Posts tagged ‘Anthony Gismondi’

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.

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July 17, 2017

Castel Del Monte Tormaresca Trentangeli, 2014

Puglia, down in the boot, produces some lively wine, without the heft of Tuscany (meaning price tag).  We are very fortunate that here in BC the Liquor Board stocks an enormously appealing and not too expensive red which is not only delectable but organic and can be sourced across the province.

 

This is an ideal red for the patio, for the BBQ, for sipping and eating and socializing.  It’s not top of the game, it’s no Brunello, on the palate it lacks, but the finish is all love, joyously generous, and in a group you can drink three bottles for under $75.  That is, unless you order it in a restaurant, where it will run you an exorbitant $55 or more.

 

It’s in Smithers, it’s in Stewart; it’s in Kaslo it’s in Fruitvale.  I think the Italians would approve.  And I believe it’s worth more, all things considered, than the 89 points Gismondi gave it.

 

Price: $19.50 at BC Liquor before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: I think if socialist filmmaker Ken Loach gave his seal of approval to wine he’d give this a gold star.

July 15, 2017

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette, 2015

Superb.  Despite the expense.  Dreamy in its silkiness and so refined against the many Oz Shiraz-zzz on the BC Liquor shelves.  Berry beautiful.  A sweet raspberry toppled by a more acidic black currant and a hint of maraschino.  Great as a sipper, not too bad with food, generous on the finish like a much more refined red blend from, yes, France.  Too bad about the price tag.

 

Gismondi loved it, Lawrason loved it, they all loved it and so will you if you can get your hands on some and if your pocketbook affords.  Reviewers bent towards the floral perfume of it, but we found on the palate that it definitely went deeper into an earthier realm.

 

Price: A little on the rare side in YVR.  Varies at the private wine stores but after tax you will not get much back from $40.

 

Market Liquidity: Think of the petite exquisite beauty of wild flowers on a wet alpine meadow.

July 12, 2017

Pure Mirabeau en Provence Rosé, 2015

Boring and banal.  But Anthony Gismondi gave it 90 points so, yes, I sourced it (at $30 before taxes!) and gave it a go.  And I guess Gismondi was obligated because Robert Parker also found it “excessively” drinkable.  I feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy sets up the football: Each summer Gismondi gives a rosé a high point score and each summer I source it and each summer I’m suckered.  Look at the pic: I bought not one but two!  Who knows how rich I might be if I’d invested in lottery tickets instead?  At least there is the “hope” that comes with a lottery ticket.

 

This wine, in our opinion, is a veritable disaster.  Any thinner and it would be admitted to a medical clinic  for anorexia.  It’s pale to look at, plain on the palate, innocuous on the finish.  And here’s the extra special rub: BC has some of the finest pinot gris (or pinot grigio, our vintners can’t make up their minds) on the planet.  From A to Z.  We’ve reviewed a bunch.  The Sea Star is sensationally interesting, layers of depth.  The La Stella is a crowd favorite, what a mouthful of delight.  The Blue Mountain is ridiculously inexpensive and of especial value.  The Nichol we blow hot and cold on, but this year we really took to it, and even when we don’t it towers over the Mirabeau.  Even the Tinhorn Creek has won us over.  Why with this abundance of patio friendly, light and lovely and diverse PGs should we even bother with rosé?  Beats me.

 

Next.

 

Price: $29.99 before tax at BC Liquor (and hard to source at that).

 

Market Liquidity: This is to a decent bottle of wine what a Christmas panto is to Shakespeare.

April 25, 2017

Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 & Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, 2014

These are easy to drink.  They are easy to find.  They are not too expensive.  And when Gismondi gave the MCC Chardonnay a 91 point rating with the note that it’s probably the best value $20 bottle of wine going, BC Liquor was quick to ribbon the necks with the pointster adornment.

 

Glass half full: They are drinkable.  (Although the medallions on the Cab Sauv, which end in 2012, seem to speak of a laxity at the vineyard.)  They aren’t expensive.  They are approachable, food friendly, and great social bottles.

 

Glass half empty: They are totally without endurance.  You will have forgotten them as you finish your glass, not the bottle.  Great in a restaurant, given the markups, but you can do far better at home.  They are like a wild card in a grand slam; all promise.

 

Price: Around $20 for either, give or take the whims of the “sale makers” at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Glass half full.

