Archive for ‘British Columbia’

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.

July 20, 2018

Haywire Secrest Mountain Chardonnay, 2016

Just enough Chardonnay.  That’s how we refer to the Haywire gray label Crush Pad that vats its plonk in concrete.  Just enough.  Gismondi was very kind, “streamlined and textural” but he could have just as easily said “simple and straightforward.”

 

 

But on a blind test down at, say, Far Niente, what would they say?  Maybe “ribbon for participation.”  And at Grgich Hills?  Snarky, “go for broke, but don’t go broke tryin’.”  Liberty might even be pleasant, “you’re on the right track.”  Over at Kistler, well they might say something I couldn’t print in the blog.  And Ridge?  Just bug eyes and a “get your act together” face.  How embarrassing for Ridge.  You really feel for them having to blind taste BC whites.  So it takes all types.  All types of Chardonnays.  And this is one type.  It ain’t no heavy hitter, but it is, just enough, just enough Chardonnay.

 

Price: Around $28 before taxes at most private shops.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s no Rockette but it can do backup.

July 20, 2018

Fort Berens Dry Riesling, 2016

Wine from Lillooet?  What’s next: Wine from Graaff-Reinet?  I suppose.  If one of the myriad Lillooet forest fires common to the region, regularly, consistently, doesn’t wipe out the vineyard.  And lord knows there’s heat up there.

 

Tangy, tart, zesty and refreshing.  Decent with frittata.  But it’s no stellar Riesling and most will, at best, find it inoffensive, in the middle nonplussed, but us we could leave it be.  Quite forgettable.  (92 points over at John Schreiner.  Wow.  God bless him.  But that is just way, way beyond the quality and texture and depth of this very simple table white.)

 

Price: Less than $20.  So four stars on that.

 

Market Liquidity: Turns out only some of the grapes were from Lillooet.  Just one more let down on the last glass.

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.