Archive for August, 2018

August 24, 2018

Il Grigio da San Felice, Chianti Classico, Riserva 2009

From the cellar: The Wine Advocate came out with a 93+ points rating for the 2009 Il Grigio (in 2013).  We bought six bottles.  I have rarely been more in accord with (what I call) The Robert Parkers.  The only regret is that six was far too few.

 

We drank our next to last bottle this week and nearly wept.  It was like velvet, slathered with cream, topped with faux fur resting on a water bed; it was like Ellington and Coltrane In a Sentimental Mood; it was like Frank singing Nice ‘N’ Easy crossed by Ella singing It Never Entered My Mind; it was like a zero gravity chair on a Quaalude.  It really was.

 

Last time we got around to reviewing this Chianti, proper content review, the layers of floral flavour, the muted tannins braced against a woodsy tang, the gorgeous lip smacking fruit bomb of it all, we were in similar awe.  This just keeps getting Wow and more Wow.  But the strange thing is of all the Il Grigio we’d drunk since the 09, nothing has measured up.  It’s like a good standby, an old reliable, but the 09, as I say it’s pure Wow: This is what it’s all about when it comes to lying down wine.  Buried treasure.  Sangiovese rocks.

 

Price: $18.60 USD in 2013; around $30 CDN for the current vintage.  Stellar value.

 

Market Liquidity: Manna from heaven.

August 22, 2018

Penfolds Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

(I left the flashy red label on; we are over and through with glam labels, but you can always tear it off and still have a reasonable presentation at the dinner table.)

 

It’s been a while since we corked a wine this forward, assertive and confident.  Less like a Wimbledon semi this is a Davis Cup final; it clamors to be heard and in so doing you can barely hear yourself.  On a scale of one to 10 in subtlety we score this Liberace in concert crossed with Cher at the Oscars.  While it has legs, Usain Bolt legs, we opened our 2015 in 2018 as a sort of witness to things that may.  It may.  Just, do you have the patience?

 

While still (much too) young, and worthy of at least another five years on the down low, it is eminently drinkable in that forward Cab Sauv way.  If this is your thing, rock solid granite determined super masculine Cab Sauvs, then this is really your thing.  Reviews talk about the nuance and balance which to us were not predominant; more like static and assured but monochrome, with mere echoes of oak.  An astringent dark cherry crossed with licorice root on the palate and an earthy finish give it fullness; it has a lot of heft and I guess is “mouth delicious” and delightful but not as a sipper.  A whole bottle over dinner in one sitting feels a bit like a whole movie of just the car chase in The French Connection, no plot.  Yet who in YVR would be serving this by the glass?

 

Dry and red meat friendly and decent value from one of the most prestigious Oz vineyards but for better or worse not our cup of tea.

 

Price: $32 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: In the alternative, may I suggest a shot of testosterone.

August 11, 2018

Bodegas Ateca Atteca, 2014

A juicy, plummy, full-bodied red with none of the weight.  Smooth as a baby’s bottom.  Delicious and approachable if top heavy (15% alcohol).

 

I don’t know how we ended up gravitating to so many Grenache/Garnacha wines, but we have.  Last week we were drinking a white Grenache from France, the entry level Jaboulet (white Grenache: which can be lively and layered but was in this case flat and sterile; at least Marquis put it on sale).

 

This Spanish red is pretty much what you wouldn’t expect in Spain (and I speak from some experience).  It’s so well crafted, and honed to within an inch of its life I can only think of an export market expert, a list of check boxes, and crafting each barrel to tick the Robert Parker predilections.

 

But it is enjoyable.  Rich and open hearted and lush.  Very food friendly.  Not expensive in many US markets but hitting $40 with taxes in BC.  Shame.

 

(NB: Ateca Atteca.  What’s next?  Bogle Boggle?  Ravenswood Ravenwood?  Cheval Blanc Blancc?)

 

Price: $34.99 at private wine shops (select those that give half and full case discounts).

 

Market Liquidity: It’s a bit like the pride some have with a logo on the chest of their shirts (meaning was it really worth all the money, even if you do look sharp).

August 10, 2018

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro, 2017

Young and fresh but dull and forgettable which is a) surprising and b) a letdown because flip the bottle around and see what’s inside, a blend of two obscure hybrids, Sauvignette and Petit Milo which, you might assume based simply on their obscurity, that Unsworth is onto something pretty special.  They are not.

 

Gismondi compared this to Muscadet (trust me: Buy Muscadet) and gave it an eye-popping 90 points but on what scale who knows.  Maybe that’s like when you make Celsius Fahrenheit “on the fly” (i.e., double it and add thirty).

 

Price: A very reasonable $20 give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Cold water is also refreshing.

August 9, 2018

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Rouge, 2016

The white is available at a much higher price in private stores and, generally, if you live in BC and are looking at Sancerre you are looking at whites.  So, let’s start with praising BCL for having a lovely red Sancerre, at a price point under $30 (although just), and giving pause to the much higher priced Pinot Noir churned out in BC that can’t compare.  Its lightness speaks to rosé.  Look at that glorious ruby red in the picture, light as a feather.  Gismondi quite liked it, more than us I would say, silky I think was his term, and it does have a perfumed freshness, rose and lavender, with a musky finish.  There is a whole red currant grape jelly “thing” on the palate that dissipates into air which makes you take another sip and another.  I couldn’t quite wrap my loving arms around it and give it the props the pros have but it is a lovely summer read, er red, a refreshing 12.5% alcohol, dreamy with a Cobb salad, but it was also a one off; not for us.

 

Price: Around $30 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Like age appropriate clothing, it has its place.

 

August 8, 2018

La Condamine Paulignan, 2013

A wonderful, thoughtful and approachable red blend, with a hearty depth and pleasing musky notes.  Most of it drank, for us, like the proverbial cigar shop, laden with smoke and tobacco leaf and nuanced edges of charcoal.  Sometimes top heavy.  Always enjoyable.  Gismondi loved it and BCL in response reduce it by one dollar so small mercies.

 

Price: $23 before taxes at BCL, $18 including taxes in Ontario.  Go figger.

 

Market Liquidity: Like drinking beyond your means.

 

I will add a footnote though.  The next day we drank the Miss Molly in My Bed, 2010.  Eight year old South African red blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot) same price as the Condamine.  Mystery purchase.  Last bottle on the shelf.  Attica in Victoria (probably the best curated wine shop in Victoria) all alone between the lovely if overpriced Secateurs and lower priced and less drinkable SA reds.  Score.  Absolutely beautiful.  What a sipper; smooth with spice, rich dark smoky flavours on the palate with a light, modestly acidic cherry finish.  Screw top to boot.  Miracles do happen.