Archive for January, 2019

January 19, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2016

Over the last couple of months we’ve burned through a fair number of 90 or 90+ point Gismondi picks, not always that content with his attribution of points or how he arrived there.  And, in fact, another Mission Hill, their reserve Sauvignon Blanc, well we virtually tossed it into the risotto pot halfway done.  But on this bottle, their Meritage, AG is right on the money.  The only fault I could find was the heavy alcohol.

 

Meritage is that red wine people like after a couple of glasses of something else.  To be successful it has to be immediately pronounced, approachable and somehow meet the expectations of the hardline Cab Sauv types next to the softer Merlot snobs.  This blend checks every box.  It has some funky Cab Franc notes on the nose, the oak is pronounced but not Whac-A-Mole, and the third of Merlot gives it a velvet on the tongue finish with a few complex wet earth notes that linger deliciously.  For BC’s Okanagan, and at the price point and availability, something of a minor miracle.

 

Price: $27 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Bordeaux-ish.

January 18, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 & La Frenz Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

Anthony Gismondi loved the Mission Hill.  But then, he tends to give a hall pass to Mission Hill and Robert Mondavi.  How he found this pale, plain and rather banal white a 90 pointer is anyone’s guess.  If you really like the grassy, gooseberry, aggressive SB of New Zealand, you will be disappointed and have spent $10 more than a straightforward Brancott.  If you like the tight restraint of a refined Sancerre, you will be baffled by the simplicity.  If you are interested in what’s interesting in the Okanagan, what sort of incredible Sauv Blanc is coming off the vines, you are drinking what is invariably our Tuesday night white: The Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc (and if you buy it at Save On, you can save yourself $10 all in).

 

But if you like SB just in general, and if you want hints of New Zealand with a slightly more fruit forward and tropical fruit flair, you are far and away much better off down at La Frenz, where they bottle something clean, juicy, crisp and gorgeously palatable, which, unfortunately, sells out in a heartbeat.  Only one of these wines is memorable.

 

Price: Mission Hill and La Frenz both sell in Vancouver in the mid-20s at private wine shops.

 

Market Liquidity: The arch mediocrity of Mission Hill and the consistent virtue of La Frenz never ceases to surprise.

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

La Frenz Reserve Pinot Noir, 2016

From our (very) mixed case of La Frenz in 2018 I would say the reserve Pinot not as appealing or satisfying as the less expensive Blue Mountain run of the mill (and we are halfway through our BM Pinot, loving every bottle).  We opened the La Frenz up as a sipper for the Globes and I don’t know, we had it lying down for several months and just expected more I guess.  While it doesn’t disappoint there is simply no wow.  The layers of flavour and degrees of nuance we anticipated were all there, but not strikingly so, and while it is jammy there is no mushroom or black olives as LF bills it.  The finish seemed alarmingly terse.

 

Price: You can fine it in private wine stores for around $40, or in the low 30s on release from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Bronze.  At best.

January 16, 2019

Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay, 2016

What a wonderful, optimistic and uplifting start to 2019.  A beautiful white; crisp, clean, minerally, the proverbial oyster shells, with hints of honeydew melon and a whisper of jasmine.  A long buttery finish.  When Hugh Johnson writes about his love of acidity, I think this wine epitomizes that sentiment, with a tart acidity extremely well balanced on the palate.  Not knock your socks of Burgundy, but restrained and evocative of terroir.  Zero complaints.

 

Price: Gifted but I’ve seen it at the Kitsilano Wine Cellar in the mid 30s.

 

Market Liquidity: The yin and yang of new and old world Chardonnay.

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