May 18, 2018

Cannonau di Sardegna, 2014

A relatively inexpensive red that didn’t impress on the first sip.  In fact it was near offensive.  So we decanted and let sit and low and behold manna from heaven.  Wowza.

 

Honestly, you could be on a rocky outcrop in Sardinia.

 

We’ve spent about a month focused on BC wines, some we love and repeat (Culmina, Bartier, Haywire, Sea Star) and others it’s a dabble.  But how refreshing to take a step back in time.  There is simply no red in the Pacific Northwest that comes out of the bottle with this much sense of place.  The only thing missing was cellar dust on the neck.  Two kraters please.

 

Price:  $26.50 at Kits before tax (but buy six and take a 10% discount).  Or pick it up for $17 in Toronto.  Sigh.

 

Market Liquidity: Golden like the Golden Girls.

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May 17, 2018

Jean-Paul Brun Le Ronsay, 2016

Spring is in the air.  Who doesn’t like a little Beaujolais to sip on a mild May evening?  Sedimentary, a distributor in Vancouver that focuses on natural wines, brings in the Jean-Paul Brun, although you’re hard pressed to find it.  It’s light, simple, tasty, fresh and very good value.  There is the berry of Gamay with a kick of pepper that is tantalizing if a bit out of place.  I would fault it on the tannins, a little cloying to our taste, but it is brilliantly French and reminiscent of finer, more expensive cru-Beaujolais (out of our price range).  So much pleasure at such a good price.

 

Price: $25 at Kits Wine Cellar

 

Market Liquidity: A perfect introduction for the natural wine novice.

May 17, 2018

Lock and Worth Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, 2016

92 points over at Gismondi.  Wow.  (Wow as in yikes or oy vey or me oh my oh.)  We were unimpressed.  We were nonplussed.  We were disappointed.  From start to finish all we could think of was Australia and France and how they nail this.  It was plain, simple to simplistic, and with a banal finish like banana pith.  We poured the first glass with anticipation and an open mind.  By the end of the bottle we were just plain let down.

 

Price: $22 at Save-on Foods.

 

Market Liquidity: This is to Bordeaux Blanc what Fisher Price is to a Rubik’s cube.

May 16, 2018

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards Ehrenfelser, 2016

In general, the BC Okanagan produces some decent Ehrenfelser which is, mostly, refreshing, light, zippy yet often a tad innocuous.  As the warmer weather hits, a good varietal to have for sipping on the patio.  That said, I’m not sure what Gismondi meant when he said it was one of the better aromatic white wines of BC but only clocked it in at 87 points.  I might say, conversely, it’s one more of the less than memorable BC whites and clock it in at 88, given the steep competition.  Anyone for forgettable Pinot [fill in the blank]? Welcome to BC.  The stainless steel then oak seems to be of little consequence.

 

Price: I think on sale at Save On Foods for $19.99.

 

Market Liquidity: At least it’s not Yellow Tail.

May 15, 2018

Moraine Pinot Noir 2016 vs. Savard Pinot Noir 2013

Battle of the less expensive Okanagan Pinots.  Sort of like a Pinto and a Maverick in a late 70s showroom.  We would expect the older and slightly more expensive Savard to take this slam dunk but in fact it was the Moraine.

 

The Savard, with its light tannins and forward acidity came on strong but was weak on the finish.  We expected a velvet smoothness, Mel Tormé, but in fact got something much rougher, more Adam Levine.  At nearly 15% alcohol it definitely faltered: Promise without the promise.  The Moraine, young and juicy and loaded with potential, was like a new best friend.  Some ethereal hook lies in the balance, the fruit, the oak, the undercurrent of clay, it all melded beautifully on the palate. And ooh-la-la what a lovely price point.  You would be hard pressed to find as good a BC Pinot in the mid-20s.  Or, in my estimation, in the high 30s.

 

Prices: We scored the Moraine on sale at Save On Foods for a heart-warmingly $23.50 before taxes.  We paid just over $26 for the Savard.

 

Market Liquidity: The Moraine in two, 6-4, 6-2.

April 24, 2018

CC Jentsch Cellars The Chase, 2013

The wine snob point of view: A nice wine to sip which is about the nicest thing I can think of to say about this blend.

 

What’s going on in the BC Okanagan and blends?  Is there an honest to god effort to make approachable simple wines that have virtually no identity and no sense of place but have the gall to pronounce themselves inspired by Bordeaux?

 

Ever walk into an outlet store, like a Banana Republic outlet store, and there’s just a sea of monochrome khaki on some table?  All good, no problem with the pants, just that there’s heaps and heaps of them and yet not one of them seems like something you’d want to wear?  That’s sort of this wine.  It’s a really pleasant blend.  Forgettable on the tongue, but pleasant.

 

The wine thrift point of view: This wine is sensationally good value.  Sensationally good value.  And particularly as a BC wine.  Start with a pre-tax price of under $20.  Source it at a Save-On that offers 10% on a mixed six pack.  Pay $1.70 less before tax.  That is just so stupendously wonderful in the BC wine market.  Kudos to Jentsch.  Two thumbs up to Save-On.

