Archive for ‘White wine’

May 28, 2019

Ritual Casablanca Chardonnay, 2016

Biodynamic brilliance. What do the French think when they drink a wine this well crafted? Ooh-la-la, how can we compete? This delectable, restrained Chardonnay is fruit forward, imperceptible oak, layered, complex, with a wet linen astringency on the finish. Subtle but profound. Lovely.

Price: We sourced it at Everything Wine but it’s since gone out of stock. $34?

Market Liquidity: Evocative of something much more prestigious.

May 27, 2019

Cistus Faugeres, 2015

Cistus Faugeres, 2015

BC Liquor had this $30 wine on sale for $27.  It promised melon and kumquat and honeysuckle, and it delivered nothing.  In what has been a string of disappointing, dull and unmemorable wines this spring, the Cistus takes gold in the white category.  I don’t think even on a July day in the shade of a lime tree at Glanum would this hold interest.  More dullards in the BC wine marketplace than gnats in the evening sky. Who is the Ombudsperson for the abundance of boredom in the socialized wine market?

 

Price: $27 at BCL, reduced from $30.

 

Market Liquidity: Consumers: rise up.

May 27, 2019

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, 2016

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, 2016

BC Liquor had the MS on sale, $5 off.  Strictly speaking, you have to be in the mood for California Chardonnay.  Usually there is that Pythonesque 16 tons on your head to the oak.  But this was, surprisingly, light (as CA Chard goes), not too obtrusive, stellar with seafood, lime and stone and honeydew on the palate, and, as it warmed slightly, some banana and fresh bread.  In terms of our tastes, what we gravitate to, this is a non-starter.  But as the overstocked shelves at BC Liquor attest, taste is not the market. If BCL could bring themselves to actually sell this $5 off, it could be a Tuesday night slam dunk.  As such, no such luck.

 

Price: $35, regular price, before taxes, BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: Hey BC Liquor: Rather than “sell” wine how about curating wine?

March 20, 2019

Stina Cuvee White, 2016

Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.  So I bought a bottle (my first bottle of Croatian wine, ever,) and cooked up some curry (an eggplant curry by Meera Sodha, the phenomenal Meera Sodha, if you are not cooking her recipes you are not cooking Indian at home), and corked the Stina.  Thank god the curry was a slam dunk.

 

So this is what I can say unequivocally: Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.

 

Price: $21 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity:  Has, apparently, some utility.

March 16, 2019

Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay, 2014

There was a time when Wolf Blass defined good taste in wine.  And that time was three decades ago.  And, for me, I can even define it further: 1984 in Sydney when WB was both affordable and astonishingly good.  But now?  Talk about retro blast from the past.

 

This is a totally pleasurable Chardonnay, no strikes against it.  For the person who wants a wine, year after year, to taste pretty much the same, within a very, very narrow range of differentiation, Wolf Blass rules the southern hemisphere.  Perhaps only Beringer comes close with this sort of equilibrium.  But isn’t part of the pleasure of drinking wine that difference vintage to vintage, that variability?  If it is, I suggest you move on.

 

Glass half full: Class act.  Glass half empty: Next. Quickly.

 

Price: Regularly $25, on sale for $20, so extremely good value.

 

Market Liquidity: Like an 80s playlist.

March 14, 2019

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

Knot, knotty, knotted.  Any tighter and this could winch up the Titanic.  Think SB in a straight-jacket.  Slick in its near perfection of that green, hay, gooseberry Sauv Blanc predominant down under Kiwi style, and with the Decanter scores to prove it.  Sure they have, I don’t know, perfected the classic New Zealand Sauv Bl; but is it just really good Sauv Bl or a true pleasure to drink?  In our household the jury is out on that.

 

There was a time when NZ was cutting edge for their forward, acidic and deeply complex Sauv Blanc.  I really couldn’t get enough.  Nowadays, it’s as though they’re just making the same thing over and over; highs and lows of a repetitive theme.  Halloween 12 anyone?  Some of us have gone back to the muted, floral notes of Sancerre.  Others are reveling in the newbie upstarts; try the gray label Haywire for starters.

