Posts tagged ‘Anthony Gismondi’

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.

August 9, 2018

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Rouge, 2016

The white is available at a much higher price in private stores and, generally, if you live in BC and are looking at Sancerre you are looking at whites.  So, let’s start with praising BCL for having a lovely red Sancerre, at a price point under $30 (although just), and giving pause to the much higher priced Pinot Noir churned out in BC that can’t compare.  Its lightness speaks to rosé.  Look at that glorious ruby red in the picture, light as a feather.  Gismondi quite liked it, more than us I would say, silky I think was his term, and it does have a perfumed freshness, rose and lavender, with a musky finish.  There is a whole red currant grape jelly “thing” on the palate that dissipates into air which makes you take another sip and another.  I couldn’t quite wrap my loving arms around it and give it the props the pros have but it is a lovely summer read, er red, a refreshing 12.5% alcohol, dreamy with a Cobb salad, but it was also a one off; not for us.

 

Price: Around $30 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Like age appropriate clothing, it has its place.

 

August 8, 2018

La Condamine Paulignan, 2013

A wonderful, thoughtful and approachable red blend, with a hearty depth and pleasing musky notes.  Most of it drank, for us, like the proverbial cigar shop, laden with smoke and tobacco leaf and nuanced edges of charcoal.  Sometimes top heavy.  Always enjoyable.  Gismondi loved it and BCL in response reduce it by one dollar so small mercies.

 

Price: $23 before taxes at BCL, $18 including taxes in Ontario.  Go figger.

 

Market Liquidity: Like drinking beyond your means.

 

I will add a footnote though.  The next day we drank the Miss Molly in My Bed, 2010.  Eight year old South African red blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot) same price as the Condamine.  Mystery purchase.  Last bottle on the shelf.  Attica in Victoria (probably the best curated wine shop in Victoria) all alone between the lovely if overpriced Secateurs and lower priced and less drinkable SA reds.  Score.  Absolutely beautiful.  What a sipper; smooth with spice, rich dark smoky flavours on the palate with a light, modestly acidic cherry finish.  Screw top to boot.  Miracles do happen.

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 11, 2018

Skouras Moscofilero, 2016

A fine Greek wine.  In Vancouver no less.  Thank you Marquis.

 

Gismondi went a little gaga on this.  We had high hopes, especially since the bottle of Assyrtiko we tasted back in Australia made us turn face on Greece and want to revisit the eastern Mediterranean in a big way.

 

Yes, it’s a fragrant posy of floral/herbaceous notes and the crispness is palate cleansing, but somehow it was also a bit flat and forgettable.  Opulence, as AG put it, well that was lost on us.  Start to finish it seemed refined, yes, most definitely better than the plonk that BC Liquor gets in, but for the money there is more to discover over in Spain.

 

Price: $33 at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: Tasty but not tantalizing, refreshing but not revelatory.

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.

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 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 16, 2018

Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc, 2015

It has a little bit of the flint of Sancerre but not much.  It has a bit of the grassy wet hay of a Kiwi SB, but only in passing.  Blind it doesn’t even really resemble Sauvignon Blanc, at least the way it typically present, and on this some will have a deflated set of expectations on the screw top.  I disagree with a few of the high profile critics who called it typical.  Of what exactly? BC? Surely not SB.  All that aside, good God is this delicious.

 

The malolactic fermentation is, I think, a driver of the unique and distinct flavour; maybe not to everyone’s taste but I could drink this by the truckload. Very herby, like the dry, sagebrush of the south Okanagan, all scent, no oak, some stone fruit on the palate and finishing with an acidity that makes you reach for another glass.  Very hard to sip (meaning you want to drink and drink).  Wonderful with food.  Not as brutal on the budget as other “grey label” Haywire bottles.  Difficult-ish to find.  A high pointer from Gismondi.

 

The crushpad (in our experience) turns out wine that’s all over the map.  But sometimes they score big time.  If you see it, buy it.  It’s opioid-esque in its attractiveness.

 

Price: $25 from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Crisp, clean, incredible.