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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: December 2023

29 December 2023

Frind Estate Handcrafted Viognier Dessert Wine Limited Releasetext
88PTS

Frind Estate Handcrafted Viognier Dessert Wine Limited Release 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis viognier was picked at the optimal ripeness and artificially frozen before it was pressed, giving it the icewine treatment without risking waiting for the weather to show up. Look for a fat, prosperous, honey, floral affair with light peach undertones and a slightly bitter walnut shell finish. It lacks some edgy acid that can lighten the palate, but those who prefer the fat viognier style will not be disappointed. Crème brûlée would be the match, or chocolate cake with toffee.Prices:
BC$54.99375ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Mayhem Anarchy Fortified Gewürztraminertext
88PTS

Mayhem Anarchy Fortified Gewürztraminer 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis fortified gewürztraminer opens with light tropical fruit mixing honey, candied pineapple, caramel, raisins, and tangerine. The palate is similar, with a spicy undercurrent from the spirit and the gewürztraminer. The textures are soft, and the flavours run through the finish, adding brown sugar spice. The folks at Mayhem suggest it pairs well with charcuterie, chocolate dunked blue cheese, vanilla ice cream, or simply enjoy chilled as an aperitif. The fruit was handpicked off Cellarsbend Vineyard in Naramata on October 22 at 27.4 brix and fermented to 24 brix. The wine was fortified with a grape-derived spirit that was 93% alcohol to stop the fermentation, and then was transferred to neutral oak vessels where it aged for 23 months prior to bottling, six months of which it was aged outdoors in the Okanagan summer heat to balance the overall profile of the wine.Prices:
BC$31.43500ml
Producer: Mayhem Wines Inc.
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KWV Classic Collection Cape Ruby Dessert Winetext
88PTS

KWV Classic Collection Cape Ruby Dessert Wine NV

Western Cape, South AfricaCape Ruby blends Portugal and South Africa with tinta barocca, ruby cabernet, souzão, and pinotage. The wine was allowed to ferment until the desired residual sugar level was reached before fortification with grape spirit kills the yeast, terminating the fermentation. From there, the wine goes on to rest for two to four years before release. Look for a pleasant dark cherry berry nose that spills onto the round, sensuous plate streaked with toffee, raisins, and nutty notes in the finish. Excellent quality for the price.Prices:
BC$13.49750ml
Producer: KWV International
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KWV Classic Collection Cape Tawny Dessert Winetext
89PTS

KWV Classic Collection Cape Tawny Dessert Wine NV

Western Cape, South AfricaKWV has always been a prominent South African wine company producing an even more extensive selection of table wines, fortified wines, brandies, and other alcoholic beverages from the Paarl region of South Africa. My first visit over three decades ago revealed a highly polished fortified wine business, still thriving today. This Tawny is a blend of obviously thriving Portuguese grape varieties tinta barocca, cinsault, and souzào, that get the classic extended wood maturation. In the glass, the amber juice is scented with dates and toffee mixed with candied apricots and oranges. The finish is long, warm, and sweet. It is best served with a slight chill. It's a real bargain if you are a Tawny sipper.Prices:
BC$12.49750ml
Producer: KWV International
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Williams & Humbert Dry Sacktext
0PTS

Williams & Humbert Dry Sack NV

Sherry Jerez - Manzanilla, SpainThe bottle we tasted was not sound and showed mouse taint.Prices:
BC$18.99750ml
Producer: Bodegas Williams & Humbert
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28 December 2023

Winemaker's Cut Madama Butterfly Sparkling Rosétext
90PTS

Winemaker's Cut Madama Butterfly Sparkling Rosé 2021

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaLook for an enticing pale salmon colour. This sparkler is about understatement, led by faint pale fruit reminiscent of strawberries and pink grapefruit. The palate is creamy smooth, animated by a persistent mousse, light citrus and red fruit, and a dry finish. Sophisticated and composed, we matched our glass to some smoked salmon blinis, which was perfect. It is an elegant first look that has me awaiting the next version. Madama Butterfly, the nickname for Cio-Cio-San, a main character in Puccini's eponymous opera, is a traditional method sparkler made with 50% pinot noir and 50% chardonnay. The primary fermentation was conducted with wild and organic yeast fermented for 30 days. The second traditional fermentation method was in the bottle, where the wine aged 11 months on its lees before being disgorged. The style overall is refined and dry. The bubbles are tiny, and perfect.Prices:
BC$32.00750ml
Producer: Winemaker's Cut
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Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelletext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Brut Rosé R.D. Méthode Traditionelle 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSomething about cooler years in the South Okanagan tends to light up its wines. In 2019, the Blue Mountain Brut Rosé has a freshness that is lighting up this classy pink sparkler. The R.D., or Recently Disgorged, wine spent 30 months on its lees inside the bottle, building enticing toasty autolytic notes that add a complex side to the citrus, strawberry, mid-palate. Even the barely there pale eye of the partridge colour fits the style of this wine. The dosage is no match for the overall acidity, leaving the wine Brut dry through the finish. This wine would scare a lot of people in Champagne.Prices:
BC$39.90750ml
BC$48.85750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Blue Mountain Gold Label Bruttext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut NV

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWill this be the year someone catches up to this reliable sparkler I think is a benchmark for everyday sparkling wine? Given its modest price and refined styling, I doubt it. Lemons, apples, and subtle red berries spearhead a palate of toasted hazelnuts and early morning bakery notes. It spends two full years on its lees, constructing texture and mouthfeel that adds enough complexity to please the serious bubble drinker without scaring the novice. The dosage is more or less 8 g/L, adding to its drinkability upon bottling, but I have enjoyed many bottles aged three to five more years and beyond. A bubble for any occasion.Prices:
BC$31.90750ml
AB$36.85750ml
ON$28.95750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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21 December 2023

Fort Berens Meritagetext
87PTS

Fort Berens Meritage 2021

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis year's Fort Berens Meritage blends 64% merlot, 19% cabernet sauvignon, and 17% cabernet franc, from Osoyoos-sourced grapes. After destemming and 4 days cold soak, each variety was fermented and aged in oak barrels for 15 months prior to the final blend. This is super smokey up front, infiltrating the ripe black cherry, blackberry, and cola with a smouldering note that persists through the finish. Acidity is bright, and tannins are furry through a warming finish, encouraging pairing this with a hearty stew now.Prices:
BC$31.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Osoyoos Larosetext
91PTS

Osoyoos Larose 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaOsoyoos Larose is owned by Bordeaux's Groupe Taillan, and this, Le Grand Vin, feels firmly French influenced, while having grown up very Okanagan. The 2019 blends 58% merlot, 26% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, 7% petit verdot. Smouldering cassis, black plum, and blackberry are the background for this savoury red, built around smartly toasted oak, and firm, long tannins. Crushed leaves, cracked peppercorn, smoked cured beef, and espresso complete the picture, with well placed acidity carrying this long on the palate. Drinking well now with a decant and a roast beef, but this vintage will reward with cellaring over the short term.Prices:
BC$57.99750ml
AB$59.99750ml
QC$46.95750ml
NS$56.00750ml
BC$465.996000ml
Producer: La Maison Osoyoos Larose
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Chateau Lassèguetext
92PTS

Chateau Lassègue 2018

Saint Émilion, Libourne, Bordeaux, FranceJackson Family Wines have lovingly restored Château Lassègue under the direction of celebrated winemaker Pierre Seillan. Lassègue is an opulent Saint-Émilion whose 50-year-old vines grow on the south/southwest hills that are an extension of the Côte de Saint-Émilion. Its clay and limestone soils work in tandem, storing moisture and refreshing the palate in warm years like 2018. Expect a subtle mix of floral and cassis that bleed into a rich, chalky palate, pitching soft, round, blackcurrant and barely there tannins. 2018 ranks among the best ever vintages at Lassègue and is a tribute to the work done at the property. It will age effortlessly through 2030 and beyond. The blend is 62/35/3/ merlot, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon that spends 12 months in 60% new French oak.Prices:
BC$104.99750ml
AB$70.00750ml
Producer: Château Lassègue
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Hester Creek  The Judgetext
92PTS

Hester Creek The Judge 2020

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Judge is made from old vines dating back to 1968. The grapes are meticulously sorted, cold-soaked and fermented in separate lots in specialized Italian tanks designed for the ideal level of flavour extraction. The 2020 vintage was highly lauded, and it is reflected in the wine. The blend is 35% merlot, 34% cabernet franc, 28% cabernet sauvignon, 2% petit verdot and 1% malbec, aged in French oak. A merlot cabernet franc lead is the recipe for success in the south Okanagan, and this is the best Judge I have tasted. Fresher, tighter, with refined black fruit, softer tannins already, and flecked with exotic notes (thank you petit verdot and malbec). It is a savoury joy to behold. A much lower level of caramel and chocolate gives this wine the stature its name suggests. Best of all, this will improve further through 2027. The 2020 vintage was the 5th warmest in growing degree days in the last two decades, ensuring phenolic ripeness across the blend. Post-malolactic, all the lots were blended and put into new and neutral French oak barrels for 24 months of aging.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
BC$95.991500ml
Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Van Westen Vineyards Vtext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards V 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaIt is year 12 for V, the five grape Bordeaux blend at Van Westen. The 2020 mix is 47% merlot, 25% cabernet franc, 12% malbec, 8% cabernet sauvignon, and 8% petit verdot. The style is slightly more complex than Voluptuous, perhaps with an extra layer, although both wines are more about hedonism than long-term aging à la Bordeaux. The nose is Okanagan savoury, pitching dried sage and pine notes mixed into black plums and blueberries. The tannins are dense but soft and round with delicate freshness and an underlying lift of minerality. This wine typically needs a five year rest before spreading its wings. The fruit comes from four Naramata vineyards, all within two kilometres of the Van Westen winery: Home Lot, Boothe Road, Granite Ridge, and Salting.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuoustext
91PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Voluptuous 2020

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 Voluptuous is, in fact, all that and more. It is luxurious and what I would term the perfect Okanagan red blend at 67% merlot and 33% cabernet franc. Both are fully ripe and concentrated on winning you with gobs of sweet fruit and silky textures, even at such a young age. The 18-year-old vines are grown at Naramata's Boothe Road Vineyard over silty clay/loam soils. Like last year, an enticing, savoury jacket is wrapped around ripe, juicy blueberry, blackberry, black olive, and cedar dusted in baking spice and sagebrush. The tannins are much better managed this year, and I suspect came in fully physiologically ripe. You can drink this now, but I think it's a case of this wine being so well balanced. I would wait at least three years, but it is delicious right now. A T-bone steak or a favourite winter vegetable casserole would be fine matches. Good value.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Fort Berens Meritagetext
86PTS

Fort Berens Meritage 2021

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2021 Meritage is a 64/19/17 blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, all from Osoyoos. The nose is a smouldering, smoky affair that penetrates most of the red and black fruits on the mid-palate. The texture and bright acidity are the highlights of what is a bitter, smoky effort that will only get worse with time. Better luck next year.Prices:
BC$31.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Tinhorn Creek Edition 93 Limited Releasetext
91PTS

Tinhorn Creek Edition 93 Limited Release 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe lauded 2020 vintage Edition 93 celebrates the history of Tinhorn from its humble beginnings in 1993. Today, Tinhorn farms 150 acres of vineyards on the Golden Mile and Black Sage Bench. Edition 93 blends 58% merlot, 20% syrah, 12% malbec, 7% cabernet sauvignon, 2% petit verdot, and 1% cabernet franc from the oldest vines and best bunches. The nose is a restrained mix of red and dark fruits led by plums and blackberries, with exotic black tea notes. The attack is juicy with more fresh red and black fruit, a dash of pepper, and primarily soft tannins that are dense and sweet. There is a sense of balance throughout, suggesting that some bottle age will only improve what is a solid red wine is at the moment. For those who must drink this wine now, serve it with a meat dish, perhaps with mushrooms or root vegetables. Those who can wait three to five years will be rewarded with even deeper flavours and layers as this bend pulls together over time. Well made.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
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20 December 2023

Frind Estate Cabernet Sauvignontext
88PTS

Frind Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

British Columbia, CanadaThe Frind Cabernet Sauvignon is designed to be consumed upon release, although it will age for two or three years under screwcap in the bottle with no harm. The styling is soft and round, the tannins muted, and the fruit pushed up front. Look for cherries and baked plums throughout with a spicy boysenberry finish. This is easy sipping red that would be well suited to any number of charcuterie or cheese dishes at a neighbourhood party. Clean, fresh, and ready to drink.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Rigour & Whimsy a Love we All Dream oftext
91PTS

Rigour & Whimsy a Love we All Dream of 2022

Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaRigour & Whimsy are a tiny garagiste, family-owned winery based in Okanagan Falls, sourcing vineyards across the Okanagan for their creative and adventuresome (and artfully labelled) portfolio, one that changes annually. A Love We All Dream Of is the newest Cab Franc to the Rigour and Whimsy family, and a darker shaded sibling to Licorice Daddy. From Osoyoos' organic Sekhon Family Vineyards, this was whole cluster fermented in macrobins over 4 months, and then racked into older puncheons and barriques for 4 months. It was bottled in March 2023 unfined and unfiltered. Pouring a crimson hue, this streams sultry plums, wild blackberry and thorns, fragrant iris, and scrubby herbs along a slender 12.6% palate. There's ample fine stony grip in the sides, framing this to the black tea and crushed stone finish. Fragrant and finely structural, this is a beauty addition to the family.Prices:
BC$38.00750ml
Producer: Rigour & Whimsy
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Church & State Wines Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Church & State Wines Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAnother look at this wine seven months down the road reveals little change. The attack is spicy with a savoury, lightly smoky underside. It comes with mid-weight ripe black cherries wrapped in a blanket of toasted oak and dark chocolate. The tannins are sticky at this point but nothing a piece of grilled protein can’t tame. Lamb chops or a meaty pizza are still the match. The final blend spent one year in 25% new French oak. The fruit comes off three South Okanagan vineyards: Foundation, Coyote Bowl, and Bella, over a mix of sandy gravel soils.Prices:
BC$32.50750ml
Producer: Church & State Winery
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc 2021

British Columbia, CanadaThis cab franc (with 5% cabernet sauvignon) is a mix of Osoyoos and estate Lillooet fruit, as the winery is waiting for their home vineyards to rule production entirely. This was destemmed and cold soaked for 48 hours before a warm ferment with ample pump-overs and another 9-day maceration post-ferment before heading to French oak (5% new) for 15 months rest. Roasted root veg, fresh dark roast coffee, and lightly smoked wood permeate dense cassis and black cherry, finishing with a smoked paprika note. Acidity is very tart, and tannins are very furry, leaving this rooty red a bit out of balance and requiring hearty foods to mitigate.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Fort Berens Cabernet Franctext
87PTS

Fort Berens Cabernet Franc 2021

British Columbia, CanadaFort Berens is pulling fruit from across the province for this cabernet franc, aged for 15 months in 225L oak barrels (5% new oak, 32% 2nd and 3rd fill, and the remainder in neutral oak). It is a cool herbaceous style of cabernet franc reminiscent of some Loire versions, with dark cherry, blackcurrant, over-roasted coffee, and dried herbs permeating the wine from front to back. Tannins are youthful, and acidity fresh. The wine is pulling in any direction at this point and will need two or three years to settle into itself.Prices:
BC$32.99750ml
Producer: Fort Berens Estate Winery
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Corcelettes Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Corcelettes Cabernet Franc 2021

Keremeos, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis Similkameen version of Cabernet Franc is always big, but the Corcelettes team seems to pull back slightly to let some elegance into the picture. The texture is an improvement over last year, although by the time you get to the back end, the tannins are dense and drying at this early stage. This pre-release look would suggest there is no need to sell this anytime soon. This franc is akin to the Napa California style pitching spice, savoury dried herbs, green olives, espresso and black raspberry. A giant that will need some time to settle in. To each their own. If you must drink it, serve it with the big dishes, including lamb, game, truffles, and mushrooms.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Hillside Heritage Series Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Hillside Heritage Series Cabernet Franc 2019

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaHillside has done an admirable job of being a Naramata Bench winery making Naramata wine. This cabernet franc grown at Cinwick Vineyard received a 13 day cold soak and spent 18 months in French oak barriques (18 percent new). Winemaker Kathy Malone’s light hands send this franc down the savoury red fruit road, giving this Bench red a touch of the Loire. American Evan Goldstein and Englander Fiona Beckett are stars at matching food and wine. Beckett says franc’s distinctly herbal quality lends it to dishes flavoured with herbs, especially dill, fennel, rosemary and tarragon, i.e. roast chicken with herby crème fraîche or a navarin of lamb. Goldstein suggests enchiladas verde. You have your orders.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Hillside Winery
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Moraine Cabernet Franctext
90PTS

Moraine Cabernet Franc 2021

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Narmata Bench is on the edge of where cabernet franc can flourish in the Okanagan but on the edge is where a lot of great wine emerges. This Moraine edition is impressive. A mix of fruit from the home of Anastasia Vineyard and the Garagan Vineyard gives off a very inviting mix of lush red fruits and juicy black fruit. The savoury aromatic sagebrush notes add further complexity and balance, making this about as friendly as a wine can be to food. Drink or hold, this is a winner.Prices:
BC$37.00750ml
Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Tightrope Winery Cabernet Franc Thomas Vineyardtext
89PTS

Tightrope Winery Cabernet Franc Thomas Vineyard 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2020 is surprisingly fresh considering the warm vintage, but it demonstrates the versatility of Naramata. It would also be hard to guess that half of this wine was aged in new French oak. Look for bright red fruits led by cherries, cranberries, and pomegranates with bits of tobacco and spice. The mid-palate is lean with rich tannins that will need some time to disperse. The grapes are all grown sustainably on the Thomas Vineyard at Tightrope Estate. The style is more Euro, with crunchy, red fruits and savoury leafy aromatics. Drink or hold with food, but there is no rush.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Bernard Baudry Les Granges Chinontext
90PTS

Bernard Baudry Les Granges Chinon 2021

Chinon, Touraine, Loire, FranceMatthieu and his father Bernard run this small, family winery, tending their treasured organic Chinon vineyards over 25 hectares. The estate was planted between 1985 and 1988 on gravel and sands, starting with 9 hectares under vine. Les Granges comes from the sandy vineyard that hugs the Vienne River, and was native fermented and aged in cement and wood for up to twelve months. Always a wall of reduction to blow through (and even then it lingers through the wine the next day), this turns into dusky violets, lavender, crushed blackberries, wrung with sapid branchiness, and framed with furry tannins. Acidity is lifted to the highest, finishing with a rinse of astringency and dusting of pink peppercorn. Enjoy this edgy Franc with a slight chill, and some airtime, and some country charcuterie.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: Bernard Baudry
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Painted Rock Cabernet Franctext
91PTS

Painted Rock Cabernet Franc 2021

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe year of the heat dome and low rainfall could have been disastrous for BC wine growers, but at the north end of the Skaha Bench, Painted Rock seems to have avoided any calamities. This might be, strange as it sounds, the most elegant cabernet franc they have made yet. Cool evening temperatures brightened the acidity, adding balance and harmony to a full flavoured red. The grapes were hand picked from a single 3.01 acre block on the estate that hung until November 15. The batches were aged 18 months in 30% new French oak and blended just before being bottled unfiltered. The palate is a rich mix of black and blue fruits, flecked licorice, green peppers, and savoury sagebrush. The finish is long and intense, with dark chocolate and dry baking spices. This would be a fine match with a favourite lamb dish.Prices:
BC$54.99750ml
Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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19 December 2023

Niepoort Colheita Tawny Porttext
91PTS

Niepoort Colheita Tawny Port 2010

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalColheita Ports are Tawnies which come from a single vintage, and are aged in 550L and 600L old barrels for a minimum period of 7 years prior to bottling. Niepoort ages theirs for more than that however, bottling this in October 2022. From 60+ year old Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, and others, sourced from the schistous vineyards of Vale do Pinhão and Ferrão, this amber-hued tawny still carries a bit of the fiery spirit of youth, with a potent orange oil, treacle, marmalade, lime peel thread throughout the sweet, sultry and baking spiced palate. Caramelized roasted nuts finish this lingering palate. Quite primary still, and one to enjoy with sweet nutty desserts.Prices:
ON$56.95750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Niepoort 20 Years Old Tawnytext
93PTS

Niepoort 20 Years Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalFrom the schistous vineyards of Douro's Vinha da Pisca, Vale do Pinhão, and Ferrão, this blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz comes from vines upwards of 60 years. Post-ferment, it aged in 550L casks until bottling. 20 Years is when Tawny really truly becomes interesting, and with the drier, savoury Niepoort style, this is a stellar example of what the category can achieve. Roasted almonds and walnuts are woven with caramelized citrus, sweet tobacco, stretching long across the sultry palate, studded with flake salts, and lingering long into a sweet saline wake. Stunner.Prices:
ON$95.95750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawnytext
90PTS

Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawny NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis 10 year old Tawny Port is a blend of numerous wines averaging 10 years in age. This comes from vines over 30 years from the schist soils of Vinha da Pisca, Vale do Pinhão, and Ferrão, and blends Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz and others. It was foot-trodden and fermented in lagares before ageing in small oak casks. Caramelized orange, bitter citrus marmelade, butterscotch roll along the sweet palate, with spirited citrus and a mint twist on the finish. Dryer than your typical 10 Year Tawny, this is still shining and ready for drinking now.Prices:
ON$51.95750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Niepoort Dry White Porttext
91PTS

Niepoort Dry White Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThis Dry White Port is a blend of Côdega, Rabigato, Viosinho, Arinto and Gouveio from Douro's Covelinhas and Pombal vineyards, and vines upward of 30 years. After fermentation in open lagares, this aged in small old oak casks for 3.5 years before release. It is on the drier side of White Ports, with 51 g/L RS. Caramelized orange, white honey, candied lime and lemon peel, fragrant honeysuckle, dried apricot, and anise roll through this sweet wine, finishing with a wild orange twist. Super smart, thankfully dryish, and calling out for a partnering with tonic.Prices:
ON$18.95750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Niepoort White Porttext
90PTS

Niepoort White Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalNiepoort White Port is a blend of Malvasia, Viosinho and Gouveio, from Douro's Covelinhas and Pombal vineyards and vines over 60 years. The fermentation is stopped by the addition of pure grape brandy, leaving ample residual sugar (110 g/L). After spending one year in large wood vats the wine is transferred to Casks (550L) where it rests for at least 3 years before bottling. Pouring a golden hue, this rolls golden raisins, butterscotch, caramelized walnuts, along the palate, with a dusting of white pepper and anise lingering on the finish, and easy acidity countering the ample sugar. Try over ice.Prices:
ON$18.95750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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Quevedo Tawny Porttext
88PTS

Quevedo Tawny Port NV

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalQuevedo is part of a new generation of small family wineries in the Douro. For years, they grew grapes and made Port wine for Vila Nova de Gaia merchants. Quevedo cultivates 100 hectares of vineyards across six properties in the Douro Valley, in Cima Corgo and the Douro Superior. Their Tawny, a 43% touriga franca, 34% tinta barroca, 19% tinta roriz, 4% touriga nacional, is a solid example of starter Tawny offering a fresh entry of dried red fruit. At the same time, on the palate, plums, spices, and caramel run through the finish. Best of all, the finish is clean and less sweet, adding some overall complexity. Open a bottle and comfortably serve it for over two months from your sideboard. It is much better than the previous version.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
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Quevedo Vintage Porttext
91PTS

Quevedo Vintage Port 2018

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalQuevedo released a small amount of their 2018 Vintage Port. The colour is a youthful, deep, opaque purple. Expect an open, young floral nose pitching primary notes of candied cherries and sweet plums dusted in cocoa powder. The palate is more of the same, with lush, sweet, dense tannins and chocolate cherry finish. It's not overly complex but satisfying in the mouth. The blend is tinta roriz (30%), touriga nacional (30%), touriga franca (20%), and sousao (20%).Prices:
BC$85.99750ml
Producer: Vinhos Oscar Quevedo
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18 December 2023

Mas Donis Old Vinestext
90PTS

Mas Donis Old Vines 2020

Montsant, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe 50/30/20 blend of grenache, cariñena, and syrah comes out of Monsant DO, a sub-region that surrounds the DOQ of Priorat. Monsant is relatively new DO that was recognized for its superior wines produced from old vines on old soils, but the viticulture is centuries old. This wine has evolved, and the move to concrete fermenting and aging has enlivened this label first developed by Eric Solomon in 2002 when he created a special cuvee with winemaker Daphne Glorian, and a star was born. Friendly and round, this wine slips down seamlessly, but the granite/schist terroir gives it its backbone and length, and just the right amount of savoir-faire. I love the quality and the price of this real wine. Drink or hold, and it's perfect for pork ribs or grilled beef.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Celler de Capçanes
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St Hugo Grenache Shiraz Matarotext
90PTS

