Archive for ‘Blend’

March 2, 2018

Piekenierskloof “The Tea Leaf” Chenin Blanc Blend, 2016

We love our Chenin; French, South African, Australian, bring it on.  We wanted to love this.  Low alcohol, screw cap, high altitude vines.  Maybe our predilection for the varietal and relatively unrealistic expectations were too much for the W. O. Piekenierskloof, because for us it was a bomb.


Bruised fruit.  Dry, brittle dry, earthy, mushroom broth, lightly acidic, kumquat on the finish with a pasty, green, tarragon-ish herby note.  Not food friendly.  Dull as a sipper.


Perplexing, confusing, disappointing.  Despite the novelty of its remote high terrain and the rooibos growing in its midst.


Not balanced or terribly pleasant and unusual in a tiresome (as opposed to curious) fashion.  Much loved by the critics which is why we tried but it’s one strike and yer out with this.  Sorry W. O.


Price: $33 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.


Market Liquidity: Like idling in a parking lot.  It’s middling.

February 27, 2018

Rioja Conde Valdemar, Finca Alto Cantabria 2015

Unique, unusual and yet delectable.  Not sure there is any other way to put it.  Viura, mainly, and some Verdejo.


A golden nectar, not as weighty as it appears, flinty on the nose but tropical on the tongue, a strong punch of coconut (think Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil) with other herbaceous flavours, light but identifiable oak, and a palate cleansing finish.


Ludicrously food friendly.  Wash down shellfish, drink alongside mixed tapas, sip with snacks, it can even battle pasta in a tomato sauce.


Despite the 91 point WS seal on the label you can see online it is not without many detractors.  Many detractors.  Is that because it’s different than you might anticipate, unlike common varietals, heavy when it should be light and light when it should be heavy?  Or is it because white Rioja is such a hard sell? It’s like the pit-bull of varietals, much maligned and misunderstood.  There is definitely an oxymoronic quality to this bottle, but I would say charismatic in its complexity, and appealing because of that.  If you can bravely face the Saturday NYT crossword, then this white is for you.  If you are still stuck in the black hole of innocuous Pinot Grigio, stay clear.


Price: $32 at Kits Wine Cellar.


Market Liquidity: Like Escher’s impossible staircase, a little hard to define.

January 20, 2018

Clos de los Siete, Mendoza, 2012

From the cellar: Easy to find, easy to drink.  Not sure why we’ve never posted on the Siete, a lovely red blend highly recommended.  For whatever reason, we laid some down a few years ago.  I can’t unequivocally say that two years made an enormous difference, but there’s no denying the silkiness and allure of a slightly aged Siete.  And when you compare this to BC reds twice the price there’s no denying sheer brilliance at the price.


Although the Malbec dominates, the Merlot shines through, smooth and delectable, luscious in its fruit forwardness and with a lingering ripe plumb afterthought.  Zippo tannins.  A pinch of pepper.  Make no mistake: If you haven’t had a bottle you are passing on something of exquisite value.  Five bottles of this for the price of one fine Penfolds.


Price: Two years ago it was $24.50 all in at BC Liquor; nowadays, it’s $26 for the 2014 before egregious taxes.


Market Liquidity: Tuesday sipper or Sunday roast, it checks the boxes.

January 5, 2018

Clos du Soleil Celestiale, 2014

It’s been two years since we had a bottle of the Celestiale.  This 2014 was a real surprise.  In general, the Clos de Soleil wines are excellent, if a little pricey, but the Celestiale always seemed a non event.  This pick, typical of a domestic wine that would sell for under $20 in the US but in BC under $30, has all the hallmarks of a workhorse red; juicy and fruity with just a soupcon of acidity and with some air a soft, eloquent finish.  Harsher woodsy tones segue with the fruit.  The many vines blend works, and it works well, if not quite as well as their more expensive bottles.  For BC red, very good value.


Price: $27 before taxes at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Celestiale is to the Signature what AX is to Giorgio Armani.

December 21, 2017

Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache, 2015

Gismondi loved this wine and so did we.  We’re not always on the same wavelength but this was synchronicity.  Wow. Just sip it.  Just sip it to appreciate it.  Slowly.  If you can make it last make it last.  Shiraz Grenache but it could be port in its seamless blend.  It is gentle (compared to run of the mill Oz Shiraz), yet up to the challenge of roasts and chops.  Deeply nuanced with fruit and spice that drift across the palate in ludicrous harmony.  Oozes character.  Just over the limit of what we like to spend on a weekday red but worth every penny.  Kudos for the screw cap.


