Archive for ‘White wine’

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.

April 30, 2020

Bellingham Old Vine Chenin Blanc, 2017

Bellingham Old Vine Chenin Blanc, 2017

 

Lordy what a lovely find. Food friendly to the nth degree, a patio marvel, hardy enough for roast chicken gentle enough your fingers could be soaking in it.  Luscious on the palate.  Stoney minerality coalesces with citrus grove lands on creamsicle with muted oak on the tail.  Sips a dream.

 

You could look for it and not find it, which is most likely in BC, but if you do buy it, then buy it by the threes.

 

Price: $31 at Kitsilano Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: And the taste that was planted in my brain still remains, to do no justice to an old lyric.

April 29, 2020

Colle Stefano Verdicchio di Matelia, 2018

Colle Stefano Verdicchio di Matelia, 2018

Bartlett pear, clover honey, and a good hit of stone with a dry, abrupt finish, but an acidity that breaks through cured meats, olives and firm cheese.  Wait: this isn’t a wine review.  This is the saga of the sorry state of affairs when it comes to wine in BC.

 

Let’s start here: Some good memories, years ago, drinking decent everyday Italian wines, some Corvo, Frascati, Verdicchio.  Then let’s jump forward and try to find those working horse wines in BC.  Good luck.

 

True story: I went into a well stocked private wine store and asked if they had any Verdicchio.  The proprietor said “Verdicchio?  I wish.”  That really says it all.

 

So when a local distributor had some organic bottles available we decided to get a case.  Not because we wanted a case, because short of driving all over the city, from store to store to store, trying to find a single bottle, the only way to order through the distributor is by the case.

 

Wait, you say.  It’s 2020.  Search online.  Oh, you’re hysterical.  Let me know which nights you do standup.  Search online indeed.  [Note for another post: The three wine stores in the province with search friendly online databases.]

 

Get this: After you order you wait a month.  Even though the wine is here, even though you’ve specified where you want to pick it up, it takes three or more weeks to cross the city.  Then the local store calls you and, you go, and you pay.  And you have a case of wine to drink.

 

There could be a better way.  Gismondi has written widely on the price point of BC wine, on a lethargic and unwieldy government system, on barriers to wine trade.  But really, we live in a modern democracy.  We should have wine clubs like the New York Times and Wall St Journal and umpteen other American versions.  But we don’t.

 

The online databases for most stores are poor, inaccurate or nonexistent.  The best of the online databases, Everything Wine, is even a little clunky and can be awkward when they run lower than a case at any given store.  In other words often.

 

So, in short, if you are passionate about wine, the system is set up to ensure your passion is quelled and you drink at the mercy of higher ups that have a grander notion than personal taste.

 

Price: Is it relevant?  In the grand scheme of things?

 

Market Liquidity: A lot of work to spend a lot of money for what was, last time I checked, a pleasure of adulthood, not a penalty.

March 27, 2020

Domaine Henri Darnat “La Jumilie” Chardonnay, 2016

Domaine Henri Darnat “La Jumilie” Chardonnay, 2016

So in BC to score a wine bottled in Meursault (bottled in Meursault, not Meursault!) at around $30 is something of a coup.

 

We loved this bottle with its brazen minerality and stony finish.  Sharp, crisp, elegant.  Stone fruits, dry, not an ounce of residual sugar.  But it wouldn’t impress.  The Burgundy crowd would immediately discern its lesser-ness, the Chardonnay crowd would crow it lacked the oak-y finesse so finessed in California, and the average wine drinker would just not appreciate the subtle-ness.  However, for my $30, it was a score.

 

Price: $28 at BC Liquor, on sale, such as it is.

 

Market Liquidity: Like a light lunch on a patio in Beaune in spring; dry, relaxing, layers of distinction.

February 28, 2020

Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes, 2009

Chateau La Tour Blanche, Sauternes, 2009

From the cellar: No thesaurus has the language to describe this luscious dessert sipper: Stupendous.  Ludicrously good.  Layer upon layer upon layer of flavours.  Ethereal; the proverbial nectar from the gods.  Can you hear my lips smacking?

 

The palate is a veritable wine fractal: Peach.  Apple. Pear. Almond.  Some cedar shavings.  Tangerine.  That might be the half of it.  The depth is absolutely astounding.  Sweet, sweet, but not cloying.  How is that possible?

 

Guess what? The French state owns the vineyard.  If this wine is what it means to elect Bernie Sanders, bring it on.

 

[A pointster first and foremost: Wine Advocate 93.  Wine Enthusiast 95.  Tim Atkin 95.  And 96 from James “nothing under 90 points” Suckling.]

 

Price: Back when the Canadian dollar was actually worth something, we scored this in Seattle for just over $16 USD.  The 2015 is available in Vancouver for nearly $50 CDN.  That’s $100 a bottle.  That’s also astounding and ludicrous.

