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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tasting Notes

Tastings: March 2024

31 March 2024

Champagne Huré Frères 4 Élémentstext
92PTS

Champagne Huré Frères 4 Éléments NV

Vallée de la Marne, 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 in the Vallée de la Marne. This comes from a single parcel in Ludes called La Grosse Pierre, and is entirely pinot meunier planted on calcareous clays. From the 2016 vintage, this was long fermented in demi-muids before 4 years on lees, disgorged in December 2021 with 3g/L, and only 1821 bottles were made. Burnished white cherry, raspberry, red apple, and perfumed cherry blossom roll across the palate, bedded with pastry and lofted with an easy acidity. There's a lovely balance here, and delicate touch, which isn't so easy to achieve with 100% PM.Prices:
ON$85.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Huré Frères
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BH Bruttext
89PTS

BH Brut NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis, the first BH Brut, was based on 2018, and since it's the inaugural trad met wine from Ross Wise MW, we assume there are no reserves here. We do know that it's 70% chardonnay and 21% pinot noir, from their home vineyards on the Black Sage Bench, fermented in a mix of stainless and oak, and rested 40 months on lees in bottle before disgorge in March 2023 with 4.1 g/L. Searing lemon, red apple, vanilla wafer, and crushed stone drive through the palate, with a noticeable lees bed taking this to a snappy smoked stone end. Quite disjointed at present, understandably so in its early days, but future vintages are hopeful to work it out.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Champagne Marc Hébrart Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes Premier Crutext
90PTS

Champagne Marc Hébrart Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru NV

Vallée de la Marne, 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 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 that reflect the personality of the grower as well as the terroir. As the name suggests, this is a blend of favourite old vines (50+ years) in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and a blend of 80/20 pinot noir/chardonnay, based on 2019, with 40% reserves from 2018. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel with full MLF, then aged on the lees for 30 months. This bottle was disgorged in December 2022 with 5 g/L. Ripe red apple, cherry brioche, bread dough, and crystaline ginger is lit with a buzzy chalky lemon, lifting the creamy ripe heft of these older vines. There's a wave of oxidation that tires this a bit, but the aforementioned electric acidity works to solve it. One to work with creamy / smoked dishes.Prices:
BC$100.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Marc Hebrart
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Champagne Nominé Renard Le M Bruttext
90PTS

Champagne Nominé Renard Le M Brut NV

Côte des Blancs, Champagne, FranceBased in Villevenard, in the Coteaux du Petit Morin, 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. Le M is a limited edition bottling (only 3995 bottles) of pinot meunier, from old Villevenard plots dating back to 1925. This is 90% 2019, with 10% reserves from 2018. It went into bottle in June 2020, and was disgorged February 2023 with 6.8 g/L. Lightly oxidative, with burnished cherry, red apple, raspberry on the creamy palate, finishing with a light smoked stone and anise on the finish. This cuvée does quite well in Italy, and the similarities with quality Franciacorta are evident. Well suited to canapés, especially cured salmon dishes.Prices:
ON$75.95750ml
Producer: Champagne Nominé Renard
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Champagne Bérêche et Fils Brut Reservetext
92PTS

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. Tasting quite smart at present, with a harmonious melody of crisp green apple, ample white cherry, strident lemon, and perfumed red currants that sail along the subtly generous palate, decked with savoury lees and kissed with a flinty reductive note, which culminates in a ginger finish. A substantial champagne, and one to easily pour alongside main dishes.Prices:
BC$110.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Bérèche et Fils
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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. It's peculiar to have such a high proportion of chardonnay in pinot noir-dominant Montagne de Reims, though 60% of their grapes are chardonnay, which often yields these wines a natural elegance. Perfumed lemon, toothsome meringue, crunchy green apple sails along the slender frame, with a lemony brace pinning in the sides, finishing with a chalky grip.Prices:
BC$120.00750ml
ON$108.00750ml
Producer: Champagne Vilmart & Cie
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29 March 2024

Piera Martellozzo Blu Giovello Prosecco Extra Drytext
86PTS

Piera Martellozzo Blu Giovello Prosecco Extra Dry NV

Veneto, ItalyIn the distinctive blue glass, this glera comes off vineyards at 400m, and is finished with 16 g/L RS. Apricot blossoms, white peach, crunchy pear fills a short palate, finishing with a bitter lemon twist. Simple stuff, and ready to use in a spring punch.Prices:
BC$23.00750ml
Producer: Martellozzo SpA
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Foolish Wine Troublemaker Chardonnay Pet Nattext
81PTS

Foolish Wine Troublemaker Chardonnay Pet Nat 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWhen the Coghill and Main families moved to the Okanagan to build Neighbourhood Brewing, they fell in love with wine country and decided to get involved. Some told the brewers that getting into wine was a foolish endeavour, so they used that challenge to name their new winery. This is the first wine off their Naramata estate, a chardonnay pét-nat. Sour and bitter lemon sit atop ample yeast, and sharp parmesan, finishing with a sharp acerbic twist. Work to do here.Prices:
BC$39.99750ml
Producer: Foolish Wine
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Frind Estate Brut Methode Classiquetext
88PTS

Frind Estate Brut Methode Classique NV

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe latest Brut sparkler continues to please using the traditional method, offering an almost Prosecco-like character. It spends 15 months on its lees, which adds a light leesy autolytic note, leaving the riesling dominant fruit (plus chardonnay) to shine, albeit with a bump of residual sugar (13 g/L). Look for pears, honey, and apples throughout the ready-to-drink fizz. Perfect for a sunny patio or aperitif.Prices:
BC$24.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Pinot Noir Brut Methode Classiquetext
88PTS

Frind Estate Pinot Noir Brut Methode Classique 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is the first release of the Pinot Noir Brut made from Pinot Noir harvested in 2021. The grapes spent 4 days on the skins to leach out their pale pink colour. It is an easy-sipping bubble pitching ripe cherries and juicy pomegranate with citrus and a fully ripe pear palate that is intensified by a steady stream of small bubbles. It is a fun everyday sipping style you can enjoy before dinner solo or with spicy bites to take on the 12.87 g/L of residual sugar.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Church & State Wines Blanc de Gris Bruttext
88PTS

Church & State Wines Blanc de Gris Brut 2019

Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CanadaPreviously known as the Sparkling Pinot Gris, the Blanc de Gris is made using the traditional method. The name change aligned the label with the rest of the sparkling program. It spends a year on its lees and presents as a pale straw colour. The nose is a mix of ripe apples, pears and a spot of licorice with generous acidity, igniting a fresh palate that cleanses the palate amid crisp green apple and pear. The fruit is grown in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island, over sandy soils. The perfect aperitif or lunch bubble, this would pair well with fried foods or seafood appetizers.Prices:
BC$25.75750ml
Producer: Church & State Winery
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28 March 2024

Torres 10 Reserva Imperial Brandytext
90PTS

Torres 10 Reserva Imperial Brandy NV

Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainThe Torres family has made wine and spirits in Spain since the late 1800s. The history of this brandy dates back to 1928, when Juan Torres Casals, the founder's grandson, began distilling wine to make aged brandy using the finest white wines from the Penedès region. He named his brandy after his son, Miguel Torres Carbó, who was ten years old. It's made from traditional Catalan grape varieties, using the traditional solera method, namely arranging American oak barrels at different heights such that the most recent brandy, contained in the upper criaderas, is mixed in small amounts with the older brandy until, after several years, it is mixed with the final level of the criaderas, those on the ground, the soleras (which means "on the ground" in Spanish) that contain the oldest brandies. The process gives the brandy a rich and complex flavour. The Torres 10 is famous for its dark caramel colour and soft, round, mellow flavours that slide down effortlessly, flecked with golden hues that result from its extended aging. It's shockingly good brandy at an even better price.Prices:
BC$35.49750ml
Producer: Familia Torres
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27 March 2024

Tightrope Winery Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Tightrope Winery Pinot Gris 2023

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis wine is made from Naramata Bench fruit sourced from the Fleet Road estate vineyard, with contributions from Flaherty, Madsen, Riccio, and Rubis family vineyards. It is all handpicked and processed on the same day. This highly attractive style, even at 10 g/L residual sugar, draws you into the glass but never overwhelms you with sweetness. I love the grapefruit, pear, lemon zest, and elderflower that are all wrapped up in a dry-ish citrus finish. Try this with spicy pre-dinner bites or a favourite roasted chicken dish.Prices:
BC$25.00750ml
Producer: Tightrope Winery
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Italia Pinot Grigiotext
87PTS

Italia Pinot Grigio 2022

Lombardy, ItalyEstablished in 2003, Adria Vini is a winemaking venture jointly owned by Boutinot and Araldica Castelvero, the leading co-operative in the Monferrato hills of Piemonte. The aim is to produce authentic, well priced wine from local grape varieties. Nothing is overlooked, from picking the grapes to vinification and bottling. This pinot grigio comes from mature vineyards picked in late August / early September, fermented and aged for 3 to 6 months on fine lees in stainless steel tanks. Expect a dry, fresh style with clean florals and lemons, with a swirl of lees to a lightly bitter finish. Another inexpensive, quality white that will work with an array of West Coast seafood. Also available in cans.Prices:
BC$16.49750ml
Producer: Adria Vini
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Piera Terre Magre Pinot Grigiotext
85PTS

