Archive for ‘Shiraz’

September 20, 2018

La Frenz Syrah, Rockyfeller Vineyard, 2016

We found the same pronounced acid as the Cl 21B Riesling, but palatable and welcome.

 

First sip is grape Kool Aid drink crystals.  It really is that strong.  Then a not too wholesome hit of uber alcoholic cherry and plum with the requisite oak.  Despite the 14.9% we loved the jammy fullness and mouth feel.  Up the nose like Vapo-rub.

 

Young. Young, young.  Cellar indefinitely, although La F recommends five to seven, it seems to have potential for 10.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $26 at the vineyard given the cellaring potential.

 

Market Liquidity: In your face.  But give it time.

September 14, 2018

Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz, 2012

Entry level LE is expensive.  Even in Western Australia.  Even at the vineyard in Margaret River.  It’s just how it goes.  And it’s not always brilliant (witness our rather uninspired taste of the Art Series Riesling).  But most of the time it is brilliant.  It has a modesty and restraint, across most varietals, something you don’t normally get in Oz (home of Punch in the Face Shiraz); this isn’t punching bag red.

 

The entry level Siblings Shiraz has (we think) everything going for it.  Smooth and sweet(ish) like melba sauce, meaning berry forward, palate delightful and deeply nuanced but without the flair of a truly magnificent red.  You can just imagine staff tasting from the barrel and knowing it wouldn’t cut the mustard for an Art Series label but how eloquent and measured nonetheless.  We drank it against an Ottolenghi recipe of braised leeks (with edamame, buffalo mozzarella, lemon zest and a sprinkling of Gran Padano) and it shone.  As a sipper it became instantly addictive.

 

There is something missing, something you find in those towering Penfolds that cost a fortune but you are, of course, at entry level.  $40 entry level.  But still.  A good fit, off the rack.  Thank you Leeuwin.

 

Warm, pleasant, pleasing and delectable.

 

Price: $40 at Kits Wine Cellar (but with a half case take 10% off).

 

Market Liquidity: Like an earworm there’s a repetitive riff and you’re hooked.

July 13, 2018

Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drézéry, 2013

We drank three bottles before I got down on my hands and knees and made a formal commitment.

 

Almost impossible to find, which I take to mean BC Liquor is no longer importing, but if you can find it it’s worth it.  A gem.

 

Online reviews referred to it as new world, modern, and pop and pour.  Pretty much the opposite of how we felt.  It was not welcoming or nearly open without air, and the very first sip of the very first glass was a bomb.  But it blossomed after 20 minutes with a balance and muted tannins that didn’t appear on opening.  Bears no resemblance to the common heavy hitters of California or Oz reds and was unmistakably French, with a purity of place that spoke of lavender fields, earthy notes and figgy pudding.  Delicious.  I’m rarely in concord with RP but the WA crew nailed this one.

 

Price: $29.99 before onerous taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: A rare quality find lingering on the BCLDB shelves.

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.

October 10, 2017

Clos du Soleil Syrah, 2014

Assertive and heartwarming all at once.  I would characterize this as rough around the edges and needing some lie time (but with a screw top the question of how or what will improve is a hot topic particularly when you tour the Okanagan and engage with the vintners).  No reviewer would ever write it, but while this is a great red it’s not “fun”; it’s practical and well constructed and lovely to drink but lacking pizazz and charisma.

 

Price: A reasonable and (for BC wines) thrifty $30 at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: Close, like a wheelchair parking space, but also like a gimme in golf.

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July 15, 2017

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette, 2015

Superb.  Despite the expense.  Dreamy in its silkiness and so refined against the many Oz Shiraz-zzz on the BC Liquor shelves.  Berry beautiful.  A sweet raspberry toppled by a more acidic black currant and a hint of maraschino.  Great as a sipper, not too bad with food, generous on the finish like a much more refined red blend from, yes, France.  Too bad about the price tag.

 

Gismondi loved it, Lawrason loved it, they all loved it and so will you if you can get your hands on some and if your pocketbook affords.  Reviewers bent towards the floral perfume of it, but we found on the palate that it definitely went deeper into an earthier realm.

 

Price: A little on the rare side in YVR.  Varies at the private wine stores but after tax you will not get much back from $40.

 

Market Liquidity: Think of the petite exquisite beauty of wild flowers on a wet alpine meadow.

December 30, 2016

McPherson Chapter Three Shiraz, 2012

mcpherson-chapter-three-shiraz-2012

According to Gismondi, wine drinkers shun Shiraz.  I guess wine drinkers don’t eat pizza.  Because, I must say, Shiraz and pizza are as good as Barbaresco and pizza: Heavenly.

