Archive for ‘Blend’

June 26, 2020

Cune Cava Brut, NV

Cune Cava Brut

Thank you Marquis: A dry, palatable, superb summer sparkler, much more enticing than umpteen local rose offerings and some plain un-outstanding local fizz.  A most perfect mixing faux-champers, a dash of Campari or put a Spanish twist on an Aperol spritz.  Not too effervescent with some heady, yeasty, earthiness and a touch of shale.  Decent and then some.

 

Price: $27.75 at Marquis Cellars.

 

Market Liquidity: It may be a blow-up toddler’s pool next to the big guns, but it has all the summer fun you want to kick off the evening.

May 2, 2020

Cote du Rhone Halos de Jupiter, Vacqueyras

Cote du Rhone Halos de Jupiter, Vacqueyras

This is a Grenache Syrah blend that is a slam dunk.  Just wow and wow and wonderful.

 

BC Liquor sells the entry level Cotes du Rhone; it’s fine in its own way, I recommend it on a wine list because for $40 something you can have a decent bottle of red with dinner out (if we’re ever allowed to eat out again).  BC Liquor also sells an over $70 Chateauneuf du Pape.  In Ontario you can score a most wonderful Gigondas for $40.  All hail Jupiter.  But some of the private wine stores in YVR have the just right porridge, an exquisite red that boasts plums, and jammy dark fruits, light tannins and gobs of deliciousness.  Ludicrously drinkable.

 

Price: Around $35 at Kitsilano Wine, but if you but a mixed case of six and you take the 10% discount, we’re talking better than any BC red in that price zone, period.

 

Market Liquidity:  I could self isolate on a case of this.

April 28, 2020

Cape Mentelle Shiraz Cabernet, 2017

Cape Mentelle Shiraz Cabernet, 2017

Well here’s a blast from the past.  Remember when BC Liquor carried Cape Mentelle?  No, I bet you don’t, because it’s been about a decade.  Their workhorse Sem Sauv Bl blend was one of those relatively inexpensive everyday whites of much utility.  We miss it.

 

This is not their finest moment.  And they do have some fine moments (which of course will cost you).  But it’s a lovely change this perky red from Western Australia, perhaps a little surprising how much sweet and how little mouth feel it has, tending to veer away from the typical leathery Oz Shiraz, despite 60% Shiraz to 40% Cab Sauv.

 

Quite decent, all things considered, screw top, not over the top pricey, pleasantly light even at 14.5% alcohol.

 

Price: $30 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a nice find at a garage sale.

February 28, 2020

Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes, 2009

Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes, 2009

From the cellar: No thesaurus has the language to describe this luscious dessert sipper: Stupendous.  Ludicrously good.  Layer upon layer upon layer of flavours.  Ethereal; the proverbial nectar from the gods.  Can you hear my lips smacking?

 

The palate is a veritable wine fractal: Peach.  Apple. Pear. Almond.  Some cedar shavings.  Tangerine.  That might be the half of it.  The depth is absolutely astounding.  Sweet, sweet, but not cloying.  How is that possible?

 

Guess what? The French state owns the vineyard.  If this wine is what it means to elect Bernie Sanders, bring it on.

 

[A pointster first and foremost: Wine Advocate 93.  Wine Enthusiast 95.  Tim Atkin 95.  And 96 from James “nothing under 90 points” Suckling.]

 

Price: Back when the Canadian dollar was actually worth something, we scored this in Seattle for just over $16 USD.  The 2015 is available in Vancouver for nearly $50 CDN.  That’s $100 a bottle.  That’s also astounding and ludicrous.

 

Market Liquidity: As intriguing and appealing as those beautifully pixelated Chuck Close masterpieces.

February 25, 2020

Vaglio Chango Red Blend, 2015

Vaglio Chango Red Blend, 2015

From the cellar: Miracle in Mendoza. An Argentinian red blend that Gismondi recommended to lie down.  So we did.

 

It took a while to open (from sharp to warm and fuzzy in about 20 minutes) but was delectable with some air.  Not sure it had anywhere further to go, but as of now, five years in, muted tannins, soothing woodsy oak, and prominent herby notes melded with dark fruits. Lots of texture, the Malbec countered by Tannat and Cab Sauv. Puts the lush in, er, lush.

 

It lacked the diversity and kapow of the vintage Rioja we were gifted over Christmas but it was gorgeous nonetheless.

 

We lay down but one and this is no longer in the BC Liquor catalogue.  So it goes.

 

Price: $23.50 at BC Liquor in 2018.

 

Market Liquidity: Suave and debonair like a David Niven anecdote.

February 21, 2020

GD Vajra Langhe Rosso, 2017

GD Vajra Langhe Rosso, 2017

If you go below the base Nebbiolo, which we really liked (see here), if you go down, down, down beneath that to the Barbera, which quite frankly we love, so incredibly generous at the dinner table, if you go right down to the screw cap, you will end up at the Rosso.

 

And here, at the bottom of the barrel, a base model blend, you will have a juicy, fruity, slightly acidic and maybe a tad thin red, that is overflowing in simple joy.  Put on Beethoven’s Ninth and dance around the room with a glass.  Or just have dinner with it.  We couldn’t see the downside, especially in the US where you can score it for an unfrigging-believable $14 USD.

 

Can you hear my lips smacking?

 

Price: Around $30 at private wine shops in Vancouver.

 

Market Liquidity: Sharon Stone wearing Gap to the Oscars: It’s no Versace, but it does the trick.

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.