Archive for ‘White wine’

November 21, 2018

Calmel & Joseph Blanquette de Limoux

Gismondi quite liked this and “pointsed” it 90.  Yeah, OK, whatever; he’s gotta keep up with his colleagues who found it similarly “over the 89 point hump.”  We found it, well, a little austere, lacking in depth, mineral forward, cucumber hits the palate in an unusual not invigorating way, mediocre effervescence.  Glass half full it makes a wonderful French 75 but a little on the ho hum side as a sipper.  From our perspective, it doesn’t hold a candle to the (four dollars cheaper) Bernard-Massard Brut which we love and which has been our go-to sparkler for over a year.

 

We were attracted to it for the Mauzac, unusual to say the least, but not entranced or seduced.  Another odd thing is that the weekend of AG’s review the Calmel J was in six BC Liquor stores.  Total.  Pretty slim pickings in advance of the holiday season.

 

Price: A more or less reasonable $29 before taxes at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Brunch yes, birthday no.

November 16, 2018

Domaine de la Baume Elite D’or Chardonnay, 2015

Just wrong.  It smells like Australian Chardonnay from the cask.  It drinks like inexpensive over-oaked California Chardonnay.  And then it disappears on the palate.  The heft of the bottle weight, the adornment of points from the WA, and the golden hue of the wine, lean towards something substantial, but like candy floss, while it looks and feels like one thing, on the palate it’s another.  We’ve never experienced a Chardonnay with so little finish.  It’s like a vanishing act.

 

Price: I can see paying $16 all in, as you can in Ontario, but to charge nearly $30 at Everything Wine in BC before taxes seems a criminal act.

 

Market Liquidity: I bought a couple of extra based on reviews (and, yes, the stupid number 90 on the neck).  Guess I’ll be sharing with those I don’t care about sharing with.

 

September 26, 2018

Nk’Mip Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay, 2016

We had the QQ open along with the Black Hills Nota Bene Chardonnay, which retails at about four dollars more.  As a sipper the BH is gorgeous, butter on the tongue and a more luxe finish.  But the QQ was better with dinner.  Hands down.  (Vegetarian main, cheeses, soup.)  And on that score along, the gorgeous food friendly flexibility of the QQ, we nixed the BH post.

 

Strong, California Chardonnay notes, assertive vanilla, an almost synthetic almond and crisp Bosc pear.  Lush but not louche, there is a tightness to this bottle that doesn’t lead to the full Black Hills expression, a sort of modesty, but from the first sip to the last hugely enjoyable.  And not a bad price point to boot.  A worthy award winner.

 

Price: $26 at Save-On Foods

 

Market Liquidity: Finally a contender in our price bracket.

September 25, 2018

Blue Mountain Chardonnay, 2016

Not the “reserve” just the regular, the off the shelf; nothing bespoke.

 

The last time we posted on the non-reserve was a few years back.  More verbose, just as satisfied.  And you can also find posts on the 2012 and 2011.

 

The BM Chard is like an old friend.  Year after year I get it by the half case, at least (because sensibly and thoughtfully BM waives shipping to YVR at least once each fall).  It doesn’t change that much vintage to vintage, it’s always fresh with a bit of bite, the oak is present but not omnipresent, the flavours linger with a light sweetness on the palate, and the complexity, while not profound, is a slam dunk on the dollar value.  I’m not sure it’s as crisp and Chablis-esque as some reviewers might claim, but good gosh is it easy to drink.  Yummy.

 

 

Price: $20.90 from the vineyard.  Value, value, value.

 

Market Liquidity: Did I mention the value?

September 25, 2018

La Vita Pazza White Blend, 2016

In my notes I wrote accidentally “white bland.”  Cute, but incorrect.

 

Think of a lively, decent house white in a local bistro, something palatable, something not bland like generic Pinot Gris or choking pine resin Sauv Blanc.  Something with a lilt, a dash of sweetness, and accommodation for everything from fatty appies to curries and spicy stew.

 

There is nothing that memorable to the Pazza white.  It’s just a base model blend.  It is in fact the La Frenz base model blend, a more or less balanced Muscat and Riesling, very fruit punch and rich without being cloying.  But really, how enjoyable, easy to drink, and food friendly.  The pointsters may pass it by, but you could do much worse at the price point at half the fun.