St Hugo Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2021

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe wine opens with a floral nose streaked with dark plums and raspberries that draw you into the glass. The grenache dominates at 62% of the mix with a 32/6 split of shiraz/mataro (mourvèdre), giving the wine its expressive personality. On the palate, look for earthy, strawberry, raspberry with some cedar undercurrents from a standout 2021 vintage, considered the best vintage in Barossa since 2002. You can drink this now thanks to the purity of this wine, but there is enough structure and tension to age gracefully. There is no new oak here. Over time, St. Hugo has moved to used French oak puncheons that are two, three, and four years old, leaving the grenache light on its feet but working with the power of the shiraz and mourvèdre to give it an extended life down the road. It is delicious and well-balanced and comes with more finesse than you might think.Prices:
ON$39.95750ml
Producer: St Hugo
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Ferraton La Tourneetext
88PTS

Ferraton La Tournee 2021

FranceA simple Vin de France that overdelivers begins in the vineyard, where it is raised under biodynamic principles with some help from Rhône giant Michel Chapoutier. The fruit is a mix of grenache and syrah grown over clay-limestone hillsides in the Herault and Gard regions of Languedoc-Roussillon. The ferment was done in a combination of stainless steel and concrete before the varieties were blended and aged on fine lees. The wine is soft and fruity, thanks to its easy tannins, with that drink-me south of France vibe. A solid everyday red that won’t take down your bank account.Prices:
BC$22.99750ml
AB$18.99750ml
Producer: Ferraton Père & Fils
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Gérard Bertrand An 1886 Cotes du Roussilllon Villages Les Asprestext
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Gérard Bertrand An 1886 Cotes du Roussilllon Villages Les Aspres 2019

Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Roussillon, Sud de France, FranceIf I were making red wine, I would visit Gerard Bertrand just outside of Narbonne in the south of France to try and figure out why his wines are so delicious. This AOP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres is another example of what makes the south of France so attractive. Two-thirds of this grenache, mourvèdre, and syrah blend was matured for nine months in barrels, and the rest was left in large vats to be blended in spring. The big attraction here is the rich, soft textures and the generous mid-palate of cherries, licorice, pepper, and oak. They suggest you decant this for an hour, but I’m unsure why. It slides down seamlessly with no tannic edges or bite. Pick your match from root vegetables to pork, lamb, or beef. They are all in play here.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand An 1877 St Chiniantext
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Gérard Bertrand An 1877 St Chinian 2019

St Chinian, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceA blend of syrah and mourvèdre, this label pays homage to the first railroad line in Saint Chinian. It's a ripe, boisterous Saint Chinian, combining macerated dark berries with white pepper, dried lavender, and a gamey meatiness. You expect something big and rugged, but there's a real polish here, with suave tannins that speak to modern winemaking, in keeping with the theme for the label. Lovely complexity and concentration. Recommended.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Gérard Bertrand An 806text
90PTS

Gérard Bertrand An 806 2019

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceBertrand’s GSM (grenache, syrah and mourvedre) blend from the famed Corbières region is a regular overachiever for the price. The Corbières boasts an incredible geological diversity of schist, limestone and rolled pebbles. All grapes are hand picked, and the wine is fermented via carbonic maceration over 10 to 18 days for syrah, and a traditional maceration with total destemming is carried out for grenache and mourvèdre. Post malolactic fermentation, the finished wines are blended and aged in 225L Bordeaux barrels for eight months. The palate is awash in youthful blackcurrants, plums, and cherries dusted with southern France garrigue. The tannins are dense but fine grained and will easily propel this wine into the next five to seven years. It is drinkable now with tajines or grilled vegetables. The 806 references the first traces of the Cathars who built the towering citadels that overlook the vineyard in Corbières.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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J. L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhônetext
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J. L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône 2021

Côtes du Rhône, Rhone Valley, FranceThe introductory JL Chave Selections are a window into the acclaimed estate wines of Domaine Chave at a much more reasonable price. The wines are crafted to explore their appellations sans makeup. In the case of Mon Coeur, it is a blend of four terroirs from in and around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the vines are between 20-60 years, and the mix is a 50/50 split of grenache and syrah. The nose opens with some classic meaty notes on the edge of reduction but nothing more. The style is surprisingly elegant, with the red fruit of the grenache leading the way into a lightly floral, peppery, savoury red with exquisite balance. Drink or hold, this is serious Côtes-du-Rhône.Prices:
BC$30.99750ml
AB$32.99750ml
Producer: J. L. Chave
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Goats do Roam Red Blendtext
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Goats do Roam Red Blend 2021

South AfricaGoats do Roam is a Saffer take on Southern France's Côtes du Rhône, with a blend of shiraz, mourvèdre, and grenache from across the Western Cape. A lightly furry set of tannins frames bitter cherry and pressed plum, with darts of dark earth and light peppery spices. Has certainly improved over the years from where this Goat used to be, though still a simple red that doesn't really speak of anywhere.Prices:
BC$14.99750ml
AB$14.90750ml
SK$15.33750ml
MB$14.95750ml
Producer: Fairview
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Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignontext
91PTS

Painted Rock Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2021

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA massive heat dome reduced yields in 2021, but if you were diligent, you could pick fully ripe fruit, as was the case at Painted Rock. The 78/22 blend was aged in 30% new French oak. The attack is surprisingly fresh before the oak and tannins kick in from a rich, black fruited wine. There are plenty of savoury elements throughout that intensify the spicy finish. This needs five years in the bottle before it begins to open up. Cassis, plums, chocolate, and white pepper are the story now, so this will be best with a leg of lamb today.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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15 December 2023

Penfolds Reserve Bin 22A Chardonnaytext
95PTS

Penfolds Reserve Bin 22A Chardonnay 2023

Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaThis is all Adelaide Hills, and it is the most expressive chardonnay in the current Penfolds lineup. It is the product of wild yeast, and inoculation fermented in new and seasoned French oak barriques. It all goes through malolactic fermentation, upping its texture and richness, and spends eight months in 75 percent new French oak barriques to cement the style. The nose is a compelling mix of citrus notes bolstered by a stony mineral underside and a nutty oatmeal honey finish with plenty of acid to please the sniffers. It's big and bold, but if it makes any sense with details and that Penfolds restraint and polish. A perfect wine for lobster or richer seafood dishes.Prices:
BC$129.99750ml
US$77.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny Porttext
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Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny Port 2022

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe Grandfather name refers to the age of the oldest Tawny in the blend, which was launched in 1915 when an oak cask containing the finest blend of available Tawny material was set aside for the exclusive use of the Penfold family. Each subsequent vintage supplied best-of-the-year batches aged individually in seasoned oak casks before blending at the 14 year mark. This blend is then introduced into the ‘Grandfather Solera’ over six stages, designed to integrate all components, leaving a minimum average age of 20 years. Some 13 varieties have made their way into Grandfather, but the backbone of the blend is shiraz, grenache, mataro, and cabernet. In all, 44 vintages from 1960 to 2004 are in the current bottling. The colour is a mix of tawny walnut brown with green edges. The nose mixes buttery, rancio, nutty notes mixed with caramel, vanilla, sweet raisins, and brown spice. It has a rich, sweet, supple texture, pitching licorice fruitcake, toffee, and orange peel in perfect balance. This is a top-quality bottle of fortified wine, and certainly one of the best made outside Spain or Portugal.Prices:
BC$67.99750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds V Five Vintage Blend Yattarna Chardonnaytext
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Penfolds V Five Vintage Blend Yattarna Chardonnay NV

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaV, the Roman numeral for five, refers to the vintages 2021, 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2011 mixed at an equal 20% per year. Longtime White Winemaker Kym Schroeter told Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, "It won't work, it will oxidize, it will pick up colour." It was a massive risk then, but Schroeder now thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread. The huge difference between this and Yattarna is the subtlety and the complexity you gain from the older juice. Gago says, "it is all about the finesse, restraint, and character of modern Australian Chardonnay." It's hardly a new idea if you think, for instance, about the reserve wine added to champagne. It is as close to perfection as it gets, but it's the first release, so I left a little room for the Gago incremental improvement he expects from his team every year. Expect this wine to slowly degrade into something special.Prices:
US$600.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds II A Collaboration with Dourthe Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot MVtext
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Penfolds II A Collaboration with Dourthe Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot MV 2020

World BlendDourthe Bordeaux contributed the merlot made at two Dourthe-owned wineries, while the cabernet sauvignon was made at Penfolds Nuriootpa Winery in South Australia. The final blend was assembled from new and seasoned French oak barriques and hogsheads in Australia after winemaker Peter Gago chose the 2020 Bordeaux Merlot and 2021 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon to blend. There are some menthol notes on the nose, but mostly savoury notes that pepper the plum and black cherry aromas. The palate is loaded with blackcurrants and dense, chewy tannins, taking the wine to the rich side of the claret definition. The best descriptor is different and exactly what the Penfolds folks were looking for.Prices:
CDN$400.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds St. Henri Shiraztext
95PTS

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2020

South Australia, AustraliaSt. Henri was first made in 1957. It is always an alternative expression of Australian shiraz, made without using any new oak. It is no easy task, but after nearly 65 years, St. Henri has proven that using old wooden vats is possible, and it can produce a sublime version of Oz Shiraz in direct opposition to the likes of Grange and RWT. In 2020, the fruit hales from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, and Clare Valley, a small part of which is cabernet sauvignon, supporting the structure without impacting its shiraz ethos. The fruit profile is exuberant and reserved all at once. Look for strawberries and candied Christmas cake with a plush, spicy, savoury underside that brings complexity to the mix. Long, supple, and as lush as you can imagine, this is a terrific bottle of St. Henri in what was a wet year. Drink or hold, either way, you win.Prices:
BC$149.99750ml
AB$149.99750ml
MB$149.99750ml
ON$149.95750ml
QC$149.95750ml
NB$149.99750ml
NS$149.99750ml
NF$149.99750ml
US$150.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds CWT 521 Cabernet Sauvignon-Marselantext
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Penfolds CWT 521 Cabernet Sauvignon-Marselan 2021

ChinaThe Penfolds Chinese Winemaking Trial 521 is the latest in a growing number of international labels in the vaunted Penfolds' trial wines. For more than two centuries, innovation, experimentation, and trial have been key drivers in the creation of the many Penfolds flagship wines, including Grange (experimental 1951), Yattarna Bin 144 (for the 144 winemaking trials), and RWT Red Winemaking Trial) Barossa Valley Shiraz. The experiments continue with releases from California and France. As different as these wines can be, they still adhere to the distinctive Penfolds house style, crafted on a "limitless approach based on multi-regional sourcing and blending." This red, made by Penfolds winemaker Matt Woo in China, mixes cabernet sauvignon from the Shangri-La region, and Marselan from Ningxia. You notice an inviting nose with no competition from other Chinese wines I have nosed. That's followed by exquisite texture and that weighty Penfolds style from front to back. Cassis and pepper line its youthful flavours. The multi-regional blend was aged in French oak. Like most trial wine program wines, the initial release is small. It's a good start and is already a leader in quality in the Chinese market. For you 'Bin' freaks, CWT 5-2-1 refers to sourcing the wine from 'five' geographical areas (four from the Yunnan region and one from the Ningxia region), and the first commercial vintage of this trial wine, '21'.Prices:
US$99.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds FWT 585 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Petit Verdottext
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Penfolds FWT 585 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Petit Verdot 2020

FranceThe second edition of FWT, or French Wine Trial, is a 52/41/7 mix of cabernet sauvignon/merlot/petit verdot that opens with an impressive nose. The interplay of stones and mineral scents blend into subtle blackcurrant aromas that entice you into the glass. The palate is brimming with youth and some sticky tannins that, at this point, dry out the finish. This bottle will need some time to mature and perhaps a few more iterations in the future before Team Australia gets a complete handle on the Bordelais ethos. In the meantime, they are off to a good start. Given how many Bordeaux consultants roam the world, seeing an outsider working in the Haut-Medoc is fun.Prices:
US$95.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarratext
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Penfolds Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra 2021

Coonawarra, South Australia, AustraliaBin 169 marches to the tune of Coonawarra. Black fruit, aromatic notes of minty eucalyptus leads to a pure, clean, cool cabernet sauvignon with intense red fruit and a slash of tea leaf. Classic Coonawarra, all sewn up in French oak, it is a wine you can drink today thanks to its plentiful, dense, sweet tannins filling the palate but not drying it out. Still, it will unfold its real story over the next two decades. Another sleeper from Penfolds, whose current lineup under Peter Gago and the team is closing in on perfection at all levels.Prices:
AB$324.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraztext
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Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2021

Marananga, Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaPerhaps the wine that surprised me the most at my recent Penfolds tasting was the Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz. Marananga sits in the heart of the Barossa, over rich red clay and sandy soils that have played a role in several great Barossa shiraz over the decades. In this case, Penfolds ages the Marananga fruit in various new and used large oak puncheons and hogsheads oak vessels, including the year and a half in new French (29%) and American (29%). The almost opaque red is a slick version of plummy chocolate and blueberry with candied notes and glossy, smooth tannins. The flavours persist forever. Despite all the sweet fruit, the spice and mineral notes keep this from running amok in the finish. A delicious drinking shiraz we do not see enough. When the Marananga doesn't make the cut for 389 it goes to this label.Prices:
BC$80.00750ml
US$60.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignontext
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Penfolds Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon 2028

World BlendThe Bin 149 is a super premium anomaly, given it’s a blend of cabernet fruit from two countries or, more specifically, from California's Napa Valley, and South Australia. Its Bin Number, 149, was established during the first release, containing 14.9% South Australian wine. In 2020, only 8% made it into the blend dominated by Napa Valley fruit. The wine was aged 16 months in an 80/20 mix of new French and American oak barrels. It is a huge wine, as you might expect, but it is a little less one-dimensional with the addition of top-flight Penfolds cabernet as rated under their intense selection system. The nose is Napa expressive, full of plummy chocolate, while the palate is slightly more restrained, at least as restrained as the Penfolds style can be. Look for rich, smooth, dense, plummy, blueberry and blackcurrant flecked with tarry mineral notes, well-managed glossy tannins, and a cocoa dusting. It is big, impressive, and a wine to lay away through 2030.Prices:
CDN$300.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnaytext
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Penfolds Yattarna Bin 144 Chardonnay 2021

Tasmania, South Australia, AustraliaIn all, there were 144 trial wines made before Yattarna was eventually launched in 1998, hence the Bin 144 moniker. Indeed, it was made little by little, a literal translation of the indigenous Yattarna name. The ability to blend Yattarna from various regions, a Penfolds’ specialty, is the final piece of the Yattarna project. The coolest, most marginal sites create the tightness and styling that is the story of Yattarna, and the 23rd release (2021) is near perfection. The fruit is a mix from Tasmania, Tumbarumba, and Adelaide Hills, spending nine months in 70% new French oak. A whiff of brie, hazelnuts, and fresh pastry set the stage for an electric, flinty, mineral-based chardonnay tightly wound from front to back. This barrel-fermented oxidatively made chardonnay with barely any colour seems impossible, as does the flavour concentration at a mere 13% alcohol. This is one for the ages.Prices:
BC$220.00750ml
AB$220.00750ml
ON$220.00750ml
QC$220.00750ml
BC$150.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 704text
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Penfolds California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 704 2020

Napa Valley, California, United StatesThe Californian 704 is meant to be the reverse image of the Oz version: Penfolds 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. Make no mistake, this is entirely Napa Valley, and it presents with the richness that comes along with that AVA. Wildfires and COVID-19 marked a difficult production year, but the wine seems none the worse for wear. The aging is 16 months in French oak barriques that were 40% new. It opens with a storm of fully ripe blackcurrant, coffee grounds, dried herbs, and dense tannins. This is going to need time in the bottle but it is already a much more formidable wine than the 407. The Penfolds team thinks it will live well in the 2040s.Prices:
CDN$99.99750ml
US$70.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 21 Grenachetext
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Penfolds Bin 21 Grenache 2022

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaIt is year one for the Penfolds Bin 21 Grenache 2022. The first label released the 2022 Cellar Reserve Barossa Valley Grenache 21 years ago, Bin number 21. Grenache has been widely undervalued in the past by retailers and consumers. Still, the move away from high-alcohol reds has shone a new light on this variety that can reach very tall heights in Australia and the south of France. Cranberry and pomegranate lead the nose, but the trick is enveloping it in the Penfolds silky structure. Severe examples of fun wines are hard to come by, but Bin 21 efficiently manages to pull it off. Aged in a mix of one-year-old (5%) and two-year-old (6%), the rest is marked seasoned. Gago describes it as “Pinot-esque,” other say grenache is the new pinot in Australia.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28text
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Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28 2021

South Australia, AustraliaFirst made in 1959 as a single vineyard (Kalimna) wine, it has long since morphed into a blend of shiraz from across South Australia. In 2020, the grapes were sourced from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, and the Clare Valley. The nose is classic Penfolds pitching aromatics with meaty umami shiraz varietal notes. The attack is a generous mix of fruit, Black Forest cake, and brown spice, all with a bright lift of acidity. It's a complete red wine you can drink now or over the next decade. Just when you think it might get ponderous, there is a rift of minerality to allow the finish to run clean and long.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
AB$49.99750ml
SK$49.99750ml
MB$49.99750ml
ON$49.95750ml
QC$49.75750ml
NB$54.99750ml
NS$54.99750ml
NFL$0.00750ml
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Shiraz Bin 128text
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Penfolds Shiraz Bin 128 2021

Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia128 is sourced from fruit grown on Coonawarra's famed terra rossa soils, the same source since the wine's inception in 1962. Winemaker Peter Gago uses a mix of new and seasoned French oak hogsheads to tighten up the fruit, which seems better than American oak here. It yields a wine that speaks to its roots, pitching floral violet and mint aromas. Its cool classic Coonawarra jacket on the palate carries a mix of fresh mulberries and cedar flecked with a whiff of charcuterie spice and licorice. A top notch vintage has pumped this wine to its ultimate end, allowing you to drink or hold it easily through 2035. This 128 spent a year in French oak hogsheads, of which 21% were new.Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
AB$50.00750ml
ON$50.00750ml
QC$50.00750ml
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798text
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Penfolds RWT Shiraz Bin 798 2021

Barossa Valley, South Australia, AustraliaThe RWT, now Bin Number 798, is long past the Red Wine Trial stage. The French oak version of Grange stands out in a country full of impressive shiraz labels. In 2021 the wine spent 14 months in 80% new French oak, and 20% in one-year-old hogsheads. Unlike American oak, the French version disappears seamlessly into this Barossa wine, that is every bit the red wine the multi-regional Grange is. This version is as dense as they come, again glossy, intense, and awash in black and blue fruit, licorice, black olives, and savoury notes with a surfing freshness that lifts the entire wine through the finish. It is nowhere near ready, so collectors, dig in. An expensive wine already worth the price and will only improve as it moves through the next three or four decades.Prices:
BC$249.99750ml
AB$249.95750ml
SK$249.95750ml
ON$249.95750ml
QC$249.50750ml
NS$249.50750ml
NFL$249.99750ml
US$150.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Riesling Bin 51text
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Penfolds Riesling Bin 51 2023

Eden Valley, South Australia, AustraliaChief winemaker Peter Gago’s eyes light up when he talks about Bin 51, a wine that has been on an upward plane for years, and 2023 is no different. It spends only 90 days in the tank before heading to the bottle, a riesling full of elegance, minerality, and fabulous acidity that will allow this wine to age effortlessly under a screwcap. At this stage, the nose is the show, with bright rose petals, light talc, and big citrus, crunchy acidity packed with lime, honeydew, lemongrass, wet stones, orange rind, and litchi. It will morph into an even more exciting bottle in the decade ahead. Stock up if you love riesling.Prices:
BC$41.00750ml
AB$39.99750ml
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraztext
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Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2021

Adelaide Plains, South Australia, AustraliaMagill Estate Shiraz is the only single-vineyard offering from the Australian side of the Collection and likely one of very few globally that resides within the limits of any major city, just eight kilometres from downtown Adelaide. It is firmly linked to the home of Penfolds and its beginnings. Under Peter Gago it has been fully restored to a level befitting its history. Closing in on forty years, today's fruit is crushed, fermented, and matured on site at the original 1844 winery. Like Grange and 707, it always finishes its ferment in a barrel, as Magill reds were made 177 years ago. Elegance is its best asset, a word you seldom associate with most Australian shiraz, and it spends 19 months in French (90% new) and American (10% new) hogsheads. The attack is dense and generous, packing sweet red fruits and a savoury, meaty undercurrent. Long, creamy, and full flavoured, the finish mellows out as it wins over your palate. A wonderful Magill, the winery suggests you can age two decades if you can keep yourself from drinking it.Prices:
BC$150.00750ml
AB$150.00750ml
SK$150.00750ml
MB$150.00750ml
ON$150.00750ml
QC$150.00750ml
US$150.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraztext
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Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz 2019

South Australia, AustraliaGrange 2019 is a giant of wine, clocking in at 97% shiraz and 3% cabernet sauvignon out of Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, and Clare Valleys. You won’t find anything you don’t like here, and, for some of us, a slightly drier style only increases our interest in what is an iconic version of an iconic wine. Blueberries and mulberries fight it out, streaked with smoke, espresso, five spice, and peppery notes that are persistent throughout its dense, sweet tannins. Grange is made with such precision you sometimes forget how many moving parts have come together to make this wine sing like an opera. The Grange team has likened 2019 as part of a decennial sequence, set to follow in the footsteps of the now highly revered 2009, 1999 and 1989 vintages. Each is a wine of power, precision, and immense cellaring capability. Collectors note that 2019 is one for the cellar, and another wine for the next generation.Prices:
BC$1000.00750ml
AB$999.95750ml
MB$999.99750ml
ON$995.00750ml
QC$995.00750ml
US$850.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds California Collection Cabernet Shiraz Bin 600text
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Penfolds California Collection Cabernet Shiraz Bin 600 2020

California, United StatesIn 1998, Penfolds exported a heritage selection of vine cuttings from South Australia's esteemed Kalimna and Magill Estate vineyards and planted them at the Creston 600 Ranch in Paso Robles. Today, the vineyard is known as Camatta Hills, but Bin 600 honours the original site name and the 22-year-old vines. Blending cabernet sauvignon and shiraz is a Penfolds' institution, and year two of this California blend is a 68/32 mix of grapes aged 16 months in American oak (40% new, 60% one-use barrels). Nothing was easy in 2020 in Napa, where COVID-19 and wildfires delivered their share of challenges. Paso Robles was fire-free, and the hot summer produced impressive shiraz and cabernet. The nose is pleasantly aromatic, pitching everything from tea and cumin to molasses and chocolate. The palate is less exotic with more classic black and blue fruit with streaks of cherries, baking chocolate, and spices. 600 is a valuable and affordable cog in the California Collection.Prices:
CDN$79.99750ml
AB$99.95750ml
SK$99.99750ml
MB$99.99750ml
ON$99.95750ml
QC$100.00750ml
NB$99.99750ml
NS$99.99750ml
NFL$99.99750ml
US$50.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Quantum Bin 98text
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Penfolds Quantum Bin 98 2019

World BlendQuantum continues a story first launched in Paso Robles with a vineyard of Australian vine cuttings, over two decades ago. The 2019 is made with 92% Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and 8% “pedigreed shiraz” from South Australia. Like last year, it is a massive wine that spent 16 months in new American and French oak barrels, but after all is said and done, the complexity and harmony of the blend are not lost but revealed in the finish. Smoky, minty, black and blue plummy fruit melt into a river of oak, spice, and cedar. It gets the partial barrel-fermented Penfolds treatment that supercharges the harmony at an earlier stage. A surprisingly enjoyable Napa cabernet, that for the most part comes with a raft of refinement and a Peter Gago touch that penetrates the high-level winemaking team. If you have the time, this will entertain you through 2050 and beyond.Prices:
BC$899.99750ml
US$700.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407text
92PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 407 2021