Piera Terre Magre Pinot Grigio 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 is a lean and tart example, with bitter lemon and underripe melon, finishing with a sour snap.Prices:
Producer: Piera 1899
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Livio Felluga Pinot Grigiotext
91PTS

Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2022

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyLivio Felluga is one of the most respected producers of Friuli, dedicating his life to reviving high-quality and sustainable viticulture in the hills of this north-eastern, Adriatic-influenced Italian countryside. He emigrated from Istria and established his property in Brazzano in the 1950s, buying up old, neglected vineyards and rejuvenating them. From marl and sandstone hills, this was macerated for a short time (hence the slightest copper hue and grip) before a stainless ferment and six months on lees. Perfumed pear, white blossoms, tangerine peel stream along the palate, with a slight buzzy texture offering interest, and guiding this to a stony finish. Lovely presence.Prices:
ON$47.00750ml
Producer: Livio Felluga
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Conviviale Pinot Grigiotext
88PTS

Conviviale Pinot Grigio 2022

Veneto, ItalyConviviale Pinot Grigio is made by the folks at Araldica, a third generation, family operated artisanal co-operative based in Piedmont, Italy. Convivale is part of the Boutinout collection, so that you can expect another level of care and intensity. The grapes are grown in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The winemaking is standard for Veneto whites: post-fermentation, the wine is aged 3 to 6 months on its fine lees in stainless steel tanks. The nose and palate are stuffed with green fruits, bright acidity, and a crisp, dry palate with spice, melon, pears, and slightly bitter, nutty notes in the back end. The match is steamed shellfish or perhaps a favourite sushi roll or two.Prices:
BC$19.49750ml
Producer: Boutinot
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Moraine Pinot Gristext
89PTS

Moraine Pinot Gris 2023

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaWinter damage has shortened the 2023 crop by half, but it looks as if the quality is just fine. This Moraine Gris came off the Naramata Bench only in 2023, pitching vibrant notes of white peaches, pears, and wet stones. The mid-palate is lively and fresh, helping sweep the juicy lemons, tangerine, and lime zest along a stony mineral finish. Cool as a cucumber salad, don’t wait to buy this one in restaurants, private wine shops, or direct from the winery.Prices:
BC$20.00750ml
Producer: Moraine Estate Winery
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Selbach Grauburgunder Drytext
90PTS

Selbach Grauburgunder Dry 2022

Mosel, GermanyIn Germany, pinot gris or pinot grigio is known as grauburgunder, loosely translated as the “grey Burgundian.” The Selbach edition lives up to its name because it presents drier and with a higher acidity than many of its cousins, save for a handful of top northern Italian editions. This fabulous, dry, dry white draws you back to your glass until the bottle is gone. Expect a subtle floral overtone with crisp, citrus touched with spice and a saline, mineral, limestone finish. Stylish and sophisticated as ever, and ready for an array of seafood, chicken, or sushi.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: J & H Selbach
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Roche Pinot Gristext
90PTS

Roche Pinot Gris 2021

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Roche style is more European than Okanagan, with a certain dryness and acidity that shows the structure. However, it still offers plenty of savoury Okanagan notes and orchard fruit. It has been grown organically at Kozier Vineyard on the Naramata Bench since 2007. Crunchy pear, fresh lemon, a creamy undercurrent, and a mineral ending add complexity. I love the versatility it brings to the table. It is aged 10 months in French neutral oak, adding depth and mouthfeel without any oak. Impressive.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Roche Wines
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Craven Wines Pinot Gristext
91PTS

Craven Wines Pinot Gris 2022

Stellenbosch, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Stellenbosch's Newlands Vineyard and its heavy iron-rich koffeklip soils, these pinot gris vines are 17 years old, facing east. It's rare enough to find PG in ZA, and unheard of to find one as memorable as this. After destemming, this had 6 days skin contact (until it goes dry) in concrete before being pressed and racked back into concrete for 5 months. 2022 is the first year for concrete for the PG, a move the Cravens have been planning for some years. The change has imbued even more fine buzzy texture into this already textural wine (akin to their stunning and tactile labels, each an artistic view of the single vineyard). Pouring a deep salmon / copper hue, this streams rosehips, crushed stone, ash, roiboos tea, and cherry blossoms along a slender palate, gripped with fine gris tannins, and that alluring concrete kiss. One of the wine world's most memorable Pinot Gris.Prices:
ON$40.00750ml
Producer: Craven Wines
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Lakeboat Pinot Gristext
88PTS

Lakeboat Pinot Gris 2022

Kaleden, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaI think BC pinot gris can never be too skinny or acidic based on tasting too many soft and sweet versions, but that is not the story here. This Kalenden gris, with its bright, snappy green apple and white peach, is drenched in citrus with a light mineral underside. You could serve this juicy, fresh white with oysters or some salmon and cream cheese. Simple, well made and ready to drink.Prices:
BC$21.95750ml
Producer: Lakeboat Vineyard & Winery
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Kirkland Signature Grave Friuli Pinot Grigiotext
86PTS

Kirkland Signature Grave Friuli Pinot Grigio 2022

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ItalyI was hoping for more from Friuli, but this is pretty ordinary stuff and difficult to say, but it was overpriced at $4.99. The nose is dull, pitching green tones that spill onto a grassy palate with a splash of citrus and a dry finish flecked with bitter notes. We helped it out with a pesto asparagus pasta dish. Ready to drink.Prices:
US$4.99750ml
Producer: CVBC & Spa
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26 March 2024

Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Chardonnaytext
91PTS

Domaine de la Pinte Arbois Chardonnay 2020

Arbois, Jura, FranceDomaine de la Pinte owns 34 hectares of vineyard in Arbois and Pupillin, organically farmed since 1999. Since 2009 they have worked under biodynamic principles. This chardonnay is rooted in the region's blue marls, and after a native ferment in stainless, with full MLF, this spent 10 months in large old oak foudres. Chiseled by a flinty reduction, this stony chardy streams salted wild lemon, marcona almond, meadow grasses, all wrapped with a blanket of downy lees. The lingering end rings with salinity, encouraging pairing with roast poultry and herbed potatoes.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: Domaine de la Pinte
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The Atom Half-Life Chardonnaytext
87PTS

The Atom Half-Life Chardonnay 2022

California, United StatesPouring a deeper yellow hue, this ripe, sweet-fruited Cali chardy fills the creamy palate with ripe peach, ripe pear, lush melon, and ample vanillin, scented with wood toast, and finishing with lemon drop. Not shy, this simple chardonnay is quite generous.Prices:
ON$25.00750ml
Producer: The Atom
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Haut-Blanville Réserve Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Haut-Blanville Réserve Chardonnay 2022

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau Haut-Blanville is a family-owned Languedoc wine estate that was founded in 1997 by Béatrice & Bernard Nivollet. Their 70 ha of vineyards extend across The Grés de Montpellier AOP, stretching from the Hérault middle valley to the Vidourle, and from the Mediterranean in the south to the Pic Saint-Loup in the north. Wines are produced naturally, without the use of any additions except a minimal amount of sulphur upon bottling. From stony clay-limestone soils, this chardonnay blends in roussanne for additional fragrance and body. Fragrant white peach, bright lemon rings through this medium white, with a slick of lees and a subtle stoniness throughout. A quiet charmer, this Languedoc white would well suit poached chicken or white sauced pastas.Prices:
ON$20.00750ml
Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Haut-Blanville Réserve Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Haut-Blanville Réserve Chardonnay 2021

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau Haut-Blanville is a family-owned Languedoc wine estate that was founded in 1997 by Béatrice & Bernard Nivollet. Their 70 ha of vineyards extend across The Grés de Montpellier AOP, stretching from the Hérault middle valley to the Vidourle, and from the Mediterranean in the south to the Pic Saint-Loup in the north. Wines are produced naturally, without the use of any additions except a minimal amount of sulphur upon bottling. From stony clay-limestone soils, this chardonnay blends in roussanne for additional fragrance and body. Perfumed florals, white peach, tangerine flood the creamy, juicy frame, finishing with a bitter almond twist. One for creamy dishes, and enjoying now.Prices:
ON$17.95750ml
ON$20.00750ml
Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Freemark Abbey Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2022

Napa Valley, California, United StatesMuch like 2021, ’22 is unabashedly Napa with a rich, honeyed pineapple nose flecked with oranges and wood spice. The palate continues themes with warm caramel, pineapple, and lemon curd. Don’t get me wrong, the wine is well-made and has a large audience, but it is a bit old school. Lobster is a fine match as are cream cheese and smoked salmon with a dab of caviar, or pan-seared scallops in white wine. The wine is 78% barrel fermented in 43% new French oak barrels before aging in a 78/22 spread of oak and stainless steel for 9 months.Prices:
BC$54.99750ml
AB$54.47750ml
ON$48.95750ml
Producer: Freemark Abbey
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Nielson Chardonnaytext
90PTS

