Archive for ‘Pinot Noir’

October 20, 2020

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2018

From our most recent mixed case, we busted out a bottle of the PN as a tester.  OOF, what a punchy pop; no pointster is going to review this as “tight”.  Super pronounced, sharp and peppery on the first sip, gobs of nuanced berry, cedar shavings and a soft, long, long finish.  It was satisfaction at first sip.

Of note, though, is we decanted, and with air some of that punch was diminished, not in a good way.  Which, I should point out, did not take away from our overall enjoyment, it was just surprising how some of the bulk and body of the bottle seemed to evaporate in pretty quick order.

Price: $35 direct from the vineyard.

Market Liquidity: Charm offensive.

September 24, 2020

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2017

We received our annual case from the vineyard and thought we should “finish up” last year’s remnants to avoid any confusion (!).

Of two bottles in a mixed case we had the first last December.  Our review, here, was of a take it or leave it nature, unimpressed and let down.  So, on first sip of this second bottle, nearly a year later, much of the same, nonplussed.  Pretty ho-hum.

But, sip after sip, this wine popped.  Big time.  I was resentful on the last half glass, resentful the bottle was empty I mean.  And, I was pissed off at our December post last year; we drank it too soon.

Woodsy and herbaceous, some spicy cinnamon, juicy gobs of cherry, time and air bringing to life a really evocative PN.  The filbert finish a touching denouement on a classic Okanagan PN.  Not a whiff of the coconut we made note of on the previous bottle.  Time and air, Hugh Johnson has waxed poetic on how time and air can alter wine. Amazing.

Price: $35 from the vineyard in 2019.

Market Liquidity: A series of fortunate events sips.

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July 29, 2020

Chateau de Laborde Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune En Cuillery, 2016

Chateau de Laborde Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune En Cuillery, 2016

Have you ever read a professional review where they say the wine has “tension”?  That’s this red.

 

We wanted to jump up and down: A red from Volnay under $50 in BC?  Shurely shome mishtake?

 

For us, it didn’t shine.  It was good Pinot.  The “delicate violet flower” was too delicate to last; it dissipated.  The “saffron notes” were, well, you know, not everyone likes saffron.  OK, the fruit was there, the fruit was there.  Yes, it was reasonably complex and interesting on the palate, but also ever so slightly bitter.  And the tension, the wine just seemed wound up, unrelenting.  Pinot, red Burgundy Pinot, the best of it floats, it’s mysterious and ethereal.  This had something of a thud.

 

Price: Marked down from $45 to $37.  So a score, if you will.

 

Market Liquidity: Too plebe for the high rollers, too generic for those on a splurge.

May 29, 2020

Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir, 2015

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir, 2015

It opens up beautifully.  But it opens up slowly. There is definitely a matrooshka doll onion skin Pandora’s box motif going on.  It’s beauty does not give it the full marks the vintner and pointsters do: it is a tad thin and not nearly as eloquent as other PNs in this price range, and of course BM (not to be confused with BS) likes to amp up the price.  Stick to their under-valued and reasonably priced lovely Pinot Gris…

 

Time was, when we swore by BM PN, buying it by the case; the “regular” and reserve.  Then it went over $30.  Then it went over $35.  Then it went over $40.  Now we can rest our case, so to speak.

 

Price: Gifted, how wonderful is that, but $40 at the vineyard and a yardstick more at private wine stores in YVR.

Market Liquidity: A bit too much clique and not enough populism.

December 3, 2019

Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir, 2017

Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir, 2017

By way of extension from yesterday’s post on Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, we did a quick compare with an Oregon bottle, sort of a standard-bearer here on the West Coast when it comes to PN.  It was silky, smooth, approachable, balletic in its lightness and deftly textured with berries and the thinnest whiff of cedar.  But it was also pale and thin and sipped well but died an inglorious death with dinner (a simple vegetarian bean casserole with parmesan and fennel).

 

This is the sort of wine you could sip all afternoon and not know you’re sipping wine. Which is a compliment.  A bit of a back-handed compliment, but judgy-ness aside, it’s someone’s cup of tea.  Maybe not our, but someone’s.  I’m not big on embroidery, but I know it takes skill…

 

Generally, the Oregon PN is just too dear as a day to day, although BCL put this one up with a substantial discount, and it was well worth the price, comparatively.