South Australia, AustraliaIt is year 20 for 407, first created to soak up the rising quality of Australian cabernet sauvignon inspired by the legendary Bin 707. Peter Gago and the team talk about approachability and varietal definition but always with structure and depth of flavour. 407 is a multi-region and multi-vineyard blend that spends 15 months in French and American oak. The former is 24% new, and the latter is 12% new. I can only imagine the fun you can have picking off top blocks from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Padthaway, and Wrattonbully to assemble 407. In 2020, South Australia experienced the second consecutive winter drought, and bunch weights and berry numbers were generally low across the regions, yet the harvest produced some outstanding parcels of cab. Look for classic crème de cassis, juicy mulberries, and minty (Lynch Bages) notes. Complex and spicy, this is a mouthful already, but the best will come in the next ten to fifteen years.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
AB$99.99750ml
SK$99.99750ml
ON$99.95750ml
QC$99.75750ml
NB$99.99750ml
NS$99.99750ml
NFL$99.99750ml
US$80.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389text
94PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz Bin 389 2021

South Australia, AustraliaIn outstanding years, 389 always wins because the best of its fruit is not required higher up the chain, and the cuts from 707 and Grange additionally bolster this classic cabernet sauvignon shiraz blend. Penfolds Winemaker Andrew Baldwin says this is one of those years, and we should all be stocking up. The attack is rich and dense, with the shiraz bolstering the cabernet. I'm not always bowled over by 389 compared to the Oz critics, but the '21 is all it can be and more. Indeed, it is one of the best I have tasted. The shiraz falls short of the 50% mark, topping out at 47%, and the cabernet sauvignon comes in at 53%. The fruit is a tour of South Australia with stops at McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, and Wrattonbully, and all spends 12 months in 37% new American oak hogsheads. 'Baby Grange' is used as a moniker for Bin 389 primarily because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels used in the previous vintage of Grange, one-year-old American oak. Deep, dark, and plummy with cigar and chocolate covered blueberries, this is a fabulous 389. The winemaking team talks about Black Forest cake as a marker, but you can add several descriptors, from coffee and cola to chocolate and spice. The texture sings here, and the acidity keeps it fresh and humming along the palate. You are supposed to drink 389 while waiting for the Grange.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
AB$99.95750ml
SK$99.99750ml
MB$99.99750ml
ON$99.95750ml
QC$99.95750ml
NB$99.99750ml
NS$99.99750ml
NFL$99.99750ml
US$80.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnaytext
93PTS

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2022

South Australia, AustraliaBin 311’s rise to fame is a direct result of the Yattarna program that laid the foundation for every chardonnay in the Treasury group to excel well beyond chardonnay’s global claim as the largest-selling white variety in the world. In 2022, the “Yattarna in waiting" has become “Baby Yattarna.” The fruit sources went multi-regional in 2018, and cool-climate in 2022 using Tasmania, Tumbarumba, and Adelaide Hills fruit. Once made with no oak, 311 generously benefits from the trickle-down effect of barrels from the Yattarna program. You can sense the barrel fermentation and eight months of oak ageing, but the wine is seamless despite using 34 percent new French oak barriques. I love the opening oatmeal lees and lemon-lime notes. Chablisienne-like on the palate, with cool, sophisticated, lean, stony, flinty minerals. Electric with the perfect mix of acidity and fruit lurking in the fine-grained oak textures. Drink now or over the next decade. A mini-Yatarrna is a fabulous price. Is there a better New World Chardonnay at this price?Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
AB$50.00750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$45.00750ml
US$35.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz - Mourvèdre - Grenachetext
94PTS

Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz - Mourvèdre - Grenache 2021

Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia2021 was an excellent vintage in the Barossa Valley. The colour is classic purple crimson, and the nose is a lifted balsamic affair with a savoury, spicy undercurrent of tea, grilled meats, and an upfront sense of freshness. The palate is awash in berries, sweet jube jubes, smooth tannins, and bright acid that runs through the finish. The blend is all Barossa Valley, 50/44/6 grenache, shiraz, and mataro that spends 12 months in oak barrels (12% new, 10% French, and 2% American). It's seriously fun to drink. Bin 138 is inspired by Southern Rhône wines that mix varying proportions of shiraz, grenache, and mourvèdre (mataro). Bin 138 is sourced from old Barossa Valley vines, some more than a century old. First labelled 'Old Vine Barossa Valley' in 1992, it was elevated to Bin status with the 1998 vintage. The 2021 is being hailed as the best Bin 138 ever, and I can't disagree. Extraordinary value.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
AB$35.00750ml
SK$35.00750ml
ON$35.00750ml
NB$38.00750ml
US$40.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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Penfolds  Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707text
96PTS

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Bin 707 2021

South Australia, AustraliaBin 707 has always been a multi-regional, multi-vineyard cabernet sauvignon made with a singular purpose: to be one of the best in the world. In 2021, with Barossa in a drought year, a majority of this delicious cabernet came from Coonawarra and Wrattonbully, where the days were more cool-climate than warm, allowing the fruit all the time it needed to ripen. And ripen it did. The fruit is selected to represent the Penfolds ‘house style’, and take on fermentation and a lengthy ageing process in new American oak hogsheads. Opaque and packed full of dense sweet tannins, it has Grand Cru textures suggesting the wine is a giant, but it’s the freshness and the minerals that make this wine special, or what winemaker Peter Gago now refers to as the ‘Grange of cabernet.’ It spends 18 months in new American oak hogsheads, although you hardly notice the oak that is quickly soaked up into the wood. It is a new level for 707 that isn’t made every year. Bin 707 was first vintaged in 1964. It was not made from 1970 to 1975 (when fruit was directed to other wines) nor in 1981, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2017 or 2020, when fruit of the required style and quality was unavailable. That doesn’t happen with most Grand Cru Bordeaux.Prices:
BC$549.99750ml
AB$459.99750ml
SK$600.00750ml
MB$600.00750ml
ON$550.00750ml
QC$600.00750ml
US$450.00750ml
Producer: Penfolds
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14 December 2023

E. Pira and Figli - Chiara Boschis Langhe Nebbiolotext
91PTS

E. Pira and Figli - Chiara Boschis Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFrom the MGA Le Coste, in Monforte d’Alba, and grapes from the 'Bell of Respect' off the vineyards near their non-organic neighbours, this Nebbiolo is rooted in calcareous clays at 400m. After a stainless ferment, this aged 1 year in French barriques. Wild cherry, fragrant raspberry, dried roses is carried with lifted tart acidity, and framed with long, tightly grippy tannins. This finishes with crushed stones and cherry blossoms. Very charming, this medium bodied red is tasting beauty now (try with truffles) but will hold over the next few years easy.Prices:
ON$62.00750ml
Producer: E. Pira & Figli
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Fontanafredda Barolotext
88PTS

Fontanafredda Barolo 2019

Serralunga, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFontanafredda's Barolo can be considered an entry into Barolo. From clay-limestone soils, this was fermented in stainless at warm temperature before 2 years aging in Slavonian and French casks. Ripe, round, and warm, with baked cherry, leather, and plum picked up by a spike of acidity, taking this to a short, spiced, and bitter black tea finish. Certainly not indicative of Barolo beyond, this requires hearty mushroom/pork stews.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$40.00750ml
MB$49.99750ml
NS$45.99750ml
Producer: Fontanafredda
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Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

Giovanni Rosso Nebbiolo Langhe Rosso 2020

Piedmont, ItalyThe Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo comes off various aspects between 340 and 520 metres above sea level. It is all hand harvested, crushed, and fermented on the skins in concrete tanks for 15 days. It gets daily pump-overs and one délestage at the halfway point. The aging is done in large 50-hectare French oak barrels for a few months. The result is a charming floral cherry affair with mostly elegant tannins and bloody red fruit. Stylish and oh so food friendly, serve this with a touch of coolness, and you will not be disappointed.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
ON$30.00750ml
Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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Tenuta Il Cascinone Avamposti Altrovetext
91PTS

Tenuta Il Cascinone Avamposti Altrove 2019

Vignale Monferrato, Alessandria, Piedmont, ItalyFrom Tenuta Il Cascinone, in hilly Monferrato, this nebbiolo is rooted in clay soils of the lower slopes, planted in 2005 in the small Soliti plot. After 2 weeks on skins, this is fermented in stainless and rested 2 years in oak (75% botti / 25% barriques). Pouring a lighter crimson hue, this lifted red teems with wildflowers, perfumed plum, ripe wild blueberry, and ample fine salinity. Tannins are slight and sticky, hugging this through a lightly spiced finish. Tastes much lighter than its 14.5% would suggest, this is a charming nebbiolo for enjoying now.Prices:
BC$38.99750ml
Producer: Boutinot
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Marchisio Family Organic Estate Mungalat Langhe Nebbiolotext
89PTS

Marchisio Family Organic Estate Mungalat Langhe Nebbiolo 2022

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThe Marchisio family has been growing vines in Roero since the late 19th century. This organic nebbiolo comes off 15-25 year old vines rooted in the sandy calcareous marls of Tenuta Ca' du Russ. After a short maceration, this was native fermented and aged up to 1 year in large oak barrels. Wild cherry, juicy plums, and scrubby resinous herbs infiltrate this youthful nebbiolo, still showing the authentic rawness of the grape's inherent tannins, all lofted with easy elevated acidity. Partner this little charmer with roast root veg / pork / wild mushroom pizza to meet the tannins.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: Marchisio Family Organic Estate
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Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche Dell'Annunziatatext
90PTS

Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche Dell'Annunziata 2017

La Morra, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyThis cuvée comes from a cru in the shelter of a hollow of calcareous clays at 270m, between the hills of San Martino and Cerequio-Brunate, looking S/SW out over the Torriglione hamlet. This was fermented on skins in concrete over 3 weeks before moving to larger untested French and Austrian oak casks for 18 months. Structured wild cherry, perfumed raspberry, scrubby herbs muscle their way through this structured, riper Barolo, with grippy tannins pinning in the sides, and bright acidity carrying this through the sueded finish.Prices:
BC$72.99750ml
Producer: Aurelio Settimo
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Antiche Cantine dei Marchesi di Barolotext
88PTS

Antiche Cantine dei Marchesi di Barolo 2018

Piedmont, ItalyBarolo, as we know it today, was first made in the early 19th century by the Marchese Carlo Tancredi Falletti di Barolo and his wife, Giulia. The wine from their estate soon became known as “the wine from Barolo”. Without heirs, and re: the wishes of Marchesa Giulia, the family assets were donated to charity. The sales of wine from their Barolo vineyards continue to fund the charity, which still exists today. In 1929, local winemaker, Pietro Abbona purchased the cellars and eventually acquired all their vineyard holdings as well, and the business and 175 ha remains in the Abbona family's 5th generation today. Grapes for this Barolo come from Castiglione Falletto, Barolo, and Monforte d’Alba, and a mix of quartzose sands. This was fermented warm in tanks over 8 days before moving into concrete tanks lined with fiberglass and insulated with cork, for MLF. When complete, the wine is blended and aged for 2 years in large Slavonian oak. This shows dried cherry, raspberry, dried paper, across a worn leather palate, framed with sinewy tannins that take it to a grippy, bitter end. Feeling tired, this is lacking energy at this point unnecessarily, and requires a rustic and hearty stew to resuscitate.Prices:
BC$64.99750ml
AB$64.99750ml
ON$51.95750ml
Producer: Marchesi di Barolo
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Luigi Scavino Azelia Barolotext
92PTS

Luigi Scavino Azelia Barolo 2017

Piedmont, ItalyYou may recognize Scavino from the renowned Paolo Scavino estate, though his cousin, Luigi, shares ownership of the famed Fiasco hill in in Castiglione Falletto with him, and flies somewhat under the radar (yay for us!). Together with his wife Lorella and son Lorenzo Scavino (5th gen), Luigi has 16 hectares of vines across Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba, and Montelupo Albese. This Barolo blends 7 calcareous clay sites (based on Castiglione Falletto) with an average vine age of 45 years. It was aged in large Austrian and Slovenian oak for 2 years. In a beauty place right now, with wild and fresh florals, dried and primary cherry, and wild and perfumed raspberry woven throughout the medium+ palate, kissed deeply with bergamot. Framed with long, firm, slightly tacky black tea tannins, and buoyed by easy stony acidity, this finessed wine lingers with dried florals and salted dried cherries. It's easy to see why Nebbiolo haunts. Fantastic value.Prices:
BC$71.99750ml
Producer: Azelia di Scavino Luigi, Az Agr.
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Fontanabianca Barbarescotext
92PTS

Fontanabianca Barbaresco 2019

Piedmont, ItalyThere are more refined tannins here than in 2016, but that only means it will go the distance in the bottle. I love the precision of winemaker Matteo Pola’s wines, followed closely by the value they provide. Look for an ethereal nose lined with violets and mineral wet stone that tantalize the palate. In the mouth, a lovely subtle mix of cherries touched with licorice and a tight line of acidity runs through the finish. This is one for the cellar with a long future.Prices:
BC$41.99750ml
Producer: Fontanabianca
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11 December 2023

Winemaker's Cut Q and Atext
90PTS

Winemaker's Cut Q and A 2020

Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJason Priestley, Hollywood actor/director; media broadcaster Terry David Mulligan; and winemaker Michal Mosny (Winemaker's Cut) are behind the Q&A. I revisited the 2020 red blend a year later to see where the wine is at in the bottle. The blend is 45/38/13/4 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot, which enjoyed ideal growing conditions in 2020. The bouquet is beginning to toss vibrant, savoury desert scrub aromas mixed with cedar and hints of cinnamon. The palate is a full-bodied mix of blueberries and sweet black raspberries with some intense clove in the finish. It seems a bit out of sorts now, like many reds that fade into the bottle for a year or two before reemerging. The texture remains inviting while the acidity kicks up a bit, with some balsamic notes in the back. Youthful and rambunctious, this would be fine with a Tomahawk steak now, but another year or two in the bottle should repay your patience.Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
AB$50.00750ml
Producer: Winemaker's Cut
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Hester Creek Garlandtext
92PTS

Hester Creek Garland 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaGarland is the Hester Creek flagship red, named after the longtime owner Curt Garland. The inaugural 2015 vintage first appeared in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of planting vinifera vines on the property in 1968. Garland has been made every year since. The 2020 Garland is led by cabernet sauvignon with additions of malbec and petit verdot, all grown on the Golden Mile Bench. From a winemaking perspective, 2020 was an exceptional vintage in the South Okanagan. That culminated in smaller berry sizes that contributed to concentrated flavours, something you might expect from the 5th warmest year in growing degree days in the last 20 years. After fermentation, the petit verdot and malbec were co-fermented and blended with the cabernet sauvignon to age for 24 months in French oak. This edition is swimming in powerful blackberry streaked with licorice, balsamic, and sweet pipe tobacco before the plush, sweet tannins kick in. From my point of view, the Garland is always tighter and more focused, a more sophisticated blend compared with The Judge, and suited to more extended aging. If appropriately cellared, this one will surely be around for 15-20 years. Perfect now for rare steak with peppercorn sauce, or a mushroom-based dish.Prices:
BC$64.99750ml
Producer: Hester Creek Estate Winery
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Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Redtext
91PTS

Clos du Soleil Estate Reserve Red 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaA Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon (31%), merlot (25%), malbec (19%), cabernet franc (14%), and petit verdot (11%). Lighter and fresher than their Signature blend, this wine is characterised by a nice backbone of crisp acidity and powdery tannins. It leans towards a European style with prominent herbal pyrazine notes complemented by perfumed florals and an intriguing incense nose. The presence of graphite and crushed gravel minerality confirms its origin in Similkameen, while the French oak adds cigar box and toasty notes that are well-integrated. Effortlessly elegant.Prices:
BC$64.90750ml
Producer: Clos du Soleil Winery
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Rocca di Montegrossi Ridolfotext
93PTS

Rocca di Montegrossi Ridolfo 2017

Tuscany, ItalyMonti in Chianti is a respected wine-growing area in Chianti Classico and home to the organically certified Rocca di Montegrossi winery. From an area of about 100 hectares (20 are under vines) at 340 to 510 meters above sea level, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi is making quality wines. Sangiovese occupies almost 13 hectares along with autochthonous grapes like canaiolo, colorino, pugnitello, and malvasia bianca, while the rest of the vineyard is devoted to international stalwarts, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Ridolfo is a never seen before blend of 50/50 cabernet sauvignon and pugnitello, the latter a small bunch local variety yielding low amounts of juice, but when mixed with cabernet sauvignon, its local rusticity takes on the linear cabernet structure, creating a delicious red. Tasted from magnum, this is a wine that is full of power, and Super Tuscan-like in structure and complexity. Dry, round, and full of subtle black cherry and dried plums, it has a persistent long finish spiked with pepper. This wine is at home with bistecca alla Fiorentina, or spaghetti and meatballs.Prices:
BC$235.991500ml
Producer: Rocca di Montegrossi
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Culmina Family Estate Hypothesistext
90PTS

Culmina Family Estate Hypothesis 2017

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaCulmina is a Golden Mile Bench blend coming off Arise and Stan's Benches, containing 43/21/20/10/6 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. This was aged in 31% new French oak barriques, 20% one year old, and 51% neutral oak. This wine has developed over time, shedding some intense earthy tannic notes, but it remains rich and dry with spicy black fruit, cloves, and a long, warm finish. It's still a bit of a monster, but if you like your reds big, this fills the bill. The winery seems on track with its food pairings, suggesting Périgord truffle risotto with grilled king oyster mushrooms, roasted pheasant breast with a chestnut and sage stuffing, or full-flavoured, hard cheeses such as Mimolette or Avonlea clothbound cheddar.Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Lovo Blossom Rossotext
87PTS

Lovo Blossom Rosso 2020

Veneto, ItalyFrom the father-daughter team of Salvatore and Silvia Lovo comes this 50/50 Cab Sauv / Cab Franc blend from the Veneto. These dry-farmed vines are hand harvested from volcanic / clay soils at 200m. It was fermented and aged in stainless over 6 months, keeping it fresh. Plush dark plum, tayberry, and tobacco intertwine on the sticky, downy palate, finishing snappy and lightly spiced. A simple medium red for tomato sauced pastas or meatballs.Prices:
BC$28.99750ml
Producer: Lovo
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Señatext
96PTS

Seña 2020

Valle de Aconcagua, Region de Aconcagua, ChileThe latest 2020 Seña mixes 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 15% Carmenere, and 7% Petit Verdot, and might be the most elegant they have ever made as the transformation of this wine continues apace. Panquehue was warm in 2020, but those afternoon winds that swept down the vineyard after 3pm daily helped to push the warm noonday heat out of the vineyard, leaving this wine a sense of harmony you expect at this price point. Seña is primarily fermented in stainless steel, with 20% coming out of concrete vats, the latter helping to tighten up the wine and add some restraint. The ageing is done with 90% French oak barrels (78% new) and 10% Stockinger foudres for 22 months. There is a mouth structure that speaks to dense sweet tannins that I have not experienced before with Seña, allowing the harmony to begin from the start. Look for primarily red fruit notes of cherries, raspberries, and plums, florals, and a dusting of balsamic spice. More red fruit, black olives, and spice round out this stylish Seña, one that will go the distance, likely two decades in the bottle. You need only be patient.Prices:
BC$199.99750ml
AB$199.99750ml
MB$199.99750ml
ON$199.99750ml
QC$199.99750ml
Producer: Viña Errazuriz
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Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Single Vineyard Selection Parcellairetext
92PTS

Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Single Vineyard Selection Parcellaire 2020

Lolol Valley, Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChileThese vines are own-rooted, often thought to be a terroir super translator. The nose is a savoury, boldo affair of cassis, tobacco leaf, black cherry, licorice, and white pepper aromas. The palate is equally rich in similar flavours, all in a supple, smooth environment, even at this early stage. This is a beautiful dinner wine suited to roast beef or barbecued steaks. An impressive reflection of the terroir, and well-priced for the quality.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
NB$30.00750ml
Producer: Francois Lurton
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Purple Angel by Montestext
95PTS

Purple Angel by Montes 2020

Valle del Colchagua, Valle del Rapel, Region del Valle Central, ChilePurple Angel is the Montes flagship carménère, and in a great year like 2020 in Colchgua, this wine is reaching its zenith. Not that you can drink this for a decade, but it is impressive. The colour is opaque, reflecting its 90/10 mix of carmenere/petit verdot, and was aged 18 months in 70 percent new French oak plus 30 percent second and third-year use. Don’t worry. Given the sophisticated level of amalgamation, you can barely sense the oak, with plenty more to come in the bottle. You can write a lot about his wine, but I think seamless is enough to express the picture at this young age. Aurelio Montes is always proud to say they were never the first to make carménère because, in those days, he thought if it was to become a flagship varietal for Montes or Chile, they wanted to be the best, not the first. They are fully there in 2020 with its gobs of black and blue fruits, dense, sweet tannins, with a savoury, smoky, bay leaf undercurrent. It is 92% carménère split between Apalta and Marchigue (46% each), and 8% petit verdot from Apalta. The fruit is grown on two estate vineyards: Finca de Apalta and El Arcángel de Marchigüe, where the soils are primarily granitic in origin with differing clay content, and old fluvial and glacial stones.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
AB$100.00750ml
ON$95.95750ml
NS$74.00750ml
Producer: Montes Wines
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08 December 2023

Liber Estates Rebil Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Liber Estates Rebil Pinot Noir 2020

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Rebel (Liber backwards) Pinot Noir is grown metres from the west-facing banks of the Similkameen River, about four kilometres from the US border. The organic vineyard is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the sometimes cool, sometimes warm, wild and windy site that gets much sun from what winemaker Mike Dowell calls "the shimmer effect." He explains the sun bouncing off the bend of the Similkameen at peak spring run-off warms the vines in late spring, helping to kick start the vines toward flowering and set. This is a juicy, mid-weight, savoury pinot with an earthy forest floor, silky textures, cinnamon spice, and a dusting of light tannins. At 13.6 percent alcohol, it is easy to sip. Simple grilled or baked salmon with a soya-based marinade would be a fine match.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
Producer: Liber Estates
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
90PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2022

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the McLean Creek Road Vineyard, planted in 1994 in OK Falls, this cuvée snapshots the site and vintage, drawing from 5 clones (91, 114, 115, 667, 777) across gravel and sandy loams from alluvial and glacial deposits. This was destemmed and cold soaked before a native ferment over two weeks before moving into French oak (25% new) for 11 months. It was bottled, unfined, and unfiltered. Juicy plum and wild raspberry are imbued with autumnal forest notes across a gently cushioned core, with slight, softer tannins guiding this to a smoked pink peppercorn, scrubby herb finish. Acidity is rhubarb bright, making this youthful pinot highly mushroom dish friendly.Prices:
BC$37.48750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Old Block McLean Creek Vineyardtext
92PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Old Block McLean Creek Vineyard 2022

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Old Block is an original Meyer Vineyard plant that dates to 1994 and is part of the largest single block (1 acre) of pinot noir at McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls. The unknown clone is planted to a steep southerly aspect, capturing the full range of the sun, and while it more than often exhibits both power and length, it usually clocks in at a modest 13.5 percent alcohol. Winemaker Chris Carson practices sustainable /organic viticulture, but the vineyard is not certified. The winemaking regimen is kept simple: most of the work is done in the vineyard before a gentle destem of the berries and, via gravity, move them into small open-top fermenters. After a cold soak, the fermentation begins naturally, peaking at 30 C. The must is hand plunged throughout and during post-maceration. The 2022 is a welcomed return from the smoky 2021 offerings and may be one of the best years yet for pinot noir in British Columbia. Old Block always opens with a soft plush palate on the palate. The mix of cranberries and black cherries keeps it lively before streaks of baking spices weave through a fresh acidity in the finish. Long and impressive, this will have a large following of happy pinot drinkers. It's more hedonistic than complex but a delicious ready-to-drink style. Good value.Prices:
BC$44.44750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Blue Grouse Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Grouse Pinot Noir 2021

Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Cowichan Valley, this pinot noir was fermented partially whole cluster, and rested in amphora before 16 months barrel aging. Lifted plums, black raspberries are kissed with autumnal forest and glide along a streamlined palate, finishing with a warming spice. Tannins are fine and lithe, and acidity is coastal bright. A lovely bright look at a darker shaded pinot noir, enjoy this with wild mushrooms.Prices:
BC$39.00750ml
Producer: Blue Grouse Estate Winery
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Spearhead Pinot Noir Saddle Blocktext
91PTS

