Archive for ‘France: Rhone’

September 18, 2020

Domaine de Ferrand Cotes-de-Rhone “Cuvee Antique”, 2018

The other night we were supporting our local bistro, Les Faux, when I noticed on the chalkboard they were featuring the Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  At $130 a bottle.  We opted for a more basic Cotes-du-Rhone.  And, when the Ferrand release came into Marquis earlier this year, we did the same.

The “antique” is about as base model as you can get from Ferrand, but even a Toyota Corolla goes forwards and backwards and stops when you brake.  It ain’t no Lexus but it absolutely has enormous utility.  If there is a fault, it’s much too easy to drink in 2020.  Gentler woodsy/dusty notes than some Rhone blends, restrained fruit, a hot lick of pepper, and a lovely cherry on the finish.  Concrete not filtered but, you know, refined.  Very Grenache Forward.

Jeb Dunnuck said it has loads of charm.  Yes.  Loads of charm.  And at $15 less than equivalent blends in BC’s Okanagan (from vines half a century younger) it has thrift to boot.  Go Cotes-du-Rhone.

Price: $34 before a modest discount for a half case at Marquis.

Market Liquidity: Like a scene stealing cameo in a film littered with stars.

July 22, 2020

Saint-Damien Plan de Dieu Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, 2018

Saint-Damien Plan de Dieu Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, 2018

It might be a CDR villages, but it’s old vines CDR villages, and it shows.  Big time.

 

A spectacular “common” red.  To find a wine in BC around $30 that has this much finesse without dripping in oak or insipidly acidic, is a treat.  Amen to Côtes-du-Rhône.  Grenache and Mourvèdre get married, the former is dominant, but a lovely partnership all round.  Right up there at the Wine Advocate and rightly so.

 

We couldn’t really discern the plum, but the black cherry and big swath of strawberry flood the palate leading to a restrained finish.  True, it’s not Gigondas.  But you know what else?  We’re not royalty, and this drinks better than half the BC Okanagan which sells at double the price.

 

Usually, with a wine like this, Gismondi writes “back up the truck.”  I would echo that sentiment.  That said, on the flip side it is an oppressive 14.5%, something that tends to curry favour over at the WA.  And, despite the recommendation to cellar, we weren’t sure how much further it would go: It drinks today smooth, velvety and delectable.

 

Price: $30 before tax at Marquis, although there was a discount on pre-orders (thank you Marquis).

 

Market Liquidity: U-Haul rents a van for the price of less than two bottles.  Do the math.

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.

March 27, 2020

Domaine Ollier Taillefer Faugeres, 2015 and Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, Crozes Hermitage, 2016

Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, Crozes Hermitage, 2016Domaine Ollier Taillefer Faugeres, 2015

We’ve been drinking a lot of “hot review” wines lately and coming up short.  Two today for example.

 

Both these wines are 90 pointsters and neither lived up to our anticipated hype.  The Faugeres had no breadth, it’s decent, palatable, mildly interesting; herby, wet earth, dry. The tannins simply clashed outright with a simple chicken dinner. The Crozes Hermitage must have legs; it has hints of greatness but you never know.  Gismondi said it had a twist of garrigue (that’s acceptable to write in the Saturday paper; the NYT is equally cryptic on Saturday, we expect having to use Google to decipher), and suggested three to five years.  Yes; three minimum.  We went looking for it because he quoted the price at $27, but it was in fact $30 before tax.  We saw the merit in two or three of the Chapoutier in the cellar; the Ollier seemed better off in the late afternoon sun in the Languedoc.

 

Price: $33 and $30 at BC Liquor and, occasionally, at Marquis.  The Chapoutier is regularly available at Kits Wine Cellar; feel the braille label.

 

Market Liquidity: Win some, lose some.

November 15, 2018

Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidum, 2014

Nothing to blog about but lovely to drink.  Nothing complex but appealing on the palate.  Berry and spice and a wet earthy finish, while never overpowering.  It does not dominate.  It has that French sitting on the fence thing about it.  A weird hybrid between exceptional and inconsequential.  Personally, I could drink this regularly.  With friends, at dinner, as a sipper.  But then again, I will probably never drink this again, at least not in BC; not at the price.  Not at the astonishingly ridiculous price.  My god.

 

Price: 40 frigging dollars a bottle before onerous taxes.  Over on the Reverse Wine Snob blog they pegged it at half that in US so there should be a willing market.  But Rhone reds on our shelves have got to shine a little higher at the $40 plus mark.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a best friend who goes snob.

September 19, 2017

Ch. Peyguerol Costieres de Nimes Rosé & Haywire Secrest Mountain Gamay Noir Rosé, 2016

We finished off the summer on the most spectacular of Labour Day weekends with some half decent plonk, although neither of these rosés left a huge impression.

The C d Nimes was my preference of the two, even when it veered to being peachy to the point of punchy.  Aromatic and fruity but not cloying.  The Haywire is more of a lab experiment gone awry: it’s sharp, it’s tart, it’s like a pop rock without the pop.  The concrete vats and native yeast have left it sere and flat and confrontational, like running into a thug in a dark alley by accident.  I think it will please the wine aficionados in its uniqueness (in terms of the BC rosé production) while deeply offending the average joe looking for a decent rosé.  The OK Crush Pad description (which was part of the rationale for the purchase) reads:

A delicate salmon hue, lifted berry fruit, with a hint of thyme and spice. Delicate floral and citrus notes dance on the palate. Texturally lush and glossy, with a fresh and lively finish.