Nielson Chardonnay 2022

Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California, United StatesWhat I like about this wine is its gradual transition to a brighter, fresher style over the last decade while maintaining its full-flavoured, rich exterior, exhibiting the best of California's old and new styles. If you are an acid freak, it is not for you, and if you are a butter and a caramel freak, it's not for you, but if you want both to work together, this a historical wine you may love. The wine opens with fresh citrus, tight-ish tropical fruit, mineral, lees, and strong peach and pear. It is fun to sip but even better with spicy, savoury chicken or sushi. Private wine shops only. This fruit is a 75/25 mix of Monterey County and Santa Barbara County, fermented in 55% stainless steel and 45% neutral barrels. It is 50% barrel-aged in neutral oak for five months, and half of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
ON$21.90750ml
Producer: Nielson Wines
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La Crema Monterey Chardonnaytext
89PTS

La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2022

Monterey County, Central Coast, California, United StatesLook for fresh, bright fruit, baked apples, tangerine, and orange. The palate is juicy, with Asian pear, key lime, and pineapple, with a saline underside. The alcohol tips out at a modest 13.5%, making it food friendly and easy to sip. The Monterey AVA consists of a long valley stretching from the uniquely cold Monterey Bay to the far Southeast reaches of the Salinas Valley. An ever present breeze and maritime influence cool vast expanses of rolling vineyards. The fruit comes off multiple sites, including the Gravelstone and Clark estate vineyards. 2022 was mostly a dream season with a wet start to winter and early rainfalls helping to ease drought conditions. Budbreak and early season growth avoided frost problems seen elsewhere with a regular dry season before a late heat spike forced a quick harvest starting September 20. The fruit is 90% barrel fermented, in a 70/30 mix of French and American oak barrels for 5-6 months, including 16% new oak.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
AB$29.99750ml
ON$24.00750ml
QC$26.05750ml
Producer: La Crema
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Vieux Bourg Beaujolais Blanc Clos du Vieux Bourgtext
88PTS

Vieux Bourg Beaujolais Blanc Clos du Vieux Bourg 2022

Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceWell-known Beaujolais winemaker Dominique Piron sold Domaine du Vieux Bourg, but kept the family vineyards in Corcelles. His 35-hectare family estate dates back to the 16th century. This chardonnay is rooted in the region's calcareous clays, and was fermented and rested in stainless. Green and tight, with tart lemon, green apple, and a sharp, pointed acidity that drives this to a shorter, bitter citrus finish. A bit too steely to be friendly.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
Producer: Famille Piron
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Cuvaison Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Cuvaison Chardonnay 2020

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United States2020 was a a vintage of intense concentrated fruit and relatively luscious notes, but it is California, and that style is inherent in most wines. Cuvaison operates out of the southern end of Napa Valley, in the Los Carneros region, enjoying some protection from the heat via the cool breezes that sweep off the San Pablo Bay. This chardonnay spends ten months in French oak (25% new). Look for rich baked pears and apples washed in honey, but all in balance. The finish is a mix of honey vanilla and baked green apples with a dusting of brioche and cream.Prices:
BC$59.00750ml
AB$49.00750ml
ON$59.00750ml
Producer: Cuvaison Winery
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25 March 2024

Black Hills Per Setext
92PTS

Black Hills Per Se 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPer Se, the top wine from Black Hills, is showing strongly in 2020, under Ross Wise MW's direction and the strong and smart favouritism of cabernet franc. This vintage blends 79% cabernet franc with 21% merlot, all native fermented before resting 18 months in French barriques (17% new). Dusky black cherry, black plum, dark espresso, and ferrous notes are imbued with scrubby desert herbs, and housed with finely grippy tannins, structuring this medium+ red through a lingering finish. There's such a lovely ease to this savoury red, with a restraint that is welcome, and a quiet confidence that is impressive. Drinking now, but will reward with cellaring.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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Black Hills Per Setext
91PTS

Black Hills Per Se 2020

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe transformation of Per Se is nearly complete, with winemaker Ross Wise making it more of a Right Bank Bordeaux red with just a lean into savoury Bolgheri style, all the while leaving it a south Okanagan blend. In 2020, the blend is 79/21 cabernet franc / merlot. It opens with vibrant raspberry and strawberry on the nose. On the palate, the savoury, spicy okanagan desert notes jump in, taming the fruit and releasing a subtle, persistent, long palate showing dense round tannins with bits of graphite and toasted oak. This is a baby, and while its suave nature invites you to drink it now, you best wait for 2027 before you open too many bottles. The 2020 growing season started slowly with a cool and damp spring and flowering period, but a warm, dry summer changed everything. A small crop ensures full phenolic ripeness, leaving a stellar year for Wise to turn out a superior label.Prices:
BC$55.00750ml
Producer: Black Hills Estate Winery
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# Ono Cabernet Franc The Honorine Pain Collectiontext
90PTS

# Ono Cabernet Franc The Honorine Pain Collection 2020

Loire, FranceThis is a delicious cabernet franc starting with a subtle red colour with a brick edge. The nose is awash in vibrant red fruit that spills onto the palate with wiry, brambly, earthy raspberry with just the right touch of spice. The tannins are perfectly rounded yet structural, and the balance is near perfect for such a young wine. An impressive young wine conceived by an even younger woman. #ONO is just beginning to make its way into the business, and from this view, it is a fine start.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Domaine de la Commanderie
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Vignamaggio Cabernet Franctext
0PTS

Vignamaggio Cabernet Franc 2019

Tuscany, ItalyNestled between forests and streams on the Chianti hills, Vignamaggio is an organic farm with a historic wine cellar that has been in operation since 1404. The estate sprawls over more than 400 hectares, with organic vineyards, vegetable and ornamental gardens. This is the estate’s oldest wine, produced with grapes from vines that are 40+ years old, rediscovered by chance in the 1990s in the Solatio vineyards (south-west) and Orto (east). This is aged for 18–20 months in French barriques, with partial new wood. Unfortunately this bottle is corked.Prices:
AB$75.00750ml
Producer: Villa VignaMaggio
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Cliff and Gorge Cabernet Franctext
89PTS

Cliff and Gorge Cabernet Franc 2022

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaHot and dry Lillooet’s sun-filled summer days and cool nights make it an ideal place to grow grapes, likened to the same weather influences as the south Okanagan Valley. This cab franc is a surprisingly elegant effort exhibiting some of those red, brambly, wirey Loire Valley notes, pitching a fresh, lively version of the franc that attracts wine nerds. Eckhard Zeidler, the owner/vintner of Cliff and Gorge Vineyards, has been growing grapes in Lillooet since 2008. He is all about the purity of fruit and letting the rusticity of the region get into this wine. Well-balanced and fully flavoured from front to back, this quality wine would be perfect with lamb chops or a pork shoulder. Lovely potential here. It was tasted from a screwcap-finished 375ml bottle.Prices:
BC$18.00750ml
Producer: Cliff and Gorge Vineyards
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Vasanti Estate Cabernet Franctext
88PTS

Vasanti Estate Cabernet Franc 2021

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Vasanti franc sits on the sunny, warm East Bench of Osoyoos, where the warm days and evenings are among the longest in the wine world, at 49 degrees north. This is a round, sweet, soft, spicy affair with lightweight tannins, spicy blackcurrants and cherries, and a warm finish. It is a pleasant expression you can drink now, but at this price, you expect a lot more complexity and length.Prices:
BC$49.99750ml
Producer: Vasanti Estate Winery
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22 March 2024

Da Silva Chardonnaytext
89PTS

Da Silva Chardonnay 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Da Silva Chardonnay is a focus of winemaker Richard Da Silva. It comes off two clay, loam silty sites: Blenheim Hill Vineyard on the Naramata Bench; and Lazy Dog Vineyard on the Penticton Bench. After a stainless steel fermentation, it spends 2 months in new, medium toast, American oak barrels. Da Silva likes what the American oak brings to his wine, adding a bit of weight and richness to the mid-palate. The nose is tropical, while the creamy palate and leesy mix of spicy, salty, and limey green melon counters the fruit from the backend. This is a step up from the previous edition and will please those who prefer a slightly richer chardonnay style with an appropriate acidity level.Prices:
BC$33.99750ml
Producer: Da Silva Vineyards and Winery
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Lakeboat Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Lakeboat Chardonnay 2021

Kaleden, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Lakeboat Kaleden Chardonnay is made in a riper, hedonistic style. Tropical notes abound, led by pineapple and amplified by caramel and butterscotch on the mid-palate and finish. Easy sipping and best served well chilled, this is a summertime poolside chardonnay you could also serve with spicy appetizers.Prices:
BC$26.95750ml
Producer: Lakeboat Vineyard & Winery
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The Wine Umbrella Chardonnaytext
88PTS