Spearhead Pinot Noir Saddle Block 2021

East Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSlightly fruit-forward, this begins with an enticing bouquet of pomegranate molasses, mulberry, and deep red, somewhat dusty berries. Along with the forest floor, dusty layered rose petals, and black raspberry, a darker savoury fruit element undertow provides balance. A poster child for BC pinot noir terroir, Saddle Block has always shown a unique combination of flavour elements year to year. Unfortunately, the vineyard was recently hit hard by damaging frosts and may take a few years to regain its footing. This is the home vineyard for Spearhead and was initially called the Gentleman Farmer vineyard. The clonal mix here is 33% 777, 28% 667, 17% 115, 11% 828, and 11% California Mt. Eden clone. The Saddle Block Pinot Noir resides within the new East Kelowna Slopes sub-GI.Prices:
BC$33.00750ml
Producer: Spearhead Winery
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Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
91PTS

Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - B Field Blend McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2022

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe pinot plantings at McLean Creek Road Vineyard are a mix of different Burgundian clones. When winemaker Chris Carson planted the B Field in 2017, the new block received three Dijon clones (115, 667, 777) and cuttings from an unknown clone from the designated Old Block site. The goal was to be able to harvest a Field Blend each year. All other clones harvested from this vineyard are picked and fermented separately, but for the B, the four clones are picked on the same day and cofermented in a more traditional field blend way. The blend in 2022 is magic. It’s aged in older neutral French oak barrels for 11 months before bottling. Compared to the warmer 2020 release, this wine is fresher and amazingly juicy. Seamless and delicious from front to back, this is fun to drink with soft tannins, ripe cherries, a dusting of barnyard, and a long, silky finish. Love the finesse and simplicity of this wine. Super value.Prices:
BC$31.39750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noirtext
90PTS

Van Westen Vineyards Di Bello Wines VD Pinot Noir 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI remember when this collaboration was first released a dozen years ago. Tom DiBello and Rob Van Westen were making Naramata pinot noir long before the rush to pinot, taking advantage of the warm afternoons on the Bench to pitch a style that always takes us to a meeting point between the cool Sonoma Coast and Central Otago. The lush and hedonistic side has never wavered since. Granite Ridge Vineyard faces north, allowing the dark, floral, sweet black cherry to jump from the glass, previewing a fresh palate of juicy black plums and strawberries sprinkled with baking spices. It is medium long with silky tannins that let it slide down effortlessly. Watch your bottle because it will disappear quickly. Duck, pork, or cornish game hen all work here.Prices:
BC$40.00750ml
Producer: Van Westen Vineyards
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Lakeboat Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Lakeboat Pinot Noir 2020

Kaleden, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaInitially some rounded, darker, fragrant mulberry and ripe cherry settle into a mid-palate of blueberry, plum, and marionberry, matched with a slightly relaxed acidity. Approachable, straightforward, and well textured, with moderate alcohol and a plush, outstretched finish. In 2016, Tara Mathison purchased an older house in Kaleden that happened to be surrounded by the vineyard of Topshelf Winery, which was also for sale. Fast forward to the Lakeboat Winery, which opened in 2022. This 2020 pinot noir is the inaugural vintage. Though Kaleden is not yet a sub-GI, Lakeboat strives to produce all its wines with fruit from the area. The consulting winemaker is Mireille Sauvé.Prices:
$30.00750ml
Producer: Lakeboat Vineyard & Winery
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Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 14 Gravel Force Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Blue Mountain Single Vineyard Block 14 Gravel Force Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhen I tasted this wine initially after its release in the fall of 2019 it had firm fruit along with memorable clarity, and made me think of premier cru Beaune or Pommard. By 2023, the wine had let go of the bigger, firmer fruit to show something much different. Now it was demure and perfumed with autumn leaves, green leaf, flecks of cinnamon, wild strawberry, and violets. Graceful, airy, and poised from the beginning through a lingering finish, it was a floating wave of harmonious flavour as clear as Ella Fitzgerald's voice. Supported by a finely calibrated acidity, there wasn't a note of distraction. This is world class wine making. The texture is remarkable and the flavours should develop further with time. Made from 30+ year old clones 115 and 667, Gravel Force is from Blue Mountain's Block 14, and one of three single vineyard labels. It was native fermented over three weeks before moving into neutral French barrels.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Jean-Claude Ramonet Pernand-Vergelesses Les Belles Fillestext
91PTS

Jean-Claude Ramonet Pernand-Vergelesses Les Belles Filles 2018

Pernand-Vergelesses, Côte de Beaune, Côte d'Or, Burgundy, FrancePierre Ramonet arrived in Burgundy in the late 1920s with nothing but a knapsack and started to earn money by buying and vinifying grapes. The land value was very low, so he was able to accumulate vineyard plots surrounding the village of Chassagne-Montrachet, with his first purchase within the great Ruchottes vineyard in 1934. Pierre eventually handed over the reins to his son André, who passed in 2011, and subsequently to his grandchildren, Noël and Jean-Claude, who had tended the family vineyards since 1984. The Domaine produces 24 appellation wines from 40 acres. Sapid plum, perfumed wild raspberry, fresh cherry, and forest floor run a silken yet defined palate, with a noticable toasted wood in the fine, sticky tannins, guiding this to the warming and black tea-kissed finish. Reflective of the warmer year, this is best enjoyed with protein to meld all the elements together.Prices:
Producer: Jean-Claude Ramonet
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05 December 2023

Cantine Volpi Timorasso Colli Tortonesi La Zerbatext
92PTS

Cantine Volpi Timorasso Colli Tortonesi La Zerba 2021

Piedmont, ItalyCantine Volpi Timorasso Colli Tortonesi La Zerba DOC is a captivating white wine that showcases the indigenous Timorasso grape and the rich terroir of the Colli Tortonesi region in Piedmont. La Zerba is at once expressive with rich layers of ripe stone fruit. Still, the tangy acidity and mineral underside turbocharge the wine and make it something personal and Piemontesi. The winemaking is minimal: there is a hand harvest, a gentle press, and a slow, cool fermentation in stainless steel before the wine goes into old oak barrels to rest and add some complexity. There is a lot of care in keeping the Timorasso authentic. The name Derthona on the label is the ancient Roman name for the nearby town of Tortona. In 2000, the Consorzio of Timorasso producers trademarked Derthona as their Timorasso, paying homage to this grape variety's historic territory of origin. In 2000, there were only 3 hectares of Timorasso vines; today, it is 150 hectares and growing. Terrific value here.Prices:
BC$33.00750ml
Producer: Volpi
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Weingut Loimer 1st läge Langenlois Ried Käferberg Grüner Veltlinertext
92PTS

Weingut Loimer 1st läge Langenlois Ried Käferberg Grüner Veltliner 2021

Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaFrom Langenlois’ Ried Käferberg, at 310–345m, this Grüner is from vines 15-57 years, rooted in sand, clay, and sea sediments on primary rock. This was whole cluster pressed and macerated over 24 hours before native ferment in large oak barrels over 1 month. It remained in oak on full lees for 11 months without SO2, and then went into stainless for 8 months on light lees. It was bottled unfiltered. The wood is quite evident, structuring this powerful wine, one imbued with lemon verbena, green apple, powerful flake salts wrapping around a generous core, with white honey and white pepper on the finish. Many elements of fine white Bourgogne here, including an alluring kiss of reduction. A beaut.Prices:
ON$81.00750ml
Producer: Weingut Loimer
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Weingut Loimer Grüner Veltliner Langenloisertext
90PTS

Weingut Loimer Grüner Veltliner Langenloiser 2022

Kamptal, Niederösterreich, Weinland Österreich, AustriaFrom vineyards in the village of Langenlois, this Grüner Veltliner is from vines 20-50 years, and a mix of loess, sandy clays, and gneiss on mostly terraced vineyards. This was whole cluster pressed with partial maceration before a native ferment in primarily stainless, with 30% seeing time in used large oak barrels. Post ferment, this rested in stainless on fine lees for 5 months. Tight lemongrass, lemon verbena rule this streamlined white, with a light white honey sheen over river stones. This trails long with crystalline lemon and light salinity. Great energy here.Prices:
ON$35.00750ml
Producer: Weingut Loimer
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Barone di Valforte Pecorinotext
89PTS

Barone di Valforte Pecorino 2022

Abruzzo, ItalyThe Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century. The vineyard lies within the DOCG Colline Teramane area, but the pecorino grape is the star. The Pecorino takes its name from the Italian word for sheep, Pecora, that feed off the golden grapes. The aromas are intoxicating, mixing wild honey and citrus with almonds, pears, and mineral undersides. In BC, this is a terrific mussel wine, or you could serve it with a piece of aged pecorino cheese or roasted turkey. I love the super value here.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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Piera 1899 Terre Magre Ribolla Giallatext
87PTS

Piera 1899 Terre Magre Ribolla Gialla 2022

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyIn 1992, Piera Martellozzo was chosen by her father to manage their small family winery in Padua, becoming the 3rd generation in the wine business. Over the course of two decades, after moving and consolidating its headquarters in Friuli, the winery became an esteemed name in winemaking in the North East. From marly soils, the grapes are crushed and fermented in stainless over 3 weeks, where it remains on lees for 6 months. Subtle lime blossoms and rosewater aromas lead into a glossy palate of the same, with some ripe pear and ripe lychee, finishing with a snap. Simple and short.Prices:
Producer: Piera 1899
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Piera 1899 Terre Magre Sauvignontext
88PTS

Piera 1899 Terre Magre Sauvignon 2022

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyIn 1992, Piera Martellozzo was chosen by her father to manage their small family winery in Padua, becoming the 3rd generation in the wine business. Over the course of two decades, after moving and consolidating its headquarters in Friuli, the winery became an esteemed name in winemaking in the North-East. This sauvignon blanc comes from sandy gravel soils, and was crushed and frozen over 1 hour to increase intensity, and then fermented and left on fine lees for 6 months in stainless. Intense sauvignon nose, with dense gooseberry, lime pith and peel, and crunchy Asian pear, with a grippy, almost gritty extract texturing the finish. Quite a made wine, and if you're looking for an intense, dry sauvignon for equally intense green dishes, try this. A very unnecessary heavyweight bottle.Prices:
Producer: Piera 1899
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Elena Fucci Verha Biancotext
89PTS

Elena Fucci Verha Bianco 2022

Basilicata, ItalyVerha is a second label from Basilicata's lauded Elena Fucci, allowing her to make wines from grapes other than the region's iconic aglianico. This sauvignon blanc comes from a vineyard bordering the famed TITOLO vineyard in Contrada Catavatta's volcanic soils. Light and lean, with tight lime pith and leaf, crunchy Asian pear, and subtle sage, finishing snappy and fresh. A lighter style of sauvignon for sipping with antipasto.Prices:
ON$19.95750ml
Producer: Elena Fucci
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Michele Chiarlo Gavi le Marnetext
90PTS

Michele Chiarlo Gavi le Marne 2022

Gavi, Piedmont, ItalyGavi le Marne is grown on hillsides of clay marls between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennine mountains, taking advantage of both unique climates. 2022 was a warm and dry year, but measures were taken to protect the fruit and keep the wine fresh. The vegetation was left to grow wild, and the fruit was picked a week early. The grapes are native fermented in stainless steel and aged for three to four months on lees there. The result is a refreshing white with bright florals and almonds on the nose. The palate mixes ripe golden apples, citrus, and warm bread, and the finish is savoury and lean. Spaghetti vongole is the perfect match.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Michele Chiarlo
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01 December 2023

Champagne Leclerc Briant Brut Reservetext
91PTS

Champagne Leclerc Briant Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceThis negoc house was founded in 1955 when Bertrand Leclerc married Jacqueline Briant. They were an early adopter of organic practices back in the 1960’s, and were one of the first to bottle single-vineyard Champagnes in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s, Bertrand and Jacqueline’s son, Pascal, began integrating biodynamic principles and part of the production has been Demeter certified since 2003. Today, enologist Hervé Jestin, known for his biodynamics / bioenergetics oversees the wines of the house and its near 30ha of vines, plus another 20ha of organically farmed contract fruit. The Brut Reserve name is not entirely correct. This wine, making up 75% of production, is entirely from the 2019 vintage, and is dosed extra brut with 4.5 g/L, disgorged in December 2022. This blend of 40/40/20 Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier / Chardonnay was native fermented in stainless and oak (the latter 20%) with full MLF over 10 months. This went into bottle unfined and unfiltered, where it rested 30 months on lees. Bright green apple, lightly toasted brioche, lemon blossoms, almond meringue run across a shimmering palate to a stony, saline finish. Quite smart, this is a lovely go-to champagne with canapés or dinner.Prices:
ON$89.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Leclerc Briant
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Champagne Gosset Grande Reserve Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Gosset Grande Reserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFounded in Aÿ in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne. For 17 generations Gosset was family owned, but in 1993 it was sold to the Cointreau family from Charente, owners of Frappin Cognac. Their flagship Grande Reserve Brut is sourced from Aÿ, Bouzy, Ambonnay, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (all GC's) and Villers-Marmery (1er Cru) and blends 45/45/10 Chardonnay / Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier, with approximately 15% reserve wines. The current bottle in market was based on 2018, and was disgorged in January 2022 with 8 g/L. As is the house style, this was fermented in stainless, with no MLF. The treatment keeps this Classic NV Brut fresh and linear, with red and green apple, light toast wrapping around a lemony core, all braced with bright acidity. I tried this in a sizeable lineup of Grands Marques NV Brut earlier this year, and this won charmed with its modernity and freshness.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
ON$85.80750ml
ON$49.95375ml
Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFounded in Aÿ in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne. For 17 generations, Gosset was family-owned, but in 1993 it was sold to the Cointreau family from Charente, owners of Frappin Cognac. This Grand Rosé is roughly equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir (8% still pinot) sourced from the GC and 1er Crus of Avize, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Cuis, Pierry, and Rilly. Wines were fermented in stainless, with no MLF, and the cuvée includes 15% reserve wines spanning 6-8 years. This was disgorged with 8 g/L. Pouring a deeper orange / peach hue, this streams perfumed raspberry, red apple, and white cherry along the expansive, doughy palate, thoughtfully braced with lemon pith acidity. Full and round in the mouth, but with smart freshness, this is a great food wine with protein dishes.Prices:
BC$107.00750ml
ON$108.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Nominé Renard Brut Blanc de Noirstext
91PTS

Champagne Nominé Renard Brut Blanc de Noirs NV

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceBased in Villevenard (Vallé de la Marne), the Nominé family's vineyards extend over 20 hectares, spread over the slopes of Petit Morin, Sézannais, and the Marne valley. The diversity gives 3rd generation Simon Nominé lots to work with in his blends. This BdN comes from 2 plots, one in Villevenard (60% pinot noir) and one in Charly sur Marne (40% pinot meunier), and from vines 20-45 years. It's primarily 2014, with 10% reserve wines, and it spent 3 years on lees before disgorge with 9.5 g/L. There is lovely sharp and detailed black fruit here, herbal edged, over a chalky lees base, finishing with a chiselled, saline finish. Super smart.Prices:
France$30.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Nominé Renard
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Champagne Nominé Renard Brut Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Champagne Nominé Renard Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceBased in Villevenard (Vallé de la Marne), the Nominé family's vineyards extend over 20 hectares, spread over the slopes of Petit Morin, Sézannais, and the Marne valley. The diversity gives 3rd generation Simon Nominé lots to work with in his blends. This BdB comes from 5 plots across 3 villages in the Petit Morin and Côte de Sézanne, and from vines 20-45 years on chalk, limestone, and silica. It spent 48 months on lees and was disgorged with 9 g/L. This BdB has a lovely tight frame, with deep chalk and lemon pith laced with fine salinity through the lingering saline finish. Very polished and smart, this eats up the elevated dosage.Prices:
QC$53.50750ml
Producer: Champagne Nominé Renard
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Champagne Nominé Renard Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Nominé Renard Brut NV

Champagne, FranceBased in Villevenard (Vallé de la Marne), the Nominé family's vineyards extend over 20 hectares, spread over the slopes of Petit Morin, Sézannais, and the Marne valley. The diversity gives 3rd generation Simon Nominé lots to work with in his blends. Their flagship NV Brut blends 40% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir, and 30% pinot meunier from 6 villages (30 different plots) across the terroirs above, with 3/4 of the blend from the most recent 3 vintages, and 25% older reserves. After 30 months on lees, this was dosed with 10 g/L. Ripe red apple, lemon pith and peel, this is quite zesty, with a generous brioche base. A flick of alluring reduction finishes with ample sea salt. Lovely completeness and friendliness from the higher dosage.Prices:
QC$47.50750ml
Producer: Champagne Nominé Renard
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Champagne Étienne Calsac Les Rocheforts 1er Cru Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Champagne Étienne Calsac Les Rocheforts 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceLes Rocheforts translates to the strong rocks, referring to the single vineyard 1er cru in Bisseuil on pure chalk, next door to the Vallée de la Marne GC Tours-sur-Marne. Etienne created a perpetual reserve in 2012 just for this chardonnay, off vines planted in the mid 1980's. This was fermented in stainless, and then aged in a mix of tank and barrel (15%) on lees for 7 months prior to bottling. 25-30% of reserve wine is included, and the whole spends 18-24 months in bottle before disgorge, this bottle July 2022. Crushed stones, burnished lemon, red apple, dried apricot, late summer blossoms roll through a savoury, oxidatively kissed palate. Quite distinct, this will have its fans and foes.Prices:
ON$91.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Étienne Calsac
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Champagne Pierre Paillard La Grande Récolte Bouzy Grand Crutext
93PTS

Champagne Pierre Paillard La Grande Récolte Bouzy Grand Cru 2012

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceLa Grande Récolte represents the quintessence of the Paillard's vineyards, sourced from two sites within their top vineyard in their Bouzy homeland. This blends 55% old vine Pinot Noir from a plot called Les Maillerettes, planted in 1970, and 45% Chardonnay from Les Mottelettes, planted in 1961. Both are the mother vines for the massale selections made in house, and both vineyards are a mere 0.8 acres. This was vinified in stainless, and was kept on lees for eight months until bottling the following spring. This rested for 10 years in the deep chalk Paillard cellars, and was disgorged with 1.8 g/L in March 2022. From the excellent 2012 vintage, this is streaming focused and pure red apple and lemon over a deep, wet chalk base, scented with tangerine and stonily structured via the old vines and deep calcareous marls. Super complete, from alluring first scent through lingering meringue and saline finish.Prices:
ON$128.40750ml
BC$144.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Paillard
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Champagne Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThe Cattier house is in the tiny village of Chigny-les-Roses, where they have owned and cultivated family vineyards since 1763. Today, patriarch Jean-Jacques Cattier oversees the family's artisanal winemaking traditions, including the Armand de Brignac labels aged in one of the oldest cellars in Champagne, 119 steps underground. The nose mixes citrus, orange blossoms, and peach with a leesy, warm brioche. Tiny bubbles preview a creamy, decadent, candied, curious affair on the palate before a toasted nutty finish. The Brignac dosage is aged 12 months in French oak. Like the gold-clad bottle, everything is slightly extravagant here, which undoubtedly adds to its popularity with those who love to celebrate with Champagne. The Ace of Spades Brut Gold was voted No.1 Champagne in the world in a blind tasting of 1000 brands in 2010, and the first release remains the iconic cuvée in the range.Prices:
BC$375.00750ml
ON$406.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Andre Carpentier
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Champagne Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Brut Traditiontext
94PTS

Champagne Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Brut Tradition NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceOne of the forerunners of the grower champagne movement, Egly-Ourier is based in Ambonnay, with 4th generation Francis Egly farming their old vines organically and biodynamically. Brut Tradition (newer labels just say Brut) blends 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, predominantly from Ambonnay with the rest coming from Grand Crus Verzenay and Bouzy. Roughly half is reserve wines, and all was native fermented and aged in barrel (10% new) with no MLF, and it went into bottle unfined and unfiltered. This spent 48 months on lees prior to disgorge with 1 g/L. Pouring a golden hue, this powerful champagne is centred on deep chalk, with savoury lees, strident lemon pith and peel, and wafts of iodine woven throughout. Quite profound, this is a contemplative and uncompromising Champagne.Prices:
QC$140.75750ml
ON$160.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Egly-Ouriet
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Champagne Jacques Rousseaux Extra Brut Tradition Grand Crutext
91PTS

Champagne Jacques Rousseaux Extra Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceThe Rousseaux family have been involved with vine growing and winemaking in Verzenay since the 1700s, making wines under their own label since 1884. Today the domaine is run by siblings Céline and Eric Rouxxeaux. Their sustainably farmed 8 hectares are located in the GC of Verzenay. Tradition blends 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay, fermented in stainless, and with 24 months on lees prior to disgorge (this bottle in December 2022) with 3.5 g/L. Quite pure and delicate, with the moderate time on the lees leaving more white cherry, crunchy red apple, and tight blossoms rather than autolytic notes. There's a fine salinity that runs a lingering finish. A quiet charmer.Prices:
Italy$62.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Jacques Rousseaux
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Champagne Rémi Leroy Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Rémi Leroy Extra Brut NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceBased in the Aube, which shares the same Portlandian and Kimmeridgian limestone soils as Chablis just further south, young Remi farms 3 of his family's organic 9ha under this label; the rest of the grapes are sold to large champagne houses. This current Extra Brut, his largest production wine at 25K bottles / year, is based on 2021 (v21) and blends 70% pinot noir, 20% pinot meunier, 10% chardonnay, with 20% reserve wines. Primarily fermented in stainless, with full MLF, 20% saw wood aging prior to 2 years sur lattes and 2 g/L dosage, in April 2023. Crunchy red and green apple, white cherry streaks across a buzzy limestone palate, with streaks of cider and ample salinity. An authentic, pure, and natural look at Côtes des Bar.Prices:
ON$77.00750ml
BC$99.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Rémi Leroy
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Champagne A. Margaine Le Rosétext
89PTS

Champagne A. Margaine Le Rosé NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceArnaud Margaine is 5th generation winegrower in the Montagne de Reims, overseeing their sustainable vineyards. Their home village of Villers-Marmery is a little island of chalky Chardonnay in an abundant sea of Pinot Noir. This Rosé blends 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir, including 6% still pinot noir. Fermented in stainless, with no MLF, this went into bottle and spent 24 months on lees prior to disgorge in May 2023 with 9 g/L. Perfumed cherry blossoms, raspberry, red and green apple flood a generous, softer palate, with ample perfume and a strawberry brioche sweetness. A softer, easier, pretty style.Prices:
ON$84.00750ml
Producer: Champagne A. Margaine
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Champagne A. Margaine Le Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne A. Margaine Le Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceArnaud Margaine is 5th generation winegrower in the Montagne de Reims, overseeing their sustainable vineyards. Their home village of Villers-Marmery is a little island of chalky chardonnay in an abundant sea of Pinot Noir. Le Brut blends 93% chard and 7% pinot noir from their home village's clay / limestone soils, and based on 2020 with 50% reserve wines (2019, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014). The base was partial MLF in a split of 80% stainless and 20% barrel. It was disgorged November 2022 with 7 g/L. The short time sur lattes leaves a nice youthful energy with a tight, taut shimmer that streams red apple, peach skin, lemon blossom, subtle hazelnut along the medium palate, finishing with a snappy lemon twist. Friendly, but not dumbed down, this is a smart champagne for a crowd.Prices:
ON$70.00750ml
Producer: Champagne A. Margaine
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Champagne Delavenne Brut Nature Grand Crutext
92PTS

Champagne Delavenne Brut Nature Grand Cru NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceNow in their 4th generation, Delavenne has been family owned and operated since 1920, with 9 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy (their home), Ambonnay, and Cramant. Their vineyards, averaging 45 years old, are sustainably managed. This blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay comes from two vineyards in Bouzy, and blends the 2014 and 2015 vintage. It was fermented in stainless with no MLF, into bottle in 2016 and was disgorged in May 2022 with 0 dosage. Tight and nimble, with white and red cherry, bread dough, subtle white blossoms, and a lemon peel brace, over a stony, chalky base, finishing with lingering salinity. Nice tension throughout.Prices:
England$40.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Delavenne Père & Fils
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Champagne Francis Boulard & Fille Les Rachais Brut Naturetext
92PTS

