Archive for November, 2013

November 22, 2013

Meerlust Chardonnay, 2010

004Sharply, assertively Chardonnay, but not aggressive.  Meerlust churns out some wonderful wines, most memorably their red Rubicon, but alas they are hard to find in BC.  For me this white is broad, generous, pear, dry earth, some subtle floral notes, bone dry, and a finish that is equal parts the proverbial dry stones with the proverbial buttery cream.  And long; a delightfully long finish, particularly good for sipping and making a glass go longer.

 

Price: 16 pounds sterling (or roughly $27 CDN which isn’t entirely relevant since the UK VAT and BC liquor taxes are chalk and cheese).

 

Market Liquidity: Liquid Krugerrand.

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November 22, 2013

Churchill’s Estates Meio Queijo Tinto Douro Red

055At the Wells in Hampstead on a Sunday for a roast lamb lunch we went out on a limb and got the Douro red.  It’s true some of the most interesting wines are coming out of Portugal right now, but in my limited experience I have had more misses than hits.  As for this blend from Churchill (one of the last independents), it was all hit.  A thick and succulent red, first and foremost leather, deep musky earthy overtones and a light oak vanilla on the finish, but not heavy, and although it was a perfect foil to red meat it didn’t drink like a Cab Sauv or Shiraz.  It was both enticing on the nose and palate.  Try to find it…

 

Price: $24 pounds in a restaurant

 

Market Liquidity: Like three cherries on the slots.

November 22, 2013

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir, 2011

errazuriz

Forgot to take a picture. This 09 pic lifted from the Net. The Wild Ferment series labels have been nicely put together.

On the very same day I had a glass of the Errazuriz I had a glass of the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir.  One is three times the cost of the other and yet both are eloquent, quiet, and simply lovely wines.  I would argue that the Chilean red has a little more oomph, a tad more spice although less vanilla, and maybe is broader and less typically Pinot-ish, but by gosh does it stand out at the price.  Cedar, a stinging dark berry burst, followed by a slight oak and long fruit finish.

 

The wild ferment (natural yeast) Chardonnay is readily available in BC but not the Pinot.  Too bad.

 

Price: 13 pounds sterling, about $22 CDN.

 

Market Liquidity: Finally the label “natural” is a metaphor for better.

November 7, 2013

Stoneleigh Marlborough Latitude Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

002Too many NZ Sauv Blancs and you see stars.  Take a break, open a fresh bottle, and it’s like Nirvana.  The good ones can transport you.  I remember having a basic Brancott at the Royal Opera in Covent Garden and it was if all the penguin suits and establishment elites melted away and James Cameron himself had lifted me to a lush green planet.  The only thing missing was castaway Mary Anne serving me a coconut cream pie.  (How did she ever make the dough?  Did the Professor have a butter churner, a grain silo and an oven rigged up?  I digress.)

 

The Latitude (the Lexus to Stoneleigh’s Toyota Sauv Bl) does not disappoint.  It’s like a distillation of everything NZ has brought to the table with SB and nothing weak or dispassionate about it.  I read a review that it wasn’t grassy but I couldn’t disagree more.  There was a green, pungent, haylike quality, lemon, guava, a hint of bitterness on the tongue washed away in a sweeter finish.  Gorgeous.  No complaints.

 

Price: $22 at BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: As invigorating as a brisk walk on a cool fall morning.

November 7, 2013

See Ya Later Rover, 2010

054Buoyant (but not ethereal).  An interesting and lively (13%) fruity red blend, Shiraz and Viognier, nothing comparable to the Oz reds we have been sipping of late and which dominate the government store shelves, but not a lightweight either.  Hints of vanilla although not overpowering; a range of red fruits—with air almost Kool-Aid-ish in its forward attack.  Usually a touch expensive ($25), but reduced recently.

 

It reminded us of a cru Beaujolais, it really had that lightness of a young Fleurie or St. Amour with a little bit of Gamay acidity; I wouldn’t have guessed it as a Shiraz blend from the start.  A lovely alternative for lighter dinner fare (against, say, Malbec or Cab Sauv).

 

Price: $22 on sale at BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: Think of a Thai Sky Lantern festival.

November 7, 2013

Yalumba “The Scribbler” Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, 2010

044Astonishingly generic.  The liquor store shelves are teeming with wines of this ilk, largely from Oz, but also South America and the Pacific Coast, CA to BC.  They range in price from about $16 to $29.  Most are alcohol heavy; 14%, 14.5% or higher and even 16% alcohol.  They have oak and vanilla and fruit and most are palatable and approachable without air or care.  Reviewers like them and recommend them.  What can I say about the Yalumba Scribbler? Not much you wouldn’t say about heaps of other similar red blends.  The problem is the problem: There is nothing unique or exciting.  It’s what you expect and that would suit most of the people most of the time so kudos to Yalumba for knowing the market and getting a good product onto the shelves.

 

If you drink wine without intention or interest or curiosity this might well be a perfect red.  Paired very nicely with a meaty risotto as well as some leftover roast, but drank well on its own, a tad tart with a sweet strawberry note over some more complex earthier scents and flavours.  But if you drink a variety of wines and enjoy the experience and the unexpected this is like a bus and truck version of Les Mis; forgettable and without the brilliance of the original.

 

Price: $26 at BC Liquor (although we scored it for $24)

 

Market Liquidity: Like power walking through a shopping mall.