Thursday, December 26, 2013

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight......

...Merry Christmas to All!
And to all, a wine flight!

or something like that.

Had a lovely dinner here on Xmas Eve with my mom and her common-law husband and put out a few choices for her to pick for wine:

We decided the one on the left, the 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon from Portugal, was too tempting as a curiosity to pass up. I picked this up at a BC Liquor Store just before Xmas for only around $25, so really I wasn't expecting much.

I was right. Undrinkable. Down the sink.

Next we moved onto the most expensive bottle pictured, the one in the middle.

2000 Wolf Blass Platinum Label Cabernet Sauvignon ($109.99)

We just bought this one recently, so since it had been sitting on a store shelf since being bottled in 2002, I was half expecting it to be corked (in which case I would return it), or absolutely amazing.

It was neither, unfortunately. It was.....good. Just good. Definitely on the decline but not all the way there, we finished the bottle and enjoyed it, but it was far from transcendent. 83.

Next we moved on to one we've had before at our infamous 5-star wine pairing dinner at Victoria & Albert's in Florida last year.

2008 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($79.99)

Beautiful notes of berries and dark chocolate greet the nose and your palate will be pleased with an incredibly silky mouth feel and long, smooth finish. Simply sublime and the tannins are still a bit firm, this wine could age well for another decade or two. 94.

We have two more of these in the cellar, planned to open one every five years to see how they age.

My mom likes Syrah, so we then moved onto one not pictured, 2011 Black Hills Syrah. I've reviewed this one previously, it was terrific as always. We still have three of these in the cellar to further age. They will only get better, and as we are members of the Black Hills wine club, we'll get another half case of their next vintage in September (not to mention a half case of their Nota Bene and Carmenere at different times next year).

That was enough wine for that evening, but on Xmas day we went to my sister-in-law's for dinner, as tradition dictates, and we brought the wine.

First, we opened up a 2009 Summerhill Merlot, which was completely corked. Awful. Down the sink (we just tasted this wine at the winery last summer and it was terrific, so we clearly had a bad bottle).

Luckily we brought a couple bottles, so as dinner was served, we opened up this bad boy:

2011 Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir ($45)

We had five of these so we figured we'd take one to dinner even though it's still young and would be well served to sit a while longer. It didn't disappoint, having improved even in the last few months since I initially tasted it:

Red fruits dominate the palate, with a smooth and silky finish, belying it's young age. It will only improve with 5-6 more years in the bottle with careful cellaring. Always a favorite Pinot. 92.

Tonight was dinner number three; another turkey dinner, made at home, for my Dad. Paired with tonight's dinner, we reached deeper into the cellar for a this baby:

2006 Quails' Gate Pinot Noir (new vintage $24.99, this one would be $60)

An interesting comparison between this and the above; this one has aged 5 years, but is not the Reserve version. I actually can't decide which I preferred, so I'm going to give it the same number. Both were fabulous. 92.

For our next selection, we moved to another of our favorite BC wineries:

2008 Cedarcreek Platinum Syrah ($40)

I previously rated this at the winery:

I gave it an 89, and I was too harsh on it. It's wonderful; a couple more months in the bottle combined with aeration, a bit of time in a decanter have only improved this lovely wine. 91.

Xmas is great, if for nothing else than the amount of wine consumed!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

So what does 100 points taste like??

On December 1, 2013, renowned local wine critic and author John Schreiner wrote a blog post entitled "an Icewine that should be on your bucket list". Link below.

Last week I was in Everything Wine in North Vancouver and happened across the Icewine section where I noticed they had one of these, and I picked it up. I've never tasted a 100-point wine before, so I was abuzz with anticipation to try it, and, I admit, a little nervous. Imagine if I hated the wine that a noted local wine critic had given a PERFECT score??? I realize that wine (especially dessert wine) is a very personal thing, and just because a wine critic loves it doesn't mean I'll love it too....but as someone that generally loves Icewine, my chances seemed pretty good.

2012 N'kmip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine

Flavors of peach, pineapple and honey roll across the tongue. Slight notes of butterscotch as well. Smooth beyond any expectations. Absolutely perfectly balanced, perfectly sweet, perfectly pure. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

For $60, not everyone is going to go out and buy it...but you should. Icewine, especially Riesling Icewine, tends to improve with age; this is only a year old, and it's the best Icewine I've ever had. No, it's the best WINE I've ever had. Absolutely spectacular. Mr. Schreiner was absolutely right. This is just perfect.

The only problem with this wine is that it's now gone, and I'm going to have to go find another one (or seven). Incredible.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Vertical tasting? You had me at "California"

Ok not really a vertical tasting, but more of a side by side comparison of two wines from the same producer, two different regions, two different vintages. To wit:

On the left, a 2009 from Sonoma County, on the right a 2010 from Napa Valley.

If memory serves, the Sonoma one was $25 at BC Liquor Stores ($17 on the winery's website), and the Napa one was $40 ($30 on the website). I'll confirm the local prices later today when I visit a store to pick up some more! Obviously I liked them.

The biggest differences? Aroma and colour. The Napa Valley offering was a deep purple colour, while the Sonoma County wine was closer to red.

2009 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Notes of red plum, blackberry, and a soupcon of tobacco/cigar box greet your nose. Blackberry jam flavors are present with just a touch of vanilla from being lightly oaked. A top notch entry-level California wine, and if you can find the 2009 vintage, it's drinking very nicely now. 88.

