Archive for March, 2018

March 27, 2018

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel, 2012

From the cellar: Who cellars Zin?  Not too many.  And as for Ridge, why even post another Ridge review?  Is there a bad bottle or two of Ridge, somewhere out in the universe?  A bad vintage?  A mistake in Monte Bello?

 

For no good reason we have a few of the LS lying in wait and pulled one out on the weekend.  It was, as predicted, floral, elegant, enticing, a pronounced oak, deeply aromatic, dried herbs with spring blossoms on the palate, and of course ridiculously delectable.  It drank like velvet which, to be fair, is not to everyone’s taste, that silky, smooth, flan-like texture.

 

In 2014 we went ga-ga over this vintage.  I don’t think this had to age and I can’t unequivocally say it improved substantially when you think of the four years on the lie down, but it didn’t disappoint and won our hearts from the first sip.

 

Price: $28 USD in 2014.

 

Market Liquidity: Like Ricky Jay doing sleight of hand: How does Ridge do it?

March 21, 2018

L’Ecole No 41 Semillon, 2012

From the cellar: We found the very last bottle.  We hung on as long as we could.  But then the temptation became too great. Glug.

 

Our first post about a L’Ecole Semillion was here, and after that we bought it in multiples, stashing them away; but as we got through several lying down we posted on this vintage two years ago here.  Not much has changed; this wine just got better.  So much better.

 

Where to begin?  All over the map with wild tangents of bass an treble: White pepper, woodsy, minerally, piquant, a balanced acidity, vanilla, plum, fresh bread, a scrumptious finish longer than the Oscars.

 

What was really exquisite about the “lay down” was how muted everything became but the wine lost none of its expression.  Very hard to articulate.

 

Price: No recollection.  Used to be able to get it for $16 in Blaine, WA.

 

Market Liquidity: A simple treasure.

March 16, 2018

Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

It has a little bit of the flint of Sancerre but not much.  It has a bit of the grassy wet hay of a Kiwi SB, but only in passing.  Blind it doesn’t even really resemble Sauvignon Blanc, at least the way it typically present, and on this some will have a deflated set of expectations on the screw top.  I disagree with a few of the high profile critics who called it typical.  Of what exactly? BC? Surely not SB.  All that aside, good God is this delicious.

 

The malolactic fermentation is, I think, a driver of the unique and distinct flavour; maybe not to everyone’s taste but I could drink this by the truckload. Very herby, like the dry, sagebrush of the south Okanagan, all scent, no oak, some stone fruit on the palate and finishing with an acidity that makes you reach for another glass.  Very hard to sip (meaning you want to drink and drink).  Wonderful with food.  Not as brutal on the budget as other “grey label” Haywire bottles.  Difficult-ish to find.  A high pointer from Gismondi.

 

The crushpad (in our experience) turns out wine that’s all over the map.  But sometimes they score big time.  If you see it, buy it.  It’s opioid-esque in its attractiveness.

 

Price: $25 from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Crisp, clean, incredible.

March 12, 2018

Masseria Li Veli, Fiano, 2016

A light and refreshing “summer sipper” which as spring arrives prematurely suits the urge for fresh asparagus alongside seafood.  Puglia churns out some unusual but really appealing simple wines, relatively easy on the budget and novel enough to warrant a second purchase; we are always up for a test run.

 

Metallic like pure Semillon, hints of menthol, acidic and tangy as it hits the tongue, peach and honey on the palate, a soft nutty finish.  Umami without the other four components.  The proverbial “drink now” white wine.

 

The surname, an incidental pun on lively in English, seems apt.

 

Price: $26 at Kitsilano Wine

 

Market Liquidity: The only thing missing is effervescence.

March 2, 2018

Piekenierskloof “The Tea Leaf” Chenin Blanc Blend, 2016

We love our Chenin; French, South African, Australian, bring it on.  We wanted to love this.  Low alcohol, screw cap, high altitude vines.  Maybe our predilection for the varietal and relatively unrealistic expectations were too much for the W. O. Piekenierskloof, because for us it was a bomb.

 

Bruised fruit.  Dry, brittle dry, earthy, mushroom broth, lightly acidic, kumquat on the finish with a pasty, green, tarragon-ish herby note.  Not food friendly.  Dull as a sipper.

 

Perplexing, confusing, disappointing.  Despite the novelty of its remote high terrain and the rooibos growing in its midst.

 

Not balanced or terribly pleasant and unusual in a tiresome (as opposed to curious) fashion.  Much loved by the critics which is why we tried but it’s one strike and yer out with this.  Sorry W. O.

 

Price: $33 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

 

Market Liquidity: Like idling in a parking lot.  It’s middling.