Archive for November 8th, 2015

November 8, 2015

Evening Land Seven Springs Pinot Noir, 2011

Evening Land Seven Springs Pinot Noir, 2011

This wine is so subtle it makes Ricky Jay’s sleight of hand look mechanical. You know the old WASP adage “put on all your jewellery then take one piece off”? That is sort of this Pinot: First make a Merlot, then take away all the character.

 

Which is not to say it’s not a wonderful vintage. But it does lend itself to the double negative. Very easy to drink, smooth, supple, gentle. It’s like “Welcome to wine!” for dummies. There is nothing aggressive or forward. The herby notes, even the more pungent woodsy pine and wet earth are muted; think Miles Davis on smack. It really is that low-key. And that, to me, seems to be the problem. While a huge accomplishment, I’m sure, to produce this caliber Pinot, it lacks something assertive that the very best of any varietal brings to the palate. It’s like the million and one Banana Republic cashmere sweaters; fine wool in a standard cut, ad nauseum. Subdued is great, but sooner or later you need some brain candy. For us, this wine was very impressive but couldn’t hold our attention.

 

One comment was that it drank like an entry level drug.  One sip and you’ll be hooked on Pinot.

 

Price: $29 USD which I know was a deal but still…

 

Market Liquidity: Glass half full: A plain black Bruno Cucinelli scarf will set you back three thousand. Sometimes subtlety is warranted.

November 8, 2015

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne

A split before dinner. How civilized. It’s been a few years since we popped a Roederer. I’d forgotten how much the toasty yeast balances with the fruit. There is more fruit than perhaps you expect, but the finish has a lovely caramel note that is sharp and pleasant. If only all the apple cider artisans could take a page from Louis… At 12 per cent alcohol, refreshing (both meanings).  If you don’t mind spending the dough, highly recommended (and, truthfully, much better value than several non-vintage labels above it, hint hint Bolly). A few fewer bubbles than, say, Veuve.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne

Price: The bottle will set you back $70 at BC Liquor; the half bottles at independent shops will set you back $40.

 

Market Liquidity: And James Bond prefers vodka? It takes all types.

November 8, 2015

Quinta do Cardo Reserva, 2010

The tannins are striking. There is a floral, velvety bouquet, and a deeply impressive (Robert Parker type) fruity finish. But like a smooth take-off that undergoes brief turbulence, the tannins are a bit of a shock to the system. A high scorer with the pointsters it nevertheless seems well-intentioned without perfect balance. For those with patience (and cellars to boot) probably a very good investment.

Quinta do Cardo Reserva, 2010

An interesting area of Portugal, grown in purportedly the highest vineyards of the land which create a natural blustery protection from pests and result in an organic red of wonderful character. The 20 months in new oak do no disservice; it’s light on the wood, vanilla and aromatics that in California can overpower and while reminiscent of Cab Sauv has it’s own woodsy character which is interesting (if not immediately lovable).

 

Very likable overall, and up to snuff with red meat. With time and air, deep cherry and dry herbaceous woodsy flavours. But Portugal is still something of a mystery when it comes to wine, producing uneven bottles of both stunning depth alongside (dare I say it?) Periquita style plonk.  If this sits amongst their highest honours, it might be better to just stick with Espana next door.

Quinta do Cardo Reserva plaudits

Price: Extremely good value at $19 USD.

 

Market Liquidity: Potential. But not perfection.

 

Interesting Blog Non-Sequitur: Our very first review of Touriga Nacional!

November 8, 2015

Carmina Burana Riesling, 2014

Carmina Burana Riesling, 2014

A barrel fermented Riesling that echoes some of the finer Oz examples; we were reminded of Western Australia’s Alkoomi. Despite the reviews, we didn’t find it too acid although it has a piquant resonance; pear aromas, a tart quince like undercurrent on the palate, a short, lemony finish. Straightforward honest delectable white wine. Leftover Chinese anyone? It is much more new world than the Eroica, another WA stalwart, and has none of the cloying sweetness associated with some (unnamed) German Rieslings.

 

Price: Sinfully cheap at $9.99 USD, but commonly around $25.

