Archive for December 6th, 2016

December 6, 2016

Ring Bolt Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013


If you’ve never had a Cab Sauv from Western Australia, I bet you could fool your pseudo vino friends by telling them it’s a California Pinot on a blind test.  There is something light, ethereal, charmingly fruity, and without the “impressiveness” of, say, Caymus.  I’ve only drunk a doz or so, but I find they are great to sip and fun to consider, in a back to back, with something more austere.


This lovely bottle is lively, acidic, brimming with a cherry soda top note and with a light but lingering berry finish.  It sips better than expected but held up quite well to turkey meatballs. Screw top to boot.


Price: $25 before tax at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.


Market Liquidity: The warmth and pleasure of a swim in the Indian Ocean at a beach in Perth. In a bottle.


December 6, 2016

Culmina Unicus, Gruner Vetliner, 2015


In the spirit of yesterday’s review, let’s disseminate the professional tasting notes. Here’s what Lawrason wrote (who, when he was at the Globe, was my favorite Canuck reviewer):


“Austria’s Gruner Veltliner is rare in Canada but you can bet others will be planting following the critical success of Unicus. This pours deeply lemon. The nose is very intense and exotic with ripe apricot, starfruit, honey and pepper. It’s quite full bodied, bright and almost aggressive with some oily and waxy character. It’s medium full bodied, firm and drier than first appearances. The length is excellent to outstanding.”


Yes.  Wow.  Yes, yes, yes.  Everything.  And the kitchen sink.  The most palatable decently priced satisfying and engaging BC white we’ve had in a long, long time.  And just look at that golden hue in the glass.  Nectar from the gods.


Gismondi gave it a measly 89 points.  He is a hard nut.


Price: $27 from the vineyard.


Market Liquidity: Season’s Greetings.


December 6, 2016

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera, 2014


Barbera.  Ba, ba, boring.


We spent over a week drinking what I thought would be novel and interesting wines, including a highly praised Muscadet (dry verging on sour), a pricey bottle of bubbly (too much gloss and not enough expertise), and (with expectations very low) a mid-week Barbera.  This blog isn’t about complaining, it’s about stumbling across value and getting excited about the craft, but when bottle after bottle disappoints, I wonder if there is just too much wine being made with labels and reviewers proclaiming otherwise?


Who turns up their nose to a decent bottle of Barbera on a Tuesday night?  Not me.  Unless it’s just like so much mediocre wine bogging down the market.  How do the professionals do it?  Taste so much mediocrity I mean—and then find gentle ways to nudge on the industry?  I’d rather have to sit through yet more franchise comic book movies and churn out 700 words for Rolling Stone; brain deterioration must be better than liver…


Here are some real people actual wine drinkers paying out of pocket corrections to the professional reviews:

“Packed with black fruit.”  No.  Burnished with fruit flavour.

“Spice overtones hinting at black pepper and cinnamon.”  Hinting being the operative word.  Some fundamentals, as opposed to overtones, would be appreciated.

“Sweet, soft tannins come together in a closely-woven texture.” Crude tannins diminish any complexity in the wine and leave it flat.

“A crisp freshness provides a long tasty finish.”  A rather pedestrian fruity finish will lead you to buy another label next time round.


Price: A mere $15 in Ontario.  $22 and more in BC.  Go figure.


Market Liquidity: When what should be value disappoints.