Archive for January, 2018

January 20, 2018

Clos de los Siete, Mendoza, 2012

From the cellar: Easy to find, easy to drink.  Not sure why we’ve never posted on the Siete, a lovely red blend highly recommended.  For whatever reason, we laid some down a few years ago.  I can’t unequivocally say that two years made an enormous difference, but there’s no denying the silkiness and allure of a slightly aged Siete.  And when you compare this to BC reds twice the price there’s no denying sheer brilliance at the price.


Although the Malbec dominates, the Merlot shines through, smooth and delectable, luscious in its fruit forwardness and with a lingering ripe plumb afterthought.  Zippo tannins.  A pinch of pepper.  Make no mistake: If you haven’t had a bottle you are passing on something of exquisite value.  Five bottles of this for the price of one fine Penfolds.


Price: Two years ago it was $24.50 all in at BC Liquor; nowadays, it’s $26 for the 2014 before egregious taxes.


Market Liquidity: Tuesday sipper or Sunday roast, it checks the boxes.

January 19, 2018

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

Ah Margaret River.  A retirement pipe dream.


Young and fruity and juicy and vibrant.  This is a wine that needs some time, it’s just oozing potential.  We were unsure at first but with a meatball dinner it was sensationally food friendly.  On the initial mouthful it’s assertive and even disappointing but with a bit of air, with a few conscientious sips, it delivers, as VF almost always does.  The oak does not dominate, and the tannins are hardly balanced despite the reviews, but this is a joy to discover.  Like the antithesis of a California Cab Sauv, with none of the weight or drudge or 18% alcohol, it does have the élan of a ride in Tomorrowland.  Zippy and zesty and alluring.  Buy it now for Christmas dinner 2020.  You won’t be disappointed.


Price: $30 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: A bottle of promise.

January 18, 2018

Bernard-Massard Cuveé de l’Ecusson Pinot Noir (Rosé)

We took huge pleasure over the holidays with opening and sharing the base model sparkling from Luxembourg.  For a while, Everything Wine had the rosé as well, at about six dollars more.  It is juicy, it has the red currant and sweet plum sauce tangents of a decent Pinot Noir rosé, there is some decent minerality, the fizz is so-so, but despite the pluses we were non-plussed.  It simply didn’t have the fun and flair and conviviality of the base model.  It seemed more like a novelty wine then something either serious or cheerful.


Price: Around $25 before taxes.  You can find it at the Liquor Barn locations if you must.


Market Liquidity: Like MC Hammer pants, a curiosity not in our rotation.

January 8, 2018

Domaines Dominique Piron Morgon, La Chanaise, 2015

Plummy with a floral finish.  This is a young Gamay with gobs of acidity but somehow it all just works.  A little slight with red meat but full and delectable with cheesy pasta.  It drinks lighter and livelier than you might expect a Morgon, usually what I feel is the heaviest of Cru Beaujolais.  Put a blind fold on Mr. Parker and maybe he’d mistake it for Fleurie?  Apparently a Top 100 over at the WS.


Price: $26 at BC Liquor.  Very good value.


Market Liquidity: Jam sponge in a bottle.

January 6, 2018

Torres Celeste Crianza, 2013

Corked.  I can’t tell you how common this is in BC.  Oh wait, I can, I kept a record in 2017.  Twice from bottles purchased at private stores and six times from bottles purchased at BC Liquor.  Not including this.  Seven times from BC Liquor.  What a year 2017 was.


In BC, when you have a corked bottle you can return it and complain.  You must have your receipt.  You must take the bottle back.  It’s an enormous hassle because I rarely keep the receipt (I mean really? Who does nowadays?) and often the bottle is opened up somewhere not at home, this most recent bottle on the Gulf Islands, it’s exacerbated by the lie down factor—you want to lie something down, then really it becomes your responsibility not the seller if you open it in six months or more.  There was no way I could re-cork this bottle and get it back to Vancouver. It graced the septic.


Gismondi recommended the 14 as a cellar pick but the 13 was languishing on the shelves and I picked this up in error.  So in theory many buyers are lying down what could be corked wine.


I have complained in the past but it’s tiresome and if you complain you are often belittled, you are led to believe it’s the consumer’s problem.  In my experience, BC Liquor takes no responsibility (just our after tax money, in spades).  They claim all their wine is transported in temperature controlled transport and stored in a temperature controlled environment.  Private wine store staff have told me there are some vagaries to this routine including containers that aren’t ventilated but I’m not part of the industry and have no way to know unequivocally.  Is there a PETA-esque wine group that could get footage of the storage?


But regardless of how wine is transported, how it’s displayed is testament to an overt attitude of laissez-faire. If you visit a local BC Liquor store you might be surprised at what you’ll see.  Many have direct sunlight poring in onto the wine shelves.  Indiscriminately.  There’s Wolf Blass; hope he’s wearing SPF 30.  Most bottles are upright and a shocking amount are covered in dust; those with corks are just drying out.  And the in store temperature, my God, not a shred of humidity in most stores, some are like saunas in the colder months and in BC most months are the colder months.


We’ve never posted on corked wine.  I feel it comes with the territory.  Suck it up.  However, the problem seems to be getting worse not better.  It’s disappointing, a hassle, costly, and I believe largely preventable.  There is no passenger bill of rights for wine buyers.  Pity.


Price: What?  Before or after it went down the drain?


Market Liquidity: Heaven’s Gate and Ishtar rolled up into one.

January 5, 2018

Clos du Soleil Celestiale, 2014

It’s been two years since we had a bottle of the Celestiale.  This 2014 was a real surprise.  In general, the Clos de Soleil wines are excellent, if a little pricey, but the Celestiale always seemed a non event.  This pick, typical of a domestic wine that would sell for under $20 in the US but in BC under $30, has all the hallmarks of a workhorse red; juicy and fruity with just a soupcon of acidity and with some air a soft, eloquent finish.  Harsher woodsy tones segue with the fruit.  The many vines blend works, and it works well, if not quite as well as their more expensive bottles.  For BC red, very good value.


Price: $27 before taxes at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Celestiale is to the Signature what AX is to Giorgio Armani.