Posts tagged ‘Wine Advocate’

August 24, 2018

Il Grigio da San Felice, Chianti Classico, Riserva 2009

From the cellar: The Wine Advocate came out with a 93+ points rating for the 2009 Il Grigio (in 2013).  We bought six bottles.  I have rarely been more in accord with (what I call) The Robert Parkers.  The only regret is that six was far too few.

 

We drank our next to last bottle this week and nearly wept.  It was like velvet, slathered with cream, topped with faux fur resting on a water bed; it was like Ellington and Coltrane In a Sentimental Mood; it was like Frank singing Nice ‘N’ Easy crossed by Ella singing It Never Entered My Mind; it was like a zero gravity chair on a Quaalude.  It really was.

 

Last time we got around to reviewing this Chianti, proper content review, the layers of floral flavour, the muted tannins braced against a woodsy tang, the gorgeous lip smacking fruit bomb of it all, we were in similar awe.  This just keeps getting Wow and more Wow.  But the strange thing is of all the Il Grigio we’d drunk since the 09, nothing has measured up.  It’s like a good standby, an old reliable, but the 09, as I say it’s pure Wow: This is what it’s all about when it comes to lying down wine.  Buried treasure.  Sangiovese rocks.

 

Price: $18.60 USD in 2013; around $30 CDN for the current vintage.  Stellar value.

 

Market Liquidity: Manna from heaven.

July 19, 2018

Quinta do Vale Meandro, 2015

A “worth it” blend from the Douro.

 

The proverbial round, full and meaty red without the weight of round, full and meaty reds.  What they call juicy acidity in the trades, and when it hits the palate it teases and entices on that acidity.  The flavour profile is a bowlful of orchard fruits.  Then, a piquant, peppery finish.  Enormously appealing, a bouquet of lavender and light vanilla on the nose.  No weighty powerhouse, we couldn’t sense the tannins identified by the Wine Advocate nor did we find it dry and serious, in fact it has a rather playful, fruity element to the blend the way a fine cru Beaujolais might.  We could easily take up house with the plum and cherry and licorice.

 

Price: $37 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars, a little out of our wheelhouse, but incomparably more likeable than BC reds at $10 more.

 

Market Liquidity: Splurge.  It’s worth it.

July 13, 2018

Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drézéry, 2013

We drank three bottles before I got down on my hands and knees and made a formal commitment.

 

Almost impossible to find, which I take to mean BC Liquor is no longer importing, but if you can find it it’s worth it.  A gem.

 

Online reviews referred to it as new world, modern, and pop and pour.  Pretty much the opposite of how we felt.  It was not welcoming or nearly open without air, and the very first sip of the very first glass was a bomb.  But it blossomed after 20 minutes with a balance and muted tannins that didn’t appear on opening.  Bears no resemblance to the common heavy hitters of California or Oz reds and was unmistakably French, with a purity of place that spoke of lavender fields, earthy notes and figgy pudding.  Delicious.  I’m rarely in concord with RP but the WA crew nailed this one.

 

Price: $29.99 before onerous taxes.

 

Market Liquidity: A rare quality find lingering on the BCLDB shelves.

February 24, 2018

Basilisco Teodosio Aglianico, 2012

There is it: 92 points on the collar.  I think across the province residents will flock to buy (the very limited stores selling this) Italian red.

 

There it is: 92 points from Robert Parker.  Must be really good.  Better than a 91 point wine.  Better than a 90 point wine.  And way, way, way better than an 89 point wine.

 

There it is: 92 points from Robert Parker.  It’s a guarantee.  You cannot be disappointed.

 

Or you cannot not be surprised that RP gave it 92?  The latter of course.  (And of course Gismondi got on the bandwagon too.)

 

Having given the pros their due all I can say is this is to red wine what Monty Python’s 16 ton weight was to comedy: A crashing end to a sketch without necessarily any punch line.  This simply does not deliver the smooth, drinkable, approachable red the collar promo promotes.

 

If you like overbearing, overripe, strong, assertive, knock your socks off red, which will open up after an hour or longer decanted, but even then reveals less on the palate than a Grammy wardrobe malfunction was a nod to indecency, this is the blend you’ve been waiting for.  Hurry, limited stock.

 

Price: $19.99 at BC Liquor, so let’s give this its due: Remarkably affordable.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s the bad part of a maraschino cherry, it’s the bad part of standing in an old barn, it’s the bad part of rotting fruit in an orchard, and it’s the worst part of the wine reviews that determine the direction of the global wine industry, to the detriment of consumers.

 

December 16, 2017

Domaine Huet Le Mont Demi-Sec Vouvray, 2015

So a day or two ago we wrote about being let down by Champagne.  Which, to be honest, wasn’t fair to Champagne, it was more about the cost penalties of living in and buying wine in BC.  Most decent Champagnes in BC retail before taxes at around the $60 mark.  But here’s the rub: If you’re truly willing to spend $60 on a bottle of wine, why not go all out and get a Loire Chenin?

 

In December, when we pull out all the stops on decent bottles, we love to love Domaine Huet.  (The blog has a smattering of Huet posts including a 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2009, of various sorts and sites.)  We usually rip through a variety of the house, from sparkling on down (or up, as the price point goes and as our budget allows).  For a special day in advance of Christmas we pulled out the Mont Demi-Sec: and the semi-sweet is, well, rapturous.

