Archive for ‘France: Rhone’

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.

December 6, 2015

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage, 2013

Pure pleasure. So unlike the previous entry, the anointed Wine Advocate pointster, here you have just the real thing.  Gorgeous texture, grape Kool-aid, rum-soaked currant, a woodsy peppercorn. On the finish, a note of cherry soda. Superb sipper. All Syrah, all Rhone. However, weak at dinner. The tannins and youth of the wine paled with a very mild turkey dish. Too bad.  For a hearty meal it needs more time, much more time.

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage, 2013

Price: $20 USD before duty and taxes.


Market Liquidity: Black Friday Gold.

December 6, 2015

Bastide Miraflors Vielles Vignes Syrah Grenache, 2013

Bastide Miraflors 93 points

Robert Parker is losing his mind. How in the world can he take decades of experience and proclaim a whopping 93 points on this otherwise very drinkable 89 pointer? It’s baffling. But it sells bottles, his seal of approval.  I guess the crazier the better, for the trade.


I can’t help but feel he’s no longer the credible wine guru and more Peter Travers at Rolling Stone whose movie reviews are often quoted on posters as “Shocking” or “Awesome” or “Powerful” all inconsequential but great for the RS brand.


I won’t waste time reviewing this fine it’s OK nothing to write home about middle of the road red blend which is more than palatable but hardly tips the 90 point scale. Spend $30 and see for yourself.

Bastide Miraflors 2013

Price: If you can find it at BC Liquor, with tax it’s around $30.


Market Liquidity: We called it here first.

November 23, 2015

Jean-David Seguret, 2013

Our favorite “ordinary” wine of 2015 was the Mus-C; the JDS comes within inches of meeting (and exceeding) the challenge. It has that earthy, pungent sincerity of wine, none of the aplomb, pizazz and spectacle of, say, a California Cab.

Jean-David Seguret, 2013

Other highlights: Biodynamic, indigenous yeasts, no enzymes, no stabilizers, sulfurs only when and as needed.


It is not perfect; the tannins are a tad cloying, the eloquent perfume on the palate is much diminished on the finish. The tangents of violet and plum provide beautiful high notes, but some leathery undertones aren’t as polished as, say, a Gigondas from a few months back. There are, quite frankly, better Grenache wines on the market even in BC but this one fact is true: You cannot buy this wine in BC. Let me repeat that: You cannot buy this wine in BC. You can’t special order it, you can’t petition the Liquor Board, you are just going to live without it. Unless you order it to be shipped to the US, bring it across the border, pay taxes and duty (and gas to and from the border), then, yes, you can have it in Canada. And that, that alone, is the reason we write this crazy blog. To show that wine in BC is still a weirdly socialist highly controlled over taxed and madly administrative industry as opposed to any affection towards art, finesse, appreciation and well you can see we’ve broken our cardinal rule of over-proselytizing…


Did we like it? We loved it. The imperfections won us over. The imperfections were, in fact, deeply engaging.


Price: Under $20 USD.


Market Liquidity: Clark Terry mumbling; cool and unique and you don’t understand it but you totally do.

October 20, 2015

Catherine et Jean Panis Chateau de Bagnoles Cabardes, 2010

Catherine et Jean Panis Chateau de Bagnoles CabardesA thoroughly decent Rhone red, a lovely complement to Provencal roast lamb, and a welcome relief to the heavy hitters we’ve been blessed with drinking of late. (The previous night a glorious bottle of Ridge 2012 East Bench Zin. But the Ridge was like as Michelin star whereas the Cabardes was a mere Bib Gourmand.)

Soft, very gently tannins, a modest nose, spicy on the palate with a kirsch finish. A lingering leather note didn’t sit so well with me.

Price: $14 USD in Seattle.

Market Liquidity: This is the sort of “88” point wine wine drinkers need to be on the lookout for (by which I mean off the pointster’s radar).