 

Market Liquidity: As intriguing and appealing as those beautifully pixelated Chuck Close masterpieces.

February 21, 2020

Darling Axle Chenin Blanc, 2018

Darling Axle Chenin Blanc, 2018

Lively and rich, straw and lychee with a touch of the sweet of a custard apple.  A dreamlike 12.5% for lunch.  Wonderful depth on the palate as a sipper (a lingering lemon blossom finish) but superior in its food friendly versatility whether cheese, salad, cured meats or fish.  An unusual balancing act of heavyweight Chenin and Alsace-ish etherealness.  Plus you can call it darling.

 

Price: Kits Wine Cellar at $34 but “just over” $30 with a six bottle discount.

 

Market Liquidity: Easily as (or more) enjoyable as its (pricier) Anjou cousins.

 

October 2, 2019

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris, 2018

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2018

We drank a lot in September, wines that have littered this blog for a decade, locals like Blue Mountain, a number of Pinots (the reds, the whites), lovely hearty Oz heavyweights and French Beaujolais.  The lot.  But nothing we haven’t reviewed prior.  So now it’s try something new.

Not.

This is the time of year to get a case from Burrowing Owl, one of the few “moments” where you can score both their Chardonnay and various reds in a single order.  In the mix we opted for some Pinot Gris, although usually I prefer the Blue Mountain (“regular” and “reserve”). While the Athene towers above the rest, the Merlot is probably our favorite.  But today it’s worth lauding the latest Pinot Gris.

 

BOwl, as we call them, have come up with one of their liveliest PGs in a while.  Super piquant with lots of crisp citrus acidity and some mellow peachy cordial on the finish.  Ridiculously easy to drink and food friendly with something on the tame slash vegan end of things.  Value and then some.

 

Price: $21 form the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Light, lively, a score.

And just to prove the repetitive point, here are the BOwl links from so many posts gone by: Here, here, here, here, here, here, and yes here.

August 8, 2019

Rocca Bernarda Friulano, 2016

Rocca Bernarda Friulano, 2016

From a July post after nearly a month in Italy we raved about Friulano, a sort of Sauvignon hybrid positively perfect with antipasti and, in Italy’s south, more on the money than not.  But alas our socialized liquor board failed the consumer; yet again.  It’s what I call a “dry run” when you can’t find what you’re looking for in BC but find it in abundance anywhere else (outside Canada).  We found a straggler, the Villa Locatelli, much reviewed by Gismondi but totally a non-starter for us, not even in the curiosity category.  We decided not to post.

Villa Locatelli Friulano

“..a non-starter for us…”

Then a fellow wine geek, sensing my desperation, sourced the Rocca Bernarda at EW.  What a revelation.  Hearty, husky, a red wine in white wine’s clothing, next to the Locatelli, the former like a badminton player, the RB like a rugby forward.

 

Regular old wine descriptors aren’t particularly useful with Friulano–especially if you’ve never drunk it.  It needs some regular language (citrus and stone fruit), it needs some exotica (apricot kernels and toasted clove), it needs some standard bearers like melon, and then it needs to be rated on mouth feel. It should have a texture somewhere between the greenest virgin olive oil and pear nectar. As with our July note, if you can hit it out of the park, like the Bastianich Plus, you are up in the majors; but if you don’t, this is an inconsequential varietal.

Price: Gifted but $30 at Everything Wine in the oddbins.

 

Market Liquidity: Grand but not grandiose.

August 8, 2019

Time Meritage (white), 2014

Time Meritage (white), 2014

Gismondi recommended the 2017.  I’d never knowingly drunk a white Meritage so we took the plunge (although anyone drunk on Graves, as I was between bottles of Corvo and Frascati in the 1980s, or living in Australia, as I did for a bit in the 80s as well, has drunk this blend which should, under no circumstances, be called Meritage.  But there you go…).  We made no effort; I found with ease the 2014 so that was the base comparison.  And, yes, surprising.  Full body, creamy, lots of luscious butterscotchy, tangerine and  lemon blossom notes with just the absolute perfect note of oak.  Did we like it?  I think we were so surprised that we didn’t not like it we ended up liking it more than it deserves.  And it deserves another tasting, another vintage.

 

We love us some good Sem Sauv Bl (preferably Australian) and have waxed poetic many times on the No 41 Ecole here or here e.g.,  and nearly wet our pants with the Buty.  So if you think of Washington as gangbusters this is good but it’s Carlos Sainz in BC to the Lewis Hamilton down south.  Gismondi says the best wine they bottle at Time.  I can say one thing for certain: Unless gifted, probably the only wine we’ll ever drink from Time.

 

Price: $25 at Save On (but less if you get a mixed batch of six).

 

Market Liquidity: Formula 3.