Archive for ‘Red Wine’

June 8, 2018

Garzon Reserva Tannat, 2015

A debut for Uruguay on the blog.  Go Uruguay.  And for some strange reason our first post on Tannat, although I do recall drinking it in South America.

 

Just good drinking.  Start to finish.  If you’re expecting a thwump of tannins you’ll be surprised; there is a California Zin smoothness and something of a fruit bomb to the enterprise.

 

Exceptional value.  The juicy berry thumps the oak.  There is an air of poor man’s Robert Parker about it but you can’t deny the fact that getting this much wine, this much quality, under $25, in BC, is, well, rare as a blue steak.  This was the sort of wine you used to be able to source for $20.  But here I am aging myself.  By five years.

 

Price: A little hard to find, but worth it, at $25.

 

Market Liquidity: To borrow from Foghorn Leghorn, it gets under your skin, like a tattoo.

Advertisements
June 1, 2018

Bartier Brothers Cabernet Franc, 2015

Good gosh do we love this wine.  Simple, straightforward, delectable.  If we’ve plowed through three bottles we’ve emptied six.  I think I’ve lost track.  This is anti-snob material though.  It’s not going to appeal to the masses but it will appeal to anyone with a nose for value and integrity.

 

It starts off funky.  On the open pour it hits a sour note.  Barnyard. Expect to be disappointed.  Give it air.  It seems pompous but decant.  Or even 15 minutes in the glass.  And then, a blossom, a blossoming.  It’s rustic and thoughtful and mellow and layered and versatile.  There is no pretense.  Your aren’t getting a “cheap” Oculus or Prospectus; rather you’re getting one of the finest table reds BC has to offer.  In our opinion.

 

Price: Around $24 in various private and public liquor stores (although the vineyard will sell in 3, 6, 9, and I’d recommend a direct order, or pick it up where you can get a discount on six).

 

Market Liquidity: One of the most reasonably priced and most pleasurable “honest” reds in the BC OK.

June 1, 2018

Road 13 Cabernet Merlot, 2016

A mystery of no proportions.  Smooth and sweet and sickly.  Really, pretty much everything we don’t want in a red wine, a lot of emphasis on approachability and nothing resembling terroir.  Bland to boot.  The Merlot comes on as a perfume counter, the Cabernet Sauvignon as a soupcon of pepper.  Enormously disappointing.

 

Price: $25 at private wine stores before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: You know things are looking down when most of the reviewers include the phrase “easy to drink.”  So is Kool-Aid.

May 18, 2018

Cannonau di Sardegna, 2014

A relatively inexpensive red that didn’t impress on the first sip.  In fact it was near offensive.  So we decanted and let sit and low and behold manna from heaven.  Wowza.

 

Honestly, you could be on a rocky outcrop in Sardinia.

 

We’ve spent about a month focused on BC wines, some we love and repeat (Culmina, Bartier, Haywire, Sea Star) and others it’s a dabble.  But how refreshing to take a step back in time.  There is simply no red in the Pacific Northwest that comes out of the bottle with this much sense of place.  The only thing missing was cellar dust on the neck.  Two kraters please.

 

Price:  $26.50 at Kits before tax (but buy six and take a 10% discount).  Or pick it up for $17 in Toronto.  Sigh.

 

Market Liquidity: Golden like the Golden Girls.

May 17, 2018

Jean-Paul Brun Le Ronsay, 2016

Spring is in the air.  Who doesn’t like a little Beaujolais to sip on a mild May evening?  Sedimentary, a distributor in Vancouver that focuses on natural wines, brings in the Jean-Paul Brun, although you’re hard pressed to find it.  It’s light, simple, tasty, fresh and very good value.  There is the berry of Gamay with a kick of pepper that is tantalizing if a bit out of place.  I would fault it on the tannins, a little cloying to our taste, but it is brilliantly French and reminiscent of finer, more expensive cru-Beaujolais (out of our price range).  So much pleasure at such a good price.