 

Price:  Wait for it (are you waiting for it?): $15.56 at the vineyard.  Wowza.  This could sell for $29 at a restaurant and still turn the standard mark-up on profit.  And how cheap and cheerful would that be in our over-taxed Western Hemisphere haven?

 

Market Liquidity: Eat, drink, be merry.

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September 20, 2018

La Frenz Naramata Bench Riesling Clone 21B, 2017

We tried.  Nope.

 

Acid.  Just too much acid.  At least there’s therapeutic benefit to apple cider vinegar.  This wasn’t food friendly with hard cheese, braised pork or just as a late summer sipper.

 

The vineyard blurb boasts lavender, thyme, peach.  We got nothing.  Citrus and minerality. And enough acid to burn a hole on your palate.

 

I’m certain that in August, under a grape vine draped gazebo overlooking one of the many Okanagan lakes, this crisp (and forgettable) white would please.  But I don’t think it has much utility outside of context and was a bitter disappointment.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $19 at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Riesling rises to higher heights all down the valley…

August 10, 2018

Unsworth Vineyards Allegro, 2017

Young and fresh but dull and forgettable which is a) surprising and b) a letdown because flip the bottle around and see what’s inside, a blend of two obscure hybrids, Sauvignette and Petit Milo which, you might assume based simply on their obscurity, that Unsworth is onto something pretty special.  They are not.

 

Gismondi compared this to Muscadet (trust me: Buy Muscadet) and gave it an eye-popping 90 points but on what scale who knows.  Maybe that’s like when you make Celsius Fahrenheit “on the fly” (i.e., double it and add thirty).

 

Price: A very reasonable $20 give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Cold water is also refreshing.

July 20, 2018

Haywire Secrest Mountain Chardonnay, 2016

Just enough Chardonnay.  That’s how we refer to the Haywire gray label Crush Pad that vats its plonk in concrete.  Just enough.  Gismondi was very kind, “streamlined and textural” but he could have just as easily said “simple and straightforward.”

 

 

But on a blind test down at, say, Far Niente, what would they say?  Maybe “ribbon for participation.”  And at Grgich Hills?  Snarky, “go for broke, but don’t go broke tryin’.”  Liberty might even be pleasant, “you’re on the right track.”  Over at Kistler, well they might say something I couldn’t print in the blog.  And Ridge?  Just bug eyes and a “get your act together” face.  How embarrassing for Ridge.  You really feel for them having to blind taste BC whites.  So it takes all types.  All types of Chardonnays.  And this is one type.  It ain’t no heavy hitter, but it is, just enough, just enough Chardonnay.

 

Price: Around $28 before taxes at most private shops.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s no Rockette but it can do backup.

July 20, 2018

Fort Berens Dry Riesling, 2016

Wine from Lillooet?  What’s next: Wine from Graaff-Reinet?  I suppose.  If one of the myriad Lillooet forest fires common to the region, regularly, consistently, doesn’t wipe out the vineyard.  And lord knows there’s heat up there.

 

Tangy, tart, zesty and refreshing.  Decent with frittata.  But it’s no stellar Riesling and most will, at best, find it inoffensive, in the middle nonplussed, but us we could leave it be.  Quite forgettable.  (92 points over at John Schreiner.  Wow.  God bless him.  But that is just way, way beyond the quality and texture and depth of this very simple table white.)

 

Price: Less than $20.  So four stars on that.

 

Market Liquidity: Turns out only some of the grapes were from Lillooet.  Just one more let down on the last glass.

July 16, 2018

Indigenous World Pinot Gris, 2017

PG in BC is up and down.  Most bottles promise a lot, the fruit, the blossoms, the herbs.  And then in the end some soar, others tread water.  We bought this bottle as a novelty, based on a recommendation to try a First Nations venture near Kelowna; it was just a one off and I forgot about it and then I drank it and I thought wow, how satisfying.  Jason Parkes, another novelty in BC wines (songwriter, musician, vintner of all things, and award winning in each) had his hand in the pie.

 

I think I will put aside all qualifications on this wine.  It’s not my current favorite BC PG, it’s not my favorite PG period, but we started this blog to highlight value, and to call out overpriced plonk and ludicrous reviews that are divorced from the average drinker and this bottle is all about value: decent wine at an affordable price.  Six for the patio, and that’s just July.

 

Price: Around $18.  Stunning.

 

Market Liquidity: You can do better, but at twice the price, and this is better than half the value of those twice as much.

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