 

Price: $20.  Give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Sometimes you just have to dismiss your inner sommelier and enjoy the simple things in life.

April 6, 2018

Kraze Legz Black Bottom Stomp, 2011

There is nothing bad to say about this wine.  As a wine.  It’s a generous blend, fruit forward, lovely notes of tobacco and plum, easy to drink, food friendly.  Has the velvet of Merlot and a bit of the funk of Cab Franc.  If it sold at $22 or less I’d buy a couple of cases.  No doubt it’s sold out at the vineyard due to it’s remarkable approachability.

 

Here’s the rub: This is a wine that France and Argentina and Australia can produce and retail at $10 less.  Gismondi recently gave 91 points to a Cotes du Roussillon blend (Syrah and Grenache); different varietals I know, but wowza, it just flattened the KL.  And the CdR has years ahead of it.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Half decent and pretty good and not too bad BC wines are regularly overpriced.

 

This wine, which btw we really enjoyed, I want to stress that part, but this wine is indicative of the reason we started posting seven years ago.  I mean you have to either pay through the nose for Hypothesis, or suck it up for generic blends, and the decent, everyday wines, like the KL, well they are wonderful to drink but sting at the cash register.

 

There is room here for a whole editorial on the nascent BC wine industry, tax, labour, distribution, regs, the lot, and we don’t need to belabour it.  This is a simple consumer blog.  We have after tax dollars, not too many, and we like wine.  And, importantly, we’d love to support the BC wine industry more fully.  But it’s a snub to average wine drinkers that great BC wines are $20 more than foreign equivalents and good wines about $10 more.

 

Price: $29.99 before taxes at Save-On Foods in White Rock.

 

Market Liquidity: Crazy name but krazy good.

April 5, 2018

Jagged Rock Vineyard C#, 2016

What the hell?  Our first response was what gall.  This wine has a pronounced sense of self and nothing going for it; if it was from Italy, France or Spain I’d call it EuroTrash.  It’s a blend (a ridiculous over the top blend) with no centre, no focus, no sense.  It’s all over the map in terms of flavour profile and inconsequential on the finish.  Sharp with no finesse, rigorous with no soft edge, and as for citrus, I mean salt the rim of a glass and pour yourself a tequila.  Oh, and look at the price.

 

We like our SemWe love our Sem Sauv blends.  If we could afford Bordeaux Blanc we’d have a cellar full.  Skim the site to see how true this is.  Most recently we  pulled out of the cellar an ancient (slight exaggeration) L’Ecole Sem; now that was worth the money—and a pittance compared to this.  So if you take that brilliant combo, Sem Sauv Bl,  and then you add Chardonnay and then you add Pinot Gris and then you add Muscat, well Jesus, that’s just Long Island Ice Tea, wine style.

 

Ever had a Long Island Ice Tea? The only thing missing is whiskey.  Add Sherry and call this a D minus.  It’s just an excuse to get drunk.

 

I have no idea who would like this, what food you would drink it with to derive pleasure (simultaneously), and why.  There are apparently three people on Vivino who think it’s the bomb.  So there you go, seven billion on the planet, three who call it a masterpiece.  Call me an outlier.

 

Price: $35.99 at Save-On Foods in White Rock.  $36 before tax!!!

 

Market Liquidity: Save yourself $20 and pick up a Portuguese Branco and swoon at the expertise.

 

April 4, 2018

Vaglio Chango, 2015

Gismondi liked this blend, liked it a lot, so we bought a couple.  He gave it 90 points.  I will trust his judgement, that it has legs (to 2020), and leave some down for the count, and look forward to next year, and the year after.  But today, opened today and even decanted and with air, it was a little brutish on the palate, and the stony mineral undercurrent he referenced seemed to us at the forefront.  You can sense the potential, but it was just a tad too young for us.  Plus it had a soupcon of that aggressive “cheap Malbec” on the nose.

 

Not bad with hard to pair meats (burgers slathered in condiments or a funky meatloaf) but not pure pleasure as a sipper.

 

Price: $23.50 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: A tulip before the bloom is really just a leaf.  But then what a bloom.

March 27, 2018

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel, 2012

From the cellar: Who cellars Zin?  Not too many.  And as for Ridge, why even post another Ridge review?  Is there a bad bottle or two of Ridge, somewhere out in the universe?  A bad vintage?  A mistake in Monte Bello?

 

For no good reason we have a few of the LS lying in wait and pulled one out on the weekend.  It was, as predicted, floral, elegant, enticing, a pronounced oak, deeply aromatic, dried herbs with spring blossoms on the palate, and of course ridiculously delectable.  It drank like velvet which, to be fair, is not to everyone’s taste, that silky, smooth, flan-like texture.

 

In 2014 we went ga-ga over this vintage.  I don’t think this had to age and I can’t unequivocally say it improved substantially when you think of the four years on the lie down, but it didn’t disappoint and won our hearts from the first sip.

 

Price: $28 USD in 2014.

 

Market Liquidity: Like Ricky Jay doing sleight of hand: How does Ridge do it?