with distinctly Sicilian savoury saline notes.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tenuta Regaleali Cabernet Sauvignon Vigna San Francescotext
91PTS

Tenuta Regaleali Cabernet Sauvignon Vigna San Francesco 2017

Sicily, ItalyVoid of the characteristic greenness of the grape, this bold and polished cabernet sauvignon shows ravish dark fruits and intense spicy clove and tobacco, with chocolate undertones. It boasts plenty of rounded tannins backed by a generous use of new French oak. It confirms its Sicilian origins displaying smoky saline minerals on the finish.Prices:
BC$64.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca d'Almerita Rosé Nerello Mascalesetext
88PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Rosé Nerello Mascalese 2020

Sicily, ItalyMade from the highly regarded nerello mascalese, this rosato shows more of an evolved orange hue than pink itself at this stage. Savoury in style rather than young and fresh, this wine offers baked red berries and dried herbs with a smoky mineral undercurrent. It has an appealing rustic nature along with tense vibrancy.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Regaleali Nero d'Avolatext
89PTS

Regaleali Nero d'Avola 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis nero d’avola is aburst with luscious black cherries and spices, licorice in particular. Rich and bold on the palate, the succulent dark fruits are layered with savoury salami and hints of chocolaty sweetness. A fruit-forward style with supple tannins, this unpretentious, juicy red overdelivers for the price, and is a perfect wine to drink with barbecue.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
AB$22.95750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Rosso del Contetext
93PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Rosso del Conte 2016

Sicily, ItalyA blend of Sicily’s own nero d’avola and perricone, this is a contemporary and ambitious interpretation of these native varieties. Aged in 100% new French oak, this wine is not shy about its oak influences, contributing extra layers of floral fragrance, a cedar nose, and savoury spices to the intensely rich black cherry, plum. At almost 6 years of age, it still tastes fresh and youthful with only mere hints of soy umami and savoury black olives. It is worthy of more cellaring ahead given its powerful fruit and ample yet tightly knit tannins.Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
AB$79.99750ml
ON$65.00750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca d'Almerita Leonetext
90PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Leone 2020

Sicily, ItalyA blend of catarratto, pinot bianco, sauvignon blanc, traminer aromaticom and moscato, this is lightly reductive and closed when just opened, but it evolves later in the glass showing a more pronounced orange peel and white peach nose layered with orchard blossoms. On the palate, the fruit tastes sweeter with a hint of tropical nuances. The savoury leesy character, along with herbal notes, adds complexity. It finishes with lingering pleasant almond bitterness and saline minerality. Lean and sleek and tightly structured, it's quite a stylish white.Prices:
BC$36.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Cavallo delle Fate Grillotext
90PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Cavallo delle Fate Grillo 2020

Sicily, ItalyA cross between catarratto and moscato, and once responsible for Italy’s fortified wine Marsala, grillo is widely grown in Sicily and is now making exciting modern dry whites. This wine is a great example. A perfect mix of floral, citrus, and herbal notes, it opens with delicate citrus blossoms leading to lemon zest with nuances of ripe peach and fresh chopped herbs. Mouthwatering, lively acidity, balanced by a rich mouthfeel, persists fairly long on the palate. It leaves savoury, stony minerality on the finish.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto Antisatext
88PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto Antisa 2019

Sicily, ItalyWith a somewhat dark gold hue, this initially showed a more developed character of bruised apple and nuts on the nose rather than youthful fruit or floral notes that you would expect from catarratto. On the palate, it proves to be a more serious wine than its first impression. Crisp acidity backed by a core of ripe citrus suggests it’s a structurally well framed wine. The fairly long finish with lingering saline almond notes is another charm of the wine. Perhaps it would have been a much more impressive wine if tasted a couple of years earlier, when the fruit was still vibrant.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
AB$35.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Regaleali Biancotext
88PTS

Regaleali Bianco 2020

Sicily, ItalyA blend of Sicilian white grapes (inzolia, grecanico, and catarratto) with a small portion of chardonnay, this wine is packed with mouth watering citrus layered with floral accents and fresh herbs. Moderate yet refreshing acidity finishes straightforwardly. As the packaging, a slender flute bottle with a screw cap, indicates, it is a light, crisp white with an uncomplicated air.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
AB$22.95750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rossotext
91PTS

Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2020

Etna, Sicily, ItalyFounder Marc de Grazia is one of the pioneers of Etna, amongst the first to celebrate these neglected, ancient vineyards, and the first to bottle single-parcel nerello mascalese. This organic nerello mascalese (splashed with 2% nerello cappuccio) come from vineyards in Castiglione di Sicilia and Randazzo, and vines ranging from 6-50 years rooted in Etna's volcanic soils, 600-1000m. Post ferment this aged in large format French oak for 1 year, following by a 1 month stint in stainless before bottling unfined. This lighter hued red charms with wild flowers, lifted cherry, fragrant raspberry on a finessed, medium bodied palate, seasoned with scrubby rosemary. Tannins are long and sticky, and acidity is lofted and effortless, with an underlying volcanic vibrato that carries this through the finish. His wines only go up in quality from here, which is a wonderful thought.Prices:
BC$33.00750ml
Producer: Tenuta Delle Terre Nere
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b.io Il Nerotext
88PTS

b.io Il Nero 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis distinctly shaped, bee-laden bottle is from the Terre Cevico co.op, founded in 1963, and blends 60% nero d'avola with 40% cabernet sauvignon from inland southwestern Sicily. b.io references their organic project, also active in Puglia and their home base of Emilia Romagna. The grapes are harvested and fermented separately in stainless, with 10 days maceration and 6-8 months in tank. Rich and plumped with blackberries, boysenberry, juicy plum, and sweet black raspberry, this full red fills the mouth with gobs of soft fruit, lightly hugged with plush tannins to a kirsch finish. One to pop with roasted root veg.Prices:
BC$20.99750ml
QC$19.75750ml
Producer: Terre Cevico
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Nicosia Grillotext
89PTS

Nicosia Grillo 2020

Sicily, ItalyFrom southwest Sicily, this organic grillo was fermented and aged briefly in stainless. The deeper yellow hue reveals the ripeness and sun generosity here, with honeyed pear, fragrant white peach, lush melon, tangerine stretched along a waxen palate, seasoned with sea breeze salinity. a lovely pick for fritto misto, white fish, and Mediterranean salads.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Nicosia SPA
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Curatolo Arini Grillotext
88PTS

Curatolo Arini Grillo 2019

Sicily, ItalyThis grillo comes from the sandy soils of western Sicily, and the project is under the watchful eye of Alberto Antonini. Bright and sunny as the Sicilian sunshine, this juicy white streams wild lemon, tangerine, wild melon, and white peach, along a streamline, marine swept palate. An easy choice to crack alongside calamariPrices:
BC$25.00750ml
ON$15.00750ml
Producer: Curatolo Arini
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Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleriatext
92PTS

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2018

Sicily, ItalyA rare and coveted dessert wine, Passito di Pantelleria is made from sundried zibbibo grapes (akin to muscat of Alessandria) rooted in sandy soils on the tiny volcanic island of Pantelleria, southwest of Sicily. Twelve different sites, soils, and altitudes made up this complexed blend of bush vines, some up to 100 years in age. This is fermented in stainless steel with the dried grapes added to the fresh must in several batches, releasing their concentrated layers of sweetness to the fermenting juice. This aged in stainless for at least 7 months, plus 1 year in bottle prior to release. With 190 g/L RS, it will easily last decades in your cellar. Pouring a burnished golden chestnut hue, this elixir lures with warm butterscotch, buckwheat honey, caramelized orange, dried apricot, and golden raisins along an expansive, lengthy palate, studded with flake salts and lifted with bergamot oil through the smouldering savoury finish. There's a beautiful inherent acidity to cut through the potent sweetness on the palate. Lovely, contemplative wine to take on a burnished Spanish cheesecake or rich nut tart.Prices:
BC$73.00375ml
Producer: Donnafugata
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Feudo Maccari Nerétext
89PTS

Feudo Maccari Neré 2019

Sicily, ItalyBush trained nero d'avola vines, 12-34 years old, are planted around 2km from the sea. This younger vine nero d'avola was macerated 2-3 weeks, and fermented and aged in stainless, to preserve the pure fruit. Potent black plums, thorny wild blackberry are infiltrated with a spice box of scrubby herbal seasoning on the cushy, full-boded palate, with sticky tannins tugging at the sides and dark chocolate on the finish. One to reach for with herb grilled lamb and / or root veg.Prices:
BC$25.00750ml
Producer: Feudo Maccari
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Crudo Nero d'Avola Cabernet Sauvignon Organictext
88PTS

