Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BC wine, value value value

Two tastings last weekend of BC wine at my usual haunt. All reasonably decent, all on sale and all a good price.

Gehringer Brothers 2010 Auxerrois ($12.99)

Very light and fruity, and rather dry. Well balanced acidity without an overwhelming flavor. 74.

Sperling Vineyards 2010 Gew├╝rztraminer ($19.99)

Rich and full, the tiniest notes of honeysuckle and flowers on the nose. Very fruity and dry on the palate. 79.

Inniskillin Discovery Series 2009 Zinfandel ($22.99)

A rich purple colour, very strong dark berry notes on the nose. Very jammy with a light touch of spice on the palate. 77.

Inniskillin Dark Horse Estate 2010 Meritage ($21.99)

Cherry and a touch of plum on the nose; light and fruity on the palate with a hint of chocolate. 77.

Tinhorn Creek 2012 Gew├╝rztraminer ($15.99)

Notes on lychee and ginger on the nose, fruity and on the dryer side. Lots of fruit on the palate. Refreshing. 82.

Mission Hill Red Barn Pintail Pinot Noir ($12.99)

Strawberry, cherry on the nose and palate. For the money, this is quite a bargain; take one to your next dinner party and don't feel bad about bringing something cheap! 80.

Mission Hill Red Barn Hawk's Lair Merlot ($12.99)

Read the above review, I'd say exactly the same thing; add in a bit of vanilla on the palate. 80.

Inniskillin Riesling Icewine ($29.99)

Sweet nectar flavors wash over your tongue, amidst some light notes of lemon and lime. Crisp acidity and well balanced. 83.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

oh Carmen, you naughty little tease

I've been looking for a good Chilean Carmenere, and I believe I've found one.

Caliterra Tributo 2009 Carmenere ($23.99)

Just a hint of mocha mingles with the dark fruits on the nose, leading to a rich, juicy, fruity palate. Well balanced, with some spice and smoke on the finish. Ready to drink now, no reason to further age this baby.

It's terrific, and it changes as it sits; upon opening the wine (even after decanting for a half hour), it was very fruit forward. After 15-20 minutes further decanting (while we drank the first glass), the spice and smoke really came through. 85.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A first class California Zin you can get for the loose change in your car.....

Found this today at a BC Liquor Store for under 18 bucks....it had a big "93 points" sign on it, and although I'd say 93 is a little bit optimistic, for the money it's damn good.

Renwood 2011 Zinfandel ($17.95)

Excellent complexity on this wine; lots of things going on. Notes of plum and berries, with the jammy feel you often get with Zinfandel, but not overly so. Finishes very smooth and the tannins have softened nicely, this is ready to go right now. Very yummy. 85.

Don't believe me? Check this out.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday is definitely Church day....Church & State that is.....

From a tasting at our usual haunt, an assortment of new wines from Church & State....and one bonus rating as well.

Church & State 2011 Cabernet Blanc ($19.86)

An intriguing rose; Very fruity on the nose, and lots of strawberry with just a little note of grapefruit on the palate. One of my favorite BC roses. 85.


Church & State 2011 TreBella ($20.86)

A blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne. Some apricot and peach on the palate, with a hint of minerality on the finish. 81.

Church & State 2011 Coyote Bowl Syrah ($34.88)

Pepper, pepper, pepper. If that's your kind of Syrah, you'll love this. Tannins are still a tad firm, suggesting that a few years of careful cellaring would be of great benefit to this excellent wine. 86.


Church & State 2009 Quintessential ($54.88)

The signature Bordeaux-style blend is very fruit-forward, with lots of cherry and some strawberry as well. Tannins are softening but a few more years would also benefit this one which is already drinking very, very well. Incredible balance. 88.

Sumac Ridge 2005 Pinot Blanc Icewine

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love my Icewine; no exception here, this is really excellent. Notes of apple and honey on the nose, and the honey follows through on the palate, joined nicely by some hints of peach. Terrific mouth feel on this one, which coats your tongue as it slides gently over your taste buds. 91.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kalala, which I believe is Punjabi for "darn good wine"!

Tasting last weekend at my local hotspot from Kalala, a certified-Organic winery in Kelowna that I have driven by a couple times, but never stopped at. This is the second time I've had the opportunity to taste their wares, and both times there was not a loser in the bunch. They feature three brands: Kalala, Dostana, and 3Cru.

Kalala 2012 Pinot Gris ($16.95)

Slightly off-dry, my nose noticed some pear and citrus, which both shine through and continue on the palate. Finishes well and features excellent balance. A top BC Pinot Gris. 85.

Kalala 2010 Riesling ($14.95)

Typical of BC Rieslings with green apple and a touch of pineapple, but less overwhelming than many other offerings of this varietal. Finishes with vibrant acidity and a little old-world minerality. Very good. 83.

Dostana 2008 Merlot ($29.90)

Plum and berries on the nose as you might expect with this varietal. Very complex with a smooth, silky mouthfeel. Tannins have softened but another year or three in the bottle would only improve things. Slight notes of oak as well, as it's aged 30 months in French Oak barrels. Very nice. 84.

Kalala 2011 Harmony Red ($15.95)

An interesting blend of Merlot, Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Cherry and violet on the nose, followed up on your palate by lovely flavors of cherry and just a touch of spice on the finish. An absolute steal at under sixteen bucks. 83

Next time we go to Kelowna, we'll definitely be stopping by this excellent winery to taste everything they have!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pinot, She Wrote??

Last night we opened up a 2009 Pinot Noir from the Angela Estate of Clawson Creek Vineyards, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. A lot of wine experts would suggest that the Willamette Valley is the second best region on the planet for growing Pinot Noir, behind only the Burgundy region of France.

2009 Angela Estates Pinot Noir ($45 from their US website)

Initially very reserved on the nose; but eventually it opens up with hints of blueberry, cherry cola and some sort of sweet spice that I can't totally identify. On the palate the dark berries take over, with a richness and sweetness you don't often get from a Pinot Noir. Bold and smooth with a very long finish. 89.

Angela Lansbury would be proud.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oh what a night........

Took one of my best friends out for her 40th birthday dinner at Earl's on Friday night. Between three of us we took down three terrific bottles of wine.

I was there first and started without them, with a bottle of Cedarcreek 2009 Platinum Reserve Merlot. I've had this one many times before, and have reviewed it in the past. It's brilliant. 90.

Next up we moved down the coast a little bit, and up in the price category, to this:

2010 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

Notes of plums, mocha and a hint of spice on the nose. The palate might notice black cherry, spice, vanilla and a touch of chocolate. Impeccably balanced and features a very long, lingering finish. Tannins are light and soft, this is drinking beautifully now, and would reward patient cellaring of another 5-10 years. 93.

For our third bottle of the evening (it was a long evening!!!), we came back to BC for this notable Bordeaux blend:

2008 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

Very dark ruby in colour with very strong notes of raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. Blackberry, raspberry and chocolate on the palate. Very full-bodied and delicious, with tannins that are softening nicely. Drinking well now but another 5-8 years of careful cellaring would be much rewarded. 89.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chardonnay from the Deep South

And I mean DEEP South.

South Africa, in fact.

Was in Liberty Wines in Park Royal around Xmas time and the very helpful staff pointed me in the direction of this little beauty:

2011 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay ($30ish)

Twelve months in oak shows in this beautifully buttery Chardonnay. Just the right amount of butterscotch; finishes with beautiful fruit. One of my favorite Chardonnays. Very well done. 90.