The Wine Umbrella Chardonnay 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe Wine Umbrella label is all Mireille Sauve, a former Vancouver sommelier turned winemaker and now general manager at Lakeboat Vineyards & Winery in Kaleden, British Columbia, just south of Penticton on the west side of Skaha Lake. The brand was developed in 2005 to “inform, promote & inspire all things wine!” and currently is a fundraiser whose proceeds fund scholarships through Les Dames d’Escoffier, BC Chapter, for BC women’s education in the food and beverage fields. The 2022 chardonnay was made with ripe Oliver fruit, pitching a riper tropical fruit that is enhanced by the partial use of American oak. The nose is open and tropical, with candied lemon and freshly cut pineapple that spill onto the palate. It is mostly dry and fresh with just a bit of fatness in the finish. A fun style chardonnay that has one foot in California and one foot in the Okanagan Valley.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: Lakeboat Vineyard & Winery
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Foolish Wine Cunning Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Foolish Wine Cunning Chardonnay 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe 2022 Naramata fruit is impressive, as evidenced by this chardonnay. I love the opening that mixes honey and green apple, rushing across the palate, picking up a touch of oak but not too much. It's dry and structured with more pear and citrus before a light but persistent bitter note kicks in along the finish. It could be a complex-er for the aficionado, or a turn-off for the fruit lover, but to each their own. I can't change that. It is a solid effort, and I suggest we watch this producer moving forward.Prices:
BC$25.99750ml
Producer: Foolish Wine
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay McLean Creek Road Vineyard 2022

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMcLean Creek Road is the Meyer home estate site inside the Okanagan Falls. It is a sloping site of sand and gravel mixed with loam, with vines that will be 30 years old this year. Winemaker Chris Carson is a man of few words and even less intervention, which is apparent when you nose and taste this wine. After a long, cool ferment in stainless steel, it is aged in French oak for 11 months, 22% new, with zero bâtonnage. This is a dream style of BC chardonnay, so alive and fresh, subtle enough to expose the terroir, packed full of complex citrus, green apple, and honeyed oatmeal, with a stony, mineral finish. Drink or hold for three to five years. Production came in at 9000 bottles, and the alcohol a modest 13.5%.Prices:
BC$32.26750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Rd Vineyardtext
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Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Micro Cuvée Old Main Rd Vineyard 2022

Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaAccording to winemaker Chris Carson, the Micro Cuvee is always the most harmonious blend from the Old Main Road vineyard inside the Naramata Bench sub-GI. It was planted in 1996 to Chardonnay vines, with a gentle, northerly aspect over alluvial deposits made up of silt loam overlaying clay loam. The site is perfect for slow ripening, allowing the fruit intensity to keep in touch with acidity. This is a very high quality chardonnay and would be the envy of almost anyone in California. It opens with attractive electric mineral notes followed by a creamy palate of intense lemons and green apples, all sprayed with a touch of sagebrush. Complex, tight, and light on its feet, this will cellar well in the bottle through 2029. Best of all, it will handle anything from seafood to pork, or selected Asian dishes. It was aged for 11 months in French oak barrels (50% new) and has a modest 13.5% alcohol. First class.Prices:
BC$60.97750ml
Producer: Meyer Family Vineyards
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Vasanti Estate Chardonnaytext
87PTS

Vasanti Estate Chardonnay 2022

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaJagger Rock Vineyard is new to me, but it has the Similkameen Valley style, pitching high acid and lean fresh fruit. I do not often say this, but I could use a little oak here, as this may be one that would benefit from adding some mid-palate weight. Otherwise, this is about as zippy as you can get on the palate, with lemon, green apple, fresh cut pineapple, and lime zest dominating from front to back. The crispness suggests the limestone-rich soil has excellent vine growing potential. All it needs now is a bit more sensitive winemaking. Serve this with raw seafood, especially oysters.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: Vasanti Estate Winery
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Corcelettes Chardonnaytext
88PTS

Corcelettes Chardonnay 2021

Cawston, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis is an interesting mix of ripe tropical fruit and green herbaceous notes that walks the line between too much and too little. On the palate, green melons and ripe peaches fight it out with toasted caramel wood notes that remind me of inland Sonoma. If you are a of the richer, warmer style of chardonnay, with a twist of Silkameen acidity, this is it. Drink now.Prices:
BC$34.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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20 March 2024

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Gamay Noirtext
90PTS

Blue Mountain Estate Cuvée Gamay Noir 2023

Okanagan Falls, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaBC gamay is woefully under-appreciated, although in many ways, in the south Okanagan and certainly at Blue Mountain, it is reminiscent of some of the top Beaujolais Crus. With a blend of vines from 12 to 30 years old and pretty much hands-off winemaking, the destemmed fruit is native fermented and aged in old neutral French barrels in various sizes. The result is a resilient, earthy, red-fruited wine with desert sagebrush savoury notes and fine acidity. It opens slightly reductive, so get it in a decanter for 30 minutes before serving. and a dusting of sea salt at the finish. It is a save-or-hold wine. Either way, it is a solid effort and reasonably priced for the quality.Prices:
BC$29.90750ml
AB$28.95750ml
Producer: Blue Mountain Vineyard & Cellars
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Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacquestext
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Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacques 2022

Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, Burgundy, FranceFrom one of the largest negociants running Bourgogne (and, hence, Bojo), the 2022 Beaujolais Villages came from three sites in the appellation, including some grapes coming from the Cru Régnié. Vinified semi-carbonic, this lighter red is pinched in with tart cherries and raspberry and sided with sticky tannins, taking this to a snappy finish. A simple bistro red, ready for sausages.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
AB$20.99750ml
SK$25.95750ml
MB$27.99750ml
Producer: Maison Louis Jadot
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Monte Creek Living Land Gamay Noirtext
90PTS

Monte Creek Living Land Gamay Noir 2022

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis vibrant gamay reveals a pure expression of strawberries and pomegranate, underscored by fragrant florals, subtle hints of clove, and a touch of cracked black pepper. Its crisp and fresh profile is complemented by mouthwatering acidity, providing structure to the palate. The lean and fruity character makes it an ideal choice for those who appreciate a refreshing, well-balanced, lighter-bodied red.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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Monte Creek Living Land Gamay Noirtext
90PTS

Monte Creek Living Land Gamay Noir 2022

Thompson Valley, British Columbia, CanadaSourced from Thompson Valley, this is a restrained, perfumed expression of gamay that offers pure cherry lifted by lilac aromatics and delicate spice. I appreciate the light, juicy style with negligible tannins, which will reward a light chill. The balance is on point, but it is the purity of the fruit that really stands out. Recommended.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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Mt. Boucherie Original Vines PTGtext
86PTS

Mt. Boucherie Original Vines PTG 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom Similkameen's Lazy River Vineyard, this PTG blends 45% gamay with 35% pinot noir, and a surprising 20% pinot gris, from 3 blocks planted from 1993-1997. Pouring a hazy dusky crimson hue, this sultry red rolls across the palate with smoked paprika, ripe plum, perfumed purple florals, autumnal forest, and baking spices. Tannins are soft, hugging this to a shorter finish. Tasting a bit tired, which is unfortunate, but all the better to drink up now, ideally with grilled mushroom dishes.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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18 March 2024

Mt. Boucherie Reserve Malbectext
89PTS

Mt. Boucherie Reserve Malbec 2019

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThis floral, pure-fruited malbec shows a combination of black raspberry and blackberry, lifted by dried violets and toasted anise-like spices. After 22 months in French oak barriques, the tannins are soft and silky, and the wine retains good freshness thanks to the moderate 2019 growing season. This is another wine that shows BC malbec continues to be underrated.Prices:
BC$44.99750ml
Producer: Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery
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Corcelettes Malbec Micro Lot Seriestext
91PTS

Corcelettes Malbec Micro Lot Series 2021

Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, CanadaPart of their Micro Lot series, only 165 cases of this Similkameen malbec was made, from the stemwinder soils off their 2007 and 2018 estate plantings. After resting in oak, this was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Wild and powerful, this is lashed and shaped by the savoury, windy Similkameen. Fragrant and resinous desert scrub, cracked peppercorn, dusky violets, perfumed wild blueberry and thorny blackberry is woven throughout the cushioned, medium+ palate, housed with grippy and structural tannins, finishing with a bitter black cherry twist. The Diam10 cork suggests the winery thinks this has solid aging potential, and I agree.Prices:
BC$33.90750ml
Producer: Corcelettes Estate Winery
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Culmina Family Estate Malbectext
89PTS

Culmina Family Estate Malbec 2020

Golden Mile Bench, Oliver, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaThe malbec comes off two Golden Mile vineyards Arise & Stan’s Benches. After fermenting, it spends 16 months in all French oak, with 30% new and 70% used one- and two-year-old barrels. The attack is fragrant and savoury, with bright acidity and well-integrated tannins. This year, the palate is more red fruit mixed with licorice, tea and mineral notes. The winery has always worked hard with food and wine pairings. In 2020, they suggest black pepper, malbec-braised pork shoulder, or aged cheeses such as Pecorino Romano or Manchego. The fruit set was low in 2020, leading to below-average yields, but the resulting grape quality was high. Drink or cellar through 2028.Prices:
BC$42.00750ml
Producer: Culmina Family Estate Winery
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Catena Alta Malbectext
91PTS