 

Online I’ve seen reviews all over the map, so many adjectives I don’t know what the pros are thinking, it’s like they just wrote down words, maybe it was euphoria, but in a rare moment of total accord I would say the team over at WA hit the nail on the head when they described it as being “deep, rich and flinty on the nose, with caramel and vegetable flavors indicating a great complexity. Full-bodied, dense and powerful, this is highly complex and persistent, yet refreshing and transparent Chenin with a juicy fruit and lots of grip, energy and tension” and then blessed it with 96 points.

 

I would say, from the layperson’s view, if you can appreciate it, if you can even wrap your mind around how mind-numbingly harmonious this wine is, it is worth every penny of the $60 you will shell out.  And umpteen times more memorable than a bottle of Mumm.  Or, as we wrote recently, Moutard.

 

Price: $60 from Marquis.  God Bless Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: A trip to the moon on gossamer wings.

August 21, 2017

Raats Original Chenin Blanc, 2014

Depending on whom you rely on for points accountability, this is anywhere between an 88 and 92 pointer, with the Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator at opposite ends of the spectrum and Tanzer in between.  Which underscores more about how people think of Chenin Blanc than perhaps the subjective nature of wine scores.

 

It is indeed good, a refreshing and zesty lightly acidic Chenin with a dry forest floor note and some gobs of summer stone fruit.  We got the lime but not the pineapple.  It’s a patio sipper par excellence but a little weak at keeping up with rich foods (and I’m including creamy cheeses).  At the price point we are much more likely to spend less on the Mulderbosch and enjoy it more or spend more on the D’Orrance and wish we’d won the lottery.  It would be hard to weigh in on this as enthusiastically as some pros have.

 

Price: $21.85 in Saskatchewan but, wait for it, $33.50 before taxes at private wine stores in Vancouver.  Seriously.  When the mayor proclaims that Vancouver is on schedule to be the greenest city on the planet all I can think of is the greenback, not the solar panels, bike lanes, and lack of access to natural gas.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s a 92 pointer at $22 and an 88 pointer at $34.

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.

June 15, 2017

Yangarra McLaren Vale Grenache, 2014

Below expectations: Complex and intense and concentrated. 91 points (Wine Advocate).  I think that was on the sticker with the price tag in BC Liquor where it was marked down a notch to about $32 before extras.  The word concentration is wine review speak for heavy, as in dense on the palate like cheap port, and not always pleasant.  Think of the way concord grape juice sticks to the tongue.  The residual sweetness is not approachable, it’s assertive and, depending on whether you’re tasting or eating and drinking, it’s overdone (tasting, just odd when eating).  There is a sting of the spice drawer, a mix of clove and cinnamon, which to us was uneven but lovely on the nose.  Is it drinkable?  Is it a sipper, food friendly, delectable?  Yes, yes and yes.  And while it drank like velvet it seemed to lack the novelty and curiosity of many Spanish Garnachas (which you can source at a lower cost).

 

Price: Regularly available around $35 depending where you shop.

 

Market Liquidity: It passes muster.

February 24, 2017

Di Majo Norante Ramitello, 2012

di-majo-norante-ramitello-2012

This opens up nicely with pronounced bittersweet chocolate and sour cherry.  Light notes of candied violets.  The final push, a raspberry soda with a woodsy note, is soft and not overwhelming.  Silken on the palate.  Drinks like a well tailored suit.

 

Over at RA’s Wine Advocate, Monica Larner referred to it as having a sophisticated international style and being “exciting value” from southern Italy.  It is all that and then some.  While we couldn’t quite get the 91 points of the whole enterprise we do say this: BC churns out a wine like this there are seven “very limited” cases at $80 a bottle.  I exaggerate, but you get my drift.  At this price point BC vineyards are selling their “base model” reds that are often bitter and lesser and forgettable.  Plus, why not try something from Abruzzi-Molise?

 

Price: Regularly a very respectable $24 at BC Liquor, on sale currently at $22.50 but, and I must rub your nose in this, only $19 in Ontario.  We really are the oppressed state Ms. Christy Clark.

 

Market Liquidity: You’d be hard pressed to serve this at dinner and not please the lot.

January 24, 2017

Conceito Douro Superior, 2013

conceito-douro-superior-2013-front

I found it very hard to wrap my mind around this.  It was an intriguing if perhaps confounding white, with peaks like the butterscotch of Chardonnay but some valleys with the coarse citrus bite of a mediocre Sauvignon Blanc, and, in the middle, an earthiness reminiscent of Hunter Valley Sem.  All the complexity left me somewhat baffled, as if it had an identity but was in denial or masquerading as something else.

 

The professionals are gaga over this bottle.   95 points said the sticker at BCL.  “Impressive, powerful, rich, dense.”  I guess it is all those things.  So is a heavyweight champ.  So is El Chapo.  So is, it seems, half the politicians on the planet.  That doesn’t make the words explain what the wine’s identity is.  And, for us, we were left at sea.  Was it brilliant or parody?  Mark Squires in the WA wrote that it seemed a little unevolved.  That, I think, is extremely precise.

 

Price: Friggin’ expensive.  Like a whole lot of money.  I refuse to fess up.

 

Market Liquidity: When you see Amadeus on the stage you have to believe the actor playing Salieri, believe him when he’s old, believe him when he’s young, believe the transformation is plausible, and if you don’t, if you’re unsure, then the whole enterprise fails.

conceito-douro-superior-2013-back