Crudo Nero d'Avola Cabernet Sauvignon Organic 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis ready-to-go Crudo red blends Nero d'Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon, each fermented separately in stainless steel tanks, with half of the Cabernet Sauvignon seeing a bit of time in oak post-MLF. Full and fruit forward, with juicy blackberry, boysenberry on the fleshy palate, seasoned with black liquorice and cracked pepper, and studded with sea salts. Tannins are soft and supple, welcoming partnering with Romesco sauced octopus, as the label may suggest.Prices:
BC$17.99750ml
Producer: Mare Magnum
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Stemmari Nero d'Avolatext
87PTS

Stemmari Nero d'Avola 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis youthful nero d'avola comes from Sambuca di Sicilia, in Agrigento, fermented and aged 6 months in wood. Dark and cushy, the medium bodied palate is full of ripe plum, cherry, nutmeg and lightly spiced wood, with softly sticky tannins to hug the sides and an herbal minty lift. One to crack into now, ideally with ribs or mint sauced lamb burgers.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
AB$18.99750ml
Producer: Stemmari
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Tasca d'Almerita Leonetext
89PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Leone 2020

Sicily, ItalyAlthough shy and restrained on the nose, offering pear lifted by lime blossom and dried herbs, the palate is more generous, with riper, more defined fruit that takes on a honeyed edge. Rich and oily in texture, this has soft acidity that is balanced by the high level of dry extract, which is providing the structure to this wine. An exciting discovery, especially for those seeking alternatives to Rhône whites.Prices:
BC$36.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca d'Almerita Rosé Nerello Mascalesetext
89PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Rosé Nerello Mascalese 2020

Sicily, ItalyPouring a medium pink / orange hue, this nerello mascalese rosé shows a lifted, savoury nose of dried roses and scrubs with macerated cherries and strawberries. Slightly developed, there's some effervescence that gives some freshness to the palate, in a style that is dry but not austere. What stands out is the concentration, benefiting from vines planted in 1974, which is impressive on the 12.5% abv frame. A versatile rosé that's at home at the dinner table.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Cavallo delle Fate Grillotext
90PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Cavallo delle Fate Grillo 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis opens with a bright, pure fruited nose of lemon and green apple, with complexity coming from lees aging and a backbone of wet stones. Textured and creamy on the palate, this shows a beautiful balance of richness and freshness, with no shortage of tension. Think along the lines of Muscadet with a notch more ripeness. There's real precision here that carries through the long, saline finish.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto Antisatext
88PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto Antisa 2019

Sicily, ItalyThis catarratto shows a semi-aromatic nose of white blossoms with dried grapefruit peel, pear, and beeswax, with some evolution to the fruit from time in bottle. Textured and dry on the palate, with crisp acidity, this is well balanced in a complex, saline style that will appeal to fans of lighter Rhône whites. Drink now.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
AB$35.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tornatore Pietrarizzotext
91PTS

Tornatore Pietrarizzo 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis is quite a floral scented nerello mascalese with red berries, licorice, and toasted spices, subtly backed by Etna's characteristic minerality. It's intense and concentrated, 14.5% yet still fresh and elegant, with firm grained tannins that suggest this will continue to reward careful cellaring. A serious wine.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Occhipinti Passo Nero Passitotext
91PTS

Occhipinti Passo Nero Passito 2019

Vittoria, Sicily, ItalyFrom one of the world's leading natural winemakers and advocates, Arianna Occhipinti transmits terroir from south western Sicily's limestone-laced via her organic, non-interventionist wines. This special nero d'avola passito was destemmed and had 2 weeks of drying time on racks prior to a native ferment with 30 days maceration on skins. It then aged 16 months in 750L barrels before heading to bottle unfined and unfiltered, where it remained for at least 6 months prior to release. Layers of ripe cassis, ribena jam, red liquorice, golden raisins, dried paper and old leather work across a hazy, textural, sweet palate, studded with cracked cloves, wild mint, and flake salts. There's an easy freshness that keeps this from being cloying, and encouraging pairing with fine dark chocolate. 1764 bottles.Prices:
ON$75.00375ml
Producer: Arianna Occhipinti
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Tasca d'Almerita Tascante Ghiaia Nera Nerello Mascalesetext
91PTS

Tasca d'Almerita Tascante Ghiaia Nera Nerello Mascalese 2015

Sicily, ItalyThis opens with a lifted, savoury nose of dried cherry, thyme, smoked spices, and crushed rocks, bolstered by undergrowth and cedar from seven years of bottle age. It's quite complex, and evolves nicely in the glass over time, suggesting this is just starting to enter its peak. There's really no need to wait, though. Excellent concentration and balance on the palate, with fine, polished tannins that are just starting to resolve. This is the real deal and a fine value at this price.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Rosso del Contetext
92PTS

Tasca D'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Rosso del Conte 2016

Sicily, ItalyThis shows soft, luscious dark fruits in a ripe, modern style, with the forward oak to match. Even with all new wood, this has the fruit weight and concentration to keep things in balance, helped by the quality of the barrel selections and the clear affinity to the fruit. There's a lot of depth here, with fennel, dried violets, and pepper adding complexity to the bold fruit. Medium to full bodied, it's beautifully structured in a rich, dense style, with a freshness that belies its age. Just starting to hint at its vintage; enjoy over the next 4-6 years.Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
AB$79.99750ml
ON$65.00750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Tornatore Etna Rosatotext
90PTS

Tornatore Etna Rosato 2019

Etna, Sicily, ItalyThis is far from the status quo. It's darker-coloured and intensely savoury, speaking to place more than style. And it really could only come from Etna, with its combination of lifted florals, volcanic smokiness, and dried sour cherry. It's a compelling wine that provokes contemplation, with complexity, depth, and an unmistakable energy.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Francesco Tornatore
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Tenuta Regaleali Cabernet Sauvignon Vigna San Francescotext
91PTS

Tenuta Regaleali Cabernet Sauvignon Vigna San Francesco 2017

Sicily, ItalyA typical nose of dried black currant, medicinal cherry, fig, dried herbs, and cedar, backed by sweet spices and vanillin from 100% new barriques from Allier and Tronçais. This offers a sweet attack, with a liqueur-like character to the fruit at this level of ripeness (15% abv), with a drying finish that's accentuated by the warming alcohol. The full-bodied style will appeal to those looking for hedonistic expressions of cabernet, with the savouriness that typifies Italy.Prices:
BC$64.99750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Regaleali Nero d'Avolatext
89PTS

Regaleali Nero d'Avola 2017

Sicily, ItalyThis shows a juicy nose of spiced cherries and brambles, with a subtle touch of peppery fennel. Medium bodied, soft, and juicy, this offers a nice balance of fruit and savoury spice, with fine grained tannins that structure the finish. Not overly complicated, but very pleasurable and well made. Enjoy with a light chill alongside bistro fare.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
AB$22.95750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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Regaleali Biancotext
89PTS

Regaleali Bianco 2020

Sicily, ItalyThis Sicilian blend shows a zesty, limey nose with almond and a stony minerality. A slight effervescence on the palate gives this a boost of freshness, with a precise, linear texture that leads to a crisp, saline finish. It's a characterful, mineral-driven white that will appeal to those looking for a savoury, restrained white to pair with grilled oysters.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
AB$22.95750ml
Producer: Conte Tasca d'Almerita
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14 October 2022

Backyard Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Backyard Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Franc 2018

British Columbia, CanadaThis barrel selection came off two southern Okanagan vineyards, and spent 17 months in French Oak (25% new) before heading to bottle unfined and unfiltered. Deeply ripe cassis, black cherry is woven with cedar, roast meats, and tobacco, and bound by sinewy tannins, leading this chewy, full red to a warming smoked spiced finish. Not shy, this is one to crack into with roast beef or sausages.Prices:
BC$55.99750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Backyard Vineyards Simply Social Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Backyard Vineyards Simply Social Cabernet Franc 2019

