Archive for ‘British Columbia’

July 16, 2018

Indigenous World Pinot Gris, 2017

PG in BC is up and down.  Most bottles promise a lot, the fruit, the blossoms, the herbs.  And then in the end some soar, others tread water.  We bought this bottle as a novelty, based on a recommendation to try a First Nations venture near Kelowna; it was just a one off and I forgot about it and then I drank it and I thought wow, how satisfying.  Jason Parkes, another novelty in BC wines (songwriter, musician, vintner of all things, and award winning in each) had his hand in the pie.

 

I think I will put aside all qualifications on this wine.  It’s not my current favorite BC PG, it’s not my favorite PG period, but we started this blog to highlight value, and to call out overpriced plonk and ludicrous reviews that are divorced from the average drinker and this bottle is all about value: decent wine at an affordable price.  Six for the patio, and that’s just July.

 

Price: Around $18.  Stunning.

 

Market Liquidity: You can do better, but at twice the price, and this is better than half the value of those twice as much.

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July 9, 2018

Summer Gate Moscato Frizzante, 2017

Well, umm, it’s fizzy. Yeah, it’s that.

 

Supposedly dry, I’d give it a one.

 

Appetizer friendly.  That’s a plus.  And, well, not much more to add.  If you’ve got $30 burning a hole in your pocket, and you need something neutral and novel, OK.  But gosh the province is awash in better options for sparkling.

 

Price: $28 give or take at private wine shops.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s a bottle of wine.

June 1, 2018

Bartier Brothers Cabernet Franc, 2015

Good gosh do we love this wine.  Simple, straightforward, delectable.  If we’ve plowed through three bottles we’ve emptied six.  I think I’ve lost track.  This is anti-snob material though.  It’s not going to appeal to the masses but it will appeal to anyone with a nose for value and integrity.

 

It starts off funky.  On the open pour it hits a sour note.  Barnyard. Expect to be disappointed.  Give it air.  It seems pompous but decant.  Or even 15 minutes in the glass.  And then, a blossom, a blossoming.  It’s rustic and thoughtful and mellow and layered and versatile.  There is no pretense.  Your aren’t getting a “cheap” Oculus or Prospectus; rather you’re getting one of the finest table reds BC has to offer.  In our opinion.

 

Price: Around $24 in various private and public liquor stores (although the vineyard will sell in 3, 6, 9, and I’d recommend a direct order, or pick it up where you can get a discount on six).

 

Market Liquidity: One of the most reasonably priced and most pleasurable “honest” reds in the BC OK.

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.

May 16, 2018

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Ehrenfelser, 2016

In general, the BC Okanagan produces some decent Ehrenfelser which is, mostly, refreshing, light, zippy yet often a tad innocuous.  As the warmer weather hits, a good varietal to have for sipping on the patio.  That said, I’m not sure what Gismondi meant when he said it was one of the better aromatic white wines of BC but only clocked it in at 87 points.  I might say, conversely, it’s one more of the less than memorable BC whites and clock it in at 88, given the steep competition.  Anyone for forgettable Pinot [fill in the blank]? Welcome to BC.  The stainless steel then oak seems to be of little consequence.

 

Price: I think on sale at Save On Foods for $19.99.

 

Market Liquidity: At least it’s not Yellow Tail.

May 15, 2018

Moraine Pinot Noir 2016 vs. Savard Pinot Noir 2013

Battle of the less expensive Okanagan Pinots.  Sort of like a Pinto and a Maverick in a late 70s showroom.  We would expect the older and slightly more expensive Savard to take this slam dunk but in fact it was the Moraine.

 

The Savard, with its light tannins and forward acidity came on strong but was weak on the finish.  We expected a velvet smoothness, Mel Tormé, but in fact got something much rougher, more Adam Levine.  At nearly 15% alcohol it definitely faltered: Promise without the promise.  The Moraine, young and juicy and loaded with potential, was like a new best friend.  Some ethereal hook lies in the balance, the fruit, the oak, the undercurrent of clay, it all melded beautifully on the palate. And ooh-la-la what a lovely price point.  You would be hard pressed to find as good a BC Pinot in the mid-20s.  Or, in my estimation, in the high 30s.

 

Prices: We scored the Moraine on sale at Save On Foods for a heart-warmingly $23.50 before taxes.  We paid just over $26 for the Savard.

 

Market Liquidity: The Moraine in two, 6-4, 6-2.

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.

April 5, 2018

Jagged Rock Vineyard C#, 2016

What the hell?  Our first response was what gall.  This wine has a pronounced sense of self and nothing going for it; if it was from Italy, France or Spain I’d call it EuroTrash.  It’s a blend (a ridiculous over the top blend) with no centre, no focus, no sense.  It’s all over the map in terms of flavour profile and inconsequential on the finish.  Sharp with no finesse, rigorous with no soft edge, and as for citrus, I mean salt the rim of a glass and pour yourself a tequila.  Oh, and look at the price.

 

We like our SemWe love our Sem Sauv blends.  If we could afford Bordeaux Blanc we’d have a cellar full.  Skim the site to see how true this is.  Most recently we  pulled out of the cellar an ancient (slight exaggeration) L’Ecole Sem; now that was worth the money—and a pittance compared to this.  So if you take that brilliant combo, Sem Sauv Bl,  and then you add Chardonnay and then you add Pinot Gris and then you add Muscat, well Jesus, that’s just Long Island Ice Tea, wine style.

 

Ever had a Long Island Ice Tea? The only thing missing is whiskey.  Add Sherry and call this a D minus.  It’s just an excuse to get drunk.

 

I have no idea who would like this, what food you would drink it with to derive pleasure (simultaneously), and why.  There are apparently three people on Vivino who think it’s the bomb.  So there you go, seven billion on the planet, three who call it a masterpiece.  Call me an outlier.

 

Price: $35.99 at Save-On Foods in White Rock.  $36 before tax!!!

 

Market Liquidity: Save yourself $20 and pick up a Portuguese Branco and swoon at the expertise.