Archive for ‘Blend’

November 15, 2018

Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidum, 2014

Nothing to blog about but lovely to drink.  Nothing complex but appealing on the palate.  Berry and spice and a wet earthy finish, while never overpowering.  It does not dominate.  It has that French sitting on the fence thing about it.  A weird hybrid between exceptional and inconsequential.  Personally, I could drink this regularly.  With friends, at dinner, as a sipper.  But then again, I will probably never drink this again, at least not in BC; not at the price.  Not at the astonishingly ridiculous price.  My god.

 

Price: 40 frigging dollars a bottle before onerous taxes.  Over on the Reverse Wine Snob blog they pegged it at half that in US so there should be a willing market.  But Rhone reds on our shelves have got to shine a little higher at the $40 plus mark.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a best friend who goes snob.

November 2, 2018

Sea Star Encore, 2015

All over the blog we rave about Sea Star.  Growing the right grapes for the climate, small batches, unfiltered wines, biodiversity, you name it.  Bring on the Salish Sea.

 

The red here is a primarily Okanagan blend with some local grapes thrown in for good measure.  The first glass I had of Encore was a few years back and I wasn’t wowed.  Top heavy, it was a Cab Sauv and Cab Franc and Merlot clash; we ignored their reds and concentrated on their gorgeous library of whites.  I think the Encore (which they call a Meritage) has gone from 15 to 16 to 18 months in oak.  But this vintage they seem to have it closer to right than ever.  Online they call it a Merlot Cab Franc blend with (I think) just the right amount of Merlot velvet contrasted with just the right amount of Cab Franc funk.  On the bottle they note some Marechal Foch, from Pender Island, thrown into the mix.

Curious, and a great sipper, it slipped with a hearty meal of (mostly) cheeses, whereas a basic Wente Cab Sauv was a home run.  I could get to drinking this regularly, but not at the price point.

 

Price: Around $32 at private wine shops, $29 at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: A blend moving in the right direction, but not at its destination.

November 1, 2018

Evel Real Companhia Velha, Douro, 2014

Wine Spectator put it in their top 100 in 2016 and, thus, the bottle comes with a neck ribbon.  Somehow it wasn’t 89 points but 90 points and this is where we loathe the pointsters.  Yes, it’s good value, there is as the critics say juicy acidity, it’s warming on the tongue in that way red blends (masterfully crafted) can be, and this (dominated by Touriga Franca) has a lovely although not hugely memorable classic Portuguese style.  I would be hard pressed to remember it in a blind test a week after the fact though.

 

Price: Low 20s at private wine stores.

 

Market Liquidity: Good value but not great value.

September 25, 2018

La Vita Pazza White Blend, 2016

In my notes I wrote accidentally “white bland.”  Cute, but incorrect.

 

Think of a lively, decent house white in a local bistro, something palatable, something not bland like generic Pinot Gris or choking pine resin Sauv Blanc.  Something with a lilt, a dash of sweetness, and accommodation for everything from fatty appies to curries and spicy stew.

 

There is nothing that memorable to the Pazza white.  It’s just a base model blend.  It is in fact the La Frenz base model blend, a more or less balanced Muscat and Riesling, very fruit punch and rich without being cloying.  But really, how enjoyable, easy to drink, and food friendly.  The pointsters may pass it by, but you could do much worse at the price point at half the fun.

 

Price:  Wait for it (are you waiting for it?): $15.56 at the vineyard.  Wowza.  This could sell for $29 at a restaurant and still turn the standard mark-up on profit.  And how cheap and cheerful would that be in our over-taxed Western Hemisphere haven?

 

Market Liquidity: Eat, drink, be merry.

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August 10, 2018

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro, 2017

Young and fresh but dull and forgettable which is a) surprising and b) a letdown because flip the bottle around and see what’s inside, a blend of two obscure hybrids, Sauvignette and Petit Milo which, you might assume based simply on their obscurity, that Unsworth is onto something pretty special.  They are not.

 

Gismondi compared this to Muscadet (trust me: Buy Muscadet) and gave it an eye-popping 90 points but on what scale who knows.  Maybe that’s like when you make Celsius Fahrenheit “on the fly” (i.e., double it and add thirty).