 

The Chapter Three comes on strong with some serious pepper kick, but it mellows on the palate with a round, juicy, berry mix of cherry and blackberry, then finishes with a slightly sweet and tart acidity that (truthfully) is not the epitome of Oz Shiraz.  But, get this: The C3 is on sale at BCL; at $24 before taxes you simply can’t go wrong at that price and it is, in that price range, stellar.

 

Price: $28 normally, but this Christmas $24; yes, there is a Santa.

 

Market Liquidity: It may not wow but it will warm and coddle and double as something as comforting as Linus’s blanket.

Homemade thin crust pizza.  Comfort food extraordinaire.

Homemade thin crust pizza. Comfort food extraordinaire.

August 19, 2016

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

The label, with all the plaudits, looks like the poster for a 1970s disaster movie: The Towering Inferno or Earthquake, bursting to the seams with A list stars brushing up against B list character actors.  Points, points, points, points.  I’m afraid, despite the hype, this was mildly impressive.  And only.

 

Gismondi recommended this Syrah dominated blend for the cellar.  Probably good advice.  However,as the third red in a row for us over a recent weekend, it took bronze by default: The lovely Walla Walla blend, the assertive BC Cab Franc, then this, a much lauded Chilean blend.  Hmm.  A wine with no identity, lost in a range of flavour profiles and completely without nuance.  This organic red is so well-loved online, professionals and pundits alike, my only concern is that the bottle we got had been in a non-temperature-controlled environment somewhere, some place, for too long: which is the problem with BC Liquor, it’s a handshake deal that wine didn’t sit idly in a container on a dock or linger in an overheated delivery van or, and this is exceptionally common, take direct south sun through a window, baking day after day, on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.  It wasn’t corked but gosh was it flat.

 

There’s a great line the fire chief has in The Towering Inferno: “Now, you know there’s no sure way for us to fight a fire… in anything over the seventh floor, but you guys just keep buildin’ em as high as you can.”  These vineyards that keep blendin’ to beat the band.  There is no end in sight to the aspirations and, apparently, the plaudits.  The only thing is this: Disaster movies are worth remembering only in the retelling. if at all.  Not even the awful sequel to Poseidon Adventure could make an amusing anecdote.

 

Price: $28 plus taxes at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: “Maybe they just ought to leave it the way it is. A kind of shrine to all the bullshit in the world.” Paul Newman “the architect” at the end of Towering Inferno.

towering inferno

July 25, 2016

C C Jentsch Cellars Syrah, 2013

Super spicy—in a good way. A funky woodiness reminiscent of Oz Shiraz.  There is an unusual Pinot Noir lightness on the palate (and the glass, it’s so pale it’s nearly anemic), but it holds its weight on the finish.  Despite the balance and approachability, despite all the lovely tangents on the nose and mouth, this wine never grew on us, as a sipper, or with dinner.  Ephemeral.  When all was said and done we felt it wasn’t, dollar-wise, better than many cheaper options at BCL, but neither was it as striking or memorable as we’d been led to believe.

C C Jentsch Cellars Syrah, 2013

By that I mean we bought it as the Jentsch rated tops in a list of 15 Syrahs, many from BC which were judged alongside “global benchmarks” (their term, not mine); although judging a dozen wines or so seems hardly representative, more of the sort of party game you’d see this blogger create, “judges” who produce a “list” gives credence to the “sticker” which boosts sales (which also translates as hard to find in a store; a Jentsch blog with the top Syrah and Chardonnays is here.).  In the “judged” list Nichol is my favorite of the lot but overall, despite the quality of these wines, you pay through the nose, relative to Australia and South America.  (As an aside, the Hamilton Russell scored quite high in their Chardonnay list; although a different vintage, we are huge fans too.)  OK, rather than quibble with the list per se, and noting that no one will turn up their nose at a guest bringing over a bottle of Langmeil, but as a previous client of Garagiste in Seattle, I can tell you point blank that nothing in the Okanagan, nothing, at whatever price point, can compete with the very best from Walla Walla.  Which leads me to believe the judges missed some fine West Coast wines, despite the global benchmark.

 

Price: $35 plus at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: All I could hear was Mr. Burns saying “I like the cut of his jib.”  Which is, yes, a dig at the experts.

December 6, 2015

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage, 2013

Pure pleasure. So unlike the previous entry, the anointed Wine Advocate pointster, here you have just the real thing.  Gorgeous texture, grape Kool-aid, rum-soaked currant, a woodsy peppercorn. On the finish, a note of cherry soda. Superb sipper. All Syrah, all Rhone. However, weak at dinner. The tannins and youth of the wine paled with a very mild turkey dish. Too bad.  For a hearty meal it needs more time, much more time.

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage, 2013

Price: $20 USD before duty and taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: Black Friday Gold.