Champagne Francis Boulard & Fille Les Rachais Brut Nature 2014

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceFrancis Boulard founded Francis Boulard et Fille with his daughter Delphine in 2010. Together, they work close to three hectares in the Vallée de la Marne following organic and biodynamic practices. After two decades working with his siblings at Champagne Raymond Boulard, he decided he couldn't work with chemical intervention anymore. He wasn't able to convince them to make the switch, so he took his portion of the estate and began this label. This BdB is the pinnacle of his portfolio, coming from the original family massale-planted parcel in 1967. This was native fermented in small older oak, with full MLF and 1 year on lees with regular bâtonnage before heading to bottle, without fining or filtration. This was in bottle from 2015 through to disgorge in March 2022, with 0 dosage. This has amazing cut and freshness for so much time on lees, with green apple and lemon easily slicing through a doughy base. The finish trails off with a sandy salinity. Great energy and life here still.Prices:
QC$124.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Francis Boulard & Filles
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Champagne Fleury BdN Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Fleury BdN Brut NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceA winegrowing family for four generations, Champagne Fleury has been organic since 1970, and biodynamic since 1989. They own 15 hectares in the Aube, 90% of which are planted to pinot noir. Their success with biodynamics have inspired others in the village to begin farming this way, and Fleury are the largest certified biodynamic producer in Champagne. The winery is now in the capable hands of Jean-Sébastien Fleury and his sister Morgane. This biodynamic blanc de noir is entirely pinot noir, from the village of Courteron. This was native fermented in vats with full MLF and low sulphur, with reserve wines held in large format oak. It was disgorged in May 2022. Pouring a light gold hue, this shows perfumed cherry, raspberry, and light toast, with kisses of meringue and a layer of toast. Nicely structural, with good length and a lingering kimmeridgian buzz lending charm.Prices:
ON$72.95750ml
BC$80.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Fleury
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Champagne Guiborat Téthys 19 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancstext
92PTS

Champagne Guiborat Téthys 19 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceWinemaker Richard Fouquet represents the 5th generation running this family domaine, established in 1885. Nearly 75% of their fruit is sold to Laurent-Perrier, with the remainder of choices parcels kept for their family label. They mainly work with vineyards in the Côte des Blancs GCs of Cramant and Chouilly and Oiry, as well as Pinot Meunier from Mardeuil in the Vallée de la Marne Rive Gauche. This BdB was based on the 2019 vintage, with 27% from a perpetual reserve. After 7 months on lees in stainless, with full MLF, this went into bottle for a minimum of 24 months sur lattes, and was dosed with 1.5g/L. Tight and nervy, this compact champagne reveals lovely meringue, deep chalk, and buzzy lemon, all imbued with rock salts. Quite finessed and interesting, this recently disgorged bottle is drinking beauty now, and has a ways to unfurl yet. Téthys is the Greek goddess of the sea, and the name of the ancient ocean which previously covered Champagne.Prices:
QC$88.86750ml
Producer: Champagne Guiborat
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Champagne Lucien Collard Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Lucien Collard Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceOwner Lucien Collard comes from long heritage in Champagne, with his ancestors growing wine since the 17th century. The Collard family settled in Bouzy in 1919 through the marriage of Lucien Collard (grandfather of the current owner of the House) and Julia Bara, she of the Champagne family Paul Bara, who settled in Bouzy in 1833. Lucien Collard and his god-daughter Auriane now create fabulous champagnes from their 2 organic hectares of vines split between Bouzy in Montagne de Reims, and Celles sur Ource in the Aube. This is a blend of 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay, with at least 3 years on lees, and dosed with 4 g/L. Red apple and cherry is met with lightly nutty oxidation that runs along a deep and textured chalky palate, finishing with a limestone buzz. Great bones and structure here in this gastronomic and smart food wine.Prices:
England$45.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lucien Collard
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Champagne Vazart Coquart & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut Réserve Grand Crutext
92PTS

Champagne Vazart Coquart & Fils Blanc de Blancs Brut Réserve Grand Cru NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceJean-Pierre Vazart is 3rd generation winemaker at his family's Chouilly estate, founded by his grandparents Louis and Marie. With average vine age over 30 years, and sustainable viticulture (certified organic and HVE), they are making concentrated GC champagnes. This bottle is approximately 35% from 2017, with the majority from perpetual reserves that began in 1982. It was fermented in stainless with partial MLF, and disgorged in February 2021 with 6.5 g/L. For all its ample and old reserve wines, this showed a lovely seamless freshness across the creamy, generous form, with green apple, deep chalk, and the density cut with crystalline lemon. Surprisingly buoyant for all its riches, this is quite well made and showing very well right now.Prices:
BC$104.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Vazart Coquart & Fils
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Champagne Michel Genet MGBB Spirittext
89PTS

Champagne Michel Genet MGBB Spirit NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceMichel Genet like to call his family “manufacteurs” as in “artisans”, from the word’s Latin origins in manu-factum meaning made by hand. Together with his children Antoine, Vincent and Agnès Genet, they are very hands on and low intervention in every aspect of their estate. This Blanc de Blancs comes from 2 parcels in GC Chouilly, and was primarily based on 2018, with smaller amounts from 2015 and 2016. It was fermented with full MLF, and disgorged October 2021 with 5.5 g/L. Swinging oxidative, with red apple, hazelnuts, pastry, button mushrooms, and wet chalk across a round, cushy mouthfeel, this fuller BdB has a creaminess and weight that would suit proteins at canapés hour or the table. Drinking now.Prices:
France$40.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Michel Genet
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Rosé de Blancstext
92PTS

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Brut Rosé de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceDidier, part of the third generation of the Gimonnet family, oversees the winemaking of their family winery, based in Cuis, in the heart of the Côtes de Blancs. This wine, like all of their chardonnay-centric wines, is laser focused. According to Didier, he wants a rosé that tastes like a blanc de blancs with colour. "Powerful chardonnay." It certainly succeeds. This bottling sources fruit from Cramant, Oger, and Chouilly, adding 5% Bouzy still pinot noir. This pale-hued rosé champagne is as light as a rosé champagne can be, with tight wild strawberry, subtle raspberry, pink florals, crisp green apple, white grapefruit rind, and subtle fresh green herbs, along a sleek and narrow palate. As always, this tastes the most chardonnay a rosé champagne can be, and is so very singular and charming for it. Enjoy, liberally, if you love chardonnay but want to pair it with wild mushrooms / salmon canapés.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Gimonnet
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Champagne Palmer & Co. Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Champagne Palmer & Co. Blanc de Blancs NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceFounded in 1947 under the name Producteurs des Grands Crus de Champagne, Palmer & Co is one of Champagne's best quality-focused co.ops. Chardonnay from 1er Cru villages in Montagne de Reims' Trépail and Villers-Marmery makes up this Bdb, based on the 2016 vintage. This bottle was disgorged in January 2022 with 6.5 g/L. Impressively fresh and zippy, with zesty lemon, crunchy green apple, and river stones all skipping along the palate with energy through a saline finish. A delight to find such a smart co.op Champagne.Prices:
France$39.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Palmer
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Champagne Stéphane Regnault Chromatique Blanc de Blancs Grand Crutext
91PTS

Champagne Stéphane Regnault Chromatique Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceAfter working as a sommelier in London and an aerospace engineer in Paris, Stéphane Regnault returned to his family's Côte des Blancs domaine in 2007 and converted farming to organics with biodynamic practices. The domaine includes four hectares of Chardonnay divided equally between the legendary chalk terroirs of the Grand Cru villages Oger and Le Mesnil. The majority of the vines are between 40 and 60 years old. A passionate jazz saxophone player, he has named his three single-vineyard cuvées after a different jazz mode that each wine reminds him of. Chromatique is his NV blend, utilizing a little of every parcel he has in the cellar. The chromatic scale in music is the one which uses all the available notes, thus an appropriate name for this cuvée. Based on 2018, with 24% reserve wines, this was fermented in 62% stainless, and 38% barrel, with full MLF. It was disgorged in November 2021 with 3.5 g/L. Deep chalk beds this classic Côtes de Blancs, with crunchy green apple, crisp lemon, and kisses of meringue and oxidation wafting throughout. Tasting very complete at this point, and primed for enjoying now.Prices:
BC$85.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Stéphane Regnault
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Champagne Robert Barbichon Blanc de Blancstext
89PTS

Champagne Robert Barbichon Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceNow into its 4th generation, Champagne Robert Barbichon is based in the Côte des Bar, and their 9 hectares are Demeter certified biodynamic (since 2012). This BdB blends 80% chardonnay with 20% pinot blanc, and is from vintage 2017. It was disgorged July 2022 with 3 g/L. The pinot blanc provides a very perfumed white cherry and floral note, running through creamy red apple, meringue, custard and lemon peel on the riper palate. The finish lingers with cherry liqueur and a gentle limestone hum. Of a place.Prices:
France$35.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Robert Barbichon
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Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus 1er Cru Brut Naturetext
90PTS

Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus 1er Cru Brut Nature 2016

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceBoth the Larmandier and Bernier families have had a long history in the Champagne region dating back to the French Revolution. Pierre took over the direction of the family estate in 1988, moving the family’s vineyards to organics by 1992, and then into Biodynamics by 1999. Brothers George and Arthur are now steering the ship. This exceptional parcel of chardonnay, Les Barillers, has been vinified separately since 1995. It's located mid-slope (the sweet spot) in Vertus. Native fermented in Stockinger casks and 500L barrels, this remained on lees and headed to bottle without fining or filtration, which is rare in Champagne. This cuvée spent at least five years on lees and was bottled without fining or filtration, with 0 dosage, in May 2022. You can feel the wood depth and creaminess here shaping the doughy palate, with toasty green apple, lemon pith and peel on the core, finishing with chalk and salinity. At this point, this is missing the cut of the 2015, but I will revisit.Prices:
QC$140.75750ml
Producer: Champagne Larmandier-Bernier
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Champagne Benoit Lahaye Brut Naturetext
90PTS

Champagne Benoit Lahaye Brut Nature NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceBenoit Lahaye makes small lots of certified organic / biodynamic Champagne based on his 5 hectare estate, based in Bouzy, in the heart of Montagne de Reims. This Brut Nature is 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay (vines averaging 35 years), fermented and aged in barrel, plus 40% reserve wines from the previous 2 vintages. The fruit is primarily drawn from Bouzy, with 20% of the fruit coming from GC Ambonnay nearby. This bottle was disgorged in April 2022 with 0 dosage. Rich and creamy, this fuller bodied Champagne is packed with lightly toasted meringue, golden and green apple, and crushed stones, shaped with lemon peel, and finishing with a rush of ginger spices on the end. Uncompromising.Prices:
ON$125.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Benoit Lahaye
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Champagne Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines 1er Cru Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Champagne Dhondt-Grellet Les Terres Fines 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceIn 1986, Eric Dhondt and Edith Grellet stopped selling their grapes to the big houses and decided to produce their own. Their son, Adrien, around 30 years old, is the winemaker, and responsible for their single village bottling from of Cramant and Cuis. Les Terres Fines grapes come entirely from Cuis, and were fermented in a mix of stainless and casks, with full MLF. This was based on 2018, with 30% perpetual reserve wines dating back to 1986. After 2.5 years sur lattes, this was disgorged December 2021, with 1 g/L. Reflective of the fleshy 2018 vintage, this is showing ample toast, creamy yellow and red apple, and peach notes across a wide, lightly honeyed palate, lined with oxidation. A riper, more showy showing of Cuis.Prices:
BC$130.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Dhondt-Grellet
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Champagne Lacourte Godbillon Mi Pentes 1er Crutext
91PTS

Champagne Lacourte Godbillon Mi Pentes 1er Cru NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceChampagne Lacourte-Godbillon is run by husband-and-wife team Richard Desvignes and Géraldine Lacourte, who took over the Écueil estate from Lacourte’s parents in 2006, and began converting the 8 hectares to organics and biodynamics. They are the 9th generation of Champagne growers to run the estate, and they are the third generation to bottle and sell under their own label. Situated in the northwestern part of the Montagne de Reims (Petit Montagne), this pinot noir comes from 40 year old vines across different parcels, mid-slope (Mi Pentes) = best sites. This was based on the 2018 vintage, with 31% reserve wines, and fermented 60% in stainless and 40% in 228L barrels. After 47 months on the lees under cork (agrafe), this was disgorged with 3 g/L in June 2022. Very perfumed red and yellow apple fills the expansive palate, with crushed stones and grippy structural PN siding. The finish lingers with buzzy yellow fruit and toast. A gastronomic wine, this is one for the dinner table.Prices:
France$47.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lacourte Godbillon
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Champagne Dom Pérignon Vintagetext
92PTS

Champagne Dom Pérignon Vintage 2013

Champagne, FranceThe most classic of the Classics? Dom Pérignon is named after the 17th century Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon (1638-1715), who, by legend, is said to have invented sparkling wine while cellarmaster at the Abbey of Hautvillers. This is fake news, as is the notion he was blind. However, he did make the first clear still red wine, the first clear sparkling from red grapes (Blanc de Noir), put thought into the blend and picking times, propelled the use of cork closures and Verre Anglais (strong, coal-fired English glass), and invented the shallow Champagne basket press. So, we do have a lot to thank this monk for. This is the prestige cuvée of Moët et Chandon since 1937. 2013 is quite a late vintage, in October, and with climate change, may be the last time we will say that. This year's blends 49% Pinot Noir with 51% Chardonnay, disgorged in October 2021 with a dosage of 5g/L. This opens tightly, with a puff of smoked stone and subtle tangerine oil gliding into a relatively slim palate (for Dom, mind) of dough, red apple, vanilla wafer, suavely shaped with bright lemon acidity, trailing with a wake of washed salinity. More subtle mineral and less powerful than typical, 2013 (a tricky year) is a low-fi Dom for me, though certainly pleasant enough to drink now.Prices:
BC$319.99750ml
AB$320.00750ml
Producer: Dom Perignon
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Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceChampagne Delamotte was one of only five Champagne houses in the mid 1700's, and remains located in the heart of the Côte des Blancs in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Delamotte is the sister house and contiguous to the regaled Champagne Salon, with which it shares the same viticultural, winemaking and management crew. This BdB is entirely GC fruit from the Côtes des Blancs (Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, Oger), fermented in stainless, with a scant 10% reserve wines. It spends up to 5 years on lees prior to disgorge with 7 g/L. Ample brioche, dough, subtle toast, and red apple roll across a deeply chalky base. Though there is generosity here, the profound soils and light winemaking touch hold this straight, finishing with a lingering lemon salinity. Quite smart.Prices:
ON$95.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Delamotte
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Champagne Frédéric Savart l'Ouverture 1er Cru Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Frédéric Savart l'Ouverture 1er Cru Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceSituated 10 km west of Reims, Frédéric Savart is based in the village of Écueil, in the Val de Reims. Continuing from his father's work with their 'laboratory of terroirs,' Savart has made the 4-hectare property his own, and has become one of the superstars of the Grower Champagne movement. L'Ouverture is the introduction to Freddy's range, with 3 vintages of Pinot Noir from Écueil's sandy soils, native fermented and aged in a mix of stainless and barrel before heading to bottle. My bottle was disgorged in November 2022, with 4 g/L. This is a shimmering BdN, with white cherry, ripe lemon, red apple, and light toast electrifying the palate, with a buzzy humming underlay and a savoury kiss of tannins. Finesse and elegance, and supreme drinkability.Prices:
QC$109.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Frederic Savart
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Champagne Drappier Pinot Noir Brut Nature Zéro Dosagetext
92PTS

Champagne Drappier Pinot Noir Brut Nature Zéro Dosage 2017

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceThe Drappier family has been actively buying vineyards since 1808, giving them over 100 hectares today, including 15 certified organic. Based in the Aube, they are rightfully Pinot Noir centric, with vineyards primarily located around Urville and its kimmeridgian soils. Three generations of the family work in the winery today, and Michel was one of the first pioneers to release a Zero Dosage Champagne more than 30 years ago. They're continuing to push boundaries today, being the first to grow all 8 approved Champagne grapes, including the new hybrid Voltis. This Brut Nature is entirely Pinot Noir, into bottle without filtration, where it spent 36 months on lees. This is tight and focused, with red apple, white cherry across an expansive mid, and over a buzzy limestone underlay, finishing with crushed stones. Lots of energy and cut in this smart BdN.Prices:
QC$62.75750ml
Producer: Champagne Drappier
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Champagne Moët & Chandon Impérial Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV

Champagne, FranceOne of the most important Grandes Marques, Moët & Chandon's was founded in 1743 by Claude Moët. Their flagship Brut Imperial is the most consumed Champagne in the world, estimated that a bottle of this is popped every 1.3 seconds around the globe. They are also the largest landowner in Champagne with 1,190 hectares (vs the average 2.5 ha). This important cuvée began in 1869, and was known for being drier than its contemporaries at that time, near 100 years before Brut became normal. Today the wine is dosed with 7 g/L (down from 14 > 11 > 9 over the past 2 decades). As dosage has decreased, reserve wines have increased, now up to 30-50%. Though the NV blend changes every year, it's based on 30-40% pinot noir, followed by pinot meunier and a smaller portion of chardonnay, blended from more than 288 villages (estate and contract, as of 2019), and with at least 24 months on lees. Red apple, lemon, and ample dough lead the cushy palate, with kisses of meringue and almond nougat. While not exciting, this is modernly consistent.Prices:
BC$77.99750ml
AB$71.10750ml
SK$85.99750ml
MB$87.99750ml
ON$80.55750ml
QC$77.15750ml
NS$77.99750ml
PEI$79.99750ml
NL$78.99750ml
Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Champagne Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperialtext
92PTS

Champagne Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial NV

Champagne, FranceThe true story of Napoleon Bonaparte, depicting the French leader's rise to power and his relationship with Empress Joséphine, is in movie theatres now. Would you be surprised that Moët Chandon has records dating back to 1881 showing Napoleon, or maybe Josephine, ordered the Rosé Impérial? The mix is 80/20 chardonnay with pinot meunier and pinot noir. It spends 4 years on lees before it is disgorged and dosed with 7 g/L of sugar. Look for an intriguing nose of strawberries and cherries with a whiff of early morning bakery. The palate is a red fruit affair with a citrus lining to keep the line moving through the palate. The finish is medium long with more cherry flecked with leather and spice. Ready to drink and very food-friendly. Perfect for a ratatouille, the more daring fresh frittata, or maybe with friends and the movie Napoleon.Prices:
BC$93.99750ml
AB$99.99750ml
MB$104.99750ml
ON$99.65750ml
QC$95.50750ml
Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Champagne Canard-Duchene Cuvée Leonie Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne Canard-Duchene Cuvée Leonie Brut NV

Champagne, FranceCuvée Leonie Brut is one of those champagnes you see everywhere because the price is hard to beat. It has a long production history, back to 1868, and the formula is pretty simple: a 40/40/20 pinot noir/pinot meunier/chardonnay together with 25% reserve wines and 36 months of ageing on lees. The style is softer and fatter than most, with a bit of sweetness to smooth it all out. Friendly, ready to drink, and about as good as you can expect for the price.Prices:
BC$57.99750ml
QC$55.95750ml
NB$59.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Canard Duchene
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Champagne Bérêche et Fils Brut Reservetext
93PTS

Champagne Bérêche et Fils Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceThe domain was established in 1847 in Ludes, but it wasn't until more recently when Jean-Pierre Bérêche was one of the first growers to establish an independent reputation. His sons Raphaël and Vincent, now overseeing the house, have built on that work to craft some of today’s most distinctive Champagnes. They own 9 hectares across 4 villages and various terroirs. This organic wine is 30% Chardonnay (from Ludes), 35% Pinot Noir (from Ormes), and 35% Pinot Meunier (from the western Vallée de la Marne), including 30% reserve wines from their perpetual system, which has been resting and waiting on lees for two years. The base wines were aged in 60% wood (40% of which were small vats) and the rest stainless, and MLF is not allowed. The wines were held under cork while in bottle (agrafe), and this was disgorged in December 2022 with 6 g/L. This, their flagship, is stately and structural, with bright lemon and green apple across a gently expansive, and meringue studded palate, thanks to the generous reserve wines and time under cork. A substantial wine that is well suited to the dinner table.Prices:
BC$110.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Bérèche et Fils
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Champagne Eric Legrand Cuvée Reserve Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Eric Legrand Cuvée Reserve Brut NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceLegrand Cuvée Reserve hails from Champagne's Côte des Bar region. This cuvée is an 80/20 pinot noir/chardonnay made from 30-35 year old vines. Look for a balanced, full-bodied bubble with aromas of yellow fruit, a red apple, and a nutty mineral mid-palate with a chalky, creamy finish. A bit on the simple side. Ready to drink.Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Eric Legrand
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Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Sélecttext
92PTS

Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Sélect NV

Champagne, FranceCordon Bleu tastes as good as its classy label looks. Look for an explosive green apple, white fruit, mineral nose with touches of honey and toast. The attack is crisp, pitching citrus, oyster liqueur, crushed hazelnuts, and a creamy texture that runs through the finish. Perfect for seafood starters or appetizers. The blend is 33% pinot noir, 33% chardonnay and 33% percent pinot meunier, with no oak, 36-48 months on the lees, and a dosage of 5.6 g/L. With an average age of 15 years, the reserve blend could make up as much as a third of the final blend. A terrific gastronomic bubble.Prices:
BC$88.99750ml
MB$77.99750ml
Producer: Champagne de Venoge
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Champagne De Venoge Princes Blanc de Blancstext
93PTS

Champagne De Venoge Princes Blanc de Blancs NV

Champagne, FrancePrinces Blanc De Blancs is made with chardonnay from Premier and Grand Cru terroirs owned by De Venoge: Mesnil-sur-Oger, Grand Cru of the Côte des Blancs; and Trépail, Premier Cru of the Montagne de Reims. With a touch of gold to the colour, Princes pitches elegance and complexity in a fresh stream of white flowers, peaches, fresh pastry, and an underlying line of refined minerality and tiny bubbles. Princes is mostly ethereal with a creamy, intoxicating lightness that entertains from front to back. Oysters, anyone?Prices:
BC$153.00750ml
Producer: Champagne de Venoge
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Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Tradition Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Tradition Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Lelarge-Pugeot is an 8th generation winery in the 1er cru village of Vrigny, in the top of the Montagne de Reims, and where the family has been growing since 1799, and producing since 1930. They moved to organics in 1985 and became certified biodynamic in 2017. They own 8.7 ha of vineyards carved into 42 distinct parcels, all on calcareous, clay loam and sand. The vines (30 years old) used for Tradition are an extra brut blend of 50% meunier, 40% pinot noir and 10% chardonnay, native fermented in foudres for 6 months, with very low sulphur and approximately 30% reserve wines. This bottle, based on the 2018, spent 2.5 years on lees in bottle, and was disgorged in November 2021, with 2 g/L. Their subtle tweakings over the years well suit this very natural wine, with a drop in PM, less time on lees, and a lower dosage sharpening the focus. Still pouring a deeper hue, this has a renewed energy, streaming red apple, toasted biscuit, subtle marmite across a thin lemon curd base, held taut by a brace of lemony acidity, and finishing with a healthy saline wash which lingers on the finish. Lovely evolution, and showing very smartly now. Drink.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lelarge Pugeot
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Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sectext
89PTS

Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV

Champagne, FranceNocturne is nightclub champagne, though no longer jazzed up with a fancy bling packaging. Nocturne uses the same base as Taittinger's NV (40% chardonnay and 60% blend of the pinots noir and meunier) but gets one additional year on the lees before release which makes for a good partner with the higher sugar cane dosage (17.5 g/L) to appeal to the late-night crowd. As far as Sec (off-dry) champagnes go, this is at the bottom of the sweet scale, with cushy, doughy biscuit, and grippy apple texture to the ripe red apple, lemon, and subtle toast on the core. Super friendly and easy drinking, most newbie Champagne drinkers will love this and probably not even notice the dosage.Prices:
BC$93.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancstext
94PTS

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2012

Champagne, FranceComtes is a remarkable wine, very vintage dependent, but hallmarked with the undeniable finesse of Comtes. For a tête de cuvée, very little of this is produced, and certainly not every year (there will be no Comtes 2022 or 2023). 2012 was the 37th vintage Comtes was made since 1952. With GC fruit from Côtes des Blancs' Chouilly, Cramant, Avize, Oger, and Les Mesnil-sur-Oger, this was primarily fermented in stainless, though 5% from estate vineyards in Chouilly was fermented in new 225L barrels. Once in bottle, this spent 10 years on lees, and was dosed with 9 g/L when disgorged in spring 2022. Fewer than 200,000 bottles were made. The 2012 is showing lovely balance and cohesion, with a lemony core, lovely filagreed frame, fragrant and expansive meringue, and a very saline, fine chalk finish. Generous 2012 is very smartly handled here, approachable and charming, yet with tight lemony lift and finesse.Prices:
BC$350.99750ml
AB$328.951500ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterietext
91PTS

