Archive for ‘Red Wine’

January 20, 2018

Clos de los Siete, Mendoza, 2012

From the cellar: Easy to find, easy to drink.  Not sure why we’ve never posted on the Siete, a lovely red blend highly recommended.  For whatever reason, we laid some down a few years ago.  I can’t unequivocally say that two years made an enormous difference, but there’s no denying the silkiness and allure of a slightly aged Siete.  And when you compare this to BC reds twice the price there’s no denying sheer brilliance at the price.


Although the Malbec dominates, the Merlot shines through, smooth and delectable, luscious in its fruit forwardness and with a lingering ripe plumb afterthought.  Zippo tannins.  A pinch of pepper.  Make no mistake: If you haven’t had a bottle you are passing on something of exquisite value.  Five bottles of this for the price of one fine Penfolds.


Price: Two years ago it was $24.50 all in at BC Liquor; nowadays, it’s $26 for the 2014 before egregious taxes.


Market Liquidity: Tuesday sipper or Sunday roast, it checks the boxes.

January 19, 2018

Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

Ah Margaret River.  A retirement pipe dream.


Young and fruity and juicy and vibrant.  This is a wine that needs some time, it’s just oozing potential.  We were unsure at first but with a meatball dinner it was sensationally food friendly.  On the initial mouthful it’s assertive and even disappointing but with a bit of air, with a few conscientious sips, it delivers, as VF almost always does.  The oak does not dominate, and the tannins are hardly balanced despite the reviews, but this is a joy to discover.  Like the antithesis of a California Cab Sauv, with none of the weight or drudge or 18% alcohol, it does have the élan of a ride in Tomorrowland.  Zippy and zesty and alluring.  Buy it now for Christmas dinner 2020.  You won’t be disappointed.


Price: $30 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: A bottle of promise.

January 8, 2018

Domaines Dominique Piron Morgon, La Chanaise, 2015

Plummy with a floral finish.  This is a young Gamay with gobs of acidity but somehow it all just works.  A little slight with red meat but full and delectable with cheesy pasta.  It drinks lighter and livelier than you might expect a Morgon, usually what I feel is the heaviest of Cru Beaujolais.  Put a blind fold on Mr. Parker and maybe he’d mistake it for Fleurie?  Apparently a Top 100 over at the WS.


Price: $26 at BC Liquor.  Very good value.


Market Liquidity: Jam sponge in a bottle.

January 6, 2018

Torres Celeste Crianza, 2013

Corked.  I can’t tell you how common this is in BC.  Oh wait, I can, I kept a record in 2017.  Twice from bottles purchased at private stores and six times from bottles purchased at BC Liquor.  Not including this.  Seven times from BC Liquor.  What a year 2017 was.


In BC, when you have a corked bottle you can return it and complain.  You must have your receipt.  You must take the bottle back.  It’s an enormous hassle because I rarely keep the receipt (I mean really? Who does nowadays?) and often the bottle is opened up somewhere not at home, this most recent bottle on the Gulf Islands, it’s exacerbated by the lie down factor—you want to lie something down, then really it becomes your responsibility not the seller if you open it in six months or more.  There was no way I could re-cork this bottle and get it back to Vancouver. It graced the septic.


Gismondi recommended the 14 as a cellar pick but the 13 was languishing on the shelves and I picked this up in error.  So in theory many buyers are lying down what could be corked wine.


I have complained in the past but it’s tiresome and if you complain you are often belittled, you are led to believe it’s the consumer’s problem.  In my experience, BC Liquor takes no responsibility (just our after tax money, in spades).  They claim all their wine is transported in temperature controlled transport and stored in a temperature controlled environment.  Private wine store staff have told me there are some vagaries to this routine including containers that aren’t ventilated but I’m not part of the industry and have no way to know unequivocally.  Is there a PETA-esque wine group that could get footage of the storage?


But regardless of how wine is transported, how it’s displayed is testament to an overt attitude of laissez-faire. If you visit a local BC Liquor store you might be surprised at what you’ll see.  Many have direct sunlight poring in onto the wine shelves.  Indiscriminately.  There’s Wolf Blass; hope he’s wearing SPF 30.  Most bottles are upright and a shocking amount are covered in dust; those with corks are just drying out.  And the in store temperature, my God, not a shred of humidity in most stores, some are like saunas in the colder months and in BC most months are the colder months.


We’ve never posted on corked wine.  I feel it comes with the territory.  Suck it up.  However, the problem seems to be getting worse not better.  It’s disappointing, a hassle, costly, and I believe largely preventable.  There is no passenger bill of rights for wine buyers.  Pity.