Catena Alta Malbec 2020

Mendoza, ArgentinaCatena Alta is always a mix of grapes from rows deemed historic within the family's estate vineyards, scattered from Lujan de Cuyo to the southern Uco Valley. The winemaking is impeccable, with individual lots picked at different times to ensure optimal natural acidity and moderate alcohol levels (13.8%). It is all wild fermented, resulting in enticing savoury florals. Look for full-bodied black plum and blackberry streaked with licorice and mineral undertones and dense, rich, silky tannins. A perfect wine for steak or a decadent vegetable dish that should age effortlessly through 2027. It is aged 12-18 months in French oak.Prices:
BC$55.99750ml
AB$58.50750ml
SK$55.99750ml
MB$55.99750ml
Producer: Bodega Catena Zapata
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Painted Rock Malbectext
91PTS

Painted Rock Malbec 2021

Skaha Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaFrom the Skinners' teeny 1.15 acres of Skaha Bench malbec, this was aged in oak barrels (30% new) for 18 months before being bottled unfiltered. Smouldering black plum, dense black cherry is kissed with charcoal, and perfumed with dusky violets across the full body. Black tea tannins keep the 14.6% heft well-pinned in, with a charming easy acidity to lift through the finish. Open in advance and enjoy now, or let sleep a bit in your cellar before you enjoy with lamb.Prices:
BC$59.99750ml
Producer: Painted Rock Estate Winery
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15 March 2024

Gérard Bertrand An 806text
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Gérard Bertrand An 806 2019

Corbières, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceOne of the organic / biodynamic leaders of not only France, but the wine world, Gérard Bertrand's An 806 is a grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blend from Corbières' schist, limestone and pebbles. The syrah was fermented carbonically, while the remainder was vinified traditionally. Post MLF, all were blended and aged in 225L French barrels for 8 months. Soft and plumped with the Southern French sunshine, but held to attention by the profound soils, this courses with wild raspberry, wild cherry, and scrubby garrigue. A bright acidity easily carries the 14% weight to a white peppercorn finish. Quite charming, and a lovely choice for the dinner table (think lamb or mushroom kabobs, or steak frites).Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
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Chateau Maris L'Autan Minervoistext
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Chateau Maris L'Autan Minervois 2021

Minervois, Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau Maris is a 79 acre estate divided into a multitude of small vineyards on the hillside above the village of La Livinière, the first Cru Village of the Minervois in the Languedoc region. Château Maris practices both organic and biodynamic viticulture, and this syrah / grenache was raised entirely in stainless. Sun-ripened cherry, raspberry jam is framed with softly sticky tannins, and brightened with a tart acidity which takes this to a short finish. An easy red, best suited to stews / braises.Prices:
QC$15.65750ml
NB$16.35750ml
Producer: Chateau Maris
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Olivier Rivière Gabaxotext
92PTS

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2020

Rioja, SpainGabaxo is Olivier’s only wine that blends fruit from a range of sites within Rioja. This is a 60/40 Garnacha / Graciano blend from Rioja Baja and Rioja Alta, fermented in stainless and then rested 9 months in 500L barrels. Gabaxo is a not completely flattering term for a French border jumper, a nickname that Bourgogne-born Olivier embraces with pride. Olivier considers Gabaxo to be his Côte de Nuits version of Rioja. Wild and stony, this fuller, fresher red teems with scrubby herbs, fragrant cherries, and ripe raspberries, all scented with cracked pink peppercorns, and framed with supple, lightly sticky tannins. Easy to enjoy this charmer, especially with herb-grilled veg / meats.Prices:
ON$36.00750ml
Producer: Olivier Rivière Vinos
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11 March 2024

Tavedotext
88PTS

Tavedo 2020

PortugalTavedo is named for 2 of the Douro's tributaries, the Távora and the Tedo, and blends touriga franca, tinta roriz, tinto cão, tinta barricade, and touriga nacional. Ample purple florals, plums, wild blackberries, and thorns work through the full palate, with soft tannins and a glossy underlay to support. A welcome 12.5% keeps this fresh and drinkable now, ideally with braised meats/root veg.Prices:
Producer: Sogevinus
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Duorum Colheita Tintotext
87PTS

Duorum Colheita Tinto 2019

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalDuorum, Latin for “from two,” captures the spirit of this Portuguese winery, founded in 2007 by João Portugal Ramos and José Soares Franco, two of Portugal’s most renowned oenologists. This Colheita blends Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz from 2 parcels of schistous soils in 2 Douro sub-regions at two different altitudes. The grapes were fermented in stainless before aging in oak barrels for one year. This deep, full-bodied red has ripe and dense blackberry, medicinal cherry, and ample grippy/sticky tannins. Rustic and ready for hearty grilled fare.Prices:
Producer: Duorum Vinhos
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Villa Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Gran Selezionetext
92PTS

Villa Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Gran Selezione 2017

Tuscany, ItalyNestled between forests and streams on the Chianti hills, Vignamaggio is an organic farm with a historic wine cellar that has been in operation since 1404. The estate sprawls over more than 400 hectares, with organic vineyards, vegetable and ornamental gardens. Vignamaggio’s Renaissance villa was created by the Gherardini family, whose fame is associated with the legendary Mona Lisa. Folklore and history become intertwined in the centuries that follow: Via Maggio in Florence (where Mona Lisa was born) could be confused with the similar-sounding Vignamaggio. This, along with the landscape depicted in Leonardo’s painting, had many wrongly believe that the woman in the painting had been born here. This is the reason why, even today, the Mona Lisa is associated with Vignamaggio. This Gran Selezione is only produced in the best years, with grapes from the farm’s prime vineyards: the Prato vineyards (west); Solatio (south-west); and Querceto (west/south-west). This sangiovese has 5% Cabernet Sauvignon tipped in. The wine is first aged in French oak barriques for 18–20 months and then in larger barrels, at least until 30 months has passed total. Fragrant black cherry, raspberry, and ferrous notes are woven throughout this seamless Gran Selezione, framed with fine, long tannins, and buoyed with a blood-orange acidity. The finish lingers with crushed florals and fine spices. Lovely balance here, drinking very well at present.Prices:
Producer: Villa VignaMaggio
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Vignamaggio Gherardino Riservatext
91PTS

Vignamaggio Gherardino Riserva 2018

Tuscany, ItalyNestled between forests and streams on the Chianti hills, Vignamaggio is an organic farm with a historic wine cellar that has been in operation since 1404. The estate sprawls over more than 400 hectares, with organic vineyards, vegetable and ornamental gardens. This Riserva is dedicated to Gherardino Gherardini, founder of the great house built at Vignamaggio in the 14th century. 80–90% sangiovese and 10–20% merlot is aged for 18–20 months in oak barrels and barriques. The grapes come from their estate Prato vineyard (west), Solatio (south-west) and the Querceto vineyard (west/south-west). Darkly perfumed, with dusky blackberries, black plums, wild mint and worn leather, housed with ample furry tannins, and carried with crunchy bright acidity through a lingering spiced and warming finish. Nice polish and energy here.Prices:
Producer: Villa VignaMaggio
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Niepoort Vertentetext
92PTS

Niepoort Vertente 2019

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalVertente means aspect or hillside, well named for the vineyards of the Douro. 50 to 80 year old vines are sourced from all of the vineyards Dirk works with, with a traditional blend of several grape varieties predominatnly based on Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Rufete, and Tinta Amarela. After a native ferment in stainless, this was aged in French oak for 22 months. Fragrant rockrose, scrubby herbs, wild blackberries, and black plum flood a juicy palate, with a fine, schistous, structural brace of tannins that guide this 13% red to a lingering stony finish. Still so much energy in this wine, and time ahead.Prices:
BC$50.00750ml
ON$34.00750ml
Producer: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
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G. D. Vajra Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2022

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyLanghe Rosso remains one of my favourite little gems, almost always overdelivering quality wine for price. That's especially true with a legendary producer like G.D. Vajra. Varja's Langhe Rosso is a blend of younger vine nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, fresia, albarossa, and pinot noir, meant to give an overview of the region. This is sourced from various vineyards, each variety vinified separately, fermented in stainless, and then into French barrels from new to 3 years in age, for 2 years. Raspberry leather, cherry blossoms, scrubby thorns are woven throughout this medium bodied red, with fine, toothsome tannins pinning in the sides through a lifted pink peppercorn finish. Great energy and charm in this humble Rosso, one that will be welcome at most any dinner table.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
QC$23.20750ml
Producer: G. D. Vajra
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Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollotext
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Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2020

Tuscany, ItalyTommasi has 110 years experience growing cabernet sauvignon in Toscana. The tradition continues here in Maremma, in Toscana's southwest corner. This 60/40 mix of sangiovese / cabernet sauvignon comes off the Pitigliano estate, with soils rich in calcium carbonate tufa. The wine is stainless fermented and aged 1 year in large 65hL Slavonian casks. Ample sticky and blocky tannins frame ripe cherry, sarsaparilla, and perfumed raspberry across the medium bodied palate. Rustic-hewn, this would be best with braised meats / root veg.Prices:
BC$26.99750ml
AB$25.99750ml
Producer: Tommasi Viticoltori
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G. D. Vajra Langhe Rossotext
91PTS

