Archive for April, 2015

April 30, 2015

Beronia Rioja Reserva, 2010

Baronia Rioja 2010



This drinks like the red wine Robert Parker likes, which means predictably. It’s like a Jack in the Box; you know what’s coming out of the bottle simply by his points. It’s a smooth and easy to drink red, rich and I guess satisfying, but it’s like how many Godzilla movies can Hollywood churn out and retain viewer interest, if you know what I mean? Technically, there’s nothing bad to say. Except, yawn…


Price: $25 at BC Liquor, and readily available, and a good price.


Market Liquidity: Seven parts oak, three parts satisfaction.

April 30, 2015

Burrowing Owl Merlot, 2011

Burrowing Owl Merlot 2011

Evocative of the varietal, with typical cherry, hazelnut and woodsy notes. It seems a little heavy, a little headstrong, in an oppressive rather than ethereal fashion. On the plus side we made harissa cumin chicken, with leeks, lemon and arugula, strong and assertive flavours, and the BO had the stamina to go the distance.


Price: $30 from the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: Of note, but not particularly noteworthy.

April 23, 2015

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2012

We’ve started in on a case from Burrowing Owl. First out of the box was the 2012 Pinot Noir. Wow. This has more layers than a German schichttorte.

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2012

It starts a little commonplace. Just another mediocre Pinot from the OK with not much on the nose and a medium body. Then it pops on the palate, chocolate and raspberry, fruity with light tannins. However, and this is the show-stopper, the finish goes on longer than The Guiding Light, gorgeous.


It sipped very well, pleasant. A little peppery bite. Then we ate dinner (stew with pork coated in cumin, coriander and cinnamon, with squash, carrots, leeks and okra in a crushed tomato broth). While pork and Pinot are cheese and chutney, tomato and Pinot are chalk and cheese. Not here. The BO pulled a Zelig: It came out of its shell and delivered a vibrant layer of darker, smokier, woodsy flavour that was eloquent and hearty in one fell swoop. I label it an accomplishment and will ante up the dough. Let’s see what the pointsters say…


Price: $30 direct from the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: As Bruno sings it, Smooth as a fresh jar of Skippy.

April 22, 2015

Clos du Soleil, Signature, 2009

Clos du Soleil, Signature, 2009

From the cellar: We were gifted what I once called BC’s best red. We drank a bottle of the 2010 at a restaurant and I went on about it with anyone who would lend an ear (here’s our review from back in the day) then after what seemed eons I was gifted a bottle of the 2009. With the price tag still on. Ka-ching.


This came out of the cellar on a week night. A week night! Lah di dah. I feel like Eddie Murphy in Changing Places.


Quite simply masterful. It’s drinking beautifully at six years. A balanced blend with a headstrong nose followed by a layered complex bouquet (marashino cherry, clove, licorice, white pepper), it brings a tear to my eye that I don’t have five more bottles to celebrate with. I cannot abide the many “87” point scores it garnered on release. Similarly, I cannot abide the price tag.

Clos du Soleil, Signature, 2009 price

Price: $43. Once upon a time.


Market Liquidity: Stunningly satisfying. Ridiculously expensive.Eddie Murphy Enjoys a Glass of Wine

April 22, 2015

Domaine de L’Idylle Divine, Roussanne, 2013

Domaine de L'Idylle Divine, Roussanne, 2013

Light, refreshing, brightly acidic, tart to the point of palate cleansing. A tad hard to place. There is no hovering bouquet, but what there is—gooseberies, kumquat, damp earth—is pleasant, pleasurable and very food friendly; go cheese and go big.  Go fondue.  If you’ve ever had a wine from Switzerland—a good wine from Switzerland—and you liked it, then you’ll like this.  There is something both perfect and imperfect in the same mouthful; think Jean Arp.


We have been collectively “trained” to dislike wine like this. Which, while true, sad and weirdly anti-wine, means this probably won’t win any favour with your vino clique. My metaphor is Bill Cunningham’s photos; it takes all sorts and without all sorts we’d all be the same.


Price: $17 USD


Market Liquidity: Striking, if not striking a balance.