British Columbia, CanadaFrom two vineyards in the South Okanagan, this bold Cabernet Franc spent 30 days on skins and ferment in stainless. Big and ripe, with gobs of sweet blackberry, black cherry and peppery spice, this amply ripe cabernet is seasoned with cedar and tobacco, and wrapped with sticky tannins to a vanilla finish. An easy, open, friendly wine to crack into now (as intended), ideally with ribs.Prices:
BC$34.60750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Gold Hill Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Gold Hill Cabernet Franc 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Gold Flagship wine doesn't disappoint. It is a power red with a big aromatic tobacco leaf nose supported by dried, crushed leaves, black plums, sagebrush and vanilla. The palate is equally intense with black raspberries, tobacco, lightly gritty tannins, and a long, spicy black licorice and baking spice finish. This wine is a long way from the finish line, so it's lamb now or another five to seven years in the bottle. Well done.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
Producer: Gold Hill Winery
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Backyard Vineyards Simply Social Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Backyard Vineyards Simply Social Cabernet Franc 2019

British Columbia, CanadaThe Southern Okanagan is home to this fragrant cabernet franc that spent a year in mostly neutral oak. It opens with a raspberry, vanilla bent and a hint of spice. The palate is similar with black pepper and dark plum flavours with a tinge of sour fruit and crushed leaf in the finish. Best served with lamb chops, or dress it down with a pulled pork sandwich.Prices:
BC$34.60750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Backyard Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Backyard Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Franc 2018

British Columbia, CanadaThe Reserve Cabernet Franc is a barrel selection after 17 months rest in French oak, wisely capped at 25 percent new oak. The south Okanagan fruit opens with a fragrant nose with earthy, leafy black plum, black cherry, cedar, cooler meaty notes, and a spicy/clove finish. At this point, it is rich enough to stand up to the likes of lamb chops, grilled sausages, or a favourite prime rib.Prices:
BC$55.99750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Bartier Bros. Cabernet Franc 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 Cabernet Franc reflects the quality vintage. The 90/10 cabernet franc/merlot, grown over sandy loam topsoil on a mostly granite glacial till opens with subtle blueberry and black plum. The attack is juicy with young black fruit, a desert dusting of sagebrush, and excellent acidity heightening its peppery finish. It spends 14 months in neutral 225L French wood before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Gentle enough for chicken, and rich enough for lamb.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$26.99750ml
Producer: Bartier Bros.
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Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Franctext
86PTS

Lakeside Cellars Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDesert Valley Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench is home to this franc. It was planted in 2011, and successive years of high quality fruit have allowed it to play as a single vineyard wine for Lakeside Cellars. Post fermentation, it spends 24 months in neutral French and American oak. The nose is an earthy, savoury bell pepper affair with a pleasant vanilla underside. On the palate, it is somewhat rustic, led by high acid and spicy black fruit dosed in dried desert sagebrush. The tannins are soft, but this needs a big piece of rare protein to settle in or more time in the bottle. It's just a little sharp at this point. Try this with beef tacos or a grilled steak.Prices:
BC$29.00750ml
Producer: Lakeside Cellars
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Hillside Heritage Series Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Hillside Heritage Series Cabernet Franc 2018

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Hillside Heriate Series Cabernet Franc has it all together in 2018, beginning with a knockout bouquet that feints franc, St. Emilion, and Naramata in a manner that is almost disarming. Elegance and power are a lovely combination, and this wine has it in spades. Look for a mix of cherries, black raspberries, and the perfect tension of tannins and acidity that seem to assimilate each other in the finish. This is a winner: elegant, graceful, charming and ready to drink. The fruit comes off Cinwick Vineyard below the Naramata Road, on the heavier lacustrine soils. Anything mushroom will take you to paradise. Well done and at a great price.Prices:
BC$34.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Desert Hills Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Desert Hills Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaDesert Hills always flies under the radar, but this franc should not be overlooked. The intensity is formidable and unleashed thanks to only ten percent new French oak in the mix. The spice and sunny black fruit are a good marriage; once it's brushed with some savoury sagebrush, it comes to life. The finish is long and persistent, with plenty of white pepper and enough acidity to offset the fruit. Drink or hold this very consumer-friendly wine.Prices:
BC$36.90750ml
Producer: Desert Hills Estate Winery
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Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Phantom Creek Estates Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2019

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaYear two of the Kobau Vineyard Cabernet Franc grown on the Golden Mile bench is a much better version than year one. It still has that south Okanagan version of garrigue, but it is much better integrated into a wine with more pure black plums, black cherries, and savoury sagebrush/dried herbs with a hint of chocolate leading the way. There is some dense young tannins yet to be dispersed, but this sleeper will keep through 2025.Prices:
BC$65.00750ml
Producer: Phantom Creek Estates
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13 October 2022

Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio Monovitignotext
89PTS

Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio Monovitigno 2021

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyMassimo di Lenardo runs this spectacular Friuli property, founded in 1878, mixing estate fruit with purchased fruit from Friuli Grave, Friuli Aquileia, and the Colli Orientali Del Friuli DOCs. The winemaking is simple: the grapes are hand harvested and fermented with modern technology, including solar energy, to generate all the electricity used at the winery. The style is clean and bright with the softness of Friuli combined with pear syrup, honey, bananas, quince and that unmistakable almond flavour. One of the best I of this label I have had, with a purity of fruit jumping out of the glass. Well done. Most west coast seafood works here, but my pick is a classic spaghetti carbonara.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Di Lenardo Vineyards
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Peak Cellars Skin Kissed Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Peak Cellars Skin Kissed Pinot Gris 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinemaker Stephanie Stanley is turning heads at Peak Cellars with wines like this Skin Kissed Gris. It takes its colour from a cool overnight immersion with skins before being pressed off. As a result, it's not rosé but has some pale colour magic to lift your spirits. The palate is a juicy explosion of apple and strawberry, and it is up another notch in quality this year. The magic sauce is that savoury sagebrush and tarragon kick that comes through the finish. It's taken 40 years, but pinot gris is finally finding its footing in BC, and this is one of the most exciting new models. Well done, stock up again.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Peak Cellars
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Perlage Pinot Grigiotext
90PTS

Perlage Pinot Grigio 2021

Veneto, ItalyNot your typical Italian pinot grigio. Sourced from 250m in the subregion of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and limestone / volcanic laced soils, this organic grigio was native fermented on skins in stainless steel. Pear skin, elderflower, lemon peel, meadow grass is bright and lifted on the slight 12% palate, with energy and texture via the skin time and soils. Smart, snappy, saline, this is a moreish Italian white. Fantastic value too. More grigios like this please.Prices:
ON$16.00750ml
Producer: Perlage
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Township 7 Pinot Gris Provenance Seriestext
89PTS

Township 7 Pinot Gris Provenance Series 2021

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI tasted this alongside an excellent Italian version of the same grape, which easily reflects its self-described statement made in a fresh Italian style. It is stainless steel fermented to retain its new orchard fruit characters, mixing the flavours of the Naramata Bench home vineyard and Hidden Terrace in Oliver. 2021 was no cakewalk. Wildfires were ever present, and heat domes added to the travails of growers, yet this presents fresh as a daisy without a hint of smoke. That’s right, the 175-kilometre-long Okanagan is home to many mesoclimates, which is at the heart of its diversity. The winery would like you to consider blackened Mahi Mahi tacos, peach salsa, or Caprese toasts with roasted tomatoes and basil. I would add spicy sushi rolls to the list to offset the ripe peachy fruit. Ready to drink. Good value.Prices:
BC$22.97750ml
Producer: Township 7 Vineyards and Wineries
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11 October 2022

Code Wines Pinot Noir Clone Collection Dijon 777text
92PTS

Code Wines Pinot Noir Clone Collection Dijon 777 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis new Okanagan winery is the vision of Shay and Harlee Code, the farmers and owners of this organic 5 acre Okanagan Falls east bench estate. They began planting in 2017 with chardonnay and syrah. Over the past 3 years they've made their wines at Naramata's Roche Winery, but have recently launched their own operation. One of 4 clonal pinot noirs from the 2020 vintage, this is entirely 777 planted in the middle of their sloping vineyard, cresting down the hill. It rested 1 year in French oak (2nd fill) and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Wild cherries, raspberries, crushed plums, floral forest notes glide along the elegant, medium bodied palate, with a beauty fine textural undercurrent. Tannins are long and finely grippy, studded with salts, guiding this to a crushed stone finish. Really exciting and impressive first impression. I look forward to trying the entire Clonal Collection family (all made same way) in future.Prices:
BC$34.00750ml
Producer: Code Wines
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Crowsnest Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Crowsnest Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaNow, 24 years along, Crowsnest is in the hands of the second generation. This lighter bodied pinot teems with twiney plum fruit, blackberry, mulled spices, and smoked stone, with furry tannins and tart acidity. Needs a lighter hand and some sharpening, but this could be a lovely wild Similkameen pinot in coming years.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Stag's Hollow Renaissance Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Stag's Hollow Renaissance Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOnly the best lots at Stag's Hollow end up in the Renaissance labels, and Rennaisance has only been made eight times in the last 24 years. The pinot comes from the Shuttleworth Creek property. Two-thirds of the wine involves clones 667 and 115, but according to winemaker Keira Lefranc, it is the Pommard clone that completes the wine and gives it its raison d'etre. I love the elegance here, given the intense, juicy, dark cherry and plentiful baking spice. It has a sense of calm and place, suggesting that it is unique and part of the pinot noir renaissance in BC. — a perfect turkey wine that would be equally happy with most mushroom dishes.Prices:
BC$42.00750ml
Producer: Stag's Hollow Winery and Vineyard
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Henricsson Vineyardtext
91PTS

