Archive for September, 2020

September 24, 2020

Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-à-Vent, 2014

There is something breezy and uplifting about cru Beaujolais; it’s like a day drinking red with heaps more character than a stale rosé.  It can be romantic, perky, festive and just plain appealing.  But as much as that fresh and forward fruit shines in most CB, the Moulin-à-Vent has a leg up.  Perched in the north, its bottlings often fit for the cellar, you almost always pay more.  But, what really makes MàV special is that it does age.  Sometimes magnificently.

I’m not adept enough to discern the pronounced differences in the 12 cru, but even a novice can intuit the subtle variations due to geography and the reactions they elicit.  If, say, Morgon is Beethoven and, I don’t know, Fleurie is Mozart, then MàV is Bach.

The nose on this is electric, holy even, like when on a hot summer day in Florence you wander into the cool of a cathedral, the frankincense, the wooden pews, the cool stone.  And yes, the organ plays a structured fugue.  The actual wine is more reserved than fragrant; gobs of raspberry, refined and structured, but weirdly not joyful, like what cru B should be, what you expect.  Dirge-y in fact. And with a long, flat finish on the palate as if the organ pedal led to a long low pitch, unappealing to the ear.  Still, we finished off the bottle in no time.

Price: Well it’s too dear for our pockets, but it was reduced from $57 to $50 at BC Liquor and we ended up with a bottle fortuitously.

Market Liquidity: Glenn Gould called Bach’s Italian Concerto “Bach for people who don’t like Bach.”  That was sort of our reaction here; cru Beaujolais for those who don’t like CB.

September 24, 2020

Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay, 2013

From the cellar: Stellar.  No other words.

In 2017 we pulled out the last bottle from a half case we’d scored in the US (back in the day when the CDN had some reasonable busying power) and wrote an over the top post.  Link here.  Then, on the weekend, I found another bottle.  A final final bottle.  Lottery win!  It’s just that gushing 2017 review all over again, amped up.  I mean the legs on this stuff, it’s beyond description. 

Price: You can score it in YVR for around $64 which is ludicrous. LUDICROUS. Definitely not on our income. But how I wish.

Market Liquidity: In 2015 we wrote “It puts the lush in lush” and in 2017 “How the other half drink” and to that we’ll add parting with the last bottle is not sweet sorrow, it’s just plain sorrow.

They put their phone number on the label AND the cork, like a Johnson & Johnson product. It’s Hello Kitty adorable…
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September 24, 2020

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2017

We received our annual case from the vineyard and thought we should “finish up” last year’s remnants to avoid any confusion (!).

Of two bottles in a mixed case we had the first last December.  Our review, here, was of a take it or leave it nature, unimpressed and let down.  So, on first sip of this second bottle, nearly a year later, much of the same, nonplussed.  Pretty ho-hum.

But, sip after sip, this wine popped.  Big time.  I was resentful on the last half glass, resentful the bottle was empty I mean.  And, I was pissed off at our December post last year; we drank it too soon.

Woodsy and herbaceous, some spicy cinnamon, juicy gobs of cherry, time and air bringing to life a really evocative PN.  The filbert finish a touching denouement on a classic Okanagan PN.  Not a whiff of the coconut we made note of on the previous bottle.  Time and air, Hugh Johnson has waxed poetic on how time and air can alter wine. Amazing.

Price: $35 from the vineyard in 2019.

Market Liquidity: A series of fortunate events sips.

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September 18, 2020

Domaine de Ferrand Cotes-de-Rhone “Cuvee Antique”, 2018

The other night we were supporting our local bistro, Les Faux, when I noticed on the chalkboard they were featuring the Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  At $130 a bottle.  We opted for a more basic Cotes-du-Rhone.  And, when the Ferrand release came into Marquis earlier this year, we did the same.

The “antique” is about as base model as you can get from Ferrand, but even a Toyota Corolla goes forwards and backwards and stops when you brake.  It ain’t no Lexus but it absolutely has enormous utility.  If there is a fault, it’s much too easy to drink in 2020.  Gentler woodsy/dusty notes than some Rhone blends, restrained fruit, a hot lick of pepper, and a lovely cherry on the finish.  Concrete not filtered but, you know, refined.  Very Grenache Forward.

Jeb Dunnuck said it has loads of charm.  Yes.  Loads of charm.  And at $15 less than equivalent blends in BC’s Okanagan (from vines half a century younger) it has thrift to boot.  Go Cotes-du-Rhone.

Price: $34 before a modest discount for a half case at Marquis.

Market Liquidity: Like a scene stealing cameo in a film littered with stars.

