Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

December 30, 2020

Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, 2015

From the cellar: You can’t easily find Au Bon Climat in Vancouver anymore. There is an occasional bottle down at Marquis (they have an alternative Pinot in stock right now retailing for nearly $80). We scored this duty free Pinot Noir in Hong Kong a few years back, before Covid-19, before the democracy protests. And then I guess we forgot about it. Did someone say Pinot WOW? Seventh heaven: I felt like those swimming, floating, bobbing Bond dancers in the title sequence of Thunderball: This wine defies gravity.

Just goddamn deliciousness in a bottle. The gobs of fruit, some pungent woodsy spice, and balanced to within a tenth of a mm. We had nothing but Jack Handy Deep Thoughts; sipped like satin, paired with food like Astaire and Rogers, disappeared in a flash.

Price: $25 USD three years ago.

Market Liquidity: Is it sacrilegious to call it sacramental?

July 29, 2020

Chateau de Laborde Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune En Cuillery, 2016

Chateau de Laborde Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune En Cuillery, 2016

Have you ever read a professional review where they say the wine has “tension”?  That’s this red.

 

We wanted to jump up and down: A red from Volnay under $50 in BC?  Shurely shome mishtake?

 

For us, it didn’t shine.  It was good Pinot.  The “delicate violet flower” was too delicate to last; it dissipated.  The “saffron notes” were, well, you know, not everyone likes saffron.  OK, the fruit was there, the fruit was there.  Yes, it was reasonably complex and interesting on the palate, but also ever so slightly bitter.  And the tension, the wine just seemed wound up, unrelenting.  Pinot, red Burgundy Pinot, the best of it floats, it’s mysterious and ethereal.  This had something of a thud.

 

Price: Marked down from $45 to $37.  So a score, if you will.

 

Market Liquidity: Too plebe for the high rollers, too generic for those on a splurge.

July 22, 2020

Saint-Damien Plan de Dieu Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, 2018

Saint-Damien Plan de Dieu Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, 2018

It might be a CDR villages, but it’s old vines CDR villages, and it shows.  Big time.

 

A spectacular “common” red.  To find a wine in BC around $30 that has this much finesse without dripping in oak or insipidly acidic, is a treat.  Amen to Côtes-du-Rhône.  Grenache and Mourvèdre get married, the former is dominant, but a lovely partnership all round.  Right up there at the Wine Advocate and rightly so.

 

We couldn’t really discern the plum, but the black cherry and big swath of strawberry flood the palate leading to a restrained finish.  True, it’s not Gigondas.  But you know what else?  We’re not royalty, and this drinks better than half the BC Okanagan which sells at double the price.

 

Usually, with a wine like this, Gismondi writes “back up the truck.”  I would echo that sentiment.  That said, on the flip side it is an oppressive 14.5%, something that tends to curry favour over at the WA.  And, despite the recommendation to cellar, we weren’t sure how much further it would go: It drinks today smooth, velvety and delectable.

 

Price: $30 before tax at Marquis, although there was a discount on pre-orders (thank you Marquis).

 

Market Liquidity: U-Haul rents a van for the price of less than two bottles.  Do the math.

July 22, 2020

Trapiche Terroir Series Malbec, 2014

Trapiche Terroir Series Malbec, 2014

The Trapiche TSM sells for $46 before tax.  There is no way. No way.  But it was $10 off recently at BC Liquor, and we picked up a bottle.  Light up a Cohibo.

 

Big, juicy, plummy on the front with a back end loaded up in tobacco leaf, medicine cabinet and nuanced spice.  Just hugely appealing, and umpteen times better than the Malbec we often drink when we feel like Malbec which is, you know, rare.  (We referenced a Difficult People Malbec joke last year, here; hey Arthur Tack: Stuff it.)

 

Just goes to show what a Malbec could be.

 

Price: A way, way, way too expensive $46 if not on sale.

 

Market Liquidity: Pack leader (in its pack).