G. D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2020

Langhe, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyLanghe Rosso is the stepping stone to Barbaresco and Barolo, and an increased focus on this wine style is paying dividends across Piemonte. Its price and quality ratio is hard to beat, as exemplified by the delicious drinking Varja. It is a mix of younger vines, including Nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, freesia, albatross, and pinot noir, from a solid vintage that speaks Piemonte. Cherries and plums and floral rose notes with only a modicum of tannin that runs throughout a mineral, light sea salt finish—a classy wine for lunch or mid-week dinner pick.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
QC$23.20750ml
Producer: G. D. Vajra
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De Martino Las Olvidadas Red Blendtext
91PTS

De Martino Las Olvidadas Red Blend 2019

Itata Valley, ChileA unique field blend of pais (80%) and san francisco (20%) from vines planted potentially before 1905. Pais, also known as mission, is undergoing a renaissance in Chile, benefiting from a swarth of old vines in the Itata Valley. San francisco is less common (it can't even be found in Jancis Robinson et al's Wine Grapes) but alongside pais, accounted for the original plantings in Chile. This shows an attractive, juicy nose with an underlying sauvage character, showing sappy wild berries accented by stemmy herbs, dried florals, graphite, and a dusting of brown sugar. It's a distinctive wine and a worthwhile discovery.Prices:
BC$45.00750ml
Producer: De Martino
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08 March 2024

Oceano Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Oceano Pinot Noir 2021

San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California, United StatesOceano Wines is a boutique winery founded in 2016 in San Luis Obispo Coast, the newly designated AVA highlighting this cool climate wine region. This comes off the Spanish Springs Vineyard, the westernmost vineyard in the US, 1.5 miles from the Pacific, on a mix of marine shale, limestone, sandstone. This Pinot Noir is a mix of Swan, 828, 667, and 777, fermented in tank and then moved to 228L French barrels for 8 months' aging. Fragrant raspberries, wild strawberries, cherry blossoms waft from the glass and continue throughout the silken palate. Acidity feels effortless and easy here, with the marine freshness buoying this, and fine, supple tannins framing. The finish lingers with salinity, easily encouraging another glass. The best pinot I've tasted from Oceano, this is singing now.Prices:
ON$87.00750ml
Producer: Oceano Winery and Vineyard
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Cuvaison Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Cuvaison Pinot Noir 2021

Carneros, Napa Valley, California, United StatesWinemaker Steve Rogstad is a Carneros treasure, having worked at La Crema, Saintsbury, and Clos Pegase before taking over at Cuvaison over two decades ago. His mantra is seamlessness while ensuring the wines capture the essence of the AVA. The Cuvaison pinot site basks in the daily winds that sweep off San Pablo Bay, keeping the site cool. The nose is packed with red plums and sweet strawberries with a cranberry pinch that helps contain a California richness that can overwhelm other pinots. The palate is similar, with a savoury wild strawberry character underneath. Ready to drink, this works well with duck, turkey, or pork dishes.Prices:
BC$59.00750ml
AB$54.00750ml
Producer: Cuvaison Winery
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Leko Pinot Noirtext
91PTS

Leko Pinot Noir 2022

Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide, South Australia, AustraliaLEKO Wine is an Adelaide Hills sister brand to Clare Valley's Koerner Wine. Damon Koerner and his wife Maddy bought a property in Lenswood in 2017, now home to this winery. The name LEKO represents Lenswood and Koerner while also giving a nod to Maddy’s maiden name, Lehmann. The 2022 Pinot blends organic fruit from Willsmore, Piccadilly, and Coulter Vineyards, in Lenswood, planted in 1998-2001 on sandy loams and limestone. This was 50% whole berry (no whole bunch) and native fermented in open fermenters over 2 weeks before heading to 2000L Slavonian foudres for 10 months, followed by a 6 months stint in steel prior to bottling without fining or filtration. Juicy black raspberry, boysenberry, plum, and peony sails along the sleek, medium palate, lit with a fine ferrous buzz. Tannins are long and slight, guiding this to a herbal kissed finish. Lovely finesse here.Prices:
BC$75.00750ml
Producer: Leko
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Haut-Blanville Réserve Pinot Noirtext
88PTS

Haut-Blanville Réserve Pinot Noir 2022

Languedoc, Sud de France, FranceChâteau Haut-Blanville is a family-owned Languedoc wine estate that was founded in 1997 by Béatrice & Bernard Nivollet. Their 70 ha of vineyards extend across The Grés de Montpellier AOP, stretching from the Hérault middle valley to the Vidourle, and from the Mediterranean in the south to the Pic Saint-Loup in the north. Wines are produced naturally, without the use of any additions except a minimal amount of sulphur upon bottling. This pinot noir comes from the limestone and basalt soils of Pézenas at 100-150m, on a cool, north-facing single vineyard. Downy plum, wild blueberry and perfumed cherry flood the medium palate, framed with fine, sticky tannins and brightened with easy acidity through a saline finish. Pretty smart PN for an amazing price.Prices:
ON$20.00750ml
Producer: Chais de Blanville
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Alexana Revana Vineyard Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Alexana Revana Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United StatesFrom the 55 acre home Revana Vineyard in Dundee Hills, this encompasses 10 clones of pinot, growing across a 300 foot elevation change. Each lot was native fermented whole berry, and barrel aged 11 months (27% new) before the final blend. Crunchy plum, perfumed raspberry, and morello cherry rule the medium-bodied, herbal edged palate, with bright acidity and fine, long and sticky tannins to frame. The end lingers with a bitter cherry twist. A solid pinot ready to handle any salmon and/or wild mushroom dishes.Prices:
ON$99.00750ml
Producer: Alexana Winery
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Kirkland Signature Pinot Noirtext
87PTS

Kirkland Signature Pinot Noir 2022

Russian River, Sonoma County, California, United StatesA new winemaker in town is turning out the Kirkland RRV Pinot, but it seems mostly unaffected in any major way. Russion River pinot can be over the top in flavour and alcohol, but this simplistic version paints a gentler picture, with pleasing round, red pinot fruit that is not overly spicy or hot. It finishes shorter than I might like, but then its price makes that eminently forgivable, and the vanilla and cola are held to a minimum, which is again another plus. America is awash in chicken, and this is the wine for that.Prices:
US$11.99750ml
Producer: Brothers In Arms
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Black Bank Hill Pinot Noirtext
92PTS

Black Bank Hill Pinot Noir 2020

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, CanadaEstablished by vintner Taylor Emerson in 2017, Black Bank Hill is focused on single vineyard wines from the Niagara Escarpment. This PN blends two vineyards : Glen Elgin and End of the Road Vineyard. This was destemmed and lightly crushed with a native ferment and 18 months' rest in neutral French barrels before blending and light filtration. Wild raspberry, perfumed cherry is framed with fine, long, black tea tannins which carry this elegant, finessed wine to a lengthy, stony finish. Really quite impressive, and a winery to watch.Prices:
ON$27.72750ml
Producer: Black Bank Hill
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Monte Creek Living Land Pinot Noirtext
89PTS

Monte Creek Living Land Pinot Noir 2022

British Columbia, CanadaThis is an attractively lean, lifted, and sappy pinot noir that shows a combination of crunchy red berries accented by rose petals, earth, and integrated oak spice. Juicy and brisk on the palate with fine, supple tannins, this is drinking well on release, though will certainly benefit from another 2-3 years in bottle. Serve with a light chill.Prices:
BC$19.99750ml
Producer: Monte Creek Ranch
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07 March 2024

Selvapiana Riserva Vigneto Bucerchialetext
92PTS

Selvapiana Riserva Vigneto Bucerchiale 2018

Tuscany, ItalyRufina is the smallest sub-region of Chianti Classico, northeast of Florence, and prized for its elevation (up to 900m) and soils (galestro, chalk, and marl). The estate was originally built as a summer residence for Florentine bishops and boasts 240 hectares, 45 of which are planted to vine and 31 to olives. It was purchased in 1827 by Michele Giuntini Selvapiana, and since 1957, it has been run by the 5th generation Giuntini family member, Francesco Giuntini Antinori. Consulting winemaker Franco Bernabei has been at Selvapiana since 1978, and Bucerchiale, the flagship red is only made in the very best years. The 2018 is a formidable sangiovese full of meaty salumi mixed with bright cherry. The mid-palate is savoury with notes of fennel and oregano before the tannins kick in. This is not a wine for sippers. Bucerchiale is sourced from vineyards planted in 1968 and 1992. It is a rare sole sangiovese and spends 32 months in French barriques before release.Prices:
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: Fattoria Selvapiana
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Fontanafredda Barolotext
87PTS

Fontanafredda Barolo 2018

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. Worn leather, crunchy cherry, and ripe raspberry is pinned with ragged, sticky tannins, and tart with a cranberry / tomato acidity, taking this to a pasty finish. Look for fresher vintages for drinking now.Prices:
BC$42.99750ml
ON$45.00750ml
QC$40.00750ml
MB$49.99750ml
NS$45.99750ml
Producer: Fontanafredda
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Vignamaggio Terre di Prenzano Chianti Classicotext
90PTS

