Archive for ‘Red Wine’

August 11, 2018

Bodegas Ateca Atteca, 2014

A juicy, plummy, full-bodied red with none of the weight.  Smooth as a baby’s bottom.  Delicious and approachable if top heavy (15% alcohol).

 

I don’t know how we ended up gravitating to so many Grenache/Garnacha wines, but we have.  Last week we were drinking a white Grenache from France, the entry level Jaboulet (white Grenache: which can be lively and layered but was in this case flat and sterile; at least Marquis put it on sale).

 

This Spanish red is pretty much what you wouldn’t expect in Spain (and I speak from some experience).  It’s so well crafted, and honed to within an inch of its life I can only think of an export market expert, a list of check boxes, and crafting each barrel to tick the Robert Parker predilections.

 

But it is enjoyable.  Rich and open hearted and lush.  Very food friendly.  Not expensive in many US markets but hitting $40 with taxes in BC.  Shame.

 

(NB: Ateca Atteca.  What’s next?  Bogle Boggle?  Ravenswood Ravenwood?  Cheval Blanc Blancc?)

 

Price: $34.99 at private wine shops (select those that give half and full case discounts).

 

Market Liquidity: It’s a bit like the pride some have with a logo on the chest of their shirts (meaning was it really worth all the money, even if you do look sharp).

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.

 

August 8, 2018

La Condamine Paulignan, 2013

A wonderful, thoughtful and approachable red blend, with a hearty depth and pleasing musky notes.  Most of it drank, for us, like the proverbial cigar shop, laden with smoke and tobacco leaf and nuanced edges of charcoal.  Sometimes top heavy.  Always enjoyable.  Gismondi loved it and BCL in response reduce it by one dollar so small mercies.

 

Price: $23 before taxes at BCL, $18 including taxes in Ontario.  Go figger.

 

Market Liquidity: Like drinking beyond your means.

 

I will add a footnote though.  The next day we drank the Miss Molly in My Bed, 2010.  Eight year old South African red blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot) same price as the Condamine.  Mystery purchase.  Last bottle on the shelf.  Attica in Victoria (probably the best curated wine shop in Victoria) all alone between the lovely if overpriced Secateurs and lower priced and less drinkable SA reds.  Score.  Absolutely beautiful.  What a sipper; smooth with spice, rich dark smoky flavours on the palate with a light, modestly acidic cherry finish.  Screw top to boot.  Miracles do happen.

July 19, 2018

Quinta do Vale Meandro, 2015

A “worth it” blend from the Douro.

 

The proverbial round, full and meaty red without the weight of round, full and meaty reds.  What they call juicy acidity in the trades, and when it hits the palate it teases and entices on that acidity.  The flavour profile is a bowlful of orchard fruits.  Then, a piquant, peppery finish.  Enormously appealing, a bouquet of lavender and light vanilla on the nose.  No weighty powerhouse, we couldn’t sense the tannins identified by the Wine Advocate nor did we find it dry and serious, in fact it has a rather playful, fruity element to the blend the way a fine cru Beaujolais might.  We could easily take up house with the plum and cherry and licorice.

 

Price: $37 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, a little out of our wheelhouse, but incomparably more likeable than BC reds at $10 more.

 

Market Liquidity: Splurge.  It’s worth it.

July 10, 2018

Be So De Vino Old Vine Garnacha, 2014

OK, guess this is what I’m drinking when I retire.  Wine that with tax comes in under $20.  Wine that at least one reviewer liked (and so they put his name on the neck).  Gets you drunk.

 

I couldn’t relate.  On any level.  Not with the juicy brashness of it, the overloaded notes of concord grape and cloying lollipop cherry, the ridiculously sweet notes, meringue with frosting sweet, the pasty finish.

 

Price: $14 at private wine stores and I suppose good value at that.

 

Market Liquidity: Like teenage popularity, it doesn’t hold.

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.

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.