 

Price: $29, but regularly $37.  That’s total value in the BC market.

 

Market Liquidity: Pretty, but not perfect.

December 2, 2019

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2017

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir, 2017

Uh-oh.  That was my note on the first bottle.  Notes.  Sum total.  Uh-oh.  So we didn’t post.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around this.

 

But, as is our wont, we got around to a second bottle and gave it some thought and I guess it’s more of a what’s up BO than yikes.  This is definitely not the PN you expect, there is no more Burgundy in this bottle than there is butter in Parkay.  The nose is a tad astringent but the mouth is weirdly and wildly tropical, the coconut overpowers, and the fruit is pineapple and kiwi, not a berry to be found.  It really defied expectation and I’m not sure in a good or bad way.  To be clear, it’s enormously palatable, but line it up with some heavyweight Pinot and you’d be hard pressed to guess the varietal on a blind test.

 

Price: $35 at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Sisters are Burrowing Owl is doing it for themselves.

August 7, 2019

Intrigue Social, 2018

Intrigue Social 2018

A mostly Pinot Gris with a Jamie Oliver sized dab of Gewürztraminer, this is astonishingly good value.  In BC, the sparklers generally go, in this order, bats piss to Prosecco to Australian and European bubbles to OVERPRICED BC faux-champers then onto the real McCoy.  And here, in a lovely pocket to compete with Cava, is a drinkable and exceptionally food friendly bubbly.

 

There are flaws, I mean let’s be clear.  The bubbles are madcap; they are Seth Rogen laughing at a Between Two Ferns episode with Whoopi Goldberg storming off The View: they fly in all directions, too many, too fast, and explode on the palate like Pop Rocks.  The finish is not long enough and attractive with no staying power.  But then let’s take a breath and review: Two bottles of this or one of Stellar’s Jay?  I mean let’s be social, go two.  A sort of minor revelation and a great way to liven up some tapas.

 

Price: $20 at the vineyard, hard to find in general.

 

Market Liquidity: Day drinking anyone?

May 28, 2019

Bachelder Parfum de Niagara Pinot Noir, 2016

Bachelder Parfum de Niagara Pinot Noir, 2016

So we’re out for a meal at the AGO in Toronto and the waiter suggests a Niagara Pinot, all in for under $50.  In a restaurant.  A joke?  It sounded like a joke.  I nearly did a spit take.  Anything but however.  Who knew Niagara could be so uncompromising?

 

This is small batch Pinot made with the utmost care.  It’s baffling in its deliciousness, delicate berries with a gorgeous spring blossom perfume, the hintiest hint of oak, deftly crafted, food friendly to within an inch of its life.  To which I could go on about Bachelder, after the rabbit hole of Google led me down some serious biographical detail, but to see the limited production not spread past the Canadian Shield left us chill.  Too bad; this is g as in gorgeous, as in gobsmacked.

 

Price: Less than $50 with the restaurant markup.

 

Market Liquidity: Wow wow.

May 27, 2019

Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir, 2016

Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir, 2016

Uh-oh.

Another BC disaster.  Enough acid to bring on GERD.  No subtlety, no lightness of touch, no deft currant slash raspberry slash oak.  Heavy and dull.  Just baffling that wine this uninteresting and inconsequential is sitting on the shelf at $30.

 

Price: $30 from Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Brash and ineloquent.

February 3, 2019

Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir, 2014

We felt the 2013 Canyonview set the benchmark for Haywire, a house we more or less adore, but, um, the 2014 feels lost in the rush to make a splash in Decanter and wow us with spectacular whites.  Hey Haywire, don’t forget about this vintage, it’s your calling card.  It’s like the Ford Mustang: Introduced for Americans who wanted “stickshift action and room for four” it quickly became a ghost.

 

The 2014 vintage is meaty, funky, chewy, hefty.  It’s no Swan Lake in the Burgundy Pinot style.  Sure, it has the cache of the Haywire grey label wines and it’s pleasing but it is so definitely not the “ethereal thin juicy” Canyonview of last year.  So not.  We didn’t even get that tangy, eloquent acidity we loved in the 2013.

 

Price: A not unreasonable (for this echelon of red) $36.50 at Brewery Creek.

 

Market Liquidity: Fading from memory as we post.