Archive for May, 2014

May 25, 2014

Ridge Sonoma County Three Valleys, 2011


This bottle disappeared in a heartbeat!

It’s been a few years since we’ve shelled out for more Ridge. Our other review of Three Valleys are here: 2008, 2009. We have always appreciated the skill that goes into the Three Valleys blend. The 2011 however was just stupendous. A generous blend, if you will; soft and mouth watering and hugely fruit forward. Many nuanced lingering flavours. Although it went well with meat it would be fine on its own, a few marcona almonds maybe. It isn’t heavy or cloying or demonstrative. Rather, it’s eloquent and modern and appealing. Nothing to smirk at. I called the 2008 a semi-precious gem; this is more like a diamond in the rough.


Price: Around $25-27 in Washington, when and where you can find it. $39 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Liquid pleasure.

May 25, 2014

Rock & Vine Three Branches Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

010It seemed sinful to drink this 2012 in 2014. The wine has legs and could stand another year or two waiting. Worth having a few to lay down and compare notes over the next three years. It was heady with strong, powerful flavours of cedar and leather with light fruit notes. Every inch a cabernet sauv. A perfect pairing with some NY steaks, but a tad premature on the palate. At the price point, if you aren’t cellaring, there are better options, even at the government stores.


Price: A real bargain in the US, $25 at Everything Wine in Vancouver.


Market Liquidity: If you can keep it down, keep it down.

May 25, 2014

Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris, 2012

007In a recent profile on rosé wines, local reviewer Anthony Gismondi raved about the Miraval, posting it 90 points. When we tried it a few months back I decided not to review it. It just wasn’t as interesting, exciting or memorable as all the critical hoopla it’s been garnering along the way. I applaud movie stars for helping the homeless while growing grapes. God knows if I had a few million lying around I’d do the same. So thank you Brad and Angelie for, at least, designing such an appealing bottle. But the enterprise seemed to us style over substance. And I write this to say that somehow, each summer, when all the reviewers turn their minds to rosé, I sort of feel the same way. It’s 99 per cent letdown. But light, bright, lovely whites don’t have to be.


Interesting to look at, but 90 points?  Really?

Interesting to look at, but 90 points? Really?

Right here at home you can reject the rosé offerings and take something much more interesting: Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris. (Their rosé, btw, sold out pretty quick, but why settle for rosé when you can try something better?) This is a luscious mouthful of stone fruits, peach and apricot, a tad sweet but worked wonderfully with a cheese plate and salad. Immensely drinkable, great price, food friendly. Compare this to the slew of no-flavour no-interest Pinto Gris out of Italy and it makes you wonder why BC hasn’t taken over the world with light whites.  Harpers has a slew of low alcohol wines which makes them suited to lunch, the patio, and a welcome respite for those of us exhausted by heady reds. This is under 13 per cent and they even have a Chardonnay under 12. Kudos HT.


Price: $23 at the friendly VQA shops.


Market Liquidity: Summer in a bottle.

May 6, 2014

Qupé “Bien Nacido Reserve-Block Eleven” Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, 2010

111A vineyard that does very little wrong and when they bottle something spectacular, like this gorgeous expression of new world Chardonnay, it’s beyond the wow factor. Very and utterly California. You could be on a lounger in July in Healdsburg (even in the cold Vancouver rain). Lots of crisp gun metal acidity, heaps of sharp citrus fruit flavours, heavy but not dominant oak, an enticing vanilla cream finish.


Qupé is hard to find in Vancouver (Marquis and Legacy have both carried bottles in the past, and pricey), but when friends went to California recently I cajoled them into getting a few bottles as a favor.


Price: $30 USD in California.


Market Liquidity: A contender, not a pretender.

May 6, 2014

Nk’Mip Cellars Talon, 2011

026Not love at first sight, but lovely. We drank two bottles although only warmed to it when it had air, and a lot of it. Oak and plum and smoky notes with hints of vanilla.


A very modern wine. Blended as if to appeal to the largest crowd; nothing about it seemed old school or retro. I felt like I was in a Ligne Rosset showroom; all affected clean lines and manufactured elegance.  There was to this both satisfaction as well as some pretense.


Extremely food friendly, a truly accomplished BC blend, but not for the faint of heart at 14%. For the price, for a BC wine of this caliber, a no-brainer. Get a case and let it mellow for a spell.


Price: $23, and widely available at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Imagine, a great BC red under $30. Who woulda thunk it?