Foxtrot Pinot Noir Henricsson Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 is the first time the Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir was entirely vinified in the cellars at Foxtrot. The fruit is partially destemmed, with 25% being crushed whole cluster. After a three day cold soak, it is fermented in stainless steel, getting 17 days of maceration and gentle pumpovers before spending 14 months in 12% French oak. This is a dry, earthy affair with notes of black cherries, and spicy, rooty, licorice. The spice continues through the wine with a savoury minty aftertaste. The creamy, silky textures are outstanding, bringing a sense that you could drink this earlier than the other labels. It was a perfect partner for a roast turkey.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir The Waltz Vineyardtext
89PTS

Foxtrot Pinot Noir The Waltz Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFoxtrot characterizes 2020 as a challenging year, but in the end, it turned out to be excellent for those who paid attention to viticulture. Harvest began on October 8 in several single vineyard designated blocks, extending until late October. The estate blocks were picked the third week of October, just before the first cold snap. Waltz is a mix of fruit from select vineyards in the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, harvested in mid-October. The parcels are fermented separately with varying amounts of the whole cluster. The fruit undergoes a three day cold soak followed by a maceration period averaging 17 days. The wines spend 14 months in French oak barrels aging, using 8% new oak and the remainder second fill and neutral. The wine is made in the Burgundian style with dry, earthy forest floor that previews a spicy black fruit palate holding the line from front to back. Youthful with some tannin to disperse, it will be a solid pinot noir for the diner table in two to three years.Prices:
BC$49.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Wily Fox Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Wily Fox Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFoxtrot Wily Fox is a small selection of the best barrels from the estate. These vines were six and seven years old in 2020 and are primarily own rooted cuttings from Foxtrot's Estate Vineyard. It gets a four day cold soak before a stainless steel fermentation using one-third whole clusters and destemmed berries. Gentle pumpovers marked the 21 days of maceration, followed by 14 months in 25 percent new French oak barrels. New World style here, this pinot has a robust savoury desert undertow mixed with cassis, red currants, and spicy raspberries. Built for food, this is your duck confit wine. A slightly more rugged version of the group, it will need time in the bottle.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Estatetext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Estate 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2020 was an excellent year overall in BC wine country, and this pinot noir reflects it. The Estate Pinot Noir tops all Foxtrot labels, delivering a rich, sumptuous pinot that is mouthfilling and complex. The fruit originated from the Munro block of 25 year old own rooted clone 115 vines. The ferment included 29 percent whole cluster bunches and a skin contact period of 17-20 days preceded 14 months of barrel ageing in 25 percent new French oak, with the remainder stored in second fill and neutral oak barrels. The nose has a pleasant floral demeanour that permeates a stony mineral undercurrent. Plenty of black cherry leads the way on the palate, dusted in desert scrub and spicy notes, including ginger. Built to age, this is a wine to cellar through 2025, allowing it to develop fully. Impressive.Prices:
BC$95.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Raisin d'Etre Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Raisin d'Etre Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRaisin d'Etre Vineyard sits just below the home estate on the Naramata Bench. It is all clone 828, cold soaked, destemmed, fermented, and macerated for 15 days and aged in 50 percent new French oak for 14 months. It has a decisively ripe character featuring blueberries and equally enticing florals. The flavours are intense, and the textures are perfectly smooth with an extended finish. Impressive and rich, but at 13.6 percent alcohol, it remains stylish. Although available to taste, most of the production will be cellared away at the winery to be kept in the Foxtrot library. Foxtrot characterizes 2020 as a challenging year, but in the end, it turned out to be excellent for those who paid attention to viticulture. Harvest began on October 8th in several single vineyard designated blocks, extending until late October. The estate blocks were picked the third week of October, just before the first cold snap.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Paddock Vineyardtext
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Foxtrot Pinot Noir Paddock Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Paddock Pinot is the second single vineyard bottling planted in 2014, entirely with clone 115 cuttings from Foxtrot's Estate vineyard. After a three-day cold soak, it fermented in stainless steel, and after 16 days of maceration, it was barrel aged in neutral French oak for 14 months, leaving a beautiful effect on these young vines, setting the fruit free. It is quite a powerful pinot with rich black plum and dense, soft tannin yet to be shed. Long and dusty minerals wrap it up — a bit of a sleeper which fits with its near future to be stored in the Foxtrot wine library for ageing. It will be fun to watch its development. Sadly only one barrel was produced. Foxtrot characterizes 2020 as a challenging year, but in the end, it turned out to be excellent for those who paid attention to viticulture. Harvest began on October 8 in several single vineyard-designated blocks, extending until late October. The estate blocks were picked the third week of October, just before the first cold snap.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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Crowsnest Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Crowsnest Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWith a medium-light garnet hue, this Similkameen pinot noir opens with lifted aromas of violet, sour cherries, and dusty, earthy notes. On the palate, youthful juicy red fruits, layered with subtle spices, are balanced by refreshing acidity. Relatively light and loose with soft tannins and a straightforward finish, it's a simple yet easy drinking pinot that can be enjoyed on its own or with lighter pasta or white meat dishes.Prices:
BC$23.50750ml
Producer: Crowsnest Vineyards
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Quails' Gate Pinot Noirtext
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Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from several vineyards and a variety of clones, the 2020 fruit enjoyed a superior growing season. The regular QG Pinot is cold soaked for five days, fermented separately on skins for 10-20 days, and pressed off to new and old French oak barrels for nine months. I like the mix of sour cherry and ripe raspberries lightly dusted in cedar. The styling is elegant and reserved, with a silky spicy finish. The winery suggests a late season mushroom, squash risotto, seared game meats, or roasted pork with wild rice and root vegetables. Drink or hold.Prices:
BC$31.99750ml
AB$30.99750ml
MB$30.00750ml
QC$29.10750ml
NS$30.00750ml
PEI$30.09750ml
YK$32.99750ml
SK$30.00750ml
NB$32.99750ml
Producer: Quails' Gate Vineyards Estate Winery
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O'Rourke Family Estate Waiting For You Pinot Noirtext
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O'Rourke Family Estate Waiting For You Pinot Noir 2019

