Archive for August, 2020

August 31, 2020

Culmina No 0006 Unfiltered “Jeunes Vignes” Malbec, 2016

Astonishing. 

First of all, Malbec is not what most people think of, gravitate towards, or intentionally set out to buy when they want a BC red.  Then to discover that not only is this wine phenomenally tasty, lip smackingly appealing on the palate, and reasonably food friendly, and a Malbec, my gosh, sleeper of the summer.

You could drink this melancholy, listening to Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou play The Homeless Wanderer.

Or, you could drink this toasted, to the garage rock sounds of Chevrolet Van by the Nude Party. It swings either way.

Or you may search high and low trying to source a bottle, and come up empty handed, and that’s how it goes with a lot of evocative BC wines.  The search, I would suggest, is worth the effort.  Two bottles of this will cost you about the same as one bottle of Hypothesis from a private Vancouver wine retailer, and might give you twice the pleasure.  It is certainly a social red, not overtly endearing like Merlot but with just enough edge in the structure to lend a curiosity and oomph.

Price: $29 from the vineyard.  Get it by the half case.

Market Liquidity: An everyday red that drinks like something meant to impress.

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August 31, 2020

Culmina Cabernet Franc, 2014

$38 is too much money for this wine. 

The pointsters will rarely write something so baldly true but it’s true.  I mean you can spend $1500 on a French CF at BC Liquor, if that sort of cash is burning a hole in your wallet.  But CF is something we have, in BC, in relative abundance.  There is plenty of wholly palatable non-plonk under $30.  And $38 is the vineyard price.  You will pay more at the VQA stores in YVR (if you can find it).

A big chunk of this blog isn’t to weigh in, pointster style, on how wonderful wine is, how true to the varietal, or not.  We have given ourselves over to the vice.  Wine we have decided is wonderful at 89 points or 92.  Most of our comment is to think of the after cash money we have to spend on wine, the exorbitant prices we pay for wine in BC, and then to look at value, per sip, per meal, and unlike the Robert Parkers of the world, with comp bottles and label mania, we basically come down to utility and satisfaction.

It’s a wonderful bottle.  It’s just at least $10 too much. 

Price: I think I mentioned it?  (And last time I did intentionally shop for a BC CF, Seven Stones, Tinhorn, Black Sage and quite a few other totally acceptable and very tasty CF’s were less; markedly so.)

Market Liquidity: The loveliness was diminished by the price tag.

August 31, 2020

Bartier Brothers Chardonnay, 2016

Don and Michael Bartier make good wines (word on the street they may help Saturna make good wines!).  In general, bottle after bottle, vintage after vintage, they have a sincerity and forwardness that is usually very likeable and almost always easy on the pocketbook.  Their Semillon is a smash (if you can get your friends to drink Semillon).  True, we’ve been indifferent to some of the reds, but each year we give some a go and each year we usually find a varietal or blend worth blogging about. And all hail the screw tops for a picnic.

The Chardonnay is good.  It’s gentle, lightly fruity, sips well, makes a very nice lunch accompaniment; top heavy in tropical notes with perhaps a little too much guava/pineapple.  No oak.  Product specialists raved.  It’s probably an ideal if not addictive white for many people, at an exceptional price point.  But it drinks sweet.  It drinks a little too syrupy and without the crisp, lean, sharpness you (or many people) want in a Chardonnay.

Price: You can find it in private stores for around $25.

Market Liquidity: It’s a subjective A but an objective B.

August 31, 2020

Mare Magnum Crudo Prosecco

The bottle says party up.  The wine says better than most Prosecco at the local liquor store.  Organic plays another trump card.  So all round, pretty good value, and fun times.  Good fizz, maybe too assertive (look at the photo; that’s some dense conglomeration of bubbles).  Dry (ish), dryer than the bubbly from up in the Italian north that adorns BC Liquor shelves. 

We tend to veer away from Prosecco: BC and any number of “new world” options at or around the same price point win out, but this (although not stellar) was very pleasing and drank with cheese, crudites, crackers and olives very well.  There is a tongue feel not unlike a bowl of stewed rhubarb. Appealing acidity.

Price: $26 before taxes at Legacy Liquor.

Market Liquidity: $10 less in Manitoba where it would be, literally, a steal.

August 13, 2020

Laughing Stock Vineyards Blind Trust, 2017

You can’t go wrong with this local, under-$30 red blend (just don’t get us started on the insufferable LFNG labels…).  The pour is immediately appealing.  Robust in the heavy alcoholic sense, and whereas in Bordeaux a blend might top out between 12.5 and 13%, this is a hefty 14.4.  But, hey, it’s enormously likeable, food friendly and a stunning sipper.

Although mostly Merlot, it drinks like a Cab Sauv Cab Franc blend as much as anything.  Very fruity, overripe blackberries, easy on the oak, and a deep, luscious finish that’s like an espresso crema.

And all this for $30.  Huzzah.

Price: $29 at indie liquor stores.

Market Liquidity: Pink gets the Party Started; this blend will take it home.

August 13, 2020

Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz, 2016

Gosh, for a blog that brags about being anti-pointster, we sure do seem on a point-driven jag.  92 it is.

Is it good wine?  Yes.  Is it good Shiraz? Yes; fruity, licorice, earthy, “all the usuals” if you will.  Truly, a typical and satisfying Oz Shiraz.  But: Is it ludicrously over the top alcoholic?  Yes, oh god yes.  14.9% but with the wine version of a humidex it could be Port.  There is something Hummer-ish about it’s headstrong attack and something equally leaden about the finish.  Demonstrative and then some.  Delicious, just a little weighted down.  It’s a one off for us.

Price: An extremely reasonably $27 at BC Liquor.

Market Liquidity: Think Great Expectations (as opposed to A Christmas Carol; both “92-point stories,” one just able to be bright and light and satisfying without the slog).

August 13, 2020

Il Margone Chianti Classico, Gran Selezione, 2013

Can you guess how many points the Wine Spectator scored this vintage? 

As part of a minor celebration we splurged on some rather pricey Chianti (not much to get too excited about in 2020…).  Even with seven years under its belt, we felt it had some place to go, still.

Gobs of acidity and light tannins with deeply nuanced fruit.  If you’ve ever had an orchard pie (it’s a dessert of plums, apricots, peaches and cherries, and really only should be made during those magical two weeks in the summer when each of those is ripe at the same time), this wine could be that pie in a bottle, a really bold and assertive pie. 

I will add this though: Just for sheer enjoyment, just for having wine with friends and enjoying food, the Vajra Barbera, which we rarely go a month without downing at least one bottle, trumps this heavyweight.  I mean not over at the Wine Advocate, obviously, but maybe in your living room.

Price: $60 at BC Liquor but, for what it’s worth, over $40 USD south of the border.

Market Liquidity:  Very timpani in a requiem.

August 13, 2020

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2015

From the cellar: The 2017 can be found around town, so I’m guessing we’ve had this kicking around for a couple of years. 

Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of posts for Chinon on the blog.  Not sure why, we gravitate towards the leather, gamey top notes of a decent Cab Franc, and this doesn’t disappoint.  A very juicy, black currant and lightly aromatic spice on the finish.  Crazy tannins considering the lie down.  Lovely with food, perfect with food, a little “loose” on the palate as a sipper.

Price: Not sure when, but whatever date we bought it, low 20s before tax.

Market Liquidity: One of those wines unlikely to get high points but highly likely to satisfy.