 

Price: A very reasonable $20 give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Cold water is also refreshing.

August 8, 2018

La Condamine Paulignan, 2013

A wonderful, thoughtful and approachable red blend, with a hearty depth and pleasing musky notes.  Most of it drank, for us, like the proverbial cigar shop, laden with smoke and tobacco leaf and nuanced edges of charcoal.  Sometimes top heavy.  Always enjoyable.  Gismondi loved it and BCL in response reduce it by one dollar so small mercies.

 

Price: $23 before taxes at BCL, $18 including taxes in Ontario.  Go figger.

 

Market Liquidity: Like drinking beyond your means.

 

I will add a footnote though.  The next day we drank the Miss Molly in My Bed, 2010.  Eight year old South African red blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot) same price as the Condamine.  Mystery purchase.  Last bottle on the shelf.  Attica in Victoria (probably the best curated wine shop in Victoria) all alone between the lovely if overpriced Secateurs and lower priced and less drinkable SA reds.  Score.  Absolutely beautiful.  What a sipper; smooth with spice, rich dark smoky flavours on the palate with a light, modestly acidic cherry finish.  Screw top to boot.  Miracles do happen.

July 19, 2018

Quinta do Vale Meandro, 2015

A “worth it” blend from the Douro.

 

The proverbial round, full and meaty red without the weight of round, full and meaty reds.  What they call juicy acidity in the trades, and when it hits the palate it teases and entices on that acidity.  The flavour profile is a bowlful of orchard fruits.  Then, a piquant, peppery finish.  Enormously appealing, a bouquet of lavender and light vanilla on the nose.  No weighty powerhouse, we couldn’t sense the tannins identified by the Wine Advocate nor did we find it dry and serious, in fact it has a rather playful, fruity element to the blend the way a fine cru Beaujolais might.  We could easily take up house with the plum and cherry and licorice.

 

Price: $37 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, a little out of our wheelhouse, but incomparably more likeable than BC reds at $10 more.

 

Market Liquidity: Splurge.  It’s worth it.

July 13, 2018

Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drézéry, 2013

We drank three bottles before I got down on my hands and knees and made a formal commitment.

 

Almost impossible to find, which I take to mean BC Liquor is no longer importing, but if you can find it it’s worth it.  A gem.

 

Online reviews referred to it as new world, modern, and pop and pour.  Pretty much the opposite of how we felt.  It was not welcoming or nearly open without air, and the very first sip of the very first glass was a bomb.  But it blossomed after 20 minutes with a balance and muted tannins that didn’t appear on opening.  Bears no resemblance to the common heavy hitters of California or Oz reds and was unmistakably French, with a purity of place that spoke of lavender fields, earthy notes and figgy pudding.  Delicious.  I’m rarely in concord with RP but the WA crew nailed this one.

 

Price: $29.99 before onerous taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: A rare quality find lingering on the BCLDB shelves.

June 8, 2018

Monte Del Fra Ca’ Del Magro, 2015

Superiore bianco indeed.  Fragrant and floral.  Enticing.  Light and lovely.  The yum in yummy.

 

A crazy legs blend of Garganega, Treviano Toscano, Tocai, Cortese, and then a smidgen of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Malvasio.  Aging on the lees is what the reviewers write.  Wine drinkers will just enjoy.  Or should just enjoy.

 

A most desirable departure from the usual suspects.  Here comes summer.

 

Gobs of gentle fruit, more blossom and aroma than meat, gorgeously balanced, a tight, acid finish with a plummy aftertaste.  Beautiful on the palate, a superb aperitif, and very friendly with light cheese and seafood.  Who can complain?  Buy six for the patio.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $23 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: It writes happily, Best Wishes from Napoli.

June 1, 2018

Road 13 Cabernet Merlot, 2016

A mystery of no proportions.  Smooth and sweet and sickly.  Really, pretty much everything we don’t want in a red wine, a lot of emphasis on approachability and nothing resembling terroir.  Bland to boot.  The Merlot comes on as a perfume counter, the Cabernet Sauvignon as a soupcon of pepper.  Enormously disappointing.

 

Price: $25 at private wine stores before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: You know things are looking down when most of the reviewers include the phrase “easy to drink.”  So is Kool-Aid.