October 7, 2019

Chateau de Pierreux Brouilly, 2016

Chateau de Pierreux Brouilly, 2017

Ernest Ice Cream could market this; coconut, cherry, vanilla soda.  Without the fizz of course.  Pops of light, lively flavour tied down with a finish that seems grounded in terroir.

 

Martin Short’s brilliant song about the spectrum of sexuality on season three of Big Mouth got us thinking about how varied the cru Beaujolais wines are.  Seriously.  That was the trajectory.

 

You can almost make them fit into the slew of the song’s androsexuals, polysexuals and demisexuals.

 

The more cis gendered of the lot are, you know, Morgon, Chenas, those “guys.”  They assert themselves with their earthiness and spice.  I’m sure there’s Morgon plonk to spare, but in my limited experience I’ve never had a Morgon that didn’t taste like a Morgon.  Soooooo predicable.

 

But St. Amour, what’s that except love in a bottle?  Who could celebrate Valentine’s without a glass?  It’s undefinable.  And Fleurie, is it a teen at  prom giving his date a bouquet or (non-heteronormative neosexual) nymphs frolicking in a meadow?  It’s a yin and yang of sexual possibility.

 

Brouilly, which often blends Gamay (should that even be allowed? Do we need to write to the AOC?) is the sort of hybrid bisexual of the lot.  A little bit this, a little that.  Personally, Brouilly is less “reliable” than some of the other Beaus, if you will; it can stun, it can soothe, it can stumble.  Here in BC, you will often land upon the latter.

 

This bottle (not expensive, easily obtainable) is definitely a stunner.  I was a little put off that Gismondi reviewed it (the price will probably go up now) and then mentioned it again as a midweek option (it will probably sell out now) but there you go.  Nothing can remain a hidden gem forever.  Try it; see if it will transcend your boundaries.

 

Price: $20 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s on the spectrum baby.

Martin Short on Big Mouth.png

October 3, 2019

Zuccardi Q Malbec, 2016

zuccardi Q malbec 2016

Malbec is not our thing (in a major way).  And this Malbec, despite its serious points credential (witness the proudly displayed Robert Parker seal of approval), is really not our cup of tea.  There’s a line in the sitcom Difficult People where they tell an embarrassing story about Arthur, the PBS WASP drone husband of Julie, that one time he ordered a Malbec. Laugh if you get it I guess.

 

But here’s the rub: Zuccardi makes some good wines and this wine is ludicrously food friendly.  The Q series is not top of the line Zuccardi but we’ve had it several times with different foods and while it’s not a star varietal it has a blank canvas food friendly aspect which never ceases to surprise.  There is no supercharged oak.  We drank it this week with Japanese beef stew, heavy in ginger, Mirin, squash, soy and stock.  It was ideal.  Who would of thunk?  But a bit dull as a sipper.

 

Price: A reasonable $28 at private wine shops, give or take.

 

Market Liquidity: Leonard Zelig-esque.

 

Oh and a link here to our over-the-top Zuccardi tasting night in Buenos Aires, a few years back, at El Baqueno.

arthur tack difficult people

Arthur Tack has a drinkypoo

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 25, 2019

GD Vajra Barbera D’Alba, 2016

GC Vajra Barbera D’Alba, 2016

Pizza for dinner.  Home-made thin crust with Oyama chorizo.  Didn’t want a “special” wine that would shout “hey, I’m better than pizza” or something too plonk-y and brash.  Happened upon a reasonably priced bottle of Vajda (which, to be fair, hits the stratosphere in some varietals).  And wow.  What a spectacular pair.  All the heft and strength you need with tomato sauce but none of the rough edges.  Deeply evocative of Barbera, fruity, currant and red berry top notes with a muscular, sinewy finish that sips wonderfully then crushes it at the dinner table. The oak is milder than an Irish backstop.

 

The last time we bought this wine (post here, March 2017), a 2013 vintage, we had a similar reaction: Superb with food, why don’t we drink this all the time?

 

Same day we corked this beauty a friend sent me a wonderful label, shown below, which pretty much nails it: We want to drink good wine with food.  We don’t want it to fuck up the taste of our cheeseburger.  Note to Robert P: We want to drink wine with food.  How about a 10 point system that starts at 86 and rates wine with food?

 

Price: $34 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Love at first bite.

cheeseburger

August 24, 2019

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel, 2012

Ridge East Bench Zinfandel, 2012

From the cellar: Well we loved this wine in 2014, post here, and we loved this wine in 2018, post here, and now we arrive in 2019, seven years down the road, nearing the end of our half case, and it is nothing but joy and pure, undiluted pleasure.  It seems pointless to go on and on about Ridge, as we have on this blog for a decade, but here we go again, going on and on about Ridge.  Too bad it remains stratospherically out of reach for the everyday drinker.

 

Price: $28 US in 2014.

 

Market Liquidity: A little bit of heaven.  Correction: A lot of heaven.

August 23, 2019

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013

Great to return to a wine you loved and find you still love it.  Pretty much everything we liked and wrote about from a cellared bottle here, from a vintage a few years back, still stands.  Coconut, chocolate, cherry, delectable through and through.  Luscious and then some.  Score.  At the end of the bottle you will feel like you’ve bench pressed 220.

 

Do you know you can score this for $30 in a private wine store?  Then get 10% off if you buy six?  And be paying less for a miraculous red than an everyday BC white?  It’s a miracle.  It’s a shame, but it’s a miracle. Oh Margaret River, marry me.

 

Price: See above.

 

Market Liquidity: Yes, it is a miracle.

August 23, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2017

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2017

We simply couldn’t abide this heavy, too sweet and cloying red blend which scored 89 from Anthony Gismondi (something of an MH acolyte) and 91 by Christopher Waters.  It is certainly drinkable, ok, yes, it’s smooth like marshmallow, but it is decidedly not pleasant, not in a heavy, funky southern Rhone way or a light, perfumed, Burgundy way.  There is fruit, lottsa fruit, and a silky-on-the-palate texture with an OK finish but we found it lacked the complexity, woody notes and interest the reviews found laudable.

 

Price: $27 at Save-On.

 

Market Liquidity: To each their own.

August 13, 2019

Latido di Sara Wild Garnacha, 2016

Latido di Sara Wild Garnacha, 2016

From the wilds of Navarra.  I guess.

 

Raspberry bomb.  Thwack.  Think Don Martin Mad Magazine spladap, shtoink, bukkida bakkida, ba-bomb.  Raspberry bomb. Headstrong to the point of unpleasant.

 

OK: I’m sure this is a lovely wine, much loved by many.   Old vines.  Even-handed medium body.  Soupcon of oak.  Little shake of pepper on the palate.  Quite sweet (maybe a little too sweet).  But omigosh is it not our cup of tea; it’s headstrong fruit like a medicinal ruse, very linear, not much to rave about other than the price.

 

Price: An extremely reasonable $20 at Everything Wine.

 

Market Liquidity: Pwang, splitch, dadunk.

Don Martin

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.