Archive for ‘Blend’

December 4, 2019

Natte Valleij POW, 2015

Natte Valleij POW, 2015

 

The curious incident of the South African Bordeaux blend. Ka-POW.

 

Novel.  And not long and florid but concise and intricate.  Absolutely the most interesting wine we’ve had this fall.  And I’m including a sensational Meursault in November and some half decent Burgundy along the way as well.

 

The label claim is a Bordeaux style blend.  But this is an anti-Robert Parker wine, it has nothing of the rich, opulent and high alcohol intensity of Wine Advocate 90 plus pointers,  the Merlot is a backdrop to the Cabernet Franc and Cab Sauv.  No velvet: Instead this is sharply layered with very crisp, pungent and curious notes of wet forest, scented herbs and just a dash of wood (even after 36 months in oak barrels).  I’m going to call this blend an Isoceles with Merlot on the short horizontal.  Fresh and innovative (or, in fact, fresh and old fashioned).  New to the Vancouver market.  It straddles the funky natural wine movement trend with the old school craft.  Unusual.  Not for everyone but for everyone willing to taste the breadth of Bordeaux at half the price, highly recommended.

 

Price: $35 at Kits Wine Cellar, but a six bottle purchase will reduce it by 10%.

 

Market Liquidity: A needle in a haystack.

December 2, 2019

Costers Del Priorat Pissarres, 2016

Costers Del Priorat Pissarres, 2016

There are better ways to spend $40.  Like, maybe, two bottles of wine.

 

Sometimes, you just want the prune-juice weight and slippery minerality of Priorat, what I often consider Spain’s Bordeaux blend.  And I suppose the Pissarres half delivers; it opens up nicely, a few herbal notes with air and time, but it’s not impressive, it is expensive, and it was only so-so with a basic beef stew.  There is something very young about the 2016, something less than multilayered, which leads me to believe it will never fully bloom the way so many other options at BCL will, although a reviewer said it would hold for a decade.  Pass.  I would recommend you pick up a decent Grenache, at $10 less a bottle, and double your satisfaction–tomorrow night.

 

Price: Regularly $38 before onerous taxes, recently on sale for $35 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Too much outlay for too little return.

August 23, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2017

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2017

We simply couldn’t abide this heavy, too sweet and cloying red blend which scored 89 from Anthony Gismondi (something of an MH acolyte) and 91 by Christopher Waters.  It is certainly drinkable, ok, yes, it’s smooth like marshmallow, but it is decidedly not pleasant, not in a heavy, funky southern Rhone way or a light, perfumed, Burgundy way.  There is fruit, lottsa fruit, and a silky-on-the-palate texture with an OK finish but we found it lacked the complexity, woody notes and interest the reviews found laudable.

 

Price: $27 at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: To each their own.

August 8, 2019

Time Meritage (white), 2014

Time Meritage (white), 2014

Gismondi recommended the 2017.  I’d never knowingly drunk a white Meritage so we took the plunge (although anyone drunk on Graves, as I was between bottles of Corvo and Frascati in the 1980s, or living in Australia, as I did for a bit in the 80s as well, has drunk this blend which should, under no circumstances, be called Meritage.  But there you go…).  We made no effort; I found with ease the 2014 so that was the base comparison.  And, yes, surprising.  Full body, creamy, lots of luscious butterscotchy, tangerine and  lemon blossom notes with just the absolute perfect note of oak.  Did we like it?  I think we were so surprised that we didn’t not like it we ended up liking it more than it deserves.  And it deserves another tasting, another vintage.

 

We love us some good Sem Sauv Bl (preferably Australian) and have waxed poetic many times on the No 41 Ecole here or here e.g.,  and nearly wet our pants with the Buty.  So if you think of Washington as gangbusters this is good but it’s Carlos Sainz in BC to the Lewis Hamilton down south.  Gismondi says the best wine they bottle at Time.  I can say one thing for certain: Unless gifted, probably the only wine we’ll ever drink from Time.

 

Price: $25 at Save On (but less if you get a mixed batch of six).

 

Market Liquidity: Formula 3.

August 7, 2019

Intrigue Social, 2018

Intrigue Social 2018

A mostly Pinot Gris with a Jamie Oliver sized dab of Gewürztraminer, this is astonishingly good value.  In BC, the sparklers generally go, in this order, bats piss to Prosecco to Australian and European bubbles to OVERPRICED BC faux-champers then onto the real McCoy.  And here, in a lovely pocket to compete with Cava, is a drinkable and exceptionally food friendly bubbly.

 

There are flaws, I mean let’s be clear.  The bubbles are madcap; they are Seth Rogen laughing at a Between Two Ferns episode with Whoopi Goldberg storming off The View: they fly in all directions, too many, too fast, and explode on the palate like Pop Rocks.  The finish is not long enough and attractive with no staying power.  But then let’s take a breath and review: Two bottles of this or one of Stellar’s Jay?  I mean let’s be social, go two.  A sort of minor revelation and a great way to liven up some tapas.

 

Price: $20 at the vineyard, hard to find in general.

 

Market Liquidity: Day drinking anyone?

May 27, 2019

One Faith Vineyard Malbec Petit Verdot, 2016

One Faith Vineyard Malbec Petit Verdot, 2016

Yikes.  An epic fail from Bartier Brothers.  Wow.  We tried.  Sipping.  Smelling.  Aerating.  This is just aggressive, potent, a clash of no merit.  Words fail me.  Weird to boot with a grassy finish.  I was an inch away from installing Grammarly to avoid the vile language littered in my tasting notes.  Shame.  Same day we had a glass of their rather brilliant Semillon, an 11.6% wonder that is food friendly, light, lovely and delectable and nearly half the price.

 

Price: $33 from Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Throwaway B-side.  At best. And I’m not thinking Ruby Tuesday with Let’s Spend the Night Together B-side.  I’m talking Cold Turkey Don’t Worry Kyoko B-side.

May 27, 2019

Cistus Faugeres, 2015

Cistus Faugeres, 2015

BC Liquor had this $30 wine on sale for $27.  It promised melon and kumquat and honeysuckle, and it delivered nothing.  In what has been a string of disappointing, dull and unmemorable wines this spring, the Cistus takes gold in the white category.  I don’t think even on a July day in the shade of a lime tree at Glanum would this hold interest.  More dullards in the BC wine marketplace than gnats in the evening sky. Who is the Ombudsperson for the abundance of boredom in the socialized wine market?

 

Price: $27 at BCL, reduced from $30.

 

Market Liquidity: Consumers: rise up.

March 20, 2019

Stina Cuvee White, 2016

Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.  So I bought a bottle (my first bottle of Croatian wine, ever,) and cooked up some curry (an eggplant curry by Meera Sodha, the phenomenal Meera Sodha, if you are not cooking her recipes you are not cooking Indian at home), and corked the Stina.  Thank god the curry was a slam dunk.

 

So this is what I can say unequivocally: Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.

 

Price: $21 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity:  Has, apparently, some utility.

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 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?