Archive for October, 2017

October 27, 2017

Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay, 2013

From the cellar: In 2015 we found a sale on Rombauer and got half a case for less than $30 USD per.  We drank a bottle, then eventually more; you know how it goes.  I pulled the last bottle out for a spin last week.

 

We liked it in 2015.  We thought it a bit rich, both on the palate and on our pocket book, but we really, really liked it.  Sally Field much.  Here’s our gushing Top Gear review from two years ago.

 

Now?  How did it age?  Ooh la la, la la la la.  Ooh la la.  Like butter.  Like friggin’ butter.  Buttery, baked butternut squash, butter shortbread.  Rich and deliriously good.  Not a shred of bite, tantalizingly smooth, Richie Rich, toasty, lightly mineral with gobs of tropical punch, and just plain swooningly terrific.  We got excited: So we sourced the current vintage at BC Liquor.  And? $56 plus tax, so $65 a bottle.  Then, just like that, poof, it was another bottle in the recycling, and we moved on to a basic Pinot G.

 

Price: Same as 2015.  Too darn much.

 

Market Liquidity: How the other half drink.

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October 26, 2017

Jidvei Feteasca Alba Sec, 2015

A decade ago we got tired of reading professional reviews which were divorced from the reality of our pocket book.  Truth is, this whole blog just started because we are real people with limited after tax income and frustrated with both the provincial government stranglehold on sales and the idea that we can all afford a c-note for a bottle of Burgundy.

 

This wine is probably an 86 point wine.  It’s got nothing going for it that the critics would especially like.  But for the average joe, it’s remarkable.  It’s dry, low alcohol, extremely food friendly, ridiculously palatable, and sure it lacks all the depth and character of a fine Loire Chenin, but it’s umpteen times better than half the BC Okanagan whites in the under $25 region.  And dollars should play a role in how the professionals review wine (they don’t, under the guise of subjectivity dollars don’t matter).

 

An unusual and ancient grape.  An unusual and hard to describe white.  And, get this, before tax, less than $13.  That means, in terms of value in the hyper-inflated BC Liquor environment, three bottles of this for one Culmina Chardonnay, or six bottles of this for one Ridge Chardonnay.  Let’s assume it’s an 86 pointer, but using some basic math, if you factor in the dollar value, as an economist would as opposed to a wine reviewer, all of the sudden we’re at 89 points.

 

Price: $12.49 at BC Liquor, cheaper in SK and ON.

 

Market Liquidity: Simple, yes, but not simplistic.

 

On an editorial note, the headache of the BC liquor monopoly (which is archaic, bureaucratic, ridiculously hurtful to both consumers and industry, much-hated, and loathsome to deal with) is a theme of the blog.  Local reviewer Anthony Gismondi had a spot on rant last week in the Sun: BC Government Liquor Monopoly Hurts Everyone.  Here here.

 

October 25, 2017

La Stella Fortissimo, 2015

This is a California red in a BC bottle.  The pros differ, they call it a super Tuscan wannabe, but I swear if you’ve drunk one top heavy Napa red you’ve drunk ten Fortissimos.  Is it good?  Assertively good.  If you don’t know wine (like we don’t know wine, if you just love wine, like we love wine) I would guess that there’s more Cab Franc and Cab Sauv then La Stella claims.  Guess.  I’m not second guessing.  The reviewers write about the Merlot and the Sangiovese but the smoothness of the former and the tannins of the latter seemed to speak more of the hearty, heavy, masculine characteristics of the two Cabs.  A great meat wine.  A great gift wine.  A great lie down wine.  A great BC red.  No holiday sipper though.

 

Price: A reasonable and very worth it $30 from the vineyard before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: Not our knight in shining armour, but armour clad nonetheless.

October 17, 2017

Swartland Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, 2015

The acidity hits you first.  Then a tsunami of tropical notes, pineapple, guava, passion fruit.  The finish is a creamsicle.  It’s astringent and rich together.  My God, I could drink a decent Chenin every day, but am clearly in the minority (if restaurant wine lists are anything to go by—CB is rarely on offer, certainly not in the “by the glass” section; you might see a Vouvray in a hoity-toity place but these dry workhorse whites, primarily South African, damn they are versatile and exciting).  With every glass we liked it more.  It was like a seduction.

