Archive for ‘Blend’

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.

May 17, 2018

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, 2016

92 points over at Gismondi.  Wow.  (Wow as in yikes or oy vey or me oh my oh.)  We were unimpressed.  We were nonplussed.  We were disappointed.  From start to finish all we could think of was Australia and France and how they nail this.  It was plain, simple to simplistic, and with a banal finish like banana pith.  We poured the first glass with anticipation and an open mind.  By the end of the bottle we were just plain let down.

 

Price: $22 at Save-on Foods.

 

Market Liquidity: This is to Bordeaux Blanc what Fisher Price is to a Rubik’s cube.

April 24, 2018

CC Jentsch Cellars The Chase, 2013

The wine snob point of view: A nice wine to sip which is about the nicest thing I can think of to say about this blend.

 

What’s going on in the BC Okanagan and blends?  Is there an honest to god effort to make approachable simple wines that have virtually no identity and no sense of place but have the gall to pronounce themselves inspired by Bordeaux?

 

Ever walk into an outlet store, like a Banana Republic outlet store, and there’s just a sea of monochrome khaki on some table?  All good, no problem with the pants, just that there’s heaps and heaps of them and yet not one of them seems like something you’d want to wear?  That’s sort of this wine.  It’s a really pleasant blend.  Forgettable on the tongue, but pleasant.

 

The wine thrift point of view: This wine is sensationally good value.  Sensationally good value.  And particularly as a BC wine.  Start with a pre-tax price of under $20.  Source it at a Save-On that offers 10% on a mixed six pack.  Pay $1.70 less before tax.  That is just so stupendously wonderful in the BC wine market.  Kudos to Jentsch.  Two thumbs up to Save-On.

 

Price: $20.  Give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Sometimes you just have to dismiss your inner sommelier and enjoy the simple things in life.

April 6, 2018

Kraze Legz Black Bottom Stomp, 2011

There is nothing bad to say about this wine.  As a wine.  It’s a generous blend, fruit forward, lovely notes of tobacco and plum, easy to drink, food friendly.  Has the velvet of Merlot and a bit of the funk of Cab Franc.  If it sold at $22 or less I’d buy a couple of cases.  No doubt it’s sold out at the vineyard due to it’s remarkable approachability.

 

Here’s the rub: This is a wine that France and Argentina and Australia can produce and retail at $10 less.  Gismondi recently gave 91 points to a Cotes du Roussillon blend (Syrah and Grenache); different varietals I know, but wowza, it just flattened the KL.  And the CdR has years ahead of it.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Half decent and pretty good and not too bad BC wines are regularly overpriced.

 

This wine, which btw we really enjoyed, I want to stress that part, but this wine is indicative of the reason we started posting seven years ago.  I mean you have to either pay through the nose for Hypothesis, or suck it up for generic blends, and the decent, everyday wines, like the KL, well they are wonderful to drink but sting at the cash register.

 

There is room here for a whole editorial on the nascent BC wine industry, tax, labour, distribution, regs, the lot, and we don’t need to belabour it.  This is a simple consumer blog.  We have after tax dollars, not too many, and we like wine.  And, importantly, we’d love to support the BC wine industry more fully.  But it’s a snub to average wine drinkers that great BC wines are $20 more than foreign equivalents and good wines about $10 more.

 

Price: $29.99 before taxes at Save-On Foods in White Rock.

 

Market Liquidity: Crazy name but krazy good.