Posts tagged ‘Anthony Gismondi’

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.

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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.

February 24, 2018

Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico, 2012

There is it: 92 points on the collar.  I think across the province residents will flock to buy (the very limited stores selling this) Italian red.

 

There it is: 92 points from Robert Parker.  Must be really good.  Better than a 91 point wine.  Better than a 90 point wine.  And way, way, way better than an 89 point wine.

 

There it is: 92 points from Robert Parker.  It’s a guarantee.  You cannot be disappointed.

 

Or you cannot not be surprised that RP gave it 92?  The latter of course.  (And of course Gismondi got on the bandwagon too.)

 

Having given the pros their due all I can say is this is to red wine what Monty Python’s 16 ton weight was to comedy: A crashing end to a sketch without necessarily any punch line.  This simply does not deliver the smooth, drinkable, approachable red the collar promo promotes.

 

If you like overbearing, overripe, strong, assertive, knock your socks off red, which will open up after an hour or longer decanted, but even then reveals less on the palate than a Grammy wardrobe malfunction was a nod to indecency, this is the blend you’ve been waiting for.  Hurry, limited stock.

 

Price: $19.99 at BC Liquor, so let’s give this its due: Remarkably affordable.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s the bad part of a maraschino cherry, it’s the bad part of standing in an old barn, it’s the bad part of rotting fruit in an orchard, and it’s the worst part of the wine reviews that determine the direction of the global wine industry, to the detriment of consumers.

 

January 6, 2018

Torres Celeste Crianza, 2013

Corked.  I can’t tell you how common this is in BC.  Oh wait, I can, I kept a record in 2017.  Twice from bottles purchased at private stores and six times from bottles purchased at BC Liquor.  Not including this.  Seven times from BC Liquor.  What a year 2017 was.

 

In BC, when you have a corked bottle you can return it and complain.  You must have your receipt.  You must take the bottle back.  It’s an enormous hassle because I rarely keep the receipt (I mean really? Who does nowadays?) and often the bottle is opened up somewhere not at home, this most recent bottle on the Gulf Islands, it’s exacerbated by the lie down factor—you want to lie something down, then really it becomes your responsibility not the seller if you open it in six months or more.  There was no way I could re-cork this bottle and get it back to Vancouver. It graced the septic.

 

Gismondi recommended the 14 as a cellar pick but the 13 was languishing on the shelves and I picked this up in error.  So in theory many buyers are lying down what could be corked wine.

 

I have complained in the past but it’s tiresome and if you complain you are often belittled, you are led to believe it’s the consumer’s problem.  In my experience, BC Liquor takes no responsibility (just our after tax money, in spades).  They claim all their wine is transported in temperature controlled transport and stored in a temperature controlled environment.  Private wine store staff have told me there are some vagaries to this routine including containers that aren’t ventilated but I’m not part of the industry and have no way to know unequivocally.  Is there a PETA-esque wine group that could get footage of the storage?

 

But regardless of how wine is transported, how it’s displayed is testament to an overt attitude of laissez-faire. If you visit a local BC Liquor store you might be surprised at what you’ll see.  Many have direct sunlight poring in onto the wine shelves.  Indiscriminately.  There’s Wolf Blass; hope he’s wearing SPF 30.  Most bottles are upright and a shocking amount are covered in dust; those with corks are just drying out.  And the in store temperature, my God, not a shred of humidity in most stores, some are like saunas in the colder months and in BC most months are the colder months.

 

We’ve never posted on corked wine.  I feel it comes with the territory.  Suck it up.  However, the problem seems to be getting worse not better.  It’s disappointing, a hassle, costly, and I believe largely preventable.  There is no passenger bill of rights for wine buyers.  Pity.

 

Price: What?  Before or after it went down the drain?

 

Market Liquidity: Heaven’s Gate and Ishtar rolled up into one.

December 21, 2017

Glaetzer Wallace Shiraz Grenache, 2015

Gismondi loved this wine and so did we.  We’re not always on the same wavelength but this was synchronicity.  Wow. Just sip it.  Just sip it to appreciate it.  Slowly.  If you can make it last make it last.  Shiraz Grenache but it could be port in its seamless blend.  It is gentle (compared to run of the mill Oz Shiraz), yet up to the challenge of roasts and chops.  Deeply nuanced with fruit and spice that drift across the palate in ludicrous harmony.  Oozes character.  Just over the limit of what we like to spend on a weekday red but worth every penny.  Kudos for the screw cap.

 

We tried to lay it down as a cellar pick but it lasted less than sixty days.

 

Price: $31 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Rich like cake, smooth like cashmere, warm like a toasty fire.

October 26, 2017

Jidvei Feteasca Alba Sec, 2015

A decade ago we got tired of reading professional reviews which were divorced from the reality of our pocket book.  Truth is, this whole blog just started because we are real people with limited after tax income and frustrated with both the provincial government stranglehold on sales and the idea that we can all afford a c-note for a bottle of Burgundy.

 

This wine is probably an 86 point wine.  It’s got nothing going for it that the critics would especially like.  But for the average joe, it’s remarkable.  It’s dry, low alcohol, extremely food friendly, ridiculously palatable, and sure it lacks all the depth and character of a fine Loire Chenin, but it’s umpteen times better than half the BC Okanagan whites in the under $25 region.  And dollars should play a role in how the professionals review wine (they don’t, under the guise of subjectivity dollars don’t matter).

 

An unusual and ancient grape.  An unusual and hard to describe white.  And, get this, before tax, less than $13.  That means, in terms of value in the hyper-inflated BC Liquor environment, three bottles of this for one Culmina Chardonnay, or six bottles of this for one Ridge Chardonnay.  Let’s assume it’s an 86 pointer, but using some basic math, if you factor in the dollar value, as an economist would as opposed to a wine reviewer, all of the sudden we’re at 89 points.

 

Price: $12.49 at BC Liquor, cheaper in SK and ON.

 

Market Liquidity: Simple, yes, but not simplistic.

 

On an editorial note, the headache of the BC liquor monopoly (which is archaic, bureaucratic, ridiculously hurtful to both consumers and industry, much-hated, and loathsome to deal with) is a theme of the blog.  Local reviewer Anthony Gismondi had a spot on rant last week in the Sun: BC Government Liquor Monopoly Hurts Everyone.  Here here.

 

August 18, 2017

Terra Vista Figaro, 2012

We’ve never bought the Figaro based solely on the label, which to date has been a bit too playful in a Roberto Benigni jumping up and down at the Oscars way.  The 2015 is on the shelves (with a more sober, less antic label design than the one pictured here) and good reviews from Gismondi.  But in our never-ending pursuit of something interesting we stumbled across the 2012, a bit dusty, on a back shelf in a small indie.  Would it still hold up?

 

The 2012 was a combination Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne; the 2015 nixes the Marsanne.  It was still beyond palatable with delightful tropical notes and a steely patch reminiscent of Semillon.  It held up superbly with white meats and even cut through the acid of tomatoes.  It came alive with a bit of air and warmth, oozing peach and nectarine and apricot.  Something of a find, I must say, and worth exploring the current vintage.

 

Price: $23 in a private wine store.

 

Market Liquidity: Not that it matters, the 2012 is long gone, but testament to the old adage that perseverance furthers.