Lake Country, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe poetic Waiting For You is an early six-barrel release from a single block of five-year-old vines at Carrs Landing. Block 9 was indigenous yeast fermented and aged 50% in new French oak, 17% in one-year-old barrels, and the remainder in neutral French oak barrels, all for 11 months underground in the O'Rourke wine caves. The colour is surprisingly dark for a 13.5% alcohol and a 50+degree north vineyard. However, it is alive with freshness on the palate, led by a black cherry juicy base streaked with a touch of orange, chocolate, tobacco, and turned earth. Long and silky describes its persistent finish. An impressive start that is "waiting for you" at O'Rourke Family Estate.Prices:
BC$85.00750ml
Producer: O'Rourke Family Estate
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Meyer Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Meyer Pinot Noir 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe '21 Meyer Pinot is a mix of three Okanagan Vineyards: Teasdale Road in Southeast Kelowna, Fat Coyote on the Naramata Bench, and Lakehill Road in Kaleden. The destemmed fruit is partially native fermented over four weeks before ageing eight months in older French barrels and puncheons, meant to expand and grow the wine without any oak influence. The style is fleshy with a distinct, barnyard, earthy undercurrent that equalizes the black cherry and absorbs some of the spice and acidity. Ready to drink and would be a hit with duck pizza.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyardstext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Micro Cuvée McLean Creek Vineyards 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Meyers call 2020 "the best vintage in recent years compared to the excellent 2016 season." During the long warm days of the fall leading up to harvest, the weather was perfect for ripening, with warm days and cool nights providing a long hang time for the pinot noir blocks to develop flavour and physiological ripeness. The nose is all pinot with a fragrant, pure black cherry with a hint of forest floor and brown spice. The tannins are super soft and inviting, pulling you along the palate with more raspberry and sasparilla. A classy New World version that speaks to Okanagan Falls and its ability to ripen but not over-ripen pinot. A delicious wine you can serve with Beijing duck, seared tuna, pulled pork, or roast quail. The Micro Cuvée pinot always represents the most harmonious blend of select barrels from fruit grown at the estate vineyard McLean Creek Road. Only the purest free-run juice makes it to the barrel. The fermentation begins in stainless steel vessels but finishes in 33 percent new French oak puncheons. It spends 11 months in wood without bâtonnage or stirring. Production was a tiny 110 barrels in 2020.Prices:
BC$58.35750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMcLean Creek Road Vineyard is the organically farmed home block at Meyer Vineyard, grown over a mix of sandy loam and deep gravels and a mix of clones: Pommard (91) and Dijon (114, 115, 667, 777). It is wild fermented and aged 11 months in 25 percent new French oak. Spicy, full-flavoured New World styling with aromatic Damson plums on a long soft, textured finish, this is not terribly complex but very much a crowd-pleaser. I like it with salmon steak, mushroom pasta, or almost any pork dish. Drink now or through 2027.Prices:
BC$34.87750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Noir 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaAnother classic island pinot draws you into the glass with a modest 12 percent alcohol. The colour is pale, the style refreshingly delicate with bright acidity. Pick your cool red fruit descriptor from raspberries to cherries to cranberries and pomegranate: it has it all in measured and balanced amounts. The finish is earthy, stemmy, and spicy curry with a lovely mineral underscore. An intellectual pinot that suggests the future of Cowichan Valley is as bright as this wine. Mott 32 Bejing duck is the match.Prices:
BC$37.99750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reservetext
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Tantalus Pinot Noir Reserve 2019

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe now familiar golden mask created by Tahltan-Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob marks the fourth edition of the Tantalus Reserve Pinot Noir. The nose is reserved and focused on the drier, earthy, forest-floor tobacco notes until it hits your palate. An explosion of dark plummy, black cherry fruit fills your mouth with a light level of grippy tannins that should dissipate over the next three years; be patient. The heart of this wine is a small, mid-slope block of 18 rows that contain the Dijon clone 667 and, in 2019, a small selection of what winemaker David Patterson called a standout Clone 37 wine in barrel. It is all wild fermented, incorporating 50% whole bunches and gets a single, foot treading daily to ensure finesse. It is aged in French barriques for 15 months, 40 percent new. The best yet.Prices:
BC$65.22750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Tantalus Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Tantalus Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe allure of Tantalus is the silky slippery tannins that frame this juicy, easy-sipping pinot. That east Kelowna plum and pepper fruit streaked with red currants and black cherries. It needs a touch of time to resolve some light but sticky tannins, but it will be hard to resist, especially if served at the dinner table. The classic or introductory label is a complex mix of estate and neighbouring vines, the latter grafted off the Tantalus estate. The clones of 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, 37, and 943 are fermented wild, block by block. They spend three to five weeks on skins before they are pressed off into oak barriques (20% new) and aged 16 months. The final blend rests over winter in neutral oak before it is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The alcohol, at 13.1 percent, has to scare other more famous regions worldwide.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Tantalus Vineyards
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir Saison Vineyardstext
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir Saison Vineyards 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThere isn't much of this wine, but the label deserves to exist to highlight Saison Vineyard, a property that has become a beacon for island pinot noir and a favourite of winemaker Dan Wright. A deeper, darker, more intense version of the regular label, it still remains within itself, offering floral, complex aromas and equally enticing flavours led by savoury, slightly sour cherry and fresh-turned earthy notes. Expect a long, complex, delicate and layered red. The Saison soil type is Shawnigan, a mix of marine silt and loam.The clones are 115 (18%), 667 (26%), 777 (30%) and 828 (26%). The wine spends 12 months in 20 percent new oak barriques. Alcohol is a modest 12.4 percent. Less than 100 cases are made.Prices:
BC$64.90750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir 2020

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaThe '19 was very good, but this wine is better. It has that juicy, medium-weight, Island coastal pinot noir vibe, but in 2020 it's a touch fleshier, and that really gives it an extra edge in the glass. It is silky smooth on entry with wild cherry, raspberry, and a dried leaf undertow that pulls you through the wine. Saison Vineyard is the anchor pinot noir for this wine, providing 75 percent of the blend. The texture and freshness of Cowichan Valley pinot reflect its unique BC marine silt and glacial, fluvial, sandy loam soils. A mix of clones is used: 115, 667, 777, 828, and a clone whose origin is unknown, adding a level of complexity that is much appreciated. Very little new oak completes the picture of a standout island pinot.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Unsworth Vineyards ULC
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CedarCreek Platinum Home Block Pinot Noirtext
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CedarCreek Platinum Home Block Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHome Block Vineyard sits high above the eastern shores of Okanagan Lake. The 1991 vines are planted over a mix of clay, silt, and stones. 2020 is certified organic, and at 13.5 percent, it has a lovely balanced vibe. Look for fresh plummy fruit with a swirl of spicy black raspberry and a dry, earthy, soya finish. The finish is shorter than I would like for the price, but the wine is otherwise solid. Anything mushroom works here, as does a grilled veal steak or baked salmon.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: CedarCreek Estate Winery
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Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Noirtext
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Blue Grouse Quill Pinot Noir 2020

British Columbia, CanadaQuill is a mix of Oliver and Cowichan Valley fruit that in 2020 has upped its island content to 62.5 percent. At a tidy 12.5 percent alcohol, this wine glides onto the palate with a lifted sweet cherry underpinned by cranberries, earthy forest floor, and brown spice. A delicious drinking style you can serve with a favourite salmon dish or a mushroom pizza. The fruit is left on its skins for four days, then fermented wild separately. Post ferment, it is aged in two year old French oak barrels to complete malolactic fermentation, followed by a year of aging in French and American oak.Prices:
BC$25.00750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Foxly Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Foxly Pinot Noir 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Foxly label is part of the Naramata Foxtrot Estate lineup, although crafted to be ready to drink. The nose mixes red fruit and blood notes with an earthy undercurrent. The fruit is a mix of Similkameen and Okanagan sites fermented separately in stainless steel and aged in 30 percent new French oak for 14 months. The tannins are barely noticeable in a finish that builds on mushroom spice and dried strawberries. A perfect early fall red for a mushroom dish.Prices:
BC$24.00750ml
Producer: Foxtrot Vineyards Ltd.
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1 Mill Road Pinot Noir Block Twotext
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1 Mill Road Pinot Noir Block Two 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBlock 2, planted to Dijon clone 115, sits just above Home Block Vineyard on a heavy glacial silt bench at the north end of the Naramata Bench. The richer soil plays a role in the denser character of this wine, which is juicer, more fruit forward, and spicier than its companion Home Block release. Plenty of dried cherry, mushroom, and dark chocolate fill in extensive, open, herbal, silky finish that runs long. You can drink this now or hold off through 2024. A perfect duck confit match, or serve it with a favourite pork dish.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: 1 Mill Road Vineyards
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1 Mill Road Pinot Noir Home Blocktext
90PTS

1 Mill Road Pinot Noir Home Block 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHome Block is grown on the heavier silty soils of the Naramata Bench, in this case tilting southwest and lying close to the massive and deep Okanagan Lake. The days are long and sunny but never scorchingly hot, making the site ideal for pinot noir. The style is more rich and more earthy than fruity. Think Oregon, not California. It’s juicy with sour black cherry, forest floor, and silky tannins. Still young and a bit rowdy, I would give this another three years. It is all handpicked and hand sorted. The grapes, clone 115, are fermented and aged in wooden French oak tanks with an additional 20 percent new French oak barrels.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: 1 Mill Road Vineyards
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10 October 2022

Alheit Vineyards Hereafter Heretext
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Alheit Vineyards Hereafter Here 2020

