Posts tagged ‘Anthony Gismondi’

January 5, 2020

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

Giovanni Rosso Langhe Nebbiolo, 2016

I think Anthony Gismondi said that Cab Sauv drinkers should navigate towards Nebbiolo.  That was a Doh! moment for me; of course they should–why I’ve never said that myself is a conundrum…  I think, however, the acidity and tannins are not so similar, and while the average California Cab Sauv is “remarkable” from first sip, the average Nebbiolo is a wait and see and, if decent, an ooh-la-la.

 

This is a red that opens up.  There is no James Bond caper on the first sip; it’s more of a subtle start, Arvo Part minimal leading to a Handel’s Fireworks halfway through.  This is a two-bottle wine; at the last sip you will simply want some more.

 

There is a lot to be grateful for here in the New Year that you can still source a wine of this calibre (IN BC, at the BC government stores) for under $30.  When we started this blog x-teen years ago the bar was $20.  Tax has done us in on that score.

 

Although not as 100% food friendly as the Vajra Barbera we’ve waxed on about here previously, or as assertively Italian as the Vajra Nebbiolo, the Langhe is value, comfort, balances the acidity delicately and has a lighter, more Pinot-ish flair than the Vajra.

 

Price: $29 at BC Liquor stores.

 

Market Liquidity: The ultimate fireside winter sipper.

January 3, 2020

Faustino Gran Reserva Rioja, 2006

Faustino Gran Reserva Rioja, 2006

Look what Santa brought down the chimney? A very old bottle of Tempranillo.

 

A beautiful wine, quite up front, luscious on the palate with pronounced and perhaps a too assertive woodiness, gorgeous depth and nuanced on every sip.  It drank spectacularly but not cohesively with food.  It shone just on its own.  And it shone like a beacon.

 

Decanter gave it 95 and I think Gismondi 93, but aside from the points let’s just ask a few simple questions.  First, Clos de Soleil: The Signature is a little more, the Reserve Red $15 more.  Over at Culmina?  Their flagship Hypothesis is well above asking.  Blue Mountain has overpriced their reds this year putting a simple Reserve Pinot into the stratosphere.  It goes on and on across BC.  In short, for under $40, you can drink a 15-year-old majestic Rioja, made with love and passion and shipped to BC and marked up beyond belief, or you can spend more, and lay something down, and wait.  And wait.

 

Here is something endearing from a bad translation on the bottle: “The best Tempranillo grape [sic]…a long stay in bottle and passion, a lot of passion.”

 

Price: $38 at BC Liquor if you can source it.

 

Market Liquidity: I don’t know about “in the bottle and passion” combined, but it is swoon-worthy.

 

December 19, 2019

GD Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo, 2017

Vajra Nebbiolo

If we drank one Vajra Barbera this fall we drank 100.  See us falling in love all over again here.  There is no more flexible red at the dinner table.

 

This, the Nebbiolo, is more expensive.  So, let’s call it what it is: The Nebbiolo is better, smoother, has fewer tannins, is gorgeously juicy, refined, elegant, a little suave, and also a little too polished perhaps.  While you can score it for $30 in QC, it will set you back over $40 in BC.  If you can find it.

 

This is a wonderful wine; serve it to guests; impress them.  No one will complain.  But for our tastes, for the glorious slightly rough around the edges hugely food friendly Barbera, we’ll stick with the common cousin, despite the measly 89 points awarded by Gismondi.

 

Price: $43 at Kits Wine Cellar but with a 10% half case discount a better price than many proud BC reds.

 

Market Liquidity: A stellar older sister to a more in your face kid brother, we’ll take the Barbera thanks.

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

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 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.

March 20, 2019

Stina Cuvee White, 2016

Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.  So I bought a bottle (my first bottle of Croatian wine, ever,) and cooked up some curry (an eggplant curry by Meera Sodha, the phenomenal Meera Sodha, if you are not cooking her recipes you are not cooking Indian at home), and corked the Stina.  Thank god the curry was a slam dunk.

 

So this is what I can say unequivocally: Vij recently served this with curry at the Vancouver Wine Festival.  Local wine aficionado Anthony Gismondi said it was a big hit.

 

Price: $21 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity:  Has, apparently, some utility.

January 19, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Meritage, 2016

Over the last couple of months we’ve burned through a fair number of 90 or 90+ point Gismondi picks, not always that content with his attribution of points or how he arrived there.  And, in fact, another Mission Hill, their reserve Sauvignon Blanc, well we virtually tossed it into the risotto pot halfway done.  But on this bottle, their Meritage, AG is right on the money.  The only fault I could find was the heavy alcohol.

 

Meritage is that red wine people like after a couple of glasses of something else.  To be successful it has to be immediately pronounced, approachable and somehow meet the expectations of the hardline Cab Sauv types next to the softer Merlot snobs.  This blend checks every box.  It has some funky Cab Franc notes on the nose, the oak is pronounced but not Whac-A-Mole, and the third of Merlot gives it a velvet on the tongue finish with a few complex wet earth notes that linger deliciously.  For BC’s Okanagan, and at the price point and availability, something of a minor miracle.

 

Price: $27 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: Bordeaux-ish.

January 18, 2019

Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 & La Frenz Sauvignon Blanc, 2017

Anthony Gismondi loved the Mission Hill.  But then, he tends to give a hall pass to Mission Hill and Robert Mondavi.  How he found this pale, plain and rather banal white a 90 pointer is anyone’s guess.  If you really like the grassy, gooseberry, aggressive SB of New Zealand, you will be disappointed and have spent $10 more than a straightforward Brancott.  If you like the tight restraint of a refined Sancerre, you will be baffled by the simplicity.  If you are interested in what’s interesting in the Okanagan, what sort of incredible Sauv Blanc is coming off the vines, you are drinking what is invariably our Tuesday night white: The Haywire Waters & Banks Sauvignon Blanc (and if you buy it at Save On, you can save yourself $10 all in).

 

But if you like SB just in general, and if you want hints of New Zealand with a slightly more fruit forward and tropical fruit flair, you are far and away much better off down at La Frenz, where they bottle something clean, juicy, crisp and gorgeously palatable, which, unfortunately, sells out in a heartbeat.  Only one of these wines is memorable.

 

Price: Mission Hill and La Frenz both sell in Vancouver in the mid-20s at private wine shops.

 

Market Liquidity: The arch mediocrity of Mission Hill and the consistent virtue of La Frenz never ceases to surprise.