March 30, 2017

Soumah Single Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay, 2015

To call this a disappointment is like saying everything went smoothly at the Oscars.  This is abrasive to the point of being crude.  Any more wood and you could whittle it.

 

Gismondi loved it; called it tight, driven and focused, and slapped it with 92 points.  I can’t believe we drank the same bottle.  We found it assertively oaken in the most unpleasant fashion imaginable, it tasted almost faux not aged, and the lemon, pith, butter and what seemed like coarse burnt sage, did not have the balance or focus we anticipated.  Think shavings in the woodshop blended with the acid of witch hazel, bottled at $32 before tax.  Yikes.  This ain’t no Margaret River Swaby.

 

Price: Marked down $4 to $28 before tax and even then it just seemed profligate.

 

Market Liquidity: Oak dust anyone?

January 25, 2017

Chateau Canada, 2012

chateau-canada-2012

I have never bought this wine on principle: It states the varietals in English on the front of the French label (!).  Plus, and this is just my quirk, a label that reads Chateau Canada is sort of like a Ye Olde pub in Victoria, BC, with faux wainscoting and Molson Canadian on tap.  Worse, they have, in English, an explanation of why it’s called Chateau Canada.  On the front of the bottle!  However…

 

However, AG gave it a great little review and the price point is right in my sweet spot and I only have this to say: Is there any better bottle of French red on the liquor store shelves in this city at this price?  I think not.  Astonishingly appealing value red.  Luscious to the last drop.  A mostly Merlot blend that is a must buy.

 

Price: $18 at BCL before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: Ignore the window dressing.

January 23, 2017

Claus Preisinger Basic, 2012

I finally got around to unscrewing a bottle of the Basic, which I picked up after Gismondi gave it 89 points (my “sweet spot” if you will).

claus-preisinger-basic-2012

Interesting and provocative.  A strange hybrid blend that straddles black forest gateau and steak a la poivre.  Enticing on the nose.  Sweet light peaks contrast with a herbaceous finish.  Not complicated but complex.  Definitely a complement to the usual merry go round of varietals on the table.

 

(A blend of Zweigelt and Blaufrankisch; who knew?)

 

Price: $28 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, not the $20 posted in the review.

 

Market Liquidity: Nothing I drank in Austria last year was as intriguing as this.

December 30, 2016

McPherson Chapter Three Shiraz, 2012

mcpherson-chapter-three-shiraz-2012

According to Gismondi, wine drinkers shun Shiraz.  I guess wine drinkers don’t eat pizza.  Because, I must say, Shiraz and pizza are as good as Barbaresco and pizza: Heavenly.

 

The Chapter Three comes on strong with some serious pepper kick, but it mellows on the palate with a round, juicy, berry mix of cherry and blackberry, then finishes with a slightly sweet and tart acidity that (truthfully) is not the epitome of Oz Shiraz.  But, get this: The C3 is on sale at BCL; at $24 before taxes you simply can’t go wrong at that price and it is, in that price range, stellar.

 

Price: $28 normally, but this Christmas $24; yes, there is a Santa.

 

Market Liquidity: It may not wow but it will warm and coddle and double as something as comforting as Linus’s blanket.

Homemade thin crust pizza.  Comfort food extraordinaire.

Homemade thin crust pizza. Comfort food extraordinaire.

December 6, 2016

Culmina Unicus, Gruner Vetliner, 2015

culmina-unicus-gruner-vetliner-2015

In the spirit of yesterday’s review, let’s disseminate the professional tasting notes. Here’s what Lawrason wrote (who, when he was at the Globe, was my favorite Canuck reviewer):

 

“Austria’s Gruner Veltliner is rare in Canada but you can bet others will be planting following the critical success of Unicus. This pours deeply lemon. The nose is very intense and exotic with ripe apricot, starfruit, honey and pepper. It’s quite full bodied, bright and almost aggressive with some oily and waxy character. It’s medium full bodied, firm and drier than first appearances. The length is excellent to outstanding.”

 

Yes.  Wow.  Yes, yes, yes.  Everything.  And the kitchen sink.  The most palatable decently priced satisfying and engaging BC white we’ve had in a long, long time.  And just look at that golden hue in the glass.  Nectar from the gods.

 

Gismondi gave it a measly 89 points.  He is a hard nut.

 

Price: $27 from the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Season’s Greetings.

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