 

Market Liquidity: Lush as in luscious. Nice way to break two weeks on the wagon.

November 8, 2015

Rockwell-Brown Bordeaux Blend “Red Mountain,” 2010

BananaBanana. That’s what came to us, on the first super fruity sip, that delicious if nearly synthetic banana ripeness. And then, on the palate, it unfolds with layers of deep fruit, nectar of the gods. Stellar.

 

 

The vineyard apparently went bankrupt, they auctioned off their assets, and we scored two precious bottles of this gorgeous blend for fire sale prices. It was like paying for a Leaf and taking possession of a Tesla.

 

The wine tends to formality, think black tie or morning suit; it would be sinful to have this with anything less than a fine cut of what the World Health Organization claims will all give us cancer (we sipped it on its own, to huge satisfaction, then with braised lamb shanks, where it teetered between gorgeous and arrogantly good).

Rockwell-Brown Bordeaux Blend Red Mountain 2010

If you were lucky enough to score some of this boisterous Bordeaux blend, congrats.  Honestly: A bottle like this is why you make an effort when buying wine.

 

Washington’s “Okanogan” so outstrips the “high end” BC “Okanagan,” so much of the time, it’s simply an embarrassment. Like they say, it’s not the varietal, but the terroir.

 

Price: Wait for it… $16.99 USD.

 

Market Liquidity: Yet again, Walla Walla trumps BC. USA, USA, USA.

November 8, 2015

Sebastien Dampt Chablis “Côte de Léchet” Premier Cru, 2013

I couldn’t appreciate this wine.  And if the predilection, the swooning we do on this blog over 1er cru Chablis is anything to go by, it pains me to even write that.  But it’s true.

 

  • Hugh Johnson highly recommends the Léchet
  • Jancis Robinson lists Dampt as a recommended producer and the Léchet as a very good value
  • Tim Atkin calls Dampt a top value producer and gave this 93 points
  • Neil Martin over at Robert Parker wrote “it sported a primal but nicely defined and more terroir-driven bouquet than the Les Vaillons; reserved but focused” and gave it 90 points
  • “Over-achieving success story from a wunderkind artist and all-around brilliant winemaker that will leave everything else (quite frankly) in the dust.” Well… I might add that reviewer has never tasted LeFlaive.

Sebastien, apparently, strives to have no oxidation, no wood, no aged colour, leaving the wine for months in stainless steel vats to obtain a purity in keeping with Chablis of 1950s (to which I say, a 50s Caddy had some nice fins, but I certainly wouldn’t want to run that engine with 2015 gas prices).

  • Decanter 94 points, Le Monde, bla bla bla, they all loved it.

Sebastien Dampt Chablis “Côte de Léchet” Premier Cru, 2013

For me, for us, steely, flat, no finish, not cold, not room temperature, very short on the fruit, and acidic to a fault. Inexpensive for Chablis, yes, but not inexpensive.

 

This wine seems to suffer from that form/function issue many growers struggle with. They focus so much on terroir and “form” they forget that consumers, not experts, are the drinkers. If you read between the lines in the reviews, they are actually all lauding Sebastian, his ethic, his style, his methods, his 50 year old vines, the soil, the location, and only in passing the wine.

 

Price: $24 USD before tax and duty.

 

Market Liquidity: Too much craft, not enough consumer.

November 8, 2015

Bartier Brothers Semillon, 2013

The most elegant BC white of the year? The epitome of non-Bordeaux Semillon, with a strong but not overbearing gun metal on the palate and a hint of peachy fruit on the finish. A nominal effervescence and a delectable 12.9 per cent alcohol. Clean, pure, straightforward and elegant to boot.

Sorry for the crap pic

Sorry for the crap pic

Here’s the catch: It’s Semillon, perhaps the most ignored, derided, misunderstood and least appreciated varietal in the major leagues. We love it, I can wax poetic on the many fine Australian bottles over the years (the Aussies do excel) but don’t dare serve it to guests. The sharp, flinty, flatness of it will leave them puckering and wanting.

 

Price: A sensational $17.40 at the vineyard (factor in the extras and it’s still a phenomenal price).

 

Market Liquidity: Diamond in the rough.