Archive for ‘Tempranillo’

July 24, 2017

CVNE Rioja Reserva, 2012 & CVNE Rioja Crianza, 2012

The best tasting, best drinking red wine in its class, the best red wine under $40 in BC, period.  And, I might add, much better than many BC reds up to half the price more.  We have held off posting until assured there was no more to be found in the Lower Mainland.  Joking.  Half joking.


Marquis had a superb pre-offer at, with tax, $25 for the Crianza and $36 for the reserve.  We bought a lot.  We went back for more.  Marquis was sold out.  We sourced it at Everything Wine.  We bought a lot.  We went back for more.  EW was sold out.  We sourced it at Kits Wine Cellar.  We bought a lot.  We went back for more.  KWC was sold out.


On the plus side, maybe we were the only ones smart enough to buy up this wine?  I don’t think I’ve drunk, and stashed away, so much of one bottle as I have of this year’s CVNE release.  (The Monopole was similarly outstanding if slightly less impressive.)


These reds are the most comforting, smooth, rich and concentrated blends you can get at such a reasonable price point.  But price be damned, they are just really good tempranillos.  The Wine Spectator said the Reserva has depth and intensity and gave it 93 points.  (Can you imagine a BC red getting 93 points and going on sale for less than $40?).  That’s a fair summation.  But it’s also just plain likable in the most approachable and delectable way.  As you can see from the group picture, we simply can’t get enough.


The Crianza is, yes, lesser, but only by a margin so slim it could be a BC election; and what a wonderful sipper still, and just gorgeous to share at dinner without breaking the bank.  The WS gave it 91 points.  And in Ontario you can buy it with change from a $20.  In BC we have to cough up more and it sells out quicker but let’s give a shout out to Rioja.


Price: See above.


Market Liquidity: These Riojas remind me of that Hugh Johnson quote that wine is a marriage of nature and aesthetics.  To which I think he meant what is real and beautiful.  Because these babies are real beautiful.

February 16, 2017

Sierra Cantabria Rioja, 2011


Ever taste wine with friends, take notes, compare them, and find that what one person found heavy and tannic another found fruity and light?  Or, more typically, buy wine specifically because of the reviewer’s blurb—only to be wholly let down?  This is that experience in a nutshell.


Here’s the professional review: “…dense, rich red cherry and liquorice aromas…sour cherry, coffee and nutmeg notes and the oak is fully integrated.”


We just couldn’t get past the flatness of it, the one note, a very tepid Tempranillo, immediately forgettable.  Not cheap either.  And this was after our splurge on D’Orrance a few weeks back based on a stellar review which was a match made in heaven.  So it goes.


Price: $30 at Everything Wine.


Market Liquidity: Hugh Johnson called Sierra Cantabria “drinkable and good” and I’ll give it that.

February 6, 2017

Finca 10 Rioja, 2014


The epitome of cheap and cheerful.  A wonderful Wednesday red.  Fruity, approachable, marginally tannic.  Maraschino syrup against a light peppery bite; think grenadine mixed with Chartreuse.  No weight, feather light for a Tempranillo, and as weak on the nose as the palate and the finish.  But food friendly in a big way and welcome (and warming) during this incredibly long and frigid winter.


Price: Regularly $16.99, but on sale at Everything Wine for an astonishing $12.99.  Thanks you EW.


Market Liquidity: A bird in the hand.

October 15, 2016

Seven Stones Standing Rock Meritage, 2010 & Celeste Crianza, 2012


We drank the lovely if somewhat forgettable Crianza back to back with a Seven Stones blend.  Not unlike some previous bottles which we’ve never reviewed, the Meritage was enjoyable, imperfect, provocative and spoke of terroir in a way the Similkameen seems to beat out the northern OK year by year.


So how did it play out against the highly prized Crianza, from, and I quote, “the world’s most admired wine brand”?  I think if you don your impartial reviewer hat the Crianza is the better wine.  I give it this: It has fewer flaws.  And who doesn’t like a silky Tempranillo on a miserable autumn night?  But like a high end suit tailored versus an off the rack that fits to a tee, the Meritage just holds your interest more, lingers on the tongue longer, and has a depth of flavour that is both captivating and a little frustrating, a few inches away from being a better blend.  Now the Crainza rolls over the palate like toffee, smooth, a tad gristly, but pffft, it’s thin and ephemeral, and thus the disappointment.


Pricewise, the Crianza comes in at $27 before taxes and the Meritage $35 with taxes, so only a few dollars separate the two on the budget front.  I guess, again, the Crianza is better value, but purely on a subjective level from a very personalized point of view Seven Stones rules.


Market Liquidity: Technically, once you have Robert Parker’s blessing, no market liquidity is required.


January 19, 2016

Maycas del Limari Sumaq Reserva Chardonnay, 2013 & Urban Uco Malbec Tempranillo, 2013

Urban Uco Malbec Tempranillo, 2013Value week on Buyingbcwines: To round off our value wine theme this week we finish with an enormously satisfying Chilean Chardonnay and a critics pick. The Argentinian blend, Malbec-Tempranillo, is an over-90 pointer from Parker, and drinks pretty much the way you’d expect: Fruit heavy, a little leaden, rich and hearty. Personally, I didn’t like it, neither its predictability nor character, it’s 14.5%, a little too heavy on the cigar and without any elegance whatsoever. Too flat on the finish. But that is irrelevant. Most people will like it, like it a lot, as a house wine it could sell like hotcakes, the price is exacetment as the French say. Exactamente I should say. In fact, I’ll set the bar for 2016: Best value red in BC at the price. (Let’s see what happens over the next 11 months.) Comparatively, the local and foreign dross at this price point is suicidally depressing. Ignore my misgivings; dare to compare with your other Tuesday night selections.