2010 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

A much deeper colour and aroma than the above, the Napa selection brings a bit more complexity on the nose and the palate. The slightest notes of chocolate on the palate. It is slightly more fruit-forward and a longer finish and slightly softer mouthfeel. It is also drinking very well now but would probably benefit from another 1-2 years in the bottle to truly reach it's full potential. 90.

So is it worth double (almost) the price? I guess it depends on what dollar value you put on two points. For me? Yes it is, but having said that, I am going today to look for one of each, as the Sonoma County one is really a terrific value for the money.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inky....Anchorman.....Archmage.....Geez, how DO you pronounce that?????

Nk'Mip. Pronounced, I understand, "in-ka-meep". OK then.

Picked up a bargain at a BC Liquor store the other day, a bottle of 2009 Nk'Mip Qwam Qwmt Syrah. Regular price was around the neighborhood of $35, I picked this up for $24.99. It would be a crime to pass up a bargain like that, even though I've never tried this wine before.

We opened it up tonight, paired with a Filet Mignon with Herbed Compound Butter.

2009 Nk'Mip Qwam Qwmt Syrah

Your nose might notice an overabundance of berries; blueberries in particular. Some cherries as well. On the long, silky palate, hints of plum and blueberries, notes of cherries. Almost no spice or pepper that is so common among Syrah. Nice, but I would have preferred some spice to pair with the steak. 82.

And if that wasn't enough, we were doing a little Xmas shopping and came across this :

2012 Nk'Mip Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine

What's special about that? How about this. John Schreiner, probably the most prolific and respected local wine reviewer, just rated this 100/100. That is not a typo. ONE HUNDRED. Nothing gets 100, except for some $500+bottles of French Bordeaux.

That's probably not totally true, I'm sure there have been some other 100's, but I bet there aren't many. For the $60 that Icewine cost me, I'm dying to try it out. I will let you know my findings, I suspect it will get opened up this Xmas.

Here is the link to the review, if you want to see for yourself:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Domaine D'or, for the one I adore? Nobody adores that crap.....

Tasting of wines from Chaberton Estate Winery, formerly known as Domaine Chaberton. They dropped the "Domaine" to stop getting confused with that Domaine D'or swill. Probably a good choice.

2011 Gew├╝rztraminer ($17.45)

A tiny hint of honey on the nose to go along with the tropical fruit that is typical for this varietal. Slightly off dry, a touch of lime and kiwi on the palate. 80.

2011 Chardonnay ($14.50)

Citrus and notes of pear on the nose; Unoaked, no real buttery notes, but hints of green apple and lemon on the palate. A nice value priced Chardonnay if you like your Chardonnay unoaked. 79.

2009 Canoe Cove Cabernet Sauvignon ($23.25)

Plum and vanilla, a hint of spice on the nose. Fruity mid-palate and a long finish. Drinking well now. 80.

(new packaging shown, same wine)

Friday, December 6, 2013


Tonight is a special's one of those days that ends in "Y" what better reason to go into the library and open up a nice bottle of wine?

2005 Quails' Gate Merlot

The nose brings beautiful notes of plum and raspberry jam. This sophisticated wine will dance across your palate, velvety and luscious. A terrific bottle of wine, if you are lucky enough to have one of these in your cellar, time to break it out. In my opinion, it has peaked and maybe even started on the decline every so slightly. Don't take that negatively, though, it was still fabulous. 88.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Que Syrah, Syrah........

As I mentioned in a previous post, we recently joined the Black Hills wine club and our first shipment arrived, six bottles of their 2011 Syrah. We opened one up the other day for a taste, and put the rest away for further aging.

Black Hills 2011 Syrah

The nose brings some black cherry, a touch of pepper, and just a hint of smoked meat. Not a lot different on the palate; it's not an overwhelmingly spicy Syrah, very delicate and elegant. Tannins are smooth and silky, it's ready to drink now, but some more time in the bottle will only enhance. This has already become our favorite Syrah. Brilliant. 91.

Monday, December 2, 2013

What am I Thankful for?? Great wine!!!!

Had a couple good friends over on Saturday night for a turkey dinner; this was actually our annual traditional get together for Xmas dinner. A little earlier than normal this year due to scheduling conflicts. So early, in fact, we might as well have been celebrating US Thanksgiving instead of Xmas.

Anyway, to pair with the turkey, we popped open a bottle of 2011 Quails Gate Gew├╝rztraminer. Great wine and an excellent pair with turkey, but I've reviewed that one at least twice before. Let's focus on the wines we opened before dinner, a couple brand new entries to the Quails' Gate library (new to me, anyway).

Firstly, we opened up this bad boy:

2008 Dijon Clone Pinot Noir

The nose is welcomed invitingly by cherries. On the palate, the berries really shine through, joined by just a hint of spice on the lingering finish. Tannins have smoothed out nicely but this probably could have aged for another 2-3 years and improved thusly. Even though, it was pretty damn good anyway. 90.

Here is an interesting article on what exactly the "Dijon Clone" is.

Once that was over, we shifted gears a bit. We joined the Quails' Gate wine club this year (red only) and our first shipment came a few weeks ago. It consisted of this:

1 bottle 2011 Pinot Noir
1 bottle 2011 Fortified Vintage Foch
2 bottles 2011 Old Vines Reserve Foch

Trouble is, we don't like Foch.

Or at least we thought we didn't.


2011 Old Vines Reserve Foch

Single vineyard limited release wine, made in the style of Australian Shiraz.

Your nose may experience a hint of mocha or chocolate mingling with the berries. Jammy and gamey at the same time. Tannins are soft and ripe. This wine is great to drink now but would improve for a couple more years in the bottle. By far, and it's not even remotely close, the best Foch I have ever tried. 91.