Champagne Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV

Champagne, FranceThis cuvée is produced mostly from grapes grown at Les Folies, at Château de la Marquetterie, Taittinger's historic vineyard and the origin of the family in Pierry, just outside of Épernay. It used to be a single vineyard, but now includes PN from Verzenay, and Chardonnay from Trépail, all estate. This cuvée blends first pressing 55% pinot noir with 45% chardonnay, with partial barrel fermentation (approximately 30%) in large, old oak casks. Deeper yellow hue, with ample expansiveness on the palate, this is quite elegant, with burnished pear, lightly smoked white cherry, lemon running along the long, saline finish. Single vintage (probably 2015) but not mentioned on the label. Stands apart for Taittinger, with the primarily single estate, and oak influence.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crustext
92PTS

Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV

Champagne, FranceInitially made mid-90's in mags, with an eye towards the Millennium, Prélude proved such a popular concept, that it became a part of the regular portfolio in 2004/2005. This is a rich, full, and powerful Grand Cru NV Brut of Montagne de Reims pinot noir (Ambonnay and Aÿ), and Côte des Blancs chardonnay (Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger). After a stainless ferment, with full MLF, this spent more than 5 years on the lees, and was dosed with 9 g/L. It's always a single vintage (this one 2016), though that doesn't show on the label. Quite powerful, doughy and structural, with great lemon bones filled out with green and red apple, toast, and biscuit, finishing with a salted meringue. Impressive. Think of this as a baby Comtes.Prices:
BC$120.00750ml
AB$115.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosétext
90PTS

Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceThis deeper hued rosé is a blend of 30% chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier, and the remaining, pinot noir from 36 crus, including 15% still wine from Riceys and Montagne de Reims. Quite present and fruit forward, with smouldering wild cherry and raspberry driven with acidity through a lingering salinity on the finish. Really smart, this gobbles up the 9 g/L RS, leaving it feeling briskly dry. It's easy to see why this is their 2nd best selling cuvée, after their flagship Brut Reserve. Though the clear glass clearly shows the deep pink hue, one has to worry about lightstrike.Prices:
BC$106.99750ml
AB$104.99750ml
SK$93.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Brut Reservetext
90PTS

Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceThis classic blends 40% chardonnay, 45% pinot noir, and the remainder pinot meunier from across 36 vineyards in the Marne, Sézanne, and Aube, half of which come from estate vineyards. Around 30% reserve wines are used. After ferment in stainless with full MLF, this spent a minimum of 3 years on lees, before a dosage of 9 g/L. Brut Reserve makes up 85% of the wine produced by the house. Light biscuit, red apple, green apple lead into a lightly earthy core, with a green apple skin texture and bitter citrus kiss which lingers on the finish. Nice freshness here to balance out the dosage, and super consistent (as expected), though would be really nice to know the base year and disgorge date. Not sure why they've decided to remove these from the bottle.Prices:
BC$76.99750ml
AB$69.99750ml
SK$76.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Brut Reservetext
91PTS

Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV

Champagne, FranceTaittinger has 288 hectares of vineyards across Champagne, giving it a wealth of grapes to work with yearly. The multi-vintage blend is usually a 40/45/15 mix of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. The high percentage of chardonnay is the key to its finesse and legendary elegant house style, which sets Taittinger apart from most of the competition at this level. The nose opens with a whiff of smoke and toast over a rush of lemon and white flowers. The current edition pitches a slightly more complex palate, adding to its charm. The bead of bubbles is exquisite, and the creamy, chalky, leesy notes go on and on. This is an impressive brut Champagne you can buy with confidence.Prices:
BC$76.99750ml
AB$69.99750ml
SK$76.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crustext
93PTS

Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV

Champagne, FrancePrélude Grands Crus Cuvée is a 50/50 mix of chardonnay/pinot noir that Taittinger selects from top Grands Crus vineyards. Produced with only first press juice, it has the finesse and structure to age effortlessly. On the palate, this is a fuller, more luxurious version of Taittinger, aged for 60+ months on lees and bottled with less than 10 grams of sugar at dosage. The attack is dense with creamy, buttery brioche dusted with toasted nuts, all held in check by Taittinger’s signature bead of acidity. Serious value. This is an excellent choice for decadent seafood dishes like lobster or smoked salmon.Prices:
BC$120.00750ml
AB$115.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sectext
89PTS

Champagne Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV

Champagne, FranceSweet Champagne is a niche market, but Nocturne has made the jump to nightclubs to stay relevant with a younger set, although ironically, its new classic white label seems more at home in a drawing room than a club setting, but what do we know? Nocturne starts life on the same path as the multi-vintage Brut, a 40/60 chardonnay / pinot noir with pinot meunier, before it aged an extra year on the lees to settle in before release. The dosage is modest for a Sec, at 17.5 g/L, but just right for those looking for a softer, off-dry bubble to sip on. We like the crisper mid-palate that lends enough balance to keep it from cloying. A good one for beginners.Prices:
BC$93.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancstext
94PTS

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2012

Champagne, FranceComte, the best of the best at Taittinger, comes with deep layers of flavours lined with lemon, salt, and chalk, all with a creamy texture and a plethora of minerality and electricity. It’s the purity and the elevated heights of the essence of chardonnay that set it apart from the norm. After spending ten years on its lees, it was disgorged and topped up at 1g/L dosage. The finish is seductive with its electric ripe citrus that disappears into a saline creaminess that doesn’t quit. The winery says it will keep through 2027, but I know it will go much longer if cellared properly. Textbook blanc de blancs for me, and the standard by which all others should be measured.Prices:
BC$350.99750ml
AB$328.951500ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosétext
91PTS

Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceThe Taittinger Rosé, a 30/20/50 mix of chardonnay, pinot meunier, and pinot noir selected from some 36 crus, is darker than most, perhaps a result of adding 15% still wine from Riceys and Montagne de Reims. The nose and attack are fruity, pitching a mix of cherries and raspberries with bright acidity and an undercurrent of sea breeze. The result is a delicious drinking, mostly dry affair that you can serve confidently before dinner or with lighter items on the menu.Prices:
BC$106.99750ml
AB$104.99750ml
SK$93.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterietext
92PTS

Champagne Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV

Champagne, FranceThe acquisition of Château de la Marquetterie and the surrounding vineyards, a site known as Les Folies, marked the beginning of the Taittinger family’s Champagne adventure. Long before that, Marquetterie was a site for village fairs where philosophers and intellectuals of the Enlightenment would gather. Today, Folies de la Marquetterie celebrates its rich history with a similarly rich 45/55 chardonnay and pinot noir blend, sourced exclusively from the estate vineyards that now include more than 35 crus. There is also partial barrel fermentation in large, old oak casks, leaving elegant but ample palate-pitching pears coated in sea salt and citrus. In essence, it is an iconic single vineyard, single vintage wine. Described as a terroir wine, its structure and power lead me to the dinner table and flavourful fish or meat entrees.Prices:
BC$99.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Rosé Extra Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Rosé Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Lelarge Pugeot is an 8th generation winery in the 1er cru village of Vrigny, in the northern Val de Reims, where the family has been growing since 1799 and producing since 1930. They moved to organics in 1985 and became certified biodynamic in 2017. They own 8.7 ha of vineyards carved into 42 distinct parcels, all on calcareous clay loam and sand. This pinot noir rosé is from 30+ year old vines harvested in 2013, and fermented and rested for six months in a tank, blended with 7% Coteaux Champenois Rouge before being bottled in April 2014. This spent 7 years en tirage before being disgorged in June 2021 with 2 g/L. Pouring a glowing spring salmon hue (though troublesomely packaged in clear glass #lightstrike), this has some dampened cherry, subtle raspberry blossom, and crunchy red apple on a gently expansive palate, lined with oxidation, and bright with acidity through a damp chalk / meringue end. A bit unresolved at present, though makes for a beauty salmon partner now.Prices:
BC$75.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lelarge Pugeot
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Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Nature et Non Dosétext
90PTS

Champagne Lelarge Pugeot Nature et Non Dosé NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceChampagne Lelarge-Pugeot is an 8th generation winery in the 1er cru village of Vrigny, in the top of the Montagne de Reims, and where the family has been growing since 1799, and producing since 1930. They moved to organics in 1985 and became certified biodynamic in 2017. They own 8.7 ha of vineyards carved into 42 distinct parcels, all on calcareous, clay loam and sand. As the name implies, Nature is a natural wine, with zero dosage and no sulphur added. This was from the 2016 vintage, and is equal parts chard and pinot noir. It was native fermented in tank and foudres over 9 months, and then spent 4.5 years on lees in bottle before disgorge in November 2021. The time on lees is evident, with burnished red apple, wet chalk, and toasted brioche leading into a heavily saline palate, with salt studded lemon, and more wet chalk which sticks the finish. A very clean, well made, and smart natural champagne, which isn't that easy to do.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lelarge Pugeot
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Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FranceLa Cuvée Rosé, the world's top selling rosé champagne, is as recognizable for its distinctive bottle shape as for its smouldering red fruit profile. Entirely pinot noir, this was sourced from 10 villages in Montagne de Reims, primarily Grand Crus. It spent up to three days in contact with skins before bleeding off (saignée), and spent a minimum of 60 months on lees before a disgorgement around 9 g/L. Strawberry, red apple, cherry wraps around a brioche core, with light toast and an ample lees base, kissed with meringue, and finishing with soft spice. Very friendly, safe, and approachable, it's easy to see why this is such a big seller.Prices:
BC$119.99750ml
AB$119.99750ml
ON$119.99750ml
QC$117.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Laurent-Perrier
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Champagne Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Naturetext
93PTS

Champagne Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV

Champagne, FranceThis is a relatively new cuvée from Laurent-Perrier, first launched in 2019, but not the first zero-dosage released by the house, which was Grand Vin Sans Sucré back in 1889. We can thank the British for demanding a drier bubble style in an age when it was sweet. No sugar means a lighter, fresher style of Champagne that dances across your palate and is gastronomic in the true sense of the word. It is a blanc de blancs said to have taken its precision from the Montagne de Reims and texture from that of the Côte de Blancs. I love the tension, precision, and best of all, the chalky mineral palate with a citrus undercurrent. Freshly balanced, it floats across the palate, drawing you back to the glass with each sip. It's a fabulous ouster wine, but any raw seafood would work here, including caviar. Split the cost with friends and treat yourself to a delicious bottle of Champagne.Prices:
BC$149.99750ml
ON$147.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Laurent-Perrier
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Champagne Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Bruttext
86PTS

Champagne Charles Mignon Premium Reserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Charles Mignon is a 6th generation grower based in Epernay and has worked towards organic certification these past years. The family became a NM (negoce) in the 1990s as they had to begin purchasing fruit to maintain and grow the business. This cuvée blends 20% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 55% Meunier from across the Marne Valley (Chavot, Monthelon, Moussy, Epernay, Fleury la Rivière, Venteuil, Port à Binson, Jonquery, Barbonne, Bergère les Vertus, Leuvrigny), as well as from the Sézannais and Vitry. This was fermented in stainless and with 20-40% reserve wines. After 18-24 months on lees, this was dosed with nine g/L reserve wines. The dosage feels even more on the palate, slicking this with a sweet caramel note enveloping red apple, perfumed blossoms, and a squeeze of lemon. Think sweet peach brioche. Acidity lags behind sweetness, keeping this shorter on the palate and lacking the precision it deserves. Try Brut with desserts, like a peach tart.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Charles Mignon
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Champagne Ployez-Jacquemat Extra Quality Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Ployez-Jacquemat Extra Quality Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceI'm not sure Extra Quality means much in Champenois parlance, but it gets folks talking. Ployez-Jacquemart is an RM, meaning all the fruit comes and is made by the estate, also known as grower champagne. The family house dates to 1930, when Marcel Ployez and his wife, Yvonne Jacquemart, founded the property. Today, Ployez-Jacquemart works its predominantly pinot noir and pinot meunier vineyards in the Premier and Grands Crus villages of Mailly Champagne and Ludes, in the Montagne de Reims. The styling is understated, the bubbles tiny, and the textures creamy with a fine sense of purity, complete with fruit, chalk, mineral, and lees. Ready to go.Prices:
BC$85.95750ml
BC$69.99750ml
Producer: Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart
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Champagne Marc Hébrart Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne Marc Hébrart Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Champagne, FranceJean-Paul Hébrart took over Marc Hébrart from his father in 1997. His father had been producing estate bottled wines since 1964 and joined the Club Trésors (Special Club) in 1985. Jean-Paul has slowly risen to become one of the star grower estates in the Marne, including privileged holdings in Aÿ, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, and Dizy in the Grande Vallée as well as Avize, Oiry and Chouilly in the Côte, plus recently acquired vineyards in Louvois in the Montagne. Jean-Paul harvests, presses and vinifies each of his over 85 plots separately, blending sites to make harmonious wines which reflect the personality of the grower as well as the terroir. This 1er Cru BdB comes from Oiry GC, Chouilly CG, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ 1er Cru (his home village). It was fermented in stainless with MLF, and spent more than 24 months sur latte. This bottle was disgorged in September 2022. Creamy red and green apple is lit with lemon peel and pear blossom, with a cushy dosage (7g/L ish?) easing this out on the meringue-kissed finish. A gentle and approachable BdB which hits above its 1er Cru weight. If the dosage were to drop, this would sing.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Marc Hebrart
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Champagne Frederic Savart Bulle de Rosé Vielles Vignestext
93PTS

Champagne Frederic Savart Bulle de Rosé Vielles Vignes NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceSituated 10 km west of Reims, Champagne, Frédéric Savart is based in the village of Ecueil, just 10km from Reims. Continuing from his father's work with their 'laboratory of terroirs,' Frédéric Savart has made the 4-hectare property his own, and has become one of the superstars of the Grower Champagne movement. This Rosé blends 65% pinot noir, 30% chard, and 5% still red wine from Écueil. It was dosed in November 2022 with 3.5 g/L. Very fine, in texture and form, with persistent small bubbles streaming wild raspberry, cherry meringue, kisses of strawberry jam, and fine salts across a savoury, subtly earthy base. As with all of Savart's wines, this is quite singular, confident, and not seeking anyone's approval.Prices:
QC$158.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Frederic Savart
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Champagne Pascal Doquet Champs Librés Blanc de Blancstext
92PTS

Champagne Pascal Doquet Champs Librés Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FrancePascal Doquet has been making wine on the Côte des Blancs since 1982. In 1994, he took charge of the family estate alongside his sisters, and his wife Laure. They transformed the 8 hectare estate into certified organics in 2007. This BdB is entirely from 2018, with 2/3 coming from growers in Vertus, and the remainder from their estate vineyards across the Côtes de Blancs and the Côtes de Perthois. This is native fermented in stainless from a pied de cuve from their Mesnil-sur-Oger vineyard, into bottle without filtration in April 2019, and disgorged October 2020 with 3 g/L. There's a surprising depth to this BdB, with wet chalk carved out by crisp green apple, shining lemon, and oyster shell, taut with a snappy acidity, and comfortably curved sides, guiding this to a lengthy saline finish. Very cohesive and balanced for all its savoury stylings.Prices:
QC$67.50750ml
Producer: Champagne Pascal Doquet
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Champagne Telmont Réserve Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Telmont Réserve Brut NV

Champagne, FranceYou may have heard of Champagne Telmont because of its star power ownership in Leonardo Dicaprio. They have an ambitious target to convert all of their Telmont Estate vineyards plus those of their contract winegrowers to organic agriculture by 2031 (compared to the current 49% currently certified or in conversion). This Brut is 53% meunier, 31% chardonnay, and 16% pinot noir, and based on 2018 (65%) with the rest reserves from 2017 and back. The fruit is based on Damery, with the remainder sourced from Fontette, Songy, Avize, Saudoy, Cumières, Nogent l'Abesse, Vertus, Vinay, Chaumuzy, Boursault, Epernay, Fontaine Denis, and Meurville. It was fermented in stainless, with full MLF, and this bottle was disgorged in 2022 after 3 years in cellars. Rich and toasty, with generous brioche, lemon, perfumed green apple and light meringue across a chalky base, this is a polished, safe, and seamless champagne, much like its movie star allure.Prices:
France$70.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Telmont
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Champagne Oudiette x Filles Uni Terre II Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Oudiette x Filles Uni Terre II Extra Brut NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceThe 3rd generation female grower champagne is organically farmed, and this blanc de blancs comes off 3 parcels of their estate, around their home village of Beaunay, south of Epernay, and its clay / loam / sand soils. Native fermented in French barrels, with full MLF and 10 months on lees, this then spent 3 years sur lattes, dosed with 1 g/L when disgorged in the fall of 2021. The II reflects the second vintage this cuvée was produced (this run was 1548 bottles). Tight white flowers, green apple and lemon rule this pretty, bright and lifted BdB, finely shaped with chalk and finishing with a saline rinse.Prices:
QC$88.45750ml
Producer: Champagne Oudiette x Filles
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Champagne Huré Frères Mémoiretext
88PTS

Champagne Huré Frères Mémoire NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Huré Fréres began just over 50 years ago, and remains very much a family business. Today Raoul Huré and his two sons, Francois and Pierre oversee their the estate from their Ludes' home base. Mémoire is quite unique in its 30 vintages old perpetual reserve, from a solera began in 1982. The blend breaks down to 45% each of PN and PM, and 10% Chardonnay, from Montagne de Reims and Vitryat. The must from all grapes is fermented together in 450L oak casks over 1 year, then blended into the solera. Each year 30% of the solera is refreshed, and the wine is aged 20 – 24 months on lees before bottling, with 3 g/L. Gently expansive, with golden apples, cherry brioche, white peach, and a white grapefruit twist and lick of mint on the finish. The solera and wood aging are evident with the softy fuzzy edges, and amply oxidative notes. Lacking energy and drive at this stage, though a super interesting experiment to snapshot a place.Prices:
ON$72.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Huré Frères
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Champagne Louis Roederer Collection 244text
92PTS

Champagne Louis Roederer Collection 244 NV

Champagne, FranceAlways at the forefront of Champagne, Louis Roederer moved from their NV Brut to the MV Collection series in 2021, referencing the number of years since the winery was founded. This ingenious approach allows the master chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lecallion to blend the best parts of each vintage along with a generous amount of reserve wines. 244 is based on the dry, hot 2019 vintage at 54%, with its scorching heatwaves. This is joined by a perpetual reserve (36%, from 2012-2018), oak aged reserve wines (10%, from 2012-2018). The blend this year is 41% chard, 33% pinot noir, and 26% meunier, split 1/3 each between their La Rivière estate, La Montagne estate, and la Côte, and supplemented by their grower estates. 15% of the wine saw oak overall. This was disgorged January 2023 with 7 g/L, and released from their cellars in July 2023. All of this incredible material is available on the box and label via a QR code. Such beauty purity here with such a recent disgorge (unheard of in Canada, and this bottle was purchased in Ontario). Tight green apple, fresh almond and crunchy hazelnut is woven with light brioche and carved with lemon pith and peel. As expected, this is a beauty MV, approachable and smart, and not dumbed down at all.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Louis Roederer
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Champagne Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Naturetext
93PTS

Champagne Tarlant Rosé ZERO Brut Nature NV

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceFounded in 1687, this Marne based, family owned grower champagne house is now in the care of the 12th generation. This Rosé ZERO Brut Nature is 50% Chardonnay, with Pinot Noir (44%), and Pinot Meunier (6%) adding hue and subtle red fruit. A portion of the red grapes undergoes a short maceration pre-native ferment, and this base wine 2016 has 20% barrel aged reserve wines added. After 5 years on lees, this bottle was disgorged in February 2022, with 0 dosage. Energetic and bright, with strawberry leather, white cherry, crunchy green apple strung across a taut palate, corseted with lemon, and with a limestone buzz taking this to a saline finish. You don't see a lot of Zero dosage Rosé Champagnes, and this rarity is something special. Really smart, modern, and fresh, this pale-hued rosé is one to watch for, and enjoy liberally now. I will be.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Tarlant
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Champagne Charlier & Fils Spécial Clubtext
88PTS

Champagne Charlier & Fils Spécial Club 2008

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceThe Perrin family runs Champagne Charlier & Fils, one of the last houses to maintain the tradition of using large foudres de chêne from Alsace and Germany for base fermentation, with full MLF. This year's blend is 70% chardonnay and 15% each of pinot noir and pinot meunier, with 5 g/L, and vineyards in Vallée de la Marne Rive Droite. Their style suits this lengthy aging, with the cushion of foudre ferment up with ample time on lees (this was disgorged in early 2022). Sweet brioche, yeasted dough, caramelized hazelnuts, dried apricots, and baked lemon fill an expansive palate, sculpted with citrus pith and peel to sharpen the finish. This falls apart quickly, so enjoy it once opened (ideally with richer patés or dishes) and don't let it linger.Prices:
France$42.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Charlier & Fils
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Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée n° 745 Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée n° 745 Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Jacquesson was founded in 1798 by Memmi Jacquesson and was a house favourited by Napoleon, who bestowed it a gold medal for its cellars. The winery has been innovative, instituting the radical notion of training vines in rows with Dr. Guyot's collaboration, and patenting the muselet, the wire cage that holds the cork in place. Their recent innovation began in 1978, when the Chiquet family purchased the house and brothers Jean-Hervé and Laurent spend the next ten years campaigning to their father to do something radically different, from the structure of the company to vineyard management. In 2000 they took a bigger risk and announced the 700 series. This numbered, vintage based cuvée began with 728, represented by the 2000 vintage, and referencing the number of years since the family took ownership. Rather than making a consistent NV wine every year, they aim to make the best possible blend for each vintage. Each year, a new subsequently numbered cuvée is released, maths meaning this current release 745 is from 2017. This year's edition is 66% red grapes (Ay, Dizy, Hautvillers), and 34% chardonnay (Avize and Oiry), with 30% reserve wines. It was vinified on lees in oak with no filtration or fining before heading to bottle where it spent 4 years before disgorge in February 2022 with under 1 g/L. The deeper golden yellow hue reflects the oak aging and majority red grapes, yielding buttery cherry brioche, crunchy red apple, lemon peel and ample oxidative notes across a brisk, tightened palate, thanks to the near zero dosage. True to house style, this incarnation, like all others, will have its fans.Prices:
BC$121.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Jacquesson
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Champagne Clandestin Les Semblables (Boréal)text
90PTS

Champagne Clandestin Les Semblables (Boréal) NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceThis tiny estate in the Aube is a joint project between Vouette et Sorbée's Bertrand Gautherot and his right-hand man in the family winery, Benoit Doussot. Clandestin references and secret organic parcels of north-facing pinot noir, entirely on Kimmeridgian limestone (like Chablis, just south). This pinot noir is entirely from 2019, native fermented in old barrels of various sizes, with a short time sur lattes, disgorged in February 2022 with 0 dosage. Tight and racy, with crushed limestone supporting white cherry, crunchy tart apple, saffron, and lemon peel streaking across a taut, acid-driven palate. This has extreme acidity, with not much else to support, so if you're an acid-freak, look here to this individual champagne.Prices:
QC$78.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Clandestin
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Champagne Adrien Renoir Le Terroir Grand Cru Verzytext
89PTS

Champagne Adrien Renoir Le Terroir Grand Cru Verzy NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceYoung Adrien Renoir worked alongside his father at their 5-hectare Verzy estate before taking over in 2019 and beginning to bottle under his name. They abandoned herbicides in 2015, became organic certified in 2020, and used biodynamic treatments in the vineyards. The estate is all massale selection Grand Cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims. This cuvée is off 40-year-old vines and a 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir split from Verzy. It was native fermented in wood, based on 2019, with 20% reserve wines from 2018 stored in foudres. This bottle was disgorged in November 2022 after 24 months sur lattes, with 1.6 g/L. The nose is full of perfumed red and yellow apples and toasted brioche, which carry across to a doughy, chalky palate of the same, expanded by the wine's time in wood. There's a sharpening belt of tart green apple, drying chalky acidity to rein this into a saline finish. There's a bit of a jar between the low dosage and wooded fruit, but this should merge with more time in the bottle.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Adrien Renoir
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Champagne A. Margaine L'Extra Bruttext
93PTS

