Posts tagged ‘Decanter magazine’

February 1, 2019

Haywire Free Form Red, 2015

So you know how Decanter, in their 100 most interesting wines of 2018 listed oh, I don’t know, one wine from BC?  Yeah, I think one wine.  And it was a white from Haywire (the Free Form).  So kudos to Haywire who seem to have just the right amount of hipster edge with their free form and concrete vats and grey label wonders.  If I run low on Haywire in the everyday cellar I get a bit antsy.  They really do have a magical touch.  Even though in the delicate white categories we actually prefer Sea Star, when it comes to the wonders of OK Sauv Blanc, say, or flat out stunning Pinot Gris, it’s Haywire hands down.

 

Given our bent, and the international hoopla, we tried the Free Form red. And it is everything you might expect from, say, the guys at Sedimentary Wines, the local distributor that has a rich array of natural wines to consider (and argue over) with friends.  In that category, I would probably pick up a COS or a Ch. Le Puy, which in the former are abrasively interesting and in the latter utterly accomplished.  There is no excitement in the Haywire.  It’s just, well, it’s just a free form red that drinks like so many other natural wines.  Yes, it’s a grey label Haywire, but aside from the price tag it’s unlikely to impress.

 

Price: A rather hefty $42.50 at Save-On; $39 at the vineyard.

 

Market Liquidity: Too generic for its category.

December 28, 2018

De Ley Rioja Gran Reserva 2010

Decanter described the explosion of coconut and hints of woodsmoke which pretty much is the money shot, that juicy forward tropical note with a backdrop of musky smoke.  And the LCBO, in Ontario, hit the nail on the head by selling this $30 cheaper than BC.  So there you go, the crime of drinking wine in BC.

 

If you aren’t an expert, if you don’t have a Master of Wine, if you don’t write for the Wine Advocate or Spectator or Decanter, you might be hard pressed to figure out Tempranillo with any exactness.  Sometimes cheap-ish Rioja from old vines and a respectable house turn out top notch plonk whereas the more expensive stuff doesn’t even sip with refinement.  Generally, it’s easy to weed out the crap Shiraz from the cellar selections.  We find Rioja all over the map.

 

Given that you can score great Spanish reds at half the price of the De Lay we’re hard-pressed to recommend it.  But if all that coin is burning a hole in your pocket, then by all means get six for a stag night.  It is heady, hearty and exuberantly generous on the palate.

 

Price: Around $47 at private wine shops in Vancouver.  But, as noted above, much cheaper in the real world beyond BC’s borders.

 

Market Liquidity: When spending half as much for wine that’s no better is just half as good.

December 6, 2017

Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Ecusson Brut

Tis the season.

 

Sparkling from Luxembourg.  At 12.4%.  Cheaper than cheap Prosecco.  Luscious on the palate.  Could there be a better Christmas gift?

 

Decanter gave this a best in show, 95 points, platinum.  I’m not sure we were drinking the same wine.  However, it is wonderful.  It is lovely.  It has a finish that grows on you inch by inch and will lead you to polish off a bottle in no time.  The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are run of the mill but having Riesling in the mix is a game changer.

 

This will not sub for Champagne.  In fact, it wouldn’t make for a very good general fizz to doctor with juice or liqueur.  I would even nitpick on the effervescence (which is thick and heavy and without the streamlined cadence of fine champers).  However, stand alone as a sparkler, with its tropical fruit notes and vanilla coconut finish, this is startlingly graceful at the price point.

 

Price: Good luck.  But EW in Surrey has a few bottles at $23 before tax. The rosé is available at New District in Dunbar.  Alas, welcome to Buying Wines in BC…

 

Market Liquidity: Brilliant bubbles, and fun to boot.

August 29, 2017

Errazuriz Aconcagua Alto Carmenere, 2014

Sweet.  In all its meaning: As in good wine, as in good price, as in a tad too much residual sugar.  Now of course this is a dry wine with low residual sugar and it’s purely perception and barreling that throws the harmony of it all, but it does sit on the tongue with a somewhat cloying black currant finish.  But it is astonishingly good value and enormously approachable; a little less of the spice and pepper you might expect in Carmenere and a little more of the violet and rosewater you might get in Merlot, but at the price it’s worth a case.

 

The back history of Carmenere is interesting, if you have the inclination to Google it, because post-Phylloxera there’s virtually none left planted in Bordeaux.  And Aconcagua is (if you’re ever in Chile) a beautiful if remote valley (north of Santiago) that produces some interesting high altitude wines and worth the minor trek.

 

Price: $20, give or take, at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: This is what Decanter calls a weekday wine but which we call a stupendous value.

February 19, 2016

Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèls, Coteaux du Languedoc, Faugéres, 2013

Domaine de Cébène Les Bancèls, Coteaux du Languedoc, Faugéres, 2013

At basically the same price point of the Wynns, which we found cookie cutter and predictable, you can get the smooth, velvety texture of a sippable red, if that’s your thing, with the more woodsy, herby notes of a French red that oozes olde worlde charm. Generally, you’ll pay twice as much for Rhone red this palatable. With legs for the cellar, there’s no shame in corking tonight. NB: Afraid of poncey labels?  Don’t be put off by the cryptic label with too many foreign words. Ask BCL staff for the “Faugéres, the Rhone red, with the grey label.”  A favorite over at Decanter, so probably a hard find, but worth it.  And, wait for it: Organic, yes!

 

Price: $28 at BCL before taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: An elevated wine at an entry level price.