We tried to lay it down as a cellar pick but it lasted less than sixty days.


Price: $31 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Rich like cake, smooth like cashmere, warm like a toasty fire.

December 14, 2017

Domaine Bousquet Gaia, 2013

James Suckling loved this wine.  I wish we could say the same.  Aside from the organics stamp it didn’t have much satisfaction.

A Malbec dominant blend with Syrah and a touch of Cab Sauv, this has all the assault of a good red but none of the finesse.  It’s like the force of the front line without the expertise of the generals at HQ.  Although the (sharp, tannic, heady) attack is nothing like a Zin, we couldn’t help but think of the myriad California Zinfandels so aggressive and potent which leave you reeling after half a glass.  It held up well to red meat (and by God, I should hope so) but it was like an assault on the palate.  And to sip it was just an affront.


If you need an Uzi to do the work of a cordless drill, this is your wine.  Your 92 points wine.


Price: $30 at EW.


Market Liquidity: Pleasure free.  And wine without pleasure is vodka.

December 6, 2017

Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Ecusson Brut

Tis the season.


Sparkling from Luxembourg.  At 12.4%.  Cheaper than cheap Prosecco.  Luscious on the palate.  Could there be a better Christmas gift?


Decanter gave this a best in show, 95 points, platinum.  I’m not sure we were drinking the same wine.  However, it is wonderful.  It is lovely.  It has a finish that grows on you inch by inch and will lead you to polish off a bottle in no time.  The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are run of the mill but having Riesling in the mix is a game changer.


This will not sub for Champagne.  In fact, it wouldn’t make for a very good general fizz to doctor with juice or liqueur.  I would even nitpick on the effervescence (which is thick and heavy and without the streamlined cadence of fine champers).  However, stand alone as a sparkler, with its tropical fruit notes and vanilla coconut finish, this is startlingly graceful at the price point.


Price: Good luck.  But EW in Surrey has a few bottles at $23 before tax. The rosé is available at New District in Dunbar.  Alas, welcome to Buying Wines in BC…


Market Liquidity: Brilliant bubbles, and fun to boot.

December 4, 2017

Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Caroline, 2014

Spectacular in its assertive diversity.  Some acidity on the tongue, juicy fruitiness like biting into a white fleshed peach, a toasty note on the finish, an orchard of nuance.  The vanilla is muted.  An uninhibited and delicious blend.


Mainly Chenin Blanc, but Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne round out the mix.  I can see this working in the Okanagan as well as it does in South Africa; someone in Naramata should give it a shot.  Food versatility through the roof. Not your Tuesday night house white (given the price point), but what a shame. Refreshing delectability.


Price: A rather steep $39 at New District.


Market Liquidity: Gobs of gorgeousness.

November 6, 2017

Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva, 2011

Yeah.  So.  Not Rioja’s finest hour.  It’s a close but no cigar vintage.  We did not find it elegant or balanced or rounded, as promised.  We found it a bit uneven, with a vanilla that’s at the fore (and not in a good way) and a softness to the fruit that was decent and palatable but not memorable.


You can find this in the US for $12 a bottle.  A steal.  You can buy this in Saskatchewan for $18.  Very good value.  But at nearly $30 in BC with tax it’s like fruit past its prime.


Price: $26 plus at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.


Market Liquidity: Polka dots and plaid.

October 25, 2017

La Stella Fortissimo, 2015

This is a California red in a BC bottle.  The pros differ, they call it a super Tuscan wannabe, but I swear if you’ve drunk one top heavy Napa red you’ve drunk ten Fortissimos.  Is it good?  Assertively good.  If you don’t know wine (like we don’t know wine, if you just love wine, like we love wine) I would guess that there’s more Cab Franc and Cab Sauv then La Stella claims.  Guess.  I’m not second guessing.  The reviewers write about the Merlot and the Sangiovese but the smoothness of the former and the tannins of the latter seemed to speak more of the hearty, heavy, masculine characteristics of the two Cabs.  A great meat wine.  A great gift wine.  A great lie down wine.  A great BC red.  No holiday sipper though.


Price: A reasonable and very worth it $30 from the vineyard before taxes.


Market Liquidity: Not our knight in shining armour, but armour clad nonetheless.