Western Cape, South AfricaChris Alheit is one of the leading saviours of old vines in South Africa, sourcing out small, oft-forgotten parcels across the Western Cape and rejuvenating them into storied wines. This cuvée comes off younger parcels of bush vine chenin, planted for the future (the next-gen old vines) that the Alheits are nurturing in Malmesbury, the Upper Blaauwklippen, and Polkadraai. It's whole-bunch-pressed and native fermented over two months in older barrels of various sizes. It was kept on lees for one year, then rested in the tank on fine lees without fining for six months before bottling. So lively and tight in youth, with lemon verbena, green apple, and meadow herbs, across a lightly waxen / clover honey base, all gripped with a lovely tension and energy to a saline finish. Such a smart, joyous, young, seriously smashable wine now, though the Diam10 cork leads me to recommend cellaring.Prices:
BC$43.00750ml
Producer: Alheit Vineyards
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Boschendal Sommelier Selection Chenin Blanctext
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Boschendal Sommelier Selection Chenin Blanc 2021

Coastal Region, South AfricaThe Sommelier Selection is just what it sounds like: a geekier version of the standard label. Elevated acidity and more bitter citrus zest plays down the sugar and ups the complexity. The palate mixes lime rind, sappy pine, grapefruit, and honey. The style is upbeat and zesty, playing on the green notes of chenin from olives to kiwi, all with a bitter undercurrent. Is it chenin? That is the question.Back to the drawing board.Prices:
BC$21.45750ml
Producer: Boschendal Estate Winery
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collectiontext
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Spier Chenin Blanc Signature Collection 2021

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaThis wine is highly focused and always stays within its means. Look for a skinnier, brighter, youthful style of chenin that is very food friendly. The Spier Signature Collection is all about freshness and value, with citrus drenched orchard fruit that continues to overdeliver for the price. Ready to drink, varietally correct, and a perfect match for fish tacos.Prices:
BC$13.99750ml
Producer: Spier
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Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanctext
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Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom the hills of Tygerberg outside Cape Town, this vineyard is planted to 35 year old vines that are dry farmed and grown on Malmesbury shale, 15km from the ocean. A highly lauded chenin, it is both barrel fermented and barrel matured, offering a richer version of chenin replete with tangy dried apricot cut with a citrus underside, and a nutty, vanilla, baked peach finish. A luscious version of chenin that will have its fans. The 21 Gables wines pay homage to a winemaking history now over 300 years old and the 21 gables preserved on various buildings around the estate.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Spier
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Tania and Vincent Carême Le Blanc Terre Brûléetext
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Tania and Vincent Carême Le Blanc Terre Brûlée 2020

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaVincent Carême is a well-known Loire producer in Vouvray, at Domaine Vincent Carême. Even more interesting, his wife is South African, and together they farm just over four hectares of vineyard located on Swartland granite. Terre Brûlée is the winery's flagship label and delivers from start to finish at the flagship label. The vines are well on 40 years old and sit at a comfortable and cool 625 meters of elevation. The nose is fresh with a distinct bony saline nose, and the palate is tweaked with quince and green peach. There is intensity and length, and a suggestion you could age this for a decade. Another fine bottle with a highly consistent label you can count on every year.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Vincent Carême
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Anthonij Rupert Protea Chenin Blanctext
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Anthonij Rupert Protea Chenin Blanc 2020

Western Cape, South AfricaProtea is named after South Africa's national flower and it's all over the bottle. This wine is consistently clean and fresh, no doubt part of its winemaking regime: gently whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel, staying in contact with lees for two months. It has an overt lemon-lime attack with peach and fresh cut herbs. The lees have given it a twist of complexity and texture, resulting in a cross between SA chenin and Kiwi sauvignon, all for an attractive price. Unfortunately, the twist-off natural cork impedes opening the bottle. Try this with steamed mussels.Prices:
BC$14.99750ml
Producer: Anthonij Rupert
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Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchor Man Old Vine Chenin Blanctext
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Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchor Man Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2019

Western Cape, South AfricaChenin fans will like this label of 40 year old chenin blanc that presents fully ripe and carries some old vine characteristics that make it so attractive. The fruit is primarily yellow with a touch of brown spice. The style is fresh, the finish long and intense, spiked with notes of honey and brown spice. Ready to drink and perfect for west coast seafood. The depth and complexity of this wine overdelivers for the price.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Nederburg Wines (Pty) Ltd.
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Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanctext
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Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2019

Coastal Region, South AfricaA complete chenin from four Coastal Region vineyards planted on 35 to 47 year old bush vines. It's wild fermented in a mix of new and old oak and amphora. It's the depth of colour and flavours here that set it apart from the normal. The palate is green with salty, grassy underbrush, refined acid, and oak to balance. It's already showing some power, but you can expect it to put on weight and improve in the bottle for the next few years with ease. Fine quality here and capable of matching a wide array of seafood, chicken, squash, and zucchini dishesPrices:
BC$21.45750ml
Producer: Bellingham - DGB
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07 October 2022

Château Brondelletext
88PTS

Château Brondelle 2018

Graves, Bordeaux, FranceMade of 50% merlot and 50% cabernet sauvignon from Graves, this wine leads with a mix of sweet ripe fruit and underripe tart fruit at the same time. Although there is some herbal and spicy savouriness along with mineral undertones to back it up, the overall impression is fairly simple. With the concentration missing a notch, it's quite light and lean considering the amount of cabernet sauvignon in the blend.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Château Brondelle
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Château Moulin de Taffardtext
88PTS

Château Moulin de Taffard 2019

Bordeaux, FranceA blend of 61% merlot, 37% cabernet sauvignon, and 2% cabernet franc, this Médoc opens with baked sweet red cherries laced with oak spices and a slight hint of pencil lead. Rustic in style, the ripe fruit is balanced by refreshing acidity, but the finish is fairly short and abrupt leaving a dry and coarse impression.Prices:
BC$33.99750ml
Producer: Château de Panigon
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Les Annereaux Vin Biologiquetext
89PTS

Les Annereaux Vin Biologique 2020

Bordeaux, FranceMade of 91% merlot with a mere 9% petit verdot, this certified organic wine starts off with a touch of volatility followed by mature red and dark fruits dusted with dried herbs and mineral undertones. Fruits, framed by lively acidity and rustic tannins, feel richer and riper on the palate. Not a purely fruited style, it shows pleasant savoury earthiness that can appeal to those who enjoy and appreciate organic wines.Prices:
BC$30.99750ml
Producer: Benjamin Hessel
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Château Haut-Mazierestext
89PTS

Château Haut-Mazieres 2019

FranceA merlot (65%) dominant blend with some cabernet sauvignon (20%) and cabernet franc (15%). The immediate impression is the evident oak on the nose showing cedar and clove, albeit overpowering the fruit. Youthful ripe red cherries and blackcurrants unveil later on the palate along with a touch of floral notes. Perhaps it needs a bit more time for the oak to integrate with the fruit, but as it is, it will appeal to those looking for a modern expression of Bordeaux at a fair price point.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Augey Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Augey Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Bordeaux, FranceA blend of three quarters merlot and one quarter cabernet sauvignon, this Bordeaux shows a mix of tart red berries and ripe dark fruit layered with fresh herbs and a touch of oak spices. It’s a fairly straightforward, fruity AOC Bordeaux that is drinking easily now with soft supple tannins. Vin de soif.Prices:
BC$15.99750ml
Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Château Lamolieretext
91PTS

Château Lamoliere 2016

Fronsac, Libourne, Bordeaux, FranceA merlot dominant (86%) blend with some cabernet franc (14%), this Fronsac opens with earthy forest floor and subtle oak spices along with red and black berry aromas. On the palate, it offers more concentrated fruit framed by suave tannins and vibrant acidity. About 6 years of age at this point, it’s showing some charming savoury saline quality but further cellaring will offer more complexity thanks to its well-built structure.Prices:
BC$38.99750ml
Producer: Château Lamoliere
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Château Valentintext
88PTS

Château Valentin 2017

Bordeaux, FranceThis is a blend of merlot (60%) and cabernet franc (30%) with a small amount of petit verdot (10%) from Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux located across the Gironde from Médoc. Tart red fruit dominates the nose with some minty herbal undertones. Somewhat loosely structured and simple in style, this wine offers freshness and soft tannins on the palate. Its charm is its fresh, forward fruit, benefiting from the lack of oak.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Château Valentin
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Château Moulin de Taffardtext
87PTS

