Archive for February, 2019

February 27, 2019

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, 2016

Maybe the lightest and most delicate red you’ll taste in a year; like raspberry soda.  Ethereal on the fruit front.  Tannins in spades, flowing like Niagara, but fruity and juicy and like a lure: take another sip.

 

Without any heft, it’s a wash against substance.  Try it as an aperitif or with nothing stronger than buffalo mozzarella or Gouda.

 

As a hot weather red, in the shad of vines spread across a pergola, probably divine.  But in the middle of winter a novelty.  Does not compare to their astounding Chardonnays.

 

Price: A rather hefty $38 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

 

Market Liquidity: Novelty makes a nice diversion, but that’s about the extent of it.

February 26, 2019

El Pacto Rioja, 2016

Everything you want in a Rioja at about the price you want to pay for a Rioja.  Drinks like something more expensive, silky tannins, assertive structure, decent fruit, some nice dark hints of charcoal and chocolate; full bodied but not flabby.  Food friendly, a decent sipper, and a lovely label to boot.  There will be multiples down the road.

 

Price: $30 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar

 

Market Liquidity: Surrender to the old school finesse.

February 25, 2019

La Frenz Chardonnay Reserve, 2016

Is the LF reserve markedly better than the non-reserve?  I guess so.  It looks better in the glass with its deep golden hue.  It has more of the assertive oak and piquancy that is the hallmark of the house.  Do we like it?  We love it.  Year after year.  But we’re never sure how much more we love it than their run of the mill Ch.  I mean for $20 La Frenz turns out a palatable and “drinker friendly” Chardonnay that perks up any seafood dinner.

 

Hard to find, worth finding, worth having in multiples. Too bad about the cork, it seems a little pompous, but a perpetual favorite in our cellar.

 

Price: $25 from the vineyard and worth each cent.

 

Market Liquidity: It always seems a little special, even if predictable.

 

February 24, 2019

Liber Farm & Winery, Signature Red, 2015

We did not understand this wine.  We were baffled by the weight, stunned by the attack, left listless by the brashness of the blend, and confused by its identity.  The Similkameen is awash in wonderful wine, you almost could do no wrong.  Or so we thought.  The 40% Merlot is like a chimera, the Cabernet Franc the Penn to the blend’s Teller.  I don’t think we’ve drunk a more unappealing and mixed up BC red in years.  Enough said.

 

Price: $28 as Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Did I say “enough said” already?

February 24, 2019

Fuiedo Maccari Grillo, 2016

Fuedo Maccari bottles some more than worthwhile reds.  Why not give the Grillo a go?  Crisp, light, sometimes sharp like grapefruit pith, our nominal experience with Grillo is it’s the arch enemy of Riesling.  But it’s a fine line between refreshingly appealing and innocuous.  This teeters towards the latter.

 

Like a whisper of breeze on a humid day, this wine has no staying power.  Not on the nose, not on the palate.  It’s simple, it’s one note, there is only a nuance of tropical fruit, and if there’s anything exceptional it’s how refreshing it could be eating fritto misto on a terrace in Sicily with a view of Malta in the distance where, truth be told, the wine doesn’t have to be very good to make the day especial.

 

James Suckling gave this a 90 and called it full body.  Wow, what planet was he on?  Full body? This couldn’t pass as a limbless bust in the ruins of Pompeii.

 

Price: $27 at Kitsilano Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Like the rat at the end of The Departed: not necessary.

February 23, 2019

Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

There is something about Australian Cab Sauv that’s never 100% as good as you hope regardless of the price.  Shiraz? Out of the park.  Cab Sauv, hit and miss.  This doesn’t miss, but it’s no home run.

 

The Bleasdale scored high with Halliday and we’re not in disagreement, particularly the very palatable tannins, which in Napa would probably choke, and the predominance of cherry and black currant.  Smooth and decent with red meats but also without the depth the label proclaims.  Order it in a restaurant.

 

Price: $18 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Good value but not great value.

February 22, 2019

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec, 2017

It’s young.  It’s not expensive. It’s littered with pointster stickers.  And yet?  It delivers.

 

With some air and time and despite its youth this is just surprisingly good value, gorgeously expressive of Malbec, tasty, tangy, forward, food friendly, and easy on the pocket book.  Who woulda thunk it?

 

Price: $17 at BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: A minor miracle.

February 3, 2019

Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir, 2014

We felt the 2013 Canyonview set the benchmark for Haywire, a house we more or less adore, but, um, the 2014 feels lost in the rush to make a splash in Decanter and wow us with spectacular whites.  Hey Haywire, don’t forget about this vintage, it’s your calling card.  It’s like the Ford Mustang: Introduced for Americans who wanted “stickshift action and room for four” it quickly became a ghost.

 

The 2014 vintage is meaty, funky, chewy, hefty.  It’s no Swan Lake in the Burgundy Pinot style.  Sure, it has the cache of the Haywire grey label wines and it’s pleasing but it is so definitely not the “ethereal thin juicy” Canyonview of last year.  So not.  We didn’t even get that tangy, eloquent acidity we loved in the 2013.

 

Price: A not unreasonable (for this echelon of red) $36.50 at Brewery Creek.

 

Market Liquidity: Fading from memory as we post.

February 3, 2019

Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc, 2016

Yeah, OK.  I mean what were you expecting?  It’s not a discovery Chinon style.  It’s a half decent Okanagan red en route to being, several vintages down the road, er, pretty good.  It’s very berry, fruity, raspberry, red currant and raisin forward, not musky or aromatic.  It lacked depth.  A little flat for us especially as (for Cab Franc) it seemed a little weak with meat and better as a sipper, Pinot Noir style.  Price point is good and for those “edging” into CF territory a decent introduction.

 

Price: $26 at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Only a notch above ho-hum.

February 2, 2019

Culmina Merlot, 2014

For those with the money, and the willingness to “join the club” Culmina offers plenty of rewards.  We have gone ga-ga over a few, most notably their Gruner.  But if you just want to pick up a bottle of wine, at your local private shop, you will most likely be making a choice between their Riesling or their ludicrously priced Hypothesis.  So it was nice to find middle ground, price-wise, in the Merlot.

 

Here’s the rub: There is some damn fine Merlot in BC.  Born and bred.  This blog is awash in praise for lesser vintages and lower priced bottles.  And based on that comparison alone this is OK.  Just OK.  It’s a drinkable, competent, appealing Merlot.  I’d drink it over and over.  Except there are other choices, just as good if not better, at a lower price point.

 

As for the wine itself?  Plum yes, violets not so much.

 

Price: $35 at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: There’s no disappointment, it just didn’t seem gratifying.