Posts tagged ‘Culmina’

July 10, 2019

Drinking Wine in Italy

After a month in Italy there is nothing much to do except complain (again, more) about wine in BC.  The sheer misery of the options, the insane cost, the supply chain to the hospitality industry, and on and on.

 

What’s VAT in Italy?  22%.  Twenty-two per-cent.  And yet, and yet you can pick up phenomenal local wine for 12 Euros (approximately $18 CDN).  Wine at a restaurant, really lovely drinkable wine ins the 14-18 Euros category.  We found in Puglia that if you wanted to shell out the very grand amount of 20 Euros you were heading into 92 pointster categories.  It was wow and wow and more wow and easy, easy, easy on the pocket book.

 

In the above (random) collage (much edited) I’ve pasted the two most expensive bottles at top that we decided to try along the way.  The Michele Calo Spano Salento Rosso, which retails for close to 40 Euros, we scored for 35.  It was excellent, absolutely hands down the best Negroamaro we drank (and we drank a lot) although given what’s available in the region it defied type; it seemed almost Californian in its clean modernity, the lack of acidity;, the abundance of fruit but without supreme depth made it seem a little too Robert Parker for us.  As for liquor board controlled buying, I would say both BC and Ontario fail the consumer when it comes to Negroamaro. Fail.

 

Next to that you’re looking at a (random sample) of a truly wonderful local Primitivo, the Schola Sarmenti Cubardi Primitivo.  At the wine store 12 Euros, in a restaurant we scored if for 22.  And it was just all awesome; oodles of cherry and smoke and chicory and herby notes that define terroir.  We’ve had the decent bottle or two of Primitivo in BC but nothing like the Cubardi range (for which there are a number of varietals and all are worth a sample).  As for liquor board controlled buying, Ontario does a decent job with Primitivo; BC, however, is again a fail.  In London (UK) you can find this monumentally satisfying red for 15 pounds (or less than $30 CDN) which is just ludicrous.  What Okanagan plonk can a Canadian score in BC, taxes all in, under $30?

 

Lower left is a wine from a local masseria, the L’Astore Alberelli Negroamaro.  Organic.  Old vines.  High in alcohol and not cheap and not easy to access, even in Lecce, but we found it, and we loved it, and we wanted more, and couldn’t get it, and that of course led to me on another BC wine rant.  This was a juicier, rounder, plumper Negroamaro with tannins that sat up against red fruits with a challenge.  Outstandingly food friendly, from stuffed zucchini blossoms to ragu orecchiette.

 

The whites down south were hit and miss.  With temperatures in the mid to high 30s they needed to be cold, and outside they warmed up too quickly.  (A red, however, refrigerated briefly, then served al fresco, that worked a dream.)  Having said that, it was easy to access Friulano.  Welcome to my newest favorite varietal.  Full, assertive, nuanced, fleshy, like ripe nectarine juice running down your chin.  Gorgeous with southern Italian cuisine.  The Doro Princic is a relatively inexpensive white, 14 Euros, with  nothing going against it except availability.  Ontario and BC, our largest socialist fueled wine buyers, how ya doin’ with Friulano?  Two and one.  Fail and fail.

 

The last wine, also a pricey bottle, is from the Bastianich vineyard, deep down in the heel.  And, if truth be told, the only reason I bought it was because of, you know, Lidia and Joe and how pompous Joe comes off on TV and how full of himself in respect to their wine he is which they “personally oversee” in Puglia and so on.  They have a base model Friulano but in for a penny we got the Plus, a whopping 30 Euros (but, let’s be fair, that’s $45 CDN and plenty of BC top wines are more than that before onerous taxes).  Gorgeous.  Speechless I am in its appeal, from aroma to palate; the proverbial nectar from the gods.  So, here I’m going to compare it with top whites from, you know, Culmina, Clos de Soleil, Meyer, and all I can say is they are lost in the dust (or, as things go in Europe, the diesel particulate).  But so is BC when it comes to choice, diversity, and consumer appetites.

 

What’s next BC Liquor?  One white and one red from a spigot?  BC Liquor: It’s a fail, Herculaneum Pompeii style fail.

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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October 18, 2016

Culmina R&D Red Blend, 2014

culmina-rd-red-blend-2014

I hereby declare this the best value Okanagan red of 2016.  Period.

 

We started the blog several years ago with an arbitrary benchmark of $20 on value (because, as recently as three years ago, you could still “score” with $20 and a bit of silver in your pocket afterwards).  A lot has changed (the quality and the prices of BC wines have skyrocketed) and we’ve long let go that $20 means anything in BC except “bottled in BC” and run of the mill dross, but now and again you can still stumble across something that warms your heart, your gut, and fills your mouth with joy.  A reasonably priced bottle of great wine.  And this fits the bill to a tee. There is something just a tad uneven on the palate, the balance between fruit and forest and tannins, but nothing off-putting, nothing abrasive.

 

As a sipper it comes on smooth and strong and maybe with a stroke of cleverness but it’s all pleasure, only emphasized by the price point.  Buy six for a dinner party, six cases for the wedding.  Oh, and LCBO picked it up for Vintages; not so lucky here at BCL.

 

Price: $22 before tax (so around $25 all in).

 

Market Liquidity: You know that Woody Allen joke “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable”?  Well Woody doesn’t drink.