Château Moulin de Taffard 2019

Bordeaux, FranceA 61/37/2 blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, this Médoc Cru Bourgeois shows a surprisingly lifted, developed nose, even at just three years of age. Expect dried cherries, humus, and cedar, leading to a broad palate with hard, assertive tannins. Drink now with hearty stews. Correct, in more of a traditional old-school style.Prices:
BC$33.99750ml
Producer: Château de Panigon
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Les Annereaux Vin Biologiquetext
88PTS

Les Annereaux Vin Biologique 2020

Bordeaux, FranceThis organic blend of merlot and petit verdot shows a leesy character that subdues the juicy black fruits, with black cherry, gravel, and graphite leading to a fresh, medium-bodied palate with firm, gritty tannins that dry out the finish.Prices:
BC$30.99750ml
Producer: Benjamin Hessel
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Château Brondelletext
88PTS

Château Brondelle 2018

Graves, Bordeaux, FranceA 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot from Graves, this shows soft cherry fruit framed by toasted oak spices, with a subtle gravelly minerality that carries the finish. Fresh and firm, with grainy, woody tannins, this is calling for steak frites or another few years in the cellar.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Château Brondelle
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Augey Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Augey Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Bordeaux, FranceA blend of merlot (75%) and cabernet sauvignon (25%) from Entre-Deux-Mers leads with juicy dark cherry and plum backed by minty herbs and integrated but present wood. Nicely balanced, in a light, bistro style, this shows admirable fruit intensity with an easy, immediate charm. A solid midweek Bordeaux at the right price and a big step up from the previous vintage.Prices:
BC$15.99750ml
Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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Château Lamolieretext
90PTS

Château Lamoliere 2016

Fronsac, Libourne, Bordeaux, FranceThis blend of merlot (86%) and cabernet franc (14%) leads with a fresh, bright-fruited nose of dark cherries and raspberries, along with a dusting of oak spices, fresh herbs, and cedar. On the palate, it's medium bodied and lively, with fine grained, sculpted tannins that speak to the deft winemaking of the now deceased Patrick Leon, former wine director of Château Mouton Rothschild. Perfect now with French bistro fare, but it certainly has the complexity and fruit concentration to improve with a few more years in the cellar. Recommended.Prices:
BC$38.99750ml
Producer: Château Lamoliere
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Château Valentintext
88PTS

Château Valentin 2017

Bordeaux, FranceThis 60/30/10 blend of merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot from Claye Côtes de Bordeaux opens with tart, crunchy red berries, with additional complexity from earthy, stemmy herbs, leading to a lightly structured, juicy palate that's calling for a light chill. All in all, a solid Bordeaux at a fair price.Prices:
BC$23.99750ml
Producer: Château Valentin
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Château Haut-Mazierestext
89PTS

Château Haut-Mazieres 2019

FranceA 65/20/15 blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, this deeply coloured Bordeaux leads with luscious dark fruits lifted by perfumed violets and balanced oak. There's no shortage of ripeness here, reflecting the long, warm 2019 growing season, but the wine still retains its freshness, with structured, fine-grained tannins that are in harmony with the impressive fruit weight. There's a lot to like here. And at this price? Back up the truck and buy by the case.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Caves de Rauzan
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06 October 2022

Guillame Clusel Traboulstext
89PTS

Guillame Clusel Trabouls 2018

FranceBack in the 1950s, René and Joséphine Clusel began cultivating vegetables, fruit trees, and Côte-Rôtie vines. Like many other farmers in the Ampuis region, they sold their wine in bottles, and at a time when Côte-Rôtie wines were mostly unknown, René Clusel’s Côte-Rôtie was popular with connoisseurs. The estate is currently run by Guillaume Clusel, Gilbert Cluse, and Brigitte Roch. The vines cover 20 hectares across three historic vineyards in the Lyonnais, Ampuis (AOC Côte-Rôtie, AOC Côtes-du-Rhône et Vin de France), Condrieu (AOC Condrieu), Millery (AOC Coteau du Lyonnais). Traboules has nothing to do with syrah, but rather by taking advantage of the decomposed granitic soils that lie south of Lyon, winemaker Guillaume Clusel has given us a juicy red-fruited, frankly delicious drop of gamay that walks the line between silky textures and bright acidity. Ready to drink, it is a perfect match for chicken or veal.Prices:
BC$35.99750ml
Producer: La Soeur Cadette
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La Soeur Cadette Juliénastext
90PTS

La Soeur Cadette Juliénas 2019

Juliénas, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceBorn into a family of vignerons, Valentin Montenay sources grapes from across Bourgogne and Beaujolais for his negociant La Soeur Cadette wines. Valentin wanted to highlight the lesser-seen Juliénas cru in this bright and joyous red. This blends two sites, one on blue granite and one on sandy soils, with vines averaging 70 years. This was whole cluster fermented in stainless and then into older barrels for 8-10 months’ rest. Red flowers, red currants, and rhubarb stream through this medium-bodied red, housed with fine, sticky tannins and lifted by an easy buoyant acidity. Friendly and characterful Bojo to enjoy now and over the short term. #GoGamayGo.Prices:
ON$39.00750ml
Producer: La Soeur Cadette
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Thibault Moulin-à-Vent les Vieilles Vignestext
93PTS

Thibault Moulin-à-Vent les Vieilles Vignes 2016

Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceThibault has made this cuvée since 2009, keeping it separate from the blended Vieilles Vignes wine. The vines are planted over deep blue/pink sandy granite and silt soils at the bottom of the hill. The result is a rich, round, mouthfilling expression of Moulin-à-Vent, which you can drink now. The style is succulent, with concentration of dense, juicy fruit, black cherries, pepper. It is just coming to life after six years. Outstanding.Prices:
BC$60.99750ml
AB$56.99750ml
Producer: Thibault Liger-Belair
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Thibault Beaujolais-Villages Les Jeunes Poussestext
92PTS

Thibault Beaujolais-Villages Les Jeunes Pousses 2018

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceJeunes Pousses refers to a young winemaker's project. The estate is offered to young wine professionals to manage for three years in all its activities, from the vineyard to sales. Then, after 36 months, the new winegrowers, "Jeunes Pousses," can take their experience and create their domain. This is one serious Beaujolais Villages. The colour is almost opaque, and the palate is awash in deeply concentrated strawberries and pepper from front to back. You can drink this now, but you may want to wait three to five years to let it fully expand. Thirty percent new oak is used during the 12 months of ageing.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
AB$35.99750ml
Producer: Thibault Liger-Belair
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Jean Loron Chateau de la Pierre Regnié Pur Gamaytext
91PTS

Jean Loron Chateau de la Pierre Regnié Pur Gamay 2020

Régnié, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FrancePure Gamay is bottled without added sulphur, which leaves this wine with a boatload of juicy red fruit. Red currants abound in a savoury bath of acidity and gently grippy tannins suggesting this wine has plenty of bottle life ahead. If you have to drink now, think duck or quail to take on its youthful structure and fruit. A quality wine.Prices:
BC$38.00750ml
Producer: Jean Loron
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Héritiérs Loron Château de Fleurietext
89PTS

Héritiérs Loron Château de Fleurie 2018

Fleurie, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceChâteau de Fleurie sits in the village of Fleurie in the centre of the Crus Beaujolais region. The wine is purple red, and the palate juicy and red. The flavours run the gamut of red cherries, blackcurrants, and wild strawberries with savoury licorice strawberry. Nuanced complexity at the five years mark suggests there is still time ahead in the bottle. It is a perfect chicken wine or perhaps a pork shoulder dish.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Jean Loron
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04 October 2022

Maçanita Letra F As Olgas Tintotext
93PTS

Maçanita Letra F As Olgas Tinto 2018

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLetra F is a play on words for the categorization system for port grapes in the Douro, finishing at letter F. Most of the F ranked vineyards are neglected, since the prices they would receive for the grapes were much lower than the prized ABCs. Thus, they're now a treasure trove of old vines, often at altitude, and mixed field blends of white and red grapes. The Maçanita siblings have been searching out these old vineyards and revitalizing them for super interesting wines like this. This field blend comes from a single vineyard (an As Olgas, in old Portuguese) of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Donzelinho Tinto, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Carvalha, and Bastardo, off vines 85-100 years old, in Carião, Cima Corgo. It rested in neutral barrels for 18 months. Fragrant rockrose imbues wild plum, cherry, boysenberry, schist, wrapped with fine, long tannins, and lofted with easy, effortless stony acidity through a lingering finish. This finessed, serious wine is a real charmer. 1188 bottles produced.Prices:
ON$105.00750ml
Producer: Maçanita
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Filipa Pato & William Wouters Dinamica DNMC Bagatext
90PTS

