Archive for June, 2017

June 25, 2017

Undurraga TH “Terroir Hunter” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Bold.  Brazen.  Beautiful.  You could cut this with a knife.  It’s heavy and full and deeply nuanced and HEAVENLY; please excuse the excitement.  It’s a heavyweight in the most primal, decadent and meaty sense.

 

Sometimes you just need something assertive and monumentally Cab Sauv and this is so perfectly present and incredibly tasty, who cares if it has legs and we opened it too soon?  It was sheer pleasure for a moment.

 

Price: Gifted.  But I sourced the TH Shiraz in the 30s.

 

Market Liquidity: Like the Rod Stewart track, it did not last, it did not last till the weekend.

June 22, 2017

Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier, 2014


When we open a Chenin Blanc we are predisposed to expect something of a cross between butterscotch and cream soda, and then plus, plus, plus.  And when we open a Viognier we are predisposed to expect a tangy, spicy kick, with a rich, maybe oily residue on the palate.  And then when we saw this blend and didn’t know what to expect we were completely ready for a marriage made in heaven.  But it is in fact something of the War of the Roses.  A lovely golden hue, a not too enticing nose and flat on the palate.

 

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley.  As they say.

It was, initially, an experiment.  Robert Parker lauds it and apparently so do consumers, it’s a hit.  Go for it.  But we found the fruit and floral a clash.  The thing is, we had a Rhone blend earlier in the week at Vancouver’s new Botanist restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.  They have a well sourced by the glass menu including (the impossible to source commercially) Domaine de la Mordorée, Cuvée La Reine des Bois, Grenache Blanc Blend.  Wowza.  This was a stupendous stunner with gobs of depth and layers of flavour and ridiculously food friendly.  What a blend.  Sometimes the French get it oh so right.

 

Price: Lost the receipt but a reasonable “in the low 20s” at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

 

Market Liquidity: A curiosity.

June 15, 2017

Yangarra McLaren Vale Grenache, 2014

Below expectations: Complex and intense and concentrated. 91 points (Wine Advocate).  I think that was on the sticker with the price tag in BC Liquor where it was marked down a notch to about $32 before extras.  The word concentration is wine review speak for heavy, as in dense on the palate like cheap port, and not always pleasant.  Think of the way concord grape juice sticks to the tongue.  The residual sweetness is not approachable, it’s assertive and, depending on whether you’re tasting or eating and drinking, it’s overdone (tasting, just odd when eating).  There is a sting of the spice drawer, a mix of clove and cinnamon, which to us was uneven but lovely on the nose.  Is it drinkable?  Is it a sipper, food friendly, delectable?  Yes, yes and yes.  And while it drank like velvet it seemed to lack the novelty and curiosity of many Spanish Garnachas (which you can source at a lower cost).

 

Price: Regularly available around $35 depending where you shop.

 

Market Liquidity: It passes muster.

June 10, 2017

Pfaffenheim Pfaff Gewürztraminer, 2014

Gold the label proclaims.  And it is a golden pour, a lush and covertly leaden golden nectar.  There is more than a hint of rosewater, which is less cultivated garden and more Indian lassi.  The sweet, like an overripe lychee, is juicy but ever so slightly tips towards cloying, and gives it a headiness reminiscent of a perfume counter.

 

As a food wine, in Vancouver, with all the West Coast has to offer, it’s stellar.  Cheese, fish, shellfish, Vegan.  But as a sipper it was patently less than refreshing.  All that said, as I’ve said many times, Alsace can do no wrong; it’s just we hold the Alsatian bar a little higher and expect a little more.  (Compliments on the screw top.)

 

Price: $19.49 before tax.

 

Market Liquidity: Supremely affordable and at the price point, yes, golden.

June 5, 2017

La Stella Vivace Pinot Grigio, 2016

I avoid Le Vieux Pin.  Our reviews have always been muted by the price point and the presentation as though there is something better in the bottle than you might imagine.  It rubs me as precious and then, sometimes, preposterous.  We wrote here, in 2012, that LVP “pretends to produce wines that are much better than they really are.”  This un-objective bent has led us to, in general, avoid LVP’s boutique kin La Stella which has (I think) the habit of tourist tchotchke kitsch in naming their varietals as if they were kittens.  Vivace for Pinot Grigio. Fortissimo for, oh Jesus it’s hard enough to read a German wine label or remember the few hundred Italian varietals let alone these inane nicknames.  It’s tiresome.  The beauty of the new world is you buy Semillon, not Bordeaux Blanc.

 

But it’s also time to bury the hatchet with LVP/La Stella on this lovely sipper, as the days are longer and the temps are higher and this speaks to everything you might want in a rosé but with actual character.  Lovely layers of fleshy fruit and blossom lightness, a meady-y sweetness and a brisk acidity.  Refreshing to boot.  And, wait for it: An affordable, drinkable, BC sipper.  Perfection with an Ottolenghi orzo main.

 

Price: $29 at Everything Wine ($23 at the vineyard).

 

Market Liquidity: A bracing, evocative BC white.