Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wine in a Fort? Why not?

Continuing to catch up on some recent tastings, this one comes to us from the first winery in Lilooet, Fort Berens Estate Winery.

2012 Pinot Gris

Fruit and a touch of honey on the nose, with a flinty minerality on the palate. Hints of green apple which are not overpowering. 83.

2012 Chardonnay

Very lightly oaked, with just tiny hints of butterscotch mingling with pineapple and citrus. Fans of unoaked chardonnay should give this one a try. 80.

2011 Cabernet Franc

One of my very favorite of this varietal. Like most young BC reds, this needs to age for a while to bring out it's full potential, but there is lots here. You'll get the usual blackberry and pepper notes. 81.

2011 Meritage

Black cherry and spices on the nose and the palate. Features a long, smooth finish. Like the above, needs 2-4 years laying down before it's true potential is reached. At $27.99, has much promise. 82.

Four very nice wines, this winery has much to offer!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Black Friday, and Black Hills

OK that was a pretty lame reference I'll admit.

Catching up on notes I've made at a few recent tastings, today's blog features Black Hills Estate Winery. Regular readers will recognize that name as the makers of Nota Bene, a BC cult-wine favorite. My blog on the vertical tasting of Nota Bene was by far the most viewed entry in my wine blog.

If you missed it, catch up here:

We are such a fan of their big red wines, including the above, we recently joined their wine club. In fact, as I type this, there is a half case of their 2011 Syrah waiting for us to pick up at the post office.

In April, we get a half case of the 2012 Nota Bene. In June, along comes a half case of their Carmenere, which is basically impossible to find unless you are in their club. I've never even tasted the Carmenere, I'm just going to assume it's as terrific as their other reds.

For this tasting, though, we were focused more on their whites, plus a couple wines from their "entry-level" label, Cellar Hand.

Cellar Hand 2011 Free Run White

A blend of six grapes, mostly Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Fruity nose, with a very tart green apple. Very dry. At $15.89, certainly a good value, especially if you are a fan of dry, tart whites.

Rating: 74

Black Hills 2011 Viognier

I'm yet to be "wowed" by a Viognier and this one is no different, although it's certainly drinkable. Slight notes of apricot on the nose, with peachy undertones on the palate. Would be an excellent pair with seafood. $24.89.

Rating: 74

Black Hills 2011 Chardonnay

Very lightly oaked which appeals to many; however as I've said many times, I like my Chardonnay to be big, bold and buttery, and that usually comes from oak. This one has light buttery undertones, and is refreshing. It features a long, elegant finish.

Rating: 74

Cellar Hand 2011 Punch Down Red

Cherry and blackberry on the nose, bringing hints of black cherry and a tiny amount of spice on the palate.

Rating; 81

All good wines, but not close to their big reds which we are anxiously awaiting from the wine club. We've never visited this winery but it's on our list of "must-dos" for our next wine tour.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let's go to France...and Italy...and stay in BC the whole time!

Had the opportunity to taste some wines from LaStella and their sister winery, Le Vieux Pin, this weekend. These are wineries I am somewhat familiar with, I've tasted some of their big reds in the past...and I'm lucky enough to have one of these in my cellar:

This is a terrific bottle of wine, I've had a couple of these already, and I'm saving this one for a couple more years to let it fully develop. It's long sold out at the winery and at any wine store I've been to recently, so the chances are pretty good that when we drink this one, it will be the last one we ever have.

So back to the tasting, which was featuring 3 whites and one of their famous big reds:

LaStella 2012 Rosato

Light notes of grapefruit on the nose, with a very pleasant fruity palate. Slightly off dry, and very tasty. A top-notch Rose.

Rating: 84

LaStella 2010 Vivace Pinot Grigio

Your nose might notice some peaches and pears, and your palate will as well, as they give way to gentle notes of lime and citrus. Very dry.

Rating: 86

Le Vieux Pin 2011 Petit Blanc

A blend of 8 different grapes, and this takes on the positive characteristics of each. Tropical fruit salad in a glass. Lovely long, dry finish. An excellent bargain at $20.

Rating: 85

Le Vieux Pin 2010 Syrah $45

A truly big Syrah, strong notes of berries and white pepper on the nose. Balanced palate with some mild oak integrated with the berries and spice. A tiny hint of sour, and the tannins are a bit strong, suggesting that this excellent wine needs to sit until 2015 or later to truly bring out the greatness.

Rating: 89

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Up the Creek without a paddle

Tasting at my usual haunt with Hester Creek's Director of Sales and Marketing, Rob Smith.

2012 Pinot Blanc

A recent Gold Medal winner, and I can see why. Not usually my favorite varietal, but this is excellent. Very strong notes of citrus on the nose and palate, with just the right amount of minerality and tiny amounts of herbs on the finish. One of my favorite Pinot Blancs ever. At $16.95, a terrific value for any occasion.

Rating: 85

2011 Character White

Lots of tropical fruit and slight hint of minerals. Excellent on it's own but would pair beautifully with many white fish dishes or sweet and sour pork.

Rating: 83

2012 Chardonnay

Lots of butterscotch and caramel on the nose and the palate. Winery describes this as "extremely food driven" and I would agree, although I think it would be fine by itself if you are a Chardonnay fan. Would pair beautifully with creamy seafood dishes, scallops, and the like.

Rating: 83

2011 Character Red

A blend of Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The nose is greeted with notes of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. A touch of spice on the palate as well; tannins are a bit firm, this could use some aging but it's drinkable now as well.

Rating: 81

2011 Reserve Cabernet Franc

Raspberry and plum on the nose, and the palate will notice a touch of strawberry and black pepper. This one, IMO, isn't ready now and needs some time in your cellar to reach it's true potential, which could be excellent. At $28.95 it's not a huge gamble to get one of these and put it away for a decade and see just how good it could be.

Rating: 78

All very good wines! It's rare when I go to a tasting and prefer the whites to the reds, but that was the case today. A winery to watch!