Archive for ‘Red Wine’

August 13, 2019

Latido di Sara Wild Garnacha, 2016

Latido di Sara Wild Garnacha, 2016

From the wilds of Navarra.  I guess.

 

Raspberry bomb.  Thwack.  Think Don Martin Mad Magazine spladap, shtoink, bukkida bakkida, ba-bomb.  Raspberry bomb. Headstrong to the point of unpleasant.

 

OK: I’m sure this is a lovely wine, much loved by many.   Old vines.  Even-handed medium body.  Soupcon of oak.  Little shake of pepper on the palate.  Quite sweet (maybe a little too sweet).  But omigosh is it not our cup of tea; it’s headstrong fruit like a medicinal ruse, very linear, not much to rave about other than the price.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $20 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Pwang, splitch, dadunk.

Don Martin

August 7, 2019

Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016

Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016

First, the 92 points are from James Suckling.  Not sure why, but I’m never on the same page as Suckling (or, put another way, “who cares about the points?”).  So that wasn’t the draw.  But the price was a draw; $28 reduced to $24.  Yes and yes.  And in the end, a lovely purchase.  Medium for a Cab Sauv, it wasn’t even really majestic with red meat in that Ridge Caymus Jordan way, that left jab right hook in the style of the California heavyweights.  And at 13.5%, how wonderful to be so wonderful.  Dark fruits/fruitcake fruits, charcoal chocolate, and then some tannins to make you pucker.  A great sipper.

 

Price: $24 at Everything Wine.  (By the way, their Malbec reviewed here was a non-starter for us.)

 

Market Liquidity: Value, verbatim.

August 7, 2019

Nichol Syrah, 2016

Nichol Syrah 2016

It’s been seven years since we’ve posted on the Nichol Syrah (!) which, seven years ago (2009 vintage), was something of a lovely treat.  The Nichol old vines are now, I guess, really old.  We were anticipating the current offering to have some wow, some heavy authenticity, but were quickly disabused of that notion.  In 2012 we wrote “a most fine red” but for the current vintage on the shelves it’s an OK Syrah, a “most usual red” if you will, spicy, fruity, a tad too light without being lively, heavy on the cherry juice, and not overtly food friendly.  The acid tends toward aggressive and not in a pleasant fashion, not even for those who gravitate (as is the trend) toward top heavy acidity.  Still, not much more on the pocketbook than so many years back, so that’s a plus.

 

Price: $33 at private wine stores.

 

Market Liquidity: Hope springs eternal. Just not always in the Okanagan.

July 10, 2019

Drinking Wine in Italy

After a month in Italy there is nothing much to do except complain (again, more) about wine in BC.  The sheer misery of the options, the insane cost, the supply chain to the hospitality industry, and on and on.

 

What’s VAT in Italy?  22%.  Twenty-two per-cent.  And yet, and yet you can pick up phenomenal local wine for 12 Euros (approximately $18 CDN).  Wine at a restaurant, really lovely drinkable wine ins the 14-18 Euros category.  We found in Puglia that if you wanted to shell out the very grand amount of 20 Euros you were heading into 92 pointster categories.  It was wow and wow and more wow and easy, easy, easy on the pocket book.

 

In the above (random) collage (much edited) I’ve pasted the two most expensive bottles at top that we decided to try along the way.  The Michele Calo Spano Salento Rosso, which retails for close to 40 Euros, we scored for 35.  It was excellent, absolutely hands down the best Negroamaro we drank (and we drank a lot) although given what’s available in the region it defied type; it seemed almost Californian in its clean modernity, the lack of acidity;, the abundance of fruit but without supreme depth made it seem a little too Robert Parker for us.  As for liquor board controlled buying, I would say both BC and Ontario fail the consumer when it comes to Negroamaro. Fail.

 

Next to that you’re looking at a (random sample) of a truly wonderful local Primitivo, the Schola Sarmenti Cubardi Primitivo.  At the wine store 12 Euros, in a restaurant we scored if for 22.  And it was just all awesome; oodles of cherry and smoke and chicory and herby notes that define terroir.  We’ve had the decent bottle or two of Primitivo in BC but nothing like the Cubardi range (for which there are a number of varietals and all are worth a sample).  As for liquor board controlled buying, Ontario does a decent job with Primitivo; BC, however, is again a fail.  In London (UK) you can find this monumentally satisfying red for 15 pounds (or less than $30 CDN) which is just ludicrous.  What Okanagan plonk can a Canadian score in BC, taxes all in, under $30?

 

Lower left is a wine from a local masseria, the L’Astore Alberelli Negroamaro.  Organic.  Old vines.  High in alcohol and not cheap and not easy to access, even in Lecce, but we found it, and we loved it, and we wanted more, and couldn’t get it, and that of course led to me on another BC wine rant.  This was a juicier, rounder, plumper Negroamaro with tannins that sat up against red fruits with a challenge.  Outstandingly food friendly, from stuffed zucchini blossoms to ragu orecchiette.

