Archive for December, 2017

December 21, 2017

Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache, 2015

Gismondi loved this wine and so did we.  We’re not always on the same wavelength but this was synchronicity.  Wow. Just sip it.  Just sip it to appreciate it.  Slowly.  If you can make it last make it last.  Shiraz Grenache but it could be port in its seamless blend.  It is gentle (compared to run of the mill Oz Shiraz), yet up to the challenge of roasts and chops.  Deeply nuanced with fruit and spice that drift across the palate in ludicrous harmony.  Oozes character.  Just over the limit of what we like to spend on a weekday red but worth every penny.  Kudos for the screw cap.

 

We tried to lay it down as a cellar pick but it lasted less than sixty days.

 

Price: $31 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Rich like cake, smooth like cashmere, warm like a toasty fire.

Advertisements
December 20, 2017

Juan Gil Silver Label Monastrell, 2014

The “lesser” yellow label is widely available in Ontario and works wonders with food in a restaurant.  The silver, a pure 100% Monastrell is I guess not to everyone’s taste but it’s spectacular value, deep and delicious, dark cherry, charcoal, smooth as silk; it must be sipped though, the heady 15% alcohol will creep up on you fortified wine style.  The independent shops sell it at close to $30 (but you can usually score a discount on mixed cases bringing it closer to the  BC Liquor price at $25).  For a Christmas treat, it’s $19.95 before taxes at BCL and widely available.  I don’t think I’ve ever purposely gone into a wine store looking for Monastrell but I don’t know how many times the Juan Gil has ended up in my cart.  It is like an old reliable.  Nice to have  a year end post in line with our budget.

 

Price: $25-30, depending.

 

Market Liquidity: A lot of Christmas cheer for the price.

Tags:
December 18, 2017

Nautilus Gruner Veltliner, 2015

A bottle of Nautilus in BC.  Will wonders never cease?

 

Is it their straightforward and nearly savoury Sauv Blanc?  No.  Is it their charming Chardonnay?  Not a chance.  Is it perhaps their pitch perfect Pinot?  As if.  Is it on the rare chance their hard to find sparkling?  You make me laugh.  No, it’s their Gruner.

 

But do you know what?  Nautilus makes a lot of good wine and this is no exception.  I’m not sure I prefer it to the Culmina, which is about five dollars less, but it’s a really lively, sharp and tangy refreshing white that deserves some attention.  Apple blossoms, apple skin, tart on the finish, with a bit of a bite.  Extremely food friendly.  Seafood starter anyone?

 

Price: $34.50 at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: A lesser wine from an accomplished vineyard.

December 16, 2017

Domaine Huet Le Mont Demi-Sec Vouvray, 2015

So a day or two ago we wrote about being let down by Champagne.  Which, to be honest, wasn’t fair to Champagne, it was more about the cost penalties of living in and buying wine in BC.  Most decent Champagnes in BC retail before taxes at around the $60 mark.  But here’s the rub: If you’re truly willing to spend $60 on a bottle of wine, why not go all out and get a Loire Chenin?

 

In December, when we pull out all the stops on decent bottles, we love to love Domaine Huet.  (The blog has a smattering of Huet posts including a 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2009, of various sorts and sites.)  We usually rip through a variety of the house, from sparkling on down (or up, as the price point goes and as our budget allows).  For a special day in advance of Christmas we pulled out the Mont Demi-Sec: and the semi-sweet is, well, rapturous.

 

Online I’ve seen reviews all over the map, so many adjectives I don’t know what the pros are thinking, it’s like they just wrote down words, maybe it was euphoria, but in a rare moment of total accord I would say the team over at WA hit the nail on the head when they described it as being “deep, rich and flinty on the nose, with caramel and vegetable flavors indicating a great complexity. Full-bodied, dense and powerful, this is highly complex and persistent, yet refreshing and transparent Chenin with a juicy fruit and lots of grip, energy and tension” and then blessed it with 96 points.

