Archive for May, 2017

May 20, 2017

Château le Puy Emilien, 2012

Slow cooked pork belly with root vegetables

Hard to find fault.  Despite the long oak aging, it doesn’t thrust itself upon you; it has that je ne sais quoi of fine French reds.  Blind, I think you’d mistake it for 90% Cabernet Franc: There is an up front woodsiness to it, fennel, chocolate, licorice, intermingling with a slight funk, but low tannins and velvet on the palate, like the Merlot we’d expected.  Gorgeous with food, which we enjoyed at Kisso Tanto, the current go-to Chinatown spot in YVR.  And 12.5% for all that gorgeousness.  Vive le France.

Price: A shocking over the top outrageous $80 in a restaurant to which I might add, the “plonk” was going for $60.  Sold out, in my searches, at any local shops.


Market Liquidity: Think Mel Tormé in his heyday.

May 19, 2017

Sea Star Pinot Gris, 2016

Flat out the most interesting white of the spring.  And with our crap weather, this was spring refined.  Hard to find, hard to figure out in fact, the strange intent of this wine which wavers between something German and something Australian.  A gorgeous sipper, with on the one hand a heaviness and on the other something ethereal, which does not infer balance.  It’s cryptic.  Light, lemon blossoms with heavy, guava undertones; like that, with umpteen more fruit and floral metaphors.  I just couldn’t get over it; simple yet perplexing.  Loved every drop although it kind of (unexpectedly) fell flat with a basic mac and cheese dinner.  If you can source it, source it.


Price: Lost the receipt but less than $25.


Market Liquidity: We went through a Sea Star tear not too long ago, here and here and here and here, but this would top our list.  So far.

May 18, 2017

Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

I went into this with a cynical sneer.  It’s been a long time since I purely enjoyed Mission Hill.  I find the breadth of their output like Mercedes Benz, trying to be all things to all people without just focusing on doing less, but very, very well.  Well I was surprised.


This has a lush, jammy, soft and comforting dark fruit hit on the tongue with a gentle leathery finish.  It drinks like many California reds but slightly less alcoholic and not quite the affront you might expect.  Professionals use words like generous and on a wine like this; extremely easy to the last drop.  You can pick it up from the vineyard for under $30 and on that note alone, highly recommended.


Price: Gifted.


Market Liquidity: Not every Stephen King is a hit, but when he hits they are big hits.

May 12, 2017

Puy Redon Chardonnay, 2013

Wow.  Wow, wow, wow.


Is it Olivier LeFlaive?  No.  No, it’s not Hospice de Beaune.  It’s from Bergerac, a region you might be hard pressed to locate on a map.  You’ll want to visit after half a bottle.  What balance.  What sensational balance.  Honestly, this was just a wine of exceptional craftsmanship, it didn’t veer towards the barrel or overpower with acidity or accidentally find itself in a corner knee deep in butterscotch.  It was honed or finessed or managed to a brutal simplicity, toasty nuts, wild honey, tropical blossoms.  Just a treat.  An absolute treat.  One of the reasons we drink so much different wine is to discover something like this.  Did I say wow?


Price: Gifted.  Couldn’t source a local provider but it retails in other provinces near the $50 mark and that would be the 2015.


Market Liquidity: Nadia Comenici in a bottle.

May 9, 2017

Rocca di Montegrossi, Chianti Classico, 2014

First, not the finest Chianti in BC and not the finest under $50 even at the government stores.  It is like luxe plum juice, has a cordial bent that is pleasant enough, smooth like silk, but not with all the dimension and ka-ching of a few others we’ve tasted over the years–plus it doesn’t quite have the heft of its compatriots.  However, however, however: This is sensationally affordable for the quality in the bottle.  And it drinks just as good as BC red wines twice and even three times the price.  Plus it has some legs.  This is a “stocker upper” if you can get it.  I can’t imagine finding a BC red as drinkable at this price point.


Price: $28 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Organic to boot.

May 8, 2017

Burrowing Owl Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

Is the love affair over?


Light, lively, a citrus zest while not weighted down with green grass or herbs, and an oak note almost indiscernible.  Lax on the palate.  Hard to think of this as an accomplished wine in any sense despite many accolades but it’s certainly drinkable.  Glass half full, it makes a nice change from the sometimes oppressive new world SB’s but doesn’t have the layers of a fine Sancerre if, in fact, that’s what they’re trying to mimic.


Day was when Burrowing Owl set the Okanagan bar.  There is something satisfactory but not brilliant about their wines lately, even their more than stellar Chardonnay seems predictable.  Of course I could drink BO all the time but they lack significance, comparatively.  Or so it seems to us.  Still, no year goes by without getting a mixed case.  The SB is currently available online or, believe it or not, at BC Liquor.  There is no way it is a 90 or more point wine.  But its drinkability, a la a decent Pinot Grigio pre-dinner, is unmatched.


Price: $25 at the vineyard, $27 on the Vancouver shelves.


Market Liquidity: Standard issue.