Wow.  That’s some bone of contention there.  Where’s the ad standards council when you need it?

 

Price: $25 each give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Neither was pricey, neither was impressive.

 

July 21, 2017

Domaine de la Mordorée Lirac, Cuvee La Reine des Bois, 2015

We were looking for a celebratory bottle of white, something that said “just bought a car” as well as “probably the last new car I’ll ever buy” as well as “debt, here I come.”  But it’s summer and we were having sockeye to mark the occasion, which has just arrived fresh in the shops; red was wrong and bubbly seemed misguided.  A few weeks back we sampled a glass of this Lirac ($21 per!) at Botanist; so, with effort, we sourced a private shop.  But I should add this: Kudos to Botanist for having such interesting wines by the glass.

 

You will not get change for a 50 after tax.  Less than Champagne, and while we’re at it, actually less than Invictus or Icon or Quintessential or any number of top tier BC wines, this was still pricey, yet worth every penny to the last drop.  The sense of terroir, a term we are loathe to use, is omnipresent and omniscient.  It has layers of deep flavour, scents and sensation.  The clover meets hay meets wildflowers meets honey meets dewy grass and moist soil with a lush mead-y finish.  A blend, but mostly white Grenache, this wine is nothing if not spectacular.

 

Price: You can source it for under $50 before extras, and hopefully add it to a case for a discount, at local private shop.  But it’s certainly not common in BC.

 

Market Liquidity: Better than two bottles of that insipid Mirabeau.

If it was legal in BC, we’d take this on a picnic, as if in an Eric Rohmer movie amongst the Monarch butterflies…

July 6, 2017

Domaine de la Graveirette Vaucluse Mus C, 2013

Our swooning review of the 2012 is here. We went a little ga-ga. Our opinion hasn’t altered: When you want a decent glass of red with pizza, with pasta in a tomato sauce, with a frittata, whenever you want a decent glass of red and don’t want to open a heavyweight because the food is likely going to grandstand, your BC Liquor choices are rather dire. You can either go with a new world cheapie, probably a Malbec that is so young it tastes like a greasy wheel, or a “bottled in BC” special, with a modulated flavour profile so chemical you could be drinking tap water in Flint. But what a treat if you could pick up something like the Mus C.

 

Welcome this ever dependable “villages” style Rhone red. My god is it versatile. It’s luscious and forward, more hay and fresh cut grass than most are prepared for (and, if online reviews are anything to go by, “too much dust” for which I beg to differ, that is just typical of Grenache), but it’s also smooth and luxe and “berry-liscious” for the price. Best of all, this is table wine, pure and simple, of the first order. There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, in BC at this price point that could hold a candle; BC vintners are so focused on their heavyweight reds they seem to have forgotten the masses who like a glass with dinner.

 

In respect to food this has the flexibility of Nadia Comaneci, is as complementary as Seth was to Amy, and is as brazen as a Marvel superhero. It really is one of the finest “cheap” reds I’ve ever had the privilege to get change for on a $20 bill.

 

Price: Not available in Canada, which is criminal, but between $10-13 USD in Washington, and a perennial favorite for Jon Rimmerman’s Garagiste clients.

 

Market Liquidity: I think de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo would find nothing but joy. We did.

April 2, 2017

Famille Perrin “Les Cornuds” Vinsobres, 2014

If it’s Tuesday, there’s probably a wine sale at Everything Wine.  If it’s Wednesday, there’s probably a wine sale at Everything Wine.  So it goes.

When Everything Wine has a sale they invariably have the Vinsobres with a “90” point seal on it.  And the price ($24) drops to $20 before taxes.  And at that price (which is still several dollars more than Ontario) it’s a good deal wine. A solid, smooth, easy to drink and lovely blend.  Dark cherry, a whiff of leather and smoke, balance.  Is it remarkable or striking or even that memorable?  Not particularly.  And in restaurants, where it hovers around the $50 mark, it is simply outrageously overpriced.  But it’s good.  It’s good in that way that you can share it with people and no one will take exception and you can take it as a host gift and no one will think you’re being cheap and on a Thursday, before payday, when you’re running low on funds, it’s probably on sale at Everything Wine.

 

Price: See review.

 

Market Liquidity: “Comfort wine” if you will.

February 19, 2016

Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèls, Coteaux du Languedoc, Faugéres, 2013

Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèls, Coteaux du Languedoc, Faugéres, 2013

At basically the same price point of the Wynns, which we found cookie cutter and predictable, you can get the smooth, velvety texture of a sippable red, if that’s your thing, with the more woodsy, herby notes of a French red that oozes olde worlde charm. Generally, you’ll pay twice as much for Rhone red this palatable. With legs for the cellar, there’s no shame in corking tonight. NB: Afraid of poncey labels?  Don’t be put off by the cryptic label with too many foreign words. Ask BCL staff for the “Faugéres, the Rhone red, with the grey label.”  A favorite over at Decanter, so probably a hard find, but worth it.  And, wait for it: Organic, yes!

 

Price: $28 at BCL before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: An elevated wine at an entry level price.