Archive for August, 2016

August 29, 2016

L’Ecole No 41 Semillon, 2012

L'Ecole No 41 Semillon, 2012

From the cellar: Four years ago we waxed poetic about this wine.  Somewhere along the wine, er, way, a few bottles ended up in the cellar.  I pulled one out on the weekend.  Oh what magic.


When a Semillon has some time, or, rather, when a good Semillon has some time, it’s like pupa to monarch, they really grandstand.  This has the hallmarks of something I opened too soon.  Doh!  But what a beauty, no regrets.  A sharp menthol dry pine on the nose, star fruit and pecans and honey on the palate, from tart to smooth in one evolving swoop, generous to a fault, with a lingering tropical punch on the finish.  Delectable and then some.


Price: No record.  Used to sell in Blaine for $16 USD and in Toronto for $25, which is a steal in my books.


Market Liquidity: Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla.  Walla.

August 25, 2016

Peter Jakob Kühn Riesling Trocken, 2013

Peter Jakob Kühn Riesling Trocken, 2013

We liked this much more than the online pointsters who seem, by and large, non-plussed.  In fact, after nodding off through three or four BC Liquor “trocken” wines this summer, none interesting enough for a review, this sort of knocked my socks off.


It pours out a golden nectar, honeyed nearly Sauternes gold.  It is light on the nose but hits the palate searingly dry.  There is a little filbert, pronounced mandarin and pear, a sweet blossom perfume, and a crisp nearly startling acidity that is enormously appealing, dare I say addictive (heck, it’s only 12%, why not?).


It tops out with an extraordinarily long finish that transitions to sweet nectarine and peach.  Then, it just sits on your tongue, like an angelic gift, tart and delectable.


This was a “blind” buy, spur of the moment, but once we opened the bottle I had to Google the vintner who is, no surprise, passionate, biodynamic focussed, and embraces 200 years of wine making history.  The whole shebang is easy enough to source.


Price: $13 USD in Seattle.  Not a typo.  $13.


Market Liquidity: Simple brilliance.

August 22, 2016

Roger Lassarat Terroir de Vergisson Pouilly-Fuissé, 2014

Roger Lassarat Terroir de Vergisson Pouilly-Fuissé, 2014A flawless Fuissé.  And not written to just play with alliteration.


There is a deep and sinful richness, think cream soda without the sweet, an exceptional balance, an astonishing balance, a mouth-watering and ethereal stone fruit on the palate, with a lingering butterscotch on the finish.  The oak is nigh undetectable.  Oh to find a wine like this at the local wine store.  Alas, no such luck.


Price: $19 USD in Seattle.


Market Liquidity: Not available in BC.  Methinks a conspiracy.

A wine that was 100% summer

A wine that was 100% summer

August 20, 2016

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir, 2014

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir, 2014

A young, thin, pretty inconsequential red, which (I think) isn’t quite as good as the reviews have been.  But lovely in that likeable and comfortable and relaxing way an outdoor dinner is.  I’d buy a case.  If you could of course, and you can’t, the trade has swooped in and bought BM out.


It’s approachable, easy to drink, food versatile, not weighted down by alcohol, is an antidote to the heavy handed Robert Parker reds of 90 plus points, and has an almost elastic finish where it totters between the heavier woodsy notes and a light vanilla floral kick.  It’s like an addictive app, you know it isn’t good for you but you just can’t help yourself.


Despite its youth it must, must, must get some air.


Price: Sold out at the vineyard, but $23 earlier this year.  Which was, if I might editorialize, spectacular value.


Market Liquidity: Hands down the most satisfying Blue Mountain bottle from the 2016 releases.

August 19, 2016

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

The label, with all the plaudits, looks like the poster for a 1970s disaster movie: The Towering Inferno or Earthquake, bursting to the seams with A list stars brushing up against B list character actors.  Points, points, points, points.  I’m afraid, despite the hype, this was mildly impressive.  And only.


Gismondi recommended this Syrah dominated blend for the cellar.  Probably good advice.  However,as the third red in a row for us over a recent weekend, it took bronze by default: The lovely Walla Walla blend, the assertive BC Cab Franc, then this, a much lauded Chilean blend.  Hmm.  A wine with no identity, lost in a range of flavour profiles and completely without nuance.  This organic red is so well-loved online, professionals and pundits alike, my only concern is that the bottle we got had been in a non-temperature-controlled environment somewhere, some place, for too long: which is the problem with BC Liquor, it’s a handshake deal that wine didn’t sit idly in a container on a dock or linger in an overheated delivery van or, and this is exceptionally common, take direct south sun through a window, baking day after day, on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.  It wasn’t corked but gosh was it flat.


