Archive for June, 2014

June 17, 2014

Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris, 2012

Now we’re talking. A gorgeous expression of the varietal. This is not your wafer thin mild mannered verging on banal PG that you’ve been offered at gallery soirees. This is like an artisanal PG.

haywire pinot gris

On the palate, pleasing, pungent, with forward notes of citrus fruits mellowed by an assertive but enticing minerality. We just loved this. Every drop. Witness the pic of an empty bottle.  On a hot day with a cold supper it was magic. The pinkish hue might even fool your guests.


Which leads me to our seasonal protest: 2014 is the summer we say “Screw Rosé.” There are so many better more interesting options. The Rosé push always seems to me a little Beaujolais Nouveau-ish. The Haywire PG is a perfect patio option. [Cut it with the alliteration already!] It will be part of our agitprop radicalism. Until of course we fall in love with Shiraz again in September. Or whatever.


Line this sucker up with a cross section of the Italian PG dross at BC Liquor and see what has legs and what doesn’t.


Price: $23 at the VQA stores.


Market Liquidity: Pretty poetic.

June 14, 2014

La Frenz Chardonnay, Freedom 75 Vineyard, 2013

La Frenz Chard 2013Good. Enjoyable. Great value. Opens up to a mellow, not too brash Chardonnay that is easy sipping and wonderful to share. But…


Not as good as previous vintages. We get a mixed case each year—despite not being in the VQA club, La Frenz makes some great wine—so anticipation runs high. This year’s bottling lacks the length and legs of even last year; it drinks young, bright, subtle oak and stone fruit with a soft buttery finish. Really, I’m not complaining. We had some fresh, raw pecans and it came alive, Pop, amazing. A beautiful nose, which seemed to us to promise a bit more than it delivers.  Bonus: No Wolf Blass Yellow Label after taste.


Would we buy it again? In a heartbeat; La Frenz is great value. It’s just we hold the bar pretty high, and the 2013 couldn’t quite limbo as low as 2012 if you know what I mean.


Price: An extremely reasonable $22 from the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: Obviously, quality comes in many guises, VQA be damned.

June 14, 2014

Young & Wyse, Black Sheep Blend, 2011

Truthfully, a disappointment. Fruit forward and to the point of being sour. The notes of a better wine but the finish of something half-hearted.  See also our disappointing notes on the Haywire White Label Pinot

Young & Wyse

Applauded and loved by many so maybe we’re in the minority. It completely paled toa a home-made pizza which any similar New World blend should have shined against. We switched mid-meal to a Bench 775 Cab-Merlot; better, much, much, better, and two per cent lower in alcohol to boot!  The Black Sage is also a good alternative for a hearty pizza-friendly blend, less acidic, more food friendly.


Price: $24 at the VQA stores.


Market Liquidity: Once was enough.

June 14, 2014

Haywire White Label Pinot Noir, 2012

It smells like Pinot. It looks like Pinot. It says on the label Pinot. But what a disappointment. Too bad; at 12.4 per cent alcohol (where am I, France?) and a budget conscious $23, I had my hopes up. But what a letdown on the palate, thin and acidic and wanting. What non-oeno words come to mind? Shallow, a shadow of the real thing, ribbon for achievement. Haywire does make a high end Pinot, the Canyonview, at almost twice the price (and twice as hard to find) so all I can imagine is that this is half the wine. Haywire is a sincere venture and I want to support their wines so I won’t belabor the review but this just didn’t cut it.

Haywire Pinot Noir

This review is part of a mixed box of “award-winning” VQA wines we picked up in Penticton recently. What a slew of less than stellar bottles. When most of what you drink is WA, OR, CA, France, Australia, South America, well, you get the picture, when most of the wine you are drinking happens to be pretty great, it’s sad and distressing to shell out the big bucks for OK vino…


Price: $23 at the VQA stores.


Market Liquidity: Into the stew pot.

June 14, 2014

Teso La Monja, Romanico Toro 2011

The bottle was recycled!  Oh well, tummy rub...

The bottle was recycled! Oh well, tummy rub…

Based on “91” point  review hoopla we bought half a case. Mistake? If I’d posted this review at bottle one it would be a bomb. Why bother? And in fact I’ve read a few blogs that found this bottle more hype than heaven.  But at bottle five we hit a sweet spot: We served it with sausage risotto. Spicy pork sausage, tomatoes, basil, Parmesan. Heaven. It’s funny how wine is like that: You need to find its niche. This wine didn’t work with a lot of food but when we found a strong, pungent, demonstrative main it came into its own. Hurrah! One more bottle left.


Vanilla, oak, smooth and a fine berry finish. Dreamily satisfactory; worth another half case.


Price: An extremely affordable 20 something when in the US.


Market Liquidity: It rose to the occasion.