Vignamaggio Terre di Prenzano Chianti Classico 2020

Tuscany, ItalyNestled between forests and streams on the Chianti hills, Vignamaggio is an organic farm with a historic wine cellar that has been in operation since 1404. The estate sprawls over more than 400 hectares, with organic vineyards, vegetable and ornamental gardens. This sangiovese is rested for one year in 20-40 hectolitre oak. Fragrant cherries, raspberries, and subtle worked leather are woven throughout this lifted and tart Classico, with fine, long tannins pinning this into a ferrous, savoury end. Nice finesse here.Prices:
Producer: Villa VignaMaggio
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Barberani Polventotext
90PTS

Barberani Polvento 2019

Umbria, ItalyBarberani is one of Umbria’s most respected producers, famous for its clean, pure wines. The vineyards lie on hills overlooking Lake Corbara. Of the estate’s 80-odd hectares, 50 are dedicated to vineyards and olive groves. Advised by consultant oenologist Maurizio Castelli, the estate uses no chemical herbicides or pesticides in its vineyards. Fragrant and plush black plums, thorny wild blackberries, dark cherries, and darker chocolate course through the medium palate, brightened by Sangiovese's bright acidity, and framed with sticky, plumped tannins and finishing with dried bay leaves. A toothsome, darker-shaded sangio, primed for hearty red-sauced ragu.Prices:
ON$56.00750ml
Producer: Barberani
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Tenuta il Palagio When We Dance Chiantitext
88PTS

Tenuta il Palagio When We Dance Chianti 2021

Tuscany, ItalyTuscany's Villa Il Palagio has been a vine growing and wine making estate since the 16th century. For the last two decades it's been the summer home of Sting and Trudy Styler, who have transformed the estate into a vibrant organic farm and vineyard. Over that time, they've worked with consultants Alan York and Pedro Parra to design the vineyards and farming practices, and the wines are now under the control of Ettore Del Lupo. This sangiovese is splashed with canaiolo and colorino, and was fermented and aged in stainless for six months. Fragrant black cherries, black raspberries are scented with heady balsam, and framed with toothsome, sticky tannins. A heartier Chianti, and one to reach for with herb grilled pork and lamb.Prices:
ON$30.00750ml
Producer: Tenuta il Palagio
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Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolotext
91PTS

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Piedmont, ItalyBurgundy-trained winemaker Davide Rosso leads his family’s winery, based in Serralunga d’Alba. The plots are farmed organically and biodynamically, with minimal intervention in the cellar. This nebbiolo comes from the same vineyards used for their flagship Barolo, and vines planted from 1984 – 2008. It was native fermented in cement, and then aged in 50hl French casks for a few months until bottling, without filtration. Langhe Nebbiolo is such a joy to drink that it's become my go-to red, and this 2021 is a perfect example why. Crushed florals, wild raspberry, scrubby thorns is dusted with pink peppercorn, and framed by fine, firm tannins, guiding this finessed, lighter red to a taut, saline finish. Structure + lightness of being + drinkability now = success.Prices:
BC$33.00750ml
ON$30.00750ml
Producer: Giovanni Rosso
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Clos Fornelli Niellucciutext
91PTS

Clos Fornelli Niellucciu 2021

Corsica, Sud de France, FranceClos Fornelli is a family property of 45 hectares on the eastern coast of Corsica, 18 of which are planted to vines. Owner Josée Vanucci and her husband Fabrice Couloumère organically farm indigenous Coriscan varieties, such as this Niellucciu (sangiovese) with a kiss of Minustellu. From deep alluvial soils, this was native fermented in tank before aging in concrete up to 1 year. A firm, sticky brace of raspy tannins houses wild blackberry, black plum, and juicy boysenberry, painted with a backdrop of fragrant scrubby Mediterranean herbs and cracked pink peppercorn. Quite pure and wild, and one to pour alongside herb-grilled pork and/or veg.Prices:
BC$35.00750ml
Producer: Clos Fornelli
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Gorghi Tondi Dumè Frappatotext
90PTS

Gorghi Tondi Dumè Frappato 2022

Sicily, ItalyThis organic frappato comes from Sicily's southwest, and from the youngest vineyards of the estate, rooted in sandy limestone. It was fermented in stainless, where it remained for 7 months prior to bottling. This lighter red is fresh and bright, with crunchy plums, fragrant scrubby florals, and tart rhubarb acidity. Tannins are fine and sticky, hugging this to a pink peppercorn finish. A lovely charcuterie companion.Prices:
BC$34.99750ml
Producer: Tenuta Gorghi Tondi
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Stemmari Nero d'Avolatext
88PTS

Stemmari Nero d'Avola 2021

Sicily, ItalyThis nero d'avola hails from Sambuca di Sicilia, in Agrigento, Sicily. It is fermented and aged for half a year in wood. Dark, round, and soft, this is an easy-sipping barbecue red pitching black plums, dark cherries, and a touch of baking spices. You can drink it now, and it will work with burgers, beef tacos, or spaghetti and meatballs.Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
AB$16.99750ml
Producer: Stemmari
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Cliff and Gorge Marechal Fochtext
87PTS

Cliff and Gorge Marechal Foch 2022

Lillooet, British Columbia, CanadaThis is a very different style from Marechal Foch. It is cooler, lighter, and brighter, with sweet, candied cherry and super soft textures. It is more like a simple fruity gamay than the smoky, meaty marchel foch wiens that dominate in BC. Fun and priced right, this is a wine to check out if you find yourself near the Lillooet winery. It was tasted from a half bottle under a screwcap.Prices:
BC$18.00750ml
Producer: Cliff and Gorge Vineyards
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Clos Lentiscus Perill Noir Carinyenatext
87PTS

Clos Lentiscus Perill Noir Carinyena 2017

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainFrom old Carignan vines planted by Manel’s grandfather in the 1930s, this spent 25 days on skins in a mix of barrel, amphora, and foudre while fermenting native, prior to resting 18-24 months in the same vessels prior to bottling, without sulphur. Opening with a swing of reduction, this then moves into tart cherry, early raspberry, balsamic, and rhubarb, along a raw, lightly furry palate. Acidity is tart, and tannins are nubby along the sides, taking this to a snappy crimson finish. Very raw and natural look at carignan.Prices:
ON$46.00750ml
Producer: Clos Lentiscus
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Clos Lentiscus Perill Noirtext
86PTS

Clos Lentiscus Perill Noir 2014

Penedès, Catalunya (Catalonia Cataluña), SpainGive this wine, from 1939-planted Sumoll vines, time to breathe upon opening. This was native fermented and aged in both large old amphora and foudre, and saw no sulphur. Opening with ample funky reduction, this swings into tart plum, perfumed wild blackberry, with light spritz on a raw, furry, medium-bodied palate. Quite raw and natural.Prices:
ON$46.00750ml
Producer: Clos Lentiscus
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Assuli Lorlando Nero d'Avolatext
89PTS

Assuli Lorlando Nero d'Avola 2020

Sicily, ItalyFrom northwestern Sicily's Mazara del Vallo, this organic Nero d'Avola grows on stony soils around 100-150m. After a month of maceration / fermentation in stainless, this remained there to rest for 3 months followed by 3 months more in bottle prior to release (with a new label). Dusky blackberry, plum, perfumed purple florals are threaded with scrubby wild herbs and tightened with a thorny greenness. Tannins are lightly furry / sticky via the Mediterranean sunshine, though this medium bodied wine is easily buoyed with a marine freshness through the stony finish. Drinking smartly now, ideally with grilled pork / Mediterranean veg.Prices:
ON$21.95750ml
Producer: Assuli
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Frind Estate Midnighttext
84PTS

Frind Estate Midnight 2022

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, CanadaMade with Marechal Foch grapes harvested from the Home Block Vineyard in West Kelowna. Foch is cold-hardy, which may sound more attractive this year, but the wine style is mostly disappointing. There’s a smoky dark fruit nose, previewing light earthy, bitter, smoky notes with bright acidity, and a short palate. It is aged in 30% French and 70% American oak barrels for 9 months.Prices:
BC$27.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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Frind Estate Regenttext
85PTS

Frind Estate Regent 2022

CanadaRegent is a dark-skinned inter-specific hybrid grape variety. It has both European (Vitis vinifera) and American vine species in its pedigree and a broad resistance against most significant fungal diseases which affect grapes, such as downy mildew. It was created in 1967 by Professor Gerhardt Alleweldt at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding, and counts Diana, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau (Vitis vinifera) with the interspecific hybrid Chambourcin. Regent received varietal protection in 1994. It remains popular in German growing regions today. At Frind, the regent produces sweet black blueberries early in the season. In 2022, the grapes reached optimal ripeness before the frost and snow hit the vineyard. The nose is a mix of blackberry and black plums mixed with a bit of wild animal and fig. The attack is fresh with more black fruit and a super silky, almost tannin-less mid-palate. It is super light and fades away quickly through the finish. It is a fine accompaniment to a pulled pork sandwich.Prices:
BC$29.99750ml
Producer: Frind Estate
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E. Pira and Figli - Chiara Boschis Barbera d'Alba Superioretext
89PTS

