Posts tagged ‘Anthony Gismondi’

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


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).


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


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


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.


September 27, 2016

Roche Pinot Gris, 2014


Gismondi had fair praise for this.  Floral without too much fruit.  I agree that it’s different than your typical BC Pinot Gris, and interesting at that.  But the attack is something of an affront on the palate with an antiseptic jolt that is not as food friendly as you’d expect; he recommended halibut and with the cost of halibut I’d recommend something safer or, if you must go esoteric, an Alsatian Sparr.  The finish, well, that’s something to write home about.  It lingers on the tongue longer than Barbra Streisand has been in retirement.  Gismondi liked the absence of PG’s omnipresent honey, but in the end, you are still stuck with the nectar, although with much more complexity than the run of the mill stuff at BCL.  Full points for difference, ho-hum on a repeat buy.


Price: $29 or $4 more than the winery at a private YVR shop.


Market Liquidity: More a curiosity than captivating.

September 7, 2016

Sea Star Prose, 2014


There was a lot of wine on offer during the last “official” week of summer.  Most of it neither here nor there.  A 2009 Priorat that Robert Parker claimed could be drunk over the next 15-20 years was corked.  A CdR Sablet that Gismondi had recommended for the cellar through 2020 was mediocre.  A cheap red from the OK crush pad was character-free but enormously quaffable.  The star of the lot for me was a dessert beverage from Pender Island.


Sea Star turns out some exceptional, light, aromatic whites.  We’ll review a couple next week.  Hard to find, but inexpensive and easy to drink, they show what can be done in earnest, as opposed to ego.  They sell two dessert wines, one a Riesling paired with apple, the Prose, and another which is Foch, Pinot Noir and berries, which they call Poetry.


I’ll be blunt: The Poetry is a disaster like, I hasten to add, so much modern poetry.  There’s an American “conceptual” poet called Kenneth Goldsmith who originated “uncreative” writing including an art installation of every word he said for a week, and who has stated he never suffers from writer’s block because there’s always something to copy.  In other words, insufferable.  Sea Star Poetry drinks like your neighbour’s kit wine club plonk which they bottle at $4 per plus supplies.  Alcoholic, forward, blatantly berry, and not unlike any number of bottled fruit beverages they serve on ice with a cherry instead of ale.


Which is to say, that’s too bad, because the Prose is something to be savored.  It sails in the direction of Sauternes, shy of course, but still with that full fruit of apple, stone, kiwi, lingers on the tongue (but not long enough), and is will suited to not just cheese (thank God) but actual honest to god desserts.  Expensive ($21 for the half) but a wonderful BC antidote to the Port wannabes, such as Black Sage’s Pipe, et. al.


Price: $21 at the Saturna General Store (!).


Market Liquidity: Sometimes good things come in small packages.

August 19, 2016

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

Emiliana Coyam, 2012

The label, with all the plaudits, looks like the poster for a 1970s disaster movie: The Towering Inferno or Earthquake, bursting to the seams with A list stars brushing up against B list character actors.  Points, points, points, points.  I’m afraid, despite the hype, this was mildly impressive.  And only.


Gismondi recommended this Syrah dominated blend for the cellar.  Probably good advice.  However,as the third red in a row for us over a recent weekend, it took bronze by default: The lovely Walla Walla blend, the assertive BC Cab Franc, then this, a much lauded Chilean blend.  Hmm.  A wine with no identity, lost in a range of flavour profiles and completely without nuance.  This organic red is so well-loved online, professionals and pundits alike, my only concern is that the bottle we got had been in a non-temperature-controlled environment somewhere, some place, for too long: which is the problem with BC Liquor, it’s a handshake deal that wine didn’t sit idly in a container on a dock or linger in an overheated delivery van or, and this is exceptionally common, take direct south sun through a window, baking day after day, on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.  It wasn’t corked but gosh was it flat.


There’s a great line the fire chief has in The Towering Inferno: “Now, you know there’s no sure way for us to fight a fire… in anything over the seventh floor, but you guys just keep buildin’ em as high as you can.”  These vineyards that keep blendin’ to beat the band.  There is no end in sight to the aspirations and, apparently, the plaudits.  The only thing is this: Disaster movies are worth remembering only in the retelling. if at all.  Not even the awful sequel to Poseidon Adventure could make an amusing anecdote.


Price: $28 plus taxes at BC Liquor.


Market Liquidity: “Maybe they just ought to leave it the way it is. A kind of shrine to all the bullshit in the world.” Paul Newman “the architect” at the end of Towering Inferno.

towering inferno

July 15, 2016

Quails’ Gate Chardonnay, 2014

Anthony Gismondi called this a “friendly bottle” and “real value” to which there is nothing much more to say.  It is, for a palatable BC white, that doesn’t hammer you with cloying oak, a reasonable and satisfying sipper.

Quails Gate Chardonnay 2014

However, it failed at the dinner table; a 1970s white wine Paul Masson spritzer would have been equally memorable.  And, get this: We drank it with plain grilled wild Sockeye.  Chardonnay and salmon :: bacon and eggs.  That was a killer, not just the fact that it was wafer thin, but that with the “perfect” pairing it disappeared into the background like so much foam from a Michelin starred chef, expertise without legs.


Still, at this price point, buy six or seven cases for the wedding.


Price: $20 or thereabouts if you can find it.


Market Liquidity: The Reiki of BC Chardonnay.

Paul Masson Orson Welles