 

Price: $31 at Marquis, a lot for a SA Chenin, but worth a half case if you can stomach the financial pain.

 

Market Liquidity: It grows and grows on you.  I mean hopefully not like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.  But still.

October 15, 2017

Quinta Ferreira Algaria, 2010

From the cellar: Almost two years after we went gaga over this kitchen sink blend, we opened the last bottle from the cellar.  First, our review from 2016 still stands.  Second, rest in peace White Rock Swirl.  Third, see the first two.

 

Price: $30 back in January 2016.

 

Market Liquidity: A powerhouse of “delectability.”

October 13, 2017

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat, 2016

2016. Really. Really?  Really.  2016.  I mean how is it that a 2016 can be this good?

 

A Grenache heavy blend that begs to be shared and savoured amongst friends.  Close friends mind you; don’t waste it on the B-52/Cosmo/Mojito crowd.

 

Ooh la la.  Onyx cherry.  Overtly maraschino.  An alcoholic splendour.  Velveeta smooth. It sipped like manna from heaven although the 14.5% alcohol didn’t shine with dinner, as was a bit too young.  Impossible to say whether this had ten years left to improve and mellow or whether I should get a case and just burn through it all by Christmas?

 

Price: A rather hefty but deservedly $43, give or take, at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: Ridiculously sublime. Think Charlie Chaplin climbing the curtains in The Great Dictator.

October 12, 2017

Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva, 2012

The reds we like, the reds that really shine without breaking the bank, have slowly moved into a break the bank category: More and more we’re shelling out $28-42 for a bottle to really bow down to.  And of course enjoy on a Tuesday night.

 

Having said that, it’s important to remember that drinkable (if somewhat forgettable) and totally decent everyday reds at or just under the $20 mark are still out there.  Hard to find in BC (and in my view it’s like playing the slots, you spend $100 on five bottles to find one keeper, whereas you could have 2.5 totally extremely gratifying at that price, no loss…)  The Campo Viejo comes in a totally palatable Tempranillo and a food friendly reserva, both under $20 before tax.  Do I hear “open bar” anyone?  How about, even, a palatable house wine under $40?

 

If you like the classic plummy peppery vanilla oak that Robert Parker does, you can’t go wrong with the reserva.  It’s like a lesser version of those monumental Napa reds he scores in the 94 point range, without the lingering depth or interest, but certainly with the same flavour profile.

 

Price: $18.50 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a mediocre SNL impersonation it hits the mark, but barely.

October 11, 2017

Chateau Clarke, 2010

Another decent mainstream Bordeaux that you can source at BC Liquor if you have a 50 in your wallet burning through the cowhide.  This has what the experts like to write, in an upbeat way, as having “fleshy tannins” which, to be fair, give it some character.  There is a cross of berries, brambly and woodsy the way an unripe raspberry can taste, a note of black cherry, and a top-heavy finish reminiscent of old oak.  If you need to serve a “label” and pedigree is all that matters, then I guess you could do much worse.  But at the price point there are actually many other more interesting bottles both here in BC and across Europe.  We couldn’t get too excited, despite the word Rothschild in fancy script; at seven years of careful cellaring you just expect more. (It definitely needs air; a small glass when we opened it compared to a decanted glass an hour later were chalk and cheese.)

 

Price: $44 plus extras at BCL. Yowza.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s a Bordeaux.  Next.

October 10, 2017

Clos du Soleil Syrah, 2014

Assertive and heartwarming all at once.  I would characterize this as rough around the edges and needing some lie time (but with a screw top the question of how or what will improve is a hot topic particularly when you tour the Okanagan and engage with the vintners).  No reviewer would ever write it, but while this is a great red it’s not “fun”; it’s practical and well constructed and lovely to drink but lacking pizazz and charisma.

 

Price: A reasonable and (for BC wines) thrifty $30 at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: Close, like a wheelchair parking space, but also like a gimme in golf.

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