 

I would say, from the layperson’s view, if you can appreciate it, if you can even wrap your mind around how mind-numbingly harmonious this wine is, it is worth every penny of the $60 you will shell out.  And umpteen times more memorable than a bottle of Mumm.  Or, as we wrote recently, Moutard.

 

Price: $60 from Marquis.  God Bless Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: A trip to the moon on gossamer wings.

December 15, 2017

Moutard Père et Fils Grand Cuvée Champagne

Champagne, to generalize, is usually good.  Prosecco, in contrast, hit and miss.  Which is why, in British Columbia, Champagne is more or less $60 a bottle and Prosecco a fraction of that.  But there are always exceptions.  Witness the Moutard.

 

A special order and much lauded import at Everything Wine, discounted five per cent in advance of the seasonal festivities, it fails to impress.  Anthony Lane, in a recent review of Murder on the Orient Express, wrote that technically the murder in one of her novels is really the second death; the prose being the first.  Similarly, we couldn’t get past the banality.

 

It has all the stripes of something much better than sparkling and is pleasant to drink.  If you are the sort of person who must drink Champagne then why not get a bottle at a slightly reduced cost?  But without any flavour to speak of, dismal fruit, mild yeast, a light citrus lift, this can’t even complement crudités.  Sad.  (I should add that Decanter thought otherwise.)

 

Price: $60 at EW, although $56 on special before taxes.  Of VERY SPECIAL note: $40 all in at the LCBO in Toronto.  Alas, Buying Wines in BC is not one penalty buy many.

 

Market Liquidity: Tasmanian fizz anyone?

December 14, 2017

Domaine Bousquet Gaia, 2013

James Suckling loved this wine.  I wish we could say the same.  Aside from the organics stamp it didn’t have much satisfaction.

A Malbec dominant blend with Syrah and a touch of Cab Sauv, this has all the assault of a good red but none of the finesse.  It’s like the force of the front line without the expertise of the generals at HQ.  Although the (sharp, tannic, heady) attack is nothing like a Zin, we couldn’t help but think of the myriad California Zinfandels so aggressive and potent which leave you reeling after half a glass.  It held up well to red meat (and by God, I should hope so) but it was like an assault on the palate.  And to sip it was just an affront.

 

If you need an Uzi to do the work of a cordless drill, this is your wine.  Your 92 points wine.

 

Price: $30 at EW.

 

Market Liquidity: Pleasure free.  And wine without pleasure is vodka.

December 6, 2017

Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Ecusson Brut

Tis the season.

 

Sparkling from Luxembourg.  At 12.4%.  Cheaper than cheap Prosecco.  Luscious on the palate.  Could there be a better Christmas gift?

 

Decanter gave this a best in show, 95 points, platinum.  I’m not sure we were drinking the same wine.  However, it is wonderful.  It is lovely.  It has a finish that grows on you inch by inch and will lead you to polish off a bottle in no time.  The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are run of the mill but having Riesling in the mix is a game changer.

 

This will not sub for Champagne.  In fact, it wouldn’t make for a very good general fizz to doctor with juice or liqueur.  I would even nitpick on the effervescence (which is thick and heavy and without the streamlined cadence of fine champers).  However, stand alone as a sparkler, with its tropical fruit notes and vanilla coconut finish, this is startlingly graceful at the price point.

 

Price: Good luck.  But EW in Surrey has a few bottles at $23 before tax. The rosé is available at New District in Dunbar.  Alas, welcome to Buying Wines in BC…

 

Market Liquidity: Brilliant bubbles, and fun to boot.

December 4, 2017

Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Caroline, 2014

Spectacular in its assertive diversity.  Some acidity on the tongue, juicy fruitiness like biting into a white fleshed peach, a toasty note on the finish, an orchard of nuance.  The vanilla is muted.  An uninhibited and delicious blend.

 

Mainly Chenin Blanc, but Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne round out the mix.  I can see this working in the Okanagan as well as it does in South Africa; someone in Naramata should give it a shot.  Food versatility through the roof. Not your Tuesday night house white (given the price point), but what a shame. Refreshing delectability.

 

Price: A rather steep $39 at New District.

 

Market Liquidity: Gobs of gorgeousness.