E. Pira and Figli - Chiara Boschis Barbera d'Alba Superiore 2021

Alba, Cuneo, Piedmont, ItalyFrom organic Mosconi, Ravera, and Gabutti vineyards in Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga, and a mix of clay lime marls around 350m, this was fermented in stainless, and aged 12 months in French barriques. Purple florals, blueberries and blackberries are carried with tart bright currant acidity, and framed with fine, softly plush tannins. Shining freshness throughout this young Barbera makes it feel far much lighter on its feet than the 14.5% would suggest. A charmer.Prices:
ON$54.00750ml
Producer: E. Pira & Figli
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Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Mandilaria Mavrotraganotext
89PTS

Artemis Karamolegos Terra Nera Mandilaria Mavrotragano 2022

Aegean Islands - Santorini, The Islands, GreeceArtemis Karamolegos is one of the most dynamic wineries on the unique island of Santorini. Led by his grandfather, who started making wine and cultivating vines as a hobby in the 1950s, Artemis founded the winery in 2004. They own just over 3ha of vineyards (some over 100 years old) across Pyrgos, Megalorchori, Exo Gonia, Akrotiri and Fira, and have long term contracts to farm another 5 hectares. This entry level red comes from older Mandilaria and Mavrotragano (60 years average) vines, with a short maceration before ferment in stainless for nine months, with a small proportion seeing time in oak. Bright and crunchy plum, sapid raspberry is threaded with scrubby thorns and lit with a lifted tart acidity. Tannins are slight and furry, and lead this volcanic red to a snappy, saline finish. A fresh, lighter red for your tuna tataki.Prices:
ON$33.00750ml
Producer: Artemis Karamolegos
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Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzotext
88PTS

Barone di Valforte Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2022

Abruzzo, ItalyThe Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century and their Tenute Barone di Valforte vineyards cover 42 hectares in various communes in the Teramo hills, a prized place for montepulciano. This was vinified in stainless before resting 10 months in French oak. Dusky plum, black raspberry, forest bark, and worked leather are woven throughout this medium bodied red, with toothsome, sticky tannins to frame. One for the dinner table (think tomato sauced pasta).Prices:
BC$21.99750ml
Producer: Tenute Barone di Valforte
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De Martino Alto de Piedras Carménèretext
92PTS

De Martino Alto de Piedras Carménère 2018

Isla de Maipo, Valle del Maipo, Region del Valle Central, ChileFounded in 1934, the De Martino family has specialized, for four generations, in creating wines that are a faithful reflection of their origin, coming from selected parcels throughout Chile. Wines of great purity, with a sense of place and balance, are a consequence of sustainable agriculture and traditional fermentation techniques. They have been growing organically since 1998, and were the first Chilean winery to become carbon-neutral in 2009. From Maipo Valley's Isla, and the single Alto de Piedras vineyard, these 30 year old ungrafted carménère vines are rooted in gravelled alluvial terraces. After a stainless ferment, this rests in foudre for 2 years until bottling. Savoury and complexed, with grilled herbs, ample baldo and bay seasoning deep plum, thorny wild blackberries, and cracked peppercorn. Tannins are absorbed into the fleshy fruit, housing this to a smoked stone finish. Very complete, this is showing beautifully at present, and a must for anyone wanting to understand carménère.Prices:
ON$46.00750ml
BC$60.00750ml
Producer: De Martino
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04 March 2024

Maçanita Letra A Touriga Nacionaltext
91PTS

Maçanita Letra A Touriga Nacional 2021

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalThose familiar with the rigorous Port wine vineyard grading system will know that A grade vineyards are ranked the most superior. This is the siblings’ version of a letter A Douro wine, a category that is traditionally favoured for yielding the biggest, most alcoholic, powerful wines. This Touriga Nacional has the grace and power of prestige port wines, but with grace and lightness. After 1 month on skins and for a native ferment, this rested 14 months French barrel (10% new). Perfumed black plums, wild blackberry is stencilled with thorns and textured with a schistous grit. Tannins are firm, guiding this fresh, full bodied red through a crushed stone finish. Power and lightness, which is a really rare thing to achieve. 3875 bottles produced.Prices:
ON$62.00750ml
Producer: Maçanita
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Azores Wine Company a Proibidatext
86PTS

Azores Wine Company a Proibida 2018

PortugalThe proibida (prohibition) of this wine necessitating the red line crossing out words here because this is an old vine/vineyard blend of Isabella, a hybrid grape that is not allowed for quality wine in the EU, and certainly looked down upon in the Azores and Portugal. However, winemaker Antonio Macanita wanted to pay tribute to these old isabella vines, once in abundance and with 200 years history on this volcanic island, before phylloxera ravaged through. This was fermented and aged for a short time in stainless. Foxy, green and hybrid herbaceous, this weaves early raspberry, crunchy cherry, mint, and thorns across a brisk, bright palate, lightly framed with sticky tannins through a saline finish. Certainly unique.Prices:
BC$30.00750ml
ON$39.00750ml
Producer: Azores Wine Co.
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Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tintotext
89PTS

Herdade do Arrepiado Velho Tinto 2021

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalThis fuller Alentejo touriga nacional was native fermented in a mix of stainless and French barrels before resting for a few months in the same. Ripe and dense with baked cherry, sweet raspberry jam, perfumed roses across a muscular, chewy 15% palate, this reminds me of Amarone, with more structure. Tannins are sticky and ample, taking this to a rosemary and baking spice finish. If you're looking for a big, dense Portuguese red to partner with grilled lamb / pork, look here.Prices:
ON$24.00750ml
Producer: Herdade do Arrepiado Velho
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Fitapreta Palpite Reservatext
89PTS

Fitapreta Palpite Reserva 2021

Alentejo, Central and Southern Portugal, PortugalPalpite is Fitapreta's top wine that they make every year. This year's blends alicante bouschet, aragonez, castelão trincadeira, with 12% other indigenous varieties, all grown on Alentejo's yellow schists and granites and from vines 20-50 years. After a native ferment this aged 18 months in French oak prior to bottling. Full bodied and muscular, with chewy cassis, dusky black plums, pipe tobacco working through the fleshy palate. Acidity is tart, and tannins are ample and dense, framing this through the peppery finish. One for grilled steaks now, or to settle for a couple of years.Prices:
ON$46.00750ml
Producer: Fitapreta
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Maçanita Tintotext
90PTS

Maçanita Tinto 2021

Cima Corga, Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalSiblings Antonio and Joana Maçinata work together on this Douro Valley project. This is a blend of touriga nacional, sousão (now renamed sezão) and a field blend of old vines, all from the Cima Corgo, and is native fermented with 25 days on skins in stainless, where it remains for one year. Black plum, tart cassis, and perfumed purple florals work their way through this lifted medium bodied red, bright with stony acidity, and framed with lightly sticky tannins. Drinking now, ideally with grilled sausages / lamb kabobs.Prices:
ON$30.00750ml
Producer: Maçanita
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Maçanita Vinhos Letra F Vinho de Misturatext
93PTS

Maçanita Vinhos Letra F Vinho de Mistura 2022

Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, PortugalLetra F refers to the last letter in the grade for the categorization system for port grapes in the Douro, where Letra A is the best. Though the F grade were historically seen as the worst for Port wine, and thus neglected, these old vines are proving a treasure trove for showing wines of place today. Dedicated siblings António and Joana Maçanita seek these old, often abandoned vineyards out for this Letra series. From the Cima Corgo and 480m - 720m altitude, this is a blend of more than 20 red and white varieties, including many very old vines. After a cold soak, this was native fermented in small lagares, with 28 days on skins before ageing 1 year in stainless. Super fragrant, with wild plum, scrubby cassis, perfumed rockrose, and herbal thorns coursing through the medium (13%) palate. Tannins are long and fine, threaded with black tea, and carrying the stony, lifted red through a bergamot and pink peppercorn finish. Quite charming, and highly characterful.Prices:
ON$35.00750ml
Producer: Maçanita
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Azores Wine Co. Erupção Vulcânicatext
90PTS

Azores Wine Co. Erupção Vulcânica NV

PortugalFrom the 2019 vintage (local laws don’t allow the vintage to be on the label for this rogue wine), this blends Malvarisco, Bastardo, Rufete, Saborinho, Agronómica, Aragonês, Castelão, Touriga Nacional, and others from the volcanic soils of Pico. This was 30% whole cluster, and native fermented for 1 month on skins before aging in a split of stainless and barrels for 30 months. Pouring a pale red, this lighter (11%) red teems with tart raspberry, baked rhubarb, wild strawberry, woven with a line of reduction, and lined with negligible tannins. Mouthwatering from first whiff, this juicy, bright, marine red finishes with a sprinkle of star anise and pink pepper. Quite characterful, and another inspired creation from António Maçanita. 6666 bottles produced.Prices:
ON$53.00750ml
Producer: Azores Wine Co.
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