June 26, 2020

Cune Cava Brut, NV

Cune Cava Brut

Thank you Marquis: A dry, palatable, superb summer sparkler, much more enticing than umpteen local rose offerings and some plain un-outstanding local fizz.  A most perfect mixing faux-champers, a dash of Campari or put a Spanish twist on an Aperol spritz.  Not too effervescent with some heady, yeasty, earthiness and a touch of shale.  Decent and then some.

 

Price: $27.75 at Marquis Cellars.

 

Market Liquidity: It may be a blow-up toddler’s pool next to the big guns, but it has all the summer fun you want to kick off the evening.

June 26, 2020

La Frenz Freedom 75 Chardonnay, 2018

La Frenz Freedom 75 Chardonnay, 2018

It’s smooth, it’s caramel butterscotch-y so that it veers towards Werther’s Original.  Fortunately, the freshness and zestiness of some acid keeps the cloying at bay.  It was decent with light fare, easy sipping, and enjoyable.  But remarkably forgettable and seemingly commonplace on the finish.  If you are averse to oak, this is an ideal local option.

 

Price: $26.50 at Firefly.

 

Market Liquidity: We used to get very excited over La Frenz; like a favorite director releasing a dud.

June 26, 2020

Rocca Bernarda Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, 2016

Rocca Bernarda Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, 2016

Wow, what a mouthful.  The title I mean.  Makes you think you’ll get more than you do.  Like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; just too bad it wasn’t funny on film.

 

Mixed feelings over a mediocre red.  Forcefully acidic, aggressively musky in that wet forest floor sort of fashion, with a dash of oak and a not too unpleasant finish.  Half decent with food, too assertive and in your face as a sipper.

 

Price: $31 at Firefly.

 

Market Liquidity: An unusual grape, an unusual wine.

May 29, 2020

Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir, 2015

Blue Mountain Pinot Noir, 2015

It opens up beautifully.  But it opens up slowly. There is definitely a matrooshka doll onion skin Pandora’s box motif going on.  It’s beauty does not give it the full marks the vintner and pointsters do: it is a tad thin and not nearly as eloquent as other PNs in this price range, and of course BM (not to be confused with BS) likes to amp up the price.  Stick to their under-valued and reasonably priced lovely Pinot Gris…

 

Time was, when we swore by BM PN, buying it by the case; the “regular” and reserve.  Then it went over $30.  Then it went over $35.  Then it went over $40.  Now we can rest our case, so to speak.

 

Price: Gifted, how wonderful is that, but $40 at the vineyard and a yardstick more at private wine stores in YVR.

Market Liquidity: A bit too much clique and not enough populism.

May 29, 2020

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2017

Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2017

I’m surprised that the last time we blogged about Black Sage was 2014, a full six years ago.  And that was a Cab Sauv; lovely and yummy.  But, as I like to say after a few glasses, “we’ve drunk a lot of BS over the years.”

 

It’s time to just come out and say thank you, BS, for decently priced quite drinkable, hearty reds.  Zero pretension, a lot of heft on the palate, a reasonable amount of the funky Cab Franc spice and leathery smoke.  Exceptional with meat.  No dissent around the table.

 

Price: An under $30 before the four bottle discount at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: A plethora of smiley and thumbs up emojis.

May 29, 2020

Natte Valleij Cinsault, 2018

Natte Valley Cinsault, 2018

We are always up for novelty.  After all, isn’t that what drinking wine is all about? Unusual varietal?  Bring it on.  But first, oh my dear God, please, please get rid of the wax on the neck; it’s somewhere between a cut your wrist suicide attempt and wedding reception confetti (a mess either way, and totally unnecessary).

 

Cinsault can grow in climates not known for their wine (say Lebanon) and is widely planted in South Africa where, based on this bottle alone, it should be blended.  We couldn’t determine how and when the pungent, silty fruit of it would be most complementary, as it sipped like vermouth and drank with food astringent.  I would write pale and wan but in fact it was pale and wanting.

 

Price: $30 at Kitsilano Wine

 

Market Liquidity: Beautiful cover, mediocre book.