April 21, 2015

Chateau Villars Fronsac, 2010

Chateau Villars Fronsac, 2010

From the cellar: A few years ago we bought six bottles of Fronsac. Still a couple left in the cellar, so we pulled one out to test its legs and celebrate this glorious spring weather. It is aging stupendously. Berries, licorice, charcoal, a spicy kick, smooth like angora, intense and fruit forward with a soft oaken finish. Absolutely sensational. When you think Bordeaux this is what you think of.


Price: $21 USD in 2013.


Market Liquidity: There’s good reason The Telegraph called Fronsac the Bridesmaid of Bordeaux.

April 21, 2015

Champ Divin Chardonnay, 2013

You could just suck on a lemon.

Champ Divin Chardonnay, 2013

It really is that tart, that acidic. Interesting? Check. Refreshing? Check. The antithesis of butterscotch hard candy new world Chard? Check. Food friendly? In the way a Coke is with Chinese food, rinses down the grease. Savvy sipper? Sorta.


We drank it a little too cold, then let it come to room temperature. There is no comparison, the warmer it got the more it opened, the more interesting and evocative it was, but, truthfully, it was not as layered or complex as we anticipated. Our expectations were for mineral-rich sting, a little old world flair in line with traipsing through Burgundy, and a musky nutty undercurrent on the finish. For us, it fell short. It had the minerality, yes, I mean the only thing missing was the grit. Bio-organic.


Price: $20 USD


Market Liquidity: First you break free from the curse of over-oaked Chardonnay, then you wonder what to do with your freedom.

April 20, 2015

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2013

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2013

We like Chinon. The Cabernet-Franc wine that is. We can’t afford Chinon. The wine or the ticket to France. So we buy cab franc from South American and other new world growers. The Raffault is a base model or entry level sipper that makes a lovely late in the day red for lighter fare and just plain enjoyment. It doesn’t have the power of better bottles, nor the heft, but it still evokes that musty, barnyard, smoky, berry, leathery flavour of CF. Readily available in BC at $22, a great intro for those unaccustomed to masculine reds.


Price: $22 at BCL.


Market Liquidity: Good value. What else is there to say?

April 9, 2015

Ribeira Sacia Adras Godello, 2013

Super acid. Shockingly long finish. Refreshingly non-conformist. Explosive with a burst of Mediterranean sun. I felt like I was on the beach at Cadaqués with a bowl of fish soup looking west from the eastern-most spot in Spain.

Ribeira Sacia Adras Godello 2013

Who’s drinking Godello? I mean here on the West Coast, on a regular basis? It should be at Thai restaurants. It should be on Vij’s menu. It should be a go-to at Blue Water and Coast. But you won’t find it (without effort).


Absolutely awesome in its affront—no butter, no oak, no toast, no smoke—but all flavour. A brilliant sipper, spicy citrus and pith, foolproof with oily vegetarian (Yotem Ottolenghi’s leek fritters); but it is meant for mussels, calamari, sheep’s cheese. There is a sea-air crispness that veers toward a funky tide pool. I couldn’t place the stone fruit notes promised in the promo.


On the downside, you don’t want this white every day. You want it for a change, as a sort of saviour from the endless, repetitive CA Chards and NZ Sauv Blancs. But it is not quite as versatile as the old saws.


For what it is, though, brilliant.


Price: $15 USD before hefty CDN duties.


Market Liquidity: Shocking like surprise and awe, not shocking like disgust.

April 9, 2015

2013 La Grange aux Belles Anjou Rouge 53

La Grange aux Belles Anjou Rouge 2013

Mild, pleasant, pleasing. Uncontroversial. No one is going to slap their head and ask about the provenance. Or exclaim” I coulda had a V-8.” We couldn’t help but think of something archaic though—a 1920s jazz hit sung through a megaphone, a depression era dance contest. It drinks elegantly but without pizazz and is reminiscent of some other red you drank a while back but can’t recall. It somehow lacks a centre, a theme: Is it Loire pretending to be Cru Beaujolais or Loire wishing it was Rhone? Regardless, tasty, leather, green olive, hay, sour cherry, but a tad forgettable.

Homemade Jim Lahey Pizza

It sipped well but didn’t have the legs for homemade thin crust pizza.


Price: $16.70 USD before hefty Canadian duties.


Market Liquidity: I could drink it all the time, but it won’t impress your vino snob colleagues.