Filipa Pato & William Wouters Dinamica DNMC Baga 2021

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis biodynamic Baga is sourced partially from Filipa and William’s estate vineyards in Ois do Bairro, and partially from other growers in various villages in Bairrada. There’s a mix of bush vines and trellised plants with an average age of 40 years. The younger vines have been propagated by massale selection from the old vines in an effort to maintain diversity and select the best plant material available. Handpicked, fully destemmed, and fermented and raised entirely in tank this has a very gentle extraction and long (4 week) maceration, adding the fine, firm structure here. Lifted and bright with blackcurrant, wild plum is stencilled with thorns and scented with rockrose and pink peppercorns along the buzzy textural palate. Acidity is crunchy, and tannins are finely downy, all encouraging enjoying liberally now, with a light chill.Prices:
ON$26.00750ml
Producer: Filipa Pato
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Filipa Pato Nossa Calcário Bagatext
88PTS

Filipa Pato Nossa Calcário Baga 2019

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis Baga is handpicked and hand selected from their centenary vineyards in Bairrada (3 to 4 bunches/vine). Partly destemmed, this was fermented in open oak lagares with some extraction (pigeage). After fermentation the wine is aged in 500/600L used pipas for 18 months. Tight and nimble, with tight balsamic acidity pinning cassis, black raspberry, cherry along a slender base. Strung with astringency, this tighter red welcomes food, and a slight chill.Prices:
ON$49.00750ml
Producer: Filipa Pato
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Filipa Pato & William Wouters Territorio Vivo Bagatext
89PTS

Filipa Pato & William Wouters Territorio Vivo Baga 2020

Bairrada, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis old vine baga comes off various vineyards currently under conversion to organics / biodynamics. Grapes were destemmed, and native fermented in open oak lagares with some extraction (pigeage) and little maceration on the skins. The wine is aged in 500 – 600L used pipas and tonel for 9 months. Stony plum, thorny blackberry wild blueberry is gripped with ample fine gritty / grippy tannins, and lit with buzzy limestone acidity through the bitter cassis finish. A bright, unadulterated, uncompromising view of Bairrada Baga.Prices:
ON$40.00750ml
Producer: Filipa Pato
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Niepoort Charmetext
92PTS

Niepoort Charme 2017

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom 70-100 year old vines rooted in the schist soils of Vale de Mendiz, this blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and others was fermented with stems in granite lagares, finishing off in French barriques where it rests for 15 months. Dusky purple florals scent a stony, schistous palate, with smoked plum, rockrose, wild blueberry, thorns across a fleshy, medium+, textural palate. Tannins are long and fine, housing this to a haunting, saline laced finish.Prices:
ON$93.00750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Moon Curser Touriga Nacionaltext
91PTS

Moon Curser Touriga Nacional 2020

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother winner from Moon Cursor, this touriga never ceases to amaze and neither did the vintage in 2020. You could argue it's not the Portuguese version, but then the Osoyoos East Bench isn’t in Portugal, even if the weather is similar in most seasons. I can tell you this Portuguese producer would bed delighted with the concentration of fruit here and the general structure of this wine. Th enose is a wealth of aromas from plums and fennel to black cherries and pepper. The palate isn’t much different, with a swath of milk chocolate and savoury desert sagebrush. Drink or hold a decade. Serve with any roasted or grilled beef dish for the moment.Prices:
BC$43.99750ml
Producer: Moon Curser
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Fitapreta Os Paulistas Chão dos Eremitas Vinhas Velhastext
93PTS

Fitapreta Os Paulistas Chão dos Eremitas Vinhas Velhas 2019

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalHermits of the order of São Paulo, had been making their wine in the Chão dos Eremitas vineyard since at least the 14th C. Os Paulistas, the name given to the Hermits of the order of São Paulo, had been making their wine in this vineyard since at least the 14th C. This blend of Tinta Carvalha, Castelão, Moreto, Alfrocheiro and Trincadeira comes off 51 year old vines, rooted in the granitic southern foothills of Serra d’Ossa, around 250m. This was 30% whole bunch, native fermented and macerated 25 to 40 days, followed by 18 months in French oak. Dusty stones, scrubby herbs leap out of this wild red, woven with cherry, wild plum, wild flowers through the medium bodied palate. Tannins are well absorbed into the fruit, while the buzzy granitic acidity and tension holds this aloft. Very charming, this characterful red drinks beautifully now and over the next few years. 5100 bottles produced.Prices:
ON$104.00750ml
Producer: Fitapreta
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03 October 2022

Amulet Whitetext
89PTS

Amulet White 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Amulet white blends 10% marsanne into viognier, with fruit off the Naramata Bench and Penticton. After the whole cluster fruit was left to chill 48 hours, it was transferred to French oak for a long, cool fermentation. Post MLF, it remained for 6 months with period bâtonnage. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Ripe and rich, this spreads lush peach, ripe apricot, fresh almond, and fragrant jasmine across a full palate, seasoned with warming crystalline ginger that rests on the finish. Rich and textural, and one to seek iif you like the more opulent, luxuriant style of viognier.Prices:
BC$26.79750ml
Producer: Roche Wines
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Burrowing Owl Viogniertext
89PTS

Burrowing Owl Viognier 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis viognier comes off their estate Osoyoos vineyard, and was whole bunch pressed, with 75% drained off into oak barrels for fermentation, leaving the remainder in stainless. Both underwent bâtonnage over 9 months. Rich and luxuriant on the fuller palate, with cold cream bedding perfumed pear, lush peach, ripe apricot, and lime blossom. There's an alluring ginger spice throughout, especially noticeable on the lingering finish. There's a smart restraint in this polished bottle, and at a welcome 13.5%, makes it an easy choice for Thai curries.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
AB$29.00750ml
Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Burrowing Owl Viogniertext
91PTS

Burrowing Owl Viognier 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis viognier comes off the BOV Osoyoos vineyard and is fermented in a 75/25 mix of oak and stainless steel. All of the wine spends nine months on its lees with regular stirring. At this point, it is already showing a more plush style with heady perfume aromas of peaches and apricots. Freshness keeps it lively on the elate with more mango peach and exotic spicy orange hints in the finish. Impressive and just beginning to blossom. Classy and very food friendly.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
AB$29.00750ml
Producer: Burrowing Owl Vineyards
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Backyard Vineyards Reserve Viogniertext
86PTS

Backyard Vineyards Reserve Viognier 2019

British Columbia, CanadaBackyard ferments its viognier in 100 percent neutral French oak barrels and aged on the lees for nine months before blending and bottling. There is no real oak influence, but there is a strong reductive, mealy, leesy note that cuts into the fruit. It has all the parts peach and tropical fruit aromas and flavours streaked with mandarin and citrus. The texture is rich and, yes, a touch oily in a complex manner. It is almost exotic, and in the future, I would tone down the lees and let the fruit soar throughout the wine. A reasonable effort that needs a little tweaking moving forward. Serve this with a creamy risotto loaded with Parmigiano Reggiano or poached salmon.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Backyard Vineyards
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McManis Family Vineyards Viogniertext
87PTS

McManis Family Vineyards Viognier 2020

Lodi, Central Valley, California, United StatesClassic California sunshine style here. It opens rich and boisterous and comes with a solid bump of residual sugar. Candied oranges, ripe peach, honeydew and nectarine skins collide on the palate. The finish is similar to a vanilla undertow. This needs a spicy companion at the table, like a spicy pulled pork sandwich or a spicy chicken Asian dish. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
Producer: McManis Family Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Viogniertext
89PTS

Culmina Family Estate Viognier 2021

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada2021 was a challenging year for smoke in the Okanagan, but this wine has clearly escaped any damage. The fruit is from Stan’s Bench, certified organic, and wild fermented in neutral French oak. Look for floral notes up front, followed by more traditional honeysuckle and citrus blossoms. On the palate, it is dry with nectarine lime rind and starfruit flavours. Bright and aromatic, this is in a very youthful stage but remains pleasing already. It will be even better with time in the bottle. Culmina works hard on its suggested food pairings, such as honey-mustard roasted nuts; toasted Farro shaved fennel and citrus salad; traditional Goan-style prawn curry made with tamarind and coconut milk; honey-glazed pork tenderloin with grilled apricots and roasted root vegetables.Prices:
BC$34.00750ml
Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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