There’s a great line the fire chief has in The Towering Inferno: “Now, you know there’s no sure way for us to fight a fire… in anything over the seventh floor, but you guys just keep buildin’ em as high as you can.”  These vineyards that keep blendin’ to beat the band.  There is no end in sight to the aspirations and, apparently, the plaudits.  The only thing is this: Disaster movies are worth remembering only in the retelling. if at all.  Not even the awful sequel to Poseidon Adventure could make an amusing anecdote.


Price: $28 plus taxes at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: “Maybe they just ought to leave it the way it is. A kind of shrine to all the bullshit in the world.” Paul Newman “the architect” at the end of Towering Inferno.

towering inferno

August 18, 2016

Quinta Ferreira Cabernet Franc, 2010

Quinta Ferreira Cabernet Franc, 2010

An exceptional BC Cab Franc but maybe not an exceptional Cab Franc?


Cherries, berries, with a hint of candied flowers, that soapy sweet smell of guest soaps back in the day, soft and floral and fake, then a punchy spice mix on the palate, a mix of clove, star anise, pepper.  To my mind A1, if at times without polish.  Not as swoon-worthy as the Alegria blend, but delicious to the dregs.


Price: $30 at the now defunct White Rock Swirl.


Market Liquidity: Assertive but not exceptionally assured.

August 17, 2016

Result of a Crush, 2011

Result of a Crush, 2011

Forceful, forward, maybe a bit predictable.  But pure in intent.  The fruit and oak seem at loggerheads while a funky spiciness, Chinese five spice ambiance, hits the tongue on the finish.  A nice piquant bite to close.  Enormous drinkability.  In the spirit of holding Walla Walla to a very high standard, I would say great but not stellar.  If, however, this was a BC red, it would be sold out with a waiting list.


Price: $17 USD in Seattle.


Market Liquidity: Smooth, not suave.

August 17, 2016

Domaine du Bouchot, Pascale Kerbiquet Pouilly Fume 2014

Domaine du Bouchot, Pascale Kerbiquet Pouilly Fume 2014

Refined summer sipper, elegant dinner aperitif.  What did Hugh Johnson say about PF?  Something like “consistently disappointing.”  I guess, however, it depends on your view.  There is kumquat, orange rind, grapefruit pith, so the bouquet and finish combine from sour to stinging.  But the gobs of unctuous citris provide a long, round finish with a nutty, fresh cut grass flourish.  This certainly isn’t NZ Sauv Blanc.  No, it’s a gift from France.  Wrap it up and serve it with vichyssoise.


Price: $17 USD in Seattle.


Market Liquidity: It’s the proverbial smiley emoticon.  With a beret of course.

August 16, 2016

La Frenz Probyn-Eastman Viognier, 2015

La Frenz Probyn-Eastman Viognier, 2015Two people drank this bottle.  The first had one glass and called it a day: Oily.  Sweet.  Sweet and dense to the point of cloying, like condensed milk for key lime pie, like treacle.  Like you’ve wandered the midway and overdosed on caramel apples, cotton candy and glazed donut holes.  Stewed fruit like an overripe Riesling and hardly recognizable as Viognier.


The second person like it, liked the density, the overbearing fruit, the 14.7 per cent alcohol (!), the oozing luxe-ness of the finish, and got to finish it off.


But here’s the thing: The first person paid for it.  So that’s a done deal.


Price: $24 from the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: It’s a yin yang thing.  (You thought I was going to say “there’s no accounting for taste” didn’t you?)

August 9, 2016

Seven Stones Speaking Rock Chardonnay, 2011

Seven Stones Speaking Rock Chardonnay, 2011

We opened a bottle of the St. Hubertus “Platinum Award Winning” Riesling last week.  No disrespect, but this was the worst bottle of BC white we’ve had in months if not all year.  It was just an absolute mess.  If the Three Faces of Eve and Sybil were made into a Riesling, this would be it.  And you should see the user reviews online: So well loved.  Well, there you have it.  We draw the line; when you go all over the map with wine you better friggin’ have the talent of Antoni Gaudi.  What the judges and pundits loved with this lauded sucker, well, we can’t see the point.  The next night, a little burnt (as in peeved) we opened a “value” white from Seven Stones.  A 2011 Chardonnay.  Entry level stuff.


Now Seven Stones is fabulous.  I refuse to drive the #3 without a stop.  Aside from the heavenly location (the Similkameen is, truly, a slice of Shangri la,  their reds tend to be stellar.  It’s the nearly $40 price tag on all their bottles that keeps me at bay.  Not here.  This is easy on the pocket book.


Pure refreshment.  Basic, yes, but plum delicious.  A versatile food wine if a tad plain as a sipper, it has all the tropical notes you might expect from a Chardonnay but very little of the luxe French butter.  A final note on the palate reminiscent of Semillon.  And less than $25 for a drinkable 2011—have I died and gone to Napa heaven?  Jawohl.  Sehr very gut.


Price: $24 and change at the new “in grocery” wine aisle at Save-on in Tsawwassen.


Market Liquidity: Yet More Similkameen Magic.