 

The whites down south were hit and miss.  With temperatures in the mid to high 30s they needed to be cold, and outside they warmed up too quickly.  (A red, however, refrigerated briefly, then served al fresco, that worked a dream.)  Having said that, it was easy to access Friulano.  Welcome to my newest favorite varietal.  Full, assertive, nuanced, fleshy, like ripe nectarine juice running down your chin.  Gorgeous with southern Italian cuisine.  The Doro Princic is a relatively inexpensive white, 14 Euros, with  nothing going against it except availability.  Ontario and BC, our largest socialist fueled wine buyers, how ya doin’ with Friulano?  Two and one.  Fail and fail.

 

The last wine, also a pricey bottle, is from the Bastianich vineyard, deep down in the heel.  And, if truth be told, the only reason I bought it was because of, you know, Lidia and Joe and how pompous Joe comes off on TV and how full of himself in respect to their wine he is which they “personally oversee” in Puglia and so on.  They have a base model Friulano but in for a penny we got the Plus, a whopping 30 Euros (but, let’s be fair, that’s $45 CDN and plenty of BC top wines are more than that before onerous taxes).  Gorgeous.  Speechless I am in its appeal, from aroma to palate; the proverbial nectar from the gods.  So, here I’m going to compare it with top whites from, you know, Culmina, Clos de Soleil, Meyer, and all I can say is they are lost in the dust (or, as things go in Europe, the diesel particulate).  But so is BC when it comes to choice, diversity, and consumer appetites.

 

What’s next BC Liquor?  One white and one red from a spigot?  BC Liquor: It’s a fail, Herculaneum Pompeii style fail.

May 30, 2019

Teusner “The Gentleman” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014.

Kenwood's Wilder Diamond AKA Tony

Our dog died.  A friend brought round a decent bottle of wine for us to remember him by.  But drinking just wasn’t on the agenda. Then, a few weeks later, we sat down and opened the gift.  Wow.  This was EGOT good.  Gobs and gobs of acidity but what the aficionados refer to as juicy or attractive acidity.  Flavour notes deeper than a Welsh coal mine.  Delicate, exquisite, it begged to be sipped.  Slowly.  Little nips like fine Sherry.  While it beat the band with dinner it shone, aurora borealis shone, as a sipper. 

Price: Around $40 at private wine stores but even so hard to source.

Market Liquidity: Shows up the fraud of so many BC reds at this price point.

Teusner “The Gentleman” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014.

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

One Faith Vineyard Malbec Petit Verdot, 2016

One Faith Vineyard Malbec Petit Verdot, 2016

Yikes.  An epic fail from Bartier Brothers.  Wow.  We tried.  Sipping.  Smelling.  Aerating.  This is just aggressive, potent, a clash of no merit.  Words fail me.  Weird to boot with a grassy finish.  I was an inch away from installing Grammarly to avoid the vile language littered in my tasting notes.  Shame.  Same day we had a glass of their rather brilliant Semillon, an 11.6% wonder that is food friendly, light, lovely and delectable and nearly half the price.

 

Price: $33 from Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: Throwaway B-side.  At best. And I’m not thinking Ruby Tuesday with Let’s Spend the Night Together B-side.  I’m talking Cold Turkey Don’t Worry Kyoko B-side.

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.

May 27, 2019

Haywire Secrest Vineyard Gamay, 2017

Haywire Secrest Vineyard Gamay, 2017

You know what?  Surprisingly good in that it was surprising and at the same time good.  Juicy, fruity, delicious although it tends sweet and with air became cloying.  The chocolate notes are not easy to place, even if you linger and sip over the course of an evening.  The complexity, well, let’s not get carried away.  This is a solid Gamay from the BC Okanagan; it’s no Cru Beaujolais.  But it has the echoes of more expensive Pinot, rougher around the edges but no less attractive, and the average joe is much less likely to grab a Gamay than Pinot Noir, which makes this easier to find and easier on the pocket book.

 

Price: $29 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar (buy six for a 10% discount).

 

Market Liquidity: Nothing to sniff at.

February 27, 2019

Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, 2016

Maybe the lightest and most delicate red you’ll taste in a year; like raspberry soda.  Ethereal on the fruit front.  Tannins in spades, flowing like Niagara, but fruity and juicy and like a lure: take another sip.

 

Without any heft, it’s a wash against substance.  Try it as an aperitif or with nothing stronger than buffalo mozzarella or Gouda.

 

As a hot weather red, in the shad of vines spread across a pergola, probably divine.  But in the middle of winter a novelty.  Does not compare to their astounding Chardonnays.

 

Price: A rather hefty $38 at Kitsilano Wine Cellar.

 

Market Liquidity: Novelty makes a nice diversion, but that’s about the extent of it.