Champagne A. Margaine L'Extra Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceArnaud Margaine is 5th generation winegrower in the Montagne de Reims, overseeing their sustainable vineyards. This BdB comes from their home village, 1er Cru Villers-Marmery, and parcels Alouettes, Grands Arbres, Levoies. The village is a little island of chalky chardonnay in an abundant sea of Pinot Noir. This was fermented in a 80/20 SS / wood mix, with no MLF, and approximately 20% reserve wines from the previous year. My bottle spent 2 years sur lattes and was disgorged May 2022, with 3-4 g/L. Tight and racy, with crunchy green apple, bright lemon, and deepchalk streaming along the lifted palate. Beauty chardy backbone and cut, this is a gem.Prices:
ON$85.00750ml
Producer: Champagne A. Margaine
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Champagne Jacques Selosse Initialtext
94PTS

Champagne Jacques Selosse Initial NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceOne of the most coveted, and disruptive producers in Champagne, the singular, savoury, uncompromising, and terroir-driven wines of Anselme Selosse are always exciting to come across. Anselme's father, Jacques, established the domaine in 1949, and Anselme started working with him in 1974. They own 8 hectares primarily in the Côtes des Blancs, and also some Pinot Noir in Montagne de Reims. He ferments the base wines in wood (he began using some terracotta since 2015), with no MLF, and full solids (no fining or filtration). Initial is Selosse's biggest bottling, at a meagre 33,000 bottles. This BdB is from estate vineyards in Avize, Cramant, and Oger, with sites near the foot of the hill, where this is more clay, and is based over the previous 3 vintages. This was disgorged by hand with near zero dosage (2022). Think of this singular champagne as truly an idiosyncratic wine with bubbles, with reductive flinty notes imbuing dried and fresh green apple, dried apricot, deep wet chalk, and rich toasty nuttiness. Very vinous, and very powerful, this will make you rethink Champagne. Try alongside very aged Comte. *Bottle purchased in France.Prices:
France$430.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Jacques Selosse
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Champagne Bollinger Vintage Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Bollinger Vintage Brut 1973

Champagne, FranceFrom the cellar. The magic of Champagne means that this wine, now 50 years old, still shines, though without the sparkle / vibrancy of youth. The wood aging and dominance of pinot noir certainly contributes to its longevity. Though not a great year for Champagne, this continues to charm, with ample caramelized Maillard notes from the lengthy bottle age. Toasted brioche, dried apple, dried apricot, dried cherry blossom fills the near-still, golden-hued wine, with an acid line backbone that culminates in a wet chalky finish. A contemplative wine, 50 years in.Prices:
US$332.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Bollinger
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Champagne Philipponnat Royale Reserve Rosé Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Philipponnat Royale Reserve Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThe Philipponnat family have been wine growers and merchants since the 16th century, and own 17 hectares of vineyards, all worked sustainably, with horses and no chemical inputs. Champagne Philipponnat began in 1910 when Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat established their Champagne house in its current location of Mareuil sur Aÿ. This Royale Reserve Rosé Brut blends 75% pinot noir with 20% chardonnay, and 5% pinot meunier, incorporating 30% reserve wines from a perpetual, stored in barrel. The base goes through partial MLF, and partial cask aging, and this rosé was made by blending 8% still pinot noir from their Mareuil-sur-Aÿ home, along with Riceys. It was dosed with 9 g/L after approximately 3 years on lees. Ripe cherry, red currants, raspberry and meringue flood an expansive palate, with a deeply chalky base chiseled with tart acidity, and a finish scented with red currant blossoms. Fragrant sweet dough notes run thoughout, adding to its cushioned, cushy nature. One to enjoy with main courses, especially poultry and / or wild rice based.Prices:
QC$93.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Philipponnat
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Champagne Stéphane Regnault Mixolydien No. 29text
90PTS

Champagne Stéphane Regnault Mixolydien No. 29 NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceAfter working as a sommelier in London and an aerospace engineer in Paris, Stéphane Regnault returned to his family's Côte des Blancs domaine in 2007 and converted farming to organics with biodynamic practices. The domaine includes four hectares of Chardonnay divided equally between the legendary chalk terroirs of the Grand Cru villages Oger and Le Mesnil. The majority of the vines are between 40 and 60 years old. A passionate jazz saxophone player, he has named his three single-vineyard cuvées after a different jazz mode that each wine reminds him of. This comes from the east-facing, slight slopes of Le Moulin in the Grand Cru Oger and its soft, chalk soils. This bottle was based in 2015, with 15% from 2014 (the start of the solera). Half the final wine was done in stainless, with 35% in barrel, with full MLF. This was disgorged in July 2020 with 1 g/L. This is his smallest cuvée, with 2500 bottles produced. Now showing prominent bottle age, with a toasty caramelized sheen over green apple, wet chalk, brioche, braced with a strong backbone of chardy acidity. The finish shimmers, leaving a trail of salinity. Showing lovely bottle evolution, though I will look for a fresher release next time out.Prices:
BC$115.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Stéphane Regnault
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Champagne Cedric Bouchard VV R20 Roses de Jeannetext
95PTS

Champagne Cedric Bouchard VV R20 Roses de Jeanne NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceIn the late 1990s, ex-sommelier and visionary Cedric Bouchard took over his father’s vines in the Côte des Bar and established Champagne Roses de Jeanne in 2000. Since the beginning, he embraced single vineyard, single variety, single vintage, 0 dosage Champagnes, all farmed organically. This 2020 Pinot Noir was sourced from the 1.49ha parcel of Val Vilaine in the neighbouring commune of Polisy (hence, the VV in the label). Originally planted in 1974 by Cedric’s father, the vines are 40+ years and grow on bands of Kimmeridgian limestone. The fruit was foot-trodden, and native fermented in tank before heading to bottle and 16 months sur lattes. Beauty structure and presence, with a rimrod limestone backbone basing white cherry, lemon, dried crushed flowers, with a subtle effervescence streaming this to a chalky finish. Certainly not your typical Champagne (blending everything imaginable) this is a very special and singular terroir wine to seek out.Prices:
BC$150.00750ml
Producer: Cedric Bouchard
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Champagne Philipponnat Grand Blanc Extra Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Philipponnat Grand Blanc Extra Brut 2014

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceThe Philipponnat family have been wine growers and merchants since the 16th century, and own 17 hectares of vineyards, all worked sustainably, with horses and no chemical inputs. Champagne Philipponnat began in 1910 when Auguste and Pierre Philipponnat established their Champagne house in its current location of Mareuil sur Aÿ. This BdB comes off 1er and GC sites in the Côtes des Blancs, and was vinified in vats with partial MLF, and also in barrels with no MLF. It rested up to 8 years on lees before being disgorged with 4.5 g/L in April 2022. Though this BdB comes from the troublesome 2014 vintage, it is showing very smartly. Toast, lemon, green apple floods a meringue base, shaped deeply with chalk, which lingers on the lengthy finish. There's a lot of cut and buzzy freshness here for 6-8 years on lees, leaving this an arrow that powers across the chalky palate. There's a lovely harmony here struck between the deeply chalky soils, and toasty autolysis, framed very well with the low dosage and choice against much MLF. The clear bottle can be an issue (#lightstrike) as can the somewhat dodgy 2014 vintage. Drinking now, as a posh aperitif or with a delicate first course.Prices:
ON$115.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Philipponnat
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Champagne Pascal Doquet Arpège Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Naturetext
91PTS

Champagne Pascal Doquet Arpège Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FrancePascal Doquet has been making wine on the Côte des Blancs since 1982. In 1994, he took charge of the family estate alongside his sisters, and his wife Laure. They transformed the 8 hectare estate into certified organics in 2007. This chardonnay comes from Vertus, Vileneuve, and Le Mont Aimé, and was native fermented. 66% is from 2015, with the remainder from a perpetual reserve started in 2012. This went into bottle in April 2016, and was disgorged February 2022 with zero dosage. Tight lemon, green apple streams across a deep chalky base, with more red apple and toasted brioche, most likely coming from the perpetual reserve. Quite smart and cohesive, with a lift and depth that makes it welcome for both canapés and the dinner table.Prices:
QC$76.75750ml
Producer: Champagne Pascal Doquet
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Champagne Bruno Paillard Dosage Zérotext
93PTS

Champagne Bruno Paillard Dosage Zéro NV

Champagne, FranceA blend of 30 vineyards, and all three main grapes with chard and pinot noir coming off the slopes of Montagne de Reims, and the meunier, the majority grape at 50%, coming out of the Marne. Most of the grapes were fermented and aged in oak before heading to bottle, along with a healthy amount of reserve wines (fermented in a mix of stainless and wood before resting in stainless and bottle for up to 10 years). This spent with 36 months on lees sur lattes, until a zéro disgorge in October 2021. This opens with toast, lemon meringue, deep chalk, red and green apple before a laser beam of nervy lemon acidity driving this through a lengthy shimmering, chalky and saline finish. Quite linear, and quite impressive, with the smart use of reserve wines up against the cut of the D:Z.Prices:
France$57.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Bruno Paillard
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Champagne Dom Perignontext
95PTS

Champagne Dom Perignon 1992

Champagne, FranceFrom the cellar. Now 31 years on, this is still alive, with that exceptional Dom signature presence. Grand Cru Pinot from Aÿ and Bouzy are blended with chardonnay from Chouilly, Cramant, and Mesnil-sur-Oger, mixing PN power and strength, with chardy elegance and finesse. This spent 6-8 years on lees prior to disgorge.This changed numerous times throughout the evening, but never disappointed. Light smoked stone, dough, brioche, opens, and then weaves throughout the palate, alongside ample fire toasted marshmallow, caramelized apricot compote, crystalline white honey, wet chalk, and earthy button mushrooms. A fine bead of acidity streams this through an exceptionally long salt studded finish. Impressive for 30+ year old wine.Prices:
Producer: Moet & Chandon
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Champagne Alexandre Bonnet Les Riceys Blanc de Noirstext
90PTS

Champagne Alexandre Bonnet Les Riceys Blanc de Noirs 2018

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceThe domaine was founded in 1970 by René, Serge, and Alain Bonnet, and its 47 hectares are certified HVE for its biodiversity and sustainable farming. Les Riceys is in the southern most part of Champagne, and is known for their still rosé wine (Rosé des Riceys AOC), which was much beloved by Renoir, and Louis XIV). This Pinot Noir BdN comes from clonal and massale selection grapes from Champagne and Bourgogne, and from vines with an average vine age of 30 years. Les Riceys shares the kimmeridgian limestone and marls of Chablis, dominating the Côte des Bar. This spent at least 3 years on lees, and was disgorged extra brut in April 2022. Tight and nervy, with light rhubarb, cherry, and subtle dried herbs, this has a gentle red apple and peach expansiveness on the toasty palate, finishing with a lingering dried floral. Nice texture and detail here.Prices:
ON$87.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Alexandre Bonnet
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Champagne Vincent Couche Eclipsia Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Vincent Couche Eclipsia Brut NV

Champagne, FranceVincent Couche is a young vigneron in the Côte des Bar, with 10 hectares of pinot noir in Buxeuil and 3 hectares of chardonnay in Montgueux. He has been running the family domaine biodynamically since 2008. This cuvée blends 31% pinot noir, 35% chardonnay, and 34% pinot meunier, of a mix of clay, chalk, and marls. This aged 3 years on lees, and disgorged in February 2022. Pouring quite deep yellow / golden hue, this enters with ripe golden apples, ripe Rainier cherries, and subtle smoked stones which reach across an expansive palate, scented with toasted meringue and brightened from within by a buzzy hum which lingers long on the finish. Unlike most champagnes, this gets better with time, so allow it (well chilled) to open in the glass.Prices:
BC$80.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Vincent Couche
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Champagne Rémi Leroy Rosétext
90PTS

Champagne Rémi Leroy Rosé NV

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceBased in the Aube, which shares the same Portlandian and Kimmeridgian limestone soils as Chablis just further south, young Remi farms 3 of his family's organic 9ha under this label; the rest of the grapes are sold to large champagne houses. This deeply pink/peach hued rosé is a mix of 75% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay, and 5% pinot meunier, based on 2019. This was vinified in 75% stainless, with the remainder in older oak barrels. I can only assume the dark colour this year comes from riper grapes, and perhaps a little too long in maceration? Thankfully this has a lot more cut and interest than the candied hue would indicate, with wild raspberry, cherry around a perfumed and pure strawberry core, sharpened with rhubarb acidity. A useful food wine thanks to all its red fruit.Prices:
ON$67.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Rémi Leroy
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Champagne JM Sélèque Solessence Nature Élevage Prolongé Brut Naturetext
91PTS

Champagne JM Sélèque Solessence Nature Élevage Prolongé Brut Nature NV

Champagne, FranceSélèque began in 1965 when Henri Sélèque planted his first plots of vines with the help of his father-in-law, Jean Bagnost, president of the Pierry wine cooperative. Henri's son Richard moved the winery into the modern era, and since 2008 third gen Jean-Marc oversees the estate, based in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay. Since Jean-Marc arrived, no herbicides have been used at the estate. For this cuvée, fruit from seven villages across the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs, namely Pierry, Moussy, Epernay, Mardeuil, Dizy, Boursault, Vertus, half of which are farmed biodynamically. With minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery, this is a blend of 50/40/10 chardonnay/pinot meunier/pinot noir based on 2016, fermented primarily stainless with full MLF (30% fermented in oak, with no MLF). This uses 50% reserve wines from barrel, and went into the bottle with no fining or filtration. This is the same as their Solessence, but with extended time sur latte (disgorged November 2021), and zero dosage. Bright red and green apple is wrapped with doughy, cushy lees, and bright with pithy lemon through a chalky finish. There's a lovely balance here, with tight freshness well matched against the ample reserves and use of oak. Friendly, and serious. 5540 bottles produced.Prices:
ON$85.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Jean Marc Sélèque
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Champagne J-M Sélèque Solessence Extra Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne J-M Sélèque Solessence Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceSélèque began in 1965 when Henri Sélèque planted his first plots of vines with the help of his father-in-law, Jean Bagnost, president of the Pierry wine cooperative. Henri's son Richard moved the winery into the modern era, and since 2008 third gen Jean-Marc oversees the estate, based in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay. Since Jean-Marc arrived, no herbicides have been used at the estate. For this cuvée, fruit from seven villages across the Marne Valley and the Côte des Blancs, namely Pierry, Moussy, Epernay, Mardeuil, Dizy, Boursault and Vertus, half of which are farmed biodynamically. With minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery, this is a blend of 50/40/10 chardonnay/pinot meunier/pinot noir, primarily stainless with full MLF (a small amount was fermented in oak, with no MLF). This uses 50% reserve wines, and went into the bottle with no fining or filtration. This bottle was disgorged November 2021 with 2 g/L. Lovely expansiveness on the core, with creamy red and green apples, perfumed lemon rinsed with a chalky, saline wash. Friendly, and smart.Prices:
ON$84.00750ml
Producer: Champagne R et JM Sélèque
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Fleurontext
90PTS

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Fleuron 2017

Champagne, FranceFleuron, meaning flagship, was created to capture the spirit of the vintage, and is a blend of all of the tanks in order to best represent the year. This encompasses 5 villages: Chouilly, Cramant, Oger, Cuis, and Vertus. After 4 years on lees, this was disgorged in April 2022, with 5 g/L. This year is showing some age at this stage, with golden apple, brioche, baked pear across an expansive, turning oxidative palate, finishing with a stony shimmer. Chardy's backbone is ever present, but this years' edition is shaded with a softer, tired frame. Drink your 2017s now.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Gimonnet
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Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosétext
96PTS

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2007

Champagne, FranceComtes Rosé is a rare beauty, made only in exceptional years, and representing power x grace. In the 2007, 70% GC Pinot Noir from Montagne de Reims is accented with GC Chardonnay from the Côtes de Blancs). 15% of the PN is still wine from GC Bouzy. Once in bottle, the whole spends 10 years on lees. Now a light negroni hue, this vinous champagne streams wild strawberry, raspberry, cherry, smoked stones long through the structural palate, with a fine chalky base providing an alluring textural riff to the red hewn fruit. The lingering finish trails off into subtle salinity, making this a delight solo, or with food. Very special.Prices:
QC$319.00750ml
ON$328.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Huré Frères Insouciance Rosé Extra Bruttext
92PTS

Champagne Huré Frères Insouciance Rosé Extra Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceChampagne Huré Fréres began just over 50 years ago, and remains very much a family business. Today Raoul Huré and his two sons, Francois and Pierre oversee their the estate from their Ludes' home base. This deeply coloured rosé blends 35 % Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, based on 2019, and disgorged in June 2022 with 4.5 g/L. The red fruit is from old vines in the 1er Cru village of Ludes. A very pure, lightly candied and generous core of perfumed strawberry and light toast is wrapped with blood orange pith and peel, and bright with a cranberry freshness that carries this through the finish. Hefty enough for food, but lovely solo sipping also.Prices:
ON$78.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Huré Frères
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Champagne Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Naturetext
94PTS

Champagne Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV

Champagne, FranceThe Laherte family has a long history in the region. Founded in 1889 by Jean-Baptiste Laherte, the estate was initially made up of vines primarily in the village of Chavot. Fourth-generation vigneron Michel Laherte expanded the family estate, covering about five hectares. With his wife Cécile, the two young vignerons modernized the press and tanks but soon realized that too much modernity, such as herbicides and pesticides, would prevent full terroir expression in the wines. They began working the soils, gently vinifying the juices, and remaining humble and patient as the wines developed. In 2005, his son Aurélien Laherte overtook operations of the estate. The 10.5 hectares of Larherte vineyards are mainly situated in the Coteaux Sud D'Épernay, sandwiched between the Côtes des Blancs and the Vallée de la Marne. Seven of their 75+ separate parcels are farmed biodynamically and certified organic, with the rest organic or sustainably farmed. The Blanc de Blancs come off their chalkiest soils, in Chavot and Epernay, from vines averaging 35 years. It was fermented in small foudres and barrels with light bâtonnage and partial MLF before heading to the bottle for at least 24 months. My bottle was disgorged in July 2021 with zero dosage. At once tight and toasty, with lemon meringue, pencil shavings and crunchy green apple providing ample energy and verve to this BdB. A delight, and one to seek out for those favouring lean, edgy, vibrancy in their BdB.Prices:
BC$99.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Laherte Frères
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Champagne Pascal Agrapart Minéral Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Crutext
94PTS

Champagne Pascal Agrapart Minéral Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2014

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceFounded in 1894, Agrapart has rightfully emerged as one of the finest grower estates in the Côte des Blancs. Pascal Agrapart is the current generation overseeing the estate, making wines since 1984 when he took over from his father, Pierre, and after studying oenology in Bordeaux, and Avize. When he arrived, there were 4 hectares of vines, and he has grown that to 12 hectares, 9 of those rooted in grand cru villages of Avize, Cramant, Oiry and Oger. His father never used herbicides or chemical pesticides, and while Pascal is uninterested in being labelled organic or biodynamic, he follows the same naturalist practices, focusing on the soils. Though not listed on the front, Minéral is a single vintage (check the back label) from two Avize parcels rooted in very chalky soils, and vines 50-60+ years. One vinification is done in old 600L barrels, and the other in tank before a 50/50 blend. This spent 6 years on lees, and was dosed with 3 g/L in March 2021. Alluring toasted hazelnuts, dough, green apple, and lemon peel rule this streamlined BdB, studded with flake salts across a gently expansive meringue core. Avize soils and low dosage give it an electricity that easily tops the weight of wood and time sur lattes, resulting in this beautiful complexity that unravels with time. Another beauty from Pascal.Prices:
BC$200.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Agrapart & Fils
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Champagne Roland Champion Secret D'Aramistext
90PTS

Champagne Roland Champion Secret D'Aramis NV

Champagne, FranceThe Champion family have been growing grapes in Chouilly since the 18th century, with the house now run by Francois and his two daughters. They used to sell their wines to the big Champagne houses but are now keeping some back to produce their own wines. They manage 18 hectares of vine, primarily in Chouilly, with some red grapes in the Marne. This cuvée is a blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, and 20% Chardonnay, into bottle in July 2020, and disgorged June 2022 with 4 g/L. Red apple, crispy meringue is scented with ginger on a lively, lightly lees decked palate, carrying ample motion and energy in the mouth.Prices:
England$35.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Roland Champion
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Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Bruttext
89PTS

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceCuvée Sainte Anne Brut is sourced from the village of Merfy in the Montagne de Reims, with vineyards on the southern slopes of the Massif de Saint-Thierry (initially planted in the 7th century). It is the only grower of champagne from the village, and the family has wine-growing roots back to 1485; the remaining vineyards in Merfy are claimed by co-ops or go to larger houses. Based on the 2020 vintage, with 20% reserve wines, this bottle was 50% chardonnay, 40% noir, 10% meunier, organically farmed, and native fermented in older wood before heading to bottle, and finished with a dosage of 4 g/L in October 2022. Ripe and doughy, with cushy red fruit, ample dried apple, and brioche across a red licorice-laced palate, framed by an oxidative bent. True to house style and very consistent. If you like more toasted, oxidative, richer wines, here you go. If you prefer fresher and more precise champagnes, do look elsewhere.Prices:
QC$65.50750ml
Producer: Champagne Chartogne-Taillet
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Champagne Marie Copinet Au Détour du Sézannaistext
92PTS

Champagne Marie Copinet Au Détour du Sézannais NV

Côte de Sézanne, Champagne, FranceMarie-Laure Copinet and her winemaker husband Alexandre Kowal have taken over her family's estate, founded by her father Jacques in 1975. Before then, the Copinets were selling their fruit to Moet, but Jacques' work at Taittinger led him to decide to create their own grower champagne (RM) estate. They are based in the tiny Champagne village of Montgenost (population 140) in the Côtes des Sézanne, and they own 9 hectares of vineyards in Côtes des Sézanne, Côtes des Bar, and Vallée de la Marne, producing only 5,500 cases annually, and began organic conversion in 2018. This chardonnay comes from top plots in Villenauxe la Grande, in the Sézannais' chalky soils. It was vinified in 300L barrels. This went into bottle (unfiltered) in 2018, under agrafe, and was disgorged in March 2022, with 3 g/L. The toasty brioche richness of the wood aging and cork aging is met with equally present and powerful deep chalk, and a ramrod lemon laced acidity, which backbones this wine. Tight green apple, smouldering crushed stones, lemon pith, is woven with alluring savoury umami notes, finishing in a lingering salinity. Quite a remarkable, intellectual, and distinct wine.Prices:
France$60.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Marie Copinet
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Champagne Tarlant Extra Brut Traditiontext
91PTS

Champagne Tarlant Extra Brut Tradition NV

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceFounded in 1687, this family owned grower champagne house is now in the care of the 12th generation. This Extra Brut (used to just be called Brut) is off chalky and sandy soils from river hillsides in the Vallée de la Marne, and villages Oeuilly (their home village), Boursault, Celles-lés-Condé, and Saint-Agnan. This blend of 51% pinot noir, 34% pinot meunier, and 15% chardonnay is from vines averaging 40 years, based on 2015 with 40% reserve wines from barrel. After native ferment in 6 months in lees in barrel (no MLF), this went into bottle April 2016, and was disgorged February 2021 with 3 g/L. Freshly toasted bread, creamy salted butter, red apple is laced with lemon pith and peel, working well to tighten the expansive Marne fruit. Certainly useful for an aperitif and into first courses.Prices:
ON$52.85750ml
Producer: Champagne Tarlant
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Champagne Frédéric Savart L'accomplie 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes Extra Bruttext
94PTS

Champagne Frédéric Savart L'accomplie 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes Extra Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceSituated 10 km west of Reims, Frédéric Savart is based in the village of Écueil, in the Val de Reims. Continuing from his father's work with their 'laboratory of terroirs,' Savart has made the 4-hectare property his own, and has become one of the superstars of the Grower Champagne movement. So moreish, with bright white cherry, crisp red apple and lively, tight acidity across a deeply chalky base, with a lengthy riffing finish. Very savoury; this is about the place, not fruit. Falling under Freddy Savart's Vins Singuliers, identitaires, this blend of organically farmed 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay comes from Écueil and Villiers-aux-Nœuds and fermented equally in stainless steel tanks on lees, and casks with partial MLF. 30% reserve wines come from the previous two vintages to the base. This bottle was disgorged in November 2021 with 4 g/L.Prices:
QC$228.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Frederic Savart
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Champagne Marie Copinet Nos pas dans... l'argiletext
90PTS

