La Frenz is having a moment. Awards and glory. Good on them. We’ve been getting a mixed case, annually, for over a decade; they deserve some acclaim. Somewhere along the line we went “off” Burrowing Owl Chardonnay and transitioned to La Frenz. But here’s the rub: We got a bit put off by the rise in prices. And now LF, like most of the BC Okanagan is, well, you know, expensive if you’re not there on the day of release.
Here are two worthy reds. You won’t be able to get them from the vineyard directly, and if you source them at private stores you will pay in the high 30s before tax.
On the Malbec, which scored a silver at the Canadian Wine Championships in 2021, I will say it’s gloriously good. If this doesn’t encapsulate Malbec, nothing does. It’s berry forward, very berry forward, with that dark, smokiness characteristic of the varietal. A big whopping joy of red. If you bought it at $26 from LF you scored big time. If you bought it at a wine store for $36 you thought “Why?” Comparative South American Malbecs litter the BC Liquor shelves at $10 and $15 cheaper; and are equally if not more satisfying. (The last time we loved their Malbec this much was the 2016, which we blogged about here.)
The Merlot is something of an enigma. It definitely is lacking charm or curb appeal or whatever the average Merlot drinker wants when they screw off the top. This seems rough around the edges, cedar shavings and earthy pith, very sharp on the palate, and the professional reviewer phrase “gorgeous tannins” just doesn’t apply.
So you have the little winery that could and then did, sold out inventory, amped up prices for what’s left on private shelves, and in our minds too much hoopla. Here’s a big hats off salute to success at LF. Full stop.
Prices: $36 at Marquis for the Malbec and $38 at Liberty for the Merlot. Gosh, that 2016 Malbec was $24!!!
Market Liquidity: Join their wine club, or take a pass.