Archive for ‘Pinot Noir’

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.

January 17, 2019

La Frenz Reserve Pinot Noir, 2016

From our (very) mixed case of La Frenz in 2018 I would say the reserve Pinot not as appealing or satisfying as the less expensive Blue Mountain run of the mill (and we are halfway through our BM Pinot, loving every bottle).  We opened the La Frenz up as a sipper for the Globes and I don’t know, we had it lying down for several months and just expected more I guess.  While it doesn’t disappoint there is simply no wow.  The layers of flavour and degrees of nuance we anticipated were all there, but not strikingly so, and while it is jammy there is no mushroom or black olives as LF bills it.  The finish seemed alarmingly terse.

 

Price: You can fine it in private wine stores for around $40, or in the low 30s on release from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Bronze.  At best.

December 29, 2018

Nichol Pinot Noir, 2016

Too bright and cheery for this holiday season.  Like an inflatable Santa, it’s just not up to snuff.  Cross check it with some half decent Burgundy and this would be an embarrassment.

 

Too cherry to boot.  Acidic.  Tart.  A bit thin on top of all that.

 

Although we have a general fondness for Nichol (we return on a regular basis to the Cab Franc and Syrah and Pinot Gris), I would call this a failure on all fronts.  Not so Gismondi who said something like earthy, dusky, finessed and slapped it with 90 points.  Shurely shome mishtake?  Let’s support the home market by all means but when they bottle an 87 pointer, tops, let’s not give them a pass.

 

Price: Around $30 give or take depending on where you buy it and in what volume.

 

Market Liquidity: An imposter.

November 5, 2018

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir, 2016

We drink at least a case of Blue Mountain every year.  It’s very good value, if not valuable, and generally a crowd pleaser, gentle reds and lively whites.  The 2013 Pinot, well that sort of put us off their PN, and we reduced our intake the last few years, but the 2016, the entry level base market 2016, is just plain tasty; comfortably round, soft, berry flavour accented by a hint of sharp pepper and some cedar vanilla.  Too bad BM can’t seem to shake the cork for screw tops.  But kudos for free delivery to Vancouver.

 

Is it a $30 wine?  Well it sells out almost overnight, whether that’s fans or scalpers is anyone’s guess.  I’d never shell out $60 in a restaurant, but at home it’s a welcome addition to any basic cellar.

 

Price: $30 from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: If not for the cork, a corker.

August 9, 2018

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Rouge, 2016

The white is available at a much higher price in private stores and, generally, if you live in BC and are looking at Sancerre you are looking at whites.  So, let’s start with praising BCL for having a lovely red Sancerre, at a price point under $30 (although just), and giving pause to the much higher priced Pinot Noir churned out in BC that can’t compare.  Its lightness speaks to rosé.  Look at that glorious ruby red in the picture, light as a feather.  Gismondi quite liked it, more than us I would say, silky I think was his term, and it does have a perfumed freshness, rose and lavender, with a musky finish.  There is a whole red currant grape jelly “thing” on the palate that dissipates into air which makes you take another sip and another.  I couldn’t quite wrap my loving arms around it and give it the props the pros have but it is a lovely summer read, er red, a refreshing 12.5% alcohol, dreamy with a Cobb salad, but it was also a one off; not for us.

 

Price: Around $30 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Like age appropriate clothing, it has its place.

 

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.

January 18, 2018

Bernard-Massard Cuveé de l’Ecusson Pinot Noir (Rosé)

We took huge pleasure over the holidays with opening and sharing the base model sparkling from Luxembourg.  For a while, Everything Wine had the rosé as well, at about six dollars more.  It is juicy, it has the red currant and sweet plum sauce tangents of a decent Pinot Noir rosé, there is some decent minerality, the fizz is so-so, but despite the pluses we were non-plussed.  It simply didn’t have the fun and flair and conviviality of the base model.  It seemed more like a novelty wine then something either serious or cheerful.

 

Price: Around $25 before taxes.  You can find it at the Liquor Barn locations if you must.

 

Market Liquidity: Like MC Hammer pants, a curiosity not in our rotation.

August 10, 2017

Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir, 2013

We started off the mid-summer August long weekend with our last bottle of this spectacular Pouilly-Fuisse.  Then we turned to a local red, which I initially found egotistical and with an inflated sense of self (i.e., too much praise in the wine press) but have developed a particular fondness for.  Still, it hit the local shops three years ago at $35 and each vintage it creeps up in price yet more; I wholeheartedly feel it’s too expensive for what it is.  So I’ve made it a “gift list” wine.

 

Not to be confused with the white label (bleachh) or the Waters & Banks, the Canyonview is (in my opinion) the benchmark for Haywire, and their PN this time round is a particular gem: Light, paper thin, ethereal, juicy, slight but not innocuous, it isn’t especially food useful let alone food friendly, but a perfect sipper and easily addictive (one of those the more you drink the better it gets reds).  If the American wine companies win their NAFTA suit to shut down the “BC only” wine market, this is the sort of boutique bottle that will bite the dust.

 

The third vintage for Canyonview; not their finest moment but certainly not the worst.

 

Price: Gifted, but it’s a $40 bottle minimum.

 

Market Liquidity: Add it to your Christmas list.

Summer heaven: Salade Nicoise