Champagne Marie Copinet Nos pas dans... l'argile NV

Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, FranceMarie-Laure Copinet and her winemaker husband Alexandre Kowal have taken over her family's estate, founded by her father Jacques in 1975. Before then, the Copinets were selling their fruit to Moet, but Jacques' work at Taittinger led him to decide to create their own grower champagne (RM) estate. They are based in the tiny Champagne village of Montgenost (population 140) in the Côtes des Sézanne, and they own 9 hectares of vineyards in Côtes des Sézanne, Côtes des Bar, and Vallée de la Marne, producing only 5,500 cases annually, and began organic conversion in 2018. Nos pas dans... l'argile is a series of soil / grape studies put out by Marie Copinet. In this case, this is entirely pinot meunier on clay, from the lieu-dit of Les Ragotteries, in Cuchery, on the right bank of the Marne Valley. It was disgorged with 0 g/L in March 2022. Here the meunier fruit meets the expansive clay, resulting in wide white and red cherry, subtle wild raspberry, softly shaped with lemon pith and peel. Gentle, friendly, yet not dumbed down, and ready for drinking now.Prices:
France$42.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Marie Copinet
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Champagne Marie Copinet Complantéetext
92PTS

Champagne Marie Copinet Complantée NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceMarie-Laure Copinet and her winemaker husband Alexandre Kowal have taken over her family's estate, founded by her father Jacques in 1975. Before then, the Copinets were selling their fruit to Moet, but Jacques' work at Taittinger led him to decide to create their own grower champagne (RM) estate. They are based in the tiny Champagne village of Montgenost (population 140) in the Côtes des Sézanne, and they own 9 hectares of vineyards in Côtes des Sézanne, Côtes des Bar, and Vallée de la Marne, producing only 5,500 cases annually, and began organic conversion in 2018.. Complantée is a field blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier from the plot of La Charbonnière, in the village of Brouillet, situated in the little-known Vallée de l'Ardre, east of Reims. It was zero disgorged in March 2022. Wild raspberry, rainier cherry, is scented with strawberry and dotted with meringue, stretching long across a lengthy, streamlined, chalky palate. There's a beautiful tension with the taut lemon acidity against the chalky soils, resulting in brilliant and riveting champagne.Prices:
France$40.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Marie Copinet
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Champagne Brisson-Lahaye L'immuable Brut 1er Crutext
90PTS

Champagne Brisson-Lahaye L'immuable Brut 1er Cru NV

Champagne, FranceThis blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir is all 1er cru sourced from Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne, across calcareous clays. It was vinified in stainless and wood before heading to bottle and 2 years sur lattes. This bottle was based on 2018 and 2017, disgorged March 2022 with 6 g/L. Toast and dough base red apple, burnished lemon and apple blossoms filling an expansive palate, bedded with lees and meringue, and loosely belted with lemon pith / peel. An easy wine to like and enjoy, ideally with food (risotto was a hit).Prices:
France$30.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Brisson-Lahaye
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Champagne Leclerc Briant Rosé Extra Bruttext
93PTS

Champagne Leclerc Briant Rosé Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThe Rosé Brut is labeled NV, but this bottle is from a single harvest (2019), and a blend of 93% chardonnay (from Chouilly and Montgueux), 7% pinot noir (from Les Riceys), native fermented in stainless, with a small amount of the pinot noir fermenting in wood. The cepage rests for two years on lees before being disgorged with 3.5g/L (this lot was disgorged from April 2022). Very red fruited, with pointed cherry, raspberry across a meringue base, shaped with red currant acidity, finishing with an orange twist. The chardonnay backbone is ever present, but the pinot noir has the signature stamp on this wine. This release / disgorge is showing beauty at present, and is a fantastic food wine.Prices:
ON$99.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Leclerc Briant
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Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Quatre Cépages Mer Sur Monttext
89PTS

Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Quatre Cépages Mer Sur Mont 2014

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceFrom a single plot of old vines (as demarcated on the label), this is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, 15% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Blanc. This was disgorged in December 2020 with 6 g/L. Showing its age, this is quite impactful, showing a burnished yellow hue, with Rainier cherries, red and green apple, yellow pear, wilted florals, and deep wet chalk on an expansive palate. Very structural, with an evident aged parmesan note on the saline finish. From the troublesome 2014 vintage, this bottle would have been better / fresher a couple of years ago.Prices:
ON$130.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Rémi Leroy
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Champagne Paul Bara Grand Rosé Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Paul Bara Grand Rosé Brut NV

Champagne, FrancePaul Bara was founded in Bouzy in 1833, and the 6th generation, Chantale Bara, is now overseeing the 11 hectares of the Montagne de Reims estate. This Grand Cru Rosé blends 80% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay, and 12% red wine from Bouzy, with vines averaging 35 years. The wine was fermented in stainless (partial MLF) and aged for four years on lees. My bottle was disgorged July 2022. Grilled strawberry, perfumed cherry is seasoned with light toast and crushed stones on a softly cushy palate, all subtly strung with a pink grapefruit tension that lingers on the citrus finish. A welcoming and friendly rosé that is ready to partner with poultry or lightly spiced Chinese dishes now.Prices:
BC$82.50750ml
Producer: Champagne Paul Bara
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Champagne Paul Bara Réserve Brut Grand Crutext
89PTS

Champagne Paul Bara Réserve Brut Grand Cru NV

Champagne, FrancePaul Bara was founded in Bouzy in 1833, and the 6th generation, Chantale Bara, is now overseeing the 11 hectares of the Montagne de Reims estate. This, their flagship NV is a blend of 80/20 pinot noir / chardonnay, from vines 35 years average age, rooted in clay limestone soils. This was fermented in stainless with partial MLF, and aged 6 years on lees, with partial reserve wines, dosed with 7 g/L when disgorged July 2022. Red apple, ripe lemon, perfumed cherry rules the doughy palate, bedded with deep meringue, and laced with oxidative threads. This bottle is tasting a bit on now, so best to crack and enjoy, with richer canapés or paté.Prices:
BC$80.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Paul Bara
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Champagne Louis Roederer Collection 243text
90PTS

Champagne Louis Roederer Collection 243 NV

Champagne, FranceAlways at the forefront of Champagne, Louis Roederer moved from their NV Brut to the MV Collection series in 2021, referencing the number of years since the winery was founded. This ingenious approach allows the master chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lecallion to blend the best parts of each vintage along with a generous amount of reserve wines. 243 is based on the generous 2018 vintage (59%), along with 31% perpetual reserve (2012 through 2017) and 10% cask aged reserve wines from 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The fruit is a mix of estate and grower, and breaks down into equal thirds La Rivière, La Montagne, and La Côte vineyards. This year, it resulted in a mix of 42% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot noir, and 18% Meunier. 26% underwent MLF, and after a quick scan of the code on the back of the bottle, I can see my exact bottle was disgorged March 2022 with 8 g/L, released into the world in September 2022. This is a wine for everyone: friendly and welcoming with its elevated dosage, toasted brioche, and gentle yellow fruit, yet structured and bright with crisp green and red apple, lemon, kisses of anise, and shining acidity. I love the nod to the house's history with the new Collection system, deftly tying in tradition with the modern, progressive stylings of this wine. I love even more how transparent this wine is, revealing details about provenance and production for those who care to know (me!). Very smart, and another big win for this impressive producer.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Louis Roederer
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Champagne JM Sélèque Quintettetext
89PTS

Champagne JM Sélèque Quintette NV

Champagne, FranceJean-Marc Sélèque is a 3rd generation vigneron, overseeing his family's estate of 7.5 hectares. This BdB comes from five sites in Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs: Pierry, Epernay, Mardeuil, Dizy, and Vertus. It was fermented in a split of stainless and oak (no MLF), with 20% reserve wines. It spent at least four years sur lattes, and my bottle was disgorged in February 2022 with two g/L. Quite broad-shouldered, carrying dense green apple and subtle white peach blossoms across a lightly creamy palate. Exceptionally robust yet still friendly, this is one to pocket for serving with roast poultry. My bottle tasted a little tired; I will try again.Prices:
ON$91.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Jean Marc Sélèque
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Champagne Mouzon-Leroux L'atavique Tradition Extra Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Mouzon-Leroux L'atavique Tradition Extra Brut NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceSébastien Mouton is a 9th generation vigneron in Champagne, based in GC Verzy, and certified organic (practicing biodynamic) on his Montagne de Reims estate's chalk, clay, and flint soils. This blend of 65% pinot noir, 35% chardonnay is half based on 2018, with the remainder coming from 2017/2016. After fermenting in 80/20 older oak / stainless, with full MLF, this rested sur lattes for 36+ months. My bottle was disgorged in January 2022, with 2.5g/L. Chalky and driven, this is scented with Rainier cherry, red apple, green apple, and laced with lemon across an energetic palate. The finish turns a bit red apple oxidative, so best to open now.Prices:
ON$72.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Mouzon-Leroux
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Champagne Pierre et François Huré 4 Élémentstext
91PTS

Champagne Pierre et François Huré 4 Éléments NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceChampagne Huré Fréres began just over 50 years ago, and remains very much a family business. Today Raoul Huré and his two sons, Francois and Pierre oversee their the estate from their Ludes' home base. This 1er cru pinot noir comes from the lieu-dit La Perthe in Ludes, Montagne de Reims. Though NV, this is entirely 2016, fermented in demi-muids, disgorged in December 2021 with 3 g/L. Tight and nervy, this pinot noir BdN displays red currant, cherry, lemon across a deeply chalky base. There's a lovely chisel shaping this streamlined wine, taking this to a cherry cordial kissed finish. Quite unique, and a lovely display of Pinot Noir.Prices:
ON$143.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Huré Frères
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Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Blancstext
91PTS

Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Blancs 2016

Champagne, FranceThis is a rare chardonnay from Southern Champagne's Aube, a region dominated by pinot noir, even though 95 percent of the vineyard is Kimmerdgean soil (the same as in chardy-central Chablis). The young Remi Leroy farms 3 of his family's 9 ha here, selling the remaining fruit for additional income with the goal of using all of the fruit for his non-interventionist label. The only input he uses is a small addition of sulphur. This 2016 was dosed with two g/L, disgorged in April 2021. Big green apple, lemon, and chalk lead, with a rivulet of red apple oxidation creeping in, detracting from the purity of fruit (most likely a tip towards the low SO2). If you're in North America, it's time to drink.Prices:
ON$91.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Rémi Leroy
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Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand Réserve Brut Premier Crutext
92PTS

Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand Réserve Brut Premier Cru NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceThough no longer technically a grower of champagne because Vilmart & Cie sources some grapes, they are certainly in the same authentic, hands-on, small-scale league. This is a 70/30 pinot noir/chardonnay cuvée (not to be mistaken with their Grand Cellier, which reverses the grapes in the mix). This was based on 2020, with reserve wines from 2018 and 2019 and fruit of 1er cru Rilly-la-Montagne, with vines averaging 35 years. Vilmart's base wines ferment in large oak foudres for ten months before secondary fermentation in the bottle, and none see MLF. This was dosed with 8 g/L in the summer of 2021. Red and green apples and lemon are lined with cherry brioche and lit with a buzzy chalkiness. The lingering finish is alluringly kissed with an anise. Showing smartly at present. With a 2021 DG date, it's time to drink best now.Prices:
BC$70.00750ml
ON$79.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Vilmart & Cie
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Champagne Gosset Extra Bruttext
91PTS

Champagne Gosset Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceFounded in Aÿ in 1584 by Pierre Gosset, Champagne Gosset is the oldest wine house in Champagne. For 17 generations, Gosset was family-owned, but in 1993 it was sold to the Cointreau family from Charente, owners of Frappin Cognac. The newest release for the house, this Extra Brut, reflects the cultural shift towards dryer champagnes. This blends 40% Pinot Noir, 32% Pinot Meunier, and 28% Chardonnay, with four years on lees and a dosage of 4.8 g/L. Ripe lemon, green apple, and almond rule a brisk palate, with ample doughy lees pad and a kiss of meringue through a salted lemon twist finish—a tighter, leaner style for the house and one welcome with canapés or solo sipping.Prices:
ON$72.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Gosset
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Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancstext
96PTS

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2011

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceComtes is a remarkable wine, very vintage dependent, but hallmarked with the undeniable finesse of Comtes. This BdB comes from the profoundly chalky GC villages Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Oger. 5% of 2011 has been aged for four months in new oak barrels, one-third of which are replaced yearly. It remained sur lattes for ten years before disgorging with 9 g/L (mostly unfelt up against the tight 2011). Crushed stone, light smoke, deep and damp chalk, meringue strides across a powerful, gently expansive, yet tightly structured palate, lit with lemon pith, anise, green apple and smouldering mineral salts, the latter lingering long on the finish. There's an impressive density here for all its effortless finesse and lightness. Reminiscent of 2007, but lighter and more fleeting, this is drinking beautifully now.Prices:
BC$256.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Taittinger
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Champagne Vilmart and Cie Grand Cellier Brut Premier Crutext
93PTS

Champagne Vilmart and Cie Grand Cellier Brut Premier Cru NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceThough technically not a Grower Champagne (RM) due to Vilmart & Cie sourcing some grapes from around their Rilly-la-Montagne home base, they are certainly in the same authentic, hands-on, small-scale league. It is a 70/30 chardonnay/pinot noir cuvée from 30 year old vines (not to be mistaken with their Grand Reserve, which reverses the grapes in the mix) that has spent ten months in a blend of oak foudre and barrel on the lees (no malolactic fermentation) before heading to bottle for secondary ferment over 30 months. My bottle was disgorged in February 2022 with 7 g/L. Very complete, with green apple, fresh hazelnut, and great toast running a lemon-laced palate, lingering long on the finish with a buzzy vibrato. Everything in place, this harmonious wine is a joy to enjoy now and over the next few years.Prices:
BC$120.00750ml
ON$108.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Vilmart & Cie
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Champagne Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Blanc de Blancstext
90PTS

Champagne Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceFounded in 1894, Agrapart has rightfully emerged as one of the finest grower estates in the Côte des Blancs. Pascal Agrapart is the current generation overseeing the estate, making wines since 1984 when he took over from his father, Pierre, and after studying oenology in Bordeaux, and Avize. When he arrived, there were 4 hectares of vines, and he has grown that to 12 hectares, 9 of those rooted in grand cru villages of Avize, Cramant, Oiry and Oger. His father never used herbicides or chemical pesticides, and while Pascal is uninterested in being labelled organic or biodynamic, he follows the same naturalist practices, focusing on the soils. This BdB comes from four GC villages (Avize, Cramant, Oger and Oiry) and vines aged 20-50 years. Based on the 2017 vintage, this was native fermented in older wood and put into bottles in May 2018, with 40% reserve wines. It was disgorged in March 2021 with five g/L. A burnished oxidative note pervades, hinting at the oak aging and not assisted by the length since disgorge (2 years). Expansive apple, lemon, and bread dough rules the cushy palate, with toasted hazelnut padding and lemon pith sharpening. The finish ends with a wet chalk/citrus kiss. This bottle is one for drinking now, though I've had fresher Terroirs in the past.Prices:
BC$160.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Agrapart & Fils
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Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Noirs Réservetext
92PTS

Champagne Rémi Leroy Blanc de Noirs Réserve 2018

Côte des Bar, Champagne, FranceRemi Leroy farms 3 of his family's 9 ha in the Aube's Meurville, selling the remaining fruit for additional income, with the goal to use all of the fruit for his non-interventionist label. The only inputs he uses is a small addition of sulphur. This BdN Réserve is entirely pinot noir, native fermented with full MLF, and vinified in stainless. This was disgorged in winter 2021, and was dosed with 1 g/L. Pouring as a light rosé hue, perhaps thanks to the generously sunny 2018, and a few hours skin contact, this Réserve tasted like rosé, with an abundance of fresh raspberry, cherry across a streaming palate, with a buzzy limestone underlay and siding leading to a meringue finish. Bright and fresh, with arrow precision, this is a lovely solo sipper or accompaniment to canapés and proteins.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Rémi Leroy
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Champagne Bauchet Contraste Blanc de Pinot Noir Extra Bruttext
88PTS

Champagne Bauchet Contraste Blanc de Pinot Noir Extra Brut NV

Champagne, FranceThis grower is one of the larger RMs in Champagne, with 34 ha in Bisseiul, Grauves, and the Aube, but only makes around 25,000 cases annually. As the label reveals, Contraste is a BdN entirely of pinot noir from vineyards in the Côte des Bars (Bragelogne Beauvoir, Bar sur Seine) and the Montagne de Reims (Bisseuil, their home village). This NV carries 20% reserve wines, and after 24 months sur lattes, it was disgorged with 5.5 g/L. Toasty red apple cherry is cushioned with meringue, bedded with doughy lees, laced with oxidative notes, and finished with a bitter lemon twist. A richer, creamier style can take on poultry dishes with ease.Prices:
BC$89.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Bauchet
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Champagne Lanson Le Rosé Brut Rosétext
91PTS

Champagne Lanson Le Rosé Brut Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceLanson has been making this friendly rosé since the 1950s. The current incarnation blends 53% pinot noir, 32% chardonnay, and 15% pinot meunier, with a 7% splash of still pinot noir and pinot meunier for colour. As per house style, no malolactic fermentation is employed in the primary ferment. There are 35% reserve wines in the mix, and the blend comes from 100 different crus, 50% of which are GC and 1er. Based on 2016, my bottle was disgorged in May 2022 with eight g/L. Bright and straight, as per the house style, carrying meringue, light toast, and bright cherry across a lightly creamy/doughy base, subtly seasoned with stony spice. A welcoming, smart choice for rosé.Prices:
BC$79.99750ml
AB$67.00750ml
ON$65.00750ml
QC$65.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Lanson
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Champagne Étienne Calsac L'Echappée Belle Blanc de Blancstext
93PTS

Champagne Étienne Calsac L'Echappée Belle Blanc de Blancs NV

Champagne, FranceAfter taking over his grandparents' 2.8 hectares scattered in small plots around Avize, Etienne transitioned to organic viticulture, working the vines by hand, plow and horse. This cuvée is from predominantly premier cru villages in the Grauves, in the Côte des Blancs, from 30+ year old vines, aged on lees for seven months before bottling with 30% reserve wines, followed by 36 months in bottle. It was bottled with a 2 g/L dosage in July 2022. Classic Avize, with its profound yet precise structure. Crisp green and red apple, lemon pith is based on a deep chalky layer, shaped with tight rivets of acidity, and kissed with lightly toasted meringue. There's a lovely tactile quality to this wine, making it alluring and memorable.Prices:
ON$80.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Étienne Calsac
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Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Brut Cuis 1er Cru Blanc de Blancstext
92PTS

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Brut Cuis 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceUnderstated and classic, this 1er Cru always impresses with its cut and precision. Didier, the third generation of the Gimonnet family, oversees the winemaking of this Côtes des Blancs grower champagne house based in Cuis, with 30 HA owned. Like all of their chardonnay-centric wines, this wine is crystal crisp and bright, driving through to the lingering finish. This carries 25-30% reserve wines from the previous nine harvests to provide depth and complexity. Gimonnet keeps all their reserve wines in magnum under the crown cap to preserve the freshness and prevent oxygen ingress. My bottle was disgorged in September, around 5-6 g/L. A chalky base is cut with crunchy red and green apple, lit with shining lemon pith and peel, with a kiss of meringue carrying this streamlined fizz through a lingering, saline finish. Super bright, effortlessly drinkable, authentic and pure = my go-to champagne.Prices:
BC$90.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Gimonnet
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Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru XVIIItext
92PTS

Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru XVIII NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceBrothers Antoine and Quentin Paillard are 8th generation vine growers and winemakers, carrying on the family tradition along with father Benoit. The Paillard family has been growing vines and making wine in Bouzy since 1768, owning only Grand Cru vineyards with old vines via massale selection (no clones). They are truly a star of the grower champagne movement. Les Parcelles is sourced entirely from their home village of Bouzy and 22 plots of the family's sustainably-farmed vines, now averaging 30+ years. As noted by the XVIII on the label, this is based on the 2018 vintage (70%) and is a mix of 70/30 pinot noir/chardonnay (the latter an anomaly in PN-centric Bouzy), disgorged in June 2022 after 4 years on lees, and with less than 1 g/L dosage. Red and green apple, lemon, and white cherry rest atop a stony base, with a cushioning layer of lees and a dusting of spice. As always, there's lovely balance here, with the chardonnay backbone drawing up pinot power from front through back. A beauty food wine.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
ON$73.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Paillard
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Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Terres Roses Bouzy Grand Cru Rosé XVIIItext
94PTS

Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Terres Roses Bouzy Grand Cru Rosé XVIII NV

Montagne de Reims, Champagne, FranceBrothers Antoine and Quentin Paillard are 8th generation vine growers and winemakers, carrying on the family tradition along with father Benoit. The Paillard family has been growing vines and making wine in Bouzy since 1768, owning only Grand Cru vineyards with old vines via massale selection (no clones). They are truly a star of the grower champagne movement. As the label hints, this GC Rosé is from the 2018 vintage. This year's cépage was 68% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir (5% Bouzy Rouge), a surprisingly high chardy quotient for red-centric Bouzy, though the house norm for Pierre Paillard. There's a beautiful mix of power and grace here, with a smouldering red fruit, wild herbs, and dried florals against a tight, chalky chardy baseline. A real stunner.Prices:
ON$96.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Pierre Paillard
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Champagne Huré Frères L’Inattenduetext
92PTS

Champagne Huré Frères L’Inattendue NV

Champagne, FranceChampagne Huré Fréres began just over 50 years ago, and remains very much a family business. Today Raoul Huré and his two sons, Francois and Pierre oversee their the estate from their Ludes' home base. This has a chardonnay focus, along with the generosity of Montagne de Reims', plus François Huré's thoughtful farming and light touch. From plots planted in 1982 and 1989 at Les Paquies (Rilly-La-Montagne) and Les Sentiers (Ludes) on calcareous clays, this was vinified half in oak and is entirely from the 2017 vintage. This spent four years on lees before disgorgement with 3.5 g/L. A deeply chalky base is flooded with lemon and green apple, with a creamy expansiveness thanks to the oak and ample time on lees. Amply saline on the finish; this is calling out for food.Prices:
ON$82.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Huré Frères
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Champagne J-M Sélèque Solessence Rosétext
89PTS

Champagne J-M Sélèque Solessence Rosé NV

Champagne, FranceThe Rosé blends 45% chardonnay, 40% meunier and 15% pinot noir from seven villages. Most of the wine is fermented in stainless with full MLF, though 10 percent is fermented in oak barrels and without MLF. For the rosé, they add 10 percent pinot meunier (infused after two days with skins) pus five percent Coteaux Champenois sourced from Les Gayères. The 40 percent reserve wines are stored in a perpetual reserve (mix of tanks and barrels) that dates back to 2000. My bottle spent a minimum of 18 months on the lees before being disgorged in January 2022 with a two g/L dosage. Welcoming and easy to like, with sweetly scented strawberry, cherry, and pithy tangerine around a ripe, round core, laced with chalk and finishing with a dusting of spice and saline. Drinking now, this friendly rosé is ready for a discerning crowd. Sélèque began in 1965 when Henri Sélèque planted his first plots of vines with the help of his father-in-law, Jean Bagnost, president of the Pierry wine cooperative. Henri's son Richard moved the winery into the modern era, and since 2008 third, gen Jean-Marc has overseen the estate, based in the Coteaux Sud d'Epernay. Since Jean-Marc arrived, no herbicides have been used at the estate.Prices:
BC$76.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Jean Marc Sélèque
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Champagne Ulysse Collin Les Perrierestext
92PTS

Champagne Ulysse Collin Les Perrieres NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceThe Collin family's winemaking roots in Congy can be traced back for generations, dating back to 1812. Current generation Olivier Collin reclaimed the family vineyards, which had been leased out to Pommery, in 2003, after years of working to break the lease. He turns the near-9 hectare estate into organic viticulture, and ushered in the start of the label Ulysse Collin, one of the stars of the grower champagne movement. Their three vineyards are located in the Coteaux du Petit Morin and Côteaux du Sézannais. Olivier's time working with Anselme Selosse can be seen in the low-intervention winemaking, and use of large foudres and 225L barrels. Les Pierrières is single vineyard of old vines in the Coteaux du Petit Morin, with soft chalky soils distinctively laced with black flint. The base of this Chardonnay is 2015, and it spent 48 months on lees prior to a disgorge in March 2020. Fine bubbles stretch long on the shimmering palate, lit with lemon, based on green apple, and bedded with chalk. The flinty soils give a Chablis-like character to this wine, and now with extended time post-disgorge, there is a shading of savoury caramelization. Very vinous, and very distinct, this is a wine to add to your Champagne repertoire.Prices:
QC$149.25750ml
Producer: Champagne Ulysse Collin
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