Price: What?  Before or after it went down the drain?


Market Liquidity: Heaven’s Gate and Ishtar rolled up into one.

January 5, 2018

Clos du Soleil Celestiale, 2014

It’s been two years since we had a bottle of the Celestiale.  This 2014 was a real surprise.  In general, the Clos de Soleil wines are excellent, if a little pricey, but the Celestiale always seemed a non event.  This pick, typical of a domestic wine that would sell for under $20 in the US but in BC under $30, has all the hallmarks of a workhorse red; juicy and fruity with just a soupcon of acidity and with some air a soft, eloquent finish.  Harsher woodsy tones segue with the fruit.  The many vines blend works, and it works well, if not quite as well as their more expensive bottles.  For BC red, very good value.


Price: $27 before taxes at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Celestiale is to the Signature what AX is to Giorgio Armani.

December 21, 2017

Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache, 2015

Gismondi loved this wine and so did we.  We’re not always on the same wavelength but this was synchronicity.  Wow. Just sip it.  Just sip it to appreciate it.  Slowly.  If you can make it last make it last.  Shiraz Grenache but it could be port in its seamless blend.  It is gentle (compared to run of the mill Oz Shiraz), yet up to the challenge of roasts and chops.  Deeply nuanced with fruit and spice that drift across the palate in ludicrous harmony.  Oozes character.  Just over the limit of what we like to spend on a weekday red but worth every penny.  Kudos for the screw cap.


We tried to lay it down as a cellar pick but it lasted less than sixty days.


Price: $31 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Rich like cake, smooth like cashmere, warm like a toasty fire.

December 20, 2017

Juan Gil Silver Label Monastrell, 2014

The “lesser” yellow label is widely available in Ontario and works wonders with food in a restaurant.  The silver, a pure 100% Monastrell is I guess not to everyone’s taste but it’s spectacular value, deep and delicious, dark cherry, charcoal, smooth as silk; it must be sipped though, the heady 15% alcohol will creep up on you fortified wine style.  The independent shops sell it at close to $30 (but you can usually score a discount on mixed cases bringing it closer to the  BC Liquor price at $25).  For a Christmas treat, it’s $19.95 before taxes at BCL and widely available.  I don’t think I’ve ever purposely gone into a wine store looking for Monastrell but I don’t know how many times the Juan Gil has ended up in my cart.  It is like an old reliable.  Nice to have  a year end post in line with our budget.


Price: $25-30, depending.


Market Liquidity: A lot of Christmas cheer for the price.

December 14, 2017

Domaine Bousquet Gaia, 2013

James Suckling loved this wine.  I wish we could say the same.  Aside from the organics stamp it didn’t have much satisfaction.

A Malbec dominant blend with Syrah and a touch of Cab Sauv, this has all the assault of a good red but none of the finesse.  It’s like the force of the front line without the expertise of the generals at HQ.  Although the (sharp, tannic, heady) attack is nothing like a Zin, we couldn’t help but think of the myriad California Zinfandels so aggressive and potent which leave you reeling after half a glass.  It held up well to red meat (and by God, I should hope so) but it was like an assault on the palate.  And to sip it was just an affront.


If you need an Uzi to do the work of a cordless drill, this is your wine.  Your 92 points wine.


Price: $30 at EW.


Market Liquidity: Pleasure free.  And wine without pleasure is vodka.

November 7, 2017

Amalaya Malbec, 2015

It’s been a few years since we picked up a bottle of Amalaya.  Why?  I have no idea.  It’s an inexpensive extremely palatable crowd pleaser that even pleases the pointsters.  From Salta, Argentina’s version of Atacama, it’s a dark, luscious sipper with a thick, balsamic feel on the tongue, and some charred chocolate and licorice on the finish.  Readily available across BC, the online description touts raspberry, graphite and black olives, none of which popped for us.  That said, this is spectacular “BC value” if you know what I mean.


Price: $22 at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Like running into an old friend on the street.

November 6, 2017

Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva, 2011

Yeah.  So.  Not Rioja’s finest hour.  It’s a close but no cigar vintage.  We did not find it elegant or balanced or rounded, as promised.  We found it a bit uneven, with a vanilla that’s at the fore (and not in a good way) and a softness to the fruit that was decent and palatable but not memorable.


You can find this in the US for $12 a bottle.  A steal.  You can buy this in Saskatchewan for $18.  Very good value.  But at nearly $30 in BC with tax it’s like fruit past its prime.


Price: $26 plus at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.


Market Liquidity: Polka dots and plaid.