Archive for July 29th, 2015

July 29, 2015

Espelt Garnacha Old Vines, 2010

Espelt Garnacha Old Vines 2013

The Wine Advocate gave this 92 points. Seriously! It’s good. We liked it. Hell, I bought half a case. But this is a Tuesday night wine with radicchio and pancetta risotto. It’s not a 92 point wine.


You saute onion and pancetta, then braise radicchio.  Set aside.  Make risotto.  Top with radicchio.  Heaven.

You saute onion and pancetta, then braise radicchio. Set aside. Make risotto. Top with radicchio. Heaven.

The WA talked about copious aromas of raspberry jam, black currants, kirsch, flowers and forest floor. I’m not certain what forest floor is but there is lovely (although not copious) amounts of the rest. It needs air, it needs time, and I reckon a year or two more in the cellar even at five years down the road.


Price: Here’s the deal. A place called Pete’s in Seattle, wonderful wine store, had six bottles on sale for $58 USD. The WA had a rave review.  You know how it goes.  So I thought what the heck.  Then, however, I had to pay the EXTREME Canadian duty and taxes. You can buy marijuana in Vancouver right, left, and centre, but god forbid you drink a bottle of wine, it’s ding ding ding. So when you factor in all the “penalties” as well as our crap dollar and heavy exchange, one bottle came out to nearly $30 CDN, three times what a Seattle buyer paid. At that price, I think there is better value red, even just Grenache getting dusty at BCL.  But congrats to the lucky WA buyers.


Market Liquidity: Base hit, no homer.

July 29, 2015

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris, 2014

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014

I’m going to cut to the chase: Not as good as the last time we bothered to review a BO PG; see here.  They have pushed the lushness of it a little over the top.  But BO is still a heavenly vineyard, both to visit and to reward yourself with a mixed case every now an then.  And the price, at $20, well that’s just exactly in our wheelhouse.

Cheese Souffle

A pretty good match for cheese souffle, but Clos de Soleil Fume Blanc is much better.

Price: $20 at the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: A tiny bit less residual sugar and it would have been a blockbuster.

July 29, 2015

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc

Something happened to Sauvignon Blanc. Something not good. Something like what happened to food when every chef and his dog was deconstructing classics and reimagining what needed nothing more than good ingredients and a deft hand. Was it in the 1980s? Or the 1990s? Or just a few years ago? Something happened between, at one end, Sancerre, and at the other end, the New Zealand vanguard, where growers around the world fell into a craft SB vortex, dizzily “greening” and upping the ante on what used to be subtlety. Half the SB at BC Liquor is like chewing hay. SB used to be one of my favorite varietals. Now it’s almost always a show-off, preening to compete.


Fresh herbs and fava beans on quinoa pasta.  Sorry Errazuriz, dinner was excellent, the wine so-so.

Fresh herbs, applewood bacon and fava beans on quinoa pasta. Sorry Errazuriz, dinner was excellent, the wine so-so.

Consider this decent bottle from Chile. Here’s what the LCBO has as its review: “…aromas of gooseberry and herbal-lime grass; dry, medium-bodied with bright acidity; flavours of lime, honey-citrus and grapefruit rind lead to a refreshing, crisp long finish.”


Yeah, OK. Here’s what you’ll actually find under the screw top: Something so austere it could be a Gregorian chant by Hildegard von Bingen. Dry as the Mojave. Refreshing? Maybe like running through a sprinkler, incidentally refreshing. Aromas is too generous as a descriptor. Reviewers commonly talk about the attack; this is like alum, like full on citrus pith. “Bright” acidity? Ever heard of Citricidal? It’s like that. The honey note is something of a prank.


It’s not a bad wine, I guess. But ohmygod is it making an effort. As we sipped it I couldn’t help but see little girls dressed up to look four times their age at one of those deer-in-the-headlights beauty pageants.

beauty pageant

Price: Under $20 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Pretty, but not pretty good.