September 18, 2020

Sea Star Salish Sea, 2019

We have waxed poetic on Sea Star.  Oh my goodness have we said some fine things about Sea Star.  But alas we are parting ways on this year’s Salish Sea.

Where to begin?  Sweet but not pleasant.  Light, but watery (look at the wine glass, it could be flat Perrier).  Thin without redemption.  Mediocre with food and banal as a sipper.  I don’t know if there’s too much tropical with not enough weight, so you get that phoniness of canned fruit cocktail, or whether it was just a bad year.

It pains me to write this.  Seriously.

Check out the archive, it was total infatuation: The Siegerrebe, 2014, hats off.  The Stella Maris 2015, we were pragmatic but adoring.  The Ortega, 2016, absolutely loved it.  The Pinot Gris 2016; went ga ga. Ga ga. We drooled. So it was crushing to end up with half a case of duds.

Plus, you know, Sea Star is impossible to find.  We pick up a case every year on the Southern Gulf Islands, but outside the SGI good luck.  Oh well, the remainder will make a fine risotto.

Price: $24.27 at Saturna General Store. A very reasonable price I should add

Market Liquidity: Double bogey.

September 18, 2020

Culmina Saignée, 2019

Part of the summer whites package Culmina was passing off this year (to, no doubt, their very loyal fan base).  Hmmm.

OK, let’s start here: In over a decade of blogging about wine we have less than a dozen posts on rosé.  Why?  It’s an upsell wine.  It’s never as good as white (because when it’s chilled it loses flavour whereas, say, Champagne comes alive) and it’s never as good as red (because as it warms, and gains flavour, it’s both not as good as red and without the refreshing zest of white).  It’s a lose lose blend.  But you can’t stop seeing it on the shelves, shoved down our throats.

Well you know what?  If you must drink rosé, drink this.  It has enough heft to be interesting mixed with enough fruit, predominantly raspberry, to be heads and tails above a lot of other Okanagan offerings. I will say this: In summer, on the deck, it was very pleasant.

Still, mixed feelings. And when we moved on to red at dinner I was much more content.

Price: $24 direct from vineyard.

Market Liquidity: We give it our rosé seal of approval (which is of course not a real thing).

NB: Kudos to the photog who captured the underside of a table lamp.

September 18, 2020

Culmina Skin Contact Gewurztraminer No 008

Despite the literal and slightly ludicrous name and number (not a bad thing I guess, Mutiny on the Bunny was, obviously, the Bugs Bunny take on Mutiny on the Bounty) an unusual and striking wine.  As per a few Culmina bottlings it comes with the glass stopper.  The first place I saw this was Alsace, over 10 years ago, but I do think it’s a brilliant idea on light whites where, generally, they get drunk in one go like Kool-Aid.

We opened this to to drink with a poached halibut in light curry; cumin, ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, and basil.  It was magnificent.  Often wine works with food, sometimes it clashes (peanuts anyone?) but once in a while you get that marriage, that yin and yang of a wine up to the task but not overpowering the food.  Everything just tastes better together.  It was this stellar complement, this quirky Gewurtz, that made the dinner so much better. If this had occurred in a restaurant the post would end here; five stars.

Of course we didn’t finish the bottle at dinner and later, having another glass just as a sipper, it fell apart. And then another glass, and more disappointment. I don’t know what petroleum tastes like but my guess is something like Vaseline, or this wine, and as a sipper this was harsh and pungent with a fruity attack that cloyed and ridiculously unpleasant on the palate.

So there you go, we loved it and we lost it.

Price: $24 direct from vineyard.

Market Liquidity: More fair weather friend than BFF.

September 3, 2020

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling, 2017 & Tantalus Riesling, 2019

Gismondi gave an over the top review for the 2019 Tantalus Riesling, suggesting we horde; it is after all the current trent. He said “back up the truck” so we took him at his word and got a case of the 2019 and then at private stores sourced some old vines. And I gotta say, it’s good, it’s worth it, but it just didn’t knock our socks off the way his review did.

The OV is sharp and acidic and striking. If there’s a barbed wire Riesling, this is it. The 2019 is more overtly approachable and, on the palate, has plenty of depth and is determined to proclaim itself RIESLING. Both are decently low alcohol and superbly food friendly. But, overall, we reserve judgement. The 2019, after a sample, went “into the cellar” to revisit post-Covid, sometime down the road in the new normal. I’m calling it something to look forward to.

Price: An extremely reasonable $21.75 at the vineyard for the 2019; nearly double for the OV at private stores.

Market Liquidity: At less than $22 a bottle it’s a science experiment; only time will tell.