 

Price: A rather hefty $35 at BC Liquor before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: Good (but predictably good).

February 25, 2019

La Frenz Chardonnay Reserve, 2016

Is the LF reserve markedly better than the non-reserve?  I guess so.  It looks better in the glass with its deep golden hue.  It has more of the assertive oak and piquancy that is the hallmark of the house.  Do we like it?  We love it.  Year after year.  But we’re never sure how much more we love it than their run of the mill Ch.  I mean for $20 La Frenz turns out a palatable and “drinker friendly” Chardonnay that perks up any seafood dinner.

 

Hard to find, worth finding, worth having in multiples. Too bad about the cork, it seems a little pompous, but a perpetual favorite in our cellar.

 

Price: $25 from the vineyard and worth each cent.

 

Market Liquidity: It always seems a little special, even if predictable.

 

February 24, 2019

Fuiedo Maccari Grillo, 2016

Fuedo Maccari bottles some more than worthwhile reds.  Why not give the Grillo a go?  Crisp, light, sometimes sharp like grapefruit pith, our nominal experience with Grillo is it’s the arch enemy of Riesling.  But it’s a fine line between refreshingly appealing and innocuous.  This teeters towards the latter.

 

Like a whisper of breeze on a humid day, this wine has no staying power.  Not on the nose, not on the palate.  It’s simple, it’s one note, there is only a nuance of tropical fruit, and if there’s anything exceptional it’s how refreshing it could be eating fritto misto on a terrace in Sicily with a view of Malta in the distance where, truth be told, the wine doesn’t have to be very good to make the day especial.

 

James Suckling gave this a 90 and called it full body.  Wow, what planet was he on?  Full body? This couldn’t pass as a limbless bust in the ruins of Pompeii.

 

Price: $27 at Kitsilano Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Like the rat at the end of The Departed: not necessary.

January 18, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 & La Frenz Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

Anthony Gismondi loved the Mission Hill.  But then, he tends to give a hall pass to Mission Hill and Robert Mondavi.  How he found this pale, plain and rather banal white a 90 pointer is anyone’s guess.  If you really like the grassy, gooseberry, aggressive SB of New Zealand, you will be disappointed and have spent $10 more than a straightforward Brancott.  If you like the tight restraint of a refined Sancerre, you will be baffled by the simplicity.  If you are interested in what’s interesting in the Okanagan, what sort of incredible Sauv Blanc is coming off the vines, you are drinking what is invariably our Tuesday night white: The Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc (and if you buy it at Save On, you can save yourself $10 all in).

 

But if you like SB just in general, and if you want hints of New Zealand with a slightly more fruit forward and tropical fruit flair, you are far and away much better off down at La Frenz, where they bottle something clean, juicy, crisp and gorgeously palatable, which, unfortunately, sells out in a heartbeat.  Only one of these wines is memorable.

 

Price: Mission Hill and La Frenz both sell in Vancouver in the mid-20s at private wine shops.

 

Market Liquidity: The arch mediocrity of Mission Hill and the consistent virtue of La Frenz never ceases to surprise.

 

 

 

January 16, 2019

Glen Carlou Quartz Stone Chardonnay, 2016

What a wonderful, optimistic and uplifting start to 2019.  A beautiful white; crisp, clean, minerally, the proverbial oyster shells, with hints of honeydew melon and a whisper of jasmine.  A long buttery finish.  When Hugh Johnson writes about his love of acidity, I think this wine epitomizes that sentiment, with a tart acidity extremely well balanced on the palate.  Not knock your socks of Burgundy, but restrained and evocative of terroir.  Zero complaints.

 

Price: Gifted but I’ve seen it at the Kitsilano Wine Cellar in the mid 30s.

 

Market Liquidity: The yin and yang of new and old world Chardonnay.

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