 

Price: $25 at Kits Wine Cellar

 

Market Liquidity: A perfect introduction for the natural wine novice.

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.

April 24, 2018

CC Jentsch Cellars The Chase, 2013

The wine snob point of view: A nice wine to sip which is about the nicest thing I can think of to say about this blend.

 

What’s going on in the BC Okanagan and blends?  Is there an honest to god effort to make approachable simple wines that have virtually no identity and no sense of place but have the gall to pronounce themselves inspired by Bordeaux?

 

Ever walk into an outlet store, like a Banana Republic outlet store, and there’s just a sea of monochrome khaki on some table?  All good, no problem with the pants, just that there’s heaps and heaps of them and yet not one of them seems like something you’d want to wear?  That’s sort of this wine.  It’s a really pleasant blend.  Forgettable on the tongue, but pleasant.

 

The wine thrift point of view: This wine is sensationally good value.  Sensationally good value.  And particularly as a BC wine.  Start with a pre-tax price of under $20.  Source it at a Save-On that offers 10% on a mixed six pack.  Pay $1.70 less before tax.  That is just so stupendously wonderful in the BC wine market.  Kudos to Jentsch.  Two thumbs up to Save-On.

 

Price: $20.  Give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Sometimes you just have to dismiss your inner sommelier and enjoy the simple things in life.

April 6, 2018

Kraze Legz Black Bottom Stomp, 2011

There is nothing bad to say about this wine.  As a wine.  It’s a generous blend, fruit forward, lovely notes of tobacco and plum, easy to drink, food friendly.  Has the velvet of Merlot and a bit of the funk of Cab Franc.  If it sold at $22 or less I’d buy a couple of cases.  No doubt it’s sold out at the vineyard due to it’s remarkable approachability.

 

Here’s the rub: This is a wine that France and Argentina and Australia can produce and retail at $10 less.  Gismondi recently gave 91 points to a Cotes du Roussillon blend (Syrah and Grenache); different varietals I know, but wowza, it just flattened the KL.  And the CdR has years ahead of it.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Half decent and pretty good and not too bad BC wines are regularly overpriced.

 

This wine, which btw we really enjoyed, I want to stress that part, but this wine is indicative of the reason we started posting seven years ago.  I mean you have to either pay through the nose for Hypothesis, or suck it up for generic blends, and the decent, everyday wines, like the KL, well they are wonderful to drink but sting at the cash register.

 

There is room here for a whole editorial on the nascent BC wine industry, tax, labour, distribution, regs, the lot, and we don’t need to belabour it.  This is a simple consumer blog.  We have after tax dollars, not too many, and we like wine.  And, importantly, we’d love to support the BC wine industry more fully.  But it’s a snub to average wine drinkers that great BC wines are $20 more than foreign equivalents and good wines about $10 more.

 

Price: $29.99 before taxes at Save-On Foods in White Rock.

 

Market Liquidity: Crazy name but krazy good.

March 27, 2018

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel, 2012

From the cellar: Who cellars Zin?  Not too many.  And as for Ridge, why even post another Ridge review?  Is there a bad bottle or two of Ridge, somewhere out in the universe?  A bad vintage?  A mistake in Monte Bello?

 

For no good reason we have a few of the LS lying in wait and pulled one out on the weekend.  It was, as predicted, floral, elegant, enticing, a pronounced oak, deeply aromatic, dried herbs with spring blossoms on the palate, and of course ridiculously delectable.  It drank like velvet which, to be fair, is not to everyone’s taste, that silky, smooth, flan-like texture.

 

In 2014 we went ga-ga over this vintage.  I don’t think this had to age and I can’t unequivocally say it improved substantially when you think of the four years on the lie down, but it didn’t disappoint and won our hearts from the first sip.

 

Price: $28 USD in 2014.

 

Market Liquidity: Like Ricky Jay doing sleight of hand: How does Ridge do it?

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.