Price: A budget conscious $14.99 at BC Liquor (with tax $17.25).


Market Liquidity: Like getting an upgrade at the rental desk from economy to midsize.

Maycas del Limari Sumaq Reserva Chardonnay, 2013

The Maycas del Limari, on the other hand, won’t win awards nor critical favour beyond “good value” and “fresh”, but what a hugely appealing wine that speaks volumes to breaking the Chardonnay norm. Honestly, it was exciting to cork this bargain bottle. Bright to the point of glaring, this is sunshine encapsulated in a bottle, and really reminded us of the Boutari (in terms of its liveliness). There are more tropical tangents than you can imagine, guava, pineapple, passionfruit, than typical stony notes, but a current of oak runs underneath the forward, very forward, fruit. Drinks like a 12 per cent lunch wine. Is not cloying and does not seek to wow.  It’s all enjoyment.  Great to sip, perfect with frittata. And easy to share at the cost.


Price: $21 with tax ($18 before) at Everything Wine or Legacy.


Market Liquidity: Carnival in Rio in a bottle.

July 10, 2015

Bodegas Elias Moro Descarte, 2012

A touch of potpourri?

Bodegas Elias Moro Descarte, 2012

This wine did not live up to the poinster’s lauds (in my humble opinion). Tanzer gave it 92 points writing “Heady aromas of blueberry, boysenberry and violet, lifted by a smoky topnote and a touch of potpourri. Broad, sappy and concentrated, offering vibrant dark fruit flavors complemented by notes of allspice, mocha and candied flowers.” That is certainly lovely language, only someone passionate about wine could make the effort, but we found that even with air and time the Descartes was only as luxe as wines half the price and not as layered or luscious as the IWC would have led us to believe. If you read between the lines, I would way the WS was a little bit more truthful when they named it their wine of the day and described it as having “chewy tannins and fresh acidity.”


Price: $30 US before significant CDN duties. So, in other words, expensive. Not Super Tuscan territory, but still…


Market Liquidity: Potpourri, I should point out, can be stale, overwhelming and even repugnant.

April 30, 2015

Beronia Rioja Reserva, 2010

Baronia Rioja 2010



This drinks like the red wine Robert Parker likes, which means predictably. It’s like a Jack in the Box; you know what’s coming out of the bottle simply by his points. It’s a smooth and easy to drink red, rich and I guess satisfying, but it’s like how many Godzilla movies can Hollywood churn out and retain viewer interest, if you know what I mean? Technically, there’s nothing bad to say. Except, yawn…


Price: $25 at BC Liquor, and readily available, and a good price.


Market Liquidity: Seven parts oak, three parts satisfaction.

October 16, 2014

Valenciso Reserva, 2007

In a trio of Tempranillo’s we quaffed a few weeks back this took the prize. True, the Moraqona La Duna was better value, but this had an astounding wow factor that really lends itself to impressing guests. Deep, dark, ruby red, with luscious notes of spice (cinnamon, mace), cherry, the smell of an old wood cabin. Light with the fruit, dark with the tannins. Sheer pleasure. Although I will tell you one thing: It wasn’t as food friendly as the $17 La Duna. Funny. But rather than belabor the superlatives, if you need some fireworks for the holiday season, and don’t mind parting with double what I like to spend on a bottle, get a case. Or two.


Price: An unfortunate $40 but readily available at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: Delectable.

October 2, 2014

Ribera del Duero, Ninin, 2009


What a huge disappointment. A big pointer with the Robert Parker crowd (92 points to be exact) this is exactly the sort of wine that critics say the Robert Parker crowd loves and which lead to copycat wines which leads to a world full of monotonous Robert Parker 92 point wines. From the get go, has all the predictability and dusty mechanical boredom of a bus and truck production of A Chorus Line in its second decade. Fruit? Check. Pepper? Check. Oak? Check and check and check. Over 14 per cent alcohol? Do you need to even effing ask? It’s the Wine Advocate agenda. Sweet? Jesus, this could be Aunt Jemima syrup.


Something more memorable...

Something more memorable…

All we could think of was Charlie Chaplin getting sucked into a factory cog in Modern Times. Sucked into the monstrous system. Every single vineyard that nods to this pointster coup by imitating the Ninin is doing the wine world a disservice. We tend to love Spain, but love has its limits. This drinks really well, no, it drinks really easy, but it will linger in your memory like that episode of The Brady Bunch where Greg gets stuck in the butcher’s fridge. Could you care any less?


I am, of course, in the minority. The masses lap this up. Go online and see the myriad likes, loves and lauds.  So shoot me.


Price: A remarkably affordable $23.95 at the LLBO in Toronto.


Market Liquidity: Great old editorial cartoon: Dog sniffing a fire hydrant. Caption: Been there, done that.

October 2, 2014

Vega Moragona La Duna, Tempranillo, 2010

A little piquant and not in a good way. And that, my friends, is me scraping the barrel for something critical. Who can complain at this price point? This evocative Tempranillo is an astonishingly good value. Amazingly good value. $17 at the Ontario liquor store. Wonders never cease.


Big, broad, brash. Fruity, smoky, elegant. A weird clash of good and bad wine words the pros use. So little to complain about, so much to enjoy. Absolutely lovely. Did I mention $3 change for a $20? Unheard of in BC.


Price: $16.95 in Toronto at LLBO stores.


Market Liquidity: Mr. Ford: Better than crack. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)